What it means to be a ngakpa

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Lingpupa
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Re: What it means to be a ngakpa

Post by Lingpupa » Tue Jan 16, 2018 10:46 am

Malcolm wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:07 am
Yes, in Dudjom Tersar, most people with the hair empowerment cut or trim their hair. For some of us in other traditions, while the other gear is optional, cutting or trimming the hair is not optional.
When I was fortunate enough to receive one of those big Tersar empowerments we were expected to choose at the time of the empowerment whether we were literally and physically taking the hair vow. It was an option, but if you meant it at the time you were then locked in.
All the best
Alex Wilding
Stupa in the Snow blog at http://chagchen.org/

PeterC
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Re: What it means to be a ngakpa

Post by PeterC » Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:41 am

MatthewAngby wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:50 am
Then if you say a teacher or centre that I feel most connected with, that would be one of the gelugpa centers. ( Amitabha Buddhist centre ). I have always felt a immediate “click “ between them. However I feel gelugpa’s way of teaching might not be for me as I think they are more focused on study ( which I think, I am not sure ). But to say between the teacher and centre, yes I feel more of a connection to them.

So do I go for the Gelug centre or do I go to the Nyingma center which I have more interest for their particular teachings and practices?
Then why not go to the center in whose teachings and practices you have the most interest, and which would therefore best encourage you to practice? Because that's the only point of the whole exercise. Connection means nothing unless it results in actual practice. All lineages have excellent teachings. All are accessible if you put in a minimal amount of effort. No teacher or center is perfect. Everyone on this board could give you views on the respective merits of different lineages, and probably most people on this board have received teachings from several different ones.

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Lingpupa
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Re: What it means to be a ngakpa

Post by Lingpupa » Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:38 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 4:07 pm
... there is very little market for the skills of Ngakpas in the West, and I doubt there will ever be much of one.
To be sure, indeed. Though I did get to do a quasi-exorcism not long ago! :jedi:
http://chagchen.org/2018/01/16/chod-exo ... -blessing/
All the best
Alex Wilding
Stupa in the Snow blog at http://chagchen.org/

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Re: What it means to be a ngakpa

Post by Grigoris » Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:12 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 4:07 pm
... there is very little market for the skills of Ngakpas in the West, and I doubt there will ever be much of one.
A market? WTF does a market have to do with things? If I make offerings to the naga, or sang to appease local spirits, or... I do it because of supply and demand???
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

MiphamFan
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Re: What it means to be a ngakpa

Post by MiphamFan » Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:26 pm

In Tibet people would give offerings to the ngagpas and ngagpas live off the offerings. Brahmins also live off offerings.

Do you know any Western ngagpas who can afford to live off just doing pujas?

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Re: What it means to be a ngakpa

Post by Mantrik » Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:46 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:12 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 4:07 pm
... there is very little market for the skills of Ngakpas in the West, and I doubt there will ever be much of one.
A market? WTF does a market have to do with things? If I make offerings to the naga, or sang to appease local spirits, or... I do it because of supply and demand???
You mean they don't come to you to make it rain or prevent storms? Not even to bless their cars?
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Re: What it means to be a ngakpa

Post by Grigoris » Tue Jan 16, 2018 3:11 pm

MiphamFan wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:26 pm
In Tibet people would give offerings to the ngagpas and ngagpas live off the offerings. Brahmins also live off offerings.

Do you know any Western ngagpas who can afford to live off just doing pujas?
Who cares? It is not a career decision for me.

Anyway: Tilopa pounded sesame seeds for a living. Camaripa was a cobbler. Dhilipa was a merchant. Etc... I am sure there were and are plenty of ngakpa in Tibet, India, Nepal, etc, that also engage in work to survive. AND there are different classes of ngakpa depending on time spent in retreat. Not all ngakpa are white ngakpa, so...

