Jobs for Western Chod Practitioners

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Reibeam
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Jobs for Western Chod Practitioners

Post by Reibeam » Fri Jan 30, 2015 7:50 pm

With the efficacious power and results that can come with secondary practices in conjunction with guru yoga here is an open question for all, but it does directly reflect my own situation.

My wife and I have been practicing a lot of Chod recently (specifically the short practice used by the Dzogchen Community)

Recently per some interesting circumstances my wife and I were both offered jobs at a local funeral home (we both were originally considering finding careers in hospice). We accepted as it seemed like a boon for a chod practitioner to work in a western "charnel ground". I am to begin and apprenticeship with the funeral director to learn everything you can imagine that would be involved including embalming, running the crematorium, and removal of the deceased from the place of death. Personally, I think this is a beautiful opportunity to integrate daily life with practice as they will be related in a very concrete way.


I was curious if anyone on here who regularly practices Chod (or Shitro) has worked in this kind of environment and what the general thought of Dharmawheel might be on the subject of jobs for western chod practitioners?


Any thoughts and opinions will be appreciated.

Thanks

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Adamantine
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Re: Jobs for Western Chod Practitioners

Post by Adamantine » Fri Jan 30, 2015 9:54 pm

You may want to discuss this with your Lama, email ChNN if he
is your main teacher. I don't want to create any doubt, but everyday
contact with corpses is a bit different than offerings made to
spirits. There is a passage in the Guru Rinpoche Sang that invokes purification
from the contamination arising from contact with corpses.
Contentment is the ultimate wealth;
Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha

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Reibeam
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Re: Jobs for Western Chod Practitioners

Post by Reibeam » Fri Jan 30, 2015 10:08 pm

Good point, I was planning on asking chNN what he thought. Being around corpses is not entirely new for me, but dealing with them on a daily basis is.

I know there are the obvious risks that are part of any medical profession, but i am curious about the not so obvious ones if there were any.

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Adamantine
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Re: Jobs for Western Chod Practitioners

Post by Adamantine » Sat Jan 31, 2015 12:13 am

Yes, apparently one may be susceptible to the obscurations of those whose corpses you're in contact with. . . but you know, even those in the healing arts professions may be susceptible to a similar issue with their patients. There are various tantric remedies one may use to overcome these obstacles, such as particular items one may wear, or practices one may perform, (like the Guru Rinpoche Sang previously mentioned) etc. Since you're a student of ChNN I'd just trust in whatever he says.

All that aside, when it comes to the practice of Chod as a general rule—or so I've heard—,one doesn't go off and practice in the charnel grounds until one has established oneself very deeply in the practice and has absolute confidence in the View. Only then is it useful to test one's capacity in terrifying places. And then, when it comes to being able to actually benefit others with the practice such as healing, etc. then that is a whole other level of capacity. So good to discuss with ChNN and be as upfront with him as you can about which stage your practice is at, for context.
Contentment is the ultimate wealth;
Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha

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Reibeam
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Re: Jobs for Western Chod Practitioners

Post by Reibeam » Sat Jan 31, 2015 12:50 am

Thanks, I will correspond with him as he is my teacher.

My trajectory towards Hospice, Mortuary Science/Funerary Arts is far older (starting around age 15) than my formal experience on the path (only a handful of years) . This is no attempt to run to the charnel ground as it may seem. I am just comfortable with this as a job in the relative world because of a lot of childhood experiences and a strong stomach, but I am interested in how it corresponds with my spiritual path. I have no capacity or realization, only an interest to be of service, but at the same time I think it unwise to be paranoid which will only attract obstacles.

I am interested if anyone else on here is a mortician or funeral director.

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Adamantine
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Re: Jobs for Western Chod Practitioners

Post by Adamantine » Sat Jan 31, 2015 1:04 am

Reibeam wrote:This is no attempt to run to the charnel ground as it may seem.
Oh, it doesn't really seem that way to me. Actually, the charnel grounds that count for Chod practitioners are those that are well established as extremely psychically active: filled with spirits ---- basically, haunted. And there's also the aspect of their appearance in the physical dimension: many corpses strewn about in various states of decay, dismembered, half-burned, etc. .ideally the appearance is a truly gory sight. And of course the wild animals that are attracted to this type of feast also help to arouse one's terror.

