Eihei Koso Hotsuganmon
Eihei Dogen’s Verses for Arousing the Bodhisattva Vow
We vow with all beings, from this life on throughout countless lives, to hear the true dharma; that upon hearing it, no doubt will arise in us, nor will we lack in faith; that upon meeting it, we shall renounce worldly affairs and maintain the buddha-dharma; and that in doing so, the great earth and all living beings together will attain the buddha way.
Although our past evil karma has greatly accumulated, indeed being the cause and condition of obstacles in practicing the way, may all buddhas and ancestors who have attained the buddha way be compassionate to us and free us from karmic effects, allowing us to practice the way without hindrance.
May they share with us their compassion, which fills the boundless universe with the virtue of their enlightenment and teachings. Buddhas and ancestors of old were as we; we in the future shall be buddhas and ancestors. Revering buddhas and ancestors, we are one buddha and one ancestor; awakening bodhi-mind, we are one bodhi-mind. Because they extend their compassion to us freely and without limit, we are able to attain buddhahood and let go of the attainment. Therefore, the Chan Master Lung-ya said:
Those who in past lives were not enlightened will now be enlightened.
In this life, save the body which is the fruit of many lives.
Before buddhas were enlightened, they were the same as we.
Enlightened people of today are exactly as those of old.
Quietly explore the farthest reaches of these causes and conditions, as this practice is the exact transmission of a verified buddha. Confessing and repenting in this way, one never fails to receive profound help from all buddhas and ancestors.
By revealing and disclosing our lack of faith and practice before the buddha, we melt away the root of transgressions by the power of our confession and repentance. This is the pure and simple color of true practice, of the true mind of faith, of the true body of faith.