Steps for making Water Bowl Offering
During the eleventh century, the great Indian master Atisha introduced the water bowl offering to Tibet. Thereafter this tradition spread widely in the Buddhist families.
The most important thing while offering anything is the motivation of the doer. Your motivation shouldn’t be selfish. Instead you should do it joyfully regarding all beings.
A person should have seven bowls to do this offering. It is considered that these seven bowls signify the ‘seven limbed practice’, for purifying negative tendencies and accumulating merit.
Begin your offering early in the morning by freshening up yourself. It is necessary to offer to the Buddha’s before offering to yourself. As you are making offering for the Buddha’s hence it is good if you wear a mask to cover your mouth and nose in that way our defiled breath won’t make the offering impure.
Then fill the first bowl with water and use water to fill the rest of the bowls by placing them to form a straight line from your left hand side to the right.
You should be careful regarding the gaps between these bowls. If the gap is too big then it causes you to stay far away from your root guru, whereas if you let the bowls touch each other then it weakens your wisdom. So, the exact distance between every two bowls should be similar with one grain of barley.
While pouring the water, the shape of the pouring water should be thin in the beginning and then thick in between and slow in the end. At the same time you shouldn’t make too much noise while pouring the water in the bowl. It is considered disrespectful. The water bowls should not overflow.
In evening around 4pm one can start emptying the bowls from the right side and finish with the left. In the end you should dedicate this merit of yours for all sentient beings. Again the next day you should fill the jug with new clean water and start the offering with your pure motivation.
~ Tenzin Choezom from Nepal