Astrology for 02/15/2018

02/15/2018 Thursday by Jampal & Wangmo

Theme: Communication with feeling

It’s a day of communication and connecting. You may find that you’re able to think more clearly and with more discrimination. You may have have some ‘Ah Ha’ moments as your thought processes make connections. Today your emotional self is more on display and relationships with others, particularly women will be more harmonious. Dynamics in relationship will be more evident.  There are opportunities for deep learning through encounters and communications with others. ‘We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.’~Ronald Reagan. 

Today the Moon is Void of Course from 4.06 am EST USA until 9.43pm. If you’re in another country check what that means for you time-wise. It’s best to avoid making major decisions or signing contracts during this time.

Today is a partial solar eclipse beginning at 1:55pm EST USA and concludes at 5:47pm. It’s a potentially transforming time. All actions are multiplied in intensity so it’s an encouragement to undertake virtuous/ethical activity as much as possible. If you’re in another country check what that means for you time-wise.

Eat the Feast

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

How amazing it is to have everything line up: to come to the path, to have a teacher that you can relate to, a teacher who can give you the path and provide the necessary components of the path and its blessings; to have a path that can bring the auspicious result.

We would all be fools not to take full advantage. In this time when it is almost too late, this is the time when we should take advantage. There is no better time than this, particularly to meet with this Vajrayana path which has some specific element that is meant for this time.

How many times have you found yourself during the course of your life being faced with some bountiful feast and you take the posture of being a peasant who takes only the crumbs of that feast? You missed out because you did not know how to take hold. You found yourself dancing on the sidelines, holding back.  Isn’t that what’s happening now? Aren’t we in the midst of a bountiful feast, holding a precious jewel that takes endless lifetimes to find, and we just don’t know what to do. We sort of look around. We can’t help ourselves.

So take hold of it, use it. You’re standing at the threshold of the door of liberation, looking at the very mind of liberation, the face of Guru Rinpoche. Every day Guru Rinpoche is touching your life; Lord Buddha is touching your life. That Nature is revealed to you, but you cannot see it because you have the habit of being a beggar at a feast. You have to stop that now. Sit at the table like the king or queen that you are and eat the feast. It doesn’t get any better than this, or any easier. Take advantage of it.

When I say something like this to you it is with concern for the well-being of sentient beings, and for you. Accomplish ultimate compassion by becoming Bodhisattvas or Buddhas so that you can return again and again for the others. I and other lamas cannot find the way to speak to the others that do not have the karma to hear about the Path. But someday you will. In some future life those that you have karma with will come to that moment and you will be their only hope. They will have hopes of you. Will you be ready, or will you have missed the brass ring? I’m trying to make you hear this for their sake. Begin now before it’s too late.

Astrology for 02/14/2018

02/14/2018 Wednesday by Jampal & Wangmo

Theme: Earth warrior day

With the Moon opposite Ceres, the asteroid of care-taking the earth, it’s a good day to give back to the planet and also change habits. Even the smallest habits can have a big impact in our lives and the world around us. Physical energy could be fluctuating. Focus on body awareness today. Energy directed towards self-less goals produces results. Spiritual practices are encouraged. Diligence pays off. ‘We the caretakers of the earth, dedicate ourselves to the liberation and salvation of all sentient beings’~The Caretakers Vow, Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo

Do What Makes Sense

An excerpt from a teaching called True Motivation for Kindness by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo

Let’s take a look at compassion. The Buddha teaches us that in cyclic existence suffering is all-pervasive and that there is one thing we have in common: we all equally wish to be happy. We are all working so hard to be happy.

The Buddha teaches us as well, that in our nature we are the same. Every sentient being that you see has within them the Buddha seed or the potential to be Buddha. Many have attained Buddhahood. And when you consider that each one of us has that same innate potential, you must follow logically and understand that, at some point, each one of us will be a Buddha. And at that point, who is to say who or what is better than any other? How interesting!

According to the Buddha, we all weigh the same in terms of importance, significance and value. That means men and women are the same, blacks and whites are the same, rich and poor are the same, people of different nationalities, different religions are the same, caterpillars and humans are the same. Yes! They all have the same nature. That’s a prejudice you don’t want to give up, isn’t it? But, according to the Buddha, all sentient beings are equal, and we are especially equal in that all wish to attain happiness.

Now, imagine what it would accomplish to think only of our own happiness. Not only are we the same, but we are, in our nature, indistinguishable from one another. If we were to look at each other from the enlightened perspective, we could not determine where it is that you end and I begin. These lines are drawn up by ignorant minds. In truth, Buddha nature is all-pervasive. So it doesn’t pay to think of my benefit and not yours. What would I accomplish? Only the reinforcement of my ego. I would tell myself that I am somebody important and separate. It would not accomplish enlightenment.

