Drug relapse leads to broken Samaya?

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Drug relapse leads to broken Samaya?

Postby CrawfordHollow » Thu Jul 26, 2012 4:35 am

There was a time in my life when I had a pretty heavy opiate habit. Thankfully, I was able to overcome my addiction and make it through more or less in one piece. I really am lucky to be alive. I overdosed multiple times and came very close to dying in an ambulance. That was ten years ago. Now that Dharma has become the foundation of my life, I am glad to say that I hardly touch any intoxicants at all. I really thought that I was in the clear and had put that time to rest.

However, I recently slipped up and had a relapse. It wan't anything huge. It didn't lead to a massive week-long out of control binge- It was just one night of taking a small amount of narcotics. I'm not trying to downplay the signifigance of this, its one of the worst things I could have done to myself and I feel pretty horrible about it. What really concerns me, though, is that I may have broken my samaya. I obviosly feel guilty about it, and have confessed and been practicing Vajrasattva. I recently recieved three very important empowerments that are vital to my practice. Is this a breach of samaya that can be repaired? I honestly don't know too much about samaya. I would hate to think that I threw these transmissions down the tube. What happens to the transmissions themselves when samaya is damaged? These empowerments are very dear to me and I am honestly kind of freaking out about the whole thing. I hope this doesn't mean that I have to stop practicing because my samaya is damaged.

You will have to excuse my ignorance on this topic. I have been practicing for over eight years, but these were my first HYT empowerments. I practice within the Drikung and Karma Kagyu and I also recently joined the Dzogchen Community and have recieved transmission from ChNN. The whole thing really sucks. I really had turned my life around. No high is worth the suffering that drugs bring you.

Thanks,
Troy
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Re: Drug relapse leads to broken Samaya?

Postby deepbluehum » Thu Jul 26, 2012 4:49 am

Generally to repair samaya, you can do Vajrasattva practice and when you have a vajra-mate or two, you should do tsok. In most Lama Chodpa sadhanas, there is a tsok part. Even if you are alone, if you recite the part about offering to the dakinis, it helps. I feel like it is important not to up-play this offense. There are worse offenses. It is only a little desire. Confess, make offerings, move on. You'll be fine. Go easy on yourself. It takes time to become perfect. You can't be perfect now. It's impossible. When you start to understand dharma these old demons come back with a vengeance. That's why there are these methods to repair damaged samaya.

I once had a relapse in front of my lama and I passed out. He was so mellow about it and made me some food. I recovered in a few hours. The above is what he told me to do. I put it behind me and so did he. Stay in the moment.
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Re: Drug relapse leads to broken Samaya?

Postby CrawfordHollow » Thu Jul 26, 2012 5:12 am

Hey thanks,

That makes me feel a lot better, honest. Actually, two of the practices I recieved contains tsok, and of course there's ChNN's Ganapuja. I was afraid that I somehow destroyed the transmission so that the tsok would be rendered useless. I appreciate your help. Its hard not to feel like dirt, especially since I feel like I've been given a second chance and life, and to go ahead frak up again...

Thanks for sharing. I'm fairly new to these advanced practices, and there's no sangha near by, so if it is cool with you I may PM you with a few questions regarding tsok and ganapuja.

Thanks,
Troy
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Re: Drug relapse leads to broken Samaya?

Postby deepbluehum » Thu Jul 26, 2012 5:19 am

You can PM anytime. Don't feel like dirt. You were no where near the shithead I was. Get this. I just remembered I relapsed on Losar, Tibetan New Year. My lama had a huge gathering of Tibetans, monks, lamas, families. Oh there I go falling over. My lama had to ask everyone to leave so he could take care of me. I wanted to feel like a jerk, but my lama wouldn't let me. He kept me going the next day, we went for pizza, we walked in the park, gossiped about whatever. He was showing me how to move on. That really helped me a lot.
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Re: Drug relapse leads to broken Samaya?

Postby JKhedrup » Thu Jul 26, 2012 7:39 am

If you are qualified through the retreat of any of the deities you practice, it is also very powerful to
do the self-initiation practice. In fact, as far as I have heard, this is the best way to repair damaged
pledges , especially the pledges we took connected with tantric empowerments.
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: Drug relapse leads to broken Samaya?

Postby CrawfordHollow » Thu Jul 26, 2012 8:30 pm

I know nothing about the self-initiation practice, I always thought thats what lamas did before they gave empowerments. If someone could please inform me about samaya. I heard Malcom say on DW that if we broke our samaya we would know it. What happens to the transmissions when our samaya is damaged? How exactly do we break samaya? Did this little (big) slip up of mine damage my samaya? Any help would be great, I don't have access to my lamas right now, so asking more experinenced practicioners on this board is the next best thing, I guess.

Thanks,
Troy
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Re: Drug relapse leads to broken Samaya?

Postby Malcolm » Thu Jul 26, 2012 8:32 pm

CrawfordHollow wrote:I know nothing about the self-initiation practice, I always thought thats what lamas did before they gave empowerments. If someone could please inform me about samaya. I heard Malcom say on DW that if we broke our samaya we would know it. What happens to the transmissions when our samaya is damaged? How exactly do we break samaya? Did this little (big) slip up of mine damage my samaya? Any help would be great, I don't have access to my lamas right now, so asking more experinenced practicioners on this board is the next best thing, I guess.

