Who is ngagpa?

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Who is a ngagpa (in the West)?

A dude (a gal) who likes to dress up in fancy Tibetan costumes.
1
4%
Same as above plus likes to post photos of him/herself in those fancy costumes.
4
15%
Whoever has received an empoverment into maha/anuttara yogatantra (does not preclude the above).
9
33%
Serious lay practitioner of v-yana, who keeps samaya pure and has undergone extensive training in v-yana.
13
48%
 
Total votes : 27

Re: Who is ngagpa?

Postby conebeckham » Tue Aug 21, 2012 4:31 pm

Yidam practice is also Guru Yoga. But that's off-topic. :offtopic: :oops:

My teacher's advice is reflective of what Malcolm says: dressing up is not being a ngapa, and samayas are samayas--many ways of understanding samayas, many systems exist. But, for beginners, mantra practice, and samayas, are somewhat "aspirational." Even those who've had Direct Introduction in Dzokchen systems don't have "power over mantra" --or so I understand. One needs to do the intensive retreats, truly maintain samayas, and produce some sort of sign or have a recognized qualification that a given practice has been "completed" or produced results. Then, one "holds mantra" and one's practice is effective. Then, one is truly a ngagpa. In fact, "using mantra on others" prior to such sorts of results may be a nice, aspirational thing to do, or it may be delusional, depending.

Most self-designated ngagpas, empowerments or not, are merely aspiring at best, or playing dress-up or gaming someone, including, often, themselves.
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Re: Who is ngagpa?

Postby dzoki » Tue Aug 21, 2012 7:39 pm

Josef wrote:Real ngagpas are going to be the ones who preserve and transmit the essential teachings in our society.
This is what makes the phonies so dangerous.


This is precisely my feeling. It seems more and more Tibetan teachers are becoming/remaining lay, from the new generation I think only Karmapa a Dilgo Khyentse are monks, the others are ngagpas or just "ordinary" lay practitioners, like all three Dujom tulkus, Phagchog Rinpoche, Kalu Rinpoche. I remeber that Beru Khyentse Rinpoche said that he is happy that he has a family, because he can relate to the experience of other people, who also have families. This lay tantric style really seems to be more fitting for our present situation than monastic institution.
It also seems that westerns have difficulties with monastic life or let´s say it is a challange for them to keep their vows for whole life. For example from the old students of Gendun Rinpoche, I think only Ani Rinchen and Lama Tenzin remain as a monks (please correct me if I am wrong, here I mean from original board of "directors" who were given the responsibility over the monastery in Le Bost) and I know of many westerners who disrobed even after being monastic for 15-20 years.
It is said that dharma can take only root in the country where there is a monastic sangha, or that monastic sangha is somehow essential for that to happen. But this is probably a notion of sutric dharma, no? Well, lets hope that a lay communties will somehow be able to produce a quality teachers, especially when nowadays many people are very much into becomming gurus.
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Re: Who is ngagpa?

Postby ngodrup » Tue Aug 21, 2012 8:02 pm

If one wants to know the significance to the Ngakchang tradition to the Nyingma,
we need only look at the institution of the "Supreme Head." Although it begins
with exile from Tibet and is decidedly modern, it's still instructive.

There have been 6. The first two, H. H. Dudjom Rinpoche, and H. H. Dilgo Khyentse
Rinpoche were Ngakpas. Then there was H. H. Penor Rinpoche, a monk, followed by
the Mindrolling Trichen, again a Ngakpa. Since his parinirvana, we've had two
more monks: H. H. Trulshik Rinpoche and H. H. Taklung TseTrul. So half of
our most venerable and respected leaders were Ngakpas.

And indeed, siddhi is implied to some extent, with the title, or *at the very least*
upholding the tradition. Teaching is also implied in the root samayas. And whether
merely honorific or not, Tibetans will refer to "ordinary ngakpas" as "Ngakpa-lama"
regardless of whether they teach or have any accomplishment.
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Re: Who is ngagpa?

