Posted in Tibetan Buddhism

Tara Mandala Retreat 2009, Day 3


7-2-09 10:00 AM


Prajna Paramita review.

3 Kayas

  • Nirmanakaya – human dimension
  • Sambhogakaya – where most deities are found; luminous, pure dimension
  • Dharmakaya – formless dimension

Dharmakaya deity is a metaphor for something that’s formless.  They don’t have as much “personality” as the sambhogakaya deities.  Dharmakaya deities are usually naked, very little adornment.  Sambhogakaya deities have adornments representing the 6 paramitas [generosity, ethics, patience, diligence, meditation, wisdom].

Demon Feeding

3:50 PM

I didn’t sleep well last night.  At 5:21 AM I decided not to get up at 6 for sunrise Prajna Paramita practice.  I didn’t want to fall asleep again during Tsultrim’s talk!  However, my mind was much more active during breakfast & karma yoga.

Morning teachings were great!  I fed my fear of abandonment demon.

Lunch with a very chatty lady.  She was probably quite nice, but she couldn’t stop talking about her academic & career accomplishments long enough for me to find out.


  • Instant oatmeal
  • Cereal & 2 Tbs raisins
  • Almonds
  • Hard boiled egg

Just like home!  Now, alas, I’m craving sugar & carbs again.


  • Cheesy tempeh casserole
  • Salad

Something here is upsetting my stomach.  I’m not drinking tap water.  The only other constant in my diet is the Goddess salad dressing.  I’ll change & see what happens.

After lunch, I took a nap.  A storm came & went, & I enjoyed the sound of the rain.

4:00 PM

Training [Feeding Your Demons]

The difference between wants and needs.

Wants are on the surface, the superficial level, the way the demon “gets” you.  Needs are what the demon is trying to address thru acting out.  The demon will never be satisfied until its needs are met.  That addresses the cause.

If the demon gets its need met, what is the feeling state it will be in?  This may represent the need.

Ultimately, all of our demons need love & attention.  We give compassion to a part of our psyche that we’ve been ignoring.  “That’s not me, that my depression, addiction, etc.”  Machig said we’re showing the demon its true nature.

Machig’s 4 demon types:

  1. Outer
  2. Inner
  3. Demons of elation
  4. Demons of egocentricity


The basic level, belief that it’s always outside of us.  (External locus of control.)  Comes thru the senses.  Reacting to an out sensation.  Social fears.  Physical illness.


Come up without any out simulation.  It may once have had an outer source, but if it comes up without a trigger, now it’s inner.  All relationship demons.

How to recognize a demon from a spiritual message: a demon drains your energy.  A demon eats at you.

911 was a collective, cultural outer demon we’re still affected by.  Other examples: the holocaust, homophobia, racism.  Families have collective outer demons, like the death of a member, that can spawn individual demons for some of them.

Inner: depression not cause by a specific event.  May be influenced by out events.  Machig said we carry our inner demons all the time.

Partner Work

Keep partner work strictly confidential.  Don’t even bring it up to them – their demon- unless they mention it & want to discuss it.

Role of active witness.  Guide your partner through it.  Follow the 5 steps on the form!  J Judge how much time they need for each step.

Don’t give advice or comment, even after the session.

The active partner may write down the experience at the end, or the witness partner may scribe as the mediation goes.

Both partners generate intention.

As witness, if the active partner gets emotional, you don’t have to fix it, and you don’t have to be afraid.

The gods are our hopes, the other side of the coin from demons.  Gods are obsessive, unhealthy longing, like an addictive craving.  Then it may turn into a demon, like addiction does when it goes from longing to demanding.  Addiction is a god-demon.

Longing for love; extreme form is stalking.  The feeling that everything would be resolved if _____.  “If only…”  I think mine is financial security!  And monogamy!  Isn’t that interesting…

As the witness it’s okay to feel emotion with your partner.  Just don’t get carried away!  Be fully present for them.

Gods in this sense are like hungry ghosts.  Ambition could be an outer god.

Don’t ask “why” in this process.  That gets into analysis.  We want to keep this in the body & out of the intellect.

Witness: don’t interject, not even a “hmm.”  Don’t ask more questions.  Stick to the script!

Give the active partner some time to rest at the end of Step 5.

9:15 PM

I’m drinking ginger tea for digestion.  No salad tonight, but my stomach’s upset again.  So it’s something other than the dressing.  Good.  I love that dressing.

Afternoon training was great.  My roommate, Marian, volunteered for the partner demon feeding practice [demonstration].  She was very open, & it was a moving experience.


  • Leek miso soup
  • Rice noodles & vegetables
  • Some type of sprout
  • Fried green something-or-other
  • 2 slices toast with jam, because I didn’t like anything tonight.  Of course, the toast was whole grain & the jam organic.

I’m getting a ride from staff up to Prayer Flag Ridge for the sunrise Prajna Paramita practice.  It’s an idea I got from Paula, who said, “I came here for the teachings.  I know how to exercise.”

The ginger tea tastes good.  I hope it works.


Ven. Dr. Myodo Jabo (Sandy Gougis) is a Zen Master and Priest in the Five Mountain Zen Order. She began studying Theravâdin Buddhism in 1998, adding Zen in 2003, and Vajrayana Buddhism in 2008. She currently practices in both the Zen and Tibetan traditions. Her Zen teacher is Most Ven. Wonji Dharma of the Five Mountain Zen Order, and her Tibetan guru is Lama Tsultrim Allione of Tara Mandala. In her free time, Myodo enjoys painting, jewelry making, and other creative endeavors.

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