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WHAT IS CHÖD?

Chöd was originated in the 12th century by Machig Labdron (1062-1153 C.E.), a highly realized female lama. The purpose of the practice was to develop wisdom and compassion; to heal the sick, remove obstacles, and purify an environment of negative forces using peaceful means.

Chöd takes a nonviolent yet radical approach to healing by welcoming negative mental states and harmful forces. These are referred to in the tradition as internal and external “demons (bdud),” that might normally give rise to fear and reactivity. Instead of fighting against them, we nourish them, offering our own bodies. This allows them to become allies. Through this process we uncover the truth of our indestructible nature.

CHÖD LINEAGES IN THE GELUG

The Gelugpa (dGe lugs pa) has transmitted two Chöd lineages. The first is the Ganden Oral Lineage (dGa' ldan snyan brgyud). It is also called the Ensa Oral Lineage (dBen sa snyan brgyud), named after Gyelwa Ensapa (Gyal ba dBen sa pa, 1505-1566). This renuncient lama popularized the Gelug Chöd lineage two centuries after Tsongkhapa (Tsong kha pa, 1357-1419), the founder of the Gelugpa.

This lineage is primarily carried out through practicing Gyulü Tsogsu Ngowa: Dedicating the Illusionary Body as Tsog Offerings (sGyu lus tshogs su sngo ba).

The other Chöd lineage is the Dakini Oral Lineage (mKha' 'gro snyan brgyud). The Dakini Oral Lineage is also called both the E lama's Chöd (E bla ma'i gcod) after E Lama Geleg Pelsang (E bla ma dGe legs dpal bzang, 1385-1428), and the Geleg Oral Lineage (dGe legs snyan brgyud) after Geleg Ngagwang Puntsog (dGe legs dNgag dbang phung tshogs). Both masters, E Lama Geleg Pelsang and Geleg Ngagwang Puntsog, contributed to the development of the lineage.

MACHIG DÂKINÎ ORAL LINEAGE

1.Dakini Oral Lineage

The major text of this lineage is known as Shiwa Lamsab (zhi ba lam zab): the Profound Path of Peaceful Machig Labdrön, composed by E Lama Geleg Pelsang. It's actual title is The Treatise Easily Carrying the Yoga of the Continuity of the Profound Path According to the Machig Dakini Oral Lineage (Ma gcig mkha gro snyan rgyud lam zab rgyun kyi rnal byor khyer bde bkod pa). He also composed the extensive sadhana (sgrub thabs) of the Five Dakinis of Tröma Nagmo (khros nag sde lnga). This text is included in The Three Rituals, Self-, Front-Generation and Accomplishing the [Wish-fulfilling] Vase Together with the Initiation Ritual of the Black Wrathful Ma gcig called "The Treasure Accomplishing Siddhis Which Fulfill Wishes" (Ma cig khros nag sde lnga'i bdag 'dun bum gsum dang dbang cho ga dang bces pa bsam phel dbang rgyal dngos grub pa'i gter mdzod).

E Lama Geleg Pelsang was was the reincarnation of Gyelwa Dröndrub (rGyal ba don grub), a lineage holder and the son of the founder, Machig Labdrön. He was born in a part of southern Tibet in a place called E, after which he was named, near the birthplace of Machig.

Geleg Ngawang Pungtsog composed the important uncommon initiation text, Opening the Door to the Sky for Providing the Initiation of Peaceful Ma gcig called "The Clear Light Benefiting Others" (Ma gcig zhi ba'i dbang bskur cho ga nam mkha' sgo 'byed gzhan phan 'od ser).

The guru yoga according to the Dakini Oral Lineage is practiced based on the root text Shiwa Lamsab: The Profound Path of the Peaceful One. The concise daily practice of this root text is practice in an abridged form called The Practitioner of Chöd called Pervading Space (gCod mkha khyab ma nyams su len pai gang zag mKha khyab ma) or more commonly known Kakyabma (mkha khyab ma) written by renuncient Chozeling Lama Rinpoche Jadrelwa Lobsang Yeshe (Chos zed ling lha ma rin po che Bya dral ba bLo bzang ye shes), a disciple of E Lama.

There are two major streams in the Dakini Oral Lineage.

2.The Distant Lineage (Ring brgyud) of the Dakini Oral Lineage

The Distant Lineage up to Vasubandhu is the same as the Ganden Oral Lineage:

(Prajñâpâramitâ-->Tara-->Sukhasiddhi (Mother lineage)/ Shakyamuni Buddha-->Manjusri-->Aryadeva (Father lineage: profound view) /

Shakyamuni Buddha-->Maitreya-->Asangha-->Vasubhandu (Father Lineage: vast practice).

According to the root text of the Dakini Oral Lineage, The Profound Path of the Peaceful Machig (Zhi ba lam zab), the rest of the Distant Lineage is as follows:

•Phadampa Sanggye (Pha dam pa sangs rgyas) (died in 1117)

•Sönam Lama (bSod ames bla ma)

•Machig Labdrön (Ma cig lab sgron) (1055-1154)

•Gyelwa Döndrub (rGyal ba don grub)

•Khambu Yagleg (Kham bu yag leg)

•Thönyön Latön (Thod smyon la ston)

•Khugom Chöseng (Khu sgom chos senge)

•Dölwa Sangthel (Dol pa zang thal)

•Gyanag Cherbu (rGya nag gcer bu)

•Sanggye Rabtön (Sangs rgyas rab ston)

•Sanggye Gelong (Sangs rgyas dge slong)

•Sanggye Tönpa (Sangs rgyas ston pa)

•Chöje Rinchen Bum (Chos rje rin chen bum)

•Zoki Repa (Dzo ki ras pa)

•Arig Gopa (A rig sgo pa)

•Künga Sangpo (Kun dga bzang po)

•Drogön Zenying (Gro mgon mdzes snying)

•Sönam Rinchen (bSod ames rin chen)

•Lodrö Rabne (bLo gros rab gnas)

•Machig Köncham (Ma cig dkon lcams)

