the stars of influence

buddhist astrology and you

The planets influence us through the fabric of who and what we are. If we maintain a positive attitude and have accumulated positive karma, then this is stimulated by the natal (birth) planetary positions. Most of us have a mixture of positive and negative past life karmic activity manifesting in this life. Astrology works with the fabric of good and bad karmic potential combined with attitude. Astrology does not create situations for us. Astrology works with what we have created for ourselves.

Generally, Western astrology is not tied to any particular philosophy. The positioning of the planets at the time and place of birth establishes the role they will play in influencing the mind. It is the interplay of placement and angles that is analyzed by the astrologer to decipher what influences consciousness.

Buddhist astrology actually means using Buddhist principals with astrology. Buddhism strives to enhance self-awareness and wisdom, facilitating a growth of free will, choice or liberation. This expanded free will applies to all aspects of life. The more aware and wise an individual is, the more choices he or she has in life, whether dealing with inner emotions and feelings or external situations.

Buddhist practice emphasizes awareness and wisdom as the most important factors for personal development. The actions of body and speech are all directed by the mind. A negative attitude and harmful actions create the causes for suffering and hardship. A positive attitude and kind-hearted actions create the causes for happiness. The mind is the creator of our existence. Most of us are unaware we are creating our existence on a daily basis with our intentions and actions. This lack of mindfulness together with bad habit patterns is the main cause for our unhappiness. Astrological influences have fertile ground in this unawareness to sow the seeds for an even more complicated life. We are not cursed by astrology, we are stimulated by it. We are responsible for how we respond to the stimulation.

So even if people have a stressful birth chart, they are not doomed to suffer failure all their life. If they lack awareness they may repeatedly respond unskillfully to situations, but the suffering lasts only as long as they lack awareness. One doesn't have to be a Buddhist to understand that some actions are not conducive of success. Buddhist practice attempts to awaken the practitioner to recognize potentially unskillful actions and abandon them. In positive terms, practice is awakening an enlightened attitude to enhance life and experience. The mind and attitude of a Buddhist is the central focus of the practice. The mind motivates all action of the body and speech; thus by watching the mind one controls everything. A good practice of self-awareness and wisdom is protection from all negative influences, whether astrological or not.

Jhampa Shaneman studied in India from 1971-1984, where he was ordained a monk. In 1980 Jhampa entered the traditional Great Retreat and spend three and a half years on the mountain above Dharmsala. He is one of the first Westerners to be givin permission by the Dalai Lama to teach all levels of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism. See his website at

Copyright ©2007 ascent magazine, first Canadian yoga magazine, yoga for an inspired life