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 20180614《靜思妙蓮華》如法修持 覺性平等 (第1370集) (法華經·勸持品第十三)

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發表主題: 20180614《靜思妙蓮華》如法修持 覺性平等 (第1370集) (法華經·勸持品第十三)   周四 6月 14, 2018 8:07 am

20180614《靜思妙蓮華》如法修持 覺性平等 (第1370集) (法華經·勸持品第十三)
【證嚴上人開示】
20170225晨起薰法香,慧命日增長《法華經·勸持品第十三》
(個人筆記草稿,僅供參考,正確內容,請以未來大愛台播出的為主,感恩!

捨俗棄貴修行求道法,
應是心自知得佛授記,
但見聖母大愛道得記,
因請命於佛欲彰己德。

  我們就要體會又要了解,佛陀是迦毘羅衛國的太子,為了求法,為了要讓人人能體會:人性平等。要去除了四姓階級,也要去探討生命的種種奧秘,所以放棄了在皇宮的享受,捨掉了一切名、位等等,他出家了。受盡了很多自然的環境以及人類種種的考驗,還有在生活中很多的克難,終於堅定一志,修行成佛了。之後,他還是先為需要的人,那就是有緣、近緣的人去度化。五比丘,過去是隨身在修學中,修行、學道。但是,太子他的觀念覺得應該還有更超越的道理,那不是只向外求,要從內來探討。所以,他完全棄掉了那個苦行,要去追求心靈的啟悟。離開這五個人,靜坐下來,也不是只是靜坐就能夠啟悟,就是要好好探討天、地、人之間。自己是一個人類,怎麼樣去了解一切生物的真理,用心去探討生命的真諦,從這個生命的真諦去思考,再與天地之間的諦理去會合。就是先找出了自己自心的本覺,生命的奧妙的智慧,然後與天地之間,用心、用智去思考,慎思,綿密的慎思。

  所以與天地之間就合,會合在一起,「智」與「理」相契合了,這樣突然頓悟:天地宇宙與生命的真性是合為一體。道理一體,沒有分別,這是佛陀覺悟之後,很想要讓大家知道,「性」與「理」是會合在一起,所以「智」與「理」契合起來,那就是人人本具真如本性。雖然常常這樣說,卻是我們的智慧,真如本性與理,「理」又是什麼樣的理?真如本性在我們的內心,要如何啟發出來?和外面的「理」如何會合起來,其實我們還是很茫然。不過,道理是這樣,所以佛經之中,常常說「不可以言宣」,意思就是說:道理存在,很難能用語言說得很透徹,讓人人都有辦法去接受會合。這必定要經過人人自己去體會,從內心性好好思考。

  所以,幾天前,我們一直說,要關住「六根門」,要守住「六根門」。就是我們看東西,心理是如何和這個「色」、形態怎麼樣去啟動?怎麼樣的感覺?眼根和物體如何去會合,會合之後,我們的感覺、意識是怎麼在將它分別?最重要的是,我們怎麼分別,我們怎麼感受,我們有什麼樣的動作。在我們的心裡,要去追求呢?或者是要占為己有,追求來,占為己有?或者是需要將這個東西與大家互動、利益於眾生,這就看我們的心,那個「實」的動作。東西在外面,六根在我們身上,但是感覺的動作,那是在第七識的思考。第七識的思考是要指揮如何去取捨,或者是獨有,或者是利益人群,這就要看我們第七識的分別,第六識的起動,讓我們的肢體,我們的身根開始去動作。這樣的動作,是對自己或者是對別人的感受呢?若私利,我已經擁有了,我有這麼有價值,這麼珍貴的東西,是我所擁有,用了很多錢,擁有了這麼貴重的東西,我歡喜。但是這是付出多少代價呀!

  我們常常在看,不論是在小說也好,在社會新聞也好,或者是在歷史中,多少人為了寶藏而捨身命。這在很多歷史也好,社會也好,或者是人的動作,這佔有心,價值何在?,到底取得之後,結果是什麼呢?也只不過就收藏起來。但是,那個過程應該很辛苦。這些東西不是原來就是個寶物,這個寶物在大自然間、在山礦裡,或者是在深海裡,這本是在大自然,人們用盡了心機去取得。這實在是……。大自然真的很簡單,自然的道理擁有一切,但是人所要去拿的東西是在「理」中形成的「質」,他去動了干戈,這樣去取得。破壞了很多的生態而取得,這就是人性的動作,這樣去取得。要不然,什麼叫做寶啊?寶,是人的分別心。寶物,或者是天底下人所要應用的,那些寶物是不是可以讓人生活下去?可以讓人生活下去的都很簡單,五穀雜糧或者是天地之間的草、花、木等等,能夠成為了我們能禦寒的衣物等等。

  以前,衣服就是用棉花、瓊蔴等等製成,在大自然中,我們取得來製作,人工抽紗、織布,就能遮體身體,取暖。在天地之間,這麼的循環,很單純。但是,就是人心,現在穿的衣服,已經不是種棉花來的了,也不是種瓊蔴,抽紗、織布,都不是了。現在就是要從地底下去抽、去取,已經全都不一樣了。天地宇宙間,它所蘊藏的東西被人類發現了,棄除了勞力,取得大自然所完成的東西,將它棄除了,現在就是從大地去破壞性,大量生產、大量棄捨。以前的人,一塊布能應用很久,現在的人,不是。丟掉的衣服,名牌都還掛著,回收回來,是要將它當垃圾回收呢?或者是整理之後再賣掉呢?現在的人,同樣的東西,在環保站回收進來的,這麼美的東西,它呢,三、五十元買得到,三、五百元也可以,若到委託行要幾萬塊錢。質料都一樣,卻是心理有這樣的分別,這就是人間。什麼叫做富貴,也是將這個「名」執著著,所以叫做富貴。

