Is it okay to re-offer candles weve had to put out?

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TMT
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Is it okay to re-offer candles weve had to put out?

Post by TMT »

I know at our dharma center when they put out the candles they would reuse the wax by heating and Im assuming adding it to other unused candles to offer later. I have to put out the tea light I offer in the morning when I leave the house for work. They accumulate and I would think re offering the light is better than throwing it in the trash. Anyone know anything tradition specific about re offering things? Any reason not to?
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Ayu
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Re: Is it okay to re-offer candles weve had to put out?

Post by Ayu »

Maybe it's differently for some people, but at my home I always light the candles again and again until they're finished. I even use the last wax of a finished tea light and save a half-finished candle with it.
Otherwise I couldn't come over my bad conscience to waste candles.

And I think, I offer the light and not always new candles.
But maybe for a temple in public it's differently.
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Re: Is it okay to re-offer candles weve had to put out?

Post by pemachophel »

No. They've already been offered (ABO). They are no longer yours. Best to allow them to burn completely out on their own. there are several ways of doing this safely such as putting on top of glass, putting in a glass or metal coaster, putting in a shallow pan of water.

This is why many, many temples and monasteries have special butter lamp "houses" outside the main buildings and away from anything flammable.

Lama Dawa Chodrak would not allow us to even light incense from a candle we had already offered since it was not ours to use.

If you can't do this safely, better to offer something else: water, flowers, fruit, cakes and cookies, incense, perfume, jewels, jewelry, money, gold, silver, etc. However, when you take them off the altar, they should be given away and not kept for one's own use or enjoyment.

Different Lamas like different offerings. While some think lamps are the best, H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche's first Sangyum thought water was the best.

Good luck & best wishes.
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Is it okay to re-offer candles weve had to put out?

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Don’t offer the candles.
Offer the light from the candles,
Because that’s always new
Regardless of how many times you light the same candle.

...
Be kindness
TMT
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Re: Is it okay to re-offer candles weve had to put out?

Post by TMT »

pemachophel wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:21 pm No. They've already been offered (ABO). They are no longer yours. Best to allow them to burn completely out on their own. there are several ways of doing this safely such as putting on top of glass, putting in a glass or metal coaster, putting in a shallow pan of water.

If you can't do this safely, better to offer something else: water, flowers, fruit, cakes and cookies, incense, perfume, jewels, jewelry, money, gold, silver, etc. However, when you take them off the altar, they should be given away and not kept for one's own use or enjoyment.

Thanks Lama Pema. As always your clarification is on point. I was concerned that it may be misusing the offerings to the 3 Jewels. It may be time to invest in the rechargeable electric tea lights. Plus you could offer way more of those every day in a safe way. Also I think I read somewhere the longer the candle burns the more auspicious for your longevity. Maybe its not good for me to be putting out candles offered to the 3 jewels anyway as its probably inauspicious and like you said no longer mine to do with as I please.
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Re: Is it okay to re-offer candles weve had to put out?

Post by Fortyeightvows »

pemachophel wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:21 pmBest to allow them to burn completely out on their own.
I agree with this. I don't like to put out candles and that why at home I don't offer them in the morning.
Lama Dawa Chodrak would not allow us to even light incense from a candle we had already offered since it was not ours to use.
Ok, so I was actually going to ask about this on this forum. Using candles to light incense- I know alot of people say don't do it, even my wife says don't do it, but at least one time, I've personally seen one of my teachers who I very respect do it. so...
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Re: Is it okay to re-offer candles weve had to put out?

Post by SonamTashi »

TMT wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 11:04 pm
pemachophel wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:21 pm No. They've already been offered (ABO). They are no longer yours. Best to allow them to burn completely out on their own. there are several ways of doing this safely such as putting on top of glass, putting in a glass or metal coaster, putting in a shallow pan of water.

If you can't do this safely, better to offer something else: water, flowers, fruit, cakes and cookies, incense, perfume, jewels, jewelry, money, gold, silver, etc. However, when you take them off the altar, they should be given away and not kept for one's own use or enjoyment.

Thanks Lama Pema. As always your clarification is on point. I was concerned that it may be misusing the offerings to the 3 Jewels. It may be time to invest in the rechargeable electric tea lights. Plus you could offer way more of those every day in a safe way. Also I think I read somewhere the longer the candle burns the more auspicious for your longevity. Maybe its not good for me to be putting out candles offered to the 3 jewels anyway as its probably inauspicious and like you said no longer mine to do with as I please.
I had had this question lately, so I'm glad you posted about it. I think your idea about the electric tea lights is a good one, so I went ahead and ordered some.
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Re: Is it okay to re-offer candles weve had to put out?

Post by Queequeg »

This is a very interesting discussion. It never occurred to me that this was a question. We've always had a candle snuffer on the altar.

Maybe its because the light is offered? Not the candle per se? I'll have to ask around about this.
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Re: Is it okay to re-offer candles weve had to put out?

