I seldom cook and eat rice but do I need to cook to offer rice to the Gohonzon? Instead, is it ok to offer bread to the Gohonzon? How about other types of food?
Basic understanding of the presence of the Gohonzon in the home
Once the Gohonzon has been enshrined in our home, our house becomes the Gohonzon’s home and we live together with the living Buddha, Nichiren Daishonin.
Whenever you enter or leave the home, always chant three times as an offering of greeting to the Gohonzon. In the event of fire or natural disasters, we need to protect the Gohonzon first.
It is important to keep in mind that the Gohonzon has first priority of food in the house.
If you cook rice, you need to offer rice to the Gohonzon first before you eat. If you don’t cook it in the morning, whenever you cook it for the first time in the day, you need to offer it to the Gohonzon first. You don’t need to cook rice specifically for the purpose of offering it to the Gohonzon if you don’t eat it at all later. The cooked rice should not contain various ingredients of meat or chicken such as sticky rice ball or clay pot rice. Meat, chicken, fish and odoriferous vegetables or fruits such as onion, garlic and durian are not allowed for offering. You may offer fresh plain bread after baking or buying. As for any other offerings, the water cup always needs to be placed on the highest and most central position on the altar.
Instructions on offering the rice
After the plain rice is cooked, the first portion should be offered to the Gohonzon. This rice is called “Rice for the Buddha”. The rice can be placed in the space between water cup and the table. After placing the rice, chant Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo three times followed by reciting
a silent prayer: “I offer my deepest gratitude to the Three Treasures of the Buddhism of Sowing. Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo.”
Then ring the bell three times and chant Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo three times, then remove the rice soon. Do not leave the rice for a long time. You can then eat the rice that you offered.
Ideally, if you cook rice, after offering the water in the morning, do morning Gongyo first and offer the rice, then have your breakfast.
I sincerely hope that you will accumulate a lot of benefit by your sincere offerings and serving of the Gohonzon