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Astrology for 7/30/2015

7/30/2015 Thursday by Norma

Encouragement comes from a stable source; believe what you are told of a positive nature. Doubt is the problem today and there’s a tendency to fear the worst. Harry Cecil said, “What if the biggest deal of my life comes, and my pen runs out of ink?” Well, you’ll get another […]

Changing Habits

Changing Habits

An excerpt from a teaching called How Buddhism Differs from Other Religions by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo

Many people have gone to teachers and said, “What was I in my past life? What kind of being am I?” thinking that they are different somehow and that this is important. It’s really not the […]

Astrology for 7/29/2015

7/29/2015 Wednesday by Norma

A deep conversation reveals secrets. If someone has been holding out on you, thinking you don’t need to be in the know, you’ll learn now. Brooding, emotional obsession is an issue today. “What else haven’t I been told?” is the question. Go ahead and ask, you’ll learn something important, but do […]

The "Chicken Suit"

The “Chicken Suit”

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “Neurotic Interaction to Guru Yoga”

It seems you have these strong habitual tendencies and project them onto an environment stimulated by just about anything. And when the stimulation looks like it’s even on the same continent as a predetermined habitual karmic […]

Astrology for 7/30/2015

7/30/2015 Thursday by Norma

Encouragement comes from a stable source; believe what you are told of a positive nature. Doubt is the problem today and there’s a tendency to fear the worst. Harry Cecil said, “What if the biggest deal of my life comes, and my pen runs out of ink?” Well, you’ll get another pen! Keep plugging away toward your goal, and avoid the tendency to stop and worry. Nevertheless, it’s a tremendously happy time, and work is satisfying. What’s good today? Maintaining your dignity in the face of fear, continual improvement in health matters, and success in organizing your life and possessions! Helpful friends appear late in the day.

The daily astrology post affects everyone. Because individual charts vary, the circumstances outlined in the post will impact people differently. Some will feel this energy in the personal arena, some in finances, some with family or children, some in work, and so forth. There are many departments of life. Look to see where the dynamic affects you!

Changing Habits

An excerpt from a teaching called How Buddhism Differs from Other Religions by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo

Many people have gone to teachers and said, “What was I in my past life?   What kind of being am I?” thinking that they are different somehow and that this is important.  It’s really not the case.  We are all exactly the same.  But a lot of times the people will go to the teacher and ask questions like that.  Buddha Shakyamuni’s answer was, “If you want to know who you were in your past life, look in the mirror.”  Not necessarily at your physical appearance, and how your mascara is and that sort of thing.  Look at who you are.  Look at your life.   Look at what you’ve accomplished.  Not what you’re spinning in your head that you’re going to accomplish, but what you have accomplished.  Then you can begin a certain analysis.

Let’s say that you are chronically poor.  You tend to work wage jobs, and can’t get the big jobs, and just can’t make the money thing work.  It’s a chronic condition.    Most people think that the best thing to do is to go looking for the fabulous job or meet the fabulous man with the big money or something like that so you can get rich.  That kind of thinking will keep you in exactly the same position you’ve always been in, and it will never change.

If you find yourself in a state of chronic poverty, you must understand that cause and effect relationships are operating here.   You are now reaping the result of a cause that was created maybe early in this lifetime, more likely in another lifetime.  This is why it’s so hard, because you can’t see it.   We don’t know what happened in our last life or ten lifetimes ago.  We really don’t know what the cause is.

