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Chöd: exorcism? House blessing?

I performed the chöd “concise feast” in the dark, lower levels of a newly-bought house in Pontremoli, dating back a large but unknown number of centuries. Not known to be haunted, but the new owners do seem to like that the practice was done there!

The practice of chöd is not really an exorcism. Rather is it an acknowledgement of the karmic debts we owe to uncountable sentient beings who have cared for, worked for and died for us since beginningless time. We call them to the feast, where we offer ourselves to them. In that way they are satisfied and pacified.

The understanding is that “external” demons only get their power from our internal demons – willful stupidity, hatred, grasping, egotistical pride and jealousy. The demons dissolve as we recognize that inner and outer are two sides of the same magical show. Hence its occasional use as an exorcism.

2 comments

  1. Charles Carreon says:

    Well, that’s a nice westernization of the concept, but I attended four exorcisms conducted by Yeshe Dorje, and he was damn serious about catching demons, pulling them into his little triangular box, and smashing them to subatomic particles with his magic phurba. He tamed spirits, day in, day out.

  2. Alex W says:

    Ah, Yeshe Dorje, teacher of my teacher. I’m not in his league!

    I never met him, but what you describe sounds a lot like an exorcism, something my own teacher does. As I expect you know, however, chöd is not exactly an exorcism, though it is sometimes performed when ill-motivated spirits are felt to be a problem. Rather is it a solemn rehearsal of a kind of self-offering. Inasmuch as it has an effect on the spiritual environment, it is more a matter of bringing peace to the demons than crushing them.

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