Questions about bodhisattva vow

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Questions about bodhisattva vow

Postby marco926699 » Tue Apr 01, 2014 3:15 pm

I was informed that if a person break the root bodhisattva vow, then the person can never reach the first bodhisattva level in this life. I would like to ask is that still the case even if the person do the vajrasattva purification? If that is the case, what will be the result of that person. Is there any suggested path and practice for this kind of people who break the root bodhisattva vow. In this life, what is the meaningful path for this kind of person if the person cannot reach the first bodhisattva level.
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Questions about bodhisattva vow

Postby marco926699 » Tue Apr 01, 2014 3:42 pm

I was informed that if a person break the root bodhisattva vow, then the person can never reach the first bodhisattva level in this life. If that is the case, is that hopeless for that kind of person in this life? Is there any suggested path and practice for this kind of people who break the root bodhisattva vow. In this life, what is the meaningful path for this kind of person if the person cannot reach the first bodhisattva level.
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Re: Questions about bodhisattva vow

Postby Astus » Tue Apr 01, 2014 3:52 pm

I'm not sure what "root bodhisattva vow" you refer to. If it is the intention to attain buddhahood in order to liberate beings, i.e. bodhicitta, then yes, if one abandons that aspiration, there is no achievement of the various bodhisattva stages, as one ceases to practise on the path. It's like deciding not to go that way any more. But then, if one reconsiders, the wish for perfect enlightenment comes back, one can start to walk on the path again.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Questions about bodhisattva vow

Postby marco926699 » Tue Apr 01, 2014 3:59 pm

Astus wrote:I'm not sure what "root bodhisattva vow" you refer to. If it is the intention to attain buddhahood in order to liberate beings, i.e. bodhicitta, then yes, if one abandons that aspiration, there is no achievement of the various bodhisattva stages, as one ceases to practise on the path. It's like deciding not to go that way any more. But then, if one reconsiders, the wish for perfect enlightenment comes back, one can start to walk on the path again.

Thank you very much for your reply. I am referring to the 18 root downfalls of bodhisattva vow.
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Re: Questions about bodhisattva vow

Postby ngodrup » Tue Apr 01, 2014 4:37 pm

If you take any vow or precept, it is a very good idea to maintain a purification practice
such as Vajrasattva. If you are a sentient being, if you have mixed motivations, if your are
slightly inconsistent, then you will break those precepts. So try to maintain awareness and
continually apologize for shortcomings.
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Re: Questions about bodhisattva vow

Postby marco926699 » Tue Apr 01, 2014 4:47 pm

Thank you very much for your reply. I am just not sure about whether it can be purified by Vajrasattva purification practice. Or is that the case it can be purified but we still need to bear the result that we cannot reach the first bodhisattva level in this life. Hope somebody can answer my confused question which has made me frustrated for long time.
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Re: Questions about bodhisattva vow

Postby zsc » Tue Apr 01, 2014 4:59 pm

Astus wrote:I'm not sure what "root bodhisattva vow" you refer to.


http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/ar ... edges.html

I would copy and paste the downfalls, but it's...a lot. It looks like it's attributed to the Gelug lineage but I don't know for sure :shrug:
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Re: Questions about bodhisattva vow

Postby Will » Tue Apr 01, 2014 5:30 pm

What does 'breaking' or 'losing' one's vows mean? Here is Berzin explaining:

The Four Binding Factors for Losing Vows
We lose our vows when we totally drop their shape from our lives, or stop trying to maintain it. This is called a root downfall. When it occurs, the only way to regain this ethical shape is to reform our attitudes, undertake a purification procedure such as meditation on love and compassion, and retake the vows. From among the eighteen root bodhisattva downfalls, as soon as we develop the state of mind of the ninth or eighteenth – holding a distorted, antagonistic attitude or giving up bodhichitta – we lose, by the very fact of our change of mind, the ethical shape to our lives fashioned by bodhisattva vows, and thus we stop all efforts to maintain it. Consequently, we immediately lose all our bodhisattva vows, not just the one we have specifically discarded.

