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 20170307《靜思妙蓮華》 擊法鼓度沉溺 (第1038集) (法華經•化城喻品第七)

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發表主題: 20170307《靜思妙蓮華》 擊法鼓度沉溺 (第1038集) (法華經•化城喻品第七)   周二 3月 07, 2017 12:00 am

20170307《靜思妙蓮華》 擊法鼓度沉溺 (第1038集)
(法華經•化城喻品第七)

 
苦因集諸眾生造諸惑業,而受生死逼迫沉溺苦輪,菩薩秉慈啟悲滅不善法,導向善處令彼道心安隱。
及餘一切眾,喜歎未曾有。我等諸宮殿,蒙光故嚴飾,今以奉世尊,惟垂哀納受!《法華經化城喻品第七》
願以此功德,普及於一切,我等與眾生,皆共成佛道!《法華經化城喻品第七》
爾時,五百萬億諸梵天王偈讚佛已,各白佛言:惟願世尊轉於法輪,多所安隱,多所度脫!時諸梵天王而說偈言。《法華經化城喻品第七》
爾時五百萬億諸梵天王偈讚佛已,各白佛言:至誠恭敬懇求受供。
惟願世尊,轉於法輪惟願慇切承蒙垂愛,施教法化度,勸請世尊轉大法輪。
佛初成正覺時,諸天湧現,請佛轉法輪,以表示虔敬;故以殷勤,請佛轉法輪化導有情,令到彼岸故。
多所安隱,多所度脫:安隱快樂,則得寂靜妙常。世事紛諍永息,則攀緣心斷。
時諸梵天王而說偈言:微分惑未盡,心所未得安穩,故未得究竟法度,未令脫離生死。
世尊轉法輪,擊甘露法鼓,度苦惱眾生,開示涅槃道。《法華經化城喻品第七》
度苦惱眾生,開示涅槃道:轉法輪,擊法鼓,皆為眾生開示天人寂滅之路。
世尊轉法輪,擊甘露法鼓:佛轉法輪,摧滅煩惱。能除焦熱,名為甘露。策警昏迷,名擊法鼓。甘露法鼓,使將死者聞其聲不死,已死者復甦。將死者凡夫;已死者闡提也。
 
【證嚴上人開示】

「苦因集諸眾生造諸惑業,而受生死逼迫沉溺苦輪,菩薩秉慈啟悲滅不善法,導向善處令彼道心安隱。」
 
苦因集諸眾生
造諸惑業
而受生死逼迫
沉溺苦輪
菩薩秉慈啟悲
滅不善法
導向善處
令彼道心安隱
 
苦啊!人生苦不苦呢?真的是苦。「苦」是因集,集是來自眾生,很多很多的眾生所造作的惑業。惑就是無明,很多的無明,來自於一念惑,就是道理不清楚,所以造作很多的不善事,因為這樣,所以受生死逼迫,沉溺在苦輪中。真的是生死由不得自己,如何來生?不知來自何處。什麼時候往生?也不知往何趣向。既不知將來,也不知趣向,在這當中,人與人之間愛恨情仇,愛的,偏偏要(有)別離的苦,恨的、怨的,偏偏聚集在一起,愛恨情仇啊!
 
造這些情,又是因為情而起了怨,起了仇,才互生互殺,人生矛盾的事情多多啊!很多。這麼多的矛盾、苦難事,都是由不得自己。這就是惑,無明、惑,所以受了生死逼迫,很苦,由不得自己這樣一直沉溺下去。所沉溺的地方,就是我們最不如意、最苦難、最不想要的地方,偏偏就是這個業力,這樣牽引去了,不由自己的苦啊!
 
看看從中東、北非,起了人禍開始,一直都是無窮盡,難民這樣受盡(苦難)。從陸地走的,成千上萬,多少人扶老攜幼,有的牽著,有的抱著,有的老者要扶,途中失去了生命,病苦折磨失去生命的也不少。為什麼他們就要這樣呢?嘆無奈!因為他們所生的國度容納不得,整天的炮火,整天的戰亂,留在他們的國家,死路一條,所以拚著生命的危險也要離開。從陸地走,從海路逃,陸地,半途喪失生命,水路,海上沉溺,死亡的人數不計其數啊!
 
有的人搭著火車偷渡,有的是用貨櫃車偷渡,天氣炎熱,還沒到達目的地,打開了貨櫃的門,已經幾十人都是,變成了一具一具的屍體。看,人生,誰願意無法生存在,他的出生地呢?誰願意在這種,不安定的國家逃亡,要經過這麼長的路,冒著生命危險,誰願意?很多很多都是不願意,不願意,但是不得不逃難。
 
這是不是因為眾生,有的眾生就是這樣迷惑,一念心喪心病狂,就造成了損害人道。只是為了一念瞋怒,累積了很多的恨意,到底是什麼事情這樣在累積?是什麼樣的欲望這樣在造成?天下已經算有千萬人,在受盡苦磨,這不就是苦集。這種苦,集來了種種的煩惱無明,造成這麼多殘酷人間的苦難,這就是惑業啊!
 
眾生的共業,眾生的惑,不知自己在受苦,也不知是為何,造成苦的源頭,那個點也不知為何?本來是一念的貪欲占有,造成了破碎,這種不得停歇下來的戰爭,造成這麼多的苦難。造苦的結果是什麼呢?結果人人還不是,在「沉溺苦輪」嗎?
 
