What "finishing" ngondro means

karmanyingpo
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What "finishing" ngondro means

Post by karmanyingpo »

Hello Dharma friends,

I was wondering what is usually meant when people talk about "finishing" ngondro. I.e. does it mean when your lama tells you you've done enough and no longer need to accumulate. Or does it usually refer to doing 100% of all the accumulations stated in the text?

For example my lama gave me recommendations but not requirements for a minimum of how much I should do of different sections (most are less than the numbers in the text). If I finish these will I be considered "done"?

I know most important is to follow the instructions of a trusted teacher who is qualified to teach but I am just wondering what precisely it is that people usually mean when they talk about "finishing" or being "done" with ngondro. :anjali:
Soma999
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Re: What "finishing" ngondro means

Post by Soma999 »

If it is integrated enough to transform you and turn yourself into a recipient to receive teachings and make them flourish.

« Accumulation«  must talk a lot to occidentals. Materialism spend their time accumulating stuff.

This is about transformation and not accumulation, losing all kind of concepts, negativity and rigidity... so that what is but was obscured can shine through.
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Re: What "finishing" ngondro means

Post by Lingpupa »

karmanyingpo wrote: Fri Dec 04, 2020 12:11 am ...
I was wondering what is usually meant when people talk about "finishing" ngondro. I.e. does it mean when your lama tells you you've done enough and no longer need to accumulate. Or does it usually refer to doing 100% of all the accumulations stated in the text?

For example my lama gave me recommendations but not requirements for a minimum of how much I should do of different sections (most are less than the numbers in the text). If I finish these will I be considered "done"?

I know most important is to follow the instructions of a trusted teacher who is qualified to teach but I am just wondering what precisely it is that people usually mean when they talk about "finishing" or being "done" with ngondro. :anjali:
Any of the possibilities you mention, though having done 100,000 of each would be the obvious meaning.

It follows (as I think you may yourself suspect) that the word "finished" is best avoided. If you are talking about it with your dharma friends, expressions like "I completed 100,000", or "my lama told me to do (a certain other number, which may be lower but may be higher), and I completed that" are more helpful, as you are saying what you mean.

Personally I'd be a bit wary of someone who claimed to be "done with ngondro". Many people continue ngondro, perhaps with relatively low numbers and not even necessarily continuing to keep count, as part of their daily practice long after passing an initial target like 100,000. Some say it gets better then.
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Re: What "finishing" ngondro means

Post by heart »

karmanyingpo wrote: Fri Dec 04, 2020 12:11 am Hello Dharma friends,

I was wondering what is usually meant when people talk about "finishing" ngondro. I.e. does it mean when your lama tells you you've done enough and no longer need to accumulate. Or does it usually refer to doing 100% of all the accumulations stated in the text?
They mean they done 100.000 of each recitation and if is a Nyingma ngongdro 1.200.000 of the vajra guru mantra.

However, many Nyingmas do several ngondros, so it isn't ever really finished.

/magnus
"We are all here to help each other go through this thing, whatever it is."
~Kurt Vonnegut

"The principal practice is Guruyoga. But we need to understand that any secondary practice combined with Guruyoga becomes a principal practice." ChNNR (Teachings on Thun and Ganapuja)
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Re: What "finishing" ngondro means

Post by thogme19 »

But even ngöndro practice has become a kind of tradition or culture. These days the first thing dharma practitioners ask each other is: ‘Have you finished your ngöndro practice?’ or ‘Have you done the 100,000 prostrations?’ But ngöndro practice doesn't have an end. The practice of ngöndro will only be concluded when you have 32 major marks and 80 minor marks on your body, when you have the uṣṇīṣa on your head that ordinary eyes can't see. The great masters of the past created this requirement of one hundred thousand accumulations in order to make us practice. This is the skilful means that the early great masters devised to help us engage in practice. If you can, there's no harm in doing one hundred thousand prostrations a hundred thousand times. But if you do the prostrations properly, with the right motivation and the right visualization, even a single prostration can suffice.

~ DZONGSAR KHYENTSE RINPOCHE
karmanyingpo
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Re: What "finishing" ngondro means

Post by karmanyingpo »

heart wrote: Fri Dec 04, 2020 10:12 am
karmanyingpo wrote: Fri Dec 04, 2020 12:11 am Hello Dharma friends,

I was wondering what is usually meant when people talk about "finishing" ngondro. I.e. does it mean when your lama tells you you've done enough and no longer need to accumulate. Or does it usually refer to doing 100% of all the accumulations stated in the text?
They mean they done 100.000 of each recitation and if is a Nyingma ngongdro 1.200.000 of the vajra guru mantra.

However, many Nyingmas do several ngondros, so it isn't ever really finished.

/magnus
Hi Magnus,
Where does the 1200000 come from? My ngondro text says to do the Vajra Guru mantra as many times as you can, but it doesn't give a number for that particular one. Does it vary between different Nyingma ngondros maybe?

