The Teachings of Yogi Chen on
Performing the Ritual of Fire Sacrifice to Jesus
Part I. Preparation

CW40: No.123

Narrated and reviewed by Dr. Yutang Lin
Written by Dr. Juan Bulnes


The Buddhist Yogi C. M. Chen has written in Chinese, a book on Tantric Fire Sacrifices which contains not only detailed discussions on various aspects of the subject but also eight rituals of Fire Sacrifices to various Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and Protectors. Five among these rituals have been translated into English and presented in the Chenian Booklet Series. They cover the pacifying, increasing and inducing aspects of Holy Karma. Nevertheless, Yogi Chen's teachings on how to prepare for, as well as to perform these Fire Sacrifices have not been made available to the English readers yet. Now we present a detailed record, as narrated by Yutang Lin who has attended more than forty various fire sacrifices and received all these teachings from Yogi Chen, on how to perform the Fire Sacrifice to the Five Saints of Christianity (cf. Chenian Booklet Series New No. 122), also known as the Fire Sacrifice to Jesus. We hope that many English readers will use and benefit from this knowledge of the practical aspects of the fire rituals.

A. Preparations at Home

Before the day of the Puja, the practitioner must make sure that every detail has been properly prepared. The following check list can be used.

  1. Items for the altar table.
    1. The image: a picture of Jesus on the Cross. (For Easter a picture of Jesus ascending to Heaven may be used instead.)
    2. The eight offerings:
      (1&2)Two cups of water;
      (3)One flower;
      (4)Two green incense cones and an incense burner;
      (5)A candle;
      (6)One cup of perfume (e.g. some cologne);
      (7)Food (use five peanuts), and
      (8)A small musical instrument that can be consumed by fire (e.g. a bamboo flute).
    3. Cut one croissant in half; keep one half for the vegetarian gods; prepare the other half for the carnivorous gods,as follows: paint it with red food coloring, while thinking of the five kinds of meat (elephant, horse, hog, dog, human) and repeating "OhmAh-Hung." Wrap the colored half to prevent coloring the other half. Place them in a container.
    4. Matches to light the incense.
  2. Items for the Master's table.
    1. A Bell and Dorje and small drum.
    2. The Dharma instrument with one layer containing rice and the other two layers mustard seeds. (See the explanations about the Master's table; the lowest layer holds rice, and some of it will be offered to the Goddess of Earth; the middle layer holds mustard seeds, and some will be used for protection before making the Vajra Net mudra; the upper layer of mustard seeds is not used, and it symbolizes protection for the other two layers.)
    3. The ritual text.
    4. The pair of Vajra dippers.
    5. Four auspicious grass stems and seven yellow sandalwood incense sticks.
    6. One auspicious grass stem to be used for inviting the presence of the God of Fire.
    7. A small fan consisting of a piece of white cloth (e.g. 2"4" by 9"12") with a green seed word YANG ( ) at its center, attached to two small sticks; it will be used for the rite of fanning the fire.
  3. Items for the fire altar.
    1. Forty logs, 2" by 2" by 1.5', to make the pyre. It is better if the bottom eight of these logs are a bit damp, so the pyre will stand longer.
    2. One candle for starting the fire.
    3. White flour to draw the mandala on the fire altar.
    4. Newspapers.
    5. If available, wax clogs from used candles, wrapped in newspaper, to be placed in the pyre in order to help start the fire.
    6. Pine branches as starter, if available. (some Christmas tree shops give them away)
    7. Dry twigs as starter.
    8. Dry woods to be added in the center during the fire sacrifice.
    9. Kitchen gloves may come in handy.
  4. Items for the offering table.
    1. Table cloth.
    2. Five cups.
    3. Plates (ideally one for each offering).
    4. A plastic bag for the honey.
  5. Other items.
    1. The nectar jar. (This nectar jar will be used by the attendant to spray some nectar on the offerings in the three places, i.e. the altar table, offering table, and fire altar, when the master blesses the offering. If there is no attendant, the master should do the spraying before taking his seat. Exercise utmost care that it not be spilled during the ceremony; for example, place it securely in a box under the offering table.)
    2. A white metal board with the gold color seed word BANG ( ) of Water Element on it, to prevent fire hazards.
    3. Sticks to stir the fire during ceremony.
    4. A can opener.
    5. Water to put out the ashes.
    6. Shovels, brooms and a dust pan for cleaning and a box with cover for removing the ashes after the ceremony.
    7. If there are crows in the place, take them some meat such as liver, intestines, brains.
  6. Basic offering items.
    1. A plant: use a Poinsettia for Christmas, or a White Lily plant for Easter.
    2. One box of black sesame seeds and two boxes of mustard seeds.
    3. 5 bananas and 5 pears (or 5 apples).
    4. Five kinds of grain. White and green colors are preferable for this puja, e.g. green split peas, small white beans, rice, lima beans, great Northern beans.
    5. Three sweets: white sugar, golden brown sugar, and honey. Take a plastic bag to pour the honey into it prior to the performance.
    6. Three whites: one small box of milk or half and half, one white round cheese, and one box of butter.
    7. One long salami (symbolizing a dorje) and two large white onions.
    8. One large and long loaf of bread that has not been sliced into pieces.
    9. Candies: a stick full of those in coin-shape with golden wrapping is best suited. Also mint candies.
    10. Two bags of pistachio, white and red.
    11. Noodles or spaghetti. (symbolizing longevity)
    12. Dates. (The Chinese word for dates sounds like the Chinese word for "early, soon"; it can symbolize one's supplication that the prayer be quickly realized.)
    13. Two kinds of cookies, preferably white, in shapes like dorje and bell, respectively.
    14. One bag of peanuts. (The Chinese word for peanuts sounds like the Chinese word for "born of Dharma.")
    15. Thirty whole walnuts. (Twenty five constitute the basic offering; the other five are for the offering to the God of Fire.)
    16. White coconut flakes.
    17. A salami in red wrapping, to pray for being safe from venereal diseases.
    18. Oil: 24 fluid ounces of peanut oil.
    19. A cloth, white and shiny, made preferably of silk, measuring two feet by five yards, or four feet by two and a half yards. (if of another standard width, adjust the length to compensate)
    20. Two rolls of thread, red and white, respectively, and seven long needles. (representing wind and nerve practice)
    21. Gold leaf. (solid gold, being incombustible, cannot be offered in a fire sacrifice)
  7. Additional, discretionary items.
    1. Food items that are white or round. (preferably both)
    2. More flowers.
    3. More candies. (e.g. more gold coin wrapped chocolate, some golden wrapped chocolate bars that look like gold bars)
    4. Incense. (but not too much; the emphasis of this puja is on fire, not on smoke)
  8. Items particular to this Puja.
    1. Prepare fourteen crosses with red candles. (12" and 6" or 8" are recommended; use a knife to carve a bit and join them preferably with paper strip, rather than rubber bands which smell when burning)
    2. A box of oats.
    3. A can of fish.
    4. One bottle of brandy; it will symbolize wine. (brandy is preferred over wine because it will not extinguish the fire)
    5. Five round cakes made with butter, 8" in diameter, each on a plate.
    6. Whipped cream in a pressurized dispenser can; it will be used, when the cakes are already on the offering table, to make crosses on top of them.

