Category Archives: Culture

Lu Jong and the Holiday Season

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The end of the calendar year is inevitably fraught with stress for all. Between social events, family gatherings, acts of compassion and sales bonanzas it’s a wonder we can even manage to crawl into the new year!

It would seem easiest to let our self-care routines fall by the wayside – anything to carve out a couple of extra minutes of sleep or even to jam in one more errand … but no!

How often do we forget to extend the support, patience and kindness to ourselves that we so readily give to others?

“If you feel “burnout” setting in, if you feel demoralized and exhausted, it is best, for the sake of everyone, to withdraw and restore yourself. The point is to have a long-term perspective.” ~ HH Dalai Lama

Here’s a pretty easy list of why I make time for Lu Jong:

  • Lu Jong is Strengthening – The more I practice the movements the stronger I get. With regular practice I find my body stretching and flowing with ease, in addition to boosting my immune system.
  • Lu Jong is Meditative – The benefit of focusing upon movements and the breath is the ability to slow down my thoughts. All that is left is presence, feeling, breath and motion. The deeper breathing also calms my nervous system.
  • Lu Jong is Balancing – With Lu Jong I bring balance to all of the systems and elements within my body and mind, all aspects work in harmony, and in this balance I find my true strength, power and vitality.

Armed with these super powers my Holiday outlook is much more relaxed and heartfelt.

Working smarter is always better than working harder!

For UPCOMING Lu Jong Workshops and classes CLICK HERE

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TIBETAN MEDICINE ~ A Lu Jong New York Learning Series – Part 3

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CONTINUING with our exploration of Tibetan Medicine …

When I teach LU JONG I explain the practice has its origins in the merging of three sources of wisdom: Tibetan Medicine, Bon, and Tibetan Buddhism.
I get many questions about Tibetan Medicine so why not, in the spirit of ‘Back to School’, take a brief look at what some of this is all about?

***Before we proceed any further I would like to clarify that I am NOT a doctor of Tibetan Medicine, nor do I diagnose and/or treat people in this area of expertise.My knowledge comes from what I have learned from my teacher and Root Lama, the venerable Tulku Lobsang Rinpoche, who IS a doctor of Tibetan Medicine in addition to being a high Tantrayana Buddhist master.

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THE THREE HUMORS (INTRO)

 
Having briefly touched upon how the Mind is the ‘behind the scenes’ power for the Body to exist, we move into the realm of the Three Humors as they are the basis of the theory and practice of Tibetan Medicine.

 
The humors are the vital substances of the body responsible for all bodily functions. They rule physiology, anatomy and morphology, regulate the functioning of the body, its organs, the brain, nerves, bones, blood circulation, lymphatic systems, digestion etc. The three humors also produce the temperament and quality of a person’s body and mind. In effect, they weave together the physical and subtle levels of the Body.

 

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The Three HumorsLung (Wind), Tripa (Bile) and Beken (Phlegm) carry both subtle and physical energies in and out of the body from birth to the end of life. They are also inherently delicate by nature and thus can easily become unbalanced. All diseases are described in terms of an imbalance of one or more of the humors.

Since the three humors are an integral part of our bodies, in Tibetan Medicine, it is said that we carry the seeds of disease within us. As soon as there is a cause and a condition, the unmanifested disease will become apparent.

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Taking this one step further … each humor is also linked to one of three mental poisons. When Tripa (Bile) is out of balance it causes anger, unbalanced Lung (Wind) causes attachment or grasping, and unbalanced Beken (Phlegm) creates delusion or ignorance. It is precisely this association that creates the link between imbalances of the mind/emotions and those of the body.

 
For example, if someone is always angry (bile), no matter what is done to treat the liver (gallbladder), if the anger is not addressed as well the liver will continue to ail. Healing the Body also means Healing the Mind.

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In sum … Balanced humors give positive health and harmony to the body/mind, and provide a good base for the development of the immune system. On the contrary, the loss of balance among the humors causes energy disharmony, either physical and/or mental disequilibrium, which may appear at any time and become the cause of diseases.

************* In the next installment we take a closer look at each of the three humors.

 

Building Upon The Five Elements …

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Lu Jong is an ancient Tibetan Movement Practice developed for the purpose of self-healing.

This unique Yoga lineage consists of a combination of simple movements coordinated with deep rhythmic breathing.

The Five Elements Movements are a concise method to unclog energetic blocks and restore internal balance via connection with the elements of Space, Earth, Wind, Fire and Water.  However, there are many more movements and aspects to this ancient style of yoga:

The Five Body Parts Movements, which work on improving the mobility of the head, joints, spine and hips.

The Five Vital Organs, which work the kidneys, heart, lungs, spleen and liver.

