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 20180102《靜思妙蓮華》 會三歸一 開權顯實 (第1253集) (法華經•法師品第十)

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發表主題: 20180102《靜思妙蓮華》 會三歸一 開權顯實 (第1253集) (法華經•法師品第十)   周一 1月 01, 2018 8:45 pm

20180102《靜思妙蓮華》 會三歸一 開權顯實 (第1253集) (法華經•法師品第十)

⊙「今法會三歸一,開權顯一實法,人則回小向大。一乘圓教大法,深遠不可測,鞏固不可搖。」
⊙幽則玄妙,遠則無涯,此實相,諸佛安隱之鄉,無人能到,唯佛究竟,一大事因緣,今為眾開示。
⊙一大事因緣,今為眾開示,明決明瞭聲聞法,亦入菩薩道,為一大事,開示悟入佛之知見。
⊙知見水無乾土,聞解修習,得近菩提正等大覺。
⊙「若親近法師,速得菩薩道,隨順是師學,得見恆沙佛。」《法華經法師品第十》

【證嚴上人開示】
「今法會三歸一,開權顯一實法,人則回小向大。 一乘圓教大法,深遠不可測,鞏固不可搖。」

今法會三歸一
開權顯一實法
人則回小向大
一乘圓教大法
深遠不可測
鞏固不可搖

大家要用心哦,《法華經》<法師品>,已經告一段落了,〈法師品〉完全就是,一直要大家深入,用心持,受持這部經。這部經的意義,就是顯示了圓融的教法,是我們人人要去用心體會,也顯出了這部經很深、很廣,包含很廣,而且這部經是五濁惡世,紛紛擾擾的時代,這個時代的良方,治世良方。因為它包含的道理開闊,但是要講這部經,不只是時間長、包含廣,又是呼籲我們要身體力行。妙法就是對治重重煩惱,眾生的心病,必須要妙法治,要有心,才有辦法法藥來對治,這就是要很用心去體會。所以,這個法會就是會三歸一,「今法會三歸一」。要用心看清楚、了解,這個法,會三──小乘、中乘、大乘合會成為一,「一」那就是開權顯實。

過去「阿含」,就是對應小教根機,初入門,就是要先讓他們知道人間事,要先讓初入門的人體會人間事,除了自然法則──生老病死是苦,在生老病死這段時間,還有愛別離苦、怨憎會苦,求不得苦、五陰熾盛苦,一共有八個苦,但是我們人人就是這樣,出生到老死,這些苦,愛別離、怨憎會、求不得,歸納在五陰熾盛,這些道理他們都不知道,每天都是這樣在過。是啊!我愛的人,要分開了。這種愛的人要分開,愛的東西要損失掉,這些事情對當事人就是苦啊,苦啊!光知道是苦,不知道愛別離這種原因,是如何來。「求不得」。人生的心態,總是只知道:我要的,所以我非得不可。這個我要,非得不可,這當中就要想盡辦法不擇手段,在這當中製造無明煩惱,造種種的業。這愛別離,以及這分求,想要求。

又是「怨憎會」。這個人,我愛的,求不到,離開了,我苦啊!但是與我在一起,什麼樣的因緣,當中就成怨、成仇、成恨,這怨恨情仇就是在這當中,這樣也是一樣造作,很多的無明煩惱。人與人的相處若能很簡單,大家在一起,因緣,惜緣相聚,這樣不是很好嗎?平常心,離開時祝福,這樣也是歡喜心。為什麼這當中有這麼多的苦,產生了愛恨情仇,這麼多來造作,彼此之間也很多的是非,這樣來衍生出去,這就是眾生無明。是我們的東西,該得的,要時時感恩。人生生活在世間,需要多少東西呢?三餐吃得飽,身體穿得暖,住的地方能遮風避雨,應該就很感恩了,還有什麼可再追求,求得這麼辛苦呢?

佛陀,皇宮享受也是在生活,一個人離開皇宮修行,走遍了恆河兩岸去訪道,去訪問、去學道,去了解道理,人與人之間,所產生出來的這個教育,到底這個教育的宗旨是什麼?對人生的得失究竟是什麼?佛陀在這段時間,十多年期間不斷尋尋覓覓。當然,有人就說六年,有的傳說是十一年。不論是六年或者是十一年,這時間還是一個人。成佛之後給大家的觀念,「一缽千家飯,孤僧萬里遊」,多麼的瀟灑,心無掛礙,無有一物掛礙,無有情愛掛礙,有的就是道,行在菩薩道上,入人群中,將佛陀的教法普遍,讓人人能了解,弘法利生,這樣也是在生活。世俗人事業,一項再一項,一個事業再一直拓展、拓展,再多都還不滿足,人生一輩子也是這樣勞碌過去。辛苦,但是這個辛苦到頭來,得到什麼呢?有啊,得到很多業力,牽引著他到未來,由不得自己的方向去,這就是人生。

我們現在就要很了解,佛陀已經將這個法,明確要讓大家知道,五濁惡世,這種求無止境的煩惱愈多,造業的人愈多,這個心態,愛恨情仇愈造愈深,煩惱思想愈來愈複雜,造成了人間一片濁氣,需要法如淨水來洗滌這種濁氣。就像乾旱時,風稍微吹一下,就沙塵暴,這樣滿天都是濛霧了,看不到很遠的地方,這就是缺水了。世間濁氣這麼重,就是缺法;人這麼多的煩惱,就是法未入心。佛陀將這個圓教,就是大乘一實法,真實的教法、圓融的教法,他希望我們能這樣,不斷將它流傳下去,持經、讀誦、抄寫、講說、行的供養等等,就是想要這部經能夠廣布流傳。他到了晚年時,將法會三歸一,佛陀一代時教,小乘、中乘、大乘,其實,他是對機說法,不是到法華會才完全說大乘法,不是,他是對機說法。但是到晚年來,他就完全將它歸納起來,分類歸納。

