Drikung Kagyu Ngondro Preliminary Practices of the Five-fold Path of Mahamudra
From the Bhagavan Great Vajradhara up until the present, the precious instruction of experience and realization is unbroken. This is the close path that actualizes Buddhahood in one lifetime for fortunate, ordinary beings. Even one portion of this, the turning of the wheel of the Dharma of the Five-fold Mahamudra, liberates those with intelligence.
In samsara, there are three types of suffering – suffering in the making, the suffering of change, and the suffering of suffering. Ones should meditate with fierce renunciation in the knowledge that the intrinsic nature of these three is like a building blazing with fire. Having established the difficulty of obtaining the freedoms and advantages, ones should train in the ordinary preliminaries, and then undertake them.
The Gong Chig says, “Other practices are not profound, and these are profound. This is the root of Dharma, which is like the foundation of a house. It is important for certainty to arise in one’s stream of being, which will not happen merely through the lama’s teaching and the student’s listening.”
The founder to the Drikung Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, Lord Jigten Sumgon stated, “Ngondro is even more important than the higher practices.” It has also been said that sincerely practicing only Ngondro will lead to enlightenment since all mind training techniques leading to enlightenment are included within it!
The four Ngondro preliminary practices of the Five-Fold Path of Mahamudra are:
1. The Practice of Taking Refuge (prostrations with recitations),
2. Practice of Vajrasattva Meditation and Recitation for Purification,
3. Offering the Noble Mandala the Special Method for Perfecting the Two Accumulations,
4. The Guru Yoga that Brings the Blessings of the Lineage
The pre-requisite for the Ngondro practices is the Four Turnings of the Mind to the Dharma teachings. Ones must fully practice the four ways of turning the mind, then ones practices the four extraordinary foundations of Vajrayana Ngondro to purify negative karma and obscurations of the mind, speech and body and to develop virtues.
Drikung Kagyu Ngondro, Preliminary Practices