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Finding Safety

Finding Safety

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “Experiencing the Hook of Compassion”

I’m reminded again and again of that wonderful story that we hear in our tradition of the father who had many children in a house, children that he loved very dearly. The father came home to […]

Astrology for 4/26/2015

4/26/2015 Sunday by Norma

Fun is about as fun as it gets today. Plan anything with anyone and you’ll have a blast. Do, however, keep an eye on costs- you can have as much fun at a picnic as an expensive restaurant. Cheerful words are meaningful and play a role in your future, so say […]

Outside the Reaction

Outside the Reaction

Remember, when you are angry at your teacher, which really is useless to be, when you are resentful, when you are anxious, when you are going through all the gamut of human experience, which you do, when you do everything from wanting to belt your teacher right in the snoot to falling desperately in […]

Astrology for 4/25/2015

4/25/2015 Saturday by Norma

A slight clash between money and pride happens today. Overspending is a danger, buying something to prove how important you are. Step away from extravagant purchases and say something nice instead; you’ll make a greater impact. Mother Teresa said, “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes […]

The Hook

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The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “Experiencing the Hook of Compassion”

The teacher actually appears in the world, and hopefully the teacher is a bodhisattva. Because if the teacher is not a bodhisattva, you might as well throw that one out the window. You have made another mistake. You don’t want to go to school and learn from Betty Crocker, or something like that. You really want to know that you are getting teaching from someone who’s equipped to give you the method, to give you the Path. So if the teacher’s a bodhisattva, if the teacher is an incarnation who has achieved some realization, and therefore has returned solely to benefit beings, there is some design. Different tulkus will appear in different ways, but there is some design in the tulku’s method. The tulku will have a sense of purpose from a very young age, a sense of purpose, and it will be the cornerstone of that tulku’s life. Everything will be built around that. It’s almost like everything that arises, all of the circumstances that arise in the bodhisattva’s life, in the tulku’s life, will arise from that intention. Everything is centered on that intention; that intention is the center. It’s like if you’re building a house, and there’s one post that holds up the whole house somewhere in the middle. Although I don’t think houses are really built like that, and I’m sure the carpenters are getting angry at me just for saying that. But anyway, the cornerstone, if you will, of the structure is the tulku’s, the bodhisattva’s, pure intention-—the intention to be of some benefit. So the things that hold it up, that’s what they are—that compassion, that loving kindness.

As the tulku moves toward their time, and that happens differently with each one, there is a sense of calling. The tulku will call the students. Now sometimes, I can say to you from what I’ve heard and what I know, it isn’t really like the teacher will know the name of a certain student and just be necessarily finding that student. You know going to that student’s house and knocking on the door and saying, ‘Hey, guess what?  I’m your teacher.’  Terrible things would probably happen if teachers did things that way, and it just isn’t the way that it’s done. It’s not what really happens.

What begins to happen is that there is a quality of intention, of loving kindness, of compassion that begins to ripen in the teacher’s mind. And it’s like it sets up a vibrational quality almost like a sound, almost like a sound. A song, maybe. A sound, a note that begins to sound in a certain way. It’s not accidental that certain students appear at that time, simply because the karma of the situation is such that the teacher who appears in the world has a certain relationship with certain students; and that’s already established because the karma’s already such. The karma is already established. That karma will begin to actualize itself in that the teacher will set up a quality, a vibrational field or a sound, or something that will be appropriate, that will reach out and touch certain particular students, and their minds will respond to it. Their minds will respond to it and they will be called. Students will appear from literally nowhere.

I don’t consider myself a great teacher in any regard. I consider myself the humblest of the humble. Believe me, I do consider myself thus. But I do know my own small experience has been just that. I never, until Penor Rinpoche recognized me, I never represented myself in any way. I never hung out a shingle and said this or that is what I am, or who I am.  Never did that happen. But students came when I became ready. And I know that this happens with other teachers. There is a vibration that goes out, a sound that goes out that’s like a hook. It’s a hook, you know, just like velcro.  One piece of velcro doesn’t attach itself to a smooth surface. If the student doesn’t have the responding piece in them, it won’t connect, you see.  It will just smooth right over. You see what I’m saying?  It’ll just slick right over. But if the student has that other piece, they’ll be tight. You can’t separate them. To separate them literally sounds like velcro. It sounds like your heart is being torn out. There’s something there that is so fantastic that cannot be explained in ordinary terms.

So this amazing fantastic thing happens. And from the lama’s point of view, there is simply the display of that intention. That’s all that happens. And the student from literally nowhere, the student could be a coarse and crude construction worker. The student could be a ballerina, you know; the student could be a disco dancer They could be all sorts of weird things. You never know. And suddenly something begins to happen. And they don’t really change from being weird things, they just show up.

