Astrology for 9/15/2017

9/15/2017  Friday by Norma

Quick action can save a doomed undertaking so get moving early today.  An aphorism says, “A stitch in time saves nine.”  Look carefully, use intuition to make a correction and you’ll catch a mistake that threatens to unravel a project.  An enjoyable companion assists in everything you do, bringing an element of fun into the day.  Be sure to properly thank this person. Winston Churchill said, “One always measures friendships by how they show up in bad weather.” What’s good today?  Fast, accurate thinking, emotional support from others, good food and looking good!

Conceptual Proliferation

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The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “Conceptual Proliferation”

In our ongoing continuum of trying to understand correct view from many different angles, I would like to talk about the conceptual proliferation that we continually engage in and how that actually occurs. If any of you have had any familiarity with any kind of psychotherapy or counseling, or with any kind of inner work at all, one of the things that you might have noticed during your work is that dependent on how you accept information and how you react to it, under those conditions you’ll have a certain kind of experience. And that certain kind of experience really depends on how you accept things, on how you hear things. How many of you have noticed that? That it isn’t what happens to you; it’s how you hear it or how you accept it. Are there any of you who haven’t noticed that? Some of you didn’t raise your hands. I was just checking. You haven’t noticed that. OK. Here’s what I’m saying: Whatever happens to you isn’t always what determines how you feel. It’s how you accept what’s happening to you. Do you agree with that? OK. Because one thing can happen to two different people and they can have two totally different experiences. Isn’t that true? That’s true.

Let’s say two different people have a car accident. Buddha forbid. Two different people have a car accident. One of them tends to be a heavy breather, you know, and they’re just going through the tragedy, and the shame of it, and the anger of it, or whatever it is that their particular habit—and habit may be the operative word there—happens to be. But another person tends to accept things like that kind of like water rolling off a duck’s back. It goes down easier somehow. It’s just their temperament and their personality. They both had the same experience, and maybe they both walked away without injury and had their cars totalled, or both broke a leg, heaven forbid, or whatever; but they might still have totally different experiences even though they had the same kind of situation. So basically that’s what I’m talking about.

So you all have seen that, I’m sure. Even in your own lives you’ve seen that. And a lot of time during the course of counseling, you don’t really engage in trying to change the facts of your life, the things that you cannot change; but you more often engage in changing how you respond to certain things and how you understand them. Well, if this is true in something as relatively simplistic as human psychology or psychotherapy, as we know it,… And I say relatively simplistic because the Buddha’s understanding of what our nature actually is is much more profound, or much deeper, than a psychologist’s understanding of what our nature is. Even if we understand that phenomena on a very simplistic level—and it seems to be an accepted fact these days that we understand that our perception really dictates our experience—how much more so must it be at the level that the Buddha approaches it from.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo.  All rights reserved

Astrology for 9/14/2017

9/14/2017  Thursday by Norma

If your ego wasn’t flattened yesterday, it will be today as a project is scrapped or sent back to the drawing table for revision.  Don’t bother defending the amount of time and work you’ve invested,  just accept correction and move on.  Sympathetic people are nearby to offer help and solace.  A different venture, something hidden from sight, is developing apace and will blossom into something wonderful in time.    Three planets in Virgo bring out everyone’s inner critic, use this perceptiveness to identify people’s good qualities.  Ellen Burstyn said, “Most of my life, if a man did something totally other than the way I thought it should be done, I would try to correct him.  Now I say, ‘Oh, isn’t that interesting.'”  Charm and kindness solve all your issues if you remember to use them today.

Introduction to the Four Noble Truths by His Holiness Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok

The following is an excerpt from a public talk given by His Holiness Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok in Washington D.C.

This is the auspicious occasion which commemorates the precious turning of the Dharma Wheel which occurred in ancient India by our Lord and Supreme Guide, Lord Buddha Shakyamuni, in Varanasi in the presence of the five disciples and hundreds and thousands of gods and other exalted beings who gathered. At that time the Buddha gave the teaching on the subject of the Four Noble Truths.  Since this is the special day of that teaching, I would also like to mention a little about the Four Noble Truths.

