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Precious Nectar of Enlightenment

Precious Nectar of Enlightenment

An excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo on October 18, 1995

When we meditate on Buddhahood or contemplate on what it would be like to achieve realization, what do we think we are after? What do we think the result will be? Eventually, through the force of our practice, we are […]

Astrology for 11/30/2015

11/30/2015 Monday by Norma

A rush of confidence and activity is invigorating. People join forces in an inspiring manner, and the news is good. A statement from a leader galvanizes the public and creates happiness. Dress well and spend time in bright, exciting places. Entertainment is favored, also athletic events, games and competitions. Respect people […]

Rest in Wakefulness

Rest in Wakefulness

An excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo on October 18, 1995

What is it that we actually see when we see the Guru? First of all, the Guru is perfection. The Guru is perfect. The Guru arises very naturally, is spontaneously liberated; there is nothing about this appearance that has become […]

Astrology for 11/29/2015

11/29/2015 Sunday by Norma

It’s possible to over-commit or over-promise in the name of love. Do your best to pledge only what you can deliver and avoid future recrimination. Ignore alarming statements, and you’ll hear them, particularly from people at a distance. A powerful force has the ability to dissolve goals and assertions that have […]

Walk In Recognition

An excerpt from the Mindfulness workshop given by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo in 1999

Practice deeply and mindfully every minute of your life. I’m asking you, I’m pleading with you: don’t practice like a robot.  If you can only start with just moments of Recognition throughout the day, start there.  Even one.  It will increase, I promise you.  It’s like building muscle.  What a noble and honorable way to live.  How amazing!  Rather than just clinging to our egos, constantly defining them, and reacting to everything else, practicing some sort of profound Recognition, some sense of the sacred — I mean, is it a real choice?  You can see that one life is so much more precious than the other, so much more meaningful, so much more profound, so much more useful for sentient beings.

I hope that you will, in your practice, begin to institute a way to be mindful, not only when you’re sitting down.  Sometimes we’re not even mindful when we’re doing our sit-down practice.  But to not only be mindful and stretching for that sense of Recognition when we do our practice by carefully, nicely accomplishing the visualization and really discovering its meaning, but also in our lives, to Recognize the nature of appearances, to Recognize that everything is the face of the guru, everything is an opportunity to practice – perhaps that’s a little deeper than walking around saying “Everything is beautiful, everything is love and light.”  I hope that you will practice in that way.

I invite you to go deeper and deeper every moment.  As a practitioner, every moment that you live with this consciousness, with these precious Dharma teachings in your hands, each moment is like a gift.  Each moment is like a Christmas present.  Most of us have them, and we just squirrel them away.  We just take our moments, we move through linear time collecting moments.  But as a practitioner, you can open that package.  Each and every gift has Guru Rinpoche’s face in it.  Each moment as a practitioner has the capacity in it, the ability and the responsibility, to move into a state of recognition, to awaken.

When you find that you’re thinking, “Oh, some of these monks and some of these nuns aren’t so good,” and, “Now I’m really pissed off at my teacher because she moved to Sedona and then not only that, but it’s my week to clean the bathroom” — when you think things like that and you have these ideas about how it should be and you’re judging this and feeling bad about that, what are you doing?  You’re practicing the mandala of self-absorption.  You’re putting that ego right in center stage.  How amazing instead to turn it around and, should you see that you have some reaction, to question your perception.  Question the depth of your practice.  That’s where you have potency.

That’s what makes this practice of Buddhism so amazing:  the ball is in your court, the practice is in your hands.  You’re not waiting for salvation; you’re learning to Recognize it.  What’s so potent and so powerful about understanding that is that no one can take that away from you.  There is no power that can take Recognition away from you, no power that can take the face of the guru away from you.

I hope you will include this in your practice.  I hope you will walk a sacred life.  Whatever it takes to remind you, walk a sacred life.  Walk in Recognition, not in ignorance.  When you use these practices, use them throughout all of your experience.

© Jetsunma Ahkön Lhamo

Astrology for 11/25/2015

11/25/2015 Wednesday by Norma

An early purchase or business transaction takes you in the right direction. The moment is lost as soon as talk predominates; the more words, the more trouble. Pack up and do something else. An attempt to inject facts into a philosophical discussion goes nowhere and it’s important to sidestep the negative,
fearful thinking that predominates now. If you’re worrying about something outside your immediate environment, change, and focus on what’s in front of you. Problem solved! Socrates said, “Let him that would move the world, first move himself.” What’s good today? Diplomacy, improvement in diet and health, partnership and domestic activity. Be aware that leaders don’t know what to do. Be supportive and wait until a plan of action is formulated. No pushing.

