Astrology for 3/31/2015

3/31/2015 Tuesday by Norma

A quick action asserting your authority is satisfying and on the mark. Matters that seemed insoluble are working out, and this is a relief. In any given situation you can think or take action; right now action is the preferred choice. Go through the door, as opposed to spending time wondering where and why the door was constructed. If health is an issue, take your medicine and keep going. Jack Welch said, “Control your destiny or somebody else will.” What’s good today? Shopping, physical activity, planning, and upholding your position in the world.

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 family or children, some in work, and so forth. There are many departments of life. Look to see where the dynamic affects you!

Astrology for 3/30/2015

3/30/2015 Monday by Norma

Enthusiasm and decisive action have an impact on your situation today. A protector is here, a powerful force that is watching over you in all you do. Something is ending: let it go gracefully; wave goodbye and step into your new life. Venus in perfect aspect to Pluto allows transformation and regeneration of the best sort. Adversaries lose interest in sparring with each other and decide to become friends. Ellen Burstyn said, “Most of my life if someone did something other than the way I thought it should be done, I would try to correct him. Now I say, “Oh, isn’t that interesting.” Good strategy for now. It’s a great time to move forward and to stabilize your relationship with everything you care for.

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 family or children, some in work, and so forth. There are many departments of life. Look to see where the dynamic affects you!

AA and Buddhism

hitting-rock-bottom-when-to-seek-treatment-200x300

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

In our teaching today, strangely enough, I’m going to talk about alcoholism and addiction; but I’m not going to talk about alcoholism and addiction in a way that specifically is meant to treat or help a person who is addicted to a substance. What I’d like to do is examine addiction, examine the idea of substance addiction or alcoholism and see how very much it actually is like the condition that we all find ourselves in in samsara. Although I myself have never been involved in the program, I know people who have and some of my best students actually have. I have been fascinated with the program that is used by Alcoholics Anonymous, the 12 Step Program, fascinated by it in that I can hardly believe the more I learn about it how completely compatible it is with the Buddha’s teaching, how completely compatible it is with Buddhist thought.

Now I can’t even say that about other religions. I myself saw His Holiness the Dalai Lama speak to the highest Episcopal bishops in the country, and heard these bishops say to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, ‘Well we’re all one religion anyway and we basically believe the same thing.’Now you must understand this is a man who is the head of a theistic religion talking to a man who is the head of a non-theistic philosophy. So, of course, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said, ‘While I appreciate that there are certain things that we hold in common, such as the wish to benefit sentient beings, the wish to act compassionately, and these are the important things that we have in common, still I must say your religion and my religion are not the same. And it betrays both of them to pretend that they are.’ Because, in fact, the heart of Buddhist philosophy is the awareness of the primordial empty state and that is not the heart of Christianity. The heart of Christianity is different than that and the way that it‘s practiced is different than that. The technology is different than that. So there are some common denominators. But I can say that far more than other religions, a program like Alcoholics Anonymous is very, very similar to Buddhism, and I find that fascinating. I’m really quite taken with that.

The reason why I want to bring this up at all is because of the way, personally, I view samsara, or the cycle of death and rebirth, and the way that I have been taught to view samsara by my teachers. Also, I’m bringing it up because of the similarity in a certain point or inner posture that one has to get to, that each one of us has to get to, in order to go further in either program. Whether it be Buddhism or Alcoholics Anonymous, there is a certain point that one has to get to. That point is the recognition of the condition. That point is the recognition of one’s state, the condition that one finds one’s self in. Now, again, I know very little about Alcoholics Anonymous, and any of you who wish to argue with me or contribute to what I’m saying are free to do so. But one thing I do understand is that generally it’s considered that an alcoholic is not help-able, is really beyond help, until they bottom out. That means they get to a point where they are just disgusted. They see that their life is really falling apart and there is literally nowhere to go other than forward or up. There is a bottom that’s reached. And many times during the history of an alcoholic, they’ll reach low points certainly, but they will not reach a point at which they bottom out. And it isn’t until they reach that point that they are help-able. They have to basically find themselves stripped down to a point where there is no other useful or beneficial or pleasant way to go. It’s just the bottom. How else can you describe the bottom? It is the bottom. And it is at that point that alcoholics are help-able, that they can begin to help themselves. Am I right, any of you guys who know about this? OK.

