“And ‘I vow to attain buddhahood, no matter how transcendent’ means always to practice with humility, to respect all beings, to avoid attachments, to give rise to prajna from your own awareness, and to put an end to delusions. It is through self-realization that buddhahood is attained. This is the power of making vows”
The Platform Sutra, pg 43
Why bother, I have been asked, and ask myself, to become a monk?
I believe that vows are important and have made a few. And time passes and then something new pops up and this vow becomes a bit less important and this other vow is the new shiny.
Or although I have made a vow to do x, I am tired and worn out and just want to relax and play a computer game and let the world slide by for a few hours. I can pick it back up tomorrow.
So for me, this vow to become a monk (instead of a vow to study Buddhism or having a better practice) is a motivator. Believe it or not, sometimes I don’t really want to listen to someone’s problems. Or give up my time to share with you. Or think the best solution to an issue is to just ‘Go Off’ on someone. Or that piece of trash I just threw at the garbage can and missed…screw it, someone else will pick it up, and if they don’t, it is just one piece of trash…
In all these situations, I have a voice now that says ‘Is that what a monk would do?’ and it gives me a bit more umph to do the needful. To practice a right action. To reinforce the power of a vow.