Liberate Your Mind

An excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo from the Vow of Love series

There are many Dharma practitioners who practice for many years, go on retreat, and even take ordination. Then at some point, some karmic switch flips in their minds and suddenly they’re finished with Dharma! They don’t want to do Dharma anymore. They’re on to something else. We may think that’s strange, but it has happened, especially to Westerners. It’s not uncommon for a Westerner to practice Dharma sincerely and then flip tracks, and go back into a very ordinary kind of life. That need not happen to you. But it could. You should face that possibility.

The antidote for that event is to cultivate compassion in your mind every day. If you move along the path of Buddhadharma and become overworked by it, thinking, “I just can’t practice that many hours a day. I cannot do this activity that propagates the Dharma anymore. It’s just too much.” If you become dry inside, if you think you just can’t go on, there’s only one way that that could happen to you. You have forgotten the suffering of others.

You must cultivate the memory that even in this visible world where beings can be seen, there is suffering that you cannot comprehend. You must think that there are children being abused everywhere, that there is starvation and poverty. You must think about the terrible diseases that afflict the body, speech and mind. You must think about the horrible things that come along with suffering, and the depth of suffering that exists, even in the realms that you can witness. If you think about that everyday, more about that than you do about yourself, you will not fall off the path of Dharma. When you become weak, when you waiver, that is when you forget. That is when you think the path is all about you. It’s when you forget that you are practicing for their sake, and that you are practicing also to liberate your mind so that you can be of benefit to others.

A non-Buddhist practitioner might say, “I’ve got another idea. Why don’t I do what I know how to do best. I’ll go out and make some money, and then I’ll feed everybody. I can do that.”

I’ll tell you a story about when I went to India. In our innocence, we thought, “Let’s go see Bombay; this is really going to be great.” So we got in a taxi and we went through the streets of Bombay thinking that we were going to see the India on the postcards. What I saw were streets so filled with sickness – leprosy, deformity, unbelievable poverty – that I couldn’t see anything else. I know there were beautiful buildings. I know there was beautiful scenery, but I couldn’t see those things.

Every time the taxi stopped, people with only part of a limb and open sores of leprosy would stick their arms in the car and beg.  Mothers would hold up their babies that they had done something to, saying, “Help us, help us.” So I started passing out dollar bills to everyone. I soon realized I was in deep trouble as I only had a limited amount of money, but that didn’t stop me.

I was traumatized by this. I was crying to the depth of my heart, because I had known that suffering existed, but I was used to my brand of suffering. I had never seen anything like this. I continued to pass out dollar bills, and finally the taxi driver stopped. He turned around and said, “Lady, don’t do this anymore. What is one dollar going to do for these people? Maybe they’ll eat today. What will you do for them tomorrow? And if you give out one dollar to everyone you see, there are so many people like them in India, you couldn’t help them all.” His saying that shocked me; he was right. Even if I could manage to become wealthy, I couldn’t feed the world. And hunger is only one kind of suffering. How can you help the other kinds of suffering? This kind of ordinary compassion ultimately does no good.

Why are those people suffering in India, and why were you born here in the West where things are relatively comfortable? Why are there animals and why are there humans? Why are there other realms of existence? Why is there so much suffering in one place, and much less suffering in another place? It is because of karma. That is the reason for all of this. Yet there is a cure for negative karma, which is the kind of karma that causes suffering. Ultimately, it is the only cure that will work. That cure is the eradication of hatred, greed and ignorance from the mindstreams of sentient beings. And the root of hatred, greed and ignorance is desire.

This doesn’t mean if we see starving people we shouldn’t feed them, that we should immediately teach them the Dharma. That, of course, won’t work. We have to be skillful. If people are hungry, we feed them first, and then we teach them. But your job now is to do neither. You might not have money, and you might not have the ability to teach just yet. But you can do something. You can practice Dharma in such a way that you, yourself, become free of hatred, greed and ignorance. You can practice so that you can liberate your mind from cyclic existence for one reason and one reason only: that after liberating your mind, you can emanate in a form that will continue to benefit beings. You can liberate your mind from desire to such a degree that you have only one hope, and that hope is that you will be born again and again in a form that will bring this antidote to other suffering beings. That’s what you can do.

