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 20180605《靜思妙蓮華》開近跡門 顯遠本地 (第1363集) (法華經·勸持品第十三)

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發表主題: 20180605《靜思妙蓮華》開近跡門 顯遠本地 (第1363集) (法華經·勸持品第十三)   周二 6月 05, 2018 6:26 am

20180605《靜思妙蓮華》開近跡門 顯遠本地 (第1363集) (法華經·勸持品第十三)

⊙娑婆堪忍苦多,釋尊為一大事,塵劫去來不息,誓願三界四生,亦師是父護教,傳承教法弘道,燈燈相傳無盡,繼師志承父願。
⊙開師門之近跡,顯佛地之遠本,靈山會聞法眾,悟得本覺性海,法身常住無盡,化世益物無窮,遠劫古往來今,極盡窮源無涯。
⊙窮盡往古來今,把握今時當下,今人改往修來,立弘誓持經教,無量菩薩弘經,化濁世為淨土。
⊙「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》
⊙「後惡世眾生,善根轉少,多增上慢,貪利供養,增不善根,遠離解脫。」《法華經勸持品第十三》
⊙後惡世眾生,善根轉少:此解釋濁世法末時多惡人。去聖道時遙,善根之人轉為希少。善根轉少:謂善根薄弱,以是故無遠大志願,得少為足,因起諸慢。
⊙多增上慢,貪利供養:間有增上能修行者,未得謂得,多於侮慢。貪著事物,利養供養。又多貪著緣法上之利養,故不惟善根減少,並增長不善根,去解脫之大道乃愈益遙遠。
⊙增不善根,遠離解脫:因修行中而起惡業,反種生死不增善根;遠離清淨解脫之法。
⊙善根少:眾生濁。增上慢:見濁。貪利養:煩惱濁。增不善:命濁。遠離解脫:劫濁。
⊙世道交喪,異端競作,五濁之世,正信者少,邪見者多,惟以徇利以豐四肢,豈能存心而卻五欲?

【證嚴上人開示】
娑婆堪忍苦多,釋尊為一大事,塵劫去來不息,誓願三界四生,亦師是父護教,傳承教法弘道,燈燈相傳無盡,繼師志承父願。

娑婆堪忍苦多
釋尊為一大事
塵劫去來不息
誓願三界四生
亦師是父護教
傳承教法弘道
燈燈相傳無盡
繼師志承父願

用心好好體會,也要好好理解。「娑婆」世界「堪忍苦多」!好像常常都是這樣說,這個字眼、這個說法,反覆都是這樣向大家提醒,我們要人人自我警惕,不要迷茫在這種娑婆世界。我們所住的地方,不必留戀,因為它是一個堪忍,苦多的世界。苦不苦啊?感受到的那時候喊苦,那就很慢了。我們清清楚楚了解,我們住的環境是什麼?這個體質又是如何?我們是什麼樣的因緣,在這樣的環境裡?我們的人生到底多久啊?回顧過去,我們的人生,是不是有常住在過去的人生,過去還在嗎?過去還一樣嗎?世事多變,過去景物全非,過去我們的身體,我們小時候,我們青少年,我們的中年,今何在啊?現在想過去,什麼都沒有。短短的數十年間,景物多變、人生多變,無常住,沒有常常這樣留住,這就是娑婆世界。

時間短促,並沒有很多,我們是不是有把握每一個時間,我們留在我們的生命中?我們的生命短短幾十年間,我們到底留的是什麼?是歡喜、是快樂、是滿足,或者是遺憾,或者是怨、恨,是不是這些東西,留在我們的生命中呢?回憶過去,我們是不是有造作出了,真正留在別人的人生裡,留在我們人生值得的回憶,我們的生命,是不是有利益人群,有沒有?這就要看我們自己。有把握時間,好好用心在當下,我們自然時時會記憶。

「釋尊為一大事」。我們常常會想到佛陀是為一大事來人間,這個一大事,為我們開,開啟了一道門、一條道,就是我們要走的路。我們這條道,佛既為我們開了,我們是不是有走呢?這一大事的因緣,我們有沒有把握住呢?這就是「釋尊為一大事」。這一大事,是因為娑婆世界堪忍苦多,是佛陀來人間的目的。眾生沉迷,佛覺悟,就是要讓我們了解,我們應該要隨著這條路,佛陀為我們啟開的這條道來走。佛是「塵劫去來不息」,我們生生世世由不得自己,我們的前世,到底在哪裡?我們又是做什麼事情呢?我們全都忘記了,我們在今生此世,面對的人、事、物,是讓我們煩惱,或者是讓我們的因緣,走上了一條正確的方向?到底我們過去是做了什麼,哪有這個因緣來會遇佛法?世間這麼多人,真正會遇佛法又是有多少人?

所以我們若這樣靜靜來想,我們雖然不知過去生,更沒辦法了解未來世,而我們今生有這個因緣,當下即是,就是遇到了佛法。就要知道釋迦牟尼佛,他是經歷了塵點劫,這樣一直來,「去來不息」。釋迦佛,現在有在人間嗎?肯定有!因為他的法身,每天都活生生,在我們大家的周圍裡,在任何一個地方,能啟開一條道路,讓我們走的,指引我們的方向。那個人群中,說不定那個地方也是有釋迦佛。不只是釋迦佛,觀世音菩薩、文殊菩薩、智積菩薩、地藏菩薩,凡是我們說過的菩薩,他們還是會在娑婆世界,來來回回。這樣現在還是釋迦佛教化的時代,所以來回在人間,隨著人間的生態,他就是有去來。

人間的時間,總是幾十年為一段,分段生死。諸佛菩薩,他們這個「分段生死」,不是由不得自己來,是倒駕慈航來,所以我們要很相信,諸佛菩薩倒駕慈航,來去自如,去來不息,就只是為了一項,「誓願三界四生」。在這欲界、色界、無色界,三界中,去來自在。尤其是「四生」,四生,最近一直在提起「四生」,「四生」、「六道」。六道在「三界」中,因為欲念,所以我們沒辦法離開「三界」。因為修行去欲,欲淡了,所以在「色界」,沒有欲,但是有色。色界還有意識、煩惱,修行能超越了貪,起心動念那個意識,也將它消掉了。

