Did the 84 mahasiddhas practice Ngöndro?

Forum for discussion of Tibetan Buddhism. Questions specific to one school are best posted in the appropriate sub-forum.
Post Reply
User avatar
Challenge23
Posts: 181
Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2012 6:36 pm

Re: Did the 84 mahasiddhas practice Ngöndro?

Post by Challenge23 »

Reibeam wrote:
I still find it interesting that most issues with ngondro discussions seem to fall around prostrations. So in general most people must not have any problems with extreme purifacation of karma with Vajrasattva, offering the whole universe and cultivating generosity with mandala offering or realizing ones non dual nature by unifying with the teacher in guru yoga?

I would agree on the surface the physical act of prostrations is the most intimidating, but the other bums to complete are just as daunting as an ego cherishing, stingy, karma factory like myself.
Well, I can't speak for everyone but for myself prostrations were not all that big of a deal.

Vajrasattva, OTOH, was almost universally awful from beginning to end. Even finishing it was foul. Mandala thus far has been somewhat of a non-issue. The visualization is a little rough but still not that bad at all. I'm pretty nervous about guru yoga but I'll deal with that when it is time to do guru yoga.
IN THIS BOOK IT IS SPOKEN OF THE SEPHIROTH & THE PATHS, OF SPIRITS & CONJURATIONS, OF GODS, SPHERES, PLANES & MANY OTHER THINGS WHICH MAY OR MAY NOT EXIST. IT IS IMMATERIAL WHETHER THEY EXIST OR NOT. BY DOING CERTAIN THINGS CERTAIN RESULTS FOLLOW; STUDENTS ARE MOST EARNESTLY WARNED AGAINST ATTRIBUTING OBJECTIVE REALITY OR PHILOSOPHICAL VALIDITY TO ANY OF THEM.

Wagner, Eric; Wilson, Robert Anton (2004-12-01). An Insider's Guide to Robert Anton Wilson (Kindle Locations 1626-1629). New Falcon Publications. Kindle Edition., quoting from Alister Crowley
User avatar
dzogchungpa
Posts: 6333
Joined: Sat May 28, 2011 10:50 pm

Re: Did the 84 mahasiddhas practice Ngöndro?

Post by dzogchungpa »

Challenge23 wrote:Vajrasattva, OTOH, was almost universally awful from beginning to end. Even finishing it was foul.
What was so bad about it?
There is not only nothingness because there is always, and always can manifest. - Thinley Norbu Rinpoche
User avatar
Challenge23
Posts: 181
Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2012 6:36 pm

Re: Did the 84 mahasiddhas practice Ngöndro?

Post by Challenge23 »

dzogchungpa wrote:
Challenge23 wrote:Vajrasattva, OTOH, was almost universally awful from beginning to end. Even finishing it was foul.
What was so bad about it?
Good question.

Without rambling too much, I had certain misunderstandings about the Dharma that doing Vajrasattva has put into painfully clear relief.

Before Vajrasattva I knew where I was, what I was doing, why I was doing it, and what I needed to do in order to get from where I was to where I wanted to be. Enlightenment was awesome and everyone should have it ASAP(why I was practicing), I was really quite far away from it but moving in the right direction(where I was), I had a set list of practices to progress through provided by my teacher(what I was doing), and to get to Enlightment I had to start with Ngondro and then go down the list(what I had to do to get from where I was to where I needed to be).

Through Vajrasattva I now understand, with incredible clarity, that I have no clue about any of those things. I don't know where I am on the path, why I am on the path, what I am doing, and I have no idea how to get from where I am to where I want to be. I am about as far from type of practitioner I want to be(clear, confident, enthusiastic, etc) as I could in theory be.

So yeah, Vajrasattva. Not a fan.
IN THIS BOOK IT IS SPOKEN OF THE SEPHIROTH & THE PATHS, OF SPIRITS & CONJURATIONS, OF GODS, SPHERES, PLANES & MANY OTHER THINGS WHICH MAY OR MAY NOT EXIST. IT IS IMMATERIAL WHETHER THEY EXIST OR NOT. BY DOING CERTAIN THINGS CERTAIN RESULTS FOLLOW; STUDENTS ARE MOST EARNESTLY WARNED AGAINST ATTRIBUTING OBJECTIVE REALITY OR PHILOSOPHICAL VALIDITY TO ANY OF THEM.

