The purpose of making offerings is to accumulate merit and in particular to develop and increase the mind of generosity and to reduce stinginess and miserliness. By making offerings you also create the causes for the future results of becoming wealthy and becoming naturally and spontaneously generous, most importantly your “spiritual wealth’ will grow within you.
If we can afford, we should offer the best to the Buddhas as if we were offering the best to our honoured guest, e.g. if our Prime Minister were to visit our home, we would naturally serve him the best food and bring out our best serving plates. What more do we need to say for Buddhas, supreme enlightened beings!
All dharma practitioners should wish to be able to offer the best to the Buddhas’ altar, gold is not too practical, so the next best thing is silver. It would be so beautiful and wonderful if we could offer silver butter lamps and silver water offering bowls. The benefits for making such an offering are that one’s material wealth will increase on the external aspect, and internal, our spiritual wealth also increases. Learning the Dharma would be easier when we have less financial or external obstacles. One may not necessary make this contribution to oneself alone but dedicate the merits to one’s kind parents, family, friends, the needy, deceased family members, etc.
Atisha commented that water is one of the best substance to use, for it does not generate attachment in the mind of the practitioner; and although to us it is merely water, the Enlightened Beings regard it as ambrosial nectar.