Seven Bowls of water offerings ( Choeypey zey duen)
Through the ordinary eyes, they observe just as a bowl of water but when it is observed through the spiritual eyes, it depicts lots of significances. The reason for offering holy water to the god is that water is one of the four elements of nature.
When one make water offering, one should be mindful to align it properly in a straight line, so that one will have an honest personality. The bowls should be kept with uniform gaps, each the size of a barley grain, so the bowls are neither clashing nor distant from each other. One should not over fill or under fill the bowls. If one over fills it, then it’s an indication of excessiveness. In the other case, it will lead to impoverishment. Therefore, one should fill the cup enough to the brim, leaving a space the size of a barley grain.
The whole process of offering is a meditative spiritual practice, where one can visualise and think simple thoughts such as ‘when I offer the water, may all sentient beings be free from thirst, everyone be quenched and let no one suffer from thirst’.
Below is a list of the traditional offerings and what they represent.
- The first bowl contains clear water for Buddha to drink and to cleanse the mouth or face.
- The second bowl is water for the Buddha to wash his feet or taking bath. This offering symbolizes purification of our negative karma and obscurations.
- The third bowl of offering represents all the various types of beautiful flowers in the entire universe that can be offered, as well as medicinal flowers, fruits and grains. It symbolizes the beauty and flowering of Enlightenment and signifies the opening of one’s heart.
- The fourth bowl of offering represents Incense to make beautiful smell to the Buddha and symbolizes morality, ethics and discipline
- The fifth bowl of offering comes in the form of lamp / light just like the sun and the moon illuminates darkness. The light symbolizes the dispelling of all darkness of the mind, all ignorance. Ignorance here means being ignorant or unaware of one’s true inherent Buddha Nature. Light is offered to the eyes of all the enlightened ones who see with pristine clarity.
- The sixth bowl of offering consist of scented / perfume that one can smell or put on the body. Perfume is offered to the Buddha’s mind and symbolizes the perseverance and joyful effort that is the heart of Enlightenment.
- The seventh bowl of offering represents the sound / musical instrument. We assume that we are entertaining God with the musical instrument.