Refresh The Vow – Daily

This morning I had an email from a woman who, for awhile, came to the Priory in Edmonton back in 2006. It was fun to know her. Sometimes we would email back and forth during the day. Quick fire question-and-answer kind of emails. She clearly had an inquiring mind and a deep wish to delve below the surface of life. One subject that would come up was the use of harsh language/cursing since that was on the table, so to speak.

In the email she said, (Here is) A blog entry w/ no cursing: Soon I’m going to try not doing any cursing for a whole week. I think it’ll be quite challenging. ;) I’d be interested in your thoughts (on what I have written).

All my vows so far have had to deal with right speech. I think it’s a good place to start as far as self-improvement goes. Thoughts and speech do affect mood and behavior. And thinking about what comes out of your mouth leads to thinking about what goes into your brain, what you eat, what you surround yourself with, what you’re doing. At least it has for me.

Quoted from 2nd Vow Update, on K’vitsh.

I’m glad to be able to link to this post…and you should know that cursing is included in many of the other posts and comments on the above site. By linking to this particular post I’m sending a message of support. It is no easy matter to clean up ones language and in the process make some major changes generally. (update: slips do happen….)

The matter of making vows and promises has been coming to mind during the day. Of course vow is linked in to ones ongoing wish and intention to keep true to the moral and ethical Buddhist Precepts. Several of those precepts deal with speech; ones (right) relationship with others – and oneself.

I will write more in response to the above and on vow. In the mean time we all know vows don’t last. They need to be renewed. In the monastery we do that formally each morning with a verse. The ending sentence goes: I wish to unfold the Buddhas teaching that I may help all living things.

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7 thoughts on “Refresh The Vow – Daily”

  1. Thank you for this post. I’ve had a language barrier for a long time and haven’t started to acknowledge it until recently.
    I’ve mentally blinked very very rapidly when the thought entered that what I need to do is make a vow and then keep it foremost in my mind until it isn’t anymore and then make it again, and that way was the only way I was going to enter into this change. Thanks for the reminder and the prod.
    With bows in gratitude,
    Helmut

  2. For me such an important line: “to unfold the Buddha’s Teaching”…this has always made me think that the Teaching is not only unfolding, but also my vow is unfolding and through the vow I’m unfolding into ever more openness and clarity..with some fold back(s) sometimes :0)…but the unfolding is there…and that’s why for me a vow is never permanent…it is always unfolding into the next vow to be taken and unfold of itself. It reminded me of doing origami with my niece, most of the times the “folds” weren’t right and we had to go back and start again…and sometimes the “folds” were just right and we had something beautiful in our hands! I especially liked the origmai lotuses…difficult, but when done correctly beautiful. And the process of getting it right was also a joy. Unfolding…

  3. Ah HA! So I see this business of vow/promise and the meaning of those words, in terms of what we call practice, to be fertile ground for exploring.

    I just looked up Promise in Wordweb: A verbal commitment by one person to another agreeing to do (or not to do) something in the future. It was ‘in the future’ that caught my eye Jack. The lure of ‘future’. I see what you are saying about the ‘unfolding’, for sure, however – deep breath – Uh! and how to talk about this?

    A flower unfolds up towards the sun, it is drawn to do so it being the nature of the flower to unfold. It is our nature to do the same, no petals though! Sorry. Nice as they might be! The flower is not conscious of unfolding. On a deep level there is no journey for us, no steady awareness of unfolding over time. We are home. The ‘journey’, the unfolding so to speak is to know that this is so. So much struggle, so much strife. Too much upset, so sad.

    OK, I’ll talk some more about Vow and promise. Just as long as it is understood that there are levels of discourse and I’m attempting to point to what sitting quietly is, at the heart of that. Talk and write all I like, no explanation will ever be enough.

  4. Here’s me speaking to Helmut. We know each other and I’m drawn to speak to him directly. If what I say rings for you, good.

    Trust the intention in your heart. It doesn’t go away. The renewing is the returning to ‘just sitting’, while sitting or no. Trust that. Foremost in you mind needs to be the allowing of the mental excitements/wishes and promises, and the like, to waft away like thistledown.

    And still one gets on and sweeps the floor.

  5. ….yes and…

    I have been thinking about certainty. There can be a difficulty with what we regard as certainty. You know it says in the Scripture of Great Wisdom, “…no knowledge, no attainment”. If one can actually, in practice, sweep the floor – great! It is no simple matter to _just_ sweep. We tend to feel there is more to it, should be more to it, that there is something missing.

    Not getting at you Norman. Just thinking out loud really.

  6. This may not be intelligible. I’ve had tethered balloons (some with very long tethers indeed), because they were still “mine” they could only waft so far. Your thistledown image went to the heart. I didn’t know I was gazing downward. Your reply has shifted my outlook. Thank you!
    Helmut

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