Wagner, Eric; Wilson, Robert Anton (2004-12-01). An Insider's Guide to Robert Anton Wilson (Kindle Locations 1626-1629). New Falcon Publications. Kindle Edition., quoting from Alister Crowley
User avatar
dzogchungpa
Posts: 6333
Joined: Sat May 28, 2011 10:50 pm

Re: Did the 84 mahasiddhas practice Ngöndro?

Post by dzogchungpa »

Challenge23 wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:
Challenge23 wrote:Vajrasattva, OTOH, was almost universally awful from beginning to end. Even finishing it was foul.
What was so bad about it?
Good question.

Without rambling too much, I had certain misunderstandings about the Dharma that doing Vajrasattva has put into painfully clear relief.

Before Vajrasattva I knew where I was, what I was doing, why I was doing it, and what I needed to do in order to get from where I was to where I wanted to be. Enlightenment was awesome and everyone should have it ASAP(why I was practicing), I was really quite far away from it but moving in the right direction(where I was), I had a set list of practices to progress through provided by my teacher(what I was doing), and to get to Enlightment I had to start with Ngondro and then go down the list(what I had to do to get from where I was to where I needed to be).

Through Vajrasattva I now understand, with incredible clarity, that I have no clue about any of those things. I don't know where I am on the path, why I am on the path, what I am doing, and I have no idea how to get from where I am to where I want to be. I am about as far from type of practitioner I want to be(clear, confident, enthusiastic, etc) as I could in theory be.

So yeah, Vajrasattva. Not a fan.
Well, it might be unpleasant, but it kind of sounds like a good result to me.
There is not only nothingness because there is always, and always can manifest. - Thinley Norbu Rinpoche
Malcolm
Posts: 32637
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Did the 84 mahasiddhas practice Ngöndro?

Post by Malcolm »

Challenge23 wrote:
So yeah, Vajrasattva. Not a fan.
You just need to do more of it.
Schrödinger’s Yidam
Posts: 7145
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: Did the 84 mahasiddhas practice Ngöndro?

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

A buddy quit prostrations because "it made him feel crazy". Nice guy and all, but he's already crazy. He just started to wake up to that fact, and he didn't like it.

Too bad he quit.
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)
User avatar
Challenge23
Posts: 181
Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2012 6:36 pm

Re: Did the 84 mahasiddhas practice Ngöndro?

Post by Challenge23 »

Malcolm wrote:
Challenge23 wrote:
So yeah, Vajrasattva. Not a fan.
You just need to do more of it.

Did that. And the result is that it does the same thing now as it did before. It points out the problem more and more accurately and vividly but it doesn't resolve it.

Enlightenment can't be described because it is fundamentally beyond intellectual understanding. Because of this and other reasons the only way you can understand if Enlightenment is "good" in any sense is to experience it via direct human perception which is quite possibly the most flawed way of understanding anything(and even then it seems to be pretty clear that it is beyond categories of "good" or "bad" which means you can't really argue that it is "good"). If I can't "prove" Enlightenment is "good" then I can't say that it is something that everyone should have without exception. Thus Thervadin, Mahayana, and Vajrayana as very basic concepts collapse as they all are based on Enlightenment being "good".

And no matter how many Vajrasattvas I do it doesn't disprove any point in that argument no matter how much I want it to.

And, yes, direct human perception is ineffective in the extreme. People make their livings off of manipulating it(advertising) and fooling it(stage magicians). There have been studies done that show again and again how what we experience only vaguely aligns with what actually is.
IN THIS BOOK IT IS SPOKEN OF THE SEPHIROTH & THE PATHS, OF SPIRITS & CONJURATIONS, OF GODS, SPHERES, PLANES & MANY OTHER THINGS WHICH MAY OR MAY NOT EXIST. IT IS IMMATERIAL WHETHER THEY EXIST OR NOT. BY DOING CERTAIN THINGS CERTAIN RESULTS FOLLOW; STUDENTS ARE MOST EARNESTLY WARNED AGAINST ATTRIBUTING OBJECTIVE REALITY OR PHILOSOPHICAL VALIDITY TO ANY OF THEM.

