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 20170317《靜思妙蓮華》解縛得脫心自在(第1046集) (法華經•化城喻品第七)

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發表主題: 20170317《靜思妙蓮華》解縛得脫心自在(第1046集) (法華經•化城喻品第七)   周五 3月 17, 2017 8:13 am

20170317《靜思妙蓮華》解縛得脫心自在(第1046集)
(法華經•化城喻品第七)

【證嚴上人開示】
『數那由他萬億,曠劫長時難計,定心不攀緣境,修上善守規戒,供養植福之廣,常修定慧之深。』

『數那由他』,就是無量無數,長久長久,無法計算的時間。多長久呢?『數那由他萬億』,無法計算的萬億。『曠劫長時難計』,在時間無法算計,很長久、長久以前。

我們還記得嗎?大通智勝佛是多久以前呢?塵點劫。這尊佛,他的過去修行過程很長久,他的心定,修行的過程不攀緣境,不受外面的境界搖動了修行的心,所以他所修是無上善、守規戒,很多的善念。就如十方來的梵天王,也是同樣修上上善、守上上規戒。說法者是這樣,來要聞法者也是這樣,可見那個道場是多麼莊嚴,就是上上善人聚集在一起,從十方來,要來邀請大通智勝佛轉法輪。

那個道場離我們現在是那麼遙遠,『數那由他萬億』,曠劫,那麼長久的時間,有這樣的道場,十方梵天王都要來請法。所以,這就是常修定慧很深廣的人。

修行,要用很長久的時間修行,時間累積一切,成就我們的道業。現在是這樣,過去過去塵點劫之前,大通智勝佛也是這樣,因為我們人人都有與佛同等,無始以來本具的佛性,只要我們守得住本具佛性,不受環境影響,我們這念心就與大通智勝佛那個時代道場的心境都一樣。

只可惜我們一念無明,不斷緣著外面的境界,受外面的境界所誘惑,所以我們變成了無明。『無明』緣『行』,所造作的一切,在我們的意識中含藏著,都是複製之後的無明,使得我們生生世世由不得自己,就隨著因緣、業力牽引,在任何一個地方,隨著依報、正報,因緣果報一直在輪迴。就是看我們這念心,這念心就是這樣,迷失了這麼長久的時間。

要如何將這念心守得好呢?我們就要回到現實的人間,在現實的人間要好好入人群中去修行,不受人群環境搖動我們的心,我們能在人群中看很多很多的人生。

在嘉義有一個家庭,單獨住著一個人,三四十歲,有精神障礙,所以頭腦不很好。父親不住在他家,每天就是拿一百元來給他,讓他去吃飯。

這位年輕人常常愛玩火,放火燒東西,有時候就拿刀要嚇人,所以他的左鄰右舍都不敢靠近。更麻煩的是他喜歡撿垃圾,把垃圾都撿回家裡,所以一座古早的三合院,正廳、廂房裡面全都是垃圾。

鄰近的人很擔心,擔心這個人常常放火燒東西,萬一房子燒起來會波及到別人。而且他動不動就持刀要嚇人,人人都不敢靠近他,因此這個村裡的人都很擔心。鄰長就向他的父親說,『拜託、拜託!是不是你能跟你兒子說?』父親就說:『他的精神不好,我哪有辦法跟他說呢?』

『那該怎麼辦,裡面這麼髒?』鄰長就說:『我已經拜託慈濟人來幫忙打掃了,你是不是告訴你的兒子,這間房子讓人來清掃?』『沒辦法,沒辦法,這都不必說啦!』鄰長拜託無效,只好由慈濟人出面了。就一直溝通,溝通很久,父親終於說:『好啦!你們若要清掃,你們就去清掃。』就這樣丟下一句話,父親就離開了,沒有再出現。

慈濟人動員了五十人來,但是這位案主就是擋在門外,很兇,不肯讓人進去。鄰長叫叔叔來;父親沒有來,叫叔叔來。叔叔是被這群慈濟人感動了,所以他也來了,跟他侄子勸說,他侄子也是發脾氣,慈濟人就和叔叔一起勸他。案主擋在正廳門口,叔叔就向慈濟人做了一個暗號,『你們從廂房的門進去,去清掃』。叔叔和慈濟人就繼續跟他勸說,說到這個人發現有慈濟人從他的廂房進去了,一直喊:『你們這些都是土匪啊!土匪啊!土匪要進去搶劫啊!』

慈誠隊和叔叔、鄰長在外面,後來慈誠隊就將話題拉開,就說:『阿益,你胸前掛那麼多護身符,這些神明會不會打架?』他說:『不會啊!神明怎麼會打架?』就從胸前拉出符來,說:『你看,這是王爺,這是觀音,他們怎麼會打架?』

慈濟人就開始說:『對啦!我們這群都是觀世音菩薩派來的,派我們來幫忙你的,你歡迎嗎?』他笑出來,說:『觀音派你們來的喔?』就這樣緩和下來了。裡面的慈濟人趕緊一直清掃。你們知道是如何的骯髒嗎?幾乎可以說是到了垃圾山,這樣來形容整間房子,就如我們看到國外很多窮人住的那個垃圾山。

長年累月,十多年了,這個案主根本沒有睡過床。他睡在哪裡?睡在垃圾堆上。已經看不到床在哪裡了,整間屋子都是垃圾。五十幾個慈濟人,加上他們村裡有一個『興南義工服務隊』,也有好幾位來加入,這樣搶著時間,趕緊將這些東西都清出去。

在裡面也有撿到錢,好幾張紙鈔,他們就趕緊叫他:『阿益啊,你有錢喔!』看到錢,他也懂得要來接。這當中,他又鬧了,『你們把東西都搬出來,這是要做什麼?你們很土匪啊!』他們就說:『放心、放心。』慈濟人安撫著他:『這些若拿去賣,有錢喔!錢還要給你喔!』聽到錢,就靜下來了。就是這樣一直陪著他,有人在外面安撫,有人在裡面清掃。

