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 20170322《靜思妙蓮華》稱性無染持淨戒 (第1049集) (法華經•化城喻品第七)

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發表主題: 20170322《靜思妙蓮華》稱性無染持淨戒 (第1049集) (法華經•化城喻品第七)   周三 3月 22, 2017 12:21 am

20170322《靜思妙蓮華》稱性無染持淨戒 (第1049集)
(法華經•
化城喻品

 
「稱性無染總名梵行,修證圓滿菩提直道,菩薩所修六度萬行,聖行正念淨戒定慧。」
「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》
「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》
「已曾供養百千萬億諸佛,淨修梵行,求阿耨多羅三藐三菩提,俱白佛言:世尊!」《法華經化城喻品第七
已曾供養百千萬億諸佛:過去已曾供多諸佛。植福已廣,種德已深,志求佛果。世人事父母孝敬。
淨修梵行:以清淨心,修習梵行。梵者,清淨,斷婬欲之法為梵行,即梵天之行法。修梵行則生梵天。
梵行:謂菩薩無空有二邊愛著之染,名之為淨;以此淨心,運於慈悲,與眾生樂,拔眾生苦,故名梵行。
求阿耨多羅三藐三菩提:供佛修行,深種善根,志求菩提,成等正覺。
阿耨多羅三藐三菩提:佛智名華譯為無上正等正覺即是真正平等覺佑一切真理的無上智慧。
 
【證嚴上人開示】

「稱性無染總名梵行,修證圓滿菩提直道,菩薩所修六度萬行,聖行正念淨戒定慧。」
 
稱性無染總名梵行
修證圓滿菩提直道
菩薩所修六度萬行
聖行正念淨戒定慧
 
稱性,到底怎樣才是稱性呢?就是真實之法。我們每天不是常常說嗎?誠正信實,這是我們人人要堅守,人的規則。尤其是慈濟人,我們內修誠正信實,外行慈悲喜捨,這是我們人人應該修持,這叫做稱性,就是完全要很用心,重視誠、實,這一念本性。所以我們若能很真誠、清淨的心,這叫做稱性無染,總名叫做梵行。
 
我們的心若沒有污染,那就是如梵天王所修的行,上上戒,不受人間無明所污染,這叫做梵行;同時也是要修上上善。要修善、要持戒,持得心無染垢,這就是我們人人的本性,這就是清淨的本性這必定要修持,就叫做梵行。我們若不好好修,堅持這念心,我們就很容易受污染。要保持得乾淨,必定要很用心,修得我們身心清淨無染垢,這就是我們應該修。「修證圓滿菩提直道」,這是我們的方向,我們修得梵行,我們才能夠證得,圓滿的菩提直道。
 
修行,就是要去除無明染垢,求得覺悟,「覺悟」這條路,就是叫做菩提道。這條菩提道是很簡單,就是只要你方向對準了,堅持你的方向,沒有偏差,自然我們在這條覺道,而且很直直,道。修行說來實在是沒有什麼困難,只要我們用「調直心」,我們的心要調伏好,不要有染著,直心向道,這就是菩提直道。我們要修行的,希望能圓滿的,就是這樣的行。
 
這個行,不只是自己自修,獨善其身,我們還要再兼利他人,所以「菩薩所修六度萬行」,這是我們發心立願,自修同時要兼利他人,我們就是要行菩薩道。我們所修的道路不是小乘,我們要展開心胸,自度度他,所以我們要菩薩修六度萬行。入人群中,芸芸眾生,所有的習性不同,我們所修的行就要去適應眾生,適應眾生這種煩惱無明,還要不受他影響,我們就是堅持要度他。
 
佛陀,他視眾生如一子,任何一個眾生,他都不放棄,在四生五道來來回回,無不都是要度所有的眾生。但是,眾生根機不整齊,習氣千差萬別,佛陀他的大覺,就是願意不斷來、不斷隨著眾生所受的苦,他就是入人群苦難中來救度。眾生的心愈來愈複雜,佛陀盼望更多人發心立願,更多人同時來度,所以期待人人不要獨善其身,要兼利他人。所以佛開大乘一實法門,希望我們的覺悟不只是自覺,我們還要開啟我們的心志,度盡一切眾生,這就是「六度萬行」,要很多人共同入人群中去,要用種種方法。
 
所以「聖行正念淨戒定慧」。我們所要修的就是與佛同等。修佛所教法,佛陀怎麼教我們,我們就要老實,按照佛陀所教法,這樣而去身體力行。念要正,心念正,行為就正;行為正,自然清淨保持在我們的本性,我們就不會受到眾生所污染了。眾生凡夫,根機複雜,我們明知眾生的根機,就是這麼複雜,所以我們才要投入人群。
 
要去度人,我們就要自己先堅持守得好,,不要「本欲度眾生,反被眾生度」。我們要淨化眾生,不要讓眾生把我們污染了,所以我們必定要持淨戒。我們若淨戒持得好,我們的心就會堅定,心堅定不會受外界,把我們影響了,這樣才能得到智慧。要不然,我們日常的生活只是「知道了、知道了」,知道的事情很多,這叫做知識。大家說「知識分子」,你知道很多,若說什麼,「我知道」,樣樣都知道,卻是道理都分不清,是對的,與不對,分不清楚,這樣就容易我們的心,與日常生活人、事、物,常常起動,靜不下來。所以,我們必定要心定、要靜。
 
儘管世間人性複雜,世間事物,物物無不都是陷阱,事事無不都是誘惑的泉源。誘惑人的源頭,就是我們人性的污濁,自己受外面的境界,將我們誘引了。所以,我們自己一念心的無明,就被外面的污濁事物,把我們引出去了,這就是定力不夠,智慧沒有產生出來,只是知道外面的事情,不知道事情當中所含的理,不知道它的法,所以常常聰明卻受聰明誤了,這常常有人就是這樣說。
 