The astrology post affects each person differently, based on individual horoscopes. Look to see which area of your life is affected by this message!

Aspirational Bodhicitta

The following is from a series of tweets by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo:

One very important step on entering the path is to make aspirational prayers. It is the beginning of right focus and view. This habit is the very underpinning of one’s spiritual journey. Aspirational prayers are also a way to train the mind, based on altruism, to give birth to the great Bodhicitta in one’s mind.

For instance, one might pray “as I open this door may all pass through the door of liberation”

Or if eating delicious food one prays “as I receive nourishment may all sentient beings be fed by DHARMA”. This trains the mind to be less self absorbed and more likely to put the welfare of others before one’s own, to see one’s life as a vehicle by which to serve. To AWAKEN from the death-like sleep of ordinary view. For some kindness is not a natural habit. This is the life, the time to make it so!

If you can read the word Bodhicitta then you have the karma and power to accomplish it, and should NOT hesitate to practice! Life is quick, short and we must grab the opportunity while we may to make ourselves and our world BETTER. In human physical realm we all suffer from old age sickness, and death. These are inescapable! So we must use this time to prepare for our rebirth.

Kindness will bring happiness. Generosity will bring wealth in our future time. Keeping vows purely will make a beautiful body and Form. Pure thought will bring a clear balanced mind. As we make aspirational prayers we are beginning all that. To whom do we pray? Not to a conceptual god, old man on a throne. But to the 3 jewels, Lama, Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, which are the very display of one’s own pristine primordial nature. This is our own true face.

So one is in a sense purifying one’s own perception in order to wake UP as lord Buddha is awake. Selfishness, dullness, anger, cruelty are ALL causes for a low rebirth. One must build pure view by examining the condition of other sentient beings to understand. They are the same in their nature: separated only buy habitual tendency; Karma. All suffer. All wish to be happy. All strive as you do. With very little result until they train their minds. We must apply method, which is stated clearly in the 8-fold path as Buddha taught. And I have also,as I follow his teaching.

“As I offer these humble words, may they bring benefit to all beings. May all who suffer find the WAY!” This is my prayer. And after I teach all I know, may I have the honor to see ALL cross this ocean of suffering; to be last in order to guide others to the Ship to Liberation! For their sake, my children. OM AH HUNG BENZAR GURU PEMA SIDDHI HUNG Sarwa mangalam!

Thank you for offering your attention, and allowing me to speak the precious lessons taught by Buddhas and Bodhisattvas through the ages.

By this merit may the sick be healed, may the hungry be fed, may cruelty and hatred end, may confused minds be mended and may there be PEACE!

Astrology for 11/24/2015

11/24/2015 Tuesday by Norma

Serious information is disseminated that galvanizes a force dedicated to forestalling trouble. News from afar must be absorbed and taken seriously. A dream is being unmasked as fantasy and the sooner you let go, the sooner you’ll know what to do. A rush of escapist activity is possible. If you
suddenly decide to watch tv all day, play computer games for hours or hang around doing nothing, look to see where you don’t want to accept reality. Erich Kastner said, “Follies change their type but foolishness remains.” Elsewhere, a stable energy ignores the confusion, shops carefully, works
cheerfully and engages happily with a partner. Join this group and it’s a great day! All you have to do is get out of your head and into productive activity.

the astrology post affects each person differently, based on individual horoscopes. Look to see which area of your life is affected by this message!

Gratitude and Guru Yoga

MG-150-9 HHPR, JAL on patio

An excerpt from the Mindfulness workshop given by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo in 1999

Another aspect of constant mindfulness – it’s sort of like hand-in-glove with offering – is gratitude.  When you think about the appearance of all phenomena, like beautiful flowers, beautiful trees, all of our beautiful stuff, suppose you were able to develop the habit of thinking like this: “How great must be the Buddha nature, that this display of the Buddha nature is so beautiful,” with gratefulness.  It’s not like ‘thank-you-God-for-everything.’  It’s not like that.  It’s a deep response, joyfulness, the Recognition to see that the nature that is our deepest, most profound nature, the nature that is all-pervasive, the nature that is our Buddha nature is actually inherent in all appearances. To acknowledge that, to move into any kind of Recognition of that is so amazing.  To think that we are somehow connected.  How amazing!

A sense of wonder that encourages you, not just to see and react in a dull and stupid way, but to perceive more deeply.  By doing that, we develop the habit of letting the mind be more profound, letting the mind reach its depth, and consequently, one’s practice becomes so much more profound and our level of Recognition becomes so much more deepened.  This sense of gratitude ultimately, as we begin to practice, gives rise to an awareness of the emptiness of all phenomena and the inherent nature that is the heart of all phenomena.

