As we undertake ngondro, we acquire certain skills that we will use again and again in Vajrayana practice. We learn to contemplate, to develop a visualization, to recite prayers and mantra, to perform prostrations and mandala offerings, to dissolve the visualization, and to rest in nonconceptual meditation. We begin our practice with pure motivation, follow the lineage instructions in each section, redirect our attention whenever it wanders, and close with the pure dedication of virtue to all sentient beings. In general, we learn how to meditate.
The ngondro in Tibetan Buddhism establishes the foundation for the entire Vajrayana path—it is as fundamental to the practitioner’s development as the alphabet is to written language. Among the preliminaries of the various lineages, the Dudjom Tersar Ngondro of the Nyingma tradition—on which this commentary is based—is possibly the most concise. Written, then concealed in the eight century by Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche), it was intended for these times when few people have sufficient leisure to fully practice. H.H. Dudjom Lingpa (1835–1904) revealed this treasure; his incarnation, H.H. Dudjom Jigdral Yeshe Dorje (1904–1987), from whom I had the excellent fortune to receive these teachings, clarified the text and taught it widely throughout his life.
Practice of the outer and the extraordinary preliminaries provides a strong foundation for spiritual development. The teachings on the four thoughts give rise to the renunciation of ordinary attachments and guide us toward what is beneficial. Refuge creates a sense of protection and blessing. Bodhicitta clarifies our motivation and arouses our compassion—we acknowledge our highest spiritual aspirations. Mandala offerings generate the accumulation of merit and the revelation of pristine awareness that we will need to fulfill our aspirations. Vajrasattva provides a method by which we can purify the obstacles to enlightenment—the mind’s poisons, habitual patterns, negative karma, and intellectual obscurations. Guru yoga enables us to receive the pure qualities of the lama’s realization. Transference of consciousness allows us to continue our path uninterrupted after this lifetime by finding rebirth in the pureland.
Thus these are extremely powerful practices for turning the mind toward dharma, for purifying obscurations, and for bringing forth the qualities of realization. They enhance devotion to the dharma and receptivity to the highest level of teachings, the Great Perfection. For practitioners with receptive minds, the Great Perfection perspective can evolve from ngondro itself.”—His Eminence Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche
In this tantalizing presentation, Anyen Rinpoche offers a vision of the crucial necessity of mindfulness in any exploration of the Buddha's path - especially the path of tantric practice.
- Khen Rinpoche Geshe Chonyi
This precious commentary by Khensur Rinpoche Lama Lhundrup Rigsel on the Praises to the Twenty-one Taras, published for the first time, offers us a deeper understanding of the inconceivable qualities of Tara’s holy body, speech and mind and how her different aspects can help us overcome difficulties in our daily lives and Dharma practice.
This ebook was designed & published by Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive for Amitabha Buddhist Centre (ABC). We are non-profit Buddhist organizations affiliated with the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT).