NGONDRO RETREAT (4)



(Continued…)




PRELIMINARY PRACTICES (NGONDRO) OF
THE PROFOUND FIVE-FOLD PATH OF MAHAMUDRA 
WITH KHENPO SAMDUP RINPOCHE



Khenpo Samdup Rinpoche gave the transmission and instructions for the Preliminary Practices (Ngondro) of the Five-fold Mahamudra. Engaging in this series of practices purifies the mind of negativity and gathers the accumulations of merit and wisdom. This purification process creates receptivity to the more subtle methods of Mahamudra and Dzogchen.






Ngondro Retreat Jan 20, 2024 with Khenpo Samdup Rinpoche

Ngondro Retreat Jan 21, 2024 with Khenpo Samdup Rinpoche




*Please always treat any Dharma text with respect. This is good practice. Thank you.


Transcription of teachings below.
All rights reserved (copyright) to Khenpo Samdup Rinpoche.





Day 1, Jan 20, 2024 Ngondro Retreat teachings with Khenpo Samdup Rinpoche – Ngondro (1) & Ngondro (2) pages of this website: transcription of teachings.

Day 2, Jan 21, 2024 Ngondro Retreat teachings with Khenpo Samdup Rinpoche – (transcription of the teaching follows…)



[…]



Then, the next one is Guru Yoga, “Fourth, The Practice of Guru Yoga to Instil Blessings in the Mind”.


FOURTH, THE PRACTICE OF GURU YOGA TO INSTIL BLESSINGS IN THE MIND [p.51-56]


So this Guru Yoga practice is specifically what the Mahamudra meditators need. The Dzogchen Mahamudra practitioner must supplicate to the guru, [the ultimate nature of true Reality, the nature of our rigpa awareness, which we realise]. We must receive this, which is the guru’s blessing, or it is not possible [for us] to realise, (knowing the true nature). So that is why here it says,


The natural state of mahamudra can be realized only through devotion that sees the guru as the Buddha and through the power of the guru’s blessings. The sutras say, “The ultimate reality is realized through faith.” The tantras say, “Better than meditating on a hundred thousand deities for ten million kalpas is to think of one’s guru for a single moment.” Lord Jigten Sumgon said, “Unless the sun of devotion shines upon the snow mountain of the guru’s four kayas, the stream of blessings will not emerge. So earnestly arouse devotion in your mind.” As mentioned here and in various other sources, be diligent in the practice of Guru Yoga, which causes the guru’s blessings to enter your mind.


Commentary

The natural state of mahamudra can be realized only through devotion that sees the guru as the Buddha…”. The Mahamudra is, we must see Mahamudra and [true] guru, as the same, [the same ultimate nature of reality], because [true] guru is the ultimate nature of mind. [And], the true guru is our own nature of mind. Mahamudra means knowing our own nature of mind. First, we need outer level guru. Outer level guru is, – someone has to introduce us to our own nature of mind. So, then introduces us to the nature of our mind, and then we are supplicating guru, [to continue to guide us on the path of Realisation]. The [true] guru’s mind, and [the true nature of] our own mind, we have to know are inseparable. So that is called the Mahamudra. So, that is why, “The natural state of mahamudra can be realized only through devotion that sees the guru as the Buddha and through the power of the guru’s blessings. The sutras say, “The ultimate reality is realized through faith.” We need strong devotion and faith. Guru yoga, as I spoke of last week, at the stupa in Loma Bonita [Mexico], is not that easy for the beginner practitioners. So, then we just say devotion, must have faith and devotion [in the practice]. So long as you have devotion and faith, you feel this [special] object is different.


