Ngondro Challenges

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Re: Ngondro Challenges

Postby Challenge23 » Wed Jun 20, 2012 3:46 am

First, thanks for your continuing response. As a sort of "catch up" in order to make sure that what I am saying makes sense, a few points. Also some of the things I have said in other threads and this is a nice way to collect it in a single source. Since I made the original post I e-mailed my teacher my concerns and his response, in a nutshell, was "Yeah, this happens, switch to Vajrasattva." which I have done(this was not the answer that I hoped for but it is one I can act on so I'll take it). There were two things that really brought this on. The first was a very strong panic attack when I realized that I didn't know what was going to happen when I die, not in the way that I know that I am typing on a keyboard somewhere in New Jersey. From there I realized that my consciousness may very well vanish after I die. This means that I could be wasting my one and only life doing something that, instead of making me more happy, is making me less happy.

The second thing was some research I heard about in regards to negative effects of Dharma practice(I posted about it elsewhere but here is the link for convenience http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2011/09/bg ... of-dharma/ , though the real "this is how you end up in a psych ward" isn't until the next episode which is linked in the page). This caused me, and does cause me, an immense amount of worry. The thing in particular that worries me for not only ngondro but the whole Buddhist path is that a potential side effect of practicing the path correctly is insanity. Not to put too fine of a point on it but I have a deep and abiding reason to not want to have "clinical impairment" as part two of the link I posted calls it.

However, I have gotten some peace when I realized that insanity doesn't seem to happen unless you do intensive sitting practice, usually in a retreat situation. That and I think there is a sample bias as she concentrated on teachers from a tradition where going crazy during meditation seems to be pretty standard. Though people outside of the tradition might think it is somewhat paradoxical so far it looks like Vajrayana seems to have a pretty good track record of not making people crazy. Who knew? :twothumbsup:

Now, with that updates, some responses.

Adamantine wrote:
This is why I can not recommend enough doing even a short retreat, or a series of short retreats on your ngondro practice. If you can spend 2 or 3 hour sessions of consistent practice continuously, traditional style: wake up at 3am, first session.. take short break for meals, in the afternoon rest for a couple hours.. and keep practicing like this until 9pm, then sleep. --Your Lama will tell you the right schedule for yourself-- you will have a different experience of the practice. Even if you can't take time off from work, then do weekend retreats. You can take the phone off the hook if you live alone, and do retreat in your home or apartment, etc. Or better yet, use a cabin in a retreat center that has a sacred atmosphere.


Oddly enough I actually had a retreat scheduled a few weeks ago. However due to my car staging an open revolt(the coolant system died twice) I was unable to do so. In the past I've done what I call "quasi-retreats" which was basically chanting until my brain turned into a fine goo, doing something else for awhile and then more chanting.

Also, one thing that I would like to point out is a problem with direct experience. In a nutshell, if you put any religious pursuit into steady practice you will gain evidence that it is so. If you chant Ooto Gaio Erista and concentrate on a 2000 year old Greek goddess of Chaos then you will get absolute evidence that there is a 2000 year old Greek goddess of Chaos and you have her absolute, undivided attention(that is direct experience and I would strongly advise against doing this especially). If you get the components and take the time to do the Abramelin working you will get results and be chatting with angels and demons, if you believe in Jesus enough you may start feeling his presence and voice, etc.,etc. It's the same for all forms of faith. If you believe something and put it into practice your experience will confirm it. I would suggest that you not take my word for it but that would be a very poor idea. Trust me on this one.

Yontan wrote: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.


At one point I honestly didn't care about the benefit and to some extent I still don't. What I am much more worried about is the cost. Before the turn of the new year Buddhist practice seemed inexpensive. I gave a little bit to my teacher every month, spent some time practicing, didn't act like a bad person and the Dharma took the edge off of life and maybe would help me further down the road. Even if Enlightenment wasn't really defined that well it also wasn't really that "expensive". Now I'm learning that even if I am doing the practice right I might be risking joy, time, and even my sanity for a goal that nobody seems to be able to clearly define.

Yontan wrote: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.


