Listener question: where is the Vow?

Inspired by a conversation amongst fans on our Facebook page, we take up the issue of vows in Buddhism. Obviously, we need to start with how vows are understood specifically in the Mahayana context, especially Bodhisattva vows. But these aren’t the only types of vows in Buddhism, and we discuss different types of vows. Some are almost future tense (things we’re promising to do) whereas other are definitely past-tense — especially the vows that Dharmakara Bodhisattva made before he became Amitabha Buddha. These vows set up a karmic mechanism by which all sentient beings are able to enter the bodhisattva path and attain Buddhahood. So, where is the vow? It’s the question we try and tackle in this first episode of 2010.