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 20180523《靜思妙蓮華》龍女忽現 智積無疑 (第1354集) (法華經·提婆達多品第十二)

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20180523《靜思妙蓮華》龍女忽現 智積無疑 (第1354集) (法華經·提婆達多品第十二) Empty
發表主題: 20180523《靜思妙蓮華》龍女忽現 智積無疑 (第1354集) (法華經·提婆達多品第十二)   20180523《靜思妙蓮華》龍女忽現 智積無疑 (第1354集) (法華經·提婆達多品第十二) Empty周二 五月 22, 2018 11:09 pm

20180523《靜思妙蓮華》龍女忽現 智積無疑 (第1354集) (法華經·提婆達多品第十二)

⊙凡夫五障貪瞋癡慢疑,佛菩薩聲聞僧巧妙法。龍女於當下忽然現身,先示佛具微密深妙智,後復自承作佛與本懷。
⊙如是事相,文殊未及回答,然而龍女突然出現,此正是文殊無言之妙答!故智積見聞而了然且無疑。
⊙龍女以深達罪福相而讚佛智深達,然智積不能信龍女速得菩提。以龍女畜類,是一罪苦眾生,而得見如來是福德莊嚴相。
⊙若能深達罪福之相,則不見龍女是苦罪相,如來是福德相,自當信龍女須臾成佛無疑。
⊙十方即十界。既深達罪福,不見九界、佛界之相可得,而十界泯絕矣。
⊙「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》

【證嚴上人開示】
凡夫五障貪瞋癡慢疑,佛菩薩聲聞僧巧妙法。龍女已當下忽然現身,先示佛具微密深妙智,後復自承作佛與本懷。

凡夫五障
貪瞋癡慢疑
佛菩薩聲聞僧
巧妙法
龍女於當下
忽然現身
先示佛具
微密深妙智
後復自承作佛
與本懷

這段好像很深難解,也要向大家說,其中含藏著真是微妙的法,我們就要用心體會。成佛乃是一大事,這個一大事也在眾生,眾生就是凡夫,凡夫具足了五障,這個五障大概就是,貪、瞋、癡、慢、疑。這貪、瞋、癡、慢、疑,障礙了我們凡夫能體會佛法,這就是因為有這五障,讓我們無法去體會佛法。這五障讓我們的煩惱層層疊疊,如山千疊之高啊!凡夫就是無法去除貪、瞋、癡,心中總是充滿了煩惱,充滿了貪念,充滿了瞋,充滿了癡、慢、疑,就是因為這樣,佛陀就為這一大事來人間。佛陀要來人間,但是人間,無法體會佛的深心妙法,這就是一個很大的障礙。但是佛不捨棄眾生,雖然這麼距離遠,而這麼大的障礙,佛陀就是不要放棄,所以他在人間化度、教育,來來回回,現相在六道間,天、人、修羅、地獄、餓鬼、畜生,這六道,佛陀就是這樣來來回回,為這些眾生辛苦教育。

偏偏眾生還是剛強,不過佛,佛陀就是突破了,這種眾生的剛強,眾生剛強是眾生的剛強,佛陀深密智慧,堅定的誓願,就是要度盡一切眾生,這就是佛的心願。因為這樣,所以有菩薩、聲聞僧眾等等,因為佛陀的耐心、愛心,累世人間來來回回度化、教育,這樣自然就會慢慢,再怎麼剛強的眾生,也能夠受教,就能夠調伏,這是佛陀他所以能成佛。所以佛與眾生的距離,是差這麼多,眾生自剛強,佛陀弘誓願還是堅定,所以這就是佛與眾生,中間的距離。看看〈提婆達多品〉這段經文,看盡了提婆達多本具聰明智慧,佛陀的教育,法,他都吸收,但是無法受佛同化,所以還是這惡劣的根機,無明,貪、瞋、癡、慢、疑,還是存在,所以他罪惡很大,其實他也是聰明,很聰明,卻是生陷地獄。他一樣懂佛法,卻是他墮落地獄。這我們全都已經聽過的法,就是希望讓大家要更清楚。在這一品裡面,我們了解了,忽然間龍女,在智積與文殊,智積無法接受畜生類,在畜生類就表示罪惡,有罪惡,所以墮落三途,在畜生道中。但是文殊菩薩到海龍宮去教化,龍王女年始八歲,她的智慧俐巧,一聞佛法,真的深達道理,微妙的法,龍王女完全吸收。卻是智積不相信。

這是佛與菩薩權巧安排,安排我們眾生,這五障,要如何成佛,我們很難,所以有連續這幾品,從〈法師品〉,一直到了〈見寶塔品〉,甚至一直到〈提婆達多品〉。〈見寶塔品〉,我們就能看到,原來佛陀要向我們說,寶塔,多寶佛,古佛有這一點點的遺憾,就是缺了因緣講說《法華經》,所以他發願,他滅度之後全身收入寶塔中。他包括寶塔,哪一個地方講《法華經》,他就哪一個地方,去證明、去聽法。這就是要向我們描述,我們人人本具佛性。上次也一直一直向大家述說,寶塔豈是真的從土地,這樣浮出來嗎?這是描述這樣的境界、這樣的事相,要讓大家更清楚,這是要向我們說,人人心中都有真如本性,人人心中都有靈山會,因為人人本具智性慧海。

我們的佛性在,我們與生俱來,我們就是有這樣與佛性同來,就像在靈山會,靈山會,佛陀是為了要讓我們,體會人人本具佛性,人人可成佛,才講說《法華經》。這可成佛,不是別人給你的,是你自己本身就有的,你本身就有與生俱來,這智慧就像在靈山會裡,接受佛陀所為我們開解的法,我們一一應該,要收入我們的內心。佛陀只是來為我們引導一下,我們自己有一盞燈,佛陀是將這一盞燈火,引來了我們心中這一盞燈火,照亮我們,讓我們的自燈光也能發亮。

所以意思就是說,要讓我們知道,所以多寶佛寶塔現前,大家心中有疑,很期待能夠體會,寶塔出現的意思。這其中大樂說菩薩,也是要來探究、問。佛陀就說,若要了解寶塔裡面的多寶佛,必定我要分身佛都回來。那段時間,一直和大家說分身佛,分身佛在哪裡呢?分身佛就是「法」。佛陀在靈山會中所說的微妙法,甚至過去的三乘的法,聲聞、緣覺,中、小乘法,已經佛陀是隨機逗教,很不容易,到現在,佛認為非說不可,要展現了他心,心中所懷著的這個法,那就是成佛之道,就是大乘法。所以,他和大家說,過去是方便法,現在是真實法,這個真實法已經展現出來,真實法是人人可成佛,人人本具有,只是我們還有,貪、瞋、癡、慢、疑,一直都還沒有去除,所以小乘,還歸在小乘,中乘,還歸在中乘,佛陀一直鼓勵大家要向大乘的道理走,要放棄了自己自我這種無明,貪、瞋、癡、慢、疑,不只是煩惱去除,無明去除,塵沙惑也都要去除,而後,才有辦法真正成佛。

