The Vajrayana precepts are called samayas (Skt.) and are obtained through receiving empowerment. In Tibetan the word is damtsik (Tib. དམ་ཚིག་, Wyl. dam tshig) and there are several ways of explaining its literal meaning. To make this very simple, dam means sublime, and tsik is a statement. Thus samaya is a statement that is true, genuine, pure, real. To apply oneself in a way that is in harmony with how the truth is, is called keeping the samaya. When the samayas are described in detail, there are hundreds of thousands that can be listed, but all of them can be condensed in this way.
The foremost samaya is when you compose yourself in a state in which you in actuality experience the fact that all sights, sound and awareness are visible emptiness, audible emptiness and aware emptiness. To have that certainty is called keeping all the hundreds of thousands of samayas.
Categories and Subdivisions
- In the Dzogchen tradition there are twenty-seven root samayas of the body, speech and mind and twenty-five branch samayas.
- word of honour (Light of Berotsana)
- Empowerment & Samaya, Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche from Dzogchen Essentials: The Path That Clarifies Confusion compiled by Marcia Binder Schmidt. Published by Rangjung Yeshe Publications.
Teachings Given to the Rigpa Sangha
- Sogyal Rinpoche, Lerab Ling, 29 July 1994
- Khenpo Namdrol, Lerab Ling, 20 July 1995
- Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche, Lerab Ling, 26 August 1997 (Q&A session, includes teaching on breakages of samaya)
- Trulshik Rinpoche, Lerab Ling, 7 December 2005
- Sogyal Rinpoche, Dzogchen Beara, 10 July 2010
- Sogyal Rinpoche, San Diego, 16 November 2011
- Padmasambhava & Jamgön Kongtrul, The Light of Wisdom, Vol. Two, translated by Erik Pema Kunsang (Boudhanath: Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 1999), Chapter 17 'Samayas'.
- Tulku Thondup, Enlightened Journey: Buddhist Practice as Daily Life (Boston: Shambhala, 1995), 'The Empowerments and Precepts of Esoteric Training', pages 106-133.