  但是,佛陀,他這些道理都了解了,是人類的分別心,要怎麼樣那個過程來教育我們。這不是在名、利、地位那個權位中能教育人,他必定要經過了這樣離皇宮,同樣要去受很多大自然的「無生忍」,已經到了覺悟的過程,不論是「生忍」、「無生忍」,他一定要經過了這些事相、形色,表態出了:我覺悟了。要不然,他是生生世世,這些道理都懂,就是要有一個事相。《法華經》中因緣、譬喻,將很深道理,用很淺的形相來譬喻,用因緣來分析,這就是要讓我們人有辦法用種種的方式,種種的根機怎麼來接受,這就是要經過。所以,「捨俗棄貴修行求道法」,這是佛陀他的經歷,雖然是幾句話,我們就應該要去體會很多的道理。「俗」和「道」,其實沒什麼分,分別是分別在我們的心執著,所以,受世俗的形形色色將我們控制住,所以稱為「俗」。「道」呢?「道」,時間、空間,人與人中間,這時常都合在一起。我們平時,時間就是這樣過,我們隨著因緣在這個空間,與空間合一和。我們生活有白天,有晚上,有四季調整這個空間,生命體就隨著這個空間在過。

  看我們人在這樣的生命體,時間、空間,我們到底造作什麼?「就有道而正焉」,隨著這個大自然來生活,有人倫、有道理,這都是叫做「道」。偏偏我們人已將這些道理模糊掉了,隨著外面的境界,像夢中由不得自己,隨著境界轉,受到外面的色控制,那就變成了「俗」。「俗」,世俗,這世俗種種,這樣將我們控制。因為這樣,我們就要再用佛陀的教育,怎麼樣離俗,去世榮,我們就這樣,又再回歸時間、空間、人間真理的道,倫理、道德,這個道路來進行,去更了解,回歸自然的這個真如本性生活。我們很簡單的生活,心才能夠守得住,才不會受六根門在外面這樣打開了,接納了很多外面的塵惑來擾亂我們的心,因為這樣,所以就要「修行求道法」,這我們應該都能知道。

  「應是心自知得佛授記」。就像摩訶波闍波提、耶輸陀羅,他們這一群也是一樣在皇宮享受,因為佛陀修行去了,得道了,道理這麼充足,而且天地萬物,宇宙之間的道理無一不知,無事不曉,所以非常的嚮往著佛陀的智慧,天地間的真理,而他們也有這個因緣,也有這個心,所以他們也是同樣要「捨俗棄貴修行求道法」。同樣學佛離皇宮,脫離了名利、地位;同樣,佛陀鋪出來這條路,他們跟著這樣走,同樣也來修行,所以他們自己也很肯定。摩訶波闍波提,佛的姨母,對自己的修行也是很自知,自己也很肯定:「聲聞能夠受記,我們也是聲聞,所以我們也應該能夠得佛授記。」所以,「但見聖母大愛道得記」,這是又再說耶輸陀羅,耶輸陀羅看到佛的姨母所帶領的比丘尼群,也被佛陀唱名授記,所以耶輸陀羅她的感覺:我過去也是太子妃,我是羅睺羅的母親,怎麼沒有叫到我的名字,來為我授記呢?所以耶輸陀羅她也有這樣的心態。

  過去是摩訶波闍波提,他自己的心肯定,但是佛陀還沒有叫他的名字,現在佛陀已經為摩訶波闍波提授記了,將來成佛是號「一切眾生喜見佛」。六千比丘尼,將來在六萬八千億佛世為法師,在那個佛世的地方各自去修行,轉次成為法師。已經清楚了,但是耶輸陀羅他感覺,怎麼都沒有叫到我的名字?所以他也希望能夠讓佛陀來為他證明。「因請命於佛欲彰已德」,期待,他要讓佛陀講出她修行,也是很用功。耶輸陀羅的因和德也應該堪得受記,希望佛陀能夠為她證明。

為求慧命增長捨世榮,
廢形守節志守戒如儀,
依佛音聲教如法修持,
信受自肯定覺性平等。

  這是耶輸陀羅「為求慧命增長捨世榮」,她這樣捨棄了世榮,所以她「廢形守節志,守戒如儀」。她也是這樣,在還很年輕時,她就修行,同樣也是放棄了那虛榮心,落髮了,穿起了一般的糞掃衣,這麼簡單的生活,「廢形守志節」。出家時候的儀式,難道不是這樣說嗎?但是「依佛音聲教」,也是一樣,在僧團裡面,佛陀說法,和這些聲聞一樣聽佛的音聲的教育,同樣是「如法修持」,也很守規矩在修行,所以,耶輸陀羅他也自認為:我「信受自肯定」。我自己也很肯定,不是大愛道,佛的姨母自肯定,我自己也很肯定,所肯定的是,佛陀所說的教法,那就是覺性平等,我應該也能夠成佛。這就是耶輸陀羅所認為。所以前面的文就說,

經文:「汝如是漸漸具菩薩道,當得作佛,號一切眾生喜見如來。」

  這是佛陀為大愛道,就是摩訶波闍波提,為她授記。不只是摩訶波闍波提受記,還有六千比丘尼受記。所以,佛陀向憍曇彌,那就是摩訶波闍波提這樣說:「汝如是漸漸具菩薩道。」妳要好好用心修行,六根門要關起來,六萬八千億諸佛法中為大法師。很多的煩惱門,人人都要好好固守好,自然心地清淨,修「六度萬行」,這樣「具菩薩道」,自然「當得成佛」,將來也能夠成佛,「號一切眾生喜見如來」。這是前面的文,是佛對摩訶波闍波提所講的話。得成如來,也是具足十號。下面接下來,經文這樣說,

經文:「應供、正遍知、明行足、善逝、世間解、無上士、調御丈夫、天人師、佛、世尊。」

  這一切眾生喜見如來,也一樣具足這十號。這十號,每一位成佛的人必定有的。能「應供」,因為德具足了。「正遍知」,智慧開啟了。「明行足」,無事不通。「善逝」,來去自如了。「無上士」,位高、超然,很超越,超越世俗。「調御丈夫」,能夠調伏一切眾生。所以,「天人師」,天與人的師父,「三界導師」,「四生慈父」。覺悟的人就是世間所尊敬,這十號具足,我們就能夠體會了解。接下來這段文就是這樣說,

