“The Tibetan word ngondro means ‘to go before‘ or ‘preliminary,’ and these preliminary practices fall into two basic categories. The first, that of the outer preliminaries, common to both the Hinayana and Mahayana Buddhist paths, consists of contemplation of the four thoughts that turn the mind. Then there are the extraordinary preliminaries special to the Mahayana and Vajrayana paths: refuge, bodhicitta, mandala offerings, Vajrasattva purification, guru yoga, and transference of consciousness.
The ngondro in Tibetan Buddhism establishes the foundation for the entire Vajrayana path—it is as fundamental to the practitioner’s development as the alphabet is to written language. Among the preliminaries of the various lineages, the Dudjom Tersar Ngondro of the Nyingma tradition—on which this commentary is based—is possibly the most concise. Written, then concealed in the eight century by Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche), it was intended for these times when few people have sufficient leisure to fully practice. H.H. Dudjom Lingpa (1835–1904) revealed this treasure; his incarnation, H.H. Dudjom Jigdral Yeshe Dorje (1904–1987), from whom I had the excellent fortune to receive these teachings, clarified the text and taught it widely throughout his life.
The Dudjom Tersar Ngondro is an extremely powerful practice for turning the mind toward dharma, for purifying obscurations, and for bringing forth the qualities of realization. It enhance devotion to the dharma and receptivity to the highest level of teachings, the Great Perfection. For practitioners with receptive minds, the Great Perfection perspective can evolve from ngondro itself. The Dudjom Tersar Ngondro—succinct, unelaborate, and grounded in guru yoga—provides a superb means of opening the door to the nature of mind.”—His Eminence Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche