On Keeping the Samaya of the 10th & 25th

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On Keeping the Samaya of the 10th & 25th

Postby pemachophel » Sat Oct 27, 2012 10:33 pm

I've been keeping the samaya of doing tshog on the 10th and 25th of each month for some years now. Since I'm primarily a Longchen Nyingthig practitioner, I typically go to a local center where they do Rigdzin Dupa on the 10th and Yumka Dechen Gyalmo on the 25th. Seems easier and more in the spirit of things than making the tormas at home and doing the practice by myself. So all has been good until recently the center in question started hosting a regular Wednesday night class. Because the last 25th and 10th fell on a Wednesday, they held the class as usual and moved the tshog to the following Thursday evenings.

So, here's my question: Do you think this is kosher or not? Seems to me that, if the tshog is supposed to be on the 25th, doing it on the 26th just isn't the same thing. For the students of this center, of course, if their Guru says this is OK, then it's OK. But I'm a member of this center just so I can attend tshogs and am not a student of this Lama in the same way as most of the other students. Therefore, his saying it's OK is not the bottom line for me. My own way of dealing with this situation was to do tshog at home on the "right" days and then going to the tshogs at the center on the following days based on the idea that, when it comes to merit, more is always better. Any opinions on this?

Further, does anyone know the astrological reason for doing tshog on these two days of the lunar month? I'm sure I have been told, but my aging memory is pretty much Swiss cheese these days.

Thanks. :namaste:
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Re: On Keeping the Samaya of the 10th & 25th

Postby Yudron » Sat Oct 27, 2012 10:58 pm

pemachophel wrote:I've been keeping the samaya of doing tshog on the 10th and 25th of each month for some years now. Since I'm primarily a Longchen Nyingthig practitioner, I typically go to a local center where they do Rigdzin Dupa on the 10th and Yumka Dechen Gyalmo on the 25th. Seems easier and more in the spirit of things than making the tormas at home and doing the practice by myself. So all has been good until recently the center in question started hosting a regular Wednesday night class. Because the last 25th and 10th fell on a Wednesday, they held the class as usual and moved the tshog to the following Thursday evenings.

So, here's my question: Do you think this is kosher or not? Seems to me that, if the tshog is supposed to be on the 25th, doing it on the 26th just isn't the same thing. For the students of this center, of course, if their Guru says this is OK, then it's OK. But I'm a member of this center just so I can attend tshogs and am not a student of this Lama in the same way as most of the other students. Therefore, his saying it's OK is not the bottom line for me. My own way of dealing with this situation was to do tshog at home on the "right" days and then going to the tshogs at the center on the following days based on the idea that, when it comes to merit, more is always better. Any opinions on this?

Further, does anyone know the astrological reason for doing tshog on these two days of the lunar month? I'm sure I have been told, but my aging memory is pretty much Swiss cheese these days.

Thanks. :namaste:


Yes, there is an astrological significance to it. HH Dudjom Rinpoche wrote a long explanation for it, which I can't find on my computer at the moment.

My personal feeling, right or wrong, is that working people are generally exhausted on week days, and that the benefits of doing it on the correct astrological day may be outweighed by the benefits of doing it on the weekend when people are refreshed. I believe we have a mutual teacher, APR... Rinpoche said he was comfortable with our local group doing tsog twice a month on any days that we could. The main point for him was twice a month.

I have a personal agenda to do a short tsog on my own on the actual GR day and Dakini day. I would like to do tsog on the full moon and new moon as well, but I haven't got the habit going yet. If one looks at the example of Dungse Thinley Norbu Rinpoche, who had his group do tsog at least once a day (sometimes twice!) one can't do too much tsog. But I am preaching to the converted here, aren't I?
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Re: On Keeping the Samaya of the 10th & 25th

Postby futerko » Sun Oct 28, 2012 12:55 am

The 25th day of the lunar cycle is dakini day, while on the 10th the daka is celebrated, but these are according to the lunar month rather than on the 10th and 25th of our months.
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Re: On Keeping the Samaya of the 10th & 25th

Postby ngodrup » Sun Oct 28, 2012 4:12 am

Technically speaking, it isn't tsog if its just o doing it.
Tsog is a group feast offering practice at which both yogis and yoginis are present.

That said, Yudron is quite right-- there's special reason for the particular thitis, but
any day will work and its certainly better to do more than 2x a month.