Logically, the Buddha tells us we should work endlessly for the benefit of all sentient beings until they are free of suffering. Logic tells me that there are many more of you than there are of me, that collectively you weigh more than I do. Therefore, I should dedicate my life to your well-being, not to my own. That’s logic. That’s the only thing that makes sense.

Kindness is not such that we’re doing anybody a favor by practicing it. Do you realize that? People will say, “You know, I understand this idea of practicing compassion, but I don’t feel particularly kind. I just don’t have it in me. I’m selfish a lot.” My answer is always the same: “Welcome to the world. Do you think you’re different from anyone else?” We’re all like that. It is this habitual tendency. Where you begin to change this habitual tendency is the intellectual examination of this information and the creation of a new activity pattern based upon it.  When you come to the realization that kindness isn’t a favor you’re doing anyone, or something you do when you want to be a good person, you will understand that kindness is the only thing that makes sense. At this point your habits will begin to change, and little by little you will begin to act in a compassionate manner.

You’ll know you have it when you don’t remember whether you’ve been compassionate or not, when someone says to you, “That was so nice of you, you were so kind” and you can only think, “What else would I have done? That was the only thing to do.”

© copyright Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo all rights reserved


Astrology for 02/13/2018

02/13/2018 Tuesday by Jampal & Wangmo

Theme: Completions and extending yourself to others

With the Dark Moon phase there is an opportunity for completions, self-reflection, forgoing self-interest and developing compassion. With the Moon in Aquarius there is a desire to make progressive changes in ones life and connect with the wider community. The challenge is not to over-think things or mistake thoughts for feeling. Another theme for the day is double-checking details that can get missed when you’re undertaking long-term planning. ‘If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.’~H.H. Dalai Lama

Today the Moon is Void of Course from 12.44 am EST USA until 10.13 am. If you’re in another country check what that means for you time-wise. It’s best to avoid making major decisions or signing contracts during this time.

In the Posture of Honesty

An excerpt from a teaching called the Seven Limb Puja:  Viewing the Guru by Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo on October 18, 1995

We should always be in the posture of confession.  We love confession, don’t we?  It’s so Catholic!  Well, no, we do it differently here.  In Buddhism confession need not be heard by any other person.  When we first got into the teachings about confession, there was a line of people waiting to come to confess to me.  I thought I was going to have to build one of those booths! Now you know that confession need not be done in front of anyone else.  We’re talking about spiritual confession. It need not be done in front of anyone else, but one should always be in the posture of confession.  Why is that so?

First of all, we know that since beginningless time until now when we have received the teachings, we have tried to be happy but we have not known how to be happy.  Isn’t that right?  That means there’s a pretty good chance we have blown it, big time.  And judging from the fact that we are still suffering in samsara, we know that it’s true.  We know that at least 50% of the time, we have committed non-virtuous acts: at least 50% of the time, just by the law of chance.

Suppose you came to see the Guru but you didn’t change your clothes.  And you had shit all over you, really stinky.  You walked through mud and you had mud all over you, and maybe you even shit in your pants.  That’s what we did until we got here.  We just shit in our pants.  We didn’t care.  We didn’t know.  So you=ve got a load, like a kid with a slung-low diaper.  We’re walking in like that!  And we stink and we’re nasty.  If you were going to see Guru Rinpoche, don’t you think you would clean up a bit?  Do you think you might clean up a bit?

Think of confession in the same, exact way.  Think that you’re always in the face of the Guru, that you are always in the presence of that primordial nature.  Yet you know that to simply fake it and put on a quasi-pseudo spiritual face is not going to cut it because you’re not looking at a being, you’re not looking at something samsaric that wouldn’t know the difference.  You are in the presence of the primordial wisdom nature.  All things are revealed.

