48 Vows of Amida Buddha
from the Larger Amida Sutra

There are many versions of the Bodhisattva Vow. The following are the vows that Bodhisattva Dharmakara (Dharma-Totality) made and then fulfilled to become Amida Buddha, the Infinite Buddha of Infinite Life and Infinite Light. Amida is lovingly called Oyasama in Japanese, Sacred Parent. (There is no indication of gender here ) His Bodhisattva Vow has 48 facets, or individual vows, describing in detail the nature of his (?) enlightenment. In a sense they are all one vow, although for Shinran the 18th was called the Primal Vow. The vows here are not presented in numerical order, as is traditionally done.

Here we present them in thematic order. They group themselves quite nicely into the three groups: the Buddha and the nature of his Sphere of Influence, the Dharma, and the Sangha. The traditional numbers are attached at the end of each vow for reference. Finally, every vow ends with the phrase, if this vow does not come true, I will simply not become a Buddha until it in fact does come true. This of course implies that all the vows did come true and are now in full effect. This last sentence which appears at the end of all vows will not be repeated each time. The vows themselves have been here greatly simplified in their phrasing to suit the modern reader.

THE BUDDHA
1. After I have become a Buddha, my life will be universal and infinite, beyond anything that has ever existed before. (13)
2. After I have become a Buddha, the light of my enlightenment will be universal and infinite. No being whatsoever will be able to measure of define its brilliance.(12)

AMIDA’S SPHERE OF INFLUENCE
3. After I become a Buddha, my Buddha Sphere of Influence will obliterate the hold of hells, underworlds, de-humanization and the demonic on the minds of those who enter there. (1)
4. After I become a Buddha, my Buddha Sphere of Influence will obliterate the fear of hells, underworlds, de-humanization and the demonic in the After-Life on the minds of all who enter there. (2)
5. After I become a Buddha, my Buddha Sphere of Influence will be a vantage point from which those who entered there, be they human or divine, can perceive galaxies upon galaxies of Buddha Spheres of Influence all working together. (6)
6. After I become a Buddha, all those who enter there, be they human of divine, will be free to move form one Buddha Sphere to another. Barriers of space and time will not separate Buddha Spheres. ( 9 )
7. After I become a Buddha, my Buddha Sphere of Influence will be so full of virtue that even the word ‘evil’ will be absent from the vocabulary of those who enter there. ( 16 )
8. After I become a Buddha, my Sphere of Influence will be pure and brilliant. All Buddha Spheres of Influence will be reflected in mine and mine will be reflected in theirs as clearly as you see your reflection in a high quality mirror. (31) AMIDA’S DHARMA
9. After I become a Buddha, all beings will be able to enter my sphere of influence when they hold me in their hearts, speaking my name and title as often as they wish, with the true mind of sincere, faithful trust in the established fact that the fulfillment of their wish to enter my Buddha Sphere of Influence flows spontaneously from my Buddha Nature. (18)
10. After I become a Buddha, my Buddhahood will cause my name and title to resound in all directions. It will be praised and recited by all Buddhas in all Buddha Spheres of Influence. Divine beings, human beings and all creatures both great and small—flying, crawling of on foot---who hear my name and title will have compassion awakened in their hearts. Dancing with joy, they will enter my sphere of influence. (17)

