Signs that the Common Preliminary Practices Have Penetrated the Mind
Composed by the great Mahasiddha Nyala Pema Duddul (1816-1872)
Translated by Lotsawa House "Dharma. On the House." Lotsawa House Translations on the Web
If you can devote your body unstintingly to the practice,
That is a sign of taking to heart the preciousness of the freedoms and advantages.
If you can view gold and dirt with equanimity and see them as equal,
That is a sign of having realized the illusory nature of transient things.
If you can regard the phenomena of samsara as your enemies,
That is a sign of crossing over the ocean of suffering.
If you can pay meticulous attention to your actions and their effects, adopting virtue and abandoning non-virtue,
That is a sign of finding the swift path that ascends the staircase to liberation.
If you can purify the negativity, defilements and habitual tendencies of your body, speech and mind,
That is a sign of closing the door to rebirth in samsara’s lower realms.
If you can keep the Three Jewels in your mind, so that they are never separate from it,
That is a sign of being hooked by the compassion of the supreme refuge.
If you know how to integrate emptiness and compassion in your mindstream,
That is a sign of bringing phenomena into the essence of awakening.
If you can meditate on how all beings have been your parents,
That is a sign of the arising of the sun and moon of the great vehicle.
If you can dispel the obscurations of the darkness of ignorance,
That is a sign of the dawning of clear light within immaculate space.
If you can carry the two accumulations onto the path continuously,
That is a sign of the maturing of the fruition of kayas and wisdoms.
If you can see all that appears and exists arising in total purity as the lama,
That is a sign of reaching the pinnacle of Dzogchen yoga.
If you can recognize the vajrakaya of all-penetrating pure awareness,
That is a sign of transference into the timeless space of primordial purity.
If you can recognize the unity of the three kayas in pure awareness,
That is a sign of the ripening of the fruition, which is Samantabhadra.
This brief summary of the signs showing that the common preliminary practices have penetrated the mind
Was written in response to repeated requests from the assembly of my students,
By the old beggar called Duddul. Through this merit may all beings be matured and liberated!
Advice from Me to Myself
by Patrul Rinpoche, author of Words of My Perfect Teacher
Patrul Rinpoche (1808-1887), was a wandering turn-of-the-century Dzogchen master of Eastern Tibet, much beloved by the people.
Trained in a traditional monastery shedra (seminary), he possessed an encyclopedic knowledge of dharma texts and teachings.
Patrul Rinpoche used his knowledge to write many books still highly valued today; including Words of My Perfect Teacher.
He was an almost flawless practitioner who took his spiritual development very seriously and practiced continuously.
Today, Patrul Rinpoche is still honored and appreciated for his earthy, to the point (and often humorous) teachings.
Preferring solitary practice, he was renowned as the 'enlightened vagabond'. The following is his tongue-in-cheek and very pithy advice
from himself - to himself - regarding the issue of Attachment in all areas of life, including spiritual practice;
and should not be regarded as 'permission' to be a slacker. <smile>
Vajrasattva, sole deity, Master,
You sit on a full-moon lotus-cushion of white light
In the hundred-petalled full bloom of youth.
Think of me, Vajrasattva,
You who remain unmoved within the manifest display
That is Mahamudra, pure bliss-emptiness.
Listen up, old bad-karma Patrul,
For ages now you've been
Beguiled, entranced, and fooled by appearances.
Are you aware of that? Are you?
Right this very instant, when you're
Under the spell of mistaken perception
You've got to watch out.
Don't let yourself get carried away by this fake and empty life.
Your mind is spinning around
About carrying out a lot of useless projects:
It's a waste! Give it up!
Thinking about the hundred plans you want to accomplish,
With never enough time to finish them,
Just weighs down your mind.
You're completely distracted
By all these projects, which never come to an end,
But keep spreading out more, like ripples in water.
Don't be a fool: for once, just sit tight.
Listening to the teachings—you've already heard hundreds of teachings,
But when you haven't grasped the meaning of even one teaching,
What's the point of more listening?
Reflecting on the teachings—even though you've listened,
If the teachings aren't coming to mind when needed,
What's the point of more reflection? None.
Meditating according to the teachings —
If your meditation practice still isn't curing
The obscuring states of mind—forget about it!
You've added up just how many mantras you've done —
But you aren't accomplishing the kyerim visualization.
You may get the forms of deities nice and clear—
But you're not putting an end to subject and object.
You may tame what appear to be evil spirits and ghosts,
But you're not training the stream of your own mind.
Your four fine sessions of sadhana practice,
So meticulously arranged—
Forget about them.
When you're in a good mood,
Your practice seems to have lots of clarity—
But you just can't relax into it.
When you're depressed,
Your practice is stable enough
But there's no brilliance to it.
As for awareness,
You try to force yourself into a rigpa-like state,
As if stabbing a stake into a target!
When those yogic positions and gazes keep your mind stable
Only by keeping mind tethered—
Forget about them!
Giving high-sounding lectures
Doesn't do your mind-stream any good.
The path of analytical reasoning is precise and acute—
But it's just more delusion, good for nothing goat-shit.
The oral instructions are very profound
But not if you don't put them into practice.
Reading over and over those dharma texts
That just occupy your mind and make your eyes sore—
Forget about it!
You beat your little damaru drum—ting, ting—
And your audience thinks it's charming to hear.
You're reciting words about offering up your body,
But you still haven't stopped holding it dear.
You're making your little cymbals go cling, cling—
Without keeping the ultimate purpose in mind.
All this dharma-practice equipment
That seems so attractive—
Forget about it!
Right now, those students are all studying so very hard,
But in the end, they can't keep it up.
Today, they seem to get the idea,
But later on, there's not a trace left.
Even if one of them manages to learn a little,
He rarely applies his "learning" to his own conduct.
