Root Downfalls of the Vajra Vehicle

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English | བོད་ཡིག


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Summary of the Root Downfalls of the Vajra Vehicle

by Aśvaghoṣa

In the language of India: Vajrayānamūlāpattisaṅgraha
In the language of Tibet: rdo rje theg pa rtsa ba'i ltung ba bsdus pa

Homage to the great Compassionate One!

At the lotus-feet of all the buddhas
And the gurus I bow down.
Here I shall explain the fourteen root downfalls
As they are taught in the tantras.

The Vajradhara said that accomplishments
Come from following the teacher,
So to disparage him or her
Is explained as the first root downfall.

To transgress the words of the sugatas
Is taught to be the second downfall.

Out of anger, to speak ill
Of one's vajra siblings is the third.

To abandon love for sentient beings
Is the fourth, the victorious ones say.

The root of Dharma is bodhicitta —
To abandon which is the fifth.

To disparage the tenets
Of one's own or others' traditions is the sixth.

To disclose secrets to beings
Who are not fully matured is the seventh.

To abuse the psycho-physical aggregates,
Which are by nature the five buddhas, is the eighth.

To have doubts about the natural purity
Of all phenomena is the ninth.

To show only affection to the wicked
Is said to be the tenth.

To conceptualize phenomena,
Which are not non-existent and so on, is the eleventh.

To cause those beings who have faith
To grow disillusioned is the twelfth.

Not to rely upon the commitments
As they have been taken is the thirteenth.

To disparage women, who are by nature wisdom,
Is the fourteenth.

The mantra practitioner who avoids all these [downfalls]
Will fully attain accomplishment.
Otherwise, should you fail to keep your commitments
You will be caught by the demon of downfall,
And will thus experience suffering,
Brought down, you will descend to the hells.

Subjugate pride, therefore,
And know yourself to be unconfused.
With whatever you can afford,
Make offerings to the guru in the Sage's presence.
Begin by taking refuge in the Three [Jewels],
And, as a mantra practitioner,
Should you wish to benefit yourself, apply effort
And uphold the bodhisattva vows and the rest.

This concludes Summary of the Root Downfalls of the Vajra Vehicle composed by the great ācārya Aśvaghoṣa.

| Translated by Adam Pearcey, 2018.

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