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Astrology for 10/22/2014

10/22/2014 Wednesday by Norma

A last ditch diplomatic appeal comes today, and then things change. The attitude until now has been “it’s not a problem,” but tomorrow it’s different. Indecision is the major contributor, yours and other people’s. Widespread dissemination of information is critical to success. Tell everyone what is going on! A surprising defection [...]

Non-Duality

Non-Duality

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “Tools to Deepen in Your Practice”

We think that bodhichitta is something that we must practice, and yes, in order to build proper habitual tendency, that’s what we should do. That is the basis and foundation for the next level of [...]

Astrology for 10/21/2014

10/21/2014 Tuesday by Norma

Four planets in Libra reflect the prevailing social urge. Have a party, get together with others! Do lunch, brunch, or at least check in with your buds. Happiness comes from togetherness. Men are loving, and women and children are on board too. Expect intense activity, and also expect to keep solving [...]

Love For All Beings

Love For All Beings

[Adapted from an oral commentary given by His Holiness Penor Rinpoche in conjunction with a ceremony wherein he bestowed the bodhisattva vow upon a gathering of disciples at Namdroling in Bozeman, Montana, November 1999. ---Ed.]

Think about all living beings that at some time or another, throughout the course of innumerable past lifetimes, have [...]

Astrology for 10/17/2014

10/17/2014 Friday by Norma

A loner keeps trying to pull away from a partnership. This person needs less togetherness, and the partner is urging more togetherness, creating a problem for both sides. Khalil Gibran said, “Let there be spaces in your togetherness, and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone.” Negotiate time together and time apart, and it’ll work. Don’t suffocate your partner. Love is the common theme, and everyone feels it. This is a busy, fun time, but you must continue to balance your checkbook. Watch for hidden costs that are accumulating! Love isn’t a problem, but money is! What’s good? Enthusiasm, a cheerful mindset, and
a hardworking leader who will take care of everything!

The daily astrology post affects everyone. Because individual charts vary, the circumstances outlined in the post will affect 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!

Understanding the Senses

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “Tools to Deepen Your Practice”

In order to practice Vajrayana, for instance, there has to be some certain capacity that the student has, or some previous karma that now comes forward and comes to bear, or Vajrayana simply would not work. Indeed, for certain kinds of students because they practice very superficially, Vajrayana , would be like just reading Sutra—just reading it, reading it, reading it, reading it. You may glean some information, but you will never accomplish any wisdom that way.

So when we first come to Vajrayana, we are expected not only to read, to learn how to pronounce, to accomplish the tune; but we also have to learn how to visualize. We also have to learn how to allow the five senses to dissolve into the sphere of truth, which is emptiness,  and that means letting go of perception.  And that’s the first step towards meditating on emptiness, or rather as we do in Vajrayana, dissolving or realizing the essence of all nature to be empty and then arising from that empty nature as the deity or as a wisdom being.  This is basically the meat and bones of Vajrayana, that generation of the wisdom being by first dissolving into emptiness.

If a person who is studying Theravada Buddhism (that’s the early stages of Buddhism that Lord Buddha taught when he was actually physically alive),  practices like that, they are letting the mind relax. They are using some kind of method like allowing the mind to rest on the breath, to simply breathe, to simply be like that.  But ideally, when a Vajrayana practitioner prepares to really generate the deity and they’ve done their taking refuge and all the steps that precede:the promising, the Bodhisattva promise and all the prayers:and they actually get to the part where there is the dissolution or the original view of emptiness, they are not, at that point, relaxing the mind.  Because if we’re simply relaxing the mind at that point, we are technically practicing Theravada Buddhism.  It’s a little different.

It’s ok to start that way, but again, we’re talking about going more deeply into our practice.  So when a Tantric practitioner meditates on emptiness in order to pave the way for the rrising of the deity, what you really do at that time is to open up the senses in the sense that the senses are grasping things.  They see “this” or “this”.  I hear “that”.  I smell “something”.  So the senses are grasping things. The senses are actually the children of the original conscious assumption of nature being essentially real, or of phenomena being essentially real.  And so the senses arise from that assumption.  It’s a chicken or egg thing.  It’s opposite what you would think.  The senses arise from the assumption of consciousness as being inherently real.  And so the senses’ job is to grasp!

