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 20180122《靜思妙蓮華》古佛宿願 涌塔作證 (第1267集) (法華經•見寶塔品第十一)

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發表主題: 20180122《靜思妙蓮華》古佛宿願 涌塔作證 (第1267集) (法華經•見寶塔品第十一)   周日 1月 21, 2018 9:11 am

20180122《靜思妙蓮華》古佛宿願 涌塔作證 (第1267集) (法華經•見寶塔品第十一)

⊙「凡說法華經,便隨喜作證。佛各有別願,多寶佛願力,行菩薩道時,作大誓願力:若我成佛滅度,全身寶塔涌現。」
⊙「彼佛成道已,臨滅度時,於天人大眾中告諸比丘,我滅度後,欲供養我全身者,應起一大塔。」《法華經見寶塔品第十一》
⊙「其佛以神通願力,十方世界在在處處,若有說法華經者,彼之寶塔皆涌出其前。」《法華經見寶塔品第十一》
⊙「全身在於塔中,讚言善哉善哉。大樂說!今多寶如來塔,聞說法華經故從地涌出,讚言善哉善哉。」《法華經見寶塔品第十一》
⊙全身在於塔中,讚言善哉善哉:全身出現讚善哉者,應宿願故。
⊙大樂說!今多寶如來塔,聞說法華經故從地涌出,讚言善哉善哉:大樂說!其來意,令眾得知。
⊙釋迦牟尼既敘答多寶如來之往事,復明今日之塔涌虛空,多寶如來讚善者,即此之由,故再呼大樂說而申告之。
⊙「是時、大樂說菩薩以如來神力故,白佛言:世尊!我等願欲見此佛身!」《法華經見寶塔品第十一》
⊙樂說雖聞其言,未見容貌形儀,故請願見佛身;欲令群機決疑生信。
⊙是時、大樂說菩薩以如來神力故:以如來神力者,願藉佛慈非自己力而能得見。
⊙白佛言:世尊!我等願欲見此佛身:願見古佛多寶之身。以如來神力故白佛,謂由如來神力之所加被,故有此請。
⊙蓋此一請之因緣,至為重大,以下放光、集佛、變土等事,悉由此一問啟之。
⊙以佛神力:欲開塔須集分身,分身集明付囑,付囑即召下方,下方弟子涌出,即應開近顯遠,此是大事之由,豈非佛力加被哉!

【證嚴上人開示】
「凡說法華經,便隨喜作證。佛各有別願,多寶佛願力,行菩薩道時,作大誓願力:若我成佛滅度,全身寶塔涌現。」

凡說法華經
便隨喜作證
佛各有別願
多寶佛願力
行菩薩道時
作大誓願力
若我成佛滅度
全身寶塔涌現

《法華經》在講說的道場,忽然間寶塔湧現,這已經是表明了古佛,過去無量劫前,國土是離無量阿僧祇,那個東方世界。這個國土離娑婆世界,這個地方是那麼遙遠,這是表示心,佛佛道同,每一尊佛,都是關懷天地宇宙眾生,共同的心,共同的道理,所以,諸佛道同,道理都一樣,道理一樣,心理也一樣。所以,凡說《法華經》的地方,寶塔,多寶佛就隨喜作證。娑婆世界,釋迦佛講《法華經》,一尊佛,多寶佛,他就來隨喜助緣,來作見證。這讓我們能再加強信心,就是他方佛來作見證。

所以,「佛各有別願」,多寶佛也有他的願力。每一尊佛除了通願,共同的願以外,他還有他的別願。釋迦牟尼佛,他的別願,就是永遠在娑婆世界度眾生。我們要了解,釋迦牟尼佛他的悲願,就像地藏菩薩的悲願一樣,就是到最苦難處度眾生,這是別願。阿彌陀佛呢?他發願就是到西方,最極樂的地方去說法,也是度眾生。這是各尊佛不同的願。多寶佛,他的別願,就是哪一個世界、哪一個地方,講《法華經》處,他的願力是寶塔現前作證明。上次我們也說過了,多寶佛他有心願,成佛之後,度眾生而說法;但是缺了這個緣,缺人請法,講《法華經》那個緣,所以沒有講《法華經》。在他將滅度時,他就這樣發願,雖然自己沒有因緣,完成講《法華經》,但是他發願,發願任何一個地方,講說《法華經》的道場,寶塔就要浮現在那個地方,他作證明,這就是多寶佛的心願。這個心願是從行菩薩道時開始,這是他的誓願。

所以,「若我成佛滅度,全身寶塔涌現」。是全身哦,他將入滅後,交代弟子,建莊嚴寶塔,他全身入寶塔去,藏在寶塔中,任何時代、任何世界,任何佛在任何道場,講說《法華經》的道場,他必定寶塔現前。這就是顯示真理,真理是永恆的,真理是天地之間,亙古不變的道理。我們若能了解,這寶塔,〈見寶塔品〉中的道理,我們才能很清楚透徹,才不會執著在那個相。我們應該要通理,理要通,不是執在那個相。就像慈濟人在全球,比如說美國,近年來一直災難頻傳,有時地震,也有災難;有時颳大風,颶風,也造成了很大的災難;加上了龍捲風,一天的時間,幾十個龍捲風,連續好幾個州,那個損失,損害。更頻傳的,那就是火災;火災,整年的時間,美國已經傳了幾次的森林火災,每一場的火災都是很大場,一燒都是很多天,有的燒了近整個月,是連續一直燒。

