Ngondro Challenges

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Totoro
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Re: Ngondro Challenges

Postby Totoro » Fri Jun 08, 2012 3:05 am

I think you may find this book helpful to your situation. Dzongsar Rinpoche details clearly the pitfalls we may encounter when doing ngondro, what are the common problems to expect (very helpful when we find out that the difficulties we encounter in ngondro are sometimes 'common' and sort of 'expected' and we don't get too hung up or bogged down by it), what to do about it,why we do ngondro, how it helps us, what it is, what it isn't, etc. And Rinpoche makes it very relevant to the situations of non-Tibetans leading ordinary crazy lives. The advice is applicable to ANY ngondro you are doing.


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Karma Dorje
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Re: Ngondro Challenges

Postby Karma Dorje » Fri Jun 08, 2012 4:45 am

Congratulations on losing weight! That's wonderful progress.

Ascertaining validity is an indispensible part of the Buddhist path. Doubt is normal and healthy as long as you don't obsess over it. Keep investigating ceaselessly to the extent of your understanding and asking your lama questions. It's his job to remove your doubts, just do your part by investigating first and then telling him what you had done and how you had reasoned. A teacher will never be upset with you coming to him or her with well meaning questions after you have explored them yourself.

I highly recommend the book Indisputable Truth as a starting point for your questions:

http://www.amazon.com/Indisputable-Trut ... 9627341274

In general, just relax and be kind to *yourself* as well as those around you. That is an essential attitude, particularly if you suffer from depression. Just remember: it's never as big a deal as you think it is right now, and YOU are also a fit object for your own compassion. You really have to stop picking on yourself and berating yourself for doing too little. Think about whether you would treat a friend of yours the way you treat yourself. Would they still be your friend? If not, your first task should be to make friends with yourself.

Everyone is a completely unique window on the world. Spend some time marveling at your own five senses and mind, appreciating your own unique perspective. Without that, it's very difficult to develop genuine compassion for others.

Be at ease, and be happy! We are all rooting for you!
"Although my view is higher than the sky, My respect for the cause and effect of actions is as fine as grains of flour."
-Padmasambhava

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simhamuka
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Re: Ngondro Challenges

Postby simhamuka » Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:11 am

It's good to hear that it's going better.

Regarding the idea that you're not doing enough (one mala when you should be doing two, etc.), I realize that's probably the depression talking, but perhaps a suggestion from Gyaltrul Rinpoche would also help: he said to do just a few more than you plan. Just ... five beads more. Maybe ten extra.

I internalized this to such a degree that I forgot he had said it! I thought it was my own idea, but then I was reminded. It works very well. It shifts the mindset to "... just a little more." And those little five and ten beads add up.
Sengdongma has an easy job, because there are no enemies.

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Challenge23
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Re: Ngondro Challenges

Postby Challenge23 » Fri Jun 08, 2012 5:46 pm

Thanks very much for everyone's responses.

Re; weight loss. One thing that I would like to point out is that changing one's lifestyle to reduce calories and increase exercise has some interesting elements in it that relate to the Dharma. You have to learn to accept things you don't like(in my case a rather sour type of yogurt and the discomfort of running) and avoid things you do like because they are harmful in excess(sodas, in my case).

In regards to the other responses I thank you for them. I am taking a day to really think about the carefully before responding so that I can give a response that is as wise as I can make it.
IN THIS BOOK IT IS SPOKEN OF THE SEPHIROTH & THE PATHS, OF SPIRITS & CONJURATIONS, OF GODS, SPHERES, PLANES & MANY OTHER THINGS WHICH MAY OR MAY NOT EXIST. IT IS IMMATERIAL WHETHER THEY EXIST OR NOT. BY DOING CERTAIN THINGS CERTAIN RESULTS FOLLOW; STUDENTS ARE MOST EARNESTLY WARNED AGAINST ATTRIBUTING OBJECTIVE REALITY OR PHILOSOPHICAL VALIDITY TO ANY OF THEM.

Wagner, Eric; Wilson, Robert Anton (2004-12-01). An Insider's Guide to Robert Anton Wilson (Kindle Locations 1626-1629). New Falcon Publications. Kindle Edition., quoting from Alister Crowley

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Challenge23
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Re: Ngondro Challenges

Postby Challenge23 » Mon Jun 11, 2012 2:13 am

It's interesting. One of the things that ngondro has most definitely done is that given me a more clear idea about the Dharma then I had before I started. Now I'm sure you guys are going to smile at this but I was one of those individuals who thought that Buddhism was not a religion in the same way that Christianity(my birth religion) or Neopaganism(my religion before I took Refuge) is in that faith was something that was not necessary and magic was something that was, at best, totally optional. I also believed that Buddhism was a way to become happy in the same way that eating at a Michelin star rated restaurant or winning the Super Bowl makes one happy. Or at least be happy in the way that some blissed out yoga people seem to be(and in order to counter the suggestion, I can't really do yoga due to an operation I had when I was born).