你們知道那骯髒的程度?十多年都沒清掃,外面的骯髒垃圾都帶進來,那種境界。但是,這群菩薩,他們是真正觀世音菩薩派來的,好幾百隻手在那裡清掃,洗啊、刷啊。等到垃圾都清出去了,在清洗時,他也進來了,開始會幫忙掃,也懂得拉水管幫忙噴水。慈濟人就一直誇獎他:『你好棒啊!好棒。』很歡喜了。直到地板也都洗好了,牆壁也都刷好了,終於他展露出了友善的笑容。慈濟人載來一張桌子、一張床來,就問他說:『你要睡在哪裡?這張床要放在哪裡?』他就說:『在那裡。』

我們的師姊就告訴他:『在這裡比較不合適,我幫你把桌子放這裡,床放在這裡,這樣睡起來會很舒適喔!這張床漂亮嗎?』他就摸一摸。『來,來,來幫忙搬。』就自己去幫忙搬,一張床幫忙搬進屋子裡。『幫你放這樣,你把床板鋪上去,然後你要拿抹布來擦。』師姊就先邀他來幫忙擦。師姊擦,他也擦,師姊就教他,說:『這樣擦不乾淨,來,教你,你要這樣擦,輕一點,輕一點這樣擦。』原來也會聽話,要他輕一點,他就輕一點。就這樣,一張半新不舊的床擺上去,擦一擦,跟新的一樣,整間房子煥然一新。

這就是人間菩薩,入人群中去,看見這位中壯年的人,他身體很強壯,卻是精神障礙。他們就細心地教他,不要用火燒東西。屋裡有四十幾把刀,慈濟人趕緊將這些刀收起來,不讓他看到。現在就是這樣,這張床、這張桌子,這間乾淨的正廳、廂房的三合院,他可以很乾淨的住在裡面。這些慈濟人一邊付出清掃,一邊體悟人生。

這個人生,師父說依報、正報,如何來生在這樣的家庭,這個家庭的人,家人的組織到底是怎麼樣呢?現在我們看到他的情況,就只是父親每天給他一百元,其他的我們不知道。

要清掃時,一位叔叔,到底是親叔還是堂叔?我們也不知道,只是知道這個人這麼孤單,精神障礙。看了,我們想自己,見苦知福,我們有健康的身體,我們的精神正常,我們的思路正確,思想方向正確,我們能為人群這樣付出,做得大家都很歡喜,也很感恩。

將這個孩子,我們人人有佛性,與他結一分善緣,這不就是『定心不攀緣境』?雖然進入人群中,在這樣的家庭,我們沒有其他的意圖,只是不忍眾生苦,不受這個境界阻礙我們這念善心,我們就是去為他付出、去清掃,不分別這個境界是臭或骯髒,不攀緣境,也不為什麼,只是要給他一個乾淨的環境而已。

這不就是修上善法嗎?撿到錢,趕緊跟他說:『阿益啊,來,有錢喔!』也是趕快給他。守規戒,不貪圖一切,這樣就是在修行。我們修行沒有什麼困難,就是這麼簡單,修上善,守規戒,為人群付出。眾生人人皆有佛性,這就是『供養植福之廣』。累劫以來,投入人群,以法供養佛。佛陀教導眾生,沒有想要得什麼,所得到的供養就是眾生隨順佛教。大家若能隨順佛教,這樣來修行,就是最大的供養。

『常修定慧之深』。因為我們修行是根深柢固,不是看到就說:『哇!這堆垃圾,我哪有辦法?』就走了。不可能是這樣。就是要深入,為他清掃,一心一志,不為名利,只是為眾生利益。這就是我們平時應該要修的行。

同樣的道理,你救人,整個社區會受影響,我們將這間房子的環境打掃清淨,這樣不只是這個家庭、這個人受益。我們發現這個人,與他建立了友善關係,慈濟人就說了:『從這樣開始,我們會常常來看你喔!』這樣開始他能接受了。對一位精神有障礙的人,就是要用友情去輔導他。要不然,他有如那個地方的不定時炸彈,什麼時候點火起來,不可收拾,什麼時候,那四十幾把刀會去傷害到人,也不知道。所以,只是為了社區的平安,就是這樣付出。這就是菩薩在人間,修行就是在人群中,所以我們要好好用心。

『十二因緣法』,就是在我們的起心動念、開口動舌、舉手動足,我們所做的一切都是從一念心開始。一念心的『無明』緣『行』,去行動,就慢慢到了『觸』,所接觸的環境,感『受』,我們這些若能好好地都滅了,滅除了不正當的行為、錯誤的行為、錯誤的心念,自然我們就能滅盡煩惱。

前面的經文,『觸滅則受滅,受滅則愛滅,愛滅則取滅,取滅則有滅,有滅則生滅,生滅則老死憂悲苦惱滅』。

要如何滅除我們的憂悲苦惱?就是要一層一層從無明開始滅,一直滅到最後,憂悲苦惱也滅除。

我們要很用心去體會,生命的循環同樣在這一念間,一念也是我們的真如本性,一念也是無明,一不小心,真如就受無明遮蓋了。所以菩提、無明,在這當中,你是要行菩薩道、菩提道,或者是乘著無明遮蓋,迷茫,這樣一直緣下去呢?這要看我們,現在已經接受佛法,要好好用心體會。

接下來經文說,『佛於天人大眾之中說是法時,六百萬億那由他人,以不受一切法故,而於諸漏心得解脫,皆得深妙禪定』。

『佛於天人大眾之中說是法時』。『是法』就是四諦、十二因緣法。大通智勝佛受梵天王請,已經開始轉法輪,講四諦、十二因緣法。

佛已經開始轉法輪了,就有『六百萬億那由他人』,這不只是一方的六百萬億那由他人,是十方的六百萬億那由他人。『那由他』是很多,無數的人。那就是梵天界有這麼多,以及同時在人間還有十六王子都在場。『以不受一切法故』,不受無明等法。『而於諸漏心得解脫』,這些煩惱心都完全解脫了,都沒有『漏』。這個『漏』字就是煩惱,就是無明。大家不受這個『漏』,不受無明的煩惱,這個無明煩惱的心念盡除了,沒有『漏』的煩惱心了,所以『心得解脫』。我們若諸漏已盡,心就解脫了。『皆得深妙禪定』,這樣自然就得到深妙禪定,我們的信根就很堅固。