看到美國雖然地大,森林也多,森林就是保護大地,樹木能調和空氣,但是看到美國這麼大的國家,這麼大的山林,森林,這樣一次次受火這樣燒,一燒就是好幾天,整個月。看到他們晚上通天紅的火,白天就是滿天都是霾霧,這看了心就很難過,尤其是愈燒愈接近人所聚居的地方。慈濟人在那個地方,他們就密切注意,當然,法親與法親之間互相關懷,互相報平安,然後大家就互動,注意哪一個地方有損傷到社區,人住的地方,他們就要準備救災、發放。看到一個訊息回來,那就是在鳳凰城,叫做亞納爾森林(Yarnell位於亞利桑那州政府鳳凰城西北約137公里處),這個地方,一場的大火,已經波及到人群聚居的地方,燒很多天了。地上在打火的人,消防隊員也有十幾個人受傷,也有損失,空中也是這樣噴灑,想要滅這場火災,好像很困難,一直很多天後,一場火開始燒過了,就熄掉了,燒過就沒有東西可燒,自然就熄了。

慈濟人開始準備勘災,鳳凰城聯絡處,慈濟人踏入災區去,看了,不捨啊,這麼多戶的受災戶,大家,有的人投親靠友去了,有的人就是無語問蒼天,住在帳篷裡面,也是受災落難。名冊造好了,開始要發放了。慈濟美國總會,一群人,就從加州開車,一開就要六個多鐘頭,這麼遙遠的地方,他們就來與鳳凰城的慈濟人,這樣會合起來,開始用兩天的時間要做發放(七月十二、十三日)。紅十字會與救世軍,也來提供資料,也來協助慈濟,踏入那個災區去,所看到的畫面,真的是人生無常。其中一個災民,他自己很感慨,這樣與大家分享,他說一輩子這樣儲蓄,賺錢很認真,幾十年的時間,很不容易儲蓄了一筆經費,在鳳凰城買地、建房子,去年才開始,房子全都建好,也裝潢了,才想他能穩居享受了。

房子建好之後,不久,他就出國去了,出國去,這個地方發生火災,等到他回來時,他幾十年的心血,所建設的家園已經是一堆灰,全都變成灰燼了,他很感慨。所以,慈濟人聽這個故事,那就感覺,這就是叫做無常,師父常常說:「是無常先到,還是明天先到呢?」聽到這位先生在分享,他幾十年的辛苦努力付於一炬,就是這樣就全都燒毀掉了。出國去,回來了,什麼都沒有了,這真的是無常啊!所以,大家互相勉勵,見苦知福,見無常,才得要把握時間,人生什麼都不用執著,修行是自己的,累積福業是自己的,所以更互相勉勵,彼此精進。開始去發放,地點就是借教堂,神父也來協助了,紅十字會、救世軍、教堂神父,全都來協助慈濟這次的發放。發放的東西就是他們最最需要,災民感恩,協助的人感動,互相讚歎,彼此歡喜。所以這互相感恩,互相歡喜,這不就是叫做法喜呢?這不就是天下的大道理呢?

世間在有形物質的無常,哪怕是千年,幾億年前,大自然的森林,幾千年的大樹,就是無常,毀掉了。人短短幾十年,幾十年的時間努力打拚,也是一個希望,能有一個穩定、理想的家園。人算不如天算,就這樣共業,房子建好了,在這群共居的地方,這樣一場火災將它燒掉了。人間、山河大地,不都是這樣無常的道理存在呢?一項最重要的,就是愛,永恆的大愛,人人本具的愛心。紅十字會、救世軍、慈濟、教堂,這不都是充分有愛心的團體嗎?是啊!就是充分有愛心的宗教,的團體,是共同一個道理,人與人之間要互助,天經地義,這是諸佛菩薩來人間,將要教化的大道理。行在菩薩道上,覺有情,覺悟世間無常、苦、空,所覺悟,這一群有情人為人間付出,這也就是大道理。

所以,諸佛人間說法,無不都是要讓我們體會、了解,「人生無常,國土危脆」,真的是無常啊!人生短暫,佛法難聞,我們既然短暫的人生,能聽聞佛法,這天經地義的道理,「諸惡莫作,眾善奉行」,「無緣大慈,同體大悲」,這些受苦難人與我們沒有關係,不過是天地之間,同體大悲,不就是共同體呢?是啊,所以我們不忍眾生受苦難,這個道理,人人要知道。道理存在哪裡?就是天地之間。凡夫不懂,佛陀來人間,啟發我們人人,人人本具的真如,人人本具佛性,讓我們知道,讓我們懂,讓我們啟開我們的愛心,這就是道理。在娑婆世界佛說道理,他方古佛來證明道理,這就是我們要珍惜,所以我們要用心啊!

看看前面的文:「彼佛成道已,臨滅度時,於天人大眾中告諸比丘,我滅度後,欲供養我全身者,應起一大塔。」

彼佛成道已
臨滅度時
於天人大眾中
告諸比丘
我滅度後
欲供養我全身者
應起一大塔
《法華經見寶塔品第十一》

昨天說過了,多寶佛他成佛,沒有那個因緣,因為沒有請法的人,所以他《法華經》,沒有那個因緣講說,但是他發願,任何一個地方講說《法華經》,他,連他的寶塔,都要到那個道場去聽經,要在那個道場作證明,這是多寶佛的心願。所以他在臨滅度那當中,呼籲他的弟子完成他這個願,所以要建塔,將他的全身藏在寶塔中,任何一個地方講說《法華經》,他的寶塔就現前

接下去的文說:「其佛以神通願力,十方世界在在處處,若有說法華經者,彼之寶塔皆涌出其前。」

其佛以神通願力
十方世界在在處處
若有說法華經者
彼之寶塔
皆涌出其前
《法華經見寶塔品第十一》

任何一個地方,任何一個世界,在在處處,只要有講《法華經》的地方,他的寶塔就是這樣湧現出來,這是多寶佛的心願。

接下來這段文,用心來體會,來:「全身在於塔中,讚言善哉善哉。大樂說!今多寶如來塔,聞說法華經故從地涌出,讚言善哉善哉。」

全身在於塔中
讚言 善哉 善哉
大樂說
今多寶如來塔
聞說法華經故
從地涌出
讚言 善哉 善哉

前面的文就是多寶佛發願,交代弟子他的身後用塔,他的全身,將他藏在塔中,這個全身在塔中,這樣歷經這麼久的時間,現在釋迦佛的道場,他湧現了,尤其是在塔中讚言「善哉,善哉」,這是那時候的境界。