Post by TMT »

SonamTashi wrote: Thu Aug 20, 2020 1:42 am
TMT wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 11:04 pm
pemachophel wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:21 pm No. They've already been offered (ABO). They are no longer yours. Best to allow them to burn completely out on their own. there are several ways of doing this safely such as putting on top of glass, putting in a glass or metal coaster, putting in a shallow pan of water.

If you can't do this safely, better to offer something else: water, flowers, fruit, cakes and cookies, incense, perfume, jewels, jewelry, money, gold, silver, etc. However, when you take them off the altar, they should be given away and not kept for one's own use or enjoyment.

Thanks Lama Pema. As always your clarification is on point. I was concerned that it may be misusing the offerings to the 3 Jewels. It may be time to invest in the rechargeable electric tea lights. Plus you could offer way more of those every day in a safe way. Also I think I read somewhere the longer the candle burns the more auspicious for your longevity. Maybe its not good for me to be putting out candles offered to the 3 jewels anyway as its probably inauspicious and like you said no longer mine to do with as I please.
I had had this question lately, so I'm glad you posted about it. I think your idea about the electric tea lights is a good one, so I went ahead and ordered some.
Im glad to hear that Sonam. I had the urge to buy some recently. I think I read something about making light offerings, probably in Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoches advice page on the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive that inspired me. So much great stuff in there. I think it was a student had asked for indications as to what would help their daughter on exams, and I think maybe Rinpoche said make lots of light offerings. I haven't got any yet but Ill have to now.
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Re: Is it okay to re-offer candles weve had to put out?

Post by tobes »

SonamTashi wrote: Thu Aug 20, 2020 1:42 am
TMT wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 11:04 pm
pemachophel wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:21 pm No. They've already been offered (ABO). They are no longer yours. Best to allow them to burn completely out on their own. there are several ways of doing this safely such as putting on top of glass, putting in a glass or metal coaster, putting in a shallow pan of water.

If you can't do this safely, better to offer something else: water, flowers, fruit, cakes and cookies, incense, perfume, jewels, jewelry, money, gold, silver, etc. However, when you take them off the altar, they should be given away and not kept for one's own use or enjoyment.

Thanks Lama Pema. As always your clarification is on point. I was concerned that it may be misusing the offerings to the 3 Jewels. It may be time to invest in the rechargeable electric tea lights. Plus you could offer way more of those every day in a safe way. Also I think I read somewhere the longer the candle burns the more auspicious for your longevity. Maybe its not good for me to be putting out candles offered to the 3 jewels anyway as its probably inauspicious and like you said no longer mine to do with as I please.
I had had this question lately, so I'm glad you posted about it. I think your idea about the electric tea lights is a good one, so I went ahead and ordered some.
But by this logic, every time you turn on the electric lights, you should do so with new bulbs etc...

i.e. as others have said, one is offering the light, not the wax, the bulb and so forth.

As far as inauspiciousness goes, I think there is a pretty long list of things to watch out for in daily life, before worrying about relighting a tea light...
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Re: Is it okay to re-offer candles weve had to put out?

Post by Ayu »

tobes wrote: Thu Aug 20, 2020 5:17 am But by this logic, every time you turn on the electric lights, you should do so with new bulbs etc...

i.e. as others have said, one is offering the light, not the wax, the bulb and so forth.

As far as inauspiciousness goes, I think there is a pretty long list of things to watch out for in daily life, before worrying about relighting a tea light...
Yes, I don't understand this logic either. I'm sorry, but if you once lit an electric tealight and then this thing is owned by the Buddha, how can you light it again, if it is not your's anymore?

But I know a temple, they let those electric tealights glow for hours and then they put new batteries into them. The tealights are fresh for the next use. I can understand this behavior for temples, because they are representing and many people see it. And it's a bit like birthday candles: nobody lights used birthday candles. In a temple, everything should be very nice, because they do their work for many people.

But I think, at my home my personal relationship to the Buddha is different: I don't think he wants me to produce mountains of toxic waste for him, because only me and him can see it. If I offer one candle, I imagine a vast sea of lights at the same time. The candle is only a symbol for this inner offering.
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Re: Is it okay to re-offer candles weve had to put out?

Post by Mantrik »

Some interesting aspects of a candle offering here.

Is it correct to assume we are only offering 'light'?
I thought there was also 'Wal' and 'Tso' - 'Flame' and essence of (liquid) 'Fire', especially with Protectors.
(See ChNN 'Garuda Practice')

Then there is the aspect of generosity, abundance etc. and the point at which we assume deities and spirits have finished taking what they wish (perhaps through their golden straws). Is it generous of us to offer a candle and then withdraw the offer, or is that the same as with other offerings, determining when they are 'spent'?
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Re: Is it okay to re-offer candles weve had to put out?

Post by tobes »

Generosity is in the mind, not the object. So, if we're considering karmic effects (which actually, if it is to be danaparamita, we've gone beyond), can we start this conversation with what kind of mentalities we're giving with, rather than what is the 'rule' for object x or y?
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Re: Is it okay to re-offer candles weve had to put out?

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tobes wrote: Thu Aug 20, 2020 10:20 am Generosity is in the mind, not the object. So, if we're considering karmic effects (which actually, if it is to be danaparamita, we've gone beyond), can we start this conversation with what kind of mentalities we're giving with, rather than what is the 'rule' for object x or y?
I don't think it's called paramita because anyone who practices is already beyond samsara. But the paramitas lead us there.

