Adamantine wrote:So on the one hand, we have people claiming that ngondro was invented in the 11th century based on their academic presumptions.
As I said, I think it's rather useless to discuss this whole issue from a practical POV - you can't practice Dzogchen without a Guru, and if you have a Guru, you try your best to follow his advice. And that's it. Nothing more to say. Nothing more to do. If someone says his Guru is WX and that he's teaching this and that, it's quite irrelevant to me if my Guru is YZ. Period.
So the only (more or less useful) way to engage in a discussion like this is a academic approach, which means to go and check the scriptual sources we have to see how and when this Ngöndro thing has been developed. Of course, it still would be nothing else than presumptions, but I'd be very interested in it anyway. For instance, there are Newari who practice according to buddhist tantras and they say they have an unbroken lineage dating back to the Mahasiddhas. It would be really interesting to know if they do Ngöndro the way Tibetans do. Unfortunately, I didn't come acorss any information about that yet.
Adamantine wrote:On the other, we have the traditional accounts which are that these were teachings hidden in various forms and styles by Guru Rinpoche or Yeshe Tsogyal among others in roughly the 8th century. And ngondro is a part of many terma cycles.
Ok. Padmasambhava hid termas containing Ngöndro practices. But still, this doesn't answer the question if Dzogchen was originally taught in the context of the gradual Ngöndro, Kyerim & Dzogrim approach or not. That is, if we accept that Dzogchen dates back to Garab Dorje/Taphiritsa.