我們學學人間的菩薩道,要學佛就要從人間菩薩道做起。在我們這個大團體群中,有真的是令人感動的菩薩,他的心很定,他的戒也守得很好,夫妻檔,一家人都投入,好幾十年如一日,這樣的菩薩不少。光是說其中有一對夫妻,投入慈濟,已經超過三十五年以上了。從我開始說,花蓮要蓋醫院那時候,起初我到臺北,就開始有一群菩薩,聽到花蓮是這麼欠缺醫療,花蓮要就醫是那麼困難,他們知道在花蓮蓋醫院,是必須要的,幫助花蓮偏僻地方的人,有就醫的機會,所以一群菩薩就開始發心。
 
其中常常說的高愛,在那時候,她的家庭生活很不好,但是她的愛心很大,一聽到,那念虔誠、堅持,她突破了家庭生活,她還要又要做慈濟,不只是向別人勸募,自己也盡她的心力,甚至她用她睡眠的時間,一大早二點多開始就去掃地(華江橋),這個掃地的錢,就是要給師父蓋醫院。
 
說到她的故事,實在是很長,不過,最感恩的,她還是不斷度人,她常常帶人回來精舍。其中有一對夫妻,就是李佳樺夫妻,就是被她專程帶回精舍。佳樺和她的先生很單純,來到精舍,看到精舍的生活,瞭解師父要蓋醫院,他們專心發願支持,夫妻同心志,這樣發心。
 
那個時候,佳樺的先生,廖定興,他還在上班,他是警察。但是只要是太太說的話,他認為是對的,他就是支持,不只是支持,他也身體力行,有什麼活動,只要他下班了,絕對活動一定少不了他。這是一對非常精進,同心同道的夫妻,不論慈濟經歷了多少次的困難,他們都是盡心力去付出。
 
退休之後,慈誠隊,最早那時候,從保全隊開始進來,他的慈誠號碼是十八號,號碼這麼前面,可見這是多麼早,投入。後來我們開始有大愛(臺) ,那個時候,需要(人文)真善美,要有影視志工,他也投入,投入拍攝。想想看,,慈濟不論做什麼,慈誠時,他也是很早投入。我們開始需要,在大愛(臺)幫忙,要記錄、要攝影,他還是同樣這樣投入,去學拿照相機,去學如何記錄。花蓮(慈濟)醫院蓋好了,他就投入在醫療志工裡。所有的一切,他都做到了,做到志工的工作,事事都少不了他。
 
但是,還是一直想,這樣的付出不夠,「我到底還有什麼能幫助師父呢?除了一直勸募以外,還有,我家裡還有多少東西,可以給師父,幫助他建設社會所需要,醫療、教育。」教育也要蓋,大愛(臺)這種媒體也要,「人能弘道,非道弘人」,好事要讓人知道,這也很重要,所有所有一切的建設,還是他們這樣不斷在付出,想到,我哪裡有一塊土地,趕快就把地契拿來,跟師父說:「師父,我家還有這張地契,我想請師父收下來,看是要利用,或者是要把它賣掉,兌換現金,來做我們所需要的建設。」
 
我就說:「這個我們若用不著,你還是保存起來。」他說:「不是,我們絕對用得到,不然我把它處理掉了,師父您祝福我,我賣掉它,就可以捐出來了。」土地一塊一塊就這樣,想到了哪裡還有一塊,就拿出來。夫妻就是這樣同心志,歡喜付出。想一想,「我哪裡還有一間房子租人,我想要將這間房子收回來,把它賣了,好再給師父再去做建設。」
 
「不可以啊,你要留著,囝子大小需要。」「不需要,師父,孩子,我該撫養的都撫養了,他們都自己有家庭了。這是我們兩老,而我們兩老都在慈濟裡,最後這個身體,也不必怎麼用到錢,我們可以(當)無語良師,時間有什麼呢?所以我要把握時間,能做盡量做,自己做得到的盡量做。」
 
就是一直這樣過來,三十多年如一日,不曾聽到他們心有過煩惱,不曾聽過他們東家長、西家短,他們都沒有這些無明,也沒有這些複雜的事情。每次若是想到「心寬念純」,就會想到這對夫妻,三十五年以上了,已經沒有一點點,雜質、雜念,煩惱過。
 
幾天前,帶一位回來捐榮董,她看到師父就一直哭。「你怎麼了?」「我捨不得師父,因為我很愛師父,師父您被人這樣說,我聽了,我很捨不得,我快要憂鬱症了。」我就拍她一下,「傻弟子,你怎麼是這樣呢?我們自己問自己,我們自己心若沒有偏差,一人吐虛,萬人傳實,現在的社會就是這樣無明網,你何必被網網住呢?」她就笑出來,「對喔!我怎麼被無明網把我網住了?這樣我安心。」
 
看,只有這次看到她,被社會的無明網網住了,而這個網住,她是說捨不得師父,捨不得我們慈濟,為人間社會做這麼多,這就是她唯一,我曾看到她這樣,為了社會,所以她煩惱;要不然,不曾看過她有過煩惱。全家都是榮譽董事,又是所有的物資,她現在還這樣說:「我都一直想我家還有什麼。」這就是這對夫妻。
 
先生已經是九十歲了,再過年九十多歲了,這樣身體健康,活動還看到他,這樣挺身在人群中,做與慈濟人所做的,慈誠隊的輪值都沒有欠席。這就是這對夫妻,人間菩薩,這就是這對夫妻,人間菩薩,他們的故事也很長,他們的女兒也很投入,家裡的人全家都是慈濟人。
 
總而言之,「菩薩所修,六度萬行」,他們「聖行正念」,很虔誠,佛法完全收入在他們的內心,身體力行,都是正念、正見、正思惟、正業,所做的一切都是正,「八正道」,無一他們沒有做到的;「七菩提分」,同樣他們都做到。「三十七助道品」,這三十七項的法,哪一個他沒有做到?這就是「淨戒定慧」的人。看到這對夫妻,真的是令人很感動。
 
