What "finishing" ngondro means

PeterC
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Joined: Tue May 20, 2014 12:38 pm

Re: What "finishing" ngondro means

Post by PeterC »

heart wrote: Fri Dec 04, 2020 6:08 pm 100.000 for each syllable is standard
What about the x4 because we're in the kali yuga? We don't want to be cheating ourselves...

(Though by that logic - if you were doing, say, Vajrasattva as yidam, then you should be doing 111k x 100 x 4 mantras. So a bit over 44 million. At, let's say, twelve seconds a mantra that would be a bit less than 150 thousand hours of practice. If you practice every day for eight hours a day that would take over fifty years go complete. Even without the x4 you'd be spending almost thirteen years just on this - and that's what Gyatral R. recommends in his book on the development stage.)
karmanyingpo
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Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2020 4:19 pm

Re: What "finishing" ngondro means

Post by karmanyingpo »

PeterC wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 2:38 am
heart wrote: Fri Dec 04, 2020 6:08 pm 100.000 for each syllable is standard
What about the x4 because we're in the kali yuga? We don't want to be cheating ourselves...

(Though by that logic - if you were doing, say, Vajrasattva as yidam, then you should be doing 111k x 100 x 4 mantras. So a bit over 44 million. At, let's say, twelve seconds a mantra that would be a bit less than 150 thousand hours of practice. If you practice every day for eight hours a day that would take over fifty years go complete. Even without the x4 you'd be spending almost thirteen years just on this - and that's what Gyatral R. recommends in his book on the development stage.)
Uh....... I pray to all the deities that that's just some skilful means LOL
PeterC
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Joined: Tue May 20, 2014 12:38 pm

Re: What "finishing" ngondro means

Post by PeterC »

karmanyingpo wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 3:19 am
PeterC wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 2:38 am
heart wrote: Fri Dec 04, 2020 6:08 pm 100.000 for each syllable is standard
What about the x4 because we're in the kali yuga? We don't want to be cheating ourselves...

(Though by that logic - if you were doing, say, Vajrasattva as yidam, then you should be doing 111k x 100 x 4 mantras. So a bit over 44 million. At, let's say, twelve seconds a mantra that would be a bit less than 150 thousand hours of practice. If you practice every day for eight hours a day that would take over fifty years go complete. Even without the x4 you'd be spending almost thirteen years just on this - and that's what Gyatral R. recommends in his book on the development stage.)
Uh....... I pray to all the deities that that's just some skilful means LOL
I was given the "x4" once, probably because I didn't seem sufficiently intimidated by the accumulation requirement. Whether it's skillful means or not, the numbers are very real...

But on OP's question. Uncommon preliminaries typically include purification, offering, guru yoga. I expect to be doing those daily until I die in some form or other. In that sense you never finish.
karmanyingpo
Posts: 340
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2020 4:19 pm

Re: What "finishing" ngondro means

Post by karmanyingpo »

PeterC wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 3:27 am
karmanyingpo wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 3:19 am
PeterC wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 2:38 am

What about the x4 because we're in the kali yuga? We don't want to be cheating ourselves...

(Though by that logic - if you were doing, say, Vajrasattva as yidam, then you should be doing 111k x 100 x 4 mantras. So a bit over 44 million. At, let's say, twelve seconds a mantra that would be a bit less than 150 thousand hours of practice. If you practice every day for eight hours a day that would take over fifty years go complete. Even without the x4 you'd be spending almost thirteen years just on this - and that's what Gyatral R. recommends in his book on the development stage.)
Uh....... I pray to all the deities that that's just some skilful means LOL
I was given the "x4" once, probably because I didn't seem sufficiently intimidated by the accumulation requirement. Whether it's skillful means or not, the numbers are very real...

But on OP's question. Uncommon preliminaries typically include purification, offering, guru yoga. I expect to be doing those daily until I die in some form or other. In that sense you never finish.
So, if it's appropriate to say, did you meet those requirements eventually?

Also is it a strict requirement to do those daily once dzogchen empowerments are taken? I am not very knowledgeable on that, so I would like to learn more.

Also in case it was not clear, I am OP. :smile:

KN
PeterC
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Re: What "finishing" ngondro means

Post by PeterC »

karmanyingpo wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 3:40 am So, if it's appropriate to say, did you meet those requirements eventually?
Yes, of course. I don't take on commitments that I can't uphold, and wouldn't advise anyone else to.
Also is it a strict requirement to do those daily once dzogchen empowerments are taken? I am not very knowledgeable on that, so I would like to learn more.
It depends. Certain practices, if upheld, can be considered to uphold all other samaya commitments. But that does not go both ways. If you've received, let's say, a sarma yidam practice with a daily practice commitment, from the perspective of that practice doing another practice does not uphold that commitment. But if you are a dzogchen practitioner then you should approach it from the perspective of that lineage, in which upholding those commitments automatically upholds other lineage's commitments. However...many lineage heads will do an encyclopedia of practices every day so as to uphold commitments, but then again, they have to confer those empowerments periodically.

