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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in ngondro_preliminaries' LiveJournal:

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Tuesday, August 31st, 2010
12:33 pm
[beckyb]
More prostrations
So, technically I'm done with prostrations but today I did 75. As I creakily did the last 25, I remembered my (good) idea to just keep doing 100 a day forever. It is so painful to restart these things! It's a far cry from the time when a 100 was an easy 15 minutes. Tomorrow, I won't expect my body to feel very good but it was nice to be there in the moments of flow and visualization. I'm not sure why I did them except for a desire to have physical activity reconnected to my meditation. I'm still working on completing the complete set of 12 guru yoga 100,000s. Until I'm completely done, I like the idea of including the purification of prostrations and the generosity of mandala offerings.

Has anyone else been doing prostrations lately?
Thursday, May 27th, 2010
4:19 pm
[perruche_verte]
Happy Saga Dawa
I hope you are practicing for the sake of all beings.
Wednesday, March 10th, 2010
11:27 pm
[perruche_verte]
On prostrations and pain
[W]hen we practice, we must always practice into the pain. If you are angry, go into the anger. If you're depressed, go into the depression. It's the only way to purify it. Your courage and ability to jump right into your pain will determine how fast you progress, how quickly you heal.

[...]

[P]lease remember, prostrations are supposed to be difficult and painful. Each one becomes a test of your commitment, and the more difficult they are, the more committed to your own unfolding you will be when you complete them. Also, prostrations are said to purify physical karma, the karma created by violence, stealing and sexual misconduct. So it's better to have sore knees than to be reborn in hell. Of course, a little common sense is necessary. We don't want to wind up in a wheelchair or abandon our practice because it was too gruesome.

[...]

It's up to you how diligent you are, how much suffering you're willing to take on to complete the practice. I understand that after a grueling day at work, whiny kids at home, and a fight with your spouse, the last thing you might feel you need is an hour of pain. It's not exactly why you got involved in the first place.

Also, with all the ngondro practices, you have a quality versus quantity payoff. You can try to do them perfectly, or you can try to do them quickly. The implications are obvious: if you sacrifice speed for quality, you might never finish, but if you really exert yourself to complete them as fast as possible, you might find yourself unprepared for the next practice...

The point is that both approaches work, and like other aspects of practice, some balance is necessary. It is also necessary to try it yourself. What happens to you if you push yourself? Does it raise you to a higher level of commitment, or does it burn you out? Does it open you up, or does it make you more uptight? Does an allegiance to quality become an excuse for not practicing, or do you monitor yourself to do the very best you can?

With prostrations, expect a real drama to unfold. All the issues of commitment to the Buddhist path and to commitment in general will well up completely and intensely; the inner voices "Push harder!" and "Stop!" will be screaming inside your head. I hope you listen to the right one at the right time.

Lama Bruce Newman, A Beginner's Guide to Tibetan Buddhism
12:53 am
[perruche_verte]
Sunday, March 7th, 2010
11:18 pm
[perruche_verte]
On the benefit of prostrations
Once, when a monk was prostrating to a stupa containing hair and nail clippings of the Buddha, Ananda asked the Buddha what the benefits of such an act might be. The Buddha replied: "A single prostration is so powerful that if, as a result, one were to become a universal emperor as many times as the number of grains of dust beneath one's body down to the lowest depths of the earth, the benefits of that act would still not be exhausted."

And in the sutras it says: "The unfathomable crown protuberance on the Buddha's head comes from his having respectfully prostrated before his teachers."

Prostrations will finally lead us, too, to obtain the unfathomable usnisa that crowns the heads of the perfect Buddhas.

- Patrul Rinpoche, The Words of My Perfect Teacher
10:52 pm
[perruche_verte]
On sickness and obstacles
...the Licchavi Vimalakirti saw the crown prince Manjusri and addressed him thus: "Manjusri! Welcome, Manjusri! You are very welcome! There you are, without any coming. You appear, without any seeing. You are heard, without any hearing."

Manjusri declared, "Householder, it is as you say. Who comes, finally comes not. Who goes, finally goes not. Why? Who comes is not known to come. Who goes is not known to go. Who appears is finally not to be seen.

"Good sir, is your condition tolerable? Is it livable? Are your physical elements not disturbed? Is your sickness diminishing? Is it not increasing? The Buddha asks about you - if you have slight trouble, slight discomfort, slight sickness, if your distress is light, if you are cared for, strong, at ease, without self-reproach, and if you are living in touch with the supreme happiness.

"Householder, whence came this sickness of yours? How long will it continue? How does it stand? How can it be alleviated?"