Ngakpa are not ascetics and monastic renunciates, they are lay practitioners. As such they can engage in all lay activities. That includes work.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

Miroku
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Re: What it means to be a ngakpa

Post by Miroku » Tue Jan 16, 2018 3:50 pm

Mantrik wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:46 pm
Grigoris wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:12 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 4:07 pm
... there is very little market for the skills of Ngakpas in the West, and I doubt there will ever be much of one.
A market? WTF does a market have to do with things? If I make offerings to the naga, or sang to appease local spirits, or... I do it because of supply and demand???
You mean they don't come to you to make it rain or prevent storms? Not even to bless their cars?
A friend once came to me to curse a guy and I am not even a ngakpa. True story.
Child, if you are not hypocritical and out of control, that is conduct.
~ Padampa Sangye

You say such clever things to people, but you do not apply them to yourself.
The faults within you are the ones to be exposed.
~ Padampa Sangye

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Malcolm
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Re: What it means to be a ngakpa

Post by Malcolm » Tue Jan 16, 2018 3:54 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:12 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 4:07 pm
... there is very little market for the skills of Ngakpas in the West, and I doubt there will ever be much of one.
A market? WTF does a market have to do with things?
How do you think monasteries support themselves? They do so based on demand for their services by the local lay populace. This is why they charge fees for this rite and that puja. The same is true of Ngakpa Dratsangs.

When you go have your obstacle reading done yearly and find out what rites you need for the coming year, you pay the astrologer, as well as the monks you hire to recite this massive collection of sūtras, or that one; if you are doing a thangkha painting for a deceased relative based in their death reading, you pay the artist and so on.

So yes, religious services in Tibet were tightly bound to market demand, and those practitioners regarded as more "powerful" got a lot more work, and fees for services than Joe Schmoe Ngakpa who spent his time drinking and sexually harassing the local girls. Weather controllers, invariably Ngakpas, who were unsuccessful in preventing hail, for example, were stiffly fined for their failure because their salaries were derived from taxes imposed on the local farmers who depended on their services.

Back to my point — there is very little market demand for such services in the West.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

MatthewAngby
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Re: What it means to be a ngakpa

Post by MatthewAngby » Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:10 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 3:54 pm
Grigoris wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:12 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 4:07 pm
... there is very little market for the skills of Ngakpas in the West, and I doubt there will ever be much of one.
A market? WTF does a market have to do with things?
How do you think monasteries support themselves? They do so based on demand for their services by the local lay populace. This is why they charge fees for this rite and that puja. The same is true of Ngakpa Dratsangs.

When you go have your obstacle reading done yearly and find out what rites you need for the coming year, you pay the astrologer, as well as the monks you hire to recite this massive collection of sūtras, or that one; if you are doing a thangkha painting for a deceased relative based in their death reading, you pay the artist and so on.

So yes, religious services in Tibet were tightly bound to market demand, and those practitioners regarded as more "powerful" got a lot more work, and fees for services than Joe Schmoe Ngakpa who spent his time drinking and sexually harassing the local girls. Weather controllers, invariably Ngakpas, who were unsuccessful in preventing hail, for example, were stiffly fined for their failure because their salaries were derived from taxes imposed on the local farmers who depended on their services.

Back to my point — there is very little market demand for such services in the West.
Too much of “real” world these days. Can’t even be bothered by these so called “real” life people who only consider work , sex , fame and money as successful and being an achiever in life.
The force is my ally...and a powerful ally it is - Yoda

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Re: What it means to be a ngakpa

Post by pemachophel » Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:28 pm

i agree with Loppon-la/Malcolm -- very little demand for ngakpa services where i live. for a number of years i have beeb trying to interest my old-time Dharma friends (and some younger ones) in all the skillful means at our disposal, but there is very, very little interest. i guess no actual belief in these methods. the only thing that regularly draws support and participation is our monthly Naga puja. not sue why that particularly seems to be attractive to my fellow round-eyed practitioners. all the many types of dok-pas/reversals, yang-gug/hooking wealth/fortune, tshe-gug/hooking life-span, tru-sol/washing-cleansing, nol-sang/sang for eliminating pollution ?(and other kinds of sang), lung-ta/raising wind-horse, nay-dren/guiding the dead, recitation of sutras and dharanis, etc., etc., etc., not so much.

oh yeah -- for sure interest in divination, even though, typically, tibetan divinations typically recommend having various ngakpa activities commissioned. problem is, where to find a diviner with real ability?
Pema Chophel པདྨ་ཆོས་འཕེལ