AMIDA’S SANGHA
11. After I have become a Buddha, all those who enter my sphere of influence will have life beyond measure, infinite and universal. (15)
12. After I have become a Buddha, all enlightened beings in my sphere of influence will be so filled with light that even their bodies will seem to glow, just like the light from a divine thunderbolt reflected in hundreds of sparkling diamonds of exquisite beauty. (26)
13. After I become a Buddha, the number of beings who enter my sphere of influence will grow to infinity. (144)
14. After I become a Buddha, those enlightened beings in may sphere of influence who require further learning and teaching will be guaranteed of receiving the complete and perfect knowledge they seek. (30)
15. After I have become a Buddha, all those who enter my sphere of influence, be they human or be they divine, will develop sublime hearing enabling them to understand Dharma clearly and to retain its truth forever. (7)
16. After I have become a Buddha, all the enlightened beings in my sphere of influence, will be able to read and recite the sutras with wisdom and eloquence. (25) 17. After I have become a Buddha, all the enlightened beings in my sphere of influence will be able to hear the Dharma at the right time and in the right manner needed to lead them directly to their goal of Supreme Enlightenment. (46)
18. After I have become a Buddha, all those in my sphere of influence, be they human or be they divine, will be endowed with all the marks of perfection typical of a true Buddha. (21)
19. After I have become a Buddha, all those who have entered my sphere of influence, be they human or be they divine, will be equal in every way, even if common language does continue to use such terms as ‘human’ and ‘divine’ as if they were two different things. (4)
20. After I have become a Buddha, all beings who enter my sphere, be they human or be they divine, will be equal in every way so that there will be no discrimination based on colour. They will all shine with the golden glow of enlightenment. (3)
21. After I become a Buddha, all those who enter my sphere of influence, be they human or be they divine, will be capable of sharing the thoughts of all who live under a Buddha’s influence. They will all share a common bond with each other. (8)
22. After I become a Buddha, the enlightened beings in my sphere of influence will see all other Buddha spheres reflected in mine like millions of sparkling jewels. (40)
23. After I have become a Buddha, those who enter my sphere of influence, be they human or be they divine, will be acceptable to any other Buddha, because my powers will help them develop their virtues to perfection. (5)
24. After I have become a Buddha, all those in my sphere of influence will have the power to recognize a Buddha when they meet one. They will also be able to enjoy other Buddhas and other Buddha Spheres of Influence.
25. After I have become a Buddha, the enlightened beings in my sphere of influence will join their merit to mine. They will be able to worship the Buddhas in any way they wish. (24)
26. After I become a Buddha, all beings who attain enlightenment, who have the true mind of sincere, faithful trust in the power of my Buddhahood will at the descent of death be surrounded by a host of Bodhisattvas. (19)
27. After I have become a Buddha, all beings in my sphere of Buddhahood become Bodhisattvas. They will never be outdated or flawed. (38)
28. After I have become a Buddha, all beings in my sphere of influence will attain a level of accomplishment equal to the most advanced monks freed of all fetters that once bound them to ignorance, hatred and greed. (39)
29. After I become a Buddha, all those in my sphere of influence, be they human or be they divine, will automatically attain the stage of maturity called ‘the truly assured’ in which it is impossible not to attain great, perfect Nirvana. (11)
30. After I become a Buddha, all those in my sphere of influence, be they human or be they divine, will be able to develop insights into the pattern of their rebirths, however numerous.
31. After I become a Buddha, all beings in my sphere of influence will not be obsessed with the idea of ownership, not even in regard to their own bodies. (10)
32. After I become a Buddha, those in my sphere of influence will experience an epiphany so great that the world will appear visually transformed and aurally transformed. The will able to hear great music being played continually. (33)
33. After I become a Buddha, all those in my sphere of beauty will be so overjoyed at the prospect of becoming enlightened that they will envision a giant Bodhi Tree of noble beauty. (28)
34. After I become a Buddha, all those who have entered my sphere of influence will have their perceptions of the world sharpened so that they will be inspired by the newfound beauty and splendour to follow the path of the Dharma. For example, the scent of incense alone will induce them to dedicate themselves even more to the Buddhas. The same will happen at the sight of dwellings, towers, streams, ponds and trees, or the scent of flowers. Their splendour will appear to be more beautiful than anything else conceivable by gods or humans because all objects of Earth and sky will reflect Dharma like light reflected in countless jewels. (32)
35. After I become a Buddha, the enlightened beings in my sphere of influence may choose to remain there and develop their own ways of adoring and serving the Buddhas. The Buddhas will approve of them and accept them. (24)
36. After I become a Buddha, all beings n my sphere of influence, by they human of be they divine, will attain Buddhahood in no longer than one lifetime. These same beings can choose to return to this world armed with Dharma and devoted to the welfare of all beings. They will be able to free any being from karmic suffering and point the way to Nirvana. Being true Bodhisattvas, they will be devoted to all Buddhas and practice the virtues of a true Buddha, like the Buddha Samantabhadra, for example. (22)
37. After I have become a Buddha, all beings everywhere will gain such virtue form merely hearing my name and title that they will be delivered from karmic suffering. Further they will gain the peace of mind that comes form the deep insight into the Dharma teaching of the ‘oneness of all life.’ They will therefore be protected from the effects of evil karma and in addition be able to protect others from the effects of evil karma. (34)
38. After I have become a Buddha, all beings in my sphere of influence, be they human or be they divine, will be respected by all because when they hear my name they will devote themselves to me with joy and the true mind of sincere, faithful trust. They will be followers of the Way of the Bodhisattva and will without fail attain Supreme Enlightenment. ( 37)
39. After I have become a Buddha, hearing my name and will bring all seekers of enlightenment, no matter who or where, to a stage of called non-retrogression, whereby they are firmly fixed on the path to Buddhahood and can not fail to reach complete and perfect enlightenment.(47)
40. After I have become a Buddha, all beings in the universe, who hear my name and title, will be moved to cultivate the virtues of good karma. (36)
41. After I have become a Buddha, the very sound of my name and title will not only cause all beings to cultivate the virtues of good karma, but also to develop the true mind of faithful, sincere trust in the power of my Buddhahood to fulfill their wish to enter my Buddha Sphere of Influence. (20)
42. After I have become a Buddha, aspirants in other Buddha Spheres of Influence will be strengthened in their practice of the Way of the Bodhisattva when they but hear my name and title. They will rejoice and in their happiness be moved to cultivate the virtues of good karma. (44)
43. After I have become a Buddha, the aspirants in other Buddha Spheres of Influence will, upon hearing my name and title, attain the stage of development called ‘equal Bodhi’ from which they will reach perfect enlightenment without fail. They will also develop the ability to recognize a Buddha when they see one. (45)
44. After I have become a Buddha, hearing my name and title will cause all seekers of enlightenment, no matter who or where, to develop inexhaustible powers of endurance so that they will never fail in their commitment to the Triple Treasure: the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha. They will reach the stage of non-retrogression and deep wisdom and reach Buddhahood without fail.(48)
45. After I have become a Buddha, hearing my name and title will help those in other Buddha Spheres of Influence reach the state of mind of emancipation and devotion. They will be able to concentrate their mind in one single thought moment on the Buddhas. This state of mind will become a permanent feature of their mentality. (42)
46. After I have become a Buddha, hearing my name and title will prevent anyone from failing to attain perfect enlightenment just because of physical defects. (41)
47. After I become a Buddha, all females anywhere in the universe will attain the true mind of sincere, faithful trust when they hear my name and title. They will rejoice and attain the mind of enlightenment. No female will fail to attain enlightenment just because of her gender. ( 35)
48. After I have become a Buddha, all seekers of enlightenment will be protected form failure, when they hear my name and title. They will be reborn into a good and noble family that lives by the Dharma. ( 43)

Sensei Ulrich

September 7, 2000

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