DDM Global News

Chinese New Year blessing for 2019 by Ven. Guo Huei

Why do we need to make vows?

“Making vows” may be a frequently used Buddhist term, but its idea is similar to what we normally refer to as “making wishes”.

Try to reflect on what goes on in our mind when making wishes. When making a wish, our mind is calm and quiet with clear awareness.

From the bottom of our heart, we make a promise, aspiring to act in a certain way, that is, to voluntarily and willingly carry out the promise on our own initiative.

As long as we’re resolved and determined to further develop our inner world, we’ll be able to explore our potential and infinite power of compassion and wisdom.

I’m honored to share with you Dharma Drum Mountain’s annual theme for 2019: A Good Wish for the World. This was written by DDM founder, Master Sheng Yen, as words of encouragement for the public. Now we add two sentences of explanation: Make a good wish and make it come true. Put your wish into practice and bring fortune to the world.< With this we hope to again convey late Master Sheng Yen’s care for all, and to invite people in society to make a wish and put their wish into practice, thereby transforming the fortunes of ourselves, transforming the fortunes of our family, transforming the fortunes of the public in society, and transforming the fortunes of the world.

How do we make wishes? A wish can be big or small. We can focus on looking at the bigger picture and starting with small things as two main principles. Looking at the bigger picture involves two major directions: one is the wish to grow and develop; the other is the wish to care for and benefit others. Of these two directions, as long as one direction is developed, the other dimension will be uplifted as a result. Starting with small things is about our daily actual practice.

For individuals, what is most essential is to fulfill one’s duties, to be a proper person. Regardless of our positions and our tasks, we should fulfill our duties and take responsibilities, by giving our best efforts. In interacting with others, if we can show more respect, then there will be more tolerance; and by showing more care and concern, more power is generated.

When fulfilling duties and caring for others has become part of our attitude towards living or even a way of life, we’ll be able to transform the fortunes of ourselves and help influence the bigger environment for the better.

After making a vow, most important is to put it into practice, and more challenging is to have a persistent mind. If we can constantly remind ourselves of our own commitment, then that will become our goal and direction.

With the power of such a vow, even when encountering setbacks and difficulties, we’ll still keep going in the same direction. This is most valuable.

For Buddhist practitioners, from having multiple afflictions to reducing afflictions and liberating from afflictions, it all takes the power of a vow to accomplish. Therefore, making a vow is a very important Buddhist method of practice. Making a vow is also a significant essence for the bodhisattva path.

Putting priority in benefitting others while setting aside our personal self represents the bodhisattva vow. The more we help others, the more we can let go of our self, and thereby attain genuine happiness.