•Jangchub Rinchen (Byang chub rin chen)

•Jetsün Pelsang (rJe btsun dpal bzang)

•Sönam Wangchug (bSod ames dbang phyug)

•Ngagchang Kuche (sNgags chang sku byed)

•Dorje Gyeltsen (rDo rje rgyal mtshan)

3.The Near Lineage (Nye brgyud) of the Dakini Oral Lineage

The Near Lineage (Nye brgyud) of the Dakini Oral Lineage starts from Chöying Rangdröl (Chos dbyings rang grol) or Chönyi Rangdröl (Chos nyid rang grol) (1604-1669). He was the teacher of the Fifth Dalai Lama, Ngagwang Lobsang Gyatso (dNgag dbang bLo bzang rgya mtsho, 1617-1682). Chöying Rangdröl received Chöd transmission from the teachers of the Kagyüpa (dKa rgyud pa), one of the four major schools in Tibetan Buddhism. This Chöd transmission of Chöying Rangdröl reveals the close relationship between the Dakini lineage in Gelug and in Kagyü. In fact, some Kagyü teachers are also earlier Dakini lineage teachers. Some of the more prominent influences in the Dakini Oral Lineage from Kagyü are reflected in melodies and methods of beating a Chöd drum (damaru).

The Near Lineage is as follows:

•Chöying Rangdröl (Chos dbying rang grol)(Chos nyid rang grol) (1604-1669)*

•Lodrö Rabne (bLo gros rab gnas)

•Machig Köncham (Ma cig dkon lcam)

•Sönam Wangchug (bSod ames dbang phyug)*

•Ngagchang Kumche (sNgags chang sku mched)

•Dorje Gyeltsen (rDo rje rgyal mtshan)

•Sanggye Sangpo (Sangs rgyas bzang po)

•Sanggye Lodrö (Sangs rgyas blo gros)

•Sönam Lhündrub (bSod ames lhun grub)

•Damchö Tsomo (Dam chos mtsho mo)

•Karma Dargye (Karma dar rgyas)

•Lhawang Rigzing (Lha dbang rig dzing)

•Ngagwang Phungtsog (Ngag dbang phung tshogs)*

•Kelsang Tsognyi (sKal bzang tshogs gnyis)

•Kelsang Chöwang (sKal bzang chos dbang)

•Chöden Kelsang (Chos ldan skal bzang)

•Lobsang Rabten (bLo bzang rab brtan)

•Geleg Pelsang, E Lama (dGe legs dpal bzang, E bLa ma) (1385-1428)*

•Lobsang Yeshe, Chözeling Lama Rinpoche Chadrelwa (bLo bzang ye she, Chos zed ling lama rin po che Bya dral ba)

•Gendün Gyeltsen (De dun rgyal mtshan)

•Geleg Rabgye, Lhatsün Rinpoche (dGe legs rab rgyas, Lha btsun rin po che)

•Jigme Gyeltsen (Jig med rgyal mtshan)

•Jampel Namdröl, Khalkha Jetsüun Dampa Rinpoche (Jam dpal rnam grol, Khal kha rJe tsun dam pa Rinpoche) (1932- )

According to Khalkha Rinpoche, the Dakini Oral lineage was once very popular and many practitioners, attracted by its beautiful melodies, appeared in Lhasa. The chanting melodies of The Profound Path of the Peaceful Machig (Zhi ba lam zab) were heard in every corner of Lhasa. Sangri Khangmar (Zangs ri khang dmar or Zangs ri mkhar dmar), on the side of the Brahmaputra River in the southern part of Tibet, is the place where Machig Labdrön spent the last half of her life. There are several temples and monasteries where it is said that the sadhanas of The Profound Path of the Peaceful Machig and The Tröma Nagmo (khros ma nag mo) in the Dakini Oral Lineage were practiced. Near Machig Labdröns birthplace, Lab, in the area called E, there was the monastery of Machigs son, Gyelwa Döndrub, called Tashi Langlhün (lang lhun). In addition to Tibet, it is said that the Chöd teaching of E Lama, the Dakini Oral Lineage, was spread throughout Mongolia. Most of the E Lama disciples who have received the teachings and initiations and have performed retreats according to the Dakini Oral Lineage were Mongolians.

At present the main lineage holder of the Dakini Oral Lineage are the Ninth Jetsun Dampa, Khalkha Rinpoche who has his temple in Dharamsala and currently resides in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

Khalkha Rinpoche mentioned one example that illustrates that holding this lineage has not been easy. When this lineage was declining in the early 20th century, Kyabje Lhatsün (Lha btsun) Rinpoche, who was the teacher of Khalkha Rinpoche, went from Tibet all the way to Inner Mongolia to receive the transmission of E Lamas teachings and practices according to the Dakini Oral Lineage. At that time, Chöd practices, including the practice of The Seven-Evening Wilderness Retreat (gNyan khrod zhag bdun), were popular in Inner Mongolia. Lhatsün Rinpoche brought the tradition of the Dakini Oral Lineage from Mongolia back to Tibet after thousands of miles of traveling.

The Dakini Oral Lineage has also had some difficulty in transmission because traditionally these special initiations and teachings were kept very secret (bka kyab ma) and were not easily given to the public. In contrast to the Ganden Oral Lineage, the Dakini Lineage is still unknown to most Buddhists and scholars since no strong institutional connection has been made, as is the case with the Ganden Oral Lineage. As of today 2011, there is seen a revival of the Chod of the Dakini Lineage in Mongolia under the guidance of Khalkha Jetsun Dampa Rinpoche and his lineage holder, Osel Rinpoche.

In 1995 for the first time Khalkha Rinpoche visited the west and gave some students the appropriate initiations, qualifying them to practice the Dakini Oral Lineage and leading them in the Seven-Night retreat. In 2003 Khalkha Rinpoche also gave the initiations and instructions on practicing this lineage to those sincerely seeking to practice Chöd, when they came to his residence in Dharamsala, Takten House. Most of the latter students are Mongolian and Russian. Rinpoche lead the Troma Nagmo retreat called the 108-Spring Wandering retreat twice in Himarchal Pradesh, India, and twice in Mongolia. Currntly Osel Rinpoche from the Sera-me monastery is supervising Mongolian Chod students in Mongolia.

