Astrology for 10/29/2017

10/29/2017 Sunday by Jampal & Wangmo

Theme: Grounded and flexible

Emotional stability and versatility are themes today. A few communication challenges persist early in the day and by later in the day good conversations can be had.  Similarly there are harmonious connections for most of the day.  It’s a good day for research. There could be unexpected good fortune physically and materially. As Kermit the frog said: “Times fun when you’re having flies.”

Disclaimer: We do not condone swatting flies!

 

Astrology for 10/25/2017

10/25/2017 for Wednesday by Jampal & Wangmo

Theme: Productive argumentation!

Your may not see eye to eye today with your fellow travelers. Perhaps arm wrestling would help you work your differences out. It is okay to put your point of view as long as you can really hear the other person’s point of view. On the flip side of the coin there is potential for growth and learning today. There is always a way out of a difficult situation. As Spock said in Star Trek There are always alternatives.

Astrology for 10/21/2017

10/21/2017 Saturday by Jampal & Wangmo

Theme: Intensity and transforming passion.

A new intensity and energy is around today enabling  access to a deeper perspective of the world. Sometimes diving deep is needed for the changes you wish to make. You never know if you don’t go there. It’s not a half-way day to day. Passion can be gainfully employed in deeper conversations about the meaning of life and what matters. As Maya  Angelou said: My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, come compassion, some humor, and some style. 

 

How to Handle the “Dead Zone”

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “Marrying Spiritual Life with Western Culture”

So ask yourself, where are you? If you find that deadness inside of you, don’t blame your path, don’t blame your teacher, don’t blame your society, don’t blame the Buddha. Instead, go within and find what is true and meaningful to you. Work the sums. Reason it out. Lord Buddha himself said, “Forget blind faith.” He said, “Reason it out.”  The path should make sense. It should be logical and meaningful to you, not to me. What’s it going to mean to you if it’s meaningful to me? It has to be logical and meaningful to you. This is what the Buddha said.  It would really help you to try that out for yourself.

We live in a society where we are separate from some fundamental life rhythms and where we are trained to think that things are happening outside of us. We’re in a world filled with terrorism and racial abuse, religious abuse, all kinds of conflict, and yet we think racial intolerance, for instance, is happening out there. We read about it in the paper. No, racial intolerance is happening in here. That’s where it’s happening.

It’s like that with everything on this path. You cannot let it happen out there. It’s your responsibility, your empowerment, your life.  Waiting for someone to tell you how to live it is not going to fly. When you walk on a spiritual path that you know, that you have examined, that you have given rise to understanding, you draw forth your natural innate wisdom. That fills your heart with a sense of truth because you understand it—not because someone else does. That’s the way to do it, and that’s what the Buddha recommended. In fact, he said, “I’ve given you the path. Now work out your own salvation.”

That wasn’t just a flip thing. When people hear that they go, “It’s such a cool thing that he said that! He must have had a great sense of humor.” He meant it! The path is there, but you’ve got to work it out.  That’s how you walk on the path. Otherwise you’re walking alongside the path. Then you’re a friend of Dharma, an admirer of Dharma, but not a practitioner—even if you wear the robes.

So handle the dead zone. Empower yourself. There is no reason why you can’t. Don’t live your life by “bash-to-fit, paint-to-match.”  Don’t do that. You are alive. In every sense, your nature is the most vibrant force in the universe, the only force in the universe. It is all there is. To play this game of duality where you stand outside your own most intimate experience and like a sheep get led through your life, that is not the way to go.

Many of you came to this path from another path because you felt dead there. But remember this: Wherever you go, there you are.  You brought the deadness with you. So handle it.

I hope that you really, really take this teaching to heart because it’s really an important thing. If I had one gift that I could give you all,  it would be to stay alive in your path, to have your spiritual life be like a precious jewel inside of you, living, something to warm you by. If life took everything else away from you, which it will eventually, this is the thing that cannot be taken.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo.  All rights reserved

Rebirth?

baby

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “AA & Buddhism”

Now why am I worrying about this? Am I thinking that maybe most of you in this room are alcoholics? Yes! Yes, I am. But maybe you don’t drink. Let’s see how that works.

In samsara, we have the same condition. According to the Buddha’s teaching, we are actually taking rebirth again and again and again, unfortunately, not with the prevailing idea that one finds in new age metaphysical thought these days. Most new age metaphysical thought says that we choose our parents and we choose our circumstances and we’re all in a learning situation, and that sort of thing. The Buddha teaches us that, in fact, we experience rebirth due to ego clinging, due to desire. It isn’t like a conscious choice where somewhere up in heaven, wherever that might be, or wherever these little unborn creatures are, we look down, parting the clouds of course, and pick a couple of parents out of the 4.8 billion thinking: ‘Those would be nice,’ or, ‘I think I’d like to beat them up today,’ or whatever our particular situation, ‘I’d like to go hungry so I’ll choose those.’