THE POWER OF SPECIAL OBJECTS (spiritual connections)


In here, we have a stupa, [Tulum, Mexico]. Someone coming from outside, they see this one, without devotion, without any spiritual connections, they just see it, like this… yeah it is a very funny [unusual] structure/ object. They don’t have any connections, (feelings) for that. They see these thangkas… okay, yeah, someone is painting these images, (kind of funny, maybe they are crazy). You know. Why are they doing this? Maybe they think, they are wasting so much money, and energy, (that kind of thinking). So, that means they don’t have any spiritual connections, no devotion. Then, someone who has a little bit of connection to the spiritual, they come, they say ‘Woah this is nice, and good. Yeah I like it. [So, maybe they feel the special energy there]. I want to be here, so maybe I bring my friends to see here too. You know that kind of connection. They have a little bit of connection to the spiritual, not that strong. Then someone who has more than that, when they come here, and they see it. ‘Oh amazing, very beautiful, very peaceful, happy feeling. Oh I want to be here,’ and that is another step up in connections, [to the spiritual]. So they have a little bit more devotion. Then, someone has very strong connections, [to the spiritual], when they come here, outside on seeing the stupa, and then the pillar, and the statues, the feeling is, of the heart opening up, seeing the thangkas, the feeling inside the body, is inside, is waking up, [a connection beyond simply mundane preoccupation, of our own self-grasping thoughts, and so forth]. You know, totally different feelings. So that is all due to spiritual connections and devotions. So, what is good is, that you feel the energy of the stupa, and the energy of the thangkas, and statues, the power of these [special] objects blessings.

You feel that, not only here, it goes all the way out, beyond. [Radiates out, far beyond]. This energy is going to the whole world. So, that kind of strong feeling, that means we have very good connections, [to the spiritual], that person understands what guru yoga means. So, the first level, no understanding of what guru yoga means. The guru yoga is, can be this stupa is guru. You sit here, stay and meditate. The power of the energy opens your heart. So, strong connections, and you feel all your body senses rising. And the winds in the channels are waking. An extremely joyful, happy feeling arises, and at the same time, can be tears come from your eyes, and you arise, loving-kindness compassion. So, then that means, this stupa has become guru. So, then who has that feeling, then they understand what guru yoga means. Without that, we don’t know the guru. And then you [can] recognise what these Mahamudra practitioners [are practicing]. When they meditate, they can go into states of non-duality. (The mind can be in the state of non-duality). When your mind is in the state of non-duality, you have a different experience. In that different experience, you recognise that is due to guru’s blessings, [you realise that, you are part of that, (in that), you have that awareness]. […] Then, at that time, you feel very strong connection to the guru, and you recognise that without guru’s blessings, you cannot reach into those non-dual states. [This is why we take refuge in the Enlightened beings, the blessings that are passed to us, through the pure lineage holders, of the precious teachings and practices].



BEYOND THE DUALISTIC MIND


And then, when you have such a strong connection to the guru, then if the guru says for you to jump, you are going to jump, (whatever guru says for you to do, you are going to do, with no doubt). Until you have that experience, everything is hard. Whatever guru says, [to us]. We think ‘Why?’. ‘Do this’. We think, ‘Why do I have to do this?’ You have these questions again, they come, [the self-grasping of the dualistic mind]. So, that is why [true] guru yoga is, [to cut through, the self-grasping of the dualistic mind]. You practice more dharma, you make more connections, [to the true nature of mind], more devotion arises [for the practice]. And so then, supplicating to guru, and then also our connections, become more strong. The stronger your practice becomes, the more devotion to guru arises. So, all this is connected to each other, (no separation). Do you understand? So, you cannot say, this goes first, and this second. When you prepare the food for cooking, ok you say, ‘So, [do] this first, and this second’. But when you eat, you cannot do that, right? You just eat. [… The food has already been mixed, and cooked]. You have to eat. When you practice, this all supports each other. You cannot have this first, this second, you know. Everything is together, they are dependent on each other. So, connections, – like moving energy together. [… ] So long as you have that, then no doubt about the dharma practice, (you have you own true experience, which leaves you in no doubt). You have certainty, one hundred percent, (when that happens, you recognise it is truth). Until then, we always have doubt. You can be lost on the path, you get obscurations. [Or, not on the path]. You have the experience of the blessings of the guru mind, (the nature of true reality), entering your mind, you have no doubt.

