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 20180116《靜思妙蓮華》古今佛會 眾望解疑 (第1263集) (法華經•見寶塔品第十一)

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發表主題: 20180116《靜思妙蓮華》古今佛會 眾望解疑 (第1263集) (法華經•見寶塔品第十一)   周二 1月 16, 2018 10:15 am

20180116《靜思妙蓮華》古今佛會 眾望解疑 (第1263集) (法華經•見寶塔品第十一)

⊙「古今佛合會,眾所讚稀有,衷心敬恭瞻仰望聞開示;大樂說菩薩,不禁發言問,欲得速解疑,求願除障礙。」
⊙開示:開佛知見,示佛知見,使悟佛知見,入佛知見,是顯佛出世之本懷。故開示悟入,乃是佛出世之本懷。
⊙「爾時、四眾見大寶塔住在空中,又聞塔中所出音聲,皆得法喜,怪未曾有,從座而起,恭敬合掌,卻住一面。」《法華經見寶塔品第十一》
⊙「爾時、有菩薩摩訶薩名大樂說,知一切世間天、人、阿修羅等心之所疑」《法華經見寶塔品第十一》
⊙爾時、有菩薩摩訶薩名大樂說:眾中上首大菩薩。智慧深故,善說諸法,名大樂說。
⊙又大樂說菩薩,與藥王同類,是契大乘法,傳持弘經化世之方軌。非有功於斯文者,不足以論菩薩行因。此品會合十方諸佛而付囑,非具無礙之辯者,不足以請問。
⊙知一切世間天、人、阿修羅等心之所疑:眾見寶塔,不知何謂,怪未曾見。所以心疑。菩薩知已,故為請問。

【證嚴上人開示】
「古今佛合會,眾所讚稀有,衷心敬恭瞻仰望聞開示;大樂說菩薩,不禁發言問,欲得速解疑,求願除障礙。」

古今佛合會
眾所讚稀有
衷心敬恭瞻仰
望聞開示
大樂說菩薩
不禁發言問
欲得速解疑
求願除障礙

「古今佛合會」。大家所讚歎、所稀有,古佛,那就是多寶佛,多寶佛,那是無量劫以前已成佛,是他方世界的佛。現在在釋迦佛於娑婆世界,講說《法華經》,這多寶佛從地湧出寶塔,古佛、今佛這樣會合在一起,大家佷驚奇,也佷歡喜!讚歎未曾有,從來不曾有過這樣的景象。這次為什麼,釋迦牟尼佛講說《法華經》,在<法師品>讚歎持經法的人,講完之後,寶塔現前?這是多麼稀奇的事。所以,在場人人就是所讚稀奇。我們昨天也說過了,這是佛陀的智慧,從<序品>而<方便品>,<序品>的發光現瑞,<方便品>佛陀讚歎佛智甚深微妙,舍利弗開始當機請法,佛陀開始「止、止,不須復說」,因為這部經的對機,必定要很成熟,很啟發大乘心的意,而且要有甚深的信根,因為法甚深甚深,無量甚深的大法,信根當然一定要很深,很深的信根,信根堅固,願意接受,能夠啟發這念大乘的意,能夠契佛心,這樣的人能接受,才不會起疑生毀謗。毀謗這部經,就是誹謗佛的全身,因為這部經所在之處,就是佛全身所在,這是在<法師品>裡面,已經明確顯示出來了。


所以在<方便品>,佛陀一直開導大家,這部經要對機,因人、因時、因地。要能對機啟發是很不容易,所以舍利弗在那地方,一而再,再而三請法,所以等到佛陀開始答應要說,五千人退席了。佛陀說:「退亦佳矣。」既然不對機,不要聽,這樣退了也好,現在留下來的這些人,就是深生信根之人,就是可造之才,聽了之後,一定會啟發大乘心。就開始答應說這部經,安心能說,開始譬喻。

<譬喻品>、<信解品>,慢慢引導弟子能了解,能知道,過去小乘法,所聽的教法,雖然佛陀的接引,卻是還不是很究竟,雖然有生起了信心,也了解了四諦法,因緣果報等等,雖然了解,大家決心去除煩惱,不敢再造業了。所以,大家就是自修,想,不要再攀緣。這個心念,大家已經堅固、堅守了,方向是正確,但是,佛陀再進一步誘引,要發大乘心了。

開始談空說有,現在就是要將它會合回來,必定要自覺覺他、自利利他。自己知道道理之後,了解諸惡莫作,眾善奉行,這些道理都了解了,要發大心,要入人群,人群,要教導眾生。眾生生命是平等,人人本具佛性,這是這部經很重要。但是入人群教化眾生,那就要六度萬行了,修福要再修慧,在人群中,不受人群所污染,潔身自愛,還要在煩惱群中修福,還要在苦難人中修智慧,這談何容易,這就是要大修行。大修行,才能夠不受人群污染,才能繼續我們利益眾生志業,這要六度萬行啊!

《法華經》就是這樣,引導我們能了解,不只是人要互相尊重、愛,還需要人對動物,要愛護動物,因為動物、人物,共同都名稱為眾生。眾生,人人具有佛性,所以要平等。

就像在韓國,古時代,一位王子(金喬覺),他修行,發大心、立大願要求法,要到中國去求法,坐著一艘小船,從韓國沿著海岸來到中國,到安徽省,這艘船觸到礁,所以,船不能動了,只好棄船,沿著山路走,到九華山。在那裡找一個地方,開始在那裡修行。那座山,他很歡喜,環境很安靜,就這樣修行了。有一些詩人愛爬山,要去找靈感,吟詩作對,發現了這位修行人,開始互相談話,彼此了解了,知道這是位來自韓國,是貴族名門的人,就是用心來中國要求佛法,船觸礁了,行不通了,這樣留在這地方。

