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 20180604《靜思妙蓮華》持經艱難 弘誓傳法 (第1362集) (法華經·勸持品第十三)

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發表主題: 20180604《靜思妙蓮華》持經艱難 弘誓傳法 (第1362集) (法華經·勸持品第十三)   周日 6月 03, 2018 10:20 pm

20180604《靜思妙蓮華》持經艱難 弘誓傳法 (第1362集) (法華經·勸持品第十三)

⊙娑婆堪忍持經難,不若一心安忍住,末世弘通聖法難,示顯三軌弘經教,入如來大慈悲室,著如來柔忍辱衣,坐如來諸空法座,發弘誓願勤持經。
⊙「爾時,藥王菩薩摩訶薩及大樂說菩薩摩訶薩,與二萬菩薩眷屬俱,皆於佛前作是誓言。」《法華經勸持品第十三》
⊙「惟願世尊不以為慮!我等於佛滅後,當奉持讀誦說此經典。」《法華經勸持品第十三》
⊙惟願世尊不以為慮:願佛世尊不必以謂無能弘經而為憂慮。
⊙惟願世尊不以為慮:謂聖道載於典籍,恢弘力在智者,若未得其人,則微言絕矣。使斯文不明之於其人,復不得行之於其世,今既克任此事,故願聖心無慮。
⊙我等於佛滅後,當奉持讀誦說此經典:我等諸人當任此弘經之責。此方持,謂即於娑婆世界五濁惡世中奉持是經。
⊙此釋立弘誓請持經。藥王與大樂說為二萬菩薩之上首,以佛於前品歷述濁世奉持是經之難。故今與諸菩薩眾,同時作大誓願,守志持經弘妙法,請釋尊勿以為慮。

【證嚴上人開示】
娑婆堪忍持經難,不若一心安忍住,末世弘通聖法難,示顯三軌弘經教,入如來大慈悲室,著如來柔忍辱衣,坐如來諸空法座,發弘誓願勤持經。

娑婆堪忍持經難
不若一心安忍住
末世弘通聖法難
示顯三軌弘經教
入如來大慈悲室
著如來柔忍辱衣
坐如來諸空法座
發弘誓願勤持經

用心來體會,娑婆世界是堪忍世界,我們常常都是這樣說:堪得忍耐。這個世界很複雜,不只是人複雜,其實人心更是複雜,所以人生、世間,苦難偏多。世間幾十年的時間,很快就過去了,時間分秒過去,秒是很短暫,這個短暫綿綿密密,無形無蹤消逝過去。人生世間雖然是說幾十年,這幾十年何其短暫!好好思惟,實在是很短暫的時間,尤其是這麼複雜,人心就是不斷變化多端,各人的想法各不相同,很複雜。因為這樣,在人間就有很多的煩惱無明,就不斷複製了。人,不只是為了生活,是為滿足欲望,欲望是無底深坑,怎麼地填,都填不滿的欲望。就像我們每天在吃,吸收食物,一天正常三餐,也是很快就消化掉了,很快就沒了;幾小時後,又是要再一餐,一頓來。簡單的生活,夠嗎?不夠!山珍海味,吞食了一切眾生命,滿足了嗎?還不滿足。這就是我們人生,只是一個口、一張嘴,他就怎麼吞食,永遠都不滿足,這就是人生。欲望比這張嘴更深、更大,永遠永遠…。

一個事業很好,賺錢很多,一個家庭生活很富有,夠了嗎?不夠!把握這個機會,正是賺錢的時候,所以我就要再連鎖下去。連下去就鎖住了,鎖住他這一念心,永遠就是這樣無止境,就是一直連;無止境,就是鎖住了,這樣無止盡一直連鎖下去,變成了欲罷不能。其實,這就是去惹來了,很多不忍不行的,總是哪怕不斷為了名,要負擔很多的債物,也要做出好看的名,一直連鎖下去,這樣的人生,比比皆是。名很大,很富有,事業很多,其實這內心也是很辛苦。這就是在娑婆世界。但是,有的人確實是苦,生、老、病、死。就像我們醫院要準備評鑑,各人有各人準備的方式。在開會當中,聽起來,就知道用多少的心神,要如何讓一間醫院很鞏固的,而且又再品質很好。這種不只是顧病人,還要再教育;不只教育,還要再研究,不只研究,還要…,很多,要發明等等,永遠永遠,好像無止境。

在報告當中,有的人就用很活潑的方式。其中一間醫院,在報告開頭,聽到很悠揚的音樂出來了,在賣「燒肉粽」,是一首歌,正在唱時,突然間整個人倒下去,趕緊,以為扶起來就好,不是!就要急救,趕緊送醫院,急救已經無效了。很有名的一位,竟然在臺上唱一首歌,在很輕鬆的氣氛中,這樣倒下去,這是發生什麼事情?他就再繼續報(告)。還有就是在醫院急診室,又看到一個人,好好的人,就是這樣來到那裡,這樣走來走去,忽然間,也是這樣就倒下去了。幸好是在醫院裡面,趕緊扶起來,趕緊急救,趕緊送入開刀房,原來是心肌梗塞,就是這樣,整個血通不過去,這樣就倒下去。

問:「這到底是什麼事情?」「沒有啊,平時他自己就常常來醫院走走。」不是患者,但是自己本身也是一位醫生。外面的醫師,若有空就來走一走,就在那裡,雙手背在後,優哉游哉在那裡走。看他這麼一回頭,走幾步,倒下去了,這樣趕緊急救,一檢查,原來已經血管都塞住了,這樣趕快馬上為他裝幾個支支架,人生就是這樣,能等到老嗎?看他差不多,才五十多歲出頭而己,還不算老。時間,讓他這樣讀書、當醫生,看別人的病,卻是沒辦法看自己的病。常常來我們的醫院走一走,竟然,幸好,就是這樣在醫院裡面倒下去。這也就是聽他們在報告當中,這種無常剎那,很快,轉一個身,這樣就倒下去。

