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 20180117《靜思妙蓮華》啟請開示 寶塔因緣 (第1264集) (法華經•見寶塔品第十一)

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發表主題: 20180117《靜思妙蓮華》啟請開示 寶塔因緣 (第1264集) (法華經•見寶塔品第十一)   周二 1月 16, 2018 11:26 pm

20180117《靜思妙蓮華》啟請開示 寶塔因緣 (第1264集) (法華經•見寶塔品第十一)

⊙「大樂說願見分身佛之問,正啟如來說出多寶願力,欲以我身示四眾彼佛故,分佛雲集一處證明妙法。」
⊙東方寶淨世界之佛,入滅後以本願為全身舍利。諸佛說法華經處,必於其前出現。
⊙有佛缺緣無人請說妙法者,便入涅槃。如法華經中多寶世尊,無人請故,便入涅槃。後化佛身及七寶塔涌出為作證明,說法華經濟世之妙故,一時出現。
⊙「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》
⊙「而白佛言:世尊!以何因緣,有此寶塔從地涌出,又於其中發是音聲?」《法華經見寶塔品第十一》
⊙而白佛言:世尊!以何因緣,有此寶塔從地湧出:以何等緣,欲知寶塔自來,正顯一大事因緣。
⊙又於其中發是音聲:又於塔中發出讚歎大妙之音。
⊙問意有三:以何因緣有此塔?何故從地涌出?何故塔中發大音聲?
⊙眾人欲明辨塔中音聲讚歎之因由,故虔敬心而請問;大樂說菩薩知眾心之所念,故以言請,因以啟佛之答而顯現其因緣。
⊙「爾時、佛告大樂說菩薩:此寶塔中有如來全身,乃往過去東方無量千萬億阿僧祇世界。」《法華經見寶塔品第十一》
⊙爾時、佛告大樂說菩薩,此寶塔中有如來全身:因問故答。諸佛入滅,化火焚身;分布舍利為眾結緣。多寶入滅,不曾化身。臨終付囑,令眾起塔。供養遺體。為欲證經。所以佛答:塔有如來全身,即指佛法身。
⊙乃往過去東方無量千萬億阿僧祇世界:久遠劫前東方世界。

【證嚴上人開示】
「大樂說願見分身佛之問,正啟如來說出多寶願力,欲以我身示四眾彼佛故,分佛雲集一處證明妙法。」

大樂說
願見分身佛之問
正啟如來
說出多寶願力
欲以我身
示四眾彼佛故
分佛雲集一處
證明妙法

幾天來,就是一直描述著多寶佛塔現前,莊嚴的形態,證明法華的道場,所以諸菩薩、諸四眾,大家心踴躍歡喜,但是,人人心生疑問,怎麼會有這座塔忽然現前?歡喜,又是心中覺得稀有,從來不曾有的事情發生在現在,所以心會起疑,所以人人想要問。佛陀就將當場的大樂說菩薩,為作當機者,問:「大樂說,你有看到,這座塔現在大家的面前。」大樂說也是要代替大家,來解這心中稀有的疑問,所以大樂說也是想要看,看看這座寶塔的真相,裡面有發出了聲音,很期待,期待寶塔的真相。

尤其是釋迦佛的分身佛,要見證寶塔,寶塔來見證妙法。所以,大樂說就這樣來請佛,來問。這正是如來能說出了多寶佛塔,多寶佛他過去的心願。多寶佛,他在無數劫以前已經是成佛了,但是他要入滅之前,向著當時弟子這麼說:「為我建塔,讓我的全身都在寶塔中,心願就是將來任何一個世界,有講《法華經》之處,我的寶塔,就要現在法華的道場裡,來見證當時佛所說的《法華經》,是佛的法身,是世界救世良方。」這是多寶佛的心願,所以他任何一個世界,有佛講《法華經》的地方,即是有多寶佛塔現前,不是只在娑婆世界,釋迦佛說法這個時候,現出了多寶佛塔,是每一尊佛有說《法華經》處,多寶佛塔就會現前。

多寶佛塔,從法來說,這是表達一個法,人人聽《法華經》,從開始<序品>,見佛現光,瑞相照東方萬八千佛土,大家的心也是同樣,「得未曾有」。過去,佛不曾有這樣的發光現瑞,光照東方,還不曾有,這次是為什麼?大家也是「未曾有」那個感覺。但是現在寶塔現前,也是「怪未曾有」,這個心態。這個「未曾有」是什麼呢?過去我不曾這麼歡喜過。同樣的道理,過去不曾有這樣的感覺過,現在有這樣的感覺,這時有這樣的歡喜,這到底何種因緣呢?同樣的道理,聽法,從開始無間斷來聽聞佛法,從這個法,慢慢去體會,慢慢了解,《法華經》的內容,不斷連接下來,了解內容的充實。在虛空法界、人間中,人的心態,世間有形象的道理,無不都是含在這個法之中。不論是天空、法界,或者是在眾生含識,非常微細,或者是宇宙間一切的景象,無不都是微妙的道理涵蓋在內。所以說《法華經》,乃是治世良方。有心體會,自然那個法,得一法拳拳服膺。就像用顯微鏡,我們來看一滴水裡面,看到這滴水裡面,所含著各形各種的細菌,很多,沒有一項東西沒有這樣分析,裡面所含著的微妙的道理,在生物學中,你都看得到,這是在那顯微鏡中,能看出我們肉眼看不到,但是在物理學中那個,顯微鏡全都能顯現出來