It's up to the student ultimately, because vows are essentially training tools for the benefit of the practitioner. But there is never any downside in upholding multiple individual practice commitments, rather than just picking one and upholding that. Usually the minimum necessary, if memorized, can be done very quickly.
karmanyingpo
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Re: What "finishing" ngondro means

Post by karmanyingpo »

PeterC wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 3:57 am
karmanyingpo wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 3:40 am So, if it's appropriate to say, did you meet those requirements eventually?
Yes, of course. I don't take on commitments that I can't uphold, and wouldn't advise anyone else to.
Also is it a strict requirement to do those daily once dzogchen empowerments are taken? I am not very knowledgeable on that, so I would like to learn more.
It depends. Certain practices, if upheld, can be considered to uphold all other samaya commitments. But that does not go both ways. If you've received, let's say, a sarma yidam practice with a daily practice commitment, from the perspective of that practice doing another practice does not uphold that commitment. But if you are a dzogchen practitioner then you should approach it from the perspective of that lineage, in which upholding those commitments automatically upholds other lineage's commitments. However...many lineage heads will do an encyclopedia of practices every day so as to uphold commitments, but then again, they have to confer those empowerments periodically.

It's up to the student ultimately, because vows are essentially training tools for the benefit of the practitioner. But there is never any downside in upholding multiple individual practice commitments, rather than just picking one and upholding that. Usually the minimum necessary, if memorized, can be done very quickly.
My teacher seems to work more on the basis of recommendations rather than hard commitments. So for example he said to try to accumulate X number of this or that mantra but he isn't demanding it as a hard requirement, but rather requesting that we try if we want to take dzogchen teachings from him.

My only empowerment so far doesn't have a daily practice requirement.

About being a dzogchen practitioner, I am not sure I can call myself one yet but I have received pointing out instructions from a different teacher and am doing a dzogchen ngondro. And would like to truly practice dzogchen eventually.

Thanks for patiently replying to me.

KN
PeterC
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Joined: Tue May 20, 2014 12:38 pm

Re: What "finishing" ngondro means

Post by PeterC »

karmanyingpo wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 4:14 am My teacher seems to work more on the basis of recommendations rather than hard commitments. So for example he said to try to accumulate X number of this or that mantra but he isn't demanding it as a hard requirement, but rather requesting that we try if we want to take dzogchen teachings from him.
YMMV. Some teachers are stricter, some more relaxed. One fairly common requirement is that if you miss a day's practice, your count for the accumulations goes back to zero. This is actually quite a helpful rule - it makes sure you never get out of the habit.
About being a dzogchen practitioner, I am not sure I can call myself one yet but I have received pointing out instructions from a different teacher and am doing a dzogchen ngondro. And would like to truly practice dzogchen eventually.
You really don't need to worry much about what you call yourself. You receive teachings from a lama you trust, you practice them, that's about all there is to it. People spend way too much time worrying about what their practice says about them vs. actually just doing it.
karmanyingpo
Posts: 340
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2020 4:19 pm

Re: What "finishing" ngondro means

Post by karmanyingpo »

PeterC wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 4:50 am
karmanyingpo wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 4:14 am My teacher seems to work more on the basis of recommendations rather than hard commitments. So for example he said to try to accumulate X number of this or that mantra but he isn't demanding it as a hard requirement, but rather requesting that we try if we want to take dzogchen teachings from him.
YMMV. Some teachers are stricter, some more relaxed. One fairly common requirement is that if you miss a day's practice, your count for the accumulations goes back to zero. This is actually quite a helpful rule - it makes sure you never get out of the habit.
About being a dzogchen practitioner, I am not sure I can call myself one yet but I have received pointing out instructions from a different teacher and am doing a dzogchen ngondro. And would like to truly practice dzogchen eventually.
You really don't need to worry much about what you call yourself. You receive teachings from a lama you trust, you practice them, that's about all there is to it. People spend way too much time worrying about what their practice says about them vs. actually just doing it.
Hi Peter,

I have actually heard about the reset rule! I saw it while perusing online looking up ngondro stuff. Which then made me a bit concerned. I asked my teacher after that and he doesn't seem to use that rule. I have also considered learning from tergar and so I also shot the question at them and they also said they don't make you reset. It's interesting how much these things can vary.

KN
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