The Key to Happiness is Merit!

From a series of tweets by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo:

In Buddhism there is much ado about merit. Yet it is very simple to understand. There are meritorious acts and non virtuous acts. If there is no knowledge of Dharma these two may seem the same. But in Buddhism there are rules of conduct. These are given as guides to happiness and good spiritual result.

Say one upholds proper conduct; kindness, stable mind, study, teaching, generosity, respect, meditation etc. That one is accumulating merit. Say another one steals, speaks harshly, harms others, is unkind, a criminal, selfish; this is degenerating merit.

Merit is necessary to approach the path honorably; and to continue, make progress. Merit is also necessary to keep living. It is said when the storehouse of one’s merit in this life is depleted then death occurs. Merit is also about habitual tendencies. If one is a criminal with criminal habits, or a murderer with the habit of killing or harming, this person is said to have a large storehouse of non-virtue, and will live a life that displays it.

So a mainstay of Dharma is the gathering of merit and the avoidance of non virtue. This way the habit of wholesome virtue is installed, and the habit of non-virtue is naturally dissipated. Imagine a legal scale; one pile of non-virtue and one pile of merit. As one adds to the merit, the non-virtue by comparison becomes smaller. Enough merit gathered, and non-virtue falls off the radar. In Buddhism we dedicate that merit of the three times, past present and future to the liberation from suffering of all beings; and for oneself as well. So one becomes like a wealthy person with a treasure trove of merit. Like gold it can be exchanged for benefit. If no merit is gathered the spiritual bank is empty. That results in spiritual poverty, and there is no good result. One may wish to be accomplished but the essential ingredient is missing.

By gathering merit one can be healthy, prosperous, smart, beautiful and wholesome. But the motivation is very important. Gathering merit for selfish reasons is almost useless. The merit is mixed like poison with tea. If one were to rob a bank and in so doing must be kind, generous and loving to the banker to “get in” and steal; this is strictly non-virtue due to bad intention. If one is a monk yet stops to minister to a dying woman, even a prostitute, and the intention is pure, then this is meritorious. Therefore we must always gather merit. Eventually the darkest non-virtue, even the gross obscurations can be purified! But not by acting better starting now. That is shallow and insincere. One must become self-honest and persevere in a deep, energetic and profound way to fill the great storehouse of merit. This is not for sissies! Sissies want it easy-pleasy. Saying words that are pleasing in order to be loved and admired. It will never happen, because to be truly loved and blessed, well, you have to have the merit for it. Put this teaching in your pocket; learn and accomplish Dharma to be truly happy!

Thank you very kindly for reading this small effort at teaching. May it touch your heart and bring you joy!

© Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo

Cultivating Virtue, Pacifying Poisons

From a series of tweets by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo:

I have always felt a good way to purify rage, is to film oneself doing it. How even an attractive person becomes ugly, and repulsive.

If one cannot give respect, one will never receive respect. All people have the right to dignity and respect.

If one lies, is unethical, hurtful, selfish, causing harm, one cannot expect to ever be truly happy!

To meditate, recite Dharma, practice kindness, generosity, to teach Dharma in order to increase the Sangha, this is meritorious, happiness follows.

If one resents or is angered or jealous of others prosperity or funds…They will never have enough, and their bank will be empty.

Rage is an addiction. It must be immediately pacified so the habit will not escalate, thereby making progress on the path.

I find if one reacts to rage with goodness, a kind heart, and compassion, one remains untouched and joyful!

If one lies, is unethical, hurtful, selfish, causing harm, one cannot expect to ever be truly happy!  If one is often sick or very sick the best remedy is loving, kindness, helping others who are sick, and praying for all beings to be free of suffering.

To those whose past is a harsh burden I say – you can change! With effort and cultivating a wholesome and loving mind!

Never gossip. It will always come around and smack one in the head. And one’s storehouse of merit will be lost. Most non-virtue is habitual, so one can only change from the inside. Be persistent and brave! Soon one’s whole life will transform!

© Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo

Understanding Our Root Guru

I agree wholeheartedly with His Holiness the 17th Karmapa when he says it is most important to keep one’s samaya with the root Guru. I was once told a story where a dedicated and educated practitioner emerged after several years of retreat and went to his Lineage Master to complain of his lack of progress.

