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念佛四十八法 25) 供养持名 Buddha Recitation and Offerings
 
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25) 供养持名

Buddha Recitation and Offerings

In everyday life, on the occasion of a seasonal festival or the festival of a Buddha or Bodhisattva, it is customary to make offerings, according to one’s means, of incense, lights, flowers and fruits. However, these are merely material offerings – not offerings of the Dharma. Dharma offerings relate to the mind and are on a much higher plane than any material offering.

In recent times, because of the popularity of non-Buddhist beliefs, [we can witness all kinds of deluded practices, such as making offerings of non-vegetarian foods on the Buddha’s altar or conjuring up ghosts and spirits in search of health and riches]. Such practices are wasteful and deceptive.

Only Buddha Recitation can eliminate all ills and it costs nothing. Yet, few people bother to learn about it. I sincerely hope that the wise will not allow themselves to be misled.

凡遇佳节,或佛诞日,香花灯果,随时供养,是谓财供,非法供也。心之法供,胜于 一切财供,近来邪教盛行,上供之法,广罗祭品,何益修行?如清净普度皇极寿元, 无为大乘等种种邪教,请乩圆光,招魂引鬼,耗人家财,欺世妄言,而于念佛一门, 迥然各别,有识者万勿为所惑也。

Commentary

To make non-vegetarian offerings is to sacrifice the lives of other sentient beings in order to ameliorate one’s own. It is utterly selfish and inhuman. Deities and saints ca nnot be swayed by offerings like officials receiving bribes! Providence is impartial; it does not favor anyone. If we perform good deeds we accrue good karma; if we perform evil deeds we accrue ev il karma. That is all…

Moreover, if the mind is righteous and the body pure, what need is there to worry? When we recite the Buddha’s name, that name is taking center stage in our mind, which is then in unison with the M ind of the Buddhas, sharing the same pure wave- length. How can any demon or ghost dare to possess such a mind? Belief in superstitions and evil spirits not only opens us to ridicule, it can also cause a great deal of harm, by allowing others to take advantage of our beliefs and fears. I urge you to ponder the issue very carefuly.


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