Ayu Khandro (1839-1953) spent much of her life wandering Tibet’s charnel grounds and practicing Chod, to cut. In this practice, the practitioner cuts attachment by offering her own body to all those to whom she has a debt, including demons. This practice is done primarily in desolate places such as graveyards at night where the energy can be terrifying. In the charnel grounds of Tibet, bodies were left in the open to the elements to be eaten by vultures and other scavengers in what was known as a sky burial. After Ayu Khandro had been wandering as a Chodpa for many years, she had a dream of a stone hut by a river with no windows and multi-colored light streaming out. She built herself such a hut and lived for more than 50 years in total darkness practicing Yangtig. This practice is part of the Upadesha series of Dzogchen teachings.
Chogyal Namkhai Norbu met her when he was 14 years old. His biography of Ayu Khandro begins, “This biography is only a drop in the nectar of Ayu Kandro’s life.” The complete biography of Ayu Khandro as written by Chogyal Namkhai Norbu is included in Women of Wisdom by Tsultrim Allione. Here follows Barbara's poem:
Praise for Ayu Khandro
In bed sick, tea cold,
listening to crows,
why haven’t I practiced more?
I think of you in your hut.....
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