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 20180518《靜思妙蓮華》唯佛證知 龍女成佛 (第1351集) (法華經·提婆達多品第十二)

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20180518《靜思妙蓮華》唯佛證知 龍女成佛 (第1351集) (法華經·提婆達多品第十二) Empty
發表主題: 20180518《靜思妙蓮華》唯佛證知 龍女成佛 (第1351集) (法華經·提婆達多品第十二)   20180518《靜思妙蓮華》唯佛證知 龍女成佛 (第1351集) (法華經·提婆達多品第十二) Empty周四 五月 17, 2018 10:58 pm

20180518《靜思妙蓮華》唯佛證知 龍女成佛 (第1351集) (法華經·提婆達多品第十二)

⊙諸佛大悲智覺觀,了達一切眾生等,皆具有真如覺性。諸法性空實平等,唯一念無明迷因,纏緣縛五蘊果報。如來智超越九界,無有罪福相可得;然龍女得以深達罪福,而讚佛悲智。
⊙蓋智積不信小龍女能得菩提,以龍女乃畜類是一苦罪眾生,何能短時入道得證深妙菩提,如來久修梵行方得福德莊嚴。
⊙「言論未訖,時龍王女忽現於前,頭面禮敬,卻住一面。」《法華經提婆達多品第十二》
⊙「以偈讚曰:深達罪福相,遍照於十方,微妙淨法身,具相三十二,以八十種好,用莊嚴法身。《法華經提婆達多品第十二》
⊙「天人所戴仰,龍神咸恭敬,一切眾生類,無不宗奉者。又聞成菩提,唯佛當證知,我闡大乘教,度脫苦眾生。」《法華經提婆達多品第十二》
⊙天人所戴仰,龍神咸恭敬:若天若人,咸所推載,一心慕仰。若龍若神,咸悉歸敬,欽崇佛德。
⊙又聞成菩提,唯佛當證知:又聞佛法,得成菩提,唯佛世尊,自當證知。證已成佛度生,引證佛見,能至菩提,以消智積之疑。
⊙我闡大乘教,度脫苦眾生:我闡大乘一實之教,度脫無量苦惱眾生。應下即往南方成佛,演說妙法等。
⊙龍女既先讚佛之身,復言自將成佛,唯佛證知,但我永以大乘教義,度脫眾生而已,由此正明,龍女受持妙法應速得佛之因由。
⊙上節智積疑問,正待文殊之答,然而眾生可以成佛之證,豈語言所能顯示。

【證嚴上人開示】
各位,時間過得很快,常常說,「一年之計在於春;一日之計在於晨」,我們就以把握住這新春之時,我們更要再更新,我們的精進。過去,可能一年過去了,這一年的時間,可能我們有懈怠,可能我們的時光空過。

也來準備未來新的一年,我要再更精進,要比去年更加精進。去年的一年回顧,過去大家在佛法中,是不是很精進呢?造福在人群中,大家是不是很精進?日日聞法、聽法,入人群、行福業,我們沒有缺席;聞法,我們沒有漏失掉,我們全都有這樣過來。就像新加坡(慈濟人),除了聽經,他們不懈怠,新加坡不大,慈濟分布在幾個點,他們國家所建的公寓、社區,很好的地方,就讓慈濟來教育幼稚園,有好幾個點在那裡。在幼稚園,看到一些孩子很可愛辦得很好。看到孩子受教,也是很歡喜。還有,「唉呀!這個社區,老人多,離醫療比較遠,是不是在這個地方,給你們一個義診所,讓你們來辦義診。」他們就(號召)醫生,人醫會願意,在那個地方辦義診。有西醫、有中醫,我問他們:「是中西合起來一個義診所嗎?」他說:「不是,西醫歸西醫,中醫歸中醫。」就是各不同的體系,就是在不同的社區。」這就是在人群中造福,在人群中造福是這麼有次序,這麼積極,很認真在做,大家就是合和互協。真的是合心、和氣、互愛、協力,他們能夠造福人群。

聽他們在分享,聽法,「薰法香」是不漏哦!每天、每天,有人負責,早上開門、開機,怎麼輪流,有系統。社區,一大早天未亮,要來聽法,沒有交通工具,有就人發心,「大白牛車」,各人每天就是去載,這樣,所以他們能夠聽法能聽得很齊,沒有漏掉。這是成就自己,也成就他人。

當然也有很遙遠的,大家也是這樣,這麼用功認真。北京,零下十幾度,他們也是一樣。也有這樣一對的夫妻,他們已經是聞法,已經是一千零三十八天,沒有漏掉一天,這也是讓我很感動。他們就說:「不只有這一對夫妻,很多人都是這樣。」這就是真正用心,聽法,有這樣互相勉勵,又是遠距離,這麼遠的距離,他們還是一樣那麼的精進,就是很歡喜。

所以精進,我們就要很用心!接下來,這段文,用心開始,來。

諸佛大悲智覺觀,了達一切眾生等,皆具有真如覺性。諸法性空實平等,唯一念無明迷因,纏緣縛五蘊果報。如來智超越九界,無有罪福相可得;然龍女得以深達罪福,而讚佛悲智。

諸佛大悲智覺觀
了達一切眾生等
皆具有真如覺性
諸法性空實平等
唯一念無明迷因
纏緣縛五蘊果報
如來智超越九界
無有罪福相可得
然龍女得以
深達罪福
而讚佛悲智

這也就是跟大家說,諸佛大悲智的覺觀,釋迦牟尼佛,不只,所有的佛,既然覺悟成佛了,佛佛道同,佛佛悲智同等,每一尊佛的大慈悲智慧,覺悟,來觀察天下眾生一切,人、事、物。眾生,尤其是人類,在人間,不斷煩惱無明造作,不過,每個眾生還是平等,與佛平等,因為全都具有真如覺性。不論時代怎麼變,不論世事變化多端,但是,一切眾生還是一樣,真如覺性都是存在。

