Dr. Sheehy at the First International Chöd / Zhije Conference. Tara Mandala. Pagosa Springs, CO.  July 2017

“Severing the Body as Object: Contemplative Dynamics of the Simulated Self and Altered Embodiment in Tibetan Chöd Practice”

In “Severing the Source of Fear: Contemplative Dynamics of the Tibetan Buddhist gCod Tradition” (2005) Dr. Sheehy describes the first-person meditative processes that transform the self within the active imagination of a Chöd (gcod) practitioner. Extending this work more specifically to the Chöd view of the bodily self, this presentation will discuss (a) the sense of self as subject and the sense of self as object, (b) the powa (’pho ba) process of disassociating the body and mind that is integral to Chöd practice in dialogue with neurophysiological research on out-of-body experiences, and (c) how Chöd contemplative techniques simulate the self and alter embodiment to reorient the baseline operations that are in error. We explore Tibetan Chöd liturgical literature in conversation with Buddhist and contemporary philosophy of mind and neuroscience to describe a phenomenology of embodiment and understand Chöd contemplative contributions to the body-world dance.