“As long as there is an ego, there are demons. When there is no more ego, there are no more demons either!” ~ Machig Labdrön.
Serving our community provides cohesion, trust, and clarity, and is especially needed during these times of uncertainty. With the Feeding Your Demons®: Kapala Training Level II retreat on July 27 – August 1, we offer participants an opportunity to become certified in Feeding Your Demons® practice, honoring the ancient teachings of 11th century Tibetan yogini Machig Labdrön, and upon completion, returning to their communities with an invaluable gift of healing.
Machig Labdrön and Feeding Our Demons
In this email we offer some insights to Machig Labdrön’s teachings, how they relate to our desire to free all beings, and what that looks like through the lens of a Feeding Your Demons® facilitator.
In this video Lama Tsultrim talks about what seems a radical concept: turning from fighting our demons, to feeding, or nurturing them, to complete satisfaction.
Machig’s Last Instructions (Excerpt)
“As in the sky all clouds
Disappear into the sky itself:
Wherever they go, they go nowhere Wherever they are, they are nowhere.
This is the same for thoughts in the mind: When mind looks at mind,
The waves of conceptual thought disappear…
Abandoning all bodily activities,
Remain like a bunch of straw cut loose.
Abandoning all expressions of speech,
Remain like a lute with its strings cut through.”
~ From The Concise Life Story of Machig Labdrön by Kunpang Tsöndrü Sengé (13th century).
Lama Tsultrim often talks about how important and easily overlooked the fifth step of Feeding Your Demons® is. The fifth step is to just rest. After experiencing feeding a gruesome “demon”, proper integration with the process requires us to be still. This crucial fifth step is also our opportunity to “slip into the nature of mind” – seeing the mind, and the experience of mind, exactly as it is, free of labelling, projections, or hopes and fears, which Machig describes as “gods and demons.” From this state, nothing else needs to be done, we are liberated. Machig’s Last Instructions alludes to how this experience feels. As a Feeding Your Demons® facilitator, it is important to allow someone in this process to rest. Residing in this state allows the deepest integrations and transformations to occur from the practice.
The Grand Poem on the Perfection of Wisdom (Excerpt)
“The meaning of the Prajñāpāramitā
Is not to be looked for elsewhere; it exists within yourself.
Neither real nor endowed with characteristics,
The nature of the mind is the great clear light….
Neither outer nor inner, neither god nor demon,
Not existence in samsara’s cycles nor nirvana’s beyond,
Neither manifest nor empty:
Mind is free from any such dual appearances.
This is the Buddha’s true intention, his flawless uncontrived view.
If looking for a simile, one could say it is like space.”
~ Aryadeva the Brahmin.
It is said that Machig discovered the nature of demons while reading the prajnaparamita. As quoted in Lama Tsultrim’s book Women Of Wisdom: “She became free from petty dualism and released the demon of self-cherishing. The sun of prajna arose, which stabilized the understanding that there is nothing which makes a person or thing what it is.” As practitioners we need to develop a profound experiential understanding of emptiness. Not only does it help our spiritual practice, it allows us to hold space for all of those in our community. When we do this, we can be open, loving, and patient to whatever arises. We can facilitate a Feeding Your Demons® session without judgement, and allow the process to flow naturally. Our primary goal as providers of service, like the bodhisattva, is to offer whatever any being needs, with the purest of intention.
May you join us for the Feeding Your Demons®: Kapala Training Level II retreat and begin the journey as a Feeding Your Demons® facilitator. If you are new to Kapala Training, we hope you can join us for Level I! Read more about both retreats and teachers below.
~ With Blessings, Tara Mandala
About The Retreats
With Pieter Oosthuizen and Polly Ryan, MA, MFT
July 18 – 23, 2018
Inspired by the ancient practice of Chöd, Feeding Your Demons® is a five-step process created by Lama Tsultrim Allione that allows us to offer compassion and understanding to our own inner demons rather than engaging in battle and struggling with them. This process is of great benefit when working with a wide variety of personal demons and other dilemmas of modern life. The demon work will be balanced by the deep practice of Prajna Paramita, a “nature of mind” meditation practice. This training is the first step for licensed healing professionals who want to become certified to use this process professionally. More → | Register Now
With Lopön Charlotte Rotterdam and Pieter Oosthuizen
July 27 – August 1, 2018
This retreat consists of a deepening of the Prajña Paramita practice, an introduction to Jamgön Kongtrül’s text “Transmitting the Meaning of the Mother,” and Machig Labdrön’s method for cutting through discursive thoughts with sound. FYD® work will expand through mapping of family lineage demons, physical body demons, and hydra demons. More → | Register Now
About The Teachers
Lopön Charlotte Z. Rotterdam has studied Tibetan Buddhism for the last 20 years, was authorized to teach by Lama Tsultrim Allione in 2006, and received the title of Magyu Lopön, lead teacher of Magyu: The Mother Lineage at Tara Mandala from Lama Tsultrim in 2016. Charlotte teaches in the US and abroad, often in partnership with her husband Pieter Oosthuizen, and co-leads the Boulder Tara Mandala Sangha … More →
Polly Ryan, MA, MFT has been a devoted student of Lama Tsultrim Allione since 1992. She has also studied with B. Alan Wallace for over two decades. Under the tutelage of B. Alan Wallace, she has studied Shamatha, The Four Applications of Mindfulness, Seven Point Mind Training, The Four Immeasurables, Dzogchen, and other practices for over two decades. She has … More →
Pieter Oosthuizen is a teacher and entrepreneur and a long-time student of Tibetan Buddhism. He has been teaching various practices and retreats in Lama Tsultrim’s lineage in the US and abroad since 2006, offering a blend of incisive insight and genuine compassion. He co-leads the Boulder Tara Mandala Sangha with his wife, Lopön Charlotte Rotterdam … More →