Pema Rigdzin wrote:My question is re: the DC simple ganapuja: Is it DC tradition to set up separate plates for the 3 roots, guardians, guardians of the time and locality, one for oneself, and for the remainder? If separate plates, do you get up and take each the plates outside (except of course one's own) immediately following its respective section of practice or all together at the end, and do you put each in its own little pile?
Up till now, in any tsog I've done (which has usually been Shower of Blessings), I've just made up one big bowl of offerings and taken from that at the appropriate times for my and my girlfriend's portions and then for the remainder, which is probably not correct. I dunno, though, I've mostly done tsog in a big gompa and chopons did all that for us, so it's this part alone I'm unclear about. I'll be doing tsog alone these days and I don't have access to my "Ganapuja" booklet at the moment and it may be a short while till I do, so I'm asking vajra brothers and sisters here. If you can help, please respond. Pretty general stuff, but if you're iffy about discussing this publicly then feel free to PM me.
I won't speak for the DC ganapuja because I am not clear on all of the essential details about what is proper conduct although I've practiced this tsok with the DC and occasionally at home because it is so concise, when I don't have the time for more elaborate tsoks.
In regards to Shower of Blessings the good news is that this is such a profound tsok, but at the same time such a simple one. One can do as you have done with one big bowl and I don't think it will diminish the blessings. That said, in a traditional sense it is most ideal in any tsok if you have one separate bowl set aside for the Guru (even if they are not present physically), one separate bowl set aside for the Mandala (this includes the 3 roots), and a serkyem set aside for the Dharmapalas and Protectors filled with the regular offerings that you use (rice, whisky, or tea etc.) with some of the tsok offerings added to it.
At the time of the tsok lu, or after the main tsok offering verses if there is no tsok lu, --one will light incense in the tsok bowl of the Guru and offer it to them, and if they are not there than to a place at the altar where there is a picture of them (or if at a center where there is a throne designated, then at the throne). The mandala offering plate can be placed on the altar from the beginning of the tsok. Neither of these are taken outside at any point, it is good to leave them on the altar overnight or for 24hours at least before one respectfully places them in nature or a natural body of water to allow animals to participate in the blessing. Although one can leave it on the shrine for longer.. for a few days and / or in the case of retreat perhaps until the end of the retreat.
Depending on the tradition, the remainder offering details may vary so I won't get into that here because especially the DC version is much different than the Dudjom version of conduct regarding the remainders.. In regards to doing it in the context of Shower of Blessings I would check with the Lama who gave you the transmission because it could be that he prefers you to do a very simple abbreviated thing while at home..Either way, at the time you take the remainder offering outside you should never scatter it, always pile it up in a heap all together, and when emptying the plate of food do it so the plate is emptied facing you, which is temdrel for the blessings coming to you.