To abandon union with those unqualified.
When the time comes for us to rely upon an action mudra we need to do so with someone who practices the same practices and who has a good nature and loving kindness. If we rely upon an unqualified consort solely out of attachment we shall experience great obstacles to our daily practice.
Many people read this vow and then develop all sorts of doubts and worries because their partner is not a qualified action mudra. They then start to think remaining with this person is somehow a tantric downfall, and it introduces all sorts of doubts and unnecessary problems into the relationship. They then become attached to their partner becoming a practitioner as well, and of course the more they push this, the more they cause their partner to reject the Dharma because nobody likes being pushed into anything, and we naturally resist when we are. This resistance and rejection of the Dharma then reinforces the doubts and worries, and the process starts all over again in a vicious cycle.
How do we avoid such worries?
First, this doubt arises purely from a misunderstanding. We can know this because this misinterpretation of the vow is in effect divisive speech, harming a relationship. None of our tantric vows are in any way in contradiction with any of our other vows, including the vow to abandon divisive speech. If we have interpreted the vows as being in contradiction with one another, it is a definite sign we have misunderstood. All practices, especially Tantric ones, function to dissolve the divisions between ourself and others, not erect new ones.
Second, the key condition for this vows is “when the time comes for us to rely upon an action mudra.” As explained before, this occurs only after we have attained isolated speech of completion stage. If we have not yet attained this state, then we have nothing to worry about.
Third, the downfall only occurs when we engage in union solely out of attachment. But this is true whether we are a Tantric practitioner or not. Think of all the problems that exist in this world when people relate to sexual activity solely out of attachment. It was explained in earlier posts the myriad ways we can engage in sexual activity with a spiritual motivation, starting with a love wishing to make the other person happy to generating ourself and our partner as deities and mentally imagining generating the four joys.
Fourth, our partner does not inherently exist. They are a mere karmic appearance of mind. If you change your view of your partner, viewing them as Vajrayogini or Heruka, then you create new karma, which will create a new appearance. Every being in this world has been karmically created by our ignorance and self-cherishing into a suffering sentient being. Every being in the pure land is karmically created by our wisdom and compassion into a fully enlightened deity. Our tantric practice functions to karmically reconstruct our world from a world of suffering into a world of purity. If we practice sincerely the instructions we have been given there is no doubt that by the time we are ready to take an action mudra our partner will vividly appear to us to be a fully qualified action mudra.
Nothing more need be said.
2 thoughts on “Vows, commitments and modern life: Do I need to leave my partner?”
An action mudra is not necessary to release the knots in the heart channel. In “The Oral Instructions of Mahamudra” on page 58, Geshe-la says: “Through meditating on the central channel at the heart and the indestructible drop and the indestructible wind and mind inside the central channel as mentioned above, not only can we generate the clear light of bliss, but through the power of this meditation the knots of our heart channel will be released and thus we will attain the realization of fully qualified clear light. Then we do not need to rely on an action mudra to release the knots of the heart channel and we will attain the Union of Buddhahood very quickly.” Buddha would never instruct ordained to break their vow of celibacy to attain Buddhahood.
yes, it is the attachment that has to go, that’s all. The desire energy needs to be directed into emptiness, not into sustaining samsara.