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 withLama Tharchin Rinpoche’s commentaryon 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.
I have been very fortunate to receive other teachings and empowerments over the past four years. They are all incredibly beautiful and powerful. I now have other practices which I do daily, but I continue to practice the Dujom Tersar Nogondro, including accumulations, because the blessings from it never end.
None of my experiences would have been possible without the lineage lamas, who embody the dharma; who have compassion and work tirelessly practicing, teaching, and preserving the tradition. I remain in awe of such profound commitment and pray that my own commitment continues to grow.
We are offering a new addition to the Ngondro web site highlighting people who have finished their Ngondro accumulations.. We invite those who have completed Ngondro to contribute comments on their experience by sending a paragraph or two to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pema Chodron has just completed her practice. Starting as a child of a practitioner, growing up in the dharma, she went on to get married, raise a family with two children and work, all while practicing. It took her 17 years and she just finished. We congratulate Pema Chodron on her completion of the Dudjom Tersar Ngondro!
“Lama Tharchin Rinpoche opened my eyes. He gave his entire life and the ground he walked on to the Dharma, and that devotion inspired my own. Though often separated by time and travel, I owe my life to my lamas and the care and guidance they provide. Thank you for creating this Ngöndro program to help those teachings flourish, support students from afar, and help keep me accountable for my commitments.
I don’t feel worthy to comment on my experience with Ngöndro, and certainly not as if I’ve come to the end of a great road. I’m no trailblazer for having conquered a milestone, and the process itself is entirely humbling… I should rather say that Ngöndro conquered me.
Ngöndro is the most intimate and personally enriching opportunity I’ve experienced. It goes beyond accumulations and you change as you move through the practice. I had my share of frustration or confusion, lack of focus, and physical pain, but it requires commitment, good habit, and a shift of perspective to let Ngöndro shape you. The journey is a crucial part of the destination, and my experience with Ngöndro continues to prepare me for the greater journey ahead.