Astrology

5/5/2010     Wednesday

A bit of a bumpy stretch appears today.  A disagreement is best negotiated in private.  Be generous toward the person who is spending time on business or financial matters, that person needs a break.  Things seem aggravating and frustrating, but a bit of rest and fun changes everything.  Something looked at too long can become confusing, and the obvious becomes incomprehensible.  Pull back and you will see the solution.  The great Albert Einstein said, “The only really valuable thing is intuition.”  Relax, use your intuition, and the answer comes. Someone can tell a joke that holds the answer.

The daily astrology post affects everyone.  Because individual charts vary, the circumstances outlined in the post will affect people differently.  Some will feel this energy in the personal arena, some in finances, some with children or family, some in work and so forth.  There are many departments of life.  Look to see where the dynamic affects you!

Astrology

5/4/2010     Tuesday

Inspiration, excitement and real progress characterize the events of this day.  You are serious minded yet inclined to see the good side of things.  Head toward the wide open spaces, look outward and upward and you will feel relaxed.  This is a working day. You are busy moving forward and mediating the activities of the day.  Progress is made, good job!  And, of all things, love is in the wings.  Just when you least expected it!  Accept the friendship and love that comes your way, it is sincere.

The daily astrology post affects everyone.  Because individual charts vary, the circumstances outlined in the post will affect people differently.  Some will feel this energy in the personal arena, some in finances, some with children or family, some in work and so forth.  There are many departments of life.  Look to see where the dynamic affects you!

The Nyingma Lineage

The following is a brief synopsis of the Nyingma lineage and some key terms:

“Nyingma” means “Ancient Ones” and is sometimes referred to as the Ancient Translation School.  It is the oldest of the four remaining Buddhist lineages in Tibet, the others being Kagyu, Sakya and Gelugpa.  There are different lineages because of different historical transmissions of the Dharma from India to Tibet.  The Nyingma transmissions of the 8th and 9th c. came primarily through Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche), Vimalamitra, and Shantarakshita (Khenpo Bodhisattva).  Two characteristics distinguish the Nyingma from the other lineages:  dividing the path into nine vehicles (the highest vehicle, Dzogchen, or the Great Perfection, is also unique to Nyingma), and the revelatory teachings of terma.

Terms to Know

Hinayana: The “lesser vehicle” compromising the overt teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha on ethics, concentration and meditation which produce the result of an Arhat or “enemy destroyer” (one who has overcome the enemies of hatred, greed, and ignorance)

Mahayana: The “greater vehicle,” or path of the bodhisattvas.  This path comprises teachings both given by Shakyamuni Buddha both overtly and in more secret ways, which were later revealed by Nagarjuna and Asaga.  Motivated by the compassionate intention to lead all sentient beings out of samsara, the bodhisattva follows a more profound set of ethics, concentration, and meditation according to the teachings on the six perfections:  generosity, ethics, patience, perseverance, concentration, and meditation.  This path leads ultimately to liberation as a fully enlightened Buddha.

Vajrayana: The “indestructible vehicle.”  Sometimes called the path of secret mantra or the tantrayana.  This is a path of meditation and yogic techniques designed to radically accelerate the time it takes to purify the mind of obscurations and karmic defilements.  Those who accomplish this path are called siddhas – it also leads swiftly to the state of Buddhahood.

Tantra: Essentially the same as Vajrayana, but listed separately to remove some confusion.  In the Western spiritual marketplace, tantra is sold as a method for achieving spiritual bliss through sexual union.  Though such teachings exist in the anuyoga canon of the Nyingma, they are very rarely practiced, and require a yogi and yogini who have completely transcended ordinary desire, received the permission and proper transmissions from a qualified lama, and are for the purpose of subtle purification, not ordinary blissful feelings.  Anything else is a corruption, and spiritually pointless.

The word tantra means “continuity” and refers to the continuous uninterrupted perfection inherent in all phenomena.  It therefore refers to those teachings that take such a view as the basis for practice.  Tantra is also used as a word for the actual text in which such teachings are written.