That's the thing. Right now I'm not sure that Enlightenment is better than samsara. The best definition for Enlightenment I've found is from the Therevada tradition(it's at this link, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... birth.html , but it's somewhat buried in there) and it sounds downright horrifying(no more joy, exhilaration, or any of the strong positive emotions. Just a grey same-ness until you die and after that..who knows?). I will continue to do Ngondro and I will complete it if for no other reason then I said I would, I am stubborn as a mule, and most of the really nightmare inducing stuff is from non-Nyingma teachers. But right now I'd be lying if I said I wasn't scared to death of Enlightenment.

Again, thank you for reading and I truly apologize if this was offensive in any way.
I'm an agnostic in the same sense that Robert Anton Wilson was, except his reaction was laughter. Mine isn't.

I am not a teacher in any tradition, Buddhist or otherwise. Anything that I have posted should not be taken as representing the view of anyone other than my own. And maybe Larry S. Smith of Montgomery, Alabama. But most likely just me.
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Re: Ngondro Challenges

Postby Adamantine » Wed Jun 20, 2012 3:53 am

Challenge23 wrote:The second thing was some research I heard about in regards to negative effects of Dharma practice(I posted about it elsewhere but here is the link for convenience http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2011/09/bg ... of-dharma/ ,


your link doesn't seem to work
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Re: Ngondro Challenges

Postby Challenge23 » Wed Jun 20, 2012 4:05 am

Adamantine wrote:
Challenge23 wrote:The second thing was some research I heard about in regards to negative effects of Dharma practice(I posted about it elsewhere but here is the link for convenience http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2011/09/bg ... of-dharma/ ,


your link doesn't seem to work


You are right. It looks like Buddhist Geeks is down right now. Hopefully it will be up soon. It's episode 231 and 232.

Edit: Stupid typo
I'm an agnostic in the same sense that Robert Anton Wilson was, except his reaction was laughter. Mine isn't.

I am not a teacher in any tradition, Buddhist or otherwise. Anything that I have posted should not be taken as representing the view of anyone other than my own. And maybe Larry S. Smith of Montgomery, Alabama. But most likely just me.
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Re: Ngondro Challenges

Postby Yontan » Sun Jun 24, 2012 1:54 am

So, there is a common misunderstanding that the goal of Buddhadharma is the elimination of emotional states: ridding oneself of sorrow and happiness since they go hand in hand, and living in a flat, cosmic dullness.
This is not the goal of the path.
It's difficult to see through the blinders, but everything we know right now is an attempt to chase happiness, run from sadness, and a lot of ignoring things that don't have to do with those two.
The "happiness" that our delusional sense of self has trained us to chase after is never to be. Likewise the fear of losing is a complete falsehood. From our confused perspective we can only theorize about this (which will have to do for now) but imagine a state of being that has no relation to the gathering of positive elements in the world, and the riddance of negativity. All of this is "conditioned" to use the Buddhist parlance. Conditions change. The basic underlying nature of being has nothing to do with how rich you are, how many enemies you have, what your dad thinks of your life, etc. There is a "fulfillment" therein that can only be found by abandoning the chase of hope and fear.
We don't have any way to relate to - or even imagine - a sort of happiness, contentment, that is not conditioned by causes, and so all we can imagine is the elimination of causes of worldly happiness, and the blankness that this would create. One exercise is to look at all of the things that make you happy for a given day, and likewise the things that make you unhappy. Which of them is substantial, dependable, concrete, lasting.... The first response to a negative investigation like this might be that everything is worthless, pointless, unsatisfying. However that is only true for conditioned phenomena, what we call "things." This is exactly what Lord Buddha meant with his First Noble Truth. Our job is to be honest with ourselves: decide if truth is better than delusion; if we're brave enough to face reality, regardless of whether it's "Buddhist" or not.
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Re: Ngondro Challenges

Postby TenzinDorje » Sun Jul 15, 2012 9:24 pm

I can't believe that no one has "challenges" with Ngondro. Unless someone can correct me here, this is a given.

A lineage Guru says that I am to do Ngondro. I do Ngondro.

A lineage Guru says that this path potentializes the practices that come after or perhaps with some blessings, during it. I experience that.

Is Ngondro sometimes the only thing I really don't want to do sometimes? You betcha.

So, what's with all this hubbub? At the end of the day it's a decision, one way or the other. Then live with the decision and stop whining...
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Re: Ngondro Challenges

Postby Yudron » Mon Jul 16, 2012 5:08 am

TenzinDorje wrote:I can't believe that no one has "challenges" with Ngondro. Unless someone can correct me here, this is a given.

