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 20180131《靜思妙蓮華》心境一如 諸相清淨 (第1274集) (法華經•見寶塔品第十一)

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發表主題: 20180131《靜思妙蓮華》心境一如 諸相清淨 (第1274集) (法華經•見寶塔品第十一)   周二 1月 30, 2018 2:32 pm

20180131《靜思妙蓮華》心境一如 諸相清淨  (第1274集) (法華經•見寶塔品第十一)

⊙「偶見淨而不見穢惡之者,以淨穢分別乃群情之見。心境一如,何有無之可論;城邑山河,不知自何而無。」
⊙「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》
⊙「無諸聚落、村營、城邑、大海、江河、山川、林藪。燒大寶香,曼陀羅華遍佈其地。」《法華經見寶塔品第十一》
⊙無諸聚落、村營、城邑:男女混居,名為聚落。今實報土純是諸上善人發大乘心者。故無聚落、城郭、郡邑之相,一時皆無。
⊙謂如來圓滿報身所依之土,以無漏五蘊為體。此由往昔修習諸無量大乘法等功德,成就無礙莊嚴境智之所招感,是名實報土。
⊙無諸聚落等,隱去娑婆之陋汙,會眾緣熟則留,天人非器則避,即染而即淨。
⊙寶樹金繩,不知自何而有;城邑山河,不知自何而無?偶見淨而不見穢者,以淨穢乃群情之見,心境一如,何有無之可論哉?
⊙大海江河:喻諸乘人淺深之智。山川:即喻定慧。林藪:喻諸覺枝林。大澤曰藪。今現實報,同歸一實,諸相皆無。
⊙燒大寶香,曼陀羅華遍佈其地:修大功德:名燒寶香。曼陀羅華遍布其地:表修善因,無遺缺處。

【證嚴上人開示】
「偶見淨而不見穢惡之者,以淨穢分別乃群情之見。心境一如,何有無之可論;城邑山河,不知自何而無。」

偶見淨
而不見穢惡之者
以淨穢分別
乃群情之見
心境一如
何有無之可論
城邑山河
不知自何而無

有時候看到淨,或者是沒有看到污惡,這是我們日常生活中所看的,一片都是清淨的境界。有的地方就是穢惡,在外面,有人清掃過了,地方就是清淨,沒有人清掃的地方,那就是穢惡的地方。不論是清淨或者是穢惡,這個分別都是在我們人。骯髒的地方,將它清一清就是乾淨了;乾淨的地方,若沒有人要整理,或者是很多污染物放在那個地方,它就從清淨變穢惡,無不都是人所造作。所造作的,那就是我們心境,我們的情見,看你如何去造作,分別,知道這是惡的、髒的,我們要趕緊去除。這群人若有愛心,這群人若懂得自愛,也懂得愛護環境,這群人的情見,就讓我們一大片的環境,乾乾淨淨。同樣這群人若是懈怠,不管這個環境,也不懂得愛惜我們自己,所以懈怠不要振作,你的地方完全一片惡濁混亂,這是同樣的道理。

「心境一如,何有無之可論」,哪有什麼論這是好的,這是不好的,這是骯髒的,這是乾淨的,不論如何,都是我們人的心境造作。人,凡夫,使一切的「城邑山河,不知自何而無」。過去明明所看到的這座山很美,有山河溪流,景觀很美,經過了一段時間,是什麼時候已經將山(谷)填平了,開路了,小溪流水,也已經成為一片平平坦坦,或是變成了乾枯的溪,河的水也沒有了,這環境就是在變,山景變成都市。人類就是這樣。常常行腳出去時,車子在橋上走,很自然看向窗外去。幾十年前,這條溪若是好天氣時,是淨水這樣在流,讓人感覺到清涼。慢慢慢慢幾十年後,已經不復見了,再也不曾看到溪的清水在流,已經都乾枯了,溪床一直漲高起來了。有時候濁水滾滾,很濁的水一直下來,這就是山體已經,不斷不斷被破壞,這個山體也已經一直崩了,山崩了,土石已經再也留不住,水土保持破壞,這已經是山河大地變色了。這就是人類,是人類去破壞,所以從人類在聚居的地方,清淨或者是污穢,要看人是不是很殷勤,很勤勞這樣在清理環境,讓它乾淨,這樣對人的身體也健康,對環境乾淨,空氣也好多了。這就是人的殷勤、勤勞、努力,這片土地就會很美,田園、住宅周圍都是一片綠油油,乾乾淨淨。我們的心地不也就是這樣嗎?我們的心地若能用心好好整理,我們的心地也是同樣有美景,山河、流水,心靈的景觀都是水土保持,有水、有土,一片綠油油,那個景觀之美,那就是善。

我們有高低分別,這就是道理,待人接物,知道這是長輩,我們要尊敬,仰之彌高如泰山,人倫輩分,我們有高低。現在的人已經,人倫輩分也都已經沒有了,也聽到西方教育,有某一位人士,是教授,在美國學位也很高,來到臺灣,我們將他聘來我們的學校,為我們的學生上課,上課之後進來精舍,來精舍就與大家座談,說他的心靈的過程,與一群的清修士來座談。談到優質,人與人之間,要如何來將它優化?言談中就提起了美國,學生與老師是平等的,老師進來了,沒有在喊「起立、敬禮」,美國沒有,臺灣還有。臺灣這種禮貌,到底能再維持多久啊?這種輩分,過去「一日為師,終身為父」,這是我們華人的倫理道德觀,要懂得感恩,對父親的尊重,對老師的尊敬,所以說「一日為師,終身為父」。