Again the Buddha says that this is where analysis is very useful.   So, we look and we say, “Well, I’ve always been poor.  It’s always been an issue.   So, what can I do to solve this problem?”  Is hoping for a rich person or a rich job to come along really the solution?  Actually, not.  What you should start doing if you are chronically poor, is to give all you can to the poor.  The shirt off your back if you have to.  Now, people will try that and they’ll come back to me and say it didn’t work.   How long did you try it?   It took you lifetimes to get this habitual.   You’ve got to work at it awhile.  You can’t expect to just be kind for a couple of weeks, and then boom!  We’re home and dry.   It’s not like that.  You have to actually take the grasping energy that you’re feeling, “I want the money.  I want the money.  I want the money.”  And turn it around into “I give what I can give.”  If it’s a quarter, if it’s twenty cents, if it’s a penny, if it’s a hug, if it’s some extra clothes to people who don’t have clothes, or a warm blanket in the wintertime.  Anything.  It doesn’t have to be big bucks, but you develop the habit of generosity to the degree that it outweighs that graspiness that says, “When am I gonna get rich?  When am I gonna get rich?  When am I gonna get rich?”  By the time you’ve changed that habit, things are changing in your life.  But until you change the habit, nothing will change.  It’s all about our habitual tendencies.  There is nobody that knows this better than a recovering alcoholic.

I think recovering alcoholics make the best students, because they understand what habitual tendency is all about.  And they understand what addiction is all about too, including the addiction to “gimme, gimme, gimme.  I want it.  I want it.  I want it.  More, more, more.”   That’s an addiction.

We begin to break our habitual tendencies and turn them around, and we change the addiction.  At that point, we begin giving.  When you start giving to others, generally, you give to people who have less than you.   And one of the first things it does is make you realize how much you actually have.   Because we don’t generally realize how much we actually have.  Impoverishment is in here.  So, when we begin to act kindly and generously towards others and give what little we have, the grasping hand turns around and becomes a giving hand.   The mind relaxes about the issue of having.  And that clears the way for the ripening of virtuous karma.  Virtuous karma will bring us happiness, joy, money, whatever it’s tuned into.  Whatever it is the result of.  But it’s the graspy neediness that keeps us from giving and makes us so unhappy.

© Jetsunma Ahkön Lhamo

Astrology for 7/29/2015

7/29/2015 Wednesday by Norma

A deep conversation reveals secrets. If someone has been holding out on you, thinking you don’t need to be in the know, you’ll learn now. Brooding, emotional obsession is an issue today. “What else haven’t I been told?” is the question. Go ahead and ask, you’ll learn something important, but do avoid prying into people’s private lives. The desire to make a statement, to show people who’s boss, is powerful. Wait it out. Elsewhere, it’s a sunny, happy day. Dress up, spend time in bright places and tend to the project that’s developing in private. It’s a winner. Anna Quindlen said, “A life of unremitting caution, without the carefree- or even, occasionally, the careless-may turn out to be half a life.” Be deep and shallow today. Make your will and play tiddley winks. Pray for world peace and sing along to children’s songs.

The daily astrology post affects everyone. Because individual charts vary, the circumstances outlined in the post will impact people differently. Some will feel this energy in the personal arena, some in finances, some with family or children, some in work, and so forth. There are many departments of life. Look to see where the dynamic affects you!

The “Chicken Suit”

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “Neurotic Interaction to Guru Yoga”

It seems you have these strong habitual tendencies and project them onto an environment stimulated by just about anything. And when the stimulation looks like it’s even on the same continent as a predetermined habitual karmic scenario that you have been going through cyclically, you’ll do it again.  So many people do not have a good or honest or true relationship with their teacher because they are basically having a relationship with their own neuroses.  That’s the truth!  That’s the truth!  They’re having it with their own neuroses. But you see here again is a mystery, something beautiful that you really need to understand. I’m using a very western way of explaining this so that you will understand better.  That’s part of the gift of having a teacher.  It’s part of the gift, because the teacher will show you your own mind, will mirror something.  There’ll be that little bounce-back phenomena there so that when you have a meeting with the teacher, and something begins, you begin to feel like, “What’s happening here?  I’m beginning to feel a little itchy twitchy.  Now wait a minute, I’m seeing some authority figure stuff come out.” Or, “Oh God, that reminds me of my mother!!”

