Pratimoksha vows

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The vows of pratimoksha (Skt. pratimokṣa-saṃvara; Wyl. so thar gyi sdom pa) or vows of ‘individual liberation’ (Skt. pratimokṣa; Wyl. so sor thar pa) mainly emphasize disciplining one’s physical behaviour and not harming others.

Pratimoksha discipline is called the foundation of Buddhism because for ordinary people physical discipline is the beginning of spiritual training and the basis of spiritual progress. The aspiration of the pure pratimoksha discipline is the achievement of liberation for oneself, as it belongs to the shravaka training. However, since Tibetan Buddhists are automatically followers of the Mahayana, they emphasize taking the pratimoksha vows with the attitude of bodhichitta. There are seven types of pratimoksha vows or eight types of pratimoksha vows.

Further Reading

  • Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Thayé, The Treasury of Knowledge, Book Five: Buddhist Ethics (Ithaca: Snow Lion, 1998, reedited 2003)
  • Lama Mipham's Commentary to Nagarjuna's Stanzas for a Novice Monk and Tsongkhapa's Essence of the Ocean of Vinaya, translated by Glen H. Mullin and Lobsang Rapgay (Dharamsala: Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, 1978)
  • Ngari Panchen, Perfect Conduct: The Absolute Certainty of the Three Vows with commentary by Dudjom Rinpoche (Boston: Wisdom, 1996)
  • Sakya Pandita Kunga Gyaltsen, A Clear Differentiation of the Three Codes: Essential Distinctions among the Individual Liberation, Great Vehicle, and Tantric Systems, translated by Jared Rhoton (New York: SUNY, 2002)