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40 new edition

Practices and Vows of
Samantabhadra Bodhisattva

Chapter Forty, New Edition



Translated on imperial command by the T’ang Dynasty Tripitaka Dharma Master Prajna of Kubha.  


When listening to or explaining a Sutra you must first have some understanding of the Sutra. For example, is this a Sutra of the Great Vehicle or the Small Vehicle? Speaking about the Great Vehicle and Small Vehicle, I will tell you a case history concerning these two. In ancient India, (fourth or fifth century C.E.), there were two Bodhisattvas named Vasubandhu and Asanga. These two Bodhisattvas were brothers. However, because Vasubandhu Bodhisattva had some unwholesome causes and conditions from the past, he became a Buddhist of the Small Vehicle, and studied its teachings and principles. Asanga Bodhisattva, on the other hand, studied and practiced the Great Vehicle. Vasubandhu Bodhisattva was exceptionally intelligent. His intelligence was not the same as that of ordinary people. Although Asanga Bodhisattva tried to influence him to believe in the Dharma of the Great Vehicle, he lacked the ability to bring about this change in his brother. Vasubandhu Bodhisattva exclusively praised the Small Vehicle and criticized the Great Vehicle as being wrong.

Then Asanga Bodhisattva thought of an expedient method to convert his brother. What was this expedient? He pretended to be ill. He then requested his brother to come and pay him a visit, telling him, “I’m going to die soon. I’m so old now, and if you do not come and visit me, we will not have the opportunity to see each other again.” Then Vasubandhu Bodhisattva came to visit him. When Asanga Bodhisattva saw him, he said, “Now that I’m about to die, you are welcome to read my Great Vehicle Sutras. If you read them, I will be able to pass away in peace.” Vasubandhu Bodhisattva complied with his brother’s request and began to read his Great Vehicle Sutras. Which Great Vehicle Sutra did he read? The Flower Adornment Sutra. The more he read, the more he saw how inconceivable it was. He thought, “Wow! The state of the Flower Adornment is wonderful beyond words. It’s like the sun in the sky shining upon the myriad things of the world. It is also like the net-like banner of the king of the Great Brahma Heaven. In each hole of the net is a pearl. Each of these pearls receives and reflects the light of all the other pearls.”

Realizing that he had been mistaken about the Great Vehicle, he cried out, “Quick, give me a sword!”

“Why do you want a sword?” his brother asked. “I’m going to cut out my tongue!” he responded.

“Why do you want to cut out your tongue?” his brother questioned him.

“In the past I used my tongue to praise the Dharma of the Small Vehicle and slandered the Sutras of the Great Vehicle. That’s a grave offense, so I should cut out my tongue.”

“You don’t need to do that,” his brother said.

“Why not? My transgressions are so serious; I want to cut out my tongue!”
His brother said, “Suppose you are standing up and then you fall down to the ground. Wouldn’t you use your hands to push against the ground and raise yourself back up? Would you just lie there on the ground and not get up at all? In the past you had used your tongue to malign the Great Vehicle and praise the Small Vehicle. Now you can use your tongue to praise the Great Vehicle.”

After hearing this Vasubandhu Bodhisattva thought, “That makes a lot of sense!”
He then decided not to cut out his tongue, but instead he withdrew into the mountains to study and cultivate according to the Sutras of the Great Vehicle, particularly the Flower Adornment Sutra. Then he composed the Shastra on the Ten Grounds. On the day he completed his Shastra the earth shook and trembled. In addition to this, light was emitted from his mouth. Having heard about these auspicious portents, the king came to visit him and asked, “Have you become an Arhat?”

Vasubandhu Bodhisattva said, “No, I haven’t become an Arhat.”

“Then, why did the earth shake and tremble here? And why did light issue forth from your mouth?” the king questioned.

Vasubandhu Bodhisattva responded, “In the past, when I was young, I studied and practiced the Small Vehicle and maligned the Great Vehicle. Now I’ve corrected my mistake. I have been studying and practicing the Flower Adornment Sutra, and I’ve composed a Shastra on the Ten Grounds. Only after I finished writing this Shastra, did the earth quake and light radiate from my mouth. It’s not that I became an Arhat.”

