Chöd means “cutting through” i.e., severing erroneous concepts about the world of appearances and all illusions regarding the existence of a personal self.

The practice of Chöd is an advanced skillful method that enables practitioners to become free of clinging to false notions and beliefs regarding inherent existence of appearances and experiences and therefore of an individual self.
Attachment and clinging to a self are forces that give rise to the defilements, which are the source of anguish and pain.

Chöd is the practice that enables disciples to understand emptiness of all appearances that are fit to arise and therefore can be apprehended. It is an exceptional practice, brought to our level of existence by Tantric master Machik Lapdrön, a woman of superlative qualities. She lived in Tibet in 11th century.

Milarepa, daring black magician and Tantric Mahasiddha has taught of outer or external, inner and secret Chöd, in which one cuts through one’s attachment to the self more efficiently each time.

He taught:
“External Chód is to wander in fearful places where there are deities and demons.

Internal Chód is to offer one’s own body as food to the deities and demons.

Ultimate or secret Chód is to realize Mahāmudrā , the true nature of the mind and cut through the fine strand of hair of subtle ignorance.

I am the yogi who has these three kinds of Chód practice.”

* * *

In the Mahāmudrā Chód practice an initiated adept ritually offers his whole body (skin, hair, nails, teeth, internal organs, limbs, brain, eyes, feet, heart, blood, bones, spine, neck etc.) to gods, demi-gods, demons, and other spirits to feast upon.

This is truly the apex of the Tantric Arts and sublime example of attaining Light through Darkness and liberating oneself of them both (by attaining Mahāmudrā ).

It is not a practice to be taken lightly. Without proper Tantric transmission of knowledge and empowerment into the Chód practice, even intending such a ritual is just stupid. So many things can go horribly wrong.

I am very fortunate and was blessed with the empowerment by a true Tantric Master and have practiced Mahāmudrā Chód deeply.

This practice has enabled me to glimpse at the realization:

“With no gods to worship, no spirits to exorcise,
No culture of meditation, unpretentious, free and easy,
Here is an unaffected lord without pride in his sense of totality,
And wide open, hanging loosely, in spontaneity and oneness,
need to act, secure in the now, stress-free,
We are happy.”

– Longchenpa

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