Overcoming Negativity: The Akshobhya Ritual Cycle

Monlam Pavilion and Tergar Monastery
January 14, 2014  

The Akshobhya Mandala  Ritual
Reading of the Akshobhya dharani and the Akshobhya sutra
Monlam Pavilion, Session 3

A special shrine with an image of Akshobhya Buddha had been arranged mid-way on the tiered Monlam Pavilion stage, complete with the precious substances which would be used later during the fire puja, and torma offerings. The Gyalwang Karmapa sat on a special raised seat in front of the shrine. The text for the first part was not available to the general public, only to monastics and the Akshobhya retreatants. During the recitation of the text, His Holiness made offerings at the shrine.

The latter part, the recitation of the Dharani that Throroughly Purifies all Karmic Obscurations andThe Sutra of the Dharani that Thoroughly Liberates from All Suffering and Obscurations, was open to everyone.  The recitation of this dharani is believed to purify all karmic obscurations and all the karma flowing from lifetime to lifetime.  Reciting it three times daily can even cleanse the karma of the five heinous deeds, the four root downfalls and the ten non-virtues.  It is effective for the benefit of both the dead and the living.

2014.1.14 The Akshobhya Mandala  Ritual 不動佛修法

The Akshobhya Jang-Sek [fire puja]

Outside Tergar Shrine Room

This is the concluding ritual in the Akshobhya series for the purification and removal of obstacles and negativities. Before and during the Monlam friends and relatives had been making donations and giving the names not just of the deceased but also of the living who were experiencing great difficulties such as physical or mental illness. All these names have been written down on sheets of paper to be burnt during the puja. The purpose of this type of fire puja  [jang-sek] is the removal of obstacles and negativities through purification and pacification.

Each year the Gyalwang Karmapa conducts the fire puja on the penultimate day of the Kagyu Monlam, in a cordoned off area on the porch of the temple. No one is allowed inside this cordon except for monks who are qualified to attend and the retreatants. Below the steps, a brick firepit is constructed and a 'pacification' sand mandala drawn in it. Then logs are piled on top. The fire is lit during the second half of the puja, and the papers containing the names of the living and the dead are tossed into the flames.

The fire burns until all the names have been consumed and the ritual concludes with dedication prayers.

2014.1.14 The Akshobhya Jang-Sek [fire puja] 不動佛火供



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