Thanks,
Troy



Making mistakes is not breaking samaya.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: Drug relapse leads to broken Samaya?

Postby CrawfordHollow » Thu Jul 26, 2012 8:41 pm

OK, thanks,

so where is the line drawn? It seems that maybe samaya is not as cut and dry as a Hinayana vow, which is perhaps more confinded within the dualism of right/wrong or good/bad. Does the samaya depend more on my state of mind than my actions? At this point I am truly interested because in my experience teachers haven't explained this after they gave empowerments. It seems that I may be dwelling on the situation a little too much, at first I was afraid that I had lost or damaged the transmissions somehow.

Troy
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Re: Drug relapse leads to broken Samaya?

Postby Malcolm » Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:17 pm

CrawfordHollow wrote:OK, thanks,

so where is the line drawn? It seems that maybe samaya is not as cut and dry as a Hinayana vow, which is perhaps more confinded within the dualism of right/wrong or good/bad. Does the samaya depend more on my state of mind than my actions? At this point I am truly interested because in my experience teachers haven't explained this after they gave empowerments. It seems that I may be dwelling on the situation a little too much, at first I was afraid that I had lost or damaged the transmissions somehow.

Troy



Breaking samaya means you don't care.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: Drug relapse leads to broken Samaya?

Postby deepbluehum » Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:31 pm

Malcolm wrote:
CrawfordHollow wrote:I know nothing about the self-initiation practice, I always thought thats what lamas did before they gave empowerments. If someone could please inform me about samaya. I heard Malcom say on DW that if we broke our samaya we would know it. What happens to the transmissions when our samaya is damaged? How exactly do we break samaya? Did this little (big) slip up of mine damage my samaya? Any help would be great, I don't have access to my lamas right now, so asking more experinenced practicioners on this board is the next best thing, I guess.

Thanks,
Troy



Making mistakes is not breaking samaya.


Sometimes this is a nontechnical thing depending on the relationship. If the lama acts like it is, then out of respect you might want to do Vajrasattva, tsok, etc if that's what the lama wants. It can't hurt and blessing are always good.
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Re: Drug relapse leads to broken Samaya?

Postby conebeckham » Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:17 pm

With regard to "specific samayas" related to various yidam or deity practices--if you're not in a strict retreat, or haven't practiced these sadhanas extensively, chances are pretty good you're not maintaining the samayas of the five families, etc., anyway. Even without any "negative" action being committed. So, specifically with regard to the empowerments you've taken, and are worried about, I don't think you need be concerned at all.

In a more general sense, I'm in agreement with what others have said--if you care, then you've not "broken" any commitment, and any damage can be repaired via a variety of methods--seeking empowerment, doing "self-empowerment" if you've completed the "Approximation, etc." of a given practice, Confessions, Purification practices, tsoks....all of those are quite helpful.

With regard to opiates, I believe it's said they create obstacles toward control of the "winds," etc., regardless of the addiction issues. But they, like all things, are useful medicine in certain specific situations. In any case, it's got nothing to do with any sort of "moral" issue, in my opinion.
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Re: Drug relapse leads to broken Samaya?

Postby JKhedrup » Fri Jul 27, 2012 2:27 am

Very good input from everyone here. Samaya is a term that I must admit I don't understand the full import of, except that
it involves the pledges that we take at the time of the initiation.
It would seem that perhaps taking drugs would degenerate the praktimoksha/ individual liberation vows against intoxicants,
but these vows of individual liberation would not be considered "samaya" as it does not involve commitments
taking during the Vajrayana empowerment ritual - is that correct?
It is a bit confusing because I have heard from at least one translator that samaya can be considered any type of commitment.
The Illuminator said the Tibetan damtsig, (which means samaya) is in a general sense any "sacred commitment".

Self-initiation or self-empowerment rituals are performed by lamas before they give empowerments, but can also be performed
by anyone who has completed the approximation retreat of a given deity along with the fire puja. My understanding is that
specifically for tantric samaya, this is the most powerful method of purification.
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: Drug relapse leads to broken Samaya?

Postby Konchog1 » Sat Jul 28, 2012 12:36 am

Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Drug relapse leads to broken Samaya?

Postby Jangchup Donden » Tue Jul 31, 2012 7:44 pm

If you took a vow against taking intoxicants you should probably talk to your teacher to repair that vow. But like everyone else said, tsok + vajrasattva and you're more than fine in terms of samaya.
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Re: Drug relapse leads to broken Samaya?

Postby CrawfordHollow » Tue Jul 31, 2012 8:45 pm

Thank you all for your replies.

I was mainly concerned about samaya, and specically if damaged samaya means the transmission is tarnished to the point that I should stop doing the practices. A big problem that plagues my practice is doubt. After I relasped I had this nagging feeling that I lost something precious and wasn't sure if I should continue practicing. I know that this is a naive view, but the subject of samaya has never been made clear to me, in fact if has hardly been discussed at all, which is something that I find rather unbelievable considering that high level of the empowerments that I recieved.

