Faults and Downfalls in the Secret Mantra Vehicle


There is not one of us who has not entered the door of the Secret Mantra Vehicle. And once we have done so, if we do not subsequently keep the commitments, we will go to hell; if we do keep them, we will attain Buddhahood. There is no other destination than these two.

The Secret Mantra Vehicle commitments are very subtle, numerous, and difficult to keep. Even Lord Atisha said that after he had entered the Mantra Vehicle, he committed fault after fault in rapid succession.

So for us who have few antidotes, weak mindfulness, and no vigilance (we do not even know the different categories of vows, nor the point at which we break the precepts), there can be no doubt that breaches of our vows are falling on us like rain.

We should therefore do the practice of Vajrasattva every day and recite the hundred syllables twenty-one times. By doing so, our downfalls will be blessed and their fully ripened effect will be prevented from growing greater. And by reciting the hundred-syllable mantra one hundred thousand times, all our downfalls will be eradicated, as the Ornament of the Essence says:

Clearly visualize Vajrasattva
Enthroned on a white lotus and moon:
By reciting twenty-one times
The hundred syllables according to the ritual,
Downfalls and the like will be blessed
And therefore not grow greater.

Thus the greatest accomplished beings have taught,
So do this practice constantly.
If you recite it one hundred thousand times,
You will become the very embodiment of total purity.

Even if, for your own part, you have managed — through your stability in the generation and perfection phases, your mindfulness and vigilance, and so forth — to keep faultless commitments, there are others who may have broken the root commitments, and by mixing with them in conversation, joining with them in the same activities, and even drinking the water from the same valley as they, you will get the faults of transgression by association and of incidental transgression. As the tantra says,

I have kept the company of transgressors, fulfilled their wishes,
Given teachings to them and to those unsuitable.
I have thought nothing of those who’ve broken the commitments
And have in turn been tainted by their defilements and faults.

It is also said:

Like one drop of sour milk
That turns all the milk sour,
One degenerate practitioner
Spoils all the other practitioners.

Breaches of Mantra-Vehicle commitments are easy to purify if we part from them properly. The teachings say that if a single root downfall of the vows of individual liberation occurs and is concealed, it is impossible to repair, like a shattered earthen pot. Root downfalls of the Bodhisattva vow are like broken objects made of a precious metal: they can be repaired with the help of someone else, namely a spiritual friend.

Faults and downfalls in the Secret Mantra Vehicle are like slight dents in a precious metal object: one can completely purify them oneself, using the deity, mantra, and concentration as supports. As long as one parts from them immediately, they are easy to purify, but the longer one waits, the more the fault grows, and the harder it becomes to part from it. After three years, they cannot be purified, even if one attempts to part from them.

Dudjom Rinpoche –
A Torch Lighting the Way to Freedom

The Ultimate Goal of the Secret Mantra Vehicle

Buddha Shakyamuni Life Story Thangka

When the Buddha Shakyamuni attained the great enlightenment, the support he had was as the Lord of Mankind in our world of Jambudvipa, the excellent support of a body with the freedoms and advantages, and it was therefore called “better than the gods.” The Sutra of Manifest Enlightenment explains:

He did not attain enlightenment in the realms of the gods because gods are proud of their abode and therefore do not clearly realize the truth. Having seen that only the human state has the perfect qualities of the freedoms and advantages, he departed for Kapilavastu.

It has been taught that the ultimate goal of the Secret Mantra Vehicle too is swiftly accomplished through a human support, as we find in a tantra: Humans who are diligent In this marvelous kinglike Secret Mantra Vehicle Will attain its accomplishment in this very life, Not to mention the other powers achieved through the practice.

-~ Dudjom Rinpoche
A Torch Lighting the Way to Freedom
Shambhala Publications

Happy Saga Dawa Duchen !

Join in celebration of the Enlightenment and Parinirvana of Buddha Shakyamuni on Full Moon Day, June 14th for Trochung, the Concise Troma Nagmo Sadhana and Tsok. The practice is scheduled to begin at 3:30 pm (Pacific time) and you may join online for free with this link and  make auspicious connections with offerings for Tsok, Butter Lamps or Smoke Offerings


Happy Guru Rinpoche Day

“The deluded ministers of Orgyen try to burn Guru Rinpoche and Mandarava, his spiritual consort, alive. He turns the flames of the funeral pyre into a lake, from which they emerge seated on a lotus. The king, ministers and people of Oddiyana are inspired with devotion. He is known as Guru Pema Dorje Tsal.” ~ Dudjom Rinpoche Jigdral Yeshe Dorje

“When we think of the closeness or distance between ourselves and our gurus, it should not be understood in terms of a spatial difference marked by travelling to physically encounter the teacher. It is not about that at all. The closeness of the connection is based on sorrowful disillusionment with samsara, trust, and deep inner confidence in the guru. There will be an experience of closeness or distance according to your inner conviction.”
~ HH Dudjom Rinpoche III Sangye Pema Shepa

Wishing you all a Happy Guru Rinpoche Day from Pema Osel Ling. We also celebrate receiving Siddhis for the Putri Rekphung Vajrakilaya Retreat (June ~ 9) with Tulku Jamyang Rinpoche and Lama Sonam Rinpoche here at Pema Osel Ling, and you can connect and receive blessings by joining livestream. June 9 @ 9:00am ~ 1:00 pm. Visit the Vajrayana Foundation website for more information.

The period from May 31, 2022, to June 29, 2022, is also Saga Dawa month, the month of merits, also called bumgyur Dawa, which means merits multiplied by a hundred thousand times. So it is an exceptionally great time for practice, receiving empowerments, lung, teachings, reading the life stories of the Buddha, all dharma activities including making offerings to the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. Check out the Vajrayana Foundation 33rd Annual Summer Retreat schedule to join in by livestream or in person at Pema Osel Ling. You can make auspicious connections with offerings here.

Heads up: The 15th day of this lunar month, the full moon day (June 14) is Saga Dawa Duchen, which commemorates the Enlightenment and Parinirvana of our perfect and most supreme teacher, Buddha Shakyamuni.