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by Translated into Chinese by Pramiti (Approx. 656 - 706, Tang Dynasty)
English Translation: Miao Guang

I vow to gain the fruits of attainment now
to become the precious king,
Who shall return to deliver sentient beings
numbering as many as the sands of the Ganges;
I dedicate this body and mind to the worlds
as numerous as dust-motes,
Such is called repaying Buddha’s kindness.
I prostrate in request for the Buddha to be my witness,
Of my vow to be the first to enter
the evil world of the Five Turbidities;
Shall there be one unenlightened sentient being,
then I will never attain nirvana in this place.

── from Shurangama Sutra

by Xing’an (1686 - 1734, Qing Dynasty)
English translation: Miao Guang

The most supreme amongst the essential elements to entering the Way is the making of vows; the making of vows is foremost in the extensive and important task of cultivation.

Once vows are made, sentient beings can be ferried to the other shore; once there is initiative, Buddhahood will be reached.

It is said in the Avatamsaka Sutra, “To engage in virtuous cultivation, yet having forgotten about the mind of great vows, is called unwholesome karma.”

Searching for the path to Buddhahood in every thought and wishing to save all sentient beings, knowing that the path to Buddhahood is a long and difficult one, yet never having any fear or thought of turning back;

Seeing that there will be great hardships to save all sentient beings, yet never becoming tired of such a task; these are called the “true vows.”

Like climbing a mountain full of sharp and flesh-cutting blades, eventually the peak will be reached. Like climbing up a nine-story pagoda, the top will be reached at last.

Do not regard a small thought as useless; if the mind is sincere, then matters will be realized. If vows are broad, then one’s actions will be deep and effective.

Emptiness may be vast, but the mind is even bigger; diamonds may be strong, but the power of vows are even stronger.

── from Xing’an Fashi Yulu (Records of Venerable Xing’an)