How to do Chod Demon Meditation

Chod demon meditation can be used to either 1) deal with an emotion that needs to be processed, or 2) communicate with subagent(s) that it’s hard to communicate with. It can also be used to communicate with parts of you that “aren’t cooperating”, regardless of how you think of those parts.

The way this is done is by physically manifesting either an emotion, or a subagent, or a part of you that isn’t “cooperating” as a physical entity, asking it what it wants, becoming embodied as the physical entity, then dissolving your body and offering it as a tribute to the embodied entity. The idea here is that if part of you isn’t “cooperating”, then actually you need to pay attention to that part and try to help it get what it needs, rather than trying to coerce it. “Demon” is not meant in a derogatory way; indeed, the point is to give the demon what it wants, so it stops being out of your control.

Note that Chod can produce more extreme results if you try to fight the demon, or if you’ve been censoring the demon really hard in the past.

This post will give a full set of instructions on how to do Chod. All of it is taken from this video (which is an excellent one to follow along to), and from this book.

  • If not otherwise specified, spend ~60 seconds on any given step (and adjust this time if you feel you need more/less)
  • Start by preparing two places to sit, preferably facing one another. I often do Chod starting on one side of a couch, and then transition to the other side of the same couch, facing where I started.
  • Begin by scanning your body for tension, and releasing it where you find it. If you don’t have time to do a full muscle relaxation meditation as described in that link, that’s perfectly fine, just scan your face and your shoulder muscles, and try to release any tension you find there in 2-3 minutes of scanning.
  • Scan your body for any emotional tension or mental tension (lingering thoughts) that is manifesting physically. Release it if it wants to be released. If emotional/mental tension doesn’t manifest physically for you, just do a more thorough physical relaxation as above.
  • Feel out what you would like to physically manifest as a demon today. If it’s a subagent, or an emotion, or your reaction to a situation. What counts as being part of the emotion or the situation.
  • See if there’s a place in your body where the demon (emotion, subagent, reaction to situation) is residing. Once you have it, briefly scan the rest of your body to see if parts of the demon are in other places in your body, too.
  • Take some time to feel out what the demon in you looks and feels like. I recommend taking up to 60s to address each of these characteristics, moving on once you know the answer. Does the demon have a: shape in your body, color, temperature, texture, weight, smell? Is it static, or moving/glowing/on fire?
  • Invite the demon to move out of your body. You can make a gesture to assist this, e.g. physically scooping the demon out of your chest with your hand. Take a moment to check if any of the demon is still in your body, and invite it to exit and exist beside you if so.
  • Observe what the demon looks like, now that it it outside of your body. Take as long as needed to observe it fully, and use these questions to guide you: does the demon have a gender? is it human or animal or other? what does its physical form look like? what color(s) is it? how big is it?
  • Ask the demon, “what do you want, right now”. The point is to ask it what it desires this moment. Wait for an answer for up to 2-3 minutes.
  • Ask the demon, “what do you need”. The point is to ask it what deeper need or value its wants are pointing to. Wait for an answer for up to 2-3 minutes.
  • Ask the demon, “how will you feel once your deeper need is satisfied”. The point is to see if the demon will work with you or even merge back into you once you’re doing what it wants. Wait for an answer for up to a minute.
  • Switch places, and sit where the demon was sitting. If it was e.g. hovering over you menacingly, sit in a way, and in a physical configuration with respect to where you were sitting before, that reminds you of that.
  • Take however long you need to come into the body of the demon. Feel what it is like to be the demon. See how you look to yourself now that you’re in the demon’s body. See how your old body, imagining it still sitting there, looks to yourself.
  • Finish the sentence, “what I want right now, is”. The point is to ask what you desire in this moment. Wait for an answer for up to 2-3 minutes.
  • Finish the sentence, “my deeper need is”. The point is to ask what deeper need or value your wants are pointing to. Wait for an answer for up to 2-3 minutes.
  • Finish the sentence, “how I will feel once my deeper need is satisfied, is”. See if you’re satisfied that your normal self will fulfill the deeper need, and if there’s actually something deeper behind the deeper need you’ve already identified. Wait for an answer for up to a minute.
  • Switch places, and sit where the “you” were sitting.
  • Take however long you need to come into your body. See what the demon looks like now.
  • Imagine a nectar (generally a fluid, but can be a light/gas/etc) that would satisfy the demon’s deeper need.
  • Dissolve your body into that nectar. Dissolve all of your body that you can into that nectar.
  • Either after you’ve dissolved your whole body, or continually as you’re dissolving it, offer the nectar to the demon. Let the demon ingest it how it wants to. If it refuses the nectar, try to give it what it wants, e.g. if it wants to physically pin you, let it.
  • The next step is to get the “ally” to appear. This doesn’t always work, and if you can’t get it to work, you can either do a second round of Chod, or stop the meditation there.
  • First, ask the demon if it is the ally, if it is still there. Let it transform into the ally if it wants to. If the demon disappeared, ask the ally if it wants to appear.

Note that if you manifest a demon because “my partner is doing a thing I don’t like” or “my job is shit and capitalism is hurting me” and then you ask what the demon wants, dissolve your body as an offering for it, etc, you aren’t trying to offer yourself to your partner or capitalism or whatever. No, don’t submit to those things.

The point is to submit to your feelings about them, and do what your feelings about those things want you to do. Demons are always about your emotional responses to things. Sometimes your emotional responses to things will require you to change a thing in the real world for them to resolve. Such as “this world has so much suffering and it isn’t okay and I need to make this stop”. In that case, don’t go “oh the problem is in my head and I need to come to peace like the Buddha would say to”, or “I’ll submit to the suffering itself”, but rather, do your best to solve the issue, and then come back and check in with the emotion that prompted this, and see if what you’re doing satisfies the need it was pointing towards.

You might have to do many rounds of Chod before your demon goes away, if it’s really powerful/big/etc. Though if your demon isn’t slowly resolving over time, make sure you’re really offering yourself to it/submitting to it/helping it get what it wants. It is a part of you, after all. This applies even if the demon is like, “my sole desire is to dominate others”. Repressing the need will just make it more insidious, but no less powerful.

If you ask a demon what it wants and it says “I want power [over you]”, this typically means (sometimes correctly, sometimes incorrectly) that the demon doesn’t trust you to help it get what it wants. Doubly so, if it won’t even tell you what its deeper need is, and simply says “I want power [over you]” when asked what its deeper need is. The only way around this is to submit to the demon.

next post: doing what you want