Postby heart » Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:51 pm

I don't know if I am dangerous but at least I don't play dress up anymore so perhaps I don't count? I certainly don't feel like I am only aspiring though because I got precise samayas to maintain, like for example keeping my hair long, that I do keep in the way my Guru requested me to do, to the best of my ability of course.

/magnus
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Re: Who is ngagpa?

Postby byamspa » Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:05 pm

heart wrote:I don't know if I am dangerous but at least I don't play dress up anymore so perhaps I don't count? I certainly don't feel like I am only aspiring though because I got precise samayas to maintain, like for example keeping my hair long, that I do keep in the way my Guru requested me to do, to the best of my ability of course.

/magnus


i guess i don't count either then. i do wear my robes for practise situations, but not in public per se, and do my best to keep all my samayas, some of which like you said are very specific and precise things.

i think there is value to this path tho, despite all the uh, interesting conversation, about it.
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Re: Who is ngagpa?

Postby heart » Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:09 pm

byamspa wrote:
heart wrote:I don't know if I am dangerous but at least I don't play dress up anymore so perhaps I don't count? I certainly don't feel like I am only aspiring though because I got precise samayas to maintain, like for example keeping my hair long, that I do keep in the way my Guru requested me to do, to the best of my ability of course.

/magnus


i guess i don't count either then. i do wear my robes for practise situations, but not in public per se, and do my best to keep all my samayas, some of which like you said are very specific and precise things.

i think there is value to this path tho, despite all the uh, interesting conversation, about it.


Yes, there is, with or without the zen. :smile:

/magnus
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Re: Who is ngagpa?

Postby byamspa » Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:09 pm

heart wrote:
byamspa wrote:
heart wrote:I don't know if I am dangerous but at least I don't play dress up anymore so perhaps I don't count? I certainly don't feel like I am only aspiring though because I got precise samayas to maintain, like for example keeping my hair long, that I do keep in the way my Guru requested me to do, to the best of my ability of course.

/magnus


i guess i don't count either then. i do wear my robes for practise situations, but not in public per se, and do my best to keep all my samayas, some of which like you said are very specific and precise things.

i think there is value to this path tho, despite all the uh, interesting conversation, about it.


Yes, there is, with or without the zen. :smile:

/magnus


i think the dinner rule applies here... call me what u will, just don't call me late for dinner.
Phenomenon, vast as space, dharmata is your base, arising and falling like ocean tide cycles, why do i cling to your illusion of unceasing changlessness?
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Re: Who is ngagpa?

Postby heart » Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:11 pm

:smile:
"To reject practice by saying, 'it is conceptual!' is the path of fools. A tendency of the inexperienced and something to be avoided."
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Re: Who is ngagpa?

Postby conebeckham » Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:55 pm

Oh, I wear a Shamgyur and Zen sometimes, too....and I've done quite a bit of yidam practice, in and out of retreat...but I'd never presuppose to "hold the power of mantra." My hair's not been long since I was 24--a lifetime ago--but then again, I've not taken any specific "hair" empowerments.

Let's say, maybe, we're aspiring Ngakpas, with realistic evaluations of our own "success," eh? :smile:
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Re: Who is ngagpa?

Postby Yudron » Tue Aug 21, 2012 11:21 pm

If one has the qualities of a ngagpa, ngagmo, lama, or yogi/ni, your lamas (and other knowledgeable people) will start calling you that. Then it may be appropriate to wear robes out and about. That is an organic natural process. If one initiates wearing the robes outside of a community of yogins or ngakpas (such as Pema Osel Ling or Rigdzin Ling and other communities here in California) people will wonder if your ego has gone wild and you are trying to create a glorified image of yourself to try to improve your reputation, get women, or something like that. So it can have a negative effect, even if your intention is positive.

The Tibetan lamas are still trying to figure out whether or not the ngagpa title and robes are a good thing to bring over or not, and may have come to different conclusions about it.

In most contexts women did not wear these robes, even when respected and qualified, but dressed in more flattering laywomen's attire, sometimes wearing a big scarf or shawl or any color except black or yellow, like a zen.
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Re: Who is ngagpa?

