Monday, January 5, 2015

Sipa-Chi-Dhoe at Punakha

I started my New Years by going to Punakha, specifically to offer prayers at the Sipa-Chi-Dhoe. Located in the Thangzana, the ground near the Punakha Dzong, hundreds of people had been coming every day to cleanse their negative deeds and offer prayers for protection from bad omen. Considered one of the most important traditions, the Sipa-Chi-Dhoe which is normally conducted once in 12 years, was being conducted after a gap of 13 years.
His Holiness the Je Khenpo and the monastic body preceded over a five day prayers during which symbolic offering were being made at the Dhoe (a great altar representing the universe) and there were two towering representations of the main protective deities of Bhutan, namely Yeshey Goenpo (Mahakala) and Pelden Lhamo (Mahakali).

Initiated by Guru Rimpoche and performed in Bhutan since the time of Zahbdrung in Punakha, the Sipa-Chi-Dhoe offering is made as a sacred offering to all the realms of the universe and to balance the forces of good and evil. Such offerings were to protect the nation against all threats and to foster peace and prosperity in the country.
The event culminates with the final dissipation of offerings (which happened on 5th Jan 2015) during which scores of people rush to the Dhoe and dismantle the structure and take with them pieces of material and religious offering.

I was not there to witness the final event but it was nice to be a small part of such a big event. It was joyful to start my new year by witnessing such an important the religious tradition. There was a feeling of peace and tranquillity as I offered my prayers and listened to the monk body reciting prayers for the universe.

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