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 20170323《靜思妙蓮華》童真純潔 殷勤精進 (第1050集) (法華經•化城喻品第七)

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發表主題: 20170323《靜思妙蓮華》童真純潔 殷勤精進 (第1050集) (法華經•化城喻品第七)   周四 3月 23, 2017 12:02 am

20170323《靜思妙蓮華》童真純潔 殷勤精進 (第1050集)
(法華經•
化城喻品

 
「麈點劫前始覺真如,真純潔殷勤精進,累生勤修大乘實法,發大乘心四弘誓願。」
「已曾供養百千萬億諸佛,淨修梵行,求阿耨多羅三藐三菩提。」《法華經化城喻品第七
「俱白佛言:世尊!是諸無量千萬億大德聲聞,皆已成就,世尊亦當為我等,說阿耨多羅三藐三菩提法。」《法華經化城喻品第七
是諸無量千萬億大德聲聞:諸多無量有威德大聲聞眾多。
皆已成就:即前六百萬億等,於諸漏法不受,得羅漢。修行精進勇猛,心不放逸,故名羅漢。專精為力,名已成就。
皆已成就:明濁障已除,大乘機契動。諸子大乘功德,悉皆具足,復愍諸聲聞未為究竟,故重請開顯。
世尊亦當為我等:願佛亦為我等十六王子。
說阿耨多羅三藐三菩提法:無上正等覺修行之法,即是菩薩六度萬行。
昔轉小乘法輪,利益聲聞,皆已成就。今當開示大乘,遂我等求佛知見之志願。此明啟請說法之意。
 
【證嚴上人開示】

「麈點劫前始覺真如,真純潔殷勤精進,累生勤修大乘實法,發大乘心四弘誓願。」
 
麈點劫前始覺真如
真純潔殷勤精進
累生勤修大乘實法
發大乘心四弘誓願
 
我們應該清楚了,十六沙彌,就是在大通智勝佛的時代,大通智勝佛,那就是在塵點劫前。我們都還記得,塵點劫是很長久,無法去算計,無始、無始、無始劫前,這我們前面經文說得很清楚了。無始中的無始,我們人人應該都有始覺真如,這是佛陀這樣跟我們說,「心、佛、眾生,三無差別」,所以眾生從無始以來,就是本具真如始覺,始覺真如在人人的本性裡。
 
但是我們凡夫就只是一念偏差,迷失了始覺真如,迷失了,其實它並沒有迷失,只是被無明掩蓋了,所以我們現在學佛,我們要回歸本性,借重佛法來引導我們,回歸本性的道路。《法華經》就是要來引導我們,回歸我們的真如本性,在每一品都有它深藏的意義,我們好好地用心。
 
在〈化城喻品〉開始,釋迦牟尼佛就講出了塵點劫,無始中的無始劫前,那時候就開始,有這麼多的梵天王。是修上上善,持上上戒,回歸心的清淨,叫做梵行;這個梵行,生在梵天。所以佛,就是大通智勝佛,初坐道場,成正覺了,梵天王就從十方來,每一方的梵天王到了,都是那麼莊嚴,沿路散花。五百萬億無量數的梵天王,這樣一路來,甚至表達他們最虔誠的心,梵天宮,也都來獻佛,供養。這樣的場面,散花如須彌山,莊嚴道場,同樣一個目的,就是要請佛轉法輪。
 
大通智勝佛,就是要等待因緣成熟,每一個地方來請轉法輪,就是默然許之。
應該要再回想,回憶,要再回想那個境界,一直到上方梵天王都到了,十方到齊了,請佛轉法輪,佛陀才開始用「四諦」、「十二因緣法」說法。這大家能夠瞭解了,原來生死,就是從一念無明間開始,從無明一直緣行,這樣一直緣下去,緣得老病死這樣憂悲苦惱,就這樣開始不斷輪迴,造作無明、業力,由不得自己受了人生的苦難。
 
我們瞭解了,知道,但是要如何斷?開始就由十六沙彌請轉法輪。十六沙彌,那就是「童真純潔,殷勤精進,累生勤修,大乘實法」。用童子心,很清淨,不只是心清淨,身也清淨,因為他保持著童子身,身很清淨,沒有受染著過,這種童真純潔,殷勤精進。
 
既然大通智勝佛,是無始劫的無始以前,當然,無始以前的無始,也是有佛出現人間,總是童真,就是從無始前的無始前,就已經持戒修行了。在無量數劫的諸佛出世,都是在佛佛的道場,同樣受教修行,能夠保持著這麼原始童真,這始覺真如、童真純潔的心,這樣一直保持著精進,累生,就是已經累生累世,這樣一直殷勤修行過來。
 
所修的行,完全都是大乘實法,發大乘心。大乘的實法已經接受了,所以累生世都是發大乘心,甚至生生世世都是四弘誓願。這就是從塵點劫前的始覺真如,一直保持著童真純潔,這種殷勤精進,這樣現出了累生累世,修行大乘實法。大乘法,就是行菩薩道,大願力。這大願,佛佛道同,四弘誓願。
 
