Shrine Offerings

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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theravada_guy
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Shrine Offerings

Postby theravada_guy » Mon Jan 18, 2010 2:22 am

Greetings all,

I am going to be setting up my shrine very soon and I am going to keep it simple and with the three traditional offerings of light, incense and flowers. My question is, is it okay to use fake flowers if I can't get ahold of alive, fresh ones? I think the symbolism would still be there. Thanks for any help anyone can provide!
With metta,

Justin

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jcsuperstar
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Re: Shrine Offerings

Postby jcsuperstar » Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:04 am

i use fake
temples use both
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retrofuturist
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Re: Shrine Offerings

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:20 am

Greetings,

I don't think there is anyone to mind what you offer... the purpose of the offering is to purify your mind.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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cooran
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Re: Shrine Offerings

Postby cooran » Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:29 am

Hello theravada_guy, all,

Within the rituals of Theravada, lights, incense and flowers have very special significance.

The lighting of a candle symbolises the teaching (Dhamma) which lights up the darkness of ignorance.
The incense symbolises the good conduct which permeates the atmosphere with pleasantness.
The flowers remind us of impermanence. What is beautiful today, fades with time and eventually becomes ugly.

with metta
cooran
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theravada_guy
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Re: Shrine Offerings

Postby theravada_guy » Mon Jan 18, 2010 6:02 am

Greetings all,

I thought offering fake flowers was okay. I thought I had read that it was, but I wanted to make sure. I guess it doesn't particularly matter, since there's no one (or no thing) that's going to come down and smack me in the head for offering something fake. I didn't know even temples offer fake flowers. Thanks for all of your help everyone!
With metta,

Justin

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mikenz66
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Re: Shrine Offerings

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Jan 18, 2010 1:06 pm

jcsuperstar wrote:i use fake
temples use both

Yes, I think this is typical in the West. Our Wat has copious amounts of fake (permanent) flowers, and a small table out front where there are usually a few of vases of fresh (and impermanent) flowers. See photo.

WatFlowers.JPG
WatFlowers.JPG (58.91 KiB) Viewed 289 times


In SE Asia it's a bit easier to do have more fresh flowers...

Metta
Mike

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Re: Shrine Offerings

Postby Monkey Mind » Tue Jan 19, 2010 5:05 am

I had to stop using flowers, the cat kept eating them. I gift an orange or tangerine instead. And I can't use incense, it gives me coughing fits. (Knowing that some religions use incense to ward off evil spirits, I have a bit of a paranoid complex about my reaction to it...) :tongue:
"As I am, so are others;
as others are, so am I."
Having thus identified self and others,
harm no one nor have them harmed.

Sutta Nipāta 3.710

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Re: Shrine Offerings

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Jan 19, 2010 11:45 am

We don't use incense inside buildings at our Wat, except on very special occasions, when there might be one stick burning. Places where people would normally use incense in a devotional way in Asia are well ventilated, not inside sealed rooms!

Metta
Mike


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