Avoiding Basic Mistakes in Dharma and Tantric Practice
I feel fortunate to have have started with zen rather than tibetan buddhism because in zen you just start sitting practice from day one and you are recommended to do that a lot. You learn high work morals in terms of sitting and as far as I know, sitting meditation is considered a practice of advanced practitioners in tibetan buddhism. Beginners don't do silent sitting. That's what I've been told by a tb lama and if you look at ngondro, the preliminary practices widely practiced in tibetan buddhism, there is no silent sitting involved.
I am not at all saying that these preliminaries are ineffective, but I am saying that dharma practice, regardless of vehicle is about the mind and sitting meditation is the most direct way to begin to understand it. It is actually the easiest condition to understand anything because your physical body is kept still so the sensory input from the physical body and its movement is absent to allow a better look at the mind.
But even in sitting, we have two categories: active, which means doing some practice, like mantra or visualisation, and passive where you don't do these things. There are many people out there who do all these practices and the very moment they stop saying their mantra, they stand up and go do other things. This is a grave mistake where one skips the best part of tantric practice, that of enjoying the energies and blessings of the guru or the deity, and unifying with it, to reveal the basic state. It is a sign of ignorance about what and how tantra works, if you quit the practice session just after you utter the last syllable. If you don't sit after practices, you'll remain stuck with the external aspect of practice. Like I said, this problem is very common that actually reduces the whole tantric vehicle.
It is a common problem that tantric practitioners, whether they still work with preliminaries or have advanced to deity practice or dzogchen, have no idea about the energetic (inner) aspect of the practice, that is the heart and soul of the whole tantric vehicle. They also have no clue about the secret aspect which is nature of mind itself, also called mahamudra and dzogchen. The energy is there at all times but most have no clue about it and they are not told to sense and recognise it because even teachers have no clue, though they pretend otherwise. This is a pure fact across the board in the world of tantra and dzogchen today. What has the world come to when helpers have no clue how to help? Money, fame and popularity is the name of the game nowadays. You can play your games all you want but when death strikes you, you'll regret for having compromised your spiritual integrity and having spent your life in ignorant gossip. When your heart stops beating, it is all over and you're at the mercy of the karma that you didn't think was important to purify.
The consequence of having connections to excellent dharma teachings and lineages but not practicing and not having pure motivations is a direct gateway to taking rebirth where you have no dharma or teachers. Imagine the pain and suffering in a dark place where there is no light of your own soul... Imagine living a life or lives like that...
It is just incredible that people associated with dharma don't take the words of the masters seriously.