Dsongsar Jamyang Khyentse (Khyentse Norbu) is a Tibetan Buddhist lama who travels and teaches internationally. He is a filmmaker (The Cup and Travellers & Magicians) and abbot to several monasteries in Asia.
In this deft guide to the ngondro ("preliminary") practice, the author challenges us to see that adjusting our minds enables us to see that the heart of the dharma lies in everyday activities. Although we desire comfort and happiness, this path does not lead to these highly prized values. The dharma leads instead to renunciation, greed for noble wealth, liberation from illusion and delusion, mindfulness, and training in discipline.
For this, perseverance and repetition (some practices involve doing each element over 1,000 times) are important. Before beginning, he recommends taking heed of three pith instructions (expelling the stale air, transforming the environment into a Buddha realm, and creating an inspiring atmosphere and environment).
Turning the mind towards the dharma involves starting with a spiritual warm-up, using the imagination in visualization, and working with a guru. In the second half of the book, Khyentse covers ngondro with commentary on taking refuge, arousing Bodhichitta, the practice of purification, the mandala offering, and more.