所以「稱性無染,總名梵行」。所以我們要好好,在這上上善與持上上戒,我們瞭解了就要身體力行。菩提道是一條很直的道路,起點對了,往前直走,不會受到其他的人,將我們影響了,這就是菩薩,自利還要利他,這是六度萬行的修行者,是菩薩。所以,聖行,我們要好好用心,不是做不到,淨戒,戒定慧離我們不遠,在我們的身邊左右,在我們自己的身體力行中,所以我們,別人做得到,我們也應該要學。
 
上面的(經)文也就是這樣說,「亦以不受一切法故」。就像廖居士這對夫妻,你看,外面誰在做什麼樣的事、說什麼樣的話,他都不會受他影響了。要做,選擇的事情對,做就對了。不論周圍的人、什麼樣的環境,他都不會受人影響,沒有無明、沒有雜念、沒有污垢,這種不受一切無明惡法,所以因為這樣「(而於)諸漏心得解脫」。
 
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》
 
這些諸漏都沒有了,漏都盡了,心已經得到解脫,沒有受污染。所以「從是已後,諸聲聞眾無量無邊」。聽法若能這樣,所有的煩惱漏盡了,心得解脫了,將聲音聽進來,所得到的法,就得成就。由聲而聞,聲音聽進來,瞭解法,自然能夠得到解脫,這樣的人很多,不可稱計。
 
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》
 
大通智勝佛講法、轉法輪,那時候,「十六王子皆以童子出家,而為沙彌,諸根通利,智慧明了」。
 
這已經用長久的時間修行了,才能夠得到,這麼清淨的心、清淨的根,諸根通利。這若不是很清淨的六根,就外面的六塵容易來誘引他。根就是清淨,不受外面的六塵境污染,所以他的根就會很清淨,清淨就是通利。就如那面鏡子擦得很清,山來照山,水來照水,天地萬物一切景象無不通達。事理通達,這叫做智慧,智慧明了,沒有障礙。
 
接下來再說,「已曾供養百千萬億諸佛,淨修梵行,求阿耨多羅三藐三菩提,俱白佛言:世尊!」
 
已曾供養
百千萬億諸佛
淨修梵行
求阿耨多羅
三藐三菩提
俱白佛言
世尊
《法華經化城喻品第七
 
是這十六王子他們也是在會中,他們所瞭解的都很通利了。過去是梵天王請法,現在就是十六王子請法。他們能諸根通利,就是因為他們過去,已經有供養過百千萬億諸佛,所以他們能夠諸根通利。這就是過程,用很久的時間修梵行,不只是供養,又是身體力行修清淨行,上上善、上上戒,這樣一直修行用很長久的時間,在佛法中,這樣在修行。他們所追求的,那就是「阿耨多羅三藐三菩提」,是至高無上等覺,這是他們所追求的。所以十六王子一起,也是俱白佛言,一起要來請法,向佛祈求。
 
已曾供養
百千萬億諸佛:
過去已曾供多諸佛
植福已廣
種德已深
志求佛果
世人事父母孝敬
 
我們先看「已曾供養,百千萬億諸佛」,表示過去已經長時間追求佛法。世間要遇一尊佛出世不容易,經過了百千萬億諸佛,每一尊佛,他們都是追隨諸佛修行、供養,可見時間有多長。這十六王子,就是生生世世追隨千萬億佛,這樣在修行,這樣在供養,所以所供養的佛是很多。供養佛很多,「植福已廣」。供養,就是造福人群。用什麼來供養佛?就是造福人群,種福慧,福慧兩修,修福、修智慧,這叫做「植福已廣」。「種德已深」,種德,種德也已經很深。
 
常常這樣說,我們要撒播種子,「一生無量」。意思就是,度眾生,吸收佛法,在佛法中廣結善緣,造福人群,外修福、內修德,所以叫做「植福已廣,種德已深,志求佛果」,生生世世都是這樣修行。不只是修行為自己要求得覺悟,其實,做人的品行,「百善孝為先」,不是只有供佛、做好事,也要孝順父母。
 
「百善孝為先」。我們要知道,過去孔夫子的時代,也完全都是講究,如何好好孝順父母。有一次,子游問孝。子游是孔夫子七十二賢中的,其中一位,這位弟子有一天問孔夫子,這樣說:「孝,到底什麼是孝呢?」孔夫子就這樣回答他:「孝,人人都說能夠養父母,這樣叫做孝。是嗎?」「至於犬馬,皆能有養;不敬,何以別乎?」孔子這樣回答。
 
孝,孝養父母,人人都是在養父母,這樣難道叫做孝嗎?犬馬,我們也是這樣養牠,那只是讓牠有得吃,讓牠的肚子能飽,這就是養這些動物,就是讓牠們的肚子能飽,這樣養牠。但是,養父母豈是,讓他們的肚子能飽就好了?不會餓著了就好了嗎?不是。一定要有孝、要有順,孝、順,才是真正叫做孝。這就是我們世間人真正要用心,在做人的根本。
 
所以佛陀教導眾生,也是教導我們,我們的品行要做到。人人是父母生,要感恩父母,父母的恩重,要孝順。所以要有「四重恩」,父母恩、眾生恩、師長恩、風王水土恩,這是「四重恩」。所以說,父母的恩德也是很大,我們也要懂得如何來供養,供養父母就如堂上活佛一般,這是我們做人的根本。
 
所以我們在佛經所看到的,常常看到供養、供養,不只是供養佛而已。所說的供養就是付出,你要有對父母愛的回饋、感恩的尊重,這分的孝。對一般人,我們要有慈善的愛,他所需要的,我們去付出,我們也要用尊重心。因為人人與佛同等,「心、佛、眾生,三無差別」,已成佛、當來成佛,在人群中,到底誰也有成佛的機會,這就是說,我們對人人,都要有這分供養的心。
 