經文:「憍曇彌!是一切眾生喜見佛及六千菩薩轉次授記,得阿耨多羅三藐三菩提。」

經文簡釋:
「是一切眾生喜見佛及六千菩薩」;六千尼眾,又云菩薩者,指六千當來,具菩薩道而言。

  佛陀再說,「憍曇彌!是一切眾生喜見佛及六千菩薩,轉次授記,得阿耨三藐三菩提。」意思就是說:「妳要知道,不是只有妳能夠成佛,妳成佛之後,又再有這六千菩薩,這六千人,她們還是在這麼多佛的過程中,會好好發心修行。」前後次序,有修行的人,愈精進,就愈向前,就是比較早成佛。前佛度後面的,「前覺」覺「後覺」,前面覺悟的人,就來教導後面的人,就這樣互相輪轉,精進向前,再回頭再度後面的人。這就是在摩訶波闍波提領導的這些菩薩,就慢慢前後互相輾轉教育。這是一切眾生喜見佛,這樣不斷輪流,在人間修行,互相啟發、互相度化,這樣叫做「轉次授記」。互相度化,互相去成就,互相授記,這就是前度後,這樣不斷度。「六千尼眾,又云菩薩者」,就是這六千位,「指六千當來」,也是一樣能夠這樣發心,一直聞法、說法、傳法。

經文簡釋:
「轉次授記,得阿耨多羅三藐三菩提」;展轉次第,與授記別,得成無上正遍知覺。

  雖然要經過長久的時間,這樣「轉次授記」,長久精進,我們就是要精進。精進,「展轉次第」,就是要經過很多世,這樣歷盡生生世世,修行六度萬行,「因圓趨果」,還要不斷度化,所以叫做「展轉次第,與授記別」,這樣彼此之間為他們授記。「得成無上正遍知覺」,大家都能夠覺悟,這大家應該清楚了,這是在佛姨母摩訶波闍波提所領導的這群比丘尼。其實,耶輸陀羅,羅侯羅的母親,也是在尼團中,但是他一直覺得:佛陀怎麼沒有叫到我的名字?所以,下面這段經文,就是這樣再說,

經文:「爾時、羅睺羅母耶輸陀羅比丘尼,作是念:世尊於授記中獨不說我名。」

經文簡釋:
「世尊於授記中獨不說我名」;意謂諸尼皆得別記,而獨於我不聞拈出。

  叫了憍曇彌,怎麼沒有叫耶輸陀羅呢?因為她們同是在皇宮裡面,一位是佛的姨母,一位是太子妃,應該授記時,佛陀也要為她提個名,但是佛怎麼都沒有提起她的名字呢?這是她內心有這樣的想法。所以這位羅睺羅之母,就是因為佛還沒有提她的名字,內心就有一點點感慨。所以,女人心很微細,真的是很微細,怎麼沒有叫到我?也很期待佛陀為他授記。所以,「世尊於授記中獨不說我名」,很在意佛陀的關心,所以「意謂諸尼皆得記別」。摩訶波闍波提知道她成佛的名號,這六千人前後次序,也在未來能夠成為法師,能夠漸漸修行,這交代清楚了,但是怎麼沒有叫到我?所以她的內心還是這樣掛慮著佛陀對她的關懷,或者是沒有關懷。這就在這經文裡面,這樣特別又提出耶輸陀羅的名字。

*既聞總記,豈不自知有分?但見聖母滿願得記,故亦請記命其名,欲以彰己德而撫群望。

  「既聞總記,豈不自知有分?」其實,既然都有聽到了,在大愛道,就是摩訶波闍波提所帶領的六千人,這裡面也有耶輸陀羅,是一個大比丘尼團,佛陀就已經這樣含蓋,都授記了,這叫做「總記」。耶輸陀羅應該也知道,知道「未來我也同樣,同樣能夠成為法師,同樣能夠輾轉授記。」自己應該也知道了,但是因為聖母(佛姨母)的願已圓滿,所以,她希望佛陀也能夠叫她的名字,為她授記。她就能夠如願得記了。所以,耶輸陀羅她也是期待,期待佛陀能夠叫出她的名字,為她特別叫一個名字,這樣為她授記。耶輸陀羅認為過去和佛的關係也很特殊,所以也應該叫我一下。這是耶輸陀羅的心態,就是希望她也要浮現出來,讓人知道她也很認真在修行。這修的因,展現出來的德,希望人人都能了解,她也是很用心在修行。

  是啊!用心修行是我們本分事,不過,我們在修行的過程,所以我們還不能覺悟,就是和他們的心態一樣,我們平時還有很多的掛礙,還有名的掛礙。摩訶波闍波提,憍曇彌,不就是這樣的掛礙嗎?自己又是肯定,但是又是很尊重佛,佛已經為大家都授記完了,她還沒有被叫到名字,還沒有得記。她也知道佛陀一直說,眾生性平等,沒有形象的差別,既然聲聞得記,自己應該也是能夠受記。卻是她就是有一個盼望,盼望佛陀能夠趕快給她肯定一下,叫出她的名字,布達給大家知道。這兩位將來也有名,成佛的名稱在裡面,所以她也是很用心,很在意。這種的在意,叫做掛礙;這種的在意,那就是還沒有捨去那個執,還沒有捨,這也叫做煩惱,這也是叫做塵沙煩惱,就是很多的煩惱,即使微細,也還有這樣的習氣在。所以,我們要用心,有付出,當然就有所得。