Whatever suffering, difficulty or problem that comes, you recognise, ‘I am one of the lucky ones, I have protection,’ [when we take sincere, heartfelt refuge in the Three Jewels of Refuge]. Then suffering, negativity, whatever comes, you recognise, [‘I can be aware of, and rely on’], the guru, yidam [deity] and Dharma Protector, and you feel these three energies, then suffering is not going to be affecting you. So suffering comes, you can take all the suffering onto the path. So until that arises in us, [and, we are with that as our mindful-meditation, (awareness-realization reliance practice)], we have to make effort here. Do you understand? And so then, this practice of guru yoga, is guru yoga and Mahamudra together. And, Mahamudra is knowing true nature. You are inseparable with the guru, in the true nature [of rigpa] states. So, you have become inseparable with the [true] guru, which is the nature of your mind, [dharmakaya]. So that is why, very clearly Jigten Sumgon says, ‘I am the Realiser Yogi’. “I have realised my mind, my guru, my yidam, are inseparable. So, we have separate guru, yidam, dharma protector, (there is this separation, in the relative truth level states). You go to a higher level, in that state, all this has become oneness, inseparable. Yidam [deity] is ourself, guru is ourself, dharma protector is ourself, it is not somewhere else. So, until then, we are in the stages, going up, [in awareness- realisation]. When you realise that [nondual] state, – then no doubt. So, guru is the true protection, it is arising from within ourself.

The sutras say, “The ultimate reality is realized through faith.” So, as this faith and devotion, becomes stronger and stronger, this helps us receive guru’s blessings, [realisation-awareness arising in the mindstream]. You receive more blessings, you have more connection with Mahamudra practice. Then through the practice, [continuing with the practice], your realisation joins inseparably with the guru, [the realised nature of mind]. Lord Jigten Sumgon said, “Unless the sun of devotion shines upon the snow mountain of the guru’s four kayas, the stream of blessings will not emerge. So earnestly arouse devotion in your mind.” As mentioned here and in various other sources, be diligent in the practice of Guru Yoga, which causes the guru’s blessings to enter your mind. Guru’s blessings entering our mind, means guru’s mind, and our mind merge, (are not separate. Inseparable, non-dual realisation of the true nature state arises). So, that means our mind is inseparable with the [true] guru, [realised, true nature of mind, our mind becomes the [true] guru mind].

Then, we chant and accumulate the following prayer.


[p. 52]


DÜN GYI NAM KHAR PE DEY DEN TENG DU / KYAB NE
KÜN DÜ TSA WEY LA MA NI / KHOR DE CHI PAL DOR JE CHANG
CHEN PO / KUN DOG NGÖN PO RIN CHEN GYEN
GYI DZE / CHAG NYI DOR DRIL NÖL DZIN KYIL TRUNG ZHUG /
DEY THAR KA GYÜ SER GYI TRENG WEY TSOG / KHYEN
TSE NÜ PEY DAG NYI CHEN PO NAM / TRIN PHUNG ZHIN
DU NAM KHA GANG WAR GYUR


In the space before me, on a seat of lotus and moon, sits my root guru—
the embodiment of all places of refuge—appearing in the form of Great
Vajradhara, who is glorious throughout samsara and nirvana. Blue and
adorned with precious ornaments, he holds a vajra and bell crossed at
the heart and is seated in a crossedlegged posture. He is surrounded by
the golden garland of the Kagyu lineage masters. These great beings,
endowed with knowledge, love, and power, fill all of space like a
gathering of clouds.
Contemplating thus, make offerings.



