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Buddhist Astrology: Chart Interpretation from a Buddhist Perspective Paperback – Feb 8 2003

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Llewellyn Publications (Feb. 8 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 073870315X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738703152
  • Product Dimensions: 22.8 x 15.5 x 2.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 544 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #865,446 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

About the Author

Jhampa Shaneman (British Columbia, Canada) has been an astrological consultant for twenty years and a Buddhist for thirty-one. He is one of the first Western practitioners to be given permission by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to teach all levels of Mahayana and Vayrayana Buddhism. In 1980, Jhampa entered the
traditional Great Retreat and spent the next three and a half years on the mountain above Dharmsals, India.
Jan V. Angel (Colorado) is a professional astrologer with an extensive focus on Eastern and Western transformative philosophy.
~

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

One

Buddhist Astrology

Buddhists say that Siddhartha was the product of eons of positive intention and action. Whenever Buddhists pray before a statue of the Buddha, they pray for inspiration. This is the positive inspiration to deal effectively with each day. Inspiration moves one to make life meaningful with positive action. Buddha attained enlightenment to show and inspire others on their path to enlightenment. The inspiration to be an enlightened individual has astrological implications.

Siddhartha's past-life birth stories, in Buddhist scripture, are a good example of the process of dealing with many different levels of influence. As a bodhisattva―someone who works toward enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings―Siddhartha cultivated positive qualities and wisdom over millions of rebirths. Those positive qualities helped him deal with life and all its various dimensions. The stories are read to Buddhist children to inspire them to be virtuous. They culminate in Siddhartha's final rebirth when he attains enlightenment. The glory of that last lifetime is due to the accumulation of vast wisdom and virtuous action.

A Buddhist review of Siddhartha shows that he is a multidimensional character, an archetype. There are so many ways to view the man and his life, and they are all interdependent. Siddhartha's life as a crown prince, his astrology, and his lineage of rebirths all interconnect. This is the wisdom of the Buddha, which is the wisdom of enlightenment. It sheds a wonderful new light on the practice of astrology.

Shortly after the birth of Siddhartha, the man destined to become Lord Buddha, an aged and wise Vedic astrologer visited his mother and father. It was traditional in India for astrologers to make predictions when a child was born. Siddhartha's father was the king of a small country on the border of Nepal and India. His first child was a boy, and that was auspicious. He hoped his son, the crown prince, would be blessed by the planets. The old astrologer viewed both the boy and the calculations of his planets and then started to shed many tears. Siddhartha's father was shocked. Was his son doomed to a horrible rebirth?

When the old man composed himself, he explained the tears by saying, "I cry because I will not see the great person this child is destined to become. Siddhartha can be the lord of all India or he can become an enlightened being, a Buddha in this very life." The father was overjoyed that his son would be the next ruler of India. The thought of his son becoming a Buddha was meaningless to him. Of course his son would become a great king; what cause was there for other options?

The astrologer did see the options available to Siddhartha. Buddhism holds the ideal that life is not inherently fixed or fated. All phenomena, animate and inanimate, are interdependent. The intention of this book is to present a Buddhist view of astrology.

No phenomena, sentient or inanimate, are separate from the causes and circumstances that create them. Siddhartha is an excellent example of this. He was the product of a wide spectrum of causes and circumstances. Siddhartha's parents were the first and primary cause. Their DNA, from the very start, established a set of physical characteristics that he inherited. Siddhartha's rebirth was auspicious in this way. His father was handsome, healthy, wise, and virtuous. His mother was attractive, healthy, intelligent, and virtuous as well. They were both from the warrior ruling caste of India.

Siddhartha's mother, in particular, was spiritually aware of Siddhartha's qualities. She had dreams indicating that her son's rebirth lineage was special. She dreamt on the night of his conception that a six-tusked elephant entered her womb. This symbolized Siddhartha's power and qualities. Historical accounts say that she was joyful during the pregnancy. Mahayana Buddhists say that she was the incarnation of a goddess who promised to be the mother for Siddhartha. She currently resides in Tushita Pure Land and waits for the next Buddha Maitreya. She is prophesied to be the mother for every Buddha to come. All these births will cause her no discomfort, due to the pure qualities of these beings.

