Formula in Buddhism: The 20th Vow: Part 1

The formula below consists of essential elements for learning the Teaching of Buddha:
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 20th Vow

“If, when I attain Buddhahood, the sentient beings of the 10 quarters, upon hearing my name, should place their thoughts on my land, cultivate the roots of virtues, and direct their merits with sincere mind desiring to be born in my land, and yet not ultimately attain birth, may I not attain the perfect enlightenment.”

If I joined the gathering of Buddha at that time, I surely would have had to listen to The 48 Vows in order. I would not be able to jump around from vow to vow in random order. Imagine that the people at the gathering listed up to #18 and, upon hearing that vos, wondered, “Is that the way to highest enlightenent?”

Recognizing this, the Buddha continued with the 19th and 20th Vows so as to clarify the 18th. First, the Buddha addressed the traditional way (19th vow). Next, he talked about the bridge from the traditional path (19th vow) to Amida’s World (20th vow). In the 19th vow, the Buddha advised people to NOT rely upon their owm thoughts and ideas when they generate the mind for enlightenment (19th vow) but, instead, to rely upon highest enlightenment for sure attainment (Amida’s Teaching). In order to clarify the right direction, the Buddha says as follows: “upon hearing My Name, place your thoughts on My Land (Amida).”

To Learn Buddhism is to learn myself,
We have been looking for something valuable in this life, but many of us don’t know what we have been looking for. The Buddha clarifies: It is the world of Immeasurable Working (Amida).

to learn myself is to learn Buddha’s Compassion.
Immeasurable Working is Compassionate Working. It never fails you. You experience Amida and come to know clearly that you are in Buddha’s World.

to learn Compassion is to forget myself,
When you experience Amida, don’t rely on your own thoughts and ideas. Then, you surely experience it.

Amida’s Working is now in front of you. And the 20th vow is the path to the Pure and Highest Enlightenment.

In Gassho,
Rev. Doei Fujii

Return to the Formula in Buddhism series.

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