Unending Vow

From a series of tweets by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo on October 26, 2010

My friends are trying to lift my spirits and I feel so grateful for that. Really, I don’t know how I’d manage without your kindness!

I have also received great support from my other teachers, and Palyul Lamas for which I weep with joy. Thank you Khenpo, and His Eminence Gyaltrul Rinpoche and all the others. I love Palyul with my Body, Speech and Mind.

Kyabje His Holiness Penor Rinpoche instilled such love and respect for his hard work to keep Palyul alive and flourishing. I loved his style.

Every Lama has their own style, whether or not they are Tulkus. Just like people!  Some are tough love types. Some are tender and quiet. Some are warriors and some are peaceful. This is throughout Vajrayana. Amazing how the Guru displays just what is needed, if they have wisdom and compassion. A self-cherishing talker could not do that.

I am an American woman. Many find that intolerable. Or don’t like my style. That is OK by me. What I find deplorable is gossip among the Sangha against the Three Precious Jewels. I feel it is lethal to Dharma and to the faith of the students. This is a new land for Dharma.

When Padmasambhava went to Tibet he had to constantly battle the local demons. I was told by BOTH my root Gurus it would be so for me, that I took vows to continue Guru Rinpoche’s work in this new barbaric land. And so it has been and continues to be.

Whenever I complain Gyaltrul Rinpoche says, “You asked for it right to the face of Guru Rinpoche.  You asked to help the worst of the worst,” and so it is. When I complain, forgive me, I do get tired!

But I mean to love you.

I mean to liberate from the suffering of samsara.

I mean to bring benefit until samsara is empty.

May I be the last to be free of suffering.

For your sake.

For their sake.

May I be food, water, and shelter for every being.

And love. May I be love.

Again, I pray and prostrate with prayer to His FACE!

For their sake – my children.

© Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo

Astrology for 5/25/2017

5/25/2017 Thursday by Norma

Avoid the temptation to engage in debate today, the other side isn’t listening! This will be harder than it sounds as you are certain people will agree when they understand your position. Remain silent if you feel annoyance, and turn your attention to invention, working with machines or reading. A rebuff is coming your way so postpone your proposal, whatever it is. James Baldwin said, “You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. Books taught me that the things that tormented me were the very things that connected me with all the people who had ever been alive.” This is an excellent day to plug ahead on the job, to make a brilliant discovery and to expand your intellectual horizons. A new beginning comes your way today.

The Basis of Pride

Centre_of_wheel_of_life

The following is respectfully quoted from “Naked Awareness” by Karma Chagme with commentary by Gyaltrul Rinpoche:

If you are a genuine practitioner, you are in the process of transmuting your five poisons into the five types of primordial wisdom. Once that transformation is complete, you’ve become a buddha. Upon attaining this, is there anything to be proud of? Having transmuted even the mental affliction of pride into primordial wisdom, there is absolutely no ground for the quality of pride or conceit. If you are not yet a buddha, there is no basis either, and if you are in between, there is no ground for pride. So really there is no ground for arrogance or conceit at any stage where you are a sentient being or a buddha. 

Astrology for 5/24/2017

5/24/2017 Wednesday by Norma

Planning a renovation or construction project? Today’s your day! It’s possible to strike oil, find coal, unearth a hidden treasure, discover an old secret, or come to an understanding that has eluded you. Mysteries are revealed! If something has been making you sick or under the weather, you’ll learn what it is and deal with it. Jawaharlal Nehru said, “I think the years I have spent in prison have been the most formative and important in my life…chiefly the opportunity to think clearly, to try to understand things.” Love is spurned today, and something meant to enhance you detracts instead. Avoid beautification projects, you’ll get the opposite! What’s good today? Partnership, conversation and the development of wisdom.

