chai pumpkin bread

Chai Spiced Pumpkin Bread- Gluten, Dairy and Sugar Free

Honestly, this fall pumpkin bread recipe is incredibly satisfying even without there being any wheat flour, dairy or sugar. It’s perfectly sweet and moist and your whole kitchen fills up with the warmth of harvest baking. My daughter who is a precocious teen, doesn’t really like much of what I cook because it’s generally on the “healthy” side- says “mom your bread slaps.” I suspect that means said she liked it because she asked for a few pieces. Have this warm bread standalone or with some vegan butter slathered on it.

Ingredients:

1 stick vegan butter, softened
1 T. coconut oil
1 cup Truvia/ Stevia, Xylitol or Monkfruit equivalent
2 organic eggs
1 (15-ounce) can organic pumpkin puree
2 cups gluten-free rice based flour (not almond flour exclusively)
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. cardamom and more to top
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 T. raw honey and 1 tsp.coconut oil to baste on top when finished

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Cream the vegan butter, coconut oil and sugar substitute together.
Crack eggs and add to pumpkin and vanilla and hand beat, about 20 strokes.
In another bowl, mix dry ingredients: flour, spice blend, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Add the dry ingredients to the creamed ones and blend.
Well grease a 9×5-inch bread pan. Pour in the batter, it should look similar to peanut butter in texture, thick.
Bake for about 1 hour and 1/2 at high altitude.
Glaze with 1 T. honey and coconut oil and cardamom while still warm.
Let cool before serving.

chai pumpkin bread

Chai Spiced Pumpkin Bread- Gluten, Dairy and Sugar Free

Honestly, this fall pumpkin bread recipe is incredibly satisfying even without there being any wheat flour dairy or sugar. It's perfectly sweet and moist and your whole kitchen fills up with the warmth of harvest baking. My daughter who is a precocious teen, doesn't really like much of what I cook because it's generally on the "healthy" side- says "mom your bread slaps." I suspect that means said she liked it because she asked for a few pieces. Have this bread standalone or with some vegan butter slathered on it.

Ingredients
  

  • 1 stick vegan butter softened
  • 1 T. coconut oil
  • 1 cup Truvia/ Stevia or Xylitol or Monkfruit equivalent
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 1 15-ounce can organic pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups gluten-free rice based flour not almond flour exclusively
  • 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp. cardamom and more to top
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 T. raw honey and 1 tsp.coconut oil to baste on top when finished

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  • Cream the vegan butter, coconut oil and sugar substitute together.
  • Crack eggs and add to pumpkin and vanilla and hand beat, about 20 strokes.
  • In another bowl, mix dry ingredients: flour, spice blend, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the creamed ones and blend.
  • Well grease a 9×5-inch bread pan. Pour in the batter, it should look similar to peanut butter in texture, thick.
  • Bake for about 1 hour and 1/2 at high altitude.
  • Glaze with 1 T. honey and coconut oil and cardamom while still warm.
  • Let cool before serving.

pumpkin seed smoothie

I have a new, healthy and nutrient-dense addiction. I must confess that I regularly indulge in this newfound recipe that happens to be in celebration of our October harvest month where we have pumpkins and pumpkin seeds galore! It is a cardamom, pumpkin seed milk that uses no sugar; all of the sweetness is plentifully supplied by the natural sugars from pitted dates. This makes about 4 to 5 servings and I keep the remainder covered in the blender pitcher and then give it a quick blend right before I drink it as the pumpkin seeds can settle a bit as they tend to be heavier and separate. One glass of this is a meal in itself and pumpkin seeds have a mind boggling amount of health benefits to your heart, digestion, they help as an anti-parasitic and for cancer prevention. They are loaded with with Omega 6 oils- this chai-spicy smoothie is so amazing that I’m sure that you too will become a pumpkin cardamom milk addict! Cheers and warmest fall wishes to everyone!

Ingredients:

5 Cups of Fresh Water

1 Cup Dry, Unsalted Pumpkin Seeds

6 Pitted Dates

1 tsp. Cardamom Powder

Directions:

Place all ingredients into a high powered blender and blend until smooth.

 

Repost from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-benefits-of-pumpkin-seeds#TOC_TITLE_HDR_8.


The Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are one of the most commonly consumed types of seeds, and are good sources of phosphorus, monounsaturated fats and omega-6 fats.

A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of pumpkin seeds contains (37):

  • Calories: 151
  • Fiber: 1.7 grams
  • Protein: 7 grams
  • Monounsaturated fat: 4 grams
  • Omega-6 fats: 6 grams
  • Manganese: 42% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 37% of the RDI
  • Phosphorus: 33% of the RDI

Pumpkin seeds are also good sources of phytosterols, which are plant compounds that may help lower blood cholesterol (38Trusted Source).

These seeds have been reported to have a number of health benefits, likely due to their wide range of nutrients.

One observational study of more than 8,000 people found that those who had a higher intake of pumpkin and sunflower seeds had a significantly reduced risk of breast cancer (39Trusted Source).

Another study in children found that pumpkin seeds may help lower the risk of bladder stones by reducing the amount of calcium in urine (40Trusted Source).

Bladder stones are similar to kidney stones. They’re formed when certain minerals crystalize inside the bladder, which leads to abdominal discomfort.

A couple of studies have shown that pumpkin seed oil can improve symptoms of prostate and urinary disorders (41Trusted Source, 42Trusted Source).

These studies also showed that pumpkin seed oil may reduce symptoms of overactive bladder and improve quality of life for men with enlarged prostates.

A study of postmenopausal women also found that pumpkin seed oil may help reduce blood pressure, increase “good” HDL cholesterol and improve menopause symptoms (43Trusted Source).

Summary: Pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil are good sources of monounsaturated and omega-6 fats, and may help improve heart health and symptoms of urinary disorders.

nutrivive pumpkin milk

nutrivive pumpkin milk

Pumpkin Seed Cardamom Milk

I have a new healthy and nutrient-dense addiction. I must confess that I regularly indulge in this newfound recipe that happens to be in celebration of our harvest month where we have pumpkins and pumpkin seeds galore! It is a cardamom, pumpkin seed milk that uses no sugar, all of the sweetness is plentifully supplied by the natural sugars from pitted dates. This makes about 4 to 5 servings and I keep the remainder covered in the blender pitcher and then give it a quick blend right before I drink it as the pumpkin seeds can settle a bit as they tend to be heavier and separate. One glass of this is a meal in itself and pumpkin seeds have a mind boggling amount of health benefits to your heart, digestion, they help as an anti-parasitic and for cancer prevention. They are loaded with with Omega 6 oils- this chai-spicy smoothie is so amazing that I'm sure that you too will become a pumpkin cardamom milk addict! Cheers and warmest fall wishes to everyone!

Ingredients
  

  • 5 Cups of Fresh Water
  • 1 Cup Dry Unsalted Pumpkin Seeds
  • 6 Pitted Dates
  • 1 tsp. Cardamom Powder

Instructions
 

  • Place all ingredients into a high powered blender and blend until smooth.

Notes

This makes about 4 to 5 servings and I keep the remainder covered in the blender pitcher and then give it a quick blend right before I drink it as the pumpkin seeds can settle a bit as they tend to be heavier and separate.

 

Enliven and preserve your eternal inner goddess! I lived for quite a few years over in Nepal and India, and the women of all ages there have long, dark, gorgeous, healthy hair. They didn’t use hair dyes as much as they like to use natural plant based henna- the stuff of belly dancers and burgeoning goddesses!

I found one that’s already ready to go from the company called Lush which makes natural, mostly packaging free cosmetics that I adore and often try to reproduce at home. Here they sell a ready-made block of nutritive henna with cocoa butter and coffee. This does not chemically damage your hair. Henna can be a bit drying, and it’s a long-lasting color deposit. It can not lift your existing color, but pretty good for tinting any stray, pesky greys (not that any of my readers or I have any greys of course!)

lush henna

It is pretty simple to use. Each block offers 6 coloring squares, use 1 for each coloring.

Tools:

You will need a bowl, spoon, boiling water, gloves and a plastic head wrap.

Directions:

Use a knife and cut one square.

Boil about 1 cup of water and place henna brick in a bowl.

I add 1 T of hair oil to add more moisture.

Cover the henna with hot water and stir with a spoon until it forms a thick cake like batter. Let cool.

Then, with a gloved hand spread henna onto hair, henna is great for root touchups!

Next, place a cap on and leave henna for two hours.

Then rinse all henna out with gloved hand in warm water.

Use a light sulfate free shampoo and then condition. Rinse. Style as usual.

 

 

Every week I use color depositing conditioners to keep hair toned and… lush!

Remember: Do not use home or salon color over hair that has been hennaed, as there can be damage.

For more info: https://www.lushusa.com/stories/article_how-to-use-henna-hair-dye.html

angles on bare skin

The natural almond and lavender soap-free facial cleanser is one of the best selling products at Lush. It can be quite costly though, it’s about $16 for a small 3.5oz. jar and you can easily make a similar replica at home yourself for a fraction of the cost. Once you have the ingredients you can make it again and again with the same supplies and I don’t recommend doubling the ingredients because this makes enough for about one to three months.

It’s an all natural almond based gentle exfoliant cleanser, that has clay, vegetable glycerin and essential oils. You can also use it as a detoxifying mask and leave it on to pull out toxins for about 10 minutes and let it dry then wash office you would any other clay mask. The way that this is mostly used is that you take a small pea sized amount your hands and add some warm water and press into your palm to form an almond milk-like cleanser, that can be used every day, it’s like an edible almond treat for your skin!

https://www.instagram.com/p/CTsm4P5vw05/

How to Make One Month’s Supply

This replica recipe my approximation and very similar to Angels on Bare Skin™
Natural Almond Facial Cleanser Recipe

lush cleanser

Ingredients:

1/4 cup of ground raw, Organic Almonds, ground semi fine, retaining some texture

3 T. of Bentonite or Kaolin Clay

1 T. Vegetable Glycerin

1 T. Honey

1 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar

1/4 tsp. Rose Water

1T. Lavender Flowers or Purple Russian Sage Flowers Dried

6 drops of Lavender Essential Oil

6 drops of Rose Essential Oil

2 T. water (+/-)

Directions:

Place all ingredients except water in a bowl and mix well.

Add water and mix with a spoon into a thick, dry paste.

Roll into a ball, and form a tube shape.

Roll formed tube into dried flowers.

Store in an airtight covered container, to prevent mold, or refrigerate if you live in a warmer climate.

Use a pea sized amount with water to clean face, daily, rinse.

 

angles on bare skin

Lush's Angels on Bare Skin Replica DIY Natural Almond Facial Cleanser Recipe

The natural almond and lavender soap-free facial cleanser is one of the best selling products at Lush. It can be quite costly though it's about $16 for a small jar and you can easily make a similar replica at home yourself for a fraction of the cost. Once you have the ingredients you can make it again and again with the same supplies and I don't recommend doubling the ingredients because this makes enough for about one to three months.It's an all natural almond based gentle exfoliant cleanser, that has clay, vegetable glycerin and essential oils. You can also use it as a detoxifying mask and leave it on to pull out toxins for about 10 minutes and let it dry then wash off as you would any other clay mask. The way that this is mostly used is that you take a small pea sized amount your hands and add some warm water and press into your palm to form an almond milk-like cleanser, that can be used every day, it's like an edible almond treat for your skin!

Ingredients
  

  • 1/4 cup of ground raw Organic Almonds, ground semi fine, retaining some texture
  • 3 T. of Bentonite or Kaolin Clay
  • 1 T. Vegetable Glycerin
  • 1/4 tsp. Rose Water
  • 1 T. Lavender Flowers or Purple Russian Sage Flowers Dried
  • 1 T. honey
  • 6 drops of Lavender Essential Oil
  • 6 drops of Rose Essential Oil
  • 2 T. water +/-

Instructions
 

  • Place all ingredients except water in a bowl and mix well.
  • Add water and mix with a spoon into a thick, dry paste.
  • Roll into a ball, and form a tube shape.
  • Roll formed tube into dried flowers.
  • Store in a covered container.
  • Use a pea sized amount with water to clean face, daily, rinse.

Tsoknyi Rinpoche

“Advice on the Path”

Teachings given at Swyambunath, Katmandu, May 2006 This is an advanced teaching for tantric practitioners, but may benefit anyone who experiences stress, anxiety or insomnia. Permission to repost on BoulderReiki.com given by Rinpoche on Sept. 3, 2021 May it be of benefit.

Day 1

Good morning, I would like to begin the teaching with a short meditation. Then you can ask some questions. But first, please bring your “lung” down, below the navel.

I have been teaching Westerners for about 15 years. In the beginning I didn’t realize that Westerners have so much “lung”. “Lung” and clarity are connected, the clarity-mind. Tibetans in the east don’t have so much clarity; so that doesn’t bring up so much “lung”. “Lung” means speed, wind, restless energy in your body. Between the gross body and the mental, there is the subtle body. It is connected with “tsa”, “lung”, and “tigle”. The lung’s main place is below the navel. But because of lifestyle circumstances, subject and object, with the fear and wanting to accomplish so much within a short time, all your attention goes out through the five senses, just flies outside and lands on the five objects and then there is glue there, strong glue. You glue onto the objects and then there is a mixture of glue with hope and fear. And that comes back to you as lung. Then you have this buzzzzzzzzz.

When you stay in New York City, there is buzzzz, speed-buzz. Although you think “I have no job, but I have plenty of money, my relationship is good”, but New York City’s blessing is buzzzzz, you feel you must do something! That is also connected with the fear. So we have this I think. I call it “fear of existence”. And that creates some kind of speed, restlessness and then worse, it becomes anxiety. I think that is the major disease in this speedy world, and it needs to be brought down. If you don’t bring it down – even if you practice meditation, then it becomes like the car-engine, without going. Just wheeee ! You are not going anywhere! So you sit there with this speed and you chant mantras, and it becomes worse. You try to meditate, but it becomes worse…I think the mind, needs to connect with the body, the subtle body. And then find this lung and breath it down. There is traditionally a technique called jamlung that might help. If not, just mentally find that restless energy in your body. Not in the mind. Of course the mind and the body are connected but sometimes the lung is not connected with the mind. It just becomes a physical buzz. And that is also sometimes connected with tightness. So find that and bring it down.

This is becoming your weak point and ego tries to own that. So ego, the speed, the fear, all becomes one lump. And then it becomes very tight, tight inside. And it becomes your life-program. You always live with that, no matter what you are doing. Even when you are talking, listening, reading, even when you are in an airplane, there is some tightness there. That tightness is actually connected with the wind.

We have five different winds. One is called upper-going wind and that wind is supposed to stay below the navel. So it goes up and connects with the nerves and then becomes locked up. Then it gives you muscle-problems and creates a lot of emotions at the wrong time, in the wrong place. When this wind goes up, it becomes very emotional. It’s like a bottle of mineral water – half is water, half is air. So your head is like half is the brain and half is like open air. Your head feels so big… That is wind, which went up in the head. And then the face becomes red, eyes becomes burning, then agitation. All this is the subtle body’s problem. Of course it is created by the mind. But once it becomes physical, although mentally you think, “Oh, no problem, I am fine”, this problem remains in your subtle body. So basically you need to bring it down.

On Loving Kindness

Loving kindness, compassion, devotion and feelings are very good for bringing this lung down. If you do it authentically, it gives another kind of buzz – devotion-buzz: “Om mani peme hung, om mani peme hung”… It’s like listening to good music. So this blessing settles the lung down. Clarity will not necessarily bring the lung down. But if you do very good rigpa or Mahamudra-practice, free from any clinging, then there is nothing that can get hooked. So the stress or restless lung just drops. But sometimes there is an undercurrent of some ego-clinging. Although you think your clarity is up here, deep down you are still holding something on the view. So there is one thread, subtle thread…

When lung is up here, then your lifestyle is like that of a teenager:” What to do – new boyfriend – new girlfriend?”…. So hope and fear brings lung up all the time. Then when you sleep, it goes down. In the morning when you wake up – zoom – up again! Because the lung already knows how to go up. You already made a habitual pattern in your physical system. As soon as you grasp, this lung comes up. I have had this experience because I did one project and then this lung came up. I worked 15 years with Drukpa Kagyu-book project. So that was very tough. But then I developed a method to bring the lung down.

Bringing the Lung Down

There is no way without going through the mind. Mindfulness on the mind and then sort of scanning to find this speedy lung and then mind, speedy lung, again connect. My example is: if you have children and if the children stay in the childrens’ room, then there is no problem. But if the children come into the shrine-room, then there is a problem. Is it the children-problem or the location-problem? It is the location-problem, not the children problem. So lung actually is no problem, we need that lung. But if it goes in the wrong location, then it makes problem.

The best way to bring down lung is rigpa, but rigpa is sometimes too open, too much clarity, it’s easy to be distracted. So you need some focus, subtle focus. So mind, mindfulness connected with the mind and mind slowly scans down the lung, with the help of external breathing. There is a technique where you can hold your restless lung down and then also smile. If you can do that, then it’s very good. I think H.H. Dalai Lama is always smiling, but I don’t see any lung in his face. He is a always clear, not cloudy, not burned, red, watery eye. His eyes are always bright. Very engaging but I think he knows how to bring his lung down. Some lamas because of their lifestyle, like H.H. Khentse Rinpoche always sat like a mountain. So his lung was like a solid rock and then he engaged within that. H.H. Dalai Lama – always engaging – that kind of style is easy to bring lung up. But being motionless like Nyoshul Khen or Khentse Rinpoche, that doesn’t create so much lung. But our modern lifestyle creates too much lung. So bring it down.

When you have too much lung, you have almost two personalities. It is like a big screen CNN showing something and then below there is a message-wave. But it doesn’t connect. One is talking about Mr. Bush, an other is taking about the Share Market in Taiwan. So you have this double personality. When you have lung and you are engaging with something, the subtle, undercurrent is talking about something different. Then you are really tight. That’s a sign of lung or non-focus. So fully synchronize, focus on your body, bring lung down and then rest in Shamata without support, Mahamudra, Dzogchen or do visualization. Then everything becomes very good, because of clarity, there is full potential. Otherwise it brings up a lot of cloudiness and extra emotions. The whole point is you need to have guts. I think a lot of people have no guts. They become hollow, easy to scare, almost like panic will come. So when there are no guts, you become very emotional, very cloudy. This is the problem. So bring lung down. Make very solid guts here and then this becomes clear, and the emotions are not upside-down. The mind is pure clarity. Based on that structure you have to practice Buddhism. It is not even Buddhism yet; just the foundation.

When you bring lung down, you should not feel dull. If there is dullness, that means your lung and also your mental cognition is down here. Then it becomes stupid meditation. So be sure…Between the Dzogchen and Vipassana we have this problem. Dzogchen is trying to be very clear, clarity went down here and this becomes numb. Vipassana tries to work here but in the end mind and mental cognition also gets absorbed into this stillness. So there is a middle way. Just keep your body completely relaxed. Rest lung in its own place and keep mind totally free from any concepts, any method or technique. Just freely rest, then lung doesn’t come after the clarity. When the mind is active, normally the lung also becomes active, like tail. So we don’t need the lung: “You stay here, this is your place (below the navel)”. So you keep it there. Then the active clarity, openness will be very, very useful I think.

Clever People

A lot of people who have lung, are usually clever people. They are very active. So because of their active clarity, their emotional life becomes upside down. Anytime I give Dzogchen or nature of mind-teaching, in the retreat they practice very well. Then when they are out of the retreat, of course they have lung-problem. Then they take all the other methods trying to bring the lung down. They try to do yoga, they do Vipassana, and they do breathing and all kinds of scanning. So during the whole year they try to focus on their physical comfort. But you can maintain physical comfort mainly by bringing the lung down. With this scanning, with this gentle vase breathing, if you do it well, it will stay. It can save a lot of time. And when you hold that, even when you go to the office, you will not suffer from restlessness. Otherwise if you stay in three-year-retreat and then you come out – a bit crazy, because the lung went up. So the challenge is that the raw material of lung sits here, below the navel and the heart is open. Mind, nature of mind, the cognition becomes clear. Then I think it can make a very good basic practitioner.

So now ask questions: what is the most difficult area in your life, or the most difficult when you practice meditation. (Three western monks arrive to the teaching) Oh, three “Nepalese” came! One hour late! So these three monks do not have any lung-problems..! So can we discuss what is the most problematic area in your general life? Maybe there is some advice from the Buddhist path. Or when you come onto the meditation path, maybe you have some difficulties. Or when coming to the Vajrayana, or to Mahamudra or, Dzogchen. So what is the most difficult practice of your life? Based on that then we can discuss. Otherwise you have heard thousands of teachings already, so it becomes just another technique.

STUDENT: Rinpoche, in dealing with the emotions I have heard for so many years that the different yanas have different approaches. And in the Vajrayana it always says we take the emotions as the path. In Jamgong Kongtul’s “Creation and Completion” text he mentions that when we have a particular emotion, we should visualize ourselves in the form of the deity. But honestly I don’t know how to apply that or the whole idea of taking the emotions as the path…

RINPOCHE: I think you have to have a certain attitude first. An attitude towards the emotions. Not as an enemy, not as abandoning them. And then sort of bring it in. But there is a trick. Don’t truly follow them but bring them in. It is a little bit like the Aikido method – you go with it and then kick it out. At the end you have to kick out the emotion but not bang it. So first you welcome the emotion and then it becomes part of you and it becomes a little bit relaxed. Then you apply the method so it is taken as the path. The emotion and you are going in the same direction at first. Then slowly you say bye, bye.

Within the emotions there are five poisons. Within the five poisons, there is one predominant element – the ego. You have to abandon that, no matter what. Remove ego and the five poisons become transformed. I think that is the best way. When you are joining with the emotion, it really transforms the ego, and it freaks out. Ego is very happy when you are challenging it, because ego then becomes important, and is holding onto the method, – object and method – so ego becomes very spiritual, very holy. But underneath is the same root, same wire…

When the emotion comes, we are sort of cheating the ego: “Ok, I am also emotion, I don’t mind, emotion is good, actually I follow it”. So the ego freaks out, and doesn’t know what to do. And from there you go out through the nature of mind. First welcome, transform a little bit and then look in. When the ego doesn’t know what to do, recognize rigpa. Then rest. To recognize rigpa at the beginning is sometimes difficult.

STUDENT: is it better to live with the emotions for a while rather than acting upon them?

RINPOCHE: Emotions come from your investment, from the alaya, habitual pattern stored in the alaya. Sometimes emotions are not created, but you just sit there and from your alaya – pop- it comes out. We need to know how to deal with that also. A lot of emotions come when you practice preliminary practice, ngondro. Some can cope with it, some cannot take it. So it is very challenging through that time. But when any obstacle comes, any emotion comes, this method is the best, to at first welcome it. Do not confront, just welcome. But don’t stay too long. Then you become part of the emotion. You understand more or less..? Technically you understood, but whether you can do it or not, that depends on your skill of practice.

STUDENT: Is the emotion always based on a thought?

RINPOCHE: Some emotions, particularly pure emotions are not necessarily created by the mind, but when the emotion comes, it informs the mind. Then you know it is emotion. But it comes sometimes not necessarily through the mind. Some emotions are already in your physical system, so when the physical system “clicks”, it comes up.

STUDENT: Like fear, when you walk and suddenly you trip up….

RINPOCHE: That fear we need, Buddhism also says. It’s called healthy fear. Until you become a rainbow body you need that fear. That fear is part of our relative truth wisdom. If you sit there and a tiger comes, then do something with your clarity. Run is better? Pretending you are dead is better? Or make funny noise is better? You have to do something to protect your physical body. If when a tiger comes, you can do like this “Oh, transparent, it doesn’t obstruct”, then it is ok. The tiger will not eat you because you’re a rainbow body. Until then, we need this fear. But what I am talking about is this buzz-fear. That fear is very unhealthy.

STUDENT: When fear comes you feel it from the soles of your feet to the crown of your head. You feel this kind of adrenaline rush. But I find with some emotions like anger, it is more than something I can intellectually talk myself out of, because it takes hold in the body. Your face becomes red or you feel some tightness. Then I try to think how to deal with that. It’s almost more overwhelming than any kind of intellectual fear…

RINPOCHE: This kind of anger has two systems, you have to deal with both the emotional system and the mental understanding. You have to “click” both otherwise it will not go. You have to do something with your physical body, like therapy, not Buddhist therapy. And then the mental understanding: “Oh, why is this anger?”  So you have to enlighten this understanding and still stay in your physical body. Then you do some mantras, some visualizations, and some transformation practice. Understanding practice and feeling practice need to go together, like loving-kindness, compassion, devotion. There is a feeling in your physical subtle body and there is one with no feeling. Just understanding, just clarity. You need both in order to work with the emotions.

STUDENT: It seems that you can let go of the object and mentally try to reach a state of loving-kindness or tranquility. But at least in my own experience, the body seems to take longer time to settle back.