所以說來,人生苦不苦呢?唯有需要菩薩,人間需要菩薩,「菩薩秉慈啟悲」,秉承著佛陀的慈悲教化,瞭解人間應該要用愛的力量來度化眾生,希望人人啟動了自心,對創造人間的福業,人人來造福。這需要教育,所以秉慈。
 
看看諸梵天王,從八方、上、下,這樣到佛的道場,就是要請佛轉法輪,希望大覺者能將人間這些苦難,如何起因的這個法,希望大覺者能清楚(指引),如何才能消滅這樣的苦難;這種集、與苦的源頭,希望如何能滅除苦。佛陀就開始,要如何來向大家分析,苦的來源就是因為集,集的源頭起自一念心。
 
「一切唯心造」。我們的心王、心所,人人的心所法,這念心,心王,它一起動念,緣著境界,吸收了一切欲;欲念一起動,就會造成了很多的占有,取不得就動瞋怒,怨恨情仇就這樣起了。苦難已造成,那就是要「啟悲」,啟動大家的悲心,好好地來「滅不善法」。不善法要如何滅呢?也是要從一念心。這念心需要大覺者來教化。
 
「滅不善法」,才有辦法將人人「導向善處,令彼道心安隱」。總是需要佛陀覺者轉法輪。要不然,眾生,一直善念減少了,惡念增長,善道眾生也減少了、諸天眾減少了,諸惡道眾生增長,這種眾生生死逼迫,沉溺苦輪,一直惡道眾生增長起來,所以需要菩薩。
 
菩薩就要不斷上求佛法,下要度苦難眾生,這就是菩薩上求下化。上求下化的菩薩,必定要秉承佛的大慈這個道理,聞法、說法,度化眾生,必定要入人群中。人群中的苦難,必定要啟動悲心,這念悲心啟動,才有辦法誓願力量入人群。要不然,大家認為,我獨善其身,我瞭解佛法,我自己斷生死,自了生死。這樣,芸芸眾生還是不斷,惡道增長,善道減少,這樣的人間就不堪設想了。
 
所以,佛就是為了人間的苦,才會來人間。無始劫以前,大通智勝佛,就是無始的無始以前,其實是我們人人本具,無始以來這一念善念,只是惑業使我們遠離了,無始劫的時間遠離了。現在就要仗釋迦牟尼佛,重新來啟動,所以,啟動悲心,我們要秉承佛的慈心,這樣來啟動悲心,來行菩薩道,入人群中去滅不善法。
 
人,人心偏差錯誤,我們若能用法入人群中,先拔苦,後為說法,這樣才有辦法將人導向善處,讓人人「就有道而正焉」,孔夫子說,人人,還是要將帶向有道,就是有道德的方向走。道,就是「明德」,那就是我們說的道心。我們人人要導向,我們的本性、道心,這條路走過去,他就安隱了,回歸到我們的真如本性。
 
法,就是這麼簡單,塵點劫無始以前,我們本來就有,只是迷失了。拉長了時間,現在我們就要,就釋迦牟尼佛所說的法,我們要用心信受,這樣我們才有辦法「就有道」,來正,來正我們的方向。「就有道而正焉」,這是孔子的話,在佛法是要引導向善處,能夠走入正道,在安穩的路上走。
 
若看到這段文,不由自己就會一直,想到那些難民,到底他們在路上走,安不安穩呢?方向正確嗎?這樣偷渡,未來的前途又是如何?真的是心很不忍。照顧得到的,約旦、土耳其,那個地方,他們逃到那個地方,我們知道那裡的人雖然是難民,還有人在關心,我們知道那裡有的人,已經安頓下來,不過,他們的前途茫茫,還是沙漠中的帳篷,還是不穩定的偷渡客,這個苦還是一樣存在,雖然生命是安定了,但是生活還是受盡苦難折磨。
 
所以剛才師父說的,就一直在腦海中覺得人生的苦,苦來自集,什麼樣的方法,能夠消滅他們的苦呢?如何才能讓他們,安頓在安全的地方,讓他們能身心安穩?只是能嘆無奈!只好要不斷將愛的種子、正確的方向,在人與人之間,不斷去傳愛的力量,要不然,其他的真的是沒辦法。所以需要法輪大轉。
 
前面的(偈)文說,「及餘一切眾,喜歎未曾有。我等諸宮殿,蒙光故嚴飾,今以奉世尊,惟垂哀納受!」
 
及餘一切眾
喜歎未曾有
我等諸宮殿
蒙光故嚴飾
今以奉世尊
惟垂哀納受
《法華經化城喻品第七》
 
這段(偈)文,那是梵天王都已經到齊了,在佛的道場,大家的心願,大家都要來請佛轉法輪。因為世間若沒有佛出人間,這個世間是黑暗的,若沒有覺者來轉法輪,多數眾生都是要墮落惡道,所以不斷地,所有的梵天王都是這樣的心願,期待佛能夠轉法輪。
 
若是轉法輪,大家就會很歡喜,所以,不只是天歡喜,諸梵天歡喜,又有龍神八部,又有人間、五道四生的眾生,一定都很歡喜。因為佛如(為)世間開了眼目,看清楚世間的形態。我們凡夫無明,就像眼睛遮起來一樣,佛、大覺者來人間,就是要為我們打開眼目,讓我們的眼目,能透視人間的事相。大悲梵天王,不就是求大通智勝佛,能夠用人間的事相來開導眾生。所以這是諸天及人所最期待的,一切眾生最期待的,所以大家很歡喜,大家讚歎佛出人間要大轉法輪。
 