OM YE DHARMA HE TU PRA BHA WA HE TUN TE KHEN TA THA GA TO HAYA WA DET TE KHEN TSA YO NI RO DHA EWAM BHADI MA HA SHRA MA NA YE SO HA

I have just recited what is called the essence mantra of interdependent origination, which is what the Buddha first uttered on that occasion.  First the Bhagawan Lord Buddha Shakyamuni spoke four words which had to do with understanding the truth of suffering, the cause of suffering, the cessation of suffering and the path which leads to the cessation of suffering. These four points were explained according to their essential nature.  Secondly, he explained how it is that we can recognize what suffering is, what causes suffering, what causes the cessation of suffering and what practices are the actual practices that comprise the path leading to the cessation of suffering.  And thirdly, he explained what the situation was like when suffering is alleviated, when the causes of suffering are alleviated, when the cessation occurs and the actual fruition of the path.  After explaining the Four Noble Truths in these three ways, Lord Buddha Shakyamuni was able to lead those five disciples, who themselves were all Arhats, and those hundreds and thousands of gods and exalted beings who had gathered to realize the fundamental nature of reality, the nature of the dharmata.  Although the Buddha himself only uttered twelve words, because those who were gathered there were not ordinary and had tremendous faith and devotion and fervent regard, they were able to actualize the full understanding of the teaching and realize the meaning based on that direct transmission.

Now I would like to very briefly go back and explain the meaning of what Lord Buddha taught on that occasion.  These are like condensed teachings that came in words, but the explanations that came after the first explanation were for those who were on the Bodhisattva bhumis, and so they could understand the meaning. Therefore I would like to explain the first series of teachings on the nature of suffering, which is something that we can relate to.  What I will be drawing from at this point is a teaching which was actually written down, or compiled by, Maitreya.  To cite an example: If one is suffering from a disease or an illness, first one has to recognize what is the cause of that disease in order for the suffering to be alleviated.  The second step would naturally be to recognize what causes the disease.  One must then be careful in terms of what food one eats and one’s activity and conduct so as to not create those causes.  One must uproot the causes which produce that unwanted result.  To completely eliminate that disease, one has to understand very clearly the benefit of the elimination or the cessation of that disease.  Considering that one can then be free from suffering if the cause of the disease is eliminated is not enough. One must actually engage in whatever activity is necessary to make the elimination of the disease occur, which is in fact partaking of the medicines which are potent enough to actually destroy the disease.  Therefore this points to the path.  In terms of spiritual practice, one has to know how to pursue the path to eliminate suffering.

Astrology for 9/13/2017

9/13/2017  Wednesday by Norma

The squish you hear is the sound of an ego being flattened.  Yours, perhaps? Have you grown too big for your britches, become a legend in your own mind?  You’ll shrink back down to size in the next day or two as circumstances undercut your thinking. At the same time goodwill toward others advances your cause on a different front.  You are both losing ground and gaining an advantage at the very same time!  Notice your successes, absorb your losses and move forward with new confidence.  Rabindranath Tagore said, “Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.”  Good things are coming your way provided you remain stable during the current unstable time.  Meet everyone with an attitude of respect and friendliness, avoid the tendency to engage in divisive behavior, and things will go well for you.

