Monday, December 15, 2014

Tantric Buddhist Fire Spoons (火供灌杓)

This set of fire spoon is used in Yamantaka subjugation ritual (大威德金刚诛法火供).
The above picture is a set of rare tantric Buddhist iron fire spoons meant for subjugation rituals only. Unlike the Hindu homa ritual that uses only one fire spoon; tantric Buddhism uses two fire spoons: the male is for pouring oil or offering substances into fire, while the female is used to offer/pour oil/stuffs into the male element.


The triangle shape is the male and the round represents the female element of wrathful deities. An ordinary practitioner would have only one set of fire spoons for general use but a monastery can have up to 4 sets of fire spoons. One set each for the 4 activities:

·         Pacification (息灾) activity requires silver fire spoons

·         Increase (增益) activity requires yellow bronze fire spoons

·         Attract (怀爱) activity requires copper fire spoons

·         Subjugate (降服) activity requires iron fire spoons


Since killing of spirits are prohibited in Buddhist doctrine, iron fire spoons are quite rare to come by and rarely being used. This is because using iron as offering container to spirits will harm the spirits and this is not a friendly gesture. But I would recommend a practitioner to at least keep a pair of fire spoons for general uses and another pair of spoons for subjugation rituals. Well, you will never know when you need them. Believe me, when you need one; you will never find them on time.


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