Astrologer Rob Brezsny: ‘The secret of life,” said sculptor Henry Moore to poet Donald Hall, “is to have a task, something you devote your entire life to, something you bring everything to, every minute of the day for your whole life. And the most important thing is — it must be something you cannot possibly do.” What is that task for you?’
Zen Buddhists the world-over chant what is called the Four Vows. Each vow is apparently impossible: “Beings are numberless, I vow to save them all.” Here at the New Dharma Community, which I lead, says this chant, recommits to these vows after every single practice session. We see it this way: You make your vow and you set out to do it wholeheartedly. The fact that the task is already pre-determined to be impossible, and one commits to it anyway, assures that it isn’t about you—-your sense of gain, accomplishment or even your fear of failure—-AND you put your full effort in.
Here’s our version:
FOUR VOWS OF THE AWAKENING WARRIOR
Beings are numberless; I vow to awaken them.
Delusions are inexhaustible; I vow to transform them.
The Dharma is boundless; I vow to perceive it.
The Awakened Way is unattainable; I vow to embody it.
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angel Kyodo williams is a maverick teacher, author, social visionary and founder of Transformative Change.
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