Learn these gentle yet powerful movements which are designed to be accessible to all ages and abilities … no prior knowledge is necessary.

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WHERE?   GOOD GROUND YOGA ~ Hampton Bays, NY

WHEN?  THURSDAY, AUGUST 186:30 TO 7:45 PM

 

Need More Info? Joelle@LuJongNewYork.com

 

How it Is

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When people see some things as beautiful,
other things become ugly.
When people see some things as good,
other things become bad.

Being and non-being create each other.
Difficult and easy support each other.
Long and short define each other.
High and low depend on each other.
Before and after follow each other.

Therefore the Master
acts without doing anything
and teaches without saying anything.
Things arise and she lets them come;
things disappear and she lets them go.

She has but doesn’t possess,
acts but doesn’t expect.
When her work is done, she forgets it.
That is why it lasts forever.

Lao Tzu
Tao Te Ching

What do You Have to Lose? … A Little Stress?

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Lu Jong is an ancient Tibetan movement practice from the Tantrayana and Bon traditions with origins dating as far back as 8,000 years.  It is a form of Meditation in Motion.

The practice is comprised of a series of body movements done in conjunction with rhythmic breathing for the purpose of self-healing.  With the release of internal blockages and the redirection of stagnant energy within us,  we can develop resistance to disease, mental clarity, and balanced emotions, resulting in a greater harmony of our physical, mental and energetic levels.

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Lu Jong has been transmitted directly from Master to student, to this present day, primarily by means of oral teachings.

Opportunities to learn Lu Jong with a certified teacher are rare, but DO exist for the curious … this week!

http://www.tibethouse.us/programs/full-calendar/view/673792/114

 

 

 

 

Losar

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Losar is the Tibetan word for “New Year” (“Lo” meaning year, and “Sar” meaning fresh or new) and it is THE most important holiday in Tibet.
The first day of Losar in 2014 will fall on March 2nd, which by the Tibetan calendar will be the first day of the Wood Horse year of 2141.

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Losar is celebrated over 3 to 15 days, with main events occurring on the first three days when the moon is new.  Festivities are a blend of secular and sacred traditions that date back hundreds of years representing the struggles between good and evil.  Though the origin of Losar is not properly known, records state that the history can be dated back to the pre-Buddhist period.

Friends and family will celebrate with special foods and drinks, new clothes, and visits to Buddhist monasteries for prayers and New Year rituals.
Rituals are divided into two parts: First there is a closing of the old year, where we say goodbye to all of its bad aspects and negativity; and then we focus on welcoming the new year, and hopefully invite auspicious abundance into our lives and homes.

During the month before Losar, Tibetans will use white powder to sketch the Eight Auspicious Symbols on the walls of homes and monasteries. These symbols are representations of the offerings that the Gods made to Buddha as he attained enlightenment (a parasol, a pair of golden fish, a conch shell, a lotus blossom, a vase, a victory banner, the Wheel of Dharma, and the Eternal Knot).

New Year’s Eve – Nyi Shu Gu.  On the evening of the last night of the year, the 29th day of the Tibetan calendar, the monasteries perform special rituals to appease the deities and to protect all people for the year ahead.  Nyi Shu Gu is a time to cleanse adversities, obstacles, uncleanliness and sickness.  People serve a special noodle soup called Guthuk, which is actually based upon a traditional noodle soup, Thukpa Bhatuk.

So what distinguishes Guthuk from Thukpa Bhatuk?  Three things:

  • First, that it is the ONLY Tibetan food eaten once a year – on the 29th day of the last month of the year on the Tibetan calendar. “Gu” in Tibetan means nine, and “Thuk” refers to noodles – so Guthuk is the noodle soup eaten on the twenty-ninth day.
  • Second, in keeping with the meaning of “Gu” the soup traditionally has nine ingredients.
  • Lastly, this soup has dumplings. Tucked within each of these dumplings is one of nine fortune symbols: chili pepper, cotton ball, wood, charcoal, sugar, wool, paper, pebble or raw bean. The object that a person finds in his/her dumpling is believed to determine either the character of the person, or her/his fortune in the coming year. Coal is something you don’t want to get!

Day 1 – New Year’s Day – Lama Losar.  The devout Tibetan Buddhist begins the new year by wishing the Dalai Lama good luck for the coming year, and by honoring his or her Dharma teacher.  It is also traditional to offer sprouted barley seeds and buckets of tsampa (roasted barley flour with butter) and other grains on home altars to ensure a good harvest.  Lay people visit friends to wish them Tashi Delek “auspicious greetings” or loosely, “very best wishes.”

