The Eighteen Root Downfalls

  1. Praising oneself and belittling others;
  2. Not sharing with others one’s wealth and Dharma;
  3. Not forgiving even when others apologize;
  4. Doubting and denying the doctrine of the Great Vehicle;
  5. Taking offerings intended for the Three Jewels;
  6. Abandoning the doctrine through sectarianism;
  7. Causing an ordained person to disrobe;
  8. Committing one of the five crimes of immediate retribution;
  9. Holding perverted views;
  10. Destroying places such as towns;
  11. Teaching emptiness to the untrained;
  12. Discouraging others from seeking full enlightenment;
  13. Causing others to break the vows of Individual Liberation;
  14. Belittling those who follow the path of Individual Liberation;
  15. Proclaiming false realizations such as the realization of emptiness;
  16. Accepting gifts that have been misappropriated from the belongings of the Three Jewels;
  17. Laying down harmful regulations and passing false judgement; and
  18. Giving up the pledge of altruistic aspiration (Bodhicitta).

Except in cases of giving up the pledge of altruistic aspiration and holding perverted views, a complete infraction of any of the root vows requires association with what are called the “Four Factors of Thorough Entanglement”

  1. Not being mindful of the disadvantages;
  2. Not reversing the desire to indulge in the infraction;
  3. Indulging in the act with great pleasure and delight; and
  4. Lack of any shame and conscience.

The Forty-Six Secondary Downfalls

Seven Downfalls Related to Generosity

  1. Not making offerings every day to the Three Jewels;
  2. Acting out of desire because of discontent;
  3. Not paying respect to those senior in ordination and in taking the Bodhisattva vows;
  4. Not answering others’ questions out of negligence though one is capable of doing so;
  5. Selfishly not accepting invitations due to pride, the wish to hurt other’s feelings or anger or laziness;
  6. Not accepting others’ gift out of jealousy, anger etc or simply to hurt others; and
  7. Not giving the Dharma teaching to those who wish to learn;

Nine Downfalls in Relation to the Practice of Morality

  1. Ignoring and insulting someone who has committed any of the five heinous crimes or defiled his or her vows of individual liberation, or treating him or her with contempt;
  2. Not observing the precepts of moral conduct because one wishes to ingratiate oneself with others;
  3. Complying with the minor precepts when the situation demands one’s disregard of them for the better benefit of others;
  4. Not committing one of the seven negative actions of body, speech and mind when universal love and compassion deem it necessary in the particular instance;
  5. Accepting things that are acquired through one of the five wrong livelihoods;
  6. Wasting time on frivolous actions such as carelessness, lack of pure morality, dancing, playing music just for fun, gossiping and also distracting others in meditation;
  7. Misconceiving that Bodhisattvas do not attempt to attain liberation and failing to view delusions as things to be eliminated;
  8. Not living up to one’s precepts; and
  9. Not correcting others who are motivated by delusions;

Four Downfalls Related to Patience

  1. Parting from the four noble disciplines;
  2. Neglecting those who are angry with you;
  3. Refusing to accept the apologies of others; and
  4. Acting out thoughts of anger;

Three Downfalls Related to Joyous Effort

  1. Gathering circles of disciples out of desire for respect and material gain;
  2. Wasting time and energy on trivial matters; and
  3. Being addicted to frivolous talk;

Three Downfalls Related to Concentration

  1. Not seeking the means to develop concentration;
  2. Not abandoning the five obscurations which hinder meditative stabilizations; and
  3. Being addicted to the joy of meditative absorption;

Eight Downfalls Related to Wisdom

  1. Abandoning the path of Theravada as unnecessary for one following the Mahayana;
  2. Exerting effort principally in another system of practice while neglecting the Mahayana teachings that one already has;
  3. Without good reason exerting effort to learn or practice the treaties of non-Buddhists which are not the proper object of one’s endeavor;
  4. Beginning to favor and take delight in the treaties of non-Buddhists although studying them for a good reason;
  5. Abandoning any part of the Mahayana by thinking it is uninteresting or unpleasant;
  6. Praising oneself and belittling others because of pride and anger;
  7. Not going to Dharma gatherings or teachings; and
  8. Disparaging the spiritual master;

Twelve Downfalls Related to the Ethics of Helping Others

  1. Not helping those who are in need;
  2. Not helping people who are sick;
  3. Not alleviating the suffering of others;
  4. Not explaining what is the proper conduct to those who are reckless;
  5. Not benefiting in return those who have benefited oneself;
  6. Not relieving the sorrow of others;
  7. Not giving material possessions to those in need;
  8. Not working for the welfare of one’s circles of friends, students, employees, helpers;
  9. Not acting in accordance with the wishes of others if doing so does not bring harm to oneself or others;
  10. Not praising those who have good qualities;
  11. Not acting with whatever means are necessary according to the circumstances to stop someone who is doing harmful action; and
  12. Not using miraculous powers, if one possesses this ability, in order to stop others from doing unwholesome actions.