  就像昨天也有一大群,整天都很忙,會議一個一個一直開。尤其很特殊的是,菲律賓來了三十三位,從省長,還有國會議員;有三位國會議員,還有校長,還有老師,還有家長。他們說,平時他們若出國,從來不曾有過省長、國議長和校長,政府的四長都同時出來,他們很重視這次來臺灣,因只為了一項目的,就是要來向慈濟說感恩。我以為他們是來參觀,所以也沒有辦法有很多時間,一直到了將近五點,會終於開完,才請他們進來。省長,有很多的話要感恩,還有眾議員,國會眾議員,三位,他們每各人也都要講話,都講出了真正很貼切,而且,從內心的感恩,那種句句都是慈濟的精神理念,入他們的心。所以,他們的感動不是表面的,是真正內心的語言,所以,他們認為慈濟能夠在那個地方為他們所做的很多。

  那就是在二0一三年,那個時候,他們當地發生地震,一場地震,很嚴重。慈濟人很用心到那個地方,去關懷他們,他們很感動,從這麼遠的地方來,災難那麼大,他們能夠得到慈濟人到這個地方,而且很親切的對待。但是,過沒幾天,一個禮拜之後,海燕颱風發生,慈濟人又到獨魯萬去。他們認為,這樣慈濟人是不是就不會再回來了呢?沒有想到幾天後,慈濟人又回來了,我們的菩薩青山居士和他們說,「師父叮嚀他們,不要忘記保合島,雖然,雖然獨魯萬的災難這麼大,大家的力量全都投入到獨魯萬去。」所以,特別叮嚀青山、伯芳居士說:「你們兩位不要忘記保合島,我們要好好關心他們。」

  因為這樣,他們兩位還帶著一群慈濟人,這樣來回去關懷他們,並且為那個地方的孩子,因看見學校都毀壞了,就趕緊想辦法,為那些孩子,蓋簡易的學校,為他們找土地,和他們一起找土地。然後,很快,將獨魯萬的一些簡易教室,同時也送到保合島去,讓這些教室也能夠建設起來,讓那些孩子很快有學校能夠讀書,他們很感動。這是他們說,在那個時候,二0一三年的十月十五日發生的地震,是規模七點二的大地震,所以房屋倒下的很多。慈濟人去了,我們一直在關心,趕緊為他們建設六十三間學校,三百多間的簡易教室。這六十三間學校有三百多間的簡易教室。我們這樣前後趕緊為他們建設起來,讓孩子能夠讀書。

  同時,我們也在那個地方,相對較貧困的人,我們也為他們去蓋七十幾戶的簡易屋,這就是他們很感動。很貧困的人,有房子好住;孩子,有學校可以讀書,這對他們來說很感動。從那個時候一直到現在,我們都沒有放棄他們,這當中,有病,我們為他們治病,我們還在那個地方,貧困的,我們再幫助他們的生活;所以,貧、病,我們都在那個地方幫助他們。還有,我們又用靜思語在那裡地方,安大家的心,甚至在那個地方宣導竹筒歲月,讓他們知道慈濟是如何如何來的。這全都是他們在那裡用心帶動,這兩個人在那地方主導,帶領著當地人來發心。目前也已經有領竹筒的會員,已超過二萬五千人。這是昨天聽他們說的,只是拿竹筒,竹筒全都有拿回來,「竹筒回娘家」。就是這樣循環,大家點滴會合起來,也能夠去幫助更加貧困的人。

  他們很感恩,我們能夠輔導當地人就地取材,從平常的人,不是富有的人,我們讓他們打開了這個觀念,小小的愛,能夠做大大的事情,所以那裡貧困、很極貧的人,也能夠得到這平時貧的幫助。有病的,我們替他們治病;孩子沒有錢讀書,能夠讓他們得到獎助學金。尤其是在去年,再次舉辦大型義診,有人患白內障,很多人用牽的,用摸的來義診,出來的時候,大家都露出了笑容,因全都看到了。甚至,還有一個孩子,才是十幾歲,正在讀中學,現在人生才要開始。有一天忽然間中風了,慈濟人也同樣及時幫助他,讓這個孩子及時開刀,恢復回來,昨天也來了。還有一位三十多歲的婦女,腳上所生的是真正的人面瘡,相片拍下來,那瘦女人的腳,凸出了一顆像頭一樣的腫瘤,是人面瘡。後來,也是我們幫助她,因一定要截肢,所以截肢之後,再為她裝義肢。昨天她也來了,很感恩,她現在能夠顧她的孩子,顧她的家了,不用拿兩支拐杖,只拿一隻這樣細細小小隻的柺杖,她就能夠走。

  看到他們這樣來作見證,一群三十三人,有省長、有眾議員、有校長、學生代表、家長代表,還有受幫助的人,這樣專程而來,去參觀臺北慈濟醫院,去參觀大愛電視臺,去看我們內湖的環保,很感動。昨天整天在花蓮,在大學看到無語良師,尤其看到我們的醫院,很感動。所以,很期待慈濟能夠在那個地方。這些省長和眾議員,大家都期待,希望慈濟能夠在那裡,叫他們做什麼,他們都願意,這實在是很不容易。

  總而言之,學佛,我們自己雖然還是凡夫,但我們能夠為人群付出,這叫做「人間新發意菩薩」,新發意的菩薩心已經起了,我們生生世世都要力行菩薩道,同樣,佛陀在授記,六千人未來永遠都要發心行菩薩道,所以「真如本性平等」。行菩薩,人人都做得到,這些人間菩薩也應該就是與佛同世;現在,大家就都投入在行菩薩道,救拔人間疾苦。所以,我們要相信,我們要肯定,要時時多用心啊!

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發表主題: 回復: 20180614《靜思妙蓮華》如法修持 覺性平等 (第1370集) (法華經·勸持品第十三)   周五 11月 30, 2018 11:25 am

Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: The Enlightened Nature Is Equal in All Beings (如法修持 覺性平等)
Date: June.14.2018

“They gave up the mundane world and royal status to engage in spiritual practice and seek the teachings of the path. [Yasodhara] must have known in her heart that she would receive the Buddha’s predictions. Upon seeing the noble mother, Path-of-Great-Love, attain predictions, she made a request to the Buddha, wishing to manifest her own virtue.”