So from that point of view, when an alcoholic’s or an addict’s life becomes bottomed out like that, they are at the first good point they’ve been at for a long time. It may not feel like that to the alcoholic. To the alcoholic it is the most deluded and confusing time. It is the most helpless of times. It is the time in which they have almost no skills, no resources, and they are quite helpless. But it is the first time where any benefit can actually happen.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo All rights reserved

 

Astrology for 3/29/2015

3/29/2015 Sunday by Norma

Happiness is here, and people are in tune with each other. Color, light and vibrancy are all- pervasive. Have a parade, a party, any function, and happiness ensues. Justified pride in your accomplishments characterizes the day. Compliment others and receive accolades. Jupiter, who lives to dole out your heart’s desire, is on your side! You pretty much can’t fail. Wear your best clothes and your biggest smile and take action. Mel Brooks said, “If you’re quiet, you’re not living. You’ve got to be noisy and colorful and lively.” Excellent advice for today. Dress up, even if all you plan to do is watch tv, and you’ll feel great.

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 family or children, some in work, and so forth. There are many departments of life. Look to see where the dynamic affects you!

Experiencing Practice

galaxy

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo offered during a “Good Heart Retreat”

When I start to talk about all of this, it seems like I’m saying, “Okay, go do this, and go do that.” Please don’t hear it that way. I wish that there was some way you could not hear so much with your ears, so that they go in two different channels and you have all those voices in your head arguing with you. But instead hear it with your heart and really kind of vibes with the spirit of the message that I’m putting out here. Again I’m encouraging you not to keep your practice outside as this isolated separate little phenomena that you do in your prayer room. But remember I’m asking you to integrate your faith into your life. To make it real. If we are talking about impartiality, equanimity, and purifying the poisons, then we are talking about abolishing hatred, greed, ignorance, jealousy, and pridefulness. We are talking about making the world a better place—to see as the Buddha has taught us. Really see it. Really get it. In our nature, we are the same. This is what the Buddha has said. In our nature we are the same. To really get that. You can’t do that by simply running around doing all these things that I’m telling you to do. Make a foundation, collect some soup, you know, buy a couple of Christmas presents. That’s not how it’s going to happen.

I have another revolutionary idea. Supposing, once again, you were to really get into your path in such a way as to get into the mysticism of your path. Not simply by visualizing properly, not simply by memorizing the entire Celestial Palace Mandala, so that you have every little bit of it just right. I don’t mean that. If you can do that, it’s great. But in the meantime while you’re doing that, let’s also do something else. Let’s have a mystical experience, shall we? I mean how hard can it be? We’re Buddhists. We’re supposed to be mystical. So rather than talking about the end of ethnic prejudice, the end of hatred, the end of pride, the end of greediness, instead of talking about it, what if we really practiced it and felt it in our practice. Supposing we could kick off this grand idea of being a spiritual community in the world by actually feeling it, by actually doing it in our practice and in our prayers. Supposing we together as a Sangha were to gather periodically and do a meditation. Oh, wow! It’s not written down in the Buddhist books! That’s okay. It’s not a sin to do this. I mean, you know, it’s a funny thing. We have this idea that since we’ve become Buddhist and our prayers are written down in here, we don’t get to say any others. You only get to say those, in Tibetan. Like the Buddhas are up there and they don’t understand anything but Tibetan. If you talk to them, they aren’t really listening, they only talk to the Asians. That’s ridiculous, isn’t it? That’s impossible.

So supposing that we, as Buddhist practitioners had meditations. These are meditations that I like to do by myself. What if we did these as a group together? What if we sat in meditation, simply watching the breath as we do in Vipassana meditation or in shiney meditation, simply gentle meditation with no particular visualization. In our meditation we would relax the mind and abide naturally in the natural state, simply watching the breath as the Buddha has taught. But from that point, what if in this meditation, abiding gently in the nature, we were to expand our view to include first, everyone that we were praying with, to celebrate in meditation, in practice, and in truth, one nature, to meditate gently and abide naturally together. If it’s possible for one, it’s got to be possible for all of us. Supposing after that, we were to reach out, gently, and in that natural state, abiding spontaneously, embrace or include the community around us. Supposing we could recognize that in essence, our breath is the same. Literally, it is. That our breath is the same. Supposing we could understand that in our nature, there’s no place where I end and you begin. Supposing we could do away with those ideas of separation, and in our meditation, expand and embrace till we are meditating as one people. Supposing we could go a little further and meditate as one nation. And what if we could go a little further still and meditate as one world.

