to Accumulate the Most Extensive Merit
by Lama Zopa Rinpoche
The Benefits of Making Light OfferingsIt is said in the Ten Wheel Sutra of the Essence of Earth (Kshitigarbha): "All comfort, happiness and peace in this world are received by making offerings to the Rare Sublime Ones (the Triple Gem), therefore those who like to have comfort, happiness and peace always attempt to make offerings to the Rare Sublime Ones."
In general, all the collections of goodness of samsara and nirvana are the result of having made offerings to the Triple Gem. In particular, one receives different benefits by doing service with each of the various individual offerings. Buddha, the Fourth Guide, whose holy mind is enriched with the ten powers, announced in the "Tune of Brahma" Sutra Clarifying Karma that there are ten benefits of making light offerings:
Offering light, in particular, is a special door of dependent arising to quickly complete the accumulation of merit and receive blessings. It is said in the Second Chapter of the Root Tantra of Chakrasamvara (who is the manifestation of Shakyamuni Buddha, "If you wish for sublime realization, offer hundreds of lights".
If one wishes to know in detail the results of making offerings to the holy objects or doing service to the Buddha and the holy objects, one should study the Sutra of the Compassionate-Eye Looking One (Avalokiteshvara), or the Sutra of Sang Gyal (i.e., the Sutra in which Buddha gave instruction to King Sang Gyal), or Konchog Thala. It says in the text, Immortal Drum Sound Mantra: "If one devotes to the Inconceivable One, then the result is also inconceivable". Similarly, it is said in the Sutra of the Compassionate-Eye Looking One: "Since the dharmas (i.e. qualities) of the Buddha Gone As It Is (Skt.Tathagatha) are limitless, making offering to the One Gone As It Is has limitless, infinite, inconceivable, incomparable, unimaginable and numberless benefits."
It says in the Sutra, The Small Quotation (Tib. lung ten tsek): "It is possible for the moon and stars to fall down to the earth, for the mountains and forests to rise up into the sky, and for the water in the great oceans to completely dry up, but it is not possible for the Great Sage (i.e. Buddha) to tell a lie." Keep this in your mind. Generate strong devotion and faith in the root of all happiness and goodness: actions and their results and the blessings of the Three Precious Rare Sublime Ones. Having this body and possessions, which are as though borrowed for a year, a month, or a few days, one should attend day and night, all the time, to the practice of taking the essence of this human life, which is of short duration like a lightning flash, by planting seeds as much as possible in the special Merit Field.
The actual practice: How to Make Light Offerings
Setting a good motivation before lighting the candles generate bodhicitta. Think:
Also remember to motivate for the success of particular projects, for people who have passed away or who are sick, or for other particular purposes.
Reciting OM AH HUNGAs soon as you light the candles, or turn on the electricity, bless them by reciting om ah hung three times. If you don't immediately bless them, the spirit possession called Tsu Peu Chikpa enters into the offering and then , if you offer that light, it becomes an obstacle, it causes mental damage. In this case, it causes you to fall asleep without control when doing listening, reflection and meditation practices on the holy dharma. One should understand that it is the same thing with all the rest of the offerings, if one doesn't bless them there are different spirit possessions that enter into them and then the offering damages the mind and causes obstacles.
Making Charity to the Beings of the Six RealmsThink that these offerings have been received due to the kindness of sentient beings. Think, "These are not mine."
Make charity to all the hell beings, preta beings, animals, humans, suras and asuras. We make charity of the offerings in order to oppose the thought of the light offerings belonging to us. Think that we and all other beings are together going to make offerings to the Buddha. Generate happiness at having accumulated infinite merit by thinking in this way.
Blessing the OfferingsNow bless the offering substances by reciting the mantra that allows each Buddha to receive inconceivable offerings, and by expressing the Power of the Truth:
Mantra to Increase the Offerings
arhate samyaksam buddhaya - tayata - om mendze bendze maha
bendze maha tadza bendze - maha bidya bendze maha bodhicitta bendze -
maha bodhi mendo pasam kramana bendze -
sarwa karma awarana bisho dana bendze soha (3X)
Power of the Truth
Making the OfferingsWe make offering to all the holy objects, by visualizing that they are manifestations of our own root guru who is one with all other virtuous friends. Since the virtuous friend is the most powerful object in the Merit Field, offering in this way one accumulates the most extensive merit. It is said by the Savior Nagarjuna in the text of the Five Stages:
"Abandon making other offerings, purely attempt offering to the guru. By pleasing the guru, one will achieve the sublime wisdom omniscient mind." It is said by Guru Vajradhara in the Root Tantra text Buddhaya: "One pore of the spiritual master is more sublime than all the merit accumulated by offering to all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the ten directions."
