Formula in Buddhism: 4th 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 throw myself into Buddha’s World.

The Fourth Vow

Each Vow appears to me to clarify what I am. The 4th Vow in the Larger Sutra says,

“If the men and devas in my country, after obtaining Buddhahood, should not be equal in form and color, being different in looks 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: Ordinal sentient beings before birth in Amida’s World.
Devas: Better quality of sentient beings before birth in Amida’s World.
May I not attain: Wisdom and Compassion is fully shown in the vow
Highest Enlightenment: Perfect Wisdom and Compassion

The 4th Vow means that every being in Amida’s World will be equal in looks. Or, there are no beautiful or ugly people in the World of Dharma. It sounds no fun!

What does this vow mean? It means that I strongly attach meaning to looks until the very moment I die. I have no chance to be freed from my deep-rooted attachment in looks. I have to live with my attachment. How terrible! However, if it is true, it is true.

How does this vow clarify me? As long as I am alive, knowingly or unknowingly, I attach (ranking) to looks, judge people as I want, and show discriminatory karma until the very moment of my death. It is simply because I have no wisdom to view anything and anybody as they are.

Or I create and invite sufferings because of my attachment. But am I that sort of bad and ignorant guy? Yes, I am. That’s why I have been very careful about me whenever I see anybody and anything.

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

 

Read the next article in the series

Return to the Formula in Buddhism articles