Participation in the Ngondro Program requires a commitment to practice and study. Ngondro practice can be approached in different ways. It can be a lifetime daily practice, and in order to accomplish the practice, there are specific numbers of accumulations that are required:
- 100,000 Prostrations with recitations of Refuge and Bodhichitta (these are counted separately, but when combined with prostrations are 100,000)
- 100,000 Mandala offerings with mandala offering pan
- 100,000 recitations of the Vajrasattva 100 Syllable Mantra
- 1,200,000 recitations of the Vajra Guru Mantra
The total number of hours for each accumulation will depend on each individual’s physical capacity. Four tracks are available to choose from, based on an individual’s circumstances. Each track has a minimum of required practice. You may switch tracks with advice from your lama and student advisor. You will decide which track is best for you on your first session with your assigned mentor.
- Track A – Completion within 6 years. Minimum required daily practice commitment is 30 minutes, with additional practice periodically. 15 minutes of daily study and contemplation is recommended. With a commitment of 45 minutes per day for both practice and study on weekdays and 1 hour per day on weekends, one should be able to finish the Ngöndro within 6 years. However, participants will be able to work out a schedule with their advisor’s input that will fit their individual circumstances as long as there is a minimum of 30 minutes of practice a day. Dedicated retreat may be necessary.
- Track B – Completion within 3 years. Minimum required daily practice commitment is 1 hour per day with additional time on weekends or as part of a monthly or annual retreat. 15 minutes of study and contemplation a day is recommended. With a practice commitment of 1 hour per day on weekdays and 3 hours per day on weekends, or a longer retreat monthly or yearly, one should be able to finish within 3 years. Again, participants will be able to work out a schedule with their advisor’s input that will fit their individual circumstances as long as there is a minimum of one hour of practice a day.
- Track C – Completion within 12 months. With an emphasis on retreat, a commitment of 5 to 6 hours per day, or 3 hours per day on weekdays and 8 to 10 hours per day on weekends and/or a full-time retreat for several months, one should be able to finish within 12 months. This track requires great focus and capacity and requires special permission from the lama and guidance from a senior student to undertake. • Teachings, Instruction and Practice in a Retreat Setting: Attendance each year at the spring Ngondro Retreat is encouraged and is required at least once over the course of the program. Recordings of the teaching will also be available.
- Track D – It may be that you want to accomplish Ngondro, but due to lifestyle, work commitments, family, health etc. this may not be realistic. This track requires a commitment to a daily practice with as much accumulation as is possible. There is no time limit for completion.