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo All rights reserved

Astrology for 10/16/2014

10/16/2014 Thurs by Norma

A burst of enthusiasm permeates the scene in the person of a woman or child with an upbeat perspective. Endless communication is here now. You must answer every question until the curious person is satisfied, no matter how tired you are of the topic. It’s also important to listen to long explanations that express deep concerns. William Arthur Ward said, “The greatest gift you can give another is the purity of your attention.” The happy tone of the times is underscored by fear that serious problems are lurking in the background. Address these problems and you can solve them. Listen carefully and offer help where you can. What’s good? A loving partner, confidence and the fact that
things aren’t as tricky as they seem.

The daily astrology post affects everyone. Because individual charts vary, the circumstances outlined in the post will affect 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!

Stupas: Wish Fulfilling Jewels

The following is a slideshow of images of KPC Stupas. To learn more about these Sacred Structures join us at KPC Nov. 30 – Dec. 2 for a retreat weekend with Tulku Sang Ngag Rinpoche on the Power of Stupas:

Astrology for 10/15/2014

10/15/2014 Wednesday by Norma

Emotion continues to rule the home front, and rampant feelings can derail things you’re trying to accomplish. Listen carefully to troubled people and do your best to get to the root of the problem. Platitudes, simplistic advice, none of this does any good: what works is solving deep seated issues. Do you owe more than you can repay? A loving partner is trying to help, but an older person with down to earth advice offers a solution. Take it and breathe a sigh of relief. Be practical and realistic. Woody Allen said, “I’m astounded by people who want to ‘know’ the universe when it’s hard enough to find your way around Chinatown.” What’s good today? Boundless energy, love, and food can solve problems that rational discussion can’t!

The daily astrology post affects everyone. Because individual charts vary, the circumstances outlined in the post will affect 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!

Taking Bodhicitta Home

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo offered at Palyul Ling Retreat 2012:

We have to remember that kindness is the way, and bodhicitta is the most powerful thing in the world.  If you are afraid because someone has wronged you or harmed you in some way (and I’ve had that experience), I’ve also found out that bodhicitta solves the problem.  Bodhicitta ends the problem.  If someone harms you and you instead give bodhicitta, some kindness, then the problem is over.  His Holiness himself with his own mouth told me there is nothing more powerful in the entire world than the great bodhicitta, nothing more powerful.

Whatever practice you do, meditate on compassion.  Meditate on the suffering of sentient beings.  Come to understand what it is that they go through.   They will never have what you have because the karma is not there.  But you could help by offering the bodhicitta and offering yourself to the three precious jewels for their sake.  Keep this phrase in your mind.  If you are uncomfortable and your knees hurt or anything like that, remember, “For their sake. For their sake, my children.”  Please hold that in your heart and hold that in your mind, even though these are just very simple words and nothing to take home or be so proud of. Still I want to tell you that if you don’t have the bodhicitta, you have nothing.

You are so needed in a world that is hungry for love.  But if you forget that, then your practice again becomes dry and dull, and you may forget.  Dharma is like a wedding cake.  The bottom of the cake is the support.  Without support, everything falls down.  And bodhicitta is the support.

I know your hips hurt and your knees hurt and your eyes are tired.  I know what it is like with retreats and the long times that you sit in that one certain position.  I can’t even do it anymore because my knees have gotten so bad.  I inherited that from my father, His Holiness Penor Rinpoche.  That’s all I am going to burden you with tonight.  I feel that you have spent a long day working very hard,  and you should have your rest; but I wanted to tell you this one small thing.  Don’t forget love.  Don’t decide what it has to be.  Don’t forget the bodhicitta that is so needed, like food and water.  Look and see what you can do to help others on ordinary levels too. You can’t practice when you are hungry.  Try to help all beings in any way that you can.  If you find yourself unable to keep going in your practice, stop.  Go back to the beginning.  Do the bodhicitta all over again, and then move on.  You will be refreshed.  Your heart will be moved.

