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You Can Make It

You Can Make It

An excerpt from a teaching called Bodhicitta by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo given after her return from India and Nepal in 1996

In Nepal, right next to one of Guru Rinpoche’s caves where he practiced chemchok, lives a wonderful Dakini.  She is the consort of Lama Tulku Orgyen.  And she’s been there for years and years, practicing […]

Astrology for 12/6/2016

12/6/2016 Tuesday by Norma

Escape, that’s what people want now! This is a perfect day to watch tv for hours, to engage in creative work or visit the doctor. Listen to your inner voice as you decide what to do. People can revert to old bad habits today. If you have […]

What Drives You to Practice?

What Drives You to Practice?

An excerpt from a teaching called Bodhicitta by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo

Some of you show up for practice because you think your teacher will get mad at you if you don’t.  So you make yourself visible.  Some of you show up for practice because you’ve got to get it in today.  When do you do practice […]

Astrology for 12/5/2016

12/5/2016 Monday by Norma

Something has finished and something new is on the way but hasn’t arrived yet, which means you are free to jog in place, meander around tending in second-tier tasks and generally relax in preparation for what’s to come. Make no effort to push an agenda, it’ll appear in its own […]

What Prayer Supersedes all others?

An excerpt from a teaching called The Dharma of Technology by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo

Compassion is the foundation of Dharma.  It is the meaning of Dharma.  Without compassion, there is no accomplishment of Dharma and you have to make a fervent prayer, a prayer that supersedes any other prayer that you will ever make.  You pray that you will accomplish the extreme great compassion, to put your mind and your heart in such a way that if Lord Buddha Amitabha did come to you and offer you the suffering of the six realms, you would eat it with happiness and with joy.  And just before you took your first bite you might say, “Please Lord Buddha, save me.  Help.”  And then you’d eat.

We are all in a body that has an ego associated with it, a body that is an ego that has an “I” identity.  We want to work for our safety. We are very concerned with our safety.  So it’s understandable that you might make that prayer, “Please, by the grace of the wisdom of your mind, let the suffering, once I eat it, be transformed.”  But you should eat it and not really care whether it works out that way or not.  If you could be the only one that suffered and all of the six realms could be liberated, if you could be the very last, the only one left, that should be your greatest joy.  If all of the ones that you have hated and judged, the ones that you thought were the thorn in your side, if they could achieve enlightenment before you, that should make you happier than the thought of your own enlightenment.  If you can really come to that understanding not in a superficial way, but from the depth of your heart that if Lord Buddha Amitabha would give you this opportunity you would take it in a minute, then you have accomplished Dharma and you are to me the light of the world.  You are to me the best student there is.  You are a treasure.  And I don’t really care if you accomplish anything else about Dharma, because the mind  that does not differentiate, the mind that is free of hatred, the mind that has overcome desire associated with the self to the extent that it will take on the suffering of all the worlds, that mind is the liberated mind.  That is a jewel.  That is the mind that is the wish-fulfilling jewel.

The reason why I am telling you this is because I want you to know as my students, I really want you to understand and have there be no question in your mind what I think Dharma is.  I want you to understand what I respect and what I admire.  I’ve told before that I see students that are learning the technology of Dharma and some of them hang out with the big lamas and they go for the big empowerments and stuff like that and they remain unloving, unchanged, and full of gossip, full of judgment and I don’t think much of that.  I wouldn’t have a student like that.

If my opinion is of any value to you at all, then please understand that to the best of my ability this is what Dharma really is.  This is the understanding that I have.  To the best of my ability, I understand Dharma to be that love. I am not going to teach you something that will not lead to enlightenment.  I don’t claim to have any special powers, but if you have any consideration that I’m your teacher, any faith in me, then hear this.  If you accomplish this and do nothing else, you will have accomplished Dharma and basically, that’s really all you’re ever going to learn from me.  That’s all I really have for you.  I hope that you will consider that precious.  There is no other Dharma.  There is no other enlightenment besides that.  The mind of bodhicitta, that is the supreme goal and there is none superior to that.  When you have accomplished that, that’s it.  Your mind is liberated from the very causes of suffering and you then are in the position where you can, in turn, liberate minds.