Commentary

In the space before me, on a seat of lotus and moon,…” this is the first step, in the practice of guru yoga. We visualise the guru in the space in front of us. We are in an ordinary, [relative truth level] state. And then gradually, [through applying oneself to the practice], these two [separate states], merge into oneness, and become inseparable, [nondual] realisation. So, for beginners, first, this is like two separate states, so that is why we have to practice. “In the space before me, on a seat of lotus and moon, sits my root guru—the embodiment of all places of refuge,…” so root guru, is with all the Buddhas, [the realised nature of the true guru]. “… appearing in the form of Great Vajradhara,” so, guru is inseparable with the Buddha Vajradhara, [and appears to us in that form]. “… who is glorious throughout samsara and nirvana. Blue and adorned with precious ornaments,…” so the blue colour represents the dharmakaya emptiness. True guru is emptiness. Emptiness is not nothingness, [it is the luminous essence, of the clear light realisation of the nature of ultimate reality itself]. [The true nature of reality, pervades all phenomena]. “… he holds a vajra and bell crossed at the heart and is seated in a crossedlegged posture”..., so Vajradhara is holding the vajra and bell crossed at the heart, whilst seated in a crossedlegged posture, [this is a symbolic position signifying the state of ultimate reality]. “He is surrounded by the golden garland of the Kagyu lineage masters”…, Vajradhara is surrounded by the lineage masters, [signifying their realisation of Vajradhara’s blessings, of the true guru state]. “These great beings, endowed with knowledge, love, and power, fill all of space like a gathering of clouds”.

So, we are supplicating [true] guru, visualising and chanting these prayers .

[p.53]

PAL DEN LA MA KU ZHI WANG CHUG LA / DAG LÜ NGAG YI CHI
NANG ZHEN SUM GYI / NGÖ PO DRUB GU CHÖ PEY DZE SU
BÜL / CHÖ JA CHÖ JE CHÖ PEY RANG ZHIN CHIG / THA DRAL
RO NYAM CHEN POR BÜL LAG NA / JA TSÖL DRAL WEY NGÖ
DRUB TSAL DU SÖL

To the glorious guru, the lord of the four kayas, I make offerings of body,
speech, and mind, of outer, inner, and of other nature, and present all that
is desirable as offering substances. As I offer you great equal taste, free of
limits, in which giver and receiver are of equal nature, please grant me the
attainment of effortless activity.

(Supplicate with intense devotion):



Then this following prayer, is chanted and accumulated, one hundred thousand times.

[p.54]

DOR JE CHANG CHEN TI LI NA RO DANG / MAR MI DAG PO
PHAG DRU JIG TEN GÖN / KA DRIN SUM DEN TSA WEY LA MA
SOG / TSA GYÜ LA MA NAM LA SÖL WA DEB / DANG DZIN LO YI
THONG WAR JIN GYI LOB / JAM DANG NYING JE JONG WAR JIN
GYI LOB / DAG ME NE LUG TOG PAR JIN GYI LOB / TSE CHIG
SANG GYE THOB PAR JIN GYI LOB

Great Vajradhara, Tilopa, Naropa, Marpa, Milarepa, Gampopa,
Phagmo Drupa, Lord Jigten Sumgon, root guru who has been kind in three
ways, and all the other root and lineage gurus: I supplicate you. Bless me to
let go of self-grasping. Bless me to develop love and compassion. Bless me to
realize the natural state devoid of self. Bless me to attain awakening
within a single life.
(Thus, supplicate earnestly from your heart).



Then this is the dissolution.

SANG GYE KÜN DÜ TSA WEY LA MA LA / MI CHE DUNG SHUG
DRAG PÖ SÖL TAB PE / KU YI NE ZHIR Ö ZER NA ZHI TRÖ /
RANG GI NE ZHIR THIM PE WANG ZHI THOB / DRIB ZHI RIM
DAG KU ZHI NGÖN DU JE / LA MANG RANG THIM YER
ME NYAM PAR ZHAG

Having supplicated the root guru, who embodies all the buddhas,
fervently and with undivided mind, four-colored light radiates from his
body’s four places and dissolves into my four places. Thus, I receive the
four empowerments, the four obscurations are gradually purified, and I
actualize the four kayas. Then, the guru dissolves into me and I rest in
an indivisible state.


