Saturday, November 1, 2014

Chod And Halloween

Hapyy Chod and Halloween!!

Tibetan instruments of ritual
In the Western trdition, Chod relates to rituals pertaining to the dead, ghosts, All Saints’ Day, and Halloween. Artifacts and symbols (archetypes) related to Halloween was developed through centuries and today it became a ritual in which we dress up as monsters, ghosts, vampires, princes and princesses to exchange tricks or treats—mischievousness, offerings and appeasements (negotiations). Although, like with carnivals, we have lost the conscious meaning of what we are doing, the performance of these social rituals still provide a sort of compromise and psychological appeasement for the individual and the social milieu. It also provides dangers and become a source of acting out for the delusional or possessed (by unconscious contents). In Western religions it relates to exorcism and the expulsion of demons and ghosts. In Catholic mysticism it relates to the dark night of the soul, and walking through the valley of death.

Shri Chitipati, Tib. Pal Durdak
Yab Yum; The Lord and Lady of
The Charnel Grounds.

Mahamudra Chod is a spiritual practice found primarily in Tibetan Buddhism. It combines Prajnaparamita (Heart Sutra) philosophy with specific meditation methods and a tantric ritual using sacred instruments, music, mantras, seed syllables, invocations, and visualizations. The goal is to transform beings and awaken them to their true enlightened potential. The word Chod means cut—cutting through our fears, fixations, neurosis, narcissism, selfishness, anxiety, traumas, paranoia and afflictive emotions using as its tool the knife of wisdom—the development of generosity and compassion.
In Jungian analytic psychology Chod is related to taming the shadow archetypeworking directly with the negative and positive aspects of the unconscious. The shadow aspect is a part of the unconscious mind which is the repository of repressed weaknesses, traumas, fears, shortcomings and instincts, both personal and collective (social and cultural), but it is also the seat of creativity. In the depths of darkness, oceans and caves, treasures lie buried—treasures to be found through dark passages and heroic labyrinthine journeys. When we run around in life unconsciously we are easy prey for the shadow influence, making us act in incongruent and conflicting ways. The goal is to produce an increase of consciousness and a possible integration of these forces as transformed energies into our beings, making us more integrated and more creative. Only after the first steps into integration of the shadow we may proceed to integrate the feminine and masculine archetypes, that means we have to practice ethics and virtues, first. Being better people we can take  the work with the shadow demons and ghosts; a work that may never ends until individuation. Accepting one’s shadow is like washing our dirty laundry, it is a continuous work. It involves diplomacy (making offerings) and negotiations (invitations), a process that involves using the imagination (Active Imagination, a Jungian technique, and or visualization in Tibetan Buddhism), and dream analysis.

In Mahayana Buddhist tradition Halloween relates to Lojong, which approaches everything as your teacher: good or bad people, good or bad events and situations can teach you the way, "Gain and victory to others, loss and defeat to oneself"; and Tonglen, Atisha’s practice of taking and giving—taking in the suffering of the world with the in breath, and with the out breath give love and light. 

Machig Labdron
Knife of wisdom
Mahāmudrā Chod is the only tantric practice that can be said to have developed in Tibet and exported to India. It was created by a historical woman, 1055-1149, Machig Labdron. She came from a Bonpo family and combined Bon practices with Dzogchen rituals and system. In the Tibetan universe, she represents the enlightened dakini, the feminine energy of wisdom. Since very early childhood she was hired to give reading sessions on the Prajnaparamita Sutra to illiterate practitioners. When her fame spread to India, Pundits came to test her knowledge and realization.

For several years Machig's main practice was one of tantric union with her spiritual consort and husband, Topabhadra, with whom she had three children. It was only later that she developed the system today known as Chod. We can see the roots of her thought on teachings supposedly given to her son who was a thief and later became her disciple:
"You may think that Gods are the ones who give you benefits and Demons cause damage; but it may be the other way around. Those who cause pain teach you to be patient, and those who give you presents may keep you from practicing the Dharma. So it depends on their effect on you if they are Gods or Demons."

