Vows, commitments and modern life:  Meeting Heruka and Vajrayogini in all our future lives

The uncommon commitments of Mother Tantra

It was explained before that the karmic effect of keeping our refuge vows purely is to maintain the uninterrupted continuum of our Buddhist practice in this and all our future lives.  The karmic effect of keeping our pratimoksha vows purely is to maintain the uninterrupted continuum of our Buddhist path to at least liberation in this and all of our future lives.  The karmic effect of keeping our bodhisattva vows purely is to maintain the uninterrupted continuum of our Mahayana Buddhist path from now until we attain enlightenment.  The karmic effect of keeping our Tantric vows purely is to maintain the uninterrupted continuum of our Vajrayana Buddhist path until we become a Tantric deity.  In exactly the same way, the karmic effect of keeping our uncommon commitments of Mother Tantra is to maintain the uninterrupted continuum of our Heruka and Vajrayogini Vajrayana practice between now and our very swift enlightenment.  If we have understood how rare and hard it is to find such an opportunity, we will become extremely motivated to practice these and all of our vows very purely.

When you think about all the effort people put into making money or securing a partner, especially when you consider how a successful outcome is quite uncertain, you have to wonder why we do not put even a fraction of the effort into keeping our vows when the outcome is certain.  If somebody called and said, “I have a MegaMillions winning lottery ticket here for you, this is no joke it is the real deal, all you need to do is come down to the store and pick it up,” what would we do?  We would run straight to the store.  We should be the same with our vows.  If we practice our vows purely, the results are guaranteed.  And the results are far more valuable than winning the lottery.  We have the potential to solve all of our problems for all our future lives, and to gain the ability to help others do the same.  What could possibly be more meaningful than this?

Maintaining the continuum of our Heruka and Vajrayogini practice is particularly extraordinary good fortune.  First, as times become more degenerate, the power and blessings of Heruka and Vajrayogini increase.  This is not so of other Buddhas, where the power of their blessings in this world taper off as the karmic obstructions in the minds of living beings increase.  There is no doubt times are becoming increasingly degenerate, so we should count ourselves as particularly lucky to be Heruka and Vajrayogini practitioners.

Second, it is said that if we practice Heruka or Vajrayogini to the best of our ability in this life, even somebody of the least good fortune will create enough good karma so that within seven lifetimes it is 100% guaranteed that we will take rebirth in Keajra pure land, even if we find ourselves in the deepest hell.  If we knew there are only at most seven lives left in samsara, we would find we could accept pretty much anything and everything.  We know it is coming to an end, and we are definitely on our way out.  And who knows, perhaps we are not somebody of the least good fortune and it might be sooner still.

It is important to remember, this effect does not come about only if we reach a certain internal attainment in this life.  Rather, it comes about in dependence upon our effort in this life alone – even if no results whatsoever ripen in this life.  Ordinary, samsaric life is about harvesting results; Dharma practice is about creating causes.  Simply doing our best to practice highest yoga tantra in this life is the equivalent to walking to the store to pick up our winning lottery ticket.  It will take some effort, but it is surely worth the trip.

Vows, commitments and modern life:  How do we observe the Fifty Verses if we don’t know what they are?

Acting in contradiction to the Fifty Verses on the Spiritual Guide. 

This scripture explains how we should rely upon our Spiritual Guide by means of action.  If we neglect these instructions we incur a gross downfall.

There is not, to my knowledge, a translation that has been done for our tradition of this text.  When I first encountered this vow, wanting to keep all my vows purely (or at least know what they are) I asked my teacher if she had a copy.  She said she did, but she said for us we keep this vow through practicing sincerely the instructions we have already received on reliance upon the spiritual guide, in particular the instructions in Joyful Path of Good Fortune and especially Great Treasury of Merit.

I have read some translations from other traditions, and I understood why this specific text is not translated for us.  Practicing these verses in the context of the relationship even Kadampa students had (or even currently have) with their Tibetan teachers in Tibet and India may be appropriate and even normal, but in a modern Western context, not so much.  In Tibet and India, when you enter into the room of your spiritual guide, you immediately do prostrations.  In the West, when a student tries to do that to Geshe-la, he says, “that is the Tibetan way, get up.”  Instead of focusing on external behavior and practices, we instead focus on the essential meaning of reliance upon the Spiritual Guide, namely to consider our spiritual guide as a Buddha, and to sincerely put their instructions into practice with faith.  If we do this, we are keeping this vow even if we don’t know what the 50 versus are.