Commentary

Having supplicated the root guru, who embodies all the buddhas, fervently and with undivided mind, four-colored light radiates from his body’s four places and dissolves into my four places”. So, we are visualising guru in front, light radiates from his forehead, throat, heart, and navel level.
Thus, I receive the four empowerments, the four obscurations are gradually purified, and I actualize the four kayas. Then, the guru dissolves into me and I rest in an indivisible state. So, then meditate, and rest mind […]. Our mind, and [true] guru’s mind merges in the indivisible state. So, then we meditate in these nonduality states.

So, that is the guru yoga practice, that is called the Fourth, Uncommon Preliminary Practice. Yesterday, we shared the Basic Preliminary Practices: Meditation on the Preciousness of a Human Body, Meditation on Death and Impermanence, Meditation on [Karma] Cause and Effect, and Meditation on Defects of Samsara. So these four, meditations are called the four, Basic Preliminary Practices. Then, the Uncommon Preliminary Practices are: Taking Refuge in Buddha, [Buddha nature, true nature of reality], chanting the prayer and making prostrations. The practice of each of these, [chanting the prayer and prostrations] are accumulated one hundred thousand times. So, these first two accumulations are done together. Then, second, Vajrasattva, [Purification practice], third Mandala Offering, and fourth is guru yoga. So these are called the Uncommon Preliminary Practices. This is specifically a Tibetan Buddhist tradition, which is common to all the lineages. A monastic has to do these Four Uncommon Preliminary Practices, when they join a monastery. During the time of Buddha Shakyamuni, when he shared teaching, this always had the Four Basic Preliminary practices, Buddha did not say specifically, the Four Uncommon Preliminaries had to be practiced [at that time]. The Tibetan Masters used the Four, Uncommon Preliminaries to guide their students in the practices. […] The Tibetan teachers will not just give you an easy path, they make you work harder, and are more wrathful. Then, you get the training. If your teacher is too soft, and too kind, you can’t get the training. Do you understand? To become a very high Realiser practitioner, you need to go more deeply into the practices. […] These Realiser teachers, [in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition], are strong, and wrathful, they give [the students] more of these practices [to do].

Then the next one, are the Special Preliminary Practices.




Jigten Sumgon, [a fully Realised yogi] said, the first two practices, [the Four Basic Preliminary Practices, and the Four Uncommon Preliminary practices], you have to do, and he also put in the Special Preliminary practices. In the Special Preliminary practices, first cultivate love.



THE SPECIAL PRELIMINARIES OF CULTIVATING LOVE, COMPASSION, AND BODHICITTA [p.57-61]

First cultivating love


[p.57]


MA GYUR NAM KHA NYAM PEY SEM CHEN NAM / GANG DAG DE
GEY PAL LA CHÖ PA DI / DEY GYU ZHEN PHEN LO LE JUNG WE
NA / KÜN KYANG JAM PEY SEM DANG DEN GYUR CHIG

Whatever joy and happiness there is, all comes from a mind that
seeks the benefit of others. Therefore, may all mother sentient beings,
limitless as space, have a mind of loving kindness.


[p.58]

[Recite thus and then consider your mother, who was kind to you in four ways, such as how she cared for you affectionately, and so forth. Then, consider how all other sentient beings have cared for you with just such kindness when they were your mothers in past lives. Finally, reflect upon this thought until you have developed an uncontrived mind wishing that all sentient beings may experience happiness and possess a mind of love – the cause of happiness].


Commentary

So, loving kindness, Meditation on Love is important. Love means, wishing every single [sentient] being has happiness, [and the causes of happiness]. So, wishing your children, your family, your mother, [parents, and so forth…], have happiness. So, we generate that love for every single sentient being, that is called love. Then, second cultivate compassion.