前面在說龍女成佛,大家不相信,畜生類的龍女,她怎麼可能能夠成佛?怎麼可能,能夠接受這個法?這是畜生類,尤其是女人的身上,怎麼可能這樣,這麼有魄力,能夠接受這麼大的法,智積不相信,舍利弗更加不相信,但是龍女就說:「你看,我獻寶珠給佛,佛陀馬上收下,你感覺快或是不快呢?」「很快啊!」「是,你看我成佛,比我獻珠,佛納受,還要更快。」轉一個身,成佛了。我看到那一位,他也只是轉一個身,走幾步路,就倒下去了。這人生。要成佛,是一念心,但是無常發生,也是瞬間的事情。這個無常發生,心血通不過,他自己不知道,就這樣倒下去了。龍女是累積累生累世修行過來,所以「六道」、「四生」,她全都度過眾生,她自己知道:我這樣「因圓果滿」了,我要成佛就是這樣轉一個身,就能成佛。

凡夫,沒有修行的人,在這個剎那剎那的過程,不知道這個剎那間是很快,就是人生這樣過。這樣在過,就是在迷茫中過,不知道時間,這樣很快速累積,很快,起一個心念,欲念一起,就造作很多煩惱、無明、業,就累積那個種子。種子不斷累積,累生累世,因緣果報,就是都在剎那分秒中,累生世所造來的。聖人呢?賢人、聖人把握時間,就是在剎那分秒,無不都是記憶求妙法,把握時間,入人群度眾生。同樣是時間,凡夫是這樣空過浪費,聖人就是這樣累生累世,不論是什麼樣的身形,就是度眾生,因行圓滿了,趨果覺悟了。這就是我們要知道這一念間,一心,是很重要。我們凡夫處在娑婆是堪忍,這個堪忍的世間,現在我們發心,我們要承擔起佛陀如來家業,談何容易啊!「娑婆堪忍持經難」!佛陀所說的教法,我們要將它承擔起來,聞法者、說法者、傳法者,將這個法,要入人群去,這談何容易!所以說,知道世間堪忍是這麼多,很多,我們若很不小心,我們一念偏差,千里錯誤,就一直去了,這就是最苦的事情。

我們就是這樣,所以造就了生生世世的苦。那要怎麼辦?要堪得忍耐;要堪得忍耐,「不若一心安忍住」,那就是菩薩,明明覺覺來好好修行。明知娑婆世界是堪忍,他倒駕慈航不斷來人間,不斷在六道中來度眾生。所以,我們應該要抱著一念心,雖然明知道要承擔如來家業,不是簡單,但是,我們要發心,「一心安忍住」,我們要很用心。何況「末世弘通聖法」,這真的是很難。這個末世,這是五濁惡世,法已經一直要消失了,叫做末世。道理一直要消失掉了,在這世間所留下的,都是濁氣很重。所以,這樣要來弘經,弘通經法實在是很困難。聖法,聖人的教法,要將它流傳下去,真是不簡單,真的是「末世弘通聖法難」。

「示顯三軌弘經教」。佛陀開始教導我們,在<法師品>裡,就有「入如來室,著如來衣」,「大慈悲為室,柔和忍辱衣」。所以入如來大慈悲之室,我們要弘傳這部經,將佛陀的教法在人間,來教育眾生,救度眾生,救世的方法,唯有在這部經的方法。要怎麼樣來承擔,這部經能夠在人間普遍?那就是要「入如來大慈悲室」。<法師品>,佛陀已經教過我們了,還要著如來忍辱衣。我們要知道,我們要用柔和忍辱衣,穿在我們身上。看看大家多麼整齊,這個團體,人間菩薩的團體,我們是在學,學菩薩道。我們是在學中,所學的課程是菩薩道的課程,像學校,學生也是要穿學生的制服,有規模的公司,上班也是要穿他們公司的制服。我們既然學佛,行菩薩道,同樣,柔和忍辱衣,我們要穿。

不是穿這件衣服下去,才來忍辱,不是哦!這是一個譬喻,在我們人與人之間互相對待時。人很複雜,各人的脾氣不同,各人都有各人的習氣。我們的生活中,對方和我們不同的習氣,脾氣都不同,要怎麼辦?我們就要心寬念純、心包太虛,我們雖然很不喜歡,不過我們也要學會「忍」。我們會忍,忍下來,這句話,我不喜歡聽,現在辯解無效,忍下來,等候對方氣若消了,有機會再來向他解釋;或者是他誤解我,解釋沒有用,我做給他看。就像龍女,智積菩薩懷疑,希望文殊菩薩來解釋,龍女不用勞動文殊菩薩解釋,她就用行動來表達,這就是行動表達,智積了解了。舍利弗也是,比智積菩薩的懷疑還更深重,就要來問難。但是龍女不用解釋,她用行動,獻珠,佛陀納受,用行動來表達,不用辯解,辯解也沒有用,所以同樣的道理,「著如來柔忍辱衣」,柔和,我們就用柔和的態度,來面對人間。你對待我怎麼樣,沒關係,我就是這樣這麼柔和、忍辱,我用我的行動來證明給你看。這就是要柔、要忍,不論人對我們怎麼樣,有侮辱到,我們也要吞忍下來。

