The dramatic practice of chöd, in which the yogin visualizes giving his or her own sacrificed body to the gods and demons as a way to cut the attachment to self and ordinary reality, offers an intense and direct confrontation with the central issues of the spiritual path. The chöd practices of the Bön tradition, a tradition that claims pre-Buddhist origins in the mysterious western lands of Zhang-zhung Tazig and Olmolungrig, are still almost entirely unknown.
News & Reviews
"Alejandro Chaoul provides a scholarly, well-informed, and illuminating introduction to chöd in the Bön tradition, telling us much along the way of other aspects of Bön tantra and spiritual life, and of the wider context of the chöd practices within Tibet. His work is an important contribution to our knowledge of these fascinating and attractive modes of spiritual practice."—Geoffrey Samuel, author of The Origins of Yoga and Tantra: Indic Religions to the Thirteenth Century and Civilized Shamans
"Drawing on both Tibetan primary texts and the living oral tradition, Chaoul provides us with the most complete picture yet of the history and practice of Bön chöd to appear in a Western language. . . . A major contribution to the literature of both Bön and chöd."—José Ignacio Cabezón, XIV Dalai Lama Professor of Tibetan Buddhism and Cultural Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara
"In the last few years, the interest in chöd has suddenly re-emerged, and a few books have been written about it from the Buddhist perspective. Chaoul's work on chöd from the Bön's perspective could not be more timely. His thorough analysis of this syncretic and fascinating religious practice and the use of the metaphor of cutting as a way to go beyond assumed boundaries provides a broader picture of chöd and sheds light on the interrelation of Buddhism and Bön."—Giacomella Orofino, Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhism, University of Naples
"Chaoul's book offers a comprehensive intellectual understanding of chöd and its origins within both the Bön and Buddhist traditions, and as such will have great benefit for scholars as well as for those who wish to engage in chöd as a daily ritual or meditation practice. . . . Through this ancient and profound practice, anyone who is able to recognize their own fear—whether its source is external or internal—can face that fear, challenge it, and overcome it. Ultimately fear becomes a tool to cultivate enlightened qualities. . . . An excellent contribution."—Tenzin Wangyal, author of Healing with Form, Energy, and Light and The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep
"Fascinating subject. . . . Documents the unique combination of meditation and shamanic rites that go beyond ego and literally invite our most fearful aspects to the light of day. . . . This is a valuable addition to the Tibetan Buddhist library."—New Age Retailer