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 20180130《靜思妙蓮華》變土迎賓 華藏淨界 (第1273集) (法華經•見寶塔品第十一)

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發表主題: 20180130《靜思妙蓮華》變土迎賓 華藏淨界 (第1273集) (法華經•見寶塔品第十一)   周一 1月 29, 2018 2:15 pm

20180130《靜思妙蓮華》變土迎賓 華藏淨界 (第1273集) (法華經•見寶塔品第十一)

⊙「琉璃為地等,顯出華藏澄淨界;無諸聚落等,隱去娑婆之陋汙。會眾緣熟則留,天人非器則避,即染而淨,寶樹黃金為繩界道。」
⊙欲集十方分身,必變娑婆穢土,遣去染垢之心,得見實相真境。
⊙「南西北方、四維上下,白毫相光所照之處,亦復如是。」《法華經見寶塔品第十一》
⊙「爾時、十方諸佛各告眾菩薩言:善男子!我今應往娑婆世界釋迦牟尼佛所,並供養多寶如來寶塔。」《法華經見寶塔品第十一》
⊙「時娑婆世界即變清淨,琉璃為地,寶樹莊嚴,黃金為繩以界八道。」《法華經見寶塔品第十一》
⊙時娑婆世界即變清淨:欲集諸佛,故釋迦尊以神通力先淨其土,此釋變土迎賓。
⊙變土:謂變穢土為淨土。賓:指十方分身佛。
⊙諸分身佛將至,即如來大法身將同時顯現,故穢土立現淨相。
⊙在此淨土:皆其心清淨已受佛記之眾,不住小乘,遠離心垢,故亦不見穢土之相。
⊙琉璃為地,寶樹莊嚴,黃金為繩以界八道:顯出華藏之淨界,釋迦世尊實報之土,本淨如此。
⊙為欲化度頑惡眾生,故現五濁同居穢土,今欲說實,所以現起清淨國土,眾寶莊嚴。

【證嚴上人開示】
「琉璃為地等,顯出華藏澄淨界;無諸聚落等,隱去娑婆之陋汙。會眾緣熟則留,天人非器則避,即染而淨,寶樹黃金為繩界道。」

琉璃為地等
顯出華藏澄淨界
無諸聚落等
隱去娑婆之陋汙
會眾緣熟則留
天人非器則避
即染而淨
寶樹黃金為繩界道

聽、看、想,回憶一下,東方受佛眉間毫光所照的地方,每一個世界,佛所說法,都是有無量菩薩;無量菩薩所住的國土,是玻璃為地,寶樹,還有寶幔等等,來莊嚴那個國土。這表示了在那個國土,就是佛法很昌盛,很多的國界都是有佛在講法,有講法的地方,就有無量的菩薩在那個國土裡。國土這麼多菩薩,人人的心都是這麼的清淨,淨如琉璃,沒有污濁,全都是善,這是多麼莊嚴的世界呢!這是佛所分身的世界,也就是佛法昌盛的地方。

這就是多寶佛塔現前,塔中多寶佛的聲音出來了,大樂說菩薩代替眾人來請求,希望能看到多寶佛的全身。釋迦牟尼佛就說:「要看到多寶佛的全身,多寶佛的心願,要將我的分身,從十方世界都來集合。」大家還記得。所以佛為了要讓四眾,人人能見到多寶佛,多寶佛期待,人人若要看到他的全身,就要釋迦佛分身齊集,這是互相的心願。所以,娑婆世界釋迦牟尼佛,也開始集分身的佛,全都會集來了。在這當中,就是要變這個娑婆的穢濁,成為清淨的國土。就像我們要請客人來,也得要布置我們的空間。我們要有這麼大的空間,才有辦法承納這麼多人來,所以他必定要變穢土為淨土,這當中顯出了華嚴澄淨的世界。他方佛的世界都那麼清淨了,何況現在大家要集合一處,當然這個娑婆世界也要展現出了清淨的世界,所以說「琉璃為地等,顯出華藏澄淨界」。

就將這污濁的地方,就布置得真正是莊嚴的世界,就像華藏。華藏就是華嚴的世界,華藏的世界,那就是佛陀覺悟,第一個覺悟那時候,他的身心以這個華藏呈現出來,那個境界,就是華嚴的世界,是靜寂澄清,莊嚴而清淨的世界,這是佛的心地。佛的心地就是這麼清淨,就是華嚴世界,澄淨世界。這樣的世界,那就是「無諸聚落等」,沒有這樣聚落。聚落,那就是像我們的世間,有城市、有鎮、有鄉,就是有人聚集的地方。不論是鄉鎮、城市,建築都不同,有的是很簡陋、貧窮的地方,有的就是富有的地方,但是佛的世界就沒有這樣,佛的世界就是一片平等清淨,沒有聚落,所以在娑婆世界要「隱去娑婆之陋汙」。

這個娑婆世界就是濁氣很重,非常的簡陋,就是娑婆世界非常的污穢。我們常常在人間,很多人說,哪裡的風景多美。再怎麼美,都沒有其他佛國的清淨。其他佛國,我們講經,常常都現出了佛清淨的國土。娑婆世界是五趣雜居的地方,當然有大自然,山河大地很美,但是人類將山河大地破壞了,建很多人想要去遊覽,要休息的大飯店,去享受的地方,再美的自然景觀,同樣人類破壞了,何況一切其他的地方,所以娑婆世界就是陋污。但是佛,釋迦牟尼佛,開始召集所有的諸分身佛,要來共聚一處。這個時間,很多人,會眾,有緣的,緣成熟了,他就留住了。天人呢?「非器則避」。天人,他不是有這個根機能聽這圓教,這圓教,多寶佛塔到了,佛陀也開始要集,這麼多的分身佛到來,道場就要全都稍微整理過,其實這也就是要顯示,法就是要顯示出了:佛陀過去所講這麼多品,一段一段,從佛至高無上的智慧,佛智、道種智、一切種智。