大家知道,到底他了解的佛法,他們大家要聽,一方面在那裡靜修,一方面有這群人常常都來請教。就這樣,人們知道了,山主知道了,就來探望這位修行者,心生歡喜。山主父子也仰慕佛法,也來親近,看到很多詩人也常常會來,他們發心想要捐一片土地,捐出來讓這位修行者,建一個道場,就向修行者說:「你要多大的土地,你儘管提出,這一大片的山,土地都是我的,你提出要多大。」修行者就說:「不用多大,只要這件袈裟的影子的大,就好了。」「哪夠啊!」山主的回答。他說:「只要我這件袈裟,遮住的太陽陰影遮下來,那塊地的面積,這樣我就夠了。」所以就隨他的意,一件袈裟向空拋出了,在天空,袈裟整件展開了,一片的雲將太陽遮起來,整個山頭,全都在那片雲遮日的下面。這位山主,歡喜了,感動了,「這是不可思議啊!很稀奇。我願意,這座山全都送你,讓你去建築道場。」

所以,九華山,從此成為這位修行者的道場了,開始是簡單這樣建起來,欣慕佛法的人很多,就慕名而來了。除了在附近的人家、山城或者是村莊,人人來聽法,即使是韓國的僧眾,或者是一般好樂佛法的人,聽到他們的王子,已經來到大陸安徽省,已經有這麼多人仰慕,來求法、聞法,所以韓國的僧人,甚至好樂佛法的人,也這樣慕名而來了。一時之間,要來修行的人多了,出家的人也多了,但是在那個地方,人口多,糧食缺,所以有一段時間,《高僧傳》裡面就有這麼說:「南方枯槁眾生。(原文:南方號為枯槁眾)」就是大家甘願在這裡修行,甘願在這裡欠缺糧食,吃不飽,但是他們就是以道為糧,求道的心很堅定,甘願吃不飽,但是法補充他們的慧命。也有一度,他要將他們遣散,說:「你們回去,要不然這裡不夠糧食。」儘管大家有來供養,還是人太多,不夠糧食。他們就是仍堅定心志,要在那裡修行。

所以,這是九華山,開始有出家修行,這個道場就是僧眾很多,修行者很虔誠。這位修行者白天要為大眾說法,經了解,以地藏菩薩傳來說,就說晚上就是入地獄去度眾生。不論如何,總是九華山的傳說,地藏菩薩的道場,總是在這個地方開始。地藏菩薩,「地獄未空,誓不成佛」,所以這是地藏菩薩的大願。《地藏經》中,佛陀將這些眾生付託給地藏菩薩,希望地藏菩薩發這個大願,業重的眾生,希望地藏菩薩能轉法輪,去度眾生。地藏菩薩是承受佛陀的使命,甘願最辛苦的地方——地獄,「地獄未空,誓不成佛」。

所以,大家的傳說,在這個近時代,九華山才有地藏菩薩,那就是久遠久遠之前,已經發大乘心,修菩薩行了。有佛陀講了光目女、婆羅門女等等的故事,那就是在無數劫前的事情。總是,所說的傳說,九華山的地藏菩薩是顯跡的地藏菩薩;如尼泊爾,古印度時代的迦毗羅衛國,(悉達多)來人間成佛,這也是化跡來人間成佛的釋迦牟尼佛。

釋迦牟尼佛,在過去無量億劫,塵點劫以前,十六王子的時代,大通智勝佛的座下,就已經解悟了,《法華經》的道理,就已經能徹悟。在那個時代,大通智勝佛的時代,過去的無量劫前,無法去推測的時間,他就是這樣一直在佛法中,真理與天地同久長,無法說多久。這宇宙,宇宙從什麼時候有?無法了解。現在的科學家說地球是幾億年,幾十億年,但是空,虛空法界到底已多久?這沒有科學家有辦法去推測。同樣的道理,真理就是這樣,無法推測。不過,真理本來就是眾生平等,真理平等,道理平等、眾生平等,佛與眾生也是平等。

看到《地藏經》,曾這樣說過了《地藏經》,眾生在造業,所受地獄的形象,那是苦不堪啊!不是有辦法形容的,所以我們要用心去體會,這苦難是無法形容。所以我們,佛陀教育我們的,只要我們的一心能轉過來,善惡就分明了,向善、不染惡,再也不造惡的人生。這就是道理若清楚。

看到莫三比克,那是非洲,接受了佛法之後,他們在那個地方,也在推動七月是吉祥月。看到他們在推動「七月吉祥月」,而且就是要茹素,要素食。他們用什麼方法啊?很可愛。他們在一片沙地上面,同樣邀很多人,要讓他們知道,素食可以保護地球,素食可以讓人人身體健康,素食可以培養愛心,造福、消業障,所以他們在土地上,也是舞臺,他們在那個地方演了一齣戲。就是說一個素食的家庭,完全都是茹素,他的朋友是葷食的家庭,無肉不歡喜,所以就是吃很多肉食。有一天,這個素食家庭的主婦,去找她的朋友,這個葷食的家庭主婦,兩人見面很歡喜。但是這個葷食的家庭很誠意,就強留下素食家庭這位主婦,就將她留著,拉著她,不肯讓她走,說:「在我這裡吃飯啦!」

但是,朋友嘛,如何不要逆人的意,所以她只好就留下來了。整桌都是肉食,為了朋友的感情,她就這樣和她吃。吃了之後,回去了,瀉肚子,中毒了,就去看醫生。這位葷食家庭這位主婦也是,也是中毒,去看醫生,醫生就告訴她們:「妳們是食物中毒,所以妳們將藥帶回去吃,要休息。」那位素食的主婦,她真的吃了藥,很快就恢復,好了。但是那位肉食的主婦,中毒很深,醫生就跟她說:「妳還不能回去,妳長期都是這樣吃這個東西,所以妳的體內的毒素很多,妳要一段時間才有辦法排除妳體內的毒,妳要素,茹素。」就演這齣戲。看的人,很多人,他們那一天就準備三千份便當,三千人要吃的便當。這些便當是來自於大愛農場,他們那裡有一片土地,他們就是種菜。

