Sparing His Holiness’s presence
His Holiness performs the Zhiwai Jinseg (burnt offering) for the departed
Wangkur (Cremation Rites) 6 July, 2010 - His Holiness the Je Khenpo may not be seen at the Thimphu cremation ground performing Wangkur or cremation rites.
The zhung dratshang (central monk body) is in the process of setting up a system where the presence of His Holiness may not be required when cremation rites at the Thimphu crematorium.
Until now HH the Je Khenpo conducts at least 30 cremation rites a year in Thimphu for people from all walks of life. According to a senior monk, at least 70 people are cremated in a month at the Thimphu crematorium.
“People are of the thought that His Holiness only performs cremation rites for the well to do, but this is not true,” said the Zhung dratshang’s tshugla lopen, Samten Dorji. “His Holiness is very busy and therefore can’t attend.”
According to the new system that the dratshang is creating, His Holiness will not perform cremation rites for everyone, irrespective of who they are.
“It was not that His Holiness didn’t want to appear in a common place like the crematorium, but this system could give His Holiness adequate time to perform other important rituals, such as annual drupchen, melam chenmo, oral transmission, empowerments and blessings for the well being of all sentient beings,” said Lopen Samten Dorji. The zhung dorji lopen will instead conduct the cremation rites on behalf of His Holiness.
Meanwhile, the central monk body has initiated a ritual called zhiwai jinseg (burnt offering), where the names of the deceased are symbolically burnt. This zhiwai jinseg is performed by His Holiness at the Tendrelthang, behind the Tashichhodzong in Thimphu.
The zhiwai jinseg began yesterday in Thimphu. The symbolic burning of deceased names cleans all the negative merit and defilements accumulated by the deceased, which is then offered to the lord of death to free them from samsara and the intermediate state. According to a senior monk, His Holiness will perform these rites even at his residence if anyone requests it.
The three-day burnt offering ceremony ends tomorrow.
This is the second reform the zhung dratshang has initiated in recent years. In 2000, it did away with cash and meal offering to monks performing cremation rites. This had become a heavy burden for poor families, said Lopen Samten Dorji.
By Tenzin Namgyel