全身在於塔中
讚言善哉善哉:
全身出現讚善哉者
應宿願故

釋迦牟尼佛他就再叫大樂說,大樂說菩薩,現在,「今多寶如來塔,聞說法華經故從地涌出」。

大樂說
今多寶如來塔
聞說法華經故
從地涌出
讚言善哉善哉:
大樂說
其來意
令眾得知

過去是這樣,多寶佛是這樣的心願,寶塔現前,他就會在塔中出聲音,現在也是這樣。「大樂說!現在我釋迦佛在講《法華經》,這個時刻多寶佛塔,聽到《法華經》就湧現了。」所以「讚言,善哉、善哉」。這就是表示多寶佛他的心願,他就是全身入塔中,到任何一個地方,塔出現時,他就會發出聲音。這是應他的宿願,過去古遠以來就是這樣的心願,未成佛前,菩薩修行時就有這樣的願,成佛之後,雖然沒有那個機會,講說《法華經》,但是心願在任何地方、任何世界,在在處處講《法華經》的地方,他都一樣能將寶塔現前,聽經、證明。這就是佛陀向大樂說菩薩說,現在的多寶如來的塔,就是聽《法華經》而來湧出、而來讚歎。這是為大樂說講說,佛陀講了寶塔現前的意義,就是讓大家也能知道,不是只有大樂說菩薩知道,就是當場的大家,聽法者,大家都了解。

釋迦牟尼既敘答
多寶如來之往事
復明今日之塔
涌虛空
多寶如來讚善者
即此之由
故再呼大樂說
而申告之

釋迦牟尼佛就是在敘述、回答,回答大樂說前面所問的,釋迦牟尼佛來回答,就是多寶如來他過去的往事。大樂說是問寶塔浮出來,但是佛陀就開始解說,多寶佛過去的往事。再者,要更清楚,「復明今日之塔涌虛空中」,讓大家更清楚,這個寶塔湧在虛空,不只是浮現在大地,又是這樣湧現出虛空。虛空就是離地了,不是在土地上,他這個寶塔又是向上,浮起來了,湧虛空就是已經浮,浮起來,在虛空中,離地,在虛空中。「多寶如來讚善哉」。如何來讚歎呢?就是因由,有很多的因由,這寶塔就是浮現在虛空中,再者佛陀還是要讓大家,提起精神,要讓大家要密切注意,所以佛陀他就會再呼喚大樂說,這樣來喚起大家注意聽。所以我們要提神,注意聽。

下面這段文接下來再說:「是時、大樂說菩薩以如來神力故,白佛言:世尊!我等願欲見此佛身!」

是時
大樂說菩薩
以如來神力故
白佛言
世尊
我等願欲見此佛身
《法華經見寶塔品第十一》

大樂說菩薩,雖然已經聽到,佛塔中多寶佛的聲音,雖然聽到了,現在要再進一步所要要求,希望以如來的神力,能夠顯現出多寶佛的身形。因為多寶佛出聲是在塔中,這非神力不可,尤其是這座塔,是從那麼遙遠的古時代,這麼遙遠的國界,這樣浮現在現在娑婆世界,這就是佛的神力。佛的神力,既然發聲在內,也期待人人能見到多寶佛,這也要靠佛的神力,能夠寶塔中的多寶佛現身,讓大家看得到。這是一個好奇的心,不只是好奇,也是很殷勤、懇切、誠意的心願,想要能得見多寶佛的全身。這是大樂說代替後來的,不只是當場的人,問、請,請問,也是為我們後代的人,我們現在的人,我們也要了解多寶佛的佛身,是長什麼樣子呢?塔中的境界是怎麼樣呢?我們也是很期待能了解。所以,大樂說菩薩,不只是他自己心期待,盼望著能看到多寶佛,當場的人也是這樣的盼望。其實我們,未來的我們,二千多年後的現在,我們也是很盼望能了解。

樂說雖聞其言
未見容貌形儀
故請願見佛身
欲令群機決疑生信

所以這是大樂說,「雖聞其言」,大樂說雖然在當場,他有聽到,聽到多寶佛的聲音,讚歎善哉、善哉,證明釋迦佛所講說的法,真實不虛,這是大樂說當場的人都有聽到。但是「未見容貌形儀」,還沒看到人,多寶佛的形態。「故請願見佛身,欲令群機決疑生信」。除了要讓大家看得到,也要讓大家心中的疑問,能解疑,能更相信。這也就是大樂說,他既是來助道場,與藥王菩薩同等,他都知道。但是當場聽經的人不知道,尤其是未來的人,更無法了解,所以為了群機,每個人的根機都不同,有的人好樂欣慕,但是聽到聲音,雖然相信了,但是好樂,希望能見到。但是有的人心疑,到底是真,是假呢?群機不同。所以為了要解決,讓人人心中無疑,道理要更清楚,為未來的眾生更了解這個道理。所以因為這樣,大樂說就代替未來的眾生、現場的聽眾,這樣再請教佛,仗佛神力,想要能見到多寶佛的全身。

是時
大樂說菩薩
以如來神力故:
以如來神力者
願藉佛慈
非自己力而能得見

所以說,「是時,大樂說菩薩以如來神力故」,這就是要借著如來的神力才有辦法,所以「願藉佛慈」,佛慈,「非自己力而能得見」。他要能看到多寶佛的全身,談何容易啊!那就要借佛陀的慈悲的力量,才有辦法見到多寶佛的全身。當然是需要。多寶佛,為什麼來?是為釋迦佛的法而來。要見多寶佛,那是古遠的古佛,談何容易看得到呢?要借佛的慈悲願力,釋迦牟尼佛他的願力,他的神力,我們才有因緣見得到。因為這樣,「白佛言:世尊!我等願欲見此佛身!」

