In the Pure Land sect of Buddhism, we seek to attain Buddhahood through entrusting in Amida Buddha. Something I’ve realized only recently is that if you entrust in Amida, you will entrust in his example and seek to emulate it in your daily life.
The following is Amida’s vow to attain Buddhahood from The Infinite Life Sutra. The following words can be taken literally, as the vow that Amida made in the incalculably distant past, or it can be taken figuratively, as the vow we make in our own Bodhisattva path.
These meanings, whether literal or figurative, are not mutually exclusive. All that matters is whatever motivates you to follow the Buddha’s teachings in your own life:
The Sanbutsuge (Praises of the Buddha)
The shining face of the Buddha is glorious; Boundless is his magnificence. Radiant splendor such as his Is beyond all comparison. The sun, the moon and the mani-jewel, Though shining with dazzling brightness, Are completely dimmed and obscured As if they were a pile of ink-sticks
The countenance of the Tathagata Is beyond compare in the whole world. The great voice of the Enlightened One Resounds throughout the ten regions. His morality, learning, endeavor, Absorption in meditation, wisdom And magnificent virtues have no equal; They are wonderful and unsurpassed.
He meditates deeply and directly On the oceanic Dharma of all the Buddhas. He knows its depth and breadth And penetrates to its farthest end. Ignorance, greed and anger Are forever absent in the World-Honored One. He is the lion, the most valiant of all men; His glorious virtue is unlimited.
His meritorious achievements are vast; His wisdom is deep and sublime. His light, with awe-inspiring glory, Shakes the universe of a thousand million worlds. I resolve to become a Buddha, Equal in attainment to you, O holy king of the Dharma, To save living beings from birth-and-death, And to lead them all to emancipation.
My discipline in giving, mind-control, Moral virtues, forbearance and effort, And also in meditation and wisdom, Shall be supreme and unsurpassed. I vow that, when I have become a Buddha, I shall carry out this promise everywhere; And to all fear-ridden beings Shall I give great peace.
Even though there are Buddhas, A thousand million kotis in number, And multiudes of great sages Countless as the sands of the Ganges, I shall make offerings To all those Buddhas. I shall seek the supreme Way Resolutely and tirelessly.
Even though the Buddha-lands are as innumerable As the sands of the Ganges, And other regions and worlds Are also without number, My light shall shine everywhere, Pervading all those lands. Such being the result of my efforts, My glorious power shall be immeasurable.
When I have become a Buddha, My land shall be most exquisite, And its people wonderful and unexcelled; The seat of Enlightenment shall be supreme. My land, being like Nirvana itself, Shall be beyond comparison. I take pity on living beings And resolve to save them all.
Those who come from the ten quarters Shall find joy and serenity of heart; When they reach my land, They shall dwell in peace and happiness. I beg you, the Buddha, to become my witness And to vouch for the truth of my aspiration. Having now made my vows to you, I will strive to fulfilll them.
The World-Honored Ones in the ten quarters Have unimpeded wisdom; I call upon those Honored Ones To bear witness to my intention. Even though I must remain In a state of extreme pain, I will diligently practice, Enduring all hardships with tireless vigor.
The following words can be taken literally, as the vow that Amida made in the incalculably distant past, or it can be taken figuratively, as the vow we make in our own Bodhisattva path.
These meanings, whether literal or figurative, are not mutually exclusive. All that matters is whatever motivates you to follow the Buddha’s teachings in your own life…