Rinpoche Teachings
Teaching on Ngondro - Part 1: Refuge and Prostration

Let's listen to this sadhana teachings by first developing the bodhicitta heart.

Before you begin practicing the Mahamudra, which is the essence of the entire Buddha-dharma, one has to start with practicing the Preliminaries of Mahamudra. If you wish to realize your true nature of mind, the only way to see the primordial wisdom, is through meditation. There's no other way. Meditation is the only way to realize our nature of mind, there is no other way.

There is no other way without realizing our nature of mind to get enlightened. There is no other way. This is the only way. It doesn't matter what other lineages, other religions or other people think, for Buddhist, meditation is the direct approach to understand our true nature of mind, which is the Buddha's mind. That's kind of understanding can only be obtained through meditation. The progress in meditation, is very heavily or completely depending on the master. The master who has a lineage, who has the experiences, who has gone through the same meditation and attained certain levels of realization is qualified to give instruction in meditation practices. 

Many masters can teach you Dharma, but not every master can teach you Mahamudra. Those who teach you Mahamudra, and from whom you learn Mahamudra is what we called root-guru. Is this sadhana part of Mahamudra? It's the Mahamudra Preliminaries. Preliminary means in order to understand Mahamudra, to meditate on it; our body, speech and mind have to be cleaned. It's like a container. If the container is dirty, we cannot put anything in it, because it will contaminate whatever being placed in it. Similarly, we have to purify our body, speech and mind, before receiving the precious instructions on Mahamudra, which is extremely crucial. This is a must do practice for those who wish to engage in further more advanced practices, particularly those who wish to do meditation on Mahamudra.

If you ask me, is there any way to go direct into Mahamudra without doing the Preliminaries? Unless you have learned in it for many many life-times, and you have no other karmas, then you can. In the ancient times, not necessarily this kind of Mahamudra Preliminaries was taught. The students have complete confidence and unshakable devotion. They followed the master's instructions totally, unconditionally. Some students even have to travel all the ways from Tibet to India to receive the Mahamudra instructions. They walked for six months or more. Sometimes, during the raining seasons, there are mosquitoes, snakes, leaches, etc., and many of them died along the way. Although they heard that many of their Dharma friends are dead or dying, they still determined to go for the Dharma. All the way from Tibet to Nalanda, which is a couple of months walk; crossing mountains, valleys, different foods, unfamiliar cultures ... If you have that kind of determination and that kind of heart, even without doing the Mahamudra Ngondro Preliminaries, your guru is prepared to impart you with the instructions. Your eagerness, your efforts, your wishes are clearly shown that you are completely ready and sincere in your quest for Dharma.

Today's when one jump directly to the Mahamudra main meditation without much confidence, in-depth understanding and strong wishes; not knowing much about its importance. That's why the Preliminaries practices become very essential.

When we talk about preliminaries practices, my monastery in Tibet is based near Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. My monastery has two important masters. At different periods of time, one of them has been the root guru to H.H. the Gyalwang Drukpas, while the other was root guru to Khamtrul Rinpoches, who is the head of the entire Drukpa Kargyu lineage in the Eastern Tibet. That's why in our tradition or my tradition, we have two different types of Ngondro practices. Overall, they are entirely identical, only some slight variations in the syllables used. The Prostration, the Dorje Sempa Purification, the Mandala Offering, the Guru Yoga, and even the lineage masters are all the same. Nonetheless, the verses of the Ngondro that we are going to read, have two versions. One of that is existing in this center, and another one is what I am having here; which was written by my root guru, the previous Adeu Rinpoche, and later rearranged and compiled by me.

Why do we keep on mentioning Adeu Rinpoche? Adeu Rinpoche is one of the most amazing, highly realized and greatly revered master in Drukpa Kargyu. There is almost no other master equal to him in our lineage in the late twentieth century. His incomparable spiritual attainments are attributed by his life-long meditation and devotion to his root guru. It is important for you to know who wrote the sadhana, then it would inspire you. Before the Cultural Revolution, Adeu Rinpoche has completed a nine-years retreat. During these retreats, there are so many miraculous signs appeared, signifying his accomplishment in the practices. Sometimes, he received the teachings  from Tara; sometimes directly from Padmashambava, and many other deities. In fact, many of the teachings are revealed through his wisdom mind way before that period of political turmoil.

During the Cultural Revolution, he was caught and imprisoned for 18 years. During that 18 years, he is constantly practicing. Even before that, he has earlier completed The Six Yogas of Naropa, and has accomplished all the major practices of Drukpa Kargyu and Nyingma. Thus, he is already a completely perfected master. He told us that, there could be no retreat better than what he has accomplished in the prison. His devotion grew stronger; his compassion deepened. He suffered; he saw people dying. He met great masters in the prison. Because of these huge emotional challenges, in that 18 years, he brought his practices to the highest levels. Out of his 70-year  life-span, altogether  he has spent over 30 years in serious retreat --  eighteen years in prison, constantly retreat and practicing. Prior to that, the nine-years formal retreat. After he was released, again, he did additional retreat.

For me, I have seen so many great masters in my life. He is truly a fully enlightened being. That's why I said Drukpa Kargyu has two precious Ngondro sadhanas in the world. The one that is written by him will bring tremendous blessings, I believed. Those who are familiar with the old text, can continue with the old texts if they wish. Those who have not seen this text, I will be giving you the transmission of this text later. I am also practicing this text as I was grown up in Khamtrul Rinpoche's place. In a way, we could say both the previous Khamtrul Rinpoche and Adeu Rinpoche contributed to this text.

Before we do any practices, there are lots of things to be explained, but we have very limited time. So we cannot go through one by one. Prior to any practices, it's important to first bless our body, speech and mind. How we do that? By simply reciting the syllable "OM AH HUNG". When we said "OM", that's the syllable mantra of Buddha's body; "AH", the syllable mantra of Buddha's speech; "HUNG" represents the Buddha's heart. "OM AH HUNG" represent essence of Buddha's body, speech and mind. This is actually one the most crucial mantra to purify the karma of our body, speech and mind. By reciting that, it cleanses the defilements of our body, speech and mind. In the Nyingma tradition of Dzogchen, some Ngondro text has the recitation of "OM AH HUNG" for one hundred-thousand times, to purify the karma of our body, speech and mind. Here, it is not written, but Rinpoche told me, prior to this, you could recite "OM AH HUNG" for at least 100 times. During that time, you visualize the karma of your body, speech and mind are purified; and your body, speech and mind received the blessings of Buddha's enlightened body, speech and mind respectively. So, first reciting "OM AH HUNG" for one round of mala. 

To be continued ...

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