Lama Tsultrim Allione brings an eleventh-century Tibetan woman’s practice to the West for the first time in her book, Feeding Your Demons: Ancient Wisdom for Resolving Inner Conflict (Little Brown Co. 2008), outlining an accessible and effective approach for dealing with negative emotions, fears, illnesses, and self-defeating patterns. Lama Tsultrim Allione explains how when we fight our demons they grow stronger. If we feed and nurture them, however, we can free ourselves from the battle. Through the clearly articulated practice outlined in Feeding Your Demons®, we can learn to overcome any obstacle and achieve freedom and inner peace.
Kapala Training is a five-level training program comprised of five retreats of increasing levels of depth and preparation designed for deeper learning and understanding about the Feeding Your Demons® process and becoming certified to help others. The training offers an in-depth exploration of the Chöd teachings of 11th century Tibetan yogini, Machig Labdrön; related Mahayana teachings of Prajña Paramita; as well as the practice of Feeding Your Demons® developed by Lama Tsultrim Allione. The Training is designed both for professionals, who can apply these practices to their healing work, and for individuals who wish to work deeply with their own ‘demons’ through contemplative practice.
There is no formal application to begin the Kapala Training Path. Anyone interested can simply register to attend Kapala Training Level 1 Retreat and progress through the track as delineated below.
Kapala Training Path
Kapala Training Level 1
Kapala Training Level 1 includes:
- Feeding Your Demons® – solo and partner work
- Feeding Your Demons® with drawing and clay
- Extended Ally Process – solo and partner work
- Prajna Paramita practice
Kapala Training Level 2
- Completion of Kapala Training Level I
- 65 Feeding Your Demons® processes: 50 solo and 15 with a partner
For partner work, tracking forms from both partners equal one partner work process. This should not be done with clients. It is acceptable to work with gods instead of demons for some of these sessions.
- 20 Extended Ally Processes: 10 solo and 10 with a partner
- 108 hours of Prajna Paramita practice
A practice session is a minimum of 30 minutes. One hour is recommended. 30 minutes is just for those with very limited time. This 30 minutes includes the beginning and ending prayers.
- Plant a tree or sponsor a tree to be planted.
This requirement came to Lama Tsultrim in a dream in which she was flying over Europe and saw that it was dry, parched and very hot. She heard a voice that said: “For Climate Change everyone should plant a tree before Kapala Training Level 2.” Planting a tree connects your practice to healing the earth and to Machig’s tree experience during her initiation from Sonam Lama.
Kapala Training Level 2 includes:
- Making a full-sized body map
This entails tracking where the 65 demons/gods you did between Kapala Training Level 1 and 2 appeared in your body and reflecting on what you see in the body map.
- Male and female family lineage demon and ally maps
- A hydra map looking at a constellation of demons/gods
- “Transmitting the Meaning of the Mother,”* practice
- “Supplication to Machig Labdrön Nature of Mind,”* practice
- “Cutting the Four Demons Loose into Space”* practice
- Teachings on excerpts from the “Grand Poem of Aryadeva the Brahmin” and “Machig’s Last Instructions”
- Taking and Waking practice
If you intend to apply for Feeding Your Demons® certification, you will need to do the following:
- Complete Kapala Training Levels 1 and 2.
- Provide documentation (Tracking Forms) showing that you have completed 54 solo and 54 partner sessions (both yours and partner’s Tracking form makes one partner session), totaling 108 sessions.
- Pass a test with Lama Tsultrim or an Authorized Tara Mandala Teacher showing that you can guide someone through the process by memory, without using the text.
Kapala Training Level 3
Kapala Training Level 3 goes more deeply into meditation practices from the Mother Lineage and introduces approaches to Feeding Your Demons® that are more trans-personal and altruistic.
- Completion of Kapala Training Levels 1 and 2
- Completion of a total of 54 solo and 54 partner Feeding Your Demons® processes begun after Kapala Training Level 1
- 108 hours of “Supplication to the Great Mother Machig Labdrön”
- 108 hours of “Transmitting the Meaning of the Mother” with “Cutting the Four Demons Loose into Space”
- You may choose how much time to spend with each (Transmitting the Meaning and Cutting the Four Demons) in one practice session.
- 200 thirty-minute sessions of Taking and Waking
- Or 100 hours total – You can do as much time as you like in one practice session, but 30 minutes is the minimum per session.
- Completion of the Three Yana Retreat
- Completion of the Chöd* Retreat (Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche)
In Kapala Training 3 you will receive:
- The Empowerment of Machig Labdrön
- The practice of “Opening the Gate to Space”*
- Feeding Your Demons® with dreams figures
- Collective Societal, Cultural, and Historical Demons
- Organizational and Group-dynamic Demons
- The Fourth Demon: Ego-clinging
- Extended Ally processes with the journey
Kapala Training Level 4
- Completion of Kapala Training Levels 1, 2 and 3
- 200 hours of “Opening the Gate to Space”*
- Completion of Dentog Chigma* group retreat
- One-month long solo Dentog Chigma* Retreat at Tara Mandala (or another retreat center, not at home) ending with a fire puja (we will help you do fire puja)
- Preferably without break (in a single period of time). Retreat may be broken up in 2 or 4 sections under special circumstances i.e. parent of a young child.
- Fire puja can be completed during Kapala 4 Training
- Completion of the Lion Headed Dakini Retreat (formerly the Dakini Retreat)
- 10 Feeding Your Demons® with dream figures with tracking forms
- 10 Feeding Your Demons® with demon of ego-clinging with tracking forms
- 10 Feeding Your Demons® with collective societal/cultural/historical demon with tracking forms
- 10 Extended Ally processes with the journey
- 200 thirty-minute sessions of the Four Immeasurables* practice (as learned in the Three Yana Retreat)
In Kapala Training Level 4 you will receive:
- “Machig’s Direct Transmission” from Lama Tsultrim
- “Movement practice”
- “5 Elements Practice”
Kapala Training Level 5
- Completion of Kapala Training Levels 1, 2, 3, and 4
- 200 hours of “Machig’s Direct Transmission”
- 200 hours of “5 Elements Practice”
- Completion of the “Zhitro”* (Namchö Mingyur Dorje) Retreat
- Completion of the “P’howa”* (Chagdud Khandro) Retreat
In Kapala Training 5 you will receive:
- “Machig Labdrön and the Five Chakra Dakinis” practice from Lama Tsultrim.
Required Mandala Practices
The Mandala practices may be done once the Three Yana Retreat has been completed and transmission has been received for the practices. There are 150 practice sessions per Mandala practice; 30 sessions with each of the five families.
Beginning with Mandala of the Five Dakinis:
1.5 hours practice – one hour of the Mandala of the Five Dakinis practice followed sequentially by thirty minutes of transformational personal work related to each family of the five dakinis.
This transformational personal work consists of working with Buddha, Vajra, Ratna, Padma, and Karma families and their encumbered patterns either with Feeding Your Demons®, Feeding Your Demons® with Art (drawing, painting, or clay), Guided Meeting with the Dakini, or Mandala Work with Your Hands.
Mandala Practice Requirements:
- 225 hours of Mandala of the Five Dakinis
- 30, 1.5-hour sessions with each family (5 families total) (This should be done prior to attending KT3)
- 225 hours of Five Buddha Mandala
- 30, 1.5-hour sessions with each family (5 families total) (This can be done any time after completing all required accumulations of the Mandala of the Five Dakinis practice)
- 225 hours of Yab Yum Mandala
- 30, 1.5-hour sessions with each family (5 families total) (This can be done anytime after completing all required accumulations of the Five Buddha Mandala practice)