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Malcolm
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Re: What it means to be a ngakpa

Post by Malcolm » Tue Jan 16, 2018 5:06 pm

pemachophel wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:28 pm
i agree with Loppon-la/Malcolm -- very little demand for ngakpa services where i live.
Right, and you live in Colorado!
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Malcolm
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Re: What it means to be a ngakpa

Post by Malcolm » Tue Jan 16, 2018 5:08 pm

MatthewAngby wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:10 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 3:54 pm
Grigoris wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:12 pm
A market? WTF does a market have to do with things?
How do you think monasteries support themselves? They do so based on demand for their services by the local lay populace. This is why they charge fees for this rite and that puja. The same is true of Ngakpa Dratsangs.

When you go have your obstacle reading done yearly and find out what rites you need for the coming year, you pay the astrologer, as well as the monks you hire to recite this massive collection of sūtras, or that one; if you are doing a thangkha painting for a deceased relative based in their death reading, you pay the artist and so on.

So yes, religious services in Tibet were tightly bound to market demand, and those practitioners regarded as more "powerful" got a lot more work, and fees for services than Joe Schmoe Ngakpa who spent his time drinking and sexually harassing the local girls. Weather controllers, invariably Ngakpas, who were unsuccessful in preventing hail, for example, were stiffly fined for their failure because their salaries were derived from taxes imposed on the local farmers who depended on their services.

Back to my point — there is very little market demand for such services in the West.
Too much of “real” world these days. Can’t even be bothered by these so called “real” life people who only consider work , sex , fame and money as successful and being an achiever in life.
One has to make a living. No money = no food, no housing, no clothes.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: What it means to be a ngakpa

Post by conebeckham » Tue Jan 16, 2018 5:10 pm

I agree there's not much "use" or "market" for "Ngakpa services," but frankly speaking, I am not certain how many so-called "Ngakpas" really "Hold mantra."

There are many, many rituals and services for myriad purposes, as Pemachophel has noted--but the question arises as to whether a person can effect these rituals and purposes to desired effect.

Bluntly stated, we need people who focus on (And hopefully attain) the ultimate siddhi, before we can establish viable practitioners capable of performing more mundane activities. All this concern and interest in clothing, status, title, is misdirection.
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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Re: What it means to be a ngakpa

Post by Josef » Tue Jan 16, 2018 5:30 pm

conebeckham wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 5:10 pm
I agree there's not much "use" or "market" for "Ngakpa services," but frankly speaking, I am not certain how many so-called "Ngakpas" really "Hold mantra."

There are many, many rituals and services for myriad purposes, as Pemachophel has noted--but the question arises as to whether a person can effect these rituals and purposes to desired effect.

Bluntly stated, we need people who focus on (And hopefully attain) the ultimate siddhi, before we can establish viable practitioners capable of performing more mundane activities. All this concern and interest in clothing, status, title, is misdirection.
Well said Cone.
It makes little sense to be concerned with mantra rituals and costumes without having bodhicitta fully taken onto the core of ones being.
Kye ma!
The river of continuity is marked by impermanence.
Ceaseless flowing of appearance.
Beautiful and repulsive.
The dance of life and death is a display of the vast expanse.
With gratitude the watcher and the watched pass through the barrier of duality.

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Re: What it means to be a ngakpa

Post by Mantrik » Tue Jan 16, 2018 5:47 pm

Trying soo hard not to show that Aro g'Ter pic ............ desperately not wanting to show it..........damn, failed again! :

Image
http://www.khyung.com

Micchāmi Dukkaḍaṃ (मिच्छामि दुक्कडम्)

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Re: What it means to be a ngakpa

Post by Josef » Tue Jan 16, 2018 6:53 pm

Mantrik wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 5:47 pm
Trying soo hard not to show that Aro g'Ter pic ............ desperately not wanting to show it..........damn, failed again! :

Image
They have the most epic halloween costumes.
Kye ma!
The river of continuity is marked by impermanence.
Ceaseless flowing of appearance.
Beautiful and repulsive.
The dance of life and death is a display of the vast expanse.
With gratitude the watcher and the watched pass through the barrier of duality.

