Superior Smoke Sacrifice

CW40: No.121

Chinese ritual and oral transmission by the Buddhist Yogi C. M. Chen
Translation of the ritual, Chinese commentary and its oral translation by Yutang Lin
Transcribed by Juan Bulnes

Yogi C. M. Chen

A Simple Ritual of Superior Smoke Sacrifice

Written in Chinese by Yogi C. M. Chen
Translated into English by Yutang Lin

Namo Padmasambhava and His Karma Protector, Don-tsin-Dorji-legpa;

Namo the Devas, the dragons, and the rest of the eight departments of protectors under Padmasambhava;

Namo Tson-Ke-pa's special protector, the Mighty Hsiun-don;

Namo all the heavenly gods, earth gods, mountain gods and the local deities in the Dharmadhatu:

Namo the mountain god of this locality.

At first bless the fire woods by repeating "Om, Ah, Hum" three times while visualizing that they have been sanctified and that all the insects attached to them have been reborn in the Pureland of Amitabha Buddha.

Then bless the Dharmic instruments for the smoke sacrifice by repeating "Lung, Yang, Kon" three times while visualizing that the three elements, fire, wind, and space, have returned to their Sunyata nature to help with the Holy Karma and that these instruments will be free from hazards.

Then bless the food offerings by repeating "Om, Ah, Hum" three times while visualizing that all the food offerings have been purified and multiplied to fill the whole Dharmadhatu, and that they have become the nectar of Wisdom and Compassion.

After the above blessings have been given, visualize as follows:

At first, recite three times the mantra of Sunyata:

Om, Su-pa-wa-siu-da, Sarwa Dharma, Su-pa-wa-siu-do, Hun.

Visualize that all sentient beings and inanimated objects have returned to their Sunyata nature.

Then visualize in the Sunyata there appears a white seed word Tsung:

Tsung then transforms into a mandala plate of three layers which is as big as the whole Dharmadhatu and is filled with all the nectars that were visualized previously. Then present the offerings while reciting "Om, Ah, Hum."

Visualize that all the Devas, Gods, Yakshas, mountain gods, earth gods of past, present and future, and the local mountain god have enjoyed taking the offerings and have become very pleased.

Then visualize that the offeror himself has become Padmasambhava and that all the gods are led by Don-tsin-Dorji-legpa, Padmasambhava's Karma Protector, to come forth to listen to the offeror's instructions.

Then recite the following stanzas that contain the offeror's instructions to dedicate the merits:

    All the gods in the Dharmadhatu,
    And all the Yakshas and your family,
    Please take all this blessed and delicious food,
    Let all of us be free and have long life!
    Gather all the merits and sow all best seeds!
    And may we deserve all sorts of special enjoyment!
    Especially help this superior smoke sacrifice,
    And let me get all the accomplishments!
    Please remember all your excellent vows.
    Help me gain all the attainments.
    Get rid of all bad conditions and death.
    Destroy all my obstacles and the demons.
    Pacify all terrible dreams and bad omens.
    Protect us from all dangerous risks.
    Help us make Peace and rich harvests.
    Plenty of all kinds of corn and Dharmas.
    And may all good pleasures be helped by you.
    Do help me fulfill all my best wishes.
    Especially the local mountain god,
    Enjoy this offering and protect us!
    All Dharma activities be prosperous!
    All neighbors live in peace!
    Good health and deep Samadhi be ours!
    All our good wills be fulfilled!
    Constantly protect us and set us free,
    From burglars, car or fire accidents,
    In case we unknowingly offend you,
    Please be tolerant and forgive us!
    Be auspicious day and night!
    Be auspicious all the time!

Commentary to the Superior Smoke Sacrifice

1. Introduction

Yutang Lin's home is at the foot of a mandala-shape mountain, whose auspicious shape suggests that there may be a God guarding it. Hence Yogi Chen has written this ritual especially for Yutang Lin, in order for him to perform it at his home, regularly on the First and the Fifteenth of each lunar month. Yogi Chen himself performed this sacrifice and showed Yutang Lin how to do it.

Continual performance of this sacrifice is an excellent way to honor and propitiate the devas, benevolent spirits, local gods, and especially this mountain god.

2. Conditions

  1. Right Intention
  2. The primary motivation for performing this Puja should be the Bodhicitta. Only a practitioner rooted in unconditional compassion for all sentient beings will be able, by performing this Puja, to cause all the Heavenly Gods, the Dragon King, the local Deities, and all the good Gods of the whole Dharmadatu, to come enjoy this Puja and bestow on the practitioner many benefits, such as attaining deeper Samadhi and being rid of hindrances, such as fire hazards, burglaries, car accidents or diseases.

