51 Vows

dolbuddhaRefuge Vows

  1. I shall repeatedly take Refuge, recollecting the qualities of the Three Jewels.
  2. I shall make daily offerings to the Three Jewels of all I eat, drink, or otherwise accept.
  3. I shall not forsake the Three Jewels, even at the risk of my life.
  4. Having taken Refuge in the Buddha, I shall not take refuge in lesser beings.
  5. Having taken Refuge in the Dharma, I shall not harm sentient beings.
  6. Having taken Refuge in the Sangha, I shall not rely on those with wrong or lesser views.
  7. I shall honor and respect the Buddha in every representation.
  8. I shall honor and respect all Dharma texts.
  9. I shall honor and respect the Sangha of the Bodhisattvas and the ordained.

Liberation Vows

  1. I shall not take life.
  2. I shall not take what is not given freely.
  3. I shall not engage in sensual misconduct.
  4. I shall not lie or speak harsh words.
  5. I shall avoid intoxication leading to heedlessness.
  6. I shall not rest on elevated seats and beds.
  7. I shall not eat improper foods at inopportune times.
  8. I shall avoid adornment and mindless entertainment.

Fundamental Bodhisattva Vows

  1. I shall awaken numberless beings.
  2. I shall end inexhaustible delusions.
  3. I shall open boundless Dharma gates.
  4. I shall become the Great Middle Way for the benefit of all.

Additional Bodhisattva Vows

  1. I shall not praise myself or denigrate others.
  2. I shall not withhold material aid, protection, and the Dharma from those in need.
  3. I shall not resent and punish the transgressions of others.
  4. I shall never abandon the Great Middle Way.
  5. I shall not usurp what belongs to the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha.
  6. I shall not disrobe the ordained under my care.
  7. I shall not destroy the dwellings, property, or livelihood of others.
  8. I shall not hold wrong views regarding the Noble Truths, karma, rebirth, and emptiness.
  9. I shall not teach that which is beyond another’s capacity.
  10. I shall not undermine another’s faith.
  11. I shall not cause others to regret or abandon skillful vows.
  12. I shall not disparage the preparatory teachings of the Dharma.
  13. I shall not claim sublime attainments for myself.
  14. I shall not exploit the generosity of others.
  15. I shall not favor the lesser with gifts meant for the great.
  16. I shall not give up the Supreme Aspiration.

Supreme Commitments

  1. I shall respect and serve my Root Teacher with body, speech, and mind.
  2. I shall respect and obey the precepts laid down by the Buddha and the Jonangpa Masters.
  3. I shall respect and support Vajra brothers and sisters.
  4. I shall cultivate certainty in Buddha Nature.
  5. I shall cultivate and sustain love for all sentient beings.
  6. I shall never abandon or exclude a single sentient being from my compassion.
  7. I shall study, reflect, and meditate on Other Emptiness.
  8. I shall prioritize spiritual practice, without distraction.
  9. I shall observe the fundamental daily[i], monthly[ii], and annual[iii]
  10. I shall avoid intimacy with those inimical to the Dharma, and seek their correction.
  11. I shall transmit only the authentic Great Middle Way, without fear or calculation.
  12. I shall transmit the teachings only after receiving explicit authorization.
  13. I shall sustain body and mind, without attachment or aversion.
  14. I shall never despise or refuse rebirth as long as sentient beings remain.

In short, I shall conduct myself in such a way as to sustain and increase the faith of the faithful and gladden the hearts of all sentient beings.

[i] Refuge and Seven Branch Prayer
[ii] Full Moon Guru Yoga, Dark Moon Protector Yoga, Monthly Healing & Memorial Prayers
[iii] Appearance Anniversary of Buddha Shakyamuni (Saga Dawa)

About Tashi Nyima

I am a Dharma student, and aspire to be a companion on the path. I trust that these texts can offer a general approach and basic tools for practicing the Buddha's way to enlightenment. ||| Soy un estudiante del Dharma, y aspiro a ser un compañero en el sendero. Espero que estos textos ofrezcan a algunos un mapa general y herramientas básicas para la práctica del sendero a la iluminación que nos ofrece el Buda.
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5 Responses to 51 Vows

  1. Steve says:

    I’m sorry but I do not understand #15…”I shall not rest on elevated seats and beds”. Could you clarify this for me if you have the time please? Thank you so much.

    • Tashi Nyima says:

      “Elevated seats and beds”, in the time of the Buddha, were reserved for those in positions of authority and for the very wealthy. The vow is meant to indicate that one does not pursue political or economic power.

      • Steve says:

        Thank you so much Tashi. They say that ‘Wisdom grows with age’. I’m fear I’ve lost a few years…but I’m always learning.

  2. Pingback: 51 Vows | Zen Flash

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