I wish that you would actually use this technique.  I wish you could really think about what if Lord Buddha Amitabha came to you and offered you the six realms of suffering.  Would you take it?  Try to cultivate your mind and gentle your mind and purify your mind to the point where you would gladly, willingly take it and be willing to suffer for an endless amount of time, and be really happy about that.  Think that your precious self, the one that you love so much, might be deformed and made gross by that suffering.  Think that might happen and still be happy about it.  You should think about all the people that drive you crazy and all the people that you hate and try to get to the point where you’re really happy if they make it ahead of you and think that the people that are precious to you, your family, the ones you make such a big deal about, make it in your mind where they are the same, exactly the same as the people that drive you crazy.  When you have accomplished that, through whatever means, and generally it happens through kindness and practice just in the way Lord Buddha dictates, then you have accomplished Dharma.

Through the cultivation of your mind to be pure in that way, through a mind like that, through that exalted mind of bodhicitta, you will certainly have the power to appear in an emanation form again and again under all circumstances, in all roles, in strange places, under strange conditions and be able to provide a means to enlightenment to all sentient beings, just through that and nothing else.  You don’t even have to be smart to do that.  That’s why sometimes I think intelligence is a pitfall.  You don’t have to be smart to do that, but you have to be determined to accomplish Dharma.

I hope that you find meaning in this and that you have it clear in your mind what I really cherish and what’s really important to me.  I would like it very much if you understood me that well at least because then if you decided that you really wanted to be my student for the duration and learn what I have to teach you, that’s it.  That’s all I can teach you.  But I can teach you that.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo.  All rights reserved

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12/1/2016 Thursday by Norma

A confusing event occurs today. Verify information carefully before believing it and especially before acting on it; you’ll be embarrassed by your behavior if you don’t. The conviction with which the information is presented is the problem. (“Martians have definitely landed!”). Fortunately, someone quickly offers information counter to the news. (“No they haven’t, it was a typo.”) Colin Powell said, “The guys in the field are right and the staff is wrong,” reminding you to trust your own perceptions.
This is a great day to form partnerships, to solidify relationships, and to move forward. Mars is favorable, giving a huge boost to people who have recently felt lethargic and uncertain. Work is satisfying, diplomatic relations flourish and virtue is rewarded. The only way to spoil the day is to lounge around doing nothing.

The astrology post affects everyone differently, based on individual horoscopes. Look to see how this message reflects your life today!

Time To Practice

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “Antidoting the Mantra of Samsara”

New students keep saying “Well this is amazing. I’ve been looking for something that’s that deep and that profound and this sounds really good, and as soon as I have time, you know, I’ll get into it. But right now I have children, and I have wife and I have a job and I have a car to support and all these things. So you know, I’m really for you and I hope lots of people become Buddhists and do all this. But right now for me I have to wait. I have to wait for a while. I have to wait ‘til my kids grow up. I have to wait ‘til my car is paid for. Right before I get the next one. And I have to wait for…, I just have to wait, you know, because waiting is what I do.”  And so the thought that we have when we’re waiting is that somehow this is all going to work out well. We’ll be exposed to the Buddha’s teachings and we’ll hear something. It’s that magical thinking: It’ll just sort of come together eventually.

Actually, if you really think about it, the Buddha’s teachings are so extensive, so developed, so profound, so deep that they take time to contemplate, to understand, to prepare for, to even build the foundation that causes you to practice foundational preliminary teachings. It takes time. Why? Because you have to change in the process!  We’re not in the business of applying bandaids here. It takes time for you to change. Some of you change faster than others. And it takes time to do the practice. The practice is extensive. So, I’m looking around the room now and I’m seeing that most of us are not under 10 years old. Therefore, whether we’re 20, 25, 35, 45, 55, 75 or however old we are, and it seems like there’s a mixture here, you need to start right now. Because there’s not much time.

