I know there was another thread about dedicating merit, but my question is different. That thread was actually about “sharing” merit, whereas I want to ask about directing the way one’s own merit ripens. In a way, this also relates to the efficacy of making a vow to achieve something across lifetimes. In the Jatakas, which aren’t EBTs, we have examples of the bodhisatta making vows to become a Buddha. These later texts, and a particular interpretation of the the Pali word bodhisatta, is believed to be the genesis of the Mahayana bodhisattva ideal. By “particular interpretation of the the Pali word bodhisatta” I’m referring to Ajahn Brahmali’s ongoing Noble Eightfold Path series, where he mentions that bodhisatta can be translated as “intent on awakening.” Bhante Sujato translates it this way. So, we don’t really see the bodhisatta path, as its traditionally been presented in either Theravada or Mahayana, in the EBTs. However, is there anything in the EBTs that says it’s impossible to dedicate one’s merit in a way that would result in something like the Mahayana bodhisattva path? Or that taking a vow similar to the bodhisattva vow to remain in samsara until all sentient being are liberated isn’t efficacious?
Ajahn Brahmali also mentions in the Noble Eightfold Path series that based on the places outside the Jatakas where the Buddha mentions his previous lives, there isn’t even any indication that the bodhisattva was on a “path” of any kind before his life as Gotama. So maybe I’ve just answered my own question, but I’d be interested in knowing if the EBTs ever address the efficacy of making vows or dedicating one’s own merit.