Chöd  One of the main sadhanas practiced at the Movement Center is Chöd. Chöd means “cutting through,” cutting through tensions, doubts, fears, obstacles and obscurations that deny us access to the joy within us.  The heart of the Chöd practice is to cut attachment to the notion of a self as separate from the infinite clear awareness of the divine.   Like Kashmir Saivism, the Chöd tradition is non-dualistic. The goal of the practice is to abide in a liberated state free from dualistic subject-object cognition. In this state we understand all dualistic notions, such as samsara and nirvana, pain and pleasure, happiness and sorrow, friends and enemies, purity and impurity, fame and insignificance, praise and blame, in fact all phenomena, including our minds and bodies, are at their essence not different from clear awareness.  Chöd is traditionally done in cemeteries, cremation grounds, and other places that evoke fear in the practitioner. The intensity of these environments arouses our self-protective instincts and latent tensions such as hatred, anger and jealousy.  By confronting these tensions and learning to cut through them, the Chöd practitioner learns to transcend all doubts and fears in order to dwell in the infinite spaciousness that we are.  Chöd is a very ancient practice and one of the earliest Vajrayana sadhanas. It is a practice of self-sacrifice, and in Chöd we sacrifice what is most valuable to us—our bodies. We visualize making an offering of our body, which is transformed into nectar, to all beings in all realms. Through making that offering, we are initiating a flow between us and everything else. In the experience of flow, we begin to appreciate that all forms are completely interconnected and that there is in fact an underlying unity.         In its essence, the Chöd has many similarities and parallels to Kundalini Yoga meditation practice. Through studying and practicing the Chöd, we have the opportunity to deepen our understanding of Swamiji’s teaching on surrender and service,  and gain a clearer feeling of what type of intensity and compassion we need to generate within ourselves to truly lead spiritual lives.  The first part of the Chöd prepares us to make our offering. We begin by visualizing, dancing with, and releasing demons of anger, arrogance, attachment, jealousy and ignorance in the different arenas of our awareness. This is analogous to  releasing tensions  within our chakra and energy system as we begin meditation. Next, we visualize female deities known as “dakinis” bringing energies of loving-kindness, compassion, joy, equanimity and wisdom, to subdue those demons. This is the effort we make to  open our hearts . We then focus on developing bodhicitta, or the desire for enlightenment, which is analogous to  the wish to grow . At the end of the preparation, we practice guru yoga, supplicating to the root guru and Padmasambhava, with the understanding that the guru is a source of nourishment and the means to reach an expanded awareness.  As the offering section of the puja begins, we visualize the red goddess Vajra Varahi rising up through the spinal column and out the top of the head. She represents the kundalini energy, or vital force, which rises and expands as we surrender attachment to our ego centered selves. This surrender and expansion is visualized by her offering our body in a skull cup, which expands to the edges of space.  In the puja, all offerings are made then by Vajra Varahi to all the deities, gurus, demons, as well as, to herself. Here we come to experience that even the thought of offering our bodies and lives is not separate from the nature of the absolute. Even the impetus to make such an offering comes from the Goddess. All offerings flow from awareness back into awareness itself. In the process, all differentiation between the offeror, the offering, and the object of offering disappear.  Vajra Varahi finally dissolves into the goddess Tröma Nagmo, who represents the total expanse of emptiness, beyond space and time. She is analogous to the profound experience of oneness with the infinite field of consciousness and potentiality.  The puja ends with the dissolution of all deities and gurus into pure light, which merges into us, like water into water. In the fashion of all Tibetan Buddhist rituals, we then dedicate the entire Chöd practice to enlightenment, peace and prosperity of all beings.    


Chöd is a very ancient practice and is very useful for overcoming doubts, fears, obstacles and ego-clinging. 


      100 Handprint Ritual  The 100 Handprint Ritual of Machig Labdron is an ancient and rare practice. It is an expansion of our  Chöd  practice and is effective to help others release trauma and tension and alleviate mental, physical and emotional suffering. It can be beneficial for those suffering from illness, stress and emotional issues.  During the 100 Handprint Ritual, recipients lie down while the practice is being performed. There are prayers, chanting and extensive offerings. The instruments used are a bell, a double-sided drum, and a bone trumpet.  In the ritual, practitioners give of themselves to release the disturbances present in the environment. Through giving, the practitioner learns about the unity at the heart of life, and all those present share the benefit from the offering that is made.  We perform the 100 Handprint Ritual on the first 3 Fridays of every month.  To reserve a place, you may call the office at 503.231.0383 by 5 pm on Thursday or  sign up online .   If you or someone you know would like to be a recipient of the ritual but are unable to be there in person, you can provide a photo, and an article of clothing, if possible. It is best if we have those on hand by the morning of the day the ritual is being done.   When:  The first 3 Fridays of every month.  Time:  5:30 – 7:30 pm  Cost:  Suggested donation is $25.00.  