四弘誓願、四無量心,這是諸佛的總願,每一尊佛有同樣四弘誓願,與四無量心。除了總願,又各人有各佛的別願。
 
所以說,十六王子來的根機很大。所以我們要很用心體會,佛法,時間從無始,我們人人是共同,只是我們受污染而已。不要輕視年紀小,不懂世事,其實童子入道,道行也是很高。
 
在佛陀滅度之後一百年間,那時候的古印度,有一個時代叫做「孔雀王朝」。孔雀王朝的時代,那就是阿育王統領古印度,在這期間,他對佛法很護持,護持護法,供養僧眾,他對佛法,他對出家人都是很恭敬。有一次,就是那個城中,境內,印度的境內發生了一種瘟疫,就是傳染病,從境內發生。
 
阿育王他擔心這個疫情,就是傳染病,這樣傳染進皇城來,所以他趕緊將交通封鎖起來,不要傳染病這樣傳進皇城,甚至派人到僧團精舍,請僧團能派僧眾,出家人入皇宮,來向皇宮裡的嬪妃說法,安大家的心,甚至向他們說,如何預防疾病的方法。
 
在這當中,僧團就派出了一位小沙彌,年紀才八歲而已,但是他已經證得羅漢果了,名叫做妙顏。妙顏沙彌受派遣來到王宮裡,因為八歲的小沙彌,長得好可愛,所以宮中的王后、王妃等等,還有宮女,看到怎麼派遣這麼小的小沙彌來,好可愛啊!阿育王的夫人一歡喜心,就展開雙手要抱這位沙彌,妙顏沙彌就趕緊退一步,用很嚴格的言詞向夫人,拒絕被擁抱。
 
夫人就說:「你年紀這麼小,就像我的孩子一樣,我看你這麼小,跟我的孩子一樣,所以母愛疼子而擁抱,這有什麼樣的過失嗎?」
 
小沙彌,妙顏沙彌,他就回答了,就說:「夫人,情愛貪著,是從很微細一念心開始。就如火種,火種如栗子那麼大的火種,它就可以焚燒遍萬里的森林。整個樹林,萬里的樹林都會被火苗,栗子大的火苗,那樣小小的火苗,就會燒遍了萬里的森林,如手指這麼大的滴水,這樣一滴一滴滴下來,滴久了,它也會穿過堅固的石頭。這都是由小不斷累積,變成了很大,所以不要輕視小小的一念心。所以我們人一定要有智慧,智慧才能瞭解深遠的道理。情愛一定要避嫌,不要讓人有嫌疑。雖然我很小,年紀很小,我是一個男子,而您年紀雖然可以當我的母親,不過還是要避嫌。小小的情,不論是什麼情,這種情,有愛著,有染著的愛,這樣就像那小小的火苗,擴大就會變成很大的情愛染著。」
 
因為妙顏沙彌用那種義正辭嚴,很嚴肅的言詞,這樣愈說愈大聲,聲音傳到正殿。阿育王在他的議事殿裡,聽到這麼清澈的聲音,就問他的隨從的人:「到底後宮裡在說什麼法,這麼清澈的聲音?」隨從就說:「妙顏沙彌已經入王宮來了。」阿育王聽到,就趕緊入後宮去。看到夫人和妙顏沙彌在那裡,好像有一點爭執,一個堅持要抱,一個就是義正嚴辭這樣說話,就趕緊進去,就說:「什麼事啊?讓你這麼激動,言詞這麼嚴肅,到底是什麼事呢?」
 
妙顏沙彌從頭再說一次,「這種情愛就要稍微閃避,不要讓人懷疑,這是防患於未然。不論什麼事,我們都要預防,就如疾病,小小的疾病它能傳染很多人,這也是要預防,預防在小小的感染的源頭。這就如我們人的情愛,愛欲,一點點開始,就如火苗會燒盡山林一樣,如滴水會穿石。」他就這樣再重複一次。
 
但是國王就說:「但是王后她的年齡這麼大了,母子之情愛,這樣也不行嗎?」沙彌就再說了,就說:「一切都是在這種小小的一念,以為無妨,就這樣欠缺預防,你認為無妨,就是不覺得這要預防,就太過開放了,就容易惹來很多的禍患。」
 
他就又說,妙顏沙彌說:「佛陀的時代有這樣的戒律,目的就是要使弟子,不要違犯戒律。戒律一違犯,種種的弊病就會發生。為了要預防弊病,所以必定要很謹慎預防。就如世間的規矩,七歲以上的女孩子,就不能再讓父親抱了,不能進父親的書房裡面嬉戲;如果是男子,孩童八歲以後,就不能坐在母親的床上,這就是規矩。尤其是就像,結果纍纍的果樹下面,就不能在那個地方整理頭冠,就是帽子,不能在結果纍纍的果樹下,整理他的頭冠;若是在瓜田,種瓜的田裡,就不能彎腰綁鞋帶,這就是避免人引起懷疑。」因為你如果在結果纍纍的樹下,拿起帽子,會讓人覺得你是不是,準備要偷摘果實放在帽子裡,所以在果實纍纍的樹下,就不能整理頭上的冠,冠就是帽子,種瓜田裡,就不能彎腰,要避免人說,你是要偷摘瓜,連這樣的規矩都要守,這就是戒律行儀,這是遠離被人嫌疑的弊病產生。這是妙顏沙彌這樣說。
 
這就是沙彌他的智慧就是這樣,因為妙顏沙彌他又再次說:「我是已經煩惱漏盡,就猶如出污泥的蓮花,出污泥不受染的蓮花。所以我是晶瑩剔透,我不怕什麼來染著我,出污泥的蓮花,但是夫人,您疼愛的情感,如母親對孩子一般,但是對還沒除去三毒的凡夫,這種的動作,很容易惹起煩惱無明,所以我不希望被您擁抱。這是我雖然不會染著,但是無明的凡夫,您若這樣的動作,無明的凡夫他就會受染著。」
 
