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Showing 1-10 of 60 reviews(verified purchases). Show all reviews
on April 19, 2012
Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche has accomplished quite a coup: a text on the Ngondro preliminaries that simultaneously brings the Ngondro overachiever down to earth, provides a swift quick in the bum for the Ngondro slacker, and fosters greater enthusiasm and understanding in those already in the thick of the practices. The book is strong on context and the visceral, lived experience of the practices, less so on the detail, which Rinpoche repeatedly suggests is best to obtain directly from a teacher. The practice descriptions present the Longchen Nyingthig preliminary practices of the Nyingma lineage, and are quite sufficient to lay out the mechanics, particularly if accompanied by more specific commentary for those who want to pin down intricate points. The context and background explanations, however, apply to any Ngondro--indeed to any Tibetan Buddhist practice.

More importantly, the text provides insight and straight-to-the-heart purpose for engaging in the practices themselves. Rinpoche speaks with one foot solidly grounded in the traditional theory and methodology of practice, another in an open and kind understanding of practical challenges modern practitioners face. He is a recognized incarnation of a great Tibetan master, yet is thoroughly modern in his approach and life (he is also well known as the film maker behind "The Cup" and "Travelers and Magicians.") The combination of tradition and modernity provides for a vivid description of the meaning behind the practices, and a lively approach to actively encountering it in our own experience. The English editing is superb--the language is elegant, fluid, and rich without getting in the way of the substance.

As a Kagyu practitioner who remains an active fan after having completed one Mahamudra Ngondro, I found much to carry into my ongoing practice at all levels. As a student and translator of Tibetan Buddhist philosophy in traditional monasteries in Nepal and India, I recognized the scholarly vein of the monastic training in Rinpoche's delivery. Rinpoche peppers the text with seminal and relevant quotes and advice from genuine teachers of Tibetan Buddhism, particularly the Nyingma and Kagyu schools emphasizing the Ngondro as a foundational practice. The result is a text inlaid with nuggets of practical wisdom available for the reader to mine, contemplate, and apply to their practice. Much food for thought on many levels, practical and profound. Rinpoche is particularly effective in demystifying the central role of devotion to all practice.

I would highly recommend this thoroughly engaging book to those who wish to bring their spiritual practice to life. Sound, pragmatic advice that will get you reflecting on your motivation and approach in positive ways throughout the day, and send you to the cushion with fresh and enlivening insight to fuel your practice of awakening. I, for one, foresee returning to its inspiring and grounding blessings again and again. May all beings develop and suffuse their mindstreams with genuine devotion and understanding, bringing it to the complete perfection of buddhahood for the sake of all that lives!
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on April 13, 2013
I am enjoying the book, and also how the material is forthright and upfront. A lot of myths are disspelled, and as one reviewer said, this book is 'not for sissies.' You want to practice? here's how, and what to expect. No mumbo jumbo. And the reasoning behind all the visualizations is most helpful, especially to beginners, as is the explanation of bodhichitta. This would be a 5 star review but for one thing. Stating that "depression is laziness" is a disservice to those who have had to deal with it, those who are fighting it, a vast oversimplification, and moreover, a judgement hastily made. Depression is a combo of many things - brain chemistry, circumstance and history that a judgement of "laziness" dismisses and irresponsibly adds to suffering for those who may be experiencing and pick up this book. It is, moreover, a statement made in ignorance that perhaps the editors did a disservice in not catching. Otherwise, i have enjoyed the book and it has helped me view practice in new ways.
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on March 15, 2013
If you are looking for "comfort food" do not buy this book! The author say in his introduction: if you want to feel happy go get a massage! This book is for buddhists that know how dangerous it is to be happy with yourself, to be satisfied with your life and with your religious path.This is not a good for one that wishes to fell good. On the other hand, if you want to enter the path of ego taming this is the right book for you. Taming the mind is a huge challenge and it is wonderful to have Dzongsar Rinpoche as a guide. It is a real blessing! Great book, not recommended for sissies! It is a book for the bold ones that have the courage to search their true nature, cut all illusions and be rewarded with real happiness - enlightenment!
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on November 23, 2012
I'm not sure how many stars to give this book. For an already-committed ngöndro practitioner who buys into that tradition fully (and knows little or nothing of other Buddhist traditions or modern scholarship) it's easily a four or five star book, but for those with a background in other traditions or decent training in modern scholarship it could be the kind of "one star" experience that makes them swear off of Tibetan Buddhism altogether - though that's certainly not Rinpoche's intention.

