What's your favorite book on Ngondro?

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What's your favorite book on Ngondro?

Postby Dharmaswede » Wed May 22, 2013 1:41 pm

Obviously, there are quite a few books on this topic – and different lineages – and I would be interested in hearing members' favorite book on the topic.

Thanks!

Yours in Dharma,

Jens
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Re: What's your favorite book on Ngondro?

Postby deff » Wed May 22, 2013 1:48 pm

I just finished reading Not for Happiness by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche and really enjoyed it. It's centered primarily around the Longchen Nyingthig ngondro but is also applicable to other ngondros. The writing is really good and enjoyable to read and I think it covers everything needed to complete ngondro. Also centred around the LNN is the classic, Words of my Perfect Teacher, which is excellent too :smile:
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Re: What's your favorite book on Ngondro?

Postby yegyal » Wed May 22, 2013 1:57 pm

I gotta go with Words of My Perfect Teacher, too. Though Adzom Drugpa's Longchen Nyingthig ngondro manual is also quite good.
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Re: What's your favorite book on Ngondro?

Postby Nilasarasvati » Wed May 22, 2013 2:17 pm

Among the Rime lineages, Words of My Perfect Teacher is by far the most exhaustive and in-depth. Moreover it's SUPER prized for its clarity and power (and the Padmakara translation is brilliant) So many Lamas say just reading it out loud is a blessing of unfathomable merit, even if you don't understand it's meaning yet.
It's considered a shastra written by a living saint. Patrul Rinpoche is a figure unique among most other 19th century Lamas.

That said, I hated reading it the first time. Got really reactionary and defensive. It really brought up all my garbage. It took me another reading to calm down and realize how profound it is.
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Re: What's your favorite book on Ngondro?

Postby ngodrup » Wed May 22, 2013 3:31 pm

Although Kunzag Lama Shelung (words of my perfect teacher) is *the* classic,
A cascading Waterfall of Nectar by Dungse Thinley Norbu Rinpoche is incomparable.

Rinpoche wrote it out spontaneously in Tibetan as direct advice, thus it is nothing
like a commentary on ngondro. Further, he kept revising his English translation, so that
the English text contains much more than his spontaneous words in Tibetan.

http://www.amazon.com/Cascading-Waterfa ... 1590305264
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Re: What's your favorite book on Ngondro?

Postby heart » Wed May 22, 2013 4:40 pm

ngodrup wrote:Although Kunzag Lama Shelung (words of my perfect teacher) is *the* classic,
A cascading Waterfall of Nectar by Dungse Thinley Norbu Rinpoche is incomparable.

Rinpoche wrote it out spontaneously in Tibetan as direct advice, thus it is nothing
like a commentary on ngondro. Further, he kept revising his English translation, so that
the English text contains much more than his spontaneous words in Tibetan.

http://www.amazon.com/Cascading-Waterfa ... 1590305264


Yes, my favorite is also "A cascading Waterfall of Nectar" by Dungse Thinley Norbu Rinpoche.

/magnus
"To reject practice by saying, 'it is conceptual!' is the path of fools. A tendency of the inexperienced and something to be avoided."
- Longchenpa
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Re: What's your favorite book on Ngondro?

Postby Nilasarasvati » Wed May 22, 2013 5:37 pm

Yeah I have to include a warning though: Thinley Norbu Rinpoche's book is incredibly more arcane. The great wizard's terms in Tibetan are translated in some really mind-boggling and confusing ways...I have been smacked in the face by his profundity, but I have also had many moments where I set the book down and was :shrug: WhAT!?

I'd love to start a thread where I get some help dissecting the endless strings of modifiers and spontaneous cascading waterfalls of prepositional phrases we find in there like

"Always abiding indivisibly in all flawless virtue of unsurpassed qualities is the Sangha."

"Not remaining anywhere outside or inside and not finding anything substantial outside or inside are themselves the sounds and words that can arise anywhere of all aspects of enlightened speech, called the self-sounding of Dharmata."