RINPOCHE: That’s ok. As long as you stay in the mind, the ego grasping is gone. The feeling will not give you any karmic pattern. But it becomes uncomfortable for you. But it is not a sin. Sin, “dikpa” is created in the mind. So when your mental grasping on the anger is gone, that is not really “dikpa”, but it is distracting for your physical body if you don’t take care properly.

STUDENT: How do you separate your personality from the ego?

RINPOCHE: Buddhism talks about two things: cause and condition. Some personality comes from your past life package. Some personality comes from the environment where you live, how you are brought up. As long as you have the five skandhas, ego is in charge. But actually it is not really there.  So I think the best way of understanding of the five skandhas, is by an understanding of impermanence, understanding of non-solidity. So when you sit down and look: “Oh, this is the five skandhas, this is thought, this is emotion, this is I and this is my personality”, then you can see that there is a space in between, where you can find openness, insight. Otherwise everything is me, ego, my problem, my personality – we call it me, but actually it is not really me, me like holding all these things. (Rinpoche clutches a lot of different items). “This is me, my personality”. But then you start to see: “Oh, this is the air-condition controller, this is Rinpoche’s blessings, this is a statue”…Then slowly, there is no me. The grasping is a little bit loose and within that you see space, then you just rest. But still there is knowing, cognizance and you know that all these are connected. So the ultimate wisdom knows the relative phenomena. Ultimate wisdom, egolessness knows…In the Mahamudra we call it “rochig toma” – one taste, many. And “toma-rochig”- from the many, one taste. “rochig toma, toma rochig”.

So it is very important to balance the relative and the ultimate understanding. It is not like a black and white understanding. I know in the West you like to put everything in black and white, systematically. It works very well when running a country, but sometimes it does not work so well in the individual life. Too organized is maybe not so good, some organization is good. So make everything so there is a connection, but not one lump. There is connection with the space and the knowing of the relative function through not holding everything as one lump, as “me”.

STUDENT: To take the mind as the path or to take the awareness as the path..?

RINPOCHE: The mind as the path has two steps. Awareness as the path has only one step. If you are skillful, awareness as the path is better…one time I had a very good photographer in California. And I asked, what is the key-point of photography? He said:” Relax, be natural, look, and take”. When I did that, all my photos were up here! But for him that is his talent. He knows all the other techniques. Because he becomes very natural, he becomes himself, he looks at the view in the lens very openly, and then he can take a picture. Then it becomes a very good photo. When his inner lens, his mind, is not cloudy, then he uses the other lens to take the picture. But when his inner lens is very cloudy, it doesn’t know how to cooperate with the other lens.

So I think once you have a good stable rigpa practice, that is the best way. Just recognize rigpa, that’s it. Any emotion comes, just re-recognize rigpa. There is no other way. The emotions naturally become purified. It’s called self-liberation, liberation upon arising, liberation without benefit or harm. So that’s the best way. If there is still something lingering there, although you are totally in rigpa, then: “Oh, hello, I am sorry, I didn’t know you were here”. Then you engage with that and make some kind of handshake so the emotion doesn’t feel left out. It’s a big thing in America, left out – must include. If you don’t include then it’s a big problem. With this method you include the emotions:”Oh honey!” Just say honey, it doesn’t mean much but they will be happy, just like a mantra: honey, honey. Just say honey to your emotion and then you do what you want to do. Same technique we always use: “Oh honey, why don’t you clean my shoes”. You are pursuing the honey but at the end you do what you want to do.

This is just one hand, this side and that side. Both sides are ok. You more or less have to accept it. Emotions are your emotions, whether you are skillfully managing them or not. But it is your thing, the emotion is you. Emotions are your production but used properly or used wrongly that is it. From the Mahayana or Vajrayana point of view emotions are fine. But if you use them wrongly, these emotions are harmful. You need to know how to welcome emotions. It doesn’t mean that you follow all the way. That is the samsaric way of welcoming. If whatever the desire is, you follow it completely, then there is no freedom. This is close to Homeopathic and Aikido- technique, poison taken as medicine. It is poison material, but if you take the right dose, it becomes medicine for the disease. That means you are following the poison, but you also transform it.

STUDENT: Rinpoche, you said that sometimes we can have emotions without thoughts. Is that because we all have “tsa”, “lung” and “tigle”?

RINPOCHE: Yes

STUDENT: Emotions come with that because our bodies are made with those. So then meditation practices involve “tsa, lung, tigle”, is that another way of taking emotions as the path?

RINPOCHE: It is suppose to be that. But you need to know the right way, otherwise it doesn’t function. This Tibetan “tsa, lun, tigle” is designed for the Tibetan mind.

STUDENT: Do I have different “tsa, lung, tigle” than Tibetans?

RINPOCHE: No, but sometimes in modern life we have this subtle restlessness, an emotional problem which we don’t have in Tibet. So they assume you don’t have that problem and then they teach a lot of jumping, a lot of breathing. Sometimes it’s too much, you might get more lung. So instead you go a little bit like yoga: you really take your time, scan yourself and loosen up the knots. Over the years there is the collection of restlessness and underneath there is one’s ego. And you need to let it go. It takes a few months, a few years to really let it go. Then seal it by the mental understanding and it will stay there. So before we practice Tibetan “tsa-lung”, I think it is good to practice the preliminary practice, the Jamlung, subtle vase-breathing.

Speed Problem

Most Tibetan people don’t have this speed-problem. They have a dullness-problem, opposite problem. In most of the three-year-retreats they sleep. When they come out of three-years-retreat, expert on sleeping! So a lot of “trulkor” works for the clarity. In the West the clarity is quite ok. But if clarity is mixed up with emotions then there is a problem. Anything harsh doesn’t work for the body. But a very long time of gentle nurturing opens up. Then the heart is very good. So I think there needs to be a little bit of a new design. But both methods are in Buddhism. And chanting too much is no use in retreat. In some retreats they chant for the whole three years. But if you chant properly, with the feeling, then it is very good for the lung. But if you chant without feeling and the mind is thinking something else – from the mouth restlessly chanting – that is also very bad for lung.

STUDENT: That’s still relative level. When you say chant properly, that means resting in rigpa..?

RINPOCHE: Rigpa or with the mood. With Vajrayogini’s mood. The mood is very important. Vajrayogini and you and in between, the communication is the mood, with the mantra. It’s like acting. A good actor could have the whole of Gandhi’s mood when he is acting. So although he sleeps, it’s with Gandhi’s mood. Tomorrow he wakes up, he drinks just like Gandhi. So slowly, slowly, he can become exactly like Gandhi. If you stay 12 years in retreat practicing Gandhi’s visualization, with full trust, full love maybe you become like Gandhi. So it is the same. You have Vajrayoginis enlightened qualities, Vajrayogini’s love and compassion. Then there is communication, communication, acting, acting, with the feeling. Not dry acting, like Nepali actors:”Trululli lu”…No crying, no juice, nothing. Even 100 years of that kind of practice, it cannot become Vajrayogini. Some good Hollywood actors are told:” Please cry”, they cry immediately, it will not take more than three seconds: their high accomplishment of visualization, with the feeling. I think when Tibetans visualize; they come naturally with some feeling. In the West I think you are cut off from the feeling of the body. So you have no feeling, still you visualize but are dry. You must have feeling, appreciation, devotion and compassion. Every sadhana-practice is like that. But with no feeling then it become a mental drama. That is very bad for the lung. And that is why Vajrayana practice gets a lot of complaints: “So much chanting, so much visualization”. Because you could not get the full feeling. Then it becomes useless.

For westerners I think it is very good to first bring your mind into the body, fully into the body so that your mind becomes emotional, feeling, and sensitive of the body. From there bring the clarity- practice Dzogchen. Otherwise Dzogchen becomes maybe a little bit spaced out. One way is to bring in clarity and then zoom down, close. That is not good. It’s called stupid meditation. A few hours practice, nothing happens. One other way is: “I want to practice Mahamudra, Dzogchen”. The clarity zooms up, so the heart is cut off. So please practice correctly.

What is the most difficult – emotion, restlessness or discipline? I think discipline is the problem.

STUDENT: Do you have any advice about discipline?

RINPOCHE: I think discipline is the major problem for old practitioners. At one level you don’t practice, always staying there somewhere. It doesn’t go very far. People who come to the Dharma are usually quite smart people. They have some kind of understanding of emotions and negativity. Something is bothering them. Then they come to the spiritual path and after they practice a few years, they get this technique:” I know how to bring lung down, I know how to liberate a little bit”. You are quite happy with this technique and then you are stuck there. So you are satisfied with the wrong thing. From a Buddhist point of view, it is a wrong limitation. “This practice gives me joy. Morning one hour and then daytime here and there connect with the rigpa. For rigpa-practice no need to sit in one place, I can go many places, even go shopping”. You think you are practicing when shopping but most of the time you don’t. So you have some assurance that “I can practice any where, any place, any time and I am quite ok”. That becomes the major obstacle. Not going further. Do you understand? That’s why there is a danger for the “Grand Samsaric Master. Through the spiritual practice you know samsara well and the spiritual practice helps samsara to run better! So when you have accomplished that, then you don’t practice any more. When you have problems, lung comes up, bothering you, then emotions, then you practice. When everything is ok, then it is enough. So that is becoming a mundane therapy without having to pay others! That will not really give you a full picture of enlightenment.

If you think “I have achieved this, but I want to achieve more”. Then the next jump to enhancement is the bodhicitta-practice. “I am quite ok. If I can become better, do more practice, do more retreat, maybe I can help sentient beings”. So that’s the click we need. When you have that, then discipline naturally comes. (Rinpoche stops the noisy air condition). The lung went down. This lung we have all the time, with the fear. When you practice, then you turn on the aircon also: “Om benzra satu..”When you switch it off, then relaxed. This is a big difference, very important I think. If my practice goes well, when I practice I become more rested. Then the more you practice, you will not get tired. When this is “on”, then you get really tired.

This is, I am sorry to say, just stupid practice, there is no insight at all. You don’t need this in order to function. But when you become addicted to this, without it you almost cannot function, and then you are very sick already. Then you have to spend so much money on therapy…You understand? But maybe you don’t have this problem. You have stayed too long in Nepal. Maybe you have the opposite problem. “Huncha, Huncha, no problem”. Today always the same, tomorrow always the same. I have one gardener, he always says: No problem, I will come tomorrow at four o’clock”. But he never comes. So my gardener is really Nepali. One day I had a big talk with him, really rough Nepali way of talking. I never talk like that:”If you don’t come, I will kick you out”. But however roughly I say, he answers: “Huncha, Huncha”… He said he will come – still he didn’t come! Every time when taking money, then he comes…

STUDENT: Rinpoche, when you practice and get a bit tired, could that be a sign that actually…

RINPOCHE: There are two ways of being tired. One way is that you sit too long, the blood circulation is not so good, and the body might be tired here and there. This is a different way of being tired. The other is being exhausted mentally, with no mood, no uplift.

STUDENT: So there should always be an uplifted feeling after practice?

RINPOCHE: Yes uplifted, but not like black and white uplift. Not like that. Instead a very pure, clear kind of uplift. Almost unconditional openness. Not like taking coffee-uplift or sugar-uplift. Not like that. But very subtle and normal uplift. When you see Trulsik Rinpoche, Khyentse Rinpoche, Tulku Urgen Rinpoche, there is always uplift somewhere in their mind. In their computer-program there is always openness, uplift, juice. But they are not hyper-uplifted. It is very gentle uplift, organic uplift…

STUDENT: Sometimes Rinpoche, I think maybe I am fooling myself and I think I am recognizing rigpa when really I just achieved the calm state. So should I just carry on as if?

RINPOCHE: Carry on but with the three excellences: refuge, bodhicitta, meditation. At the end dedicate. Then you will not go wrong. Just carry on. To make sure your recognition is authentic you can depend on three things: your own experience, the oral instruction from your teacher and an authentic book, like Longchenpa. If these three things go together, then there is no way to fool yourself. You have to check that with the help of your intellectual mind.

STUDENT: Rinpoche, if we did some connection with the formless as the path in Mahamudra, what is the benefit of still doing for example, “Kyerim” or “Tsalung”-practise?  For example you see the great masters who really are resting in rigpa, but they still keep the form aspect of practice. So what does that add to Mahamudra and Dzogchen?

RINPOCHE: It is a little bit style but actually once you have very authentic, pure understanding of mind nature, either from Mahamudra or Dzogchen, then honestly if you only practice that, within that all the other qualities are naturally included. Then I think you don’t need so much. Within the rigpa, the essence rigpa is emptiness; the expression of rigpa includes all the other qualities like love, compassion, devotion, and pure perception. All these are within the rigpa. But if you also do some accumulation of merit, it will help to give better opportunity. Maybe the merit will give you a father who supports you the rest of your life. Or maybe you will have the right girlfriend or a wife who supports you and both of you practice the whole path. Or maybe you teach in the future, maybe you will have better students. So merit makes all these arrangements keep going. But if you really have all the qualities within the rigpa I think it is sufficient. But Tibetan people they don’t want to take such high risk, so they do both.

STUDENT: Because the best way of accumulating merit is to just rest in rigpa?

RINPOCHE: Yes, if you really can. But sometimes you cannot. It could become a dry rigpa, completely dry. Not expression rigpa, no display. Purely dry, with no thoughts, no emotions, just dry, vacant. That is not good. You have to have the juice, full juice. One great khenpo called Khenpo Munsel didn’t chant, he didn’t do anything for 20 years except for resting in Trekcho. But most of the Tibetan lamas they are a little bit scared. They don’t want to take a high risk so they do both. Khyentse Rinpoche is different you can’t count him. If he was chanting or not chanting or just sat there, for him it didn’t matter. So why not chant within rigpa. And maybe there is also some commitment, so he didn’t want to break that. When he got teaching, maybe the teacher asked him to practice this for the rest of his life. I think Khyentse Rinpoche followed such commitment. Some sadhana you also have to keep up in order to be able to give the teaching. Like the Sakyapa’s: everyday you have to chant the whole thing. If you miss it one day, then you cannot give the empowerment of that deity to other people. So that also makes a lot of lung..!

In the west I think you really need simple deep relaxation. Really, this is very important, I think. Your lifestyle makes you tight, very subtle; the tightness is rooted deep, deep down. Because of that you become successful in everyday life. Somewhere there is “Work, work, I must do it, I am not happy, do more, do something”…Because of that you do a lot of things and then there is success. But sometimes it is distracting for you. There is a way where you can do both I think…I call this modern civilization disease. In America children around 11-12 years old they already have these problems. Because the education is very high on clarity, not so much on emotions. The emotional development is very messed up.

One time I was flying from New York to California, it’s about five hours. Behind my seat was a girl about 12 years with her father. The father made the girl cry all the way, with a honey-smile. But she cried because he gave so many reasons why she was here to her. She understood the reasons, but she needed some flexibility with emotional freedom. So that is very suppressive. The more you get very high education here, then it is suppressive, you lose the carefree, lose the cute, wild openness…15 years old children are already like this:” What is the life?” Seed of worry already planted. That is very bad for opening the heart. But I am sorry; we are all too late already. But there is a way we can clean up. Bring the lung down and every time the bus comes: “Oh bus, let it go”. Then you walk and move without the air conditioner “on”.

STUDENT: Can you say more about how to bring the lung down?

RINPOCHE: First you have to make the connection between the lung and your mind. Just make connection, connection, just long breathing. Then once you have made this connection, then you bring it down with the mental scanning of the lung, with the help of the external breathing, slowly breathing in and out. Then it goes into the center channel and becomes purified. So restlessness, lung, need to become normal lung and then go into the center channel. If you train in that, one day you will naturally know. After 1-2 months practice, the breathing might help you to come down. I think yoga teaches a little bit like that. When you have good lung coming down, all the big muscles in your body also loosen up. You become quite light. Especially you will not become chicken-hearted, not that scared. Some guts is there, some bodhisattva-elements, heroic element.

Real Renunciation

I think we need to practice renunciation and a little bit modern way of renunciation. The old way is: “Life is too complicated, there are 1000 yaks and I don’t know how to handle it. In order to have yaks I need to go to the fields, go to town”…In order to maintain the lifestyle, there is some kind of suffering. But now this life is changed. If you have a bank account and money in the account, you will get a lot of immediate pleasures. Like this air conditioner – immediately on, immediately off. So we are caught by this now. Sometimes because of no air conditioner we might not practice. If you are a little bit dull, you don’t try to clear it from inside. You immediately depend on external clarity. So with a lot of dependence on that, you become caught by immediate comfort and you like it, it gives some immediate pleasure. So the real renunciation is gone. Do you understand? So a new way of thinking become: “Because of all these circumstances I cannot practice the Dharma”. So this is my renunciation object”. You feel sad about that.

“Oh, how I spend my life. The day I became a Buddhist I thought that after 20 years I will have accomplished something”. Now 20 years has gone. How you spent it: a little bit here, a little bit there… And now again you think: “After 20 years something will happen”. So last 20 years it didn’t happen. It might not happen after again 20 years if you don’t change lifestyle…Do you understand? Honestly, if you practice Dharma well, the Dharma will transform you. Look at many beings. Kalu Rinpoch, Chatral Rinpoche and Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche are not born as rinpoches. They are just normal beings and they started from the beginning. And if you end up like Tulku Urgen Rinpoche I think there is no regret. If I end up like the Karmapa or Khyentse Rinpoche I have no regret at all even if the Dharma is wrong, even if the path is completely wrong. So the Dharma can achieve something. But the lifestyle is not like that. So the last 20 years, every single day more or less you think: “After 10-15 years I will have changed, I will have achieved some Dharma”. But then the days, the years are exactly the same. Yesterday is gone, today is gone similarly, tomorrow is similar to yesterday, day after tomorrow is also similar…2007, 2008, 2020! Who are you?!! So you can reflect. All these obstacles are not the suffering obstacles. All these obstacles are the pleasure obstacles, immediate pleasure.

Although you want to practice you think: “I need the best view and the best” kuti” with the right water. Good air, no one bothering, good view, good tree, no Mao problems, then I will practice”. But if you really work hard you might achieve this kind of location. You can find it in Thailand; you can also find it in Katmandu. It is achievable but then it becomes the obstacle sometimes. So you think of all these circumstances. Then you reflect on renunciation based on that.

When you have a real inside change, then renunciation is not a problem at all. You will be very happy and delightful wherever you are. Wherever you practice there is some joy with that simplicity. Because this unsatisfied fear with the ego-lung is changed, is transformed. For example yogis in Tashi Jong have a very simple life but are very rich in their mind stream.

You should use your practice and many of you know how to, but if you don’t, your life becomes a little bit like a hippy. Hippy-practitioner as a lifestyle. If you are happy with that then it is ok. But there is a possibility that you can achieve enlightenment also. That is missing.

STUDENT: How can you use discipline so it improves your practice and also find a balance?

RINPOCHE: You need to have discipline mainly on your action, not inwardly, otherwise it becomes uptightness. The focus of discipline is the laziness. “Oh I need to practice, this is my practice, I want to do”. Just thinking with your mind very tightly, but you don’t do it and you feel a little bit guilty. That kind of discipline is torture. But with healthy discipline, you drop everything even for only ten minutes. During those ten minutes you completely let it go and then practice the Dharma.

You need to apply immediate action. That kind of discipline is very good, without worry.

“Oh I need to practice. Last 20 years are gone like that. Now Tsoknyi Rinpoche told me and I finally realized it. Now these coming 20 years might also go like that. That will happen exactly at year 2020. So I worry”… But you are not acting; just to keep worrying won’t help. Just do! Just do it! Action! Just do it chanting, do it meditation. Just immediately do it. At any occasion, any time, just do it. In the taxi, in the home, when cooking, any time, just do it. And also see what creates more obstacles for not becoming disciplined. Try to change that through organizing yourself and then make discipline. I think daily practice is very good, three hours sitting every day at least. It is not so much, you need to sacrifice a little bit, and you need to change lifestyle a little bit.

You wake up at 5 o’clock. HH Dalai Lama wakes up at 3 o’clock every day. But he organizes it; he goes to sleep a little bit early. If you are a householder you organize it as a team, children, everybody. All talk together, big talk first so there is a common ground. Then respect each other and follow the system. Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche practiced at any place and his wife also practiced. Everybody becomes like one team of Dharma-practitioners. That is very good.

But please don’t follow the way I am exercising, then you will never practice. It is a psychological problem. I need to go to an exercise place but I have only 15 days in Katmandu. No point of going, I think. I should have at least two months time. So I am waiting for that. But there is almost never two months. Actually if you go 15 days regularly and when you are outside of Katmandu, you can do home-practice. Like Mingyur Rinpoche, he is so disciplined. Everyday he practices exercises. He is so slim, so thin, so shiny, no belly… So even if he only has ten minutes before eating, he practices something like jumping 100 times. And that is enough. I could do that also, I have more time than him. But I am waiting to join a club. And so I end up like this (points at his belly). Mingyur Rinpoche travesl more than seven months a year, but he still keeps that discipline, that health club. 20 minutes is so easy, you can find many places. So it is a state of mind. So the kind of mentality that is not OK for practitioners is: “I need to do retreat, to have a good circumstance, I have to talk to the family, and then I will practice”. But this never happens! Never ever happens.

STUDENT: What is the best way to exercise for reducing lung?

RINPOCHE: “Trulkor” – Tibetan yoga and walking in the forest is very good. Everything is green and then just walk and rest in the nature of mind. But when trekking sometimes there is a bad road, and then you have to think. That is not so good, and then the lung will also come up. Better not to use so much mental grasping. At the same time there is some clarity in order for maintaining walking but your mind is not activated.

If you have lung, shopping is very bad, especially for men’s lung. For woman it’s OK. The best way for woman’s lung to come down is to go to the department store. Then lung comes down. For men, one day inside the department store, you go crazy, so many things! In the department store they have a special light that makes you very tired. But it is different if you go as a practitioner. Then it’s OK. Then you go relaxed and that is also a very good practice. But everywhere, anything you are doing you have to have an inside program, a Dharma program and based on this program, you run the whole world.

STUDENT: Program – does it mean the same as motivation?

RINPOCHE: Motivation, plus your mobile phone is “on”, your rigpa is “on”, and your compassion is “on”. You are the computer and then you put in a program. “Today my program is generosity, today my program is resting in the nature of mind”. You go with that program. Then there is no problem. With motivation and attitude you then turn the mobile “on”, then you have what is called in Tibetan “sungjuk”. Then you have consecrated with the help of “yeshepa”. When you consecrate it means the wisdom being is brought into the statue. Otherwise it is just a statue, an object of reminder for the Buddha. But there is not much blessing. Here you are consecrated by the Dharma and with that “statue” then you go shopping! You should live your whole life like that! Then you become a spiritual being. Otherwise you switch off your mobile, come home in the car and then there is nothing, just hollow, no center. Then everything you see is distracted by that kind of state. Then there is no center-point. So you are lost, exhausted, scared. This kind of people the shopping centers really love because you keep buying! Otherwise if you are self-centered and relaxed, you look into the shopping mall and do offerings. When you see nice shoes, you offer: “Sazhi pocho jugshing metog tram”… You are not giving any money to the shop-owner, but you still offer! They don’t like you. When you are completely lost and hollow: “Wow, how nice, ok where is my credit card?” They really welcome you!

When you go into a big supermarket, you can make merit anyplace, anywhere. In a big food market in America, one section has 40 different toothpaste, 100 types of toilet paper, 50 different kinds of shampoo. So many fruits, nuts, dry, fresh, organic, flowers… You see it and feel a whole different world. Then immediately you offer it: “Sazhi pocho”…Let it go, appreciate the goodness of all these things. That is also Dharma-practice. You are changing the concept.

I can do that in America because I am not American. But I cannot do it here in Nepal. Whenever I see a bumpy road I get angry at the government because I was born here. I should offer the road also and practice compassion… When I am in America I am so happy. Those people are very intelligent but they often have emotional problems. If we could change that, then America is the best place to live I think. They have a lot of freedom and they can live in many different ways. The country is very open, the cars are very big, the roads are very big, and people’s thinking is very big…After three years I become American, I get citizenship. But I can’t become president, because I was born outside. Yangsi Tulku Urgen Rinpoche can become president! I thought I was ahead of him but he already has citizenship. He is still the father. For me so much struggle, stay one year, applying. He just came out in Washington DC. It’s close to the White House!

Anyway, please be happy, it’s important! Not stupid happy, but really happy. Loose the lung down and then apply a lot of discipline. Then I think it will be good. Life is a big thing but when it comes down to the simple basics, it’s just surviving. Just one dahl-bat, that’s it really. Dahl-bat is the basis of life. If that is gone, then there is big problem.

