A way to Enlightenment: Sur Offering


Sur smoke offering is special type of Tibetan Buddhist offering practice made for the benefit of all beings. The Tibetan word Sur (gsur) refers to the smell of roasted flour that is offered to the spirits. This special ritual involves burning incense, three white and three sweet substances (yogurt, milk and butter; sugar, molasses and honey), cotton fabric as well as other herbs and medicines. The aroma produced is then used to offer to all beings, seen and unseen.

In order to attain enlightenment, we have to accumulate both merits and wisdom. Sur offering is one of the methods to achieve these two accumulations, through the practice of generosity.  

When we practice this ritual, we make offering to four types of recipients.

1) Those we invite out of respect - The Three Jewels (Buddha, Dharma and Sangha) and Three Roots (Guru, Yidam and Dakinis)

Our sur offerings will please the Three Jewels who will in turn bless all sentient beings from the three lower realms and guide them to the path of enlightenment.

2) Those we invite for their qualities - the Dharma protectors

Making offerings to the protectors will encourage them to protect us by warding off all outer and inner obstacles that may hinder our Dharmic practice and aspirations.

3) Those we invite out of compassion - the sentient beings from the six realms (gods, demi gods, humans, animals, hungry ghosts and hell beings)

The act of this type of offering is especially beneficial for those beings in the lower realms, and those in between death and their next birth. These beings experience hunger, thirst and cold but can be nourished only through their sense of smell. It helps them to eliminate the negative imprints in their mind caused by negative karma and delusio, guiding them towards a birth in the higher realms and eventually attain enlightenment.

4) Those with intent to cause harmful situations for us in this life - our karmic debtors (people and/or living beings that we had offended, harmed, or killed in our present and past lives, intentionally or unintentionally)

When we practice sur offerings to our karmic debtors, all the karmic debts we owe them will be repaid. Our karmic debtors will be appeased, as their anger and desire to cause harm to us will be diminished when they enjoy the sensual stimulant blessed by the Three Jewels.

If we practice Sur offering regularly, we will increase our karmic merits and be blessed with good health and success in whatever we do.

Find out how to do a simple sur offering at home here.

Keen to practice? Check out our range of incense suitable for sur offering now.


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