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 20180522《靜思妙蓮華》女身五障 勤修解脫 (第1353集) (法華經·提婆達多品第十二)

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20180522《靜思妙蓮華》女身五障 勤修解脫 (第1353集) (法華經·提婆達多品第十二) Empty
發表主題: 20180522《靜思妙蓮華》女身五障 勤修解脫 (第1353集) (法華經·提婆達多品第十二)   20180522《靜思妙蓮華》女身五障 勤修解脫 (第1353集) (法華經·提婆達多品第十二) Empty周一 五月 21, 2018 10:31 pm

20180522《靜思妙蓮華》女身五障 勤修解脫 (第1353集) (法華經·提婆達多品第十二)

⊙智積已解心疑,而舍利弗猶疑,故舉自心意念,謂龍女自述說,佛知其成道速,表明心有所疑,意謂我等秉丈夫之資,負拔俗之秀。終年幸聞此法,成道猶待多劫,況爾異類女質,視佛果若此易,恐大言傷誠實,取得正信良難。
⊙「時舍利弗語龍女言:汝謂不久得無上道,是事難信。所以者何?女身垢穢,非是法器,云何能得無上菩提?」《法華經提婆達多品第十二》
⊙「佛道懸曠,經無量劫,勤苦積行,具修諸度,然後乃成。又女人身,猶有五障:」《法華經提婆達多品第十二》
⊙佛道懸曠:佛之道者,懸遠曠大,無量數劫。眾生愚痴身,曠劫來流轉。
⊙經無量劫,勤苦積行,具修諸度,然後乃成:經歷多劫,精勤勞苦,積累功行,具足修行,六波羅密,然後乃成。
⊙諸度:謂忍辱、布施等,即菩薩六度萬行。因此諸法大行,能度之通達廣遠,亦名度無極。
⊙又女人身,猶有五障:一、女人多染,無明善變。二、女人多欲,奢望驕氣。三、女人軟弱,亦眾惡源。四、女人妒害,妒賢嫉能。五、女具煩惱,塵沙無明。
⊙舍利弗不知龍女是大乘根器,宿習圓因而得成佛,以為例同報障女流,故說女人有五種障也。
⊙然說此五障者,欲令女人生警惕心,知有此障,即當發菩提心,行大乘行,早求解脫也。

【證嚴上人開示】
智積已解心疑,而舍利弗猶疑,故舉自心意念,謂龍女自述說,佛知其成道速,表明心有所疑,意謂我等秉丈夫之資,負拔俗之秀。終年幸聞此法,成道猶待多劫,況爾異類女質,視佛果若此易,恐大言傷誠實,取得正信良難。

智積已解心疑
而舍利弗猶疑
故舉自心意念
謂龍女自述說
佛知其成道速
表明心有所疑
意謂我等
秉丈夫之資
負拔俗之秀
終年幸聞此法
成道猶待多劫
況爾異類女質
視佛果若此易
恐大言傷誠實
取得正信良難

這就是文殊菩薩,與智積菩薩的對談中,智積菩薩的懷疑已經完全解釋了,因為龍女她現身在道場,尤其是龍女用很簡單,但是很深奧,那個心靈的境界,透露出了讚歎釋迦牟尼佛,尤其是所得那深遠智,能透徹了解眾生罪福相等等的,因緣果報;在因緣果報觀,同時含著很深意義。這簡單的偈文,就已經完全,智積菩薩已經了解了,知道龍女她體悟法,那個心境已經超越了,所以智積他的心,疑問已經解釋了。但是還有舍利弗,舍利弗無法了解。因為菩薩與聲聞,聲聞與菩薩來比,當然那個智慧還有差一點點,而且無明,聲聞的無明還是比菩薩還很多,所以菩薩清楚了,聲聞呢?還是有疑。所以舍利弗還是懷疑,所以表達出了他心有疑問,他就馬上接下來問龍女,說:「妳再沒多久就能成佛,這事我不太相信。妳自己也這樣說。」「自述」就是自己說,再不久也能成佛,「佛陀知道妳很快就能成菩提,妳自己這麼說,豈不會說得太過自大呢?」

昨天有說過了,這是怕妳若講得過頭,可能有失於實,與這個事實可能還差很多。妳說很快就能成佛,事實與所說的,還差很遠,妳說的會太過自大嗎?」這是舍利弗提出的疑問,所以他表明了心有所懷疑,龍女自己說的,說:「佛應該知道,我很快就能成佛。」這當中,舍利弗還有一段很長的距離,那信心,還無法這樣接起那信心來,所以表達出這一段,所以說,意思也就是自己與龍女來比較,以他自己,他感覺和龍女,覺得龍女是畜生類,龍女是女身,所以與他是丈夫身,大丈夫身,就有辦法承擔很大的天下事,覺得他的智慧是第一,哪有可能無法了解佛陀的心意?哪有可能無法了解,佛陀智慧的意境?一個龍女就表達出了,佛內心的意境。他覺得心有不服,他表達他懷疑,他不相信,不相信龍女所說的,佛了解她很快就能成佛。他覺得這樣有疑問。

因為佛陀還未開口,還未講話,是龍女自已向佛陀說:「佛陀應該了解我,很快就能成菩提。」所以舍利弗很快就回答出來,那懷疑的意思,所以認為自己,他是一個大丈夫身,而且有負起了那「拔俗之秀」。他智慧第一,他能代替佛陀在外面傳法,能轉凡為聖,讓很多人接受佛法,脫離凡夫的心態,能去追求聖人的妙法。他覺得他自己有辦法代佛傳法,他是智慧第一,所以他無法相信龍女,能這麼快能了解佛陀的教法,而且,是自己說:「佛,您應該了解,佛應該了解這罪福相,這個罪與福的形態,你也應該都能了解,也了解我能在很快的時間內,就能成佛。」這都是龍女自己說,佛他能了解她。因為這樣,舍利弗他就持那個疑來問。