阿育王聽了,非常的感動,夫人也很不好意思,所以在那個地方懺悔,向小沙彌懺悔,同時對佛法更加敬重。
 
這就是在佛滅度後,一百年後,還是戒律森嚴,小小的小沙彌,他都有這樣的修行功力。想想看,童真純潔,其實他也是塵點劫前有修來的,才有辦法在年紀這麼小,就這麼成熟,吸收佛法在內心,戒律守得這麼好。
 
阿育王,在城外已經發生了傳染病,為了要預防,他也知道交通要防止,所以在宮內就請人來說法,讓人人能知道這個病。沒想到請來的小沙彌,不只是能預防病,起於那種小小的感染源,連心也淨化了。
 
這是阿育王時代,童真純潔,殷勤精進,這種沙彌累生勤修大乘法,發大乘心,所以有四弘誓願,「眾生無邊誓願度」,這麼年幼的孩子有辦法,所以我們應該用心在佛法中。
 
前面的(經)文已經說了,「已曾供養百千萬億諸佛,淨修梵行,求阿耨多羅三藐三菩提。」
 
已曾供養
百千萬億諸佛
淨修梵行
求阿耨多羅
三藐三菩提
《法華經化城喻品第七
 
那就是十六沙彌,他們就是已經曾供養過,百千萬億諸佛,淨修梵行。可見在塵點劫的,無始以前的以前,就已經有這樣修行過來,這是在措描述十六沙彌,他們所修行的過程,所以他們的過程,這樣修行在大通智勝佛的時代,他們還是以童子身來出家修行。
 
所以他們同樣也要請佛轉法輪,所以「俱白佛言:世尊!」向佛請法,「是諸無量千萬億大德聲聞,皆已成就,世尊亦當為我等,說阿耨多羅三藐三菩提法。」
 
俱白佛言
世尊
是諸無量千萬億
大德聲聞
皆已成就
世尊亦當為我等
說阿耨多羅
三藐三菩提法
《法華經化城喻品第七
 
這些童子所要求的法,就是無上正等正覺,「阿耨多羅三藐三菩提」。不只是自己要追求,甚至也要為這些,無量百千萬億的聲聞,代替他們來求法。自己需要瞭解,甚至這些聲聞更需要,所以請佛轉法輪。
 
是諸無量千萬億
大德聲聞:
諸多無量
有威德大聲聞眾多
 
「是諸無量千萬億,大德聲聞」。那就是很多,這些聲聞都是有威德的大聲聞,有千萬億這麼多的人,都是需要佛去為他們說法。這些人「皆已成就」了。就是前六百萬億等,「皆已成就」。
 
皆已成就:
即前六百萬億等
於諸漏法不受
得羅漢
修行精進勇猛
心不放逸
故名羅漢
專精為力名已成就
 
這些人有多少呢?是前面已經來到道場上的人,那些已經有六百萬億。這些人已經是,「(於)諸漏法不受」,就是無明煩惱法都不受了,諸漏法,大家要記得,就是無明,無明煩惱的惡法,他們都不去感染,不受污染,大家都已經得羅漢果了。
 
所以「修行精進勇猛,心不放逸故」。這些人都是很殷勤精進的人,心都是不放逸,很殷勤認真,故名羅漢。那就是專精為力,一心一志,「七菩提分」、「八聖道分」,精進力很昌盛,已經成就,成就羅漢果了。人數有那麼多,「皆已成就」的人。
 
皆已成就:
明濁障已除
大乘機契動
諸子大乘功德
悉皆具足
復愍諸聲聞
未為究竟
故重請開顯
 
這就是表示「濁障已除」。這向我們表明了,大通智勝佛的道場,六百萬億無量數的聲聞,聽大通智勝佛的法之後,都完全去除了無明;無明去除,惡法不受,自然就是濁的障礙也都沒有了。
 
我們所有的障礙,都是我們從無明中所製造來的,我們才會常常受到很多的障礙。世間人常常這樣說,「不如意事十有八九」。因為所求多,求就是無明,所要追求的無明之事很多,障礙就會很多。所以,這都是起於一念的無明,這念無明濁氣若消除,就沒有障礙了。
 
「大乘機契動」,大乘的根機開始啟動了。這麼多的聲聞,已經去除這些濁氣,無明都去除了,現在開始也要追求大乘法了。所以「大乘機契動」,這種大根機開始啟發起來了,所以「大乘機契動」,已經契機了,大根機已經開始知道,要趕緊伸根,樹要茂盛起來,小樹要變成大樹了,大根大莖,大枝大葉,已經應該要展開了。
 
所以「諸子大乘功德,悉皆具足」。諸子就是十六王子,包括這些聲聞,乃是佛子,這個「大乘機契動」。我們前面也說,「法王之子」,「佛口所生子」,已經所有修行,聽佛法入心,已經瞭解了大乘法,現在有啟動他們的心了,所以就堪稱為子。所以諸子包括十六王子,他們是「大乘功德,悉皆具足」,這個發大乘心,這個功德應該很充足,那就是求法的心很切,認真求法,具足了。
 