Wagner, Eric; Wilson, Robert Anton (2004-12-01). An Insider's Guide to Robert Anton Wilson (Kindle Locations 1626-1629). New Falcon Publications. Kindle Edition., quoting from Alister Crowley
Sherlock
Posts: 1202
Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2012 3:14 pm

Re: Did the 84 mahasiddhas practice Ngöndro?

Post by Sherlock »

Wow, you should really clarify your doubts with a teacher and more studying.

Enlightenment is not perceived through human perceptions. It is beyond karma.
User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 11494
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

Re: Did the 84 mahasiddhas practice Ngöndro?

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

Challenge23 wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Challenge23 wrote:
So yeah, Vajrasattva. Not a fan.
You just need to do more of it.

Did that. And the result is that it does the same thing now as it did before. It points out the problem more and more accurately and vividly but it doesn't resolve it.

Enlightenment can't be described because it is fundamentally beyond intellectual understanding. Because of this and other reasons the only way you can understand if Enlightenment is "good" in any sense is to experience it via direct human perception which is quite possibly the most flawed way of understanding anything(and even then it seems to be pretty clear that it is beyond categories of "good" or "bad" which means you can't really argue that it is "good"). If I can't "prove" Enlightenment is "good" then I can't say that it is something that everyone should have without exception. Thus Thervadin, Mahayana, and Vajrayana as very basic concepts collapse as they all are based on Enlightenment being "good".

And no matter how many Vajrasattvas I do it doesn't disprove any point in that argument no matter how much I want it to.

And, yes, direct human perception is ineffective in the extreme. People make their livings off of manipulating it(advertising) and fooling it(stage magicians). There have been studies done that show again and again how what we experience only vaguely aligns with what actually is.
The above is just talking about the senses and thinking mind...,
"...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."

-James Low
Schrödinger’s Yidam
Posts: 7145
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: Did the 84 mahasiddhas practice Ngöndro?

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

The traditional approach is to review the 4 thoughts and make sure your question/orientation/approach is framed in those terms and from that perspective. I'm not a Dharma teacher but that's the general blanket prescription for everybody. Even realized bodhisattvas rely on the 4 thoughts to keep them on track. That's what they are there for.
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)
User avatar
conebeckham
Posts: 5107
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:49 pm
Location: Bay Area, CA, USA

Re: Did the 84 mahasiddhas practice Ngöndro?

Post by conebeckham »

If you look at the so-called "advanced practices" like the Six Yogas traditions, etc., you'll find that there's ngondro there, as well. The four thoughts, refuge, bodhictitta, purification practices, mandala, guru yoga--they are part of the liturgy for these practices. I am not as familiar with the Dzogchen tradition, but I know there are specific "preliminaries"--Rushens, SemDzins--as well as the "four ordinary" and "four extraordinary practices" as well.

With regard to the Mahasiddhas, Niguma and Naropa definitely practiced, or recommended practice, of what we call ngondro. Certainly, the idea of "preliminary ngondro" of the 400,000 is relatively recent, but the practices themselves are as old as Vajrayana. These are the tried-and-true methods of accumulating merit, primarily, and for accumulating wisdom, as well.
དམ་པའི་དོན་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ཆེ་བ་དང་།
རྟོག་གེའི་ཡུལ་མིན་བླ་མའི་བྱིན་རླབས་དང་།
སྐལ་ལྡན་ལས་འཕྲོ་ཅན་གྱིས་རྟོགས་པ་སྟེ།
དེ་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ལ་ནི་ལོ་རྟོག་སེལ།།


"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."
- (Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, from his summary of "The Ocean of Definitive Meaning")
fckw
Posts: 620
Joined: Mon Jan 06, 2014 11:10 am

Re: Did the 84 mahasiddhas practice Ngöndro?

Post by fckw »

Challenge23 wrote: Did that. And the result is that it does the same thing now as it did before. It points out the problem more and more accurately and vividly but it doesn't resolve it.

Enlightenment can't be described because it is fundamentally beyond intellectual understanding. Because of this and other reasons the only way you can understand if Enlightenment is "good" in any sense is to experience it via direct human perception which is quite possibly the most flawed way of understanding anything(and even then it seems to be pretty clear that it is beyond categories of "good" or "bad" which means you can't really argue that it is "good"). If I can't "prove" Enlightenment is "good" then I can't say that it is something that everyone should have without exception. Thus Thervadin, Mahayana, and Vajrayana as very basic concepts collapse as they all are based on Enlightenment being "good".