© Jetsunma Ahkön Lhamo

Astrology

The day begins with an emotional surprise.  A hunch or whim sends you off on a merry excursion.  You’re fired up and sure of yourself, moving so fast that you may fail to notice that a powerful force is watching your behavior.  Back off and contain yourself before your brash behavior gets you in trouble.  Don’t be the wrong person in the wrong place today. Alban Goodier said “The enthusiastic, to those who are not, are always something of a trial.”  On the positive side, you absolutely love your friends and the feeling is mutual.  Even better is the project you are slowly and steadily bringing into the world.  A partnership that involves a group is a winner!  Socialize!  ‘Tis the season to be jolly!’

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!

Seeking Safety and Peace

The following is from a series of tweets by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo 

 

Finally, some coverage here, I can check in with my twitter buddies. I miss connecting. Seems we’ve been moving forever. Unsettling. If you aren’t used to it. And to be safe we’ve been learning to be hyper-alert, stay packed, be willing to eat from McDonalds (AAAAK!) 
 

I feel like I’m in China with the constant minders minding me. Or North Korea. Ah, I guess it could be worse. My stalker could have found and killed me already. I’m still alive so far. Just running. And staying safe. 
 

If and when I reach a safe place to stay I want to go into deep practice and stay there. My mind is affected by the trauma and danger, so I need to heal. Deeply. I’ve no strength at all, and must get my strength back. 
 

I have an RV which would have made all this so much easier! But it is a big target. 
 

As you know by now I’m not safe as the judge dismissed the case, US vs Cassidy. Even though he has a felony record and is known to be violent, especially with women. He’s an arsonist too.Therefore I have turned to victim’s advocates and others for help. There is help for women. But it is hard to find. 
 

I pray for a successful appeal and outcome. What a beautiful day for women. One more step toward respect and safety, toward being heard. Successful women should not be punished for what we do. We should be commended for our contributions, and be allowed the safe passage through our lives in peace!I want to say as well, that I believe in a Woman’s power to change the world. We can do it.
 

 

Why Compassion?

An excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo from the Vow of Love series

I would like to talk about a subject that is of the utmost importance to everyone.  The subject is compassion.

You may think, “Oh, I know all about compassion. I’ve been a Dharma practitioner for a long time. I’ve had many teachings about compassion.” Or you might think, “I’m a person with a good heart. I try not to do any harm, and I try to help people. Therefore, I know about compassion.” If we hold these ideas in our heart, we have already lost precious opportunities, and will continue to lose more, because the cultivation of compassion in the heart and mind is an ongoing process.

Even if you come into this world with a compassionate ideal you must still cultivate the idea of compassion as though it were the first time you ever thought of it. Due to intense spiritual practice in the past, you may have been born into this lifetime with the idea that you want to be of benefit to sentient beings.  Yet still you must cultivate the idea of compassion everyday, as though it were a delicate orchid that could die in an unnatural environment. Until we are supremely enlightened, we have obscurations of our mind that will fight against the idea of compassion.

There is no one on this earth, unless they are supremely realized, who has the purified mind of compassion. If you have been meditating for many years, and think compassion is a baby subject and you’re far beyond that, or if you think because you’ve practiced for a long time, compassion is just one of the beginner studies, and now you’d like to get on to the mystical or the “higher” Dzogchen teachings, then I think you’re making a mistake. I hope that you will relax your mind and come to the point where you commit to studying compassion deeply and profoundly, as though it were your mother. You should have that kind of intimate relationship with the idea of compassion. You should seek to be taught by it. You should seek to be suckled by the mind of compassion. You should seek to be nourished in that way.

© Jetsunma Ahkön Lhamo

Astrology

You think one thing and someone holds an opposing opinion.  The issue today is that both sides are firm, unyielding, in their views.  Curiously, neither side is right; in fact both are wrong.  Perhaps its best if you both declare defeat, go have a cup of coffee and discuss the weather.  But you don’t want to!  Pride is asserting itself in the form of being “right” and making someone else “wrong”.  The open door today consists of a friendly attitude and a willingness to make concessions.  A long held dream is slowly and steadily turning into reality.  Keep your eye on this and everything else will seem irrelevant.  Mother Teresa said “Never bother about other people’s opinions.  Be humble and you will never be disturbed.”

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

A sensitive response to a person in a precarious position makes an impact!  Step up immediately if you notice someone is having difficulties; you can make all the difference in a life or death situation.  Stories of a smile from a stranger transforming a hopeless person are right on the mark.  Be alert, non-judgmental and offer help. Be a super-hero!  Save the day and keep on moving, don’t stick around for applause.  There’s a danger of putting your foot in your mouth if you speak too much so make it touch and go.  Spend time alone today. Think, meditate and make friends with yourself.  That’s where your intuition comes from after all.  Oliver Wendell Holmes said ‘Whatever comes from the heart carries the heat and color of its birthplace.”

