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

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

Post by tobes »

Adamantine wrote: Thu Aug 20, 2020 8:36 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.

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”.
3DBADE9D-4096-4916-84A5-790260C4CA2A.jpeg
Indeed. I think the point here is to recognise conventions as conventions - and not reify them too strongly.
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Re: Is it okay to re-offer candles weve had to put out?

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

These kinds of concerns are really about something so superficial. When you have a shrine, you offer the best of whatever you can, but just offer it and don’t be attached to the outward forms, because they are illusions anyway.

A rough idea of price: 15 hour Votive candles from a restaurant supply store will run about 50¢ each, in a box of 36. If you do an hour of practice (Burning a candle) in front of a shrine each day, one candle will last you two weeks.

Of course, you can light a new one each day, but which is better, in terms if an offering to the three jewels: to burn up all your money visualizing offerings, or to use the same candle a dozen times, and send money You would have spent on candles to support a monk or nun in retreat in India?

I think, when we get too obsessed with Dharma “stuff” (I’ve worked in Buddhist retail...obsessed is the right word)
Shrines become like model railroad sets. Just like the model railroad enthusiast who spends hours and lots of money on their tiny village, adding another tree here, a little gas station over there, we sit in front of our shrines for hours at a time (which is good) and then Slowly we build these elaborate “shrinescapes” with fancier brocades, a more elaborate incense burner, bigger flower vases, lots of statues or whatever, all the time thinking “oh I’m making such wonderful offerings!” And, “if I can just make it a little more perfect, then my meditation and my ritual practice will really start to take off!” And of course, aside from offering, none of any of that stuff has anything to do with our growth and development as Buddhist practitioners.

Okay, I know this isn’t everybody. My point is, don’t let the material stuff become a distraction. Don’t mistake fussiness for mindfulness.

I use a flickering electric candle that is in the shape of a lotus. I’m too worried about forgetting and leaving the house with an unattended fire going.

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

Post by SilenceMonkey »

tobes wrote: Fri Aug 21, 2020 3:13 am
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.
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Re: Is it okay to re-offer candles weve had to put out?

Post by Adamantine »

tobes wrote: Fri Aug 21, 2020 3:13 am
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.
Or like reheating your friends cup of tea if it was left too long and got cold. Likely most friends wouldn’t demand a fresh cup... though certain types may ! :lol:
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Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha
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Re: Is it okay to re-offer candles weve had to put out?

Post by tobes »

PadmaVonSamba wrote: Fri Aug 21, 2020 3:21 am These kinds of concerns are really about something so superficial. When you have a shrine, you offer the best of whatever you can, but just offer it and don’t be attached to the outward forms, because they are illusions anyway.

A rough idea of price: 15 hour Votive candles from a restaurant supply store will run about 50¢ each, in a box of 36. If you do an hour of practice (Burning a candle) in front of a shrine each day, one candle will last you two weeks.

Of course, you can light a new one each day, but which is better, in terms if an offering to the three jewels: to burn up all your money visualizing offerings, or to use the same candle a dozen times, and send money You would have spent on candles to support a monk or nun in retreat in India?

I think, when we get too obsessed with Dharma “stuff” (I’ve worked in Buddhist retail...obsessed is the right word)
Shrines become like model railroad sets. Just like the model railroad enthusiast who spends hours and lots of money on their tiny village, adding another tree here, a little gas station over there, we sit in front of our shrines for hours at a time (which is good) and then Slowly we build these elaborate “shrinescapes” with fancier brocades, a more elaborate incense burner, bigger flower vases, lots of statues or whatever, all the time thinking “oh I’m making such wonderful offerings!” And, “if I can just make it a little more perfect, then my meditation and my ritual practice will really start to take off!” And of course, aside from offering, none of any of that stuff has anything to do with our growth and development as Buddhist practitioners.

Okay, I know this isn’t everybody. My point is, don’t let the material stuff become a distraction. Don’t mistake fussiness for mindfulness.

I use a flickering electric candle that is in the shape of a lotus. I’m too worried about forgetting and leaving the house with an unattended fire going.

...
:good:

I actually did burn down my home once, courtesy of leaving a candle burning. Luckily it was just an old van, and people put it out before it destroyed all my possessions.

But let me tell you from experience: a relit candle on the shrine is much more karmically auspicious than a burned out shrine!
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Re: Is it okay to re-offer candles weve had to put out?

