Silent Chant

An excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo on October 18, 1995

We are talking about the Lama as being our own precious nature.  Someday when we die and all the elements fall away, what will arise naturally is the natural state, free of contrivance.  And they say for the practitioner there is realization, simply because, the practitioner that has meditated properly will recognize that natural uncontrived state as the very primordial mother from which they have sprung.  And like a child who has been separated from his mother for a while runs to the mother with happiness and joy, and practically rips open his heart, and sits on the mother’s lap and doesn’t wish to separate from the mother at all —  like that, if we are meditators, we will run to that nature.  We will recognize with fervent regard, but so much more than that.  I don’t even have the words.

Here in our lives, due to the force of our fortunate meritorious karma that we have accumulated in the past, when here in this life, that same uncontrived nature, that same pristine quality appears in samsara to speak to us, to see us with its eyes, to hold our hand, to teach us how to practice, and how to recognize in our practice, we’re drunk, light in the head, stupid.  We can’t care, we can’t get it together.  Our minds are just weak that way.  And yet, even with all of that, even with all of our terrible practice, we are still hoping that when we die and those elements that make up our samsaric existence begin to disintegrate and fall away that somehow, magically, we will recognize the primordial wisdom nature.  Boy, are you thinking like Peter Pan!  That’s what I call magical thinking.  The only way it is going to happen is if we can begin to recognize that nature now.  And the only proper way to recognize the nature of the Guru is to simultaneously recognize our own nature as well, and to know that they are indistinguishable.

It is not possible for us to look at the Guru and find fault, because that would mean that we are acting with samsaric intention, with samsaric mind, and the result is samsara.  There is no practice there.  That is nothing.  You do that all the time.  You do that every moment.  That’s not practice.  But if we think and practice in the way that I’ve just discussed with you, then instead, when we see the Guru we see literally the face of salvation.  We see literally:  “I am that.  That I am.”  Even though, of course you can’t say “I.”  “I” separates us, but in the beginning, we have the intention of understanding: that is the nature that is my nature also.

And so inside — instead of judgment, hatred, greed, ignorance, jealousy, pride — there is a soundless chant that says, “Holy holy holy.” and that is the practice.

© Jetsunma Ahkön Lhamo

Astrology for 01/22/2018

01/22/2018 Monday by Jampal & Wangmo

Theme: Equanimity and activity beckons

This of day of inner and outer equanimity. Stop and take a breath and see where you are situated.  With the waxing Moon in Aries this is a time to be active, make new inroads in the direction you wish to proceed in and produce results. Imagination continues to be heightened leading you to taking a mental vacation. As Paltrul Rinpoche writes: ‘Impartiality means giving up our hatred of enemies and infatuation with our friends, and having an even minded attitude towards all beings, free of attachment to those close to us and aversion to those who are distant.’

Viewing the Guru

An excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo on October 18, 1995

We are talking about the Lama as being our own precious nature.  Someday when we die and all the elements fall away, what will arise naturally is the natural state, free of contrivance.  And they say for the practitioner there is realization, simply because, the practitioner that has meditated properly will recognize that natural uncontrived state as the very primordial mother from which they have sprung.  And like a child who has been separated from his mother for a while runs to the mother with happiness and joy, and practically rips open his heart, and sits on the mother’s lap and doesn’t wish to separate from the mother at all —  like that, if we are meditators, we will run to that nature.  We will recognize with fervent regard, but so much more than that.  I don’t even have the words.

Here in our lives, due to the force of our fortunate meritorious karma that we have accumulated in the past, when here in this life, that same uncontrived nature, that same pristine quality appears in samsara to speak to us, to see us with its eyes, to hold our hand, to teach us how to practice, and how to recognize in our practice, we’re drunk, light in the head, stupid.  We can’t care, we can’t get it together.  Our minds are just weak that way.  And yet, even with all of that, even with all of our terrible practice, we are still hoping that when we die and those elements that make up our samsaric existence begin to disintegrate and fall away that somehow, magically, we will recognize the primordial wisdom nature.  Boy, are you thinking like Peter Pan!  That’s what I call magical thinking.  The only way it is going to happen is if we can begin to recognize that nature now.  And the only proper way to recognize the nature of the Guru is to simultaneously recognize our own nature as well, and to know that they are indistinguishable.

