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Where to start?

Posted: Fri Mar 08, 2019 10:49 pm
by January
I have been learning and meditating on my own (and I basically know nothing). I am drawn to Nyingma but I am confused about the different lineages within Nyingma and unsure how to find a community. Can anyone help me out with some explanation? (If it matters, I am in northern NJ/NYC). Thanks in advance.

Re: Where to start?

Posted: Fri Mar 08, 2019 11:03 pm
by Wayfarer
Welcome to DharmaWheel, January. :hi:

If you're in or near NYC, then I'm sure there are many centres to be found - more so than if you were in an isolated location. You could try googling Nyingma NYC ! Most centers have intro programs or information evenings, solely to help inform newcomers. So I would suggest checking some of them out. That could be a good starting point.

Re: Where to start?

Posted: Sat Mar 09, 2019 12:26 am
by January
Wayfarer: Thanks for responding. I actually did that, but there are (as you might imagine) several options and I really don't know the differences.

Re: Where to start?

Posted: Sat Mar 09, 2019 12:27 am
by pemachophel
January,

Personally, I wouldn't worry so much about the different lineages within Nyingma. IME, the single most important thing is to find the right Teacher. All the lineages (Longchen Nyingthig, Dudjom Tersar, Chokling Tersar, Namchos/Palyul) end up in the same place. I thought I wanted to be a Kagyudpa, but I wound up becoming a Nyingmapa because the Teacher I found was a Nyingmapa.

Two personal recommendations:

Lama Namgay Dawa Rinpoche, Yeshe Nyingpo, NYC (Dudjom Tersar)

Tulku Sherdor Rinpoche, Blazing Wisdom Institute, Saugerties, NY (Longchen Nyinthig)

Re: Where to start?

Posted: Sat Mar 09, 2019 1:01 am
by January
Pema Chophel--
Thank you for your help.

Re: Where to start?

Posted: Sat Mar 09, 2019 6:06 am
by tingdzin
It cannot be said too often that you must take care before making any commitments, and not be drawn in by a teacher's charisma, or magnetism, or the size of his or her following. If you read this blog often you will see frequent reminders that to do otherwise can end in disaster and a loss of the ability to make any progress in this lifetime. Since you are in an area where there are many choices, I recommend you check out several different centers and teachers and get to know them a little.

Look at the teachers' qualifications. Did they receive a thorough training themselves? You cannot go by mere titles like tulku or lama -- if someone has themselves trained thoroughly, it will be clear in how they carry themselves and deal with others (although this may be hard for a beginner to see). Are they concerned with transmission of proper teachings, or in building a personal Dharma kingdom? Examine also your own motivations and consider how deeply you are willing to commit-- why do you want to study Buddhism, and Nyingmapa in particular (not that I am discouraging you, I'm Nyingma myself).

These may sound like heavy topics for a beginner, but better take your time and choose wisely once than suffer down the road either through a falling-out with the teacher or failure to get anywhere after years of practice.

Re: Where to start?

Posted: Sat Mar 09, 2019 9:44 pm
by Pema Rigdzin
January wrote: Fri Mar 08, 2019 10:49 pm I have been learning and meditating on my own (and I basically know nothing). I am drawn to Nyingma but I am confused about the different lineages within Nyingma and unsure how to find a community. Can anyone help me out with some explanation? (If it matters, I am in northern NJ/NYC). Thanks in advance.
It's a bit of a drive from you, but one of my root lamas, Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche, has his main center and home base in upstate NY kinda near Binghamton. Rinpoche is one of the most special lamas--and just people in general--I've ever encountered. Check out their website: https://www.padmasambhava.org/. I believe there is a group of his students that meets in NYC, IIRC. You could email the center I linked to and inquire about that. In any case, best wishes that you find the lama and group that is the right fit for you! Feel free to message me if I might be able to be of help along the way!

Re: Where to start?

Posted: Sat Mar 09, 2019 9:47 pm
by Pema Rigdzin
I have to second Pema Chophel's point about the principal importance being finding a lama you determine you can trust, feel a connection to, and whose teachings resonate with you. All Vajrayana teachings--whether Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya, Gelug, or otherwise--are from the Buddha, so all are completely reliable and liberative. What's key is connecting with a teacher who can properly and reliably guide and inspire you along the path.

Re: Where to start?

Posted: Sat Mar 09, 2019 10:08 pm
by Sennin
January wrote: Fri Mar 08, 2019 10:49 pm I have been learning and meditating on my own (and I basically know nothing). I am drawn to Nyingma but I am confused about the different lineages within Nyingma and unsure how to find a community. Can anyone help me out with some explanation? (If it matters, I am in northern NJ/NYC). Thanks in advance.
I'd suggest to not get locked down in a long cycle of teachings. Also try and find a teacher who can explain 'a-z' in a condensed way and practice your ass off.
In any case you'll have to discover for yourself.

Re: Where to start?

Posted: Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:35 pm
by PadmeSamadhi
I think the important is finding a Dharma center that receives lamas, or finding a little sangha for going togethere where there are lamas.

If you stay in any Nyingma tradition you will likely to be practicing many traditions anyway. The important is learning very well, sometimes doing retreats, dont stall your Ngondro, and again: learn very well.