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.
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
sages. Hence they should be treated as reliable and reasonable rules laid down
by Buddha Gautama himself. In Tibet, both the new party and old parties have
accepted them without any doubt.
1. Provisions and Explanations Concerning Disparagement of the Vajra Acarya
a) What does the Vajra Acarya mean?
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 taken refuge in general is like
the King of the Kingdom.
- The Acarya from whom the disciple has gotten the Silas of Hinayana or
Mahayana is the guide of Dharma and one's uncle.
- 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 before whom the disciple has confessed his sins and from whom
one has received the renewed initiation is like a mother.
- The Acarya from whom the disciple has received the great initiation of
the Liberation Path such as the Great Perfection or the Mahamudra is like
- 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"?
According to the explanations of the great guru Naropa, which were imparted
to me by my guru Kunga Rimpoche, there are six kinds of sins covered under
the name of disparagement:
- Killing the Acarya without reasons and conditions.
- Taking the wife of the Acarya as a Dakini without the permission of the
- Making the body of the Acarya unhappy, painful and toilsome.
- Taking or robbing food or any kind of wealth of the Acarya without permission.
- Hiding the merits of the Acarya and laying criticism on his party, action
or rule and saying that his good things are bad.
- Leaving the Acarya from whom the disciple has received esoteric Dharmas
and afterwards getting teachings from another Acarya saying that he did
not get any instruction from the previous Guru.
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.
2. To Oppose and Disregard the Teachings of Buddha.
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?
a) Non-belief on the reasonable Truth.
b) Agreement with the false views of outsiders.
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.
3. To Struggle with Vajra-Brothers
a) What does Vajra-Brother mean?
- Ordinary Vajra-Brothers: Those who have learned the doctrines of Vajrayana
are Vajra-Brothers to one another.
- Near Vajra-Brothers: Those who get the initiation from the same Guru
are near Vajra-Brothers to one another.
- Special Vajra-Brothers: Those who get the initiations under the same
Guru in the same Mandala at the same time are special Vajra-Brothers to
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.
4. To have no compassion for a sentient being.
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.
5. To cut off the roots of the Right Dharma--Bodhicitta.
a) What kind of Bodhicitta does this mean? In the commentary our great Guru
taught us about three kinds of Bodhicitta as follows:
- Worldly Bodhicitta of Good Will and Conduct.
- Kunda Bodhicitta--the enlightened drops (transmitted from semen).
- Bodhicitta of Sunyata-Light.
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:
- Bodhicitta of Good Will.
- Bodhicitta of Good Conduct.
- Bodhicitta of Victorious Significance (e.g. the Sunyata-Light).
- Bodhicitta of Samadhi in the lower three yanas has been emphasized by
the great Bodhisattva Nagarjuna.
- Bodhicitta of Kunda in the Anuttara Yoga.
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.
6. To slander the Dharma of different schools inside and that of outsiders.
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.
7. To teach the Secret Dharma to one whose faith has not matured.
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.
b) What kinds of faith are those which are modified by the term "not
matured". There are four kinds of faith which are qualified with the term
of "not matured."
- The unmatured faith of spiritual foods. Here by spiritual foods is
meant the inner and outer initiations. One who has not received these
initiations, has not mature faith.
- 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.
- The unmatured faith caused by committing sins and falling.
- The unmatured faith caused by non-confidence in the secret Dharma.
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
saving the rules or the fallings which concern the secret Dharma of the Vajra-love
by emphasizing them. It is my humble opinion that no matter whether this is
a matured period or not, this Secret Dharma is not theory but fact and should
appear, be translated into English, and be supplied in the marketplace so that
every country may get it.
8. To Disregard the Entity of the Five Aggregates of the Body which Contain
the Nature of the Five Buddhas.
To make the explanation more clear, a comparative list is offered below:
Body Aggregates Buddhas
Rupa (form) Aksobhya
Vedana (feeling) Ratnasambhava
Sannjna (thinking) Amitabha
Samskara (Action) Amogasiddhi
Vijnana (Consciousness) Vairocana
Apas (water) Eastern dakini
Prthivi (earth) Southern dakini
Jyotis (fire) Western dakini
Vaya (air) Northern dakini
Akasa (space) Central dakini
Although this provision only mentions the five Buddhas, yet usually in other
sources these five are always accompanied by the five Dakinis whom I have also
mentioned in the above list.
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 such
a practitioner is acting too much in the descent stage or too much in the ascent
stage or too much in the four Voidness meditations or too much in the 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.
9. To Doubt all the Dharmas which are Pure in their Nature.
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.
The five nectars surely are not those of a common person's but of those sages
even whose excrement has a very good smell. These are associated with the five
Buddhas, as listed below:
Five Meats Five Nectars Five Buddhas
Man's flesh urine Aksobhya
Cow's flesh Stool Vairocana
Dog's flesh Red Ovum Ratnasambhava
Horse's flesh White semen Amitabha
Elephant's flesh Marrow of brain Amoghasiddhi
Besides these should be added those secret Dharma-instruments which are made
of human bones such as the nectar bowl, and the ornaments of a Heruka which
are made of human skulls.
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.
10. To Have Great Compassion toward the Poison.
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.
11. To Distinguish All Dharmas which are Without Names in Nature.
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 was the first period, like fresh milk; the Agamas the second period,
like coagulated milk; Vaipulyas the third period, like curdled milk; Prajna
Paramita the fourth period, like butter; and the Lotus and Parinirvana the
final, like clarified fine butter. Were these differentiations made by the
Tien-Tai School a kind of falling? No!
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 five kinds of Buddha bodies. All those Dharmas
collected in "The Encyclopedia of
Dharma-Numbers" from the least number to the greatest number should
be discriminated very skillfully.
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
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.
12. To Slander the Believer who has Faith in the Secret Dharma.
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.
13. To Neglect Practice of the Dharma which has been obtained by Samaya.
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.
14. To Slander the Nature of Wisdom Shown by a Dakini.
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 wisdom. To identify
her great Pleasure shown through all of her manners with our Voidness is Samadhi
and is the closest course to our final Enlightenment. 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.
This was written about by the great Bodhisattva Nagarjuna in two stanzas which
I now translate as follows:
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.
These silas were written in one and a half stanzas by the sage Gaya.
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
Referring to 3) above: The wealth of Bindu (Kunda Bodhicitta), Dharma of wisdom
fire, and the no-fear of Heruka-action are the three kinds of almsgiving.
To draw all the wisdom-energy into the medium nerve and achieve the everlasting
instructions is the perfect speech of Amitabha.
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
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.
All the above three points are my own opinion which must be grasped for one
to become aware of the differentiations between the Karma of Mahayana and that
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 sorrow concerning
flesh should be sublimated by the heights of Truth. Then the polarized reality
can be harmonized as a whole Truth. To draw a worldly 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
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:
Because every Dharma has non-reality, there would be non-holiness which should
be grasped. There would be non-goodness which should be renounced and non-badness.
Because every Dharma by nature is vast, there would be non-selfishness. The
pleasure would not only be within one's self; the pain would not only be without
Because every Dharma by nature is alone, there would be non-subjects and non-objects.
Harmness would have no object to be given to. Advantages would have no subject
to be kept for.
Because every Dharma by nature is natural, there would be no silas to keep
and no sins to reject.
These four silas are for the Practitioner of Mahamudra, the Great Perfection,
or Zen. Although he is beyond the silas, by nature he should not refuse them,
and naturally he has to identify with them.