When doubt arises in my mind about this practice, I sometimes look to the Four Great Vows (or Great Vows for All as I have seen them called). Usually, the doubt is transformed into confusion. Other times, nothing happens. And sometimes I am encouraged.
All beings, one body, I vow to liberate.
Blind passions, one root, I vow to terminate.
Dharma gates, one mind, I vow to penetrate.
The great Way of Buddha, I vow to realize.
Today, I ran across a quote from Robert Aitken’s The Practice of Perfection: The Pāramitās from a Zen Buddhist Perspective that brought to life the fourth great vow. I offer this quote here to support us all in our mutual practice of living together on this planet.
Thank you for reading! May we all be at ease! May we all be peaceful!
“Buddha’s way is unsurpassed, I vow to embody it fully.” The parent embodies the role of parent as intimately and personally as possible or the child cannot mature. Outside the home, the machinist embodies the role of machinist as personally as possible – the nurse, the surveyor, the pedestrian, the patient in the doctor’s office embody their roles as personally as possible or their function is inadequate and the fabric of society is weakened. Yet the parent can never fully embody the role of parent and is constantly practicing the task of integrating person and parent more and more intimately. The machinist, the nurse, the surveyor, the pedestrian, the patient in the doctor’s office too are practicing. In the same way, the Buddhist too is practicing the noble task of embodying the Buddha Way. By practicing the Buddha Way we fulfill it. And we continue to fulfill it endlessly.
(Note: This quote is from Robert Aitken’s The Practice of Perfection: The Pāramitās from a Zen Buddhist Perspective, p. 151. For me, reading Robert Aitken Rōshi’s writings have been influential for my practice and my understanding of Zen. There is a website dedicated to supporting Aitken Rōshi in his old age, especially since suffering from a stroke. Click here for more info. He also maintains (with the help of his son, I believe) a blog. Thank you, Aitken Rōshi, for your tireless practice and dedication to the Buddhadharma!)