When it comes to a well manicured indoor mortuary in the USA, working with or embalming one or two dead bodies at a time, it's really a totally different deal. So it is not equivalent. That doesn't mean it wouldn't be useful for one's practice though. . even as a meditation on the truth of impermanence it may be extremely useful.
Contentment is the ultimate wealth;
Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha

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Re: Jobs for Western Chod Practitioners

Post by Reibeam » Sat Jan 31, 2015 1:25 am

Thanks

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Re: Jobs for Western Chod Practitioners

Post by Losal Samten » Sat Jan 31, 2015 1:27 am

Tell us what ChNNR says if it's kosher.
Lacking mindfulness, we commit every wrong. - Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔
ཨོཾ་ཧ་ནུ་པྷ་ཤ་བྷ་ར་ཧེ་ཡེ་སྭཱ་ཧཱ།།
ཨཱོཾ་མ་ཏྲི་མུ་ཡེ་སལེ་འདུ།།

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Re: Jobs for Western Chod Practitioners

Post by Ayu » Sat Jan 31, 2015 10:01 am

I saw some TV documentations about the work in funeral homes. They were not at all like carnel grounds. The undertaker loved their jobs and fulfilled them with much positive emotion. They had the feeling they are doing the last favours for the deceased and they made this job with very much respect and appreciation.
They said the common prejudices against the proffession of an undertaker are not true. If one deals with these corpses, one get's used to it and there is not the faintest trace of fear in doing it.
They gave the impression to be very happy with their job.

But they did not practice chod while working. :smile:
I just liked to mention about the job - it is a very good profession.
For the benefit and ease of all sentient beings. :heart:

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Re: Jobs for Western Chod Practitioners

Post by Loren » Sat Jan 31, 2015 4:40 pm

After my ex died I went to the funeral home with my father-in-law and the man who met us and gave us her ashes was very nice and authentic. He took care of all the different paperwork for us and explained everything. We left feeling very positive.

Attitude can really make a difference. Depending on what the Guru advises but Americans can be a little weird with death. Maybe that would be a very good place to help others. Make a positive influence everyday.
Thank You and Ok!

aka Lorem

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Re: Jobs for Western Chod Practitioners

Post by Reibeam » Sat Jan 31, 2015 5:27 pm

Loren, I think you are right and that is really what I am getting at. Being in a position to help.

This thread is not really about practicing chod at a funeral home or some manicured cemetery or trying to make comparisons of places of death. Trying to making comments about about the superiority of a Indian charnel ground which most have probably have never been to verses another place of death like a morgue which most have probably never been to is subjective and futile. One person's karmic vision of a single corpse in whatever state in sterile western society could have the same affect as a field strewn with bodies in varying states of decay on someone from another society with a different karmic vision. I am really interested in actual experiences.

In regards to all the charnel ground comments and comparisons deciding what is terrifying is relative. Most people, at least in America rarely see a dead body and the ones they do at a funeral home have been pumped full of preservative chemicals, cleaned, dressed, covered in makeup and have gone other processes to make them presentable and look lifelike. In some cases the undertaker will apply restorative arts techniques that can go as far putting a face back together that has been crushed by a car using waxes, makeup, and other materials (say shaving hair off the back of the head and gluing it to the front where is was ripped off). They may sew back on dismembered limbs so a to make it possible for the family to have an open casket funeral.

This is not what is on TV, morticians are sculptors of the last memories someone may have of seeing their loved ones, they are the caretakers of an illusion, but an illusion that sometimes can create causes for a release of attachment.

Yes, most morticians like their jobs and are not full of fear because they have gotten used to their experiences and see that the benefit that they might create outweighs the fear. There is also the potential to creat a good cause for the deceased by treating the body with respect (in a way the deceased is culturally familiar with) because most of these processes will occur shortly after the person has died and is still in the bardo.