Day 2 – Gyalpo Losar.  The second day of Losar, called Gyalpo or “King’s” Losar, is for honoring community and national leaders.  Long ago it was a day for kings to hand out gifts at public festivals.

Day 3 – Choe-kyong Losar.  On this day, lay people make special offerings to the Dharma protectors and to the monks at their monasteries.  They raise prayer flags from hills, mountains and rooftops and burn juniper leaves and incense as offerings.  The monks often bless people by marking their foreheads with white powder.

This pretty much wraps up the spiritual side of Losar, however, the subsequent partying may go on for another 10 to 15 days ending with Chunga Choepa, the Butter Lamp Festival, which occurs when the moon is full.

Two things come to mind as I ponder the start of a New Year:

  • I pray that with this New Year we find continued hope and renewed action in saving the Tibetan people and their heritage.  Maybe this will be the year that the world leaders say, enough, we won’t stand by and watch innocent people die.  Maybe this will be the year that we help others selflessly rather than for how they can benefit us.
  • Losar reminds me that each new year is an echo of the changing cycles and of the true nature of impermanence.  Everything that is born is bound to die. The old year is gone and will never exist again. The new year gives us the opportunity to come together and celebrate; to notice and appreciate each moment, in the moment, and to realize the blessings of the teachings.

Lha Gyal Lo (May the Divine Prevail) ~  Bhod Gyal Lo (Victory to Tibet)
May all beings be happy and well, as we celebrate Tibetan New Year.

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May we strive to walk in mindful Beauty.

Wado,
Joelle

“Meditation is not escaping from life: it is escaping into life.”- Osho

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Right On!!

Monday’s Fortune

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5 AM … Ring, Ring, Ring …RING, RING, RING!!! …Ugh!  Yawn … What the heck?  Hello??

“Hello, this is your school district calling to tell you that ALL classes are cancelled for today. Have a lovely day!”

Huh?  Wait, what?  Why?  Am I being punked?

I shuffle over to the window, the tiniest of flurries are cascading down with a vengeance.  Again?  Sigh.  Fine.

Maybe I can still get back to sleep.

But such is not MY lot this morning (insert grumbles here), you see, I have three boys ranging from Elementary to High School.  Five more robo-calls and four robo-texts later, all spread over a total four different numbers, I am now fully awake and YES, I get it – it’s another Snow Day!  Yay?

Can’t wait to see what the rest of the day throws my way …

The first image I see this morning is that of Yellow Jambhala, as painted by his Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa.  I can’t help but stop several minutes to savor and enjoy it.  Something about it appeals very much to me:  Is it the colors?  The style?  What comes to my mind?

Ah!  Yes, Yellow Jambala, it’s what he represents that is resonating with me.

Jambhala (also known as Dzambhala, Dzambala, Zambala or Jambala) is the God of Wealth and a member of the Jewel Family.  He is the protector of all Lineages and of all sentient beings from all sickness and difficulties.  There are five different wealth Jambhala, each a different color (white, yellow, black, red & green) – all manifestations of the compassion of Buddha and Bodhisattvas to guide sentient beings along the path to enlightenment.

Each has his own practice and mantra to help eliminate poverty and create financial stability. Aside from being different colors, and shown in different poses, they are all portrayed holding a mongoose in the left hand that spits out precious gems for the poor and needy. They ALL have the essence of generosity.

White Jambhala is said to be the manifestation of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva (he who listens to the sounds around him and embodies compassion).  He is able to stop suffering and to dispel bad Karma. Chanting his mantra can also bring wealth, avert disaster, and give you good health. He sits on a snow lion.

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Yellow Jambhala is considered the most popular and powerful of the Wealth Gods. He is thought to be the manifestation of Buddha Ratnasambhava, the Buddha of Giving. It is said you must practice Buddhism using correct procedures to gain the most powerful blessings from him, not just wealth but wisdom and intelligence are his gifts. He is usually shown sitting on a lotus, sun and moon disk.

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Black Jambhala is also known as the Hindu God of Wealth, Kubera. He will fulfill your wishes, make you happy, and give you wealth and prosperity. He is usually seen standing on a corpse and with a Kapala (a cup made from a human skull) in his right hand.

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Red Jambhala is said to be the manifestation of Vajrasattva, the Buddha of Purification. Some say that he is the Hindu God of Wealth, Lord Ganesha, and has the head of an elephant. Others picture him as having two faces and four arms. His Tibetan name is Dzambhala Mapo.  He offers protection, wealth and popularity when his mantra is chanted with sincerity.

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The last of the five Wealth Gods, the Green Jambhala, is thought to be a form of the Buddha Akshobhya (who reigns over the eastern paradise). He is usually shown in tight embrace with his consort. He is actually blue in color. The Green Jambhala made a sacred vow witnessed by Buddha Sakyamuni that he would protect anyone who chanted his Mantra.

