In his teaching which continues the 7 Branch Prayer, HH Karmapa described how to make unsurpassed offerings without having great wealth.
From my notes:
If you keep the best for yourself and offer what you don’t want to others, that is not really offering. Offering is an antidote for our stinginess, when we keep things for ourselves and are not able to give them away.
Good causes and conditions is the result of merit. It is we who have to gather the two accumulations. The person who can do that can attain enlightenment. It comes down to our own mind. The offering has to be made with faith and devotion. The environment is a beautiful natural offering to make.
The unsurpassed offering is what beings on the highest realms can make, by emanating infinite bodies from each pore and making offerings continuously. Whatever offering we make we can imagine it is offered to the buddhas of the ten directions.
We can think of one bowl as a vast ocean and offer it. Imagine it is the same offering as Manjushri is making.
Story of offerings:
There was a householder called Deva. He had no children so when he died all his household wealth was taken to King Bimbisara’s palace. He had 80,000 gold bars but didn’t have nice food, or good clothes. The Buddha said stingy people have wealth but cannot share it. Wise people who have wealth make vast offerings. This man then fell into the lower realms. We have to know how to continue to accumulate merit.
During the time of Kashyapa, the previous Buddha, this same householder had made an offering to the Buddha and regretted it. Because of his regret, he was unable to enjoy the results of his generosity. Although he had 80,000 gold bars he had a very poor life.
Be generous to the poor also. If we train our minds we will be able to give supremely generous offerings to all beings.
A documentary showed a child who had an illness of the white blood cells so that he had to have his cells changed every month. All his schoolmates made stuffed animals, sold them and gave their money to his mother to support his treatment. For those poor people, it was an amazing gift.
Meditation: Happiness Now
Think about interdependence as tens of thousands of steps leading to us. We believe we have to make our own happiness by getting something new. Happiness seems to lie in the future. But happiness is something we can feel in this moment. When I was doing a kora around Gyuto, I thought about the air. We are breathing this air our whole life. The air comes from the environment, the trees, clouds etc. There are tens of thousands of causes that make us breathe the air. It is amazing we can even breathe. It’s automatic; nothing that we have to make up.
Remember the kindness of all sentient beings, and meditate on it for 3 minutes.
The silence of the buddha’s peace is so profound that birdsong and street sounds blend without a break.
In this particular year there were many natural disasters. In Tibet the earthquake; in Ladakh the floods. Many people perished in natural disasters and were killed in war. Make a dedication thinking of all of them.
Please click on the image below to open a slideshow of day two of the Kagyu Monlam posted by the Kagyu Monlam Website team.