⊙佛於天人大眾之中說是法時:大通智勝如來正轉法輪,說是四諦、十二因緣之初會時,聲聞眾數不可稱計,則饒益彌眾。僅言聲聞眾者,以現尚未說大乘故無菩薩。

『佛於天人大眾之中說是法時』,就是大通智勝佛如來正式轉法輪,就是開始說『四諦』、『十二因緣』。

『初會時』,第一次說法時,就只有聲聞和緣覺而已,但是已經很多人了,不可計。『六百萬億那由他』,無量,不可計數。『饒益彌眾』,饒益的人很多。接受到佛法,人人都已經將所有的煩惱、無明,『漏』全都去除了,心都解脫了,所以得到利益了。這只是『初會』,有聲聞、有緣覺;因為還沒有菩薩,現在這當中只有聲聞、緣覺。不論是梵天,他們也是在聲聞、緣覺之中,他們對法還有不究竟的地方,所以再來請佛轉法輪。這就是菩薩還未現前,只有聲聞、緣覺,因此只說四諦、十二因緣法,還沒有進入大乘法。

⊙六百萬億那由他人:得證二乘之解脫果者,已有六百萬億那由他人之多。

『六百萬億那由他人』,這是已經『得證二乘之解脫果者』。二乘就是聲聞、緣覺乘,這解脫的果已經都根深柢固,信心堅定,『已有六百萬億那由他人之多』,有這麼多人了。

⊙以不受一切法故:不受一切法,謂於一切外境界受、內果報受之中皆不樂受;不受故不愛,不愛故不取,不取故不有,故無生老死憂悲苦惱,而得取證於有餘涅槃。

『以不受一切法故』。不受一切法,就是『於一切外界受、內果報受之中皆不樂受』。外面境界的誘惑,就是常常說的,我們要入人群中,入人群中就是外面的境界,外面的境界有種種的煩惱、無明,以及『內果報受之中皆不樂受』。在外面的境界是很多煩惱,若是將它放在內心,就是不樂受,不歡喜,所以我們不去接受它,內心不受動搖。

我們知道這是不樂,不是歡喜的事情,因為這些都是苦境。外面這些境界都是苦境,我們都瞭解了,我們知道從一念無明開始,緣行、緣識、緣名色、緣六入、緣觸、緣受……,我們既然知道了,所以我們不受;雖然我們是進入境界之中,但是我們的內心不受污染,因為我們已經知道了,這個境界會惹來苦。

就如慈濟人,五十多個人進到那個屋裡去清掃,雖然境界是這樣髒臭,人間菩薩不將髒臭放在心裡,將屋裡打掃乾淨了。這就是知道這是苦,將它掃除掉,沒有放在心裡。同樣的道理,我們若能瞭解,『不受故不愛』。我們就知道,一念無明起,我們不接受外面的境界,這個無明就不會去行、不會去造作。

所以這一念,看到外面的境界,我們不想受、不去受,那就是不接受外面的境界去攀緣,自然就不愛,沒有愛念。不去感受到『這個我要,這個我不要』,反正這不是我的,我也不需要,自然就沒有『愛』,想要去『取』。『不愛故不取,不取故不有』,因為我們不去將它撿進來,就如那位阿益,他就是這樣去撿進來,撿進來就有垃圾,就『有』了。所以『不取故不有』,他若不去撿,就不會造成裡面那麼多的垃圾,就沒有這麼多的煩惱。

『故無生老死憂悲苦惱』。自然就沒有生老病死,這些憂悲苦惱就沒有了。我們的大愛臺節目,常常看到一些老人很解脫,『這麼大歲數了,如果不趕快做,就沒時間了。』『不要想那麼多,何必想病痛如何,做一做就忘記了。』『最後那一天?哎呀,不必想,做就對了。現在還有時間,我就趕緊做,師父說把握時間。』他沒有憂悲苦惱,『夠了,滿足了!』就是有時間,做就對了,這就是沒有憂悲苦惱。

『而得取證於有餘涅槃』。有餘涅槃是因為他才證得二乘而已,聲聞、緣覺所證的叫做『有餘涅槃』,還沒到達『無餘涅槃』。只是知道生死是這樣來的,我知道了,我知道之後就不要去造作,『無明』就不要去緣『行』等等。只是瞭解到這裡,只是顧好心的清淨,心宅清淨就沒有煩惱了。

⊙不受一切法:悟諦緣空,盡諸有結,根境緣識滅盡,了無所著。

『不受一切法』。『悟諦緣空』,我們就瞭解了,覺悟了,人生的來去,原來是這樣的來去。

瞭解到人生苦,依正二報不由自己,這種的苦。迷失在人間,事事不通徹,就再造業,在這裡纏綿不休。我現在聽法,我瞭解了,不受一切無明煩惱,我覺悟『四諦』、『十二因緣』的道理,原來世間是一場空,只是我們造作而『有』。那間房子,垃圾都清掃出去,這間房子非常空,很需要用的床,將它搬進來,能夠生活就好了,這麼的簡單。

『盡諸有結』,這些無明污穢,將我們束縛住的繩子,也都已經解開了。『根境緣識滅盡』。我們的『六根』緣外面的『六塵』境界而去造作。現在我們的意識已經都很清楚了,這面鏡子擦乾淨,知道那是外面的境界,與這面鏡子根本就無關,沒有染著。鏡子能照外面的境界,很清楚,但是外面境界與這面鏡子是無關的,這就是『根境緣識滅盡』。知道垃圾是在面前,是在鏡子的外面,不是在鏡子裡面,所以『根境緣識』都滅了。『了無所著』,完全都瞭解了,我們的心無所著。東西清出去了,乾淨了,就不要再去撿回來。清出去了,如果他再去撿回來,又髒了。所以,完全無所著。

