20th of August, after Sunday puja
Jigme Tromge Rinpoche will lead the sangha on this day dedicated to sur offerings made for the benefit of all beings, seen and unseen, and in particular for the deceased and those in the lower realms.
WHAT IS SUR?
Special offerings are prepared, traditionally of roasted barley flour (tsampa), yogurt, butter, milk, sugar, molasses, and honey (the three whites and the three sweets), and also pure cotton fabrics. Reciting the prayers and mantra syllables in the sur text, one purifies and consecrates the offering, sprinkles a small amount of it onto a burning coal, and sounds the tingsha (small metal cymbal-like chimes) to summon beings to partake of it. Together, the aroma and the practitioner’s motivation, visualization, and dedication of merit provide an offering that both delights enlightened beings and satisfies all ordinary beings.
In particular, sur offerings nourish those in the bardo, the intermediate state after death. These beings experience hunger and thirst but can be nourished only through their sense of smell. This practice can be done for forty-nine days after someone’s death, with emphasis on dedicating the merit of this virtuous activity for the benefit of the deceased.
HOW DO I PARTICIPATE?
Everyone attending can follow two short Tibetan-English sur texts (by Jigme Lingpa and Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche), and Jigme Rinpoche will also offer brief teachings on the practice. Participants are welcome to add names of the deceased to the list of dedications read. Butterlamp or other offerings can also be made on this occasion, to increase interdependence with the blessings of the practice, whether you attend in person or not.
REGISTRATION REQUIRED — please call the treasurer on 415-663-9421.
However, this event is open to all, free of charge, and no empowerment is needed. Registration is required to allow us to plan for lunch — a simple vegetarian meal will be served, and drinks and snacks will be available through the day.
Children are most welcome — this is a practice in which they can also easily participate for brief periods, and there are dedicated play spaces inside and outside the shrine-room. At the time of registering, please let us know if you plan to bring your children.