Everybody speaks about samaya, but nobody knows what it is.

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Re: Everybody speaks about samaya, but nobody knows what it

Postby Karma Jinpa » Mon Nov 04, 2013 12:52 am

Malcolm wrote:
Karma Jinpa wrote:Namthar are certainly a source of generating devotion, if not the doctrine itself. Many of the most eminent masters have said that reading namthar is critical to remaining inspired while traversing the path.

The problem with this is when we discover that the Namthars we are supposed to rely on are merely pious fictions that deeply contradict the earliest accounts of this or that master -- Milarepa comes to mind here.

Are they 100% historically accurate? Likely not. But they do represent how the lineage has come to see their forebears, and the lessons that can be learned from how they lived, having appeared (whether as ordinary or extraordinary beings).

Or they represent an author with an agenda which may not be so obvious on the surface.

Malcolm, these are just further reasons one is supposed to take time to investigate the gurus (for years to be thorough). How many of us are truly that careful?

Same goes for who we read. Many of us, as Westerners, have an immense opportunity to straddle two worlds, looking with a critical wisdom-eye while also realizing there is wisdom in deep devotion, for the guru is the root of all blessings and lineage is very important (particularly in Vajrayana).
"The Sutras, Tantras, and Philosophical Scriptures are great in number. However life is short, and intelligence is limited, so it's hard to cover them completely. You may know a lot, but if you don't put it into practice, it's like dying of thirst on the shore of a great lake. Likewise, it happens that a common corpse is found in the bed of a great scholar." ~ Karma Chagme

དྲིན་ཆེན་རྗེ་བཙུན་བླ་མ་རཱ་ག་ཨ་སྱ་མཁྱེན་ནོ།
ཀརྨ་པ་མཁྱེན་ནོ།


:namaste:
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Re: Everybody speaks about samaya, but nobody knows what it

Postby KonchokZoepa » Mon Nov 04, 2013 1:02 am

problem is that usually we have close acces to only one or two lamas and dont have that much freedom to choose. rather we have to work what we got.
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo
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Re: Everybody speaks about samaya, but nobody knows what it

Postby montana » Mon Nov 04, 2013 1:06 am

I never really thought about deities in that way.

But still:
Could relying solely on method to the exclusion of a Guru produce liberation? (Like, if you received teachings and then the Guru died/ went crazy/ gave up Buddhism.)
Could relying solely on a Guru to the exclusion of a method produce liberation?(Like if you're a close friend but never practiced.)
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Re: Everybody speaks about samaya, but nobody knows what it

Postby heart » Mon Nov 04, 2013 6:16 am

montana wrote:ooh. That thing, I forgot about that.
I don't think a biography is a suitable source to base doctrine on personally.
We have tantras, sutras, valid commentaries, reason, etc, that you can use to back up your views.


Be my guest montana, find some quote to back up your view.

/magnus
"To reject practice by saying, 'it is conceptual!' is the path of fools. A tendency of the inexperienced and something to be avoided."
- Longchenpa
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Re: Everybody speaks about samaya, but nobody knows what it

Postby heart » Mon Nov 04, 2013 6:19 am

montana wrote:I never really thought about deities in that way.

But still:
Could relying solely on method to the exclusion of a Guru produce liberation? (Like, if you received teachings and then the Guru died/ went crazy/ gave up Buddhism.)
Could relying solely on a Guru to the exclusion of a method produce liberation?(Like if you're a close friend but never practiced.)


Of course you don't need a deity to attain liberation, Dzogchen for example, but you always need a Guru.

/magnus
"To reject practice by saying, 'it is conceptual!' is the path of fools. A tendency of the inexperienced and something to be avoided."
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Re: Everybody speaks about samaya, but nobody knows what it

Postby ddorje » Fri Dec 13, 2013 3:31 am

Malcolm wrote:
Karma Jinpa wrote:Namthar are certainly a source of generating devotion, if not the doctrine itself. Many of the most eminent masters have said that reading namthar is critical to remaining inspired while traversing the path.