將他們採收的菜,就簡單煮個粥,就是各形各的菜,芥藍菜等等,就這樣煮一煮,吃得大家很歡喜。他們說:「原來素食是這麼簡單,這麼好吃!」葷食,夏天,肉食取來難保存,往往肉就會爛了,也會壞了。所以他們覺得還是素食,他們用這樣來推動素食。大家覺得還是要素食,能培養慈悲,還能身體健康,還能顧好地球,這就是他們認為他們的環境,就是適合素食,接受。

不只是莫三比克,其實在馬來西亞也是,馬來西亞也很精彩,這種本來大魚大肉,在這(農曆)七月要普度,但是他們也是一樣,七月是吉祥月,慈濟人開始大推動,推動,當然裡面的內容很豐富。還有南馬與雪隆,吉隆坡,都這樣整個月在推,誦《地藏經》,提倡素食,萬人的法會,《地藏經》這樣每天誦,一二萬人,累積起來一二萬人,日日來誦《地藏經》。

在吉隆坡,雪隆,三天也有萬多人,誦《地藏經》、推動素食、提倡「竹筒歲月」,大家皆大歡喜,這是在馬來西亞。(農曆)七月期間,很大的活動,人人,慈濟人都動員起來勸素,同時也推動普度的錢存起來,燒金紙的錢放在竹筒裡,去做善事,整個月的時間很踴躍,讓人很感動。香港也是。總而言之,很多慈濟人這樣落實在推動茹素,推動七月是吉祥月,取消了燒金紙,很盛行,很多人響應。看到他們的資料報告,每個地方真的,能夠將他們改變這個慣例,普度拜拜的觀念,變成了造善,這是行孝吉祥月,這是很不容易,他們做到了,令人很感動。

所以這就是佛陀來人間,「開、示」眾生的目的。所以現在佛陀,已經開講《法華經》,古佛來見證,大乘圓教是救世良方,寶塔從地湧出,從寶塔中也出音聲。所以,大家讚稀有,那是打從內心的讚歎。寶塔的形容,大家已經知道,六度萬行,修福修慧,就是「二萬里」那麼高,這是一種形容。塔,顯示佛德之高,所以大家讚歎,從心的敬恭,要瞻仰塔的高縱到雲端,就是瞻仰佛德。福慧具修,六度萬行完成,現在大家仰望,就是能聽到佛陀再繼續來開示,佛德到底如何累積起來。

所以現在接下來,就有大樂說菩薩,〈法師品〉是藥王菩薩,現在佛陀就開始,以大樂說菩薩為當機者。再下去,我們就能發現到大樂說菩薩,那就是看到大家已經很成熟,一直仰慕著佛陀萬德莊嚴,如寶塔高縱一樣,大樂說菩薩,開始要代替大家請問,所以「欲得速解疑」,希望讓大家得到,趕緊這個疑,稀奇的心,覺得很奇怪,稀奇的心能夠解開,了解裡面法的涵容,涵蓋了什麼法,所以,「求願」,替大家求願,解除這個疑的障礙。因為《法華經》,處處都要提醒我們,要解開對這個法的疑惑,所以,大樂說菩薩要代替大家解除疑惑,所以他要請問佛,所以來請佛開示。

開示:
開佛知見
示佛知見
使悟佛知見
入佛知見
是顯佛出世之本懷
故開示悟入
乃是佛出世之本懷

開示,是開佛知見、示佛知見,希望眾生能佛陀開示,眾生能悟佛知見,這就是開示的主要目標。

看前面的文:「爾時、四眾見大寶塔住在空中,又聞塔中所出音聲,皆得法喜,怪未曾有,從座而起,恭敬合掌,卻住一面。」

爾時
四眾見大寶塔
住在空中
又聞塔中所出音聲
皆得法喜
怪未曾有
從座而起
恭敬合掌
卻住一面
《法華經見寶塔品第十一》

昨天說過了,大家看到寶塔在虛空中,寶塔中再出了音聲,大家從內心,那個法喜、歡喜。大家趕緊起身,大家集合來到佛前,很恭敬的心,這樣要來請佛解釋,這是表示最恭敬的親近。真正的恭敬,就是要親近,你的心若法喜,你應該要親近。所以,親近,大家就會先圍過來,仰慕的表達,這就是表示這種親近的意思,我們若有得到法喜,我們要更親近,「卻住一面」,就是要好好再繼續聽法,這是這樣的形態。

接下來,文這樣說:「爾時、有菩薩摩訶薩名大樂說,知一切世間天、人、阿修羅等心之所疑」

爾時
有菩薩摩訶薩
名大樂說
知一切世間
天、人、阿修羅等
心之所疑
《法華經見寶塔品第十一》

在這會眾中,有一位大菩薩摩訶薩,他的名字叫做「大樂說」。

爾時
有菩薩摩訶薩
名大樂說:
眾中上首大菩薩
智慧深故
善說諸法
名大樂說

大樂說菩薩,他已經了解,看透了這個道場中大家的心意,知道人人心有疑。所以這位大樂說菩薩,是現在這場,佛陀要再繼續說話這一場的,眾中上首菩薩,在大眾中,這場就是以大樂說菩薩為當機者。所以他是「智慧深(故),善說諸法」,所以他的名字叫做「大樂說」。

