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Csillag

Repairing the Bodhisattva Vow

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Tashi delek,

 

I´ve found the follwing written in a book, ( The Bodhisattva vow by Geshe Sonam Rinchen ) to that I have a question:

 

While the Pratimoksha vow cannot be taken again, once a defeat has been created, the Bodhisattvs vow can fortuanetly be renewed, but nevertheless we shouldn`t think that since it can be taken again, losing the Bodhisattv vow is of no consequence.

It is in fact a more serious matter than creating a defeat of the pratimoksha vow. Creating a basic downfall is an obstacle to reaching the Bodhisattva stages called “Bhumis “; one will not become an exalted Bodhisattva in this life nor accumulate the positive energy necessary to become an exalted Bodhisattva.

 

Well if I read that .....then I am asking myself what about when entering into Vajrayana practices ? I mean there are powerful purifying practices.

Lets say one is breaking ones Bodhisattva vow, but with time develops spiritually very well and enters Vajrayana, practicing vajrayana quite well, has such a person a possibility to reach enlightenment within this very life or at second best at death ? Or would it be more the case, because of having once broken ones Bodhisattva vow one will not being able to practice vajrayana well in this life ?

Could an downfall of the Bodhisattva vow have such an serious effect ?

 

With kind regards

Csillag

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Guest lodreu

Tashi Delek,

 

As it is very well said:

t is in fact a more serious matter than creating a defeat of the pratimoksha vow. Creating a basic downfall is an obstacle to reaching the Bodhisattva stages called “Bhumis “

This refers to the energy created by breaking the vow. It is therefore very important to try our best not to do it. But as this vow is nowadays taken by beings having continuous self cherishing attitudes (as for myself), it can be easilly broken.

 

When broken it is very necessary to purify the negativity created, otherwise, what is the point of taking a Bodhisattva vow if it becomes such an indrance and obstacle on the Bodhisattva path? For this the Buddhas out of their Compassion have taught various purification practices.

 

Nevertheless, to rely only on such practices is a big risk. Meaning that one could think that whatever action one is doing it is no problem, just do some mantras or sadhana or prostrations and all is repaired.

But we have to understnad that the effects of the purification practices depends of the concentration and ability of the person performing them. If one doesn't have such ability to keep the vows clean because of mind unstability, the purification practice might not be 100% effective.

And furthermore that breaking a Bodhisattva vow also creates a negative imprint on the mind.

 

practicing vajrayana quite well, has such a person a possibility to reach enlightenment within this very life or at second best at death ?

Practicing Vajrayana quite well, means to have a stable mind, and in such case there is no difficulty to keep such vows 8)

 

In any case, keeping vows purely is the cause for reaching Enlightenment. If we are not able to do it now, if we are undergoing obstacles, strong tendancies which trouble us, then it is possible to keep maitaining our effort. And to use daily the purification practices to do not experience the result of these negative actions as obstacles on the path.

 

best regards,

Lodreu

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Tashi delek dear Lodreu

 

But as this vow is nowadays taken by beings having continuous self cherishing attitudes (as for myself), it can be easilly broken.

One reason why it is more easily to break those vows nowadays, is in my opinion also because of the lack of knowledge. We hear at teachings lots about Bodhicitta ; the vows are so easily given, it almost becomes like a fashion to take the vows. Same time one is not really clear about what it entails, one even is not clear about ones own capacity......of course there are books on this topic, so someone who is really interested will find out "with time". ( if it not already too late ).

I see a danger in it if Bodgisattva vows are given publicly for a large group, as totally new comers to Dharma could be there, but the same time I understand that circumstances of our modern life may do not allow another solution......

So I wished there would be more teachings about Bodhisattva vows, about Vinaya(morality ) in general.

 

Nevertheless, to rely only on such practices is a big risk. Meaning that one could think that whatever action one is doing it is no problem, just do some mantras or sadhana or prostrations and all is repaired.

- So here we are at a christian- like situation......;-(

( I think that the original meaning of confessing ones sins to the priest got degenarated with time within christianity )

 

If one doesn't have such ability to keep the vows clean because of mind unstability, the purification practice might not be 100% effective.