「復愍諸聲聞,未為究竟」。十六王子自己很殷切,又再憫念這些聲聞還未到究竟,所以十六王子也代替這些聲聞,同樣也是請佛轉法輪。這些聲聞,也已經一樣,濁氣已經去除,大根機也開始啟動,加上了十六王子的請法,完成自己,也希望這些聲聞,能得到究竟的道理,所以,因為這樣再請法。
 
世尊亦當為我等:
願佛亦為我等
十六王子
 
「世尊亦當為我等」。「我等」,就是我們十六位王子。因為這十六位,就是在道場上同聲,同一個聲音,向佛陀請轉法輪,這十六王子,所以說「為我等」。請佛為我們大家,為我們開示,讓我們能瞭解,同時還有這麼多聲聞等等,請佛慈悲開示。
 
說阿耨多羅
三藐三菩提法:
無上正等覺
修行之法
即是菩薩
六度萬行
 
所以「無上正等正覺,修行之法」,這就是無上正等正覺,也就是「阿耨多羅三藐三菩提」,這個正等正覺修行的方法,那就是,那就是菩薩,「六度萬行」。
 
菩薩的六度萬行,光是說六個法,它就能夠散開(為)萬行。因為它散開,應眾生的根機,眾生有多少的心欲,有多少的無明,有多少的苦難,菩薩就要應眾生的苦,應眾生的無明,應眾生的根機,所以他必定要用萬法,用種種種種的方法。八萬四千無明,就要有八萬四千菩提法去對治,同樣的道理,所以叫做六度萬行。
 
「昔轉小乘法輪,利益聲聞,皆已成就」。
 
昔轉小乘法輪
利益聲聞
皆已成就
今當開示大乘
遂我等
求佛知見之志願
此明啟請說法之意
 
現在的釋迦牟尼佛也是一樣,他說法四十二年了,但是聽法的人,還停滯在聲聞、緣覺。因為他們的根機還未開啟,還未發大心。過去大通智勝佛的時代,也是一樣,一段很長的時間,大通智勝佛也是觀眾生機,用很長的時間轉小乘法,那就是講方便法,同樣去利益小根小機的人。所以這是佛佛道同,大通智勝佛的時代是這樣,現在釋迦牟尼佛也是這樣,循循善誘,這樣來引導。四十二年後,現在佛陀,釋迦牟尼佛才開始要說大法。《法華經》是佛說法,四十二年後才開始。
 
也是同樣,舍利弗代替眾人請佛轉法輪,同樣請佛說法,(佛陀)也是同樣三止。大通智勝佛的時代,是十方梵天來請法,大通智勝佛都是一一默然,一直到了全部因緣成熟,才開始要轉大法輪,沙彌就開始請佛再轉法輪。這就是這樣,過去佛、現在佛的道場,都是很類似,差不多這樣的方法,所以叫做佛佛道同。就是這樣不斷累積,所以大家所聽的法已經開始瞭解了,「皆已成就」,成就什麼呢?成就大乘的根機。
 
所以現在「今當開示大乘,遂我等,求佛知見(之)志願」。希望佛,這些人都差不多,已經根機成熟了,現在世尊應該要為我們大家,開示大乘。大家將要追求佛知見的志願,應該世尊,佛能瞭解嗎?能瞭解明示,向我們啟示這個法。
 
所以「此明啟請說法之意」,這就是完全表示大家很殷勤,很明了向大通智勝佛表達心意。不只是十六王子根機成熟,包括在座無量數,六百萬億,這些大眾,人人都有同樣的心願,同樣的心意,要求佛知見。這就是表達大家的心意。
 
釋迦佛是由一位舍利弗,來表達大家的心意,大通智勝佛,是由十六王子來代表,代表大家的心意,都願意接受大乘法。這段(經)文,我們若大家能瞭解,我們的心就要再回歸到了,那分無始以前,我們人人本具的佛性,人人都有那分清淨童真的心。這要有很淨潔、純潔的心念,我們要不斷精進。
 
過去生,我們也是同樣也曾聽過法,只是我們散漫、懈怠,我們懈怠、我們散慢,我們所受的惡法,隨著世間惡濁的環境,我們造作很多的無明,遮蓋了我們這分清淨的童真,純潔的本性,那就是真如。這是我們雖然過去有聽到法,但是一念無明,就在這濁世中所接的都是惡法,來誘引我們步步錯誤,這種所做的,累積、複製這麼多的無明。我們現在應該要回歸了,好好發大乘心,四弘誓願,要廣度眾生。
 
這不是做不到,點滴之水都能夠穿石了,一點點的火苗,也會燒遍很多的山林。同樣的道理,無明火一起,會燒遍萬里,就是有堅定的心,即使點滴的水也會穿過石。所以不是不可能,只要我們大家時時要多用心。


月亮 在 周四 3月 23, 2017 11:55 am 作了第 1 次修改
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感恩師姐法日日的布施 麻煩修改一下「麈點劫前始覺真如,童真純潔殷勤精進,累生勤修大乘實法,發大乘心四弘誓願。」
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Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: Practice Diligently With Innocence and Purity (童真純潔 殷勤精進)
Date: March.23. 2017

“Since dust-inked kalpas ago, all have had the initial enlightenment of True Suchness. With a child’s innocent purity, they practiced earnestly and diligently. Over many lifetimes, they cultivated the true Dharma of the Great Vehicle. They formed Great Vehicle aspirations and made the Four Great Vows.”

