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28th Anniversary of the Enthronement of Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo

The lowing of the conch shell sounded from various points on the temple grounds like a soft foghorn. It overlaid the patter of hammers as stupa construction continued. Sometimes the sound wavered and spluttered out, and Jetsunma would laugh, lowering the conch. She was practicing for the enthronement ceremony the following day and had been […]

Astrology for 9/24/2016

9/24/2016 Saturday by Norma

Food and family are highlighted today. Be prepared to attend a social function with a casserole or snack in hand. Plutarch said, “It is a hard matter, my fellow citizens, to argue with the belly, since it has no ears.” Dine well for happiness. Household improvements are satisfying and small […]

How to Understand Cause and Effect

How to Understand Cause and Effect

We don’t have any real way to understand direct cause and effect relationships.  And for that reason, we cannot really seem to understand how to create the causes of happiness. A good example is this: If we experience perhaps chronic poverty, we may think that the way to end this chronic poverty is to struggle […]

Astrology for 9/23/2016

9/23/2016 Friday by Norma

Everything is magnified and enlarged today: you aren’t happy, you’re super-happy; you aren’t hungry, you’re starving; you aren’t nervous, you’re terrorized! And so on. Jupiter has entered the sign of balance/imbalance and swings back and forth between thoughts like a pendulum, never stopping. Calm Down! Henry Rutherford Elliot said, “If […]

Are We Misguided?

Close Up Portrait of Ted Bundy Waving

The one thing that all sentient beings have in common—or I should say one of the main things that all sentient beings have in common, but particularly the one thing that makes us all related, inter-related, kind of like brothers and sisters under the skin—is that we all in our own fashion wish to be happy. If you examine the content of your life and what you’ve done and not done up until this point, you’ll find that just about everything that you’ve engaged in up until this point has been in some regard an attempt at being happy. Unfortunately that attempt at happiness is only sometimes successful; and sometimes it’s extremely misguided. Actually, we might have a better idea as to what happiness is all about than someone who has a strong habit of harmfulness toward others, or perhaps extreme selfishness; even someone like a person who is chronically a criminal. Perhaps someone who is a thief, or even a murderer. A good example might be the recent capture of a man who was a serial murderer. Believe it or not, even such an extreme condition like that is a misguided attempt to be happy. Of course, it’s extremely misguided. And  the one thing that we might have in common with such a one as that is that we are both trying to be happy. That’s really hard to understand though, isn’t it? Because we can’t think how it would be possible to be happy by really harming others in such a bizarre and brutal way as that man apparently did. We can’t understand what he would be thinking of. How could he think like that? How could he think that being harmful and hateful towards others could possibly bring happiness?

Of course, it’s hard to say because we don’t have the man here. We can’t examine his mind; and we can’t really assume that we would know what he was thinking. But we could take at least a theoretical guess, a theoretical leap at understanding. Possibly in this man’s mind, he thought the control or power that he achieved over others through that kind of brutality, would make him happy—the feeling of controlling others, the feeling of supremacy, the feeling of the ability to dictate the conditions of some other person’s life. Possibly in some twisted way he thought that that would make him feel happier. Perhaps he didn’t even use the word happy. Perhaps he felt an exhilaration of power. Perhaps he felt an excitement about the continuation or fulfillment of some crazy compulsion. It’s really hard for us to understand because we don’t act like that. But we do throughout the course of our lives demonstrate certain activities that we ourselves don’t understand. Sometimes we’ll watch ourselves act completely out of character. Or even if we are within character, and that means predictable, we’ll watch ourselves move through certain cyclic changes within our lives in which we predictably act the same, but it predictably brings no good result.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo.  All rights reserved

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9/19/2016 Monday by Norma

Multiple opportunities appear today, and the question is which one to take? Travel is in the picture, complicated by many small projects that must be completed before you can go. Make a list and zip around checking things off; failure to do this generates irritability. Alice Paul said, “Once you put your hand to the plow, you can’t put it down until you get to the end of the row.” Physical strength is an asset today and speed is on your side. No need to think things over, in fact thinking will just be a drag on your energy. A partner wants to help and your job is to dole out tasks instead of doing them all yourself. What’s good? Partnership is wonderful, shopping is excellent and health matters are constantly improving.

