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Sipa-Chi-Doe concludes in Mongar
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The Sipa-Chi-Doe in Mongar

Thousands of people from the six eastern dzongkhags are gathered in Mongar to attend the Sipa-Chi-Doe and Damsi Torma, considered the most important ceremonies in Bhutanese religious tradition and, for most devotees, a blessing which they are fortunate to receive just once in their lives.

Je Khenpo
Je Khenpo
The Sipa-Chi-Doe, a sacred offering to all the realms of the universe, is performed by His Holiness the Je Khenpo and more than 500 monks and gomchens for the peace, security, and well being of the nation and people. The ceremony, being conducted for the first time in eastern Bhutan, began on April 14, and concludes tomorrow, the 29th day of the second Bhutanese month. His Holiness and the clergy are performing the Vajrayana practices of Ngak (recitation of mantras), Tingye Zin (meditation), and Chhaja (hand movement) every day from 4.30 am to 9.00 pm. The nine days of ceremonies will conclude tomorrow with the symbolic offering made at the Doe (a great altar representing the universe) which comprises two towering representations of the two main protecting deities of Bhutan, Goembo (Mahakala) and Pelden Lhamo (Mahakali).

Dratshang Lhentshog

The holy structures of the Doe 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. According to Ngawang Phue-ntsho, deputy secretary of Dratshang Lhentshog (Council for Religious Affairs), the Sipa-Chi-Doe was sponsored and organised by the nation's business community for the peace and security of the nation and the well being of His Majesty the King and the Bhutanese people. During the final dissipitation of offerings on Sunday, thousands of people are expected to rush to the Doe 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 Sipa-Chi-Doe and Damsi Torma offering is made to all the deities and beings of the universe to balance the forces of good and evil. The great Bhutanese Lamas of the past had prophesised that this sacred offering ceremony would protect the nation against all threats, uphold religious traditions, safeguard the degeneration of spiritual values, and ensure peace and prosperity in the country. The significance of the Sipa-Chi-Doe, initiated by Guru Rinpoche, is explained in the scriptures of Kuenkhen Pema Karpo. It has been performed in Bhutan since the time of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. The last Sipa-Chi-Doe was performed in Punakha in 1998.

A representative of the Dratshang Lhentshog said that the offering is made to all the deities and beings of the universe to balance the forces of good and evil. "We hope that the Sipa-Chi-Doe and Damsi Torma kurims will protect the country and benefit the people," he said. Meanwhile, His Holiness the Je Khenpo will perform Tangra, special offering to nation's three protective deities, on Monday and the immersion of the sacred mandala into the Kurichu river on Tuesday, followed by a Throm Wang (public blessing) on Wednesday. His Holiness will also visit Autsho, in Lhuentse dzongkhag, on April 26 to consecrate 108 chhortens built by the people of Kurtoe and Mongar dzongkhags with financial support from Lam Tshering Wangdi. His Holiness the Je Khenpo, who left Punakha on April 4 to perform Sipa-Chi-Doe and Damsi Torma kurims in Mongar, will return to Punakha dzong.

This article was contributed by KUENSEL, Bhutan's National Newspaper
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