Ngondro Challenges

Moderator: Tibetan Buddhism moderators

Re: Ngondro Challenges

Postby Yudron » Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:02 am

Challenge23 wrote: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.


FYI Nothing like this has ever happened to me, and I have been practicing seriously for a long time, including long personal retreats and long group retreats. Someday maybe I will listen to this recording, but it is not a universal as they represent. For most of the people I know, things go gradually and there is incremental integration so changes are normal. We have good lamas that guide us. I would certainly be a better nurse now -- more mentally focused -- than before I started practicing.
Yudron
 
Posts: 1054
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2012 8:55 pm
Location: Sunny California

Re: Ngondro Challenges

Postby heart » Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:59 am

Challenge23 wrote:
Some of the "high points" (so that people don't have to click on the link) are as follows.

* Disintegration of the self
* 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 don't know what part of the above that don't happen in ordinary samsaric life to tell you the truth. If you are doing sports, or learning to play an instrument, or collecting action figures or any other thing were you need to do an effort there will be some impermanent negative effects. No pain no gain.
My only regret, after having practiced half my life, is only that I would have practiced more and used my time more wisely. Ngondro is not an competition, so don't focus to much on the counting. If you do 100 prostrations and then sit down and rest in shine/lhagtong or the natural state for 10 minutes it should be 10 better minutes than without the 100 prostrations. The proof is in the pudding as they say.

/magnus
"To reject practice by saying, 'it is conceptual!' is the path of fools. A tendency of the inexperienced and something to be avoided."
- Longchenpa
User avatar
heart
 
Posts: 3121
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2010 1:55 pm

Re: Ngondro Challenges

Postby Yudron » Thu Jul 26, 2012 7:59 pm

[quote="heart"][quote="Challenge23"]

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

* Disintegration of the self
* Sensory overload
* Temporal disintegration
* Fear
* Emotional extremes
* Physical pain
/quote]

I just had time to go and look at the transcript of the interview with that researcher. It appears that she was working with American practitioners in the Theravadin tradition. I don't know anything about the quality of her research, what the sample size was, whether it has been peer-reviewed, whether it has been published in a good journal. So, in the first place, I do not know whether this research is teasing out some real shared experience of Vippasana practitioners or not.
My second response is that the Theravadin approach to practice cannot be assumed to produce the same meditation experiences as Mahayana and Vajrayana practices, such as ngondro. Based on my experience of both, I would say it is unlikely they do.

Looking at the interview, and knowing Vippasana people, I would not expect a lot of overlap of shared experience between practitioners of Vippasana and ngondro practitioners. She talks about the experience, for example, of people being overstimulated by sights and sounds after a Vippasana retreat. Not surprising since that style of practice in America is done in a quiet location, in silence, with one's eyes closed. We do not shut out sensory input as ngondro practitioners; eyes open, and we recite our text and can generally talk to others between sessions.
Yudron
 
Posts: 1054
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2012 8:55 pm
Location: Sunny California

Previous

Return to Nyingma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 12 guests

>