Job Description of a Village Ngakpa

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Re: Job Description of a Village Ngakpa

Postby Yudron » Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:50 pm

jerkhyi longdong wrote:I feel the primary job of a ngakpa/ma is to abide in rigpa, and also let that flourish through practices in order to benefit beings. It seems to me also that direct knowledge of rigpa is how a ngakpa will help liberate oneself and others from the four demons.

As Yudron pointed out about Longchenpa's advice (and many others), it can be dangerous manifesting as a village ngapka, unless you were under instruction by your lama to do so, otherwise one can benefit oneself and others by remaining a hidden yogi/ni.


I obviously adore the old ngakpas. It seems like the word can be used in several different ways, even by the people it is applied to. There are Sakya, Kagyu, Bon ngakpas, and many Nyingma ngakpas who have never had the opportunity to study Dzogchen. I think if we are going to use the word ngakpa, it describes someone, a mantrin, who practices mantra and has truly accomplished a deity yoga practice. Not someone like me who just adds up numbers of mantras recited, or days in retreat, and says "done" when the prescribed amount is completed.

I don't speak Tibetan, but I think Naljorpa (-ma -mo) is a more apt description of practitioners of the highest practices. One can be both.
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Re: Job Description of a Village Ngakpa

Postby Yeti » Thu Nov 08, 2012 11:26 pm

Yudron wrote:
jerkhyi longdong wrote:There are Sakya, Kagyu, Bon ngakpas, and many Nyingma ngakpas who have never had the opportunity to study Dzogchen.


They may not have studied a lot, or even at all, but they receive their realisation through their incredible guru yoga practice. They really do this practice to completion.

I once asked Karma Lhundup Rinpoche how Yeshe Dorje Rinpoche obtained his siddhis... thinking of various deity / yoga practices, etc, etc. Karma Rinpoche just looked at me with this look of "I can't believe this so called long time vajrayana practitioner is so clueless"... and he replied; "Purely through his incredible devotion to Dudjom Rinpoche".

Maybe it was just a message to clueless me :thinking:
"When a Dzogchen Yogi hears Shakyamuni Buddha turning the Wheel of the Dharma of the Four Noble Truths he hears Samathabhadra proclaiming the most profound Dzogpachenpo." - Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche
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Re: Job Description of a Village Ngakpa

Postby tomamundsen » Fri Nov 09, 2012 3:09 am

Yudron wrote:I think if we are going to use the word ngakpa, it describes someone, a mantrin, who practices mantra and has truly accomplished a deity yoga practice.

Yea, Malcolm said before that a ngagpa is someone whose mantras actually work; which sounds about the same as what you're saying.
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Re: Job Description of a Village Ngakpa

Postby heart » Fri Nov 09, 2012 11:04 am

tomamundsen wrote:
Yudron wrote:I think if we are going to use the word ngakpa, it describes someone, a mantrin, who practices mantra and has truly accomplished a deity yoga practice.

Yea, Malcolm said before that a ngagpa is someone whose mantras actually work; which sounds about the same as what you're saying.


I don't think that is so accurate actually. First, if you don't believe that your mantras actually work, what kind of Vajrayana practitioner are you? Mantra always work, unless you doubt.

Ngakpas are lay Vajrayana practitioners.They are of two kinds, professional and amateurs. The professionals have to have some kind of skills that can help sponsor their practice as well as their family and life in general. These skills can be recitation (reading sutras or other texts), rituals of various kinds, divination, medicine and sometimes weather controller (which according to Chetsun Sangpo was a full time work) as well as a lot of other things. If you have a sponsor or an inheritance or a capital of some kind you don't need to have any particular skills and can practice full time concentrating on attaining enlightenment. The amateurs, like most of us, have a full time ordinary work and practice as much as they can in their free time. Are the amateurs Ngakpa's? Yes, if they consider practice the most important and most privileged activity in their life. It isn't the dress style that makes you a Ngakpa it is the attitude and capacity to integrate (to lend an expression from ChNNR) and the actual hours on the pillow.

