Ready for sadhanas?

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Ready for sadhanas?

Postby TaTa » Thu Dec 27, 2012 11:47 pm

I was wondering whats the usual prerequisites before starting doing sadhanas. How much shine practice is needed? Is ngondro a requisite? Is there such a thing as "rushing into ngondro"? What was your experience?

Sorry about my ignorance, and thank you in advance.
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Re: Ready for sadhanas?

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Fri Dec 28, 2012 7:43 am

TaTa wrote:I was wondering whats the usual prerequisites before starting doing sadhanas. How much shine practice is needed? Is ngondro a requisite? Is there such a thing as "rushing into ngondro"? What was your experience?

Sorry about my ignorance, and thank you in advance.


Nothing to be sorry about, Tata. Since vajrayana is all about the connection and "relationship"* between a sincerely interested and diligent student and a qualified, kind, and diligent lama, I would say the only hard and fast prerequisite is to have established such a relationship before embarking upon sadhana practice if one's goal is to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all others. Then, different lamas may have further prereqs. Shinay might be a prereq for some if they have an especially unruly mind and if they are not able to immediately grasp how the elements of shinay (as well as of lhagtong or vipashyana) are fully present in creation stage practice if done correctly. Do you currently have such a connection with a particular lama?

* As for my statement above, I should note that I put the word "relationship" in quotes only because it's not necessarily a relationship in the ordinary sense we normally give to the word, but more fundamentally it's a connection and collaboration in the same mandala with joined bodhicitta intention and aspirations and where one's effort in training in the vajra dharma is directly linked to that connection. This is evidenced by the fundamental instruction to consider one's lama (who one has established trust and confidence in) to be the essence of all buddhas in general, and of one's yidam in particular. And then when one practices a sadhana considering oneself to be the yidam, there is basically a guru yoga going on there that makes the methods much more powerful than just considering that we've gotten the empowerment, etc and permission to do the practice from some lama we have no real relationship with.
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Re: Ready for sadhanas?

Postby TaTa » Fri Dec 28, 2012 4:48 pm

Hi Pema Rigdzin. Im currently finishing my first year at dharma. The last 4 months going to a kagyu center where i met "my lama". Ive talk to him a few times in private and i think he sees that im sincere in my desires to advance in my practice but i would not say that i have a "relationship" with him. We talked about starting ngondro in a couple of months when i come back from a trip and he talked to me about the commitment that i was but im pretty sure that my relationship to dharma in general will only grow from now on. The thing im kind of worried about is that i have heard people talk about how they "rushed" into tantra and i dont want that to be the case, thats why im asking this questions.

Thanks
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Re: Ready for sadhanas?

Postby Konchog1 » Fri Dec 28, 2012 7:35 pm

TaTa wrote:Hi Pema Rigdzin. Im currently finishing my first year at dharma. The last 4 months going to a kagyu center where i met "my lama". Ive talk to him a few times in private and i think he sees that im sincere in my desires to advance in my practice but i would not say that i have a "relationship" with him. We talked about starting ngondro in a couple of months when i come back from a trip and he talked to me about the commitment that i was but im pretty sure that my relationship to dharma in general will only grow from now on. The thing im kind of worried about is that i have heard people talk about how they "rushed" into tantra and i dont want that to be the case, thats why im asking this questions.

Thanks
From my experience I can say that an understanding of emptiness is the minimum requirement to have any success with Tantra at all. Shinay and Bodhicitta will improve your practice but mastery isn't required, just a good grasp. You can master them in Tantra.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Ready for sadhanas?

Postby Caz » Fri Dec 28, 2012 8:28 pm

IMO Keeping your Guru at your Heart is the most Important thing, If you do every practice with the Inseparability of your Guru mixed with your mind you will quickly accomplish results. :namaste:
Abandoning Dharma is, in the final analysis, disparaging the Hinayana because of the Mahayana; favoring the Hinayana on account of the Mahayana; playing off sutra against tantra; playing off the four classes of the tantras against each other; favoring one of the Tibetan schools—the Sakya, Gelug, Kagyu, or Nyingma—and disparaging the rest; and so on. In other words, we abandon Dharma any time we favor our own tenets and disparage the rest.

