法王新闻 | 2009年12月
地點：印度 菩提迦耶 德噶寺大殿
報導﹕Michele Martin / 金吉祥女
For many days before this special ceremony people have been giving the names of their close relative and friends, living or deceased, to monks who are sitting at tables in a large tent next to the Mahabodhi Society. The donors are seeking to benefit their loved ones through the ceremony that His Holiness will perform this evening. Akshobya (in Tibetan, Mitrukpa, “The Immovable One”) is considered to have a special ability to help those who have died and are in the intermediate state of the bardo.
His Holiness will perform this fire ritual with a small group of fully ordained monks and select attendants; no one else is allowed in the shrine hall. For the ceremony, the names that have been collected will be placed in two boxes, from which His Holiness will select seven or eight to be read aloud. The rest he will bless and offer to the ritual fire.
Before the ceremony begins at eight o’clock at night, the white marble veranda around the shrine room, especially in front of the windows, has been filling up with people who wish to witness the ceremony and send their prayers to all living beings, headed by those they especially care for. There is quite a chill in the evening air and everyone is bundled up for the three hours the ceremony will take.
Inside the temple, elaborate preparations have been made to set out all the offering substances and symbols. The same rectangular alter that was present for the Milarepa feast offering, is now placed in the middle of the hall. In front, facing the main shrine, is a throne for His Holiness, the same height as the alter. The image of Milarepa has been replaced with one of Akshobya in the Chinese style. He is indigo blue with his left hand in the earth touching gesture and his right in the meditation mudra. As if descended from the sky and barely resting on his palm is a shimmering golden vajra.
At eight o’clock, His Holiness enters the shrine hall and first speaks to the assembled monks. Taking his seat in front of the alter, he asked that all but a few central lights be turned off and this gives a soft and warm wash of color to him and the alter. He then performs the self-empowerment and places a white kata around his shoulders. Opening prayers, such as the Seven-Branch Prayer, are recited. The microphone is placed in front of His Holiness; with a slight echo in the almost empty space, his strong, resonant voice fills the hall and flows out to those sitting outside and beyond into the night.
After the fire in the center of the alter is lit, the vajracharya (shrine master) and his assistants bring to His Holiness the various substances to be offered. He also offers ghee from a long-handled spoon. As he reaches forward in rhythm with the chanting, the light from the fire flickers across his face. Occasionally, additional sticks of wood are offered to keep the fire burning well and finally all the substances have been given for the benefit of all.
Then His Holiness descends from his throne and walks out the front door of the shrine to a place next to the reflecting pool where thick branches have been arranged in an open, circular structure about five feet in diameter. It is into the middle of this blessed circle that His Holiness will offer the names. The two boxes are brought outside and placed next to him, and he begins to offer the myriad pieces of paper to the fire. It blazes higher and higher and some of the names float up into the sky as they turn to ashes and fall back down. Surrounding His Holiness and the fire is the crowd of people who had been sitting on the veranda. His Holiness empties one box and then the other. He finishes and returns to the shrine for the closing prayers while many remain around the fire to chant Om mani padme hum and with hearts warmed by the fire, remember their friends and relatives.