To take this a little bit further, Geshe-la says Buddhas appear in ordinary forms intentionally for us to act “completely normal” with them.  It is by acting completely normally that we will gain the realizations we need to gain.  When we fail to understand this, we start acting in all sorts of goofy ways with our teachers and spiritual guides.  For example, if our teacher makes some mistake but we think we are supposed to view them as a Buddha, then we try tell ourselves that the mistake wasn’t a mistake at all, it was exactly correct.  But this ties us in all sorts of knots because, conventionally speaking the action was a mistake.  So is a mistake correct?  Confusion reigns.  Or we think, perhaps my spiritual guide isn’t a Buddha after all, because look at all of the mistakes they make.

If we relate to them exactly as normal, then our reaction is different.  If a normal person made some mistake, we would discuss the mistake with the other person, telling them that it appears they are making a mistake.  They would then clarify their point of view, and then either we realize we were wrong or they do, and everyone changes accordingly.  That is the “normal” thing to do.  If they refuse to admit their mistake, then that teaches us something too and we say this person is showing an example of what not to do.  We do this all of the time in all of our normal human interactions.  In exactly the same way, if our spiritual guide makes some mistake we can say, “my spiritual guide is a Buddha appearing in an ordinary form making mistakes to teach me what not to do.  By learning how to relate to such mistakes, I will practice certain things and gain certain realizations.  How skillful they are to make such mistakes!”  Then, just like normal, we discuss the mistake with the other person, try come to understand one another, etc.  In this way, we can simultaneously keep our pure view of our spiritual teacher while still acting conventionally in completely normal ways.

If we fail to do this, then the tradition can quite quickly degenerate into all sorts of cult-like ways of being.  Students repress their doubts, teacher pretend to be better than they are, nobody talks to one another to get better.  Wrong behavior then goes unchecked, bringing the entire tradition into disrepute.  People lose faith, abandon the path and sometimes become disillusioned with all things spiritual.  Then, in future lives, when like a lucky blind turtle they manage to put their head through the golden yoke of Dharma again, they take no interest and plunge back down into the depths of samsara.

So what is the modern Kadampa translation of the Fifty Versus?  “Act exactly as normal.”

Vows, commitments and modern life:  The relationship between our different vows

Needlessly transgressing the Pratimoksha or Bodhisattva precepts.

If we think that since we are now Tantric practitioners we can ignore our Pratimoksha or Bodhisattva vows, we incur a gross downfall.

In the Dharma we say there are two types of cause:  substantial and circumstantial.  The substantial cause is the thing that transforms into the next thing, for example the acorn transforms into the oak tree.  The circumstantial causes are the causes and conditions which facilitate that transformation, such as sunlight, water and soil.  If there is no acorn, no amount of sunlight, water and soil will produce an oak tree.  Likewise, without sunlight, water and soil the acorn will never transform into a tree.  Both are necessary.

We can also trace the continuum of substantial and circumstantial causes beyond a single transformation.  For example, we can say the oak tree is the substantial cause of my oak furniture, and the circumstantial causes are the carpenters and their tools which shaped them.  If later there was a fire at my house and the oak furniture burned, the substantial cause of the flames would be the wood in the furniture and the circumstantial causes would be whatever ignited the fire and the oxygen in the room.  In this way, we see the transformation of the acorn into the oak tree into the furniture into the flames.  If there was no acorn, oak tree, or furniture, there could be no flames.

In exactly the same way, the substantial cause of a mind keeping the tantric vows purely is a mind keeping the bodhisattva vows purely.  The substantial cause of a mind keeping the bodhisattva vows purely is a mind keeping the pratimoksha vows purely.  The substantial cause of a mind keeping the pratimoksha vows purely is a mind keeping the refuge vows purely.  Without the acorn of our refuge vows we can’t have the oak tree of our pratimoksha vows, the furniture of our bodhisattva vows or the wisdom flames of our tantric vows.  If we understand this clearly, there is little danger of our finding Sutra and Tantra to be contradictory.  It is on the foundation of seeking refuge, striving for liberation, questing to become a Buddha that we forge ourselves with Tantra into our highest yoga tantra yidam.