Kama: The orally transmitted teachings of sutra and tantra translated at the time of Padmasambhava and Vimalamitra.

Terma: Literally means “treasure.”  It refers to the teachings and sacred objects hidden by Guru Rinpoche and his consort Yeshe Tsogyal to be discovered at the appropriate time for their beneficial use.  They include both physical and non-physical treasures (“sa-ter,” or earth treasures, and “gong-ter,” or mind treasures).

Terton: Means “treasure revealer,” or one who discovers terma.  All tertons are the prophesied incarnations of one of Guru Rinpoche’s 25 heart disciples.  Tertons have been revealing terma from the 10th c. to the present day.

Mahayoga: The “generation stage” of practice.  This is the first level of inner tantra corresponding to the seventh of the nine Nyingma vehicles.

Anuyoga: The “completion stage” of practice.  This is the second level of inner tantra, corresponding to the eighth of the nine Nyingma vehicles.

Atiyoga: The “great perfection stage” of practice, also known as Dzogchen (a contraction of dzogpa chenpo).  This is the ninth of the nine Nyingma vehicles, which itself has three divisions.  The third is called “mengagde,” or esoteric instructions.  This is divided into two practice methods:  trekchod and togyal.

Important Names

Padmasambhava: This means “the lotus-born.”  He is also known as Guru Rinpoche.  He was the emanation of Shakyamuni Buddha appearing for the purpose of propagating the Vajrayana teachings.  Dwelling in India for 1,000 years, he went to Tibet at the invitation of King Trisong Deutsen, tamed all the negative non-physical forces, established the first monastery (Samye Ling), extensively taught a select few disciples, and left hidden spiritual teachings and objects (terma) for the benefit of future generations.

Trisong Deutsen: King of Tibet in the 8th and 9th c. who had unified the country.  Wishing to establish the Dharma in Tibet, he invited many great masters from India, chief among them being Padmasambhava, Vimalamitra, and Shantarakshita.  He sponsored the translation of the entire Buddhist canon from Sanskrit to Tibetan, thus ensuring its safety.

Vimalamitra: Invited by Trisong Deutsen specifically to bring the inner tantra teachings, in particular Dzogchen.  This body of teachings is known as the Vima Nyingthig, or “heart essence of Vimalamitra.”

Shantarakshita: Abbot of Nalanda, the greatest Buddhist University in India, invited by King Trisong Deutsen to establish Tibet’s first monastery.  When he could not accomplish this, he was the one who recommended inviting Padmashambhava.  He established the hinayana and Mahayana teachings, giving profound guidance to the first Tibetan monks, as well as the general lay population.

Yeshe Tsogyal: Daughter of Trisong Deutsen, a wisdom Dakini who was given to Padmasambhava by the king.  She became Padmasambhava’s chief consort and closest disciple.  Having perfect recall, she recorded all his teachings and helped conceal them as terma for future generations.

For more information about Buddhism, visit tara.org.

Recommended Reading:

  1. The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche
  2. Lineage of Diamond Light, Crystal Mirror 5, Dharma Publishing
  3. Masters of the Nyingma Lineage, Crystal Mirror 11, Dharma Publishing
  4. The Lotus-Born, Yeshe Tsogyal
  5. Guru Rinpoche:  His Life and Times, Ngawang Zangpo
  6. Masters of Meditation and Miracles, Tulku Thondup
  7. Crazy Wisdom, Chogyam Trungpa
  8. Sky Dancer, Keith Dowman
  9. Buddhist Masters of Enchantment, Keith Dowman
  10. Dakini Teachings, Yeshe Tsogyal
  11. Advice from the Lotus Born, Padmasambhava
  12. The Lives and Liberation of Princess Mandarava, Sangye Khandro

The Suffering of Yushu

For some remarkable pictures of the earthquake damage in Yushu and recovery efforts, go to http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2010/04/yushu_earthquake_12_days_later.html.
Caution: some very graphic content. Also, be sure to read the comments.

