Chöd of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche
Jul 17

Chöd of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche

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Welcome to the Chöd of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche

Cut through fear, fixation and clinging, by nurturing not fighting, what disturbs our mind.

We are very happy to have chosen to take this course and we are grateful for the path that led you here.  Welcome. May you receive the benefit of the profound healing that is available through this practice and may that benefit be shared by all beings.

Developed in the 11th century by the great Tibetan yogini Machig Labdrön, the practice of Chöd is at the heart of her lineage and has slowly transformed from an obscure practice lineage into a cornerstone of multiple schools of Tibetan Buddhism.  Instead of banishing or fighting with negative forces, Chöd facilitates the ceremonial offering of one’s own body as sustenance for the benefit of beings. Unlike the images common to many spiritual traditions where the giver gives at a detriment to their own vital force, in this offering there is neither depletion nor detriment to the giver. Through this profound act of love, one’s self-clinging is undermined and awakening naturally dawns.

A unique blend of the Mahayana, Vajrayana, and Tibetan Shamanic traditions, with deep philosophical roots in the Prajñāparamitā (Perfection of Wisdom) literature, Chöd – the practice of severance –  is a profound ritual of healing for oneself and for the world.  In fact, Chöd practitioners in Tibet were long renowned for their supreme healing capacity, especially in instances of epidemic disease.


Note: A “Lung” (oral transmission) is required prior to doing the practice of Green Tara.  It is given by an authorized teacher and contains the energetic purity of the lineage.  The Lung must be given ‘live’, and we do them periodically via webcast. If you have not received the Lung for this practice, you can join us on the following date:

  •  October 17, 2020 from 11am – 12pm PT (California) 



  • Videos: All videos are accessed through the course website.  NOTE! You must mark each video  as “completed” in order to proceed to the next.
  • Written and Audio: Any pdfs (texts etc) or recordings are included as downloadable files in the “Downloads” section.
  • Additional Materials: The practice is sung with the accompaniment of a ceremonial (chöd) drum and bell, creating a ritual environment that is rich with many layers of symbolic and energetic depth.
  • You can find these and other items to support your practice at our store here.
  • Do not feel pressured to learn it all at once.  Allow yourself to go at your own pace, taking it one step at a time: melodies, drumming, etc.


Discussion Forum:  Although this is a self-paced course, we encourage you to share your experience and reflections on the discussion forum, which you will find at the very bottom of this page.  Especially in a virtual community, your voice is a gift that breaks the wall of anonymity and builds a bridge across time and space to fellow travelers on this path. We are students and teachers to each other. Jump in!

Questions or Support:


  1. Maeve Leroux
    August 14, 2020 at 9:48 am · Reply

    Hello all! I sent an email to info@taramandala regarding this, but realize that here would be a good place to ask as well!
    My partner and I were recently introduced to the practice of Chod and immediately felt compelled to engage in it! We were heartened to find such wonderful resources here! However, we found these resources just a little after the last opportunity for Lung for the self study programme. So, the question then being: does anyone know when the next chance for lung might be for this, so that we may register? At the moment we’re gathering resources for the practice, and I am looking at making a kangling out of potentially elk bone (I read that in Tibet ox bone kangling were sometimes made, and this piqued my interest!) I understand there may not be any info on a potential ‘when’ but definitely wanted to ask!
    Thank you kindly!

    • Isabelle B
      August 14, 2020 at 11:53 am · Reply

      Dear Meave
      Hello! Welcome!
      A kanglink from elk bone! Wow! You will have to let us know how that goes. I am sure Machig would approve 🙂
      The next Lung will be October 17th. I don’t have the link but I will post to your course… so look for it… or reach out to me at isabelle.bailey@taramandala.org
      Please lmk that you received this response
      Isabelle (online programs coordinator)

  2. Colby Preciado
    August 9, 2020 at 10:10 am · Reply

    Now that I can work the damaru and bell while singing and visualizing, I have taken my practice outside. I’ve had some pretty intense experiences. The first time I practiced at night, I went out by the forest and performed on top of some kind of cistern. I usually don’t fear the dark but I did this night. It was a new moon, so very dark. I had a couple candles to light my music sheet. the mixture of the drum and bell, the sound of water underneath me, insects, and flicker of candles, created vivid illusions. I saw things surrounding me and could hear strange sounds. The air even moved around in a strange way. I was terrified. It was like being a child again, afraid of the boogeyman. Wanted nothing more than to get up and run back to the safety of my house. Then I thought: this! This is it! This is Chöd! I resolved to just let go and just let my panic flow without trying to stop it and the experience became very serene.
    I’ve realized that all the actions keep my body mind and speech so engaged that I lose myself in the act. Just by studying and contemplating the song I have come to truly understand teachings and what I read. It has opened up so many doors. I think it really does contain everything and is a path in itself. The weave, the continuation and connection that is Tantra.
    This may sound kinda crazy, but cicadas and frogs seem to sing with me. I’ve notice they will start to sing more and louder when I practice. Sometimes they even stop when I finish! I like to imagine all of their suffering be alleviated and that they move forward to liberation.

