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Feeding Your Demons: Ancient Wisdom for Resolving Inner Conflict

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  757 ratings  ·  63 reviews
Allione -- one of only a few female Buddhist leaders in this country and comparable in American religious life to Pema Chodron -- bridges this ancient Eastern practice with today's Western psyche. She explains that if we fight our demons, they only grow stronger. But if we feed them, nurture them, we can free ourselves from the battle.

Through the clearly articulated prac
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published April 8th 2008 by Little, Brown Spark (first published 2008)
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Steve Woods
One of the things that continues to amaze me as my practice and investigation of Buddhism goes forward is that almost anything I have come across in my exploration and experience of western psychology is to be found somewhere in the canon of Buddhist practice, always in a far more thorough and accessible form than what western mental health practitioners have ever put to me. This book is about a Tibetan Buddhist practice which is similar to so called "chair work" that often turns up in psycholog ...more
Dec 11, 2012 rated it liked it
A Buddhist nun writes a Westerner's interpretation of the niche Tibetan Buddhist practice of Chod. I'm sure there's a lot here that's watered down and simplified--the author wants to introduce the practice to the west, not get into esoteric Buddhist concepts. What's here is an outlining of the basic technique--a sort of self-analysis in a Jungian vein, mixed with a sort of meditative role-play. Anthropomorphize your "demons" or problems/flaws, imagine them as physical characters, ask them what t ...more
May 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
sultrim Allione was one of the first Western women to ever be ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist nun. In this book, she presents an eleventh-century woman’s wisdom to non-Buddhists in simple, easy to understand language that anyone can follow.

According to Tsultrim, we can all overcome whatever demons are causing chaos in our lives, whether they be weight, illness, anger, or whatever. By following her five steps, we supposedly can overcome these problems.

In the first part of the book, we are given a
Jun 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
An accessible, practical guidebook for discovering and exercising compassion for yourself - specifically, the vices and patterns that seem too ugly and scary to accept. This book shows you not only how to face these "demons," but how to neutralize their negative power by showering them with kindness.

The author marches through dozens of anecdotes that all seem to resolve with pat happy endings. As a whole, they don't come across as entirely realistic stories. But for me, the real value of these
Dec 08, 2017 rated it liked it
While this is a wonderful modern presentation of Chöd practice, I had a few concerns.

1. This is not a book I'd recommend to someone who doesn't have a solid grounding in some kind of practice, either Buddhist or with a therapist or as a therapist.

2. Tsultrim Allione makes some alarming claims that I consider problematic regarding the 'healing powers' of this practice. Which is not to dismiss it, but I think it's reckless to claim that any spiritual practice will cure cancer.

3. While examples
Aug 25, 2018 rated it did not like it
It's unfortunate when a Buddhist teacher claims the method is Buddhist when they are simply extracting it from other holistic teachers and renaming it theirs. This method is an exact replica of NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) methods. NLP teachers have been utilizing these EXACT step-by-step instructions since the 1970s.

Take a look at Core Transformation work by Connirea Andreas or Trauma Release Method by Jenifer Shapiro.

Or take a look at the pre-NLP parts therapies by Fritz Perls and all
May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
It's a lucid practice manual for a psychologized adaptation of chod. My review is in a way more for the practice than the book. It's fine as a book, though a bit chatty. I understand the anecdotes are supposed to help a reader relate the practice to the every day life of a Western practitioner. I occasionally found them off-puttingly new-agey, in that they make claims to magical effects without just going out and saying yeah, magic is happening. Anyway as a book, it's trying to straddle the line ...more
C. Varn
Oct 18, 2019 rated it liked it
While Chod is not really demonology, Lama Tsultrim Allione's presentation of the practice largely in metaphorical and archetypal terms does seem to render the practice largely in terms of self-help. While I do think this part of the intention of traditional Chod practice and many of the more esoteric require formal empowerment to understand and incorporate in practice, this does seem to be a distinct watering down of the practice. The self-help and inspirational style will be quite useful to peo ...more
Jan 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: buddhism, 2019, self-help
3 stars. A simple, inspiring, good self-help book. Don’t need to own a copy, but makes me want to delve more into the subject. I will actually really recommend this technique.