What this means in practice is if we are transgressing our lower vows, we are necessarily not keeping purely our higher vows.  The qualification of our practice of the higher vows will never outstrip the qualification of our practice of the lower vows.  If we want to experience the fruit of our tantric vows, we must first cultivate the crops of our refuge, pratimoksha and bodhisattva vows.

The circumstantial causes of all of these transformations is our practice of the vows themselves.  When you take the substantial cause of a root mind and you add the circumstantial causes of the practice of the refuge vows, our root mind transforms into a mind that is keeping the refuge vows purely.  If you take that mind and then add practice of the pratimoksha vows, our mind keeping the refuge vows purely transforms into a mind keeping the pratimoksha vows purely.  If to that mind you add the practice of the bodhisattva vows, you get a mind keeping the bodhisattva vows purely.  If to that mind you add the practice of the tantric vows, you get a mind keeping the tantric vows purely.  If you add to that the circumstantial causes of the practices of generation stage and completion stage, you get a fully enlightened highest yoga tantra deity.

Seen in this way, we see there is no enlightenment without the practice of all of our vows and commitments.  Practicing our vows and commitments is the very means by which we build enlightenment within our mind.

Vows, commitments and modern life:  Don’t engage in practices without being qualified

Engaging in mandala actions without completing a close retreat.

If we perform a self-initiation, grant initiation to others, or perform a fire puja, and so forth, without having completed the appropriate retreats, we incur a gross downfall.

My understanding is the rationale for this is the same as why we don’t teach Tantra to those who have not received an empowerment and to those who have no faith.  If we have not completed the appropriate retreats or preliminaries, it simply won’t work, and then we can lose faith.  Likewise, when we think we don’t need to complete the necessary retreats to do self-initiation, for example, then we might think we don’t need to go receive highest yoga tantra empowerments from a qualified spiritual guide.  We can just do self-initiation at home.  But then it won’t work and we will gradually lose our faith and interest in Tantric practice.

We can also say to do self-initiation, grant empowerments and so forth without having done the necessary retreats is a form of misuse of the practice.  These precious jewels have been created for the beings of this world, and the only thing that is asked of us is before we do them we become sufficiently qualified to do so.  To do so without having completed the requested preparations is to use something we were not intended to use.  We can even argue it is a form of spiritual theft.  This is especially true when it comes to granting empowerments because here it is not just our own karma at stake, but that of all those we are pretending to grant the empowerment to.  It is pretty safe bet that if you don’t have permission to grant an empowerment to others from a qualified spiritual guide and you do so anyways that it will not only not work, but all involved – especially the teacher – will create all sorts of negative karma for themselves.

To do self-initiation we need to do the close retreat of our Yidam.  If we are a Heruka practitioner, this means we need to do the Heruka close retreat to do the Heruka self-initiation; and if we are a Vajrayogini practitioner, this means we need to do the Vajrayogini close retreat to do the Vajrayogini self-initiation.  So the question arises, “if I have done a Heruka close retreat, can I do the Vajrayogini self-initiation?”  Since Heruka and Vajrayogini are both the same being, just two different aspects, I think we could say “it is not a gross downfall to do the self-initiation of the other deity, but it is not the full empowerment either.”  Doing self-initiation when we have done the close retreat is the same as receiving the empowerment at a festival in terms of our receiving the empowerment and restoring our vows.  It is not the same, however, in terms of the karmic bonds we create with the others who are receiving the empowerment with us.  Venerable Tharchin says everytime we do a puja with others we create the karmic causes to do the same thing with the same people in the future (usually future lives).  So receiving the empowerment with the group gives you the empowerment, restores your vows, and creates the karmic causes to reunite with your Vajra Brothers and Sisters again in the future doing the same thing.  Doing self-initiation alone simply gives you the empowerment and restores your vows.  It is good, but not as good.

However, doing the self-initiation of a deity you have not done the close retreat for (but you have done for that same beings other aspect, namely Heruka or Vajrayogini), I think you can fully restore your vows (because that is the same in both practices), but you can’t receive the full empowerment.  But you can receive very powerful and beneficial blessings.  So it is still a good thing.  I am not 100% if this is correct, but when I was in Paris, I had done my Heruka close retreat but not the Vajrayogini close retreat, and I was nonetheless able to do Vajrayogini self-initiation with others in the center, and I was told I would just receive powerful blessings.  So I don’t think this would be considered a downfall, but it is not the full empowerment either.