無色界,心的煩惱、無明去除。既然沒有欲,沒有色、心的煩惱,但是,還有微塵,塵沙的無明惑還有少分。就像是梵天王,雖然他已經都修到,上上戒、上上善,但是,在大通智勝佛的道場,他還是為求法而來,就是要來聽真理,因為還有少分的塵沙無明,所以他還要再來求真法。同樣的道理,「三界」就是這樣有次第,有凡夫的「欲界」,有修行的境界。在凡夫的「欲界」之中,那就是在「六道」之中,天、人、阿修羅、地獄、餓鬼、畜生,所以不論是什麼樣的生態,無不都是在娑婆世界,所造作的一切,「三界」之內。

釋迦佛、諸佛菩薩,就是這樣三界去來不息,包括六道四生。所以六道四生,三界之中,佛就是「三界導師」、「四生慈父」。所以「亦師是父」,亦是我們的師,亦是我們的父。這樣在保護我們的慧命,這樣殷勤教育我們。所以,我們應該要,「傳承教法弘道」,應該要傳承,佛陀為法募人了,〈法師品〉,不斷讚歎《法華經》,不斷鼓勵人人要受持、書寫、講說、讀誦等等,〈法師品〉中,已經講得很清楚了。所以我們應該傳承,佛法就是救世的良方,是黑暗中的明燈。二千多年了,釋迦佛這盞明燈,應該燈燈相傳,為黑暗的人間,眾生的心地黑暗無明,我們應該為他們傳燈照亮,照亮眾生心地無明黑暗,這要「燈燈相傳無盡」燈。

應該我們有責任「繼師志承父願」。我們有這樣的因緣,我們要有這樣的使命,利己,還要再利他人。其實,利他才是真正利己,入人群中去,看見,看見了人群,形形色色,不同的習氣、不同的煩惱、不同的苦難,很多,那種的無明,是來自黑暗的心地所起。所以我們應該要很用心,要傳承佛陀的心光智慧,我們要契佛心,了解佛陀的心懷,我們要用心,將佛的法傳承下去。就像燈燈相傳無盡,這個法就是光明的,光明的燈引入人人的心地,照亮人人,不要又在黑暗中在起無明,所以要「繼師志承父願」,要很用心去體會。

開師門之近跡
顯佛地之遠本
靈山會聞法眾
悟得本覺性海
法身常住無盡
化世益物無窮
遠劫古往來今
極盡窮源無涯

開啟師門之近跡。釋迦牟尼佛,離我們才二千多年而已,還可以考據。在尼泊爾那個地方,還有佛的出生地,成道的地點、說法初轉法輪的地方,這都還很明顯在人間遺留下來,我們應該還考據得到,不算遠。佛經一說就是塵點劫, 那才是很遠的時間。在我們現在,我們能去考據到的地點,算還近。所以我們「開師門之近跡」,佛陀走過的足跡,這個「跡」,跡佛的地點,我們還可以找得到。「顯佛地之遠本」。我們從佛陀他的生平,那個足跡,就是足跡,足跡,我們還找得到,但是佛陀的精神理念,那就很遠了。

一直,每天都在說,佛陀在無數劫以來,生生世世,這就很遠了。要說起大通智勝佛,是塵點劫以來,可見時間是多長、多遠,這是佛的「遠本」。那個時候的十六王子,開始講《法華經》,我們若只找這一段,就已經很長、很遠了。一直到靈山會,佛陀今生此世開悟,說法四十多年,到「靈山會」來講《法華經》,眾生聞法,應該是佛陀說法的末端了。所以我們聞法應該要,「悟得本覺性海」,在這個靈山會,我們應該要體悟了。佛陀已經在《法華經》裡面,用各種的因緣、各種的譬喻、各種的言教,無不都是要讓我們,真心去契會到。

所以,在我們人人的心地,靈山會應該還在,靈山會上的塔,塔中的多寶佛,應該已經會合在,我們內心裡了。這種本覺性海,我們應該要體會。所以「法身常住無盡」,我們人人的法身,永遠永遠都是在;塵點劫無始以來,我們的法身都是在,本覺性海。這個法身常住,人帶著道理來,我們到底,是造什麼樣的因緣業力,這也是道理,我們就是帶這樣來的。所以,法身常住,我們的真如本性還是在。所以永遠永遠,「法身常住無盡」,生生世世。所以「化世益物無窮」。我們若能夠本性覺海現前,了解我們的法身常住無盡,我們若都了解了,這樣我們就能聽來的法,在我們的心裡,能開口動舌,傳佛教法,身體力行,帶動眾生入人群,這就是「化世益物無窮」。只要我們發一念心,我們就能利益很多眾生。

所以「遠劫古往今來」,從很遠、很遠的時間,佛陀是這樣清清楚楚,求佛法、度眾生,來成佛,這是佛。但是凡夫呢?我們也是遠劫,古往今來,同樣我們也是這樣來,但是,我們生生世世,造作就是無明,複製再複製,雖然我們有因緣,但是我們還是半醒半迷,我們也是「遠劫古往今來」。佛陀是覺,我們是迷。所以我們「極盡窮源無涯」,我們的慧命也是這樣,生生世世跟著來。我們慧命,這個智慧,本覺性海,就是讓無明煩惱遮蓋住,這是我們在造作無明。我們這個時候應該覺醒了,回歸我們的本性覺海來了,所以我們應該要很用心去體會。

窮盡往古來今
把握今時當下
今人改往修來
立弘誓持經教
無量菩薩弘經
化濁世為淨土

「窮盡往古來今」。我們要去回顧過去,佛陀如何教育我們,從塵點劫,長時間和我們的關係,我們相信還是不相信?佛陀「覺」,不斷追求真理,累積覺悟的因緣;我們古往今來,我們就是不斷,累積業力無明而來。我們現在若肯相信,了解了,就要「把握今時當下」,我們聽法,每一個時間都要把握,把握在聽法的那個時間。今時,把握當下,恆持剎那,我們應該要常常有。所以「今人改往修來」,我們現在聽法,我們要趕緊改,有無明、有錯誤,我們要趕緊快改,改往修來。過去錯了,以後我們不要錯,從現在開始,以後不要再錯了。

