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Offering to the Local Ground Deity

[originally through http://www.tbsn.org/wwc/us/PLS/ ]

This commentary reflects contemporary Tibetan Tantric 
Buddhist practice as taught by a Taiwanese monk of 
Taoist/Buddhist upbringing, especially as it relates 
to the concept of "sacred sites" or "earth energies."

It is from the Purple Lotus Journal website at

------------

Subject: Offering to the Local Ground Deity

Taught by Grand Master Sheng-Yen Lu 
Translated by Tim Tapping 

[This article was first published in the True Buddha
News, Issue No. 93 November 1-14, 1995.] 

    The purpose of this practice is to present
offerings in exchange for help in one's daily
life. Grand Master Lu says to ask the Local
Ground Deities because they are the ones who
are the closest in the spirit realm to us in our
daily lives. Make your wish to the Local Ground
Deity for harmony, good health, fortune,
prosperity of business, or progressive
achievement in your Tantric Dharma practice. 

Timing 

    Regularity in this practice is important. One
promises the deity to perform once, twice, four
times or more a month. Auspicious dates are the
1st and 15th or 2nd and 16th days of the lunar
month. The correct time is between noon and
midnight. Yin increases from noon until midnight
and, since the Local Ground Deity is ruled by
yin, these are the appropriate hours for this
practice. 

Offering Food 

    Prepare five dishes for the offering. Offer
whatever you normally eat for dinner. Meat or
fish, rice or bread, vegetables, soup, fruit, and
dessert are fine. Pour three glasses of red
wine. Face the stove with your back to the
door. 

Display 

    Arrange the offerings in four rows. The row
closest to you has two dishes. The second row
has three dishes. The third row has the three
glasses of red wine. The fourth row has incense
placed in a small water glass or other suitable
vessel, and filled with rice or the ashes of
incense. 

Direction 

    With your back to the front door, face
toward inside the house. In the kitchen, face
the stove with your back to the front door. 

Procedures 

    1. Light five sticks of incense. The lighting
of five sticks of incense establishes a path of
communication for the practitioner to make a
personal call to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas
to consecrate and join in the practice. 

    2. Recite the Earth Deity Mantra. Close
palms and recite the Purification Mantra from
the beginning of our liturgy. Seven times say
the Earth Deity Mantra ("Namo Sam-man-do
Moh-Toh-nam Om Doh-lo-doh-lo, De-weh,
So-ha"). 

    3. Stamp the ground sharply with the left
foot. 

    4. Visualize the Local Ground Deity as a
well fed, elderly gentleman, with a gold or
silver bowl in his left hand and a cane or staff
in his right. He is a beloved family member
(Santa Clause is your uncle!). He comes over to
your offering. 

    5. Multiply the offering to fill the Universe.
Bid the deity to enjoy the wine and the food
that has been prepared. 

    6. Pray. After he has finished, humbly
entreat the Local Ground Deity to listen to your
request for his assistance. Make your wish
clear and detailed. 

    7. Visualize Amitabha shining red light on
the Local Ground Deity, and dedicate to him the
merits of the seven recitations of the Rebirth
Mantra that you now perform. Conclude the
practice with "Om bu lin, Om bu lin, Om bu lin, Om
mani padme hum." 

    8. After all five sticks of incense burn out,
then you may clean the table. 

    Note: The Local Ground Deity rules the
place where the house is actually standing. The
Local Earth Deity rules an area roughly the size
of a block around the house. In this practice, if
one faces away from the front door, it is for the
Local Ground Deity. If one faces the front door,
it is for the Local Earth Deity. 
 
--------

posted by 

catherine yronwode 
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