Vimalakirti replied, "Manjusri, my sickness comes from ignorance and the thirst for existence and it will last as long as do the sicknesses of all living beings. Were all living beings to be free from sickness, I also would not be sick. Why? Manjusri, for the bodhisattva, the world consists only of living beings, and sickness is inherent in living in the world. Were all living beings free of sickness, the bodhisattva also would be free of sickness. For example, Manjusri, when the only son of a merchant is sick, both his parents become sick on account of the sickness of their son. And the parents will suffer as long as that only son does not recover from his sickness. Just so, Manjusri, the bodhisattva loves all living beings as if each were his only child. He becomes sick when they are sick and is cured when they are cured. You ask me, Manjusri, whence comes my sickness; the sicknesses of the bodhisattvas arise from great compassion."

From the VIMALAKIRTI NIRDESA SUTRA, translated by Robert A. F. Thurman
4:59 pm
[arxacies]
Update on my Practice
Well, it has gone a lot better.

Since I posted on my practice(the one that got approved recently), I got diagnosed with asthma and because of that and my weight, my doctor asked me to stop doing prostrations(and my Teacher advised me to follow my doctor's advise). Since then I stopped my practice, unfortunately.

I have become very discouraged and have lots of doubt. I have attempted to contact my Teacher with questions(about three times since the update in late 2008) and he has been unresponsive. I am not sure if I want to complete the Practice, I am not sure if it is like one of the mortifications that the Buddha expressly forbid(or if it just feels like one when I did it). Also I don't know how necessary learning the Six Yogas of Naropa or becoming a Ngakpa are for me personally to benefit others and if I do not really want to go that route, I don't know what use Ngöndro is for me.

So I have a ridiculous amount of doubts and teacher that gave me the Ngöndro transmission is silent. I do not know what to do.
Friday, March 5th, 2010
10:42 pm
[perruche_verte]
Another mod note
If anyone has issues with posts not showing up here, or thoughts about the journal appearance, or anything else, please send a message to me and/or ngakmafaery.

This is a moderated community and there are very good reasons for that. I hope we can have some lively discussions here, and respectful disagreements, but this space is to support each other and our practice. I will do everything I can to help keep it full of spam-free, troll-free luminous clarity :)
Wednesday, December 31st, 2008
8:05 am
[arxacies]
A little at a time, just started.
Ok, a bit of background.  I started my Ngondro practice at July 27 of this year in the Dudjom Tersar lineage of Nyingma Tibetian Buddhism.  I was given the first part of the practice, including taking refuge, prostrations, and a tonglen practice to do after prostrations.

When I was given the practice I was told that I should do at least three prostrations a day and 100 is very good.  Usually after about 30 I end up stopping in a sweaty heap and a sore lower back, though I have been able to do prostrations every day except one since I obtained the practice.

One day at a time.  One day at a time.
Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010
9:45 pm
[redmomoko]
Cheerleading!
Just wanted to say hi! and yes! YOU! too! can finish Ngondro!

It's possible, it's do-able. I've done it. I know more people than I have fingers and toes who have done it.

Even 21 prostrations a day will get you through it.

And yes, it is *tewtally* worth it.

W00t!
1:42 pm
[perruche_verte]
One at a time
Yesterday I sat down and read most of the old posts to this community. Then I picked up all my old pocket calendars full of hash marks from the past four years, and started counting prostrations.

I received the oral transmission for the Dudjom Tersar ngondro from Lama Orgyen Zangpo early in 2006, and received the Guru Rinpoche and Vajrasattva empowerments from Chagdud Khadro later that year, so that's when I began the ngondro practice. From what I can tell, I only managed to get a few hundred prostrations done that year.

There may have been more, because at some point in 2006 I stopped writing them down. I wasn't told to do this: it was my own silly idea, and fortunately I started keeping records again by the beginning of 2007. I think I found myself too obsessed with numbers and thought that I wasn't really losing my "self" in the practice. This is a valid concern, but that wasn't an appropriate way to address it. We still do experience a relative reality, and within that reality we have practice goals to maintain.

At the end of 2009 I had done 41,749 prostrations. That doesn't seem like a lot for four years. I have gotten off to a good start for 2010 and hopefully I will do better.

How is your practice going?
1:39 pm
[perruche_verte]
Welcome to the ngondro community
We have a couple of new people with us, so I want to extend a warm welcome to them and wish everyone Losar Tashi Delek. Next year in Lhasa!

How is everyone doing? This community has been rather inactive for quite a while. I hope that doesn't mean we're all getting discouraged. I like to think that we're all quietly working away on our practice and just not talking about it on the Internet. But if that's not the case, then we need to encourage each other.

I know I haven't been much help. ngakmafaery made me a co-mod some time ago, but I haven't posted much here. I promise to be more active and offer whatever support I can, from my limited experience and less-than-stellar practice example.

