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 20180607《靜思妙蓮華》道力未足 願至他方 (第1365集) (法華經·勸持品第十三)

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發表主題: 20180607《靜思妙蓮華》道力未足 願至他方 (第1365集) (法華經·勸持品第十三)   周三 6月 06, 2018 9:55 pm

20180607《靜思妙蓮華》道力未足 願至他方 (第1365集) (法華經·勸持品第十三)

⊙如是道力未足難堪惡世,發願他方異土弘法利生,懼堪忍之眾生難調難伏,如是懷增上慢未得謂得。
⊙弊惡損壞性德,造積惡業之人,瞋含貪癡渾濁,諂曲巧言令色,功德薄者,縱有少善,皆是有漏,若離失戒定慧,非稱性之因也。
⊙「雖難可教化,我等當起大忍力,讀誦此經,持說、書寫、種種供養,不惜身命。」《法華經勸持品第十三》
⊙「爾時、眾中五百阿羅漢得受記者,白佛言:世尊!我等亦自誓願,於異國土廣說此經。」《法華經勸持品第十三》
⊙此等道力未充足,難堪惡世,發願他方異土,弘法利生,畏堪忍之難調難伏。
⊙爾時、眾中五百阿羅漢得受記者:此五百人皆已得受成佛記者。法華經卷四第八品之名,此品說下根之弟子,受成佛之記別者。受記別之弟子,總有千二百人,分之為二段。初先授記於富樓那一人,後總授記於餘人。
⊙「於異國土廣說此經:畏此濁惡難可教化,故願於餘土而廣說此經!異國土:他國土、均指娑婆國外之大千世界而言。
⊙「復有學無學八千人得受記者,從座而起,合掌向佛作是誓言:世尊!我等亦當於他國土廣說此經。」《法華經勸持品第十三》
⊙復有學無學八千人得受記者:即第九品得記之者。
⊙從座而起,合掌向佛作是誓言:離座合掌,表於敬儀,然後立誓。
⊙世尊!我等亦當於他國土廣說此經:是等力微。畏此難化。

【證嚴上人開示】
如是道力未足難堪惡世,發願他方異土弘法利生,懼堪忍之眾生難調難伏,如是懷增上慢未得謂得。

如是道力未足
難堪惡世
發願他方異土
弘法利生
懼堪忍之眾生
難調難伏
如是懷增上慢
未得謂得

用心,把握時間!人生在無常剎那間,所以我們此時呼吸順暢,要好好把握在每時刻、每秒鐘。佛陀來人間長時間,都是把握,就是求道精進,才有辦法道力充足。而我們若是懵懂過日子,時間空過,一輩子就是這樣很快!所以我們要好好把握時間。假如我們的道力,若還未足夠,這個娑婆世界是堪忍的世界,娑婆世界很惡劣,不論是在天地間,大自然的境界,或者是人人相處環境中,或者是自己生活,人間無常,這無不都是在很難堪忍耐的時間、空間、人間中。最近常跟大家說,想清楚,哪怕你一輩子,生活無虞、無罣礙,卻是生命長短真正都不知道,生、老、病、死,常常說,不一定是等到老來之時。所以我們必定要把握在當下,來了解堪忍惡世。到底它的內容有多少呢?讓人難堪忍耐。人與人的相處,彼此感情也是,好的感情,很歡喜,每天相見,忽然間愛別離苦,苦不苦?苦啊!

或者是怨憎會,不愛的人,不喜歡的人,卻是偏偏都是在周圍裡,苦不苦?苦啊!常常就是人我是非,苦也不堪!這只是在生活中,人與人的相處,就有這樣很奧妙的感情,很歡喜、不捨的感情。很怨、很憎,見面都很難過,這種怨憎會的感情。這麼簡單的相處,這麼簡單的時間、空間,這樣,這種的人間,這麼的簡單就很苦,何況天災、人禍、無常等等,這就是苦!所以我們應該要好好用心,這個堪忍世界要如何克服?要如何來超脫?要如何…?這我們也要用心。但是,佛的時代,佛陀講說《法華經》,無不是都是期待弟子要超越,人人要打開心胸,入人群中,將自己的煩惱無明撥開,清淨無染穢,去除愛、憎,愛也好,憎恨也好,完全將它去除。這都要超越,要超脫,其實談何容易。

人間既然這麼的苦,不要再來人間了。人間生命雖然短暫,但是很難調伏眾生,各種不同的習氣,難得調伏眾生,原來各人不同這種分別的心態,無法調伏眾生,重重疊疊的煩惱。尤其是眾生難得接受,這難調伏的眾生,很剛強,既然此地難調伏,不如「發願他方異土,弘法利生」。這個地方這麼難度,這些人這麼難教,是不是發願生在他方世界,能夠找到有緣人,在那個地方度生、弘法,利益眾生,是不是換個地方去,比較不會那麼辛苦。這些人是為什麼呢?就是懼,怕!怕什麼?怕這世界,堪忍。「堪忍」就是娑婆,這個娑婆世界的眾生,真的是難調難伏,很剛強,真是難調伏,哪怕是在身邊,如何教他,精進,修行。不過,可能,「我做事情就好,我不用去了解那麼多。」說不定,就是難得將這種的心,雜念心、遠世的心情,難得調伏,回過過來,認真在大道來接受,可能也是難調伏。所以這就是修行者,不敢再留在娑婆世界,他懼怕娑婆世界的眾生,就是這麼難調難伏。

「如是懷增上慢未得謂得」。因為娑婆世界眾生之所以難調伏,就是因為世界的人貪、瞋、癡,尤其是慢、疑。要去除貪,要改變了瞋的習氣,或者是好好接受佛法,將癡念慢慢去除,還不困難;但是要將驕傲的心,懷疑的念頭去除,才是困難。驕傲,「未得謂得」。「知道、知道,常常在聽,你也是常常這樣說,這樣的生活與修行還差多少呢?沒什麼差,所以,法,我全都知道。」或者是得到一點點的法,其實自己沒去身體力行,在生活中,自己的生活沒有入心來,這樣覺得:我全都知道。對其他的人懂得批評,其他的人,「你怎麼這樣、這樣」。但是,沒有回顧自己,而我們呢,我們有接受到法,有落實在生活上?這只是懂得「知少為足」,光是知道批評別人,不知道自己。