從〈方便品〉,佛陀不斷不斷一直讚歎,讚歎佛的心靈境界,希望大家能了解華藏世界,但是凡夫無法去體會,智識不夠,根機還未成熟,所以大家還無法體會。但是舍利弗了解佛的心意,就代替大家請法,佛陀三止,那就是這些人的根器,還未能接受,就像現在「天人非器則避」,同樣的道理。佛陀三止,在〈方便品〉,舍利弗就是一再,而三的請求,佛陀才開始,「汝既三請,豈得不說」。開始要說時,這時五千人退席了。這就是像現在,這段〈見寶塔品〉,本來諸天帶著天眾,天龍八部都在這個會場,很歡喜要來聽法,但是多寶佛塔出來了,大家也看到了,但是現在多寶佛的心願,佛陀要再重新召集這麼多人,這些天人也是沒有那個根機,可來接受,所以他們退座了,所以「天人非器則避」,就離開了。他們也認為:這麼多人要來,現在就讓別人。沒有那個熱誠:我也同樣要聽。沒有這個熱誠,所以他們就離開了。就這樣。

「即染而淨,寶樹黃金為繩界道」,在莊嚴這個道場。這染污,就是還有凡夫心,還有污染心,有的還未完全去除,非根機的人,他就退避了;是根機的人,他就是因緣成熟,就是會集。所以這個道場有凡夫、有聖人,有根機很成熟的、有根機未成熟的,現在諸方的佛菩薩要來聚會,所以這個染的就這樣去除,淨的就留下來了,所以「即染而淨」。這是表示我們的心態,我們真正要了解佛的法身,這幾天一直說,法身就是真理,佛身、法身就是真理,現在要向大家將這個真理,從內心再提起。所以,提起了真誠的真理,我們體會,要蠲除了層層的無明,煩惱、無明、塵沙惑,這都要一層一層去除。天人非器要避去,因為他們的根機不夠,天人享受天福,天龍八部,還不是接受這個大法的根器,所以他們避。修學佛法的人,既然修學了,就要去除無明煩惱,還有遺留著一點點的無明,或者是塵沙惑還未完全去除,現在此刻就是真理要回歸了。

不論你過去所了解的,遠古,「遠古」,就如多寶佛時代很長久,塵點劫、無量劫,很遙遠。同樣,道理永恆,不論多遠、多長的時間,還是同樣,佛的道理開始說出來之後,這個道理再長、再遠、再廣,同樣能合集回來,共住一處。我們的身心,若將這些道理全都會合來,人人的身心就是清淨如琉璃,我們的心地清淨如琉璃,就像華嚴的世界一樣,就像佛覺悟的那個初時,佛陀的心靈境界。我們人人也是同樣,既是有真如本性,只要佛陀為我們啟發,我們好好用功,我們要將無明去除,去除了無明,我們智慧覺海現前了,是與佛同等,所以我們的心境,即染而淨。雖然凡夫染著的心,無明塵沙惑,現在這個時候,佛陀為我們掃除了,要讓我們將所有的法,不論多長、多遠,這個真理,法身,都應該要會集,會集我們的心地裡來,一片的清淨。

所以,「即染而淨」。儘管我們的心還有微小的煩惱,這個時刻應該也都要掃除,是清淨。心地一清淨,「寶樹黃金為繩界道」,就很有價值了,黃金作為繩子,讓我們這個道路,一片的道路都是很平坦,就是用這個繩,黃金構造起來的繩來作為界址。這就是我們也已經心沒有污染,防非止惡,惡念全都去除了,善念全都浮現出來,這就是一片清淨心地。這就是佛所講法,就無量數的菩薩現前。無量數的菩薩聽法,再為他的眷屬再講法,法充遍了那個國土,這就是佛要集分身佛來,那個道場人人心靈境界。

欲集十方分身
必變娑婆穢土
遣去染垢之心
得見實相真境

所以,「欲集十方分身,必變娑婆穢土,遣去染垢之心,得見實相真境」。這也就是佛陀開始,說要集十方分身佛,意思就是要大家這念心,哪怕是還住在娑婆世界這個穢土,卻是我們的身心,人人的都是一片清淨,將它遣掉了污垢的心,全都沒有了,沒有污染,所以「得見實相」。實相就是真理,真理那個境界就是真實的境界,我們的真如本性,最真實的境界,那就是與佛同等的心靈境界,就是華藏世界。這就是佛陀的用意。

我們來看前面的文,前面就說,佛眉間毫光已經照射到東方的世界,每一個世界,就是五百萬億那由他,恆河沙的世界,就是這麼多。這就是說佛陀的道理,那個中道的道理,這一片的光明在人人心中,五百萬億那由他恆河沙種種的煩惱,大家都應該清淨去除了,因為這個光一照,應該照入人人的心,所以他說,眉間毫光這樣照,所照之處,向東方照。豈只是向東方照?不只,「南西北方、四維上下」,全部都蒙受了這毫光,「白毫相光」。

