Offerings of food to Buddha Statues

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Offerings of food to Buddha Statues

Postby chethinie » Tue Jan 21, 2014 1:01 pm

HI,
It is the common practise of most Buddhists to offer food and water etc to the Buddha Statues (Buddha puja) and also when in a temple, most people do venerate the Bodhi-tree. I believe these are mostly done by way of honouring the Buddha and as a gesture of Saddha. My question is, did Buddha tell us to do these two things? Could you please give me a reference to it?

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Re: Offerings of food to Buddha Statues

Postby santa100 » Tue Jan 21, 2014 4:06 pm

Monks, there are these eight individuals who are worthy of gifts, worthy of hospitality, worthy of offerings, worthy of reverential salutation, the unsurpassed field of merit for the world... ~~ http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .kuma.html ~~
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Re: Offerings of food to Buddha Statues

Postby Sekha » Tue Jan 21, 2014 5:50 pm

chethinie wrote:did Buddha tell us to do these two things?

as far as I know, he never did
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Re: Offerings of food to Buddha Statues

Postby SarathW » Tue Jan 21, 2014 11:15 pm

I have mixed feeling about this ritual.

My father had a restaurant and at 12.00 noon he offered rice and curry to Buddha’s statue, before he serve customers.
At 12.30PM he took the food away and gave it to birds.
I think this ritual is coming from Hindus. They offer fruits etc to god and eat them later.
In both cases there is some degree of purification in mind and no harm done to anyone.

I don’t think you do this type of rituals, if you are a Sotapanna.
Sometimes I do rituals (Bodhi Puja) as this may help someone else to relive their psychological pain.

In private however, I do not do any of above activities.

:)
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Re: Offerings of food to Buddha Statues

Postby Goofaholix » Tue Jan 21, 2014 11:41 pm

chethinie wrote:It is the common practise of most Buddhists to offer food and water etc to the Buddha Statues (Buddha puja) and also when in a temple, most people do venerate the Bodhi-tree. I believe these are mostly done by way of honouring the Buddha and as a gesture of Saddha. My question is, did Buddha tell us to do these two things? Could you please give me a reference to it?


I haven't found this practise very common at all, not so much in Thailand and Burma, and certainly not in the West. Though only really frequent meditation/vinaya oriented monasteries. I have seen it more often at people's own home shrines so I guess if everyone did this at the monastery there'd be piles of rotting food to clear away.

The Buddha didn't even tell us to make buddha statues, so it stands to reason he wouldn't have instructed us to feed them.

Flowers and incense is much more common.
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Re: Offerings of food to Buddha Statues

Postby SarathW » Wed Jan 22, 2014 1:01 am

When you are learning Abhidhamma or paying homage
to the Buddha, you do not have defilements
. That is
momentary abandonment. If you get Jhāna or if you practise
Vipassanā and you can put aside the defilements for some
time, it is called temporary abandonment. When you reach the
state of Magga, you can destroy them altogether. In Pāḷi it is
called Samuccheda — that means cutting off. If you cut
something, then it cannot be joined again. At Magga the
respective defilements are destroyed once and for all. So they
never arise in that person again.

Page53:
http://buddhispano.net/sites/default/fi ... ies-II.pdf
:reading:
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Re: Offerings of food to Buddha Statues

Postby Sati1 » Wed Jan 22, 2014 2:25 am

I think this practice is common in Vajrayana (Tibetan) Buddhism, but not in Theravada.
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Re: Offerings of food to Buddha Statues

Postby chownah » Wed Jan 22, 2014 3:28 am

Some people put fruit on a little dish in the shrine as if to offer it to the Buddha and then when it is ripe they remove it and eat it.........best of both worlds.......give your offering and eat it too.
Also, at harvest season some Thai farmers make an offering to the gods out in the field after harvest is finished. This offering is made of many different things usually with chicken being one of them. After presenting the offering the farmer will sit quietly and think good thoughts for awhile......this is so the gods can hear you thinking the good thoughts and also to keep the dogs and rats away from the offering because after the few moments of silent thought are over they retrieve the chicken and either eat it right then and their if it is meal time or else take it back to the house for later consumption.
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Re: Offerings of food to Buddha Statues

Postby chethinie » Wed Jan 22, 2014 12:45 pm

Thank you very much for all your contributions. It is my opinion too that these are more culture based rituals. But I'm very interested in getting into the roots of it to find out how it came to be. Almost all the monks I know (Sri Lankan) they encourage everybody to offer the food to the Buddha (Buddha puja) before we could serve them their meals. Why do the monks follow this ritual? and as SarathW mentioned, why wouldn't a Sotapanna do any of these rituals?
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Re: Offerings of food to Buddha Statues

Postby binocular » Wed Jan 22, 2014 1:16 pm

chethinie wrote:It is the common practise of most Buddhists to offer food and water etc to the Buddha Statues (Buddha puja) and also when in a temple, most people do venerate the Bodhi-tree. I believe these are mostly done by way of honouring the Buddha and as a gesture of Saddha. My question is, did Buddha tell us to do these two things? Could you please give me a reference to it?