And furthermore that breaking a Bodhisattva vow also creates a negative imprint on the mind.

- So than most of us have to work with a special attention on shine, and on the 4 powers ........

 

What do you think of the following situation :

Lets say in ones past life one took the Bodhisattva vows and tryed to do ones best to maintain it. It is said that the bodhisattva vow continues till future lifes and as Alexander Berzin sayes: "if we have taken the vows in a previous lifetime, we do not lose them by unknowingly committing a full transgression now, unless we have taken them freshly during our current life. Retaking the vows for the first time in this life strengthens the momentum of our efforts toward enlightenment that has been growing ever since our first taking of them. Therefore, Mahayana masters emphasize the importance of dying with the bodhisattva vows intact and strong."

So now next life one would renew ones Bodisattva vow, but because of some very bad karma of past lifes ripening he would break ones vow and afterwards purifying it.

So now comes the question:

Last life the person kept the vow pure but this life not, which kind offect will this have, cosidering the fact that even with confession, purifying ones vow one will not become this lifetime a bodhisattva on a bhumi? What is about the karmic force of having kept the vows intact in past life ?

 

You know why I am asking this, is because I heared something about vajrayana vows: If you take the vows and keep it purely, even if you do not practice it is garanteed that within 16 lifetimes you will reach enligtenment. But within the coming 16 lifetimes, you could break the vajrayana vow, and what is then with enlightenment within 16 lifetimes ? Could such a person still go to Vajra hell ?

So in an analogy to this situation I asked for the Bodhisattva vow and with the attempt to understand the functioning of karma more deeply.

 

With kind regards

Csillag

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Guest lodreu

Tashi Delek,

 

So here we are at a christian- like situation......;-(

( I think that the original meaning of confessing ones sins to the priest got degenarated with time within christianity )

In that case the meaning is not degenerated yet at the base. The wrong understanding of some people makes the degeneration. The trouble comes when these people start to spread it openly, advising others with such wrong views.

 

It is said that the bodhisattva vow continues till future lifes and as Alexander Berzin sayes:

From what I understand the vow itself doesn't continue till future life, it stops with the end of the physical body in which it was taken. What remains is the imprint and the influence of the vow.

When a vow was not broken, at the moment of death the trace left on the mental continum makes it a stronger medium toward generating the causes for enlightenment in this life. Yet it still implies retaking them, and generating the proper attitudes.

I think it is necessary to see it as potentials unless actualized realizations. They can be pursued, actualized or spoiled ...

 

Lets say one is breaking ones Bodhisattva vow, but with time develops spiritually very well and enters Vajrayana, practicing vajrayana quite well, has such a person a possibility to reach enlightenment within this very life or at second best at death ? Or would it be more the case, because of having once broken ones Bodhisattva vow one will not being able to practice vajrayana well in this life ?

Could an downfall of the Bodhisattva vow have such an serious effect ?

If I take the exemple of Milarepa then all is possible. But it really depends on the continuous effort one puts into it. Sometimes it seems that in their seach to Enlightenment many people forget to work on their ego. They look here and there and in another place again, never really putting into practice one thing long enough to stabilize the mind and really progress. The teachings have to be pleasant, the conditions pleasant, the practice pleasant, etc... Or we go to look elsewhere. The path is clear enough, actually described in many texts such as the different lamrims, lamdre, etc... And it starts with Shine.

 

Best regards,

Lodreu.

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Tashi Delek,

 

Most kind Rinpoche mentioned on Saturday at the Q&A session that in order to "repair" the Bodhisattva vows it would be very good to read the Confession Sutra each day. I am wondering if this Sutra can be found at the end of the 35 Buddhas Purification practice, or is this some other Sutra?

 

Thank you.

Khyenrab

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Tashi Deleke Khyenrab,

 

I am wondering if this Sutra can be found at the end of the 35 Buddhas Purification practice, or is this some other Sutra?

 

Yes, it is. :D

tatjana

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