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Sipa-Chi-Dhoe attracts hundreds of devotees

Religion: Hundreds of devotees throng every day at Thangzana ground, next to Puna Dewachhenpoi Phodrang Dzong, to offer tshog (feast offerings), druna (grains) and Nyendar (cash) to cleanse their defilements and protect them from bad omen.

His Holiness the Je Khenpo along with more than 500 monks from 20 rabdeys and monastic institutions across the country is presiding a five-day Sipa-Chi-Dhoe, a sacred offering to all the realms of the universe, which began yesterday.

Considered as the most important ceremony in religious tradition, the Sipa-Chi-Dhoe, which is normally conducted once in a 12-year cycle, is being conducted after 13 years. The last ceremony was conducted in Mongar for the first time in the east from April 14 to 22, 2001.

Zhung Dratshang’s administrative officer, Namgay, said that kurim is being organised for the peace and security of the nation and the well being of Their Majesties and the Bhutanese people. “It is also dedicated to 60th birth anniversary of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo for his long life,” he told Kuensel.

The sacred ceremony usually concludes with the symbolic offering made at the Dhoe (a great altar representing the universe), which comprises two towering representations of the two main protecting deities of Bhutan, Yeshey Goenpo (Mahakala) and Pelden Lhamo (Mahakali).

The holy structures of the Dhoe are adorned with offerings representing every aspect of material and spiritual wealth and life forms found in the universe, from harvests to precious jewels and religious images.

Initiated by Guru Rinpoche and performed in Bhutan since the time of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in Punakha, the Sipa-Chi-Dhoe offering is made to all the deities and beings of the universe to balance the forces of good and evil.

The ceremony will conclude on January 5 with the final dissipation of offerings, during which hundreds of people are expected to rush to the Dhoe and dismantle the entire physical structure to take home every piece of the spiritual and material offerings, from handfuls of earth and grain to religious and material offerings.

The Buddhist saints prophesised that such kurim or offering would protect the nation against all threats, uphold religious traditions, safeguard the degeneration of spiritual values, and ensure peace and prosperity in the country.

Namgay said that this is the fourth Sipa-Chi-Dhoe being conducted in Punakha. His Holiness conducted the first in Punakha in 1998 after he became the 70th Je Khenpo.

For devotees attending the sacred ceremony, it is a blessing, which they are fortunate to receive in their lives. “It is an opportunity to offer our prayers to prevent misfortune and obstacles,” an elderly devotee said.

Another devotee Sonam from Punakha said she came there to offer tshog and druna for the benefit of the country. “We can’t afford to conduct such rimdo personally. That’s why I came her to offer prayers,” she said.

By  Rinzin Wangchuk

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