Formula in Buddhism: The 18th Vow: #2 King of Vows

You see the formula below: these are essential elements when we learn the Teaching of Buddha. They go 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 18th Vow

"If, when I attain Buddhahood, the sentient beings of the 10 quarters who, with sincere, and entrusting heart, aspire to be born in my land and say my name even 10 times, should not be born there, may I not attain the perfect enlightenment. Excluded are those who commit the five grave offenses and those who slander the right Dharma."


1. Sentient being of the 10 quarters. Sentient being = you and me

2. Sincere heart: The heart generated by Wisdom of Buddha.

3. Entrusting heart: The heart generated by Compassion of Budha.

4. Aspire to be born in my land: The future direction of my life.

5. Even 10 times: As long as my life lasts, even very short recitation is essential.

6. Five grave offenses: (1) murder father, (2) murder mother, (3) murder Bodhisattvas, (4) murder Buddha, (5) destroy harmony in sangha.

7. Slander the right Dharma: False spoken statements related to Mahayana Teaching.

I am not a good singer; I am not a composer; I don't play any music instrument. But I love to listen to music. Althought I have little ability to produce music, it's safe to say that I have a receiver for something wonderful. When I am impressed by one song, it generates feelings of joy or purity or sadness. Then, I live in that emotion while listening to the song, repeatedly. My listening is balanced between the efforts of the composer, singer and instrument players.

I can't create or produce Dharma, but I can feel and see it with my mind's eye. When I see me and my future direction clearly by and through Dharma, sincere and entrusting heart, and aspiration for new life and world are all generated at one time. The Vow leads me to recitation of the Name, Namo-Amida-Butsu, which is the vessel that carries me to a new life and new world. The recitation is balanced with Buddha's Wisdom and Compassion. Whenever and wherever my life expires, that is the moment I enter the new world with new life.

To learn Buddhism is to learn myself by and through Wisdom of Buddha which works to avoid blind faith, selfish understanding, or twisted and distorted view. Wisdom in the Teaching also works to clarify what Compassion is. The Compassion of Buddha also leads me to the Name, Namo-Amida-Butsu. Thus, I can forget my thoughts and ideas, while entrusting myself, and throw me into the new life and the new world without any hesitation. This experience or awareness is called "Shin-Jin" in Jodo-Shin-Shu tradition. Oh, I forget to introduce one episode which tells us how to experience Amida. Please wait until next time.

In Gassho,

Rev. E. D. Fujii


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