Thursday, September 20, 2007

Pema Chodron on the Bodhisattva Vow

The bodhisattva vow is extremely vast, because it's a vow that is vaster than anybody really feels is possible. So it's not just to help the people that are close to you or, say, the homeless people, or any particular group of people. It is to help everyone like that, but it's really about trying to help all beings — all sentient beings.

And not just for the duration of your lifetime or not just from Monday through Friday, or something like this, but it's really, as the wording goes, As long as space endures, and as long as there are any beings to be found, may I continue likewise throughout all my lives to become more and more capable of driving away the sorrows of the world.

So, at some point, one feels inspired to make such a vow. Although, Shantideva himself says, I must have been out of my mind to take this vow, because I'm one of them... I'm one of the ones that needs to be saved! I'm as confused and ignorant and have has as much aggression and craving, and so forth, as other people.

But the little twist for Shantideva was instead of then saying, Therefore, I'm inadequate... therefore, I'm hopeless — turning it into some kind of negative twist.

Instead Shantideva says, I must have been mad to do this; therefore, I better get busy and really use the precious human birth I have, the remaining days, to come closer to this wish.

And that means working on yourself.


Continue reading this article via Pema Chödrön's website.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Nice read! ...because when I say I'm Buddhist, when I say I meditate and I do such-and-such Buddhist action, I feel like I am making a vow to be broken. And then when I feel down, I feel like I am breaking it. But this reminds me that it's all part of the process... of course it will be broken, for it's an expectation. All that matters is now. The vow is only, at most, a reinforcer. I think. :P