Mountain Burnt Offering Ritual
Translations | Training

Om svasti

This practice of the Mountain Burnt Offering follows the instructions from Lhatsün Rigdzin’s Life Practices1. Make a fire full of good fortune, that is, in a clean hearth or container, set afire whatever you have at hand: aromatic woods, resins, medicinal plants, the white and sweet foods, incense, powders, etc. Then sprinkle water on the fire.

Om ah hung

Refuge

Fierce and potent master of awareness, Pema Tötreng Tsal,2
Essence of all sources of refuge in the
      infinity of existence and peace,
In your form, the mandala of buddhas in
      all experience, potential and actual, is complete.
In order to free all beings from existence, I take refuge in you.
Repeat three times.

Awakening Mind

I form the intention so that
In ground presence, the absolute mystery, the sheer clarity

      of pristine awareness, the distortions of all beings are cleared away;
In awakened body, speech, and mind presence, the four visions unfold naturally,
And thus, in the youthful vase body, all beings are free.
Repeat three times.

The Seven-section Prayer

In natural awareness, direct and open, I pay homage.
In sheer clarity, limitless and unfathomable, I present offerings.
In the expanse where all experience, patterned and free, is in balance, I confess.
In the great end of experience beyond mind, I rejoice.
In the great completion, naturally present, I turn the wheel of teaching.
Uprooting patterned existence from its depths, I pray.
Utterly free from thinking about the three domains, I dedicate.

Generation of self

From the unceasing energy that arises from the realm of what is, the originally pure,
I take form as Pema Tötreng Tsal, reddish white, in the flower of youth,
My form blazing with the splendor of the major and minor marks, holding a vajra and skull-cup,
Handsome and majestic in robes and jewelry,
Commitment and awareness beings combined, in form the union of all buddhas,
The great and glorious lord of all experience, whether patterned or free.

Om ah hung vajra guru padma siddhi hung
Repeat a hundred times.

To purify the fire offerings:
Ram yam kham

In empty presence, the fire offerings appear — huge clouds made from oceans of pure liquid pristine awareness, wonderfully pleasing to every sense, spreading and filling the whole sky.

Charge the fire offerings with the three syllables and three repetitions of the sky-treasure mantra.

Om ah hung
Nama sarva tathagatabhyo vishvamukhebhye sarva thakham ungate saparana emam gagana kham svaha.3

Repeat three times.

Bhrum
In large shining vessels made of precious metals and jewels
The commitment offerings, all that gives pleasure in this world,
Are charged with the energy of the three syllables and become liquid pristine awareness,
Exciting the pleasurable sensations of all experience, patterned and free.

This offering I present to the gurus, deities, dakinis, and protectors,
And all the buddha mandalas in the ten directions,
The local deities of this world, the six kinds of beings, and the debt-collecting guests,
Particularly those who would take my life and steal my energy,

The malicious elemental spirits who inflict illness and interruptions,
Those who send bad portents and bad omens in dreams and symbols,
The eight kinds of unruly demons, the masters of illusions,
Those who have come to collect food, shelter, or wealth,

The forces of darkness and madness, the shades of men and women dead and gone,
Ghosts of the murdered, monastery ghosts, house ghosts, ghouls and vampires.
Burnt in these red flames, my debts are paid.
Pleasures rain down, giving everyone exactly what they want.

For as long as the sky is there
I share these infinite sensory pleasures with them.
May the bad and corrupt things I’ve done and will do,
Appropriating offerings for the Jewels, for the faithful, or for the dead,

Be cleared away by this offering fire and burnt offerings.
The tongues of flame touch every particle of what can be or is experienced.
May endless clouds of offerings, as in the aspirations of Ever-present Good,
Entirely fill the domains of the awakened.

These tongues of flame blaze with the offering rays of the five wisdom lights.
The light fills the six realms down to the depths of the deepest hells.
Those who go round and round in the three realms are freed in rainbow-light bodies.
May all beings wake up to their awake nature.

Om ah hung
Repeat a hundred or a thousand times or more.