而且「諸法性空」,一切法,都是性空。我們已經說到〈提婆達多品〉了,而且龍女也出現,我們了解提婆達多與佛,時時同世,也是同樣,佛陀求法精進,還是生生世世為眾生,發大願、行苦行,入人群就是要度眾生,這是釋迦牟尼佛。提婆達多呢?差不多會在同世,就是求法,從釋迦佛身上求法、聞法,但是也生生世世,也起著嫉妒的心、惡念,心不軌則,就會和釋迦佛在任何一世,就是有反對,做對,這就是他們的因緣。釋迦佛與提婆達多因緣,這樣的因緣果報,釋迦牟尼佛永遠都是用感恩心,道心不退,感恩啊!一直到現在,釋迦佛已經成佛了,同一個種族,堂兄弟。釋迦佛成佛了,回到皇宮,度這些王子出家了,其中,提婆達多也在比丘群中之一,是佛的堂弟,是阿難的大哥。

竟然他就是智慧也很高,而且他在比丘群中,所吸收的法也很快速,但是,他的心不單純,還是一樣這個習性,感覺他的法,和佛陀的智慧也差不多,平等啊。他的感覺,佛陀受人人尊重、敬愛,他為什麼還是在比丘群中?他認為他和釋迦佛的佛法,差不了多少,希望他能夠超越!在人群中他能夠超越,也能超越釋迦牟尼佛那個名,和被尊重,取代釋迦佛的地位。

因為這樣,所以他想盡辦法去取悅阿闍世,阿闍世是頻婆娑羅王的太子,他也是這麼受提婆達多的影響,也是野心很大,希望他能早日做國王,但是父親還在,沒辦法可超越,所以因為提婆達多的唆使,一個想要做新的王,一個就想要做新的佛。所以提婆達,他處處陷害釋迦牟尼佛,起惡心,因為這樣,所以他生陷火坑地獄,這前面都已經說過了。

雖然是這樣,佛陀還是不捨,在授記當中,也沒有漏掉了提婆達多。雖然提婆達多人沒有在人間,已經墮落地獄,地獄中,但是佛陀還是為他授記,未來作佛,那就要很長久、長久的時間,要再經過無量數劫。因為提婆達多,雖然是有這麼多的惡念,不過,提婆達多他的佛性,還是具有真如覺性,儘管他這樣生生世世,這種的習性,惡劣的習性還存在,但是那個真如覺性,還是沒消滅,這就是佛陀要說的平等,慈悲平等,也就是佛陀要跟大家說,「眾生具有佛性」。天地之間,這就是真理。眾生,不只是有生命的眾生,天下之間,萬物都有他的本性存在,這是佛陀要讓大家,更清楚、更了解。

向大家布達,向提婆達多授記未來作佛,而且他的佛壽很長,比一般人還要長,因為這樣,所以我們要體會佛法的平等,大惡性的眾生,沒有代表他的佛性消滅掉了,沒有,佛性還是在,惡是人的習性。所以我們常常說,修行,沒有什麼好修,就是修在我們的習氣。我們現在應該,聽法聽到這個地方,應該要很清楚,我們修行就是我們的習氣,好好把我們的習氣斷除,這叫做斷煩惱。我們的習氣若是還在,煩惱就永遠不會斷。所以説「諸法性空實平等」,因為眾生皆具有真如覺性,真如覺性,其實,我們日常生活,應該能體會到「諸法性空」。說要過年,要過年,是不是過了呢?新曆年過了,農曆過,現在,年初已經過去了八天,今天是第九天了,時間的性也是空啊!晝夜的時間也是空,白天、晚上、早晨這個時候也是一樣,沒有一樣能夠遮蓋它,能將它擋住,說:「時間不要過去;太陽不要下山;一大早,清涼的時間,太陽不要再浮山,陽光太烈」,這些全都是檔不住的,這豈不是「性空」呢!

人,小時候,孩子很可愛,我們是不是留在童年的時間,沒辦法!童年還是過去了;少年來了,年少很好,停留住!停得住嗎?停不住。所以這種人生,童年、少年,或者是青年、壯年、中年、老年,這就表示太陽,黃昏下山,同樣的道理,這就是人生,「諸法性空」。種子,因緣會和下,一棵樹,樹長大,這都是一樣,植物是這樣,動物是這樣,人類也是這樣哦!世間沒有一項永遠停著的東西,所以叫做「諸法性空」,所以「實平等」。真實,佛陀跟我們說一實乘法,那就是在這裡,真實的法就是這樣,「心、佛、眾生三無差別」,平等平等,沒有滅掉,天下萬物各有它的本性,所以「諸法性空」,永遠存在。

所以,「唯一念無明迷因」。我們眾生就是一念迷掉了因,我們人人有這粒種子,真如本性,我們自己迷掉了,所以去造作這個緣來纏我們。我們都去纏住了,多一個家庭,一個家庭,各家庭有家業;人人做事,有事業,事業就纏住了。這種纏,緣來纏我們,束縛著我們,所以這就讓我們在這個人間,六道裡面,這「五蘊果報」,色、受、想、行、識,讓我們這樣人間、天堂、三途,各種的形形色色的身體,無不都是在這個意識裡,這樣在造作,所以,果報就是這樣纏來了。

