GANDEN GUILD CLUB – “THE PRACTICE OF MAHAMUDRA OF CHOD IN THE GELUGPA TRADITION”
Tuesday nights, weekly, from 7:30pm-9pm. Open to those with the Gaden Chod Tantric Empowerment. By donation.
Chod is a unique and very special tradition of Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism originating from the famed Tibetan female Saint, Lama and Yogini, Machig Labdron (1055 – 1149 AD).
Literally meaning “to cut through”, Chod practice uses intense Tantric imagery, ritual, song, drumming, meditation and the philosophy of Prajnaparamita of Mahayana Buddhism to “cut” the “demons” and “gods” that are the obstacles and obscurations that characterize one’s own selfishness and provoke a “limit-experience” of the ego itself.
While Chod has many “shamanic” elements to it, such as trance-like rhythmic drumming, hauntingly beautiful melodies, merging with sky-like awareness and the presence and guidance of Buddhist “angels” – at it’s core, it is a tradition of Buddhist practice build around and fully expressing, the three principle paths of Renunciation, Bodhicitta and the Wisdom realizing Selflessness.
The roots of the Gelugpa Chod go right back to our Founder, the Incomparable Lama, Scholar and Yogi, Je Tsongkhapa Losang Drakpa. Chod has been practiced subsequently by the greatest Lamas of our Tradition, such as Dharmavajra Choki Dorje, Gyalwa Ensapa and the famed Panchen Lamas. The ideal Chodpa in the Gelug Tradition is one that embodies of the age-old ethics of the Kadam Lineage: humility, sincerity, great compassion and pure ethics.
Student-teachers Matthew Richards and Cristina Sanchez are both honoured and pleased to facilitate the Ganden Chod Guild, hosted at Gaden Choling Temple.
Our Chod Guild follows closely both the teachings, protocols and lived examples of our Spiritual Guides and Chod Lamas: The Very Venerable Zasep Rinpoche, the Lineage holder of the Gelug Chod, H.H. Khalkha Jetsun Dampa Rinpoche and his amazing student-teacher, Yogini Miya Shimada.
Ganden Chod Guild will focus on the main of two lineages of Gelugpa Chod: the Gaden Ensa Chod. Matthew and Cristina also practice and promote the extremely rare, other lineage of Gelugpa Chod – the Gaden Dakini Chod.
The format of each class will be to first do traditional Chod sadhana and then to leave time afterward to workshop the practice and facilitate a Q&A.
Chod Guild will also lead Chod outdoors at locations throughout Toronto that are appropriate to the practice such as more secluded parks and rivers. It is wonderful to do Chod outdoors as we are then following in the sacred footsteps of our Lineage ancestors who, for millennia, have been wandering homeless yogins practicing under the open sky, sun and stars in the wild of Asia.
Chod Guild will also lead in-house and home retreats, traditional to our Lineage.
Open for practice to all who have received the Chod Tantric Empowerment in the Gelugpa Tradition.
Open, to sit in with us, to all those who have received a Chod Tantric Empowerment from a qualified Lama in a valid lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.
One may also come to receive healing energy from our Chod practice as this is the traditional healing-modality associated with this unique Spiritual Tradition. Please contact Matthew and Cristina directly beforehand with a formal request and for all appropriate details and protocol. By donation.
For questions or more information, please contact Matthew & Cristina:
Cristina Sanchez has been a devoted and practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism in both the Gelugpa and Nyingma Traditions since 1996. She has been a close student of Ven. Zasep Rinpoche since 1996 as well. Cristina has completed many Vajrayana retreats, received many teachings from high Lamas in Tibetan Buddhism, including H.H. Dalai Lama, has done a number of Buddhist pilgrimages in Asia and maintains a daily personal practice of Buddhist meditation, Hatha yoga and Qi-Gong. She was a Science Professor at Langara College in Vancouver BC from 2001-2014, with a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Toronto  and has extensive teaching experience.
Matthew Richards has been a devoted student and practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism in the Gelugpa Tradition since 1995 and a close student of Ven. Zasep Rinpoche since 1996. He has completed many Vajrayana retreats, received many teachings from many high Lamas in Tibetan Buddhism, including H.H. Dalai Lama, has done a number of Buddhist pilgrimages in Asia and maintains a committed daily personal practice of meditation. He has a keen interest and background in Energy-Healing modalities and their relationship to Tantric Buddhism. In particular, he is a Master’s Level Reiki Practitioner and Teacher, has studied Therapeutic Qi Kung and East Asian Shamanic Traditions and has a personal connection to Japanese Shingon Tantric Buddhism. Matthew was a volunteer hospice worker for many years in both Vancouver and Toronto. Matthew earned a Masters Degree in Western Philosophy from University of Ottawa in 1997 and has been a full-time career Flight Attendant since 1994.
Both Cristina and Matthew have been actively involved in the Tibetan Buddhist community both in Toronto and Vancouver and have helped administer both Gaden Choling and Zuru Ling Temples. They recently completed the 4 & half month Chumig Gyatsa Wandering Chod Retreat in Alberta in the summer of 2015. Ven. Zasep Rinpoche has requested Cristina and Matthew to teach at his various centers here in Canada.
Gaden Dakini Chod practice – for initiates of this sacred lineage.
For questions or more information, please contact Matthew & Cristina:
Mindfulness Mondays – Introduction to Meditation at Gaden Choling weekly on Monday nights
When : Every Monday from 6:30-8:30pm.What : Moving between sitting and walking meditations in alternating intervals of three 20 min sits and three 10 min walking meditations.
Sessions include an Introduction to mindfulness training. Includes basic instruction on Annapurna breathing with guided mindfulness of body through observation of the sense gates. We will enter into introductory discussions on the nature of phenomenon, causal interdependence and emptiness. This will be centerd around selected passages from Gelugpa Mahāyāna texts. Some weeks will offer a focus on an introduction to or deepening of our Metta practice. A chance for short discussion surrounding our individual process will be offered at the end of each Monday sit.
Led by Student-Teacher Josh Reichmann
“My learning and experience has come through culturally traditional teachings, fellowship recovery modalities and my meditation and Buddhist-philosophy practice with a lama’s guidance. As well as extensive Sangha (Buddhist community) support and vanguard institutional learning with teachers at the forefront of the healing community through ITM and the resources at Nalanda. I have been practicing Mahayana / Vajrayana Buddhism, meditation and Dharma work within a temple setting for the last four years. I am currently studying the LamRim, Mahāmudrā and engaging in other formally observed Tibetan Buddhist practices. I have been working an active 12-step recovery program since 2006. I have worked with shamanic healers, Gestalt therapists and addiction specialists for over 13 years. I am currently studying Contemplative Psychotherapy from a Buddhist perspective at the Institute of Traditional Medicine in conjunction with Nalanda University, NYC. I have been involved in men’s healing circles and retreat sweats for six years. I initiated and currently help host a Buddhist-based recovery meditation group and have led retreats through this modality. “