Ngondro Courses with Lama Ole (The Preliminary Practices)
During Ngondro Courses, Lama Ole goes over each of the four foundational practices in detail: including everything from the mechanics, theory, philosophy, ultimate goal and the results we receive from each respective practice. Between lectures and question/answer sessions, we all do the practices together as a group.
"Ngondro means "something which precedes." In a direct and very practical way, these preliminary practices of Tibetan Buddhism are methods which allow us, most efficiently, to purify negativity and accumulate merit. They bring forth our fullest potential, while removing the veils which keep us from experiencing and expressing our Enlightened nature.
The goal of this practice is to enable us to know the freedom we have always had, to experience the open, clear, unobstructed nature of mind. Its timeless essence is perfect: open like space, radiantly intelligent and alive, and without any limits. Resting in this primordial awareness brings fearlessness, spontaneous joy, and active compassion.
The 9th Karmapa, Wangchug Dorje, gave the four practices of the Chag Chen Ngondro as a preparation to realize the most refined insight of Mahamudra. The first preliminary, Refuge with Prostrations, aims at clearing away obscurations and accumulating good impressions. The second foundation, Dorje Sempa, purifies our speech and mind and develops both merit and insight.In the third practice, Mandala Offerings, wisdom and merit are equally emphasized, while the last foundation, Guru Yoga, primarily develops wisdom.
"It is our fervent wish that these explanations will benefit Dharma students by making this practice and its meaning more accessible, and develop in them the highest wisdom on the path."
Excerpt from Lama Ole's book,
Ngondro: The Four Foundational Practices of Tibetan Buddhism