Hard Promises

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In our myopic selfie-world, we’re trained to be me-centered. To block, unfriend, or clap back at anyone who does not honor our primacy of identity.

In our transactional day-to-day, vows only get mentioned when we’re talking weddings.

I’m not a Sanskrit or Chinese translator, but I’m offering below my poetic take on Zen’s Four Great Vows.

These four ridiculous promises are based on the premise, “none of us are free until all of us are free.”

They are impractical. Implausible. Futile and destined for failure.

And yet, all over the world, human beings, just like you and me, take a stand and try. All hours of the day and night. They renew these vows unceasingly.

To take a vow is to live intentionally. You can’t half-ass it. Fly by the seat of your pants. Your freedom is on the line. As is the freedom of the world.

Numberless are beings trapped by suffering. I vow to free us all.
Attachment, aversion, and indifference are perpetual poisons. 
I vow to apply the antidote continuously.
Invitations to wake up are endless.  I vow to accept each one. 
Buddha's realization is unsurpassable.  I vow to go further.

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