小教,那就是初入佛門的人,對佛法完全空白,對世間事,很多已經接受的苦難,不了解這個苦的道理從哪裡來,所以佛陀就第一步《阿含經》,來分析,讓大家了解苦的源頭,就是一念心,這種貪、瞋、癡、慢、懷疑,造作了這麼多苦。所以佛陀來分析一念心,這些心中很多煩惱的名詞,就在這裡一一對機,將它分析出來,就立名,所以很多法數中,法的數字、的名稱就很多。本來是很簡單的法,所以佛陀為了教育,所以對機,就這樣不斷設出了很多的名稱教條來教誡,這就是在「阿含」,不離開「四諦」法──苦、集、滅、道。苦、集、滅、道了解之後,佛陀對人人都是要從「因緣果報觀」,所以說了很多,佛經很多的故事,過去生的過去生,無量劫前,佛的本生、弟子的本生、佛與弟子的因緣等等。佛經中是很多,用過去來譬喻現在,這因緣等等。但是,這就是都歸納在,《阿含經》,阿含部之中。接下來就是,「方等」與「般若」,慢慢根機成熟了,光是在這「有」的法,恐怕眾生停滯在這個「有」,容易造成了迷,所以佛陀開始引入「空」法,所以中乘,「方等」。方等,就方便,開出了很多方便門,要引導大家要再進一步了解,了解「有」的一切,就是因緣會合,會合了因緣,將來就是要分開,也是沒了。

「無」,如何沒了呢?空掉了。進入了「般若」,智慧分明,了解會集、離散等等,用智慧去體會這個「空」的道理,這是入「般若」。但是「般若」,佛陀在這二十二年間的,「般若」來談,談了這個「般若」,卻是希望大家能了解。《般若經》就是要大家,全都體會人間世相終歸於空。但是完全都空掉了,佛陀也會擔心,眾生執著在這個「空」,空無所有,無所事事,不對,還是空、有會合,為一大乘法。一大乘法就是要普遍在人群中去體會,去了解。所以在〈法師品〉,好像每天都在說:「你要入人群去,去體會人群中這麼多的煩惱,要體會。」人群就像是一個洪爐,在歷練,歷練出了精純的器具出來,這就是我們要入人群去。「煩惱即菩提」,在烈火中鍛鍊過來,才是有精的東西,精純的東西。我們在人群看大家的煩惱無明,如何產生,難道需要這麼複雜嗎?難道需要這麼多的煩惱嗎?當局者迷,旁觀者清,這就是讓我們去體會了解。

所以「開權」,將空、有攤開來,顯出了一實,那就是大乘法,這個大乘法就是全都包含起來,這「一實乘」法。這對人來說,修行是聲聞人,或者是緣覺,或者是發大心的人,菩薩,反正來到這個地方,所有一切修學佛法的人,「人則回小向大」。沒有小中乘,究竟來,佛陀是要大家發大乘心,大家了解了,回小向大。向大,「一乘圓教大法」,這個一乘圓教大法,就是在現在,佛在靈鷲山,佛在靈鷲山所開顯出來的,《法華經》,它就是一乘圓教大法,在這個地方要完全歸納,過去的小、中乘,歸納起來為一大乘。這一大乘的法「深遠不可測」,很深、很遠,從凡夫對準了佛的境界,這條路還很長、很遠。多遠啊?那就要看我們人的心。我們的心煩惱若還很多,當然就很遠了。但是,我們若是煩惱去除了,當下即是,這是很深的道理,所以當下即是。既然是當下即是,卻是我們凡夫看來,佛道離我們很遠。這就是凡夫啊!

我們要修行,大家就是要承認我們是凡夫,但是凡夫若能很用心,其實當下即是。人人本具佛性,佛陀就說,「心、佛、眾生,三無差別」,佛的目標在哪裡?當下即是。因為我們與佛無差別,差別在哪裡呢?煩惱無明覆蓋,就是這樣而已。但是我們這個道理是知道,要我們放下、去除,很難啊!所以他說「深遠不可測」,什麼時候你才有辦法,將你這個煩惱無明,撥開、放下呢?只是差在這裡。所以,本來佛法是這麼堅固,需要我們「鞏固不可搖」,道心,只要你一念的道心起,「發心如初,成佛有餘」,即時就是能成佛。佛心在我們的心裡,佛在我們的心,「佛在靈山莫遠求,靈山只在汝心頭,人人有個靈山塔,好向靈山塔下修」。哪有多遠呢?就是這麼近,只是我們的道心沒有鞏固下來,因為我們常常在搖擺,我們的心起起落落,所以我們永遠進而退,進又退回來,這種進進退退,永遠都是在凡夫地踏步,永遠無法向前進。所以我們若能鞏固道心,什麼樣的無明、煩惱都不會動搖我們的心,這就是我們要學的。