你一定要去除這些,就是要投入人群去,在人群中,你才能夠去體會到人間疾苦,我們自己的貪瞋癡,沒辦法自己發現,看別人的貪瞋癡,我們了解:某某人,這個形態就是「貪」,這個動作就是「瞋」,這樣的,就是「癡」。看別人,我們很清楚,我們就是心地黑暗,這盞燈光還沒有照亮起來,你這一盞只是看外面,還沒有往內照回來。佛陀就是用燈,佛光來照亮眾生的心,讓我們發光發亮。讓我們自己自覺、了解,我們也有貪、瞋、癡,不要只是想別人有貪、瞋、癡,我們應該照回來,我們自己的貪、瞋、癡。我們的貪、瞋、癡若不去除,我們永遠只是懂佛法,但是充滿煩惱。同樣凡夫,同樣提婆達多,所以同樣也可以墮地獄,同樣哦!儘管你佛法懂很多,還是同樣的提婆達多啊。

而我們,雖然佛陀說三惡道,龍王女畜生類,但是,佛陀也過去曾說過了,《本生經》。佛他自己本身,也同樣在三惡道中在度眾生,龍女也是一樣,她也是闡大乘義,求大乘法。只是現在她的身形在龍宮。

所以我們昨天說過,舍利弗說:「我是大丈夫相,我有幸是在佛的身邊聽聞佛法,我這麼久了,還沒辦法成佛,妳龍女呢?」昨天我們說過了,是啊,這就是舍利弗,他是在佛的身邊,稱為「智慧第一」,但是,他還是一樣,還在聲聞的地位。雖然佛陀為他授記了,是因為他和佛陀有約,這個授記是約定,向佛發願,「我願意放棄小乘,我從現在開始要行大乘法,我要救度眾生。」這只是這樣發願而已,「請佛不要擔憂」。就像現在常常聽到的,很多菩薩都是在向師父發願,發願歸發願,但是同樣還是凡夫啊!同樣,習氣還存在。發願歸發願,習氣還存在,舍利弗也是一樣。所以因為這樣,要我們大家把這些法,都會集回來,再回顧,要清楚了,才開始來開寶塔門,大家要聽法,聽清楚,回憶一下,要讓你記得你的本身佛,你若自己不了解,你自己的貪、瞋、癡,自己不了解,你沒辦法去除你的煩惱。

你這個「火宅」還存在,你,「大白牛車」,雖然知道有這個大乘法,你才開始說:「好,我要來用大白牛車。」但是,你還沒有駛向人群中去。同樣的道理,你聽法,你還沒有身體力行,因為這樣,所以,我們還有貪、瞋、癡。寶塔現前了,多寶佛來了,智積菩薩是多寶佛隨身來的菩薩,但是已經在〈提婆達多品〉差不多說完了,了解了,智積菩薩要回去了,要向多寶佛說:「我們差不多,我們回去把。」釋迦佛這個時候就留,留著智積菩薩:「你且慢回去,還有菩薩,娑婆世界的文殊菩薩,你應該和他見面一下。」就這樣再引起了龍女,再出現證明眾生皆有佛性。

所以,智積菩薩和文殊菩薩,這樣來對唱,一個有疑,一個要回答。這個回答的巧妙,智積還要表達,我還不相信,請文殊菩薩更清楚來分析。但是,文殊菩薩還沒有開口回答,龍女忽然現前了,這就是要表達不可思議。一出現,她就向佛讚歎,這就是要表示菩薩的安排,安排這個因緣,這個事相,龍女巧妙就是在這個時候,突然間出現,儘管她讚佛,讚佛的智慧深達罪福相。就是她自己本身,也達到了這種的境界,所以她能夠讚歎到這個境界,就是表示她,龍王女也是已經有這個境界。她也自己說:「請佛陀您證明,我,不用多久,我就成佛了。」佛陀還沒有回答,舍利弗就開始起來起問,舍利弗有懷疑。這就是表示佛和菩薩,安排這個境界,境界綿密,很奧妙。

雖然智積菩薩看到龍女出現了,智積菩薩,菩薩的階級解疑了,現在換在我們娑婆世界的修行者,「智慧第一」的舍利弗還有疑。就是要表示我們眾生,「五障」都還存在,怕我們沒辦法去體會、了解。所以,僧、聲聞,因為,舍利弗他還是聲聞身,所以聲聞僧,就開始出來舉出他的疑問,所以「巧妙」,很巧妙的法安排。

我很期待大家,很了解這段經文的意義,「諸佛菩薩聲聞」,為了要教化我們後來的眾生,我們凡夫具「五障」,不是只有舍利弗講龍女,女人的「五障」,女人中的「五障」是在凡夫中的,「五障」中的「五障」,是很,很多的障礙,就是女人身。所以在舍利弗,他要讓我們更加清楚、更加明白、更了解。所以「龍女於當下忽然現身」。這樣已經,「先示佛具微密深妙智」。龍女現身,這就是表示佛已經具足了,深妙、微密的智慧,所以她向佛讚歎,讚歎佛深達罪福相。然後龍女自己就是說,「後復自承作佛」,自己認為,「我自己將要成佛了,請釋迦佛,您能夠了解罪福因緣相,您能夠為我來證明。」這就是龍女,她這樣說:「我不久就能夠成佛,佛,您應該知道罪福,真正奧妙的道理存在,您能夠為我證明,我已經是到處都在闡揚大乘法。」這是龍女在前面已經表示過。這就是事相,用這個事相,讓我們更加了解。

如是事相
文殊未及回答
然而龍女突然出現
此正是文殊
無言之妙答
故智積見聞
而了然且無疑

智積菩薩在問,文殊來不及回答,龍女很快就出現了,這種的安排真正的妙,微密,很微妙、很綿密的在那當中,所以剎那的時間就是這樣,這麼的安排得這麼的好。看到這段文,心裡就自己起很歡喜,佛法就是這樣,這就是法喜,所以要和大家分享。所以龍女忽然出現,事實擺在眼前,不用再解釋了,到底龍女她怎麼能夠,這麼有智慧,事實擺在眼前,她自己就出現了,龍女突然出現。這「正是文殊無言之妙答」。文殊還沒有說話,事相擺在眼前,所以事實勝於回答,這就是很巧妙。「文殊無言之妙答」,不用出聲說話,就已經回答出來了,事實回答了。「故智積見聞而了然且無疑」。智積菩薩這樣就沒有疑了,他聽了,他也看到了,文殊菩薩不用再怎麼樣的回答,智積已經清楚了。但是龍女她一出現時,都還沒有和大家打招呼,她就直接向佛頂禮,直接向佛不是請教,就是讚歎,用偈文來讚歎,讚歎,讚歎佛「深達罪福相」。

龍女以深達罪福相
而讚佛智深達
然智積不能信
龍女速得菩提
以龍女畜類
是一罪苦眾生
而得見如來
是福德莊嚴相

這就是讚佛微妙深密,通達罪福的理相,都已經很清楚了,這是龍女向釋迦牟尼佛的讚歎。佛陀已經超越「九界」了,已經成佛了,所以佛陀的智慧深遠而明達。龍女能夠很快證菩提,讓佛來證明吧,智積他自然就相信了。(一般)龍女是畜生類,能夠這樣,這是她是畜生類,是一個罪業深重,苦難的眾生。

畜生道就是苦難的眾生啊,就是罪業深重,才會墮落畜生道,現在來見佛了,佛是福德莊嚴相,罪業深重的畜生,要如何能成佛,不可能吧!

所以「若能深達罪福之相,則不見龍女是罪苦相」。那就沒有龍女什麼樣的罪惡,來受苦的境界,都沒有,因為龍女在畜生道裡,她是大乘菩薩到畜生道,去闡揚大乘法,其實她也是本具佛性,她也是體會佛法。

若能深達罪福之相
則不見龍女
是苦罪相
如來是福德相
自當信龍女
須臾成佛無疑

所以能深達,真正的深入了解佛法的真實理,人人本具佛性,這個道理,眾生平等,佛陀這樣說,「心、佛、眾生三無差別」,都平等,哪還有什麼樣的畜生類與人類,或者是佛菩薩的分別呢?佛陀成佛,他就說:「奇哉!奇哉!大地眾生皆有如來智性。」開始就這樣說。「心、佛、眾生三無差別」,在這個法會中,龍女既然都已經來到靈山會,在佛的面前讚歎佛,這樣還有什麼,畜生道的差別相呢?所以應該若有深達道理,這個相就沒有了,應該都消滅了。

前面我們也講過,佛已經消滅了九界,就是超越九界已經成佛了;超越九界,也就是沒有菩薩,沒有聲聞,沒有緣覺,沒有天,沒有人,沒有(阿)修羅,沒有地獄、餓鬼、畜生,這九界全都消滅掉。

我們若是了解,「深達罪福相」,就「不見龍女罪苦相」,就沒有了。所以「如來是福德相」,到如來就是福德相,龍女有辦法來到佛的面前,見佛的福德相,「自當信龍女須臾成佛無疑」,我們應該要相信,龍女很快就能成佛,就像她忽然間,出現在佛的面前一樣。所以「十方即十界」。在說的「十方」就是「十法界」,「十法界」就是「六凡四聖」,剛才說過,佛、菩薩、緣覺、聲聞、天、人、修羅、地獄、餓鬼、畜生,這叫做「十法界」。

十方即十界
既深達罪福
不見九界
佛界之相可得
而十界泯絕矣

「既深達罪福相」,那應該若全都深達,就「不見九界」,這九界都超越了,這就是表示道理全都通達。佛陀,一大事因緣,無不都是為眾生這個「五障」,要如何來消除眾生的「五障」,要如何眾生能通達這個道理。所以「佛界之相可得」,若能這個「九界」,我們的障礙若都去除,道理通達,超越九界,就「佛界之相可得」,這樣我們就可以與佛一樣,可惜,我們就是還沒有辦法,沒辦法泯滅掉了這個九界,這就是我們所以不能成佛。

這是前面的文:「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》

就是因為這樣,要知道佛道長遠,很長很長,要修行就要經過了無量劫,要長時間,因為我們的眾生這個「五障」,自我障礙。佛陀來人間,不放棄,就是不斷這樣循循善誘。「十界」,「十法界」的開闊,所以「佛道懸遠」,經過九界才能到佛的境界來,所以真的是佛道長遠,要用很長的時間。

有的時候會想,大家既然發大心、立大願了,何必還要執著這麼深呢?那個我見,成見,這麼深呢?為什麼這種癡念,修行去掉貪念,但是瞋念還有少分,動不動發脾氣,不歡喜,我們凡夫盡量要修行,我可以不貪,我願意捨,但是叫你都不要發脾氣,你可能很難。有的人說脾氣很好,但是也是悶在心裡,不是不會發脾氣,是有修養,在燜鍋裡面沒有發出來而已,還是有。這種,這就是凡夫,癡,因為還有瞋,就是有癡,道理還沒有很透徹,所以,癡念還是有。人與人的之間,都有這樣分別的比較。這個慢心,就像舍利弗,妳女人,他就輕視女人,輕視女人不是法器,輕視女人有五種的障礙,不能成佛。這就是修行了,他也會比較,「我堂堂大丈夫,我能夠了解佛法,我能夠說法,能讓大家轉凡入聖道」。他能夠讓大家轉凡入聖道,只是法相在轉,法性並還沒有淨化,就是還有這麼重的習氣在。這就是我們要知道,修行要用很長久的時間,要下很多的苦功夫,要不斷累積,在人群中,好緣要不斷結,好事要不斷做。在眾生,我們要從別人的缺點,來發現我們自己,別人的貪、瞋、癡,不只是別人有,我們自己也有,這要修行才能度眾生,要累積很多的功夫,要很多的德,才能結好緣,我們說的話,別人才願意接受,修行就是在這裡。

所以「然後乃成」,才能成。何況女人,其實女身障礙是真的很大,過去,佛陀的時代,佛有一個時間去到舍衛國,有比丘隨身,五百人,在舍衛國裡也有一位比丘尼,這位比丘尼名叫做婆陀,這位比丘尼也有領導著,五百位比丘尼在舍衛國裡面。有一天,婆陀比丘尼,他在一個很靜謐的園林裡面,在樹林裡,在那裡靜坐。靜坐的當中,忽然間,她笑了,笑出來,外面的比丘尼看到了,怎麼婆陀比丘尼自己一個人坐在那裡,怎麼這樣在笑,到底是什麼事情?趕緊去向其他的比丘尼說:「婆陀比丘尼沒事坐在那裡一直在笑。」那時候他就去叫大家來看,好幾位同時圍過來,就來請問婆陀比丘尼,「你到底什麼因緣,在靜坐中笑呢?」

婆陀比丘尼,他就這樣說:「我在靜坐中,忽然間看到我的過去,很可笑的人生。」「是怎麼樣,請你能講出你在打坐的當中,看到你過去生的境界,能講給我們聽嗎?」婆陀比丘尼就說:「過去九十一劫那個時候,有一尊佛叫做毗婆尸佛如來,在這個期間,有一位童子,這位童子生得很莊嚴,童子的名字叫做梵天,很莊嚴。他要去供養毗婆尸佛,手就拿著莊嚴的寶花,他想要供養毗婆尸佛。但是,他因有莊嚴相,就很顯耀,想要讓大家看我的形態莊嚴,我拿著這樣的寶花,就是要去供佛。大搖大擺在街道上走,這時,看到一位長得很美的婦女,很美、很端莊秀麗,也一樣出現,走在這條路上。大家本來看這位童子,讚歎這位童子,這麼莊嚴,這麼帥氣,一直誇獎他,但這個女人一出現,大家的目光,都向這女人的身上,大家都在看這女人,這麼美,這麼端莊,這實在是很稀有。