On Mental Restlessness

In the world there are a lot of unhappy people, more and more unhappy people. If you can make people happy, then maybe many people can become peaceful, unconditionally happy. The essence of love is just really to be fully open, now, just being happy. Our basic “buzz” needs to be like that. Then you engage with other things. But if the basic “buzz” is unsatisfied, fear, guilt and restlessness, then that is your main source of suffering. In the morning you wake up, something is wrong. Every morning you wake up, something is wrong. But what is wrong you don’t know. You look at many things, compare your life with other peoples’ lives and then it looks quite ok. But something is wrong. That is the disease of lung. So clean that let it go. If you do, it doesn’t slow down your lifestyle. You can still carry on with your project, your family, your Dharma, but without this extra unnecessary force. It’s very unhealthy.

In Nepal we have a different drive: “Oh, it cannot be done, it will not happen, it is so difficult, I will not manage this”. They have this fear. There is some kind of dullness in Asian people’s mind. I think the Dharma need to address all those things otherwise it goes “switch”. Your problem is here, the Dharma flies over it and you pretend “I am fine”, especially in front of the teacher “No problem, fine”. Smiling an artificial smile. But you still have the “buzzz”.

So completely look within and let it go. I think it’s a big jump if you can do that. I am trying to force that to happen and I am trying to make world-peace based on that. That really cools things down and then it is very peaceful for you. I am writing one book about this, connected with loving kindness, compassion and with this restless lung, how to bring it down.

Today the main subject has been lung. The symptom of lung is speed. But I am not talking about action speed, just mental speed, restless speed. That is unhealthy. First we need clarity but the symptoms in your physical speed we don’t want. That is the cause of stress, anxiety. In the West we don’t have so many methods to bring down the lung. Except for holidays! Go on holiday, make a lot of love, drinking, taking drugs, those things. It makes you happy and brings your lung down temporarily. But the side effect is so strong. You drink alcohol and you feel a little bit relaxed because the mind becomes a little bit drunk, so it doesn’t hold you, it gives a little bit of guts. But then you keep drinking, keep drinking and become alcoholic. You have a lot of relationships. Every time a new person comes, your lung goes down. But that person has also a lot of problems: yes, no, different opinions. Then your lung is brought up again. “This person is wrong, the other one is better”. So you go with the other person. In the beginning everything is fine and lung comes down. Then again: “This person is wrong. I’ll go to another”. So your relationship always changes.

When you have a good lung, guts, then everything becomes stable. The character of lung is instability. For the speed of mind and the subtle body, there is not so much advice. But once it becomes very bad “tsoklung, nyinglung”, then there is Tibetan medicine. If it is a very bad lung, then it is maybe not so helpful, so do, for example Tai Chi. Just sitting is good, stupid meditation is good, just sinking down. Like a cow in Boudha at Chabahil (the traffic-junction near Boudha), no lung at all if you look at them. If you have a very strong lung you need a good sleep, a good relationship and to do stupid meditation.

STUDENT: Warm oil massage also brings the lung down.

RINPOCHE: Tibetans say that to eat meat helps but meat makes you dull. Protein gives some earthy element, grounding. Because lung is light, it needs some grounding. And deep, deep down all these problems are grasping, ego-grasping. Really. Any of these problems are self-ego-grasping. You need to let it go, and then everything cools down.

STUDENT: You were saying that bodhicitta and loving kindness-practice was good for bringing lung down. So maybe that?

RINPOCHE: If you know how to do it in the correct way, otherwise it will bring more lung. So slow down and think: “I have 100 days of doing nothing, I have all the time in the world”. That is very good for the lung so then practice bodhicitta. I am talking more or less from my own experience. When I have lung, it is always connected with timing: “I have to do this, to do that, to go here to go there”. All this brings lung up. So the antidote is “Ok, I have all the time”. Talk a little bit to your restlessness. It is really important. Otherwise because your system already has a pattern for this restlessness, when you practice Dharma you will follow the same pattern. I make a big deal of this as a preliminary practice for anything you do. Sit down and talk to yourself. Even though you have only one hour, you think it is 100 hours. “If I finish the practice it’s OK. If I don’t finish it’s also OK. I am not just going to practice. I am really, really going to relax”. OK, do that!

 

Day 2

Rinpoche begins with meditation.

Bring in your feeling or sensation into your body and then settle down. The root of the visualization is appreciation for the Buddha, Dharma and the lineage-carrier in the form of Sangha. So you have a strong appreciation and based on that visualization you can visualize Buddha Shakyamuni in front of you. Buddha is looking to you and is free from all obscurations. Buddha is the embodiment of love, compassion and wisdom. Vividly visualize Buddha in front of you, life- size and looking directly at you, then communicate between your inner Buddha and the external Buddha. Then supplicate: “From now until I reach full enlightenment I take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and the Sangha”. Really do this with the devotional emotion. That will be very helpful for you to transform your neurotic emotion, your uptightness. Then you will feel safe and secure. The ultimate refuge makes you feel completely safe from your own negative thoughts and emotions.  You feel utterly and basically safe and that is different from subject and object. So the relative refuge and the ultimate refuge sort of work together. Based on that mood and that understanding orally we take refuge.

And then slowly Buddha melts into light, and the light dissolves into you. You, Buddha, Dharma and Sangha are inseparable. If you can, rest in the nature of mind. Within the nature of mind the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha’s qualities are there. So you rest with that.

On Rigpa

You are not stuck by the method, or clinging to the technique or the meditation. So let it go. But at the same time don’t be distracted and don’t meditate. If you meditate, your mind becomes conceptualized. If you are distracted, then that is how you spent all your life. So there is no distraction. Simply rest within the essence of mind. I think you can pursue phenomena through the five senses and understand through the clarity of the mind, but without registering. So it is called “knowing without grasping”. If you grasp, you are registering. But if you don’t know, you are cutting off one part of the omniscience. So especially in the Dzogchen meditation you are allowed to perceive the five sense phenomena. The sixth conscious memory is also allowed to come. Not only that, but all the 84,000 emotions are allowed to come in. But don’t follow, don’t record. Don’t push the saving button. If you can rest without concept, that’s the best. Concept means understanding based on subject and object. Here knowing, understanding or being aware is without relying on an object. The subject itself is the understander. Fully rest. You record, but don’t press the saving-button. It just comes up on the screen. Then let it go. This is called liberation based on arising.

If you can, don’t do anything. This is very subtle. The emptiness is very casual, knowing is very lucid but not intoxicating. So just be here but without being. Your butt is on the ground but not stuck, not glued.

Especially your eyes need to be very alive, just like fresh flowers. If the eyes become a little bit two-dimensioned, then it affects the brain cells, then it affects the mind. So nowness without stuck on the now. 360 degree open but you are not stuck on the openness. When it’s stuck you are missing one quality of the rigpa, the third quality – empty essence, natural clarity and unceasing compassion. So you are blocked and that mind cannot be omniscient.

So we are looking for this kind of cognition. Cognition without grasping, without subject and object. And the senses are very fresh in the nowness, and you are able to rest and to continue. Knowing that is called the view, trying to sustain that is called meditation. Whenever you are lost, coming back into the view is called conduct. Keep doing that for a while.

Keep on with this but not blocked, not stuck and with a very normal consciousness. If you practice this well then there will be the juices of rigpa. Without losing the essence rigpa, the expression rigpa comes as devotion, love, compassion, and sometimes it comes as insight. If you have that, then I think your meditation is going well.

Even if you practice for very long, six to seven years, no juice at all, that means that any time you practice something is stuck in the rigpa. So you have to break that. It could be the alaya, it could be shamata without support, it could be a little bit spaced out, and so unceasing compassion is not there. So you have to destroy the stuckness. I can see sometimes people have these problems. Not only you, sometimes I also get stuck! You know that you are stuck and you have to practice.

There are different ways to break this stuckness. Sometimes you do a bit of rushen or you do the three-fold space practice. But that could make you stuck again in space. You do a bit of enhancement practice. Then one day I think you will be very normal, but very rich. Very clear but not like light clear. Very mineral water clear. Not electric light clear. Very clear from the bottom and even clear from your bones. Clarity is when all the senses are very normal; all the currents in your body are very normal, very in harmony. Within the harmony, deep down there is clarity. So please try that.

When you come to Katmandu, there are many religious things you can get stuck with. In the West you are stuck by external obligations. When you come to the east, you get stuck by the methods. Some inner holding is useful, there are many different methods, but somehow you get stuck by the method itself. In the East many people and teachers are also influenced by different techniques. In Tibetan Buddhism we have so many techniques so everyone says: “this technique is good, that technique is better, you should do this, do that”. Of course you should do that but then you get stuck and overwhelmed by Tibetan Buddhism’s many methods. Then you lose the key-point again. It’s called a spiritual trap. You run from the worldly economical trap and then you come to the East and to the religious Buddhist method trap. I think it’s slightly better than the other one. You need to let it go but not abandon it: “Oh, I’m not going for “kora”, not doing mantra” – Then you abandon the Dharma. Within it you have to find the essence. Our human mind has this black and white understanding.

Khyentse Rinpoche did all the methods but he was not caught by them. He was not really emotional about his chanting or got stuck with his chanting. It was just part of his practice. But he also had the translucent clarity of rigpa. Within that he practiced.

I think if you really want to use your time properly in Nepal, you use both the practical and the spiritual path, both methods. At the same time understand the essence of nature of mind. When these two are combined, then it is useful. I think that many students are stuck by so many methods. And now Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche is not here so you will not get so much support for practicing the nature of mind. He is one of the heroes in Katmandu valley. So he really supports you. If you do all the methods, then he also supports very much just resting, sitting in the nature of mind. Nowadays you cannot find so many Dzogchen teachers. They are a little bit afraid of talking about it and instead, say: “Oh, you must do all the regular practices first otherwise it is very dangerous”. Then you start to feel: “Oh, maybe I am doing wrong, maybe Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche was wrong, maybe simply resting the mind is not sufficient, maybe I have to do all this first, do all that first”. To attend many years in the Shedra, do again the whole Ngondro, do billions of mantras – maybe too old for that. So I feel this is very much happening, in the West and in Nepal also. Less guts to go directly to the nature of mind. Teacher afraid, student afraid!

Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche always said you should do one Ngondro and have one good yidam, nature of mind practice, accumulation, and devotion. Upper, devotion, lower, compassion, in the middle, the right view supported by one yidam and then go on. Keep going, Jonny Walker! Just keep walking, keep going, keep going! You who received Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche’s teachings and did not study all these things, it’s ok. Just keep going with his teaching. Full devotion to him and the Dharma and keep walking. And practice with the discipline.

Those days at Nagi Gompa arriving at three o’clock, at seven o’clock there are already teachings on the nature of mind. So happy going up to the mountain! Nowadays when I go and see other teachers, there is a lot of tantric smell, very good and pleasant. But you cannot hear at all about nature of mind. The nature of mind is hidden or maybe not there… Maybe they don’t know, who knows. You cannot be too much romantic about lamas. Maybe sometimes they do not know about nature of mind! The West has a romantic feeling about Tibetan Buddhism, which is very good. Not against it, but…

Please come back again and again. Do the yidam-practice, bodhicitta, compassion – they are so important. But at the same time, the non-conceptual clarity view is extremely important! Our mind is very conditional, like a hungry dog. Wherever there is a smell of food, you go there and then you are stuck there. It is very dependant. Long time ago I didn’t understand about the Western concept of having support. Nowadays I think support is very important, spiritual support.

Before I didn’t want to buy a computer but now I have bought three times. Why? Because of so much influence and support from advertising that you should have it. If you don’t have it you are not OK! So they sell by instilling fear – “You are not happy because you don’t have a computer”. You are caught by that, buying a computer because your inside is hollow – no love. You are looking for conditional love all the time. Because no human value, no inner value is there, so you are looking for external value all the time. For a short time you become happy. You think it is inner value when you get your new computer and for the first few days, so happy! But when it gives a problem, you think, “My inner value is giving me problem”. But actually it is the computer. So everything is mixed up. Not such a wise way of living. So you must have an inner chip, inner program. Buddhism is set up very well with an inner chip program. And rigpa’s program is like a mini chip. Everything is there, everything is included. So if you really practice nature of mind well, all the Dharma is included there. It’s like a mini chip. But you can also have different discs. You can buy refuge disc, compassion disc, but then they are left here and there. Better to have one small, click! So please have more guts on the practice.

The computer sellers are doing their job so well and we have to do our job – not to become sucked in, not to promote our lung. Looking too much into a computer promotes your lung. Because you can do so much in the computer within a short time, you become greedy and then you want to do a lot, have full information authenticity. But you can’t, it takes time. So you rest, you change attitude and be more patient. “Ok I know it takes time, I’ll work slowly, if page comes or not, no problem. Ah so good, I have opportunity to rest in the nature of mind in-between”…

Anything you do I think has to have an inner program to deal with that. Then I think you will transform. Like Shantideva said: “You can’t transform the whole world and cover it with leather, so instead you put leather under your feet”. That is beneficial for you.

STUDENT: When practicing, there are undercurrent thoughts…, I can feel the clinging is definitely still there. How can one be free from that?

RINPOCHE: There are two ways. One is the traditional way; another is a modern way. The traditional way is: because you are not fully in the ripga, sometimes the clarity is resting but not fully united with the emptiness. That’s why you give some opportunity for the undercurrent thought. It is very important not to mix up the undercurrent thought with the normal thought. If you are in rigpa, as soon as the normal thoughts come they are self-liberated. So there is no problem. Everything is done on the spot. But with undercurrent thoughts, you just stay in rigpa but here it makes some story. It does not really come to the surface but behind is some story. There is some clinging, some hope, some fear. That means that natural clarity is not unified with emptiness. Then you re-focus so it becomes a little bit sharp, full. Then this undercurrent thought will go. Sometimes this undercurrent thought is worry and you have already built up a quite long history in the form of undercurrent thought. Although you are resting in nature of mind, because of the undercurrent thought, it becomes like two departments. So when you are resting in nature of mind, this other one is doing its own thing. They say it’s caused mainly by worry and fear and that makes subtle tensions in its own way. So when you practice and have this that is not good. So what you do is that everything goes down into this. Also the clarity – zoom – join it. Try not to cut it. Just let the upper practice really go into the undercurrent thought and join it, so one level drops down. Do you understand? You come down and really relax completely and look into the core of the fear, the fundamental core of the uptight fear. And within that you find rigpa.

This undercurrent thought – we call it thought but actually it is lot of subtle emotional fear. Fear, work and connection with different project: building monastery-project, translation-project, running Gomde-project. On the surface it is the practice but there is another mind working with this project. That needs to be brought together. If you don’t bring these two together, then it’s not healthy and that will create some major problem in the future. So either way – you synchronize or you go into that emotion, that worry and from there join, make peace talk between them. Then you make this into a habit.

Sometimes by resting in nature of mind it’s perfectly fine, no undercurrent thoughts. But then depending on your lifestyle, sometimes some worry comes because rigpa is too open. So rigpa gives too much freedom for thought and emotions, they are allowed to come. In shamata, you don’t give any freedom, it’s like a monarchy. Rigpa is fully democracy. If everybody is well educated, then there is no problem. If not, so many things come. All the time there are demonstrations because you are not occupied with one thing. So anything can come. So if you have a major big worry, that can also come into the rigpa, because you are not blocking or suppressing. There is no suppressing at all in rigpa. Everything is fresh and open. But then anything can come. So if something comes, forget about rigpa. Then turn your awareness to that, then within that you find rigpa.

All the cells, all the senses, all the thoughts, and all the emotions they are looking for liberation. All sentient beings look for well being or freedom. Anger needs love and compassion. So every cell in your body is looking for some well being. So happiness is our basic sentient beings’ right.

If you have a project this undercurrent thought comes up easily as lung, speed. Then it’s sometimes good to practice loving-kindness. Really go down to the undercurrent thought: “I think you need some love, you need some ice cream of compassion, and you need some moisturizing cream”. So you fully rest with that and then when they have become quiet, then I think you need the clarity also. “You are quite moisturized but you look stupid! You need some clarity”. Then you can approach emptiness, egolessness within that.

Sometimes Dzogchen gives you the impression that clarity is up here. Of course clarity is here. But if you are caught up down there, it you don’t bring down the clarity, it has its own world. Maybe the palace is very clean, but it doesn’t know what is happening in the street. That’s why the streets become the problem for the palace. So between the palace and the streets, it’s cut off. The palace stays so rich, so much food but the street is the problem and sooner or later there will be problems there. So zoom down, moisturize, therapy, yoga and then give clarity. Then in modern language: mind and heart are working together. New age way of talking, without religion. I think it is very important.

In Tibet if the mind is OK, then naturally the heart becomes part of that. So many teachings are on the mind, to make mind clear, because mind is not that clear sometimes in Tibet, sleepy. If you practice much feeling, mind becomes naturally clear also. But in the western world there is quite a big gap between the physical and the mental. The mental does its work; the physical does its work. No communication between them. Then the foundation will go down, without communication.

It’s a very good point, this undercurrent of thought. It is very problematic and we take a lot of advantage of it also. Because the undercurrent thought is somewhat connected with a hidden agenda. So the hidden agenda is working with this undercurrent thought: “Hi, so nice! But the undercurrent thought: “Maybe this person is not so good”. So there are two worlds and we give quite good right to the undercurrent thought to go on.

Compassion and Hidden Selfishness

So what is Buddhism’s hidden agenda? In everything we do there is a hidden agenda. I think Buddhism’s hidden agenda is bodhicitta, compassion. If anything you do is to achieve bodhicitta – relative and ultimate bodhicitta – then it’s fine. That’s the whole point. When you look at the bodhisattvas way, they teach bodhicitta. In order to fulfill bodhicitta you have to do the six paramitas, visualizations, prostrations, mandalas, all these different methods to achieve bodhicitta mind. In any Buddhist practice if you don’t have this hidden goal, it does not go the right way. If you don’t bring bodhicitta into the prostration and the prostration’s hidden agenda is to be healthy: “I am doing spiritual practice”, but secret agenda is “maybe I’ll get some muscles’, maybe my blood sugar will go down”…So its ok, but your hidden agenda is not bodhicitta. Sometimes this hidden agenda is missing I think. In any Buddhist practice the final focus is bodhicitta. In order to fulfill bodhicitta we do millions, billions of different methods. So we should not forget our mission, the hidden agenda. That’s why Nyoshul Khen always says: “Good motivation, check your motivation”. In the middle of the teaching he says: “Ok stop the teaching now, check your motivation”. He changes his motivation and he asks us to change our motivation. So this is to not forget our mission.

Sometimes practitioners’ motivation is quite selfish. High class selfishness: “Me peaceful, me joyful, me happy, me well being. In order for my well being I use other people because it’s interdependent. If I don’t make her or him happy, I will not become happy”. It is peace, selfish peace. Selfish peace becomes our hidden agenda most of the time I think. That’s why beings are always stuck in samsara.

Sometimes when you do many things externally it destroys your hidden peaceful selfishness. Then you lose the motivation to help others also. Quite often it’s like that. You want to help a project, “Wow, so happy”, but somewhere halfway – also everything goes well, but it doesn’t go according to the fulfilling of your hidden agenda – then you create some problems. Then halfway: “I am sorry, I am going”. Especially voluntary work, easy to get out. If you get paid, then it is different. Although you don’t like it, you cling to the cash! So you become tolerant: “Although I don’t like it, I must do it because I need these US dollar in order to survive. So I think your hidden agenda is very important to change. Then I think you will really have inner strength. Tulku Urgen Rinpoche, Khyentse Rinpoche and HH Dalai Lama they never get tired, exhausted to see people, to help people. If the people are happy, they are happy. It the people are not happy, they are happy also! So it means they are really well established in their hidden agenda, with bodhicitta and sealed by unconditional love, really sealed by unconditional love. Then you get real strength and you are not becoming like a Tibetan prayer-flag. Wherever the wind blows, the flag goes that way. No wind, no support, no excitement, nothing, then it goes down.

Whenever I get mentally tired it’s because of not having really good bodhicitta. One time Tulku Urgen Rinpoche stayed at Osel Ling for six months and I was staying about two months with him. He sees people, he put consecration in the statues, and he gathered all these things and he sent people to Kha-Nying and Nagi Gompa. So many things he did from morning to evening and I worked with that. I got really, really completely exhausted, really tired. So I said: “I would like to go to Pokhara”. He said: “What?” Really in my mind came the idea of wearing normal cloths and going on the lake, drinking some Coca Cola, just resting, looking at the lake with no obligations. So I said “I want to go to Pokhara”. He said: “What?”. I said it three times and he said “Why?” Then I felt a little bit funny. He asked: “Why are you going?” I said I like to go there a bit to rest, relax…”What, why?” So he asked all the reasons why I need to be relaxed and rest in Pokhara. Why not rest here. And he pretends he doesn’t understand. He takes advantage of his lack of hearing. Which he don’t like so much he said “What?” Then you ask two, three times and then your mind becomes loosened up or something. He used that method quite often. So then I gave up, I didn’t go to Pokhara. But there is a big thing in my mind: he is about 70 and I was about 30. I am really exhausted, he was not exhausted. He was still full of enthusiasm. I think it’s the mind, deep down where you really stay. Your hidden agenda is not fulfilled: To rest in the folding-chair with remote-control, sit there and drink coffee, watch the news and relax… So maybe you have this kind of agenda sometimes in the mind, hidden. But he doesn’t have that. So when his lifestyle doesn’t fulfill my hidden agenda, then I got exhausted. All the time I was looking for some gap to relax, some gap for a folding-chair… So you want this kind of lifestyle sometimes I think.

His inside is really motivated by helping people, seeing people. No matter what people are offering – money or not money. Money is not the issue. People who don’t have money, he gives back the money. He is quite famous for that. If people are quite poor then he checks with the nuns: “How much does this cost?” Then the nun will go and calculate. Then he added a bit more than that and when they come and say the final bye-bye, he put the money – prepared before – tied in a kata and put it around the person. So I think giving teaching is not really for making money. His fully hidden agenda is bodhicitta. Then he doesn’t get tired. I am talking about the emotional tired, the mental tired, not the physical tired.

In town I see many people whose eyes are really hopelessly exhausted and a little bit sad down there. That is the poison, take out that. The standard problems are anger, attachment, jealousy, pride and ignorance. We have these standard problems, all sentient beings, wherever we go. But the culture problem, the environment, new problems like restless lung – some countries have, some don’t. To feel bad about yourself all the time, like hollow – some countries produce it, some don’t. But all have the five poisons; these are the standard for all sentient beings. But sometimes you have to take out this culture-created suffering before you practice authentic Buddhism.

Tibetans need more clarity, westerners need more emotional healing. I call it wounded love. In the west it is very high. The love-area is very hurt. Wrong expectations, wrong approach and in order to feel love, you have to have some external thing to love you.

Essence love is together with nature of mind and Buddha-nature, unconditional love. I call it essence love, expression love and boundless love. I think essence love we are missing completely. We are only experiencing expression love, which comes with attachment. The pure essence love is gone. The essence love is almost like well being, just love, why love, how love. Love is like a noun, not as a verb. When you have this then you practice engaging love or expression love and that is coming from the essence love. So it’s more pure love. And that you practice together with the four boundlessnesses. Otherwise just jump to the boundless, I think it might not work, because it will not start from the essence love.

I think human beings are really sensitive about love in general and their love is completely mixed up without the essence love. All love is connected with attachment and it becomes subject and object. Then there is the wound, hurt and it becomes very sensitive, a big confusion of love. The fundamental unconditional essence love is missing in all cultures. In the western culture more so because your wounded love comes from expression love with attachment. You are not satisfied with that but there are no other alternatives. There is no teaching, no one talks about it. So it becomes unclear. Some poems might tell something or some song might point to something, but there is no full technique or support for that. Then it comes back into the attachment love.

Boundless love is what Buddhism talks about – to share, to feel the same love for all sentient beings. What you feel for your child, for your parents, you should feel for all sentient beings exactly the same.

STUDENT: What is essence love?

RINPOCHE: Essence love is important. It’s just well being like love, love to your cells, to your body. There is no restlessness; your mind is not harsh. Just rich, well being, love, lovable. Then when you are there then you love. Then it’s not so much me, me, me. You become the love. No need to feel me happy, me important because you are sort of imbued with love.

STUDENT: Rinpoche that sounds like a quality of Buddha nature.

RINPOCHE: Yes one part of Buddha nature, loving-kindness. Every quality is in the Buddha nature: the fundamental peace, the fundamental clarity, the fundamental love, the fundamental compassion. So these things are missing. Because everything is subject – object love, subject – object peace, subject – object compassion, subject – object clarity. Then there is no basic ground.

You feel very peaceful with this incense. When this incense is finished then you are craving more. You put so much value on this incense. Why? Because it gives you some mental peace. But this mental peace is temporary and the real value is not on the incense, it is on the mind and this incense is emptiness. Support and life are different. Life means you are addicted, without this you cannot stand it. Support means if you have, it’s good, if you don’t have, it’s also ok. That attitude we also find in the Vajrayana, where you are not abandoning the merit circumstances. You use that circumstance to do more prayer, more offering, more dedication and more merit-recycling. You should recycle your merit, otherwise your merit will be exhausted. One time used – gone!