這個深,真的幽深啊!「幽則玄妙」,它有很玄妙的道理,很深。

幽則玄妙
遠則無涯
此實相
諸佛安隱之鄉
無人能到
唯佛究竟
一大事因緣
今為眾開示

法確實是甚深甚深,真的是甚深,所以這個玄妙的法,對凡夫來說,是遠不可測,無涯,到底要說多遠?真的是無涯,這個法。常常說壽命有限,到底我們的壽命多長?我們不知道,但是開闊,我們的生命要讓它開闊嗎?那就看我們自己要多開闊,要多深,都能看我們自己。對法若有體會、有了解,法,深奧微妙,非常玄妙,它開闊,廣無邊際,遠、廣、無涯,法,任我們應用。假使我們反過來,就是無明、煩惱,凡夫要到佛的境界還是很遠,無法測量。

所以這是,「實相諸佛安隱之鄉」。我們若能心歸一,心包太虛,天地宇宙會而合一,這就是諸佛安穩之鄉。佛法的實相就是這樣,就是圓滿一乘大法,這就是「諸佛安隱之鄉」。「無人能到,唯佛究竟」。凡夫因為無明還很多,明明就很近,但是我們當中的沙塵暴,就是這樣讓我們看不到,那個真實安穩之鄉在哪裡。虛空法界,虛空,無不都是在法界中,我們凡夫就是無法去體會,所以無人能到達,唯有佛有辦法到。佛,人人本具佛性,只要我們回歸我們的真如本性,我們就是究竟,虛空法界回歸合為一體,這就是安穩之鄉。所以「一大事因緣,佛為眾開示」。

一大事因緣
今為眾開示
明決明瞭聲聞法
亦入菩薩道
為一大事
開示悟入佛之知見

就是為了這樣的因緣,佛陀來到人間,就是這樣向我們開示,一大事因緣,讓我們很明瞭,讓我們很清楚。明決,決定,讓我們明瞭決定這聲聞與緣覺,說你一定要入菩薩道,才是你的究竟法。

這是佛陀在靈山會,《法華經》裡,明瞭決定,「明決明瞭聲聞法」,亦是要入菩薩道來。這就是佛陀來人間的,一大事因緣,要來「開示」,眾生要「悟入」,要能覺悟、要能入,入這個境界來,這就是佛陀對我們最大的期待。所以「悟入佛之知見」。這是佛陀他最大的盼望,來人間的目的。所以「知見水無乾土」。

知見水無乾土
聞解修習
得近菩提正等大覺

我們若能知見佛的境界,這種法,理水,就是法水,永遠都是在我們的內心,就不會整片的心地都乾燥,一點點的無明來煽動我們一下,我們就這樣無明沙塵,沙塵惑,就這樣將我們整個心,這樣很濛霧,看不到前面應該走的路。

所以我們應該很用心,要「知見水無乾土」。知見的水,我們若能常常心中有法水在,這一片心地,就沒有這樣的塵沙惑,就沒有這些惑,沒有這些煩惱,要不然,心地乾燥,無明風一吹,這乾燥的心地就這樣,「蓬蓬颺」(塵沙瀰漫),無明啊!所以我們應該要,就是要能見到法水,法水永遠滋潤我們的慧命,慧命要成長,需要法水。所以「聞解修習,得近菩提正等大覺」。我們若能好好用心聽經的法,我們全都將它體會了解了,下定決心就是修行,要修,要複習。這人間,我們也要去實習。要當醫生,讀書之後就要去見習,去看醫生如何看病人,病人有多苦,就要去見習。見習之後,他畢業,決定真的要當醫生,就要去醫院當見習醫生,要去跟,去跟主治醫師巡病房,看醫生如何診斷病人,醫生就會向見習醫師分析,這個是什麼病,他有什麼樣的細菌,如何發病起來,就在那個地方見習。

經過了見習一段時間,他就當住院醫師,主治醫師的責任就慢慢委託他。住院醫師,他晚上、白天,這些患者有什麼樣的動靜,住院醫師開始,就要和病人接觸,要了解,要望、聞,去了解他,去看,去聽病人的細說,記錄下來,就給主治醫師。漸漸地,主治醫師教他,他就漸漸知道,緊急時要用什麼方法救,用什麼藥,就漸漸地能治療病人的病。

同樣的道理,我們學佛就是這樣,我們就要修習,我們在修行,就是要這樣一步一步,要修啊!首先自己修學,然後就要慢慢走入人群去,人群中充滿了苦難的眾生,煩惱、無明,就如心病,就如病人一樣在呻吟,很多煩惱無明的聲音,是對的,是不對的,他們在那裡在掙扎、在呻吟,哀叫。

到底這是什麼病?我們就要很用心。我們就如當住院醫師,我們決定在這人群中去體會、去聽這麼多複雜,聽起來好像是,其實是不對,似是而非,這麼多的無明,難解的法,所以很多的雜症都在人群中。所以我們要修,要修行,我們才說要大慈悲,要不斷不斷累積慈悲心,要如何擴大我們的心,心宅。心宅就是包含在三界,三界如火宅,我們的心是要在火宅中呢?或者是要入如來那個安穩,如來的境界去呢?這就是要看我們的心。所以我們要很用心去體會,我們若要入如來鄉,就是安然自在,那就是擴大我們的心宅,天地宇宙,心包太虛,天地宇宙空間合而為一,這就是如來的心地,也是如來鄉,如來安穩之鄉。