小孩子都做得到了,還記得嗎?一群小菩薩,她都懂得說:「他一直拉我的頭髮,我不能生氣,我要吞忍。」她也這樣說。這同樣的道理,「柔和忍辱衣」,就是在我們的態度中,我們待人處事、接物,全都要「柔和忍辱衣」,就是我們的身體,我們的形態,我們一定對人要和氣,這就是修養。「坐如來諸空法座」,如來諸法空為座。我們學法,我們要很用心來體會,人間不用計較,一切皆幻化,短短的幾十年,時間是來不及了,所以我們要好好趕緊把握時間,不要再像凡夫,累生世在分秒間起心念,複製煩惱,我們應該把握時間,求佛法,度眾生。這同樣用時間,我們若不要執著在人間種種,自然我們的時間要用得很落實,要不然,我們全部,就是世間的事情貪不完,也做不完。

滿足這個心欲,絕對滿足不滿,我們就要知道,人間如幻如化,如露亦如電,一切世間苦短。就像不能讓我們說:「我還沒有老。」剛才說的有兩位,一位也是這樣,看起來還不老,很有名,在臺上獻唱,「砰」一下,瞬間人就倒下去。這是不是幻化無常?醫生很有名,了解生理的構造,但是不了解自己的身體,到底是如何,就是也是這樣,走一走就倒下去。人生苦短,幻化無常,所以「諸法空為座」,我們要趕緊,唯一一項就是把握時間,法要聽進去,要用出去,用在人群中,利益人群,這才是我們真正應用時間的價值。所以要「發弘誓願勤持經」法,這部經真的是我們要好好用心把握。

前面的文:「爾時,藥王菩薩摩訶薩及大樂說菩薩摩訶薩,與二萬菩薩眷屬俱,皆於佛前作是誓言。」

爾時
藥王菩薩摩訶薩及
大樂說菩薩摩訶薩
與二萬菩薩眷屬俱
皆於佛前作是誓言
《法華經勸持品第十三》

佛陀從〈法師品〉開始,為法募人,藥王菩薩就是在〈法師品〉,佛陀以藥王菩薩為當機者,向藥王菩薩來解釋,法師持《法華經》的功德,大家應該還記得。前面剛才解釋過「三軌」,應該大家還知道「三軌」,那就是「大慈悲為室,柔和忍辱衣,諸法空為座」,這叫做「三軌」。所以,藥王菩薩,那就是佛陀講出了這麼多,教育我們的妙法,就是以藥王菩薩對機,佛陀這樣為他介紹。

因為藥王菩薩持《法華經》,是很精進的人,我們下面若再接下去,就可以看到藥王菩薩,持《法華經》是捨身命,所以他就是這樣領著大眾。還有大樂說,大樂說是在〈見寶塔品〉時,要求能看到多寶佛的全身,佛陀就回答他:「我要把分身佛都召集來。」那就是因為大樂說菩薩。

這兩位菩薩,都在很重要的時間,他們當機了,當機者,就是這樣,承擔起請佛說法的菩薩。他們就是帶著,「二萬菩薩眷屬俱」,他們所教化的。因為這兩位菩薩,都是持《法華經》,佛陀的教育,他們就是很用心,所以,他們所教化的眷屬,也是都稱為菩薩。已經發心,稱為菩薩。所以有「二萬菩薩眷屬俱」,「皆於佛前作是誓言」。

接下來這段文,再說:「惟願世尊不以為慮!我等於佛滅後,當奉持讀誦說此經典。」

惟願世尊不以為慮
我等於佛滅後
當奉持讀誦
說此經典
《法華經勸持品第十三》

這就是藥王菩薩,大樂說菩薩,加上二萬位菩薩現前,趕緊要來安慰佛陀不用擔憂,我們大家在佛滅度之後,人人都能奉持、讀誦、說此經,我們就能來讀,能誦,能講這部經。這是這些菩薩要來安慰佛,不用擔憂,「您若滅度之後,我們大家會承擔。」

惟願世尊
不以為慮:
願佛世尊
不必以謂無能弘經
而為憂慮

所以「惟願世尊,不以為慮」,就是希望佛、世尊,不用擔憂我們無法持這部經,因為我們大家,全都心裡有準備了,所以「惟願不以為慮」,不用擔憂,不用掛心,這個聖道都已經在未來,會放在經典裡,這個法,未來都會記載在經典中。大家讀到這部經,「恢弘力在智者」,那種開闊的心胸,立弘誓願的力量,有智慧的人,這他們就能來弘揚這部經。只是擔憂「若未得其人,則微言絕矣」。人啊,若是不用心,不肯發願,若像這樣,雖然聽,雖然講,但是那個願力還是很微細,這樣講的法也是無力,很輕微,久而久之,法就沒有了。

雖然二萬菩薩請佛不用擔憂,雖然經典會記載於未來,但是,經典記載於未來,也要有發大心、立大願的智者,才有辦法把這個經典,不只是讀誦,不只是講說,必定要身體力行。若是得不到這樣的人,言就輕微了,儘管願意去講話說法,也是帶不起這種力量出來,這就是佛陀所擔心的。

惟願世尊不以為慮:
謂聖道載於典籍
恢弘力在智者
若未得其人
則微言絕矣
使斯文不明之於其人
復不得行之於其世
今既克任此事
故願聖心無慮

所以,「使斯文不明之於其人」。若是得不到發心的人,這種經文傳在後世,儘管你讀經、誦經,但是這個文,不明,讀誦經典不了解,不明白,「復不得行之於其世」,也無法把這個法在世間,讓大家感受得到,能夠做得到,真的很難。「今既克任此事,故願聖心無慮。」意思就是說,我們大家會承擔,這個文會流傳下去,我們都發願了,大家都恪盡責任,使命感,我們都要承擔起來了,所以「願聖心無慮」,請佛不用擔憂。雖然佛陀擔憂後繼無人,而我們已經出來了,未來有這個願力來奉持這部經,身體力行在人群中,佛不用擔憂了。

