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Jyotisha Practice

Spiritual Lineage Teachers

A Humble Opinion

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Lama Tsongkapa (1357-1419) founder of the Gelugpa School, surrounded by various biographical scenes, with the Buddha Akshobhya.

www.brooklynmuseum.org * Tibet, 1800 - 1899

~~ George Santayana

"My atheism, like that of Spinoza, is true piety towards the universe

and denies only gods fashioned by men in their own image to be servants of their human interests."

14th Dalai Lama 1935- Policy of Kindness Tenzing Gyatso , Tsong-ka-pa and Jeffrey Hopkins,

Tantra in Tibet

"We live in an ocean of cyclic existence whose depth and extent cannot be measured. We are troubled again and again by the afflictions of desire and hatred as if repeatedly attacked by sharks.

Our mental and physical aggregates are impelled by former contaminated actions and afflictions and serve as a basis for present suffering as well as inducing future suffering.

While such cyclic existence lasts, we have various thoughts of pleasure and displeasure: 'If I do this, what will people think? If I do not do this, I will be too late; I won't make any profit.' When we see something pleasant we think, 'Oh, if I could only have that!'

...Day and night, night and day we spend our lives in the company of the afflictions, generating desire for the pleasant and anger at the unpleasant, and continue thus even when dreaming, unable to remain relaxed, our minds completely and utterly mixed with thoughts of desire and hatred without interruption.

To what refuge should we go?

A source of refuge must have completely overcome all defects forever; it must be free of all faults. It must also have all the attributes of altruism--those attainments which are necessary for achieving others' welfare. For it is doubtful that anyone lacking these two prerequisites can bestow refuge; it would be like falling into a ditch and asking another who is in it to help you out.

You need to ask someone who is standing outside the ditch for help; it is senseless to ask another who is in the same predicament. A refuge capable of protecting from the frights of manifold sufferings cannot also be bound in this suffering but must be free and unflawed.

Furthermore, the complete attainments are necessary, for if you have fallen into a ditch, it is useless to seek help from someone standing outside it who does not wish to help or who wishes to help but has no means to do so."

Letter to a client bewildered by the custom of reincarnation of lineage teachers :

The issue of authenticating human reincarnations of spiritual knowledge lineage holders is complex and almost completely non-rational.

  • Unfortunately at the level where most of us live our daily lives, the official decisions on whether a given flesh body does indeed host the incarnated spirit of thus-and-so deceased beloved teacher, looks like simply a matter of theocratic opinion.


It looks like sheer politics. And it does have a political component.

But, it's a bit deeper, too.

Tibet was a tantrik society, where perceptions we consider paranormal are completely day-to-day normal. Trained lamas used advanced siddhis (magical powers/highly advanced psychic techniques.)

Imagine your budding psychic powers being trained from childhood, uninterrupted by anxiety or fear. Imagine how profound and trustworthy your psychic capabilities would be, after years of wise guidance by senior teachers who really loved you.

Now if you combine advanced psychic capabilities with deep emotional neutrality and a rigorous philosophical education, you would get a caste of seers who could look down the pipeline of past teachers, and look up the pipeline of future teachers, and see -- using intuition, omens, dreams, prophecies stored in poems, etc. - where the new incarnation would occur.

But the *most* important guiding system they use is actually love. The lamas who go out looking for the new incarnation are motivated by a profound love of their old teacher.

They want him back, they crave his affection and his wisdom. Their motivation - when it is not eclipsed by political considerations - is normally very pure.

Why a Guru?


  • 14th Dalai Lama 1935- Policy of Kindness Tenzing Gyatso . (1994).

  • The Path to Enlightenment. Glenn H. Mullin (Trans. and Ed.).

"The actual method of cultivating the correct attitudes towards the spiritual master is to practice contemplative meditation upon the guru's good qualities and the beneficial effects that he or she introduces into one's life.

By reflecting again and again on the great kindness the guru performs, a confidence suitable for spiritual training under him or her is born.


The spiritual master is the source of all spiritual progress.

In this context, Geshe Potowa once said,

  • "If even those who want to learn a common worldly trade must study under a qualified teacher, how much more so must we who seek enlightenment?

  • Most of us have come from the lower realms and have no background or experience in the paths and stages to enlightenment; and, if we wish to gain this experience, why should we not study with someone qualified to teach us the methods that develop it?"


In the beginning of his Great Exposition, Lama Tsongkhapa writes,"The root of spiritual development is to cultivate an effective relationship with a master."

  • When the roots of a tree are strong, the entire tree becomes strong,

  • whereas when the roots are weak, the entire tree will remain weak.


...We should engender respect such that we see the guru as a Buddha. If we can do this, then we experience the guru as we would a Buddha and consequently are sufficiently inspired to practice what he or she teaches.

The instruction to see the guru as a Buddha is not unreasonable, for in many ways the spiritual master is Buddha himself."

A fallen teacher can still be wise?

However, lamas are humans and they are not all happy. Some lamas in every generation would receive this incredible education, be completely subsidized by society and cared for patiently by senior teachers until they reached maturity - and they'd jump ship.

  • There are always some with emotional problems, addictions, other difficulties that block their practice.