所以,供養,這是在這十六王子,累生累世普遍都是做供養,在諸佛的道場中學法,植福很廣,時間長,累生累世不斷造福業,不斷在人群中修智慧,所以,這個德就很深。所做的一切,不論是為人群、為家庭,所做的一切,無不都是虔誠的付出。供養就是付出,不斷地付出,在千萬億諸佛所,都是這樣不斷在付出,結善緣,修善行。
 
所以「淨修梵行」,就是「以清淨心,修習梵行」。用最清淨的心,不受周圍的人我是非污染了。既發心要做,就是一心一志,付出,做就對了。就如剛剛所說的這對夫妻,在人群中都沒有什麼人我是非,既發心,做就對了,這修清淨心,修習清淨的梵行。
 
淨修梵行:
以清淨心
修習梵行
梵者 清淨
斷婬欲之法為梵行
即梵天之行法
修梵行則生梵天
 
梵者,就是清淨無染著,斷諸淫欲之法。所以我們若要修行,最好就是用童子心開始來修行,或是從清淨的心,還沒有家庭之前,就要發這樣的心,這叫做斷諸淫欲,清淨,清淨心,這叫做法;這個法,完全清淨的梵行,斷盡淫欲。
 
梵行,就是「梵天之行法」。梵天,我們過去說過,他們所修的法,是上上善、上上戒,這是梵天所修的行。他們能超越過欲界,在有物質的世界中,他們的心都是這麼清淨。修梵行則是生梵天,很清淨的心來修行,付出。
 
所以梵行就是,「菩薩無空有二邊愛著之染,」。
 
梵行:
謂菩薩無空有二邊
愛著之染
名之為淨
以此淨心運於慈悲
與眾生樂
拔眾生苦
故名梵行
 
梵行就是不離人間。剛剛所說的梵天,他是離開人間,生在梵天,享受天福。但是要發大心的人,他就不離開人間,那就是叫做菩薩。「菩薩所緣,緣苦眾生」,在芸芸眾生中,濁氣很重,但是菩薩要修的行,「無空有二邊愛著之染」,沒有偏空。雖然在這污濁之中,他已經修一切不染著,一切皆空,但是空中妙有,所以在這個有的世界,他不受染著,但是在有的世界中,他是度化眾生,不受眾生所污染,這就是「無空有二邊,愛著之染」,就是這樣在人群中修行,造福人群,這名叫做淨。
 
雖然就是這麼污染,我們要修的,要空掉一切,但是他不執著空掉一切,他還是不忍眾生受苦難,還是要再投入。投入,卻不受世間,所有的一切染著,所以這就是,沒有受空有二邊愛著所染,這叫做淨,是清淨。
 
「以此淨心運於慈悲,與眾生樂」。以清淨心投入人群,在人群中運用他的慈悲,給眾生,「與眾生(樂)」,就是給眾生一切的快樂,當然要拔除眾生的苦。眾生有種種生理、心理的苦,又有天地不調的苦,又有人間種種無常苦,苦是這麼多,就是要用法去拔除他們的苦難。有形的苦難,為他們拔除;無形的心靈(苦),我們用智慧去接引他們,讓他們都安穩,讓他們的心能快樂,而不受這些事情所染著,這叫做梵行。
 
所以「求阿耨多羅,三藐三菩提」。他們長久以來,來來回回,都在這樣的人群中,不執空有,沒有愛著,但是一直在,這千萬億佛的道場中,來來回回這樣修行,這十六王子就是這樣。他們所求的是什麼呢?只求「阿耨多羅,三藐三菩提」。他們「供佛修行」,很深的善根,就只是「志求菩提」,能夠成無上正等正覺。
 
求阿耨多羅
三藐三菩提:
供佛修行
深種善根
志求菩提
成等正覺
 
這就是「阿耨多羅,三藐三菩提」,也是叫做佛智,翻譯叫做,「無上正等正覺」,也就是真正平等,覺知一切真理,無上智慧。
 
阿耨多羅
三藐三菩提:
佛智名
華譯為
無上正等正覺
即是真正平等
覺佑一切真理的
無上智慧
 
我們要瞭解,一切都是平等,所以常常說,我們要修「慈悲等觀」,慈悲要平等。我們不要貪、瞋、癡、慢、疑,這些心都要拿掉,完全清淨在人群中,這才是真正無上正等正覺,已經瞭解一切真理了,是無上的智慧,這叫做「阿耨多羅,三藐三菩提」。
 
十六王子以恭敬心,要來請教佛陀,來請法。到底用什麼心?十六王子共同來請法了。所以大家要用心,我們不只是學佛,這十六王子也已經都成佛了,所以我們也是一樣,向十六王子學,到底他們用什麼心,在長久的時間,從大通智勝佛的時代,一直到現在釋迦牟尼佛,在這十六王子的過程,到底他們是如何修,修福慧?我們就要用心瞭解、體會,當然還是要多用心。


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Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: Acting in Accord with Our Undefiled Nature (稱性無染持淨戒)
Date: March.22. 2017

“Acting in accord with our nature to be undefiled is overall called Brahma-conduct. Practicing to realize the perfect and complete direct Bodhi-path, Bodhisattvas actualize the Six Perfections in all actions with the noble practices of right mindfulness and pure precepts, Samadhi and wisdom.”

Just what is it exactly that is in accord with our nature? It is the true Dharma. Every day, don’t we often talk about sincerity, integrity, faith and steadfastness? These are the principles for being human that we all should uphold. In particular, as Tzu Chi volunteers, we internally cultivate sincerity, integrity, faith and steadfastness and externally practice loving-kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity. This is what we ought to cultivate and uphold. This is to act in accord with our nature. We need to completely be mindful and highly value sincerity and steadfastness. This is our intrinsic nature. So, if we can be genuine and sincere and have a pure mind, we act in accord with our nature to be undefiled. This overall is called Brahma-conduct. If our mind is not defiled, then we will be cultivating the same practices as the Brahma kings, [upholding] the supreme good precepts and not being defiled by the ignorance in the world. This is called Brahma-conduct. At the same time, we must cultivate the supreme good deeds. We need to cultivate good deeds and uphold the precepts so that our mind is undefiled. This is the intrinsic nature we all have, our pure intrinsic nature.