又大樂說菩薩
與藥王同類
是契大乘法
傳持弘經化世
之方軌
非有功於斯文者
不足以論菩薩行因
此品會合
十方諸佛而付囑
非具無礙之辯者
不足以請問

「又大樂說菩薩,與藥王菩薩同等」,同類,就是同等。因為佛陀將持《法華經》的對象,是選擇藥王菩薩。現在要讓大家保持發心,那就是選擇大樂說菩薩,這就是佛陀的對機。他與藥王菩薩的等級一樣,所以「與藥王同類」,是「契大乘法,傳持弘經化世之方軌」,化世軌範的人,大心的菩薩。就如〈法師品〉,用大慈悲為室,柔和忍辱衣,諸法空為座,這三法軌則,這是在藥王菩薩,那場〈法師品〉,佛所說的,這是弘軌,就是法則,就是軌則。所以「非有功於斯文者,不足以論菩薩行因」。若不是那個功行能與現在,要說下去這段經文的程度平齊,他就沒有資格來討論,現在要再說下去的菩薩行因,六度萬行是菩薩的行因,前面也一直都說過了。菩薩行因具足,就望向佛果,就是佛的境界。所以要講說菩薩行因這樣的人,必定要有這樣的程度,才能論說這個法。所以,這位大樂說菩薩,他就是有足夠這樣的資格,這是佛陀所選擇的當機者。

這一品,是〈見寶塔品〉,「會合十方諸佛而付囑」,這品再下去,十方的諸佛都會湧現出來,也是要付囑,將法要如何交代於未來。所以若沒有具無礙之辯才的人,也是無法請問,來請問未來所要請問的法,唯有大樂說菩薩有這個資格。所以,佛陀的對機,也就是當機者,這個法會中的當機者,就是大樂說菩薩。

所以,「知一切世間天、人、阿修羅等心之所疑」。

知一切世間
天、人、阿修羅等
心之所疑:
眾見寶塔不知何謂
怪未曾見
所以心疑
菩薩知已
故為請問

這位大樂說菩薩,他既然是當機者,他已經知道,知道這個世間,天,就是四天王天、忉利天,前面已講說,在這個道場中,還有世間的人,還有阿修羅等,大家的心都還有疑,他知道這些人有疑,他就要開始,大樂說菩薩要代替這些人解疑,所以他就要問。「眾見寶塔」,這些人就是天、人、阿修羅等,看到寶塔,「不知何謂」,到底是什麼?不知道。所以他會「怪未曾有」,前面的文說「怪未曾有」,奇怪,很稀有。雖然大家歡喜,不過這是很稀奇的事情,所以說「怪未曾有」,所以心會生疑。「菩薩知」,菩薩知道了,所以「故」,代替大家來請問。這就是大樂說菩薩。

各位,真的是學佛,我們要很用心、用智慧,相,來學道理,道理來會這個形相,用形相的譬喻,讓我們對法能更了解。《法華經》現在講到,〈見寶塔品〉,若沒有超越那個智慧,要能體會這些文,真的是很難。我們要說形相,「五百由旬」,二萬里的高,若是飛機,到底飛多高呢?是幾公尺高呢?其實表示這二萬,大家一定要記得,這是一種顯法,顯佛德之高,塔本來就是顯德,名稱叫做「顯德」,就是修行那個德行之高。

用「六度萬行」的智慧,以及福,福慧要適應這個眾生的根機,用六度,隨眾生所需去付出,從無明中的眾生,吸取了智慧;從苦難的眾生中造福業,造福緣,這樣六度萬行,菩薩行因完成,這就是德之高,塔之高,這樣來譬喻。這些道理,我們若能透徹,再接下去要說的法,就能較清楚,要不然,很多若不了解,就會神化,神化掉了,我們應該要聖化、理化,不要神化,用怪,神怪,那就會偏了。所以,佛陀開始舍利弗請法,佛陀會「止!止!不須復說」。大家無法信,無法解,難信難解的法,若是偏差了,那就容易反效果。所以我們要用正信思惟,來體會佛法,我們要時時多用心。


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Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: Sentient Beings Hope to Resolve Doubts (古今佛會 眾望解疑)
Date: January.16.2018

“Both ancient and present Buddhas came together. The assembly praised how extraordinary this was. They gazed upon it with sincere reverence, hoping to hear the Buddha teach Great Joyful Eloquence Bodhisattva could not help but speak up and ask a question. He wanted to quickly resolve doubts and sought to eliminate obstructions.”

“Both ancient and present Buddhas came together.” Everyone praised how extraordinary it was. The ancient Buddha was Many Treasures Buddha. Many Treasures Buddha had already attained Buddhahood countless kalpas ago. He was the Buddha of another world. Now, in the Saha World, where Sakyamuni Buddha taught the Lotus Sutra, at this time, Many Treasures Buddha emerged from the ground with the stupa of treasures. An ancient Buddha and a present Buddha came together. Everyone was so amazed and joyous. They praised how unprecedented this was, how this kind of scene had never happened before. Why at this time, when Sakyamuni Buddha was teaching the Lotus Sutra and had, in the Chapter on Dharma Teachers, just finished praising people uphold this sutra, did the stupa suddenly appear? This was such an extraordinary event! So, everyone present all praised how extraordinary it was.

