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The Wish to Benefit All Beings

The Wish to Benefit All Beings

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by His Holiness Penor Rinpoche on Meditation, reprinted her with permission from Palyul Ling International:

This is the root of all the Dharma practices: generating the Bodhicitta [loving-kindness]. If one can really generate genuine Bodhicitta within one’s mind, then it is very easy to move nearer […]

Astrology for 5/26/2015

5/26/2015 Tuesday by Norma

A secret is revealed that brings satisfaction. A mysterious person, one you haven’t paid much attention to, is pulling for your cause. Someone you see today could well be that person, so be put out the welcome mat for whoever appears. Mercury and Mars are travelling together signifying fast driving, enthusiastic […]

Understanding the Causes

Understanding the Causes

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “Why We Suffer”

When we come into this life, although we are little drooling children, although we cannot understand very much, we will grow. And as we grow what we will see is the display of those habitual tendencies of the […]

Astrology for 5/25/2015

5/25/2015 Monday by Norma

A surprise is in the works today so be prepared. An emotional explosion is possible when something doesn’t turn out the way you expected. Try not to blow your stack. One person wants to nest and the other wants to be out on the town. Shunryu Suzuki said, “To give your […]

How to Handle the “Dead Zone”

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

So ask yourself, where are you? If you find that deadness inside of you, don’t blame your path, don’t blame your teacher, don’t blame your society, don’t blame the Buddha. Instead, go within and find what is true and meaningful to you. Work the sums. Reason it out. Lord Buddha himself said, “Forget blind faith.” He said, “Reason it out.”  The path should make sense. It should be logical and meaningful to you, not to me. What’s it going to mean to you if it’s meaningful to me? It has to be logical and meaningful to you. This is what the Buddha said.  It would really help you to try that out for yourself.

We live in a society where we are separate from some fundamental life rhythms and where we are trained to think that things are happening outside of us. We’re in a world filled with terrorism and racial abuse, religious abuse, all kinds of conflict, and yet we think racial intolerance, for instance, is happening out there. We read about it in the paper. No, racial intolerance is happening in here. That’s where it’s happening.

It’s like that with everything on this path. You cannot let it happen out there. It’s your responsibility, your empowerment, your life.  Waiting for someone to tell you how to live it is not going to fly. When you walk on a spiritual path that you know, that you have examined, that you have given rise to understanding, you draw forth your natural innate wisdom. That fills your heart with a sense of truth because you understand it—not because someone else does. That’s the way to do it, and that’s what the Buddha recommended. In fact, he said, “I’ve given you the path. Now work out your own salvation.”

That wasn’t just a flip thing. When people hear that they go, “It’s such a cool thing that he said that! He must have had a great sense of humor.” He meant it! The path is there, but you’ve got to work it out.  That’s how you walk on the path. Otherwise you’re walking alongside the path. Then you’re a friend of Dharma, an admirer of Dharma, but not a practitioner—even if you wear the robes.

So handle the dead zone. Empower yourself. There is no reason why you can’t. Don’t live your life by “bash-to-fit, paint-to-match.”  Don’t do that. You are alive. In every sense, your nature is the most vibrant force in the universe, the only force in the universe. It is all there is. To play this game of duality where you stand outside your own most intimate experience and like a sheep get led through your life, that is not the way to go.

Many of you came to this path from another path because you felt dead there. But remember this: Wherever you go, there you are.  You brought the deadness with you. So handle it.

I hope that you really, really take this teaching to heart because it’s really an important thing. If I had one gift that I could give you all,  it would be to stay alive in your path, to have your spiritual life be like a precious jewel inside of you, living, something to warm you by. If life took everything else away from you, which it will eventually, this is the thing that cannot be taken.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo.  All rights reserved

Astrology for 5/21/2015

5/21/2015 Thursday by Norma

Time spent with someone you care for is fun but be sure to remain alert to your surroundings. Tricky, unexpected things happen today and the solution is to travel with a partner. Take prompt action if someone yells “Incoming!”- duck, swerve, whatever is necessary. Stay indoors if you need to focus to the point where you’re oblivious to what is going on around you. Everything takes longer than you think so bring a book and expect to wait; get impatient, try to push and it won’t work. Bob Edwards said, “Don’t meet trouble halfway. It is quite capable of making the entire journey.” What’s good today? Sentimental conversations about home and family, food, dressing up and issues relating to the past.

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!

Examining Our Motivation: Who Needs the Temple?

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “Bringing Virtue Into Life”

Another thing that happens that’s pretty interesting to me, too, is that while we’re not facing reality we also operate under the delusion that when we come here to practice Buddhism, we’re doing somebody a favor by doing this.  It’s the truth.  It is the truth.  In my 15 years as a teacher, I will tell you I have had this experience again and again and again. Students will come to class and they’ll look at you like “Well I’m here.  Isn’t that great?  Aren’t you happy?  Aren’t you pleased with me?” And then they will say things like “Oh, Jetsunma wants another stupa. So we better build another stupa because Jetsunma wants it.”  I don’t need another stupa.  I’m very happy with the stupas that we have.  In fact I would have been O.K. if we had never built a stupa.  Guess who needs the stupa?  Come on, you can do this!  You do!  You’re right!  You’re the ones that need the stupa.