有一回,我去臺北(慈院) ,去十六樓的時候,徐副院長的太太,淑媛教授,她剛好在檢驗室裡面,在研究、工作,我剛好進去,她剛好在看顯微鏡裡頭的東西。她看到我進去,就站起來,就向我說:「師父,我現在看到,發現到一項景象,妳想要看嗎?」我說:「怎麼看?」她就要我坐下來,眼睛這樣看往顯微鏡中。我就看,一看,我說:「妳去哪一個國家去遊覽、去觀光?」她說:「沒有啊!我沒有去哪裡觀光啊。」我說:「不然這是在哪裡的境界呢?怎麼這麼美啊!」她說:「師父,這不是任何哪裡的境界,這只不過是細菌中,很多菌的生態,您再看清楚一點。」再看清楚,真的,這細菌中,就好像是一個風景的世界一樣。看不出,平時肉眼看不出,卻是在那細菌中,看出了微妙的世界,是,這就是道理,寶塔現前。想想看,在經文中,高五百由旬,寬二百五十由旬。

五百由旬,這幾天一直向大家說,一由旬四十里,五百由旬,那就是二萬里。若說寬,寬二百五十由旬,那就是五百減半,那就是萬里。佛陀,迦毘羅衛國那個世界,在佛陀講經的靈鷲山,才多大呢?靈鷲山,那個地方哪有辦法容納,上萬里的這座塔的那個基礎,這麼寬的塔,尤其是這麼高。高,當然,虛空無盡;寬,在那個國家的國土有限。這當然是形容,形容法,用法,這相來形容這個法,就是要讓我們了解,了解法是至高無上。妙法有多高?佛能了解這個法,至高無上的法,那就是要修德,他的德就要有多高,這叫做「顯德」。

有一次,目犍連尊者就是想要探,到底佛德是多高,現出了他的神通,這樣看,佛的德行到底多高?佛的法身到底有多大?他用他的神通要來探佛的法身,他這樣展現神通,一直升到忉利天去,一直跟著佛的法身,一直升高、升高,到忉利天,還是無法測量出佛法身。目犍連的身體,雖然到了那個地方,一些天人發現到,發現到,說:「這是從哪裡來的,怎麼有一條黑肚蟲,在這個地方呢?」就有天人就說:「不能輕視他是一個小生物,其實他是娑婆世界,釋迦牟尼佛十大弟子,神通第一,目犍連尊者。」想,天人的身就很大,何況佛的法身呢?我們的人間,我們的身體在娑婆世界,人間的人身,到天堂去,好像是一隻小動物,一條蟲一樣,何況佛的德行呢?目犍連尊者,測佛的法身,到忉利天都還是測不到佛德,佛的法身,何況我們凡夫。不過,知道這個塔的意義,就是顯示佛德至高。塔的名稱,另外一個名稱叫做「顯德」,就是很有德行的人,才會有資格入塔。

人若往生之後,高僧大德才能入塔。現在是已經很普遍了,任何一個人的骨灰都能入塔。其實,塔是叫做顯德,顯出了修行者的德行,所以稱為塔。塔中就是法身,法身至高無上。所以,這段經文,我們要用法來分析這個相。我們若只是要用外相,來解這部經的法,我們就會落入了這種迷失,解不開的道理。若要真正去探究起來,它一由旬四十里,五百由旬就二萬里,高,很高,表示顯德。寬,塔的寬,萬里。有的人就在那裡作文章,「世間哪有這樣的,這是不可能」,就撥無道理。其實,道理,廣,真真正正,我們眾生所累世所造作,「有」的煩惱無明,這是含天蓋地,眾生的煩惱真的是很大。諸佛為度眾生,就是要有這樣的心量,來到人間。我們若用這樣的心態,來分析塔中的道理,後面,法要說下去,比較能通達。了解在前面,才能通這條路,要走這條路,也要先了解那個環境。

因為這樣,就是「大樂說,願見分身佛之問」。因為大樂說菩薩,與藥王菩薩是同等類,過去無量劫以前就一直修行,護持《法華經》,同類的菩薩。所以,他了解,這寶塔出現,若能啟問,十方的分身,釋迦牟尼佛的分身佛就能現前。因為這樣,大樂說的心願,就是希望問塔的因緣,自然就能見分身佛,所以因為這樣來問。就是這樣,才是啟起了佛陀能來解說,多寶佛的願力,這樣互相來交接,對這「佛佛道同」的道理,能這樣將它顯示出來。所以,「欲以我身,示四眾彼佛故」。所以,釋迦牟尼佛,將要講解多寶佛的願力,所以釋迦佛他說:「從我的身上示現於四眾。」我們前面都一直說過,四眾,那就是在家二眾、出家二眾。尤其是寶塔現前,諸天龍八部,全都在現場,所以釋迦佛就是為了要顯多寶佛的願力,所以釋迦佛要讓四眾都能了解,他就要分身雲集,讓大家能了解多寶佛的願力,所以釋迦佛的分身雲集,就是全都集合一處,來證明這個妙法。

多寶佛塔現前,是要來證明,釋迦佛所說的《法華經》,是應世的妙法。釋迦佛化身在各世界在說法,應方便,也是同樣化身,處處在度有緣眾生,分身十方去成佛。這個形象,釋迦佛還是同樣要將他們,完全集合過來,為了要見證多寶佛塔裡面的,多寶佛的心願,所以就換釋迦佛將十方佛、分身的佛要集合過來。佛讚佛,多寶佛來證明釋迦佛,釋迦佛來證明多寶佛的心願,這就是佛佛道同,彼此那種的讚歎成就。

東方寶淨世界之佛
入滅後
以本願為全身舍利
諸佛說法華經處
必於其前出現

就像「東方寶淨世界之佛」,他入滅之後,他的本願也是「全身舍利,諸佛說《法華經》處,必定現前出現」。東方寶淨世界,東方清淨的世界,那尊佛,那就是多寶佛,入滅之後,他的本願就是這樣,他的全身,全身在塔中,他的本願就是願意,在諸佛講《法華經》的地方,必定在那個道場現出,出現在那個道場。