The king said, “Oh! The Flower Adornment Sutra is so subtle and wondrous!”
The translator of the first 80 rolls of the Flower Adornment Sutra was Tripitaka Master Shikshananda, whose name literally means, “delight in learning.” After Tripitaka Master Shikshananda translated the Flower Adornment Sutra from Sanskrit into Chinese, he gave a series of lectures on the entire Sutra. When he lectured to the point in the Sutra that describes the ocean of kshetra-lands as numerous as the smallest atomic particles in world systems, there was an earthquake in the lecture hall and the surrounding area.

Also, when he first began the translation of the Flower Adornment Sutra, Empress Wu Zetian (625-705 C.E.), also known as the Celestial Empress, had a dream. In her dream, sweet dew rained down from the sky. The next day it actually did rain, and the rain had a sweet taste. This signified that the translation of the Flower Adornment Sutra was extremely important. After Tripitaka Master Shikshananda completed his translation, he lectured on the Sutra. When he expounded on this Sutra the great earth quaked in six ways. Then Empress Wu Zetian issued an imperial decree that praised Tripitaka Master Shikshananda. There are numerous inconceivable states and experiences connected with the Flower Adornment Sutra. There are so many it is difficult to explain them all.

During the Tang Dynasty there was a state named Kubha (current day Kabul, Afghanistan). Tripitaka refers to the Three Treasuries or Baskets of the Buddhist Canon. These are the Treasury of Sutras, the Treasury of the Vinaya, and the Treasury of the Shastras. A Dharma Master is someone who takes the Dharma as his master. That is, the Buddha-dharma is one’s teacher. Or he is one who gives the Dharma to others. Who is the Tripitaka Dharma Master? It is Tripitaka Master Prajna. Prajna is a Sanskrit word that means wisdom. Why wasn’t Prajna translated as wisdom, rather than being left in Sanskrit? It is one of the five types of terms that are not translated. In this case it is not translated out of veneration for the term.15 Translated on Imperial Command means that the emperor decreed that the Sutra be translated from its Indic language into Chinese.


Entering the Inconceivable State of Liberation by means of the Practices and Vows of Samantabhadra Bodhisattva.


Entering means, “to reach” the Inconceivable State of Liberation. Inconceivable means there is no way one can imagine it. Basically, the state of liberation is not a state. If it were a “state” it would not be liberation. Then why does it say, “inconceivable state of liberation”? “State” here is merely used as an analogy, because when one attains freedom there is nothing whatsoever that can be grasped.

Samantabhadra Bodhisattva ’s name means “Universally Worthy One.” Universally means his spiritual integrity pervades the entire universe. What is meant by worthy? Worthy means his virtue is akin to that of the foremost sages.

Practices and Vows Chapter. Practices refer to the great practices that he cultivates. Vows are the great vows made by him. The vows made by him during his spiritual cultivation are the greatest. Therefore, he is called Samantabhadra Bodhisattva of great practice.

There are four great Bodhisattvas. Among all Bodhisattvas, Manjushri Bodhisattva is foremost in wisdom. Guanshiyin (Avalokiteshvara) Bodhisattva is foremost in kindness and compassion. Earth Store (Kṣhitigarbha) Bodhisattva is foremost in strength of vows. Samantabhadra Bodhisattva is foremost in practice.

In the Flower Treasury Ocean of Worlds, mentioned in the Flower Adornment Sutra , Samantabhadra Bodhisattva is the Dharma-requesting host. Before the Buddha speaks Dharma, one of his disciples must first request that he speak the Dharma. In the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma Sutra , Venerable Shariputra was the Dharma-requesting host, and in the Shurangama Sutra, Venerable Ananda requested the Dharma on behalf of the assembly who were receptive to the teachings.


At that time, after Samantabhadra Bodhisattva, Mahasattva finished praising the Tathagata’s supreme merit and virtue…


At that time refers to the time right after the previous chapter had been spoken. Samantabhadra Bodhisattva is the Bodhisattva whose spiritual integrity fills up the entire world and whose virtue is akin to that of the foremost sages. What does Bodhisattva mean? Those who have already heard lectures on the Sutras understand what this term means. However, I’m afraid that those who are listening to the Sutra for the first time might not understand what this means. Bodhisattva is a Sanskrit word. “Bodhi” literally means “enlightenment” and “sattva” literally means “sentience.” The two together mean to enlighten those with sentience. “Those with sentience” refers to all living beings.

