Dzogchen and ngöndro

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Re: Dzogchen and ngöndro

Postby Blue Garuda » Fri Jun 15, 2012 7:50 pm

I have heard that some Gurus will curtail a person's Ngondro (Tantric) if they feel the disciple has attained the desired outcome.

In other words, the numerical tally is less important than the attainment.

Logically, therefore, a method which leads directly to that attainment is entirely compatible with the approach of some Gurus to Ngondro. If a person is fixated on the numerical accumulation rather than the attainment then they have missed the point.
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Re: Dzogchen and ngöndro

Postby Dechen Norbu » Fri Jun 15, 2012 7:53 pm

Lhug-Pa wrote:
Dechen Norbu wrote:...are you sure ngöndro will help you recognizing your natural state?


I'll bet that it very well could.

Nevertheless, unless your Guru specifically tells you to do Ngondro, why do Ngondro when there are Rushens?

If you were betting in my case, you would have lost the bet. As fas as I'm concerned, it didn't do much for that purpose. It kept me busy for a few years and I'm not saying there wasn't any benefit, but sometimes I can't help but wonder if I had invested all that time in simple shamatha practice and plain mindfulness I wouldn't have been better served. Just wondering.

Regarding your second point, that's one of the things being discussed here. :smile:
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Re: Dzogchen and ngöndro

Postby Dechen Norbu » Fri Jun 15, 2012 7:58 pm

Blue Garuda wrote:I have heard that some Gurus will curtail a person's Ngondro (Tantric) if they feel the disciple has attained the desired outcome.

In other words, the numerical tally is less important than the attainment.

Logically, therefore, a method which leads directly to that attainment is entirely compatible with the approach of some Gurus to Ngondro. If a person is fixated on the numerical accumulation rather than the attainment then they have missed the point.

I have heard many things similar, but never saw that really happening.
As you say, the numerical tally should be of no importance. But in practice, how many times did you see that happening? We keep listening about people who did ngöndro not one, not two or three, but four or five times, sometimes more. This reminds me of the story ChNN told yesterday about the behavior of pigeons before sleeping. It made for a good laugh!
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Re: Dzogchen and ngöndro

Postby asunthatneversets » Fri Jun 15, 2012 8:05 pm

Really, we have to put ngöndro in the context of it's purpose. It's surely a product of it's environment, it comes from a culture where dharma is at the forefront and a cornerstone of the society as a whole (instead of being a voluntary extra-curricular activity). In Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal etc... when children came to a certain age they were most likely put in a monastery for education and the dharma was (and still is) obviously a part of that education. So a lot of kids who could probably otherwise care less about the dharma were put into these programs. For some it would be tantamount to your parents shipping you off to military school or something, you go and do it, but do you really want to be there? Most likely not. So as these individuals climb the ladder and get closer and closer to the higher teachings, to keep people away who aren't fully dedicated, an arduous practice like ngöndro was put in place to essentially say "well if you want this, show me how much you want it". Obviously the people who really truly cared and wanted the highest teachings (for the right reasons) would definitely go through ngöndro. Others who didn't care as much would look at it and say "100,000 prostrations? 100,000 vajrasattva mantras? No thanks!" And they would go off to do other things. So it's a safety net, to ensure that only those who are mature enough, and those who are sincere and genuinely care are receiving the high teachings. Because at the same time, we all know that dzogchen has elements which actually turn the lower yānas on their heads. There's elements which respectfully negate aspects of the lower teachings, such as causality, morality and so on and so forth. In the hands of an immature individual it's a dangerous thing to have and can spawn a rebellious attitude, nihilism etc. So in short ngöndro is a product of it's environment. In the west - since the dharma is essentially something that an individual has to seek out and find for themselves (instead of growing up around it) - those who take interest in the higher teachings are more often than not already ripe for it. By seeking out atiyoga and taking an interest in it (in a culture where not everyone learns of the dharma), one is essentially already equivalent to one who would voluntarily go through ngöndro to receive these precious teachings (in a culture where everyone is taught the dharma).
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Re: Dzogchen and ngöndro

Postby Lhug-Pa » Fri Jun 15, 2012 8:10 pm

Dechen Norbu, I was also referring to doing Ngondro after Direct Introduction; although maybe you had received Direct Introduction before doing Ngondro too.