Post by Mantrik »

Fortyeightvows wrote: Thu Aug 20, 2020 10:41 pm
Mantrik wrote: Thu Aug 20, 2020 10:15 pm
Fortyeightvows wrote: Thu Aug 20, 2020 7:45 pm

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-
viewtopic.php?t=25559
Ah, thanks, yes. Not familiar with that spelling - jiaobei is more familiar.
That's a good way to check. :)
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Re: Is it okay to re-offer candles weve had to put out?

Post by Fortyeightvows »

Mantrik wrote: Fri Aug 21, 2020 8:18 amAh, thanks, yes. Not familiar with that spelling - jiaobei is more familiar.
That's a good way to check. :)
I had wrote it how I say it and then looked up the thread later. But ya, thats one of the main reason we use those is to ask 'have you finished your dinner yet?' If they laugh it means they are finished and just happy, talking, laughing together, etc.
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Re: Is it okay to re-offer candles weve had to put out?

Post by pemachophel »

Adamantine. Of course, you do what your Teacher tells you to do. If the Khenpo Brothers are your Teachers, then, absolutely you should follow Their teachings. For me, I have never, ever seen any of my Teachers in the U.S., Nepal, India, or Tibet put out an offering lamp. Move it somewhere safe, yes. Put it out, no.

For sure temples and monasteries have burned down from offering lamps. This is why many have detached dedicated buildings for this purpose.
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Re: Is it okay to re-offer candles weve had to put out?

Post by Adamantine »

pemachophel wrote: Fri Aug 21, 2020 4:02 pm Adamantine. Of course, you do what your Teacher tells you to do. If the Khenpo Brothers are your Teachers, then, absolutely you should follow Their teachings. For me, I have never, ever seen any of my Teachers in the U.S., Nepal, India, or Tibet put out an offering lamp. Move it somewhere safe, yes. Put it out, no.

For sure temples and monasteries have burned down from offering lamps. This is why many have detached dedicated buildings for this purpose.
Well they are teachers of mine. I have more than one teacher as do you. Sometimes our teachers’ teachings may contradict eachother on small points. Then we are free to choose according to our own reasoning, no? Generally I don’t extinguish lamps I put them in a small pot with water into the shower or sink where they’ll be relatively safe from causing a fire. Although with very large candles that maybe were gifts, it’d take days for them to burn out, so in that case I may extinguish and relight. Anyway, again, when we are taught varying things by different accomplished masters, we can apply our own reason to select the appropriate conduct for our circumstances. Another one of my teachers was ChNN, whose advice in general is to “work with your circumstances” which is a great overarching teaching to apply across the board... ;)
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Re: Is it okay to re-offer candles weve had to put out?

Post by pemachophel »

Of course, if we have to put a candle or lamp out that we have offered, then we do what we need to do. But then we can't offer it again. ABO.

Also, I think sometimes it's easy to forget that the candles and lamps on our altars are offerings and not decorations for our enjoyment. Just saying.

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

Post by Adamantine »

pemachophel wrote: Fri Aug 21, 2020 7:57 pm Of course, if we have to put a candle or lamp out that we have offered, then we do what we need to do. But then we can't offer it again. ABO.
I don’t agree with this interpretation. It’s one view. Anyone who holds that view (I.e. it’s already been offered, so it’s spent) should follow your advice. However if I hold the view that the offering has been put on pause, as opposed to spent, then hitting the unpause button (relighting) just continues the offering where it was left off. For instance, even according to Tibetan convention, when a butter lamp goes out in the lamp house on its own accord—from a gust of wind through the door or the wick got too short and needs to be pulled up—then it’s convention to relight it, not throw the butter in the garbage. Similarly, if it’s practical safety of oneself and other sentient beings that motivates one to temporarily extinguish a lamp, it should be just as acceptable to relight it to continue the offering as in the case of wind, or defective wicks... etc. These are flexible conventions and not absolute truths.
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Re: Is it okay to re-offer candles weve had to put out?

Post by Cinnabar »

I remember asking my first lama if it was OK to put out the lamps on the shrine. A puja was over.

He said: "Are you stupid or something? Do you want to burn the place down?" So I put the lamps out.

I have seen lamas since put lamps out, their choppons put lamps out. I've received instructions on how to auspiciously put the lamps out.

I've seen lamps re-lit. And for good reason. If you're dumping a big pillar of a candle after a few hours, that's going to get expensive. I've seen lamps tossed. There's no point restarting a tea-light.

I sort of go with the general principle of making any offering: Is this something I find beautiful, nice, worthy of offering? Stubby half-burnt tea light with a hole in it-- nah. A nice candle with some life in it-- sure.
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Re: Is it okay to re-offer candles weve had to put out?