南西北方
四維上下
白毫相光所照之處
亦復如是
《法華經見寶塔品第十一》

這樣照耀到了,大家都是一樣,人人的心態,應該真理入心了。真理就是光明,佛陀所說法,就是一道一道的光明,來照耀了我們心靈的黑暗,變成了是光明。

又下面文再說:「爾時、十方諸佛各告眾菩薩言:善男子!我今應往娑婆世界釋迦牟尼佛所,並供養多寶如來寶塔。」

爾時
十方諸佛
各告眾菩薩言
善男子
我今應往娑婆世界
釋迦牟尼佛所
並供養
多寶如來寶塔
《法華經見寶塔品第十一》

這段文,前面,光都已經照耀到了,那時候,十方那些世界,就是每一個國土就有一尊佛,有一尊佛,他就向他所有那個世界的菩薩,這樣說話:「我現在要去到娑婆世界,釋迦牟尼佛所,我也同時要供養,多寶如來的寶塔。」這也就是形容,我們雖然了解佛法,我們更要尊重,現在釋迦佛所說的法,我們現在還要敬重遠古的佛,因為現在釋迦佛所講說的法,也就是承遠古的佛所講說的法。佛佛道同,同樣的法是這樣傳承下來的,何況多寶佛他的心願,哪個地方講《法華經》,他的寶塔就是要現前去證明,這是古佛要證明現在佛所說的教法。現在我們也要很了解,引古證今,就是引過去古佛的道理,來證明現在佛所說的教法,所以要表示恭敬供養,這應該我們要很清楚。

來,再下來這段文就說:「時娑婆世界即變清淨,琉璃為地,寶樹莊嚴,黃金為繩以界八道。」

時娑婆世界
即變清淨
琉璃為地
寶樹莊嚴
黃金為繩以界八道
《法華經見寶塔品第十一》

這段文,經文就浮現出來,剛剛所說的,娑婆世界要變得很清淨,清淨莫過於琉璃,琉璃一點污穢都沒有,所以琉璃很清淨。最貴重的就是黃金,黃金構成繩子來界道路,這道路是八線道,在我們在看八線道路的路,是這麼廣,這麼廣,它是用畫的,但是在那個世界,是用黃金當作繩子,這樣一道一道,可見那個國土是多麼珍貴,用琉璃來為地。寶樹莊嚴,黃金為繩,為線,為繩,這樣來界,界土地的界址,真的有條有理。這表示道理,人人要行八正道。世間的道路有八線道,但是佛法的道理有八正道,這是很可貴。,以八道」

所以說,「時娑婆世界即變清淨」,「欲集諸佛,故世迦尊以神通力先淨其土」,所以娑婆世界要變清淨,釋迦牟尼佛的神通力先淨其土。釋迦佛已經開始,將我們眾生的心地,為我們清淨,因為先以「苦」,從煩惱中「集」來,讓我們知道苦從煩惱來,所以我們已經大家下功夫了,大家已經清除心地了。我們的用功,無不都是在清除心地,這是釋迦牟尼佛用方法,讓我們了解我們心靈的污濁,讓我們懂得了解,如何好好去除心地污濁。這是佛陀的神力,先將我們的心地去除污濁。 這就是解釋「變土迎賓」。

時娑婆世界
即變清淨:
欲集諸佛
故釋迦尊
以神通力先淨其土
此釋變土迎賓
變土:
謂變穢土為淨土
賓:指十方分身佛

我們的心境很污濁,所以我們要趕緊將它清除,清除過了,這個心境就會清淨。為了要迎賓,就是還要再接受新的道理來,過去的道理讓我們知道,清理心地的方法,我們現在開始又有新的道理要進來了,譬如迎賓進來。所以說「變土」,那就是變穢土為淨土;賓,是指十方分身佛。一直告訴大家,就是真理,我們所有十方遙遠的道理,都要完全再匯集回來。我們說目前的法,還能再說更長的法、更廣的法,長與廣的法,慢慢地從我們眼前,知苦、集、滅、道,了解「十二因緣」,慢慢地要再讓我們更開闊,「六度萬行」,很多很多,很遙遠的廣、的長,無邊際的廣,這樣變成了我們的淨土。這就是道理,要從各處這樣集中過來。

所以「諸分身佛將至」,就是這些道理,慢慢要集中過來,佛陀開始要再展現,更遠、更廣的道理來了。所以「諸分身佛將至」,將要到了,開始要說大法了,「是即如來大法身將同時顯現,故穢土立現淨相。」

諸分身佛將至
即如來大法身
將同時顯現
故穢土立現淨相

如來的大法身,釋迦牟尼佛,還有多寶如來的法身,即將要顯現了,因為諸分身佛已經開始集,已經從十方集中過來了,那就是大法的身,大法身,就是大法將同時顯現了。「故穢土立現淨相」,哪怕我們凡夫啊凡夫,凡夫的心,也開始要建立我們一片的淨土,因為懂道理,什麼都單純,若不懂道理,很複雜啊!

最近常常說,原來就是很單純,但是人就是要追求的很多,理想很高,追求很多。古人在修行就是老實修行,發這個心,我就是修行,隨著生活盡本分事,這樣,修我應該修的行,做我應該做的事,心很單純,沒有雜念。現在的人呢?在修行,名稱說我要去修行,一直覺得自己不足,一直覺得不足,也不知道他不足什麼?日常生活每天都是這樣過,但是還有,他像是,好像求的,還沒有求到他所心能滿足的,所以心就有空虛感,就有不足的感覺。若是古時候修行,就是出家了,出家,辭親割愛,隨著叢林修行,每天盡本分事,這就是修行者守本分,這麼單純,這就是一片的淨土,沒有什麼樣的因緣,來將我們瓜葛了,很清淨;但是現在就不是這樣了。所以,佛陀要一次一次,為我們掃除無明,我們心中的雜念,心中的疑問,佛陀就要一次一次,這樣來教育我們。

