Author Topic: Returning to Buddhism after leaving - questions about vows  (Read 887 times)

Offline SoCalGuy

  • Member
  • Posts: 1
    • View Profile
Returning to Buddhism after leaving - questions about vows
« on: January 25, 2018, 06:58:12 pm »
Greetings.
Over a decade ago I had studied Buddhism for about six years, and took vows all the way to HYT, taking HYT Empowerments. I loved the practice, but the group I was a part of became too cultish for me (sorry, I can't think of any other way to say that), and there was a major theological issue that put them at odds with the rest of the Tibetan Buddhist community at large. I don't want to name the group, and I am not here to bash them, but you can all probably figure out what I am talking about. Anyway, it caused a great deal of confusion and I ended up Buddhism leaving all together. I also broke my vows since I left the faith.

I am looking at returning to Buddhism, and would like to take up my HYT practice again with a different group/guru... and there is one near where I live.

Part of my original group's practice is to give the Lay Pratimoksha all at once, and I have since found out this is NOT the traditional way of doing it.. that you choose which ones you feel you can honor - which seems FAR better on many levles. I, however, took all five (because we had to) and have since broke them.

My questions are these:
Are my old vows void if I take a new guru?
Am I allowed to retake the Lay Pratimoksha vows and select the ones I feel I can keep (instead of taking all 5 at once) before advancing to my HYT practice?

As you can imagine, this entire process has been difficult for me, but I would like to get back on track with a proper guru.

Any personal stories from people who have experienced similar would be appreciated. I obviously am going to discuss this with a new lama, but would love feedback from this group.

Thanks for your feedback : )

« Last Edit: January 25, 2018, 10:40:10 pm by SoCalGuy »

Offline Empty13

  • Member
  • Posts: 8
    • View Profile
Re: Returning to Buddhism after leaving - questions about vows
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2018, 08:27:24 pm »
I am new myself to practicing Tibetan Buddhism, though have practiced other Mahayana traditions, and would encourage anyone with a situation like yours to consult a teacher, or multiple teachers and Sangha so you can get direct and more personal assistance regarding your past involvement and spiritual progress/path. I know if someone asked me something similar regarding Soto/Rinzai, I would highly recommend the same sort of advice. I sincerely hope you find a teacher and Sangha that both fits your goals and abilities, and benefits you highly, as I think any that are appropriate should do so. Hopefully some other more experienced Vajrayana practitioners can give you more detailed direction. :)

Offline IdleChater

  • Member
  • Posts: 734
    • View Profile
Re: Returning to Buddhism after leaving - questions about vows
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2018, 10:19:24 am »
My questions are these:
Are my old vows void if I take a new guru?

No.  Youy should be able to hope right in.  Some Tibetan lineages don't require precept vows.  I've never heard of anyone re-taking the vows as once taken they rae considered binding and irreversible. 

It may be that you'll be advised to not concern yourself in those matters.

Use this as a cautionary lesson:  to be very, very careful about the vows you take.


Quote
Am I allowed to retake the Lay Pratimoksha vows and select the ones I feel I can keep (instead of taking all 5 at once) before advancing to my HYT practice?

I'm sure it depends on the lineage but if you go outside the Gelug family of lineage, you'll find a somewhat different approach to HYT.  In the Kagyu lineage, for example, yogic tantra isn't allowed for those who haven't taken Bodhisattva vows and then only Kryia Yogas such as Tara, Chenrezig, etc (Sadanha without Abishieka) and higher tantras reserved for those who have completed Ngondro practice.

Quote
As you can imagine, this entire process has been difficult for me, but I would like to get back on track with a proper guru.

Good luck!

Offline Gibbon

  • Member
  • Posts: 50
  • May all beings be happy and well.
    • View Profile
Re: Returning to Buddhism after leaving - questions about vows
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2018, 09:01:56 am »
Are my old vows void if I take a new guru?

Am I allowed to retake the Lay Pratimoksha vows and select the ones I feel I can keep (instead of taking all 5 at once) before advancing to my HYT practice?

Coming from the Gelug perspective, here are my thoughts:

Your vows are not void.  Pratimoksha vows are taken for the entirety of this life.  Bodhisattva vows, if you have them, are taken for eternity until you reach enlightenment.  I am not sure if you can return one or more Pratimoksha vows, but I doubt it.  Vinaya (monastic) vows can be returned if they were kept well.

The Pratimoksha vows are the absolute minimum to Buddhist practice and are generally taken at the same time as refuge.  To enter the Mahayana path, you also need the Bodhisattva vows. 

Tantric vows are the next level.  It is better to start with Kriya or other lower-level tantra before proceeding to HYT.  Before beginning any tantric practice, you need to spend a significant amount of time studying Lam Rim. Unlike in Kagyu, preliminary practices in the Gelug school are not required to be completed before beginning tantra, you can do them simultaneously (but they should not be skipped or overlooked).

You will definitely want to discuss all this with your new teacher. 

Best wishes,

Gibbon

 


SimplePortal 2.3.3 © 2008-2010, SimplePortal