There are two reasons: First of all the Buddha taught that there is no guarantee as to how long any of us are going to live, and you can’t understand this. For some reason it is beyond human capacity to understand this kind of thing, unless you yourself have been struck with a terrible illness or a terrible accident where you could have died or may still, or unless you’ve seen someone near you just kick off. Once you’ve had that experience you may understand, but before that, it’s very hard to understand what the Buddha has taught. There is no guarantee that you’re going to wake up tomorrow. Or next week. Or next year.

The second reason is the cause and effect relationships that constantly engage our own sea of karma. That sea of karma that is already hooked up and functional within our mindstream is very fluid and it’s constantly being catalyzed by other events. Each one of you most likely has the karma to live for a very long time and also the karma to die quickly. Which one will ripen?  Well, that’s up to you, according to how you practice, according to how you live, according to how you determine your mind state because everything you do, everything you think, everything you engage in is an additional cause and effect relationship and an additional catalyst. Everything you do is important.

So for each and every one of us the wisest thing to do is to begin to practice now. You know yourself very well. You know when you tighten up. You know what you need. You know when you get scared. You know when you do your best. You like to think you don’t know and you kind of get limp and act like you need guidance for everything, but in fact you do know. You do know how to take care of yourself if you stop and think about it and engage in some self-honesty. So do whatever it takes to mother yourself through, to nurture yourself through, to get to the point where you can actually practice.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo.  All rights reserved

 

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11/30/2016 Wednesday by Norma

Zealots are out in full force, pressing their views on others, and a problem exists herein. It’s fine to hold opinions but be aware that those you’re proselytizing may have some ideas of their own. Be polite. Four planets in Sagittarius will show you a good time, but the sentiments are real so pay attention. Alan Watts said, “Normally, we do not so much look at things as overlook them.” Genuine progress is possible today, in a way that seemed unimaginable until now. This is a good day to become informed, to learn something, to listen and to expand your horizons. If you’re doing all the talking, be careful, you might miss something important.

The astrology post affects each person differently, depending on individual horoscopes. Look to see how this message reflects your life today!

Using the Enemy as Guru

An excerpt from a teaching called The Dharma of Technology by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo

Think about the people in your life.  Is there one person that you just can’t stand? I know that you’re a Buddhist, however, there is probably one person in your life that gets your goat every time.   If you think there is no such person that you can’t stand, then you don’t know yourself at all.  Think about all of the people in of your life and think about whether you can sincerely wish that each one of them gets ahead, has all the happiness, all the approval, all the food, all the money, all the goods, all the joy, all the accomplishment that they could possibly have.

Think about all the people in your life. There is somebody in your life, probably more than one person, who when they get praise or that good old pat on the back from the authority that you’d like to have approval from, you’re not happy about it.

You want all sentient beings to be happy.  You want everyone to get ahead.  You want everyone to have a new car, lots of food, a great house to live in, everything they could possibly want and then you want them under those circumstances to reach enlightenment even without trying.  That’s what you want for all sentient beings.  But if you examine yourself, there is at least one person in your life that you really would like to see work for it.  And you wouldn’t mind if this person got disciplined heartily along the way.  You’d like to see this person get what they really deserve.  It may be somebody that you flat out hate.  There is always somebody like that.

Take that person and then think of that person next to the person that you love the most in the world, the person whose qualities you think are the purest, the one you’d most like to be like, the person that you really love.  Maybe a child or a mate or a teacher or a friend who has given you so much, somebody that has been so kind to you and someone you really feel like you couldn’t make it in this life without. There must be somebody in your life who is such a treasure to you.

Your job, in order to fully accomplish Dharma, is to make that person that drives you crazy the same in your mind as the person who is the real treasure in your life.  They have to be the same.  And in fact, if the person who drives you crazy to the point that you can’t live with being crazy like that any more, and through the Buddha’s teaching you are able to accomplish loving that person equally with the jewel in your life, then that person is more valuable to you than the one you love easily.  That person is your real guru. You have to think about the one person in your life that you would never, under any circumstances, call your guru.  That’s the one you use, the one person that you would be embarrassed to have the world know that was teaching you anything.  That’s the one you use.