Finding Safety

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The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “Experiencing the Hook of Compassion”

I’m reminded again and again of that wonderful story that we hear in our tradition of the father who had many children in a house, children that he loved very dearly. The father came home to his house and he saw these children were playing in the house, but that the house was on fire. And so he called out to his children. He said, “Come out! Come out quickly! The house is on fire!”  He couldn’t really get in to help them, so he’s calling, “Come, come. Please come! Come out quickly! “ And the children were playing. They were happy playing. You know how children are. You know how children are. They were happy playing; and they were busy, being very important in their house. Very, very important in their house. So they were busy in the house playing important games. Aren’t we all playing important games? They’re very important games. So we’re playing important games in our house. And those children are in there; and they’re playing, and they’re intent. They’re concentrating. Aren’t we concentrating on our lives? We’re so concentrated. We concentrate so hard! And so the children are playing. And no matter how hard the father calls, and how loud, the children cannot come out. They cannot hear. They can’t get themselves together. Have you ever seen children, how they do that? They just can’t pull themselves away. Have you ever noticed how children do that?  Big children too! So anyway, that’s happening and happening. And suddenly the father thinks, ‘How can I?’ he’s crying. ‘How can I get my students [sic] out?’

So he sounds the sound that the children need to hear. He said, “I have chariots for you. I have umbrellas for you. I have big elephants to pull you. I have toys for you to play with. I have everything you need out here. Come! Come!”  And seductively, the teacher calls the student. The father calls his children. (Freud, your slip is showing!) The father calls the children. So the father’s calling the children. And suddenly the children go, “Toys? Toys? Umbrellas? Elephants? Chariots? Yeah! That’s what I want!”  And then they come out, and the father says, “Really, I don’t have anything for you. It’s just that the house was on fire, and I had to get you out. But I have for you something precious. I have for you your freedom. Now you’re free and you can live. And you weren’t consumed. You weren’t consumed and helpless by yourselves.”

So the story’s kind of like that. I’m paraphrasing it, but it’s kind of like that. And it really is the story of the teacher and the student, isn’t it? It really is the story of the teacher and the student. All that is done is that the student is being called. Everything else that happens happens in your mind. All you are truly seeing when you meet your root guru is the compassionate extension of the Buddha’s miraculous activity. The rest is up to you.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo.  All rights reserved

Astrology for 09/12/2017

9/12/2017  Tuesday by Norma

The news!  It is everywhere and it is either incoherent or wrong.  Pay close attention to the source of information before believing anything today, some people are talking to hear themselves talk or to avoid dead time.  You must wait until afternoon before the real story comes to light, and by evening the dis-information becomes a source of annoyance.  Winston Churchill said, “There are a terrible lot of lies going around the world, and worst of it is half of them are true.”  What is true today is genuine affection and caring that make conversation irrelevant.  Don’t bother offering words when a big smile or hug will do the job.  Listen politely to those who must tell their story, and there are plenty, and avoid chiming in with yours.  Work goes well today, a solid partnership is here and love is rock solid.

Outside the Reaction

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Remember, when you are angry at your teacher, which really is useless to be, when you are resentful, when you are anxious, when you are going through all the gamut of human experience, which you do, when you do everything from wanting to belt your teacher right in the snoot to falling desperately in love with your teacher… When any of those things happen, remember that this is a reflection of your mind. This is your nature. This is your habitual tendency rather; and as you go deeper into your practice with your teacher, you will eventually also see your nature. In the way that you saw your habitual tendency, you will also see your nature.

Stand outside of that reaction. It is only that. It has no real importance. It’s not a big deal. Don’t make a big deal out of it. Don’t blame yourself; don’t make yourself right. It’s neither one. It’s just a reaction. They come and they go. No big deal. Just walk through the door of liberation. That is all your teacher wishes you to do. That is all the guru really wishes you to do, just walk. That’s all. Just move forward.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo.  All rights reserved

Astrology for 09/11/2017

09/11/2017  Monday by Norma

Venus- charming, agreeable and absent of late- makes an appearance in a way that gives encouragement to those who have labored under difficult circumstances.   Been struggling so long you forgot how to relax and enjoy yourself?  Venus is here to make you happy!  Goodwill opens doors that opposition couldn’t.  Drop your grievances, dress up, put your best foot forward, be ready to accept a partner, and be sure to look for the good in others.  Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.”   Work continues to be a driving force, detailed instructions are critical, letting go of the past is crucial, and partnership makes everything work.