The practice of physically offering food to the Buddha before eating the food seems to me to be the external manifestation of the determination that, as it is stated several times throughout the Pali Canon -

There is the case, where a monk, considering it thoughtfully, takes food — not playfully, nor for intoxication, nor for putting on bulk, nor for beautification — but simply for the survival & continuance of this body, for ending its afflictions, for the support of the holy life, [thinking,] 'Thus will I destroy old feelings [of hunger] and not create new feelings [from overeating]. I will maintain myself, be blameless, & live in comfort.'

It's a reflection on the appropriate use of the requisite of food. Basically, the idea in offering food seems to be that before eating, one should clarify or renew one's intentions in regard to eating.
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Re: Offerings of food to Buddha Statues

Postby Aloka » Wed Jan 22, 2014 3:09 pm

Sati1 wrote:I think this practice is common in Vajrayana (Tibetan) Buddhism....


Yes, but the offerings aren't meant for the actual statues (mentioned in the OP #1)

In Tibetan Buddhism,food offerings in solitary practice can be shared afterwards with wild birds & animals. In group Tsok pujas (often dedicated to individual deities) the food is usually shared by all the practitioners afterwards.

Meaning of 'Tsok' at the link.

http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Tsok


.
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Re: Offerings of food to Buddha Statues

Postby SarathW » Thu Jan 23, 2014 1:34 am

chethinie wrote:Thank you very much for all your contributions. It is my opinion too that these are more culture based rituals. But I'm very interested in getting into the roots of it to find out how it came to be. Almost all the monks I know (Sri Lankan) they encourage everybody to offer the food to the Buddha (Buddha puja) before we could serve them their meals. Why do the monks follow this ritual? and as SarathW mentioned, why wouldn't a Sotapanna do any of these rituals?


Hi Chethinie
I think Binocular gave a good reasoning.
Most of the monks know that these are rituals.
They perform them for the benefit of uninformed lay followers.
As I said earlier this rituals give the person a momentary purification of defilements.
This is another way that the uninformed directed to Dhamma path.
This is similar to a parent guiding a child. You have to teach the unknown from the known.
Please also consider the fact that people are in different stages of development and gradual training is required.
:)
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Re: Offerings of food to Buddha Statues

Postby chethinie » Thu Jan 23, 2014 10:40 am

Thank you SarathW, thank you binocular - its quite clear to me about performing the Buddha puja. Along the lines of the OP, regarding the Ananda Bodhi, I read the following on wikipedia:

“Buddhist recounts that while the Buddha was yet alive, in order that people might make their offerings in the name of the Buddha when he was away on pilgrimage, he sanctioned the planting of a seed from the Bodhi tree in Bodhgaya in front of the gateway of Jetavana Monastery near Sravasti. For this purpose Moggallana took a fruit from the tree as it dropped from its stalk, before it reached the ground. It was planted in a golden jar by Anathapindika with great pomp and ceremony. A sapling immediately sprouted forth, fifty cubits high, and in order to consecrate it the Buddha spent one night under it, rapt in meditation. This tree, because it was planted under the direction of Ananda, came to be known as the Ananda Bodhi.”

I doubt it very much that Buddha would have mentioned, that people could make their offerings to a Bodhi while he was a way. Was it really said by the Buddha? Could any of you give me a reference where it mentions that this tree immediately sprouted and was fifty cubits high etc...
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Re: Offerings of food to Buddha Statues

Postby upekha » Thu Jan 23, 2014 11:34 am

I don’t think you do this type of rituals, if you are a Sotapanna.
Sometimes I do rituals (Bodhi Puja) as this may help someone else to relive their psychological pain.


Hi Sarath,

From what I understand, what is meant by rituals that is abandoned when one becomes a Sotapanna is the wrong belief that one can reach enlightenment by following different methods. For example, during the time of the Buddha, there were sects that used to behave like cattle or dogs in the belief that by following these these rituals they could attain enlightenment.It is this type of ritual that is given up by a Sotapanna as he knows he can't attain enlightenment by following these rituals.

A Sotapanna may make offerings to the Buddha, but say for some reason he can't make offerings on a daily basis,it wouldn't upset him, as he knows the real way to honour the Buddha is to practice the Dhamma.

