Maitri for all
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Maitri for all

Power of prostration and taking vows

One should use logic to defeat the logic or use a thorn to remove the thorn. Every day one is bathed in a rich layer of socio-historical, cultural and linguistic units of information that subtly change our outlook (sometimes for good and sometimes for bad) and thereby our deep psychological structure. We carry hate, immense hurt and all negative defilement in our heart, which let us encounter only such things thereby throwing us into an infinite regress of endless spiral. Karmic spiral. What we learned over years takes a long time to unlearn: but we can always start the process of unlearning. We learn something by repeating it. Till we grasp the essence. So to unlearn we should do so too!

What is a better way to start the new year with taking some basic vows and prostrating 108 times in repentance? Vows are linguistic highways that guide the inner psyche which we can’t touch directly. We need language to defeat the language and rewire our brain. Like how they taught us rhymes and numbers in childhood by repeating everyday, so we shall repeat these vows and prostration.

Prostrating 108 times turns out to be a good workout both for brain and body. Good thing for those who don’t believe God, you are not prostrating to please a higher deity but to clear our own trash we have gathered from many many lives.

1. With sincere devotion, I go for refuge in the Buddha.
2. With sincere devotion, I go for refuge in the Dharma.
3. With sincere devotion, I go for refuge in the Sangha.
4. I bow in repentance for being ignorant of where I came from and unmindful of where I am headed.
5. I bow in repentance for being ignorant of correct situation, relationship, and function.
6. I bow in repentance for having neglected my original nature.
7. I bow in repentance for having taken this body for granted.
8. I bow in repentance for having taken my ancestors for granted.
9. I bow in repentance for having taken my parents for granted.
10. I bow in repentance for having taken my relatives for granted.
11. I bow in repentance for being unmindful of all those who have contributed to my learning and education.
12. I bow in repentance for being unmindful of all those who have grown, prepared, and provided my nutrition.
13. I bow in repentance for being unmindful of all those who have made and provided my clothing.
14. I bow in repentance for being unmindful of all those who have built and provided my shelter.
15. I bow in repentance for manipulating people for my own selfish needs.
16. I bow in repentance for having ignored the effects of my misdeeds on others.
17. I bow in repentance to eradicate Karma accumulated in the past, present, and future.
18. I bow in repentance to all those whom I have harmed through anger or rage.
19. I bow in repentance to all those whom I have harmed with words.
20. I bow in repentance to all those whom I have harmed through arrogance.
21. I bow in repentance to all those whom I have harmed through greed.
22. I bow in repentance to all those whom I have harmed through jealousy.
23. I bow in repentance to all those whom I have harmed through acts of violence.
24. I bow in repentance to all those whom I have harmed through attachment to possessions.
25. I bow in repentance to all those whom I have harmed through attachment to likes-and-dislikes.
26. I bow in repentance to all those whom I have alienated through thought, word, and deed.
27. I bow in repentance to all those whom I harmed through gossip, slander, and unmindful speech.
28. I bow in repentance to all those whom I have looked down upon.
29. I bow in repentance for my fearful thoughts, words, and deeds.
30. I bow in repentance for all my hypocritical thought, words and deeds.
31. I bow in repentance for harming other beings through my unmindful, materialistic over-consumption.
32. I bow in repentance to all sentient beings that I have harmed or killed for entertainment and pleasure.
33. I bow in repentance for conceiving of this world through the lens of my ego.
34. I bow in repentance to all those I have harmed through attachment to my thinking.
35. I bow in repentance to all those I have harmed through foolish or unnecessary speech.
36. I bow in repentance to all those I have injured by engaging in relationships based on self-gratification.
37. I bow in repentance for all thoughts, words, and deeds that create attachment.
38. I bow in repentance for having believed that only what I saw was correct.
39. I bow in repentance for having believed that only what I heard was correct.
40. I bow in repentance for having believed that only what I smelled was correct.
41. I bow in repentance for having believed that only what I tasted was correct.
42. I bow in repentance for having believed that only what I touched was correct.
43. I bow in repentance for every action born from I-my-me mind.
44. I bow in repentance for not seeing clearly the interconnectedness of all life forms.
45. I bow in repentance for having disregarded the Earth — our only home.
46. I bow in repentance for unmindfully polluting the air.
47. I bow in repentance for unmindfully polluting the rivers, lakes and oceans.
48. I bow in repentance for unmindfully polluting the meadows, hills and mountains.
49. I bow in repentance for unmindfully destroying the plants and trees.
50. I bow in repentance for a lifestyle built on the suffering of other forms of life.
51. I bow in repentance for discriminating between the rich and poor in my choice of relations.
52. I bow in repentance for discriminating between high and low, the superior and the inferior.
53. I bow in repentance for discriminating between “good” and “bad.”
54. I bow in repentance for seeing this world based on absolute “right” or “wrong.”
55. I bow in repentance for my lack of compassion for the sick, injured or those trapped by addiction.
56. I bow in repentance for my lack of compassion for those suffering from depression, anxiety or mental illness.
57. I bow in repentance for my lack of compassion for the poor and impoverished.
58. I bow in repentance for my lack of compassion for those who are stubborn or difficult to work with.
59. I bow in repentance for my lack of compassion for the lonely or grieving.
60. I bow in repentance for my lack of compassion for those in trouble with the law.
61. I bow in gratitude for going for refuge in the Buddha.
62. I bow in gratitude for going for refuge in the Dharma.
63. I bow in gratitude for going for refuge in the Sangha.
64. I bow in gratitude for coming to realize that all beings are interconnected.
65. I bow in gratitude for coming to realize that all beings can communicate and sympathize with one another.
66. I bow in gratitude for coming to realize that all beings live in accordance with Universal Law.
67. I bow in gratitude for coming to realize that all beings have the same True Nature.
68. I bow in gratitude for coming to see the beauty of this world.
69. I bow in gratitude for coming to know the wonders of all life forms.
​70. I bow in gratitude for coming to hear the pure beauty of the birds’ singing.
71. I bow in gratitude for coming to know the spiritual sound of the wind.
72. I bow in gratitude for coming to hear the bubbling music of the streams.
73. I bow in gratitude for coming to feel the energy of the changing seasons.