我等於佛滅後
當奉持讀誦
說此經典:
我等諸人
當任此弘經之責
此方持
謂即於娑婆世界
五濁惡世中
奉持是經

所以,「我等於佛滅後,當奉持讀誦說此經典」。所以佛不用擔憂,不用考慮,我們大家都能夠擔任。大家發願了,承擔起了這個責任,我願意弘經,弘化這部經典在這個地方,這個地方就是娑婆世界。我們大家願意堪得忍耐,在這個娑婆世界,我們大家一心一意,絕對能夠這樣把經典弘傳下去。因為我們都知道,知道要用「三軌」來弘經。「三軌」就是那三種方法。因為佛陀在〈法師品〉,所講的「三軌」,藥王菩薩他都很謹記在心裡,用「三軌」來弘傳,「入如來室,著忍辱衣,諸法空為座」。他們願意在此方娑婆世界,他願意這樣面對著剛強的眾生,我們有覺悟,我們要擔起這個責任。「即於娑婆世界五濁惡世中」這樣來「奉持」來傳經,持這部經。這就是在解釋立弘誓願,請佛不要擔憂,我們會好好持這部經。我們能夠把這部經,這樣永永遠遠,保持弘法在人群中。

此釋立弘誓請持經
藥王與大樂說
為二萬菩薩之上首
以佛於前品歷述
濁世奉持是經之難
故今與諸菩薩眾
同時作大誓願
守志持經弘妙法
請釋尊勿以為慮

「四弘誓願」,「眾生無邊誓願度,煩惱無盡誓願斷,法門無量誓願學,佛道無上誓願成」,菩薩的心願就是要成佛,必定「佛道無上誓願成」,這部經,我們一定要奉持,要行菩薩道。藥王菩薩與大樂說菩薩,為二萬菩薩之上首。這二萬菩薩,是這兩位菩薩所教化過來的,所帶動過來的,也就是領導二萬菩薩的上首。

所以,「以佛於前品,歷述濁世奉持是經之難」。因為前面,佛陀一直說,從〈方便品〉開始,就講這部經甚深,甚深,微妙甚深。要講這部經,要運用智慧,要因人,因時,因地,講說這部經,尤其是對人在講,若不是對機,你講這部經,反作用,會受人誹謗。若不是對機,你想要領導大家去做好事,那會同樣惹來了,很多負面的言詞。

總而言之,我們在五濁惡世,奉持經典實在是很困難,佛陀從前面的經文,就一直、一直警惕我們,警惕我們要提高警覺,因為要講說這部經,要持這部經在人間,這要運用大智慧力,也就要堪得忍耐。要「大慈悲為室」,要「柔和忍辱衣」,要「諸法空為座」,「處此而說法」,這部經才有辦法在人間,發揮它救世的大功用。

這是佛陀在前面很多品,其中都有這樣說,所以「前品歷述」,「前品」就是在這一品之前,「歷述」就是已經,經歷了好幾品,佛陀都有這樣講。在這個濁惡的世間,堪忍的世界,要來持此經,實在很困難,我們要好好運用智慧,要堪得忍耐,要有弘傳的魄力,要堪得忍耐的「柔和忍辱衣」。我們更要再看得開,「諸法空為座」,這全都是持經的人一定要有的,要很清楚明白。

所以「故今與諸菩薩眾,同時作大誓願,守志持經弘妙法,請釋尊勿以為慮」。這就是藥王菩薩、大樂說菩薩,這兩尊菩薩帶領著,已經發大心的菩薩,在佛的面前,向佛陀表達他們的心意,他們不是不了解,要在娑婆世界久通此經的困難,不是不了解,是他們已經立弘誓願,願意持「三軌」了,「入大慈悲室,著忍辱衣,坐空法座」,他們都已經心理有準備了。「故今與諸菩薩,同時作大誓願」,要守志,「守志奉道,其道甚大」,過去不是和大家常常說過嗎?要守好我們的志願,我們要立弘誓願來持經,尤其是《妙法蓮華經》。所以「請釋尊勿以為慮」,不用擔憂。是啊,不用擔憂。

但是,是不是真正發弘誓願,或者是聽一聽而已,碰到人我是非就退縮了,道心就退轉了,是不是這樣呢?這就要自己時時自我警惕,所以我們要時時多用心!
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Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: Upholding This Sutra Is Difficult (持經艱難 弘誓傳法)
Date: June.04.2018

“In the Saha World that must be endured, it is difficult to uphold this sutra. It is best for our minds to abide in peace and patience. In the era of Dharma-degeneration, it is difficult to advance the noble Dharma. Thus He demonstrated the Three Directives for Spreading the Sutra. These are entering the Tathagata’s room of great compassion, wearing the Tathagata’s clothing of gentleness and patience and sitting on the Tathagata’s seat of the emptiness of all phenomena. We must make great vows to diligently uphold the sutra.”

We must mindfully seek to comprehend this. The Saha World is the world that must be endured. We often say we have to endure suffering. This world is very complex. It is not just human beings that are complex; human minds are even more complex. This is why in our lives, in the world, there is so much suffering. Several decades in the world can pass by very quickly. Time is always passing by the second, and a second is very short. These moments pass us by continuously, vanishing without a trace.

Although human life in this world last several decades, these several decades are very short. Let us think about this carefully. [Our lives] are truly very short, but they are remarkably complex. People’s minds are constantly changing. Everyone’s thoughts are different from each other; this is all very complicated. Because of this, the world is full of so many afflictions and ignorance, and we replicate them constantly.

