Ngondro Quandries

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Ngondro Quandries

Postby Nilasarasvati » Thu Jun 13, 2013 10:54 pm

I've been practicing a very short, concise Ngondro that came to me through Lama Thupten Dorje Gyaltsen>Lama Sonam T. Kazi>Dudjom Rinpoche as far as I know, nobody on here has ever practiced it besides Pema Choepel---if anybody else is currently accumulating it, please let me know! As far as its existence on the internet, it's only talked about on the blog of a shady self-declared Tulku whose name I forget.

Anyway, my guess is that it's pretty atypical for a few reasons:

1. Instead of accumulating 100,000 100 Syllable mantras, you only do 100,000 of the 6 syllable Vajrasattva Mantra.
2. Instead of a full-on Mandala setup, I believe there's just a recitation/visualization.
3. All of the accumulations are very, very short pith prayers--instead of the Bodhicitta verses you may read in other ngondros, I have a 9 syllable phrase.

For these reasons I'm assuming, once I'm finished, that most Lamas will expect me to accumulate a "normal" size Ngondro (which, by the way, I do want to do! In fact I wish I'd started with one!). That said...basically...I feel discouraged in the process of accumulating this one :? I know most people struggle with the whole "Main practice" fixation/envy while they are working on their Ngondro, but I now feel like I have Russian nesting doll version of that---like I'm having to perform a preliminary to a preliminary.

I'm definitely coming at it from a spiritual materialist standpoint--as if my current practice isn't necessary/good enough/I need the shinier one...and I may only have one chance this year to encounter lineage teachers who could give me the lung for another Ngondro....

Does anybody have any advice?
Pemachophel, I'm especially hoping you're out there reading this and can set me straight.
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Re: Ngondro Quandries

Postby Karma Dorje » Fri Jun 14, 2013 12:05 am

This is somewhat tangential, but you could attend one of Chogyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche's upcoming online retreats and begin the main practice alongside your ngondro accumulation. Aside from Direct Introduction, at each retreat he gives the lung for the collective practices of the Dzogchen Community, so you would have plenty of skillful means at your disposal (speaking of shiny things).

This really isn't "jumping the queue". It is quite common for the mind to be pointed out, and then for the student to go back to ngondro to remove obstacles if/as necessary. I personally have found this to be more profound, because one has a purer motivation than "I have to get through all this to get to the good stuff". Typically, one will look to accomplish the ngondro of the cycle of teachings and/or school one will be primarily practicing with rather than simply based on its length or the specifics of its practice. If you are not studying with someone that will continue to teach you the cycle that this ngondro is from, you may want consider your goal with it.
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Re: Ngondro Quandries

Postby Nilasarasvati » Fri Jun 14, 2013 12:33 am

Typically, one will look to accomplish the ngondro of the cycle of teachings and/or school one will be primarily practicing with rather than simply based on its length or the specifics of its practice. If you are not studying with someone that will continue to teach you the cycle that this ngondro is from, you may want consider your goal with it.


This is what I thought---if you are going to do the Lonchen Nyingtig cycle, you do the Ngondro first. If you want to do another terma cycle, you start again.

With that in mind...I have no idea what to do :oops: because my future location is uncertain.

My goal at this point is to accumulate merit and wisdom so that I can...do something beneficial someday? Meet my root lama?
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Re: Ngondro Quandries

Postby tingdzin » Fri Jun 14, 2013 12:58 am

My advice would be to whip through the ngondro you are doing first. If you quit it, it would not bode well for your future attempts to complete a regular ngondro. Sounds like you could finish it pretty fast if you are diligent. But don't just do it by rote -- try to see the point of the practices, and you'll get more from the next ngondro you do.

after that, I would reflect on the four so-called ordinary ngondro, the thoughts that turn the mind, to establish a good basis for your second, regular ngondro. If you have a guru yoga practice, do that a lot, and make sincere aspirations to meet your root guru.

