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 20170321《靜思妙蓮華》深修善緣正因法 (第1048集) (法華經•化城喻品第七)

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發表主題: 20170321《靜思妙蓮華》深修善緣正因法 (第1048集) (法華經•化城喻品第七)   周一 3月 20, 2017 11:59 pm

20170321《靜思妙蓮華》深修善緣正因法 (第1048集)
(法華經•化城喻品第七)

 
「深修善緣正因法,因成果熟得解脫;未結善緣速成善,耕耘播種後成果。」
⊙八解脫亦名八背捨。捨此淨潔五欲著心,發無漏智慧,斷三界見思惑盡,背捨無明,證羅漢果,即轉名八解脫。
⊙「三明、六通、具八解脫。第二、第三、第四說法時,千萬億恆河沙那由他等眾生」《法華經化城喻品第七》
「亦以不受一切法故,而於諸漏心得解脫。從是已後,諸聲聞眾無量無邊不可稱數。」《法華經化城喻品第七
⊙亦以不受一切法故:亦如初會,於諸染法不受,心中靜寂清澄。
⊙而於諸漏心得解脫:而於三界諸有漏法,心得自在,解脫生死。
⊙從是已後,諸聲聞眾無量無邊不可稱數:從是初說法已後,終至於末後。諸聲聞眾:諸得道者聲聞之眾。
「爾時,十六王子皆以童子出家而為沙彌,諸根通利,智慧明了。」《法華經化城喻品第七》
⊙爾時十六王子皆以童子出家:佛未出家,有十六子,以童真身從父出家。
⊙而為沙彌:沙彌此云息慈,息惡、行慈之義等。初心出家,息滅諸惡,勤修慈善。
⊙沙彌又言求寂,謂出家發願志求涅槃,所受為十戒,隨順比丘修習律儀,蓋初出家者之稱。
⊙諸根通利,智慧明了:於六根門通達銳利,有大智慧,心地明了。
⊙諸根通利:根利復多智慧,悉由久供養佛,曾發大心。此明王子之德。
⊙諸根通利:即六根清淨,諸根明銳,能通諸事而無礙,利則不樂權乘。
⊙智慧明了:明則完全明知其事理,了則不滯中途,皆知內因無礙。
 
【證嚴上人開示】

「深修善緣正因法,因成果熟得解脫;未結善緣速成善,耕耘播種後成果。」
 
深修善緣正因法
因成果熟得解脫
未結善緣速成善
耕耘播種後成果
 
「深修善緣正因法」,我們要好好地用心去體會啊!修行,信心要深,信根若沒有很深,這棵樹就會很怕風,風若是大時,容易將大樹吹倒。那就是因為這棵樹,根不深、伸不廣,所以容易被一陣大風,樹就倒了。所以,我們的信心如樹根一樣,我們必定信,信根要深,要廣,深又廣,這棵樹才會穩固。
 
修行與此相同,我們從那顆種子落土開始,有風,就是空氣,有水分,這樣,樹慢慢地長大。也就是說,我們有了因,還要有緣。有種子,若沒有大地,沒有大空間的空氣,若沒有水分,這些緣都沒有成就,只有那顆種,種子,還是大樹不能成長,同樣只是一顆種子。所以,這顆種子,必定要有很多的因來成就它。
 
這些因就如我們在修行,我們發一念心要做好事,如果沒有周圍種種人事物,這些煩惱無明,我們哪有機會叫做修行呢?周圍的環境,人、事、物,不如意的十有八九,就是這個十有八九的不如意,這叫做緣。人、事、物,很多來考驗我們,我們這顆種子,這個善因這顆種子,必定要經得起很多周圍的緣,來考驗我們。所以我們必定這顆種子本身,它要是大樹的種子,它是經得起考驗的大樹,所以叫做「深修善緣」。
 
十有八九的不如意,那就是沒有好的善緣,所以我們要有經得起,這些不好的緣,我們要好好用心修行。既然發這念心,我們必定要克服過,很多的惡因、惡緣。過去生如何與他結了不好的因,過去生給他多少不好的緣,我們這輩子已經瞭解了,法,清楚這樣告訴我們,今生依、正二報,來到這個地方,在這裡生,就是與這裡有緣。是什麼緣呢?善緣、惡緣都有,五趣雜居,很多的因緣都揉合在這裡。
 
五趣,天人就是表示善,有善的人。一般的人間,有善,就跟著善走,有惡,就隨著惡的方向去,善心沒有很堅定,惡念不是很大,這種不善不惡,就是我們的人間,隨著這個因緣在轉。迷茫中的眾生,我們在這種五趣雜居,不同的的因緣中,我們必定要很清楚瞭解。過去生,我們若與他結了不好的緣,今生此世遇到的人,就如地獄中的夜叉、惡鬼,用種種的方法要破壞你的道心,或者是不明道理的畜生道,這樣來擾亂等等。
 
三惡道,人間,甚至天道,在這種五趣中,很複雜的地方,我們隨著這個因緣來到這個地方,我們起一念心,善心,要如何來化度這種惡如夜叉,如何心不受他影響,用善法與他結好緣。若是愚癡如畜生的人,我們要發揮什麼樣的智慧,來度他。若是如餓鬼,非常的欠缺,在人生道上,一切都是欠缺,我們要如何來滿足他?這都要看我們如何修行,好好深修,能夠化惡緣為善緣,這就是我們的正因。
 
我們一念心是清淨的本性,這念正因,我們回歸到正法,「正因法」,我們自己的內心這念心發起,用種種方法如何來度人,這必定要深修。要不然,在這種這麼複雜,五趣雜居,這是我們的依報在這個地方,所以我們既然能發心修行,依照這個法,善規則,我們好好在這條菩提道上,好好地走,方向要準確。
 
