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Editorial Reviews. About the Author. Maxwell Irving studied Buddhism, shamanism, Tibetan history, Tibetan, and critical theory in Religious Studies while.
Table of contents
- What is Chod
- wesatimunogo.cf: The Ritual of Chöd in Tibetan Religion (): Maxwell Irving: Books
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Traditionally, once the yogini has found a wild and lonely spot, which is supposed to be a place that seems imbued with power or reportedly haunted by spirits, not to mention wild beasts, she sets up a tent. Erecting this tent is not a casual act—it is done ritually, and each of the four tent-pegs is driven into the ground, while mindful of the symbolic act of empowering the four directions: As night falls, the yogini will begin to sing the ancient melodious chant, signifying the start of the meditation. She must face the spirits of nature, the "elementals," and the ghosts of the dead, which the ritual evokes, and dominate them; or, failing that, be dominated in turn, which might mean becoming possessed, possibly leading to madness or even death.
According to the beliefs of psychic and Tibetan mystics, the physical world perceived by our five senses is only a small portion of the total reality in which we live. All around us are invisible entities; types of "beings" or "spirits" which we cannot see. These entities exist in parallel, but separate, dimensions or worlds of their own. Nevertheless all these "parallel" realms are part of the same planet. For example, what appears as a river to us, might seem to be a current of color and energy within the realm of the Shining Devas. Again the same river would seem to be something like a current of molten iron lava to an evil spirit, or "demon", trapped in its own self-created hell.
For just like human beings, so too spirits can be either good or evil. A good spirit is one which radiates love outwards from itself towards all others with whom it is connected.
What is Chod
And the "higher" the type of spirit, the more it is intrinsically connected with all sentient beings. An evil spirit, on the other hand, is one which has become closed upon itself, isolated from the whole, and lives tightly turned inwards on its own neurosis. The tighter and darker becomes the suffering of that spirit, the more demonic its nature.
According to the Buddha our planet consists of six parallel "levels" of existence, or six bio-zones. If we look at this from our human perspective, we can, for example, talk of the mineral realm, the vegetable realm, the animal realm and the human realm. But is that all? According to the Sages, there is also a twilight or astral realm parallel with the vegetable realm, which is called the ghost realm. This is not a terribly bad zone to experience, but it does seem to be a place of great longing and considerable confusion. The mental state of this ghost realm is dream like, grey, vegetative, and filled with a yearning hunger.
There are better places indeed to find oneself after death, and indeed, the sages say that one such place is the superior astral, or "heavenly" realm, where the consciousness emerges as a shining spirit called an angel, or Deva. Angels are classified, in Buddhism, into two categories.
wesatimunogo.cf: The Ritual of Chöd in Tibetan Religion (): Maxwell Irving: Books
What we might call inferior angels and superior angels. In Christianity these two orders are known as angels and archangels. In Judaism they have long been called beni-Elohim sons of the gods and Elohim gods. The ancient Buddhist terminology is very close to the latter, since in Buddhism we call these spirits Devaputra also called Asuras , which literally means "sons of the Devas," and Devas or Suras. The word "deva" or "sura" literally means a "shining being". Where do the Devas live?
Those adepts who can see with clairvoyant sight the higher vibrational levels, experience the Devas as luminous, vaguely humanoid forms of intelligence, seemingly abiding in the mountains and in forest groves or in ethereal paradises. In most cases, however, these shining spiritual beings appear to live "above" the physical plane; when we experience them, they seem to "come down" to our plane, so as to commune with us. Temples and shrines are also viewed as places where these Devas appear to come down to earth, as if in a sense these sacred "power places" are inter-dimensional portals between the physical and nonphysical world.
After death, according to the Buddhist view, a being can take birth in any of the six realms. Thus, in one's next existence, once death has occurred to the body, you might find yourself emerging into a fresh luminous existence as an Asura-spirit in a heaven-like realm of color, scent and musical rhythm.
Or, if tortured by unresolved issues from harmful actions which one has done, you may emerge as a dark, violent Demonic-spirit, in the discordant realm described as hell.
