The fifth of the Five Guidelines is the Ten Great Vows of Samantabhadra in the Avatamsaka
Sutra. These vows lead to the attainment of Buddhahood and are the practice of the
highest-level bodhisattvas who have freed themselves from delusion. The Ten Great
Vows are to:
Respect all Buddhas
Make offerings extensively
Repent karmic obstacles
Rejoice at others’ meritorious deeds
Request the turning of the Dharma wheel
Request the Buddha to remain in this world
Constantly follow the Buddha’s teachings
Accommodate all sentient beings
Dedicate all merits universally
Only when we apply the Three Conditions, the Six Harmonies, the Threefold Learning,
and the Six Paramitas in our daily lives are we truly learning Buddhism, emulating
bodhisattvas, and beginning to resemble a bodhisattva.
Bodhisattvas cannot attain Buddhahood only by practicing the Six Paramitas. They
also need to practice nianfo and to seek rebirth in the Western Pure Land. In the
practice of nianfo, we can achieve either Constant Mindfulness of Amitabha Buddha
or One Mind Undisturbed in Mindfulness (One Mind Undisturbed at the phenomenal level)
but we cannot achieve One Mind Undisturbed in Enlightenment (One Mind Undisturbed
at the level of noumenon).
In other words, we have to move beyond the foundation of the Six Paramitas and progress
to the next level of practice: the Ten Great Vows of Samantabhadra taught in the
This Dharma door leads to attainment of One Mind Undisturbed in Enlightenment and
attainment of Buddhahood. It is practiced by Dharmakaya Mahasattvas. Therefore, it
is the last step of our cultivation and cannot be reached by skipping the previous
steps. Venerable Master Chin Kung has said that if we do not succeed in our practice
of the Six Paramitas, we are not even close to practicing the Ten Great Vows.
The distinctive feature of the practice of Samantabhadra is that this bodhisattva
has a mind as broad as the universe. As a result, each of his ten vows is ultimate
and perfect in itself.