可見,這樣的形容就知道人的心態,有道理、有禮節,這就是優化。過去的人類,心靈的優質,那個生態的優化,多麼優秀啊!多麼美觀啊!「理者,禮也」,道理就要看在人類的禮節,有禮節就是有道理存在,沒有禮節就沒有道理存在;家庭的倫理若沒有,社會的禮節也沒有了。想,這就是我們現在要擔心。淨,淨能夠這樣,整理得乾乾淨淨,那就是環境很優雅,這叫做環境優化,這個環境就很優化。同樣的,人,我們的心境,這個禮節若沒有了,道理就沒有了,表示我們的心境也亂了。我們的心境亂,那就是因為無明,因為煩惱,煩惱製造無明,無明就製造了業、惑,製造業,製造不明白道理。這就淺入深。從我們的生活中,就能了解道理的存在,或者是道理的存亡。道理還在嗎?就是看我們外面的環境,外面的環境,就能看我們內心的環境,心靈的境界到底是什麼,這就是從外能透視我們的內在。所以說,「偶見淨而不見穢惡之者」,我們看,再「以淨穢分別乃群情之見」。從我們的內心來看外面的境界,從外面的境界,就能分析出了我們人,眾生,大家集群眾,這個情境,人的心態,我們就全都看得出來。

所以,「心境一如,何有無之可論」,哪有什麼「有、無」可論呢?我們的心,我們一如,我們的真如,回歸一乘真如本性來,我們就沒有煩惱了,煩惱什麼都沒有,哪還有什麼是對的與不對的呢?我們每樣都將它簡單化,每樣都簡單,沒有什麼對錯之別,人人全都是善,既然都善了,樣樣都是對的。人人照道理,道理就是在我們的日常生活中,就沒有對錯分別,因為大家都順道理,自然「城邑山河,不知自何而無」,就永遠大自然就是這樣,沒有大自然什麼樣的變動,大自然是這樣,只是這個大自然,是由於人類將它變成了是城,或者是鄉、是鎮、是村,這就有了群居。人與大自然爭,所以變成了這樣,大自然的景觀就會變。看看我們這時候,很多的山景、美景都不見了,我們要用心去體會。

看看人類對大地,看到現在四大不調和,所以氣候造成了氣候的變遷。氣候變遷了,古來是因為人類不斷不斷,將有形的山河大地破壞,慢慢污染到空氣中,空氣再反撲回來,所以變成了氣候變遷,氣候變遷也使大自然的變化。看到現在的大自然,人類的生活已經有「氣候難民」,看到氣象的報告,心就會怕,會擔心。在美國,氣候也是很無常,那分的無常,大變化,真的是連美國土地那麼大,而且也是很富強的國家,卻是也有氣候難民。這氣候難民,在美國,已經有一個島,叫做查爾斯島(ISLE DE JEAN CHARLES),這個島已經一直要沉下去了,美國一直呼籲,希望大家要趕緊遷離這個小島,其實這個小島,人聚居的地方也不是很多,但是已經政府願意提出了很多錢,要叫這裡的人趕緊離開。

這個小島,本來有六點五公里,這個周圍,現在已經剩下不到半公里。這是看到這個島有六點五公里,就是這個小島周圍有這麼寬,那個島上有人住,環境很好,祖先都住在那個地方,人住不多,但是土地也不大,卻是這時已經海水一直淹,土地一直沉,沉到現在剩不到半公里。半公里,差不多是五百多公尺的陸地,但是,這裡的人還是不願意離開,政府用很多錢,四千八百萬美金,要叫島上的居民離開。這些人認為:我的祖先都在這裡。祖先所住的居地,他們不願意捨棄,這就是人的執著。若再一次的災難再來呢?這氣候的變遷,土地繼續在沉,大風雨再一次,這些人會怎麼樣呢?這人的執著,天地的變化;天地變化,氣候變遷,天、地、人,天與地之間是為何氣候變化,是為何土地這樣一直沉下去?那就是人所造作,這就是我們人生的,無明惑的煩惱,在不斷製造,祖先所留下來的土地,慢慢不見了。

像這樣下一代,他不得不遷居,除非要與土地一起滅亡,要不然他也要遷居。所以,天地,什麼天長地久,只是人去造作,長久,長久,它也是一樣,這業力,眾生共業。他們的祖先,我們人類的祖先,是不是我們自己也是人類的祖先呢?我們就是不斷在輪迴。所以佛陀看到那一堆白骨,就說:「這一堆白骨,就是我累生世以來,互為父母。」互相為父母的一堆白骨頭。現在的白骨頭在面前,白骨頭已經又來人間了,互為父母、子女,或者是互為恩仇在相殺,是恩?或者是仇?愛、恨、情、仇,現在雖然看的是一堆的白骨頭,他們過去的親,來生就各不相干,說不定互為愛恨情仇,這樣在殘殺,在對立,也說不定呢!這是祖先。其實是不是也是我們大家?我們大家面對面,說不定我們過去,也是有一段很深的因緣過,只是我們都不知道,這就是惑業不斷。惑,過了一輩子,由不得自己,樣樣不知道,所以,愛變成恨,愛恨情仇,不斷循環牽連,這就是我們的人間顛倒。

佛陀透徹了解道理,來人間就是要讓我們知道這些事情,所以我們應該要和睦相處,要互愛互動,不論是身外的環境,或者是人類互動,我們都要善待環境、善待人類,我們若能這樣,就沒有什麼樣的是非,沒有什麼樣的情仇、煩惱、無明,就都沒有了,這是佛陀一直要向我們說的道理,我們要用心去體會。