B. Preparations in Place

Before starting the ceremony, the practitioner must prepare and arrange many details to ensure a smooth performance. The preparation of the altar table, the fire altar, the offering table, and the master's table will be discussed in turn. The disposition of these tables is depicted in Figure 1. There should be sufficient space between the tables and the edge of the platform, to allow for the circumambulation outside these tables. Also the Bija for protection from fire must be placed; this is discussed near the end.

B.1 The altar table is placed a few meters away from the fire altar, in the magnetic East direction.

  1. Place the image of Christ on the altar table, facing the fire altar. We usually cover the image with a cloth over its edges; hold the ends of the cloth with small stones (so it will not be blown away).
  2. Place the eight offerings in front of the image, in the order indicated below. Note that the distance between two offerings should be kept at the length of one long rice.

    (1) Two cups of water. (These are the objects closest to your left hand, when you face the image.)
    (2) A flower. (Leave a small stem so it can be held by a stone placed on the stem.)
    (3) Two incense cones. (Preferably of green color, these two cones are usually burned in a rectangular incense burner placed in the center, directly in front of the image.)
    (4) A small candle. (Do not light it; the candle is usually white in color and without aroma.)
    (5) A cup of cologne or perfume.
    (6) Five peanuts. (or some kind of food)
    (7) A musical instrument. (A small bamboo flute is easy to use and it burns well.)

  3. Place the two halves of a croissant at the side of the image, on your right hand side.

B.2 The Fire Altar

  1. Use white flour to draw the circles representing the mandala, on the base of the fire altar. There is one large outer circle that contains small circles of equal size. Place yourself opposite the image, facing it, and draw these circles in the following order.

