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Fire offering ceremony (火供) in Tibet

Photo taken on March 26, 2013 shows the scene of the fire offering ceremony at the Gandan Monastery (甘丹寺) in Lhasa, capital of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region. The fire offering ceremony is a special ceremony in the Tibetan Tantric Buddhism. It is a sacrificial ritual of divinity worshiping in which believers burn the tributes, crops, tree branches and incantation tallies to pray for peace and harmony. Photo: Xinhua

With a history of 600 years, the fire offering ceremony is a special ceremony in the Tibetan Tantric Buddhism. It is called "JIN SIE" in Tibetan language, and "huo gong" (火供) 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.

Photo taken on March 26, 2013 shows the scene of the fire offering ceremony at the Gandan Monastery in Lhasa, capital of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region. The fire offering ceremony is a special ceremony in the Tibetan Tantric Buddhism. It is a sacrificial ritual of divinity worshiping in which believers burn the tributes, crops, tree branches and incantation tallies to pray for peace and harmony. Photo: Xinhua

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.

Photo taken on March 26, 2013 shows the headwear of a monk during the fire offering ceremony at the Gandan Monastery in Lhasa, capital of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region. The fire offering ceremony is a special ceremony in the Tibetan Tantric Buddhism. It is a sacrificial ritual of divinity worshiping in which believers burn the tributes, crops, tree branches and incantation tallies to pray for peace and harmony. Photo: Xinhua

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.

Monks pour ghee on the fire during the fire offering ceremony at Gandan Monastery in Lhasa, capital of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, March 26, 2013. The fire offering ceremony is a special ceremony in the Tibetan Tantric Buddhism. It is a sacrificial ritual of divinity worshiping in which believers burn the tributes, crops, tree branches and incantation tallies to pray for peace and harmony. Photo: Xinhua

 

Tibetans takes part in the fire offering ceremony at the Gandan Monastery in Lhasa, capital of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, March 26, 2013. The fire offering ceremony is a special ceremony in the Tibetan Tantric Buddhism. It is a sacrificial ritual of divinity worshiping in which believers burn the tributes, crops, tree branches and incantation tallies to pray for peace and harmony. Photo: Xinhua

Photo taken on March 26, 2013 shows the tributes of a fire offering ceremony at the Gandan Monastery in Lhasa, capital of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region. The fire offering ceremony is a special ceremony in the Tibetan Tantric Buddhism. It is a sacrificial ritual of divinity worshiping in which believers burn the tributes, crops, tree branches and incantation tallies to pray for peace and harmony. Photo: Xinhua

 


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