For This Time

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “The Guru is Your Diamond”

The original teachings of Lord Buddha taught us to take refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha,distinguishing between the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha and ordinary phenomena, samsaric phenomena. We use that idea of taking refuge in what is wholesome and what arises straight from the Buddha Nature. We take refuge in this Buddha Nature as represented by the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha, and that starts us on a path of discrimination where we can see what to accept and what to reject—what is wholesome, what arises from the mind of enlightenment as Dharma does, and therefore results in the fruit of enlightenment. In other words, the seed arises from enlightenment and the fruit is also then enlightenment.

So we are learning to discriminate by taking refuge. We see that we can take refuge in the Buddha and the Buddha’s method, the Dharma, and the Buddha’s body, which is the Sangha, instead of what we used to take refuge in which was, who knows, sports or ice skating or you know, watching TV or having three cars or twelve houses or whatever people find their particular desire is in samsara. Now we’re beginning to understand that where we took refuge in things of desire, now we are taking refuge in something that doesn’t give immediate gratification in the way that getting a new car, say, would. Get a new car, you feel good for about six months, So good. If you get Dharma, maybe you would feel good for about six months, but then you start to feel better. And you begin to realize that you are creating the causes for continued happiness. And we begin that discrimination…”Oh, the car wasn’t a cause for happiness, in fact nothing I’ve ever bought or had has ever been a real cause for happiness, but the condition of my mind… Now that can be a cause for happiness. if I learn to accept some things and to reject others and to live a more wholesome life and to get a flavor of what it is to live in purity with uncompromised intentions.

Slowly, we begin to notice, “You know, I’m feeling better.”  Then we also begin to notice that when it’s not all about “me”, that kind of self-absorption, and rather we are really taking refuge in the Buddha’s wisdom, the Buddha’s enlightenment, the Buddha’s compassionate and amazing intention, and it’s not all about “me” and what I want, our mantra has changed from “Give me, give me, give me” to maybe “Om Mani Padme Hung” or the “Vajra Guru” mantra, or even just the pure intention to practice Dharma. So little by little, we begin to move on the path.

But now in this time, and in this age, we have something quite special. This is the time of the ripening of the blessing of Guru Rinpoche. In fact, most of Guru Rinpoche’s teachings that were hidden as terma, or treasures, during the time of his life, have been revealed to come due, or to be potent now. They are meant for this time that is very condensed and very degenerate, where people are really lost and our cultures even are lost, and our governments and power holders are lost. During this time when it’s hard to find even a rice-grained size of truth, of clarity, and of compassion most of all, during this time, here it is that Guru Rinpoche’s precious teachings come ripe in the form of terma revealed.

In every cycle of terma revelation, bar none, Guru Rinpoche made it clear that most important was to practice Guru Yoga. Guru Yoga becomes to us the very sustenance on the Path.

Fasten Your Seatbelts: The Vajrayana Path

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “The Guru is Your Diamond”

I would like to say good morning to everyone. I’m pleased to see you all here and very honored to be here again.  This is the beginning of a new trend at KPC where I will be coming here a lot more often and ultimately my plan is to spend up to six months a year here.  We may grow into it in steps and jumps, but that’s my plan.  It feels very good to be here, and in Lama talk, that means that my students have been practicing. That means that there has been some effort in the way of determining what is to be accepted and what is to be rejected, and what is precious, and what is worth one’s endeavor.  And so that kind of discrimination must be coming to pass in many of my students.  If that’s coming to pass, then the teacher will definitely come.  There is no doubt of that.

Now on the path of Vajrayana, we are given something like a rocketship rather than a slow boat to cross the ocean of samsara.  When Lord Buddha first came to the planet and taught, when he was here as Shakyamuni, he gave teachings that were absolutely necessary for that time.  During that time, we were not in Kaliyuga, which is a more degenerate age.  During that time, it was easier to practice. It was easier even to speak Dharma; and peoples’ minds were more spacious and more expanded so that if one were to accomplish Dharma, it would be easierto accomplish Dharma during that time.  And yet, there was a difficulty.  And the difficulty was that during that time, because there was more space in the mind, there was also more relaxation, maybe more joyfulness, less reason to feel compelled to exit samsara.  So there are good and bad things in both times.

True that this is Kaliyuga; true that this is the time of degeneration. There are many false teachers and many false paths and sometimes delusion rises up like a tsunami flood. It is a difficult time.  We look to the people that even guide this country, and you wonder where is the clarity, where is the morality.  So it’s difficult.  Even this country that was once the prince of countries, and can still be—the peacemaker, the one who guards the little guy—instead now we’ve changed.  So these are all indicative of this time of delusion.