However, I am rapidly beginning to think that I was mistaken in my assessment. The Dharma leads to Enlightenment which is not happiness and requires faith(and sometimes works like magic). I'm still going to complete the ngondro because I am almost mind numbingly bull stubborn. I just don't honestly know right now if I'll be Buddhist after I'm done.
IN THIS BOOK IT IS SPOKEN OF THE SEPHIROTH & THE PATHS, OF SPIRITS & CONJURATIONS, OF GODS, SPHERES, PLANES & MANY OTHER THINGS WHICH MAY OR MAY NOT EXIST. IT IS IMMATERIAL WHETHER THEY EXIST OR NOT. BY DOING CERTAIN THINGS CERTAIN RESULTS FOLLOW; STUDENTS ARE MOST EARNESTLY WARNED AGAINST ATTRIBUTING OBJECTIVE REALITY OR PHILOSOPHICAL VALIDITY TO ANY OF THEM.

Wagner, Eric; Wilson, Robert Anton (2004-12-01). An Insider's Guide to Robert Anton Wilson (Kindle Locations 1626-1629). New Falcon Publications. Kindle Edition., quoting from Alister Crowley

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simhamuka
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Re: Ngondro Challenges

Postby simhamuka » Tue Jun 12, 2012 4:04 am

You make me think of a comment my teacher made: "I have a great deal of respect for those who take their time to decide." I think it's better to be stable, stubborn about it, than to get all excited and then -- fwip! -- you're off chasing the next shiny thing.

I talked to one of the teachers at Nitartha Institute who did the three-year retreat in Nova Scotia. He said he hit a point in the retreat when he was playing the damaru and ringing the bells, and he just went "what the hell am I doing here?" He had to reevaluate his whole path and it was pretty tough. He'd been practicing I think twenty years at that point. And he had great results from that retreat according to his teachers.

He told me this story in response to my own period of questioning, where after about ten years of practice, I had to go back to basics and decide if I believed any of this stuff. Reviewed the four noble truths, all the way up through the path. Sounds like you're doing that hard review now. Good on you. You won't have to do repair work on your path ten years from now.
Sengdongma has an easy job, because there are no enemies.

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Challenge23
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Re: Ngondro Challenges

Postby Challenge23 » Thu Jun 14, 2012 4:23 pm

IN THIS BOOK IT IS SPOKEN OF THE SEPHIROTH & THE PATHS, OF SPIRITS & CONJURATIONS, OF GODS, SPHERES, PLANES & MANY OTHER THINGS WHICH MAY OR MAY NOT EXIST. IT IS IMMATERIAL WHETHER THEY EXIST OR NOT. BY DOING CERTAIN THINGS CERTAIN RESULTS FOLLOW; STUDENTS ARE MOST EARNESTLY WARNED AGAINST ATTRIBUTING OBJECTIVE REALITY OR PHILOSOPHICAL VALIDITY TO ANY OF THEM.

Wagner, Eric; Wilson, Robert Anton (2004-12-01). An Insider's Guide to Robert Anton Wilson (Kindle Locations 1626-1629). New Falcon Publications. Kindle Edition., quoting from Alister Crowley

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simhamuka
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Re: Ngondro Challenges

Postby simhamuka » Fri Jun 15, 2012 3:00 pm

Sengdongma has an easy job, because there are no enemies.

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Dechen Norbu
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Re: Ngondro Challenges

Postby Dechen Norbu » Fri Jun 15, 2012 3:07 pm

Many people would argue that your teacher is not an adequate person when it comes to giving advice about Buddhadharma.

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simhamuka
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Re: Ngondro Challenges

Postby simhamuka » Fri Jun 15, 2012 6:20 pm

Sengdongma has an easy job, because there are no enemies.

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Dechen Norbu
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Re: Ngondro Challenges

Postby Dechen Norbu » Fri Jun 15, 2012 6:31 pm

This will be a subject that I won't discuss any further, but our members have the right to know that Alyce Zeoli, aka as Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo is a teacher surrounded by polemics and due to that many consider KPC a controversial 'Buddhist' group.

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Challenge23
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Re: Ngondro Challenges

Postby Challenge23 » Fri Jun 15, 2012 6:57 pm

IN THIS BOOK IT IS SPOKEN OF THE SEPHIROTH & THE PATHS, OF SPIRITS & CONJURATIONS, OF GODS, SPHERES, PLANES & MANY OTHER THINGS WHICH MAY OR MAY NOT EXIST. IT IS IMMATERIAL WHETHER THEY EXIST OR NOT. BY DOING CERTAIN THINGS CERTAIN RESULTS FOLLOW; STUDENTS ARE MOST EARNESTLY WARNED AGAINST ATTRIBUTING OBJECTIVE REALITY OR PHILOSOPHICAL VALIDITY TO ANY OF THEM.

