As the Flower Adornment Sutra says, "If you forget your resolve upon Bodhi, your cultivation of even wholesome dharmas becomes the karma of demons." From this it is clear that forgetting our resolve upon Bodhi is even worse than having never made the resolve.
Thus we know that anyone wishing to study the Vehicle of the Thus Come Ones must first make the vows of a Bodhisattva without delay.
But resolves and vows are various and they have many aspects. If they are not pointed out, how can we know what direction to take? I will now explain them in general for the great assembly. There are eight aspects of a resolve: deviant, proper, true, false, great, small, partial, and complete.
What is meant by deviant, proper, true, false, great, small, partial, and complete? A cultivator's resolve is deviant if in his practice he does not investigate his own mind but knows only about external matters. Perhaps he seeks benefit and offerings, likes fame and a good reputation, is greedy for objects of pleasure in the present, or he may hope for reward in the future. A resolve such as this is deviant.
The bodhi resolve is like a seed, this because it is able to generate the growth of all of the Buddha dharmas.
The bodhi resolve is like rich field, this because it is able to sprout beings' white dharmas of pristine purity.
The bodhi resolve is like the great earth, this because it is able to support everything in the world.
The bodhi resolve is like pure water, this because it is able to rinse away all of the filth of the afflictions.
The bodhi resolve is like the great wind, this because, throughout the world, it remains unimpeded.
The bodhi resolve is like the clearly shining sun, this because it everywhere illuminates everyone in the entire world.
The bodhi resolve is like the full moon, this because it is perfectly full in the white dharmas of pristine purity.
The bodhi resolve is like a brightly shining lamp, this because it is able to emanate the light of the many different sorts of dharmas.
The bodhi resolve is like the clearly seeing eye, this because it everywhere perceives all of the safe and hazardous places.
The bodhi resolve is like the great road, this because it is causes everyone to succeed in entering the city of great wisdom.
Son of Good Family, just as vajra is not such as an inferior or broken vessel is capable of retaining, but rather is something that is only appropriately contained in a perfectly intact and supremely marvelous vessel, so too it is in the case of the vajra of the bodhi resolve, for it is such as cannot be contained in the vessel of any inferior being inclined toward miserliness, enviousness, breaking of precepts, indolence, erroneous thought, or ignorance. Nor can it be contained in the vessel of any being who has retreated from the especially supreme vows and become scattered and distracted by evil ideation, this because it cannot be retained in any other place aside from the jeweled vessel of the bodhisattva’s deep mind.
044 – Through Inspiring Bodhi Resolve, Superior Merit and Eighth Stage Are Assured
Through influencing countless beings
To generate the bodhi resolve,
One’s treasury of merit increases yet more
And one becomes bound to gain “the ground of immovability.”
Commentary by Bhikshu Vasitva:
This bodhisattva, using the four means of attraction, first draws
in beings and then, when they are ready, teaches them in a manner
inspiring them to seek the highest enlightenment.
It is in the nature of this bodhisattva’s ability to cause others to
resolve on enlightenment that it inevitably creates for him an inexhaustible
reserve of merit, inevitably causes his own unshakable
resolve to be renewed in life after life, and inevitably causes him to
eventually reach “the ground of immovability,” [the eighth of the
ten bodhisattva grounds].
On Generating the Resolve to Become a Buddha
By Arya Nāgārjuna
The Seven Bases for Generating Bodhi Resolve
Question: The initial generation of the resolve [to realize buddhahood]
is the root of all vows. What then is meant by this “initial
generation of resolve”?
The initial resolve to realize bodhi
May involve three or four types of causes and conditions.
When beings initially generate the resolve to realize bodhi, it may
find its origin in a set of three causal bases or else in a set of four
causal bases. Thus, when one combines them, one has a total of
seven causes and conditions associated with generating the resolve
to gain anuttara-samyak-saṃbodhi.
Question: What then are those seven?
In the case of the first, the Tathāgatas
May influence one to generate the resolve to realize bodhi.
Second, observing that the Dharma is on the verge of destruction,
One generates the resolve in order to guard and protect it.
In the case of the third, when in the midst of beings,
One feels compassion for them and therefore initiates the resolve.
As for the fourth, one may have a bodhisattva
Instruct one in generation of the resolve to realize bodhi.
Fifth, one may observe the conduct of a bodhisattva
And, in emulating him, one may generate the resolve.
Or alternatively, in the aftermath of an act of giving,
One may generate the resolve to realize bodhi based on that.
Or else, on seeing the characteristic signs of a buddha’s body,
One may feel delight and then proceed to generate the resolve.
Thus it may be on account of seven causes and conditions
That one generates the resolve to realize bodhi.
Among these seven categories of resolve, where a buddha has contemplated
the basis in one’s faculties and then instructed one to generate
the resolve, that will certainly result in success, this because
[the Buddhas] do not utter words which are in vain.
So, too, in instances where [such resolve is generated] on account
of revering and esteeming the Dharma of the Buddhas and being
motivated by the will to protect it.
So, too, in those instances where one has brought forth the mind
of great compassion for the sake of beings. These three categories
of resolve will definitely result in success, this because the roots [of
goodness] are deeply anchored.
In instances where other bodhisattvas have provided instruction
which has influenced one to generate the resolve, in instances
where one has observed the practices of bodhisattvas and thus generated
the resolve, in instances where one has generated the resolve
on account of an act of great giving, and in instances where one has
generated the resolve on account of directly seeing or merely hearing
about the physical marks [of a buddha]—most of these instances
of generating the resolve do not result in success.
Still, it may indeed be that there will be success in these latter