This is what we should seek to experience and understand. The Buddha was a prince in the kingdom of Kapilavastu. In order to seek the Dharma, in order to help everyone realize that people are all equal in nature, and because he wanted to get rid of the caste system and also wanted to investigate life’s mysteries, He gave up the pleasures of the palace. He abandoned all status, position and so on, and renounced the lay life. He endured many different natural environments, as well as many challenges among humans. In his daily living, he had to face many difficulties, until finally, determined in his aspiration, He attained Buddhahood through spiritual practice. Afterward, He still first went back to those who needed Him, to transform those with whom He had the closet affinities.

The five bhiksus in the past had followed Him by His side in learning and practice, in spiritual practice, in learning the path. However, in the prince’s view, he felt that there had to be even more transcendent principles, not only those that could be sought outside, but those that came from inner investigation. So, he completely abandoned ascetic practices and, in order to pursue spiritual awakening, he left the five bhiksus and sat in meditation. He did not reach awakening just by meditating; he also had to thoroughly investigate heaven, earth and people he himself was human; how could he come to understand the true principles of all living things? He had to mindfully investigate life’s truths, and then consider things from the perspective of those truths of life. Then he could bring everything together with the true principles of heaven and earth. He had to first seek out that innate enlightenment within himself, life’s wondrously profound wisdom. Then he could bring it together with all things in the world and mindfully consider them with his wisdom. He carefully and meticulously considered them. So, he united with the universe, came together with it. His wisdom resonated with the principles. In this way, he suddenly awakened. His true nature and the whole universe were united as one. The principles are of one essence; there are no distinctions. This is what the Buddha, after He was enlightened, really wanted everyone to know. Our nature and the principles unite as one, so our wisdom resonates with the principles. This is the nature of True Suchness that everyone intrinsically has.

Although we often say this, our wisdom and our nature of True Suchness [cannot yet converge with] the principles. What exactly are these principles? How we do unlock and bring out the nature of True Suchness within us, so that it becomes one with the principles in the outside word? In fact, we are still very unclear about this. However, this is how the principles are. So, it constantly says in the Buddhist sutras. “It cannot be expressed in words.” This means that when it comes to the principles, they are very difficult to explain clearly using language. Everyone is able to accept them, to converge with them, but this must come from experiencing them oneself and then contemplating them in the heart.

So, several days ago, we kept talking about how we should shut the gates of the Six Roots, guard the doors to the six senses. When we see things, how do our minds connect to the forms we see? How do these shapes lead us to take action? How do we experience them? How does our eye-root meet these material objects, and after it converges with them, how do we experience them and how does our consciousness discern them? What is most important is how we distinguish among things, how we experience them and then what kind of actions we take. Do we, in our minds, want to pursue these things and possess them for ourselves? Or do we want to share these things with others in order to benefit sentient beings? This depends upon our mind, on the actions of our consciousness. These things are outside of us, while our Six Roots are in our body. But the way we experience and react to things depends upon the way our sixth consciousness contemplates and makes distinctions about how to get something or give it away. Do we want them for ourselves alone or do we want to benefit others with them? Then all of our limbs, the body-root, begins to take action. As we are acting, are we feeling for ourselves or for others? If I act for selfish benefit, then possessing such valuable things may make me very happy. But what a great cost I have to pay! We constantly see, either in novels or in society’s news or throughout history, many people who, for the sake of treasure, have sacrificed their lives. In their possessiveness, once they have sized these things, what were the ultimate results? These things are simply stored away. However, the process of acquiring these things must be very difficult. These things initially are not precious in their original form. In their natural state, these precious objects come from inside mines or they come from deep in the ocean. People go to great lengths to get them; this is truly….

Nature is actually quite simple. The principles of nature encompass everything, but these things that people want to take follow these principles to take shape as various substances. Then people use all kinds of tool to extract them, destroying many habitats in the process. These actions show human nature; this is how we acquire these things. Otherwise, why else are they considered treasures? Thinking they are treasures shows the discrimination in people minds. When it comes to treasures versus the things in nature that people need, can those treasures allow people to keep on living? The things we need to continue living are all very simple, like the crops we grow or the plants in the natural world like grasses, flowers, trees and so on that we can true into clothing that will keep us warm and so forth. In ancient times, clothing was made out of cotton, out of sisal and so on. Nature materials were processed and things were manufactured from them. They were turned into yarn, and then into cloth that people could use to protect their bodies, to keep their bodies warm. In the natural world, this was the natural cycle. However, with our human minds, the clothing we wear today no longer comes from growing cotton or from growing sisal to make yarn and cloth. We do not do this anymore. Now we extract [petroleum] from underground. This is completely different now. The contents of the universe have now been discovered by humans. We have given up on using hard work to attain the things that nature provides whole. Having abandoned these, we go about destroying the earth to get materials. We manufacture things in great quantities and throw away things in great quantities as well. People used to use an article of clothing for a long time. People are not like this now. They throw away clothing with the designer tags still attached to them. When we recycle them, we don’t know whether to treat them as garbage and recycle them or clean them up so we can sell them again. People today can get the same clothes at our recycling stations, really beautiful things, and can buy them for NY$30 or NT$50. Or they can buy them for NT$300 to NT$500. If you go to a boutique store, they would cost tens of thousands of dollars. The quality is all the same yet our minds discriminate like this. This is how people are; What does it means to be valuable? This is simply to become attached to a label. Thus we consider it valuable.

