Universal Smoke Offering Day on a Lunar Eclipse

Smoke Offering 3
This Smoke Offering was made in my garden during Dzamling Chisang Day in 5 July 2020 (Copyright: Hanni Lim 2020)

Dzamling Chisang Day is also known as the “Universal Smoke Offering Day” or “local deities’ day”. Every year, Dzamling Chisang falls on the 15th day of the fifth lunar month (according to the Tibetan Dharma Calendar). Tibetan Buddhist practitioners offer extensive offerings of smoke generated by burning sang (incense powder made from a blend of fragrant woods). The smoke is blessed and then offered to all the four classes of guests which include the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Dharma Protectors and particularly to all local deities earth, water, fire, wind and air deities.

Traditionally, festivals that involve elaborate smoke pujas are performed on the summit of a hill and combined with picnic celebrations and family gatherings. The offering of smoke is called a “Smoke Puja” or “Incense Puja”.

There are many Smoke Puja prayers that can be recited on Dzamling Chisang; but one of the most well-known Smoke puja prayers is the famous Riwo Sangcho. This fabulous and complete prayer, arranged by the great Nyingma Lama Dudjom Rinpoche, is chanted by Tibetans Buddhists all around the world whenever smoke offering is made. 

If you grew up in a Chinese or Taoist household, you would be familiar with the daily ritual of offering joss sticks to deities. Joss stick offering is actually a form of smoke offering , where the smoke is generated by burning of blends of fragrant woods which often include red sandalwood and white sandalwood.

If you would like to learn how to do this puja, then the best way to seek a qualified Tibetan Buddhist lama, who can give you the oral transmission and instructions on how to do this. However, if you do not have a qualified teacher, I would like to share a very simple and short way to offer incense smoke. Just light up a few sticks of incense (the usual practice is 1, 2 or 3 sticks) and then chant the following invocation:

NAMO
I take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, Sangha.

OM AH HUM.
The incense smoke is purified, multiplied and transformed into a wish-fulfilling smoke which brings enormous bliss to all who receives it. May it fill the entire expanse of space.

OH AH HUM.
I offer this to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the ten directions.

OH AH HUM.
I offer this to the Dakinis and Dakas
Wisdom Protectors, Dharmapala Protectors.

OH AH HUM.
I offer this to the Eight Classes of Beings

OH AH HUM.
I offer this to the Local Deities of this country, this state, this region, this city, this village, this neighborhood and this home.

OH AH HUM.
I offer this to all the beings of the six realms

OH AH HUM.
I offer this to all beings whom i owe karmic debts. 

NAMA SARVA TATAGATHA AVALOKITE
OM SAMBHARA SAMBHARA HUNG
(repeat this mantra many times.) 

May all natural disasters, epidemics and dangers be averted.

May all diseases, sicknesses and accidents that cut short one’s lifespan be completely averted.

May all those who have passed away be liberated into Dewachen Pure Land.

May peace and love prevail within the entire universe.

May all sentient beings attain the ultimate state of bliss and emptiness.

(please add your own dedications here)

 

This simple prayer can be chanted daily when you light a stick of incense, or when you do any kind of smoke offering. During my frequent visits to India, my guru Khenpo would take us all up to the Mussorie Mountains, where we burn leaves from the Sal Tree along with many types of fragrant leaves. Note that when it comes to making smoke for pujas, check that the leaves or incense powders should be free of insects or any live beings. Not all smoke is considered appropriate for offering to the Triple Gems. For example, smoke from tobacco leaves should be never be offered during Smoke Pujas.   

This fantastic time-old tradition of offering smoke is the perfect method for removing obstacles to that hinder one’s own spiritual growth… and these include worldly issues like financial problems, relationship troubles and business headaches. You can learn how to do this from a qualified Lama, or check out my videos on this topic.

This year, Dzamling Chisang Day falls on the 5th July 2020, which also happens to be a Prenumbral Lunar Eclipse. Eclipses are not considered positive omens; so please refrain from looking directly an an eclipse. That is why prayers are chanted during an a solar or lunar eclipse – it is meant to dispel disasters and avert chaos. 

 

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