Buddhists scholars historically, are fond of lists. Many are feeling that this exceedingly male dominated tradition led way to some dated, heavy handed tenets and it’s been suggested to rewrite them, remove punishment and hellish fears altogether. Tantric vows bind the yogic meditation practitioner to their own goodness, purity and heart. These revised root downfalls, are rewritten to inspire, rather than trap and frighten, feedback welcome!
1. Mutual Commitment. A trusting and mutually respectful relationship between teacher and student, both have permission to offer feedback. This teacher could also be the “inner guru,” one’s conscience, strength, wisdom, heart and inner truth.
2. No Harm. Try as hard as we can never harm anything, to be patient and compassionate, and if we fail, make amends.
3. Conscious Communication and Transparency. Have open, democratically based communication, active listening, honesty and transparency in any organized community, workplace, family or spiritual group.
4. Exertion. Always try our best to help society with exertion, never be lazy or narcissistic or pass the buck, the Dharma is not an escape.
5. Joy. Connect to what is wholesome in ourselves and others, see the beauty in life. That warmth and well-being is contagious.
6. Self-Knowing. Like the Buddha suggested, always be critical of, discriminating, do not assume as true, any doctrine or instruction from anyone, irrespective of status or title. Find out through practice and introspection, what is true.
7. Equal Nature. Do not use the Dharma as a credential, feeling that one is more evolved than any other, teachers especially. We all possess the same Buddha Nature and potential. We do not deify people, nor the teachings.
8. Clean Living. Care for our Body, Speech and Mind and world as a whole, commit to clean, simple, Eco-living.
9. Interconnectedness. Know that everything arises through many causes and conditions, and stay strong through adversity, knowing that everything changes.
10. Intelligent Helping. Try to help everyone with impartial compassion, but it’s ok to set boundaries with people who consistently hurt you.
11. Meditation and Yogas. Try to practice meditation and calming breath, formally, at least a little every day to maintain our strength during challenges.
12. Be Positive. Use positive encouragement and affirmations for us all to be inspired to learn, grow and heal.
13. Let It Go. Forgive yourself and others, do not hold grudges, guilt and self deprecation in the mindstream.
14. Respect. People of all genders, race, age, creeds and nations, be non-sectarian, celebrate diversity, and be a genuine, loving person.
Traditional “Samaya” Vow Root Downfalls:
1. disrespecting the vajra master
2. transgressing the words of the buddhas
3. insulting one’s vajra brothers and sisters
4. abandoning love for sentient beings
5. abandoning the bodhichitta in aspiration or application
6. criticizing the teachings of the sutras and tantras
7. revealing secrets to those who are unworthy
8. mistreating one’s body
9. abandoning emptiness
10. keeping bad company
11. failing to reflect on emptiness
12. upsetting those who have faith in the teachings
13. failing to observe the samaya commitments
14. denigrating women