Machig Labdron was a Tibetan Buddhist master of the Chöd lineage during the eleventh and twelfth centuries. She is revered by Tibetans as a manifestation of Yeshe Tsogyal, the eighth-century queen of Tibet who was, in turn, a manifestation of the female Buddha Prajnaparamita, a reflected image of ultimate reality beyond conception. She mastered all the philosophical treatises as well as the rituals and yogic practices. The teacher Dampa Sangye, who was believed to be a form of the great philosopher Kamalashila, initiated her into the practice of Chöd. This practice, derived from the Prajnaparamita (perfection of wisdom literature), is a ritualistic visualization that is supposed to break one’s attachments to one’s own body and mind in order to benefit all sentient beings.
Machig Labdron taught that it is important to interpret Chöd within the context of Mahamudra (great seal), that is, the understanding of ultimate reality as symbolized by the union of appearance and emptiness. In this sense, the most profound Chöd is to see samsara (the phenomenal world) as mere appearance and to give up all attachment to it.