Through listening to Buddhism, we learn about the meaning of Buddhist practices that deepen our bond with Buddha. This month, we will learn about "rice for Buddha" and "offerings." The act of offering rice and sweets to Amida Buddha is a very important practice. "Rice for Buddha" is the rice served to Amida Buddha where Amida's Name is displayed in the Buddhist altar. We also place offerings of sweets and fruits at the altar.
Never skip it, even on a busy morning
To do this properly, the rice should placed in a rice holder immediately after having been cooked and then shaped to look like a lotus flower bud. Then put the rice on a tray and bring it to Amida Buddha. Hold your arms up high so you don't breathe on the rice on the way. Everyone is usually rushing in the morning, but we need to place highest priority on what is most important for us, which is Amida Buddha. It would be a sad loss for us if we don't offer rice for Buddha in the morning. Every day we keep ourselves busy, but let's think about why we work so hard. Buddhism teaches that the purpose of life is to solve the crucial matter of the afterlife and attain absolute happiness now, in life. For us to attain absolute happiness, Master Shinran teaches that we must listen to Amida Buddha's Vow. Chanting and serving both rice for Buddha and other offerings are incredibly important deeds if we are to encounter salvation by Amida. Therefore, we must make sure never to skip these. We should take out the rice for Buddha after the evening's chant and share it with our family. People raised by Shinran Followers or family-owned temples sometimes say that they grew up on the rice for Buddha. They rejoice at having been able to gain ties with Buddhism by eating the rice and offerings.
For offerings, serve rice cakes, sweets and fruits. We must avoid meat and fish as offerings to Amida Buddha since they are obtained by killing living beings. Whenever we receive fruits or sweets for children, we should place them in front of Amida Buddha first. It is important to be mindful of Amida Buddha in our daily lives and pursue these important opportunities to deepen our ties with Amida Buddha.
Kuyou=Serving sweets, fruits, lights and flowers to Amida Buddha.
Summary Serve rice to Amida Buddha every morning and avoid meat and fish as the offerings.