And yet at the same time, we are so pressed because not only our delusion thickens and deepens, but because of our delusion, our neuroses (which means an inappropriate response to something that is not understood well anyway), our neuroses also thickens and deepens.  And with that comes an increase in pain.  Fundamental pain.  Maybe not even a particular pain about something; but rather an all-pervasive sense of suffering that we are more unhappy, Now when things are happening faster and materialism is in some ways more attainable, in many ways more attainable, still we have become more and more unhappy and continually create the causes for unhappiness.  So this pushes us to find a solution.  For some people, we look to psychology or psychiatry. For other people, we look towards creating the causes for happiness through walking the path of spirituality.  But many of us are seeking, and that’s important.  That is something that is useful and to be treasured during this time.

Many of us will think what drives us to seek is this pain, this angst, this modern angst that we all seem to carry around.  That pain, on the one hand, seems sometimes unbearable; and then other times, just there. We are uncomfortable and we can’t say exactly why.  We feel wobbly, unguided, unknowing and we really can’t understand why that is.  That suffering of course, even though painful, can ultimately become part of the blessing that brings us to the Path.  Maybe we didn’t even come here thinking, “What I need is a good Path.”  Maybe we came here for some other reason—because we heard about this place, or we’ve heard a little bit or we’ve read some books about Dharma, or maybe His Holiness the Dalai Lama has given us some wonderful teaching through his books, and something has just hooked us a little bit.  Maybe we heard about the crystals.  That brings people!  Whatever it is, it’s that sense of things not being wholesome or right.  It’s that sense of fundamental unhappiness that drives us forward.

And so, in the beginning, that’s how it feels.  It can be a very poignant kind of search and we feel deeply moved by it.  So when we begin to examine the Path of Vajrayana, we find that rather than being the gentle ship that crosses a relatively gentle ocean, as was in the time of Lord Buddha’s physical life, now we have a different situation.  We are propelled by the depth of our feeling, by our discomfort, and we’re looking for something. We seem, in this time,  to connect with something that is more potent, maybe a little fiercer in a certain way, definitely more condensed than the original teachings of Lord Buddha.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo All rights reserved

No Better Time Than This

An excerpt from a teaching called Vajrayana’s Final Hour by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo

One of the bits of information that has come out during the course of time is that cyclic existence is just that — it moves in cycles. There is a cycle during which the Buddha first appears, which is very expansive. During such a time, life is in some ways much simpler and much easier, particularly for attaining enlightenment. The fabric of our mindstreams is much more expansive due to the virtue of the Buddha’s appearance.

Then there is an intermediate time in which the Buddha has left, the Teachings are very strong, and are carried on by those who can remember the teachings, who have memorized them and can repeat them verbatim. The Teachings are taught in an unbroken lineage by those who have practiced the Teachings and achieved some result, but there is no true memory of anyone who actually has seen the historical Buddha, or even seen the Buddha’s disciples.

Now we find ourselves in a time that is considered to be a degenerate time. The fabric of cause and effect relationships, which includes the very fabric of our own mindstreams, is extremely contracted. Now it is much more difficult to achieve realization. One must work very hard at it. One has to take teachings, accumulate many repetitions of mantra and prayer, and accomplish puja. One must practice devotion to the highest degree, and accomplish Bodhicitta, the Great Compassion. One must renounce ordinary existence, whether as a monk or nun, or in a more internal way from the heart, being stable and unmovable in the mind.

Even though it is hard now, in another way enlightenment can be accomplished more surely and certainly than before, because in this time of degeneration when the content of our mindstream is extremely condensed and contracted, karma actually ripens very quickly. You may have noticed that. If you are kind and loving and if you practice the Bodhicitta toward other sentient beings, it will make you happy. And conversely, if you are unkind, selfish, angry, that too will come right back at you. Hasn’t this happened to you? You can be very unkind to someone, and in the same day you can see it come right back in your face. Your nose gets rubbed in it.

The good news in this is that the benefit of the practice comes back much more quickly as well. If one practices really intently and with fervent devotion (devotion is the key here), one can eat the fruit of one’s practice. If not during the course of one’s life, then at the time of one’s death, when the Buddha Nature reveals itself to us as the elements dissolve, one will perceive that Buddha Nature as the display of the deity and recognize that Nature accordingly. Having recognized that Nature, one will awaken.

