Posted in Tibetan Buddhism

Tara Mandala Retreat 2009, Day 4

7-3-09 10:00 AM

Demon Feeding

You can work with dream images rather than finding the demon in your body & inviting it to manifest.  It’s the unconscious wanting attention; give it attention & it can relax.  Also, rather than use the literal image, you can use the feeling the dream provokes.  Whether the person in the dream is dead or alive doesn’t matter; they’re all metaphors.

We worked with a partner.  I fed my rage demon because of a powerful dream I had last night.

Demon work leads to non-duality.  No deep analysis of symbolism is needed.

Demons don’t want to be fed out of existence!  You can’t get rid of your demons by feeding them.  We offer them love & compassion.  Communicate with them, give them what they need.  Work with them.  You’re paying attention; you’re paying with your attention. We’re investing by giving them our intention & attention.  Honoring the shadow.

Don’t get sidetracked by endless explanation & analysis.

The unconscious does not like to be commanded.

It doesn’t have to feel emotional to be effective.

Using Art

2:55 PM

The day thus far…

View from Prayer Flag Ridge
View from Prayer Flag Ridge

Got up at 6 AM & got a lift to the trail head.  The last, steepest part was still a climb.  It rained softly during Prajna Paramita practice.  No matter.  I was wearing Vin’s [my late brother-in-law] old rain jacket & draped a plastic trash bag over my lap.


  • Instant oatmeal, with raisins, cranberries, almonds & walnuts I added
  • Cereal in soy milk
  • Hard boiled egg

My work crew (excuse me – karma yoga crew) & I are getting faster at sweeping & mopping.  And I’m starting to dislike the job less.

Demon feeding was challenging.  My partner did not guide me through the steps the way I thought she should!  So I got to feed my impatience demon at the same time I was doing my “official” work!

Then we had to draw.  I hate drawing because I always got poor grades in it in school.  Yet today, I was very pleased with my drawing!  It doesn’t look exactly like the demon, but it’s an accurate representation.


  • Squash boats stuffed with quinoa & veggies
  • Salad – I had the Goddess dressing again, & so far, no upset
  • Sweet potato fries

Yesterday’s water intake was about 80 oz.  My joints are lubricated & loving me!

I had lunch with Paula, Mary, & 2 other great gals.

Then I went to a talk & book signing by Olivia Hoblitzelle.  Her book is about her husband’s passage through Alzheimer’s & her journey with him.  Her talk was moving.  I especially connected with her remark that caring for her husband was her spiritual practice.  That’s how I feel about helping Lisa [a friend with cancer], & I told her so when she signed my book.  I look forward to reading it; I think it has a lot for me.

The talk was outside, on the west porch of the community building.  I saw a lovely beetle get himself “turtled” and rescued him with a piece of hay.  He grabbed on with all six legs, so I set him on the hay bale.

I finally got to talk to my roommate, Marian.  That’s the trouble with noble silence in the evenings: the only time you’ve both in the room, you can’t talk!  Anyway, she’s a therapist & a feminist.  I like her a lot!  We only overlapped by about 2 minutes, but we made them count!

Inside Room

Right now I’m sitting in front of the open windows, door open into the hall for a nice breeze, sipping a mug of hot cocoa.  Life is good!  🙂

I miss Michael.  I wish I could be sharing these experiences with him.  Each day, I think of him & what he’s most likely doing.  I’m not sure whether there’s racing today at Laguna Seca, or if it’s just time trials.  I hope he’s having a great time!

I’ve had an insight up here.  I’ve been asking the universe for guidance regarding my career.  I even thanked it for not giving me the plum job at UCLA.  Yesterday, I began to see the plan unfolding.

Had I gotten the UCLA job, my plan was to enroll in a Master’s program in Criminal Justice.  It’s not what I really want to study, but it could help my career – no guarantees.  When I didn’t get the job, I let go of the plan.  I don’t have the required time with my current teaching load.

Of course, I had never discussed whether to apply at UCLA, or whether to enroll at ASU on-line, with the universe.

Yesterday I remembered what I really yearn to study: Buddhism.  A practical Master’s is my parents’ paradigm, not mine.  The universe has already opened the door to a Master’s in Buddhist Doctrine; I just have to walk thru.

Then I thought about the CEUs available & whether I could still sign up for them.  I had believed the universe was guiding me to be a spiritual teacher, & here was this opportunity.  I thought the cost was $15 per CEU.  I did the math for 27 CEUs, freaked, prayed, & went to sleep.

This morning I woke up with the very clear intention of getting the CEUs if it wasn’t too late.  I can afford it if I forego other things.

Then I found out that the additional cost was $15 total.  I signed up.  And I think I’ll be getting a Master’s in Buddhist Doctrine…

3:57 PM

I just now noticed how many flowers are in the dharma room: 3 bouquets & a single blossom, the last on Tsultrim’s teaching table.  We have flowers at the Zen Center, too: 2 identical bouquets, 1 on each side of the altar.  The ones here are each different, placed with abandon, flowers for flowers’ sake.  It strikes me as very feminine.

5:18 PM

Training – Demon Feeding

I just completed the drawing demon feeding with Chelsea from my karma yoga crew!

You can do the extended ally work either during the demon feeding or independently.  Looking for the inner guru, access your inner wisdom.  Allies are archetypes.

Working with Kids

Demon feeding often works in one shot.  Drawing is very effective because (perhaps) they don’t criticize their own “art.”

Doesn’t have to be rational; it’s not logos.

Try different media.  Ex.: watercolor is hard to control, has a life of its own, & some interesting things may come out of this.

10:03 PM


  • Split pea soup
  • Quinoa in another form
  • Another casserole w/ lots of veggies

I ate with Paula, Karen, Steve from karma yoga, & 2 others.  Very pleasant.

Tonight’s practice was Chod.  I fed today’s demon during it, & the demon because my ally.  I love Chod!  It’s very healing.

I made a massage appointment for 2:30 Sunday.  I’m looking forward to it!  They use aromatherapy & mantras, too.  My massage therapist, Maya, is a Chod practitioner.

Lama Tsultrim announced that Marian Form had died today: the classy lady I met at Sprit Rock who had “I C U MARA” tattooed around her wrist.  She had breast cancer.  I knew that during our brief acquaintance.  WE were hardly friends, but her passing still makes me cry.  Or maybe I’m crying out of fear for Lisa and Holly.  Even for myself.

With Tsultrim’s permission, I did Ji Jong Bosal chanting for her in the temple.  Farewell, Marian.  May you have a good rebirth, gain enlightenment, and save all beings from suffering.

It was too dark for me to find my way down to the residence hall.  Coco, the “house mom,” was still at the temple and guided me down, holding my hand.


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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