And no matter how many Vajrasattvas I do it doesn't disprove any point in that argument no matter how much I want it to.

And, yes, direct human perception is ineffective in the extreme. People make their livings off of manipulating it(advertising) and fooling it(stage magicians). There have been studies done that show again and again how what we experience only vaguely aligns with what actually is.
Thanks for sharing, much more interesting than others pointing you in the purportedly right direction. To me it sounds like Vajrasattva is helping you to get beyond conventional (thought-) concepts of ethics and moral. So the practice really seems to work for you.
haha
Posts: 436
Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 3:30 pm

Re: Did the 84 mahasiddhas practice Ngöndro?

Post by haha »

Interesting question!

Did first recipients (such as Suchandra or Indrabhuti or any other person) practice any preliminary before they received the higher tantra?

:popcorn:
Schrödinger’s Yidam
Posts: 7145
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: Did the 84 mahasiddhas practice Ngöndro?

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

Thanks for sharing, much more interesting than others pointing you in the purportedly right direction.
Sorry, as everybody knows by now I'm pretty square. Didn't mean to spoil the fun. :toilet:
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)
User avatar
Challenge23
Posts: 181
Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2012 6:36 pm

Re: Did the 84 mahasiddhas practice Ngöndro?

Post by Challenge23 »

Sherlock wrote:Wow, you should really clarify your doubts with a teacher and more studying.

Enlightenment is not perceived through human perceptions. It is beyond karma.
I did. My teacher said to do more practice. I'm waiting to hear back from him in regards to permission to do a 5-10 day solo Ngondro retreat.

And I'm not sure exactly how one perceives anything without human perceptions, or at least the filters that we use to evaluate our experiences. For example, there were experiments done awhile back where groups of college students were shown a picture for 1 second and asked to describe what they saw. They described, in detail, a black man stabbing a white man with a knife. They described both men and even the knife in extreme detail.

It actually was a white man stabbing a black man with a banana.

The "feeling mind" can be even more easily mislead, by the way(if you are in the US, just watch the news with the understanding that you are more likely to get into a car accident than be involved in a terror attack or a plane crash). I'm not sure what other ways of perceiving you are thinking of but I'd be pretty amazed if those couldn't be fooled pretty easily as well.
smcj wrote: You are assuming that you are framing the question properly--still. Better to review the 4 thoughts and make sure your question is framed in that perspective. That's what it is there for.
I'm not 100% sure what you mean. If you look at it from the PoV the 4 thoughts than it becomes, "Is Enlightenment better than samsara?" And the answer is, again, we can't know because we can't assign the categories of "good" or "bad" to Enlightenment. Just because X is bad doesn't make Y good. If samsara is bad because of impermanence that doesn't mean Enlightenment is good.

For example, what if Enlightenment is that you fully realize self is an illusion and therefore the mindstream dissolves into nothingness? Or if the self acts as a sort of glue and without it your mindstream dissipates so that you are basically spread out through out all reality? Both of these technically satisfy the conditions of Enlightenment that the Buddha set forth. Now you might say that both of those things are definitely better than samsara but I'm not 100% sure I agree. And if I, someone who should be all about Enlightenment, am not sure it is good then the infinite number of sentient beings I'm doing this for would most likely be even less sure.

And, to circle it all back, THIS is what happened due to my Vajrasattva practice. This type of thoughts, these types of concerns. Much worse than a sore back, copious sweat, a re-evaluation of what I "need" as far as stuff, etc. I never thought about this before Vajrasattva. Now when it comes to anything Buddhist related it always sits in the back of my mind.
fckw wrote: Thanks for sharing, much more interesting than others pointing you in the purportedly right direction. To me it sounds like Vajrasattva is helping you to get beyond conventional (thought-) concepts of ethics and moral. So the practice really seems to work for you.
Thank you. Honestly, it feels like I'm infected with some sort of disease, like "wrong view syndrome" or something. I would much rather go back to, "Rinpoche said it, that settles it!".
IN THIS BOOK IT IS SPOKEN OF THE SEPHIROTH & THE PATHS, OF SPIRITS & CONJURATIONS, OF GODS, SPHERES, PLANES & MANY OTHER THINGS WHICH MAY OR MAY NOT EXIST. IT IS IMMATERIAL WHETHER THEY EXIST OR NOT. BY DOING CERTAIN THINGS CERTAIN RESULTS FOLLOW; STUDENTS ARE MOST EARNESTLY WARNED AGAINST ATTRIBUTING OBJECTIVE REALITY OR PHILOSOPHICAL VALIDITY TO ANY OF THEM.