我們若能這樣,正因法,修善因緣,自然因成果熟,我們就能解脫了。所說的解脫,就是來去自如,瞭解我們來人間的目的,那就是發菩提心,行菩薩道,是自由來、自由去,去來自在,叫做解脫。
 
我們昨天也說過「八背捨」,就是修行的過程,這些惡,我們完全反過來,反惡為善,捨掉了過去的惡,自然地,修行,「因成果熟」,自然就得到解脫,解脫就能來去自如了。
 
所以「未結善緣速成善」。我們如果還沒有與人結善緣,我們就要趕緊利用,我們在這個五濁惡世中,我們要趕快找機會,與人人結善緣。我們過去說不定,與人結了不好的緣,諸事不如意,不要埋怨,我們要改善我們自己,如何與人結善緣。把握當下,永遠這個善緣不要錯失了,所以「未結善緣速成善」。我們要趕緊,趕緊把握因緣,與人人結好善緣,把握機會趕快做好事,這就是要把握當下。
 
就如一位耕耘播種者,如耕耘,播種的農夫一樣,現在播種子,就是之後得成果,之後的收穫就是累累的果實,現在好好播種,下一季我們就可以很豐收。同樣的道理,是從一顆種子開始,正因法,就是一顆種子開始,我們要好好用心來耕耘。我們要珍惜周圍的緣,不論它是什麼緣,我們只要用很單純的心結善緣,要與人結好緣,這我們才有辦法,得到「八背捨」,得解脫。
 
八解脫亦名八背捨
捨此淨潔五欲著心
發無漏智慧
斷三界見思惑盡
背捨無明
證羅漢果
即轉名八解脫
 
這就是修行的過程,常常自我警惕,不要再受到這個惡緣牽引我們,讓我們再次在無明中去行為,在這個行為中起心動念,又再複製很多的業力、無明,到頭來,到最後,還不都是老、病、死,一切的憂苦,就是一直生生世世不斷輪迴,苦不堪啊!所以我們要好好用心,常常要記得「八背捨」的方法,要記得「四諦」、「十二(因)緣」,我們才能真正得到三明、六通、八解脫,這就是我們所要修的方向。
 
所以前面的(經)文就這樣說,「三明、六通、具八解脫」,這必定是我們一定要用,很長久的時間,從你發心那顆種子開始,生生世世,無量塵點劫的時間,我們必定要堅持。就如梵天王從十方來,到大通智勝佛的道場請法,請轉法輪,大通智勝佛一直從初開始,一直默然,到了因緣成熟了,開始答應,初轉法輪開始,這一轉就無量無數,第二、第三、第四,無量數說法的時間,所度的眾生,有「千萬億恆河沙,那由他(等)眾生」。這是我們昨天說過的經文,要用很長久的時間。
 
三明 六通
具八解脫
第二 第三
第四說法時
千萬億恆河沙
那由他等眾生
《法華經化城喻品第七》
 
法,法輪已轉,無量劫以前,塵點劫以前,法輪不斷在轉。因為修行者,就如釋迦牟尼佛,從那時候一直一直到現在,我們現在的法,釋迦牟尼佛所說的法,釋迦牟尼佛回溯,在無量塵點劫前的大通智勝佛,可見這個法輪不斷轉。從那時候修行,十六王子中的修行,一直到離我們二千多年前,迦毘羅衛國的悉達多太子,出生、修行、成佛、轉法輪,一直到現在,我們還是承受這個法,可見法是從,無始劫塵點劫以來都在,常住不變。
 
大通智勝佛時是這樣,現在釋迦牟尼佛時也是這樣,所以諸法常住。法就是永久常在,只是我們凡夫迷了,一念「無明」緣著外面的境界,由不得自己這樣去行,累積很多的無明煩惱。總是接觸,這樣一直接觸,開始受、愛、取、有,這樣永遠都是「有」,有什麼呢?有無明存在,所以憂悲苦惱永遠都在,這樣永遠不斷。
 
所以唯有修行,才能將無明一層一層去除,若能這樣,「心、佛、眾生三無差別」。過去的大通智勝佛以來,成就了很多佛,很多修行者而成佛。一直到我們現在,我們也是一樣,照這樣修行,同樣回歸清淨如來本性。我們自我的覺性,那就是佛,佛叫做覺,人人能覺悟,明白道理。
 
要如何才能明白道理,接受佛法?所以下面這段(經)文就說,「亦以不受一切法故,而於諸漏心得解脫。從是已後,諸聲聞眾無量無邊不可稱數。」
 
亦以不受一切法故
而於諸漏心得解脫
從是已後
諸聲聞眾
無量無邊不可稱數
《法華經化城喻品第七
 
這就是這樣開始,聽法之後,瞭解了,一切惡法無明在人間,聽了之後瞭解,「亦以不受一切法」。
 
亦以不受
一切法故:
亦如初會
於諸染法不受
心中靜寂清澄
 
就是從初開始,初轉法輪這個初會,就是在會中,梵天王來請法,佛還沒有說,從東方開始,南方、東南方、東南西北方,總共八方,還有上方、下方。十方梵天王都到了,佛還沒有說法,十方的梵天王,開始共同虔誠請法,大通智勝佛才開始開口轉法輪,這叫做初會,開始轉法輪。
 
「於諸染法不受」。就這樣,大家將正法入心,「染法不受」,這叫做「背捨」,惡法就是染法,染法就是惡法,所以染法完全背捨了,再也不受污染了,所以,心中靜寂清澄。從初,最初轉法輪,聽法開始,心就開始對過去這些染法,完全去除,愈來愈瞭解了,是錯就要改。
 
