Calling to the Guru – Yeshe Tsogyal

The following is an excerpt from Mother of Knowledge translated by Tarthang Tulku

Yeshe Tsogyal is calling out to Guru Rinpoche as he prepares to leave Tibet to tame the land of savages:

The sun that warms the land of Tibet,
shining over both gods and men, has set.
Now who will warm us, who are totally naked?
The luckless Tibetans have lost their eyes.
Now who will lead us, who are blind and alone?
Our hearts have been torn from our breasts.
Now who will guide the mindless corpses?
You came here to benefit beings.
Why couldn’t you stay just a little while longer?

Kye Hud! Orgyan Rinpoche!
A time of thick darkness has come to Tibet:
A time when hermitages are empty;
a time when the Dharma throne is vacant;
a time when vase initiations are no more.
Now we can only guess as to the nature of the teachings;
now we must look to books for teachings;
now we can only visualize the lama;
now we must use images as his substitute;
now we must rely on dreams and visions;
now a grievous time has come!

 

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

Party Anyone?

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “Take Control of Your Life”

First there’s contemplation.  We should think like this.  All sentient beings are suffering, yet they are all Buddha.  How is it that the Buddha was different, that he was not suffering?  The Buddha said the difference is, “I am awake.”  Therefore, I will practice in such a way as to become awake like the Buddha.  Or we can also look at the suffering of sentient beings and we realize that every one of them wishes to be happy exactly like us. We’re so similar; we have different cultures and different colored skin, but we are so similar in that we all wish to be happy.  And so the Buddha teaches us that in order to have happiness, we should cultivate a pure and virtuous mind with pure and virtuous deeds.

Now as a young person in a materialistic culture where’s there’s lots of Pepsi Cola and dancing and beautiful people and spring break from college happens on the beach in a bikini and you know, the hallmarks of our civilization, we look at that and we think, ”Pure conduct? Virtuous thoughts?  How’s that gonna be fun?”

Well, here’s the problem: You see those young beautiful bodies on the beach, and you think, “Ah, once I had that, was like that.” And then you see they’re all dancing and having a good time and you think, “Ah, for a party.  I haven’t had a party in such a long time.  How wonderful to be that young and beautiful and have a party.”  And then you watch them drinking and you think, “Ah, I used to drink once.  That was great!”  Because that’s what we were taught.  We were taught that we should party and be happy.  And that’s what you do with your left over money after you spend all your life making it.  These are the things that we’ve been taught.

But the Buddha says, “Well, you have that wonderful body now, but every minute it’s changing.”  And for those of us who have been there, and done that, seen that and watched it go, we look at that and we go, “It went fast.  Man, it went fast.  And you know, I put some effort into that.”  And then we think about all the drinking, and that was fun for a little while until we became alcoholics and then it wasn’t fun anymore, or until our stomachs couldn’t take it anymore and then we discovered something. We’re drinking poison!  It’s not good for us.  So our society doesn’t teach us anything.  It teaches us to bang into walls and hopefully from that we may learn something.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo All rights reserved

 

Pulling the Threads: Hope, Fear and Stabilizing the Mind

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “Mindfulness of Cyclic Existence”

The subject of this teaching is the difficulty that Westerners have in coming to grips with some of the concepts that are foundational to Buddhism. They are so foundational as to be almost invisible at times. Yet the concepts are difficult for us because we have our own concepts and philosophies that argue against these that are also so foundational that they are practically invisible. They are so much a part of the fabric of our perception and our thinking that we often don’t realize these thoughts are affecting us deeply.

What happens is that when we try to get a grip on Buddhist philosophy, or when we try to become mindful in a constant way, we find that there is difficulty. We may not understand what that difficulty is, or we may find that even without our knowing we have a very superficial understanding of Buddhist concepts, or we may find that we feel there is some superficiality about our approach to the path. Yet we can’t seem to get a grip on it.  We can’t seem to understand what it is that is bothering us.

I think that this particular subject is not only of importance to Buddhists, or to those that are even thinking about becoming Buddhists, or even to those that are peripherally Buddhists, but I also think it’s a subject that bears recognition by anyone who does any meditation of any kind.

In Buddhist philosophy, a tremendous amount of thought and energy goes into making one understand how to stabilize the mind. In fact, if you could boil down Buddhist philosophy, and even Buddhist practice, the underlying goal would be how to stabilize the mind. It’s a difficult concept to understand because we as Westerners and Americans have our particular idea of what stabilizing the mind must be like. In one way, we could understand stabilizing the mind by understanding the opposite. We think of a person who is unstable as being mentally deranged or something like that. We don’t realize that most ordinary people, according to Buddhist thought, have unstable minds. We don’t realize that this is actually one of the symptoms or conditions that is prevalent in what Buddhists call samsara, or cyclic existence. But in fact this is true, and we must learn to recognize the lack of stability in our own minds.

One of the first ways in which that lack of stability is addressed is by addressing the attachment or the attraction that we have, or even the grasping that we have, toward hope and fear. This is something that you hear about again and again and again in the Buddha’s teaching: how attached we are to hope and fear, how difficult hope and fear are, and how these things lead to an unstable mind. It’s very hard for Westerners to understand. I would like to describe some of the Buddhist thought on the attachment to hope and fear, but more I would like to concentrate on why it is that Westerners have such a difficult time with this concept. If we can understand why we have such a difficult time with it, we may understand that in one way we have never really isolated the ideas of hope and fear, put them out in front of us so that we can really examine how much a part of the fabric of our minds these concepts are.