「立弘誓持經教」。佛陀既然開始在募人了,我們要接受佛法,傳法下去,這就是佛陀的用心。所以我們要「立弘誓持經教」。「無量菩薩弘經」,現在再下去,就會開始有很多菩薩,就要發願弘經了,來弘揚這個經教。應該「經者,道也;道者,路也」。弘經,就是弘道。所以「化濁世為淨土」。雖然我們在堪忍的世界,苦難偏多,我們聽佛法之後,我們應該要發弘願,入人群,眾生在受苦難之時,我們要如何拔除他的苦難,「苦既拔已,復為說法」,讓他在苦難中,化為快樂,這就是「化濁世為淨土」。

所以我們要真實用心去體會,古遠劫前,佛陀求覺悟,生生世世來人間,求覺悟,就是要傳法給眾生。而我們也是生生世世來人間,我們總是在那迷中製造煩惱,所以我們永遠都是在娑婆,堪忍苦多,這我們要很用心來體會。

前面的文說:「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》

這是藥王菩薩、大樂說菩薩,所帶領著二萬位的菩薩,已經了解,他們從〈法師品〉開始,他們就人人已經將法入心了,已經明知佛陀為法募人,好好來弘揚經教。所以大家在聽過〈見寶塔品〉和〈提婆達多品〉,他們更相信,更發大心,所以他已經在佛前來發願了,「請佛陀安心,您若滅度了之後,我們大家會依教奉行」。

接下來這段文再說:「後惡世眾生,善根轉少,多增上慢,貪利供養,增不善根,遠離解脫。」

後惡世眾生
善根轉少
多增上慢
貪利供養
增不善根
遠離解脫
《法華經勸持品第十三》

未來濁惡世的人間,眾生已經慢慢善根就會轉少了,因為這個欲,陷阱處處,人很快就會受這個陷阱把我們誘惑去,墮落陷阱,在這個欲坑的裡面。所以這樣,善根就慢慢減少了。

後惡世眾生
善根轉少:
此解釋
濁世法末時多惡人
去聖道時遙
善根之人轉為希少
善根轉少:
謂善根薄弱
以是故無遠大志願
得少為足
因起諸慢

這就是解釋這個濁惡世,這個法末之時,人類多數都是惡念,貪、瞋、癡、慢、疑。不利自己,不利他人的事情,就已經很多,一直浮現出來,離開了聖道就越來越遠,背道而行。所以「善根之人轉為希少」,惡的愈來愈盛,善的愈來愈少,這是佛陀的時代,很擔心未來,我們的現在,這個五濁惡世。

「善根轉少」,就是已經比較薄弱掉了,善心較薄弱了。「以是故」因為是這樣,「無遠大志願」。要叫他發大心、立大願,很難。「叫我響應你一下,隨喜功德,我做得到,叫我長久和你們一樣,這樣我做不到啦!」。所以善根薄弱掉了,沒有遠大的志願,這樣的人多,但是真正要發心立弘願的人,愈來就愈少了。這種得到法,聽法,「得少為足」,聽一點點就覺得:「有哦,我有聽啊,我有在聽經。」但是聽,就是這樣這麼蜻蜓點水,一沾到就覺得說我有聽。沒有長時間去聽。

我聽到長春的菩薩傳的訊息。說,聽到師父在講經的時候咳嗽,一位老菩薩就一直哭。她的女兒說:「你這樣一直哭哪有用!」她說:「我的師父,在講經,他咳嗽了,我很擔心,這麼遠啊!擔心。」女兒就跟她說:「你不要擔心,妳多做一點,師父就是要妳做,妳多,認真多做。」她說:「哦!的確,環保,我要多做一點,這樣,師父就是,講經就是要我們多做。」這就是表示他們有在聽哦!

在這個地方,離那麼遠,她不只法聽進去,甚至連師父在呼吸,她都聽進去,何況咳嗽,這都是真的有心。這聽法是很用心,那個地方很冷,我們大家都知道,他們也是沒有停歇,尤其是我在咳嗽,感冒那幾天,那時候的氣候,我們臺灣就很冷了,何況在長春呢?所以,我們要知道,如何好好來接受法,不是蜻蜓點水,真的要用心來聽,所以不要這樣聽一點點,就開始起傲慢的心,得少為足,起慢心。不要哦!

所以,「多增上慢」。現在的人,聽一點點法,他就覺得已經很了不起了,就這樣增上慢就起了,「貪利供養」。

多增上慢
貪利供養:
間有增上能修行者
未得謂得
多於侮慢
貪著事物
利養供養
又多貪著
緣法上之利養
故不惟善根減少
並增長不善根
去解脫之大道
乃愈益遙遠

出家,貪念一起,希望人來恭敬我們,人家來供養我們,這樣是不對的。出家,我們就是要修我們的心,我們才是出家啊!我們的心若修不好,凡夫家沒有出,要如何入清淨的家呢?所以我們要很用心。這當中「有增上能修行者」,「未得謂得」,明明還沒有得,心就是這樣還一團的迷茫,只是聽一點點經,就認為:我都清楚了,我都了解了。「未得謂得,多於侮慢」,自己以為很了不起,沒有把人沒有看在眼裡,自己很貢高,很驕傲,這是很可怕哦!所以我們要很,時時警覺自己的心。

「貪著事物,利養供養」,這種利,利的供養,或者是讓人,(以)行來供養我們,就不可,我們自己能夠做的事,自己要做,當然我們常常看到,很多菩薩、居士來幫忙,我們要常常感恩他們。感恩,環境能夠這麼美,除了我們自己要很努力,外面的菩薩也來幫我們出坡,也來幫我們清理打掃。我們要承受人來幫助我們,我們就要有修行。所以不要驕傲,想要讓人利的供養,讓人行的供養,我們自己沒有修行,怎麼讓人行和利的供養呢?所以,我們要好好自我覺醒。

