Formula in Buddhism: The 14th Vow, Part 2

You see the formula below – these are essential elements 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 14th Vow
Please recall that each Vow appears to clarify what I am. The 14th Vow states:

“If the number of Sravakas in my country, after my obtaining Buddhahood, can be counted by the Pratyeka-buddhas and Sravakas of three thousand greatthousand worlds within a hundred thousand kalpas, may I not achieve the Highest Enlightenment.”

Sravaka: Or, Shravaka is one of the two kinds of Hinayana sages. The disciple of Buddha who contemplates the principle of the four-fold noble truths to attain Nirvana.
Pratyekabuddha: A sage in Hinayana who attains emancipation without a teacher’s guidance by observing the principle of 12-link chain of causation.
Kalpa: Unit of time and year. One kalpa = 4.32 billion years.

There are two ways to experience Buddha’s World: One is the observe (see) a Buddha with eyes in mind (Meditation Sutra); the other is to listen and hear Buddha’s heart and mind with ears in mind (The Larger sutra and Amida-Sutra). Mahayana Buddhism emphasizes Buddha’s World to listen and to hear.

I wrote about “almost unlimited number of sages in Hinayana Buddhism in Amida’s World” in last month’s article. Those sages were born into Amida’s World by and through their awareness and the recitation of the Name – Namo Amida Butsu. But, why? It was simply because both kinds of sages felt something missing even after their attainment of contemplation or Nirvana. What did they miss? The missing world is called, “Myo (unusually wonderful) – U (existing world)”. It indicates Amida’s World, Pure Land, or Highest Enlightenment that penetrates past, present, and future (even after death).

There are numerous sages in Amida’s World who already went through different paths. Thus, they know how excellent Amida’s Teaching is. Once I enter Amida’s World, I can join many sages who, as real and true friends, are waiting for me.  I join them as one true and real friend of Dharma. How nice and fortunate I will be!

This Vow also teaches me that it’s hard for us to get real and true friends in this life. We sometimes betray each other, we sometimes tell lies to each other, and we sometimes kill each other. When even one condition triggers what I have in mind, anything happens to me. When someone hates me, I understand I am depending on what I have in mind; when someone is friendly to me, I understand I am following Amida’s World. Does this make sense to you?

 

In Gassho,

Rev. Doei Fujii

 

Read the next article in the series

Return to the Formula in Buddhism articles