Those elegant dharma disciples—
Forget about them!
This year, he really cares about you,
Next year, it's not like that.
At first, he seems modest,
Then he grows exalted and pompous.
The more you nurture and cherish him,
The more distant he grows.
These dear friends
Who show such smiling faces to begin with—
Forget about them!
Her smile seems so full of joy—
But who knows if that's really the case?
One time, it's pure pleasure,
Then it's nine months of mental pain.
It might be fine for a month,
But sooner or later, there's trouble.
People teasing; your mind embroiled—
Forget about her!
These endless rounds of conversation
Are just attachment and aversion—
It's just more goat-shit, good for nothing at all.
At the time it seems marvelously entertaining,
But really, you're just spreading around stories about other people's mistakes.
Your audience seems to be listening politely,
But then they grow embarrassed for you.
Useless talk that just makes you thirsty—
Forget about it!
Giving teachings on meditation texts
Without yourself having
Gained actual experience through practice,
Is like reciting a dance-manual out loud
And thinking that's the same as actually dancing.
People may be listening to you with devotion,
But it just isn't the real thing.
Sooner or later, when your own actions
Contradict the teachings, you'll feel ashamed.
Just mouthing the words,
Giving dharma explanations that sound so eloquent—
Forget about it!
When you don't have a text, you long for it;
Then when you've finally gotten it, you hardly look at it.
The number of pages seems few enough,
But it's a bit hard to find time to copy them all.
Even if you copied down all the dharma texts on earth,
You wouldn't be satisfied.
Copying down texts is a waste of time
(Unless you get paid)—
So forget about it!
Today, they're happy as clams—
Tomorrow, they're furious.
With all their black moods and white moods,
People are never satisfied.
Or even if they're nice enough,
They may not come through when you really need them,
Disappointing you even more.
All this politeness, keeping up a
Forget about it!
Worldly and religious work
Is the province of gentlemen.
Patrul, old boy—that's not for you.
Haven't you noticed what always happens?
An old bull, once you've gone to the trouble of borrowing him for his services,
Seems to have absolutely no desire left in him at all—
(Except to go back to sleep).
Be like that—desire-less.
Just sleep, eat, piss, shit.
There's nothing else in life that has to be done.
Don't get involved with other things:
They're not the point.
Keep a low profile,
In the triple universe
When you're lower than your company
You should take the low seat.
Should you happen to be the superior one,
Don't get arrogant.
There's no absolute need to have close friends;
You're better off just keeping to yourself.
When you're without any worldly or religious obligations,
Don't keep on longing to acquire some!
If you let go of everything—
That's the real point!
This advice was written by the practitioner Trime Lodro (Patrul Rinpoche) for his intimate friend Ahu Shri (Patrul Rinpoche),
in order to give advice that is tailored exactly to his capacities.
This advice should be put into practice.
Even though you don't know how to practice, just let go of everything—that's what I really want to say.
Even though you aren't able to succeed in your dharma practice, don't get angry.
May it be virtuous.
Click to subscribe to PCD_Dallas Email Announcement List
Moderated eList; No Spam. This elist is provided at no charge by YahooGroups.
You will be asked to create a YahooID, if you do not already have one.
© Copyright 2003-2008 All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce without prior written permission.
© Virtual Butter Lamp Courtesy of Troy Younts, Dallas
Web Page Questions:
For the Benefit
of All Beings
Om Ma Ni Pe Me Hung
Six Syllable Mantra of Avalokitesvara (Chenrezig):
Buddha of Compassion
May All Beings Benefit!
Palyul Changchub Dargyeling Dallas
Ngondro Practice in the Palyul Nam Chö Lineage
The Great Perfection Teachings and Transmissions:
"Take advantage of this human boat; Free yourself from sorrow's mighty stream!
Shantideva, Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life
Full Ngondro Taught by His Holiness Penor Rinpoche at the Yearly Palyul Summer Retreat
First Year Study at Summer Retreat: Ngondro
Each year from July 10 to August 10, His Holiness Penor Rinpoche leads the yearly Palyul summer retreats.
the preliminary Practices: Palyul Nam Chö ngondrO Practice Book
(The 'Blue Book', Hardcover) Privately published by Namdroling, main Palyul Monastery, India.
About Ngondro Practice
by Khenchen Tsewang Gyatso Rinpoche
Ngondro is a collection of practices known as "The Four Foundations" [sometimes also called the Preliminary Practices].
These practices form the fundamental ground for all Tibetan Buddhist practice and for higher Dzogchen practice.
His Holiness Penor Rinpoche gave the Nam Chö Ngondro teachings and practice for the first time in India at
During the one-month Summer Retreats offered at the monastery and upstate NY retreat center (Palyul Ling),
In any case, all that is contained and learned in Ngondro is contained in the so-called "higher" practices.
This includes Refuge and Bodhicitta (loving-kindness practice), the Mandala Offering, Vajrasattva Purification,
From PCD Dallas
Ngondro practice in Tibetan Buddhism is based on the foundation teachings of the Buddha Dharma, and acts to
Why practice Ngondro? Because, as many 12 Step Program graduates will attest:
Interesting, many Western students observe that the 12 Step programs for self-help are remarkably similar to the Ngondro.
Traditionally the practitioner needs to complete 100,000 repetitions of the mantras for each part of the
In the West in the 21st century, we have the incredible opportunity to begin the Ngondro as soon
The first part of Ngondro is known as the Outer Preliminaries.
Making friends with oneself, developing unconditional compassion and love (bodhichitta) for oneself
Secondly in Ngondro practice, there are the Inner Preliminaries.
Take charge of your life: Begin Ngondro practice. It is a precious opportunity to begin the path
* "The unexamined life is not worth living for man."