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Astrology for 1/17/2017

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 […]

Astrology for 1/16/2017

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 […]

What Do You Reach For?

What Do You Reach For?

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 […]

Astrology for 1/15/2017

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 […]

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1/11/2017 Wednesday by Norma Stay inside, far from the maddening crowd, and this will be a wonderful day. Imaginative projects are successful, compassionate activities bear fruit and love is fabulous. Go out, challenge the powers that be, and you're courting trouble. Your choice! Overdoing is the challenge of the day: it isn't enough to engage in one activity, you want to sign up for ten, and herein lies the problem. Isak Dineson said, "When you have a task..if you only work a little at a time, every day a little, suddenly the work will finish itself." Political and philosophical speech abounds today, but everything changes tomorrow when a diversion occurs. What's good ? Medical interventions, compassionate activity, putting the right amount of effort into something that matters to you, and happiness.

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1/10/2017 Tuesday by Norma Avoid the tendency to say "Just one more thing" today, you have said enough. Another word will receive a response you won't want to hear. Instead, busy yourself with catch-up jobs you've put aside for lack of time. Reorganize the stack of papers on your desk, write thank you notes for Christmas gifts, make some New Year's Resolutions. Small is beautiful today; you'll really enjoy gazing at the knick-knacks you dusted or the new set of pens you organized by color. Hafiz said, "Even after all this time the Sun never says to the Earth 'You owe me.' Look what happens with a love like that. It lights the whole world." Today can be a very inspiring day, if you relax and let it be.

“Can Do” – Looking Deeper at Hope and Fear

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called "Mindfulness of Cyclic Existence" As a Westerner, in a subtle and also in an overt way, we have a certain attitude that we should present ourselves in a certain way. In our culture, it is considered to be an excellent indication of our status, our development and our maturity, if we have a noble, very obvious and very positive sense of hope. This is normal for us. We must have a good attitude about things. We must think positively or seem to be positive.. We must think with a “can do” attitude. That’s a big thing in America. We really think like that. All our movies glorify that attitude. If you don’t believe me, check out some movies from the video store. I can probably give you some titles. Go home and look at the movies that really honor the American “can do” ideal. We have very strongly in our minds and in our culture this idea of positive-ness, that we can do what we want to do, that we should hold to certain ideals in a very enduring way, and that we should just go onward up the hill—Charge!—that kind of thing. We may not realize it, but this particular and peculiar American ideal,is very wrapped up in the concept of hope and fear. According to Buddhist tradition, not only is this not advisable, but it also creates a certain instability to the mind. In fact, where we consider it an admirable quality, in Buddhist philosophy it is considered a symptom of imbalance, a symptom of a lack of the realization of the primordial wisdom state, a symptom, in fact, of the lack of the realization of the emptiness or the illusory quality of all phenomena. In Buddhist philosophy we are cautioned not to engage in the two extremes of hope and fear. We are taught that hope and fear are essentially the same. In the same way that the balancing parts of a scale are part of the same apparatus, or in the same way that both sides of the coin are essentially the same coin, hope and fear are exactly the same and are based on several presuppositions. First of all, they are based on the solidity or reality of self-nature as we understand it with all of its ramifications and conceptualizations. They are also based on the belief in the solidity and reality of all phenomena, and in the belief in the separation of all phenomena. They are based on dividing all that you see—self is here and phenomena are there—the belief in separation. They are also symptomatic of the tendency to consider that happiness can be won or gotten by running after it, that happiness is an external phenomenon. We feel inside that happiness is out there. That it’s something that we can go towards, something we can grasp; or that there is something that we can manipulate to get happy. According to Buddhist philosophy, all of these concepts are erroneous. Basically, the Buddhists teach that true enlightenment, or true realization, occurs when one realizes the primordial wisdom state. The primordial wisdom state is actually considered to be free of conceptualization of any kind. It is a state that is innately wakeful.  It is wakeful, and yet it is not aware of some “thing”. So it is, if we can imagine such a thing, aware but not specifically aware. It is simply awake. Buddhist philosophy also teaches in terms of realizing the emptiness of self-nature.  Now, that sounds really strange. Every time Americans, as a materialistic society, hear “emptiness,” we get extremely nervous, because we don’t understand what that means.  The emptiness of self-nature actually means that one doesn’t perceive self according to the concepts that are popular. In other words, one might perceive the primordial wisdom nature, one’s own true nature, or one might perceive self as being separate from others. In truth, the only way one can describe self is as being separate from something else, but self does not exist in that way. What Buddhist philosophy denies, or pushes aside, is the idea that self-nature exists according to the concepts that we put upon it. It does not deny pure perception. It does not deny the perception of the true nature that is one’s inherent reality.  But it does deny the concepts that surround the idea of self. Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo.  All rights reserved

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This is respectfully quoted from "Drops of Nectar: Collection of Spiritual Advice from Great Tibetan Masters" Rigdzod Editorial Committee Ngagyur Nyingma Institute, Namdroling 2004 In a town, a monastery or a mountain retreat Wherever you stay, don't look for a spiritual friend; Whoever your companions are, be neither particularly loving nor particularly quarrelsome. My heart advice is to maintain your own stability on your own.  