所以,讓我們的心從污濁成為淨土,所以「皆其心清淨」。

在此淨土:
皆其心清淨
已受佛記之眾
不住小乘
遠離心垢
故亦不見穢土之相

現在這淨土,讓我們人人的心都能清淨之後,「受佛記之眾」,已經前面得佛授記這些人,已經「不住小乘」了,就是「遠離心垢」。我們前面,已經〈授記品〉也說過了,〈五百弟子受記品〉也說了,千二百受記,這都已經佛陀為這麼多人,授記了。得授記的人已經不住小乘了,他們已經開始發大心了,遠離小乘,只為自己,很複雜的心。打開了心門,康莊大道,已經八正道了,金繩界道,心地也已經清淨開朗了,不住在這小乘之中,所以心已經遠離心垢。所以「故亦不見穢土之相」,自然這個穢土之相就沒有了,就去除了。

琉璃為地
寶樹莊嚴
黃金為繩
以界八道:
顯出華藏之淨界
釋迦世尊實報之土
本淨如此

所以「琉璃為地,寶樹莊嚴,黃金為繩,以界八道」。這黃金來界八道,就是顯出了華藏之世界,就是這麼的清淨。「釋迦世尊實報之土」,本就是這麼的清淨。釋迦佛他的安住,他心輕安自在,他永遠都是輕安自在,雖然再來人間成佛,為世間的眾生而煩惱,擔心眾生受苦難,所以一大事因緣,他再來人間。其實,釋迦佛他本身,就是還是在淨土裡,他的實報土,真實的報土,他的依止處,心靈的依止處,其實就是清淨,就是輕安,就是自在。是啊!對自己很輕安自在,只是不忍心世間眾生心不自在,充滿煩惱,造作無明業報,因業受報,這樣他不忍心。

所以「為欲化度頑惡眾生」,所以「現五濁同居穢土」。

為欲化度頑惡眾生
故現五濁同居穢土
今欲說實
所以現起清淨國土
眾寶莊嚴

釋迦牟尼佛是這樣,為了要化度眾生,所以他來人間,來人間,很污濁的人間,和大家同居在這個地方。所以我們曾說過,「五趣雜居地」,這就是娑婆世界,佛陀在這五趣雜居之中,他就是在聖人的境域裡,他還是輕安自在,他的內心沒有得失,只是我們眾生的心煩惱無明,佛陀心不安,要不然,他自己的內心是輕安自在,清淨,所以居在聖地。凡夫在五濁,但是佛陀就是與大家同居,其實他的心還是在聖地。所以,雜居就是有六凡四聖,佛陀還是在上面的聖地裡。

所以「今欲說實,所以現起清淨國土眾寶莊嚴」。本來在這個世間,佛陀的心境其實是輕安自在,但是現在已經要讓大家快了解,過去人人是心地凡夫,現在已經這麼多人受記了,該聽的法也聽那麼多了,應該也去除了小乘獨善其身。獨善其身要去除,還要兼利他人,就是進步,這種大乘法已經開啟了,心地應該要進入實報土,人人應該要與佛一樣,走入這實報土,真實,他所居住的心靈境界,佛陀的心靈境界就是這麼輕安自在。這就是佛陀要顯示,說這個心靈境界。「所以現起清淨國土眾寶莊嚴」,這就是佛要變穢為淨,變這個穢土,變這個娑婆世界的國土,成為佛的國土,變我們眾生五趣雜居的穢濁,讓我們能進步到四聖地去;四聖地,能夠從聲聞而緣覺,而到菩薩,甚至到佛的境界。從雜居污染的穢土,引入我們了解「六凡」,六種凡夫的心地穢濁,再讓我們了解四聖的心地,讓我們去進步。

從耳聞法入心,從了解一切是因緣果報來受苦,更讓我們了解,了脫這個苦的根源,我們要兼利他人,為行菩薩道,造福人間,人間中吸收智慧,「不經一事,不長一智」,成就我們的慧命。現在就是要讓我們顯現,我們的慧命原來是與佛同等,要進入清淨的國土,莊嚴的境界來。所以我們學佛要用心,人生世間是無常,這無常的世間,我們的心要自己好好把握,化複雜為單純。我們現在修行者,就是在修行的環境,盡我們的本分事,清修士也是一樣,盡我們的本分,守護我們的環境。在家居士呢?聽了法之後,了解道理,如何顧好家庭,改變自己的行為,改變好了,然後關懷社會,同時要體恤,就是憫念眾生,行菩薩道。人間無不都是菩薩,四眾弟子都能夠,在這個清淨佛國中輕安自在,這就要看我們對佛法接受入心,自己心靈的境界,這都要看我們是不是,有時時多用心。
`


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Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: Transforming the Land to Receive His Guests (變土迎賓 華藏淨界)
Date: January.30.2018

“The ground made of crystal and other details reveal the pure state of the Lotus-treasury. Without human settlements, the crudeness and defilements of the Saha World were removed. People with mature affinities remained, while heavenly beings lacked the proper capacities and thus left. What was defiled instantly became pure. Trees of treasures and ropes of gold bordered its roads.”

