AdmiralJim wrote:Building a retreat centre? are you for real, friends and teachers? interesting how you only include them isn't it, what about everyone else?
Yes. Two of my closest dharma friends are a couple in charge of a retreat centre which is still being built and will take many years to finish. Everyone is welcome, but it obviously needs to actually exist first. I really love working there and would do it full time if I could.
and isn't everything you do mostly motivated by pride anyway, so what is the big deal about proudly doing ngondro?
It turns medicine into poison. I know lamas that have done a ngondro and then 'discounted it' because they did it as a competition with other people.
I just returned from a 5-day retreat where I did Ngondro Practice twice a day. It was great doing Ngondro in retreat.
I'm doing the practice for the sake of the practice. I'm not concerned with "palpable" results. I'm not even too concerned with accumulations. Yes, I have to do a certain number of prostrations, Vajrasattva mantra and so on, but for me that's really not the point. The practice itself is the point. I love this practice.
I'm not saying that what I'm doing is in some way "better" than what you're doing, but I will say that I think I'm having a much better and more rewarding time with my Ngondro practice.
Personally, I think any practice should be immersive. It should flavour 24 hours of your day - which why I think a retreat is great for ngondro as it's all you're doing - it can do its job and take hold of your mind. Interrupting it with an ordinary lay-person's life spoils that for me. I have no doubt that what you've mentioned is very productive and that I'd also find it productive.
dakini_boi wrote:Why did you begin the practice in the first place?
I thought it was about time. I've never been told to do it.
What exactly are your "pride-based" reasons for doing it?
There are three reasons I am continuing - because I don't want to do it (which is pointless), to get it over with (which is barely a reason) and to get access to teachings from teachers who would usually demand a ngondro (which is pointless and very prideful). I can't honestly think of a positive reason I'm doing it for.
I don't know what your text asks you to visualize, but if it's difficult to imagine the whole refuge tree, you can focus just on the lama and trust that he/she is the embodiment of all sources of refuge.
The text I am using is VERY basic and doesn't have the big intro/outro that other texts have.