The testing and debate between Indian Pundits and Machig Labdron resulted in the acceptance of Mahāmudrā Chod as a valid and authentic Mahāyāna tradition. Thereafter its practice spread even to India. Machig and her children, among many disciples, became the lineage holder for this tradition, which was later systematized by the third Karmapa.

The empowerment introduces you to the sadhana and the teachings, including blessings and cleansing of the upper chakras
In the words of Machig:
“The origin of all demons is in mind itself.
When awareness holds on and embraces any outer object,
It is in the hold of a demon.
Likewise, mind is stained when a [mental image]
Is wrongly taken to be a real object.”

In the West we leave as if we are
not going to die, making the 
archetype part of our unconscious shadow.
The ritual involves the visualization and visit of charnel grounds and cemeteries, making offerings to demons and disruptors, to tame and integrate these powerful energies into our conscious lives. The method goes further through offering our own bodies (symbolically) as a banquet, visualizing our corpse prepared in different ways so each being invoked to the banquet may receive exactly what they desire. Transformed by the blessings of the Buddhas, our form becomes an inexhaustible feast for the whole of creation.

This offering-banquete is made to all Four Classes of Guests: 1) Higher guests, Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Yidams (deities), dakinis, sages, teachers, yogis and yoginis; 2) Guests of Quality—fierce beings, wrathful protectors of the dharma, pure emanations of enlightened mind, and powerful worldly spirits; 3) Guests of Compassion—existing in the six realms, humans, animals, hungry ghosts, hell beings, demy-gods and gods. 4) Lower Guests—all beings to whom we owe a karmic debt, demonic forces, harm-givers, negative spirits and entities.
Through this method Chod is able to clear karmic imprints and complexes created by body, mind and speech deeds performed in countless lives, individually and collectively; ultimately lifting obstacles, healing diseases, cleansing negativities, and taking us beyond the realm of fear and hope towards the ultimate reality of enlightenment.
Chod is a very bold approach to dharma, and is not for everybody. Each one should examine the proposed system of practice and evaluate sincerely if it is appropriate for you and your temperament.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

On the Way to India

Today is the day before leaving for India and Nepal. Tomorrow evening I will be on my way once more. Last time I was there in February, it was for the Long Life Puja for His Holiness Kyabgon Chetsang in Dehra Dun. As many of you know, an idea I had for a book, "The Renaissance of the Drikung Kagyu," became a project in which I am working with His Holiness Chetsang approval ever since I returned home last March.

So much went on since then... the world is changing fast once again with political and social movements all over, including Brazil, my country of origin.
My children, grandchildren, relatives and friends went to the streets to express their disagreement with corruption and abuse of power, requesting a transparent democracy. In China and Tibet, Tibetans continue to self-immolate for freedom, and slight improvement seems to be on its way--news of a Chinese experiment with freedom seem to be happening. In my family a very dear member is having really serious health problems, because of that I am travelling with a tight heart. However, I am confident of her recovery because of the courage and the beautiful heart which are her best qualities.

This journey was made possible by 55 people who generously donated enough money for me to go to India and Nepal. I am deeply grateful to all of you who came forward with your donations in Gofundme. I Will be thinking of all and each one of you everywhere I am going!!
I am going to very high altitudes (14,000feet), visiting old monasteries in Ladakh, then Dehra Dun, Tsopema, and in Nepal Kathmandu and Lumbini. The reason for these visits is to photograph monasteries for the book, interview monks who know well the history of the Drikung Kagyu, its conditions after the cultural revolution, and its recovery after Holiness escaped from China--monks who not only witnessed the process but who are also the heroes of my story. I hope to survive the adaptation to high altitude and am trying to be prepared for it taking with me medications and my cpap machine. Last time I was in India I did not get sick once, but in the end had nose bleeds almost everyday. Some of my friends who are there right now have been sick all the time. I guess I am very careful and follow all the rules, so I have been lucky so far.