It is not possible for us to look at the Guru and find fault, because that would mean that we are acting with samsaric intention, with samsaric mind, and the result is samsara.  There is no practice there.  That is nothing.  You do that all the time.  You do that every moment.  That’s not practice.  But if we think and practice in the way that I’ve just discussed with you, then instead, when we see the Guru we see literally the face of salvation.  We see literally:  “I am that.  That I am.”  Even though, of course you can’t say “I.”  “I” separates us, but in the beginning, we have the intention of understanding: that is the nature that is my nature also.

And so inside — instead of judgment, hatred, greed, ignorance, jealousy, pride — there is a soundless chant that says, “Holy holy holy.” and that is the practice.

© Jetsunma Ahkön Lhamo

Astrology for 01/21/2018

01/21/2018 Sunday by Jampal & Wangmo

Theme: Deep thinking

With Mercury conjunct Pluto for the next week there are opportunities to communicate deeply with others and also develop a deeper understanding of the unconscious motivations behind your particular communication patterns. If you find yourself in the midst of a ‘battle of wills’ it’s an opportunity to step back and develop a bigger perspective.  This perspective may include past emotional hurts that impact your communications with others. It’s also a good time for investigative research. Think sleuthing! As Sherlock Holmes said: ‘It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.’

 

 

The Nature of the Teacher


An excerpt from the Mindfulness workshop given by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo in 1999

The most important thing you can do to develop spiritual discrimination is to elevate the Root Guru. The Root Guru is the source of how you have come to the path, is the root teacher who gives you the preliminary teachings, is the one who hooks you onto the path.  For these reasons you elevate your teacher in such a way that you begin to awaken.  You are not awakening to the appearance of the teacher, but to the nature of the teacher.  Again, eventually, you will be able to see, not your own appearance, but your nature, and that’s the goal here.  That is the point of practicing Guru Yoga.  Otherwise no one else would care, because certainly the Buddhas and the bodhisattvas don’t need it.  They’re happy the way they are. The Lamas offer themselves to be used in that way. We have this extraordinary opportunity.  So it behooves you to accept that offer and use the Lama.  It behooves you to take the opportunity to see that this is the appearance of Dharma in your mind, of Dharma in your life, and to lift it up within you in your mind. Lift it up and see it differently from the other ordinary things that are in your life and be able to distinguish that.  You want to be able to get past the point where you say, “Well now, I like this about the Lama; I don’t like that about the Lama; I do like this about the Lama, I don’t like this about the Lama, blah, blah, blah.”  That’s what you’re doing about everything.  That’s what we do about each other and, most of all, about ourselves.  This mind training is meant to wean us away from that kind of conceptual proliferation.  It is meant to allow us to begin to taste the nourishment of pure View.

Those who have known me for any length of time know that my practice is all about Guru Rinpoche.  There are many reasons for that.  One is that I have a strong connection with Guru Rinpoche. That’s my great fortune and my great blessing.  In my mind and in my heart, there’s nothing else.  I don’t see anything else.  I’m not saying that I’m a great practitioner, but I’m giving an indication as to how this could work and what kind of formula we can develop in our own practice and in our own quest for mindfulness.  When I think about my practice with Guru Rinpoche, I look for him everywhere.  I look for the speech, for the method, for the intention of the Guru everywhere.  My experience has been that when I ask Guru Rinpoche for help, for receiving strength, receiving health, receiving whatever it is that I need in order to be strong enough to be of benefit to others, it is always there.  Even though I haven’t had the training from childhood that many other Lamas have had, when I ask Guru Rinpoche for help, it is always there.  There have literally been times when I have not known what my class was going to be about until I got there to teach, and sometimes those are the best classes, because I know that I am nothing but a vessel that Guru Rinpoche’s blessing simply pours through.