Some of this I think is probably due to literal/term-by-term denotational translation style as opposed to the more connotational style of WMPT. Also it does not have a lot of commentary/elucidation in terms of footnotes to direct your understanding.

Nevertheless, it's beyond amazing. It's a text I'll be digesting for the rest of my life, and I highly recommend it.

(P.S. his father Jigdrel Yeshe Dorje's commentary on the same Ngondro, Torch Lighting the Way to Freedom, is also magnificent. It's much more bullet-point-numerical-outline style as opposed to Thinley Norbu's organic and spontaneous flowing style. It's got an amazing wealth of quotations from pith instructions, sutras, shastras that are unparalleled except by WMPT)
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Re: What's your favorite book on Ngondro?

Postby ngodrup » Wed May 22, 2013 8:54 pm

"Always abiding indivisibly in all flawless virtue of unsurpassed qualities is the Sangha."

"Not remaining anywhere outside or inside and not finding anything substantial outside or
inside are themselves the sounds and words that can arise anywhere of all aspects of
enlightened speech, called the self-sounding of Dharmata."

There's something unclear about the meaning of these two examples?
Rinpoche's words were flawlessly clear, just like Longchenpa. Obvious.
What I find is that when my mind is unobscured, I can easily understand
perfect vajra speech. But when my mind is thrown by habit, then it's hopeless! ;)
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Re: What's your favorite book on Ngondro?

Postby Nilasarasvati » Wed May 22, 2013 9:26 pm

I have the unfortunate habits of proofreading high school level English papers...being a grammar nazi...and some of the translations have misplaced modifiers and run on sentences and nitpicky things like that. Far be it for me to judge the shastra itself, but the English could be clearer.

ngodrup wrote:"
"Not remaining anywhere outside or inside and not finding anything substantial outside or
inside are themselves the sounds and words that can arise anywhere of all aspects of
enlightened speech, called the self-sounding of Dharmata."

There's something unclear about the meaning of these two examples?
Rinpoche's words were flawlessly clear, just like Longchenpa. Obvious.
What I find is that when my mind is unobscured, I can easily understand
perfect vajra speech. But when my mind is thrown by habit, then it's hopeless! ;)


This is my problem:

"Not remaining anywhere outside or inside and not finding anything substantial outside or
inside are themselves the sounds and words that can arise anywhere of all aspects of
enlightened speech, called the self-sounding of Dharmata."

"Not remaining anywhere outside or inside (comma?) and not finding anything substantial outside or
inside are themselves the sounds and words that can arise anywhere of(/from?) all aspects of
enlightened speech (a semicolon should go here maybe?) (and then maybe "this is?") called the self-sounding of Dharmata."

Maybe the ambiguities are the deliberate means of an omniscient being; from my obscured perspective I just assume that Thinley Norbu Rinpoche (and the translator) had more pressing concerns than exhaustively learning and employing strict English punctuation and sentence structure.
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Re: What's your favorite book on Ngondro?

Postby ngodrup » Thu May 23, 2013 5:41 am

Poetic license. Rinpoche's writing and in fact his spoken word
is exceedingly beautiful. He is a poet. Have you tried to edit
Allen Ginzberg? So there are several ways (that) I can think of
(that) the same word order might have been broken up and
(that way) make that same expression seem clearer. ;)

I know that Rinpoche worked closely with Sangye Khandro.
I know her writing is impeccable. I also know that he suggested
better ways of translating his words and turn of phrase than she
chose. He did this often while she was doing oral translation.

I'm thinking that any apparent ambiguity is probably more in
the domain of paradox an the limits of words and dualistic
thinking to fully express such wisdom.
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Re: What's your favorite book on Ngondro?