前面的文,看過了,再來說:「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》

因為釋迦牟尼佛號召很多很多,無量數國土的分身佛,都要來集,所以,多出這麼多佛要來了,所以環境一定要大。同樣的道理,我們未來開始,很多的真理要回歸來,我們就要將我們的心地,要整理得開闊,我們要心包太虛,沒有惡濁的東西在我們的內心,才有辦法接受將回歸來的真理,一乘實法,圓教的道理,我們才有辦法接受下來。前面一直在說,寶塔與環境的比喻,就是佛陀開始要現出,很多的真理來,佛的分身就是真理,這些真理要到了,娑婆世界就是我們的心境,我們要轉,污穢惡濁的東西就要變清淨,要趕緊心境好好清理,要清得很乾淨,「琉璃為地,寶樹莊嚴」,還要「黃金為繩以界八道」。八正道,要開始浮現出來了,正知、正見、正念、正思惟等等,我們應該要提出來。

接下來這段文,經文,再這樣說:「無諸聚落、村營、城邑、大海、江河、山川、林藪。燒大寶香,曼陀羅華遍佈其地。」

無諸聚落
村營 城邑
大海 江河
山川 林藪
燒大寶香
曼陀羅華
遍佈其地



就是已經這個地方,這個娑婆世界,我們就已經將它當作我們的心地,娑婆世界,就是沒有聚落、村營、城邑,這些都沒有,沒有聚落。聚落,什麼叫做聚落?聚落就是男女混居的地方,名為聚落。有人聚集的村落,村落裡就是有男女之間的家庭。但是淨土就沒有了,心境沒有男女的心,大家都是菩薩心,大家都沒有分別心,沒有男女穢濁的成見,沒有,全都是菩薩、佛。所以,名為聚落,那就是人所…很雜,不論是男女善惡,種種的人類所聚集的地方叫做聚落。這個地方已經沒有了。尤其是「今實報土,純是諸上善人,發大乘心者」。這個地方都沒有複雜的人,意思就是沒有複雜的心,沒有男女善惡,很複雜的心都沒有,這個地方就是實報土,實報土就是,諸佛菩薩清淨的境界。我們的心,佛心為己心,一片清淨的境界。所以「諸上善人,發大乘心人」。所以沒有「聚落、城郭、郡邑之相」,都沒有這些分別,什麼城市,或者是什麼郡、什麼州、什麼縣、什麼鎮都沒有,這些一概全都,全都化為淨土。我們的心境一片平等,這才是真正的平等,人人是佛,人人是菩薩。

無諸聚落、
村營、城邑:
男女混居
名為聚落
今實報土
純是諸上善人
發大乘心者
故無聚落、
城郭、郡邑之相
一時皆無

所以「如來圓滿報身,所依之土,以無漏五蘊為體」。如來圓滿的報身所依這個國土,這個地方是以無漏五蘊為體,要很用心體會。五蘊,色、受、想、行、識,色,所有的東西,無不都是色,大地山河也是色。我們面前所有的布置,一切都是色,我們坐的地板,我們頭上的天花板等等,無不都是色。卻是我們是用什麼心,去創造那個環境呢?我們的眼睛,根與塵會合,我們用什麼樣的心意,來看這個境界呢?大家在修行,所以我們創造這個環境,是清淨修行的環境。根與塵,心境,在這個地方,耳根所聽的就是法,法有入心嗎?法入心,法喜充滿。我們若是在外面,同這個時間,到底各人在忙碌什麼呢?或者是還在床上呢?在那個地方空過時日呢?懈怠,還在那個地方空過時日。或者是有人一大早,就已經很辛苦在付出,為人類要完成一件什麼事情。

尤其是地球上,我們現在的早上,是某個地方的晚上,環境不同。但是諸佛菩薩,在任何一個環境裡,色、受、想、行、識,都是清淨無漏,無漏就是法沒有漏掉,完全都是道理。不論是一切的色,色相,一看就了解,色相、物理完全清楚,人類的生理,明如指掌,透徹了解「生老病死」。人的心態,生、住、異、滅」,人的心無法永遠這樣這麼平靜。唯有諸佛菩薩的心境,就是寂靜清澄,他所有的一切,完全都是透徹道理,所以叫做「五蘊皆空」。空,空得很清淨,如琉璃的境界,看起來有,是真實,但是,是透明,沒有一物去分別,這就是以無漏五蘊為體。就是寂靜清澄,無不都是真理,充滿了真理,不論是見聞,所接觸的一切,無一不透徹,無一不清楚。所以「以無漏五蘊為體」,所以這是諸佛菩薩清淨無染的境界。

凡夫呢?滿心的污染,就是在這五蘊,所以造作很多的污染。所以我們應該道理透徹,就不受污染,叫做「無漏五蘊」。雖然我們是人體,在五濁惡世裡,卻是心是一片清淨,透澈如琉璃一樣,這就是諸佛菩薩來人間的目標。「由往昔修習,諸無量大乘法等功德」。能夠這樣,身在污濁的五濁惡世、人群中,在教化眾生,能夠不受污染,這個無漏,在無漏,與人一樣的人類,在人類群中而不受人類所染著,那就要長久修行,修習無量大乘法的功德,這樣來成就無礙,在莊嚴的境界,你周圍的煩惱無明,不會障礙到諸佛菩薩的那個實報土,那個心地不會障礙到他,所以還是莊嚴的境智。他有這樣的智慧,能夠分別一切的道理,不受不明的道理來污染他,所以這樣叫做實報土。這就是道理。修行的盡頭,所得到的就是到達這個實報土,就是清淨如琉璃的境域,那就是八正道,八道,金繩界道,這樣就能夠完成。