Today someone had asked why a flower is called an insentient thing when it does possess life. That’s a good question. I will briefly explain this for you. Plants and trees are insentient. Although they are insentient, they have a “nature.” What nature do they have? The life-nature. What is the life-nature? The life-nature is what is called “humaneness” in Confucius’ teachings. Humaneness is the nature. It is the Dao or it can be said to be the mother of the myriad things of the universe; that is, the mother of all things. Do human beings have this humaneness? Of course they do, otherwise they would not be called human beings. What would they be called then? You can call them anything you wish. As it is said, “Human beings are those who are humane.” When these two, human beings and humaneness unite, it is called the Dao or Way of Nature.

Confucius brought humaneness to light. All the plants and trees have this humaneness. Why do I say this? This is because they all have vitality. In the spring their branches and leaves grow, their flowers blossom, and they bear fruit. This is because they have the nature of humaneness. Not only do they have this nature, but flowers, plants, and trees also have their own very dull awareness. Someone said that if you cut a flower, it actually makes a sound in fear that cannot be heard by people. However, it can be detected with scientific instruments. This is quite ordinary. Why does it make a sound? It is because it has this nature. But this nature is not fully developed. It has a tiny amount of this nature. Let me explain this with the following analogy. For example, if humans had 100 pounds of this nature, flowers, plants, and trees by comparison would not even have an ounce of this nature. They have a very slight amount of this nature—equal to a hairsbreadth. This is just an analogy. Do not take it literally and say, “That Dharma Master said that humans have 100 pounds of the nature.” Don’t be so attached. Flowers, plants, and trees after a period of time develop a type of awareness.

In China, a camphor tree and a gingko tree wanted to do the ritual for receiving the moral precepts. Someone may ask, “You said that they don’t have sentience, yet how could they appear in human form and take the moral precepts? Isn’t this a big contradiction?”

This is not the least bit contradictory. Since you do not understand this state, you think it is contradictory. However, once you understand this, you realize that it is quite ordinary. These trees were very old and they had a lot of experiences while living among people in the world. They gradually acquired a human-like nature as well as increasing their humaneness and therefore, after obtaining more humaneness, they developed feelings. Having these feelings enabled them to want to receive the moral precepts. Before they received the moral precepts, it’s not known how many evil things they had done. Later they realized that what they had done was wrong, and they wanted to receive the moral precepts. They even wanted to enter the monastic order. We all should understand this point.

Samantabhadra Bodhisattva teaches and transforms all living beings. He does not only rescue those with sentience, he also rescues those without sentience. “Those with and without sentience perfect the wisdom of all modes and realize the Buddha’s Path together.” The Bodhisattva also wishes to rescue all the plants, flowers, and trees. Just think how great his practice is. We ordinary people only wish to rescue other people or those with sentience, but he also rescues those that don’t even have sentience. Therefore, he is called Samantabhadra Bodhisattva. Bodhisattva can also be translated as a “living being with a great resolve for the path.” He is also a living being, but his resolve for the spiritual path is great. It can also be translated as “one who is forthright and honest.” “Forthright and honest” means that everything he does is done openly. That is, he is not selfish, not concerned about personal gain, not jealous, and not obstructive to others.

After the word Bodhisattva, is the word “Mahasattva,” which means a “great Bodhisattva.” Samantabhadra Bodhisattva is a great Bodhisattva among Bodhisattvas. He is not a minor Bodhisattva. Who is a minor Bodhisattva? You who have just made the resolve for Bodhi (literally “brought forth the Bodhi-mind”) are a minor Bodhisattva. After you have maintained the resolve for Bodhi for a long time, then you are a great Bodhisattva. Upon receiving the Bodhisattva Precepts, you are a neophyte Bodhisattva. After you’ve held the Bodhisattva Precepts for a long time and have cultivated accordingly, then you become a great Bodhisattva. After 300 or 500 years then you are considered to be an elder Bodhisattva. During last year’s summer session two disciples received the Bodhisattva Precepts. They are now one-year old Bodhisattvas. When they have held the Bodhisattva Precepts for two years, they will be two- year old Bodhisattvas. Then they can be called minor Bodhisattvas. But now we’re referring to a great Bodhisattva—a great Bodhisattva among Bodhisattvas. Who is he? Samantabhadra Bodhisattva.