白佛言
世尊 我等願欲
見此佛身:
願見古佛多寶之身
以如來神力故白佛
謂由如來神力
之所加被
故有此請

我們大家,不只是我,是在座每一個人,都是這樣的期待,期待能見到多寶佛。「願見古佛」,古,很古,那是無法去計算的時間。多寶佛現在能湧現在道場裡,又是一直離地,浮在虛空中,這是一件很奇妙,在前面的經文,「怪未曾有」。「怪」,大家就是有懷疑,「未曾有」,是歡喜,怎能看到這樣的景象呢?這是前面的文,就已經這樣說過。所以這是很遠古的一尊佛,就是多寶佛。現在竟然浮現在大家的面前,大家的欣樂、歡喜,尤其是虔誠。所以需要仗如來神力,一定要仗如來,釋迦牟尼佛的神力。所以因為這樣來請佛。「故白佛」,「白佛」就是很虔誠表白,他的心願。不只是他的心願,也是人人的心願,這叫做「白佛」,表白,將他內心的心願表白出來。「謂由如來神力之所加被」,一定就是要仗著如來的神力加被我們,讓我們有這樣的機會,讓我們有這樣的福報,這樣能看到古佛的全身,所以這樣來請,敬請佛。

所以「此一請之因緣」,這就是大樂說請佛,想要見古佛的因緣。

蓋此一請之因緣
至為重大
以下放光、集佛、
變土等事
悉由此一問啟之

所以「至為重大」,這是一大事因緣,古佛的寶塔,既在法華會道場這樣浮現出來,這怎不是一大事呢?真的是重大啊!這個道理,很大道理,前面已經解釋寶塔的大道理,所以我們就知道,這個大道理,「六度萬行」這個大道理。

以下,現在後面再下去的文,就有放光、集佛,再下去,寶塔的形象,與多寶佛,與釋迦佛開始要會合,放光,真的是很不簡單的事情,這是一個很精彩的景象,將要發現了,所以以下的文就向大家先預告,在以下的經文,應該就開始有放光與集佛,所有的分身佛都會集合過來。佛陀,娑婆世界的佛陀開始為了要容納這麼多分身佛來,而變土等事,很多,這就是在〈見寶塔品〉後開始,開始要顯現出來。這就是由於大樂說菩薩這一啟問之後,後面接著就會有很多道理就這樣一直出來,形象也很多能夠顯出來,大家能見法,了解道裡。所以「悉由此一問啟之」。這樣一問,就能問出下面佛陀能說很多法,現很多相。

剛才我們有說,多寶佛他為什麼沒說《法華經》呢?就是缺緣,缺人問,所以這個法沒有講出口,所以他入滅時才有這樣的心願。問法、請法是多麼重要啊!要有智慧,問得對,要是問不對,那就是世間凡夫所問的,就是凡夫事。怎樣的智慧能問出真正的真理,值得佛陀知道這些根機可接受,他才能說出妙法出來。所以啟問是非常重要。

「以佛神力:欲開塔須集分身,分身集明付囑,付囑即召下方,下方弟子涌出,即應開近顯遠」。

以佛神力:
欲開塔須集分身
分身集明付囑
付囑即召下方
下方弟子涌出
即應開近顯遠
此是大事之由
豈非佛力加被哉

這就是大事的因緣,這就是以佛神力,這是後面的經典要展示存在,所以,啟請是很重要,後面很精彩的法和相,就會浮現出來,「即應開近顯遠」,這就是大事的因緣。

開近,就是這個時候,因為寶塔現前,大家在現在,聽《法華經》充滿了法喜。法入心來,應該就像,生命中很乾,已經得到水了,應該生命中的水分;來滋潤我們的慧命,慧命成長,應該要很成熟,根機應該能來接受大法之時,應該要有。所以要啟請問法,這就是佛陀的用意。在這〈見寶塔品〉這一段,就是要人人將這根機,全都要啟發起來。道理應該入心,信念應該要全部能體會,所以不必怪,不要疑,疑就生怪了。所以這個形象現出,有很多很多的形象,裡面很多很多的道理。所以,因為這樣,雖然是〈見寶塔品〉,一座塔有什麼法好說呢?法很充足,看我們有辦法聽嗎?能接受嗎?這要看我們修行者是不是有多用心。


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發表主題: 回復: 20180122《靜思妙蓮華》古佛宿願 涌塔作證 (第1267集) (法華經•見寶塔品第十一)   周五 7月 06, 2018 3:27 pm

Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: The Vow the Ancient Buddha Made in a Past Life (古佛宿願 涌塔作證)
Date: January.22.2018

“When anyone teaches the Lotus Sutra, He will rejoice in affirming it. Every Buddha has His own specific vows. Many Treasures Buddha’s power of vows is in the strength of the great vow He made while practicing the Bodhisattva-path. ‘After I have attained Buddhahood and entered Parinirvana, the stupa of treasures with my entire body will emerge.’”

At the place where the Lotus Sutra was taught, suddenly, a stupa of treasures emerged. It indicated [the presence of] an ancient Buddha from countless kalpas ago. His land was countless asankyas of [worlds] away, in a land to the east. That place was far away from the Saha World. This demonstrates that all Buddhas share the same intent and the same path. Every Buddha cares for all sentient beings in the universe. They are of the same mind. They share the same principles. So, all Buddhas share the same path; their principles are the same. Their principles are the same and the workings of Their minds are also the same. So, in any place the Lotus Sutra is taught, with His stupa of treasures, Many Treasures Buddha [will come to] rejoice and bear witness to it. In the Saha World, when Sakyamuni Buddha taught the Lotus Sutra, a Buddha called Many Treasures came to rejoice and provide assistance by affirming the [truth of this teaching]. This enables us to strengthen our faith. This Buddha from another land came to testify.