As a profession for a practitioner, I see it as an opportunity to supplement one's practice by wading in an ocean of impermanence, be a support for the survivors of the deceased and if one day i do have any capacity, maybe benefit the deceased themselves.

In example, i am friends with a hospice nurse. They main practice they do is Shitro, their job has a very direct connection to their practice. i am not saying they are doing Shitro all day at the hospice center, but they strive to be in a state of contemplation while in that environment. Whilst practicing in a more formal way, their job experiences contribute to making their practice experiences more concrete.

Obviously any job is an opportunity for integration and practice, but ones like undertaking and hospice harken to an aspect of life that is usually the most fearful to those in our realm.

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Adamantine
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Re: Jobs for Western Chod Practitioners

Post by Adamantine » Sat Jan 31, 2015 6:33 pm

Hey actually if you do go through with this job, Shitro would be a great thing for you to be practicing
too.. as far as "secondary" practices go. .. In terms of having capacity to benefit.
It's great to comfort bereaved relatives, but the ones who are actually wandering in the bardo are in a much better
position to be helped in a significant way by a practitioner.
Contentment is the ultimate wealth;
Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha

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Re: Jobs for Western Chod Practitioners

Post by Arnoud » Sat Jan 31, 2015 7:41 pm

Adamantine wrote:Yes, apparently one may be susceptible to the obscurations of those whose corpses you're in contact with. . . but you know, even those in the healing arts professions may be susceptible to a similar issue with their patients.
Yes, or even the obscurations of all the corpses we come in contact with that are still alive. ;-) One other reason to live in remote isolated places until one can actually handle the obscurations one takes on.

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Re: Jobs for Western Chod Practitioners

Post by ngodrup » Fri Feb 06, 2015 2:59 am

Wall Street? Washington DC? Silicon Valley?
Name your Charnel ground.

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Re: Jobs for Western Chod Practitioners

Post by Yeti » Thu Mar 05, 2015 4:42 am

You could also contact Ngakpa Karma Lhundup Rinpoche http://karmalhundup.org/bio/ as his family ngakpa lineage deals with this.

Email address at the bottom of this page http://karmalhundup.org/services/index.html
"When a Dzogchen Yogi hears Shakyamuni Buddha turning the Wheel of the Dharma of the Four Noble Truths he hears Samathabhadra proclaiming the most profound Dzogpachenpo." - Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche

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Reibeam
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Re: Jobs for Western Chod Practitioners

Post by Reibeam » Sat Mar 07, 2015 7:30 pm

Yeti,

Thanks for posting this. His website looks to be a few years old. Do you think his contact info is still good? Also, do you know if ever comes to the USA anymore?

Thanks

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Re: Jobs for Western Chod Practitioners

Post by Yeti » Sat Mar 07, 2015 10:49 pm

Reibeam wrote:Yeti,

Thanks for posting this. His website looks to be a few years old. Do you think his contact info is still good? Also, do you know if ever comes to the USA anymore?

Thanks
Yes, the website is old, but the email contact should be relevant. He's on Facebook. I think he still goes to the USA. He has some connections there, mainly a university department in New Orleans.
"When a Dzogchen Yogi hears Shakyamuni Buddha turning the Wheel of the Dharma of the Four Noble Truths he hears Samathabhadra proclaiming the most profound Dzogpachenpo." - Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche

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Re: Jobs for Western Chod Practitioners

Post by ClearblueSky » Fri Apr 10, 2015 5:02 am

Reibeam wrote: In regards to all the charnel ground comments and comparisons deciding what is terrifying is relative.
So very true. In that sense a crowded subway train might feel more like a "charnel ground" to me than an actual field of dead bodies, different things scare different people. But regardless of if it scares you, that is a great job for a practitioner. Being able to frequently say prayers for the recently deceased is very beneficial for them. Phowa would also be very good if that is a practice you already do, but there are a ton of different practices that would be considered helpful.

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