Or men are like, ALL women do that!!  I hate that!!  So that will start to happen, and when that starts to happen, what the student doesn’t realize is that is a perfect opportunity to look at your mind.  It’s a gift.  Of course, you can make this gift happen anywhere in your life and actually this is the best way to practice Guru Yoga.  There is a lot of poetry and a lot of very profound Dharma text written about seeing the Guru’s face everywhere—in every person, in every situation, in every hardship, in every joy, in everything that comes to you one way or the other—seeing the Guru’s face, and therefore turning adversity into felicity.  Using the practice of seeing that the teacher’s face, the Guru’s face  is everywhere.  Therefore I turn all adversity into felicity because I honor that blessing, you see.  So that would be a great way to practice.

But what happens instead is that we project our own neuroses onto the teacher.  Now as a teacher I’ll tell you that oftentimes what happens is that you have to hang back and just let the student do that thing they’re going to do.  Just let them spin around and do whatever it is they have to do.  Go on, knock yourself out. You kind of watch them go through their little freak out. They’re smooth. They kind of do their little neurotic thing, and they’ll freak in their response to this and their reaction to that and so forth.  After a while the student will kind of calm down.  What they’ll find is that it will come in their face so much that they’ll have to work some of it out.  And they’ll also notice that, pretty much, the teacher’s not playing.  You know, the teacher just doesn’t play the game with you.

Once in a while a student has been so locked in that confusion that (I’ve had to do this too) I’ve seen teachers kind of put on the chicken suit and go in there and dance with the student a little bit, because they need to make some kind of connection.  They feel kind of out in space somewhere and they need to make some kind of connection. So even if there aren’t honest and true, disciplined and pure student-teacher relationship responses happening, there is the introduction to that which is the student and teacher kind of dancing around a little bit. But you must understand the teacher is dancing with your neuroses.  That’s what’s happening.

In order to practice Guru Yoga well, here’s the trick: Most people think that Guru Yoga is about giving up your will.  Now you don’t have to think any more, you have a teacher.  Wonderful!  Mazel tov!  This is terrific! In fact, when you have a teacher, what that means is that you have to take responsibility.  It means more responsibility, not less.  The teacher is not here to blow your nose for you.  The teacher is not here to take responsibility for you.  If the teacher were here to take responsibility for you, the teacher could also have your enlightenment. And since that’s not what she wants because the teacher has already got their own situation handled hopefully, then you must understand that the responsibility is yours.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo.  All rights reserved

Astrology for 7/28/2015

7/28/2015 Tuesday by Norma

Higher learning and expansion of thinking is highlighted today. Got a goal? Make it bigger by a factor of ten. Donald Trump said, “As long as you’re going to be thinking anyway, think big.” Fear of subterfuge is in the mix and must be recognized because it’s real. Keep your eyes open as you go about your day. If trouble arises, a speedy correction sets things right. Two modes co-exist today: jubilant happiness, the sort that leads to parades, speeches and sunny matters; and also fear of the unknown, of death and debt. Do what must be done right now and the future will take care of itself: it’s the thing you put off that causes trouble. What’s good? Planning and scheduling, after which you can go out and have some serious fun!

The daily astrology post affects everyone. Because individual charts vary, the circumstances outlined in the post will impact people differently. Some will feel this energy in the personal arena, some in finances, some with family or children, some in work, and so forth. There are many departments of life. Look to see where the dynamic affects you!

The Beginning of Everything

The following is a teaching offered by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo at Kunzang Palyul Choling in Maryland on the importance of Bodhicitta in Dharma practice:

 

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo.  All rights reserved

Astrology for 7/27/2015

7/27/2015 Monday by Norma

Happiness combines with cheerful work to make for a nice day. Work equals love: you’ll work on a project you love, or else you’ll work in the service of a loved one. Either way, it’s
satisfying. Small projects proliferate and they’re surprisingly fun. “Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work I go,” sang the seven dwarfs, and you’ll feel like singing along! Accept tasks performed for you, someone is expressing love. Joyce Brothers said, “Happiness lies in life’s small details.” Elsewhere, long distance travel is excellent and philosophical or judicial matters are satisfying. A happy surprise comes. Something positive is growing and it’s time to make plans for the future.

