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 20180509《靜思妙蓮華》弘揚諸權 終歸一乘 (第1344集) (法華經·提婆達多品第十二)

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20180509《靜思妙蓮華》弘揚諸權 終歸一乘 (第1344集) (法華經·提婆達多品第十二) Empty
發表主題: 20180509《靜思妙蓮華》弘揚諸權 終歸一乘 (第1344集) (法華經·提婆達多品第十二)   20180509《靜思妙蓮華》弘揚諸權 終歸一乘 (第1344集) (法華經·提婆達多品第十二) Empty周二 五月 08, 2018 9:55 pm

20180509《靜思妙蓮華》弘揚諸權 終歸一乘 (第1344集) (法華經·提婆達多品第十二)

⊙為以一乘實相,弘揚諸權教門,引導眾生終歸一乘,速成菩提,持契範利群生,方與契經相應。
⊙二位菩薩對機問答,義含顯隱,謂汝所化眾多,為是演暢實相教義而彼眾生得易受化之乎?
⊙「爾時、智積菩薩以偈讚曰:大智德勇健,化度無量眾,今此諸大會,及我皆已見。演暢實相義,開闡一乘法,廣導諸眾生,令速成菩提。文殊師利言:我於海中,唯常宣說妙法華經。」《法華經提婆達多品第十二》
⊙「智積問文殊師利言:此經甚深微妙,諸經中寶,世所希有,頗有眾生勤加精進修行此經,速得佛不?」《法華經提婆達多品第十二》
⊙此釋問修是經,得佛遲速;智積欲顯經力能致現前佛果,故問以啟之。
⊙智積問文殊師利言:此經甚深微妙:此法華經,其義甚深,語意微密,妙無以加。罄千佛之底蘊曰甚深。盡性相之幽宗曰微妙。
⊙諸經中寶,世所希有:一切世間之所希有。此經所以微妙者,正以其能為經中之寶。以有此寶,故能轉一切法皆為佛法,攝一切經盡為妙法之經。
⊙繁衍展開無量義無竭,似如意寶珠,隨意所求皆滿足故,乃希世之寶。群經莫及,此歎經旨。

【證嚴上人開示】
為以一乘實相,弘揚諸權教門,引導眾生終歸一乘,速成菩提,持契範利群生,方與契經相應。

為以一乘實相
弘揚諸權教門
引導眾生終歸一乘
速成菩提
持契範利群生
方與契經相應

能夠清楚,我們學法用心體會,因為,要講法,必定要了解法的意義,不只是法的意義,還要對機逗教。眾生的根機,什麼樣的根機?我們要準備著對機逗教,要很豐富,為了一乘實相,眾生皆有佛性,這是一定的道理。佛陀就是要眾生,認清楚、很相信,相信自己,一乘真如人人本具,就是說人人對一乘法的大道理,人人應該都能清楚。是因為人人本具真如本性,有了真如本性,就是佛性,佛性就是本覺,人人就本來有,能夠覺悟的本性,就是我們的真如。真如本性,本來這個覺性如海,像智慧之海,只要我們打開了,打開了我們真如本性,開啟了,我們的覺性現前,智慧如海,就是很遼闊的智慧,這是人人本具,不是什麼人給我們的,是我們人人就本有,大家都有,只是我們內心所藏著,是很多無明煩惱,所以我們的本性真如,受煩惱掩蓋了,這是我們常常在說的。

佛陀就是一直要強調,讓我們知道在如來藏性,如來藏裡面這個真如本性,我們一定是在的,只是這個如來藏,被煩惱無明掩蓋了。要我們找出真如本性,這個一乘實相這個道理,就是我們最近一直在說,「毫芒藏乾坤」。道理,你看不到啊,很微細啊!卻是裡面含有乾坤,宇宙真理無不含藏在毫芒,就是真如本性,你就是看不到,但是必定是有。為了這樣,佛陀必定要設教。所以為了要應機,我們就要學,這是佛陀教育我們,我們要吸收,很多很多的道理入心來。佛法就是藏著這麼多的道理,我們用心,因為佛陀已經是在人間覺悟,大家認證佛陀是世間的大覺者,我們兩天前也說過了。道理本來就有,人人本來就能成佛,諸佛無不都是來來回回在人間。

看看文殊菩薩,看看觀音菩薩,他們不就都是明文,經典之中都一直說過了,過去成佛。「龍種上尊王佛」是文殊菩薩;「正法明如來」是觀世音菩薩,這都是過去已成佛,現在在人間就是助佛教化眾生。這就是要讓我們了解,已成佛來人間助道場的菩薩,是很多哦!類似這樣,釋迦牟尼佛也是累生世,無不都是來人間,來對機顯教,只是沒有因緣成熟,任何一個時代,他說:「我成佛了。」因緣還未成熟,一直到因緣成熟了,二千多年前,迦毗毘羅衛國,他出生王宮,這樣經過了,和我們人生同樣的生活。在皇宮裡面享盡了榮華富貴,因為學問讓他體會,那個時代宗教很複雜,那個時代,貧富懸殊,那個時代……。

總而言之,那個時代的生態,就是讓他看盡了人間,體會了人生無常,這不是只有今生此世,是累積來的這個慧性的,覺性慧海。雖然人在王宮裡,接受到教育,在外面所看到,一接觸,他就體會。所以現這個境界,成就他放棄榮華富貴,這是要讓人間的人人知道,有這段的經歷、故事,在人間流傳下來,大家有事相來傳。其實,修行的過程,那個覺性本來就是存在,就是現這樣的相,所以叫做「八相成道」,經過了從出生、兒童、年輕,思考出家,修行過程,這樣一直到覺悟,而後說法,而後老,同樣的病、痛,就入涅槃,這就是佛陀的一生經歷,和我們人間都一樣。只是那個覺性,佛陀清楚了解,一直要讓我們知道,我們人人和佛的經歷都一樣,只是因緣果報不同。

佛陀的因緣果報,就是來人間,在王宮裡,在王宮生活的過程;而我們凡夫,各人在各人的家庭出生,在各人的家庭生活背景不同,就是各人因緣果報不同。但是,佛性一樣,因為我們人人都有自然的法則,自然法則都一樣,生、老、病、死。觀念,大家各有不同的習性,有的人很頑劣的習性,有的人就是非常的賢淑,很好、很聰明、有智慧,就是同一個環境,不同性質。王宮裡面,同樣在王宮生活,佛陀對眾生的憐憫,是從小開始;,成佛之後,回到王宮,再度很多的王子、王親國戚,全都來修行。阿難和提婆達多,同一對父母,同一個環境,生長,卻是也有不同的習性,這就是累生世的,因、緣、果、報。

所以說起來,大家從這一點去好好去思考,我們的一生就能更清楚,人人都能得佛的授記,善的、有修行的,也是得佛授記;惡的,如提婆達多,也得佛授記,但是,善惡有報。有報,就像提婆達多,雖然得佛授記,那是生陷地獄之後,佛陀才為他授記,因為他就是這樣,做過這麼多的惡,迫害僧團,而且要逼害佛陀,或者是要傷害佛命,所以他活生生,生陷地獄,這就是已經受報了。佛陀還是一樣為他授記,但是能成佛,是要再經過很長久的時間。因為提婆達多本性還有法在,不論他怎麼生、怎麼死,他的本性還是有很豐富的法,但是,他沒有用在好的,去發揮救人的工作,他利用法,助長他的聰明去造業。所以造惡業就要墮地獄。他若能用法好好利益眾生,那就是成佛、成菩薩。

這就是要向大家說,人人真如本性全都有,眾生都有這樣的真如本性,眾生都有成佛的機會,看看什麼樣的因緣能夠成就他,那就會成佛了。所以這就是要讓我們知道,「一乘實相」,希望我們能了解。佛陀已經將法遺留在人間,這是覺悟的智者,成佛所說的法,我們這時候是「如是我聞」, 我們都是聽。是「我」這樣聽到,是「我」這樣看到這個法,所以我去用心,現在你們聽到,聽到之後,如是法、如是知、如是解,我們就要銘刻在我們的心版裡,我們見到什麼樣,不同眾生的根機,我們就用不同方法,去對治、去教育他,所以,必定要「弘揚諸權教門」,就是要打開「權」,方便的法。

這像昨天,聽到委員分享,慈濟人一個禮拜進去監獄三天,向他們佛法分享,師父說的話,他們就將它傳進去,甚至每天都要叫他們要聽廣播,大愛的廣播,每天都有播放講經,就讓大家聽,這些慈濟人進去的時候,就和他們談經說法,談他們聽到的經,所說的是師父怎麼說的法,所以慢慢將他們感化了。他們在監獄裡面寫字,寫經文、寫靜思語,字寫得很漂亮,這樣一次一次一直拿回來,同時他們也抱著一輛牛車,又一隻,我說:「這是不是豬?」他說:「不是啦,牛。」「牛怎麼這麼肥?」牛車就將它裝下去,一點都不像牛,很像豬。他說,這是一位,十七歲就進監獄去,現在已經三十多歲了,已經很久沒看到牛了,這是都市的孩子,十七歲就犯很重的罪,所以是無期徒刑。

很多年來,慈濟人一直進去、一直進去,感化到現在,很乖,用心寫畫,會寫字、畫圖,同時也能雕刻,因為不能給他們,很利的東西雕刻,就是不會傷他們的身體。所以,一來,他沒有工具,二來,他沒有看到牛,所以他在聽那一段,大白牛車,羊車、鹿車、大白牛車,聽這個法,他很入心,所以他就刻了一輛牛車,就刻了一頭牛,這頭牛刻得像豬一樣,這樣肥肥的。我說:「根本就不像牛。」他們就這樣解釋。他們有跟他說:「你這樣不像牛,像一頭肥豬。」他自己自我解說:「要不然就當作,是法將牠養得很飽,所以,這頭牛變成像豬一樣。」這樣送回來給我看,他們現在拿來我們這裡,說要這裡布置這。

就是從方便教,這樣成為一乘法,這就是三車,羊車、鹿車、大白牛車,這樣三乘法傳入監獄去。所以「弘揚諸權教門」。他現在已經體會人間就是這樣,要自己好好,這輩子要好好修,要斷煩惱。他這樣說,是這位犯人這樣說,修行者,他知道這一輩子,可能要出去很渺茫,他這時候將它當作在監獄,像是出家修行一樣,所以他要斷盡煩惱,所以現在已經要入大乘的法門,所以刻大白牛車。他用這樣來善解,這也表示他的覺性也是有體悟。這是昨天看到,昨天聽到的,也是很感動。

這群人間菩薩,外面聽法,傳法到監獄去,去度眾生,所以「終歸一乘,速成菩提」,用這個大乘法,開始用權教門,開權教的門,才用一乘法這樣來引導,「引導眾生終歸一乘」,速成菩提。我們若將這樣的人間法,這樣的人事相來解,人人本具佛性;就是這樣這麼的殘酷,年紀那麼的小,十幾歲,犯了那麼大的殺人罪案,尤其是轟動一時,看,那個時候的懵懂。現在用種種的法,監獄已經很久以前以前,就已經慢慢受教化,尤其是典獄長,也開放經典的方法,按時間就傳給大家聽,這都是方法,不只是我們人這樣進去而已,還是有現在的科技,好的法也傳進去。慈濟人也按時,每星期三天進去,像這樣,慢慢浸潤,法水浸潤他的本性,慢慢這麼多年來,十七八年的時間,不再有機會去造罪了。自己不斷反省,所以他反省過來,所以諸惡莫做,現在眾善法不斷浸潤他的心,滋養他的慧命,所以這樣「終歸一乘,速成菩提」。在那裡面,體悟到覺性。

所以「持契範利群生」。就是好好持經,契範就是契經,作為典範,「經者,道也」,這個經入他的心,也已經成為一個,真正有修行的人,模範,已經在裡面好好做出了模範者。用功練寫字,用功讀經書,用功在他的工藝品裡,這也是在一個道場裡面一樣,所以無處不道場。

文殊菩薩也是一樣,無處不道場,監獄也是他的道場,地藏菩薩,地獄也是他的道場,總是無處不道場。菩薩也是可以到那個地方,去度化眾生,(在)那個地方,也能成佛、成菩薩。文殊菩薩在海龍宮度化,看,這麼多千葉蓮花,從海中浮現出來,住虛空中,從說聲聞法,一直到體會一乘空義。

