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What is Buddhism?

(excerpts from Tara in the Palm of Your Hand)


To begin, let us look at the question, what is Buddhism? Many people erroneously think that Buddhism is a religion similar to Christianity, Judaism, or Hinduism that worships a supreme being or supreme beings who are separate from humankind. But Buddhism is very different from such theistic religions, be they monotheistic or polytheistic. While some aspects of Buddhism, such as the existence of holy texts, sacred places, temples, an ordained Sangha, established rituals and a rigorous ethical code, may make it appear similar to a religion, it is more accurately described as a way of life that is based on teachings of the historical Buddha, who lived sometime between the sixth and fourth centuries BCE.



Black Mahakala is the wrathful Enlightened protector emanation of Chenrezig — Avalokiteshvara, the Compassionate Buddha. Just as any father might demonstrate wrath and fierceness to protect his children, Chenrezig appears as the ferocious six-armed “Great Black” Mahakala.


In this extraordinary video, H.E. Zasep Rinpoche introduces Five Dakini Chod Machig Labdron practice with full teaching, followed by a demonstration, in full, of a Chod Vajrayana Buddhist practice with drumming and chanting.


















Includes stunning video and stills shot over 108 days in Mongolia during a 108 Springs Chod Retreat — where Rinpoche and students had to move their camp each day for 108 days and perform Chod.


Contents by time index

  • Introduction 0 – 0:39

  • Initial Teaching: 0:40 – 22:27

  • What is Chod, Why it is important, Where to practice, How to practice, Drum and Trumpet, and the Lineage of the Teachings. [With scenes of Mongolian 108 Spring Wilderness Chod Retreat] Drumming and Chanting Ritual demonstration 22:28 – 32:33

  • Advice on Practicing Chod: 32.38 – 38:06

  • Fire Puja video from Mongolian Chod 108 Spring Retreat: 38:10 to end


Chod practice combines the Three Paths in an advanced practice: Renunciation, Bodhichitta (compassion) and Shunyata (wisdom understanding Emptiness.”

Chod means to “cut” — cutting ego, self-grasping and attachments. Chod also includes Powa practice. By combining both method and wisdom — Bodhichitta practice and meditation on Emptiness — Chod is considered one of the most advanced practices in Esoteric Buddhism. Rinpoche ends the in-depth teaching of lineage and benefits with a full Chod practice chanted and drummed, and a final section on “Advice for Chod practice”. The video finishes with a spectacular Fire Puja (from the end of the 108 Springs retreat in Mongolia.) Whether your practice or are interested, don’t miss this in-depth teaching and demonstration of Chod practice. 41 minutes in length. Credits for the 108 Springs video and stills include: H.E. Zasep Rinpoche and Bill Wells.

Video teaching on Chod: H.E. Zasep Rinpoche offers a teaching and demonstration with beautiful cutaways to 108 Springs Retreat
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