「如來智超越九界」,如來的智慧已經超越九界,因為我們都是眾生,在五趣雜居,十界,「六凡四聖」,這常常說過了。「四聖」,聲聞、緣覺、菩薩、佛,這叫做「四聖」;「六凡」,天、人、修羅、地獄、餓鬼、畜生,這叫做「六凡」。佛陀超越了九界,到佛的境界,那就是「大悲智覺觀」。這種很超越,了達一切眾生全都平等,這就是諸佛的智,所以,超越九界。所以「無有罪福相可得」,自然就沒有,什麼罪啊,福啊相。眾生自己造業,自己受果報,你自己做,自己受,其實,他那個因的種子,真如本性是依然存在。因為這樣,佛陀看來,看,所看的是真如,人人本具的真如本性,人人可成佛,所有的眾生都能夠成佛。因為這樣,除了提婆達多這種大惡墮地獄,佛陀都為他授記。

接下來就是龍女,大家還記得,龍女,在海裡,海龍王女。智積菩薩說,非載道器,她根本就沒有修行的因緣,為什麼她能成佛呢?非載道器,就是沒有聽法的因緣,沒有修行的因緣。修行的因緣要在人間;人間苦樂參半,你願意去付出修福,人間有佛法可聽,能夠承擔如來的家業,這叫做「載道器」。有這個身體,人身,可修行,這叫做「載道器」。龍女是在海底裡,海龍宮的王女,非是載道器。這是智積菩薩的觀念,他還有分別,九界的分別,所以智積菩薩他還沒有到達等覺,還沒有到達成佛的地步,所以他還有這樣微分的煩惱、分別相,但是如來已經沒有這罪福相,沒有了。所以龍女她「得以深達罪福」,龍女卻是超越了。

在前面那段(經)文,文殊菩薩在敘說智積菩薩還不相信,有懷疑,要文殊菩薩解釋清楚,但是,文殊菩薩還沒回答,龍女出現了,向佛頂禮,讚歎佛,讚歎佛已深達罪福相,應該佛陀能夠作證她能夠成佛。我們前面,我們就已經說過了。

蓋智積不信
小龍女能得菩提
以龍女乃畜類
是一苦罪眾生
何能短時入道
得證深妙菩提
如來久修梵行
方得福德莊嚴

所以,「智積不信」,小龍女,這個龍王女能得菩提,他是不相信,因為龍王女,還是一樣畜生類之一,為什麼會去畜生類呢?那就是有苦,有造罪,是報生在那畜生,在受苦的其中之一。為什麼?「何能短時入道」,為什麼能夠短時間,就能會悟這個道理呢?能夠「得證深妙菩提」?實在智積不太能相信。「如來久修梵行,方得福德莊嚴」。

佛,每一尊佛,就是全都是很長久的時間,全都修行了,很清淨了,沒有煩惱,沒有一點點的染著,因為這樣,每一尊佛能夠成佛,所有的如來都能夠這樣成佛;就是修梵行,才能夠成佛。成佛,就是那個身形要有福德莊嚴。我們過去講過了,「百福莊嚴相」,有很多的福。要修多少善,才能夠得一分的福呢?過去也解釋過,要能得到莊嚴,那就是要在人群中修很多福。所以,在前面那段經文,我們就能夠去體會,文殊菩薩與智積菩薩在對答,還來不及文殊菩薩回答,龍女忽然出現在這個靈山會上,而且向佛陀頂禮,讚歎佛陀,讓大家,大家都看到了。

所以龍女在那當中出現,大家都看到,「言論未訖,時龍王女忽現於前,頭面禮敬,卻住一面」。這是前面的文。

言論未訖
時龍王女
忽現於前
頭面禮敬
卻住一面
《法華經提婆達多品第十二》

開始她就是這樣,用這個偈文來讚歎釋迦佛,不只是身體恭敬禮拜,而且就馬上用偈文讚歎釋迦佛,「深達罪福相,遍照於十方,微妙淨法身,具相三十二,以八十種好,用莊嚴法身」。

以偈讚曰
深達罪福相
遍照於十方
微妙淨法身
具相三十二
以八十種好
用莊嚴法身
《法華經提婆達多品第十二》

這是龍女讚歎釋迦牟尼佛,她這段偈文是很深哦!「深達罪福相」,讚歎釋迦牟尼佛,因為這兩尊菩薩的對答,智積無法相信龍女也能夠成佛。

所以,龍女她就這樣開門見山,就向佛陀說:「佛陀,您是最頂覺的大覺者,應該佛陀您全都了解了,您深達罪福相,您應該都很了解了,因為佛陀您的智慧,已經遍照於十方,不只是娑婆世界,其他世界所有一切的道理,佛啊!您已經很透徹清楚了。佛陀的智慧是很微妙,而且清淨,佛陀您現在這個法身,就是這麼清淨的法身。法身,就是法,佛陀的法是清淨無染,而且佛陀的身相這麼莊嚴,三十二相,又是八十種好,這樣來莊嚴法身,佛陀已經是這麼具足,佛陀就是過來人,能夠智慧這麼清淨,這麼超越,形像這麼莊嚴!這全都深達罪福相,已經很了解、清淨,也修過這樣的梵行過來的,所以佛陀您很了解了。」

接下來這段經文,用心開始,來:「天人所戴仰,龍神咸恭敬,一切眾生類,無不宗奉者。又聞成菩提,唯佛當證知,我闡大乘教,度脫苦眾生。」

天人所戴仰
龍神咸恭敬
一切眾生類
無不宗奉者
又聞成菩提
唯佛當證知
我闡大乘教
度脫苦眾生
《法華經提婆達多品第十二》

這開始,龍女讚歎釋迦牟尼佛,不只是人間所尊重,天、人和龍神都是很恭敬。不論是天,不論是人,都是非常推崇、崇拜釋迦牟尼佛,一心仰慕著釋迦牟尼佛,就是仰慕著諸佛。

天人所戴仰
龍神咸恭敬:
若天若人
咸所推載
一心慕仰
若龍若神
咸悉歸敬
欽崇佛德

不只是天人,尤其是「若龍若神」,哪怕是海中的龍,或者是在空中的神,「咸悉歸敬」,全部就是這樣欽佩,而且真正崇重佛的德行。不論是溼生、化生、卵生、胎生,四生,全都是很尊重佛,這是大家就是這樣,很了解,佛陀也了解所有的眾生,就是這樣,能夠尊重、了解。