凡夫是一錯再錯,習慣就是這樣不斷犯錯。我們現在聽法之後,我們要常常自我警惕,有錯的,我們要趕緊及時改過,要懺悔,要修來,懺過去,修於未來。這就是在會中初會,在最初聽法,就發出這分堅定的心,接受佛法,及時改過,這是「諸染法不受」。所以,「亦以不受一切法」,就是一切諸染法都不受,心已經完全清淨了,所以已經靜寂清澄了。
 
而於諸漏
心得解脫:
而於三界
諸有漏法
心得自在
解脫生死
 
「而於諸漏,心得解脫」。這些漏,三界,欲界、色界、無色界。三界所有的煩惱諸漏,全都這樣去除了。這些三界有漏法,也同樣不受,去除了,所以「心得自在,解脫生死」。
 
因為梵天王來請法。梵天王在色界,自己還有微分未除的煩惱,還有少分不清楚的法;再為天下眾生來請法。所以「而於三界,諸有漏法」,包括不只是我們欲界的眾生,包括色界、無色界,這些梵天還有微分法,還未很透徹瞭解,再為天下眾生來請法。所以他們的心完全漏盡了,有漏法也都盡了,清淨,所以心自在,輕安自在解脫,不必再為生死,由不得自己輪迴人間,就不必了,不必再在五道四生之中,這樣去除(輪迴)了。這是修行者要用心的。
 
所以「從是已後,諸聲聞眾,無量無邊,不可稱數」。
 
從是已後
諸聲聞眾
無量無邊
不可稱數:
從是初說法已後
終至於末後
諸聲聞眾:
諸得道者聲聞之眾
 
從大通智勝佛初轉法輪,那個時候開始,就這樣聲聞眾,聲聞、緣覺等等,已經接觸佛法的已經不少了,「不可稱數」,很多。這就是初說法以後,從第一、第二、第三、第四,不斷不斷這樣,一直到終至末後,一直到佛的最後。
 
其實沒有最後,是法是不斷延續。所說「終至末後」,這是事相。大通智勝佛開始說法,一直到涅槃之後,這是事相。真正的理,就是一直延續。因為十六王子,還是繼續要轉法輪,繼續修行,繼續成佛,繼續在度眾生。所以,一直法輪一轉,就是不斷。「諸聲聞眾」,就是得道的聲聞,已經得道的,這些聽法已經瞭解的人,已經很多,不可稱數。聽過法的人很多,時間長久嘛!
 
接下來這段(經)文再說,「爾時,十六王子皆以童子出家而為沙彌,諸根通利,智慧明了。」
 
爾時
十六王子
皆以童子出家
而為沙彌
諸根通利
智慧明了
《法華經化城喻品第七》
 
當佛,大通智勝佛開始轉法輪,講「四諦」、「十二因緣法」,那個時候,十六王子,也在初轉法輪的法會中,聽佛同樣說,「四諦」、「十二因緣法」。他們開解了,瞭解了,所以「皆以童子出家,而為沙彌」。
 
爾時
十六王子
皆以童子出家:
佛未出家
有十六子
以童真身從父出家
 
所以「諸根通利」,他們的智慧很利根,都通達了,瞭解了。所以,佛未出家這十六王子,是以童子身,清淨的身,隨他們的父親而出家。「而為沙彌」。
 
而為沙彌:
沙彌此云息慈
息惡、行慈之義等
初心出家息滅諸惡
勤修慈善。
 
「沙彌」,意思譯為「息慈」。「息」是息滅惡,行慈的意思。那就是所有的惡,完全背捨、去除了,但是慈,開始就是所行一切慈悲於人間,所以叫做「息慈」。這是簡略,「息」是息惡,「慈」是慈悲的意思,叫做「息慈」。
 
「初心出家」,那就是「息滅諸惡」。最初那念心,發心,開始出家,就滅除了種種的惡,「諸惡不作,眾善奉行」,這就是「沙彌」,「息慈」的意思。很多的惡去除,背捨無明,開始面向著慈悲喜捨的心,這樣精進,這叫做「息慈」,那就是「沙彌」的意思。童真出家,那念心很單純,保持著這麼單純的心,這就是他們的初發心,開始。也叫做「求寂」,「沙彌」的意思,除了「息慈」,也叫做「求寂」。
 
沙彌又言求寂
謂出家發願
志求涅槃
所受為十戒
隨順比丘修習律儀
蓋初出家者之稱
 
那就是出家之後,就開始發願,志求涅槃,希望能靜寂清澄。這念心沒有再污染無明惡法,那就是保持著,這一念靜寂清澄的心,這是出家的目的。所以「所受為十戒」,沙彌所受的是「十戒」,「十戒」大家知道了,「隨順比丘修習律儀」,生活的規則就和出家人一樣,比丘他們
修行的律儀、規矩。小孩子開始是守十戒,但是生活要與出家人的生活,那個律儀、規矩都一樣。
 
初發心出家,這稱為沙彌。沙彌,就是最單純的心,最清淨無染,他能保持著這分無染著的心,這叫做初發心。哪怕是已經成年了,但是,他出家還未受大戒,也是叫做沙彌。所以,初出家的這念心,是最清淨的心,所以我們常常說,「出家如初,成佛有餘」。所以初出家那念心,就如童子心一樣,已經決心去除這些無明,背捨無明,向著善的方向走,這一念初發心。
 
