Outer Offerings

an explanation by Lama Tharchin Rinpoche

There are two kinds of outer offerings – peaceful and wrathful. The idea of making peaceful offerings is to offer desirable qualities that are pleasing to the senses. The peaceful offerings are related primarily to the Sutrayana point of view with its emphasis on the accumulation of merit. They create positive feelings and are an antidote to miserliness, and in that way accumulate merit. This is because as sentient beings, we generally have the idea that we should offer “good” things and not offer “bad” things. By thinking in this way, however, we fall into a dualistic mental extreme and lack equanimity. In order not to fall into this extreme, we also make wrathful offerings. Wrathful offerings represent qualities that would normally elicit revulsion in us. Wrathful offerings are related to the Secret Tantra tradition and emphasize the accumulation of wisdom. They liberate our conceptual limitations of accepting what is perceived as positive and rejecting what is perceived as negative. This directly cuts through the conceptual mind and we are freed from both extremes. The lines between good and bad, accepting and rejecting, vanish.

Pure plain or saffron-infused water may be used to fill all the offering bowls (both peaceful and wrathful) or specific substances may be placed in each bowl as indicated. Offerings are usually placed below or in front of the objects of refuge on the shrine. The peaceful offerings commo nly begin at the shrine’s right and end at the shrine’s left (our left to right when facing the shrine). The wrathful offerings are commo nlylaid out in the opposite direction. You may have a set of seven peaceful offerings or include both peaceful and wrathful offering. Continue reading