這位童子感覺:怎麼大家在我身上的目光,那個視線,這麼快就轉向,這個女人身上呢?他覺得,「我這麼莊嚴,這麼端莊的形象,輸一個女人,這樣我要去向佛發願,發願讓我將來能生為女人。」就這樣去向毗婆尸佛這樣發願。這一發願,七日七夜,獻寶,在那個地方七日七夜虔誠的祈求,祈求。果然,毗婆尸佛看他這麼,對女人這麼有興趣,要身為女人身,毗婆尸佛就說:「滿你的願。」就這樣開始,童子到命終的時候,真正轉生於三十三天,在三十三天,果然生為女身,女身一出現,三十三天中很多天子,就爭相,大家就相爭,覺得我要這個人來為我的妃,做我的婦。就是這樣。

後來,擺不平,一位天子就說:「大家來,講出你們內心,有什麼樣的微妙法,微妙的文章拿出來講,比賽。」結果很多人拿出來比賽,其中有一位就這樣說,他說:「大家有這樣的空閒,大家在那個地方吟詩作對,就像我,我是覺得,感覺這輩子,我已經感覺不自知有我這一生,我也還不知我這一生,還有多久的時間能存在,什麼時間會死亡。」這位,很多位當中都有偈文,這位講到這裡,大家認為,那這樣你對人生很透徹,何必再爭呢?我們大家的文章爭不過你。所以這位天女就歸屬最後這位天子,所以為后。

同樣從這開始,這位成為天后,這位女人。過後也是一樣,享受了天福,同樣要墮,再墮落人間來,墮落人間來,這個當中就沒完沒了,接下去女人的身形就開始,很多障礙,這就是童子起一念心。想,在天堂都會引起,很多天子的相爭,爭得不可開交,那個時候才說用吟詩作對,來爭取這個女人。你想,女人在天堂都會被爭,何況來人間。所以,就這樣開始來人間。

當然還有很長的故事。時間很短,但是法很長,總而言之,我們要了解,女人身五障,昨天說過了,何況我們凡夫的五障未除,五障中再有更重的「五障」,那就是在女人,要能成佛,難啊,所以大家要多用心!

【註二】《增壹阿含經‧大愛道般涅槃品》
聞如是:
一時,佛在舍衛國祇樹給孤獨園,與大比丘眾五百人俱。
爾時,舍衛城內有比丘尼名曰婆陀,將五百比丘尼於彼遊化。時,婆陀比丘尼在閑靜之處,而自思惟,結跏趺坐,繫念在前,自憶無數宿命之事,復自笑。有比丘尼遙見婆陀比丘尼笑,見已,便往至比丘尼所:「今婆陀比丘尼獨在樹下而笑,將有何緣?」
時,五百比丘尼即相將至婆陀比丘尼所,頭面禮足。爾時,五百比丘尼白婆陀曰:「有何因緣獨坐樹下而笑耶?」
爾時,婆陀比丘尼告五百比丘尼曰:「我向者在此樹下,自憶無數宿命之事,復見昔日所經歷身,死此生彼,皆悉觀見。」

時,五百比丘尼復白言:「唯願當說曩昔之緣。」

時,婆陀比丘尼告五百比丘尼曰:「過去久遠九十一劫有佛出世,名曰毘婆尸如來、至真、等正覺、明行成為、善逝、世間解、無上士、道法御、天人師,號佛、眾祐,出現於世。爾時,世界名槃頭摩,人民熾盛不可稱計。爾時,如來遊彼國界,將十六萬八千比丘眾,前後圍繞而為說法。」時佛名號流布四遠:「毘婆尸佛者眾相具足,是一切人良祐福田。」

爾時,彼國界中有童子名曰梵天,顏貌端正,世之希有。時,彼童子手執寶蓋而行諸街巷中。時有居士婦亦復端正,亦從此道行,眾人皆共觀看。時童子便作是念:「我今亦復端正,手執寶蓋,眾人皆不觀視我身,此諸人民皆共觀此女人。我今要當作方便,使人觀視我。」時彼童子即出彼城,往至毘婆尸佛所,手執寶華,供養七日七夜,亦作誓願:「設當毘婆尸佛有此神足,有此神力,是世間、天上福田,持此功德,使我將來之世作女人身,人民見之莫不喜踊。」

爾時,彼童子七日七夜供養彼佛已,隨命長短,後便生三十三天,於彼作女人身,極為端正,玉女中第一,以五事功德勝彼天女。云何為五?所謂天壽、天色、天樂、天威福、天自在。時三十三天見已,各自說曰:「此天女者,極為殊妙,無與等者。」其中或有天子作是說:「此天女我應得以為天后。」各相競爭。時大天王說曰:「汝等勿共訟,其中能說極妙法者,便以此天女與之作婦。」

爾時,有一天子便說斯偈:「若起若復坐,寤寐無有歡,設我眠睡時,然後乃無欲。」

爾時,復有天子而說斯偈:「汝今故為樂,於眠無念想,我今興欲念,如似打戰鼓。」

爾時,復有天子而說斯偈:「設復打戰鼓,猶有休息時,我欲馳速疾,如水流不停。」

爾時,復有天子而說斯偈:「如水漂大木,猶有休息時,我恒思想欲,如殺象不眴。」

爾時,諸天中最尊天子與諸天人而說斯偈:「汝等猶閑暇,各能說斯偈,我今不自知,為存為亡乎?」

爾時,諸天人白彼天子曰:「善哉!天子!所說偈者極為清妙。今日此天女奉貢天王。」爾時,天女即入天王宮。汝等諸天勿有猶豫。所以然者,爾時童子供養佛上寶蓋者,豈異人乎?莫作是觀。爾時童子身者,即我身是也。

過去三十一劫有式詰如來,出現於世,遊化於野馬世界,與大比丘眾十六萬人俱。爾時,彼天女後便命終而生人中,受女人身,極為端正,世之希有。時式詰如來到時,著衣持,入野馬城乞食。時彼天女人復為長者婦,以好飲食,奉上式詰如來,普作誓願:「持此功德之業,所生之處莫墮三惡趣,顏貌端正,與人殊異。」

爾時,彼女人後便命終生三十三天,於彼復作女人身,極為端正,有五事功德勝彼諸天。爾時天女,豈異人乎?莫作是觀。所以然者,彼女人者,則我身是。


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Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: Wisdom Accumulated Is Freed of Doubts (龍女忽現 智積無疑)
Date: May.23.2018

“Sentient beings have the Five Hindrances of greed, anger, ignorance, arrogance and doubt. The Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and Hearers in the Sangha skillfully used the wondrous Dharma. At this time, the dragon girl suddenly appeared. She first showed how the Buddha possessed subtle, secret, profound and wondrous wisdom. Then she proclaimed that she would become a Buddha and expressed her original intent.”

