Ngondro Study Course

Course Overviewngondro

Saturdays, 6 – 7:30pm

Beginning June 14th 2014

Prerequisite:  Two or more years of Buddhist practice

Commitment Requested:  A minimum of one year which includes

  • regular class attendance
  • careful preparation for each session
  • completion of all reading assignments and tests
  • application of the dharma to daily life

Teacher:  Geshe Kalsang Rapgyal

Chanting Book Practice (Audio):

Three Daily Recitations – Page 1

Refuge, Generating Altruistic Mind and Four Immeasurable – Page 5

Lineage Masters Prayer – Page 6

The Seven Limb Prayers – Page 12

Mandala Offering – Page 15

Short Vajrasattva Meditation – Page 19

Mantra Recitation – Page 26

Dedication Prayers – Page 33

Auspicious Prayers – Page 35

Description of the Ngondro Study Course

Buddhism states that we all want to be happy and avoid suffering.  What makes Buddhism unique, however, is how suffering and happiness are defined.  From the view of Buddhism our common idea of what causes happiness, as well as suffering, runs in contrast to what we normally do.  To overcome these patterns of thought takes extensive study, practice, and effort.  While we may intellectually understand many of the concepts taught in the dharma, the fact that we still suffer shows that we all still have a long way to go.

Ngondro is a foundational practice common in all four schools of Buddhism.  Ngondro means “something that goes before/proceeds” and is usually done to prepare the mind for advanced dharma practice.  Generally there are two parts of the practice, outer and inner.  Outer practices are deeper reflections on particular Buddhist concepts, often referred to as the four thoughts that turn the mind to the dharma.  By meditating and studying deeply on them, the student can prepare the mind for meaningful change.  Specifically they are contemplating the following to develop a stronger sense of renunciation:

  • the freedoms and advantages of a precious human rebirth
  • the truth of impermanence and change
  • the workings of karma/cause and effect
  • the suffering of living beings within the samsara

The inner preliminaries are practices used to prepare oneself for the path.  Through the following practices a student is able to purify negative karma, accumulate merit, and embed the mind with bodhichitta:

  • taking refuge in the three jewels in conjunction with the performance of 100,000 prostrations
  • cultivation of bodhichitta, usually through a prayer to arouse the desire to obtain bodhichitta or a review of the behaviors common to someone with it
  • 100,000 recitations of Vajrasattva’s hundred-syllable mantra (which help purify negative actions)
  • 100,000 mandala offerings (which help purify attachments and obscurations of the mind)
  • 100,000 guru yoga practices

Expectations of Participants in the Course

Dedication

  • The class is a very unique offering that will establish the precedent for future advanced teachings.
  • Regular attendance (Geshe Rapgyal encourages 80%) and a willingness to commit to a least a year of this study
  • Being highly prepared for each class including reading ahead and preparation for Geshe-la’s questions
  • Reading supplemental material and outline materials for the group
  • Completing assignments and tests
  • Applying the dharma to daily life.  Students’ questions are expected to be related to the teachings of the course
  • Appreciation for the practices as they are taught.  Geshe-la will introduce practices as he thinks appropriate.  Refuge vows and permission to do Vajrasattva and Guru Puja practices will likely come in time, but requesting empowerments is discouraged.
  • Contribution to the teacher and his interpreter according to ability.  While teachings are free and those who cannot offer regular support are welcome to attend, even a small contribution plants the karmic seed for teachings to be available for others and in future lives.

Student Characteristics

Serious students with at least two years of personal practice and dedication to the Buddhist path are invited to sign up for this Ngondro Study Course.  Although Ngondro is a beginning practice, it will help participants to organize their understanding of Buddhism.  Prospective students do not need to be a scholar to register.

Characteristics of a Ngondro Study Course student:

  • Has taken refuge vows or is strongly considering this commitment in the future
  • Follows an ethical practice consistent with Buddhist views such as keeping the Ten Precepts
  • Follows a weekly meditation practice that will be built upon as the class progresses
  • Uses practices that generate positive karma such as generosity, chanting mantras, employing tonglen, and others
  • Is willing to read, reread and study the materials deeply
  • Is willing to persevere in one’s commitment to participate
  • Geshe-la will help students who are unable to practice the physical elements of Ngondro to find an accommodation that works for them.

The honor system will be used in regard to attendance, assignments and practice.