We should be very clear about this. The 16 novices lived in Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha’s ear. Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha lived dust-inked kalpas ago. We must still remember that dust-inked kalpas are very long; they are incalculable. This is a time beginningless kalpas ago. We clearly explained this in the previous passages. From Beginningless Time, we have all had our initial enlightenment of True Suchness. This was what the Buddha said to us “The mind, the Buddha and sentient beings are no different [in their nature].” All sentient beings, since Beginningless Time, have intrinsically had the True Suchness of initial enlightenment. The initial enlightenment of True Suchness is in everyone’s intrinsic nature. But we unenlightened beings let a single thought go astray and lost our initial enlightenment of True Suchness. We say we lost it, but actually, it has not been lost; it is merely covered by ignorance. So now, as Buddhist practitioners, we want to return to our intrinsic nature. We make use of the Buddha-Dharma to guide us on the path to return to our intrinsic nature.

The Lotus Sutra is a guide to lead us in returning to our nature of True Suchness. Every chapter has its profound, hidden meanings. We must earnestly be mindful of this. At the beginning of the Chapter on the Parable of the Conjured City, Sakyamuni Buddha spoke of dust-inked kalpas ago, of beginningless kalpas ago in Beginningless Time. At that time, there were many Brahma kings who had cultivated supreme virtues, upheld supreme precepts and returned to the purity of their mind. This is called Brahma-conduct. With this Brahma-conduct, they were born in the Brahma heavens. So, when Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha first sat in the Bodhimanda and attained perfect enlightenment, the Brahma kings came from the ten directions. The Brahma kings came from every direction and were all so dignified. They scattered flowers along the way. 500 trillions, countless Brahma kings, journeyed all this way, and to express their utmost sincerity, they even offered their Brahma palaces to the Buddha. This was the scene. The scattered flowers were like Mt. Sumeru, dignifying the place of enlightenment. All shared the same purpose, which was to request that the Buddha turn the Dharma-wheel. Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha needed to wait for causes and conditions to mature. When they asked Him to turn the Dharma-wheel, He silently consented. We should again think back and remember this; we must think back to that state. Only after the Brahma kings from above arrived and all from the ten directions were there requesting the Buddha to turn the Dharma-wheel did the Buddha finally use the Four Noble Truths and the Twelve Links of Cyclic Existence to teach. These were what everyone could understand. They learned that cyclic existence starts from one thought of ignorance. Ignorance gives rise to volitional formation, then each Link gives rise to the next until giving rise to the worries, sadness and distress of aging, illness and death. Starting in this way, we transmigrate endlessly, creating ignorance and karmic forces and facing the suffering in life without any control. We understand this; we know this, but how do we put an end to it? The 16 novices then began to request the turning of the Dharma-wheel. As for the 16 novices, “With a child’s innocent purity, they practiced earnestly and diligently. Over many lifetimes, they cultivated the true Dharma of the Great Vehicle.” They had the heart of a child, very pure. They not only had pure minds, but also pure bodies. Because they kept their childlike innocence, their bodies remained pure and undefiled. With a child’s innocent purity, they practiced earnestly and diligently. Since Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha lived before beginningless kalpas ago, of course, in Beginningless Time, there were Buddhas appearing in the world.

So, the [novices] always had a child’s innocence. Before Beginningless Time, they had started upholding precepts and engaging in spiritual practices. Over countless kalpas of time, whenever Buddhas manifested in the world, they would be at each Buddha’s assemblies, receiving the teachings and engaging in practice. They could maintain their original childlike purity, the initial enlightenment of True Suchness, a child’s innocent and pure mind. Thus, they continuously maintained diligence. Over many lifetimes, they kept practicing earnestly in this way. All they practiced was the true Dharma of the Great Vehicle, and they formed Great Vehicle aspirations. They had already accepted the Great Vehicle Dharma. So, over many lifetimes, they formed Great Vehicle aspirations and even made the Four Great Vows in every lifetime. This is their initial enlightenment of True Suchness from dust-inked kalpas ago. They continuously maintained their innocence and purity, practicing earnestly and diligently. They manifested in many lifetimes, practicing the true Dharma of the Great Vehicle. The Great Vehicle is walking the Bodhisattva-path with the power of great vows.
As for these great vows, all Buddhas share the same path and the Four Great Vows.

The Four Great Vows and the Four Infinite Minds are all Buddhas’ universal vows. Every Buddha has the Four Great Vows and Four Infinite Minds. Apart from the universal vows, each Buddha has His specific vows. The 16 Princes all has great capabilities. We must mindfully understand that the Buddha-Dharma comes from Beginningless Time. We all share the same [nature]. It is just that we have been defiled. We must not look down on the young, thinking that they do not understand worldly matters. Actually, when children enter the Path, their spiritual practice also reaches a high level.