The daily astrology post affects everyone. Because individual charts vary, the circumstances outlined in the post will impact people differently. Some will feel this energy in the personal arena, some in finances, some with family or children, some in work, and so forth. There are many departments of life. Look to see where the dynamic affects you!

Karma: Virtual Reality

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “Neurotic Interaction to Guru Yoga”

When you’re practicing to accomplish pure view, you realize that for you, the teacher is the appearance in the world of a method or a path, a means by which one can enter the door of liberation. This is what makes the teacher precious.  The teacher can connect you with the path, can explain the path, can ripen and deepen the mind so that one can practice on the path, and is a spiritual facilitator of a very high caliber.  Their activity is extraordinary, or beyond what is normally found in samsara.  So you begin, in pure view, to recognize the teacher as being representative of your own true face, the ground of being that is your inherent primordial wisdom nature—that nature which is free of contrivance, free of distinction, completely empty yet completely fulfilled and spontaneously complete.  You begin to understand that this teacher is a representation of that nature in the world. The teacher provides the path, the means, the method, the ability to practice, and connects you with that in a very extraordinary way.

Once you’ve determined that, the teacher becomes for you the appearance of the Buddha nature in the world, the appearance of the method or the path in the world, the appearance of the fruition or the accomplishment in the world, the appearance of your own true face in the world.  Once the teacher becomes that for you, then to take an opposite viewpoint and to determine a difference of opinion is not a sin or a nonvirtue.  It simply argues with what you have already determined for yourself.  It’s almost like walking three steps forward and two steps back in your Dharma practice.  It’s not that you should become brain dead and that you’re not supposed to have an opinion, but there’s a fine line there that has to be travelled, and it’s pretty difficult to understand what that line is.  Now on the one hand you are, and have been raised to be, a person who has a mind that thinks, and you have the ability to connect cause and effect yourself. Hopefully on the path you are developing that clarity of mind more and more and more.  Yet here you find a situation where you have also stated clearly “I have found my teacher.  Here is this vajra master that I have taken teachings from. That vajra master has facilitated me on the path of Dharma. So how is it that I feel like I have a different opinion at the same time that I have said this is the ultimate, this is the face of the Buddha, this is the Buddhas’ wisdom?  How do I negotiate that?  What’s that look like for me?  I mean, how do I do that?”

Well, let’s stop and think for a moment in a way that might be beneficial.  Don’t answer that question right now, but keep it simmering.  We’re cooking up some Thanksgiving dinner here.  We’re keeping it simmering.  Here’s the gravy. It’s simmering on low boil.  So now we’re back with the turkey in the oven.  But don’t forget, the gravy is still on the boil.  You’ve got to keep watching that one!  O.K., now, withdraw from that, but still think about answering that question.

Now think about this:  You’ve noticed haven’t you, I’m sure you have, that throughout our lives we tend to repeat certain habitual tendencies again and again and again.  Can we all agree on that?  We have seen certain habitual tendencies.  We have seen certain patterns, certain habits. It really depends on how old you are, how convinced you are of this.  The older you are, the more time you’ve had to see these things repeat again and again and again.  While you’re still young, you think, “Well I’ve only done this two or three times!  Who says there’s going to be a fourth, fifth and seventy-fourth!”  But by the time you get to be maybe midlife where I am, you’re going, “I’ve seen this movie before!!  I have seen this movie before!”  And you realize that these habitual tendencies kind of repeat themselves again and again and again, deeply ingrained.

And then if you’re the kind of person who is really insightful, you realize that you project these habitual tendencies onto the circumstances of your life, and without realizing it, will very much control situations and people in your life according to your preconceived notions and according to your habitual tendencies. A difficult situation where you may recognize this is, let’s say, a child that grows up in a house where the child is not given any dignity or any respect and the child feels not loved or abused in some way. So the child develops a certain understanding about that —I am not worthy or I am not lovable—and then goes out into their lives and tends to project some of the same information on others. Others might be perfectly willing to love, be perfectly willing to just do the best they can, not always perfect of course, but to do the best they can, loving them.  And yet this person is unable to accept that love and sees the same outcome pretty much all the time and actually is engaged in that outcome.  So that’s one situation.

