Seven Sacred Water Offering – Tibetan Buddhism Practice

Seven Bowls Offering

Instead of offering Water, you can also offer fruits or substance, it’s the idea of cultivating generosity and reducing selfishness and greed that should remain. (Image Updated)











In us, Tibetans’ many daily life traditions as Buddhists, there is the wonderful tradition of offering seven bowls of water “yonchap” to the Buddha. Each morning, seven copper or brass bowls on the shrine are filled with water. The offering is made each morning, and removed at sunset. Like any other offering, the main purpose here is also to cultivate generosity and to reduce selfishness, pride and greed. One reason that we offer water is that water in Tibet has traditionally been considered plentiful and free, and therefore painless to give. The idea is that all of our offerings should be given as freely as we would give water. It is the act of offering and not the offerings themselves that focus the mind on the teachings of Buddha, and free you from worldly concerns and delusions. Though there is simplicity in giving the gift, the gesture is powerful and helps strengthen the mind. As you fill the bowls each morning, you’re reaffirming the dedication of your body and mind to the cultivation of goodness and wisdom in the world. Another way to view offering water is that the offerings are powerful reminders of the seven aspects of Buddha, which traditionally go with a meaning each bowl; i.e. cool water to drink; pure water to clean up, flowers or plants for the pleasure of eyes, incense symbolizing discipline, lamp symbolizing light in darkness, fragrance as devotion, and then fruits or sweets showing gratitude. The offering should be set one by one, pouring a little water in each bowl before you place it on the shrine, lining the bowls up from left to right as you face the shrine. The reason to start with a little water in each bowl is that it is inauspicious to have a bowl sitting empty on the shrine. The removal of the offering should be done by emptying the bowls one by one, starting from the right this time, drying each one as you empty it with a clean cloth.


May water offerings help you to cultivate generosity and to be relieved of the pain of selfishness and greed!



After Removing the Offering Set up

Set up Example of After Removing the Offering