However, the Buddha understood all of these principles, understood the way humans discriminate. He wanted to find a way to teach us about this process. This was not something that someone with privileges of fame, wealth and status could teach people. He had to go through the process of leaving the palace like He did, all the way until reaching enlightenment. With patience and even non-arising patience, He had to endure these matters and ways of living so that He could declare to everyone, “I have awakened.” As it was, lifetime after lifetime, He already had an understanding of principles. So, there had to be these matters and appearances. The Lotus Sutra uses causes and conditions and analogies to describe very profound principles, likening them to easily understood situations or analyzing their causes and conditions. This was to enable us to understand. He used all kinds of ways so that people with all kinds of capabilities could accept them. It had to be done this way. So, “They gave up the mundane world and royal status to engage in spiritual practice and seek the teachings of the path.” This was something the Buddha experienced Himself. Form just these few sentences, we should be able to realize a great many principles. Between the “mundane world” and the “path,” there really is no distinction. The only distinction is due to the attachments of our mind.

All the forms and appearances of the mundane world can completely control us. This is what we call the “mundane”. And the “path”? On the path, time, space and interpersonal relationships must always be brought together. This is how our time usually passes. We follow the causes and conditions in this space. We are unified with this space, so in our lives we have day and night. The four seasons make changes to this space. As paganisms, we adapt to this space. So as we look at this human organism, in this time and space, just what is it that we are creating? “We follow the path to rectify ourselves”. When we live according to nature, we have our ethics and principles. This is all considered the path.

Unfortunately, we humans have already completely obscured these principles. We simply follow our external conditions as if in a dream beyond our control. We let external conditions transform us; we are controlled by these external conditions. This becomes the “mundane world”. We let the many things of the mundane world control us. So, because of this, we must use the Buddha’s teachings to distance ourselves from the mundane, to relinquish worldly glory. This is how we can return to the path of the true principles of time, space and human relationships and advance on this path of ethics and morality. We must understand more clearly and return to the natural way of life of our intrinsic nature.

Only by living very simple lives can we safeguard our minds properly so that the gates of our six senses are not opened to the outside, admitting many dust-like delusions that disturb our minds. So, because of this we must “engage in spiritual practice and seek the teachings of the path”. This is something all of us should know. So, “She must know in her heart that she would receive the Buddha’s predictions”.

Take Mahaprajapati and Yasodhara, for example. Their group of [bhiksunis] had also enjoyed comfortable lives in the palace. The Buddha had gone off to engage in spiritual practice and attained enlightenment. He had abundant principles to share and there was nothing in the world, nothing in the universe, He did not know. So, they truly yearned for the Buddha’s wisdom, for the true principles of the world. Thus, they had the karmic conditions as well as the aspiration. So, they too wanted to “give up the mundane world and royal status to engage in spiritual practice and seek the teachings of the path”. They too emulated the Buddha and left the palace, giving up their fame, wealth and status. They likewise followed the path that the Buddha had paved for them. They too had come to engage in spiritual practice. So, they were quite sure of themselves. Mahaprajapati, the Buddha’s maternal aunt, knew herself well through spiritual practice. She was also quite confident in herself. “The Hearers received the Buddha’s predictions, and we are also Hearers, so we should also be able to receive predictions from the Buddha”.

So, “Upon seeing the noble mother, Path-of-Great-Love, attain predictions” is talking now about Yasodhara. Yasodhara too saw the group of bhiksunis led by the Buddha’s aunt receive predictions from the Buddha, so Yasodhara was also thinking, “In the past I was the prince’s wife, the mother of Rahula. Why hasn’t He named me among those upon whom He has bestowed predictions? So, Yasodhara was feeling like this as well. In the past, Mahaprajapati had felt quite certain of herself, yet the Buddha never called out her name. Now, the Buddha had already bestowed a prediction upon Mahaprajapati that, upon attaining Buddhahood in the future, she would be All-Being-Rejoice-in-Seeing Buddha. The 6000 bhiksunis would become. Dharma teachers in the future with the Dharma of 6.8 trillion Buddhas. Each would engage in spiritual practice with those Buddhas while They were in the world. They thus successively received predictions. All of this had been made clear, but Yasodhara was still wondering, “Why has my name still not been called? So, she was hoping the Buddha would confirm this for her. “She made a request to the Buddha”. She was waiting, wanting to hear the Buddha say that she too had engaged in spiritual practice, that she too had made great efforts. Yasodhara should have had the causes and virtues to be able to receive a prediction too. This is what she hoped the Buddha would confirm.

In order to develop her wisdom-life, she abandoned worldly glory, destroyed her original form and upheld her integrity and resolve. She abided by the precepts and etiquette, followed the Buddha’s teachings and practiced according to the Dharma. She faithfully accepted and was certain of herself that the enlightened nature was equal in all.

This is talking about Yasodhara. “In order to develop her wisdom-life, she abandoned worldly glory”. She abandoned worldly glory like this, “destroyed her original form and upheld her integrity and resolve. She abided by the precepts and etiquette”. She too was still very young, but she wanted to engage in spiritual practice. She too had abandoned her vanity, shaven her head, went about wearing ordinary rags. This was how simple her life was. She had “destroyed her original form and upheld her integrity and resolve”. In the ceremony to become monastics, isn’t this what we say? She “followed the Buddha’s teachings”. This too is the same. In the Sangha, when the Buddha taught the Dharma, she was the same as the other Hearers who listened to the Buddha give His teachings. She too “practiced according to the Dharma” and also followed the rules for spiritual practice. So, Yasodhara herself felt that she “faithfully accepted and was certain of herself. I too am confident in myself. It is not only Path-of-Great-Love, the Buddha’s aunt, who is certain of herself. I too am certain of myself”. So, she was certain about what the Buddha taught, that “The enlightened nature is equal in all. I should also be able to attain Buddhahood”. This was what Yasodhara was thinking.

The previous sutra passage states, “Thus you will gradually fulfill the Bodhisattva-path. You will attain Buddhahood and your [epithet] will be “All-Beings-Rejoice-in-Seeing Tathagata”.

