Sep 29, 2019

Posted by in Giáo điển, SONG NGỮ ANH VIỆT | 2 Comments

Thanh Tri – the 3rd Mind Dharma: THE PRACTICE OF UNINTERRUPTED OFFERING – Part 5: A BRIEF VIEW OF MODES OF TRADITIONAL PRACTICE OF SPIRITUAL OFFERINGS(Đệ tam tâm pháp Thanh trí: CÚNG DƯỜNG BẤT KHẢ GIÁN ĐOẠN Bài 5: SƠ LƯỢC NHỮNG MÔ THỨC CÚNG DƯỜNG TÂM LINH TRUYỀN THỐNG)

Sàkyamuni Buddha

Each Buddhist school has their own modes of spiritual offering practice. A young man named Sumedhà followed Dìpankara Buddha to learn Dharma, then he undertook the precepts for Bodhisattva and Bhikkhu. Sumedhà diligently cultivated Bodhisattva conducts. One day, Dìpankara Buddha was on the way from Sudassana ashram to Ramma when he encountered a mire. Bodhisattva Sumedhà immediately took off his robe to cover the mire but it needed a little longer to cover the whole muddy area. Then he decided to cut his hair and used it to cover the rest of the mire for the Buddha to walk over. Realizing Sumedhà had fully accomplished ten holy conducts, the Buddhaprophesied that he would attain Buddhahood in Bhadra-kalpa titled Sàkyamuni. This is one of 550 stories quoted from Khuddaka nikàya and Jàtaka sutra.

SarvanivāraṇaviṣkambhinBodhisattva

Following the Buddha’s assignment, SarvanivāraṇaviṣkambhinBodhisattva came to learnt the practice of Six-syllable mantra (Mani mantra) from a layman selling fish and meat in a small market in Vanarasi. When he met the layman, he bowed down and offered him with a lot of gemstones but the layman refused, citing the offerings were not equal to the precious value of the Mani mantra. The Bodhisattva gave penitence and found more gems to offer the lay master with reverent attitude. The master then gave him Dharma transmission.

Both Therevada and Mahayana tenets mention about the practice of making offerings which provides specific conditions for gaining high result. The Dakkhinavibhanga sutra (Classification of Offerings) lists them as:

1/ Being a virtuous person who fully observes precepts 2/ The offerings have righteous origination 3/ Pure mind and immaculate thought 4/ Deeply believe in the principle of cause and effect 

We should recognize that keeping moral precepts is truly important for obtaining spiritual efficiency, thus requiring the practitioner to diligently cultivate his virtues. It is said that the practice of making offerings will gain the highest result if it is made by a saint to a saint! Besides, the origination of the offerings is no less important because if they come from unrighteous behaviors or fraudulence, they aren’t different than the poisonous foods that are presented to the spiritual elders. It’s not by chance Master Gampopa warned: “The giving alms and charity of things obtained by theft, robbery or deceit, is like trying to wash a sheepskin coat in plain water” or “The offerings to the Three Jewels of the meat by killing living beings is like offering a mother the flesh of her own child” (Fourteen grievous failures of a practitioner). A story goes that there was a woman in Tibet who was engaged in fraudulent trading. A lama had food offered by her and got severe stomach upset. This story, as a case in point, proves that the offerings are of value only when they accompany a pure mind and immaculate thought, rather than their material value. If the person who makes offerings has a deep belief in the principle of cause and effect, the efficacy of the practice will be infinite in its strict sense.

The giver does always recognize who are Bodhisattvas, holy sage or holy monk but he can refer to the classification of spiritual values as follows:

Making offerings to 100 evil beings is less better than to 1 good being. Making offerings to 1,000 good beings cannot compare to 1 person who fully observes five precepts (not killing, stealing, sexual misconducting, lying and abusing of intoxicants).
Making offerings to 10,000 persons who fully observe five precepts is less better than to 1 true monk.
Making offerings to 1 million true monks is incomparable to 1 
stream-enterer (Sotapatti)…

The Dakkhinavibhanga Sutra records a case going that a widow who used to help her husband, a hunter, to peel off the skin of the animals. When she made offerings to a fake monk for three times to cure her husband who was reborn into demon realm, all gained no result. Her husband appeared in her dream crying in anguish: “That villain, charlatan has stolen my things for three times!” Then she made offerings to a true monk whose morality and spiritual power has purified her offerings. Right after the merit dedication, her husband appeared uttering: “It’s marvelous!” and was freed from the demon realm.