This requires us to cultivate and uphold what is called Brahma-conduct. If we do not put effort into cultivating and upholding this mindset, then we will become defiled very easily. To maintain our purity, we need to be very mindful. We should practice such that our body and mind are pure and undefiled. This is what we ought to cultivate. We practice to realize the perfect and complete direct Bodhi-path. This is our direction. We practice our Brahma-conduct so that we can realize the perfect and complete direct Bodhi-path. Engaging in spiritual practice is eliminating ignorance and defilements to seek awakening. This path of awakening is called the Bodhi-path. This Bodhi-path is very simple; as long as our direction is accurate and we can maintain our direction without any deviation, we will naturally be on this path to awakening. In addition, it is a very straightforward, direct path. When we say it like this, spiritual practice is truly not difficult. We just need to tame and straighten [our mind], just need to train our minds well, to be free defilements. When we walk the path with a straightforward mind, this is the direct Bodhi-path. What we cultivate and hope to perfect is this kind of practice. This practice is not only to cultivate ourselves or only to benefit ourselves. We also need to benefit others as well. So, “Bodhisattvas actualize the Six Perfections in all actions.” This is the aspiration and vow we make, to cultivate ourselves and benefit others at the same time. We must walk the Bodhisattva-path; the path we follow is not the Small Vehicle. We need to open our hearts and minds and transform ourselves and others, so as Bodhisattvas we need to actualize the Six Perfections in all actions. We must go among the people, among the multitudes of sentient beings. Sentient beings each have different habitual tendencies. The practice we cultivate is to adapt to sentient beings, adapt to their afflictions and ignorance, while not allowing ourselves to be affected. We persist in our resolve to transform them. The Buddha views sentient beings as His own child. He does not give up on any sentient being. He comes and goes among the four kinds of beings and the Five Realms all in order to transform all sentient beings. But sentient beings’ capabilities are not equal; they each have different habitual tendencies. The Buddha, in His great enlightenment, is willing to continuously come back. According to the suffering sentient beings face, He goes among people and their hardships to save and transform [them]. As sentient beings’ minds become more complicated, the Buddha hopes more people will form aspirations and make vows so more people can transform others [with Him]. Thus, He hopes we will not only benefit ourselves but also benefit others.

So, the Buddha opened the Dharma-door of the Great Vehicle of One Reality, hoping our awakening would not be only for ourselves. We also need to awaken our aspirations to transform all sentient beings. This is practicing the Six Perfections in all actions. We need many people to go among the people together while using all kinds of methods [to transform them]. These are “noble practices of right mindfulness and pure precepts, Samadhi and wisdom”. What we need to practice is to be equal to the Buddha. We must practice what the Buddha taught.

However the Buddha taught us, we need to honestly follow the Buddha’s teachings to put the principles into action. We must practice right mindfulness. When our thoughts are proper, our actions will be proper. With right conduct, we maintain the purity of our intrinsic nature and will not be defiled by sentient beings. Sentient beings, unenlightened beings, have very complicated capabilities. We clearly know that sentient beings’ capabilities are so complicated, which is why we need to go among people. To transform others, we ourselves must properly maintain and uphold [the precepts]. We must not ”try to transform sentient beings and instead be transformed by them.” We need to bring purity to sentient beings, not allow sentient beings to defile us. So, we must uphold the pure precepts. If we can uphold the pure precepts properly, our minds will remain firm and settled. When our minds are settled, the outside world will not be able to affect us. Then we can attain wisdom. Otherwise, in our daily living, [we may think,] “I already know.” We may know many things; this is intellectual knowledge.

Everyone talks about intellectuals. They know many things. If you say something, they reply, “I know this!” They know all these things, but they are unable to discern the principles and the difference between right and wrong. If we cannot distinguish between right and wrong, then very easily, when our minds connect with people, matters and things in our daily living, they will constantly fluctuate and be unable to settle down.
So, our minds must settle down and be still. In this world, human nature is complicated. In the world, matters and things are all traps for us; everything is a source of temptation. The source of our temptation is actually the contamination of our human nature. We are ourselves enticed by external states, so our own thoughts of ignorance allow external defilements of matters and things to lead us astray. This means our power of Samadhi is insufficient so our wisdom has not manifested. We only know the outside of things; we do not know the principles contained within. We do not know their workings.

So, often, if we are intelligent, it is intelligence that leads us to make mistakes. This is what people say. We are learning the Bodhisattva-path of the world. To learn the Buddha’s way, we must start by practicing the Bodhisattva-path in the world. In our large organization, there are many Bodhisattvas who move people. Their minds are settled, and they uphold the precepts well. The husband and wife, the whole family, all get involved. For decades they have kelp their initial resolve. Bodhisattvas like these are quite numerous. One of these married couples has even been involved Tzu Chi for over 35 years already. From when I began saying that. I wanted to build a hospital in Hualien, when I first went to Taipei, there was a group of Bodhisattvas. They heard how Hualien lacked medical care and how difficult it was to receive treatment. They knew that building a hospital in Hualien was very necessary to help those in Hualien living in very rural areas have the chance for medical treatment. At that time, these Bodhisattvas made a vow.