In Ladakh I am visiting Phyang Monastery, Tsokarmo, Lama Yuru, and others, Holiness Chetsang will still preside over ceremonies and pujas during the month of July, and I intend to be there. These monasteries are fascinating not only because of their beauty and antiquity but also because of the history they carry--this region used to be know as little Tibet. Phyang Monastery is the subject of a very throughout book, called Phyang Monastery of Ladakh. During the last thousand years it was an integral part of larger Tibet and the culture still reflects this, I am told. For me it will be a glance into Tibetan culture without going there. It is a very fortunate opportunity. I will also see several friends I made when in Nepal and Dehra Dun who are natural from the region. I am hoping to have the energy and strength to see and photograph all I can while I am there, and the fortune to meet and talk to all the relevant people.

In October, the plan is to go to Europe, Russia and Israel to photograph Garchen's events and Drikung Kagyu centers. For that I will need you start funding this part of the project. Please go to Gofundme!!!

May all beings benefit from this effort and the history of heroes and the strength of dharma be told in earnest.

Saturday, June 22, 2013


Public message to my family and fellow Brazilians.

My friends, children and grandchildren who are on the streets in Brazil filled with indignation at the condition of the country's ethics,

As I see the escalating situation, with the innocent people in their just cause, beginning to be infiltrated and contaminated by the famous "hidden forces," (in Brazil during the time just before the military dictatorship was established in 1964, the media used this approach to define the forces that were taking over the government), I see the need to express myself  directly.

Don not let yourselves be swayed by the powerful influence and excitation of the masses. It is time to settle down and plan. A public demonstration is only the first step. This charged eruption reveals a moment where emotions accumulated by everyday difficulties, the constant exposure to social injustice, and lack of morals of our representatives,  reveal a vision for a better future. Nevertheless, do not be misled by the need for immediate gratification of an adolescent. There is no immediate gratification, no matter how much we want something or how beautiful our vision is; nothing can be manifested by magic. Magical consciousness is part of a childish mentality, fairy tales already told us.

In fairy tales the hero and heroine get on the way after an inner calling and a vision of a better society. But as we all know, it is not where the story ends-- that's where it all begins. Heroes/ines still have to face the monsters, giants, witches, and dragons, the famous "hidden forces." The only way to avoid the eruption of these occult forces is negotiation and organization. Do not fall for the seduction of the march, which like carnival or football soon becomes an addiction, a "trip," an escape from the responsibility to make the changes ourselves. Evolutionary changes take time and engagement, commitment and discipline. In social evolution there is no immediate gratification. It is the result of the dedication of a lifetime of commitment, without being corrupted along the way by the temptations of political or economic power. Who's ready for this? The initial vision come as an explosion, an insight or a demonstration. To bring it to manifestation takes a lifetime of struggle, of compassion and discipline. Are we ready?

Where to start is the next question. First we identify the main question - what is the fundamental change that we seek? This change seems to be well defined by a word that went out of fashion and I have not yet seen in any street poster: ethical renovation!! This is what we are seeking: a new morality for a new social reality. We are feeling the emptiness of it in our lives at all levels. Corruption of our values ​​and our social contract is what is bothering us. The solution is not to throw out this government or any other. But demand from the government, by all legal means, the necessary reforms until change is achieved. Only thus we may avoid the eruption of the hidden forces of fascism, militarism, repression and savage capitalism.

Ethics has no party and morality without moralizing have no color and do not belong to any faction. It belongs to everyone. And this is what is uniting people on the streets even if they do not realize it. Now it is time for cool heads and clear thinking. How many petitions and lists of signatures have already been made ​​to governments and all relevant organs? What are the legal ways for these claims? We must use our institutions. Sue the government, but by the courts, if they are corrupt, denounce it. The demonstration is a great power and must be used. But abused, it also corrupts and becomes abuse and destruction.

