The lineage of Chöd was established from the realisation of Lord Buddha’s Sutra and Tantra teachings by a female Tibetan master, Machig Labdrön, who received these teachings from her teacher Padampa Sangye.
The founder of the Gelug or Gaden tradition, Lama Tsongkhapa, is known to have practised Chöd extensively. The Chöd lineage that Lama Tsongkhapa received can be traced back to Machig Labdrön and Padampa Sangye, and from there all the way back to Buddha Shakyamuni. Lama Tsongkhapa also received teachings on the Chöd practice directly from Manjushri.
Chöd means “cutting” and refers to cutting through the self-grasping mind that is at the very root of samsara. Chöd is the essence of Prajnaparamita (transcendent wisdom) which focuses on attaining Bodhicitta and realising Emptiness.
The practice purifies negativity and gathers the accumulations necessary for attaining these realisations through meditation and rituals. These rituals focus on offering the body as nectar to the enlightened beings, offering the body to the spirits and meditation on Emptiness.
All Mahayana training is included in lojong, Lama Tsongkhapa, Commentary on the Profound Path of Chöd
And all Mahayana Dharma is included in Chöd.
In the Gaden tradition, Chöd is an advanced practice to be fully engaged in only after having completed the study of both Sutra and Tantra. Some melodies used in Chöd are those composed by Machig Labdrön herself. The melodies are the wisdom of Buddha in the form of sound, hence to recite Chöd in its original melodies generates great merit.
H.H. Kyabje Zong Rinpoche
Prior to His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche’s lifetime, the practice of Chöd in the Gaden tradition was at the point of extinction. Kyabje Zong Rinpoche encouraged the practice of Chöd at Gaden Monastery in Tibet when he was abbot, and later propagated Chöd practice in the Tibetan community in exile in India.
Kyabje Zong Rinpoche is said to be a reincarnation of Suryakirti/Padampa Sangye, who was instrumental in the development of Chöd in Tibet.
The video below shows Kyabje Zong Rinpoche engaging in Chöd practice.
Ven. Zawa Tulku Rinpoche
Ven. Zawa Tulku Lobsang Dorje Chokyi Gyaltsen Rinpoche is the Spiritual Director of Tsongkhapa Meditation Centre in Canada. He was born in India in 1978 and was recognised as the reincarnation of Zawa Geshe Rinpoche. In 1982, he was ordained at Gaden Shartse Monastery and studied Buddhist philosophy there until 1998. He then embarked on an international tour, teaching at numerous Dharma centres.
In addition to his dedication to teaching Buddhism, Zawa Rinpoche is also a master of the construction of sand mandalas and ritual arts. His specialities include healing and purification rituals and he is renowned for his kindness and pure morality.
In the video below, Zawa Rinpoche is performing Chöd Tsok.
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