Mandala Offering Practice Q&A II

【True Buddha Foundation Announcement】
TBF-D Vajrayana #0008 Notice
《Mandala Offering Practice》Q&A II

On Apr. 25, 2020, Root Lineage Guru Living Buddha Lian-sheng answered the following questions at the Seattle True Buddha Foundation office:
Q1: If one has performed more than 1,000 homas, fire offerings, is one still required to perform 100,000 mandala offerings?
A: A fire offering cannot replace a mandala offering because a mandala offering represents an offering to the Ten Dharma Realms, whereas a fire offering is a fire offering. They are not the same.
A Vajrayana fire offering is a significant offering of many precious items, substances, and materials. One fire offering is equivalent to more than 1,000 Sutrayana offering practices. A Vajrayana homa is therefore truly extraordinary and different from a Sutrayana offering. A fire offering is a fire offering. It cannot substitute for the mandala offering and vice versa. Therefore, one should perform both offerings.
With regards to performing the mandala offering 100,000 times: the mandala offering must be performed within Four-preliminaries Practice. Although the mandala offering is not a fire offering, it is still an offering practice. The mandala offering is an offering upward to the Four Holy Realms and downward to the Six Realms of sentient beings. In other words, a mandala offering is an offering to the Ten Dharma Realms. It’s a universal offering made to the ten directions. One should perform the Great Mandala Offering within Four-preliminaries Practice a total of 100,000 times. One must receive empowerment for the fire offering practice before performing a fire offering.
◎A homa is an offering to one or more specific deities. One must specify the principal deity and the purpose of the homa.

Q2: Questions concerning use of a mandala plate to make an infinite number of rice offerings within a timeframe of one hour:
Q2-1: When making a rice offering with a mandala plate, should one perform purification, invocation, and homage prior to the offering?
A: Yes

Q2-2: About the offering procedure, does one place the rice into the plate, form the offering mudra, recite the offering praise and offering mantra, point to the plate with Sword Fingers, and finally perform visualization?
A: Visualization must come first. One then forms the mudra, followed by praise recitation and mantra recitation. Vajrayana sadhanas clearly require visualization prior to mantra recitation. One never recites the mantra prior to visualization.

Q2-3: When visualizing, should one first visualize the mandala plate as the entire universe, then visualize the rice filling the universe and all of space as an offering to the Ten Dharma Realms? Or, can one visualize the rice transforming into various kinds of food, Seven Treasures and the Eight Jewels, and other offerings of one’s favorite things to the Ten Dharma Realms?
A: Yes, one may visualize in this way. One should visualize, form the mudra, then recite the praise and mantra.
Procedure:Visualize the mandala plate as the universe; visualize rice filling all of space as an offering to the Ten Dharma Realms; one may also visualize the rice filling all of space and transforming into various kinds of food, Seven Treasures and Eight Jewels, and practitioner’s favorite things. One then makes an offering to the Ten Dharma Realms. After visualization, one forms the Offering Mudra. One then recites the praise verse and the Offering Mantra.

Q2-4: After completing multiple offering sessions, should one dedicate the merit?
A: Yes. One should dedicate the merit. There is merit in making an offering, and one should dedicate the merit. One may dedicate the merit however one wishes. For example, one may dedicate the merit for rebirth in the Western Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss, success in business, a fulfilling marriage, resolution of a lawsuit, a raise in salary, harmonious relations with everyone, eradication of hindrances, or recovering from an illness.

Best Regards,
True Buddha Foundation
May 28, 2020

Translated by TBTTs
Translated by DJ Chang
Edited by Henry Wolf

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