有佛缺緣
無人請說妙法者
便入涅槃
如法華經中
多寶世尊
無人請故
便入涅槃
後化佛身及七寶塔
涌出為作證明
說法華經
濟世之妙故
一時出現

這也就是要描述,有的佛是缺緣,要入滅之前,沒人請法,沒人來請妙法。所以,法若沒人來請教,佛就無法講說。就像舍利弗,看到大眾心中有疑惑,代替大眾要來請教佛陀,所讚歎的佛智,微妙的佛智。佛陀不斷不斷讚歎,諸佛一切智、道種智、一切種智。〈方便品〉中不斷地讚歎,大家無法了解,那就是,舍利弗他就代替大家請佛,不只是一次,二次,第三次後,佛陀才開始開講《法華經》。有的佛就是缺了這個緣,沒人請佛將這個妙法說出來,這樣他就已經入滅了。但是,每一尊佛必定要講,《法華經》之後才入滅,但是也有這樣的佛缺了緣,還沒講說《法華經》就入滅了,所以他還是有願。就像《法華經》的多寶世尊,多寶佛一樣,就是在他的時代,要入滅之前,就是沒人請佛來講微妙法,所以他就交代大家:「我若入滅之後,為我建一座大塔,讓我的身體在塔中。」這就是他的心願,既然自己沒有說,只要有說《法華經》的地方,他必定要現身在那個會中。

所以,「後化佛身及七寶塔,涌出為作證明」。後來就將他的全身以及七寶塔,他就自然現前。這就是表示要告訴我們,每一尊佛來世間,哪怕是缺了那個因緣,還沒有將這妙法講出來,即使入滅之後,他還是要來人間證明,《法華經》是治世良方的妙法。佛佛道同,過去缺緣,現在也要來成就佛,任何一尊佛說法的因緣,來證明。所以,「說《法華經》濟世之妙法」,這就是來證明《法華經》,所以他一定是這樣,《法華經》的時候,那個時間、因緣成熟,寶塔現前。道理要清楚。

前面的文,就這樣說:「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》

怪未曾有,大家心中有疑,接下來的經文說「而白佛言」,現在大樂說菩薩,就開始要來問佛了,這段經文浮現出了,大樂說菩薩開始要來請問佛。

所以說:「而白佛言:世尊!以何因緣,有此寶塔從地湧出,又於其中發是音聲?」

而白佛言
世尊
以何因緣
有此寶塔從地涌出
又於其中發是音聲
《法華經見寶塔品第十一》

大樂說菩薩,他請教釋迦牟尼佛:「什麼樣的因緣,為什麼這麼殊勝呢?為什麼,怎麼有這樣的寶塔湧現出來呢?到底是什麼因緣?」這要問因緣。大家都要來了解,了解寶塔是從哪裡來?什麼因緣而來?這就是要顯出了一大事因緣。

而白佛言
世尊
以何因緣
有此寶塔
從地湧出:
以何等緣
欲知寶塔自來
正顯一大事因緣

諸佛出世都有一大事因緣,多寶佛寶塔現前也有他的因緣,釋迦牟尼佛應世在人間,也是同樣有一大事因緣,就是要了解這個因緣。

又於其中
發是音聲:
又於塔中
發出讚歎大妙之音

「又於其中發是音聲」,不只是塔現前,尤其是「又於塔中,發出讚歎大妙之音」。

從塔中發出了,非常稀有的音聲出來。大樂說菩薩所問的,他有含著三種意,前天也說過了。

問意有三:
以何因緣有此塔
何故從地涌出
何故塔中發大音聲

是「以何因緣有此塔?」第一的意思要問為什麼,是什麼因緣,怎麼會有這個塔呢?「何故從地涌出?」這個塔是為什麼會從地湧出?又是什麼樣的緣,為什麼塔中又有這樣,這麼大的音聲呢?這樣發出來。這三種緣,是大家歎未曾有,是為什麼?

眾人,大家都想要了解,而且要非常明白,分明,明辨,就是要很分明分別出了,塔中音聲讚歎的因由。

眾人欲明辨
塔中音聲
讚歎之因由
故虔敬心而請問
大樂說菩薩
知眾心之所念
故以言請
因以啟佛之答
而顯現其因緣

是什麼理由,是什麼因緣,是什麼道理呢?塔中為什麼有這樣的聲音?要好好地將它分別出來,分明,叫做分辨,要了解。故,大樂說菩薩,用至高虔誠的心,來請問釋迦牟尼佛。這就是大樂說菩薩,因為知道大家的疑心,未曾有,這個景象從來都沒有的,現在有了,所以大家心中有疑問,這是「眾心之所念」,大家的心念,稀有,這到底是為什麼呢?想要了解因緣。「故以言請」,要來請示佛陀。「因以啟佛之答」。因為有人請問,大樂說菩薩來請問,因為這樣,啟開了佛陀,釋迦牟尼佛的回答,回答出了多寶佛,以及未來要再解說下去,法的因緣。所以,必定諸法要有人願意問,佛就會開始講法,開示眾生。

接下來,再說:「爾時、佛告大樂說菩薩:此寶塔中有如來全身,乃往過去東方無量千萬億阿僧祇世界,」

爾時
佛告大樂說菩薩
此寶塔中
有如來全身
乃往過去東方無量
千萬億阿僧祇世界
《法華經見寶塔品第十一》

就是那時候,釋迦牟尼佛就開始回答,回答大樂說菩薩這樣說,這座塔,塔中有如來的全身,這個如來就是多寶佛,他是過去的東方,無量千萬億阿僧祇世界,是很遠很遠。「阿僧祇」,就是無量無量,無量的世界,千萬億無量世界。那個地方當然就是很遠,這是釋迦牟尼佛要來解釋,這個塔內佛的身及佛的本願,現在就是要開始。