[p.58]


Second cultivating compassion



MA GYUR NAM KHA NYAM PEY SEM CHEN NAM / MI ZÖ
RIG DRUG DU KHE NAR WA DAG / DEY GYU MA RIG
DANG DZIN RAB ZHI NE / ZHEN PHEN NYING JE DRO
KÜN KYONG WAR SHOG


May self-grasping ignorance—the cause of all intolerable suffering
that mother sentient beings, limitless as space, must endure in the six
realms—be fully pacified, and may all beings care for one another with
altruistic compassion.


[Recite thus, and then bring to mind the intense suffering of sentient beings, imagining them as your own mother, and a feeling of unbearable compassion will certainly arise. Then, consider that even though they are not your mothers in this present life, they all have surely been your mothers in previous lives. Finally, thinking that all these sentient beings tormented by suffering have been your mother, exert yourself to develop great compassion, wishing that they all be free from suffering and self-grasping—the cause of suffering].



Commentary

So, this compassion is, we have to really recognise every sentient being is suffering. So, as we spoke of in the teachings on Vajrasattva, (Purification practices), you feel the suffering of the hell realm states, you think about the hungry ghosts, (suffering from hunger and thirst), and you feel that. And, the suffering in the animals realms, you feel that. And the suffering in the human beings realms, [also the asura’s/jealous gods realms, and long life gods realms]. So, [you meditate on each one, and feel that], recognising the feeling that you have, and then what we are doing, through the practice, is wishing them free from that suffering, that is called compassion. First, we think about our mothers. [Remembering all sentient beings at one time, or the other, in one life-form or the other, have been our mothers, (our kind parents)]. And think about our mothers, – your mothers falling into the hell realms. So, you really feel that, and you are wishing your mothers are free from hell realms suffering. And, of our mothers falling into the hungry ghosts realms, [arising strong compassion] so, you have strong feeling, and you are wishing they are free from that suffering. And of taking birth in the animal realms, (you recognise that), and you have strong feeling-connection, and you are wishing they are free from suffering, As much as you can do, you do, so that is called compassion. [And, repeating the same process for each of the beings, revolving helplessly, in the different realms of cyclic existence].

So, you have strong feeling for other beings, the same as your mother, and wishing them free from suffering, that is compassion. So, then as long as you have these two, (love and compassion), bodhicitta arises. The stupa is actually a symbolic, special object of bodhicitta. Bodhicitta means, ‘I want to help liberate all these sentient beings,’ so that is the intention, (that is bodhicitta). ‘I want to be Enlightened,’ [liberate my mind from samsara’s sufferings], helping all these suffering beings, and help liberate them from samsara’s sufferings, that is bodhicitta. So, the third one, [of the Special Preliminary practices], is to cultivate bodhicitta.


[p. 59]

Third, cultivating bodhicitta


[The commitment to the result is aspiring bodhicitta and the commitment to the cause is engaging bodhicitta. Whether one takes the vows of aspiring and engaging bodhicitta according to the elaborate system of the Great Awakening of Bodhicitta or the concise ritual of taking them oneself, it is essential to understand the training that is to be undertaken].


Love is the cause, compassion is the result.
Compassion is the cause, bodhicitta is the result.
Bodhicitta is the cause, Enlightenment is the result.

So, that is why, you cannot be Enlightened, without bodhicitta. All Enlightened beings, form bodies, are bodhicitta. So that we have to know. The bodhicitta has two forms, relative truth bodhicitta, and absolute [ultimate], truth bodhicitta. So, relative truth bodhicitta is subject, object, action. ‘I want to liberate my mind, [from suffering], and help liberate all other sentient beings from the sufferings of samsara’. Absolute, [ultimate] truth bodhicitta is, realisation of the nature of mind, [remaining in the natural, nature state of rigpa, (true nature of reality)]. Knowing every single sentient being has this true nature, [but are currently obscured from realising this, lost in self-grasping, dualistic delusions, (attached to mere concepts in the mind)]. The true nature pervades all phenomena, there is no separation, – abiding in that realised state, of the true nature of reality, is called Absolute, [ultimate] truth bodhicitta.

