Chö Foundations

A Six-Week Series led by Chöying Khandro 

Laying the Foundation for the Crowning Jewel of Chö


This teaching series is devoted to the exploration of Chö Foundations, the core of the entire Buddhist teachings and the basis of our most profound transformation in Vajrayana and Chö practice. Chö, a radical method for cutting through self-fixation and cultivating compassion and fearlessness was considered to be, by previous masters, a gem atop the palace called the Three Principal Aspects of the Path: Renunciation, Bodhicitta, and Wisdom.



Week 1 | BLUEPRINT OF THE PATH - Spritual Landscape and the Four Thoughts


In Week 1, Blueprint of the Path, we will explore the spiritual landscape of the entire path which entails the groundwork of this crowning jewel - Chö. This blueprint is framed by the solid foundation of motivation that leads to the genuine determination to be free (Renunciation), the sturdy walls of the Mahayana path (Bodhicitta) and the golden roof of Vajrayana (Wisdom of Emptiness and Presence). In this series we will cultivate this vital and rich soil out of which the entire spiritual practice blossoms on many levels: emotionally, psychologically and spiritually!


- Overview of Spiritual Landscape - The Three Principal Aspects of the Path

- The Four Thoughts That Turn Your Mind

- Intro to" Source of All My Good" by Lama Tsongkhapa


1. Opening Meditation

2. Background

3. Overview and Approach

4. Foundation Practice in the Text

5. The Four Thoughts

6. Sharing



  • Motivation with the Four Thoughts (audio)

  • The Four Thoughts That Turn Your Mind (video)

  • Guided Meditation - Landscape In Your Journey (video)

  • Eight Worldly Concerns - The Necessity Of Giving Up The Worldly Concerns (video)


            by Lama Tsongkhapa, 1357-1419




The source of all my good

Is my kind Lama, my Lord;

Bless me first to see
That taking myself to them

In the proper way

Is the very root of the path

Grant me then

To serve and follow them

With all my strength and reverence.




Bless me first to realize

That the excellent life

Of leisure, I’ve found

Just this once

Is ever so hard to find

And ever so valuable;

Grant me then

To wish, and never stop to wish,

That I could take

Its essence night and day.



My body and the life in it

Are fleeting as the bubbles

In the sea froth of a wave.

Bless me first thus to recall

The death that will destroy me soon;

And help me find sure knowledge

That after I have died

The things I’ve done, the white or black,

And what these deeds will bring to me,

Follow always close behind,

As certain as my shadow.


Grant me then

Enter to be careful

To stop the slightest

Wrongs of many wrongs we do,

And try to carry out instead

Each and every good

Of the many that we may.

Week 2 | GROUNDWORK - Spritual Discipline and Renounciation


- An Oral Transmission of "Source of All My Good"

- The Working Basis (the Primary Cause) - Buddha Nature

- Death and Impermanence

- Entering the Path: Renunciation

  • Learning How to Want Freedom

  • Finding the Right Path to Freedom

- Taking Refuge

- Meditative Discipline - Stability of Attention



1. Opening Meditation

2. Setting Your Intention

3. Teaching on Guru

4. Teaching on The Four Thoughts

5. Sharing


  • Guided Meditation on the Four Thoughts (audio)

  • Precious Human Life - A Beggar Has Won the Lottery! (video)

  • Death and Impermanence - What's Good About Reflecting on Death? (video)

  • Thoughts on Your Deathbed (video)

  • Renunciation - A Determination to be free (video)

  • Refuge - What's the Basic Orientation of Your Life? (video)




Bless me to perceive

All that’s wrong

With the seemingly good thing

Of this life.

I can never get enough of them.

They cannot be trusted.

They are the door

To every pain I have.

Grant me then

To strive instead

For the happiness of freedom.




Grant that these pure thoughts

May lead me to be watchful

And to recall

What I should be doing,

Grant me to give

The greatest care

To make the vows of morality

The essence of my practice;

They are the root of the Buddha’s teaching

Week 3 | WALL - Opening the Heart and Bodhicitta


- Cultivation of the Heart

- Bodhicitta - Altruistic Intent

  • Developing the Wish for Awakening

  • Training in Bodhisattva Activities

- Tonglen



1. Opening Meditation

2. Bodhicitta - One Single Thought

3. Bodhicitta - Explained

4. Bodhicitta & Sharing

5. Transmissions - Tonglen & Source of All My Good



  • Bodhicitta - The Mind of Awakening (video)

  • Guided Meditation on Tonglen (video)



I have slipped and fallen

Into the sea

Of this suffering life;

Bless me to see

That every living being,

Every one my own mother,

Has fallen in too.

Grant me then

To practice this highest

Wish for enlightenment,

To take on myself

The task of freeing them all.




Bless me to see clearly

That the Wish itself

Is not enough,

For if I’m not well trained

In the three moralities,

I cannot become a Buddha.

Grant me then

A fierce resolve

To master the vows

For children of the Victors.

Week 4 | ROOF - Wisdom of Emptiness


- Wisdom - Emptiness

- Looking into the Nature of Mind/Reality

- Shamatha and Vipashyana


1. Meditation on the Unborn Nature of Mind (audio only)

2. Meditation on Emptiness and feedback

3. Approach to Emptiness

4. Song of Realization

5. Teaching & Sharing


  • Wisdom - Emptiness (video)

  • Mahamudra Pointing Out Instruction (video)




Grant that I may quickly gain

The path where quietude

And insight join together;

One which quiets

My mind from being

Distracted to wrong objects,

The other which analyzes

The perfect meaning

In the correct way.

Week 5 | GOLDEN ROOF - Guru Yoga and Vajrayana


Guru Yoga

- Vajrayana

  • Entering the Vajra Vehicle

  • Keeping Vows and Pledges pure

  • Meditating on the Two Secret Stages - Creation and Completion



1. Opening Meditation

2. Why Do You Practice Vajrayana?

3. Sharing


  • "Teacher in My Heart" Yoga - Guru Yoga (video)

  • Vajrayana Basics 1 (video)

  • Vajrayana Basics 2 (video)



Grant that once I’ve practiced well

The paths shared and become

A vessel that is worthy,

I enter with perfect ease

The Vajra Way,

Highest of all ways,

Holiest door to come inside

For the fortunate and the good.




Bless me to know

With genuine certainty

That when I’ve entered thus,

The cause that gives me

Both the attainments

Is keeping my pledges

And vows most pure.

Grant me then

To always keep them

Even if it costs my life.




Bless me next

To realize precisely

The crucial points’

Of both the stages,

The essence of

The secret ways.

Gran me then to practice

As the Holy One has spoken,

Putting all my effort in

And never leaving off

The practice of the Four Times,

Highest that there is.

Week 6 | CROWN JEWEL - Chö and Mahamudra


- Oral transmission of “PÉ DÜNMA: the Seven ‘PÉ’s"

- Extremely Abbreviated Instructions on the Chö of the Ear-Whispered Lineage

- Chö - Cutting Through

- Union of Emptiness, Luminosity, and Awareness - Mahamudra

- Coming Back Home



1. Nine Rounds of Cleansing Breath

2. Opening Meditation - Pointing Out

3. The Seven 'PE's

4. Cho Mahamudra

5. Cutting Through by PE!

6. Dedication Q & A



  • Prelude to Cho Practice (video)

  • Chö - Cutting Through (video)



Bless me, grant me that

The Spiritual Guide

Who show me this good road,

And all my true

Companions in this quest

Live long and fruitful lives.

Bless and gran me that

The rain of obstacles,

Things within me

Of outside me

That could stop me now,

Stop and end forever.



In all my lives

May I never live

Apart from my perfect Teachers,

May I bask in the glory of the dharma!

May I fulfill perfectly

Every good quality

Of every level and path,

And reach then quickly

The place where I

Become myself Vajradhara

- The keeper of the Vajra!

Please reload


by Patrul Rinpoche, 1808-1887


1. The Difficulty of Finding the Freedoms and Advantages

Although I have won these freedoms,

I am poor in Dharma, which is their essence.

Although I have entered the Dharma,

I waste time doing other things.

Bless me and foolish beings like me

That we may attain the very essence

of the freedoms and advantages.


2. The impermanence of life

Seeing this threefold world as a fleeting illusion,

You have left this life’s concerns behind like spittle in the dust.

Accepting all hardships,

you have followed in the footsteps of the masters of old.