Of that group I often talk about-Gao’ai. Back then, her family situation was not good, but the love in her heart was great; on hearing about the hospital, with reverence and perseverance, she overcome her family situation and also wanted to be a Tzu Chi [commissioner]. She not only asked for donations from others, she exhausted her own efforts. She even used the time for sleep [to work]. At 2 am in the morning, she would go clean. The money she earned from cleaning was donated for me to build the hospital. Her story is a long one to tell, but what I am most grateful for is that she continued to transform people. She would often bring people back to the Abode. One time, it was a husband and wife, Li Jiahua and her husband, whom she brought back to the Abode. Li Jiahua and her husband were very pure-hearted. When they saw our lifestyle at the Abode, they understood that I wanted to build a hospital. They were very dedicated and formed aspirations to support us. Husband and wife made this vow together. At the time, Jiahua’s husband, Liao Dingxing, was still working as a police officer. But whatever his wife said, he saw it as the right thing and supported her. Not only did he support her, he put this vow into action. When there were activities, if he was off-duty, he would absolutely be there. This was a very diligent married couple walking the same path. No matter how many times Tzu Chi met difficulties, they put their utmost effort into helping. After retiring, he joined the Faith Corps. He joined first as part of the security team. His Faith Corp ID number was 18. His number is so low; we can see that he started very early. Later, when Da Ai TV station started, at that time, we needed media volunteers; we needed volunteers to help film, so he also helped with filming and photography.

Think about it; whatever Tzu Chi was doing, as a Faith Corp volunteer, he joined early on. When we needed help at Da Ai TV to do documentation and filming, he dedicated himself in the same way; he picked up a camera and learned how to use it. Once Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital finished construction, he volunteered in the hospital. He was able to accomplish all these things. Whatever volunteer tasks there were, he was involved in all of them. However, he still always felt, “I am not doing enough. What more can I do to help Master?” In addition to collecting donations, he thought, “My house still has some things that can be given to Master to help build what society needs in our medical and education missions.” The education mission also need to build, as well as media such as Da Ai TV.

“People spread the Way; it cannot spread itself.” We need to let people know about good deeds this is also very important. With all these construction projects, they continued to contribute like this. They recalled that they had land somewhere and immediately went to find the deed and tell me, “Master, my family still has this land deed. I would like to ask Master to accept this and see whether it can be used or whether it can be sold in exchange for money to build what we need.” I told them, “If we cannot make use of this, you should still hold onto this. He said, “No, [Tzu Chi] can certainly can make use of this, otherwise I will take care of [selling] it. Master, with your blessings, I can sell it and donate the proceeds.” In this way, with each piece of land, when they remembered they had land somewhere, they would donate it. The husband and wife had the same aspirations and gave of themselves joyfully. They would think, “Where else do I have a house rented out? I can take back this house and sell it so Master will be able build more. “No”, I told them. “You need to keep this for the children. They don’t need it, Master. The children have grown up already. They all have their own families now. It is just us two elderly ones. And we two are both in Tzu Chi. When we die, our bodies have no need of money; we can become Silent Mentors. What is [the value of] time? So, we want to make use of our time and do as much as possible. We will do as much as we possibly can. Thus, time passed in this way. More than 30 years passed like the first day; I never heard that they had any afflictions or that they complained about other people. They did not have these kinds of ignorance or these kinds of complicated matters. Every time I think of people who have open hearts and pure thoughts, I think of this elderly couple. For more than 35 years, they did not have even the slightest complicated discursive thoughts or afflictions.

A couple of days ago, she returned with an Honorary Board member. She saw me and kept on crying. I asked, “What is the matter? I am heartbroken, Master, because I love you very much. Master, people talk about “Master, people talk about you like that, and when I hear them, I cannot bear it. I am going to become depressed!” I patted her and said, “Silly disciple, why are you like this? We need to ask ourselves whether or not our minds have deviated. One person says something false, and others spread it as truth. This creates a net of ignorance in society now. Why should you be raped in it?” She laughed and said, “That’s right! How did I get trapped in the net of ignorance? Now I can be at ease.” See, this was the only time that I had seen her trapped by society’s net of ignorance. Being trapped in this net, she said she could not bear to see me and Tzu Chi [criticized] after doing so much for the society and the world. This was the only [time] I saw her like this. This was the only [time] I saw her like this, becoming afflicted because of society. Otherwise, I have not seen her with afflictions. Everyone in her family is an Honorary Board member and have offered all of their resources. Even now she still says, “I keep on thinking about what else is in my home.” This is how this couple is. Her husband is now 90 years old, and after a couple years he will be over 90. His body is healthy, and we can still see him at events, with his straight figure among the crowds, doing what Tzu Chi volunteers do. He never misses a Faith Corp shift. He and his wife are Living Bodhisattvas. Their story is also very long. Their daughter is also a volunteer; everyone in their family is a Tzu Chi volunteer. All in all, “Bodhisattvas actualize the Six Perfections in all actions. With the noble practices of right mindfulness,” they are very reverent and take the Buddha-Dharma into the innermost parts of their minds. They put the principles into practice with right mindfulness, right views, right thinking and right actions. All that they do is right. They can achieve all of the Eightfold Right Path. They can also practice the Seven Factors of Bodhi. The 37 Practices to Enlightenment, these 37 teachings, have all been accomplished by them. They possess pure precepts, Samadhi and wisdom. Seeing this couple, I am truly moved.

“Action in accord with our nature to be undefiled is overall called Brahma-conduct.” So, we must put effort into the supreme good deeds and uphold the supreme precepts. After we understand, we must put them into practice. The Bodhi-path is a very direct path. With the right starting point, as we walk forward, we will not be affected by other people. This is what it means to be a Bodhisattva, one who benefits oneself and others. This is a practitioner of the Six Perfections, a Bodhisattva. So, with noble practices, we must be very mindful. These are not something impossible. Pure precepts, Samadhi and wisdom are not far from us. They are all around us and in our own actions. So, if others can accomplish something, we ought to learn from them.