STUDENT: Could you give a definition of merit.

RINPOCHE: Merit is making better opportunities in your everyday life. That kind of energy is created.

STUDENT: Opportunities for experiencing your own mind?

RINPOCHE: Opportunities for your mind, for your life according to spirituality. Focus on the spiritual path in order to be successful on your path.

STUDENT: So whether something achieves that or not is the function of both action and motivation?

RINPOCHE: Action and motivation, both and dedication also. I think it is a little difficult to understand merit but one easy way is that it makes habits. That kind of merit is easy to understand. In Tibet wherever you go it gives you a spiritual merit or habit. You see the rock and there is a mantra with “Om mani peme hung”. You see the water where some “Mani”-mantra are running with the help of the water, you see monastery… It’s like advertising. Advertising makes some kind of merit. Like buying Sony-computer. Accumulation of that, then after four, five years I bought it one day. You plant seed in the alaya and one day all these seeds and maybe you also have some cash, then boom – you buy! Instead of buying something else, like a statue, you buy Sony. So merit works like that. Every time you conceptually pray “mani”, you dedicate it. This makes you a spiritual person. Because of all these circumstances of merit it is easy to rest in the nature of mind, because good circumstances are there. One day you might want to go for a three year retreat. If you don’t have the merit, you will not go. There is the visible accumulation of merit and there is the invisible way of accumulating merit, like doing “tsok”, prayers for Mahakala. I think in order to live a proper life you need to have both the visible and the invisible accumulation. So merit does both of these. Sometimes you prepare everything but then something else happens. So the invisible force is not enough.

STUDENT: We didn’t have enough merit for it to happen..?

RINPOCHE: Sort of. It’s out of your plan. Your planning condition is very good, but something happens. That is not enough merit and not enough aspirations. Aspirations are important. It seems like aspirations are not important but I think they are very, very important. So please pray at the stupa. There are two great stupas here in Katmandu. Make aspirations really authentically: “May I have time for practice in retreat”. If you have good aspiration you will not get so many problems. Even though you stay six years in retreat, it’s just easy! You don’t need to force so much because the aspiration merit gives you good circumstances. You will not get tired, you will not get exhausted…

STUDENT: The circumstances might not be different but my attitude to them might be…

RINPOCHE: The circumstances might change also!

STUDENT: Could you speak about the essence of coemerging wisdom – emptiness and appearance as a unity?

RINPOCHE: Theoretically you can explain it in one way, experientially you can explain in one other way. If you want to explain through experience, you have to understand the nature of mind. First empty essence and within empty essence of mind you look, you come to the phenomena. The phenomena are there but they are not really there, like solid. So emptiness and phenomena are a unity and these phenomena are mere reflections of your karmic experiences. They are not really there but right now there is no choice because your karmic experiences did not yet become exhausted. So at this point you deal with it by respecting it relatively.  The clarity of the empty cognizant, “nangtong sungjuk”. “Nangwa”, appearance, “tongpa”, emptiness. “Sungjuk” means unity, inseparability. It’s not like two things coming together. So within the phenomena, just realize the emptiness. Emptiness and phenomena, then there is unity. If you give up appearances then it cannot be a unity with emptiness.

STUDENT: Why do they call it co emergent?

RINPOCHE: Coemergent wisdom is: the wisdom is never separated from you. It’s together; it’s intrinsically there. Buddhism’s intrinsically doesn’t mean permanently. It is independently co emergent, called wisdom. We are not talking about the ground; we are talking about the path. On the path there are always experiences. Otherwise recognize rigpa: no need to recognize, it’s always there. Why do you need to recognize? Is rigpa a new thing? No, but in language we use recognize rigpa or not. Coemergent wisdom is the same. In language you have to divide it into three: ground, path or fruition. Ground is used a little bit different; fruition is used a little different. Path always has an action, subject and object, realize, understand, achieve, practice. It’s always verbs.

STUDENT: How can one identify and find one’s root-lama?

RINPOCHE: Sometimes it’s very easy, sometimes it’s not. Traditionally you have to search for three or nine years they say. But I think this is also connected with the karmic system. If you have a strong package of karma, then you will see. Just “shopping” around here and there and one day it just clicks in your mind: “Oh, this is my root-teacher!” But if you can’t find, then you have to study: what I am, the teacher’s background, the teacher’s lineage, reputation. Your teacher’s style, your style, your condition and then you see. Maybe you can’t find or you don’t have the capacity to see that the teacher is 100% correct. So if you see that 75% is good, then go for it! If you only see that 10% is good and 90% is not ok, then don’t go! It’s same like marriage! If you see the wife is 75% good, just marry! If you see she is only 10% good and 90 %is not ok, then don’t marry.

When you really have a realized understanding and you become almost the same as the teacher, then you will see the teacher as 100% ok. Until then, you can’t. So you look around. See the different web sites and then you go one month here, one month there. Then you also look at the style of the teacher: systematic style, more loose style, more yogic style, more scholarly style. And what type of person you are. If you are very scholarly and you see a yogi, you might get fed up. If you have a real yogic kind of approach and you see a scholar, your head becomes boiled. This you also have to check. Then there are some standard teachers you can go to, world recognized teachers with a bit of standing. But they are not necessarily very helpful for you. Sometimes a hidden yogi will have a lot of time. If you meet a very simple yogi or yogini with teeth upside down, a lot of puss in their eyes, digging their nose, they might have a very good insight, a very high understanding. Some yogis in Tashi Jong are exactly like that.

It you really want to practice, go to a small teacher, a really good small yogi teacher and then you can get a lot of time with them. If the teacher has no time, then there is no use. Like me, if you look at my web side then you will know: “Oh no!”

STUDENT: You say that the teacher doesn’t have a lot of time, it’s no use, but it’s also said that the blessings of the lama don’t depend on being with him.

RINPOCHE: That’s also possible, but if you really like to study then you need time. There are different types of people. For some that is ok. But for some other they need the physical time. Some students have psychological problems: “I must have time with the teacher. If you are this type of person, then the teacher who doesn’t have time for you is the wrong teacher. Some students you see at the teaching-time and a little bit private and that’s it. Private or not private time is not so different sometimes, but the human mind needs the private time: “This is my private teaching”. But actually it’s exactly the same teaching as in the group teaching. Teachings from Tulku Urgen Rinpoche in groups are even better then private. But your emotion: “This is one- to -one”. Me, me, you are proud, egos game again. But when you have a special experience then you might not want to share it with others. Then you talk private, maybe it’s useful. But in my own experience teaching in a group is much better. Khyentse Rinpoche, Tulku Urgen Rinpoche, Adue Rinpoche gave group teachings. And these days I think there is more chance to get group teaching then one to one teaching.

STUDENT: How is the experience of being caught by the alaya?

RINPOCHE: The subtlety of stuckness is there. Stillness and stuckness are two different things. Rigpa has also stillness, very pure stillness. But when there is a bit of gross stuckness – no thought, very clear, then it’s alaya. When there is a very normal translucent state, then it’s rigpa.

STUDENT: Can the experience of the alaya also be somewhat open?

RINPOCHE: Open and aware, yes. Alaya is quite a good thing, it’s close to rigpa. Many, many meditators are staying there, different traditions of meditators. Even non meditators are sometimes resting there, in the Sauna, somehow resting in the alaya. Alaya has different degrees.

STUDENT: I thought alaya was more dull.

RINPOCHE: The gross alaya is very dull but the subtle alaya is not dull, it’s very close to rigpa. But sometimes there is no choice. You stay in the alaya and from there through the devotion, through the effort, the understanding it will shift automatically to the rigpa.

STUDENT: The key to the shift is trying to generate devotion?

RINPOCHE: Devotion and merit and depending on some good book. Maybe there is some danger for coming into the alaya, so try not to. But don’t fear it, alaya is also ok, it’s not a bad thing. But stupid alaya is very, very, very bad, like dull, stupid. Stupid meditation, that’s not good. Dzogchen and Mahamudra are against that.

Rigpa and alaya are depending on two different materials, but they are very similar. For example, one is cotton, the other is plastic. The color is very similar but the basic material is different. One is nirvanic material, the other is samsaric material. But they look similar, like real flower and plastic flower. Quite often I thought the real flower was plastic because plastic is made so good. It’s two completely different materials but very similar in some areas.

STUDENT: So samsara and nirvana aren’t so different, it is easy to mistake?

RINPOCHE: It’s two different materials until the absolute nature of the alaya is realized. The absolute nature of the plastic flower and the real flower are both emptiness. The absolute nature of samsara and nirvana are not different, but the relative nature is different.

STUDENT: I have found that the wisdom is something that doesn’t arise within the meditation but during the post-meditation. So if you rest in the alaya there is no quality of wisdom or insight that arises from that or is there?

RINPOCHE: To some extent, but not real wisdom. Peaceful, some kind of awakeness, some kind of clarity. But not real omniscient wisdom but some siddhi might come. Siddhi comes from the stillness. Actually Shamata is also some form of alaya, alaya with mindfulness. Close to rigpa there is subtle alaya. I don’t think you need to meditate even . Just sit there and then you come into the alaya. But then there is always some kind of subtle glue, a little bit murky, not really crystal clear. So it is hard to distinguish. But don’t worry about that. Just pray not to go there and make accumulation of merits. And then try your best!

End with Dedication of Merit

“Advice on the Path”

Copyright Tsoknyi Rinpoche 2006

Teachings given at Swyambu, Katmandu May 2006

Transcribed and edited by Lodro Palmo and Madhu under Rinpoche’s supervision.

 

For more info, please download this text Retreat Lung: The Meditator’s Disease

or see: https://tsoknyirinpoche.org/teachings/all-about-lung-tsoknyi-rinpoche/

Photo by Lucas Pezeta from Pexels

 

Dearest Friends and Blog Followers-

If you’ve come to visit me in the past a few weeks, you see that we’ve been busy working on updating our newly improved website! I wanted to offer to support some of our local Reiki healing and spiritual supply stores and artisans here in Colorado. You notice that I’m beginning to offer some more products to enhance our spiritual practice like gongs from Nepal and incense from Shoyeido, (Bhutanese coming soon) and some mala beads that I make here in Boulder and in Crestone. I’ll be adding more and more select offerings next few weeks and thank you all for your kind support!

Any of you that might *really* follow me, you will know that I’ve been a pretty ardent and outspoken voice in the awakening movement that is reevaluating our ever-evolving spiritual path, unhealthy spiritual codependency with our Gurus, and one of the voices of both anguish and yet hope for our future. So I decided to separate these two websites, republish and dust off my old ancient blog, which focuses in on: my poetry of love, loss and unrequited love, my lengthy and evocative and sometimes pretty deeply dark, subterranean discussions about spiritual corruption and all of the many years of newly published sacred drawings and Tibetan Thangka paintings… all-in-one place! If you feel so inclined I would so love for you to follow my personal blog as well.

I still will write regular posts on BoulderReiki.com about different healing modalities, wellness, yogas, vegetarian recipes and tools for awakening, so please do continue to visit often. Your feedback and comments are always warmly welcome!

If you perchance don’t follow my personal blog but you’re curious about any type of juicy new posts- you can always look to the lower left of BoulderReiki.com and you’ll see the RSS feed of our current articles.

See you in the heart of cyberspace!

With Love All Ways,

Dawn

Low Carb Shirataki and Kelp Noodle Stir Fry

I discovered these healthy low-carb noodles to make giant, guilt-free healthy and nutritive stir frys. It’s important to boil the noodle first to soften. I add pan fried tofu squares that I cook separately, and feel free to add other veggies like mushrooms and red bell peppers.

Look for these:
https://miraclenoodle.com/collections/all/products/fettuccine

Ingredients:

• 1 package (7 oz) shirataki konjac pasta, drained
• 1 package (7 oz) clear kelp noodles
• 1 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
• 2 tablespoons minced garlic
• 2 tablespoons minced ginger
• 1 yellow onion, large diced
• 1/2 cup chopped green beans
• 1/2 cup chopped broccoli
• 1/2 cup chopped cauliflower
• 6 washed and sliced baby carrots or 1 large sliced carrot
• ¼ cup soy sauce
• 2 tablespoons rice vinegar (optional)
• 1 tablespoon monkfruit sugar
• 1 teaspoon Tabasco or sriracha to taste
• 2T olive oil for cooking

Add the protein of your choice.

Directions:

Important: Boil 1 cup of water in a fry-pan and cook both noodles covered for 5 minutes, drain and set aside.
Add olive oil to frying pan and cook on medium heat, sautéing garlic, ginger and then all remaining ingredients, and then add the sesame oil after cooking.
Serve with your protein, parsley or cilantro garnish.

Shirataki

Shirataki Noodle Stir Fry

Shirataki Noodle Stir Fry

Low Carb Shirataki and Kelp Noodle Stir Fry

I discovered these healthy low-carb noodles to make giant, guilt-free healthy and nutritive stir frys. It's important to boil the noodle first to soften. I add pan fried tofu squares that I cook separately, and feel free to add other veggies like mushrooms and red bell peppers.

Ingredients
  

  • 1 package 7 oz shirataki konjac pasta, drained
  • 1 package 7 oz clear kelp noodles
  • 1 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 1 yellow onion large diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped green beans
  • 1/2 cup chopped broccoli
  • 1/2 cup chopped cauliflower
  • 6 washed and sliced baby carrots or 1 large sliced carrot
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar optional
  • 1 tablespoon monkfruit sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco or sriracha to taste
  • 2 T olive oil for cooking

Instructions
 

  • Directions:
  • Important: Boil 1 cup of water in a fry-pan and cook both noodles covered for 5 minutes, drain and set aside.
  • Add olive oil to frying pan and cook on medium heat, sautéing garlic, ginger and then all remaining ingredients, and then add the sesame oil after cooking.
  • Serve with your protein, parsley or cilantro garnish.

Notes

Add the protein of your choice.

Dharma Friends: We have the excellent fortune of a little retreat this week live and on Zoom. It’s an exceedingly powerful and concise sadhana practice for our times, being taught by my close vajra brother Erik Pema Kunsang, live streamed from Denmark. The power and efficacy of this little practice is incomparable. I was on retreat alone in Crestone many years back and was having terrible obstacles and brought out this practice from my main teacher’s lineage that I had the permission (lung) for. After performing it only once, the deep seated obstacles instantly dissolved like snowflakes on a warm stone. If you can make it, even last minute do join us!

The image is Samantabhadra Padmakara in union with Mandarava that I drew a few years back for this practice, as there is no other image of them in existence that we could find and someday, I will color it in I hope and finish the thangka!  You can see all of the stages here: https://boulderreiki.com/drawings/ Thanks to Phakchok Rinpoche and Michael Tweed for their support, I tried really hard to make the lines and them beautiful and passionate, and Guru Rinpoche’s gaze, unfathomable. The drawing kind of drew itself and took many weeks. Thanks so very much to Erik for using this image and teaching us. I’m looking forward to practicing via a zoom retreat with my always kind Danish sangha friends, and others worldwide this week!

lotus essence tantra

The Lotus Essence Tantra

“At Gomde Denmark – July 12 – 17 – we will study and practice this tantra.
“Bearing in mind how Padmasambhava extensively praised this profound tantra with his infallible vajra speech, study this tantra, contemplate it, train in it, memorize it, write copies of it, wear it, use it in your daily recitation, and correctly transmit it to others, fully and widely.”
“Thus, you will increase the activity of Samantabhadra Padmakara until it pervades throughout all of space. In this way exert yourself one-pointedly in constantly spreading its excellent light of benefit and happiness to illuminate not only your own mind but that of others as well.”
–Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo
English registration: 👇🏽
Dansk tilmelding: 👇🏽

Words from Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche about the Lotus Essence Tantra

“My guru uncle Samten Gyatso had many lay students and they all knew the Lotus Essence Tantra by heart. There wasn’t a single one of his students who didn’t know how to chant this tantra. Whenever they had a free moment or even while walking about they would recite it from memory. Many of his old students said that it was very good to chant because whoever hears it will be liberated. That is the kind of pure appreciation that they had.There is a long version of Liberation Through Hearing called the Single Child of All Buddhas Tantra, which is a much longer text but still there were many of Samten Gyatso’s students who knew that by heart as well.

Samten Gyatso once said that, “I have two things through which I can benefit other beings, one is the Single Child of All Buddhas Tantra and the other is the Lotus Essence Tantra. And there is absolutely no doubt about that!” Normally he would never mention anything of the kind, he was what is called a ‘hidden yogi.’ He would never talk about himself as being anything special, not even a single word. He was never heard saying, “I have realized …” or “I am special. I have special qualities.” Not once. He would move around just as if he was a completely ordinary person. But he did say, “There truly are two things that I have which can benefit others. One is the Single Child of All Buddhas Tantra and the other is the Lotus Essence Tantra.”

From Blazing Splendor, the biography of Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche.

Fond memories of the few times we visited the retreat center Gomde Denmark, where they are broadcasting from tomorrow night! If you can ever visit, it is indeed a pure land, and the kindest people ever. These are a few photos, I think from a few different years.
Love to all, always~ may the genuine dharma prevail.

kiwi
free weight loss course

 

 

Many of us gained weight during our Covid isolation, I’ve heard it called tongue in cheek the “Covid 19” meaning many gained just about 19lbs! I have compiled a scientifically proven weight loss plan that is healthy, simple and sustainable that I have used myself. It was recommended to me by other moms who’ve had great success with sustainable weight loss! This is not medical advice, this protocol below is from my personal experience only. For me it starts working on day 1. Please do check with your doctor before starting any diet, especially a reduced calorie one as there can be serious complications for certain people such as diabetics. This is a hybrid plan of about 4 diets all distilled into 1 easy to follow, healthy plan. It borrows from the Metabolic Factor primarily, Optavia® (Medifast®), Low Carb., Whole Food and Intermittent Fasting, all in one!

The main way that this diet is successful, is consistency. I failed a few times at it because I’d be really great and stick to it religiously for 4 or 5 days in a row, and then reward my efforts by~ cheating- a giant dinner out with family, with… dessert!  What my coach said is that it takes a few days to stoke your metabolism to start burning fat, if you cheat every few days, the body stops the metabolic process and starts storing fat again. Also, this diet differs from Optavia because it includes whole foods, and not unhealthy pre-paid, prepackaged, high carb. “fuelings,” with weird chemical sugar substitutes.  I have had better success eating more than less, if the calories are too restricted for you, you can get tired, dizzy, grouchy and god-forbid, put it all back on and then some, once you return to more normal eating patterns. A weight loss of 1-2lbs per week is considered safe. I’ve heard doctors say that any healthy diet that includes reducing calories and increasing exercise works, and consistency is the key– as Yoda reminds us “do or do not, there is no try.” Are you ready to commit for at least 30 days? Let’s do this!

 

8 STEPS TO A NEW YOU!

  1. Start with 6 Minutes of Burst Exercise Every Morning and 5-10K steps each day.

  2. Eat 5, whole food, high protein and vegetable (100-120 calorie) “snacks”  approx. every 2 hours.

  3. Eat 1 high protein and vegetable whole food “lean and green” meal per day (600-700 calorie), choose afternoon or early evening.

  4. Intermittent Fasting, it’s called 15:9 IF- eat all of your calories in a 9 hour, consistent block like 9:00-6:00.

  5. Drink 8 glasses of water each day.

  6. No alcohol, soda, fruit juice or sugary drinks.

  7. Stop eating refined sugar and refined carbs.

  8. Track meals and calories, water, fitness, steps and progress with an online paid app like Noom or for free, with MyFitnessPal.

 

1. Start with 6 Minutes of Intermittent Burst Exercise Every Morning and 5-10K steps each day.

Before you consume anything other than water, as soon as you wake up, do only 6 minutes of intense cardio, like jumping jacks, (or for Buddhists like me, we can do 100 prostrations which are like sacred squat thrusts!). I do 1 min. interval jumping jacks- 1 min. fast walk-jump 3 x 3 sets, or if you can run outdoors for 6 minutes. If you have an elliptical, do a fast 6 mins. on the interval setting, do push yourself! This jump starts your entire metabolism, and the body already begins to start burning fat. You can get a Fitbit or pedometer and walk every day, sun and fresh air does wonders for body-mind-spirit!

2. Eat 5, whole food, high protein and vegetable “snacks” approx. every 2 hours.

Eat proteins and fresh, organic, living vegetables. I created some perfect egg and veg. 100 calorie snacks and here are some more ideas.

3. Eat 1 high protein and vegetable whole food “lean and green” meal per day, choose afternoon or early evening.

Coaches call these “lean and green” meals. Create a basic high protein, low carb. veggie lunch or dinner. Some grains are ok, make the meal satisfying and nice, no need to count calories per se.

4. Intermittent Fasting: eat all of your calories in an 9 hour, consistent block like 9:00-6:00, it’s called 15:9 IF.

This doctor explains intermittent fasting and helps to undo some diet myths.

5. Drink 8 glasses of water each day.

Yes 8, full glasses, this helps to hydrate, detox, digest and keeps you full.

6. No alcohol, soda, fruit juice or sugary drinks.

This is essential, but sugar free coffee and teas are fine, if you have to, use stevia, xylitol or monkfruit sweetener on occasion, but rarely as even alternative sweeteners can affect insulin.

7. Stop eating sugar and refined carbs.

Yes, no flour and sugar dessert, pasta or heavily starchy foods. Some quinoa, amaranth, barley, wheat-berries, brown or organic rice and occasional potatoes are ok.

8. If need be, at least at first, track meals and calories, water, fitness, steps and progress with an online paid app like Noom or for free, with MyFitnessPal.

This is a 1200-1300 reduced calorie diet sufficient for standard weight loss for most people under 200lbs. You may need more or less caloric intake depending on weight, age, health, gender and level of physical activity. Please consult with your doctor, nutritionist or online weight loss coach for a custom plan and guidelines.

weight loss

Disclaimer:

The techniques, ideas, and opinions here are not intended as a substitute for proper medical advice. The information provided here is solely for informational purposes only. All information is generalized, presented for informational purposes only, not medical advice, and not to rely on this information as medical advice and to consult a qualified medical, dietary, fitness or other appropriate professional for their specific needs. Sakura Designs, LLC and Dawn Boiani waive all liability for any harm. This information has not been evaluated by any government agency and the information is not intended to “diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”

Photo by Any Lane from Pexels

healthy sunday granola

Yogurt and Granola Parfait Sundays

My teen daughter has… not one, not two but…three girlfriends staying over for summer vacation and it’s been hard to get them to eat a healthy breakfast. This is by far the most decadent of all of my recipes, but a sure fire way to get any sleepy breakfast-rebelling child to eat! A Yogurt and Granola Parfait Sunday topped with fruit, caramel or chocolate sauce, whipped cream and mint. I put them in fancy tall wine glasses so they can see the layers, and it works.every.time.

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz fruit and nut granola
  • 12 T natural plain full fat yogurt
  • 1 c. Your choice of fruit: sliced strawberries, blueberries, bananas etc.
  • Chocolate or caramel topping that you use for ice cream
  • Ready Whipped Cream in a spray bottle
  • 4 Sprigs of fresh mint

Directions:

Layer ingredients as shown and top with mint!

yogurt parfait

yogurt parfait

Yogurt and Granola Parfait Sundays

My teen daughter has... not one, not two but...three girlfriends staying over for summer vacation and it's been hard to get them to eat a healthy breakfast. This is by far the most decadent of all of my recipes, but a sure fire way to get any sleepy breakfast-rebelling child to eat! A Yogurt and Granola Parfait Sunday topped with fruit, caramel or chocolate sauce, whipped cream and mint. I put them in fancy tall wine glasses so they can see the layers, and it works.every.time.

Ingredients
  

  • 6 oz fruit and nut granola
  • 12 T natural plain full fat yogurt
  • 1 c. Your choice of fruit: sliced strawberries blueberries, bananas etc.
  • Chocolate or caramel topping that you use for ice cream
  • Ready Whipped Cream in a spray bottle
  • 4 Sprigs of fresh mint

Instructions
 

  • Layer ingredients as shown and top with mint!

Notes

Serves: 4

lemon almond cake

Lemon Almond Cake with Cashew Cream- Sugar, Wheat and Dairy Free

We were having friends over for Midsummer’s Day and wanted to create the most perfect guilt-free, healthy summer cake possible- so here it is! The base is a pretty dense single layer almond flour, shortbread style cake. You only need one layer of this cake because it becomes like a very filling marzipan. I found it best to use the spring-form pan to remove the cake when it’s finished but if you don’t have a spring form pan make sure to grease and flour it before you put the batter in. The cashew butter coconut cream frosting is incomparably delectable and all of this is dairy free, wheat free and sugar-free! Be careful when using monkfruit sweetener it’s about 200-400x sweeter than sugar, and some may like to omit it from the frosting. If you have an herb garden or fresh herbs from the market, top with fresh summer springs of mint!