Being in a posture of confession doesn’t mean that you’re constantly repeating verbal confessions in your head.  That would make you nuts, especially if you’re trying to offer and pay homage at the same time!  But the posture of confession is a little bit different, and here we’re talking about subtleties.  For those of you that love to be black and white, this is going to take some cooking on the back burner for a while.  We’re talking here about a subtleness, a posture of confession.  That means that for the first time in our samsaric lives we are not trying to hide our non-virtue, and play the game of acting spiritual on top of that.  There is a natural to-the-bone honesty of realizing that you are a being wandering lost in samsara, realizing what it took to get that wandering and that lost in samsara, and realizing that that’s what you’re holding here.  With that kind of awareness, there is the profound wish for all such causes of suffering, all such non-virtue, to be purified.  So that would be a posture of confession:  I know that I have engaged in non-virtuous conduct of all kinds.  I have no illusions and I do not try to pretend or shut it down or make nicey-nice with with my superficial face.  I do not pretend that none of this has happened.  I am truly, within the deepest part of my heart, a penitent person.  I am constantly in that posture.  I am realizing that I have performed non-virtue and in the face of the Guru I wish to hold that up as though dewdrops were being held up in the sun.  And that sun has the same capacity that the sun has naturally: that by the light of midday those dewdrops will all be gone — if we don’t hide them under a rock, pretend they don’t exist and put them away somewhere.  Instead, we hold them up in the act of penitence and compassion and honesty. With complete confidence that this non-dual emptiness and luminosity, like the sun, will burn away all such poison.

Rather than being somebody who is doing shuck and jive, trying to dance, trying to pretend that we’re all goody two-shoes, rather than committing that horrible non-virtue, instead, we are in a posture of honesty.  And in that posture of honesty, the heart is relaxed and the mind is opened.  The non-virtue, in that posture, begins to evaporate like the dewdrops do.

© Jetsunma Ahkön Lhamo

Astrology for 02/12/2018

02/12/2018 Monday by Jampal & Wangmo

Theme: Surfacing memories and surfing the waves

Venus, the planet of relationships, has moved into the sign of universal love so its very happy! Dreams can come true. It’s also a day of deep feeling bringing the unconscious to the conscious level where it can be more easily seen. There’s great potential to let go of the past. It’s not a day to be a control freak. Be aware of that tendency in yourself. Find the right kind of exercise regime that suits your present condition. ‘My passion for surfing was more than my fear of sharks.’~Bethany Hamilton

Observe the Equation

An excerpt from the Mindfulness workshop given by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo in 1999

Lamas and bodhisattvas have taught time and time again that one’s practice must be part of one’s life.  They have taught that it has to be an ongoing thing, and that you can’t separate it from whatever else it is that you do.  The opportunity to practice exists in our lives, and so therefore, to only utilize sit-down time and completely separate that from the rest of our lives without any effort toward recognition or mindfulness is really pretty useless.  It’s like trying to drive down the street with no air in your tires.  You’re not going to get that far. This mindfulness, like changing any habitual tendency, can be a little bit painful or tight at first – that happens – but you know that, and you’ve broken through things like that before when they were important to you.  For those of you that have quit smoking, when you first quit smoking, that was a raw and painful thing, but you pushed through it because you knew that established the new habit pattern was going to be the way to go.  That was the only way to get to that goal.

Why don’t we think the same way about our practice?  Why do we think that we just have to wait for the glory?  If you decide you’re going to exercise, you have a goal: you don’t want to be a blob anymore.  That’s your goal, and you’re fervent about it.  When you first exercise, you’re going to hurt.  It’s going to ache.  If you’re really committed and you’re really not into being a blob, you’re going to take two Tylenol, and you’re going to continue.  You’re going to push through it.  Why can’t we push through our own habitual tendencies?  Why can’t we push through into some kind of ritual of recognition?  If we can ritualize working out, if we can ritualize stopping smoking, if we can ritualize crossing the street safely, if we can ritualize occupational training, why can’t we ritualize the state of recognition so that we make it part and practice of our walking, waking lives?  We trained to become whatever we are now.  Are you a doctor?  Are you a nurse?  Are you trained for that?  Wasn’t it hard when you first started taking in all that information?  Sure it was.  Are you a professional in any way?  You trained for that.  It was hard when you made those new habits, but you saw a goal and you had to get there because everything in you told you you’re supposed to be successful at that.  Why won’t we accept this responsibility in our practice?  That’s what it takes.  It takes really accepting that responsibility in our practice.

If you want to play guitar, your fingers are going to hurt for a while.  You’ve got to build calluses, but ordinary human beings, perfectly ordinary human beings, can do that because they observe the equation.  They can see that if they want to get there, they have to go through this uncomfortable zone of practice.  Why can’t we do that in our spiritual practice?  Why is it up to our teacher to push us through to realization?  Why do we hang around like limp practitioners and say, “Well, after I do this practice, what practice should I do after that?” without really ever trying in the least little way to have any recognition of the nature of phenomena, of the nature of reality?  We’re perfectly able to do this.  We do this in other areas of our lives.  Why is this so hard?