That is all I am going to share tonight.  I thought that it might be helpful in your practice, especially in the middle when it’s just getting really hard.  Take care of yourself.  Take care of your hearts.  Give yourself the food you need to go on through practicing kindness.  Be kind to yourself as well.  I am thrilled to have this opportunity to be with you, even though I have nothing much to say.  Thank you for coming.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo All rights reserved

Astrology for 10/14/2014

10/14/2014 Tuesday by Norma

Feelings run rampant today, and the trick is to be aware of how you feel and to keep your head. You must continue to function in the world. Make a mental box, a place you can put all your emotions, and set it aside for the time being. Rabelais said, “For all your ills I give you laughter.” Things are too exciting and too action-packed for moodiness right now. Love is paramount, and important figures galvanize others. It’s an intriguing time on many fronts. Pay close attention to your partner, this person loves you and needs an ally. Listen to the voice that encourages you to expand, to move out of your usual pattern. In this time of growth, resist the temptation to stay home and think of the past. Yes, you must solve old issues, but now is pretty good too!

The daily astrology post affects everyone. Because individual charts vary, the circumstances outlined in the post will affect 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!

Astrology for 10/13/2014

10/13/2014 Monday by Norma

Communicate! Tell people what they need to know. If you neglected to inform others of something important, do it right now! Information solves an old problem today. Good will is prevalent, and a spirit of generosity is all pervasive. Act quickly to take advantage of the good aspects. Thomas
a Kempis said, “At the day of judgment we shall not be asked what we have read but what we have done.” During the day the tone changes and emotional issues come to the forefront. Family is important, and the feelings of others must be respected. Fix things, focus on household or family matters. A bill can come due, and you must pay it. Accept losses gracefully, they are a fact of life. What’s good today? Happiness, fire energy that gives people zip and pep, and enthusiasm. Plus a loving partner or companion.

The daily astrology post affects everyone. Because individual charts vary, the circumstances outlined in the post will affect 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!

Why We Practice

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo offered at Palyul Ling Retreat in 2012:

So I think as we ascend to the higher teachings, we have to remember the bodhicitta.  We have to remember that if we are not kind, there’s nothing that we are doing that’s useful.  If we are not kind, there’s no way we are going to be able to keep our practice going, because we will forget the suffering of sentient beings.  And if we do that, we are lost.  We forget why we are practicing.  We don’t practice.  And then if we are lucky, we may see a person whose suffering can be read on their face.  You can see that.  And if you are fortunate enough to see that, it may remind you that it is time to do your practice.

I promise you, you won’t forget to do your practice for the rest of the year if you meditate on the suffering of sentient beings every day – even just for five minutes.  Ten minutes is better.  But if we can manage to do that, that’s what keeps us going.  Otherwise our practice becomes dry.  It’s too intellectual.  We reason with our practice, and we kind of argue with our practice.  And yet with bodhicitta, it’s impossible to do that.  How can bodhicitta be the wrong thing to do?  How can bodhicitta be something that you can skip?  We must be kind.  His Holiness the Dalai Lama and all the high lamas that I have ever heard have always said that you must be kind.  That’s what’s happening.  So I have pretty much stuck with teaching bodhicitta all my life, and I’ve been doing this for about 30 years.

Bodhicitta is beautiful.  It is nourishing.  It’s like food.  If you keep yourself nourished by practicing the bodhicitta, you’ll continue to be full and have confidence, and be able to benefit sentient beings even though it seems so hard to keep going.  We all have jobs.  It seems so hard to keep going but if you remember the bodhicitta, and that it is your reason for practicing, you absolutely will not give up.  I promise you. That is the answer.

Everyone I’ve talked to has this problem—practicing for part of the year, and keeping that going.  Although it’s not true of Tibetans necessarily, it is true of Americans.  Tibetans were brought up in a culture that is all about loving-kindness, and the Dharma is part of their entire system.  It’s in their blood and it’s in their brains and it’s everywhere.  But we Americans like to have reasons for things.  The best thing to do is to stop being so prideful and go back to the very reason why you are here.  You are not here to wear a fancy robe.  You are not here to receive high teachings and walk around so prideful.  No, you are here first of all because you love His Holiness; and then you are here because you know that sentient beings suffer and that you can help.  I know of nothing that is more precious than that.  You can help.  We forget that.  We think the practice is about us, making advances.  We should make advances in our practice.  It’s true.  We should.  And yet we have to remember that the true reason why we practice is love.