謂如來圓滿報身
所依之土
以無漏五蘊為體
此由往昔修習
諸無量大乘法等
功德
成就無礙莊嚴境智
之所招感
是名實報土

所以「無諸聚落等」,不需要這個村、那個鎮、那個鄉、那個城,就不需要,一片都是清淨。以正道來為界,就是沒有聚落等。「隱去娑婆之陋污」,這就是我們要如何接受這個法,我們要將我們無明污染的心,要隱去,完全掃除掉。「會眾緣熟則留」,眾緣成熟,自然就留下來;無緣的,這種污,心中還有煩惱無明,他就要過去了,就要不見了,就消失了。娑婆世界這樣的污染,陋污就沒了。所以能留下來的,「會眾緣熟即留」,有這樣好的因緣就留下。佛陀開始要講《法華經》,開始因緣成熟,他就退去了,五千人退席。因緣成熟的人,他就留下來。佛陀講法,了解了,佛陀為他授記,同樣的道理。所以,「緣熟即留」在這個大會裡。所以「天人非器則避」,不是這樣根機的人,他自然自己就會避開了。「即染而即淨」。是染或者是淨呢?是自己的心境,要避開,自然就會避開,他就不願意在這個環境中。

無諸聚落等
隱去娑婆之陋汙
會眾緣熟則留
天人非器則避
即染而即淨

「寶樹金繩,不知自何而有」。到底這個寶樹與金繩子,是如何有的?所以「城邑山河,不知自何而無?」其實,我們的心地裡,能有這樣這麼清淨,這一分道理已經在我們的心裡,就無形中成熟。只要我們好好接受法,自然在這個心地,你無形中而產生慧命,智慧。智慧長得如何,你看不到,但是,你自然對人、事、物的體解,自然就有了。這些「城邑山河,不知自何而無」,很自然,過去那些不好的習氣,自然就消失了。我們要好好要改除我們過去不好的習氣,不好的習氣改除了,我們真正的道理才有辦法入心。

所以「偶見淨而不見穢者,以淨穢乃群情之見」,這剛剛說過了。我們看見清淨,沒看到污染,我們無形中,我們的心地一片清淨,就沒有染污的東西,在我們的內在,這就是我們自己的心境去造作。願意接受法來,自然你的心地清淨,你有在用功,你有在聽法,法有入心,自然你的煩惱無明,你就沒有了。所以「心境一如」,同樣一片土地,看你有用功、有真誠接受法嗎?就是只有一念間而已,哪有什麼「有」或「無」會再來論呢?就是要看自己的心。

寶樹金繩
不知自何而有
城邑山河
不知自何而無
偶見淨而不見穢者
以淨穢乃群情之見
心境一如
何有無之可論哉

「大海、江河、山川、林藪」。那就是大海江河,譬喻諸乘之人淺深的智慧。你既然發心,你的智慧是淺或是深呢?是智慧如海,或者是智慧如江河,或者是智慧如山川呢?這就要看我們的心。所以,「山川」譬喻定慧,「林藪」,譬喻山的土地,有樹,裡面什麼都有,「今現實報,同歸一實,諸相皆無」。現在這個實報土裡,那就是一樣,大家都一樣。法,大家聽,大家深入這個法,同樣的法,同樣的心態,應該都是歸入,歸入在這個清淨的地方裡,也不是在那個很混雜,那個山林,雜草、雜樹、雜居,不是這樣,我們應該就是一片清淨。

大海江河:
喻諸乘人淺深之智
山川:即喻定慧
林藪:喻諸覺枝林
大澤曰藪
今現實報
同歸一實
諸相皆無

所以「燒大寶香,曼陀羅華,遍布其地」。這片土地很平坦,而且玻璃為地,前面說過了。釋迦牟尼佛所變化出來,意思就是說,所講說的法,不論從多廣、多遠、多長的時間的道理,全都收納在我們的眼前,都是一片清淨如琉璃,「寶樹莊嚴,黃金為繩」來界這個八道。所以在那個地方,燒大寶香,就是很好的香,在這個土地上,這是一片很清淨的境界。

燒大寶香
曼陀羅華
遍佈其地:
修大功德
名燒寶香
曼陀羅華
遍布其地:
表修善因
無遺缺處

燒香,那就是優雅的地方。所以,「曼陀羅華,遍布其地」,這表示修善因,沒有遺缺。菩薩修因,佛的境界就是果地,我們要很用心去體會,這一片土地那麼的乾淨,我們的心地,本來就那麼乾淨,靜寂清澄的大地。所以我們要用心,好好來維護這一片,我們的心地如淨土,靜寂清澄的心地,需要我們用功;用功的源頭,就是要時時多用心。

【附註】
《法華經句解》:「海與江河,喻諸乘人淺深之智。山川靜流,即喻定慧。林藪即喻諸覺枝林。今現實報,同歸一實,諸相皆無。」

《法華經大成》:「大澤曰藪。」


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Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: Seeing All Appearances as Pure (心境一如 諸相清淨)
Date: January.31.2018

“Occasionally, we see purity and do not see defilements or evil. Discriminating between purity and defilement is the view of sentient beings’emotions. When the state of our mind is unchanging, what existence and non-existence can be discussed? We do not know how the cities, mountains and rivers disappeared.”

