Golden Blue Lotus Tara

Meditation Group, Moscow


The Forty-six
Auxiliary Bodhicitta Vows

The forty-six auxiliary vows are to abandon the following actions:

1. Not making offerings every day to the Three Jewels of Refuge with your body, speech and mind by making prostrations, offering praises and doing meditation on their good qualities in order to develop respectful belief and confidence in them.

2. Following and acting out thoughts with which you desire to grasp and possess things because of discontent.

3. Not showing respect to older monks and nuns who may be Bodhisattvas.

4. Not answering questions you are capable of answering.

5. Not accepting invitations from others because of either anger, wanting to hurt the other person's feelings, pride, considering yourself of too exalted a rank to be with more humble people, or jealousy, thinking other people of more respected rank than yourself will look down on you if you are seen with humble people.

6. Not accepting gifts of money and so forth from others because of either anger, pride or jealousy.

7. Not teaching Dharma to those who wish to learn it.

8. Ignoring, not forgiving and not helping those who have broken their discipline or moral self-control.

9. Not teaching someone another aspect of the Dharma which he wishes to learn and which you are qualified to teach, but which is not your own personal practice or interest.

10. Not committing one of the seven non-virtuous actions of the body and speech with a Bodhicitta motivation, if circumstances deem it necessary, by saying that to do so would be against the vowed rules of moral conduct.

11. Not committing one of the seven non-virtuous actions of the body and speech with a Bodhicitta motivation, if circumstances deem it necessary, because of lack of compassion.

12. Accepting things from others who have obtained them by one of the five wrong livelihoods, namely flattery, extortion or blackmail, contrivance, bribery, or deceit.

13. Having your main interest be in frivolous activities such as entertainment, sports, drinking, being silly and so forth, causing your mind to wander and you to waste your time limitlessly, which you could be using more constructively for the practice of Dharma.

14. Holding an attitude of wishing to escape from samsara by yourself alone.

15. Not keeping these Bodhicitta vows because you think this will make you unpopular.

16. If you have broken one of your vows because of defilement, not doing opponent virtuous actions assigned to you.

17. Still becoming angry, while you are practicing virtue, and retaliating if you are hit, scolded, called a derogatory name or are the object of someone's anger.

18. Neglecting to help those who are angry with you.

19. Refusing to accept the apology of others who admit they have wronged you.

20. Following and acting out thoughts of anger.

21. Gathering a circle of disciples and followers because you wish to obtain such things as profit, praise, love and security from them.

22. Not eliminating from yourself such obstacles as laziness, procrastination, delusions of incapability and wasting your time and energy on trivial matters of samsara.

23. Being addicted to frivolous talk and gossip about sex, drinks, drugs, sectarianism and so forth because of your attachment and desire for them.

24. Not making an effort to study the means for attaining single-minded concentration.

25. Not eliminating the distractions that block your meditation.

26. Seeing the exhilarating good feelings and other benefits you obtain from meditation as being ends in themselves, and being attached to them.

27. Neglecting to study the Hinayana teachings.

28. Turning to another means of practice when you already are following an effective means yourself, for this would be like changing teachers and vehicles in mid-stream once you are on a steady and sure course to Enlightenment.

29. Spending all your time and energy on reading non-Buddhist teachings which, although permitted and even beneficial for enabling you to understand and help others, should not be pursued to the neglect of studying the Dharma.

30. Favoring and becoming attached to non-Buddhist teachings even when merely reading about them.

31. Rejecting the Mahayana teachings.

32. Praising yourself and belittling others in general because of arrogance or anger.

33. Not attending religious discourses, meetings, pujas, ceremonies and so forth.

34. Despising your Guru and not relying on his or her words.

35. Not giving help to those who need it.

36. Avoiding taking care of sick people.

37. Not working to alleviate the physical suffering of others.

38. Not showing the teachings of the Dharma to those who are unaware of them and who work only for this life.

39. Not repaying the kindness others have shown you.

40. Not working to relieve the mental grief of others.

41. Not giving material aid to the poor and needy.

42. Not taking care of your circle of disciples, relatives, attendants and friends by giving them teachings and material aid.

43. Not encouraging and supporting the practice of Dharma and the virtuous actions of others.

44. Not praising and encouraging others who deserve praise.

45. Not preventing those who are committing harmful actions in general, and especially those who are a menace to the Dharma, from continuing their harm by whatever means are deemed necessary by circumstances.

46. If you possess extra-physical powers, not using them at a time of need.

There are four attitudes that must all be present in transgressing any vow for a vow to be broken completely.

  • With the first attitude, you do not regard what you have done as being a mistake.
  • With the second attitude, you do not turn away from thinking to repeat this action.
  • With the third attitude, you rejoice and are happy about what you have done.
  • With the fourth attitude, being shameless and inconsiderate, you do not care about the consequences of your actions for yourself and for others.

If you break any of these Bodhicitta vows, you must invoke the four opponent powers of declaring your previously committed non-virtuous actions in order to avoid experiencing their black karmic consequences. Then you must retake the Bodhicitta vows at an appropriate ceremony.

Back to top of page


Website admin: Nathan Foster.