爾時
佛告大樂說菩薩
此寶塔中
有如來全身:
因問故答
諸佛入滅
化火焚身
分布舍利為眾結緣
多寶入滅不曾化身
臨終付囑令眾起塔
供養遺體為欲證經
所以佛答:
塔有如來全身
即指佛法身

釋迦牟尼佛回答,「諸佛入滅,化火焚身,分布舍利,為眾結緣」。回答的事情就是說,佛,諸佛若入滅之後,就是將這個身體都火化掉,火化掉之後,大家就將佛的舍利,分布在每一個地方。就如阿育王一樣,阿育王的時代,因為他對佛的恭敬,在佛滅度後百年,阿育王的時代,他就蓋了八萬四千塔。他將佛火化之後的,骨灰、舍利,分成了八萬四千個塔,就是小小的塔,將它分在塔,分給很多很多的地方,在那個地方,讓大家供養。這是釋迦佛滅度後,他的身體是被火化,將他的舍利這樣分在,很多很多地方去讓人供養。

但是,多寶佛入滅,他是身體沒有火化,他是全身。他所交代的,就是為他建一個塔,全身在塔內。其實,近代,過去,也有高僧他「坐缸」,不是用棺木,就是坐缸,全身讓他坐在缸中,幾年後開缸,裡面他的全身還好好的。在汐止,慈航法師,他的全身還在,幾十年前,我剛初出家沒有多久,有開缸。那時候開缸也很轟動,全身還在。所以古代一直到近代來,還有這樣的,這叫做全身舍利。沒有火化,就是身體還保存著,這叫做全身舍利。

多寶佛也是這樣,入滅了,「不曾化身」,未將他火化,還是保留著全身。因為「臨終付囑,令眾起塔。供養遺體,為欲證經」。就是要後來在任何一個地方,他要去證明,這個寶塔現前,去證明,證明《法華經》,所講《法華經》就是治世良方,這就是多寶佛的心願。所以,釋迦牟尼佛所答覆的,是「塔有如來全身,即指法身」。如來全身就是法身,這塔中就有多寶佛的法身在。每一尊佛講《法華經》,《法華經》的全部,是佛的全身,就是佛的法身。

所以說,「乃往過去東方無量,千萬億阿僧祇世界」。

乃往過去東方無量
千萬億
阿僧祇世界:
久遠劫前
東方世界

這就是過去很遠很遠,就是無量億,經過了無量億的世界,那麼遙遠的地方,也是那麼久遠劫的時代,就是長久的時代,這麼遙遠的地方,那個世界裡的多寶佛。他就是這樣的願力,這麼長久的時間,這麼遙遠的地方,這個塔是從那個地方而來。忽然間,在這個道場這樣湧現出來。這道理在哪裡?是真實的物體,湧現在這個地方嗎?剛剛就說過,這幾天都有在描述,這是法,法來譬喻相,相來形容法。所以要讓我們知道,這寶塔就是法身,法身就是道理,道理之高縱,直的,是至高無上的道理。表示《法華經》的道理,是佛陀所覺悟的無上正等正覺。無上,就是無法去比喻的高,只好用「五百由旬」這樣來比喻很高,顯佛之德。佛德就是修來的,如何修?修六度,要行萬行。

福、慧,造福人間,六度,人群中,眾生的煩惱多多,就好像二百五十由旬,漫漫的煩惱很多,佛陀應眾生這種煩惱無量,所以需要入世來度眾生。佛陀將入滅,他要將這個法,付託給後代的弟子,所以必定也同樣要入人群中去,人群中,無量萬數眾生的煩惱。我們若能入眾生煩惱中,而不受煩惱所污染,化煩惱成菩提,勸導眾生體會佛法,這就是修慧。在眾生的煩惱中,去淬鍊出我們的智慧出來。所以,六度萬行,二萬行,不只是一萬行,是二萬行,所以,福萬行,慧萬行,就是在六度中來完成。是在眾生中,二百五十由旬,「二十五有」的煩惱中來完成。所以要大家真正的,法,聽法,要好好時時要多用心。


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Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: The Conditions Behind the Stupa of Treasures (啟請開示 寶塔因緣)
Date: January.17.2018

“Great Joyful Eloquence’s request to see the Buddha’s multiple manifestations inspired the Tathagata to speak of Many Treasures Buddha’s power of vows. He wanted to use His manifestations to reveal that Buddha to the fourfold assembly. So the Buddha’s manifestations gathered in one place to testify to the wondrous Dharma.”

For the past couple of days, we have been discussing how the stupa of Many Treasures Buddha appeared. Its magnificent appearance bore witness to the Lotus assembly. Because of this, all Bodhisattvas and all members of the fourfold assembly were jubilant and joyful. However, their minds gave rise to questions. How could this stupa suddenly appear like this? While they were joyful, they also felt that this was something quite out of the ordinary. This kind of thing had never happened before now, so they gave rise to doubts and everyone wanted to ask questions. The Buddha then designated Great Joyful Eloquence Bodhisattva who was present to serve as the recipient of the teachings. He asked, “Great Joyful Eloquence, do you see this stupa right in front of everyone?” On behalf of the others, Great Joyful Eloquence wanted to resolve the doubts regarding this extraordinary occurrence. Great Joyful Eloquence also wanted to see the truth behind this stupa of treasures and the voice that emanated from within. He looked forward to seeing the truth behind the stupa of treasures. In particular, the multiple manifestations of Sakyamuni Buddha wanted to bear witness to the stupa of treasures, which itself had come to stand as testimony to the wondrous Dharma. Therefore, Great Joyful Eloquence asked the Buddha. This was precisely the time for the Tathagata to discuss the stupa of Many Treasures Buddha and Many Treasures Buddha’s past vow.