Wagner, Eric; Wilson, Robert Anton (2004-12-01). An Insider's Guide to Robert Anton Wilson (Kindle Locations 1626-1629). New Falcon Publications. Kindle Edition., quoting from Alister Crowley
User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 11494
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

Re: Did the 84 mahasiddhas practice Ngöndro?

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

I did. My teacher said to do more practice. I'm waiting to hear back from him in regards to permission to do a 5-10 day solo Ngondro retreat.

And I'm not sure exactly how one perceives anything without human perceptions, or at least the filters that we use to evaluate our experiences. For example, there were experiments done awhile back where groups of college students were shown a picture for 1 second and asked to describe what they saw. They described, in detail, a black man stabbing a white man with a knife. They described both men and even the knife in extreme detail.

It actually was a white man stabbing a black man with a banana.

The "feeling mind" can be even more easily mislead, by the way(if you are in the US, just watch the news with the understanding that you are more likely to get into a car accident than be involved in a terror attack or a plane crash). I'm not sure what other ways of perceiving you are thinking of but I'd be pretty amazed if those couldn't be fooled pretty easily as well.
Well yeah, ultimate reality is beyond truth claims...this is sort of a running theme throughout all of Buddhism. IMO if you're looking for some ultimate formula that will "prove" Dharma to your discursive mind, you won't find one....outside of Madhyamaka exhaustion of discursive thought. Second, even if you did find something you though was that, it would be that nature of the discursive mind to become exhausted with it and search for something else anyway.

I don't quite get why you think that human beings being led astray in their views of conventional truth is something that somehow 'disproves' Dharma teachings..you appear to be building yourself quite the net.
For example, what if Enlightenment is that you fully realize self is an illusion and therefore the mindstream dissolves into nothingness? Or if the self acts as a sort of glue and without it your mindstream dissipates so that you are basically spread out through out all reality?
I'm fairly sure both of those notions are refuted in a number of places.
I'm not 100% sure what you mean. If you look at it from the PoV the 4 thoughts than it becomes, "Is Enlightenment better than samsara?" And the answer is, again, we can't know because we can't assign the categories of "good" or "bad" to Enlightenment
That's because the kind of "knowing" you are talking about - knowing concepts in a conventional way- only goes so far, and is (as you said) true of anything. So it's true, you cannot know on that level, to me it seems this where you have to trust that it's possible to realize it, rather than "know" it in the way you want to. Similar to trying to know some dream fact within a dream, rather than waking up from the dream.
"...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."

-James Low
Schrödinger’s Yidam
Posts: 7145
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: Did the 84 mahasiddhas practice Ngöndro?

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

And I'm not sure exactly how one perceives anything without human perceptions, or at least the filters that we use to evaluate our experiences.
Our 'evaluations' are based on our ignorance, our samsara. That is part of what we are taking refuge from. If our faith and trust are in the 3 Jewels as being stable and trustworthy, then we are free to allow the practice to change us however is appropriate to our karma. Trying to stay in the driver's seat is attachment, plain and simple. Of course letting go like that can be scary, so a teacher's supervision is reassuring.

Anyway that's not exactly how my teacher put it to me, but it is in the flavor of what I've been taught.
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)
User avatar
Gyurme Kundrol
Posts: 169
Joined: Thu May 08, 2014 7:34 pm

Re: Did the 84 mahasiddhas practice Ngöndro?

Post by Gyurme Kundrol »

fckw wrote:It is generally accepted that Ngöndro is a fundamental practice for all those who want to dive deeper into the higher teachings of Tantra, Mahamudra and Dzogchen. Recently, I read somewhere that the Ngöndro as a practice was actually introduced by Shantarakshita for monastic practitioners, but that according to the known biographies neither Padmasambhava nor any of the 84 mahasiddhas performed a Ngöndro themselves. I was a little astonished, since I had automatically assumed that all or at least most of the ancient great masters had practiced the Ngöndro (or something similar) themselves before being introduced to the higher teachings. Do you have any arguments that either support or reject the idea that the mahasiddhas did not do Ngöndro? Please be aware that this is not meant to be a discussion in favor or against the Ngöndro. I am sure these practices have their own value, otherwise they would not be there and would not be hold in high regard by so many contemporary masters.
I try to convince myself to do Ngondro but whenever I do I find six reasons to remain where I am and not add anything to what I'm doing.

