Author Topic: Offering of silk khatas  (Read 27457 times)

KhedrubGyatso

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Offering of silk khatas
« on: December 20, 2011, 09:21:37 AM »
I believe most of us know where silk comes from - silkworms.During the process of making silk , the silk cocoons have to be boiled and the worms within it is inevitably killed.I don't think other schools of Buddhism make silk offerings.

I have not found a satisfactory answer to this practice especially when i am convinced about the qrguments against meat eating and is now committed to being a vegetarian for life. If I were to apply those same arguments ,it will be difficult not to be biased against such offering . This kind of offering is  synonymous with Vajrayana tradition.Then again I have come to have so much faith and respect for Vajrayana practices to the extent that I believe there must be a valid explanation . Can someone  enlighten me?

Ngawang Drakpa

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Re: Offering of silk khatas
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2011, 07:56:34 PM »
No Tibetan custom is as well known as the offering of a khata or white scarf in greeting. The khata is an auspicious symbol. It lends a positive note to the start of any enterprise or relationship and indicates the good intentions of the person offering it or showing the respect.

These khatas are offered in appreciation of the individual's participation in a special event. Khatas are offered to religious images, such as statues of the Buddha, and to lamas and government officials prior to requesting their help in the form of prayers or other services. The offering of the khata indicates that the request is not marred by corrupt thoughts or ulterior motives.

pgdharma

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Re: Offering of silk khatas
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2011, 03:27:10 PM »
Khatas have been used in the Tibetan culture for a very long time. It represents sincerity of one's offerings. It may seem like a simple gesture when offering khata. However, offering khata to a monk or a highly revered person symbolizes respect and gratitude which in turn the monk or highly revered person will give back to the giver as a sign of blessings. It is also used in temples, holy sites or statues and during special occasions. Most khatas are made from silk as in my opinion it is considered as high quality and it is always good to make offerings of the highest quality. If one feels uncomfortable to use khatas made from silk, there are also khatas made from cotton or other materials.

WoselTenzin

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Re: Offering of silk khatas
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2011, 04:45:27 PM »
I believe most of us know where silk comes from - silkworms.During the process of making silk , the silk cocoons have to be boiled and the worms within it is inevitably killed.I don't think other schools of Buddhism make silk offerings.

I have not found a satisfactory answer to this practice especially when i am convinced about the qrguments against meat eating and is now committed to being a vegetarian for life. If I were to apply those same arguments ,it will be difficult not to be biased against such offering . This kind of offering is  synonymous with Vajrayana tradition.Then again I have come to have so much faith and respect for Vajrayana practices to the extent that I believe there must be a valid explanation . Can someone  enlighten me?

This is indeed an interesting question.  Why do some Vajrayana Buddhist offer silk khatas?  Really, I don't have the answers. Seems baffling since being Buddhist is on the basis of refuge vows, the first being no killing.

If we apply the normal reasoning of a Buddhist to not use or offer anything that causes sufferings to other beings as they are considered inappropriate offerings, then logically if the production process of silk involves killing and causes suffering to others beings (in this case silk worms), then silk khatas should not be used.  Personally, as a Buddhist, I would take this stand if I were to offer a khata.  There are khatas made of other materials available  :) that can be used as an alternative.
 

lightning

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Re: Offering of silk khatas
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2011, 02:27:40 AM »
I believe most of us know where silk comes from - silkworms.During the process of making silk , the silk cocoons have to be boiled and the worms within it is inevitably killed.I don't think other schools of Buddhism make silk offerings.

I have not found a satisfactory answer to this practice especially when i am convinced about the qrguments against meat eating and is now committed to being a vegetarian for life. If I were to apply those same arguments ,it will be difficult not to be biased against such offering . This kind of offering is  synonymous with Vajrayana tradition.Then again I have come to have so much faith and respect for Vajrayana practices to the extent that I believe there must be a valid explanation . Can someone  enlighten me?

This is indeed an interesting question.  Why do some Vajrayana Buddhist offer silk khatas?  Really, I don't have the answers. Seems baffling since being Buddhist is on the basis of refuge vows, the first being no killing.

