Ngöndro is a word made of two parts: ngön and dro. In Tibetan, ngön means ahead or before and dro means going. Sometimes it is translated as “preliminary,” but that is not an exact translation. It’s more like going before or going forward. When you’re traveling with a group in new territory, there’s often a guide who helps out by bringing news of what’s ahead.
Similarly, our path must be guided by wisdom. Anyone who wants to get enlightened should “go ahead” and practice the ngöndro. Many people tend to think that ngöndro practice is just an appetizer, or a pre-school for beginners, but this is not the case. At this point, you must start to comprehend the importance of the ngöndro.
Even though there are more advanced practices, there’s nothing more essential and necessary than what we encounter right here. These practices not only allow us to go ahead and begin; they are also essential in the middle of the path as well as after the goal has been reached. To take up the ngöndro ensures that the whole endeavor is fully spiritual, qualified Dharma practice.
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