I wish to do prostrations
Then remember that visualizing Buddhas
And doing prostrations are pointless
Since everywhere I go I see Buddhas and Bodhisattvas
In a pure land helping me to integrate my enlightened awareness with all phenomena.

I wish to cultivate Bodhicitta
Then remember that its pointless
Because the ultimate nature of reality itself is completely selfless and without contrivance
And by doing nothing but remaining in that, ultimate benefit is brought to all
And compassionate activity is natural, automatic, spontaneous and as perfect as it could be
So no amount of imagining or cultivating can add anything to it
Since the movementmovement of body, speech and mind becomes the expression of ultimate Bodhicitta.

I wish to purify with Vajrasattva
Then remember that my enlightened nature is Vajrasattva already
Since the nature of mind is already pure and all phenomena are already included in that nature
There is nothing to purify, nobody who Could do the purification
And even if there was whatever might be purified is pure from the beginning
So such an activity leads nowhere.

I wish to offer the mandala of the whole universe
Then remember that visualizing all things as being given to the Buddhas of the ten directions is pointless
Because throughout the ten directions all things whatsoever are already included in the Buddha Nature
Therefore there is nothing new I could offer since all things are already offered.

I wish to do Guru Yoga in order to realize my minds nature
Then see that its a waste of effort
My enlightened nature is already identical with the enlightened nature of all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of all times
Furthermore since there is no difference between meditation and post meditation
There is no new state to achieve or create and no transition between those experiences
And finally since the four empowerments simply bring to fruition this very realization itself
There is no need to take more empowerments in order to attain whats already inherently and naturally present.

I wish to perform powa to go to Amithabhas pure land
Then see there is nowhere to go
Because the transitional state between living and dying is just one of many transitional states or bardos
Which amounts to nothing more than the modification of the array of inconceivable phenomena
Arising as empty appearances to ones own enlightened nature
Since that nature is unchanging and all pervasive
All things are already a pure land so there is nowhere else to go
in order to attain such a perception or state.

Since Buddha Nature is timeless
There is no time in which to start Ngondro
Since the three times are without self nature
There is no way to count even 1 of anything
Since beginnings and ends are conceptual designations
All concepts related to starting or finishing are delusion
Since all phenomena whatsoever are included in Buddha Nature
Even signs of accomplishment are empty displays

Since things are like this
Doing one prostration Ive done an infinite number
Cultivating one moment of Bodhicitta supreme benefit is brought to all
Saying simply "Hum" I am Vajrasattva himself
All things being encompassed in the ultimate nature
Everything is automatically offered as the supreme mandala
And doing a single moment of Guru Yoga I am awakened from the beginning

When I tell myself that since its like this
I may as well do Ngondro because it cant hurt me
I realize that because its like this
I may as well not worry about making new habits
Since things are already perfect as they are
There is really no need to change anything

Then I tell myself that in order to bring beings onto the proper path
I should show them the gradual methods that will help them with liberation
But since those methods never create enlightened awareness itself
I feel that I would be lying to them
And showing them a path I haven't walked like a hypocrite

Then I tell myself that I should do it anyways
Lie to bring them benefit, be a hypocrite for their sake
Yet then I realize that they are lazy, tired, and have no energy
And since they are lacking even Bodhicitta, the very foundation of supreme attainment
Showing them a path that requires so much effort would discourage them from Dharma
So keeping it simple, I emphasize a positive intention and mindfulness above everything else

Finally I worry that the demon of pride has reared its head
Completely taken over my spiritual path
And totally acquired all my energies for its own use
That I am completely insane and delusional
And instead of bringing Dharma to beings
I am hurling them into the depths of Samsara
Then I remember vajra pride and the all accomplishing nature
And see that even ordinary pride is included in the ultimate nature
That even insanity and delusion are nothing but its ineffable display
So without any worries I just maintain my madness