The Opportunity to Practice Phowa

Varjasattva

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo offered during a Phowa retreat:

The signs that you must see in order to know that you are prepared for death have to happen now. They don’t happen before you die; they will not happen before you die. You will not have time at the moment of death to prepare for your death. That isn’t going to happen. So the signs that have to happen now must be received at this time. We want them now. This book, this preparation, this Ngöndro, which helps us to gather merit and helps us to purify karma, and helps us to make it possible for our minds to have the kind of quality to be able to hold, like a good bowl without a crack, such a practice, this is for now.  Now is when you have to do this. The winds have to be purified now. The channels have to be unkinked now. Your mind has to be stabilized now. You have to learn not to be such whiners now. You have to learn to renounce cyclic existence now. You won’t have time at the time of death. You’ll have time for maybe a quick thought. If you’ve already practiced renouncing cyclic existence, at the moment of death you will have time to simply give all of that to the Three Precious Jewels. That you will have time for. That kind of inclination, that kind of giving, you will still, even after the elements dissolve, have the wherewithall to practice. But of course you will not have time to practice every aspect of the visualization and the prayers.

Forgive my language, but I have to scold you a little bit. Do you think that the Dharma was written by enlightened beings that were so anal, excuse me, that they said, “Well, if you do every one of these prayers, especially the ones that I’ve written, then we’ll let you in! But if not,…” What are you thinking! You know it’s not like that. It can’t be like that. That would not be logical or realistic or sensible. What superficial view of reality do we have if we hold such bizarre and crazy ideas? What we are doing now is to prepare ourselves—through gathering merit, through accumulating virtue; through purifying our inner winds, channels and fluids; through understanding what bardo is, through studying and contemplating the nature of cyclic existence including the bardo, through having preparation as to how the bardo experience will actually take place; through developing devotion. All of these things have to happen now. If you’re waiting ’til, oh, a week before you drop dead, what is that? First of all, you don’t know when that will be, and second of all, what’s a week? Even if you have that much time, you don’t have enough time during the course of a week, or month, or even a year. Preparation starts now, and you do what you can as quickly as you can with as much devotion as you have now. With as much devotion as you can now. So that’s what has to happen.

At the time of one’s death, if you are fortunate enough to have spent a long time dying, and you have been in the bardo of the condition of your death, which means that the cause of your death is already within your body and is active in your body, so you’ve known for a long time that you’re going to die… And let’s say you have the good fortune that a physician—this would have to be a heck of a physician, wouldn’t it—would come into your room and say, “Well, looks like four o’clock today. That’s what I say. Four o’clock you’re on your way out. Toes up kid, four o’clock.” And let’s say everything is perfect, and somewhere around two thirty you still have your mental faculties complete so you pick up your book and think, “I’m just going to open my practice.” This could happen. I mean, it could happen; but really, what is the likelihood? There’s no likelihood that that’s going to happen. The rarity of such a situation is ridiculous. Plus the fact that when people are getting ready to die they’re not at their best condition, you know. They’re not necessarily right with the program. There are some people that remain alert right until they cross that threshold. Lucky them, but it is not [usually] the case. So don’t you think that, since this Phowa was authored and given to us by those who have achieved enlightenment, who have practiced Phowa successfully, that they would have taken into consideration that this Phowa is written for you, for sentient beings? It is written for sentient beings that have not solved their problems yet, haven’t got renunciation down, haven’t got anything down yet. In fact, this kind of Phowa is kind of Last Hopeville. It’s really designed for those who could not practice generation and completion stage practices excellently. Those kinds of practitioners who can practice those practices excellently probably will not [need] the Phowa. So you must understand that this is not only possible, it is not only accomplishable, do-able, but is also necessary; and it is necessary for you to step back and have a proper view about it. Lighten up. Give yourself a break. Give me a break. It will come to you; We’ll get it done, don’t worry.

So, now that I’ve finished spanking you I’ll teach you some more. That’s not a bad spank, is it? Nah.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo All rights reserved

Astrology for 5/23/2017

5/23/2017 Tuesday by Norma

Pay special attention to the person who isn’t talking as you express yourself enthusiastically, that person does not agree with what you’re saying. Assuming you know what others think is a danger today. Stop, listen and ask for feedback to avoid digging yourself into a verbal hole that’s hard to get out of later. Jim Rohn said, “If you don’t change what you are doing today, all of your tomorrows will look like yesterday.” Things calm down as the day progresses and a careful financial choice is successful. Invention and stability travel together now, make good use of the ingenious ideas that come your way!