As we begin to think like that, every time we take beauty into our eyes and have the opportunity to offer that beauty, perhaps we can say, “That is Guru Rinpoche’s.  This is Guru Rinpoche speaking to me.  I see this beauty and now I have, because of that, the opportunity to offer this beauty to the Buddhas and the bodhisattvas for the liberation and the salvation of all sentient beings.”  If you have a marvelous personal experience and remember to offer the joy of that experience for the sake of sentient beings, or to the Buddhas and the bodhisattvas, to be able to do that, in that moment, you are with Guru Rinpoche.  Guru Rinpoche is speaking to you.

If we learn to Recognize the intrinsic nature of phenomena, isn’t that like learning to see the face of the guru?  What’s important about this is the power that we have to practice this way.  In ordinary situations, if you love somebody, they can be taken away from you.  They themselves can walk away from you.  You could lose them.  But in this way of thinking, this kind of practice of mindfulness, no one can ever take the appearance of Guru Rinpoche away from you.  No one can ever take from you, nothing on this earth has the power to hide from you, to keep from you, the face of the guru.  So if you’re able to look at your environment, and think, “Oh, this is so beautiful, such a beautiful place,” and you’re able to really offer it and feel that blissfulness of just letting go and surrendering all the beauty that you see to the Buddhas and the bodhisattvas, praying fervently that somehow that virtue will be used to benefit beings, praying that all of that virtue will go to nourish sentient beings, at that moment, you are in the very arms of the guru.  You are not separate from the guru.

In ordinary relationships, someone can take that away from you.  Samsara has that power, and there’s not a thing you can do about it.  How amazing to distinguish between that and the extraordinary relationship that is brought about through mindfulness and Recognition: this one relationship that nobody on this earth, even Guru Rinpoche himself, could take away from you, not that he’d want to.  We have this extraordinary opportunity.

Regarding recognition and mindfulness in our Guru Yoga, remember how I’ve taught you that ultimately the practice of Guru Yoga helps us to recognize our own nature, to recognize our primordial wisdom nature as being inseparable from the teacher?  How amazing to use this practice of Recognition in such a way as to expedite all of that and make it so much more profound and so much more meaningful instead of reacting constantly as we habitually do.  How amazing if even once, twice, three times in one day, in one week, we can practice that Recognition and remove ourselves from that neurotic scenario, using the appearance of phenomena and our reaction to it as a way to see the face of the guru. How amazing!

© Jetsunma Ahkön Lhamo

Astrology for 11/23/2015

11/23/2015 Monday by Norma

Energetic activity is best performed early in the day, when a strong push yields positive results. Take action and then stop. Do not attempt anything on your own right now, even though you want to, and be aware that hidden forces are at work. Joshua Moore said, “The knowledge that a secret exists is
half of the secret.” The moment you think you understand something, information comes in to prove you wrong. Confusion holds the winning hand today, and if you understand this you’ll know what to do: talk and listen, gather information, partner up with someone, and go shopping!

The astrology post affects each person differently, based on individual horoscopes. Look to see where
this message affects your life!

Baby Steps to Recognition

An excerpt from the Mindfulness workshop given by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo in 1999

Sometimes when we begin to make offerings of what we experience to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, we may think it’s not a good idea to offer something that’s not ours, but that’s only because we’re materialists and have this idea of ownership.  We really don’t understand how things are.  We’re kind of sick and deluded with this idea of the self being the center of all experience.  So that being the case, when we offer a tree or a field of flowers that isn’t ours or even offer an experience that you have with someone else that’s wonderful and pleasurable to you or to see a friend of yours that has not one, not two, but three cars — for you to offer any of those things to the Buddhas and the bodhisattvas in your mind, is that illegal because you don’t own them?  Of course not.  The idea isn’t about ownership.  It isn’t about defining that, yet again.  It’s about allowing these five senses to participate in Recognition in some way, even if it’s only in a small way.  To offer anything that one sees, any image that is formulated in the eyes, any sound – the sound of the beloved’s voice, maybe your beloved friend, your beloved spouse or child – the sound of that voice that is so comforting and so wonderful to us, that very sound can be offered when it meets your ears.  Rather than owning it and saying this is about me and my children or me and my spouse or me and my stuff, instead make that kind of ongoing process of offering.

In a very real sense, you’re not so much offering the object as you are offering your response to the object.  You’re allowing your senses, your thoughts, and your sensibilities to work in a different way than they have worked before, so then you can feel free.  You can offer someone else’s money.  You can do anything you want to in that way as long as you are truly sincere and it’s done in a profound way.  Remember, we’re keeping in mind the faults of cyclic existence, and practicing that kind of renunciation because we have seen the faults of cyclic existence.