/KN
karmanyingpo
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Re: What "finishing" ngondro means

Post by karmanyingpo »

thogme19 wrote: Fri Dec 04, 2020 11:00 am But even ngöndro practice has become a kind of tradition or culture. These days the first thing dharma practitioners ask each other is: ‘Have you finished your ngöndro practice?’ or ‘Have you done the 100,000 prostrations?’ But ngöndro practice doesn't have an end. The practice of ngöndro will only be concluded when you have 32 major marks and 80 minor marks on your body, when you have the uṣṇīṣa on your head that ordinary eyes can't see. The great masters of the past created this requirement of one hundred thousand accumulations in order to make us practice. This is the skilful means that the early great masters devised to help us engage in practice. If you can, there's no harm in doing one hundred thousand prostrations a hundred thousand times. But if you do the prostrations properly, with the right motivation and the right visualization, even a single prostration can suffice.

~ DZONGSAR KHYENTSE RINPOCHE
Yes, I know that it is not necessarily very clear that I have been taught this and believe it because I am talking about accumulations and this idea of "finishing". My lama did tell me much the same. To clarify, I just want to ask about what most people who talk in terms of finishing ngondro mean when they say "finish" (ie do they mean completing the traditional accumulations in the text or do they mean having attained realisation through it or do they mean completing enough that their guru is satisfied etc.) not that I agree with this number fixated of looking at ngondro, just wanting to understand other people's use of language here. Sorry if my language was unclear and I hope that helps to clarify what I meant to ask! Thanks for your answer.

/KN
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Re: What "finishing" ngondro means

Post by Ayu »

karmanyingpo wrote: Fri Dec 04, 2020 2:26 pm .... To clarify, I just want to ask about what most people who talk in terms of finishing ngondro mean when they say "finish" (ie do they mean completing the traditional accumulations in the text or do they mean having attained realisation through it or do they mean completing enough that their guru is satisfied etc.) not that I agree with this number fixated of looking at ngondro, just wanting to understand other people's use of language here. Sorry if my language was unclear and I hope that helps to clarify what I meant to ask! Thanks for your answer.

/KN
Pardon me for asking, but what is interesting to you about this question then?
For the benefit and ease of all sentient beings. :heart:
karmanyingpo
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Re: What "finishing" ngondro means

Post by karmanyingpo »

Ayu wrote: Fri Dec 04, 2020 3:14 pm
karmanyingpo wrote: Fri Dec 04, 2020 2:26 pm .... To clarify, I just want to ask about what most people who talk in terms of finishing ngondro mean when they say "finish" (ie do they mean completing the traditional accumulations in the text or do they mean having attained realisation through it or do they mean completing enough that their guru is satisfied etc.) not that I agree with this number fixated of looking at ngondro, just wanting to understand other people's use of language here. Sorry if my language was unclear and I hope that helps to clarify what I meant to ask! Thanks for your answer.

/KN
Pardon me for asking, but what is interesting to you about this question then?
Just so I better understand what others are usually intending to say when they use this phrasing.
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Re: What "finishing" ngondro means

Post by Ayu »

I don't think, you'll find an answer to what 'most people' think about it. I guess, it differs rather individually than tradition-wise.

In my case 'finishing ngöndro' means stopping to practice it daily and stopping to count, because I reached the number I aspired. I finished a certain set amount. I learned a lot and don't regret it, but personally I won't start the whole Ngöndro again. I'm a lay person with other duties as well and I can't spend my life with 8 hours per day formal dharma practice. I simply can't do it. But I'm glad I did.
Thus I finished Ngöndro. I have another personal practice now, but I still do Vajrasattva often, prostrations and mandala practice very seldomly, refuge mantra sometimes. But I don't count them. Therfore I don't call these practices Ngöndro or preliminary.
For the benefit and ease of all sentient beings. :heart:
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Re: What "finishing" ngondro means

Post by heart »

karmanyingpo wrote: Fri Dec 04, 2020 2:21 pm
heart wrote: Fri Dec 04, 2020 10:12 am
karmanyingpo wrote: Fri Dec 04, 2020 12:11 am Hello Dharma friends,

I was wondering what is usually meant when people talk about "finishing" ngondro. I.e. does it mean when your lama tells you you've done enough and no longer need to accumulate. Or does it usually refer to doing 100% of all the accumulations stated in the text?
They mean they done 100.000 of each recitation and if is a Nyingma ngongdro 1.200.000 of the vajra guru mantra.

However, many Nyingmas do several ngondros, so it isn't ever really finished.

/magnus
Hi Magnus,
Where does the 1200000 come from? My ngondro text says to do the Vajra Guru mantra as many times as you can, but it doesn't give a number for that particular one. Does it vary between different Nyingma ngondros maybe?

/KN
100.000 for each syllable is standard, but it also written out in many ngongdro commentaries.

/magnus
"We are all here to help each other go through this thing, whatever it is."
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"The principal practice is Guruyoga. But we need to understand that any secondary practice combined with Guruyoga becomes a principal practice." ChNNR (Teachings on Thun and Ganapuja)
karmanyingpo
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Re: What "finishing" ngondro means

Post by karmanyingpo »

Ayu wrote: Fri Dec 04, 2020 5:38 pm I don't think, you'll find an answer to what 'most people' think about it. I guess, it differs rather individually than tradition-wise.