Somehow you have to develop a sense of stability of mind and that is only done through compassion where you understand the equality of those two, because they are equal.  They are exactly the same.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo.  All rights reserved

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11/29/2016 Tuesday by Norma

The New Moon marks a new beginning, one that’s remarkably harmonious provided you sidestep wishful thinking and stick with reality. Fantasy is your undoing now. Five planets in fire signs generate enthusiasm and you can feel the heat! Peter Marshall said, “Enthusiasm is not contrary to reason. It is reason-on fire.” If you’re sitting at home doing nothing check your pulse, you may not be alive. It’s that kind of time. Go outside where the excitement is. This is an excellent day to re-affirm your goals and principles, to travel, to confer with others and to meet with friends. Partnership is excellent, but someone on top suffers a fall from grace.

The astrology post affects everyone differently, depending on individual horoscopes. Look to see how this message reflects your life today!

Ignorance: From

The following is respectfully quoted from “The Jewel Ornament of Liberation” by Gampopa as translated by Khenpo Konchog Gyaltsen Rinpoche:

Ignorance. Those who have more ignorance should contemplate the law of interdependent origination as a remedy. The Rice Seedling Sutra says:

Monks, he who understands the rice stalk can understand the meaning of interdependent origination. Those who know interdependent origination know the Dharma. Those who know the Dharma know the Buddha.

Furthermore,

a) the interdependence of samsara is explained in order and
b) the interdependence of nirvana is explained in reverse order.

1. The first one, interior interdependence with cause. As is said:

Monks, because of this, that is produced. Because this is produced, that is born. This way, by the condition of ignorance, mental formation arise. By the condition of birth, there occur old age, death, sorrow, lamentation, suffering, unhappiness, and distress. Therefore, in this way, this vast aggregate of suffering appears.

This is explained according to the desire realm and according to birth from a mother’s womb.

a) At the very first, there is ignorance, which is the confusion that misunderstands all knowledge.
b) Under the influence of ignorance is the mental formation of the karma called afflicted virtues and nonvirtues. This is called “mental formation conditioned by ignorance.”
c) The seed of that karma is carried by the mind so that is called “consciousness conditioned by mental formation.”
d) By the power of that karma, the mind is fully confused, enters into a mother’s womb, and an embryo and so forth arise. This is called “name and form conditioned by consciousness.”
e) By developing the name and form, all the senses of the eye, ear, and so forth are completed. This is called “six increasing fields conditioned by name and form.”
f) The interaction of the eye organ and so forth, the corresponding object, and the consciousness is called “contact conditioned by the six increasing fields.”
g) Through contact, one experiences the feelings of joy, suffering, or indifference. That is called “feeling conditioned by contact.”
h) When there is feeling, there is joy, attachment, and stronger attachment. That is called “craving conditioned by feeling.”
i) From that attachment, one craves more and more, and wishes to not be separated from the object of attachment. That is called “grasping conditioned by craving.”
j) Through that grasping, karma and existence by body, speech, and mind are again created. That is called “existence conditioned by grasping.”
k) That karma creates the five aggregates (Skt. skandas). That is called “birth conditioned by existence.”
l) After birth, the aggregates which actually exist increase, ripen, and cease. “Ripen” means aging; “cease” means death. That is called “aging and death conditioned by birth.” Due to ignorance, complete attachment, craving, death causes the inner pain called sorrow. That sorrow causes expression in words, called lamentation. When the five consciousnesses experience unhappiness it is called suffering. Bringing that in the mind, that suffering is called “mental unhappiness.” Furthermore, in this way and so forth, the entire afflicted subconsciousness is called “disturbed mind.”

These twelve should be understood in three groups. Ignorance, craving and grasping compromise the afflicting emotions group. Mental formation and existence are the karma group. Consciousness and so forth, all the remaining seven, are grouped as suffering. The Treatise on the Existence of Interdependence says:

The twelve interdependent elements
Should be understood in three groups.
The Sage described interdependence as
Afflicting emotions, karma and suffering.
The first, eight and ninth comprise the afflicting emotions.
The second and tenth comprise karma.
The remaining seven comprise suffering.

