Did the 84 mahasiddhas practice Ngöndro?

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dzogchungpa
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Re: Did the 84 mahasiddhas practice Ngöndro?

Post by dzogchungpa »

Honestly, it's not clear to me that ngondro the way it is often done by westerners nowadays, i.e. begun in middle age and spread out over many years, should even be considered the same practice as what was done in Tibet.
There is not only nothingness because there is always, and always can manifest. - Thinley Norbu Rinpoche
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Re: Did the 84 mahasiddhas practice Ngöndro?

Post by Fortyeightvows »

"The repetition of the full Ngondro helps to indoctrinate you into the Vajrayana way of seeing things in the same way that seeing dozens and dozens of commercials about the double down sandwich will make you start to believe that bacon and cheese sandwiched between two chicken paddies might actually not be a bad idea."
:thumbsup:
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Challenge23
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Re: Did the 84 mahasiddhas practice Ngöndro?

Post by Challenge23 »

Fortyeightvows wrote:"The repetition of the full Ngondro helps to indoctrinate you into the Vajrayana way of seeing things in the same way that seeing dozens and dozens of commercials about the double down sandwich will make you start to believe that bacon and cheese sandwiched between two chicken paddies might actually not be a bad idea."
:thumbsup:
It's true! Most people don't realize that the mechanisms that are used in religion, magic, and marketing have a whole lot in common!
dzogchungpa wrote:Honestly, it's not clear to me that ngondro the way it is often done by westerners nowadays, i.e. begun in middle age and spread out over many years, should even be considered the same practice as what was done in Tibet.
I would say that argument could be made but it runs into a big problem. Most people in the west don't seriously encounter Buddhism until they are in their teens. From there it takes a few years for them to sift through the various flavors of Buddhism before they get to the Vajrayana. Then from there there is a few more years cutting through the BS that surrounds Vajrayana to the point where they no longer believe it is some strange sex cult*. From there it will take at least a year or three to become well acquainted enough with a particular teacher to want to start Ngondro under them. And from there it will most likely take another year to work up the nerve to start it. Having seen people who follow a similar track they seem to end up becoming monks around 26. Now if you have to deal with any other spiritual rabbit holes that could easily add an extra 10 years.

Basically part of our situation in the west is that we get to Buddhism late as a rule. It isn't awesome but it is what it is.

*No, I don't believe that Vajrayana is some strange sex cult. I do think that there is a lot of misinformation that has built up over the years around the Vajrayana that a seeker has to cut through to get to something resembling the truth which takes a lot of time.
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dzogchungpa
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Re: Did the 84 mahasiddhas practice Ngöndro?

Post by dzogchungpa »

Challenge23 wrote:No, I don't believe that Vajrayana is some strange sex cult.
What? What's the point then?

Now I don't know what to think. :smile:
There is not only nothingness because there is always, and always can manifest. - Thinley Norbu Rinpoche
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Re: Did the 84 mahasiddhas practice Ngöndro?

Post by heart »

Tibetan Buddhism is a practice that contains a multitude of prayers and mantras to be repeated millions of times, 100.000 is really nothing. Also there are numerous practices and yogas of a more physical nature that are done until exhaustion. If you find this to much then perhaps Tibetan Buddhism is not for you?

/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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dzogchungpa
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Re: Did the 84 mahasiddhas practice Ngöndro?

Post by dzogchungpa »

heart wrote:Tibetan Buddhism is a practice that contains a multitude of prayers and mantras to be repeated millions of times, 100.000 is really nothing. Also there are numerous practices and yogas of a more physical nature that are done until exhaustion. If you find this to much then perhaps Tibetan Buddhism is not for you?

/magnus
With all due respect, 100,000 prostrations for a middle-aged person is not nothing. Didn't somebody once say:
Vajrayana is characterized by having many methods, few hardships, and easy accessibility for people of higher faculties.
?
There is not only nothingness because there is always, and always can manifest. - Thinley Norbu Rinpoche
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Re: Did the 84 mahasiddhas practice Ngöndro?

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

Challenge23 wrote:
Fortyeightvows wrote:"The repetition of the full Ngondro helps to indoctrinate you into the Vajrayana way of seeing things in the same way that seeing dozens and dozens of commercials about the double down sandwich will make you start to believe that bacon and cheese sandwiched between two chicken paddies might actually not be a bad idea."
:thumbsup:
It's true! Most people don't realize that the mechanisms that are used in religion, magic, and marketing have a whole lot in common!
I'm not a big fan of that analogy. I prefer the idea of a music student doing scales to develop facility. You can think of it like you are ingraining your nervous system, habituating your mind, to access the deeper levels of your mind. YMMV
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2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)
Malcolm
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Re: Did the 84 mahasiddhas practice Ngöndro?