Almond Shortbread Cake

Ingredients:

• 1 1/2 cups almond flour- superfine (not almond meal)
• 4 large organic eggs separated
• 1/2 cup water
• 1/2 cup granulated monk fruit sugar
• 1 T lemon zest
• 2 T lemon juice
• Sliced berries, mint and thin lemon slices for topping

Instructions:

• Preheat the oven 350F. Well grease and flour a spring-form or 9-inch cake pan.
• In a mixing bowl, combine the almond flour, egg yolks, sweetener, and lemon zest, and mix well. In a separate bowl, beat together your egg whites until there are stiff peaks.
• Gently combine the two and transfer the cake mixture into the greased cake pan.
• Bake the cake for about 30 minutes, until it slightly browns on top. Let the cake cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan, as the shortbread tends to stick. Spring-forms work best and you can slide a knife under before removing.

Cashew and Coconut Cream Frosting

Ingredients:

• 1 stick of vegan butter softened
• 1 tsp. vanilla extract
• 3T cashew butter
• 2 tsp. monkfruit sugar
• 1/2 can- 6oz- 200ml full fat coconut milk cream (use the fatty part)

Instructions:

• Add softened vegan butter to a large mixing bowl and use an electric mixer to cream butter until it whips add vanilla and mix once more to combine.
• Add monkfruit sugar until well combined and fluffy.
• If too thick, add 1T at a time of the remaining coconut milk of it too thin, add 1tsp of almond flour at a time to thicken. The texture should be similar to a buttercream frosting.
• Refrigerate when done for 1 hour before spreading on cooled cake.
• Spread on cooled cake and decorate with berries, mint and the remaining lemon, sliced!

lemon almond cake

Lemon Almond Cake with Cashew Cream- Sugar, Wheat and Dairy Free

We were having friends over for Midsummer's Day and wanted to create the most perfect guilt-free, healthy summer cake possible- so here it is! The base is a pretty dense single layer almond flour, shortbread style cake. You only need one layer of this cake because it becomes like a very filling marzipan. I found it best to use the spring-form pan to remove the cake when it's finished but if you don't have a spring form pan make sure to grease and flour it before you put the batter in. The cashew butter coconut cream frosting is incomparably delectable and all of this is dairy free, wheat free and sugar-free! Be careful when using monkfruit sweetener it's about 200-400x sweeter than sugar, and some may like to omit it from the frosting. If you have an herb garden or fresh herbs from the market, top with fresh summer springs of mint!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour- superfine not almond meal
  • 4 large organic eggs separated
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1/2 cup granulated monk fruit sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • Sliced berries mint and thin lemon slices for topping

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven 350F. Well grease and flour a spring-form or 9-inch cake pan.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the almond flour, egg yolks, sweetener, and lemon zest, and mix well. In a separate bowl, beat together your egg whites until there are stiff peaks.
  • Gently combine the two and transfer the cake mixture into the greased cake pan.
  • Bake the cake for about 30 minutes, until it slightly browns on top. Let the cake cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan, as the shortbread tends to stick. Spring-forms work best and you can slide a knife under before removing.

Notes

Cashew and Coconut Cream Frosting
Ingredients:
• 1 stick of vegan butter softened
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 3T cashew butter
• 2 tsp. monkfruit sugar
• 1/2 can- 6oz- 200ml full fat coconut milk cream (use the fatty part)
Instructions:
• Add softened vegan butter to a large mixing bowl and use an electric hand mixer  to cream butter until it whips add vanilla and mix once more to combine.
• Add monkfruit sugar until well combined and fluffy.
• If too thick, add 1T at a time of the remaining coconut milk of it too thin, add 1tsp of almond flour at a time to thicken. The texture should be similar to a buttercream frosting.
• Refrigerate when done for 1 hour before spreading on cooled cake.
• Spread on cooled cake and decorate with berries, mint and the remaining lemon, sliced!
christian

Dawn Boiani-Sandberg (Then I was Dawn Fiske) getting baptized at 10 by the Bishop, Emmanuel Church, Newport, RI

When I was 9, I joined the Episcopal Church in Newport, Rhode Island. This was my own decision, as I was close friends with some kind neighbors who invited me, who would later become my godparents, who I still keep in touch with today. My parents thought it was a bit odd, as they were quintessential 80’s somewhat self absorbed “yuppies,” and not really into religion. I became very involved with the church, went to Sunday school, community events and even joined the bell choir where we’d have to come to church to practice twice a week. I felt so much love and sincere kindness from this community, and it gave me hope and solace from a rather unsavory family life.

christian

Choir Girls from Emmanuel Church, Newport RI circa 1980- That’s me third row- second to last on the right

As far back as I remember as a small child, I was always pretty religious or maybe hedging more toward spiritual. Every morning I would wake up and pray into space and thank “God” or the universe, for another day of life. It was kind of strange in retrospect because my parents didn’t really talk to me about god or religion but somehow there was this innate knowing or belief or maybe just hope- that we were connected to something vast, greater and it was intelligent and compassionate.

I felt completely at home and enriched by my connection to this Episcopalian Community. They became the center of my life. I was impressed by how sincerely kind and compassionate people were as well as socially altruistic. We would raise money to sponsor children in developing countries, have bake sales, parties, trips to the beach, talent shows- arts and crafts- volunteer for those in need-  in or out of the community; it was a full and rich life.

Later on, when I left Newport and went to boarding school in Massachusetts, I started to read about all of the world religions and go deeper into religious philosophy and introspection. That’s where I found the Tibetan Book of the Dead and that pretty much sealed my fate for the next 25 years. Tibetan Buddhism seemed to offer a very complex, detailed system of how the world was structured and a deep understanding of the human mind. It provided a yogic path of inner development- for us to actually make spiritual progress that was beyond just doctrine or faith. As soon as I could, when I was 19, I packed everything up moved to Boulder, Colorado to go to a Buddhist University, The Naropa Institute- to study meditation, Tibetan art and tantric yogic methods.

Looking for a Spiritual Path

We talked so much about benefiting the world, cultivating compassion and a bold vision of creating an enlightened society. The premise of the community was that if you developed yourself and cultivated qualities of calmness, wisdom and sharpened the skills of your human efficacy that you could actually attain enlightenment and at that point, constantly offer yourself to benefit others. We were told that we had  exceedingly fortunate lives, good karma from our past lives and that our task was to take a vow to be of service to our world. There were some heartfelt moments with one of my teachers, and some powerful experiences on retreats, and for these memories I am grateful. I followed all of their training diligently for many years, but noticed in myself and others that these qualities as promised were not emerging even though I performed all of their practices and studied.

During our covid isolation we’ve all had a lot of time to reflect on our life and what is meaningful to us. After the #Metoo movement, many organizations, religious and secular, were exposed for having unethical conduct and scandals behind the scenes, not just in Christianity, but in Buddhism too. What got exposed in our Tibetan Buddhist community worldwide, was pretty unsettling to say the least. We found out that teachers abused their roles of power and control and unquestioning trust and devotion, to take sexual liberties with their students of both genders, forced us to give money and property, swear us to secrecy under something called secret conduct, use violence regularly that’s what they called a “teaching method.” If anyone speaks out, expresses hurt, concern or doubt, they send out henchmen to silence, discredit and slander whistleblowers- basic cult and organized crime modus operandi. They collect small children as early as the age of six from families and ordain them into their monastic institutions worldwide, where children and teens are to this day, subject to daily, violent physical and sexual assault. The teachers in power all know and turn a blind eye, while they give daily talks about compassion and non-harming. That’s just a small snippet the problems with my beloved faith of refuge and solace.

Taking Care of Each Other

During the year where we were in isolation I actually caught Covid, and there were only two people from my Buddhist community of 10k, that called to check on me, offered to help or expressed any care. It reminded me of a few years ago when I was also concerned about my mom who had breast cancer and I was worried about myself too. Our main teacher here in Boulder, who we are to regard as a divine, enlightened “Buddha,” was performing a four day obstacle removing practice. I remember I was so worried about her and I reached out to my Buddhist community, the leader of a large dharma center and I asked if I could just come and practice with my teacher for an hour. They said to me curtly “the only people that are welcome are the people that are his closest students.” They have a graded, hierarchical system of who’s who, and I had little value. They couldn’t even be kind to offer any words of comfort, support and encouragement- it was just a back-handed slap, telling me that I meant nothing. I tried for years to lobby them to create healthy community, take care of each other, uphold ethics and relational resolution; but nope, they consider anyone who requests transparency and change to be “possessed by a demon or evil,” yes I’m not kidding.

The majority of the proceeds from our donations and attention are not on each other, helping the underprivileged etc. but were used to serve the teacher and uphold his royal, jetset, mansions, court lifestyle. This was the first time that I realized that this indeed, is NOT a spiritual community, they were not the spokespeople for enlightened society, they didn’t even have the basic entry level etiquette skills of human decency. My husband commented “most of your dharma friends don’t seem to be well at all, it seems like a narcissist training camp.”

I live in a town, chock filled with self-involved Buddhists who took vows of altruism, yet when in need, they don’t take care of each other if we are sick or dying. Older students who aren’t popular, noted teachers or major donors, are literally left for dead, alone.

The hurt and hypocrisy to me personally, as well as so many lives, has caused me to step back, start fresh and reevaluate what community, faith and what the religious “path” means to me. What do I need, what can really help me to grow and use this short life for something meaningful? I had to seek out religious trauma counselors and shed many tears about the hurt and betrayal of our spiritual leaders as well as the unkindness and callousness of a lot of people who I considered trusted friends. The Tibetan Buddhist community that I was involved with since 19, is falling apart now, they are hemorrhaging with a loss of funding and membership after these scandals, and this trend is global.

It’s About Kindness

So, a few months ago, out of nostalgia, longing and being community-less, I started to join some of the online zoom sessions with a local Episcopalian Church, that just happens to be right by my home. I met with their Reverend, Rev. Bruce Swinehart and he was very kind. I told them about all of my tears and woes, feelings of deep, core spiritual betrayal. This little tiny Episcopalian Church in our neighborhood raised one million dollars during our covid isolation toward building renovations. He also told me that the parish raises money to provide temporary housing to support immigrants and those seeking asylum who were stopped at the border by the Trump administration. He told me that their community is pretty tight knit, if someone in the community gets ill there’s a group of people that will check on them and bring casseroles to the family or when community members are in need. If there’s a couple struggling with their marriage or a teen in trouble, the priest meets with them for spiritual counseling. The clergy did not behave as holier than thou, inaccessible or untouchable, they want to help. What a difference between this community and my former “enlightened society!”

Here are some photos from the outdoor Sunday church, from Saint Mary Magdalene’s Episcopal Church where the bishop was there to offer communion. They sang a song about diversity and the voices of the LGBT population and talked about constant forgiveness, healing our broken hearts and world, and real love. I was moved. Everyone greeted and some hugged each other at the end. This warmth and benevolent aspiration is the magic of real human dharma.

Is my story the quintessential heroic journey where Dorothy goes on this elaborate, long, gold gilded path to encounter this fantastic giant faux authoritarian deity with magic, smoke and mirrors and then finds that everything that she needed she had already in her own backyard within her? Well no, that would be too simple and easy. I’m not willing to relinquish my investment of my 25 years in the belief system of my Buddhist tradition, one of my teachers who was always kind and some of the powerful meditation practices that I still perform today. My concern and aspiration simply pertains to community, ethics, viability and what it really means to create real love.

If you use your religion as a way to build yourself up and think that you’re superior, are arrogant, profit financially, use your tradition to sexually exploit and control others, or justify any intention or action of harm whatsoever, this is no less than the depth of human obscuration and what could be called- “evil.” Retribution and cruelty to others is not “protecting one’s faith,” hurting others, especially children is dead wrong and it doesn’t matter what you call yourself priest, monk, Catholic, Buddhist, there are universal, basic human ethical truisms.

It’s Not About The Outer Form

There’s a famous story of the Buddha’s tooth, where a woman reportedly attained enlightenment. She had so much devotion and faith that she had a relic of a dog’s tooth that she believed was from the original Buddha on her shrine and that inspired her to meditate fervently and become a compassionate person. It doesn’t matter if you are theist, non-theists, an atheist it doesn’t matter whatsoever, what outer form or methodology, practice, what doctrine you ascribed to- it comes to one thing and one thing only, are we kind? Do we treat each other with decency and respect? Do we care for each other when we are aging and ill? Do we use this life to learn and grow, be accountable for our mistakes and feel regret and vow to not harm? This is the essence of the spiritual path, the real Dharma, the real enlightened society, the real God or sacredness within. If you have a heart of kindness~ that is… everything.

Homemade Spearmint Tooth Powder

This easy to make home tooth powder makes my teeth feel very clean, white and polished! This is a modified recipe from my first peppermint tooth powder with the addition now of bentonite clay and xylitol. I love to continually perfect new recipes and the previous tooth powder cleaned well, but tended to be very salty and gritty. This this one now, is very minty and sweet and I look forward to brushing. Take all ingredients and blend them until the power is very fine, like flour and there should be little risk to enamel or gums. This recipe if used 1x a week, should last about 1/2 a year! Store in a glass container or covered container.

Ingredients:

• 1/2 c. Bentonite Clay (1 part)
• 1/2 c. Baking Soda (1 part)
• 1/4 c. Himalayan Sea Salt (1/2 part)
• 2 T Xylitol, Stevia or Monkfruit Sugar
• 2 tsp. of Spearmint Essential Oil

Directions:

Take all ingredients and blend in a blender until very, very fine, stir and blend again. Make sure that the sea salt is no longer course, it should look like course flour.

When you use it, first pour a little Hydrogen Peroxide onto your toothbrush to wet, then dip in powder and brush, brush the tongue too.

Use 1x/week as a polish and antibacterial cleanse to compliment regular daily paste brushing.

Homemade Spearmint Tooth Powder

This easy to make home tooth powder makes my teeth feel very clean, white and polished! This is a modified recipe from my first peppermint tooth powder with the addition now of bentonite clay and xylitol. I love to continually perfect new recipes and the previous tooth powder clean well, but tended to be very salty and gritty. This this one now, is very minty and sweet and I look forward to brushing. Take all ingredients and blend them until the power is very fine, like flour and there should be little risk to enamel or gums. This recipe if used 1x a week, should last about 1/2 a year! Store in a glass container or covered container.

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 c. Bentonite Clay 1 part
  • 1/2 c. Baking Soda 1 part
  • 1/4 c. Himalayan Sea Salt 1/2 part
  • 2 T Xylitol Stevia or Monkfruit Sugar
  • 2 tsp. of Spearmint Essential Oil

Instructions
 

  • Take all ingredients and blend in a blender until very, very fine, stir and blend again. Make sure that the sea salt is no longer course, it should look like course flour.
  • When you use it, first pour a little Hydrogen Peroxide onto your toothbrush to wet, then dip in powder and brush, brush the tongue too.
  • Use 1x/week as a polish and antibacterial cleanse to compliment regular daily paste brushing.

 

Organic Dairy Free Potato Salad

How To Make The VERY Best Potato Salad Recipe. The base is my grandma’s recipe and I use organic vegetables and vegan mayo- and it’s hands down the best potato salad- ever. We have our very first urban homestead herb garden this year, so the parsley is fresh from the garden! This is a perfect side dish for every summer outdoor barbecue or gathering, and now that we are vaccinated we can finally have dear friends and family over. We tried the vegetarian Beyond Burgers on the grill and they cooked up really well, add a fresh salad and some light, cool rosé wine and you have a perfect event- enjoy!

Ingredients:

3 pounds Organic Yukon Gold or Organic Russet Potatoes peeled and chopped to 3/4″ squares
1.5 cups Veganaise or Hellman’s Vegan Dressing
8 small sweet pickles chopped or 2T sweet pickle relish
2 tablespoons organic yellow mustard
5 celery stalks washed and diced
8 hard boiled eggs peeled
1/2 organic white onion diced
2 T fresh chopped parsley for garnish
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Cut the potatoes into squares and place them in a large stockpot, add 1 tablespoon salt and cook the potatoes for 15 minutes, until fork tender. Do not overcook.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl chop the eggs until fine with a hand pasty blender or two knives crossed. Add the veganaise, pickles, celery, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Stir until smooth.
  3. Once the potatoes are tender, drain and let cool.
  4. When cool, stir in the egg and veganaise mixture. Taste, then salt and pepper as needed. Garnish with parsley and paprika.
  5. Cover the potato salad and refrigerate. Serve Cold.

Dairy Free Potato Salad

Dairy Free Potato Salad

Organic Dairy Free Potato Salad

How To Make The VERY Best Potato Salad Recipe. The base is my grandma's recipe and I use organic vegetables and vegan mayo- and it's hands down the best potato salad ever. We have our very first urban homestead herb garden this year, so the parsley is fresh from the garden!

Ingredients
  

  • 3 pounds Organic Yukon Gold or Organic Russet Potatoes peeled and chopped to 3/4" squares
  • 1.5 cups Veganaise or Helleman's Vegan Dressing
  • 8 small sweet pickles chopped or 2T sweet pickle relish
  • 2 tablespoons organic yellow mustard
  • 5 celery stalks washed and diced
  • 8 hard boiled eggs peeled
  • 1/2 organic white onion diced
  • 2 T fresh chopped parsley for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Meanwhile, in a medium bowl chop the eggs until fine with a hand pasty blender or two knives crossed. Add the veganaise, pickles, celery, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Stir until smooth.
  • Once the potatoes are tender, drain and let cool.
  • When cool, stir in the egg and veganaise mixture. Taste, then salt and pepper as needed. Garnish with parsley and paprika.
  • Cover the potato salad and refrigerate. Serve Cold.

My family and I used to travel to California every year and stop in an old Spanish missionary town called San Juan Capistrano, outside of San Diego. There is the oldest and best restaurant there where I called them later and asked for their authentic fresh table-side guacamole recipe. A fresh, cooling summer treat, we just love this!

If you can ever visit this town please do, this restaurant site has been recognized as a California State Historical Landmark. The northern section was originally the home of Miguel Yorba Adobe, built in 1797. The southern half housed the Juzgado (court and jails), so it used to be a jail- and was established in 1812. Visit if you ever can, it’s an amazing cultural experience with an old Mission Church and botanical garden right next door.

http://eladobedecapistrano.com/catering/las-flores-room/

Spanish Guacamole from Mission San Juan Capistrano

Prep Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
10 mins

mexican guacamole

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 ripe organic avocados, not too mushy not too hard
  • 1/2 red onion finely chopped
  • 2 fresh jalapenos finely chopped
  • cilantro for garnish
  • 2 T of fresh squeezed lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 organic Roma tomato finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced

Instructions:

  1. Cut the avocados in 1/2 and remove the core, scoop out into a bowl
  2. Mash the avocado with a large fork or hand pastry blender
  3. Add the onion, jalapeno and tomato and gently mix well
  4. Add lime juice and salt and pepper to taste
  5. Top with cilantro and serve with organic corn chips made from real Mexican style tortillas!

authentic mexican guacamole

authentic mexican guacamole

Spanish Guacamole from Mission San Juan Capistrano

My family and I used to travel to California every year and stop in an old Spanish missionary town called San Juan Capistrano, outside of San Diego. There is the oldest and best restaurant there where I called them later and asked for their authentic fresh tableside guacamole recipe.

Ingredients
  

  • 4 ripe organic avocados not too mushy not too hard
  • 1/2 red onion finely chopped
  • 2 fresh jalapenos finely chopped
  • cilantro for garnish
  • 2 T of fresh squeezed lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 organic roma tomato finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • Instructions:
  • Peel the avocados and remove the core

Instructions
 

  • Peel the avocados and remove the core
  • Mash the avocado with a large fork or hand pastry blender
  • Add the onion, jalapeno and tomato and gently mix well
  • Add lime juice and salt and pepper to taste
  • Top with cilantro and serve with organic corn chips made from real Mexican style tortillas!

Sangchö or Lha Sang, A Tibetan Native Smoke Offering Ceremony

I was at my home in Boulder instead of my retreat home this weekend and invited an old dharma friend over to perform a traditional smoke purification ceremony, borrowed from the Tibetan Bön/ Buddhist Tradition. In traditional shamanistic culture, it’s very common to gather outside by the fire, to connect to nature, the elements and each other. The smoke is said to purify, to burn away obstacles in our lives and has a way of immediately connecting to our ancestral sacredness. We start by sitting silently and then we recite a traditional prayer composed by Dudjom Rinpoche. As the smoke billows, you imagine clearing a new path for that month, and anything you wish to let go of or create, can be part of your aspiration, and you lightly imagine that nature “listens.” We offer fresh juniper dipped in water, that I am fortunate to have plenty of growing on my property, as well as bourbon and aromatic woods. Other substances like ground barley tsampa flour are often offered as well.

We use a little backyard chiminea, that’s placed in a fire-proof simple Japanese rock garden, where I put at little pagoda too, to act like a sacred reliquary garden stupa. It’s a powerful, healing practice that you can do on special days like the full moon, equinox or solstice. Just make sure that you don’t start an uncontrolled fire on high risk days, and that your county/ city allows chimineas! We also make sure to clear any tree branches above to be safe from fire, and douse fully when we are done. I’m including the traditional smoke offering text we use, if your dharma friends want to perform their own, it’s generally “secret” but if you are connected to this tradition, this is the best text to use, you can download it here:

https://www.siddharthasintent.org/assets/pubs/RiwoSangcho.pdf

Homemade Peppermint Tooth Powder with Baking Soda and Sea Salt

This recipe was given to me by my healthful, mountain yogi friend who uses it every day. I have read that brushing with sea salt and tooth powders can damage enamel, but I found a way to use this amazing cleaning recipe safely. Take all ingredients and blend them until the power is very fine, like flour and there should be little risk to enamel or gums. I use this 1x a week rather than every day as a special cleansing paste. Some recipes call for 1 part bentonite clay powder, but this works really well without that. This recipe if used 1x a week, should last about 1/2 a year! Store in a glass container or covered container.

Ingredients:

1/2 c. Baking Soda (1 part)
1/4 c. Himalayan Sea Salt (1/2 part)
50-75 Drops of Essential Oils like: Peppermint, Spearmint, Clove, Tea-tree, Eucalyptus or Cinnamon, blends are ok!

Directions:

Take all ingredients and blend in a blender until very, very fine, stir and blend again. Make sure that the sea salt is no longer course, it should look like course flour.

When you use it, first pour a little Hydrogen Peroxide onto your toothbrush to wet, then dip in powder and brush, brush the tongue too.

Use 1x/week as a polish and antibacterial cleanse to compliment regular daily paste brushing.

 

 

An intimate photo of my teeth after the tooth powder cleanse, quite shiny and white- Proof that it works!

tooth powder

Homemade Peppermint Tooth Powder with Baking Soda and Sea Salt

This recipe was given to me by my healthful, mountain yogi friend who uses it every day. I have read that brushing with sea salt and tooth powders can damage enamel, but I found a way to use this amazing cleaning recipe safely. Take all ingredients and blend them until the power is very fine, like flour and there should be little risk to enamel or gums. I use this 1x a week rather than every day as a special cleansing paste. Some recipes call for 1 part bentonite clay powder, but this works really well without that. This recipe if used 1x a week, should last about 1/2 a year! Store in a glass container or covered container.

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 c. Baking Soda 1 part
  • 1/4 c. Himalayan Sea Salt 1/2 part
  • 50-75 Drops of Essential Oils like: Peppermint Spearmint, Clove, Tea-tree, Eucalyptus or Cinnamon, blends are ok!

Instructions
 

  • Take all ingredients and blend in a blender until very, very fine, stir and blend again. Make sure that the sea salt is no longer course, it should look like course flour.
  • When you use it, first pour a little Hydrogen Peroxide onto your toothbrush to wet, then dip in powder and brush, brush the tongue too.
  • Use 1x/week as a polish and antibacterial cleanse to compliment regular daily paste brushing.

 

 

 

I don’t have central AC in my homes, and even if so, the grid may give out for awhile so we have to prepare and stay safe from heat exhaustion or stroke – here are some great tips to stay cool during this heat wave!

1. Stay out of sun, stay in shade or indoors during high heat hours.
2. Strip down and get wet!
3. Take it easy, rest, read, during the higher heat hours.
4. Take a cold shower or bath.
5. Use Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap/scrub for colder showers.
6. Use cold washrags on your neck or wrists and heat points.
7. Stay Hydrated! Drink lots and lots of cold water.
8. Freeze bananas and berries for a cooling dessert/ snacks.
9. Use box and oscillating fans.
10. Invest in an attic or whole house fan (we did this, amazing!)
11. Close your curtains or blinds, block out sun.
12. Sleep in breathable linens and a get a cooling gel pillow.
13. Sleep in the basement or lower level if you have one.
14. Close the doors of unused rooms.
15. Strategically Angle Fans (in living space-heat in/out).
16. Install Ceiling Fans.
17. Use Some Ice and Fans to Cool Things Down.
18. Use Portable Evaporative Coolers.
19. Keep Appliances Off.
20. Prep Meals and cook in the morning, with a slow cooker or outside on a grill.