The problem with this is when we discover that the Namthars we are supposed to rely on are merely pious fictions that deeply contradict the earliest accounts of this or that master -- Milarepa comes to mind here.


Are they 100% historically accurate? Likely not. But they do represent how the lineage has come to see their forebears, and the lessons that can be learned from how they lived, having appeared (whether as ordinary or extraordinary beings).


Or they represent an author with an agenda which may not be so obvious on the surface.



Dear Malcolm,
Isn't this quite deconstructionist?
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Re: Everybody speaks about samaya, but nobody knows what it

Postby wisdom » Sat Dec 14, 2013 4:41 am

Inge wrote:So many people speak about samaya, but it is my impression that they, like me, have no idea what samaya really is.
I have never read a satisfactory explanation, neither in books, nor online. Nor have I heard any teacher explain this properly.

In your knowledge, what exactly is samaya?


Samaya is making a promise and keeping it. Its that simple. Some are made to yourself, some are made to all beings (bodhicitta), some are made to the Guru, Dakini, Buddha... whoever.

What is special about Samaya is that it is coupled with Bodhicitta. The promise is a sacred one and an extremely important one, it is intrinsically tied into your intention to achieve Enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. In my opinion Bodhicitta is the ultimate and the only samaya.

It works because making and keeping promises generates good merit. Merit is basically a storehouse of good deeds. Its separate from karma because karma is based on mental patterns, habitual ways of projecting images onto empty appearances and this in turn determines where we will appear/be reborn, what circumstances we will find ourselves in, and how we will react to our environment. Merit on the other hand is accrued by performing conventionally good karmic actions, and specifically merit grows whenever you follow through on your intention to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. If that means a special samaya to your tantric guru or the Dzogchen samayas or a set of vows. The important thing is to first of all do your best to keep the promise without breaking it, and secondly if you break it to repair it as soon as possible, with heartfelt intent to not repeat the breach of samaya. Follow through generates merit.

For example, the six perfections. With Bodhicitta, you make the promise to be generous. Therefore, you give money to someone. You do this with the intention to reach enlightenment for the benefit of all beings, and when you perform this action (based on how selfless it is) you accrue good merit. You've followed through on your intention. You've strengthened that mental karmic pattern as well, so you will only be more likely to do it again in the future. This is how merit grows until it is an overflowing ocean. Each follow through just makes the next one easier.

If you fail to follow through again and again, you are breaking your promise. When you break your promise, you lose merit. You cant keep your word. You weaken your will and people will take what you say less seriously because literally you no longer merit being listened to. However, if you have remorse and really try to repair the broken promise, most people will forgive you, and that is all that the Bodhisattva path asks of the practitioner. Do your best, always repair your broken promises with good intentions and strong resolve to not repeat the action again.
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Re: Everybody speaks about samaya, but nobody knows what it

Postby byamspa » Sat Dec 14, 2013 4:10 pm

Samaya is Love

H.E. Garchen Rinpoche
August 7, 2010

The root of vajrayana practice is the samaya.

Many of my senior disciples know about that, but there may be some new disciples, and so the samaya, the root of samaya or the actual samaya, is love, and that love is a bond that keeps
us connected throughout many lifetimes.

That is a bond between disciples and disciples, and lamas and disciples, and so forth. If we do not let this bond pass, if we do not interrupt this bond of love, which is the samaya, then from lifetime to lifetime in the future we will meet again and benefit and help each other.

For others, if we cut that samaya, that bond of love with each other, then we can only harm each other in the future.

And so the samaya between disciple and disciple and disciple and lama is very precious and important. It is necessary that we observe this samaya and not allow it to be interrupted—also because throughout all time we have had this positive samaya.

That is why in this lifetime, sharing the connection of practicing the Vajrayana together,and in order to benefit each other again and again in the future, it is important that all of us observe our samaya, that we do not give rise to anger and jealousy toward each other.

And, as it is taught in the tantras, if we observe our samaya,
then we will obtain the highest siddhis within seven lifetimes.