Many Treasures Buddha had already attained Buddhahood countless kalpas ago. Before He entered Parinirvana, He said to His disciples at that time, “Build a stupa for me so that my entire body can abide in this stupa of treasures. I vow that in any world where the Lotus Sutra is taught, my stupa of treasures will appear at the Lotus Dharma-assembly to bear witness to what the Buddha of that time says. The Lotus Sutra is the Buddha’s Dharmakaya. It is the cure for saving the world.” This was the vow of Many Treasures Buddha. In any world where a Buddha teaches the Lotus Sutra, the stupa of Many Treasures Buddha will appear, not just in the Saha World. Now, when Sakyamuni Buddha taught the Dharma, the stupa of Many Treasures Buddha appeared. Wherever any Buddha expounds the Lotus Sutra, the stupa of Many Treasures Buddha will appear. According to the Dharma, the stupa of Many Treasures Buddha represents the principles. Everyone listened to the Lotus Sutra. Starting from the Introductory Chapter, they saw the Buddha manifest radiance and auspicious signs, which illuminated 18,000 Buddha-lands to the East. Everyone minds were also [illuminated] “They attained what they never had before.” In the past, the Buddha had never radiated light or manifested auspicious signs. He had never illuminated the East. So why did He do it this time? People felt this had “never happened before.” Now that the stupa of treasures appeared, they felt, “Such wonders were unprecedented.” What does it really mean for something to be “unprecedented”? [People say] “I have never felt this happy before.” In the same way, they had never felt this way before in the past. They felt like this now; they felt this kind of joy at this time. What were the causes and conditions behind this? This is also true for listening to the Dharma; from the very beginning, as we constantly listen to the Buddha-Dharma, we gradually gain comprehension and understanding of the contents of the Lotus Sutra. Continuously, we will come to understand the richness of its contents. The Dharma-realm of the universe, the human realm, our state of mind and the principles of all tangible things in the world are all encompassed by the Dharma. Whether in the vastness of the sky or in the subtleties of sentient beings’ consciousness or in all phenomena of the universe, all these subtle and wondrous principles are contained in this sutra.

Therefore, we say that the Lotus Sutra is the wondrous medicine for treating the world. If we have the aspiration to comprehend it, then naturally, when it comes to this Dharma, we will earnestly and sincerely accept each principle we learn. This is like using a microscope to observe a drop of water. This drop of water contains all kinds of bacteria. All things are like this. We analyze all the wondrous principles behind all things. In biology, we are able to see all these things. This is what we can see using the microscope, which can see what our naked eyes cannot. However, it is through physics that this microscope can reveal everything for us. One day I went to (the Tzu Chi Hospital in) Taipei. When I was on the 16th floor, the wife of Vice Superintendent Shyu, Professor Shuyuan, happened to be in the lab working and doing research. I happened to enter the lab. At that moment, she was looking at something under a microscope. Upon seeing me enter the room, she stood up and said to me, “Master, just now. I discovered something. Would you like to take a look?” She asked me to sit down and asked me to look through the microscope. After taking a look, I said, “Which country did you go visit? Where did you go sightseeing?” She said, “Nowhere I did not go anywhere at all.” Then I said, “If not, then what scenery is this? How could it be so beautiful?” She said, “Master, This is not a scenery. This is just bacteria. Take a closer look.” I took another look, and indeed, these bacteria are truly like a scene from another world.

We cannot see them with our naked eyes. However, within these bacteria, we can witness a subtle and wondrous world. Indeed, these are principles. As for the appearance of the stupa of treasures, think about it; in the sutra passages, it is 500 yojanas in height and 250 yojanas in width. When it comes to 500 yojanas, I have been telling everyone that one yojanas is equal to 40 li. Therefore, 500 yojanas are equal to 20,000 li. In terms of the width of the stupa, it was 250 yojanas wide. This is half of 500 yojanas, so it was 10,000 li [wide].

The Buddha’s kingdom of Kapilauastu, or Vulture Peak where He expounded the sutra, how big were they? How could Vulture Peak possibly be big enough to hold this stupa with a base of 10,000 li? [How could it hold] such a wide stupa, especially one that is so tall? It terms of height, of course, the sky is boundless. But in terms of width, the land of a kingdom has its limits. Of course, this is a description. The teachings behind this description is to use appearances to describe the principles. This is to help us understand that the Dharma is supreme and unsurpassed. The wondrous Dharma is very lofty. In order for the Buddha to understand this Dharma, this supreme and unsurpassed Dharma, He had to cultivate virtue; His virtue had to be just as high. So, [the stupa] “displayed virtues.” There was a time when Venerable Maudgalyayana wanted to see how high the Buddha’s virtues [reached]. So, he used his spiritual powers to see how high the Buddha’s virtues actually [reached] and how large the Buddha’s Dharma-body was. He used his spiritual powers to survey the Dharmakaya of the Buddha. Having manifested his spiritual powers, he rose all the way up to Trayastrimsa Heaven. Following the Buddha’s Dharma-body, he rose all the way up to Trayastrimsa Heaven. Even then, he still could not measure [the height] of the Buddha’s Dharma-body. After Maudgalyayana’s body arrived in that place, some heavenly beings discovered him and said, “Where did this come from? Why is there a black-bellied worm here at this place?” Some heavenly begins said, “Do not look down upon this little being. Actually, he is one of the ten great disciples of Sakyamuni Buddha of the Saha World, Venerable Maudgalyayana, who is foremost in spiritual powers.”

Imagine; the bodies of heavenly beings are this large [compared to humans] to say nothing of the Buddha’s Dharma-body. When it comes to our world, when our human bodies from the Saha World go to heaven, we look like tiny little creatures, like worms. How much greater then is the Buddha’s virtue? When Venerable Maudgalyayana tried to measure the Buddha’s Dharma-body, though he went all the way to Trayastrimsa Heaven, he still could not measure the Buddha’s virtue, which is the Buddha’s Dharmakaya. This is to say nothing of us unenlightened beings. However, we know the meaning behind this stupa, which is to demonstrate that the Buddha’s virtue.