舍利弗就說:「我是大丈夫身,我能聞法,我能傳法,我終年都能很有幸,在佛的身邊在聽法,佛陀講的微妙法,我都聽了,大小乘法,我都聽了,我也已經得佛為我授記了,所以我應該很了解佛。我要成道,法聽這麼久了,要成道,就還要再等待,等待很長的時間,佛陀為我授記,還要等待那麼長的時間。何況好是異類,妳不是人,妳是畜生類,尤其是女身,女質的身體,所以『視佛果若此易』嗎?妳覺得能夠成佛,那麼簡單嗎?我堂堂的男子漢,我就要再等這麼久,妳是非人類,妳豈有辦法?真的成佛能那麼快嗎?那麼容易嗎?」

所以,「恐大言傷誠實,取得正信良難」。豈是這樣?妳這麼說,說佛陀能為妳證明,妳能很快就成佛,妳以為成佛那麼簡單嗎?妳若說得太快,恐怕說過頭了,有傷那誠實,我們說話要誠,要實在,誠正信實是我們修行的本分事,妳說得太過頭了,以為成佛那麼簡單,沒有那麼簡單啦!所以講話要負責任。我們要取得正信良難,我們要誠正信實,真正能夠成佛,其實很困難喔!

這是舍利弗對龍女,所抱著的懷疑。「修行,說話要真實,要讓人能相信,才是真正修行者,才是真正有辦法實,講法才能讓人相信,妳這個龍女說話,若讓人能不相信,妳要如何成佛?意思就是這樣。

這是前面的文,就是這樣說:「時舍利弗語龍女。」

時舍利弗語龍女言
汝謂不久得無上道
是事難信
所以者何
女身垢穢
非是法器
云何能得無上菩提
《法華經提婆達多品第十二》

這,昨天的經文。「汝謂不久得無上道」。「豈是這樣呢?豈有這麼簡單,有可能?妳自已向佛這樣說,妳再不久就能成佛,要佛為妳證明,是事難信啊!這件事情讓人很無法相信,我舍利弗智慧第一,我能聽法,我也能聞法,我也能傳法,我是一個大丈夫相,我就沒有辦法,佛陀為我授記還要很久的時間,妳是異類,妳哪有可能啊?」舍利弗就是用這樣來懷疑。又另外的懷疑,提出來說:「所以者何?」,「我不相信。」是為什麼呢?「女身垢穢,非是法器,云何能得無上菩提?」我不相信,那就是因為女身非是法器,因為女身有障礙,這個障礙很重,女人,除了生理上的垢穢,還有心理上的垢穢,還有在人間很多的禮教的障礙,這很多的障礙,女身哪有辦法這樣,很快就能成佛呢?這是舍利弗的懷疑,明說出來,就是有很多的障礙。何況無因無緣要佛陀為妳證明。

因為下面一段文這麼說:「佛道懸曠,經無量劫,勤苦積行,具修諸度,然後乃成。又女人身,猶有五障:」

佛道懸曠
經無量劫
勤苦積行
具修諸度
然後乃成
又女人身
猶有五障
《法華經提婆達多品第十二》

這是舍利弗來說,佛道這麼遠啊!是很遠,要從多長久之前,無量劫以前就要開始修行了,要不斷發心,不斷在人群中修妙法,入人群,度眾生,要經過無量無數劫,要真正殷勤的去累積六度萬行,要修很多的因行,六度萬行,才有辦法成佛,何況女人的身還有障礙。這就是他舍利弗所說的,很遠,佛道真的是很遠啊!

佛道懸曠:
佛之道者
懸遠曠大
無量數劫
眾生愚痴身
曠劫來流轉

眾生愚癡,身形要經過了曠劫來,這樣一直流轉。我們眾生就是這樣,凡夫,何況龍女還是在異類,不是在人類,所以他把她列入異類,非是載道器。在六道,流轉很久的時間,要不斷修行,何況妳是畜生類呢?認為她很困難。所以要經過了無量劫,「勤苦積行」,要很勤。

經無量劫勤苦積行
具修諸度
然後乃成:
經歷多劫
精勤勞苦
積累功行
具足修行六波羅密
然後乃成

人類修行都要很勤,殷勤,要用長時間不斷累積修行,六度萬行都要很具足,然後才有辦法成,這就是表示要經歷多劫。我們常常講,成佛不是你信我,你就能夠成佛了,不是哦!你相信我所講的法,依教奉行,不是一生一世,除了去入人群,與眾生結好緣,成佛就要說法,若沒有人要聽你的法,你的法,在人群中,人不用,用不到,若這樣,你就沒辦法成佛。所以你必定要入人群中去結很多的好緣,然後要所有的行,「六度萬行」,布施、持戒、忍辱、精進、禪定、智慧具足。「六度」又再分,分成了很多眾生所需要,你要去適應眾生所需要的,所以,「這妳做得到嗎?妳現在還是異類啊?這不是這麼簡單做得到的事情。」所以這個「諸度」,要經歷了「諸度」,很多的方法,才有辦法。

諸度:
謂忍辱、布施等
即菩薩六度萬行
因此諸法大行
能度之通達廣遠
亦名度無極

諸度就是六度具足,光是忍辱,就不簡單了。眾生剛強難調伏,天下污濁,人心多變化,人事重重困難,這要入人群中,要很多堪忍。在這個堪得忍耐的世界裡,你豈有辦法,在這個堪忍的世界裡,這樣不斷長時期來來回回。所以,布施的忍辱行,你能做得到嗎?布施,眾生所需要的很多,心理需要的有多少呢?這個根機不同,煩惱複雜,你豈有辦法,有「法」去度化他嗎?這是眾生的心裡。還有眾生在這堪忍的世界,隨著他的業力因果來人間,受盡了苦磨,你豈有辦法應眾生的苦,一一去救度他呢?去滿足眾生所需求,所需要的,你有辦法去付出嗎?這就是布施。

其實,就是菩薩六度萬行,都要很具足。「你有辦法持戒嗎?你有辦法精進嗎?你有辦法定下你的心,開啟你的智慧?有辦法修很多,這些忍辱、布施的行,你自己的本身能夠精進不間斷,定著你的心力,你豈有辦法?」這是我們修行者很重要。不要說是禪定、智慧,光說精進,我們就很困難;說心要會定下來,這也不簡單。很多事情,在這個人間裡,我們也感覺這麼久的時間,我們要去付出付出,生生世世,長久的劫數,無量劫數,這哪有可能,我要怎麼做得到。〈化城喻品〉,「不如回去吧!」這種念頭,我們一輩子不知道起了幾遍?光是一輩子,要能夠,「我發心,我就心都沒有退,我精進,我都不會停下來。」這一輩子沒有這個念頭,都很困難,何況生生世世,長時間六度行,要能這樣繼續,這哪有簡單呢?很不簡單哦!