這我們昨天說過了。所以這就是眾生有入經藏。經,有入心,叫做「持契經」,為典範來利益群生。「契」就是契經,「範」那就是改變過來,將惡轉為善,從憍慢變成了受化的菩薩,已經發大心要行菩薩道,這樣再利益眾生,能夠這樣,才與契經相應。

契經,就是要度眾生,眾生有接受到,這表示和經再會合,來契這個法的道理,所以,事與理這樣再會合回來。事離我們,理就很遠,惡的事情和道理,我們要如何用這個道理,去轉這個惡呢?要用方法去轉它,轉到這個惡來成為善,那就是來合這個理。所以說:「這樣就對了!這樣教你,你這樣做,這樣就對了。」對了,就是合理了。同樣的道理,這就是「方與契經相應」。就是我們契經,我們要持法。在〈法師品〉,不就是要我們持法嗎?這就是有將法持入心來,這樣成為人品典範,我們才能再利益眾生。我們要聽,聽很多,聞法者、傳法者,再利益眾生,所以這樣才是叫做,「與契經相應」,這樣我們才有合到道理,我們才與道理有會合。

前面的文,其實是兩位菩薩,智積菩薩、文殊菩薩,就是互相對唱,是為了對根機,還有很多根機還沒有很清楚,所以智積菩薩故意顯出了,還有一點點的疑問,所以文殊菩薩,他就能夠對機回答。這我們也要感恩智積菩薩。他這次有來,感恩釋迦牟尼佛,將智積菩薩留下來,和文殊菩薩會合,讓他們兩個人去對機,這樣,法才能夠應機廣傳,再讓大家更知道這個法。

二位菩薩對機問答
義含顯隱
謂汝所化眾多
為是演暢實相教義
而彼眾生
得易受化之乎

所以,問答的義就是含顯隱,要顯出了非常的,隱秘的這個法,必定要有機相對。有智積說:「我不知道,問你,你跟我說,你為我解釋,不是我知道而已,這麼多人都知道了。」同樣的道理,本來我們還無法去體會,經過他們這樣的問答,自然顯出了那個道理,讓我們更清楚。為什麼?人性、眾生性都是平等,要顯出這一點,所以才會文殊菩薩,去海王宮教化,這是顯出眾生性平等。但是這很難解,所以智積菩薩,要再留下來問文殊,文殊才開始來顯出這個道理,讓我們更清楚。

所以「謂汝所化眾多」,「為是演暢實相教義」,你在那個地方,這樣講那個實相法,這樣的教義,他們是不是容易受化呢?這就是前面的文,所以我們全都體會、了解。

所以,「爾時,智積菩薩以偈讚曰」。聽文殊菩薩說了之後,就稱讚他。「大智德勇健,化度無量眾,今此諸大會,及我皆已見。演暢實相義,開闡一乘法,廣導諸眾生,令速成菩提。文殊師利言:我於海中,唯常宣說妙法華經」。

爾時
智積菩薩以偈讚曰
大智德勇健
化度無量眾
今此諸大會
及我皆已見
演暢實相義
開闡一乘法
廣導諸眾生
令速成菩提
文殊師利言
我於海中
唯常宣說妙法華經
《法華經提婆達多品第十二》

文殊師利菩薩,聽智積菩薩這樣在讚歎他,他又要再向他說:「我不是只顯這一實法,我還在那裡講《法華經》呢!《法華經》是眾經之王,成佛之道,我在海龍宮是講《法華經》哦!不是一般的大乘法,是《法華經》。」就是要讓他更了解,那些眾生,也有辦法接受《法華經》,已經顯相出來了,有這麼多、這麼多千葉蓮花,浮現在虛空中。

接下來這段文:「智積問文殊師利言:此經甚深微妙,諸經中寶,世所希有,頗有眾生勤加精進修行此經,速得佛不?」

智積問文殊師利言
此經甚深微妙
諸經中寶
世所希有
頗有眾生勤加精進
修行此經
速得佛不
《法華經提婆達多品第十二》

他這樣的問,就是要解說。修這部經,能夠得到成佛的時間,是長還是短呢?這「遲速」,是時間要多久?在那個地方講經,縱然他們能夠聽,能夠接受,他們能夠做得到嗎?修行的時間到成佛要多久?還是智積菩薩還要再這樣問。

此釋問修是經
得佛遲速
智積欲顯經力
能致現前佛果
故問以啟之

智積就是「欲顯經力,能致現前佛果」,要讓大家知道這修行的過程,到底是要快還是慢?所以這樣問。

智積問文殊師利言
此經甚深微妙:
此法華經其義甚深
語意微密妙無以加
罄千佛之底蘊
曰甚深
盡性相之幽宗
曰微妙

「智積問文殊師利言:此經甚深微妙。」因為這部經很深,《法華經》的義很深,尤其是那語意也是很微密,每一句的道理,每一字都是很微細,含藏著很深的法,是微密,這部經裡面每一句,都是「語意微密」。因為它的意義是很深,所以「語意微密,妙無以加」,非常的微妙,其他的經無法比它更深。所以「罄千佛之底蘊曰甚深」。所以,所有佛,過去、現在、未來諸佛,就是盡,「罄」就是罄盡,就是盡「千佛之底蘊」,所有佛含藏,所有的法,就是叫做「甚深」。佛佛道同,那個法很深,每一尊佛,全都共同在《法華經》裡面;成佛在《法華經》,要經過《法華經》,才有辦法成佛,所以「罄千佛之底蘊曰甚深」。所以,「盡性相之幽宗曰微妙」。所有那個性和相,體性和所有的事相等等,非常的微密,所以才會向大家說,「毫芒藏乾坤」,意思就是要和你們說這些,同樣的道理哦!所以,「諸經中寶,世所希有」。

