11 May 2010
Ah, the Ngöndro (preliminary) practices. If you ask how many you have to do (without the proper context and preparation), you will probably be sorry to hear the answer: 100,000. Of ALL OF THEM.
With these good-humored words and other examples, Alan reproaches the “how much do I gotta do” approach to the preliminaries and sets off on a very enlightening explanation of the very valid reasons for the preliminaries and the context in which they are immensely beneficial and meaningful. He also points out when they are not yet of most benefit (especially to us modern people or to people just starting in the path of Dharma) and explains why.
In the end, Alan gives a short, concise, and brilliant personal answer (based on how the Buddha taught his disciples) to the preliminaries of Shamatha which left us all tremendously inspired. I won’t ruin and pollute the surprise of what his answer is so it will suffice to say that if you have doubts, problems, and/or restlessness about the preliminaries or want to clear any misconceptions, this podcast is definitely for you. And if you really know the preliminaries and perhaps have even completed them, Alan’s final points are still extremely valuable to anyone and can bring a rich, meaningful, and powerful drive to the practice.
For those interested, the picture is from a thangka of the Dudjom Tersar Ngöndro.
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