My Understanding of "Vows"
(Clearwisdom.net) I have always had a vague understanding about "vows," thinking as long as I follow Teacher closely in the Fa-rectification, everything would be all right. However, I had been struggling and falling in the course of my cultivation, and I could not make sense of why this was so.
Recently, when I read experience-sharing articles on Clearwisdom.net, I have often been moved to tears by the stories of those fellow practitioners who have selflessly offered what they have enlightened to from the many hardships they had borne and after they had taken so many falls. At the same time, I truly looked deep into myself and found many selfish, hidden ideas. In fact, the very thought that "as long as I follow Teacher closely in Fa-rectification, everything would be all right" is full of hidden selfishness and all focused on the "me," such as, I can only reach Consummation if "I" do well; what should I do so that "I" will not be left behind, and other selfish thoughts. Even the intention of fulfilling my vows is permeated with selfishness, and I often thought, "If I fail to fulfil my vow, I will not be able to return." I did not really understand the sacred profundity of the vows, and vaguely took "fulfilling the vows" as a means to "return." In fact, whichever way I understood it, I had never broken away from the notion of "me," and I had not been able to let go of "me."
In the article "Non-Omission in Buddha-Nature," Teacher has pointed out "Your past nature was actually built on the basis of egoism and selfishness." If selfishness is not rooted out, one can never truly reach the standards for Dafa particles, and the evil old forces will use it as an excuse for their interference and destruction. When I made up my mind to eradicate this selfishness, suddenly I came to a completely different understanding of what Teacher said in the same article, "...you should have first considered others so as to attain the right enlightenment of selflessness and altruism."
The vows we made to Lord Buddha are sacred, free of any selfishness or any consideration of self. This is because our righteous beliefs in the Lord Buddha and in the universal law are eternal. Only because we descended into the maze have the old forces had a chance to interfere with our righteous beliefs. Besides, there is also the karma caused by our wrongdoings while in the maze. However, these can never be our excuses for being selfish. We must eradicate selfishness. As there is no selfishness in our vows, then there should not be any selfishness in the process of fulfilling our vows, and all should be shining like gold.
I have always had a vague feeling that we did not only make vows to the Lord Buddha alone, but also made promises to many other living beings. Teacher has arranged these for us all along. Just as Teacher said in the "Lecture on the Fa at the Washington, D.C. International Conference," "So in today's world, we can't not be responsible for other sentient beings, we can't not be responsible for other sentient beings' obtaining the Fa in the future, and we can't not lay a foundation for other sentient beings to obtain the Fa in the future, because they could well be beings from your system."
Once on my way out of the school cafeteria, a young man pushed the door open and walked in. I didn't know why, but I felt very happy all of a sudden, as if I knew he had come for the Fa. The next day I took the Spanish Dafa introduction with me, and I met the young man again in the cafeteria. I offered it to him. He was very pleased to get it and left with joy.
Another day I went on business to a government department, but took the wrong way. When I asked an older man for direction, he went so far as to take me straight to the entrance of that department. After I thanked him I gave him a copy of brief introduction to Dafa and talked to him about Dafa. At that instant, when he took the introduction, I suddenly felt that many Buddhas, Taos and Gods were watching over me with a smile. I looked up but could see nothing except for the blue sky. I knew, however, that I did not take the wrong way by accident. It seemed that it had happened so that this older man could get to know Dafa.
There was another time when I went with another practitioner to a secondary office at Immigration to deal with a matter. When I met the officer we were supposed to see I somehow had a feeling that she was waiting for Dafa. All of a sudden I forgot about the matter we had come for. Instead, I started telling her about Dafa in various ways. I felt I was brimming over with compassion, which was wrapping itself around her. At the same time I could see from her eyes that her kind nature was awakening. On our way back the practitioner who went with me asked why I had acted that way, talking so much about things that had nothing to do with what we had set out to do. It seemed that the job was bungled. I thought I did what I should do, and felt as if I had fulfilled a wish. Even if I did not achieve what I wanted to achieve regarding my personal matter, I had no regrets. Not long after, I heard from that practitioner that the immigration matter was satisfactorily resolved.
Every practitioner has a different path, and the ways we fulfil our vows are bound to vary, too. But we must all fulfil our vows in the process of "Making a wish to save sentient beings, Assisting Teacher in his journey in this world." ["Assisting the Fa," from Hong Yin, un-official translation] Isn't the process of fulfilling our vows actually also the process of tempering "the righteous enlightenment of selflessness and altruism?" Teacher said in the article "Fa-rectification Period Dafa Disciples," " This period of time will not last long, but it can forge the mighty virtue of magnificent Enlightened Beings, Buddhas, Daos and Gods of different levels." I used to have a very shallow understanding about "mighty virtue," and I only knew that "mighty virtue" was established through cultivation. But how could one cultivate "mighty virtue"? I now truly understand that one cannot cultivate "mighty virtue" without "righteous enlightenment!"
The above is my understanding at my current level. Please kindly point out any mistakes.