We talked about this yesterday. This is the Buddha’s wisdom. [We could see this] from the Introductory Chapter to the Chapter on Skillful Means, from the Introductory Chapter’s radiating light and auspicious signs to the Chapter on Skillful Means when the Buddha praised the Buddha-wisdom as extremely profound, subtle and wondrous. Then, Sariputra began to request the teachings as the most suitable recipient. The Buddha at first said, “Stop, stop; there is no need to speak further.” The capabilities of those who receive this sutra must be very mature. Their aspirations for the Great Vehicle have to be truly awakened. Moreover, they must have extremely deep roots of faith. This is because the Dharma is extremely deep and profound. For infinitely deep Great Dharma, our root of faith must be very deep as well. When our root of faith is very deep and strong, we will be willing to accept [the Dharma] and awaken our intent to follow the Great Vehicle. Then we can resonate with the Buddha’s mind. Only people like this, who are able to accept it, will not give rise to doubt and slander. Slandering this sutra is [the same as] slandering the Buddha’s entire body, because wherever this sutra resides is where the Buddha’s entire body resides. In the Chapter on Dharma Teachers, the Buddha already clearly demonstrated this. So, in the Chapter on Skillful Means, the Buddha continuously taught everyone that this sutra must have suitable conditions, the right people, the right time, the right place. To inspire others according to their capabilities is not easy at all. So at that place, Sariputra requested the Dharma over and over again. So, by the time the Buddha agreed to teach, 5000 people had left their seats. The Buddha said, “It is good that they left.” Since they did not have the right capabilities and did not want to listen, it was better that they left. Thus, the people who remained were those with deep roots of faith; they were those with great potential who would certainly form Great Vehicle aspirations upon listening to [the sutra]. Only then did He agree to teach this sutra, as he could now do so with peace of mind. He began by telling a parable. With the Chapter on Parables and the Chapter on Faith and Understanding, He gradually guided the disciples so they would come to know and understand the teachings of the Small Vehicle Dharma that they had heard in the past. Although the Buddha’s guidance [in the past] was not yet complete and ultimate, they still gave rise to faith and understood the Four Noble Truths, the law of karma and so on. Since they understood, everyone was determined to eliminate their afflictions and did not dare create any more [negative] karma. So, everyone just engaged in self-cultivation; they did not want to contrive affinities anymore. They all held fast to this thought. They were headed in the right direction, but the Buddha still had to entice them further so they could form Great Vehicle aspirations. At first He taught about emptiness and existence. Now He brought the two together. We must awaken ourselves and others, benefit ourselves and others. Once we learn the principles, we will understand to refrain from all evil and do all that is good. Once we understand these principles, we must form great aspirations and go among people to teach and guide sentient beings. The lives of all sentient beings are equal, and everyone intrinsically has Buddha-nature. This is very important. However, to go among people to teach and transform sentient beings, we must actualize the Six Paramitas in all actions, cultivate blessings and then cultivate wisdom. We have to go among people but remain undefiled, maintain our purity and self-respect, cultivate blessings amongst afflictions and cultivate wisdom amidst people in hardship. This is easier said than done. This requires great spiritual practice. Once by engaging in great spiritual practice will we remain undefiled by others, and continue in our mission to benefit sentient beings. So, we must actualize the Six Paramitas in all actions!

The Lotus Sutra [guides us] in this way to help us understand that people do not only need to have love and respect for other people, but toward animals as well. We must love and protect animals because both animals and humans are collectively referred to as sentient begins. All sentient beings have the Buddha-nature, so we are all equal.

There was a prince in ancient Korea who engaged in spiritual practice, formed great aspirations, made great vows and wanted to seek the Dharma. He wanted to go to Chain to seek the Dharma, so he got in a small boat and sailed along the coast from Korea to China. When he reached Anhui, the boat hit a reef and got stuck. He had no choice but to abandon the boat. He walked along the mountain trails to Jiuhua Mountain. He found a place there and began to engage in spiritual practice. He was very happy on that mountain. The environment was very peaceful so he could simply engage in practice. There were some poets who to search for inspiration and recite poems and write couplets. They found this spiritual practitioner and struck up a conversation. As they got to know one another, they learned that he came from Korea and was from a noble family. They learned that he had come to China to dedicate himself to seeking the Buddha-Dharma. His boat had caught on a reef and could not move, so he stayed in this place. Everyone [wanted to] find out exactly what he understood of the Buddha-Dharma so everyone wanted to listen [to him]. As he engaged in tranquil practice there, this group of people kept coming to request the teachings from him. In this way, people came to know about him, and the lord of the mountain learned about him, so he went to visit this spiritual practitioner. Joy also arose in his heart. The lord of the mountain and his son also admired the Buddha-Dharma and came to draw near to [this practitioner]. They saw many poets also came to visit him often, so they formed aspirations to donate a piece of the land for this spiritual practitioner to build a spiritual practice center. They told the spiritual practitioner, “Go ahead and tell me however much land you want. All the land on the mountain is mine, so just tell me how much you want.” Then the spiritual practitioner said, “It does not need to be big; just as big as this robe’s shadow will be enough.” “ How can that be enough?” The lord of the mountain replied. This spiritual practitioner said, “When my robe casts a shadow under the sun, the area of the land it covers will be enough for me.” So, they agreed to his plan. He tossed his robe into the air, and as the whole robe unfurled in the sky, a could covered the sun, so the entire mountain was shadowed by this could that blocked out the sun. This lord of the mountain was overjoyed and impressed. “This is inconceivable! How extraordinary. I willing to give you the entire mountain, so you can build a spiritual practice center.” Thus, Jiuhua Mountain henceforth became the spiritual practice center for this spiritual practitioner.

In the beginning, it was built simply. There were many people who admired the Buddha-Dharma, so they all came to visit out of admiration. In addition to the people in the nearby mountain towns and villages, all kinds of people went to hear the Dharma. Even in Korea, the monastic community and the common people who took joy in the Buddha-Dharma heard that their prince had arrived in Anhui, China and was admired by so many people. They came to seek the Dharma and hear His teaching. So, monastics from Korea and those who delighted in the Buddha-Dharma also went there out of admiration for him. In a short period of time, the amount of people who came to engage in spiritual practice was large number; there were also many monastics there. But in that place, there were too many people and a shortage of food. So, for a while, as mentioned in the Biographies of Eminent Monks, [there were] “haggard sentient beings in the South.” Everyone wanted to engage in spiritual practice there, so they were all willing to go hungry. However, they took the path as their nourishment. Their aspiration to seek the path was very firm. They were willing to go hungry, but the Dharma would replenish their wisdom-life. There was also a time, when he had to send them away, saying, “Go back, otherwise we will not have enough food.” Although everyone came to make offerings, there were still too many people and not enough food. They were so firm in their resolve to engage in spiritual practice there. Thus, Jiuhua Mountain began to have monastics who engaged in spiritual practice there. This spiritual training center had many monastics, and this spiritual practitioner was very reverent. This spiritual practitioners taught the Dharma for the assembly during the day. According to the legends about. Earth Treasury Bodhisattva, it is said that during the night, he went into hell to transform sentient beings. In any case, this is the legend of Jiuhua Mountain.

