Sojong

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Sojong (Tib. གསོ་སྦྱོང་, Wyl. gso sbyong; Skt. poṣadha; Pal. uposatha) 'Healing and Purification' — the bimonthly practice of confession observed by members of the monastic community. On sojong days lay practitioners are encouraged to observe the eight vows of sojong. For those practitioners of the Mahayoga, the practice of Narak Kong Shak is recommended.

Famous Quote

In Patrul Rinpoche's How to Keep the Eight One-Day Vows of a Layperson (bsnyen gnas yan lag brgyad pa'i sdom pa srung thabs) it says:

The 'Second Buddha' of Oddiyana[1] said:
It fully restores all positivity,
And clears away all negativity without exception,
In order to replenish virtue and purify harmful deeds,
The Tathagata has taught the practice of Sojong.[2]

In fact, the quote appears in Kalyanamitra's Extensive Commentary on Questions of the Vinaya ('dul ba dri ba rgya cher 'grel pa) as:

All harmful deeds are perfectly purified in this.
Since it restores (so) and purifies (jong) negativity completely
The Tathagata has called this the practice of Sojong.[3]

Texts

Pali Canon

  • Visakhuposatha Sutta: The Discourse to Visakha on the Uposatha with the Eight Practices, available at Access to Insight.
  • Muluposatha Sutta: The Roots of the Uposatha, available at Access to Insight.
  • Sakka Sutta: To the Sakyans (on the Uposatha), available at Access to Insight.

Alternative translations

  • Restoration and purification (Padmakara)
  • Observance Day (from Theravadin sources)
  • Sabbath

Notes

  1. This is clearly a reference to Guru Padmasambhava. Some have attributed this quote to the dge tshul gyi lo dri ba, which is sometimes said to have been composed by Padmasambhava, yet it has also been attributed to Sanghabhadra and even Atisha. However, this verse is not to be found in extant versions of that text preserved in the Tengyur. Others have suggested that the quote should properly be attributed to Vasubandhu, who is also known as the 'Second Buddha', but this is clearly not Patrul Rinpoche's intention as his reference to Oddiyana shows.
  2. o rgyan sangs rgyas gnyis pa'i zhal nas/ dge ba mtha' dag yang dag gso ba dang/ sdig pa ma lus rnam par sbyong ba ste/ dge gsos phyir dang sdig pa rnam sbyong phyir/ de bzhin gshegs pas gso sbyong bka' stsal to// in dpal sprul gsung 'bum 2003, vol. ga, p. 149
  3. sdig pa mtha' dag yang dag 'dir sbyong ba/ de gso phyir dang sdig pa rnam sbyong phyir/ de bzhin gshegs pas gso sbyong zhes gsungs so// Note that it says de gso rather than dge gso.