This passage seems to be very profound and difficult to understand, but I also want to tell everyone that contained within it is truly subtle and wondrous Dharma. So, we should mindfully try to comprehend this. Attaining Buddhahood is a great cause, and this great cause is for sentient beings. Sentient beings are unenlightened beings and unenlightened beings all possess the Five Hindrances. These Five Hindrances are basically greed, anger, ignorance, arrogance and doubt. Greed, anger, ignorance, arrogance and doubt hinder us as unenlightened beings from comprehending the Buddha-Dharma. Because of these Five Hindrances we have no way to comprehend the Buddha-Dharma. The Five Hindrances cause us to have layer upon layer of afflictions, layers piled up as high as a mountain. Unenlightened beings have no way to get rid of greed, anger and ignorance. Our minds are always full of afflictions, full of desirous thoughts, full of anger. We are full of ignorance, arrogance and doubt. This is the reason; the Buddha came to the world for this one great cause.

The Buddha wanted to come to the world, but people in the world had no way to comprehend the wondrous Dharma in the depths of the Buddha’s mind. This is a very great hindrance. However, the Buddha never abandons sentient beings. Although there is such a gulf between us, although we have such great hindrances, the Buddha would never give up on us. So, in the world, He transforms and teaches, coming and going, manifesting in the Six Realms. These are the heaven, human, asura, hell, hungry ghost and animal realms. In the Six Realms, the Buddha comes and goes, and for the sake of sentient beings, works very hard to teach. Unfortunately, sentient beings remain stubborn. Yet the Buddha breaks through the stubbornness of sentient beings. Sentient beings are stubborn, that is so, but the Buddha, with His profound and mysterious wisdom and His firm vows, will deliver every one of them. This is the Buddha’s heartfelt wish.

Because of this, there are the Bodhisattvas and Hearers in the Sangha. Because the Buddha has such patience and love, He comes and goes over many lifetimes, teaching and transforming in the world. Thus naturally, even the most stubborn sentient beings will gradually accept the teachings and will be tamed. This is why the Buddha was able to attain Buddhahood. So, the distance between the Buddha and sentient beings is very great. Since sentient beings are so stubborn, the Buddha was even more determined in His vows. So, this is the distance that exists between the Buddha and sentient beings. In this part of the Chapter on Devadatta we see how Devadatta was replete in intelligence and wisdom. When it came to the Buddha’s teachings, to the Dharma, he absorbed it all, but it was impossible for him to be influenced by being with the Buddha. His capabilities still remained unwholesome; ignorance, greed, anger, delusion, arrogance and doubt still remained inside him, so his evil transgressions were very great.

Actually, he was very intelligent. He was intelligent, yet he still descended alive into hell. He understood the Buddha-Dharma, yet he still descended into hell. We have already heard all these teachings; I just want everyone to understand more clearly. In this chapter, we can understand that the dragon girl suddenly appeared before. Wisdom Accumulated and Manjusri Bodhisattva. Wisdom Accumulated found it impossible to accept her, as she belonged to the animal realm. Being in the animal realm meant one had transgressions, that because of one’s evil transgressions, one had descended into the Three Evil Destinies and had been born in the animal realm. However, Manjusri Bodhisattva had gone to the ocean dragon palace to teach and transform. The dragon princess was only eight years old, yet had sharp and skillful wisdom. Upon hearing the Buddha-Dharma, she truly and deeply understood the principles. The dragon king’s daughter fully absorbed the subtle and wondrous Dharma. Yet, Wisdom Accumulated could not believe this. This is how Buddhas and Bodhisattvas skillfully arrange things. They arrange this to show us sentient beings that since we have the Five Hindrances, for us to attain Buddhahood is very difficult.

This is why we have this succession of chapters, from the Chapter on Dharma Teachers all the way through the Chapter on Seeing the Stupa of Treasures, and even through the Chapter on Devadatta. In the Chapter on Seeing the Stupa of Treasures, we can see what the Buddha originally wanted to teach us. The stupa of treasures and Many Treasures Buddha show the ancient Buddha had just one regret, that He lacked the causes and conditions to teach the Lotus Sutra. So, He had made a vow that after entering Parinirvana, His entire body would be put inside a stupa of treasures. He and His stupa of treasures, wherever the Lotus Sutra was being taught, would go there to testify to and listen to the Dharma. This is describing for us how the Buddha-nature is intrinsic to everyone. Previously, I kept describing this for everyone. Did the stupa of treasures really emerge from the ground the way it did? This is describing a [mental] state. These matters and appearances are to help everyone have a better understanding. They are telling us that within everyone’s heart is the nature of True Suchness. Within everyone’s heart there is a Vulture Peak Assembly, because this wisdom-nature, this ocean of wisdom, is intrinsic to everyone. Our Buddha-nature is within us; it has been there since birth. We are born with this Buddha-nature. Likewise, at the Vulture Peak Assembly, the Buddha wanted us to experience how everyone intrinsically possess the Buddha-nature and how everyone can attain Buddhahood. This is why He taught the Lotus Sutra. This ability to attain Buddhahood is not something given to us by others. It is something we have always possessed, something that we were born with. Having wisdom like this is like being at the Vulture Peak Assembly and accepting the Dharma the Buddha explained to us. One by one, we need to take each of His teachings to heart. The Buddha only came to guide us. Each of us has a lamp ourselves. The Buddha is the one who takes His lamp and lights the lamp in our hearts. He illuminates us so that our own lamplight might shine. So, this is saying that He wanted to help us understand. When Many Treasures Buddha’s stupa of treasures appeared, everyone was very doubtful and they all hoped to be able to comprehend the meaning of the stupa of treasures’ appearance.

Among them was Great Joyful Eloquence Bodhisattva who also wanted to investigate, and thus asked. The Buddha then told him that if he wanted to understand Many Treasures Buddha inside of His stupa of treasures, then all the Buddha’s multiple manifestations had to [first] return. That kept talking about the Buddha’s multiple manifestations. Where were the Buddha’s multiple manifestations? The multiple manifestations are the Dharma. These are the subtle and wondrous teachings taught by the Buddha at the Vulture Peak Assembly, and all of the Three Vehicle teachings before; those for Hearers and Solitary Realizers, the Teachings of the Middle and Small Vehicles. The Buddha had taught according to capabilities, and after great difficulty, He had finally reached this point, when the Buddha felt that He had to teach this. He wanted to reveal the teachings that He had harbored in His heart. This was the path to Buddhahood, the Great Vehicle Dharma.