這就是實法,我們就要用心去體悟,去修習,去了解,這樣我們堅定的道心,慢慢一直親近到菩提正覺,正等正覺,那就是阿耨多羅三藐三菩提。是啊!修行如選擇醫學院一樣,醫學院的醫學生就是從不知道而慢慢體會,體會人間病痛的疾苦。我們修行也是這樣,樣樣都不知,儘管在苦難中,但是不知道道理是什麼,就是在苦難中不斷地掙扎,就如病人,苦,病就是亂投醫,就是這樣在不斷製造,這個病因不斷製造病症,又愈來愈重,自己全都不知,光是在那裡呻吟,這就是我們眾生的病,就是這樣起來的。所以需要,需要適應世間,要設很多方法,如何來幫助。所以,本來就很簡單,就要設很多很多的名詞,來解開眾生的苦難,就像慈濟,為了適應現在眾生的苦,我們就有慈善。慈善從初步開始,一直到現在,在國際間,多少的苦難人,我們愈看愈遠,苦難人愈來愈多,有大自然的不調和,所受的災難,苦啊!有的帶業而來,生在苦難處,正報、依報,一生中的苦,這種苦難的眾生愈看愈多。

再看,人間心理無明,所造作這麼多的禍端,多少血淋淋、慘不忍睹,人間所造的災禍。從慈善的角度,廣面,天下之間看到這麼多苦難人,人道精神不得不建立起來,所以要救濟。這就是慈善,也是要解開眾生的苦。但是佛法,「苦既拔已,復為說法」,所以我們需要用佛法的精神,鋪菩薩的道路,讓大家有辦法走,去接近苦難人。不是一次救濟他,是要長期關心他,從最苦的時候,讓他解開苦難,最急的時候,然後讓他有一個安定的地方,讓他有穩定的生活,又再要讓他了解,他也能去幫助人的方法。所以「苦既拔已,復為說法」,這就是佛陀來人間開示的方法。

這樣夠嗎?現實的病痛真的是苦啊!因病而貧啊!因為一病下去無法工作,所以一家庭拖累下去就貧了。而有的人本來就是貧,小小的病無法處理,無法看病,就忍著,一直拖,拖到重病。所以這樣,我們成立了義診。義診是從什麼時候開始呢?慈善之後的第六年,(一九七二年九月十日),就是在仁愛街成立了義診所。

就是因為義診,才又發現了花蓮醫療的欠缺。東部一帶都欠缺,因為這樣,發一念心,所以在東部蓋醫院。很辛苦,一直到一九八六年,花蓮慈濟醫院成立了,蓋起來了。從(一九)七二年義診,(一九)八六年這個時間,十幾年的時間,這段時間為了蓋醫院,是多辛苦啊!是為了什麼呢?為了發現,發現到人生苦難。

這念心,這是法,法啟動了這念心,這念心就是去掘井。因為眾生人人就是缺這些法,缺這些道理,掘井,希望這掘井的人,將這口井掘起來。但是要掘井的過程,就需要很多人,很多人點點滴滴的力量,來會合起來。這是過程很辛苦,不是只要造一口池,一口池,要點點滴滴的水進來,但是這個點滴的水若沒有進來,這口池就會乾了,不如來掘井。說來話長,總而言之,慈濟就是這樣開始。

世間的苦難,慈善、醫療、教育、人文,為了醫療,所以我們要教育;為了教育,所以需要人文,不斷地延伸出來四大志業。也是因為佛陀他來人間,一大事因緣的開示,讓我們能體會人間的苦難,讓我們了解修習佛法要接近人群,去解開人群的苦難,所以我們開這一條,在人群中的菩薩道。很多說不完的法,就這樣開始。在這個五濁惡世,佛陀所關心,這個法要永遠住世人間,所以〈法師品〉這樣一直延續下來。

若親近法師
速得菩薩道
隨順是師學
得見恆沙佛
《法華經法師品第十》

所以「若親近法師,速得菩薩道。隨順是師學,得見恆沙佛」。能這樣身體力行去走,我們就能發現到,人人無不都是菩薩,在菩薩道中走,回歸到如來本性,我相信這是我們用心的過程,目標就是佛的境界。所以我們要時時多用心。


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Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: Opening up the Provisional to Reveal the True (會三歸一 開權顯實)
Date: Junary.02.2018

“Now this teaching merges the Three to return to the One. It opens up the provisional to reveal the One Dharma. Thus people turn from the Small to the Great. The perfect teaching of the Great Dharma of One Vehicle is so profound and distant it cannot be fathomed, so firm that it can never be shaken.”

Everyone, we must be mindful! The Lotus Sutra’s Chapter on Dharma Teachers is about to come to an end. The Chapter on Dharma Teachers is all about getting everyone to delve deeply into and mindfully accept and uphold this sutra. The meaning of this sutra is to reveal the perfect and harmonious teachings. We must all put our hearts into experiencing this and also demonstrates the depth and breadth of this sutra; it encompasses so much.

Furthermore, in this evil world of the Five Turbidities, in these chaotic times, this sutra is the wondrous medicine to treat the world in the present age. This is because it contains principles that are broad and expansive. But when it comes to teaching this sutra, it not only covers a long time and a wide breath, it also calls upon us to put it into practice.

This wondrous Dharma is for treating all kinds of afflictions; sentient beings’ mental ailments need to be treated with the wondrous Dharma. We must have the will; only then can we be treated by the Dharma-medicine. This is what we must seek to mindfully experience. So, this Dharma merges the Three Vehicles to return to the One. “Now this teaching merges the Three to return to the One.” We must put our hearts into seeing clearly and understanding. This Dharma merges the Three; the Small Vehicle, the Middle Vehicle and the Great Vehicle merge together to become the One.

“The One” opens up the provisional to reveal the true. In the past, the Agama teachings were given to suit [those with] limited capacities. When people enter the door, the Buddha had to first help them to understand worldly matters. He helped those who had just entered the door to comprehend worldly matters first.

