Meditation

Image courtesy of NASA
Image courtesy of NASA

Download Guided Meditation

This is a guided meditation by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo.  In a teaching from the 1980s, Jetsunma taught about how this meditation helps one get passed the feeling of separation, and begin to imitate the radiant qualities of one’s true nature – light and compassion.

In her words, “Separation is the cause of all trauma, all pain, any grief that you have ever suffered anywhere, or at anytime.  Anything that has ever hurt you or been a bother to you has been because you believe yourself to be separate from everything.  Your true nature is Absolute Union or Oneness. The true nature that you are is light.

Effective prayer is about imitating that radiance.  Through imitation of your true nature, you come to realize your true nature.  You stop thinking about separation, and you stop buying into judgment, and you get out of limitations.  Effective prayer is centering into that Absolute reality that is the core of what you are.”

Astrology for 12/16/2017

12/16/2017 Saturday by Jampal & Wangmo

Theme: May the Force be with you

Today high energy continues  with 5 planets in  the fire sign of Sagittarius including the Moon.  It’s kind of like a Super Hero time except the Super Hero is you. Every action has a consequence. How can you make a difference today? It’s a great outdoors day. Breathe in. Breathe out! It’s also a time for self-education and helping others. It goes without saying that mindful speech is a virtue but you may find that challenging today. Beware! It could be a Blooper day. Frank Rizzo, ex-police chief and mayor of Philadelphias said: “The streets are safe in Philadelphia. It’s only the people who make them unsafe.”

Living the Practice: Learning to Change

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “Marrying a Spiritual Life with Western Culture”

Our job then is to get in, to make this faith more than a formalized external thing just like an exoskeleton. The only way to get in is by really understanding it, by really going through the process that empowers you, to see what the truth actually is. For instance, we’re told that cause and effect is for real. Cause and effect should be blatantly obvious to us by this time because most of us here are above five years old. But we don’t get it. Lord Buddha tells us that cause and effect really matter. If you engage in virtuous, loving, generous, kind acts, the results will be love, happiness, fulfillment, higher rebirth, all of these kinds of things. That seems pretty reasonable to me.

But if we don’t go through what it takes to truly understand this on a deep level, we end up approaching even this very visible piece of truth by saying, “Oh this is another thing I have to learn.”  I’ve seen my students do this—from my very oldest to the brand new ones. “From now on I’m going to do good things, because good things will get good results and I’m going to be happy.  Okay. Let’s see now. It’s 7 o’clock in the morning.  I will be out of bed by 7:15. Can I get a good thing done by 7:20?”  This is the way that we think. It’s by rote. A chicken can do this!  A parrot that can be taught to talk can learn these rules. But where is the heart of the parrot?

What if we could hear the Buddha’s teaching and say, “This is an amazing wisdom that has come into the world. The Buddha organizes this wisdom and says to us, ‘Virtuous actions produce excellent results.’”  What if we went through the process of really looking at this? What if we really tried to connect the dots? What if we looked at our own life experience? Yes, it’s hard to do. We know that. The reason it’s hard to do is that in order for you to examine what virtuous conduct looks like and how it relates to result, you have to determine what is virtuous conduct and what is non-virtuous conduct. In order to do that you have to face some terrible truths about yourself—for example, that you don’t always engage in virtuous conduct. The minute we get near that sucker we back off fast. Because isn’t religion supposed to make us feel better?  Well, yes, if it’s an opiate.  Well, yes, if it’s a drug—one of your many drugs.

Religion can be compared more to exercise. When we first start to exercise, especially nowadays, we join a club and  get an outfit. (I have some killer workout outfits, I want you to know.) We get an outfit and everything matches, the socks, the headband. Or else we jock out about it. Maybe everything doesn’t match, but it’s all cool.  And then we get in there, and we don’t work out or exercise because it feels good to lift vast amounts of weight over and over again. Not at first. In fact, at first there’s a lot of pain. You get on those machines, and the next thing you know you can’t move. So starting never feels good, but, afterwards—when you’re in shape and your body is tuned up and you’re strong—you feel great! It’s an organic thing. It benefits all your systems.  It comes up from inside of you. It changes everything about your life. It feels great. But initially, no. Most people stop with that initial stuff, don’t they? The minute it doesn’t feel good, that’s when they stop.

 

We do the same thing with religion. Can you see that?  We go into it with an outfit, and we do it until it’s a little uncomfortable, such as changing something about our lives or seeing something. Then we’re out of there, because we have the “don’t wannas.”  We don’t wanna; it doesn’t feel good.  We think, “I thought this was going to make me happy, and it really doesn’t.  It’s kind of depressing to think about reality.  I don’t want to.”

