Vajrayana Silas, Part II
A. Section 1: Three Samayas
The three samayas are like a bridge which spans from the shore of the lower three yogas to that of Anuttara Yoga. Samaya means oath: once it has been declared, it must always be kept by the practitioner. For one who has not declared such samayas, there is no question of keeping or not keeping them.
Nevertheless, one who intends to be an Acarya of either the lower three yogas or of Anuttara Yoga ought to declare these three samayas when the initiation of Acarya is given by his Guru, lest he has no chance again for the same.
All these three samayas are declared by the disciple on two different occasions. One is when the initiation of Acarya of the lower three tantras is held; the other is the initiation of Anuttara Yoga. Hence their significances are quite different in degree.
a) Vajra in the lower three yogas indicates the Vajradhatu. Outwardly, the disciple who is going to be an Acarya of the lower three tantras should keep with himself the Vajra in a lawful form even while journeying. Inwardly, the Vajra is a symbol of the Mandala of Vajradhatu which should be always visualized without ceasing. Secretly, one must frequently meditate in the Samadhi of Dharmarupa, e.g., the Causation of Sunyata.
b) This particular samaya when kept by the disciples of Anuttara Yoga lays hold to the uttermost secret meaning which is the denotation of Great Pleasure or Bliss and the function of salvation. The disciple should practice the Vajra-love according to the methods of the third initiation.
a) The Vajra-bell in the lower three yogas indicates the Garbhadhatu. Outwardly the practitioner should keep it with his Vajra as a couple. Inwardly, the Mandala of Garbhadhatu should be visualized without ceasing. Secretly, the nature of Sunyata, e.g., the Dharmadhatu, should be carried in the memory in all meditations.
b) When this particular samaya is kept by the disciples of Anuttara Yoga, the practitioner should know by heart that the uttermost secret meaning of Vajra-bell is the wisdom issued by the Lotus of the Dakini. The tongue of the bell is the small nerve of the Lotus which may make the Vajra increase its Pleasure
b) The particular significance conceived and actually practiced by the disciples of Anuttara Yoga is held in the identification of the Four Blisses and Four Sunyatas. The practitioner should not lose his balance through either too much or too little time, in quantity and in quality.
B. Section II: The Fourteen Root-Fallings
The last section dealt with the Three Samayas which in some Tantric sources are said to have been laid down by the Sambhogakaya. This section concerning the fourteen root-fallings was laid down by the great Bodhisattva Asvaghosa who had gathered them from the Tantras and the sayings of the ancient Tantric
Acala means immovable. Acarya contains the same root and thus means one who should always be respected as a Buddha by one who once has taken refuge from him. There are different kinds of Acaryas. The heavy punishment of falling into Vajra-Hell is only concerning the last and highest one as mentioned below.
The Acarya from whom the disciple has gotten the Initiations and Silas of Vajrayana is one able to impart the methods of getting the attainment of Buddhahood in this lifetime and is like one's father.
The Acarya from whom the disciple has received all the important and highest instructions and who is enabled to bless disciples to get the Attainment of Vajra-Dhara in this life-time is like one's heart.
Among the six kinds of Acarya introduced above, those of (1) and (2) are not Vajra Acarya, the other four are. But the punishment of falling into Vajra-Hell is only dealt out to the disciple who has severely disparaged his Acarya of the last and highest kind.
b) What kinds of sins are covered under the term of "Disparage"?
Although all these six kinds of sins are considered disparagements, yet the falling punishment is dealt out to the sinner who has committed the first two kinds of sins, i.e. taking the Acarya's wife and killing the Acarya.
What kinds of possibilities of disregarding are considered sins under this provision and among them which one is the particular one to watch out for?
c) According to the great Guru Naropa's explanation, the greatest sin may be in this case that the disciple does not recognize the rules laid down in a secret description and considered the inverse, such as frequenting others' wives. This does not mean any wives of others but particularly Nairatamya or her Incarnations who is and are wives of all skilled practitioners.
In my opinion, the third one above, c), is the particular one which must be watched out for. Regarding the first two a) and b), they are in general forbidden in previous course of Silas.
b) What does the struggle mean? In general, any struggle caused by one's inner sorrow of anger is included, but particularly, in my opinion, is the special struggle not pointed out by the great Guru Naropa which is caused by snatching at a Dakini who has already been occupied by another Vajra-Brother.