In 2009 Zasep Tulku Rinpoche bestowed the same chöd uncommon initiation to a group of students and led the Seven-night Wildness retreat, the training retreat for the Tröma Nagmo practice.

THE NINTH JETSUN DAMPA

The Ninth Jetsun Dampa (Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa Khutukhtu) Jampel Namdrol is a Buddhist spiritual leader in Outer Mongolia. The 1st Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa Khutukhtu was the incarnation of Tarantha who was the Dharma king of Jonang sect. When the 8th Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa Khutukhtu was passed away in Mongolia in 1924, the People Revolution Government of Mongolia declared that they were not going to find his incarnation. This diplomatically terminated the incarnation of Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa in Mongolia at that time. The identification of incarnations had been in fact conducting confidently by the 13th Dalai Lama in Tibet. Eventually the 9th Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa was identified in 1936. His existence was kept a secret all the time for safety reason. He left Tibet with H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama in 1959.

H.H. Dalai Lama declared the existence of the 9th Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa in 1991. H.H. Dalai Lama invited Khalkha Rinpoche to build his temple Takten House in Dhalamsala. In 2011 Khalkha Rinpoche was officially enthroned as a spiritual leader of Mongolians by H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama in Mongolia.

Below is the list the rituals and practices one has to go through progressively in order to be qualified to practice Chöd according to the Dâkinî Oral Lineage and the brief explanations of each ritual and practice.

1.Refuge 2.Bodhisattva Vows 3.Tantric Vows 4.Mother Tantra Initiation (Chakrasamvara or Vajrayogini) 5.The Common Initiation of Opening the Door to the Sky 6.The Peaceful Five Dâkinî retreat 7.The Uncommon Initiation of Opening the Door to the Sky 8.The Seven-Evening Retreat at Frightful-Sites 9.The Tröma Nagmo Initiation 10. The Tröma Nagmo Retreat (Indoor retreat or/and The Hundred-Spring Wandering Retreat)

INITIATIONS:

The Common Initiation of Opening the Door to the Sky (nam mkha sgo byed thun mong yin pai dbang)

In order to practice Chöd, one first needs to obtain the Common Initiation of Opening the Door to the Sky (nam mkha sgo byed thun mong yin pai dbang). This is the initiation, common to all the Chöd lineages, which allows the initiates to practice Chöd for the first time. This initiation permits initiates to recite the root text, Dedicating Ones Own Illusionary Body as Offerings (sGyu lus tshogs su sngo ba) by Pabonka Dechen Nyingpo (Pha bong kha bDe chen syning po, 1878-1941), and to practice the Ensa or Ganden Oral Lineage.

This initiation is called Opening the Door to the Sky because for the first time the initiation recipients practice ejecting their consciousness through their crown into space in order to properly practice Chöd. Since Chöd is considered a highest yoga tantra, one requires having had an initiation of one of the Highest Yoga Tantra deities before one takes this initiation. Among the highest yoga tantras, Chöd is a Mother Tantra. Chakrasambhara or Vajrayogini is considered auspicious as a prerequisite for new Chöd initiates. There are several different texts on this common initiation, Opening the Door to the Sky, according to the Ganden Oral Lineage.

In general, once one has taken specific initiations, one is required to keep commitments such as reciting specific sadhana texts every day. However, unlike other initiations, initiates in the Ganden Oral Lineage are not required to recite the sadhana text, Dedicating Ones Illusory Body as Offerings, as a daily commitment. The fact that there is no requirement for reciting commitments, such as a sadhana text and mantra, is based on the belief that the essence of Chöd practice is in meditation on bodhicitta, which is expected to be an essential part of the daily activity of Buddhist practitioners. Nevertheless, the initiates are encouraged to recite the Gate mantra of a major Chöd deity, Prajñâpâramitâ (OM GATE GATE PARAGATE PARASAMGATE BODHI SVAHA) as many times as possible.

The Uncommon Initiation of Opening the Door to the Sky (nam mkha sgo byed thun mong ma yin pai dbang)

Furthermore, in order to be qualified to practice Chöd according to the Dâkinî Oral Lineage and recite The Profound Path of the Peaceful One (Zhi ba lam zab), one needs to obtain the Uncommon Initiation of Opening the Door to the Sky (nam mkha sgo byed thun mong ma yin pai dbang) in addition to the Common Initiation of Opening the Door to the Sky. The Common Initiation is a prerequisite for the Uncommon. The latter is described as uncommon as only a restricted number of people who have completed certain requirements are traditionally allowed receiving this initiation. The Uncommon Initiation is based on the text called Opening the Door to the Sky for Providing the Initiation of Peaceful Machig called The Clear Light Benefiting Others (Ma gcig zhi bai dbang bskur cho ga nam mkha sgo byed gzhan phan od ser) by Geleg Ngagwang Phungtsog (dGe legs ngag dbang phung tshogs). This Uncommon Initiation is considered special because once taking it, one is also allowed to recite and practice Chöd sadhanas in other traditions, such as Chöd according to Nyingma (rNying ma) and Kagyu (dKa rgyud) in addition to practicing The Profound Path of the Peaceful Machig in the Gelug Dâkinî Oral Lineage. However, if one only takes the Common Initiation, there are a number of restrictions on what practices one can perform. The Concise Manual for the Seven-Evening Retreat in Frightful Sites (gNyan khrod zhag bdun 'grim tshul gyi zin bris mdor bsdus su bkod pa) written by Ngagwang Khyenrab Sangpey Wangchug (Ngag dbang mkhyen rab bzang pa'i dbang phyug):states:

If you only obtain the Common Initiation of Opening the Door to the Sky (nam mkha sgo byed thun mong yin pai dbang), you can not perform the Wilderness Retreat nor can you recite The Profound Path of the Peaceful Machig (Zhi ba lam zab) or Chöd texts which focus on Tröma Nagmo, such as The Dâkinîs Laughter (mKha gro gad rkyang).