So, “Every Buddha has His own specific vows.” Many Treasures Buddha too had powerful vows. Every Buddha, in addition to shared vows, the vows all Buddhas hold in common, has His own specific vow. Sakyamuni Buddha’s own particular vow was to remain forever in the Saha World to deliver its sentient beings. We should understand that the compassionate vow of Sakyamuni Buddha is just like that of Earth Treasury Buddha. [He vowed] to go where suffering is greatest to deliver sentient beings. This was His specific vow. What about Amitabha? He vowed to go to the Western Land to teach the Dharma in the place of ultimate bliss. He also vowed to deliver sentient beings. Thus, these Buddhas each have their own different vows. Many Treasures Buddha’s specific vow was that in any world, in any place, wherever the Lotus Sutra is being taught, He will manifest a stupa of treasures there to testify [to the teachings].

Last time we also spoke of how Many Treasures Buddha [made this] vow. After attaining Buddhahood, He would deliver sentient beings and teach the Dharma. However, He lacked the karmic conditions; no one requested teachings from Him. He lacked the conditions to teach the Lotus Sutra. So, He never expounded the Lotus Sutra. When He was soon to enter Parinirvana, He made this vow. Though He did not have the causes and conditions to teach the Lotus Sutra to completion, He made a vow that at any place where the Lotus Sutra was being taught, His stupa of treasures would manifest there so that He could testify to [this teaching]. This was Many Treasures Buddha’s wish. He [made] this vow at the time He walked the Bodhisattva-path. This was His vow. So, [as it says], “After I have attained Buddhahood and crossed into Parinirvana, the stupa of treasures with my entire body will emerge.” It will be His entire body! Before He entered Parinirvana, He instructed His disciples to build a magnificent stupa of treasures and His entire body would [be placed] in the stupa to be stored there. In any era, in any world, at any Dharma-assembly where a Buddha was teaching the Lotus Sutra, His stupa of treasures will certainly appear there. This is to affirm the true principles.

True principles are everlasting. The true principles of the universe remain unchanged throughout the ages. Only by understanding the principles in the Chapter on Seeing the Stupa of Treasures will we attain thorough understanding. Then we will not cling to [the stupa’s] appearance. We should [focus on] understanding the principles; we must understand the principles and not cling to the appearance.

This is like our Tzu Chi volunteers around the world. In the US for instance, over the last few years, disasters have occurred with increasing frequency. Sometimes an earthquake causes a disaster. Sometimes strong winds or hurricanes can also cause huge disasters. Tornadoes are yet another cause. In the space of a day, dozens of tornadoes touched down in several states, resulting in severe damage. Even more frequent are disasters caused by fire. There are fires all year long. The US has already experienced several forest fires [this year]. Every time there is a fire, it spreads widely and burns for many days. Some have burned for nearly an entire month; these fire burned continuously.

The US is a very vast country, and there are many forests. The forests protect the land, and the trees [oxygenate] the atmosphere. Yet we can see, even in a land as big as the US, with its great mountains and forests, how it is burned by one fire after the next. Once a fire starts, it can burn for an whole month. At night, the sky shines red with firelight. During the day, the sky is filled with dense smoke. It is heartbreaking to watch, especially when the fires get closer and closer to residential areas. Tzu Chi volunteers in that area keep a close eye on this, and of course, people in our Dharma-family care for each other and keep in touch about their safety. Furthermore, everyone works together. Learning that a fire has damaged a community, a place where people live, they make preparations to help with disaster relief and aid distributions. Some news was sent back to us from the Yarnell Forest in the Phoenix area. In this place, a major fire had already reached residential areas. It has been burning for many days. Of those fighting the fire on the ground, the freighters, over a dozen were injured and some even lost their lives. They tried dropping water on it from the air. Extinguishing this fire proved to be very difficult. Only after many days did the fire finally burn itself out. It burned until there was nothing left to burn, then it naturally died out. Tzu Chi volunteers prepared to assess the disaster. Volunteers from the Phoenix chapter ventured into the disaster area. What they saw was heartbreaking! So many families were affected by the fire. Some could stay with their family and friends. Others had nowhere to turn for help. They now live in tents and have fallen into hardship because of the fire. [Volunteers] compiled a list of names in preparation for a distribution. From Tzu Chi USA Headquarters in California, a group drove there. There drive took six hours. They came from so far away to join that group of Tzu Chi volunteers in Phoenix. It took two days to distribute aid. The Red Cross and the Salvation Army also provided resources and assisted out Tzu Chi volunteers. When they entered the disaster area, the send before their eyes truly [proved] that life is impermanent.

One of the disaster survivors sighed deeply as he shared his story with them. He said he had been saving up his entire life and [working] diligently to earn money. After several decades, he finally saved up the money he needed to buy land and build a house in Phoenix. In the last year, the house was finally completed and furnished. Finally, he was ready to settle in and [relax]. Shortly after his house was completed, he traveled abroad. While he was [traveling], a fire struck his area. When he returned home, he saw that this decades-long labor of love, the home he built, had been reduced to ashes. All that was left was a pile of ashes. He was distraught.

When Tzu Chi volunteers heard his story they thought, “This is an example of impermanence. Master often asks, ‘Will impermanence strike before tomorrow arrives?’” They listened to this man share his story. He had worked so hard for several decades; now, in a cloud of smoke, [his home] was completely burned up and destroyed. He went abroad, and when he returned home, there was nothing left at all. Truly, this is impermanence! So, [the volunteers] encouraged one another to recognize their blessings by witnessing suffering. On witnessing impermanence, they wanted to make use of the time they have. In life, there is nothing to be attached to. Our spiritual practice depends on us, and the blessings we accumulate are ours. So, they encouraged each other even more to help each other advance diligently. They began distributing aid. They borrowed space from a church, and the priest came to assist them as well. The Red Cross, the Salvation Army and the priest all came to help with Tzu Chi’s aid distribution. They distributed things that people needed most. The survivors were grateful, and those helping them felt moved. They all praised one another and were happy. Isn’t this mutual gratitude and shared happiness what we would all Dharma-joy? Isn’t this a fundamental principle of the world?

