Six-Session Yoga: Offerings and Relation with the Guru
Now we’re up to making offerings.
This fulfills the Amoghasiddhi bond to make offerings. And when we say ocean of clouds of offerings, this means trying to imagine the offerings as extensive as the whole sky; in other words, huge. This is quite important when making offerings. The reason for that can be understood on many levels. First of all, we’re giving offerings to all the Buddhas – there are a lot of
Buddhas, infinite Buddhas – and offerings to all sentient beings. There are a countless number of sentient beings and a countless number of Buddhas, so we don’t want to have the fear that we don’t have enough offerings to give to everybody. In which case you would be stingy and not give too much to each one. So it’s an infinite amount of offerings, so no problem in
giving as much as everybody would like. And also when giving offerings, we’re bringing happiness to others, and we ourselves are developing a happy state of mind in doing that. And it’s very important for that to be as extensive as all of samsara – in terms of the method side of practice. It should be very, very broad-reaching, this happiness, then that helps to get to a subtle state of mind.
This is the method side. They always talk about method and wisdom; and when they talk about bliss, it’s method. One of the aspects of that is that blissful awareness extends over all of space. You get this quite explicitly in Vajrayogini practice. That helps to use that blissful awareness as a method for getting to a more subtle, more subtler consciousness.
We already discussed a little bit what the outer, inner, and hidden offerings are. There’s many, many different levels in which they can be understood. So that is yet another rather extensive teaching. But in general, as we said, the outer offerings are external sense objects. So this can be in terms of water, flowers, incense etc. Or there are many other ways of doing it, many
other levels in which we can take outer objects. And inner offerings are referring to things that are within the body and, especially in terms of Kalachakra, we can understand that in terms of the subtle energies of the body. And the secret offerings or hidden offerings are blissful awareness.
And we offer things, both what I possess and those that nobody owns. You don’t just want to say “that I don’t possess” because that could give the impression that you steal it. It’s not that we’re stealing it, that it’s somebody else’s, but it’s “that nobody owns,” which means, for instance, offering the beauty of nature, the beauty of a field of flowers, these sort of things.
That even if we’re poor and we don’t own anything, we can offer the beautiful things that nobody owns – a beautiful sky with stars, and so on. May everybody be able to enjoy the beauty of this scenery, for example. This type of thought. It’s not that we go to the public botanical garden and pick all the flowers and give them away.
And we offer things that are both actually arrayed – in other words, that we’ve actually set on the shelf for making offerings – and, likewise, those that we mentally create. And it’s not sufficient to just mentally create; we need to offer at least
something material. And, for that, we have the water bowl. In other words, the actual physical object that we offer becomes a basis for labeling, in a sense, the infinite offerings that we imagine. There’s some sort of basis. It’s not just totally imaginary.