In addition to the laws of nature causing the suffering of birth, aging, illness and death, over the course of life we will also experience the suffering of parting from loved ones, meeting those we hate, not getting what we want and the raging Five Aggregates. There are eight kinds of sufferings in total. But every one of us are like this; from birth until death, these sufferings of parting from loved ones, meeting those we hate and not getting what we want all come back to the raging Five Aggregates. But we do not understand these principles; we just live every day like this. Indeed! We have to part from the people we love. The people we love will part from us. The things we love will be lost. When these things happen, we suffer!

We merely recognize that this is suffering; we do not know understand how the origins of this suffering of parting from loved one come about. [There is also] “not getting what we want.” With mindset we have in life, all we know is “I want this; I must have it!” When we think, “I want it, so I must have it,” we try to get it, by any means necessary. In the process, we create ignorance and afflictions; we create all kinds of karma. This parting from loved ones and the desires for what we want [cause suffering]. There is also “meeting those we hate.” “I love this person, but I cannot be with them; we have to part. Now I am suffering! Yet with the people who are with me, some kinds of causes and conditions lead to resentment, animosity and hate.”

With these afflictive emotions in the relationship we likewise create many afflictions and much ignorance. If we can interact with everyone simply, and if everyone can cherish the affinities we have for us to be together, wouldn’t that be great? With an even mind, upon parting, we can wish one another well; this leaves us with a joyful heart. Why would there need to be so much suffering between people, giving rise to afflictive emotions? This leads to the creation of karma and many conflicts emerge between people and then develop further. This comes from the ignorance of sentient beings.

For things that are ours, we should be constantly grateful. Living in this world, how many things do we need? If we can have three filling meals a day, have warm clothing to wear and have a place to stay that protects us from the wind and rain, we should already be very grateful. What else is there to pursue, to go to so much difficulty to obtain? For the Buddha, enjoying the pleasures of the palace was also the way He lived. He left on His own to engage in spiritual practice and traveled along both banks of the Ganges to search for teachings. He visited people to learn teachings and understand the principles, the teachings about what is created through people interacting with each other. What was the main guidance of these teachings? What did they say about the ultimate nature of life’s gains and losses? During this time, the Buddha spent more than ten years continuously seeking.

Of course, some say it was six years, others as it was 11 years. Whether it was six or 11 years, He was alone during this time. After attaining Buddhahood, the concept He shared with everyone was that “1000 households can provide rice for your bowl. The lone monastic can roam over 10,000 miles.” How confident and at ease they were! Their minds were without hindrances. Their minds were not hindered by any object, not hindered by passions or cravings. What they had was the path; they walk on the Bodhisattva-path. They go among people to windily spread the Buddha’s teachings so everyone could understand; to spread the Dharma and benefit sentient beings. This is also a way to live. Ordinary people’s businesses [expand] step by step; they constantly expand their businesses. No matter how much they have, it is not enough.

They spend their whole life toiling away. They work hard, but does all this hard work get them anything in the end? It does! They end up with many karmic forces that pull them into the future, in a direction that they have no control over. This is how life works. We must deeply understand this now. The Buddha already taught this Dharma for everyone to know clearly.

In this evil world of the Five Turbidities, the afflictions that come from endless desires continue to grow in number, and the people who create karma grow in number. These states of mind, our afflictive emotions, grow more severe, and our afflicted thoughts become more complicated. This creates turbidity in the world. We need the Dharma as pure water to wash away this turbidity. This is just like how during a drought, a light breeze stirring can result in a sandstorm. This covers the sky in a haze, such that one cannot see faraway places. This is due to a lack of water.

The turbidity of the world is so severe because it lacks the Dharma. People have so many afflictions because they have yet to take the Dharma to heart. The Buddha gave us this perfect teachings, the One True Dharma of the Great Vehicle, a true teaching, a perfect and harmonious teachings. He hoped that we can continuously pass it on, uphold the sutra, read and recite it, transcribe and expound it, make offerings of conduct and so on so that this sutra can be disseminated widely. In His later years, He merged the Three Vehicles to return to the One. The teachings the Buddha gave over His lifetime are the Small, Middle and Great Vehicle Dharma.

Actually, He taught according to capabilities. He did not wait until the Lotus Dharma-assembly and then fully teach the Great Vehicle Dharma. That was not what He did; He taught according to capabilities. But when He reached old age, He gathered all the teachings and categorized them. Small [Vehicle] teachings are for those who had just entered the Buddha’s door and knew nothing at all about the Buddha-Dharma. As for worldly matters, many of them had already experienced suffering, but they did not understand the principles underlying the origin of suffering.

So, the Buddha taught the Agama sutras as the first step. He analyzed things to help everyone understand that the source of suffering is the mind. Greed, anger, ignorance, arrogance and doubt bring about much suffering. So, the Buddha analyzed the mind for them. With all the many afflictions of the mind, He addressed each of them, analyzed them and gave them names. So, there are many numerical terms in the Dharma, so many different numbers and terms. Originally, the teachings are very simple. The Buddha, in order to teach people, adapted to people’s capabilities and in this way, continuously established numerous terms and rules to teach and admonish us. This was in the Agama teachings, which were inseparable from the Four Noble Truths, suffering, causation, cessation and the Path. After they understood the Four Noble Truths, the Buddha taught everyone this comes from the karmic law of cause and effect. So, He taught in many ways; the sutras contain many stories from His numerous past lives, from countless kalpas ago; Whether His previous lives, His disciples’ previous lives or the affinities between them and so on, the Buddhist sutras have many examples of this. He used the past as an analogy for the present, used those causes and conditions and so on.

