Buddists' offerings are the way to disconnect from attachment to material things and greed. All offerings are done in sevens. Seven bowls and seven meanings for the offerings.
These are the offerings with VERY brief explanations about their significance. I hope the Buddists will forgive these simple explanations.
- Drinking Water: (I saw many containers of water at the entrance to the shrines and asked why.) Offering #1 is to bring the end of suffering through thirst.
- Bathing Water: Those who offer this water gain merit and dissolve interference with meditation.
- Flowers: These are meant to awaken all who see them to beauty around them.
- Incense: This eliminates sour, unhealthy smells and invites others to a place where all smell are fragrant.
- Light: Lamps or candles bring light to the world, so all will gain knowledge and enlightenment.
- Perfume: These scents interrupt, if only for a short time) the negative patterns of things like aggression, ignorance and attachment.
- Food: This is to relieve suffering of hunger and bring into focus food in abundance, so meditation will not be interrupted.
|Here's a friend with her offering of flowers.|
F 1. All women in Burma are required to become nuns and follow the tradition of what is called the bhikkhunis. (No. But it is something many choose to do. And it's common for younger girls to sign on during vacation time. I've read that an estimated 30,000 women are wearing the pink robe these days.)
F 2. Nuns have an equal status with monks. (Not quite. They're missing what is called "bhun" (glory or power), which is supposed to be stronger in men than in women. But women in Burma wield a lot of power, especially in the matter of family finance.)
NOW what do you know about offerings?
T/F 1. People believe that giving offerings buys them a place in Nirvana.
T/F 2. Offerings are a way to pay respects to the wisdom of Buddha or the Dharma, the Truth.