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Subtitle: A Guide to the So-Called Preliminary Practices
Author: Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse
Softcover ~ 240 pages
Do you practise meditation because you want to feel good? Or to help you relax and be happy? Then frankly, according to Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse, you are far better off having a full-body massage than trying to practise the Dharma. Genuine spiritual practice, not least the Ngöndro preliminaries, will not bring the kind of comfort and ease most worldly people crave. Quite the opposite, in fact. But if your ultimate goal is enlightenment, Ngöndro practice is a must, and Not for Happiness is your perfect guide, as it contains everything an aspiring practitioner needs to get started.
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.
"Having a map of the path that shows where each practice is headed helps me to see what each stage is preparing me for. Even the chapters that at first didn't seem relevant to my current practice contained such great gems of teaching and they turned out to be extremely helpful." ~ Catherine Fordham
"To me, this book is like the world's best kind of GPS! I feel that by following its guidance, even though I am not a skilful driver, I will have the confidence to drive through my Ngöndro practice and may even end up feeling quite good about it!" ~ Helena Wang