Class Specificswords of my perfecr teacher shambala

  • Sessions:  2nd and 4th Saturday each month from 6 -7:30pm
  • Required text:  The Words of My Perfect Teacher by Patrul Rinpoche

Choose the 1998 Shambala version or the 2010 Yale version.  Geshe-la will use a Tibetan language text so there will not be a perfect page by page reflection.  You can purchase a copy from Amazon Click Here

  • Recommended additional text:  A Guide to the Words of My Perfect Teacher by Khenpo Ngawang Palzang   Click Here
  • More materials may be needed over time as part of the class’ practice book

DGCEG teaching syllabus for “The Words of My Perfect Teacher” by Patrul Rinpoche

(Please check syllabus of each session ahead of time because there will be additional info for different teaching days.)

 Jan 24 – Chapter Four

Actions: The principle of cause and effect (p.101-110)

  • Read mentioned pages before teaching
  • Geshe la will give summarize teaching
  • Be-prepared – Geshe la might ask questions from reading

Feb 14 – Chapter Four

Actions: The principle of cause and effect (p.112-118)

  • Read mentioned pages before teaching
  • Geshe la will give summarize teaching
  • Be-prepared – Geshe la might ask questions from reading

Feb 28 – Chapter Five & Six

The benefits of liberation (p.133-149)

How to follow a spiritual friend (p.137-166)

  • Read mentioned pages before teaching
  • Geshe la will give summarize teaching
  • Be-prepared – Geshe la might ask questions from reading

PART TWO – THE EXTRAORDINARY OR INTERNAL PRELIMINARIES

*Participants MUST have following items before starting this session: Prayer book, Rosary (108 beads mala), Bell and Vajra set, Mandala set, Vajrasattva image or statue or Thangka, Guru Puja image or Thangka, folding table, Prostration board, 7-set altar bowls*

Mar 14 – Chapter One

Taking refuge, foundation stone of all paths (p.171-187)

  • Read mentioned pages before teaching
  • Geshe la will give summarize teaching
  • Geshe la will give explanation on Altar set-up and altar’s sacred objects
  • Be-prepared – Geshe la might ask questions from reading

Mar 28 – Chapter Two

Arousing bodhicitta, the root of the great vehicle (p.195-217)

  • Read mentioned pages before teaching
  • Geshe la will give summarize teaching
  • Be-prepared – Geshe la might ask questions from reading

April 11 – Chapter Two

Arousing bodhicitta & training in the bodhicitta precepts (p.218-261)

  • Read mentioned pages before teaching
  • Geshe la will give summarize teaching
  • Be-prepared – Geshe la might ask questions from reading

April 25 – Brief Explanation of Ngondro Prayer Book and Mandala Offering

May 9 – Chapter Three

Meditating and reciting on the teacher as Vajrasattva to cleanse all obscuration (p.263-280)

  • Read mentioned pages before teaching
  • Geshe la will give summarize teaching
  • Be-prepared – Geshe la might ask questions from reading

May 23 – No teaching! (Special Event)

June 13 – Chapter Four

Offering the mandala to accumulate merit and wisdom (p.283-295)

June 27 –  Vajrasattva Permission offering by Geshe la

July 11 – Chapter Five

The Kusali’s accumulation: destroying the four demons at a single stroke (p.297-307)

  • Read mentioned pages before teaching
  • Geshe la will give summarize teaching
  • Be-prepared – Geshe la might ask questions from reading

July 25 – Chapter Six

Guru Yoga, entrance-way for blessings, the ultimate method for arousing the wisdom of realization (p.309-329)

  • Read mentioned pages before teaching
  • Geshe la will give summarize teaching
  • Be-prepared – Geshe la might ask questions from reading

Aug 8  – Chapter Six

Guru Yoga, entrance-way for blessings, the ultimate method for arousing the wisdom of realization (p.332-347)

  • Read mentioned pages before teaching
  • Geshe la will give summarize teaching
  • Be-prepared – Geshe la might ask questions from reading

Aug 22 – Part three – The Swift Path of Transference

More resources for your practices:
Hand gestures (Mudra) for Offering prayers – images and video link
Prostration instruction (image) and video link
Prostration explanation

 

For further information contact:    drepunggomanginstitute@gmail.com

OR: Tenam, Geshe-la’s interpreter, at tenam59@yahoo.com