Vows, commitments and modern life:  Knowing who to discuss Dharma with

Revealing holy Dharma to those with no faith.

We incur this downfall if we teach Secret Mantra to those who have received an empowerment but who have no faith in Secret Mantra.

In general, we don’t explain Secret Mantra to those who have not received the empowerment and to those who have no faith, but of the two, faith is more important.  The reason why we don’t explain how to practice Tantra to those who have not received an empowerment is if they try practice without having received the empowerment, it simply won’t work.  You can explain to people how to ride a bike until the end of time, and they can understand it perfectly, but if they don’t have a bike, they will never be able to ride one.  It is the same with Secret Mantra.  During the empowerment we receive the “bike” of our personal Yidam into our mind, and then later in our subsequent practice we learn how to ride it.  Without the empowerment, we have no bike.  But since such a bike is not something we can see with our eye awareness, there is a danger that we might think we have a bike when we in fact don’t, or we might not even realize we need one to ride.  So then we put the instructions into practice, they don’t work, and then we conclude, “Tantra doesn’t work.”  This mental conclusion then plants karma on our mind which makes it extremely difficult to ever find the tantric path again, and if we do find it, we will again conclude it is a bunch of nonsense that doesn’t work, and we won’t pick it up.

It is for the exact same reason that even if somebody has received the empowerment, if they lack faith we don’t explain how to engage in Tantric practice.  It is said in Tantra, we only need two things:  faith and imagination.  Somebody may have superb powers of imagination, but if they lack faith the practices will never work.  Why is faith so essential?  Faith functions to open our mind to receive blessings.  It is through receiving blessings that the seed of our Buddha nature can grow.  If a seed lays dormant without water, soil or light, it will never germinate nor grow.  Blessings are the water, soil and light for germinating and cultivating our Buddha seed.  The tantric visualizations and imaginations are merely methods for directing and focusing the blessings in particular ways.

If somebody lacks faith, it is also possible that they might even have a critical mind towards what they hear.  If somebody went into a teaching on highest yoga tantra with a mind full of faith, they could receive tremendous benefit and be inspired to put the instructions into practice.  If somebody went into the same teaching with a critical mind, they would spend the whole time finding fault with the teachings and the teacher, and each mental action in this regard would create terrible negative karma for themselves.  This karma would make it almost impossible to find the Tantric path again, and when they do find it they will again be critical of it.  Another danger is their critical attitude might undermine the faith of others if they start speaking about how they reject everything you are saying.  We have a tendency to believe what other people believe, and we are also far more likely to believe something negative than something positive.

But what about if somebody has faith but no empowerment?  What should we do?  The general rule of thumb is you can explain “about” Tantra, but not how to actually do it.  By explaining about Tantra, they will generate faith in it and a desire to do it, but since they don’t know how to do it, there is no danger of them trying to do it and it not working.  Instead their faith in Tantra combined with their not knowing how to do it will encourage them to go receive the empowerments so that they can start.

When Modern Buddhism first came out, the practice of the Yoga of Buddha Heruka was explained.  But the empowerment given was of Guru Sumati Buddha Heruka, or essentially Je Tsongkhapa.  It was not an empowerment of Heruka and Vajryogini, yet nonetheless people were given the practice and told they can start.  The question is why is this OK but the above is not.  The answer is two-fold.  First, since Heruka is an aspect of Je Tsongkhapa, by directly receiving an empowerment of Je Tsongkhapa we are indirectly receiving at least a similitude of an empowerment into Heruka.  So we may not have a full bike, but we did get some sort of bike.  Second, Guru Sumati Buddha Heruka is Heruka, so in many ways it is a Heruka empowerment, just in a more simplified (though no less powerful) form.

Why is it OK for Geshe-la to publicly publish books on Tantra and why is it OK for me to write all of these blog posts on how to maintain the Tantric vows?  The answer to the latter question is I think (I hope!) very few people would read anything I write unless they are already a Kadampa practitioner and have enough faith to where they see it is worth their time to read through what I have written. In a similar way, somebody who finds one of Geshe-la’s tantric texts at the bookstore will only pick it up, buy it and read it if they have a good deal of faith.  Besides, Geshe-la explains early in the books that without an empowerment it won’t work.  There is a risk somebody could pick up the book, have an unfaithful mind and then try it, but that would seem to be a highly rare occurrence.  So the benefit of making the path available outweighs the slight risk of some people coming to the wrong conclusions.

