“So what do the vows of Tathagatas have to do with me?” some people may wonder. Well, this is one of those parts that takes the perspective of “follow the example of the people who’ve already got there.”
If you want to be rich, then do the things rich people do, at your own scale. (Fwiw, these are things like not spending too large a portion of your income on things like vehicles, saving up money for emergencies, avoiding debt, etc.)
If you want to be healthy, then look at the habits of healthy people and/or athletes. What are they doing? You don’t have to exercise as much (who could?!), but you might notice that they get plenty of sleep, go to bed and get up at the same time every day, avoid sugary food, and so on. These are things that most anyone could follow along with, regardless of their current health.
Likewise the understanding and awareness of awakened people. You don’t have to already be there; the most important thing in the beginning is to raise the intention to get there! This vow also reminds us of where we can find the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. We don’t have to travel to far away lands or wait until after we die – they all can be found within us, right now. Just knowing this, just being familiar with this idea, is an incredible first step.
The Ten Vows made by all Tathagatas (Vow 3)
Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha
all live within my mind,
I vow to always listen to them.