Supposing we got so good at this, that in our meditation, we would begin to awaken to the equality and the sameness of all that lives, just like the Buddha said. Supposing in our meditation, we could feel our oneness, our sameness with everybody in Africa, everybody in India, everybody in China, everybody in Europe, everybody everywhere. Supposing we went beyond that to include, as inseparable from that nature, beings who are other species, like the animal kingdom. Supposing we got so good at this that we knew that we were one and could begin to live it. How hard can it be? Nobody’s asking you to work out or anything. All you got to do is sit there and do that. How hard can it be?

And then supposing beyond that we could think about those great pictures they’re sending back from the Hubble telescope. Hmm? We could think about this galaxy and what it looks like. We could think about all the galaxies, those beautiful pictures of all those galaxies in deep space. Have you seen any of those? Oh, breath taking! What if all of that were inseparable from you? What if all of that were inside of you?

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo All rights reserved

Astrology for 3/28/2015

3/28/2015 Saturday by Norma

Avoid assertive people who jangle your nerves with their hoo-hah, and ask a visionary or mystic what to do: you’ll get the best advice. Take it and watch your world blossom. Men are having an easier time of things than women so be careful about adding to a woman’s burden by asking for just one more thing. Jack Kornfield said, “Blessings come from care, troubles from carelessness.” What’s good today? Excellent advice, happiness in love and tremendous energy and enthusiasm. The trick of the day is aiming your exuberance in the right direction; do that and the rest goes well.

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 family or children, some in work, and so forth. There are many departments of life. Look to see where the dynamic affects you!

Astrology for 3/27/2015

3/27/2015 Friday by Norma

Run everything past a partner before taking action to check for problems you haven’t noticed. Two heads are better than one today. An assertive, martial energy urges you to “just go for it!,” but this you must not do. Conventional military wisdom advises planning an exit strategy before initiating an invasion, and you should too. (Think General Custer, entering a box canyon.) Impulsive activity is tricky and timing is off, leading to activity that feels all right but is all wrong. Molly Ivins said, “The first rule of holes: when you’re in one, stop digging.” Love is wonderful today, and imagination and healing projects are successful. Be quieter than you want to be and the day turns out well.

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 family or children, some in work, and so forth. There are many departments of life. Look to see where the dynamic affects you!

Cultivating a Good Heart

Eat At Joes

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo during a “Good Heart Retreat”

Seriously, I do feel that there’s something wrong with the way we’re practicing religion. I really do feel that it is the job of spiritual people, who have as a centerpiece in their religion the idea of compassion, to really move forward towards ending suffering. A great first step is a good, hot meal for someone who’s hungry; some nice warm clothes for someone that doesn’t have enough; to know for sure that there is no child in your community who doesn’t get a Christmas present, a good one, not just left over crap, a good one.

Last year I remember when I was doing a little Christmas shopping, I think it was at Borders Bookstore, that I had this great, terrific little plan. I like to buy my daughter a lot of books. She’s a big reader and they keep her really quiet, when she’s not listening to Alanis Morrisette. So anyway, I buy her a lot of books and she’s very much a lover of books. When I went in there to buy a stack of books for her Christmas present, there was this great idea. It was a Christmas tree, and the Christmas tree had kids’ names on it and what grade they were in, what sex they were. You could pick one of the ornaments with the kids’ names off of the tree and you could buy them a book right there. I bought about ten books that day. How much more trouble is it to make it 11 or 12? It was a great idea. It was just a great idea. If we really started to brainstorm and think like that, we would come up with similar ideas.

Most of the lack that we experience, most of the poverty that we profess to have is merely conceptual. You know, it kind of goes like this: You say, ‘Gee, you know, it’s Sunday night and I’d really like to go out to eat, but I already went out to eat on Friday night and my budget only let’s me go out to eat once a week. So I can’t go out to eat tonight, but I’d really like to. Well, maybe I’ll just kind of mosey on over to a very cheap place, and I’ll get a very cheap thing.’ So you go to “Eat at Joe’s” or something, and it may not be the best food in the whole world, but you’re getting to eat out tonight. That means no dishes, so this is great. So you sit down at this place and you think, ‘All right now, I’m sticking to my budget, so I’d better get a cheap thing.’ You look at the cheap things and you go, ‘Well, you know, for just $2 more I could have a nice thing. And for $1 more than that I could have a salad too.’ So pretty soon, you kind of warm up to the idea that $2 or $3 extra’s not so bad. You know? Well, that kind of thinking can be encouraged in other ways also, because that extra $2 or $3 or that thing that you did by going out to eat and treating yourself is not going to break the bank. You have a concept that it’s going to break the bank, but it’s not going to break the bank.