© copyright Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo all rights reserved

The Rocketship

rocketship

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “The Guru Is Your Diamond”

Many people, when they come to the Path, they do feel the connection with some particular deity. I know of one person who felt a very strong connection to Manjushri, with his great sword cutting through ignorance. And yet that person did not practice proper Guru Yoga and understand that the nature that is Manjushri with the sword is the very nature that is our root guru; and that sword could be a word, a look, a piece of advice, some heart teaching, anything that cuts through the darkness of ignorance. Some of us can understand that and then others of us want to have our particular deity. You hear the pride in that, don’t you?  ‘I’m into Manjushri!  He’s the guy with the big sword. What a guy.’  And yet, every Buddha that we can visualize, all of the peaceful and wrathful deities that naturally appear in the bardo and are part of our own nature and can be recognized, each one of them has the complete and perfect qualities of all the Buddhas.

So, while it’s an amazing thing if you are attracted to some particular Buddha, like maybe Amitabha or Chenrezig or Tara, you might say, ‘Oh, I really love that deity.’  That’s good. Cultivate that. But do not miss the step that Guru Rinpoche gave to us when he said, “This nature, the nature of one’s teacher is unsurpassed by the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the ten directions.”  Why did he say that?  To create confusion so that everyone in all our different places could look at our own particular root guru and say that’s the best one?   No, that’s crazy. That’s just more ordinary thinking. But instead, by implication, we understand that what we must do is to recognize the intrinsic nature that appears as our root guru, the promise of Guru Rinpoche fulfilled. And if Guru Rinpoche said this was going to work, well it’s going to work.

So, Guru Yoga is like a rocketship. We depend on the accomplishment, the qualities and the nature that appears as our own root guru. Early on in the relationship with our root teacher, we should practice thoughtful discrimination. That is to say, we should ask ourselves: Has this teacher really given rise to the great Bodhichitta?  Do we see that Bodhichitta is present here?  Ok. Check that box. Got that one. Ok. Do we see that this teacher has the capacity to ripen my mind?  Do I hear Dharma from this teacher?  Check that one. Is this teacher considered qualified by peers of her lineage/his lineage/their lineage, whichever?  Is this teacher properly recognized and considered properly an authority and a throne holder?  Does this teacher have good qualities? Does this teacher have the ability to communicate?  Let’s see. What else? Does this teacher have an unbroken chain that connects us to the source of the blessing, which is Guru Rinpoche?  You betcha!

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo.  All rights reserved

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We think through these things. And at that time if you decide this teacher is not for me, then there is no harm in saying, ‘I’ll keep looking.’  Maybe the connection is not quite right. So that’s when you do your discriminating and your thinking. But once you’ve decided—check boxes are all full, looks good to me and I have that feeling, I feel that connection, something is wiggling in my little heart chakra… So when we come to that place, after that point, you must put yourself on a diet, because after that point, there’s no more judgment.

 

Once we make the judgment and discrimination necessary and have that undeniable sense that one has entered the Path and met one’s root guru, after that point, judgment should be put aside. Then the ball is in your court. Not that the teacher doesn’t have a responsibility. I promise you, the teacher knows their responsibility, if they are worth their weight in salt. And that teacher not only knows their responsibility but also knows their students. A good teacher will be willing to say to a student keep looking. Go see this lama here or that lama there. See what you think. Once the teacher has accepted the student, and the student has accepted the teacher, then that bond becomes more intimate than any marriage, any mother and child relationship, any friendship. It’s hard to understand that because we think, ‘Oh, teacher. I only see you every so often, but I see my spouse and my children every day. Therefore, it must be more intimate.’

 

However, I will tell you that in order for you to be here, to be accepted as my student and to accept me as well, for that karma to mesh in that particular way, we must have known each other many times, many times. The relationship between student and teacher is not a relationship that ends in one lifetime. If we take vows together, I am responsible for you always. And so long as you remain in the world and have not yet accomplished liberation, I must appear again in samsara in order to liberate you. I must. Even if there’s only one, just you, your teacher will return for you. Under any conditions.