Sàmantabhadra Bodhisattva

Mahayana canons tell about a monk named Shénguāng who proved his resolve by cutting his arm and presented it to the First Patriarch Bodhidharma as a token of his sincerity. Bodhidharma felt touched and accepted to transmit Dharma to him. The First Patriarch needs nothing from Shénguāng but his resolve is an illustration of his spiritual power and a strong will of getting liberation”. He has fulfilled the practice of making offerings. The Avatamsaka Sutra says that Sàmantabhadra Bodhisattva states ten great vows and conducts that greatly stirred the Sangha’s admiration among which the third conduct is “broad cultivation and making abundant offerings”. Making offerings is a good deedof Buddhist practitioners but why does Sàmantabhadra Bodhisattva praise it as a great conduct and a supreme practice of a Bodhisattva? Because it is a pure mind dharma developed from the achievement of four immesurable minds (love, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity). The mind of a practitioner who has succefully cultivated four immeasurable minds is likened to a vast space, a boundless ocean, undifferent from ultimate attainment of the offering practice.

“Fifty verses on Guru Devotion” – Master Avagosha

Under Vajrayana tradition, the connection between the Master and disciples gets closer after a certain period of time when both sides have perception of right view (sammaditthi), just like the teaching of Master Avagosha:

In order for the words of honour

of neither the Guru nor the disciple to degenerate

there must be a mutual examination beforehand

 (to determine if each can) brave a Guru-disciple relationship

Hence, a disciple making offerings to his Guru will gain better result. That’s why over the last two years, there is a limit to the number of disciples I’ve accepted or “signed spiritual contract”, given inadequate conditions for mutual connection as many fail to make offerings with pure mind and body. Why so? Because those followers are coming into the spiritual environment with a pragmatic attitude. Moreover, they yet to meet adequate spiritual conditions as taught by Master Avagosha;

Making offerings with pure mind and body

Attain Buddhahood in a lifetime without strain

Otherwise don’t try to raise hope

Even in countless millions of eons!

Accordingly, “making offerings by pure body” means to joyfully carry out Dharma affairs on voluntary basis or assigned by the Guru

Those things you have treasured most

From the trifling objects to those of best quality

Should be offered to the Guru 

For their value will never be lost

****

[“] For he is the same as all Buddhas

“Making offerings by pure mind” means always think that making offerings to the Guru is presenting offerings to the Buddha. Of course, I am not the Buddha, even not worth one-billionth part of him but to all of you, I am the Buddha – this is the visualization that gives you the highest accumulation of merits in the practice of making offerings. This will bring you many benefits and spiritual efficiency as taught by Master Avagosha:

To Guru, always keep your words of honor

And make abundant offerings with your whole heart

For he is the same as all Buddhas 

From such giving grows the tree of merits

     Comes the supreme attainment of dharmakaya

    For making offerings to Guru and Buddha is one and the same

 “Uninterrupted offerings”

Above is the teaching on the practice of making offerings given by Master Avagosha in his well-known work “Fifty Verses on Guru Devotion” – a divine pattern the generation of descendants should seek to follow. In Song Nguyen Tantra House, we see it as our guideline on the path of liberation. But there is also another mode of offering practice I’ve invented called “Uninterrupted offering” which will be introduced and reasoned in the next part.

Om Mani Padme Hum!