How Will You Respond?

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The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “Experiencing the Hook of Compassion”

Sometimes we sort of wimp out. We want to be right. We want to have an issue. We want to be safe, without changing. We don’t want to change. So difficult to do. And meanwhile, all the teacher is really doing is calling the student from afar, sounding that note that is so like the student’s mind that it begins to bring forth this response that is in the student’s mind. And what they see is their own face, layer upon layer of their own face. Ultimately, if they practice devotion, they will see their true face, which is their nature. Now they’re only seeing the dust that is covering it. Now they’re only seeing the stuff that is on top of it. But all the teacher really does is sound the sound of their nature.

And something begins to happen. That sound is some kind of thing that you can’t even hear with your own ears, you know? You can’t even hear it. But it’s so powerful it can change the life of a student like that. Like instantly!  And it can sustain that change. And it’s also so powerful that it can change an entire area. It can change a community. It can change the world. But it’s so subtle that you probably couldn’t even hear it with your own ears.

What is that? It is the greatest and the most gossamer force that there is, and that is the force of compassion— the bodhicitta. In practice the bodhicitta is compassion; it is kindness as we understand it. But its ultimate nature is the ultimate truth. It is the ultimate Buddha nature. And that is the sound that is being sounded, vibrationally cloaked to suit the students for whom the teacher has appeared. And it is for those students that the teacher has returned, that the teacher has appeared.

So it is like you. It is like you, and you should be strong. You should take responsibility for what comes up in your mind. You should know that this is your time, and you should respond through practice. Not through agreeing with yourself and saying that it’s okay to do this. It’s okay to have this hatred; it’s okay to be angry; it’s okay to be vengeful; it’s okay to be resentful; it’s okay to grieve; it’s okay to whatever. Why is that okay when you could be moving closer to your greatest hope?

So each student must have strength and understand what is happening to them.  Do you, you who are responding, do you know what is happening to you? Do you really understand it? Do you really see its importance? And when the stuff comes up that comes up, and I know it comes up—the discursive thought, you know, the anger, the disagreement, the ‘well, I don’t know if I agree with that,’ you know, all these different kinds of thoughts—when that comes up in your mind, do you have the courage to get ahold of yourself? To take ahold of yourself and understand what is happening to you? That you are, in fact, seeing your own face. This is your resentment. This is your anger. This is your sadness. This is your needing to be independent. These are reflections; these are images of your mind. And in truth, so long as they keep you from pure practice and perfect surrender, from truly seeing with the help of your teacher, your own primordial face, these in fact are only obstacles to your practice that are coming up, and these are the form that they are coming up in.

So you can begin by giving thanks that they come up in such an easy-to-deal-with way. I mean you could have met your teacher and then got run over by a truck!  That could have happened. That could have been a big obstacle. Well that was nice!  But it didn’t happen, you’re still here!  And you can right now begin to develop the courage to move forward without any hesitation.

Students respond with hope and fear. And sometimes, there is a lot of fear, isn’t there? Hope and fear, with anger, with restraint, with judgment, with discursive thought. They respond that way because it is their nature to do so. That is the nature of samsara, that is the nature of cyclic existence, and that is the nature of all sentient things. We have developed this habitual tendency of response in that way. Why should we suddenly change? Of course we’re still responding that way. We always do. Always.

The important difference is that suddenly now we have a choice. We can begin. We can respond through mindfulness. We can respond through practice. We can respond by recognizing, through courage, that this is our response due to our habitual nature. We can stand outside of this whole deeply reactive scenario, and instead of reacting with the hatred, instead of reacting with grief, instead of reacting at all, we can know, we can understand: This is my mind. That is my teacher. The only thing to do is to walk forward and to continue, to walk through the door. So simple. And yet, due to our strong reactions, so difficult.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo.  All rights reserved

 

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