The Buddha doesn’t indicate to us that that is the way it actually is. The Buddha indicates to us that we experience desire, and that desire is the cause of all suffering; and the suffering takes the form of experiencing rebirth under certain conditions. In effect, it is our addiction to samsara that causes us to be reborn under certain conditions. It is true that we tend to come to parents with whom we have a very strong karma, or previous cause and effect relationship. Vibrationally, the parents will be somewhat like us. Now before you all attack me with clubs and sticks, it’s true. I know that you have spent years and years blaming your parents for everything, and I hate to tell you it’s true. We are like our parents in some way.

Now, it’s true our parents might have beaten us to a bloody pulp, and maybe we don’t do that to our children. And our parents might have been judgers and blamers and things like that or cold people, and perhaps we work very hard not to be like that with our children. But if we are really honest and really look at ourselves, we will find ourselves somewhat, in some way, vibrationally like our parents. You cannot be born of a mother with whom you do not have a common vibration. It simply wouldn’t work. Metaphysically, you would dissolve in the womb. It would never happen in the first place. So there is a likeness there. And there is no point in blaming your parents for what happened to you. The best thing to do is to look at the condition and content of your own mind, and learn something that way.

Now, what has led us to be reborn as we are is a series of cause and effect relationships based on the assumption of self nature as being inherently real. With that assumption, automatically and at the same instance that assumption takes place, we distinguish self from other. In distinguishing self from other, we automatically react toward self, toward other, with attraction, repulsion, or neutrality. Now, neutrality sounds like the best way to go, of course. But in samsara, neutrality comes about after this goes on; which means to say you weigh out attraction, you weigh out repulsion, and somewhere in the middle of it, you’re just like eh, who cares. But it’s still part of the same coin. In a sense, attraction is one side of the coin. Repulsion is the opposite side of the coin. And neutrality may be the coin on its side, if you’ll think of that. But they are part of the same thing. They are reactive.

Since time out of mind, we have always been reacting with attraction, repulsion or neutrality due to attraction and repulsion. And it all has, as its root, one of the three poisons. And that poison is grasping or desire or greediness. Desire. We take rebirth due to ego-clinging. We experience continuum; and you can only experience continuum as a self because self is that which seems to move through linear time, and that is the experience of continuum. That’s what we have. We have that condition and it underlies everything, every internal subtle and gross process, every single one. It is that grasping that causes rebirth. Simply that.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo All rights reserved

Astrology by Norma: Retrograde Mercury

 

The planet Mercury appears to go retrograde, to turn around and travel backwards, for three weeks approximately four times a year. “Don’t sign, don’t buy,” is the usual warning for the retrograde Mercury period.

“Don’t sign” refers to contracts of all kinds: a home purchase, rental agreement, lease, marriage document, etc, anything that you hope will work out. Contracts or agreements “Come to nothing,” under retrograde mercury.

“Don’t buy” refers specifically to any kind of machine you expect to be operational- a car, computer, television, you name it.  Machines won’t work, they are lemons.  The tricky troublemaker will get you if you ignore this warning.  “It doesn’t matter,” a woman said as she bought a blender that ended up not working!  If you must buy, save the receipt!

What can you do if you want to sign a contract or make a purchase during retrograde Mercury? There are two options:  first, you may sign or buy if you negotiated the deal previously, if you considered the matter seriously in the past.  Next, you can stall until Mercury goes direct.

Relationships that begin during retrograde Mercury “Come to nothing.” You meet your dream person, everything is perfect, then learn he/she is married, newly escaped from prison, moving to Saudi Arabia or something else that’s a deal breaker.

What’s good about Mercury retrograde?  You’re cautioned to avoid brand new undertakings, but you have a second chance to handle something that didn’t work the first time around.  You get a “do-over” where you need one: you can go back and clean up a mess, fix something from the past. It isn’t often we get a second chance in life, but retrograde Mercury presents that opportunity on a platter! It’s a great time to fix things, repair problems, relationships, to make amends for the past.

Watch for the retrograde Mercury dates, avoid new beginnings and clean up past mistakes and you will be happy with the results.

Mercury will be retrograde two more times in 2017. Mark your calendar!

August 13 to September 5, 2017

December 3 to December 23, 2017

Astrology by Norma THE ECLIPSE!

People are talking about the upcoming solar eclipse on August 21 which will be visible in the United States as it sweeps across the country between Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Tennessee and South Carolina.  Thousands are reserving rooms and buying viewing glasses and souvenir items:  t-shirts, mugs, posters, etc. in anticipation of the event.