自高、傲慢,這種脾氣很深惡,瞧不起任何一個人,以為他自己比其他的人,都是高一等,這全都是驕慢。或者是法,是不是這樣呢?他不願意去接受相信,這是疑。我們做人,不懂得把握相信真理,光是在那地方徘徊、懷疑,這全都是障礙道。不懂得向道精進,這全都叫增上慢的人。時間很快就這樣空過了,「未得謂得」,這就是空過人生,很軟弱,不敢面對著,這種剛強難調伏的眾生,所以他就不敢在這裡。雖然佛陀要他們發大心立大願,「唉,我來發大心,我來立大願,但是,這個地方這些人難調教,我換一個其它的地方去。」這就是剛強眾生難調伏,沒辦法立大弘誓願,在堪忍的世界,他們就會逃避,逃避這種剛強難調伏的眾生。

這就是佛陀當初的弟子,二千多年前,佛世的弟子就這樣。所以他們很怕,這些剛強難調伏的眾生。「懷增上慢」的人,這是當初佛陀的(聲聞)弟子,大家所懼怕,大家修行,就只是希望脫離娑婆世界。「要發大心,可以,只要不要在娑婆世界,去其它的國土。」這就是佛陀時代的弟子,他們相信佛的教法,願意承受,願意身體力行,不過,這個娑婆世界,連修行者都懼怕。

弊惡損壞性德
造積惡業之人
瞋含貪癡渾濁
諂曲巧言令色
功德薄者縱有少善
皆是有漏
若離失戒定慧
非稱性之因也

所以,娑婆世界的人,那就是「弊惡損壞性德」。在這娑婆世界,人人這個「性」,多數佷容易受污染了,很容易學壞了,所以人人本具真如本性的德行,總是受外在後天的環境,這樣將它損壞掉了,就引起了貪、瞋、癡、慢、疑,這種的凡夫心,這樣又再升高起來了。因為這樣,所以造作,累積惡業的人。

所以我們一念若偏差,很容易造作、累積很多惡業,這樣的人,在這娑婆世界就愈來愈多哦。這種「瞋」,愛發脾氣,其實為什麼愛發脾氣啊?他就是含蓋著「貪」、「癡」,這樣渾濁了,怎麼突然這樣發脾氣呢?因為所得未到。感情得不到、財利得不到、地位得不到,不順我的意,我所想要的,我都沒辦法順意,這都包含在「瞋」之中。所以這瞋一起,源頭就是,來自於不順意、得不到,所以就有瞋。

所以「瞋」的內涵,就有「貪」與「癡」。不明白道理,叫做「癡」。「六根」緣著外面的六塵境,那就是「貪」,才會貪外面的東西,不順我的意,得不到。以及「癡」,不明白道理,得不到的東西,就這樣起了瞋念。所以這「瞋」的來由,就有「貪」與「癡」。「貪」與「癡」含蓋在瞋之中,所以這個「瞋」一發生起來,那就造作了人禍,自己的方向偏差了,一念無明起了,害人不利己,這是「瞋」,看社會新聞,哪一項造作,不是從那念「瞋」的衝動。這瞋的衝動出去,就是在「貪」與「癡」。「癡」,不明白道理,就是平時不接受法,不接受這個法,不接受真理,就不斷一直造作,複製無明,所以無明就是「癡」。這個癡念起,外面緣境,那就「貪」;貪不到,那就癡了。所以,貪、瞋、癡中,「瞋」,就是來自「貪」與「癡」。這我們要很用心。

在「渾濁」就是混淆去了,我們的內心本來是真如本性,明明歷歷,真如本性,道理清楚,人人本性覺海,大家本具,就是因為無明,渾濁了我們的真如。因為這樣,在外面造作,日常的生活,這種「諂曲巧言令色」。你看這個人常常都笑咪咪,不一定是內心很誠意,不一定哦!孔夫子說:「巧言令色鮮矣仁」。就容易去奉承人。看到人,為了要討好人,那個人的身,有能夠利益他的,所以他就不斷討好,這叫做「諂曲」,心沒有直,這樣彎曲,對一個人的希望,他能夠得到歡喜,博取他的愛心,博取他的歡喜,所以他願意這樣諂曲,這不是真心。忽然間,他對他非常奉承的人,權勢若失去了,他很快就反叛他。這種人,看他笑笑的,心不一定很單純,以前的人說是「笑面虎」,外面看起來很單純,內心常常懷著不利人。這種人前說人很好的話,人後說人的是非,這種人也很多。所以,這就是眾生剛強,這就是不敢,去向他們投教、說法,不敢,修行者不敢接受這樣的人。

所以,「功德薄者縱有少善,皆是有漏」。假使有的人願意做一點點好事,但是做一點點,他就感覺很多。縱然有小善,但是就是有所求的;有所求,就是有漏。付出是有條件的,「我對你奉承,對你說好話,給你一點點的利,你對我信任,能給我很大的利益。」像這樣的人也是很多。所以,這種有漏善,希望付出是有條件的,要能得到,「我付出,至少我也要有名,至少我也要得到人尊敬我,至少我也要得到……。」很多。付出的愛夾雜著那分,要我的名,要人為我……等等,這都叫做「有漏」。

真正付出是無所求,這是真實的誠意,但是若抱著那分「我付出,我要求得名,求得利等等」,這都叫做「有漏」。

所以,「若離失戒定慧,非稱性之因也」。我們修行都要修掉,我們不要去貪、瞋、癡。在我們的內心裡,要將一切,全都很清楚明白道理,自然我們的癡念、貪念去除,就沒有瞋念的形象出來,這是徹底去除,就沒有渾濁,那就會很乾淨了。去除了之後,我們的心很坦蕩開闊,心寬念純,就沒有諂曲、巧言令色,全都沒有了,對人是真誠的,誠正信實,就沒有諂曲、巧言令色,這都沒有了。所以我們所做的一切,我們就是付出無所求,沒有這種做一點點的善根,就有要求得的念頭,這也全都沒有。所以必定要好好修,戒、定、慧,我們若離開了戒、定、慧,前面所講的,人生多少都有貪、瞋、癡,以及對人前講好話,在人後是在誹謗的,這種人,我們是不是,我們過去有這樣嗎?有哦!有,我們就要趕緊,好好做為一位正人君子,人前,人後,都要同樣,很誠意對待人。我們的心念開闊,很單純,付出是我們的本分事,這就是在戒、定、慧中。