Wake up Brazil, but wake wisely. We do not want the past back. We need to build the future. We need to address our social and ethical problems now, so we can solve the ecological problems that will be our next nightmare. This is my message. I have been in the streets, made ​​speeches, spoke on television and in the United Nations. I saw my friends and brother tortured and executed by the dictatorship, I spent a night with a gun in my chest being interrogated. I say to young people today: seek a little wisdom to know the right path of social transformation, instead of having your future truncated by hidden unconscious personal and collective forces. Remember that fascism and abuse of power has been present in all sorts of politics--left or right.

We, children of previous decades have seen a world much worse. We gave our lives, and we opened the doors for you. I assure you that the world is better today. Now it's your turn, you will take the next step. But you must learn to use the instruments of a democratic constitution. We need more surveillance of Congress and well funded NGOs who identify the problems and prepare instruments for people to engage. Social monitoring is a permanent role. Never ends. Regression can happen anytime and it happens, just look around the internet.

Today, we are not alone, this phenomenon is occurring in many parts of the world simultaneously, with different features. But the devil is in the details. We need to examine our history to know the forces at play and know how to act within our historical reality.

Oliveira Angela Harkavy/Ani Chime


Mensagem à minha família e aos meus companheiros brasileiros.

Meus amigos, filhos, e netos que estão nas ruas e cheios de indignação pela condição da ética brasileira,

Vendo a escalada da situação à medida que a maioria do povo inocente em sua justa causa está sendo infiltrado e contaminado pelas já famosas "forças ocultas", vejo a necessidade de me expressar dirétamente.

Não se deixem levar pela excitação e sedução da força grupal. É hora de se acalmar e planejar. A demonstração publica é só a primeira etapa. Esta erupção emocional revela um momento aonde as emoções acumuladas pelas dificuldades diárias, pela constante exposição à injustiça social e à falta de moral dos nossos representantes, se revelam com a visão de um futuro melhor. Entretando não podemos nos deixar enganar pela necessidade adolescente de gratificação imediata. Não existe gratificação imediata, não importa quanto queremos alguma coisa ou quão bela seja nossa visão, nada pode se manifestar como um passe de mágica. A consciência mágica é parte de uma mentalidade infantil, já nos diziam os contos de fadas. Nos contos de fadas, o herói e a heroína entram no caminho depois de um chamado interior e uma visão de uma sociedade melhor. Mas como todos sabemos não é aonde a coisa termina, aí é aonde tudo começa. Os heróis/nas ainda tem de enfrentar os monstros, os gigantes, as bruxas, e os dragões, ou seja as famosas "forças ocultas." Só há uma forma de não acordar as forças ocultas--negociar, organizar-se, não se apaixonar pela passeata, que logo se torna um vício, uma "viagem," uma fuga à responsabilidade de fazer as mudanças nós mesmos. Mudanças evolutivas levam tempo e engajamento, compromisso, e disciplina. Na evolução social não há gratificação imediata. Ela é resultado da dedicação de uma vida sem se deixar corromper ao longo do caminho pelas tentações do poder economico ou político.

Quem está pronto para isso? A visão inicial vêm como uma explosão, um insight ou uma manifestação. Conduzí-la à manifestacao leva uma vida inteira de luta, de compaixão e de disciplina. Estamos prontos? Aonde começar é a próxima pergunta. Primeiro temos de identificar a questão principal--qual é a mudanca fundamental que buscamos? Esta mudança parece que é bem definida por uma palavra que caiu de moda e que não vi ainda em nenhum cartaz de rua: renovacão da Ética!!!!

Isto é que estamos buscando, uma nova moral para uma nova realidade social. Estamos sentindo o vazio dela em nossas vidas em todos os níveis. Corrupcão de nossos valores  e de nosso contrato social é o que está nos incomodando. A solucão não é jogar este governo fora ou qualquer outro. Mas sim exigir do governo as reformas necessárias. Insistir nelas até consequir. Só assim podemos evitar as fôrças ocultas do fascismo, do militarismo, da repressão e do capitalismo selvagem. A Ética não tem partido, a moral sem moralismos, não tem cor e não pertence a nenhuma facção. Pertence a todos. E é isto que está unindo as pessoas nas ruas mesmo que elas não se dêm conta.

