Other Tibetan Buddhist Traditions: Bön | Gelug | Jonang | Kalachakra | Kagyu | Kadam | Nyingma | Sakya | Zhije & Chöd

Chöd, which literally means ‘cutting’ or ‘severance’ in Tibetan, is attributed to the 11th century yogini Machik Labdron, a disciple of Dampa Sangye (often referred to as ‘Padampa Sangye’). Grounded in the fundamental principles of emptiness described in the Prajñaparamita (Perfection of Wisdom) Sutras, the basis of chöd is set within the intent to disable any hinderances to realizing true nature. The practice of chöd, is performed with the use of ritual musical instruments, and perhaps more importantly, involves a stable meditative mind and complex visualizations aimed toward liberation from ego grasping. While chöd is a Vajrayana practice, it is nonetheless rooted in the bodhisattva vow to practice for the sake of others, open one’s heart to genuine freedom, and serve to benefit others on the Buddhist path. Being Vajrayana in nature, it is highly recommended to practice chöd only with the guidance of a qualified teacher.

Chöd is first and foremost a method for releasing the fixation on the intrinsic reality of a self and of phenomena. In that sense, it is not different from any other practice of Buddhism. I once asked Thrangu Rinpoche about how Chöd (gchod) differed from Chös (chos, “Dharma”), and he said it was the same—only more so. Chöd is distinctive in its radical methods of intensifying obsession and inducing emotional upheavals and apparitions of fear, the better to observe and sever them.

-Sara Harding’s Introduction to her translation, Machik’s Complete Explanation

Books on Chöd and Zhije

Latest Release in Chöd

Anam Thubten"Before learning the specific rituals of Chöd, we need to set the right motivation for engaging in the practice. We have to ask ourselves, “Why am I doing Chöd in the first place?” Genuine motivation is the wish to cut through self-grasping and drop the chain of duality, hope, and fear. It is the wish to be completely free and to develop boundless compassion and love, which radiates to all beings. It is the intention to be truly honest with ourselves, to see our own inner poisons, to be willing to cut identification with them, and to help others wake up to their own innate wisdom. When we aspire to practice Chöd, it is important to look inward and make the vow,  'May I enter this path, reveal inner demons, cut identification with
them, and develop love and compassion for the benefit of others.'”

–Anam Thubten Rinpoche from Into the Haunted Ground

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