我們已經了解道理了,我們守規矩,我們的心堅定,我們的智慧超越,不論做什麼事情,付出就是都無所求,這樣就是無漏失,道理在我們的內心,所以無漏失,這就是真正用心在修行,要不然,戒、定、慧也漏失掉了,這是「非稱性之因」。我們要回歸我們的本性,回歸我們的真如,我們真正行菩薩道的因行,這就稱不上,無法是真正行菩薩道的因,這都有帶著這個利益自己,這就不是行菩薩道了。所以說,在這個世間要行菩薩道,不簡單。這個世間多數的人類,都是這樣「弊惡損壞性德」,多數,造作積累,累積惡業的人,都是在這個地方,娑婆世界裡,就是這樣貪、瞋、癡,渾濁了。人人相對待,總是這樣諂曲、巧言令色等等,這就是世間,世間的眾生就是這樣。所以佛時代,修行者不敢在這樣的人間,希望到其他的國土去,去真正坦坦蕩蕩來行「六度萬行」,這就是希望種菩薩清淨因。

但是,他方的世界,有沒有像這樣,這種濁氣很重呢?是沒有。不過,佛陀要我們,就是要在這個世界,就是濁氣重,眾生的習氣很不好,才需要人去入人群,去度化。所以,做菩薩必定要很勇敢,才有辦法這念心住在這個地方,這個地方,娑婆世界堪忍,我們才要經得起忍耐。

「雖難可教化,我等當起大忍力,讀誦此經,持說、書寫、種種供養,不惜身命。」

雖難可教化
我等當起大忍力
讀誦此經
持說 書寫
種種供養
不惜身命
《法華經勸持品第十三》

所以前面的文就說,「雖難可教化」,這個地方娑婆世界的眾生,雖然剛強難調伏,很難得教化。「我等」,就是藥王、大樂說菩薩等,二萬位菩薩來向佛陀發願。「我等當起大忍力」,我們願意,願意在這個娑婆世界來度眾生,我們絕對會起這個大忍力,我們覺悟了,我們願意修行、磨練,磨練出大忍辱力。「大慈悲為室,柔和忍辱衣,諸法空為座」,我們一定要修練出來,這是前面說的。

這個時候的發願,意思就是大忍力,你要忍,是為什麼忍?大慈悲,不捨這些剛強的眾生,再在娑婆世界造作這個業力,不忍心,我們願意慈悲,好好修養我的慈悲心,我願意穿起了這套忍辱衣,願意這樣訓練我自己,因為世間一切法,皆是空法,短暫無常,所以我們要在這個地方,好好利用這個法,「真空」要取得「妙有」,那就是行菩薩道的因,我們願意。所以在這個地方,要好好守護這部經,這個道理,這麼完整的道理,所以我們要在這裡「讀誦此經」。「持」,就是身體力行,入人群中去說法。「書寫」,希望這部經能夠很廣闊普遍,用這樣種種身形供養,供養付出,為傳法這部經,這叫做供養。從這部經,要好好擁護好,保護好,把這個道理很充足,能入人群去,不惜身命,這是前文的意思。

下面接下來,這段文說:「爾時、眾中五百阿羅漢得受記者,白佛言:世尊!我等亦自誓願,於異國土廣說此經。」

爾時
眾中五百阿羅漢
得受記者
白佛言
世尊
我等亦自誓願
於異國土廣說此經
《法華經勸持品第十三》

這個地方就是前說,佛陀已經為他授記過的,五百或者是千二百的人,這些羅漢還是再來向佛發願,看到藥王、大樂說,二萬菩薩來發願,他們既然受佛,得佛為他們授記,所以他們也願意向佛來發願。發願說,他們不敢在這裡,要去其他的地方,這就是道力未充足。所以幾天前和大家講,雖然佛陀為他們授記了,但是他們還沒有身體力行,就是還沒有鍛鍊出,他們的道力出來,所以他們的道力還沒有充足,難堪惡世。

此等道力未充足
難堪惡世
發願他方異土
弘法利生
畏堪忍之難調難伏

那個道力若還沒有充足,自己對這部經的道理,還沒有很透徹了解,因為這樣,他也要發願,但是發願的地方,不是在這個地方,看能去其他的地方,比較單純的地方嗎?因為這個地方,是難堪惡世,難堪忍的世間,所以「難堪惡世,發願他方異土」。這個地方真的是難堪的惡世,所以希望在其他國土,去弘法利生。他們就是懼怕,這個堪忍難調伏的眾生,這些羅漢很怕,怕我們這群惡劣的眾生,所以還是希望到其他的地方。

所以這段文才說,「爾時,眾中五百阿羅漢得受記者」,這是前面,已得佛陀授記之人。所以《法華經》第四卷的第八品,那就是這些人,就是佛陀所授記的下根機的人。前面說過了,受記別的弟子有千二百人,分兩段來授記。

爾時
眾中五百阿羅漢
得受記者:
此五百人
皆已得受成佛記者
法華經卷四
第八品之名
此品說下根之弟子
受成佛之記別者
受記別之弟子
總有千二百人
分之為二段
初先授記
於富樓那一人
後總授記於餘人

第一個受記那就是富樓那。富樓那,他得佛授記,再下來那就是千二百人,也同樣受記,這是分兩梯次。這千二百人中,五百人有阿若憍陳如,有離婆多等等,得到佛陀的授記,也是同一個名稱,叫做「普明如來」。又再是這五百人,還有敘說領解的特殊的事,這是在五百弟子裡面。總而言之,在這兩段授記裡面,這裡面有五百人,現在也已經發心,向佛表達:「我們願意。願意發大心,但是不敢在這個娑婆世界,我們希望到其他的國土去。去那裡發心立願。」。