諸經中寶
世所希有:
一切世間之所希有
此經所以微妙者
正以其能為
經中之寶
以有此寶
故能轉一切法
皆為佛法
攝一切經
盡為妙法之經

《法華經》是諸經中的寶,寶中之寶,「世所希有」,很困難得到的法,你即使讀得到這部經,也無法解得到這部經的意;你即使解得到,你要做也很難,所以「一切世間之所希有」。所以「此經所以微妙者,正以其能為經中之寶」。所以說它的妙,就是經中的寶,語言講的,只能夠這樣來描述,其實是非語言所能言說,也不是我們的心能夠去測量。總是那個微妙,從古以前一直到現在,剛才說監獄的事相,來會這個道理,這樣也是同樣,這個道理就是這樣。

淺,就是在人間的事相,深,是深到盡諸佛的底蘊,就是這樣那麼的微妙,那麼深。所以,「以有此寶,故能轉一切法皆為佛法」。「攝一切經盡為妙法之經」。要轉這部經,轉法輪,這部經的法輪要轉,真的是要攝一切經,要所有一切經典,所有的妙法都集中在這本經,這部經裡面,這實在是諸經之王,非常微妙。

所以「頗有眾生,勤加精進修行此經,速得佛不?」難道有嗎?難道有這樣的眾生,這樣勤加精進來修行,有辦法很快能得到呢?這部經這麼的微妙,就是很多眾生很勤、很精進在修行這部經,到底豈是有辦法在很快的時間,就能夠成佛?難道有嗎?這是智積菩薩,再問一個更難的題,要讓文殊菩薩答。所以「其有眾生聞此妙經,勤加精進,疾成佛否?」大家很用心,能夠很快就成佛嗎?「繁衍展開無量義無竭」。

繁衍展開
無量義無竭
似如意寶珠
隨意所求皆滿足故
乃希世之寶
群經莫及
此歎經旨

這已經這樣很繁瑣,很旺盛,不斷衍生出來的道理,很多。「繁」就是很多。不斷不斷湧現出來,「展開無量義無竭」。不斷像湧泉,一直湧現出來,沒有停止,無量義沒有停止。這個法到底是如何才能完成?「似如意寶珠」。就像如意的寶珠,自古就有這樣傳說了,如意寶珠就是「隨意所求皆滿足故,乃是希世之寶」。《法華經》的道理就是這樣,像湧泉沒有停歇,一直一直冒出來的水,就像如意珠滿足人所要求的,這樣全都能滿足,這是很希有的寶。這部經就是這樣,所以是「群經莫及」。這段就是在讚歎這部經,真的是很微妙啊!

所以,我們要很用心體會,這部經的教法。「其有人」,依此法,此經的道理去勤修,「一生頓證否?」現在智積就是看,是不是有人這樣?有人依這部經,很認真去修行,有辦法一生這樣就頓悟,就了解嗎?有人能夠了解這部經的道理嗎?這一生修行,這一生頓悟這部經的意義嗎?意思就是:你還沒有修行,但是聽這部經就能夠了解,有可能嗎?這就是所問的,就是要看你所教化的根機,是利,還是鈍呢?利根的人,只是看到這部經就心起歡喜,經文裡面的那個道理,愈研究,愈法喜充滿。這就是對這部經,有契機,有契理,有這樣嗎?這就是利根的人。若是劣,劣根機的人,聽不懂,就是感覺:再講也是這樣反反覆覆啊!又這麼長,道理那麼的微密,這實在要去體會它也很難。這就是劣根的人。劣根就不堪受啊!若是利根呢?不只是堪受,還是法喜充滿。

就像昨天早上,晨語之後,我聽到,在長春,聞法者一百零八個,是剛好滿一千天,他們歡喜滿一千天,天氣的寒冷是零下二十一度,他們竟然冒著這麼涼冷,這麼冷的氣候來聽法,想一想,這就是契機,他們的根機很利,他們把法,那個法聽得歡喜,才願意冒著風雪,這樣不斷,已經一千天了,一千天哦!這樣來聽法。想想看,力量,這種是經典那個微妙,就是在這個地方,法喜充滿,契機的人,他就能這樣維持下去。想想看,昨天就有一百零八人了,這實在不可思議啊!我這樣講這部經,長春離那麼遠,他們也聽得進去,所以我們應該要讚歎,這是利根菩薩,所以是很用心。尤其是,我說的是臺語,他們在那個地方,願意這樣繼續聽下去,是真精進者,不簡單!所以,真的是人人,時時要多用心啊!



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Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: All Teachings Return to the One Vehicle (弘揚諸權 終歸一乘)
Date: May.09.2018

“For the sake of the ultimate truth of the One Vehicle, [the Buddha] spread myriad provisional teachings to guide sentient beings to return to the One Vehicle and swiftly attain Bodhi. A model who upholds and resonates with [the sutra] will benefit all sentient beings. This is what it means to resonate with the sutra.”

In order to have a clear understanding, we need to mindfully seek to understand the Dharma. In order for us to expound the Dharma, we must understand its meaning. Not only must we understand the Dharma’s meaning, we also need to give teachings according to capabilities. Whatever sentient beings’ capabilities are, we must prepare to teach them accordingly with an abundance of methods. [This is] for the sake of the ultimate truth of the One Vehicle. All sentient beings have Buddha-nature; this is an invariable principle. The Buddha wanted sentient beings to clearly recognize this and truly have faith; we must have faith in ourselves, in that we all inherently possess the [nature] of True Suchness of the One Vehicle. In other words, regarding the great principles of the One Vehicle Dharma, everyone should be able to clearly understand. This is because everyone inherently has the intrinsic nature of True Suchness. [We all] have the nature of True Suchness, which is the Buddha-nature. The Buddha-nature is our innate enlightenment. Everyone has always possessed this intrinsic nature of enlightenment, which is our nature of True Suchness. As for this nature of True Suchness, our innate, enlightened nature, it is like an ocean, an ocean of wisdom. As long as we open up our nature of True Suchness, once awakened, our enlightened nature will manifest, and we will have wisdom as vast as the ocean. Everyone intrinsically has this. It is not something that others give to us; it is something that we intrinsically possess. We all have this. However, in our minds, we have accumulated so much ignorance and so many afflictions. Thus, our nature of True Suchness is covered by our afflictions. We are always talking about this. The Buddha is always emphasizing this to let us know that the Tathagata-garbha nature, the nature of True Suchness that lies within the Tathagata-garbha, is something we definitely have. It is just that this Tathagata-garbha nature is covered by our afflictions and ignorance. We need to find our nature of True Suchness, which is the principle of the ultimate truth of the One Vehicle. Recently, we have been talking about how “We see the universe in a speck of dust.” Principles are not things we can see! [A speck of dust] is so miniscule, yet it contains the principles of the universe. All the true principles of the universe are contained within a single speck of dust; this is our nature of True Suchness. We cannot see it, but it definitely exists. In order [to help us understand it], the Buddha had to establish teachings. He did this to adapt to our capacities. So, we need to learn His teachings. This is what the Buddha taught us. We need to absorb all the many principles and take them to heart.

