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With many of our

practices, such as Tsoks and Tara practice it is important to bring an offering. At times we

wonder-what is the

meaning of offerings and how should they properly be made? Our teachers say that the subject of offerings begins and ends with purity. This purity is manifest in the inner and outer manner in which the offerings are made. Karzang Rinpoche has said that offerings are all about practice on purity and that through pure offerings one accumulates merit and pacifies negativity. Since everything we do is for the benefit of all sentient beings, offerings are a way in which we can practice generosity and create connections to the

Deities. This benefit is for

us as we make the offering, but we also pray that the benefits go to all sentient beings. Overall, the idea is to make offerings that are abundant, fresh, clean, and presented in a pure manner.

TSOK CHÖD YESHE DUD TSIR GYUR The accumulated offerings become wisdom nectar.

When Bringing an Offering

Below are some simple suggestions for how to make offerings at the temple:

1. Bring an offering that you can joyfully offer, meaning it

is not a financial strain on you, or doesn't cause you unhappiness for any reason at all. The intent is key. You do not have to bring a lot,

though if you can afford that there is merit in that. We should each bring what we can. Your offering should be something you have bought especially for the offering and not something you have had around for a while. Nor should it be something that you have used part of already. If you are unable to make a physical offering then please still come and if you are inspired and able, you can offer to sweep up or help do dishes after. But regardless please come!

2. Read the practice outline on the website to find out what is appropriate for the

practice you will attend. If you are unsure of what to bring Flowers are always appropriate.

3. If preparing to bring flowers, you can bring them in your own vase, or come about 15

minutes early so we can help you get a vase.

Foods are ideally offered on plates that have not been eaten from. This helps keep the offering pure. If you have your own nice serving dishes, trays or baskets feel free to bring your offering on those, trying to make the plate, tray or basket look as full as possible. If you do not have such items simply prepare and bring the offering and it will be plated by the Chopons. (They are the ones wearing the maroon skirts and a mask). It is not unusual for your offering to be combined with other offerings. The idea is to make one huge, beautiful offering and we should not become attached to our offering in itself. Please arrive about 15-30 minutes early if possible so that the Chopons may arrange the altar properly.

4. When bringing fruit, please remove stickers and wash the fruit. Bananas do well with

just a damp cloth. They can be arranged in any way you think is pleasing to the eye. If bringing a single piece of fruit like a melon or pineapple, just bring it and it will be placed in a good spot.

5. Food items for Tsok might include cookies, snack foods of any kind, boxed cereal,

potato chips, boxed or bottles of drinks, muffins, soups, chocolates, sliced meat, cheese, fruit or other similar favourite foods. Packages are opened and arranged onto plates or trays in pleasing ways. The idea is to make the offering look beautiful and the plate or bowl look full. As stated above, you may bring the offering from home already prepared, or if you bring it 15-30 minutes early to the practice, others will help you out

by plating it for you either on its own or with other tsok.

We make offerings as pure as possible and so we wear masks when we prepare the offerings at the Centre and in placing your offerings for you on the altars. It is also possible for you to do this when preparing your offerings at home, using a paper mask or scarf tied around your head.

Tulku Karzang Rinpoche again reminds us to make offerings with joyful and pure intentions and that the best offering is a pure mind. He says that anything offered with a pure mind accumulates great merit and creates pure karma. One should recognise that both outer and inner purity are central to making proper offerings. Thus one can

accumulate inconceivable merit. Merit and wisdom are of the utmost importance to our practice.