Author Topic: Food offering prayers  (Read 24410 times)

negra orquida

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Food offering prayers
« on: April 05, 2012, 12:39:45 AM »
Before I learned more about Dharma and its practices, I used to think that saying prayers before taking food was a Christian and Muslim practice.  The two common Christian food prayers are:

Bless, O Lord, this food to our use and us to thy service, and keep us ever mindful of the needs of others. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

For this and all we are about to receive, make us truly grateful, Lord. Through Christ we pray. Amen.


Then I learned that in Buddhism, there is the practice of offering the first mouthful of water or food to the Buddhas before partaking in a meal.  Here is one example of a food offering prayer (from http://dorjeshugden.com/wp/?p=12636):

OM AH HUM x3 (purify food)
Within the Snowy Land is the chariot leader Tsongkhapa
One who has power & great attainments Gyaltsabje
Master & holder of Sutra and Tantra Kedrup-Je
To the Exalted Enlightened Three Father and Sons, I offer this.


All the obstacles from within and without
Completely you dispel and make things clear & fulfil activities,
To the 5 families of Dorje Shugden,
Your great entourage & assistants I offer this.


The practice of saying prayers before meals is a good way to practice gratitude and remembering the kindness of others, this is obvious in the wordings of Christian prayers.  Offering up food to the Buddha is a way to practice non-attachment to food, or controlling our habit to attack the food as soon as we see it on the table (like how animals would react when seeing edible stuff).

What other benefits are there to say a food offering prayer before eating?

Tammy

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Re: Food offering prayers
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2012, 08:39:38 AM »
Great sharing !! and I think all DS practitioners should recite this before every meal.

Another view for this is:

As a Buddhist, we live our lives for others, we want to attain Buddha hood for the sake of helping others.. hence we eat the food to sustain our physical body, so that we can carry out our practice in this life time.
We offer the food to DS so he could help us in our spiritual practice.

 
Down with the BAN!!!

RedLantern

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Re: Food offering prayers
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2012, 09:56:30 AM »
Offering food is one of the `oldest and most common rituals of Buddhism.Offering food is a meritorious act that also reminds us not to be greedy or selfish.Ceremonial food offerings also are a common practice in Buddhism.
                Om AH hUM X3
Gangchen Shingtay Soljey Tsongkapa
Ngodrop Rikpay Wangchuk Gyalsabje
Do ngak Depey Dakpo Kedrup Je
Gyalwa Yabsay Sumla Choparbul
All the obstacles from within and without
Completely you dispel and make things clear and fruitful activities.
To the 5 families of Dorje Shugden your great entourage and assiatants.
I offer this.
This verses are offered to L Tsongkapa ,sons and Dorje Shudgen.
May whatever I take be of benefit to my body to benefit others
These are the verses I recite before meals.

rossoneri

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Re: Food offering prayers
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2012, 01:32:47 PM »
Food offering is meritorious and serve as a reminder for us not to be greedy and detached us from it. Not only it'll benefit us spiritually but also for us to have the sense of greatness.

May be we should have the following below in mind before every meal:

• To dedicate and visualized the food we are about to have and offer it up to our yidam first - with this thought of mind we are training ourselves to develop the quality of selflessness to think of others first.

• So that we do not gulping our food away like and animal but we should contemplate and think of how fortunate we are.

• We should also think that with these food it gives us energy and nutrition in order for us to do more good things and contribute to the Dharma.

• As for the children, should always think how lucky and grateful to have parents providing food for us. Children should always be respectful to their parents and the Dharma. So we should start young.

Tenzin K

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Re: Food offering prayers
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2012, 03:34:30 PM »
I have also read that before we eat and drink we can say a powerful prayer to make our food medicine.  By doing this, we can accumulate merit – to bring us good health and make us rich (inside and outside).  Also, if we encounter contaminated or unclean food and we bless it before eating it, this can transform the food, so that we will not get a stomach ache or fall sick.