「於異國土廣說此經」,在其他的國土裡,去講這部經,不敢在娑婆世界,我們願意到其他的國家去說法。

於異國土
廣說此經:
畏此濁惡難可教化
故願於餘土
而廣說此經
異國土:他國土
均指娑婆國外之
大千世界而言

這就是有五百人,他們的心聲,他們願意去付出,但是不是在最難堪忍的世界,不是,他們要去其他的國土,這個「異國」。就是怕,怕現在這個世間,不如到其他的世界去,因為畏懼,在這個濁惡難可教化,在這個地方很難教。我們就知道這個世間,真的很堪忍,難堪忍耐的世間,連修行者,尤其是佛陀的時代,所調教過的弟子,都很怕,這個堪忍的娑婆世界的人類,就是這麼的濁惡,所以他們一直希望要脫離這個堪忍的世間,還是執著在脫離。

過去他們不敢發菩薩心,不敢發大願,也是為了要獨善其身。現在雖然發願了,但是不敢面對現實的這個,堪忍濁惡難調教的地方,他們還是不敢。可見這個世間的環境和人,人間,真的是很困難調伏。所以,「故願於餘土,而廣說此經」,願意在其他的國土來講經,都不願意在這裡。所以,「異國土」,是他國,那就是指娑婆世界以外的,大千世界而言。這就是這些聲聞、羅漢,根機還沒有真正展大,只是佛陀所講的法,他們已經願意接受,願意發心,但是叫他身體力行,他還是很怕。

下面接下來的這段文再說:「復有學無學八千人得受記者,從座而起,合掌向佛作是誓言:世尊!我等亦當於他國土廣說此經。」

復有學無學八千人
得受記者
從座而起
合掌向佛作是誓言
世尊
我等亦當於他國土
廣說此經
《法華經勸持品第十三》

這五百個人這樣的發心,但是不敢在這個娑婆世界,發心是要去外地。

復有學無學八千人
得受記者
即第九品得記之者

後面還有學無學八千人,得授記的人,第九品開始再繼續授記,這些人也跟進了:「這樣對啦,這個世間這麼堪忍,難堪忍耐的世間,想要在這個地方發心,雖然佛陀說我們可以成佛,我們一定要來弘宣這部經,要弘揚宣說這部經,一定要受持。但是地方不是在這裡,我們也要跟他們一樣,來去他方世界。」這就是在第九品的下根機,願意發心,但是不敢面對這個娑婆世界的眾生,這樣的人來發願。所以他們也「離座合掌,表於敬儀」,就是表示恭敬佛。

從座而起
合掌向佛
作是誓言:
離座合掌
表於敬儀
然後立誓

佛既然要我們發大心,而我們也願意發大心,這就是「隨喜結緣」。隨喜的結緣,是不是真正有入真心呢?其實,佛陀也不敢盼望,只是了解他們一定,將來也是會成佛,那是很以後、以後,因為他們人人本具佛性。所以大家會成佛,名,都是同樣一個名。所以沒有特殊的因緣,所以是一個「結緣眾」,這些結緣眾,也是給他們一個因緣,讓他們發一個心念。所以「從座而起,合掌向佛」,這樣表達敬信。

世尊
我等亦當於他國土
廣說此經:
是等力微
畏此難化

「世尊,我們大家願意在他方國土,廣說此經。」這就沒有什麼因緣了,只是「是等力微,畏此難化。」這些人一直自己也感覺,「我很微小的力,不太敢發大願、出大力,我可能還沒有這個力。」就是前面我們說過的,佛陀為法求人,就是要需要,能求得願意承擔的人;要不然,法弘傳在後世,雖然有經典存在,能看,但是微力,就是言輕,力微,因為他沒有這個願力,所以這個言語就很輕,力量就很微小,那就是這些人。學佛,我們一定要立大願、發大心,要身體力行。發心立願,不是只說:「知道了!知道了!」不是,是我願意,我願意「大慈悲為室,柔和忍辱衣,諸法空為座」,不用想這麼多,世間人的剛強,你就「諸法空為座」,你付出無所求就好了,沒有想在他們身上得到什麼,總是我儲蓄我的力量來付出,這是「妙有」啊!眾生一切的習氣,是「真空」,你不用去執著,那就沒什麼。

人生苦短啊!人與人的之間就是這樣,在一起時,互相勉勵,行菩薩道,大家互相在道業精進。人生長長短短,前前後後,後面的人向前面的人祝福,總是每一個人都有他的因緣;這個因緣有的很瀟灑的因緣,有的人很折磨的因緣,總是我們用很虔誠的心,來為他們祝福,這就是人間!我們在一起,大家互相成就道業,前前後後要把握因緣,好的因緣,大家互相成就,不要結惡緣,要結好緣。在這個法,在人間,我們要「法法相傳,燈燈相傳」。同樣的道理,所以佛陀在求人弘法,我們就要發揮這分力量,所以我們要時時多用心!


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Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: Vows to Go to Different Lands (道力未足 願至他方)
Date: June.07.2018

“For those with insufficient spiritual strength, it was hard to endure this evil world. So they made vows to go to different lands in other places to advance the Dharma and benefit sentient beings. They all feared that the sentient beings in the world of endurance would be difficult to train, for they harbor such overbearing arrogance and claim to have attained when they have not.”

We must be mindful and make the most of our time. In life, impermanence can strike at any moment, so while we are still breathing, we must work hard to seize every moment and every second. When the Buddha came to this world, for a long time, He always seized the moment to seek the path diligently; this was how He was able to develop sufficient spiritual strength. If we pass our lives in confusion and idle away our time, our lives will quickly pass us by like this.

So, we must earnestly seize the time. Our spiritual strength may be insufficient, and this Saha World is the world that must be endured. The Saha World is very harsh. Whether within the natural world, within human society, or within our own lives, the world is impermanent. All of these times, places and relationships are very difficult to endure.