Postby Karma Dorje » Thu May 23, 2013 6:15 am

ngodrup wrote:Poetic license. Rinpoche's writing and in fact his spoken word
is exceedingly beautiful. He is a poet. Have you tried to edit
Allen Ginzberg? So there are several ways (that) I can think of
(that) the same word order might have been broken up and
(that way) make that same expression seem clearer. ;)

I know that Rinpoche worked closely with Sangye Khandro.
I know her writing is impeccable. I also know that he suggested
better ways of translating his words and turn of phrase than she
chose. He did this often while she was doing oral translation.

I'm thinking that any apparent ambiguity is probably more in
the domain of paradox an the limits of words and dualistic
thinking to fully express such wisdom.


Sometimes it's a question of the passive voice that Rinpoche often used. The language is idiosyncratic and I think it appeals to some people, where for others it takes extra effort to understand.
Like Nilasarasvati, I found it not so easy to follow and sometimes stylistically obscure. I don't think it's simply a matter of his way of writing being perfect and those of us who are not so taken by it being too dense to perceive its greatness. I think there is great value in his writing. It's just not going to be to everyone's taste. For me personally, I prefer the writings of Dudjom Rinpoche and Patrul Rinpoche. To each his or her own. Howl is not everyone's idea of lam rim.
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Re: What's your favorite book on Ngondro?

Postby Nilasarasvati » Thu May 23, 2013 3:33 pm

Howl was my Lam Rim!!

:D

However, I appreciate your point about Ginsburg, Ngodrup.

and Thank you, Karma Dorje, I think you tied things together for me really well.
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Re: What's your favorite book on Ngondro?

Postby JKhedrup » Thu May 23, 2013 6:59 pm

Words of my Perfect Teacher by Patrul Rinpoche and Torch of Certainty by Jamyangon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye Rinpoche.
A foolish man proclaims his qualifications,
A wise man keeps them secret within.
A straw floats on the surface of water,
But a precious gem placed upon it sinks to the depths
-Sakya Pandita
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Re: What's your favorite book on Ngondro?

Postby Karma Dorje » Thu May 23, 2013 7:57 pm

JKhedrup wrote:Words of my Perfect Teacher by Patrul Rinpoche and Torch of Certainty by Jamyangon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye Rinpoche.


I second both of those. Torch of Certainty is a phenomenal text!
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Re: What's your favorite book on Ngondro?

Postby Roland » Thu May 23, 2013 8:09 pm

A Torch Lighting the Way to Freedom

Words of My Perfect Teacher
"Seek truth in meditation, not moldy books. Look in the sky to find the moon, not in the pond."
- Persian proverb
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Re: What's your favorite book on Ngondro?

Postby dzogchungpa » Thu May 23, 2013 9:25 pm

It's kind of cool how we now have ngondro commentaries in English from 3 successive generations, namely from Dudjom Rinpoche, Thinley Norbu Rinpoche and Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche. I guess it runs in the family. :)
ཨོཾ་མ་ཧཱ་ཤུནྱ་ཏཱ་ཛྙཱ་ན་བཛྲ་སྭཱ་བྷཱ་བ་ཨཱཏྨ་ཀོ་྅ཧཾ༔

The thousands of lines of the Prajnaparamita can be summed up in the following two sentences:
1) One should become a Bodhisattva (or, Buddha-to-be), i.e. one who is content with nothing less than all-knowledge attained through the perfection of wisdom for the sake of all beings.
2) There is no such thing as a Bodhisattva, or as all-knowledge, or as a ‘being’, or as the perfection of wisdom, or as an attainment.
To accept both these contradictory facts is to be perfect.
- Conze
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Re: What's your favorite book on Ngondro?

Postby JKhedrup » Thu May 23, 2013 9:27 pm

Of course that should read Jamgon Kongtrul, don't know what I put on my cornpops this morning.
A foolish man proclaims his qualifications,
A wise man keeps them secret within.
A straw floats on the surface of water,
But a precious gem placed upon it sinks to the depths
-Sakya Pandita
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