So the prayer here is,


[p.60]

DAG GI DÖN DU KYE WA DRANG ME NE / DIG DANG DUG NGAL
ZUG NGÜ CHE NAR WEY / MA NAM SI PEY TSO LE DRÖL WEY
CHIR / JANG CHUB LAM CHEN CHOG LA JUG PAR GYI

My mothers are exhausted from the painful misery and evil that they have experienced for my sake in countless lives. In order to liberate them from the ocean of existence, I shall follow the supreme path of enlightenment.

[p.61]


[Repeat this many times and bring forth compassion and bodhicitta within your mindstream. In all your daily activities, never separate from the wish to do your best to help all sentient beings and to bring about their happiness. Within such practice, all precepts of the bodhisattva vow are included, and everything you do will become a practice of the Six Paramitas. The benefits of bodhicitta are endless. The Avatamsaka Sutra says, “All the buddhas of the three times ultimately arise from the excellent pure mind of bodhicitta— the treasure trove of merit. All the happiness of worldly beings arises from it. All goodness extolled by the Victorious Ones arises from it. It consumes the obscurations of all worlds. Without a doubt, it is through bodhicitta that one will become foremost among the Victorious Ones.” Furthermore, Lord Jigten Sumgon says in the Gongchig, “The Buddha is the embodiment of bodhicitta.” If bodhicitta is present, one cannot help but attain awakening. If it is absent, no matter what other practices, generation and completion stages, and so forth, one does, they will amount to nothing more than a facade. Therefore, as the three special preliminaries are the essence of all paths, cultivate them earnestly until they have taken birth within your mindstream]


[p.62]

[Thinking that it would benefit many devoted and dedicated disciples to have a ngondro sadhana of appropriate length, Dorzin Konchog Dondrub requested H.E. Garchen Rinpoche to compose this text, supporting his request by offering a white katak scarf with the auspicious symbols printed on it and a hundred dollars. Moreover, several devotees from inside Tibet had requested the composition of this text with great insistence. Thinking that it might be of benefit to his Dharma friends, who can see gold in a clod of dirt [humbly referring to Himself,] the 8th Garchen Rinpoche, Konchog Gyaltsen, therefore compiled this text in accordance with the structure of Dharmakirti’s Oral Instructions on the Preliminaries to the Fivefold Path, while also including some lines taken from the instructions of other learned and accomplished masters of the past. This text was completed at the Garchen Buddhist Institute in the United States, with the assistance of the disciple Thubten Nima acting as Rinpoche’s scribe.

The translation from Tibetan into English was completed by Ina Dhargye and edited by Kay Candler. English translation copyright © 2016, Ina Dhargye. All rights reserved].



Commentary section

And that prayer on p. 60, we also chant many times. So, you really feel the others suffering, and recognise the suffering, and then you are wishing them free from that suffering. You want to help them, to liberate their mind from suffering, so that is called bodhicitta.

This then this concludes these teachings of introduction, to all three Preliminary Practices. In closing here, a very brief summary of the three sets of Preliminary Practices, that have been covered during these teachings.

These are: First, the Basic Preliminary practices: Meditation on the Preciousness of a Human Body, Meditation on Death and Impermanence, Meditation on Karma, Cause and Effect, and Meditation on the Defects of Samsara.

Next, we covered: The Uncommon Preliminary Practices, (there are five practices here, and each practice, is accumulated one hundred thousand times. So five hundred thousand accumulations altogether, this is the traditional Ngondro practice): First is, Taking Refuge in Buddha, [the true nature of reality], the Three Jewels of Refuge, chanting the prayer, together with accumulating prostrations to purify defilements of the action of body, speech, and mind, [so, that is two sets of 100,000 accumulations, performed together in this first practice]. Second is, Accumulation of Vajrasattva, Purification practice, then, third is Mandala Offerings, and fourth is, Guru yoga.

Finally, the Special Preliminary practices: the Cultivation of Love, Compassion and Bodhicitta.

