Job Description of a Village Ngakpa

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Re: Job Description of a Village Ngakpa

Postby Pero » Sat Nov 10, 2012 11:52 pm

heart wrote:
Pero wrote:
heart wrote:The main point of all the mantra's that I do are to recognize, decide on and fully realize the natural state. There certainly can be all kind of magic that involves mantras but I don't really know about that.

A vajrayana practitioner doesn't know that mantras are used for various purposes? Come on man. :smile:


I hear a lot of things but I use any such mantras, do you?

Mantras on their own for specific relative purpose? Very rarely. Though as far as I can recall at this particular moment I only know of five or six like this.

No. Why would it be different?

You know after thinking about it more, you're right. Sort of anyway. As you seem to think that the only function of mantras is to put you in the natural state. But this isn't true, the 21 action mantras of Green Tara come to mind. I'm sure there are other examples related to diety practices too. And in general there are different diety practices and each have their own mantras. Each of these practices also have their own specific benefits/purposes. So it is still strange to say you only heard about such things because you've certainly done different practices in your life.
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Re: Job Description of a Village Ngakpa

Postby heart » Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:36 am

Pero wrote:You know after thinking about it more, you're right. Sort of anyway. As you seem to think that the only function of mantras is to put you in the natural state. But this isn't true, the 21 action mantras of Green Tara come to mind. I'm sure there are other examples related to diety practices too. And in general there are different diety practices and each have their own mantras. Each of these practices also have their own specific benefits/purposes. So it is still strange to say you only heard about such things because you've certainly done different practices in your life.


Well, I am exaggerating a little to make a point. :smile: Activity mantras, like Tara's, are effective because of the natural state IMO.

/magnus
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Re: Job Description of a Village Ngakpa

Postby Karma Dorje » Sun Nov 11, 2012 4:50 pm

Mantrasiddhi is not attained by simply reciting the mantra once. There are specific signs in all of the practices that one has accomplished a given mantra. While any mantra may help you to recollect the natural state, that is not the same as accomplishing the mantra and being able to put it to use the way one can after reciting it perfectly the requisite number of times and purifying with fire puja.

Working with circumstances has its own logic and methodology.
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Re: Job Description of a Village Ngakpa

Postby heart » Sun Nov 11, 2012 5:39 pm

Karma Dorje wrote:Mantrasiddhi is not attained by simply reciting the mantra once. There are specific signs in all of the practices that one has accomplished a given mantra. While any mantra may help you to recollect the natural state, that is not the same as accomplishing the mantra and being able to put it to use the way one can after reciting it perfectly the requisite number of times and purifying with fire puja.

Working with circumstances has its own logic and methodology.


I am not saying that you attain mantrasiddhi by reciting a mantra once, I just say that the mantra have an immediate effect and that acknowledging this will eventually lead to the desired result, realization.

/magnus
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Re: Job Description of a Village Ngakpa

Postby Karma Dorje » Sun Nov 11, 2012 5:53 pm

heart wrote:I am not saying that you attain mantrasiddhi by reciting a mantra once, I just say that the mantra have an immediate effect and that acknowledging this will eventually lead to the desired result, realization.
/magnus


Realization is not always the immediate goal of mantra practice. It may be healing, generating wealth, pacifying difficult situations, attracting others to dharma, destroying obstacles, etc. I agree that mantras have immediate effect, but the acknowledgement of this is merely conceptual. It is important not to set conceptual obstacles of thinking that the mantra does not have power and in this sense an acknowledgement is helpful. There is a world of difference between this and actual accomplishment of siddhi at whatever level.
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Re: Job Description of a Village Ngakpa

Postby heart » Sun Nov 11, 2012 6:36 pm

Karma Dorje wrote:
heart wrote:I am not saying that you attain mantrasiddhi by reciting a mantra once, I just say that the mantra have an immediate effect and that acknowledging this will eventually lead to the desired result, realization.
/magnus


Realization is not always the immediate goal of mantra practice. It may be healing, generating wealth, pacifying difficult situations, attracting others to dharma, destroying obstacles, etc. I agree that mantras have immediate effect, but the acknowledgement of this is merely conceptual. It is important not to set conceptual obstacles of thinking that the mantra does not have power and in this sense an acknowledgement is helpful. There is a world of difference between this and actual accomplishment of siddhi at whatever level.


