Great Ancestor Eihei Dogen’s Words for Arousing the Vow
We vow together with all beings, from this life on throughout numerous lifetimes, not to fail to hear the true dharma. Hearing this we will not be skeptical and will not be without faith. Directly upon encountering the true dharma, we will abandon mundane affairs and uphold and maintain the buddhadharma; and finally together with the great earth and all animate beings we will accomplish the Way.
Although our previous evil karma has greatly accumulated, producing causes and conditions that obstruct the Way, may the buddhas and ancestors who have attained the buddha way be compassionate to us and liberate us from our karmic entanglements, allowing us to practice the Way without hindrance. May the merit and virtue of their dharma gate fill and refresh the inexhaustible dharma realm, so that they share with us their compassion. Ancient buddhas and ancestors were as we; we shall come to be buddhas and ancestors. Venerating buddhas and ancestors, we are one with buddhas and ancestors; contemplating awakening mind, we are one with awakened mind. Compassionately admitting seven and accomplishing eight obtains advantage and lets go of advantage.
Accordingly, Longya said:
“What in past lives was not yet complete, now must be
In this life save the body coming from accumulated lives.
Before enlightenment ancient buddhas were the same as we.
After enlightenment we will be exactly as those ancient ones.”
Quietly studying and mastering these causes and conditions, one is fully informed by the verified buddhas. With this kind of repentance certainly will come the inconceivable guidance of buddha ancestors. Confessing to buddha with mindful heart and dignified body, the strength of this confession will eradicate the roots of wrongdoing. This is the one color of true practice, of the true mind of faith, of the true body of faith.