Nonbuddhists taking the bodhisattva vow

General forum on the teachings of all schools of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism. Topics specific to one school are best posted in the appropriate sub-forum.
Post Reply
User avatar
anjali
Former staff member
Posts: 1609
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2011 10:33 pm

Nonbuddhists taking the bodhisattva vow

Post by anjali » Sun Mar 17, 2019 8:42 pm

The monks from Gaden Shartse have been in my local town for several days of teaching and creating a Medicine Buddha sand mandala. It's been a lovely week of events. The mandala dissolution ceremony is this afternoon. Last night, a Medicine Buddha empowerment was given. It was open for anyone to attend. It was well attended, and probably a majority weren't Mahayana Buddhists.

Here is my question. As part of the empowerment, the bodhisattva vow was explicitly mentioned and recited. So, even nonbuddists took this vow.
What is the effect of taking this vow for nonbuddhists? For example, a friend of mine who attended is a Sufi, yet I noticed she recited the vow, along with everyone else.

Obvously folks have some connection, or they wouldn't have been there for the empowerment, but I'm curious what others have to say about nonbuddists taking this vow. My own view is that, now that the seed of this vow has been planted, it must eventually come to fruition, but...:shrug:
Image

Sādhaka
Posts: 613
Joined: Sat Jan 16, 2016 4:39 pm

Re: Nonbuddhists taking the bodhisattva vow

Post by Sādhaka » Sun Mar 17, 2019 10:20 pm

Malcolm wrote:Papayin* Māra's attempt to trick the Buddha by taking the bodhisattva vow to gain access to the Buddha's presence resulted in Papayin Māra's prediction to complete Buddhahood (Śūraṅgamasamādhi Sūtra)

*It’s actually spelled Papiyan or Papiyas

Anyhow, Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche also said regarding the higher Yanas (i.e. anything higher than common-Mahayana or perhaps lower Tantra), that they cannot be taken only as a blessing, because they always include a commitment to a path.

User avatar
Könchok Thrinley
Former staff member
Posts: 1920
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2015 11:18 am

Re: Nonbuddhists taking the bodhisattva vow

Post by Könchok Thrinley » Sun Mar 17, 2019 10:42 pm

Jigten Sumgon said that refuge is difference between buddhist and non-buddhists. And then it is said that thanks to taking refuge one can take other vows, without refuge no vows.
“Observing samaya involves to remain inseparable from the union of wisdom and compassion at all times, to sustain mindfulness, and to put into practice the guru’s instructions”. Garchen Rinpoche

Formerly known as Miroku.

Sādhaka
Posts: 613
Joined: Sat Jan 16, 2016 4:39 pm

Re: Nonbuddhists taking the bodhisattva vow

Post by Sādhaka » Sun Mar 17, 2019 11:15 pm

The higher always includes the lower, therefore taking Tantric commitments automatically includes Bodhisattva vows, and making Bodhisattva vows automatically includes Refuge.

And as posted above from the Surangamasamadhi Sutra, the force of taking the Bodhisattva vows is very strong, even if one is not Buddhist.

But of course taking Bodhisattva vows and not making them top priority in one’s life would also come with its own consequences.

User avatar
Grigoris
Former staff member
Posts: 20137
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Nonbuddhists taking the bodhisattva vow

Post by Grigoris » Sun Mar 17, 2019 11:19 pm

Sādhaka wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 11:15 pm
But of course taking Bodhisattva vows and not making them top priority in one’s life...
I am sure you can think of plenty of "Buddhists" that do exactly this.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

User avatar
catmoon
Former staff member
Posts: 3424
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: British Columbia

Re: Nonbuddhists taking the bodhisattva vow

Post by catmoon » Mon Mar 18, 2019 12:28 am

Grigoris wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 11:19 pm
Sādhaka wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 11:15 pm
But of course taking Bodhisattva vows and not making them top priority in one’s life...
I am sure you can think of plenty of "Buddhists" that do exactly this.
Well pretty much anyone who is not a monk, I'd think.
Sergeant Schultz knew everything there was to know.

User avatar
anjali
Former staff member
Posts: 1609
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2011 10:33 pm

Re: Nonbuddhists taking the bodhisattva vow

Post by anjali » Mon Mar 18, 2019 3:47 am

Thanks you all for the responses so far, especially Sādhaka.

(The dissolution ceremony this afternoon was beautiful. All present got a little bag of mandala sand afterward, then the monks took the remainer across the street to scatter it in the bay.)

