Preparing for 7 day Ngondro retreat

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Challenge23
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Preparing for 7 day Ngondro retreat

Post by Challenge23 » Fri Apr 24, 2015 3:39 pm

Good morning,

I'm doing my first Ngondro retreat(actually my first real retreat period) next month and was wondering if anyone here had any ideas re; how to prepare, what to do(and not do), etc.

I have already spoken to my teacher(who approved the retreat) and, because he is not individually responding to e-mails this month, is unavailable to give precise advice. Usually I would be more than happy to wait to get information but if there is something I absolutely need to start doing right now before the retreat I need to know about it in order to do it.

Also, has anyone else done a specific Ngondro retreat? What are your observations?
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

smcj
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Re: Preparing for 7 day Ngondro retreat

Post by smcj » Fri Apr 24, 2015 4:58 pm

Get into shape. Do some sit-ups at least. If your'e out of shape and spend a week doing prostrations your'e going to hurt.
1. No traditional Buddhist sect, Tibetan or otherwise, considers deities to be fictional. (DW post/Seeker242)
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)
4. Shentong] is the completely pure system that, through mainly teaching the luminous aspect of the mind, holds that the fruitions--kayas and wisdoms--exist on their own accord. (Karmapa XIII)

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conebeckham
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Re: Preparing for 7 day Ngondro retreat

Post by conebeckham » Fri Apr 24, 2015 5:05 pm

Start slow....on the first day, do 4 sessions but focus on the four thoughts for most of your time. Gradually build up the amount of accumulations, don't try to start off with a large number each session on the first couple days. And for the last day, ease up a bit as well. Also, it's best to end the last day before noon.
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")

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Challenge23
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Re: Preparing for 7 day Ngondro retreat

Post by Challenge23 » Fri Apr 24, 2015 5:28 pm

smcj wrote:Get into shape. Do some sit-ups at least. If your'e out of shape and spend a week doing prostrations your'e going to hurt.
Good point. My teacher is having me do mandala right now. I was thinking I would do mandala until my arm cramps, then end that round, do some prostrations to uncramp my arm and then go back to more mandala. As it is the Dudjom Tersar Ngondro it is pretty easy to cycle through to a new round as the text itself is super short.

Also, sorry for being pedantic but from a safety/utility point of view, planking is much better for you than situps. Also, I'm finding that doing pushups seems to help prostrations.
conebeckham wrote:Start slow....on the first day, do 4 sessions but focus on the four thoughts for most of your time. Gradually build up the amount of accumulations, don't try to start off with a large number each session on the first couple days. And for the last day, ease up a bit as well. Also, it's best to end the last day before noon.
Very good idea and exactly what I was looking for.
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

pemachophel
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Re: Preparing for 7 day Ngondro retreat

Post by pemachophel » Fri Apr 24, 2015 8:02 pm

Apropos of what Cone said, best to start your first session in the evening and end your last session just before and at sunrise. If you can start during the dark of the moon and end during a waxing moon, that'd be great, but, for a one-week retreat, that may not be possible. Also, if possible, after concluding your accumulations on the morning of the last day, it'd be great to offer tshog in thanksgiving and say lots of dedication and aspiration prayers. If you know any multiplication mantra for before and after each session, those would also be skillful to say. And don't forget your Lama's long-life prayer. You can say that many times as well, even one mama's worth at the end of each session. Also, four sessions were previously mentioned (I think by Cone). That usually means four sessions of three hours each.

Good luck and best wishes.
Pema Chophel པདྨ་ཆོས་འཕེལ

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dzogchungpa
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Re: Preparing for 7 day Ngondro retreat

Post by dzogchungpa » Fri Apr 24, 2015 8:28 pm

pemachophel wrote:And don't forget your Lama's long-life prayer. You can say that many times as well, even one mama's worth at the end of each session.
One mama's worth? :shrug:
There is not only nothingness because there is always, and always can manifest. - Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

philji
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Re: Preparing for 7 day Ngondro retreat

Post by philji » Fri Apr 24, 2015 8:54 pm

Why four sessions of three hours each!!! Unless that is the instruction from his teacher... Isn't it better not to be so tight about it.. Stay relaxed and enjoy your practice.

