The Chod Tradition of MaChik
Gatsel Choling, the Pleasure Grove of Chod
Lama Chöying’s Story
Because of the changing times, the Buddha’s teaching are deteriorating and especially those practicing Chod are few. In Tibet, MaChik’s monastery was at the Pink Copper Color mountain (Zangri KaMar). After the diaspora from Tibetan, that tradition was preserved at Kurti (Rawabi) by Lama Choying’s root lama (Loppen Tsewong Chopel). This was like a second Zangri. This entire lineage has come down to Lama Choying Lhundrup.
Years ago, a prophecy was given by Ani Lhadron, then 87-years old, who was a reincarnation of the Dakini. This female sage prophesied that if Lama Choying built a MaChik temple near his residence, this would benefit the body, speech, and mind all sentient beings and accumulate great merit.
He named this the third Zangri KaMar, to regenerate the Buddhas teaching and cause them to flourish instead of decline, relying on the profound path of Chod. Like the flow of river, from generation to generation, benefiting all sentient beings. (see full biography here…)
The MaChik Monastery Project
With these aspirations and prayers coming to fruition, the monastic is almost completed near Thimpu, Bhutan, with these beneficial purposes in mind:
- To carry on with the various traditions of MaChik’s Chod, many of which are now unknown elsewhere, including the Chod Cham or sacred dances, long Chod fire puja and so on.
- To train lamas, monks and nuns, ngakpas and ngakmos, in these traditions, to preserve and spread them.
- To be a place of pilgrimage and blessing, a power spot for clearing the stains of the dark age.
- As a place for Western and Eastern visitors to learn, practice, train, and integrate these marvelous practices into their daily lives in their home country.
The reason for building the Gatsel Choling as a temple for MaChik Labdron in this area is because of the special blessings of this area. One reincarnation of MaChik was in Bhutan (Khandro Sonam Palden– (Phajo Drukgom Zhigpo’s consort) who was the founder of the Kagyu in Bhutan. Also Padampa Sangye’s reincarnation came to Bhutan from Kham, with his wife the MaChik reincarnation. Their temple is there but is in ruins today. Near that, there were a meditation hermitage of the Mahasiddhas and there are four ruins from this gompa.
The Precious Rosary of Chod
Gatsel Choling is the only monastery in the world that specializes in the practice that is the crown jewel of Cho practice: The Rinchen Tsokley Trengwa, or the Precious Rosary of Chod.
Sacred Chod Dances
Lama Choying and his disciples may be the last upholders of the tradition of the Chod “Cham,” dating back to MaChik’s Copper Color Mountain monastery in Southern Tibet. This is an arduous ritual, in the five principle dancers, including Lama Chöying, wear the costumes, and take on the persona, of the Five Wisdom Dakinis.
The Chod Fire Puja
Often in conjunction with the Precious Rosary, and the Chod Fire Puja also dates back some thousand years to the time of MaChik. Through this practice, karmic stains are purified on all levels, and in relationship to the five elements of body, and mind (the skhandas).