So the name stupa can also mean “display virtue”. This means that only those who are very virtuous are qualified to enter the stupa. [In the past], after people passed away, only eminent monastics of great virtue could [be interred] within stupas. By now, this has become a very common practice, and anyone’s ashes can [be interred] within stupas. In fact, stupa means “display virtues”; they display the virtues of spiritual practitioners. Thus, they are called “stupas”. Inside the stupa [of treasures] is the Dharmakaya. The Dharmakaya is supreme and unsurpassed. So, for this sutra passage, we need to use the Dharma to analyze [the stupa’s] appearance. If we merely use external appearances to understand the principles behind this sutra, we will fall into confusion and will unable to understand the principles.

If we want to truly delve into the details, one yojanas is equal to 40 li, and 500 yojanas is equal to 20,000 li. The stupa is very tall, which displays virtue. The width of the stupa is 10,000 li. Some people might make an issue of this. “How could on earth could this be real? This is impossible!” They dismiss it as unreasonable. Actually, there are the reasons behind it. When it comes to the width, truly what we sentient beings have created lifetime after lifetime is the “existence” of afflictions and ignorance. This encompasses the heaven and earth. The afflictions of sentient beings are truly tremendous. In order for all Buddhas to transform sentient beings, they must have this space in their hearts to come to this world. If we use this kind of mindset to analyze the principles behind the stupa, later on, when we discuss the Dharma to come, we will understand it more thoroughly. We need to understand what is ahead of us so that we can successfully navigate this path. In order to walk along this path, we first need to understand its environment.

Because of this, there was “Great Joyful Eloquence Bodhisattva’s request to see the Buddha’s multiple manifestations.” This is because Great Joyful Eloquence Bodhisattva and Medicine King Bodhisattva are of the same kind. For countless kalpas, they had continuously engaged in spiritual practice and upheld the Lotus Sutra. They are the same kind of Bodhisattva. So, [Great Joyful Eloquence] understood that with the emergence of the stupa, if he could begin to ask questions, Sakyamuni Buddha’s multiple manifestations from throughout the ten directions would appear. Because of this, Great Joyful Eloquence Bodhisattva hoped to inquire into the stupa’s causes and conditions. Then, naturally, all would be able to see the multiple manifestations of the Buddha. So, this is why he asked [the Buddha]. Only by doing this was he able to initiate the Buddha’s explanation of Many Treasures Buddha’s power of vows. Through this kind of mutual exchange, the principle of how “all Buddhas share the same path” could be revealed. So, “He wanted to use His manifestations to reveal that Buddha to the fourfold assembly.” Sakyamuni Buddha was about to explain. Many Treasures Buddha’s power of vows. Thus, Sakyamuni Buddha said, “Through my [manifestation], I will reveal this to the fourfold assembly.” We have explained the fourfold assembly before. These are the male and female monastics and male and female lay practitioners. Due to the emergence of the stupa and the fact that the eight classes of Dharma-protectors were all present, Sakyamuni Buddha wanted to demonstrate the power of Many Treasures Buddha’s vow. So, in order to help the fourfold assembly, understand this, Sakyamuni Buddha had to gather together His multiple manifestations. To let everyone understand the power of vows of Many Treasures Buddha, Sakyamuni Buddha’s multiple manifestations would all gather together in one place to bear witness to this wondrous Dharma. Many Treasures Buddha’s stupa of treasures emerged to affirm the fact that the Lotus Sutra Sakyamuni Buddha taught is the wondrous Dharma suited for this world. Sakyamuni Buddha’s transformation bodies were in different worlds expounding the Dharma. Responding to skillful means, He would transform and He would go everywhere to transform sentient beings with whom He had affinities. He multiplied Himself and went in all directions of to attain Buddhahood. With all these appearances, Sakyamuni Buddha still had to gather all of them together to bear witness to the vows of Many Treasures Buddha who was inside Many Treasures Buddha’s stupa. So, Sakyamuni Buddha had to [gather] the Buddhas from throughout the ten directions; He gathered together His manifestations. These Buddhas praised one another; Many Treasures affirmed Shakyamuni’s [teachings] and Sakyamuni Buddha testified to Many Treasures Buddha’s vows. This shows that all Buddhas share the same path. They praised one another’s accomplishments.

After “the Buddha from the eastern land of Treasure Purity” entered Parinirvana, His fundamental vow was that, with “the saria of His entire body, wherever Buddhas teach the Lotus Sutra, He will definitely appear before them.”

In the eastern land to Treasure Purity, after Many Treasures Buddha entered Parinirvana, He had this fundamental vow. His entire body was inside the stupa. His fundamental vow was to go wherever Buddhas teach the Lotus Sutra and appear at those Dharma-assemblies.

Because some Buddhas lack affinities, no one asks Them to teach the wondrous Dharma, so They simply enter Parinirvana. For instance, in the Lotus Sutra, the World-Honored One Many Treasures was never requested to [teach the sutra], so He simply entered Parinirvana. Later on, He manifested His Buddha-body and this stupa of seven treasures, which emerged as proof that teaching the Lotus Sutra is the wondrous [medicine] to save the world. Thus, He appeared at that time.

This [passage] describes that some Buddha lack affinities. Before They entered Parinirvana, no one requested the wondrous Dharma from Them. So, if no one requests the teachings, the Buddha are unable to teach them. For instance, when Sariputra saw that the assembly had doubts, on the assembly’s behalf, he requested that the Buddha teach the subtle and wondrous Buddha-wisdom which the Buddha praised. The Buddha constantly praised the wisdom of all Dharma, wisdom of enlightenment and all-encompassing wisdom all Buddhas possess. In the Chapter on Skillful Means, He praised this constantly. When no one was able to understand this, Sariputra requested teachings from the Buddha on everyone’s behalf. He did not ask the Buddha only once or even twice, after the third time he asked, the Buddha finally began to teach the Lotus Sutra.