所以梵天,「我等」就是(諸)梵天,帶著很珍貴的東西,一路散花,虔誠禮拜又是供養,表示最虔誠的供養。這分最虔誠的供養,懇切求佛,就是功德。「願以此功德,普及於一切,我等與眾生,皆共成佛道。」
 
願以此功德
普及於一切
我等與眾生
皆共成佛道
《法華經化城喻品第七》
 
這就是尸棄大梵,及所有的梵天王所說的。他們所造作的一切,他們的虔誠、他們的供養、他們的懇切,那就是要請佛轉法輪。佛能夠轉法輪,這是功德無量,但願這個功德,就是普及給一切眾生,一切眾生能聽法,如法受持,人人都皆共成佛道。這是尸棄大梵,及所有的上方梵天王的心聲。
 
接下來這段(經)文這樣說,「爾時,五百萬億諸梵天王偈讚佛已,各白佛言:惟願世尊轉於法輪,多所安隱,多所度脫!時諸梵天王而說偈言。」
 
爾時
五百萬億諸梵天王
偈讚佛已
各白佛言
惟願世尊轉於法輪
多所安隱多所度脫
時諸梵天王
而說偈言
《法華經化城喻品第七》
 
諸天就是只為了這個目的,要來請佛轉法輪。有多少呢?五百萬億諸梵天王,各個都是一心同聲這樣讚歎佛。已經用這麼長的時間,各方向的梵天都到了,各方向的梵天,都是這樣虔誠地懇求,虔誠地偈讚,讚歎佛的德。天人所需要的(是)大覺者,所以,再向佛表明,這是表示至誠恭敬,懇求佛受供養、受請,這是所有的梵天王表達的心意。
 
爾時
五百萬億諸梵天王
偈讚佛已
各白佛言:
至誠恭敬懇求受供
 
這個心意就是說,「惟願世尊轉於法輪」。用這麼多的虔誠來付出,恭敬禮拜,只是為了這樣,為了什麼?為了世尊,要願世尊,「惟願」就是殷切,殷切懇求能承蒙佛的垂愛。佛是高高在上,大覺者,所以希望佛就如慈悲父,就如人間的導師。所以,師或是父,對待(弟子)就是愛,所以就是希望能夠愛。這種從上而普及大家,這叫做「垂愛」。
 
「施教」,來布施、來教化,用教法來化度眾生。眾生真的是很苦,需要法來度。法如慈航,苦海茫茫,需要有這樣的慈航來拯救眾生。腦海中再浮現的,也是茫茫大海中一大群的難民,大船超載,船翻了、覆了,很多的生命沉入海底。得救的人到底是要往哪裡去?苦海茫茫,真的是需要法來淨化人心,普天的眾生才能平安,才能有福。所需要的是道理,是法,因為這樣,諸梵天就,「勸請世尊,轉大法輪」。
 
惟願世尊
轉於法輪:
惟願
慇切承蒙垂愛
施教法化度
勸請世尊
轉大法輪
 
就如釋迦牟尼佛,初成正覺那時候,開始成佛,瞭解天地宇宙萬物真理,完全通徹,道理是這麼奧妙啊!看看六道,或者是五道四生的眾生,這麼的剛強,這麼的愚鈍,到底這麼微妙的法,這麼深奧,到底眾生如何來接受呢?這是佛有一段時間內心很掙扎,這種微妙深奧的道理,對這種煩惱重重,無明惑的眾生剛強,如何能接受?
 
這個時間,起一個念頭,想要放棄,及時「諸天湧現」。這是在初覺悟那時候的心態,這樣的考慮,諸天就現前「請佛轉法輪」,也是用很恭敬的心。就如我們剛才說的梵天,來道場殷勤請佛轉法輪,這是一個大覺者,成佛的一個儀規。
 
佛初成正覺時
諸天湧現
請佛轉法輪
以表示虔敬
故以殷勤
請佛轉法輪
化導有情
令到彼岸故
 
大覺者成佛了,總是要有諸天來請轉法輪,這表示虔誠。梵天也是這麼虔誠,所以用殷勤,「請佛轉法輪」,來「化導有情」,能夠讓人人到彼岸。從茫茫苦海中,無明煩惱中能夠脫離,能夠大家走上了正確的道路,到安全的彼岸去。這樣就能「多所安隱,多所度脫」。
 
這就是諸天,也是梵天王虔誠的求願。所以一直都說「惟願」,就是心最虔誠的願望,佛能轉法輪。佛若能轉法輪,那就是眾生「多所安隱」。不只是天與人,一切眾生都能得到度脫,這種安穩才會快樂,才能得到「寂靜妙常」。
 
梵天還有微分的煩惱還未斷除,何況人間眾生,煩惱重重。梵天還有微分的惑還未透徹,凡夫是重重的煩惱。不論是輕或重,都是需要法輪轉,法能夠究竟透徹,這樣梵天得到「寂靜妙常」。因為他們壽盡了,也是要再墮入生死中,希望能夠得到「寂靜妙常」。
 
世間,人間就是「世事紛諍」,若能夠得到法,才能「永息」。人間凡夫無明,不斷在造業,唯有淨化人心,才能「世事紛諍永息」,若這樣,才能說斷盡了攀緣的心。
 
多所安隱
多所度脫:
安隱快樂
則得寂靜妙常
世事紛諍永息
則攀緣心斷
 
我們眾生就是攀緣, 很多的惡緣不斷一直牽下去,牽絆著緣,無明累生累世。我們要如何能與眾生,化度眾生,而不受眾生牽緣,攀眾生的業緣。菩薩能去與眾生結好因緣,但不受眾生攀惡緣,不會和眾生攀惡緣,是和眾生,化度眾生,接引眾生的善因緣。斷除了這個攀緣,所以紛諍,世事紛諍都息滅,能斷除攀緣的心,那就是入人群,不受染著,這就是菩薩的心。
 
