The Kagyu Refuge Tree

Ngondro is a combination of four extraordinary practices in Tibetan Buddhism. The four, when done together, create a firm foundation for practice, by creating the causes and conditions for realization to flourish.

The Ngondro Practices are

  • Refuge and Prostrations
  • Vajrasattva
  • Mandala Offering and
  • Guru Yoga

Through these four practices one may purify obscurations and accumulate the merit and wisdom needed to
practice Mahamudra, the pinnacle of meditation practice in the Kagyu School.

Books and Notes on Ngondro in General

Jamgön Kongtrül
Kongtrül’s Torch of Certainty is short, but if you’re looking for a good overview of the preliminary practices, especially as presented in the Karma Kagyü lineage, then this book is invaluable. In addition to Kongtrül’s presentation, Judith Hanson (who translated the text) also included some wonderful interviews with Kalu Rinpoche, Deshung Rinpoche, and Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche.

Link to the e-book on the Torch of True Meaning (there are 2 formats, be sure to get the one you want)

Refuge and Prostrations

Vajradhara Lineage Prayer audio file below


100 Syllable Vajrasattva Mantra below

Mandala Practice

If you are doing not just Ngondro, but the entire Mahamudra Program, you’ll need these files, as well.