On the other hand, they don't become real "paramita" until we have realized emptiness (Prajna-paramita) and can give without limitations of giver, giving and recipient.

As for the offering, it's not mere rules... when giving a gift to a friend, you don't take the gift back and give it to them again! That would be embarrassing for everyone.
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Re: Is it okay to re-offer candles weve had to put out?

Post by Fortyeightvows »

Mantrik wrote: Thu Aug 20, 2020 10:01 amIs it generous of us to offer a candle and then withdraw the offer, or is that the same as with other offerings, determining when they are 'spent'?
I don't know about candles, but you once postded some pictures of your bwa bei. We very often use those to ask "are you done with your dinner?"
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Re: Is it okay to re-offer candles weve had to put out?

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pemachophel wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:21 pm No. They've already been offered (ABO). They are no longer yours. Best to allow them to burn completely out on their own. there are several ways of doing this safely such as putting on top of glass, putting in a glass or metal coaster, putting in a shallow pan of water.

This is why many, many temples and monasteries have special butter lamp "houses" outside the main buildings and away from anything flammable.

Lama Dawa Chodrak would not allow us to even light incense from a candle we had already offered since it was not ours to use.

If you can't do this safely, better to offer something else: water, flowers, fruit, cakes and cookies, incense, perfume, jewels, jewelry, money, gold, silver, etc. However, when you take them off the altar, they should be given away and not kept for one's own use or enjoyment.

Different Lamas like different offerings. While some think lamps are the best, H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche's first Sangyum thought water was the best.

Good luck & best wishes.
That’s interesting Lama Pema. I hadn’t heard Lama Dawa say this explicitly, however I’m aware it’s a Tibetan convention to think like this. And yet, his own teachers, the Khenpo Brothers, in their “Small Treasury of Prayers and Dedications” booklet which contains a section on setting up and opening a shrine, indicate that it’s good to extinguish the lamp/s and incense once one is finished with ones practice “for safety’s sake”. A number of temples have burned down due to this convention of never extinguishing lamps, so perhaps the Khenpo Brothers decided with the right motivation (safety) it was permissible (even preferable) to extinguish the lamp and incense. There is no indication that one needs to discard this and start with a new lamp however, and if this was essential from their POV I’d presume they’d mention it. Again, as they say “every Lama has their own dharma” and as ChNN says “work with your circumstances”.
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Re: Is it okay to re-offer candles weve had to put out?

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Fortyeightvows wrote: Thu Aug 20, 2020 7:45 pm
Mantrik wrote: Thu Aug 20, 2020 10:01 amIs it generous of us to offer a candle and then withdraw the offer, or is that the same as with other offerings, determining when they are 'spent'?
I don't know about candles, but you once postded some pictures of your bwa bei. We very often use those to ask "are you done with your dinner?"
Bwa Bei? Don't know that name.
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Re: Is it okay to re-offer candles weve had to put out?

Post by Fortyeightvows »

Mantrik wrote: Thu Aug 20, 2020 10:15 pm
Fortyeightvows wrote: Thu Aug 20, 2020 7:45 pm
Mantrik wrote: Thu Aug 20, 2020 10:01 amIs it generous of us to offer a candle and then withdraw the offer, or is that the same as with other offerings, determining when they are 'spent'?
I don't know about candles, but you once postded some pictures of your bwa bei. We very often use those to ask "are you done with your dinner?"
Bwa Bei? Don't know that name.
this thread-
https://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?t=25559
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Re: Is it okay to re-offer candles weve had to put out?

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Bwa Bwei (taiwanese dialect) are these half-moon blocks thrown on the ground at daoist temples for divination. There is a system which will tell you which stick to pull out of a bucket, which will tell your fortune.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jiaobei
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Re: Is it okay to re-offer candles weve had to put out?

Post by tobes »

SilenceMonkey wrote: Thu Aug 20, 2020 7:23 pm
tobes wrote: Thu Aug 20, 2020 10:20 am Generosity is in the mind, not the object. So, if we're considering karmic effects (which actually, if it is to be danaparamita, we've gone beyond), can we start this conversation with what kind of mentalities we're giving with, rather than what is the 'rule' for object x or y?
I don't think it's called paramita because anyone who practices is already beyond samsara. But the paramitas lead us there.

On the other hand, they don't become real "paramita" until we have realized emptiness (Prajna-paramita) and can give without limitations of giver, giving and recipient.

As for the offering, it's not mere rules... when giving a gift to a friend, you don't take the gift back and give it to them again! That would be embarrassing for everyone.
Yes, but to accomplish danaparamita, one needs to practice not thinking about (good) karmic effects from any kind of offering. This is the mindset to accomplish. It is by any measure, a state of mind.

I think the analogy for extinguishing tealights and then relighting them is more like pouring your friend another cup of tea in the same cup. I think most friends would be quite okay with this. More so if they are Buddhas.
Last edited by tobes on Fri Aug 21, 2020 3:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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