[T]he real practice and experience of Chod is, by nature, for a very small group of ripened individuals. After much experience in 2013 with “breaking bad Lamas” and “breaking bad students” it is more clear than ever that this is a practice only for those who are emotional and spiritually mature, and had done an immense amount of work on their deepest shadow issues. Above all what is required is a uncompromising capacity to see whatever demons arise as one’s karma. While we must deal with the various problems that confront us with integrity and courage, the great danger is projecting our own inner demons, and throwing blame on to outer circumstances and people. Thus the School has redoubled its efforts to screen out those who are mentally unstable, or whose orientation is self-seeking and hateful, as Chod (and Vajrayana in general) is not a suitable spiritual practice for them.
Our Chod students come from a wide background in terms of age, experience, life situation, location and dharma involvement. Some continue to work with their long-time dharma teachers or lamas, while others are direct students of Lama Jinpa. Still others are new to dharma, or have a varied background in other spiritual traditions and disciplines. They are all united, however, in their passion and dedication to the brilliant path of Chod.
Requirements for the School of Chod
There are no specific, fixed prerequisites for entry. Experience and a background in Tibetan Buddhism may be an asset. However, it may also be an advantage to have a fresh mind, and not be burdened with excess preconceptions or prejudices, as can happen when dharma has been partially learned or misinterpreted based on many varied teachers or approaches. The main requirement therefore, is a commitment and openness to ones own spiritual evolution, in the context of helping all sentient beings to also achieve their happiness and liberation.
There are no bars whatsoever in terms of race, culture, religious background, age, sexual orientation, handicaps or any other superficial aspect of ones make-up. Neither is personality style an issue, as enlightened living invites diversity and individuality even eccentricity within the relative-world context of benevolence and respect towards others. However, Chod requires a certain level of sanity, flexibility and lack of narcissism, and should not be considered therapy.
All individuals that complete the training, including short and longer retreats, will receive a certificate of acknowledgment and recognition, signed by all the Lamas and spiritual advisors involved in the School. While this kind of certification was unknown in the Tibet of old, It is hoped that in the future progressive teachers will adopt similar systems, in order to standardize levels of knowledge and practice. The goal is that graduates have confidence and inner certainty of their accomplishment, and formally considers themselves as Chodpas, with fearlessness and generosity as their constant guides.
The fee structure of the school is based on minimum requirements to cover the costs of facility, transportation, lama’s offerings, staff, mail, printing, etc. The motivation of this school, and cho in general, can never be one of greed or personal gain. Since the seminars occur only twice a year, this greatly lessens the financial demands. With this in mind, the following tuition fees are in place.
- Individual module fees: $275 for Live and Distance Learning modules (plus $15 S&H)
- Full Certification (6 module program) if prepaid: $1500
- For those modules that require significant extra video DVDs or other learning materials, there is additional cost.
i.e. Module 5 (The Healing Rituals) is $375, Module 4 (The Long Rituals), approximately $425.
The above tuition is for students undertaking the entire program. For those who have the background and qualifications to take only one specific module, the cost is $400 for that individual seminar.
For the benefit of the school, its students and the individual applicant, acceptance into the program is not automatic. All potential students are asked to submit a written summary of their background, current life situation and motivation for training in the field of Chod. There will also be an interview, in person or by phone, to help assess the suitability of candidates. Financial or societal status and especially status within a Buddhist community are particularly irrelevant in this context. Acceptance is wholly at the discretion of the directors, based on crucial factors such as emotional maturity, internal stability, personal integrity, compassionate motivation and other dharmic qualities. Furthermore, Chod is only one of many different Vajrayana practices, and its rapid results may not be suitable for all. Since cho deals directly with integrating the shadow side of “reality”, a strong desire to confront one’s Nyensa or frightening places, is needed. As Shenpen Dawa Rinpoche stated: “Chod is not for the faint-hearted. For some a purification practice like Vajrasattva might be much better!” Indeed, one can still benefit limitless sentient beings in other ways! Having said that, it is also true that Chod brings deep and lasting joy to the fortunate practitioner.
Feel free to download the application above; Just fill out the word document and email it back.
Yours in Dharma,