Formula in Buddhism: 12th and 13th Vows, Part 1

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 12th & 13th Vows

Each Vow appears to clarify what I am. These two vows are the vows related to Amida itself. Amida needs to be immeasurable in order to take care of me. These vows also means that I possess deep and wide ignorance which are beyond time and space.

“If the men and devas in my country,

my light (space, place) is limited and does not illuminate at least a hundred thousand million nayutas of Buddha-countries,

may I not achieve the Highest Enlightenment.” 12th Vow

“If the men and devas in my country,

my life (time) is limited and does not last at least a hundred thousand million nayutas of kalpas,

may I not achieve the Highest Enlightenment.” 13th Vow

Nayuta: Unit of number. 10 to the 112th power.

Kalpa: Unit of time and year. One kalpa = 4.32 billion years.

The word of “Amida” is made of the two Sanskrit words as follows: “A (not) + Mida (measure) = Immeasurable.” Thus, Amida is translated into English as “Immeasurable Working of Wisdom and Compassion.” But why does Amida mean “working”? It is because Immeasurable Working is not a concept, and because, when we use the two units of time and space to explain one thing, it means “working.”

For example, I have the car. Of course, my car runs very well. Then, how can I tell you how my car is excellent? I surely use two units of time and space and say to you, “My car runs on freeways, rough roads, hilly roads, and inside city without problem (place). It also has no problem in cold and icy winter, hot summer, rainy days, stormy days, and so on. It has no problem last 10 years!(time and life)” So, when I explain about working of my car, I surely use the two units. Thus, Amida-Buddha means “Immeasurable Working.” But how can we recognize the Immeasurable Working? Amida is not a visible object like a car.

In order for Amida to show its working, Immeasurable Working transformed to language, or the Name: Namo- Amida-Butsu.

In order for the Immeasurable Working (Amida) to go beyond time and space Amida transformed into the language, or the name of Namo-Amida-Butsu.  Then, why and how can the Name go beyond time and space? 

When I talk to you face-to-face words we speak or hear disappear moment by moment.  How about Buddha's words?  People listened to his words, and the words were written and became a sutra (Teaching). Then, the sutra is read or chanted, it becomes a language.

In Gassho,

Rev. Fujii

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