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There are six possible destinies for the consciousness of one who has just died. Now, these six destinies or bio-zones of this our planetary world, according to the Tibetan system, are as follows:. It may be noted that the Lha and Lha-ma-yin dwell in what people of different cultures have all described as "heaven realms. And ghosts and demons apparently roam what might be called "the lower astral" domain. When animal's die, they too may become elemental spirits chained to the physical location where death occurred.
These unseen entities are the Elementals spoken of by occultists and clairvoyants. These are the fairies and sprites of folklore. In Tibetan teachings they are sometimes categorized as follows:. But there are many other types of elemental spirits mentioned in Buddhist lore, too.
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There are the Mi-'am-c'i Kinnara , or lovely celestial musicians, and the Srin-po Rakshasa which appear as dangerous fire elementals. There are ' Byung-po Bhuta and harmful Sa-za pisaca , spirits of the jungle, the cremation grounds and the forest, which can cause misfortune, or disease, or insanity.
And there are the Gyalpo and the Tsen , powerful ghosts of slain heroes and Lama-sorcerers, who have died unfulfilled or with a curse on their lips; it is said their thirst for power and vengeance lives on. Do these good and evil spirits lha-dre actually exist, or are they but the imagination of a more primitive culture? The decision has to be yours.
Science does not appear to have proved, as yet, the existence of parallel realms, invisible to our telescopes, microscopes and measuring devices. As one grows spiritually, an awareness of disincarnate and non-incarnate entities is one of the features that the mystic develops. But the truth of this experience cannot be proven nor demonstrated to the skeptic.
It is simply something that one has to experience and judge for oneself — no one else can say whether it is true or not. The same goes for death. What happens after death? Some people believe that when the body dies, so does the person, the mind and the consciousness. According to this way of thinking, mind is the product of the physical brain, and when the brain dies, that is the end. The religions of the world, on the other hand, have all taught that after death our experience continues.
But the different religions are by no means in complete agreement concerning "how" that continuation will take place.
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Some insist that the entity will never again return to a human incarnation. Some, though they admit we may be reborn as a human person again, deny the idea that we can descend to an animal level of rebirth. So there are differing opinions. Buddhism describes a world in which the mineral "hell" realm is at the bottom of the ladder of evolution, so to speak, and the "deva" realm at the top. I am the yogi who has these three kinds of chod practice. It is practiced worldwide following dissemination by the Tibetan diaspora.
Commentary on the practice of Tchod. In , Tsultrim Allione, a recognised incarnation of Machig Lapdron published a book entitled Feeding Your Demons , describing a 5 step practice inspired by the Chod practice she has studied since the early s.
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Notify me of new comments via email. According to tibetologist Jerome Edou Chod practitioners were often associated with the role of shaman and exorcist: Hence they were also known as kusulu or kusulupa that is, studying texts rarely whilst focusing on meditation and praxis: They are described in an evocation sung to Nyama Paldabum by Milarepa: Primary Sources Machik Labdron: Benard, Elisabeth Anne The Cult of Tara.
One hagiography asserts that that directly after this debate with Mo Ho Yen, as Kamalashila was making his way down from the Himalaya to the Indian lowlands, he was incited to enact phowa "practice of conscious dying" through compassionate duress, transferring his mindstream to animate a corpse polluted with contagion; and thereby, safely moving the hazard it presented.
As the mindstream of Kamalashila was otherwise engaged, a Mahasidda by the name of Padampa Sangye came across the vacant kuten or "physical basis" of Kamalashila.
Padampa Sangye, was not karmically blessed with an aesthetic corporeal form, and upon finding the very handsome and healthy empty body of Kamalashila, which he perceived as a newly dead fresh corpse, transferred his mindstream into Kamalashila's body. The mindstream of Kamalashila upon endeavoring to return to his kuten was unable to do so and resorted by necessity to the vacant body of Padampa Sangye.
Although she established the practice in Tibet, and developed unique approaches to its practice, the core practice did not originate with her. Vajrakilaya are employed to demarcate the kyil khor of the offering and to affix the Five Wisdoms Tibetan: The polysemic symbol and tantric tool and attribute of the mindstream that the kartika signifies is entwined with the skullcap, anitya and the makara:. It is usually present as a pair, together with the skullcup, filled with wisdom nectar.
On a more simple level, the skull is a reminder of our impermanence. Between the knife and the handle is a makara-head, a mythical monster.