所以「時諸梵天王而說偈言」。
 
時諸梵天王
而說偈言:
微分惑未盡
心所未得安穩
故未得究竟法度
未令脫離生死
 
那時候的梵天王,就是還有「微分惑未盡,心所未得安穩」,心所就是未得安穩,還有起心動念,還有思想緣外面的境界。這在色界中,雖然他造福生為梵天王,但是要如何斷除「心所法」?心還會攀緣的心,這叫做微分的煩惱,叫做「微分惑未盡」。「故未得究竟法度」,這就是過去很長的時間,無佛出世,他們還無法得到究竟的法度,所以「未令脫離生死」。這是梵天王他們的心聲。
 
再接下來(偈文)說,「世尊轉法輪,擊甘露法鼓,度苦惱眾生,開示涅槃道。」
 
世尊轉法輪
擊甘露法鼓
度苦惱眾生
開示涅槃道
《法華經化城喻品第七》
 
這段(偈)文就是在解釋,上面的梵天王的心聲,所以要請轉法輪,因為微分煩惱的心所法,還未究竟,還未盡,所以還有微分煩惱,所以很懇切要來請佛轉法輪。因為壽盡同樣要再墮落,他們很擔心這一點。因為他們還有思想,他們還有未定向,還未究竟,所以擔心,擔心思想偏差,這是他們很擔心的,才會來請大覺者轉法輪。
 
這是大通智勝佛,他在人間成佛,在人間轉法輪,成佛之後,雖然很久了,這是很無數劫以前,得道很困難。大通智勝佛成佛之久,很久,塵點劫以前這麼久了。所以成一尊佛很不容易,「得道之艱難,故十方世界梵王,願佛轉法輪」,就是他們的心願,是請佛轉來法輪。所以,一直每一段,都有「惟願」,就是他們的心願,他們心中唯一的心願,就是要請佛轉法輪。這種「殷勤啟請」,所求的人很多,所有(十方)五百萬億,(諸)梵天王,這麼多,就是要來請佛轉法輪。「世尊轉法輪,擊甘露法鼓」。
 
世尊轉法輪
擊甘露法鼓:
佛轉法輪
摧滅煩惱
能除焦熱
名為甘露
策警昏迷
名擊法鼓
甘露法鼓
使將死者
聞其聲不死
已死者復甦
將死者凡夫
已死者闡提也
 
佛的法輪轉,才有辦法摧滅煩惱;輪若轉,才能碾碎無明殼,完全將它碾碎,無明的種子才能消滅。所以摧轉滅除煩惱,就是這輪一轉,才有辦法碾,碾碎,將種子摧破,將它碾破,讓它碎,這樣,種子才不會再現前。
 
「能除焦熱」,這種心的煩惱才能夠去除。「名為甘露」,這就是甘露。我們的慧命,就是因為煩惱無明的火在燒,使我們的慧命不得成長。現在有法能夠如甘露,甘露就如不死之藥,就如露水一樣。所以這就是在警惕我們,眾生迷茫昏迷,用這甘露水讓我們能甦醒過來,名叫做「甘露法鼓」。
 
「使將死者聞其聲不死,已死者復甦」。我們的真如本性,我們的慧命,希望能趕快復活,能讓我們的慧命成長起來。「將死者凡夫」;已死者就是闡提。「闡提」就是造很多惡業,能將他救拔起來。「度苦惱眾生,開示涅槃道」,從地獄苦難中,將他救拔起來,犯很多戒、造很多惡,將他救拔、開示,好好為他們開示。
 
度苦惱眾生
開示涅槃道:
轉法輪
擊法鼓
皆為眾生開示
天人寂滅之路
 
度苦惱眾生,開示涅槃道,就是轉法輪,擊法鼓,皆為眾生開示,天人寂滅之路。路就是道,這條路。希望佛陀能夠開示這條路,讓眾生,對眾生的開示,對天人也是同樣,能夠寂滅。寂滅,就是斷生死。常常說「寂滅」,那就是斷生死,為眾生、為天人,「擊甘露法鼓」,讓大家醒過來,讓大家能夠知道,慧命要成長,法要究竟瞭解,這樣才能除滅眾生的苦難。很多的法,我們都要時時多用心。


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Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: Striking the Dharma-Drum to Deliver the Drowning (擊法鼓度沉溺)
Date: March.07. 2017

“Suffering is caused by the accumulation of all sentient beings creating all deluded karma and thus undergoing the oppression of samsara, drowning in the cycle of suffering. Bodhisattvas practice loving-kindness to inspire compassion and eliminate unwholesome phenomena. They guide sentient beings to good places and enable their spiritual aspirations to be peaceful and stable.”

Suffering! Is life full of suffering or not? It is truly full of suffering. Suffering is caused by accumulation, and this accumulation comes from sentient beings, from many sentient beings creating deluded karma. Delusion is ignorance. Much ignorance comes from a single deluded thought. Because we are not clear about the principles, we engage in many evil deeds. Because of this, we undergo the oppression of samsara and drown in the cycle of suffering. Truly, this cyclic existence is beyond our control.

