Bodhicitta Vows

the way of great Compassion
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Nicholas
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Bodhicitta Vows

Post by Nicholas »

The central element in Mahayana is a vowed intention to become a bodhisattva, then a buddha. On that path one will help all other beings towards that goal of buddhahood.

This chapter 40 of the Avatamsaka Sutra gives ten vast vows practiced by Mahasattva Samantabhadra and recommended by him for aspirants:

http://www.sutrasmantras.info/sutra21.html
At that time Samantabhadra Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva, having praised Tathāgatas’ merit, said to the Bodhisattvas and the youth Sudhana: “Good men, if Buddhas [in worlds] in the ten directions expound Tathāgatas’ merit continuously for as many kalpas as there are dust particles in innumerable Buddha Lands, they still can never finish their narrations. If one wants to go through this Merit Door, one should train in the ten great vowed actions. What are these ten?

First, make obeisance to Buddhas.
Second, praise Tathāgatas.
Third, make expansive offerings.
Fourth, repent of karma, the cause of hindrances.
Fifth, express sympathetic joy over others’ merits.
Sixth, request Buddhas to turn the Dharma wheel.
Seventh, beseech Buddhas to abide in the world.
Eighth, always follow Buddhas to learn.
Ninth, forever support sentient beings.
Tenth, universally transfer all merits to others.”
Truth is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Nicholas
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Re: Bodhicitta Vows

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Now an excellent shastra on general bodhisattva Vows (not the Samantabhadra ones) by Vasubandhu. I think this may be the only translation in English, at any rate, Chinese is on facing pages; many free excerpts here too.

http://kalavinka.org/kp_book_pages/vbci ... k_page.htm
Generating the Resolve

II. Chapter 2: Generating the Resolve

How does the bodhisattva generate the bodhi resolve? Relying on
what sort of causes and conditions does one cultivate and accumulate
the bases for realizing bodhi?

A. Ten Factors Conducing to Generation of the Bodhi resolve

[Those causal bases are present] in a case where a bodhisattva:
1. Draws close to a good spiritual guide;
2. Makes offerings to the Buddhas;
3. Cultivates and accumulates roots of goodness;
4. Resolves to seek the supreme Dharma;
5. Maintains constant pliancy and harmoniousness of mind;
6. On encountering suffering, remains able to endure it;
7. Possesses pure and abundant kindness and compassion;
8. Maintains a profound mind dedicated to maintaining equal regard for all;
9. Possesses faith and happiness in the Great Vehicle; and
10. Seeks to gain the wisdom of the Buddha.

If a person is able to embody ten dharmas such as these, he will then
become able to generate the mind resolved on realizing anuttarasamyak-saṃbodhi.
From page 27.
Last edited by Nicholas on Mon Jul 11, 2016 12:05 am, edited 2 times in total.
Truth is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
TexasBuddhist
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Re: Bodhicitta Vows

Post by TexasBuddhist »

I vow to help the folks at Dharmawheel? ...
AlexMcLeod
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Re: Bodhicitta Vows

Post by AlexMcLeod »

Sentient beings are numberless, I vow to save them all.
Obscurations are unending, I vow to end them all.
Dharma gates are infinite, I vow to enter them all.
The Buddha way is unexcelled, I vow to achieve it.
There is no Emotion, there is Peace;
There is no Ignorance, there is Knowledge;
There is no Passion, there is Serenity;
There is no Death, there is the Force.
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Nicholas
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Re: Bodhicitta Vows

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AlexMcLeod wrote:Sentient beings are numberless, I vow to save them all.
Obscurations are unending, I vow to end them all.
Dharma gates are infinite, I vow to enter them all.
The Buddha way is unexcelled, I vow to achieve it.
It is curious that Layman Peixiu (early 9th c.) gave a similar list of five. Which came first I do not know.
Explanation of the Five Vows

First, beings are boundlessly many. I vow to liberate them all.
Second, merit and wisdom are boundless. I vow to accumulate them.
Third, the Dharma of the Buddha is boundless. I vow to study it.
Fourth, the Tathāgatas are boundlessly many. I vow to serve them.
Fifth, I vow to realize the unsurpassed, right enlightenment.

One maintains these five vows, implementing them in one’s mind
in thought after thought such that there is no interval in which they
are not active. This constitutes complete implementation of the
great mind of bodhi. This is what constitutes the upholding of the
precepts of the bodhi mind. The three types of minds and the five
vows are layered one upon the other in a way whereby they support
each other.
From one buddha to the next, the path is the same. It does not go
beyond this. It is precisely this which constitutes perfect generation
of the anuttarasamyaksaṃbodhi mind.
From his Exhortation to Resolve on Buddhahood
Truth is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
AlexMcLeod
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Re: Bodhicitta Vows

Post by AlexMcLeod »

Nicholas wrote:It is curious that Layman Peixiu (early 9th c.) gave a similar list of five. Which came first I do not know.
I would imagine, based purely on birth and death dates that Hui Neng's would have necessarilycome first.
There is no Emotion, there is Peace;
There is no Ignorance, there is Knowledge;
There is no Passion, there is Serenity;
There is no Death, there is the Force.
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Nicholas
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Re: Bodhicitta Vows

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AlexMcLeod wrote:
Nicholas wrote:It is curious that Layman Peixiu (early 9th c.) gave a similar list of five. Which came first I do not know.
I would imagine, based purely on birth and death dates that Hui Neng's would have necessarily come first.
The four vow version is based on the Four Noble Truths and traced to Chih-i (Zhiyi 6th c.) says this footnote to a piece by Chappell:
This is a paraphrase of the original vows formulated by Tian-t*ai Chih-i based on the
Four Noble Truths. Sec his Shih cft’an p,o lo mi ts*u a fa men 釈禅波羅蜜次第法門,T. 46,
476514-18.
Truth is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
AlexMcLeod
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Re: Bodhicitta Vows

