Benefits of Cho (Chod)
Relative and Ultimate
The Mahamudra Chod has the express aim of full enlightenment, of attaining Buddhahood in this very life, in this very body. In order to accomplish this lofty goal, it rapidly perfects the accumulations of wisdom and merit, clearing vast oceans of negative karma that we have collected through infinite lifetimes.
But along the way, Chod also has remarkable effects here and now, on both ourselves and those around us. Practicing Chod has an impact on various aspects of daily, and different levels:
- Outer Level: The environment, weather, ecology, farmland and livestock can be affected by Chod, all the way to creating rain, ending droughts and causes crops to flourish and herds to increase.
- Material Level: Our career, financial and material success, relationships are greatly influenced by our karma, and Chod is the ultimate karmic-transformer.
- Inner Level: Our body and health are direclty affected by Chod in all cases, and there are specific rituals solely for the purpose of clearing the obstacles that created illnes. Chod has been used to quell epidemics and treat the most intractable kinds of illness, and is still used by modern Chod practitioners for this purpose.
- Secret Level: Our minds are deeply affected by Chod which clears of obstacles, cuts away of falsity, and generates a deepening compassion and dawning of wisdom.
Here we can do no better than quote the precious words of the luminaries of Chod, including the visionary architect of the practice, MaChik Labdron. None were shy or reticent about extolling the virtues of Chod. Some of their words were collected in one of the few Chod commentaries by the Third Karmapa, Ranjung Dorje, entitled “The Confident Explanation.” Karmapa tells us that it was written in order to dispel mistaken views and improper methods of Chod that had already begun to arise in his time.
Aryadeva’s Words on Chod
Firstly, Aryadeva tells us in his Hundred Expositions of Chod:
- Above, all the gods will uphold their vows to you.
- Below, the Nagas are overcome by brilliance, and accomplish whatever activity one desires.
- The gods befriend you in their own domain; All nagas are bound into servitude.
- Lamas, yidams, dakinis and dharma protectors treat you as their child in this life.
- Through this dharma, the demons of form will not rise up as enemy.
- Through this dharma, the formless demons, and the male and female harm-doers,
- Will be bound by samaya. The accumulation of these benefits will be beyond all measure.
- The practice of Chod is like a vital essence,
- the heart of all dakinis and all mother tantras.
- It contains all the authentic instructions of all the lamas.
- It encompasses all the explanations, meditations
- and experiences of all realized beings, of all the yogis.
- The practice of Chod is said to be like a precious jewel
- which is able to realize all the aspirations of all beings.
- It is like a medicine which pacifies all illness.
- It is like a protective armor that is able to defend
- against all demons and their harmful influences.
- It is like a wisdom elixir which is able to clarify all obscuration.
- It is like a sword which cuts through all illusions and confusions.
Chod is like a key which is able to open the door of all the oral instructions, all the teachings and transmissions of Vajrayana, the Way of the Secret Mantra.
In the words of Orgyen Rinpoche, through the terma text the Teaching on Augmenting Cho, the meditative effects of Chod are described:
- The path is cleared of obstacles. Realization is enhanced
- The mark of dualistic phenomena is set loose
- The field of confused appearance is laid bare.
- The mental phenomena of apparent existence, samsara and nirvana
- Are all liberated on their own ground.
- Enhancing the realization of the fundamental reality,
- A year of meditation occurs in a single moment,
- In a power spot, through this great enriching meditation,
- in a single day the demon of arrogance can be decisively finished off.
Machik’s Chod Pronouncements
MaChik is even more direct in explaining the power of Chod in the Cycle of Time:
- Offering a horse or elephant is a thousand-fold merit.
- Offering ones wife or child is worth a hundred thousand times this
- Offering the body multiplies it a million times.
- Giving the dharma is without measure.
And further she poetically states:
- The Opening of the Sky Door of Chod; A hundred Powas cannot match it.
- The karmic accumulations of the Kusali tsok; a hundred accumulations do not compare.
- The practice of Red and White Feasts; A hundred banquets are not its equal
- Carrying away mountains of flesh and blood; A hundred levels and stages are no match.
- Staying in retreat in a haunted power spot; A hundred meditations cannot compare.
- With the gods and demons of existence as patron; A hundred other supporters are no match.
- A view that is primaly pure and free from dualism; A hundred sacred dharmas are no equal.
- The holy dharma of the field of cutting through demons; A hundred sacred instructions do not compare.
And applying the actual practice diligently yields extraordinary benefits:
- Through recognizing, thinking or just hearing, The instruction on the confusion of inner awareness, You will be born in the realm of the Awareness holding kings
- If one moves from theory to actually realizing this, You will become chief among beings.
- If you are not sidetracked during practice, Buddha is in the palm of your hand.
- Thus, in an dwelling place of nagas, nyen spirits and so on,
- Cultivating the practice of a hundred springs,
- And not wavering from two meditation sessions a day.
- You arrive at the level of no-return
- You will see the see the face of the essence of realization of MaChik
- Obtaining the prophecy of the gods,
- You will receive the ultimate confirmation.