This spiritual practice center [dedicated to] Earth Treasury Bodhisattva started in this place. Earth Treasury Bodhisattva [said], “Until hell is empty I will not attain Buddhahood.” This was Earth Treasury Bodhisattva’s great vow. In the Earth Treasury Sutra, the Buddha entrusted those sentient beings to Earth Treasury Bodhisattva in hopes that he would make this great vow. For the sake of sentient beings with heavy karma, [the Buddha] hoped Earth Treasury Bodhisattva could turn the Dharma-wheel to transform these sentient beings. Earth Treasury Bodhisattva took on the Buddha’s mission and was willing [to go to] the place with the most hardship, which was hell. “Until hell is empty I will not attain Buddhahood”. So, according the legend everyone tells, in recent times, at Jiuhua Mountain, Earth Treasury Bodhisattva manifested. He was one who had, a long time ago, formed Great Vehicle aspirations and cultivated the Bodhisattva-practice.

The Buddha also told stories about Bright-eyed Girl, the Brahmin maiden, and other stories. These all took place countess kalpas ago. In any case, in all of these legends, the [spiritual practitioner] on Jiuhua Mountain was a manifestation of Earth Treasury Bodhisattva.

In Nepal, the country of Kapilavastu in ancient India, Siddhartha came to the world to attain Buddhahood. This was also a manifestation, Sakyamuni Buddha coming to the world to attain enlightenment. Sakyamuni Buddha, countless trillions kalpas ago, dust-inked kalpas ago, during the age of the 16 princes, at the feet of Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha, had attained awakening. He could fully awaken to the principles of the Lotus Sutra. During the age of the Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha, which was countless kalpas ago, an unfathomable amount of time ago, He had continually been amidst the Buddha-Dharma. The true principles have existed for as long as the universe has existed; it is impossible to say how long. When did this universe [began]? We are not able to understand. Scientists now say that. Earth was formed a few billion years ago, but in terms of when the Dharma-realm of the universe formed, scientists cannot calculate this. This is the same idea. The true principles are like this; they cannot be calculated. However, the essence of the true principles is that sentient beings are equal. The true principles are equal, the principles are equal, sentient beings are equal, and the Buddha and sentient beings are also equal.

We read in the Earth Treasury Sutra, which we talked about before, about how sentient beings are creating karma and about the kind of hell that they experience. It is unbearable suffering! There is no way to describe it, so we must mindfully seek to comprehend this. This suffering is indescribable. Thus, the Buddha taught us that as long as we transform our minds, we will be able to discern between good and evil. We can go toward goodness, be undefiled by evil and live a life without ever committing evil. This is if we are clear about the principles.

We see in Mozambique, which is Africa, that after accepting the Buddha-Dharma, at that place, they are also promoting the seventh lunar month as Auspicious Month. We see that they promoted. “Auspicious Seventh Lunar Month”, and adopted a vegetarian diet. How did they manage to do this? It was very endearing. On a piece of sandy land, they invited many people to learn about how a vegetarian diet can protect the earth, keep us healthy, cultivate compassion, create blessings and eliminate karmic obstacles. So, this piece of land also became their stage, where they performed a play. [The play] was about a vegetarian family who ate a completely vegetarian diet. They were friends with a non-vegetarian family who absolutely loved meat, so they ate a lot of meat. One day, the housewife from the vegetarian family, went to find her friend, the housewife from the non-vegetarian family. The two were very happy to see one another. The non-vegetarian housewife was very sincere and forced the vegetarian housewife to stay. She made her stay, holding onto her and not letting her go, saying, “Eating with me here!” So, as a friend, she did not want to go against her friend’s wishes, and so she had no choice but to stay. All the dishes on the table were meat, but for the sake of her relationship with her friend, she are [meat] with her. After she ate and went home, she had diarrhea and food poisoning, so she went to see a doctor. This non-vegetarian housewife also had food poisoning and went to see the doctor. The doctor told them, “You have food poisoning, so take medicine with you and get some rest.” This vegetarian housewife took the medicine and recovered very quickly.  But, the non-vegetarian housewife’s food poisoning was more serious, so the doctor told her, “You cannot go home yet. You have eaten this kind of food for a long time, so you have a lot of poison in your body. You will need some time for your body to eliminate the poison. You must eat a vegetarian diet.”

They performed this play. There were a lot of people who watched, so on that day, they prepared 3000 lunchboxes for people to eat. The lunchboxes came from the Great Love Farm. They have a piece of land there where they plant vegetables. From the vegetables they picked, they cooked a simple porridge with all kinds of vegetables, such as Chinese broccoli and so on. They cooked this kind of food, and everyone ate it and really liked it. They said, “Vegetarian food is so simple and so delicious!” During the summer, non-vegetarian food such as meat is difficult to keep. It rots and goes bad easily. So, they thought it was best to be vegetarian. This was how they promoted a vegetarian diet. This can help us cultivate compassion, help maintain our physical health, and help care for the earth. So, feeling that their environment was very suited to a vegetarian diet, they accepted it.

This was not just in Mozambique, but in Malaysia as well. Malaysia’s [story] is also very interesting. Some there used to eat so much fish and meat, but the seventh (lunar) month, during Ghost Festival, they also [began to promote] the seventh lunar month as Auspicious Month. Tzu Chi volunteers worked hard to promote this. Of course, during their promotion, they had an abundance of [programs]. In addition, in southern Malaysia, Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, they promoted this throughout the entire month, reciting the Earth Treasury Sutra and advocating for a vegetarian diet. In a Dharma-assembly of tens of thousands, they recited the Earth Treasury Sutra every day. They accumulated a count of ten or twenty thousand as people came to recite the Earth Treasury Sutra every day. In Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, over ten thousand people recited the Earth Treasury Sutra over three days promoted vegetarianism and advocated the spirit of bamboo banks. Everyone was so joyous. This was in Malaysia. The seventh lunar month was such a grand event. All Tzu Chi volunteers mobilized to promote vegetarianism. They also encouraged people to save the money that they would have spent on the Ghost Festival. They could put the money used to buy joss paper into the bamboo banks for charity instead. The whole month, [everyone] was very enthusiastic; this really inspired people.