Sometimes we see purity, or do not see defilements or evil. In our daily living, what we see around us is a state of complete purity. In some places, there are defilements and evil. Outside, after someone cleans up, that place will be clean. A place that no one cleans becomes defiled and repulsive. Whether a [place] is clean or defiled, this discrimination depends on us humans. If a place is dirty, once we clean it up, it will be spotless. For a clean place, if no one maintains it or if we put many dirty things there, its purity will turn into defilement. This is all created by humans. What we create is a matter of our state of mind, of our emotions and views. It depends on what we create. With discrimination, we know that something is evil or filthy so we must quickly eliminate it. If a group of people has love, if they know to have self-respect and care for and protect their environment, with their emotions and views, they will ensure that their entire environment will be very clean.

But if these same people are lax, if they do not care for the environment and also do not cherish themselves, in their laxity they refuse to take action, and this place will become filled with turbidity and disorder. It is the same principle.“When the state of our mind is unchanging, what existence and non-existence can be discussed?”How could there be talk about what is good, what is bad, what is dirty and what is clean? No matter what it is like, this is all created by our human minds. Humans, unenlightened beings, cause the [state of]“not knowing how the cities, mountains and rivers disappeared.”

In the past we clearly saw a beautiful mountain. There were mountains, rivers and flowing streams; the scenery was very beautiful. But after some time, [without us even realizing it], we had already flattened the mountains and built roads. [This place with] streams of flowing water has become a big, flat land. Or perhaps it is left with dry creeks. The rivers’water is gone. This environment is changing; mountainous sceneries have become cityscapes. This is what humankind does. Often, as I am traveling [around Taiwan], when the car I am in passes over a bridge, I naturally look out the window. A few decades ago, when the weather was good, the stream would have clean water flowing, giving people a very refreshing feeling. Gradually, after a few decades, we will no longer see this. We cannot see the stream’s pure water flowing anymore. It has dried out, and the riverbed is now continually rising. Sometimes dirty water is flowing there, very filthy water streaming down. This means the mountain is continually being damaged. The mountain is also gradually collapsing. As the mountain collapses, its rock no longer stay in place, and [its ability] to conserve water and soil is lost. The mountains, rivers and land have already changed. This is due to the damage caused by humankind. So, in places where people live, the purity or defilement of those places depends on whether or not people are diligent and put effort into cleaning up the environment. This is good for people’s health and for the cleanliness of the environment, and the air will get better as well. This depends on people’s diligence; when we put in effort and work hard, this land will be very beautiful. The fields and areas surrounding the houses will be all lush and clean. Isn’t this the same for our minds? If we mindfully tidy up the ground of our mind, it too can display beautiful scenery with mountains, rivers and flowing water. Our spiritual landscape will [also] be able to conserve water and soil. With water and soil, this ground will be covered in lush greenery. What beautifies that landscape is goodness. We will also have [respect for] different levels. This is a principle. When we interact with people, if we know this person is an elder, we must be respectful and look up to them as if to Mount Tai.

Following the rules of propriety, we need to treat our elders with respect. People nowadays no longer [pay attention] to these rules of propriety. We also heard [what happens in] the western education system. There is a professor who has a high academic position in the US. He came to Taiwan, and we invited him to our school to give a class to our students. After the class, he came to the Abode to sit down for a chat with everyone. He talked about his spiritual journey. He had a chat with a group of Pure Practitioners. They started talking about excellence. How do we improve our interpersonal relationships? During the conversation, he mentioned how, in the US, students and teachers are considered equal. When a teacher enters, [the students] do not announce, “Rise, bow”. This does not happen in the US, but it is still the case in Taiwan. In Taiwan , how long will this like of etiquette be maintained? This is treating people according to seniority. In the past [we would say,] “A teacher for a day is a father for a lifetime”, this is part of our Chinese concept of morality. We must know to be grateful and show respect to our parents and teachers. Thus we say, “A teacher for a day is a father for a lifetime.”Clearly, from this description, we know that people’s mindset is one of principles and propriety. This is how we can improve [relationships].

In the past, people’s spiritual excellence and the way they improved their lives was truly outstanding. This was so beautiful!“With principles, we have propriety.”Principles are seen through people’s propriety. When we [act with] propriety, we have principles; without propriety ,we do not have any principles. If families lack proper family values, people in society will be lacking in propriety. Think about it; this is what we need to worry about now. When things are clean, when we have tidied up so it is very clean, then our environment will be very elegant. This is improving our environment, making our environment the best it can be.

Likewise, in the state of our minds, if we do not have propriety, then we will not have principles. This means our state of minds will be in chaos. We are filled with confusion due to our ignorance and afflictions. Afflictions create ignorance, and ignorance creates karma and delusions. Once we create karma, we will not understand the principles. This goes from the superficial to the profound. In our lives, we can realize the existence of principles and see how they remain or disappear. Are the principles still here? We must look to our external environment; from our external environment, we can see what our inner spiritual state is like. This is looking at the external to see what is inside. So it says, “Occasionally, we see purity and do not see defilements or evil.”This is what we see. So, “Discriminating between purity and defilement is the view of sentient beings’ emotions.”We can look at the outside environment from within our minds, and from the outside environment, we can analyze sentient beings’ [inner state]. When everyone gathers together, their emotional state, their mindsets, can all be seen [externally]. So, “When the state of our mind is unchanging, what existence and non-existence can be discussed?”What “existence and non-existence” would there be to talk about? When our minds are unchanging, when we have returned to True Suchness, to our innate One Vehicle nature of True Suchness, we will have no more afflictions. When we do not have any afflictions, how can there be right or wrong? We will simplify everything.