:heart:
Phenomenon, vast as space, dharmata is your base, arising and falling like ocean tide cycles, why do i cling to your illusion of unceasing changlessness?
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Re: Everybody speaks about samaya, but nobody knows what it

Postby Ivo » Wed Dec 18, 2013 5:26 pm

As I had to come to this place again due to some unfortunate occurrence, I might as well try to contribute a little.

This is an explanation of Samaya I received from my root guru, H.H. Kyabje Trulshik Rinpoche. I wrote it down at the time so I am taking it directly from my notes (I copy them here in blue), it is not my interpretation. It is very pithy as it is one-to-one conversation and it was meant for me alone, but I guess some other people may benefit as well from his amazing advice. It was in response to a question I had about the inner meaning of samaya, and that's what Kyabje Rinpoche said:

The technical definitions you know, so I will explain it only in meaning.
On the simplest level, Samaya means to put yourself in a situation where there is no way out.
On a deeper level it is an unbreakable bond, which is not created but simply rediscovered.
From the point of view of the intellect it is a game of the mind, from the point of view of the absolute understanding it is the ultimate nature itself.

It is a skillful means of realizing Buddha-nature, which uses the innate quality of interaction, and from the point of view of confusion it is duality,
while from the point of view of the enlightened state Samaya is an expression of the enlightened state itself.


Then I asked about the difference between the tantric Samaya and the Dzogchen Samaya. This is what he said:

In tantric samaya you work with the expression. In Dzogchen you work with the nature itself. Both tantric and Dzogchen samaya include Nirmanakaya, Sambhogakaya and Dharmakaya, but you approach the tantric samaya from the point of view of the Nirmanakaya, while the Dzogchen samaya is approached from the point of view of the Dharmakaya.

In tantric samaya the whole approach is connected to tantra, with all it's methods, forms and expressions. You work with the whole spectrum of appearances, with pressence and awareness. The Dzogcgen samaya is something which is aimed at the essence, as the total integration with primordial nature allows you to work with the expression unhindered.


Then I asked for a clearer explanation, and he gave me this amazing definition:

The tantric samaya connects you to the enlightened state through the outer expressions (rtsal). The Dzogchen samaya connects you to the outer expressions through the enlightened state.


Hope this helps.
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Re: Everybody speaks about samaya, but nobody knows what it

Postby Malcolm » Fri Dec 20, 2013 4:38 pm

ddorje wrote:Isn't this quite deconstructionist?


Tibetan Buddhists could take some lessons from Derrida, etc. It might stave off a lot of naive beliefs about our textual traditions.

In any event, there is a long standing critical tradition with Tibetan Buddhism, the problem with it is that it is usually only applied to the other guy's books and not our own.
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Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

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Re: Everybody speaks about samaya, but nobody knows what it

Postby Pero » Fri Dec 20, 2013 8:12 pm

Malcolm wrote:In any event, there is a long standing critical tradition with Tibetan Buddhism, the problem with it is that it is usually only applied to the other guy's books and not our own.

LOL.
Although many individuals in this age appear to be merely indulging their worldly desires, one does not have the capacity to judge them, so it is best to train in pure vision.
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Re: Everybody speaks about samaya, but nobody knows what it

Postby dharmagoat » Fri Dec 20, 2013 10:14 pm

You don't know or appreciate what samaya is until it's gone.

That is my experience anyway.
May all beings be happy
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Re: Everybody speaks about samaya, but nobody knows what it

Postby pensum » Sat Dec 21, 2013 12:10 am

An excerpt from the section on "Retaining the Blessings" from a soon-to-be published commentary on the Padma Garbha Tantra:

Samayas are the commitments that need to be upheld so that the blessings and benefits of the empowerment do not dissipate. Thrangu Rinpoche once said that if you can break the samaya then you hadn’t received the real empowerment in the first place, for if you had actually received the empowerment then it is impossible to break the samaya. From that point of view there is never anything to worry about. However, actually receiving the true empowerment, rather than just going through the motions, appears to be quite rare; so we should consider what samayas are and how they can benefit our practice to help us attain complete enlightenment.

