The Bodhisattva Vows are the foundation of all Dharma training. With a developed ethical base, much of the emotional conflict and stress that we experience are resolved, allowing commitment and more conscious choice.
The Bodhisattva Vows are not commands or fixed rules. They are expression of the
intention to avoid wrongdoing, cultivate virtue, and purify the mind. The Vows
are general guidelines to be followed in order to uphold good relations with
our fellow sentient beings, human and non-human alike. The underlying principle
is non-exploitation of ourselves or others.
In the Great Middle Way, Bodhisattva Vows are divided into four sections.
The Refuge Vows:
To the Guru, the Gate of all attainment, I go for refuge.
To the Buddha, the unfailing Protector, I go for refuge.
To the Dharma, the perfect Way, I go for refuge.
To the Sangha, the dependable Companions, I go for refuge.
The Four Fundamental Vows:
Beings are numberless. I vow to save them all.
Delusions are inexhaustible. I vow to end them all.
Dharma gates are boundless. I vow to open them all.
The Great Middle Way is unsurpassable. I vow to become it for the benefit of all.
The Threefold Pure Vows:
In all circumstances, I will embrace and sustain Right Conduct.
In all circumstances, I will observe the teachings of the Dharma.
I will perform all acts for the benefit of all beings in loving kindness.
The Ten Major Vows:
I undertake to abstain from harming living beings.
I undertake to abstain from taking that which is not given.
I undertake to abstain from sexual misconduct.
I undertake to abstain from false, harsh, and divisive speech.
I undertake to abstain from use of substances that cloud the mind and lead to
I undertake to abstain from pointing out the faults of others.
I undertake to abstain from self-praise and the blaming of others.
I undertake to abstain from giving charity resentfully.
I undertake to abstain from harboring anger or ill will toward others.
I undertake to abstain from abandoning any sentient being.