placing the offering bowls

Offering Bowls

placing the bowls

The seven offering bowls are placed in a line with a candle or butterlamp placed after the third or fourth bowl. Many practices contain a verse of these eight offerings in Sanskrit: ar-gham, pad-yam, pu-pé, dhu-pé, alo-ké, ghan-dé, né-bi-dyé, shab-dha. In the Aro tradition we have two mantras for making offerings. One comes from Kyabjé Chhi’mèd Rig’dzin Rinpoche’s tradition, and one has been handed down to us from Rang-rig Togden’s gTérma.

Gétsulma Tsultrim also explained to Ngakma Nor’dzin and Ngakpa ’ö-Dzin that an empty bowl should never be placed on the shrine, so the offerings are presented in a particular way:

  1. first hold the full set of seven bowls in a stack and fill the top one;

  2. pick up the full bowl and pour nearly all of the water from this into the second bowl in the stack, and then place the first bowl (that now only contains a little water) on the shrine;

  3. continue in this way placing all the bowls on the shrine with a little water in them, remembering to add the candle or butterlamp in fourth or fifth place; the bowls should be very close together but not touching – ideally the width of a grain of rice apart;

  4. when all seven bowls are in place with a little water in them, plus the candle, fill all the bowls and light the candle.