The Twelve Vows

The text of the Twelve Vows are based on the English translation by Livia Kohn as printed in The Taoist Experience: An Anthology (Chinese Philosophy & Culture).

1. I will study the perfected Sutras that set forth the Divine Law and open the liberation and salvation for all. I will always maintain a strong determination for the Way of Light. I vow to rise to the status of a great sage now and in the future.

2. I will be constant in my practice of loving kindness and compassion for all sentient beings. I vow that all will hear the Divine Law and that liberation will extend universally, without hindrance or distortion.

3. I will delight in the Sutras and the Teachings. I will study them widely so that my understanding deepens and to make my determination firm and enlightened. I will seek to assist in the liberation of Light and transform all those in ignorance and darkness.

4. I will respectfully receive the instructions of my Teacher. I will spread the Bright Teaching far and wide so that all sentient beings might enter the gate of the Divine Law and forever depart from their paths of blindness.

5. I will cause my faith to extend to the heights of mystery and wonder. I will venerate and honor the teachings and moral injunctions of the Buddha of Light. I will recite the Sutras morning and night without being lazy or remiss.

6. I will not labor for glory and fancy ornaments but break the chain of worldly causations. I will maintain a steadfast heart and resolved determination, so that all I undertake will be within the Divine Law.

7. I will diligently recite the Great Sutras. I vow that my goal in this life is for all sentient beings to find the Bridge of Liberation so that all in the future life may enjoy good karma.

8. I will always maintain a mind of friendliness, free from all perverseness or falsity. I will remain without envy and ill-will, without evil and jealousy.

9. I will represent the sages in all situations where things are given life. I will pass on the teachings of the Numinous Treasure uninterrupted and without lapse.

10. I will purify my body and keep the Ten Precepts. I will observe the fasts and establish merit. Thereby I will assist in helping the myriad beings to salvation and complete liberation.

11. I will read broadly in my studies and deeply penetrate the Divine Law contained in the Sutras. Thus I will assist in preparing the way for Celestial Beings to liberate all.

12. I will always maintain a good relationship with my Enlightened Teacher now and in the future. I will receive the Divine Teachings and spread them so that innumerable sentient beings may be liberated from the darkness.

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