Next are the eighteen samayas, or commitments, of mind training, which teach us to act in ways that are consistent with the mind training instructions.
1. Don’t go against the mind training you promised to observe,
2. Don’t be reckless in your practice,
3. Don’t be partial, always train in the three general points,
We should guard against thinking highly of ourselves just because we’re doing this practice for the sake of others and be unbiased in how we relate to all beings—not friendly to some and less friendly to others but friendly and helpful to all. 26
4. Transform your attitude but maintain your natural behavior,
We should change our mind from selfishness to altruism but at the same time avoid any external display of having done so. Rather than trying to create the impression that we have changed—like making our eyes look very compassionate to make people think that’s how we are— we should just behave normally.
5. Don’t speak of others’ incomplete qualities,
When somebody has a fault we should not broadcast it to everybody.
6. Don’t concern yourself with others’ business,
We should not be preoccupied with investigating other people’s faults as this is not our business.
7. Train to counter whichever disturbing emotion is greatest,
We should deal with our most evident—that is, most powerful—delusion first.
8. Give up every hope of reward,
When we work for the benefit of others it should truly be in order to attain enlightenment for their sake rather than our own.
9. Avoid poisonous food,
We should not practice mind training just to overcome spirits and so forth or to compete with others in realizations, which would merely perpetuate our delusions instead of destroying them by means of the antidote.
10. Don’t maintain misplaced loyalty,
We should not harbor a grudge against somebody who has harmed us in some way by nurturing a grudge and waiting to get revenge. This is similar to the twelfth commitment.
11. Don’t make sarcastic remarks,
We should not interfere when others are trying to achieve a virtuous goal or prevent them from doing something positive.
12. Don’t lie in ambush,
We should not lie in wait for an opportunity to get revenge on somebody who has harmed us.
13. Don’t strike at the vital point,
We should not undermine people in public or recite mantras to overcome spirits, gods and so forth.
14. Don’t burden an ox with the load of a dzo, 27
We should not try to cover up our own mistakes by making out that they are somebody else’s, blaming others for errors that are actually our own.
15. Don’t abuse the practice,
When working with other people, for example, collaborating on a project, we should not take all the credit, suggesting that although the others helped a bit, we ourselves did most of the work.
16. Don’t sprint to win the race,
We should not use mind training simply to overcome those harming us, for example, spirits, or to benefit just our family and friends.
17. Don’t turn gods into devils,
If through the mind training practice we become tricky, deceitful or proud, these are examples of turning a god into a devil. A god is supposed to be good but we turn it into a devil; we turn something good into something bad. We should not do this.
18. Don’t seek others’ misery as a means to happiness.
We should not give others a hard time or cause them to suffer just to find happiness for ourselves. We should not hope to gain happiness through the suffering of others in any way.
26 The three general points are these first three commitments. Geshe Tegchok addresses the first and third. Pabongka Rinpoche says that the second means not to use mind training as a pretext for not refraining from harming others by cutting down trees and so forth, pretending to have no more self-cherishing (Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand, pp. 618–619). [Return to text]
27A dzo is a cross between a yak and a cow, and stronger than an ox. [Return to text]