100 years after the Buddha entered Parinirvana, back then in ancient India was a period called “Peacock Dynasty” (Mauryas). In the time of the Peacock Dynasty, King Asoka ruled over ancient India. During that period, he was a great patron of the Buddha-Dharma. He supported and protected the Buddha-Dharma and made offerings to the Sangha. Toward the Buddha-Dharma and the monastic community, he had great reverence. One time, a city in his kingdom, in India, was struck with a plague, a contagion that started from within the kingdom. King Asoka was worried that this plague, this contagious disease, would spread to the palace, so he blocked all travel to prevent the plague from spreading into his palace. He even sent someone to the Sangha’s abode to invite them to send someone, a monastic, to come to the palace to teach the Dharma to eth king’s concubines so everyone’s minds would be put at ease. He could even teach them how to prevent this contagious disease. At that time, the Sangha sent a young novice who was only eight years old but had already attained the fruit of Arhatship. His name was Miao Yan. Miao Yan was sent to the palace. Because the eight-year-old novice was very adorable, the queen, concubines, princesses and the palace maids, seeing that such a small novice has come, [remarked,] “How adorable!” King Asoka’s wife, with a joyful heart, opened her arms to hug the young novice. Novice Miao Yan quickly took a step back and, with a strict tone, told the lady that he refused to be hugged. The lady said, “You are so young, just like my child. When I see that you are so small, just like my child, my motherly love moved me to hug you. Is this wrong?” The young novice, Mias Yan, answered her by saying, “Madam, the attachment of loved and desire starts from a very subtle thought in the mind. It is just like a hot ember. A tiny ember as big as a chestnut can destroy thousands of miles of forest. The whole forest, thousands of miles of it, will go up in smoke from a chestnut-sized flame. Such a small flame can destroy miles of forest. Or, it is like a drop of water the size of your fingertip. If it keeps dripping over time, it can penetrate solid rock. This is all an accumulation of something small, which then becomes something big. So, we must not look down on the smallest thought. Each of us needs wisdom. Only with wisdom can we understand profound principles. When it comes to love and desire, we must keep our distance to not cause others to have suspicions. Even though I am very young in age, I am male. Although you are old enough to be my mother, we must still avoid suspicion. A small [display of] affection, whatever kind of affection it is, has the attachment of love; it is tainted love. In this way, just like a tiny flame, when it grows it becomes a great tainted desire.”

Since the novice Miao Yan was using such a stern and righteous tone and very serious language, as he spoke in an increasingly loud voice, his voice spread to the main hall. King Asoka was in his meeting hall. When he heard such a clear, pure voice, he asked his attendants, “What Dharma is being taught in the inner chambers with such a clear, pure voice?” The servant said, “Novice Miao Yan has come to the palace.” Hearing this, King Asoka quickly went to the inner chambers. He saw his wife and Novice Miao Yan seemingly engaged in a little argument. The lady insisted on hugging him, while the novice spoke in a righteous, stern tone. King Asoka quickly went in and said, “What is happening? Why are you so agitated and speaking with such stern and serious tone? What exactly happened?” Again, Novice Miao Yan explained from the start. “Such affection needs to be avoided to prevent suspicions from others. This is a preventative action. With all matters, we must take preventative measures. It is like a disease. A small germ can infect many people, so it also requires prevention. Prevention must be done at the source of a small infection. It is the same for our human affections. With desire and love, starting from very little, it can be like a flame that destroys forests or like drops of water that penetrate rocks.” He repeated himself again like this. But the king said, “The queen is so old. The affection between a mother and son, is that also not allowed?” The novice again said, “Everything starts from such small thoughts. We believe them to be harmless, therefore, we lack preventative measures. If you think it is harmless, you feel that it does not need to be prevented and become overly relaxed, which can easily lead to more trouble.” Novice Miao Yan also said, “In Buddha’s time, there were such precepts in order to help the disciples avoid violating the precepts. Once the precepts are violated, various maladies will occur. To prevent such maladies, we must be very cautious and prevent them. For example, in the etiquette of the world, girls older than seven years old should not be hugged by their fathers and should not play in the father’s study room. If one is a male, once he is older than eight years old, he cannot sit on his mother’s bed. These are rules. In particular, there are rules like, under lush fruit trees bearing much fruit, we must not adjust our head coverings or hats. Under trees covered with fruits, we must not arrange our head covering. If we are in a field of gourds, we cannot bend down to tie our shoelaces. This is to avoid raising suspicion, because if we are under trees with many fruits and take off our hats, others may wonder if we are preparing to steal fruits and hide them in our hat. So, under trees with many fruits, we should not adjust our hats. In fields of gourds, we cannot bend down; this is to avoid others saying that we want to steal the gourds. Even such rules as these must be upheld. These are our precepts, discipline and etiquette that prevent suspicion and maladies from arising.”

This was what Novice Miao Yan said. This was the wisdom of that novice. Then Novice Miao Yan further said, “I have already eliminated all afflictions, like a lotus flower emerging from the mud. Like a lotus untainted by the mud, I am bright and clear. I have no fear of being defiled, like a lotus flower emerging from mud. Madam, your loving affection is like a mother’s for her child. But for unenlightened beings who have not yet eliminated the Three Poisons, such a gesture can easily lead to afflictions and ignorance, so I hope you will not hug me. Although I will not be tainted, ignorant unenlightened beings could be defiled by you acting in this way.”

Hearing this, King Asoka was very moved, and his wife was very embarrassed, so on the spot she repented and apologized to the young novice. At the same time, she gained more reverence for the Buddha-Dharma. This was 100 years after the Buddha’s Parinirvana. The precepts were still strictly upheld. Even this young novice had such power of spiritual cultivation. Think about this childlike innocence and purity; actually he must have also cultivated this over dust-inked kalpas. That is the only way that, at such a young age, he could be so mature, could take the Buddha-Dharma to heart and could uphold the precepts so well.

King Asoka knew that there was a that there was a plague outside the city, so for the sake of prevention, he knew to prevent travel. So, he invited someone to the palace to teach and inform everyone about the disease. He did not expect that the novice he invited would not only know how to prevent diseases from a very small source of contagion, but also now to purity minds. This was in King Asoka’s time. With a child’s innocent purity, practicing and diligent, this novice, over lifetimes, must have cultivated the Great Vehicle Dharma and formed Great Vehicle aspirations.

