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Who is a ngagpa (in the West)?
A dude (a gal) who likes to dress up in fancy Tibetan costumes. 4%  4%  [ 1 ]
Same as above plus likes to post photos of him/herself in those fancy costumes. 15%  15%  [ 4 ]
Whoever has received an empoverment into maha/anuttara yogatantra (does not preclude the above). 33%  33%  [ 9 ]
Serious lay practitioner of v-yana, who keeps samaya pure and has undergone extensive training in v-yana. 48%  48%  [ 13 ]
Total votes : 27
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 Post subject: Re: Who is ngagpa?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 4:59 pm 
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I'd rather have effective practice and have no attachment to my label.

Since the only label or category I seem to be given these days is 'Retired' it's just as well! LOL :)

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 Post subject: Re: Who is ngagpa?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 5:46 pm 
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Yo, BG, I aspire to be retired...some day!
:|

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 Post subject: Re: Who is ngagpa?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 6:39 pm 
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conebeckham wrote:
Yo, BG, I aspire to be retired...some day!
:|


Better to aspire or inspire than expire. LOL :)

It's very weird to be forced to give the answer 'Retired', which apparently fits me since I stopped 'work' at the age of 48. The next welcome blow to the ego is when you only have an age category of 'over 60' to choose, as if you're identical to a 95 year old in your behaviour. Just kidding - I love being retired and having time for rituals etc.

Seriously, though, the OP's question seems to have been answered in that the definition of a Ngagpa and what it entails differs quite a lot.

This is a bit like the threads where Ngondro has cropped up. Those whose Gurus have a view that to become a Ngagpa requires vows etc. may be upset that other Gurus don't. Those whose Gurus don't require those things may feel doubt that maybe they aren't doing it 'properly'.

That's the blessing and curse of an internet forum. It can expose us to teachings and Lamas appearing to contradict each other.

Sometimes this results in the response: 'That's interesting, my Lama teaches this differently. Let's share.'
At other times, people feel threatened and the response is (paraphrase): 'How dare you contradict my Lama who is an enlightened being.'

One thing I have learned is that 'one size fits all' can be a real problem. When Gurus simply have no time to give personal advice due to having thousands of followers and a busy schedule, people can end up doing things incorrectly or failing to recognise what is progress and what is wishful thinking. If it is left to senior disciples to give the guidance it can be a bit of a lottery or a very rewarding and enriching experience.

We must also remember that our qualifications and titles may reassure some people, but others don't care and want to judge your performance.
I've a bucketful of professional national prizes and titles but when you retire they are completely useless. It's a great lesson in preparing for death.

So is a Ngagpa someone who has mastery over mantras and has proven results or someone whose Guru has trained them and recognised them as such. Why not either or both? It doesn't matter, as we're surely not looking for universal acceptance in the way that a doctor may need to prove the transferability of their qualification when applying to work in another country.

I also doubt that any beneficiary of successful practice will care. ;)

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 Post subject: Re: Who is ngagpa?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:34 pm 
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a practical question on the hair commitment:

It seems to me from casual observation that many Tibetan men who keep this commitment do so with a simple topknot, and it's easy because the have so little hair. Let's say you're gifted in the follicle department: do you keep it in a topknot samurai style? braided and out of the way? or let it dread up for less maintenance? or might it make sense to keep it covered as the Sikhs do?

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 Post subject: Re: Who is ngagpa?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:39 pm 
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Jikan wrote:
a practical question on the hair commitment:

It seems to me from casual observation that many Tibetan men who keep this commitment do so with a simple topknot, and it's easy because the have so little hair. Let's say you're gifted in the follicle department: do you keep it in a topknot samurai style? braided and out of the way? or let it dread up for less maintenance? or might it make sense to keep it covered as the Sikhs do?


It does not matter how you where your hair. A lot of Ngagpas in Tibet have dreads.

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 Post subject: Re: Who is ngagpa?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:43 pm 
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Jikan wrote:
a practical question on the hair commitment:

It seems to me from casual observation that many Tibetan men who keep this commitment do so with a simple topknot, and it's easy because the have so little hair. Let's say you're gifted in the follicle department: do you keep it in a topknot samurai style? braided and out of the way? or let it dread up for less maintenance? or might it make sense to keep it covered as the Sikhs do?


And what about the beard?

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 Post subject: Re: Who is ngagpa?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 9:11 pm 
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conebeckham wrote:
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.


You wear a zen, right? What is the purpose of that? You have some realization to match that red piece of cloth? Or is it only striped zen's that have to have a matching realization? This discussion makes no sense and it is the reason why I don't wear my zen in the sangha anymore, there is no limit to what people feel they can project on you when you wear it.

/magnus

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 Post subject: Re: Who is ngagpa?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 9:33 pm 
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I wear a zen sometimes.....but I completely understand what you mean. And I agree with you.

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 Post subject: Re: Who is ngagpa?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 9:36 pm 
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Blue Garuda wrote:
Jikan wrote:
a practical question on the hair commitment:

It seems to me from casual observation that many Tibetan men who keep this commitment do so with a simple topknot, and it's easy because the have so little hair. Let's say you're gifted in the follicle department: do you keep it in a topknot samurai style? braided and out of the way? or let it dread up for less maintenance? or might it make sense to keep it covered as the Sikhs do?


And what about the beard?


It is skra dbang -- there is no need for a beard. Beards are not skra. Skra is the hair on your head, only.

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 Post subject: Re: Who is ngagpa?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 10:35 pm 
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Malcolm wrote:
Blue Garuda wrote:
Jikan wrote:
a practical question on the hair commitment:

It seems to me from casual observation that many Tibetan men who keep this commitment do so with a simple topknot, and it's easy because the have so little hair. Let's say you're gifted in the follicle department: do you keep it in a topknot samurai style? braided and out of the way? or let it dread up for less maintenance? or might it make sense to keep it covered as the Sikhs do?


And what about the beard?


It is skra dbang -- there is no need for a beard. Beards are not skra. Skra is the hair on your head, only.

What is the significance and purpose of the hair empowerment? Does not cutting your hair endow you with certain powers?


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 Post subject: Re: Who is ngagpa?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 12:02 am 
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tomamundsen wrote:
What is the significance and purpose of the hair empowerment? Does not cutting your hair endow you with certain powers?


You can power the spaceship then. :D :alien:

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 Post subject: Re: Who is ngagpa?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 4:07 pm 
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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.......[/quote]







Tashi delek,

Yes, we also have women who are called Ngakmos and below a nice photo from Tibetan Ngakmos or Yoginis from Amdo. རེབ་གོང་སྔགས་མང་གི་སྔགས་མ་ཚོ། :thumbsup: Like we can watch, only some of them wear white garment.

Attachment:
Tibetan Ngakmos - Yoginis from Amdo..jpg
Tibetan Ngakmos - Yoginis from Amdo..jpg [ 49.92 KiB | Viewed 903 times ]



Mutsog Marro
KY

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 Post subject: Re: Who is ngagpa?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 4:47 pm 
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Great picture. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Who is ngagpa?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2012 9:27 am 
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i wear zen only in private during my practice, its quite inspiring for me. And complete ngakpa robes only durings retreats, or teachings with other ngakpa sangha. This treatise is matching pretty much my feelings about ngakpa robes:

http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.1086/596567?uid=3739024&uid=2129&uid=2&uid=70&uid=4&sid=21100999835483

And: yes, I do have at least three photos on facebook (from retreat), wearing robes. I dont see it to be wrong. Also many western monks do have photos in robes. Does it make them pretenders?

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 Post subject: Re: Who is ngagpa?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2012 2:16 pm 
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This seems to apply to this discussion.

http://www.lotsawahouse.org/tibetan-masters/nyingma-masters/dudjom-rinpoche/mirror

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 Post subject: Re: Who is ngagpa?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2012 2:27 pm 
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Being flexible is key in my opinion.
There is a lot of variety in how the zen etc. are utilized as tools for practitioners and thats fine, we should do what works for us and what our teachers instruct us to do.

I have a zen, I wear it when I go to teachings etc. with sanghas who use them. If I am going to a teaching where they dont, I leave it at home.
Its a tool for me, nothing more.

Hair is interesting too. I will be reading the paper Gyalpo posted this evening.
Recently I have decided to let my hair grow, it has nothing to do with a vow or anything like that but rather as an homage of sorts to my teacher and to the natural state.

These things can be simple and useful as long as we avoid rigidity or judgement.

"We have to work with circumstances."


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 Post subject: Re: Who is ngagpa?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2012 2:43 pm 
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Gyalpo wrote:
Also many western monks do have photos in robes. Does it make them pretenders?


The difference, Gyalpo, is that for monks wearing robes is actually part of their vows. The same cannot be said of so called Ngagpas. I have read many fulfillment rituals, I never saw one where a Ngagpa needed to confess not wearing his or her religious gear.

But like Joe said, if you are in a Sangha where the teacher likes his students to wear such things, then it is better to please your teacher.

ChNN thinks such things are pretty ridiculous on westerners, so I don't wear such articles. I prefer the shamanic hippy look. :twothumbsup:

M

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 Post subject: Re: Who is ngagpa?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2012 4:22 pm 
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People love badges of 'belonging' and 'status' - no end of variety in Buddhism with robes, shawls, long hair, shaven eyebrows, pretty blue sashes, huge malas etc. Some of these are now a long way from badges of humility and poverty and related vows and seem more akin to Catholic Papal shows of opulence.

If such external appearances have a spiritual meaning and value to the wearer that's fine. I wear such several items at different times myself.

Several monks have said to me that they wish they could ditch the robes when in the West but they mentioned how disappointed the Westerners would be if they looked ordinary. Some had permission not to wear them all the time.

Westerners (some at least) seem to want to dress like their Tibetan teachers, but I've noticed a 'new breed' who have designed their own robes and call each other 'Brother' and 'Sister'.

I would think Ngagpas are in a great position to create a Western shamanic look. How about Druidic? ;)

Image

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