The Guru sent the retreatant back to the cave, saying five more years were needed. In five years this happened again. This time the Guru said, concentrate on the Root Guru!  So the practitioner went back for five more years. Still almost no result! No Bodhicitta, no Wisdom or Recognition. The Guru then shouted, “You did not meditate on your root Guru!”

“Well,” said student “I most certainly did.”  The High Lama said, “I am not your root Guru! I am one of your teachers and you favor me because I have a high throne! That makes you feel that you certainly are high yourself!”

The great lama in his clarity and mercy said, “You fool! The old poor Ani who fed, raised and dressed you also taught you the four contemplations that turn the mind to Dharma, as well as Bodhicitta, the Four Noble Truths, including the Eight-Fold Path! How stupid and arrogant to think you must have the highest Lama! Such pride! A downfall! So go back and meditate on mixing your mind with that old ragged Ani. She is your Tsawei Lama and was also a wisdom Dakini. Her Qualities were peerless, sublime! But pride has closed your eyes.” Then with fury he cast the practitioner away, saying, “Come back when you have thrown away your pride.”

Five years later the retreatant returned with gifts and prostrations. He was, much to the delight of the Great Lama, awake. He had mixed his mind with his true Guru, had given rise to pure Bodhicitta, and had no pride.

Both the Great Lama and the disciple rejoiced together, and could hear the joyous cries of the wisdom Dakini throughout the entire monastery- Kye Ho!

So the Root Guru only needs to be awakened herself, be able to communicate, and have lineage teachings to pass on. “High Seats” are another issue entirely.  It is that one who hooks and aligns you with pure Dharma, connects you with method and result who is the true Root Guru. Praise to the Root of Accomplishment!

Unending Vow

From a series of tweets by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo on October 26, 2010

My friends are trying to lift my spirits and I feel so grateful for that. Really, I don’t know how I’d manage without your kindness!

I have also received great support from my other teachers, and Palyul Lamas for which I weep with joy. Thank you Khenpo, and His Eminence Gyaltrul Rinpoche and all the others. I love Palyul with my Body, Speech and Mind.

Kyabje His Holiness Penor Rinpoche instilled such love and respect for his hard work to keep Palyul alive and flourishing. I loved his style.

Every Lama has their own style, whether or not they are Tulkus. Just like people!  Some are tough love types. Some are tender and quiet. Some are warriors and some are peaceful. This is throughout Vajrayana. Amazing how the Guru displays just what is needed, if they have wisdom and compassion. A self-cherishing talker could not do that.

I am an American woman. Many find that intolerable. Or don’t like my style. That is OK by me. What I find deplorable is gossip among the Sangha against the Three Precious Jewels. I feel it is lethal to Dharma and to the faith of the students. This is a new land for Dharma.

When Padmasambhava went to Tibet he had to constantly battle the local demons. I was told by BOTH my root Gurus it would be so for me, that I took vows to continue Guru Rinpoche’s work in this new barbaric land. And so it has been and continues to be.

Whenever I complain Gyaltrul Rinpoche says, “You asked for it right to the face of Guru Rinpoche.  You asked to help the worst of the worst,” and so it is. When I complain, forgive me, I do get tired!

But I mean to love you.

I mean to liberate from the suffering of samsara.

I mean to bring benefit until samsara is empty.

May I be the last to be free of suffering.

For your sake.

For their sake.

May I be food, water, and shelter for every being.

And love. May I be love.

Again, I pray and prostrate with prayer to His FACE!

For their sake – my children.

© Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo

The Problem With Desire


The following is from an exchange of tweets between Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo and one of her followers:

Follower: “How can one beat desire?”

Jetsunma: “Study cause and result, and especially compassion for all. The desire is for everything and it keeps us suffering like a revolving door. No control over any result, bad.”

Follower: “So with desire there can’t be fulfillment?”

Jetsunma: “Exactly. An itch that cannot be scratched. Always returns. And by nature cannot be satisfied. Everything begins and ends.”

