Ma.gcig Lab.sgron

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Ma.gcig Lab.sgron (10th/11th cent. CE). Prominent Tibetan Buddhist yogin and teacher, who formalized the Chöd (Gcod) meditational practice. She was early noted for her lack of regard for personal appearance, an attitude which she encouraged in practitioners of Gcod. When she explored Indian yogic methods, she was attacked for repudiating her vows, and after moving with her family, she then went into retreat for the rest of her life.

Gcod (‘cutting’) has the aim of cutting through the apparent dualities created by the process of thought. The purpose of Gcod is to bring about the complete realization that nothing in reality exists. The path to this realization is one of making the five aggregations (skandha) of one's appearance into a sacrificial offering to the best of one's hopes and the worst of one's fears in personified forms, passing in one of the rituals through four stages: (i) dkar ʾgyed, ‘white sharing’, imagining one's body as sweet honey offered to the Three Jewels; (ii) khra ʾgyed, ‘multicoloured offering’, imagining one's body as desirable objects like gardens and gifts; (iii) dmar ʾgyed, ‘red sharing’, imagining the flesh and blood of oneself offered to the demons; (iv) nag ʾgyed, ‘black sharing’, the gathering up of one's own faults and the faults of others into oneself and the offering of it to the demons as an act of reparation. Of course, neither she nor the demons have any reality outside the construction of the mind: the purpose of Gcod is to visualize the best and the worst in order to cut off one's belief that they have some reality: hence the importance of vivid pictures and rituals.