諸根通利
智慧明了:
於六根門
通達銳利
有大智慧
心地明了
 
所以這些人都已經是,「諸根通利,智慧明了」。這十六王子已經是「諸根通利,智慧明了」。「諸根」,就是六根門。六根之門,六根門,對惡的,關得很緊,對善的,善門開,所以能瞭解很多的道理,所以「通達銳利」。很通達,不是渾沌,已經很明銳了,這叫做利根。有大智慧的心地,叫做「明了」。「智慧明了」,所有的一切,我們都瞭解了。
 
利根又多智慧,不只是根機很利,很敏銳,很分明,清楚瞭解,聞一知百、知千、知萬;這種聽,一點就完全通達。這種敏銳的根機,又是很多智慧,智慧如海,很多的智慧。
 
諸根通利:
根利復多智慧
悉由久供養佛
曾發大心
此明王子之德
 
「悉由久供養佛」來。能累積這麼多的利根智慧,這都是由於過去生,無量劫以來,不斷地修行,不斷地供養,修行就是供養佛。所以,發大心,這是要表明這十六王子,已經過去生中不斷不斷在修行,不斷不斷以行供養諸佛,這是不斷發大心,已經累積了很多的德。所以這是十六王子的德。
 
所以「諸根通利」,就是「六根清淨」的意思。諸根明銳,所看的一切無染著,所以諸根明銳,能通達諸事無礙。
 
諸根通利:
即六根清淨
諸根明銳
能通諸事而無礙
利則不樂權乘
 
人世間的事理種種,都沒有障礙他們的心,因為他們的心已經清淨無染著,如這面鏡子就是這麼的明,沒有污垢,看到外面境界,是這麼的明朗清淨,一點都無外境無差,所以叫做利根。「利則不樂權乘」。這種敏銳的根機,他不是修小乘行,他開始發心,就發大心,不樂在方便小法,一開始就是樂大法、發心,發大心。
 
所以「智慧明了」,那就是「明」,「完全明知其事理」,所有的事理全都通達無礙了。
 
智慧明了:
明則完全
明知其事理
了則不滯中途
皆知內因無礙
 
「了則不滯中途」,不會停滯在中途,他很通達。既修行,其間不受障礙,不論人世間有多少困難,多麼大的複雜,對他來說,心都不受到污染,沒有受障礙,不受污染,就不會受障礙。
 
貪、瞋、癡,不只是貪、瞋、癡會障礙我們,即使驕慢、懷疑,這種障礙更大。所以,他們的心,都沒有這些障礙了,所以「皆知內因無礙」。內因就是包含一切的事理,從我們的內心完全通達。對自己很清楚,對外完全很明了,完全不受障礙。我們學佛,必定要用這樣的心態來學佛。
 
初發心,這念心是多麼重要啊!我們深修這念心,發心那時候。要不然,我們常常說,在修行、修行,到底是修什麼行呢?修行,不是只在那裡誦經,修行不是只在那裡打坐。修行,最重要的是,我們周圍的環境,人、事、物,我們要如何待人,如何善緣,結善緣、造福因,結善緣。在人群中造福人群,叫做造福因。人群中,我們所待人接物,我們都要用歡喜心,與人結善緣,歡喜接受。這種逆來順受,哪怕人對我們怎樣。逆,我們也要當作增上緣,叫做「逆增上緣」。不順意,他給我們的,是給我們不順意的,但是不順意,我們也要用歡喜心來接受,用智慧來化解,化惡為善,用感恩心,逆來磨練我們能順受。這就是我們的修行道場,逆增上緣,就是我們的修行道場。所以我們要深修善緣的正因法,這是很重要。
 
我們修行最重要的,就是在那念心開始。所以我們要很用心,去體會外面境界的人、事、物,要很小心,逆來順受,感恩,給我修行的正因,化惡為善。我們要好好耕耘我們的心地,耕耘我們的心地,自然好好地耐心耕耘,好好地種善種子,自然,他的因緣果報就會成熟,因緣果報成熟,自然我們就得到解脫。八背捨,無明去除了,順的境界,面對著善因緣,我們要趕緊好好造福人群,結好善緣,自然未來就沒有障礙,得大解脫,這是很重要。
 
修行,絕對要好好的及時。未結善緣,我們要速成善,這個時候,趕緊一個人都不要漏掉。逆緣來,我們要用智慧化解為善緣,速成就這個善緣。我們要用心好好耕耘,我們播下我們的善種子,自然我們就得到成果。「一生無量,無量從一生」,今生此世,這輩子我們能結很多很多好緣,很多逆來順受,將它化解過去,背捨一切煩惱,面向著解脫善門這樣走,這就是我們要修行,我們所要用功的。所以要時時多用心。


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Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: Cultivate Positive Conditions and Right Causes (深修善緣正因法)
Date: March.21. 2017

“Deeply cultivate positive conditions and the right causes of Dharma. When the causes have ripened into fruits, we attain liberation. If we have not yet formed good affinities, we should hasten to do good. By plowing and seeding, we will attain the fruit.”

“Deeply cultivate positive conditions and the right causes of Dharma.” We must mindfully seek to comprehend this. In our spiritual practice, we need deep faith. If our root of faith is not very deep, this tree will be very afraid of the wind. If the wind is strong, the tree will be easily blown over. Because this tree does not have deep and extensive roots, a gust of wind can easily knock it down. Thus, our faith is like the tree’s roots; we must have faith, and this root of faith must be deep and extensive so this tree can stand firm. Spiritual practice is the same as this. We begin with the seed being planted in the ground. With wind and air and enough water, the tree gradually grows. This is to say that when we have the cause, we also need conditions. If there is a seed, but there is no earth, no air in the environment and no water, then these conditions will not be fulfilled. There will only be a seed; it will not grow into a tree. It simply remains a seed. So, this seed requires many causes to help it come into being. These causes are similar to how when we engage in spiritual practice, we form aspirations to do good deeds. Without people, matters and things surrounding us, without afflictions and ignorance, how would we have opportunities to engage in spiritual practice? In our surrounding environments, with people, matters and objects, nine out of ten things will not go the way we want. These eight or nine disappointments out of ten things are called conditions. Many people, matters and objects are here to test us. Our seeds, these seeds of virtuous causes, must be able to withstand the many conditions around us which come to challenge us.