What kind of sentient being does this mean? In general any sentient being is included, but particularly it is the person who asks for the favouring blessing in the third initiation sense, and who the practitioner refuses because he or she is too old or too ugly. It is my humble opinion that all the failings of the Tantra Silas are concerned with the third initiation, otherwise the sila would belong to the Mahayana.
a)What kind of Bodhicitta does this mean? In the commentary our great Guru taught us about three kinds of Bodhicitta as follows:
b) In my humble opinion there are five kinds of Bodhicitta covering all of those mentioned in different Tantras and Sutras, although they have not been systematized. Since I emphasize the whole system of Buddhism in the Three-Yanas-in-One, I have arranged them in the following order:
Among all these five are included the three from a) above. Although falling into the Vajra-Hell is dealt out to only those abusing the last kind, 5) above, all the five are connected.
c) What does the term "cut off" mean here? It means that the practitioner discharges his holy semen--the Kunda Bodhicitta--without any special reason, only by his negligence and lustfulness. This is a great sin which might cause the Dakini to weep.
A lot of ancient commentaries on this provision were given, such as detracting from the false Dharmas of outsiders as they have no benefit for final liberation yet they are teaching men how to do good; or as undermining the Hinayana by saying their foundation is not good and cannot get one quickly to
the thither shore, yet they are a good foundation for Mahayana and Vajrayana and include the personal teachings of Lord Gautama; or as backbiting the secret Dharma of the third initiation even of one's own school yet it is a very sacred and secret Dharma of Vajrayana which has its own profound philosophy
and methods of the consequence position of Buddhahood. Hence all these Dharmas should be respected with deep devotion. In general, none of them should be slandered, the sinner may fall into the Vajra-Hell.
Again it is also said that when the teacher who has great compassion to help his disciples progress in the Dharma, he may give some comparative instructions to them concerning what is lacking in the Hinayana and what is the complement to this lack in the Mahayana and Vajrayana. This is not a sin at all as Buddha Gautama himself has done this more than once.
a) What does the Secret Dharma mean? The doctrine which never appears in the Mahayana or the Prajna Paramita and in the lower three yogas is of the Secret Dharma for one whose wisdom is not enough to recognize its profound philosophy. All the theories and methods concerning Evolutional Yoga, Perfect Yoga, Karmamudra, Vajra-love, the five meats, five nectars, and skull-made instruments are included in the term Secret Dharma.
The unmatured faith of all rituals and instructions. One who has not received these rituals and instructions concerning the practical necessity of the four great initiations, does not have mature faith.
c) In addition to the above four kinds of unmatured faith, I should mention unmatured faith relative to the Period. In the ancient pure orthodox doctrine, the secret Dharmas of Vajra-love were very seriously kept in secret, even a Vajra was not allowed to be seen by others. This was in the period of the
Buddha's lifetime. In the period of symbolism or scholasticism, the Vajra and Vajra-bell and images of Heruka form were in an erotic aspect and eventually appeared in temples and on pagodas. Now it is the Kali-age; communication has been widely opened, and one may pilgrimage to every religious holy place
within the whole world by aeroplane within a few days. A race among all the religions to select the one international public religion is going on. Hence the secret and sacred Dharma of every religion has been promoted and spread all over the world and there is no religion keeping its essential Dharma secret
again. Many secret doctrines of Buddhism have been introduced to the West. The most important Tantra of Hevajra has been translated from its texts of Sanskrit and Tibetan and is sold by the Oxford University Press. My dear readers, would you please tell me how to keep it in secret again?
d) It was foretold by our great Guru Padmasambhava that his secret Dharma would be widely spread all over the world when the iron bird is flying in the skies, therefore I can not help but call this a matured period and the last two periods unmatured. Our main duty in this period is not keeping secret but
To make the explanation more clear, a comparative list is offered below:
The ways to disregard one's own body as mentioned in the ancient commentaries are suicide or homicide by any means, beating the heart or breast, slapping the face, pulling out hair and all kinds of actions causing oneself to suffer.
