According to the traditional foundational practices within the Vajrayana Buddhism include providing the prostrations and offerings mainly to 3 jewels such as Sangha, Buddha and Dharma. When it comes to the Yongchap practice, it in fact involves the 7 water bowls offerings. At the same time, it is too common thing in the Vajrayana practices.
Why 7 water bowls offerings?
The important of these 7 water bowls offerings is to make the actual cause to achieve the 7 limbs or qualities or aspects of the Vajradhara state enlightenment. These offerings are some type of interference and it is a kind of tradition in the Tibetan culture. At the same time, they are especially considering to be the cure to attachment and greed. Self less and charitable actions are generally considered to be really very helpful in releasing a person from the selfish attachments.
If you are considering the Buddhas offerings, they should be typically done by everyone before eating breakfast in the morning time. This is because this offering is thought to display dedication to their deities and teachers. All of these offerings are really pleasurable and making real sense to follow. Even though the offerings are symbolic sometimes, these water bowls simply hold full of water for drinking, water for flowers, bathing, light, incense, food and perfume. The individuals who are all regularly practicing this commonly visualize the water bowls from the left side to the right side.
Basic water bowl offerings in the morning:
Once you have decided to have the water bowl offerings in the morning time, you should have to consider all of these essential steps suggested by the Tibetan culture.
- First of all, you should have to find 7 to 8 clean bowls. Most generally used is copper bowl but you can also use the bowls made up of silver, bras, glass or porcelain.
- Then, you have to fill a bowl with full of clean water. Many offering practitioners chant OM AH HUM like that while filling the water.
- It is essential to remember that you don’t place the empty bowls on the holy place. It is your greatest responsibility to clear a space and fill the bowls before putting them in a particular place.
- At the same time, you should place the water bowls from left to right direction and leave more space between the bowls. You should also continue chanting during this time even though you are using the different mantras.
- Once you have filled and placed all the bowls correctly then you can make your dedication.
At the end of the day, you have to remove the bowls from the holy place. The water bowls have to be emptied and dried under normal circumstances at the end of the day. Even though you have completed the task in the morning time, you should empty the bowls at the evening time. While emptying the water bowls, you must remove them one at a time from right to the left direction. After drying every bowl, you have to put it face down on the altar or anywhere you require. The water in these bowls can be simply disposed in the normal manner.
The prayer flags in the Tibetan traditions:
Similar to the Tibetan water bowls offering culture, the Tibetan prayer flags also have a longer history in Tibet, Nepal and also its surrounding areas. The ancient generation Nepalese had a belief that the religious texts of the Buddhist in Nepal were transmitted on to the Tibetan prayer flags. This is why they are following the prayer flags of Tibet. There are some of the visual modifications in these flags but they are continued to have the same purpose. Whenever you are considering the types of flags, they are generally divided into 2 various categories such as horizontal and vertical. The same categories apply to the Tibetan prayer flags. They include,
- Darchen – They are narrow flags and at the same time these flags are lifted vertically on the usual flag pole.
- Dar ding – This kind of flags are lifted in the horizontal direction and they also have very longest strings. These flags are most probably lifted between the pillars and trees. In the specific sequence, 5 colored flags are generally used. The first color of the flag is yellow followed by green, red, white and then blue.
If you are considering the representations of the flag colors, the yellow flag is for representing earth, white for clouds & air, blue for sky & space, red for fire and green for water.
The meaning of different works in the mantra include Mani – jewel, Om – this is a sacred syllable, hum – a spirit of enlightenment and also padme – the lotus. According to the Tibetan beliefs, there is no any particular interpretation of this mantra. At the same time, it is specifically designed to represent an array of the preferable values including patience, diligence, compassion, ethics, wisdom and more. When you have a meditation session while chanting any mantra, it helps you cure pride, jealousy, aggression, greed and also ignorance.
Other important things about Tibetan flags:
The Tibetan prayer flags should never touch the ground because they are considered to be pure at all. Thus, everyone must have to keep the Tibetan flag in a very cleaner environment. These flags are completely filled with the images of the gods and also spiritual effects or goddesses. At the same time, they also carry sacred phrases so that they have to be highly respected.
The Tibetans are usually flying their prayer flags until the colors of the flags begin to fade. They can be lifted on any day in a week but it has to be a propitious occasion. When it is the Tibetan New Year or any other special occasions, the Tibetan citizens are hoisting the flags. They are also following this culture of lifting the prayer flags even during the marriages or when someone is under the recovery treatment.