Therefore, this seed must inherently be the seed of a great tree, a tree that can withstand challenges. So, this is why we must “deeply cultivate positive conditions.” When nine out of ten things do not go as we wish, it means we do not have positive conditions. Therefore, we must be able to withstand these negative conditions. We must earnestly engage in spiritual practice. Since we had formed this aspiration, we must overcome many negative causes and conditions. In past lives, we somehow formed negative causes and negative conditions with someone. Now in this lifetime, we have understood this. The Dharma clearly tells us that this lifetime, with our circumstantial and direct retributions, we came to this place. Since we were born here, we must have affinities with this place. What kind of affinities? We have both positive and negative affinities. In this place where the Five Destinies coexist, many causes and conditions are mixed together here.

Among the Five Destinies, heavenly beings represent goodness. There are also good humans too. For most people in the world, if there is good, people will follow it. If there is evil, people will go in that direction. This is what the human world is like. Our good aspirations are not firm, but our evil thoughts are not that big either. This state of neither good nor evil is how we in the human world are, lost and deluded sentient beings who follow causes and conditions. In this place where the Five Destinies coexist, under all different causes and conditions, we must have a clear understanding. In our past lives, if we formed negative conditions with someone, when we meet them in this lifetime, they will be like the yaksas and evil ghosts from hell, using all kinds of methods to break our spiritual aspirations. Or they may be as if from the animal realm, not understanding the principles and causing disturbances and so on. Among the Three Evil Realms, the human realm and even the heaven realm, in this complicated place of the Five Destinies, we followed our conditions to come here. We may give rise to a good aspiration of wanting to transform evil beings like yaksas while not being influenced by them, so we use virtuous Dharma to form good affinities with them. For those who are foolish, like animals, we must exercise certain kinds of wisdom to transform them.

If people are like hungry ghosts, they are in extreme scarcity. On their path of life, they are deficient in everything. How can we satisfy them? It depends on how we engage in spiritual practice. By cultivating deeply, we can turn negative conditions into positive ones. These are our right causes. Our minds have a pure intrinsic nature. With these right causes, we return to Right Dharma, “the right causes of Dharma”. From our hearts, we give rise to this aspiration and use all kinds of methods to transform others. This requires deep cultivation. Otherwise, this complicated place where the Five Destinies coexist is our circumstantial retribution. Since we aspired to engage in spiritual practice to follow the Dharma, the principles of goodness, on this Bodhi-path we must earnestly walk in the right direction. If we can do this, with the right causes of Dharma, by cultivating right causes and conditions, when the causes are complete and effects mature, we will naturally be liberated. The liberation spoken of here is to be able to come and go freely, to understand that our purpose in coming to this world is to give rise to Bodhicitta and walk the Bodhisattva-path. It is to come with freedom and go with freedom. Coming and going freely is called liberation.

Yesterday, we talked about the Eight Abandonments. These are processes of spiritual practice. We must completely turn away from evil, turn from evil towards goodness. By abandoning our past evil, naturally, through spiritual practice. “The causes have ripened into fruits.” Naturally we will attain liberation. Being liberated, we can come and go at ease.

So, “If we have not yet formed good affinities, we should hasten to do good.” If we have not formed good affinities with others, we must quickly make use of our time in this evil world of Five Turbidities to find opportunities to form good affinities with everyone.

Perhaps, in the past, we formed unwholesome affinities with others, so things do not go the way we want. We should not complain; we should improve ourselves to form good affinities with others. We should seize the present and never let these good affinities get lost.

So, “If we have not yet formed good affinities, we should hasten to do good.” We must quickly seize the causes and conditions to form good affinities with everyone, seize the opportunities to do good deeds. The is how we seize the present. We are just like someone who plows and plants seeds, like a farmer who plows and plants seeds. The seeds that are sown now will become fruits later. The harvest later will bring many fruits. By working hard to sow now, we can have an abundant harvest next season. This is the same principles; it all begins with a single seed. The right causes of Dharma begin with a single seed. We must put our hearts into cultivating it. We must cherish our surrounding conditions. No matter what the conditions are, we simply must be very pure-hearted and form good affinities, form good affinities with others. Only then will we be able to attain the Eight Abandonments and be liberated.

The Eight Liberations are also called the Eight Abandonments. By abandoning attachments to the pure five desires, they give rise to flawless wisdom. By eliminating delusions of views and thinking in the Three Realms, they abandon ignorance and realize the fruits of Arhatship. To do this is to attain the Eight Liberations.

This is the process of spiritual practice. We must often remind ourselves to not be pulled by unwholesome affinities, leading us to again act out of ignorance and through volitional action give rise to discursive thoughts, thus reproducing karmic forces and ignorance. When we reach the end, isn’t there aging, illness, death and all worries and sufferings? In this way we endlessly transmigrate lifetime after lifetime. This suffering is unbearable!

Therefore, we should be mindful and always remember the methods of the Eight Abandonments. We must remember the Four Noble Truths and the Twelve Links of Cyclic Existence. Only in this way can we truly attain the. Three Insights, the Six Spiritual Powers and the Eight Liberations. This is the direction of our cultivation.