又是「多貪著緣法上之利養」,這種講一點點法,就貪這個緣,這叫「攀緣」,攀緣人來利的供養,這也不要。「故不惟善根減少」,並且是「增長不善根」。我們若只是這樣在貪,我們不善的根就又增加起來。生活是這麼的簡單,我們大家生活是團體的生活,這好幾個人共住一間寮房,一張床,旁邊就是一個書櫃,小小的,少欲,這應該知足了,看到這樣,我們的環境是這樣,比較那些難民一無所有,風霜雪凍,我們已經很滿足了。常常都說,我們要很滿足,不要「貪利養」,不要哦,所以我們修行者,我們要做到。好好將我們的環境,真正要很珍惜,修行的叢林環境,就是要這樣,不要再貪更多,夠就好了,不要善根又減少了,我們要增長善根。《(阿)彌陀經》,你要唸佛,也說「不可少善根福德因緣……。」我們就是要增長善根,不要減少。

所以,我們若只是這樣在貪,我們不善的根就又增加起來,「並增長不善根」;那就是惡,貪念。若這樣,「去解脫之大道」,就愈來愈遠,因為你背道而行,就愈來愈遠了。我們本來,塵點劫以前,我們就是無始,我們就已經有本性覺海,只是我們累生累世,在增加煩惱無明。我們現在很不容易,能有這個因緣入佛門,我們要趕快把握當下,不要這個不善根再增長,若這樣,我們會愈遠離,這佛法會愈遠離。

增不善根
遠離解脫:
因修行中而起惡業
反種生死不增善根
遠離清淨解脫之法

所以,「增不善根,遠離解脫」。就是因為「修行中而起惡業」,在這修行中的過程,道心退失,又再起心動念,這惡業造作,就是「反種生死,不增善根,遠離清淨解脫之法」,這已經反過來,我們又再種一些生死牽纏,不斷在纏緣,纏住的緣,愈纏會愈多。

所以,「遠離清淨解脫之法」。我們一直,在這「六道、四生」的裡面,這種生死不得解脫,愈來會愈多,所以我們要很謹慎,不要再增加不善根,遠離清淨解脫之法,千萬就不可哦!所以我們要好好用心。「善根少」,那就是「眾生濁」。

善根少:眾生濁
增上慢:見濁
貪利養:煩惱濁
增不善:命濁
遠離解脫:劫濁

我們有「五濁」,現在的眾生就是善根少,缺了善根,所以就造作「五欲」等等,墮落「五欲」的陷阱,所以這叫做「眾生濁」。「增上慢」,「五濁」的裡面,還有「增上慢」,那就是「見濁」,見濁,我們的見解已經不清淨了,濁氣很重,自然就會增加我們的增上慢。我們的慢心,我們的驕慢,癡、慢、疑,這種慢心又再起來,這就是眾生濁氣重,見解不清淨,愈來愈濁。「貪利養」,這就是「煩惱濁」,我們貪利養,所以煩惱就愈來愈增長。

「增不善根」就是「命濁」。在我們的生命中,已經造作了很不乾淨,不斷再複製無明煩惱,在我們的生命中,生命中缺善增惡,這就是「命濁」。又再「遠離解脫」,遠離了解脫,這叫做「劫濁」,在這個時間,我們很不容易,長遠劫以來,今生此世遇到佛法,竟然我們一心動,所以我們就會善根轉少,增長惡念。那就是「善根少」、「增上慢」、「貪利養」、「增不善」根、「遠離解脫」等等,就是在這個時間裡面,在這五濁惡世裡面,那就是「劫濁」了。就是這樣造作這麼多的「眾生濁」,眾生所造作的共業,都是起自「見濁」,起自人心的「煩惱濁」,就是造成了我們生命中,所造作的都是不善,所以構成了眾生共業。在這個時代、這個時間,變成了濁氣很重,這就是我們眾生。

世道交喪
異端競作
五濁之世
正信者少
邪見者多
惟以徇利以豐四肢
豈能存心而卻五欲

「世道交喪,異端競作」,在這樣的世代,這樣不斷不斷一直惡濁下去,所以這個五濁的世界,就是現在濁氣很重的時候。正信的人已經少了,邪見的人增長起來了,所以,全都「徇」著,那利益的欲念,一直、一直光是在身體的享受,身體都不敢去造作,怕手變醜了,怕體態變醜,所以都只是要顧得美美、嫩嫩的。不會想我們的人生世間,身體就是要去造做,就不敢去造作,只是顧這個四肢,顧這個身體,不願意好好做,為人間去付出。所以這樣,存心全都是在「五欲」,沒有辦法離開「五欲」,這是我們的人心,都纏在眾生,人與人之間,見解之間,煩惱之間,在我們的生命中,所造作的一切等等,這樣歸合起來。所以我們現在人世間,真的是濁氣很重,希望大家要很警覺,時時多用心!


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發表主題: 回復: 20180605《靜思妙蓮華》開近跡門 顯遠本地 (第1363集) (法華經·勸持品第十三)   昨天8:33 pm

Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: The Buddha’s Recent Manifestation as Our Teacher (開近跡門 顯遠本地)
Date:June.05.2018

“In the Saha World that must be endured, there is so much suffering. For one great cause, Sakyamuni constantly came and went throughout dust-inked kalpas. He vowed to be a teacher and father to protect and teach [sentient beings] in the Three Realms and Four Forms of Birth. We must pass on the teachings and advance the path, passing the light from lamp to lamp without end. We must carry on our teacher’s mission and uphold our father’s vow.”

We should be mindful to experience and truly understand that in the Saha world there is “so much suffering that must be endured”! It seems like we are constantly saying this. When it comes to this expression, I am always reminding everyone of it. We should all heighten our vigilance. We must not remain lost in the Saha World. We should not remain attached to this place where we live, because it is a world where there is much suffering to be endured. Isn’t it a world of suffering? By the time we feel it and cry out in suffering, it is already too late. Do we understand clearly what kind of environment we live in? What kind of essence does it have? What kind of karmic conditions have brought us to live in this kind of environment? How long will we continue to live? When we look back on our lives in the past, have our lives remained the same as they were in the past? Does the past still exist? Are things the same as they were in the past? The world is always changing. The environment of the past is gone.

As for our bodies in the past, when we were small, or when we were young, or when we were middle-aged, what are they like now? If we think of the past now, nothing remains. In a few short decades, the environment and our lives have changed greatly. Nothing is permanent; nothing remains permanently. This is the Saha World.