Another situation is, for instance, that of a cat.  A cat is actually so strongly habituated towards killing it seems instinctive. From the Dharma point of view, we understand this to be habitual tendency reinforced many many times, life after life, a karmic kind of situation.  The cat will be reborn, and even if there is nothing to kill, if you throw a ball of yarn across the room, the cat will go after it. You know what happens when a cat sees flies against the window.  If a fly is bumping against the window, the cat will go after that.  Anything that scuttles, the cat is after it and their eyes get really big.  Have you ever seen a cat look out the window at a bird feeder?  Have you ever seen that?  The cat makes these horribles noises like “I want those hamburgers!  Give me those hamburgers!!”  For them it’s like McDonalds in the sky.  These animals are so strongly habituated towards killing, that even though they come into this life as a cute little fluffy kitty, those little ears and the little tail and those little feet, still and all, they are killers.  They are habituated towards that and the first chance they get, any stimulation, any stimulation, such as the rolling of the ball of yarn across the floor, they will interpret as the hunter and hunted scenario.

Did you know that we do the same thing?  We do exactly the same thing.  We are so deeply habituated in our own particular tendencies, whatever they are, that we project in the same way onto external stimulation.  If we have deeply habituated ideas, sometimes they are bordering on the obsessive and compulsive. Maybe not even bordering, maybe all the way in that country!  Pay the toll, we’re in!  What happens is once we are strongly habituated into habit, we interpret all stimulation outside as something that keys us into our habitual tendency.  So what I find as a teacher and a female, for instance, is that many people interpret me as their mother.  They think of me as being the authority figure, someone they have to answer to in that way.  They can’t be bad around me.  A lot of times the students will… I mean it’s one thing to have your Dharma manners going when you see the teacher—you hold that in respect, and that’s a really good thing—but what I found is that I can walk into a party and kill it, just like that!  Because my students suddenly stop functioning.  It reminds me of when I was a kid and my mother said ‘dust the living room.’  So I’d be dusting the living room, having fun, thinking about other things, like boys or whatever, and dusting and carrying on.  My mother came into the room and I’d suddenly start moving fast! It reminds me a little bit of that.

And sometimes some of my students are habituated towards authority figures in a certain way, and since I must exude some kind of authority, they look at me and interact in the same way with me that they do with other authority figures. So there is this “has to be good girl, good boy or whatever, routine” and the blaming of the teacher and making all of those “I’m mad at you authority figures” kind of scenarios going on.  There are all kinds of different gigs, You know what your gig is with authority.  Everybody has one.  And so they project that onto the teacher. But you see, what’s really happening there is you’re looking at your own habitual tendency—the way that your mind works, the way that it intersects with the time and space grid in front of you, and how you play with your own habitual tendency.  What you’re really seeing there is kind of like a bounce-back phenomena that’s actually taking place within your own mindstream.

There is nothing external happening.  There is nothing beyond you that is happening.  There’s just nothing out there that determines your fate.  You’re looking at a kind of almost internal bubble, or a virtual situation in a certain way.  You can learn a lot from that kind of virtual reality situation.  It’s almost a virtual internal situation that’s happening there.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo.  All rights reserved

Astrology for 7/26/2015

7/26/2015 Sunday by Norma

Overdoing kicks off the day. It’s important to rest and let yourself heal to avoid a setback. An appeal to pride causes people to promise more than they can deliver, with difficult results. Something you’ve hoped for is going to happen, but it will take time! Men and women are in harmony and can proceed with a project. Good will and good spirits are all pervasive. W. H. Auden said, “In those whom I like, I can find no common denominator; in those whom I love I can: they all make me laugh.” It’s necessary to re-do something, but you don’t mind because it’s something you like. What’s good today? Travel, philosophy, religion, and beautification projects. Improve your appearance and everything else goes fine.

