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His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche Performs the Fire Offering of Vanquishing to perfect completion at Miaoli Glorious Jewel Buddhist Temple Site

In order to facilitate the smooth construction of the Miaoli Glorious Jewel Buddhist Temple, His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche performed Fire Offerings of Subduing, Placation, and Increasing in succession at the temple’s construction site beginning on February 29. And, on April 11, he once again went to the site to perform the Yidam Acalanatha Vanquishing Fire Offering, completing all four types of fire offerings within the short period of 6 weeks, and benefiting boundless sentient beings.

At 9:30 a.m., Rinpoche was welcomed to the construction site by a procession of a jeweled parasol, smoke incense, and wondrous sounds from jia bells, cymbals, dharma conches, and drums. He then ascended the dharma throne and began performing the E’fa Vajra Fire Offering Hundred-Thousand Rising Suns Ritual.

First, Rinpoche taught those in attendance about the auspicious merits of the Vanquishing Fire Offering:

“What is a fire offering? It is a highly auspicious Dharma method from the Vajrayana in which we burn contributions for the yidam, making offerings to the Buddhas and giving in charity to the Six Realms, and thereby speedily eliminating karmic hindrances and perfecting reserves of fortune and wisdom, simultaneously gaining attainment in both the mundane and the supramundane. Our offerings are directed at four targets: first, we make offerings to all of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, yidam, Dharma protectors, and powerful heavenly deities; we also make offerings to all sentient beings; spirits and ghosts on the Hungry Ghost Realm; and to the karmic creditors to whom we are in debt for our wicked deeds.”

“There are four types of fire offerings: Subduing, Increasing, Placation, and Vanquishing. Today, we are performing the ritual of Vanquishing to overcoming wicked deeds, karma, hindrances, and so on. In short, this ritual enhances longevity, eliminates illness, builds up fortune, unlocks wisdom, plants seeds of good fortune, facilitates pregnancy, dissolves wicked acts, improves business performance, harmonizes families, and brings peace to nations, and its merits can be said to be boundless and infinite.”

“What merits come of fire offerings? For one, we may gain supramundane benefit through this ritual. And vanquishing rituals can sever self-clinging and subdue the Four Demons, utilizing the emptiness wisdom of the wrathful yidam to shatter and kill the Two Hindrances and Four Demons so that one may attain Buddhahood in this lifetime, and attain Sambhogakaya fruition of Northern Amoghasiddhi and all yidams.”

“For what occasions do we perform fire offerings? It is for the construction of a Buddhist temple. And so, I have performed the four Fire Offerings of Subduing, Increasing, Placation, and Vanquishing — concluding with this final Vanquishing Offering today. Land lease ritual is included in it, as we have borrowed this land to build our temple; and through these offerings, we can facilitate the smooth completion of this project. Any war, earthquakes, typhoons, fires, flooding, and poverty — all kinds of national disasters and calamity — can be reduced and extinguished through fire offerings. These rituals are wondrous for dispelling calamity and imploring good fortune, bringing about peace and happiness, and getting rid of illness. And when practitioners encounter hindrances they cannot overcome, they can ask their gurus to perform fire offerings to get rid of these obstacles.”

“What is the defining feature of a fire offering? It is the quickest method of realizing all virtuous aspirations of the mundane and supramundane. During the ritual, we cast offerings into the fire while the yidam dwells peacefully in its flames. The fire represents nature of motion, and thus, when we perform these offerings of Subduing, Increasing, Placation, and Vanquishing, their effects can manifest immediately. If we were to try using smoke offerings to implore yidams and Dharma protectors to engage in such bold endeavors of vanquishing, we would face difficulties. But when we use fire offerings to welcome the descent of wisdom yidams for our vanquishing rituals, and to dispel hindrances of evil spirits and ghost, we can see the effects right away. During the offering, the presiding guru can visualize that he is tossing the consciousnesses of these evil spirits and ghosts into the flames, and transforming their bodies into amrita nectar as an offering, thus allowing these rituals to bring about the quickest results.”

“To perform a fire offering, the presiding guru must: be attained under at least one yidam; integrate Exoteric and Esoteric rituals; have a lineage and be familiar with the ritual procedures; and be equipped with greater bodhicitta and the pure Three Vehicles — that is, the Precepts of Non-Departure, Bodhisattva, and the Vajrayana. The difference between this and most Buddhist rituals is that fire offerings are much more demanding for the ones who perform them. The presiding guru must possess the power of meditation, merits of service, the methods of the ritual, mantra blessings, the awe-inspiring power of the Dharma, and be able to prepare a mandala for the fire altar to become the yidam. Only when these six phenomena are assembled in harmony is a true fire offering performed, and if the one who presides over the ritual lacks any of these six qualifications, it cannot be performed. What is most important for the ritual’s attendees is mindset. When we perform the Vanquishing ritual today, let all sources of self-clinging of greed, hatred, delusion, and so on for all sentient beings be uprooted.”