Dzongsar Rinpoche works hard at being provocative, and as young and thoroughly cross-cultural as he is there's really no excuse for some of the inaccuracies about other Buddhist traditions and the basic history of the religion that are repeated here as facts. The historical Buddha did not teach Mahayana let alone Vajrayana Buddhism - those sutras, tantras and commentaries were written centuries later by no doubt highly-realized practitioners, but they are not the words of the Buddha. The Buddha didn't teach "Bodhisattvayana," didn't do or recommend visualization or prostrations or deity worship of any kind, and never talked about guru yoga or devotion. These are simple matters of fact that were certainly not known to the first generation of Tibetan refugee lamas who knew nothing of Buddhism outside of Tibet, but there's really no excuse for a modern dharma teacher not distinguishing between party line and fact.

Other old canards repeated here are the portrayal of what the Buddha actually taught as preliminary teachings ("Shravakayana") and the citing of "lineage" as a means of assessing the authenticity of teachers and texts despite the fact that almost everything taught in the book was written by Indian and Tibetan masters who were at least eight centuries removed from the Buddha and whose teachings and practices, however profound and efficacious they may be, bear little resemblance to those of of the Buddha.

These criticisms notwithstanding there's a great deal of pithy dharma in this book. The quotations, doctrines and practices presented may not be those of the Buddha, but arguably they are those of living Buddhas from many centuries later. Who's to say that their levels of understanding and skillful means don't surpass those of the tradition's founder?
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on October 8, 2016
Clear and well explained...something difficult to find in many books written by Tibetan masters - it will clear up so many questions about finding a teacher etc. I have the audio and book. One of most treasured dharma books. Dzongsar Khyentse is always a great teacher and communicator.
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on October 1, 2012
Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse is like a modern Padmasambhava ,
Everyone who's inspired to enter the Vajrayana path of Buddhism will benefit greatly by reading and contemplating of this amazing book.
The Ngondro practice is a must if one want to go beyond mere intellectualisation of the Buddhadharma , so if you are serious about your practice and if want to uproot old habits for good ; read this book it's worth every penny and time!
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on August 4, 2016
Phenomenal, easy-to-understand but thorough intro to the ngondro practices from a Nyingma perspective but with valuable insights relevant to all sects of Tibetan buddhism. This was a great read for me and dispelled much of the confusion as well as my urges to ask overly-analytical questions instead of just getting down to the practice. Highly recommended for Buddhist practitioners.
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on February 3, 2013
Not for Happiness was straight forward in telling me what Buddhism is about. There is a commitment to Buddhism that I don't think a lot of people understand. This book explains it.
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on December 9, 2012
This book captures his style and ease so well. It is like he is there in front of you. Having been lucky enough to hear him teach in person I think this book is wonderful. His teachings are clear and to the point. Great for the Western mind.
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on January 22, 2014
I live in a remote part of the world, unable to enjoy gathering with a sangha . You could say I am self-taught insofar as Budhism and the Dharma are concerned and rely on the books I am able to purchase on my Kindle for guidance. I felt I had reached a point in my practice where I was ready to take the necessary steps to go deeper ( or higher ! ) This book was for me an inspiration and a very clear guide in understanding the preliminary practices. I love the way Jamrang tells it like it is and believe he has a real talent for communicating with those of us born and raised in a Western culture.
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