The Power of a Bodhisattva

An excerpt from a teaching called How to Pray by Being by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo

I once asked His Holiness Penor Rinpoche, “What is a bodhisattva? What is a Buddha?” And he said, “It’s like this. Ordinary practitioner can practice their whole life and accomplish something. Perhaps they will accomplish a very auspicious rebirth or the chance to achieve a higher level of realization in their next life. But when bodhisattvas practice, even if they don’t sit down, even if they simply make a wish, (for example “I wish a temple would grow up here. I wish sentient beings would find a way to the path. I wish sentient beings would be happy on the path and revel in the strength of the path. I wish sentient beings would receive the connection of this blessing that absolves and dissipates suffering.”), the world is benefited beyond measure. That thing will be done because there is no separation between the lamas of the lineage and that bodhisattva.”

How can great bodhisattvas command that a thing be done? It comes from being fully mixed with the nectar of the bodhicitta, being fully aware that their nature is the bodhicitta. That is the power of the bodhisattvas and the Buddhas.  That’s why they can do miraculous things. When we think about His Holiness Penor Rinpoche, he just had a few monks but he built his tremendous monastery. He had nothing, and he became the king of the Nyingmapa, the king of Dharma. There is no one that surpassed His Holiness. Think about that.

© copyright Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo All Rights Reserved

Astrology for 11/24/2017

11/24/2017 Friday by Jampal & Wangmo

Theme: Freedom of thought

An unexpected windfall could occur today. Mental efforts pay off today including writing and communication generally. It’s a half way point in the project you started on the new moon. How are you going?  Generally speaking be optimistic but don’t overdo it. Don’t let optimism become arrogance. There is more capacity for seeing the way forward today – and more tolerance for new ideas. “I’m a success today because I had a friend who believed in me and I didn’t have the heart to let him down.” Abraham Lincoln.

 

Self-absorption Leads to Unhappiness

An excerpt from a teaching called How to Pray by Being by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo

The Buddhist path is not a selfish trip. It’s not a self-absorbed trip. In fact, as Buddhist practitioners, we strive to become less and less self-absorbed. Being self-absorbed is the exact opposite of prayer–180 degrees away from it.  But most of us, unfortunately, have the habit of self-absorption, and so we spend most of our lives holding a prayer that is based on samsara. That has no good result. Without exception, self-absorbed people are the unhappiest people on the face of this earth, whether they have money or they don’t. Whether they have a home and a car or they don’t. Whether they live in a simple thatched hut or they live in a mansion, the people that are self absorbed and locked up in their own inner phenomena are the unhappiest people on the face of this earth.

The tragedy is that in our culture we are taught to think more about ourselves than about others. We are taught that if we buy cars and other stuff and maybe line up a few parties and relationships and line up a few fun retreats, we will be happy. That is simply not the case. Happiness never comes from self-absorption. It comes from being concerned about the welfare of other sentient beings.

© Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo

Astrology for 11/23/2017

11/23/2017 Thursday by Jampal & Wangmo

Theme: A Thanksgiving to remember

Today is the day many Americans come together and give thanks for the hospitality offered to the new migrants to North America by the indigenous peoples.  However, today deep breaths or something stronger might be helpful. This is because peoples emotions are a wee bit disturbed today, and yet, in America, people are thrown together to share in a meal. The morning could start our fractiously but soften by evening as the better part of peoples natures comes to the surface. Seeing others perspectives helps.

Astrology for 11/22/2017

11/22/2017 Wednesday by Jampal & Wangmo

Theme: There is no such thing as a secret!

Karma (cause and effect)  ripens every day and today is especially remarkable for seeing that in action. Deep hurts  come to the surface, and so does potential conflict. Stoicism isn’t necessarily the best solution. But ‘going within’ to experience ones spiritual heart will bring relief. You may feel a little directionless today but it will pass.  As they say in Alcoholics Anonymous ‘You’re only as sick as your secrets‘ – the remedy is self-honesty.

 

The Guru’s Three-Part Empowerment

The most important part of the practice of Guru Yoga is when we receive the threefold empowerment from the guru. We receive the white light from the Guru’s head to our head to purify our body. We receive the red light from the Guru’s throat to our throat to purify and empower our speech. We receive the blue light from the Guru’s heart to our heart to purify and empower our mind. We should be receiving these empowerments 24 hours a day. Every time our mind has a little space, we should train ourselves to remember to receive the nectar of the Guru’s blessing. Instead, we walk around saying, “I’m lonely. I need my space. I need to go out and do stuff. I need to spend some money.” And we whine and carry on in samsara. And yet every minute this amazing phenomenal connection is available.

We should develop the habit of constantly keeping that connection. Whenever we have a moment, we should recite the Seven Line Prayer and ask for the guru’s blessing. And then we have it –boom, boom, boom—because when we ask, it is always given. There is never a time that when we ask, that it is not given. It may happen that we can’t receive the blessing sometimes. But we just keep trying. It’s simply our habit, and habits can change.

This is prayer without ceasing. This is constant prayer. This is a personal version of what we’re trying to do here at KPC by having our 24-hour prayer vigil, with someone practicing all the time. It is developing a constant awareness of our non-duality with the guru.

As we practice, the experience deepens. When we do our sit-down practice, the empowerments become easier to receive. We will find that we can go deeper and deeper and deeper. Then when we receive that three-part empowerment, our mind will be mixed with the guru and all the blessings will be present.  But be careful: Pride will stop the blessing.