So, he made the Four Great Vows “I vow to deliver countless sentient brings.” Even a young child could do this, so we must put our hearts into learning the Buddha-Dharma.

The preceding passage said, “They had already made offerings to 100 trillion Buddha, purely cultivated Brahma-conduct and sought Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi.” “They” are the 16 novices. They had already made offerings to 100 trillion Buddhas and purely cultivated Brahma-conduct. Clearly, dust-inked kalpas ago, before Beginningless Time, they had a already begun to. This is describing the 16 novices and the process of their cultivation.

In their process, they engaged in spiritual practice in the era of Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha. They were still children when they became monastics and engaged in spiritual practice. So, they likewise requested that the Buddha turn the Dharma-wheel.

“They all addressed the Buddha, saying, ‘World-Honored One’”. They asked the Buddha to teach the Dharma. “’All these countless thousands and millions of Hearers of great Virtue have already achieved attainment. World-Honored One, You must also teach us the Dharma of Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi.’”

The Dharma sought by these young novices was supreme universal and perfect enlightenment, Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi. They not only sought this for themselves but also for the countless thousands and millions of Hearers; they requested it on their behalf. They themselves needed to understand it, and those Hearers needed the Dharma even more, so they asked the Buddha to turn the Dharma-wheel.

“All these countless thousands and millions of Hearers of great virtue” means there were so many of them, and these Hearers were all great Hearers with awe-inspiring virtue. There were thousand and millions of people who needed Buddha to teach them the Dharma. These people “have already achieved attainment”. The previous 600 trillion and others “have already achieved attainment.”

[They] have already achieved attainment: This refers to the previous 600trillion and others who were unaffected by all phenomena of Leaks and had attained Arhatship. They engaged in spiritual practice with courageous diligence, and their minds were never self-indulgent. Thus they were called Arhats. With the strength of focused diligence, they were said to have achieved attainment.

How many people were like this? The number of those who came to the place of enlightenment had reached 600 trillion. These people were already “unaffected by all phenomena of Leaks,” meaning that they were unaffected by afflictions. As for “all phenomena of Leaks,” we must remember that this refers to ignorance. The negative phenomena of ignorance of afflictions did not affect them, they were not tainted by it. Everyone had already attained Arhatship, so they engaged in spiritual practice with courageous diligence, and their minds were never self-indulgent. These were very earnest and diligent people. Their minds were not self-indulgent; they were very diligent and conscientious. Thus they were called Arhats. They had the strength of focused diligence and single-minded resolve. With the Seven Factors of Bodhi and the Eightfold Noble Path, their power of diligence was very vigorous and they had achieved attainment, had attained the fruit of Arhatship. There were so many of them who had “already achieved attainment.

[They] have already achieved attainment: This indicates that they had already eliminated the turbidities of hindrances. Their Great Vehicle capabilities had resonated and been activated. The children’s merits and virtues of the Great Vehicle were complete. They also had compassion for all Hearers who had not yet reached the ultimate, so they again entreated Him to reveal it.

This indicates that they “had already eliminated the turbidities of hindrances”. This is to tell us that at Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha’s Dharma-assembly, these 600 trillions, countless Heaters, listened to Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior’s teaching and had completely eliminated ignorance. As their ignorance was eliminated, they were unaffected by negative phenomena. Naturally, their hindrance of turbidity was also gone. All our hindrances are created from our ignorance. This is why we are often obstructed. People in the world often say, “Nine out of ten things go against our wishes.” This is because we have many expectations. Expectations are ignorance. We pursue so many matters of ignorance, therefore we have many hindrances. So, all this begins from a thought of ignorance. If our ignorance and turbidities are eliminated, then there will be no more hindrances. “Their Great Vehicle capabilities had resonated and been activated. Their Great Vehicle capabilities had begun to be activated. So many Hearers had eliminated their turbidities and ignorance. Now, they began to seek the Great Vehicle Dharma. “Their Great Vehicle capabilities had resonated and been activated.” These great capabilities began to be activated. So, “Their Great Vehicle capabilities had resonated and been activated.” It already resonated with their capabilities, so with great capabilities, they had already started to realize that they must quickly extend their roots so this tree could grow strong. The small tree was about to turn into a big tree. If they wanted to have great roots, trunks, branches and leaves, then they must start extending themselves.“ The children’s merits and virtues of the Great Vehicle were complete.” The “children” were the16 prince and also included those Hearers. They were all the Buddha’s children. “Their Great Vehicle capabilities had resonated and been activated.” As we mentioned before, the children of the Dharma-king are those born from the Buddha’s mouth. They had engaged in spiritual cultivation and took the Buddha-Dharma they heard to heart. They already understood the Great Vehicle Dharma. Now, their minds were activated, so they could be called “children”. “The children” included the 16 princes. Their “merits and virtues of the Great Vehicle were complete.” They had formed Great Vehicle aspirations, and these merits and virtues were abundant. Their resolve to pursue the Dharma was sincere, so they diligently sought the Dharma.“

They also had compassion for all Hearers who had not yet reached the ultimate. The 16 princes themselves were very sincere and also had compassion for those Hearers who had not yet reached the ultimate. So, the 16 princes, on behalf of these Hearers, likewise asked the Buddha to turn the Dharma-wheel. These Hearers were also already the same; they had eliminated turbidities, and their great capabilities had begun to be activated. In addition, the 16 princes’ request for the Dharma was to complete their own attainment while also hoping that these Hearers would be able to attain the ultimate principle. Thus, they again requested the Dharma.