How do we come to this life? We do not know where we came from. When will our life end? We also do not know where we will go then. Since we do not know the future, we do not know where we will go. In the meantime, we experience love, hate, passion and animosity in our interpersonal relationships. When we love someone, we unfortunately face the suffering of parting. When we hate or resent someone, we unfortunately find ourselves together with them. These are all afflictive emotions. We give rise to these feelings and because of these feelings give rise to animosity and seek revenge. Thus we give birth to and kill each other. There are so many conflicting things in life! These many conflicts and difficulties are beyond our control. We call this delusion. Because of ignorance and delusion, we undergo the oppression of samsara; it is very painful. We cannot help but continue to drown. The places we drown in are the places where things are most unsatisfactory and where there is the most suffering, the places we least wish to be, yet unfortunately karmic forces drag us there like this.

Look at the Middle East and Northern Africa. Once manmade calamities occurred, they have continued on without end. Refugees face all kinds [of suffering]. There are thousands of people fleeing over land, so many people, supporting the elderly and carrying the young. Some are led by the hand, some are carried. Some of the elderly need support. Many lose their lives on route. There are also many who lose their lives due to the torment of pain and illness. Why do they have to go through this? They are so helpless, because their nation no longer has a place for them. With gunfire and the chaos of war all day, if they were to remain there, they could only die. So, despite the dangers, they still have to leave. They escape on land or over the sea. Many have died while traveling by land, and others drowned in the sea. The number of the dead is immeasurable. Some people smuggle themselves out on trains; others [are smuggled] in shipping containers. In this scorching weather, even before reaching their destination, when the door to the containers are opened, a dozen people will have already become corpses. You see, in life, who hopes to be forced their land of birth? Who is willing, due to an unstable nation, to flee? They must walk such long roads and put their lives on the line; who does this willingly? Many of them do not do this willingly, but despite this, they must flee.

Is this not because there are some sentient beings who are deluded? With a single thought of madness, loss of reason, they bring harm to humanity. Due to a single thought of anger and rage, so much hatred is accumulated. What exactly is it that is accumulating? What type of desire caused this to happen? There are already millions of people in the world suffering from these hardships. Isn’t this the causation of suffering? This suffering is the accumulation of all kinds of afflictions and ignorance and creates so much hardship in this cruel world. This is deluded karma. With sentient beings’ collective karma and sentient beings’ delusions, they do not know they themselves are suffering, nor do they know how they create the sources of suffering. With this one point, they do not understand why; initially, it was their greed, desire and possessiveness that created these destructive wars that continue on without ever stopping. This has caused so much suffering. What is the result of creating suffering? Isn’t it that everyone is still “drowning in the cycle of suffering?” So isn’t life full of suffering?

This is why we need Bodhisattvas. The world needs Bodhisattvas because “Bodhisattvas practice loving-kindness to inspire compassion.” They carry out the Buddha’s teachings of compassion. They understand that in this world, we must use the power of love to transform sentient beings. They hope that everyone can awaken their resolve to create blessed karma in the world, that everyone will create blessings. This requires education, so they practice loving-kindness.

Look at all of the Brahma kings. From the eight directions and above and below, they came to the Buddha’s Dharma-assembly to ask the Buddha to turn the Dharma-wheel. They hoped the Great Enlightened One could teach the Dharma of how the suffering of the world originated. They hoped He could clearly [point out] how to eliminate this kind of suffering. When it came to accumulation and the causation of suffering, they hoped to learn how to eliminate suffering. So, the Buddha began to analyze for everyone that the causation of suffering is accumulation, and this accumulation arises from our thoughts. “Everything is created by the mind,” by our mind-king and our mental objects, which are the mental phenomena in everyone’s mind. In our mind, our mind-king, once thoughts arise, connects to conditions, then it absorbs all desires. When thoughts of desire arise, we began to form a very possessive [attitude]. If we do not get what we want, we become angry. Then all kinds of afflictive emotions arise. As this suffering has already been created, we must “inspire compassion.” We must inspire everyone’s compassion and thoroughly “eliminate unwholesome phenomena.” How do we eliminate unwholesome phenomena? This also begins with our mind.

So, our minds need the Great Enlightened One to teach and transform us. Only by “eliminating unwholesome phenomena” are they able to guide everyone “to good places and enable their spiritual aspirations to be peaceful and stable.” This all requires the Great Enlightened One, the Buddha, to turn the Dharma-wheel. Otherwise, sentient beings’ good thoughts will keep on diminishing, and their evil thoughts will grow. Sentient begins in good realms will decrease; heavenly beings will decrease while sentient beings in evil realms will increase. These sentient beings are oppressed by samara, drawing in the cycle of suffering. The number of sentient beings in evil realms keeps growing. Therefore, Bodhisattvas are needed.

Bodhisattvas must keep seeking the Buddha-Dharma and transforming suffering beings. This is what Bodhisattvas do; they seek the Dharma and transform others. Bodhisattvas who seek the Dharma and transform others must carry out the Buddha’s great compassion. They must listen to the Dharma, teach the Dharma and transform sentient beings. They must go among people. For those who are suffering, they must awaken compassion. Only after Bodhisattvas’ compassion is inspired can they go among people with the power of vows. Otherwise, they might believe, “I practice to benefit myself. I understand the Buddha-Dharma. I will end my own cyclic existence.” If they are like this, the myriad sentient beings will continue on, those in the evil realms increasing and those in the good realms diminishing. That kind of world is too terrible to imagine. Thus, it is because of the suffering in the world that the Buddha came to the world.