The Medicine Buddha empowerment was interesting because it was the first time I've ever been to an empowerment where there were nonbuddhist participants. After the empowerment a couple of other Buddhist friends and I were talking. One friend said, I think we just took the bodhisattva precept. The other two of us nodded, and I said, Do the nonbuddhists understand what they just commited to? :shock:

Specifically regarding Sādhaka's comment,
Sādhaka wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 11:15 pm
The higher always includes the lower, therefore taking Tantric commitments automatically includes Bodhisattva vows, and making Bodhisattva vows automatically includes Refuge. ...
Interestingly, there were no explicit refuge vows. However, the visualization we were guided through was over the crown of the head visualiation of Medicine Buddha and seven more buddhas stacked (topmost buddha was Shakyamuni Buddha). It was clearly a bottom up creation and top down completion practice.

On the way down, each Buddhas was dissolved into the lower Buddha, and finally the Medicine Buddha dissolved into the person. I wonder if this would automatically constitute taking refuge??
Image

User avatar
Grigoris
Former staff member
Posts: 20137
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Nonbuddhists taking the bodhisattva vow

Post by Grigoris » Mon Mar 18, 2019 7:47 am

catmoon wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 12:28 am
Grigoris wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 11:19 pm
Sādhaka wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 11:15 pm
But of course taking Bodhisattva vows and not making them top priority in one’s life...
I am sure you can think of plenty of "Buddhists" that do exactly this.
Well pretty much anyone who is not a monk, I'd think.
You don't have to be a monk to hold the Bodhisattva Vows. You can be a monk and NOT hold the Bodhisattva Vows. Theravada monks, for example, do not take or hold the Bodhisattva Vows. Ngkapa (Tantric lay practitioners), for example, take and (should) hold the Bodhisattva Vows (except in cases where the Tantric Vows are applicable).
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

Tata1
Posts: 107
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2018 3:57 pm

Re: Nonbuddhists taking the bodhisattva vow

Post by Tata1 » Mon Mar 18, 2019 10:00 am

catmoon wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 12:28 am
Grigoris wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 11:19 pm
Sādhaka wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 11:15 pm
But of course taking Bodhisattva vows and not making them top priority in one’s life...
I am sure you can think of plenty of "Buddhists" that do exactly this.
Well pretty much anyone who is not a monk, I'd think.
Being a monk or not doesnt have much to do with ir

User avatar
Könchok Thrinley
Former staff member
Posts: 1920
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2015 11:18 am

Re: Nonbuddhists taking the bodhisattva vow

Post by Könchok Thrinley » Mon Mar 18, 2019 10:35 am

anjali wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 3:47 am
Do the nonbuddhists understand what they just commited to? :shock:
...
Interestingly, there were no explicit refuge vows.
Usually in the empowerment there is a part where one takes a refuge and also creates the motivation to help all sentient beings. I am pretty sure it was present there as I myself have not seen an empowerment without this part. But Buddha knows.

There could be a rather interesting argument being made that they either are no longer nonbuddhists because they took the refuge. Or they didnt receive the empowerment because they didnt know what is going on. Or that they became buddhists however immediately broke their refuge vows by taking refuge in outside of the tripple gem.
“Observing samaya involves to remain inseparable from the union of wisdom and compassion at all times, to sustain mindfulness, and to put into practice the guru’s instructions”. Garchen Rinpoche

Formerly known as Miroku.

haha
Posts: 369
Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 3:30 pm

Re: Nonbuddhists taking the bodhisattva vow

Post by haha » Mon Mar 18, 2019 12:02 pm

Buddhist and non-buddhist, they are just level. Boddhisattva vows are a guide line to lead the life in particular way. This kind of mind training does not create any harm if someone is interested. People with different belief can adopt some good practice from other religions.

User avatar
anjali
Former staff member
Posts: 1609
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2011 10:33 pm

Re: Nonbuddhists taking the bodhisattva vow

Post by anjali » Mon Mar 18, 2019 4:54 pm

Miroku wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 10:35 am
Usually in the empowerment there is a part where one takes a refuge and also creates the motivation to help all sentient beings. I am pretty sure it was present there as I myself have not seen an empowerment without this part. But Buddha knows.
The only two things participants were asked to recite were the bodhisattva vow (in Tibetan), and the Medicine Buddha mantra. At the end of the empowerment, the only tantric commitment the lama gave was: To not harm others and to give loving kindness and compassion to all. The commitment makes perfect sense in the context of Medicine Buddha and the bodhisattva vow. Even so, it is a significant commitment.

Perhaps phrased a bit differently, what does it even mean for a nonbuddhist to take the bodisattva vow (or an empowerment, for that matter)?
Image

Post Reply

Return to “Mahāyāna Buddhism”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: DNS, dolphin_color and 46 guests