Of course there is huge difference between reciting a mantra and accomplishing the full results, whatever that might be. If someone have realization of the natural state they also have some capacity to manipulate the five elements for different reasons so in my world the power of mantra comes from the natural state, which makes it superior to any other kind of magic in this universe.

/magnus
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Re: Job Description of a Village Ngakpa

Postby Yudron » Sun Nov 11, 2012 9:38 pm

I think this point is an important one, and I am sympathetic to both "sides." One can get temporary siddhis from matnra practice with dualistic perspective and effortful concentration. But whether practicing the approach mantra, the accomplish mantra, or activity mantras, one can also rest naturally seeing both the non-dual nature and the visualization. Or, so I hear. This does not circumvent the need to follow the instructions of one's lineage re: requisite numbers of recitations or time in retreat, jyin seks, and so forth.
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Re: Job Description of a Village Ngakpa

Postby Pero » Sun Nov 11, 2012 9:52 pm

Yudron wrote:This does not circumvent the need to follow the instructions of one's lineage re: requisite numbers of recitations or time in retreat, jyin seks, and so forth.

What's that? Also what is "ley jyang"? You mentioned it in the self-initiation thread.
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Re: Job Description of a Village Ngakpa

Postby Karma Dorje » Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:26 pm

heart wrote:Of course there is huge difference between reciting a mantra and accomplishing the full results, whatever that might be. If someone have realization of the natural state they also have some capacity to manipulate the five elements for different reasons so in my world the power of mantra comes from the natural state, which makes it superior to any other kind of magic in this universe.

/magnus


I agree with you that realization of the natural state leads to the effortless manifestation of qualities to help others. Where I am drawing the distinction is that for those who have yet to develop such unshakeable realization, it is important not to give up activities to benefit others such as fully accomplishing whatever mantra practices they have engaged in.
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Re: Job Description of a Village Ngakpa

Postby Yudron » Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:28 pm

Pero wrote:
Yudron wrote:This does not circumvent the need to follow the instructions of one's lineage re: requisite numbers of recitations or time in retreat, jyin seks, and so forth.

What's that? Also what is "ley jyang"? You mentioned it in the self-initiation thread.


The ley jyang -- activity manual--is we commonly call the main sadhana. In terma traditions, the terton discovers text, which could have all the parts of a leyjyang or just pieces of all the necessary parts for a complete practice. Then, this material can be assembled into a text with according to the structure of a standard complete text. Dudjom Lingpa's collected works, for example, has lots of what would be thought of as pieces of a practice. A descent of blessings (jyin beb) liturgy, for example, may be discovered alone. Many termas, for example, have no refuge and bodhicitta, or no dedication of merit. This assembly of the text into something usable is done by the terton himself, or someone else he entrusts this to, or a subsequent lineage holder. Adzom Drukpa discovered a bunch of short deity practices with no tsog, or no dedication of merit, and these have be added to based on standard liturgies or compositions.

Dudjom Rinpoche assembled a lot of texts from various tertons into usable formats, and assembled many "how to" manuals--these are called nyen yiks, or don driks--about how to accomplish the deity in retreat, how to do the music, illustrations of the tormas and so forth. He put them in his collected works. These breathed new life into moribund terma traditions, and are widely used.

The ley jyang is then your main practice text in a cycle and there are inserts with long life practices, self-empowerment texts, many activity practices and so forth, that are generally done subsequent to one's own accomplishment of the practice according to the retreat manual.

jyin seks are fire pujas--homa in Skt. If you say "fire puja", people confuse it with smoke offerings (sang) or burnt food offerings (sur), which serve different functions.
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Re: Job Description of a Village Ngakpa

Postby Yudron » Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:43 pm

Pero,

These days I think a lot of folks think they are performing a main sadhana when they are actually practicing from gyun khyer (daily or subsequent practice), a concise practice originally designed for use by folks who had already accomplished the deity and needed something very brief to continue the practice in daily life or while focusing most of their time on other deities or anu or ati practice. These tiny practices are now being given working people who want to do some deity practice in working life, from the get-go. For example, they typically omit tsog, and all the parts during which one would offer a torma.
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Re: Job Description of a Village Ngakpa

Postby CrawfordHollow » Sun Nov 11, 2012 11:27 pm

This is interesting, Yudron.

My main practice is a Three Roots sadhana that comes from the Yangzab terma. I have three different versions: the full sadhana, including the tsok, an unelborated one that omits the torma offerings but still has other aspects of the generation stage, and a super-concise practice that is really just refuge/bodhichitta, instant generation, mantra-recitation, and aspiration and dedication. The main pratice has over a 140 pages (pecha) and so far I have only been able to practice it completely once or twice. I try to do the the unelaborated and consice as much as possible. Are you saying that these shortened versions should only be practiced after we have done extensive retreats on the main sadhana? To be honest, I find it very difficult to make it through the long version, by the time I get to the tsok I am completely wiped. Any suggestions on how to approach this? Obviously, I do what I can, but I want to gain as much benefit as possible from the practice. Thanks,

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Re: Job Description of a Village Ngakpa

Postby Pero » Mon Nov 12, 2012 12:14 am

Thanks Yudron.
Yudron wrote: These tiny practices are now being given working people who want to do some deity practice in working life, from the get-go. For example, they typically omit tsog, and all the parts during which one would offer a torma.

Ah... Thank god for that haha. For me too it would be difficult to do the practices in the longer way with any regularity. Though truth be told I've only received two such practices as far as I know (and one of these I'm not really sure how to do it properly so I never tried it lol), others are all short.
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Re: Job Description of a Village Ngakpa

Postby Yudron » Mon Nov 12, 2012 12:45 am

CrawfordHollow wrote:This is interesting, Yudron.

The main pratice has over a 140 pages (pecha) and so far I have only been able to practice it completely once or twice. I try to do the the unelaborated and concise as much as possible. Are you saying that these shortened versions should only be practiced after we have done extensive retreats on the main sadhana? To be honest, I find it very difficult to make it through the long version, by the time I get to the tsok I am completely wiped. Any suggestions on how to approach this? Obviously, I do what I can, but I want to gain as much benefit as possible from the practice. Thanks,

Troy


No, I'm not saying that. First of all, I'm not a lama who can say how anything should be done. I'm just trying to share what little I think I know about the subject in case someone finds it useful.

IMHO its impractical to do a 140 page practice in daily life, unless you were a very unusual person. I'm impressed that you tried, though! Lamas give these us shortened versions for a reason. How to navigate a sadhana in daily life is a question every lama loves to hear, because it means you are practicing, and taking it seriously. I think it is safe to say you don't need to do the tsog everyday. Your lama may even have a shorter alternative one page alternative tsog insert up his sleeve!

Your lama may have developed a way to do the equivalent of the classical three to six month deity retreat for people to do while not in retreat. Sometimes the terton himself may have specified how the deity is accomplished--sometimes you can find this in the small print in the practice text itself. A typical way to accomplish the deity is to accumulate a requisite number of mantras, such as 100,000 for every syllable of the approach mantra, then 100,000 for every syllable of the accomplishment mantra. Some lamas are comfortable with people doing that outside of retreat.

I'm not saying that you need to do these things to be a good practitioner. The wives of lamas are famous, for example, for developing some level of realization through practicing a little short Tara practice and a bunch of prayers, and spending a few minutes a day on formal practice and the rest of the day in service.
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Re: Job Description of a Village Ngakpa

Postby CrawfordHollow » Mon Nov 12, 2012 2:25 am

Well that's a relief!

I know that you are not a lama, Yudron. Nonetheless, you are an excellent resource when questions like these pop up. I live pretty far from my sangha, and the lamas only visit a couple times a year. One of my root lamas is almost eight hours away (and right now my only mode of transportation is my bicycle) and the other lives in India. I go to as many retreats and teachings as I can, which is usually about six a year. A lot of my questions arise after I have returned from retreats and digested the practices and teachings for a while. So until the next retreat comes around, I have to rely on senior practitioners such as yourself when I have questions. I also tend to ask a lot of questions. Maybe someday I will be in a situation where I can have closer contanct with my lamas on a regular basis. New Hampshire is a lonely place for a Buddhist. California seems to be where its at! I wish I took advantage of all the Dharma resources when I lived in San Fransicsco. As far as tsoks go, I try to do it four times a month. That in itself is quite a challenge. I am just learning how to make tormas and it takes me a while. Not to mention that I am so broke right now that I can't even afford wine! It sure would be nice to have some folks to do the tsok with, like I said it gets lonely out here. :crying:
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Re: Job Description of a Village Ngakpa

Postby Yudron » Mon Nov 12, 2012 2:48 am

CrawfordHollow wrote:Well that's a relief!