It was the same in Hong Kong. In short, there were a lot of Tzu Chi volunteers who promoted vegetarianism and promoted the seventh lunar month as Auspicious Month. They also stopped burning joss paper. This proved very popular, many people joined in. We can see from their reports that every place was truly able to change this custom, this idea of worshipping during Ghost Festival, to one of doing good deeds. This is the Auspicious Month of filial piety. It was not easy, but they did it. This is truly commendable.

So, this was the goal of the Buddha in coming to this world, and “opening and revealing” the teachings. Thus, now that the Buddha had already begun to teach the Lotus Sutra, an ancient Buddha came to bear witness that the perfect teachings of the Great Vehicle are the cure for saving this world. The stupa of treassure had emerged from the ground and sounds also emanated from the stupa. So, everyone praised how extraordinary it was; this praise came from the bottom of their hearts. Everyone should know that the stupa of treasures’ appearance represents practicing the Six Paramitas in 10,000 actions, cultivating both blessings  and wisdom. This is the meaning of 20,000 li high; this is a metaphor.

The stupa demonstrates the height of the Buddha’s virtue, so everyone praised it and expressed their sincere reverence. When they gazed in admiration at the stupa, which was so high it reached up into the clouds, they were really admiring the Buddha’s virtue. They had fulfilled the practice of blessings and wisdom and had completely actualized the Six Paramitas in all actions. Now, everyone was hoping that they could listen to the Buddha continue to teach. How had the Buddha accumulated His virtues?

So, continuing on, there was Great Joyful Eloquence Bodhisattva. In the Chapter on Dharma Teachers, it was Medicine King Bodhisattva [who was the recipient]. Now the Buddha began [to teach] with Great Joyful Eloquence Bodhisattva as the recipient of the teachings. Next, we will find Great Joyful Eloquence Bodhisattva who saw that everyone was very mature by now and had always looked up to the magnificence of the Buddha's myriad virtues, which reached as high as the stupa of treasures. Thus, Great joyful Eloquence Bodhisattva began to ask on everyone's behalf, hoping "to quickly resolve「their」doubts." He hoped that everyone would attain 「resolution」. He hoped that these doubts, these feelings of wonder and strangeness, could be resolved so they could understand the content of the Dharma and the teachings it encompassed. SO, “he sought..." On behalf of everyone, he sought to eliminate the obstructions of doubt. This is because the Lotus Sutra always reminds us that we must resolve our doubts about the teachings. SO, Great Joyful Eloquence Bodhisattva wanted to help everyone eliminate their doubts. Thus, he came to ask the Buddha to open and reveal [the Dharma].

Open and reveal: By opening and revealing His understanding and views, [the Buddha] leads us to realize and enter His understanding and views. This reveals the Buddha's original intent in appearing in this world. Therefore, opening and revealing to help people to realize and enter is His original intent in appearing in the world.

"Open and reveal" refers to opening and revealing the Buddha's understanding and views. Great Joyful Eloquence Bodhisattva hoped that all beings could, from the Buddha's teachings, awaken to the Buddha's understanding and views. This is the main purpose of opening and revealing.

Let us look at the previous sutra passage, "At that time, the fourfold assembly saw the great stupa of treasures staying in the air and heard the sounds coming from the stupa. They all attained Dharma-joy. Such wonders were unprecedented. They rose from their seats, put their palms together in reverence and withdrew to one side."

We talked about this yesterday. When everyone witnessed the stupa of treasures in the air and heard the sounds coming from it, their hearts were filled with Dharma-joy and happiness. Everyone quickly arose and gathered together in front of the Buddha. With great reverence, they came forth to ask the Buddha to explain. This represents a most reverent sense of closeness. [To express] true reverence, we must draw near [the Buddha]. When our hearts are full of Dharma-joy, we should draw near [the Buddha]. SO, to draw near, everyone direst gathered around to express their admiration. This is to show this kind of closeness. When we attain Dharma-joy, we must draw even closer to [the Buddha]. Then "they withdrew to one side" to continue earnestly listening to the Dharma; this is the kind of bearing that they had.

The next sutra passage says, “At that time, there was a Bodhisattva-Mahasattva whose name was Great Joyful Eloquence. He understood the doubts in the minds of the heavenly beings, humans, auras and others of all the worlds.”

Among the assembly, there was a great Bodhisattva-Mahasattva whose name was Great Joyful Eloquence.

At that time, there was a Bodhisattva-Mahasattva whose name was Great Joyful Eloquence: He was a senior Bodhisattva in the assembly. Due to his profound wisdom, he excelled in expounding all Dharma. Thus his name was Great Joyful Eloquence.

Great Joyful Eloquence Bodhisattva already understood and clearly saw into the minds of everyone in this Dharma-assembly. He knew everyone had doubts in their name. So, Great Joyful Eloquence Bodhisattva, in this Dharma-assembly where the Buddha would continue teaching, was a senior Bodhisattva. Among everyone in this assembly, Great Joyful Eloquence was the recipient of the teachings this time. So, “Due to his profound wisdom, he excelled in expounding all Dharma.” Thus his name was Great Joyful Eloquence.

Great Joyful Eloquence Bodhisattva and Medicine King were of the same kind. They resonated with the Great Vehicle teachings, transmitted and upheld the principles and directives of promoting the sutra to transform the world. Those who did not have the merits as stated in this sutra passage were not qualified to discuss the practice and causes of Bodhisattvas. In this chapter, all Buddhas from the ten directions came together for [the sutra] to be entrusted. Those who did not have unobstructed eloquence were not qualified to present the question.

