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Our source of awareness is prior to picking and choosing...
Harada Roshi

The Four Vows seen from the eye of Zen

Sentient beings are numberless
I vow to liberate them
Desires are inexhaustible
I vow to put an end to them
The Dharmas are boundless
I vow to master them
The Buddha's way is unsurpassable
I vow to become it

Sentient beings are numberless - I vow to liberate them
If you do jot know your own mind, how could you know what to give to others? You can always help others on a material level, that is of importance, yet all people will eventually die. You need to be able to experience yourself as one with all beings to truly be able to give.
Before you can vow to save others, you need to save the sentient beings in your mind. If you have liberated your own mind, even if you do not vow to save others, you are doing it just by being around.

Desires are inexhaustible - I vow to put an end to them
The Buddha is often called the one who is brave and can gather his desires. Someone who is not indulging in their own desires and satisfying them, but who has resolved the unsettled mind, which brings forth these constant desires, someone who has found this inner resolution.

The Dharmas are inexhaustible - I vow to master them
The Buddhist teaching stands on the sutras, the precepts and the explanation of these teachings. The actual teaching of truth does not change in all eras, yet according to the changing circumstances, the explanations of the teaching changes. This there is an increasing number of Buddhist texts. MyoE Shonin is said to have read all of the existing teaching 6 times, which requires a sharp mind and a lot of time. But where have all these teachings come from? From our mind. And if we clarify our own mind, also the teachings become clear. The teaching bring clarity to the world, and when our mind is free from extraneous thoughts, then we bring clarity to the world.

The Buddha's way is unsurpassable - I vow to become it
This Buddhist path is alive right under our feet when we do not add any judgement to what is right in front of us, becoming only the present moment. Then the world shows itself as it is. And it becomes a matter of fact to be helping others. The mind is then simply reflecting and we can find the world is within. That is where we experience the truth. Because a teacher has the urge to teach, his mind becomes one with the students. Because a doctor feels the pain of his patients, he can express his truth in his path as a doctor. If our work because just a way to earn money and we are calculating how much we give and should receive, then it becomes a life lacking love and compassion.

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