“Many unskilled practitioners think they can jump into higher practices and engage in Yidam and Mahamudra practices without having perfected the preliminaries, but this will be very detrimental to achieving fruition. Should one meditate on the nature of one’s mind without having perfected the preliminaries, all efforts are in vain. One needs sincere faith, confidence, and certainty of karma, and one needs perfect renunciation in order to meditate Mahamudra correctly. Of course, one can receive many teachings on Mahamudra, but it would only be like changing old clothes as long as one has failed to prepare the ground properly. It’s necessary to actually integrate all teachings in one’s life and to know that they are only presented in order to help one transform one’s delusive apprehensions into peace and supreme insight. This can only happen if one relies on and is dedicated to one’s Root Lama, if one has unwavering love and compassion, if one has ethics and engages in virtuous activities, and if one practices the methods correctly. Methods are only effective if long-standing habitual patterns have been overcome and if merit has been accumulated. And so, the preliminaries are indispensable for advanced practices.”
Posts Tagged ‘ngondro’
The book “Torch of Certainty“, first published by Shambhala in 1977, has become a classic reference material in the English speaking world for all using the Four Foundational Practices (Tib. Ngöndro) of Tibetan Buddhism, especially as taught in the Karma Kagyu school. It is a translation of a text by Jamgon Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye (1813-1899), entitled “The Torch of True Meaning”, which is in turn based on the 9th Karmapa Wangchuk Dorje’s (1556–1603) treatise on the Great Seal (Skt. Mahamudra) entitled “The Ocean of True Meaning”. While the English translation, made in the early days of Tibetan Buddhism’s introduction to the West in the 1970′s now sounds somewhat dated, the book is excellent, and the introduction contains questions and answers about the Four Foundational Practices with three influential lamas who were alive and active in the West when the book was published; Trungpa Rinpoche (1939-1987), Deshung Rinpoche (1906-1987) and Kalu Rinpoche (1905-1989).
In the introducation to the book, Kalu Rinpoche – one of the first teachers of Hannah and Lama Ole Nydahl - summarises the Ngöndro as follows: ”Generally speaking, the first practices (refuge and prostrations, Vajrasattva and mandala offering) clear away obscurations and gather the two accumulations. The guru yoga gives you great faith in your guru which leads to your receipt of his blessing and attainment of mahamudra”.
An interesting piece that appeared earlier this month in the British Psychological Society’s Research Blog. Reproduced here expecially for those of us working on our Ngondro practice!
How to form a habit
This has nothing to do with nuns’ clothing. Habits are those behaviours that have become automatic, triggered by a cue in the environment rather than by conscious will. Health psychologists are interested for obvious reasons – they want to assist people in breaking unhealthy habits, while helping them adopt healthy ones. Remarkably, although there are plenty of habit-formation theories, before now, no-one had actually studied habits systematically as they are formed.
Lama Gendun Rinpoche (1918-1997) was the meditation master and the spiritual leader of the Four Dhagpos. He spent over thirty years of his life in solitary retreat in Tibet and India. Lama Gendun Rinpoche was one of the last great masters of the old generation of Tibetan Lamas. Everything he taught, had been experienced first hand during his numerous retreats in caves in the Himalayas and in India. He represented the quintessence of the fully realized yogi and the perfectly pure monk. It is said that he practiced prostrations every day of his life, even in his 70s.
Prostrations are done in connection with the first of the Four Foundational Practices (Tib. Ngondro): “Taking Refuge and Developing the Enlightened Attitude.” We hope that these teachings are inspiring for those who are doing this practice. Please note that the information here is not a substitute for the full oral explanations on the practice, which can be received from experienced friends in your nearest Karma Kagyu Diamond Way Buddhist Centre. (more…)
Brighton Buddhist centre: On Saturday 20th March 2010 our new centre opened its doors to the public. A converted shop in Baker Street is now home to the new Buddhist centre. It is located in an up-and-coming area of Brighton. In order to celebrate the move to the new premises the members of our Brighton Buddhist centre organised an open day for the locals to meet their new neighbours.
On the day, many interested local people came along for a chat and a cup of tea. Some also took part in guided (more…)
In September 2009 we were very fortunate to be able to welcome two of our precious teachers to London; Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche and Lama Ole Nydahl. This was a particularly auspicious occasion, as it was the first time Rinpoche had given teachings in the UK.
Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche (born 1950), a highly respected Karma Kagyu lama, holds the title “Maniwa”, given to masters of the Loving Eyes (Tib. Chenrezig) practice who have accomplished at least a billion OM MANI PEME HUNG mantras. Rinpoche was ordained in Rumtek Monastery by the 16th Karmapa. The official programme took place over the weekend of 18-20 September 2009, a course entitled “Meditation in Diamond Way Buddhism”.