Don't be discouraged -- I did two complete sets of regular ngondro, and 10% of another, because that is what my teachers wanted. If you do ngondro properly, your practices after that will be much more profound and easily accomplished than if you just regard the whole thing as something to be got through to get to the "good stuff".
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Re: Ngondro Quandries

Postby heart » Fri Jun 14, 2013 6:59 am

Nilasarasvati wrote:Does anybody have any advice?


How fortunate that you got the transmission of that Ngondro, don't have any doubt about it because it certainly is a full Ngondro. I think pemachopel said somewhere he finished that Ngondro in a week or 10 days or so. You will get other Ngondro's in the future, that you might do or not do, don't worry about that now.

/magnus
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Re: Ngondro Quandries

Postby yegyal » Fri Jun 14, 2013 7:34 am

Which ngondro is it?
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Re: Ngondro Quandries

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Jun 14, 2013 8:20 am

You need to get over this concept that ngondro practices are not important and complete practices in and of themselves. What could possibly be more important than guru yoga?

Any one practice is a complete practice, because all practices point to the nature of mind.

I was given a mantra to use when going to toilet, an offering mantra for the preta. Given my metabolism, and the quantities of tea I drink, if I was to practice this mantra wholeheartedly every time I went to toilet it would probably amount to a tonne of merit for me, an incredible reduction in suffering for the preta and an exponential increase in the amount of time I spend in one-pointed mindful contemplation during the course of the day.

I guess you could make it a main practice if you suffered from chronic dysentry. :tongue:

The point is (apart from the toilet humor) that any one practice, is more than enough practice, if practiced from the heart.
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Re: Ngondro Quandries

Postby Dharmaswede » Fri Jun 14, 2013 9:05 am

Concise Nogondros are complete too. It's all there, but less elaborated – take a look and you'll see. But because of that, the quality of the practice is important (presence, clarity of visualization etc.). Ngondro is really a practice, so long or short, doesn't matter. Though sometimes (or perhaps always?) it may reflect the general approach, outlook or "strategy" of the particular lineage, so in that sense there might be a "logic" (for lack of a better word) to the length of the Ngondro.

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Re: Ngondro Quandries

Postby Adamantine » Fri Jun 14, 2013 11:04 am

Can you please tell us the precise ngondro that you are using? There is quite a short Dudjom Tersar ngondro that most Dudjom lineage practitioners do, but it is not as you described: i.e., you accumulate the full 100 syllable mantra, and you do full mandala offerings, etc. However, you would not know this information from the text: from the text alone it may seem as you describe. You need to receive the instructions in depth from a qualified teacher. So if this is really a different, shorter ngondro coming from Dudjom Rinpoche I have never heard of it, which surprises me. Can you please give more details? It is hard for me to imagine a ngondro with a shorter root text than the one I am familiar with. . .

Maybe Pema Choepel can elaborate more?
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Re: Ngondro Quandries

Postby heart » Fri Jun 14, 2013 12:20 pm

Adamantine wrote:Can you please tell us the precise ngondro that you are using? There is quite a short Dudjom Tersar ngondro that most Dudjom lineage practitioners do, but it is not as you described: i.e., you accumulate the full 100 syllable mantra, and you do full mandala offerings, etc. However, you would not know this information from the text: from the text alone it may seem as you describe. You need to receive the instructions in depth from a qualified teacher. So if this is really a different, shorter ngondro coming from Dudjom Rinpoche I have never heard of it, which surprises me. Can you please give more details? It is hard for me to imagine a ngondro with a shorter root text than the one I am familiar with. . .

Maybe Pema Choepel can elaborate more?


I think it is the ngondro Dudjom Rinpoche wrote for Sonam T. Kazi. Mainly practiced by his own students like for example pemachopel.

/magnus
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Re: Ngondro Quandries

Postby michaelb » Fri Jun 14, 2013 1:18 pm

Nilasarasvati wrote:This is what I thought---if you are going to do the Lonchen Nyingtig cycle, you do the Ngondro first. If you want to do another terma cycle, you start again.
With that in mind...I have no idea what to do :oops: because my future location is uncertain.
My goal at this point is to accumulate merit and wisdom so that I can...do something beneficial someday? Meet my root lama?