Listen, read and contemplate. Recall for a moment the places in the east illuminated by the light emitted from between the Buddha’s eyebrows. In every world where a Buddha taught the Dharma, there were countless Bodhisattvas. In the lands where countless Bodhisattvas dwelled, the ground was made of crystal. Trees of treasures, precious curtains and so on adorned the land. This shows that in those lands, the Buddha-Dharma was flourishing. In so many lands, there were Buddhas expounding the Dharma. In places where the Dharma was taught, there were countless Bodhisattvas. In those lands, there were so many Bodhisattvas, and everyone’s heart was very pure, as pure as crystal, with no contamination. Everyone was virtuous. These were such magnificent worlds, worlds in which the Buddha’s manifestations abided and where the Buddha-Dharma flourished. When Many Treasures Buddha’s stupa appeared, Many Treasures Buddha’s voice came from within. On behalf of the assembly, Great Joyful Eloquence Bodhisattva made a request, hoping to see Many Treasures Buddha’s entire body. Sakyamuni Buddha said, “In order to see Many Treasures Buddha’s entire body, Many Treasures Buddha vow is that I must gather all my manifestations from the worlds of the ten directions.” Everyone should still remember this. So, the Buddha wanted to help everyone in the fourfold assembly see Many Treasures Buddha, and Many Treasures Buddha hoped that, as everyone wanted to see His entire body, all of Sakyamuni Buddha’s manifestations would gather in one place. This was their mutual wish. So, in the Saha World, Sakyamuni Buddha began gathering all of His manifestations.

In the process, He had to transform the defilement of the Saha World so it would become a pure land. This is like when we want to invite guests over we have to first decorate our space. We must have a large enough space to be able to accommodate so many people. So, He had to turn this defiled land into a pure land. In this process, He revealed the pure and clear land of Avatamsaka. The lands of Buddhas from other worlds were pure, and this had to be even more so for the place where They would all come together. So, of course this Saha World also had to manifest a pure state. Therefore, it says, “The ground made of crystal reveals the pure state of the Lotus-treasury.” He takes this contaminated place and decorates it to become truly a magnificent land, just like the Lotus-treasury. The Lotus-treasury refers to the Avatamsaka world. The world of the Lotus-treasury was the Buddha’s state when He first became enlightened; His body and mind revealed the Lotus-treasury. That state was the Avatamsaka state. It is tranquil and clear, a dignified and pure state. This was the Buddha’s state of mind. This was how pure the Buddha’s mind was. This was the Avatamsaka state, a pure and clear state. A state like this is “without human settlements.” There are no settlements. Settlements are like our world’s cities, towns and villages, any place where people gather together. Whether it is a town or a city, there are different kinds of buildings. There are dilapidated, impoverished areas, and there are very wealthy areas. But the state of the Buddha is not like this. The Buddha’s state is all the same, all pure. There are no settlements. So, in the Saha World, we must “remove the crudeness and defilements of the Saha World.” The turbidities of this Saha World are very severe. Things are extremely crude because the Saha World is very contaminated. In the human world, we often hear people say that a certain place has beautiful scenery. No matter how beautiful it is, it is not as pure as other Buddha-lands. There are other Buddha-lands. The sutras we discuss often mention the pure lands of Buddhas. The Saha World is the place where the Five Destinies coexist. Of course, in nature, the mountains, rivers and land are very beautiful. However, humans have destroyed them in order to build hotels for tourists to rest in and places for them to enjoy themselves. No matter how beautiful a natural sight is, humans will still destroy it, let alone other kinds of places. So, the Saha World is very crude and defiled.

However, the Buddha, Sakyamuni Buddha, began to gather all His manifestations, bringing them together in one place. At this time, the many people in the assembly who had the affinities and whose karmic conditions had matured chose to stay. What about the heavenly beings? “Lacking the proper capacities, [they] left.” Heavenly begins did not have the capabilities to hear this perfect teaching. Due to this perfect teaching, Many Treasures Buddha’s stupa had arrived. The Buddha had also begun to gather all His numerous manifestations. So, this place of spiritual practice needed to be straightened up slightly. In fact, this also refers to how these teachings needed to be revealed. The Buddha taught so many chapters in the past, one passage after the other. They all came from the Buddha’s supreme wisdom, the Buddha-wisdom, the wisdom of enlightenment and all-encompassing wisdom. Beginning in the chapter on Skillful Means, the Buddha continually praised the spiritual state of all Buddhas, hoping that everyone would be able to understand the state of the Lotus-treasury. But ordinary people were unable to comprehend this. They did not have enough knowledge, and their capabilities had not yet matured. So, everyone was still unable to comprehend. But Sariputra understood the Buddha’s intent and, on everyone’s behalf, requested the Dharma. The Buddha refused three times. This was because these people’s capacities were still unable to accepting it. Similarly, now “Heavenly beings lacked the proper capacities and thus left.” It is the same principle. The Buddha refused three times. In the Chapter on Skillful Means, Sariputra asked the Buddha once, twice and then a third time before the Buddha said, “Since you have asked three times, how can I not teach it?” As He was about to teach, 5000 people left the assembly.

The same as happening right now. In this passage from the Chapter on Seeing the Stupa of Treasures, originally all heavenly [kings] brought the heavenly beings and the eight classes of Dharma-protectors to this place of spiritual practice. They were very happy to come listen to the Dharma. However, Many Treasures Buddha’s stupa emerged, and everyone saw it. Now, with Many Treasures Buddha’s wish, the Buddha was going to bring together so many people. These heavenly beings did not have the capabilities to be able to accept this. Therefore, they left. So, “Heavenly beings lacked the proper capacities and thus left.” They left. They also felt that since all these people were coming, they wanted to make way for others. They did not have the enthusiasm [to say], “I want to listen too.” They lacked this enthusiasm, so they left.

This is what happened. “What was defiled instantly became pure. Trees of treasures and ropes of gold bordered its roads.” They dignified this place of practice. What was defiled refers to how people’s minds were still unenlightened. Their minds were still contaminated. Some had not completely eliminated [their defilements]. Those without the capacities left. Those with the capacities had mature karmic causes and conditions, so they gathered together. Therefore, in this place of practice there were ordinary people and noble beings. Some had capacities that were very mature. Some had capacities that were not yet mature. Now Buddhas and Bodhisattvas from all directions were coming there to gather. Thus, the contamination was eliminated, and what remained was pure. So, “What was defiled instantly became pure.”

