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Astrology

An emotional disappointment comes early today. Avoid taking a fixed position about anything. As the day progresses, groups learn from setbacks and take steps that put them in tune with the times. Be open to new ideas. Be very willing to change your deepest convictions if someone persuades you that they won’t work in the [...]

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Astrology

An early purchase is fortunate. Friends appear who understand what you’re doing and are willing to help! A group accomplishes something an individual or twosome can’t. A woman comes up with a brilliant idea. Mechanical devices are favorable and new inventions are possible. Use them with an understanding of what machines can and cannot do. [...]

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Caretaking the Gift

Caretaking the Gift

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “Commitment to the Path”

It is so important and so precious that we have this human existence. We should consider ourselves caretakers of that—that prize, that gift, that blessing—that it should not be taken lightly.

Sometimes we think, “Oh, you know, [...]

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Astrology

A perfect square in cardinal signs encourages people to sit tight in terms of taking action. Do something and it won’t quite work out as you wish. Emotional volatility is present, but because of its coldness you may not recognize it as a component of emotion. If someone behaves gruffly or falls silent, check for [...]

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The Fifth Root Downfall of the Bodhisattva Vow

Offering

The following is respectfully quoted from a commentary on the Bodhisattva Vows by Geshi Tashi: http://www.bodhicitta.net/BODHISATTVAVOWS.htm

5.    Taking Offerings Intended for the Three Jewels

Taking offerings intended for the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha is considered a root downfall. Here the Buddha means any buddha image as well as the actual Buddha himself. At Jamyang we make many offerings to the big Buddha statue in the main gompa. Why is it so bad if you steal something from a statue? It is just a statue. Peter Griffin built it out of plaster. We all know that. But still, it is more than that. Within the statue are many, many mantras and there have been so many strong prayers made to the statue. So this is no longer just an object made by Peter. After he completed it many great masters such as His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Lama Zopa Rinpoche and Denma Locho Rinpoche have blessed it and many people, with sincere conviction, have made prayers in front of it. It is not just an image, it is an inspiration, and, for a Buddhist practitioner, it really represents the Buddha. 

So things offered to the Buddha’s image are offered to the Buddha. It is the same with any holy object – a statue, a stupa, a thanka. It is not as if the objects ‘own’ the offerings. But although there is no one who says, ‘This belongs to me’, taking those offerings is the same as stealing from a buddha. The offerings have been sincerely offered, so it is very important to learn how to handle those objects with great sensitivity. 

In the monastery, handling the monastery’s things is a very sensitive issue – not for only those monks who have the responsibility of looking after those things but also for people coming from outside. Traditionally, Tibetan people are very, very careful. Even when having a cup of tea in a monastery, they pay a lot of attention because the object they are using is really dedicated towards the Three Jewels, the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. This is true of any property that belongs to a community, but much more so a spiritual community such as a monastery or a Dharma centre.

It is a very sensitive point. When Nagarjuna was asked to become the monk in charge of the monastery property, he completely declined. There is a prayer which he wrote requesting not to be born in charge in a monastery because he saw how heavy a downfall it was if that property was mishandled.

People contribute things to Dharma centres with a sincere heart, really wishing to help the development of the community. Because places like this are such powerful objects, if we misuse their possessions we are creating a much heavier negativity than if we misuse a normal person’s possessions.

And of course, taking without permission is much, much heavier than if someone in charge gives you something and you misuse that.

It is the same with taking from the Sangha. ‘Sangha’ very strictly speaking refers to a person who has a direct realisation of emptiness, or more generally to fully ordained monks or nuns but very loosely speaking, Sangha can refer to people who are practising the spiritual path. It is very important to know how to use things which belong to that kind of community. 

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