/magnus
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Re: Job Description of a Village Ngakpa

Postby Pero » Fri Nov 09, 2012 5:11 pm

heart wrote:First, if you don't believe that your mantras actually work, what kind of Vajrayana practitioner are you? Mantra always work, unless you doubt.

I think the point is that you don't believe your mantras work, in other words, you don't think your practice has progressed to such a level for the mantras to work, not that mantras don't work. And that's true. I don't believe mantras always work in general.
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Re: Job Description of a Village Ngakpa

Postby Yudron » Fri Nov 09, 2012 5:42 pm

We can decide to say that ngakpas are all lay non-monastic practitioners of any kind of Vajrayana practice, and that is fine with me, but that not the common usage. I don't think that the stellar Tibetan lay practitioners who, for example, accumulate 100 or 1000 bums of manis or Vajraguru mantras while circumambulating a Stupa in their retirement as their main practice, nor are non-monastic Dzogchen or Mahamudra yogis in retreat referred to as ngakpa. Other words are used, for the later naljyorpa, for the former simply "Aunt Tashi" or "Uncle Pema."

You know, Dr. Nyida and his brother Hungkar, and I'm sure many others are bolstering the largest community of ngakpas in Tibet. Some of the services a "professional ngakpa" used to be able to support himself with are no longer in demand because people are interested in scientific and western medical approaches. I think I heard him say that students in his ngakpa school who want to make a living are going more towards art, like thanka art. People there still emphasize Phurba practice, as is traditional for that community. Traditionally, the ngakpas there were men (some temples did not allow women in them), but as I recall he said that by far the most up and coming serious practitioners are now women. I'm sure all of you have seen those intoxicatingly beautiful pictures of the Repkong ngakmos practicing together, and heard Hungkar's video about the 1000 Vajrakilaya practitioners of Repkong, eh?
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Re: Job Description of a Village Ngakpa

Postby Yudron » Fri Nov 09, 2012 5:59 pm

One of Hungkar's photos of some of the current Repkong ngakmas:
(Ngakmang Institutute)
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This was on a porch.
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Re: Job Description of a Village Ngakpa

Postby Yudron » Fri Nov 09, 2012 6:02 pm

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Re: Job Description of a Village Ngakpa

Postby Yudron » Fri Nov 09, 2012 7:14 pm

One night -- I think it was last summer -- at Pema Osel Ling here in California, Orgyen Chowang RInpoche (AKA Khenpo Orgyen Thinley) and Dr. Nyida has an impromptu debate about the merits of teaching arcane tantric knowledge--such as Kalachakra--under present circumstances. They were kind enough to do it in English for the benefit of those listening. I was unfortunately not there that night, but eyewitnesses tell me that Orgyen Chowang took the position that the Kalachakra (and I think by extension most complicated esoteric tantric material) was essentially dead for Nyingmapas and lamas should focus on Dzogchen now-a-days. Dr. Nyida argued that that it was not at all dead and vitally important.

I wish I had been there!

This is kind of related to the OP, I think.

This is a new world for Tibetan Buddhism and all the lamas are doing their best to find what is suitable. Orgyen Chowang is actually a very interesting figure, focusing with his students on some material about how to live a fine upstanding life as a lay practitioner based on Material from Mipham Rinpoche that sounds similar to Trungpa RInpoche's Shambhala training, and using that and a ngondro by Mipham as gateway practices to Dzogchen. However, he does these programs privately and only advertizes genera teachings on his website.

http://www.atiamrita.org
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Re: Job Description of a Village Ngakpa

Postby heart » Fri Nov 09, 2012 11:33 pm

Pero wrote:
heart wrote:First, if you don't believe that your mantras actually work, what kind of Vajrayana practitioner are you? Mantra always work, unless you doubt.

I think the point is that you don't believe your mantras work, in other words, you don't think your practice has progressed to such a level for the mantras to work, not that mantras don't work. And that's true. I don't believe mantras always work in general.


Mantras work from the very beginning.