If you absolutely cannot, well that's what Vajrasattva is for, right?
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Re: On Keeping the Samaya of the 10th & 25th

Postby Sherlock » Sun Oct 28, 2012 5:00 am

You have received teachings from ChNN too right? Maybe he isn't your primary teacher, but he does teach a short ganapuja that can be done just before any of your meals. And if you want to go to the essence, Om A Hum is enough. Millions of dakas and dakinis on Earth and beyond Earth are doing it on those days, so you don't have to worry about there being no formal group.
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Re: On Keeping the Samaya of the 10th & 25th

Postby tomamundsen » Sun Oct 28, 2012 6:17 am

You have a lot more experience than me, so I'm not giving advice here. Just stating that my lama always does Guru Rinpoche and Dakini Day tsoks on the days they occur according to the calendar. When either of these tsok days occur on the day of a class, the class is skipped.
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Re: On Keeping the Samaya of the 10th & 25th

Postby Yudron » Sun Oct 28, 2012 6:27 am

tomamundsen wrote:You have a lot more experience than me, so I'm not giving advice here. Just stating that my lama always does Guru Rinpoche and Dakini Day tsoks on the days they occur according to the calendar. When either of these tsok days occur on the day of a class, the class is skipped.


Beautiful.
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Re: On Keeping the Samaya of the 10th & 25th

Postby dakini_boi » Sun Oct 28, 2012 8:19 am

pemachophel wrote:Further, does anyone know the astrological reason for doing tshog on these two days of the lunar month? I'm sure I have been told, but my aging memory is pretty much Swiss cheese these days.


I would also like to know this. Just a guess, it could have to do with the angle between the moon and sun on those days. The 10th day, sun and moon form a trine (waxing), and the 25th day a sextile (waning). Generally these are harmonious aspects. Also, the waxing moon corresponds to the skillful means (daka), and the waning moon to emptiness (dakini).
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Re: On Keeping the Samaya of the 10th & 25th

Postby heart » Sun Oct 28, 2012 8:41 am

Sometimes I forget that it is Guru Rinpoche or Dakini day but when I do my daily practice I notice a certain powerful effortlessness, so then I check the calendar and it really is Guru Rinpoche or Dakini day that day. So it seems that there is indeed some good reason for using these days, perhaps astrological as you suggest above.

/magnus
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Re: On Keeping the Samaya of the 10th & 25th

Postby Pero » Sun Oct 28, 2012 1:44 pm

ngodrup wrote:Technically speaking, it isn't tsog if its just o doing it.

What is it then? :smile:
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Re: On Keeping the Samaya of the 10th & 25th

Postby Sherlock » Sun Oct 28, 2012 1:59 pm

Pero wrote:
ngodrup wrote:Technically speaking, it isn't tsog if its just o doing it.

What is it then? :smile:

He means it lacks the 'gana' (group) part. Yeah you might lack physical humans next to you, but in terms of space and time and beyond the human dimension there are practitioners all over who are doing it. So you're not alone.
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Re: On Keeping the Samaya of the 10th & 25th

Postby pemachophel » Sun Oct 28, 2012 3:27 pm

Sherlock,

Actually, I wasn't talking about what to do if the local center isn't doing tshog on the 10th or 25th. I was specifically wondering about shifting the day if something else comes up and then still somehow thinking it's the same as doing it on the 10th or 25th.

In terms of your suggestions, my original Teachers taught us to say tshog with all our meals. So that has been my practice for a long time. However, in the last year, I've been practicing the more standard food offering prayer just so I can join in when eating with other Tibetan Buddhists.
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Re: On Keeping the Samaya of the 10th & 25th

Postby pemachophel » Sun Oct 28, 2012 3:28 pm

Tom,

I'm with your Teacher on this one.
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Re: On Keeping the Samaya of the 10th & 25th

Postby Sherlock » Sun Oct 28, 2012 3:30 pm

pemachophel wrote:Sherlock,

Actually, I wasn't talking about what to do if the local center isn't doing tshog on the 10th or 25th. I was specifically wondering about shifting the day if something else comes up and then still somehow thinking it's the same as doing it on the 10th or 25th.

In terms of your suggestions, my original Teachers taught us to say tshog with all our meals. So that has been my practice for a long time. However, in the last year, I've been practicing the more standard food offering prayer just so I can join in when eating with other Tibetan Buddhists.


Oh OK :smile:

I think maybe it doesn't matter within 24 hours either before or after? Since it might be still the 10th or 25th on some other part of the world -- maybe looking at the time in Bodhgaya might be helpful?
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Re: On Keeping the Samaya of the 10th & 25th

Postby pemachophel » Sun Oct 28, 2012 3:35 pm

Of course one can do tshog by onself. Tshog not only means the assembly of the celebrants but also refers to the assembly of the offerings and the assembly of merit earned. All are "tshog."

That being said, according to Lama Dawa, if there are only men, then one shouldn't partake of the alcohol/amrit. If there are only women, one shouldn't eat the meat. However, He's the only Teacher I've heard that from. Since, I can't think of a time when I've done tshog with a Lama and there were only men (since I'm a male), I've never seen this approach actually put into practice. So I don't know how widely this "rule" is followed.

Yudron, if you happen to H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche's explanation of why the 10th and 25th, I'd love to read it.