Now if there is anything that I’ve said that offends you, I’m sorry, but not really.  I will sit here and pound bodhicitta into your heads until I no longer have the opportunity because it is what I believe and what I know will bring benefit to the world.  It’s what brought His Holiness to us.  It is what will bring him back.

If we keep our promises and benefit sentient beings, he will return to us.  Maybe he already has.  Who knows?  But it is our job to call him with our hearts by practicing in the way that he taught us.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo All rights reserved

Kindness is the Way

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo offered at Palyul Ling Retreat 2012:

His Holiness Penor Rinpoche was one of the most stubborn lamas in the beginning. He did not want to teach Dzogchen yet, because he didn’t want to throw Dharma on the floor. Instead he wanted everybody to learn the great bodhicitta, and he made you understand that there is no power anywhere stronger than the bodhicitta.

When Tibetan kids are young, their moms or their Amas, their nannies, or whoever takes care of them, teaches them about kindness. It’s customary. It’s what happens. That doesn’t happen here in America. It’s so fortunate that Tibetan Amas and mommies teach their children that way from birth.

I think in some ways we should think of our own mothers who have taught us like that to be like a root guru to us. The first one that taught you to be kind, that’s a root guru. The first one that taught you to love, that’s a root guru. The first one that taught you that bodhicitta is the most important power in the universe, that’s a root guru. His Holiness taught me that, and he is my root guru.

I wish the fashion would turn around, and that there would be more teachings given out constantly about bodhicitta. I wish we would not set it aside. I wish Tibetan lamas would not listen to us, because we are so prideful and so willing to think that we know what’s best. His Holiness was one of the last ones that gave in and began to teach some Dzogchen. I think he felt the way I do—that bodhicitta is the most important thing. Once when he saw the dogs and the parrots that we were saving, he said, “That’s Dharma. That’s Dharma.” That’s what His Holiness said, and I believe it. I know it to be true. Kindness is the way.

. . . Sometimes we can be so prideful. We think that having practiced so well it is not necessary for us to be kind. We can concentrate on the academic part, the intellectual part, and then we will have it all down perfectly. But that is not really the truth.  Academics is part of the teaching. Meditation is part of the teaching. Taking vows, that’s part of it. Please don’t forget, most important is the great bodhicitta. It is the very display of all that is light and pure. It is the very display of goodness. We like to forget it and let it go, but please don’t. I beg of you. Don’t do that.

Your mind will stay fresh and sweet if you are always concerned for sentient beings. And we must always be concerned for sentient beings because they don’t know how to take care of themselves. They don’t know how to do what is necessary to accomplish any Dharma or anything really meaningful in their lives. Many people get a scholarship and they go to college and then that’s it. They’ve done it. But it’s not true. It is most important to develop kindness. It is most important to be kind.

For those of you who are unforgiving in your demeanor and not so kind, you don’t give Buddhism a good image. That should be what it is all about to you. I will assume that probably isn’t pleasant to hear, but it is what I believe and what I know. If you did nothing else but take the bodhisattva vow and spend the rest of your life praying and benefitting sentient beings, you will have accomplished a lot. When you go back home, whether it is New York City or Kalamazoo or wherever it is, bring this little bit of information with you.

. Look around. Stop closing your eyes. Are you going out to dinner this evening?  Then notice the person sitting on the street with nothing to eat. Maybe bring them what’s left or give them some money for some food. If you are going to the movies, think about it twice. Go to the movie but then take the same amount of money and give it to someone who really needs it. I believe in that. It is called paying it forward. And it is the best display that you can possibly give people about what the Dharma is. If you display your activity like that, they will understand. They will understand what Dharma is. But if we are self-important, prideful and in love with ourselves, we will never see the beauty of Dharma. Never. We must see this. We must understand that Dharma is not different from loving-kindness, and it is not different from our nature.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo All rights reserved

 

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