Perhaps you meet somebody really rich, and you may notice, because of the contemplations you’ve been doing on the faults of cyclic existence, that those people are so connected to their money that there is some real clinging going on there. Maybe you notice that that person is all about their money and maybe, because you’ve practiced Recognition, you can see that this is a non-virtue.  You can see that this is not making that person happy, that literally the money has no power to make that person happy.  So knowing that, in your practice you can visualize that money and offer it to the Buddhas and the bodhisattvas.  What good does that do?  Does the money disappear out of the banks?  No.  Perhaps there is some small blessing.  Perhaps more importantly, you, by making such an offering and by thinking that way, can begin to differentiate, to distinguish between clinging and some form of Recognition that there is something more precious than our egos. Maybe it’s a baby step, but many of those baby steps make for big movements.

Cultivate the habit of constantly offering everything that you see, all pleasure, and even hardship.  When we come into a place in our life where it’s very uncomfortable, where there’s some hardship and we survive and perhaps overcome that hardship, that very event can also be offered.  That event can be considered practice, a manifestation of an opportunity to have made offerings, to have been more mindful, and to have been in a better state of Recognition.  Then, that very difficulty that you just survived becomes a form of practice.  It becomes sacred.

For Westerners, our biggest problem is that lack of a deeper understanding of how to practice.  We still think that you go to church on Sunday, and so you practice on Sunday.  You do your religious thing on Sunday and maybe on the other holidays.  We still have that division in our mind.  We are deeply materialistic people, and that is the worst, most horrible delusion that we’re stuck in: that inability to recognize any distinction because of our material outlook.  Practicing in the way I’ve described gives us the opportunity to develop constant mindfulness, purification of the mind, and constantly creating new habitual tendencies.  It’s perfect for Westerners to practice in this way in addition to their sit-down practice because we have such limited time to sit down.  In addition, in this culture we’re taught that when you’re sitting down, you’re being lazy, and our whole commitment, therefore, is to be busy all the time.  So one way to begin to counteract that is to practice in this way of constantly making offerings.

© Jetsunma Ahkön Lhamo

Astrology for 11/22/2015

11/22/2015 Sunday by Norma

A leader zips around telling people what to do, and a follower assuages feelings and compliments everyone. Decide in advance which role you will play and stick to it. If no second is available, you’ll have to play both parts yourself. Both are necessary. Place a recalcitrant person in a chair with a magazine, provide a cup of coffee and keep going. Don’t let anyone monopolize your time or pull you off assignment, and someone will definitely try to do this. Ask a broad question to get the ball rolling, and relax as the opinions fly back and forth. Richard Moss said, “The greatest gift you can give another is the purity of your attention.” If you’re not in a group situation, the need to listen and communicate will still be apparent everywhere, you’ll only avoid it by staying home with the door shut, where you will probably talk to yourself.

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

The Point of Practice

An excerpt from the Mindfulness workshop given by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo in 1999

Training the mind is a very personal, very intimate, and very private thing because there is nobody that can train our minds better than we can.  No one can know the ins and outs of how we think better than we can, and so that responsibility, as well as that power, lies in our hands.  Therefore, the most important aspect of one’s practice is to practice recognition of the nature of phenomena, of the emptiness of all that is; to practice recognition of cause and effect relationships; to practice recognition of the faults of samsara; to practice recognition of the difference between what is ordinary and what is the miraculous activity of the Buddhas.  To practice this kind of recognition is the point, and it’s included in the book practices that we do.  That is as much our practice as reading these prayers is — more so, because if you were to practice this state of recognition without having a book – let’s say you were a prisoner, and you couldn’t get your books – you could still practice a state of recognition.  You could still learn to practice the View.  You could still examine your habitual tendencies.  You could still reorient your intentions and your understanding.  There’s so much that you can do.

© Jetsunma Ahkön Lhamo

Astrology for 11/21/2015

11/21/2015 Saturday by Norma

Everyone has an opinion about everything today. The temptation to plug your ears is overwhelming, but if you do you’ll be out of the loop. New alliances spring up and people are willing to band together for the common good. Activity and a jolt of enthusiasm follow an exciting announcement. Listen carefully to directions today, and you’ll arrive at your destination; go it alone and you’ll get lost. Wrap up your business early in the day and relax, enjoy friends and groups and spend happy time with a partner. James Oppenheim said, “The foolish person seeks happiness in the distance; the wise person grows it under his feet.”

The astrology post affects each person differently, based on individual horoscopes. Look to see where this message influences your life!

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