Siddhartha's external life situation is another area of interdependence. This includes his physical environment, his socioeconomic situation, and his education. The physical environment was a palace in ancient India. His socioeconomic situation was one of immense wealth and prestige. Siddhartha's education was the best available at the time.

Siddhartha was also trained in a traditional manner as a member of the warrior caste. His training included literature, logic, philosophy, and arms. Historians say that he excelled in all these activities. He even won the hand of his wife-to-be on the basis of his athletic and academic skills. Siddhartha's father was careful not to stimulate Siddhartha with religious speculation. The general ideas of past and future lives, the ethics of a monarch, and generosity to the poor were taught to him. The historical references say that his father spared nothing in the worldly sense for Siddhartha's education.

The influences to stimulate, support, and create Siddhartha were innumerable. These ranged from coarse and manifest aspects to subtle and invisible aspects of influence. Coarse aspects were the physical environment and social setting. Subtle aspects were less obvious to observe. Astrology is considered a subtle influence. It is considered an environmental influence of secondary importance.

To show how astrology may have played a role in Siddhartha's life, I have cast a natal chart for him. The actual birth chart of Siddhartha can only be speculated. There are various years given for his birth, so I have picked the year that best represents historical reports.

We can surmise from the comments of historians that Siddhartha's natal chart was impressive. He was born in the springtime. Most Buddhist traditions place it in May or June. We know he was born during the daylight hours as his mother was traveling to Nepal. She was walking about in the forest to get exercise when her water broke. Shortly after, she grasped the branch of a tree and gave birth to him. This was at noontime. His destiny was to become great, so the Sun was close to the Midheaven and it was a Full Moon day. That indicates a Taurus Sun with a Leo rising sign, definitely a strong set of supporting influences for a man destined to become either an emperor or a Buddha.

Astrology in General

Astrology is an environmental influence. It is a map of the physical world around the planet Earth at the moment of birth. This map includes the exact placement of the Sun, Moon, and all the other astronomical objects related to the Earth.

The placement of these objects naturally causes global influence. We can easily see this reflected in the world around us. The Moon is an excellent example of interdependence. Farmers plant crops with awareness of lunar cycles. If a farmer plants a crop to coincide with the correct phase of the Moon, the germinated seeds sprout faster. The waxing effect of the Moon assists the quick growth of the sprouts. When you consider the size of a seed and its sprout, the subtle effects of the Moon become obvious. The Moon affects the world on a grand scale as well. The Moon's immense gravitational pull shifts the waters of the ocean in a rhythmic tidal movement. The Moon and its effects are constantly present in everyday life. The world is interdependent with the solar system on many levels.

The Moon and human body have strong indications of interplay. The body is made up of 75 percent fluids, and the Moon's twenty-eight-day cycle can affect the emotions and temperament. The Full Moon phase occasionally stimulates people adversely. Historically the label lunatic refers to someone who is sensitive to phases of the Moon. The feminine menstrual cycle demonstrates synchronicity with the lunar cycle. Many cultural groups refer to the menstrual cycle of a woman as Moon Time. All living beings are part of the great interplay of environmental factors, even though they are mobile upon the planet. Mobility does not exclude them from the total scope of influences, including astrology.

Buddha commented on the physical and emotional interplay of influences. He said, "Individuals with mindful awareness are free of harmful influences." What the Buddha meant is that people who lack self-awareness and wisdom respond unconsciously to stimulation within their physical and emotional environments. They become stimulated by delusion, habit patterns, and instinct. They may be predictable or fated because of the lack of awareness. This encompasses all aspects of influence, including astrology.

Individuals with mindful self-awareness draw on the wisdom of past experience and education, which provides them with a variety of choices. Having a selection of options demonstrates a greater expression of free will. Mindful individuals are not as predictable. Buddhism explains that free will is proportionate to the amount of awareness and wisdom an individual exercises at any given moment.