I also understand that an Arahath can make offerings but doesn't have any attachment towards it. He does it as a form of respect to the Buddha. If he was residing in a Monastery and lay people bring alms, he would perform the Buddha puja with them, but he doesn't get any benefit from it unlike the unenlightened being, who will create Kusala Kamma.

with metta
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Re: Offerings of food to Buddha Statues

Postby vishuroshan » Sat Jan 25, 2014 8:52 am

a person becomes sotapanna when he realize ANICHCHA(impermanance) for the first time. so he will not look for merits or anything but practising for further attainments after realizing this. actually people follow these rituals to get something, benefits(not for the enlightment). a SOTAPANNA person who knows ASHTA LOKA DHAMMA will not follow these rituals. he knows that SICKNESSES/SUCESSS/LOSS/PRAIS/BLAME , all these things come under anichcha. it appears/ it passes away. he will not be worries when he loose somehting, and he will not be happy when he gains somehthing. rituals are coming under SEELABBATHA PARAMASA which sotapanna person gets rid of it when he realize anichcha (impermanance) for the first time.
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Re: Offerings of food to Buddha Statues

Postby chethinie » Mon Jan 27, 2014 11:11 am

Thank you Vishuroshan!
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Re: Offerings of food to Buddha Statues

Postby clw_uk » Mon Jan 27, 2014 11:17 am

chethinie wrote:HI,
It is the common practise of most Buddhists to offer food and water etc to the Buddha Statues (Buddha puja) and also when in a temple, most people do venerate the Bodhi-tree. I believe these are mostly done by way of honouring the Buddha and as a gesture of Saddha. My question is, did Buddha tell us to do these two things? Could you please give me a reference to it?

Chethinie



I've never come across it in the Suttas

However offerings can be used skilfully, for example I put flowers on my altar (which I guess you could say was an offering) and then reflect on anicca as they wilt and die.


IMO the act itself (putting flowers on the altar) wont "save" you, but the reflection will
“Happy is the man who has broken the chains which hurt the mind, and has given up worrying once and for all.” Ovid
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Re: Offerings of food to Buddha Statues

Postby Jeffrey » Mon Jan 27, 2014 11:41 am

chethinie wrote:Could any of you give me a reference where it mentions that this tree ...


The Kalinga Bodhi Jātaka:

http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/j4/j4043.htm
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Re: Offerings of food to Buddha Statues

Postby SarathW » Thu Feb 20, 2014 1:52 am

vishuroshan wrote:a person becomes sotapanna when he realize ANICHCHA(impermanance) for the first time. so he will not look for merits or anything but practising for further attainments after realizing this. actually people follow these rituals to get something, benefits(not for the enlightment). a SOTAPANNA person who knows ASHTA LOKA DHAMMA will not follow these rituals. he knows that SICKNESSES/SUCESSS/LOSS/PRAIS/BLAME , all these things come under anichcha. it appears/ it passes away. he will not be worries when he loose somehting, and he will not be happy when he gains somehthing. rituals are coming under SEELABBATHA PARAMASA which sotapanna person gets rid of it when he realize anichcha (impermanance) for the first time.


The third one is Sīlabbata-parāmāsa-kāyagantha, the
bodily knot of adherence to rites and ceremonies. ‘Sīla’ is one
word and ‘Bata’ — it comes from ‘Vata’, another word. When
these words are compounded, the word becomes Sīlabbata.
‘Sīla’ means habit. ‘Vata’ means practice. ‘Parāmāsa’ means
understanding wrongly. So the wrong understanding of Sīla
and Vata is called Sīlabbata-parāmāsa-kāyagantha. That
means the wrong understanding that Sīla and Vata can lead us
to the purification of mind and lead us to end all suffering.
Here we must understand Sīla and Vata because the English
translation of adherence to rites and ceremonies is not so
satisfactory. It is explained in the Commentaries that ‘Sīla’
here means the habit of cattle, the habit of dogs and so on.
‘Vata’ means the same thing. What it really means here is if
you believe that if you behave in the way cows behave, if you
live like cows live, if you eat like cows and so on, then you will
get freedom from mental defilements, you will get out of
Sa sāra. If you believe like that, it ṃ is Sīlabbata-parāmāsa. The
same is true if you behave like a dog, eat like a dog, sleep like
a dog, and so on. If you believe that these practices will lead
you to purification of mind and so on, then you have this
Sīlabbata-parāmāsa. We must understand in the way I have
explained here following the explanation given in the
Commentary. That is because if we just say rites and
ceremonies, we will have many questions. Bowing down to the
Buddha, chanting, sharing merit, and so on are some sort of
rites and ceremonies. Here Sīla and Vata do not mean these.
‘Sīla’ here means the habit of cattle, dogs, animals and others.

If we extend this to include some other things, we may
say beliefs that Dāna alone will lead you to enlightenment, or
Sīla alone will lead you to enlightenment, are also Sīlabbataparāmāsa.
Dāna alone cannot lead you directly to
enlightenment. Sīla alone cannot lead you directly to
enlightenment. You have to practise Bhāvanā; you have to
practise Vipassanā to reach those states. If you believe just by
chanting, or just by giving, or just by making donation, just by
listening to the Dhamma, and so on, you can get
enlightenment, then you have this Sīlabbata-parāmāsa,
although you do not believe in the practice of cows and dogs,
and so on. This is a wrong view. And so it is actually Diṭṭhi.

pAGE 8
http://buddhispano.net/sites/default/fi ... es-III.pdf
:reading:
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Re: Offerings of food to Buddha Statues

Postby alan » Thu Feb 20, 2014 4:11 am

It's a stupid practice that creates nothing other than flies and bees hovering around statues.
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