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Yonchap, the Water offering:Everything You Need to Know


Photograph by www.gangteypalace.com

Offering water is a long-standing custom that was passed down from our ancestors. In Vajrayana Buddhism, where making offerings and prostrations to the Three Jewels (Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha) is a foundational practice, the practice is especially significant. Yonchap, another name for offering water, is associated with the notion that one must make offerings of gifts and priceless objects. Water is an excellent offering for the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and other holy recipients because it is a valuable and necessary component of life and is readily available.


In this article, we will answer some essential questions about the offering of water to God, such as the importance of offering water, the best time to offer water, the reason behind offering water in seven bowls, the significance of offering water on a daily basis, and more.


What is the Importance of Offering Water?


Offering water is a way to accumulate good merits and purify defilement's. Water is one of the four elements of nature, and offering it to the Three Jewels is a way of showing generosity and reigning in our selfishness and greed. The message is that we should offer all of our offerings the way we would offer water. The water symbolizes the seven outer offerings and is believed to be a means to accumulate virtues within one's mind and purify defilement's.


From Which Direction Should We Offer Water, and What is the Best Time to Offer Water?


The direction from which we offer water depends on whether we are following the Father Tantra or the Mother Tantra. If we are following the Father Tantra, we offer water from the right to the left direction, and if we are following the Mother Tantra, we offer water from the left direction. The best time to offer water is at 5 or 6 in the morning, usually before we eat.


What is the Reason Behind Offering Water in Seven Bowls?


Each of the seven bowls used in offering water has a unique significance. The first bowl is for the Buddha to drink and cleanse his mouth or face. The second bowl is for the Buddha to wash his feet or take a bath, symbolizing the purification of our negative karma. The third bowl represents different types of flowers and symbolizes the beauty and flowering of enlightenment, signifying the opening of one's heart. The fourth bowl represents incense to produce a sweet-smelling aroma for the Buddha, symbolizing morality, ethics, and discipline. The fifth bowl comes with a source of light, usually a lamp, to illuminate darkness. The light symbolizes the dispelling of all darkness of the mind and ignorance. The sixth bowl is scented, symbolizing perseverance and joy, which is the heart of enlightenment. The seventh bowl is food, which is for the temporary relief from suffering that beings experience through hunger and starvation.


What Does Water Symbolize, and What is the Significance of Offering Water on a Daily Basis?


Water symbolizes the seven outer offerings, and the significance of offering water on a daily basis is to accumulate good merits with heartfelt prayers for the sake of all motherly sentient beings and mainly to purify defilement's.


Why Should We Not Let the Bowls Be Empty, and Why Do We Have to Clean the Bowl Before Offering Water?


Not letting the bowls be empty is a symbol of bad omen, and we have to clean the bowl before offering water to ensure that the water is the freshest, cleanest, and purest water available.


Personal experience and message to the community


Offering water is an essential part of my daily practice. As a devout Buddhist, I believe in the importance of accumulating good merits and purifying defilement's through this practice. It has helped me to develop a sense of selflessness and generosity, which I try to apply in my everyday life.


To the community, I would like to pass on the message that offering water is not just a ritual, but a way of life. It is a practice that can help us develop positive qualities such as generosity, devotion, and selflessness. By making this offering, we are creating a positive karma that will benefit us and all sentient beings in the future.


Conclusion


The age-old tradition of offering water that has been passed down by our forebears and remains a crucial aspect of our daily routine. Through this offering, we express our reverence for the Three Jewels, accrue positive merits, and cleanse ourselves of negative karma and impurities. Despite its simplicity, this practice holds great potential in enabling us to cultivate positive virtues and draw us nearer to the path of enlightenment.


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