  • They might have gone very far on the siddhipath, have lots of fancy powers, and yet some unpleasant karma forces them out.

If such a fallen lama would happen to arrive in the west and begin to write books, he could write very knowledgeably about identifying incarnations etc. However if he lacked pure motivation he would show that in addition to authentic knowledge he also had an ax to grind. When you find non-compassionate statements coming from the mouths/pens of people trained to exemplify compassion, this is usually what's happened. And as always, the bigger they are, the harder they fall.

My own (insignificant) opinion is that in the matter of H. H."Dalai" Lama or any other beloved teacher, the proof is in the pudding. The whole point of finding reincarnations is to guarantee perpetual rebirth to the teachings. If the reincarnation in question is delivering the goods - articulating high teachings to high students, and spreading waves of generosity and compassion amongst the rest of us - then he's obviously hooked into some divine power source. That's real enough for me!

  • H. H. himself says he won't incarnate in the future, because the system has served its purpose. Some people (mainly Tibetans) interpret that to mean that he has reached total divinity. I interpret it to mean that there are now better ways to guarantee the survival of the teachings.

  • In the Tibetan era 800-2000 AD, this peculiar system of storing huge knowledge bases in a few thousand short-lived human bodies in every generation, and then trying desperately to relocate the knowledge by relocating the new body of the old personality that remembered it, was the only known way to preserve the dharma.

  • The Vedic civilizations of India, which previously hosted this knowledge base, didn't use the breadcrumb-trail style of reincarnation-finding at all. And we in the west who are the new hosts, will not use it either.

However I do think H. H. is the real McCoy, both in technical Tulku talk, and in authentic healing powers. He is *very* accessible in meditation, so if you would like to ask him questions directly, feel free to conjure his image and ask him personally. His signals are perfectly clear, and his communication server never goes down!

For good clear Buddhist writing by a card-carrying vajrayana Lama, brimming with openness and compassion, I greatly recommend Sogyal Rinpoche's "The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying ." (Actually it's mainly written by Andrew Harvey, but Andrew himself has also got the"view.")

And of course virtually all of H. H."Dalai" Lama's books and tapes - especially the tapes because it's lovely to hear the healing tones of his voice - are authentic expressions of vajrayana. Thich Nhat Hanh is also profoundly healing.

If it's real Buddhism you're after then it should always have the scientific effect of making you feel (1) more compassionate and (2) more peaceful. Buddhist practices - when they're working properly - integrate and heal both inner (peace) and outer (compassion.)

  • You'll always feel stronger and more capable.

  • That's the litmus test

14th Dalai Lama 1935- Policy of Kindness Tenzing Gyatso . (1994).

The Path to Enlightenment.

Glenn H. Mullin (Trans. Ed.):

"At the moment the world's spiritual traditions have greatly degenerated.

It is very important in such times that the practitioners themselves make especially strong efforts to gain realization.

To permit the lineages of transmission to disappear is to allow the world to plunge into darkness."

Moral basis from religious belief and practice will ground psychic readings and healings:

In my view, all psychics must have a non-judgmental religious basis firmly in place *before* they offer readings to others.

  • Any religion will work just fine. Christian forgiveness, Islamic surrender, Jewish acceptance, Hindu devotion, or Buddhist compassion - are all fine, loving, healing principles to guide a reading and help the reader choose the most healing vocabulary.

  • It also helps to have what the Hindus call one's "ishta-devata" or personal manifestation of God to call on in times of need, and to maintain a global healing energy during readings.

An ishta-devata might be Christ, Gautama Buddha, Tara, Mother Mary, Saraswati, Ganesha, Guan Shr Yin, Saint Anthony, Elijah, Mohammed, or your favorite Saint. (Should be someone pretty high up there.)


A reading can be a powerful moment of truth - as you noticed in the young woman who ended her relationship based on your tarot reading. Now, who should take the credit for the power of that reading? Who should take the blame?

  • If you are grounded in religious/spiritual understanding, you would know that you had been the clearest possible vessel for transmitting her own truth to her. Certainly *you* (your personality) formed the observations and chose the words.

  • But the truth was requested by her, and received by her. You're just the transmission station. Readers don't create information and healers don't create cures. They just purify themselves to the point where information and cures can move *through* them.

However, I disagree with some major psychic teachers when I say that as a reader you *are* responsible here. Not responsible to the readee, but rather - profoundly - responsible to yourself.

The Raw Materials are In-Born in Everyone


  • 14th Dalai Lama 1935- Policy of Kindness Tenzing Gyatso . (2006).
  • Kindness, Clarity, and Insight 25th Anniversary Edition.
  • Jeffrey Hopkins (Trans., Ed.), Elizabeth Napper (Ed.).

"...if you consider just the subtlest mind and the wind or energy that serves as its mount, the mere factor of luminosity and knowing of the subtlest mind itself as well as the energy associated with it Are what will be transformed into the mind and body of a Buddha.

This is the mind that will turn into an omniscient consciousness--a Buddha's mind; it is this mind which will be transformed, not some other mind coming from the outside.