“Great Joyful Eloquence Bodhisattva and Medicine King were of the same kind.” “Of the same kind” means that they were equal. This is because the Buddha chose Medicine King Bodhisattva as the one to uphold the Lotus Sutra, and now to get everyone to maintain their aspiration, He chose Great Joyful Eloquence Bodhisattva; this was the Buddha teaching according to capabilities. Great Joyful Eloquence Bodhisattva and Medicine King Bodhisattva were equal in level, so he was of the same kind as the Medicine King. “They resonated with the Great Vehicle teachings, transmitted and upheld the principles and directives of promoting the sutra to transform the world.” They were both people who transformed the world with the principles and disciplines; they were Bodhisattvas with great aspirations. This is like the Chapter on Dharma Teachers; we take great compassion as the room, gentleness and patience as the clothing and the emptiness of all phenomena as the seat. [The Buddha taught] these three directives. This was during Medicine King Boddhisattvas’s [dialogue] in the Chapter on Dharma Teachers. These are the directives that the Buddha taught for spreading [the sutras]. These are the principles and guidelines. So, “Those who did not have the merits as stated in this sutra passage were not qualified to discuss the practice and causes of Bodhisattvas.” If their merits were not equal to the level of the following sutra passage, they were not qualified to discuss the practice and causes of the Bodhisattvas that were to be discussed. Actualizing the Six Paramitas in all actions is the causal practice of Bodhisattvas. We have talked about this previously. When we have fulfilled the causal practice of Bodhisattvas, we will go toward the fruit of Buddhahood, the state of Buddhahood. So, if we want to discuss the causal practice of Bodhisattvas, we must reach this kind of level. Only then can we discuss this Dharma. So Great Joyful Eloquence Bodhisattva was sufficiently qualified in this way. Thus, he was chosen by the Buddha as the recipient of the teaching.

This chapter is the Chapter on Seeing the Stupa of Treasures, where “All Buddhas from the ten directions came together for [the sutra] to be entrusted." Continuing on in this chapter, all Buddhas throughout the ten directions will come appear [for the Buddha to] entrust this Dharma to future generations. So, those who lacked unobstructed eloquence were unable to ask any questions about the Dharma in the future. Only Great Joyful Eloquence Bodhisattva was qualified to do this. So, the person to respond to the Buddha was the recipient of the teachings. The recipient of the teachings in this Dharma-assembly was Great Joyful Eloquence Bodhisattva. So, “He understood the doubts in the minds of the heavenly beings, humans, asuras and others of all the worlds.”

He understood the doubts in the minds of the heavenly beings, humans, asuras and others of all the worlds: The assembly saw the stupa of treasures but did not know what it was. Such wonders were unprecedented, so they gave rise to doubt. The Bodhisattva was aware of this, so he asked on their behalf.

Great Joyful Eloquence Bodhisattva, as the recipient of the teachings, already understood [the people of] this world “Heavenly beings” are the Four Heavenly Kings and [the heavenly beings] in Trayastrimsa Heaven. We have spoken of this before. In this Dharma-assembly, the world’s humans, asuras and so on all had doubts in their minds. He knew these people had doubts, so Great Joyful Eloquence Bodhisattva wanted to help these people resolve their doubts. Thus he had to ask [the Buddha]. “The assembly saw the stupa of treasures.” These people were the heavenly beings, humans, asuras and others. They saw the stupa of treasures, “but did not know what it was." What exactly was it? They did not know. “Such wonders were unprecedented.”

The previous sutra passage says, “Such wonders were unprecedented." It was strange and extraordinary. Although everyone was happy, this was a very strange occurrence, so it says, “such wonders were unprecedented.” Thus everyone gave rise to doubt. “The Bodhisattva was aware of this.” The Bodhisattva knew this, so he asked the question on their behalf. This was Great Joyful Eloquence Bodhisattva.

Everyone, if we truly want to learn the Buddha’s teachings, we must use our mindfulness and wisdom to learn the principles through appearances. As we use the principles to understand appearances, we must use the analogies in these appearances to help us understand the Dharma better. In the Lotus Sutra, we have now reached the Chapter on Seeing the Stupa of Treasures. If we lack transcendent wisdom, it will be very difficult to comprehend these sutra passages. In terms of its appearances [the stupa] is “500 yojanas” or 20,000 li high. How high can an airplane fly? How many meters high?  Actually, in terms of this metaphor of 20,000 li, everyone must remember that this is a way to reveal the Dharma; it reveals the height of the Buddha’s virtues. The stupa was there to display His virtues. This is what it means “to display virtues.”  [The stupa] reveals the height of the virtues. He had cultivated during His spiritual practice. We must use the wisdom and blessings of actualizing the Six Paramitas in all actions. Our blessings and wisdom must be in accord with the capabilities of sentient beings. In our application of the Six Paramitas, we should give according to sentient beings’ needs. From sentient beings lost in ignorance, we must gain wisdom. Among sentient beings in suffering, we should create blessings. By creating blessings and actualizing the Six Paramitas in all actions, we will perfect the Bodhisattvas’ causal practice. This is the height of virtue; the height of the stupa is used as an analogy. If we are able to thoroughly understand these principles, then the following teachings will be even clearer to us. Otherwise, if we do not understand these things, we will mystify or mythologize them. We should see them as noble, full of principles instead of treating them as strange and magical. That would cause us to deviate.

So, in the beginning, when Sariputra requested the teachings, the Buddha said, “Stop, stop, there is no need to speak further.” No one was capable of having faith or understanding [in these teachings]. For teachings that are hard to believe or understand, if we deviate, they can easily have the opposite effect on us. So, we must have proper beliefs and understanding to comprehend the Buddha-Dharma. Therefore, we must always be mindful.

(Source: Da Ai TV – Wisdom at Dawn program – Explanation by Master Chen-Yen)
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20180116《靜思妙蓮華》古今佛會 眾望解疑 (第1263集) (法華經•見寶塔品第十一)
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