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Ngagpa

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In Tibetan Buddhism and Bön, Ngagpas (sNgags-pa) or male practitioners (female practitioners are knowns as Ngagmas or Ngagmos [1]) are non-monastic practitioners of such disciplines as Vajrayana, shamanism, Tibetan medicine, Tantra and Dzogchen amongst other traditions, disciplines and arts. Significant lineage transmission is through oral lore. Traditionally, Ngagpa often sport uncut, loosely worn hair. There are family lineages of Ngagpa, with the practice of a particular yidam being passed through family lineages. That said, a Ngagpa (inclusive of both sexes) may also be deemed anyone thoroughly immersed and engaged in the practice of the teachings and under the guidance of a lineage-holder, and who has taken the appropriate vows or samaya and had the associated empowerments and transmissions.

The term "ngakphang" is a gender neutral word to cover ngakpa & ngakmo, though this may be of relatively recent construction. Historically, Ngagpa may marry, have children and work in the world, though they are required to devote significant time to retreat and practice and in enacting rituals when requested by, or on behalf of, members of the community.

While Ngagpas may perform many different rituals and energetic workings, many are rites of passage, they are particularly known for performing birth rituals, weddings, funerals, divinations, and pacification of ghosts or nature spirits and exorcisms. Typically, Ngagpas live with their families in villages, but many Ngagpas also congregate in Bönpos, the Ngagpa equivalent of a monastery. Some Ngagpa are comparable in practice to the Mahasidda, indeed, the Mahasidda may be correctly referred to as Ngagpa.

Van Schaik (2004) ties Ngagpa to "Mantrin", that is, one who practices Mantra in a book dedicated to the Longchen Nyingtig of Jigme Lingpa:

The lay tantric practitioner (sngags pa, Skt. Māntrin) became a common figure in Tibet, and would remain so throughout the history of Tibetan Buddhism.[2]

According to history, the father of Gendun Gyatso, the second Dalai Lama, Kunga Gyaltsen was a non-monastic ngakpa (married tantric practitioner) of the Nyingma lineage, a famous Nyingma tantric master.[3] His mother was Machik Kunga Pemo, they were a farming family. Their lineage transmission was by birth.[4]

See also

Notes

  1. The term "ngakphang" is a gender neutral word to cover ngakpa & ngakmo.
  2. Van Schaik, Sam (2004). Approaching the Great Perfection: Simultaneous and Gradual Approaches to Dzogchen Practice in Jigme Lingpa's Longchen Nyingtig. Wisdom Publications. ISBN 0861713702. Source: [1] (accessed: December 20, 2007)
  3. Thubten Samphel and Tendar, (2004) The Dalai Lamas of Tibet, p. 79. Roli & Janssen, New Delhi. ISBN 81-7436-085-9.
  4. Gedun Gyatso

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