Perception and Consciousness

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called "Perception" Think of the experiences that constitute our lives and then single them out.  For instance, we certainly have the experience of form, and we have the experience of that which is formless.  We have the experience of touch.  We have the experience of taste.  We have the experience of hearing.  We have the experience of sight.  We have the experience of smell.  We have the experience of consciousness.  We have the experience of the perception that one computes, such as the perception of time and space, as well as the perception of sense, such as internal sense.  We have the perception of immediacy and distance, on both an emotional and a physical level.  We have many gross and subtle perceptual avenues.  Perception of some kind is an experience that we live with constantly. Each one of these experiences is extremely compelling.  It is compelling beyond what can be easily described.  What I mean by compelling is not in the gross sense that we think of, like, for instance, an alcoholic might be compelled to drink alcohol or a really thirsty person might be compelled to drink water.  It isn’t that kind of compelling.  It’s more subtle, but it’s extreme, it’s very strong.  For instance, if I pick up this object I am compelled to compute it.  I can’t not compute it.  I have to compute it. I pick it up, and I immediately have the experience of how big it is, of how hard it is compared to my hand, of how hot or cold it is compared to my body, compared to my temperature, my own body temperature.  The sense of color compared to what?  Compared to my own color.  All phenomena are relative to my perception of self.  It’s extremely compelling.  The moment I have this kind of contact I immediately compute it in this most compelling way, and I can’t help myself.  I can’t come between myself and that computation.  The inability to come between yourself and that computation is the lack of spaciousness that is the karma of our minds.  There is no space.  There is the immediate fixation, compulsive computation of the relativity factor, the relativity between self and other. Now, when I have any kind of awareness, subtle or gross, when I have any sense of time and space -such as I have a sense of being in this chair, being so far from you, of being halfway through my talk, it’s nighttime, these things - this kind of perception is actually a conglomeration of many different factors that have come together.  It takes a tremendous amount of computation to have this kind of perception.  It’s tremendously complicated.  Usually, all of the senses are used.   The air feels different. Not only is it dark but things sound differently. Things happen differently at night; usually you don’t come here this way during the day.  Many different things must take place to compose – and I mean the word “compose “– the experience that I’m having. There’s also a general awareness of a process of distinction, or a process of differentiation, that constantly occurs.  You could call that process, that awareness, consciousness.  Consciousness, as we understand it, is a specific consciousness.  This consciousness that we have is a very specific function.  You cannot have consciousness without, on some level, computing relativity because consciousness is specific awareness. By the way, you really should not use the word consciousness when you talk about the nature of mind.  That’s done commonly, and it really is not correct.  You should not think you want to move into Buddha consciousness or that you want to have primordial consciousness.  Consciousness is specific, and the state that we speak of when we speak of the primordial wisdom state or when we think of the Buddha nature or when we think of an awareness that is non-specific, is pure and undifferentiated. It is free from any such contrivance as specific “-ness”. Even when you have experience in your meditation that feels like it’s very vast and you’re congratulating yourself on how vast that experience just was and you’re so impressed with the vastness of your experience and you think that you’ve surely attained cosmic consciousness or something like that, under those conditions – probably especially under those conditions – the consciousness is extremely specific and computes relativity.  Consciousness means that I am conscious. I am having this experience.  To be able to have this experience requires consciousness. So what is this consciousness a function of?  This consciousness is a function of the assumption of self.  One cannot have consciousness, or taste, or feeling, or any kind of subtle or gross perception, without the assumption of self.  The assumption of self comes first. The main thing that’s confusing about this point is that you want to know, well, who is having this assumption? Who is having this consciousness?  Who is having this taste?  I am.  I am conscious.  I have feeling. Anybody want to test feeling?  We’ll give them the old Ahkön Lhamo test for feeling. If you think that you are beyond feeling, I have a pin somewhere on my undergarment that I can take out very quickly and there you go!  I will show you that you have feeling. So what is your answer?  Who has consciousness?  Who’s conscious?  Who’s having this feeling?  Your answer has to be, although you’re terrified to say it: I am.  You are, aren’t you?  Can you doubt that?  Can you say that you can’t see?  Only if you close your eyes, but they have to be your eyes that you close.  You are conscious. Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo.  All rights reserved