But apart from the carnival-like atmosphere, the “Be there or be square” vibe, how will the eclipse affect your life?  We know what the physical eclipse means for people but what does the eclipse mean for you personally?
In astrology an eclipse operates like a spotlight that shines a light on a specific area of life, one that will be of special importance for you until the next eclipse of the same kind.  The Solar Eclipse- the eclipse of the Sun- on August 21, 2017 occurs at 28 degrees 53 minutes in the constellation of Leo.  People born on or near August 21, November 21, February 21 or May 21 of any year will be strongly impacted by the eclipse as it contacts your natal Sun. Expect changes in your status, health and relationship with important men in your life, and plan on a new life direction.

The effects of the eclipse will be apparent between August 21, 2017 and February 15, 2018, when the next eclipse changes your focus.
If as you drive down the highway you turn onto highway 405, your direction changes and this determines where you’ll go and what you’ll see next.  A Solar Eclipse changes the direction of your life in the same way.  You head in a new direction and focus on different scenery. Using solar charts, here is the new focus of attention for each of the twelve signs.

 

ARIES:  Your thoughts turn to love, children, sports and self expression.  Fun is a major focus and you’ll make a definite effort to improve your game in these areas.
TAURUS:  Your attention turns to home and family.  A move, buying a new house, making home improvements or spending special time with family members is promised.
GEMINI:  Learning is on the menu.  You’ll sign up for classes, begin a teaching regimen,
buy a new car and have a new focus on neighbors or siblings.
CANCER:  Money is on your mind.  How to make it, spend it, take care of it. You’ll spend time planning ways to improve your income, possibly finding a new source of income.
LEO:  The spotlight is on you, so make sure you’re ready to be seen. Pay attention to how you look, dress and present yourself.  Fix anything about your body or personality that needs fixing.
VIRGO:  The urge to withdraw and contemplate is strong and it’s important to spend time on your own, thinking about your life and possibly healing from an injury. Circumstances encourage inward time, and helping those less fortunate is highlighted.
LIBRA:  Friends, groups and goal setting are important now. How well do you fit into groups, who are your new friends and what you would like for the future? These things engage your mind. Set goals!
SCORPIO:  You become a public figure in a way that’s unusual for private Scorpio.  How do you present yourself, what is your reputation, how will you function as a leader? You are considering these issues nowadays.
SAGITTARIUS: Higher education, foreign travel, publishing and increased communication with others is highlighted.  Legal matters come to the forefront.  You may go back to school!
CAPRICORN:  Hidden matters, death, support from others, investments and recuperation from a setback are important.  Estate planning and helping others round out the mix.
AQUARIUS: Partnership, marriage and how you connect with others is most important now.  Dealing with the public is highlighted during this time, and your social and diplomatic skills are on display.  Brush up!
PISCES:  Health matters and the work you do occupies your time. Your work skills are important, and a brand new skillset comes into being.  Employees make a strong impact on your life, as do pets.  A new dietary or health regimen is important.

Let’s Get Practical

christmasshopping

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo offered during a “Good Heart Retreat”

How can we possibly move in the direction of encouraging spiritual centers, churches, whatever, to take responsibility for the community around them without prejudice and without distinction? Let’s say, as Buddhists, we would be interested in the welfare of the Baptists in Poolesville, or the Catholics or the Jews, or anybody, or the people that don’t have religion. What kind of plan would it take? What would we have to implement to encourage that? What kind of power could you wield to get the attention of other spiritual organizations to ask them to join you in participating? Relatively speaking, we’re the new kids on the block. I mean who’s going to listen to us? If they were going to listen to anybody, they’d probably listen to the big religious names in this country, whatever they are. So why would they listen to us? Well, actually, I think about the worst thing that we could do is preach about it. I think that if we do that we’ll never be able to accomplish our goal. It seems to me that the best way to try something like that is quietly and humbly, and maybe even invisibly. Slowly, slowly, slowly. Simply finding ways to take care of your community.

I found out a couple of years ago that there was a family in Poolesville, just two people that one of my sons told me about, a mother and a son; and they had nothing to share with each other for Christmas. They were the kind of family where they have money for the electric bill and a certain amount for groceries, a certain amount for rent; and beyond that there is no discretionary income. So there was no way to save up for Christmas, which here is so abundant. You know, we’re not even Christians and we’re so abundant with Christmas. We love it. We think it’s a beautiful holiday, and we love the spirit of it, and we give each other gifts, and that sort of thing. But here were people who couldn’t even celebrate their own religious holiday, except in a spiritual way, I guess, for they had literally nothing to give one another. And so, actually, I’m not saying this to pin any medals on myself, but the reason why I’m telling you this is because it was easy for me to do. It was like no big deal. I had a bunch of stuff. One thing I’ve got a lot of is stuff. Stuff comes to me. I don’t know how stuff comes to me, but it comes to me a lot. Particularly, the little crystal candy dishes. For some reason, for years and years and years, my Sangha would give me crystal candy dishes. I have enough crystal candy dishes to supply an entire crystal store. So I have stuff, and I’m deeply appreciative of all the gifts that I get and I say thank you very much, put it away for somebody else, because someday I’m able to share some of that with others. It doesn’t mean you don’t get the merit. You all still get the merit, don’t worry. In fact, you get more merit.