People commonly see a vow as something additional that one takes on, such as a promise that we make; if we do not keep it then we are said to break our vow. The word samaya, however, means not to become separate from, therefore the samayas describe how to avoid straying from the intrinsic qualities of our innate nature. For example, the empowerments all lead to the recognition of the primordially pure emptiness of all phenomena, so the samaya of the view is to never lose sight of that basic truth; thus, from this perspective, whenever you become distracted, you can be said to have broken your samaya.

There is a tendency to believe that if you break samaya, then you are to be punished in some way; for example, you will go to hell, get sick, have an accident or such. However, the fact is that simply by not maintaining the view or by not acting in accordance with the view, you naturally suffer. As ignorance or unknowing (Skt. avidya, Tib. marigpa) is the single root cause of samsara, any so-called punishment is contained in the very straying itself. It hurts when you put your hand in the fire, otherwise you wouldn’t pull your hand away and you would suffer horrible burns; likewise we should be thankful that losing the view results in pain and suffering, as otherwise we would never seek the complete liberation of buddhahood and instead just continue perpetuating samsara. According to the viewpoint of Vajrayana, even hell is a pure realm of great bliss. It is just a matter of perspective; if you don’t recognize the ground of primordial purity then you are going to suffer your own personal hell, but if you do recognize it then wherever you are will be a pure buddha field.
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Re: Everybody speaks about samaya, but nobody knows what it

Postby Norwegian » Sat Dec 21, 2013 2:39 am

pensum,

Thanks for that quote. When/where will the book be released, and under what title? Looks interesting.
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Re: Everybody speaks about samaya, but nobody knows what it

Postby pensum » Sat Dec 21, 2013 3:34 am

Norwegian wrote:pensum, Thanks for that quote. When/where will the book be released, and under what title? Looks interesting.


It will be published along with the tantra itself and several other commentaries, under the title The Lotus Essence Tantra. Not quite sure on the specifics, but likely in spring.
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Re: Everybody speaks about samaya, but nobody knows what it

Postby theanarchist » Fri Dec 27, 2013 12:27 am

wisdom wrote:
Inge wrote:So many people speak about samaya, but it is my impression that they, like me, have no idea what samaya really is.
I have never read a satisfactory explanation, neither in books, nor online. Nor have I heard any teacher explain this properly.

In your knowledge, what exactly is samaya?


Samaya is making a promise and keeping it. Its that simple. Some are made to yourself, some are made to all beings (bodhicitta), some are made to the Guru, Dakini, Buddha... whoever.

What is special about Samaya is that it is coupled with Bodhicitta. The promise is a sacred one and an extremely important one, it is intrinsically tied into your intention to achieve Enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. In my opinion Bodhicitta is the ultimate and the only samaya.

It works because making and keeping promises generates good merit. Merit is basically a storehouse of good deeds. Its separate from karma because karma is based on mental patterns, habitual ways of projecting images onto empty appearances and this in turn determines where we will appear/be reborn, what circumstances we will find ourselves in, and how we will react to our environment. Merit on the other hand is accrued by performing conventionally good karmic actions, and specifically merit grows whenever you follow through on your intention to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. If that means a special samaya to your tantric guru or the Dzogchen samayas or a set of vows. The important thing is to first of all do your best to keep the promise without breaking it, and secondly if you break it to repair it as soon as possible, with heartfelt intent to not repeat the breach of samaya. Follow through generates merit.

For example, the six perfections. With Bodhicitta, you make the promise to be generous. Therefore, you give money to someone. You do this with the intention to reach enlightenment for the benefit of all beings, and when you perform this action (based on how selfless it is) you accrue good merit. You've followed through on your intention. You've strengthened that mental karmic pattern as well, so you will only be more likely to do it again in the future. This is how merit grows until it is an overflowing ocean. Each follow through just makes the next one easier.

