Ngondro

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Re: Ngondro

Postby Kai » Mon Oct 10, 2011 1:13 pm

The purpose behind doing Ngondro is:

1) Developing renunciation

2) Developing Bodhicitta

3) enhancing one's faith in the triple Jewel and especially one's Guru

4) Purification

5) Increasing one's merits

6) Understanding the nature of mind and all phenomena


If anyone of you can achieve the six targets above using some other methods like attending Nyung Ne retreat, etc, then doing Ngondro is not necessary. Of course, doing Ngondro is great and very helpful.......
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Re: Ngondro

Postby Chaz » Mon Oct 10, 2011 1:22 pm

Namdrol wrote:
Chaz wrote:
Pema Rigdzin wrote:
Wow, you had to get the permission of four different people just to begin ngondro?!


Yep. Four people.

And "just" to begin Ngondro? Well, it's only the most important step in my practice since I took my Refuge Vows. Had it been ten peoples' permission, including a trip to India to seek the Karmapa's blessing, I would have done that - "just" to begin Ngondro. :smile:

If you didn't have to jump through all those hoops, that's fine, but you did have someone's permission to begin the practice. However, it seems like there are people who have commenced the practice without permission from a lama qualified to give such blessings and I'm not sure I'm comfortable with that.



To do prostrations to the Buddha requires no one's permission.

N


True enough, but prostrations are not neccesarily Ngondro practice. I can't speak for other's experience, but in order to begin Ngondro I had to seek permission as well as the Lung.
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Re: Ngondro

Postby Silent Bob » Mon Oct 10, 2011 3:18 pm

Apart from the real benefits to the student of properly completing ngondro, it also helps the teacher see who among his oh-so-sincere aspirants are in it for the long haul and which ones are wasting his time.
"All the sublime teachings, so profound--to throw away one and then grab yet another will not bear even a single fruit. Persevere, therefore, in simply one."
--Dudjom Rinpoche, "Nectar for the Hearts of Fortunate Disciples. Song No. 8"
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Re: Ngondro

Postby Chaz » Mon Oct 10, 2011 4:20 pm

Silent Bob wrote:Apart from the real benefits to the student of properly completing ngondro, it also helps the teacher see who among his oh-so-sincere aspirants are in it for the long haul and which ones are wasting his time.


I hadn't really ever thought of it in those terms, but it does make a lot of sense. If the student completes Ngondro, especially if they're going the 111,111 route, they've got to be serious.
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Re: Ngondro

Postby Chaz » Mon Oct 10, 2011 11:04 pm

Kai wrote:The purpose behind doing Ngondro is:

1) Developing renunciation

2) Developing Bodhicitta

3) enhancing one's faith in the triple Jewel and especially one's Guru

4) Purification

5) Increasing one's merits

6) Understanding the nature of mind and all phenomena


If anyone of you can achieve the six targets above using some other methods like attending Nyung Ne retreat, etc, then doing Ngondro is not necessary. Of course, doing Ngondro is great and very helpful.......


My Guru hasn't given me an option of doing Nyung Ne retreat, so even if I took one, I rather doubt that it would be considered as completion.

I would think such advice to people would be somewhat irresponsible.
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Re: Ngondro

Postby andy » Tue Dec 06, 2011 1:20 am

Hi Everyone,

For me the most important part of this practice is the Ordinary Foundations.

1. The Precious Human Life
2. Impermanence
3. Cause and Effect
4. Defects of Samsara

I was lucky that I was given this practice after a total grilling from my teacher, he wouldn't accept my answers to begin with. "Not the answers you have read or heard about"
After I had managed to convince him with a total outpouring of my heart, he gave me the instruction. He wanted to know I had really contemplated these, and would continue to do so.

They are the reason im doing this, they are the practice for me.

I think without them the special foundations would be empty, Im finding it very tough but its the ordinary foundations that keep me going.

one mala at a time....


A
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Re: Ngondro

Postby heart » Tue Dec 06, 2011 6:10 am

andy wrote:Hi Everyone,

For me the most important part of this practice is the Ordinary Foundations.

