Rapné is a consecration ritual. It comes from the Sanskrit term pratiṣṭhita – in which prati means good or well and sthita to remain or sustain. Thus, it is basically a process of inviting the enlightened spirits of the Buddhas to abide or remain well in the sacred objects.
When one has a sacred object such as a statue or a temple or even a small thing like a prayer flag produced, then one has to do rapné – in order to invoke the blessings of the Buddha and give that object more spiritual power. Theoretically, the sacred objects such as statues or temples are physical representations of the Buddha or place of the Buddha. They are instrumental in reminding us of the enlightened state of the Buddha and moral values they embody. Thus, the objects perform the liberative roles even without being consecrated and are considered holy.
However, it is a common belief in Bhutan that if the objects are not consecrated, some of them can become possessed by evil spirits or negative forces. They become the home of some harmful spirits. The evil spirits possess them to both enjoy the offerings made to these objects and also to influence the worshippers. There are many stories of how evil spirits, which possessed holy objects, enjoyed being worshipped by the devotees and also exercised negative influence on them. The ritual of rapné is conducted in order to avoid this and invest positive power in the sacred objects. The holy object is injected with spiritual power so that the connection people make with the object is always a positive one.