Formula in Buddhism: the 3rd Vow

You see the formula below. These are essential when we learn the Teaching of Buddha. It goes as follows:

1.  To Learn Buddhism is to learn myself,
2.  To learn myself is to learn Buddha’s Compassion.
3.  To learn Compassion is to forget myself,
4.  and to forget myself is to throw me into Buddha’s World.

The Third Vow

Each Vow appears to me to clarify what I am. The 3rd Vow in the Larger Sutra says,

“If the men and devas in my country, after obtaining Buddhahood,
should not radiate in true gold color,
may I not achieve the Highest Enlightenment.”

My country: The World of Purity or Pure Land Buddhahood: The world showing Dharma or Truth fully. Men and devas: There are differences in quality of being in this world. However,
Amida’s World equally accepts any kind of being. Highest Enlightenment: Perfect Wisdom and Compassion.

The 3rd Vow means that every being in Amida’s World radiates in true golden color even though we see different kinds of people in this world. Or, every being becomes the same skin color in the World of Dharma.

The same skin color in the World of Dharma? What does this vow mean? For example, when I see white, black, yellow, brown, or red people, I surely see differences. But difference in skin color is not inconsequential. Differences trigger our bias, prejudice, and racism; we judge and value people, discriminate against or for them, or we sometimes attack and kill them because of different skin colors.

What does this vow clarify about me? As long as I am alive, knowingly or unknowingly, I attach to any appearance, judge it as I want, and show discriminatory karma until the very moment of my death. It is simply because I have no wisdom to view anybody as they are. Or I create and invite sufferings because of my attachment in skin color. But am I that sort of bad and ignorant guy? Yes, I am. I became aware that it’s impossible for me to be freed from prejudice, bias, and discrimination as long as I live. Or I have to live with them until I die. That’s why I have been very careful about me whenever I see anybody.

To learn Buddhism is to learn myself. I have become aware of strong attachment of mine by and through this Vow. At the same time I feel something warm in this vow.

In Gassho,

Rev. E. D. Fujii



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