⊙而於諸漏心得解脫:而於世間諸有漏境,解縛得脫,心得自在。諸漏,指見、思煩惱。蓋心本解脫,有受故累;性本明淨,有著故昏。一切法不受不著,故得解脫之果。

『而於諸漏心得解脫』。這些煩惱無明全都掃除了,都盡了,所以得到解脫了。『而於世間諸有漏境,解縛得脫,心得自在』。這種的束縛,一切都去除了,自然就很自在。『諸漏』就是見、思惑的煩惱,這叫做『漏』。

『蓋心本解脫,有受故累』。就是說,這些骯髒的東西都蓋覆在我們的真如本性,這些煩惱無明蓋覆了我們的心,這叫做『漏』。這些東西都去除了,自然就解脫了。所以『有受故累』,我們再說回『受』。你『觸』了,若有感受,感受『這我要』,我就想再去要,有感受就有『愛』,有愛就有所執著。其實我們人人的心本來是明淨,就如那座三合院,房子還很好,本來一間房子是清淨,只因為將東西撿進來,一直囤積,其實,清出去之後,本來就是清淨。『有著故昏』,就是有所著,有將這些髒東西撿進來,所以整間房子都是垃圾堆,昏暗,看不見這間房子裡面到底有什麼東西,全都是垃圾。

所以,『一切法不受不著,故得解脫之果』。這些法,我們若瞭解了,這是無明的法,我們就不要去執著它;這是清淨法,我們要精進受持。受持了法,得了慧,少一分無明,增長一分智慧,自然道理瞭解了,心就解脫了。

⊙心解脫:脫子果兩縛,斷盡思惑,得無學果位。以盡智斷惑,無生智證理,因亡果喪,證入空理,心得自在,故名解脫。

『心得解脫』。『脫』就是『脫子果兩縛』。這就是說,我們這個『果』,你若再讓這些緣再靠近,這個果中有因子,有基因,就是業還在果實之中,果實若脫離外面的緣境,果就不會再有基因發生。種子就是因為有土、有水分、有空氣,它才會開始萌苗發芽,你若將這些緣都隔離了,自然就沒有。所以這樣『斷盡思惑』,見、思惑這些煩惱根都斷除了,自然我們的無明、惑全都斷除。『得無學果位』,自然我們在精進中超越了聲聞、緣覺,那就是叫做『無學』。

我們《法華經》開始時,說『學』與『無學』。未證聲聞、緣覺,他的煩惱還未盡除,法還沒有很瞭解,所以還是『有學』,還要學。『得無學果位,以盡智斷惑』,已經所有的智都現前了,所有的惑完全斷除,『無生智證理』,得到『無生智』,自然證得道理,所以『因亡果喪』,就沒有這些因、果等等繼續纏綿。所以『證入空理,心得自在,故名解脫』。

⊙皆得深妙禪定:由證解脫,故能得超過世間,得與慧相應之深妙禪定。

由證解脫,故能得超越世間,與我們的清淨慧能會合,這叫做『深妙禪定』,就是最高無上的解脫。

很多的法,來自於我們一念心,讓我們有這麼多說不完的法。其實回歸回來,在現在的生活中,入人群中去造福人群,這樣就對了。所以我們要時時多用心。
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發表主題: 回復: 20170317《靜思妙蓮華》解縛得脫心自在(第1046集) (法華經•化城喻品第七)   周三 2月 21, 2018 6:29 pm

Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: Liberation From Bonds Brings the Mind Freedom (解縛得脫心自在)
Date: March.17. 2017

“It has been many nayutas, trillions, countless numbers of kalpas, such a long time it is difficult to calculate. He remained in Samadhi and did not cling to affinities or states. He practiced supreme good deeds and upheld the rules and precepts. He widely made offerings and planted blessings and always deeply cultivated Samadhi and wisdom.”

“It has been many nayutas” means it has been an immeasurably long period of time, a period of time so long that it is in fact incalculable. This is “many nayutas.” How long is that? Trillions, incalculable trillions, “countless numbers of kalpas.” It is so long that it is impossible to calculate. This is a very, very long time ago. Do we still remember Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha? How long ago did Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha exist? Dust-inked kalpas ago. For that Buddha, His past process of spiritual practice was very long. His mind remained in Samadhi, and throughout His spiritual practice, He never clung to affinities or states. This is spiritual practice, not clinging to affinities and not allowing external states to cause one’s spiritual aspirations to waver. What He practiced was supreme good deeds and upholding the precepts. He had many virtuous thoughts. This is like the Brahma kings who came from the ten directions. They similarly practiced supreme good deeds, also upheld the supreme precepts. We have spoken of all of this before. The one who taught the Dharma was like this, and those listening to the Dharma were like this, too. Clearly that assembly must have been magnificent, with so many people of supreme virtue all gathered there together. They came from the ten directions to invite Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha to turn the Dharma-wheel. That place of enlightenment is very far away from us now. “It has been many nayutas, trillions [of kalpas].” It was countless kalpas, so long ago, that the Brahma kings of the ten directions came to that place of enlightenment to request the Dharma. So, these were all those who constantly deeply cultivated Samadhi and wisdom. Spiritual practice takes a very long time. With time, we accumulate all things needed to fulfill one’s spiritual aspirations. This is how it is now and how it was long ago in the past, countless dust-inked kalpas ago, during the time of Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha.

All of us are equal to the Buddha in our Buddha-nature, which has been intrinsic in us since Beginningless Time. As long as we maintain our intrinsic Buddha-nature and remain uninfluenced by our environment, then our state of mind will be the same as the spiritual state of the place of enlightenment during Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha’s time. What a pity it is that, due to a single thought of ignorance, we constantly connect with external states and are enticed by external conditions, thus becoming ignorant. Ignorance gives rise to volitional formation, then all the karma that we create is stored away in our consciousness. It is this ignorance that is multiplied there which causes us to reborn again and again. This is beyond our control; we follow our causes and conditions and are dragged along by karmic forces. In any place we find ourselves, we follow our circumstantial and direct retributions. The cycle of karmic cause and effect never stops. This depends on our minds.