The Buddha said this about Path-of-Great-Love, about Mahaprajapati, when He bestowed a prediction upon her. Not only did Mahaprajapati receive a prediction, but the 6000 bhiksunis also received predictions. So, the Buddha said to Gautami, also known as Mahaprajapati, “Thus you will gradually fulfill the Bodhisattva-path”. He said “Be truly mindful in your practice and close the gates to the six senses 6.8 trillion” refers to how there are many doors to afflictions which we must take care to guard well. Then naturally the ground of our mind will be pure. By practicing “actualizing the Six Paramitas in all actions, she would “fulfill the Bodhisattva-path”. Thus she would be able to attain Buddhahood. She too would attain Buddhahood in the future and be called “All-Beings-Rejoice-in-Seeing Tathagata”. This is what the Buddha said to Mahaprajapati in the previous passage.

It continues below by saying, “One Worthy of Offerings, Completely Awakened One, One Perfect Wisdom and Action, Well-Gone One, Knower of the Worldm Unsurpassed Guide, Tamer, Teacher of Heavenly Beings and Humans and Buddha, the World-Honored One.

All-Beings-Rejoice-in-Seeing Tathagata will similarly be endowed with the ten epithets. These ten epithets are what all who attain Buddhahood must have. She will be “One Worthy of offerings: because she will be replete with virtue. “Completely Awakened One” means her wisdom will be unlocked. “One Perfect in wisdom and Action” means there is nothing she will not understand. “Well-Gone One” means she will come and go freely. “Unsurpassed Guide” is a high and transcendent positions; she will have transcended the profane. The “Tamer” can tame all sentient beings. so, a “teacher of Heavenly Beings and Humans will be a teacher for heavenly and human beings, a “guiding teacher of the Three Realms” and a “kind father of the Kinds of Beings”. the Awakened Ones are respected by the world. They are replete with the ten epithets we must realize and understand.

The next passage goes like this, “Gautami! “This All-Beings-Rejoice-in-Seeing Buddha and the 6000 Bodhisattva will receive predictions in turn of attaining Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi.”

What the Buddha is saying here is, ”Gutami! You must know that it is not only you who will be able to attain Buddhahood. After you have become a Buddha, there are also these 6000 Bodhisattvas, these 6000 people. They will learn from a great many Buddhas and will earnestly form aspirations to engage in spiritual practice”. They will receive predictions in sequence. The more diligent those engaging in practice and, the faster they will advance and the earlier they will attain Buddhahood. Those becoming Buddhas first transform later ones. “those who awaken first awaken those who come later.” Those who awaken earlier guide the people who come later. It is a mutual cycles like this. Those who have diligently advanced look back to transform those behind them. These were the Bodhisattva who were led by Mahaprajapati. They will gradually transform one another in turn. All-Beings-Rejoice-in-Seeing Buddha and those Bodhisattvas will constantly replace each other as they engage in spiritual practice in the world. They will mutually inspire one another, mutually transform one another. Thus it says they “will receive predictions in turn”. Those in front transform those behind. They will transform each other like this.

This All-Beings-Rejoice-in-Seeing Buddha and the 6000 Bodhisattvas will receive predictions in turn: The assembly of 6000 bhiksunis were also referred to as Bodhisattvas. This means that these 6000 [bhiksunis] in the future will perfect the Bodhisattva-path.

“The assembly of 6000 bhiksunis were also referred to as Bodhisattva. Those 6000 individuals “in the future” will be able to form these aspirations, will keep listening to the Dharma, teaching the Dharma and transmitting the Dharma. Though it will take them a very long time, they will “receive predictions in turn”. So, we must be diligent for a long time.

[They] will receive predictions in turn that they will Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi: One after another in sequence, they will receive predictions that they will attain unsurpassed, perfect awakening.

“In turn” means over the course of many lifetimes. It takes a great many lifetimes of practice, of actualizing the Six Paramitas in all actions, “to perfect the causes and approach fruition”. They have to keep transforming others like this, so it says they will “receive predictions in turn”. They will bestow predictions upon one another and will attain unsurpassed, perfect awakening. Everyone has the ability to awaken. This is what He wanted everyone to be clear on. This is the group led by Mahaprajapati, the Buddha’s aunt.

Actually, Yasodhara, the mother of Rahula, was also among that group of bhiksunis. But she continued to wonder, “Why hasn’t the Buddha called out my name?” So, the next passage goes on to say, “At that time, Rahula’s mother, Yasodhara Bhiksuni, had this thought, ‘As the World-Honored One bestowed predictions of Buddhahood, only my name was never called’.”

He had called on Gautami. Why had He not named Yasodhara? They had both lived in the palace. One was the Buddha’s maternal aunt, while the other the wife of the prince. She should have received a prediction. The Buddha had named one of them, so why hadn’t the Buddha named the other? This is what she was thinking inside. So, Rahula’s mother, because the Buddha had not mentioned her name, was feeling a bit helpless inside. So, this woman’s heart was very sensitive. It was truly very sensitive. “Why haven’t you called on me?” She too was very expectant that the Buddha would bestow on a prediction upon her. So, “As the World-Honored One bestowed predictions of Buddhahood, only my name was never mentioned. She was very concerned that the Buddha notice her. Thus, “All Bhiksunuis would receive predictions. Mahaprajapati now knew her name as a Buddha and those 6000, one after the other, in the future will also become Dharma teachers, and through gradual practice attain Buddhahood. [Yasodhara felt], “This has been clearly relayed, so why haven’t I been called?”

Therefore, because of this, she was worried about whether the Buddha cared about her or not. It is in this sutra passage that. Yasodhara is then specifically named.

She had heard the general orediction, so how could she think she was not included? However, since she that the noble mother’s wish to attain predictions had been fulfilled, she also requested that the Buddha bestow predictions upon her, wished to display her own virtue and satisfy people’s.

She had heard the general prediction, so how could she think she was not included?” Actually, since she heard what would happen to Path-of-Great-Love, Mahaprajapati, and the 6000 she led, Yasodhara would be included among them. Everyone in this large group of bhiksunis had been included in the predictions made by the Buddha. This is called a “general prediction”. Yasodhara should have also known this. “I know that in the future I too will also be able to become a Dharma-Master and I too will receive predictions in turn”. She should have also known this. Because she saw the noble mother get her wish, she hoped the Buddha would call her name and bestow a prediction upon her. Then she could receive a prediction as she wished. So, Yasodhara too was hopeful. She hoped the Buddha would call out her name as well, would specifically call out her name and make a prediction for her. Yasodhara also thought that because her relationship with the Buddha was very special in the past, this was another reason why He should name her. This was Yasodhara’s state of mind.

