If you are interested in learning more about Chod or the Shije tradition, we suggest these two books from Lama Wangdu Rinpoche
One Hundred Thousand Rays of the Sun
The Sublime Life and Teachings of a Chod Master
In 1998, an American named Joshua Waldman met Lama Wangdu Rinpoche. Soon after, Joshua asked Rinpoche to share his life story. The recordings from those meetings became Hundred Thousand Rays of the Sun, an autobiography of a yogi told in everyday language. From a story about sky burial practices:
I did my Chod practices near Tingri village in a place called Nechung Pula in Sangatrak, and from there I went to a cave of Machik Labdron that I had visited previously. I rested there for two or three days. From this cave I then crossed the pass of Tingri-Khangmar to a place called Duntsa. Soon I arrived at the Langkor funeral site. It was said to be a frightening place, but I did not find it fearsome at all. The next day someone brought the corpse of an old man for a sky burial, in which vultures are called to consume the dead body as it is chopped into pieces. I reflected on the impermanence of life and performed a cham dance and Chod ritual.
Because I had never seen how a corpse was handled, I stayed to watch…
The monk smashed several of the remaining bones into pieces and mixed this with the flesh they had put aside earlier. This was eaten within a single minute by the ravenous birds. At last, only a few bones remained.
Through stories like this, Lama Wangdu reviews his life beginning with his birth in a tiny village in the Langkor valley up to his present-day activities as a yogi and Chodpa living, teaching and practicing in the United States and Nepal.
In addition to Rinpoche’s autobiography, Hundred Thousand Rays of the Sun includes teachings on Phowa and Chod, and a long life prayer for Lama Wangdu. Altogether, it is an important book for Chod practitioners of every tradition. You can purchase a copy here.
Lion of Siddhas
The Life and Teachings of Padampa Sangye
David Molk, working with Lama Wangdu Rinpoche, translates two texts, a biography of Padampa Sangye called, Story of the Liberated Life of the Great Lord of Siddhas, Venerable Padampa Sangye, and from the Shije Tradition, Mahamudra Teaching in Symbols. From Lama Wangdu’s introduction:
Padampa Sangye studied in India, Nepal and Tibet, with teachers of different lineages and traditions, and distilled the teachings he had received to their essence. He was not limited by any of the doctrines he had absorbed in the course of his own education, and he was not interested in preserving their integrity. He wanted only to alleviate the suffering of others and enable them to achieve their highest potential. In this way, he brought the mahamudra teachings out of the royal monastic tradition to which they had been confined and shared them with the common people of Tibet in a form they could understand.
The same can be said of Lama Wangdu Rinpoche. Since his first visit to the United States, he has transmitted the teachings of Chod and Shije widely, teaching people with every sort of experience and background and encouraging them to practice diligently. This book is another example of how he works to alleviate the suffering of others in a simple, direct manner. You can purchase a copy here.