Sherlock
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Re: Preparing for 7 day Ngondro retreat

Post by Sherlock » Fri Apr 24, 2015 9:09 pm

Properly executed burpees are also good

pemachophel
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Re: Preparing for 7 day Ngondro retreat

Post by pemachophel » Sat Apr 25, 2015 12:48 am

Dzogchungpa,

"One mama's worth?" One mala's worth.

Apple's auto-correct. I hate it and I can't figure out how to disable it.
Pema Chophel པདྨ་ཆོས་འཕེལ

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Konchok Namgyal
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Re: Preparing for 7 day Ngondro retreat

Post by Konchok Namgyal » Sat Apr 25, 2015 12:50 am

1. DONT try to complete the entire ngondro in one retreat.
2. sleep when your teacher has told you to sleep and rest
3. let go of the outside world, hopefully you are locked in somewhere where there are no electronics period.
4. make sure you are eating the proper foods, no spices, no garlic, onions peppers meat etc, but make sure you are getting proper protein and liquids.
5. remember Bhodicitta !
6. and last but definitely not least, do as your teacher has described to you, dont deviate from the plan too much or not at all if you can.

I applaud you for doing retreat and having the aspiration do do so, thank you ! May all sentient beings benefit ! :applause:
Recognize that your mind is the unity of being empty and cognizant, suffused with knowing. When your attention is extroverted, you fall under the sway of thoughts. Let your attention recognize itself. Recognize that it is empty. That which recognizes is the cognizance. You can trust at that moment that these two – emptiness and cognizance – are an original unity. Seeing this is called self-knowing wakefulness. ~ Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche

Rroman
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Re: Preparing for 7 day Ngondro retreat

Post by Rroman » Sat Apr 25, 2015 1:14 am

Make many offerings before and after the retreat. Give as much as you can...
You could change the offering bowls after each session, if you have enough time and energy.
I too rejoice in your modivation and aspirations.

ngodrup
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Re: Preparing for 7 day Ngondro retreat

Post by ngodrup » Sat Apr 25, 2015 6:24 am

What has been said is very good.
I add just two things:

It is very good to offer a Lha Sang in the morning, such as ri wo sang chod,
but there are other ones.

If you have a short protector chant, it is good to recite that in the evening.

These two small things add auspiciousness and dispel any obstacles to
having good practice and results. If you don't have them, no worries, they
certainly aren't required. If you do have them, then they are valuable.

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Challenge23
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Re: Preparing for 7 day Ngondro retreat

Post by Challenge23 » Mon Apr 27, 2015 12:18 am

philji wrote:Why four sessions of three hours each!!! Unless that is the instruction from his teacher... Isn't it better not to be so tight about it.. Stay relaxed and enjoy your practice.
That is good advice for most people. However, in my case I'm working on a practice that is known, in some cases such as my own, to be very not enjoyable. My goal for this retreat is to delve deeply enough into the practice so I can have the enthusiasm that everyone else I know seems to have, or at least enough enthusiasm to be able to complete my teacher's request that I complete my Ngondro.
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

quince
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Re: Preparing for 7 day Ngondro retreat

Post by quince » Mon Apr 27, 2015 4:30 pm

This is really great!!! Good luck!

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ClearblueSky
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Re: Preparing for 7 day Ngondro retreat

Post by ClearblueSky » Tue Apr 28, 2015 1:37 am

Challenge23 wrote:
philji wrote:Why four sessions of three hours each!!! Unless that is the instruction from his teacher... Isn't it better not to be so tight about it.. Stay relaxed and enjoy your practice.
That is good advice for most people. However, in my case I'm working on a practice that is known, in some cases such as my own, to be very not enjoyable. My goal for this retreat is to delve deeply enough into the practice so I can have the enthusiasm that everyone else I know seems to have, or at least enough enthusiasm to be able to complete my teacher's request that I complete my Ngondro.
That is more or less how I structured my ngondro retreat as well. Though some more emphasis on number (in other words, stop at 2.75 hours, or go 3.25 hours if that's when you actually complete the round of recitations, not just stop in the middle when the clock strikes the hour). Remember that that only adds up to 12 hours... have an idea what you're doing the rest of the time. Also that's a good thing perhaps that you're not assuming it will be enjoyable. Then you're either pleasantly surprised, or you're seeing the benefit even if it feels hard, it's a win win.

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