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

Spiritual Maturity

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “The Bodhisattva Ideal”

When we first enter onto the Bodhisattva path, we are thinking that maybe we are doing this because we’ve always wanted to be a good person.  We have all kinds of mixed motivations.  Maybe we never got enough approval when we grew up.  Maybe mama was always telling us that we were never going to amount to very much, or something like that.  Maybe dad was always telling us that we have to live our lives in a certain way in order to meet with his approval.  Maybe our society has taught us that if we don’t attain certain things we are a “n’er do well.”

For whatever reason, when we first meet with the Bodhisattva path, we think that we are going to make something good of ourselves.  We are going to approve of ourselves, finally.  We are going to be good people.  We fall in love with the romance of being saintly. But ultimately, the life of a Bodhisattva has not one thing to do with that, nothing to do with that.  The purpose, the intention, the planning of a Bodhisattva is not according to that.  The planning of the Bodhisattva is based on logic and reason. Since we have met with the ideal of the Bodhisattva, this is the time for the beginning students, or the student who has been a practitioner for some while, to really determine for oneself what the true meaning of the Bodhisattva ideal actually is—to see the reasonableness of it, to see the logic of it. To understand that to do anything else is to walk through one’s life as a child, mindlessly, just grabbing and playing and having “la la” land in your head.  The life of a spiritually mature Bodhisattva is a life of understanding, a life of clarity, a life of reasonableness, a life in which that spiritual participant thinks in full equations, which ordinary people simply do not do.

Now, having learned these virtuous patterns, these virtuous habits, these virtuous actions, and understanding that this is what results in happiness, and not grabbing in an egocentric way, the spiritually mature Bodhisattva begins to plan, and begins to understand also, that according to the Buddha’s teaching, all sentient beings are in that same condition of revolving hopelessly in samsara. Not understanding what the components of happiness are and what brings relief from suffering.  Not understanding as well, what intensifies suffering and makes it much worse.  Sentient beings literally are revolving in samsara helplessly, like bees flying around in a jar, not understanding how to get out, just bumping, bumping, bumping on all the sides.

Having looked at that, having looked at the suffering of the world, having seen that in places all over the world there is hunger, there is war.  There is disease, old age, sickness and death constantly claiming even those on the seen realms where there is less suffering than in many of the other realms. And, according to the Buddha, we are taught that in the unseen realms, all sentient beings are suffering horribly. They have no understanding really of what makes the cessation of suffering.  Having met with the path and understood all these things, and then understanding as well the Buddha’s teachings, then we make an intelligent choice. “I and all sentient beings have been wandering helplessly and hopelessly in samsara, not understanding the cause of my suffering, not understanding the cause of the suffering of other, not understanding the causes of happiness for myself and others. Now I have come to this place of choice, intelligence, clarity and responsibility.  Therefore, having seen the truth and understanding that there is an end to suffering, I will practice for the sake of sentient beings.”  This is the choice that the spiritually mature Bodhisattva brings—to practice temporarily by bringing happiness and relief to those that they can in any way possible.  And then to practice ultimate or extraordinary Bodhicitta, which is to bring the ultimate happiness, the ultimate joy of the revelation of the path to others so that they too might attain ultimate happiness.  The spiritually mature Bodhisattva chooses to give others the method by which they can end their suffering and gain happiness, the method of clarity that teaches that virtuous seeds bring virtuous and joyful results, and nonvirtuous seeds bring nonvirtuous and negative results.  Understanding that, I myself will be a guide and a light to benefit others through their confusion. The prayer of the Bodhisattva is that we would live and exist as a Bodhisattva long enough to be the one to watch the very last of them cross over through the doors of liberation into freedom.  That is my prayer and that should be the prayer of each and every one of us, that we would be the last and would be able to see every single sentient being cross the ocean of suffering into freedom.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo.  All rights reserved

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9/18/2016 Sunday by Norma

Your job is to smile as your savior charges around straightening up your messes. Don’t get bossy; you’d do it yourself if you could, and you haven’t. Step aside. Physical and intellectual strength combine nicely, guaranteeing favorable outcomes today. If it’s you who leaps in to save someone, great, do so! Elsewhere, clear thinking is reconfiguring an old equation, coming up with a better solution. September 22 is the day to put your new plan into action. Erich Heller said, “Be careful how you interpret the world:It is like that.” This is a good day for love, for a diplomatic approach to something you’ve handled poorly in the past, and for a new way of looking at the world.