É preciso esfriar a cabeça e as emoções e pensar claro. Quantas petições e listas de assinaturas ja foram feitas aos governos e a todos os orgão competentes? Qual são os caminhos legais para estas reivindicações? Temos de usar as nossas instituições. Processem o governo, mas pelos tribunais; se estão corruptos, denunciem. A demonstração é uma grande fôrça e dever ser usada. Mas abusada, ela também se corrompe e vira abuso e destruição.

Acorda Brasil, mas acorda com sabedoria. Não queremos o passado de volta. Precisamos construir o futuro. Precisamos resolver os problemas sociais e éticos, para podermos resolver os problemas ecológicos que serão nosso próximo pesadêlo.

Esta é minha mensagem. Eu que já estive nas ruas, fiz discursos, falei na televisão, e nas Nações Unidas, vi meus amigos e irmão torturados e executados pela ditadura, que passei uma noite com um revólver no meu peito sendo interrogada, digo aos jovens de hoje: procurem um pouco de sabedoria para saberem trilhar o caminho certo da transformação social, em vez de ter o seu futuro truncado pelas forças ocultas da incosnciência pessoal e coletiva. Lembremo-nos que fascismo e abuso de poder já foi demonstrado por todo tipo de politicos de esquerda ou de direita. Nós, filhos das décadas prévias vimos um mundo muito pior do que o seu, lutamos, demos as nossas vidas, abrimos as portas para vocês. Eu lhes garanto que o mundo está melhor. Agora é a sua vez, vocês vão dar o próximo passo. Mas é preciso aprender a usar os instrumentos democráticos da constituição. Precisamos de mais vigilância do Congresso, de ONGs bem fundadas que contem a verdade e preparem instrumentos para o povo se engajar. A vigilância social é uma função permanente. Não termina nunca. A regressão pode acontecer a qualquer momento e acontece, basta olhar em volta ou no internet.

Hoje não estamos sózinhos, êste fenomeno está ocorrendo em muitas partes do mundo simultaneamente, com características differentes. Mas é aí que o bicho pega. Precisamos examinar a nossa história, conhecer as fôrças em jogo e saber como agir dentro da nossa realidade histórica.

Angela Oliveira Harkavy
Angela Piló Oliveira, Angela Oliveira
Ani Chime

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Office of H.H. Holiness Chetsang has asked me to create “The Renascence of the Drikung Kagyu.”

Dear Sangha friends,

As you know, since 2007, I have been documenting through photos as many activities of the Drikung Kagyu as I have been able to attend. It started as my offering for the kind support I received at the Tibetan Meditation Center in Frederick when I was going through chemotherapy. Andrew Harkavy, my caring husband, who supports my vows and this project, and some friends in the Sangha, on and off supported my work, making the travels possible throughout the years.
I soon learned that many people who could not attend and even many of the ones who attended felt the benefit of having available to them the complete sets of photo essays covering the events. Thank-you emails arrived from people who follow my trips every time there is a posting announcing new photos. They were also amazed to find out how much was going on in the various Drikung monasteries, nunneries and centers around the world.

Through my picture taking I became aware of the expansion and growth of the Drikung Kagyu since I met His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche in 1987. From a handful of projects – a vision to build and reconstruct in exile after the damage caused by the so-called Cultural Revolution, the Drikung Kagyu went on to become one of the most successful Tibetan Buddhist Lineages in the world. Under His Holiness’ leadership and in many cases direct initiative, many projects have been completed, reconstructions happened and are still happening, and the Drikung Kagyu is spread around the world. Teachings and pujas are now attended hundreds, and in many cases thousands of people. Many people have completed three-year retreats bringing to the west a very important tradition in the path of realization.