To get some idea of the situation in Yushu County, Tibetans make up 97.25% of the population while Han Chinese only 2.56%. Other nationalities only make up less than 1%. This does not include some 50-60,000 nomads who do not live permanently in Yushu.

From Collective Responsibility:

As news of the Yushu earthquake disappears from the world’s front pages, survivors’ needs increase. Those in Yushu still lack blankets and tents. Temperatures are dropping and there is insufficient fuel for cooking and heating. Yushu has no electricity and is still in darkness. People have only meager food supplies and are drinking water from unsafe sources.

* A jacket costs 2 USD.
* A blanket costs 2.40 USD.
* A toothbrush costs 0.15 USD.
* One ton of coal costs 51 USD.
* 20 * 500ml bottled water 2.20 USD.
* Flashlight: 2.90 USD.

If you can make even a small donation, please visit: www.yushuearthquakeresponse.org

Apart from the needs of those in Yushu, patients and their families in Xining are also suffering.

Below are the number of patients in Qinghai hospitals:

* Qinghai Province People’s Hospital: 186 patients
* Armed Police Number Four Hospital: 83 patients
* Qinghai Province Red Cross Hospital: 69 patients
* Qinghai University Hospital: 172 patients
* Qinghai Province People’s Second Hospital: 127 patients
* Hainan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture Hospital: 18 patients

This total of 655 people does not include accompanying family members.

Below are accounts written by Xining students describing the situation here and in Yushu.

Tashi:
I received information about the earthquake from my brother who is a teacher in Yushu. At about 5:00 a.m on the fourteenth of April a low magnitude quake woke people up, but many people then went back to sleep. Later that morning the big earthquake came. At that time many students were reciting lessons outside, by the walls of the school buildings. They were crushed when the walls fell on them. Some female students were going to the cafeteria to collect boiling water to make instant noodles, and the cafeteria collapsed and killed them. Despite all these terrible things, many people survived. They did not have any food for three days. After three days, instant noodles arrived and the people, almost starving, happily ate them. Now people are cold; they don’t have enough clothes, or blankets, or anywhere to stay.

Rinchen
I went to the hospital to help earthquake victims. Although I am Tibetan I couldn’t communicate very well with the patients because we speak different dialects. Nonetheless we could understand each other. People are just bringing them bread to eat and water to drink. They need some good food. The clerks at the hospital told me that many people are volunteering, but they still need qualified, professional, helpers.

Drolma
I went to the hospital to volunteer with my classmates – we spent one night there. There were many patients in the hospital. Some of the patients could not move, eat, drink, or go to the toilet by themselves. When people were awake they were nervous and when they were asleep they had nightmares. One man I helped had bruises all over his face and he couldn’t move his legs. The patients in the hospital still don’t have any clean clothes and what they are wearing has already become dirty and caked with blood.
Tsomo
Three of my female classmates are from Yushu. After the terrible earthquake they lost many relatives and friends, not to mention property. Luckily their parents are still alive. Now those three women are working busily in the hospital, day and night. They have been staying up all night to help the patients from their hometown and cannot attend classes as usual. When they come back to school from the hospital they just fall on the bed and sleep. Patients in the hospital have nothing now. I hope many warm-hearted people will stretch out their hands to help them.

Lumo
There is a girl from Yushu in the dorm room next to mine. She lost her mother in the earthquake. Since then she often calls out her mother’s name and cries. Sometimes she stays silent for a long time. We don’t know how to comfort her. Sometimes we want to talk about it with her, but maybe that will only make it worse. That girl is still going to classes, but she just sits there and we don’t know if she really knows what is going on her around her.

Tsering and Tsemdo
We talked to one earthquake survivor who helped us to distribute supplies we took to Yushu from Xining. He told us, “I woke up when the earthquake occurred at around 5 a.m. I knew that an earthquake was occurring and wanted to get up but I felt very sleepy and stayed in bed. My wife also felt very sleepy and stayed in bed. We were never so sleepy in our whole life – it was very strange. When an earthquake occurred again at 7:49 a.m., our house shook and I woke up. The house continued to shake and I grabbed hold of my grandson and wife, jumped up from bed, and ran outside. Our house collapsed just as I stepped out of the door. Something heavy hit my head and I passed out. When I woke up I could barely see because my vision was blurry. As my sight came back I could only see dust. I heard the sound of houses collapsing. After the earthquake, my daughter and son-in-law were trapped in the rubble and died but the rest of the family was OK. Many other people have died.”