The Uncommon Initiation is a preparation (Kha kong) for other Chöd retreats and initiations: the Seven-Evening Retreat in Frightful Sites (gNyan khrod zhag bdun), Tröma Nagmo and Her Four Emanations Initiation (Khros nag sde lngai dbang), and the Tröma Nagmo retreats such as the 108-Spring Wandering Retreat (Chu mig brgya skor gro pa). The Concise Manual for the Seven-Evening Retreat in Frightful Sites (gNyan khrod zhag bdun grim tshul gyi zin bris mdor bsdus su bkod pa) describes the sequence of the Chöd practices and initiations:

In order to perform the Seven-Evening Retreat in Frightful Sites, you should obtain the blessing of the Uncommon Opening the Door to the Sky of the Peaceful Machig in advance. Therefore, if one has obtained this [the Uncommon Initiation] and performed the Seven-Evening Wilderness Retreat, one should imagine that one has received the equivalent of the preparation for the empowerment of the Five Dâkinîs of Tröma Nagmo [and for the practice of Tröma Nagmo].

The Uncommon Initiation has been traditionally kept very secret and is restricted to certain people who are serious about their practice. According to this tradition, a lama (guru) individually asks his disciples whether they are willing to receive the Tröma Nagmo Initiation and perform the 108-Spring Wadering Retreat after taking the Uncommon Initiation. The lama also asks whether they are willing to recite the mantra of the Five Dâkinîs, OM AH HUM GURU BAM HA RI NI SA SIDDHI JAH [HUM], 1,300,000 times in order to complete a commitment of the Dâkinî Oral Lineage. If they are not willing to do these recitations, the lama would not give them the Uncommon Initiation. In order to receive the Uncommon Initiation, disciples need to take a vow to complete the Five Dâkinîs of Wrathful Machig practices, which include reciting the required mantras the prescribed number of times.

The Tröma Nagmo (Khros ma nag mo) Initiation

After taking both the Common and Uncommon Initiations as well as fulfilling the commitment of the Peaceful Five Dâkinî Retreat and successfully completing the Seven-Evening Retreat, one is now qualified to take the Tröma Nagmo (Khros ma nag mo) Initiation according to the Dâkinî Oral Lineage. In the Dâkinî Oral Lineage, Chöd followers consider the Tröma Nagmo Initiation to be the actual practice (ngo gzhi) of the sadhana on the Wrathful aspect of Machig Labdrön. All of the retreats and initiations (which I above mentioned) are the foundation for taking the Tröma Nagmo (Khros ma nag mo) initiation and participating in the Tröma Nagmo retreat. The objective of the Tröma Nagmo initiation and retreat is to ultimately obtain the state of Tröma Nagmo that, is to attain Buddhahood.

PRACTICES:

The Preliminary and Concluding Practices

The preliminaries consist of the three main pillars of practices: Guru yoga, View (ultimate bodhicitta) and Bodhicitta (relative bodhicitta). They are :1) Guru Yoga: The Hundreds of Deities of the Joyous Land (Lamey Nenjor Ganden Lhagyama), 2) A Song of Realization (ta gur): In Praise of the Vision of Father Lobsang composed by The Seventh Dalai Lama, Gyelwa Lobsang Kelsang Gyatso (1708-1757) and one paragraph from the Lama Chöpa The Union of Appearance and Emptiness (nang tong sung jug) composed by The First Panchen Lama, Lobsang Chökyi Gyeltsen (1570-1662) 3) Taking and Giving (tong len) Prayer composed by The First Panchen Lama, Lobsang Chökyi Gyeltsen (1570-1662) and brief Dedication Prayers.

All the chöd practices of both Ganden and Dâkinî lineages customally start with these preliminaries. This practice allows a chod practitioner not only to remind one of that the purpose of meditation on Chöd is to perfect the realization of the conventional and ultimate bodhicitta and Chöd practice is like an ornament to the three principal paths but also actually correct ones motivation and put positive imprints for the practice of advance practices.

Then after the individual chöd practice, one concludes with General Dedication Prayers and specific blessed aspiration prayer called A Payer Requesting the Three Supremes Compassion (Chog sum tug je kül wey mön lam) composed by The First Khalkha Jetsün Dampa, Lobsang Tenpey Gyeltsen Rangjung Yeshe Dorje (ca. 1650). All these preliminaries and concluding practices are included in Daily Dâkinî CHÖD Khakyabma: Pervading Space with Preliminary and Concluding Practices According to the System of the Machig Dâkinî Oral Lineage (Khandro Nyengyü), Practiced at Takten House, Dharamsala, India (See the R & S) compiled by His Holiness The Ninth Khalkha Jetsün Dampa, Jampel Namdröl Chökyi Gyeltsen.

The Daily Practice of Shiwa Lamsab or Khakyabma

Only after taking the Uncommon Initiation, one is qualified and required to recite The Treatise Easily Carrying the Yoga of the Continuity of the Profound Path According to the Machig Dâkinî Oral Lineage (Ma gcig mkha gro snyan rgyud lam zab rgyun kyi rnal byor khyer bde bkod pa) or commonly known as Shiwa Lamzab (Zhi ba lam zab) written by E Lama Geleg Pelsangpo (1385-1428). Reciting this text is a lifetime commitment for the initiates. If one cannot recite this sadhana, one should recite at least the abbreviated version of The Profound Path of the Peaceful Machig, commonly known Khakyabma (mkha khyab ma). In the Dâkinî Oral Lineage, the essence of the practice is to actively engage in Chöd by giving one's body and Buddhist teachings (dharma) for the benefit of all sentient beings. Emphasis is placed on continuing to practice this sadhana every day, just as one keeps other sadhana commitments to other deities. If one practices the root text of the Dâkinî Oral Lineage, The Profound Path of the Peaceful Machig, one also gains the benefits of practicing the root text of the Ganden Oral Lineage, Dedicating Ones Illusory Body as Offerings, but not vice versa. That is, if one recites The Profound Path of the Peaceful Machig, one is not required to recite Dedicating Ones Illusory Body as Offerings every day in order to receive the merits and blessings of both the Ganden and Dâkinî Oral Lineages. However, if one recites only Dedicating Ones Illusory Body as Offerings, one can acquire the benefits of the Ganden Oral Lineage but not the Dâkinî Oral lineage.

