There are several ways of explaining [the] literal meaning [of damtsik]. To make this very simple, dam means sublime, and tsik is a statement. Thus samaya is a statement that is true, genuine, pure, real. To apply oneself in a way that is in harmony with how the truth is, is called keeping the samaya. When the samayas are described in detail, there are hundreds of thousands that can be listed, but all of them can be condensed in this way.
The foremost samaya is when you compose yourself in a state in which you in actuality experience the fact that all sights, sound and awareness are visible emptiness, audible emptiness and aware emptiness. To have that certainty is called keeping all the hundreds of thousands of samayas.
Categories and Subdivisions
- the twenty-five yogas,
- the common outer and inner vows of the outer and inner five buddha families,
- the fourteen root downfalls, and the
- eight lesser downfalls;
and, in the Great Perfection,
- the twenty-seven root samayas,
- the twenty-five branch samayas, and
- the four samayas of nonexistence, omnipresence, unity, and spontaneous presence."
About the Dzogchen samayas, he further writes: "In [...] Dzogchen, for those practitioners whose realization develops gradually, for whom there is something to be kept, there are twenty-seven root samayas to be observed with respect to the teacher's body, speech, and mind, and twenty-five branch samayas; for those practitioners of sudden realization for whom there is nothing to be kept, there are the four samayas of non-existence, omnipresence, unity, and spontaneous presence."
- word of honour (Light of Berotsana)
Alternative Translations for the Four Samayas in Dzogchen
2. pervasiveness, (Erik Pema Kunsang)
3. oneness (Erik Pema Kunsang)
Teachings Given to the Rigpa Sangha
- Sogyal Rinpoche, Lerab Ling, 29 July 1994
- Khenpo Namdrol, Lerab Ling, 20 July 1995
- Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche, Lerab Ling, 26 August 1997 (Q&A session, includes teaching on breakages of samaya)
- Trulshik Rinpoche, Lerab Ling, 7 December 2005
- Sogyal Rinpoche, Dzogchen Beara, 10 July 2010
- Sogyal Rinpoche, San Diego, 16 November 2011
- Khenchen Pema Sherab: June 2018 & June 2019 while teaching on Chapter 10 of the Treasury of Precious Qualities
- Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse, Not for Happiness, pages 148-150.
- Padmasambhava & Jamgön Kongtrul, The Light of Wisdom, Vol. Two, translated by Erik Pema Kunsang (Boudhanath: Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 1999), Chapter 17 'Samayas'.
- Tulku Thondup, Enlightened Journey: Buddhist Practice as Daily Life (Boston: Shambhala, 1995), 'The Empowerments and Precepts of Esoteric Training', pages 106-133.
- Tulku Urgyen, As It Is Vol.2, pages 136-138 (Rangjung Yeshe, 2000) ISBN 962-7341-39-8