© Jetsunma Ahkön Lhamo

Astrology for 02/11/2018

02/11/2018 Sunday by Jampal & Wangmo

Theme: Completing projects

As the moon wanes it’s an opportunity for consolidation and completion of projects and with the Moon in the earth sign of Capricorn conjunct Saturday it’s about dealing with feelings in a practical way, but not in a harsh self-judgmental way. Put a brake on self-criticism. If you feel isolated re-connect yourself to nature. The Earth witnessed the enlightenment of the Buddha as shown when the Buddha touched the earth with his right hand. You could have some insights today into a side of your nature that you weren’t aware of. 

What’s Your First Thought?

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

The way to become happy is somewhat counterintuitive, particularly when you’re first starting out on the path.  When we first start out on the path, we come because we are generally interested, but also because we have issues.  We have problems.  Our life does not make sense in some way.   Generally something is a little bit off, and what’s off is the old habit.  You know the old habit that says materialism makes you happy, and getting is what you need to do.  And it’s you first and nobody else.  That kind of materialism is what we walk in here with.   Whether we realize it or not, we are brought up with it.   Even your parents told you to go to school so you could make more money than the slob next door.   It’s that kind of idea.  I don’t know if your parents said that, but you get the idea.

When we start to break that habit, it’s a little bit difficult.  One of the things we do when we begin is to make aspirational prayers, and you should start that this very night.  You don’t have to have any particular training or empowerment, and yet it’s quite profound to start making aspirational prayers.  Everyone that enters onto the path of the Buddha Dharma begins that way, by making aspirational prayers for happiness and well-being for all that lives.  You can do that any way you want to.  There’s no instruction necessary.  You don’t have to read a prayer from a book.   You can simply speak what is on your heart.

For instance, you might begin by saying, “As I walk around the stupa, may all sentient beings know the opportunity of this blessing.”  Like that.  If you wake up sick, instead of saying, “Oh, I’m sick.”  Instead you say, “May all sentient beings experience radiant health.   May they not suffer the way I’m suffering now.”  And if you’re hungry, before you eat, you say your aspirational prayer, “May all sentient beings be nourished.  May they have the fullness of Dharma.  May they have plenty to eat and plenty to wear.”  If you find that you lose your job, and you’re poor and you just can’t pull it together, you make stronger and stronger prayers, “May no one go without good work, and good occupation.  May no one suffer as I am suffering now.”  If you break a leg, before you start cussing or crying, you say, “May no sentient being suffer this pain, ever.  May all sentient beings walk strong, and have full use of all their limbs.”

At first when you do it, you think, “This is kind of namby pamby.  I mean when do you get into the deep stuff?”  Oh, you’ll get into the deep stuff.  Trust me.  But it behooves us to start at the beginning.  That’s where you start.  You begin to break the old habits, and give rise to some new habits of generosity and mindfulness, thoughtfulness, and caring.   And we do this through aspirational prayers.

I know when I read the paper, that’s a great opportunity to make aspirational prayers.  “May this suffering end in Burma.  May this terrible situation give rise to new purpose, and may the people find their empowerment and rise up.”  That kind of thing.  Whatever comes to your mind.  In this way, you break the habit of selfishness, neediness, and the inability to connect the dots and see how your actions do create result and other people’s actions do create result.

I’ve had so many people come up to me and say, “I have been generous for two weeks!  And there’s no result. So what the hell is this?”  First of all, if you come to me and say that, I doubt that you were truly generous even for those two weeks.  Second of all, it’s just two weeks!  How many years did it take you to be as miserable as you are?  It’s going to take some time.  It does not happen overnight.

When people first try to make these aspirational prayers, they don’t have the feel for it yet.  It’s not really in their heart yet.   So, they basically say through gritted teeth, “May all sentient beings be happy.  I’m in a really bad mood.  May all sentient beings be really happy.”  If you do that it shows you how it is not your habit to care for others.   That right there is the proof in the pudding.  That’s the reason why we are suffering.   If we just persevere through the two-week mark, through the six-month mark, through the twenty-year mark, we become happy, and we do change.  And our lives do change.  But it takes persistence, and it takes getting to the point where you are not saying it through your teeth.  It’s really so natural to you that even if you wake up in a bad mood, you say, “Oh, I’m in a bad mood.  Boy, I hope nobody else feels like this.”  Now you know you’re getting somewhere.  If your first thought is, “I hope nobody else feels like this.  And your first thought is for the consideration of others.  That’s really one of the main beginning points in the Buddha Dharma – to give rise to compassion.

© Jetsunma Ahkön Lhamo