Notes On The Four Vows

The four lines recited through Buddhist sects in general and in Zen Soto in particular are generally understood are a ritual passages addressed to others : Buddhas, the whole world, the universe, you name it.

I discover tonight that they are, and perhaps in the first place, an interaction that we have with ourselves.
They operate as a diagnosis and treatment at the same time.

Then, these four lines heal…

-The past — because they make it possible to accept our ancient behavioral n for what they were: unskilled.
-The present, because they defuse the ongoing mechanisms
-The future, because these, as a result, will not have been put in place.

Let’s see…

Shuyo muhen seigan do
As numberless as beings may be, I vow to free them all.

This dissolves the expression of our angers and our various resentments, and puts on the front of the stage what helps us (re)set others in motion. In other words, that is a wish not to create conditions for suffering to occur.
I also recognize it in myself, when the anger or rejection of others begins to take place.


Bonno muhen seigan dan
As numerous illusions may be, I wow to uproot them all

This defuses the arrogance of believing we are moving forward, progressing on the Way.
Humility comes back on the front burner and allows to taste a life of simplicity.
We stop taking ourselves for… Fooling ourselves into thinking we are …

Homon muryo seigan ga ku
As vast as the Dharma may be, I wish to know it thoroughly

We disarm the mind by acknowledging here that it cannot have control over the source code of the world’s software. That this conceptual grasp is inoperative.
With this sentence, once and for all, we leave the system…

Butsu do mujo seigan do
The Way of the Buddha’s is limitless, I vow to walk it to its end.

Finally we orient our approach on the Way of the Buddha, losing here any pretension to spiritual fluttering around, to then discover that there is nothing wider than the Way.

This Way of the Buddha
Is the Way of Bodhi
Path of awakening

And awakening is awakening
Whatever the contexts of its manifestation.

©FJ July 2021 – All Rights Reserved
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