However, these are all collected within the Agama sutras, the Agama teachings. Following that were the Vaipulya and Prajna teachings. People’s capabilities had gradually matured. People’s capabilities had gradually matured. If they only had the Dharma of “existence” alone, He feared that sentient beings would get stuck at these teachings of “existence” and easily give rise to delusion.

Therefore, the Buddha started guiding them to enter the Dharma of “emptiness”. The Middle Vehicle is the Vaipulya teachings. The Vaipulya teachings are skillful means. He opened many doors of skillful means to guide everyone to further understand that all things that have “existence” arise from the convergence of causes and conditions. Since causes and conditions converge, eventually they will separate, and these things will be no more.

How do these things cease to exist? That is emptiness. By entering the Prajna teachings, our wisdom becomes clear. We understand how things come together, how they disperse and so on. We apply our wisdom to experience these principles of emptiness. This is entering the Prajna teachings. During the Prajna period, the Buddha spent 22 years discussing the Prajna teachings. He explained the Prajna teachings in hopes that everyone would be able to understand.

The Prajnaparamita sutras help everyone realize that the appearances of the world all ultimately return to emptiness. But [in talking about] how everything was empty, the Buddha was also worried that sentient beings would become attached to the idea of "emptiness”. Feeling like nothing exists anyway, they might idle their time away; this is wrong. So, He brought emptiness and existence together in the One Dharma of the Great Vehicle. The One Dharma of the Great Vehicle was what He wanted everyone universally to experience and understand.

So, in the Chapter on Dharma Teachers, it seems like very day I am saying, “You must go among people to experience these numerous afflictions. You must experience them.” Going among people is like entering a big furnace to be tempered, to be forged into pure, refined utensils. This is why we must go among people. “Afflictions are Bodhi.” Only after something is forged in a raging fire can it become pure and refined. When we are among people, we see how everyone’s ignorance and afflictions come about. Do things need be this complicated? Does there need to be so many afflictions? Participants are deluded, whereas bystanders see clearly. This allows us to experience and understand. So, He “opened the provisional.” He opened up teachings of emptiness and existence to reveal the One True Dharma, which is the Great Vehicle Dharma. The Great Vehicle Dharma encompasses everything. It is the One Dharma.

In terms of the people, these spiritual practitioners can be Hearers, or Solitary Realizers, or people who have formed great aspirations, the Bodhisattvas. In any case, all who learn and practice the Dharma and reach this place will “turns from the Small to the Great.” This is no Small or Middle Vehicle.

Ultimately, the Buddha wants everybody to form Great Vehicle aspirations. After everyone understands, they will turn from the Small to the Great, towards ”the perfect teaching of the Great Dharma of One Vehicle.” The perfect teaching of the Great Dharma of One Vehicle is what the Buddha was now opening and revealing on Vulture Peak, the Lotus Sutra. It is the perfect teaching of the Great Dharma of the One Vehicle. Here, He collected everything together; the Small and Middle Vehicle taught in the past were brought together in the One Vehicle. The Great Dharma of the One Vehicle is so “profound and distant it cannot be fathomed. It is very profound, very distant. For unenlightened beings aimed toward the state of Buddhahood, the road ahead is long and they have for to go. How much farther? That depends on our minds. If we still have many affliction in our minds, then of course we still have very far to go.

However, if we eliminate our afflictions, it is right here in this moment. This is a very profound principle. So, it is right here in this present moment. Even if it is here in this moment, to unenlightened beings like us, the path to Buddhahood seems very distant from us. This is because we are unenlightened beings. We must engage in spiritual practice. We all must admit that we are unenlightened beings. But if unenlightened beings can put their hearts into this, it is actually right here in this moment. Everyone intrinsically has Buddha-nature. The Buddha said, “The mind, the Buddha and sentient beings are no different [in their nature]”. Where is the Buddha’s goal? It is right here at this present moment, since we are no different [in nature] from the Buddha. So what is the difference? We are covered by afflictions and ignorance. That is the only difference.

But even though we know this principle, letting go of and eliminating [afflictions] is very difficult! So, He said this is “so profound and distant it cannot be fathomed.” When are we going to be able to brush our ignorance and afflictions aside and let them go? This is where the only difference lies. The Buddha-Dharma is fundamentally very firm. It requires us to be “so firm that [we] cannot be shaken.” Once we give rise to a spiritual aspirations, “If we sustain our original aspiration, we will surely attain Buddhahood.” We can immediately attain Buddhahood. The Buddha-mind is in our mind; the Buddha is in our own heart. “There is no need to go far to seek the Buddha. Vulture Peak is already in our minds. We each have a stupa on this Vulture Peak. We can practice at the foot of that stupa.” It is not far at all! It is this close. It is just that our spiritual aspirations are not firm yet. Because we are constantly wavering and our minds are fluctuating, we are always advancing and then retreating, taking one step forward, then one step back. Going forward and backward in this way means we will forever be marching in place in our unenlightened state, forever unable to actually advance.

If we can firm up our spiritual aspirations, then no ignorance or affliction can sway our minds then no ignorance or affliction can sway our minds. This is what we must learn to do. This is profound, very deep. “It is so profound that is wondrous.” It has wondrous principles and is very profound.

It is so profound that is wondrous, so distant that is boundless. This ultimate truth is the safe and stable land of all Buddhas. No one can reach it except Buddhas in the ultimate state.