Recently, I have often told everyone that we must carefully think about this. Even if, throughput our entire lives, we have no worries or hindrances, we still do not know how long our lives will actually be. We go through birth, aging, illness and death. We often say that we might not necessarily reach old age. So, we must seize the present to understand this evil world that must be endured. How much is there in this world that is difficult to endure? Interpersonal interactions and relationships are the same way. With good relationships, we are happy. We see each other every day, but suddenly, we will suffer from parting with those we love. Is this suffering? It truly is! Or, we will meet those we hate. If there are those we do not love and do not like, we are always surrounded by them. Is this suffering? It is! Often, there are interpersonal disputes. This suffering is also hard to endure, and this is just in our everyday lives. In interpersonal relationships, the feelings involved are very mysterious. There is joy and the reluctance to part.

There are feelings of great enmity and hatred. Just seeing someone can make us unhappy; these are the feelings from meeting those we hate. These are such simple interactions, simple [events] in time and space. In this world, such simple occurrences cause great suffering, not to mention natural and manmade disasters, impermanence and so on. This is suffering.

So, we must put effort into being mindful. How can we overcome this world of endurance? How can we transcend it? How? We must be very mindful of this.

During the Buddha’s lifetime, He taught the Lotus Sutra in the hope that all His disciples would transcend [this world of endurance] and that everyone would open their hearts and go among people. [He hoped that] everyone would push aside their own afflictions and ignorance, become pure and undefiled and eliminate love and hate. Whether love or hate, all must be totally eliminated. We must transcend these and liberate ourselves.

This is by no means easy. Since this world is so full of suffering, they did not want to return to this world again. Life in this world may be short, but it is very difficult to tame the various habitual tendencies of sentient beings. Sentient beings are hard to tame and all have their own discriminating mindsets. It is impossible to tame and subdue sentient beings’ layers of afflictions. In particular, it is difficult for sentient beings to accept [the teachings]. These hard-to-tame sentient beings are very stubborn. Since beings in this land are hard to train, [so those with insufficient spiritual strength] would rather “make vows to go to different lands in other places to advance the Dharma and benefit sentient beings.” [They felt,] “This land is so hard to transform These people are so difficult to teach. Perhaps if we make vows to be born in other worlds, we will be able to find people we have affinities with and in those lands transform beings, advance the Dharma and benefit sentient beings. Perhaps we should switch to another place so that it would not be so difficult.”

Why did they want to do this? They were afraid. What do they fear? They feared this world of endurance. “The [world of] endurance” is the Saha World. Sentient begins in this Saha World really are difficult to tame and train. They are very stubborn and difficult to train. We could be right beside them, teaching them to be diligent and engage in spiritual practice, and they light [say], “I will just handle these tasks. I don’t need to understand so much.” It might be hard to [tame] this kind of mind, a mind of discursive thoughts or one with an aversion for the world; it is very hard to tame [someone like this] to get them to turn around and earnestly accept [the teachings] on the great path. It might be very hard to train them.

So, these spiritual practitioners did not dare stay behind in the Saha World. They feared that sentient begins in the Saha World would be difficult to tame. “They harbor such overbearing arrogance and calm to have attained when they have not.” Sentient beings in the Saha World are hard to tame because people in this world have greed, anger, ignorance and especially arrogance and doubt. For people to eliminate greed, change their habitual tendency toward anger, or earnestly accept the Buddha-Dharma to gradually eliminate ignorance is not difficult. But for them to eliminate an arrogant mind and thoughts of doubt is very difficult. People are very arrogant and “claim to have attained when they have not I know, I know; I hear this all the time. You are always saying this. How different is this kind of life from [a life of] spiritual practice? It is the same. So, I know all about the Dharma.” Or perhaps they have attained a bit of Dharma, but do not actually put [the Dharma] into practice in their lives. They do not take [the Dharma] to heart in their everyday lives. They simply think, “I know it all.” They know enough to criticize others. They [say] to others, “How could you be like this?” But they do not reflect upon themselves [and think,] “What about us? We have received the Dharma. Are we putting it into practice in our lives?” They only know to “be content with little knowledge”; they only know to criticize others. They do not know that they themselves are conceited and arrogant and have an extremely poor disposition. They look down on any other person and think that they are above others. This is all pride and arrogance. Or when it comes to the Dharma, [they ask], “Is this really the case?” They are unwilling to accept it an alive it; this is doubt.

As human beings, we often do not know to take hold of and believe in the true principles. All we do is hesitate and doubt. All of this is obstructing our path. Those who do not know to diligently advance on the path are people with overbearing arrogance. Time quickly passes them by in vain like this. They “claim to have attained what they have not.” This is wasting their lives away. Being very weak, [the disciples] did not dare to face these stubborn, hard-to-tame sentient beings. So, they did not dare remain here. Although the Buddha wanted them to form great aspirations and make great vows, [they said,] “I will make great aspirations, I will make great vows, but the people in this place are hard to tame. I will switch to another place.” Stubborn sentient begins are hard to tame.

[The disciples] were unable to form great vows in this world that must be endured, so they avoided and tried to escape these stubborn, hard-to-tame sentient beings. This was what the Buddha’s disciples from over 2000 years ago [were like]. The disciples when the Buddha was alive were like this. They were very afraid of these stubborn, hard-to-tame sentient begins, these people with “overbearing arrogance”. The [Hearer] disciples from the Buddha’s time were all afraid of them. They all engaged in practice in hopes of escaping the Saha World. “I can form great aspirations, so long as I do not remain in the Saha World. I will go to a different land instead.” This was what the disciples in the Buddha’s era were like. They had faith in the Buddha’s teachings and were willing to accept them. They were willing to put them into practice. But when it came to this Saha World, even the spiritual practitioners were afraid.

People’s tendency toward evil corrupts their virtuous nature, leading people to create and accumulate negative karma. Their anger harbors the turbidities of greed and ignorance. They engage in devious flattery, using clever words and an ingratiating manner. As for those shallow in merits and virtue, even if they do a few good deeds, they will all have Leaks. If we lose the precepts, Samadhi and wisdom, this will cause us to deviate from our nature.