If our minds are like this, then over such a long time, how can we safeguard our mind? We must go back to the real world. It is in the real world where we must earnestly go among people to engage in spiritual practice while not letting the environment disturb our minds. By going among people, we can see so many different kinds of lives. There is a home in Chiayi with only one person living in it. This person is mentally impaired; their brain does not work so well. He has a father but the father does not live in the house with him. Every day the father comes by and gives him NTD 100 so that he can eat. But this young man was living in the house; while I say that he is young, he looks like he is in his 30s or 40s. Yet he is mentally impaired. He is always playing with fire, setting things on fire. Sometimes he frightens others by threatening them with knives, so the neighbors do not dare to approach him. Even more troublesome is that he likes to pick up trash. He brings this garbage back to his house. So, he lives by himself in a traditional courtyard compound, a house from former times, with a main building and several outlying wings that all around a courtyard. Inside it was completely filled with trash. Everyone who lives nearby was worried, worried about this person who often sets things on fire. If he were to set his own house on fire, that fire would spread to other houses. Nobody dared to approach him, scared he might threaten them with a knife. Because of this, everyone in the village was worried. The village head begged his father saying, “Please, can you talk to your son?” The father told him, “He is not well mentally; how can I communicate with him? What can we do? It is so filthy inside.” The village head said, “I have already invited Tzu Chi volunteers to come help clean. Can you tell your son we are having people come to clean the house?”
“It is impossible! There’s nothing more to say.” Although the village head had failed, Tzu Chi volunteers stepped in to help. The communicated with the father for a very long time until the father finally told them, “Fine, if you want to clean, you can do so.” With that, the father left and did not appear again. We then mobilized 50 Tzu Chi volunteers. 50 people had come, but the care recipient stood outside blocking the door, looking fierce, not allowing anyone to enter. The village head called his uncle, and the uncle came. His father would not come, so the uncle was called. The uncle was touched by these Tzu Chi volunteers, so the uncle went to speak with him. He still lost his temper; this care recipient lost his temper. When the Tzu Chi volunteers went there together with the uncle, the uncle gave them a secret signal meaning, “You can go in through the side.” He was blocking the entrance to the main house, so the uncle told the volunteers, “You can go in to clean through the kitchen.” The uncle and the Tzu Chi volunteers continued speaking with him until the man finally discovered that the volunteers had entered his house from the side. The he began shouting, “You are all robbers! Robbers! Robbers have come in to rob me!” The Tzu Chi Faith Corps, the uncle and the village head were all talking outside until a Faith Corps member quickly changed the topic. He said, “A’yi. You have so many amulets hanging from your neck. Won’t all those spirits fight one another’s?” He said, “No, why would the spirits want to fight? ”Look,” he said, as he reached for his amulets on his chest, “This is a Wang Ye and this is Guanyin. Why ever would they wish to fight?” A Tzu Chi volunteers then began, “That’s right!” “Our group was sent here by Guanyin Bodhisattva. We were sent here to help you. Won’t you welcome us?” He smiled and asked, “Guanyin sent you?” With that, he began lightening up. The volunteers inside hurriedly kept cleaning. Do you know how dirty it was? It was almost as if he were living inside a mountain of garbage. That is how you could describe that entire house. It was like what we see in Indonesia, or in the Philippines, or in other countries, those mountainous landfills. For a very long time, for more than ten years, this man had never really slept in a bed. Where had he slept? He slept upon the garbage, since the bed was nowhere to be found amidst the garbage filling the room. More than 50 Tzu Chi volunteers, as well as many members of a charity group from that village, all raced against the clock to hurriedly move everything out of the house. There was money among the garbage, many paper bills. Quickly, they called out to him, “A’yi, you have money!” Upon seeing money, he knew enough to come take it. Meanwhile, he again began making a fuss. “You’ve moved out all my things! What are you trying to do? You are robbing me!” They told him, “Relax, relax!” Tzu Chi volunteers comforted him by telling him, “We can sell these for money. Then we will bring you back the money.” He calmed down when he heard about the money. They kept talking to him like this while cleaning, some outside the house, some inside. Can you imagine the extent of the filth? For 10 to 20 years it had never been cleaned, while he had been bringing in all sorts of garbage. Those were the conditions [they experienced]. However, this group of volunteers truly had been sent by Guanyin Bodhisattva; hundreds of hands were cleaning there, all cleaning and scrubbing. When they had moved out all the garbage and had begun cleaning, he came in as well and started to help them clean, pulling the hose around to help them spray. Tzu Chi volunteers kept praising him, saying, “You are so wonderful! That’s great!” He was very happy; while cleaning the floors and scrubbing the walls, he began to reveal a friendlier smile. Tzu Chi volunteers brought a bed over, a table and a bed. They asked him, “Where do you want to sleep? Where should the bed go?” He told them, “Over there.” Our volunteers told him, “Maybe it would be better if we helped to move the table here and the bed there. Then you can sleep comfortably. Isn’t this a beautiful bed?” He touched it. “Come and help us move it,” He help them to move the bed inside the house. “We’ll put it like this for you. After you’ve laid out the mattress board, you can wipe it down.” The volunteers invited him to help wipe it down. As he wiped it down with the volunteers, they taught him, saying, “It won’t get clean wiping like that. Come, I’ll teach you, wipe it this way, a little more lightly. Wipe lighter like this.” So, he could follow instructions after all! When they told him to wipe more lightly he wiped more lightly. With that, this lightly used secondhand bed was set up and after being wiped down was like new. The whole place looked like new. These are Living Bodhisattvas.