The Tröma Nagmo Practice

After having taken the Tröma Nagmo Initiation, one is then allowed to practice the Tröma Nagmo sadhana. This retreat is done based on the extensive sadhana (sgrub thabs) of the Five Dâkinîs of Tröma Nagmo (khros nag sde lnga) in The Three Rituals, Self-, Front-Generation and Accomplishing the [Wish-fulfilling] Vase together with the Initiation Ritual of the Black Wrathful Machig called "The Treasure Accomplishing Siddhis which Fulfill Wishes" (Ma cig khros nag sde lnga'i bdag 'dun bum gsum dang dbang cho ga dang bces pa bsam phel dbang rgyal dngos grub pa'i gter mdzod) by E Lama Geleg Pelsang (1385-1428).

The abridged and concise text of the Five Dâkinîs of Machig Tröma Nagmo (Ma cig khros nag sde lnga) sadhana is called The Concise Daily Practice of Machig Tröma Nagmo / The Condensed Self-Generation of Tröma Nagmo (Ma cig khros ma nag mo'i rnal 'byor rgyun 'khyer mdor bsdus / Khro nag gi bdag bskyed mdor bsdus pa) written by É Lama Dechen Gyepey Dorje, an incarnation of É Lama Geleg Pelsang.

Other practices: Rituals for Protectors (Torma Offering and Fulfillment Offering)

During the Troma Nagmo retreat, indoor or outdoor, the additional protector rituals are inserted to the appropriate places in the main text The Treasure Accomplishing Siddhis which Fulfill Wishes. Those are two: Torma Offering to Oath-Bound Chöd Protectors (gcod kyi bka srung rnams la gtor ma bul tsul) and Fulfillment Offering: The Concise Manual for Propitiating the Three Kinds of Oath-Bound Protectors of the Chöd Dâkinî Oral Lineage, called "Opening the Door to Activities" (gCod yul mkha' 'gro snyan brgyud kyi bka' srung rnam gsum la bskangs bshags bya tshul mdor sbdud 'phrin las sgo 'byed).

In addition the Dâkinî Lineage holders receive the textual and musical transmission of Dentog Chigma: The Practice Manual of the Chöd Teaching, Liberation from a Single Sitting (Tib. Gcod kyi gdams pa gdan thog gcig tu dril ne nyams su len tsul, composed by Jamyang Shepey Dorje (jam dbyang bshad pai rdo rje, written in bkra shis khyil). This is the chanting version of Liberating from a Single Sitting and is entirely chanted with blessed melodies. This concise practice enhances the progress and blessings in the Dâkinî Lineage.

RETREATS:

The Five Dâkinîs (mkha gro sde lnga) Retreat: Peaceful Aspect of Machig Labdrön

After receiving this Common Initiation, one is qualified to do a retreat on the Five Dâkinîs (mkha gro sde lnga) of the peaceful aspect of Machig. This retreat is called a preliminary practice (sngon gro) like a gateway to all the Chöd instructions and practices. It is so called because the Five Dâkinî retreat is done traditionally after one received the Chöd initiation and before one advances to practice and retreat on Tröma Nagmo. Ngülchu (Ngul chu) Dharmabhadra states at the beginning of his Five Dâkinî Retreat manual:

"Having trained the mind in the common path and obtained an empowerment of Highest Yoga Tantra and blessing of Opening up the Door to Sky, one [should] keep firm commitments. Those practitioners should then perform a closed retreat of Great Mother Five Dâkinîs in the following way." (416)

The Five Dâkinî Chöd retreat is performed based on such manuals as The Clear Retreat Manual for the Five Dâkinîs of the Great Mother called The Accomplishing Goal by Recitation (Yum chen mo mkha gro sde sngai bsnyen yig rab gal bklags pas don grub) written by Ngülchu Dharmabhadra and The Retreat Manual for the Five Dâkinîs, the Preliminary of Teachings on Chöd, called The King of All Wish-fulfilling Gems [cintamaniraja] (gCod kyi gdams bai sngon gro mkha gro sde lngai bsnyen pa byed tshul yid bzhin dbang gi rgyal po) by Thukwan (Thuu bkwan) III Lobsang Chökyi Nyima (bLo bzang chos kyi nyi ma) (1737-1802).

This retreat focuses on the Five Dâkinîs of the peaceful manifestation of Machig: Buddhadâkinî, Vajradâkinî, Ratnadâkinî, Padmadâkinî and Karmadâkinî. This practice is considered a sadhana proper because the goal is to attain the deity's body, speech and mind, through the self-generation and three kaya practices, as in the case of other deity practices. To fulfill the commitment of the Five Dâkinî Chöd retreat, retreatants are required to recite specific mantras a certain number of times along with proper visualizations. Retreatants are required to recite the mantra of the deity Prajñâpâramitâ (OM GATE GATE PARAGATE PARASAMGATE BODHI SVAHA) 300,000 or 100,000 times, and at least 10,000 times. They are also required to recite each of the mantras for the Five Emanation Dâkinîs of Machig Labdrön: Buddhadâkinî, Vajradâkinî, Ratnadâkinî, Padmadâkinî, and Karmadâkinî, 10,000 times in order to complete the retreat. Their mantras are respectively OM BUDDHADÂKINÎ HUM HUM PHAT SVAHA, OM VAJRADÂKINÎ HUM HUM PHAT SVAHA, OM RATNADÂKINÎ HUM HUM PHAT SVAHA, OM PEMADÂKINÎ HUM HUM PHAT SVAHA, and OM KARMADÂKINÎ HUM HUM PHAT SVAHA. In addition retreatants are required to recite the mantras for all Dâkinîs OM AH HUM GURU BAM HA RI NI SA SIDDHI JAH or HUM a minimum of 10,000 times. Finally the mantras of Wisdom Rain (ye shes bab) (OM AH HUM GURU BAM HA RI NI SA SIDDHI JAH HUM HA AJHAI SVAHA) 10,000 times are recited to conclude the requirement of the mantra recitation. The Chöd retreat on the Five Dâkinîs of the peaceful aspect of Machig involves the recitation of mantras and the visualization of deities, just as in the case of the more prominent retreats, which focus on such deities as Chakrasamvara and Vajrayogini. Once the mantra recitation has been completed, one should perform the fire puja (sbyin sreg) in order to conclude the retreat.