所以「菩薩六度萬行,因此諸法大行,能度之通達廣遠」,就要「有法度,有「法」度自己,能夠「六度」都很圓滿,我們自己有辦法這樣「度」過,這六度的方法嗎?我們是不是稍微做一下,就開始心就起懈怠呢?短暫的時間,心就起退道心呢?說不定我們自己也是這樣,我們要怎麼去度眾生?我們必定要具足這些法,一定要有這些法。「行因」,就是六度具足,這樣不斷一直走過來,這個種子生生世世不斷累積,這樣一直過來,所有的法,全都從小小的種子,能變成大因、大緣、大果、大報,我們一定要到這樣。「一」生無量,我們要有辦法,到達「一」生無量,無量從「一」生,在《無量義經》也這樣說過了,這顆種子能夠到達一生無量。這樣才是真正通達廣遠的時候,這就是「(亦名)度無極」。「度無極」就是不斷不斷,生生世世不間斷,連連接接,這樣累世都是在度眾生,這樣叫做「度無極」,這就是我們要了解的。何況「又女人身,猶有五障」。

又女人身
猶有五障:
一、 女人多染
無明善變
二、 女人多欲
奢望驕氣
三、 女人軟弱
亦眾惡源
四、 女人妒害
妒賢嫉能
五、 女具煩惱
塵沙無明

前面說過了,女人的身有五障,一就是,「女人多染,無明善變」。女人的身很多的染著、污垢,尤其無明特別重。善變,女人要叫她堅定她的意志,真的是很難。女人多欲,因為欲念很多,尤其「奢望驕氣」,這就是女人的形態。「女人濡弱,亦眾惡源」,很多惡之源,很多惡都是從女人起,女人的心態生起了惡念。 所以,女人嫉妒,有妒害、有嫉妒,無明的心態,「妒賢嫉能」。女人還有很多煩惱、塵垢,塵沙無明,這都是女人的障礙在,難道不是呢?世間女人多煩惱,同一個身體,女人就特別愛美,愛裝扮,看看光是那個身體,花在她身上要多少的費用?化妝品是很貴,愈貴,她為了她愛美,化妝品消費很高。

所以在街道市面上,百貨公司裡面,女人的裝飾物是偏高。所以我們就知道,消費者多數都是女人,女人就是這樣,每天打開衣櫥,都是少一件衣服,每天都要逛委託行,光是為了她的身體,就是這樣裝飾。珠寶店,一進去,一粒珠子,一顆寶石,只是在手指上這樣甩一下而已,那是都要幾千萬元、幾百萬元啊,這女人多欲。而且奢望,真正的欲望很高,奢侈,真的是很大。生活很簡單就能夠生活了,她就偏偏要這麼多的裝飾品,在她的身上。尤其是嬌態,要依賴,依靠人,這樣妖嬌體態、撒嬌等等,這種的體態都有,所以讓人感覺女人很軟弱。

尤其是嫉妒心很重,嫉能妒賢,這就是女人的心態。所以,女人就是,內心都起很多的煩惱,煩惱好像塵沙一樣的無明,這也是女人的五障,五種障礙就是有這些,這五種的形態。舍利弗,他就是根據這樣,女人有這麼多的障礙,所以,舍利弗他有這種懷疑。

舍利弗不知
龍女是大乘根器
宿習圓因
而得成佛
以為例同
報障女流
故說女人
有五種障也

所以舍利弗不知,龍女是「大乘根器,宿習圓因得成佛」。他還不了解,龍女雖然今生,她現相在海裡,海宮裡成為龍女,其實,就像釋迦佛,累生世在六道裡,三途裡,佛陀也常常去啊,去是為了度眾生。來人間,佛陀現相人間,就是為了要度眾生,所以他成佛。所以,各種的形態,在不同的境界,菩薩的極因,「度無極」,已經完成,在任何一個境界,是他的最後身,開始在那個境界能成佛。龍女她是轉生在龍宮,接受佛法,在龍宮度眾生。因為文殊菩薩,來來回回在龍宮說法,龍女在龍宮接受佛法,也是現相在那個地方,龍宮修行、聽法,八歲就能體會佛法,現這樣稚,童稚的身態,接受深奧的教法,這也就是要讓大家警惕,佛性平等,不論是人的身形,或者是畜生道的身形,同樣都是有如來真如本性存在,這要讓大家了解,了解佛性人人本具。

不只是人類,人類不只是男人,即使是女身也能修行,也能說法,也能度眾生,也能成佛,這是龍女現為畜生類,在水底龍宮。尤其是女身,尤其是童女的身形。像這樣,都能來向佛陀說:「佛陀,你為我證明,我很快就能成佛。」其實,不是需要佛陀證明,是要讓大家了解眾生皆有佛性。因為佛陀講說《法華經》,就是要人人能成佛,不論你什麼形態,不論你是什麼樣的身形,只要你發心領悟佛法,同樣修行,同樣成佛,這就是《法華經》裡面,要講出了很多,讓我們大家能夠清楚。要不然,像多寶塔出現在人間,就是在靈鷲山,就是多寶佛為了聽法而來,過去佛為聽法而來,也是要讓我們知道《法華經》的重要性,多寶佛來證明。