The Renaissance of the Drikung Kagyu 

It is this history that I want to tell with a photo-essay book, called The Renaissance of the Drikung Kagyu.  My arrangement with the Private Office of His Holiness is that His Holiness will publish the book in India in a numbered, limited, signed edition, and pay for all my expenses while I am in India, On my end, I have to fundraise for travel outside India.
For example, His Holiness’ office has arranged for me to visit Ladakh in July to attend the Snake Year Teachings, traditionally held every 12 years. Thousands are expected to attend the main program at Phyang Monastery. During that period, I will also travel with His Holiness to the some of the oldest and remotest Drikung monasteries of the region. My photos will document all of this. After Ladakh, I will go return to Dehradun to work on the project and later I will be in Lumbini as well. 

How you can help

I am asking you my friends, that after benefiting for many years from the thousands of pictures I have made freely available to all on Flickr and Facebook that you please contribute to this the travel funds that are needed for the rest of this project.

To complete this project in a timely manner, we anticipate that I will need to make: Three trips to India; one to Europe (this Fall) to visit the centers there as well as to Taiwan and Southeast Asia. For this summer’s trip to Ladakh (the first of the three trips to India), I am taking one assistant with me given the strenuous conditions. I also need a few small pieces of equipment. Andrew has provided the great majority of equipment, cameras, tripods and software over the years as well as “In-Design” software for the book. I am asking you to join me in this effort for the benefit of all beings and of our lineage. His Holiness and his sister Namgyal-la think it can bring many benefit to all and be an important resource for the Lineage.

Attached to this email is the agreement I have signed with His Holiness’ Private Office recently in Dehradun. I am sure many of you will contribute to this effort and will want to have this book with you and in our centers and monasteries. May all beings benefit and may you and yours be well and happy.

Checks can be made to

Angela Harkavy
1926 West Beaver Lake Drive SE
Sammamish, WA 98075

Ani Chime
Angela O Harkavy

His Holiness the Dalai Lama visits Swiss Parliament

His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Swiss Parliament’s Tibet Group members
(Ms Maya Graf is 4th from left) – File Photo of April 2010
GENEVA: His Holiness the Dalai Lama will visit the Swiss Parliament at the official invitation by the President of the National Council, Ms. Maya Graf, on 16 April afternoon. Ms. Graf will receive His Holiness on arrival at the Parliament, which coincides with the one-day special session of the Parliament.

Ms. Maya Graf is a long time friend of Tibet and members of the Tibet Group within the Swiss Parliament. She visited Dharamsala in late March 2003 to see the situation of Tibetans in India and workings of the exile democratic institutions.

On his arrival in Switzerland today, His Holiness the Dalai Lama will address the European Tibetan Buddhist Conference organized by Geneva based Tibet Bureau at Forum Fribourg. Over 80 delegates will attend the one-day conference. Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay who arrived in Switzerland on 10 April will also address the conference.

From 13 to 14 April at the invitation of International Buddhist Community Rigdzin, the FPC-Tibet Foundation and the Swiss Foundation FPMT, His Holiness the Dalai Lama will give Tibetan Buddhist teachings and public talk at Forum Fribourg. There will be translations in French, German, English, Italian, Spanish and Russian. Over 8,000 people will attend the two days event, which will be live webcasted in English, French and German on

The University of Lausanne will host a one-day Dialogue between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and scientists on “LivingandDyinginPeace: Cross-ViewsontheElderly” on 15 April. The dialogue will be live webcasted on

His Holiness the Dalai Lama will address the students of University of Bern on 16 April morning. He will speak on “Towards a Sustainable Future: The Dalai Lama in dialogue with students”. This address will also be live webcasted on

On the occasion of His Holiness’ visit, the university is holding series of events to highlight the political and religious history of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Tibetan Buddhism and its art, but also the challenges of Tibetan refugees in Switzerland.

On the final day of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s visit to Switzerland, His Holiness will visit Rikon Tibetan monastery on 17 April morning. This is the oldest Tibetan Monastery in Europe.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama first visited Switzerland in 1974 and this is the 24th visit.

On 17 April afternoon His Holiness will fly to Londonderry in Northern Ireland.
 — with Jean Haerinck.