The three dimensions of awakening, pure in their being,
Form the receptacle, an eternal castle of infinite space.
In it, all the matter of the world, potential and actual,
What is true, what is vivid, and what is there,

Melts and becomes liquid awareness,
Its blazing light filling the sky.
The essences of this pure liquid, drawn from all experience, patterned and free,
I share with all who have ever been my guest
From time without beginning until now.

May we acquire all the abilities of the ground, path, and fruition.
And clear away all disruptions in outlook, practice, and behavior.
In the infinite expanse of the wonderful mind of Ever-present Good,
May we take hold of eternal being in the youthful vase body.

And when the great sea of samsara is emptied
May we all become fully awake in the Lotus Web Supreme Realm.4

The fire offering of heaps and elements blazes brilliantly with radiant health.
The fire offering of white and red awakening mind blazes with bliss-emptiness.
The fire offering of emptiness and compassion fills the totality of experience.
On the ground of the five vajra lights,5 all experience, potential or actual, patterned or free,

I present the fire offering of naturally present complete awakening.
Past karmic debts — may they be cleared away.
Current breaches — I confess now so that they don’t continue.
Future clouding — may I not be caught in that cycle.

I confess all violations, conscious or unconscious
Of the vows and training
Of individual liberation, awakening being, and awareness holder
And the promises connected with the secret mantra.

May illness, disturbances, distortions and impurities be cleared away.
May the plagues, famines, and wars of this age be eased.

Barbarian attacks on the homeland — stop!Interruptions to the work of teachers — stop!
Bad portents for the good of the world — stop!
Shortening of life by planets, nagas, or kingly demons — stop!

The eight great threats and sixteen fears — stop!6
Bad fortune for me and those around me — stop!
The power and influence of commitment demons and self-interest demons — stop!

Dedication

May these offerings please the buddhas.
May they fulfill the desires of the oath-bound.
May they meet the wants of the six kinds of beings.
May they satisfy the owed and the resentful.

May they complete the generation of goodness and awareness.
May they clear away the two distortions7 and associated conditioning.
May we all attain the two pure forms.8

Through the power that comes from this enormous giving
May we awaken naturally in order to help beings.
May all beings who were not freed by earlier buddhas
Be freed by giving.

Any elemental demons who remain here,
Wherever you are, under the ground or on the ground or in the sky,
Always be loving and kind to all beings
And engage the Dharma day and night.

Through this goodness, may all beings
Complete the generation of goodness and wisdom.
May they attain the two pure forms
That arise from goodness and wisdom.

Like a wish-fulfilling gem or a magic tree,
May I fulfill the hopes of all beings
Without the tensions of effort or strain.
May everyone have the good fortune for their dreams to come true.

Jñana (Dudjom Rinpoche), an old city practitioner worn down by the years, drawing on the practice texts of different lengths that were already available, composed this daily practice liturgy as he wanted it to be. Translated by Ken McLeod.

  1. Lhatsün Rigdzin: an 18th century Nyingma tertön (treasure-revealer). []
  2. Pema Tötreng Tsal is one of several forms of Guru Padmasambhava. []
  3. Essentially, this mantra says “May these offerings fill the sky.” []
  4. A reference to the mythical domain of awakening associated with buddhahood. []
  5. In the Nyingma tradition, all experience is seen as arising from the groundless ground. The five vajra lights refers to the first level of arising of experience. []
  6. There are various lists of these threats and fears. One list for the eight threats is: the lion of pride, delusion’s elephant, the fire of anger, the snake of envy, the thieves of wrong views, the chain of avarice, attachment’s flood, or the fell demons of doubt. The sixteen fears are the fear of the five elements (earthquakes, floods, wind, fire, and fear of space), fear of weapons, tyrannous authority, criminals, spirits, elephants, wild animals, poisonous animals, sickness, accidents and untimely death, poverty, and frustrations of hopes and plans. []
  7. The distortion of conceptual knowing and the distortion of emotional reaction (usually translated as “obscurations”). []
  8. The form of what is (dharmakaya) and the form of what appears (rupakaya). []