So this amazing thing happens; and this response begins to happen. And often the student will come up and they’ll go, ‘What am I doing here? How did I get in this?  What is this?’ One student that I remember: The first time she came to me for a consultation, she was so prim and proper. She wore this little proper camel suit, you know, and she was very business-y and very here-I-am, very business-y, very professional sort of woman. She comes in click, click, click, little high heels, sits down and goes, “Well, I’d like to have a reading.”  So, we talk, and we talk, and we talk, and about three or four hours later, she’s in tears, and she feels like her life has just fallen apart. She’s just left one train, and entered onto another, and all these weird things begin to happen to her. She’s crying, and she doesn’t know what’s happening to her. She feels like she’s going crazy. She just doesn’t know what this is. And really, there’s no monkey business happening on the part of the teacher. The teacher isn’t saying, ‘Hey, let me see how I can mess up this person.’  It isn’t like that at all. There is simply this call, this sound that is going out, and the student, if the hook is there, suddenly becomes velcroed, literally velcroed. Sometimes there is  anger at first, because you didn’t want to be velcroed, you know.  You didn’t ask for this. You wanted to be free and independent. You know? You don’t want to be stuck to something. And suddenly you can’t get away. You’re hooked.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo All rights reserved

Astrology for 4/21/2015

4/21/2015 Tuesday by Norma

Happy day! Conversation and communication could not be more satisfying today, and everyone has a bon mot or compliment to offer. Good will moves a project forward- in fact you can sign on for something new based on the bonhomie between participants. “Blessed is the man who can laugh at himself, for he will never cease to be amused,” says a popular proverb. Problems lie in structural matters; a foundation isn’t solid and needs work before it undermines everything, and in escapist tendencies. You don’t want to face something and the harder you try to get away, the more it is present. Face reality, and go with the happiness today; walk, talk, communicate, be out and about and you’ll be fine.

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!

The Method of Dakini Activity

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An excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo from the Dakini Workshop

On a more superficial level, let us describe the method of dakini activity, and how it actually can appear in the world.  Well, you cannot do that in one afternoon.  You cannot do that in one lifetime.  There are as many different ways that the Buddha nature can dance or move or generate activity as there are ways to be infinite.  It cannot be described.  Yet for our purposes, we can make some useful points about the method of Dakini activity.

First of all, anything having to do with the appearance of the Buddha’s activity in the world, that is to say, enlightened activity or compassionate activity should be understood as being inseparable from the dakini nature and should be understood as being dakini activity.  It should be understood that the movement or dance or display of the Buddha’s activity is always pure, not because of the phenomena that one sees, but because of the purity of the Buddha nature.  We like to evaluate phenomena that we see and that is where we run into trouble.  That is the mistake.  That is the cosmic mistake.  You cannot know the nature by evaluating phenomena as you see it, because you are seeing your own confusion, period.

When you see the display of the Buddha’s activity in the world, that which brings you closer to enlightenment, that which propagates the Dharma, that which contributes compassion to the world in some form or another that should be understood as pure activity.  You should see the purity. The purity is judged by understanding that the source of that activity is, and always has been and always will be, the enlightened nature.

That activity which is consistent with the nature of the dakini should be understood to be effortless in this way.  Typically and characteristically it is not born of the struggle to confirm self-nature.  It is born of spacious non-specific luminosity, the very nature of emptiness and having been born from that, all that appears as effortless and consistent with that nature, will eventually have the result of that nature.

While we have the habit of looking at an event midstream and seeing the middle of the picture, not the beginning, not the end, but the middle, we see certain things as if through a peephole. What appears to us is a very small picture and we do not understand the whole picture.  But if we could see that activity having its beginning, having its middle and having its end, we could see that activity in its completeness and then we would understand that it will always result in enlightenment, even while in the beginning there may be friction and in the middle there may be struggle, it will always result in enlightenment.   This is because the seed is the same as the fruit, always.  If the activity is born of the sphere of truth and is inseparable from the sphere of truth, if it is consistent with the Buddha nature, if it is the enlightened activity of the Buddha nature, it will always result in the Buddha nature.  That is always the case and that is the basis of devotion and faith.