Buddhism divides experience into internal and external events. Inner events refer to feelings, emotions, thoughts, and attitude. External events refer to the outer world of people, possessions, and the body. Aware individuals have more options in both of these areas. When inner feelings and thoughts arise, they are mindful of what response best suits those emotions. To deal with external events, they are mindful of actions of body and speech. Their intent is to respond in a virtuous, positive, and constructive manner.

Realized Buddhist practitioners have little concern for astrological influences. They apply mindful wisdom to whatever stimulations are felt internally or externally. They do not even have to know it is an astrological influence. Their wisdom and awareness give perfect advice. Their decisions and actions benefit everyone. This is an excellent example of enlightened activity.

It is possible to go a step further with awareness and wisdom. Everything is interdependently connected. The practitioners of the Kalachakra Tantra, in Tibetan Buddhism, utilize this awareness. These practitioners know what is happening astrologically without even seeing the heavens above. The advanced Tantric stages of the Kalachakra system are done in closed, dark cells. They know the phase of the Moon and positions of the planets even though they are in a cell. Their wisdom and awareness senses the changes in the body to reveal the exact position of the Moon or Sun. The movement of energy in their nerve channels tells them what is happening in the external world.

People generally live in a realm somewhere between being conscious and unconscious. Their inconsistent awareness may lack wisdom as things unfold. They respond to situations spontaneously, without foresight or consideration. It is an advantage to be aware of the influences. This is how most Tibetans look at life. They use astrology to select the most fortuitous time to accomplish their goals.

It is interesting to view how Tibetans use astrology and other forms of divination on a daily basis. There are two principal forms of astrology studied in Tibet. The astrology from India is called Kar tse, and the astrology from China is called Nag tse. The kar refers to the color white and the country of India where people wore white clothes. The nag refers to the color black and to China where black was principally worn. The word tse means measurement or measuring the movement of various cycles. The Tibetans use both Indian and Chinese astrology to anticipate auspicious and inauspicious times.

The Indian system used by the Tibetans is not exactly the same as the Vedic astrology presently used in India. The main Tibetan source is the Kalachakra Tantra, or Wheel of Time Tantra. This Tantra tells the position of the first six planets, Ketu, Rahu, and other astrological phenomena considered important. There is a second system in Tibetan Tantra called the Raising Vowels astrological system. This system is held as secret and deals with prophecy.

The Chinese system of astrology has nothing to do with astrological bodies. It is based on a twelve-year minicycle in conjunction with the five elements of earth, fire, water, air, and metal. The total cycle takes sixty years to complete, created by multiplying the twelve animals and five elements. Divinations are based on the compatibility of the animals and elements with one another.

There is a third form of astrology developed solely by the Tibetans. It is based on the seasons and crops. It is used in agriculture and not for the prophesy of human events. Tibetan clients receive the results of the Indian and Chinese astrological interpretations at the same time. Both systems are used as a form of divination, and they can contradict each other. It is common for an astrologer to tell a client that it is auspicious from the Chinese side but inauspicious from the Indian side. This makes the situation appear confused.

The Tibetans tend to be practically minded and weigh the options as they appear. If both the Chinese and Indian systems bode well for a trip or project, then it is viewed as a definite sign of success. If the two systems differ in opinion, then the project is debatable. If they both say it is inauspicious, then the Tibetan seriously reconsiders the activity.

A third and even more important process of divination outside of astrology is available to Tibetans. It can be used to complement the previous two systems, or clarify disagreements. This is the use of a mo, or divination performed by a monk, nun, or holy person. Those who do the mo are normally well-known in the area for the accuracy of their divinations. The lama or layperson will use either dice or a rosary to predict the event.

If all three divinations are supportive, the project is almost sure to succeed. If the two astrological systems contradict each other, the mo is used as the deciding factor. If all three divinations give a bad indication, it is definitely not an auspicious time for action.

The dedicated Tibetan has yet another option if a desire is strong and requires action. If all aspects of divination indicate little hope for success, the client has this solution. It is the use of prayer, meditation, and ritual to turn the project in a positive direction. The prayers and meditation normally involve Green Tara, the female Buddha of activities. She is invoked to help correct bad indications and bring forth the best possible solution. Her name means "the savior." Buddhists believe that Green Tara is a benevolent and powerful deity who removes fear and interferences.