In my opinion, this matter is not so simple. First of all, one should distinguish between the three kinds of our "body", from gross to subtle. The flesh body which is born from our past profane karmas is relevant to the ascetic or Dhuta practice, and although through it the body is made to suffer, yet this
does not actually constitute this falling. The second body may be called the meditative body which is a meditative result and an inner body of heaven in eight stages corresponding to the eight Dhyanas and also a body of the ten Bhumis of Bodhisattvas which is relevant only to the practice of Mahayana. As
such, this body may be made a victim for the purpose of saving others in accordance with a Bodhisattva's practice and not constitute this falling of Vajrayana. The last and highest one is a body in Buddhahood through the practice of Evolutional Yoga. Thereby the realization of a Buddha body has been
accomplished and it should be recognized as a Buddha or Dakini or Heruka body toward whom any kind of disregard done might relate to this very falling. However this kind of falling is still not the one particularly emphasized.
The falling in question occurs, in my opinion, in relation to the Tantric practitioner who is enabled to practice Vajra-love. This pertains to the Perfect Yoga with stress lying on the four stages of performance and the identification of four Tantric Voidness and four secret Bliss. The falling occurs when
four Bliss meditations. Either of these partial acts are a kind of disregard for its opposite. It is as if killing their own wisdom-life. Until and unless the practitioner can keep them in equilibrium balance, he can not get rid of this kind of falling which is falling into transmigration but not hell.
What are those Dharmas? This question has been answered by our Great Guru Naropa. The five meats are of man, cow, dog, horse and elephant; the five nectars of great incense are urine, stool, the white wisdom drops (semen), the red wisdom drops(ovum), and the pleasure drops, that is the brain-marrow. These have been pointed out by this sage.
Five Meats, Five Nectars, Five Buddhas
Cow's flesh Stool Vairocana
Again, the wrathful Yidam and his Homa by which a demon or human foe may be killed are both easily to be doubted. However, the particular falling sin is dealt out to the practitioner of Vajra-love. Such a one who although he has received the great initiations still in his inward thoughts keeps such a doubt that the lustful practice of Vajra-love might not be pure, his is the very great sin of falling.
According to the commentary of the great Guru Naropa, there are two kinds of poison. One is the person who keeps the poison outwardly thereby rebuking or slandering the believers of the third initiation; the other is the person who keeps the poison inwardly as to indulge in the love actions without identification with the voidness. He who sides with either of these two kinds of persons or who himself commits the same is the very sinner of the provision.
Here in this provision the modification of the term "in nature" should be paid more attention to as it is a term expressing the Dharmakaya with its characteristics of equilibrium and silence. Suppose the term which is in need of being distinguished is "in form" or "in condition", then the more you
distinguish them, the more you are able to make their meanings obvious. Buddha Gautama had taught us different yanas and Dharmas, some are of low knowledge, some are high, some are exoteric, some are esoteric. Among these, Buddha himself had distinguished what reached half of the Truth, and what
reached the whole Truth. Was he a sinner of this falling? Certainly not! In the Lotus-Sutra the Buddha had divided all his teachings into three kinds of carriages: sheep carriage, deer carriage and bull carriage. According to this the Tien-Tai School divided the teachings into five periods: The Avatamsaka
Hence a distinguishment held to in nature is a falling, while a distinguishment held not to the form is foolish. We should recognize that the difference is one-sidedly held to only in the Dharmarupa but not in the Dharmadhuta. One who desires to learn Buddhism must know all the differences such as the three knowledges, the twelve styles of teaching in the Tripitaka, the one hundred Dharmas in the Idealistic School, many a group of ten numbers of Dharmas in the Avatamsaka Sutra, besides all these Dharma knowledge, all the differentiations of realization in the position of consequence such as the five wisdoms, six supernatural powers, ten Buddha's powers, five kinds of eyes, eighteen distinguished Buddha Dharmas, four kinds of Bliss, four kinds of Voidness, four or
To hit the mark of this falling and understand it, it should be pointed out that one who has received the third initiation but who still keeps some differentiation in his mind as to prefer the great perfection and the Mahamudra as purer than the Vajra-love treats the latter as a way of defilement. This is the very sin of falling.
Regarding the Guru's teaching, the Guru may distinguish the third initiation from the fourth but not the disciples, that is to say the chaff is one thing to the wheat and a different thing to sheep and goats.
This secret Dharma is exactly the Vajra-love and none other. It is a matter of fact that one who practices such a kind of secret and sacred Dharma is often slandered by the one who believes the way to liberation is only through the Mahamudra. The ordinary Buddhist who has never received teachings in the
Anuttarayoga will also slander those believers of Vajra-love. This may be an obstacle to his own course of learning in Vajra-love in the future when he awakens to the virtue of this secret Dharma yet it will then be a falling to him.
