Pema Rigdzin wrote:Alex,
This is all interesting, but honestly, the inner tantric/HYT samayas of all the Nyingma and Sarma systems all come down to the same point: maintaining the view of the three vajras. From that point of view, any differences in the letter of these samayas between HYT systems is merely on an outer level; the spirit of the commitments is the same. At their essence, the samayas of each of these systems are all serving the function of facilitating awareness of the 3 vajras, and all practitioners of Anuttarayoga have this commitment whether monk, nun, ngakpa/ma, naljorpa/ma. It makes no difference. This is all the more so when we get into Dzogchen and Mahamudra territory.
Also, both Nyingma and Sarma tantras have many versions of prescriptions for adornment with various examples of fearless heruka attire, etc., at a certain advanced stage on the path of the two stages, so there's nothing new under the sun except some outward variation on the same essential points of conduct.
yes to all of that. Except to say that perhaps it may be the case that 'It makes no difference' would only be true when looking at things in 'their essence' as you say, and I guess I was addressing more the specifics of the available practices in terms of ordination and vow holding. For example, it seems likely that some of the outer level specifics are available precisely so that differently minded individuals can utilise them to access the inner level essence of practise according to their own disposition. If that's the case then such differences are actually of vital importance if only because they provide inspiration to a broader number of people. Who's to say that if the outer level distinctions were abandoned as many people would be interested (not that you suggested such a thing)?
One of the interesting things about changing outer appearance in relation to vows is of course that such a change is accompanied by the adoption of particular views in relation to practice and so forth, depending on what the item represents. Sometimes people suggest that putting on a shawl can't change anything or shouldn't be relied upon to change anything, and of course that's true but only to an extent I would say. If one wears something, or is instructed to wear something, as part of a living tradition and as a specific practice, then one does so within a framework which employs oral commentaries and instructions which accompany the adoption of different appearances (or the non-adoption of different appearances), and so the outer level alteration isn't an isolated thing but a richly interdependent symbol capable of encouraging the practitioner into a new perspective, and that is true perhaps even more so if a vow is included as a part of the change.
All the best,