「超越智慧,成正等覺 」,這佛的境界,人人都是這樣尊重,所以「一切眾生類,無不宗奉者」。所有「一切世間有生之類」,只要有生命的,無不都是非常的尊敬。所以,「又聞成菩提,唯佛當證知」。

又聞成菩提
唯佛當證知:
又聞佛法
得成菩提
唯佛世尊
自當證知
證已成佛度生
引證佛見
能至菩提
以消智積之疑

所有的眾生聽法,全都能夠成菩提,因為有聽法、有體會,能夠身體力行,人人都能夠體會到法,而且身體力行這樣過來,心地風光都很清楚,這唯有佛,世尊,「自當證知」。「佛陀,您能夠證明,因為修行的過程,就是每一個人,才有辦法自己了解自己,就像佛,您這樣的過程,您也能夠證明啊!」

所以「證己成佛度生」。「您也能夠證明眾生,就是我,龍女,也是能夠成正覺,成佛來度眾生。」這就是了解了法,人人本具,人人心有所感悟,所以「斯人飲水,冷暖自知」。「我的覺性,智積菩薩無法了解,唯有佛陀能夠證明。」,「證己成佛度生」,也來證明我能夠成佛,也能夠度眾生。所以「引證佛見,能至菩提」。「引證」,能夠證到和佛同樣,那個覺悟的境界,也是到菩提,就是到正等、正覺的程度,所以希望佛陀,能夠消除智積菩薩的懷疑。佛陀若能這樣,讓智積菩薩不要有懷疑。

所以龍女她就說:「我闡大乘教,度脫苦眾生。」

我闡大乘教
度脫苦眾生:
我闡大乘一實之教
度脫無量苦惱眾生
應下即往南方成佛
演說妙法等

那就是龍女自己說,闡揚大乘一實之教,「我也是時時在度眾生啊!到任何一個境界,都是在度眾生。」就像佛陀,他在四生六道裡,他也是到每一個地方,去現身度眾生,龍女也是一樣。佛有他的《本生經》,龍女也有她的本生,在任何一個世界,任何一個境界,她都是不斷在度眾生。所以「度脫無量苦惱眾生」。應,下面就是說,這樣應該她能夠度,下面會說起她要去哪裡成佛。

龍女既先讚佛之身
復言自將成佛
唯佛證知
但我永以大乘教義
度脫眾生而已
由此正明
龍女受持妙法
應速得佛之因由

這是龍女,就是先讚歎佛身,復言自己也能成佛。這段偈文就是先讚歎佛,來敘說自己也是將來能夠成佛,這佛能夠證明,能夠了解。這是龍女的偈文的意思。「但我永以大乘教」,大乘的教義來度脫眾生。這就是龍女她有這樣的本份,也有這樣的本事,同樣她也能夠這樣來度眾生,到每一個地方去修行,去度眾生。

「由此」,我們就能夠證明,「龍女受持妙法應速得佛之因由」。龍女能很快就成佛,這是前面智積菩薩在疑問,所以正等待文殊菩薩回答這當中,眾生大家都能夠成佛,能夠受佛陀來證明。

上節智積疑問
正待文殊之答
然而眾生
可以成佛之證
豈語言所能顯示

這不是用語言能夠在那裡回答,不如就身相現前,龍女就是這樣。「你要在那裡回答,不如我即時現前,在這個道場上來向佛,請求佛陀來替我證明,我其實在龍王宮,不是因為有罪業去的,也是同樣的,佛陀也是這樣到每一個境界,畜生界,或者是地獄道,也同樣去修行,去度眾生,同樣修妙法。」

各位菩薩,愛的力量就是這樣,不分境界,也不分形象,她就是去除一切我相,而投入苦難眾生的地方,去度化眾生。這人人都做得到,眾生都可成佛,所以我們要時時多用心!


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Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: Confirming the Dragon Girl’s attaining Buddhahood (唯佛證知 龍女成佛)
Date: May.18.2018

Everyone, time is passing very quickly. We often say, “A year’s plan begins with the spring; a day’s plan begins with the morning.” Let us seize the spring time and furthermore renew our diligence. During the past year, perhaps we were somewhat lax. Perhaps we let the time pass us by in vain. As we prepare for the coming new year, let us be more diligent, even more diligent than we were last year. Looking back over the past year, were we diligent regarding the Buddha-Dharma? Were we very diligent in creating blessings among people? We listened to the Dharma on a daily basis and went among people to create blessed karma without ever being absent. As we learned the Dharma, we never let it leak away. This is what we were all like.