  • In other words, the Buddha nature is inherent;

  • it is not imported from somewhere else.

Even when we generate afflictive emotions , the very entity or nature of the mind is still mere luminosity and knowing, and because of this we are able to remove the afflictive emotions."

Jesus Christ and the Buddha


14th Dalai Lama 1935- Policy of Kindness Tenzing Gyatso . (2002).

  • The Pocket Dalai Lama

"When we compare two ancient spiritual traditions like Buddhism and Christianity, what we see is a striking similarity between the narratives of the founding masters :

in the case of Christianity, Jesus Christ,

and in the case of Buddhism, the Buddha.

I see a very important parallel: in the very lives of the [founders] the essence of their teachings is demonstrated.

  • For example... the essence of the Buddha's teaching is embodied in the Four Noble Truths: the truth of suffering, the truth of the origin of suffering, the truth of the cessation of suffering, and the truth of the path leading to this cessation.

These Four Noble Truths are very explicitly and clearly exemplified in the life of... the Buddha himself.

I feel [it] is the same with the life of Christ.

  • If you look at the life of Jesus, you will see all the essential practices and teachings of Christianity exemplified.

  • And in the lives of both Jesus Christ and the Buddha, it is only through hardship, dedication and commitment, and by standing firm on one's principles that one can grow spiritually and attain liberation.

That seems to be a central and common message."

Lewis Bostwick, who was a very wonderful psychic guru, used to make his students chant"Not My Problem!" whenever guilt energy (over the disruptive effects readings/healings were having on people) started to drain the readers.

That was a wonderful tonic. It made everybody lighten up, have a good laugh. How people understand or act on the psychic info that you give during a reading, really isn't your problem. They asked for the reading, they got it - and your job is done. At this level, Lewis was right.

  • But at a higher level of how much progress you make in your own incarnation, how close you get to God and how well you guarantee that you can stay close, well, at that level, there is a *lot* of responsibility.

  • Not to be confused with"Serious Energy" which is the antidote to joy!

  • There is plenty of joy at the higher levels of spiritual responsibility : )

At that higher level of responsibility, the spiritual aspirant will want to *constantly* be tuning into higher powers and *constantly* attending to job of releasing fear.

The purer she gets, the closer to God she will be. AND - if she happens to be both a spiritual aspirant and a reader -- the purer she gets, the more accurate her readings.

As the mere transmitter of the information, are we readers responsible for giving good readings?

Yes, I think we are.

We are responsible for aligning with the higher powers, seeking counsel from them, and silently dedicating each reading as a holy offering to those who guide us.

We are definitely *not* responsible for the *results* of our most grounded, most faithful readings on the people who asked for them.

That effect is supervised from above, and it would be complete hubris for us to try to control it.

Agastya's Desires


  • Generous Wisdom : Commentaries by H.H. Dalai Lama XIV on the Jatakamala Garland of Birth Stories.(1992). Tenzin Dorjee (Trans.) Dudjom Rinpoche (Ed.).

"...we find Agastya, born to a family of Brahmans so illustrious as to be called "an ornament of the earth," living as an ascetic on the island of Kara in the Indian Ocean....

"On what accomplishment have you set your hopes?" Indra asked Agastya the Bodhisattva.

"What is the object of your wishes that has led you to leave your sorrowful friends and relatives, desert a household and possessions that had been your happiness, and enter this way of life that destroys all pleasures?"


The Bodhisattva replied according to the Dharma, in a way that immediately laid Indra's anxiety to rest.

"Repeated births tend to great sorrow," he said.

"So do the calamities of old age, sickness and death.

All are just a disturbance to the mind.

My vow is to save all sentient beings from these evils."

Relieved, Indra immediately offered, in return for such candid truth, the fulfillment of any desire Agastya might name."May the fire of covetousness that burns insatiably even after obtaining a beloved wife, children, power and riches never enter my heart ,"agastya said.

"Excellent, excellent,"applauded Indra and urged Agastya to request the fulfillment of still another desire.


"May the fire of hatred burn far from me ,"agastya said. Pleased by this game, in which Agastya so ingeniously taught the Dharma while appearing to request the fulfillment of his desires, Indra urged him to go on.

  • But this time he was startled to hear Agastya's words."May I never hear, see, speak to, nor endure the annoyance and pain of staying with a fool,"agastya said.

"What do you mean?" Indra asked."Those in distress deserve sympathy; the root of distress is foolishness. How can you claim to be compassionate when you abhor the very presence of those most due sympathy?"


Then Agastya reasoned in this way, to prove to Indra that one should associate not with the foolish but with men of wisdom."A fool cannot be cured even by medical treatment ," he said.

"Habituated to wrong conduct because of a deficiency in moral education , he urges his neighbors to follow his impetuous way, inflamed by self-conceit and the affectation of wisdom.

  • When reprimanded, he becomes angry.

  • There is no help for him."

"How true," Indra said."Let me hear more jewel-like, well spoken sentences."


"May I see, hear, live with and converse with a wise man ,"agastya said, "for these reasons: because the wise man, walking the path of virtue, draws others along with him, and is never roused to impatience by harsh words spoken for his own good."

Again Indra was delighted."

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