Finished praising the Tathagata’s supreme merit and virtue. What does praising mean? Praising means to laud and commend. Who is being lauded? The Buddha, the World Honored One. Exalt means to glorify. The Tathagata’s merit and virtue is being exalted as most supreme.

Who is the Tathagata? Tathagata or “Thus Come One” is one of the ten titles of the Buddha. In the past, all the Buddhas had many names. Since it was difficult to remember the many names that all Buddhas had, they were reduced to 10,000 names. Yet it was still difficult for people to remember all of these 10,000 names, so they were again reduced to 1,000 names. Though every Buddha had these 1,000 names, it was still too many to remember. So they were reduced again to 100 names. Because living beings’ ability to remember is very poor, they could not remember all of these names, either. Finally, they were reduced to ten names. Tathagata is one of these ten titles of the Buddha. “Tatha” or “thus” means “without movement” or “stillness.” “Agata” or “come” represents “movement.” This means that within stillness there is movement and within movement there is stillness. Tathagata means “one who has ascended the true path.” This refers to stillness. And he is “one who has come to realize Proper Enlightenment.” This refers to movement. Although his name has the meaning of movement and stillness, yet the Buddha’s fundamental nature has neither movement nor stillness. That is, movement and stillness are non-dual. Movement is stillness and stillness is movement. How can we say this? Movement is generated from stillness, and stillness is only apparent when there is movement. Therefore, this non-duality of movement and stillness is called the Tathagata.

In the previous chapter of the Flower Adornment Sutra, Samantabhadra Bodhisattva had praised the Tathagata’s supreme merit and virtue. This merit and virtue is the most supreme among all other kinds of merit. None can compare to the Tathagata’s merit and virtue. One could never finish speaking of or describing the merit and virtue of the Tathagata. Although one could never finish describing it, Samantabhadra Bodhisattva relied on his great practices and vows to praise the Tathagata’s most supreme merit and virtue.

What is “merit”? Merit is what we create, and virtue comes from what we do. How is merit created? For example, a teacher in a school does all in his power to teach, doing more than his salary requires. If you are able to go beyond the call of duty, expending your energy to do additional work, that’s how to create merit. Virtue is the result of doing beneficial things for all people. You help other people, yet do not seek any reward. You don’t want to get something in return. For example, you lend $50,000 to a certain person without the hope of some personal gain, such as wanting him to give you $500,000 when he repays you. If that’s your intention in giving, then there is no virtue in that. Virtue is being able to do favors for others without seeking a reward and benefiting all people without wanting them to do something beneficial for you in return.

There is great and small virtue. Not only should we do acts that show great virtue, we also should not overlook small virtuous deeds. What are small virtuous deeds? These are deeds that give only a little bit of benefit to another. If you do many of these small acts of virtue, then your virtuous nature will naturally become great. However, if you do not do any virtuous deeds, then you will never have a virtuous nature. Therefore, it is said, “The path is to be practiced.” The path is to be cultivated, not merely talked about. You can’t just recite the words “cultivate the path” over and over again from morning to night without actually putting it into practice. That’s merely paying lip service. It’s useless. The saying continues, “Virtue comes from what is done.” If you do not actually practice it, then you will lack virtue. It is also said, “The path is to be followed. If it is not followed, what use is the path? Virtue comes from what we do. If it is not done, how could one have virtue?”

One could never finish praising the Tathagata’s merit and virtue. After Samantabhadra Bodhisattva finished praising the Tathagata’s merit and virtue, he then spoke as follows:


He told all the Bodhisattvas and Sudhana. 


“He told all the measureless and boundless number of Bodhisattvas in the Flower Adornment Dharma-assembly...” The word “all” can refer to very many Bodhisattvas or very few Bodhisattvas, depending on who is present. However, in this context it means very many. In the Flower Adornment Dharma-assembly it would be inappropriate to say only one, because there are so many Bodhisattvas there that they are beyond calculation.

Sudhana is a child. Although he is a child, his spiritual powers are tremendous. The wonderful uses of his spiritual powers are most inconceivable. The youth Sudhana has 53 spiritual teachers, but having so many teachers has had a bad influence on Buddhism in China. It has caused a lot of confusion within Buddhism. How is this? Buddhist disciples wanting to emulate him say, “The youth Sudhana has 53 teachers, so I should have at least 10 or 20, or even 30 would not be too many.” This kind of behavior by Buddhist disciples in China is very superstitious and improper. I have always opposed this, not because I fear that my disciples will bow to someone else as their teacher, but because it’s the most despicable custom in Buddhism. Someone asks, “Why is it not despicable for the youth Sudhana to have 53 teachers, yet it is despicable for Chinese disciples to have 30 or 40 teachers?”