So, reflect well. Three things are important when you listen to the teachings.
[… *water is used to symbolise the teachings here].

1. Paying attention

If you are not paying attention, this means that your cup, [your vessel], is upturned. If the vessel is upturned, the water can not go in, it will simply flow away. In a similar way, if you don’t pay attention to the dharma, you don’t receive anything. […] Even if your body is here, [your mind must also be present]. Buddha says, [his instruction is] to, “Listen carefully to the teaching”. (So, mind not upside down).

2. [Listen to understand]

Don’t listen to the teaching, in one ear, and then simply let it out the other ear, that is like you have a hole in the bottom of the cup, [the vessel]. Then, whatever water is put in there, is going to leak out, it is not going to stay in there. (Then dharma is no benefit).

3. Empty cup [vessel]

Third, if you don’t empty the cup, (clean up the vessel, [the container]), and inside there are defilements, then, whatever fresh water is put inside, all the water is going to be contaminated. So, if you drink that, you get sick. Or, the water is wasted, and not useful. So, when you are hearing the teaching, and at the same time, your mind is wandering here and there, thinking of other things, (not paying attention), and back and forth, so that is the same as your food has poison in it.


[… **So you have to investigate carefully for yourself, and see what problem you have].


So dharma, can not go with a busy mind, [preoccupied with worldly concerns], and cultivating those thoughts, (that sort of thinking), these two, cannot go together, that is incorrect. So, this is the advice, and what I have to share at the beginning of the teachings. […] So, be aware of, and don’t do these three things. If you do that, then that creates (karma, [action of cause and effect]), your karmic imprints. Then, you are never going to receive perfect teaching, or when you receive teaching, no benefit. [The perfectly pure dharma, just is, is pristine, all perfection, of the truly realised state. It requires path of practice of this supreme (dharma), and the accumulation of merit and wisdom, for us to, cross to the other shore, (beyond grasping to self, (attachment to mere concept in the mind)), and realise the ultimate true nature]. Or, put another way, cut the attachment to our own ignorance, [of duality]. Emaho!

Do you understand? [Respecting the preciousness of the teaching, is merit, it connects us to receiving the teaching correctly, creates the necessary causes and conditions, for following in the path of practice, that leads to realization (of the nature of true reality)]. One of my teachers, (gurus) in Tibet, when he shared the teaching…, (you are never going to do any other activities during the teaching). He would not even let you use the prayer wheels. He said, ‘Stop the prayer wheels, stop every other activity,’ then he shared the teaching. If you did not sit correctly, he said, “Go out”. His name is Khenpo Tenzin, he is a well-known yogi and strict teacher. […] If you are doing mistakes… he might say, “I’m not going to share teaching,” and left. He went away or, he said, “You go out, or I go out”. So then, when he shared the teaching, everyone was very calm, and paying attention. He has that power. Why does he have that power? Because, when he was listening to teaching from his teachers, he paid attention, that is why he has that power. […] It is important to listen during the time the teachings are being given. If you don’t care so much about the importance of the teachings you are receiving, you create that habituation. Then you receive precious teachings, but you are not going to really receive [the teachings] into your mind. Don’t create that okay. So, when you go to teaching, stay and really pay attention. […] Then one day you become a teacher, all your students are going to listen to you, you have that power. If you don’t listen carefully, one day maybe you become a teacher, but they don’t listen to you. Don’t create that karma, thank you.

As we cultivate the Basic Preliminary practices, in our mind, we recognise that samsara, [dualistic grasping to self, attached to mere concept in the mind], is suffering, [because it obscures the natural radiant, spacious luminosity of the true nature of mind, and the realisation that all phenomena have the same dharmakaya nature]. Repeatedly reflecting this way, causes us to want to liberate the mind, [from continuing in its own delusion, ceaselessly, creating and wandering in the six realms of samsara]. So that is the Basic Preliminary practices.




(to be continued…)




(Any errors are the transcriber’s own).
Immeasurable thanks for these most precious teachings.
Emaho!