For instance, [Tzu Chi volunteers] in Singapore, in addition to diligently listening to the sutra, never grew lax. Singapore is not very big, but Tzu Chi has several locations there. In the apartments and neighborhoods that the government built, which are great locations, [the government] allowed Tzu Chi to set up kindergartens. We have several locations there and are very successful. Seeing the children receiving an education is a very joyful matter. In addition, [some officials said,] “Ah! There are so many elderly in this community, and it is rather far from any medical services. Why don’t we give you a place here for you to come and host a free clinic?” So, they mobilized the doctors, and TIMA was willing to hold a free clinic there. They have both Western and Chinese medicine there. I asked them, “Do you have both Chinese and Western medicine in one free clinic?” They told me, “No. Western medicine is on its own, and Chinese medicine is on its own. They have different systems for different communities.” This is how they go about benefiting others. They are very orderly in the way they go about benefiting others and are very proactive and earnest in their work; they all work in concert with unity, harmony and love. They are truly unified and harmonious, working with mutual love and concerted effort; this is how they are able to benefit others. I listened to them share about how, when they listen to the morning Dharma lecture, they do not let the Dharma leak away. Every day, there is always someone responsible for opening the doors and turning on the computer in the morning; they have a system for taking turns. In the neighborhood, very early in the morning, there are people who want to come and listen to the Dharma, but have no means of transport. So, someone aspired to [give people rides], like a “great white ox-cart.” They pick people up every day so they are able to listen to the Dharma in entirety and not let anything leak away. This is how they help themselves succeed and help others succeed.

Of course, there are also those further away. They are also like this, very hardworking and diligent. In Beijing, it is more than 10 degrees below zero [Celsius], [Volunteers] there are [very diligent] as well. There is a couple there in Beijing who have listened to the Dharma for 1038 days [in a row], without ever missing a day. I find this to be very moving. [The volunteers] told me, “It is not just this one couple. There are many others here who are like this.” This is true dedication. When they listen to the Dharma, they encourage each other. Furthermore, there are people who are very far away, but they are nonetheless very diligent and are very joyful! So, to be diligent, we must be very mindful.

Next, let us mindfully look at this verse. “All Buddhas, in Their awakened view of great compassion and wisdom, understand thoroughly that all sentient beings possess the enlightened nature of True Suchness. All phenomena are empty in nature and are truly equal. It is only due to a single thought of ignorance that people lose their cause and become bound by the Five Aggregates and karmic retributions. The Tathagata’s wisdom transcends the nine realms. Thus there are no marks of transgressions or blessings to be attained. Since the dragon girl was able to deeply understand transgressions and blessings, she praised the Buddha’s compassion and wisdom.”

This tells everyone that all Buddhas [have] the awakened view of great compassion and wisdom. It is not just Sakyamuni Buddha [who has this]; all Buddhas have awakened and attained Buddhahood, and all Buddhas share the same path. All Buddhas are equal in compassion and wisdom. In every Buddha’s great compassion and wisdom, once They awaken, they can observe all sentient beings in the universe, all people, matters and objects. Sentient beings, especially humans, constantly create karma in the world due to their afflictions and ignorance.

However, all sentient begins are still equal. They are all equal to the Buddha, since all of them share the enlightened nature of true Suchness. No matter how the times change and no matter how much the world changes, sentient beings are always the same; the enlightened nature of True Suchness will always be there. Moreover, “All phenomena are empty in nature.” We have reached the Chapter on Devadatta. Furthermore, the dragon girl has appeared. We know that Devadatta and the Buddha were always in the same lifetime, and they remained the same. The Buddha diligently sought the Dharma. Lifetime after lifetime, for the sake of sentient beings, He likewise made great vows and endured ascetic practice, going among people to transform sentient begins.

This was Sakyamuni Buddha, but what about Devadatta? He was almost always in the same lifetime as the Buddha, seeking the Dharma. He sought the Dharma from Sakyamuni Buddha and listened to the Dharma, but lifetime after lifetime, he gave rise to jealousy and evil thoughts and harbored ill intentions. So, in any lifetime he shared with the Buddha, he always opposed Him. This was their karmic affinity. The karmic cause and effect between Sakyamuni and Devadatta was like this. Sakyamuni was always grateful to Devadatta. He never retreated in his spiritual aspirations and was always grateful. He was like this until the present, when Sakyamuni attained Buddhahood. They were cousins from the same family. After Sakyamuni attained Buddhahood, He returned to the palace to transform those princes so that they could become monastics as well. Devadatta was also among these bhiksus. He was the Buddha’s cousin, the elder brother of Ananda. In fact, he also had great wisdom. Moreover, among the bhiksus, he absorbed the Dharma quite quickly.

Nevertheless, his heart was never pure, for he still retained his habitual nature. He felt that his teachings were on par with the Buddha’s wisdom, that [their teachings] were equal! He felt, “The Buddha is so respected and loved by all. Why am I still just a bhiksu?” He felt that his own and Sakyamuni’s [understanding of] the Buddha-Dharma were more or less on par. He wanted to surpass everyone else. He wanted to surpass Sakyamuni Buddha’s fame; he wanted to be respected and take Sakyamuni Buddha’s place. Because of this, he thought of every possible way to try to curry favor with Ajatasatru. Ajatasatru was a son of King Bimbisara. He was greatly influenced by Devadatta and was also very ambitious. He hoped he could become king soon, but his father was still alive, so there was no way for him to ascend the throne. Thus, Devadatta urged him on. One of them wished to become the new king, while the other wished to become the new Buddha. So, Devadatta found all kinds of ways to harm Sakyamuni Buddha. He gave rise to evil intentions, and because of this, he fell alive into a fiery pit in hell. We already talked about this earlier.

Although [Devadatta] was like this, the Buddha never gave up on him. When the Buddha bestowed predictions, He did not leave out Devadatta. Although Devadatta was no longer in the world and had fallen into hell, while [Devadatta] was in hell, the Buddha still bestowed a prediction upon him that he would attain Buddhahood in eh future. That would be a very long time in the future, after countless kalpas. Even though Devadatta was so ill-intentioned, he still had Buddha-nature; he still had the enlightened nature of True Suchness. Even thought, lifetime after lifetime, he still retained his evil habitual nature, his enlightened nature of True Suchness never disappeared. This is the Buddha’s teaching of impartiality, of showing compassion to all equally. This was the Buddha telling everyone, “Sentient begins innately have Buddha-nature.” This is the world’s true principle.