 

Copy credit in part:

Photo by murat esibatir from Pexels

KEBAB  ✓ No attribution required.

Welcome to a new, positive way of thinking about anxiety. This is a very common problem that most of us experience at some time or other in each of our lives, and it’s not a disorder, illness or psychiatric disease. Anxiety is a normal brain responding in a very common way to the experiences it has had. It is very important to understand that you are not broken and you do not have a “disorder” that has to be “fixed.” You have some brain circuits that developed outside of your conscious awareness due to certain causes and conditions, and we can calm and correct these temporary imbalances. Here are many simple to use, but holistic, whole person steps I have personally used to “reel in” anxiety when in rears-

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Six Simple Daily Steps for Happiness!

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Simple Steps to Overcome Anxiety in Our Troubled Times

If I can quote Al Gore "every day when you turn on the news, it's like a page from the Book of Revelations." If we aren't sad and anxious a bit now, there might be something dampened with our sensitivity! However, I'm living proof that the old…

Well, the first thing I’d like to say if you suspect that you may have mental illness or a personality disorder or you have gotten an official diagnosis is… don’t panic! The fact that you’re here reading articles like this or seeking therapeutic help is rare. Self awareness and treatment is invaluable for people who suffer with personality disorders and it’s a huge step forward to even begin to see that one needs help. Congratulations are in order! I do not purport to be a psychologist, I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology and have worked as a mental health counselor and wellness coach. More than training, I have been the recipient of narcissistic abuse for the good part of my life from my primary relationships. As a survivor and hopeful thriver, I have a lot of first hand experience with the dynamics of relational abuse and have encountered many modalities for healing, that I’d like to share.

Compassion for All

A lot of the self-help books and trainings and even therapists are geared toward helping the people who are the recipients of abuse. However, I’m finding that there’s not a whole lot out there to help people if they find out that they themselves have a personality disorder. Many professionals and online forums consider people who are narcissists, or people to suffer from antisocial personality disorder (psychopathy) to be wholly evil, predatory and conscienceless. Many therapists refuse to work with deeply rooted untreated personality disorders like borderline as the borderline can be emotionally manipulative and harmful, even to the therapist. They talk at great length about cutting people out, no contact, boundaries from “toxic people” and how to walk away.

One of my Buddhist teachers in contrast said, the people that are unwell, hurt, angry and reactive are the ones that need our love the most. I still love the disordered person that is in my family, I know they will never seek treatment. Yet, I see their past, their trauma that caused them to become like this: reactive, rageful and never, ever admitting fault, it’s always everyone else’s issue and they are the poor victims of mistreatment. Inside, they are broken, hollow and alone. Education is the key, for me to be able to create a safe environment to be around this family member. What they had to endure just being them, is enough “punishment” for their lifelong and continuous hurt to me. I’m grateful actually, to have been raised by a full spectrum narcissist and then to seek out a spiritual community headed by someone with a similar psychological profile. I admittedly struggle with being a wounded healer, codependency and care-taking as the fallout of my upbringing. However, they say “take it to the path,” the pain, many tears and years of therapeutic and healing modalities has I hope, caused me to grow and love even more deeply.

There is Hope

I would like to offer a different perspective on how people with personality disorders came to be and feel that if they were to ever seek help, no one is beyond redemption. I believe that no human being, even hardened criminals, even if they go so far as to identify as a predator, abusers who uphold the persona of the “wolf in sheep clothing” con men, gang members, people in political power, people that hold trusted roles as spiritual leaders but are exploitative and use people to glean sex, money, power, control and narcissistic supply, could not be treated and learn to uncover their innate dormant conscience and no longer harm others.

If the disorders that we experience come from: early childhood physical or sexual abuse, neglect, bullying, loss of a parent, growing up with a lot of intensity or trauma, then in order to survive, the child learns to dissociate and protect the vulnerable part of them from being hurt. As they age they perceive people who love them as people who are going to hurt them, a myriad of maladaptive, reactive, controlling or dissociated behaviors can ensue. Experts say often that the age that the abuse started is the age where the person stopped developing emotionally. Often you have people that are adults on the outside but yet broken, the “walking wounded” on the inside. This is not evil, this is sad, and we must safely help each other as much as we can, both “victim and perpetrator” in this hard and fragile life.

This organization, The Compassion Prison Project does a lot of work to help us all to be “trauma informed,” having compassion for unfortunate people that come from trauma and abuse that results in committing crimes. The project offers ways for us all to understand and heal, rather than mere punishment of doing years of time. I myself, used to volunteer in prisons and saw large, muscled, grown men, with tattoos, seemingly hardened, cry and express real regret. These images stay indelibly, with me.

Indeed, some people are born with neurological deficits which are the constructs of antisocial personality disorder, the traditional psychopaths or sociopaths. These are traditionally defined as people that are not capable of feeling real love, compassion, empathy or having any conscience. The statistics are staggering- 1 in 20 people are considered to be on the spectrum of antisocial personality disorder so there’s a very good chance that each of us encountered someone like this in our lives or… maybe ourselves? If you have been diagnosed with a personality disorder and you’re trying to seek help you are not too far gone to be considered un-treatable, then it’s time to take this very seriously and begin the process of self-awareness and healing right away as to not hurt yourself or others any more. The pain of living with untreated personality disorders can create a lonely and hollow life for the person that suffers from this and the impact on people’s family and social relationships can be devastating.

If you suspect you may have a personality disorder, first and foremost, I would adopt this mantra-

“I am a good person but through this illness, I have hurt myself and many people. I am so proud that now, I’m brave enough to see it, and will diligently seek help. I know I can get better and stop these negative recurring patterns. I will someday become a loving, healed and helpful person.”

Here are some helpful steps as to how to get treated:

 

 

  • If your doctor or therapist suggest medication take it diligently.

 

  • If you have problems with alcohol or substance abuse, go to detox, often covered by insurance and then join a supportive 12 Step Community.

 

  • Consider consulting with a Functional Medicine Doctor, there are many powerful OTC supplements that can help.

 

 

  • Journal– Make an extensive list about every single thing you have done to hurt others in your whole life prior to treatment and if possible, contact all of them to apologize, even if it has been decades.

 

  • Real Self Love– Forgive yourself for any harm you have done by acting out of the untreated personality disorder or mental illness.

 

  • Self Energy Work– Learn how to do reiki healings, EFT tapping or self care acupressure like Jinshin-jitsu, take regular warm baths, support, cradle and re-parent a taxed, damaged nervous and adrenal system.

 

  • Seek Emergency or therapeutic help if you uncover memories that are too painful or encounter any mental or emotional state that’s too much to handle alone, or if you have any desire to harm yourself or others.

 

  • As you get stronger and better and are in treatment, if you have committed crimes, you may choose to work with your counselor and contact a lawyer and turn yourself in and explain that you were mentally ill when committing them, and plea for a lesser sentence or a mental illness waiving of sentencing.

 

  • Make sure that you follow the law, always, there are no exceptions or special permissions for you. If you belong to a rebellious group of friends or religion that gives you special permissions to break the law and harm others, leave any unhealthy culture or organization that supports and enables disordered thinking.

 

  • Vow to be mindful of your body, speech and mind, notice if there’s a tendency to feel hurt, reactive rageful and when you notice this come up, take a deep calming abdominal breath, feel your body, look at the other person with kindness and start again.

 

  • A well balanced nutritive diet, daily exercise and sunlight are the basics of any human mind-body-spirit health!

 

  • Contrary to popular thought, I do not recommend meditation, solitary retreat, withdrawal or solitude for long periods of time or any high yogic practices until you have been treated and are stable and psychologically healthy.

 

  • Self Talk– believe that each day is new, each day is a new you, full of potential and renewed!

There is no shame in being diagnosed with any type of depression, bi-polar personality disorder or mental illness. (!) The statistics for us all collectively suffering after the past few years with the disasters, pandemic, loss of life, isolation and economy are all pervasive. I know it’s easier to be in denial, project and blame others, that’s how personality disorders keep their stronghold on those who suffer, but I trust that somewhere, people know when they are unwell and need help. We must remove the mental health stigma, get whatever help needed, to create the best life for ourselves. I love the mantra:

Hurt People Hurt People, Healed People Heal People

Taking steps toward our personal inner health- mind-body-spirit becomes the building blocks of a healthier society, families and spans into the next generations. There are so many amazing powerful and transformative healing resources out there. We can bring light to our shadow, and admit if we are in pain and we’ve hurt others and need help. We can take whatever steps we can to become the best, most healed people we can be! As long as we are still here, with faculties intact, there is always… hope.

Disclaimer

Disclaimer and Emergency Information

 

Disclaimer: Please do not use these articles as a way to diagnose yourself or others. These articles are for educational purposes and they are links, reposts and personal opinions of the author. If you relate to any content, we have a list of hotlines below that you or a loved one can use to seek help for abuse, trauma or mental health issues. Some content can cause “triggers” as sensitive content is discussed.

Resources: National Child Abuse Hotline (US and Canada): 800-4-A-CHILD (800-422-4453)

National Domestic Abuse Hotline: 800-799-SAFE (800-799-7233) TTY: 800-787-3224 Video Phone for Deaf Callers: 206-518-9361

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) TTY: 800-799-4TTY (800-799-4889)

Crisis Text Line: Text HELLO to 741741 (US and Canada) or 85258 (UK) National Runaway Switchboard: 800-RUNAWAY (800-786-2929)

CODA https://coda.org/

 

https://www.pexels.com/photo/fashion-woman-notebook-pen-34072/

Photo by Alex Green from Pexels

Dawn Sandberg added 14 new photos — with John Horner and Greg Smith at The Great Stupa Of Dharmakaya.

We had a magnificent visit to see the stupa at Shambhala Mountain Center yesterday in Colorado, who’s land was burned in the fires last year.  It was both hopeful and poignant to be there, fire and flowers. I spent over 2 years on that land and want to preserve it at all costs, and hope that all will heal well in the community over time. Please notice, the Kami Shrine, a temple built to honor the Shinto Sun Goddess Amaterasu, the fire burned close by on either side, her shrine all wooden, remained unscathed!

poblano pepper soup

Aztec Poblano Pepper Soup

Vegetarian Mexican Roasted Poblano Pepper and Jalapeno Soup

I used to visit Mexico every year and found this perfect, spicy, flavorful and hearty soup recipe. It’s reminiscent of ancient Mexico, and when I make it, I’m back there again, surrounded by colorful stone handcrafted architecture, woven bright textiles, drying peppers and sunshine. Some recipes call for the peppers to be skinned, but I always leave skins on, and the soup comes out really well.

Servings: 6

Ingredients:

  • 10 poblano peppers, medium
  • 5 jalapeno peppers
  • 1 large white onion peeled and chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro, reserve some for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup of 1/2 and 1/2
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 50 oz- 1 and 1/2 cartons of vegetable broth
  • 14 ounces Mexican melting queso or monterey jack cheese
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 c organic flour
  • 2T honey
  • 1 stick of vegan or regular butter
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

 

Instructions:

  1. Slice all peppers in 1/2 and remove seeds and stem.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  3. Roast Peppers on baking sheet until the skins starts to bubble, about 15 minutes.
  4. In a large stockpot, saute onions, garlic, cumin and salt in butter, then add vegetable stock.
  5. Add roasted peppers when they are ready and bring all to a boil.
  6. Whisk in crumbled cheese, 1/2 and 1/2, corn starch and flour, simmer for about 15 minutes.
  7. Blend all in a blender in sections and pour back into stockpot, reheat, top with cilantro and serve warm, with crusty bread and a fresh salad!

poblano pepper soup

poblano pepper soup

Aztec Poblano Pepper Soup

Vegetarian Mexican Roasted Poblano Pepper and Jalapeno Soup I used to visit Mexico every year and found this perfect, spicy, flavorful and hearty soup recipe. It's reminiscent of ancient Mexico, and when I make it, I'm back there again, surrounded by colorful stone handcrafted architecture, woven bright textiles, drying peppers and sunshine. Some recipes call for the peppers to be skinned, but I always leave skins on, and the soup comes out really well.

Ingredients
  

  • 10 poblano peppers medium
  • 5 jalapeno peppers
  • 1 large white onion peeled and chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro reserve some for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 50 oz 1 and 1/2 boxes of vegetable broth
  • 14 ounces Mexican Melting Queso or Monterey Jack
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 c organic flour
  • 2 T honey
  • 1 stick of vegan or regular butter
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 c 1/2 and 1/2

Instructions
 

  • Slice all peppers in 1/2 and remove seeds and stem.
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  • Roast Peppers on baking sheet until the skins starts to bubble, about 15 minutes.
  • In a large stockpot, saute onions, garlic, cumin and salt in butter, then add vegetable stock.
  • Add roasted peppers when they are ready and bring all to a boil.
  • Whisk in crumbled cheese, 1/2 and 1/2, corn starch and flour, simmer for about 15 minutes.
  • Blend all in a blender in sections and pour back into stockpot, reheat, top with cilantro and serve warm, with crusty bread and a fresh salad!

Notes

Servings: 6
Photo by Alex Azabache from Pexels

Healthy Vegetable Lasagna with Zucchini and Ricotta

This is a veggie lasagna recipe, with ingredients sourced from Trader Joes, but any store with has no-prep lasagna noodles like Barilla and organic veggies will do! This lasagna is very quick, easy to assemble and it’s a family staple, and best when we can source tomatoes, basil and zucchini from the garden! The only pre-prep is to steam the broccoli and zucchini, and a quick blend with a blender or food processor.

This recipe takes many shortcuts, (pardon the non-zero waste prepackaging)- we use no-boil lasagna sheet noodles, prepared tomato sauce, ricotta, cottage cheese, and prepackaged shredded mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. All the ingredients go straight into the baking pan.

Ingredients:

• 1 (16 oz) box No Boil Lasagna Noodles
• 1 jar Tomato or Marinara Sauce (26 oz.)
• 1/2 head of broccoli, steamed, drained and chopped -or-
• 1 (16 oz) bag frozen chopped spinach, thawed or fresh, lightly chopped
• 2 small green zucchinis steamed, drained and sliced
• 16 oz shredded mozzarella
• 1 (16 oz) container Fresh Whole Milk Ricotta
• 1 (16 oz) container Small Curd Cottage Cheese
• 1 (12 oz bag) of shredded Parmesan cheese and a sprinkling of grated.
•  Fresh Basil garnish or dried Italian seasoning (optional)

 

Instructions:

• Preheat oven to 350° degrees F.
• Steam and chop the broccoli, and slice and steam the zucchini.
• Blend the steamed broccoli (or fresh or frozen thawed and drained spinach) and a blender or food processor.
• Stir broccoli or spinach into ricotta in a bowl with 1/4 t salt.
• Cover the bottom of an 8×12-inch or 9×13-inch baking dish with 1/2 cup tomato sauce or marinara.
• Put down one layer of noodles (I use 3 and 1/2 noodles for each layer).
• Spread the ricotta and broccoli on the noodles.
• Place another layer of noodles and sauce and mozzarella cheese.
• Spread container of ricotta cheese.
• Top with another layer of zucchini and Parmesan then a top layer of noodles, remaining sauce, and a dense layer of remaining mozzarella and Parmesan.
• Bake for about 50 minutes, until top is bubbling and melted. Top with basil or Italian seasoning. Let lasagna cool for a few minutes before serving.

Garnish with basil, and enjoy! Serves 6.

Vegetable-Lasagna

 

 

veggie-lasagna

 

trader-joes-lasagna

Healthy Vegetable Lasagna with Zucchini and Ricotta

This is a veggie lasagna recipe, with ingredients sourced from Trader Joes, but any store with has no-prep lasagna noodles like Barilla and organic veggies will do! This lasagna is very quick easy to assemble and it’s a family staple, and best when we can source tomatoes, basil and zucchini from the garden! The only pre-prep is to steam the broccoli and zucchini, and a quick blend with a blender or food processor.This recipe takes many shortcuts, (pardon the non-zero waste prepackaging)- we use no-boil lasagna sheet noodles, prepared tomato sauce, ricotta, cottage cheese, and prepackaged shredded mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. All the ingredients go straight into the baking pan.

Equipment

  • blender or food processor

Ingredients
  

  • 1 16 oz box No Boil Lasagna Noodles
  • 1 jar Tomato or Marinara Sauce 26 oz.
  • 1/2 head of broccoli steamed, drained and chopped -or-
  • 1 16 oz bag frozen chopped spinach, thawed or fresh, lightly chopped
  • 2 small green zucchinis steamed drained and sliced
  • 16 oz shredded mozzarella
  • 1 16 oz container Fresh Whole Milk Ricotta
  • 1 16 oz container Small Curd Cottage Cheese
  • 1 12 oz bag of shredded Parmesan cheese and a sprinkling of grated.
  • Fresh Basil garnish optional

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350° degrees F.
  • Steam and chop the broccoli, and slice and steam the zucchini.
  • Blend the steamed broccoli (or fresh or frozen thawed and drained spinach) and a blender or food processor.
  • Stir broccoli or spinach into ricotta in a bowl with 1/4 t salt.
  • Cover the bottom of an 8×12-inch or 9×13-inch baking dish with 1/2 cup tomato sauce or marinara.
  • Put down one layer of noodles (I use 3 and 1/2 noodles for each layer).
  • Spread the ricotta and broccoli on the noodles.
  • Place another layer of noodles and sauce and mozzarella cheese.
  • Spread container of ricotta cheese.
  • Top with another layer of zucchini and Parmesan then a top layer of noodles, remaining sauce, and a dense layer of remaining mozzarella and Parmesan.
  • Bake for about 50 minutes, until top is bubbling and melted. Let lasagna cool for a few minutes before serving.

Notes

Garnish with basil, and enjoy! Serves 6.

Photo by Anna Guerrero from Pexels

chai oatmeal

 

Chai Spiced Multigrain Oatmeal

A friend’s German grandfather lived until 102 and he ate warm oatmeal every morning. I like oats with a 7-Grain Cereal and whey power for added protein. A serving of this stick-to-your-ribs cereal is packed full of everything you need for an energizing morning. Our chai oatmeal is high in flax, fiber and protein, and rich in vitamins and minerals. Add any toppings, milk or sweetener you want, or enjoy plain with a simple austerity.

Ingredients:

  1. 1/4 c. Multigrain Hot Cereal
  2. 1/4 c. organic rolled oats
  3. 1 T. whey powder (optional)
  4. 1/2 t. cinnamon
  5. 1/2 t. cardamon
  6. pinch of salt

optional toppings: butter, bananas, raisins, nuts, berries, honey, oat or your preferred milk

Instructions:

• Bring 2 cups of salted water or your preferred milk to a boil.
• Add oats and multigrain cereal mix to water, stir.
• Turn off heat but keep pan on burner, covered.
• Let sit, until water is absorbed and grains are soft; about 10 minutes.
• Finish with your favorite toppings.

Serves 2

 

chai oatmeal

Chai Spiced Multigrain Oatmeal

A friend's German grandfather lived until 102 and he ate oatmeal every morning. I like oats with a 7-Grain Cereal and whey power for added protein. A serving of this stick-to-your-ribs cereal is packed full of everything you need for a energizing morning. Our chai oatmeal is high in flax, fiber and protein, and rich in vitamins and minerals. Add any toppings, milk or sweetener you want, or enjoy with a simple austerity.

Equipment

  • optional toppings: butter, bananas, raisins, nuts, berries, honey, oat or your preferred milk

Ingredients
  

  • 1/4 c. Multigrain Hot Cereal
  • 1/4 c. organic rolled oats
  • 1 T. whey powder optional
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. cardamon
  • pinch of salt

Instructions
 

  • Bring 2 cups of salted water or your preferred milk to a boil.
  • Add oats and multigrain cereal mix to water, stir.
  • Turn off heat but keep pan on burner, covered.
  • Let sit, until water is absorbed and grains are soft; about 10 minutes.
  • Finish with your favorite toppings.

Notes

Serves 2

date truffles

Healthy Chocolate Date Truffles

These naturally sweet treats are… AMAZING! It seems like you can blend up whatever sweets and nuts you have around the house as long as the texture can be rolled into a ball and mixed with cocoa powder, leave them in fridge overnight to set. These are just as good, sweet, chocolaty and decadent as any real truffle!

Ingredients:

• 25 Medjool dates, pitted and soaked in warm water for 10 minutes
• 4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
• 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1 cup almond meal
• 1/2 cup of: peanuts, pecans, hazelnuts or sunflower seeds
• 1/2 cup of coconut oil
• Coatings: cocoa powder, shredded coconut, crushed hazelnuts or any other crushed nut

Instructions:

1. First soak dates them in warm to hot water for 15 minutes and then drain before putting into the food processor or quality large blade blender.
2. Put all of the above ingredients into the blender or food processor, blend slowly, and stop intermittently to ensure mixing until a thick oily “dough” ball is formed. You will have to scrape down the sides of the blender/food processor a few times to get all of the dry ingredients, or add a tad of water if it won’t blend. Once a dough is formed, scoop the dough (about 1 Tablespoon each) and roll into a smooth ball with your hands.
3. Roll into cocoa powder, coconut, and hazelnuts by spreading ingredients onto a plate and roll the moist dough balls around in a circle to fully cover. You can serve immediately, but they are best if refrigerated overnight. Store truffles in the refrigerator, they can keep up to a week.

healthy date balls

date truffles

Healthy Chocolate Date Truffles

These naturally sweet treats are… AMAZING! It seems like you can blend up whatever sweets and nuts you have around the house as long as the texture can be rolled into a ball and mixed with cocoa powder, leave them in fridge overnight to set. These are just as good, sweet, chocolaty and decadent as any real truffle!

Ingredients
  

  • 25 Medjool dates pitted and soaked in warm water for 10 minutes
  • 4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup peanuts pecans hazelnuts or sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup of coconut oil
  • Coatings: cocoa powder shredded coconut, crushed hazelnuts or any other crushed nut

Instructions
 

  • First soak dates them in warm water for 15 minutes and then drain before putting into the food processor or quality large blade blender.
  • Put all of the above ingredients into the blender or food processor, blend slowly, and stop intermittently to ensure mixing until a thick oily “dough” ball is formed. You will have to scrape down the sides of the blender/food processor a few times to get all of the dry ingredients, or add a tad of water if it won’t blend. Once a dough is formed, scoop the dough (about 1 Tablespoon each) and roll into a smooth ball with your hands.
  • Roll into cocoa powder, coconut, and hazelnuts by spreading ingredients onto a plate and roll the moist dough balls around in a circle to fully cover. You can serve immediately, but they are best if refrigerated overnight. Store truffles in the refrigerator, they can keep up to a week.

I found that Traditional Chinese Medicine was very effective in treating my severe case of Covid 19, very quickly. They have many ancient, proven effective herbs and remedies that act as an anti-virulence, as well as ones that target and strengthen certain organs and organ efficacy like lung function. Here is my personal experience and what helped, and in no way am I offering any professional medical advice, please always consult medical experts.

I went in for my first Pfizer vaccine, but my daughter had tested positive for Covid 19 a week before. I left the house when we were first diagnosed and went to a hotel suite alone, as to not catch it, as I was at higher risk than my husband as he is a few years younger. Sure enough, I started to get sicker and sicker and you may guess, after a year of vigilant quarantining, masks, Purell and social distancing, I was… Covid-19 positive.

Variants- A Warning from the Health Department

Everyone who tests positive for Covid 19 gets a call from the Public Health Dept. in Colorado for contact tracing and quarantine purposes. The counselor said part of why we are seeing a slight uptick with Covid cases on the rise in certain areas, is the new P.1 variant strain, which I did not have, thankfully. She was so sorry to report that even people who are fully vaccinated can get this (since like any annual flu shot, vaccines help to prevent, but these have only a 90% effective rate) or unvaccinated people who had Covid before might even get reinfected. What? I thought.

People are relaxing now with a false confidence when indeed we should not completely, as we see second waves worldwide. However, our national vaccine success helps to mitigate that possibility as long as we keep taking them and not be so afraid of the exceedingly rare side effects. I know it’s one dire thing after another these days, and we all wish it were different, but I beg everyone to remain super vigilant in public places for awhile longer and please please please, GET VACCINATED!!!! You do not want this virus, I barely survived it, even with no underlying condition!