I think there is also the tradition of doing one full ngondro for one terma lineage then, if one starts practicing another terma tradition, one may only need to do only 10% of the ngondro for that terma tradition.

All lamas vary and some may require many ngondros of their own terma lineage and full ngondros again of any other lineage one may want to practice in.

If you want to meet your root lama may I suggest 1 bum of seven line prayers? There's also a tradition of doing that in the LN ngondro as part of the Guru Yoga.
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Re: Ngondro Quandries

Postby Nilasarasvati » Fri Jun 14, 2013 1:52 pm

Yeah! These are all great help and advice.

Greg, I want your toilet practice :? I say the 100 syllable mantra and I guess it's basically the same.
We are both excessive tea drinkers.

Yes as Heart said, the Ngondro is very uncommon and was only given to students of Lama Kazi.

I received Lung, Wang and copious instruction on this particular Ngondro for about a year. However, when it came to literature, we were instructed to read A Cascading Waterfall of Nectar by Thinley Norbu, which is of course for the Dudjom Tersar Ngondro...so there are numerous differences some of which I never realized until I got further into study...I.E. the refuge tree is radically different.

I have WMPT, which is a relatively close instruction for the same terma Ngondro, although mine is very very very short.
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Re: Ngondro Quandries

Postby conebeckham » Fri Jun 14, 2013 4:23 pm

Practitioners who have been given long, involved ngondro liturgies dream of shorter, condensed versions.

Now, I see, practitioners who have been given short, condensed versions are dreaming of long, involved liturgies.

And so it goes.
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Re: Ngondro Quandries

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Jun 14, 2013 5:15 pm

conebeckham wrote:Practitioners who have been given long, involved ngondro liturgies dream of shorter, condensed versions.

Now, I see, practitioners who have been given short, condensed versions are dreaming of long, involved liturgies.

And so it goes.
:rolling: Ain't that the truth!!!
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Ngondro Quandries

Postby Nilasarasvati » Fri Jun 14, 2013 5:24 pm

conebeckham wrote:Practitioners who have been given long, involved ngondro liturgies dream of shorter, condensed versions.

Now, I see, practitioners who have been given short, condensed versions are dreaming of long, involved liturgies.

And so it goes.


HAHAHAH! So true!
Henceforth I will stop feeling jealous...I promise.
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Re: Ngondro Quandries

Postby conebeckham » Fri Jun 14, 2013 5:30 pm

Nah, it's okay...it's natural. That's part of ngondro too, right?

If we're honest with ourselves, all these feelings we have regarding our practice--boredom, frustration, concern, etc., are signs, too. My current main practice is a fairly short liturgy. I found myself missing the discipline and structure of a considerably longer liturgical framework, from a time gone by,.....until the little light bulb went on above my head.

Some days, practice goes very well, I think, and my recitation periods are full of bliss and serenity. Some days, I can barely keep my eyes open, and doze. Some days, I'm reciting while thinking of what I'm going to eat. All these experiences are signs. Ha HA! :smile: Signs of something, at least......
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Re: Ngondro Quandries

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Jun 14, 2013 5:34 pm

Signs that we ain't enlightened is my guess! :smile:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Ngondro Quandries

Postby haydenlaw » Fri Jun 14, 2013 5:50 pm

Nilasarasvati wrote:I've been practicing a very short, concise Ngondro that came to me through Lama Thupten Dorje Gyaltsen>Lama Sonam T. Kazi>Dudjom Rinpoche as far as I know, nobody on here has ever practiced it besides Pema Choepel---if anybody else is currently accumulating it, please let me know! As far as its existence on the internet, it's only talked about on the blog of a shady self-declared Tulku whose name I forget.

