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Taking the Bodhisattva Vow
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Summaries and Reviews description: Product Description: About the Text Buddhism offers several perspectives, that each have various theories, methods of practice, and commitments. The most common division is that of three vehicles, each with a particular objective and vows.

The Small Vehicle (Hinayana) leads the practitioner to liberation from samsara in an individual perspective. The vows, called "vows of individual liberation," are related to the Small Vehicle, that is, the various vows of monks or nuns (minor ordination and major ordination) and the vows of lay practitioners.

The Great Vehicle (Mahayana) has the goal of obtaining full Awakening, the perfect Buddhahood, not in order to attain personal happiness but to gain the skills necessary to guide all beings to the cessation of suffering; the Bodhisattva vow is related to it.

The Diamond Vehicle (Vajrayana) appears as a branch of the Great Vehicle. Its goal is identical, and its distinctive feature is that it makes use of methods well known for accomplishing results quickly. Many sacred commitments, called samayas, are contained in it.

The purpose of this work is to present a clear exposition of the vow inherent in the second of these vehicles, the Mahayana. Many people have heard of the Bodhisattva vow; indeed, they have actually taken the vow, but have remained uncertain as to its exact nature and implications. Here, we will find precise answers to such questions as: what is a Bodhisattva; what is the Bodhicitta; what are the commitments of taking the vow; who may take it; how does the ceremony unfold; which precepts follow the vow; how does one purify transgression of the vow; and so on. The teachings transcribed here were given by Bokar Rinpoche in Bodhgaya in November 1995, during a seminar of study and meditation intended for Westerners. Some of these teachings were delivered during a long ceremony of taking the Bodhisattva vow, which occurred under the foliage of the Bodhi Tree, where the Buddha attained Awakening. Others are the results of private interviews.

Bokar Rinpoche referred to several texts in delivering this teaching. - The Jewel Ornament of Liberation (Dhakpo Thargyen) by Gampopa - The Embellishment of Lapis-lazuli (Bedurya tratsom) by Khenpo Lodro Donyo, a commentary upon the preceding text, explaining that which is presented allusively or incidentally in Gampopa's text - The Treasury of All Knowledge, (Sheja zo) by Jamgon Lodro Taye, which notably clarifies the transgressions - A Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life (Bhodhisattvacharyavatara) by Shantideva, the fundamental text illustrating the way of the Bodhisattva

About the Author Bokar Rinpoche was born in Tibet in the year of the Iron Dragon (1940) into a nomadic family of horse, yak, goat, and sheep breeders.

He was four years old when His Holiness Karmapa the Sixteenth, head of the Kagyupa school, recognized him as a tulku reincarnation of the previous Bokar Rinpoche. Educated first at the monastery founded by his previous reincarnation, he pursued his training in Tsurphu, the seat of the Karmapas. At a very young age, he took charge of the Bokar community in Western Tibet, not far from Mount Kailash, which is one of the most important sacred places of Hinduism and Buddhism.

The Chinese invasion caused him to go into exile when he was in his twenties. After many hardships, he was able, with those who choose to follow him, to reach Mustang in Northern Nepal, and then India.

In India he met Kalu Rinpoche. He became Kalu Rinpoche's chief disciple, and was called to succeed him as the head of the Shangpa Kagyu lineage one of the eight great original lineages through which Buddhism went from India to Tibet. Bokar Rinpoche twice accomplished the traditional three-year and three-month retreat in Sonada, the Indian monastery of Kalu Rinpoche located not far from Darjeeling.

Bokar Rinpoche's remarkable qualities caused him to be chosen by Kalu Rinpoche to direct the retreat centers in Sonada, and by His Holiness the Sixteenth Karmapa to take charge of the retreat center of Rumtek, the new seat of the Karmapas in Sikkim, an Indian territory between Nepal and Bhutan. In Mirik, Bokar Rinpoche also founded a monastery and retreat center dedicated to Kalachakra practice. Those duties make him one of the main masters of meditation of the Kagyupa school.

Bokar Rinpoche takes great care in the preservation and transmission of the Buddha's teachings in our difficult and troubled time. He strives to do so in three areas: - for exiled Tibetans, by directing studies and practice in his monastery in Mirik and by helping, as much as possible, the monasteries of Sonada and Rumtek. - for the Tibetans in Tibet, by reconstructing his monastery in Bokar, ordaining monks, and starting a retreat center. - for Westerners, by each winter conducting a seminar of apprenticeship for meditation especially designed for them.

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