The fire puja of the Five Dâkinîs of Peaceful Machig retreat is based on the text called The Clarification of the Practice of a Peaceful Fire Puja for the Five Dâkinîs of Wrathful Machig (Ma cig gros ma lha lngai zhi bai sbyin sreg lag len rab gsal). It was composed by Ngagwang Puntsog (dGe legs ngag dbang phung tshogs).

The Seven-Evening Retreat in the Frightful Sites (gNyan khrod zhag bdun)

After taking the Uncommon Initiation, one needs to engage in the Seven-Evening Retreat in Frightful Sites, which is a training session for both the Tröma Nagmo Initiation (Khros ma nag mo'i dbang) and the 108-Spring Wandering Retreat. The Seven-Evening Wilderness Retreat is explained in The Concise Manual for the Seven-Evening Retreat in Frightful Sites (gNyan khrod zhag bdun 'grim tshul gyi zin bris mdor bsdus su bkod pa):

"This [The Seven-Evening Retreat in Frightful Sites] is the preliminary for the initiation of the profound venerable Black Wrathful Five Dâkinî according to the Oral Lineage of Dâkinî, Great Mother, the profound sphere of demons."(3)

The Seven-Evening Retreat in Frightful Sites is a unique practice in which retreatants visit and practice Chöd for seven nights at different frightful or fearful places in wilderness, such as charnel grounds, cemeteries, and mountain springs. During the retreat, the retreatants recite The Profound Path of the Peaceful Machig three times every evening, midnight and morning for seven days. During the break time, they keep reciting the Gate mantra and are not supposed to sleep.

The lama gives instructions on the retreat to the retreatants according to the Seven-Evening Wilderness Retreat manuals (gNyan khrod bzhag bdun / gNyan khrod yig cha), two of which are, The Small Manual for the Wilderness Retreat called "The Clear Lamp" (gNyan khrod yig chung gsal ba'i sgron me) and The Concise Manual for the Seven-Evening Retreat in Frightful Sites (gNyan khrod zhag bdun 'grim tshul gyi zin bris mdor bsdus su bkod pa).

Traditionally, during the Seven-Evening Retreat in Frightful Sites, in the daytime the lama gives empowerment (dbang) or permissions (rjes gnang) to the retreatants so that they can connect with deities and protectors related to Chöd practice. This allows the retreatants to have a relationship with the deities who bestow blessings and the protectors who guard their Chöd retreats. Those Chöd-related deities, whose empowerments the lama bestows, include Vajradhara, Phadampa Sanggye, and Machig Labdrön, and those Chöd related protectors include the Six-Armed Mahakala (mgon po phyag drug pa), the Protector Anghora (mgon po Am-gho-ra), and the Lord of the Charnel Grounds (Dur khrod bdag po). These empowerments and permissions are given according to the text called The Clear Vision of Fearless Podong: Initiation Sadhanas of Vajradhara and so forth ('Jugs bral po gdongs pa'i dag snang rdo rje 'chang chen po sogs kyi dbang gi sgrub thab) which was composed by Bodong Chökyi Namgyel (Bo sdongs chos gyi rnam rgyal) or Bodong Chogle Namgyel (Bo sdongs phyog las rnam rgyal) (1375-1450) through his Pure Vision (Dag nang). The lama also may bestow the permissions or blessings of the unique protector of Chöd, Sangri (gSang ri) to strengthen the retreatants Chöd practices. Sangri is a local protector of the region where Machig Labdrön spent her life until her death.

In addition to giving empowerments and permissions, the lama also gives an oral transmission (lung) of the authentic Chöd text written by Machig Labdrön, popularly called the Great Exposition (rnam bshad chen mo), that is The Exposition of Transforming the Aggregates into an Offering of Food, Illuminating the Meaning of Chöd (Phung po gzan brgyur (or skyur) rnam bshad gcod kyi don gsal byed) (translated by S. Harding). In order to bestow the blessings of the lineage transmission on retreatants. It has also been customary for the lama to bestow the transmission of The Treatise of the Single Sitting, Profound Instructions on Cutting through the Sphere of Demons (Man ngag zab mo bdud kyi gcod yul sTan thog gcig ma'i gzhung) by Monlam Thaye Gyatso (sMon lam mtha' yas rgya mtso). The Dâkinî Lineage holders will learn the chanting version of Liberating from a Single Sitting called Dentog Chigma: The Practice Manual of the Chöd Teaching, Liberation from a Single Sitting (Tib. Gcod kyi gdams pa gdan thog gcig tu dril ne nyams su len tsul, composed by Jamyang Shepey Dorje (jam dbyang bshad pai rdo rje, written in bkra shis khyil). This concise Chöd text is entirely chanted with blessed melodies.

The retreatants usually take these extra blessings in the daytime after they have come back from spending the night practicing. This process of practicing The Profound Path of the Peaceful Machig with mantra recitations during the night in the frightful wilderness and taking blessings from the lama during the day is repeated over seven nights and days.