Postby byamspa » Tue Aug 21, 2012 11:39 pm

the question is then,

would a ngapa wear a zen in a zendo doing zazen while a choir sings 'amen' and the cook adds more cayenne?

(sorry, a part of me has a hard time keeping to a serious vein of conversation sometimes)
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Re: Who is ngagpa?

Postby conebeckham » Wed Aug 22, 2012 12:02 am

A part?
:smile:

That was a good laugh. Laughing is good! Ngakpas laugh a lot, or so I'm told.....maybe there's hope for us after all.
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Re: Who is ngagpa?

Postby tomamundsen » Wed Aug 22, 2012 3:14 am

conebeckham wrote:But, for beginners, mantra practice, and samayas, are somewhat "aspirational." Even those who've had Direct Introduction in Dzokchen systems don't have "power over mantra" --or so I understand. One needs to do the intensive retreats, truly maintain samayas, and produce some sort of sign or have a recognized qualification that a given practice has been "completed" or produced results. Then, one "holds mantra" and one's practice is effective. Then, one is truly a ngagpa. In fact, "using mantra on others" prior to such sorts of results may be a nice, aspirational thing to do, or it may be delusional, depending.

Ahhh, now it totally makes sense why my lama told me that exact pronunciation with mantras isn't important during ngondro, but that it will be later.
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Re: Who is ngagpa?

Postby heart » Wed Aug 22, 2012 6:06 am

conebeckham wrote:Oh, I wear a Shamgyur and Zen sometimes, too....and I've done quite a bit of yidam practice, in and out of retreat...but I'd never presuppose to "hold the power of mantra." My hair's not been long since I was 24--a lifetime ago--but then again, I've not taken any specific "hair" empowerments.

Let's say, maybe, we're aspiring Ngakpas, with realistic evaluations of our own "success," eh? :smile:


Seriously Cone, I rather be a bad Ngakpa with room to improve than an aspiring Ngagkpa. I will aspire to become a Buddha, to liberate all sentient beings and stuff that matters, but like it or not I am already a Ngakpa. If you're not practicing in the Dudjom Tersar Throma tradition what would be the point of getting that "hair empowerment"? The empowerment's I did get was pure Dzogchen and in the tradition I do practice in and the Samayas were very personal, it was quite unbelievable actually.

/magnus
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Re: Who is ngagpa?

Postby heart » Wed Aug 22, 2012 6:08 am

tomamundsen wrote:
conebeckham wrote:But, for beginners, mantra practice, and samayas, are somewhat "aspirational." Even those who've had Direct Introduction in Dzokchen systems don't have "power over mantra" --or so I understand. One needs to do the intensive retreats, truly maintain samayas, and produce some sort of sign or have a recognized qualification that a given practice has been "completed" or produced results. Then, one "holds mantra" and one's practice is effective. Then, one is truly a ngagpa. In fact, "using mantra on others" prior to such sorts of results may be a nice, aspirational thing to do, or it may be delusional, depending.

Ahhh, now it totally makes sense why my lama told me that exact pronunciation with mantras isn't important during ngondro, but that it will be later.


That sounds pretty strange to me.

/magnus
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Re: Who is ngagpa?

Postby Blue Garuda » Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:49 am

I've had advice from Lamas as follows:

Pronunciation does not matter - if faith is strong it will be effective.

Pronunciation does matter and if the original was in Sankrit, pronounce it that way, not with Tibetan mispronunciation.

Pronunciation does matter and you should always pronounce it exactly as it was transmitted to you.

In the end I go for pronunciation as it was given to me. If the Lama insists he is pronouncing it in Sanskrit and plainly isn't then I resolve the problem by using Sanskrit.

Some words in mantras are Tibetan in linguistic origin and of course seeking a Sanskrit equivalent makes no sense in that case. (e.g. Khyung)

In all cases, we must have strong faith, or 'confidence' as ChNNR advises.

I thought the Ngondro process was about mastery (bringing about a change in the mind) rather than accumulation, so I would want confidence at the start that I was promouncing it correctly.

I'm assuming the mastery of a mantra as a Ngagpa must involve evidence that it has produced a result others can attest to, other than a change in the practitioner's mind.
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Re: Who is ngagpa?