Post by GrapeLover »

For those to whom it’s of interest/relevance, Lama Zopa Rinpoche directly says here that “candles that have already been lit but were extinguished before they were completely burnt can be re-lit and used again”. He also offers a mantra for purifying the act of taking food and water offerings for your own consumption. Of course, not to imply that his position is of universal authority.

https://fpmt.org/wp-content/uploads/tea ... lution.pdf
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Re: Is it okay to re-offer candles weve had to put out?

Post by Adamantine »

GrapeLover wrote: Fri Aug 21, 2020 9:26 pm For those to whom it’s of interest/relevance, Lama Zopa Rinpoche directly says here that “candles that have already been lit but were extinguished before they were completely burnt can be re-lit and used again”. He also offers a mantra for purifying the act of taking food and water offerings for your own consumption. Of course, not to imply that his position is of universal authority.

https://fpmt.org/wp-content/uploads/tea ... lution.pdf
Thanks Grape Lover. This merely supports the point that this is something relative, and different Lamas may thus have variable advice. It’s ideal to follow the advice of your own Lama. However if you have more than one Lama, and their advice differs, I believe it’s appropriate to apply your own reasoning to discern which advice to follow.
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Re: Is it okay to re-offer candles weve had to put out?

Post by Cinnabar »

Cool. I figured this was just another case of people explaining how my lamas were wrong and I was even worse off.

Adamantine wrote: Fri Aug 21, 2020 9:36 pm
GrapeLover wrote: Fri Aug 21, 2020 9:26 pm For those to whom it’s of interest/relevance, Lama Zopa Rinpoche directly says here that “candles that have already been lit but were extinguished before they were completely burnt can be re-lit and used again”. He also offers a mantra for purifying the act of taking food and water offerings for your own consumption. Of course, not to imply that his position is of universal authority.

https://fpmt.org/wp-content/uploads/tea ... lution.pdf
Thanks Grape Lover. This merely supports the point that this is something relative, and different Lamas may thus have variable advice. It’s ideal to follow the advice of your own Lama. However if you have more than one Lama, and their advice differs, I believe it’s appropriate to apply your own reasoning to discern which advice to follow.
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Re: Is it okay to re-offer candles weve had to put out?

Post by javier.espinoza.t »

due to the consumption of sinthetic candles i made an oil lamp (metal candy jar + it's metal lid + coiled copper wire + some thin cotton cord ´+ olive oil, sunflower oil etc.), and for safety reasons i have to put the lid on it so the fire is extinguished.

i really would like to keep it burning and light offering continuous but i have to move around, and do things away from my little altar :( i expect the mental infinite offering to the jewells that i do when i lit the fire is ok.
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Re: Is it okay to re-offer candles weve had to put out?

Post by Kim O'Hara »

PadmaVonSamba wrote: Fri Aug 21, 2020 3:21 am ... I think, when we get too obsessed with Dharma “stuff” (I’ve worked in Buddhist retail...obsessed is the right word)
Shrines become like model railroad sets. Just like the model railroad enthusiast who spends hours and lots of money on their tiny village, adding another tree here, a little gas station over there, we sit in front of our shrines for hours at a time (which is good) and then Slowly we build these elaborate “shrinescapes” with fancier brocades, a more elaborate incense burner, bigger flower vases, lots of statues or whatever, all the time thinking “oh I’m making such wonderful offerings!” And, “if I can just make it a little more perfect, then my meditation and my ritual practice will really start to take off!” And of course, aside from offering, none of any of that stuff has anything to do with our growth and development as Buddhist practitioners.

Okay, I know this isn’t everybody. My point is, don’t let the material stuff become a distraction. Don’t mistake fussiness for mindfulness.
...
:smile:
In other activities, this kind of person is often known as an "equipment nut". Such a person believes that buying a better guitar will magically make them a far better player, that a new lens is all they need to make their photographs stand out from the crowd, that a new lure is the key to catching that particular fish which has been eluding them, and so on. There's a classic example of the type - and its limits - in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0190332/ if you don't know it - in which the girl with the magic sword is defeated by the master with a blade of grass.

I don't think I need to spell out the moral of the story. PVS has already made it clear enough.