Astrology

5//3/2010     Monday

Agreement exists between parties in a negotiation; both sides recognize the value of the deal.  Everyone gains, and everyone understands the need to press forward.  A cool feeling pervades, a sense of doing what needs to be done given the situation. A financial arrangement is agreed on. A man or important person can be argumentative.  Think of Albert Camus’ words “In the depths of winter I finally learned in me there was an invincible summer,” and be at peace.

The daily astrology post affects everyone.  Because individual charts vary, the circumstances outlined in the post will affect people differently.  Some will feel this energy in the personal arena, some in finances, some with children or family, some in work and so forth.  There are many departments of life.  Look to see where the dynamic affects you!

Astrology

5/2/2010      Sunday

Deep and serious issues draw you beneath the surface, and armed with the knowledge you have gained, you make outstanding decisions.  Emotions are steady and up to the task ahead.  A fortunate happening, a stroke of worldly luck, moves you forward in a way that gains the respect of those you admire.  After a time of feeling “up in the air” you have returned to earth and it’s just what you need.  Steadiness, stability, the ground beneath your feet; this is what you need today.  Do something earthy.  Dig in the garden, fix the roof, prune the trees.  Visit a senior citizen or a long- term friend.  These things bring you comfort.

The daily astrology post affects everyone.  Because individual charts vary, the circumstances outlined in the post will affect people differently.  Some will feel this energy in the personal arena, some in finances, some with children or family, some in work and so forth.  There are many departments of life.  Look to see where the dynamic affects you!

Astrology

5/1/2010      Saturday

This day presents you with confusing options.  Be careful not to overestimate your abilities, beware of committing yourself to a project you can’t fulfill.  Sometimes wisdom involves knowing your weaknesses as well as your strengths.  Choose carefully today, because you are choosing your future.  Remember Robert Frost’s words, “Two paths diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”  You will not go back and make this decision again.  A pivotal day.

The daily astrology post affects everyone.  Because individual charts vary, the circumstances outlined in the post will affect people differently.  Some will feel this energy in the personal arena, some in finances, some with children or family, some in work and so forth.  There are many departments of life.  Look to see where the dynamic affects you!

Astrology

4/30/2010     Friday

The speaking person keeps running into disagreements and this is angering.  Are you the speaking person?  You could be presenting your ideas in a way that invites disagreement.  Or else you aren’t letting others have a chance to express their ideas.  Speak your piece and then listen.  Something happens that uplifts your spirits, gives you a boost.  Someone is willing to partner up with you, and this works well.  Opposing opinions that respect each other can be more productive than two who think exactly alike.  Look to the distance for ideas, you are expanding your horizons!

The daily astrology post affects everyone.  Because individual charts vary, the circumstances outlined in the post will affect people differently.  Some will feel this energy in the personal arena, some in finances, some with children or family, some in work and so forth.  There are many departments of life.  Look to see where the dynamic affects you!

Astrology

4/29/2010     Thursday

Families are happy today.  An intelligent woman, child or relative comes up with THE THING that solves a problem.  Someone is quietly working behind the scenes, and that person has your best interests at heart.  Rely on that person, that beneficial force, and you will proceed with confidence and energy.  An unexpected event turns circumstances in your favor.  However avoid becoming so enthusiastic and confident that you stop paying attention.  You could miss or forget something important!  It’s like counting from one to ten over and over.  If you lose your place, start at one again.  This helps today.

The daily astrology post affects everyone.  Because individual charts vary, the circumstances outlined in the post will affect people differently.  Some will feel this energy in the personal arena, some in finances, some with children or family, some in work and so forth.  There are many departments of life.  Look to see where the dynamic affects you!

