“Offering a lake of nectar posessing the eight qualities of pure water to all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, by acceptance of this offering may I and all sentient beings accumulate merit and wisdom, purify obscurations and liberate all beings.”
This prayer is traditionally said in the morning when opening one’s shrine by setting out the eight outer offerings. In ancient India it was the custom to greet visitors by offering water for drinking, water for cleansing the hands and the feet, flowers, incense, a lamp or light, perfumed or scented water, food and music. Since this is not a custom that we follow in the modern world, I try to think of the meaning behind this ritual. For example when I have someone special visit me I make an effort to greet them, welcome them, make them comfortable, etc.
In the same way when I invite the Buddha into my life each morning I can express my appreciation and gratitude. It is said that the Buddha is there the moment we think of him. One could ask “How can Buddha be there? Isn’t Buddhanature beyond existence and non-existence? What is the point of seeing the Buddha as someone we make offering to?” True, the nature of the universe is inconceivable. We cannot truly fathom how the Buddha is, but we need a way to relate to this truth, and so we need to approximate it and make it real in a way that we can comprehend. When I say this prayer I renew my connection with Buddha who symbolizes what I believe to be true and worthy of striving towards in my life and I try to make a deep meaningful and personal connection with this truth and bring it alive in my being so it can guide and inspire my day.
For me it is like saying: “Good morning, please come into my life, bless my day and guide me to make it meaningful and constructive.”