Then people will give you this attitude: “Well Jetsunma likes the temple clean so we’d better come and clean the temple.”  No, Jetsunma has a real solution.  If the temple gets dirty enough, Jetsunma can stay home in her clean house. So Jetsunma really doesn’t need the temple clean.  You need the temple clean.  You need to do that because the Buddha’s teachings tell us that if you build a stupa or care for the body of the three precious jewels—and here the three precious jewels, the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha  are housed in this temple—then you are accumulating merit.  You are changing your life.  You are benefitting yourself and you are moving closer to enlightenment by accumulating merit and purifying your own nonvirtuous deeds, which all of us have accumulated.  We have all had nonvirtuous deeds in our past, but we don’t want to face that.  We don’t want to think like that.  We don’t want to think that we have any needs at all.  We don’t really want to look at our own fragile situation.  We are afraid and we don’t want to admit it.

My experience has been that we are in such denial about our situations that we literally paralyze ourselves on the path.  We prevent ourselves from going very far because we have not cultivated the kind of thinking that permits us and encourages us to practice more deeply and to go further on the path than we are going.  Many of us are resistant to contributing to the temple.  We are interested in coming to receive the teachings and then we are interested in going home and enjoying the rest of the day.  We are interested in bringing friends to this exotic place.  We are interested in seeing what this is all about.  If any of you have received empowerments in the Vajrayana tradition, the Tibetan tradition, you know that we get pretty high church around here.  We have a lot of ritual.  We have a lot of color. And if you’ve come when the Tibetan lamas are here, you know that we have ritual instruments and ritual music and all sorts of really interesting exotic things. Unfortunately, many people come and dabble in Dharma simply because it is so exotic. But they miss the essential point and that is the Buddha’s heart advice to you, the Buddha’s heart teaching.  That heart teaching, that heart advice, is encompassed and embraced in the thoughts that turn the mind towards Dharma. Those thoughts are,  first of all, that we are existing right now in a precious and rare human rebirth.  According to the Buddha’s teaching, it is very difficult to achieve this human rebirth. In order to achieve this human rebirth, you have to have number one, accumulated enough virtue, enough merit in your past, and number two, you have to have made some effort to move towards realization or to move towards benefitting others.  There has to have been some element of movement toward the spiritual in your past.

Remember that those who have taken a lower rebirth such as the animals, are not capable of thought like that at all so they will not be accumulating the causes for a human rebirth in their present lifetime.  They will not be able to do that.  According to the Buddha’s teaching, however, we have somehow managed to achieve this human rebirth. A great way to understand how rare that would be and how miraculous it is, is to think about a gambling place like Atlantic City or Los Vegas, you know, where they have those machines called the One Armed Bandit.  You pull the machine and a fruit comes up—a lemon or a cherry.  It’s a gambling machine, a slot machine. Isn’t that what that is?  So, our achieving a precious human rebirth is a bit like coming up with the three cherries in a row and you get the prize. But it is infinitely more rare than that.  Infinitely more rare than that.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo.  All rights reserved

Astrology for 5/20/2015

5/20/2015 Wednesday by Norma

Water plays an important role today: drink it, swim in it and run under it. A weather system can confound plans, but the changed situation ends happily for everyone involved. The urge to withdraw
competes with the urge to talk non-stop. Given the choice, pull in and say nothing. This will be harder than it sounds. An obstacle blocks something that seems important- give a speech and the microphone fails, embark on a road trip and the car breaks down, but don’t let this stop you. John Wooden said, “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” A dream or vision is inspirational and lights up the day, and time is well spent that clears up matters from the past.

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!

Guarding Your Heart


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

Here in America, we have a lot of pop-psychology. We all have these little boxes about how relationships ought to be; and pop-psychology has told us how big they ought to be and what shape they ought to be in. And we are told that we should be independent in certain ways and then sharing in other ways. And then, you know, 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. 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 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 coming to live all 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.

© Jetsunma Ahkön Lhamo all rights reserved



Astrology for 5/19/2015

5/19/2015 Tuesday by Norma

A hunch is a winner. You can overhear a snippet of information that is amazingly accurate and potentially lifesaving, so listen up! (“This ship-the Titanic-gives me a bad feeling, lets’ postpone the trip.”) Instead go shopping for small-fry items such as socks, shoes, toothpaste, newspapers, etc. The printed and spoken word is powerful and potentially inflammatory. Back off if someone takes offense; you are shooting the breeze and they are serious. Short distance travel is tricky and
problematic, so travel if you must but return as soon as possible. John Howard Payne wrote, “Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam, be it ever so humble there’s no place like home!” Domestic matters bring happiness today.

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!

Astrology for 5/18/2015

5/18/2015 Monday by Norma

The urge to hide, escape, watch tv or do something sneaky is strong and people will debate anyone trying to stop them. An appeal to higher aspirations can change the tide (“Remember you want to get a job, not watch reruns of Dancing With The Stars!”) so use it, with yourself and with others.
Issac Asimov said, “It has been my philosophy of life that difficulties vanish when faced boldly.” A number of obstacles seem to block progress so avoid tackling anything head on. Take a circuitous route, one that’s fun, and you’ll achieve your goal. What’s good today? Food, exciting news and conversation, and the attainment of a happy goal.

