In our whizzing techno-world, the only time we usually think of vows is when we’re talking weddings.
In our myopic selfie-world, we’re trained to be me-centered. We’re encouraged to block, unfriend, or clap-back at anyone who does not honor our primacy of identity.
In my pursuit of waking up, I’ve been considering these worlds and contemplating the Four Great Vows. These are four ridiculous promises based on the premise if all of us are not free, then none of us are free. They are impractical and implausible. Futile and destined for failure. And yet, all over the world, human beings just like you and me decide to take a stand and try. They repeat these vows all hours of the day in countries all over the world.
I’m not a Sanskrit or Chinese scholar, but I’m offering below my free translation of the Four Great Vows. To take a vow is to commit to living intentionally. You can’t in good conscience fly by the seat of your pants. Your word is on the line. So, as absurd and it may be, here is my take on the Four Great Vows:
Numberless are beings trapped by suffering. I vow to free them all.
Attachment, aversion, and indifference are perpetual poisons. I vow to neutralize them all.
Invitations to awaken are endless. I vow to accept them all.
The realization of the Buddha is unsurpassable. I vow to go as far.