“We must establish a very strong understanding of both bodhichitta and emptiness in order to perform the actualizing bodhichitta practices of the Chod feasts. First practice equalizing bodhichitta, or dag zhen nyam pe, in which we see all sentient beings and ourselves as equal. “I am an equal with them and they are equals with me. We are all the same, with no distinctions. We have similar intentions and similar situations. I want happiness, and they want happiness. I don’t want suffering, and they don’t want suffering either.” These understandings bring us to a more balanced state. Meditating on this equalizing bodhichitta is the first point.
(1) Equalizing bodhichitta is not an exaggeration or distortion. In reality, everyone truly is equal. Every sentient being has the same intention of wanting happiness, joy, and peace. “As I do, you do too. As you do, so do I.” There are no distinctions at all. With this realization, feel great compassion for all sentient beings, seeing them as a reminder of your commitment of love, compassion, and wisdom. Don’t only try to imagine this, but really feel it from your heart and through every cell and bone in your body. Extend that to all sentient beings. Your whole being is transformed into the state of love, compassion, and wisdom. This process is actualizing our equalizing bodhichitta.
(2) After abiding in this state for a little while, begin the next stage of exchanging bodhichitta, or exchanging our position, called dag zhen je wa. An example often used in Tibet for this type of bodhichitta is seeing a person who is cold and giving them your own blanket. The meditation of Tonglen is an exchanging bodhichitta practice. Give your joy, peace, and happiness—whatever good there is—to other sentient beings. Then take in whatever negativities others are experiencing, including their sadness, suffering, and misery, so they’re freed from that suffering. You don’t have to start by exchanging the biggest things—you don’t have to be rich Wall Street philanthropists right from the start. Start with very small portions, in a manageable way. Once you succeed with that, you’ll discover that you’re able to do more and more.
(3) After exchanging bodhichitta, the third stage of bodhichitta practice is meditating that others are even more important than yourself. The Chod feast is exchanging bodhichitta. You see others as more important, so you give them this big feast. What you’re giving is yourself. Don’t even think of paying any attention to yourself, or of holding anything back for yourself. The feast of yourself is visualized and offered in many ways because of the different needs and desires of your guests.”
Venerable Khenpo Rinpoches
Cutting Through Ego and Revealing Fearlessness: Chod Practice According to Jigme Lingpa’s Bellowing Laugh of the Dakini (pgs 113-115)
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