Every situation has its own underlying truth. It is true that the youth Sudhana had 53 teachers, but his first teacher told him to bow to and follow the second one as his teacher. Each teacher instructed him to do this. He did not sneak off on his own to do this. It’s not that he thought,

“Oh, I’ve heard that such and such a person has virtue. He’s an adept cultivator of the path!” and then go off on his own and bow to and follow that person as his teacher without telling his first teacher. To do that is called bowing to and following someone as your new teacher, while turning your back on your original teacher. You’re betraying your first teacher. If you treat your first teacher well, why would you bow to another person as your teacher?

It’s like we are, as human beings. Having one father is enough. You can consider Shakyamuni Buddha to be your second father, but you can’t have three, four, five, six, seven, or even eight fathers. Your teacher is the father of your world-transcending Dharma-body, why would you want to have so many teachers?

After the youth Sudhana had finished learning all of his first teacher’s virtue, knowledge, and the miraculous uses of his spiritual powers, there was nothing left for his teacher to teach him. Then that teacher told him, “Go south and bow to and follow a certain person as your next teacher.” After he mastered all the skills of his second teacher, that teacher instructed him saying, “Go further south, and bow to a certain Venerable One, Bodhisattva, or Bhikshu as your next teacher. That person’s accomplishment is greater than mine.” Each teacher recommended Sudhana to the next teacher. He didn’t sneak off on his own to find other teachers. So each teacher recommended the youth Sudhana to the next teacher, until he had studied with a total of 53 teachers. He embodied all the miraculous functions of the spiritual powers of all of these 53 teachers. Therefore, his spiritual abilities are incredibly great. Even though he is a mere child, he has tremendous talent.

However, because of his influence, some Chinese people developed the custom of recklessly bowing to and following one teacher after another. These people are the dregs within Buddhism.

When I was in China and Hong Kong, I would not allow people who had already taken refuge in the Three Jewels to again take refuge under me. Why is this? It is because I regarded them as being the dregs within Buddhism. They were the very worst Buddhist disciples because they were sneaking off on their own to take me as their teacher without the approval of their teacher. This is turning one’s back on one’s good teacher. You can only take refuge in the Three Jewels one time, not over and over again. In the case of formally receiving the moral precepts, for example receiving the three, four, five, or eight precepts for laity, or the ten major and forty-eight minor Bodhisattva Precepts, they can be taken more than once. However, taking refuge in the Three Jewels can only be done once, and when you do so you are taking one person as your teacher. You cannot have a teacher for each of the four directions. In the future, when you die, whose disciple will you be? You’ll have no place of refuge. If you take refuge with more than one teacher like this, it’s as if you did not take refuge at all because you’ve done it too many times.

In Buddhism we must speak the truth. In Chinese Buddhism there are several elder disciples, who from the time they were young, ran around taking refuge over and over again. In the end, they had taken refuge with tens or even hundreds of teachers during their lifetime. If you ask them, “What is the meaning of taking refuge?” They just stare at you, unable to utter a word. They don’t know. Although they’ve taken refuge tens or hundreds of times, they don’t know what it means. Isn’t that pathetic? They say, “All monastics are my teachers. I can take refuge with all of them.” However, I believe they do not even have a single teacher. Why is this? This is because they do not really have faith in their teachers. If you have faith, then you can be liberated. Without faith, you can’t be liberated.

In China especially, there’s a lot of animosity among Bhikshus. Why is this? It is because of this disciple issue. For example, let’s say that this Dharma Master’s disciples go and become disciples of another Dharma Master. That would seem to infer that the first Dharma Master lacked virtue. If he had virtue, why would his disciples leave him to follow another teacher? This causes disputes to arise between Dharma Masters. One tells the other, “You snatched my disciples!” Then they fight with each other, and once they fight, their true colors are exposed. What is their true color? The fire of ignorance.