    (1) Large outer circle. (This is the circle inscribed in the square formed by the edges of the base; at the same time, it will be approximately the circle that circumscribes the square formed by the bottom fire logs.)
    (2) Small inner circle at the center. (Its diameter is at most one third of that of the outer circle.)
    (3) Draw the next four circles in the following order: top, bottom, your left, your right; these circles touch the two concentrical circles and have the same diameter as the inner circle.
    (4) The next four circles are inscribed between the outer circle edge, the inner circle edge, and two contiguous circles among those drawn in the previous step; these circles would be drawn in the following sequence: start with your upper left, and continue clockwise: your upper right, lower right, lower left.
    (5)Finally draw a cross inside the inner circle in the middle.

  2. Build the pile of (exactly) forty fire logs; the base logs are parallel to the cardinal directions; it is a good idea to use slightly damp logs for the bottom eight, so the base will be consumed more slowly. While building the pile, fill the center with some dry branches to start the fire, also paper, and some paper that contain candle wax (such as can be obtained from the remains of burned candles). But do not fill up all space near the top; that space is needed in order to put in the lit candle and burning newspapers when starting the fire. Place the candle in the corner. Also remember to place some newspapers around the bottom, through the interstices of the woods; it is good to pour a few drops of oil on these newspapers.

B.3 The Offering Table

  1. Place at the center of the table the offering of five cakes and five cups of brandy. On the cakes make a cross with whipped cream. The cakes will be offered together with brandy to the Five Saints and placed on the table in the following order:

    (1) The Holy Spirit at the center.
    (2) The Father on the right of the Holy Spirit.
    (3) The Son on the left of the Holy Spirit.
    (4) The Holy Mother on the right of the Father.
    (5) The Holy Disciples on the left of the Son.

  2. The following principles ought to be considered when arranging the other offerings on the table.

    (1) Place nearer to the front those items that are offered first, such as the black sesame, the mustard and the plate of offerings to the God of Fire.
    (2) Place pairs and groups of related offerings together; for example, the Dorje and Bell pairs (two kinds of cookies, banana and round fruit, salami and white onions), and the groups of the five grains, the three sweets, and the three whites.
    (3) If possible, use one plate for each offering .
    (4) Make every offering ready for the fire; for example, pour the honey into a plastic bag or paper cup.

  3. The following items will be offered first:

    (1) The plate of the God of Fire,
    (2) The black sesame and the mustard seeds;
    (3) The five cakes and five cups of brandy, in pairs.

  4. Some of the other items are mentioned in the ritual and will be offered accordingly. (See Part II, on performance of the ceremony.)
  5. Other items, which are not mentioned, will be offered when appropriate, considering, among other things, the progress of the fire, so as to keep it going during the ceremony.
  6. The fourteen stations should be done near the end, because of the time required for this part of the ritual. One cross is offered after the stanza of each station has been recited. The attendant should keep these crosses close to the Master's seat.
  7. The milk is offered after the fourteen stations. It is poured in circles in and around the fire, symbolizing that the offering is also for Jesus' attending angels.
  8. Then, at last, the eight offerings from the altar table are offered into the fire in order. The three cups should be put back flat on the table after being offered. (By now the incenses have burned down to ashes, so they need not be brought to the fire.)

B.4 The Master's Table

The master's table is placed opposite the altar table, and the fire altar is in the middle of the straight line between the master's table and the altar table. The master's seat will face the fire. During the ritual the master will use the following objects and Dharma instruments, which should now be placed on the table.

  1. At the center in front of the master is the book or leaflets with the ritual text.
  2. At the rightmost edge of the table (on the master's right) are a pair of Vajra dippers.
  3. The following Dharma instruments are placed in the area behind the prayer book, from left to right:

    (1) The drum;
    (2) The Dorje and the Bell (Set them up with crossed hands; the Dorje and Bell are always handled together with crossed hands; when you put them on or take them from the table, always cross your right hand, holding the Dorje, above your left hand, holding the Bell);
    (3) The holder of the mustard and rice.

  4. At the leftmost edge of the table is a bundle with four stems of auspicious grass and seven yellow incense; the bundle is wrapped in paper. (Note: ideally the bundle would consists of eight grass stems and three incense sticks, but we may use incense sticks instead of the four grass stems that form the Holy seats.)
  5. Next to it, towards the master's seat, the small fan with the letter YANG, symbolizing the wind.
  6. Near the Vajra dippers on the right, one can place three or five stones to be used for holding the leaves of the ritual book as well as those objects on the left when the wind is strong; or the ritual book can be held under a piece of transparent glass, cut to size)

B.5 The Letter for Protection from Fire

The board with the letter BANG is placed before the Master's table, facing towards the fire altar, for protection from fire hazards.

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