Ngak'chang Rinpoche and Khandro Déchen


For anyone who has been concerned by the revelations of abuse in the world of Vajrayana Buddhism, here is a text from our Lineage Lamas outlining the five precept guidelines by which they, and all the Aro gTér teachers, abide:

The Vajrayana Ethos of the Five Precepts

Those who approach the Confederate Sanghas of Aro can expect its teachers to abide by the five precepts – and by the ramifications of the five precepts in terms of their societal implications. Within the ethos of the five precepts, the lineage Holders, Ngak’chang Rinpoche and Khandro Déchen—and the Aro gTér teachers who are their students—wish to provide the example of generosity, clarity, enthusiasm, creativity, and spaciousness.

The first precept (srog gÇod songwa) Refraining from killing the efflorescence of rigpa as it sparkles through the fabric of duality. This pertains not only to murder – but to any kind of aggression: harsh speech, humiliation, degradation, belligerence, bullying, oppression, victimisation, or physical violence. No one is belittled or disparaged for lack of knowledge or shamed for lack of experience. Friendly intentions, warmth of personality, and a sense of humour are all that are required to be welcomed and treated with decency, graciousness, and decorum.

The second precept (ma chinpar pongwa) Refraining from stealing opportunities for realisation and squandering the proceeds on the creation of less obvious dualities. This pertains not only to larceny – but to any kind of unfair or exploitative treatment with regard to pressure to donate beyond what is well affordable. Vajrayana can never be purchased by an elite – and no one is excluded on the basis of their financial restrictions. Donations to the Confederate Sanghas of Aro are not squandered on lavish lifestyles for the teachers. Donations are employed: to develop the lineage: to further the availability of the teachings; and to support members of the gos dKar lCang lo’i sDe in the East.

The third precept (’dod pé logpar gwempa pongwa) Remaining in ecstatic embrace with the khandro or dPa’wo. This pertains to avoiding all forms of sexual misconduct – including sexual harassment, chauvinism; sexism, and homophobia. Promiscuity is not tolerated. The Aro gTér teachers are monogamous and expect the same of their students. Transmission in terms of sexual intercourse (although not condemned elsewhere vis-à-vis authentic karmamudra masters) is not available within the Confederate Sanghas of Aro – and will never become available. The married teachers set an example of mutual respect and appreciation as taught in the Khandro dPa’wo Nyi-da Mélong Gyüd (mKha’ ’gro dPa bo nyi zLa me long rGyud) as explicated in Entering the Heart of the Sun and Moon.

The fourth precept (dzun du mra pongwa) Never taking refuge in the lie of the dualistic rationale. This pertains not only to falsehood – but to every permutation of dishonesty. The teachers of the Confederate Sanghas of Aro must always be seen quite clearly to be true to what they teach. Falsehood extends to dogmatism, political bias, fascistic political correctness, or spiritual correctness, sanctimoniousness, pious one-upmanship, intellectual elitism, hypocrisy, sectarianism, and racism. The Lineage Lamas make no claim to be ‘crazy wisdom’ masters – and whatever their eccentricities; they never infringe the common understanding of decency, honour, kindness, and compassion.

The fifth precept (yö-pé ’gyür wa’i tungwa) Disengaging from the intoxication of duality. This pertains to drinking alcohol with awareness. This would equate with ‘healthy consumption’ as specified under current medical advice in most western countries. With regard to the Confederate Sanghas of Aro – the fifth precept prohibits tobacco products — and, the ingestion of recreational narcotics. It extends also to soporific indulgence in television or any variety of mindless entertainment — particular where it is degraded or demeaning vis-à-vis sexism, homophobia, racism, or prejudicial to minority groups. Students are directed rather, towards engagement in the Arts, Crafts, and the development of physical skills.

In conclusion: Whilst the Confederate Sanghas of Aro maintains and honours the central and crucial rôle of vajra master in Vajrayana Buddhism — only those who formally enter vajra commitment through ordination into the gö kar chang lo’i dé (gos dKar lCang lo’i sDe) need view their Lamas as vajra masters (rDo rJe sLob dPon). Vajra commitment (rDo rje dam tshig) is entirely an individual choice. It is a practice – and does not represent the acquisition of status, special treatment, or reserved teachings. All participants in Confederate Sanghas of Aro teachings—whether members of the public, Vajrayana apprentices, or ordained gö kar chang lo students—are assured that the ethos of the five precepts will be maintained in perpetuity with deference to everyone and everything everywhere.

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