“World-Honored One, You must also teach us.” “Us” refers to the 16 princes because these 16 princes spoke with one voice in the Dharma-assembly. With one voice, they asked the Buddha to turn the Dharma-wheel. This is what the 16 princes did. So, “You must also teach us” means that they requested that the Buddha teach them so they could understand, teach everyone so they could understand. At the same time, there were many Hearers and such. So, they asked the Buddha to teach with compassion. Thus, it was “the Dharma of the spiritual practice” “of supreme, universal and perfect enlightenment.” This supreme, universal and perfect enlightenment is “Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi.” The method for practicing this supreme, universal and perfect enlightenment is the Bodhisattva-practice of “actualizing the Six Paramitas in all actions.” The Bodhisattva-practice is actualizing the Six Paramitas in all actions. Just these Six Paramitas alone can branch out into thousands of actions, because when they are spread out, they respond to all sentient beings’ capabilities. However many desires sentient beings have, however much ignorance they have, however much suffering they have, Bodhisattvas will respond to their suffering, to their ignorance and to their capabilities. So, they must make use of all phenomena and of all kinds of methods. There are 84,000 types of ignorance that need 84,000 teachings of Bodhi to treat them. The principle is the same. So, this is actualizing the Six Paramitas in all actions. “You previously turned the Dharma-wheel of the Small Vehicle to benefit the Hearers. They all achieved attainment.”

You previously turned the Dharma-wheel of the Small Vehicle to benefit the Hearers. They all achieved attainment. Now You must open and reveal the Great Vehicle in line with our aspirations to seek the Buddha’s understanding and views. This expresses their intent in entreating Him to teach the Dharma.

The present Sakyamuni Buddha did the same. He had taught the Dharma for 42 years, but the people listening to him were still stuck as Hearers and Solitary Realizers. Their capabilities were yet to be activated, and they had not formed great aspirations. In the past era of Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha, that Buddha was the same. For a very long period of time, Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha observed sentient beings’ capabilities. He taught the Small Vehicle for a long time, which was teaching with skillful means. Similarly, He benefitted those with limited capabilities. So, all Buddhas share the same path. This was so in the era of Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha and was the same in Sakyamuni Buddha’s present era. They patiently and kindly guide in this manner. After 42 years, the present Buddha, Skayamuni, began to teach the Great Dharma. He only started teaching the Lotus Sutra after teaching the Dharma for 42 years.

In the same way, Sariputra, on behalf of everyone, asked the Buddha to turn the Dharma-wheel. He also requested that the Buddha teach the Dharma. Similarly, he was refused three times. In Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha’s era, the Brahma kings of the ten directions came to request the Dharma, and Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha was silent each time. Only when all causes and conditions had ripened did He begin to turn the Great Dharma-wheel. The novices again requested that the Buddha turn the Dharma-wheel. This is how it was. The Dharma-assemblies of past and present Buddha are all very similar, and they use more or less the same methods. So we say, “All Buddhas share the same path.” This is how things accumulate, so with the Dharma that everyone had heard, they already started to understand. “They all achieved attainment.” What attainment? They attain Great Vehicle capabilities. So, “Now You must open and reveal the Great Vehicle in line with our aspirations to seek the Buddha’s understanding and views.” They hoped that since all these people’s capabilities were already ripe, the World –Honored One could now open and reveal the Great Vehicle to all. Weren’t everyone’s aspirations to seek the Buddha’s understanding and views understood by the World-Honored One, the Buddha? As He could understand, He would teach, teach them this Dharma.

So, “This expresses their intent in entreating Him to teach the Dharma.” This indicates that everyone was earnest and diligent and clearly expressed their intent to Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha. Not only did the 16 princes’ capabilities mature, all these countless 600 trillion people present shared the same aspirations and the same intention to seek the Buddha’s understanding and views. This expressed everyone’s intent. In Sakyamuni Buddhi’s time, it was Sariputra who expressed everyone’s intent. In Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha’s time the 16 princes represented everyone’s intent, their willingness to accept Great Vehicle Dharma. If we can all understand this sutra passage, then [we know ] our minds must return to. Beginningless Time ago, to the intrinsic Buddha-nature that we all have. Everyone has the pure, innocent mind of a child. This requires us to have very pure minds, so we must continuously practice diligently. In previous lives, we also listened to the Dharma, but we became distracted and indolent. With this indolence and distraction, we were affected by negative phenomena and, following the turbid environment in the world, we created much ignorance that covered our pure, childlike innocence and our pure intrinsic mature of True Suchness. Although we listened to the Dharma in the past, one thought of ignorance arose, and in this world of turbidities, what we encounter is all negative phenomena, which tempts us to make mistakes. These actions [ will] accumulate and replicate so much ignorance. Now we must go back and earnestly form Great Vehicle aspiration, make the Four Noble Vows and widely transform sentient beings. This is not impossible.

Even drops if water can penetrate rocks, and small flames can destroy great areas of forest. In the same way, when flames of ignorance arise, they can burn for thousands of miles. If we have a determined mind, even small drops of water can penetrate rocks, so it is not impossible. We just need to always be mindful.

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