Wednesday, June 14
The Mahamudra Ngöndro series began with the reading transmission (lung) and words of introduction. As with the Sadhana series last December, Rinpoche arrived at the Shrine Room early.
He said there were a lot of reasons not to teach Ngöndro, the ordinary and extraordinary foundation practices of the Vajrayana; the practice takes four months for young people in a dedicated retreat setting where they do nothing else.
“People are so busy,” Lama said. “If it is not made into a priority, people won’t come anyway… I haven’t taught anything in this detail for twenty years, and, quite frankly, I don’t know when I will teach this again.”
But for this year, this particular year, he is encouraging (us).
As the foundation or basis for entering the Vajrayana, Rinpoche stressed how different we all are with regard to understanding the teachings. There is the level of apprehending consciousness itself, the result of our karma, with its singular level of devotion, faith, and concentration.
Where we are matters – so many of us are obsessed with whether we are ugly or sick or getting old… Rinpoche says, “You have to lift yourself up.” He went on to discuss precious human birth in this fortunate aeon of 1000 Buddhas.
“Buddha left a map for humanity.” Lama Dorjee said. “Buddha said, my letters are my form, my sign.” We become valuable because of the cause (timing) and conditions around us. We don’t have the obstacles of difficulty that the lower realms do, and we don’t have the problem of being too happy that one has in the god realms.
“Now, at this time, you have something inside you that is precious, and precious is as precious does. This has the connotation of love and compassion and unconditionality.”
Our worst enemy is our ego. “If anybody hurts your ego, you have to defend! Western people have so much ego, which is good for temporary, short-term survival and competition for jobs.”
Ngöndro, on the other hand, is about receiving – full of devotion, not with skeptical mind.
The ability to do this depends on the quality of karma, the quality of wisdom, the quality of generosity and the quality of compassion. How much have you accumulated so far?
— Beth Keenan, from informal notes