A lineage Guru says that I am to do Ngondro. I do Ngondro.

A lineage Guru says that this path potentializes the practices that come after or perhaps with some blessings, during it. I experience that.

Is Ngondro sometimes the only thing I really don't want to do sometimes? You betcha.

So, what's with all this hubbub? At the end of the day it's a decision, one way or the other. Then live with the decision and stop whining...


If one is really taking the practice to heart, ngondro is a profound internal process -- seems similar to an alcoholic deciding to sober up. For many, there are false starts alternating with falling off the wagon and so forth. Introverts or intellectuals may not want to share their internal process with others. Extroverts and communicative people who thrive on support and interaction with others may have need to discuss their process. I don't feel at all that that is whining, especially if folks are trying to do it outside of a Buddhist country, with no local group to practice with in their lineage.
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Re: Ngondro Challenges

Postby Challenge23 » Mon Jul 16, 2012 12:58 pm

I think that my experience and yours are different.

TenzinDorje wrote:I can't believe that no one has "challenges" with Ngondro. Unless someone can correct me here, this is a given.

A lineage Guru says that I am to do Ngondro. I do Ngondro.


See, this is where I can't help but envy you. Because of Ngondro I'm only 50% sure that I am even Buddhist in any real sense. The idea of Enlightenment terrifies me and practice is a huge effort that goes against every bit of my intuition(like sticking your hand in a chipper shredder). When I think about the Buddhist path I wonder if there will be someone to take care of me when the path takes my sanity.

Your unquestioning faith must make life much easier. That we all could be so lucky as you.

TenzinDorje wrote:
A lineage Guru says that this path potentializes the practices that come after or perhaps with some blessings, during it. I experience that.



Really? Because all I've gotten is exponentially increased difficulty. My shinay is about 10 times harder, the small vase exercises went from as easy as eating a banana to as easy as doing a differential calculus word problem, and visualizations are(sometimes literally) a nightmare.

TenzinDorje wrote:
Is Ngondro sometimes the only thing I really don't want to do sometimes? You betcha.

So, what's with all this hubbub? At the end of the day it's a decision, one way or the other. Then live with the decision and stop whining...


This tells me that you didn't read the recap that I made earlier in this thread. It isn't a mild inconvenience or laziness. It's that I'm not willing to put the only thing that has any value to me at serious risk(my mind) for a goal that nobody seems to be able to define in any real way. I was hoping that someone could forward an argument or a text or something that conclusively defines Enlightenment in a positive way( what it "is" not what it is the absence of) or show that Buddhist practice doesn't have insanity as a state one must go through. To be frank, most of what I've gotten thus far has been "you have to take it on faith".
I'm an agnostic in the same sense that Robert Anton Wilson was, except his reaction was laughter. Mine isn't.

I am not a teacher in any tradition, Buddhist or otherwise. Anything that I have posted should not be taken as representing the view of anyone other than my own. And maybe Larry S. Smith of Montgomery, Alabama. But most likely just me.
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Re: Ngondro Challenges

Postby pemachophel » Mon Jul 16, 2012 3:52 pm

"Because of ngondro I'm only 50% sure that I am even Buddhist in any real sense. The idea of Enlightenment terrifies me and practice is a huge effort that goes against every bit of my intuition(like sticking your hand in a chipper shredder). When I think about the Buddhist path I wonder if there will be someone to take care of me when the path takes my sanity."

Challenge23,

I think you need to discuss all this with your Teacher. If you are not under the regular, on-going guidance of a Teacher, that is probably part of the problem.

If you can't resolve these issues, then I suggest you stop what you are doing and devote yourself to mundane life. Try to make yourself as happy as you can. After some time, check again to see if this is really satisfactory. If you find that everything that you hope will make you happy turns out to be unsatisfactory, then you will have experienced the truth of suffering. Knowing that at least that Buddhist teaching is true to your experience, maybe you can then take a fresh look at the teachings on death and impermanence, karma -- action and its fruit, and the benefits of Liberation. In my experience, when one has difficulties with ngondro, it's mostly we have not really come to believe in the depth of our being that samsara is hopeless and nothing but suffering through and through. When that realization grabs you by your b***s, then you will do anything to try to find some real, permanent solution. As the teachings say, you'll feel like your hair is on fire and all you want to do is put it out as quickly as possible. Perhaps then you will see the benefits of doing ngondro and other Buddhist practice.

