30 minute meditation journal

05 December 2017 7:32 PM
Evening sit.
Ive read others here saying they chant the verse of atonement, so I looked it up on treeleaf.
 All evil karma ever created by me since of Old

On account of beginning-less greed, anger and ignorance 

Born of my body, mouth and mind 

Now I atone for them all.

The last line resonates with me. So I’ve added that to my little ritual before I sit. I also found the four vows.

This is giving me problems, because it makes no sense to me. It contradicts all the Buddha’s teachings. Maybe someone could explain it to me. It’s perplexing me.


Hi Paul, the 4 vows can be explored in minute detail until it makes your headache. On my summer retreat we had 4 talks each one taking each line in turn, going into them in much more detail than I ever had and much more than I can remember. I'm not a teacher so I'm just going to give a short partial explanation but I'll include a couple of links at the bottom that might be of interest if you want to explore them further.

If we take the vows literally they are impossible to achieve and so are a more of an intention than an expectation - we can never personally solve everyone's suffering, we will always have some desires, we will never exhaust practice. But we can try without beating ourselves up for what we perceive as our failure.  From another perspective there are no separate beings needing saved and nothing to attain. However even if we believe /know this to be ultimately true we live in a world where we can see suffering and feeling connected to the world makes it hard to stand by and see suffering and not respond. Some of the apparent contradictions come from these different perspectives and them co-existing. I've probably only confused things so hopefully the links will make more sense!

Sometimes it isn't essential to understand something for it to strike a chord with us. If it does, then you could just try incorporating it from time to time. If it doesn't, given that you sit at home, there is no need to use it at all.

This link has a very short explanation of various zen chants and vows including the 4 vows and the Verse of Atonement.

This is a talk by an American zen teacher Vanessa Goddard  https://zmm.mro.org/teachings/four-bodhisattva-vows/  I often find it easier to listen to audio talks and let the words wash over me. 

This link is to the transcript of a talk by Gil Frondsale who was a zen monk and is now a vipassana teacher http://www.chzc.org/Fronsdal.htm

Kokai (Sarah)
11 months ago
Thank you Sarah, I will explore the links, and reread your explanations.
Paul V
11 months ago
If it doesn't make sense that is my fault not you not getting it!
Kokai (Sarah)
11 months ago