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Muhlenberg College

Publication Date

Fall 2016

Program Name

Nepal: Tibetan and Himalayan Peoples


The practice of Chöd is a form of Vajrayāna meditation that involves cutting one’s attachment to one’s self and compassionately offering one’s body as a feast for various deities and spirits. This study examines the practice of Chöd in the context of Boudha, Kathmandu, where there is a large community of Chödpas, Chöd practioners. This work aims to document the history of the practice, the experiences of some current Chöd practitioners, and the role that music plays in Chöd. This knowledge was acquired through observing Chödpas, speaking with them directly, and sitting in on various learning opportunities to gain firsthand knowledge of the intricacies of the practice. This study particularly focuses upon the use of instruments and music in the practice of Chöd. It examines how Chödpas think about the music used in their practice, how they learned to utilize the instruments involved, and the instruments themselves. It also briefly examines the history of the practice and some of the individual Chödpas who agreed to discuss their practice. Understanding the differences in practice and conception among various Chödpas allows a more nuanced view of Chöd to be formed, while an examination of the music focuses on a part of the practice that is often examined in less detail and adds to the body of information on ritual music in Tibetan Buddhism.


Arts and Humanities | Asian Studies | Community-Based Research | Other Languages, Societies, and Cultures | Other Religion | Religion | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion | Sociology of Religion


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