Formula in Buddhism: The 18th Vow: #3 King of Vows

You see the formula below; these are essential items n learning the Teaching of Budda. They go as follows:

1. To Learn Buddhism is to lear 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 beings 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 Buddha

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.

This month I want to define - "What is Great Compassion?" Jodo-Shinshu clarifies the essence of Maha-yana (huge vessel) Buddhism as Great Compassion, which does not fail to encompass any quality of beings. Now, please pay attention to the three kinds of heart in the Vow.

a.  Sincere and true heart: It means that Wisdom of Buddha clarifies what my quality is. Wisdom works to avoid blind faith, twisted faith, or supersititious faith.

b.  Aspiration to be born: Aspiration is generated by Wisdom and Compassion through which, a wider world or new life is opened up to me.

c.  Entrusting heart: No doubt or Single thought in my mind. I see the world of Amida with eyes in mind. Or, as Shinran says "Amida gives me eyes of Wisdom."

When you look a, b, and c carefully, you surely come to know a, b. and c are all shaped by Wisdom and Compassion, not by my power and ability. In other words, any quality of mine such as good or bad, pure or dirty, wise or stupid, does not hinder Great Compassion. That's why Jodo-Shinshu represents what Maha-yana Buddhism is.

In Gassho,

Rev. Fujii


Read the next article in the series.

Return to the Formula in Buddhism series of articles.