Thursday, 13 February 2014


Wow what a day!! I spent the morning with Lama Tempa on a one to one Chod session. He was very patient with me and clarified a lot of questions that had come up from my studies and previous Chod teachings. Forgetting that Bon is very old he explained why Machik did not feature in Bon and of course it then made sense. Bon Chod is very Shamanistic in its approach, starting with a trance dance - memories of Bali , and continues with chanting and using a drum bell and horn to call in the demons. Of course we have to remember that all these things are symbolic and the demons are mostly of our own making. You then summon in a wrathful Dakini whose body your consciousness enters leaving your own body as a corpse. You then as the Dakini chop up your corpse and feed firstly your teachers and then all your demons, hungry ghosts and sentient beings on your body. Chod means cutting and though this practice you are cutting away your ego and getting rid of fear. If you have no fears you are free. Think about it, it's mostly our fears that imprison us. To be free of fear shows your true nature and that's all we need to achieve, to be our true selves. Obviously there is a quite a bit more to it but that's a whole book !! Anyhow I am now the proud owner of a Duru the drum, the horn which should be made from a human thigh bone may take a bit longer to acquire.  This is a healing practice and can be used to clear haunted spaces as well as clearing negative energy from bodies and clearing karmic debt. Tomorrow morning we are going through the whole ceremony together. It's wonderful to have this opportunity, usually you have to share the teacher with a whole class. Here I have him entirely to myself for which I am very grateful.
Later this afternoon we visited Pashupatinath where all the cremations are carried out for Hindus and Buddhists.  The cremations are carried out in the open beside the river for all to see. The corpse is prepared and washed in the river , anointed , then wrapped in cloth and bedecked with flowers. They are then carried to the ghats where undertakers place them on piles of wood. If  they are Hindu and the father dies the eldest son lights the fire, if a mother dies the youngest son lights the fire. The fire is placed in the mouth of the corpse and the body takes around three hours to burn. When the burning is completed the remains are pushed of the Ghat into the river, if the family is poor and cannot afford enough wood all the remains end up in the river. Whilst this is happening the sons shave their heads and enter a state of mourning. You are able to watch all this from a verandah above, whilst we were there we were smoked out by the corpse burning just below us. It is very morbid but fascinating and it's hard to take your eyes off of it. The undertaker moved some of the wood off the body and we could see the blackened outline of the corpse, including the hole they make in the skull to prevent it exploding. Then he turned it over and revealed a hole in the abdomen from which the intestines were spilling in glorious technicolor.  I hasten to add he was just doing his job and not doing it for our benefit. But with that we felt we had seen and smelled enough and crossed the bridge to the holy part. As we wandered through we met some Saddhus who are devout Hindu's who have renounced material life
and live mostly naked and covered in ash in caves nearby. They are really peaceful quiet people who just ask your name and where you come from. They have an unbelievable air about them. It is believed that Saddhu's have achieved enlightenment and have escaped the cycle of death and rebirth. Because of this they are some of the few people who will be buried, along with young children who are innocent,their   burial site is just above the river.
 This evening we went and did more Koras around the Stupa with the Tibetans.   So now we are sipping Mojito's  and coffee in the bar and trying to relate to all the marvellous things we have seen and done today and wondering how we will remember all this after we have completed our trip as this is only day 3 !!!

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