The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called "Keeping Heart Samaya" Guru Yoga is a very important, very fundamental aspect of the practice of Vajrayana. When a student and a teacher come together, following in the footsteps of Guru Rinpoche as he taught, the relationship between the student and the teacher is upheld by the teacher in a very profound way. Once the teacher accepts the student as their very own and takes them into their heart and actually into their body, speech and mind, it is the teacher’s commitment to bring blessings and benefit to that student, not only in this lifetime but in every future lifetime. The student then becomes extremely important to the teacher, in that the teacher, upon accepting the student fully once that relationship has been established, promises to return lifetime after lifetime in whatever form is necessary in order to be of benefit to that student. So there is a heart commitment or heart "samaya." When the teacher looks into the face of the student, the teacher says to the student or thinks to the student in their heart and in their mind, “I will not abandon you. I will not abandon you to remain alone in cyclic existence.” So, the commitment is that the teacher promises to see the student through until supreme realization. This then becomes a "samaya," or commitment, that lasts life after life, from life to death, from life to death, from life to death. Again and again and again this relationship returns. There are many stories about how lamas, recognizing their students or seeing their students from the time before, whatever that time might be, feel great joy at seeing the face of the student again, tremendous joy, as though seeing and having the opportunity to nurture their beloved child once more. And this is a very beautiful and happy thing. Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo. All rights reserved
1/19/2017 Thursday by Norma Someone makes a final show of authority today, generating disfavor in others. This is a poor day to demand respect but a great day to make friends. A rigid attitude morphs into a friendly, "hail fellow well met" mode as the day progresses. Shakespeare said, "The old order changes, yielding place to new, and God fulfills himself in many ways." Do your best to fit into the new facts of life and avoid lamenting what's gone. Love is here; someone who seemed gone for good is back, and a new source of inspiration is in the air. Apologize to anyone you have mistreated recently and make no effort to defend yourself. Be willing to accept apologies and put the past behind you. Happiness and the willingness to extend an olive branch, to make peace, is the gift of the day.
An excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called "Vajrayana and Kaliyuga" It used to be that one could learn something of the Buddha’s teaching – for instance, a beginning philosophy, such as the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, and some of the Buddha’s basic teachings – but one could not receive teachings on the meaning of Vajrayana, and certainly one would not come across teachings on the nature of mind. This is a very recent occurrence. They are still thought of as secret, even though now, because this is the time of Kaliyuga, the time of great degeneration, these teachings are in fact widespread. There is a tremendous blessing in their being widespread. If they were not widespread, we, who are born in America, would have no access to them. So we are truly blessed by having them. But there is also a tremendous difficulty with their being widespread, and that is that there are many practitioners that I have seen who have heard rich and profound teachings and have not utilized them whatsoever. It is like seeds tossed into a field: Sometimes they fall on rocks, and sometimes they fall on fertile ground. Different students have different capacities, and the teachings are often not measured out according to what capacity each student has. Then, of course, there are those students who come into a teaching situation and have no idea what that situation is and innocently are not aware of the gift that they’ve been given or how to use it or how to keep samaya. So, there are obstacles and there are drawbacks. The teaching itself becomes diluted to some degree if it is given out and it is not utilized. When I say diluted, I don’t mean that the teachings change, I don’t mean that the tantra that we’re being taught from the books, when the lamas come, is somehow different from what was taught before. It isn’t different at all. It’s still the same exact teaching; but the quality of empowerment, the quality of impact, the quality of our deepening, is changed in this time. Again, that has a good side and a bad side. Since the teaching is passed out in this more casual way, it has attached to it the karma of practitioners who sincerely practice in order to attain enlightenment, and it also has the karma attached to it of students who do not utilize the teaching. In this way there is negativity there. On the other hand, there would be no other way for sentient beings to hear the teachings. Furthermore, this is the time of Kaliyuga. And while Kaliyuga works against us, it also works for us, particularly when it comes to Vajrayana, in that of all the teachings that the Buddha has ever taught, of all the spiritual teachings that are available of any kind, Vajrayana teachings are the most perfectly suited for this time of Kaliyuga. This time of Kaliyuga is extremely contracted. Karma is thick. It isn’t spread out and dispersed over a great, long field. Rather, it is drawn in. It is a time of contraction, and karma ripens much more quickly than it used to ripen. This is not because you’re in Vajrayana but because this is the time for that. Experience is much more condensed; phenomena are much more condensed;time is much morecondensed. You can look at your life; you can walk outside