Offering of Food
Details of breakfast & lunch dāna, how we offer food.
BREAKFAST & LUNCH OFFERINGS
We welcome all to offer (dāna) daily food to the Venerables residing at our Centre except for the days when the Centre is closed or when there is no Venerable in residence (please refer to our Activities Calendar).
You may bring cooked food, fruits/salads or drinks to the Centre and participate in the offering of food ceremony. In order to allow time for preparation of food, please reach the Centre at least half an hour before:
HOW SHOULD WE OFFER FOOD?
(Extracted from the article "How to Interact Respectfully with Bhikkhus - Basic Etiquette in Theravāda Buddhism")
1. One should not offer food to bhikkhus after noon time. This is because bhikkhus have to abide by the precept to refrain from eating at the disallowed hours (ie. after noon till the break of dawn). Bhikkhus are also not allowed to store their food. Hence, one should offer food to bhikkhus during the period of time that they are allowed to take their meals ie from break of dawn till the time of the midday sun. However, there is no time restriction to the offering of medicine.
The Buddha had laid down rules for the bhikkhus, such that bhikkhus are not allowed to partake any food not offered in the proper manner to bhikkhus. Therefore while performing dana, one should stand or kneel before a bhikkhu within reachable distance of his arm, meaning one should avoid standing/kneeling too far away; he could then place the food into the bhikkhu's hands, alms bowl or plate.
2. In accordance to the Vinaya (precepts), after a bhikkhu has eaten and turned down further food offerings, he is not allowed to partake food that is not leftover. As such, when offering food, please do not ask whether the bhikkhu "wants or doesn't want" food, or whether he has "had sufficient" food.
If one were to hold food in his hands with the intention of offering to a bhikkhu, but notice that the bhikkhu did not respond, or if the bhikkhu were to cover his alms bowl, then one should not be insistent in making the offering.
3. When offering fruits or vegetables containing seeds (ie. plants with the residual potential to grow), such food needs to be made allowable first. The bhikkhu would hand the fruits and vegetables to the offerer, and say to him thus: "Kappiyaṃ karohi", meaning "Make this allowable”. The person should then reply “Kappiyaṃ, bhante", meaning "Venerable Sir, (this is) allowable".
There are five methods of making allowable such food, namely:
Point to note: All food to be made allowable should be in contact with one another, or linked by contact. By making allowable one of the fruits/vegetables, the rest of the fruits/vegetables on the same plate will then be considered to have been made allowable together. After this, one can then offer the fruits/vegetables by hand to the bhikkhu.