The practice of the 14 Root Vows, which I took on with ordination, is not different from the practice of vajra relationship. It extends my attention and that appreciation to every detail of life and everyone and everything in the phenomenal world. The vows are both diffuse and exacting. It is impossible to keep them perfectly if one is not an enlightened being – yet, since one is a primordially enlightened being, it is also possible. So I try—and fail—and try some more. For example: I have vowed never to mentally or verbally denigrate the opposite gender. What then do I do when the handful of women who work with me invite me out to a women-only lunch, the purpose of which is to vent about the men who make up the rest of the company? I cannot say no without offending people I like. I cannot remain silent without appearing priggish. We go to the lunch buffet at the Indian Palace where the food is outstanding. So I appreciate and enjoy my chana masaladar, saag panir, and dhal. And when the conversation turns to specific persons, and specific actions which I have experienced, I find I can contribute quite lustily and without reference to gender. It is rarely a matter of applying a blanket policy to reality. It is always a matter of paying the best attention possible to what is going on and then trying to behave according to the vows.

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