Vows

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Vows

Postby Sunyata. » Mon Feb 07, 2011 11:28 am

:hi: Dharma farers,

This may sound stupid but :shrug:

If an over-enthusiastic individual takes a vow in front of :buddha1:, say, to be the vegetarian for the rest of his/her life (HOORAY says the :pig:), what horrible consequences will there be if it's broken (because e.g. the individual has no clue how to prepare a well balanced veggie diet and soooooo causes his/her health to fail)?

Just wondering. Sorry if I've wasted your time when you could be :meditate: and/or if i've irritated u with the abundant use of smilies. (I've just got a thing for them.)


Kind regards,

Sunyata. (who still has a looooong way to go)
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Re: Vows

Postby Su DongPo » Mon Feb 07, 2011 12:02 pm

This isn't at all trivial, imo. I haven't taken any vows or precepts, but not because I do not care about them, but because I consider them promises, and I do not like to break promises. That said, Buddhism is nothing if it is not about compassion and forgiveness, so if you have taken a vow (for example) to never eat meat, but break your vow, I would think the first thing to do would be to re-examine your sincerity. If you feel you've done something wrong, best to fess up and go straight. If you find that you do not feel much or any regret, your vow probably wasn't of much value to you, and you should probably just leave off and let it be.

Just my two pennies.

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Re: Vows

Postby ground » Mon Feb 07, 2011 1:01 pm

Sunyata. wrote:If an over-enthusiastic individual takes a vow in front of :buddha1:, say, to be the vegetarian for the rest of his/her life (HOORAY says the :pig:), what horrible consequences will there be if it's broken ...

There is not legitimation for breaking this vow. Do not even try to "rationalize it away".

One consequence at least is not progressing on the path due to lack of energy and steadfastness. I think this is horrible enough considering the rare precious human birth and the kind of future existences that will follow if practice is without progress in this precious and rare human life.

Other additional consequences may follow depending on what actually is going on in the mind of this individual.

Remedy?

Purification ... a lot of purification with heartfelt regret.


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Re: Vows

Postby Sunyata. » Wed Feb 16, 2011 3:51 am

soooo how do u recommend the person purify? :shrug:
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Re: Vows

Postby kirtu » Wed Feb 16, 2011 4:40 am

Sunyata. wrote::hi: Dharma farers,

This may sound stupid but :shrug:

If an over-enthusiastic individual takes a vow in front of :buddha1:, say, to be the vegetarian for the rest of his/her life (HOORAY says the :pig:), what horrible consequences will there be if it's broken (because e.g. the individual has no clue how to prepare a well balanced veggie diet and soooooo causes his/her health to fail)?


If you can't fulfill the vow to be vegetarian because it is harming your health, and esp. if you did this as you say due to some kind of over enthusiasm, then eat some meat but at least keep the intention to hold the vow. Then later try to fulfill the vow as best you can and perhaps gradually become more and more permanently vegetarian (or as much as possible).

I have actually heard lamas advise people to do exactly this given this circumstance.

The vows are not intended to harm us. It is better for bodhisattvas to live in this suffering world than get sick and harm their body unintentionally.

Kirt
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Re: Vows

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Wed Feb 16, 2011 5:21 am

kirtu wrote:
If you can't fulfill the vow to be vegetarian because it is harming your health, and esp. if you did this as you say due to some kind of over enthusiasm, then eat some meat but at least keep the intention to hold the vow. Then later try to fulfill the vow as best you can and perhaps gradually become more and more permanently vegetarian (or as much as possible).

I have actually heard lamas advise people to do exactly this given this circumstance.

The vows are not intended to harm us. It is better for bodhisattvas to live in this suffering world than get sick and harm their body unintentionally.

Kirt


Similar to Kirt, I think it's a good idea not to give up on the vow but to back up a tad and start over more gradually, with a view toward taking the necessary steps to being able to keep the vow straightforwardly. The way I'd start would to prostrate to the 3 Jewels, go for refuge and generate bodhicitta, confess in front of them your lack of preparedness and ability to immediately fulfill this vow you've made, vow to steadily work toward completely fulfilling it as you originally intended, and then follow through with that. I think you should begin by cutting back on how much meat you eat (such as maybe every other day, or every few days, or once a week, whatever you can healthfully manage, and only eat it for nutrition, not due to any craving if you have any), while also educating yourself on how to healthfully eat vegetarian. It's not hard at all once you have a little education. Then gradually reduce your meat consumption until you've completely eliminated it.

