ACROSS THE SEA OF SUFFERING IN A BOAT OF VOWS
On August 24th, 1975, in the Jeweled Hall of the Great Heroes at Gold Mountain Monastery in San Francisco, Sramanerika Heng Chu made the following vows:
I, disciple Kuo Lin (Heng Chu), before the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the ten directions and the three periods of time throughout the Dharma-realm, before the Venerable Master and before the Fourfold Assembly, make the following vows:
1. I vow not to attain the Utmost Right and Perfect Enlightenment if there is one sentient being in the nine realms who has not yet accomplished Buddhahood.
2. I vow to take upon myself all the suffering from living beings' karmic obstacles, so that they might attain Unsurpassed Bodhi.
3. I vow, in order to teach and transform living beings, a) to leave the home-life in every life at an early age and be a disciple and Dharma Protector of the Venerable Master Hua, and to personally serve and assist him as he turns the Wonderful Dharma Wheel; b) to cultivate the Way, perfecting all good skill-in-means, including the five eyes and six spiritual penetrations.
4. I vow that if I attain the thousand hands and the thousand eyes of the Great Compassion Dharani, I will not attain the Utmost Right and Perfect Enlightenment until all living beings have ended suffering and realized Buddhahood. I vow to recite the Great Compassion Mantra 108 times daily, life after life.
5. I vow to manifest in limitless transformation bodies before living beings of all worlds throughout the Dharma-realm, to teach and transform all who do not remember the Buddhadharma.
6. I vow to quickly lead every single living being who has but seen my face or heard my voice to believe in the Buddha, to take refuge with the Triple Jewel, and to produce the Bodhi Heart and realize Buddhahood.
7. I vow to return all merit and virtue to nourish the good roots of living beings.
8. I vow to be reborn in the Land of Ultimate Bliss.
9. I vow to take on the 32 marks of a superman and not under go the retribution of being a woman, except expediently.
10. I vow to translate Sutras.
11. I vow to protect and respect all creatures.
12. I vow to get rid of all anger, desire, and emotion and turn them into patience, vigor, and compassion.
13. I vow to follow the Buddha and eat once a day, only at noon, and never let my ribs touch the mat.
14. I vow that I will teach all that I know to all living beings so that they will be wiser than myself.
15. I vow that during the Dharma Ending Age, I will protect, propagate, and practice the Proper Dharma so that there will be no Dharma Ending Age.
16. I vow not to engage myself in frivolous speech.
17. I vow to fulfill all these vows.
FOOD AS MEDICINE:
The Five Contemplations in Verse Form
This offering of the faithful is the fruit of work and care.
I reflect upon my conduct: Have I truly earned my share?
On the poisons of the mind the most despicable is greed.
As a medicine cures illness, I eat only what I need.
To sustain my cultivation and to realize the Way.
So I contemplate in silence on this offering today.
By Sramanera Heng sure