The zhiwai jinsreg (ཞི་བའི་སྦྱིན་སྲེག་) is a fire rite. Fire rites in general mean visualization of deities, reciting mantras and in the process burning various ingredients. There are four different kinds of fire rites namely, zhiwai jinsreg, gyepai jinsreg, wangi jinsreg and drakpoi jinsreg. This could be conducted by invoking the blessings of Lama Guru Drakpo or wrathful form of Guru Rinpoche, Dechhog Khorlo Dompa or Chakrasamvara, Mithrugpa or Buddha Aksobya and Chenregzig or Avalokiteshvara.
Zhiwai jinsreg, if conducted for the living people, helps to prevent epidemics, harmful affects by evil spirits, famine and in general the negativities that have a bearing on the external, internal and secret wellbeing of the people and in fulfillment of the aspirations of life. If it is conducted for the deceased, it helps to wash away all the sins accumulated during many life forms. The person’s soul will be saved from the sufferings of both the intermediate and the lower realms of existence whereby, it can attain a higher birth (to be born in the high realms) and subsequently enlightenment.
Therefore, zhiwai jinsreg is a sacred rite which is considered extremely beneficial for both the living and deceased people. His Holiness the 70th Je Khenpo Trulku Jigme Chhoedra along with the Central Monk body have initiated a tradition of it being performed on a grand scale from 2009.
The reasons for conducting the fire rite are:
1. To help prevent epidemics, famine, strife/wars and natural disasters the world over.
2. The second important reason is that His Holiness the Je Khenpo has little time to conduct funeral rites for their dead as against the wishes of many people. Apart from having to conduct numerous essential traditional ceremonies for the good of the nation, the changing times have been increased workload and responsibilities for His Holiness. Therefore, the rite is an initiative born of the compassion of His Holiness for all deceased souls-cleaning recitations, blessings and prayers of dedication are carried out on a grand scale.
Ingredients served into the fire during the rite and their benefits are given below:
1. Fuel wood for enhancing personality.
2. Oil for increasing prosperity.
3. White mustard seed for washing away sins.
4. Yellow mustard seed for warding off affects by evil spirits.
5. Rice for increasing wealth.
6. White rice for bringing good fortunes.
7. Barely seed for increasing power.
8. White beans for enhancing power and authority.
9. White buckwheat for preventing illness.
10. Curd mixed with other food items for economic prosperity.
11. Dhurva grass for longevity.
12. Kusha grass for safeguarding from all negativities.
13. Bilwa fruit for wish fulfillment.
14. Medicinal collections for overcoming diseases and illnesses.
15. White flower for good health.
16. Areca nut for enhancing tastes.
17. Silk and brocades for getting chance to wear all kinds of dress materials.
Phub Dorji Wang is a freelance writer on Bhutanese religion and culture and frequently write on facebook to educate Bhutanese public.