So, for those in this Saha World, our “tendency toward evil corrupts our virtuous nature”. In this Saha World, this “nature” that everyone has is for the most part very easily contaminated. We easily become affected by bad influences. So, the virtues of our intrinsic nature of True Suchness are always begins corrupted by our external environment. This leads us to give rise to greed, anger, ignorance, arrogance and doubt. Then, this kind of unenlightened mindset will begin to arise again. Because of this, we become people who create and accumulate evil karma. So, when one thought goes astray, we will easily create and accumulate evil karma. People like this become more and more prevalent in Saha World.

[A person with] “anger” easily loses their temper. In fact, why do people easily lose their temper? It is because they harbor “greed” and “ignorance”. This makes [their minds] turbid. Why do they suddenly lose their temper? Because they cannot get [what they want]. They cannot get the relationship [they want], they cannot attain wealth, they cannot attain status. Things do not go as they wish. They cannot get things to go their way. This is all part of “anger”. So, anger arises when things do not go our way and we do not get what we want. Then, we will be angry. So, “anger” also includes “greed” and “ignorance”.

Not understanding the principles is “ignorance”. When the Six Roots connect with the external states of the Six Dusts, this leads to “greed”. This is craving for external things. Things might not go our way and we might not get what we want. Then there is also “ignorance”, which means we do not understand the principles. When we cannot get something, we give rise to thoughts of anger. So, the source of this “anger” is “greed” and “ignorance”. “Greed” and “ignorance” are harbored within “anger”. So, when this “anger” arises, it creates manmade calamities. When our direction in life goes astray and we give rise to a single thought of ignorance, we can harm ourselves and others. This is “anger”.

Look at the news in society. Which of these events did not arise from an impulse of “anger”? This impulse of “anger” is caused by “greed” and “ignorance”. “Ignorance” is not understanding the principles, not accepting the Dharma on a regular basis. People do not accept this Dharma or accept the true principles, so they continue to create [evil karma] and replicate delusions. So, delusion is “ignorance”. When thoughts of ignorance arise, we connect with external states and give rise to greed. When we do not get what we crave, we become angry. So, there is greed, anger and ignorance. “Anger” comes from “greed” and “ignorance”. We must also be very mindful of this. Amidst this “turbidity”, we become confused. Our minds intrinsically have the nature of True Suchness. We clearly have this nature of True Suchness. We clearly understand the principles.

Everyone intrinsically possesses the innate ocean of enlightenment. It is because of ignorance that our nature of True Suchness is turbid. Because of this, it manifests externally. In our everyday living, there are [people engaging in] “devious flattery, using clever words and an ingratiating manner”. People may seem to always be smiling, but they may not necessarily be sincere; not necessarily! Confucius said, “Clever words and an ingratiating manner are rarely benevolent”. [People like this] often flatter others. They see others and try to please them. Because others can give them some benefit, they will continually try to please them. This is “devious flattery”. They are not straightforward but crooked. They hope that when with others, they [themselves] will be able again happiness. They hope to win the love of others, to have people like them, so they are willing to use devious flattery. They are not sincere.

All of a sudden, if the people they flatter lose power, they will quickly betray those people. People like this may appear to be all smiles, but their minds might not be sincere. People used to called these people “smiling tigers”. On the outside, they appear to be very sincere. On the inside, they harbor ill intentions. These people speak nice words in front of others, but spread gossip behind their backs. There are many people like this. So, this is the stubbornness of sentient beings. This is why [practitioners] do not dare to teach and expound the Dharma to them. They do not dare. Spiritual practitioners do not dare to draw near this kind of person.

So, “As for those shallow in merits and virtue, even if they do a few good deeds, they will all have flaws”. If someone is willing to do a bit of good, after doing just a little, they may feel that it was a lot. Even though it may be just a small good deed, they may be seeking something in return. They seek something in return, so they will have flaws. This is giving to others with conditions. “I flattered you and said good things about you, giving you some benefit. The trust you have in me gives me great benefit”. There are many people like this.

So, this kind of flawed goodness happens when people give conditionally and want to get something. “I have given, so I at least want to be recognized. I at least want to earn people’s respect. I should at least get…”. There are so many like this. The love that they give is mixed with their desire for recognition and for others to help them and so on. This is “having flaws”. True giving is giving without expectations. This is true sincerity. But if we harbor the [mindset] of “I give because I want recognition, because I want to gain benefit” and so on, this is “having flaws”. So, “If we lose precepts, Samadhi and wisdom, this will cause to deviate from our nature”. Thus, we must seek to eliminate [greed, anger and ignorance] in our practice. We do not want greed, anger or ignorance in our minds. We must clearly understand all principles. Naturally, when we eliminate our thoughts of ignorance and greed, there will no more appearances of anger. They will be totally eliminated, and there will be no turbidities. [Our hearts] will become very pure. After eliminating [these thoughts], our minds will become open and spacious. We will have open hearts and pure thoughts. We will not engage in devious flattery or use words and an ingratiating manner. All will be eliminated. We will treat others with sincerity, with sincerity, integrity, faith and steadfastness. There will be no devious flattery, using clever words and an ingratiating manner. There will be nine of this. So, in everything we do, we will give without expectations. We will not think of doing something small just to get something in return. Threr will be none of this. So, we must work hard to practice precepts. Samadhi and wisdom. if we depart from precepts, Samadhi and wisdom, then, as discussed earlier, in our lives, to a certain extent, we all have greed, anger and ignorance. Furthermore, we may speak good words, in front of others but slander them behind their backs. Have we ever done this in the past? We have! If we have, we must quickly work hard to be upright people, treating others the same in front of them and behind their backs. We must treat people with great sincerity. Our thoughts must be open, spacious and pure serving others is our duty. This is upholding precepts, Samadhi and wisdom. We already understand the principles. We uphold the rules. Our minds are resolute. Our wisdom is transcendent. No matter the situation, we will give to others without expectations. This way, we will be without Leaks. The principles will be in our minds, so there will be no Leaks. This is engaging in practice with true mindfulness.