In my case 'finishing ngöndro' means stopping to practice it daily and stopping to count, because I reached the number I aspired. I finished a certain set amount. I learned a lot and don't regret it, but personally I won't start the whole Ngöndro again. I'm a lay person with other duties as well and I can't spend my life with 8 hours per day formal dharma practice. I simply can't do it. But I'm glad I did.
Thus I finished Ngöndro. I have another personal practice now, but I still do Vajrasattva often, prostrations and mandala practice very seldomly, refuge mantra sometimes. But I don't count them. Therfore I don't call these practices Ngöndro or preliminary.
Thank you for explaining! I guess this is just something that differs a lot from person to person.
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Re: What "finishing" ngondro means

Post by tingdzin »

We should distinguish between "finishing ngondro" -- doing what the texts describe or your teacher asks for or requires, and "finishing with" ngondro, meaning you think you've done enough. A lot of people claim the first when they actually mean the second.
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Re: What "finishing" ngondro means

Post by heart »

tingdzin wrote: Sat Dec 05, 2020 12:12 am We should distinguish between "finishing ngondro" -- doing what the texts describe or your teacher asks for or requires, and "finishing with" ngondro, meaning you think you've done enough. A lot of people claim the first when they actually mean the second.
:smile:
"We are all here to help each other go through this thing, whatever it is."
~Kurt Vonnegut

"The principal practice is Guruyoga. But we need to understand that any secondary practice combined with Guruyoga becomes a principal practice." ChNNR (Teachings on Thun and Ganapuja)
karmanyingpo
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Re: What "finishing" ngondro means

Post by karmanyingpo »

heart wrote: Sat Dec 05, 2020 9:46 am
tingdzin wrote: Sat Dec 05, 2020 12:12 am We should distinguish between "finishing ngondro" -- doing what the texts describe or your teacher asks for or requires, and "finishing with" ngondro, meaning you think you've done enough. A lot of people claim the first when they actually mean the second.
:smile:
The second sounds a bit like the TB equivalent of when Zen students say they don't need Buddhism anymore because the raft should be discarded... :?
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Re: What "finishing" ngondro means

Post by Jangchup Donden »

Maybe my two biggest realizations from "finishing" ngondro (I think it would be better to say having completed a ngondro -- finishing it would mean Buddhahood) were:

1. How poorly I did it. It was just filled with lack of concentration and improper motivations.

and

2. How much I got from it, even with how poorly I did it.

It's really challenging and can bring up all kinds of things, but entirely worth it.
karmanyingpo
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Re: What "finishing" ngondro means

Post by karmanyingpo »

Jangchup Donden wrote: Sat Dec 05, 2020 5:30 pm Maybe my two biggest realizations from "finishing" ngondro (I think it would be better to say having completed a ngondro -- finishing it would mean Buddhahood) were:

1. How poorly I did it. It was just filled with lack of concentration and improper motivations.

and

2. How much I got from it, even with how poorly I did it.

It's really challenging and can bring up all kinds of things, but entirely worth it.
It has been a challenge for me too. For you, what does "completing" a ngondro mean? Did your teacher require the text's numbers or give a different criteria for completedness?
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Re: What "finishing" ngondro means

Post by Jangchup Donden »

karmanyingpo wrote: Sat Dec 05, 2020 6:41 pm It has been a challenge for me too. For you, what does "completing" a ngondro mean? Did your teacher require the text's numbers or give a different criteria for completedness?
Completing was doing 111,111 of each of the accumulations (prostrations, vajrasattva, mandala offerings, guru yoga prayers and yidam mantras).
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Re: What "finishing" ngondro means

Post by karmanyingpo »

Jangchup Donden wrote: Sun Dec 06, 2020 10:46 pm
karmanyingpo wrote: Sat Dec 05, 2020 6:41 pm It has been a challenge for me too. For you, what does "completing" a ngondro mean? Did your teacher require the text's numbers or give a different criteria for completedness?
Completing was doing 111,111 of each of the accumulations (prostrations, vajrasattva, mandala offerings, guru yoga prayers and yidam mantras).
Well I am very happy for you that you accomplished that. :) I hope to complete ngondro as well.
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Re: What "finishing" ngondro means

Post by Jangchup Donden »

karmanyingpo wrote: Sun Dec 06, 2020 10:58 pm
Jangchup Donden wrote: Sun Dec 06, 2020 10:46 pm
karmanyingpo wrote: Sat Dec 05, 2020 6:41 pm It has been a challenge for me too. For you, what does "completing" a ngondro mean? Did your teacher require the text's numbers or give a different criteria for completedness?
Completing was doing 111,111 of each of the accumulations (prostrations, vajrasattva, mandala offerings, guru yoga prayers and yidam mantras).
Well I am very happy for you that you accomplished that. :) I hope to complete ngondro as well.
If you practice every day it's certain you'll get there eventually... unless you die first. :P
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