The previous sutra passage says, “They remained unaffected by all phenomena.” Just like Mr. and Mrs. Liao, whatever people are doing in the world outside, whatever they are saying, they will not be affected. They choose the right action and just do it. Regardless of the people around them and their surroundings, they are not affected. They are without ignorance, discursive thoughts or defilements. They are not affected by ignorance or negative phenomena.

So because of this, they “could attain liberation from all Leaks.” 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.

These “Leaks” were all gone. Having eliminate Leaks, their minds could attain liberation and not be affected by defilements. So, “From then onward, all Hearers in the assembly were immeasurable, boundless and beyond count.” If, by hearing the Dharma, we can all eliminate our afflictions and Leaks, our minds can attain liberation. From taking in the sound [of the Dharma], the Dharma we attain allows us to achieve this. After hearing and taking the sound in, after understanding the Dharma, the [Hearers] naturally attained liberation. There were many of these people, beyond count. When Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha expounded the Dharma and turned the Dharma-wheel, 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.”

They had practiced for a very long time to be able to attain such pure minds and pure Roots. All had sharp capabilities. If their Six Roots were not so pure, the external Six Dusts would easily entice them. Their Roots were pure and undefiled by the external Six Dusts. So, their Roots were very pure. Pure means their capabilities are sharp. They are like a mirror that is polished cleanly; when there are mountains, mountains are reflected when there is water, water is reflected. They could understand all phenomena in the world. Complete understanding of matters and principles is called wisdom. Their wisdom brought complete understanding, and they had no obstructions.

The next passage states, “They had already made offerings to 100 trillion Buddhas, purely cultivated Brahma-conduct and sought Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi. All addressed the Buddha, saying, ‘World-Honored One.’”

These 16 princes were also at the assembly. They thoroughly understood everything with their sharp capabilities. Previously, the Brahma kings asked for the Dharma. Now the 16 princes also requested the Dharma. They all had sharp capabilities because in the past, they had already made offerings to 100 trillion Buddhas. So, they had sharp capabilities. This was their process; they spent a very long time to cultivate Brahma-conduct. Not only did they offerings, they also put purifying practices into action, practice the supreme good deeds and precepts. They practiced like this for a long period of time. Within the Buddha-Dharma, they practiced in this way. What they sought was Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi, the highest level of awakening. This was what they sought. So, together the 16 princes addressed the Buddha and asked Him for the Dharma.

They had already made offerings to 100 trillion Buddhas: They had already made offerings to many Buddhas in the past, had widely cultivated blessings, deeply planted virtues and resolved to seek the fruit of Buddhahood. In worldly affairs they were filial and respectful to their parents.

Let us look at “They had already made offerings to 100 trillion Buddhas.” This means that they had spent a long time seeking out the Buddha-Dharma. To encounter a Buddha in the world is not easy. Over the course of [meeting] 100 trillion Buddhas, with every Buddha, they would follow Him in spiritual practice and make offerings. Clearly this took a long time. These 16 princes, over many lifetimes, had followed 100 trillion Buddhas, engaging in spiritual practice and making offerings to Them. Thus, they made offerings to many Buddhas. They made offerings to many Buddhas, so they “had widely cultivated blessings.” Making offering is benefiting people. What did they use to give offerings to the Buddha? They created blessings by benefiting people. They planted [seeds of] blessings and wisdom, cultivated both blessings and wisdom. Cultivated both blessings and wisdom is called “widely cultivating blessings” and “deeply planting virtues.” These virtues that they planted were deep. I often say that we need to spread the seeds [of love]. “One gives rise to infinity,” which means that to transform sentient beings, we must take in the Buddha-Dharma. With the Buddha-Dharma, we create good affinities and benefit people. We externally cultivate blessings and internally cultivate virtues. Thus it says they “had widely cultivated blessings, deeply planted virtues and resolved to seek the fruit of Buddhahood.” They engaged in spiritual practice life after life. This was not only to seek their own awakening.

Actually, in terms of our human character, “Filial piety is the foremost of all good deeds.” Not only should we give offerings to the Buddha and do good deeds, we also need to be filial to our parents. “Filial piety is the foremost of all good deeds.”

We need to know that in the era of Confucius, it was considered very important to be filial to one’s parents. One time, Ziyou asked about filial piety. Ziyou was one of the 72 disciples of Confucius. One day, this disciple asked Confucius, “Filial piety, what is filial piety?” Confucius replied to him by saying, “In terms of filial piety, everyone says providing for our parents is called filial piety. But is it? We provide for dogs and horses. Without respect, what is the difference?” This was Confucius’s reply.

When it comes to filial piety, everyone may provide for their parents, but is this what it means to be filial? We also provide for our dogs and horses by making sure they have enough to eat, that their stomachs are full. We provide for these animals by making sure their stomachs are full. We provide for them in this manner. But is providing for our parents just making sure their stomachs are full? Is it enough to make sure they are not hungry? No. we need to be filial and also listen to them. This is how we practice filial piety. This is what we have to put our effort into as one of the fundamental duties of being human. So, the Buddha taught and guided sentient beings. He also guided us to perfect our character as humans. We are all born from our mother and father, so we must be grateful for them. We must be grateful, respectful and filial, so we must remember the Fourfold Grace, the grace of our parents, of sentient beings, of teachers and of all Heaven and Earth. This is the Fourfold Grace. So, our parents’ grace is very great. We also need to understand how to give offerings to our parents as if they are living Buddhas. This is fundamental to being human.