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I connected the Yellow Jambhala image with what I realized were MY blessings of ‘wealth’, maybe not mega-bucks in my pockets, but certainly an abundance of creature comforts I often take for granted. I am rich in health, love and spirit (I hope), and if the inconvenience of yet another a Snow Day is my most challenging moment, well – I guess I shouldn’t be complaining at all!

Yeah!  The beauty of the snow, the playfulness of my boys around me … This day has turned itself around rather nicely.

4 PM … Ring, Ring, RingRING, RING, RING!!! … Uh, Hello??

“Hello, this is your local school district calling to advise you that due to inclement weather there will be a TWO HOUR delayed opening for all schools tomorrow.  Have a good evening!”

Sigh.

Buddhas … I LOVE this pic!

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Photograph by Martin Gray

Light and shadow play on a row of Buddha statues in a cave temple at Sanbangsan, a mountain on South Korea’s Jeju Island. About a quarter of South Koreans identify themselves as Buddhist.

I LOVE this image!

New Year. New Lessons.

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“Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”
L. Frank Baum

(I think this quote best reflects how I feel about The Art of The Blog.)

Ok, Yes …I can do this … but it sure as heck will be a unique learning experience with three tech-savvy sons offering critiques and chuckles along the way!

So … Why Blog?  Well … Why not?

First business – To usher in the Chinese New Year as we are officially in the Year of the Green Wood Horse!

The 15 day celebration of the Chinese New Year began yesterday, January 31st, with the first new moon of the calendar year.  The day marks the end of the Year of the Water Snake and welcomes the start of the Year of the Wooden Horse.  For those who don’t know their yin from their yang or who haven’t visited a Chinese astrologist recently, here’s some stuff to ponder:

  • The Chinese zodiac – or Shēngxiào – is a calendar system originating in the Han dynasty (206-220BC), which names each of the years in its 12-year cycle after an animal: the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig, in that order.  According to the system, the universe is made up of five elements – earth, water, fire, wood and metal – which interact with the 12 animals, resulting in the specific character of the year ahead.
  • People born in the Year of the Horse are said to be a bit like horses: Animated, active and energetic.  They are quick to learn independence and have a straightforward and positive attitude towards life. They are known for their communication skills and are exceedingly witty. ( Hey!! I’m a Horse … )
  • If none of this rings true, don’t worry. The animal signs of each year merely indicate how others see you or how you choose to present yourself. There are also animal signs for each month, known as inner animals, signs for each day, called true animals, and animals for each hour, or secret animals. (Whew, too much pressure!)
  • According to superstition, in your zodiac year you will offend Tai Sui, the god of age, and will experience bad luck for the whole year. To avoid this you should wear something red, which has been given to you by someone else.  In general, the lucky colors of Team Horse are green, red and purple; the lucky numbers are three, four and nine; and the lucky flowers are giant taro and jasmine.
  • The Year of the Horse is a year in which people are likely to stand firm on their principles, making negotiation difficult.  Years of the Wooden Horse are also associated with warfare.  The last time the Year of the Wood Horse occurred was 1954  — and it just so happens that the United States tested the hydrogen bomb on Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands that year. Just something to think about.
  • If you were born in the Year of the Horse, you’re in good company. Fellow members of the horse club include Genghis Khan, Mongol ruler; Franklin D Roosevelt, the 32nd president of the US; Louis Pasteur, a 19th-century scientist; Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon; the singer Aretha Franklin; and the model Cindy Crawford.  If you have Wood or Fire elements in your natal chart you will do well this year, if not – try to buddy up with someone who does (be sure to update your online dating profiles.)
  • The industries that are predicted to do well this year are those associated with the Wood element, including education, healthcare, and agriculture, as well as those that fall under Fire, like marketing, entertainment, restaurants, and (of course), social media.  My view? Tweet and Post til your fingers hurt, and if you are thinking of taking a class …  Do it.  Since education is a Wood industry, which is associated with growth, 2014 will be a good time to learn something new. (Ah! Blogging!)
  • Last notes … In order to stimulate the correct feng shui for the Year of the Wood Horse, consider rearranging the furniture in your home or office to face South, making sure your computer faces that direction too.  You’re also going to want to make yourself more yang — the sun, light, and male elements in Chinese philosophy —  by adding active elements to your home life. Suggestions include playing music in the house and having sex more often. (Hey, I don’t make this stuff up.)

So with ALL of that clarified,  Gong Xi Fa Cai (Mandarin) …  Gong Hey Fat Choy (Cantonese) … Happy New Year!