Andzin Rinpoche officiated the annual Akshobhya fire ritual offered on the penultimate day of the Monlam. Buddha Akshobhya symbolizes overcoming negative emotions such as anger and hatred towards other sentient beings and the ritual is believed to have a strong purifying effect. During the Monlam, attendees can submit the names of both living and deceased for inclusion in this ritual.
1. The puja requires much preparation including a pacification mandala at the base of the fire.
2. Well ahead of the puja, a monk concentrates on preparation of the mandala.
3. The pacification mandala is completed.
4. Monks prepare the fire over the pacification mandala.
5. A shrine is set up in front of a scroll painting of the Buddha Akshobhya, one of the wisdom Buddhas.
6. Andzin Rinpoche officiates the ritual on the portico of Tegar.
7. He is supported by monks, nuns, and members of the lay community who have received the Akshobhya empowerment, completed the Akshobhya training, and practice retreat.
8. Andzin Rinpoche offers the parasol, one eight auspicious symbols. All eight symbols – the sacred knot, the Dharma wheel, the lotus, the victory banner, the parasol, the vase, the conch, and golden fish are offered.
9. Rinpoche lights the offering fire.
10. Rinpoche and the monks, nuns, and members of the lay community recite the ritual as the offerings burn.
11. The fire outside is lit and Rinpoche adds the names of the leaving and deceased to it.
12. The names that have been written down by participants over the course of the Monlam are consumed by flames.
13. Participants look on from the courtyard of Tergar as Rinpoche and monks add names into the blazing fire.
14. The fire grows until the final names are submitted.
15. Monlam attendees circumambulate around the fire chanting and making prayers.