She wanted to be named especially so that others would know how earnest she had been in her spiritual practice. She hoped everyone would understand the causes she cultivated and virtues she displayed. She was very mindful in her spiritual practice. Indeed! Being mindful in spiritual practice is our duty. However, at the level we are at now, we are still unable to awaken. Our state of mind is the same as theirs was. We ordinarily still possess a great many worries. We are still worried about our reputation. Isn’t this what Mahaprajapati and Gautami themselves worried about? They were both certain of themselves, but they greatly respected the Buddha. The Buddha had already bestowed predictions upon everyone, yet they still had not been named. They still had not received predictions. They also knew that the Buddha kept saying that all sentient beings are equal in nature, that they do not differ, despite their appearances. Since the Hearers had attained predictions, they themselves should be able to attain predictions as well. Indeed, this was what they were hoping for. They hoped that the Buddha would quickly give them a confirmation, that He would call out their names, announce their names so that everyone would know. These two would have names in the future; their names when they become Buddhas are included. Thus, they were very mindful of this; they were very concerned.

This kind of concern can be called worry. This kind of concern meant that they still had not relinquished their attachments. They had not let go of them, so these could be called afflictions, or dust-like afflictions. They still had many afflictions, subtle ones. They still had habitual tendencies like these.

So, we should be mindful. For instance, 33 people came from the Philippines, the provincial governor and some legislators, as well as the school principal, teachers and some parents. They said that ordinarily, if they were to leave the country, they would not be going together with the provincial governor, and head of the legislators, and the school principal. They greatly valued this trip to Taiwan. They came only for the sake of offering their gratitude to Tzu Chi.

Everything they said was very heartfelt. Their gratitude came from deep in their hearts; everything they said expressed Tzu Chi’s ideals, which they had taken to heart. They felt that Tzu Chi had done so much for them there. This was because in 2013, a large earthquake of magnitude 7.2 struck them. Tzu Chi volunteers dedicated themselves to going there to take care of them. They were very moved by this. It was so far away and it was such a big disaster; they were fortunate to have Tzu Chi volunteers who could go there and who treated them so warmly. However, after just a few days had passed, just one week later, Typhoon Haiyan struck, and those Tzu Chi volunteers had to go to Tacloban. The people were thinking, “Won’t the Tzu Chi volunteers come back again to help us?” They never expected that only several days later, those Tzu Chi volunteers would return again. Our volunteer Cai Qingshan told them, “Master had carefully instructed us all that though the disaster was great in Tacloban and we had to move all our manpower there in order to dedicate ourselves to Tacloban, that we should not forget about Boholl. We still had to earnestly take care of them just the same”.

So, because of this, a group of Tzu Chi volunteers went back and forth to provide care. Moreover, because the children’s schools had been destroyed there, we quickly thought of a way in which we could construct temporary classrooms for the children there. We found the land needed, and then we very quickly constructed those temporary classrooms for them, so that those children there would quickly have a school they could study in. They were very moved by that. At the same time, for the poorer people there, we constructed more than 70 temporary homes. This moved them greatly. The very poor had homes they could live in and the children had a school in which to study. From then until now, we never abandoned them. In the meantime, for those who were sick, we arranged treatment. We are still there, helping the poor with their lives.

So, we are helping both the poor and the sick there. Moreover, we use Jing Si Aphorisms there to bring them peace of mind. We have even been promoting “the spirit of the bamboo banks” there so that they know the origin of how Tzu Chi came to be. This is all due to the mindfulness of our volunteers there in leading the local people to form aspirations. Right now (2017), those who adopted bamboo banks have surpassed 25,000 people. They bring together all these small amounts in order to help those who are even poorer. They were very grateful that we were able to guide the local people to use their own local resources. We have broadened the minds of those who would ordinarily not consider themselves rich by teaching them that even small amounts of love can accomplish great things. This way those who are poor there, who are living in extreme poverty, can also receive help. We also held large-scale free medical clinics. Those with cataracts, the many who had been led there or who had groped their way to these free clinics, were smiling from ear to ear when they came out from their operations. They were able to see things again.

There was even a child just a little more than 10 years old who one day suddenly suffered a stroke. Tzu Chi volunteers promptly helped him as well. They quickly got the child an operation, and in this way he recovered. There was also a woman a little over 30 who had a boil on her foot that really looked like a human face. From the picture they had taken, you could see a very thin woman with a lump sticking out from her foot that looked just like a head, like a human-faced boil. Later, when we were helping her, she had to have her foot amputated, so after the amputation, we fitted her with an artificial foot. Now she can take care of her children, she can take care of her family. She does not need two crutches anymore. Now by using just a very thin cane, she is able to get around.

We saw all these things as evidence. Now this group of 33 people came, among them the provincial governor, legislators, school principals, student representatives, parental representatives, as well as those who received our help. They came specifically for this purpose; it was very moving.

In any case, as Buddhist practitioners, though we may be still unenlightened beings, we are able to go among others to help them. So we speak of “newly-inspired Bodhisattvas.” Newly-inspired Bodhisattvas have already formed aspirations. Lifetime after lifetime we should diligently practice the Bodhisattva-path. Similarly, as the Buddha bestowed predictions, He told the 6000 that they should always form aspirations to practice the Bodhisattva-path in the future. So, “[The enlightened] nature is equal in all.” Everyone is able to practice the Bodhisattva-path. These Living Bodhisattvas were likely there at the same time as the Buddha.

Now each of them is devoted to practicing the Bodhisattva-path, rescuing the world from suffering. So, we should believe this, be certain of it. Thus, we must always be mindful!

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