People want more than just to live; they seek to satisfy their desires. Desire is like a deep and bottomless pit. No matter how much we put in, we can never fill [the pit] of our desire. This is just like when we eat each day and digest our food. We eat three regular meals a day. We quickly digest the food, and it is gone very quickly. In a few hours, we need to have another meal. Is it enough to live a simple life? It is not enough. We want to eat exotic delicacies. If we were to devour the lives of all sentient beings, would we be satisfied then? We would still not be satisfied. This is the reality of human life. This is just [the desire of] our mouth alone; no matter how much we eat, we will never be satisfied. This is human life.

Our desire is deeper and bigger than our mouths. It is endless. If a person enjoys success in their business, makes a lot money and has an affluent family, will this be enough? It is never enough. They want to seize this opportunity; since they are making money, they want to open more chain stores. Then, they become enchained; their mind is in chains. These chains are never-ending, continuing on and on. They are endless, and they become bound by these endless chains that go on and on. Even when they want to stop, they cannot.

In fact, this causes many people to lose control of themselves. Even though they have to take on a lot of debt to build a name for themselves, they still want to build a good reputation, so they keep opening up more chain stores. We can see people with this kind of life everywhere. They are famous, wealthy and have a big business, but on the inside, they are suffering too.

This is what the Saha World is like. Some people truly suffer so much from birth, aging, illness and death. When we had to prepare Tzu Chi Hospital for its accreditation, everyone had their own way of preparing. During the meetings, just by listening, we could understand how much heart people had put into this. In order to run a very strong hospital that is of very high quality, not only do we need to care for patients, but we also need to provide education. In addition to education, we also need to conduct scientific research. In addition to research, we also need to make many innovations and so on. It goes on and on, seemingly endless.

During the presentations, some people had adopted very creative approaches. At the start of a presentation by one of the Tzu Chi Hospitals, we heard some very pleasant music. It was a song called “Hot Zongzi”. [The doctor presenting said,] while [the singer] was singing this song, he suddenly collapsed. People rushed to help him get up, believing he would be fine. This was not the case. He needed emergency care, so he was rushed to the hospital, but he could not be revived. This very famous singer, while singing on the stage, in such a relaxed atmosphere, suddenly collapsed. What had happened? [The doctor] continued with the presentation. In the emergency room of our hospital, a person who appeared to be healthy happened to be there and was walking about. Suddenly, he also collapsed. Fortunately, he was inside our hospital. People immediately helped carry him and sent him to the operation room for emergency care. In turned out that he suffered from a heart attack. The blood could not flow through his vessels, so he collapsed like that.

People asked, “What happened?” “I don’t know. He frequently visits this hospital. He was just walking around. He is not a patient, but is actually a doctor himself. He is a doctor outside this hospital. When he has time, he comes to walk around. With his hands behind his back, he was walking around leisurely. We saw him looking back, and after walking a few steps, he collapsed.” So, people rushed to resuscitate him. Upon examining him, it turned out that his blood vessels were clogged. So, [doctors] immediately placed several stents [in his heart]. This is what life is like, we go through birth, aging and illness. Will we reach old age? Is seemed he was only a little over 50 years old. This is not considered old. As time, passed by, he went to school and became a doctor to treat other people’s illnesses. However, he could not treat his own illness. He often visited our hospital. It was surprising but fortunate that he collapsed while in the hospital. From this presentation, we learned how impermanence strikes so suddenly. People can turn around and just collapse.

Previously, we discussed the dragon girl’s story. People did not believe it. How could this dragon girl, an animal, attain Buddhahood? How could she accept this teaching? She belonged to the animal realm. Furthermore, she was a female. How could this be possible? How could she have at the courage to be able to accept such a great teaching? Wisdom Accumulated did not believe this. Sariputra was even more doubtful. However, the dragon girl said, “Look, when I presented this precious pearl to the Buddha the Buddha immediately accepted it. Do you think this happened quickly or slowly?” “Very quickly. Yes, and I will attain Buddhahood even faster than the Buddha accepted the pearl I offered him.” She turned around and transformed her body and attained Buddhahood. I saw [in the presentation] how all that doctor did was turn around and take a few steps, and then he collapsed.

In our lives, attained Buddhahood comes from a single thought. However, impermanence also strikes in an instant. Impermanence struck, and his blood vessels were clogged; without noticing this himself, he suddenly collapsed like this. The dragon girl had engaged in spiritual practice over many lifetimes. So, in the Six Realms and the Four Forms of Birth, she had transformed sentient begins everywhere. Thus, she knew, “I am perfect in causes and effects. If I want to attain Buddhahood, I just need to turn around and transform my body. Then, I can attain Buddhahood. Unenlightened beings, those without spiritual cultivation, do not understand that these moments go by very quickly. They spend their lives in a state of confusion. They do not know that time quickly accumulates. Very quickly, when they give rise to a discursive thought and their desirous thought arise, they will accumulate many afflictions, ignorance and [bad] karma; they will the accumulate these seeds. They accumulate the seeds over many lifetimes. Their karmic retributions are created in these instants, minutes and seconds throughout many lifetimes. What about noble begins? Sages and noble begins seize the time; in all instants, minutes and seconds they remember to seek the wondrous Dharma. They seize the time and go among people to transform sentient beings. With the same amount of time, unenlightened begins let it pass in vain. Noble beings, lifetime after lifetime, regardless of the life forms they have, will transform sentient begins.

They perfect their causal practice and approach fruition and awakening. From this we know that this single thought, this aspiration, is very important. We ordinary begins are living in the Saha World that must be endured. In the world that must be endured, if we want to form aspirations to take on the Tathagata’s family business, that is not easy at all. “In the Saha World that must be endured, it is difficult to uphold this sutra.” We need to shoulder the teachings expounded by the Buddha and [become] those who listen to, teach and, transmit the Dharma. [Speeding] the Dharma among people is easier said than done. Therefore, we know we have so much to endure in this world. If we are careless, when one thought goes astray, every step that follows will also be wrong, and we will go down the wrong path. This is the greatest suffering. Because of this, we create suffering that lasts throughout lifetime after lifetime.