All sentient beings, not only living begins but everything in the world, all things, all have their intrinsic nature. This is what the Buddha wanted to help everyone to understand even more clearly. He announced to everyone. His prediction that Devadatta would attain Buddhahood in the future and that his lifespan as a Buddha would be long, even longer than others. Because of this, we should realize the impartiality of the Buddha-Dharma. Even though sentient beings may be very evil, it does not mean their Buddha-nature has completely disappeared. This is not the case; their Buddha-nature is still there. What is evil is their habitual nature. So, we often say that in spiritual practice, there is nothing to practice but working on our habitual tendencies. Having listened to the Dharma thus far, we should all now be clear that spiritual practice is about habitual tendencies, about earnestly eradicating habitual tendencies. This is what it means to eliminate afflictions. If our habitual tendencies remain, we will never be able to eliminate our afflictions.

So it says, “All phenomena are empty in nature and are truly equal”. This is because sentient beings all innately have the enlightened nature of True Suchness. With out enlightened nature of True Suchness, in our daily living, we should actually be able to realize how. “All phenomena are empty in nature”. We speak of celebrating the New Year, but hasn’t the New Year already passed? The Western New Year has passed, our Lunar New Year has passed. Now eight days have passed since the Lunar New Year. Today is already the ninth day. The nature of time is also empty! The times of day and night are empty as well. The day, the evening and the early morning are all the same. You cannot block them out; you cannot stop them. You cannot say, “Time, do not pass!” or “Sun, do not set!” or early in the morning, while it is cool, say, “Sun, do not rise! Your heat is too much!” None of these things can be stopped. Are these not “empty in nature”? When we are little, when we are children, we are very cute. Can we remain children? This is impossible. Childhood passes by, then youth arrives. Youth is wonderful, and [we wish to] remain there. But can we? We cannot remain there. So, in this life, we go from childhood to youth, from adolescence to our prime years, from middle age into old age. This is just like the sun setting, like the dusk. The principle is the same.

This is life. “All phenomena are empty in nature”. As causes and conditions come together, a seed becomes a tree and the tree grows large. It is always like this. Plants are like this. Animals are like this. Human beings are also like this! Nothing in the world remains the same forever. So, this is the meaning of, “All phenomena are empty in nature”. Thus, they “are truly equal”. This is true; the Buddha taught us the True Dharma of the One Vehicle. This is what it is about; the True Dharma is like this. “The mind, the Buddha and sentient beings are no different [in nature]”. All are equal. [This intrinsic nature] never ceases to exist. All things in the world have their intrinsic nature. So, “All phenomena are empty in nature”. This nature is everlasting. “It is only due to a single thought of ignorance that people lose their cause”. As sentient beings, we can lose our cause due to a single thought. We all have this seed inside of us, this nature of Ture Suchness, but when we lost [sight] of it, we create [negative] affinities that bind us.

We become entangled in a new family. In a family, we have our responsibilities in the family. We work and have careers and are bound by our careers. These bonds, these affinities, entangle us and constrain us. These are what [bind] us to this world, to the Six Realms. So, the “Five Aggregates”, form, feeling, perception, action and consciousness, are what [bind] us to the human realm, the heaven realm or the Three Evil Destinies. In any different kind of bodily form, it is always in our consciousness that we create karma. So, this is how we become bound by karmic retributions. “The Tathagata’s wisdom transcends the nine realms”. The Tathagata’s wisdom transcends the nine realms. All of us sentient beings live in this place where the Five Destinies coexist, in the Ten Realms, [which are] the Six Unenlightened and the Four Noble Realms. We have often spoken of these in the past. The Four Noble Realms are those of Hearers, Solitary Realizers, Bodhisattvas and Buddhas. These are the Four Noble Realms. The Six Unenlightened Realms are the heaven, human, asura, hell, hungry ghost and animal realms. These are the Six Unenlightened Realms. Buddhas transcend the nine realms and reach the realm of Buddhahood, which is “the awakened views of great compassion and wisdom. This is a very transcendent [state] where. They understand thoroughly that all sentient beings are equal. This is the wisdom of all Buddhas. [The Buddha] transcended the nine realms, so, “There are no marks of transgressions or blessings to be attained”. He naturally had no marks of any transgressions or blessings.

With the karma sentient beings themselves create, they suffer retribution for it themselves. We reap what we sow. Actually, the seed of that cause, the nature of True Suchness, still exists within us. Because of this, from the Buddha’s perspective, all He saw was True Suchness, the True Suchness that is intrinsic to everyone. Anyone can attain Buddhahood. Any sentient being can attain Buddhahood. Because of this, even though Devadatta had fallen into hell as a result of his great evil, the Buddha still bestowed predications upon him.

Next was the dragon girl. As everyone remembers, the dragon girl resided in the ocean. She was the ocean king’s daughter. Wisdom Accumulated Bodhisattva said that she was not a vessel for spiritual practice, that she fundamentally lacked the karmic conditions for spiritual practice. How could she attain Buddhahood? Not being a vessel for spiritual practice means not having the karmic conditions to listen to the Dharma and not having the karmic conditions to engage in spiritual practice. To have these karmic conditions, we must be in the human realm. The human realm is a mix of suffering and joy, so we are willing to help others and cultivate blessings. In the human realm, we have the Buddha-Dharma to listen to. We can shoulder the Tathagata’s family business. This is being “a vessel for spiritual practice”. With this body, a human body, we can engage in spiritual practice. This is “a vessel for spiritual practice”. The dragon girl was from the bottom of the ocean; as she was a princess from the dragon palace in the ocean, her body was not a vehicle for spiritual practice. This was Wisdom Accumulated Bodhisattva’s view. He still had a discrimination [mindset] toward the nine realms. So, Wisdom Accumulated Bodhisattva still had yet to reach equal enlightenment and had yet to reach the state of Buddhahood. He still had a small measure of afflictions and discrimination over appearances. However, the Tathagata had to no [view] of transgressions or blessings; He did not have them. Thus, the dragon girl was “able to deeply understand transgressions and blessings.” The dragon girl was able to transcend this.

