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

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

Postby Inge » Thu Oct 31, 2013 3:17 pm

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

Postby KonchokZoepa » Thu Oct 31, 2013 3:18 pm

Garchen Rinpoche says that the main samaya is to have love and compassion to all sentient beings.
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 KonchokZoepa » Thu Oct 31, 2013 3:21 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.


of course you receive other samaya commitments via different empowerments. that are like vow's on top of the root samayas. and i think this what Garchen Rinpoche said is the essence of samaya but there are other viewpoints also worth mentioning, like proper conduct and behavior towards vajra master's and brothers and sisters etc.
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 futerko » Thu Oct 31, 2013 3:27 pm

For me, Samaya is a two-way commitment to uphold the teachings, i.e. for the student, a commitment to practice.
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: Everybody speaks about samaya, but nobody knows what it

Postby narraboth » Thu Oct 31, 2013 4:26 pm

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 in brief, is vows that shouldn't ever be violated or broken.
there definitely are books, and it's quite a good topic to study.
there are 'three disciplines (vows) commentary' in Sakya and Nyingma school, which list all the vows people should follow at different stages.

For vajrayana, it is said that there are 100000 or more vows for anuttarayoga, but in very brief you can summorize them to body speech and mind, and to be a bit more precize you need to at least study 14 root downfalls, 8 rough violates, 5 families vows; you also need to keep basic bodhisattva vows if you think you are a vajrayana practioner, as no vajrayana practice can happen without bodhisattva vows as base. Bodhisattva vows have two traditions, Nagajuna system and Matriya system. Also, there is no vajrayana practice without very basic paramoksha vows, eg. no killing, no stealing, no sexual misconduct etc.

So as far as I know, what samaya is for anyone who kind of seriously want to follow vajrayana path, it will be:
1. five paramoksa vows at least
2. bodhisattva vows
3. depends on which level of tantra you follows. If kriya tantra, it's basically just 1. and 2., maybe plus a little bit extra requirements. For anuttarayoga tantra, you have to know 14 downfalls etc.

It's common that masters only give brief explanation after empowerment. Maybe because they don't have time, maybe because there are some people who just come to get connection rather than really want to get into practice. But in anyway I can't imagine someone who truly wants to become an anuttaratoga practioner doesn't need to follow 14 root vows etc.
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Re: Everybody speaks about samaya, but nobody knows what it

Postby conebeckham » Thu Oct 31, 2013 4:31 pm

You should get a copy of "Buddhist Ethics" which is the volume of Kongtrul's encyclopedia where he outlines, in detail, the various types and systems of samaya.

It's a big subject, with no easy answer, but basically it means "commitment," and depending on one's practice and one's relationship to lineage and teacher, the details will vary.
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Re: Everybody speaks about samaya, but nobody knows what it

Postby ngodrup » Thu Oct 31, 2013 5:55 pm

Perfect Conduct: Ascertaining the three vows, a commentary by H. H. Dudjom Rinpoche
on the root text by Ngari Panchen.

Samaya applies mainly between disciple and master, and between vajra siblings where
empowerment has been taken. Of course, it extends beyond that too, but--
no samaya, no vajrayana; no empowerment, so samaya. You may have a teacher for example
who doesn't give wangs-- in that case, no samaya unless you are both disciples of the same Lama.
On the other hand, nearly everybody has taken empowerment from HH the Dalai Lama for example...
Something to consider.
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Re: Everybody speaks about samaya, but nobody knows what it

Postby conebeckham » Thu Oct 31, 2013 6:11 pm

http://www.shambhala.com/the-treasury-o ... -five.html

More about Samaya than you ever wanted to know......heh heh.
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Re: Everybody speaks about samaya, but nobody knows what it

Postby Wayfarer » Thu Oct 31, 2013 11:40 pm

Samaya is simply your meditation practice and the other things you do to support that. If you get up in the morning and sit, that is samaya. It is similar to 'sadhana' which means 'means of accomplishing' or 'means of crossing over'.
Learn to do good, refrain from evil, purify the mind ~ this is the teaching of the Buddhas
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Re: Everybody speaks about samaya, but nobody knows what it

Postby conebeckham » Fri Nov 01, 2013 12:07 am

I feel that's incorrect.