What should we do [to address that]? We have to endure suffering. “It is best for our minds to abide in peace and patience.” This is why Bodhisattvas work hard to engage in spiritual practice with clarity and awareness. They clearly understand that the Saha World is hard to endure. However, they still constantly return to the world by steering the ship of compassion and constantly transform sentient begins throughout the Six Realms. Thus, we should hold onto this aspiration. Although we clearly understand that taking on the Tathagata’s family business is not easy, we still need to form aspirations “for our mind to abide in peace and patience.” We need to be very mindful about that.

Moreover, “In the era of Dharma-degeneration, it is difficult to advance the noble Dharma”. This truly difficult. In this era of Dharma-degeneration, in this evil world of the Five Turbidities, the Dharma is constantly disappearing. Thus, it is called the era of Dharma-degeneration. The principles are continuously disappearing. All that remains in this world is severe turbidities.

Therefore, to advance the sutras like this is truly very difficult. To pass down the noble Dharma, the teachings of noble beings, is truly not easy at all. Therefore, “in the era of Dharma-degeneration, it is difficult to advance the noble Dharma. Thus, He demonstrated the Three Directives for Spreading the Sutra”. The Buddha began to teach us. In the Chapter on Dharma Teachers, [it states that we must] “enter the Tathagata’s room and wear the Tathagata’s clothing. Great compassion is the room, gentleness and patience are the clothing”. Therefore, we must enter Tathagata’s room of great compassion. We need to promote this sutra and apply the Buddha’s teachings in the world to teach and save sentient beings. The only way to save the world is to spread the Dharma of this sutra. How can we shoulder the responsibility to widely spread this sutra throughout the world? We need to “enter the Tathagata’s room of great compassion”. In the Chapter on Dharma Teachers, the Buddha already taught us this. We also need to wear the Tathagata’s clothing of gentleness and patience. We should know that we must wear the clothing of gentles and patience; we must wear it on our bodies. Look how orderly we are. In the group of Living Bodhisattvas, we are learning the Bodhisattva-path. The subject of our studies is the Bodhisattva-path. Just like in school, students need to wear uniforms. For some sizeable companies, their employees also need to wear company uniforms during their work hours. As Buddhist practitioners who are learning the Bodhisattva-path, for the same reason, we also need to wear our uniform of gentleness and patience. I am not saying that we should only be patient when we put on our uniforms. This is just an analogy. When it comes to interpersonal interactions, people are very complex; they all have different temperaments, and they all have their own habitual tendencies.

In our lives, if other people have habitual tendencies and temperaments that are different from ours, what should we do? We need to have broad minds and pure thoughts. We need to have hearts that encompass the universe. Even though we may not like [others], we still need to learn to have patience. We need to have patience. If we do not like someone’s remarks, it is useless to argue, so we should be patient and wait until they calm down. Then we will have the chance to explain to them. Or, if they misunderstand us and it is useless to try to explain things, then we can show them, just like the dragon girl. Wisdom Accumulated Bodhisattva had his doubts. He hoped Manjusri Bodhisattva would explain this. The dragon girl did not need Manjusri Bodhisattva to explain things for her. She expressed everything through her actions and Wisdom Accumulated understood. It was also the same for Sariputra. He had even greater doubts than Wisdom Accumulated. So, he came to question the dragon girl. However, the dragon girl did not explain to him, but used her actions; she presented the pearl to the Buddha, and the Buddha accepted it. She expressed [herself] with her actions; she did not need to [verbally] explain herself. There would have been no use in explaining.

So, by the same principle, we must “wear the Tathagata’s clothing of gentleness and patience”. With need to face the world with a gentle attitude. It does not matter how others treat us. We must be gentle and patient. We need to show others with our actions. This means we need to be gentle and patient. Regardless of how other people treat us, even if others insult us, we should bear with it. Even children are able to do this. Do you still remember? Among a group of little Bodhisattvas, one of them understood this and said, “He is always pulling my hair. I cannot be angry; I need to bear with it”. She also said this. This is the same principle. “Wearing the Tathagata’s clothing of gentleness and patience” refers to our attitude. In dealing with people, matters and things, we should always wear “the Tathagata’s clothing of gentleness and patience”. When it comes to our bodies and physical appearances, we must treat people in a polite manner. This is our spiritual cultivation. [We must] “sit on the Tathagata’s seat of the emptiness of all phenomena”. The Tathagata takes the emptiness of all phenomena as His seat. As Buddhist practitioners, we must seek to mindfully comprehend this. We do not have to take issue with others; everything is illusory. We only have a few decades to live. Time is running out. Therefore, we need to earnestly seize the time. We should not be like ordinary beings, giving rise to thoughts in every short moment over many lifetimes and replicating our afflictions. We should seize the time to seek the Buddha-Dharma and transform sentient beings.

As we use our time, if we are not attached to various matters in the world, we can naturally put time to good use. Otherwise, there is no way for us to attain or achieve everything we want in the world. When it comes to our desires, we can never be satisfied. We need to understand the world is illusory, just like a drop of dew or a flash of lightning. Everything in the world is painfully short. We cannot say, “I am not old yet”. I just mentioned these two men a moment ago. One of them was like this. He did not look old at all. He was famous and was singing on stage. With a loud thus, he suddenly collapsed. Doesn’t this [show us that the world] is illusory and impermanent? That docter was very famous and understood physiology. However, he did not understand what was going on with his own body? He was walking about and just collapsed. Life is painfully short, illusory and impermanent. Thus, “the emptiness of all phenomena is the seat”. We need to hurry and seize the time. We need to take the Dharma to heart and put it into action. We need to apply the Dharma among people to benefit others. This is the value of truly making the most of our time. Thus, “we must make great vows to diligently uphold the sutra.” We must truly make an effort to seize the opportunity [to study] this sutra.