Time is fleeting; we do not have much of it. Are we making use of every moment of the life that remains to us? Our lives last only a few short decades. What will we ultimately leave behind? Will it be joy, happiness and satisfaction, or will it be regret? Will it be resentment and hatred? Will these be the things that we leave behind in this life? When we think back on our past, have the things we have done truly remained in others’ lives or in our own as things worthy of remembering? Were the things we did with our lives beneficial to others? This depends on us. If we seized our time and were earnestly mindful of the present moment, then naturally we will always remember.

“Sakyamuni came for one great cause.” We always think about how the Buddha came to the world for one great cause. This one great cause was to open, to unlock for us a door, a path. This is the path we should walk. When it comes to this path, the one the Buddha opened for us, are we walking upon it? Have we taken hold of this one great cause? This was “Sakyamuni’s one great cause.” His one great cause was due to the great suffering in the Saha World. This was why the Buddha came to the world.

Sentient beings are sunk in delusion. The Buddha awakened and wanted us to understand that we should follow this path, follow the path He opened up for us. The Buddha “constantly came and went throughout dust-inked kalpas.” We have come lifetime after lifetime without any control of our own. Where were we in our previous lifetimes? What did we do in them? We have forgotten everything. Why do the people, matters and objects that we deal with in this lifetime cause us to have afflictions? Or what were the karmic conditions that allowed us to head in the correct direction?

What had we done in the past, where did these karmic conditions for us to encounter the Buddha-Dharma come from? With all the people in the world, how many actually encounter the Buddha-Dharma? So, if we calmly contemplate this, even though we do not know our past lifetimes and understand even less about future lifetimes, we have the karmic conditions in this lifetime, in this present moment, to come in contact with the Buddha-Dharma. We should know that Sakyamuni Buddha went through dust-inked kalpas, constantly returning like this; “He constantly came and went.” Is Sakyamuni Buddha present in the world now? He most certainly is, because His Dharmakaya is alive and all around us every day, in each and every place, opening up the path for us so we can walk it, guiding us in the right direction. As we go among people, Sakyamuni Buddha may be there as one of them. It is not only Sakyamuni Buddha, Guanyin Bodhisattva, Manjusri Bodhisattva, Wisdom Accumulated Bodhisattva and Earth Treasury Bodhisattva, all those Bodhisattvas we talked about, can still be found coming and going in the Saha World. So, this is still the era when Sakyamuni Buddha teaches and transforms. Thus, He comes and goes in the world. Following the ways of life in the world, He will leave and return. Our lives are merely a fragment a few decades long. This is fragmentary samsara. As for Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, when it comes to “fragmentary samsara,” it is not that they come without any control; they come sailing the ship of compassion.

So, we should deeply believe that Buddhas and Bodhisattvas sail the ship of compassion back to the world, that they constantly come and go freely, all for the sake of one thing, “to make vows in the Three Realms and Four Forms of Birth”. In the desire, form and formless realms, these Three Realms, they come and go freely, especially throughout the Four Forms of Birth. We have recently kept talking about the Four Forms of Birth, the Four Forms of Birth and the Six Destinies. The Six Destinies are in the Three Realms. It is because of desirous thoughts that we have no way to leave the Three Realms.

Through spiritual practice we get rid of desire, and when desire weakens, we enter the form realm. There is no desire, but there are still forms. Consciousness and afflictions still exist there. Through spiritual practice we can transcend desire and eliminate discursive consciousness as well. In the formless realm, the mind’s ignorance and afflictions have been eliminated. Since we are beyond desire and forms, the mind’s afflictions [are gone]. However, there are still subtle dusts; there is still a small measure of dust-like ignorance and delusion.

This is like King Brahma. Although he had cultivated supreme precepts and supreme virtues, he still came to seek the Dharma at Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha’s Dharma-assembly. He still came to seek the Dharma and to listen to the true principles, because he still had a small measure of dust-like ignorance. So, he had to come again to seek the True Dharma. The principle is the same. The Three Realms exist in this sequence. There is the desire realm of unenlightened beings, and there is the state of spiritual practice. In the unenlightened desire realm are all of the Six Realms, the heaven, human, asura, hell, hungry ghost and animal realms. So, whatever form of life they may be, everything they are doing creates karma within the Saha world, within the Three Realms. Sakyamuni and all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas constantly come and go like this in the Three Realms, including the Six Destinies and the Four Forms of Birth.

So, in the Six Destinies and Four Forms of Birth, in the Three Realms, the Buddha is the “guiding teacher of the Three Realms” and “kind father of the Four Kinds of Beings”. So, He is both a “teacher and father”. He is both our teacher and our father. This is how He protects our wisdom-life, how He earnestly teaches us. So, we should “pass on the teachings and advance the path”. We should pass them on! The Buddha recruited people for the Dharma.

In the Chapter on Dharma Teachers, He kept on praising the Lotus Sutra. He kept encouraging everyone to accept and uphold, transcribe, teach, read, recite it and so on. In the Chapter on Dharma Teachers, He already explained this very clearly. So, we should pass on the teachings, for the Buddha-Dharma is the wondrous medicine that can save the world, a radiant lamp in the darkness.

For more than 2000 years, Sakyamuni Buddha’s radiant lamp has passed its light from lamp to lamp to illuminate the darkened world. The ground of sentient beings’ minds is dark with ignorance. We should pass on our lamp to illuminate them, to illuminate the ignorance and darkness of the ground of sentient begins’ minds. For this we need to pass on our lamplight from “lamp to lamp without end”. We have the responsibility to “carry on our teacher’s mission and uphold our father’s vow”. Since our karmic conditions are like this, this should be our mission.

We benefit ourselves, but we also benefit others. In fact, benefiting others is the true way to benefit ourselves. When we go among people we see people of all different kinds, with their different temperaments, with their different afflictions, with their different sufferings, so many things. [We see] that their ignorance arises from the darkness of the ground of their minds. So, we should be very mindful to pass on the Buddha’s radiant wisdom. We should resonate with the Buddha-mind, understand the Buddha’s intent. We should be mindful to pass down the Buddha’s teachings. This is like an endless lighting of lamps. This Dharma is radiant, a radiant lamp that illuminates the ground of everyone’s minds so ignorance does not again arise in darkness. So, “We must carry on our teacher’s mission and uphold our father’s vow”. We should be mindful to try and understand this.