In the end I cant find any reason to do Ngondro
Nor can I find any reason to avoid it
Without any need to do or not do
Without worrying about how or when or why I can bring benefit to beings
I just follow my Gurus instruction to remain in minds true nature
And refrain from adding anything extra onto that perfection

If this can be realized, really what use is Ngondro? If our suffering and delusions dont decrease, we need to do something, why not Ngondro? If our compassion is not increasing, we need to be worried and examine our mind and intention, and purify it in some way, so why not Ngondro? These are the only signs of success or failure in Dharma, everything else is adding onto this. Even having a vision of receiving empowerment from every Buddha and Bodhisattva in the ten directions is useless if having such an experience doesnt result in greater compassion, clarity, wisdom, and so forth. Even the appearance of miraculous objects is nothing but the manifestation of demons if we don't see it as innately inseparable from minds ultimate nature, if it becomes the basis of clinging and attachment. On the other hand if all things are viewed as a pure land, there is no need to modify anything or change any phenomena whatsoever, and good or bad experiences all arise as Samarasa and never leave our innately enlightened, naturally arising awareness. Finally sometimes Ngondro itself can be an obstacle when we grasp after it in order to simply reach a certain number, or with motivations like wanting other Sangha members respect, or respect from Gurus, where we think we are special for having done it, or that those who havent done it are inferior as practitioners. These are all wrong motivations that turn Ngondro into poison rather than medicine. Finally, if we are doing it in order to acquire higher teachings we might as well just lie to our Guru about doing it because we are already lying to ourselves in thinking that there are higher teachings to acquire, and if we had that karma we would get those teachings regardless so we need not worry or even try to modify anything, but just keep our intention towards supreme enlightenment as pure as possible. Not only is the whole path found in Ngondro up to Buddhahood itself, but the ultimate nature encompasses all things and all phenomena are the basis of its practice both in the presence and absence of a person doing Ngondro.
krodha
Posts: 2471
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2011 10:30 pm

Re: Did the 84 mahasiddhas practice Ngöndro?

Post by krodha »

Gyurme Kundrol wrote:I try to convince myself to do Ngondro but whenever I do I find six reasons to remain where I am and not add anything to what I'm doing.

I wish to do prostrations
Then remember that visualizing Buddhas
And doing prostrations are pointless
Since everywhere I go I see Buddhas and Bodhisattvas
In a pure land helping me to integrate my enlightened awareness with all phenomena.

I wish to cultivate Bodhicitta
Then remember that its pointless
Because the ultimate nature of reality itself is completely selfless and without contrivance
And by doing nothing but remaining in that, ultimate benefit is brought to all
And compassionate activity is natural, automatic, spontaneous and as perfect as it could be
So no amount of imagining or cultivating can add anything to it
Since the movementmovement of body, speech and mind becomes the expression of ultimate Bodhicitta.

I wish to purify with Vajrasattva
Then remember that my enlightened nature is Vajrasattva already
Since the nature of mind is already pure and all phenomena are already included in that nature
There is nothing to purify, nobody who Could do the purification
And even if there was whatever might be purified is pure from the beginning
So such an activity leads nowhere.

I wish to offer the mandala of the whole universe
Then remember that visualizing all things as being given to the Buddhas of the ten directions is pointless
Because throughout the ten directions all things whatsoever are already included in the Buddha Nature
Therefore there is nothing new I could offer since all things are already offered.

I wish to do Guru Yoga in order to realize my minds nature
Then see that its a waste of effort
My enlightened nature is already identical with the enlightened nature of all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of all times
Furthermore since there is no difference between meditation and post meditation
There is no new state to achieve or create and no transition between those experiences
And finally since the four empowerments simply bring to fruition this very realization itself
There is no need to take more empowerments in order to attain whats already inherently and naturally present.

I wish to perform powa to go to Amithabhas pure land
Then see there is nowhere to go
Because the transitional state between living and dying is just one of many transitional states or bardos
Which amounts to nothing more than the modification of the array of inconceivable phenomena
Arising as empty appearances to ones own enlightened nature
Since that nature is unchanging and all pervasive
All things are already a pure land so there is nowhere else to go
in order to attain such a perception or state.

