from the article written by Alta Brown, Ph.D.
and published in  The Mirror in 

During Khenpo Tsultrim's last visit, I asked him if I could teach the chöd practitioners the chöd healing practice, which we could then make available to the sangha. He said, "Yes, but only if they believe in demons." I told him that I had described demons as our klesha activities and beings in other realms who intend to do harm. "No, no," he said. "I am going to give you the empowerment for Jomo Menmo, who was a wild dakini that wandered around the mountains (Khenpo pointed in various directions in front of him), saying, "'Look, there's a demon! Look, there's a demon!'"

As the British say, I was gobsmacked. I was so stunned that Khenpo's translator, Ari, had to remind me to move up closer to Khenpo in order to receive the empowerment.

I understand why Khenpo told me that chöd practitioners and anyone participating in the healing practice has to believe in demons. Chöd practitioners offer tormas, meat and water as ransom to the specific demons, "who first bring the sickness, those which take up residence (in the person), the demons which finally prevent the person from being cured, those which steal life, ambush vitality, bloat the mind and carry away intelligence" (from the Changbu Jatsa text). The practice is called Changbu Jatsa, which refers to the hundred tormas offered as ransom for the body of the sick person.

Clearly, unless practitioners and participants believe that there are such beings, the practice will not make sense and will not produce the desired results.

Since Khenpo gave me the empowerment, I have been investigating demons more vigorously. Machig Labdrön, who taught chöd, says quite specifically that kleshas can be demons, especially the most powerful demon, self-cherishing. I have asked myself, "When does klesha activity become a demon? When it promotes and justifies murder, torture, suicide, genocide, and war?" Probably. Or, suppose rage and grief tip over into insanity. Could this be called the activity of a demon? It certainly causes all kinds of illness.

I have come to the conclusion that it is too easy to think that we can domesticate our klesha activity in a beautiful, god-realm city like Boulder. The way kleshas manifest as raw, violent, and terrible hides under a veneer of physical beauty, intellectual accomplishment, and the various manifestations of upscale economic activity.

But even in this little god realm, people get sick and die, and many sangha members of my generation are experiencing terribly painful forms of illness. Khenpo is allowing the healing practice to be taught now, for just that reason.

Since this article is already too long, I will continue the investigation of demons, specifically those in other realms, later. For now, I think I should be willing to reveal my own demons and their relationship to the chöd practice.

by Alta Brown

I surfaced yesterday,
head above water,
not even gasping for breath.
And it was bright everywhere.

I don't remember when the dark time began-
it was always dark in the background,
at the edges of my vision.
There were fierce faces there
that peered at me when I closed my eyes
to wash my hair.
At night, if I passed a mirror,
I was afraid to look for fear my dead face
would stare back at me.
And the demons came at night,
closets of corpses,
dead hands that grabbed my ankles,
as I walked across dark, dream plains.

I often simpered and "made the best of things"
my voice was high and frightened,
always placating, I was always alert to possible depredations-
watchful, alarmed.

Now I call the demons,
and they come.
I tell them to honor the fear of the frightened ones,
and to protect them.
I call the demons,
and I feed them my heart's blood,
my heart, swollen, sweet and shining.

I can sing now,
and shout with joy.