If we apply the normal reasoning of a Buddhist to not use or offer anything that causes sufferings to other beings as they are considered inappropriate offerings, then logically if the production process of silk involves killing and causes suffering to others beings (in this case silk worms), then silk khatas should not be used.  Personally, as a Buddhist, I would take this stand if I were to offer a khata.  There are khatas made of other materials available  :) that can be used as an alternative.
 
The difference is that you are offering khata and you do not involve in direct killing the worms. Similar to consuming meat without killing animals, neither do you order the animal to be killed for your consumtion on the spot.

KhedrubGyatso

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Re: Offering of silk khatas
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2011, 03:14:11 AM »
Dear Lightning, I hope we don't get caught up with the same debate on vege and meat eating which you can read in this forum. Not withstanding  all the reasoning /arguments/ pros and cons in that thread, we will have to agree that going vege or  is a praiseworthy decision and have no conflict whatsoever  with Buddhist values of love and compassion for all.
Also ,it is not about the beautiful meaning related to the ritual offering of khatas  as mentioned by some here. There is no issue there .

When dealing with vege-meat eating etc  and the topic here  we narrowly think  it is  about transgressing the precept of not killing. It is a moral issue same as the use of furs or leather for fashion. The  reasons given  that the animal was already killed  and one did not take part in it directly bodily or verbally is too dogmatic and not taking responsbility. I think there is more than that.  It is about being aware that we are using/promoting an object which arise at the expense of the lives of  others . It would be reasonable to use these objects if there were no other alternatives or if the particular situation makes it necessary. Eg, Eskimos wearing fur, Tibetans eating meat in land difficult to plant anything or you have a medical condition that cannot digest fibre and hence cannot be vegetarian etc.

The difficulty I am having is how to reconcile  the use of khatas or any object which  causes suffering or loss of lives of animals   with our  Mahayana Buddhist prayers to liberate all sentient beings from suffering and its causes.

lightning

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Re: Offering of silk khatas
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2011, 05:30:50 AM »
Nope I am just sharing my thoughts and I am sharing a healthly debate here :)
To reconcile  the use of khatas or any object which  causes suffering or loss of lives of animals is more personal feelings.

as mentioned in Buddha Sutra, Buddha had advice the meat comsumption under 5 conditions: you do not see, hear, ordered the killing of the animals or the animal were killed for your etc. Meat consumption under that conditions were allowed in Buddha's time. But Buddha had encouraged vegeterian taking for those who has lack of compassion.

It is until the Buddhism spread to China, vegeterian was widely spread and those Chinese masters had misunderstood Buddha's intention by reading and "wildly" guessed His intention that eating animal's meat is equal to taking parents' meat in certain Sutra etc. Thus without lineage oral instructions authetication, they, the Chinese Buddhist masters misunderstood Buddha's intentions. We got to understand that there is a difference between you eat the animal and you kill the animal. They are not the same thing or the same process.

Since offering of Khata is offering what you think is the best for the Buddha and your Gurus and there is no direct killing involve, hence it is considered acceptable.

Although, Atisha was a vegeterian, He still has to pertake some beef during the Guru Yoga on the 10th and 25th of the month to observe the bliss and emptiness tantric commitment.

lightning

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Re: Offering of silk khatas
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2011, 05:39:38 AM »
During a real debate session the other party would asked, if Lord Aitsha pertake beef during Guru Yoga session. Does He caused the causes suffering or loss of lives of animals? "CLAP!!!"

Please think???

Tammy

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Re: Offering of silk khatas
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2011, 01:16:02 PM »
I am not in a debate mood  ;D but below are some thoughts I would like to share:

1. Since silk worms suffered and sacrefied in the making of silk khata which then be used as offerings to higher beings - can we view it as a chance for these little beings to collect merits?

2. I don't agree with the argument - 'we don't engage in killing if we take meats from animals which we didn't ordered to kill specifically' - eating meats = killing, whether directly or indirectly, killing is killing

3. We can choose to offer cotton khata, don't use the silk version

Anybody else like to contribute ?
Down with the BAN!!!