We are not talking about being falsely humble.  Remember that when you do prostrations, you always get up.  We don’t lie on the floor for hours!  We get up, and the reason why we get up is because that’s what’s supposed to happen.  Through prostrating the body, through practicing this with body, speech and mind, it is our nature that rises up.  The ego gets laid down.  We lay that down, and the nature is what rises up.  Symbolically that’s what’s happening with prostrations.  It’s all about learning to have View in a different way.

© Jetsunma Ahkön Lhamo

Astrology for 01/20/2018

01/20/2018 Saturday by Jampal & Wangmo

ThemeThe Age of Aquarius lasts a month

Happy Birthday to all Aquarians. Today there is encouragement to follow the path least travelled but one that is nonetheless beneficial. Think of it like finding a new route to a sustaining place. It’s a ‘get in touch’ time with the spirituality of the earth today, no matter the weather. Today you may have increased sensitivity to those around you. Someone might need the benefit of your listening ear. Avoid being with people today who are unable to communicate rationally. Aquarian Oprah Winfrey said: Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another steppingstone to greatness.

Understanding the Four Thoughts

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “Relationship with the Lama in Vajrayana”

In the beginning of every Buddhist teaching, , before one actually begins any of the deeper practices, there is one practice that is called the Four Thoughts That Turn the Mind.

The idea is to think of the mind as having the potential, like the earth, to raise the flower of enlightenment. Any field that you look at, unless it’s been poisoned in some way, has the potential to grow within it the crop of your choice – in this case, the crop of enlightenment. But before you actually begin to grow that crop, you have to cultivate the earth. You have to plow it and water it and fertilize it. You have to take care of it. The mind is very much like that. Even though it has the potential for enlightenment, because of our dualistic thinking, and because from time-out-of-mind until this point, we have been involved with the delusion of ego as being the central factor, and with the survival idea that is associated with that, we haven’t had time to really adopt the idea of enlightenment as being the primary focus. And therefore, we haven’t had time to prepare our minds for that idea.

You may consider that this is true for you even though it isn’t pleasant to think about. It isn’t pleasant to think that we’ve spent so much time only on survival. But it’s probably true. And you’re not the only person on the earth for whom this is true. It’s true for so many of us that it’s normal.

You might try to determine whether or not that is true for you personally, and you might be able to honestly and sincerely look back on your life and see that it is true. But if you can’t do that, then you might think of this as evidential. You might think whether, first of all, you have found a path that you are certain leads to supreme enlightenment. And the way you can ascertain that is by looking around and seeing whether in the past, or even in the present, it has produced, and continues to produce, enlightenment that is visible, predictable and reportable.

If you have found such a path, then are you able to maintain that path with diligence? That means, are you able to maintain that path in such a way that you don’t get that on-again-off-again cyclic involvement that so many people in meditation do? Are you able to remain firm? When you find this path, and it becomes a central focus in your life, in times of both joy and fear, is this path always the answer to your problems? But most of all, you should look to see whether you are certain enough about this path to have it be your source of refuge. Is it the thing you turn to? And do you consistently practice it everyday? If all these factors have been met, then your mind has been turned.

For 99.9% of the human beings on this earth, not only have they not found a path that always leads to supreme enlightenment, but once they do find it, they’re on-again-off-again. And even when they’re on-again, their true source of refuge seems to be the ordinary human addictions that we all have like material goods, or trying to find things in an ordinary way that make you feel up like mood manipulation, relationships, physical safety. These things are our addictions, and these are what we consider to be our sources of refuge.

So for 99.9% of all the people on the earth, the Four Thoughts That Turn the Mind are extraordinarily useful. And even a dyed-in-the-wool Buddhist, a person who has taken ordination, who has been a practicing Buddhist all their lives, and whose first teaching was the Four Thoughts That Turn the Mind, still even for that person, I personally recommend that they practice the Four Thoughts That Turn the Mind continually, from now until the end of this incarnation. Maybe having it be the last thing you think of before you die.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo.  All rights reserved

 

Understanding the Four Thoughts

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “Relationship with the Lama in Vajrayana”

In the beginning of every Buddhist teaching, , before one actually begins any of the deeper practices, there is one practice that is called the Four Thoughts That Turn the Mind.