Some Buddhas lack these kind of affinities, so no one will ask these Buddhas to expound the wondrous Dharma. In this case, they will enter Parinirvana. However, every Buddha must expound the Lotus Sutra before they enter Parinirvana. Still; there are Buddhas like [Many Treausres] who lack the affinities. Before they teach the Lotus Sutra, they enter Parinirvana. However, They still have Their vows, just like the World-Honored One Mary Treasure in the Lotus Sutra. In His time, before He entered Parinirvana, nobody had requested that He expound the subtle and wondrous Dharma. Therefore, He told everyone, “After I enter Parinirvana, build a great stupa for me and keep my body inside the stupa.” This was His wish.

Since He did not expound the Dharma Himself, wherever the Lotus Sutra is taught, He will definitely manifest His body at that assembly. So, “Later on, He manifested His Buddha-body and this stupa of seven treasures which emerged as proof.” Later, He naturally manifested His entire body as well as the stupa of seven treasures. This tells us that every Buddha who comes to the world, even if He lacks the affinities and has yet to expound this wondrous Dharma, even if He has already entered Parinirvana, must still return to the world to testify that the Lotus Sutra is the wondrous Dharma, the medicine to treat the world. All Buddhas share the same path.

Though They may have lacked affinities in in the past, now, They will come to help fulfill the causes and conditions any Buddha needs for expounding the Dharma and attest to it. So, [It was proof that] “teaching the Lotus Sutra” is the wondrous Dharma that can save the world. He came to bear witness to the Lotus Sutra, so [Many Treasures Buddha] had to do this. When the Lotus Sutra [was taught], when the karmic conditions were ripe, the stupa of treasures appeared. We need to understand these principles.

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

Because it was strange and unprecedented, everyone had doubts and questions. The following sutra passage says, “So he said to the Buddha…” Now, Great Joyful Eloquence Bodhisattva had begun to ask the Buddha. The sutra passage showed us that Great Joyful Eloquence Bodhisattva had begun to ask the Buddha.

“So he said to the Buddha, World-Honored One, what are the causes and conditions that allowed this stupa to emerge from the ground and this voice to emanate from within?”

Great Joyful Eloquence Bodhisattva asked Sakyamuni Buddha, “What are these causes and condition?” “What makes it so extraordinary?” “Why did this stupa of treasures emerge [from the ground]?” “What are the causes and conditions behind this?” By inquiring into the causes and conditions, everyone wanted to understand where this stupa came from and what it’s causes and conditions were. This is to reveal the [Buddha’s] one great cause.

He then said to the Buddha, “World-Honored One, what are the causes and conditions that allowed this stupa to emerge from the ground”: What were the causes and conditions? They wanted to know where the stupa of treasures came from. [It came] precisely to manifest the one great cause.

All Buddhas appear in the world for one great cause. The appearance of Many Treasures Buddha’s stupa of treasures also had its own cause. When Sakyamuni Buddha manifested in this world He also had one great cause. We need to understand this cause. “[What allowed] this voice to emanate from within?” It was not just the stupa that appeared. “And from this stupa came a voice that praised the great wonders.” From within the stupa emanated an extraordinary voice. Great Joyful Eloquence Bodhisattva’s questions had three implications. We also discussed this two days ago.

His questions had three implications: What were the causes and conditions for the existence of this stupa? Why did it emerge from the ground? Why did the great voice come from the stupa?

“What were the causes and conditions for the existence of this stupa?” His first question was to ask what causes and conditions led to the existence of this stupa. “Why did it emerge from the ground?” Why did this stupa emerge from the ground? And what conditions caused the great voice to emanate from the stupa? These three kinds of karmic conditions were praised by everyone as unprecedented. Why did this happen? Everyone was eager to know, moreover, they wanted to understand it clearly. They wanted to clearly discern the cause of the sounds of praise that came from the stupa.

People wanted to clearly discern the cause for the sounds of praise that came from the stupa, so they inquired with reverent hearts. Great Joyful Eloquence Bodhisattva was aware of their thoughts, so He spoke up and asked the Buddha and thereby prompted the Buddha to answer and reveal its causes and conditions.

For what reasons, for what causes and conditions and for what principles did the stupa emanate this kind of sound? We must earnestly discern this; we must understand it clearly. Therefore, Great Joyful Eloquence Bodhisattva, with utmost reverence, asked Sakyamuni Buddha. Great Joyful Eloquence Bodhisattva understood that everyone was doubtful because this had never happened before. This kind of scene had never existed before; now that it appeared, people had their doubts. As the passage says, [ Great Joyful Eloquence] “was aware of their thoughts.” They all thought this was truly extraordinary. Why did this happen? They wanted to know its causes and conditions.“ So He spoke up and asked the Buddha.” He spoke up and asked the Buddha and “thereby prompted the Buddha to answer.” Because someone asked these questions, because Great Joyful Eloquence Bodhisattva asked these questions, because of this, He prompted the Buddha, Sakyamuni Buddha, to answer He answered by speaking of Many Treasures Buddha and the causes and conditions of the Dharma that He will be explaining in the future. Therefore, there must be people who are willing to inquire into the Dharma so that the Buddha will start to teach the Dharma and open and reveal it to sentient beings.

Continuing on, [the sutra] says, “At that time, the Buddha told Great Joyful Eloquence Bodhisattva, ’In this stupa of treasures is the entire body of the Tathagata from long ago, from infinite trillions of asankyas of worlds to the East.’”