Anyway, my guess is that it's pretty atypical for a few reasons:

1. Instead of accumulating 100,000 100 Syllable mantras, you only do 100,000 of the 6 syllable Vajrasattva Mantra.
2. Instead of a full-on Mandala setup, I believe there's just a recitation/visualization.
3. All of the accumulations are very, very short pith prayers--instead of the Bodhicitta verses you may read in other ngondros, I have a 9 syllable phrase.

For these reasons I'm assuming, once I'm finished, that most Lamas will expect me to accumulate a "normal" size Ngondro (which, by the way, I do want to do! In fact I wish I'd started with one!). That said...basically...I feel discouraged in the process of accumulating this one :? I know most people struggle with the whole "Main practice" fixation/envy while they are working on their Ngondro, but I now feel like I have Russian nesting doll version of that---like I'm having to perform a preliminary to a preliminary.

I'm definitely coming at it from a spiritual materialist standpoint--as if my current practice isn't necessary/good enough/I need the shinier one...and I may only have one chance this year to encounter lineage teachers who could give me the lung for another Ngondro....

Does anybody have any advice?
Pemachophel, I'm especially hoping you're out there reading this and can set me straight.


I've done the ngondro you are talking about. Let me say first that Pemachopel is a real speed-demon (well not really a demon of any sort!) - most of the folks I know who completed it did so in months or years - but most were also heavily involved in work, family, other Dharma service etc. As it was given out as far as I know it was a sort of lead-in and preparation for the well known Longchen Nyingthig Ngondro. It definitely was not intended as the only ngondro one would ever do - but then none of them are - and one hears of many of the great Lamas doing particular ngondros many times over. And that's before getting to the 'main practice.'

As I was taught, this ngondro is a bit more involved than you describe it. I ended up doing 500K of the brief Vajrasattva mantra - tho that was based on instructions given to me specifically - I think other students may have done 100K. And the mandala, as we were taught, included actual offerings - a simple 5 heap mandala refreshed at least with the addition of a bit more offerings with each repletion. In addition, and you didn't mention this part, accumulation of prostrations was not a specific part - though each individual had their own instructions on that.

As for the rest of the practice - it's really very profound - it was written by Dudjom Rinpoche as a Dzogchen preliminary after all - and like many others, it reveals its depth as you do it, over time. I trust you have the english translation of all the verses. Like many or most such texts, a lot is condensed into a few words and a good bit of studying and learning is needed to 'unpack' them. WOMPT is a good source for this. One comes to a point at which the full resonance of each of these prayers is there each time you repeat them.

Having begun it, as others have said, it's probably a good thing to finish it. Especially since it is so concise. It changes you as you do it - like all practices. And no matter what you do, you have ngondros ahead of you....

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Re: Ngondro Quandries

Postby Adamantine » Fri Jun 14, 2013 6:04 pm

heart wrote:
Adamantine wrote:Can you please tell us the precise ngondro that you are using? There is quite a short Dudjom Tersar ngondro that most Dudjom lineage practitioners do, but it is not as you described: i.e., you accumulate the full 100 syllable mantra, and you do full mandala offerings, etc. However, you would not know this information from the text: from the text alone it may seem as you describe. You need to receive the instructions in depth from a qualified teacher. So if this is really a different, shorter ngondro coming from Dudjom Rinpoche I have never heard of it, which surprises me. Can you please give more details? It is hard for me to imagine a ngondro with a shorter root text than the one I am familiar with. . .

Maybe Pema Choepel can elaborate more?


I think it is the ngondro Dudjom Rinpoche wrote for Sonam T. Kazi. Mainly practiced by his own students like for example pemachopel.

/magnus


Oh, cool! So then Nilasarasvati should feel very special. . it's a VIP club :smile:
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Re: Ngondro Quandries

Postby Adamantine » Fri Jun 14, 2013 6:05 pm

haydenlaw wrote:Having begun it, as others have said, it's probably a good thing to finish it. Especially since it is so concise. It changes you as you do it - like all practices. And no matter what you do, you have ngondros ahead of you....



Sound advice!
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