Examining Our Aspirations

arrogance

The following is respectfully quoted from “Naked Awareness” by Karma Chagme with commentary by Gyaltrul Rinpoche:

Even if you have been born as a cakravartin, you still remain in samsára, so you have not been liberated from the cycle of existence. Whether you are a king or queen of the world, whether you are rick or have immense power, you are still within the domain of suffering; you still are not liberated. So why would you aspire to such a state when it’s simply just more of the same–suffering? Moreover, we tend to be proud of our various qualities–wealth, power, intelligence and good looks. What really is the basis for this pride, when conceited and arrogant people remain in the midst of suffering? If these mundane qualities were truly beneficial, we would expect people who have them to become  buddhas by now. Instead these people are just coming closer to death.

Astrology for 5/22/2017

5/22/2017 Monday by Norma

This is a happy day, full of emotional excitement that features enthusiastic expression of opposing viewpoints. Conversation has never been more fun and inspiring. Someone is so full of energy that others are encouraged and ready to move forward. Take prompt action, however, because obstacles and roadblocks appear later in the day. Dr. Seuss said, “Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the things you can think up if only you try!” Talk is fun, but it’s good to say your piece and then fall silent. Avoid explaining and defending your position so extensively that you are undercut by your own words!

The Necessity of Training in Phowa

SD-371_51-M

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo offered during a Phowa retreat:

Last time I saw you guys you were dead; and the Buddhas appeared to you, and you were still dead. We spoke last about the section of the bardo where the Buddhas and the Bodhisattvas appear, and we spoke of the forty-two peaceful deities and the fifty-eight wrathful deities. I explained yesterday that on the appearance of the peaceful deities, one should understand, first of all, that one is unfamiliar with that. Remember, to understand in terms of Vajrayana why we act the way we do and how we should practice, we have to understand what an important part habitual tendency takes. Remember, when the Buddhas appear to us, the peaceful Buddhas that is, in the bardo state, they appear to us with extraordinarily brilliant lights. I have explained to you that in that state of the bardo those lights may even be so impactful that they will also impact the other senses—like a light so bright that you can almost hear it, if you can imagine such a thing. I actually had an experience like that. I once had a pulse of light flash to me from one of those newfangled flashlights that have big halogen bulbs in them. You’re not supposed to look at them. If you look at them, they will damage your eyes. You can’t look at them. I had a pulse of that sent at me and it actually registered in my ears. I don’t know whether, scientifically, it meant there was like a pulse of blood in my ears, as a strong reaction, or whatever. But your senses do shift like that, particularly in the bardo. There are no clean cut lines for your senses in the way there are now. Clearly, smell goes through your nose now; clearly hearing goes through your ears now. Well, of course, in the bardo, although you have those same habitual tendencies, you do not have the same definite places for this information to come into, and so there is something of a bleed through.

