Simon E. wrote:
There are no general rules...apart from those we manufacture to stop panic attacks when faced with That Which Simply Arises.
Nice way of putting it.
Andrew's post was good.
The rest don't bring anything new to the table. Just the regurgitation of the same arguments that I still find unconvincing, plus a pinch of fantasy.
Ngöndro is a good way to accumulate merits and purify karma and this is the reason for performing it. This is why it is given, because people are not considered prepared to actual Dzogchen practice (not even Yidam practice).
If one knows how to practice Dzogchen, whatever practice one does can be integrated. What's new there? The problem is that most don't know how to practice Dzogchen and will not learn it by doing ngöndro.
So that's mostly fantasy.
It sells well among those who are looking for Dzogchen teachings and end up getting ngöndro and tantra. All from a Dzogchen perspective, of course.
And if they wonder why aren't they practicing Dzogchen, someone will probably go at a great length trying to convince them of the opposite...
I saw that happening right in this forum yesterday.
I've been a Dzogchen lurker for a bit, it IS in Dudjom's lineage I practice out of... but never felt I was advanced enough as a student to be able to access the teachings, because it's 'for the big kids.' I've heard several times, 'when you've done Ngondro,' or Dzogchen is 'the highest level.' I thought, fair enough, I'm a beginner at best, have refuge vows and make my daily life the practice of kindness... but overall, the message I got from Dzogchen was "NOT for ME.... yet." So I steered clear out of the big kids' club. In the dharma practice, I'm just a kid. I look at our teachers and go, yeah... right. I have a LONG way to go.
Adamantine jumped in in a flash trying to explain that was not his experience, interpretation, blah, blah, blah, but what Ogyen said in her innocence is what is common, not the other way around.
This is not really the tradition of Dudjom's lineage, not how I was introduced to it or understand it.[...]If your teacher's are not explicitly teaching you Dzogchen™, then ask them to teach on Guru Yoga. You will be receiving Dzogchen teachings, it is inevitable.
If someone with vested interests tries to convince you of the contrary, caveat emptor. You're not being explicitly taught Dzogchen or actually practicing with specific Dzogchen methods because you're not believed to have such capacity unless you finish ngöndro. Anyway, it's all in this nice topic Malcom created: viewtopic.php?f=48&t=8916
News flash, if you follow the classic approach, you're expected to actually practice Dzogchen after perfecting kyerim, something most of you will never get to do. The defilements are considered so powerful these days, that some lamas will require not 100.000 of each accumulation, but 400.000.
You are not really expected to be able to practice Dzogchen. At most it's believed that you may experience for a very short time your real nature, something rare, and then, kaput. If you believe you have to do ngöndro and yidam so that you can practice Dzogchen, who am I to say the opposite? Go for it, have a blast! Really, I mean it.
This is why you do ngöndro and the rest, not because you are practicing Dzogchen or whatever fantasy being sold here. Of course, if you you want to convince yourself that you are practicing Dzogchen when you are breaking your back doing 400 000 prostrations, for instance that's entirely up to you. Prostrations with a Dzogchen flavor are much nicer! I'll take mine with strawberry though.
Anyway, none of this is my problem. I don't have anything else to say.
Believe what you will. It's your time you're spending.