/magnus
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Re: Job Description of a Village Ngakpa

Postby heart » Fri Nov 09, 2012 11:41 pm

Yudron wrote:We can decide to say that ngakpas are all lay non-monastic practitioners of any kind of Vajrayana practice, and that is fine with me, but that not the common usage. I don't think that the stellar Tibetan lay practitioners who, for example, accumulate 100 or 1000 bums of manis or Vajraguru mantras while circumambulating a Stupa in their retirement as their main practice, nor are non-monastic Dzogchen or Mahamudra yogis in retreat referred to as ngakpa. Other words are used, for the later naljyorpa, for the former simply "Aunt Tashi" or "Uncle Pema."


That's alright with me, you can call me uncle Magnus, I am still a Ngakpa. :smile:

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Re: Job Description of a Village Ngakpa

Postby Pero » Fri Nov 09, 2012 11:47 pm

heart wrote:
Pero wrote:
heart wrote:First, if you don't believe that your mantras actually work, what kind of Vajrayana practitioner are you? Mantra always work, unless you doubt.

I think the point is that you don't believe your mantras work, in other words, you don't think your practice has progressed to such a level for the mantras to work, not that mantras don't work. And that's true. I don't believe mantras always work in general.


Mantras work from the very beginning.

/magnus

Really? Why the need to repeat them millions of time then? It should be sufficient to recite it just once to get an effect.
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Re: Job Description of a Village Ngakpa

Postby Yudron » Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:05 am

heart wrote:
Yudron wrote:We can decide to say that ngakpas are all lay non-monastic practitioners of any kind of Vajrayana practice, and that is fine with me, but that not the common usage. I don't think that the stellar Tibetan lay practitioners who, for example, accumulate 100 or 1000 bums of manis or Vajraguru mantras while circumambulating a Stupa in their retirement as their main practice, nor are non-monastic Dzogchen or Mahamudra yogis in retreat referred to as ngakpa. Other words are used, for the later naljyorpa, for the former simply "Aunt Tashi" or "Uncle Pema."


That's alright with me, you can call me uncle Magnus, I am still a Ngakpa. :smile:

/magnus


You're Uncle Ngakpa Magnus to me.
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Re: Job Description of a Village Ngakpa

Postby catmoon » Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:26 am

Pero wrote:
heart wrote:
Pero wrote:I think the point is that you don't believe your mantras work, in other words, you don't think your practice has progressed to such a level for the mantras to work, not that mantras don't work. And that's true. I don't believe mantras always work in general.


Mantras work from the very beginning.

/magnus

Really? Why the need to repeat them millions of time then? It should be sufficient to recite it just once to get an effect.


It does depend on intention. If you want a Mercedes you might be chanting a very long time. If you seek the benefits of virtuous contemplation then the benefits are almost immediate.
Sergeant Schultz knew everything there was to know.
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Re: Job Description of a Village Ngakpa

Postby heart » Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:26 pm

Pero wrote:
heart wrote:
Mantras work from the very beginning.

/magnus

Really? Why the need to repeat them millions of time then? It should be sufficient to recite it just once to get an effect.


Mantras don't get better the longer you recite them. Mantra's immediately connect us with the natural state but due to our habits of duality and lack of confidence we have to recite them for a long time. If you think how ChNNR explains using the visualization of the white Ah and then applying the mantra of "Ah" it actually is a perfect explanation of how all mantras work.
Then there is a thing I realized just recently and that is that it is very beneficial to apply mantras for a very long time. Even if mantras work, right out of the box, there are some other qualities that manifest with time. Of course if you do a lot of retreat this might happen sooner. But being an amateur Ngakpa like me you have to keep at it for a long time before this experience manifest.
In Mahayoga they talk about approach, close approach, accomplishment and great accomplishment and after that you apply the activities as stages of the recitation. This scheme actually makes sense to me now since it seems to manifest this way naturally if you have some confidence in the incredible qualities of the mantra and sadhana that you follow.