Passion for Compassion

Migyur Dorje Stupa

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “This Time Is Radical”

Why is it more practice now?  Because it is needed; because there is so much suffering. And this is your opportunity in this very lifetime, not only to enter onto the path of Dharma and practice, but to give rise to the great Bodhicitta. Bodhicitta is not just a word. It is awakening. It is awakening to the nature that is the primordial wisdom Buddha nature, and that nature is not different from Bodhicitta. They are the same, the same light, the same essence. They cannot be separated. Anytime we practice Bodhicitta and offer simple kindness, and simple mindfulness to the people around us in order to be kind, this is a great work. I’ve been screaming about this for years, but now it’s so much more important than ever because there is so little of this nectar of kindness in the world. This very country used to have altruistic ideals, and now it’s all run by companies. It’s crazy.

And so while the darkness is coming to us thicker and thicker all the time, and the holy places in the world… When you think about what is happening for instance in Nepal in Katmandu:  Stupas and relics and important Buddhist monuments are being threatened. And so where will the Dharma be safe?

I know where. Right here. Right there [pointing at her heart]. That’s where the Dharma is going to be safe. And for every stupa that someone knocks down, I will build another one. That’s the way I feel about that. And in this time of darkness when more and more people hate, and more and more people that have karma to practice the path even leave the path because their delusion has grown so thick, in this time we have to get our shoulder against the darkness and push. Now I know that’s not very Zen, but we’re not practicing Zen here. We’re practicing rough, tough Buddhism from Brooklyn. And what I’m telling you is that we do need to hold the darkness at bay, and each one of us has the capacity to help with that. When we practice and we generate the deity, there is the deity and you should have confidence with that. When we practice and make offerings, there is great merit accumulated.

Here in this place, we’ve set it up.  There is every opportunity to gather merit, and to offer that merit to end the suffering of sentient beings. It is set up so well here. We have stupas.  We can offer gold paint every year. We can offer circumambulation. Nowhere else in America is there so much of this. We have to get behind this, and we have to be impassioned.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo All rights reserved

No Treading Water Now

watching news

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “This Time is Radical”

When I see patterns repeat themselves and when they come to no good, I wonder what’s going on. And when I see patterns externally repeat themselves and display themselves, then I say, “Oh, this is the dance of phenomena, and there’s something to be looked at here.”  And when I look at this display of phenomena, it seems to me that if we read the paper, listen to news, if we have our antenna up at all, and if we are managing not to remain so self-absorbed that we are not aware of the outside world, we may have come to understand that the world is changing very rapidly, very quickly; and that many things that groups and people who cared about social justice and about the environment and about things that us tree-hugging liberals, or some of us tree-hugging liberals care about, these warnings have come full circle and have come to be true.

I find us now in a country where our liberty has been pretty smacked around and our potency as a society is like a castle built on sand. The sand is rushing away from under us. It’s as though whatever foundation kept the people together, even in just a materialistic and commercial way, is dissipating. I see good work for good honest people going overseas. I see Americans left with shit labor. And I see people cross the border to try to make their families wealthy or make their families eat. And there’s so much hatred that we can’t understand why it is that people would want to do that. Of course to me, it is very understandable why a person would wish to feed their family.

And I also think long before lines were drawn, the people were still there; and they moved back and forth any way they wanted to. So when we draw lines, we have to have a little bit of respect for what is natural, what has always been, and what is true. Even on a less important level, the way that we insist upon thinking these days, even animals can’t cross into their own habitats; and many of their habitats are being destroyed just for the sake of boxing ourselves in. And then after we do that, we send all of our jobs overseas. That’s just America. Check out the rest of the world. As things go, it’s not too bad here yet.

Why am I talking about this ordinary stuff from the throne on ten million day?  It’s to make a point. I wish I could yell it loud enough so that you would really hear me with your whole heart and whole mind and whole being when I tell you that this time is radical. This is a time of extraordinary change. And if you think change is happening now, wait till you see what the next ten years brings. Remarkable change.

Will the change be for the better?  When I look at the causes, I have to say no. I would like to believe that something would come to us from the sky, and wipe it all away, but I really don’t think so. I think we’ve done damage to the planet. We’ve done damage to the people. And this country is not what it was. Although I love it with my heart’s essence, I am not as proud to be an American as I once was. We started a war that we just wanted to, and the American people went along with it. And lots of things have changed since then. So much has changed since then.

When I embrace the world in my heart, and I’m just telling you this from my own practice, hatred has been multiplied by some gazillion amount that I don’t even know the number. I don’t know how to call that number. There is so much hatred in the world. And in places where people had learned to get along because they had a long history together, hatred has increased beyond all measure. Brutality has increased. And while on the one hand, half of our human species, who are women were coming out, on the other hand they were being killed. Like for instance in Darfur, and in Africa, there are places where women are raped and tortured and used as sex objects, and so forth.

