"Mindfulness and Meditation allow us to open our hearts, relax our bodies, and clear our minds enough to experience the vast, mysterious, sacred reality of life directly. With Practice we come to know for ourselves that eternity is available in each moment.

Your MMM Courtesy Wake Up Call:
Musings on Life and Practice
by a Longtime Student of Meditation

The Four Bodhisattva Vows

I first saw a version of the Bodhisattva Vows as Stephen Gaskin presented them in Hey Beatnik! This is the Farm Book back in 1974:

Sentient beings are numberless, I vow to save them all.
The deluding passions are inexhaustible, I vow to extinguish them all.
The way of the Dharma is impossible to expound, I vow to expound it.
It is impossible to attain the way of the Buddha, I vow to attain it.
Having Sat with Suzuki at the San Francisco Zen Center, Gaskin had learned the four-fold vows that emerged in the Zen tradition.  I didn't realize until years later that there are other forms of the Bodhisattva Vows presented in other Mahayana traditions.  Although some of them are quite beautiful and poetic in their English translations, Life placed me in a number of Zen settings over the first decades of Practice.  I absorbed the basic four-fold form of these vows and recite them three times at the end of my morning meditation.  
Being exposed to different translations as I sat with different Zen teachers over the years, different words have emerged for me as well.  I've learned to trust my heart to bring forth words that resonate deeply with the basic understandings and aspirations that inform my life as it unfolds towards its inevitable conclusion.  These days,

Sentient beings are numberless, I vow to serve them.
Endless blind passions are inexhaustible, I vow to see through them.
The dharma gates of peace and understanding are boundless, I vow to open them all. 
The Great Way of wisdom and compassion is unsurpassable,
 Together, with and for all sentient beings,
I vow to (1)Observe it ,  (2) Practice it,  (3) Embody it.

If interested, you can surf around to a number of other translations on the web these days.  You may find that one resonates.  You don't have to be a formal Buddhist, or even recite the vows daily.  You can use your own words, one's that feel right.  
Essentially, it's pretty simple.  From the highest and deepest place you can access, you accept your mission in life.  You affirm your personal pledge  to get your act together well enough to be in a position to really help out.  Opening to a Love so Vast that it breaks your heart, you vow to serve. 
Obviously, there are many moments during the day that I get wrapped up in my own shit and lose sight of who I'm trying to be, what I'm trying to do.  Yet, more and more, I can catch that happening on the fly, take a breath or two and hit the reset button. 
Like the Universe, Love itself is boundless.  It exists as infinite potential. There really isn't any final product, no final destination.  So, in Zen, they speak of Ceaseless Practice.  The fulfillment of he vows is in the moment to moment Practice.  You can't get hung up on achievement and success.  You just love as best you can.   
I can live with that.  Hopefully, I can die with that as well.

It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it.  Right?  

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