´┐╝Formula in Buddhism; 5th Vow

´┐╝Formula in Buddhism; 5th 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 fifth Vow

Each Vow appears to me to clarify what I am. The 5th Vow in the Larger Sutra says,

“If the men and devas in my country, after obtaining Buddhahood, are not aware of the power to know their past lives at least a hundred thousand million nayutas of kalpasmay I not achieve the Highest Enlightenment.”

My country: The World of Purity which is made of pure cause and condition Nayuta: 10 to the 11th power or 1011

Kalpa: 4.32 billion years

Do you still remember the 3rd (skin color) and 4th (difference in form and color) vows?  Why are we different in gender (male and female), form (beauty/ugliness) and skin colors? We have never seen the exact same person even if they are identical twins. Why are we so different from each other in many aspects?

When I read “Tanni-Sho” long time ago, I found the very strange phrase addressed by Shinran. It says as follows: “...all sentient beings in some birth or life have been my parents or my brothers....” How could Shinran say so more than 750 years ago. He did not know about DNA. Science was not developed at that time. How can I accept his words related to sentient beings?

What does the 5th vow clarify? When I get the power to trace back countless past lives of mine, probably I would get to the same cause and origin of all lives. Then, various conditions in the past worked on my past lives and made me what I am. In other words, the fifth Vow clarifies that my attachment and judgment related to form, color, and gender are coming from my ignorance, and that I have to live with it until the very moment I die.

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. Wisdom and Compassion of Buddha works this way.

In Gassho,

Rev. E. D. Fujii

June 10, 2012


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