Q: Rinpoche la, what is the difference between the Ngöndro and the Mahamudra? Are they the same?
A: Ngöndro, like the preliminary practice. Deity practice, people think that it’s a primary: that is not really a primary practice. Deity is also a preliminary practice; protector practice is also a preliminary practice, prostration, mandala, accumulation, bodhicitta. All the different practices, anything to do with the duality of mind, that is based on creating and projecting, and accumulating and reciting, anything to do with the duality is a preliminary practice. Understand?
Many people they think that offering a mandala is something basic, doing a deity is more supreme, and the highest tantra is more supreme. That’s what the people imagine. But the reality is that all of these: any practice that is based on accumulation, any practice that is based on visualization of the deity or any sort of shape, or form or element, or the mantra or syllable or any sort of physical masculine or feminine figure, it doesn’t matter. And then also bodhicitta and loving kindness and compassion, all of these are preliminary practices.
The primary is the Mahamudra, the nature of the mind. Because the practice of the nature of the mind is beyond the idea of the practice. You understand? The very definition of the Mahamudra is no longer the practice, it’s no longer the preparation, it’s no longer the practice, because it is beyond the state of duality and creation and projecting and dissolving.
But at the end, you have to recognize. Once you accumulate that enough from the preliminary practice, as I described to you, all these preliminary practices, and then you can have a more subtlety in your mind. As you have a more subtlety in your mind, then you have a more possibility to recognize the nature of the mind. Recognizing the nature of the mind is one, maintaining is another, realization is another. So these three are separate distinctions, it takes time and dedication. And that is still has to based on all these preliminary practices, and sometimes the preliminary practice can go more subtle.
So that’s that.
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