Good luck and best wishes. :namaste:
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Re: Ngondro Challenges

Postby dakini_boi » Mon Jul 16, 2012 6:45 pm

Challenge,

I'm so sorry you're going through this.

Let me ask you some questions -

how do you feel about your teacher?

Is there any part of the ngondro that you can take comfort in doing?

Are there other practice(s) that you like to do other than ngondro? or is this issue about dharma practice in general?

You know, the essence of ngondro is guru yoga. How do you feel about / what is your understanding of guru yoga?

Wishing you peace!
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Re: Ngondro Challenges

Postby konchog_dardrol » Mon Jul 16, 2012 8:48 pm

I think ngondro really is an advanced practice in a lot of ways. Not only are you embarking on something that will take a ton of work to do, but as someone mentioned in another thread, I think there is an unspoken(or spoken) commitment with the teacher to finish the ngondro as prescribed. Moreover, when you actually finish all of that, the practices you're embarking on after ngondro presuppose a very high degree of devotion to the teacher and Three Jewels, and presuppose willingness to dedicate a serious amount of time and effort (possibly over and above that required in doing the preliminaries) to the main practices of the lineage. So, it's a serious commitment, IMO. It's like preparing to climb Everest: you probably want to make sure you really want to, and are up for that kind of challenge. I used to be a little snooty about ngondro, but it's really quite an undertaking in a lot of ways, so I really do not blame people for wanting to pursue other practices/goals before (if ever) starting the formal preliminary practices.
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Re: Ngondro Challenges

Postby Challenge23 » Mon Jul 16, 2012 9:39 pm

dakini_boi wrote:Challenge,

how do you feel about your teacher?



Good question. The thing is my teacher is, due to the size and geography of the sangha, pretty distant. My relationship with my teacher/sangha is that I send them what I think of as a small amount of money a month, I try to make it to weekly Ngondro practice about once a month(it's expensive and time consuming to get there), and to the annual July teachings. I'd say that I actually see the teacher about once a year. He seems like a very nice person and knowledgeable teacher, but a little on the conservative side. I'd say the feelings are "positive neutral" just because I don't know him that that well.

dakini_boi wrote:

Is there any part of the ngondro that you can take comfort in doing?

Are there other practice(s) that you like to do other than ngondro? or is this issue about dharma practice in general?

You know, the essence of ngondro is guru yoga. How do you feel about / what is your understanding of guru yoga?

Wishing you peace!


Oddly enough the only practice that I really like isn't really a "practice" as much as a verse. It was written by Dudjom Rinpoche, called "Calling the Lama from Afar"(http://dudjom.blogspot.com/2007/12/pray ... r-for.html). It doesn't seem to talk about not differentiating between chocolate and feces, humiliating oneself, putting in blood, sweat and tears for some vague goal, meditating until you can't tie your own shoes, etc. It's just mediate, be compassionate, be genuine, and the lama is ultimately in your head. Fin. My problem isn't the actual motions of the practice(which my feelings about that I would call positive-neutral). It's that the practice reminds me that I need faith. Which I don't have. In anything. Seriously. I'm not 100% sure that I'm sitting in front of a computer typing words that will in turn be read by human beings on other screens. Learn from my mistake, stay away from learning too much about general/model agnosticism.

Even though it would add a couple of minutes to my daily practice I might ask if it is ok to add that on to the beginning of my practice.

Re;guru yoga. Well, to be frank I've always felt a little uncomfortable around it. The idea of being that extremely devoted to one person, any person, is not something I have an easy time accepting. The reason for that is that I don't think that handing over your autonomy to another person means you also hand over the responsibility that autonomy requires. I know that ultimately the guru is one's own mind but it seems that to get to that point one has to go through a physical human being who is fallible and might put me in a position where I am bound by oath to do something morally reprehensible.
I'm an agnostic in the same sense that Robert Anton Wilson was, except his reaction was laughter. Mine isn't.