So again, as we are discussing, there doesn't seem to be much point in doing Ngondro when there are the more direct Rushen practices (unless, again, our Guru specifically tells us to do Ngondro).

And yes, Asunthatneversets makes many valid points in the above post.

*Edit*

With Ngondro, it is also said that prostrations can purify and heal Nadis, and that 108,000 Vajrasattva Mantras can put various Chakras into activity; so there is some obvious benefit there. Although the Rushens could do all of this and much more I'm sure. :idea:
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Re: Dzogchen and ngöndro

Postby Dechen Norbu » Fri Jun 15, 2012 8:49 pm

Agree.

PS- Yes, I did, to answer your question. :smile:
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Re: Dzogchen and ngöndro

Postby heart » Fri Jun 15, 2012 9:17 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:The question is, did you recognize your natural state when you received direct introduction?
Just saying "oh I received DI and then I went to do ngöndro" solves nothing. The matter here is if you recognized your primordial state. If you did, why did you went to do ngöndro instead of proceeding for the second statement of Garab Dorje, "do not remain in doubt", and practice accordingly? If you didn't, are you sure ngöndro will help you recognizing your natural state? Because I very much doubt that.


Ngondro could be the second statement if your not so limited. Doing any kind of practice will not stop you from deciding on one point, thinking like that is to limit yourself.

/magnus
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Re: Dzogchen and ngöndro

Postby Dechen Norbu » Fri Jun 15, 2012 11:08 pm

Seems a pretty far fetched argument, but if that is how you see it...
I believe practices from the Longde series would be much more adequate.
Care to explain how prostrating 400.000 times, as an example, contributes to getting rid of doubt about having recognized one's primordial state? Or offering a similar gazillion number of mandalas, refuge prayers and the whole accumulations. Just curious to know how you reconcile this. It's not that I'm being limited. It seems to me that you would be using a spoon to pierce through a concrete wall instead of a power drill, that's all.
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Re: Dzogchen and ngöndro

Postby Kunga Lhadzom » Sat Jun 16, 2012 4:15 am

I just want to know the TRUTH. I don't understand why anyone should have to "bend over backwards" to find what is their right to know....it's their birthright. If your nature is natural, why do you have to do unnatural contrived rituals before the TRUTH can be revealed ?
When I was a fresh student...in love with learning about Buddhism, my faith was unbounded,
I was devoted 24/7 in my heart for many many years....but just thinking about doing all those prostrations,etc., turned me off. I feel like I'm doing a different kind of ngondro..working for this Indian family...lol Kinda like what Milarepa did , but not even close to the harshness he experienced....so there are non traditional Ngondros...no ?
Isn't the purpose of Ngondro to purify negative karma ? Aren't there other methods for people like me that balk at traditional Ngondro ? Also, I have faith that other methods, such as reading certain Buddhist transmissions, have powerful effects on those with pure faith, and that in itself clears up eons of negative karma.....preparing you for a direct introduction to the nature of your mind. So you see, I am very good at fooling myself !
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Re: Dzogchen and ngöndro

Postby heart » Sat Jun 16, 2012 6:37 am

Dechen Norbu wrote:Seems a pretty far fetched argument, but if that is how you see it...
I believe practices from the Longde series would be much more adequate.
Care to explain how prostrating 400.000 times, as an example, contributes to getting rid of doubt about having recognized one's primordial state? Or offering a similar gazillion number of mandalas, refuge prayers and the whole accumulations. Just curious to know how you reconcile this. It's not that I'm being limited. It seems to me that you would be using a spoon to pierce through a concrete wall instead of a power drill, that's all.


Exhaustion of the body is perfect for that, you didn't do the body Rushan?