In the previous passage, Manjusri was explaining, but Wisdom Accumulated Bodhisattva still did not believe him; he still had doubts. He wanted Manjusri to explain to him clearly. However, before Manjusri could reply, the dragon girl appeared. She then prostrated to and praised the Buddha. She praised the Buddha for His deep understanding of the marks of blessings and transgressions. The Buddha would be able to testify to her ability to attain Buddhahood. We have already talked about this before.

Wisdom Accumulated did not believe that the little dragon girl could attain Bodhi it is because the dragon girl was an animal, a sentient beings with suffering and transgressions. In such a short time, how could she possibly enter the path and realize profound and wondrous Bodhi? The Buddha had to engage ibn purifying practices for such a long time the magnificence if virtues and blessings.

So, “Wisdom Accumulated did not believe.” The little dragon girl being able to attain Bodhi was not something he could believe, because the daughter of the dragon king was still an animal. Why was she [born] as an animal? It was because she was suffering she had committed transgressions and as here retribution was reborn as an animal, living a life of suffering. “In such short time, how could she possibly entire the path?” How was she, in such a short time able to realize these principles? How could she “realize profound and wondrous Bodhi?” Wisdom Accumulated truly could not believe it. “The Buddha had to engage in purifying practice for such a long time; only then could He attain the magnificence of the virtues and blessings. The Buddha, all Buddhas, had to practice for a very long time. They all engage in practice to become very pure they were without afflictions or even the slightest of attachments. It is because of this that. Buddhas are able to attain Buddhahood. All Tathagata attain Buddhahood like this. Only by engaging in purifying practice can a Buddha attain Buddhahood. When They attain Buddhahood. Their bodies have the magnificence of virtues and blessing. We have previously spoken of how “100 blessing give ruse to a dignified mark.” They have lots of blessings. How many virtuous deeds do They need to cultivate to attain a single blessing? We explained this before too. To attain [such] magnificence, one must cultivate lots of blessings among people.

So, we can try to comprehend the previous passage. “When Manjusei Bodhisattva and Wisdom Accumulated Bodhisattva were conversing, before Manjusri Bodhisattva was able to answer, the dragon girl suddenly appearance at the Vulture Peak Assembly and prostrated to and praised the Buddha for everyone to see. So, when the dragon girl appeared there, everyone saw her. They had not yet finished their discussion when the dragon king’s daughter suddenly appeared before them. She prostrated out of respect and then withdrew to one side.”

This is the previous passage. Then, she began to praise Sakyamuni Buddha in verse. Not only did she prostrate out of respect, but she also immediately began to praise the Buddha in verse. [The Buddha] deeply understands the marks of transgressions and blessings and illuminates throughout the ten directions. His subtle, wondrous and pure Dharma-body is replete with the 32 Marks. The 80 Excellent Characteristics magnificently adorn His Dharma-body.”

This is the dragon girl praising Sakyamuni Buddha. Her verses here are profound! [The Buddha] deeply understands the marks of transgressions and blessings. She praised Sakyamuni Buddha. During the conversation between the two Bodhisattvas, Wisdom Accumulated could not believe that the dragon girl could also attain Buddhahood. So, the dragon girl got right to the point and said to the Buddha, “Venerable Buddha! You are the Great Awakened One who has achieved ultimate enlightenment. You must understand everything. You deeply transgressions and blessings. You must understand everything, because your wisdom, Venerable Buddha, illuminates all throughout the ten directions. You not only [understand] the Saha World, but the principles of all other worlds as well. Venerable Buddha, you understand them all very clearly! The Buddha’s wisdom is subtle and wondrous. Furthermore, it is pure. Venerable Buddha, the Dharma-body you manifest is such a pure Dharma-body! [This is] the Dharmakaya, which is the Dharma. The Buddha’s Dharma is pure and undefiled, and His physical appearance is so magnificent. He has the 32 Marks as well as the 80 Excellent Characteristics that adorn His Dharma-body. The Buddha is replete with these. The Buddha is one who is experienced. His wisdom is so pure and so transcendent. His appearance is very magnificent. He deeply understands the marks of transgressions and blessings, he understands them very well and is pure having engaged in purifying practices, Venerable Buddha, you understand very well!”

Here, let us mindfully look at the next passage. “Human and heavenly beings honor and admire Him. Dragons and spirits all pay their respects. Among all the varieties of sentient beings, there is no one who does not revere Him. Moreover, upon hearing teaching, I have attained Bodhi. The Buddha alone can conform this. I expound Great Vehicle teachings to deliver sentient beings from suffering.”

Here, the dragon girl began to praise Sakyamuni Buddha; it was not only humans who revered Him; heavenly beings, humans, dragons and spirit all respected Him. Whether they were heavenly beings or humans, they all held Him in high esteem. They revered Sakyamuni Buddha, they wholeheartedly admired Sakyamuni Buddha, for they admired all Buddhas.

Human and heavenly beings honor and admire Him. Dragons and spirits all pay either respects: heavenly beings and human alike all hold Him in high esteem with whole-hearted admiration. Dragons and spirits alike all revere Him, greatly admiring the Buddha’s virtues.