To keep the secret Dharma under lock and key only benefits the person whose faith has not yet matured and should not be done to increase one's own pride and stinginess. I do not agree with the ancients in their commentaries that this sin discussed in this provision also should include slander to the believers of Mahayana and Hinayana due to the fact that such sins have been forbidden in the Silas of Mahayana.
Here the Dharma referred to particularly concerns Vajra-love. In fact, most of the disciples who receive all of the four initiations in one or two days have only a general faith in Anuttarayoga and no faith in Vajra-love. After their initiation, they never practice it. Some of them, having awakened to the dangerous conditions involved in Vajra-love, leave it half-way. Both are sinners of this falling. Hence in my humble opinion, as has been described in my Chinese work, all four of these initiations should be given separately.
Today is the date of the 25th of the ninth month of the Wooden-Dragon year according to the Tibetan Lunar Calendar. It is a holy date of offering and praying to the Vajra-Yogic mother according to the rules of my hermitage. Among all the provisions in this section, this last but not least is a very
important one which may help us to honour our Mother who was, is, and will be the Producer of Buddhas. I have written a ritual to her in which I emphasize her gnostic body and her compassionate heart.
Every pore of her body is a manifestation of her wisdom which we should worship and praise. All of her manners mentioned in the Hevajra Tantra, i.e. passion, heroism, loathesomeness, horror, mirth, frightfulness, compassion, wonderment and tranquility, all nine of these emotions are expressing her
Hence one who slanders her in any way by any means falls. Envious is he who sees her lovely manner only toward others; foolish is he who treats her horror as a common sorrow, and thereby he slanders her and commits the sin of falling.
1. Punishments: According to the stanzas of the fourteen fallings, the punishment is falling into the Vajra-hell as the Sila's name already indicates. But in the commentary of the great Guru Naropa, there are given many degrees among these fallings. Some were written about as falling into Vajra-hell, while
others as falling into an animal state. Each falling has its three degrees, depending upon whether the circumstances are of a heinous crime or a trifling error. For instance, the first falling of disregarding the Guru: If the crime is murder, the sinner ought to fall into hell; if it is only a stingy
offering to the Guru and Dakini, he might become a ghost; if it is only a little doubt upon his Guru or Dakini, then an animal. Just like the laws of a nation, there are two kinds of offenses. One is willful, the other is unintentional. If one commits a falling under the following six conditions, it is a
After one has received the great initiations and before a certain provision is now broken, he never committed any other falling.
When one has not drunk spirits or wine.
When one is not mad.
When one has not kept a good-will to benefit others.
When one has not received permission from his Guru.
2. Redemption: According to the great Guru Naropa's commentary, there are three degrees of each falling and the redemptions are also in three degrees. Sins caused by supreme anger receive the heaviest punishment and its redemption is asking the Guru for a renewed Initiation. Sins caused by medium anger receive
the medium punishment and its redemption is making offerings to a multitude of Lamas meeting together for from 7 to 21 times and repeating the "one-hundred-word" incantation one hundred thousand times. Sins caused by inferior anger receive an inferior punishment. The redemption is repeating the "one-
mind for three years without penance, it becomes a medium sin; when a medium sin has been kept in mind for only three days without penance, it becomes a supreme sin. The above statement holds in general cases. For each provision there is a particular redemption as stated below:
One should respect intimately all his schoolmates in the same school as Vajra-sisters and Vajra-brothers and ask the very brother he struggled with to accept his offerings three times at a public meeting.
One should practice all kinds of Bodhicitta and make them grow up perfectly. When one has only received the first initiation, he should encourage himself to practice and develop the first four kinds of Bodhicitta. When one has only received the second and third initiations, one should practice the last or fifth Bodhicitta without discharge. When one has received the fourth initiation, he should practice the identification of the fifth Bodhicitta and the third Bodhicitta and make them harmonized into the light of voidness.
One should learn all the doctrines of all schools.
When one receives the first initiation he should keep all the Silas concerned; with the second initiation he should take the five meats and five nectars; with the third, practice the Vajra-love with a Dakini; and with the fourth, practice Mahamudra or Great Perfection.
One should respect the Dakini or any female who has the nature of Dakini as the great wisdom mother of all Buddhas occupying the voidness-nature through whose help one may reach the thither shore of Prajna Paramita.
