25 branch samayas

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25 branch samayas (yan lag gi dam tshig nyer lnga).


By Jamgon Kongtrul, the first:

The five sets of five branch samayas:

1) The 'five to recognize' are to realize that all the fivefold conceptions, such as the aggregates and elements, are primordially a mandala of kayas and wisdoms, such as the five male and female buddhas, and so forth. This is the samaya of the view.

2) The 'five not to be rejected' are not to abandon the five poisons because they become helpers to the path when embraced by skillful means. According to the hidden meaning, delusion is the view free from partiality and the action free from differentiating through acceptance and rejection; desire is the great nonconceptual compassion; anger is self-knowing wakefulness which conquers conceptual thinking; pride is the king of the view of unity which does not 'cave in;' and envy is to not allow thoughts that cling to dualistic fixation any room within the expanse of equality. By means of the practice of realizing and growing familiar with them, they should not be rejected.

3) The 'five to be undertaken' are to take life, to take what is not given, to engage in sexual misconduct, to lie, and to utter harsh words, when they are for the benefit of others, such as delivering the ten objects. According to the hidden meaning [these five are] to interrupt the pranas, the life-force, by such means as the vase-shaped [breathing], or to cut the life-force of dualistic thinking by means of self-knowing wakefulness; to take the shukra of the queen or the wisdom of great bliss that is not given by anyone; to practice the unchanging melting bliss by means of uniting self-knowing with the object of mahamudra, which is sexual misconduct; to deliver sentient beings from a samsara that is a nonexistent presence, which is lying; and to talk without concealment or secrecy through realizing all sounds to be inexpressible, which is harsh words.

4) The 'five to accept' are to partake of the essences of red and white bodhichitta, excrement, urine, and human flesh for the purpose of purifying concepts of clean and unclean. According to the hidden meaning, this means enjoying the essences of the five aggregates by binding them to be undefiling.

5) The 'five to be cultivated' are to correctly cultivate in one's stream-of-being the five samayas to recognize by means of the application of realizing and growing familiar with them. Hence, they are the samayas of meditation.

The middle three sets are chiefly the outer samayas of conduct. These three root samayas and twenty-five branch samayas are renowned in the general terminology of Mahayoga as the twenty-eight samayas.

from Light of Wisdom, Volume II, by Erik Pema Kunsang