The previous sutra passage states, “[They attained] the Three Insights, Six Spiritual Powers and all Eight Liberations.” This means that we must spend a very long time. Once the seed of our aspiration is formed, for lifetime after lifetime, for kalpas as incalculable as dust particles, we must persist. This is just like when the Brahma kings came from the ten directions to Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha’s place of enlightenment to request the Dharma and the turning of the Dharma-wheel. Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha had remained silent since the beginning. The when causes and conditions matured, He began to respond and first turned the Dharma-wheel. This one turn led to infinite turns. From the first to the second, third, fourth turns, there was an infinite time of teaching the Dharma. The sentient beings transformed were as numerous “as the thousands, millions, billions, nayutas, of grains of sand of the Ganges”.

This is the sutra text we talked about yesterday. This took a very long time. [They attained] the Three Insights, Six Spiritual Powers and all Eight Liberations. The second, third and fourth time He taught the Dharma, as many sentient beings as the thousands, millions, billions, nayutas of grains of sand in the Ganges…

The Dharma, the Dharma-wheel, had already turned. [From] countless kalpas ago, dust-inked kalpas previously, the Dharma-wheel has been continuously turned, because spiritual practitioners such as Sakyamuni Buddha have been teaching the Dharma from then until now. The Dharma that we have now is the Dharma taught by Sakyamuni Buddha, and if we trace back from Sakyamuni Buddha, we find Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha, from dust-inked kalpas ago. Clearly, this Dharma-wheel keeps on turning. From His spiritual practice of that time, as one of the 16 princes, all the way to 2500 years ago, when, as Prince Siddhartha of Kapilavastu, He was born, engaged in spiritual practice, attained Buddhahood and turned the Dharma-wheel, all the way until now, we are still inheriting this Dharma.

Clearly the Dharma has, since beginningless dust-inked kalpas ago, remained forever unchanging. The Dharma in Great Unhindered Buddha’s era was like this; the Dharma in Sakyamuni Buddha’s era was also like this. Therefore all Dharma is unchanging; the Dharma is forever present. It is just that we ordinary people are deluded. Our ignorant thoughts connect to external states so that we uncontrollably take action and accumulate much ignorance and afflictions. We are always coming into contact in this way, and then begin to have feeling, craving, grasping and becoming. Thus, we are always in the process of “becoming”. What is becoming? The coming into existence of ignorance. Thus, worries, sadness and distress are always present and never eliminated. Therefore, only by engaging in spiritual practice can we eliminate our ignorance, layer by layer. If we can do this, “The mind, the Buddha and sentient beings are no different [in their nature]”. Since the time of Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha, many have attained Buddhahood. Many spiritual practitioners attained Buddhahood. This has continued up to the present; we can also do the same. By engaging in spiritual practice like this, we can also return to our pure intrinsic Tathagata-nature, our innate awakened nature. Then we will be Buddhas; “Buddha” means awakening. Everyone can awaken and understand the principles. How do we understand the principles and accept the Buddha-Dharma?

The next sutra passage states, “They also remained unaffected by all phenomena and could attain liberation from all Leaks. From then onward, all the Hearers in the assembly were immeasurable, boundless and beyond count.”

They all started in this way. After they heard the Dharma and understood it, all negative phenomena and ignorance in the world were understood by them. They also remained unaffected by all phenomena.

“They also remained unaffected by all phenomena: Like those at the start of the assembly, they remained unaffected by all defiled phenomena. Their minds remained tranquil and clear.”

This began from the start, when the Dharma-wheel was first turned at the start of the assembly. In this assembly, the Brahma kings had come to request the Dharma. Before the Buddha began to teach, starting from the east, then the south, southeast and other directions, all of the eight directions plus above and below, all Brahma kings from the ten directions arrived. Before the Buddha started teachings, the Brahma kings of ten directions reverently requested the Dharma together then Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha opened His mouth and turned the Dharma-wheel. This was the start of the assembly, when the Dharma-wheel began to turn.

“They remained unaffected by all defiled phenomena. Just like that, everyone took the Right Dharma into their hearts. “Unaffected by all defiled phenomena…” This is called “abandoning”. Negative phenomena are defiled phenomena. Defilled phenomena are negative phenomena. So, when we completely abandon defiled phenomena, we will no longer be defiled. Thus, the mind is tranquil and clear. At first, when the Dharma-wheel was first turned, when they started listening to the Dharma, their minds began to completely eliminate these defiled phenomena of the past. They understood more and more that their mistakes must be fixed. Ordinary people keep on making the same mistakes. Our habit is to constantly make these mistakes.

Now, after we have heard the Dharma, we should constantly be vigilant of ourselves. If there are mistakes, we must immediately correct them and repent. We must cultivate for the future and repent the past. This is like at the start of the assembly, when they first heard the Dharma. They formed the firm aspirations to accept the Buddha-Dharma and immediately correct themselves. This way, “They remained unaffected by all defiled phenomena”.

So, “They also remained unaffected by all phenomena,” which means they were unaffected by all defiled phenomena. Their minds were completely pure, so they were already tranquil and clear.

“[They] could attain liberation from all Leaks.” These Leaks are in the Three Realms, the desire realm, form realm and formless realm. All Leaks of afflictions in these realms had been completely eliminated. The phenomena of Leaks in the Three Realms all could not affect them and had been eliminated. “Thus their minds attained freedom, and they were liberated from samsara.”