其實,多寶佛是我們人人心中自有靈山塔,要向我們表示,這是佛陀的慈悲,用這樣的方法讓我們大家知道,原來人人都有這樣的靈山塔,靈山塔內有多寶佛,古佛,就是無始以來,這也已經和大家講過了。塔門要開,多寶佛就出聲音來讚歎,來證明,釋迦佛在娑婆世界,講《法華經》。甚至讚歎《法華經》是諸經之王,這也就是要讓我們體會,我們了解佛法,體會《法華經》,這些道理從分身佛,就是把法全都歸位來了,集中過來,多生多劫有修行過,長久的時間聽法過,這些法,法是佛的分身,我們全都體會了解,浮現在我們的心頭,在我們的心地,我們都體會了解了,就是人人心中的靈山塔打開了,多寶佛現前,這是這樣的譬喻。

一直到了〈提婆達多品〉,這個時候,提婆達多得佛授記,提婆達多已經墮地獄了,佛陀還是為他授記,就是善惡,佛陀已經心中沒有善惡的相在,還是用感恩心,提婆達多,是來成就他成佛的對象,所以還是感恩,為提婆達多授記。這樣差不多了吧?卻是智積菩薩要向多寶佛說:「我們是不是回去了,因緣已經完成,是不是要回去了?」釋迦佛將他留下來,才有這個因緣和文殊菩薩對談。對談,一個是懷疑,一個是解釋,懷疑的呢?解釋的,還沒有完全解釋完,證明就出來了,龍女剎那之間突然出現,這就是最好的證明。這就是要證明,雖然在龍宮,畜生類,和人類也是平等;雖然年齡是很幼小,和年齡很大,也是同樣,佛性平等,沒有年齡的差別;佛性平等,沒有畜生與人類的差別;佛性平等,所以沒有男女的差別。這在龍女突然出現,她已經表達出,她沒多久就能成佛。

所以,釋迦佛能證明。不是一定需要釋迦佛證明,原來龍女她早就已經修大乘行,她有大乘的根器,早先就一直有了。「宿習」,在很久累劫以來,已經圓了這個因,就是六度萬行,菩薩的因行,她都圓了,所以能得成佛果,本來她就能得成佛果。「以為例同報障女流」。舍利弗把她列入女人,是因為業,所以成為女人身,才來人間受人間的限制,受人間的制度來障礙,或者是在人類和畜類的中間,來分別。他以為龍女是這樣受業來報的,報在畜生類,這是舍利弗以為是這樣。既然是這樣,怎麼可以這麼快就成佛呢?這是舍利弗的懷疑,所以他就講出女人有「五障」,五種障礙。

然說此五障者
欲令女人生警惕心
知有此障
即當發菩提心
行大乘行
早求解脫也

所以「然說此五障者」,就是「欲令女人生警惕心」。其實,舍利弗難道真的不相信嗎?老實說,這也是在這個道場,也就是舍利弗是當機者。我們還記得在〈方便品〉開始,舍利弗是當機者,請佛講說《法華經》,佛陀「三止」,所以舍利弗就這樣,起來「三請」,請佛來把這個,甚深微妙一乘大法,請佛陀講,大家應該記得。

所以,到達在這〈提婆達多品〉,這個時間,舍利弗還是要把握因緣,因為龍女這麼快就能夠成佛,不是舍利弗在懷疑,是多數的人還有懷疑,智積菩薩先來啟疑,接下來是舍利弗代替凡類,就是比較凡夫類級的懷疑,再又提出,他就是故意提出女人的五障,有這五種的障礙,要讓女人生出了警惕的心。這就是舍利弗他的用心。

所以,要知道這五項的障礙,讓人看不起,對女人,就是有讓人看不起的地方,尤其是修行。所以要「知有此障,當發菩提心」,要自己懺悔,自己要趕緊修行,我們要有一個大丈夫相,我們要有真正,負起了天下的責任。舍利弗他能夠負起了這個脫俗,能夠講法,轉凡為聖,這種的大丈夫相。他說:「我都沒有辦法,妳哪有辦法這麼快就成佛呢?」這就是女人也能夠成佛,只要我們能改變,改變掉我們這分,女人的虛華的性質,改變女人這種妖嬌美態的心理,若能夠這樣,端莊,好好發菩提心,同樣能行菩薩道,早求解脫,這樣能夠這樣,趕緊求得解脫,這就是我們要很用心去體會。

聖人,不論是聲聞乘,或者是菩薩乘,都是為了要成就眾生,了解、體會佛法,眾生的根機不整齊。菩薩,大根器的,有大根器的懷疑;凡夫呢?小根器,有小根機的懷疑,所以我們要很感恩。智積菩薩與舍利弗很用心,在這個道場,要成就天下更多眾生,來完成《法華經》,要很完整來解除眾生心理狀態,以及內心的懷疑,貪、瞋、癡、慢、疑,這部經若能好好用心,這貪、瞋、癡、慢、疑,都解除了,我們就能夠發大心,行大乘行,早求解脫,這就要看我們,是不是有時時多用心。


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Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: Diligently Practice to Be Free from Hindrances (女身五障 勤修解脫)
Date: May.22.2018

“Wisdom Accumulated had resolved the doubts in his heart. Yet Sariputra was still doubtful, so he brought up what was on his mind. When the dragon girl stated herself that the Buddha knew she would swiftly attain Buddhahood, he clearly expressed the doubts on his mind. What he meant was, ‘We all have the quality of great men and bear the distinction of heroes who transcend the mundane. Throughout all these years, we have been fortunate to bear this Dharma, yet we still need to wait for many kalpas before we can attain Buddhahood. Besides, you are of a non-human, female body. Do you regard attaining the Buddha-fruit as being this easy? I fear that your big talk greatly undermines your credibility and is extremely difficult to find faith in.’”

During Manjusri Bodhisattva’s discussion with Wisdom Accumulated Bodhisattva, Wisdom Accumulated’s doubts had already been thoroughly answered by the dragon girl’s appearance in the assembly. In particular, the dragon girl used a simple yet profound spiritual state to demonstrate praise for Sakyamuni Buddha. In particular, [she praised] the deep and profound wisdom He gained, which enabled Him to thoroughly understand sentient beings’ marks of transgressions and blessings through the law of cause and effect. The karmic law of cause and effect also has a very profound meaning.