This represents our state of mind. We must truly understand the Buddha’s Dharmakaya. These last few days I have been saying that the Dharmakaya is the true principles. The Buddha’s body, the Dharmakaya, is the true principles. Now for everyone He wanted to bring out these true principles from within His heart. So, He sincerely brought up these true principles. We must experience this; we must eliminate layer after layer of ignorance. Afflictions, ignorance and dust-like delusions must be eliminated layer by layer. Heavenly beings without the proper capacities had to leave. This was because their capabilities were insufficient. Heavenly beings enjoy heavenly blessings. The eight classes of Dharma-protectors did not yet have the capacities to accept the Great Dharma. So, they left. Those who were learning and practicing the Dharma, since they were learning and practicing, had to eliminate ignorance and afflictions. They still had slight traces of ignorance or had not yet completely eliminated their dust-like delusions. At this moment, they had to return to the true principles. It did not matter what they had understood in the past, even in the distant past. “The distant past” refers to for example the very distant era of Many Treasures Buddha, dust-inked kalpas ago, infinite kalpas ago. This was in the very distant past. In the same way, principles are everlasting. No matter how far away or long ago that era was, they remain the same. After the Buddha began expounding the principles, these principles, no matter how extensive, distant or expansive, can still be gathered together in one place. If our body and mind can bring these principles together, everyone’s body and mind will be pure as crystal. Our minds will be as pure as crystal, just like the Avatamsaka state, just like the Buddha’s spiritual state when He first attained enlightenment.

This is the same for all of us. Since we have our nature of True Suchness, the Buddha just needs to awaken it in us. So, we must earnestly work hard. We must eliminate our ignorance. After we eliminate our ignorance, our ocean of enlightened wisdom will manifest. It is the same as the Buddha’s. So, our defiled minds will instantly become pure. Though ordinary people’s minds ae contaminated with ignorance and dust-like delusions, at this time, the Buddha swept these away for us. He wished to help us [take in] all Dharma. Regardless of how long or how far away, these true principles, the Dharmakaya, should be able to converge and gather in the ground of our minds so that it becomes pure. Thus, “What was defiled instantly became pure.” Even if our minds just have tiny traces of afflictions, at this moment we must sweep them away too so [our minds] become pure. Once the mind is pure, “Trees of treasures and ropes of gold border its roads.” This is very valuable. Gold is used for the ropes that line this road. This entire is very level. These ropes, made of gold, to mark its boundaries. This is when we already have minds free of contamination and can guard against wrongs and stop evil. Thoughts of evil have all been eliminated. Thoughts of goodness have all surfaced. This is a completely pure state of mind. This the Dharma taught by the Buddha. Countless Bodhisattvas have manifested. These countless Bodhisattvas listen to the Dharma and then in turn teach it to their followers. The Dharma pervades that land. This is why the Buddha had to gather all of His manifestations together; it was [to purify] the spiritual state of everyone in that place of practice.

So, “In order to gather together the multiple manifestations in the ten directions, this defiled Saha land must be transformed. We must eliminate our discriminating mind to be able to see the true state of ultimate reality.”

This was when the Buddha began to gather His manifestations in the ten directions. This means He hoped we all would have this mindset. Even though we still live in the Saha World, in this defiled land, everyone’s body and mind can be completely pure. We can eliminate the defilements of our mind so there is absolutely no contamination. So, we are “able to see ultimate reality.” Ultimate reality is the true principles. The state of true principles is the true state. Our nature of True Suchness, that truest state, is the spiritual state equal to the Buddha’s. it is the state of the Lotus-treasury. This was the Buddha’s intent.

Now let us look at the previous sutra passage. The previous passage says that the Buddha had already emitted light from between His brows that illuminated the worlds in the east to each of those worlds, those worlds as numerous as the sands of 500 trillion nayutas of Ganges Rivers. There were so many worlds. This describes the principle taught by the Buddha, and the principle of the Middle Way. This light shone in everyone’s minds, and the afflictions as numerous as the sands of 500 trillion nayutas of Ganges Rivers were purified and eradicated. This was because once this light was emitted, it should have shone into everyone’s mind. So, it said the light from between His brows illuminated the places in the east. But did it only shine toward the east? Not only there; “south, west, north, the four intermediate directions and above and below” were all covered by this light. “The light from His tuft of white hair” illuminated those places. This is the same for everyone. When everyone’s state of mind has accepted the true principles, the true principles are like a light. The Dharma spoken by the Buddha are like rays of light that illuminate the spiritual darkness in our mind and turn it into brightness.

The next passage says, “At that time each of the Buddhas of the ten directions said to all His Bodhisattvas. ‘Good men, now I must go to the Saha World, where Sakyamuni Buddha is, and make offerings to. May Treasures Tathagata’s stupa of treasures.”

In the passage before this, the light had already illuminated them. At that time, in the worlds of the ten directions, in each land there was a Buddha. This one Buddha would say to all the Bodhisattvas in that land, would say to all the Bodhisattvas in that land, “Now I must go to the Saha World where Sakyamuni Buddha is. I also wish to make offerings to Many Treasures Buddha’s stupa of treasures.”

This also describes how, although we understand the Buddha-Dharma, we must have even more respect for the Dharma taught by Sakyamuni Buddha now, and also have respect for ancient Buddha, because the Dharma taught by Sakyamuni now is also the Dharma taught by Buddhas from the distant past. All Buddhas share the same path. The same Dharma is passed down in this way. This is to say nothing of Many Treasures Buddha’s vow that, wherever the Lotus Sutra was taught, His stupa of treasures will manifest as a testimony. This is an ancient Buddha testifying to the teachings given by the present Buddha. So, right now we must clearly understand how the past confirms to the present. This means the principles of an ancient Buddha in the past are being used to affirm the present Buddha’s teachings. So, we must pay our respects and make offerings. We should be very clear about this.

