The Path: Are We There Yet?

An excerpt from a teaching called The Seed of Your Buddha Nature Within by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo

When one begins to understand some of the ideas that are presented in Dharma, one realizes that the goal that we are engaged in “moving toward,” if you’ll forgive that bad choice of words, is actually Buddha Nature itself. We tend to consider that the path is like a thing that goes from here to there, like a movement toward, and it’s very hard not to conceptualize it in that way. But, in fact, when one practices Dharma, the ability to practice Dharma is actually based on the understanding of the innate Nature. If we did not have within us right now the seed of Enlightenment, if we did not have within us the potential to actualize ourselves as the Buddha, there would be no point of practice. The very basis for practice is that understanding. This is what the Buddha himself taught – that all sentient beings have within them the seed of Buddha Nature, that that Nature is their true Nature, in fact. However, they have not awakened to that Nature and so, in order awaken to that Nature, one engages in the path.

The path should not be considered a ‘thing’, a straight line that connects from here to there. The path should be understood as a method that one uses in order to awaken to that Nature which is already our Nature; which is complete, unchanging, and will never get any bigger or any smaller. One should understand that Dharma is actually an activity that is meant to awaken that potential. But the ultimate goal that one wishes for when one engages in Dharma, is, of course, Enlightenment itself.

© Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo

Astrology for 7/31/2015

7/31/2015 Friday by Norma

Domestic matters, children and work take up so much of your time that it’s hard to think of friends, but do. Five planets line up and pour energy in one direction, ignoring everything else. Pay attention to a friend or group pulling you away from your focus. A country song says, “I don’t know whether to obsess or go bowling.” Definitely go bowling and watch your mood improve! Give a problem another week to be resolved; frustration comes from thinking it’ll end sooner. What’s good now? Food, dressing up, beautification projects, and the emotional support of people who love you.

The daily astrology post affects everyone. Because individual charts vary, the circumstances outlined in the post will impact 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 7/30/2015

7/30/2015 Thursday by Norma

Encouragement comes from a stable source; believe what you are told of a positive nature. Doubt is the problem today and there’s a tendency to fear the worst. Harry Cecil said, “What if the biggest deal of my life comes, and my pen runs out of ink?” Well, you’ll get another pen! Keep plugging away toward your goal, and avoid the tendency to stop and worry. Nevertheless, it’s a tremendously happy time, and work is satisfying. What’s good today? Maintaining your dignity in the face of fear, continual improvement in health matters, and success in organizing your life and possessions! Helpful friends appear late in the day.

The daily astrology post affects everyone. Because individual charts vary, the circumstances outlined in the post will impact 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!

Changing Habits

An excerpt from a teaching called How Buddhism Differs from Other Religions by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo

Many people have gone to teachers and said, “What was I in my past life?   What kind of being am I?” thinking that they are different somehow and that this is important.  It’s really not the case.  We are all exactly the same.  But a lot of times the people will go to the teacher and ask questions like that.  Buddha Shakyamuni’s answer was, “If you want to know who you were in your past life, look in the mirror.”  Not necessarily at your physical appearance, and how your mascara is and that sort of thing.  Look at who you are.  Look at your life.   Look at what you’ve accomplished.  Not what you’re spinning in your head that you’re going to accomplish, but what you have accomplished.  Then you can begin a certain analysis.

Let’s say that you are chronically poor.  You tend to work wage jobs, and can’t get the big jobs, and just can’t make the money thing work.  It’s a chronic condition.    Most people think that the best thing to do is to go looking for the fabulous job or meet the fabulous man with the big money or something like that so you can get rich.  That kind of thinking will keep you in exactly the same position you’ve always been in, and it will never change.

If you find yourself in a state of chronic poverty, you must understand that cause and effect relationships are operating here.   You are now reaping the result of a cause that was created maybe early in this lifetime, more likely in another lifetime.  This is why it’s so hard, because you can’t see it.   We don’t know what happened in our last life or ten lifetimes ago.  We really don’t know what the cause is.