Post by Malcolm »

Sherlock wrote:Ngondro was present in Dzogchen tantras, apparently Sakyas never had it until very recently though so it might not have been part of the Indian sarma tantras.

Sakyas did not have a seperate ngondro text, as such, but they always had preliminaries. The idea of counting them all 100,000 at a time seems to be a relatively recent innovation. In the past, when doing a retreat one typically did each for a week or a month, depending one's time.
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Re: Did the 84 mahasiddhas practice Ngöndro?

Post by Sherlock »

Malcolm wrote:
Sherlock wrote:Ngondro was present in Dzogchen tantras, apparently Sakyas never had it until very recently though so it might not have been part of the Indian sarma tantras.

Sakyas did not have a seperate ngondro text, as such, but they always had preliminaries. The idea of counting them all 100,000 at a time seems to be a relatively recent innovation. In the past, when doing a retreat one typically did each for a week or a month, depending one's time.
That seems like what Nyingmapas in the past did too, at least up until Sogdogpa.
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Re: Did the 84 mahasiddhas practice Ngöndro?

Post by jmlee369 »

As far as the Gelugpas go, ngondro isn't really a thing prior to receiving initiations. However, some combination of nine preliminary practices are done in large numbers prior to long retreats.
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Re: Did the 84 mahasiddhas practice Ngöndro?

Post by ngodrup »

There has always been the ngondro otherwise called the path of accumulation.
It is usually followed by a ngondro called the path of preparation.
Without those how will there be seeing?

Apparently, Asanga saw it this way. Or was it Maitreya? In any case, read
Abhisamayalamkara... Specific formats have changed, but not the basic schema.
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Re: Did the 84 mahasiddhas practice Ngöndro?

Post by heart »

dzogchungpa wrote:
heart wrote:Tibetan Buddhism is a practice that contains a multitude of prayers and mantras to be repeated millions of times, 100.000 is really nothing. Also there are numerous practices and yogas of a more physical nature that are done until exhaustion. If you find this to much then perhaps Tibetan Buddhism is not for you?

/magnus
With all due respect, 100,000 prostrations for a middle-aged person is not nothing. Didn't somebody once say:
Vajrayana is characterized by having many methods, few hardships, and easy accessibility for people of higher faculties.
?
A friend of mine, he is 55 and quite corpulent, just finished doing 100.000 prostrations again. He told me he did 21 each day for many many days until he finally arrived at 100 or more. Personally I doubt I can make it cause I am in a very bad shape, but he sure did. But repeating something 100.000 times is not much in Tibetan Buddhism in general.

/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: Did the 84 mahasiddhas practice Ngöndro?

Post by Reibeam »

heart wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:
heart wrote:Tibetan Buddhism is a practice that contains a multitude of prayers and mantras to be repeated millions of times, 100.000 is really nothing. Also there are numerous practices and yogas of a more physical nature that are done until exhaustion. If you find this to much then perhaps Tibetan Buddhism is not for you?

/magnus
With all due respect, 100,000 prostrations for a middle-aged person is not nothing. Didn't somebody once say:
Vajrayana is characterized by having many methods, few hardships, and easy accessibility for people of higher faculties.
?
A friend of mine, he is 55 and quite corpulent, just finished doing 100.000 prostrations again. He told me he did 21 each day for many many days until he finally arrived at 100 or more. Personally I doubt I can make it cause I am in a very bad shape, but he sure did. But repeating something 100.000 times is not much in Tibetan Buddhism in general.

/magnus
Prostrations seem to be the most intimidating part to westerns, but if you are determined in general you can do them. You just have to be consistent and do them every day. I am 250lbs and I do them.......but now I have arms that look like Popeye's :twothumbsup:

but they have a lot of benefits even on a relative level. Besides flexibility, and benefits for the winds I had a ganglion cyst on my wrist.......after the first 3000 prostrations it went away. It was gone for a long time and when it starts to come back I think " I need to do more prostrations" and then it goes away again.

