gregkavarnos wrote: Namdrol wrote:
As for the rules, I had already reduced my drinking to zero for some time BEFORE taking the precept. It seemed logical to me to take the precept "formally" (coz, it seems,
Taking hinayana refuge has three commitments and five vows that are automatically taken. Then one has a choice to follow no vows, and just commitments, two vows, three vows or all vows.
Taking bodhisattva vows converts those vows into the Mahayana vows.
Taking tantric vows converts those in the tantric vows.
Where the lower contradicts the higher, one follows the higher vow.
There there is the principle of refuge according to Dzogchen. In this case, there are no vows in particular, but the person judges for himself what is necessary for his path, what helps it and what hinders it. I.e. taking the essence of refuge as committing to a given path (in this case Dzogchen) and doing what is necessary for achieving the goals of that path and avoiding what is harmful to it. That is something each person must discover for themselves. If it is involves giving up wine and rich food because it is fattening and leads to ill-health, than that is what you do. If it involves drinking a glass of wine and eating rich food because one has a tendency towards vata disturbances, than that is what one does. If it involves taking psych meds to maintain a stable mind, than that is what one does. And of course, because harming others leads to states of bad rebirth, etc., than one avoids actions with true negative consequences. But none of this is based on a vow. It is based on recognition of one's state and the wish to help others recognize their own state.
Now, of course, this does not mean that one does not have vows. Of course one has vows. But vows are not the main point. It is not good to go to one extreme and proclaim "vows are all bullshit" and pretend one is an atiyoga practitioner. It is also not good to take a rigid approach to vows and turn them into a kind of pretty golden cage inside of which you lock yourself.
Not only that, not all buddhas teach vinaya and have a sangha. For example, Sikhin. Sikhin's pratimoksha was simply:
observe your mind
this is the teaching of the buddhas.
So we have to understand the Vinaya, vows and so on, these are something relative. They are not absolutely essential, at least, not in my opinion.