Ngondro

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Ngondro

Postby lisehull » Mon Jun 06, 2011 11:48 pm

Hi everyone, I have just begun doing Ngondro practice, and am finding I have an enormous amount of resistance. I am doing the practice almost daily for the past month but don't feel the same kind of connection that I have to other practices that I have been doing, including calm abiding and Green Tara. Have others experienced this? What do you do to address this kind of response?
:namaste:
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Re: Ngondro

Postby adinatha » Tue Jun 07, 2011 12:11 am

This is common. Push through resistance. It's the ego pushing back. When you push through you reach a blissful peace and you will be very glad you stuck with it.
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Re: Ngondro

Postby lisehull » Tue Jun 07, 2011 1:01 am

adinatha wrote:This is common. Push through resistance. It's the ego pushing back. When you push through you reach a blissful peace and you will be very glad you stuck with it.

What do you mean by "push through"? Can you give me an example? I have been persisting in the practice but don't find my resistance lessening, at least not yet.
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Re: Ngondro

Postby dakini_boi » Tue Jun 07, 2011 1:24 am

lisehull wrote:Hi everyone, I have just begun doing Ngondro practice, and am finding I have an enormous amount of resistance. I am doing the practice almost daily for the past month but don't feel the same kind of connection that I have to other practices that I have been doing, including calm abiding and Green Tara. Have others experienced this? What do you do to address this kind of response?
:namaste:
Lise



Can you say a little more about what specific practice(s) you feel resistant to? And if you can identify what it is about it you're resisting - like, it's boring, or you have trouble with sincerity, etc. Are you presently accumulating prostrations?
Last edited by dakini_boi on Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ngondro

Postby adinatha » Tue Jun 07, 2011 1:29 am

I mean just keep going even if you don't feel like it. Be a trooper.
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Re: Ngondro

Postby ngodrup » Tue Jun 07, 2011 3:34 am

In my opinion, Pushing Through, is something to do carefully.

Push too hard and it feels masochistic, it will generate more resistance.
Play safe, and you don't grow. So my idea is to stretch beyond comfort,
but not so far you feel overwhelmed.

There are two factors involved: quantity and quality. Don't over emphasize either.
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Re: Ngondro

Postby heart » Tue Jun 07, 2011 5:18 am

I agree with ngodrup. If you feel resistance you might lack the proper motivation or you might be doing to many or in the wrong way. Prostrations should be done with a feeling of awe towards the refuge tree in front of you and the prostration should be done like a soft wave expressing that awe.

/magnus
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Re: Ngondro

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Jun 07, 2011 5:38 am

I did 11,000 prostrations and then one day realized that I wasn't connecting with it at all. Not in a truly honest way. It made me take an honest look at my own mind. It was just being a head trip, and I enjoyed having this little bump on my forehead I'd gotten from the floor. This may explain why, when I first told my teacher I wanted to start (because everybody else in the sangha was doing it) he just gave me a sort of "okay, yeah, well, whatever" look. That was 20 years ago.
Sometimes I think I would have a little more connection with it now, but I doubt it.

Stay with it and see what happens. talk to your teacher and be honest with yourself, with your own mind and heart.
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Re: Ngondro

Postby justsit » Tue Jun 07, 2011 1:20 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:I did 11,000 prostrations and then one day realized that I wasn't connecting with it at all. Not in a truly honest way. It made me take an honest look at my own mind. It was just being a head trip, and I enjoyed having this little bump on my forehead I'd gotten from the floor....


:tongue:
So true...I slogged along and finally started to connect a little bit with mandala offerings.
But then, guru yoga - like getting on the express train.
Oh yeah.

Not too tight, not too loose.
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Re: Ngondro

Postby lisehull » Tue Jun 07, 2011 5:43 pm

I find it pretty monotonous, repeating the same thing every day and counting prostrations. I find myself detached from the practice and, yes, one could say I am bored. I don't feel connected. I have reduced the number of prostrations I have been doing, which has helped somewhat, but I still find that I have to push myself to do the practice and am relieved when I am done. I have talked with my teacher, but wanted to get input from fellow practitioners. :smile:
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Re: Ngondro

Postby adinatha » Tue Jun 07, 2011 5:55 pm

There's always quitting. Problem with quitting is that, even if you jump to another tradition, you have formed this quitter habit. As the saying goes, "better not to begin..." But, "once begun...," you gotta stick it out. Consider planning to do it in a retreat where you can knock 'em all out in 30-45 days or something. Or after your prostrations or over, you can tell your lama your are planning a long retreat for your next set of ngondro. Meanwhile you can attend a teacher who does not require ngondro. And generally get the best of both worlds. I actually love doing prostrations. If you can do it with the recognition of the mind's nature, it comes with blessings. It's a great physical exercise and does wonders to prepare the channels for tummo. Basically, you are a block of frozen rubber and you need to work it and warm it up before you can reshape it.
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Re: Ngondro

