As well as the traditional shrine offerings of incense, candles etc, can we make offerings of our experience?

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Incense is a traditional offering to a shrine

We make offerings of food during feast practice, plus candles, incense and the water filled offering bowls that represent the different offerings, but if we’re offering ‘the pleasures of the senses’ to the Buddhas, is it possible to offer everyday enjoyable experiences too?

“Fully and wholeheartedly enjoying the pleasures of the senses – vision, hearing, smelling, tasting, tactile sensations and those of thought, emotion and imagination – without attachment, can be a way of practising.

This simple mindfulness practice links into the adhistana (power, blessing) of the living Truth – Openness, Clarity and Sensitivity.  To make practice out of our experiences we should try to appreciate them fully in the space of awareness while at the same time trying to let go of any grasping.

Thinking of the experiences as an offering to Awakening or the Dharma, is to invite its adhistana. The offering is made in the state of meditation. We rest in the spaciousness of letting go of grasping at things as somehow ‘solid’.

This does not mean that there is now no offering, but rather that the offering goes beyond our usual limiting concepts of time and space. In this state we realize the true nature of the offering, those who offer and those offered to as a mandala display of Openness, Clarity and Sensitivity.  In this mandala, our bonds of love are truly existent even though ungraspable and beyond thought. Our wish is to have this realization.”

Lama Shenpen Hookham

Lama Shenpen’s students are all studying the Living the Awakened Heart Training – a structured, comprehensive, supported, distance learning programme in Buddhist meditation, reflection and insight. The training brings the profound Dzogchen and Mahamudra teachings to a Western audience in an experiential, accessible way, through spiral learning. Find out more and how to join at