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

The Path is Love

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “The Bodhisattva Ideal”

Is the Bodhisattva unafraid?   Heck no!  The Bodhisattva is afraid just like anyone else.  Why not?  Nobody wants to be challenged.  Nobody wants to have difficulty or obstacles.  Nobody wants to suffer.  The Bodhisattva is not less afraid than anyone else. But what is fear in the face of the needs of the many?  What is fear, knowing that what I might collect out of my fearfulness will ultimately lead to my unhappiness and disappointment?

I’ve been practicing the Bodhisattva Path for some time.  I am afraid of everything.  Everything frightens me.  I’m a jellyfish by nature.  But I don’t stop, because it doesn’t make any sense to stop.  Does the Bodhisattva no longer want anything or need anything?  No!  I want and need everything!  Anything you want to give me would be much appreciated!  But I do not concern myself with gathering such things.  I concern myself with the liberation and salvation of all sentient beings.  That’s what I concern myself with.

I’m not a perfect Bodhisattva, but there have been perfect Bodhisattvas. And I can tell you that with the understanding that the Bodhisattva naturally obtains through this kind of conduct: There is a natural kind of internal ease or lightness of being, a kind of quiescence that is a natural byproduct of that lack of emphasis on self-concern and increased emphasis on the well-being of all sentient beings, and the reasonableness of accumulating only those virtuous characteristics which can benefit in all future times.  There is a reasonableness about that and, as we emphasize that reasonable method, and do not emphasize ego-cherishing and ego-clinging, there is a natural lightness of being that occurs that, even while if someone punches us we will be punched and we will roll over, it isn’t so heavy because, as a Bodhisattva, although you may experience phenomenal reality in the same way that others do, there is not the suffering of suffering, which only actually occurs when one is filled with desire, just like the Buddha taught—filled with self-cherishing and ego-clinging, filled with hatred, greed and ignorance. The deep neurosis of acting inappropriately according to what you actually are, the suffering of suffering, comes from that.  It comes from acting like something that is death-oriented, that is contracted, that is separate and limited as opposed to acting as though you understood that you are that primordial wisdom nature, that ground of being, that Buddha nature, that state of innate wakefulness, that quiescent light.  That is the great Bodhicitta that is your nature.

If we could act in accordance with that, that deep neurosis that is characteristic of samsara, that suffering of suffering, could not exist in such a life.  So then, for such a one who practices in that way, all efforts become a benefit to sentient beings, no matter what they appear like.  Ultimately they will result in benefit.  This is the life of the Bodhisattva and this is the practice of the Bodhisattva, and this is what each one of us must attain to because I will tell you, no matter how good you are at sitting in the lotus position or how good you are at looking like a meditator or how many of the rules of meditation you know or how many of the books on spiritual practice you have read and can memorize, if you do not have the Bodhicitta, if you are not alive in love, you have no path.  If you do not consider others before you, you have no path, because the path is love.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo.  All rights reserved

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9/17/2016 Saturday by Norma

Breakout energy propels you through a stuck situation today. Watch for the person who gives you a push and enjoy the added power. Libra, with all it’s charm and diplomacy, needs a partner and that partner has arrived, ready and willing to sweep aside Libra’s indecisiveness and make things happen. The solution may lack dignity or refinement, but so what? Jonathan Winters said, “If your ship doesn’t come in, swim out to it!” You’re still fixing things from the past and fighting the urge to escape everything. What’s good? Zesty people who perk you up, happy partnerships, magnetic attractions and improvement in health matters.