For example, there was a yogi on the Himalayan mountain meditating.  One day a woman offered him some food with good gesture and respect in action but her intension at heart was not good.  The yogi knew this so before he ate the food, he chanted the mantra “Om Ah Hum” three times and the power of the mantra transformed the food.  The Yogi showed the lady the power of the mantra by regurgitating some of the food (with poison in it) and spitting it onto a rock cave.  The rock split and turned into powder.

There is another case about a lama who was offered poison yogurt by a lady.  The master who had not eaten for 11 years declined the yogurt but the lady would not return to her village unless he ate the yogurt.  So he ate it but chanted the mantra “Om Ah Hum” three times before doing so.  He then brought his 8 disciples and the lady to a rock and purposely vomited.  As soon as the vomit touched the rock, the rock started boiling and cracked.

Midakpa

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Re: Food offering prayers
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2012, 02:35:52 AM »
Practitioners of all religions have standard prayers which they recite before they take their meals. Some even have prayers after they eat, to thank God for the sustenance they have received. This is a practice in gratitude to a divine being in whom they trust for their well-being.

In Buddhism, prayers are recited also before meals and there are many such prayers. Prayers not only bless the food one eats but also reduces our attachment to the food because the first portion is offered up to the Buddha. This reduces our self-cherishing. All these prayers are very beautiful and are geared towards reducing our greed and attachment to taste.


vajraD

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Re: Food offering prayers
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2012, 04:33:54 PM »
Thank you “negra orquida”” and “RedLantern” for sharing the prayers with me. I have done Tsongkhapa food offering in my pass but have never done Dorje Shugden. But now that is shared I’m able to do it.

I have also heard that there is also offering prayers for things like house, clothes, or our other belongings before we used. Anyone know the mantra particularly?
It is good to do offering so that we create causes not to have attachment.

DS Star

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Re: Food offering prayers
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2012, 07:33:00 PM »
Gokan-no-ge - the ZEN way of offering food to 3 Jewels.

Very beautiful as this prayer consist of Dharma teaching. Gokan-no-ge means "Five Reflections" or "Five Remembrances"

1st 'Gratitude' - reflecting on others' kindness to bring the food to us;

2nd 'Self-checking' - reflecting on our practice i.e. whether we make good use of our body after eating the food;

3rd 'Mindfulness' - reflecting of our pratice to cut the 3 Poisons especially GREED;

4th 'Reminder' - reflecting on the purpose of eating i.e. "Eat to live" instead of "Live to eat";

5th 'Accept' - reflecting on the Bodhisattva Vows i.e. the goal is to bring all sentient beings to Enlightenment.


After the 5th Reflection, normally these 4 lines are added:

The first morsel is to cut all delusions.
The second morsel is to maintain our clear mind.
The third morsel is to save all sentient beings.
May we awaken together with all beings.

I think in the beginning, to practice these reflections one could take quite a while before one can touch the food... very good way of practicing patience I guess... hehe...

Nevertheless, it is an excellent practice on compassion and non-attachment.

Manjushri

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Re: Food offering prayers
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2012, 06:14:42 AM »
An act that is not limited to a single culture or belief, but is across the board in most religions. My thinking is that offering your meal before consumption is akin to the sensory offering of food set up on the altar. People always consume the tsok after pujas, to receive blessings as it was offered to the Buddhas. So in this case, a quick food offering before meal consumption generates the same blessings and energies from the Buddhas that will be transmitted onwards to you during your meal.

Anyways, I read that there are 5 contemplations to have before your meal:

1. How much positive potential one has accumulated in order to receive this food given by others.
2. One's practice, constantly trying to improve it.
3. One's mind, cautiously guarding it from wrongdoing, greed, and other defilements.
4. The food, treating it as wondrous medicine to nourish one's body.
5. The aim of Buddhahood, accepting and consuming this food in order to accomplish it.
source: http://www.thubtenchodron.org/PrayersAndPractices/offering_food.html

Offering food and contemplating your fortune to be able to consume such luxuries will make you realise that you might not have the same opporunity for a meal tomorrow.

ratanasutra

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Re: Food offering prayers
« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2012, 04:49:29 PM »
Thank you for sharing the benefits of food offering prayer. I think it also help us in mindfulness as we are aware of our meal, not just simply eat and enjoy food without thinking that we are going to have our meals. As in the beginning I also forgot to say prayer before meal and I only realised it when the first one went into my mouth.   

