Author Topic: I made a VERY. Bad. Mistake. Advice appreciated.  (Read 1742 times)

Offline Reindeer

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I made a VERY. Bad. Mistake. Advice appreciated.
« on: April 23, 2016, 07:09:44 am »
I made a very careless mistake the other week and I would like a Buddhists perspective on this situation.

I am not a Buddhist, and I was invited to an empowerment clinic the other week by someone who recommended it to me because I have expressed interested in the faith. I made the blind mistake of going into it without doing my research, for which I blame myself entirely, and I didn't know what to expect from it, it was explained to me as this sort of "semi-fun fluffy thing" that you can do without too much commitment, like going to a Church sermon without actually having to confirm yourself to Jesus. I Went because of curiosity, and I figured that was fine for this particular gathering. Long story short, I ended up taking oaths without knowing they were oaths - I only got the translation after I chanted along. Because I didn't get them explained to me until after I took them, I simply assumed they were the sort of 'polite' things you might read when you attend a religious sermon or ritual ("God loves you, praise Jesus", whatever).... aaaaand I ended up taking the Botthisava oath. By mistake. Yay. (And, I'm ashamed to say, I actually took a couple more Before I gathered the courage to decline and leave the room. I did not finish the empowerment.)

I already have a religion of my own, with its own afterlife and code of conduct, and I don't see myself spending an eternal number of 'lives after this one' trying to liberate all living beings into a spiritual system that I do not Believe in. These two are compatible for the most part, but not entirely and I need to solve this to the best of my ability. What is the best course of action available to me this time? I have conflicting spiritual oaths now! It is literally impossible to uphold both of them! Wovs of any sort are very serious business in my own faith - and in Buddhism too, I assume - so this is a big deal to me.

Yes, again, my mistake. It was really, really dumb of me, I know that very well. But seeing as this is "after the fact", what I need to do now is trying to sort out this mess of a knot, if at all possible. If anyone can send me recommended reads on wovs in Buddhism, I'd appreciate that, as well.

Offline zafrogzen

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Re: I made a VERY. Bad. Mistake. Advice appreciated.
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2016, 11:54:48 am »
Vows are just words, nothing more, unless they mean something to you and you make an effort to uphold them. There's nobody out there who is paying attention to your vows and will punish you because of this.

The way something is viewed, so it becomes, at least for you. Lose the superstition.
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at

Offline Kevin

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Re: I made a VERY. Bad. Mistake. Advice appreciated.
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2016, 03:12:30 am »
An oath made without volition is not an oath. You said some words that do not have any meaning for you and you said them without your full willingness and knowledge of what they meant. You cannot be beholden to anyone or anything as a result of these words.


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