Beginningless kalpas ago, there was Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha. This was before Beginningless Time’s beginning. In fact, everyone intrinsically has had this kind heart since Beginningless Time, but our deluded karma has distanced us from it. We are now beginningless kalpas away from it. Now, we have to rely on Sakyamuni Buddha to re-inspire us. So, we must inspire compassion; we must carry out the Buddha’s loving-kindness to inspire compassion, walk the Bodhisattva-path and go among people to eliminate unwholesome ways. People’s minds have deviated and gone astray. If we can use the Dharma to go among people, we can first relieve their suffering, then teach them the Dharma. Only then can we lead them to good places and help everyone to “follow the path to rectify oneself.” Confucius said this; everyone must be led toward the path, toward walking in the direction of morality. The path is our “luminous virtue.” These are the spiritual aspirations we talk about. We must direct ourselves toward our intrinsic nature and our spiritual aspirations. Having walked this road to the end, we will be peaceful and stable. We will have returned to our intrinsic nature of True Suchness.

The Dharma is just this simple. Since beginningless dust-inked kalpas ago, we have always had this; we just lost our way, thus dragging out this period of time. Now, we must take the Dharma taught by Sakyamuni Buddha and mindfully and faithfully accept it. This is the only way we can “follow the path” and rectify ourselves, correct our direction. So, “Follow the path to rectify yourself.” These are Confucius’ words.

The Buddha-Dharma guides us toward good places, allowing us to step onto the right path and walk on a peaceful and stable road. After reading this text, I cannot help but be reminded of these refugees. As they travel on their road, are they truly safe and headed in the right direction? They have to sneak across borders; what does the road ahead hold for them? This is truly heartbreaking. The ones we can help are in places such as Jordan and Turkey. Having fled to these places, although they are refugees, we know that there are at least people who care about them. We know that some of them have already settled down. However, their future is still uncertain. They still live in tents in the desert and are still illegal immigrants with unstable lives. This suffering still remains. Their lives may have settled down, but their daily living is still full of all kinds of suffering and hardship. So, as I just said, these thoughts constantly in my mind remind me of the suffering in life. Suffering comes from accumulation; so what methods can we use to eliminate their suffering? How can we help them settle down in a safe place so they can feel stable and at peace? All we can do is sigh in helplessness. The best thing to do is to constantly plant seeds of love, constantly guide them in the right direction and, in all our interactions with people, constantly spread the power of love. Other than this, there truly is no other way. Therefore, the Dharma-wheel must be turned.

The previous verse states, “And with the rest of the assembly, we joyfully praise what never happened before. All of our palaces were magnificently adorned by the radiance. Now we present them to the World-Honored One, only wishing that You mercifully accept them.”

In this verse, all the Brahma kings had already gathered therefore, they came to ask the Great Enlightened One to turn the Dharma-wheel was to ask the Buddha to turn the Dharma-wheel. If a Buddha did not manifest in this world, the world would be full of darkness. Without an awakened one to turn the Dharma-wheel, many sentient beings would fall into evil realms. Therefore, continuously, all Brahma kings harbored this kind of wish, hoping for the Buddha to turn the Dharma-wheel. If the Dharma-wheel was turned, everyone would be joyful. So, not only would the heavenly beings and all the Brahma kings be happy, the eight classes of Dharma-protectors and the sentient beings of the Five Realms and four forms of birth would also all be joyful. This is because it is as if the Buddha is here to open the eyes of the world to see worldly appearances clearly. For us ignorant sentient beings, it is as if our eyes are covered. The Buddha, the Great Enlightened One, came to the world to help us open our eyes so that we can see through the world’s matters and appearances. Didn’t Brahma King Great Compassion request that Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha use the matters and appearances of the world to guide sentient beings?

So, this is what all heavenly beings and humans, what all sentient beings, hope for the most. Therefore, everyone was very joyful. Everyone praised the Buddha for appearing in the world to turn the Dharma-wheel. So, the Brahma kings, as the “we” here refers to all Brahma kings, brought many valuable objects. They scattered flowers along the way and prostrated reverently, then made offerings. This expresses the most reverent offering. With this most reverent offering, they sincerely requested that the Buddha [teach].

This was their merits and virtues. “May these merits and virtues universally reach all. May we and all sentient beings attain Buddhahood together.”

This was what Great Brahma King Sikhin and all the other Brahma kings said. All the actions they took, their reverence, their offerings and their sincerity, were for the sake of asking the Buddha to turn the Dharma-wheel. If the Buddha could turn the Dharma-wheel, this would create infinite merits and virtues. They prayed that these merits and virtues could universally reach all sentient beings so all could listen to the Dharma, practice in accord with the Dharma and all attain Buddhahood together. This was Great Brahma King Sikhin’s and all the other Brahma kings’ hope.

The next sutra passage says, “At that time 500 trillion Brahma kings, having praised the Buddha in verse, each spoke to the Buddha. We only pray that the World-Honored One will turn the Dharma-wheel to bring peace and stability to many, to bring liberation to many. Then the Brahma kings spoke in verse.

All these heavenly beings came for this purpose, to ask the Buddha to turn the Dharma-wheel. How many of them were there? 500 trillion Brahma kings, and with one heart and one voice, each praised the Buddha in this way. We have already spent a long time on this. The Brahma kings from all directions had arrived and those from each direction had sincerely made their requests and praised the virtues of the Buddha, the Great Enlightened One whom heavenly beings and humans needed.

