Formula in Buddhism: 6th through 9th Vows

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, and

4. to throw myself into Buddha’s World.

The 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th Vows

Each Vow appears to me to clarify what I am. These vows in the Larger Sutra say,

“If the men and devas in my country, after obtaining Buddhahood,

- are not possessed of divine sight to see at least a hundred thousand million nayutas of Buddha-countries (6th Vow),

- are not possessed of divine ears to listen to and fully retain at least a hundred thousand million nayutas of Buddhas’ sermon (7th Vow),

- are not possessed of power to read minds of others at least a hundred thousand million of nayutas of Buddha-countries’ beings (8th Vow),

- are not possessed of divine feet to travel, in the moment of one thought, at least a hundred thousand million nayutas of Buddha- countries (9th Vow),

may I not achieve the Highest Enlightenment.”

Nayuta: 10 to the 11th power or 1011

These vows are procedures to clearly know things: I go (by feet), see (eyes), listen to (ears), and know people (reading of minds). Although these vows are nothing new or strange at all, why do you think they are very important? Of course, each vow clarifies what I am, but, how do they clarify? I have one experience, as follows, that enlightened me long time ago.

I once knew a temple member who was nice and kind when I talked with him face to face. However, he became a mean guy during temple meetings. He became a fault-finder and kept criticizing ministers. So I wanted to know why. One day I called him, “I am close to your place. If you are available, can I come to see you? I will be there within 5-10 minutes. Is it Ok with you?” When I arrived at his house, I knocked the door with uneasiness because I thought he would blame me face to face.

He opened the door. And I said, “I just came to say hello to you.” He said, “Come on in, come on in, Sensei! How about some beer, Sensei?” “Sounds great!” and I enjoyed some with him. Then, I came to know why he had criticized ministers for years. He said, “I have been a temple member for more than 50 years. I was a board member for years. But no ministers have ever come to see me. Sensei, you are the very first minister.” Instantly, I understood his mind. Surprisingly, he stopped fault-finding and became a nice and kind man, even at meetings. Another minister noticed and asked, “How come he does not speak ill of ministers any more at meetings?” I just smiled.

I don’t want to be hated; I want to be loved by everyone. I know most of my smiles and tears have derived from human relationships. But, do I know how to establish good relationships with others? Probably, I don’t know it. I usually blame others when I am not happy. In other words, I have invited and created future problems by myself. I go, see, listen to, and understand others. Although it’s a simple procedure, it’s hard for me to do so. I know it’s good, but I sometimes don’t follow it. Every time I read these vows they clarify my ignorance, laziness, and limitation. I am quite embarrassed.

In Gassho,

Rev E. D. Fujii

Read the next article in the series

Return to the Formula in Buddhism articles