A Liturgy for Making the Daily Offerings Together with Samantabhadra’s Seven-Fold Practice:
Many followers of Great Vehicle Buddhism, for example followers of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, perform the ritual of making offerings to the shrine each day. It can be hard for those with busy lives to stay focussed on the offerings whilst making them. Moreover, those who have not had a chance to study extensively usually stumble a little, feeling that they need more substance with the offering than just filling bowls of water. One way to solve such problems is to put the practice of making the offerings into a liturgy.
There is a practice called “the seven-fold practice” that is short and easy to do but potent. It was first taught by Samantabhadra, the greatest of Shakyamuni Buddha’s bodhisatva disciples. He taught it as the opening to a prayer for developing the excellent conduct of a bodhisatva, so it is also called “the seven-fold practice of Samantabhadra”. As the name suggests, the seven-fold practice is a set of seven different practices drawn together into one practice that has long been regarded as something that a Great Vehicle practitioner should do each day, for it encapsulates seven very important practices of the Great Vehicle path.
Of the seven practices, the second is offering. It works out very well to make a liturgy out of the seven-fold practice and then to replace the offering section with the daily shrine offering. The liturgy for the seven-fold practice is very short and does not make the daily shrine offerings into a time-consuming affair, something that is important for people with busy lives. However, it does add structure to the practice of making the shrine offering, structure that makes it easier to stay focussed when making the shrine offering and which makes the practice much more meaningful and potent than simply making the offerings. Therefore, I wrote a short but complete liturgy for incorporating the daily shrine offerings into the seven-fold practice with the thought that it would be very helpful to those wanting a nice but quick way to make the daily shrine offerings.
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