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

Disappointment

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “The Bodhisattva Ideal”

As children, we are only interested in taking care of ourselves.  We are only interested in getting what we want.  Well, we don’t actually understand taking care of ourselves, because really, if we understood taking care of ourselves, we would mature.  But as children, we just delight in everything and we want everything. It’s gimme this, gimme this, gimme this. I need this new piece of equipment. I need this new piece of clothing.  I need this new gizmo. I have to have this car. And I’m just gathering all of this, you see?  As spiritually mature people, we realize through experience (and it’s experience that teaches us), that after we’ve gathered a few of these things, we still aren’t happy.  We are still neurotic.  In fact, the more we gather to please ourselves without consideration for cause and effect relationships, or without considering whether or not this is of any true value within our lives, we find that we are disappointed and disappointed and disappointed. And it continues, and the level of disappointment never ends.  Every time we try to get something for ourselves that makes us feel better without any thoughts of cause and effect relationships… It’s just the oddest thing.  It’s like we have this little, I don’t know, kind of heartbreak, with this disappointment.  Every time we try to make ourselves happy and it doesn’t work, there’s this part of us, somewhere inside that sighs, “Wow, I really thought that was going to work!  How come that didn’t work?”  And we’re confused and lost.

But as spiritually mature people we begin to learn,, in the same way adults learn, that children’s toys aren’t much fun anymore.  And the spiritually mature people will begin to understand that what we have to do now is to live a life that has more meaning than that.  We have to live a life where we can plot out and plan and understand the results.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo.  All rights reserved

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9/16/2016 Friday by Norma

People- still wanting to get away from it all- seriously consider hiding or playing sick to escape. Everything is imbued with hyper-sensitive energy that creates imaginary, paranoid misery. (“He gave me a funny glance; I know he’ll fire me!”). Don’t look for completion today, it’s not coming: present a finished project and it’ll bounce back with endless suggestions for improvement. The good news is you can exercise or work your way out of trouble now, so go against the emotional flow (“I don’t feel like it”) and get busy. Physical strength is on your side and the more active you are, the happier you are. Bring a friend! Woodrow Wilson said, “You cannot be friends upon any other terms than upon the terms of equality.” Love is grand and the nicer you are to others the better you feel.

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

What Are You Gathering?

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “The Bodhisattva Ideal”

In the view of the Bodhisattva, we realize that everything in life is impermanent, that nothing we can gather has any meaning other than the collection of virtuous habitual tendencies within our mindstream. Having realized that, one travels a moderate path in which one’s own enlightenment and the enlightenment of others become the same weight, and nondual.

Further, we come to understand that we are one and others are many. Even in this room, let’s say, if I am practicing as a Bodhisattva, I think that yes, my happiness is equal to the happiness of any one of you. But there are so many more of you than there are of me that it only makes sense for me to do what is beneficial for you rather than what is beneficial for me.  This I try my best to live by. As a Bodhisattva, I consider this to be the most precious understanding that I have.  It’s my treasure and my wealth. It’s reasonable and logical that the needs of the many would outweigh the needs of the one.   Because we are the same, and because we all wish to be happy, and because in our nature we are absolutely inseparable and indistinguishable from one another, I find that I cannot be happy without you. So all of the different gatherings and collections that one can make during the course of one’s lifetime have to be understood in that way.  Are they really worth anything?  Or are they the gaudy childlike baubles that we play with until we have a better understanding of what the Buddha has taught.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo.  All rights reserved

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9/15/2016 Thursday by Norma

Escapism, this is your day! Behaviors designed for escaping reality are out in full force today resulting in marathon tv watching, endless walks, aimless driving in circles and worse. Energy is best applied in subtle, behind the scenes activity. Medical interventions go well, healing techniques are effective and creative activity is rewarded. If you don’t normally live in a parallel universe, you will today! What’s a person to do when the world seems nuts? Form partnerships, that’s what. Luigi Pirandello said, “I present myself to you in a form suitable to the relationship I wish to achieve with you.” Traverse the day with another person and happiness ensues. Love is on the rise, pleasant interactions with others are stabilizing, and a sudden push forward is successful.

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