/magnus
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Re: Dzogchen and ngöndro

Postby heart » Sat Jun 16, 2012 7:13 am

Kunga Lhadzom wrote:I just want to know the TRUTH. I don't understand why anyone should have to "bend over backwards" to find what is their right to know....it's their birthright. If your nature is natural, why do you have to do unnatural contrived rituals before the TRUTH can be revealed ?
When I was a fresh student...in love with learning about Buddhism, my faith was unbounded,
I was devoted 24/7 in my heart for many many years....but just thinking about doing all those prostrations,etc., turned me off. I feel like I'm doing a different kind of ngondro..working for this Indian family...lol Kinda like what Milarepa did , but not even close to the harshness he experienced....so there are non traditional Ngondros...no ?
Isn't the purpose of Ngondro to purify negative karma ? Aren't there other methods for people like me that balk at traditional Ngondro ? Also, I have faith that other methods, such as reading certain Buddhist transmissions, have powerful effects on those with pure faith, and that in itself clears up eons of negative karma.....preparing you for a direct introduction to the nature of your mind. So you see, I am very good at fooling myself !


I think you are correct Kunga, there are plenty of ways to purify negative karma and accumulate merit. Reading Jigme Lingpa's own commentary on the Ngondro it is clear it wasn't intended as a something you do before getting direct introduction, you should already have it when you do Ngondro.

/magnus
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Re: Dzogchen and ngöndro

Postby heart » Sat Jun 16, 2012 9:49 am

I think this should sum up Ngondro and the main practice quite well

Do not forget the master but pray to him continuously;
Do not let your mind be distracted but look by yourself at your own essence;
Do not forget death but get your inspiration in the teachings;
Do not forget sentient beings but chant your dedication prayer with compassion.

Translated from the Tibetan by Jean-Luc Achard
Thanks to Windsor Winey for sending the Tibetan.


http://khyungmkhar.blogspot.nl/2012/06/ ... entse.html
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Re: some questions about dzogchen

Postby mutsuk » Sat Jun 16, 2012 12:10 pm

Edit: off topic comments removed
Since nearly all Dzogchen texts state that you have to have accomplished Ngöndro before and have to perform your training in the main teaching (trekcho and thogel) in retreat, I know where I have to establish my trust.

Just before that happens, as I was recalling ChNN's teaching, "if ngondrö were necessary, GD would have had 4 statements,

1. The Tsiksum Nedek is addressed to someone who had already completed them.
2. The interpretation of ChNN is his personal interpretation of that text, the traditional interpretations of all other masters differ. I don't mean to judge, saying this one is good, this one is bad. I'm just stating a literary fact.

then he continues with the fact there was no necessity to do SMS.

Who claims the contrary ? You give everyone here the feeling that knowing something or having done a traditional training is a mistake. SMS is the best training you can find. So why dismiss it constantly as you clearly imply it?

There si no "traditional Dzogchen cursus",

No, there are traditional Dzogchen cursus, with a proper order of practice, a number of days(weeks or months) for each of the steps, etc. You get that in most Nyingthiks.



But he also says that whe have to do with our circumstances because we have our limitations.

You are limiting yourself by saying that there is no need for retreats in Dzogchen. Probably beginners have no needs or capacity for retreats but go say that to Shardza, Longchenpa, Jigme Lingpa, etc., and check their teachings first.


But when someone says ngondrö and retreats are "mandatory", I must that I do not agree, because that's not what my master has taught.

That's your right. All other masters I've met say the contrary. Again, I'm not criticizing ChNN Rinpoche's approach which I appreciate a lot, I'm criticizing your lack of tolerance for other approaches, in particular when they are traditional. If you don't like traditional things, that's your right inflammatory comment removed but don't go and say that Dzogchen is like this and like that when it's not the case.
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Re: some questions about dzogchen

Postby Malcolm » Sat Jun 16, 2012 1:54 pm

mutsuk wrote:
[EDIT: mutsuk's off topic comments removed] As Malcolm have told you before, JLA's description of the traditional Dzogchen curriculum (in his book on Khenpo Gangshar) is the same as that of SMS. JLA is not forwarding his own program as you claim everywhere but the traditional program. Period. Or you have to concede that Yongdzin Rinpoche and many other masters are not qualified, serious, etc., in your own view. But hey, how long have you been into Dzogchen and still not distinguish the state and the individual ?



While it is true that in SMS there is a gradual way proceeding in the base and the first level, it is hyper-abbreviated compared to the traditional approach, the emphasis being on gaining experience in each of the topics. The practice amounts recommended are just recommendations, with a minimum of a week for somethings, and a day for other things.

