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Nurture the heart of respect

for all beings,

regardless of form or nature.

The first of Samantabhadra’s Ten Great Vows is “Respect all Buddhas.” That sounds easy; how could we not respect a Buddha! We need to better understand the word all.  “All Buddhas” are not just current Buddhas, but those of the future as well. Who are these future Buddhas? All sentient beings. Since all sentient beings have Buddha-nature, all will become Buddhas. Now let’s go one step further: all insentient beings have Dharma-nature. Dharma-nature is the same as Buddha-nature. So all beings, sentient and insentient, have the same nature. How do we show our respect to such diverse beings? To sentient beings—human and animal—we offer fearlessness and friendship. Non-sentient beings, those objects we come into contact with, we care for in a fitting manner, keeping them clean and in order. We thus appropriately respect all beings: sentient and insentient, regardless of form or nature.

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