Vows, commitments and modern life:  Don’t be a pretentious ass like me

Pretending to be a Yogi while remaining imperfect.

We incur this downfall if we claim to be a great Tantric Yogi or Yogini just because we know how to perform Tantric rituals.

I am sure there is some technical definition at which point somebody officially becomes a yogi or yogini, perhaps when they have attained some tantric yogic direct perceivers.  We jokingly refer to people who are really extraordinary practitioners as being “a real yogi” or “a real yogini,” but we know when we say such things it is just a Dharma way of giving a compliment.

However, unfortunately, pretending we are a better practitioner than we actually are is quite common.  There are many reasons why we do this, all of them wrong.

I remember when I first started practicing Dharma, I took to it very quickly.  People would say, “oh, you have a lot of imprints.”  Hearing this, I generated all sorts of pride thinking I was really special.  So unconsciously, I played the part of pretending to be better than I was because it won me praise and compliments.

Before my first festival, it was a time when Geshe-la would still meet with people from centers as a group.  So I gathered everyone in the center together and organized that we collect mandala offerings so that he would meet with us.  I can’t remember how many we collected, but it was a lot and our request was granted, and I thought it’s all because of me, aren’t I so great.  But then, at the festival itself, the meeting was cancelled and I felt spurned – didn’t Geshe-la know what a great practitioner I was, surely he should meet with me.

Later, we went to open up a new branch in Los Angeles.  The center in Los Angeles was actually originally a branch of Santa Barbara, and I remember when we first started.  I taught a couple of classes and led a few meditations, and carried myself off like I was some great practitioner with the students to try inspire them, but in reality my motivation for teaching was polluted by pride and attachment to what other people think of me.

When I went to Paris, my teacher was Gen Lhamo.  She is an incredibly powerful teacher and I really wanted her to like me and think I was a great practitioner.  I thought if she thought I had no problems and was all stable and wise then she would like me more and spend more time with me.  But actually, she saw right through me and instead ignored me in an incredibly skillful way which basically said, “if you have no problems, then I guess you don’t need me.”

When I was in Geneva, I was resident teacher, I was the moderator of NKT-chat, and I was organizing NKTforKids, the early days of Dharma for kids in the tradition.  I thought I was making cosmic contributions to the tradition!  I organized for there to be child care in what used to be the Creperie during the teachings so parents can attend the teachings.  At that time, Geshe-la used to walk through the Creperie on his way to the temple, and there I was waiting for him to pass by.  I was sure when he saw me, he would be filled with delight happy with all I was doing, but instead when he saw me, he rolled his eyes almost in disgust and he blew his nose right as he walked by me not giving me a second look.  I was instantly reminded of Atisha’s advice of blowing away attachment to praise and reputation as we would our nose.  Wrathful, yes; but powerful teaching.

When I first became resident teacher I thought I had to put on a show of being without fault, thinking that I was helping people generate faith in me, and this faith would then help them get more out of the Dharma.  But then Kadam Morten told me once, “there are two types of master, those that show the final result and those that show the path of getting there; and of the two, the latter is more beneficial.”

When I had been moderating NKT-chat for a few years, answering lots of people’s questions, I came to think I was so skilled at explaining Dharma and I knew so much.  I was talking with Kadam Lucy once, asking her questions and she was providing wonderful answers.  I then thanked her for answering all my questions, and I said how nice it was to have somebody who could do so.  She then said, “well what about on NKT-chat, why don’t you ask your questions there.”  I said, “I answer people’s questions there, I can’t get answers there.”  She then said without missing a beat, “funny, I find I have something to learn from everybody who posts there.”

When the Gen-la Samden scandal broke, afterwards Gen-la Khyenrab became the General Spiritual Director.  He spent much of that summer teaching about the dangers of pretention, and how when we pretend to be better than we are, all we do is wind up repressing our delusions until eventually they blow in some dramatic fashion.  This, to me, was one of the most powerful lessons we have as a tradition on the dangers of pretention.

