The references used on this website are as follows:

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. The Excellent Path to Enlightenment. Boulder, Colorado: Snow Lion, 1996.

Dudjom Rinpoche, Jigdrel Yeshe Dorje. A Torch Lighting the Way to Freedom. Shambhala. Kindle Edition.

Mingyur Rinpoche, Yongey. Turning Confusion into Clarity: A Guide to the Foundation Practices of Tibetan Buddhism. Shambhala. Kindle Edition.

Rabten, Geshe. The Preliminary Practices of Tibetan Buddhism. Translated by Gonsar Tulku. Compiled by Georges Driessens. Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, 1974.

Rinpoche, Khenchen Thrangu. Essentials of Mahamudra: Looking Directly at the Mind. Wisdom Publications. Kindle Edition.

Rinpoche, Khenchen Thrangu. Four Foundations of Buddhist Practice. Namo Buddha Publications. Kindle Edition.

Rinpoche, Khandro. This Precious Life: Tibetan Buddhist Teachings on the Path to Enlightenment. Shambhala. Kindle Edition.

Thondup, Tulku. Enlightened Journey: Buddhist Practice as Daily Life. Edited by Harold Talbott. Boulder, CO: Shambhala Publications, 2016. 

Tromge, Jane. Ngondro Commentary: Instructions for the Concise Preliminary Practices. Padma Publishing. Kindle Edition.


The Eight Steps of the Foundation Practices 

The foundation practices of Tibetan Buddhism are a sequence of eight steps that map out a path of self-discovery. 

They help us recognize the diamond that we’ve had all along, and this discovery is what we mean by “waking up.” 

These steps lead away from habits that cause confusion and unhappiness, and lead toward the clarity of our true nature. 

In Tibetan, the foundation practices are called ngondro, which means, “that which comes first,” and the traditional translation refers to “preliminary practices.” 

Yet too often “preliminary” has been used to diminish the importance of ngondro. For this reason I prefer to say “foundation.” 

Building a house requires a strong foundation. Without solid underpinnings our house will topple, and all the time, money, and energy that we spent will be wasted. 

This explains why the masters always emphasized that these first steps are more important than the subsequent practices. 

Ngondro contains the essential principles that reemerge through all Buddhist teachings, such as those regarding no-self, impermanence, and suffering. 

It can transform concepts about compassion, karma, and emptiness from interesting theories into direct experience. It can change the way you think about yourself, how you understand your own capabilities, and how you relate to others. 

The possibilities introduced by ngondro are so vast and profound that if you try to comprehend the whole of it, it may seem overwhelming. For this reason, it’s important to remember that ngondro works step by step.

(Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, Turning Confusion into Clarity: A Guide to the Foundation Practices of Tibetan Buddhism)

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