For example, in China, Dharma Master Taixu and Dharma Master Yuanying fought over disciples. Because of this they were as incompatible as fire and water. “You have treated me badly, so I’m going to treat you likewise.” This was due to the fact that some disciples of one of them surreptitiously went to the other Dharma Master to become his disciple. These Dharma Masters thought: “You’re afraid that I’m going to steal your disciples, and I’m afraid that you’re going to steal my disciples.” In this way, they ended up in this mess.

Therefore, although the youth Sudhana has an extremely important position in the Flower Adornment Sutra, he inadvertently had a bad influence on Buddhism in China. Why would a monk do this, when he knows that it is wrong to accept someone else’s disciple as his own? They know this is not in accord with Dharma, so why do they still do it? Now I will tell you what’s really going on behind such actions. It is to take advantage of the situation. When you accept a disciple, you obtain a red envelope containing money. If you don’t accept disciples, then you won’t receive as much money. Once someone becomes your disciple they think, “Oh! He’s my teacher, and I should do my best to make offerings to him.” Then they take out their money to make an offering. Money confuses the minds of these monks, so that even though they clearly know it is wrong, they still take others’ disciples as their own disciples. Isn’t this a big mess?

Who’s responsible for this situation? First, it’s due to the youth. Second, we can say it’s caused by “good wealth,” that sways the monks to think, “This wealth is good!” This youth is a little child with a lot of money. So people think having money is very colorful and alluring. This causes cultivators of the spiritual path to be so terribly influenced, that they do things they know are clearly wrong. This is one of the worst customs in Buddhism. I hope this kind of situation will not occur in America.

Taking refuge in the Three Jewels should only be done once. If you want to take refuge, you should find a good teacher. Do not turn your back on your teacher after you have taken refuge under his auspices. That would be to betray him.

The youth Sudhana’s practice of having 53 teachers influenced Buddhism in China to have improper and superstitious customs. Before Buddhism has become widespread in America, we should not allow this practice to be disseminated to the people here. For example, in Christianity people become baptized only once. They don’t say “The first time I was baptized, I wasn’t completely purified. Therefore, I should be baptized again.” Then after that they want to be baptized again. After their second baptism they’re still not purified completely, so they want to be baptized again. No matter how many times one is baptized, one is still the same. In Buddhism we also should not be this way. We should not take refuge over and over again, thinking, “Probably the first time I took refuge the Buddha didn’t know it. So I should take refuge a second time.” If the Buddha didn’t know it the first time, then if you take refuge a second, third, a thousand or even ten thousand times, the Buddha still would not know. Why is this? It’s not that the Buddha was sleeping, and therefore didn’t see you taking refuge.

The Buddha is one who is greatly awakened. If you have the sincere intent to take refuge in Buddhism, the Buddha already knows it. Therefore, it is said, “The path of the response that is invoked is inconceivable.” If you say that the Buddha was not aware of your taking refuge, then fundamentally you lack faith in the Buddha, and have not really taken refuge. Even if you take refuge in that way several million times it would still be of no use. When you take refuge, you must honor your teacher and the spiritual path. You should be very respectful towards your teacher. My intention in telling you this principle is not because I want the disciples who have taken refuge with me to revere and honor me. My disciples are already very respectful towards me. I do not need to tell them to be even more respectful towards me.

How then should one be? After taking refuge, be sure to remember to never oppose your teacher or be disrespectful towards him. Those who are disrespectful to their teacher will fall into the hells. Which hell? Doesn’t the Sutra of the Past Vows of Earth Store Bodhisattva mention the Thousand Blades Hell? Disciples who are disrespectful and disobedient towards their teachers fall into this Thousand Blades Hell. These kinds of living beings do not obey or follow their teacher’s instructions. They want to do things in their own newfangled way. They want to do as they please, rather than follow their teacher’s instructions. Not only do they not obey their teacher, they malign or scold their teacher. They hit or even murder their teacher. Don’t laugh. These things really do happen sometimes.

This world has every type of living being that you can imagine. There are those who have murdered their teachers by poisoning them. They used all kinds of methods to harm their teachers. For example, to sit in your teacher’s chair or to casually play with his alms bowl is a moral transgression. There are many subtle ways that one can make mistakes like this. With the exception of those things that your teacher tells you to do, anything you recklessly do on your own is a moral transgression. This matter is of critical importance. You cannot do whatever you please. When with your teacher, you as a disciple, are not free to do as you wish. Therefore, at all times and places, you cannot malign your teacher or talk about him behind his back. These things are karmic transgressions of the mouth.

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