At this time, Rinpoche began performing the ritual. As Rinpoche donned bone Dharma vestments and headpiece with the assistance of his attendants, unique and resonant birdcalls repeatedly echoed from the forest, and the ritual took motion with this auspicious sign. Rinpoche personally placed kusha grass around the fire mandala in clockwise order, then signaled for staff members to light the fire. All at once, raging embers manifested into different shapes, and thick white smoke took flight and charged for the horizon. The flames and smoke appeared as animals such as yaks, dogs, cats, and large birds. After the puja, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang explained: “There are many images of beasts here. The Vanquishing ritual has attracted many retinue of beasts.”

Not long after the puja began, the believer and disciple donors supporting the temple’s construction arrived in succession. Since January 26 of 2019, Rinpoche has been renting tour buses with his own money every Saturday so that donors may tour the temple construction site while being informed about how the money is being used and the progress of the temple’s construction via clear presentation. On this day, however, Rinpoche showed even greater compassion by bestowing everyone with the opportunity to watch the fire offering puja, and none among them didn’t cherish this opportunity, all clasping their hands in reverence as they participated.

As the fire grew in its exuberance, though the sun remained hidden in the clouds, their mists lit up ever so slightly. Rinpoche’s incantations echoed in space, and he focused his mind as he performed the ritual amidst compassion of emptiness. Rinpoche even bestowed the guests and disciples with the opportunity to take contribution items from his hands directly before throwing them into the fire altar on behalf of all sentient beings as offerings to all of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and in charity to the sentient beings of the Six Realms. During this time, the earth shook slightly, and as everyone raised their heads and looked up, they saw birds soaring and flapping their wings, making circles in the sky above the mandala, as though the Dakinis were descending with blessings and protection.

Throughout the ritual, the fire’s smoke was awe-inspiring; and aided by the wind, it rose even more exuberantly. The sounds of the burning and crackling firewood and offerings were especially clear and resonant in the still valley. The fire flames transformed in endless variations, as though they were incarnations of the mundane fire deities and supramundane yidam, auspicious as could be. Once the offerings were all apparently received by the yidam with glee, boundless and infinite sentient beings were blessed and attained benefit.

Rinpoche presided over the fire offering in the meditative state for a full two and a half hours before it was completed to perfection. During this time, the ever compassionate Rinpoche not only had his ordained disciples explain to the supporting donors the significance and merits of the fire offering, as well as the mindset participants should have throughout — he also blessed two plates of fruit offerings on the mandala with amrita nectar and offered them to everyone, and they all thanked him in unison.

As the puja concluded, Rinpoche descended the Dharma throne, and received visitors in his tent. When people brought up the coronavirus pandemic, Rinpoche explained that it is related to animal spirits. The spirits of animals who have been killed over the past few decades have come out all at once, and so long as people eat meat, this pandemic will never end. Thus, he urges everyone to eat vegetarian. Some guests invited Rinpoche to a vegetarian restaurant for lunch, but he graciously declined, as there were still people facing difficulties and suffering, waiting for his help at the Buddhist Center. Rinpoche maintains a precedent of granting audience to believers at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center in Taipei on every Saturday, and in the face of this current pandemic, people are suffering more and need the Dharma more than ever. Thus, Rinpoche would have to hurry back to Taipei to offer them guidance and pacify their worried minds, and then perform a puja on Sunday as well. The compassion of this great practitioner risking his life and rushing about for the benefit of sentient beings during these trying times of the coronavirus pandemic moves the heavens and earth.

According to the weather report, it was originally supposed to rain in Miaoli that day. But as the puja drew to an end, the sun emerged from the clouds, and emitted brilliant rays high in the sky, like a wheel of fire traversing the horizon and barreling through space. Then, after the puja was completed to perfection, a light rain drifted down from the sky, but without getting anyone wet, as though amrita nectar was blanketing and moisturizing all life, and all beings were receiving boundless Dharma benefit. Special thanks to Rinpoche for performing this fire offering on this pure plot of land, eliminating hindrances to the practice of the Dharma for all sentient beings and planting deep wondrous causal conditions in this Era of Declining Dharma.

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Updated on April 20, 2020