Tibetans also use more forceful intervention to assure success. They may turn to a Wrathful Buddha or a Dharma Protector for help. These rituals are often done to rectify health problems and avoid foreseeable disasters. This is because there are no options if the client remains inactive. There is something that can be done even if the problem seems overwhelming. No Tibetan ever looks at a situation as being completely lost. They weigh how much spiritual intervention is required to swing the balance in their favor. To accomplish this requires earnest faith, prayer, mantra recitation, and reliance on the deities.

The underlying structure for all Tibetans is the belief in Buddhism, which gives the wisdom to deal effectively with whatever transpires. If all forms of intervention were attempted and still the event was a disaster, it then indicates extensive bad karma. The Tibetans would listen to the counsel of their Buddhist teacher and accept the failure. This is regarded as a life lesson. They take inspiration and apply it toward future projects. This will often translate into the accumulation of positive activity to enhance their karmic potential.

Karmic potential is the product of motivation and action. If desires and wishes are difficult to realize, then there is a need to accumulate more positive actions. This is accomplished through kindhearted and positive motivations. Persistent positive action both purifies previous negative actions and accumulates new positive potential. Buddhists believe that the success of any action depends on the accumulated positive activity of the past.

 

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Format: Paperback
The main author, Jhampa Shaneman has extraordinary Buddhist background including the traditional 3 years retreat of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism. From his biographical sketch at the end of this book (and his website) you know how devoted he is about his practice. Actually this what I was impressed the most.
Due to such kind of practices, as well as his knowledge, experiment and practices of Western Astrology, we can see in-depth perspectives applying Western Astrology to our mind, which is the core and source of our daily-life, past, present and future... Thus Astrology is useful to us in a very practical way. Western Astrology has been very close to western Psychology after Jung. However, this book presents Astrological Psychology with the deepest school of eastern Psychology... which is worth reading and thinking about.
One of the most special points in this book is that he tried to trace Buddha's birthchart out of records and we can find very reasonable and helpful information out of his interpretation of the chart, including tracing the time and inner-experience when Siddhartha (Buddha's name before he became enlightened) escaped from his palace and attained Buddhahood.
Jhampa's Buddhist teachers including Lama Yeshe and many greatest gurus of the century. The most famous western Tibetan scholars nowadays like Robert Thurman, Jeffery Hopkins, are about the same time or later as his beginning of studying. And he is also one of the few westerners permited by His Holiness Dalai Lama to teach all levels of Buddhism.
From his website, you will find more of his information:
[...]
Sorry that I cannot express well with all the good points of this book. I will try to tell more later.
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Format: Paperback
I have so enjoyed this book! The author gives a clear description of basic Buddhist philosophy in the first 5 chapters, including an inspired interpretation of a natal chart for the Buddha. Then he describes each of the 12 Houses and gives lively descriptions of the meaning associated with the moon, sun and planets. I took out my own chart to learn more about my own natal chart. The only negative criticism I have is that the book nowhere gives the symbols for the planets so I had difficulty reading my chart.
The book ends with a delightful biography of the author who, though born a Canadian, became a Buddhist monk , lived in Dharmsala,was taught by the Dalai Lama,did a 3 year retreat in a mountian cave and after 13 years was given permission by the Dalai Lama to give up his ordination and teach Buddhism in the West. His description of this life is fascinating.
There is a glossary of Buddhist terms,a bibliography.and an index - all things a good book needs!
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
The introduction to Buddhist thought and philosophy is worth the price of this book. The astrological interpretations, given from this Buddhist perspective, offer peace and tranquility in the face of stormy life-situations and inner turmoil. The message which permeates these pages is: you are not mortal; your true being is one with life, not at odds with life. Buddhist Astrology--the book and the approach--pierces through the veil of an illusional mortality. Astrological consultations, whether through a personal astrologer or through a well-written book, ought to bring hope, peace, comfort to the seeker. These things are to be found here.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
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Format: Paperback