The Dharma truly is extremely profound. It truly is extremely profound. For unenlightened beings, this wondrous Dharma is so distant that it cannot be fathomed; it is boundless. How distant and far-reaching is it? It is truly boundless. We often say that our lifespan is limited. How long will it extend anyway? We do not know, but we can open it up. Do we want to open up our lives? That will depend on how much we have opened up our [minds]. How deep we want to go also depends on us. If we have experienced the Dharma and can understand it, the Dharma is profound, subtle and wondrous. It is very wondrous. It is so open and vast that it is boundless. It is distant, vast and boundless. We can apply the Dharma any way we like. If we were to go in the opposite direction, we would give rise to ignorance and affliction. For unenlightened beings to reach the state of Buddhahood, the road is still very far and cannot be measured. So, “The ultimate truth is the safe and stable land of all Buddhas.” If our minds can return to oneness, with our hearts encompassing the universe, becoming one with heaven and earth, then this is the safe and stable land of all Buddhas. The ultimate truth of the Buddha-Dharma is the perfect One Vehicle Dharma. It is “the safe and stable home of all Buddhas. No one can reach it except Buddhas in the ultimate state.” Unenlightened beings still have much ignorance. Clearly, they are very close.

However, the dust storm within them prevents them from seeing where that true, safe and stable land is. Everywhere in this universe is part of the Dharma-realm. It is because we unenlightened beings are able to comprehend this that we are unable to reach it; only a Buddha is able to reach it. Everyone intrinsically has Buddha-nature. Once we return to our nature of True Suchness, we have reached the ultimate state and become one with the Dharma-realm, the universe. This is the safe and stable land. So, as His “one great cause, the Buddha opened and revealed this for sentient beings.”

The one great cause is opened and revealed now for the assembly to ultimately clarify the teachings for Hearers and also enter the Bodhisattva-path. For the sake of the one great cause, the Buddha opened and revealed His understanding and views so we can realize and enter them.

It was because of these causes and conditions that the Buddha came to the world and opened and revealed [the Dharma] to us. His one great cause was to help us understand and be very clear. He definitively clarified it so we could ultimately understand [the teachings for] Hearers and Solitary Realizers. He told us we must enter the Bodhisattva-path, for that is the ultimate Dharma. This was what the Buddha, at the Vulture Peak Assembly and in the Lotus Sutra, ultimately clarified for us. It was “to ultimately clarify the teachings for Hearers and to enter the Bodhisattva-path.”

The Buddha came to this world for this one great cause. He came to “open and reveal, so sentient beings must realize and enter.” We must awaken to and enter this state. This is the Buddha’s greatest hope for us. So, for us to “realize and enter the Buddha’s understanding and views” is the Buddha’s greatest hope, the goal for which He came to this world. So, “Where there is the water of understanding and views, there is no dry earth.”

Where there is the water of understanding and views, there is no dry earth. By listening, understanding, practicing and learning, we can draw near the great, perfect and universal enlightenment of Bodhi.

If we have the understanding and views of the state of Buddhahood, then those teachings, those principles, the Dharma-water, will be forever within our hearts. The ground of our minds will not be so completely dry that when we are agitated by the slightest ignorance, a dust storm of ignorance and dust-like delusions will arise and cause our minds to be so hazy that we cannot see the path we must walk. So, we must be mindful. “Where there is the water of understanding and views, there is no dry earth.” As for the water of understanding and views, if we constantly have this Dharma-water in our hearts, then the ground of our minds will be free of dust-like delusions. We will be free of these delusions and afflictions.

Otherwise, if the ground of our minds is dry, when the wind of ignorance blows, [the dust of] the dry field of our minds will “fly all over.” That is ignorance! So, we must [have] the Dharma-water. The Dharma-water can continuously nourish our wisdom-life. For our wisdom-life to grow, we need the Dharma-water. So, “By listening, understanding, practicing and learning, we can draw near the great, perfect and universal enlightenment of Bodhi.” If we earnestly and mindfully listen to the teachings of the Dharma, then we can experience and understand all of it. Then we make the resolve to engage in spiritual practice. We must practice and review what we learned. We must also implement this in the world. For a person to become a doctor, after their academic studies, they would have to go through [clerkship]. To observe the way doctors treat their patients and the way patients suffer, they have to go through [clerkship]. After [clerkship], they graduate and if they really decide they want to become a doctor, they will have to do an internship at a hospital. They will follow the attending doctor on their rounds through the wards and watch the doctor diagnose patients. The attending doctor will analyze for the interns what illness this is, what kind of bacteria he has, and how the illness started. They are there learning as interns. After being interns for some time, they become resident doctors.

The attending physicians gradually give some of their responsibilities to them. The resident doctors spend night and day [observing] the situation of their patients. As residents, they spent time with their patients. They have to understand [their patients]; they have to watch, listen and understand them, must observe and listen to the patients describing [their situation] in detail and record all of this to give to the attending doctor. Gradually, the attending doctor trains them, and gradually, the residents will know how to save someone in an emergency, what medicine to use. Gradually, they can treat patients’ illnesses. This is the same principle.

As Buddhist practitioners, we must do the same. We must learn and practice. As we engage in spiritual practice, we take one step after another in this way. We must practice! First, we learn it ourselves. Then, we gradually go among people. Among the people, there are many who are suffering. Afflictions and ignorance are like illnesses of the mind. They cause people to groan in pain like patients; we hear many cries of afflictions and ignorance. “Is this right or wrong?” They are struggling there, groaning and wailing. What kind of illness is this, anyway? [To find out,] we must be mindful. We are just like resident doctors. We have decided to go among people to experience and listen to the complications [of life]. What might sound right is actually wrong. What seems right is actually wrong. There is so much ignorance, so many phenomena that are hard to understand.