To the Hospital after Fainting

I came home and my husband created a sealed quarantine room in the house. We sealed the room completely with tape and tarps torn from black contractor/ leaf bags so my husband would not become infected. We had a Hepa filter fan in the room and turned off the whole house fan as to not circulate the aerosols of the virus. I did not leave the room for any circumstance whatsoever and gratefully had an attached bath, windows with sunlight, a roof to sunbathe and a hot water heating element teapot. I had found an urgent vaccine appointment for my husband a few days before I returned home. I started to cough so hard that I was getting a mild concussion, and pushing on my pelvic floor, miserable. My fever was steady at about 101-102. I was very tired and my lungs were filling up quickly with congestion. I could not eat, barely sleep and had these coughing bouts, whooping and dizzying. My resting pulse ranged between 98-121, tachycardia, and I felt like it was a fight for each and every welcome breath. Even binge watching 57 hours of Downton Abbey and feeble attempts to meditate provided no solace.  At times, indeed I thought I might not make it, really- and had to fight for hope, for my very life.

Dawn in the hospital bed with an EEG test.

Do Not Suppress Cough or Mild Fever!

I went to the ER one morning after I nearly fainted, I began to not see or hear and almost called for an ambulance. It is only day 4 of my fever and symptoms. They did a CAT scan to rule out a blood clot, yet saw covid pneumonia in one of my lower lung lobes, with a “webbing” of infection spreading which can be fatal. My oxygen was at 90, BP ok, so they sent me home to recover. They gave me a breathing spirometer to increase lung capacity that I was supposed to take 10 deep breaths every hour. This was very powerful as the nurse said that it “pops” the infected nodes in the lungs and can prevent fatality. They did rule out anything really dangerous but was there for an hour and 1/2 in Boulder and the bill was over 18 thousand dollars! This is why we must cap medical costs, have transparency and not a for-profit system, criminal! The saline drip costs about $1.40 a bag and they billed me $1,187. Now my insurance paid most of this for me, but still, we need a not-for-profit system. I am however grateful to have access to privileged medical care, and would only wish for that same access to everyone, worldwide.

I bought a finger based O2 and pulse monitor to check every hour, and was told to return if my O2 got below 88 where we live at higher altitude.

I called the CDC and a tele-health nurse, and they told me to *allow the coughing and slight fever!*

If you think about it, what are the two ways that the body has any chance of successfully fighting viral pneumonia? That would be a fever and the ability to cough out and expel any type of infection in the lungs. This made complete sense to me so I decided to not take any cough suppressant, cough drops, Mucinex or fever reducer if my fever stayed under 103. I did find these powerful TheraBreath Zinc lozenges since Covid drys your whole respiratory system out. I wonder if so many people are dying because they try to suppress symptoms and go against the body’s own healing attempts, taking too much OTC medicine and lay flat where the pneumonia can take over?

Every other night I would break down and take two baby aspirin or some acetaminophen to get to sleep but never any ibuprofen because there have been a lot of fatalities with that particular medicine, and it’s never used in our home. There have been some studies that aspirin helps to mitigate severe symptoms and prevents blood clots. I’d have intense night sweats, altering from cold to hot and it was impossible to get comfortable and feel ok. I did prop some pillows up or sleep “prone” on the belly and that worked. I tried to connect and listen to my body I could actually feel the congestion in certain areas by consciously trying to move/ cough up lung congestion to help my immune system and its recovery. When I could I got up and walked around, and did some light yoga and some postural drainage. I took steam baths with a towel over the head, with Vicks or Thieves (eucalyptus, clove oil) and had a steam humidifier going on full blast in the room 24/7. I rubbed tiger balm on my chest, but could not smell a thing! I drank plenty of water, tons, diluted fruit juices and steaming ginger tea with honey every couple hours.  I forced myself to eat healthy foods that my husband prepared to rebuild my strength, and we even had Meals on Wheels come for a few days!

Traditional Chinese Medicine

I contacted a very well noted and respected acupuncturist, Doctor of Oriental medicine, Dr. Jake Fratkin, who has been perfecting a tested Covid formula from China for over a year and did a Zoom tele-medicine call. He prescribed these three tinctures, with a foundation of Minor Buplerum or Xiao Chai Hu Tang. The night, actually the hour where I started on this protocol along with Vitamin C, D, Zinc a food based multivitamin and amino acids, I began to recover, and did so very quickly thereafter. When I was feeling better, I’d go out of the window onto the rooftop and sunbathe, the fresh oxygenated air did wonders! It took about 8 full days to recover with no remaining fever, some cough remained for another week, but I stayed inside under the strictest of home quarantine for 10. My husband helped me with postural drainage and gently beating my back called percussion.  My husband did not get Covid, thankfully. I think it is amazing that TCM has so many protocols for anti-virulence!

 

 

Covid Fast Remedy Checklist

 

Here is my personal Covid checklist if God forbid anyone in my family gets this again:

  • Vitamin D, C, Zinc, Multivitamin, Amino Acids and if prescribed by a TCM Doctor, Chinese anti-virulence herbs
  • Diluted fruit juices, green juices like Kale and Cucumber fresh nutritive foods like soups, broth, protein, vegetables and watery fruit like kiwi and oranges
  • TheraBreath Zinc lozenges
  • Fresh or Powdered Ginger Tea with Honey, nonstop
  • Vics Vapo Rub, Tiger Balm or Eucalyptus based Essential Oils like Thieves (I make it myself) that they used during the Black Plague
  • A Neti Pot to moisten and clear nasal passages
  • A Room Humidifier
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and Baby Aspirin
  • A Spirometer
  • An O2 and pulse monitor

 

Wellness wishes to all, I’m 98% recovered, and it’s been just over a month. Some reduced lung capacity and tiredness and some slight paresthesia, as covid can have odd residual effects, but indeed, I’m so very grateful to have overcome it and happy to be alive.  I have my second vaccine on Saturday and will take it without hesitation. My heart to all of the many lives lost and their families, the unbearable anguish of our time. Please everyone still stay safe, and moreso, please make every moment meaningful- love well, live with integrity and joy with such a magical, fleeting, colorful and beautiful world we have. ♥️

 

quinoa egg muffins

Quinoa Crust-less Quiche Tarts

About Quinoa:

Quinoa “grain” originated in the Andean region of northwestern South America and is a protein, dietary fiber, B vitamin rich plant from the amaranth family, that is actually an edible seed.

I raise urban hens and in the spring, they are laying now so many eggs, daily, more than we can eat. We give a dozen away per week to friends. It’s been great to craft so many high protein, vegetarian dishes, with some ingredients from our proud backyard homesteading!  (Read: The Backyard Homestead: Produce all the food you need on just a quarter acre.)

Medifast, Optavia and Weight Watcher’s Approved!

Our Quiche Tart “Muffins” are packed full of healthy ingredients like protein-rich quinoa, vegetables, and eggs. They’re Weight Watcher’s approved at 2 Points per tart, or as an Optavia fueling at slightly under 100 calories per muffin.

Quinoa Crust-less Quiche Tarts

Ingredients:

• 6 large eggs
• 2 cups of cooked organic quinoa
• 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese
• 1/2 teaspoon table salt
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
• 1/6 teaspoon (sprinkle) of cayenne pepper
• 1 ounce of chopped spinach
• 4 sliced Portobello mushrooms
• 1 large diced tomato or red pepper

Instructions:

• Set oven to 400 degrees.
• Boil 1 and 1/2 cups of quinoa= 2 cups cooked.
• Chop and dice all vegetables.
• Lightly coat a non-stick 12 muffin pan with non-stick olive oil spray.
• Crack eggs into a medium sized mixing bowl and whisk with an egg beater.
• Add cooked quinoa, cheese and stir all ingredients to combine.
• Pour quiche mixture evenly into muffin pan, filling each well about 2/3rds of the way.
• Place pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until tarts puff up.
• Remove pan from oven and allow quiche tarts to cool in pan for 2-3 minutes, carefully remove with a large spoon.

quinoa muffin

quinoa muffin

Quinoa Crust-less Quiche Tarts

About Quinoa: Quinoa "grain" originated in the Andean region of northwestern South America and is a protein, dietary fiber, B vitamin rich plant from the amaranth family, that is actually an edible seed. Medifast, Optavia and Weight Watcher’s Approved! Our Quiche Tart "Muffins" are packed full of healthy ingredients like protein-rich quinoa, vegetables, and eggs. They’re Weight Watcher’s approved at 2 Points per tart, or as an Optavia fueling at slightly under 100 calories per muffin.

Ingredients
  

  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 cups of cooked organic quinoa
  • 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/6 teaspoon sprinkle of cayenne pepper
  • 1 ounce of chopped spinach
  • 4 sliced Portobello mushrooms
  • 1 large diced tomato or red pepper

Instructions
 

  • Set oven to 400 degrees.
  • Boil 1 and 1/2 cups of quinoa= 2 cups cooked.
  • Chop and dice all vegetables.
  • Lightly coat a non-stick 12 muffin pan with non-stick olive oil spray.
  • Crack eggs into a medium sized mixing bowl and whisk with an egg beater.
  • Add cooked quinoa, cheese and stir all ingredients to combine.
  • Pour quiche mixture evenly into muffin pan, filling each well about 2/3rds of the way.
  • Place pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until tarts puff up.
  • Remove pan from oven and allow quiche tarts to cool in pan for 2-3 minutes, carefully remove with a large spoon.

Vegetarian Blue Cheese Soufflé with Non-dairy or Dairy Options

Ingredients:

• 4 tablespoons vegan butter
• 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan/vegan Parmesan cheese
• 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour or soy flour
• 1 1/2 cups soy or oat milk
• 3/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
• 6 ounces fresh chopped organic spinach
• 6 oz chopped baby portobello mushrooms
• 8 large free range eggs, separated
• 8 ounces crumbled blue/vegan blue, Roquefort or Gorgonzola cheese
• 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

Blue Cheese Souffle

Directions:

• Preheat the oven to 400° and brush bunt cake pan with butter.

• In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of vegan butter. Whisk in the flour and cook over moderate heat for 1 minute. Whisk in the soy milk and cook over moderately low heat until smooth and very thick, about 2 minutes. Stir in the salt and cayenne. Turn off the heat, whisk in the egg yolks, cool slightly. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the blue cheese, spinach and mushrooms.

• In another large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites with the cornstarch at medium-high speed until frothy. Increase the speed to high and beat until firm peaks form. With a rubber spatula, gently fold these whipped egg whites into the remaining mixture.

• Spoon the soufflé mixture into pan. Bake until the soufflé is puffy and golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Serve immediately, as indeed even the best soufflés do flatten as they cool!

Blue Cheese Souffle

Blue Cheese Souffle

Vegetarian Blue Cheese Soufflé with Vegan or Dairy Options

Ingredients
  

  • 4 tablespoons vegan butter
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan/vegan Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour or soy flour
  • 1 1/2 cups soy or oat milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 6 ounces fresh chopped organic spinach
  • 6 oz chopped baby portobello mushrooms
  • 8 large free range eggs separated
  • 8 ounces crumbled blue/vegan blue Roquefort or Gorgonzola cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 400° and brush bunt cake pan with butter.
  • In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of vegan butter. Whisk in the flour and cook over moderate heat for 1 minute. Whisk in the soy milk and cook over moderately low heat until smooth and very thick, about 2 minutes. Stir in the salt and cayenne. Turn off the heat, whisk in the egg yolks, cool slightly. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the blue cheese, spinach and mushrooms.
  • In another large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites with the cornstarch at medium-high speed until frothy. Increase the speed to high and beat until firm peaks form. With a rubber spatula, gently fold these whipped egg whites into the remaining mixture.
  • Spoon the soufflé mixture into pan. Bake until the soufflé is puffy and golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Serve immediately, as indeed even the best soufflés do flatten as they cool!

 

“Let go of people who are not prepared to love you. This is the hardest thing you will have to do in your life and it will also be the most important thing. Stop having hard conversations with people who don’t want change.
Stop showing up for people who have no interest in your presence. I know your instinct is to do everything to earn the appreciation of those around you, but it’s a boost that steals your time, energy, mental and physical health.

 

When you begin to fight for a life with joy, interest and commitment, not everyone will be ready to follow you in this place. This doesn’t mean you need to change what you are, it means you should let go of the people who aren’t ready to accompany you.
If you are excluded, insulted, forgotten or ignored by the people you give your time to, you don’t do yourself a favor by continuing to offer your energy and your life. The truth is that you are not for everyone and not everyone is for you.
That’s what makes it so special when you meet people who reciprocate love. You will know how precious you are.

 

The more time you spend trying to make yourself loved by someone who is unable to, the more time you waste depriving yourself of the possibility of this connection to someone else.
There are billions of people on this planet and many of them will meet with you at your level of interest and commitment.

 

The more you stay involved with people who use you as a pillow, a background option or a therapist for emotional healing, the longer you stay away from the community you want.
Maybe if you stop showing up, you won’t be wanted. Maybe if you stop trying, the relationship will end. Maybe if you stop texting your phone will stay dark for weeks. That doesn’t mean you ruined the relationship, it means the only thing holding it back was the energy that only you gave to keep it. This is not love, it’s attachment. It’s wanting to give a chance to those who don’t deserve it. You deserve so much, there are people who should not be in your life.
The most valuable thing you have in your life is your time and energy, and both are limited. When you give your time and energy, it will define your existence.

 

When you realize this, you begin to understand why you are so anxious when you spend time with people, in activities, places or situations that don’t suit you and shouldn’t be around you, your energy is stolen.
You will begin to realize that the most important thing you can do for yourself and for everyone around you is to protect your energy more fiercely than anything else. Make your life a safe haven, in which only ′′compatible′′ people are allowed.
You are not responsible for saving anyone. You are not responsible for convincing them to improve. It’s not your work to exist for people and give your life to them! If you feel bad, if you feel compelled, you will be the root of all your problems, fearing that they will not return the favours you have granted. It’s your only obligation to realize that you are the love of your destiny and accept the love you deserve.

 

Decide that you deserve true friendship, commitment, true and complete love with healthy and prosperous people. Then wait and see how much everything begins to change. Don’t waste time with people who are not worth it. Change will give you the love, the esteem, happiness and the protection you deserve.”

 

ANTHONY HOPKINS

Photo by Garon Piceli from Pexels

spiritual bypassing

Repost from Jeff Brown

Author of Grounded Spirituality:

“They didn’t go to sit in the meditation cave to enlighten their consciousness. They went there to bypass their issues with the world. They didn’t turn to silence to extinguish the monkey mind. They turned to silence to turn down the volume on their pain (the monkey heart). They didn’t nestle into stillness because it’s THE royal road to the kingdom of God. They nestled into silence because noise ignited their traumas.

They didn’t tame the ego because the ego is the enemy of the sacred. They tamed it because it confronted them with their unresolved humanness. They didn’t purify the body because the body is something less than Divine. They purified the body in an effort to escape their toxicity. They didn’t strive for transcendence because there is anything up there for us. They strove for transcendence because they lacked the courage to live on Mother Earth.

They didn’t seek formlessness because it is our most awakened state. They sought formlessness because their form hurt too much. They didn’t master non-attachment because it is the primary path to self-realization. They mastered non-attachment so they could sidestep the challenges of human relationship. They didn’t shame anger, because anger is a sub-standard emotion. They shamed anger because it triggers their unacknowledged rage. They didn’t shun non-judgment because all judgments are bad. They shunned non-judgment so they could get away with doing anything they wanted.

Friends, we have been fooled for centuries. The patriarchy went to a lot of trouble to camouflage and cloak their personal issues. A whole spiritual world was birthed from their self-avoidance. And it is now time to call it out. It is now time to bury patriarchal spirituality in a graveyard of its own making, and to co-create a spirituality that is grounded in our humanness, our bodies, our feelings, our relationships with each other and Mother Earth. It’s the only way we can save our species.”

 

cave yogi

 

https://www.facebook.com/Naldjor
Photo by Prince Kumar from Pexels

the fifth trumpet

Is Corona Virus the infamous plague predicted in the Book of Revelations? Well, having lived through it, I’ll give it a resounding yes.

The Fifth Trumpet
…The star opened the pit of the Abyss, and smoke rose out of it like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke from the pit. And out of the smoke, locusts descended on the earth, and they were given power like that of the scorpions of the earth.  They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads.…

Revelation 9:3

I ascribe more to the Vedic world view, that we happen to be in a destruction cycle, things change, we call this a KaliYuga. It is a bummer to have to live through as things fall apart with there being a lot of death and destruction caused by our karma, but as Gandalf reminds us: “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

I lie awake at night alone, each breath a welcome struggle to live one more second as my inflamed lungs made me feel like I was drowning. My fever was 102, I had tachycardia, my resting pulse was getting over 120, Defcon 1– full body alarm intruder warning, I could literally see the oscillating matrix of red-tinted death in space, it was intentional, alive- nothing short of the seek and destroy, inhumane, ruthless, where could it find a vulnerability, and if I wanted to give up even for a second, death would have ever so easily welcome me. Yes, I survived Covid 19, and it was a hard fight.

In my semi-altered fevered state, I spontaneously began to pray into space as I often do in the mornings and evenings. Then, I had an Obi-Wan moment, a team of my ancestral protectors appeared in front of me, vivid, clear and real. It was a panel of wisdom beings before me, my Tibetan teacher Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, my loving grandmother who passed and my yidam, the lion headed goddess Simhamukha, and my exceedingly wrathful protector, I’d prefer not to say her name here now. I was awestruck to see them all there at once, but the quality was none-other than love, compassion and reassurance. We started to talk, or rather, they talked and I listened, the voice was my guru’s.

I asked how is it that they were appearing to me all at once and why? What I will share is now personal, but I checked in and have the green light to share here. He (my teacher) said, we are all here all the time, you don’t yet understand non-duality, so you have to practice much more. We exist as you do, all on the “same shore” behind the constructs of time and space, death and birth. We all exist collectively and are all made of the same substance of light and mind, and you thinking that you are you, and that there are “things” that are separate is just an illusion. He said that I had reached a turning point with the virus, that I was not dying from it and that I would be better in 3 days, and for me to not be in fear.

He said that I spent too much time believing that I exist and then consequently believing that others exist and this creates dualistic grasping. He said I and others waste our lives trying to remedy loneliness on social media by wanting to feel connected and “wanting something” from beings that have no one inside of them that is permanent, real and that my quest was childish and life wasting. Why would I chose to fill my life, chasing beings who’s nature is empty as mine is? It wasn’t that they don’t care about beings, but my care had to now pivot from wanting something from others to clear seeing and feeling the fullness of giving. He wanted to remind me to do at least two meditation sessions per day, 2 hours in the morning, and 2 hours in the evening.

Why practice so much I asked if it is all a dream? He said that when you practice, you become a stable, open vessel for wisdom and compassion rather than blocked and “they needed me to do that.” He said that the universe was filled with love and compassion and they forgive me for my flaws. I asked them if I had harmed he Dharma or broken any vows by speaking out against women and child abuse, and they said “no, the things that you expressed concern about were valid and these teachers and monks had to simply stop their misconduct as that was harming the dharma.” I was supposed to work to continue to help to protect children who are harmed.

My teacher had very thick glasses and huge lips, and after our conversation he kissed my forehead like a loving parent, and the whole panel of my wisdom ancestors emanated love to me, took away my fear and reassured me that I would recover soon now. He said don’t sit inert, get up and move, do light yoga and practice and this will soon pass. They said that I always has access to them and that if I practice a lot more, someday all will be revealed. This is true “revelation” that indeed, inspires me most. I am alive today, woke that morning and my fever had resolved. I now tested negative for Covid and no matter how dark things seem, will start anew, giving with the fullest of hearts rather than grasping, and devote my life to the dharma, our own collective, awakened heart.

 

Photo The 5th Trumpet http://www.howarddavidjohnson.com/revelation.htm

Reposted/ Reformatted from http://www.abuddhistlibrary.com 2001 (Images have been enhanced/replaced, copy unaltered)

The enlightened women or female figures named below all come from Vajrayana or “Tibetan” Buddhism, the school of Mahayana which originated in India and later moved to Tibet and the other Himalayan countries. Hence, most figures are identified first by their Sanskrit name, with the alternate Tibetan form appearing in parentheses. When it is the other way about, e.g. Achi Chökyi Drolma, Machig Labdrön and Palden Lhamo, it is because their practices developed or were practised principally in Tibet.

I have also indicated the type of deity each is, i.e.

  • a yidam — an enlightened meditational deity who embodies the union of wisdom and compassion, yet is not separate from the meditator
  • a guru — usually the founder or holder of a lineage; a fully realised being whom one identifies wholly with one’s spiritual guide
  • a Dharma protector — usually portrayed as an enlightened being in wrathful form, a protector’s primary function is to eliminate the spiritual obstacles hindering the practitioner
  • a historical figure — someone who lived as a female human being on this earth and can be placed historically according to tradition

So what’s a thangka?

A thangka (pronounced tonka, as in tonka bean) is a Tibetan painting on cloth, stored scroll-fashion when travelling. For those who wish to learn more about what thangkas are and how they are created, the Dharmapala Centre in Bremen, Germany has an excellent English-language page which explains the process.

This page will be continually updated as I discover more links (and find the time to expand upon the descriptions of the deities). My apologies for any inaccuracies that may arise from my ignorance or haste; your corrections are most welcome. Note: I would love to add more images of female Buddhas and bodhisattvas, provided that my doing so does not violate copyright. If you have any that I may use, please let me know so that this page can be as visually inspiring as possible!

SPECIAL THANKS to New York’s Padmasambhava Buddhist Center who have given their kind permission for me to illustrate this page with selected images from their beautiful online thangka gallery. Most of the deity images below are theirs.

Table of Contents


  1. Achi Chökyi Drolma – Dharma protector of the Drikung Kagyu tradition
  2. Dechen Gyalmo – yidam, guru and historical figure – see Yeshe Tsogyal
  3. Dorje Yudronma – Dharma protector
  4. Ekajati (Ralchigma) – Dharma protector – protectress of mantras
  5. Ekajati – yidam – wrathful Black Tara
  6. Kakasya – yidam
  7. Kuan Yin – Chinese bodhisattva of compassion
  8. Kurukulla – yidam – deity of power
  9. Lamanteri – wrathful yidam
  10. Machig Labdrön – historical figure and yidam – the founder of Chöd
  11. Magzor Gyalmo – Dharma protector – see Palden Lhamo
  12. Mahamaya – historical figure
  13. Mandarava – yidam and historical figure – long-life deity
  14. Marici – yidam – goddess of the sun
  15. Mayadevi – historical figure – mother of Sakyamuni Buddha
  16. Nairatmya – yidam
  17. Niguma – lineage guru and historical figure – lineage dakini
  18. Palden Lhamo (Sri Devi) – Dharma protector – wrathful protectress of Tibet
  19. Prajnaparamita (Yum Chenmo) – guru and yidam – Mother of all the Buddhas
  20. Samantabhadri (Kuntuzangmo) – guru and yidam – Primordial Mother of all the Buddhas
  21. Sarasvati – yidam – goddess of learning and the arts
  22. Simhamukha (Sengdongma) – yidam – lion-headed Dakini
  23. Sukkhasiddhi – guru and historical figure – lineage Dakini
  24. Tara, Green (Drolma) – yidam – beloved Saviouress
  25. Tara, Red – yidam of bountifulness
  26. Tara, White (Drolkar) – yidam – she who grants long life and wisdom
  27. Troma Nagmo (Rudrani) – yidam – see Machig Labdrön
  28. Tseringma – Dharma protector – goddess of the mountain
  29. Ushnisha-sitatapatra – yidam – goddess of the glorious white umbrella
  30. Ushnisha-vijaya – yidam – the long-life deity
  31. Vajrayogini / Vajravarahi (Dorje Naljorma / Dorje Phagmo) – yidam – the queen of Dakinis
  32. Yeshe Tsogyal (Dechen Gyalmo) – yidam, guru and historical figure – mother of Tibetan Buddhism




Achi Chökyi Drolma
Dharma protector of the Drikung Kagyu tradition

Achi Chökyi Drolma (Tib. A-chi Chos-kyi sGrol-ma) is a female Dharma protector whose practice was introduced by Drikung (‘Bri-gung) Achi, the matriarch of the Drikung hereditary lineage. She is white-coloured and is usually portrayed seated and riding a snow lion, the legendary white animal of Tibet; she may also be shown standing (see right). Unusually, for a Dharma protector, Achi Chökyi Drolma’s aspect is not wrathful, but peaceful.  See Achi Chökyi Drolma – Chief Protectress of the Glorious Drigung Kagyu for the story of her origins, an image of the deity, and a description of her iconography.

Dorje Yudronma

Dorje Yudrönma
Dharma protector

Dorje Yudrönma is said to be one of Tibet’s chief protectors. She holds an arrow with the five colours in her right hand and a white silver mirror in her left. The lifestory of the Longchen Nyingthig yogi Jigme Gyalwai Nyugu (from the Dzogchen Lineage of Nyoshul Khenpo) relates that an emanation of this deity appeared and offered him food once when he was suffering hardship and poverty. Dorje Yudrönma is associated with a divination practice which uses a mirror. The Art of Tibet site includes a good thangka of Dorje Yudrönma.