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1/9/2017 Monday by Norma The Moon in Gemini wants to deliver multiple messages, but please avoid making demands on people who are ill or recuperating. You want to stay in touch: They want to take a nap. If you reach out and receive no reply, turn your attention elsewhere. Mars in Pisces is helpful and strengthens healing along with advancing business and professional goals today. Sensitivity is key; do what feels right in every situation and things go very well. Follow a script and you'll get into trouble. Debbie Reynolds once famously asked, "Where's my script?" when tasked with speaking about her life. She was told she didn't need a script, she lived it! Take it easy, do less than you planned, relax and enjoy the day. The astrology post affects everyone differently, depending on individual horoscopes. Look to see how this message mirrors your life today!

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This is respectfully quoted from "Drops of Nectar: Collection of Spiritual Advice from Great Tibetan Masters" Rigdzod Editorial Committee Ngagyur Nyingma Institute, Namdroling 2004 Chapter V Again, at this very time, seeing the essential nonexistence, I sang this song of diligence in solitary practice. Ignorance is as vast as the sky and The might of grasping and fixation is extremely dark, As the affliction of unknowing is beginingless and endless, Confused one, I now offer you this counsel! Today, in this life, though you are pursuing the path of liberation, You are not diligent in your practice, and are still distracted by entertainment and diversions. What is the use of the activities of this life, mere illusory appearances? Today, I urge you to the practice of the essential meaning! The joy and happiness of this life are just like phenomena in dreams. None will be of any benefit and must definitely be abandoned when you depart. Leaving behind your food and wealth, what will you do? Today, I urge you to the practice of the profound truth of Dharma! Although meetings end in partings, like visitors to a market place, One by one, various kinds of friends and companions tie us up. What is the use of having many people around you? Today, I urge you to practice truth constantly. Wondrous renown and praise is like a dream. This delusion beguiles ordinary people and their conceptualizing grows. What's the use of the esteem and respect of others? Today, I urge you to practice the essential luminosity! Any activity of this present life, whatever it may be, Such deeds are all meaningless and the cause of suffering. As activities are delusory, what use are they to you? Today, I urge you to practice the truth of nothing to be done! Leaving all that is close to you, at the time of departure, you will go alone. Your various activities, whatever they were, will not help you in the slightest. The phenomena of this life, what use will it be to you? I urge you to practice what will benefit during the great going forth. Whoever is near, whatever you possess, as much as there is, Nothing except your virtue and negativity will follow after you So what's the use of your friends and relatives, your possessions and wealth? All that is born will die, so I urge you to practice the sublime view of dharma. In the outer world there are many objects of bliss and happiness But however, great the experiences of mental and physical joy and pleasure, At the time of death what use will they be to you? I urge you to gain confidence in what will help when body and consciousness separate! Note fearful when sick, nor regretful when dying, The profound essential meaning of Dharma frees one from remorse at the moment of death. In the space of the nature of reality of one familiar with self-cognizant awareness, I urge you to achieve the stability of the true natural state! You are not free because of constantly being born again and again in samsara. So, today, here in this life, by capturing the throne of reality itself In the primordial space-like sphere of unchanging Dharmakaya, I urge you to achieve the level of the Dharmakaya of self-cognizant awareness! These are suggestions from my heart, so listen with respect! Practice diligently in solitude and the attainments will arise! Nurture the state of awareness and confidence will be born! This is condensed oral instruction of the key point of the profound meaning! As my mind was disheartened by distraction, In order to encourage myself to practice tranquility in solitude, These stages of instructions as advice for myself, Are also offered to the ears of the fortunate ones who have come! May their virtue fill my peaceful mind With the vast wealth of qualities of profound treasure! And may the four precious doors of the gathering place of oceans of Dakinis, The hidden land, be open! From the Vajra Song of Instruction for Rousing Myself, this completes the fifth chapter of urging wholehearted practice. The "Vajra Song of Instructions for Rousing Myself," was sung by the great yogi of the Mahayana teachings, Longchen Rabjam, at the slope of Gangri Thodkar, known as Orgyen Dzang, the excellent abode of Buddha Samantabhadra, which is glorified by the crystal reflection of the moon. Shubam!

What Causes Happiness?

