Sunday, January 15, 2012
Reiki Chod Rite:
Feeding Your Demons
On February 12th, from 10am to 4pm, I am going to be holding space for the Tanran Reiki version of the Chod Rite. This particular Rite was gifted to the Earth roughly 1,000 years old when White Tara incarnated in Tibet as Lady Machig Labron. My feeling is that she also incarnated as the Cowgirl Sujata and was with Guatama Buddha, nursing him back to health and engaging in subtle dharma talks, and even initiating him into five Tantric energy rituals to help his meditation process, as he was moving to supreme perfect enlightenment during his 24/40 meditation intensive. She also appeared to Nagarjuna and taught the sublime teachings of emptiness, intuitive wisdom, and compassion which became the basis of the entire Mahayana Buddhist revolution. During her third turning of the wheel of the Dharma, she came down and taught the Chod Rite. This teaching transmission became the basis for every single meditation method that Vajrayana Buddhism was going to use to enlighten people.
During the time of Guatama Buddha, the hinayana dharma was established, based on mindfulness of breathing, analyzing the 12 phase nidanic chain reaction which sustains sorrow and then choosing to end sorrow by remaining alert and aware, without adding any thought story, to the sensation of sorrow, and following the wise precepts that prevent us from creating any more sorrow. During the time of the Mahayana revolution, this earlier teaching was directly and intuitively realized in immediate experience, seeing not only the emptiness of the personality self but also the emptiness of all material phenomena. This deeper realization was behind the ideal of the bodhisattva and dakini, male and female semi-liberated beings who decide to stay in the world to serve the ending of all sorrow in the world and to create a pure land of bliss on Earth. These beings have "nirvana with residue". They have the deep knowing of their own buddha nature from direct experience and are abiding within this knowing as they move through their experience, but they have not yet emptied their subconscious mind of all the traces of sorrow.
When White Tara incarnates in this world as Machig Labron, she gives to the Earth the sacred Chod Rite. In its Tibetan form, it has a shamanic flavor, of going to a cemetry, charnal ground, or place of cremation, beating a drum, and verbally outloud calling to the demons of this place and offering his or her body to be eaten by the demons. This ritual may seem strange to our ears, since we are not a shamanic culture. But the essence of this dharma transmission is to surrender into our fears in order to immediately end them. The psychological wisdom is that behind our fear is resistance to what is feared. Our mind tries to solve our fears and secure our existence, driven by a subtle self clinging that is behind all our sorrows. Our minds can run a thousand thoughts and wear itself out by thinking thinking thinking, rather than "face our fears" and "go through our fears". The Chod Rite is about ending the grip of fear, once and for all, by going even one step further than "facing our fears". We conjure our fears and actually feed them further. By doing so, we end our fears at the deepest root, at the core of our self clinging to an ego identity that we have always been attached to and which has always been an illusion or mental construction.
The Chod Rite is a "path of accelerated transformation". It is indeed the highest, fastest, and deepest path that Tibetan Buddhism has taught, with the possible exception of the Dzogchen path of directly and immediately resuming your enlightened nature through "pointing out instructions". Even so, many who have done Dzogchen and who have mastered the dialectical philosophies of emptiness eventually do this Chod Rite to cleanse their subconscious minds of all traces of fear. By combining Dzogchen, Tonglen, and Chod together you have a powerful vehicle of spiritual growth.
The Chod Rite is also echoed in some of the terse sayings of Jesus when he teaches us to "love our enemies", "pray for those who persecute us", "bless those who curse us", "turn the other cheek", and "resist not evil". Jesus also showed the Chod Rite by accepting crucifixion and by "being obedient even on to death".
The Chod Rite is an advanced meditation process. There is a reason why White Tara waited about 1500 years to prepare humans to receive this teaching. Hinayana Buddhism makes more sense to us. The logic of our ego state is that we should resist what we label as evil and fear it, or at least run away as fast as we can or to prevent it from happening. The idea of ending fear by surrendering to fear does not make sense to us at all. It takes a deep meditator to understand how resisting what we fear keeps our fear going and keeps our mind concentrated on manifesting our fears in our life, replaying our karma patterns over and over again for lifetime after lifetime. We do not understand how fear is a form of faith in something manifesting that we do not want to manifest. We do not notice how deeply our mind concentrates on what it fears and how this concentration magnetizes the event towards us, or how the more we think about something the more energy we give it. When we surrender into our fear, then the fear collapses. As long as we try to solve fear, we sustain it.