Since Buddha Nature is timeless
There is no time in which to start Ngondro
Since the three times are without self nature
There is no way to count even 1 of anything
Since beginnings and ends are conceptual designations
All concepts related to starting or finishing are delusion
Since all phenomena whatsoever are included in Buddha Nature
Even signs of accomplishment are empty displays

Since things are like this
Doing one prostration Ive done an infinite number
Cultivating one moment of Bodhicitta supreme benefit is brought to all
Saying simply "Hum" I am Vajrasattva himself
All things being encompassed in the ultimate nature
Everything is automatically offered as the supreme mandala
And doing a single moment of Guru Yoga I am awakened from the beginning

When I tell myself that since its like this
I may as well do Ngondro because it cant hurt me
I realize that because its like this
I may as well not worry about making new habits
Since things are already perfect as they are
There is really no need to change anything

Then I tell myself that in order to bring beings onto the proper path
I should show them the gradual methods that will help them with liberation
But since those methods never create enlightened awareness itself
I feel that I would be lying to them
And showing them a path I haven't walked like a hypocrite

Then I tell myself that I should do it anyways
Lie to bring them benefit, be a hypocrite for their sake
Yet then I realize that they are lazy, tired, and have no energy
And since they are lacking even Bodhicitta, the very foundation of supreme attainment
Showing them a path that requires so much effort would discourage them from Dharma
So keeping it simple, I emphasize a positive intention and mindfulness above everything else

Finally I worry that the demon of pride has reared its head
Completely taken over my spiritual path
And totally acquired all my energies for its own use
That I am completely insane and delusional
And instead of bringing Dharma to beings
I am hurling them into the depths of Samsara
Then I remember vajra pride and the all accomplishing nature
And see that even ordinary pride is included in the ultimate nature
That even insanity and delusion are nothing but its ineffable display
So without any worries I just maintain my madness

In the end I cant find any reason to do Ngondro
Nor can I find any reason to avoid it
Without any need to do or not do
Without worrying about how or when or why I can bring benefit to beings
I just follow my Gurus instruction to remain in minds true nature
And refrain from adding anything extra onto that perfection

If this can be realized, really what use is Ngondro? If our suffering and delusions dont decrease, we need to do something, why not Ngondro? If our compassion is not increasing, we need to be worried and examine our mind and intention, and purify it in some way, so why not Ngondro? These are the only signs of success or failure in Dharma, everything else is adding onto this. Even having a vision of receiving empowerment from every Buddha and Bodhisattva in the ten directions is useless if having such an experience doesnt result in greater compassion, clarity, wisdom, and so forth. Even the appearance of miraculous objects is nothing but the manifestation of demons if we don't see it as innately inseparable from minds ultimate nature, if it becomes the basis of clinging and attachment. On the other hand if all things are viewed as a pure land, there is no need to modify anything or change any phenomena whatsoever, and good or bad experiences all arise as Samarasa and never leave our innately enlightened, naturally arising awareness. Finally sometimes Ngondro itself can be an obstacle when we grasp after it in order to simply reach a certain number, or with motivations like wanting other Sangha members respect, or respect from Gurus, where we think we are special for having done it, or that those who havent done it are inferior as practitioners. These are all wrong motivations that turn Ngondro into poison rather than medicine. Finally, if we are doing it in order to acquire higher teachings we might as well just lie to our Guru about doing it because we are already lying to ourselves in thinking that there are higher teachings to acquire, and if we had that karma we would get those teachings regardless so we need not worry or even try to modify anything, but just keep our intention towards supreme enlightenment as pure as possible. Not only is the whole path found in Ngondro up to Buddhahood itself, but the ultimate nature encompasses all things and all phenomena are the basis of its practice both in the presence and absence of a person doing Ngondro.
This is acceptable advice for advanced practitioners and/or those of high capacity... but it really isn't good advice for the average practitioner of low to moderate capacity... sentiments of this nature would be little more than nihilism in their case.
Malcolm
Posts: 32637
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Did the 84 mahasiddhas practice Ngöndro?

Post by Malcolm »

Gyurme Kundrol wrote:
If this can be realized, really what use is Ngondro?
To realize this.


but just keep our intention towards supreme enlightenment as pure as possible.
But isn't this a modification? And if you need this, then you need the rest of it.
Post Reply

Return to “Tibetan Buddhism”