If you fail to follow through again and again, you are breaking your promise. When you break your promise, you lose merit. You cant keep your word. You weaken your will and people will take what you say less seriously because literally you no longer merit being listened to. However, if you have remorse and really try to repair the broken promise, most people will forgive you, and that is all that the Bodhisattva path asks of the practitioner. Do your best, always repair your broken promises with good intentions and strong resolve to not repeat the action again.



Nope. Samaya is not a promise but a psychic connection with the teacher that you get when the teacher confers initiation and you receive it. The teacher directly shows you a glimpse of the end result of the vajrayana practice, and this glimpse, this blessing is what makes vajrayana effective. This connection to the person who has given you this direct insight can not be undone and you are stuck with it (and the teacher with you) until enligthenment. It is the highest gift that you can receive in our worldly realm.

Therefor if you go against the teacher who was so generous or abuse this sacred dharma you accumulate the worst possible karma, and because you have cultivated a habit of abusing vajrayana will have problems to use any vajrayana to purify yourself from that stain, too.

Basically if you are not constantly in the state of meditation you break samaya anyway. But to really smash it you have to lose your fundamental respect for the teacher and dharma, you have to go against it and you have to rejoice in this action.

The promises are basically there to ensure that you don't accidently become an inmate in vajra hell and for the path to bring results.
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Re: Everybody speaks about samaya, but nobody knows what it

Postby Malcolm » Fri Dec 27, 2013 1:02 am

theanarchist wrote:
Nope. Samaya is not a promise but a psychic connection with the teacher that you get when the teacher confers initiation and you receive it.


Interesting opinion. No textual support, however.
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Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Everybody speaks about samaya, but nobody knows what it

Postby theanarchist » Fri Dec 27, 2013 1:42 am

No, personal experience with empowerment, the way vajrayana practice works in general, logical conclusion taking into account the mechanics of vows and karma. And i have heard teachings on the subject.

Although I am sure I can dig up something on samaya in some scriptures, I haven't studied scriptures in a while.
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Re: Everybody speaks about samaya, but nobody knows what it

Postby Malcolm » Fri Dec 27, 2013 1:59 am

theanarchist wrote:No, personal experience with empowerment, the way vajrayana practice works in general, logical conclusion taking into account the mechanics of vows and karma. And i have heard teachings on the subject.

Although I am sure I can dig up something on samaya in some scriptures, I haven't studied scriptures in a while.


All vows, including samaya, are nothing more than a series of intent, which are disrupted due to engaging in acts contrary to that initial intent. There is nothing mystical or psychic about receiving samaya vows. They are received when one recites the commitments after the master during the empowerment. The receipt of samaya is something very precise.

Then of course there is the four Dzogchen "samayas", which are unbreakable since they are not conditioned.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Everybody speaks about samaya, but nobody knows what it

Postby theanarchist » Fri Dec 27, 2013 1:23 pm

Malcolm wrote:
theanarchist wrote:Then of course there is the four Dzogchen "samayas", which are unbreakable since they are not conditioned.


Other vajrayana samaya connections are just as unbreakable. Because even if it's nowhere as explicit as in dzogchen, in a highest yogatantra initiation what makes the initiation valid is the conferrence of a spark of the absolute nature of the deity. I don't know if I express myself understandable, English is not my first language.

The vows you take during an initiation are vows, they are not the actual samaya.

The actual samaya is the connection you make with the teacher by receiving initiation, the vows are a tool that enables the disciple to progress on that path in a meaningful way. It's like the road traffic regulations that ensure the safety of all people involved. And the negative karma when you don't follow them doesn't come from breaking some promise, but from harming yourself and others by not following those vajrayana traffic regulations.

Just like in street traffic, the problem is not the breaking of the traffic rules, the problem is the accidents and actual harm that will happen if you do so, the same once you have the samaya connection with a teacher and don't follow certain rules. It is not harmful because you made some promise, it's harmful because it not following those rules is in itself harmful once you have made this type of connection.
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