Galen

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Re: Offering of silk khatas
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2011, 05:46:29 PM »
There are buddhist who are meat eaters and there are buddhist who are vegetarians. One of the Buddhist precepts is no killing. I used to think that if i do not kill the animal or order the animal to be killed, then it is ok for me to consume meat. It was until i learn that consuming meat would mean an animal have to die and indirectly the act of killing, i have stopped eating meat.

Same goes to offering of silk khata, i personally would offer khata that is not made of silk because I think it is killing.

KhedrubGyatso

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Re: Offering of silk khatas
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2011, 03:10:02 AM »
Dear Lightning,
A realized master  like Atisha taking beef is different from us taking beef. Sakyamuni Buddha scolding his disciples is different from us doing same to others. They do not collect karma unlike us with our impure minds.
Hence, for those who have seen the nature of reality and thus free from samsara and all causes of suffering, their actions are not ordinary and cannot be based on ordinary conceptions. Since their mind has attained spontaneous bodhicitta , their actions even if transgressing the precept of killing will bring benefit at the ultimate level. This level of wisdom can only come from one who has realized past, present and future lives and possess the power of clairvoyance.
To address yr question, Atisha 's action of partaking beef in a meditating session cannot be a cause of suffering at the ultimate level but a cause for freedom from suffering as his mind is free from all harmfulness.

kurava

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Re: Offering of silk khatas
« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2011, 03:30:48 AM »
I think the point raised by KG is not about killing. It is about the practice of compassion based on our awareness of sufferings endured by living beings whose lives are cut short to satisfy our consumption requirement, be it as food , clothings or any other functions.

The unique quality of Buddhism is the teaching and practice of universal compassion for all sentient beings. We are not living in a perfect world but if we have a choice we should avoid causing any form of sufferings to any living beings.

KG's question is how do we reconcile this practice of not causing harm and suffering to others with the offering of silk khatas ( the production of which involves the killing of countless silk worms) ?

Yes, I agree with Tammy, perhaps we should offer khata made of cotton.

lightning

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Re: Offering of silk khatas
« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2011, 11:26:00 AM »
My point down here is to let us not be over paranoid about using silk khata, as we do not process of killing or harming animals.

I agreed that Atisha is alike a Tiger who has the ability to jump across the river safely.
Whereas we, mudane human are alike foxes do not have ablity of jumping across the river.
He also have the ablity to salvage sentient being to higher rebirth.
But Atisha had purposly appeared in human form to lead a virturous example to educate on how to reach Enlightenment as a human.

Please kindly reminded that those tantric yogists who are not realised, still have to observe the partaking of beef too during Guru yoga session. Rest assure that there is no trangressing in precept of killing or harming sentient beings. Since eating is an action process which do not cause killing, suffering or harm to any sentient being.

Simlarly killing is not eating and eating is not killing. they are different actions. Because A is different from B and both of them are not the same. Both actions will lead to different karma and different resultant fruitation.

For Me, I would use mantra to bless the food that i consume and would consume them with Bodhicitta intention of norishing my body to gain enlightement. At the same, I hold on to the intention that may the meat of the whichever sentient beings I had consumed. May I quickly gain enlightement to salvage them with Dharma and may they become my retinue of disciples.

Other the side, I also disliked and grossed when watching videos on how the animals are being brutally skinned alived. I may refrain from using animal fur products as a slient protest against such brutality. But if I have to use animal fur product, I may visualise wearing it to adorn my tuleraly deity to gain supermudane merit and without feeling disgust.

lightning

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Re: Offering of silk khatas
« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2011, 11:48:23 AM »
Correct on this sentence:
Since eating meat that the animal has been dead alreadly, is an action process which do not cause killing, suffering or harm to any sentient being.


kris

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Re: Offering of silk khatas
« Reply #14 on: December 29, 2011, 07:53:33 PM »
My question is, if Vajrayana buddhists know that silk are produced at the expense of silk worm suffering, why are we still doing it?

So far, I have not seen any conclusion on this discussion...