The examples of these are ignorance is like one who plants the seed, karma is like the field, consciousness is like the seed, craving is like moisture, name and form are like shoots, the others are like branches, leaves and so forth. If there were no ignorance, then mental formation could not appear. Likewise, without birth, aging and death would not happen. But because there is ignorance, mental formations are fully created. And so forth, when their is birth, aging and death occur.

Ignorance does not think, “I will create mental formation,” and mental formation does not think, “I was created by ignorance.” Likewise birth does not think, “I will create aging and death,” and aging and death do not think, “We were made by birth.” But when there is ignorance, then mental formations appear and manifest. Likewise when there is birth, aging and death appear and manifest. Thus, this is inner interdependence with cause.

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11/28/2016 Monday by Norma

Mars is the champion today, galvanizing people into action. Join up and become active in your favorite cause. This is a great time to start a company, a campaign or a diet. Cyril Connolly said, “The one way to get thin (or anything else) is to re-establish a purpose in life.” Your purpose is clear now so
get moving! A surprise shakes confidence, temporarily, but it has no lasting effect on your goals. News from afar becomes important as the day progresses. This is an excellent time to determine your overarching goals, and once that’s done determine the tactics to take you there.

The astrology post affects each person differently, depending on individual horoscopes. Look to see how this message reflects your life today!

The Foundation

Buddha Shakyamuni

Buddha Shakyamuni

From The Spiritual Path:  a Collection of Teachings by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo

To me, compassion is not a feeling at all. It is not an emotion. It is logical. It is meaningful. I find no other excuse for living. If I tried to find another, I would be lost in samsara, a bee buzzing around in a jar.

The format of my life arises from—takes its only meaning from—the fountain of compassionate activity. I can’t think what else one is supposed to do. Anything else is deeply neurotic activity that has no true birth, no foundation, no substance. So I try to give a teaching: If you become a Bodhisattva, you will become happy. But that is just a poor condensation of the truth. A life that is born of compassion—that arises from the breath of compassion, the wind of compassion—is born of the profound essence, knowing itself to be inseparable from the profound essence. The key is to understand yourself as that compassion—your whole life as compassion-ate movement. It is the natural display, the natural order. It is the evidence of Lord Buddha’s blessing. It is YES.

Kindness is universal; it is not a word the Buddha invented. I am a Buddhist because I have found that this is the most useful way to benefit beings. Perhaps you will determine that for yourself. But even if you do not become a Buddhist, you are not off the hook. No matter what religion, path, or teaching you follow, compassion is the way to realization. Whether or not you are a Buddhist, you have a job to do—and that job is to develop a fervent, sincere aspiration to be of true benefit to others. This is the foundation.

Buddhism is based on the ideal of compassion. The Buddha taught that we should cultivate our lives as vehicles to help and benefit all others—not just our own small circle of family and friends. We should increase our compassionate activity until it embraces an ever greater number of beings. We must not be satisfied with concern only for human beings, or even for all the beings we can see in our world.

According to the Buddha’s teaching, there are six realms filled with sentient beings. That which we can see is a relatively small portion of the human and animal realms. But there are non-physical beings of different types who must be seriously considered.

To develop the mind of compassion, you should begin by honestly examining yourself. You may find that your goal is not in fact to benefit all sentient beings, but to be a kind person. There are worlds of difference between these two goals. One is selfless; the other is not. There is still you wishing to be a kind person. You must avoid the trap of using Dharma with the motivation, whether conscious or not, of making yourself a great Bodhisattva, a great helper, a great savior. You need to make the idea of compassion so strong that it becomes a fire consuming your heart.

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11/27/2016 Sunday by Norma

You won’t know you’ve annoyed someone until it’s too late, so be cautious about giving offense today. A groundswell of support for public figures is bubbling up from beneath the surface, and someone quietly gives you secret information that’s critical for success. Francis Crick said, “It is not easy to convey, unless one has experienced it, the dramatic feeling that floods the mind when the right idea finally clinches into place.” This is a good day to travel, to discuss philosophy, to debate ideas and to give and receive support on a deep level.

The astrology post affects everyone differently, based on individual horoscopes. Look to see how this message reflects your life today!