    I pray Machig Labdrön bless our fearless, vanquishing conduct!

    • Isabelle B
      August 9, 2020 at 1:13 pm · Reply

      How beautiful Colby!
      How exciting! How very Machig! 🙂
      Congratulations on getting the Chod drum and bell down… I am still experiencing a little settling in with mine…. but hope to get there soon!
      Reminder that you can practice with one of our several online Chod practice groups, if you would like to experience a little sangha. Check the “Local Practice Calendar” for online practice groups hosted by some of our satellite sanghas.

      celebrating with and for you!
      Isabelle (online programs coordinator)

    • Romana Snozzi
      August 20, 2020 at 11:00 am · Reply

      Thanks for sharing! I just started to practise the different pieces. Looking forward to being able to do the whole sadhana in one 🙂

  3. Elaine Harding
    August 6, 2020 at 10:25 am · Reply

    In case you received a ‘spam’ message to your email that appeared to be a private message from an individual that came from our Tara Mandala address, we wanted to assure you that your account and private information have not been compromised. We were testing a new internal software that has private messaging and a small amount of spam was sent through this software. We have deactivated the software. If you have any questions, please email isabelle.bailey@taramandala.org. Thank you and apologies for the inconvenience if you did receive any spam. Elaine Harding, Manager of Education

  4. Moses Mohan
    June 26, 2020 at 11:09 am · Reply

    Dear Isabelle,

    Please could I check if there might be a video explaining and demonstrating the instructions for the Protector’s Practice (including sounding the bell)?

    I had attended the recent live virtual Chod retreat with Lama and Karla where it was explained and demonstrated, and it would be really helpful to have a video to learn and reference beyond that.


    • Isabelle B
      July 23, 2020 at 11:14 pm · Reply

      Hi Moses,
      We do have a video for the Protector’s Practice.
      We just need to change the video title to include it here… it will take a week at most to get it done and posted.
      Please reach out to me at Isabelle.Bailey@taramandala.org, so that I know you got this message!
      Sorry for the delay!
      I have another online programs coordinator approving messages… and I don’t think this one got passed onto me.
      My appologies!

  5. Andrea Michelle Haeckel
    June 23, 2020 at 11:53 am · Reply

    Is there a formal image of the refuge lineage with Vajradhara, dakas, dakinis, et al.? If Vajradhara is facing us, would the Dakinis be on our right (his left)?

    • Isabelle B
      June 23, 2020 at 1:17 pm · Reply

      Hello Andrea
      That is a very good question… I don’t feel qualified to give a definitive answer… lemme check with someone who is.
      Online Programs Coordinator

    • Isabelle B
      July 24, 2020 at 1:08 pm · Reply

      Here is the answer from a long time student of Namkhai Norbu.

      In Atiyoga (Dzogchen), the emphasis is not on the precise visualization of every detail, but more on the energy of what is being visualized. One can still visualize the refuge tree, but it doesn’t need to be a specific order of this deity here and that one there, but rather a sense of the deities who are present and to enter into the state of their presence.

  6. Chris
    June 17, 2020 at 4:25 pm · Reply

    I can get my drum to hit when the tempo is faster, such as the OM AH HUNG section, but not the regular slower beats during the chant. Any tips?

    • Isabelle B
      June 18, 2020 at 5:20 pm · Reply

      Hi Chris
      I can relate personally and what you describe is not uncommon. My recommendation would be to join one of our practice sessions offered through the local sangha calendar here https://www.taramandala.org/the-center/local-practice-groups/local-practice-calendar/
      Right now we have several regular groups happening: Mondays with Karla Jackson and Wednesdays with Polly Ryan for example but I also see something in the UK. There are emails to connect with them or the sangha, so you can check-in and see if when they might do some instruction. I have received drum instruction from Polly in one of her practice sessions and it was very helpful. Basically you are learning an instrument so the age old rules apply: practice, practice, practice. Some friends here in my local sangha have said they practiced 15 min a day on just the drum while they were learning. Some specific tips I have heard are: keeping the elbow close to your body and being sure that the drum is perpendicular to the ground (record yourself and check that yours isn’t tipping).
      Hope that helps… check back in and let us know how it’s going and what worked.
      Online Programs Coordinator

      • Maura
        July 13, 2020 at 5:09 am · Reply

        Isabelle, this link does not seem to work

        • Isabelle B
          July 14, 2020 at 4:23 pm · Reply

          Dear Maura
          I am sorry to hear you are having trouble.
          I am not sure to which link you are referring…can you please email me directly (and cc ‘support@taramandala.org’) and we be sure to figure it out quickly. Thank you!