100  Handprint Ritual

The 100  Handprint Ritual is a powerful practice for promoting healing and the release of trauma.

      Phowa  Phowa practice often accompanies the Chöd.  In Vajrayana Buddhism, the practice of Phowa is considered the most effective way to facilitate the transition into the next stage of existence. It can by done by a practitioner at the time of his or her own death, or for another person who is dying or who has already passed on. In the Phowa, the practitioner projects his or her consciousness, together with the awareness of the person they are practicing for, into the heart of Buddha Amitabha visualized in the space above. The practice dissolves the suffering of the dying or deceased and allows them to experience the peace and joy inherent in the clear awareness that is their essence.  Movement Center students practice Phowa weekly, and we also perform the ritual by special request for those wishing to support a loved one's transition.


Phowa practice is a companion to Chöd and helps to facilitate the transition to a new level of being at the time of death.

      White Mahakala  The White Mahakala ceremony brings wealth and good fortune in the areas of family, business, knowledge and spirituality. The practice removes obstacles to the flow of prosperity and invokes positive energies, helping participants to remove obstructions in their lives.  White Mahakala is a powerful deity of prosperity. He is a wrathful form of the deity of compassion, Avalokiteshvara. In this form, he demonstrates the compassionate activity of overcoming obstacles and attracting positive influences.  We practice White Mahakala one Saturday every other month, from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. All are welcome to attend.  Practice Dates for 2018:  January 20 March 17 May 19 July 21 September 22 November 24  

White Mahakala

The White Mahakala practice calls in the energy of prosperity for all aspects of life.

      Long Life Puja  Our Long Life Practice, “Vital Essence in a Vase of Amrita,” is a rejuvenation practice in which the participants summon the vital energy and life force from the elements and universal powers through meditation and visualization. The visualizations are in alchemical terms, extracting from the elements and ingesting an elixir of amrita, immortality. In this sadhana, the elixir is collected by the Eight Indian Vidhyadaras and retained in a symbolic longevity vase (representing the body).  In the Nyingma traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, the Eight Vidhyadaras are siddhas, Indian Buddhist masters, each of whom holds a particular transmission of teachings. The Vidhyadaras are associated with longevity and even deathlessness. Each of them gave transmission to Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche), who brought those practices to Tibet. So, in this brief practice, the full powers of vast tantric traditions, spanning hundreds of years, are harnessed for longevity.  Guru Rinpoche said:  As the first of all activities, The  vidyadhara  should achieve longevity! Of all activities, the first should be long-life practice. If life is long, it can be virtuous, And the purpose of this life and the next can be achieved.  (from an oral teaching by Orgyen Topgyal Rinpoche,   The purpose of this longevity practice is to strengthen our creative energy and extend our lifespan so that we can continue to practice and be of loving service to all beings. Like our Queen of Great Bliss and Chöd practices, this ceremony is from the Longchen Nyingtig Cycle of Teachings and was shared with us by  Lama Tsering Wangdu Rinpoche .  Everyone is welcome to attend and observe the practice, which is held every other month on a Saturday afternoon from 1:00 to 2:30 pm.   Practice Dates for 2018:  February 10 April 21 June 23 August 18 October 27 December 1

Long Life Puja

The Long Life Puja helps us gather the energetic resources we need to practice fully and productively.

      Queen of Great Bliss  The Queen of Great Bliss (Tib.: Yumka Dechen Gyalmo) is a sadhana practice on  Yeshe Tsogyal , the consort of  Guru Rinpoche , as a wisdom dakini. Like our Chod and Long Life Practices, this sadhana is from the Longchen Nyingtig cycle of teachings and was transmitted to us by Lama Tsering Wangdu Rinpoche. This practice was part of a terma (revealed text) received by the adept Jigme Lingpa.  The Queen of Great Bliss is a special kind of ceremony known in Vajrayana Buddhism as a tsok or feast practice. In the Tibetan tradition, tsok practice is considered to be a very profound method of accumulating positive energy for ourselves, everyone around us, and our entire environment. The puja is an exceptionally beautiful practice with chanting, music, instruments, dance and extensive food offerings.  In her inner aspect as the goddess Vajravarahi, Yeshe Tsogyal represents the energy of creative manifestation, and the deities of her mandala. We celebrate and offer gratitude to the vitality and beauty in our lives and to the energy of the divine from which they emerge. By offering prayers we aspire for all beings to be established in this vitality and joy.  This practice is performed one Sunday monthly from 6:00 pm until 8:00 pm. You may make an offering in the form of a donation if you like.  PRACTICE DATES FOR 2018: January 14 February 18 March 11 April 1 May 13 June 10 July 15 August 12 September 16 October 14 November 11 December 9  

Queen of Great Bliss

The Queen of Great Bliss practice is a monthly celebration of beauty, life, community and creative energy.