In my opinion, a Dakini also occupies the Great Pleasure so I have established a fourth root as an addition to the three roots all the ancients emphasized: first, Guru is the root of blessing, second, Yidam is the root of achievement, third, Protectors form the root of Holy Karma; when the root of pleasure and voidness, i.e., Dakini, is considered as the third, then the Karma-root becomes the fourth.
D. The Eight Great Sins
A struggle happens on the occasion of an offering assembly.
Not imparting the secret Dharma to a good vessel.
Preaching the Profound Doctrine to those who believe not.
All these eight great sins are connected with Vajra-love. The first and third ones are very clear in their provisions. The second one regarding struggle and the sixth one, staying with monks, both are for the case of the Dakini. The preaching mentioned in the fifth and eighth are both concerning Vajra-love.
The fourth one regards not imparting when one should, and the seventh being too proud. All are concerning the same Vajra-love doctrine. Those Gurus who impart the third initiation to every disciple but keep the Vajra Silas to themselves are like training the disciples to box but keeping in secret the medicine to cure the wounds caused by boxing. This is very foolish.
Each provision of the above silas contains some subject of good Karma, outward, inward, and secret in the position of salvation. Outward Karmas connect with Hinayana, inward with Mahayana, and secret with Vajrayana. The last one is the very provision concerned.
Referring to 1) above: Good Will here means desiring Full Enlightenment within this lifetime. Good Conduct here means practicing Vajra-love with a Dakini. The Three Silas here mean restraining by anthropomorphic care of the third initiation leading to good Dharmas by practicing the Ewan-yoga and profiting others by the good Karmas held in the Lotus Altar.
Referring to 2) above: Vajra here means the Buddha's expedient Lingam, i.e., the productive organ in the form of vajra. The Bell is the productive organ of the wisdom yogini in a lotus and bell form; Mudra is their union in a Heruka form.
Referring to 4) above: The identification of "Ewan" yoga along with its four kinds of great pleasures to offer the Buddhas and give alms to all sentient beings in one's illustrious holy light is the essential Karma of the northern Buddha.
Although all these subjects of good Karma should be done by every Buddhist, they are quite different when done by the five Buddhas. The practitioner should keep the following realizations so that the distinguished Karma of Buddhas might be clarified: these are referring to the 5) above.
Always keep the Pride of Buddha--whatsoever one does, do it in the Position of Consequence of Buddhahood and not as a layman who does everything in a self-centered manner. The results of these two ways are quite different from one another. The former is of Vidya and goes to Full Enlightenment, while the latter even if it is good action which is done, still goes only to heaven.
The Mystic Haveness derives its manifestation from the Voidness which is the very nature of all Buddhas and from this the actions of salvation are performed. When one does any Karma or action without this, it is a Karma only of profanity.
The Modus Operandi in the Position of Consequence must be practiced by the follower of Vajrayana to get the realization thereof. Then the real Buddha's Karma may be successful and Full Enlightenment attained in this lifetime will come to be true.
Besides the similarity between the explanation for these last five and those for the Five Silas of the Buddhas, I ought to mention the important points of these five Silas of Dakinis. They lay most stress on the material flesh of the Dakini. That is why the Tibetan ancients emphasized that a Dakini in a human body was better than one in a divine body or a spiritual body for the practice of Vajra-love. The five kinds of meat should be taken along with other nourishment such as milk. Just as in Milarepa's good example, he was able to take only herbs during his daily practice, nevertheless, when he almost
accomplished his practice, he was advised by secret instructions prepared for him by his Guru Marpa that he should then take nourishment. Suddenly he was fully enlightened after he took the nourishment. Surely the highest philosophy of Buddhism is penetrating into the lowest lustful flesh and the deepest
instance, it is like seizing robbers within their hiding place and cleaning them up thereby. By hiding away from the robbers as in Hinayana or by discharging the confined robbers with great compassion as in Mahayana, neither could stop their robbing minds.
Vastness (without edges).
Aloneness (without objects).
Naturalness (without force).
These four terms are seen in the Nyandi-yoga, the highest doctrine of Nyingmapa. They have been used as four conditions of the Great Perfection. As I try to make every Dharma into a whole system in my emphasis on Three-Yanas-in-One, the Silas or Vinayana should be part of this whole system too. From Hinayana
to Mahayana and again to Vajrayana I have introduced to the West. The Silas of Mahamudra or the Great Perfection should not be omitted. Hence these four have been taken for this purpose. I have written a Chinese work on the subject of Silas of Nature from which some extracts have been translated below. They might serve as an explanation for these four silas: