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Retreat, Samaya and Conduct

October 1, 2011 at 9:43pm

Enclosed here are the set of rules and regulations for group retreatants. A strong commitment
must be made even after the retreat that you will not harm others with your body, speech and
mind and that you will keep everyone, friends, enemies and strangers, in loving thoughts.
This is a very serious commitment as it involves transforming the negativities of your mind.
A spiritual retreat is to allow your body, speech and mind to withdraw from your normal
samsaric habits, so that you are able to find the path returning to the basics and discovering
the nature of mind. After the retreat, you are encouraged to maintain the peaceful, nonharmful and loving state of mind, because happiness can only be achieved when you bring
happiness to others.
There are certain basic requirements expected of all retreatants. The most important are:
Throughout the period of retreat, everyone is to remain silent in all forms of
communication except with the teachers or in emergencies. No talking, reading, writing
or body sign language with others. Silence can aid greatly in the development of
Awareness, Concentration, Insight and Understanding. Our energies are thus directed
inward rather than outward.
Everyone is expected to follow the schedule of activities.
Everyone must stay within the monastery grounds.
Smoking is not allowed.
No illegal drugs or alcohol.
To provide a favorable environment for meditation, clothing must be appropriate.

Samaya is a set of vows or precepts given to initiates of an esoteric Vajrayana Buddhist order
as part of the empowerment that creates a bond between the guru and disciples, i.e. the
mandala. Therefore His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa often stresses the importance of
harmony among those who receive the same initiation under one guru, as the longevity of a
genuine guru lies in the hands of those who receive empowerment from him. After taking the
empowerment, it is very important that the recipients refrain from back-biting, harming and
hurting those in the same mandala with scandalous and malicious intention.
Empowerment is more than a superstitious blessing, it comes with many sets of
commitments, especially with the strict observation of Samaya. A violation will not only affect
a gurus longevity, but also bring unimaginable negative karma to you in this life and the next.
Please come with a mind prepared to change, improve and transform the three doors (body,
speech and mind). Otherwise if you are not ready, it may be advisable to reconsider joining in
the retreat, taking the empowerment and receiving the Samaya vows at a later time.
Empowerment and Samaya come together. It does not mean that after taking one or many
empowerment, you have become superior to other beings. Being fortunate does not mean
that one can act superiorly above others, because it is considered as a way to break Samaya
as well. After taking empowerment and receiving the Samaya, you need to be genuinely and
sincerely kind, compassionate and loving towards others, especially towards all adversities,
including your enemies.
The 14 root downfalls of breaking Samaya are as follows:
1. To physically or verbally harm one's Vajra master or to entertain wrong views of him
2. To oppose the Buddha's teachings and go against the guru's instructions
3. To develop strong negative and afflictive emotions towards other sentient beings,
especially the community of Vajra brothers and sisters
4. To abandon the negative attitude of harming beings with body, speech and mind, and
practice of loving-kindness towards all sentient beings
5. To go astray in one's clinging to sexual bliss and to abandon Bodhicitta
6. To abuse other traditions, lineages or religions with the motivation of gaining more
respect for oneself
7. To reveal Tantric secrets to those who are not spiritually matured, thereby resulting in
the misunderstanding of the teachings
8. To harm one's and others' precious human bodies
9. To have doubts regarding the Absolute Truth
10. To refrain from forceful activity when needed so as to overcome destructive influences
resulted from negative energies, such as the unwillingness to save or help sentient
beings although one has the ability to do so
11. To have doubts regarding the meaning of suchness




12. To annoy other sentient beings out of self-concerns

13. To refrain from certain behavior when appropriate, such as the unwillingness to accept
the necessary and appropriate practices (for example, consuming alcohol and meat
which are offered in a Ganachakra practice) as and when they are required
14. To abuse women or regard them as inferior

It is always advisable to repeatedly read the Conduct In Conformity with the Dharma written
by His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa, and try to understand them for your own practice and
spiritual development:
<p>"My strongest wish is for everyone to live harmoniously together"</p><p>- His
Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa -</p>
The Lord of Dharma, the sole crown
Of all the glorious masters of the world,
Benefiting endless sentient beings,
At the feet of the Glorious Drukpa I bow down.
For those who have the good fortune of following his teachings,
An easy-to-practice do's and don'ts,
This charter of code of conduct has been written
Being unable to refuse the request some keen practitioners made.
Nagarjuna said,
"Law, like the ground of change and non-change,
Is the foundation of all knowledge."
Keeping in view the gross defilements and lack of mindfulness and restraint of us ordinary
beings, the wise and compassionate Tathagata has shown a number of ways, including the
seven classes of individual liberation vows, guiding us on the various paths of liberation. The
essence of all of which is:
1. Giving up harming others and harmful thoughts, which lead to harmful actions, is the
practice of the Shravakas and Pratyekas. This is the foundation of all vehicles or yanas.
2. Always learning to help others and keeping the practice of precious Bodhicitta as the
main practice is the general path of the Mahayana. This is essential to make any
practice of the Dharma successful and dispel the delusions on the path. It is vital that all
the men and women, young and old, who claim to be practicing the Dharma, inspired by
mindfulness, practice these two and not be distracted by meaningless, selfish samsaric
activities. It is important to practice the meaningful ultimate path with pure motivation
and action.
3. One should show friendliness, love and respect, based on logical understanding,
towards the teacher who shows the path of making one's life meaningful, and the lay
and ecclesiastic community, who supports Dharma practice. The Glorious Master who
introduces one to the nature of one's mind through the common and uncommon paths
of liberation in the Vajrayana tradition, though in human form in order to liberate us, is in
truth the Dharmakaya. Because of the guidance he gives us in following the right path,
he is more gracious than all other Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Based on this logic, it is
vital to understand that persevering to please him in the 'three ways' - spiritual practice,
physical service and material offerings - with unfailing devotion is the essence of
Vajrayana practice.
4. The male and female practitioners who live at the Center permanently should regularly
engage in daily morning and evening practices, chanting and in positive activities like
Nyungnay on the day of the full moon, new moon and the 8th day of every month.
5. In particular, Ganachakra offerings should be made in the morning of the 10th day with
any Guru Yoga practice, and in the evening of the 25th day with a Dakini practice.
6. One should devote oneself to any mind training practice in general, and the four
preliminary practices in particular, until one attains Enlightenment. Believing that
completing the practice of the Four Foundations a few times is enough could be
deceptive and misleading.
7. Dharma practitioners should love each other from the heart and build a relationship of
mutual help. Bad habits such as holding negative thoughts and indulging in crass verbal
or physical action such as exposing others' faults behind their backs or speaking
negatively in public should be abandoned.
8. The root of all faults is spreading rumors. Thus, it is important to control one's speech
with mindfulness in public.
9. Being too close to one another can ignite the fire of attachment and hatred. Hence, it is
important to maintain an appropriate distance right from the beginning.
10. Whether one engages in samsaric activity or spiritual activity, one must first scrutinize
one's motivation. Even if the motivation is not too bad, one must check whether that
action is beneficial to others. One should always be aware that engaging in any activity
without investigation is a sign of low intelligence and silliness.




11. Pride based on the little knowledge one has should not waste one's nature. Instead one
should render whatever service one can to the Guru, who shows the right path, and to
one's Dharma friends. After rendering a little service to the Dharma, Guru, friends and
teachers, etc., one should not brag about what one has done but should rejoice in
12. Those who lack inherent intelligence or acquired educational qualifications should not
lose heart but engage in meditation or other activities that benefit spiritual practice
without violating the instructions given by one's Root Guru. If such activities do not
please others, then it is simply pitiable.
13. Seeing the high qualifications of other Dharma friends, one should rejoice without envy.
Even if one is not inclined to praise such a friend openly, it is important to keep quiet
and not criticize.
14. Under all circumstances, one should always investigate one's own weaknesses and
seek ways to self-improve. The very thought of criticizing others is the fire that burns
one's self-nature. So abandon it.
15. Criticism of others and praise of one's own side, motivated by sectarian attachment and
hatred, is an embarrassment to the objective realized beings. It is also a contravention
of Dharma practice. So completely give up such speech.
16. If someone else indulges in such speech, it is better to make no comment, return to
your residence and sleep peacefully if you cannot do spiritual practice.
17. Always check yourself and engage in activities according to the Dharma. It is important
to remember not to be influenced by the thoughts of Worldly Dharma and indulge in
deceit, lies, cunning and deception, etc.
18. Except for those whose inner realization of the concept of loving-kindness, compassion
and Bodhicitta has been praised by a qualified master, giving teachings at will on the
ground of simply understanding the literal meaning is not only harmful to oneself but will
also mislead others. Thus, such an act will be more harmful than beneficial. So there is
no need to be in a hurry to acquire the status and title of Khenpo or Lama.
19. In brief, any practice of the Dharma should be aimed at benefiting one's mind.
Practicing Dharma to gain fame and respect is a non-Dharma action that will lead to
rebirth in the lower realms. So understanding the pros and cons and practicing the path
in the correct manner is the intelligent way out.
20. Men and women serving the Center should render service with pure motivation,
devotion and samaya as one's witness, and with heartfelt joy.
21. In case of mental agony and physical hardship, they should take leave in the proper
manner and return home or relax.
22. To create unhappiness and misunderstandings among Dharma friends, laymen and
ecclesiastics, young and old, through rumor mongering and loose talk, simply because
one's wishes have not been fulfilled, will accumulate negative karma. As such, refrain
from doing
so with diligence.
23. Meat, alcohol, tobacco, drugs, etc. are not only against the Dharma, but are also like a
sword that cuts one's body into pieces. So those who love themselves should refrain
from consuming them.
24. Even if one is not able to completely give them up, make the effort to at least refrain
from consuming them in front of the images of the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, in the
hall of spiritual practice, meditation room, etc.
25. In brief, those wearing the monk's robe should practice the Vinaya rules after thorough
listening and contemplation, strive to refrain from non-Dharmic action without pride and
with respect, and not try to gain status and recognition.
26. The lay practitioners should abandon the ten negative actions and strive to restrain the
'three doors' (body, speech and mind) at all times in order to make this short life
Though devoid of spiritual discernment,
I, who have abandoned the smear of the 'Eight Worldly Dharmas',
Have written this advice
For the benefit of a few practitioners with good intentions according to the Dharma.
"Though many with the appearance of Dharma practitioners
Have the pure thought of practicing the Dharma,
Being influenced by the devil of the 'Eight Dharmas' is the cause of hell,"
So said the Dharma King, Dawoe Shonnu (Gampopa).
May the fortunate ones who have entered the door of the Dharma
Be sustained by the good spiritual thought.
Dispelling the non-Dharmic perceptions,
May they see the truth of the Dharma!


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Buddha-Namo Amitabha
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Bhikshuni Lozang Thanks Holiness for this protection!
October 8, 2011 at 6:20am Like
Beatriz Pelcastre Arenas May your Grace help us in this life and the others!!
April 13, 2012 at 8:38am Like
Jacqueline Shrab Dreulma Sa Saintet, merci du fond du coeur
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October 30, 2012 at 2:59am Like
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