Formula in Buddhism: The 18th Vow: #5 King of Vows

You see the formula as below. These are essential items in the formula 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 beings of the 10 quarters: Sentient beings = 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 if very short, recitation is essential.

6. Five grave offenses: Those who commit offenses such as (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.

Five grave offenses & slanderer

Why do we see these at the end of the vow? The reasons are as follows:

- A person's thoughts are rooted in his own desires and blind passions. The person is depending on a false foundation in life.

- A person's thoughts are simply his own thoughts and ideas. So the person does not recognize his twisted and distorted views.

- A person doesn't care morals and ethics.

- Since the contents of this vow are different from Theravada Buddhism which is mainly for priests and ministers, Buddha emphasizes the importance of Compassion in Mahayana Buddhism which embraces any kind of quality of beings.

- Buddha wants us to find the right direction in life and to build a right foundation in life.

Thus, these "don'ts" are to guide people to build the right foundation. Specifically, right foundation menas right view (causation, cause-condition) and essence of Mahayana Buddhism (Wisdom as cause, Compassion as condition).

In Gassho,

Rev. Fujii

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