We are all Buddhas in the making. As Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche liked to say, "Keep going!"
Friday, January 8th, 2010
11:09 am
[ngondrogirl]
anybody out there?
just wondering if anyone is using this forum anymore. i'm hoping to start blogging again.
--ngondrogirl aka donna
Sunday, December 7th, 2008
12:00 am
[ngondrogirl]
hi, i have arrived back to livejournal
hello people,
i have been away, due to technology problems and just life. but i went to mongolia summer 2008 and fell in love with some monks at Shankh monastery (in a good, platonic, way ;-) as well as with the girls and women who live in the community. i have lots of good people and monastery pics and stories, so hope to come journal here.
i also want to tell you about a good site to join, which is siddharthasintent.org
it is Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche's organizational website, and if you look on the left where it says community, there are a lot of good resources.
hope to see you around; thanks for not taking me off your friends list!!!
Saturday, May 31st, 2008
10:12 am
[kor_ol]
Dalai Lama Quote of the Week

For those of you who are not able to devote all your time to meditation, there is nevertheless the possibility of engaging in practice in a serious way. For example, the students at the monastic universities in South India can, with some effort, do meditations during the prayers. When you recite the prayers, you can mentally do the contemplation. The lifestyle and daily routine at these monasteries have been structured by the great masters of the past in a way that is most conducive to individual practice as well as to the flourishing of the dharma.

If you find that your mind is in a very fluctuating emotional state--displaying anger, hatred, attachment and so forth--then you should first try to calm down that state of strong emotion. This should be done by first transforming it into a neutral state of mind, because there is no way that one can switch directly from a negative state of mind to a positive one. Therefore, you should first reduce the force of these emotions and fluctuations and try to bring about some sort of calmness, using any means--such as taking a stroll or concentrating on the inhalation and exhalation of the breath--that will enable you to forget what you are immediately feeling. This will help you to reduce the force of strong emotion, thereby giving you the calmness necessary for the practice of dharma. Like a white piece of cloth which could be dyed any color that you desire, such a neutral state of mind could then be transformed into a virtuous state of mind.

You could also engage in the preliminary practices of performing 100,000 prostrations, recitations of the Vajrasattva mantra, and so forth. When you undertake these practices, you should do them properly, not being only concerned about the number. Many great masters of the past of all traditions have emphasized the importance of these preliminary practices--they will enable you to have a very firm start. If through them you can acquire a fertile mind, then when the seed of meditation is planted, it will readily bear the fruits of realizations.

Having successfully neutralized the emotional fluctuations within your mind and having restored a reasonable degree of calmness, engage in the practice of taking refuge and generating the altruistic aspiration to attain full enlightenment. Taking refuge in the Three Jewels is the factor that distinguishes one's practice from that of an erroneous path, and the generation of the altruistic mind makes it superior to the paths aiming at individual liberation.

--from The Path to Bliss by H.H. the Dalai Lama, translated by Geshe Thupten Jinpa, edited by Christine Cox, published by Snow Lion Publications

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008
5:04 pm
[kor_ol]
Chenrezig mantras accumulation
Just to let you guys know - we are trying to accumulate 1 million Chenrezig mantras by the end of April. We posted a "counter" on the website of our Ukrainian Dharma center so that anyone can join this accumulation.

http://ratnashri.org.ua/

As Garchen Rinpoche told His students whoever takes part in this accumulation shares the merit of 1 million mantras regardless of how many a person actually did.

So, join us if you like! Recite OM MANI PADME HUNG HRI for the benefit of all beings :)

Yours,

kor_ol
Tuesday, April 15th, 2008
9:45 pm
[kor_ol]
I took me "only" three and half years to realize that Ngondro IS the path to Enlightenment :)
Wednesday, April 9th, 2008
11:50 pm
[ngondrogirl]
hola chickalistas and dudos
hola chickalistas and dudos
ha ha,
i have NEW TECHNOLOGY (but it doesn't speak spanish for me, obviously).
my old laptop and dialup connection would NOT let me post here without crashing EVERY TIME.

now i'm back, just in time for the, er, NEW YEAR! okay, i'm late for the western new year AND for Losar, but friday is my birthday, and i am considering it my new year.

my new year aspirations:
complete prozzies (yes, i'm "still" "doing" them).
quit smoking. again. and stay that way all year.
go to Mongolia in July! i have my tickets!

i think that's enough; i don't want to dig a hole. congrats koral, on finishing your prozzies!

it's good to see you all again!!!

love,
ngondrogirl
aka
donna

Current Mood: busy
Saturday, September 1st, 2007
10:20 pm
[kor_ol]
1 done, 4 to go
Time for the update. I finished prostrations a little while ago! It took me much longer than I expected but it is done now. I already dove into the Vajrasattva practice. If anyone has any helpful insights about this practice I would be very grateful:)

Good luck to you all!
Wednesday, May 30th, 2007
8:20 pm
[ngakmafaery]
do ngondro tomorrow!
...tomorrow is a ten million day in tibetan buddhism, plus a blue moon, and all, so it is believed that your actions have ten million times the karma that they would have otherwise...

http://www.phayul.com/news/article.aspx?id=12850&article=Tibetan+Buddhists+celebrate+"Saka+dawa"+festival+in+Dharamsala&t=1&c=1

Current Mood: awake
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