The Chod Practice

pilgrimagesThe Tibetan people have thousands of years of spiritual knowledge that is available for the opportunity to awaken.

I was blessed in my Tibetan shamanic studies to have learned the ancient practice of chod.

There was a holy woman named Machig Lopdron who lived in Tibet. In her deepest meditative¬† initiation she encountered facing a part of her mind that held fear. This was manifested as a Naga ( snake spirit). In her awakend state she “fed” the snake demon her body as food, so the suffering spirit could be satisfied. In so doing, she allowed the Naga to gain merit and lessened the karma or pain of the spirit.

This became the foundation of one of the most powerful spiritual practices for “cutting the chords” of fear, known as chod.

I have learned various forms of chod. The one I would like to share now is the original one I learned, which is a shamanic practice for healing the community.

When a shaman is ready for his initiation, they are taken into a hut or cave called the Guffa. It is there that the shaman opens and prays with his drum to awaken the “hungry ghosts” . These angry spirits, known as ” massan” are the spirits that have suffered and are lost. Many are angry and they are always hungry. They wonder with their mouths wide open, never finding what they want and need.

When these spirits are around, in the community there will be suffering, and they spread disease and misfortune.

When the shaman practices chod, it is like a major clean up and clearing of the land, and the shaman also gets healed.

It is called the ” Wise Selfishness,” because when one takes in more pain and suffering into the body and is able to transform the suffering, there is healing for all.

This is the practice I learned and can be done journeying or in a meditative state. It is called The Black Feast.

The North is the place of Transformation and Wisdom. Make an offering to the North and ask to meet the Red Goddess known as Ghang Selmo. Her name is also Devi and she lives in a Red Castle. Journey to her and ask for her blessings. Ask her to give you your Soul essence. Then, ask her if she will be the Goddess who will help you to do chod.

Ask Devi to take you to Machig for her blessing and for her protection.

Next, ask to be taken to the Guffa, near a graveyard. This is nine levels up. At the Guffa, ask to meet Guru Rinpoche who is the original Shaman. Come with an offering and ask for His blessings and protection to do chod.

Once you have your teachers, you are ready.

See yourself in the Guffa with your drum. Circle the hut with tobacco and rice as offerings. Make a spirit plate and put it outside the hut.

Invite Guru Rinpoche to come. See Him offering you a bowl of luminous light. Drink the nectar. See yourself merging with the light of the Guru.

You become the Luminous Light Body.

Say out loud,” With His light is the fire of loving kindness.”

Walk outside of the Guffa and see the massan.

Ask them to come and eat the offerings you made.  See all their suffering and energy as black soot. Inhale the dark energy. Keep inhaling till you are totally full of their pain.

See the Devi ( Goddess) come out of the Guffa and She begins to cut you up ( dismembers you) and places your entire body in a huge cauldron. See the massan eating as much as they can until they are satisfied.

When you know they are fed, ask the Goddess to take you to a place to be ” remembered.” It is in this place that you will be re-born as your luminous body with a renewed fire of compassion in your own heart.

By allowing the lost spirits to eat your luminous body, they are able to gain merit and possibly pass over to the light.

In the ending after you are purified, say a prayer of gratitude and dedicate the practice for the happiness of someone you know who may need healing, love or blessings.

You can do this chod practice for any place or situation that needs healing. If you are in conflict with a person or know a place where there has been devastation or suffering, you allow yourself in the Guffa to be taken there.

It is a deep act of compassionate service, and in doing so, opens your own heart and allows your own fear ( of your body dying) to be released.

All beings are transformed.