The Seven-Evening Retreat in Frightful Sites requires retreatants to keep certain commitments and rules. For example, during the Retreat, one is not allowed to talk with the exception of reciting the commitment text and mantras. If one breaks this commitment, one has to start over from the point when one receives the guru's hand blessing (chag dbang). The Concise Manual for the Seven-Evening Wilderness Retreat (gNyan khrod zhag bdun 'grim tshul gyi zin bris mdor bsdus su bkod pa) clearly states this strict commitment during the retreat:

"Then, at dusk all [retreatants] physically offer three prostrations and receive the [guru's] hand blessing. From that time on until receiving the hand touch of a guru [again], one should bind up one's speech. If one gives away a word, one should go back to prostrate to the guru and receive the hand blessing again and then proceed." (4b)

The retreatants are also required not to leave anything behind in the places where they have practiced. If they leave something behind, they have to give it up completely. The Concise Manual for the Seven-Evening Wilderness Retreat describes this strict commitment during retreat in the following:

"It is important not to leave anything behind like a tent and bedding, including even small things. If you've left things, no matter what size they are, you should comfortably give them away without attachment. After trying not to leave anything behind, come back in front of your guru without [physically and mentally] looking back [to the retreat place]." (8b-9a)

These strict rules have been established to prepare retreatants for their future retreats concentrating on Tröma Nagmo. One of such retreats is the 108-Spring Wandering Retreat (Chu mig brgya skor 'gro pa), which I will discuss below.

The Tröma Nagmo Retreat, indoor retreat (Nang tshams)

After having taken the Tröma Nagmo Initiation, one is then allowed to go into the retreat on Tröma Nagmo. This retreat is done based on the extensive sadhana (sgrub thabs) of the Five Dâkinîs of Tröma Nagmo (khros nag sde lnga) in The Three Rituals, Self-, Front-Generation and Accomplishing the [Wish-fulfilling] Vase together with the Initiation Ritual of the Black Wrathful Machig called "The Treasure Accomplishing Siddhis which Fulfill Wishes" (Ma cig khros nag sde lnga'i bdag 'dun bum gsum dang dbang cho ga dang bces pa bsam phel dbang rgyal dngos grub pa'i gter mdzod) by E Lama Geleg Pelsang (1385-1428).

The abridged and concise text of the Five Dâkinîs of Machig Tröma Nagmo (Ma cig khros nag sde lnga) sadhana is called The Concise Daily Practice of Machig Tröma Nagmo / The Condensed Self-Generation of Tröma Nagmo (Ma cig khros ma nag mo'i rnal 'byor rgyun 'khyer mdor bsdus / Khro nag gi bdag bskyed mdor bsdus pa) written by É Lama Dechen Gyepey Dorje, an incarnation of É Lama Geleg Pelsang.

During the retreat, participants are required to recite the mantras of the five emanations of the wrathful aspect of Machig Labdrön Tröma Nagmo, OM AH HUM GURU BAM HA RI NI SA SHIDDI JAH (ZAH) or HUM. These five seed syllables: BAM, HA, RI, NI, and SA respectively correspond to the five dâkinîs: Buddhadâkinî, Vajradâkinî, Ratnadâkinî, Padmadâkinî and Karmadâkinî. A minimum of 100,000 mantra recitations is required to complete the retreat. The Treasure Accomplishing Siddhis which Fulfill Wishes explains the different types of retreat:

"There are two types of retreat: attainment retreat and action retreat. The first is retreat until one accomplishes the Deity. Action retreats are of two kinds, that of time and number. As for the first, the best is a retreat of one month and one week; the middling, of three weeks; and the least, of seven days. As for the counting retreat, the best is 1,300,000 mantras; the middling, 300,000; and the least, 100,000. There is recitation with full voice, whispered recitation, and cessation recitation." (36b)

Once mantra recitation is done, as a standard retreat procedure, recite the mantras of Wisdom Rain (ye shes bab) (OM AH HUM GURU BAM HA RI NI SA SIDDHI JAH HUM HA AJHAI SVAHA) 10,000 times to fulfill the requirement. Then one should perform the fire puja (sbyin sreg) in order to conclude the retreat. The fire puja of the Five Dâkinîs of Tröma Nagmo retreat is done based on the text called The Clarification of the Practice of Peaceful Fire Puja for the Five Dâkinîs of Wrathful Machig (Ma cig gros ma lha lngai zhi bai sbyin sreg lag len rab gsal).

The Hundred-[Eight]-Spring Wandering Retreat (Chu mig brgya skor gro pa)

One of the Tröma Nagmo retreats is called the 108-Spring Wandering Retreat (Chu mig brgya skor gro pa) according to the Gelugpas Dâkinî Oral Lineage. According to the Gelug Dâkinî Oral Lineage the ultimate Tröma Nagmo retreat is the 108-Spring Wandering Retreat. Jampa Lhawang Rigzin (Byams pa lha dbang rigs zin) mentions the benefits of this retreat in the end of his retreat manual, The Small Manual for Wandering Retreat in Frightful Sites called A Clear Lamp (gnyan khrod yig chung gsal wai sgron me):

"It is said that merely completing the 108-spring retreat even without a grain of qualities of abandonment and realization, will yield attainment of the tenth ground; there is such great benefit."

During the 108-Spring Wandering Retreat, one completes a hundred thousand recitations of the Prajñâpâramitâ Mantra, so called the Ga te mantra, OM GATE GATE PARAGATE PARASAMGATE BODHI SVAHA, and 1,300,000 recitations of the Five Dâkinî mantra, OM AH HUM GURU BAM HA RI NI SA SHIDDHI JAH (ZAH) or HUM. The retreat is concluded with the fire puja. It may last for four months and six days to complete all the mantra recitations according to A Clear Lamp. Khalkha Rinpoche mentioned that it took four months and twenty-eight days for him to complete. The instructions on how to do the 108-Spring Wandering Retreat is explained in such retreat manuals as The Hundre-Spring Retreat (Chu mig brgya skor 'gro pa) and The Sadhana for the 108-Spring Retreat (Chu mig brgya rtsa'i sgrub thabs zhal bkod ) by Shongchen Khetsün Tenpey Gyeltsen (gShongs chen mkhas btsun bstan pa'i rgyal mtshan) and A Small Manual of the Wandering Retreat called A Clear Lamp (gnyan khrod yig chung gsal wai sgron me) by Jampa Lhawang Rigzin (Byams pa lha dbang rigs zin).