The Buddha’s recent manifestation as our teacher reveals the distant intrinsic Buddha-land. Those listening to the Dharma at Vulture Peak realized the ocean of their intrinsic enlightened nature. The Dharma-body abides permanently, without end, transforming the world and benefiting all beings inexhaustibly. From distant kalpas and ancient times to now, from source to utmost extent, it is limitless.

The Buddha opened up His “recent manifestation as our teacher”. Sakyamuni Buddha is separated from us by only 2000 years. We are still able to research Him. In Nepal, the Buddha’s birthplace can still be found. The place where He attained Buddhahood, where He first turned the Dharma-wheel, where He began teaching the Dharma, these historical sites are all still clearly left behind. So, we should still be able to research them; they are not considered distant. The Buddhist sutras are always talking about dust-inked kalpas ago; this is what would be considered a distant time period. The present sites we are still able to research are still considered recent.

This is “the Buddha’s recent manifestation as our teacher”. The footprints left by the Buddha are called “the manifest”. The places where the manifest Buddha went can still be found. They “reveal the distant intrinsic Buddha-land”. The traces of the Buddha’s life still remain. These are footprints, the manifestations we still can find, but the Buddha’s spiritual ideals are very distant. I talk about this every day, how the Buddha has been [coming] lifetime after lifetime for countless kalpas. This is very distant. When we talk about how Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha existed dust-inked kalpas ago, this was clearly a distant time, very far off. This is the “distant intrinsic”.

At that time, the 16 princes began teaching the Lotus Sutra. Even if we only look at that time, it was already a long time ago, very distant. Now at the Vulture Peak Assembly, the Buddha was awakened in this lifetime; He had taught the Dharma for more than 40 years, and now at the Vulture Peak Assembly, He taught the Lotus Sutra. This should have been the last period of the Buddha’s teaching of the Dharma. So, by listening to the Dharma we should “realize the ocean of our intrinsic enlightened nature”. At the Vulture Peak Assembly, we must experience and awaken to this. The Buddha, in the Lotus Sutra, used all kinds of causes and conditions, all kinds of analogies, all kinds of verbal expressions, all to help our sincere hearts truly resonate with this. So, in the ground of our minds, the Vulture Peak Assembly should still be there, along with the stupa at Vulture Peak with Many Treasures Buddha inside. We should be able to come together with them inside of our minds.

We should be able to experience this ocean of our intrinsic enlightened nature. “The Dharma-body abides permanently, without end”. For all of us, our Dharmakaya always exists. For dust-inked kalpas, since Beginning less Time, our Dharma-body has always been there. This is our ocean of intrinsic enlightened nature. This Dharmakaya abides permanently; we bring these principles with us. What kind of causes and conditions and karmic forces have we created? This is also a principle that we carry with us when we come. So, the Dharma-body abides permanently; our nature of True Suchness is still there. Thus, it is everlasting; “The Dharma-body abides permanently, without end, lifetime after lifetime. So, it “transforms the world and benefits all beings infinitely”. If the ocean of our intrinsic enlightened nature can manifest, if we can understand that our Dharma-body abides permanently without end, if we can understand all of this, then all the Dharma that we hear will be in our heart so that when we speak, we always transmit the Buddha’s teachings. We can put them into practice and mobilize sentient beings to go among people. This is “transforming the world and benefitting all being infinitely”. As long as we form an aspiration, we will be able to benefit many sentient beings. So, from distant kalpas in ancient times to now, from long ago, a very distant time, the Buddha had understood this very clearly. He sought the Buddha-Dharma, delivered sentient beings and attained Buddhahood. This is the Buddha. But what about unenlightened beings? We too, since distant kalpas ago, from ancient times until now, have also been coming to the world like this, but what we have created lifetime after lifetime has been ignorance; we replicate it again and again. Although we have these opportunities, we still remain half-asleep. We too have been coming since distant kalpas ago, from ancient times until now, yet the Buddha became enlightened, while we have remained deluded.

So, “From source to utmost extent, it is limitless”. Our wisdom-life is also like this. It follows us lifetime after lifetime. Our wisdom-life, this wisdom, this ocean of our intrinsic enlightened nature, has been covered by ignorance and afflictions. This is because we create ignorance. By this time we should be awaken and should have returned to the ocean of our intrinsic enlightened nature. So, we must mindfully seek to experience this.

Going from the infinite past to the present, we must seize the present moment. In the present, we must correct past mistakes and practice for the future. We must make the great vows and uphold the teachings of the sutra. Countless Bodhisattvas advance the sutra and transform this turbid world into a pure land.

“Going from the infinite past to the present” means we should look back on the past to see how the Buddha taught us. Since dust-inked kalpas before, over a long time, He has been connected to us. Do we believe this or not? The Buddha is “enlightened”. He continually sought the true principles, accumulating karmic conditions for awakening. From ancient times until today, we have constantly accumulated karmic forces and ignorance. If we are willing now to believe and understand, then we “must seize the present moment”. When we listen to the Dharma, we seize hold of every moment, make the best use of our time listening to the Dharma. In the time we have now, we seize the moment and sustain it forever. This is what we should always be doing. Thus, “In the present, we must correct “past mistakes and practice for the future”. When we listen to the Dharma now we must hasten to make changes. Whatever ignorance or faults we have, we must hasten to change them, correct past mistakes and practice for the future. If we made mistakes in the past, we must not make them again. Starting now, we will not make them again. “We make the great vows and uphold the teachings of the sutra”. Since the Buddha had begun recruiting people for the Dharma, we need to accept the Buddha-Dharma and pass down the teachings. This shows the Buddha’s heartfelt efforts. So, we should “make the great vows and uphold the teachings of the stura. Countless Bodhisattvas will advance the sutra”.

Starting from now, there will begin to be many Bodhisattvas who will make vows to advance the sutra, to advance the teachings of this sutra. “The sutras are a path and the path is a road to walk on”. Advancing the sutras is promoting the path.

So, we “transform this turbid world into a pure land”. Although we are in the world of endurance where there is much suffering, after hearing the Buddha Dharma, we should make great vows and go among people. When sentient beings are suffering, we must find a way to relieve their suffering. “Having relieved them from suffering, we then expound the Dharma for them”. We transform their suffering into happiness. This is “transforming this turbid world into a pure land”.