A rainy afternoon on the peak of Phu Van Mountain, March 18, 2019

Thinley- Nguyen Thanh

 


Vietnamese version: Đệ tam tâm pháp Thanh trí: CÚNG DƯỜNG BẤT KHẢ GIÁN ĐOẠN Bài 5: SƠ LƯỢC NHỮNG MÔ THỨC CÚNG DƯỜNG TÂM LINH TRUYỀN THỐNG —


1.Thanh Tri – the 3rd Mind Dharma: THE PRACTICE OF UNINTERRUPTED OFFERING – Part 1: What is the meaning of “making offerings”? (Đệ tam tâm pháp Thanh Trí: Cúng dường bất khả gián đoạn – Bài 1: Thế nào gọi là cúng dường?)

2.Thanh Tri – the 3rd Mind Dharma – THE PRACTICE OF UNINTERRUPTED OFFERING – Part 2: THE SENSE AND ATTITUDE OF MAKING OFFERINGS (Tinh thần và thái độ cúng dường)

3.Thanh Tri – the 3rd Mind Dharma: THE PRACTICE OF UNINTERRUPTED OFFERING – Part 3: WHERE DOES A GURU STAND IN THE PRACTICE OF MAKING OFFERINGS BY DONORS AND DISCIPLES? (ĐẠO SƯ THUỘC ĐỐI TƯỢNG NÀO TRONG SỰ CÚNG DƯỜNG TỪ THÍ CHỦ & ĐỆ TỬ?)

4.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?)

5.Thanh Tri – the 3rd Mind Dharma: THE PRACTICE OF UNINTERRUPTED OFFERING – Part 5: A BRIEF VIEW OF MODES OF TRADITIONAL PRACTICE OF SPIRITUAL OFFERINGS(Đệ tam tâm pháp Thanh trí: CÚNG DƯỜNG BẤT KHẢ GIÁN ĐOẠN Bài 5: SƠ LƯỢC NHỮNG MÔ THỨC CÚNG DƯỜNG TÂM LINH TRUYỀN THỐNG)

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8.Thanh Tri – the 3rd Mind Dharma: THE PRACTICE OF UNINTERRUPTED OFFERING – Part 8: “PRETTY PIGLET”: FROM A FOLK CUSTOM TO DHARMA PRACTICE (bài 8: “Heo con xinh đẹp”: Từ dân gian đến đạo pháp)

9.Thanh Tri – the 3rd Mind Dharma: THE PRACTICE OF UNINTERRUPTED OFFERING – Part 9: “PRETTY PIGLET”, A MEANS OF MINDFULNESS TRAINING (Đệ tam tâm pháp Thanh trí: Cúng dường bất khả gián đoạn Bài 9: HEO CON XINH ĐẸP: MỘT PHƯƠNG TIỆN ĐÀO LUYỆN TÍNH TỈNH THỨC)

10.

11.Thanh Tri – the 3rd Mind Dharma: THE PRACTICE OF UNINTERRUPTED OFFERING – Part 11: CONCLUSION (Đệ tam tâm pháp Thanh Trí: Cúng dường bất khả gián đoạn Bài 11: ĐÔI ĐIỀU KẾT LUẬN)

12. A FEW THOUGHTS ABOUT “Thanh Tri – the 3rd Mind Dharma: THE PRACTICE OF UNINTERRUPTED OFFERING” (Cảm niệm về tu pháp Cúng dường bất khả gián đoạn)

  1. Tantra Upatissa says:
    Dear Guru thanks for sharing this article. It’s a interesting one. I came across some of incidents mentioned in this article which I felt most interesting. Like a desciple was taught 6 syllabus mantra in a place called Varanasi which is present in India. I came know to what are the different levels of offering, how we can visualize Guru as Buddha and make offerings with pure mind which brings many merits to desciple. Also came to know about a desciple who cut off his own arm and presented it Bodhidharma showing his true devotion.

    May Guru and his consort live long for sake of other beings.

    May all beings be free from suffering and get enlightened.

    Om Mani Padme Hum!!!

  2. Tantra Ashihata (Simon Michael) says:
    Dear holy Guru,

    my name is Tantra Ashihata.

    I thank you for this wonderful article you have given to us.

    May you help us to observed the 5 precepts of unterrupted offering in our life so that we can gain more blessing from Guru.

    May Guru live long for the happiness of all sentient being.

    Om mani padme hum.

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