How to Think When Offering to Sangha

How to Think When Offering to Sangha

Date of Advice:
June 2018
Date Posted:
June 2020

Advice about the unbelievable merit of making offerings to the Sangha when we have the correct motivation and see them as pores of the guru. The advice refers to offering to monks at pujas, however, it also applies to nuns and lay people who are disciples of our guru.

Monks at Sera Je Monastery, Karnataka State, India.

After generating a motivation of bodhicitta, think: “The purpose of my life is to not only achieve nirvana for myself but to free the numberless sentient beings from the oceans of samsaric suffering and bring them to peerless happiness—the total cessation of all the obscurations and the completion of all the realizations—by myself alone. Therefore, I must achieve enlightenment. Therefore, I am going to make the offerings to these monks.”

Remember, all these monks are disciples of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, so if you have received teachings from His Holiness the Dalai Lama, because they are disciples of the same guru, for you they are the pores of the guru.

“Pores of the guru” does not only refer to the body, it refers to the disciples of the same guru. It also refers to the neighbors of the guru and, if the guru is lay, it refers to the guru’s husband, wife and children as well, and even the guru’s horse, dog and belongings. “The guru’s pores” refers to all these things.

So think: “I am making offerings to the same guru’s pores.” Then, no matter many monks there are, no matter how much money-offering you make, or offerings of tea, bread, or lunch, you will get the same merit as actually having offered to numberless buddhas, Dharma and Sangha. You collect the same merit as having made offering to them.

It’s unbelievable, unbelievable, unbelievable!

You also collect the same merit as having offered to numberless statues, stupas and scriptures. Making these offerings creates the most powerful good karma and is the quickest cause of enlightenment.

Whatever offerings you make—rice, tea, or any other offering—to the Sangha or even lay people, who have the same guru, you think like this.

These days, so many people have taken teachings from His Holiness the Dalai Lama, so many more than before; so many people now are disciples of His Holiness the Dalai Lama: Tibetans, other sects, Western Sangha, Chinese Sangha, and lay people. Think that by making offerings to them, you are offering to the pores of the guru.

Before you make the offerings, think in this way.

For example, offering even one cup of tea, or a piece of bread, or sweet rice, or even a dollar; offering this to just one disciple of the same guru you collect the same merit as having made offerings to numberless buddhas, Dharma, and Sangha, as well as numberless statues, stupas and scriptures.

Making offerings at the large monasteries where there are many Sangha—1,000 monks, 2500 or 3000 monks—you collect the most amazing, powerful merit; you create incredible, powerful good karma to achieve enlightenment quickly. Even offering one cup of tea, one piece of bread, one rupee, one dollar. It is incredible!

Often people remember to offer to the Tibetan monasteries, but maybe not so much to the Western Sangha. I think that is not logical! Sometimes more faith arises in Tibetan Sangha rather than in Western Sangha—maybe people don’t realize that their lives are the same, the vows are the same. We should have faith in any country’s Buddhist Sangha; we should have the same faith.

But not just at the monasteries; at your center also. You can do so much at your own center, right there, by thinking you are offering to the same guru’s pores. You collect unbelievable good karma. By giving even a glass of water, or offering tea or snacks at the puja, or even at a meeting—if they are your guru’s disciples, it is very powerful. You must know this. This is how you generate so much good karma. Don’t just leave it to intellectual understanding; you must practice.

By making offerings in the monasteries and nunneries, where many are living in the getsul’s thirty-six vows, you collect so much merit. And by offering to the gelongs and the full bhikshunis, then you collect ever greater merit. It’s unbelievable! Then, as well, offering with bodhicitta you create even more skies of merit!

By offering even to one Sangha, whatever you can—even one dollar, one cup of tea, one piece of bread—there is much merit. And when it is to larger monasteries where there are several thousand monks, it is unbelievable merit.

Then, as I mentioned, also thinking that they are the disciples of the same guru, the pores of the guru, such as His Holiness the Dalai Lama, then you collect the highest merit, the most extensive merit.

This is the greatest way to purify and the quickest way to achieve enlightenment.

Thinking like this helps sometimes when we hear how much a puja costs.

This is just to educate, by the way.