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called "Faults of Cyclic Existence" In order to understand what to do, we have to understand the definition of the cessation of suffering. The cessation of suffering doesn’t happen when everything external gets all right. Can you learn this?  Can we all learn this, please?  If we learn this, it will change your life!  The solving of this problem occurs when we are able to cut off the causes of suffering at the root. And the causes of suffering have to do with desire and the experience of duality. So now we have to find a solution that is not anywhere in samsara. How in the world are you going to fix this? Well, you’re not… in the world. Where in the world is your solution?  Guess what?  Nowhere. Then we have to find something else. And what is that something else?  Well, now we are looking to understand that desire and this original ideation is the cause for all suffering. So the way to cut that would be to cut it off at the root. We have to move beyond the realm of cyclic existence in order to get any satisfaction, in order to get an answer, in order to understand, literally in order to prevent the causes from manifesting. In order to cut them off at the root, we have to move outside of the realm of samsara.,  So we look to see if everything we’ve known and experienced arises from the idea of self-nature being inherently real. What is outside of samsara?  Well, it is the one thing that, as samsaric beings, we cannot perceive. It is our own Buddha nature, the primordial wisdom nature that is the innately wakeful , sheer luminosity called Buddha. While we are revolving in the realm of duality, we cannot see this nature.  Yet it is this very nature that is the cessation of the causes of suffering.. In order to cut off suffering at the root, one would have to cut off the connection to the potency of the desire realm. We, as samsaric beings, are desire beings. We are motivated solely by desire. and  the Buddha teaches us that this is the very cause of suffering. So what we’re hearing here is that everything we know, everything we call “me”, every habitual tendency, everything that has come together to knit the tapestry of our lives, is of that cause for suffering. What monumental effort should happen in order to reach beyond that? How to even define what is beyond that when, by definition, we are the samsaric beings whose first assumption is that of self-nature being inherently real? This is where the power and the majesty and the potency of the practice of refuge comes into play. Because when we look at the appearance of the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha in the world, and the inner and secret refuges as well, we can see that that which we call Buddha nature, that which we call Buddha, does not originate from the desire realm. It is that ground—uncontrived, innately wakeful luminosity—that is the underlying primordial wisdom state, suchness, from which all display, all emanation actually comes. This that we are caught in and experiencing is simply some offshoot, some manifestation in a way, whereas the fundamental all-pervasive truth of our nature, is to us unseen. Yet it is that nature, that which we are naturally, which we must strive toward in order to be awakened, That is the clue; that is the key. In our natural state as Buddha, as that sheer luminosity, there is no distinction, no distortion, no conceptualization, no idea that self is separate from other, no understanding that it could even occur that way. No distinction. Only suchness, one taste, that nature which is conditionless. As we are now we cannot even imagine a conditionless state, a conditionless nature, and yet this is our nature. So when we practice refuge, we do it in stages. The ultimate refuge is when we understand and awaken to our own face, our own true nature. But in the beginning we practice by conceptually isolating that which is without conception. We have to. On an ordinary level, let’s say the goal was physical fitness and strength. Well, that’s an abstract concept. How do you get that?  You can’t buy that. You can’t hold that in your hand, but you can do the exercises, you see?  Same thing. Buddhahood. We can’t buy it, we can’t hold it in our hand, but we can establish the method. The method begins with the recognition of the Buddha which is the primordial, uncontrived nature that happens to have appeared in cyclic existence at this time, during this aeon, as a man. But the man is not the thing. Lord Buddha is the display of that nature. We use his image and his teachings as a way to understand because he speaks directly from that nature. But we understand that we are awakening, awakening, awakening. That’s the understanding of refuge. We are looking for that which is not composed of the causes of suffering. And here while we are suffering and revolving endlessly, and watching others revolve endlessly, here while this occurs, we are that, in truth, which is the cessation of suffering, Buddhahood.  Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo All rights reserved

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1/8/2017 Sunday by Norma Mercury goes direct today, clearing up uncertainty. Whew! You know where you're going and what you're doing after a three week hiatus; you can settle down and move ahead. Philosophy combines with common sense today. Travel- mental or physical- is highlighted. Learn something new, stretch your outlook, express yourself and listen respectfully to others. Be aware that you don't need to have all the answers. Anton Chekov said, "I expect I shall be a student to the end of my days." What's good today? Sensitivity, healing, intense discussions and compassion. The astrology post affects everyone differently, based on individual horoscopes. Look to see how this message reflects your life today

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1/7/2017 Saturday by Norma Peace and quiet permeate this day and you can go shopping, count your change and feel satisfied with your purchases. The best bouquet of flowers, the best smelling incense, the nicest vegetables, all are yours for the taking. Your mind wants to discuss philosophy, religion or politics but your being wants to sample fruit. This is a great day to go to the movies, have a conversation with an old friend, and reconnect with your most deeply held values. William Feather said, "Thousands of people, not more intelligent than the rest of us, have mastered problems as difficult as those that baffle you." Common sense is the champion today, let it guide you in everything you do. The astrology post affects everyone differently, depending on individual horoscopes. Look to see how this message mirrors your life today!