Through these simple verses, Wisdom Accumulated Bodhisattva already thoroughly understood that the dragon girl had comprehended and awakened to the Dharma and that her mind had already transcended it. So, in Wisdom Accumulated’s mind, his doubts had been answered. However, there was also Sariputra. Sariputra was unable to understand. When we compare the Bodhisattvas and the Hearers, of course there is a small difference in their wisdom. In addition, in terms of their ignorance, the ignorance of Hearers is much greater than that of Bodhisattvas. Thus, the Bodhisattva, [Wisdom Accumulated], was clear. And what about the Hearer, [Sariputra]? He still had doubts. Sariputra still had doubts and expressed the doubts on his mind. He immediately asked the dragon girl, “You say you will soon attain Buddhahood, but I do not quite believe this. You said it yourself.” The dragon girl had said it herself. “Before long you will attain Buddhahood. The Buddha knows you will attain Bodhi soon. But when you say so yourself, isn’t it overly arrogant?”

We discussed this yesterday. “If you overstate things, you may be deviating from the truth. There may be a big discrepancy with the truth. You said you will attain Buddhahood very soon, but there is a big difference between what you say and the truth. Don’t you think what you said was too arrogant?” This was Sariputra’s question; he expressed the doubts in his mind. The dragon girl, herself, said, “The Buddha should know I will attain Buddhahood very soon.” At this moment, Sariputra was still far from [believing this]. He was still unable to find faith in this, so these were [the doubts] he expressed. Thus, it can be said that he was comparing himself with the dragon girl. He felt this because, compared to him, the dragon girl belonged to the animal realm and [moreover] was female. By contrast, he was a man, a great man who could shoulder the great responsibilities of the world. He thought his wisdom was foremost. How could he not understand the Buddha’s intentions? How could He not understand the state of the Buddha’s wisdom? Yet the dragon girl was able to demonstrate the Buddha’s inner state of mind. He felt unconvinced in his heart, so he expressed his doubts, his disbelief. He did not believe what the dragon girl said about the Buddha understanding that she would quickly attain Buddhahood. He felt that he had doubts about this, because the Buddha had not yet spoken; it was the dragon girl who had said to the Buddha, “The Buddha should understand that I will soon attain Bodhi.” So, Sariputra quickly responded with his feelings of doubt. He thought of himself as a great man. Moreover, he “bore the distinction of heroes who transcend the mundane.” He was foremost in wisdom. He could go out and teach the Dharma in the Buddha’s stead and turn unenlightened beings into noble ones. He enabled many people to accept the Dharma, transcend their unenlightened states of mind and seek the wondrous Dharma of noble beings. He felt that he was one who could teach the Dharma in place of the Buddha, the one foremost in wisdom, so he could not believe that the dragon girl could understand the Buddha’s teachings so quickly. Furthermore, she herself said, “Venerable Buddha, You should understand the marks of transgressions and blessings. I am sure You understand the marks of transgressions and blessings and understand that in a very short period of time, I will be able to attain Buddhahood.” This is what the dragon girl herself said, and the Buddha was able to understand her. Due to this, Sariputra put this doubt into a question. “I am a great man. I can both listen to and teach the Dharma. I am very fortunate to have been by the Buddha’s side all the time, listening to the Dharma. I listened to all of the wondrous Dharma that the Buddha taught. I listened to both the Great a and Small Vehicle teachings. I have already received the Buddha’s predictions. So, I ought to understand the Buddha very well. I want to attain Buddhahood. I have listened to the Dharma for so long. To attain Buddhahood, I still need to wait for a very long time. The Buddha bestowed upon me the prediction that. I still need to wait for a very long time. Furthermore, you are non-human. You are not even human; you are an animal, and in particular, you have a female body. So, do you regard attaining the Buddha-fruit to be as easy as this? Do you think that attaining Buddhahood is this easy? I am a very dignified man, yet I have to wait for so long. You are not even human. How is it that you are able to truly attain Buddhahood so quickly? Is it really that easy? I fear that your big talk greatly undermines your credibility and is extremely difficult to find faith in. is this really the case? You said that the Buddha could verify that you will attain Buddhahood very soon. Do you think attaining Buddhahood is so easy? If you spoke too quickly, I am afraid you overstated it. It will undermine your credibility. We must speak honestly and sincerely. In spiritual practice, it is fundamental for us to be sincere, upright, faithful and steadfast. You have overstated things, thinking that attaining Buddhahood is so easy. It is not so easy.” So, we must be responsible for what we say. It is difficult for people to have faith in us. We must be sincere, upright. Actually, attaining Buddhahood is very difficult. These were the doubts that Sariputra had regarding the dragon girl.

“In spiritual practice, we must speak sincerely so that people can have faith in us. Only then are we true spiritual practitioners who are steadfast in [our practice]. That way we are credible in teaching the Dharma. Dragon girl, if the way you speak causes people to lose faith in you, how will you ever attain Buddhahood?” That is what he meant. This was in the previous passage, which said, “At that item, Sariputra said to the dragon girl.”

At that time, Sariputra said to the dragon girl, “You said that soon you will attain the unsurpassed path. This matter is hard to believe. Why is hits so? The body of a woman is defiled and is not a vessel for the Dharma. How could you possibly say that you are capable of attaining unsurpassed Bodhi?”

This was in yesterday’s passage. “You said that soon you will attain the unsurpassed path. How is that possible. How could it be so easy? How is that possible? You said to the Buddha yourself that you would attain Buddhahood very soon. You wanted the Buddha to verify what you said. This matter is hard to believe. This mater is impossible for people to believe. I, Sariputra, am foremost in wisdom. I can hear the Dharma, listen to the Dharma and teach the Dharma as well. I am a great man, yet I am unable to [attain enlightenment now]. The Buddha predicted that it will be a long time. You are non-human. How could you possibly attain Buddhahood soon?” Sariputra expressed his doubts in this way.