I know that you are not a lama, Yudron. Nonetheless, you are an excellent resource when questions like these pop up. I live pretty far from my sangha, and the lamas only visit a couple times a year. One of my root lamas is almost eight hours away (and right now my only mode of transportation is my bicycle) and the other lives in India. I go to as many retreats and teachings as I can, which is usually about six a year. A lot of my questions arise after I have returned from retreats and digested the practices and teachings for a while. So until the next retreat comes around, I have to rely on senior practitioners such as yourself when I have questions. I also tend to ask a lot of questions. Maybe someday I will be in a situation where I can have closer contanct with my lamas on a regular basis. New Hampshire is a lonely place for a Buddhist. California seems to be where its at! I wish I took advantage of all the Dharma resources when I lived in San Fransicsco. As far as tsoks go, I try to do it four times a month. That in itself is quite a challenge. I am just learning how to make tormas and it takes me a while. Not to mention that I am so broke right now that I can't even afford wine! It sure would be nice to have some folks to do the tsok with, like I said it gets lonely out here. :crying:


Well, come on over for tsog anytime, Troy! The bike trip cross country could be very invigorating.

I suggest you rely on advice from practitioners who are much more senior than I such as Pema Chopel, Magnus, Cone and others. I'm definitely only your peer. Upstate NY is also rich with good lamas.

I'm someone who asks a lot of questions, too. I have to control myself and allow time for everyone else to get their questions in, too.

Is the trajectory for the Yangzab to complete a ngondro, then your combined three roots practice?
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Re: Job Description of a Village Ngakpa

Postby CrawfordHollow » Mon Nov 12, 2012 3:55 am

I may take you up on that offer Yudron! Seriously, I have been considering it, I have many friends who have made cross-country bike trips.

My lama, Lho Ontul Rinpoche is very lenient and generous when it comes to practices. I do practice ngondro along with my Three Roots practice. He has been very kind and has let us engage in higher practices while still doing ngondro. Compared to the Karma Kagyu, his approach is more flexible and much less strict when it comes to ngondro practice. This seems to generally be the case within the Drikung lineage. He allows his students to choose to either complete the traditional 100,000 accumulations or to set up a time schedule, such as three months of daily recitations per section. I am currently working on Refuge/bodhichitta and Vajrasattva.

As Malcolm mentioned somewhere, the Yangzab, compared with other termas, contains much more Mahayoga practices than actual Atiyoga. Malcolm has said that it is actually an appendix to the Khandro Nyingtik and is meant to be practiced alongside it. I have never heard any of my lamas say this, so I don't know how true this is. I have faith that the Yangzab is an authentic and complete means to liberation. I sometimes think that people get Dzogchen-mania, and anything that is not pure Atiyoga gets overlooked or discarded. I think doing prostrations can be just as profound as any method found in the higher Yanas if you do it while remaining in Mind-Essence. I guess that would make it a Dzogchen practice, though wouldn't it? Anyway, its a great cycle of teachings with many great masters, I count myself lucky to have found it.

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Re: Job Description of a Village Ngakpa

Postby catmoon » Mon Nov 12, 2012 4:49 am

I wonder if you can count a cross country bike trip as Ngondro? If we get Westernized enough, pretty soon Ngondro may consist of 100,000 pushups, 10,000 miles of biking and 100,000 bench presses over 200 pounds. All mindfully done of course. :shrug:
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Re: Job Description of a Village Ngakpa

Postby tomamundsen » Mon Nov 12, 2012 4:56 am

Yudron wrote:A typical way to accomplish the deity is to accumulate a requisite number of mantras, such as 100,000 for every syllable of the approach mantra, then 100,000 for every syllable of the accomplishment mantra.

Can you clarify something for me about this, please? What do you mean by "100,000 for every syllable?" If you're using OM AH HUNG BENZA GURU PEMA SIDDHI HUNG, for example, you would just recite OM 100,000 times followed by AH 100,000 times, and so on. That doesn't seem right, so I assume I misinterpreted what you said.

Thanks. :namaste:
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Re: Job Description of a Village Ngakpa

Postby tomamundsen » Mon Nov 12, 2012 4:57 am

catmoon wrote:I wonder if you can count a cross country bike trip as Ngondro? If we get Westernized enough, pretty soon Ngondro may consist of 100,000 pushups, 10,000 miles of biking and 100,000 bench presses over 200 pounds. All mindfully done of course. :shrug:

One could do cross-country prostrations. :twisted:
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