Ever material object in the world is impermanent. Even a forest that is thousands of years old or even hundreds of millions of years old, and huge trees that are thousands of years old can be destroyed by impermanence. Human life lasts only for a few decades. This man worked hard for several decades all with the hope of being able to have a stable, ideal home. What man proposes, heaven disposes. This is the workings of collective karma. He had just built a house in this community when a fire burned it to the ground. Aren’t the world’s mountains, rivers, and lands all subject to the principle of impermanence? What is most important is love, everlasting great love, the love intrinsic to everyone. The Red Cross, the Salvation Army, Tzu Chi, the church, aren’t these all organizations filled with love?

Indeed! Any organization or religion that is full of love shares a common principle. Everyone should help each other; this is a natural principle. All Buddhas and Bodhisattvas come to the world to teach this great principle and transform us. The awakened beings on the Bodhisattva-path have realized that everything in the world is filled with impermanence, suffering and is empty. This group of awakened sentient beings serve others in this world. This is the great principle [they teach us]. So, all Buddhas expound the Dharma in the world solely to help us experience and understand that. “Life is impermanent, and the land is fragile. Truly, everything is impermanent! Life is short, and it is rare to hear the Dharma. Although our lives are short, we have heard the Dharma, these fundamental principles. “Refrain all evil, do all that is good. [Practice] unconditional loving-kindness. These suffering people are not related to us, however, if we view everyone in the world with universal compassion, don’t we also feel their suffering as our own?

Yes! So, we cannot bear for sentient beings to suffer. Everyone must know these principles. Where are these principles contained? [They are found] in the world. Ordinary people do not understand [this]. The Buddha came to the world to awaken in us our intrinsic nature of True Suchness. Everyone intrinsically has Buddha-nature. He helped us to realize this, to understand this, and to awaken the love in our hearts. These are the principles. As the Buddha taught the principles in this world, an ancient Buddha from another land came to testify to these principles. This is something we must treasure. So, we must be mindful!

Let us look at the previous sutra passage. “That Buddha had already attained Buddhahood and was about to enter Parinirvana. Before an assembly of heavenly beings and humans, He told all of the bhiksus. After I cross into Parinirvana, those who wish to make offerings to my entire body, must build a great stupa.”

We discussed this yesterday. When Many Treasures Buddha attained Buddhahood, He was lacking the causes and conditions, as no one came to request teachings from Him. So, when it came to teaching the Lotus Sutra, He never had the opportunity to do so. However, He vowed that in any place the Lotus Sutra was being taught, He and His stupa of treasures would go to that Dharma-assembly to listen to the teaching and bear witness to them. This was Many Treasures Buddha’s vow. So, when He was about to enter Parinirvana, He called on His disciples to help fulfill His vows. They were to build a stupa and place His entire body in this stupa of treasures. Then, wherever the Lotus Sutra was being taught, His stupa of treasures would appear there.

The next passage says, “By that Buddha’s spiritual powers and the strength of His vows, in the worlds of the ten directions, wherever there are people who teach the Lotus Sutra, that Buddha’s stupa of treasures will always emerge before them.”

In any place, in any world, anywhere the Lotus Sutra is taught, His stupa of treasures will emerge there. This was Many Treasures Buddha’s wish.

Let us be mindful in comprehending this passage. “With His entire body in the stupa, He will say in praise, ‘Excellent! Excellent! Great Joyful Eloquence, now that Many Treasures Tathagata in His stupa hears that I am teaching the Lotus Sutra, He has emerged from the ground and said in praise, “Excellent! Excellent!””

In the previous passage, Many Treasures Buddha had made His vow. He instructed His disciples to place His remains inside a stupa. They were to place His entire body in the stupa. After His entire body was in the stupa, a very long, extended time passed. Now, at Sakyamuni’s Dharma-assembly, He emerged. Moreover, from His stupa He said in praise, “Excellent! Excellent!” This was the scene at that time.

With His entire body in the stupa, He will say in praise, “Excellent! Excellent!”: His entire body will manifest and give praise, saying “Excellent!”, in accordance with His past vow.

Again, Sakyamuni Buddha called to Great Joyful Eloquence. “Great Joyful Eloquence, now that Many Treasures Tathagata in His stupa hearts that I am teaching the Lotus Sutra, He has emerged from the ground.”

Great joyful Eloquence, now that Many Treasures Tathagata in His stupa hears that I am teaching the Lotus Sutra, He has emerged from the ground and said in praise. “Excellent! Excellent!”: Great joyful Eloquence, I will let the assembly know the reason this stupa came.

In the past, Many Treasures Buddha had this vow. When the stupa of treasures manifests, He will call out from inside the stupa. This is exactly what happened here. “Great joyful Eloquence! Now that I, Sakyamuni Buddha, am teaching the Lotus Sutra, at this moment Many Treasures Buddha’s stupa, upon His hearing this sutra, has emerged. So, “He says in praise, ‘Excellent! Excellent!’” This was Many Treasures Buddha’s aspiration. With His entire body inside stupa wherever His stupa appeared, wherever His stupa appeared, He would call out from within He did this in accordance with His past vow. This has been His wish since long ago in the past. Even before He became a Buddha, while He was practicing as a Bodhisattva, He had this vow. After attaining Buddhahood, He never had the opportunity to teach the Lotus Sutra. So, He vowed that in any place, in any world, wherever it may be, if the Lotus Sutra was being taught there, He would cause the stupa of treasures to appear so He could listen and bear witness to [the sutra]. This is what the Buddha told Great joyful Eloquence. Now, Many Treasures Buddha’s stupa had emerged so He could listen to the Lotus Sutra and give praise. He explained this to Great joyful Eloquence. The Buddha explained the meaning of the stupa of treasures’ emergence so that everyone could know, not just Great joyful Eloquence. This was for everyone there listening, so that all of them could understand.

