It was the first time in the fire official’s long tenure with the City of Columbus Fire Prevention Division that he was asked to approve an Open Burning Permit for a Tibetan Buddhist fire offering ceremony. He had approved fire ceremonies for Native American tribes, but never for an hours-long bonfire to make offerings to bless a vacant lot near downtown Columbus.
But the official did give the OK, and in April 2019, Columbus KTC conducted the very first Tibetan Buddhist fire offering ceremony in downtown Columbus history.
Khenpo Karma Tenkyong, Lama Karma Drodhul, Lama Zopa Tarchin, Lama Sonam and Cherry Qu drove all the way from our “home” monastery at Karma Triyana Dharmachakra in Woodstock, NY to help us put on the ceremony, part of the land blessing and groundbreaking ceremonies for our new temple in Franklinton. They brought juniper twigs, special grains and incenses, and mixed them all together to create a fragrant and beautiful offering for the fire.
With the Columbus skyline in the background, more than 100 people gathered under a tent pitched and “carpeted” with Astroturf and outfitted with cushions, carpets and puja tables. Don Fortner loaned us his shrine shelves, and we assembled a shrine that included images from our fire-damaged building, along with beautiful Mahakala protector torma sculptures brought from KTD just for the occasion. Lamas from around the area gathered with the KTD crew and led a beautiful two-part ceremony to bless and consecrate the land.
After a lunch break for the lamas at the Idea Foundry in Franklinton, we gathered again to chant the Mahakala protector puja. Just after the afternoon smoke offering ended, tiny raindrops began falling on the tent. The wet weather held off just long enough for us to bless our property!
Want to re-live the excitement of the day? Here’s a link to Lama Kathy’s Flickr page, including photos from Don Fortner, Tanya Schroeder and others.
May all beings benefit, and may the blessings of the day endure!