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Die The practice of offering one's body (Chöd)

The next practice in the Preparatory Exercises is the presentation of one's own physical body, which presents the inner Mandala, a practice known as «the offering of the body». More commonly, this process is known as Chöd. The Tibetan word gcod means «cutting off» and what is cut off or chop here is the attachment to one's ego, symbolized by the physical body. All living beings are very attached to their bodies, but this practice of the Chöd serves to eliminate such attachment. Chöd has a twofold function: not only does it eliminate the attachment to the ego and the body; it also serves as a means of cultivating generosity. You give the other what has the highest value, namely your own life and the material body.

 

This serves as a means of repaying our karmic debts from past lives in various dimensions of existence that have been accumulated with respect to the various classes of beings. In addition, it is very useful as a preparation for death when consciousness and the body eventually separate, because then, once you have practiced the Chöd, you will not experience fear of death or will have attachment to the body. Chöd brings us together individually with what a living entity fears most, the primal fear of death, where one is killed and devoured as food by another being who has the face of a fierce predator. Life and death, eating and being eaten are inevitably part of Samsara. Our sense of ego, identity and personal value are very much related to our physical body, our health and our pleasant and attractive appearance. The feeling of «me» and «my body» are one and the same, the individual is overly connected to it. But the experience of Chöd will teach you something different.

 

The practice of the Chöd is very popular in Tibet, in both the Buddhist and Bönpo traditions, but here it is not just a question of subjugation of the spirits in the desert, though Chöd practitioners are known for their ability, to exorcise the evil spirits that cause pests and infectious diseases. Chöd is much more important as a spiritual exercise. This section here in the text is also known as the explanation for the accumulation of merit by the means of offering.

 

Again, take the five-fold position of meditation and perform the nine breaths of cleansing. Then a simplified version of the more elaborate Chöd practice is described here. The practice is divided into five phases:

 

1. The visualization of the tree of the assembly;
2. The invitation to the four guests to visit the festival;
3. Our consciousness emerging from a hole in the chest of our corpse and taking the form of a Krodha or wrathful deity;
4. The stacking of our corpse by this deity and the making of a cauldron from our skull in which our meat is cooked; and
5. The transformation of this deity into the sacrificial goddesses who distribute the meal to the four guests.

 

 

Execution

In the heavens in front of oneself, by means of the visualization of the objects of the sanctuary, consisting of the three jewels and the three roots, one creates the tree of the assembly with Shenla Ökar in its center, as well as the splendid protectors or the Palden, which are the guardian spirits of the teaching, especially the seventy-two Palden that come from the sun, the moon, and the stars, along with the eight classes of spirits and all beings that belong to the six realms of rebirth, all of which are fill the atmosphere in a number inconceivable for the mind.

 

These form the four guests invited for the party prepared as described. These four guests are usually listed as follows:

 

1. the Three Jewels and the Three Roots, which are the objects of the Refuge;
2. the protectors who protect the teachings;
3. the eight classes of worldly spirits; and
4. all the beings of the six destinies of rebirth, especially those who owe karmic debts from an earlier life.

 

These guests all participate in the celebration and are visualized in the space in front of us.

 

You visualize yourself as a corpse, spread on its back on the ground. You look at it as if it's currently being shown in the cinema. Then suddenly a big hole of wisdom bursts in your chest, whereupon your own consciousness becomes visible in this cavity as a tiny area of light.

 

With the sudden sound of the syllable PHAT! this awareness is pushed out as a small sphere of light. It comes out like a radiant spark, scattered from the heart of a fire. This spark dissolves into light and is immediately transformed into a male or female Krodha or wrathful deity of wisdom or gnosis, as described in the text. With the sword in his hand, it cuts off the four limbs of our corpse and places them on the ground, erecting them as a standing hearth for cooking.

 

Then the upper part of our skull is cut off and placed on the four supports that are our limbs. This skull cauldron or cooking pot now becomes as large and extensive as the universe itself. Slaughtering the corpse, the wrathful deity methodically throws all parts of our own body into the cauldron so that it is filled to overflowing. These pieces of your own flesh are immediately multiplied to become a great variety of food offerings. All this flesh and blood is boiled over the fire until this mass is transformed into Amrita or Wisdom Nectar, which has a wonderful aroma.

 

Then the wrathful deity transforms into innumerable beautiful young goddesses or Puja devas who present Puja offerings to all guests. They draw the nectar with the skull bowls out of the kettle and store it in sacrificial bowls. This magnificent nectar of wisdom they first bring forth, like the flock-clouds of pure Puja sacrifices, the gods of wisdom, that is, the Three Jewels and the Three Roots that fill the sky, and belong to the first invited group of guests of the feast. They are all very happy and thoroughly satisfied with these offerings. Through this impartial act of generosity, you accumulate a vast supply of deserving Karma. And by pleasing the guests, we then receive the blessings of all the Buddhas and the gurus of the lines.

 

As the fluids of one's body have been transformed into a sea of Amrita nectar, it soothes and pleases the pure races of the Palden or the glorious protectors, who are the guardians of the teachings and represents the second group of invited guests. With the thickened sediments, which continue to transform into various kinds of beautiful and sensual qualities, the eight classes belonging to the third group of invited guests and all beings belonging to the six areas of the fourth group are also satisfied.

