Chöd practice is a practice developed by a Tibetan woman teacher named Machig Labdrön in the 11th century.
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What is Chöd?
Chöd is a confrontation process with fear and then pushing through it to achieve freedom.
In other words, Chöd is a practice of feeding, not fighting, that which assails us.
In the traditional practice, you are transforming your body into a nectar and then feeding it a series of guests (fears).
Who can practice Chöd?
The type of person who would practice the traditional chöd practice would be somebody already fairly mature in their practice.
It is a practice of enhancement so in a way, chöd practice is a way to test yourself, to test your development and your understanding, because traditionally you put yourself in “difficult places.”
For that reason the practitioner needs to be somewhat mature.
However in the West today, there are people who are not particularly mature practitioners doing chöd practice.
For those people it is recommended to do it from the comfort of their own home in an environment where they have support.
However for somebody to really practice Chöd according to the Tibetan tradition, it is challenging and requieres to be supervised by an experienced teacher.
How to practice Chöd?
There are retreats and pilgrimages in India and Nepal where you go in places such as caves that are meant to trigger fear, practice and sleep there all night.
During this process Tsultrim Allione realized her attachment to the body through the fear of what could happen to it.
To make the body offering creates a tremendous potential power of liberation from that fundamental fear of, “Am I going to survive?”
Letting that go and making offering with the energy of that fear is very powerful.
Feeding Your Demons
Tsultrim Allione has developed “Feeding Your Demons,” which you could say is a Western form of Chöd.
It’s a five-step process to essentially do the same thing, but using more Western modalities.