As a Westerner, there is actually an underlying – and even, I think, overt attitude – that is considered to be admirable or noble. We certainly have our particular norms, our own particular standards, our own particular attitudes that are unique to the Western world and specifically unique to Americans. Without going to the trouble of isolating all of them, I’d like to say that we have a certain picture or image that we’ve grown up with. Of course, it changes from generation to generation, but until very recently not that much. Still, there are some threads that continue generation to generation. We have our own particular image, our own particular ideal. What usually happens is if we grow up with an image or an ideal, it becomes so much a part of us, so ingrained, so woven into our particular emotional and mental and philosophical tapestry, that we don’t notice it, in the same way that you might look at a woven blanket and see a certain array of colors within the blanket. You really wouldn’t pick out the pink in there or the blue, or really isolate them in that way. In the same way, we have attitudes that are woven in. They are part of our structure. Therefore, they are never pulled out. The thread is never pulled out, never really isolated. Hope and fear certainly are in there, and our particular attitude toward hope and fear, as a Westerner, should be examined. When looked at next to the Buddhist ideas about hope and fear, we might come to some shocking awareness.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo.  All rights reserved

Supplication to Mandarava

“Dissolving in the expanse of space
like a rainbow, without remains,
She departed to the
Akanishta Paradise of Pamavyuha.
She transformed into the embodiment
of the supreme consort,
The secret primordial wisdom dakini.
To the feet of Mandarava, I supplicate!
Together with nine hundred
pure awareness holder disciples,
After dissolving into a rainbow body,
she manifested herself once again
for the benefit of others.
Mandarava emanated unceasingly,
manifesting herself as a dakini to tame
the minds of beings in
every essential way.
To the feet of Mandarava I supplicate!”
— Guru Padmasambava

Excerpt from Thirty-Verses of Heart Advice

This is respectfully quoted from “Drops of Nectar: Collection of Spiritual Advice from Great Tibetan Masters” Rigdzod Editorial Committee Ngagyur Nyingma Institute, Namdroling 2004

In a town, a monastery or a mountain retreat
Wherever you stay, don’t look for a spiritual friend;
Whoever your companions are, be neither particularly loving nor particularly quarrelsome.
My heart advice is to maintain your own stability on your own.

 

Astrology for 12/24/2016

12/24/2016 Saturday by Norma

Step aside folks, and let the experts take care of everything today! Hard-charging types cheerfully plow through the to-do list and are finished and ready to relax by early afternoon. All everyone else can to do is offer support and stay out of the way. After a stretch of fire signs shooting off sparks right and left, water and earth signs are moving to the forefront, handling matters with a crisp efficiency that is profoundly calming. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said, “It takes less time to do a thing right, than it does to explain why you did it wrong.” Friends are supportive and fun, financial opportunities set in motion in the past are succeeding, and happiness is on the table.

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

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 told at the last minute that she would have to blow the conch. She never had before, at least not in this lifetime. She wiped her mouth and joked to her students, “I’m never going to get this down.”

She gamely tried again, continuing her gradual circumambulation of the temple. The sound came out clear and strong and hung in the air. After a moment of stillness, the students cheered.

On September 24, 1988, the temple filled with cameras and mics angled in every direction. Jetsunma sat quietly humble on the throne, and straightened the brocades draped over her shoulders, blinking at the lights. The temple had never been so brightly lit. To the blare of Tibetan horns and ringing bells, NBC filmed while His Holiness Penor Rinpoche, Throne Holder to the Palyul Lineage of the Nyingma School of Vajrayana Buddhism, formally enthroned Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo as a tulku, or reincarnate teacher.
According to tradition, ceremonial items were carried from H.H. Penor Rinpoche to Jetsunma, empowering her to teach and formally represent the Palyul Lineage. When the time came for her to blow the conch on camera, the sound came clear and then wavered. Not as good as the night before. She shared a wry smile with her students, tipping her head, Oh well. Then one of the monks had to blow the conch. His Holiness chuckled and Gyaltrul Rinpoche translated his comment, “They should have had Jetsunma do it.”

The news spread via Associated Press, and world newspapers printed photos of the spectacle of a western woman with long dark hair on a Tibetan throne. Her enthronement came at a time when Vajrayana Buddhism was relatively unknown in the US. The year before, an obscure Tibetan monk, H.H. the Dalai Lama, spoke at the National Cathedral to a scattered audience of about a hundred. At Buddhist temples in the late 1980s, teachers were universally Asian.

It was openly questioned whether westerners could accomplish this eastern religion.

H.H. Penor Rinpoche, who never shirked what was needed, answered with a resounding yes. As he enthroned her, he said, “People have asked me why there are no American tulkus. And people have asked me why there are no female Lamas. Now you have both. So you should be very happy.”

“This is for you,” Jetsunma said later to her students. “It’s for all of us really. This is your own enthronement, your own future accomplishment that you’re seeing.” She explained that the enthronement meant that not only can Dharma be accomplished, it can be accomplished by westerners, even in this day and age. “Yes, even you.” And she wrinkled her nose impishly at her students, and laughed.

Post written by Michelle Grissom

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