So we wire up. We take refuge and are anchored in our confidence. We know, “This is my guru; I am unshaken.  This is the method; I am unbroken.  This is the result that I am going toward.” We maintain that connection constantly. Any time we have a moment, we recall our root guru appearing as Guru Rinpoche and receive the empowerments, mixing our mind with the guru’s mind. That’s the way to awaken to non-duality. That’s the way to awaken to our nature. When we mix our mind with the guru’s, we are deeply empowered with the bodhicitta. We can hear the calls of the suffering ones. They will fill our ears.

When we take this empowerment and we mix our mind with the nectar of the Three Precious Jewels, then we can pray. We can see ourselves as the same as the guru in nature, not in a prideful sense. Having received the blessing of the guru and of all the masters of the lineage, we are now able to pray.  We can ease the suffering of sentient beings.  Why?  Because we have the merit of our lineage. Now we can take within us the suffering of sentient beings because we can handle it. We have the power of the vajra masters.  That is our joy, our bliss, our ecstasy. We are never separate from them.

So prayer comes when we are in a state of awakening–when the bodhicitta that is the nectar of the guru’s mind is mixed inseparably with our own mind. Then we can pray: we can speak with the authority of the bodhicitta, in the way of the bodhicitta.

Do you hear the sense of potency I am trying to describe?  It is a sense of being fully mixed with the nectar of bodhicitta, fully aware that our nature is the bodhicitta. It is the bodhicitta that benefits sentient beings. When we are aware that we are the bodhicitta, it is this that we send to others. That is the power of the bodhisattvas and the Buddhas.

When we are that bodhicitta, we can awaken the bodhicitta in others just by looking at them. I know from experience that when His Holiness Penor Rinpoche looked at my heart, my heart was his and it opened. He recognized the bodhicitta in me, and I practiced to mix my mind with his. And therefore it was done. And that’s the potency of prayer. Now I can pray.

There is no room for pride in prayer—just simple gratitude for receiving the blessing of the guru in a humble way, with confidence in that blessing. Because of that blessing, we can pray. Now we have the bodhicitta; now we are the bodhicitta. And that is the potency and power upon which we rely.

The Buddhadharma is with us every minute. It’s a path, a way of life. And it is the true method to achieve the precious awakening. When we know that other beings are suffering so terribly, and we have found this jewel and it is in our hands and this nectar is given freely, I ask you: Why not learn to pray?

© Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo

Astrology for 11/21/2017

11/21/2017 Tuesday by Jampal & Wangmo

Theme: Laugh at yourself

Often we laugh at others but do we laugh at ourselves! Today is an opportunity also for sharing, learning and joy.  Deepening friendships and finding common interests is a theme. Mental faculties aren’t as sharp as they usually are today but your attention to detail is enhanced today. Attention to detail comes with a caveat – it requires patience. The second day of a diet is always easier than the first. By the second day you’re off it. Jackie Gleason

Experiencing Bodhicitta through the Guru Yoga

An excerpt from a teaching called How to Pray by Being by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo

We must practice guru yoga. Without guru yoga, we will never learn to pray properly. Guru yoga is the nest in which our prayers are developed. In guru yoga we see the lama as the embodiment of all the fields of refuge—all of the excellent, extraordinary displays of Buddha nature that did not arise in samsara, that are pure and untainted.

The lama is our boat across the ocean of suffering. A proper lama, from an unbroken lineage who is free of suffering and delusion and motivated by compassion, has made that trip before and knows how to get across. If we practice the Dharma correctly, we will see that lama in a way we’ve never seen anyone else before. We can then approach the lama like a child, without judgment. We can ask kindly and without fear, “Will you help me?”

Now, of course, judgments will rise up in our mind because that is our habitual tendency. But that then becomes our battleground. That is where we take a stand and draw the line. Once we’ve put our trust in the lama, we say, “I know that you have been taught by the great lamas that have been taught by the great lamas that have been taught by the great lamas, and all of them in an unbroken lineage have achieved enlightenment.” We realize that the lama is the door to liberation, and we do whatever it takes to walk through that door—whether it’s getting down on our knees, challenging our habitual tendencies or changing.

We have to be willing to change. Dharma cuts like a knife. It’s supposed to; it’s doing a big job. And we have a lot of work to do because most of our life we’ve spent chanting the mantra of samsara, the mantra of self-absorption. So we look to the teacher. We look to the Buddha. We look to the Dharma. We look to the Sangha. We look with determination, strength and courage or vajra pride.

Vajra pride, the courage to say, “I’m going through the door of liberation,” does not come from the ego. It is not ordinary pride. Instead it is steadfastness and determination to change utterly and completely. Do you know what prayer is?  Prayer is this (makes a cutting motion and rips open her chest). That’s prayer.

Through the practice of Guru Yoga, we become absolutely non-dual with the guru. That is the wish and the hope. That is also the method and the way. We mix our mindstream with the guru like mixing milk with water. And they can mix perfectly and constantly.

We practice the ngundro Guru Yoga and we practice the Shower of Blessings, and that’s a wonderful place to start, but how many minutes do we miss? How much time do we miss playing around in ordinary puddles—ordinary reality—when the ocean of wisdom is within reach?

The lama is not a separate person who we only get to see every now and then. When we see the lama, we are looking at the Nirmanakaya form of the Buddha. Guru Rinpoche himself said, “I will be there in the form of your root guru.  When you call out to me, I will be there.”

© Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo

Astrology for 11/20/2017

11/20/2017 Monday by Jampal & Wangmo

Theme: Turning restriction into practical accomplishment

If you feel discouraged today seek help from a third party to facilitate a change in the dynamic. Spiritual growth continues as a potential theme this week if you allow time for it. There is still tension in the air although there is beginning to be light at the end of the tunnel. Be adventuresome! There is new insight into seemingly intractable issues. In the Japanese art of Origami a simple sheet of paper is turned into a work of beauty.

 

 

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