The next passage says, “At that time, the Saha World instantly transformed to become clean and pure. The ground was made of crystal and there were magnificent trees of treasures. Ropes made of gold bordered its eight paths.”

This sutra passage brings to surface what we just talked about. The Saha World must become very pure, and nothing is purer than crystal. Crystal has no contamination at all, so it is very pure. What is most precious is gold. Gold made up the ropes that lined the path. This path is an eight-lane path. When we see a road with eight lanes we find it to be very wide, such wide roads are divided by painted [lines]. But in that world, gold was used to make ropes that then divide the lanes. We can see how precious this land is. Its ground is made of crystal, it is adorned by trees of treasures and has ropes of gold as the lines that marks the boundaries of this land. This is truly very orderly. This represents the principles. We must all walk the Eightfold Noble Path. A road in this world can be an eight-lane path, but in the principles of the Buddha-Dharma, there is the Eightfold Noble Path. It is very precious.

So it says, “in order to gather all the Buddha, the Saha World must become very pure. Sakyamuni Buddha had to first exercise His spiritual powers to purify this land. Sakyamuni Buddha had already begun to purify minds of us sentient beings. First He taught that “suffering” has afflictions as its “causation”. This helps us understand that suffering comes from afflictions. So, everyone had already made a lot of effort. Everyone had already cleansed their minds. Their efforts are all aimed at cleansing the ground of the mind. This was the method Sakyamuni Buddha used to help us understand the defilements of our mind and see how we can earnestly clear away the contamination in our minds, this is the Buddha’s spiritual power. He first eliminated the contamination in our minds. This explains how He “transformed the land to receive His guests.”

At that time the Saha World instantly transformed to become clean and pure: In order to gather all the Buddhas, Sakyamuni the World-Honored One, used His spiritual power to first purify the land. This explains how He transformed the land to receive His guests. Transformed the land: This means transforming this defiled land into a pure land. Guests: This refers to His manifestations in the ten directions.

The state of our mind is very contaminated, so we must quickly clean it. After we clean it, the state of our mind will be pure. receiving guests [refers to] taking in new principles. The past principles helped us know the methods for cleaning up our minds. Beginning now, so, there are new principles that we should take in. This is like receiving guests. So, it speaks of “transforming the land.” That is turning this defiled land into a pure land.

“Guests” refers to the Buddha’s manifestations in the ten directions. I keep telling everyone that these [are an analogy for] the true principles. The principles that are spread far and wide in the ten directions must all be brought back together again. We can talk about the Dharma right in front of us, or we can talk about teachings that are more extensive and more expansive. These more extensive and expansive teachings are [derived] from what is right in front of us, from recognizing the Four Noble Truths, understanding the Twelve Links of Cyclic Existence. Then gradually He further helps us open up to “actualizing the Six Paramitas in all actions.” There are so many [teachings] that are so expansive and extensive, boundlessly expansive. In this way, our land turns into a pure land. This requires gathering principles from everywhere. So, “All the Buddha’s manifestations were about to arrive.” The principles were gradually gathered together, and the Buddha again began to reveal ever more expansive, more extensive principles. So, “All the Buddha’s manifestations were about arrive.” They were almost there; the Buddha was starting to teach the Great Dharma. “The Tathagata’s Great Dharmakaya would manifest at the same time. Thus, this defiled land instantly exhibited the appearance of purity.” The Great Dharmakaya of the Tathagata, Sakyamuni Buddha, as well as that of Many Treasures Tathagata were about to manifest. This is because the manifestations of the Buddha had already begun to gather, coming together from the ten directions, forming the body of the Great Dharma, the Great Dharmakaya. The Great Dharma would manifest at the same time. “Thus, this defiled land instantly exhibited the appearance of purity.” This is true even for us ordinary people. With our unenlightened minds, we can also begin to establish our pure land. This is because when we understand the principles, everything is simple and pure. When we do not, things are very complicated.

Recently, I have constantly said that things were originally simple and pure. However, people pursue many things. They have many high ideals and pursue many things. When the ancient engaged in spiritual practice, their practice was down-to-earth. After forming aspirations, [they thought], “I am a spiritual practitioner. According to my lifestyle, I will do my duty. I will engage in the spiritual practice I should and do the things I should do.” Their minds were very simple and pure, free of discursive thoughts.

What about people nowadays? They engage in spiritual practice in name only. They continually feel discontented, feel they do not have enough. However, they do not know what they are lacking. They continue to go about their lives, but it seems as if they ae still looking. They still have not found what will make them feel satisfied. So, with this sense of emptiness in their minds, they have this feeling of dissatisfaction. In the past, engaging in spiritual practice meant leaving the lay life. After becoming a monastic, they left their loved ones behind and followed the monastic community in spiritual practice. Every day, they completed all they needed to do. This was how practitioners upheld their duties. It was this simple and pure. That is a pure land. Without any causes or conditions to entangle them, they could be very pure.

But nowadays things are not like this. So, the Buddha again and again helped us to sweep away our ignorance. [To teach] the discursive thoughts and doubts in our minds, the Buddha came to teach us again and again. This allowed our minds to turn from a contaminated land to a pure land. So, “All people were pure of heart.”

On this pure land, all people were pure of heart and had already received the Buddha’s predictions of Buddhahood. They no longer abided in the Small Vehicle and their hearts were free of defilement, so there was no appearance of this defiled land to be seen.