1. The Precious Human Life
2. Impermanence
3. Cause and Effect
4. Defects of Samsara

I was lucky that I was given this practice after a total grilling from my teacher, he wouldn't accept my answers to begin with. "Not the answers you have read or heard about"
After I had managed to convince him with a total outpouring of my heart, he gave me the instruction. He wanted to know I had really contemplated these, and would continue to do so.

They are the reason im doing this, they are the practice for me.

I think without them the special foundations would be empty, Im finding it very tough but its the ordinary foundations that keep me going.

one mala at a time....


A



Sounds like you have a great teacher I must say.

/magnus
"To reject practice by saying, 'it is conceptual!' is the path of fools. A tendency of the inexperienced and something to be avoided."
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Re: Ngondro

Postby Willy » Fri Dec 23, 2011 8:01 am

Adamantine wrote: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


I happen to disagree with the idea that it should be done in retreat, but it might be that Adamantine did the most in retreat and I did the most outside of retreat. I completed the ngondro about 7 years ago, and continue to do prostrations every morning along with my other practices.

Prostrations are a great way to start the day. You take refuge, do the bodhisattva promise, and get your body flowing and energized for the day. It gets me on the right track to feeling confident and useful in the world.

In my experience, when I did practices in retreat, I came out with really strong purifications and blessings, and when I did it on a daily basis in life, I still had purifcations and blessings. Possibly they were a little more concentrated when I came out of retreat because I accomplished more in larger doses, but the smaller doses would add up just the same.

I also want to add, that I really enjoyed what an other person said, which is to "push through it." Our other practices can be with the mindset of a precious moment, but ngondro is really about getting a lot of work done.

Thanks for listening!
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Re: Ngondro

Postby Adamantine » Fri Dec 23, 2011 6:11 pm

Willy wrote:
I happen to disagree with the idea that it should be done in retreat, but it might be that Adamantine did the most in retreat and I did the most outside of retreat. I completed the ngondro about 7 years ago, and continue to do prostrations every morning along with my other practices.

Prostrations are a great way to start the day. You take refuge, do the bodhisattva promise, and get your body flowing and energized for the day. It gets me on the right track to feeling confident and useful in the world.

In my experience, when I did practices in retreat, I came out with really strong purifications and blessings, and when I did it on a daily basis in life, I still had purifcations and blessings. Possibly they were a little more concentrated when I came out of retreat because I accomplished more in larger doses, but the smaller doses would add up just the same.

I also want to add, that I really enjoyed what an other person said, which is to "push through it." Our other practices can be with the mindset of a precious moment, but ngondro is really about getting a lot of work done.

Thanks for listening!


Hi Willy,

I've spent plenty of time doing ngondro also day-to-day, outside of retreat.... years of this vs. just weeks of solitary retreat in total. So I probably have more experience outside of retreat than inside. I think it is very important to sustain this practice, and momentum, no matter what the external circumstances are-- and this has it's own power to it. The blessings of ngondro are profound and will enter in even if one is doing a short session once a day. However, it can feel quite overwhelming, hopeless, and disorienting if once is doing a tiny number each day and getting hung up on how long it will take to complete, anxiety about numbers, if it is "working", etc. etc. I believe that when the mind is already in a state of stress or distraction because of an overwhelming worldly job and responsibilities, then it can be hard at first to not integrate those negative states into the ngondro, rather than integrating the blessings of ngondro into daily life. In other words, the stress about ngondro can masquerade as just another worldly concern. In my own personal experience, the opportunity to take this practice into the retreat setting offers a unique possibility--> to completely dive into the practice continuously without other concerns bleeding into it, and this builds momentum in the visualization, the blessings, and faith in the guru and lineage... it also creates a vessel enabling one to achieve states of samadhi in the practice that would not be easy to accomplish in a mere short daily session. So I can not recommend enough making the effort to take this time out of ordinary routine, to create a sacred boundary and jump completely into the practice. Then, when one comes out of the retreat, it will profoundly re-energize one's daily practice. If this is not possible due to circumstances, then that is fine--- the blessings can be accessed either way...but if there is some discouragement with progress, then take the leap into a short retreat/// even if it's just a weekend retreat, 2-3 days..it will still bring benefit and "progress". That's my opinion anyway!