    A person who performs this Puja solely for personal benefit will not be able to inspire the good gods to come and enjoy the offerings and render help. A practitioner who does not have the real Bodhicitta, will at most be able to attract the incense eating ghosts, who do not bring any merits but may instead disturb the practitioner's peace. For example, they may be displeased and make trouble if the practitioner forgets to do this puja but once.

  3. Right Livelihood
  4. Another important condition is right livelihood of the practitioner and his associates in life. For example, if a practitioner is connected with regimes that oppresses religions, then he is exposed to many troubles caused by the anger of millions of innocent people who have been cruelly slaughtered in their wars, prisons and concentration camps. This Puja could aggravate the danger by attracting ghosts who will turn against the practitioner because of these bad connections.

    Thus a practitioner who plans to do this Puja should examine his livelihood, intentions and thoughts, to make sure that they are in accordance with Buddha's teachings.

  5. Right Diligence
  6. This Smoke Puja may be performed on the 1st and 15th days of each lunar month, or daily. A practitioner who starts performing this Smoke Puja is bound to continue it all his life, with the regularity that he has chosen at the very beginning.

    Failing to perform this Puja on the appointed days can cause the displeasure of the deities who have become accustomed to the regular feast. On the other hand, the diligent repetition of this Puja makes it easy to inspire the deities and obtain many blessings and protections.

    Thus it is advisable to do the following: whenever one knows in advance that one cannot perform this Puja on the appointed day, one should perform it in advance, and, while doing so, one should apologize to the deities for causing them this inconvenience of a change of schedule, and tell them that this performance is in place of the regularly appointed one. One should tell the deities why one cannot perform it at the appointed time. If the reason is because of another Dharma activity, it will be easy for the practitioner to convince the deities to grant permission for this change. This may be more difficult to obtain if the change is due to worldly business, changing the schedule for this kind of reason should be avoided, except in circumstances where the practitioner cannot help it.

    This commitment to regularity extends all one's life and even a few days after one's death. In Tibetan tradition, a practitioner who practices this Puja will ask a friend, a relative or a disciple to perform it on his or her behalf in case of illness, and upon his or her death the relatives would do so for the next three days, signifying that the practitioner's will continues.

3. Materials

  1. Implements
  2. The following implements and materials are needed for this Puja:

    • 3 rocks to make a tripod.
    • A pan or wok: placed on top of the three rocks, it serves to hold the fire.
    • Small dry twigs and wood.
    • Edible vegetable oil may be used to start the fire.

    In any case do not use coal, which, being black inside and outside, may cause evil hindrances, nor charcoal lighter nor any other poisonous substance.

    When starting the fire, do not use a match or lighter directly unto the pan; instead, set fire to a piece of paper, to transmit the fire into the offering pan.

  3. Offerings
  4. The emphasis of this Puja is solely on producing smoke and odor, not fire. The offerings are chosen accordingly. If this Puja is performed daily, the quantity of offerings need not be too much.

    The following offerings are suggested, according to the Indian tradition:

    • the Three Whites:
        milk (powder),
        cheese (shredded or grated), and
        butter (sliced).

    • the Three Sweets:
        white sugar,
        brown sugar, and

    At the beginning, when it is necessary to fuel the fire, one can make special offerings such as gold leaf, dry flower, or "hell money" (paper notes drawn on the "Bank of Hell", which are traditionally burned by Chinese to help a deceased person).

    Additional food offerings may include, for example, various kinds of grains, flour, cereals, corn meal, incense, sandalwood powder, cookies, candies, and so on. It is a good idea to vary the offerings from time to time, because deities, like humans, enjoy variation.

    The offerings are brought to the fire at appropriate times to put down the flames and produce more smoke.

    It is not necessary to put out the smoke at the end of the ritual. If this is safe, one can let it continue until all the materials are consumed naturally.

4. The Performance

The performance of this ritual consists of two parts:

  1. The First Part
  2. Having prepared everything, start repeating the ritual text and visualize accordingly. Note that we visualize the three rocks as human skulls symbolizing the three liberations of Buddhism: no form, no birth, no will. Also we visualize the pan as a skull cup, with its forehead-side facing the deities. Then this skull cup becomes an ocean of nectar filling the whole Dharmadatu. In the sky above it, there appears a huge tray in the form of a mandala containing all the offerings. That is up to the visualization of the Bija, the seed syllable Tsung, becoming a big mandala. Then, start repeating "Om, Ah, Hum," light the fire and begin adding the offerings. One's particular intentions can be formulated while adding the offerings.

    Having offered everything, one may stay there, repeating "Om, Ah, Hum" and visualizing that the deities are enjoying the offering. Or, if one is busy, one may go about one's daily business and return later (after, e.g., half an hour, one hour, or more).

  3. The Second Part
  4. Now one reads the rest of the ritual to dedicate the merits, and then prays according to one's good intentions.

    One should clean up the place and the Dharmic instruments afterwards, and dispose of the ashes carefully so that they will not be trodden upon.

Berkeley, California

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