Through going among people, they discovered this person in the prime of life, a strong middle-aged man. He was physically strong, yet mentally impaired. They took the time to teach him not to play with fire. There were also more than 40 knives inside which the Tzu Chi volunteers quickly put away so he would not see them. They put all those knives away. Right now, it is like this; there is a bed and a table in the clean main room of that traditional house where he can live free of filth. While the volunteers helped clean for him, they also awakened to truths of life. I speak about circumstantial and direct retributions in life, how a person come to be born in a certain family. How were all the people in this family ultimately connected to each other? All we knew was that he had a father who would give him NTD 100 every day; that was all we knew. When cleaning the house, there was the uncle. Was it really his uncle, or just someone whom he called uncle? We are still not sure. All we know is that he was a very lonely person who was mentally impaired. Upon seeing this, we can think of ourselves; in witnessing suffering, we recognize blessings. We have healthy bodies, sound minds and correct thinking. Because our thinking is correct, we can give to others like this. Being able to do this makes us happy and fills us with gratitude. Including this child, everyone has Buddha-nature. The way volunteers formed good affinities with him, didn’t they “remain in Samadhi and not cling to affinities or states”? In going among people, trying to help such a family, we had no other intentions. We just cannot bear to let sentient beings suffer. Even in such conditions, we did not allow the external states to hinder our good intentions. We went in to help him, to help clean, making no judgment about the stench or filth, not clinging to any conditions. We were not seeking anything. We just wanted to give him a clean environment; that was all. Isn’t this practicing supreme goodness? Upon finding money, everyone hurried to tell him, “Come A’yi, we have found some money!” Then they quickly gave it to him. Abiding by the rules and coveting nothing is how we engage in spiritual practice. There is nothing difficult about engaging in spiritual practice. It is really this simple; we cultivate supreme good deeds and uphold the precepts. We give to help others; since all sentient beings have Buddha-nature, we “widely make offerings and plant blessings.”

For countless kalpas we have gone among people, using the Dharma to make offerings to Buddhas. When the Buddha taught sentient beings, He was not seeking anything. The [true] offerings He attained were sentient beings following His teachings. Following the Buddha’s teachings and practicing according to them is the greatest offering we can make, so we “always deeply cultivate Samadhi and wisdom.” Because our spiritual practice is deeply rooted, seeing a situation like that we would never say, “Wow, what a pile of garbage!” There’s nothing I can do about it and then just walk away. We would never do that. We will get involved to help him clean it out. We are single-minded in our resolve, not seeking fame or fortune. We want nothing but to benefit sentient beings. This is what we should normally practice.

Following this same principle, when we save people, it influences the entire society. By cleaning this home, by cleaning that environment, it [affects] not just that one family or that one person. We discovered this person and formed a friendship with him. Those Tzu Chi volunteers told him, “Starting now, we will come often to visit you.” In this way he began to accept them. A mentally impaired individual need to be counseled through friendship. Otherwise, he might have been like a ticking time bomb, able to start a fire at any time that might get out of hand. Or he might have taken one of those 40 knives he had in the house and used it to hurt somebody. This is [unpredictable]. So, for the safety of the community, volunteers give of themselves in this way. These are Bodhisattvas in the world. Spiritual practice takes place in community, so let us be very mindful.

The teaching of the 12 Links of Cyclic Existence talks about how all of our thoughts, everything we say and everything we do, all the actions we take, all arise from the mind. A single thought of “ignorance” gives rise to “volitional formation”; we take action and so on, until gradually arriving at “contact”, contact with the environment, resulting in “feeling.” If we make an effort to bring these to cessation, to eliminate all improper behavior, all mistaken actions, all misguided thinking, we will naturally eliminate [all of the Links].

The previous passage says, “When contact ceases, feeling thus ceases. When feeling ceases, craving thus ceases. When craving ceases, grasping thus ceases. When becoming cease, birth thus ceases. When birth ceases the worries, sadness and distress of aging and death thus cease.”

How do we eliminate our worries, sadness and distress? We must do it like this, layer by layer, beginning with the elimination of ignorance, right up until the very end when worries, sadness and distress cease as well. We should mindfully seek to comprehend this cycle of life. In the same span of a single thought, one thought can be of our nature of True Suchness, while the next can be of ignorance. If we are not careful, our nature of True Suchness will be covered by ignorance. So, between Bodhi and ignorance, do we want to walk the Bodhisattva-path, the Bodhi-path, or do we want to journey on the ignorance covering us, that confusion, and continue this [cycle] of the Links? This all depends upon us. Now that we have accepted the Buddha-Dharma, we must put effort into mindfully experiencing it.

So next, the passage continues to say, “When the Buddha taught this Dharma to the assembly of humans and heavenly beings. Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha already accepted the invitation of the Brahma kings and had begun to turn the Dharma-wheel. He began with the Four Noble Truths and the teaching of the Twelve Links of Cyclic Existence.

So, here when it says, “When the Buddha taught this Dharma to the assembly of humans and heavenly beings, “this Dharam” means the Four Noble Truths and the teaching of the Twelve Links of Cyclic Existence. During this time, “600 trillion nayutas of people, by remaining unaffected by all phenomena, attained liberation from all Leaks and all realized profound and wondrous Samadhi”

When the Buddha began turning the Dharma-wheel, there were “600 trillion nayutas” of beings. These “600 trillion nayutas” had not come from just any one direction; 600 trillion beings came from all ten directions. A “nayuta” is a great many, a countless number of people. There were so many just from the Brahma heavens, along with those from the human realm as well as the 16 princes; all were present at this assembly. “They could remain unaffected by all phenomena.” Remaining unaffected by ignorance and so on, by the phenomena of ignorance, they could “attain liberation from all Leaks.” By totally transcending all internal afflictions, they would have no more “Leaks.”

In the past, we constantly talked about Leaks. “Leaks” are afflictions, ignorance. So, they remained unaffected by Leaks and afflictions, the afflictions that resulted from ignorance. Those thoughts of affliction due to ignorance were completely eliminated. They would have no more Leaks from afflictions. Having gotten rid of all of these, they would thereby “attain liberation.” When our Leaks are exhausted, our minds naturally attain liberation. “All realized profound and wondrous Samadhi.” We naturally attain profound and wondrous Samadhi” since our root of faith is very strong. “When the Buddha taught this Dharma to the assembly of humans and heavenly beings. This was when Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior formally turned the Dharma-wheel; He had formally begun turning the Dharma-wheel. As we mentioned, He taught the Four Noble Truths and the Twelve Links of Cyclic Existence.

