Posted on 25. Jun, 2009 by James Miller
The Eighteen Bodhisattva Root Downfalls
alicewonderland2 posted a photo:
Here is 18 bodisatva rules in tibetan tradition. True or not? Doubt and know by urself!
The Eighteen Bodhisattva Root Downfalls
(1) Praising ourselves and/or belittling others
This downfall refers to speaking such words to someone in an inferior position. The motivation must contain either desire for profit, praise, love, respect, and so on from the person addressed, or jealousy of the person belittled. It makes no difference whether what we say is true or false. Professionals who advertise that they are Buddhists need to take care about committing this downfall.
(2) Not sharing Dharma teachings or wealth
Here, the motivation must be specifically attachment and miserliness. This negative action includes not only being possessive of our notes or tape recorder, but also being stingy with our time and refusing to help if needed.
(3) Not listening to others' apologies or striking others
The motivation for either of these must be anger. The first refers to an actual occasion when yelling at or beating someone and either that person pleads for forgiveness, or someone else begs us to stop and we refuse. The latter is simply hitting someone. Sometimes, it may be necessary to give rambunctious children or pets a smack to stop them from running into the road if they will not listen, but it is never appropriate or helpful to discipline out of anger.
(4) Discarding the Mahayana teachings and propounding made-up ones
This means to reject the correct teachings about some topic concerning bodhisattvas, such as their ethical behavior, and to make up in their stead a plausible yet misleading instruction on the same subject, claim it to be authentic, and then teach it to others in order to gain their following. An example of this downfall is when teachers who are eager not to scare away prospective students condone liberal moral behavior and explain that any type of action is acceptable so long as it does not harm others. We need not be a teacher to commit this downfall. We can commit it even in casual conversation with others.
(5) Taking offerings intended for the Triple Gem
This downfall is to steal or embezzle, either personally or through deputing someone else, anything offered or belonging to the Buddhas, Dharma, or Sangha, and then to consider it as ours. The Sangha, in this context, refers to any group of four or more monasics. Examples include embezzling funds donated for building a Buddhist monument, for printing Dharma books, or for feeding a group of monks or nuns.
(6) Forsaking the holy Dharma
Here the downfall is to repudiate or, by voicing our opinions, cause others to repudiate that the scriptural teachings of the shravaka (nyan-thos), pratyekabuddha (rang-rgyal), or bodhisattva vehicles are the Buddha's words. Shravakas are those who listen to a Buddha's teachings while they are still extant, while pratyekabuddhas are self-evolving practitioners who live primarily during dark ages when the Dharma is no longer directly available. To make spiritual progress, they rely on intuitive understanding gained from study and practice conducted during previous lives. The teachings for both of them collectively constitute the Hinayana, or "modest vehicle" for gaining personal liberation from samsara. The Mahayana vehicle emphasizes methods for attaining full enlightenment. Denying that all or just certain scriptures of either vehicle derive from the Buddha is a root downfall.
[See: The Terms Hinayana and Mahayana.]
Maintaining this vow does not mean forsaking a historical perspective. Buddha's teachings were transmitted orally for centuries before being committed to writing, and thus corruptions and forgeries undoubtedly occurred. The great masters who compiled the Tibetan Buddhist canon certainly rejected texts they considered inauthentic. However, instead of basing their decisions on prejudice, they used the seventh-century Indian master Dharmakirti's criterion for assessing the validity of any material - the ability of its practice to bring about the Buddhist goals of better rebirth, liberation, or enlightenment. Stylistic differences among Buddhist scriptures, and even within a specific text, often indicate differences in time when various portions of the teachings were written down or translated into different languages. Therefore, studying the scriptures through methods of modern textual analysis can often be fruitful and does not conflict with this vow.
(7) Disrobing monasics or committing such acts as stealing their robes
This downfall refers specifically to doing something damaging to one, two, or three Buddhist monks or nuns, regardless of their moral status or level of study or practice. Such actions need to be motivated by ill will or malice, and include beating or verbally abusing them, confiscating their goods, or expelling them from their monaseries. Expelling monasics, however, is not a downfall if they have broken one of their four major vows: not to kill, especially another human being; not to steal, particularly something belonging to the monasic community; not to lie, specifically about spiritual attainments; and to maintain complete celibacy.
(8) Committing any of the five heinous crimes
The five heinous crimes (mtshams-med lnga) are (a) killing our fathers, (b) mothers, or (c) an arhat (a liberated being), (d) with bad intentions drawing blood from a Buddha, or (e) causing a split in the monasic community. The latter heinous crime refers to repudiating the Buddha's teachings and monasic institution, drawing monasics away from them, and enlisting them in one's own newly founded religion and monasic tradition. It does not refer to leaving a Dharma center or organization - especially because of corruption in the organization or its spiritual teachers - and founding another center that still follows Buddha's teachings. Moreover, the term sangha in this heinous crime refers specifically to the monasic community. It does not refer to "sangha" in the nontraditional usage of the term coined by Western Buddhists as an equivalent of the congregation of a Dharma center or organization.
(9) Holding a distorted, antagonistic outlook
This means to deny what is true and of value - such as the laws of behavioral cause and effect, a safe and positive direction in life, rebirth, and liberation from it - and to be antagonistic toward such ideas and those who hold them.
(10) Destroying places such as towns
This downfall includes intentionally demolishing, bombing, or degrading the environment of a town, city, district, or countryside area, and rendering it unfit, harmful, or difficult for humans or animals to live in.
(11) Teaching voidness to those whose minds are untrained
The primary objects of this downfall are persons with the bodhichitta motivation who are not yet ready to understand voidness. Such persons would become confused or frightened by this teaching and consequently abandon the bodhisattva path for the path of personal liberation. This can happen as a result of thinking that if all phenomena are devoid of inherent, findable existence, then no one exists, so why bother working to benefit anyone else? This action also includes teaching voidness to anyone who would misunderstand it and therefore forsake the Dharma completely, for example by thinking that Buddhism teaches that nothing exists and is therefore sheer nonsense. Without extrasensory perception, it is difficult to know whether others' minds are sufficiently trained so that they will not misconstrue the teachings on the voidness of all phenomena. Therefore, it is important to lead others to these teachings through explanations of graduated levels of complexity, and periodically to check their understanding.
(12) Turning others away from full enlightenment
The objects for this action are people who have already developed a bodhichitta motivation and are striving toward enlightenment. The downfall is to tell them they are incapable of acting all the time with generosity, patience, and so on - to say that they cannot possibly become a Buddha and so it would be far better for them to strive merely for their own liberation. Unless they actually turn their aim away from enlightenment, however, this root downfall is incomplete.
(13) Turning others away from their pratimoksha vows
Pratimoksha, or individual liberation vows (so-thar sdom-pa), include those for laymen, laywomen, probationary nuns, novice monks, novice nuns, full monks, and full nuns. The objects here are persons who are keeping one of these sets of pratimoksha vows. The downfall is to tell them as a bodhisattva there is no use in keeping pratimoksha, because for bodhisattvas all actions are pure. For this downfall to be complete, they must actually give up their vows.
(14) Belittling the shravaka vehicle
The sixth root downfall is to repudiate that the texts of the shravaka or pratyekabuddha vehicles are the authentic words of the Buddha. Here, we accept that they are, but deny the effectiveness of their teachings and maintain that it is impossible to become rid of disturbing emotions and attitudes by means of their instructions, for example those concerning vipassana (insight meditation).
(15) Proclaiming a false realization of voidness
We commit this downfall if we have not fully realized voidness, yet teach or write about it pretending that we have, because of jealousy of the great masters. It makes no difference whether any students or readers are fooled by our pretense. Nonetheless, they must understand what we explain. If they do not comprehend our discussion, the downfall is incomplete. Although this vow refers to proclaiming false realizations specifically of voidness, it is clear that we need to avoid the same also when teaching bodhichitta or other points of Dharma. There is no fault in teaching voidness before fully realizing it, however, so long as we openly acknowledge this fact and that we are explaining merely from our present levels of provisional understanding.
(16) Accepting what has been stolen from the Triple Gem
This downfall is to accept as a gift, offering, salary, reward, fine, or bribe anything someone else has stolen or embezzled, either personally or through deputing someone else, from the Buddhas, Dharma, or Sangha, including if it belonged only to one, two, or three monks or nuns.
(17) Establishing unfair policies
This means to be biased against serious practitioners, because of anger or hostility toward them, and to favor those with lesser attainments, or none at all, because of attachment to them. An example of this downfall is to give most of our time as teachers to casual private students who can pay high fees and to neglect serious students who can pay us nothing.
(18) Giving up bodhichitta
This is abandoning the wish to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all. Of the two levels of bodhichitta, aspiring and involved, this refers specifically to discarding the former. In doing so, we give up the latter as well.
Occasionally, a nineteenth root downfall is specified:
(19) Belittling others with sarcastic verses or words
This may be included, however, in the first bodhisattva root downfall