  7. Graciela Montani
    June 12, 2020 at 6:40 pm · Reply

    I can’t get in the course. Please advise

    • Isabelle B
      June 15, 2020 at 9:59 am · Reply

      Dear Graciela
      Sorry to hear this.
      Please reach out to Ben @ support@taramandala.org.
      He can help you with any technical issues.
      You will need to tell him exactly what it happening and send a screen shot if you can of any error message you are getting.
      Please follow up with me if this isn’t resolved in the next 24 hours.
      Online programs Coordinator

  8. Shaina Levee
    May 7, 2020 at 8:03 am · Reply

    Hey! I’m able to keep a beat with the drum, but in not tempo with the videos. Do you know if each drum has its own tempo (based on circumference, length of strings)? Or should I be trying to keep pace with Lopon Chandra’s drum?

    • Isabelle B
      May 7, 2020 at 10:17 am · Reply

      With practice, you should be able to keep tempo with the Chod video. It would make group ceremony challenging if every drum had to play “it’s own” tempo!

  9. Diego Contreras
    April 27, 2020 at 4:59 pm · Reply

    Will you give any special discount on the next weeks?

    • Isabelle B
      April 27, 2020 at 5:18 pm · Reply

      Hi Diego
      I am not sure I understand what you are asking about.
      Do you mean are we offering any more discounts on any programs in the next few weeks?
      Reach out to me at Isabelle.Bailey@taramandala.org and I am happy to have a conversation.
      online programs coordinator

  10. Kate
    April 25, 2020 at 7:19 pm · Reply

    Fingers crossed that I can hop on the Chod Lung on May 2nd. I couldn’t get on last time- zoom was full. This practice is so powerful. It is so big and “meaty” and I am taking a long time to learn it- Much longer than other practices because of the Tibetan plus the instruments. I am motivated and I expect it to be life-long practice and learning. It entered my dreams before I began and I feel many blessings from this practice. I am thankful for the recordings of Lama’s teachings so I can return to them again and again, they reveal so much, they dial up “the stream.”

  11. kym chaffin
    April 23, 2020 at 7:54 pm · Reply

    Look at this Shakespeare quote i fortuitously (or synchronistically) stumbled across:
    Hamlet act two, scene 3:
    “‘Tis now the very witching time of night, /
    When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out /
    Contagion to this world. Now could I drink hot blood /
    And do such bitter business as the bitter day /
    Would quake to look on.”

    • Isabelle B
      April 24, 2020 at 5:49 pm · Reply

      Oh that’s good! Perfect good!
      Going to pass that on to Polly Ryan who leads the new Chod practice group and Lopon Chandra!
      Online Programs Coordinator

  12. Myra Pieters-Engelkes
    April 7, 2020 at 1:23 am · Reply

    Good morning,

    I am interested in receiving the transmission (lung) for practicing Chöd. I was informed it will take place at April 11. Can you tell me the time and how I can attend this? Thank you very much.
    Myra Pieters (The Netherlands)

    • Isabelle B
      April 7, 2020 at 2:09 am · Reply

      Hello Myra
      The lung will take place this Saturday at 10am (pacific (california) time).
      The link is https://zoom.us/j/883325242. Please be on time as we will close the webcast once the transmission begins.
      Please reach out to me Isabelle (online programs coordinator) via email for any other questions regarding the lung. Isabelle.Bailey@taramandala.org

  13. Beate
    March 11, 2020 at 11:29 am · Reply

    I have completed the Green Tara and Chod. I have a daily full time practis. Will I have a kind of “sertificate” or maye be not 🙂 Love from Beate

    • Isabelle B
      March 12, 2020 at 5:57 pm · Reply

      Hello Beate!
      Wonderful! Thank you for your practice and for taking these teachings to heart.

      We don’t do the certificates as a matter of course but we are happy to do them.
      I will put you on a list and we should have it done within the month.
      Please email me to let me know if pdf or snail mail is best. isabelle.bailey@taramandala.org

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