Samaya means "commitment." It's not merely about commitment to a formal practice period. For example, a HYT samaya is to "not disparage women." Now, that seems a bit quaint...but for the time, it was pretty radical. And how about "Maintaining a Bell And Vajra?" That is another HYT samaya.
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Re: Everybody speaks about samaya, but nobody knows what it

Postby Wayfarer » Fri Nov 01, 2013 12:34 am

As a matter of interest, is there any equivalence between 'samaya' and 'sadhana'? The latter is more associated with Yoga-Vedanta, but it means ' to practice something as a discipline, in order to learn from it, and make it a regular life habit.' I would have thought the meanings were equivalent.
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Re: Everybody speaks about samaya, but nobody knows what it

Postby Karma Dorje » Fri Nov 01, 2013 12:52 am

"As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly."
~Arthur Carlson
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Re: Everybody speaks about samaya, but nobody knows what it

Postby Konchog1 » Fri Nov 01, 2013 12:57 am

Samaya or pledges are things that you promise the deity to do during empowerment. Samvara or vows are things that you promise not to do. One of the common samaya is to keep your Samvara.
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: Everybody speaks about samaya, but nobody knows what it

Postby Inge » Fri Nov 01, 2013 6:31 pm

Thanks for the input, and reading recommendations.

I've earlier read "Perfect Conduct: Ascertaining the three vows, a commentary" by H. H. Dudjom Rinpoche. It did not clarify things for me at that time.

I have started to study "Buddhist Ethics", hopefully it is explained in a way that I can understand in that book.
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Re: Everybody speaks about samaya, but nobody knows what it

Postby heart » Fri Nov 01, 2013 6:54 pm

Konchog1 wrote:Samaya or pledges are things that you promise the deity to do during empowerment. Samvara or vows are things that you promise not to do. One of the common samaya is to keep your Samvara.


You promise the guru, not the deity.

/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 montana » Fri Nov 01, 2013 7:30 pm

Samaya is the promises that make our behavior match the deities and binds us together.

There are many many many different articulations of samaya, but the essence of it is the same if the vows come from a valid transmitter of the deity.

I added that "if" because there are some ego maniacs giving modified vows for the purpose of manipulating the unlucky people that mistook them for a vow holder and took vows.
If you took vows from one of these ego maniacs, you can't break samaya with them because they don't represent the deity(or triple gem).
People caught in one of these traps worry they'll be faulting the deities if they leave their ego maniac lama, but that's not the case.
In fact, your connection with the deities will become stronger when you leave because what you were doing under that ego lama was distancing you from them.
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Re: Everybody speaks about samaya, but nobody knows what it

Postby jigmeeaton » Fri Nov 01, 2013 9:00 pm

This book also helps clarify samaya:
Treasury of Precious Qualities: Book Two by Jigme Lingpa
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Re: Everybody speaks about samaya, but nobody knows what it

Postby Alfredo » Sat Nov 02, 2013 12:13 am

Montana wrote:
[...] there are some ego maniacs giving modified vows for the purpose of manipulating the unlucky people that mistook them for a vow holder and took vows.


Could you give an example? I honestly don't know who/what you could be referring to.

Konchog1 wrote:
Samaya or pledges are things that you promise the deity to do during empowerment. Samvara or vows are things that you promise not to do. One of the common samaya is to keep your Samvara.

But if you haven't taken a samvara not to break your samaya, then have you really promised anything?

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

Postby Konchog1 » Sat Nov 02, 2013 12:15 am

heart wrote:
Konchog1 wrote:Samaya or pledges are things that you promise the deity to do during empowerment. Samvara or vows are things that you promise not to do. One of the common samaya is to keep your Samvara.


You promise the guru, not the deity.

/magnus
That doesn't match with my recollection...
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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