Now that this pure land had enabled everyone’s mind to become pure, they had “received the Buddha’s predictions of Buddhahood.” Those who had previously already received the Buddha’s predictions “no longer abided in the Small Vehicle” and “their hearts were free of defilement.

Previously, this was discussed in the Chapter on Bestowing Predictions, and the Chapter on 500 Disciples. Receiving Predictions spoke of this too. 1200 people had received predictions. the Buddha had already bestowed predictions on this many people. Those who had already received predictions no longer abided in the Small Vehicle. They had already begun forming Great Vehicle aspirations. They left the Small Vehicle with its focus only on them, with its complicated mindsets, to open the door of their minds to the broad, great path. They were already on the Eightfold Noble Path, the path bordered by ropes of gold. The ground of their minds was already pure and open, and they no longer abided in the Small Vehicle. Therefore, they had already left the contaminations of the mind far behind. So, “There was no appearance of this defiled land to be seen.” Naturally, no appearance of this defiled land remained. It had been eliminated. So, “the ground was made of crystal and there were magnificent trees of treasures. Ropes made of gold bordered its eight paths. These ropes of gold that border the eight paths represent the state of the Lotus-treasury. This is how pure it is “Sakyamuni’s, the World-Honored One’s, true reward-land is intrinsically this pure. Sakyamuni Buddha abides peacefully. His mind is peaceful and at ease. He is always peaceful and at ease. As He returned to this world to attain Buddhahood, He felt afflicted for the sake of sentient beings, he worried about the suffering of sentient beings. it was for this one great cause that He came back to this world. Yet, in fact, Sakyamuni Buddha Himself was still in a pure land. His true reward-land, the place where His spirit abides, the place where His spirit abides, is in fact pure. It is peaceful, a state of ease. It is indeed! He Himslef was very peaceful and at ease. It is just that He could not bear for the hearts of sentient beings to not at ease. They are full of afflictions and create many afflictions and retributions of ignorance. He could not bear for them to suffer retributions. “In order to transform stubborn sentient beings, He manifested in the defiled land of the Five Turbidities.”

In order to transform stubborn sentient beings, He manifested in the defiled land of the Five Turbidities. He now wished to expound the truth, so He revealed the pure land, which was adorned by all kinds of treasures.

This was what Sakyamuni Buddha did in order to transform sentient beings, He came to this filled with turbidity to live together with us all in this place. So, we have talked about “the place where the Five Destinies coexist.” This is the Saha World. The Buddha was in this place where the Five Destinies coexist. He was in the realms of noble beings, still peaceful and are ease. In His mind, there was no gain or loss. It was only the ignorance and afflictions. In sentient beings’ minds that caused the Buddha to feel uneasy. Otherwise, His own mind was peaceful, at ease and pure. So, He abided in the noble realms. Ordinary people are among the Five Turbidities, but while the Buddha came and lived with everyone, His mind was actually still in the noble realms. So, the Six Unenlightened Realms and the Four Noble Realms coexist. The Buddha still belonged to the higher, noble realms. Thus, “He now wished to expound the truth, so He revealed the pure land, which was adorned by all kinds of treasures.” As He was in this world, intrinsically, His mind was actually peaceful and at ease. But now He must quickly help everyone understand.

In the past, everyone had unenlightened minds. Now, many had already received predictions. They had heard many of the teachings they should, and they should have eliminated the Small Vehicle of only benefiting oneself. Rather than just benefiting themselves, they should also benefit others. This is advancing. So, the Great Vehicle Dharma was already revealed. Their minds should now enter the true reward-land. Everyone should, just like the Buddha, enter the true reward-land, the true spiritual state He abides in. The Buddha’s spiritual state is very peaceful and at ease. Thus, the Buddha wanted to reveal and describe this pure land of the mind. “So, He revealed the pure land, which was adorned by all kinds of treasures.” This is because He wanted to turn the defiled into the pure, to turn this impure land, the land of this Saha World, into the Buddha’s land. He wanted to transform the contamination of this place where the Five Destinies coexist and help us advance to the Four Noble Realms. The Four Noble Realms go from the realms of Hearers and Solitary Realizers to the realm of Bodhisattvas and even to the reals of the Buddha. From this defiled land where [the Five Realms] coexist, He guides us to understand the Six Unenlightened Realms, the six kinds of defiled states of unenlightened beings, and then helps us understand the states of the Four Noble Realms to help us advance forward. With our ears, we take the teachings to heart. Starting from the understanding that all suffering comes from the law of karma, He further helps us understand how to liberate ourselves from the sources of suffering. We must benefit [ourselves and] others as we walk on the Bodhisattva-path. We create blessings in the world and absorb wisdom among people. “Without experience, we cannot grow in wisdom.” In this way, we complete our wisdom-life. He now revealed to us that our wisdom-life has always been equal to the Buddha’s, so we must enter the pure land, this dignified state. So, as Buddhist practitioners we must be mindful. This world is impermanent. In this impermanent world, we must earnestly control our own minds and transform the complicated into the simple. Right now, as [monastics] in an environment for spiritual practice, we must do our fundamental duty. Our Pure Practitioners must do the same. We must do our fundamental duty and safeguard our environment. What about lay practitioners? After hearing the Dharma, they understand the principles; [they know] how to take care of their family and change their behavior. After changing, they then care for society. At the same time, they empathize with and have compassion for sentient beings and walk the Bodhisattva-path. Everyone in this world is a Bodhisattva. The fourfold disciples are all able to be peaceful and at ease in this pure Buddha-land. It all depends on whether we accept and take the Buddha-Dharma to heart; [this is a matter of] our own spiritual state. So, it depends on whether we can always be mindful.

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