So, they again expressed this to the Buddha, showing their sincerity and respect, asking Him to accept their offerings and their request. This was the intent expressed by all Brahma kings.

At that time 500 trillion Brahma kings, having praised the Buddha in verse, each spoke to the Buddha: With utmost sincerity and reverence, they implored Him to accept their offerings.

Their intention was, “We only pray that the World-Honored One will turn the Dharma-wheel.” They gave with so much reverence and respectfully prostrated, all for this sole purpose. For what reason? For the World-honored One [to accept] their prayers for Him. “We only pray” shows their earnestness. They earnestly implored Him hopes of receiving the Buddha’s honoring them with love. The Buddha was supremely noble, the Great Enlightened One, so they hoped the Buddha could be like a compassionate father, like the guiding teacher of the world. Whether like a teacher or a father, what He give to His disciples is love. So, they wished this love could be bestowed universally on everyone by [the supreme Buddha]. This is called “honoring with love.” To “give teachings” is to give and to teach. His methods of teaching are used to transform sentient beings. Sentient beings truly suffer greatly and need the Dharma in order to be delivered. The Dharma is like the ship of compassion; the sea of suffering is vast, so there needs to be this ship of compassion to deliver sentient beings. What again appears in my mind is that large group of refugees amidst the vast sea. The boat became overloaded, capsized and sank, and many lives sank to the bottom of the ocean.

For those that were saved, where could they go? The sea of suffering is vast, so we truly need the Dharma to purify and transform people’s minds. Then, sentient beings of the world can be at peace and be blessed. What is needed is the principles, the Dharma. Because of this, all Brahma kings “implored the World-Honored One to turn the Great Dharma-wheel.”

We only pray that the World-Honored One will turn the Dharma-wheel. We only pray: “They sincerely requested that the Buddha honor them with love and give the teachings to transform and deliver them.” They implored the World-Honored One to turn the Great Dharma-wheel.

This is just like when Sakyamuni Buddha first attained perfect enlightenment. When He began to attain Buddhahood, He understood the true principles of all things in the universe; He completely understood them. How wondrous these principles are! Look at the Six Realms or the Five Realms and four forms of birth; these sentient beings are so stubborn, so foolish and dull. How can sentient beings accept such subtle, wondrous and profound Dharma? So, for a period time, the Buddha struggled with this dilemma How would these subtle, wondrous and profound principles be accepted by these afflicted, ignorant and deluded sentient beings, who were so stubborn?

At that time, He gave rise to a thought of letting it all go. In the nick of time, “All heavenly beings emerged.” This was His mindset when He first attained enlightenment; this was what He contemplated. Then heavenly beings emerged to “request that the Buddha turn the Dharma-wheel.” They were also very respectful. Just like the Brahma kings we just talked about, they came to His place of enlightenment to ask the Buddha to turn the Dharma-wheel. This is the etiquette for when a Great Enlightened One attains Buddhahood.

When a Great Enlightened One attains Buddhahood, heavenly beings will always come to request the turning of the Dharma-wheel. This expresses reverence. These Brahma kings were also very reverent. So with diligence, they “requested that the Buddha turn the Dharma-wheel and transform and guide sentient beings, enabling them to cross to the other shore. In the vast sea of suffering, in the midst of ignorance and afflictions.” He can help sentient beings become liberated so they can step onto the right path and safely cross to the other shore. In this way, He can “bring peace, stability” and “liberation to many.” This was all heavenly beings, as well as the Brahma kings, reverent request. So they kept saying, “We only pray.”

This was the most reverent wish in their hearts, for the Buddha to turn the Dharma-wheel. If the Buddha can turn the Dharma-wheel, then sentient beings can have “peace and stability.” Not only heavenly beings and humans, but all sentient beings can be delivered. Only having peace and stability can bring happiness and “tranquility and wondrous permanence.” Brahma king still have subtle afflictions that have not been completely eliminated, not to mention us sentient beings of the world who are covered in layers of afflictions. These Brahma kings still had subtle delusions they could not yet see through. We ordinary people are full of afflictions. Whether they are mild or severe afflictions, they require the Dharma-wheel to be turned and the Dharma to be completely understood. In this way, the Brahma kings can attain “tranquility and wondrous permanence”. Once their lifespan ends, they too will fall back into cyclic existence, so they hope to be able to attain “tranquility and wondrous permanence”. Then in this world, “Conflicts over worldly affairs forever cease.” Only by attaining the Dharma can they “forever cease”. Unenlightened beings in the world are ignorant; we continue to create karma. Only by bringing purity to people’s minds can “conflicts over worldly affairs forever cease”. Only in this way can we completely eliminate our mindset of contriving affinities.

To bring peace and stability to many, to bring liberation to many: With peace, stability and happiness, they attain tranquility and wondrous permanence. Conflicts over worldly affairs forever cease, so their mindset of contriving affinities will be eliminated.

We sentient beings seek to contrive affinities. We continue to drag out so many negative affinities. Entangled in these affinities, we remain ignorant lifetime after lifetime. How can we work with and transform sentient beings, without becoming entangled by their affinities, without contriving to form karmic affinities? Bodhisattvas can form good affinities with sentient beings without being affected by sentient beings contriving negative affinities, nor contriving to form affinities with them. Instead, Bodhisattvas transform them, leading them to form good karmic conditions and eliminate their contrived affinities. Thus, worldly conflicts can be eliminated forever. To eliminate a mindset of contriving affinities is to go among people without being defiled by them. This is the mindset of Bodhisattvas. “Then the Brahma kings spoke in verse.”