But the important thing to remember is that SMS is not mandatory, and everything that ChNN teaches in SMS he also teaches in other contexts. SMS was originally designed for teacher training -- and is a comprehensive approach to the various systems found in Dzogchen.

Also, his longsal cycle is a completely different -- and is not connected with SMS at all.

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Re: some questions about dzogchen

Postby Malcolm » Sat Jun 16, 2012 2:06 pm

mutsuk wrote:Since nearly all Dzogchen texts state that you have to have accomplished Ngöndro before and have to perform your training in the main teaching (trekcho and thogel) in retreat, I know where I have to establish my trust.


Well, it sure does not say this in any of the three series of Dzogchen tantras (of which I have thus far read). I put my trust in the original Dzogchen tantras.

If people want to follow masters that teach in the established traditional way, they can and ought to if it feels right for them.
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Re: Dzogchen and ngöndro

Postby Lhug-Pa » Sat Jun 16, 2012 2:44 pm

One main Bönpo Dzogchen text, Heart Drops of Dharmakaya by Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen and Lopon Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche, does not say anything about having to do Ngondro at all. This text does present the practice of Rushen as necessary before Trekcho and Thogal however (Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche says to not try Thogal without proper instructions; so as students of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche, we should not try the Thogal practices on our own if we read this book).
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Re: some questions about dzogchen

Postby Dechen Norbu » Sat Jun 16, 2012 3:01 pm

heart,

I'll quote Malcom as this reply of his fits your comments about using the traditional ngöndro to get rid of doubt.
Malcolm wrote:While it is true that in SMS there is a gradual way proceeding in the base and the first level, it is hyper-abbreviated compared to the traditional approach, the emphasis being on gaining experience in each of the topics. The practice amounts recommended are just recommendations, with a minimum of a week for somethings, and a day for other things.

But the important thing to remember is that SMS is not mandatory, and everything that ChNN teaches in SMS he also teaches in other contexts. SMS was originally designed for teacher training -- and is a comprehensive approach to the various systems found in Dzogchen.

Also, his longsal cycle is a completely different -- and is not connected with SMS at all.

M


More, SMS base level is not particularly related to Garab Dorje's second statement.
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Re: Dzogchen and ngöndro

Postby Dechen Norbu » Sat Jun 16, 2012 3:02 pm

Closed for fast cleaning. I'll remove off topic posts.

Update: reopened. Inflammatory comments and off topic posts were removed.

Carry on.
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Re: some questions about dzogchen

Postby mutsuk » Sat Jun 16, 2012 4:03 pm

Malcolm wrote:Well, it sure does not say this in any of the three series of Dzogchen tantras (of which I have thus far read). I put my trust in the original Dzogchen tantras.

Lama Yangtik, Khandro Nyingthik, etc. We've been through these references already. The first work said to have been authored by Garab Dorje, the bTags grol don khrid based on the Testaments of Vajradharas clearly says to receive first the wangs, then to maintain the samayas, then to cultivtate faith, meditate on impermanence, etc. This is all clearly stated in the early Nyingthiks.

If people want to follow masters that teach in the established traditional way, they can and ought to if it feels right for them.

Glad to hear that. Sonam wants everyone to see things the way he does.
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Re: Dzogchen and ngöndro

Postby mutsuk » Sat Jun 16, 2012 4:05 pm

Lhug-Pa wrote:One main Bönpo Dzogchen text, Heart Drops of Dharmakaya by Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen and Lopon Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche, does not say anything about having to do Ngondro at all. This text does present the practice of Rushen as necessary before Trekcho and Thogal however (Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche says to not try Thogal without proper instructions; so as students of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche, we should not try the Thogal practices on our own if we read this book).

Lopon clearly said to JL one day that what is missing in Heart Drops is the Ngondro. Shardza said that before you train in Heart Drops you have to complete your Ngondro at least one time. Then receive initiations, etc. Shardza would teach Ngondro from Atri once every year, even to his advanced disciples. There is no shame in practicing Ngondro you know. Even Yongdzin Rinpoche does it on a daily basis, before his main sessions...
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