Many people are starting to notice how their minds wrap around a fear, make it an obsession, and give it life. But even noticing this they do not know how to get out of the repeating energy loop. If you try to get out of the fear, then it is still fear and it is still resistance. Krishnamurti called it "fear running away from itself" and teaches how fear always does this. One time someone said to K, "It seems, from your view, my mind is nothing but a system of escapes," to which K replied, "Is this not a tremendous realization to come to!".
The problem is that we do not realize how our mental effort to solve fear is "fear analyzing fear" and thereby sustaining fear. Even to ask, "How do I stop fear?" is part of this effort. Even signing up for Chod to try to end fear is part of this, though Chod can aikido our ego motivation and use it to help us end fear.
The Chod Rite has been taught in one form by Lama Allione who has given some talks about her own experience with the practice. She used it to go through a custody battle with her ex-husband. She conjured her ex as the demon and feed the demon by giving him what he wanted, the custody of the child they birthed together and raised together. After she completed the rite, she gets a call from her ex saying that she can have custody of the child and that he was only manifesting his fear that he would never see the child again. He had surrendered into his fear at the same time, even though he did not do the Chod Rite consciously. We are interconnected on a deep level and do not realize what we are doing to sustain our karmas on this level. The Buddha one time taught that "karma is in the interdependence", the places that we interact with each other. We form energy loops and feed them with our activity. We are more telepathically linked with each other than we realize and our constantly feeding those interactions with our cravings (agendas), our negativities (resistances), and our delusions (projections). When our dysfunctional energy system collapses, then the energy loop collapses and something new can take its place, what replaces the three poisons of the mind are the three qualities of the heart, love, creativity, and wisdom. Conscious love evokes the same in return.
The Tanran Reiki version of the Chod Rite differs some from the Tibetan Buddhist form. One is that it starts with the invocation of the Reiki Guides, is done within a communal container, and within sacred space. It is easier to surrender into our fears when we are in a supportive community. The space holder can keep the process on track. It is easy for the the solo ego to get caught in a reactive energy loop and stay lost in reactive land, playing all the nearly endless thought dramas of anticipation and resistance, or actually wrestle with the demon until worn out, or feel paralyzed and "try to surrender" in such a way that the stuckness stays in place. The space holder can help walk a person through the process step by step until the fear is completely cut through. When under the grip of fear, the logic of the ego state tends to rule us. The logic of emptiness, which seems paradoxical to the ego, is hard to figure out and apply when we are very reactive. It is a blessing for someone to keep the process simple so that we can stay focused and move through what needs to be moved through. When in the corridor of fear, our intelligence gets very dumb and survival oriented. Even if the logic of emptiness made sense in the comfort of our intellectual studies, it seems to go out the window when we are afraid. We unwittingly conjure the illusion of a solid self that exists from its own side and self cling to this illusion, and start to spin a thousand fearful thoughts around it. A far deeper understanding of emptiness is needed to cut through fear completely. It must not be merely intellectual, it must be psychologically realized in the depths of our subconscious minds. By invoking a connection with the Reiki Guides, their own deep understanding can be felt in the space as a wisdom energy. They can understand for us and with us until our own understanding is perfected and stabilized.
The other thing that can be watched over is that there is a smart way of doing Chod and a stupid and risky way of doing Chod. It is an advanced practice. A meditation newbie does not want to rush out and try it solo. It would be like a women running naked through a gang of unrepentant rapists in the middle of the night (and the Chod Rite would even be taking time to seduce the gang). Fear can take a lot of forms and sometimes our fears have some wisdom as to why they are there. It takes some time before we want to resolve things at their very core and finish with them. It takes some time before we have enough confidence in universal law, understand that no event happens by accident, that every bad event has a karmaic history behind it, and to own our part in why everything happened to us. Curiously, the Chod masters of Tibet are the ones who go into plague areas to help people and do not die of the diseases that kill most others. Not unconsciously and fearfully resisting the diseases, they do not get caught in those diseases. It is why Yeshe Tsogyal was able to convert a gang of rapists to the Dharma using Tantric sexual union with each one of them (again, this is something to not rush to do until you are more masterful with your energies). A space holder can watch over the process so that the process stays a smart one. You first do Chod through a series of visualizations, then you do Chod in events that naturally arise in your life without seeking them out, and then, if you are clearly guided from within, you do Chod in events that you willingly go into.