How You Can Help Earthquake Victims in Tibet

The Khenpo brothers, Khenpo Palden Sherab Rinpoche and Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche, old friends of KPC, have organized a relief fund to aid victims of the earthquake in Qinghai Province.

Donation page is at http://www.padmasambhava.org/misc/kyegu.html or mail donations directly to:

Padma Samye Ling
ATTN: Kyegu Earthquake Relief Fund
618 Buddha Highway
Sidney Center, NY 13839

from the LA Times, April 26, 2010

A Tibetan writer who had signed an open letter critical of the Chinese government’s quake relief efforts in western Qinghai province has been detained by police, according to a family friend.

The writer, who publishes under the name Zhogs Dung but whose real name is Tagyal, was among eight authors and intellectuals who signed a letter dated April 17 that expressed sorrow for the disaster that left more than 2,000 people dead — most of them Tibetan — but also urged wariness of Chinese government relief efforts.

Last Friday, a half dozen police officers showed up at the Qinghai Nationalities Publishing House in the regional capital of Xining, where he worked, and escorted him away, according to a blog post written by a friend. They searched his home and library, confiscating his computers.

Afterward, they showed his arrest warrant to his wife, and asked her to bring bedding for him. When his two daughters went to the police station they were not allowed to meet with him, the posting said.

There was no way to independently confirm the account. On Monday, the Xining Police Department refused to answer questions regarding his whereabouts, saying it had no comment. The police referred questions to the Ministry of Public Security.

The letter urged people to help victims by offering food, clothes and medicine but warned them not to donate funds to relief organizations, warning of possible corruption.

“Better to send (money) to the disaster zone with people you trust, because nobody can say there is no corruption,” said the letter, which was posted on several websites, including the overseas Boxun.com, which is critical of the Chinese government.

“Just as the news from the mouthpiece for the (communist) party organizations cannot be believed, we dare not believe in the party organization, which issued the order stopping people from going to the disaster zone for political reasons,” it said.

It’s unclear whether the open letter was directly connected to his detention. The Chinese government has been at pains to quash any criticism of its relief efforts in the Tibetan region, where a total of 2,220 people were killed, according to the latest government figures.

Beijing has sought to take credit for much of the rescue work, portraying relief efforts as a government undertaking in this remote Tibetan region where residents have frequently chafed under Chinese rule. Tibetan resentment over political and religious restrictions and economic exploitation by majority Han Chinese have sometimes erupted in violence.

State media largely played down the role of thousands of Tibetan Buddhist monks who worked alongside soldiers to rescue survivors and dig out the dead.

On April 19, the Qinghai provincial government had issued a ban against pornography and what it called “illegal publications.” According to state media, Zhang Chengwei, head of the anti-pornography and illegal publications office, said that pressure must be used to “prevent unlawful elements from using illegal publications to disturb social stability and to disturb and sabotage disaster relief.”

Zhogs Dung, 45, is considered a leading intellectual and thinker who in the past has written books that largely aligned with the Chinese government’s views on modernization, religion and culture in Tibet. However, he published a book this year that was far more critical of the government in the wake of anti-government riots in Tibet in 2008.

Robbie Barnett, director of the modern Tibetan studies program at Columbia University, said the book may have been another reason for the government to target him.

Zhogs Dung was seen by fellow Tibetans as an “official intellectual” who took the Communist Party’s view, for which he was widely criticized. But a few months ago, he quietly published a book called “Distinguishing Sky from Earth,” in which he said the March 2008 riots, the largest anti-government protests in Tibet in decades, were a turning point for Tibetans and their national spirit.

In the book, he advocated “non-violent resistance” to obtain greater rights for Tibetans, Barnett said. He seemed to sense he was crossing a dangerous line, saying he expected to be arrested for his views.

“Here was someone who had supported the government. Now he himself is being detained by the state. This will be understood as China losing even those it could have allied with,” Barnett said.

China is hugely sensitive to issues regarding ethnic rights. A Mongolian rights activist who had been invited to speak before the United Nations in New York was arrested on April 18 at the Beijing airport, according to a U.S.-based rights group.

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