Since the Buddha-Dharma contains so many principles, we need to be mindful. Because the Buddha had already attained enlightenment in the world, everyone recognizes the Buddha as the Great Enlightened One in the world. We talked about this two days ago. The principles have always been here. We have all always been able to attain Buddhahood. All Buddhas repeatedly return to this world. Let us take a look at Manjusri Bodhisattva and Guanyin Bodhisattva. The sutras clearly state that they attained Buddhahood in the past. Manjusri Bodhisattva was Honorable Dragon King Buddha. Guanyin Bodhisattva was Clear True Dharma Tathagata. They had already attained Buddhahood in the past. Now, they were in this world, helping the Buddha to teach and transform sentient beings. This is to help us understand that the Bodhisattvas who already attained Buddhahood and return to the world to help teach are very numerous indeed! Similarly, lifetime after lifetime, Sakyamuni Buddha also came to this world to reveal the teachings to sentient beings according to their capabilities. However, the causes and conditions had not yet matured. In any other time, if He said, “I have attained Buddhahood,” the causes and conditions had not yet matured.

The causes and conditions finally matured when 2000 years ago, in the Kingdom of Kapilavastu, He was born in the palace. He went through the same kind of life as we do. Inside the palace, he enjoyed glory and wealth. Because of His studies, He realized the complexity of the religions of that era, the extreme disparity between the rich and poor and many other [issues] in that era. In summary, the way people lived during that ear enable Him to see all the suffering in the world and experience the impermanence of life. This was not wisdom just gained in this lifetime; He had already accumulated an ocean of enlightened wisdom. Although He received His education in the palace, whenever He saw something in the outside world, as soon as He encountered it, He understood it. He manifested in this state so that he could give up his rank and wealth. This was to help everyone in the world understand that He had this kind of experience, this story, that would continue to be passed down in the world. Everyone would have [a story] to pass down.

In fact, over His course of spiritual practice, His enlightened nature was always there. It was just that He manifested these appearances. Thus, we say He manifested “Eight Aspects of Attaining Enlightenment”. He went through birth, childhood and youth; He considered leaving the lay life, then underwent spiritual practice until He attained enlightenment. Then, He expounded the Dharma to other people and became old. He also suffered from illness and pains, and then He entered Prainirvana. This was what the Buddha experienced in this life; He was the same as us humans. It was just that the Buddha clearly understood that enlightened nature. He always wanted to help us understand that everyone follows the same course as the Buddha. It is just that the karmic retributions we receive are different from His. The Buddha’s karmic retributions were to come to the world and live inside the palace, to have this period of life inside the palace. As for us ordinary people, everyone is born into different families and has different family backgrounds. This shows that everyone has different karmic retributions. However, our Buddha-nature is the same, because everyone follows the laws of nature. The laws of nature are the same for everyone; [we all go through] birth, aging, illness and death. Everyone has different ideas and habitual natures. Some people are very stubborn in nature, while some people are very virtuous, kind, intelligent and wise. Though they may share the same environment, people have different natures. While living inside the palace, the Buddha began to have compassion for sentient begins at a young age. After attaining Buddhahood, He returned to the palace to transform many princes and royal relatives, who all came to engage in spiritual practice. Ananda and Devadatta had the same parents and grew up in the same environment. However, they also had different habitual natures. This is due to many lifetimes of cause, conditions, effects and retributions. So, to sum things up, if everyone earnestly contemplates from this perspective, we can understand our lives more clearly. Everyone is capable of receiving the Buddha’s predictions. Virtuous people and spiritual practitioners can receive the Buddha’s predictions. Evil people, such as Devadatta, can also receive the Buddha’s predictions. However, there are retributions for both good and evil. There will be retributions; take Devadatta for example. Although he did receive the Buddha’s predictions, it was not until after he fell into hell that Buddha bestowed predictions upon him. This was because he had committed so many evils. He harmed the Sangha and even wanted to harm the Buddha. He even wanted to take the Buddha’s life. So, he fell into hell while still alive. This means that he had received his retribution. The Buddha still bestowed predictions upon him. However, for [Devadatta] to attain Buddhahood, it would still take a very long time.

Because Devadatta still had the Dharma in his intrinsic nature, no matter how he was born or how he would die, his intrinsic nature was still rich in the Dharma. However, he did not put it to good use in saving people. He took advantage of the Dharma to become more clever in creating [negative] karma. Because he created negative karma, he fell into hell. If he can make good use of the Dharma to benefit sentient beings, He will attain Buddhahood, become a Bodhisattvas. This is to tell everyone that everyone has the nature of True Suchness. All sentient begins have this nature of True Suchness. All sentient begins have the chance to attain Buddhahood. When certain causes and conditions support them, they can attain Buddhahood. Thus, this is to help us understand “the ultimate truth of the One Vehicle”. [The Buddha] hoped for everyone to understand this. The Buddha bequeathed the Dharma to the world. This is the Dharma the enlightened wise one expounded after attaining Buddhahood.

Now we say, “Thus have I heard”. We are all listening. When “I” hear [the Dharma] like this and when “I” see the Dharma like this, I put my heart into [understanding it]. Now, you are hearing [the Dharma]; afterwards, you will have such Dharma, such knowledge and such understanding. We need to care it into our minds. When we meet sentient beings with different capabilities, we need to use different methods to treat and educate them. Thus, we must “spread myriad provisional teachings”. This means that we need to open the provisional, which is skillful means.