The Brahma kings had come to request the Dharma. Brahma kings in the form realm still had subtle afflictions that were not eliminated and still had some teachings they did not understand. So, they again requested the Dharma for the sake of all sentient beings in the world. Thus, “They have freed themselves from the phenomena of Leaks in the Three Realms.” This included not only the sentient beings of the desire realm but also the form realm and formless realm. There were still small amounts of Dharma that these Brahma kinds did not completely understand. So, they again requested the Dharma for the sake all sentient beings in the world. Thus, their minds were completely without Leaks. The phenomena of Leaks had been extinguished. They were pure, so their minds were at ease. They were at peace, at ease and liberated, no longer needing to transmigrate in the world due to birth and death, without any control. They no longer needed to do this. They no longer needed to [transmigrate]. In the Five Realms and four forms of birth. They had eliminated [cyclic existence ]. This is what spiritual practitioners must put their hearts into.

So, “From then onward, all the Hearers in the assembly were immeasurable, boundless and beyond count were immeasurable, boundless and beyond count.”

From then onward, all the Hearers in the assembly were immeasurable, boundless and beyond count: This was from the time He began teaching the Dharma right up until the end. All the Hearers in the assembly: These were all of the Hearers in the assembly who had attained the truth.

Since Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha first turned the Dharma-wheel, there had been this assembly of Hearers. The Hearers and Solitary Realizers who had already come in contact with much Buddha-Dharma were “beyond count”, there were many of them.

After the Dharma was first expounded, from the first time, to the second, third, fourth, and so on in this way, it continued on like this until the end, until the Buddha’s final moment. In fact, there is no end. The Dharma will continue on unendingly. When it says “until the end, this refers to matters and appearances.” The time when Great Unhindered Buddha started teaching the Dharma until His Parinirvana is [at the level of] matters and appearances. The true principles continued on, because the 16 princes still continued to turn the Dharma-wheel, engage in spiritual practice, attain Buddhahood and transform sentient beings. Therefore, once the Dharma-wheel turns, it does not stop. “All the Hearers in the assembly” are Hearers who attained the truth; they had already attained the truth. Those who heard and already understood the Dharma were many in number; they were beyond count. Many people have heard the Dharma and much time has passed.

The sutra then continues, “At that time, the 16 princes, who had all become monastics as children and were thus novices (sramaneras), all had sharp capabilities, and their wisdom brought complete understanding.”

When Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha began turning the Dharma-wheel and expounding the Four Noble Truths and Twelve Links of Cyclic Existence, at that time, the 16 princes were also present at the Dharma-assembly where He first turned the Dharma-wheel. They also heard the Buddha teach the Four Noble Truths and the Twelve Links of Cyclic Existence. They realized and understood, so, “They had all become monastics as children and were thus novices (sramaneras).”

At the time, the 16 princes, who had all become monastics as children: Before that Buddha became a monastic, He fathered 16 sons who, while still innocent children, followed their father in becoming monastics.

So, “All had sharp capabilities”. They all had wisdom and sharp capabilities. They all understood clearly. So, before the Buddha left home, He fathered 16 princes, who all had the pure bodies of children. They followed their father to become monastics and were thus novices (sramaneras).

[They] were thus sramaneras (novices): Sramanera has a meaning of ceasing and kindness, ceasing evil and practicing loving-kindness. When one initially aspires to become a monastic, one will cease all evil and diligently practice loving-kindness.

“Sramanera” means “ceasing and kindness.” “Ceasing” means to eliminate evil. They also practice loving-kindness. Thus they have abandoned and eliminated all evil. Thus, they have abandoned and eliminated all evil. However, “kindness” means they practice all compassionate deeds in the world. So, this is “ceasing and kindness”. That is an abbreviation. “Ceasing” is to cease evil. “Kindness” is loving-kindness and compassion. This is “ceasing and kindness.” “When one initially aspires to become a monastic, it means that One will cease all evil.” With this initial aspiration, they renounced the lay life. So, they eliminated all kinds of evils. By doing no evil and doing all that is good, they are “sramaneras,” which means “ceasing and kindness”. They eliminate many evils and abandon ignorance to begin heading in the direction of loving-kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity. This is their diligence. This is called “ceasing and kindness.” This is the meaning of “sramanera”.

When they became monastics as children, they were very pure-hearted. They upheld that simple mindset. This was their initial aspiration, how they began. It also means “seeker of stillness”. Sramanera means, “seeker of stillness”

A sramanera is also said to be a seeker of stillness. It is one who makes vows to become a monastic and resolves to seek Nirvana. Sramaneras take the Ten Precepts and follow the rules and etiquette bhiksus practice. This is a name for those who have just become monastics.

That is, after they become monastics, they begin to make vows and resolve to seek Nirvana, hoping to become tranquil and clear. In this way, their minds will no longer be contaminated by ignorance and negative phenomena. Thus they maintain a tranquil and clear mind. This is the purpose of becoming a monastic. Thus, “Sramaneras take the Ten Precepts”. What sramaneras take are the Ten Precepts. Everyone knows the Ten Precepts. “[They] follow the rules bhiksus practice.” Their rules of daily living are like a monastic’s, like the regulations and rules of bhiksus. From childhood, they begin to uphold the Ten Precepts. However, they have the same lifestyle as monastics. The rules, regulations and precepts are the same. After the initial aspiration to become a monastic, one is called a sramanera. Sramaneras are very pure-hearted. They are the purest and most undefiled. They are able to maintain this undefiled mind. This is their initial aspiration.

Even if they are adults, if they have not yet taken the full precepts, they are still called sramaneras. So, the first aspiration of renouncing lay life is the purest mindset. We often say, “Maintain your initial monastic aspirations, and you will surely attain Buddhahood.” So, the initial aspiration of becoming a monastic is like the heart of a child. Sramaneras are already determined to eliminate and abandon ignorance to go in the direction of goodness. This is their initial aspiration. These people “all had sharp capabilities, and their wisdom brought complete understanding”.

