We started this year’s Ngondro retreat auspiciously on Lhabab Duchen 10th November by remembering Buddha’s life and example. We offered 108 candles to the Three Jewels (Buddha, Dharma and Sangha) and made a wish that by offering the light, all beings everywhere would recognise their true nature and be completely free from suffering and pain. We did prayers and Guru Rinpoche mantras also for His Holiness Karmapa’s long life, as well as Medicine Buddha puja. After all those aspirations and prayers, we were well motivated and uplifted to start the weekend. There was a sense of joy in the air and the group just seemed to melt into this delightful unity, where everyone brought their own experience to be shared and to benefit others.
The Ngondro practice was done according to the practice text which is called “A Chariot Traversing the Noble Path” and composed by 9th Karmapa. It truly seems to be like a vehicle – if we only jump in it and start traveling! Keeping the instructions on the shelve and the practice only in our imagination as a part of our future plans, the journey is not happening.
Compassion and bodhicitta in our hearts is like an engine that just keeps us going. The wish that oneself and everyone else equally would become awake and completely free from suffering is a strong incentive which helps us to go through hardships and the challenges we inevitably will encounter in our lives and especially on the practice path. Because an individual little candle will easily be blown out in the wind of samsara, we need the power of many. The group practice is like lighting a bonfire. It is easier to keep on going when you know that we are all trying to go to the same direction – toward freedom and awakening – some purifying ego by prostrating, some purifying speech and mind with Vajrasattva mantras, some developing generosity and accummulating merit by doing Mandala offerings. All this just to realise what we have already! Seems like a lot of activity only to arrive where we are already, but since we cannot see and appreciate what we have, we may need to take that long, scenic route.
Written by: Pauliina Kossi
Below you can find the Ngondro retreat participants’ contemplations after the retreat.
This Ngondro weekend retreat has been so helpful to have time to really get into the Ngondro prostrations. The opportunity to do more repetitions has enabled a physical flow to develop. Thank you everyone her for advice and support and lovely food and nurturing too.
A time to sit and contemplate; considering all that has happened and how Ngondro and Lama Rabsang’s words and actions give us hope. A truly helpful time with lovey people, lovely food and a practice to start (again). I feel only hope and positivity thanks to this weekend. Love and thanks to all who were beside me on this course – a journey begins anew.
A wonderful weekend of practice supported by Pauliina, Roz and Lama Rabsang. Amazing experience to practice with the group of people dedicated to support each other, to grow and learn together. May Lama Rabsang and the Palpung Centre continue to flourish.
This weekend has been highly beneficial to my practice I’m doiong 5 times more prostrations than when home for example. My practice has also deepened and is more meaningful, thanks to Lama Rabsang’s guidance. Thank you all for being here and to Roz and Pauliina for hosting us excellently.
Thank you so much for this retreat. As someone starting on the Ngondro, I couldn’t do it without the lovely support + encouragement of everyone else on this retreat. As ever it is always so uplifting to meet such sincere and dedicated people. I wish you all well. Take care.
A supportive Ngondro sangha – shared practice together brings so much benefit (and sore knees!).
A wonderful experience and opportunity to practice and connect with others. Guided and supported by Pauliina – with love and compassion. A session with Lama Rabsang that was joyous, uplifting and brought clarity through a question and answer forum. All with his precious kindness and compassion as our teacher. Delicious food served by Roz – thank you. A big thank you to you all the other retreatants who have generously shared their experiences and made this weekend memorable.
This place is my heart. Lama Rabasng’s blessings fill the place right through. Pauliina’s hard work makes the place so special. I’m so fortunate to have Palpung Wales in my life. Pauliina should join in the photos though…Lots of love and wishes,
The retreat was wonderful, I really enjoyed the practice. The food was wonderful. So nice to be with other sangha with the same interest. I feel well rested. Thank you.