In “Feeding Your Demons”, the author teaches a technique for exploring and reconciling your trauma and suffering. It involves really feeling and describing the “demon” or “problem” or “complex”, initially splitting it off and giving it a form and look, communicating with it and also understanding it by seeing through its ey
Mar 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Very grateful to have read this book, in right moment of my life. After trying out the five-step method on a workshop, I clearly saw its value.

The book is easy to read, but that should not be taken as a sign of simplicity, on contrary. It is filled with examples which walk you through the adaptation. Lama Tsultrim Alione does incredible job in making old widsom accessible and workable for us.
The inspiration of this practice comes from Chod, and the 11th century tantric yogic legacy. Matchig Lo
Sue Smith
Sep 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
What's really interesting about this book is the fact that I started to do a form of exorcising my 'demons' this summer. I decided to get the monkey off my back, so to speak, and get rid of so many things that I knew were holding me back. Long term, self defeating, negative things that I have no reason to have. So then I happened upon this book at the library!!! It was a sign that I was on the right track and delved into it right away.

Needless to say, I have discovered that it's not going to be
Spencer St Clair
Jun 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is perhaps my favorite book on the subject of emotional and physical healing. Lama Tsultrim has woven the essence of an ancient Tibetan Buddhist ritual into a format that can be used in the west, by therapists or as a self-healing practice. Essentially it has to do with truly meeting one's demons. A demon is not something "bad," but is an aspect of oneself that is limiting. It can be a belief, an egoic tendency or even a disease. The process is not about going to battle with one's demons, b ...more
Oct 29, 2008 rated it really liked it

Really fantastic adaptation of a somewhat obscure practice. Also filled with stories and anecdotes, which make it very readable. I've been doing it every day since I heard about it.

One other thing - at the risk of seeming un-PC, I noticed that this book is written with a strong female sensibility. It has many examples of women practitioners and most of its practice examples are told as stories. I didnt realize how much this is missing from the practice books I have read until I saw it here.

Feb 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2009
This book has the potential to help anyone with any "demon" they have in their life, whether it is personal, professional, medical, mental or physical. I've used Allione's 5-step technique to help work on my own demons and am seeing benefits. Because of this, I'm telling everyone I know to read it, use it, and watch this process improve their lives.

"Be the change you wish to be..." and use this book to help you get there.
Initially I thought, "Wow! Incredible so far. Wish I had read this along side Pema Chodron's "When Things Fall Apart" back in 2007 for the first time." After the first couple chapters I realized this entire book could have been limited to a third or less of the content. Brevity would have made this a five-star book. Principle is simple.
Feb 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Great read and reference! Restored my faith in literature in general and made me decide to join I'm looking for more books like this. This book is hypnotic and ritualistic. Warning: Contains a bright perspective but has lots of things hidden in the shadow. The author is brilliant and manipulative :)
Jul 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Jungians', politicians, DBT lovers and Buddhists'
Recommended to Deirdre by: found on the shelves at Thunderbolt Bookstore
This is a fine Buddhist Monk. She writes extremely well and she writes about ancient wisdom for the resolving of inner conflict. I am also interested in
Carl Gustav Jung and the Jungian psychological community. These interests intercept.
May 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Feeding Your Demons is woo. It introduces a meditation technique that is rooted in Buddhism and was adapted by the author (a once-Buddhist-nun, now American coach) to a Western audience. The author's voice is a bit grating and, as is required for a woo book, it includes more about the author's personal journey and all the people she has helped than I cared to know.

But if you remove the window dressing, you are left with a reflection/meditation technique that seems to actually just work for me. I
Juan Rivera
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lecturas-2018
When they ask me what religion I follow, my answer is always: if I had a religion, I would be Buddhist ...

However, I do not know much about Buddhism. I thank my friend Veronica Fragoso who is inviting me to know the Chöd tradition of Tibetan Buddhism ... founded a thousand years ago by Maching Labrdön, of the few traditions initiated by a woman.