The daily astrology post affects everyone. Because individual charts vary, the circumstances outlined in the post will impact people differently. Some will feel this energy in the personal arena, some in finances, some with family or children, some in work, and so forth. There are many departments of life. Look to see where the dynamic affects you!

Ever-Present Blessings

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

Guru Yoga is the most potent of all practices and it’s the most simple. One can practice Guru Yoga simply by visualizing the Guru above the crown of one’s head and making offerings by visualizing them, and then receiving the blessing, real quick. The white blessing from the Guru’s Body to your body comes in the head, white to white; the red blessing from the Guru’s Speech, from the Guru’s throat to your throat; the blue blessing from the Guru’s Mind, which is the heart, from his heart (or her heart) to your heart). You can receive that blessing constantly. It’s free. It’s yours. You can receive it periodically. You can receive it every morning, every night. Whatever you want, as much as you want. That’s the beauty of Guru Yoga. And you should think that the Guru is like your constant companion. Not in a creepy way. I don’t want you guys looking in my window (laughter). But in a wholesome way, where we understand that this nature is freely given, like method that one can use. It is indistinguishable from the ground which is full enlightenment, the method which is Dharma, and the result which is the completion or accomplishment of the precious awakened state.

So we understand the Guru is the ground, the Guru is the method, the Guru is the result. And we begin, through the devotion, through calling out our own nature, our own mind, our own qualities, to mix willingly with that of the Guru. Over time, that blessing mixes like milk with water and we understand that indeed, Lord Buddha resides in us all. We understand that indeed each one of us is some uncontrived beginningless and endless and yet fundamentally complete luminous nature, some state of awakened and yet uncontrived view. That we are that in our nature. Our job in this lifetime is to use the blessings of our Gurus, to use their accomplishment, their qualities, their methods, to listen carefully and accordingly accomplish awakening to that nature. It’s the swift way. It’s the rocketship. It’s powered because it’s like lighting something at both ends. You’re not thinking, “Oh I have to go there.”  We are thinking, “This is like a mirror and a mirror”—inseparable in their nature.

Here in America, we have a lot of pop-psychology. We all have these little boxes about how relationships ought to be. Pop-psychology has told us how big they ought to be and what shape they ought to be. We are told that we should be independent in certain ways and then sharing in other ways. One way or another way, we are told how we ought to be. I want to tell you that the relationship of Guru Yoga is not like that. For instance, in relationships we are taught, I’m ok, you’re ok. What is it? Don’t be co-dependent. So don’t be in a co-dependent relationship. Well, if you’re going to be in a co-dependent relationship, I guess it ought to be with your Guru (laughter). But you don’t look at it that way. Because a co-dependent relationship is where two people who are ill or not seeing clearly or are deluded or neurotic in some way, are being neurotic together, and it fits.

Well, that’s not the same with one’s own Root Guru. You can freely and openly give your whole heart and know that you are not in danger. You can freely and joyfully walk, dance through that door of liberation, and you will be happily and joyfully received. You can depend utterly and completely on the Three Precious Jewels and the condensed essence which is the Root Guru and never fall. This is the one time you should not guard your heart. A difficult habit to break for all of us.

So again, we’re not talking about personalities, because that’s ordinary. We’re not talking about you guys all coming to live at my house. Not like that. That’s ordinary, ordinary context. We are thinking that the blessing of my teacher resides as me, in me, and I am that. And like we say in The Seven Line Prayer, “Following you I will practice.” Through that devotion, through that practice, all the blessings of the Buddhas and the Bodhisattvas are yours. Freely given. To the deserving student, to the practicing student, the Guru will always appear. And we should always today be creating the causes for the Guru to appear tomorrow. In whatever form.

So, I guess that’s it for today. It will give you something to think about. And I hope when I give teachings like this that you will really take them in. Don’t bar the way. Let them come in. And if you are moved to go recite The Seven Line Prayer and open your heart and feel that blessing, then I ask you please to fill up. Don’t deny yourself. You’ve done that for too long. Instead welcome to the banquet of Dharma and the yummy good food of Guru Yoga. I invite you to partake.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo All rights reserved

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