He had another doubt that he brought up. “Why is this so? I do not believe it. How is it so? The body of a woman is defiled and is not a vessel for the Dharma. How could you possibly say that you are capable of attaining unsurpassed Bodhi? I do not believe it, because a woman’s body is not a vessel for the Durham.” The body of a woman has hindrances, and these hindrances are very heavy. Women, besides the defilements of their bodies, also have defilements in their hearts and hindrances from traditional society. There are so many hindrances, so how could a woman attain Buddhahood so quickly? This was how Sariputra expressed his doubts. He felt [a woman’s body] had too many hindrances, not to mention that she requested that the Buddha verify her claims without causes or conditions.

The following passage states, “The path to Buddhahood is distant and vast. One must undergo countless kalpas of diligence, hardship and cumulative practice and perfect the cultivation of all Paramitas before attaining it. Moreover, a woman still has the Five Hindrances.”

That is why Sariputra said the path to Buddhahood is so long. [It is] so long that one must have begun spiritual practice countless kalpas ago. We must ceaselessly form aspirations and go among people to practice the wondrous Dharma in order to transform sentient beings. This process will take countless kalpas. We must diligently accumulate the Six Paramitas in all actions. We must engage in many causal practices to actualize the Six Paramitas in all actions to be able to attain Buddhahood. This is to say nothing of how women’s bodies have many hindrances. This was what Sariputra said. It is a long path; the path to Buddhahood really is distant.

The path to Buddhahood is distant and vast: The path to Buddhahood is distant, far-reaching, vast and long; it goes on for infinite kalpas. Due to ignorance and delusion, sentient beings transmigrate throughout the long kalpas.

Sentient beings are ignorant and their bodies must pass through countless long kalpas. They continue to transmigrate. This is the nature of all unenlightened beings, which is to say nothing of how the dragon girl was non-human. So, he considered her a non-human and not a vehicle for spiritual practice; she would continue to transmigrate throughout the Six Realms for a very long period of time and must constantly engage in spiritual practice. This is to say nothing of her being an animals. He believed this would be very difficult for her. So, she had to undergo countless kalpas of “diligence hardship and cumulative practice”.

One must undergo countless kalpas of diligence, hardship and cumulative practice and perfect the cultivation of all Paramitas before attaining it: One must undergo many kalpas of diligence and hard work to accumulate merits and practices and perfect the practice of the Six Paramitas before attaining it.

As humans, we must be very diligent when we engage in spiritual practice. It will require spiritual practice accumulated over long periods of time and actualizing the Six Paramitas in all actions for us to be able to attain [Buddhahood]. This means that we must undergo many kalpas. We often say that just have faith in [the Buddha] does not mean you can attain Buddhahood. No! We must believe in the Dharma the Buddha taught and practice according to the teachings, and not just in this lifetime. Beside going among people and forming affinities with sentient beings, we must teach the Dharma to attain Buddhahood. If no one is willing to listen to our Dharma, if people do not have use for our Dharma, we will not be able to attain Buddhahood. So, we must go among people to form many positive affinities. In all of our practices, we must “actualize the Six Paramitas in all actions”. Charitable giving, upholding precepts, patience, diligence, Samadhi and wisdom, we must be replete in all of them. The Six Paramitas are [applied] based on the many needs of sentient beings. We need to adapt to the needs of sentient beings. “Will you be able to accomplish this? You are still a non-human. This is not a task you can easily accomplish”. Thus, when it says “all Paramitas”, it means we must go through “all Paramitas”, many methods, to be able to [attain Buddhahood].

All Paramitas: This refers to patience, giving and so on. This means that Bodhisattvas must actualize the Six Paramitas in all actions. By following these teachings and great practices, they can deliver others far and wide. These are also known as infinite deliverances.

[To have] all Paramitas means to be replete with all the Six Paramitas. Just patience alone is not an easy task. Sentient beings are stubborn and hard to train. The world is full of defilements and human minds are ever-changing. Human affairs are full of difficulties, so to go among people, we must have tremendous patience. In this world of endurance, will we be able to continuously come and go in this world that must be endured? Are we able to practice patience in charitable giving? In terms of charitable giving, sentient beings have many needs. How many psychological needs do they have? They have differing capabilities and complicated afflictions. Do we have a way? Do we have the Dharma to transform them? This is just sentient beings’ psychological needs. There are also beings in this world of endurance who come following their karmic forces and suffer endless torments. Will we be able to respond to their suffering and relieve and transform them one by one? To satisfy the needs of sentient beings, will we be able to give of ourselves to them? This called charitable giving. Actually, we need to be Bodhisattvas and actualize the Six Paramitas in all actions. Are we able to uphold the precepts? Are we able to be diligent? Are we able to settle our minds in Samadhi? Are we able to awaken our wisdom? Are we able to engage in lots of practices of patient endurance and charitable giving? Are we able to be unceasing in our diligence and be settled with the power of our hearts? Are we able to do this? This is something very important for us spiritual practitioners. Before even speaking of Samadhi and wisdom, just diligence alone is a huge challenge for us. Simply settling our mind is not easy either. There are so many matters in this world that we may also think [it is impossible] for us to serve others for such a long time, over many lifetimes and long, countless kalpas. How would that be possible? How would I be able to accomplish that?

In the Chapter on the Parable of the Conjured City [they said]. “It would be better to return. We do not know how many times these thoughts have arisen in our lifetimes. Just in this lifetime, to be able to aspirations without thoughts of retreat and to be diligent without giving up [is difficult]. To be able to have such a mindset in this life thoughts [of treat] in this life is already difficult enough, let alone upholding the Six Paramitas over many lifetimes. To be able to continue on in this way is not easy at all. It is truly not easy.