I feel that this time of Kaliyuga is sickening. It has come to pass that in each of our lives it matters very much. Right now, right at this time, this blue moon, this second moon, it is an amazing, important time collectively and individually. You can look at it from an astrological point of view. You can look at it from a tallying up point of view in terms of merit or non-virtue that has been accumulated. You can look at it from an intuitive point of view and really see how the world is, and you can get it for yourself. Individually, it’s the same thing. We are all at a turning point. ‘How can that be so?’ you must be asking yourself. How can it be so that everyone in this room is literally at some sort of turning point?  Because it’s true. That’s how I can say it. I’ve got some stars and planets to back me up, but beyond that, experience and perhaps a dash of wisdom. But I see the change, and I see what’s happening with people. Even those who have been on the path for a long time, as well as those who are just starting. It’s become very dramatic suddenly. The problem is you’re either in or you’re out. It’s kind of like that.

I find that while Dharma can bring great result now, it’s more difficult to follow. And if you are not actively pursuing and in love with… I don’t mean that in a romantic sense you understand, but a passionate sense, in an appropriately blissful and joyful sense. If you are not after your practice, then your practice is falling away. I can guarantee it. Because right now is one of those times where if you are not walking ahead, if you are not moving ahead, you are going backwards. You cannot afford to tread water now. There was a time when you could, maybe, for a little while, but I really feel like karma has come to ripen individually, as a group, as a nation, and as a world to the point where it is serious, and we are going to reap the rewards of what we have sewn.

For those of you who have been diligently following your practice, and of course there are the dry periods and the wet periods, the juicy periods and whatever, but practice is practice. And one thing I’ve learned about the path is that ‘path’ is a verb. You’ve got to walk it. You’ve got to live it. If you don’t live it, you’re just dressing up and you’re walking backwards.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo All rights reserved

 

The Nature of Kaliyuga

An excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “Vajrayana and Kaliyuga”

It used to be that one could learn something of the Buddha’s teaching – for instance, a beginning philosophy, such as the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, and some of the Buddha’s basic teachings – but one could not receive teachings on the meaning of Vajrayana, and certainly one would not come across teachings on the nature of mind.  This is a very recent occurrence.  They are still thought of as secret, even though now, because this is the time of Kaliyuga, the time of great degeneration, these teachings are in fact widespread.

There is a tremendous blessing in their being widespread.  If they were not widespread, we, who are born in America, would have no access to them.  So we are truly blessed by having them.  But there is also a tremendous difficulty with their being widespread, and that is that there are many practitioners that I have seen who have heard rich and profound teachings and have not utilized them whatsoever.  It is like seeds tossed into a field: Sometimes they fall on rocks, and sometimes they fall on fertile ground.  Different students have different capacities, and the teachings are often not measured out according to what capacity each student has.  Then, of course, there are those students who come into a teaching situation and have no idea what that situation is and innocently are not aware of the gift that they’ve been given or how to use it or how to keep samaya.

So, there are obstacles and there are drawbacks.  The teaching itself becomes diluted to some degree if it is given out and it is not utilized.  When I say diluted, I don’t mean that the teachings change, I don’t mean that the tantra that we’re being taught from the books, when the lamas come, is somehow different from what was taught before.  It isn’t different at all. It’s still the same exact teaching; but the quality of empowerment, the quality of impact, the quality of our deepening, is changed in this time. Again, that has a good side and a bad side.  Since the teaching is passed out in this more casual way, it has attached to it the karma of practitioners who sincerely practice in order to attain enlightenment, and it also has the karma attached to it of students who do not utilize the teaching.  In this way there is negativity there.

On the other hand, there would be no other way for sentient beings to hear the teachings.   Furthermore, this is the time of Kaliyuga. And while Kaliyuga works against us, it also works for us, particularly when it comes to Vajrayana, in that of all the teachings that the Buddha has ever taught, of all the spiritual teachings that are available of any kind, Vajrayana teachings are the most perfectly suited for this time of Kaliyuga.  This time of Kaliyuga is extremely contracted.  Karma is thick. It isn’t spread out and dispersed over a great, long field.  Rather, it is drawn in.  It is a time of contraction, and karma ripens much more quickly than it used to ripen.  This is not because you’re in Vajrayana but because this is the time for that.  Experience is much more condensed; phenomena are much more condensed;time is much morecondensed. You can look at your life; you can walk outside and see that this is not the same world from just a hundred years ago.  It was much broader and spread apart.  This is a result of the condensed quality of Kaliyuga, which will continue, and experience will become more compacted and more condensed, not less.