Sakyamuni Buddha answered by describing the history of Many Treasures Tathagata. He further explained that the stupa’s present emergence into the vast sky and the praise of Many Treasures Tathagata all happened for this reason. So, He called again to Great joyful Eloquence and told him this.

Sakyamuni Buddha was describing this in response to Great joyful Eloquence’s previous question. Sakyamuni answered him with this description of Many Treasures Tathagata’s history. Great joyful Eloquence asked about the stupa’s emergence, but the Buddha began explaining what happened to Many Treasures Buddha in the past. Next, to make it even clearer, “He further explained the stupa’s present emergence into the sky. This helped clarify even further that the stupa of treasures floated into the sky. It did not just appear on the earth; it emerged into the vast sky. Into the sky means that it left the ground. It was no longer on the ground. The stupa of treasures kept floating upwards. Emerging into the vast sky means it was floating. It floated in the air, off the ground in mid-air. “The praise of Many Treasures Tathagata…” Why did He come to give praise? There were many reasons that the stupa of treasures was floating in the sky. Furthermore, the Buddha also wanted to help rouse everyone’s spirits and get them to pay closer attention. So, He called out again to Great Joyful Eloquence so that they would listen carefully. Thus, we must rouse our own spirits and listen well.

The next passage says, “At that time, Great Joyful Eloquence Bodhisattva, relying on the Tathagata’s spiritual powers, spoke to the Buddha, ‘World-Honored One, we wish to see this Buddha’s body.’”

Great Joyful Eloquence Bodhisattva had already heard Many Treasures Buddha’s voice from inside the stupa. Although he heard it, now he wanted to go a step further, so he made this request. He hoped the Tathagata, with His spiritual power, could reveal Many Treasures Buddha’s physical form. Because Many Treasures Buddha’s voice came from inside stupa, this would only be possible with spiritual power. In particular, this stupa came from such a distant time, from such a faraway land, and now it had emerged in Saha World. This was due to that Buddha’s spiritual powers. With that Buddha’s spiritual powers, since His voice could be heard from within, [Great Joyful Eloquence] hoped that everyone could see Many Treasures Buddha. But they needed [Sakyamuni’s] spiritual powers for Many Treasures Buddha inside the stupa to manifest Himself for everyone to see. [Great Joyful Eloquence asked] out of curiosity. He was not only curious, but also very diligent and earnest. He was very sincere in his aspiration to see Many Treasures Buddha’s entire Body. Great Joyful Eloquence did this on behalf of future beings, not just for those currently at this assembly. He asked questions and made his request for the sake of future generations. As for those of us here today, we should also understand what [appearance]. Many Treasures Buddha’s body takes. What is it like inside the stupa? We too hope to understand this. So, Great Joyful Eloquence Bodhisattva was not the only one looking forward to this and hoping to see Many Treasures Buddha. Everyone else there also had the same hope. Indeed, for those living now in the future, we also really hope to understand this.

Though Great Joyful Eloquence heard His words, he had not yet seen Him in person, so he requested to see the Buddha’s body, to help people of all kinds of capabilities resolve their doubts and give rise to faith.

So, though Great Joyful Eloquence “heard His words…” Great Joyful Eloquence was at that assembly, and he heard Many Treasures Buddha’s voice saying in praise, “Excellent! Excellent!” affirming that Sakyamuni Buddha’s teachings were true and not false. Great Joyful Eloquence and those assembled had heard Him, but they “had not yet seen Him in person.” They still had not seen Many Treasures Buddha in person. “So, he requested to see that Buddha’s body to help people of all kinds of capabilities resolve their doubts and give rise to faith.” In addition to helping them see Him, he wanted to help resolve their doubts and deepen their faith. This was Great Joyful Eloquence’s [intention]. He too came to assist at the assembly in the same capacity as Medicine King Bodhisattva. He knew all of this, but the others listening to the teachings did not. In particular, those of future generations would find this even harder to understand. This was for the sake of everyone’s capabilities, as everyone’s capabilities were different. Some were delighted and admiring. Though they heard the voice and believed, they were curious and hoped to see [Him]. Still others had doubts in their minds. Was this real or was it illusory? Everyone’s capabilities were different. So, in order to resolve this and leave everyone without a doubt, the principles had to be made clearer. [He also hoped] sentient beings in the future would better understand these principles. For all these reasons, Great Joyful Eloquence, on behalf of future sentient beings and those at this assembly, made this request of the Buddha, that He would exercise His spiritual powers, because he wanted them to see Many Treasures Buddha’s entire body.

At that time, Great Joyful Eloquence Bodhisattva, relying on the Tathagata’s spiritual powers: He relied on the Tathagata’s spiritual powers. He wished to avail himself of the Buddha’s loving-kindness, as his own powers were insufficient to enable everyone to see.

So, it says, “At that time Great Joyful Eloquence Bodhisattva, relying on the Tathagata’s spiritual powers…” He needed to use the Tathagata’s spiritual powers in order for this to be possible. Therefore, “He wished to avail Himself of the Buddha’s loving-kindness as his own powers were insufficient to enable everyone to see.” He wanted to see Many Treasures Buddha’s entire body. This was easier said than done! It required the power of the Buddha’s compassion for everyone to see Many Treasures’ entire body. Of course this was necessary. Why did Many Treasures Buddha come? He came for Sakyamuni Buddha’s teachings. To see Many Treasures Buddha, this ancient Buddha from the distant past, would not be an easy feat. This required the power of the Buddha’s compassion. Only with the power of Sakyamuni Buddha’s vows, His spiritual power, do we have the causes and conditions to see. For this reason, “[He] spoke to the Buddha, ‘World-Honored One, we wish to see this Buddha’s body.’”

