I first became acquainted with Tibetan Buddhism in 2013 when my son brought me to Pema Osel Ling to visit the Joyful Lotus Stupa Mandala. Six months later, he invited me to the Vajrayana Foundation Annual Drupchen Retreat, which I attended and a month later, I took refuge and bodhicitta vows and received the lung for the Dudjom Tersar Ngondro.
Armed with Lama Tharchin Rinpoche’s commentary on the concise Ngondro, I began to practice. I didn’t have a goal of completing the Ngondro and moving on to some other practice. I was looking for understanding. For me, at that point in time, simply reading the Ngondro and then Rinpoche’s explanations of each step in the practice was invaluable. Rinpoche’s commentary had such clarity and simplicity, that I began to understand.
Over the next three years, I attended three Ngondro Retreats at Pemo Osel Ling and continued to practice. Like many Westerners, I am impatient and terrible at keeping track of what I do. My Ngondro advisor, Stefan Graves, gave me great advice, which was to count everything I did.
Overtime, I have become able to do so. I’ve found it keeps me honest in my practice. Each aspect of the accumulations seemed to open me a bit more, and I am intensely grateful. There were many times I got tired, busy, sick, angry, whatever, but the practice would draw me back eventually, and I developed a discipline based on my growing understanding.