This interpretation of astrology chart readings from a Buddhist point of view is very interesting and insightful. Buddhist philosophy and application to daily living and understanding how the underlying influences of astrology affect us was most thought provoking. I really enjoyed this book and felt that I learned practical applications from it to use in my own attitude towards self, others and understanding samsara.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9f3ae6cc) out of 5 stars 7 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f07d438) out of 5 stars Buddhist Astrology April 20 2003
By Ann Redwood - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I have so enjoyed this book! The author gives a clear description of basic Buddhist philosophy in the first 5 chapters, including an inspired interpretation of a natal chart for the Buddha. Then he describes each of the 12 Houses and gives lively descriptions of the meaning associated with the moon, sun and planets. I took out my own chart to learn more about my own natal chart. The only negative criticism I have is that the book nowhere gives the symbols for the planets so I had difficulty reading my chart.
The book ends with a delightful biography of the author who, though born a Canadian, became a Buddhist monk , lived in Dharmsala,was taught by the Dalai Lama,did a 3 year retreat in a mountian cave and after 13 years was given permission by the Dalai Lama to give up his ordination and teach Buddhism in the West. His description of this life is fascinating.
There is a glossary of Buddhist terms,a bibliography.and an index - all things a good book needs!
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f02b420) out of 5 stars real Buddhist Psychology integrated with Western Astrology March 12 2003
By Leonard Chang - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The main author, Jhampa Shaneman has extraordinary Buddhist background including the traditional 3 years retreat of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism. From his biographical sketch at the end of this book (and his website) you know how devoted he is about his practice. Actually this what I was impressed the most.
Due to such kind of practices, as well as his knowledge, experiment and practices of Western Astrology, we can see in-depth perspectives applying Western Astrology to our mind, which is the core and source of our daily-life, past, present and future... Thus Astrology is useful to us in a very practical way. Western Astrology has been very close to western Psychology after Jung. However, this book presents Astrological Psychology with the deepest school of eastern Psychology... which is worth reading and thinking about.
One of the most special points in this book is that he tried to trace Buddha's birthchart out of records and we can find very reasonable and helpful information out of his interpretation of the chart, including tracing the time and inner-experience when Siddhartha (Buddha's name before he became enlightened) escaped from his palace and attained Buddhahood.
Jhampa's Buddhist teachers including Lama Yeshe and many greatest gurus of the century. The most famous western Tibetan scholars nowadays like Robert Thurman, Jeffery Hopkins, are about the same time or later as his beginning of studying. And he is also one of the few westerners permited by His Holiness Dalai Lama to teach all levels of Buddhism.
From his website, you will find more of his information:
[...]
Sorry that I cannot express well with all the good points of this book. I will try to tell more later.
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f078360) out of 5 stars BUDDHIST ASTROLOGY PIERCES THE VEIL OF MORTALITY June 22 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The introduction to Buddhist thought and philosophy is worth the price of this book. The astrological interpretations, given from this Buddhist perspective, offer peace and tranquility in the face of stormy life-situations and inner turmoil. The message which permeates these pages is: you are not mortal; your true being is one with life, not at odds with life. Buddhist Astrology--the book and the approach--pierces through the veil of an illusional mortality. Astrological consultations, whether through a personal astrologer or through a well-written book, ought to bring hope, peace, comfort to the seeker. These things are to be found here.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f078570) out of 5 stars An example of the diversity of astrology May 29 2009
By Carol Hunt - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book. The Buddhist philosophy was incorporated into astrology with tack. There is no lecturing, and it is thought provoking. The professional style makes the book highly readable and opens the subject up to people of different philosophical backgrounds without misrepresenting astrology. I am glad that this book is on the market. It reflects well on the system and is an example of what astrology should strive to be--a well thought out philosophy of life. I couldn't recommend the book more and I am not Buddhist.
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f0782dc) out of 5 stars Buddhist Astrology: Chart Interpretation from a Buddhist April 16 2003
By Lura McCallum - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This interpretation of astrology chart readings from a Buddhist point of view is very interesting and insightful. Buddhist philosophy and application to daily living and understanding how the underlying influences of astrology affect us was most thought provoking. I really enjoyed this book and felt that I learned practical applications from it to use in my own attitude towards self, others and understanding samsara.


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