TEXTS:

Gelug Chöd Practice Texts (phonetics and translations with outlines)

1. Phet Dünma (The Seven Phets)

(snyen brgyud gcod kyi gdams pa shin tu bsdus pa phat bdun ma : Extremely Abbreviated Instructions on the Chöd of the Oral Lineage called The Seven Phets) written by Kelden Gyatso (sKal ldan rgya mtsho). An abbreviated text of the practice immediately following (2).

2. Gyulu Tsogsu Ngowa (Dedicating Ones Illusory Body as a Tsog Offering)

(gyu lus tshog su ngo pa thabs shes nyams kyi bogs don dga ldan sgrub rgyud spyi nor : The Head Ornament for the Ganden Siddha Lineage of Practicing Method and Wisdom called Dedicating Ones Illusionary Body as Offerings) written by Pabongkha Dechen Nyingpo (Pha bong kha pa bDe chen snying po). The root recitation text of the Ganden Oral Lineage.

3. Khakyabma (Pervading Space)

(gcod kha kyab ma nyams su len pai gang sag : A Practitioner of the Chöd called Pervading Space) written by Chözeling (Chos zed ling) Lama Rinpoche Jadrelwa Lobsang Yeshe (bya brel ba bLo bzang ye shes). An abbreviated text of the practice immediately following (4).

4. Shiwa Lamsab (The Profound Path of Peaceful Machig)

(ma cig mkha dro snyan rgyud lam zab rgyun gyi rnal byor khyer bde bkod pa : A Manual for Practicing the Yoga of the Profound Path According to Machig Dâkinî Oral Lineage) written by E Lama Geleg Pelsang (dGe legs dpal bzang). The root recitation text of the Dâkinî Oral Lineage.

5. Chöd Tsog (Tsog Offering in Conjunction with Chöd)

(zab lam gcod kyi rnal byor dang brel bai tshogs mchod 'bul tsul nag gros su bkod pa : A Manual for the Tsog Offering in Conjunction with the Yoga of the Profound Path of Chöd, called "A Touch Illuminating the Darkness") written by Khyabje Dorjechang Zong Rinpoche. The root text for offering tsog according to the Ganden Oral Lineage. The condensed text of the practice immediately following (6).

6. Khachömey Chöd Tsog (Chöd Tsog Offering in Conjunction with Vajrayogini)

(rJe btsum mkha sphyod dbang mo la brten pai gcod tshogs mkha spyod grub pai dga ston : A Chöd Tsog Based on Venerable Khecharisvara (Vajrayogini) called Joyful Feast Attaining Khechari) written by Dema Tönpön (bDe ma ston dpon) Rinpoche. The root text for offering tsog according to the Ganden Oral Lineage.

7. Khandro Dengei Nyenyig (The Five Dâkinîs Retreat Manual)

(Yum chen mo mkha' 'gro sde snga'i bsnyen yig rab gsal bklags pas don grub: The Clear Retreat Manual of the Five Dâkinîs of the Great Mother called Accomplishing the Goal by Recitation) by Ngülchu (Ngul chu) Dharmabhadra. The root text on the Five Dâkinîs Retreat according to the Ganden Oral Lineage.

8. Tronag drubtab (The Wrathful Black Dâkinî Sadhana)

(rJe btsun khros ma nag mo'i sgrub thabs zung 'jug nye lam: The Sadhana of the Venerable Wrathful Black Dâkinî, called The Quick Path of Union") by Kachen Lobsang Zöpa (bLo bzang bzod pa, dKa' chen). The sadhana of the Black Dâkinî according to the Ganden Oral Lineage.

9.Tentog Chigma (The Single Sitting Manual)

(Gcod kyi gdams pa gdan thog gcig tu dril ne nyams su len tsul: The Practice Manual of the Chöd Teaching, the Single Sitting) by jam dbyang bshad pai rdo rje (written in bkra shis khyil)) A Chanting version of A Single Sitting according to the Dâkinî Oral Lineage.

10. Tronag Dagkye Dordu (The Short Wathful Black Dâkinî Self-Generation)

(Ma cig khros ma nag mo'i rnal 'byor rgyun 'khyer mdor bsdus / Khro nag gi bdag bskyed mdor bsdus pa: The Condensed [Sadhana] Conveying the Continuous Flow of Yoga of the Black Wrathful Machig / The Condensed Self-Generation of The Black Wrathful Dâkinî) by Dechen Gyepey Dorje (bDe chen dgyes pai rdo rje). A very abbreviated text of the practice immediately following (11).

11. Tronag Dengey Nyenyig (Ritual of Five-Deity Tröma Nagmo)

(Ma chig dros nag sde lngaI bdag mdun bum gsum dbang chog dang ches pa bsam pel dbang rgyal dngos drub drub paI gter mdzod ches bya ba: The Three Rituals of Machig Five-Deity Tröma Nagmo: Self, Front, Vase-Generation together with Self-Initiation rituals Called Treasure of the Fabulous Wish-Fulfilling Gem actualizing attainment) by Gelgeg pel zang. The root text on the Five Wrathful Black Dâkinîs Retreat according to the Khandro

12. Kasung Torbul (Torma Offering to Protectors)

(gcod kyi bka srung rnams la gtor ma bul tsul: Torma Offering to Oath-Bound Chöd Protectors)

During the Troma Nagmo retreat, indoor or outdoor, the additional protector rituals are inserted to the appropriate places in the main text.

13. Kasung Kangshag (Fulfillment Offering and Confession to Protectors)

(gCod yul mkha' 'gro snyan brgyud kyi bka' srung rnam gsum la bskangs bshags bya tshul mdor sbdud 'phrin las sgo 'byed: The Concise Manual for Propitiating the Three Kinds of Oath-Bound Protectors of the Chöd Dakini Oral Lineage, called "Opening the Door to Activities")

During the Troma Nagmo retreat, indoor or outdoor, the additional protector rituals are inserted to the appropriate places in the main text.

tradition

The Dâkinî Chöd Hermitage