Vajrayana: The Path of the Masters of the Past
Students who have prior familiarity with Buddhist principles, prior meditation experience, or a strong connection to Vajrayana Buddhism may decide to enter this path. One begins by taking the refuge and bodhisattva vows. This path was most commonly followed by the practitioners and great masters of the past in Tibet. As Phakchok Rinpoche is a primary lineage holder of the New Treasures of Chokgyur Lingpa or Chokling Tersar, this path centers around these profound teachings and practices.
The Four Foundations, or Ngöndro practice is the gateway to the Traditional Vajrayāna Path. In this course, Phakchok Rinpoche and senior instructors provide detailed explanations and commentary on each practice according to the Tukdrup Barché Künsel ngöndro.
Phakchok Rinpoche often reminds us that we should measure our own progress against milestones. We can do this with any type of practice—we first know what our practice should lead to, and then we make sure we are going in the correct direction.
Rinpoche discussed the milestones for the preliminary practices in teachings at RYG Cooperstown in 2017. Here, we present these milestones in an easy-to-follow chart.
First, Rinpoche pointed out the changes that should occur from practicing the outer preliminaries and taking them to heart. We should return to this chart repeatedly to see if our mindset and actions accord with these milestones.
Next, Rinpoche explained the milestone for the inner preliminary practices. As we proceed through each practice we should measure our progress by referring to this chart. Each one of the preliminaries helps us to clear away specific obstacles and to accumulate merit. As we repeatedly prostrate, for example, we should see our own pride reduce. Simultaneously. we can see our understanding of refuge deepen and become more confident.
We encourage you to print out a copy of this milestone chart and keep it in a place where you see it regularly. This way, it reminds you of the transformation you should be experiencing through the profound outer and inner foundation practices.
Self-reflection on our path is a crucial part of our practice. Here, we benefit from remaining open and honest about our own strengths and weaknesses. When we see progress, we can rejoice and be happy. And if we see, which most of us will, areas where we still need work, we can then make more efforts there.
Mahayoga and Beyond
From this level students from the Traditional Vajrayana and the Nine Yanas Pathways merge into one stream.
Anu- and Atiyoga
Restricted to senior students. Eligibility to continue to these levels will be determined by Phakchok Rinpoche.