(just passing along information from an August 4th email sent out by Merry Colony, FPMT’s Director of Education Services to the FPMT email group regarding the sur practice)
RE: the 25 ingredients advised in the Sur text, below is the collated advice from Rinpoche on this question:
Most Powerful: Use the actual 25 ingredients mentioned in the text. However, as that is very hard to do, you can get a Kriya Tantra Vase Pill which should have the 25 substances in it. Be sure the pill comes from a reputable place, such as the Tibetan Medical Institute in Dharamsala. There is also the option of using the precious pill called Moon Crystal which also should have the 25 substances in it. Again be sure and get this pill from a reputable place. Either of these pills can be used instead of the actual 25 substances. It is also OK to add any of the 25 substances you can get in addition to the pill. Whether using a pill or the actual substances or a combination of the two, you only need a very tiny bit of the substances. Therefore, the best way to proceed is to crush the pill (and/or substances) and mix it with a large container of roasted flour. Each time you make the offering, mix just a small bit of the flour with substances into the portion of roasted flour you will offer. In this way your mixture of flour with the substances will last a long time.
Medium: Use roasted flour mixed with the 3 whites (milk, butter, yogurt) and 3 sweets (sugar, honey, molasses) and then whatever number of 25 substances you can find.
Least: Use roasted flour and butter only
FYI, Rinpoche also doesn’t have all the things all the time, so make do as best you can! The text can be found on the Advice page under “Centers and FPMT Organization. It is available now in Tibetan as well.
Lastly, to answer some other questions that have come in on the Sur practice:
Q: If you cannot do it every day, is it better to do some days rather than none at all?
A: If you just do just very occasionally it is ok, but if you do the practice consistently and then stop this is not so good because the pretas get into the habit of being fed everyday and they come and then there is no food for them.
Q: Can you do it on behalf of your center, but from different places (so some days at the center, some days at home)?
Q: Can it be done at different times of the day if it’s not possible to always do at the same time in the evening?
A: Best is the evening, but if you can’t then do it when it can be done