Post by AlexMcLeod »

Nicholas wrote:The four vow version is based on the Four Noble Truths and traced to Chih-i (Zhiyi 6th c.) says this footnote to a piece by Chappell:
This is a paraphrase of the original vows formulated by Tian-t*ai Chih-i based on the
Four Noble Truths. Sec his Shih cft’an p,o lo mi ts*u a fa men 釈禅波羅蜜次第法門,T. 46,
476514-18.
I fail to see how that would still not precede the one from the 9th century. Either way, they are probably both rewordings of previous concepts. Nothing new under the Sun.

I think the important part is the attitude they are attempting to convey with such vast, seemingly impossible vows.
There is no Emotion, there is Peace;
There is no Ignorance, there is Knowledge;
There is no Passion, there is Serenity;
There is no Death, there is the Force.
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Re: Bodhicitta Vows

Post by DNS »

TexasBuddhist wrote:I vow to help the folks at Dharmawheel? ...
Yes, even the folks over at Dharma Wheel. :lol:
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Nicholas
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Re: Bodhicitta Vows

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Revisiting the essential intention & practice of bodhicitta vows, here is more, based on Vasubandhu Bodhisattva's text mentioned in the July 2016 post:
How does the bodhisattva go about setting out towards bodhi?
Through which karmic practices does one bring about complete
realization of bodhi?
The bodhisattva who has generated the resolve...
should first solidly set forth right vows through which he
will draw in all of incalculably many beings:

“I seek to realize the unsurpassed bodhi and to rescue and liberate
everyone without exception so that every one of them is caused to
reach all the way to nirvāṇa.”

Therefore, in the initial generation of the resolve, it is great compassion
which is foremost. It is on account of the mind of compassion
that one becomes able to generate ten ever more superior great
right vows. What are those ten? They are:

1. “Regarding those roots of goodness I have planted in previous
lives and in this present body, I vow that all of these
roots of goodness may be bestowed upon all the boundlessly
many beings and dedicated to unsurpassed bodhi.
These vows of mine shall grow in each
succeeding thought-moment, shall be produced again in
each successive lifetime, shall always be bound to my mind,
shall never be forgotten, and shall be guarded and retained
by dhāraṇīs.”
Dhāraṇīs are similar to mantras but focus more on key buddhadharma ideas, so the meaning of ideas & concepts are fixed in mind beyond this present lifetime.
Truth is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Nicholas
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Re: Bodhicitta Vows

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2. “Having already dedicated these roots of goodness to bodhi,
I vow that on account of these roots of goodness, no
matter where I may be reborn, I shall always be able to
make offerings to all buddhas and shall definitely never be
reborn in a realm where there is no buddha.”

3. “Having already succeeded in being reborn in the realms
of Buddhas, I vow that I shall always be able to draw
personally close to them, shall follow along and serve them
in every way, shall remain as close to them as a
shadow to its form, and shall never become distantly
separated from Buddhas even for the briefest of moments.”
Truth is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Re: Bodhicitta Vows

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4. “Having already succeeded in drawing personally close to
the Buddhas, I ask that they will then speak Dharma for
my sake in accordance with whatsoever is appropriate for
me. I then will straightaway perfect the bodhisattva’s five
superknowledges.”

5. “Having already perfected the bodhisattva’s five superknowledges,
I vow that I will thereupon be able to reach a
penetrating understanding of worldly truth together with
its widespread artificial designations, that I will also then
completely comprehend, in accordance with its genuine nature,
the foremost ultimate truth, and that I will gain right-Dharma wisdom.”

6. “Having already realized the right-Dharma wisdom, I vow
that, free of any thoughts of aversion, I will then explain
it for the sake of beings, instructing them in the teachings,
benefiting them, delighting them, and causing them all to
develop an understanding of it.”

7. “Having already become able to create an understanding
in beings, I vow that, availing myself of the spiritual
power of the Buddhas, I will be able to go to all
worlds without exception, everywhere throughout the
ten directions, making offerings to Buddhas, listening
to and accepting right-Dharma, and extensively drawing in
beings.”
Last edited by Nicholas on Fri Jan 15, 2021 11:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Truth is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Nicholas
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Re: Bodhicitta Vows

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8. “Having already received right Dharma in the abodes of
Buddhas, I vow that I will thereupon be able to turn
the wheel of pure Dharma in accordance with it. May
it then be that all beings of the ten directions’ worlds who
hear me proclaim the Dharma or who merely hear my
name, shall straightaway succeed in abandoning all afflictions
and in generating bodhi resolve.”

9. “Having already become able to cause all beings to generate
bodhi resolve, I vow that I will constantly follow along
with them, protecting them, ridding them of whatever is
unbeneficial, bestowing on them countless sorts of happiness,
relinquishing my life and wealth for their sakes, drawing
in beings, and taking on the burden of right Dharma.”
Truth is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Re: Bodhicitta Vows

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10. “Having already become able to take on the burden of right
Dharma, I vow that, even though I will then practice in
accordance with right Dharma, my mind will nonetheless
have nothing whatsoever which it practices. It will be that
I will conform with the way that bodhisattvas
themselves practice right Dharma and yet have nothing
whatsoever which they either practice or do not practice.”
Truth is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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