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Tibet holds 600-year-old fire offering ceremony

(China Tibet Online)

08:47, January 14, 2013

Tibet held the 600-year-old fire offering ceremony in Tibetan Tantric Buddhism monasteries represented by the Sera Monastery on January 8,2013,according to Xinhua.

People went with family members to pay homage early in the morning to the Sera Monastery and waited calmly to get into the Tantric Buddhism courtyard for the religious ritual.

The fire offering ceremony is a special ceremony in the Tibetan Tantric Buddhism. It is called "JIN SIE" in Tibetan language, and "huo gong" in Mandarin Chinese. It is one of the sacrificial rituals for worshiping divinities in which people will burn the tributes, crops, tree branches and incantation tallies to pray for peace and harmony.

Sometimes, the ceremony is also used in a funeral considered as a good way to subdue the demons and monsters for the soul of the dead in its transgression to the afterlife. The family members write down the name of the person passing away on a piece of paper and hand it over to a lama, along with the utensils and photos of the deceased; then the lama throws all those things into the fire and chants sutras.

The fire offering ceremony is not held frequently, but is prepared very carefully for important religious events in the tantric Buddhism courtyards of monasteries. The ceremony host should be the eminent monk in the tantric Buddhism.

In 1989, the fire offering ceremony was organized for the commencement of the restoration construction project of the Potala Palace.

It is said that there are five offering rituals in Tibetan Tantric Buddhism: pasting incense to the body, offering flowers, burning incense, sacrificing food, and lighting lamps. The spiritual meaning of fire offering can be summarized as "burn a big fire to end all sufferings so that the soul could transcend the endless hardship in this life".

The fire offering ceremony is believed to be able to accumulate similar meritorious virtue as doing charity does. Thus, on Jan 8, people wearing all kinds of costumes from various parts in Tibet gathered in the Sera Monastery to pray amid the resounding sutra chanting for best wishes.

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