Mar 20, 2019

Posted by in BUDDHISM IN OTHER LANGUAGES | 6 Comments

Thanh Tri – the 3rd Mind Dharma: THE PRACTICE OF UNINTERRUPTED OFFERING – Part 4: WHAT IS THE PROPER TIME TO MAKE OFFERINGS? (CÚNG DƯỜNG VÀO NHỮNG TRƯỜNG HỢP NÀO?)

Thanh Tri – the 3rd Mind Dharma: THE PRACTICE OF UNINTERRUPTED OFFERING – Part 4: WHAT IS THE PROPER TIME TO MAKE OFFERINGS? (CÚNG DƯỜNG VÀO NHỮNG TRƯỜNG HỢP NÀO?)

Thanh Tri – the 3rd Mind Dharma: THE PRACTICE OF UNINTERRUPTED OFFERING – Part 4: WHAT IS THE PROPER TIME TO MAKE OFFERINGS?

I would like to begin this part with an evidence on the reason why a follower or a disciple should make offerings to his Guru (Master) and other bhikkhus who are subjected to one of 12 persons deserved offerings. In Dakkhinavibhanga sutra (Classification of Offerings), the Buddha taught: “When a disciple, thanks to his Guru, takes refuge in the Three Jewels, I say the gratitude he should return to his Guru, is not repaid by joining hands in veneration, getting up and offering a seat on arrival and offering essential necessities.” Next paragraphs of the sutra is: “…..thanks to his Guru, receiving five precepts; establishing unwavering faith in the Guru, Buddha, Dharma and Sangha; clearly perceiving the four Noble truths.” However, if the disciples and donors unfortunately mistake “copper” for “gold” by making offerings to evil monks or hypocrites under the label of Buddhist practitioners, they will risk their life with consequences rather than good results as they expect. In her previous life, Queen Mallikà was a rich woman. She presented four offerings for four evil monks, thus be reborn to be a servant. In her new life as the servant, she offered the Shakyamuni Buddha a bowl of rice, thus be reborn to be the queen of Pasenadi.

One thing I need remind you is that “the way to give things are more important than the things themselves”. Recently, I’ve got a message of a disciple from Song Nguyen Tantra House- Hanoi branch saying he would like to make offerings to me in cash for knowing I got sick.

The Guru is doing spiritual activity in the Dharma conference

He was surprised to know that I’d turned down his proposal, which he thought to be a proof of his care about the Guru. Actually, it’s a big mistake to have such thought! It’s irrational to make offerings to the Guru who is suffering from poor health condition, for it has no connection with spiritual activities. In this case, that disciple has considered the Guru as his relatives or a person in misery, thus turning his practice of offerings into the action of giving alms, charity or financial assistance… . Such material or spiritual care has constituted a wrong attitude which has been making many monks or Buddhist practitioners get distracted from their will of renunciation and back to the worldly life. This is one of 14 grievous failures that were alerted by Master Gampopa. Would you want me to fall in this case?

The Guru is doing spiritual activity during a Dharma affair

In the sermon titled “True spiritual meanings of the practice of making offerings”, I listed twelve subjected (persons) deserved holy offerings and one subject (animal) worth of giving alms. Those twelve subjects are reverent for their spiritual accomplishments while the rest (animal) is treated merely for commiseration or compassion. Hence, to let you know when will be the right time for making offerings to the Guru, below are ten cases you should remember:

1/ The Guru is doing spiritual activity in the Dharma conference

2/ The Guru is doing spiritual activity during a Dharma affair

3/ The Guru conducts refuge ceremony for the disciple

4/ The Guru conducts empowerment ritual for the disciple

5/ The Guru expounds Dharma

6/ The Guru bestows direct Dharma transmission on the followers and disciples

7/ The disciple makes offerings to the Guru as a gratefulness for his obtainment of inner-happiness, material success and social accomplishments

8/ The disciple makes offerings to the Guru as a gratefulness for his surmounting of difficulties or impediments that he thought to be hopeless

9/ The disciple makes offerings to the Guru as a penitence for his serious fault (as pointed out in the “Fifty verses of Guru Devotion”)

10/ The disciple makes offerings to the Guru when he is in mourning.

The Guru conducts refuge ceremony for the disciple

The Guru expounds Dharma

All above cases, as taught by the Buddha, are the right time for making offerings since the receiver is eliminating greed, hatred and ignorance. This reminds me that it was that disciple who proposed to make offerings to me when I was ill did not make offerings when I expounded Dharma discourse at his house.

