21 January 2021

Let the sound flow freely with delight! - Relaxing into Meditation


Singing enables us to let go of our inhibitions and preconceptions about our ability to sing. We open our mouths, and let the sound flow freely with delight. Singing is in itself an invigorating and expansive practice if we allow our voices to be free. It has been wonderful to witness the change in people through this practice. At first a lot of people will barely open their mouths and will find it difficult to produce any sound at all. Once they have practised this a few times however, even the most timid will start to really open their mouths and give voice.

Relaxing into Meditation, Ngakma Nor’dzin, Aro Books worldwide, 2010, ISBN: 978-1-898185-17-8, p21


16 January 2021

Levels of Commitment - Ngakma Nor'dzin and Ngakpa 'ö-Dzin


In this video from February 2010, Ngakma Nor’dzin and Ngakpa ’ö-Dzin explain the levels of commitment that are possible within the Aro Lineage.


Ngakma Nor’dzin: From an external viewpoint it could appear that the process of becoming involved in apprenticeship is a little bit like a conveyor belt. You start off being interested, coming to open retreats. You get more interested, so you become an apprentice. Then you get more interested, and you become ordained, and so on. But it doesn’t actually have to be like that.

We’re very happy for people to simply come to open retreats and to have a connection with us and with the lineage in that way. We’re also very happy for people who decide to become an apprentice, if they never want to be ordained, if they never want to enter into taking that level of commitment – that is absolutely fine. So there is no sense of, once you start having a relationship with us it’s assumed that you’re on some sort of roller-coaster that will take you through to the ultimate experience of becoming an ordained disciple.

Ngakpa ’ö-Dzin: I think it’s very important to know that it’s perfectly fine for someone’s relationship with Buddhism to be similar to that of going to church on Sunday. It doesn’t have to be any more than that. If that is useful and meaningful to somebody in their lives then that is a good place to practise. We’ve seen people who become interested in Buddhism who thought ‘If I can’t commit absolutely everything there’s no point in me even starting’. Then they leave, whereas perhaps a little bit of involvement might be worthwhile. So it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. There are various levels of engagement, all of which we’re entirely happy with. 

If people just want to come to the group and sit with us, that would be fine. If people want to become an apprentice, that’s also fine. So there isn’t a sense in which people are pushed on in their practice unless they come to us and ask to be pushed. The relationship between us in the rôle of teachers, and our students who are apprentices, is a mutual relationship where people will ask us questions. People will decide for themselves perhaps that they want a bit more prodding, prompting and direction, but that doesn’t come from us. So if people ask us, “What do I do next, which practice should I be doing?” then we will give them an indication of that.

Ngakma Nor’dzin: The process of becoming ordained is quite a long term event in itself. It could take up to five years from first saying ‘I would like to become ordained’, to actually entering the ceremony and making that formal commitment. So that gives the student and ourselves the time to really look at whether this is going to work with them, whether they really understand it, whether it is going to be right for them in their lives, whether we can develop that relationship with them and them with us.

14 January 2021

I can be whatever I wish to be - Spacious Passion


Once I get a feeling for living in the present moment I can be whatever I wish to be. I can dissolve the mind that constrains the present with concepts of the past. I can let go of the churning over of remembered moments that feign permanence through arrogated reliving. I can dissolve the mind that wishes to influence the future through projection of expectation, to feign permanence through arrogated fantasy. I do not have to be defined by who I was in the last moment, or who I think I might be in the next. If I wake up in a bad mood, I can simply allow that mood to die and allow a good mood moment to be born. I can shout the yogic syllable ‘Ha’ to explode the bad-mood-mind moment and be reborn in good-mood-mind-moment. I am liberated! I am free to be kind-mind-moment-person, ecstatic-mind-moment person, and brave-mind-moment-person.

Spacious Passion,Ngakma Nor´dzin, Aro Books worldwide,2006,ISBN 978-0-9653948-4-0, chapter 5 Infinite Impermanence, p127 



07 January 2021

Regarding all phenomena as illusory - Battlecry of Freedom

Phenomena appear to the mind like clouds, and then change, and move, and dissipate. There is no fixed identity of cloud, or permanent abiding form, shape, colour, or texture. Any attempt to apply identity, or permanence of form, shape, colour, or texture is an illusion.

Until awakening is embraced it is not possible to accurately and directly determine the nature of phenomena. Regarding all phenomena as illusory allows the mind to be open and receptive. It prevents grasping and concretising. It is awakening view.

Battlecry of Freedom by Ngakma Nor’dzin, Aro Books worldwide, 2019, ISBN 978-1-898185-46-8, Part II - the slogans, pp55-56

02 January 2021

Types of Ordination in the Aro Lineage - Ngakma Nor'dzin & Ngakpa 'ö-Dzin



In this video from February 2010, Ngakma Nor’dzin explains the different types of ordination in the Aro gTér Lineage


Ngakma Nor’dzin: There are two types of ordination that are offered within the Aro Lineage. The Ngakmas and Ngakpas, and the Naljormas and Naljorpas. There’s not a huge difference between them. They express a slight difference in capacity or temperament perhaps.

Ngakpas and Ngakmas – the name means ‘Mantra person’ so they’re probably more Tantric practitioners working more with Tantric practices and mantra accumulation and more ritual practice. The Naljor stream is more connected with Dzogchen and the Yogic practices.

But in fact all Aro Lineage practitioners practise all the practices. A practice doesn’t become unavailable because you’ve taken one type of ordination and not the other.

31 December 2020

Animals can display human-realm mentality and humans can display animal-realm mentality - Illusory Advice


Confusion sometimes arises through thinking that teachings on the animal-realm of the six realms refer specifically to the animals we see in the world, and because of the assumption that all human-looking beings live in the human-realm. There can also be a tendency to romanticise animals, as somehow innately spiritual. Animals can display human-realm characteristics of discrimination and humour, whilst humans can display animal-realm mentality of being humourless, trapped in a particular view, lacking awareness of others. Teachings on the realms of being are helpful in enabling you to become aware of your mind-set in any moment. Through the practice of meditation, capacity to be aware of that moment—and the realm of that moment—increases, so that ‘lower realm’ or ‘higher realm’ states of mind can be immediately exploded.

Illusory Advice, Ngakma Nor’dzin & Ngakpa ’ö-Dzin, Aro Books Worldwide, 2016, ISBN: 978-1-898185-37-6, p14


24 December 2020

Listening - Relaxing into Meditation


In the relaxation technique of Listening, that is all we do – we listen. We do not listen and read a book. We do not listen and become fascinated with the contents of the room. We do not listen and analyse the structure of the music. We simply listen.

Relaxing into Meditation, Ngakma Nor’dzin, Aro Books worldwide, 2010, ISBN: 978-1-898185-17-8, p17