/magnus
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Re: Job Description of a Village Ngakpa

Postby heart » Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:29 pm

Yudron wrote:
heart wrote:
Yudron wrote:We can decide to say that ngakpas are all lay non-monastic practitioners of any kind of Vajrayana practice, and that is fine with me, but that not the common usage. I don't think that the stellar Tibetan lay practitioners who, for example, accumulate 100 or 1000 bums of manis or Vajraguru mantras while circumambulating a Stupa in their retirement as their main practice, nor are non-monastic Dzogchen or Mahamudra yogis in retreat referred to as ngakpa. Other words are used, for the later naljyorpa, for the former simply "Aunt Tashi" or "Uncle Pema."


That's alright with me, you can call me uncle Magnus, I am still a Ngakpa. :smile:

/magnus


You're Uncle Ngakpa Magnus to me.


:smile: thank you Auntie Naljorma Yudron.

/magnus
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Re: Job Description of a Village Ngakpa

Postby Pero » Sat Nov 10, 2012 1:29 pm

heart wrote:
Pero wrote:
heart wrote:
Mantras work from the very beginning.

/magnus

Really? Why the need to repeat them millions of time then? It should be sufficient to recite it just once to get an effect.


Mantras don't get better the longer you recite them. Mantra's immediately connect us with the natural state but due to our habits of duality and lack of confidence we have to recite them for a long time. If you think how ChNNR explains using the visualization of the white Ah and then applying the mantra of "Ah" it actually is a perfect explanation of how all mantras work.
Then there is a thing I realized just recently and that is that it is very beneficial to apply mantras for a very long time. Even if mantras work, right out of the box, there are some other qualities that manifest with time. Of course if you do a lot of retreat this might happen sooner. But being an amateur Ngakpa like me you have to keep at it for a long time before this experience manifest.
In Mahayoga they talk about approach, close approach, accomplishment and great accomplishment and after that you apply the activities as stages of the recitation. This scheme actually makes sense to me now since it seems to manifest this way naturally if you have some confidence in the incredible qualities of the mantra and sadhana that you follow.

Perhaps we're not talking about the same thing. Basically, if someone gives you a mantra to start rain, it won't work the first time you say it (unless you already have some kind of realization I guess). It's like action mantras, you need to complete the main mantra first for them to work at all.
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Re: Job Description of a Village Ngakpa

Postby heart » Sat Nov 10, 2012 10:16 pm

Pero wrote:Perhaps we're not talking about the same thing. Basically, if someone gives you a mantra to start rain, it won't work the first time you say it (unless you already have some kind of realization I guess). It's like action mantras, you need to complete the main mantra first for them to work at all.


The main point of all the mantra's that I do are to recognize, decide on and fully realize the natural state. There certainly can be all kind of magic that involves mantras but I don't really know about that. But when you sound Ah in the Guru Yoga with a white Ah do you really think it don't work if you don't do it 100.000 times?

/magnus
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Re: Job Description of a Village Ngakpa

Postby Pero » Sat Nov 10, 2012 10:45 pm

heart wrote:The main point of all the mantra's that I do are to recognize, decide on and fully realize the natural state. There certainly can be all kind of magic that involves mantras but I don't really know about that.

A vajrayana practitioner doesn't know that mantras are used for various purposes? Come on man. :smile:

But when you sound Ah in the Guru Yoga with a white Ah do you really think it don't work if you don't do it 100.000 times?

That's different.
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Re: Job Description of a Village Ngakpa

Postby heart » Sat Nov 10, 2012 11:09 pm

Pero wrote:
heart wrote:The main point of all the mantra's that I do are to recognize, decide on and fully realize the natural state. There certainly can be all kind of magic that involves mantras but I don't really know about that.

A vajrayana practitioner doesn't know that mantras are used for various purposes? Come on man. :smile:


I hear a lot of things but I use any such mantras, do you?

Pero wrote:
But when you sound Ah in the Guru Yoga with a white Ah do you really think it don't work if you don't do it 100.000 times?

That's different.


No. Why would it be different?

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