This was not just heavenly beings and humans but “dragons and spirits alike”. Dragons in the ocean and spirits in the sky alike “all revered Him”. All of them admired Him and truly revered the Buddha’s virtues. Whether moisture-born, transformation-born, egg-born or womb-born, beings of the Four Forms of Birth all respected the Buddha. This means everyone was like this; all understood. The Buddha also understood all sentient beings, that they were able to respect [Him] like this and understand His transcendent wisdom, and universal and perfect enlightenment, this state of Buddhahood, was [the reason] everyone revered Him. So, “Among all the varieties of sentient beings, there was no one who did not revere Him”. All “living species in the world,” as long as they were living beings, all respected Him very greatly. “Moreover, upon hearing His teachings, I have attained Bodhi. The Buddha alone can confirm this.”

Moreover, upon hearing His teachings, I have attained Bodhi. The Buddha alone can confirm this: Moreover, when she heard the Buddha-Dharma, she was able to attain Bodhi. Only the Buddha, the World-Honored One, could confirm this Himself. The Buddha could testify that she had attained Buddhahood to deliver sentient beings. She mentioned how she had realized the Buddha’s views and how she was able to attain Bodhi to resolve Wisdom Accumulated’s doubts.

All sentient beings that listen to the Dharma can attain Bodhi. This is because, by listening to and comprehending the Dharma, they can then put it into practice. Everyone can realize the Buddha-Dharma. Furthermore, by putting it into practice, [the dragon girl] knew the landscape of her mind very well. Only the Buddha, the World-Honored One, “could confirm this Himself Venerable Buddha, you are able to confirm this. Only through the course of spiritual practice will every person find a way to know themselves. Like You, Venerable Buddha, with your own course [of practice,] you are able to conform this!” So, “The Buddha could testify that she had attained Buddhahood to deliver sentient beings. You can also confirm that a sentient being, specifically me, the dragon girl, can also achieve perfect enlightenment and attain Buddhahood to deliver sentient beings.” This was because she understood that everyone intrinsically possesses the Dharma. Thus, they have realizations. So, “Only the person who drinks the water knows if it is hot or cold. When it comes to my enlightened nature, Wisdom Accumulated has no way to understand it. Only the Buddha can confirm it”. So, “The Buddha could testify that she had attained Buddhahood to deliver sentient beings. The Buddha could testify to me being able to attain Buddhahood and being able to deliver sentient beings”. So, “She mentioned how she had realized the Buddha’s views and how she was able to attain Bodhi. She mentioned how she had realized,” how she was able to attain the same enlightened state as the Buddah. This is attaining Bodhi, which is reaching the stage of universal and perfect enlightenment. So, she hoped the Buddha would be able to eliminate Wisdom Accumulated’s doubts. She hoped that the Buddha would help Wisdom Accumulated to not have doubts. Thus, the dragon girl then said, “I expound the Great Vehicle teachings to deliver sentient beings from suffering.”

I expound the Great Vehicle teachings to deliver sentient beings from suffering: I have expounded the teachings of the Great Vehicle of One Reality to deliver and liberate infinite suffering and afflicted sentient beings. This refers to the next passage, where she goes to the south and immediately attains Buddhahood to expound the wondrous Dharma and so on.

This is what the dragon girl said herself, that she expounded the teachings of the Great Vehicle of One Reality. “I too am always delivering sentient beings! In whatever realm I go to, I always deliver sentient beings.” She was just like the Buddha in the Four Forms of Birth and the Six Realms. He manifested everywhere to deliver sentient beings. The dragon girl was the same. The Buddha had His [past lifetimes], and the dragon girl had her past lifetimes. Whatever world she would go to, in whatever state she was in, she would always be delivering sentient beings. So, she “delivers and liberates infinite suffering and afflicted sentient beings”. This refers to the next passage about how she could deliver others.

The following passage describes where she went to attain Buddhahood. The dragon girl first praised the Buddha’s body, then said that she would attain Buddhahood. “Only the Buddha can confirm that I will forever use the teachings of the Great Vehicle to deliver sentient beings.” This precisely demonstrates the reason why the dragon girl who embraced and upheld the wondrous Dharma would swiftly attain Buddhahood.

The dragon girl first praised the Buddha’s body, and then said that she too would attain Buddhahood. In this verse, she first praised the Buddha to describe how she herself would be able to attain Buddhahood in the future. The Buddha would testify to this and understand. This is the meaning of the dragon girl’s verse. “I will forever use the teachings of the Great Vehicle,” [She will use] the teachings of the Great Vehicle to liberate sentient beings. The dragon girl had this responsibility, and she also had the ability to do it. She too was able to deliver sentient beings and go everywhere to engage in spiritual practice and deliver sentient beings. This demonstrates the reason why “the dragon girl who embraced and upheld the wondrous Dharma” would swiftly attain Buddhahood. The dragon girl would swiftly attain Buddhahood. This was Wisdom Accumulated Bodhisattva’s previous doubt and questioning. While he was waiting for Manjusri Bodhisattva to answer, during this time, [she hoped] the Buddha would be able to confirm that all sentient beings can attain Buddhahood. This was not something that could be explained in words there. It was better for this to be manifested through physical appearance, and this is what the dragon girl did. “Instead of you there answering, it is better that I swiftly make my appearance at the Dharma-assembly and request the Buddha to confirm this for me. Actually, I was in the dragon palace not because of any past transgressions. I was like [the Buddha]. The Buddha was also like this; He would go to every realm, to the animal realm or to the hell realm, to likewise engage in spiritual practice, deliver sentient beings and practice the wondrous Dharma.”

Dear Bodhisattvas, the power of love is like this. It does not discriminate between different conditions or appearances. She had eliminated all views of self and dedicated herself to a place where beings were suffering to transform and deliver sentient beings. This is something everyone can do. All sentient beings can attain Buddhahood. So, we must always be mindful!

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