Everything will be simple, and there will be no difference between right and wrong. Everyone will be completely good, and since they will all be good, everything [they do] will be right. Everyone will be in accord with the principles; the principles will be part of our daily lives. Then, there will be no difference between right and wrong, because everyone will follow the principles. Then naturally, “We do not know how the cities, mountains and rivers disappeared.”Nature will always be like this. Nature does not change; nature is just like this. It is just that it has been changed by humankind into cities, towns and villages. These are places where people live. When people enter into conflict with nature, these things happen. Nature’s landscapes change. Look at what it is like now. Many beautiful mountain landscapes are gone. We must mindfully comprehend this. When we look at how humankind has treated the earth, we can see how the four elements are imbalanced. So, this has caused the climate to change. These changes in the climate are due to how, since ancient times, humankind has continuously damaged the mountains and rivers and gradually polluted the air. Our atmosphere is now reacting to this, which has caused the climate to change. When the climate changes, nature also changes. Looking at the present state of nature, it is already [affecting] human lives; there are already “climate refugees”. When we see weather reports, we feel scared and worried.

In the US, the weather [brings about] impermanence. That kind of impermanence and drastic changes are also found in a vast land like the US, even in such a rich and powerful country. They also have climate refugees. {An example of} climate refugees in the US are [people from] an island called Isle de Jean Charles. This island has been continuously sinking. [The government] keeps calling on these people, hoping they can quickly leave this small island. In fact, on this small island, there are not many people, but the government is willing to spend a lot of money [for resettlement]. They are telling the people there to quickly leave. This small island was originally 6.5 km [wide], but now its [width] is less than half a km but now its [width] is less than half a km. We can see that with a width of 6.5km, this small island was quite expansive. There were people living there, and the environment was very good. Their ancestors all lived in that place. There were not many people living there, but the land was not very big either. However, the ocean kept flooding [the island], and the land kept sinking. Presently, less than half a kilometer remains. Half a kilometer, only about 500 meters of dry land [remains], but the people do not want to leave. The government has put aside a large sum of money, US$48,000,000, wishing to [help] the island’s residents leave. But these people think, “My ancestors are all here.” They are unwilling to abandon the place where their ancestors lived. This is how stubborn humans are. What if another disaster comes? With the changes of our climate, as the land keeps sinking, if there is another severe storm, what will happen to these people? These are people’s attachments and the earth’s changes. The earth is changing, and so is the climate. Between heaven, earth and people, what is the reason there are changes in the climate in the world? Why does the land keep on sinking? This is all created by humans. It is due to the afflictions of ignorance and delusions in our lives that make us repeatedly create [karma]. The land that their ancestors left them is gradually disappearing. Like this, the next generation has no choice but to move. Unless they are to disappear with the land, they will have to move. So, when we speak of things lasting forever, as long as people keep creating [karma], even things [we think] will last forever [are affected by] karmic forces, by sentient beings’ collective karma. As for these people’s ancestors, speaking of human beings’ ancestors, aren’t we ourselves also ancestors of human beings? We are continually transmigrating. So, when the Buddha saw a pile of white bones. He said, “This pile of white bones is from my parents in many lifetimes.” This pile of white bones came from people who were each other’s parents. Now, those white bones were in front of them, but the people had already returned to this world. They may have come as parents, sons or daughters or as enemies hurting each other. Did they come out of grace or animosity? There are so many complicated [relationships]. Although we now see a pile of white bones of people who were relatives in the past, in their next life, they might have nothing to do with each other. Or, they might feel mutual love, hate, passion or animosity, leading them to hurt and kill or oppose each other. We cannot know for certain. These are our ancestors. Actually, isn’t this the case also for us? When we all meet each other, it could be that we had very deep affinities in the past, but we are unaware of this. This is due to continuous deluded karma. We pass our lives in delusion, without any control, unaware of anything. So, love turns into hatred. We are repeatedly dragged through the cycle of loving, hate, passion and animosity. This is how distorted our lives are. The Buddha thoroughly understood the principles; He came to this world to let us know about these things. So, we should live together in harmony and interact with each other with love. Whether it is with the external environment or in our interactions with other people, we must treat our environment and others well. If we can do this, there will not be any conflicts, no passion and animosity, afflictions or ignorance. We will have none of these, these are the principles that the Buddha always wanted to tell us, so we must mindfully seek to comprehend them.

We have already seen the previous sutra passage, but let us discuss it again. “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.”

Sakyamuni Buddha called on His manifestations in countless lands to gather together. So, since so many Buddhas were about to come, that area needed to be very large. In the same way, when in the future we begin to bring back great numbers of true principles, we must clean up the ground of our mind so that it is very expansive. Our minds must be able to embrace the universe, without any turbid or defiled things in them. Only then will we be able to accept the true principles when they return. Only then will we be able to take in the principles of the One Vehicle’s True Dharma, the perfect teachings. Previously we talked about the analogies of the stupa of treasures and its surroundings. This means the Buddha was about to reveal many true principles. The Buddha’s manifestations refer to the true principles; these true principles were about to arrive.
The Saha World is our mental state, so we must transform everything that is defiled and evil into purity. We must quickly and earnestly clean our mental state. We must clean it [to the point where]. “The ground is made of crystal and there are magnificent trees of treasures” and moreover, “Ropes made of gold border its eight paths.” The Eightfold Right Path is about to start appearing; right understanding, right views, right mindfulness, right thinking and so on are what we need to bring forth.