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!

Mixing the Mind with the Guru


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

Guru Yoga can always be depended on to reestablish and continue the blessing. I promise you, if we call out to the guru with full heart, with determination and with fervent regard and recognition, the guru will respond, whether it’s in the way that you would like which is ‘Hi! I’m here for lunch,’ or whatever. It may not be that way. It may be something quite different; and sometimes it’s not something that feels good right away. One of my favorite students works herself to death and forgets to practice sometimes, and then periodically does things like break her back or, you know, injure herself in some way. And then she practices and amazing things happen. I wish she wouldn’t do it that way, but she does. You know who I’m talking about, out in Sedona. I have other students that kind of orchestrate separation and return in order for that feeling of return. But I wish they wouldn’t do that, because that feeling of separation often comes with some cause and effect relationship. And again if it were my diamond, I’d be shining it up all the time. I’d be collecting that interest all the time.

We use Guru Yoga that way to create the causes for continuation on the Path. The teacher should never be frightening. The teacher is your friend, your friend who will take your hand and walk you, lifetime after lifetime, even when you stumble and you fall. Something will arise through the devotion that you practice in this lifetime to protect you even in your next life. Eventually we come to the place where we see everything as the blessing of the guru. Everything. Sometimes we feel some confusion, and maybe even confusion for a long time, but you know that that guru would not let you down. You know that. And so you count on that, even the confusion, to be a blessing. Eventually because of that devotion, the confusion will clear and the guru will appear again like an underground spring coming once again to the surface.

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 in a visualization way, and then receiving the blessing, real quick. The white blessing from the guru’s body to your body, and it does come in the head, white to white; the red blessing from the guru’s speech, from the throat to your throat; the blue blessing from the guru’s mind, which is the heart, from his heart to your heart (or her heart). And 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. 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, 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. We begin to mix, through the devotion, through calling out our own nature, our own mind, our own qualities, willingly with that of the guru; and 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. And 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, awakening to that nature. It’s the swift way. It’s the rocket ship. 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.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo.  All rights reserved

Astrology for 5/17/2015

5/17/2015 Sunday by Norma

New beginning day! Set a goal for the month today, one involving finances or expenditures. Brainstorm with others as at least two great idea are in the works. Talk creates happiness today; it’s possible to say just the thing that gives someone inspiration and a reason to keep going. Exercise, the kind that involves leg motion and arm swinging, is excellent so move it! A Japanese proverb says, “We’re fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.” What’s good today? Motion, food, inspiring talk, reading and planning future spending.

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!

Commentary on the Bodhisattva Vow: HH Penor Rinpoche God Realm



The following is adapted from an oral commentary given by His Holiness in conjunction with a ceremony wherein he bestowed the bodhisattva vow upon a gathering of disciples at Namdroling in Bozeman, Montana, November 1999:

Next, consider the gold realm. Gods remain in their realm where they experience immeasurable bliss and happiness for long periods of time. They all have their own palace and gardens, wish-granting trees, and celestial food; everything in their external environment is inconceivably wonderful. Internally they experience only happiness and bliss throughout the entire course of their life. Eventually they exhaust their karma for that rebirth. Prior to that, the dying clairvoyant gods see the place of their future rebirth, which in most cases happens in the hell realm. They take such a rebirth due to having exhausted all tainted virtue that brought them rebirth in the god realm, and then nothing remains for them except an abundance of weighty negative karma. The vast storehouse of merit they once possessed is spent, and they have nowhere to go but to the lowest hell realm. Seeing the irreversible fate that awaits them, and knowing it is too late to reverse that, they experience tremendous suffering. They are powerless to reverse their karma of having to fall from the celestial realm of the gods to the lowest realms in existence.

Buddha therefore taught that there is not even a needle point’s worth of true happiness in samsara. Now you can understand the meaning of that teaching. Even if there is happiness, it always changes because it is impermanent. Happiness in samsara occurs as the result of the karma produced to cause it. Once that cause and result are exhausted, that happiness becomes something else, which is why the term cyclic existence is used to express the nature of life in the six realms. Sentient beings pass from rebirth to rebirth, revolving on this endless wheel of changing realms in dependence on their own karmic accumulations.

If your hair were suddenly to catch fire, you would immediately, without hesitation, try to put out that fire. Likewise, by understanding that cyclic existence is by nature permeated with suffering, and by understanding that it can never be anything other than that, you should immediately, without hesitation, focus on putting out the fire of cyclic existence. Focus totally on effort to extract yourself from this endless suffering of cyclic existence, so that you can achieve the state of permanent bliss and happiness, the state of fully enlightened buddhahood.

Thus it is taught that in order to be successful in reversing strong attraction and attachment to cyclic existence, we must practice dharma. Through the practice of dharma we can reverse attachment to existence and gain more momentum toward liberation, to the point where we realize the state of permanent bliss and cease to return to samsara.

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