Under these conditions, Vajrayana can actually do the most good in two ways, which is an amazing thought.  One way is that we can see cause and effect relationships more readily.  We are suffering and we are suffering just enough to help us be convinced that suffering is a reality, therefore we are willing to practice.  We realize the benefit of practice because we truly do wish to attain enlightenment.  In a better time, in a smoother time, in a time when there are rolling green hills around us and not much to do except to get old, when things are just more spread out and life is perhaps longer and more relaxed, under these conditions it’s hard for us to imagine why we should get up the gumption to practice. We just think we should sort of go with the flow.

So, in this regard, Kaliyuga is very compatible with Vajrayana.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo.  All rights reserved

Propagating the Dharma

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “Vajrayana and Kaliyuga”

Besides making it possible for the teachings to be readily available to all who wish them, Kaliyuga is valuable in another way: Namely, one can practice in a way that is extremely condensed.One can learn the philosophy of the nature of mind, as the Buddha taught in his first teachings, and the philosophy of samsara and really understand how all of this is. And one can also generate oneself as the deity, which is a very condensed way to generate merit.  It isn’t the same as merely learning and then doing no more harm.  It doesn’t have the same passive quality.  One generates oneself as the deity, one utilizes the mantra, and one visualizes the seed syllable. These are all extremely condensed manifestations of primordial wisdom and of certain aspects and qualities of that wisdom in display form.

These two different kinds of condensed activity coming together produce an enormous amount of merit.  Karma ripens more quickly; it ripens in a condensed way, more deeply and more richly. What can happen because of that is that we can create, through our practice, windows of spaciousness, windows of opportunity to perceive the primordial wisdom state much more easily than we ever could in a different time or by utilizing a different practice.  It is a most perfect opportunity and a most perfect time; and it is also a very difficult time.

If we are irresponsible about the teachings, that is to say, if we hear teachings about the nature of mind and do not utilize them, that also ripens in a very condensed way, and it ripens very quickly.  If we hear teachings about the nature of mind and do not respond to them but allow them to lie fallow, the karma of those teachings lying fallow only increases, and increases rapidly.  So basically, we are in a position of tremendous responsibility. The responsibility is for us to utilize these teachings, to utilize them effectively, so that we can attain supreme realization in order to be of benefit to beings. We also have a tremendous responsibility to uphold the teachings.  We should consider ourselves, then, upholders of the teaching, propagators of the Dharma.

How does one propagate the Dharma?  One doesn’t have to be a teacher to propagate the Dharma, or somebody that distributes books. One propagates the Dharma when one practices the Dharma because one holds it and utilizes it and does not allow it to remain fallow.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo.  All rights reserved

Essence of Buddhism: by His Holiness Penor Rinpoche

The following is a teaching by His Holiness Penor Rinpoche

We are born in this Zambu-dweep world and have acquired the precious human rebirth due to the gathering of the compositional factors of the eight leisures and ten blessings. This is a most perfect and auspicious opportunity. That we are fortunate enough to receive the teaching of perfect Buddha dharma and also be able to meet so many qualified teachers is the result of the ripening of our positive merits from countless past lives.
But due to our attachment from time beginningless towards the repeated pattern of samsara, we have developed strong emotions towards this samsara. Therefore, it is common for sentient beings to find themselves emotionally drawn towards the attainment of worldly concern regardless of difficulty and hardships, which in turn generates all types of karmas in the process.
If we truly want to learn the teaching of Dharma, we must first find a qualified teacher. Buddhism has Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions, of which Vajrayana and especially the Great Perfection (Dzogpachenpo) is especially beneficent for the degenerated times like now. The actual practice to Dzogchen consists of preliminary and the main practices, that has visualizations, recital of mantras and the sadhanas.
In fact, we might all think we know about Dharma and might even want to practice these teachings, but because of our attachment to worldly distractions, we are not able to practice accordingly as instructed, as if we show no concern for the effect of karma, as though karma is not real and does not really exist, and thus as a result, succeed in continually creating more negative karma. Only at the end of our lives, when we come face to face with the imminent sufferings of death, do we start thinking that we should do something about it! But by that time, even if we come to realize that we have not studied the Dharma and neither have we applied ourselves properly according to the pith instructions of the teacher and hence the prospect of falling into the three lower realms is imminent; the time of seeking the Dharma and practicing has already passed, so now what do we do?

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