At that moment, Sakyamuni Buddha began to answer. He replied to Great Joyful Eloquence Bodhisattva, [saying,] “In this stupa of treasures is the entire body of the Tathagata. This Tathagata is Many Treasures Buddha. He is from long ago, from infinite trillions of asankyas of worlds to the East, from very, very far away.” “Asankya” means infinite, countless, infinite trillions of worlds away. This is surely very far away. This is how Sakyamuni Buddha explained the body of the Buddha inside the stupa and this Buddha’s original vow. Now, He was about to begin.

At that time the Buddha told Great Joyful Eloquence Bodhisattva, “In this stupa of treasures is the entire body of the Tathagata”: Having been asked a question, He responded. After all Buddhas enter Parinirvana, Their bodies are burnt by fire and their sariras are disseminated in order to from affinities with sentient beings. On entering Parinirvana, Many Treasures Buddha did not [cremate] His body. Before the end of His life, He instructed people to build a stupa and make offerings to His remains to stand as testimony to the sutra. So the Buddha answered: “In this stupa of treasures is the entire body of the Tathagata.” This refers to the Buddha’s Dharma-body.

Sakymuni Buddha answered, “After all Buddha enter Parinirvana, Their bodies are burnt by fire and Their sariras are disseminated in order to from affinities with sentient beings.” His answer tells us that after all Buddhas enter Parinirvana, Their entire bodies are cremated. After Their bodies are cremated, everyone will disseminate Their sariras all over the place, just like King Ashoka did. In King Ashoka’s time, because of his great respect for the Buddha, 100 years after the Buddha entered Parinirvana, during King Ashoka’s time, he built 84,000 stupas. He took the cremated remains of the Buddha, the Buddha’s ashes, His sariras, and distributed them to 84,000 stupas. These were small stupas. By distributing the Buddha’s sariras to stupas in so many places, he helped the people there make offerings. After Sakyamuni Buddha entered Parinirvana, His body was cremated.

Later, [ King Ashoka] divided His sariras and sent them to many places for people to make offerings to them. However, when Many Treasures Buddha entered Parinirvana, His body was not cremated. His entire body was placed in a stupa. People built a stupa [to house] his entire body.

Actually, in recent times and in the past, some eminent monastics have been placed into urns. Instead of being placed into a coffin, they were placed into urns. Their entire bodies would be placed into urns. Several years later, when people open the urn, their body would still be intact. In Xizhi, Dharma Master Ci Hang’s entire body was still there. Several decades ago, when I had just become a monastic, the urn was opened. When they opened the urn it caused such a sensation because his entire body was still intact. From ancient times all the way to modern times, there have been these “whole-body sariras”. Bodies that have not been cremated but preserved are called whole-body sariras. After entering Parinirvana, Many Treasures Buddha do not [cremate] His body." His body was not cremated; His entire body was preserved because “Before the end of His life, He instructed people to build a stupa and make offerings to His remains to stand as testimony to the sutra." In the future, anywhere in the world, He wanted to testify [to the sutra], for this stupa of treasures to appear and stand as testimony. It would affirm that the Lotus Sutra is the wondrous medicine to treat the world. This was Many Treasure Buddha’s vow.

So, Sakyamuni Buddha answered, “In this stupa of treasures is the entire body of the Tathagata. This refers to the Buddha’s Dharmakaya.” The entire body of the Tathagata is the Dharmakaya. This stupa contains the Dharmakaya of Many Treasures Buddha. Every Buddha teaches the lotus Sutra. The entire Lotus Sutra is the entire body of the Buddha, which is the Buddha’s Dharmakaya. So, it says, “from long ago, from infinite trillions of asankyas of world to the East.”

From long ago, from infinite trillions of asankyas of worlds to the East: This means in distant kalpas, long ago, in the worlds to the East.

This was very, very far away; it was measured as infinite trillions. It was infinite trillions of worlds away, a place so far away. This was also in distant kalpas, long ago, a distant era in the past. In such a faraway place, in that world, Many Treasures Buddha had such [strong] power of vows. Over such a length of time and such a great distance, this stupa came from that place and suddenly emerged at this Dharma-assembly. What are the principles behind this? Was this a real object that emerged at this place? We just discussed this. For the past couple of days, we have been saying that the Dharma gives analogies for appearances, and appearances are used to describe the Dharma. This is to help us understand that this stupa is the Dharmakaya. The Dharmakaya is the principles. The height of the principles [described here] shows that they are supreme and unsurpassed principles. This shows that the principles of the Lotus Sutra are the unsurpassed, universal and perfect enlightenment that the Buddha realized. “Unsurpassed” means that it is so high-reaching that it is indescribable. Therefore, we have to use “500 yojanas” to describe how high it reaches and to demonstrate the virtues of the Buddha. The Buddha’s virtues had to be cultivated; how does one cultivate them? We need to actualize the Six Paramitas in all actions. We must cultivate blessings and wisdom, create blessings for the world and actualize the Six Paramitas. When we go among people, [we see that] sentient beings have so many afflictions. This is like [the stupa] spanning 250 yojanas. They have boundless afflictions. In order to address their countless afflictions, the Buddha needed to come to this world to transform sentient beings. Before the Buddha entered Parinirvana, the Buddha wanted to entrust this Dharma to His disciples of later generations. Thus, we must also go among people. When we go among people, [we see] all the countless afflictions of sentient beings. We can go amidst sentient beings’ afflictions without being contaminated by them, transform afflictions into Bodhi and guide sentient beings to comprehend the Buddha-Dharma. If we can do this, we are cultivating wisdom. Amidst the affliction of sentient beings, we can temper ourselves to gain wisdom. So, to actualize the Six Paramitas in all actions, we must actualize them in 20,000 actions., not just 10,000. We must actualize them in 20,000 actions. We must actualize them in 10,000 actions of wisdom and 10,000 actions of blessings. This is accomplished through the Six Paramitas. It is accomplished amidst sentient beings’ 250 yojanas [wide] afflictions, the afflictions of the 25 forms of existence. So, we need to truly listen to the Dharma and always be mindful.

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