Again, it is not based on what you see.  It is based on the purity of the Buddha nature.  Think about when the Buddha taught. The Buddha had no great teachers, really, that taught him on a physical level.  He had achieved a very great level of awareness through his previous compassionate and virtuous acts.  At the time of being the Buddha, he was able through his great effort to sit down and achieve realization.  But once he began to teach, he taught effortlessly.  It is said that people who spoke very different languages could sit down in front of him and they would hear the teaching in their own language.  It is also said that he would be able to teach any student on his/her own level.  He would be able to reach out and touch them exactly where they had a place to be touched.  He would be able to give to some students a teaching that to another student would seem superficial, but for that student, was the key to enlightenment.  And he could give to another student a teaching that would seem so profound to that student as to kick them into enlightenment very quickly, but to another student who might hear that teaching, if they were to hear that teaching in the same way, it would be blah, blah, blah.  Nothing.  Useless to them, like banana peels. You have to throw it out.  No good.  But the Buddha did not teach in that way.  The Buddha taught each person the nature of their own mind by showing them their poison, by ripening in their mind their potential for enlightenment, by shoving down their throat their own garbage, by giving them teaching that touched them in their language.

Now, if we were to do that, we would have to go to school to learn many different languages and learn all the different levels of the Buddha’s teaching in order to be able to do that.  And then we would have to have some kind of computer to be able to shoot this teaching to this one and that teaching to that one. We would have to be thinking about this all the time so that we could get it right.  Not so with the mind of enlightenment.  The mind of enlightenment can appear in whatever way necessary in order to teach and can speak to that person in the language that that person requires in an effortless way, completely effortlessly.

Of course, we have no real understanding of that, because of our confusion and our delusion.  We still continue to cling and to see what floats on the surface of our mind, like shit.  We see shit.  Yet, the method that is employed with enlightened activity is a method that will lead to enlightenment in an effortless way.  It is typical of the activity of the dakini to hit where it hurts, to get you where you live, to create for you a method by which you can try to run, but the road in front of you is turned around so that you can only run in a circle right back and it is as tricky and convoluted and sneaky as your own mind.  It will rub your face in your shit.  It will make you eat your own poison. But eventually, with faith and devotion, you will come out of it enlightened.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo.  All rights reserved

Astrology for 4/20/2015

4/20/2015 Monday by Norma

Return to earth and back to work! There’s too much to do but it’s all productive. Take things one task at a time and follow the course you planned during the past few weeks. It is time to turn ideas into reality and that you will do methodically, much like constructing a building – plans, framing, walls, ceiling, flooring, roof, etc. Life is slow and pleasant. Think of Ferdinand the Bull who works and then relaxes with no rush or fuss. Arnold Glasow said, “The key to everything is patience. You
get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.” What’s good today? Cheerful conversations, productive work, and a sense of well-being.

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!

The Trouble With Samsara

burning house

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “Experiencing the Hook of Compassion”

When a student calls the teacher in their mind, when they begin to make their mind and their heart like a bowl, there are several different things that are happening. First of all, there is some fantastic auspicious karma that is ripening. In order for a student to even make that step, the student must have accumulated a tremendous amount of merit, of virtue, somewhere in the past. A non-virtuous mind cannot call the teacher with devotion. It cannot happen. They will not be able to experience that devotion, that gentling, that softening. So the student must know that about themselves: If they are responding with devotion, if they are really calling the lama, if they are really experiencing surrender, then there is some virtue in the student’s mind. The student should be happy and pleased with that.

When the student calls the lama, when the student practices that kind of devotion, it’s because the student has realized certain kinds of things; and the only way that real devotion can be practiced is if these things have been realized. First of all, the student has looked around and has seen that cyclic existence, or ordinary life, is flawed. It is faulted. The student has looked around—and sometimes it’s the older students that really in some ways, unfortunately, are able to do this, because they have seen their lives pass—and they look around and they say, ‘What have I done? I’ve worked so hard for maybe 55, 60 years. I’ve worked so hard, and what have I really accomplished?  What am I going to take with me?  What is this that I’ve done?  What will happen when this time has passed?’

So sometimes older students are truly prepared to understand the faults of cyclic existence. Younger students have a much more difficult time with that, because younger students are still trekking along, you know. They’re still thinking, ‘Oh yeah, I can do this, and I can do this,’ and they’re still steamed up, puffed up with that ‘I can, I can do’ kind of thing. Too many exciting threads to pull. Too many different ways to move. Our juices are flowing, and we’re moving ahead. And it hooks us; it hooks us into this delusion.

The student that is prepared to call the teacher has been awakened, stimulated, has understood that so much time has passed. And what has happened during that time?  Not much. Not much that we can really account for. We’ve had some fun. We’ve had some big fun, some of us. And we’ve had some big suffering. And we’ve had some big excitement. We’ve had some big letdowns. And it’s up and down, and up and down. And we’re all going to experience old age if we live that long. We’re all going to experience death; and we’ve all experienced sickness. And it just goes round and round and round, doesn’t it?