Again the Buddha says that this is where analysis is very useful.   So, we look and we say, “Well, I’ve always been poor.  It’s always been an issue.   So, what can I do to solve this problem?”  Is hoping for a rich person or a rich job to come along really the solution?  Actually, not.  What you should start doing if you are chronically poor, is to give all you can to the poor.  The shirt off your back if you have to.  Now, people will try that and they’ll come back to me and say it didn’t work.   How long did you try it?   It took you lifetimes to get this habitual.   You’ve got to work at it awhile.  You can’t expect to just be kind for a couple of weeks, and then boom!  We’re home and dry.   It’s not like that.  You have to actually take the grasping energy that you’re feeling, “I want the money.  I want the money.  I want the money.”  And turn it around into “I give what I can give.”  If it’s a quarter, if it’s twenty cents, if it’s a penny, if it’s a hug, if it’s some extra clothes to people who don’t have clothes, or a warm blanket in the wintertime.  Anything.  It doesn’t have to be big bucks, but you develop the habit of generosity to the degree that it outweighs that graspiness that says, “When am I gonna get rich?  When am I gonna get rich?  When am I gonna get rich?”  By the time you’ve changed that habit, things are changing in your life.  But until you change the habit, nothing will change.  It’s all about our habitual tendencies.  There is nobody that knows this better than a recovering alcoholic.

I think recovering alcoholics make the best students, because they understand what habitual tendency is all about.  And they understand what addiction is all about too, including the addiction to “gimme, gimme, gimme.  I want it.  I want it.  I want it.  More, more, more.”   That’s an addiction.

We begin to break our habitual tendencies and turn them around, and we change the addiction.  At that point, we begin giving.  When you start giving to others, generally, you give to people who have less than you.   And one of the first things it does is make you realize how much you actually have.   Because we don’t generally realize how much we actually have.  Impoverishment is in here.  So, when we begin to act kindly and generously towards others and give what little we have, the grasping hand turns around and becomes a giving hand.   The mind relaxes about the issue of having.  And that clears the way for the ripening of virtuous karma.  Virtuous karma will bring us happiness, joy, money, whatever it’s tuned into.  Whatever it is the result of.  But it’s the graspy neediness that keeps us from giving and makes us so unhappy.

© Jetsunma Ahkön Lhamo

Astrology for 7/29/2015

7/29/2015 Wednesday by Norma

A deep conversation reveals secrets. If someone has been holding out on you, thinking you don’t need to be in the know, you’ll learn now. Brooding, emotional obsession is an issue today. “What else haven’t I been told?” is the question. Go ahead and ask, you’ll learn something important, but do avoid prying into people’s private lives. The desire to make a statement, to show people who’s boss, is powerful. Wait it out. Elsewhere, it’s a sunny, happy day. Dress up, spend time in bright places and tend to the project that’s developing in private. It’s a winner. Anna Quindlen said, “A life of unremitting caution, without the carefree- or even, occasionally, the careless-may turn out to be half a life.” Be deep and shallow today. Make your will and play tiddley winks. Pray for world peace and sing along to children’s songs.

The daily astrology post affects everyone. Because individual charts vary, the circumstances outlined in the post will impact 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!

The “Chicken Suit”

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “Neurotic Interaction to Guru Yoga”

It seems you have these strong habitual tendencies and project them onto an environment stimulated by just about anything. And when the stimulation looks like it’s even on the same continent as a predetermined habitual karmic scenario that you have been going through cyclically, you’ll do it again.  So many people do not have a good or honest or true relationship with their teacher because they are basically having a relationship with their own neuroses.  That’s the truth!  That’s the truth!  They’re having it with their own neuroses. But you see here again is a mystery, something beautiful that you really need to understand. I’m using a very western way of explaining this so that you will understand better.  That’s part of the gift of having a teacher.  It’s part of the gift, because the teacher will show you your own mind, will mirror something.  There’ll be that little bounce-back phenomena there so that when you have a meeting with the teacher, and something begins, you begin to feel like, “What’s happening here?  I’m beginning to feel a little itchy twitchy.  Now wait a minute, I’m seeing some authority figure stuff come out.” Or, “Oh God, that reminds me of my mother!!”

Or men are like, ALL women do that!!  I hate that!!  So that will start to happen, and when that starts to happen, what the student doesn’t realize is that is a perfect opportunity to look at your mind.  It’s a gift.  Of course, you can make this gift happen anywhere in your life and actually this is the best way to practice Guru Yoga.  There is a lot of poetry and a lot of very profound Dharma text written about seeing the Guru’s face everywhere—in every person, in every situation, in every hardship, in every joy, in everything that comes to you one way or the other—seeing the Guru’s face, and therefore turning adversity into felicity.  Using the practice of seeing that the teacher’s face, the Guru’s face  is everywhere.  Therefore I turn all adversity into felicity because I honor that blessing, you see.  So that would be a great way to practice.

