Overview for prospective participants

Before embarking on any new project, it helps to know without doubt why you are doing it, and to be sure it is a project you feel is worth seeing through to the end. Once that basis has been established, it is only natural to ask, “What should I do first?” Therefore NDG is made for those who have some idea about the Buddhadharma and also have strong desire to practice the Vajrayana path. Ngöndro is the most distinctive element of the Vajrayana, and “always be told” is the foundation of stepping onto the Vajrayana path. Nevertheless, the crucial point here is that the aim of Ngöndro is neither merely the accumulation of numbers, nor as a hurdle that we need to overcome before being allowed to receive higher teachings, but to penetrate our minds, ruffle the feathers of our pride and make a satisfying dent in out egos. 


Your Commitment

Ngöndro Gar students are required to practice consistently. You may choose one of four  daily practice tracks: 2 hours per day, 1 and 1/2 hours per day, 1 hour per day, or 1/2 hour per day. Students need to login to the NDG website to report their accumulated hours monthly. 


Students will progress through the Ngöndro one stage or  practice at a time, beginning with the 7 General Preliminary Contemplations and ending with Guru Yoga. Traditionally, there are three ways to measure accomplishment in a practice: by signs, by numbers of mantra and prayer accumulations, and by hours. This “Gar” (Nomadic encampment) will measure accomplishment by the number of hours accumulated in each of the Ngöndro sections.


Rinpoche envisioned this Ngöndro practice to be 3 years of 2 hours per day, therefore the completion number is 2,258 hours. 


There is a team of instructors appointed by Rinpoche for this program. The role of the instructors is to introduce students to the practices within the Ngondro, to inspire, guide and motivate students in their practice, and to answer questions. The instructors have been carefully selected, so you can trust them, and also you will most likely find it helpful to relate to someone who knows the path and who gradually also knows you.  Students will have access to the Ngondro Gar website with materials to support their practice.


You can choose to practice the Longchen Nyingtik Ngöndro (LNN), the Chetsun Nyingtik Ngöndro (CNN). They both are preparation for the view and practice of the Great Perfection, with the Longchen Nyingtik emphasising the combined Ati, or Dzogchen, teachings of Padmasambhava and Vimalamitra as it comes through Longchen Rabjam and Rigzin Jigme Lingpa, and the Chetsun Nyingtik emphasising the Ati teachings of Vimalamitra, as it comes through Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo.

In terms of structure, the ngöndros of the Longchen Nyingtik and the Chetsun Nyingtik are similar. There is a common preliminaries section in both, with several contemplations that serve to transform our values and priorities, and there is the special preliminaries section which provide the essential foundations for the Vajrayana path. 

We also have vast resources on the website for Kagyu Mahamudra Ngondro (KMN)  as well.  However, not all our instructors are familiar with Kagyu Mahamudra Ngondro.  Please consult the instructors’ bio to find out who is qualified to guide this practice. 

You are welcome to continue your current Ngöndro practice within the Gar. However, most of the content of the Ngöndro Gar website will be specifically about the LNN,CNN and KMN.

Practice hours
for each Ngöndro section

Outer General Preliminaries Hours
Precious Human Rebirth 14
Impermanence and Death 14
Karma 14
Defects of Samsara 14
Benefits of Liberation 14
Attending a Spiritual Master 14
Shamatha 14
Uncommon Inner Preliminaries
Refuge and Prostrations 360
Bodhicitta 360
Vajrasattva - outer 300
Vajrasattva - inner 60
Mandala Offering 300
Kusali Mandala Offering 60
Guru Yoga: Seven Line Prayer 120
Guru Yoga: Seven Branch Offering 120
Guru Yoga: Short Supplication 120
Guru Yoga: Mantra 300
Guru Yoga: Empowerments 60
Total 2258

Outer General Preliminaries Hours
Impermanence 14
Futility of Samsaric Pleasure 14
Endlessness of Ordinary Activities 14
Pointlessness of This Life’s Projects 14
The Value of Liberation 14
The value of the guru's instruction 14
The Ground of Meditation 14
Uncommon Inner Preliminaries
Refuge 360
Bodhicitta 360
Vajrasattva – outer 300
Vajrasattva – inner 60
Common Mandala 300
Tummo Mandala offering 60
GY:Seven Branches 180
GY: Osel nang zhi 180
GY: Mantra 300
GY Empowerments 60
Total 2258

General Preliminaries, Taking Refuge, and Bodhicitta 680
Meditation and Recitation Practice of Vajrasattva 430
Mandala Offering 420
Guru Yoga 728
Total 2258