In the Visualization Sutra, we learn how of how Queen Vaidehi, suffering from overwhelming family misfortune, bitterly said to the Buddha, “Life is filled with suffering. Is there not a place without suffering? I wish to live in such a world.” Through his extraordinary abilities, Shakyamuni Buddha displayed for the queen all the worlds of all the Buddhas in the universe.
She vowed to be born into Amitabha Buddha’s Western Pure Land, the world of Ultimate Bliss and requested that Shakyamuni Buddha teach her how to accomplish this.
He taught her to practice the Three Conditions explaining that they were “the true causes of pure activities of all Buddhas of the three time periods.” Therefore, they are a crucial part and foundation of our practice. This important statement tells us that all Buddhas of the three time periods of the past, the present, and the future, rely on the Three Conditions as the foundation for their cultivation and attainment of Buddhahood.
The First Condition is:
1. Be filial to and provide and care for parents
2. Be respectful to and serve teachers
3. Be compassionate and not kill any living beings
4. Cultivate the Ten Virtuous Conducts. Physically, we are to refrain from killing, stealing, and sexual misconduct. Verbally, we are to refrain from false speech, harsh speech, divisive speech, and enticing speech. Mentally, we are to refrain from giving rise to greed, anger, and ignorance.
The Second Condition is:
5. Take the Three Refuges
6. Abide by the precepts
7. Behave in a dignified, appropriate manner
The Third Condition is:
8. Generate the Bodhi mind
9. Believe deeply in causality
10. Study and chant the Mahayana sutras
11. Encourage others to advance on the path to enlightenment