and see that this is not the same world from just a hundred years ago. It was much broader and spread apart. This is a result of the condensed quality of Kaliyuga, which will continue, and experience will become more compacted and more condensed, not less. Under these conditions, Vajrayana can actually do the most good in two ways, which is an amazing thought. One way is that we can see cause and effect relationships more readily. We are suffering and we are suffering just enough to help us be convinced that suffering is a reality, therefore we are willing to practice. We realize the benefit of practice because we truly do wish to attain enlightenment. In a better time, in a smoother time, in a time when there are rolling green hills around us and not much to do except to get old, when things are just more spread out and life is perhaps longer and more relaxed, under these conditions it’s hard for us to imagine why we should get up the gumption to practice. We just think we should sort of go with the flow. So, in this regard, Kaliyuga is very compatible with Vajrayana. Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo. All rights reserved
1/18/2017 Wednesday by Norma If you're uncertain about something today, please refrain from doing it! Indecision is an inner warning system that you should heed. Floods, gas leaks, spoiled food, fog and covert activity play a significant role in the events of the day. Notice unusual odors, shifty people or anything that causes apprehension, and report your suspicions to those in charge. Leonardo da Vinci said, " Just as courage imperils life, fear protects it." Now that you're being careful, this is a nice day for ice skating, artistic pursuits, visualization, meditation and sensitive interactions with others. Love is in bloom and compassionate people are at hand to help with every problem.
The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called "Vajrayana and Kaliyuga" Besides making it possible for the teachings to be readily available to all who wish them, Kaliyuga is valuable in another way: Namely, one can practice in a way that is extremely condensed.One can learn the philosophy of the nature of mind, as the Buddha taught in his first teachings, and the philosophy of samsara and really understand how all of this is. And one can also generate oneself as the deity, which is a very condensed way to generate merit. It isn’t the same as merely learning and then doing no more harm. It doesn't have the same passive quality. One generates oneself as the deity, one utilizes the mantra, and one visualizes the seed syllable. These are all extremely condensed manifestations of primordial wisdom and of certain aspects and qualities of that wisdom in display form. These two different kinds of condensed activity coming together produce an enormous amount of merit. Karma ripens more quickly; it ripens in a condensed way, more deeply and more richly. What can happen because of that is that we can create, through our practice, windows of spaciousness, windows of opportunity to perceive the primordial wisdom state much more easily than we ever could in a different time or by utilizing a different practice. It is a most perfect opportunity and a most perfect time; and it is also a very difficult time. If we are irresponsible about the teachings, that is to say, if we hear teachings about the nature of mind and do not utilize them, that also ripens in a very condensed way, and it ripens very quickly. If we hear teachings about the nature of mind and do not respond to them but allow them to lie fallow, the karma of those teachings lying fallow only increases, and increases rapidly. So basically, we are in a position of tremendous responsibility. The responsibility is for us to utilize these teachings, to utilize them effectively, so that we can attain supreme realization in order to be of benefit to beings. We also have a tremendous responsibility to uphold the teachings. We should consider ourselves, then, upholders of the teaching, propagators of the Dharma. How does one propagate the Dharma? One doesn’t have to be a teacher to propagate the Dharma, or somebody that distributes books. One propagates the Dharma when one practices the Dharma because one holds it and utilizes it and does not allow it to remain fallow. Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo. All rights reserved
1/17/2017 Tuesday by Norma Partnership does not serve you well today, in fact it can get you into trouble. You and your companion agree on your position, but others don't. This is a poor time to go against those in power, whose strategies you don't understand. Open defiance doesn't work, but compassionate conversations are extremely successful. Sensitivity prevails today; try to understand both sides of each equation and show the same respect for others' point of view as you do for your own. Respect is defined as "To feel or show honor or esteem for; to show consideration for." Mars is unfriendly toward Saturn, suggesting that assertive behavior meets stiff resistance. This is a good time to engage in healing of all sorts, to express sympathy and compassion, and to bring happiness to others. Empathy can solve every problem today.
1/16/ Monday by Norma An outstanding opportunity to improve your professional standing comes, and you have the right qualifications for the job! An obscure door opens, one you didn't know existed, and you may enter. Go in directly, if you wait or think about past failures you'll miss the chance. Ortega y Gasset said, "We cannot put off living until we are ready: It is always urgent, 'here and now,' without any possible postponement. Life is fired at us point blank." When the moment passes, slow down and relax. Avoid the temptation to rant against a system you can't affect, either take direct action or do something else. What's good today? Professional advancement, excellent partners, romantic love and careful action.