  • I bow in gratitude for coming to feel the energy of new life in Spring.
  • I bow in gratitude for coming to feel the heat of the Summer sun.
  • I bow in gratitude for coming to feel the chill of the Autumn air.
  • I bow in gratitude for coming to feel the stillness of Winter.

74. I bow in gratitude for coming to see the beauty of a shimmering rainbow.
75. I bow in gratitude for coming to see that true peace of mind comes from being in harmony with Nature.
76. I bow in gratitude for coming to see that Nature is Universal Law.
77. I bow in gratitude for coming to see that Nature is our Great Teacher.
78. I bow in gratitude for coming to see that compassion is the greatest blessing of all.
79. I bow in gratitude for coming to see that a heart filled with hatred and resentment is the greatest misfortune of all.
80. I bow in gratitude for coming to see that selfless love is the greatest power of all.
81. I vow to live in the embrace of the Buddha.
82. I vow to live in accordance with the Dharma.
83. I vow to follow the teachings of the Sangha.
84. I vow to be generous in all that I do.
85. I vow to always act with a calm mind.
86. I vow to cultivate contentment.
87. I vow to always speak only that which is kind, true and useful.
88. I vow to speak forthrightly.
89. I vow to always offer complements when speaking of others.
90. I vow to always view others as equals.
91. I vow to always be loving toward others.
92. I vow to be helpful in all that I do.
93. I vow to be humble in all that I do.
94. I vow to do my best in all my endeavours.
95. I vow to be honest in everything I do.
96. I vow to be positive in everything I do.
97. I vow to live with a compassionate heart.
98. I vow to always have a bright and happy heart.
99. I bow as a prayer so that all beings may live in peace.
100. I bow as a prayer for an end to all wars.
101. I bow as a prayer for an end to poverty.
102. I bow as a prayer for an end to all diseases.
103. I vow to always practice the disciplines of the Bodhisattva.
104. I vow to cultivate metaphysical wisdom.
105. I vow to never regress in practice.
106. I vow to respect all of my teachers.
107. I vow to meet the Buddhas who always appear in this world, from moment to moment.
108. I vow to transfer all merits accumulated through compassionate action to all beings in the ten directions.

If you enjoyed reading this article, and wish to read more and practice, I humbly suggest you to start with “37 practices of bodhisatva”. Here is the hand-book I created with relavant and appealing images. Here is a longer version of it with commentaries and explanations. Right view has a lot to do with compassion. You can also find many beautiful articles related to Buddhism in tricycle. May all sentient beings be free from physical and mental suffering!

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Shyam Wuppuluri FRSA

Shyam Wuppuluri FRSA

Independent researcher - Interdisciplinary approaches @ Foundations of science. Albert Einstein Fellow 2020. Member of Brazilian academy of philosophy.