El·e·na [el-uh-nuh, uh-ley-nuh; It. e-le-nah] /ˈɛlənə, əˈleɪnə; It. ɛˈlɛnɑ/ –noun a female given name, form of Helen // A proud student of His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche // Personal assistant with a BSc (Hons) Psych from Uni of Warwick // These are snapshots of my life, in words and pictures

Buddha's compassion

January 19, 2016 0

I was just going through my archive and I came across this comment that I wrote two years ago. I thought I would share it here and hopefully some may find the information useful. I am sorry but I cannot find the original article / post that it is in response to :(



The first thing that struck me about this article was that the Buddha knew we were going to break our samaya, and so compassionately gave us a method to purify the negative karma of doing so. However, just because there is a method of purification does not mean that we should take advantage of it. In fact, if we were to understand the consequences of breaking our samaya, that we will be reborn in the vajra hell of irreversible torment and suffering, we would do our utmost to maintain a clean samaya with our teachers.

So like everything else in Buddhist practice, our ultimate “fate” is in our hands – whether or not we break our samaya is up to us and, if necessary, whether or not we repair our broken samaya is up to us. It is dependent on the student fully understanding the consequences of doing so. Therefore, knowledge is power and at the heart of it all, understanding the consequences of breaking our samaya is the key to our practice. Why?


In order to repair broken samaya, we must first understand the consequences of us breaking it. Once we realise the consequences of us breaking our samaya, we will automatically generate great regret which results in effective purification whereby “all deteriorations of one’s root and branch words of honour can be repaired”.

At the same time, it also works conversely which is that if breaking our samaya holds such negative consequences, then keeping our samaya will bring about great benefits for our spiritual practice. Therefore understanding the benefits of keeping our samaya and understanding the negative results of breaking it can actually encourage us to keep it.

The article, for example, says that even if we cannot accomplish the two stages, as long as our samaya remains pure, we can become enlightened in 16 lifetimes. Of course, the fastest results come if we maintain both – diligence in two stages of practice AND keeping samaya. This teaching highlights the importance of keeping my samaya with my teacher in that all results, whether fast or slow, will be determined by how intact our samaya is with our teacher. Like the article says, “Just as the planting of a seed is dependent upon the earth in order for the result to mature”, the results of Dharma practice can only be experienced if our samaya with our teacher is intact. As an extension of this thought, since keeping my samaya with my teacher can bring higher attainments, it would be logical to conclude that breaking it can lead to a rebirth in the three lower realms in my next rebirth.

In the end, it comes down to the choice we make, whether to keep or break our samaya and this comes down to knowledge, study and understanding of the benefits and disbenefits of either choice.

Reflections and Teachings

Leave a Reply