And the knowledge Chöd began to bear fruit (and that I have not yet started to practice it), because I read the book "Feeding your demons" by Tsultrim Al
Sep 09, 2019 rated it liked it
the core practice is in this book is solid. i've definitely experienced some interesting results. it does feel like an extension of some NLP patterns, as well as some archetypal psych methodology. being familiar with both of these currents, i found this practice sensible, and i'll be continuing to utilize it.

the second half of the book begins to feel much more like a typical self-help book, with repetitive examples, ad nauseum, that feel like filler. i'll echo the consternation of some other rev
Bea Elwood
Mar 24, 2018 rated it liked it
I first saw this book seven years ago. I didn't finish reading it then but it was interesting to see how the impact the first time reading it has affected my life and its trajectory. Having restarted it and finished it (finally) I have to say that far too much detail about other people's personified demons dragged me down. There is a ton of helpful suggestions for being mindful of our behaviors and addressing the underlining emotional need behind damaging behaviors. When I first attempted to rea ...more
Rachel Sison
Dec 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really great book I love the concept of separating yourself from your ‘demons’/ trauma/ fears and giving them a separate identity. By removing these from your identity you can objectively and compassionately find out what they need to heal. Love everything about this book but 4 stars because there are a LOT of specific ceremonial examples and it starts to feel very redundant after a while. I could’ve done with half or less of the examples she gave and would’ve been happy to stick to the meat. Al ...more
May 20, 2020 rated it liked it
So I’m really looking forward to trying this practice because it seems extremely valuable in my search to know myself. That said, there’s something in the tone of the book that just drips privilege. For all the talk of “going to the places that scare you” this book felt firmly rooted in a upper-middle class white American retreat experience—a notoriously inaccessible venue for the vast majority of people. It may be that I’m jealous, and I’ll feed that demon, but it feels like it needed to be sai ...more
Aug 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Though at times hocus pocusy, exaggerated, with very generalised unreliable empirical evidence on the effectiveness of the method, I am extremely grateful to this book as it introduced me to a great practice which is based on ancient philosophy. It is an easy read, though not particularly convincing. That being said I have introduced this method of meditation in my everyday practice and it is truly wonderful.
Jun 17, 2017 rated it liked it
This book showcases a fantastic, mind-blowing way of finding inner peace in your life, which is why I recommend reading the pages only discussing the "5 Steps of Feeding Your Demons." The rest of the book is full of stories, ones that seem too convenient to be true, but provide comfort and realization with their words. Praise the method and try it out.
Keridwyn Deller
Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
After taking an experiential training workshop in this style of parts work based on the teaching of 11th-century female buddhist teacher Machig Labdron, it was wonderful to be able to dive deeper into this technique with this book written by Tsultrim Allione. I look forward to incorporating some of what I've learned into my work with hypnotherapy clients.
Mar 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Feeding Your Demons introduces an imaginative practice to help resolve our inner conflicts. Rooted in an ancient spiritual practice known as Chod - which literally means "to cut through" - Feeding Your Demons is a process that helps us confront our various obstacles head on. Tsultrim Allione shares both personal experiences and teaching experiences to help illustrate the importance of implementing this practice in our daily lives. I recommend reading this book for anyone interested in learning a ...more
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gender, buddhist
Gem of a book lifting up the teaching of a specific female Tibetan Buddhist yogini. The author makes a case for the teaching as particularly relevant for today's politically polarized world.
Colin P.
Nov 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very woke. See also Focusing by Gendlin for a not-as-quirky introduction to the model.
Kelly Miess
Nov 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good explanation of a practice worth trying.
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Born in 1947 as Joan Rousmaniere Ewing, Lama Tsultrim was raised by her parents, James Ewing, a small-town New England newspaper publisher, and Ruth D. Ewing, a labor mediator. Her maternal grandparents both received PhD. degrees in philosophy at Harvard University. Her grandmother was the fifth women in history to receive a PhD. from Harvard. This same grandmother, Frances R. Dewing, gave Lama Ts ...more

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“DEMONS OF FEAR Confess all your hidden faults! Approach that which you find repulsive! Whoever you think you cannot help, help them! Anything you are attached to, let go of it! Go to places that scare you, like cemeteries! Sentient beings are as limitless as the sky, Be aware! — Dampa Sangye” 2 likes
“Perhaps everything terrible in us is, in its deepest being, something helpless needing our help. — Rainer Maria Rilke” 1 likes
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