So what if we were able to think that way ourselves. Like for instance, what about when we go grocery shopping? Supposing when we go grocery shopping, we have to spend $150, some families $200. Hey it happens, right? When was the last time you walked out of the grocery store with less than $100 worth of food? So, let’s say we walk in there and we think to ourselves, ‘Well, I’m going in to buy $100 worth of food, $150 worth of food.’ Would it really kill us if it cost us an extra 10% this time? Maybe $15 worth of canned goods or some food that we could share with our community. How painful is that? How painful is that when we see ourselves going up and down the Keeblers little elves aisle thinking which one of these gizmos do I want, because I can have them all. Or we go by the deli and think, ‘What deli thing must I have today?’ You know, we are an affluent society and we do that. And that’s fine, that’s fine. But supposing while we’re doing that, we could also buy some food that we could share with the community.

It’s not so unimaginable. Okay, maybe you don’t have that extra 10%, or don’t think you do. Start with 5%; start with one can. Start by asking somebody else if they have a can to lend you. But start, anywhere. I mean this is something that’s just easy to do. No one in our community has to go hungry. Even if we’re living here in Montgomery County and there’s not so much hunger here. If we can’t find any here, cross the line folks. There’s plenty in D.C.. What’s wrong with that? How hard is it? It’s not hard at all. So maybe this week you get Bartlett pears rather than exotic pears, and with that extra money you can buy a can of soup for somebody. That’s okay. You’ll live.

What I’m asking you to do now is to begin to formulate how as a community we are going to move into the world. As I explained earlier in the retreat, we are to some degree following a monastic format that was presented to us in Tibet. We have our ordained community. We have our lay community. But it’s never going to fly in that format here. In Tibet, the monasteries were isolated and separate. They experienced a whole different world which did not interface with the community very much. That’s not going to work here. The majority of Buddhists are probably not going to be ordained. So Buddhists have to get involved with the lives of householders. That has to be part of the Buddhist community in as respected and as strong a way as the ordained Sangha. So it would seem to me that while we are searching for a way to express the Buddha’s teachings in our society without fear and hesitation, with compassion and equanimity, let’s also toy with the idea of, as a Sangha, as a spiritual family, as a community, being a visible presence in our world. There should be a place to go to, and someone you can count on, but mostly a good heart in our community.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo All rights reserved

Commitment: From “The Way of The Bodhisattva” by Shantideva

The following is respectfully quoted from “The Way of the Bodhisattva” by Shantideva as translated by the Padmakara Translation Group and published by Shambhala:

Commitment

1.
With joy I celebrate
The virtue that relieves all beings
From the sorrows of the states of loss,
And places those who languish in the realms of bliss.

2.
And I rejoice in virtue that creates the cause
Of gaining the enlightened state,
And celebrate the freedom won
By living beings from the round of pain.

3.
And in the buddhahood of the protectors I delight
And in the stages of the buddha’s offspring.

4.
The intention, ocean of great good,
That seeks to place all beings in the state of bliss,
And every action for the benefit of all:
Such is my delight and all my joy.

5.
And so I join my hands and pray
The buddhas who reside in every quarter:
Kindle now the Dharma’s light
For those who grope, bewildered in the dark of suffering!

6.
I join my hands, beseeching the enlightened ones
Who wish to pass beyond the bonds of sorrow:
Do not leave us in our ignorance;
Remain among us for unnumbered ages!

7.
And through these actions now performed,
By all the virtue I have just amassed,
May all the pain of every living being
Be wholly scattered and destroyed!

8.
For all those ailing in the world,
Until their every sickness has been healed,
May I myself become for them
The doctor, nurse, the medicine itself.

9.
Raining down a flood of food and drink,
May I dispel the ills of thirst and famine.
And in the ages marked by scarcity and want,
May I myself appear as drink and sustenance.

10.
For sentient beings, poor and destitute,
May I become a treasure ever plentiful,
And lie before them closely in their reach,
A varied source of all that they might need.