Postby byamspa » Wed Aug 22, 2012 1:33 pm

If we firmly hold to our bodhicitta intention, with joy and compassion, and practise diligently, how can we fail to eventually see a result?

You know the story of the guy walking on water right? Seems he was constantly saying a mantra loudly and badly and living in a cave near a river or lake. Someone else rowed out to correct him, and he was very grateful to that person. However, as the 'corrector' rowed back away from this cave, suddenly the yogi was seen running across the water shouting 'wait wait, i've forgotten the correct pronunciation again! '
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Re: Who is ngagpa?

Postby kalden yungdrung » Wed Aug 22, 2012 1:57 pm

Tashi delek,

In addition to the topic.

Have had some dialogue with Khenpo Ratsa, who explained the word Ngakpa to me.

Mutsog Marro
KY



Khenpo Ratsa

There are two kinds of Ngakpas according his vision.

We have 2 Ngakpas:

1. One is Geylong or Drangsong
Monk Ngakpa, he has 250 vows here is no marriage possible.

2. Married Ggakpa’s with only one spouse, they have 108 vows.

This discussion came about Bonpo Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen, who is depicted with white upper garment, sems whereas he was a monk. So in this case does the white sems only underline, the Tantrical approach, which is in fact the base of all Ngakpa’s. But also a Ngakpa without white clothes is a Tantrist and his/her basic vows must be the Bodhisattva ones + Tanric ones. So the very base of the Tantrist are his vows and not his/her outfit. :)

Very difficult to live with these vows / Samayas / Dam chig, is said by many.......
THOUGH A MAN BE LEARNED
IF HE DOES NOT APPLY HIS KNOWLEDGE
HE RESEMBLES THE BLIND MAN
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Re: Who is ngagpa?

Postby byamspa » Wed Aug 22, 2012 2:14 pm

kalden yungdrung wrote:Tashi delek,

In addition to the topic.

Have had some dialogue with Khenpo Ratsa, who explained the word Ngakpa to me.

Mutsog Marro
KY



Khenpo Ratsa

There are two kinds of Ngakpas according his vision.

We have 2 Ngakpas:

1. One is Geylong or Drangsong
Monk Ngakpa, he has 250 vows here is no marriage possible.

2. Married Ggakpa’s with only one spouse, they have 108 vows.

This discussion came about Bonpo Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen, who is depicted with white upper garment, sems whereas he was a monk. So in this case does the white sems only underline, the Tantrical approach, which is in fact the base of all Ngakpa’s. But also a Ngakpa without white clothes is a Tantrist and his/her basic vows must be the Bodhisattva ones + Tanric ones. So the very base of the Tantrist are his vows and not his/her outfit. :)

Very difficult to live with these vows / Samayas / Dam chig, is said by many.......


Its not easy, but something worth doing isn't always easy. Working for the liberation of all beings is certainly in that category.

And its not all drudgery and constant hyper vigilance, there is joy and happiness this way.

Its not so bad in the end.
Phenomenon, vast as space, dharmata is your base, arising and falling like ocean tide cycles, why do i cling to your illusion of unceasing changlessness?
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Re: Who is ngagpa?

Postby conebeckham » Wed Aug 22, 2012 4:08 pm

heart wrote:Seriously Cone, I rather be a bad Ngakpa with room to improve than an aspiring Ngagkpa. I will aspire to become a Buddha, to liberate all sentient beings and stuff that matters, but like it or not I am already a Ngakpa. If you're not practicing in the Dudjom Tersar Throma tradition what would be the point of getting that "hair empowerment"? The empowerment's I did get was pure Dzogchen and in the tradition I do practice in and the Samayas were very personal, it was quite unbelievable actually.

/magnus


I think only we can know for ourselves. Or a realized master may be able to tell, I think.... If you "hold" mantra, if mantra "works" for you, who am I to say? My purpose was to add some perspective, in a general sense, really...but not to call into question anyone else's personal state. How could I? :shrug:

I have great respect for anyone, in any genuine tradition, who takes their commitments and practice seriously, and has done so for many years.
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