[He] spoke to the Buddha, “World-Honored One, we wish to see this Buddha’s body”: They all wished to see the body of the ancient Many Treasures Buddha. Relying on the Tathagata’s spiritual powers, he spoke to the Buddha. Relying on the blessing of the Tathagata’s spiritual powers, he made this request.

“All of us, not just me, everyone sitting here, hope to see Many Treasures Buddha. They all wished to see the ancient Buddha.” He is very ancient, from an incalculable amount of time in the past. Many Treasures Buddha had now emerged at this place of spiritual practice. [The stupa] remained off the ground, floating in the air. It was a very wondrous sight!

The previous passage states, “Such wonders were unprecedented.” It was so “wondrous” that it gave everyone doubts. This “unprecedented” event made them happy. How did they come to see such a scene? This was in a previous passage, one we already talked about. So, this Buddha from the very distant past was Many Treasures Buddha. Now [this stupa] was actually floating in front of everyone. Everyone was very happy and rejoiced. Moreover, they were reverent. So, they needed to rely on the Tathagata’s spiritual powers. They had to depend upon the Tathagata, on Sakyamuni Buddha’s spiritual powers. This is why he made this request of the Buddha. “He spoke to the Buddha. Spoke to the Buddha” means that he reverently made clear the wish in his heart. This was not just his wish; this was also everyone else’s wish. Thus it says he “spoke to the Buddha”. He expressed his innermost wish to the Buddha. “Relying on the blessing of the Tathagata’s spiritual powers” means we have to rely on the Tathagata’s spiritual powers to bless us so that we have this kind of opportunity, this kind of blessing, to see the ancient Buddha’s entire body. So, he respectfully made this request to Him. These were “the causes and conditions of this request.” This is why Great Joyful Eloquence asked [Sakyamuni] to see the ancient Buddha.

The causes and conditions of this request were extremely significant. The following events of emitting radiance, gathering the Buddhas and transforming the lands were all initiated by this request.

So, this was “extremely significant”; these causes and conditions were significant. For the ancient Buddha’s stupa of treasures to appear at the Lotus Dharma-assembly in this way, how could this not be a significant event? This was truly significant! There is a great principle behind this. Earlier we explained the great principle behind the stupa of treasures. So, we know that this great principle is “actualizing the Six Paramitas in all actions.” This is the great principle.

The passage that follows describes the emitting of radiance and gathering of the Buddhas. What comes after that is the appearance of the stupa of treasures and Many Treasures Buddha coming together with Sakyamuni Buddha [after] He emitted light. This is truly remarkable. A very exciting thing was about to take place. So, the passages to come will give us a preview. The next passage begins to describe the emitting of radiance and gathering of the Buddhas. Here, all of the Buddha’s manifestations will gather together. The Buddha of the Saha World, in order to accommodate all these manifestations, had to “transform the lands.” In the Chapter on Seeing the Stupa of Treasures, this will begin to be revealed. After Great Joyful Eloquence Bodhisattva makes this request, many principles will continually become apparent Many kinds of appearances will also manifest. Everyone will witness the Dharma and understand its principles.

So, “All were initiated by this request.” Because of this question, the Buddha gave many teachings and manifested many appearances. Earlier, didn’t we explain why Many Treasures Buddha never taught the Lotus Sutra? He lacked the conditions; no one requested it. This is why He never taught it. This is why He had this wish before He entered Parinirvana. Asking for the Dharma and requesting teachings is very important. One needs wisdom and must ask the right question. If one asks incorrectly, then one’s questions are about mundane matters. It takes wisdom to ask questions that elicit truths and principles. This is how the Buddha knew they had the capabilities to understand. Only then would He teach the wondrous Dharma. So, the initial request is very important.

“[This] requires the Buddha’s spiritual powers. To open the stupa, He needed to gather together His manifestations. When His manifestations were gathered, He openly entrusted [the sutra]. He called together those below Him to entrust it. When the disciples below Him emerged, He accordingly opened the near to reveal the far."

These were significant causes and conditions. This required the Buddha’s spiritual powers. This is demonstrated later in the sutra. All these phenomena contain wondrous Dharma. So, the initial request is very important. Later on, magnificent teachings and appearances will manifest before them. “He accordingly opened the near to reveal the far.” These were the significant causes and conditions. This was the time to open the near. Because the stupa of treasures appeared, now everyone there was listening to the Lotus Sutra, filled with Dharma-joy. Taking the Dharma to heart is like quenching our thirst with water. This moisture [we attain] in our life can nourish our wisdom-life. As our wisdom-life develops, it must be very mature; then we will have the capacities to accept the Great Vehicle Dharma. This is what we need. So, we must initiate a request for the Dharma. This was the Buddha’s intention. He expounded the Chapter on Seeing the Stupa of Treasure because He wanted everyone’s capabilities to completely awaken. We need to take the principles to heart. With faith we can comprehend everything. So, we need not think this is strange or doubt it. Doubts give rise to confusion. After this appearance manifests, many appearances will manifest, and they will contain many principles. For this reason, though we have the Chapter on Seeing the Stupa of Treasures, [we may wonder,] what can a stupa possibly teach us? There is an abundance of teachings. Are we able to listen to them? Can we accept them? This depends on us spiritual practitioners, on whether we are always being mindful.

(Source: Da Ai TV – Wisdom at Dawn program – Explanation by Master Chen-Yen)
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20180122《靜思妙蓮華》古佛宿願 涌塔作證 (第1267集) (法華經•見寶塔品第十一)
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