Then the Brahma kings spoke in verse: They still had not yet eliminated their subtlest delusions, and their mental phenomena had not yet reached a state of peace and stability. Therefore, they had not attained ultimate deliverance through the teachings and were not yet liberated from samsara.

The Brahma kings at the time “still had not yet eliminated their subtlest delusions, and their mental phenomena had not yet reached a state of peace and stability.” Because of this, they still gave rise to discursive thoughts. Their thinking still connected to external states. In the form realm, although they had created enough blessings to be born as Brahma kings, how could they eliminate their “mental phenomena?” Their minds still contrived affinities. This is what we call the subtlest afflictions. It says, “They still had not eliminated their subtlest delusions. Therefore, they had not attained ultimate deliverance through the teachings.”

This is because for a very long time in the past, no Buddha was born, so they had not attained ultimate deliverance through the teachings. Thus “They were not yet liberated from samsara.” This was what the Brahma kings had in their hearts.

The verse then continues “World-Honored One, turn the Dharma-wheel and beat the Dharma-drum of ambrosial dew to deliver suffering, afflicted sentient beings and open and reveal the path to Nirvana.”

This verse is explaining what the Brahma kings from before really felt. So, they requested the turning of the Dharma-wheel because the subtlest afflictions of their mental phenomena had not yet been completely eliminated. Therefore they still had subtle afflictions. So, they sincerely asked the Buddha to turn the Dharma-wheel. Once their lifespans come to an end, they will fall again. They were very worried about this. Since they still have this kind of thinking, still had an uncertain direction [in the future] and had not attained the ultimate [deliverance], they worried that their thinking would deviate. This was what they worried about; therefore, they came to ask the Great Enlightened One to turn the Dharma-wheel. Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha had attained Buddhahood and turned the Dharma-wheel in this world. Since He attained Buddhahood, a very long time has passed. This was countless kalpas ago. Attaining enlightenment is very difficult. It has been a very long time, dust-inked kalpas, since Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha had attained Buddhahood. So, it is clearly difficult to become a Buddha. “It is difficult to attain the Way, hence Brahma kings from the ten directions wished for the turning of the Dharma-wheel.” This was their wish. They asked the Buddha to turn the Dharma-wheel. So, in each [sutra] passage, they all said, “We only pray.” This was their wish. They only had this wish in their hearts; they wanted to ask the Buddha to turn the Dharma-wheel. With these “diligent requests,” many people made the same request. 500 trillion Brahma kings [from the ten directions] came to ask the Buddha to turn the Dharma-wheel. “World-Honored One, turn the Dharma-wheel and beat the Dharma-drum of ambrosial dew.”

World-Honored One, turn the Dharma-wheel and beat the Dharma-drum of ambrosial dew: When the Buddha turns the Dharma-wheel, it crushes and extinguishes afflictions. That which can eradicate the scorching heat is called “ambrosial dew”. Spurring on and alerting confused people is called “striking the Dharma-drum”. The Dharma-drum of ambrosial dew enable those who are dying, upon hearing its sound, to escape death, and those already dead to come back to life. Those about to die are unenlightened beings, and those already dead are the icchantika.

Only with the turning of the Buddha’s Dharma-wheel, can afflictions be crushed and extinguished; only the turning of the wheel can crush the shell of ignorance, crush it completely. Only then can the seeds of ignorance be destroyed. The only way to crush and extinguish afflictions is to turn this wheel, only then can these seeds be crushed and destroyed. In this way these seeds will no longer reappear. “That which can eradicate the scorching heat” is what can be used so the afflictions of the mind are eliminated.” [It] is called ‘ambrosial dew,’” Our wisdom-life, because of being burned by the fire of ignorance and afflictions, is no longer able to develop and grow.

Now, attaining the Dharma which is like the medicine of immortality. It is just like drops of dew. This is alerting us that sentient beings are deluded and dazed. This dew can be used to wake us up; it is called “the Dharma-drum of ambrosial dew.” [It] “enables those who are dying, upon hearing its sound, to escape death, and those already dead to come back to life.” Our intrinsic nature of True Suchness and our wisdom- life can hopefully come back to life; then, our wisdom-life can grow. “Those about die are unenlightened beings, and those already dead are icchantika.” “Icchantika” are those who created much evil karma.
This can also save them. “Deliver suffering, afflicted sentient beings and open and reveal the path to Nirvana.” They can be saved from the suffering of hell. Those who violated many precepts and committed many evil deeds can be saved by teaching them, so He earnestly opened and revealed this to them.

“Deliver suffering, afflicted sentient beings and open and reveal the path to Nirvana.” Thus, “Turning the Dharma-wheel and striking the Dharma-drum are both opening and revealing for sentient beings the path to tranquil extinction for heavenly beings.”

This path is a road; we hope the Buddha can open and reveal this road. Through His teachings for sentient beings, they, along with heavenly beings, can attain tranquil extinction. Tranquil extinction is the ending of samsara. We often talk about “tranquil extinction. It is the ending of samsara. For the sake of sentient and heavenly beings, “He beat the Dharma-drum od ambrosial dew to wake everyone up and to let everyone know that they must develop their wisdom-life and thoroughly understand the Dharma. Only this can eliminate sentient beings’ suffering. There is so much Dharma, so we must always be mindful.

(Source: Da Ai TV – Wisdom at Dawn program – Explanation by Master Chen-Yen)
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