The next sutra passage then says, “There were no settlements, villages or cities, oceans, rivers, mountain streams, forests or lakes. Precious incense was burned, and Mandarava flowers were scatted all across the land.”

We have now taken this place, this Saha World, as the ground of our minds. The Saha World now did not have any settlements, villages or cities. There were none of these; there were no settlements. What are settlements? They are places where men and women live together. These are called settlements in villages where people assemble, there are families of men and women. However, the pure eland did not have them in this state of mind, no has the mind of a man or a woman; everyone had the minds of Bodhisattvas. They did not have any discriminating thoughts or defiling prejudices about men and women, none at all. They were all Bodhisattvas and Buddhas. So, what is called a settlement means a very chaotic place. Whether mate or female, good or evil, the places where all kinds of people gather are called settlements. This place did not have any more [settlements]. Moreover, “in this true reward-land, all were supremely virtuous people who had formed Great Vehicle aspirations.” This place did not have any complicated people, meaning there were no complicated mindsets, no discrimination between men and women, good and bad; these complicated mindsets were all gone. This place was the true reward-land. The true reward-land is the pure realm of all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. If we take the Buddha’s heart as our own, we will be in a pure and tranquil state. So, “They were all supremely virtuous people who had formed Great Vehicle aspirations.”Thus, there were no “appearances of settlements, city walls or towns.” There were none of these distinctions. There were no such things as cities, regions, provinces, countless or towns; there were none of these. All these were transformed into a pure land. When our mental state is completely unbiased, this is true equality. Everyone is Buddha, everyone is a Bodhisattva.

There were no settlements, villages or cities: Places where men and women live together are called settlements. In the true reward-land, all were supremely virtuous people who had formed Great Vehicle aspirations. Thus, there were no appearances of settlements, city walls or towns. None of these existed at that moment.

So, “The land where the Tathagata’s perfect reward-body abides has the Flawless Five Aggregates as its essence.” The land where the Tathagata’s perfect reward-body abides has the Flawless Five Aggregates as its essence. We must mindfully seek to comprehend this. The Five Aggregates are form, feeling, perception, action and consciousness. Everything has form, the earth’s mountains and rivers also have form. The decorations in front of us are all form. The floor that we sit on, the celling above our heads and so on are also all form. And yet, what kind of mindset are we using to create that environment? With our eyes, roots and dusts converge. Then what is our mindset as we look at this state? Everyone is engaging in spiritual cultivation, so the environment that we create is an environment of pure and tranquil practice. The roots and dusts [connect to create] our state of mind. In this place, what our ear-root hears is the Dharma. Have we taken the Dharma to heart? If we have, we will be full of Dharma-joy. If we were living outside [the Abode], what would we be busy with at this hour? Or would we still be in bed? Would we be there, wasting our time? If we were lax, we would remain [in bed], wasting away our time. Or would we be someone who, in the early morning, is already working hard to give and accomplish things for the sake of humankind. Moreover, on this planet, our morning here is nighttime for another place. The environment is different.

However, for all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, in any environment, their Five Aggregates are pure and without Leaks. Being without leaks means that the Dharma has not leaked away, they are full of principles. Seeing any physical forms, we immediately understand them, we are completely clear on the principles of all physical forms. As for the principles of human life, we know them inside and out. We thoroughly understand “birth, aging, illness and death” and how people’s states of mind “arise, abide. change and cease.” People’s minds are unable to forever remain this tranquil. Only the spiritual state of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, is [always] tranquil and clear. No matter what happens, they are completely clear on the principles. So, it is said, “The Five Aggregates are empty.” They are empty, so empty they are pure, like the state of a crystal. It exists, it is real, but it is completely translucent. There us no object to differentiate it. This is having “the Flawless Five Aggregates its essence.” They are tranquil and clear, fixed only with true principles. Their [Aggregates] are filled with true principles. Regardless of what they see and hear or what they come come into contact with, everything is completely clear to them. So, they have “the Flawless Five Aggregates as their essence. This is the tranquil and undefiled state of all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

What about us ordinary beings? Our minds are filled with defilements, this is due to our Five Aggregates. Thus, we create a lot of fifth. So, we should be very clear on the principles. Then we will not become defiled, this is having “the Flawless Five Aggregates.” Although we have a human body and live in this world of the Five Turbidities, our minds are completely clean, as translucent as crystal. This is all Buddhas’ and Bodhisattvas’goal in coming to this world. “Due to the merits and virtues from His past cultivation of all the Great Vehicle Dharma….” He was able to live among the defilements of this evil world of the Five Turbidities, to go among people and teach and transform sentient beings without becoming defiled. Since He was without Leaks, although He was human and lived among humans, He was not tainted by them. This was the result of long-term practice of the limitless merits and virtues of the Great Vehicle Dharma. In this way, He was able to remain unobstructed. In that magnificent state, the afflictions and ignorance in our surroundings will not cause obstructions. In the true reward-land of all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, in that state of mind, we are not obstructed. So, we still remain in a magnificent state of wisdom. With this kind of wisdom, we can distinguish all principles and will not be defiled by lack of understanding of the principles. So, this is being in the true reward-land. This is the principles.

At the end of our spiritual practice, we reach this true reward-land. This is a land that is as pure as crystal, it is the Eightfold Noble Path. This Eightfold Path, the road bordered by golden cords, can be completed in this way.

