“The most Profound and Highest Practice is Ngondro” ~ Chakhung Wangdrak Rinpoche

” His Holiness talks about how impertinent that every accomplishment we have in the dzogpa chenpo and the meaning of the nature of that teaching to penetrate our midstream depends on our ngondro and our preliminary practices…

Other people take the most ‘advanced esoteric’ practice as the supreme and highest practice and give less importance in the ngondro. But for me the most profound and highest practice is ngondro.

And the reason why, dzogpa chenpo practice is dependent entirely on our success and the same of any of the higher practices, it depends on how strong we lay the foundation of our ngondro. When we practice we should understand that and understand where to place our energy and focus on ngondro practice…I just want you to remember to please keep up your practice,  particularly your ngondro accumulation.” 

Chakung Wangdrak Rinpoche
Mountain Retreat
Pema Osel Ling

Chakung Jigme Wangdrak Rinpoche is the Spiritual Director of the
Abhaya Fellowship  El Cerrito, CA

You are warmly invited to attend in person
(non-residential) or online.

with Chakung Wangdrak Rinpoche
MARCH 31 TO APRIL 2, 2023

Vajrayana Foundation’s 2023 Annual Ngondro Retreat
at Pema Osel Ling and Livestream begins on April 1st ~ 9th

April 1st and 2nd ~ Sam Bercholtz on Awakening Body, Speech, and Mind. April 3rd, Tulku Thadral Rinpoche will give the Refuge Vow, Bodhisattva Vows, and the Oral Reading Transmission for the Dudjom Tersar Ngondro and Dudjom Lingpa Troma Nakmo Ngondro. 

The Retreat continues through the 9th with Teachings and Questions & Answers from Tulku Thadral Rinpoche, Lama Sonam Tsering Rinpoche, Amy Green, and Ivan Bercholtz with Ngondro Practice and Accumulation Sessions with Choying Wangmo and Stefan Graves. Arrangements can be made for your personal Ngondro Accumulation Sessions.

To learn more, visit the Vajrayana Foundation website.


Join the Ngondro Program

The Vajrayana Foundation Dudjom Tersar Ngondro Program is a web-based and self paced program focused on supporting you at any stage of your Ngondro practice. The program offers video, audio teachings, and texts available anytime online. You will have the opportunity to work directly with an experienced practitioner who has been selected by both Lama Tharchin Rinpoche, founder of Vajrayana Foundation, and current resident teacher, Lama Sonam Tsering Rinpoche. The program offers a monthly accumulation practice session, a monthly teaching, and an opportunity to ask questions from Lama Sonam Rinpoche and on occasions from other guest Lamas, from our resident chant leader and 3 year Retreat Lama, Drubpon Pema Rigdzin Wangyal, and from the Ngondro Program Coordinators Stefan Graves and Choying Wangmo.

More information

Next step: Sign Up

First Ngondro Program Webcast in 2013.
The webcast experienced video difficulties but we were able to save the audio. This is a photo slideshow with original audio.

Ngondro Program history

Please note: clicking on any one of the links on this page will open a new page.


The Vajrayana Foundation Ngondro Program

Early Beginnings…. 
      by Becky Loy for Vajrayana Foundation

Photographer unknown. Taken at the Pema Osel Ling Retreat Center

Lama Tharchin Rinpoche
and Lama Sonam Tsering Rinpoche began planning the Ngondro Program with Vajrayana Foundation staff in the fall of 2012, with the objective of providing to serious students of the Dharma the structure and guidance needed to complete their Dudjom Tersar Ngondro from start to finish.

The Program was announced in February 2013 with an email detailing the unique Program components:
• A Personal interview with one of the lamas once a year
• Senior student advisors to give personal support by email or phone
• Video webinar teachings by one of the lamas every other month
• Video study and discussion groups led by senior students on alternate months
• Annual in-person Ngondro Retreat.


Photo by Jeremy Umal Espino ~ Ngondro Participants 2013

Students began signing up immediately, and many attended the Ngondro Retreat in March, which began with Sam Bercholz’s first teachings at Pema Osel Ling: Establishing the View: The Golden Key to Kyabje Thinley Norbu Rinpoche’s  A Cascading Waterfall of Nectar.

On April 21, 2013, Lama Tharchin Rinpoche gave the first Ngondro Program video conference teaching to a group of 36 Program members from the US, Europe, Mexico and the Pacific Islands. In it he welcomed the “new Tersar Lineage Holder guys”.  He said,

 “I want to say how much I’m happy all of you are willing to do Dudjom Tersar Ngondro. In this generation, by His Holiness Thinley Norbu Rinpoche’skindness, we established pretty well all the Dudjom Tersarteachings. But [for the] next generation we have to keep these things going. 

“His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche told me to take care of the Tersar tradition. My life meaning is only I want to serve dharma. People who do practice, that is my main focus, the meaning of my life.  All our sangha is my special friend; and particularly, those who do more practice, that is closestto my heart. All of you willing to do Ngondro, please continue. I am dedicating my body, speech and mind,anything I can, to the Dudjom tradition. We have to be willing, responsible, to hold that doctrine lineage.”

This talk was part of a very auspicious weekend at the Pema Osel Ling Retreat Center in the Santa Cruz Mountains, beginning with Yangthang Tulku Rinpoche (1930-2016) giving sublime Dzogchen teachings on Garab Dorje’s Three Words That Strike the Vital Point, and concluding with a Kurukulle jinsek (fire puja) led by Lama Tharchin Rinpoche, Tulku Jamyang Rinpoche, and Lama Sonam Rinpoche in order to magnetize all positive circumstances for Pema Osel Ling and the whole sangha.

The Ngondro Program has expanded in scope and offerings and has continued without interruption from 2013 to the present.


9th Annual Ngondro Retreat streaming online in 2021 … In the Box: (top) Lama Sonam Tsering Rinpoche with Lotsawa Cyril Kassoff, (middle box left) Amy Green (middle right) Drubpon Pema Wangyal Rigdzin (lower Left) Choying Wangmo (lower right) Stefan Graves