Water Bowl Offerings as a Group Practice

Water Bowl Offerings as a Group Practice

Date of Advice:
December 2015
Date Posted:
November 2018

A group of sixteen retreatants had completed 100,000 water bowl offerings together and offered their practice to Rinpoche. They asked if they could do other preliminary practices in the same way, doing the practices as group and counting what they had collectively done.

My most dear, most kind, most precious, wish-fulfilling ones,
I would like to thank you all and to offer you ice cream and potato pancakes from Solu Khumbu and thin pizza (not thick) and vegetarian momos—inside with nothing, just empty space, but having the most taste with bliss and voidness—or you can have spaghetti, and inside bliss and voidness.

In Tibet this happened. There was a great lama in Amdo, I’ve forgotten his name, who went to the monastery to look for the text on Gyalwa Gyatso. Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche advised of this. So this lama explained that in Tibet he put up a big tent and then many people made the water bowl offerings together. Then they offered them all together, so that means even though all the water bowls weren’t done by each person, the group counted them together. The lama used this technique in this way to finish them. Therefore, when you make an offering, you can offer even what has been offered by others. 

I think similarly you can do this for light offerings. For example, even though many people have worked making the butter lamps and so forth, when you offer them you can offer them all and count them all. Like the water offerings, you can count all of them together.

Also, it’s the same with tsog offerings—even if the tsog is made by different people, when you offer it you can offer all the tsog together. So if there are one hundred people and they make a billion tsog offerings, then each person offers the billion tsog offerings.

But for other preliminary practices it isn't the same. For example, if one person eats delicious ice cream, the other one hundred people or a billion people, or tens of thousands of people or one hundred thousand million billion people, don't get the benefit of that one person eating ice cream.

I don’t think so, otherwise in that case, for example, if a monk eats ice cream does everyone feel like they have also eaten ice cream? When the monk’s stomach is full, is everybody’s stomach also full? When the monk is hungry, is everybody also hungry? When the monk eats potato pancakes, does everybody in France feel like they have eaten potato pancakes? If you can do that, then it’s OK.

When the monk does Vajrasattva practice, has everybody in the world done Vajrasattva? When the monk's stomach is full after eating potato pancakes or eating momos, are all the people's stomachs in the whole world full? Have they received the same momos or potato pancakes? If so, then it’s OK.

Anyway, from my heart I want to thank everyone, all the sixteen people, everybody. Billions of thanks for creating the cause of enlightenment. That means the cause of enlightenment for all the numberless sentient beings. That means each water bowl is done for the numberless hell beings’ enlightenment, the numberless hungry ghosts’ enlightenment, the numberless animals’ enlightenment—every mosquito, every single ant, every maggot, every slug, every spider—for all their enlightenment. Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow! Every water bowl has been done for the human beings in the numberless universes, and for the numberless suras and numberless asuras. Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow ! Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!

I dedicated this for everyone to achieve enlightenment as quickly as possible.

With much love and prayers ...