This is just like how yesterday, we listened to some Tzu Chi commissioners share about the Tzu Chi volunteers who visit the prisons three times a week to share the Buddha-Dharma with the inmates. They share my words in the prison. They even encourage the inmates to listen to Da Ai Radio, which broadcasts the sutra teachings so that everyone can listen. When these Tzu Chi volunteers visit these inmates in prison, they talk about the sutras and discuss the Dharma with them; [The volunteers] share the sutras they heard and the Dharma that I taught them. So, gradually these inmates have been transformed [by these Tzu Chi volunteers]. These inmates practice calligraphy in prison. They practice by writing sutras and Jing Si Aphorisms. Their calligraphy is very pretty. Again and again, volunteers bring the writing back. The volunteers also brought back an ox-cart; [an inmate] had carved this animal [sculpture]. I said, “Is this a pig?” The volunteer said, “No, it is an ox”. “How can an ox be that fat?” A cart was attached to the ox. But it did not look like an ox at all; it looked a lot like a pig. That volunteer told me that sculpture came from an inmate who had been in prison since he was 17. Now, he is already more than 30 years old. He has not seen an ox for such a long time. This is a child from the city. At the age of 17, he committed a serious crime, so he was given a life sentence. For so many years, Tzu Chi volunteers have been visiting this inmate. So, he was touched and has become very well-behaved. He puts his heart into writing and drawing. He can do calligraphy and draw, and he can also carve sculptures. We are not allowed to give them very sharp objects to carve with so that they will not harm themselves. So, first of all, he did not have the [proper] tools. Secondly, he had never seen an ox. But he had heard the teachings about the great white ox-cart, the sheep-cart and the deer-cart. After listening to the teachings, he took them to heart. So, since he carved an ox-cart, he carved an ox, but this carved ox really looked like a pig; it was really chubby. I said, “It does not look like an ox at all”. They explained to me that they told the inmate about this, saying, “This does not look like an ox, it looks like a fat pig”. He tired to explain it by saying, “How about treating this as an ox who is well-fed by the Dharma?” So, this ox had turned into something like a pig. They brought it here for me to see. They brought this sculpture here for us to use as a decoration. This is how we go from the skillful teachings to the One Vehicle Dharma. This is how the Three Vehicles, the sheep-cart, the deer-cart and the great white ox-cart, are spread in the prisons.

So, [this is what it means to spread myriad provisional teachings”. [This inmate] has realized what the world is like. “I want to earnestly engage in spiritual practice and eliminate my afflictions”. He said this. This is what this inmate said. For this spiritual practitioner, he knows that it is very unlikely for him to be released from jail during this lifetime. So, he treats being in prison as if he is engaging in spiritual practice as a monastic. He wants to eliminate all his afflictions. He now wants to enter the Dharma-door of the Great Vehicle, so he carved the great white ox-cart. This is how he came to understand it. This also means his enlightened nature has been awakened. This is what we saw and heard yesterday. It was also very touching.

These living Bodhisattvas spread the teachings that they hear on the outside into the prisons in order to transform sentient beings so they will “return to the One Vehicle and swiftly attain Bodhi”. They use the Great Vehicle Dharma [to transform sentient beings]. They begin by opening the door of provisional teachings. After opening the door of provisional teachings. After opening the door of provisional teachings, they then begin to use the One Vehicle Dharma to guide sentient beings to “return to the One Vehicle and swiftly attain Bodhi”. If we can understand the worldly teachings and understand people, matters and appearances, [we will then understand this] everyone intrinsically has Buddha-nature. However, [this inmate] had been very cruel; at such a young age, in his teens, he committed a serious murder, one that shocked the entire society. We can see how confused he was back them, but now through all kinds of teachings, he has over a long time, gradually been transformed. In particular, the warden also uses the sutras [to help reform inmates] and lets them listen to the sutras on a regular basis. These are all methods [of spreading the Dharma]. Not only do we visit the prisons in person, but we also use modern technology to bring good teachings inside. On a regular basis, Tzu Chi volunteers also visit the prison three times a week. Like this, the Dharma-water has gradually seeped into their intrinsic nature. This happened gradually, after many years, after seventeen to eighteen years. He will no longer have the chance to commit crimes. He constantly engages in self-reflection. Through his self-reflection, he has learned to do no evil. Not, the virtuous Dharma continues to seep into his mind and nourish his wisdom-life. So, he has “returned to the One Vehicle and will swiftly attain Bodhi”. In prison, he comprehended and awakened to his enlightened nature.

Thus, “A model who upholds and resonates [will the sutra] benefits all sentient beings”. This means that we must earnestly uphold the sutra. A model is someone who resonates with the sutra. “The sutra is a path”. He has taken this sutra to heart. So, he has also become a spiritual practitioner and a role model; he has become a role model inside the prison. He works hard at his calligraphy, at reading the sutras and at his craftwork. It is just like he is in a spiritual training ground. We can engage in spiritual practice anywhere. It was also the same for Manjusri Bodhisattva. He could engage in spiritual practice anywhere. Prison can also be his spiritual training ground. For Earth Treasury Bodhisattva, hell was his spiritual training ground. All in all, anywhere can be a spiritual training ground; Bodhisattvas can also go to that place to transform sentient beings. In that place people can also attain Buddhahood or become Bodhisattvas.

Manjusri Bodhisattva transformed sentient beings inside the dragon palace in the ocean. Look at how so many thousand-petaled lotus flowers emerged from the ocean and abided in the empty air. Starting from the teachings of Hearers, he taught until [sentient beings] comprehended the teachings of emptiness of the One Vehicle. We talked about this yesterday. So, this means sentient beings entered the sutra treasury and took the sutras to heart. This is called “upholding and resonating with the sutra” and being a model to benefit sentient beings.

To “resonate” means to resonate with the sutra. [To be] a “model” means we have transformed, transformed evil into good, transformed ourselves from arrogant people into Bodhisattvas who accept the teachings and who have already made great aspirations to practice the Bodhisattva-path. Then we must go on to benefit sentient beings. Only if we can do this are we resonating with the sutra. In order to resonate with the sutra, we need to transform sentient beings. When sentient beings have accepted the teachings, this means they are in accord with the sutra and resonate with the principles of this Dharma.