When the Buddhas come to you, again, that will be very unfamiliar if you have not practiced. The brilliance of the light of the Buddhas will be unlike anything you’ve ever seen; and it will be somewhat terrifying if there is no preparation. It will be much more comfortable to look at the corresponding other lights that come at the same time. We talked about Buddha Vairochana. He appears on the first day and his light is the blue light, and it will be so brilliant it will almost hurt—so brilliant—because it is not our habitual tendency to have awakened to that element of our mind, of our nature, that is in fact identical to and inseparable from that blue light nature that is Vairochana, you see. We will not have had time to do that so we are not familiar. It will be exactly the same phenomena that causes us not to see the black, or clear, path in the first part of the bardo experience. Unfamiliarity. We will, however, as I said yesterday, be familiar with the other light that shows at the same time, and that is the light of the god realm. In a sense, the light of the god realm, which at that point will be a very soft, welcoming, and very sweet kind of white, will be much more familiar because we will have exhibited some of the qualities that it takes to get into the god realm—that is, some accumulation of merit—and we will also have accumulated some of the unfortunate problems, or the obstacles, that cause us to be born into the god realm. So we have much more familiarity with them than we do with our own primordial wisdom nature. Interestingly, as the different Buddhas appear, and then as the different realms appear, you’re also looking in a sense at the flip side of the same cointwo different sides of the same coin. One is our pure nature, and the other is a display of our nature in defilement, in confusion. Of course, we will have the strong habitual tendency to go toward our nature in defilement, stronger than we will to go toward the purity of our own buddha nature because, simply, we have more familiarity and more habitual tendency with our samsaric nature than we do with our awakened nature.

So, of course, this is something that you are being prepared for right now. When you hear something like that you think, “Oh, that scares me. Of course I’m going to want to go towards a soft, glowing white light more than I’m going to want to go towards something that’s almost painful it’s so bright. So I want to be really prepared for that. How can I prepare for that?” Those of us that have no spaciousness in our mind and have not practiced very much, and have a tendency or habitual pattern for our minds to act in a very neurotic way will think things like, “Oh, I have to practice liking bright lights, . I have to practice not looking at soft lights and not liking them anymore.” really, that [kind of thinking] is completely unnecessary. Again, have faith in your spiritual mentor. You must know that you are already, right now, applying the antidote for whatever fear you might have had about going into the bardosimply training in the knowledge that there is a bardoand to the degree that when you hear this information, you hear it as a respectful student would hear it, hearing it from someone who has crossed the ocean of suffering, hearing it from the Buddha who has given us this information based on his many experiences of crossing the ocean of suffering himself, and also helping others to cross the ocean of suffering. So as a student our posture would be to listen and go, “Yes, yes, yes. Thank you, yes.” That really would be the perfect posture.

Of course our training tells us, “Well, we have to think things through. We have to be individuals.” But that very thought will prevent you from absorbing these teachings that you have to remember on a very deep level—a memory that is really deeper than the mind that you use to call yourself ‘I’ with. It will have to go much deeper than that. And the only way it’s going to go deeper than that is if the student practices devotion while hearing. Devotion is the bridge; devotion is the method. That is why it is a useful practice that connects the student and the teacher and makes the information, in a sense, go in even more. The student who does not take advantage of their teacher’s teaching simply has no devotion. It doesn’t have anything to do with how good a practitioner they are or how lazy or slothful they are. Of course, those are elements, but really, it has to do with the lack of devotion. The student does not have the karmic scenario to make a bridge by which the lama can reach them and touch them. We assume that the lama you have chosen is qualified. Once you have chosen a lama, you should have chosen them on the basis of their qualifications, on the basis of their ability to speak to you. Once that happens there is no room for any doubt. You should have spent your time considering and thinking and wondering and asking yourself, and looking and checking. But once you have chosen, there is no more time for the head games that you play as a student. Now you have to apply yourself, and that’s the only reasonable thing to do at that point. The time for doubt is finished. The time for practice and preparation has now begun. Now that responsibility becomes yours. The teacher can lead you; the teacher cannot force you. It is up to you to follow. So that is what has to be done.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo All rights reserved

 

Astrology for 5/21/2017

5/21/2017 Sunday by Norma

Ready, set, charge! Wake up early and be prepared to take action. Men and women are harmonious today, with men thinking and talking as women bustle about making things happen. Three planets in Aries encourage you to either act decisively or else get out of the way to avoid being trampled. Happiness is in the mix today, and a joyous quality accompanies everything you do. Marie von Exner-Eschenbach said, “One remains young as long as one can still learn, can still take on new habits, can bear contradictions.” What’s good today? The potential for a new beginning: new opportunities and new possibilities where none existed previously, the strength to do things you were too worn out to do before, and the awareness that the busier you are the happier you are.

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