I Don't - What Breaking Vows Is About (Part 2 of 2)


Blog Post 22: I Don't - What Breaking Vows Is About (Part 2 of 2)


"What it means to take our vows and the importance – and ways – of repairing broken vows."


Last week we learned about the significance of making vows to the outer and inner gurus. Lay people that we are, we are naturally prone to breaking them. And the consequence is 'Vajra hell.' So how do we avoid that?

Here are the four conditions – which, if we fulfill – we break a vow fully.

First, we have to be aware of the vow and have to choose to break it consciously.

Second, we must think it justified to repeat that action. For example, if in a fit of anger, we break a vow. Later we recognize that we were caught in emotion and lost control, but we have no regret for having done so. In such a case, we meet this second condition.

The third condition is that we feel happy to have broken the vow.

And fourth is to have no consideration of breaking the vow. Instead, to feel a sense of shamelessness about having done so.

To fulfill all of these four conditions is not easy. Generally, when we break a vow, we feel quite uncomfortable and want to seek forgiveness and restore it.

Having said that, we must appreciate that practicing dharma is not easy either, and it is not comfortable. We live in samsara – where people think of everything only in terms of time and money. Dharma has a value that is beyond time or any amount of money. The value of us being here to be a better version of ourselves is like a wish-fulfilling jewel. The real question is, can we put down our ego to sit down to listen to our Gurus and put our heart on the floor?

Vajra hell is not a place we reach after death. When we hold extreme wrong views and have lost control of our minds, that is a vajra hell. The best control for us here and now is to become comfortable with being in the present. To appreciate the present moment instead of quarreling about the past or the future.

We must cherish the present rather than remember all of the unhappy moments because these bad habits cause our mental suffering, feelings of loss, depression, and fear. That can be a vajra hell. Our ego can also cause immense vajra hell when we can only think about ourselves and have no concern for others.

When we break vows, we break the samaya bond with all of the Buddhas and Gurus. Doing so can cause the mind to become unstable as we lose the connection with our Buddha nature. And we enter Vajra Hell.

Vows can be broken by choice or by conditions. Choice is intentional. However, conditions are not –and we can dare to admit that we have broken a vow, faltered, and are genuinely sorry.

Such is dharma practice too. So if we have broken our vows, we always need to restore them, move on, build upon them, and then be happy about it. Forever in the present moment.


Dharma Teaching by Singha Rinpoche and edited by Sandeep Nath
7 Feb 2021