To be confused and unenlightened is pitiful. If we are muddled and unenlightened, it's really pathetic because we don't even realize how we are.
But to know and still not cultivate is even more sad. When we know that we should make vows yet fail to do so, that's even sadder!
If we fear the suffering in the hells, then vigor will naturally come forth. Vigor will naturally arise when we are afraid of the bitter retribution of the hells.
When we are mindful of the speed of impermanence, then laziness will not arise. If we realize that impermanence will soon be upon us, we certainly will not be lazy.
Further, we should use the Buddhadharma to encourage ourselves and associate with wholesome friends as our guides. Moreover, we need to use the Buddhadharma to urge ourselves on and associate with good friends to help each other.
Relying on them to the ends of our days without even momentarily forsaking them, there will be no need to fear retreat. We should not neglect this Dharma door for even a moment, but rely on the Buddhadharma for our whole life. That way, we will not retreat.
Do not say that one thought is a trifle. Don't think a single thought of making vows is insignificant.
Don't assume that vows are empty and of no benefit. If our resolves are true, then we can realize our goal. If our intention for making vows is genuine, then our goal will be firm.
When our vows are vast in scope, then our practice will be profound. By making great vows, we will become more vigorous and our practice will be more profound as well.
Space is not big, but the mind-king is. The mind-king has no limit.
Vajra is not durable, but our vow-power is. Vajra is the most durable material in the world, but it is not as solid as the power of our vows. If we always remember our vows, then they will really be strong.
Great assembly! If each of you can sincerely accept my words, if you won't forget what I have said,
then from now on, let us all pledge fraternity in the retinue of Bodhi. Let us become each other's relatives.
May all the members of the Lotus Society unite. Everybody can make identical vows and recite the Buddha's name.
Let us vow to be reborn in the Pure Land, to see Amitabha Buddha, to transform living beings, and to realize Proper Enlightenment together. We can all become Buddhas together.
How do we know that our future perfection of the Thirty-two Marks and the adornments of the hundred blessings does not begin on this day that we resolved our minds and made our vows? How can we know that our future realization of Buddhahood, attainment of Thirty-two Marks, and perfection of the adornments of hundred blessings which are identical to the Buddhas' does not begin on this day when we resolved our minds and made vows for Bodhi? They all start today.
May the members of the great assembly urge each other on. I hope that everybody can encourage one another to make vows and not retreat from your resolve for Bodhi. We should all progress diligently.
How lucky we are! We are truly fortunate.
To be continued