“This means that Bodhisattvas must actualize the Six Paramitas in all actions. By following these teachings and great practices, they can deliver others far and wide. So, we must “have Dharma to transform” them and “have Dharma to transform” ourselves. We must be able to perfect the Six Perfections. Can we ourselves perfect the methods of the Six Perfections? Do we do some work and then begin to let our minds become lazy? Do our hearts, after a short time, retreat in our spiritual aspirations? Perhaps we are like this as well. How will we be able to transform sentient beings? We must first be replete with this Dharma. This Dharma is essential. The “causal practice” means we must be replete with the Six Perfections. We must ceaselessly practice on this path for these seeds to accumulate over many lifetimes. This is how we continue [on the path]. All phenomena start from tiny seeds, which become great causes, great conditions, great fruits and great rewards. We must follow this [same process]. “One” give rise to infinity. We must be able to give rise to infinity from one. It says this in the Sutra of infinite Meanings. When this one seed can give rise to infinity, that is when we have truly [delivered others] far and wide. This is also known as “infinite deliverance.” “Infinite deliverance” means to, constantly, lifetime after lifetime, continuously without stop, deliver sentient beings. This is known as infinite deliverance. This is what we must understand. “Moreover, a woman still has the Five Hindrances.”

Moreover, a woman still has the Five Hindrances. 1. Women are impure, ignorant and capricious. 2. Women are desirous, full of far-flung desires and conceit. 3. Women are weak and the source of many evils. 4. Women are jealous and destructive and envious of virtue and talent. 5. Women are filled with afflictions and dust-like ignorance.

We previously talked about how women have the Five Hindrances. First, women are “impure, ignorant and capricious”. A women’s body has lots of impurities and filth, and in particular, women have heavy ignorance and are capricious. For women to be firm in their resolve is truly very difficult. Women are desirous because they have many desirous thoughts, especially “far-flung desires and conceit”. This is what women are like. “Women are weak and the source of many evils”. Many evils arise from the bodies of women Women’s mindsets give rise to evil thoughts. Thus, women are envious, destructive and jealous. They have an ignorant mindset and “are envious of virtue and talent”. Women also have many afflictions, defilements and dust-like ignorance. These are all the hindrances of women is that not the case? Women in this world are full of afflictions. Even with the same [human] body, women are obsessed with beauty and cosmetics. Just look at how much money some women spend on their bodies. Cosmetic products are very expensive. They are very expensive, but for the sake of their beauty, they spend a lot on cosmetics. So, at the street market or in the department stores, women’s beauty products are ubiquitous. Thus, we know that the majority of consumers are women. This is how women are. They open their wardrobes every day and feel that they are always missing an item. Every day, they go shopping in consignment stores, all for the sake of ornamenting their bodies. In the jewelry stores, they may be a pearl or gemstone for them to simply show off on their finger, yet costing many millions of dollars yet costing many millions of dollars. Thus, women are desirous and are full of far-flung desires. They really have strong desires and are extravagant. Their desires are really strong. Life could be quite simple, yet they require all these ornamentations on their bodies. [They do this] in particular to be charming. They want to rely and depend upon people, so they have enchanting and seductive behaviors, so they have enchanting and seductive behaviors. This leads people to feel women are weak. Also, they have strong feelings of jealousy and are envious of those with virtue and talent. This is the mindset women have. Thus, women’s minds give rise to many afflictions, the ignorance from afflictions numerous as dust. These are the Five Hindrances of women. The Five Hindrances include these five types of mindsets.

Sariputra followed this kind of [thinking], that women are full of hindrances. That is why he had these doubts.

Sarputra did not know that the dragon girl had the capacity for the Great Vehicle. She had practiced throughout the past and perfected her causes. Thus, she was able to attain Buddhahood. He thought she was the same as women with karmic obstructions, so he spoke of women having the Five Hindrances.

Sariputra did not know that the dragon girl had “the capacity for the Great Vehicle. She had practiced throughout the past and perfected her causes.” Thus, she was able to attain Buddhahood. He did not understand that the dragon girl manifesting her appearance in this life in the ocean and becoming the dragon girl in the ocean palace was actually like Sakyamuni Buddha’s countless lifetimes spent in the Six Realms and Three Evil Destinies. He too used to go there very often; He went in order to transform sentient beings. By manifesting in the human realm, the Buddha intended to transform sentient beings. Therefore, He attained Buddhahood. Thus, He manifested in all forms in every different state. When a Bodhisattva’s ultimate cause, “infinite deliverance” has been completed, then in whichever state it may be, that will be the his final incarnation and he will be able to attain Buddhahood there. The dragon girl manifested in the dragon palace, accepted the Dharma and began transforming sentient beings inside the dragon palace. Manjusri Bodhisattva came back and forth teaching the Dharma in the dragon palace and the dragon girl accepted the Dharma at the dragon palace. She manifested her appearance there and engaged in spiritual practice and learned the Dharma in the dragon palace. She could understand the Dharma at 8 years old; she manifested such a young figure, but accepted such profound teachings. This is to remind everyone that the Buddha-nature is equal in all beings. No matter if we have a human body or that of an animal, we intrinsically possess the Tathagata’s nature of True Suchness within us. This helps us understand the fact that everyone inherently has Buddha-nature. This is not limited to humans, nor is it limited to men. Even women can engage in spiritual practice, teach the Dharma and transform sentient beings, as well as attain Buddhahood. The dragon girl was born as an animal inside the ocean palace. Moreover, she was a female, a young female. Even so, she still came to ask the Buddha. “Venerable Buddha, please verify for me that I will soon attain Buddhahood.” In fact, the Buddha did not need to prove it; this was to help everyone understand that all beings intrinsically possess Buddha-nature. The Buddha teaches the Lotus Sutra so that everyone can attain Buddhahood. No matter what kind of form or what type of body we have, as long as we form aspirations to comprehend the Buddha-Dharma and likewise engage in spiritual practice, we can likewise attain Buddhahood. This is why, in the Lotus Sutra, so much was taught to help all of us clearly understand. Many Treasures’ stupa appeared in this world at Vulture Peak. Many Treasures Buddha came to listen to the Dharma. The past Buddha came to listen to the Dharma in order to help us understand the importance of the Lotus Sutra; this was verified by Many Treasures Buddha. Actually, Many Treasures Buddha represents how in each person there is a stupa on Vulture Peak. This is the compassion of the Buddha. He used this method so everyone could understand that in each person there is a stupa on Vulture Peak. Inside the stupa on Vulture Peak, Many Treasures Buddha, the past Buddha, has been there since Beginningless Time. We talked about this already. Before the stupa doors opened, Many Treasures Buddha’s voice emanated forth in praise. This was to bear witness to Sakyamuni Buddha, in the Saha World, teaching the Lotus Sutra. [Many Treasures] even praised the Lotus Sutra as the king of all sutras. This was also to help us realize and understand the Buddha-Dharma and comprehend how the Lotus Sutra is the principles, [seen as] multiple manifestations returned to their place, all the Dharma brought together. We have engaged in spiritual practice over many lifetimes and kalpas and listened to the Dharma for a long period of time. These teachings are the Buddha’s multiple manifestations. When we thoroughly understand them, they will then appear in our minds. When, in our hearts, we can thoroughly understand the Dharma, the stupa on Vulture Peak in our minds will open and Many Treasures Buddha will appear. This is the analogy that was used.

