The Sound of Chod
Tibetan Chod uses a unique set of sacred instruments and sacred melodies, as an aid to its inner visualizations and meditations. But these songs and implements provide much more than musical accompaniment. Their effect is also energetic, shifting blockages, opening channels and connecting the practitioner, and their audience, to streams of inconceivable blessings and immense power.
The sacred melodies of Tibetan Chod and their poetic lyrics come from the highest levels of creativity. They are downloads of higher mind, gifts of the Dakinis, the embodiment of Feminine Wisdom Energy. This is divine music, and singing and hearing the melodies has transformative and healing effects. Thus there is no improvisation or altering of these sacred songs, their structure and Different passages can have very different qualities and may also strike one as somber, poignant or even joyous. The rhythms can be infectious or awe-inspiring, exciting or hypnotic. They do not leave us untouched, but go to the depth of ancient inner wellsprings and memories of a sacred time beyond time. Chanting and singing the phrases of 7, 9 or 11 syllables in their natural cadence creates a flow of energy within us that has deep and lasting effects. The sounds of Chod liberate us, fulfilling the true liberating potential of music.
The wooden damaru provides the constant rhythmic drone of the Chod ritual, but is far more than musical accompaniment. It is a conduit to the divine, a portal to mystic energies and experiences. Representing the union of male and female, the Unborn and the Manifest, its structure and symbology is multi-layered and complex. The inside is configured with sacred mantras, written in gold on a red background. And the cloud skins are vitalized with secret alchemical formula. In these and many other ways, they become sacred shamanic implements, aiding the work of transforming ourselves and healing others.
The Kangling in Chod
The human thighbone trumpet or kangling is not just a morbid reminder of our own mortality. It has magical and mystical properties that help the ritual unfold, and alter the energy structure of both the players and listener. Its sharp wail startles us into wakefulness. And the sound of our lifes breath, vibrating through human bone, is the ultimate invitation to the grand feast of our transformed body. The act of blowing the kangling resonates in the channels and chakras of our own skull. The sequence of threes and five are a sonic mantra, invoking the spiritual forces in and around us, the then subsiding into the open ground of silence.
The 5-metal bell or Drilbu is a miniature mandala, a complete microcosm of the five-element pure realm of being, the Sambhogakaya. Herein dwells the principle deity of Chod, YumChenmo, the Great Mother that is unborn matrix of the worlds form and activity. Played in the left hand, it is the feminine divine, the Wisdom counterpart of the Damaru. Its shrill sound is the sound of Emptiness. Tibetan texts describe the sound of the sacred bell as the condensed essence of the twelve branches of speech, sound and melody.
Dress Code in Chod
The simple adornments of the Chodpa include the upper and lower robes, specialized hats, and tiger skin rug (made of yak wool). Each has a unique meaning and purpose both symbolic and functional. The black-fringed Domra hat, for example, shields the timid spirits and demons from the brilliance of the yogis gaze, and also acts as a tantric device that heightens direct clairvoyance and seeing into other worlds. The ancient tantric staff or Katvanga has multi-layered meanings, the three human heads express the three contexts of Buddha Mind: Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakaya.
For more detailed information on the meaning and fabrication of the sacred implements of damaru and kangling, see www.damaruworks.com