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Mahayana practices

Burning of incense before the Potala, 1939

Mahayana material offerings might be imbued with the following symbology:

  • the lighting of a candle or an oil lamp represents the light of wisdom illuminating the darkness of ignorance.
  • the burning of incense represents the fragrant scent of morality.
  • flowers represents the aspiration to achieve the body of the Buddha with the thirty-two marks of the Buddha as well as the teaching of impermanence. Alternately, a Zen verse expresses the desire for the mind's "flowers" to "bloom in the springtime of enlightenment."
  • food, fruit, water, drinks represents the nectar of Dharma and the wish to achieve it.

In Northern Buddhism, sacred images have set before them:

  • water (representing hospitality, to wash the face and feet)
  • scarves (Tib. kha-btags, offering friendship)
  • flowers, incense, lamps, perfume and food (representing one's devoting all their senses to their spiritual practice).

Non-material offerings 

In some traditions, two different types of offerings are identified:

  • material or hospitality offerings (Pali: amisa-puja or sakkara-puja)
  • practice offerings (Pali: patipatti-puja)

In this context, material offerings are considered external offerings of "words and deeds."

Practice offerings may be manifested by practicing:

  • giving (Pali: dāna)
  • moral conduct (sīla)
  • meditation (samādhi)
  • wisdom (pañña)

In the Pali Canon, the Buddha declared practice offerings as "the best way of honoring the Buddha" and as the "supreme" offering. This is primarily an internal offering for mental development (Pali: cittabhāvanā and samādhi).


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点灯的功德及利益

为什么要点灯  众生以现世至成佛的这段时间 ,皆被五毒,瞋,痴,慢,疑所覆蓋,无法明心见性,以至轮回生死,永无出期,在临终往生之时,身体出现四 (地,水,火,风)变化,五毒将会把亡者带往三恶道。

贪心之人,则会见到许多不好情境(如刀山,饿鬼,野兽等)那么点灯的功德会让亡者远离恶业而转往净土。

瞋心重的人,会去到地狱中承受刀山,油锅之利罚,因为生前点灯的功德而不受这些刑罚之苦

愚痴之人,身体会往下沉沦,一片黑暗,此时眼前便如同手电筒照亮道路般地清楚,远离危险不会堕落。

骄慢之人,会听到野兽般的怒吼或是鬼怪耶魔之声而生起堕落,点灯的力量会保护亡者不会听到这些不善之音。

疑心之人,往生时会遭受到兵器伤害(如刀,剑,长矛等)但是却看不到这些利器在何处,这时生前点灯的功德利益会使往生者身在光明之中,避开这些兵器的种种加害。

这些五毒的伤害,往生时,因为生前点灯的功德力量,将会保佑著往者而破除种种伤害离开恶道。

点灯的利益有两种

  1. 世间的利益,可得真智慧,远离修行上的障碍,去除五毒恶业的牵引,断除轮回。
  2.  世间的福报,身体健康,相貌庄严,眼睛明亮,众人喜欢,不受人欺,心想事成,财富具足。
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点灯功德

  1. 肉眼清净。
  2. 获得天眼。
  3. 离于五毒。
  4. 得诸善法。
  5. 聪明智慧。
  6. 远离愚痴。
  7. 不堕黑暗三途。
  8. 尊贵自在。
  9. 往生诸天。
  10. 速证涅槃。
  11. 照世明灯。
  12. 随所生处,肉眼不坏。
  13. 除灭大暗。
  14. 得智慧眼。
  15. 见大福报。
  16. 流转世间,常不在。

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