Wagner, Eric; Wilson, Robert Anton (2004-12-01). An Insider's Guide to Robert Anton Wilson (Kindle Locations 1626-1629). New Falcon Publications. Kindle Edition., quoting from Alister Crowley

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Dechen Norbu
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Re: Ngondro Challenges

Postby Dechen Norbu » Fri Jun 15, 2012 8:14 pm

I believe you are just trying to keep things honest. You are avoiding lying to yourself. That's a good thing.
Instead of doing things because everyone is doing them, you are questioning. That's good.
But there will come the time when you need to try to find the answers and keep your practice, ngöndro or other. I may even say that many of those questions you have will be answered exactly by practicing. Practice leads to insight. Insight is experience, direct experience and that is much better than belief. If, however, you have many nagging doubts, it will be hard for you to practice. When possible, try to schedule an appointment with you teacher and talk with him about your process.

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Dechen Norbu
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Re: Ngondro Challenges

Postby Dechen Norbu » Fri Jun 15, 2012 8:20 pm

Off topic posts will be removed.

I only cautioned our members because there are polemics about that particular teacher. They have every right to know that. The link you posted, simhamuka, doesn't contain one text alone. It's a link to a site that serves as a vehicle for many opinions from that polemic teacher. That is why I alerted our members to this fact.

:focus:

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simhamuka
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Re: Ngondro Challenges

Postby simhamuka » Fri Jun 15, 2012 8:35 pm

Last edited by simhamuka on Fri Jun 15, 2012 9:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Sengdongma has an easy job, because there are no enemies.

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simhamuka
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Re: Ngondro Challenges

Postby simhamuka » Fri Jun 15, 2012 9:12 pm

[...]
Jetsunma's [...] did ngundro. I know because I was there. I did ngundro with her, prostrations right alongside her. She wore me into the ground when I was nineteen and she was, I think, forty-ish. I paced her. It was 400-500 at a clip, and she was doing four sessions a day (I don't know if all four sessions were refuge). And she finished, because Gyaltrul Rinpoche came back and gave extensive teachings on tsa lung and tigle. More extensive, I can say now, than what's generally given. There's no way a teacher like Gyaltrul Ripoche would give those kinds of teachings to someone who hadn't even finished ngundro. Not a chance.

It boils down to: the most important part of ngundro is the four thoughts. Without those, you can't stand your ground in Dharma. That's what's in that link.
Last edited by Dechen Norbu on Fri Jun 15, 2012 11:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Off topic portion removed
Sengdongma has an easy job, because there are no enemies.

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Adamantine
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Re: Ngondro Challenges

Postby Adamantine » Sat Jun 16, 2012 4:40 am

Contentment is the ultimate wealth;
Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha

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simhamuka
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Re: Ngondro Challenges

Postby simhamuka » Sat Jun 16, 2012 5:17 am

Sengdongma has an easy job, because there are no enemies.

Yontan
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Re: Ngondro Challenges

Postby Yontan » Sun Jun 17, 2012 11:27 pm

Challenge23, figuring out how to work through our own blocks is a difficult part of the path. Sometimes we need many different methods and it's not simply that this one didn't work so I must try another one.
If you're committed to finishing your prostrations, it may help to simply do them without asking what benefit. Don't forget the visualization and maybe set a minimum daily, do just that for a long time. Even if it's just twenty-one.

You really are coming for refuge, so it is important that you see the suffering that our confused grasping brings us, and feel that you are coming to the Three Jewels to find refuge, sanctuary from it all. And you're doing it with the intention of all beings doing it along with you. As for happiness, how can life not be happy when you've removed suffering and its cause? Genuine kindness, better friendships, better choices in life... all of these come with realizations. You are not striving for a blank nothing. You are actualizing your natural state, which has nothing to do with anything modern or ancient, it is you.

The Four Boundless Thoughts and tonglen may help as well, just randomly throughout the day, to bring motivation. If we really believe enlightenment is possible, and that aside from it we only have endless suffering, and we develop our connection with others who are also suffering, it becomes natural to come to the Three Jewels. The 100,000 number is not magic. It sucks to break your time goal, but things happen. Getting finished with ngondro isn't nearly as helpful as doing ngondro, if you catch my drift.
Hope that helps some.

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Dechen Norbu
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Re: Ngondro Challenges

Postby Dechen Norbu » Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:44 am



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