Category Archives: Culture

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.

whitejambhala

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.

YellowJambhala

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.

black_jambhala

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.

reddzambhala

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.

green jambhala

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.

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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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Horse

“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!