Thus, matters and principles must come together. If matters are not with us, we are far away from principles. When it comes to evil matters, how can we apply the principles to transform this evil? We must use methods to transform it so that this evil can turn into goodness, which means to come into accord with principles. Then we say ”That’s right. You are doing it the way were taught; that is correct.” It is correct; it is in accord with the principles. The principles is the same “This is what it means to resonate with the sutra.” In order for us to resonate with the sutra, we need to uphold the Dharma. Doesn’t the Chapter on Dharma Teachers tell us to uphold the Dharma? By taking the Dharma to heart, we can become role models. Then, we can benefit sentient beings.

We need to listen to a lot of teachings and be those who listen to and transmit the Dharma to benefit sentient beings. Then, we can be said to “resonate with the sutra.” Only then will we be able to be in accord with the principles.

The precious sutra passage is about Wisdom Accumulated Bodhisattva and Manjusri Bodhisattva. They engaged in a dialogue to adapt to people’s capabilities. Because many people of [limited] capabilities still did not understand [the principles], Wisdom Accumulated Bodhisattva purposely showed that he still had a few doubts so that Manjusri Bodhisattva could answer these questions to suit their capabilities. We need to be grateful to Wisdom Accumulated for coming at that time. We should also be grateful to Sakyamuni Buddha for getting Wisdom Accumulated to stay there to meet with Manjusri Bodhisattva so that the two of them could address people’s capabilities. In this way, the Dharma can then suit capabilities to be widely spread so that people can further understand this Dharma.

The two Bodhisattvas conversed according to capabilities. Their meaning was both obvious and implicit. [Wisdom Accumulated] asked, “You have transformed so many sentient beings. Did you expound the meaning of the ultimate truth so that those sentient beings could be easily transformed?”

The meaning of this conversation was both obvious and implicit. In order to reveal the true teachings that are implicit, they had to accord with capabilities. Wisdom Accumulated said, “I do not know, so I am asking you. You tell me this and explain this to me. Not just so I can understand, but so that many people can understand.”

In the same way, at first we could not understand this, but through their conversation, they naturally revealed this principles to us and helped us understand it more clearly. Why? All sentient beings are equal in nature. In order to reveal this, Manjusri Bodhisattva went to the dragon palace in the ocean to teach and transform sentient beings. He demonstrated that all sentient beings are equal in nature.

However, this was difficult to understand. So, Wisdom Accumulated Bodhisattva had to stay and ask Manjusri about this. Then Manjusri began to reveal this principles to help us understand it more clearly. “[Wisdom Accumulated] asked, You have transformed so many sentient beings. Did you expound the meaning of the ultimate truth? At that place, you were expounding the teaching of the ultimate truth. Were they easy to transform?” This is the previous sutra passage.

Thus, we can completely understand it. “At that time, Wisdom Accumulated Bodhisattva spoke these verses in praise.” After hearing Manjusri Bodhisattva’ words, Wisdom Accumulated praised Manjusri “‘With great wisdom and virtue, courage and strength, you have transformed and delivered countless beings. Now those in the great assembly and I have all seen it for ourselves. You proclaimed the meaning of ultimate truth, expounded the One Vehicle Dharma and broadly guided all sentient beings, leading them to swiftly attain Bodhi.’” “Manjusri said, while I was in the ocean. All I did was teach the Wondrous Lotus Sutra.”

Manjusri Bodhisattva heard Wisdom Accumulated praising him, so he told Wisdom Accumulated Bodhisattva, “I was there not only to reveal the Dharma of the One Vehicle.” I was also expounding the Lotus Sutra there. The Lotus Sutra is the king of all sutra the way to attain Buddhahood. At the dragon palace in the ocean, I was expounding the Lotus Sutra not ordinary Great Vehicle teachings, but the Lotus Sutra.” This was to help him better understand that those sentient beings can also accept the Lotus Sutra. These appearances had already manifested. There were many thousand-petaled lotus flowers floating in the empty air.

The following sutra passage states, “Wisdom Accumulated asked Manjusri, ‘This sutra is extremely profound, subtle and wondrous. It is a treasure among all sutras, a rarity in the world. Could there be any sentient beings who, by earnestly and diligently practicing this sutra, have been able to swiftly attain Buddhahood?’”

By asking this question, he wanted [Manjusri] to explain whether the time it takes to attain Buddhahood through practicing this sutra will be long or short. How long does it take? When he taught the sutra there, even if they could hear and accept the teachings, could they really put the teachings into practice? How long does it take to engage in spiritual practice and attain Buddhahood? Wisdom Accumulated Bodhisattva still had to ask [these questions].

This explains his inquiry into how long it would take one who practices this sutra to attain Buddhahood. Wisdom Accumulated intended to demonstrate that the power of the sutra could help people readily attain the fruit of Buddhahood. So he asked this question to initiate this [process].

Wisdom Accumulated “intended to demonstrate that the power of the sutra could help people readily attain the fruit of Buddhahood”. He wanted to let everyone know whether the course of spiritual practice was fast or slow. Thus, he asked this question.

Wisdom Accumulated asked Manjusri, “This sutra is extremely profound, subtle and wondrous”: The meaning of this Lotus Sutra is extremely profound. The meaning of each word is so subtle and wondrous that it is unsurpassable; it exhausts all the treasuries of a thousand Buddhas. Thus, it says “extremely profound”. It exhausts the subtleties of our nature and worldly phenomena, thus it says it is “subtle and wondrous”.

“Wisdom Accumulated asked Manjusri, ‘This sutra is extremely profound, subtle and wondrous”’. This sutra is very profound; the meanings of the Lotus Sutra are very profound. Its words are especially subtle and wondrous. Every sentence, every word contains subtle and wondrous teachings. They contain very profound teachings, which are subtle and wondrous. Every sentence inside this sutra is full of “subtle and wondrous meaning”. Because its meanings are so profound, thus “the meaning of each word is so subtle and wondrous that it is unsurpassable”. It is so subtle and wondrous that no other sutra can compare to its profundity. ”It exhausts all the treasures of a thousand Buddhas. Thus it says ‘extremely profound”’. All Buddhas, including all past, present and future Buddhas, had used up all of their treasures. To “exhaust” means to use up; it used up “all the treasures of a thousand Buddhas”. All the Dharma of all Buddhas is “extremely profound”. All Buddhas share the same path; the Dharma is very profound. Every Buddha has [followed] the Lotus Sutra in attaining Buddhahood. Only by going through the Lotus Sutra can they attain Buddhahood. So, “it exhausts all the treasures of a thousand Buddhas. Thus it says ‘extremely profound’. It exhausts the subtleties of our nature and worldly phenomena, thus it says it is ‘subtle and wondrous”’. All natures and appearances, all essences, natures, matters, appearances and so on are very subtle and intricate. So, we say, “One speck of dust contains the principles of the universe”. This is what I want to tell you about. The principle is the same.