I am not a teacher in any tradition, Buddhist or otherwise. Anything that I have posted should not be taken as representing the view of anyone other than my own. And maybe Larry S. Smith of Montgomery, Alabama. But most likely just me.
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Re: Ngondro Challenges

Postby dharmagoat » Mon Jul 16, 2012 11:37 pm

To many non-Tibetans Ngondro in its traditional form is alien and inaccessible. You might find yourself banging your head a against a brick wall, so to speak, as I did for ten years. Many lamas don't seem to appreciate the problem that a large proportion of westerners have with traditional Tibetan practices. I would suggest finding a way of practicing that is a natural extension of your current circumstances, inclinations and understanding. Our practice needs to challenge us, but not dispirit us. Otherwise there is no point.
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Re: Ngondro Challenges

Postby Virgo » Tue Jul 17, 2012 12:20 am

Challenge23 wrote:
I think that is one of the places where I get into problems. I have a great deal of trouble seeing how me doing Dharma helps people in the short or the long term. I can't see how sitting on a cushion, offering the mandala, or anything else helps anyone except myself(sometimes) in the short term. In the long term it is written that being Enlightened helps other sentient beings but it doesn't say how, exactly. How does becoming a bodhisattva put food in anyone's stomach? How, exactly, do they heal the sick or comfort the dying? Since people have to do the practice on their own to get happiness, how does my doing the practice bring other people happiness? How does my Enlightenment, which is a deeply personal state, help others? More on Enlightenment a bit further down.
.

When you are enlightened you will be able to help a limitless amount of people and beings. You will be able to manifest in various forms to help others. You will also be able to manifest as a Nirmanakaya Buddha and turn the Wheel of Dharma for people. Shakyamuni Buddha, for example, was an emenated form.

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Re: Ngondro Challenges

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Tue Jul 17, 2012 4:24 am

Challenge,

You say the idea of enlightenment terrifies you. Alternatively, you say that you only have a vague understanding of what enlightenment is supposed to be. Both of these are understandable because it can be hard for us to sift through the endless texts and topics of Dharma and understand much of it without following some guided, organized mode of study. Lemme just try to condense some of the main qualities of enlightenment into ordinary language to give you an idea of why you'd want to invest yourself in developing your practice and why enlightenment shouldn't scare you but inspire you.

Having attained full awakening:

1. You will no longer have the capacity to suffer or experience anything unwanted. Your perception of everything will be as perfect and wonderful. Even the ills and wrongs and suffering of the world will not be perceived by you. Instead... (see number 2)

2. You will simply know exactly what all beings need and how to provide that help and you will manifest spontaneously, in as many forms and in whatever forms necessary, according to those beings' karma and capacity. For ordinary beings, you will emanate in gross nirmanakaya form (as a teacher, as a teaching, as a seemingly random person they meet who helps them whether they realize it or not, as any kind of mundane being who guides them whether they know it or not, as medicine, as material things, etc, all according to their karma and circumstances). And for bodhisattvas on the levels of enlightenment (bhumis) you will manifest in sambhogakaya forms (i.e. bodies of light like the Buddhas Vajrasattva, Manjushri, Tara, Avalokiteshvara, etc that lead them the rest of the way to Buddhahood). The dharmakaya is your true essence, is formless, and is your own benefit, and all these manifestations arise from it.

3. Since your wisdom is unimpeded and you are not afflicted in any way, there will never be anything unknowable to you, you can access all objects of knowledge simultaneously, and you will never tire of manifesting in whatever ways all the inconceivable beings in samsara need of you. You will also not be plagued by the mental anguish that is the province of ordinary, conceptual mind: i.e., the fact that you cannot magically undo beings' suffering with a magic wand, and that you can only influence and teach them how to open up their wisdom and natural liberation themselves will never tie your mind in knots or make you distraught. Although a Buddha's mind is not conceptual, if we were to try to compare it to a state of mind we could imagine, maybe a Buddha's compassion could be likened to this: imagine having indestructible optimism because you know every being's true nature and indwelling potential and you know just how to guide them to realize it most quickly. Therefore you know that just how and when they'll free themselves and you don't even entertain the ideas about "but what about all their suffering in the meantime?". You just keep manifesting for them and guiding them until they're liberated. You will just automatically act, for as long as there are samsaric beings, without ever tiring or getting burnt out.

This is just the cliff notes version, of course, and if you want to read texts that give very precise and exhaustive details about the qualities of enlightenment, they are out there.