When the Buddha taught the Dharma to the assembly of humans and heavenly beings: When Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Tathagata formally turned the Dharma-wheel to teach the Four Noble Truths and the Twelve Links of Cyclic Existence for the first time, the numbers of Hearers in the assembly was incalculable. Those benefited were everyone in the assembly. It only mentions the multitude of Hearers because He had not yet taught the Great Vehicle, hence there were no Bodhisattvas.

When He taught the Dharma the first time, the only ones there were Hearers and Solitary Realizers, but there were already very many of them. They were incalculable in numbers, so many people. There were “600trillion nayutas” of them, countless numbers of them, so they were incalculable. “Those benefited were everyone in the assembly.” There were many who benefited. Having accepted the Buddha-Dharma, everyone had already completely gotten rid of their afflictions, ignorance and their Leaks. Their minds had attained liberation, so they obtained benefit. This is only talking about the Hearers, the Hearers as well as the Solitary Realizers. This was only “the first time.” There were Hearers and Solitary Realizers, but still no Bodhisattvas. At that point there were only Hearers and Solitary Realizers. Even those from the Brahma heavens still had teachings they had not pentreated fully. So, they again came to request that the Buddha turn the Dharma-wheel. These were only Hearers and Solitary Realizers. The Bodhisattvas had not yet appeared, since the Buddha was only teaching the Twelve Links of Cyclic Existence He had not yet entered the Great Vehicle Dharma so the Bodhisattvas had not yet appeared.

“600 trillion nyutas of people” refers to those who realized the Two Vehicles and attained the fruit of liberation.” They had already realized the Two Vehicles. The Two Vehicles are the Hearers and Solitary Realizer Vehicles.

Those whose fruit of liberation was deeply rooted, whose faith was firm, were already as many 600 trillion nyutas. There were so many of them. So, “They remain unaffected by all phenomena.” Remaining unaffected by all phenomena means they were [unaffected by] any external states, by the temptations of external states. The temptations of external states are why we often say that we must go among people. Being with others is having external conditions. With these conditions, there are all kinds of afflictions and ignorance. Amidst these external states, amongst all kinds of afflictions and ignorance, these “external states and internal retributions, they have no feelings of enjoyment.”

They remain unaffected bu all phenonema: Remaining unaffected bu all phenonema means that amongst all feelings from external states and internal retributions, they have no feelings of enjoyment. Whthout feeling, they have no craving. Without craving, thete is no grasping. Without grasping, thete is no becoming; then there will no worries, sadness and distress of birth, aging and death. Thus, they attain the realization of Nirvana with remainder.

So many afflictions come from external states. If we keep them in our minds, we have feelings of displeasure, of dislike. If we are unaffected, if we do not take them in, then even amidst external states, our minds remain unmoved. We know there is no joy in them, that they are not joyful things, because they are all states of suffering. These external states are all ones of suffering. Having understood this, we know that it begins with a thought of ignorance, which gives rise to volitional formation, consciousness, name and form, the six entrances, contact and feeling. We know all this, and since we know, we remain unaffected, unaffected by external states. Although we can go amidst these external states, inside we remain undefiled. We already know that these states are things that attract suffering.

This is like those 50-plus volunteers who went to that place to clean. Though those conditions were [so filthy], those Bodhisattvas did not keep that garbage in their minds. They cleared it out of the house so that it was clean. Knowing it was suffering, they cleared it out and did not keep it in their hearts. In the same way, when we understand, “Without feeling, we have no craving.” We know that when a thought of ignorance arise, if we do not take in external states, then we will not act upon this ignorance and create karma. So, with this mindset, upon seeing external states, we will not think or try to take them in. By remaining unaffected by external states and not clinging to conditions, we will naturally be without craving. Without craving, we will not have feelings like, “I want this, I don’t want that.” In any case, it does not belong to me, and I also do not need it, so naturally there is no “craving,” nor any wish to “grasp” it. “Without craving, there is no grasping Without grasping, there is no becoming.” We do not take things and bring them inside, like A’yi, who would pick things up and bring them inside, thereby creating so much garbage. This is “becoming.” So, without grasping, if he had never picked them up, there would not have been so much trash inside. Then, “Without grasping, there is no becoming.” There would not have been so much trash; there would not have been so many afflictions. “Then there will be no worries, sadness and distress of birth, aging and death.” There naturally is no birth, aging, illness and death or worries, sadness or distress from them.

Many are like this. If we watch Da Ai TV, we can often see some elderly people who are so liberated. “I’m so old now that if I don’t quickly take action, I will soon be out of time! I don’t think too much. Why should I think about pain or sickness? I can forget about it by just taking action!” “My last day?” “Oh, I never think about it. I just do what is right. I still have time, so I hurry to do these things. Master tells us to seize the present moment.” They have no worries, sadness or distress. They are content and satisfied. While there is still time, we should just do it. Then we will have no worries, sadness or distress. “Thus, they attain the realization of Nirvana with remainder.” This is Nirvana with remainder because they had only practiced the Two Vehicles, the Hearer and Solitary Realizer Vehicles. So, they attained “Nirvana with remainder.” They had not yet arrived at “Nirvana without remainder.” They knew how we came to be in cyclic existence, and knowing this, they knew not to create more karma, or allow “ignorance” to give rise to “volitional formation” and so on. They only understood up to this point, so they wished to maintain their purity of mind, for when the home of the mind is clean, it is free of afflictions.

So, “They remain unaffected by all phenomena. They awakened to the [four] Truths and [Twelve] Links, that all is empty.” This is how we can naturally awaken and understand that this is actually how we come and go in life.