 

Ekajati
Dharma protector – protectress of mantras

Ekajati is a female dharma protector especially popular in Nyingma, where she is also considered a protectress of Dzog Chen. She is cognate to Palden Lhamo. The Nyingma form of Ekajati (whose name literally means ‘One Plait’ or ‘One Braid’) has one tuft of hair, one eye, one mouth, one breast — and sometimes only one leg! — to demonstrate her singleminded devotion to Dharma. Whenever a Nyingma refuge tree or series of protectors is portrayed, Ekajati is usualy the dark-red central figure in the bottom row (see the thangka of Dharma protectors of the Nyingma tradition from the Chagdud Gompa site); however, she may be depicted as dark-blue or black, rather than red. In the Sarma (New Translation) schools Ekajati is regarded as the mother of Mahakala and Mahakali (Palden Lhamo).  Chopa.com has a particularly lovely thangka of Ekajati.

Ekajati
Yidam – wrathful Black Tara

Ekajati is also the name of a wrathful form of Green Tara known as Black Tara. She is depicted in seated posture holding a curved knife and skullcup. This form is often shown in a triumvirate with Avalokiteshvara and Green Tara. This unidentified thangka from Andrew Stinson’s thangka website also depicts Ekajati.

Kakasya
Yidam

Kakasya is a guardian goddess with the face of a crow: one of the bird-headed goddesses associated with the mandalas of various tutelary, or personal, deities. The Asian Art Museum included a delightful statue of Kakasya in its Mongolia exhibit.


Kuan Yin
Bodhisattva of compassion

This female Bodhisattva is variously known in China as Kuan Yin (or Kwan Yin, Quan Yin, Guanyin or Koon Yum), in Japan as Kannon or Shokanzeon Bosatsu, and in Korea as Kwanseum Bosal or Kwan Um. She is regarded as being identical to the (male) Tibetan deity Avalokiteshvara (Tib. Chenrezig), but also has much in common with the female Tibetan deity Tara.

Sites dedicated to Kuan Yin:

  • Kuan Yin, Goddess of Mercy
  • The Quan Yin Virtual Altar – with numerous links to other Kuan Yin sites
  • Kuan Yin – a prayer from the Lotus Sutra, with links to images of statues
  • Temple of Kwan Yin. A virtual temple dedicated to Kwan Yin, Bodhisattva of Compassion in both English and French. Contains a gallery.
  • El Templo de Kwan Yin, a Spanish-language webpage
  • A short hymn to the bodhisattva
  • Kwan Yin Vows by Ven. Sarika Dharma

Articles on Kuan Yin:

  • How to meditate on Tara by Ven. Jhampa Shaneman
  • The Enlightenment Of Bodhisattva Kuan-Yin (Avalokiteshvara)
  • Kuan Yin – Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva by Lin Shen-Shou
  • Kuan Yin, The Great Compassion Bodhisattva (Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva)
  • Quan Yin, The Goddess of Compassion and Mercy – an article on the bodhisattva (adapted from an essay by Bethleen Cole)
  • Stories of Quan Yin, Bodhisattva of Compassion
  • A prayer (with melody) to Quan Yin, from a cancer recovery website
  • On celebrating the enlightenment day of Gwan Yin
  • The Eastern Tradition of Kuan Yin & the Tibetan Goddess Tara

Images of the Bodhisattva:

  • A lovely photograph of a statue of Guanyin (see left)
  • A scroll painting of Hibbo Kannon by Kano Hogai (19th century Japan)
  • A scroll of Guanyin from the Dunhuang Buddhist complex, dated to 968 AD, and a statue of her from Rehe (China).
  •  A free Guan Yin screensaver from Toronto’s Cham Shan Temple.


Kurukulla
Yidam – deity of power

Kurukulla is an energetic dancing red figure with one face and four arms, two of which hold a bow and arrow made of flowers. Her practice helps generate energy and power. JBL Statues sell a statuette of Kurukulla, although their equation of Kurukulla with the Hindu goddess Kali is incorrect. The FPMT centre in Boston is named after her (Kurukulla Center for Tibetan Buddhist Studies) and includes a nice thangka of the deity. There are several thangkas available online:
  • Thangkas of Kurukulla on the Art of Tibet site: thangka #322, a stunning, “pale red” Kurukulla surrounded by dozens of her emanations, thangka #422 (on a red background, with Palden Lhamo below), thangka #655 – a clear and simple representation, and thangka #765, a very dramatic depiction of the deity.
  • A thangka of the mandala of Kurukulla is on the Tibet Shop site.

Kurukulla Face

In Geluk tradition Kurukulla is sometimes also referred to as Red Tara [presumably because of her appearance]; but this name can also refer to a completely separate yidam. In the Hevajra Tantra, Kurukulla is a semi-wrathful female power deity, red, in essence Hevajra, and unrelated to Tara.

Lamanteri
Wrathful yidam

The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco included a Mongolia online exhibit which described a statue of Lamanteri thusly: “Lamanteri is the Mongolian name for this wrathful form of the goddess Tara depicted with the third eye and four pairs of hands.”

Painting by Duccio Ceglie
(courtesy of peacenvironment.net)


Machig Labdrön
Historical figure and yidam – the founder of Chöd

Machig Face

The eleventh-century Tibetan founder of the chöd (cutting) practice, Machig Labdrön is usually depicted in deified form as a peaceful white dancing figure with three eyes, playing a damaru (two-sided drum) with her right hand and holding a bell with her left. (She is also depicted in seated form on Miya Shimada’s Chöd Club site.) Thangka #349 on the Art of Tibet site depicts Machig Labdrön’s life story, and thangka #223 shows her at the centre of a Nyingma chöd lineage tree. Alex Clarke’s Chaos/Chös page includes a depiction of Machig; and although it is iconographically incorrect (e.g. the image’s proportions are incorrect; she should be white, not pink; etc.), I include it here because it is an intriguing example of what may become the wave of the future: computer-generated deity images. There is also a short article about Machig Labdrön in Polish (Maczik Labdryn) on this Polish Buddhist site. Aro gTér includes a particularly lovely line drawing of Machig with accompanying article.

Black Tröma
Wrathful Black Tara

 

Other depictions of Tröma on the Web include solitary Tröma (Chagdud Gompa), Tröma Five Deity (Art of Tibet), and Tröma Nine Deity (Chagdud Gompa).

See:

  • Machig Labdrön and the Foundations of Chöd by Jérôme Edou (Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion Publications, 1995)
  • A Study of the Profound Path of gCod: The Mahayana Buddhist Meditation Tradition of Tibet’s Great Woman Saint Machig Labdrön – a Ph.D. dissertation by Carol D. Savvas (University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1990)
  • Women of Wisdom by Tsultrim Allione (London: Arkana, 1984 / New York: Arkana, 1986) – includes the life story of Machig Labdrön

Mahamaya
Historical figure

Mahamaya was the mother of the historical Shakyamuni Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama — this name means ‘Great Illusion.’ See also Mayadevi. There is also a male anuttarayoga deity named Mahamaya who is not to be confused with the Buddha’s mother; this practice is found in all the Sarma (New Translation) schools and was originally made famous by Marpa; it is also found in the ‘Five Deity Tantra’ practice of the Shangpa Kagyu.


Mandarava
Yidam and historical figure – long-life deity

An Indian-born princess who became the spiritual consort of Padmasambhava, founder of Buddhism in Tibet (his second consort was the Tibetan-born Yeshe Tsogyel — see below). She appears in deified form as a yidam of long life, wearing the ornaments of a bodhisattva. Her right hand holds an arrow (a symbol of Dzogchen) adorned with banners and a melong (a round mirror, representing the clear, reflecting nature of mind). Mandarava sits in the manner of Tara, with right foot extended, to show her willingness to help sentient beings.

Marici
Yidam – goddess of the sun

Marici (pron. Marichi) is a red-coloured female yidam associated with the sun and with dawn; her name in Tibetan is Öser Chenma, i.e. [goddess of] Great Light. Her mantra is traditionally used as protection by travellers. Marici has an orange-coloured body (the colour of the sun at dawn), and three faces, eight arms and two legs. Of the three faces, the first (central) is orange and smiling, her right face is red, and her left is the face of a white boar: each has three eyes. Her first right hand holds a vajra at the heart in the mudra of teaching, the second holds a vajra axe, the third holds an arrow with the tip pointing downwards, and the fourth, in the mudra of generosity, holds a (sewing) needle. Her first left hand, in the mudra of teaching, holds the stem of a plant (tree?) whose crown is at the level of her left ear (next to the boar’s face). Her second left hand holds a bow, the third holds a thread (?), and the fourth holds a noose ending in a loop and hook. Marici’s right leg is extended in the manner of Tara, while the left is tucked in. She is dressed in the royal robes of a bodhisattva: five-pointed crown surmounting each face, jewels, silks and so forth. Marici rides a throne/chariot drawn along by seven white boars.

Mayadevi
Historical figure – mother of Sakyamuni Buddha

Queen Mayadevi (also Maya or Mahamaya) was the historical mother of Sakyamuni Buddha. She died not long after his birth, but is believed to have been reborn in one of the heavens where he later manifested and taught her the Dharma so that she too became enlightened. She is traditionally depicted just as she was about to (painlessly) give birth, standing and holding the branch of a tree in her right hand.

Nairatmya
Yidam

This dark-blue figure appears as both a single yidam and also in union with her consort, the Highest Yoga Tantra male yidam Hevajra. The name means ‘No-Self’ in Sanskrit. This was also the name of the wife of Marpa (whose main practice was Hevajra) — the founder of the Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.

Niguma
Lineage guru and historical figure – lineage dakini

This woman was a formidable mahasiddha, variously described as the sister or consort of Naropa. She founded the practice known as The Six Yogas of Niguma (see Glenn Mullin’s text The Six Yogas of Sister Niguma, which includes a vigorous line drawing of Niguma).

Palden Lhamo (Sri Devi)
Dharma protector – wrathful protectress of Tibet

Palden Lhamo (whose name translates as “Glorious Goddess”) is the only female dharma protector common to all four schools of Tibetan Buddhism. She is very wrathful, and rides her mule through a sea of blood, surrounded by wisdom fire. She is dark blue and has one face with three eyes; she wears a sun at her navel and a moon at her crown, and over her is a peacock umbrella (a traditional symbol of protection). She is variously depicted, but her most common forms are two-armed and four-armed. There is also a system of divination by dice associated with her. She is sometimes considered cognate to Sarasvati or Tara, but is at the same time a wrathful form of the peaceful goddess Sri Devi.

See:

  • An article on the iconography of Magzor Gyalmo (a form of Palden Lhamo) by Natalie R. Marsh, with an accompanying thangka image. From the Mirrors of the Heart-Mind exhibit.
  • From the same exhibit, an illustrated essay on a sculpture of a figure from the entourage of Palden Lhamo, commentary by Cathleen Cummings
  • my choice for most beautiful depiction of Palden Lhamo on the Web, from the phenomenal Art of Tibet site
  • Another thangka or two from Art of Tibet

Prajnaparamita
Guru and yidam – Mother of all the Buddhas

Prajnaparamita embodies the bliss/emptiness that gives rise to all phenomena — hence her honorofic title as Mother of all the Buddhas. She usually appears as a tranquil seated figure clothed in silks; her body is gold in colour, and she has one face and four arms. Her first two arms are held in meditation posture in her lap, while the other right hand holds a nine-spoked vajra (thunderbolt sceptre symbolising compassion/bliss) and the left, the text of the Heart Sutra which is the essential wisdom-text on the emptiness of phenomena. There are other forms of the deity, as at right: her first two hands in prayer mudra at the heart, second right hand holding a mala [rosary] and second left hand holding a text.

Her name means ‘Perfection of Wisdom’; in Tibetan she is also known as Yum Chenmo, or ‘Great Mother’. She is closely associated with chöd practice (see Machig Labdrön). Natalie R. Marsh offers an essay on the iconography of Prajnaparamita (along with an accompanying thangka image). From the Mirrors of the Heart-Mind exhibit.


Samantabhadri
Guru and yidam – Primordial Mother of all the Buddhas

Samantabhadri (Kuntuzangmo in Tibetan) is the consort and female counterpart of Samantabhadra/Kuntuzangpo, the primordial Buddha of the older schools of Tibetan Buddhism. They are usually shown in sexual union (yab/yum in Tibetan), the blue male figure and white female figure embracing each other in lotus position. Samantabhadri is sometimes shown alone, in which case she is seated in lotus posture with her hands in meditation posture in her lap. Samantabhadri is always shown naked (as is her consort) to demonstrate the unadorned nature of Absolute Truth, the emptiness of all phenomena. She is in some senses an analogue of Prajnaparamita. A near equivalent of the New Translation schools is the dark-blue Vajradhatu-ishvari, shown in union with consort Vajradhara as the yab-yum Vajradhara / Vajradhatu-ishvari.

Sarasvati
Yidam – goddess of learning and the arts

As the goddess of learning and the arts, Sarasvati (also spelled Saraswati) is in many ways a counterpart to Manjushri, the male Bodhisattva of discriminating wisdom, and is sometimes his consort. Sarasvati is a peaceful yidam who holds a vina (a sitar-like lute) on her lap; she also sometimes holds a text. There is also a Hindu deity named Sarasvati with near-identical attributes. She is sometimes associated with Palden Lhamo, who may be regarded as Sarasvati in wrathful form. The most popular form of Sarasvati is white-coloured, with one face, two eyes, and two arms; however, there are many other forms including the white four-handed Sarasvati and the red Vajra Sarasvati.


Simhamukha
Yidam – lion-headed Dakini

Simhamukha (Tib. Seng-gdong-ma or Seng-dong-chen) is a wrathful dancing dark-blue figure similar to Vajravarahi in appearance and ornaments, holding a curved knife in her right hand and a skullcup in her left, except that she also has the face of a lion — hence her name in Tibetan and Sanskrit (meaning “lion-face”). Her practice was founded by a woman, Jetsun[ma] Lochen. Simhamukha’s practice is found in the Sarma (New Translation) schools is associated with the Chakrasamvara Tantra.

Examples of her iconography on the Web are a statue on the Dharmaware website, and two glorious images on the Art of Tibet site: thangkas 424 and 419.

Sukkhasiddhi
Guru and historical figure – lineage Dakini

This mahasiddha belongs to the mother lineage of chöd. Her name means ‘good or blissful siddhi‘ (a Sanskrit word meaning a miraculous accomplishment, which can be either mundane, e.g. healing, flying, etc., or supramundane, i.e. the siddhi of full Enlightenment). She compiled her own six yogas (see also Niguma) which she gave to Khyungpo Naljor, the founder of Shangpa Kagyu.


Tara, Green
Yidam – beloved Saviouress

Also known as Drolma (Tibetan), Tara embodies the compassionate activity of all the Buddhas (her name means “the liberator” or “she who saves”). She is pictured with one face, two arms and a green-coloured body. Her right hand is outstretched in the mudra (sacred gesture) of generosity, and her left holds the stem of a blue lotus which blossoms at her left ear.

See:

  •  The Practice of Tara by Ven. Sangye Khandro
  • Tara: Her Origins and Development by Dharmachari Purna
  •  Green Tara page on Angelfire
  • The Eastern Tradition of Kuan Yin & the Tibetan Goddess Tara
  • Who is Arya Tara?
  • Arya Tara Page
  • Supplication to Tara
  • Blessed Arya Tara Page
  • Download a Windows wallpaper of Tara (available in several sizes) from the Green Tara Gallery, computer-created by Osel Shen Phen Ling webmaster Bob Jacobson.

Books devoted to Tara include:

  • In Praise of Tara: Songs to the Saviouress by Martin Willson (London: Wisdom Publications, 1986)
  • The Cult of Tara: Magic and Ritual in Tibet by Stephan Beyer (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973) — a study of Tibetan beliefs and practices concerning Tara
  • Longing for Darkness: Tara and the Black Madonna by China Galland (New York: Viking, 1990)
  • Bodhisattva of Compassion: The Mystical Tradition of Kuan Yin by John Blofeld (Boulder: Shambhala, 1978) — a study of Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, in the female forms of Kuan Yin (Chinese) and Tara (Tibetan).

This form of Tara, Green Tara, is the most common one; but Tara also appears in other forms, such as White Tara, Red Tara and the Twenty-One Taras. In the Gelukpa school there is also a Highest Yoga Tantra form of Tara known as Cittamani Tara (as well as a Highest Yoga Tantra form of the Twenty-One Taras practice). See the Praises and Requests to the Twenty-One Taras on the Osel Shen Phen Ling site for an example of a kriya-tantra sadhana (meditation text), as well as the Britannica entry on Tara for a more scholastic look at the deity.

Tara, Red
Yidam of bountifulness

Red Tara is a special practice of Tara practised in both the Nyingma and Sakya schools. She is depicted in much the same way as Green Tara (seated with right leg slightly extended, left hand held to the heart with an utpala flower blooming by her left ear, and right hand making the gesture of generosity), except that her body is ruby-red, she possesses a third eye, and her right hand holds a long-life vase. There are lovely thangka reproductions of this deity (both solitary and amongst her mandala deities) on the Chagdud Gompa site, which also offers a photo of a Red Tara statue with the bow-and-arrow attributes of Kurukulla (to whom she can be related). See also the Art of Tibet site (e.g. thangka 331). Red Tara can also be either one of several out of the various sets of twenty-one Taras, or in the lower tantras (Kriya or Carya).


Tara, White
Yidam – she who grants long life and wisdom

Also known as Drolkar (Tibetan) or Sitatara (Sanskrit), Tara embodies the compassionate activity of all the Buddhas (her name means “the liberator” or “one who saves”). White Tara is especially associated with long life and wisdom. Unlike the green form of this deity, White Tara has seven eyes — one in each hand and foot, and a third eye on her face — to show that she sees and responds to suffering throughout the universe; and she sits in full lotus posture.

  • The Osel Shen Phen Ling site includes a long-life sadhana (practice text) of White Tara.

Tseringma
Dharma protector – goddess of the mountain

Tseringma is the foremost of the Five Long-Life Deities — formerly mountain-guardian spirits — who plagued the great Tibetan yogi Milarepa during his cave retreats. They were converted to Buddhism and Tseringma became his consort. She is a white figure shown riding a snow lion and carrying a long-life vase in her hand. Thangka 433 on the Art of Tibet website depicts Tseringma and her sisters.

Ushnisha-sitatapatra
Yidam – goddess of the glorious white umbrella

This white-coloured deity, a form of Tara, is a female counterpart of the thousand-armed form of Avalokiteshvara. She has one thousand faces, arms and legs; each face has three eyes, and she has one eye in the palm of each hand and the sole of each foot, showing that she watches and protects sentient beings. Her central faces are white (as is her body); her right faces are yellow, the faces at the rear of her body are red, and the left faces green; there is also a “tier” of blue faces at the top of her head. Her right hands hold wheels of the Dharma (dharmachakra) and her left hands hold arrows; one of her other left hands also holds aloft a white parasol which also symbolises her protection.

There is a lovely thangka of Ushnisha-sitatapatra (#429) on the Art of Tibet site. Robert Chung’s website also includes an illustrated sadhana [ritual text] of this deity.

Ushnisha-vijaya
Yidam – the long-life deity

Ushnisha-vijaya (Tib. Namgyalma or Namgyelma) is a peaceful white deity and an emanation of Vairochana Buddha. She has three faces, ten eyes and eight hands. Her right hands hold a lasso, bow, and vase with the nectar of immortality; her fourth right hand bears an eye in the palm and is in the mudra (posture) of generosity. Her left hands hold a miniature Buddha image, a double (crossed) vajra, and an arrow; the fourth left hand is held in meditation posture in her lap.

Ushnisha-vijaya is often shown in a triumvirate with the other two principal long-life deities, red (male) Amitayus and White Tara (see above). Robert Chung’s Namgyelma page includes a picture and her two mantras.


Vajrayogini / Vajravarahi
Yidam – the queen of Dakinis

Vajrayogini (Tib. Dorje Naljorma, Adamantine Female Practitioner) is the principal female yidam of Highest Yoga Tantra of the New Translation schools of Tibetan Buddhism. She is a slightly wrathful red female figure shown holding a curved knife in her right hand, a skullcup in her left and a khatvanga (trident or staff) in her left elbow. The Naro form of Vajrayogini, most commonly seen in the Sakya and Geluk traditions, is shown standing with her face turned upwards and to the left, with the skullcup held up to her mouth and the curved knife pointing to the ground.

The Vajravarahi form of Vajrayogini, generally more frequent in Kagyu, is shown in dancing pose with the right leg bent; this form holds the curved knife up in the air and the skullcup to her heart. Vajravarahi, whose name means Adamantine Sow, is usually shown with a small sow’s head, representing triumph over ignorance, emerging over her right ear. In either form of this deity she may be visualised as a solitary yidam or in union with her consort dark-blue Heruka Chakrasamvara, a principal mother-tantra deity of Highest Yoga Tantra.

Good pictures on the Web include:

  • A lovely statue of Vajravarahi (in karma dakini form) from the Mirrors of the Heart-Mind exhibit.
  • A poem — Homage to Vajrayogini — written by Mark Webber. From Cyberkaya.
  • Statue of Vajravarahi (Dharmaware)
  • Thangka of Vajrayogini Naro Khacho (Dharmaware)
  • The computer-generated image of Vajrayogini and her virtual 3D mandala (Miya Shimada)
  • A most remarkable multi-faced and multi-headed form [mis]identified as “Vajrahari”, from an Indonesian website; any information on this aspect of Vajravarahi would be most gratefully received!

Yeshe Tsogyal
Yidam, guru and historical figure – mother of Tibetan Buddhism

This remarkable female hermit-saint, the Tibetan consort of Padmasambhava, is sometimes shown in Nirmanakaya form — the ’emanation body’ a Buddha takes so as to be visible to ordinary beings — as a woman in everyday Tibetan clothes, seated and holding curved knife and skullcup. She is also shown in deified form as the Queen of Great Bliss (Tib., Dechen Gyalmo) as a red standing figure with a damaru (double-sided drum) raised in her right hand and a curved knife held to the ground with her left.
Yeshe Tsogyal’s sacred biography may be read in Kevin Dowman’s Sky Dancer: the secret life and songs of the Lady Yeshe Tsogyel (London: Arkana, 1989) and Tarthang Tulku’s Mother of Knowledge: The Enlightenment of Ye-shes mTsho-rgyal (Berkeley: Dharma Publishing, 1983). The meditation practice of Dechen Gyalmo, Queen of Great Bliss, is discussed in Anne C. Klein’s Meeting the Great Bliss Queen: Buddhists, Feminists, and the Art of the Self, which has a lovely cover illustration of the deity.

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Header image Kali Levitov: https://dakiniasart.org/shop/fruition-fine-art-print-kali-levitov/


This is a Live process post, please check back for updates weekly until completed.

Simhamukha-thigse

This is the basic sacred geometric proportions of Simhamukha, called a thigse. In the very center starts with her seed syllable, a black hung. Each deity is a full mandala, evoking a certain quality of energy.

 

Simhamukha thigse Stage 1- a rough sketch to lay out her figure.

 

Simhamukha thigse Stage 1- closeup. This is very rough, her lines and symmetry will be perfected over time.

The artist has a very strong, deep connection to this ancient and powerful female deity, so this will become a full thangka painting soon. Please bookmark and check often to see progress! More about her…

sample painting

Old age brings wisdom and fierce certainty

“What is this ecstasy about? It is a little hard to tell, because she has the face of a lion, but she is in love with the dharma, wild and fierce in her defense of those who seek it, and she gleams with the fervor of one with a mission. She is capable of goading and shoving and nagging practitioners who are sliding towards the wrong path, but she is always doing it out of love.

SimhaMukha is a female Dakini-form of the great Mahasiddha Padmasambhava, although some say she was his principle Dakini teacher. She is also the Buddhist version of the Hindu warrior goddess Durga who rides a lion or tiger. She is called the queen of the Dakinis, and as in so many instances, where eras and eons bleed into one another through rebirths, new regimes, and archetype re-creations over time, she is also Queen of the Matrikas, 7 ancient Hindu female goddesses. She has some similarities with the Egyptian Sekhmet, and in the West, her essence is what we might call the Crone, the old wise woman, whose looks have fallen away leaving only the wisdom left to see.

She is a wisdom goddess and can be a yidam, a personal protector deity. She repulses psychic attacks, subdues demons, and keeps nightmares and dark energies away. She helps transform anger or wrath into enlightened awareness and subdues misguided beings. She is naked and her hair is disheveled, as are all Dakinis because she represents going beyond the conventions of society. Her mind is calm, there is no background noise, she is completely present here and now.”

From An Etsy Printmaker

 

Simhamukha is connected to the ancient Egyptian deity, Sekhmet