So in the Buddhist scriptures, we often read about giving offerings. They are not only giving offerings to the Buddha. Giving offerings means to give of ourselves. We need to repay our parents’ love with gratefulness and respect. This is filial piety. Toward other people, we need to have compassionate love. Whatever they need, we should provide for them, while at the same time having respect for them, because all people are equal to the Buddha. “The mind, the Buddha and sentient beings are no different [in their nature]”. Some have attained Buddhahood, some will attain it. Among the people, all have the chance to attain Buddhahood. This is to say, toward all people, we need to apply this spirit of making offerings. So, these 16 princes had practiced making offerings universally to all, lifetime after lifetime. At the assemblies of all Buddhas, they learned the Dharma. They widely cultivated blessings for a long time. Life after life, they continued creating blessings and cultivating wisdom among the people. So, their virtues were deep. Everything they did, whether for the people or for their family, everything they did, was to give of themselves with reverence. Making offerings is giving of ourselves, continuously giving of ourselves. In the presence of 100 trillion Buddhas, they continuously gave of themselves in this way to create good affinities and cultivate good conduct.

So, “[They] purely cultivated Brahma-conduct. With pure hearts, they cultivated and learned Brahma-conduct.” With the purest of hearts, they were unaffected and undefiled by interpersonal conflicts. Since they had vowed to do [good deeds] and were wholehearted in their resolve, they gave of themselves and just did it. Like the husband and wife I spoke about earlier, they had no conflicts or issues among people. Since they had formed these aspirations, they just did it. They cultivated their pure hearts by cultivating and learning pure Brahma-conduct.

[They] purely cultivated Brahma-conduct: With pure hearts, they cultivated and learned Brahma-conduct. Brahma means “pure”. The teachings for eliminating lustful desires are known as Brahma-conduct. These are the teachings cultivated in the Brahma heavens. By cultivating Brahma-conduct, one is reborn in the Brahma heavens.

“Brahma” means pure and undefiled; these are teachings for eliminating lustful desire. So, if we wish to engage in spiritual practice, it is best to start with a child’s mind, or a pure mind. Before we start a family, we need to form this aspiration. This is called eliminating lustful desire and having a pure mind. This is the Dharma. These teachings of completely pure Brahma-conduct are to eliminate all lustful desires. Brahma-conduct is “the teachings cultivated in the Brahma heavens.” We have previously spoken about Brahma heavens. The teachings that they practice are supreme good deeds and precepts. These are actions practiced by those in the Brahma heavens. They can transcend the desire realm. In a world of tangible form, their minds can be so pure. Those who cultivated Brahma-conduct are born into the Brahma heavens. They engaged in spiritual practice and gave of themselves purely. So, Brahma-conduct is “not being defiled by craving for or attachment to the two extremes of emptiness and existence.”

Brahma-conduct: Bodhisattvas are not defiled by craving for or attachment to the two extremes of emptiness and existence. Therefore, they are called pure. With this pure mind, they exercise compassion, giving sentient beings joy and relieving sentient beings from suffering. This is called Brahma-conduct.

Brahma-conduct is not separate from our world. Those in the Brahma heavens we just mentioned have left the human realm. They are born in the Brahma heavens and enjoy heavenly blessings. However, those who form great aspirations do not leave the human realm. They are called Bodhisattvas. “Bodhisattvas arise because of suffering sentient beings.” They go among the multitudes of sentient beings, among the heavy turbidity, however, with the practice Bodhisattva cultivate, they “are not defiled by craving for or attachment of the two extremes of emptiness and existence.” They are not attached to emptiness. Although amidst this turbidity they already cultivated all undefiled [practices]. Everything is empty in nature. However, there is wondrous existence in emptiness. So, in this world of existence they could remain undefiled yet in this world of existence, they transformed sentient beings. They were not defiled by sentient beings. This have no “craving for or attachment to the two extremes of emptiness and existence. They engaged in spiritual practice among people and benefited them. Therefore, they were called pure. Though there is so much contamination, what we need to practice. Is understanding the emptiness of things. But we should not cling to emptiness, we still cannot bear to let sentient beings suffer so we still get involved, without being affected by the defilements of all things in the world. Thus, this is not being affected by the two extremes of emptiness and existence. This is called purity.

“With this pure mind, they exercise compassion, giving sentient beings joy.” With pure minds, they go among the people and while among them, use their compassion, “giving sentient beings joy.” To give sentient beings all joy, they must of course eliminate their suffering. Sentient beings have different kinds of suffering of body and mind. There is suffering from the imbalance of the world and suffering from the impermanence of the world.
There is so much suffering, so the Dharma is needed to relieve their suffering. With tangible suffering, we can help relieve them. With the intangible suffering of the mind, we can use wisdom to guide them and help them attain peace and stability so their minds can be happy. Meanwhile, we are not contaminated by these things. This is Brahma- conduct. So, they “seek Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi.” For such a long time life after life, they all went among people without being attached to existence or emptiness or desires. They all continued to come and go and engage in spiritual practice in the presence of 100 trillion Buddhas. This is what these 16 princes did.

What was it that they sought? They only sought “Anuttara- samyak-sambodhi. By making offerings to the Buddha and engaging in spiritual practice,” they had deep roots of goodness. “They resolved to seek Bodhi,” supreme, universal and perfect enlightenment. This is “Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi,” which is also called Buddha-wisdom. It is translated as “supreme, universal and perfect enlightenment.” This is true, non-discriminating supreme wisdom that brings enlightened understanding of all true principles. We need to understand that everything is equal. So I often say, we need to cultivate “equal compassion for all.” Our compassion needs to be non-discriminating. We should not have greed, anger, ignorance, arrogance and doubt. We must eliminate all these so we can be completely pure among the people. This is truly supreme, universal and perfect enlightenment. Having understood all true principles is having supreme wisdom. This is called “Anuttara-samyak-smboddhi.” With reverence, the 16 princes requested teachings from the Buddha, they requested the Dharma. What mindset did they have when the16 princes requested the Dharma together? So, we must all be mindful.

We are not just learning the Buddha’s teachings. These 16 princes have already attained Buddhahood, so we are similarly learning from the 16 princes. What kind of resolve did they [sustain] for such a long period of time, from the era of Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha up until the present Sakyamuni Buddha. This process, the way the 16 princes cultivated blessings and wisdom, is what
we need to mindfully understand and experience. This of course requires that we always be mindful.

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