Likewise, some bhikkhus today often proudly speak about their over 10,000 disciples who organize extravagant birthday parties for them while in his time, the Buddha had never held any so-called “birthday party” or “death anniversary” for anyone during 49 years of Dharma propagation. Once again, I realize the right, meaningful assertion of Geshe Potowa: “What goes against worldly concerns is Dharma”. I still remember that some disciples often make offerings to me on the occasion of Vietnam’s lunar new year festival. This proposal is made in improper time because I am not their relatives nor have social relations with them. In fact, the offerings made at the right time or in urgent situation will bring back more effective result, just like a girl named Sujata who timely offered Gautama Buddha goat’s milk and now the mankind accordingly has a chance to welcome the brilliant light of ultimate truth from a monk called Buddha. Later, during the three-month retreat, the Sangha starved themselves for a certain period of time since King Pasenadi forgot making offerings to the Sangha for being busy with military affairs and partly caused by mara hindrances. Seeing the situation of the Sangha, a horse trader offered his horses’ food to the monks. As a result, when he died, he was reborn to deva realm like the case of Sujata.

a girl named Sujata who timely offered Gautama Buddha goat’s milk

Above are a few words of mine to help you know who deserve offerings and when is the proper time to make offerings. If you fail to get it right from the beginning, then all of your spiritual activities will become useless or meaningless and the Guru who accepts these improper offerings is seen for personal benefits rather than for helping sentient beings sow the seeds on the field of blessings for their future. Do not turn your care into bad Dharma practice!

May all sentient beings always stay in the state of awakening.

Om Mani Padme Hum

A rainy afternoon on the peak of Phu Van Mountain, March 16, 2019

Thinley – Nguyen Thanh

Translated by Mat Hue Phap

  1. Mật Phê Rô says:

    Kính bạch Thầy !

    Con hoan hỷ thiện hạnh huynh Mật Huệ Pháp đã chuyển ngữ bài viết : CÚNG DƯỜNG VÀO NHỮNG TRƯỜNG HỢP NÀO của vị Thầy sang tiếng Anh giúp các bạn đọc hữu duyên được đọc .

    Con cầu nguyện cho huynh Mật Huệ Pháp luôn được hạnh phúc tự tâm, thế sự hanh thông và thành đạt xã hội .

    Con cầu nguyện Thầy Cô sức khỏe, trường thọ vì đại nghiệp phổ truyền Yoga Thanh Trí, làm lợi lạc chúng sanh .

    Cầu nguyện tất cả chúng sanh được nương tựa bóng lành Thầy, Phật, Pháp, Tăng .

    Om Mani Padme Hum !

  2. Aman Prakash says:

    Dear guru

    Thank you for this article. I bow my head on your lotus feet.

    I am able to understand the right way to give offerings to guru.we have to reminds that the offering which we are giving is not to guru personally but to the goodness of all sensient being as guru take care and give blessings to all.so our intention should must to pure.In daily life we suffer very much ,we all need the blessings of guru.

    Thank you guru for being with us.may guru lives long for the sake of all sensient being.

    May all sensient being attain true nature.

    Om Mani padme hum.

  3. Ahmed Khan says:

    Dear Guru,

    Thank you for sharing this article explaining the proper time to make offerings to a Guru.

    May all sentient beings be free from suffering and become enlightened.

    Om Mani Padme Hum.

    Tantra Sagovana (Ahmed Khan)

    • Kính bạch Thầy!

      Con xin phép được dịch comment của đạo hữu Tantra Sagovana (Ahmed Khan) sang tiếng Việt như sau:

      “Kính bạch Thầy!

      Con cảm tạ ơn Thầy đã viết bài luận giảng cho con hiểu được những thời điểm cúng dường đúng pháp lên vị Đạo sư.

      Cầu nguyện tất cả chúng sanh đoạn trừ khổ đau và đạt được giác ngộ.

      Om Mani Padme Hum.

      Con – Tantra Sagovana (Ahmed Khan)”

  4. Mô Phật!

    Mật thúy rất hoan hỉ với thiện hạnh dịch bài viết của vị Thầy, sang tiếng Anh của huynh Mật Huệ Pháp cầu  nguyện cho huynh luôn tin tấn thực hành pháp để được tha lực hộ trì cầu mông tất cả chúng sanh luôn có duyên lành biết đến chánh pháp OM ah hum.

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