But what happens instead is that we project our own neuroses onto the teacher.  Now as a teacher I’ll tell you that oftentimes what happens is that you have to hang back and just let the student do that thing they’re going to do.  Just let them spin around and do whatever it is they have to do.  Go on, knock yourself out. You kind of watch them go through their little freak out. They’re smooth. They kind of do their little neurotic thing, and they’ll freak in their response to this and their reaction to that and so forth.  After a while the student will kind of calm down.  What they’ll find is that it will come in their face so much that they’ll have to work some of it out.  And they’ll also notice that, pretty much, the teacher’s not playing.  You know, the teacher just doesn’t play the game with you.

Once in a while a student has been so locked in that confusion that (I’ve had to do this too) I’ve seen teachers kind of put on the chicken suit and go in there and dance with the student a little bit, because they need to make some kind of connection.  They feel kind of out in space somewhere and they need to make some kind of connection. So even if there aren’t honest and true, disciplined and pure student-teacher relationship responses happening, there is the introduction to that which is the student and teacher kind of dancing around a little bit. But you must understand the teacher is dancing with your neuroses.  That’s what’s happening.

In order to practice Guru Yoga well, here’s the trick: Most people think that Guru Yoga is about giving up your will.  Now you don’t have to think any more, you have a teacher.  Wonderful!  Mazel tov!  This is terrific! In fact, when you have a teacher, what that means is that you have to take responsibility.  It means more responsibility, not less.  The teacher is not here to blow your nose for you.  The teacher is not here to take responsibility for you.  If the teacher were here to take responsibility for you, the teacher could also have your enlightenment. And since that’s not what she wants because the teacher has already got their own situation handled hopefully, then you must understand that the responsibility is yours.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo.  All rights reserved

Astrology for 7/28/2015

7/28/2015 Tuesday by Norma

Higher learning and expansion of thinking is highlighted today. Got a goal? Make it bigger by a factor of ten. Donald Trump said, “As long as you’re going to be thinking anyway, think big.” Fear of subterfuge is in the mix and must be recognized because it’s real. Keep your eyes open as you go about your day. If trouble arises, a speedy correction sets things right. Two modes co-exist today: jubilant happiness, the sort that leads to parades, speeches and sunny matters; and also fear of the unknown, of death and debt. Do what must be done right now and the future will take care of itself: it’s the thing you put off that causes trouble. What’s good? Planning and scheduling, after which you can go out and have some serious fun!

The daily astrology post affects everyone. Because individual charts vary, the circumstances outlined in the post will impact 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 7/27/2015

7/27/2015 Monday by Norma

Happiness combines with cheerful work to make for a nice day. Work equals love: you’ll work on a project you love, or else you’ll work in the service of a loved one. Either way, it’s
satisfying. Small projects proliferate and they’re surprisingly fun. “Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work I go,” sang the seven dwarfs, and you’ll feel like singing along! Accept tasks performed for you, someone is expressing love. Joyce Brothers said, “Happiness lies in life’s small details.” Elsewhere, long distance travel is excellent and philosophical or judicial matters are satisfying. A happy surprise comes. Something positive is growing and it’s time to make plans for the future.

The daily astrology post affects everyone. Because individual charts vary, the circumstances outlined in the post will impact 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 7/26/2015

7/26/2015 Sunday by Norma

Overdoing kicks off the day. It’s important to rest and let yourself heal to avoid a setback. An appeal to pride causes people to promise more than they can deliver, with difficult results. Something you’ve hoped for is going to happen, but it will take time! Men and women are in harmony and can proceed with a project. Good will and good spirits are all pervasive. W. H. Auden said, “In those whom I like, I can find no common denominator; in those whom I love I can: they all make me laugh.” It’s necessary to re-do something, but you don’t mind because it’s something you like. What’s good today? Travel, philosophy, religion, and beautification projects. Improve your appearance and everything else goes fine.

The daily astrology post affects everyone. Because individual charts vary, the circumstances outlined in the post will impact 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 7/25/2015

7/25/2015 Saturday by Norma

Talk with a woman or child and you’ll learn something. Domestic matters require attention. Subterranean water, corrosion or decay must be addressed: swamps, sinkholes, pitfalls. If something seems damp, look closely and take action. The urge to have fun can blind you to something developing right under your nose. George Bernard Shaw said, “The power of accurate observation is
commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.” What’s good today? All self-improvement projects are successful. Dress well, look good and the world is a brighter place. Sports are excellent, as are parades, festivals and speeches. Stay in well-lit places to avoid trouble.

The daily astrology post affects everyone. Because individual charts vary, the circumstances outlined in the post will impact 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!