So, He told everyone that the past teachings had been skillful means, while the teachings now were the True Dharma. He had by then revealed the True Dharma. The True Dharma was that anyone could attain Buddhahood. Everyone possesses this; it is just that we still retain our greed, anger, ignorance, arrogance and doubt. We still have not gotten rid of them. Those in the Small Vehicle remained there; those in the Middle Vehicle remained there; The Buddha always encouraged everyone to move toward the Great Vehicle principles, to cast aside their ignorance of self, their greed, anger, delusion, arrogance and doubt. We not only have to get rid of our afflictions and ignorance, but to get rid of all dust-like delusions as well. Only then can we truly attain Buddhahood. We have to get rid of these by dedicating ourselves among people. It is only among people that we can comprehend the suffering in the world. It is impossible for us to discover our own greed, anger and delusion by ourselves. When we see the greed, anger and delusion in others, we can understand it. When we see this person, we know this is what “greed” looks like. This action is “anger”. This is “ignorance”. By seeing others, we can become clear. The ground of our minds is still dark; the light from our lamps does not illuminate it. Our lamp only illuminates things outside, but has not yet begun to illuminate what is within.
The Buddha used His lamp, the Buddha’s light, to illuminate sentient beings’ minds, to enable us to radiate our own light and help us to awaken ourselves and understand. We too harbor greed, anger, and ignorance. We must not simply think other people have greed, anger and ignorance We should illuminate our own greed, anger and ignorance. If we do not eliminate our own greed, anger and ignorance, then all we will ever have is an understanding of the Buddha-Dharma, but we will still be full of afflictions. Then we are still unenlightened, just like Devadatta. So, we could descend into hell just like him. It is the same! Even if we understand a lot of the Buddha-Dharma, we will still be the same as Devadatta! Though the Buddha taught us if the Three Evil Destinies, the dragon king’s daughter was an animal. The Buddha had in the past also taught the Jataka Sutra, where the Buddha Himself had delivered sentient begins while in the Three Evil Destinies as well. The Dragon girl was the same. She too taught the Great Vehicle and sought the Great Vehicle Dharma. It was just that the form she had taken now was it be in the dragon palace.

So, yesterday we talked about how Sariputra said, “I have the appearance of a great man. I am fortunate to be by the Buddha’s side and listen to Him teach the Buddha-Dharma. I have done this for such a long time, but I am not able attain Buddhahood. And you, a dragon girl, can do this?” We talked about his yesterday. Yes, this was what Sariputra thought. He was by the Buddha’s side and was called “foremost in wisdom”. However, he was still the same; he was still at the stage of a Hearer. Although the Buddha had bestowed a prediction of Buddhahood upon him, this was because he and the Buddha had an understanding. This prediction was like an agreement; he had made vows to the Buddha, “I am willing to give up the Small Vehicle and from now on practice the Great Vehicle Dharma. I will save and deliver sentient beings!” He had merely made the vow. “Please, Venerable Buddha, do not worry!” this is just like now, how I often hear many Bodhisattvas make vows like this to me. Making vows is good, but we are still just unenlightened beings! People still have the same habitual tendencies. They may have made vows, but their habitual tendencies still remain. Sariputra was also the same. So, because of this, the Buddha wanted everyone to bring the teachings together and review them. Everyone had to be clear before. He opened the door to the stupa of treasures. When we listen to the Dharma, we must understand it clearly and remember it. We must be able to remember our intrinsic Buddha. If we do not understand our own greed, anger and ignorance, if we do not understand ourselves, it is impossible to get rid of our afflictions. Our “burning house” still exists within us. As for the “great white ox-cart”, although we know of the Great Vehicle Dharma, we have only just begun to say, “Ok, I will begin to use the great white ox-cart”. Yet, we still have not driven it among people. The principle is the same. We listen to the Dharma, but we have still not put it into practice. Because of this, we still have our greed, anger and ignorance.

The stupa of treasures had appeared and Many Treasures Buddha had arrived. Wisdom Accumulated was the Bodhisattva who had accompanied Many Treasures Buddha there. But as the Chapter on Devadatta had already more or less been taught and understood, Wisdom Accumulated wanted to return home. So, he turned to Many Treasures Buddha and said, “We are more or less done, let us return home!” At this time Sakyamuni Buddha had them stay. He detained Wisdom Accumulated by saying, “Don’t go so soon. There is another Bodhisattva coming, Manjusri Bodhisattva of the Saha world. You should meet him!” This was preparing for the dragon girl to come appear in order to prove that all sentient beings possess the Buddha-nature. So, Wisdom Accumulated and Manjusri engaged in conversation, one questioning, the other replying. This dialogue was very skillful. Wisdom Accumulated was still expressing,

2350“I still do not believe it”. He was asking Manjusri Bodhisattva to analyze it for him more clearly. But before Manjusri opened his mouth to reply, the dragon girl suddenly appeared there. This to him was inconceivable. When she appeared, she went to the Buddha and praised Him. This shows how Bodhisattvas arrange things. They arranged for these karmic conditions, these matters and appearances. The dragon girl’s skillfulness was to suddenly make her appearance there, just at the right moment. Even though she praised the Buddha, praised His wisdom and His deep understanding of praised His wisdom and His deep understanding of the marks of transgressions and blessings, she too had also arrived at such a state herself. The fact that she could praise this state meant that she herself, the dragon king’s daughter, had also already arrived at such a state. She herself also said, “Buddha, please confirm that I will attain Buddhahood before long! Before the Buddha could even answer, Sariputra began expressing his doubts. Sariputra had his doubts. This shows how Buddhas and Bodhisattvas arranged this scenes. It was so elaborate and wondrous. Wisdom Accumulated saw the dragon girl appear there himself, and as he was a Bodhisattva, his doubts were resolved. So, now it was time for the practitioner from our Saha world; Sariputra, who was “foremost in wisdom”, still had doubts. This shows that as sentient beings, the Five Hindrances still remain within us. Since he feared it would be impossible for us to understand, this Hearer in the Sangha [asked a question]. Sariputra was still a Hearer, so this Hearer in the Sangha began expressing his doubts. So, this was “skillful and wondrous”. They arranged this teaching very skillfully. I hope that everyone can really understand the meaning of this passage. “The Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and Hearers” wanted to teach and transform us sentient beings who would come later. We all have the Five Hindrances. These are not just the Five Hindrances that Sariputra said women have. Women have Five Hindrances within the Five Hindrances common to all sentient beings. This means women have many hindrances. So for Sariputra, he wanted us to be even clearer, to understand and comprehend better. So, “At this time, the dragon girl suddenly appeared”. This is when “She first showed how the Buddha possessed subtle, secret, profound and wondrous wisdom”. When the dragon girl appeared, she proclaimed that the Buddha was already replete in profound and wondrous, subtle and secret wisdom. So, she praised the Buddha, praised Him for having a deep understanding of the marks of transgressions and blessing. Then the dragon girl spoke of herself, “proclaiming that she would become a Buddha”. She believed, “I myself am about to attain Buddhahood. Please, Sakyamuni Buddha, You understand the karmic marks of transgressions and blessings. You are able to confirm this for me”. This was the dragon girl, who then said, “I will soon be able to attain Buddhahood. Venerable Buddha, You know transgressions and blessings and the truly wondrous principles at work here. You can help me confirm that I already go everywhere to expound the Great Vehicle Dharma! This is what the dragon girl expressed previously. This was the matters and appearances. These matters and appearances were used to give us an even better understanding.

With regard to these matters and appearances, Manjusri had yet to respond when the dragon girl suddenly appeared. This was precisely Manjusri’s wondrous answer beyond words. Thus when Wisdom Accumulated saw and heard this, he clearly understood and was free of doubts.

Manjusri did not even have time to reply to Wisdom Accumulated’s question when the dragon girl immediately appeared. This was a wondrous and meticulous arrangement. It was so subtle and wondrous, so meticulously [arranged] at that moment. So, this is what can happen in an instant; everything was arranged so wonderfully. When I look at this passage, I myself feel such joy and think, “The Buddha-Dharma is amazing!” This is Dharma-joy, so I want to share it with everyone. Thus, the dragon girl suddenly appeared. As this happened right before their eyes, there was no need for further explanation. Just how was the dragon girl able to have such wisdom? This happened right before their eyes; the dragon girl had suddenly appeared there before them.

“This was precisely Manjusri’s wondrous answer without words.” Manjusri Bodhisattva had not yet said anything when this happened right before their eyes. So, the actual event was better than any answer. This was very skillful and wondrous; it was “Manjusri’s wondrous answer without words.” He did not need to say anything, yet the answer had already appeared. He replied through the actual events. “So, when Wisdom Accumulated saw and heard this, he clearly understood and was free of doubts.” Wisdom Accumulated no longer had any doubts. He had heard and he had also seen. Manlusri did not need to answer him further; Wisdom Accumulated already clearly understood.

Yet, as soon as the dragon girl appeared, even before she greeted everyone, she went directly to pay respect to the Buddha. She went straight to the Buddha, not to request His teaching, but to praise Him. She praised Him in verse. She praised the Buddha’s “deep understanding of the marks of transgressions and blessings.”

By speaking of deeply understanding the marks of transgressions and blessings, the dragon girl praised the Buddha’s profound wisdom. But Wisdom Accumulated did not believe that the dragon girl could attain Bodhi so swiftly. The dragon girl was an animal, a being of transgressions and suffering, while clearly the Tathagata has the magnificence of His marks of blessings and virtues.

She praised the Buddha’s subtle and wondrous, profound and mysterious [wisdom] which understands the principles and appearances of transgressions and blessings. He already understood these very well. This was the dragon girl praising Sakyamuni Buddha. The Buddha had transcended the nine realms. He had already attained Buddhahood, so the Buddha’s wisdom was profound and far-reaching. The dragon girl could quickly realize Bodhi; she wanted the Buddha to confirm this so that Wisdom Accumulated would naturally believe. The dragon girl was animal, yet still she was able to do this. The fact that she was an animal meant she was a sentient being with severe karma of transgression and suffering. Sentient beinds in the animal realm are suffering! Her negative karma must have been severe for her to have descended into the animal realm. Now she had come to see the Buddha. The Buddha’s appearance was magnificent with blessings and virtue. How could an animal with severely negative karma be able to attain Buddhahood? This was impossible!

So, “If he were capable of understanding the marks of transgressions and blessings, he would not see the dragon girl as marked by transgressions and suffering.” There were no transgressions that caused the dragon girl to be born in a state of suffering. The dragon girl had gone to the animal realm as a Great Vehicle Bodhisattva, in order to expound the Great Vehicle Dharma. In fact, she also intrinsically has Buddha-nature. She too comprehended the Buddha-Dharma.

If he were capable to understanding the appearance of transgressions and blessings, he would not see the dragon girl as marked by transgressions and suffering, nor [see] the Tathagata as marked by blessings and virtues. He would surely believe that the dragon girl could attain Buddhahood in an instant, without any doubts.

So, we should try to deeply understand and enter a genuine and profound understanding of this true principle of the Buddha-Dharma, that everyone intrinsically has Buddha-nature, this principle that all sentient beings are equal. The Buddha said it this way, “The mind, the Buddha and sentient beings are no different [in their nature].” They are all equal. Where is there any difference between an animal and a human, between a Buddha or a Bodhisattva? When he Buddha attained Buddhahood He said, “How amazing! All beings possess the Tathagata’s nature of wisdom!” That was what He said at the beginning. “The mind, the Buddha and sentient beings are no different [in their nature]”. At this Dharma-assembly, since the dragon girl had already arrived at the Vulture Peak Assembly and had gone before the Buddha to praise Him, what difference could there be between the human and animal realms? So, when we deeply understand the principle, we no longer have [attachment to] these appearances. They more or less disappear for us.

As we said earlier, there were no more nine realms for the Buddha. He had already transcended the nine realms and had attained Buddhahood. Transcending the nine realms means that there are no more Bodhisattvas, no Hearers, no Solitary Realizers, no heaven realm, no human realm, no asura realm, no more hell, hungry ghost or animal realms. The nine realms have all disappeared. If we could understand, “the appearance of transgressions and blessings,” then we would never see the dragon girl as marked by transgressions and suffering. There would be none! So, “Nor [would we see] the Tathagata as marked by blessings and virtues.” A Tathagata has a blessed and virtuous appearance. The dragon girl was able to come before the Buddha and see the Buddha’s blessed and virtuous appearance. “He would surely believe that the dragon girl could attain Buddhahood in an instant, without any doubts.” We should believe that the dragon girl could quickly attain Buddhahood, because she had so suddenly appeared before the Buddha the way she did.

So, “The ten directions refer to the Ten Realms”. The “ten directions” mentioned here are the Ten Dharma-Realms. The Ten Dharma-Realms are the Six Unenlightened and Four Noble Realms. As we just mentioned, these are the Buddha, Bodhisattva, Solitary Realizer, Hearer, heavenly, human, asura, hell, hungry ghost and animal realms. These are the Ten Dharma-realms.

The ten directions refer to the Ten Realms. When we deeply understand the appearance of transgressions and blessings, we will not see the nine realms, and we will be able to reach the Buddha-realm. Then the Ten Realms will be obliterated and no longer exit.

“When we deeply understand the appearance of transgressions and blessing, when we can deeply understand all of these”, then “we will not see the nine realms”. The nine realms will all have been transcended. This indicates that the principles have been thoroughly understood. The Buddha came for one great cause, all because sentient beings have these Five Hindrances. He wanted to find a way to eliminate sentient beings’ Five Hindrances, to find a way for sentient beings to thoroughly understand the principles. So, “We will be able to reach the Buddha-realm”. If, while in the nine realms, we can get rid of all our hindrances, if we can thoroughly understand the principles, then we will transcend the nine realms and “be able to reach the Buddha-realm”. Then we can be the same as the Buddha! It is a pity that we still cannot do this. We still cannot eliminate the nine realms. This is why we cannot attain Buddhahhood.

This is the previous passage. “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.”