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Jun 07, 2011 8:32 pm

lisehull wrote:I find it pretty monotonous, repeating the same thing every day and counting prostrations. I find myself detached from the practice and, yes, one could say I am bored. I don't feel connected. I have reduced the number of prostrations I have been doing, which has helped somewhat, but I still find that I have to push myself to do the practice and am relieved when I am done. I have talked with my teacher, but wanted to get input from fellow practitioners. :smile:


That reminds me of something, I think it was Kalu Rinpoche, who completed Ngondro many times who said something like you do 100,000 because then there is a better chance that you might get it right once or twice!! And that reminds me of the "Better than a thousand..." chapter in the Dhammapada. And that reminds me of something that the Korean Zen master Zen master Dae Haeng Sunim. I met her once and asked her about 'gaps' in one's practice. She said it's all practice, the gaps are like the air in the bubbles in boiling water. You can't separate it. She said, 'just throw everything in' . which means your original mind. You just toss it in. Don't worry about being bored, because that is not your true mind.

The Jodo Shin Shu Japanese Pure Land tradition has a very interesting approach to cutting through the feelings one has about one's own practice, which I think is useful, even though technically, it regards any practice that requires one's own effort as essentially useless. Because they refer to enlightenment as "other power", meaning that it comes from Amitabha, they abandon any clinging to the results of one's own efforts. They just chant the name of Amitabha in gratitude. Chant chant chant chant chant chant chant chant chant chant chant talk about monotonous!!!
Maybe it is the profoundness of monotony which so effectively confronts the ego-clinging mind.

I am not saying that you should do this, but my point is, what if you do Ngondro without any hope of result, without any concern about whether it is boring or not, no expectations and so forth...just do it for the sake of liberating all beings from suffering?

When your mind is clear then you know exactly what to do.
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
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Re: Ngondro

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Jun 07, 2011 8:35 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
lisehull wrote:I find it pretty monotonous, repeating the same thing every day and counting prostrations. I find myself detached from the practice and, yes, one could say I am bored. I don't feel connected. I have reduced the number of prostrations I have been doing, which has helped somewhat, but I still find that I have to push myself to do the practice and am relieved when I am done. I have talked with my teacher, but wanted to get input from fellow practitioners. :smile:


That reminds me of something, I think it was Kalu Rinpoche, who completed Ngondro many times who said something like you do 100,000 because then there is a better chance that you might get it right once or twice!! And that reminds me of the "Better than a thousand..." chapter in the Dhammapada. And that reminds me of something that the Korean Zen master Zen master Dae Haeng Sunim told me. I met her once and asked her about 'gaps' in one's practice. She said it's all practice, the gaps are like the air in the bubbles in boiling water. You can't separate it. She said, 'just throw everything in' . which means your original mind. You just toss it in. Don't worry about being bored, because that is not your true mind.

The Jodo Shin Shu Japanese Pure Land tradition has a very interesting approach to cutting through the feelings one has about one's own practice, which I think is useful, even though technically, it regards any practice that requires one's own effort as essentially useless. Because they refer to enlightenment as "other power", meaning that it comes from Amitabha, they abandon any clinging to the results of one's own efforts. They just chant the name of Amitabha in gratitude. Chant chant chant chant chant chant chant chant chant chant chant talk about monotonous!!!
Maybe it is the profoundness of monotony which so effectively confronts the ego-clinging mind.

I am not saying that you should do this, but my point is, what if you do Ngondro without any hope of result, without any concern about whether it is boring or not, no expectations and so forth...just do it for the sake of liberating all beings from suffering?

When your mind is clear then you know exactly what to do.
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: Ngondro

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Jun 07, 2011 10:14 pm

lisehull wrote:I find it pretty monotonous, repeating the same thing every day and counting prostrations. I find myself detached from the practice and, yes, one could say I am bored.
What did you expect? Fanfares and fireworks?
I don't feel connected. I have reduced the number of prostrations I have been doing, which has helped somewhat, but I still find that I have to push myself to do the practice and am relieved when I am done.
Persistence is the key. I recently finished the prostration accumulations and it was a relief, now though, that they are not compulsory, I find prostrating much more enjoyable and requires very little effort! The ego is a nasty piece of work and will do anything to get you to take notice of it and feed it.
:namaste:
PS Your boredom betrays a lack of concentration on the visualisation. Give some effort to the details of the visualisation and you won't have time to be bored.
"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."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Ngondro

Postby Chaz » Tue Jun 07, 2011 11:12 pm

My practice instructor believes we put too much emphasis on the physicality of prostration and should be focusing more on the visualization of the refuge tree. That's not to say she dismisses the prostrations themselves, but there is more to the so-called prostrations practice than the act of prostrating.
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Re: Ngondro

Postby lisehull » Tue Jun 07, 2011 11:43 pm

My teacher isn't requiring that I do the practice, just suggested I was ready for it. But I have committed to do it on a regular basis and don't plan to quit. I did lessen the number of prostrations I was doing and that seemed to help with the pressure of reaching the target number. I like the suggestions of focusing more on the refuge tree and will give that a try. The issue there is that, as a newbie, I find I get the words jumbled if I focus heavily on the refuge tree.
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Re: Ngondro

Postby heart » Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:12 am

lisehull wrote:My teacher isn't requiring that I do the practice, just suggested I was ready for it. But I have committed to do it on a regular basis and don't plan to quit. I did lessen the number of prostrations I was doing and that seemed to help with the pressure of reaching the target number. I like the suggestions of focusing more on the refuge tree and will give that a try. The issue there is that, as a newbie, I find I get the words jumbled if I focus heavily on the refuge tree.
:juggling:


One suggestion is that you give up counting for a week. Just do as many as feels comfortable during that week. The counting is the source of a lot of stress for many.