So my problem is that I lack confidence in myself and my practice (low self-confidence of course is a major characteristic of the addicted mind). I have been following all of the helpful advice given here, doing tsok, Vajrasattva, ect but I still have this nagging feeling of doubt which is developing into an obtsacle. This problem runs rather deep I'm afraid. Not ony does this doubt concern my practice, but there are all sorts of guilt and confidence issues coming up becuase of the relapse itself. If I could talk to my teachers about all of this, confess my actions, and take the empowerments again I would, but for me that is not possible.

Perhaps I am a little ignorant about the nature of empowerments themselves. These were the firt HYT empowerments I have recieved, and I also just joined the DC so I have recieved pointing out numerous times through ChNN's webcasts. So this has been an important year for me. If something is transmitted, or brought forth during an empowerment, is it possible for me to lose that through negative actions? The practices that I have recieved are very important to me. I perform them daily and consider them to be life-long practices, so I want to be confident that I didn't lose anything that was transmitted to me.

I am sorry if I seem so needy. Like I said, doubt and self-confidence are issues that I have been dealing with on many levels.
I thank you all for your concern and help.
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Re: Drug relapse leads to broken Samaya?

Postby Andrew108 » Tue Jul 31, 2012 8:55 pm

Why not talk about your doubts here? Might be useful for you.
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Re: Drug relapse leads to broken Samaya?

Postby Malcolm » Tue Jul 31, 2012 9:01 pm

CrawfordHollow wrote: So this has been an important year for me. If something is transmitted, or brought forth during an empowerment, is it possible for me to lose that through negative actions?


Your primordial state cannot be broken, nor can it be improved.

Keeping samaya means being interested in your path. Breaking samaya means ceasing to care about your path.

M
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http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: Drug relapse leads to broken Samaya?

Postby CrawfordHollow » Tue Jul 31, 2012 9:17 pm

Thank you Malcolm.

I understand that my primordial state cannot be broken or improved, but this is on the ultimate level. I also understand that absolute and relative are inspeperable, but since I am not realized, I must work on this relative level, which is the karmic vision of duality. If we didn't need to work with things on the relative level what need would there be for an empowerment in the first place?

I know you have stated before that I did not break my samaya because I regret my actions and am still on the path. These are comforting words and I am sorry that you have to repeat yourself. Like I said, doubt is a major issue for me right now. Doubt in myself no less. What I am wondering about now is what exactly is communicated during an empowerment. Is it a seed that needs to be nurtured and cared for? If I was to recieve an empowerment and never practice or think twice about it again, would that transmission remain with me for the rest of my life? So obviously I am dealing with an issue of a lack of confidence in my practice.
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Re: Drug relapse leads to broken Samaya?

Postby CrawfordHollow » Tue Jul 31, 2012 9:36 pm

Also, do you know of any practice within Dzogchen or Tibetan medicine that is good for addictions. I am thinking specifically for protection against negative influences. It is said that environment is stronger than will. I am deeply involoved with my practice but I am very isolated from my teachers and sangha. I work as a cook in busy restaurants where drug and alcohol use is rampant. In one sense this provides me with oppurtunites for postmeditation practices, but I have always fallen prey to the influence of those around me. I do pretty good, but man it certaintly is not easy! I feel like I am living a double life, most people don't know that I am a practicioner, even though its been a huge part of my life for nearly ten years. I would really like to say that I will never relapse again, but like I said, its not easy, espicially when drugs are literally in my face. This is where a lot of the doubt comes from, becaue I have failed so many times in the past. Drugs really screwed me up, I still feel their effects years later and I am sure that I have yet to pay the full price of my mistakes.

So I am thinking protection and purification practices. I have also been doing purification of the five elements. I'll probably order some Agar 35, maybe it will help me to relax and trust myself some.

Thanks,
Troy
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Re: Drug relapse leads to broken Samaya?

Postby Malcolm » Tue Jul 31, 2012 9:52 pm

CrawfordHollow wrote:Also, do you know of any practice within Dzogchen or Tibetan medicine that is good for addictions. I am thinking specifically for protection against negative influences. It is said that environment is stronger than will. I am deeply involoved with my practice but I am very isolated from my teachers and sangha. I work as a cook in busy restaurants where drug and alcohol use is rampant. In one sense this provides me with oppurtunites for postmeditation practices, but I have always fallen prey to the influence of those around me. I do pretty good, but man it certaintly is not easy! I feel like I am living a double life, most people don't know that I am a practicioner, even though its been a huge part of my life for nearly ten years. I would really like to say that I will never relapse again, but like I said, its not easy, espicially when drugs are literally in my face. This is where a lot of the doubt comes from, becaue I have failed so many times in the past. Drugs really screwed me up, I still feel their effects years later and I am sure that I have yet to pay the full price of my mistakes.

So I am thinking protection and purification practices. I have also been doing purification of the five elements. I'll probably order some Agar 35, maybe it will help me to relax and trust myself some.

Thanks,
Troy


You should write to ChNN and ask him for a Dorje Gotrab amulet.

You should recite a lot of purification of five element mantra.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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