Because of this, we must know the path to Buddhahood is a long one. It is very, very long, taking infinite kalpas of spiritual practice. It takes a long time because as sentient beings our Five Hindrances cause us to obstruct ourselves. The Buddha came to the world and never gave up. He continued to patiently guide us. In opening the Ten Realms, the path to Buddhahood is long and hard, but only by passing through the nine realms can we reach the Buddha Realm. So, the path to Buddhahood is truly a long one. It takes so long. Sometimes I think, “Everyone has formed such great aspirations, everyone has made such great vows, so why must we still have such deep attachments?” Why are our view of self and our biased views so deeply rooted in us? Why do we still have such ignorant thoughts? We engage in practice to eliminate our greed, yet we still retain a small amount of anger. We lose our temper easily or are unhappy. As unenlightened beings, we do our best as we engage in spiritual practice to be able to refrain from greed; we are willing to give this up. But if I tell you not to lose your temper, you may find this to be very difficult! Some are said to be very good-tempered people, but they are holding [their anger] inside. It is not that they do not lose their temper; it is just that they have learned to control it. They let it stew inside rather than explode. They still have it. This is how ordinary people are. Then there is ignorance; because we have anger, we have ignorance. We have not thoroughly understood the principles. So, ignorant thoughts are still there. If, in our relations with others, we discriminate and compare ourselves to others, then this is arrogance. This is like Sariputra; when it came to women, He belittled women as not being vessels for the Dharma. He belittled women as having the Five Hindrances, as being unable to attain Buddhahood. This was because in his spiritual practice. He would compare himself to others, [thinking] ‘I am such a great and marvelous man. I am able to understand the Dharma. I can teach the Dharma to help unenlightened beings turn toward the Noble Path.” He could turn unenlightened beings toward the Noble Path, but this was his Dharma-appearance that was doing the transforming; his Dharma-nature had not yet been purified. He still had very severe habitual tendencies. This lets us know that spiritual practice takes a very long time and a great deal of effort. It must be continually accumulated by going among people, by continually creating wholesome affinities, by continually doing good deeds. It is among sentient beings that we can learn from others’ shortcomings to discover our own. The greed, anger and ignorance we see is not only found in others, these also exist in us. We must engage in spiritual practice to be able to transform sentient beings. We must accumulate a lot of efforts, must have a great amount of virtue before we can create good affinities, before others will be willing to accept the things we say. This is how we engage in spiritual practice. So, we must do this “before attaining it”. Moreover, for women, the obstacles women face are truly severe. In the past, in the Buddha’s era, the Buddha once went to the kingdom of Sravasti with 500 bhiksus following Him. There was a bhiksuni in that kingdom there. The name of this bhiksuni was Bhadra. The bhiksuni also led 500 bhiksunis in the kingdom of Sravasti. One day, Bhadra Bhiksuni was in a very tranquil garden, in the forest, where she sat in meditation. While she was meditating, suddenly, she started laughing out loud. Another bhiksuni saw her laughing and thought, “Why is Bhadra Bhiksuni sitting by herself and laughing? What is she laughing at?” She hurried to tell the other bhiksunis, “Bhadra Bhiksuni keeps sitting there laughing for no reason!” She went to call everyone to come and see. a great many bhiksunis gathered around her, and then one of them asked Bhadra Bhiksuni, “What are the causes and conditions for you to be laughing while in meditation?” Bhadra Bhiksuni then told them, “While sitting here in meditation, I suddenly saw myself in a very funny lifetime in the past.” “What was it like? Can you tell us about the pat lifetime you saw while sitting there in meditation? Can you tell us?” Bhadra Bhiksuni then said, “91 kalpas in the past, 91 kalpas ago, there was a Buddha named Vipasyin Tathagata. During this time there was a child whose appearance was very magnificent. The child’s name was Brahma. He was very magnificent.” Wanting to make offerings to Vipasyin, he held a magnificent precious flower in his hand that he wanted to give as an offering to Vipasyin. However, he was showing off his magnificent appearance, wanting everyone to see how magnificent he looked, how he held such a precious flower that he was going to offer to the Buddha. While swaggering down the street, he saw a very beautiful woman, a very beautiful, dignified and exquisite woman who also came out and walked along the street. Everyone originally had been looking at the child, had been admiring the child for his magnificence and elegance, had continually been praising him, but now that this woman had appeared, everyone’s gaze now fell upon her. Everyone was watching the woman. She was so beautiful and dignified; she was someone very rare indeed. This child thought, “Everyone was staring at me, but why have their sights now quickly turned to that woman?” He thought, “I am so magnificent, so dignified in form, and yet I have lost out to a woman. This is what I will vow to the Buddha. I will vow that He help me become a woman, to be reborn as a woman in the future!” With that, he made this vow before Vipasyin Buddha. Having made this vow, for seven days and seven nights he made offerings while in that place. Seven days and nights, he reverently prayed there. Sure enough, when Vipasyin Buddha saw his great interest in being a woman, how he wanted to be born as a woman, Vipasyin Buddha said to him, “Your vow will be fulfilled.” This is how it started. When the child reached the end of his life, he really was reborn in the Heaven of the Thirty-Three. In the Heaven of the Thirty-Three, he sure enough was reborn as a woman. When she appeared as a woman in the Heaven of the Thirty-Three, many heavenly princes vied with one another, competed with one another, for they all wanted this woman as a concubine; they wanted her for their wife. This is what happened. Later, when no one could win her affection, one heavenly prince said, “Everyone, come! Let us speak out loud the subtle and wondrous Dharma in our hearts. Let’s hear what subtle and wondrous things we have all written and have a competition!” Of the many who joined in the competition, there was one among them who said, “Everyone has so much free time to sit around competing by reading poetry. As for me, I feel like, I do not even know that this life of mine exists. I also still do not know how much time I have left in this life or when I will die.” Of all those who had read verses, once this person had said this, everyone else felt, “Your understanding of life is so thorough; why should we even bother to go on competing? Our compositions are not as good as yours.” So, this heavenly maiden ended up becoming betrothed to this heavenly prince and became a queen.

Similarly, this woman, this heavenly queen, once her life was over and her heavenly blessings were exhausted, she once again descended into the human realm. When she descended into the human realm, things continued in the same way. She continued being born as a woman and faced many hindrances. This all began with that child’s thought. Think about it; in heaven this led to so many heavenly princes competing for her. When no one could win her hand, they finally had to compete by reading poetry in order to win this woman [in marriage.]
Think, women are fought over even in heaven, not to mention here in the human realm. So, she then started coming to the human realm.

Of course, this would still go on for a long time. Time is short, but the Dharma is long. In summary, we should understand that those who are born in the bodies of women will have the Five Hindrances. We said this yesterday. This is to say nothing of the Five Hindrances we unenlightened beings have not yet eliminated. There are five more on top of these five for those born as women, so attaining Buddhahood is difficult! Therefore, we must always be mindful!

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