Sacred Commitment ~ The 23 Samayas

A samaya is a sacred commitment or vow kept with moral discipline. That vow actually means restraining from negative activities of body, speech, and mind. Samayas are the foundation that supports and maintains our practice. In a way, they are really like the energy of the practice. So keeping the samayas is very, very important. Without moral discipline, our practice will become scattered; it will not function as we originally intended. Therefore, result and achievement are absolutely dependent on maintaining good morality and keeping our samaya commitments [read rest here]. 

Thanks to the wonderful Dharma tweets of @Ogmin (a Vajrayana Buddhist hippie recluse) I had access to an easy and descriptive list of the twenty-three engaging discipline samayas with a little added Tennessee flavor.  Discipline being no small part of any Buddhist practice, I thought it could be of some benefit if I provided the list here.

  1. Fox-like Samaya: no matter what threatens, he will run to protect his life – if trapped, he will even gnaw off a leg to stay free
  2. Samaya of the Very Intelligent Horse: informed, at ease on all terrain & weather she strides forth w joyful effort
  3. Samaya of the Swift Horse: energetic, persistent, she moves ahead with strength & purpose, w/o halting or wandering
  4. Drunken Elephant Samaya: no fixed discrimination regarding persons or conditions. Samsara & nirvana are an inseparable equality
  5. Tiger-like Samaya: fearless easeful conductivity, gracefully condensing great power she carries this potency w peaceful intensity
  6. Garuda Hovering in Space Samaya: detailed comprehensive perspective, effortless buoyancy depth clarity of view from on high
  7. Bear-like Samaya: blessed with great vitality, magnificent heart & clear senses, she moves with natural power toward the honey
  8. Gold in Depths of Ocean Samaya: stability, irreversible confidence – truth does not change, secret teachings remain secret
  9. Mute Samaya: beyond verbal expression, contemplative experience & realization do not depend on being clever or recognized
  10. Mountain-like Samaya: unshakable equanimity in practice, generous devotion on the strength of unconditional peace & happiness
  11. Sky-like Samaya: vast openness beyond conflict, unobstructed, all-encompassing radiance, spacious vision of the floating world
  12. Thunderbolt Samaya: dualistic fabrication,self-abstraction & all shades of ego-clinging instantly destroyed w/o leaving any trace
  13. Vajrapani-like Samaya: varjrawareness vaporizes obstacles; vajra yogis employ wrathful yidam siddhi & mudra translates as attitude
  14. Samaya like Raven Eyes: sharp vision in multiple dimensions/directions, capacity for complex inquiry, subtle powers of observation
  15. Elephant Entering Water Samaya: fearless immersion in Dharma, beyond worldly concerns, confidence born of spiritual experience
  16. Lion-like Samaya: unthreatened silent strength, confidence roaming at leisure, native decorum, disinterest, no need for attention
  17. Samaya like a Swan Couple: not separating the two truths or two intentions, never abandoning compassion
  18. Magician-like Samaya: afloat in a dream of aggregates & elements, awake to the illusory nature of all apparent separation
  19. Pig-like Samaya: uninhibited compassionate involvement, earthy equanimity able to work with any substance or circumstance
  20. Wolf-like Samaya: great appetite for meaningful activity, intense interest & energy, no hesitation when opportunities are present
  21. Samaya like a Flash of Lightning: all is instantly illumined; no attachment or delay, no holding back to slow ripening wisdom
  22. Vulture -like Samaya: may look threatening but are good members of the community, harmless to the living & neither hunt nor kill
  23. Samaya like an Excellent King: a modest steward endowed w/ great wealth & responsibility tamed by compassion for all living being


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