Now let’s look at a person who moves into making exercise part of their lives. You do it in a more directly related way. You learn something about it. You learn about the physiology of exercise. You learn that there are certain problems your body has that it doesn’t have when you exercise. Well, that’s one thing that will empower you to keep on going: You go for that goal of producing a certain result. Have you ever thought of that in your practice? Producing a certain result, instead of just putting in your time? There is a difference. With exercise we get to a certain point where we just begin to see—because we’re looking inside of ourselves and we’re looking in the mirror—that there is some result. The first time you see a result it can be a life-changing experience, if you work to integrate it into your life.

It’s just exactly like that with religion. Initially, you have to change. Change is not comfortable. We already know this. So initially you change and then after that you begin to connect the dots. You begin to see some cause and effect relationships. You begin to see that virtuous behavior actually does make you feel pretty good, and you explore that. You don’t take it for granted like a big dope. You work it out in your mind—work the numbers, work the equations. What feels good? Does it feel good to be in charge of your own internal progress?  I think so.  It doesn’t feel good to walk through life and just let life hit you like a truck. It feels good to walk through life in my practice, knowing in my heart that I am deeply empowered by this direct intimate relationship to spirituality. I know what kindness tastes like. I can see direct results from certain kinds of behavior patterns, behavior changes. I can see them directly in my mind. I feel comfortable with that. How is it that Tibetan monks have the same restrictions as our ordained and they are so much more comfortable with them? How is it that Tibetan lay people feel so much more comfortable with their lives? It’s because they have some kind of direct experience that makes it sensible and realistic and reasonable to conduct themselves in a certain way.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo.  All rights reserved

Astrology for 12/15/2017

12/15/2017 Friday by Jampal & Wangmo

Theme: Reason for optimism and caution

Life moves in cycles. This week there is room for optimism.It doesn’t mean there won’t be challenges. However, today is a day you can believe in the power of good ideals that create a better world for us all. The Moon has been Void of course for almost 24 hours which means people are not in sync emotionally with one another. It concludes at 8pm EST in the USA but continues on into the next day in Asia/Australia mid-day. Don’t sign any contracts today but rather, complete tasks. As Bugs Bunny said, ‘Well, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere.’

Astrology for 12/14/2017

12/14/2017 Thursday by Jampal & Wangmo

Theme: Completions, intuition and inspiration

It’s a good time to finish those projects you’ve had on your mind. On one level it’s a more interior time today. However, it’s also a day to be generous in ways that inspire others. You will be feeling more optimistic today about accomplishing your goals. Perseverance bears fruit and the best of your idealism can become a reality. The Buddha’s parting words were ‘Hold fast to the truth as a lamp that shines in the darkness. Seek salvation in the truth alone.’

The Guru as the Path to Recognition

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “The Guru is Your Diamond”

How do we use the Guru Yoga as this rocketship?  How do we understand the way it is used?  Well, first of all, if we look at the Guru Yoga in our Ngöndro book, the prayers are achingly beautiful.  The tune, Lama Khyen No, that beautiful tune… You could almost hear it being sung on misty mountain tops.  There’s something about it that’s just so haunting.  And you get the idea when you’re doing this practice that it’s kind of geared that way.  It’s geared to bring tears to one’s eyes.  It’s geared to create an interdependent relationship that’s so intimate, it’s more than what we are accustomed to.  We wouldn’t take an ordinary relationship and sing Boyfriend Khyen No, (laughter) Girlfriend Khyen No. We wouldn’t do that.  And why?  Because there wouldn’t be any result.  You might as well twiddle your thumbs.  There just simply would be no benefit.

We are given this method and it should cause us some benefit.  Why?  Why is that?  Because we are opening the eyes of recognition.  What is it Lord Buddha said when he was asked how it was he was different?  He said, “I am awake”.  Awake in recognition.  We are opening the inner eyes of recognition to understand the difference between the precious connection with one’s Root Guru, the ultimate nature that we share, that we depend upon utterly, and what is ordinary. You know, the stuff we get lost in so easily.

We have this single-pointedness that we can whip ourselves back to.  That’s how we use the Guru, when we get lost and wobbly and we’re kind of out in space… You know how we get—the noises in our head and everything. We get lost in that.  We can use the Guru as our centering back to the single-pointedness.  We think this is none other than Guru Rinpoche, the second emanation of Lord Buddha, himself.  This is the way.  This is that nature.  This is what is precious.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo All rights reserved

Astrology for 12/13/2017

12/13/2017 Wednesday by Jampal & Wangmo

Theme: Working with anger

Sudden eruptions could be destabilizing today. Patience is the best medicine. Hug a tree if all else fails. By the evening tensions dissipate. Old relationships are unexpectedly revisited offering an opportunity to let the past go.  Overall there is inspiration in the air and lots of opportunity to make progress towards your goals. ‘A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference.’ Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh.

