Dear Sangha Members,
Beginning Friday, June 18th, Mindrolling Lotus Garden will host an online weekend retreat dedicated to the foundational practices of ngöndro. Ngöndro, or preliminary, practices form the foundation of every Vajrayana practitioner’s path and are a lifetime commitment to accomplishing the path of dharma through the accumulation of merit and purification of unvirtuous karmas and habitual tendencies. This weekend retreat will be led by Lopön Barbara Ryan and Lopön Helen Berliner.
The practice of ngöndro begins with the contemplations of the four Outer Preliminaries (precious human existence, impermanence, karma and the sufferings of samsara) which become the motivation and basis for renouncing samsaric habits and activities and turning one’s mind towards the path of dharma. Then, through the Inner Preliminaries (refuge, bodhicitta, Vajrasattva purification, mandala offering and guru yoga) a practitioner develops the strong sense of refuge, unwavering compassion for sentient beings, purifies one’s mind stream, accumulates vast merit, generates devotion and receives the blessings of the guru. Through training wholeheartedly and thoroughly, one is endowed with the compassion, wisdom and courage needed to be an excellent vessel to receive the transmissions and engage in the practices of the profound path of Vajrayana.
Emulating the masters of the past who overcame great hardships to receive the teachings of the authentic dharma, we modern practitioners should strive with joy to overcome our own obstacles, outer and inner, to practice and accomplish these profound trainings.
This weekend retreat will be structured with daily practice sessions and live teachings on the view and meaning of each of the ngöndro practices. There will also be opportunities for practitioners to clarify any questions or doubts during live Q&A sessions. This program will be in English only and live streamed from Minling Lotus Garden. Recordings of the sessions will be available afterwards but please be aware that if you are in a very different time zone, it may be difficult to attend the live sessions.
This program is open to students who have received ngöndro transmissions and to students who intend to begin ngöndro. While transmissions will not be given during this retreat, those who do not have the transmissions may practice and study together to gain familiarity with the practices and what they entail. There will be an opportunity for those who wish to begin ngöndro to submit their requests for the appropriate transmissions.
These practices have incredible power to transform our distracted samsaric minds into minds steeped in Dharma with the wisdom, compassion and skill to truly benefit beings trapped in the cycle of suffering. We hope everyone will join us in this wonderful opportunity to practice and study together!
Program Details: This online retreat will begin Friday evening, June 18 and conclude Sunday, June 20. Students will receive a detailed program schedule and more information prior to the program.
Registration: Registration will open June 5th. This program is open to students who wish to begin and those currently practicing ngöndro.