Otherwise, [our practice of] precepts, Samadhi and wisdom will also leak away. This “will cause us to deviate from our nature.” We must return to our intrinsic nature, our nature of True Suchness. [If we give with expectations], we cannot be considered to be truly carrying out the causal practice of the Bodhisattva-path; we will be unable to truly practice the causes of the Bodhisattva-path. If we [give] with [the intention of] benefitting ourselves, we are not walking the Bodhisattva-path. So, this is why walking the Bodhisattva-path in this world is not easy. Most people in this world have a “tendency toward evil” that corrupts their virtuous nature. Most people who create and accumulate evil karma are in this place. In this Saha World, greed, anger and ignorance cause turbidity. When people interact, they engage in devious flattery, using clever words and an ingratiating manner etc.. This is what the world is like. This is how sentient beings in this world are. So, in the Buddha’s era, spiritual practitioners dared not stay in this world but hoped to go to a different land to truly take up the responsibility of spiritual practice “actualizing the Six Paramitas in all actions”. They hoped to plant Bodhisattvas’ pure causes. But do other worlds have these severe turbidities? They do not. However, the buddha wants us to be in this world. It is because there are severe turbidities and sentient beings have bad habitual tendencies that we are needed to go among people to transform them.

So, Bodhisattvas must be very courageous in order to hace the aspiration to abide in this place. This place, this Saha World, must be endured; we must be able to endure it.

Although it is difficult to teach and transform them, we will all summon up the great power of patience. We will read and recite this sutra, uphold, expound, transcribe it and make all kinds of offerings to it, even at the cost our lives.

So, the previous sutra passage says, “Although it will be difficult to teach and transform them,” meaning the sentient beings in this Saha World are stubborn and hard to train, very hard to teach and transform. “We all” refers to Medicine King Bodhisattva, Great Joydul Eloquence Bodhisattva and so on. The 20,000 Bodhisattvas came before the Buddha to make vows. “We will all summon up the great power of patience. We are willing. We are willing to transform sentient beings in this Saha World, we will absolutely summon up the great power of patience. We are awakened. We are willing to engage in practice and be tempered, to train our great power to patiently endure. Great compassion is the room, Gentleness and patience are the clothing. The emptiness of all phenomena is the seat. We must cultivate these [qualities].” This is what [the sutra] said previously.

At this time, they made vows, meaning that they had great power of patience. They must patiently endure. Why must they endure? “in our compassion, we cannot bear to let these stubborn sentient beings create more karmic forces in this Saha World. We cannot bear it, we are willing to be compassionate and earnestly cultivate our hearts of compassion. We are willing to wear the clothing of patience. We are willing to train ourselves in this way because all worldly phenomena are empty; they are temporary and impermanent earnestly make use of this Dharma and attain ‘wondrous existence’ through true emptiness. This is carrying out the causes of the Bodhisattva-path. We are willing [to do this]. So, in this place, we will earnestly safeguard this sutra. these principles are very complete. So, we will [abide] in this place to read and recite this sutra, to uphold it, which means to put it into practice, to go among people to teach the Dharma and to transcribe the sutra.” They hoped to widely spread this sutra.” They would make offerings with their actions. They would make offerings and give of themselves in order to spread this sutra. this is what it means to make offerings. They had to earnestly safeguard and protect this sutra and, with this abundance of principles, go among people. They did not hesitate to give their lives. This is the meaning of the precious passage.

Next, the [sutra] passage says, “At that time, the 500 Arhats among the assembly who had received predictions said to the Buddha, ‘World-Honored One, we will also make vows to go to different lands to widely expound this sutra.

This is [about] the 500 or 1200 people whom the Buddha had bestowed predictions upon earlier before the Buddha. they saw Medicine King, Great Joyful Eloquence and 20,000 Bodhisattvas all come to make vows. Since [the Arhats] had received predictions of Buddhahood from the Buddha, they were also willing to make vows to the Buddha. In their vows, they said they did not dare stay; they wanted to go to other lands. This was because their spiritual strength was still insufficient.

Several days ago, we said that although the Buddha had bestowed predictions upon them, they had not put the teachings into practice. They had not yet tempered their spiritual strength. So, their spiritual strength was still insufficient, and it is hard to endure this evil world.

These people did not have sufficient spiritual strength, so it was hard for them to endure this evil world. Thus, they aspired to go to different lands in other places to advance the Dharma and benefit sentient beings. They feared the sentient beings of the world of endurance would be hard to train.

Their spiritual strength was insufficient, and they were still unable to thoroughly understand the principles. Because of this, they also made vows, but the place they vowed [to go to] was not this place. They wanted to see if they could go to other places, places that were purer. This place is an evil world that is hard to endure. “It was hard for them to endure this evil world. So, they aspired to go to different lands in other places.” This land really is an evil world that is difficult to endure. But they hoped to go to other lands to advance the Dharma and benefit sentient beings. They were simply afraid of these sentient beings who were difficult to endure and hard to train. These Arhats were very afraid, afraid of us evil sentient beings. So, they still hoped to go to other places.

Thus, this [sutra] passage says, “At that time, the 500 Arhats among the assembly who had received predictions….” These were those whom the Buddha had bestowed predictions upon. So, in the fourth volume, in the eighth chapter of the Lotus Sutra, it was these people, these people with limited capabilities, upon whom the Buddha bestowed predictions. We discussed previously that there were 1200 disciples who received predictions. [The Buddha] bestowed predictions upon them in two sections.

At that time, the 500 Arhats among the assembly who had received predictions…: These 500 people has all received predictions of Buddhahood. This is the name of the eighth chapter in the fourth volume of the Lotus Sutra. This chapter states that the disciples of limited capabilities received predictions of Buddhahood. The disciples who received predictions, 1200 in total, were divided into two sections. First, [the Buddha] bestowed predictions only on Purna Maitrayaniputra. Then He bestowed predictions on all the rest.

The first to receive predictions was Puna Maitrayaniputra. Puna Maitrayaniputra received predictions, and following him there were 1200 people who also received predictions. There were two sections. Among these 1200, among the 500 [with limited capabilities], was Ajnata Kaundinya, Revata and others who received the Buddha’s predictions. They all had the same epithet and were called Universal Radiance Tathagata. Then, for these 500 people, He also described the special aspects of their awakening. These were among the 500 disciples.