:namaste:
Contentment is the ultimate wealth;
Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha
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Re: Ngondro

Postby Dechen Norbu » Fri Dec 23, 2011 7:49 pm

I happen to agree with it. In my experience, in and out of retreat conditions, things are quite different.
I'll make your words mine:

to completely dive into the practice continuously without other concerns bleeding into it, and this builds momentum in the visualization, the blessings, and faith in the guru and lineage... it also creates a vessel enabling one to achieve states of samadhi in the practice that would not be easy to accomplish in a mere short daily session. So I can not recommend enough making the effort to take this time out of ordinary routine, to create a sacred boundary and jump completely into the practice.

I couldn't agree more. It's very important to stabilize shine (because without it we're kidding ourselves) and then move to ngondro (or pair it). It also goes for creation/ completion stages.
Outside retreat conditions it's quite hard for most to achieve the signs that indicate the proper progress of the practitioner.
Not many people will admit this, because perhaps a great deal of interest about these practices (and all such entails at many levels) would diminish. Many interests are involved in keeping alive the fantasy that succeeding in tantric practice is achievable when living a busy western life. If asked directly, most teachers will concede that retreat is indeed important, exactly by the motives you pointed above. But that fact is generally omitted to bigger audiences and only close students get to deal with this hard truth. If people knew how essential it is to have retreat conditions to start developing one's tantric practice, perhaps we would see practitioners taking other routes. I'm not sure what would happen. Many people kid themselves for years without making much progress. Tantric practices are designed in a certain way, work in a certain way and are made efficacious by the progress of the practitioner. If he is stuck, his practice has stopped working. If signs don't appear, his practice is not working. Of course the attempts themselves accumulate merits and purify negative karma. But they could purify and accumulate countless more in one single session of developed practice. Some teachers definitively should be more clear about this. Students should, I'll say more, have the right to know that without retreat conditions for some extended period of time, especially when one is starting, it's very hard to make any real progress. We just love to fool ourselves and imagine our situation to be much better that it really is.
I more or less figure how the reaction to this post will be, but whatever... at least I sleep well at night! :lol:
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Re: Ngondro

Postby pemachophel » Fri Dec 23, 2011 9:04 pm

The issue of signs of accomplishment/progress is an important one. Tantric practice is a technology. If this technology is correctly put into practice, there are specific outcomes as a result. I'm not sure many modern practitioners (Eastern as well as Western) appreciate this. In my personal experience, doing 30-45 minutes of practice per day while spending the rest of the day fully engaged in samsara doesn't produce much in the way of definite results, especially when even those 30-45 minutes are distracted by the eight worldly dharmas. I completely agree that practitioners should try our best to carve out retreat time to really immerse ourselves in the practice to the point where we see the results described in the "user's manuals." Achieving such results helps build confidence/faith, and increased confidence/faith helps achieve even more and better results. This process then becomes self-sustaining and self-generating, picking up more and more steam. If one practices this technology correctly as described by famous past Masters, the results will be there.
Pema Chophel པདྨ་ཆོས་འཕེལ
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Re: Ngondro

Postby Dechen Norbu » Sat Dec 24, 2011 1:48 am

Couldn't have been better said.
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Re: Ngondro

Postby Willy » Sat Dec 24, 2011 8:01 pm

Thanks guys for the clarification, and by going deeper into the conversation I see your point of view- and agree. Take note that I have done retreats (2 week length; long weekends; etc) and see huge value in them.

But there is also one clarification that I think should still be made. We are talking about ngondro and not yidam practices or 6 yogas, which do require retreat settings of 6 months or more. I was not told by my closest teachers, even in secret, that ngondro, and the effects that go with it, are watered down or lessened by doing them out of retreat. So we can conclude that "to retreat or not to retreat" should be based on the advice of one's teacher.

There is a lot to be said for those doubts and uncertainties that take place while in the working world- and would consider those positive signs of the practice, if one can "push through".