They remain unaffected by all phenomena: They awakened to the [Four] Truths and [Twelve] Links, that all is empty. They eradicated all bonds and completely eliminated the consciousness that connects the Roots and states. Thus, they had no attachments.

They understood like’s suffering, how it is beyond one’s control, how circumstantial and direct retribution and beyond one’s control. This suffering [is caused] because we are confused in the world. With no thorough understanding of anything, one again creates karma, becoming incessantly entangled. Now that they were listening to the Dharma and could understand, they would remain unaffected by all of this ignorance and afflictions. Naturally, they realized the principles of the Four Truths and Twelve Links of Cyclic Existence, how everything is fundamentally empty, yet by creating karma, we go through “becoming”. When all the garbage was cleared out of that house, it was extremely empty. The only necessary thing was a bed, and when that was brought in, he had all he needed; it is this simple. So, “They eradicated all bonds.” The ignorance and filth, those ropes that bound us, have all been released. They “completely eliminated the consciousness that connects the Roots and states.” The Roots are our Six Roots. Then there are the external Six Dusts. When we connect to these states, we create karma. Our consciousness is already very clear. The mirror has been wiped clean, for we know there is no relation between those external states and our mirror. The mirror remains undefiled. The mirror reflects external states very clearly, but the external states have nothing to do with the mirror. This is “completely eliminated the consciousness that connects the Roots and states.”

We know the garbage is in front of us. It is not inside the mirror. It is outside the mirror, not inside the mirror. So, “the consciousness that connects the Roots and states” has been completely eliminated. Thus, “They have no attachments.” Having completely understood, their minds have no attachments. Everything has been cleared out, it is all clean, so they do not want to bring things in again. Once it has been cleared out, it will again become dirty. So, they must have no attachments at all. “And thus attain liberation from all Leaks.” These afflictions and ignorance have all been eliminated, have all been exhausted, so they had attained liberation. “[They escaped] from flawed states in the world.” These bonds had been completely eliminated. “Their minds were free and at ease.” They naturally were at ease. “All Leaks” refer to afflictions and ignorance, which cause delusional views and thinking. These are called “Leaks.”

And thus attain liberation from all Leaks: They were disentangled and liberated from flawed states in the world. Their minds were free and at ease. All Leaks: This refers to the afflictions of views and thinking. Our fundamentally liberated mind is covered and burdened due to feeling. Our fundamentally clear and pure nature is confused due to attachment. By not giving rise to feeling or attachment over any phenomena, we therefore attain the fruit of liberation.”

Our fundamentally liberated mind is covered.” This is talking about those filthy things that cover our nature of True Suchness; the afflictions and ignorance covering our minds. These are called “Leaks”. When these things are all eliminated, we naturally become liberated. So, “burdened due to feeling” is again going back to talk about “feeling.” After there is “contact,” we have feeling, the feeling of “I want this.” So, we think about how to get it. This feeling leads to “craving” and with craving there is naturally attachment. Actually, our mind is inherently bright and pure. It is like that courtyard compound. The house itself was still very good. The house was originally clean, but he picked up trash and brought it in, and it continuously accumulated that way. Actually, after clearing the trash out, the house returned to its original cleanliness.

We become “confused due to attachment.” It is due to attachments, those dirty things we bring inside, that the entire house becomes dark and filled with trash. Then we cannot see inside the house to what was originally there. It is now all filled with trash.
So, “By not giving rise to feeling or attachment over any phenomena, we therefore attain the fruit of liberation.” In regard to these phenomena, once we understand that [ we know] this is the phenomena of ignorance, so we must not be attached to it. This is the pure teaching, so we must diligently accept and uphold it. By accepting and upholding this teaching, wisdom is attained. Each measure of ignorance we eliminate increases our wisdom by the same measure. When we understand the principles, naturally our minds become liberated. “Their minds were liberated.” “Liberated” means “free from the two bonds of seeds and fruits.”

Their minds were liberated: They were free from the two bonds of seeds and fruits, had completely cut off the delusions of thinking and attained the stage beyond learning. With complete wisdom they ended delusions, and with non-arising wisdom they realized the principles. Their causes and effects both ended, and they realized the principle of emptiness. Their minds were free and at ease. Therefore, they were said to be liberated.

This is talking about our “fruit”. Actually, with fruit, if allowed to have the right conditions, it will have seeds, these genes, this karma will exist within the fruit. When fruit is separated from external conditions, naturally the fruit’s genes will not propagate. Seeds must have earth, water and air for them to be able to sprout and grow. If we separate the seeds from these conditions, they naturally will not grow. So, this is how to “completely cut off the delusions of thinking.” Then naturally the roots of our afflictions will be eliminated, when cut off, naturally our ignorance and delusions become totally eliminated. When delusions of and thinking are ended, we “attain the stage beyond learning.” Naturally through diligence, we go beyond the stage of Hearers and Solitary Realizers. This is the stage beyond learning. When we first started discussing the Lotus Sutra we talked about “learning” and “beyond learning”. Hearers and Solitary Realizers have not completely eradicated afflictions. Having not completely understood the teachings, they are still at the stage of “learning”. They must still learn. We can “attain the stage beyond learning,” and “with completely wisdom we end delusions.” All wisdom has already manifested,
and all delusions have completely ended. “With non-arising wisdom we realize principles.” Having attained “non-arising wisdom,” we can naturally realize the principles. So, “Their causes and effects both ended.” There were no more causes and effects and such that entangled them. “They realized the principle of emptiness,” and “their minds were free and at ease.” “Therefore, they were said to be liberated.”

So, “All realized profound and wondrous Samadhi. Having attained liberation, they were able to transcend the world. “[The Samadhi attained] resonated with wisdom.” It was very deep, so they could naturally transcend the world. Because it resonated with our pure wisdom, it is called “profound and wondrous Samadhi.” This is the highest and most supreme liberation.

So many phenomena are created by a single thought, thus there are so many that we could never finish talking about them all. In fact, everything comes back to our daily living in the present. We must go among people and benefit others. This is the right thing to do, so let us always be mindful.


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