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!

His Holiness Kyabje Dungsey Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

 

With the passing of Thinley Norbu Rinpoche, the world has lost another great Lama. Thinley Norbu Rinpoche was considered one of the greatest mahasiddhas of our time.  Rinpoche was very close to my own root teacher, His Holiness Kyabje Drubwang Penor Rinpoche.  In fact, His Holiness Penor Rinpoche respected Thinley Norbu Rinpoche so much that he was one of the very few Lamas for whom His Holiness would stand up to greet when Rinpoche entered the room. 

I had the tremendous blessing to visit Rinpoche a number of times, and each time he had very beautiful advice for me.   Thinley Norbu Rinpoche  told me that I could always come and practice with him, particularly if my life force was weak.  I had always intended to go, and wish I had.  But in 1991 Rinpoche came to pay a surprise visit to my center, Kunzang Palyul Choling in Maryland, and gave a spontaneous teaching to the students that were there, and we were able to meet again. Rinpoche was a sublime  writer.  Every book he has written is pure nectar.  

Yesterday morning, I woke thinking of Rinpoche, and then learned of his passing. I am full of grief on behalf of sentient beings for the loss of Rinpoche.  

 
                                                                                                           Ahkon Lhamo
 
Thinley Norbu Rinpoche wrote a number of books, all of which are sublime. They include:
 
The Small Golden Key –  To the Treasure of the Various Essential Necessities of General and Extraordinary Buddhist Dharma
Magic Dance – the Display of the Self-nature of the Five Wisdom Dakinis
White Sail – Crossing the Waves of Ocean Mind to the Serene Continent of the Triple Gems
Practice of the Essence of the Sublime Heart Jewel, the Propitious Speech from the Beginning, Middle and End by Patrul Rinpoche (Translation)
Welcoming Flowers From Across The Cleansed Threshold Of Hope
A Cascading Waterfall of Nectar
The Great Image – The Life Story of Vairochana the Translator
Gypsy GossiP
A Brief History of a Himalayan
Echoes
Sunlight Speech that Dispels the Darkness of Doubt
To read more about Thinley Norbu Rinpoche, please visit Thinley Norbu – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

Bring the Love

Thousand Arm Avalokiteshvara Mandala

From The Spiritual Path:  A Compilation of Teachings by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo

All Dharma, your practice, your teachers, and everything you have ever encountered that has brought you closer to enlightenment—is only one thing: a manifestation or an emanation of the enlightened, compassionate intention of the Buddha. That is why this path appears and why we are able to practice Dharma. If you wish to follow this path, abandon your drunken, compulsive need to be right, approved of, admired. You must rely on the Buddha’s great intention. And after you finally arise in the awareness of your own primordial-wisdom nature, you will of necessity appear again and again to benefit beings. For it is the nature of that state to do so. That pristine state appears in an emanation phase—a spontaneous, natural movement that we may call love.

Who stops the love? You do. Every moment you believe that you are inherently real, you stop loving. Every moment you focus on your “self” and its needs, you stop loving. As your churning desire compulsively creates a deluge of thoughts, you stop loving. As long as you hold on to a “self” and the idea of its eternal existence, you will never be anything but a cheap imitation of the supremely awakened mind. I asked a wonderful yogini in Nepal, “What would you say to women in America who are practicing?” She said, “Well, this applies to everyone, but especially to women. Have courage.” Your practice is meaningless—it amounts to nothing—unless you have courage. You must be strong. You must not let anything stop you. With that fearlessness, you can break through the lethargy in your life; you can break through the barriers that keep you from practicing sincerely; you can even break through the old ideas that keep you mired in garbage. You can understand that by believing in a surviving, eternal ego, you are following a fool off a cliff.

© Jetsunma Ahkön Lhamo

Astrolgy

Do your best to avoid the public eye today.  If this is impossible, try to be invisible.  Power is expressed in an incomprehensible and overwhelming way, and a tendency toward ruthlessness appears. Something is coming to an end.  Alfred Lord Tennyson said “The old order changes, yielding place to new, and God fulfils himself in many ways.”  Accept gracefully whatever may come.  Look to your friends and your close groups for support.  A solid system is in place that has egalitarian ideals.  On a different front, machines are helpful and it’s a wonderful day to invent something.  Think!  You have the answer, and the answer lies in the future not in the past.  A group consensus is best.

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!