11.
My body, thus, and all my good besides,
And all my merits gained and to be gained,
I give them all away withholding nothing
To bring about the benefit of beings.

12.
Nirvāna is attained by giving all,
Nirvāna the objective of my striving.
Everything therefore must be abandoned,
And it is best to give it all to others.

13.
This body I have given up
To serve the pleasure of all living beings.
Let them kill and beat and slander it,
And do to it whatever they desire.

14.
And though they treat it like a toy,
Or make of it the butt of every mockery,
My body has been given up to them–
There’s no use, now, to make so much of it.

15.
And so let beings do to me
Whatever does not bring them injury.
Whenever they catch sight of me,
Let his not fail to bring them benefit.

16.
If those who see me entertain
A thought of anger or devotion,
May these states supply the cause
Whereby their good and wishes are fulfilled.

17.
All those who slight me to my face,
Or do me any other evil,
Even if they blame or slander me,
May they attain the fortune of enlightenment!

18.
May I be a guard for those who are protector less,
A guide for those who journey on the road.
For those who wish to go across water,
May I be a boat, a raft, a bridge.

19.
May I be an isle for those who yearn for landfall,
And a lamp for those who long for light;
For those who need a resting place, a bed;
For all who need a servant, may I be their slave.

20.
May I be the wishing jewel, the vase of plenty,
A word of power and the supreme healing;
May I be the tree of miracles,
And for every being the abundant cow.

21.
Like the earth and the pervading elements,
Enduring as the sky itself endures,
For boundless multitudes of living beings,
May I be their ground and sustenance.

22.
Thus for everything that lives,
As far as are the limits of the sky,
May I provide their livelihood and nourishment
Until they pass beyond the bonds of suffering.

23.
Just as all the buddhas of the past
Embraced the awakened attitude of mind,
And in the precepts of the bodhisattvas
Step by step abode and trained,

24.
Just so, and for the benefit of beings,
I will also have this attitude of mind,
And in those precepts, step by step,
I will abide and train myself.

25.
That this the most pure and spotless state of mind
Might be embraced and constantly increase,
The prudent who have cultivated it
Should praise it highly in such words as these:

26.
“Today my life has given fruit.
This human state has now been well assumed.
Today I take my birth in Buddha’s line,
And have become the buddhas’ child and heir.

27.
“In every way, then, I will undertake
Activities befitting such a rank.
And I will do no act to mar
Or compromise this high and faultless lineage.

28.
“For I am like a blind man who has found
A precious gem within a mound of filth.
Exactly so, as if by some strange chance,
The enlightened mind has come to birth in me.

29.
“This is the draft of immortality,
That slays the Lord of Death, the slaughterer of beings,
The rich unfailing treasure-mine
To heal the poverty of wanderers.

30.
“It is the sovereign remedy,
That perfectly allays all maladies.
It is the wishing tree bestowing rest
On those who wander wearily the pathways of existence.

31.
“It is the universal vehicle that saves
All wandering beings from the states of loss–
The rising moon of the enlightened mind
That soothes the sorrows born of the afflictions.

32.
“It is a mighty sun that utterly dispels
The gloom and ignorance of wandering beings,
The creamy butter, rich and full,
All churned from milk of holy Teaching.

33.
“Living beings! Wayfarers upon life’s paths,
Who wish to taste the riches of contentment,
Here before you is the supreme bliss–
Here, O ceaseless wanderers, is your fulfillment!

34.
“And so, within the sight of all protectors,
I summon every being, calling them to buddhahood–
And till that state is reached, to every earthly joy!
May gods and demigods, and all the rest, rejoice!”

 

Astrology for 3/26/2015

3/26/2015 Thursday by Norma

Have fun talking or driving around early in the day because nothing significant happens until later on, when the energy changes and emotional or familial matters come to the forefront. You must be quite careful to neither give nor take offense today. Remember the big picture, think of what you are trying to create and you will avoid trouble. Are you forging an alliance, working to stabilize a relationship? Offer goodwill first, don’t wait to receive it. Be proactive in what you do for the best outcome. Assume the cheerful position that everything is your fault and you’ll be happy today! Apologize for the sun rising, for breathing, for global warming, for the declining population of bees. (“Yes, it’s my fault: I’m sorry and I won’t do it again”) Emotional situations are deflected and everyone is satisfied, including you- you’ve learned to be a bigger person.

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 family or children, some in work, and so forth. There are many departments of life. Look to see where the dynamic affects you!