First, we offer to all the holy objects in our own room or temple by visualizing that these are manifestations of our own root guru who is one with all other virtuous friends.
Then, we make offering to all the holy objects in this country, thinking of them as manifestations of one's own virtuous friends. Then, we make offering to all the holy objects in India: principally Bodh Gaya Stupa, where the Buddha showed the holy deed of enlightenment, then all the rest of the holy objects (by thinking of them as one's own virtuous friend).
We make offering to all the holy objects in Tibet: in particular, the holy statue that Buddha himself blessed, then all the rest of the holy objects, by thinking of them as one's own virtuous friend.
Then, we offer to all the holy objects in Nepal: principally the most holy precious object, the great holy stupa at Boudhnath, then all the rest of the holy objects by thinking of them as the virtuous friend. Then, we offer to all the holy objects in all the remaining Buddhist countries by thinking of them as one's own virtuous friend.
We offer to all the Buddhas, Dharma and Sangha of the ten directions by thinking of them as one's own virtuous friend.
We offer to all the holy objects of the ten directions: statues, stupas, scriptures, etc. by thinking of them as one's own virtuous friend. There is also a special way of making light offerings according to highest secret mantra. In this way, great bliss is generated in all the holy minds.
The Actual Light Offering PrayerThen recite the actual prayer of the light offerings five, 10 or 1,000 times, etc., depending on how many times one wishes to make the light offerings:
Light Offering Prayer
Due to this merit, may whoever I promised to pray for and whoever prays to me, whose name I have received to pray for principally servants, benefactors and disciples, then all the remainder migrator beings living and dead may the rays of the light of the five wisdoms completely purify all their degenerate vows of samaya right now.
May all the sufferings of the evil gone realms be ceased right now.
(Repeat as many times as you wish to offer the lights)
By this dedication one has accumulated infinite merit, so rejoice:
Due to all the three times' merits accumulated by me, by the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and by sentient beings, which are empty from their own side, may the I, which is empty from its own side, achieve enlightenment, which is empty from its own side, and lead sentient beings, who are empty from their own side, to that Enlightenment by myself alone.
Whatever white virtues we have thus created we dedicate as causes Enabling us to uphold the holy Dharma of scriptures and insights and to fulfil without exception the prayers and deeds of all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the three times.
By the force of this merit in all our lives
Special Mantra to Increase the Merit One Hundred Thousand Times
dzog pa sang gye nam pa nang dze oe kyi gyal po la chag tsel lo (3x)
jang chub sem pa sem pa chen po kun tu zang po la chag tsel lo (3x)
om pentsa driwa awa boghi ne soha (7x)
om duru duru zaya mukhe soha (7x)
Final Dedication Prayers
May myself, family and all sentient beings in all lifetimes due to Lama Tsong Khapa being the direct guru, never be separated away, even for a second, from the pure complete path admired by the Victorious Ones.
Due to the merits of myself and others, may the victorious teachings of Losang Dragpa flourish for a long time. May all the centers and projects of the FPMT receive all the necessary conditions to preserve and spread the teachings of Lama Tsong Khapa immediately. May all obstacles be pacified, may the general organization and the individual meditation centers, all the activities to preserve and spread the Dharma, particularly Lama Tsong Khapa's teachings, cause the teachings to continue without degeneration and spread in the minds of all sentient beings. May all the necessary conditions be received immediately, without any obstacle, and the members who have sacrificed their life to benefit others throughout the organization have a long life, be healthy, may all their activities please the virtuous friend and in all their lives may they always be guided by a perfectly qualified Mahayana virtuous friend and all their wishes immediately succeed according to the Dharma.
|This Light Offering Practice was composed by Lama Zopa Rinpoche in Taiwan, February, 1994. It was edited by Ven. Sarah Tresher for use by the students of Amitabha Buddhist Center, who on Rinpoche's advice wished to make light offerings at the Center.|
Copyright (c) Wisdom Publications.
Return to Index of Teachings|