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Grigoris
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Re: What it means to be a ngakpa

Post by Grigoris » Tue Jan 16, 2018 7:56 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 3:54 pm
How do you think monasteries support themselves? They do so based on demand for their services by the local lay populace. This is why they charge fees for this rite and that puja. The same is true of Ngakpa Dratsangs.
I am not the member of a monastery nor of a Ngakpa Dratsang, so this is completely irrelevant to me.
When you go have your obstacle reading done yearly and find out what rites you need for the coming year, you pay the astrologer, as well as the monks you hire to recite this massive collection of sūtras, or that one; if you are doing a thangkha painting for a deceased relative based in their death reading, you pay the artist and so on.
You seem to be making a logic fallacy. Just because some people pay for these services does not mean that services are meant to be be paid for in order to be effective.
So yes, religious services in Tibet were tightly bound to market demand, and those practitioners regarded as more "powerful" got a lot more work, and fees for services than Joe Schmoe Ngakpa who spent his time drinking and sexually harassing the local girls. Weather controllers, invariably Ngakpas, who were unsuccessful in preventing hail, for example, were stiffly fined for their failure because their salaries were derived from taxes imposed on the local farmers who depended on their services.
And why exactly should I care? How is this relevant to my practice?
Back to my point — there is very little market demand for such services in the West.
I am not in it for the monetary profit, I am in it for helping relieve the suffering of sentient beings (including myself). I neither expect nor demand recompense for the practices I do. If sentient beings are happy then I, by extension, am happy. That is more than enough for me.

Now if your aim is to make a living off your practice (and you manage to pull it off), good for you. But you should not denigrate the practices, methods or motivation of others just because it does not fit into your narrow world view of supply and demand.

If by appeasing the local Naga I can save even one refugee from drowning during their crossing, or help the rain come seasonally and ensure healthy crops and drinking water for the locals, whether I get paid for it or receive acclaim for it or not is of no consequence to me whatsoever.

No, I am not claiming that I am capable of doing the above, but that certainly does not stop me trying.

There is always a "market" for relieving suffering, even if people are unaware that you are responsible for relieving their suffering, even if you do not profit monetarily from it.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Malcolm
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Re: What it means to be a ngakpa

Post by Malcolm » Tue Jan 16, 2018 7:59 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 7:56 pm
I am not the member of a monastery nor of a Ngakpa Dratsang, so this is completely irrelevant to me...

And why exactly should I care? How is this relevant to my practice?
Not every conversation is about you, Grigoris. You asked me a question about why demand for the marketable skills of a Ngakpa were relevant in a general conversation about what it means to be a Ngakpa. One of those contexts is what it means to be a Ngakpa in Tibet. And in Tibet, Ngakpas employ their skills for $$$. That market does not exist in the West and it probably never will.
But you should not denigrate the practices, methods or motivation of others just because it does not fit into your narrow world view of supply and demand.
Grigoris, you are projecting again.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Grigoris
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Re: What it means to be a ngakpa

Post by Grigoris » Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:08 pm

conebeckham wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 5:10 pm
All this concern and interest in clothing, status, title, is misdirection.
So you believe that all people involved or interested in Ngakpa practice are in it coz it's sexy??? That is a strange conclusion to come to. I cannot really see what is sexy about three hour pujas mumbled in an incomprehensible language whilst dinging a bell now and then.

I remember the first time I went to receive teachings from LOTR. We were invited to do a sang to remove obstacles for a local benefactor. We spent hours sitting around a smouldering fire dinging bells.

Once we finished and we were leaving the site (it was in the center of Prague) a procession of ISKCON devotees was on the street for Ratha Yatra. There was loud cheerful Indian music. Food being handed out. Young dancing girls in traditional garb. People laughing and chanting and singing and playing instruments. Rinpoche's wife grabbed me by the hand and dragged me into the crowd, getting stuck into the party atmosphere.

At some point in time I turned to see Rinpoche and shouted out to him: Now THIS is a religious practice, not like us boring bastards coughing with smoke filled eyes, dinging tingsha and mumbling mantra! :smile:
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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