Lastly, I'm not sure I understand what you mean about "the path involving going insane along the way." If your mind is becoming unduly disturbed, your way of going about practicing needs some fine tuning. Maybe you're creating unrealistic expectations of yourself or pushing yourself too hard. Maybe you need some advice from your teacher (or a qualified teacher) on how to more gradually build up some skills you haven't yet developed (such as visualization, etc). Not knowing you or having any realization myself, the only advice I can give you is to reassess your expectations of yourself and determine what skills you need to develop and start out small and simple and work your way forward slowly, in a more relaxed way, and go back to basics if need be until you feel you can push yourself a little more. I.E., maybe you'd be better off doing shinay however you did it before (when it came easy to you) and only gradually move back toward doing it in the context of visualization when you're ready. Also, spending some time just focusing on the outer prelims (4 thoughts that turn the mind), maybe even taking a week or more to just focus on one at a time... You could also sing and contemplate the meaning of the Calling the Lama from Afar since you enjoy it and it is very profound and beneficial for developing your practice. Also, try to find ways to employ the principles of Dharma in ordinary activities you do and in ways you can relate to and enjoy. For example, if you like going on walks and you live in a beautiful area, go on a walk and offer everything you take in and enjoy to all the Three Jewels and dedicat it to the mundane and supramundane wellbeing and happiness of all beings. Or do the same with food or whatever you enjoy. When going through a doorway, conceive of the wish that you were bringing all beings with you through the threshold of absolute freedom and happiness (enlightenment) and dedicate the merit of that to that aim. There are countless ways to do things like this and you can tailor them to whatever moves you and resonates with you. These types of things will cultivate mindfulness and compassion for sure.

Sorry this was very long winded, but hope something I wrote may be of help.

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Re: Ngondro Challenges

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Tue Jul 17, 2012 4:36 am

Challenge23 wrote:Re;guru yoga. Well, to be frank I've always felt a little uncomfortable around it. The idea of being that extremely devoted to one person, any person, is not something I have an easy time accepting.


This is not a problem at all. One should be very careful about taking anyone on as one's guru. One must spend time observing any prospective guru and come to really feel that what he/she teaches and how he/she behaves and carries him/herself is wholesome and inspires us to open up our wisdom and become more wholesome people as well. But one also has to find a balance between being too naive/gullible and being overly critical or narrow-minded in our expectations. But definitely err on the side of caution. Once you find a person you feel is qualified to guide you through the challenging terrain of discovering your true nature, you will not have to contrive some sort of devotion or entertain notions of slavish subservience to a guru. It's more like you start to feel some confidence in him through observing him and then your confidence increases more and more as your following his advice consistently has beneficial results. Then guru yoga, which is much more like Dudjom Rinpoche's Calling the Lama from Afar than some sort of devotional exercise, will have some real meaning for you.
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Re: Ngondro Challenges

Postby heart » Tue Jul 17, 2012 5:36 am

Pema Rigdzin wrote:
Challenge23 wrote:Re;guru yoga. Well, to be frank I've always felt a little uncomfortable around it. The idea of being that extremely devoted to one person, any person, is not something I have an easy time accepting.


This is not a problem at all. One should be very careful about taking anyone on as one's guru. One must spend time observing any prospective guru and come to really feel that what he/she teaches and how he/she behaves and carries him/herself is wholesome and inspires us to open up our wisdom and become more wholesome people as well. But one also has to find a balance between being too naive/gullible and being overly critical or narrow-minded in our expectations. But definitely err on the side of caution. Once you find a person you feel is qualified to guide you through the challenging terrain of discovering your true nature, you will not have to contrive some sort of devotion or entertain notions of slavish subservience to a guru. It's more like you start to feel some confidence in him through observing him and then your confidence increases more and more as your following his advice consistently has beneficial results. Then guru yoga, which is much more like Dudjom Rinpoche's Calling the Lama from Afar than some sort of devotional exercise, will have some real meaning for you.


It isn't really about devotion to a person, it is about devotion to the natural state and the Guru is the one that point that out. Your devotion is directed at your Guru's realization of the natural state, nothing else. If you haven't really found a Guru that have introduced you to the natural state yet you direct your devotion to Guru Rinpoche, who without doubt have that capacity.