To sum it up, of these two sections of those who received predictions, there were 500 people who had formed aspirations and now expressed to the Buddha, “We are willing. We are willing to form great aspirations. But we do not dare to remain in this Saha World. We hope to go to other lands to form our aspirations and make vows there, to go to different lands to widely expound this sutra. We want to expound this sutra in other lands. We do not dare remain in this Saha World. We are willing to go to other lands to teach the Dharma”.

Go to different lands to widely expound this sutra: They feared that people in this turbid and evil world would be hard to teach and transform, so they vowed to go to other lands to widely expound this sutra. Different lands: other lands. This refers to any world in the great chiliocosm other than the Saha World.

This was what these 500 people had in their hearts. They were willing to go and serve, but not in the world that is the most difficult to endure. No. They wanted to go to other lands, to “different lands”. They were afraid; they were afraid of the present world. It was better to go to another world, because they were afraid. They feared these evil turbidities and that it would be hard to teach and transform, that it would be very hard to teach here. We know that this world really is very difficult to endure. In this world that is difficult to endure, even spiritual practitioners, even those in the Buddha’s era, the Hearer disciples whom He trained, were very afraid. The humans in this Saha world that must be endured have such evil turbidities, so they had always hoped to escape this world that is hard to endure. They were still attached to freeing themselves. In the past, they did not dare to form Bodhisattva-aspirations. They did not dare to make great vows, because they only sought to benefit themselves. Now, even though they had made vows, they did not dare face the reality of this hard-to-endure world of evil turbidities that is difficult to tame; they dared not do it. Clearly, the environment and people of this world, the human realm, are truly very hard to tame.

“So, the vowed to go to other lands to widely expound this sutra.” They were willing to teach the sutra in other lands. They were not willing to do it here. So, “different lands” refers to other lands. This refers to the great chilocosm beyond the Saha World. These Hearers and Arhats had not truly broadened their capabilities yet. When it came to the Dharma taught by the Buddha, they were willing to receive it and willing to form aspirations, but if they were told to put it into practice, they were still very afraid.

The following sutra passage says, “There were also 8000 people at or beyond the stage of learning who had received predictions who rose from their seats, put their palms together, faced the Buddha and made this vow ‘World-Honored One, we will also go to other lands to widely expound this sutra.”’

These 500 people had formed aspirations, but they did not dare [stay] in this Saha World. They aspired to go to other lands. Following them were 8000 people who were at or beyond the stage of learning who had received predictions. In the ninth chapter, they also continued to receive predictions. These people also followed suit. “That is right.” “This world is so hard to endure. In this world that is difficult to endure, forming aspirations [is difficult]. The Buddha said that we can attain Buddhahood, and we must come to spread this sutra. We must advance and spread this sutra. We must accept and uphold it, but not here in this place. We also want to be like them and go to a different land.”

These were the people with limited capabilities in the ninth chapter. They were willing to form aspirations, but they did not dare face the sentient beings in this Saha World. These were the people who came to make vows. So, “They got up from their seats and joined their palms together to express their reverence.” This showed their reverence to the Buddha.

[They] arose from their seats, put their palms together, faced the Buddha and made this vow: They got up from their seats and joined their palms together to express their reverence. Then they made this vow.

Since the Buddha wanted them to form great aspirations, they were also willing to form great aspirations. These were casual associators; they were happy to just form affinities. Did the Dharma truly enter their minds? In fact, the Buddha did not dare to expect this from them. He only understood that they would definitely attain Buddhahood in the future. That would be a very long time away. Because they all intrinsically had Buddha-nature, they would all attain Buddhahood and would all have the same epithet. They did not have special karmic conditions. So, they were named “associators.” The Buddha was providing these associators with karmic conditions, to help them give rise to this aspiration. So, they “arose from their seats, put their palms together and faced the Buddha.” This shows their respect.

“World-Honored One, we are all willing to go to other lands to widely expound this sutra.” They did not have the causes and conditions. It was just that “Their spiritual power was weak, so they feared that this world would be difficult to transform.” They continually thought, “I have very little strength. I do not dare form great vows or use great strength. I probably do not have the strength.” This is what we just mentioned.

For the sake of the Dharma, the Buddha sought people; He had to seek out those willing to shoulder this responsibility. Otherwise, when people spread the Dharma to future generations, even if they had the sutra to read, their power would be weak; their words and power would be weak. Because they did not have the power of vows, their words would be very weak, and their strength would be very small. This is how those people were. As Buddhist practitioners, we must make great vows and form great aspirations. We must put them into practice. Forming aspirations and vows is not simply saying, “I know, I know.” It is not this. We must be willing. We must be willing [to take] “great compassion as the room, gentleness and patience as the clothing and the emptiness of all phenomena as the seat.” We do not need to overthink things. People in this world are stubborn, but we can simply [take] “the emptiness of all phenomena as the seat.” It is enough to give without expectations. We do not expect to receive anything from them. We just save up our strength to serve others. This is “wondrous existence.” All habitual tendencies of sentient beings are “true emptiness.” If we are not attached to them, then there is nothing to them. Life is painfully short. Interpersonal relationships are like this. When we are together, we encourage each other to walk the Bodhisattva-path. We all work together to diligently advance in our spiritual cultivation. People’s lives are long and short; some go ahead and some stay behind. Those behind wish those ahead of them well. In the end, all people have their karmic conditions.

For some, these causes and conditions are very liberating. For some, their causes and conditions are very toilsome. In any case, we always use a reverent heart to give our blessings; this is the world [we live in]. Together, we help each other succeed in achieving our spiritual cultivation. We must all seize our causes and conditions. We must form good affinities and help each other succeed. We must not form negative affinities; we must form good affinities. With this Dharma, in this world, we must “transmit the Dharma continuously and pass the flame from lamp to lamp.” It is the same principle. So, we must [do this]. The Buddha is seeking people to spread the Dharma. We must exercise this power. So, we must always be mindful!

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