 

In summary, the nourishing and delicious tasting nectars are served to the enlightened beings, the juices and body fluids are offered to the Palden or the protectors and the sediments and remains are served to the eight classes of spirits and the inhabitants of the six areas. By offering what one most values, that is, one's own physical body, to the Buddhas and other enlightened beings, as well as to the protectors, one collects much meritorious Karma through this act of highest generosity and self-sacrifice. This is in view of the higher score invited to the festival.

 

But even the capricious and evil spirits of the worldly gods and demons are pacified. The desires of the beings belonging to the six realms of rebirth are equally satisfied. In this way, both the higher guests and the lower guests are completely satisfied and enthusiastic. Moreover, the causes of illness and suffering from the negative provocations of these eight classes of secular spirits have been purified. By providing one's own material body as food for the eight classes, one removes the energy from their negative provocations and thus they no longer interfere our meditation practice or disturb our own lives and happiness. Rather, these ghosts become friendly and supportive, even acting as friends.

 

There are several lists of these non-human, worldly spirits that hunt through the landscape, but as a rule these are the Lha or the gods in white color, according to the Indian Devas; the Lu, green or blue in color, correspond to the Indian Nagas; the Dud are black in color and correspond to the Indian Maras; the Tsen, the warrior spirits are red in color; the Mamo, violent female spirits are black in color and correspond to the Indian Matrikas; the Gyalpo, disturbing spirits of the dead warriors and monks, are white in color; and the Za are multi-colored spirits associated with electricity and so on.

 

And in terms of providing one's own material body for the living beings of the six realms, it will in any case pay for all of the karmic debts we owe others, such as when we have other sentient beings in a past life in the course of war or have killed them in the hunt for food. So you have all of your own karmic debt that has been accumulated to date, repaid. Moreover, through their participation in our own flesh, in all these worldly beings one has established the cause of their subsequent realization of Buddhahood. Now you have irreparable karmic connections with them, and when you attain liberation and enlightenment, you will be able to help them also within our spiritual field of activity.

 

Thinking that the illusory body, which is our material body, is offered as the whole result of its Karma from the past to this life now, as a sacrifice, which becomes a great mass of gifts and offerings, one makes this offering through the reciting the following liturgy from a simple text to a Ganachakra-Puja. This was announced as a «simplified version». But I think that if it's Chöd Practice as a preparatory exercise then there should be one. There is, but again another book. The Sadhana from it follows afterwards. But first I would like to introduce this Ganachakra-Puja here.

 

 

Ganachakra Puja

Well, I think that the following short text theoretically can be repeated 100,000 times, either in Tibetan or in English, even though I did not find that statement anywhere.

 

The following verses, known as «The Presentation of Words for the Offering of One's Illusory Body as Ganachakra Puja», are proposed for this but:

 

KYE HO!
DAK LU TSOK SU BUL LO ZHE SU SOL
YAN LAK ZUK ZHI TAN JID GYED PUR TSUK
THOD PA RIN CHEN YANG PE ZED ZHAL DU
SHA TRAK DROD UK PAK TSIL CHU GYU KANG

 

KHAM DANG KYE CHED TSA DANG YAN LAK CHE
WANG PO WANG TEN NANG TROL DON NOD DANG
KENG RU SO SEN TRA DANG BA PU TSOK
DANG NYIK KHU WA SUM DU RAB PEL NE

 

ZAK CHE MAN PE LU DI YON DU BUL
KHYED KYI TA GONG NYAM TOK KHYAD PAR CHAN
DAN TA NYID DU DAK LA TSAL DU SOL
BU LON LAN CHAK MA LU DI JYANG NE

 

NOD JYED KUN KYANG JYANG SEM CHOK THOB SHOK
MIK MED GYA CHER NGO WE SOD NAM KYI
DRO NAM DAK TE CHING PA DROL GYUR CHIK

 

KYE HO!
I bring you all my own body as Ganachakra Puja:
I pray that you accept this offer!
My limbs are planted firmly in the ground,
These form a fireplace, which is stable and bright flaming..

 

After getting into this huge cauldron, which is my own precious skull,
Everything from my flesh, blood, heat, breath, skin, fat, water, tendons and bone marrow was thrown,
All my elements and my sense-fields, both root and trunk,
Together with my sense organs and the support of my senses,
As well as my guts, my internal organs, and my inner cavities, which are containers,
My bones, teeth, fingernails, hair and the masses of my body hair,
As well as my bodily fluids, both pure and impure,
And all of it has been extended to the size of the entire three thousand-fold universe,
I offer everything from this inferior and polluted physical body as repayments for my karmic debts in the past.

 

And in return, I ask for the view and the consideration, as well as for the special experiences and for the understanding;
I pray that this will be granted to me at this moment!

 

By cleaning myself with this offering, all my karmic debts and obligations have been repaid,
May all spirits causing harm now come to realize the idea of the highest enlightenment!
And because the merit of this is devoted to concepts,
May I just be able, through my very eyes, to free the same beings from their bondage!