You can follow Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo on twitter here:


Prayer to His Holiness Karma Kuchen

From a series of tweets by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo while at Palyul Ling Retreat Center in Upstate New York:

To the victorious Guru Karma Kuchen I pray – for the sake of beings in these degenerate times, ascend the Lion Throne of Palyul fully endowed with every strength and virtue! May we who long for your blessing be satisfied!

In previous times you came to us as Karma Tashi to clear our ignorance, our attachment to ordinary confused appearance!

You again sat on the glorious Palyul throne to grant us the awakening to Primordial Buddha nature as the great display Karma Gyurmed, the dance of suchness, as it is!

Then you returned as Karma Tegchog Nyingpo, also known as Tsawei Lama by the peerless Guru, the Third Drubwang Pema Norbu Rinpoche.

You now have come again as Karma Kuchen, pure and stainless. Kye ho! Such are the many miracles of your display for the sake of beings. Now please abide steadfast upon the Lotus Throne of my heart. Rise this very moment, clear all obstacles to mighty Palyul, banish the enemies of the Heart Essence Nectar given to us by the second Buddha Padmasambava through the child Terton Migure Dorje. Restore us all to original purity, clear recognition and perfect virtue!

May Palyul remain as the great unbroken refuge it is in the world now. Please establish the work of your predecessors and that of our Guru. Protect with mighty vigor the insurmountable accomplishment of our Guru Kyabje Pema Norbu, may nothing be wasted, and may all beings benefit!  Live long! Strengthen the Throne of Palyul and remain in perfect health! Show your holy face as we hunger and thirst; and we need you now more than ever, in these darkening times we need your light, the sun of Palyul, Guru within my heart, grant your blessings!

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo.  All rights reserved

True Virtue: A Twitter Teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo


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

What I look for in a monk or nun is renunciation, faith, kindness, willingness to help, deep and sincere love of the Three Precious Jewels. What I don’t like in a monk or nun is wearing robes for the sake of status, or to dominate others, to make yourself seem important.

If vows are broken there are ways to restore most of them but you must actually perform them according to your Teacher’s instruction. The need to boss people around is a very bad reason to take or restore robes. And not to brag that you are a good practitioner, that is bad. As an ordained Buddhist you must not use your robes to make money or to put yourself up as “the boss.” Monks and nuns must be humble and help.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo All rights reserved

Stupas of KPC: A Resource for Healing, Peace and Prayer

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

If weary, sick or sad, come to the KPC Stupas and rest and pray. Leave an offering to say “I was here!”.

Stupas are meant to heal suffering, bring peace, balance, strengthen one’s path. Come see for yourself.

I wish I had funds to build Stupas all along the Pacific Rim. They would heal, balance, purify the Earth.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo All rights reserved


Gossip: Understanding the Poison

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

Any time you talk badly about someone you actually shorten your life force. Or at the least you endanger your ability to draw trusting friends and the ability to be well-spoken in future times. And no one will believe you.

I don’t like gossip – it does no good and tastes like poison. And it comes back.

Question from Twitter Follower: “What is the distinction between gossip and recounting your experiences with others?”

Jetsunma’s response: Intention is the difference. Tell stories, I do. Usually we know when we are being mean-spirited.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo.  All rights reserved

Understanding the Poison

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

Hate is a poison no one should drink. Or give to anyone else. If you have it unrepaired it will ruin your life. No one should tolerate hate in their minds or activities. It is the basis of war and crime. It is the downfall of nations and lives. It is a terrible cause with a terrible result. It is death and sorrow. No one benefits.

It is so common we think it is natural and normal. It is in fact not even reasonable as we are of the same nature, field of being. So hate ripples out to all. Everyone gets hurt.

For instance, now, in modern music there is so much name calling, self preening, body part naming, (everyone is a ho, a c— a d—: sick!) We are no longer actually listening to music, we are listening to hate. We trash our minds with low life reading and writing. We could be so much better- do so much more. We don’t even try. We think it stylish to be trashy. We don’t even place any value on wholesome cognition. If we did, personal issues could be used to study the path and develop enlightened qualities. Too bad – because we can all awaken to Buddhahood. We are that.

May whatever merit I have ever gathered and all I and my students have ever done as well, be dedicated to the liberation and salvation of all!

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo.  All rights reserved

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