“It is a treasure among all sutras, a rarity in the world”.

It is a treasure among all sutras, a rarity in the world: It is extraordinary throughout all the worlds. This sutra is wondrous and subtle precisely because it can be considered a treasure among all sutras. Because of this treasure, it can transform all things into the Buddha’s teachings and encompass all sutras so all become sutras of Wondrous Dharma.

The Lotus Sutra is a treasure among all sutras, a treasure among all treasures. It is “a rarity in the world,” the Dharma that is hard to obtain. Even if we can read this sutra, we cannot understand the meaning of this sutra. Even if we can understand the meaning of it, it is still difficult to put this into action. “It is extraordinary throughout all the worlds. This sutra is wondrous and subtle precisely because it can be considered a treasure among all sutras”. So, because of its wondrousness, it is a treasure among all sutras. This is all we can describe with our words. Actually, this sutra can neither be expounded through our language nor fathomed by our minds. It has always been so subtle and wondrous from ancient times to today. We can use the matter of the prison we discussed a moment ago to understand this principle. The principle is the same.

Worldly matters and appearances are shallow. [The sutra] is deep because it exhausts the treasures of all Buddhas. It is so subtle and wondrous and so profound. “Because of this treasure, it can transform all things into the Buddha’s teachings and encompass all sutras so they become sutras of Wondrous Dharma”. In order to turn the Dharma-wheel of this sutra, it truly needs to encompass all the sutras. By encompassing all the wondrous Dharma in this sutra, this sutra is indeed the king of all sutras; it is very subtle and wondrous. “Could there be any sentient beings who, by earnestly and diligently practicing this sutra, have been able to swiftly attain Buddhahood?” Do sentient beings like this really exist? Through diligent spiritual practice, can they swiftly [attain Buddhahood]? Since this sutra is so subtle and wondrous, there are so many earnest sentient beings who are diligently practicing this sutra. Can they really attain Buddhahood in such a short period of time? Do beings like this exist? Wisdom Accumulated Bodhisattva asked an even harder question for Manjusri Bodhisattva to answer. “Are there perhaps any sentient beings who, by listening to this wondrous sutra and by earnestly and diligently practicing it, have been able to swiftly attain Buddhahood?” If everyone puts their heart into it, will they be able to attain Buddhahood swiftly? “It propagates and spreads; its infinite meanings are without end”.

It propagates and spreads; its infinite meanings are without end. It is like a wish-granting jewel that fulfills all our wishes as we please. It is a rare treasure in the world, unmatched by all other sutras. This is in praise of the essence of the sutra.

[Its meanings] are abundant and are flourishing; many principles have spread from it. To “propagate” means that there is a lot. [The principles] are constantly emerging, “spreading its infinite meanings without end”. It continuously gushes out like a gushing spring, never stopping; the infinite meanings never cease [to flow]. How could this Dharma ever be finished? “It is like a wish-granting jewel.” It is like a wish-granting jewel. This saying has existed since ancient times. A wish-granting jewel “fulfills all our wishes as we please. It is a rare treasure in the world.” The principles of the Lotus sutra are like the water of a gushing spring that constantly gushes out without stop. It is like a wishing-granting jewel that fulfills all the people’s wishes. This is a rare treasure in the world. This sutra is just like that. Thus, “It is unmatched by all other sutras.” This passage praises this sutra for being so subtle and wondrous. Thus, we need to mindfully seek to comprehend the teachings of this sutra. If “there are people” who follow this Dharma to diligently engage in spiritual practice, “can they swiftly attain enlightenment?” Now, Wisdom Accumulated wanted to see, “Were there people who followed this sutra, earnestly engaged in spiritual practice, attained swift enlightenment in this life and understood everything? Could people understand the principles behind this sutra? Could they engage in spiritual practice and swiftly understand the meaning of this sutra in this lifetime?” What he meant was, “Even if you have not engaged in spiritual practice, can you understand [all the principles] just by hearing this sutra? Is this possible?” This is what the question was about. This depends on whether the capabilities of those receiving the teachings are sharp or dull. For those with sharp capabilities, as soon as they see this sutra, they will have joy in their minds. The more they study the principles of the sutra, the more their minds are filled with Dharma-joy. This means with this sutra, their capabilities and the principles resonate. Are there people like this? They would be those with sharp capabilities. As for those with dull capabilities, they cannot understand; they just feel that it is so repetitive. Also, [the sutra] is very long and the principles are very subtle and intricate. It is really difficult to comprehend. These are people with dull capabilities. They are unable to accept this. For those with sharp capabilities, not only can they accept this, but they are also filled with Dharma-joy.

Yesterday morning, after giving the morning Dharma talk, I heard that in Changchun, there were 108 people listening to the teachings. They have been doing this for 1000 days. They have been filled with Dharma-joy for 1000 days. It was as cold as negative 21 degrees Celsius. They braved such cold weather in order to listen to the Dharma. Think about this; this is an example of resonating with capabilities. All of them have very sharp capabilities. Because they took joy in listening to the Dharma, they were willing to brave the wind and snow. They had been listening to the Dharma continuously for 1000 days. For a whole 1000 days, they came like this to listen to the Dharma. Think about it; think about this power. This is what is wondrous about this sutra. For people who are filled with Dharma-joy, whose capabilities resonate [with the Dharma], they are able to persevere. Let us think about this; yesterday, there were 108 people. This is really incredible. When I teach this sutra, even though Changchun is so far away, they are also able to listen [to my teachings]. So, we should praise them. These people are all Bodhisattvas with sharp capabilities. They are very dedicated.

Even when I was speaking Taiwanese, in that place, they were still willing to continue to listen. They are truly diligent spiritual practitioners. This is not easy. So, we must all truly always be mindful!

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