Liberation in the Palm of your hand~Kyabje Pabongkha Rinpoche.
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Re: Ready for sadhanas?

Postby kirtu » Fri Dec 28, 2012 10:24 pm

TaTa wrote:I was wondering whats the usual prerequisites before starting doing sadhanas. How much shine practice is needed? Is ngondro a requisite? Is there such a thing as "rushing into ngondro"? What was your experience?


It depends on the sadhana. Otherwise there are no definite prerequisites except for Higher Yoga Tantra. In the Sakya tradition the usual progression is refuge, Bodhisattva Vows, Highest Yoga Tantra empowerment (at minimum Hevajra or Chakrasamvara empowerment) and lots of teaching before any kind of sadhana involving self-generation. However lower tantra sadhanas where the practitioner visualizes a diety in front of them can be done from day 1 and often are (technically even these may require a HYT empowerment but that's not how things are done in practice at least at Sakya places - at Nyingma places this seems to be semi-guarded because next to none of their practices are lower tantra to start with but they are taught/practiced from a lower tantra sort of higher sutra view to new people). Lower tantra sadhanas do have their own empowerment and these empowerments are given but they tend to be given to people who have been around for a while and may have been practicing some of these sadhanas (like Chenrezig or 21 Tara) already. So technically what is required in refuge, Bodhisattva Vows, and then an empowerment for the specific practice or a Highest Tantra empowerment but in practice these requirements might be relaxed.

The first day I met my Sakya lama he immediately gave me a sutra to recite for a friend of mine who had died. I met him as he was giving a Tibetan Heart Sutra retreat so he talked with me afterwards and learned that I was a long-time Zen practitioner (which was why I went to the 2 day retreat) and learned something about my background. Still I had just walked in off the street. And it's true that he didn't give me an actual sadhana to do but basically this sutra (Three Heap Sutra, 35 Confessional Buddhas Sutra) he gave me can be seen in a sense as a template for Tibetan sadhanas.

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Re: Ready for sadhanas?

Postby TaTa » Fri Dec 28, 2012 10:54 pm

Konchog1 wrote:From my experience I can say that an understanding of emptiness is the minimum requirement to have any success with Tantra at all. Shinay and Bodhicitta will improve your practice but mastery isn't required, just a good grasp. You can master them in Tantra.


I guess that you are talking about an intellectual understanding, am i right?
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Re: Ready for sadhanas?

Postby Konchog1 » Fri Dec 28, 2012 11:43 pm

TaTa wrote:
Konchog1 wrote:From my experience I can say that an understanding of emptiness is the minimum requirement to have any success with Tantra at all. Shinay and Bodhicitta will improve your practice but mastery isn't required, just a good grasp. You can master them in Tantra.


I guess that you are talking about an intellectual understanding, am i right?
Yes, thankfully :tongue:
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Ready for sadhanas?

Postby heart » Sat Dec 29, 2012 9:45 am

TaTa wrote:I was wondering whats the usual prerequisites before starting doing sadhanas. How much shine practice is needed? Is ngondro a requisite? Is there such a thing as "rushing into ngondro"? What was your experience?

Sorry about my ignorance, and thank you in advance.


Of course you can. You were visiting a Kagyu center then maybe they have regular sessions of sadhana practice that you can join, for example Chenresig and Green Tara. I really loved doing group practice when I was a beginner and these sadhana's became later on very important for me personally when I started doing them at home. Ngondro is actually also a sadhana. The only difference is that you have to accumulate a certain number of mantras and prayers. But it can also be done like a sadhana were you do a few of each part and then continue until Guru Yoga which is the main importance in Ngondro. This is a good way to train and get a feeling for the Ngondro. If you do Chenresig, for example, you can try accumulating 100.000 mantras of Chenresig and see what you feel about it before starting Ngondro. Learn how to do the sadhana well before starting accumulation. Then during the sessions don't push to much, concentrate on the quality aspect instead, then the accumulation will be joyful and meaningful which is the whole point. If you feel that works for you then you are ready to do Ngondro. However I would like to say that it is more important to do one practice well with joy and depth than to fail in Ngondro which a lot of westerners do.

/magnus
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