That time the Karmapa said we didn’t have to do 100,000 prostrations but KTD disagreed with him

Picture of Ogyen Trinley Dorje from 2008 that the old man instagramed to illustrate our discussion of that time His Holiness said to a packed audience in Seattle that he had never done his 100,000 prostrations but instead did a short daily ngöndro recitation which he wanted us to do as Karma Kagyu, a break with Tibetan tradition never implemented as such by his sect which did not support their Karmapa Yangsi in this regard

How ironic.

According to the numbers this morning people are interested in the subject of ngöndro, the practice of prostrations.

The old man has nothing to say about the subject, though.

It’s not a subject he feels comfortable discussing in public.

Virginia replies.

“It isn’t something we talk about amongst ourselves.”

Karl adds.

“For good reason.”

As Karl remembers it When Virginia began doing prostrations it was the end of Chicago KTC as a living room sangha.

Virginia continues.

“Prostrations aren’t for everyone.”

Sally replies.

“If ngöndro, the four extraordinary foundations are the one practice we all have in common as Karma Kagyu, it can’t be not for everyone.”

Karl adds.

“In Tibet it wasn’t for everyone.”

As the old man likes to say, there’s the rub.

When his teacher did ngöndro in Tibet it wasn’t for everyone.

Presumably, a place had to open up for him in Thrangu monastery’s retreat and he had to be selected to fill that spot, and so on.

Again, it isn’t something discussed, it isn’t something up for discussion if you are a Karma Kagyu.

Virginia replies.


Sally replies.

“That isn’t what Ogyen Trinley Dorje said in Seattle in 2008 though.”

Sally continues.

“He told us that it is for all of us.”

It turns out Ogyen Trinley Dorje never did ngöndro himself.

He just came out said so in Seattle.

Even the old man was a bit taken aback, pleasantly so, that the young Karmapa Yangsi went there.

Virginia replies.

“That isn’t what he meant though.”

End scene. Fini.

Another episode of Pulp Buddhism brought to you by the Naropa Prairie Dog Players and by viewers like you, thank you for your support.



Filed under Buddhism

3 responses to “That time the Karmapa said we didn’t have to do 100,000 prostrations but KTD disagreed with him

  1. okiebuddhist

    What did the Karmapa say about the mandala offering? Do we have to carry around bags of rice or jewels with us and drop them on a plate?

    I find this aspect of ngondro more “Tibetan” than prosrations, actually. I have no issues with all the visualizations. It’s some of the active symbolism that is personally difficult for me to make a connection.

  2. They have to choose what they want to pass on outside their community, Buddhism or their culture. One of them they can do, the other they should not. It’s really that simple.

    Here’s the real rub. The fact that they cannot condense it so that it is available to anyone of any culture suggests that they are not actually accomplished themselves. If they only know how to train people in rituals, then they really aren’t teaching anything.

    I have three dogs and I’ve taught them all to sit. Very Pavlov.

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