The previous sutra passage states, “At that time, Medicine King Bodhisattva-Mahasattva and Great Joyful Eloquence Bodhisattva-Mahasattva, together with a retinue of 20,000 Bodhisattvas, came before the Buddha and made this vow.”

Since the Chapter on Dharma Teachers, the Buddha began to recruit people for the Dharma. Medicine King Bodhisattvas was from the Chapter on Dharma Teachers. The Buddhaused Medicine King Bodhisattva as the recipient of the teachings. He explained to Medicine King Bodhisattva the virtues of Dharma teachers who uphold the Lotus Sutra. Everyone should still remember this. I have just explained the Three Directives. Everyone should still know about the Three Directives, which are, ”great compassion is the room gentleness and patience are the clothing” and “the emptiness of all phenomena is the seat.” These are called the Three Directives. So, to Medicine King Bodhisattva, the Buddha taught so much wondrous Dharma to educate us. This was because Medicine King Bodhisattva had suitable capabilities. The Buddha explained the teachings to him because Medicine King Bodhisattva was very diligent in upholding the Lotus Sutra. When we continue on [in the sutra], we can see that Medicine King Bodhisattva gave up his life to uphold the Lotus Sutra. This was how he led the assembly. Also, there was Great Joyful Eloquence. In the Chapter on seeing the stupa of Treasures, Great Joyful Eloquence wanted to see the entire of Many Treasures Buddha. The Buddha answered him, saying, “I need to gather my multiple manifestations.” This was because of Great Joyful Eloquence. At critical moments, these two Bodhisattvas. At critical moments, these two Bodhisattvas both became recipients of the teachings. They became recipients of the teachings. They shouldered the responsibility of Bodhisattvas who request teachings from the Buddha. they were “together with a retinue of 20,000 Bodhisattvas” whom they had taught and transformed. Because these two Bodhisattvas both upheld the Lotus Sutra, they were very mindful of the Buddha’s teachings. Thus, the retinue they had taught and transformed were also called Bodhisattva. Having formed aspirations, they were Bodhisattvas. “Together with a retinue of 20,000 Bodhisattvas, [they] came before the Buddha and made this vow.”

In the following sutra passage it states, “We only hope that the World-Honoerd One will not worry. After the Buddha enters Parinirvana, we will all reverently uphols, read, recite and expound this sutra.”

Medicine King Bodhisattva and Great Joyful Eloquence Bodhisattva, along with 20,000 more Bodhisattvas, immediately came to comfort the Buddha so He would not worry. “After the Buddha enters Parinirvana, everyone will be to uphold, read, recite and teach this sutra. We will able to read, recite and teach this sutra.”

This is because these Bodhisattvas wanted to comfort the Buddha. “Do not worry, After You enter Parinirvana, we will shoulder the responsibilities. We only hope that the Wondrous-Honored One will not worry.” They hoped the Buddha, the Wondrous-Honored One, would not have to worry that they would be unable to uphold this sutra. They were all mentally prepared. “We only hope that the Wondrous-Honored One will not worry. You do not have to worry.” In the future, this noble path would be written sown in the sutra. This Dharma would be recorded in the sutra in the future. When everyone reads this sutra “the power to spread and advance it would lie within people of wisdom.” With an open and spacious heart and the power to make great vows, people of wisdom would be able to spread and advance this sutra. [The Buddha] only worry that “If these people could not be found, the words would fade away to nothing, if people were nit mindful and were unwilling to make vow if this were the case, though they hear and teach [the Dharma] their power of vows would still be very weak. The Dharma that they teach would also be very weak. As time passes, the Dharma would disappear. The 20,000 Bodhisattvas told to Buddha not to worry, because the teachings would be written down the teachings would be recorded in the sutra in the future, they still needed people of wisdom who to [spread and advance] the sutra. Not only muse they recite and expound, but they must also put the teachings into practice. If people could not do that, these words would fade away, and although they may be willing to they would fail to bring for the kind of power. This is what the Buddha worried about.

We only hope that [the Buddha] will not worry: They meant that the noble path would be written down in the sutras, but the power to spread and advance it would lit within people of wisdom. if these people could not be found, the words would fade away to nothing. Then no one would understand this sutra, and it would not be practiced in that time. Now that they were capable of taking on this task, they wished that the Buddha would be free of worry.

“Then no one would understand this sutra”. If no one formed aspirations, even if the sutra was spread to later generations, even if we read and recite the sutra, we would not be able to understand the sutra. After reading and reciting this sutra, no one would be able to understand it, “and it would not be practiced in that time”. They would be unable to implement the Dharma in the world for everyone to be able to experience and practice it. This would be really difficult. “Now that they were capable of taking on this task, they wished that the Buddha would be free of worry”. This means that they would take on this task; they would pass down the sutra. Everyone had already made their vows. They would diligently fulfill their duty with a sense of mission. They would shoulder this responsibility. So, “they wished that the Buddha would be free of worry”. They asked the Buddha to not worry. Although the Buddha worried that no one would be able to carry on this task after Him they had already appeared. In the future, they would have the power of vows to uphold this sutra and put the teachings into practice among people. So, the Buddha did not have to worry.

After the Buddha enters Parinirvana, we will all reverently uphold, read, recite and expound this sutra: We will all take on the responsibility of advancing the sutra. Here, “uphold” means to reverently uphold this sutra in the Saha World, the evil world of the Five Turbidities.