The idea is to think of the mind as having the potential, like the earth, to raise the flower of enlightenment. Any field that you look at, unless it’s been poisoned in some way, has the potential to grow within it the crop of your choice – in this case, the crop of enlightenment. But before you actually begin to grow that crop, you have to cultivate the earth. You have to plow it and water it and fertilize it. You have to take care of it. The mind is very much like that. Even though it has the potential for enlightenment, because of our dualistic thinking, and because from time-out-of-mind until this point, we have been involved with the delusion of ego as being the central factor, and with the survival idea that is associated with that, we haven’t had time to really adopt the idea of enlightenment as being the primary focus. And therefore, we haven’t had time to prepare our minds for that idea.

You may consider that this is true for you even though it isn’t pleasant to think about. It isn’t pleasant to think that we’ve spent so much time only on survival. But it’s probably true. And you’re not the only person on the earth for whom this is true. It’s true for so many of us that it’s normal.

You might try to determine whether or not that is true for you personally, and you might be able to honestly and sincerely look back on your life and see that it is true. But if you can’t do that, then you might think of this as evidential. You might think whether, first of all, you have found a path that you are certain leads to supreme enlightenment. And the way you can ascertain that is by looking around and seeing whether in the past, or even in the present, it has produced, and continues to produce, enlightenment that is visible, predictable and reportable.

If you have found such a path, then are you able to maintain that path with diligence? That means, are you able to maintain that path in such a way that you don’t get that on-again-off-again cyclic involvement that so many people in meditation do? Are you able to remain firm? When you find this path, and it becomes a central focus in your life, in times of both joy and fear, is this path always the answer to your problems? But most of all, you should look to see whether you are certain enough about this path to have it be your source of refuge. Is it the thing you turn to? And do you consistently practice it everyday? If all these factors have been met, then your mind has been turned.

For 99.9% of the human beings on this earth, not only have they not found a path that always leads to supreme enlightenment, but once they do find it, they’re on-again-off-again. And even when they’re on-again, their true source of refuge seems to be the ordinary human addictions that we all have like material goods, or trying to find things in an ordinary way that make you feel up like mood manipulation, relationships, physical safety. These things are our addictions, and these are what we consider to be our sources of refuge.

So for 99.9% of all the people on the earth, the Four Thoughts That Turn the Mind are extraordinarily useful. And even a dyed-in-the-wool Buddhist, a person who has taken ordination, who has been a practicing Buddhist all their lives, and whose first teaching was the Four Thoughts That Turn the Mind, still even for that person, I personally recommend that they practice the Four Thoughts That Turn the Mind continually, from now until the end of this incarnation. Maybe having it be the last thing you think of before you die.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo.  All rights reserved

 

Astrology for 01/19/2018

1/19/2018 Friday by Jampal & Wangmo

Theme: Spiritual pursuits 

Continue to keep your eye on the road.   Even though there are challenges at the moment there are offsets to these. Perseverance pays off. Creative self-expression and acts of generosity bring real rewards. Communications are improved but not where details are concerned. Spiritual pursuits continue to be emphasized. It is the last day of the Sun in Capricorn. As one famous Capricorn, Janis Joplin advised,  ‘Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got’.

Today the Moon is Void of Course from 6:53am EST USA until 328pm. It’s best to avoid making major decisions or signing contracts during this time.

Astrology for 01/18/2018

01/18/2018 by Jampal & Wangmo

Theme: Eratic energy and revisiting past connections

Be mindful today as the energy is disruptive. People do unexpected maneuvers:  is that bad yoga or bad driving? As George Carlin said: ‘Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac.’ Venus has moved into Aquarius: relationships are lighter but people need their space. There is a strong possibility today someone from your past reconnects with you. Communication tends to be focused more on the spiritual aspects of life. Spiritual study is favored.