This means that the land where the Tathagata’s perfect reward-body abides has the Flawless Five Aggregates as its essence. Due to the merits and virtues from His past cultivation of all the Great Vehicle Dharma, He obtained the wisdom of this unobstructed, magnificent state. This is known as the true reward-land.

So, “There were no settlements.” There was no need [to speak of] this village, that town or that city. There was no need. Everything was completely pure. Taking the Right Path as the border meant there were no settlements or the like. “The crudeness and defilements of the Saha World were removed.” This is how we should receive this Dharma. We must remove ignorance and defilements from our minds. We must completely eliminate them.

“People with mature affinities remained.” The people with mature affinities naturally remained, while those without affinities, people who still had afflictions and ignorance in their minds, had to leave. They had to disappear, to go away. The defilement of the Saha World, this kind of fifth, were no longer there. So, those who were able to stay, “people with mature affinities, remained.” Those with good karmic conditions stayed. When the Buddha was about to begin teaching the Lotus Sutra, when the conditions were beginning to mature, 5000 people left the assembly. People with mature affinities remained. When He taught the Dharma, they understood, so He bestowed predictions of Buddhahood for them. The same principle applied here. So, “People with mature affinities remained. They remained in this assembly “heavenly beings lacked the proper capabilities and thus left.” People who lacked the right capabilities naturally left. “Those who were defiled instantly became pure. Are we defiled or pure? It depends on our state of mind. Those who had to leave naturally left. They were not willing to stay in this environment.

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. Those who were defiled instantly became pure.

“They did not know the trees of treasures and ropes of gold came into existence.” How did these trees of treasures and ropes of gold come into existence? “They did not know how the cities, mountains and rivers disappeared.” Actually, when the ground of our minds can be this pure, the principles are already in our minds. Without our awareness, they have matured. As long as we earnestly accept the Dharma, in the ground of our minds, we will naturally, without even knowing it, give rise to wisdom. We cannot see how our wisdom grows, but in our understanding of people, matters and things, it will naturally be there.

Their bad habitual tendencies from the past naturally disappeared. We must earnestly change our past unwholesome habitual tendencies. We must eliminate our bad habitual tendencies to be able to take the true principles to heart. So, “Occasionally, we see purity and do not see defilements. Purity and defilement lets us see the mental state of sentient beings.” We were just talking about this. We see purity and do not see defilement. Without our awareness, our minds become pure. There are no more defilements in us. This is created by our own state of mind. When we are willing to accept the Dharma, our minds will naturally be pure. When we put in the effort, listen to the Dharma and take it to heart, our afflictions and ignorance will naturally disappear. So, “The state of our mind is unchanging.” The land [of our mind] is the same. It all depends on whether we put in the effort, whether we sincerely accept the Dharma. This is all in the mind, so what “existence” and “non-existence” is there to discuss? This depends on our minds.

They did not know how the trees of treasures and ropes of gold came into existence. They did not know how the cities, mountains and rivers disappeared. Occasionally, we see purity and do not see defilements. Purity and defilement are the views of sentient beings’ emotions. When the state of our mind is unchanging, what existence and non-existence can be discussed?

As for “oceans, rivers, mountain streams, forest or lakes,” the oceans and rivers represent the varying depths of wisdom of the practitioners of the various vehicles. We have formed aspirations, but is our wisdom shallow or deep? Is our wisdom like an ocean or is it like a river? This depends on our minds. So, “mountain streams” represents Samadhi and wisdom. “Forests and lakes” refers to how mountainous land contains trees and all kinds of things. “Now that He revealed the true reward, all returned to the one reality, all appearances were gone.” Now, in this true reward-land, it was the same; everyone likewise listened to the Dharma and delved deeply into it. We have the same Dharma and the same mindset, so we should all be able to return to this pure place. We should not be in that complicated state, in the forest with all those weeds, trees and inhabitants.
It should not be like this. We should all be in a pure [land].

Oceans and rivers: This represents the varying depths of wisdom of the practitioners of the various vehicles. Mountain streams: This represents Samadhi and wisdom. Forests and lakes: This represents all the factors of enlightenment. A large pool of water is called a lake. Now that He revealed the true reward, all returned to the one reality; all appearances were gone.

So, “Precious incense was burned, and Mandarava flowers were scattered all across the land.” This land was very flat, and its ground was made of crystal. We talked about this previously Sakyamuni Buddha transformed it all. What this means is that the Dharma He taught, regardless of how vast or distant it was or how long [He taught it], was brought before our eyes in its entirety. [This entire land] was as pure as crystal. "There were magnificent trees of treasures, and ropes made of gold” bordered its eight paths. So at this place, “precious incense was burned.” There was very valuable incense. Everything in this land was in a state of purity. Where incense is burned is a very elegant place. So, “Mandarava flowers were scattered all across the land.” This represents practicing good causes without any deficiencies. Bodhisattvas cultivate causes, and the state of Buddhahood is the fruit. We must mindfully comprehend this. This land was so clean. The ground of our minds was originally this clean; it was a tranquil and pure land. So, we must be mindful and earnestly maintain the ground of our mind as a pure land, as a tranquil and clear land. This requires us to be diligent. The source of this diligence is for us to always be mindful.

(Source: Da Ai TV – Wisdom at Dawn program – Explanation by Master Chen-Yen)
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20180131《靜思妙蓮華》心境一如 諸相清淨 (第1274集) (法華經•見寶塔品第十一)
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