When we came to the Chapter on Devadatta, Devadatta received predictions of Buddhahood from the Buddha. Devadatta had already descended to hell, but the Buddha still bestowed predictions upon him. This means regarding good and evil, the Buddha did not have [attachment to] the appearances of good and evil in His mind; instead He always had a heart of gratitude. Devadatta was the one to help Him attain Buddhahood, so He was very grateful and bestowed predictions upon Devadatta. Wasn’t that pretty much the end? Yet when Wisdom Accumulated said to Many Treasures Buddha, “Should we leave now? Our karmic conditions are fulfilled. Should we leave?” Sakyamuni Buddha kept them so that he would have the opportunity to heave a conversation with Manjusri Bodhisattva.

During the conversation, one was full of doubt, while the other tried to explain. As for the doubter, before the explainer finished his words, the evidence was already presented. The dragon girl suddenly appeared in front of him. That was the best form of proof. This provided evidence that, despite being an animal in the dragon palace, she was still equal to humans. Although she was very young, she was the same as those older than her. Buddha-nature is equal regardless of age. Buddha-nature is equal in all beings; there is no difference between humans and animals. The Buddha-nature is equal in all; there is no difference between men and women. When the dragon girl suddenly appeared, she expressed that she would attain Buddhahood very soon. So, Sakyamuni Buddha could verify this, but we do not necessarily need His verification, for the dragon girl had already cultivated Great Vehicle practices. She had the capacity for the Great Vehicle. Ever since long ago, she has always had them. “She had practiced throughout the past” over many kalpas and had already perfected her causes, which were to actualize the Six Paramitas in all actions. She had perfected the causal practice of Bodhisattvas, so she could attain the fruit of Buddhahood. She had always been able to attain Buddhahood. “He thought she was the same as women with karmic obstructions.” Sariputra categorized her as a woman, [as one who,] due to karma, was born as a woman, subjected to the limitations of the human realm and obstructed by its rules. He also discriminated against her on the differences between the human and animal realms. He thought that the dragon girl was born like this as a result of karmic retributions, reborn into the animal realm for this reason. That is what Sariputra thought. “Since it is like this, how could she attain Buddhahood so quickly?” Those were Sariputra’s doubts, so he spoke about the Five Hindrances of women.

Yet by mentioning these Five Hindrances, he was hoping to get women to give rise to a mind of vigilance. Once they know they have these hindrances, they must quickly give rise to Bodhicitta, engage in the practices of the Great Vehicle and promptly seek to attain liberation.

“Yet by mentioning these Five Hindrances he was hoping to get women to give rise to a mind of vigilance. Did Sariputra really not believe it? Honestly, in this place of spiritual practice, Sariputra was also a recipient of the teachings. Remember at the beginning of the Chapter on Skillful Means, when Sariputra was the recipient of the teachings and asked the Buddha to teach the Lotus Sutra? The Buddha “refused three times.” So, Sariputra had to “request three times” that the Buddha [teach] this extremely profound, subtle and wondrous Great Vehicle Dharma; he requested that the Buddha teach it. Everyone ought to remember this. Thus, in the Chapter on Devadatta, at this time, Sariputra still wanted to seize the opportunity. Because the dragon girl was able to attain Buddhahood so quickly, it was not only Sariputra who had doubts; in fact, most people had doubts too. Wisdom Accumulated was the first to raise doubts. Then, Sariputra, representing all ordinary beings, [raised] the doubts of their level as well. He intentionally brought up the Five Hindrances of women, that women have the Five Hindrances. This was to make women more vigilant. This showed that Sariputra put his heart into this. Thus, we must know the Five Hindrances that cause people to look down on women. For women, these things cause people to look down on them, especially in spiritual practice. “Once they know they have these hindrances, they must quickly give rise to Bodhicitta.” We must repent for ourselves and quickly engage in spiritual practice. We must have the appearance of a great man. We must truly take on the responsibilities of the world. Sariputra was able to bear [the responsibility of] transcending the mundane. He was able to teach the Dharma and transform ordinary beings into noble beings. He had this kind of appearance of a great man.
He said, “Even I do not have the ability. How could you attain Buddhahood so quickly?” This shows that women can also attain Buddhahood, as long as we can change and get rid of the superficiality in our character as women, the [obsession] with physical beauty and charms. If we can be like this, be dignified and truly give rise to Bodhicitta, we can likewise follow the Bodhisattva-path and seek to attain liberation soon. We will be able to quickly seek liberation. We must earnestly realize and comprehend this. Noble beings, whether they practice the Hearer or the Bodhisattva Vehicle, are here in order to help sentient beings understand and experience the Buddha-Dharma. Sentient beings’ capabilities are not uniform. Bodhisattvas, beings of great capabilities, have doubts corresponding to those with great capabilities. As for unenlightened beings, they have limited capabilities and have corresponding doubts. Thus, we must be very grateful. Wisdom Accumulated and Sariputra were dedicated at this Dharma assembly to helping more sentient beings and making sure the Lotus Sutra was complete to resolve sentient beings’ [afflicted] mental states and the doubts in their minds, their greed, anger, ignorance, arrogance and doubt. If we can mindfully learn from this sutra and carefully eliminate greed, anger, ignorance, arrogance and doubt, then we will be able to form great aspirations, cultivate the Great Vehicle practice and promptly seek to attain liberation. This all depends upon whether or not we are always mindful!

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