Again and again, my Dharma career has been one episode after another where I thought I was better than I actually was, I overstepped, and then fell flat on my face.  I am sure there will be many more such episodes.  All of this is wrong of course.  Geshe-la is very clear in the lamrim teachings that when we listen to Dharma we should do so with an acute awareness of just how sick we are with delusions.  It is humility that makes us great and pride that makes us fall.

Vows, commitments and modern life:  Don’t withhold Dharma.

Giving false answers to questions asked out of faith.

If someone out of faith asks us a sincere question about Dharma, and out of miserliness we refuse to give a correct answer, we incur a gross downfall.

Generally speaking withholding the Dharma from somebody creates the karmic causes for others to withhold the Dharma from you in the future.  Since finding the Dharma is so rare, it is quite foolish to create such karma for ourselves.

There are many reasons why we might not answer questions asked out of faith.  One might be we simply don’t know the answer, but we are too prideful to admit that we don’t, so we refuse to answer.  A second might be we think by withholding the Dharma I can get the other person to do what I want them to do.  Many parents, for example, will blackmail their kids by withholding their love for them if the kids don’t do as the parents wish.  Such similar abusive behavior can also occur in a student-teacher relationship.  The teacher, of course, might have their rationalizations why their withholding of the Dharma is in the best interests of the student – and sometimes they may be right – but generally speaking we should really check our motivation and wisdom to make sure we are right before we do such a thing.  As a general rule, it is better to err on the side of giving the Dharma than withholding it.

A third reason might be simple laziness.  We know the answer, but just can’t be bothered to take the time to answer.  It sometimes takes a lot of work and commitment of time to answer other’s Dharma questions.  A fourth reason might be we just don’t like the other person.  Even people who have been practicing and indeed teaching for many years will still have preferences within their mind towards some people and aversion towards others.  This likewise happens within a center.  To pretend otherwise is spiritually fatal conceit.  Of course we know we shouldn’t have such preferences, but if we are honest with what is going on in our mind, such preferences exist.  The others in the Sangha are not stupid.  They know when we have such preferences, and if they are not on the receiving end of it, they can generate all sorts of resentments towards ourselves as the teacher or towards other members of the Sangha.

This is why it is generally advisable for members of the Sangha, and Dharma teachers in particular, to make a point of cultivating healthy and happy relationships with those in the Sangha they like the least!  It is too easy to run off with those we like and exclude those we don’t, even if we do so in only very subtle ways.  It is natural, of course, when we are at festivals to spend time with our close Dharma friends who we haven’t seen most likely since the last festival, but then we end up neglecting the students we brought to the festival with us.  While it is a strange sentence to say, we should follow the example of Jesus and Bill Clinton!  If you check, the vast majority of Jesus’s teachings were about reaching out to those who everyone else shuns and condemns.  He made a point of heading straight for those who the culture of his time excluded and through his love he brought them into the fold.  When his disciples would object, he would chastise them for not taking the teachings to heart.  In a similar way, Bill Clinton’s general mode of operation when he is in large crowds is to find the person who is the most excluded and the most marginalized, and he will go right up to them and make them feel like they are the most important person in the world.  Of course, his motivation might not be 100% for doing so, but as a way of going through life it is perfect.

We need to remember that we do not just give Dharma through giving formal Dharma teachings, but rather our every act in this world is an example of giving Dharma.  If there are people who look up to us or who would benefit from our help, but out of laziness, attachment, anger and so forth, we fail to help them it could likewise be considered a transgression of this vow.  There are those who we may have not yet met but could otherwise be helping, but if we fail to do so again motivated by delusion, it could likewise be considered a transgression of this vow.

Giving Dharma is not limited to just giving Dharma advice packages as Dharma advice.  We could be watching a football game with a friend, and simply discussing it in a completely normal way could serve as sharing Dharma wisdom.  Of course we don’t want to be weird about this where people think we are some Dharma robot who starts every sentence with “Geshe-la says,” but when you think about it there is not a single situation that doesn’t directly or indirectly teach some truth of Dharma.  Our job it to simply become aware of this truth, and then share our perspective of things in a completely normal way.  Then, even if we never talk about the Dharma and the other person doesn’t even know we are Buddhists, we wind up having our every word wind up being the sharing of Dharma wisdom.  But if instead, out of attachment to idle chatter, we fail to do so, it could be an example of transgressing this vow.  Just be natural.  If Dharma is within you, by being natural, it will naturally come out in ways others can accept.