So I put together a package of stuff for this family, and I was able to share some of the gifts that we had that we didn’t really need. And it just also so happens that this woman was the same size as I am, so I gave her a lot of clothes. So that was really great, and what happened was these people came and they spent some time with us. The karma’s not there for them to become Buddhist, but I was never expecting that. I don’t care. What I do care about was for them to be touched by a little bit of love and to look at our community and say, ‘Wow!’ Now that’s something, isn’t it? That’s something—to take care of a family in your community because they don’t have something and you do. That’s a powerful statement. You don’t have to talk about it. You certainly don’t have to preach about it. You simply have to do it.

Not all of us have a lot of stuff like me. You may not have that glorious karma that invites all those candy dishes or ducks into your house. I used to get ducks a lot, too. One of my teachers used to call me Duckie. So I got ducks you wouldn’t believe. All kinds of ducks. You may not be fortunate enough to have stuff like that, but supposing you knew how to get it. Supposing you had friends that had stuff. Or supposing you had connections with stuff. Or supposing you had an abundance of courage to where you could walk around to people that have more and say, ‘Would you share with the people that have less? Would you help us with this? We’d like you to know that your neighbor a few doors away is not having such an easy time. Would you help us with this?’ Just a simple request, yes or no. All they have to say is no if they don’t want to do it. What if we thought that way as a community? And what if we made no secret of the fact that we intend to take care of this piece of the world? You know, we could start a trend. It’s interesting to me that if you look at the media now and you look at films, you look at books, you look at what’s in the news, what’s noteworthy, Buddhism actually has become quite a fad. Who’d a thunk it! It’s become quite popular. The movie stars and the musicians are liking it now. You know what that means! We’re in.

What if this idea became a trend? It’s not so unthinkable that this could happen. Being not at all practical, being a little dumb about how things work in the world, I don’t see any reason why not. Don’t bust my bubble. I don’t want to hear that ‘no way to get there from here’ crap. What if our community could be a visible presence, like a visible good heart, that all could partake of? We’re talking about overcoming the poisons in our own mind-stream. We’re talking about demonstrating the Buddha’s teachings, the Buddha’s statement of the equality of all that lives, of the need for all beings to be happy, of their difficulty in attaining happiness. What would be so tragic about walking our talk? Why couldn’t we do this?

It seems to me that people of another faith might not be interested in giving to a Buddhist temple. Why should they? They’re doing their thing, and we’re doing our thing. Everybody’s so separate. Wouldn’t it be something if a number of community churches and temples could gather together and make some kind of non-profit organization through which funds could be funneled to mutually benefit and blanket the entire community without regard to race or religion? I don’t think it’s so impossible. The thing is there have already been studies that have shown us that in this country alone, there’s enough money to feed the world. Poverty doesn’t have to exist. We have the power now, immediately. What if the Buddhists in this country became available, really available to their community? And what if it started a trend? And what if it continued and grew?

I’d like to see that happen. And what I would like to do is to have some of you who are inclined to perhaps think of some different plans, ways to work stuff like this out. Let’s start toying with the idea. Let’s start playing with it a little bit, just to see what we can come up with. Let’s find ways that we can be available to our community without discrimination, and without ever requiring of anyone that they change their religion or anything like that. Let’s just think that as a spiritual people, as a spiritual community, the buck stops here. To me that is one of the most outrageous and gorgeous dreams that we could aspire to together. I think it’s really cool. If there’s any reason why it can’t be done, please don’t tell me, because I want to fly just like the bumblebee. I don’t want to hear it.

So let’s start tossing that idea around as a spiritual community. We have smart people here. How many of you are professional smart people in this group? Come on, don’t be shy. Okay, so you professional smart people, I’m kind of dumb. I don’t know anything very much. I don’t know too much about this world, so you’re going to have to find a way for dumb little old me to express this dream. You people who know about organizing stuff, which if any of you looked at my closets, you know I don’t know anything about it. You know about organizing stuff and you know about making foundations and you know about talking to other people, and you know about what kinds of formats we could use to spread this idea. So as part of your good heart effort on a communal level, why don’t we start thinking like this? Start pushing this idea around; start playing with it a little bit. Let’s build a big fantasy about this, and let’s do it. What could happen except we go broke? We’ve been broke for so long we wouldn’t even notice. Hey, I’ll sell my candy dishes. But I’m just dumb enough to not know why we can’t do this. And so I think that, as usual, I have the dumb, impractical, unrealistic idea and you get to make it happen.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo All rights reserved

 

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