Peerless Teacher, at your feet I bow.


Impermanence is everywhere,

yet I still think things will last.

I have reached the gates of old age,

yet I still pretend I am young.

Bless me and misguided beings like me,

That we may truly understand impermanence.


3. The Defects of Samsara

Understanding that samsaric activities are empty of meaning,

With great compassion, you strive only for the benefit of others.

Without attachment to samsara or nirvana,

you act according to the Great Vehicle.

Peerless Teacher, at your feet I bow.


I see that samsara is suffering, but crave it still.

I fear the abyss of the lower realms but continue to do wrong.

Bless me and those who have gone astray like me

That we may sincerely renounce the things of this life.


4. Actions: the Principle of Cause and Effect

You renounce evil and take up good,

as in the teachings on cause and effect.

Your action follows the progression of the Vehicles.

Through your perfect view, you are free from all clinging.

Peerless Teacher, at your feet I bow.


I know all the details of karma,

but I do not really believe in it.

I have heard a lot of Dharma,

but never put it into practice.

Bless me and evil-doers like me

That our minds may mingle with the Dharma.


5. The Benefits of Liberation

Following many learned and accomplished sublime beings,

You have practiced and experienced

the instructions of your teachers.

You point out the sublime path unerringly to others.

Peerless Teacher, at your feet I bow.


6. How to Follow a Spiritual Friend

I have met a sublime teacher,

but was fooled by his modest behavior.

I have found the best path,

but I wander on precipitous byways.

Bless me and all those of bad character like me

That our minds may be tamed by the Dharma.


7. Taking Refuge, the Foundation Stone of All Paths

Crowned with the Three Jewels of the outer refuge,

You have truly realized the Three Roots, the inner refuge;

You have made manifest the three kayas, the ultimate refuge.

Peerless Teacher, at your feet I bow.


I have taken the threefold refuge

but have little heartfelt faith,

I follow the threefold training,

but have let my commitments slip.

Bless me and all those who are faint-hearted like me

That our faith may be firm and irreversible.


8. Arousing Bodhicitta, the Root of the Great Vehicle

Through your great wisdom,

you have realized nirvana,

Through your great compassion,

you willingly embrace samsara.

Through your skill in methods,

you have realized that they are no different.

Peerless Teacher, at your feet I bow.


I claim to be arousing bodhicitta,

but still do not have it.

I have trained in the path of the six perfections,

but have remained selfish.

Bless me and small-minded beings like me,

That we may train in the sublime bodhicitta.


9. Meditating on Teacher as Vajrasattva to Cleanse All Obscurations

Beyond the two obscurations,

you pretend to purify them still.

At the end of the sublime path,

you profess still to be learning.

Beyond the extremes of samsara and nirvana,

you manifest still in samsara.

Peerless Teacher, at your feet I bow.


I have heard the beneficial instructions,

but have left them as words.

I have practiced them a little,

but have been fooled by distraction.

Bless me and all phantom beings like me

That we may extract the essence of

the generation and perfection phases.


10. Offering the Mandala, to Accumulate Merit and Wisdom

You know the relative to be a lie,

yet still you practice the two accumulations.

You realize that in the absolute

there is nothing to be meditated on,

yet still you practice meditation.

You see relative and absolute as one,

yet still you diligently practice.

Peerless Teacher, at your feet I bow.


11. The Kusali’s Accumulation, Destroying the Four Demons at a Single Stroke

I understand that there is no self,

but still have gross concepts of “I.”

I have decided to renounce duality,

but am beset by hopes and fears.

Bless me and all those like me who believe in a self

That we may realize the natural state, the absence of self.


13. Transference of Consciousness, the Instructions for the Dying: Buddhahood Without Meditation

Supreme is your compassion for confused beings.

Supreme is the way you embrace great evil-doers

as your disciples. Supreme are your skillful methods with the hard to tame. Peerless Teacher, at your feet I bow.


Unable to take care of myself,

I mutter incoherently over the dead.

Without practicing

I spread the canopy of my interminable teachings.

Bless me and other frauds like me

That we may be able to practice with perseverance,

© 2020 by Dakini's Whisper, Chöying Khandro, USA                       dakiniswhisper@gmail.com      Support us!   Artwork © Soyolmaa Davaakhuu                                                                    

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