Thanks all for the feedback. :namaste:
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Re: On Keeping the Samaya of the 10th & 25th

Postby pemachophel » Sun Oct 28, 2012 3:45 pm

Sherlock,

I also thought of that approach -- the old "the sun must be past the yardarm somewhere in the world" gambit. However, since I live pretty much half-way around the world from Bodhgaya, this approach would only work the day before, not the day after. Even then, I don't think you could make a case for shifting the time a full 24 hours later.

Ok, I'm not wanting to get all scholastic and doctrinaire about this issue. I pretty much know my own opinion about this and how I choose to practice, and I also am perfectly willing to say A La La Ho if that's all I have time for or remember to do. And if, somehow, I do totally forget, there is, as has been pointed out, "always Vajrasattva." Nevertheless, I do think there is great value in "religiously" doing tshog on the 10th and the 25th. Seems a very easy way to achieve accomplishment. Thank you Guru Rinpoche!

:namaste:
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Re: On Keeping the Samaya of the 10th & 25th

Postby ngodrup » Sun Oct 28, 2012 4:33 pm

Pero wrote:
ngodrup wrote:Technically speaking, it isn't tsog if its just o doing it.

What is it then? :smile:


Sorry for the typo. One person, no tsog, only making food offering-- which itself is great.
I was also told to offer food at every opportunity, because it's so easy to say "Ram Yam Kham,
OM Ah Hung, A La La Ho" and the benefit is so vast.

According to Jamgon (Ju) Mipham, the other gatherings are called "celebration of the daka"
and "celebration of the dakini" respectively.

As for the date, it was explained to me that astrologically, the energy of those days are
especially suited, especially powerful for having sublime experiences. So basically it represents
an opportunity to practice powerfully. Since I'm a duffer on Astrology in general, and Tibetan (white
or vedic) Astro in particular, it would be good to ask one of the Tibetan Astrologers here.
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Re: On Keeping the Samaya of the 10th & 25th

Postby Yudron » Sun Oct 28, 2012 5:56 pm

ngodrup wrote:
Pero wrote:
ngodrup wrote:Technically speaking, it isn't tsog if its just o doing it.

What is it then? :smile:


Sorry for the typo. One person, no tsog, only making food offering-- which itself is great.
I was also told to offer food at every opportunity, because it's so easy to say "Ram Yam Kham,
OM Ah Hung, A La La Ho" and the benefit is so vast.

According to Jamgon (Ju) Mipham, the other gatherings are called "celebration of the daka"
and "celebration of the dakini" respectively.

As for the date, it was explained to me that astrologically, the energy of those days are
especially suited, especially powerful for having sublime experiences. So basically it represents
an opportunity to practice powerfully. Since I'm a duffer on Astrology in general, and Tibetan (white
or vedic) Astro in particular, it would be good to ask one of the Tibetan Astrologers here.


I have multiple personalities--one loves unquestioning extreme traditionalism, and one loves science, and practicality. There are probably more, too. Today I can't imagine any way the location of the moon in relation to the earth could impact one's practice. But, tomorrow is the full moon and I need to plan tsog!
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Re: On Keeping the Samaya of the 10th & 25th

Postby Pero » Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:50 pm

It just occured to me, how/when/where does one get a samaya to do ganapuja on the 10th and 25th? Is this part of some empowerments?
I know in DC these are two of the four days on which ganapuja is recommended but there is no samaya to do it.
Oh and IMO if your samaya is to do it on the 10th and 25th then I don't see how you could do it on different days (and I find it a bit hard to believe the "it's still 25th somewhere on the world" argument).
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Re: On Keeping the Samaya of the 10th & 25th

Postby Yontan » Mon Oct 29, 2012 12:57 am

Literally, the word tshogs just means gathering, or assembly. "Gathering circle" tshogs kyi 'khor lo is a bit euphemistic, but the word "feast" is only implied. It's only semantics, but it can be confusing.
Making offering, mchod pa is just a part of the tsok.
These sorts of Q's should always defer to one's lama of course, since that's the source of samaya anyway.

For what it is worth, Khenchen Palden gave a teaching on the Yumka's Fulfillment Prayer, bsKang ba, and mentioned that even just reciting this was sufficient and full of vast merit and benefit if we aren't able to attend/perform a full tsok. Add to that the Praise & Aspiration (8th) and Recitation (9th) before the Fulfillment and it doesn't take long at all. The Fulfillment is all of 60 lines IIRC, not much longer than and overzealous Christian "grace" prayer.
He and Khenpo Tsewang also wrote a commentary on the Yumka based on more detailed teachings, where they mention that definitely we should gather if we are able, but practice even if we are not able. If I were in the OT'ers position, I'd practice solo as-able on the 25th when the dakinis are gathering and then join the local group the next day. But only because I know it's what my root lama says. :thumbsup:
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