Thus, “after the Buddha enters Parinirvana, we will all reverently uphold, read, recite and expound this sutra”. So, the Buddha did not have to worry or [hesitate] “We can all shoulder this responsibility”. Everyone made vows to shoulder this responsibility. “I am willing to advance this sutra at this place”. This place refers to the Saha World. “We are all willing to patiently endure the Saha World. If we [dedicate ourselves] wholeheartedly, we can absolutely pass on and spread this sutra.” This is because we all know that we need to use the Three Directives to advance the sutra”. The Three Directives refer to those three methods. In the Chapter on Dharma Teachers, the Buddha taught the Three Directives, and Medicine King Bodhisattva bore them in mind. [He knew] to use the Three Directives to advance the sutra, to “enter the Tathagata’s room, wear the clothing of gentleness and patience” and take “the emptiness of all phenomena as the seat”. They were willing to be in this Saha World and were willing to face the stubborn sentient beings there. They had awakened and wanted to shoulder this responsibility. In “the Saha World, the evil world of the Five Turbidities,” they wanted to “reverently uphold” and transmit this sutra; they wanted to uphold this sutra. This explains how they made great vows. They asked the Buddha not to worry. They would earnestly uphold this sutra. They would be able to [uphold] this sutra forever and ever and preserve and spread its teachings among people.

This explains how they made great vows and requested to uphold the sutra. Medicine King and Great Joyful Eloquence were foremost among the 20,000 Bodhisattvas. In previous chapters, the Buddha clearly stated the difficulty in upholding this sutra in the world of turbidities. Thus, along with the assembly of Bodhisattvas, they made great vows together to carry out their mission to uphold the sutra and advance the wondrous Dharma. So, they asked Venerable Sakyamuni not to worry about this.

“The Four Great Vows” are, “I vow to deliver countless sentient beings. I vow to eliminate endless afflictions. I vow to learn infinite Dharma-doors. I vow to attain unsurpassed Buddhahood.” The aspiration of Bodhisattvas is to attain Buddhahood. They must “vow to attain unsurpassed Buddhahood”. We must reverently uphold this sutra and practice the Bodhisattva-path. Medicine King Bodhisattva and Great Joyful Eloquence Bodhisattva were foremost among the 20,000 Bodhisattvas. These 20,000 Bodhisattvas were taught, transformed and guided by these two Bodhisattvas. So, they were foremost among the 20,000 Bodhisattvas that they led. “In previous chapters, the Buddha clearly stated the difficulty in upholding this sutra in the world of turbidities.” Previously, starting from the Chapter on Skillful Means, the Buddha kept saying how extremely profound this sutra is, how subtle, wondrous and extremely profound it is. In order to expound this sutra, we need to exercise our wisdom and [expound it] based on people, time and location. When we expound this sutra, especially when we are teaching it to others, if we cannot teach this sutra according to their capacities, we might incur negative reactions from them, such as being slandered by others. If we do not suit their capabilities when we want to lead everyone to do good deeds, we will likewise incur many negative remarks [against us]. In summary, in this evil world of the Five Turbidities, it is really difficult to uphold the sutras. Through previous sutra passages, the Buddha constantly cautioned us to heighten our vigilance. In order to expound this sutra and uphold this sutra in the world, we need to exercise the power of great wisdom. We also have to endure with patience. We need to take “great compassion as our room gentleness and patience as our clothing” and “the emptiness of all phenomena as our seat; being at this place, [we] expound the Dharma”. Then this sutra will be able to exercise its great function in saving the world.

This was mentioned by the Buddha in many previous chapters. “In previous chapters, the Buddha clearly stated [this].” “Previous chapters” refers to chapters before this one. “Clearly stated” means that in several previous chapters, the Buddha had already mentioned that in the world of turbidities, the world that must be endured, it is really difficult to uphold this sutra. We need to put effort into using our wisdom. We need to be able to patiently endure and have the drive to pass on and spread [the Dharma]. We need to have “the clothing of gentleness and patience”.

Furthermore, we should be able to not be attached and “take the emptiness of all phenomena as the seat”. All of these are qualities that those who uphold the sutra must have. They need to clearly understand this. “Thus, along with the assembly of Bodhisattvas, they made great vows together to carry out their mission to uphold the sutra and advance the wondrous Dharma.”

“So, they asked Venerable Sakyamuni not to worry about this.” Medicine King Bodhisattva and Great Joyful Eloquence Bodhisattva led a group of Bodhisattvas who had already formed great aspirations. They expressed their intent before of the Buddha. It was not that they did not understand the difficulties in advancing this sutra in the Saha World. It was not that they did not understand. They had already made great vows and were willing to uphold the Three Directives, to “enter the room of great compassion, wear the clothing of gentleness and patience and take the emptiness of all phenomena as their seat." They were already mentally prepared for this. “Thus, along with the assembly of Bodhisattvas, they made great vows together” to uphold their mission.

“We must uphold our mission and follow the Path, then our path will be great.”
Don’t I constantly mention this to everyone? We need to uphold our vows. We need to make great vows to uphold the sutras, especially the Wondrous Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra. So, they asked the World-Honored One not to worry about this. Indeed, the Buddha did not have to worry.

However, have we truly made great vows? Or are we just listening? When we face interpersonal conflicts, do we simply retreat, retreat in our spiritual aspiration? Is that the case? This requires us to be constantly vigilant of ourselves. So, we must always be mindful!

(Source: Da Ai TV – Wisdom at Dawn program – Explanation by Master Chen-Yen)
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20180604《靜思妙蓮華》持經艱難 弘誓傳法 (第1362集) (法華經·勸持品第十三)
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