The hardest part for me is mandala offering.......I get bad elbow cramps. But again this thread is about the history of ngondro, not war stories about our experiences. :focus:
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Re: Did the 84 mahasiddhas practice Ngöndro?

Post by fckw »

So, what you guys are arguing is that even before the "official" versions of Ngöndro were installed, people were asked by their teachers to be properly prepared before doing tantra, mamudra or dzogchen. The preparation period could contain all sorts of practices like hard work (like in Milarepa's case), techniques nowadays found in Ngöndro, maybe be sent for a pilgrimage or asked for a financial contribution to something etc. To be honest, this I intuitively understand, it makes sense to me.
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Re: Did the 84 mahasiddhas practice Ngöndro?

Post by Ayu »

jmlee369 wrote:As far as the Gelugpas go, ngondro isn't really a thing prior to receiving initiations. However, some combination of nine preliminary practices are done in large numbers prior to long retreats.
Yes, I heard so. Our Gelug teacher emphasizes on doing ngöndro thoroughly, each practice.

He says it is short view to look at the disadvantages only. And I feel we are blessed, that he teaches these practices to us. Regarding prostrations I have the feeling: "Now or never." And I'm very glad, that I am able to do them at all.
But sometimes I think, if I was a naturally devoted Tibetan and not a critical-minded westerner, all this effort would be more beneficial. I don't know. This intellectual mind is a big hindrance in this case.

Sorry for being :offtopic:
For the benefit and ease of all sentient beings. :heart:
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Re: Did the 84 mahasiddhas practice Ngöndro?

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

heart wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:
heart wrote:Tibetan Buddhism is a practice that contains a multitude of prayers and mantras to be repeated millions of times, 100.000 is really nothing. Also there are numerous practices and yogas of a more physical nature that are done until exhaustion. If you find this to much then perhaps Tibetan Buddhism is not for you?

/magnus
With all due respect, 100,000 prostrations for a middle-aged person is not nothing. Didn't somebody once say:
Vajrayana is characterized by having many methods, few hardships, and easy accessibility for people of higher faculties.
?
A friend of mine, he is 55 and quite corpulent, just finished doing 100.000 prostrations again. He told me he did 21 each day for many many days until he finally arrived at 100 or more. Personally I doubt I can make it cause I am in a very bad shape, but he sure did. But repeating something 100.000 times is not much in Tibetan Buddhism in general.

/magnus

I' could swear i've heard some teachers say that if one cannot do the physical prostrations, then you adopt the same mental attitude and intention, including visualizations etc., and you do the kind of "mini prostrations" that are a bow, or even if that is not possible, you do them mentally. If they didn't say it outright that it "counted", they strongly implied it.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

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Re: Did the 84 mahasiddhas practice Ngöndro?

Post by Tongnyid Dorje »

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
heart wrote: I' could swear i've heard some teachers say that if one cannot do the physical prostrations, then you adopt the same mental attitude and intention, including visualizations etc., and you do the kind of "mini prostrations" that are a bow, or even if that is not possible, you do them mentally. If they didn't say it outright that it "counted", they strongly implied it.
or circumbulate stupa, or temple instead of prostrations...
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Re: Did the 84 mahasiddhas practice Ngöndro?

Post by philji »

I. Am almost 63, reasonably healthy.( have a background in athletics) and don't find it too difficult to do 100 prostrations. Slow and steady ...no where to go nothing to do... Just enjoy. :bow:
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Re: Did the 84 mahasiddhas practice Ngöndro?

Post by Simon E. »

philji wrote:I. Am almost 63, reasonably healthy.( have a background in athletics) and don't find it too difficult to do 100 prostrations. Slow and steady ...no where to go nothing to do... Just enjoy. :bow:
Good for you philji..not an option for everyone of course. I know a couple of folk who started ngondro when no longer in the first flush of youth who crocked themselves... :(
Horses for courses ..

Any teacher will always offer alternatives...
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Re: Did the 84 mahasiddhas practice Ngöndro?

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

I'm 60 and obese. My recommendation is to get a raised prostration board, at lest 4" off the ground or more. It makes pushing back up off the floor much much easier, which is the hard part of the process.

I asked permission from my usually hard headed lama, and given my age he said ok. Usually that's a no-no for hardcore practitioners. I understand wanting to be a purist, but hey, better to do what you can rather than be a purist and do nothing.
1.The problem isn’t ‘ignorance’. The problem is the mind you have right now. (H.H. Karmapa XVII @NYC 2/4/18)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)
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