Obstacles, of any kind, generally mean that something is out of alignment. Many spiritual, health and cultural traditions refer to this as an imbalance of elements. These imbalances can cause discomfort, volatile emotions, sickness, family, community and global conflict, accidents, environmental disasters and death.
According to Vajrayana teachings, Buddha Shakyamuni has prescribed many skilful means (Choega), which are ritual ceremonies (also known as pujas) designed to rebalance our mental and physical elements, particularly at the most subtle levels. Choega (pujas) are these skilful means of ritual. They assist to massage the stagnant and uneven elemental conditions that are obstacles, so that they may become infused with conditions of harmony, peace and health.
Happiness, peace and harmony were taught by Buddha Shakyamuni to be inherent potential qualities that can become available through training our minds. We do not need to use weapons or power to attain this natural mind, rather, Buddha showed methods to create right circumstances that allow the natural mind to manifest.
Choega are skilful means where experienced practitioners who have trained extensively in these mind practices, connect and infuse all phenomena with the natural Buddha-mind, thereby creating circumstances that can displace stagnant conditions and obstacles.
Shifting obstacles is not easy. They can be strong and overwhelming to an ordinary mind – and they can have deep roots created by very, very subtle karmic events. No amount of worldly pursuit can move such obstacles. Wealth, secular power and success move only outer circumstances. On their own they cannot move the winds of stubborn, subtle inner mind. Ultimately, only mind-training that accesses the power and potential of the spacious, natural mind, can influence and liberate these most stubborn of obstacles. Thus, Choega is a very real way to subtly and deeply bring change to obstacles.
Shakya Shri’s Himalayan yogis and yoginis are known for their powerful authentic rituals and ceremonies. There are many types geared for different obstacles and wishes. Khachodling’s Himalayan Team can advise and organise what is necessary accordingly.
Types of Choega:
Choegas skilfully breathe renewed life into stagnant conditions.
Effigy Making Choegas
These are very involved ceremonies where effigies, tormas, tsa tsas are made, often with special ingredients. They are infused with ritual for days and then amidst sounds of instruments, whistles are thrown and offered to obstacle makers.
Purpose: Obstacle removal, dispelling demonic forces that drain life force and create endless difficulty.
Gya Shi is a speciality of Khachodling’s Lahoul hermitages and involves making 100 each of human effigies, tormas, butter lamps and tsa tsas. Purpose: Obstacle year (lokag).
Drolma Yuldog is a speciality of Khachodling’s hermitages in Mulbeck and Zanskar and involves making the palace of Tara in different layers and effigies in different directions. Purpose: Longevity, obstacle removal, swift accomplishment, protection of children and women, activation of divine feminine.
Reading aloud the words of the Buddha brings positive imprints and inconceivable blessing. Different sutras are read for different outcomes.
Purpose: Rebalance relationships in family and partners, peace to the planet, accumulate merit.
Drums and various instruments are played vigorously in these to make offerings to ineffable worldly and/or wisdom protectors.
Purpose: Subdue negative forces, protection for oneself, others and the world.
Vajrakilaya Yangzab Puti
Annually in late December, Khachodling’s Himalayan monasteries and hermitages conduct the Vajrakilaya Yangzab Puti ceremony (a terma of Terton Guru Chewang). It involves the construction of a huge effigy of Vajrakilaya, which is later burned. The entire community participates in this extensive practice which takes approximately 12 days in its entirety.
Purpose: When all seems depleted these ceremonies gather energy to revitalise circumstances such as good health, economic recovery, joy and positivity.
Yang Kuk and Tse Kuk are two types of gathering Choegas.
Choegas for the Deceased and Bardo
Shitro is an elaborate mandala and chanting ceremony that guides the deceased through the 49 days of their bardo journey. Khachodling’s Mulbeck Hermitage has a special temple dedicated for this purpose. Shitro Nyedon Nyingpo is a terma of Terton Jatson Nyingpo, compiled by Khamtrul Kunga Tenzin.
Candlelight and Flower Mandala
Candlelight and Flower Mandala is an essentialised Shitro that Emi Drupten and Khandro Thrinlay Chodon invoked for modern times. This signature mandala, made of flowers and candles, is created by participants. As a shorter ceremony it has become a popular way for modern people to connect to the longer 49 day Shitro Choega and to courageously move forward from loss and obstacles. Khachodling’s global sangha conduct this practice regularly under the instruction of Khandro Thrinlay Chodon
Raising Prayer Flags (Lungta)
Hanging of prayer flags in high places. Colours of flags and imprints on the flags may be tailored to counterbalance specific conditions.
Purpose: To balance elements, increase life force and send positive intentions to all or specific people.
Smoking Ceremony (Sang Offering)
Incense and smoking ingredients are offered.
Purpose: Purification of environment and people and to balance the elements.
If you wish to make an offering for a choega, please click here.