Introduction to Ngöndro:
The Kagyu Preliminary Practices Retreat
Our mind is often compared to a field, with the potential to bring forth a bountiful harvest of wisdom and compassion. For the seeds to grow as we listen to teachings and engage in meditation practice, the field needs to be properly prepared. Preliminary practices serve to purify negative karmic imprints, enrich our mind with positive potential, and empower our mental continuum with blessings. Engaging in the preliminary practices serves as an invaluable tool to deepen our practice. On Saturday and Sunday, October 22-23, 2016, Khenpo Karten Rinpoche presented an overview introduction to the Karma Kagyu preliminary practices known as Ngöndro, along with an oral transmission blessing. With David Molk providing his remarkable consecutive interpretation services, Rinpoche gave a thorough overview of the four main preliminary practices of prostration, mandala offering, Vajrasattva recitation, and guru yoga. It was awesome.
Here are a list of resources for Ngöndro Practice:
- Ngondro Sadhana
- Ngondro: Karma Kagyu Preliminaries, DVD–By: Lama Karma Wangdu
- Torch of True Meaning: Instructions and the Practice for the Mahamudra Preliminaries–By: Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye, Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje
- Ngondro for Our Current Day: A Short Ngondro Practice and Its Instructions–By: Seventeenth Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje
- Ngondro Commentary–By: Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche
- Mandala supplies (need recommendation for resource–please email firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Kagyu guru lineage poster (need recommendation for resource–please email email@example.com)
For individual appointments with Rinpoche please call 831-901-3156.
More about Ngöndro Preliminary Practices
Source: Adapted from Wikipedia
The Tibetan term Ngöndro refers to the preliminary, preparatory or foundational practices common to all four schools of Tibetan Buddhism and also to Bon. Each tradition will have a variation on the practice. The version we will learn in this retreat is the Karma Kagyu practice. The term ngöndro literally denotes meanings in the range of “something that goes before, something which precedes.” The preliminary practices establish the foundation for the more advanced and rarefied Vajrayana practices of Dzogchen, Heruka and Mahamudra. Nevertheless, Vajrayana masters are careful to point out that “foundational” does not mean “lesser,” that the practice of Ngöndro is a complete and sufficient practice of the spiritual path, and that it can take the practitioner all the way to full enlightenment.
Outer and inner preliminaries
In general the preliminary practices are divided into two sections or kinds: the first are the common or ordinary kind of preliminary practices, and the second are the special or extraordinary kind of preliminaries.
The common or ordinary preliminaries consists of a series of deep reflections or contemplations on the following four topics:
the freedoms and advantages of precious human rebirth
the truth of impermanence and change
the workings of karma
the suffering of living beings within samsara
The above four contemplations are sometimes referred to as “the four reminders” or “the four mind-changers” or “the four thoughts which turn the mind towards Dharma.” Additional reflections may be included in the specific instructions on the outer preliminaries within different lineages, but the above four topics are the main reflections.
The special or extraordinary kind of preliminaries consist of :
taking of refuge in the three roots in conjunction with the performance of prostrations (purifying pride)
cultivation of bodhicitta (purifying jealousy)
recitations of Vajrasattva’s hundred-syllable mantra (purifying hatred/aversion)
mandala offerings (purifying attachment)
guru yoga practices (purifying delusion)
These practices purify negative deeds and accumulate merit. Traditionally ngöndro practice is done for the enlightenment of the spiritual aspirant and for the benefit of all sentient beings. That is, the merit of doing the practices is dedicated to all sentient beings. These practices are typically done to reach a certain goal (100,00 prostrations, 100,000 Vajrasattva recitations, etc) which can take many hours of work to accomplish, but these practices can also be mixed into daily life.
First Ngöndro Retreat, October 22-23, 2016
On Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 22-23, Khenpo Karten Rinpoche gave a weekend retreat on the Kagyu Preliminary Practices called Ngöndro along with an oral transmission blessing. With David Molk providing his remarkable consecutive interpretation services, Rinpoche gave a thorough overview of the four main preliminary practices of prostration, mandala offering, Vajrasattva recitation, and guru yoga. It was awesome.