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

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Kim O'Hara wrote: Sat Aug 22, 2020 1:35 pm
PadmaVonSamba wrote: Fri Aug 21, 2020 3:21 am ... I think, when we get too obsessed with Dharma “stuff” (I’ve worked in Buddhist retail...obsessed is the right word)
Shrines become like model railroad sets. Just like the model railroad enthusiast who spends hours and lots of money on their tiny village, adding another tree here, a little gas station over there, we sit in front of our shrines for hours at a time (which is good) and then Slowly we build these elaborate “shrinescapes” with fancier brocades, a more elaborate incense burner, bigger flower vases, lots of statues or whatever, all the time thinking “oh I’m making such wonderful offerings!” And, “if I can just make it a little more perfect, then my meditation and my ritual practice will really start to take off!” And of course, aside from offering, none of any of that stuff has anything to do with our growth and development as Buddhist practitioners.

Okay, I know this isn’t everybody. My point is, don’t let the material stuff become a distraction. Don’t mistake fussiness for mindfulness.
...
:smile:
In other activities, this kind of person is often known as an "equipment nut". Such a person believes that buying a better guitar will magically make them a far better player, that a new lens is all they need to make their photographs stand out from the crowd, that a new lure is the key to catching that particular fish which has been eluding them, and so on. There's a classic example of the type - and its limits - in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0190332/ if you don't know it - in which the girl with the magic sword is defeated by the master with a blade of grass.

I don't think I need to spell out the moral of the story. PVS has already made it clear enough.

:namaste:
Kim
Well, very often it’s simply that there’s a lot of cool stuff to be had. There’s a huge industry in Asia devoted to “Dharma supplies” and a big trade show every year, I think in Shanghai. There are warehouses around the world stuffed with everything from incense burners to huge wooden shrine cabinets. If you’ve ever been to a Christian books & gifts shop, imagine that, except Buddhist, and the size of a department store. Those are in Taiwan and elsewhere.

And, I think it’s a very natural tendency, if one goes to a Buddhist center, to want to give one’s home meditation area the same look. And all of this is fine, as long as being obsessed with it and fussy about it doesn’t become a thing in itself, another obstacle. If one wishes to offer a fresh candle each day, then go ahead. But, I think, if one worries about it too much, or generates negative feelings, guilt, or “not good enough” because they choose not to or can’t, then that’s just more attachment to overcome, especially with something relative trivial, which will soon be consumed by fire anyway.
...
Be kindness
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Re: Is it okay to re-offer candles weve had to put out?

Post by SilenceMonkey »

Kim O'Hara wrote: Sat Aug 22, 2020 1:35 pm
PadmaVonSamba wrote: Fri Aug 21, 2020 3:21 am ... I think, when we get too obsessed with Dharma “stuff” (I’ve worked in Buddhist retail...obsessed is the right word)
Shrines become like model railroad sets. Just like the model railroad enthusiast who spends hours and lots of money on their tiny village, adding another tree here, a little gas station over there, we sit in front of our shrines for hours at a time (which is good) and then Slowly we build these elaborate “shrinescapes” with fancier brocades, a more elaborate incense burner, bigger flower vases, lots of statues or whatever, all the time thinking “oh I’m making such wonderful offerings!” And, “if I can just make it a little more perfect, then my meditation and my ritual practice will really start to take off!” And of course, aside from offering, none of any of that stuff has anything to do with our growth and development as Buddhist practitioners.

Okay, I know this isn’t everybody. My point is, don’t let the material stuff become a distraction. Don’t mistake fussiness for mindfulness.
...
:smile:
In other activities, this kind of person is often known as an "equipment nut". Such a person believes that buying a better guitar will magically make them a far better player, that a new lens is all they need to make their photographs stand out from the crowd, that a new lure is the key to catching that particular fish which has been eluding them, and so on. There's a classic example of the type - and its limits - in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0190332/ if you don't know it - in which the girl with the magic sword is defeated by the master with a blade of grass.

I don't think I need to spell out the moral of the story. PVS has already made it clear enough.

:namaste:
Kim
On the other hand... in Dharma practice of making merit, the environment and quality of offerings (in the physical realm) can be a support for developing and enhancing qualities of the heart. Not everyone is able to imagine a pile of shit as pure gold and offer it with faith. The mind is paramount, but most of us are actually limited by our physical environments.

I'm just saying this because sometimes I find having nice things to offer helps me to make more merit. It also helps me to offer nicer imagined things.
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Re: Is it okay to re-offer candles weve had to put out?

Post by gendun »

It’s an interesting thread, and one that illustrates the tightrope being walked by many modern students of the Dharma.
Including me. On the one hand I am not sure which cultural conventions to drop in case it turns out later that they were more important than I realised..On the other hand it might be just the time to prune the tree. To quietly turn from conventions and practises which have accumulated over the years and taken on a life of their own.
This requires discrimination and reflection. And one persons acquired habits might be another persons necessary skilful means.
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