Transgressing the other sixteen bodhisattva vows does not constitute a root downfall unless the attitude accompanying the act contains four binding factors (kun-dkris bzhi). These factors must be held and maintained from the moment immediately after developing the motivation to break the vow, up until the moment right after completing the act of transgression.

The four binding factors are:

(1) Not regarding the negative action as detrimental, seeing only advantages to it, and undertaking the action with no regrets.

(2) Having been in the habit of committing the transgression before, having no wish or intention to refrain now or in the future from repeating it.

(3) Delighting in the negative action and undertaking it with joy.

(4) Having no moral self-dignity (ngo-tsha med-pa, no sense of honor) and no care for how our actions reflect on others (khrel-med, no sense of face), such as our teachers and parents, and thus having no intention of repairing the damage we are doing to ourselves.

If all four attitudes do not accompany a transgression of any of the sixteen vows, the bodhisattva shape to our lives is still there, as is the effort to maintain it, but they have both become weak. With the sixteen vows, there is a great difference between merely breaking and losing them.
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
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Re: Questions about bodhisattva vow

Postby Seishin » Tue Apr 01, 2014 5:40 pm

*Moderator note* - identical topics combined
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Re: Questions about bodhisattva vow

Postby JKhedrup » Tue Apr 01, 2014 6:20 pm

Once you have taken the vows from a preceptor you can renew them yourself imagining you are doing so in front of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. There are several verses one can recite to do this.

My teachers have always emphasized making this a regular part of one's practice.

Berzin is Gelug trained but the formulation of the root and secondary downfalls is standard across at least the various Tibetan traditions according to my understanding.
A foolish man proclaims his qualifications,
A wise man keeps them secret within.
A straw floats on the surface of water,
But a precious gem placed upon it sinks to the depths
-Sakya Pandita
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Re: Questions about bodhisattva vow

Postby ngodrup » Tue Apr 01, 2014 6:33 pm

Vajrasattva definitely does purify these.
There is no question.
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Re: Questions about bodhisattva vow

Postby marco926699 » Wed Apr 02, 2014 8:02 am

Thank you very much for all your reply.
Yes , I heard a rinpoche said vajrasattva purification practice can purify the karma of breaking the bodhisattva vow. But take a look on the following statement which is in the class notes of a lesson given by a geshe.

"If you completely commit a root downfall, it destroys the vows in your mental continuum.
Once you break one of your root vows, you cannot attain the first bodhisattva bhumi in
this life (seeing emptiness under the influence of bodhichitta is the first bhumi). This is the
case even if you take your vows again."

And what is purification means if that is the case. I feel confused.
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Re: Questions about bodhisattva vow

Postby tingdzin » Wed Apr 02, 2014 11:58 am

Is it possible that in your class notes, the geshe was referring to root Vajrayana downfalls? That would seem to fit the case better. Just a suggestion.
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Re: Questions about bodhisattva vow

Postby marco926699 » Wed Apr 02, 2014 6:17 pm

tingdzin wrote:Is it possible that in your class notes, the geshe was referring to root Vajrayana downfalls? That would seem to fit the case better. Just a suggestion.


The course is explaining the bodhisattva vow. In fact I feel confused as I heard a venerable rinpoche said vajrasattva purification practice "purifies not only broken bodhisattva root vows, but also tantric root vows". On the other hand, here (that I mentions above) mentions

"If you completely commit a root downfall, it destroys the vows in your mental continuum.
Once you break one of your root vows, you cannot attain the first bodhisattva bhumi in
this life (seeing emptiness under the influence of bodhichitta is the first bhumi). This is the
case even if you take your vows again."

Personally, I do not think the two statements are contradictory but I think I have poor interpretation of them. I mean I do not about the real meaning of purification in this case.
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