If you're concerned about purification, a wonderful and powerful sutra-level Mahayana purification practice is the Bodhisattva's Confession of Ethical Downfalls. It can be freely downloaded here in format ready to be put together as a practice booklet: http://www.fpmt.org/hope!/a4/booklet/co ... a4bklt.pdf. A word of advice about confession: the key is to generate regret, NOT guilt (especially not some neurotic, nagging guilt that you continue to carry with you). And also, to have faith that the objects of refuge (in this case, the 35 confession buddhas) are actually there in front of you, whether you can currently clearly visualize them or not, is a key point. It's said in the Avatamsaka sutra, among others, that wherever you visualize and consider the Buddha to be, he will indeed be right there. So be confident about that and practice with that sense, and you'll accomplish the practice.

Best wishes on your noble endeavor! :namaste:
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Re: Vows

Postby Hanzze » Wed Feb 16, 2011 7:14 am

And what if you realize on day, that your grasping after vegetables kills more than if you would eat meat?
Just that! :-)
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Re: Vows

Postby KeithBC » Wed Feb 16, 2011 7:02 pm

Breaking vows is a serious thing. In the Vajrayana tradition, there is a special vajra hell reserved for vowbreakers which makes regular hells look like picnics in comparison. You don't ever want to think, "Aw, who cares? It doesn't matter." Vows do matter.

On the other hand, the Dharma is never unreasonable. If, for some well thought out and reasonable reason, you cannot continue to maintain a vow, it is all right to renegotiate it. Much like Kirt suggested, find a way to retain the vow as much as possible while acknowledging the reality of the situation. The idea is to come up with a new vow that you will be able to keep better than the old one.

Om mani padme hum
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Re: Vows

Postby Chaz » Wed Feb 16, 2011 7:56 pm

Sunyata. wrote::hi: Dharma farers,

This may sound stupid but :shrug:



It isn't stupid.

If I were you and had broken or couldn't keep a vow, I wouldn't worry too much about what other people, like around here, say. Go to your Lama or the Preceptor of the vow you took, if there was one and discuss it with them. Do what they instruct.
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Re: Vows

Postby KeithBC » Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:13 pm

Chaz wrote:It isn't stupid.

If I were you and had broken or couldn't keep a vow, I wouldn't worry too much about what other people, like around here, say. Go to your Lama or the Preceptor of the vow you took, if there was one and discuss it with them. Do what they instruct.

:good: :twothumbsup:
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Re: Vows

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Wed Feb 16, 2011 11:21 pm

Chaz wrote:
Sunyata. wrote::hi: Dharma farers,

This may sound stupid but :shrug:



It isn't stupid.

If I were you and had broken or couldn't keep a vow, I wouldn't worry too much about what other people, like around here, say. Go to your Lama or the Preceptor of the vow you took, if there was one and discuss it with them. Do what they instruct.


It sounds like this vow was not taken as a result of instruction by a lama, which is a good thing. That would be quite a different matter. Breaking a vow which was given to you by your lama - you really do not want to even think about going there.
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Re: Vows

Postby Adamantine » Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:00 am

Sunyata. wrote::hi: Dharma farers,

This may sound stupid but :shrug:

If an over-enthusiastic individual takes a vow in front of :buddha1:, say, to be the vegetarian for the rest of his/her life (HOORAY says the :pig:), what horrible consequences will there be if it's broken (because e.g. the individual has no clue how to prepare a well balanced veggie diet and soooooo causes his/her health to fail)?

Just wondering. Sorry if I've wasted your time when you could be :meditate: and/or if i've irritated u with the abundant use of smilies. (I've just got a thing for them.)


Kind regards,

Sunyata. (who still has a looooong way to go)


Sunyata, If the reason you broke the vow is simply because you don't know how to prepare a well-balanced veggie diet, then since you are internet savvy there are thousands of resources online that can help you figure this out- complete with vegetarian and/or vegan recipes galore. So I would suggest you confess the breaking of your vow (I am assuming, a Mahayana level vow?) if not to your own teacher, then to a representation of the Buddha such as a statue, and then keep on carrying on with it. Just educate yourself more and more. There is always a transition period when you drastically change your diet where you either won't like what you're eating or will not feel satisfied by it. In at least three weeks you will get accustomed to it and begin finding the new diet satisfying. Eating a vegetarian diet you will also notice an increase in clarity, but you may want to avoid garlic as well if you are doing any mantra practice. If you have any specific questions about eating vegetarian, feel free to shoot me a PM, I have been a vegetarian for many years and know many good recipes and about necessary supplements, etc.

-A
Contentment is the ultimate wealth;
Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha
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Re: Vows

Postby Thug4lyfe » Tue Oct 04, 2011 1:13 am

Committing wrong doing while not under any vows will still create the same negative karma.

If your under a vow, you at least will be more mindful of not breaking that vow, also you will have guilt if you break the vow, thus practices repentance.

Repentance is a good Dharma practice.
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