So, we must mindfully seek to experience this. Since distant kalpas before, the Buddha had been seeking enlightenment. He came to the world lifetime after lifetime, seeking enlightenment because He wanted to spread the Dharma to sentient beings. We too have been coming to the world lifetime after lifetime, yet always in our delusion we create afflictions, so we are always in the Saha world where there is much suffering to endure. This is what we should mindfully seek to realize.

The previous sutra passage says, “We only hope that the World-Honored One will not worry. After the Buddha enters Parinirvana, we will all reverently uphold, read, recite and expound this sutra.”

This was Medicine King Bodhisattva and Great Joyful Eloquence Bodhisattva, along with the 20,000 Bodhisattvas they led. They had already come to understand. Beginning form the Chapter on Dharma Teachers, they had all already begun talking the Dharma to heart. They clearly knew that the Buddha wanted to recruit people for the Dharma, to earnestly advance this sutra’s teachings. So, after everyone heard the Chapter on Seeing the Stupa of Treasures and the Chapter on Devadatta, they believed even more. They formed even greater aspirations. Thus, they had these made vows before the Buddha. “Please Venerable Buddha, do not worry”. After you have entered Parinirvana, we will practice in accord with the teachings”.

The next passage then says, “In the future evil age, sentient beings roots of goodness will become few. Many will become overbearingly arrogant and crave offerings of wealth. Their roots of unwholesomeness will increase, and they will stray far from liberation. In this turbid, evil world in the future, sentient beings’ roots of goodness will gradually become few.

This is due to desire, these traps are everywhere. People will quickly become enticed by these pitfalls and fall into these traps, into these pits of desire. In this way the roots of goodness will slowly become few.

In the future age of evil, sentient beings’ roots of goodness will become few: This explains that in the era of Dharma-degeneration, the turbid world will be full of many evil people. It is far from the time of the Noble Path, and people with roots of goodness will become rare. [Their] roots of goodness will become few: This means their roots of goodness are weak. Because of this, they lack great resolve
They attain a little and become complacent Thus they give rise to all kinds of arrogance.

This explains how in this turbid and evil world, in the era of Dharma-degeneration, most of mankind will have evil thoughts of greed, anger, delusion, arrogance and doubt. [They will do] many things that do not benefit them and do not benefit others, do not benefit them and do not benefit others. These things will continually appear. They will stray further and further from the Noble Path. They will turn their backs on the path. “People with roots of goodness will become rare.” Evil will become more and more prevalent. Goodness will become more and more rare. The Buddha, in His era, was very worried about the future, which is our present, this evil world of the Five Turbidities. “[Their] roots of goodness will become few” means these roots will have already weakened. People’s good hearts will have weakened.

“Because of this” they will lack great resolve”. If you ask them to form great aspirations or to make great vows, it will be very difficult. “If you ask me to donate, then I can do it, but if you want me to live like you for a long time, I cannot do it!”

So, their roots of goodness have weakened and they have no great, far-reaching resolve. There will be many people like this, while those who truly form great aspirations and form aspirations and make vows will become fewer and fewer. In attaining the Dharma, in listening to it, “They attain a little and become complacent”. They will hear just a little and think, “I have listened!” I do listen to the sutras! Yet, when they listen, it is very superficial, just a small taste and they claim to have listened. They do not listen for a long time. I heard from a Bodhisattva from Changchun. She said when someone heard me coughing while I was teaching the sutra, this elderly Bodhisattva just kept on crying. Her daughter told her, “It is useless for you to keep crying like this!” She said, ‘My master, while teaching the sutra, was coughing and this worried me so. She is so far from me, and I worry.” Her daughter then told her, “You shouldn’t worry; just do a little more. Master wants you to do more. Just earnestly do more.” She said, “Ok! You are right! I must do a little more recycling! This is what Master tells us to do. She tells us when teaching the sutra to do more.”

This shows that they are listening! In such a faraway place, she not only listens to and absorbs the Dharma, she hears everything, even the sound of my coughing. They are really very dedicated there. They are mindful in listening to the Dharma. We all know that it is very cold there. They also never stop to rest. In particular, when I was coughing, during those few days when I was sick, the temperatures were [so cold]. Even here in Taiwan it was cold; what must it have been like then in Changchun? So, we should know that when it comes to earnestly accepting the Dharma, we cannot just listen superficially, we truly must listen mindfully.

So, we cannot just listen a little and then start giving rise to arrogance. We cannot be content having attained only a little. So, “Many will become overbearingly arrogant”. People now, upon hearing just a little of the Dharma, start thinking very highly of themselves; this is how overbearing arrogance arises. Many will “crave offerings of wealth”.

Many will become overbearingly arrogant and crave offerings of wealth: During this time, there will be more people who engage in spiritual practice but claim to have attained when they have not. They are often conceited and arrogant and crave things, such as wealth and offerings. In addition, they often become attached to offerings of wealth made in connection with the Dharma. So not only will their roots of goodness grow fewer and fewer, but they will grow more roots of unwholesomeness. They will stray farther and farther away from the great path of liberation.

Thoughts of greed can arise even in monastics; they may hope people come to pay respect and make offerings to them. This is incorrect. As monastics we are supposed to cultivate our mind. This is what it means to be a monastic! If we do not cultivate our minds well, then we are still unenlightened beings. How can we enter this pure family then? So, we should be very mindful.

During this time, “There will be more people who engage in spiritual practice but claim to have attained when they have not”. They clearly have not attained anything; their minds are clearly just as confused, yet having heard just a little of the sutras, they think, “I understand it all. Now I understand everything!” “They claim to have attained when they have not. They are often conceited and arrogant.” They begin thinking they are something special and look down on others. They become very conceited and arrogant. This is really terrible! So, we should constantly heighten the vigilance of our own minds. They “crave things, such as wealth and offerings”. [Soliciting] offerings of wealth like this or having people come to make offerings to us is not acceptable. The things we are able to do, we must do ourselves. Of course we are always seeing many Bodhisattvas and lay practitioners come to help us and for this we should constantly be grateful. We are grateful for having such a beautiful environment. Besides we ourselves doing the best we can, Bodhisattvas from outside also come to help us with chores here at the Abode and help us to keep it clean. It is because we receive these people’s help that we are able to engage in spiritual practice. So, do not be arrogant in thinking that people should give us offerings of wealth or that they should make other offerings to us. If we have not engaged in spiritual practice, then how can we have others make offerings of wealth to us?

