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Not For Happiness: A Guide to the So-Called Preliminary Practices

4.44  ·  Rating details ·  377 ratings  ·  29 reviews
Do you practise meditation because you want to feel good? Or to help you relax and be “happy”? Then frankly, according to Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse, you are far better off having a full-body massage than trying to practise the Dharma.

Khyentse shows that genuine spiritual practice, not least the Ngöndro preliminaries, will not bring the kind of comfort and ease most
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Paperback, 240 pages
Published October 16th 2012 by Shambhala (first published March 29th 2012)
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Average rating 4.44  · 
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Gabrielle
“The decision to follow a spiritual path is the central most important undertaking of a person’s life, one that is usually made when trust in more worldly objectives is betrayed, causing you to resolve to switch to a more trustworthy path.”

Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse’s books have been known to be a bit controversial. He does have an approach that’s kind of unusual: very blunt and no-nonsense, which I suppose most people aren’t used to when it comes to books about Buddhism. But I must admit that I
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Miriam Holsinger
Nov 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Truly excellent. It was funny, serious, insightful and extremely helpful. I am not sure how it would read to someone not familiar with the preliminary practices but for this person who has been doing them an embarrassingly long time, it was just the book I needed.
Zara
Sep 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
So grateful to have access to such profound guide and wisdom.

Greatly recommended.
Keith
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was dead sneaky: that subtitle was not at all obvious when I picked up the book on the strength of the title and the author's reputation. The very last thing I needed was yet another book on the ngöndro shelf, already over 20 volumes deep, not counting audio, and thoroughly covered in my now-20 years of practice. And yet, he got me—reeled me in with the introductory essays advising anyone who is engaging the Path in order to find "happiness" would do far better to go get a massage and a hot ...more
Meghan Burke
Jan 12, 2020 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the beginning of this book but as it went on/deeper it was less aligned with my specific tradition/goals and therefore less relevant for me. I probably would have done just as well sticking with the portion excepted in a compilation I recently read.
Teo 2050
~4h @1.75x. Contents:
(view spoiler)
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George K. Ilsley
Jul 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spiritual, tibet
DJK Rinpoche is not one to shy away from controversy. He feels too much of modern buddhism is being associated with the "self-help" section of the bookstore, offering bliss and happiness. It is a bit of a shock for some to realize that happiness is not the goal. The goal is awareness. The introductory practices here are "so-called" because these are complete practices. There is no need to go further. However, our egos are so strong and so demanding that who can stop at just the preliminaries?
Szabolcs Bökönyi
Jun 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dharma
This book is a very useful read for anyone doing the Ngondro of any tradition. The advices are useful for practicioners of any lineage and very valuable. The sense of humor of Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse rinpoche is very entertaining.
Nestor Leal
Oct 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
A good reminder of Buddhist practice. Not a primer. You'll have to have preliminary notions before getting into this book and the practices it suggests. This is for the intermediate or advanced student.
jampa
Feb 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: buddhism
This book is a wonderful guide. Rinpoche's style is most refreshing. I always find myself returning to his books and teachings along with Trungpa Rinpoche's, to get a good swift kick in the ass! Thank you.
เนติวิทย์ โชติภัทร์ไพศาล
This book for me, I should read again and again.
Willow
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
I think this book will be more useful to me when I delve deeper into practicing buddhism. For starters, this book will not be engaging.
Pema
Feb 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
a perfect guide.. must read for the beginners :)
Max Nemtsov
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: buddha-mind
Полезный практический путеводитель по гуру-йоге, практикам нёндро и связанным с нею забавам ума, которыми можно развлекаться, если просто медитировать без знака скучно. А можно и не развлекаться. Не только это в ней ценно, а еще и то, что Дзонгсар вводит нас, западного читателя (обратите внимание на рассогласование по числу), в настоящую буддистскую систему ценностей и показывает некоторые схемы мышления, которых у нас, понятно нет и быть не может. Не забываем при этом, что автор еще и ...more
EunSung
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was reading this while also reading Enlightened Vagabond, a collection of stories of Patrul Rinpoche. I found the teachings clear and easy to read. Here are some of my favorite quotes from this book:

“Ultimately, merely to hear and think about dharma is not enough; we must also practise it. So, hearing, contemplating and meditating on dharma are all vital to our spiritual path, with meditation lying at its very core.” (Preface)

“The decision to follow a spiritual path is the central most
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Karan Kamble
Dec 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Get this book if you're serious about Buddhist practice. And then allow the magic of the author and simplicity of the narrator to sweep you to a good place.
Christopher Devlin
Essential, pith and hysterical
Lawrence Davis
May 04, 2019 rated it did not like it
Started strong and went down hill. For Ngondro practitioners only, IMHO.
Eliza
Jul 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
You did that hungry!! I loved it, every twist and turn caught me by surprise!! I can’t wait to read more of your books....
George Ramos
May 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: buddhism
The Nyondro practices truly have grown to be a kind of ball-and-chain for many westerners, so much so that HH Karmapa stated recently that those who are trying to balance work and practice could exempt themselves from the physical aspect of the first practice.

This book by Dzongsar Khyentse helps bring things back into perspective and away from the sense of defeat that (at least for me) accompanies the practices. Lama Dzongsar shares not only his reverence and love for the practices, but also
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Me
Jul 30, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: religion
If your guru drinks bourbon, run the other way. Buddhism is filled with drunks, abusers of power, and crack pots. CTR was drunk who tortured animals, his successor Tom Rich knowingly gave AIDS to his students, SR and SMR assaulted their students and now LR is disgraced.

If a teachers does not follow the 5 precepts of lay and monk practitioners walk the other direction.

Crazy Wisdom is used to justify abusive behavior over and over. Crazy Wisdom is just plain crazy.
Sandy
Dec 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
A Nyingma/Kagyu instruction book on the Ngondro practice, how and why. Clear, entertaining, clarifying; he is westernized enough to speak to us, and traditional enough to know what to say. Recommended.

Nyingma/Sakya, but valuable for Gelupa. This reread is a different way of seeing meditation practice. It’s not supposed to make you happy, it’s supposed to make you liberated.
John Watts
Feb 23, 2014 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this primer on the Ngondro practice as a means to awakening. The author pulls no punches...the Buddhist path is hard work....practice, practice, practice. Note....this book gets pretty geeky.
Jayashankar R.
Mar 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Extraordinarily insightful regarding the practice metamorphising of "feeling oneself useless" for productive and lasting emotional change leading to TRUE HAPPINESS. A must read for introspective and contemplative minds.
Nikhil Kishore
Jul 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
good
Christine
Jul 06, 2015 rated it liked it
Very clear.
Vishanta
Sep 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful experience reading the book by the legend Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche. The book is rich with guide to the practices and full of wisdom.
Kaitlyn
May 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Good introduction to Ngondro practice but I found myself out off by Khyentse's unexamined/dismissive beliefs regarding gender and mental illness.
Mark Bourdon
Nov 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A good supplemental read if you are doing the preliminary practices
Exian
rated it it was amazing
Feb 11, 2014
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Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche was born in Bhutan in 1961 and was recognised as the incarnation of Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro (1894-1959). From early childhood, he has studied with some of the greatest contemporary masters, particularly his father, H.H. Thinley Norbu Rinpoche and H.H. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

From a young age he has been active in preserving the Buddhist teachings,
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“There will be times, for example, when you feel you are faking it. However hard you try genuinely to practice, it just doesn't feel right. And on the rare occasions it does feel authentic, the sensation is over almost before it began. So, try to be content with your practice, whatever it feels like, even when you are doing little more than paying it lip service, because at least you are making an effort.” 2 likes
“The aim of far too many teachings these days is to make people "feel good," and even some Buddhist masters are beginning to sound like New Age apostles. Their talks are entirely devoted to validating the manifestation of ego and endorsing the "rightness" of our feelings, neither of which have anything to do with the teachings we find in the pith instructions. So, if you are only concerned about feeling good, you are far better off having a full body massage or listening to some uplifting or life-affirming music than receiving dharma teachings, which were definitely not designed to cheer you up. On the contrary, the dharma was devised specifically to expose your failings and make you feel awful.” 2 likes
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