This may sound like a post advertising Mahāyāna. Please note that I am not here to try to convert anyone, as absurd an endeavour that would be. I would like to draw attention to an interesting feature of the bodhisattva vows and their associated downfalls.
The Āryākāśagarbhanāmamahāyānasūtra is a text directed at those who are beginning their bodhisattva practice. It can be found here.
Venerable Śāntideva wrote his bodhisattvayāna catechism text, Śikṣāsamuccaya, some time in the 8th century in India. Within, he gives an account of eighteen root downfalls that may be committed by a retrogradable bodhisattva. His primary source for these bodhisattva precepts is the Āryākāśagarbhanāmamahāyānasūtra, a sūtra written for beginner practitioners in an easy and direct style, with a focus on moral cultivation.
- To steal the Three Jewels’ possessions,
- to spurn the saddharma,
- to assault the monks or to take their saffron robes, even from the ones who spoil their discipline, or to sentence them to jail,
- to kill or cause them to abandon their monastic state,
- to commit the five sins of instant retribution,
- to espouse wrong views,
- to destroy a homestead,
- to set forth emptiness to those whose minds are yet untrained,
- to turn those entering the path to buddhahood away from their complete enlightenment,
- to cause the ones who tread the path of prātimokṣa (i.e. vinaya-observers of the listener’s vehicle) to leave it for the mahāyāna,
- to hold, and to lead others to believe, that on the path of śrāvaka cultivation, craving and the like cannot be overcome,
- to praise oneself for sake of fame and wealth,
- to claim untruthfully that one has gained the realization of the profound view,
- to victimize the monks, imposing fines, thus causing them to take from the Three Jewels,
to cause practitioners to give up their calm abiding, or to give sustenance to those who merely study or recite.
This list is abbreviated to remove some material specifically addressing Buddhist monarchs.
(Source: Venerable Khenchen Kunzang Pelden, jam dbyangs bla ma’i zhal lung bdud rtsi’i thig pa “The Nectar of Mañjuśrī’s Speech”, pages 141-2, commentary on Āryaśāntidevasyabodhisattvacharyāvatāra)
Note downfalls 10 & 11.
Very interesting, no?