When I did the ngondro (over a 7 year period) I saw my relationships with my family, the outer world, friends, career - everything - transform. I also saw myself learn to not just look out for myself, but to gain a genuine empathy. That's my experience. The methods work.
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Re: Ngondro

Postby Dechen Norbu » Sun Dec 25, 2011 3:06 am

If one can't do retreat, one should do it outside retreat. Those without a dog hunt with a cat! :lol:
Of course it is always useful to practice ngöndro and each practitioner has different capacities. Some people get less distracted with their mundane activities, others have fairly simple lives... there's no one-fits-all rule in these things. There are many benefits about doing ngöndro, even outside retreat conditions. I think that can't be disputed. However, if possible, one should try to do some practice under retreat conditions. If possible. If not, what can I say? One does what one can. Finishing ngöndro outside retreat conditions at least shows great perseverance. The fact that some of us stress the importance of doing long retreats, especially when one is beginning, aims to the importance of practitioners trying to find these conditions instead of thinking they are irrelevant. We don't mean that without retreat there's no use in the practice of ngöndro. The more developed is the practitioner, the less he will need retreat conditions. One is already much more stable. But when starting, this is quite essential because we get very easily carried away by life's turmoil.
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Re: Ngondro

Postby kirtu » Sun Dec 25, 2011 3:29 am

I once saw a Khenpo admonish a group because they had been practicing for a decade and hadn't finished their refuge prostrations. He said had they only done 30 a day they would have been done. So even a few accumulations a day will be helpful.

If you do 100 accumulations (one mala) a day as a kind of "background radiation" then you get 36,500 done in a year. If you then add two two day retreats a year doing about 5000 accumulations per day (12.5 malas in four sessions a day) then you get to 56,100 accumulations per year. This means that you finish each ngondro section in the common four ngondro practices in just under eight years.

As comparison, my Sakya lama has taught that on the first few days of a major retreat people will do 10,000 accumulations of ngondro per section, We tried that for a retreat but most of us couldn't get to 10,000 per day but we did go over 5000 per day. Obviously for prostrations you have to work up to that and you may just have to lengthen the period for prostrations (35 prostrations a day still makes it in just under eight years).

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Re: Ngondro

Postby Silent Bob » Sun Dec 25, 2011 6:01 pm

The challenges of ngondro can be quite overwhelming for a householder and there are many more who begin it, full of enthusiasm and good intentions, than take it all the way to the end. My experience was probably somewhat typical and there were many times when I was ready to pack it in, except that I'd made a commitment, a promise actually, and couldn't rationalize my way out of it. For one stretch that lasted about two years I was juggling the conflicting demands of school, commuting, a full-time job and a young child, and could only do ngondro on retreat during holiday breaks.

In retrospect this situation was a bit like baking bread, but repeatedly taking the loaf out of the oven before it was done, putting it aside for weeks or months at a time, then reheating the oven and putting it back in for a while to bake a little more. While the final result may have resembled a loaf of home-baked bread, it wasn't nearly as tasty. Given a choice, I'd prefer to do it all in retreat, but you do what you can, right?... In the absence of an ideal retreat situation, I think the next-best strategy is to relentlessly maintain continuity, even if it means just doing 21 a day. Ngondro is the excellent antidote, in large doses or small, for working with attachment to the Eight Worldly Dharmas.

Chris
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--Dudjom Rinpoche, "Nectar for the Hearts of Fortunate Disciples. Song No. 8"
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Re: Ngondro

Postby Paul » Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:24 pm

Are there any texts that detail the signs that accompany ngondro? WOMPT surprisingly doesn't.
This nature of mind is spontaneously present.
That spontaneity I was told is the dakini aspect.
Recognizing this should help me
Not to be stuck with fear of being sued.

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Re: Ngondro

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Jan 17, 2012 11:06 pm

Gampopa "The Jewel Ornament of Liberation" lists the "signs" at the end of each section of each practice.
:namaste:
"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 heart » Wed Jan 18, 2012 5:38 am

Paul wrote:Are there any texts that detail the signs that accompany ngondro? WOMPT surprisingly doesn't.


http://www.amazon.com/Torch-Certainty-J ... 1570627134

I think, I don't have it close.

/magnus
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Re: Ngondro

Postby Lingpupa » Wed Jan 18, 2012 9:59 am

gregkavarnos wrote:Gampopa "The Jewel Ornament of Liberation" lists the "signs" at the end of each section of each practice.
:namaste:

Are you sure about that? The Jewel Ornament doesn't discuss things like ngondro.
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