These 16 princes already “had sharp capabilities, and their wisdom brought complete understanding”. These capabilities refer to the six senses. The doors of the Six Roots, their six senses, are shut tightly against evil and opened wide for good. Therefore, they could understand many principles.“

“Their understanding was sharp and penetrating.” It was penetrating and not muddled at all. It was already very sharp. This is called having sharp capabilities. They had a mindset of great wisdom, which is complete understanding. “Their wisdom brought complete understanding.” They have understood everything. They had sharp capabilities and much wisdom. Not only were their capabilities sharp, very keen and discriminating, they understood everything. They could hear one thing and understand 100,1000 or 10,000; hearing a little, they had complete understanding. They had these sharp capabilities and much wisdom. Their wisdom was like the ocean; they had so much wisdom.

All had sharp capabilities: Their sharp capabilities and great wisdom all resulted from their having long made offerings to Buddhas and from having formed great aspirations. This explains the virtues of those princes. “

“All resulted from their having long made offerings to Buddhas”. These numerous accumulated, sharp capabilities all came from their past lifetimes. Since infinite kalpas ago, they had continued to engage in spiritual practice and make offerings. In their spiritual practice, they made offerings to the Buddhas. So, they formed great aspirations. This means that the 16 princes, in past lifetimes, had continuously engaged in spiritual practice and made offerings to the Buddha. So, they continuously formed great aspirations and had already accumulated many virtues. These were the 16 princes’ virtues.

So, “All had sharp capabilities” means that “Their Six Senses Organs were pure”. They were undefiled by what they saw, so their capabilities were clear and sharp. They could thoroughly understand many things without hindrances.

All had sharp capabilities: Their six senses organs were pure and their capabilities clear and sharp, so they could understand many things without hindrances. Because they were sharp, they took no joy in provisional vehicles.

The various principles and workings of the world did not obstruct their minds, because their minds were already pure and undefiled. They were just like mirrors; very clear, with no defilements. [In this mirror] one can see external states so clearly and purely, totally indistinguishable from the outside world. These are called sharp capabilities.

“Because they were sharp they took no joy in provisional vehicles.” With such sharp capabilities, they did not cultivate the Small Vehicle practice. When they first formed aspirations, they formed great aspirations. They took no joy in skillful means and small [vehicle] Dharma. They began by taking joy in the Great Dharma. The aspirations they formed were great aspirations. So, “Their wisdom brought complete understanding”. That “understanding” means that “They understood all matters and principles.” All matters and principles could be completely understood without obstruction.

Their wisdom brought complete understanding: ”Understanding” means that they understood all matters and principles. “Complete” means they did not stop halfway. They could understand all inner causes without obstruction.

‘“Complete’ means they did not stop halfway.” They did not stop along the way. They could reach full understanding. Since they engaged in spiritual practice, they would not become obstructed. No matter how many difficulties were in the world, no matter how complicated it is, for them, their minds will not be defiled or obstructed. Without being defiled, they will not become obstructed. As for greed, anger and ignorance, these are not the only things that obstruct us. Even arrogance and doubt can be greater obstructions. So, their minds did not have these obstructions. Thus, “They could understand all inner causes without obstruction”.

Inner causes encompass all matters and principles. When our inner minds have a complete understanding of ourselves and eternal circumstances, we will be completely without obstruction. As Buddhist practitioners, we must use this kind of mindset to practice. Our initial aspiration is very important. We must deeply cultivate this aspiration from the time we formed it.

Otherwise, if we just constantly say that we are engaging in spiritual practice, exactly what practice are we cultivating? Spiritual practice is not just reciting sutras. Spiritual practice is not just meditation. The most important thing in our spiritual practice is our surrounding environment, the people, matters and things. How should we treat others and form positive affinities? We must form positive affinities and create blessed causes. We need to go among people to benefit others, this is called creating blessed causes. As we interact with others and deal with matters, we should have a heart of joy. We must form positive affinities with others and joyfully accept [adversities]. When we accept adversities with ease, regardless of what others do to us, we can treat adversity as a beneficial condition. These are called “beneficial adverse conditions”. This person may have done something to us that goes against our wishes, but even if it is against our wishes, we should also accept it with a joyful heart and resolve it with wisdom to transform evil into goodness; we use gratitude so when adversity tests us, we can accept it. This is our spiritual training ground. Beneficial adverse conditions are our spiritual training ground. So, we must deeply cultivate positive conditions and the right causes of Dharma, this is very important. The most important thing in our spiritual practice is to begin with our own mind. Therefore, we must be mindful to experience the external states of people, matters and objects. We must be careful and accept adversities calmly. We must be grateful for these right causes. In our spiritual practice, through which we transform evil into goodness. We must cultivate the field of our mind well. In cultivating the field of our mind, if we cultivate it patiently and plant the seeds of goodness, then naturally, the karmic effects will mature. When these karmic effects mature, naturally we will attain liberation. With the Eight Abandonments, our ignorance will be eliminated. With favorable conditions, facing good causes and conditions, we must hurry to benefit others and form good affinities. In the future we will not have obstructions, and we will attain great liberation. This is very important. Spiritual practice must be done promptly. If we have not formed good affinities, We must form them quickly. At this time, we mist not miss even one person. When adverse conditions come, we must use wisdom to quickly resolve them and transform them into positive conditions. We must be mindful in cultivating, having sown our seeds of goodness, naturally we will reap the fruit. “One gives rise to infinity, and infinity arises from one”. In this lifetime, we can form many positive affinities and can accept many adversities, which will resolve past issues and allow us to abandon all afflictions. We must walk toward the virtuous door of liberation. To do so, as we engage in spiritual practice, we must put in effort. Therefore, we must always be mindful.

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