There is also food offering prayer in Theravada. After the prayer, this is what we should contemplate before the meal.

This food is means to keep up my body to be healthy, no sickness so that I can live to practice Dharma further. It’s not to feed or increase my delusion mind. May the kind donors always have long life, healthy and safety.

Big Uncle

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Re: Food offering prayers
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2012, 05:48:12 PM »
I think there's one more very important aspect of food offering that was not discussed here and that it fulfills one of our basic refuge commitments to the 3 Jewels. The aforementioned refuge commitment is 'In remberance of their kindness, offering the first part of any food or drink to the refuge object.' So, the offering of food and drink is a good practice of awareness towards the kindness and good qualities of the refuge object and in this case, it is a representative of our Lama and Yidam, Lama Tsongkhapa and our blessed protector, Dorje Shugden.

We have received so much benefits from our Lama, yidam and Dorje Shugden that we rarely even think of returning their kindness. It is very bad form as practitioners to be always taking blessings, gifts, protection, teachings and so forth from our Lama, yidam and Dorje Shugden. Hence, when we offer, we think about the blessings and kindness, so we develop a mind that always remember the kindness of those who have helped and assisted us. I believe that will create a mind that is generous, caring and also always to have the karma to truly receive future blessings and benefit from the three jewels.

Klein

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Re: Food offering prayers
« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2012, 08:37:09 AM »
There are 3 ways of making food offerings:

1. Hinayana: Food should be offered without the 3 poisons of the mind, ignorance, attachment and anger. With the motivation of liberating yourself from Samsara, you offer the food to the 3 Jewels, then you eat the food.

2.  Mahayana Sutra: Dedicate every spoonful of food and mouthful of drinks to all sentient beings including living beings inside of our body. The motivation is of bodhicitta.

3. Mahayana Tantra: Seeing yourself, guru and deity as one, all food and drinks taken are viewed as tsog offerings. This is a powerful way of purifying your negative karma, broken samaya, and collecting a huge amount of merits.


bambi

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Re: Food offering prayers
« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2012, 09:32:52 AM »
I always say the food offering prayers before I eat. Some of the benefits are :

- generating tremendous merits creating the cause for Enlightenment
- liberated from samsara and good rebirths
- causes to remove the 3 root poisons
- generate compassion
- generating infinite bliss
- generating good karma
- creating the causes of happiness from giving

Do add more if you have.

biggyboy

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Re: Food offering prayers
« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2012, 06:33:57 PM »
Offering food and offering prayers before food are ways to express gratitude for what we have.

I believe in many Chinese families (for example) food is offered to ancestors during special occasions as an expression of gratitude and filial piety.

We offer prayers before food to express gratitude to all the people along the food chain to put the food on our table for us to eat.

Take for example rice. Have we ever wondered the processes involved in making rice into its edible form now sitting on our table.

The time when the farmers would plough the land, planting rice, harvesting the grain, milling, packaging, transportation to the supermarkets, cooking and finally delicious boiled rice for us to enjoy. Think of the number of people that are involved. Offering prayers before food is sort of a constant reminder to express gratitude to all these people involved.

buddhalovely

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Re: Food offering prayers
« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2012, 07:29:13 AM »
Do you remember the time when you were a child and your mom would ask you to say a prayer before eating your meals. Reluctantly, you would say the prayer, wondering why do you need to do this, when you just want to eat your food.

Now if you ponder for a moment and think of the difference a prayer would make on your thoughts, food and overall well-being, you will be amazed.

Every religion talks about saying a prayer before eating, Christians say grace before their meals, Hindus chant a prayer and sprinkle water around it, Muslims also start eating only after taking the name of God. In every religion, prayers are worded differently, but it connotes the same meaning.