At some point we look at that and we see it, and we ask ourselves, ‘Isn’t there something more? Isn’t there something?  There must be something.’  We begin to move in that direction. And then we see someone who can give us a path. Not only just thoughts about the path, not only just ideas that are popular in the New Age. Not just some theories. But a technology, a method, a method that is succinct and exacting, and has shown itself to give results that have been repeated and proven over time.

So this student looks at that and thinks, ‘Wow! This is something!’ And the student is in the position of experiencing themselves sort of like in a burning house, and suddenly they’ve seen a door. They’ve seen a way out. They’ve seen something that doesn’t have the danger in it that cyclic existence has, that doesn‘t have the fault in it that cyclic existence has. Maybe there’s a way out. Maybe there’s something that we can do. And the student looks at that and says, ‘Oh,’ and they gather themselves together; and they are hopeful and they’re joyous. And somethng’s going on. Suddenly they’re excited. Then the student begins to want to call that, to bring that closer to them.  That’s a beautiful, precious, and exciting moment.  But that moment can only happen due to the virtue of the student’s previous practice. That really only happens due to virtue.

So the student begins to call the teacher.  And the student has lots of different experiences while that happens. Sometimes the student doesn’t know how to measure what the relationship with the teacher is. Sometimes there’s some initial confusion. There are all sorts of interesting and different things that happen during that time. But still, the student with the kind of virtue that is necessary to really do this will remain firm, will continue, will move forward, and continue to call the teacher, continue to invoke that presence in their lives and really come to the point, due to the virtue of their practice, where they will do anything, they will do anything, because they know their time is short. They know that they’ve tried everything, and nothing’s worked so far. Nothing has produced permanent happiness.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo All rights reserved

Astrology for 4/19/2015

4/19/2015 Sunday by Norma

Wishful thinking is a problem today and you can be hypnotized or enchanted. Why? Because you want what is offered- escape- a magical elixir offering something better than reality. Turn away from these thoughts and happiness comes in the form of solid friendship and deep affection that is here and now.
Neptune’s strength lies in his mysterious nature; he deludes us into thinking the impossible is real. We take the drug, jump at the scam and walk away worse for the experience. Ann Landers said, “People who drink to drown their sorrow should be told that sorrow knows how to swim.” Good things come today by counting the cost of whatever you do, enjoying interactions with powerful people, and meeting someone who is a true friend to you.

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!

American Dharma – The Prayer Vigil

Kunzang Palyul Choling has maintained a 24 hour Prayer Vigil since 1985. In this video Jetsunma describes how engaging in the Prayer Vigil is a way to stand up against the suffering in the world today. Making that commitment and dedicating the effort to bringing an end to war, or peace to beings, is a powerful way to practice the Dharma. She talks about how every visiting Lama, including His Holiness Penor Rinpoche, all comment how precious and rare this vigil is, that it happens nowhere else. Jetsunma talks about how it is part of integrating traditional Dharma Practice into our American, modern lives.

To order an audio copy of this teaching, visit www.palyulproductions.org for JNT-031 “Dharma Out of the Box”

Astrology for 4/18/2015

4/18/2015 Saturday by Norma

Fun continues but the risk of being troubled is less today, except in scams of the heart. There’s a tendency to hear what you want to hear and to be bewitched by pretty words. All you really have to do is say “Let me think about it,” to any proposal and you’ll be fine. Men and women are united in purpose and pretty much unstoppable once they’ve decided what they want to do. Talk everything over and base everything on cost rather than fancy words. What’s good today? Happiness, enthusiasm, eluding a problem, and shopping!

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!

Calling the Lama From Afar

Guru Padmasambhava

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “Experiencing the Hook of Compassion”

In our tradition, in preliminary practice, we practice this “Calling the Lama from Afar,” and it’s a haunting practice. It will bring tears to one’s eyes if one practices it with a full heart and really does one’s best. When that begins to happen, there is a change in the student. There is truly a change. Often that is when the lama, the teacher, first begins to notice the student. That is when the lama takes an awareness of the student. That is when the student comes into the lama’s mind and the lama comes into the student’s mind. That is when this tremendous bridge, this perfect bridge, is formed that is everything, really everything, on the Path. Without it there is only dressing up in Dharma clothing like a peacock, you know. There is nothing without that. So that is necessary.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo All rights reserved

Astrology for 4/17/2015

4/17/2015 Friday by Norma

Men are hard charging but the real action involves emotional satisfaction and the female principle today. “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands!” goes a stadium chant and you’ll gladly sing along and second the motion. Good will is all-pervasive, but it’s still important to look both ways before crossing the street and to be alert for hidden forces that are willing to cause trouble. Thievery is a problem- purse snatching, mugging, high tech crime, stolen hearts. Maintain a watchful
eye and all goes well.

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!

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