There are three different levels on which you can recognize your Teacher. One is an extremely poor level, a common, ordinary level. One is an intermediate level in which you see that the teacher holds the teachings purely and gives the teachings purely and you really admire the Teacher and feel great respect for the Teacher. That, however, is only an intermediate level of recognition. The deepest and supreme level of recognition is recognizing the Teacher not as a person, but rather, as a door to liberation, as one’s own nature. This supreme level recognizes the Teacher as one’s mind, recognizes the Teacher as the miraculous intention of the Buddha, appearing in a manifest way in order to benefit beings. It recognizes the Teacher as that original longing, the longing to know that nature, to recognize the Teacher as the answer, to recognize the Teacher and primordial wisdom itself in some incarnate form, in the same way that your own relationship to the path becomes not an ordinary thing, but a very profound and mystical thing, a thing of truth, a thing able to bring about awakening. The relationship with the Teacher is especially difficult for Westerners. We have lots of training on authority figures, we have lots of training on mothers and fathers, but we have no training on to how to deal with this longing. The way we have dealt with it in the past has hurt us. It has brought us a great deal of pain and suffering. It has made us act in ways that we do not understand. We are people who had a particular karma and it did not quite fit in with the karma of the society in which we were brought up. If that were not so, then more of the society in which we were brought up would be able to approach the idea of awakening, would be able to approach the idea of having a Teacher in order to follow a supreme path in order to achieve the great awakening. So, if we can reprogram ourselves by looking back at that original longing and understanding its depth, understanding the ways in which we compensated and forgiving ourselves and confessing the lack of recognition, we will then be able to establish a relationship with the Teacher, the path, the Buddha and with the meditational deities that we practice. If we can establish that relationship anew in that way, the quality of the path that we practice will be completely different. The quality of the experience that we have will be completely different. We will feel healed, and the need for that healing is very sharp and very strong. It’s my job to watch over my students. Some of you spend 75 percent of your energy blaming yourself for the way you are. Some of you spend a lot of energy trying to act out things that will never bear fruit concerning the Dharma and concerning your Teacher. Some of you spend 75 percent of your energy trying to pretend that you don’t feel or trying to take issue with one thing or another so you don’t have to feel that longing. I look at you and I have a sense of how you’re managing that longing. It’s like you come so far and you’re right here, almost to my heart, and then you turn away. Some of you stand in the background and look from afar, look hungry, peek out from behind the door, close the door again, stand back there and be hungry for some more. Then you open the door and do like that. Each one of you has a particular and peculiar different way that you deal with this, but you are all living with this. You were born with the longing to awaken. You were born with a longing to know your own nature, to taste that nature. You were born with a longing and a homing instinct to find your Teacher. You were born with a longing to find a pure path and there were no words like that when you grew up. You compensated by substituting other things and trying to make them the object of your longing. You made lots of mistakes because of it. That’s not the point, though. There is nothing you can do in one lifetime that is as meaningful a miscalculation as simply reaching for that nature and trying to find it in something small. That is the biggest miscalculation that any of us can make and we do it constantly. That’s what keeps us revolving endlessly in cyclic existence. An excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called "Longing for the Guru" Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo. All rights reserved
1/15/2017 Sunday by Norma Putter around doing small projects; fixing, tidying, arranging. Organize things, clear out old clothes for donation, sweep out the dog bed. Avoid annoying people who are grieving, ill or suffering with chirpy "can do" pep talks, you'll just get in trouble. You must improve something, however, so work on your resume or your mind but leave others alone. (Harder than it sounds today.) Moliere said, "Everyone has a right to his own course of action." This is a great day to relax, go to the movies, engage in a healing regimen, and spend time with a partner. Avoid anything that stimulates self pity or reminds you of sad things from the past. Feelings of victimization are a danger today. No wallowing!
1/14/2017 Saturday by Norma Today "That lucky old Sun has nothing to do, but roll around heaven all day," meaning men and leaders can take a rest, recharge, relax and shine. The Moon (women) have a bit more to do, all favorable: energize your partner, generate a coalition, and make serious progress on a long-term goal, all without breaking a sweat or mussing your hair. High five! Neptune travels with Venus, highlighting sensitivity, healing, and creativity. Follow your hunches today and you won't go wrong.