/magnus
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Re: Ngondro Challenges

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Tue Jul 17, 2012 8:18 am

:good:
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Re: Ngondro Challenges

Postby dakini_boi » Thu Jul 19, 2012 5:25 pm

Challenge,
Check your private messages. . .
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Re: Ngondro Challenges

Postby Challenge23 » Mon Jul 23, 2012 10:05 pm

To everyone who posted(two people in particular, you know who you are), thank you very much for your help. I'm currently thinking about the responses very seriously. One thing, though I can answer pretty quickly.

Pema Rigdzin wrote:
Lastly, I'm not sure I understand what you mean about "the path involving going insane along the way." If your mind is becoming unduly disturbed, your way of going about practicing needs some fine tuning. Maybe you're creating unrealistic expectations of yourself or pushing yourself too hard. Maybe you need some advice from your teacher (or a qualified teacher) on how to more gradually build up some skills you haven't yet developed (such as visualization, etc).

- Brian


Ok. What that is coming from is a podcast that I listened to not that long ago(a few months, I think). Here is the link.

http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2011/09/bg ... t-project/

There is some background in regards to the actual research in the previous episode(listed in the link, 231) but most of what I was referring to is listed in the transcript in the episode. Also note that what the woman being interviewed is talking about are constant experiences that happen off of the cushion and were extreme enough to make it difficult to manage one's daily life. The term used was "clinical impairment" and lasts between one and ten years with an average of 3.4 years. Also the 40 teachers she interviewed all agreed that this happened 100% of the time if you meditated past a certain point.

Some of the "high points" (so that people don't have to click on the link) are as follows.

* Disintegration of the self

And this can be an attenuation in self or it can be a complete dropping away. And even though you can read about this and think that this might be the goal of the contemplative path. For a lot of people it’s very very scary when that happens. And so when I mean dropping the sense of self, it can be a lack of a feeling like there’s anybody controlling. So one word are coming out of the mouth like who would be speaking them. When you move your arms and legs and walk it’s not really sure who decided that. When somebody ask you a question there’s almost a panic feeling because you don’t know who’s going to answer the question


* Sensory overload
* Temporal disintegration
* Fear
* Emotional extremes
* Physical pain

Now, if you are a monastic and/or have extremely understanding and patient employers,family, friends, etc. and have never had any mental health issues this could be an acceptable thing to go through. For me personally it is a much more difficult pill to swallow. Of course, on a side note, I am having some serious doubts in regards to these results being Enlightenment in the same sense that the Buddha talked about as it seems to make someone LESS able to function and Enlightenment is supposed to do the exact opposite.
I'm an agnostic in the same sense that Robert Anton Wilson was, except his reaction was laughter. Mine isn't.

I am not a teacher in any tradition, Buddhist or otherwise. Anything that I have posted should not be taken as representing the view of anyone other than my own. And maybe Larry S. Smith of Montgomery, Alabama. But most likely just me.
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Re: Ngondro Challenges

Postby kirtu » Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:38 am

Challenge23 wrote:Also, one thing that I would like to point out is a problem with direct experience. In a nutshell, if you put any religious pursuit into steady practice you will gain evidence that it is so. If you chant Ooto Gaio Erista and concentrate on a 2000 year old Greek goddess of Chaos then you will get absolute evidence that there is a 2000 year old Greek goddess of Chaos and you have her absolute, undivided attention(that is direct experience and I would strongly advise against doing this especially). If you get the components and take the time to do the Abramelin working you will get results and be chatting with angels and demons, if you believe in Jesus enough you may start feeling his presence and voice, etc.,etc. It's the same for all forms of faith. If you believe something and put it into practice your experience will confirm it. I would suggest that you not take my word for it but that would be a very poor idea. Trust me on this one.


This comes from two mechanisms: the first is karmic. Many (perhaps all) people have karmic connections to various spiritual paths. If these are pursued then they will manifest for you at some level. The second mechanism can actually be subsumed under karma and has to do with more esoteric Buddhist teachings concerning what can be summed up as the energetic body (although I don't mean this in a New Age sense). The bottom line is that karmically we have the propensity to experience a great deal spiritually, good and bad, across many different traditions. Or to invoke the Mind Only school view, we have the seeds for all these experiences in our mindstream.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche
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