 

How to Cherish What is Precious

The following is respectfully quoted from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “The Guru Is Your Diamond”

We should understand that if we feel that connection with the Guru, and that it is heartfelt, that is like a diamond that you should invest.  To hold onto it and to keep it stagnant is not the way.  One should not say, “I’ve got this connection, therefore I’m in like flint.”  One has to take that connection and build on it.  You have to use it for investment. You use that connection to create more virtue through learning the Buddha Dharma and practicing accordingly, through going to the teacher for guidance and advice, and then practicing that accordingly.

There’s no use going to the teacher for guidance and advice if you don’t practice accordingly.  Then you’re simply cashing in that diamond for nothing.  You’re throwing it out the window and it’s too precious to waste.  Instead again, you should invest in it, build on it.  That’s cash.  That’s money in the bank.  That’s the most precious thing you own in this lifetime, no matter how wealthy you are.

So you go to that teacher for guidance, for advice.  You allow that teacher, and ask for that teacher, to open and prepare your mind, and to deepen the mind and to mature the mind; and you depend on that teacher similarly to… Let’s say you had somehow a cash cow in the bank, you know a diamond or some fabulous thing that could be earning interest. In the same way that that diamond might be the nugget and maybe you’re living off the interest, you think like that about the teacher.   But you’re always making the moves and doing the things that never harm the principal and only increase the interest.  See what I’m saying.  I’m using a funny money analogy here, but it’s like that.

That diamond must be kept in a sacred place, enthroned upon the Lotus of one’s heart where it cannot be harmed.  And if you find that that diamond is somehow misplaced and it’s in your mouth and you’re talking about it in a non-virtuous way, get it back down there again.  Do your practice.  Recite The Seven Line Prayer.  Reestablish that connection.  Think that it lives in you, as it does.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo All rights reserved

 

Astrology for 12/12/2017

12/12/2017 Tuesday by Jampal & Wangmo

Theme: Finding sacred spaces

It’s a day you can create a good space for spiritual practice. Where is the hearth of your practice that keeps you grounded? Is it at home or elsewhere. It can be in nature or another special place. It’s a time when your reality is more subjective as Mercury is dwarfed by the rays of the Sun. Today is an opportunity to delve within. Beware of tendencies for manipulation. ‘Each place is the right place–the place where I am now can be a sacred place.’ Ravi Ravindra

 

That Kind of Love

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “The Guru Is Your Diamond”

In Palyul, my teacher, His Holiness Penor Rinpoche…you all know him, is known as having rather wrathful moments.  I’ve met with a couple of them, and I still flinch.  But that’s ok, ‘cause it gets my attention.

Ultimately, we come to understand that there is no friend like one’s Guru, nobody in one’s life.  Nobody in our lives, even if they take care of you and feed you and clothe you until the time of your death, is so willing and so eager to look out for your welfare.  Our Root Gurus are more interested in our well-being than we can understand.  I personally can tell you that I had a difficult time with that.  I was an American.  I know that I had all this old karma with the Path.  I was recognized as this one and that one and the other one, and all that, but I was still a 38-year-old American.  (Yes, I was 38 when I met His Holiness.)  So, I was an old dog with old habits.  And I have to tell you that I didn’t understand that kind of love at first.  I mean I understood that I felt this commitment to my students even though I had not met with the Buddhist teachers yet.  I already had students and I understood the commitment to them, My teacher told me that apparently I was teaching Buddha Dharma and I didn’t know it because I hadn’t read any books on it.  But then, when I actually met him, and he became so intimately involved in my body, speech and mind, my whole life began to circumambulate my Guru.  I thought, “What is this? I’ve never seen love like this.  I’ve never seen anything like this.  That this Lama would come all the way across the world to find me?  That he came all the way from India and the first thing he said when he hit California was, “Take me to that woman in Maryland.”  And so, that’s how it happened.

I didn’t understand that every year he wanted to see me, and so I missed some years.  I didn’t understand how much he is invested in my well-being and the well-being of my students.  I didn’t understand when he built that place up in New York…  Now I understand that he built it for us.  Because I can teach you during the year what I have to give you—the ripening and the deepening—and then you can receive empowerment and take the next steps on the Path with His Holiness, my Root Teacher.  After we established this place here, he did that.  I didn’t understand that, bBut now I do.

I’ve never had that kind of love in this lifetime.  I don’t know anyone else that has either.  The kind of love that will… Let me explain to you.  When His Holiness was here last year, one of his particularly devoted and very close disciples passed on, Kunzang Lama.  His Holiness just abruptly left even though he knew he wouldn’t make it in time, just left.  For that one man.  And when he got there, the man, Kunzang, had left him a note.  The note said, “Guru, wherever you are, you are with me and I am with you.  Please do not grieve.”  Like that.  Can you imagine?  They were so close.  They came out of Tibet together.  They had that kind of devotion to each other.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo All rights reserved

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