There are so many kinds of ailments among people. So, we must engage in spiritual practice. Thus, we say we need to heave great compassion, to unceasingly accumulate compassion and expand our hearts, our spiritual home. Our spiritual home encompasses the Three Realms. The Three Realms are like a burning house. Do we want our minds to be in the burning house? Or do we want to enter the safe and stable state of the Tathagata? This depends on our minds. So, we must mindfully seek to comprehend this. If we enter the Tathagata’s home, then we will be peaceful and at ease. This is to expand our spiritual home so our hearts encompass the universe. We become one with everything in heaven and earth. This is the ground of the Tathagata’s mind; this is His safe and stable land. This is the True Dharma. We must mindfully experience and realize it, must practice and understand it. Then, our firm resolve will slowly bring us nearer to the prefect enlightenment of Bodhi.

This universal and perfect enlightenment is Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi. Indeed! Engaging in spiritual practice is like going to medical school. Medical students go from not knowing to gradually comprehending the suffering of the illnesses in the world. It is the same with our spiritual practice. We [begin from] not knowing anything at all. Though we are surrounded by suffering, we do not recognize its principles, so we continuously struggle in difficulty.

Like patients, we suffer. If patients haphazardly take medicine, they endlessly replicate [their suffering]. The causes of their illnesses constantly produce symptoms, causing their illness to grow more and more severe. They are completely unaware of this; they just sit there, groaning. This is how the illnesses of sentient beings come about. So, to adapt and respond to the world, [the Buddha] used many methods to help others. Originally, [the Dharma] was very simple, but He had to use many different terms to help relieve the suffering of sentient beings. This is like what Tzu Chi does. To adapt and respond to the suffering of sentient beings today, we have the mission of charity. We have been doing charity from the very beginning all the way until today.

There are so many suffering people around the world. The farther and farther we look, the more and more suffering people we see. For some, due to the imbalances in nature, they suffer from natural disasters. Some people come carrying their karma to be born into a place of suffering. With their direct and circumstantial retributions, they experience a lifetime of suffering. We see more and more suffering beings like them.

Furthermore, the ignorance in people’s minds lead them to create so many disasters, so many bloody and unbearable man-made calamities. From the perspective of charity, on a broader scale, there are so many suffering people in the world. We have to establish a spirit of humanitarianism. So, we provide relief. This is the charity mission; it relieves the suffering of sentient beings.

But the Buddha-Dharma [tells us], “Having relieved them from suffering, [Bodhisattvas] then expound the Dharma for them.” So, we must exercise the spirit of the Buddha’s teachings and pave the Bodhisattva-path so that everyone can walk it. When we approach suffering people, we are not just helping them once, but caring for them in the long term. When their suffering is at its worst, we help them free themselves from hardship in that time of great urgency. Then, we provide them with a place to settle down and help them live a stable life.

Next, we help them understand the ways they can also help others. Thus, “Having relieved them from suffering, “[Bodhisattvas] then expound the Dharma for them.” These were the methods the Buddha opened and revealed when He came to the world. Is this enough? Physical illness is truly painful. People fall ill and become impoverished. Because they fall ill, they cannot work, and this can drag an entire family into poverty. Some people were poor to begin with, so they cannot go to the doctor to treat a minor illness. They endure it and drag it on until the illness becomes severe. For this reason, we established a free clinic. When did the free clinic start? Six years after we began the mission of charity. We established the free clinic on Ren’ai Street. Because we were running this free clinic, we discovered the lack of medical care in Hualien. There was a shortage all along the east coast. Because of this, formed aspirations and built a hospital on the east coast.

It was very hard; it took until 1986 for Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital to be completed. From the free clinic in 1972 to 1986, in those ten-plus years, we put in so such effort to build the hospital. Why did we do all that? Because we discovered people were suffering. This aspiration [came from] the Dharma. The Dharma inspired our aspirations. This aspiration was to dig a well. Sentient beings lacked these teachings, lacked these principles. So, in digging a well, we hoped the well-diggers could dig this kind of well. But the process of digging a well requires many people pooling their strength together, bit by bit. This process is very arduous.

We cannot simply build a pond. To build a pond, we need water to flow in drop by drop. But if these drops of water stop coming in, then the pond will dry up. It is better to dig a well. To keep long story short, this was how Tzu Chi began. Because of the suffering in the world, [we have the missions of] charity, medicine, education and humanistic culture. To provide medicine, we needed education. For education’s sake, we needed humanistic culture. [From charity,] we continuously expanded until reaching Tzu Chi’s Four Missions. This is also because the Buddha came to this world for one great cause, to open and reveal [His views]. He helped us comprehend the world’s suffering and helped us to understand that to learn and practice the Buddha-Dharma, we must draw near people and relieve their suffering. So, we have opened up this Bodhisattva-path for going among people. So much Dharma that we could never finish teaching all started from this. In this evil world of the Five Turbidities, what the Buddha cares about is that the Dharma will always abide in the world.

So, with the Chapter on Dharma Teachers, [teaches us] to continue to pass it down. “People who draw near the Dharma teachers will quickly attain the Bodhisattva-path. People who follow these teachers and learn will be able to see Buddhas as numerous as the Ganges’ sands.”

If we are able to put the teachings into practice, we will discover that everybody is a Bodhisattva. By walking the Bodhisattva-path, we return to our intrinsic Tathagata-nature. I believe that this is the process we must put our hearts into, with the goal of attaining Buddhahood. So, we must always be mindful.

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