The serkyem, or offering cup to the protectors is an important ritual item for Vajrayana practitioners. While on the path to enlightenment, a practitioner will definitely encounter many obstacles. In the Vajrayana, protectors are considered manifestations of the Buddhas’ activities. They are committed to helping practitioners by protecting them from obstacles on the path, improving their motivation and enhancing their practice, so as to ensure their practice is successful. Thus, invoking the protectors by making offerings to them is akin to enlisting help while one is travelling on the road, to ensure that one reaches the intended destination.
There are both peaceful and wrathful protectors and in order for the offerings to them to be complete, one should offer them the ‘offerings of the five. Thus, we have enhanced the usual plain protectors' offering cup by carving the five peaceful sense objects on the plate, and the five wrathful sense objects on the cup. Here they symbolize the desire to please enlightened beings, and represent a gesture of sensual renunciation on the part of the giver. This enhances the traditional food and drink offering to the protectors.
Cup dimensions: 6 cm (diameter); 10.5 cm (height)
Plate dimensions: 15.5 cm (diameter); 9.5 cm (height)
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