The term gan in Japanese can be translated as "vow" or as "prayer". In any case it is about intention. However, there is an aspect to the notion of vow that is impersonal. A vow, in the Buddhist sense, is not so much a personal effort as a realisation of one's given purpose in being alive. Often we are triggered into a realisation of this kind by encountering the faith that another person has just a Dharmakara was by the faith that Lokeshvararaja had in him. The great vow is not of our own making, but is simply other power operating in our life. By self power we set up short term goals that are only distantly related to this fundamental vow. As we have made lesser vows that prevent us from realising our great vow that, the great vow continues to elude us. however, at a deeper level the great vow is always functioning, like gravity, The great vow belongs to the universe. It is the real meaning of Buddha nature. It is "gan ga sa butsu" (=my vow become buddha). Buddha nature does not belong to you or I but it works through us and each time we surrender to it more completely we feel euphoric and full of faith because at that point we are freed from self power. Then we become capable of great effort because it is effortless effort, springing directly from the primordial source which is simply the real nature of our life.

["Gan ga sa butsu" is one line of the text "Life of no regret"]

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Comment by Mat Osmond on December 1, 2013 at 22:34

however, at a deeper level the great vow is always functioning, like gravity, The great vow belongs to the universe. It is the real meaning of Buddha nature. It is "gan ga sa butsu" (=my vow become buddha). Buddha nature does not belong to you or I but it works through us 

Thankyou for this Dharmavydia.

I like this description of Buddha nature very much. It reminds me of conversations here in the past, along the lines of simply removing the 'my' that tends to pre-fix that term.

How you say it here feels like good intuitive sense, and having found the role of vow and aspiration a bit opaque in Pureland in the the past, its helpful.

I came here to wish you all well in the Bodhi retreat. I hope it goes very well for you all. I will think of you this week, and like you all no doubt, will be thinking of Richard.

Comment by Satyavani Robyn on November 26, 2013 at 10:31

'Like gravity' - I like that. Namo Amida Bu. 

Comment by Robert McCarthy on November 25, 2013 at 21:51

Yesterday was a busy day. One very elderly woman I have been massaging regularly for a few years almost without exception begins our conversation by telling me that every night she prays to god to take her during the night and I make some comment about god having other ideas about her presence here.  This little ritual has a light side and also seems to reflect her deep sense of lack of usefulness as her life changes to encounters with few other people than 'service providers'.

It is such a privilege I don't always appreciate to find I am given such a role and when all sense of busy ness falls away peace is given with this feel of effortless effort. This comes to me when I simply notice my hands working scrubbing away some little part of a 'discomfort' that really will be endless. But where the two bodies meet some sort of process is simply happening and from that two minds find comfort and reassurance that our world is beneficent.

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