/magnus
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Re: Ngondro

Postby Adamantine » Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:36 am

I've found that in general it's very hard to deeply enter into any of the ngondro accumulations in fragmented day-to-day way that is mixed with worldly life. It is essential, of course, to do a minimum every day to keep the continuity, however if you want to really fully enter into the practice in a way that will reveal it's true import and inspire and invigorate you beyond boredom and concern for numbers-- then I believe it is essential to do some strict retreat time. It may be hard to get time off from your job, but even doing a 5, 7, or ideally 10 day retreat at the minimum will show you a lot. In this type of context, you should ask your teacher about setting a schedule, but generally you'd wake up before dawn, do three hours of practice----> take a tea and breakfast break, then another three hour session-- on and on like this so you are doing at least 12 to 15 hours a day. Ideally you'd take a couple hour break after lunch, and mix some other practices in-between- like sang in the morning and dharmapala or chod at night if you have those practices. If three hour sessions seems to extreme, you could do more sessions but 2hours each-- that's why you should discuss with your own teacher. But in my humble experience it is through this sustained continuity of prolonged immersion in practice that the mind makes the required leap and the purification becomes much more than theoretical. So if you are truly interested, take the time and really go for it. There is a reason that ngondro is traditionally done in retreat!

A
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Re: Ngondro

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Jun 08, 2011 6:33 am

lisehull wrote: The issue there is that, as a newbie, I find I get the words jumbled if I focus heavily on the refuge tree.
The words, the visualisation and the action of prostrating are not as important as the "feeling" that the lineage is right there in front of you and the awe, humbleness and respect generated by this presence. This is the key aspect, the erradication of pride that comes about when you are in the presence of all those enlightened beings. Hang in there, it will get better (but may still become a lot worse yet).
:namaste:
PS I disagree with adamantines "disenheartening" post. Ngondro is not necessarily to be done only in retreats and one will have effects from the practice even if they only manage to do seven prostrations a day for the rest of their lives. This idea that ngondro is something that one has to get out of the way in order to "really" practice is BS. Ngondro is an important and effective Vajrayana practice in and of itself. I know monastics that have done the 100,000 accumulations three times, not because they had to but because they understood the effectiveness of doing so. Any one of the practices by themselves are enough to lead one to realisation and/or enlightenment.
"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."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Ngondro

Postby Adamantine » Wed Jun 08, 2011 6:49 am

gregkavarnos wrote:
lisehull wrote: The issue there is that, as a newbie, I find I get the words jumbled if I focus heavily on the refuge tree.
The words, the visualisation and the action of prostrating are not as important as the "feeling" that the lineage is right there in front of you and the awe, humbleness and respect generated by this presence. This is the key aspect, the erradication of pride that comes about when you are in the presence of all those enlightened beings. Hang in there, it will get better (but may still become a lot worse yet).
:namaste:
PS I disagree with adamantines "disenheartening" post. Ngondro is not necessarily to be done only in retreats and one will have effects from the practice even if they only manage to do seven prostrations a day for the rest of their lives. This idea that ngondro is something that one has to get out of the way in order to "really" practice is BS. Ngondro is an important and effective Vajrayana practice in and of itself. I know monastics that have done the 100,000 accumulations three times, not because they had to but because they understood the effectiveness of doing so. Any one of the practices by themselves are enough to lead one to realisation and/or enlightenment.


Odd you'd find my post disheartening. Nowhere did I imply seeing ngondro as something to get out of the way. I thought I was clear that doing short retreats is a great way to bring the unruly mind to a degree of samadhi with the practice, when one will really notice the effects with clarity. While there will likely be an effect even if one is doing 7 accumulations of whatever a day, this is only if these are done with sincerity and focus. The OP seems to be having a hard time with both. Total immersion is a great way to go beyond the surface neurotic thoughts and distractions that bring one away from sincerity and focus. Once someone tastes the real meat of the practice, then it is easier to find it even if one is only doing 7 a day. Before that point, you are asking the OP to just take something on faith alone. I never said Ngondro needed to be done in retreat alone, I said it is really helpful to take the time to do some retreats, and that there is a reason it is traditionally done in retreat among serious practitioners. I really doubt the monastics you mention who have done (500,000?) accumulations three times did so by doing 7 a day!

Sarwa Mangalam!

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