So, we must earnestly wake ourselves up. In addition, “They often become attached to offerings of wealth made in connection with the Dharma.” Having taught just a little of the Dharma, they become attached to their connection with it. These are called “contrived affinities”. They contrive affinities with others to have them come make offerings. This should not be done either. So, not only will their roots of goodness grow fewer and fewer. “They will grow more roots of unwholesomeness”. If all we do is crave these things, our roots of unwholesomeness will again increase. Our lives are very simple here. We live a collective life here with many people all living under the same roof. Everyone has a bed and beside the bed is a small bookshelf. Our desires are few, so we should be satisfied. When we look at where we get to live and compare it with refugees who have nothing, who have to brave the elements, we are already very satisfied. We always say that we should be very satisfied, not “crave offerings of wealth”. That is not acceptable! So, when it comes to us spiritual practitioners, there are things that we must do. We should truly cherish this environment we live in, this monastery that we practice in. This is what we must do. We should not crave anything more. As long as we have enough, that is fine. We must not let our roots of goodness decrease. We need to increase our roots of goodness. In the Amitabha Sutra it tells us to recite the Buddha’s name and also tells us, “We cannot [be born in the pure land] if we lack” “roots of goodness, blessings and virtues”. We want to increase our roots of goodness, not let them decrease. If we just remain in this state of greed, our unwholesome roots will increase again. “They will grow more rots of unwholesomeness.” This comes from evil and greedy thoughts. If this happens, then “from the great path of liberation” we will stray further and further. If we turn our back on the path, then we will stray further and further. Originally, countless kalpas ago, since Beginningless Time, we have always had the ocean of our intrinsic enlightened nature. It is just that lifetime after lifetime we have increase our afflictions and ignorance.

Now, after great difficulty, we finally have the causes and conditions to enter the Buddha’s door so we should quickly take advantage of them and not allow our roots of unwholesomeness to increase. If we do, we will stray even further; we will stray even further from the Buddha-Dharma. “Their roots of unwholesomeness will increase, and they will stray far from liberation.” This is because, “In their spiritual practice, they have created negative karma”. Over their course of spiritual practice, they have lost their spiritual aspirations and thus again give rise to discursive thoughts; by creating negative karma, “They plant the seeds of samsara instead and do not increase their roots of goodness. They stray far from the Dharma of purity and liberation”. We are already doing the opposite, again planting the seeds that drag us through samsara, so we are constantly ensnared by affinities. The affinities that bind us proliferate and bind us ever more.

Thus, “They stray far from the Dharma of purity and liberation.” We continue to remain in the Six Realms and Four Forms of Birth, unable to be liberated from samsara. More and more are like this. So, we must be very cautious not to increase our roots of unwholesomeness more, or stray far from the Dharma of purity and liberation. We must avoid this at all costs.

So, we need to put effort into being mindful. “Their roots of goodness will become few” because of “the turbidity of sentient beings.”

Their roots of goodness will become few: The turbidity of sentient beings Overbearing arrogance: The turbidity of views Craving offerings: The turbidity of afflictions Unwholesomeness increasing: The turbidity of life Straying far from liberation: The kalpa of turbidity.

We face the Five Turbidities. Sentient beings now have few roots of goodness. Lacking roots of goodness, they act upon the Five Desires and so forth. They fall into the traps of the Five Desires. So, these are “the turbidities of sentient beings.” So, with “overbearing arrogance,” among the Five Turbidities, “overbearing arrogance” is “the turbidity of views.” Having turbidity of views means that our perspectives are not pure. Very severe turbidities will naturally increase our overbearing arrogance, we have arrogance, ignorance, arrogance and doubt. This arrogance arises in us. These are sentient beings’ severe turbidities. When our perspectives are impure, the turbidity will increase. “Craving offerings” is “the turbidity of afflictions.” It is because we crave offerings that our afflictions keep increasing. “Unwholesomeness increasing” is “the turbidity of life.” Because in our lives we have already done things that were not pure, we keep multiplying our ignorance and afflictions. In our lives, if we lack good and allow evil to increase, then this is “the turbidity of life.”

Then, we will “stray far from liberation.” When we stray far from liberation, this is called “the kalpa of turbidity.” Now, after much effort over the course of many kalpas, we have encountered the Buddha-Dharma in this life. Yet, once discursive thoughts arise in us, our roots of goodness will decrease and our negative thoughts will increase. This is having few roots of goodness and overbearing arrogance, craving offerings, increasing our roots of unwholesomeness, straying far from liberation and so on. This is because in this time, in this evil world of the Five Turbidities, this is “the kalpa of turbidity.” This is how it is; so much turbidity of sentient beings is created. The collective karma sentient beings have created all arises from “the turbidity of views,” arises from “the turbidity of afflictions” in people’s minds. Thus everything people do in their lives, all the karma they create, is unwholesome. This becomes sentient beings’ collective karma. In this era, at this time, these turbidities have become very severe. This is what we as sentient beings are doing.

The world will continue to degenerate and deviant practices will proliferate.
In the world of the Five Turbidities, those with right faith will be few, while those with deviant views will be many. They only seek wealth to indulge their bodies, so how could they aspire to eliminate the Five Desires?

“The world will continue to degenerate and deviant practices will proliferate.” This age will continually become more evil and turbid. So, the world of the Five Turbidities is the severely turbid era we are living in now. Those with right faith have already become few, and those with deviant views are increasing. This is why everyone gives in to these desirous thoughts of wealth and continually cares only about physical pleasure. No one wants to engage in physical work; they are afraid it will affect their hands, afraid it will affect their bodies. So, all they have come to care about is staying beautiful and dainty. They never think that, as humans in this world, our bodies are for working. So, they do not dare to go out and work. Caring only for their own four limbs and bodies, they are not willing to put effort into work or to be of service to the world. This is because in their minds there is only the Five Desires. They can never escape the Five Desires. This means our minds have become totally bound by sentient beings, by interpersonal relationships, by our perspectives, by our afflictions, by everything we do in life and so forth. All of this comes together.

So, in our world now, the turbidities are indeed severe. I hope everyone will be very vigilant of this and always be mindful!

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