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 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® (FYD), 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 FYD process. The training offers an in-depth exploration of the Chöd teachings of 11th century Tibetan yogini, Machig Labdrön; related Mahayana teachings of Prajñaparamita; as well as the practice of FYD 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.
Kapala Training thus offers a path to certification for those who wish to become authorized to use the FYD method with clients in a therapeutic setting. That path consists of completing Kapala Training Levels I and II, followed by the FYD Certification Level, which is an online program with an onsite Certification Capstone retreat. See here for more details >>
Kapala Training Levels I through V are also a foundational part of the Magyu Path of Study in Tibetan Buddhism offered through Tara Mandala Retreat Center.
Please note that Kapala Training Level I & II (Onsite) correspond closely with the Buddhist Track of FYD Online I & II and could, therefore, be taken interchangeably, provided the required assignments have been completed (as outlined below). Both online and onsite paths qualify as Magyu Path requirements.
There is no formal application or prerequisite to begin the Kapala Training Path, although there is an application process for those who wish to become certified to use the FYD process with clients.
Kapala Training Path
Kapala Training Level I
Kapala Training Level I includes:
- Feeding Your Demons® – solo and partner work
- Feeding Your Demons® with drawing and clay
- Types of Demons
- Mapping Demon Complexes
- Prajnaparamita practice
Kapala Training Level II
- Completion of Kapala Training Level I or FYD Online Level I (Buddhist Track)
- 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.
- 108 hours of Prajnaparamita 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.
- FYD Online: Please note that only 80 hours of Prajnaparamita practice are required before attending FYD Online Level II. However, if you wish to continue with Kapala Training Level III after completing FYD Online Level II, you will need to complete an additional 28 hours of Prajnaparamita practice.
- 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 experience in the Serlag tree, overseen by the king of the Nagas, during her initiation from Sonam Lama. The tree is also considered a metaphor for individuation.
Kapala Training Level II includes:
- Making a full-sized body map
- This entails tracking where the 65 demons/gods you did between Kapala Training Level I and II appeared in your body and reflecting on what you see in the body map.
- Extended Ally Process – solo and partner work
- Male and female family lineage demon and ally maps
- Further refinement of the hydra map
- “Transmitting the Meaning of the Mother” practice
- “Supplication to the Great Mother” 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
Kapala Training Level III
Kapala Training Level III goes more deeply into meditation practices from the Mother Lineage and introduces approaches to FYD that are more trans-personal and altruistic.
- Completion of Kapala Training Levels I and II, or FYD Online Level I and II (Buddhist Track)
- FYD Online: Please note that only 80 hours of Prajna Paramita practice are required before attending FYD Online Level II. However, if you wish to continue with Kapala Training Level III after completing FYD Online Level II, you will need to complete an additional 28 hours of Prajna Paramita practice.
- 4 Solo Demon Feedings
- 39 Partner Demon Feedings
- 10 Solo Extended Ally processes
- 10 Partner Extended Ally processes
- 108 hours of “Supplication to the Great Mother”
- 108 hours of “Transmitting the Meaning of the Mother” with “Cutting Four Demons Loose into Space”
- You may choose how much time to spend with each (Transmitting the Meaning and Cutting 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 Retreats in sequential order:
- Completion of the Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche (CNNR) Chöd Retreat or Online Course, and 108 Chöd practice sessions.
- Completion of Wisdom Rising: Meeting the Mandala of the Five Wisdom Dakinis or Wisdom Rising Online Course (If you completed the Vajrayana Retreat prior to 2020, that retreat counts in place of this retreat and the entire Wisdom Rising Mandala Training Retreat series)
- 225 hours of Mandala of the Five Dakinis
- 30, 1.5-hour sessions with each family (5 families total), can be done in order or as you need.
In Kapala Training Level III you will receive:
- The Empowerment of Machig Labdrön
- The practice of “Opening the Gate to Space”
- Feeding Your Demons® with dream figures
- Collective Societal, Cultural, and Historical Demons
- Organizational and Group-dynamic Demons
- The Fourth Demon: Ego-clinging
- Your processes of Journey with the Ally
Kapala Training Level IV
- Completion of Kapala Training Levels I & II or FYD Online Levels I and II (Buddhist Track) and Kapala Training Level III
- 200 hours of “Opening the Gate to Space”
- Completion of Dentog Chigma Chöd group retreat (please see also the prerequisites for this retreat).
- Completion of One-month long Solo Dentog Chigma Chöd 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, or have a job that cannot be left so long.
- Fire puja can be completed during Kapala 4 Training or before if you have learned how to do it.
- Completion of The Lion-Headed Dakini group retreat (Simhamukha) (Formerly called Dakini Retreat) (please see also the prerequisites for this 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 Journey with the Ally processes
- 200 thirty-minute sessions of the Four Immeasurables practice (as learned in the Three Yana Retreats)
In Kapala Training Level IV you will receive:
- “Machig’s Direct Transmission” from Lama Tsultrim
- “The Crystal and Its Rays” movement practice
- “5 Elements” practice
Kapala Training Level V
- Completion of Kapala Training Levels I, II or FYD Online Levels I and II (Buddhist Track) and Kapala Training Levels III and IV
- 200 hours of “Machig’s Direct Transmission”
- 200 hours of “5 Elements Practice,” 40 hours each element
- 100 hours of “The Crystal and Its Rays” movement practice
- Completion of the Zhitro (Namchö Mingyur Dorje) Retreat
- Completion of the P’howa Retreat
In Kapala Training V you will receive:
- “Machig Labdrön and the Five Chakra Dakinis” a dagnang terma from Lama Tsultrim received at Zangri Khamar in Tibet on December 13, 2010.
- Machig Labdron’s Longevity terma received by Dagnang at Machig Labdron’s cave in Bhutan in November 6, 2017 — Teachings at Tara Mandala.
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)