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 20180615《靜思妙蓮華》耶輸受記 佛壽無量 (第1371集) (法華經·勸持品第十三)

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發表主題: 20180615《靜思妙蓮華》耶輸受記 佛壽無量 (第1371集) (法華經·勸持品第十三)   周四 6月 14, 2018 10:07 pm

20180615《靜思妙蓮華》耶輸受記 佛壽無量 (第1371集) (法華經·勸持品第十三)

⊙求自利利他,圓滿佛果之菩薩眾大行,即布施、持戒等菩薩之六度萬行因圓,是五百弟子內修秘菩薩行,外現聲聞。
⊙諦理無處不在,佛陀授記菩薩在人間,佛法不離世間,娑婆一大事實難堪忍,覺有情入人群,感驗四諦苦集滅道法。
⊙「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。」《法華經勸持品第十三》
⊙「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。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。」《法華經勸持品第十三》
⊙「佛告耶輸陀羅:汝於來世百千萬億諸佛法中,修菩薩行,為大法師,漸具佛道。」《法華經勸持品第十三》
⊙佛告耶輸陀羅:汝於來世百千萬億諸佛法中,修菩薩行:佛陀將為耶輸陀羅授記。百千萬億諸佛之法,不出修行一念之心。善淨心法,名曰介爾。
⊙為大法師,漸具佛道:常為大眾演法之師,漸漸具足成佛之道。
⊙「於善國中當得作佛,號具足千萬光相如來。」《法華經勸持品第十三》
⊙於善國中當得作佛:因修善行,果應善國。善國:謂清淨國土。
⊙號具足千萬光相如來:因中供養百千萬億佛,具菩薩道,果上具足千萬光相,成十力尊。
⊙耶輸示跡,蓋表大悲。法喜稱適大智。智悲雙運,然後萬德具足,千相光嚴,故果號具足千萬光相。取相好莊嚴,身光無盡之意。
⊙「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。佛壽無量阿僧祇劫。」《法華經勸持品第十三》
⊙佛壽無量阿僧祇劫:彼具足千萬光相佛住世壽量,如是長遠。仁人相踵,秉命悠長,故隨機之壽,住世亦永也。

【證嚴上人開示】
求自利利他,圓滿佛果之菩薩眾大行,即布施、持戒等菩薩之六度萬行因圓,是五百弟子內修秘菩薩行,外現聲聞。

求自利利他
圓滿佛果之
菩薩眾大行
即布施、持戒等
菩薩之六度萬行
因圓
是五百弟子
內修秘菩薩行
外現聲聞

用心來體會,更用心去了解,我們一路下來,一直都是佛陀為法募人,最期待的是弟子能體會:法流傳的重要。鼓勵人人要持法、傳法,將法能夠用在世間,這就是佛陀最大的目標。眾生迷茫顛倒,唯有「法」才能夠糾正我們人生的方向,要指方向的人,若不懂地理、形態,是要如何為人指路、為人指方向呢?所以,佛陀很用心。希望我們人人要用功、了解,我們自己要知道,回歸真如本性的道路,要如何走,這是很重要。所以我們要修行,將我們內心的雜念去除,就像霧一樣,我們走在路上,霧若很厚,根本我們就看不到外面的方向。外面的境界,路是安全嗎?我們就不敢向前直走。所以,我們必定要先撥開了霧,霧若開,我們才有辦法向前走。

也是同樣的道理,我們的無明就像這樣,這個無明,像是霧將我們遮住了,我們看不到前方,那個方向、路線。所以,我們就要用功,讓我們的周圍環境的煩惱無明,完全掃除,所以我們就要結好緣,在我們的人生周圍,不要去惹到惡緣,我們要用心。這就是自除煩惱,去除無明,我們求法,了解人生的方向,這都叫做「自利」。而「利他」,我們了解了,人間一切法皆無常,既然是無常的法,我們卻在無常中,複製無明煩惱,不對。了解佛法之後,才知道這樣是不對,所以,我們才開始,來追求正確的道理,往正確的方向去,這就是我們找出了,我們一條正確的路。所以,我們要自利,自己了解方向,我們得到這分無明去除,明朗的境界,向前走會進步。我們都已經清楚,我們有感覺,我們了解。看到其他的人在迷茫中,在很危險的境界,我們也應該為他牽一個手、指一個方向,讓他安全,跟我們走同一條的路。這是「利他」,這樣「圓滿佛果」,這就是「菩薩眾大行」。

其實做菩薩也很簡單,我們自己所走過的路,自己的感受,同時在人群中來帶人向正確的路走,這就是叫做「菩薩行」。人生苦難偏多,我們「法有餘」,我們要跟人分享;我們「利有餘」,我們要去付出;我們的「力有餘」,我們要去牽引人。眾生千千萬萬苦不堪,所以我們要用種種方法,去應對眾生的苦難,所以,叫做「菩薩大行」,「六度萬行」,那就是布施、持戒、忍辱、精進、禪定、智慧等,我們修這些行,這叫做「菩薩道」。布施是利他,持戒是利己;利他為先,利己是我們的本分。不論是利他、利己,都是在六度行之中,這全都叫做「菩薩道」。「六度」,我們這樣來走這一條路,生生世世,時間長久,來身體力行,那就是「六度萬行」。因緣若成熟圓滿,我們的果報就現前了,所以叫做「因圓」,後面應該就是「果滿」。因核果海,這就要長久時間來修行。

所以,佛陀向五百位的弟子授記,是因為他們「內修秘菩薩行,外現是聲聞」。〈五百弟子受記品〉那時候,經文佛這樣說過,這五百位的弟子,他們已經早就行菩薩道了,生生世世修行,不只是在今生來修行,他們已經是長久以來,生世都是在修行中。同樣也是利己、利人,上修佛道、下化眾生,已經知道方向了,這是「內修菩薩行」。他們已經內心都有這個種子了,菩薩因行都已經很具足,所以叫做「內祕菩薩行」,裡面的菩薩種子已經圓滿了。但是,「外現聲聞」。因為,為了要度眾生,同樣還是要再投入。佛陀現相成佛,必定也要有出家二眾,來完成僧團。所以,僧團裡面已經有菩薩行,已經這樣累生世都是在修行,雖然還不是很具足。

就像龍女,過去生也修很長的行過來,也就是最後在龍宮,再最後來靈鷲山,藉這個因緣,轉一個身,往南方世界成佛了。這讓娑婆世界眾生,佛陀,釋迦牟尼佛教化的過程,又多一項,讓大家了解眾生平等的道理。眾生平等的理論,有的人還不很了解,有的人還有懷疑。但是龍女也藉這個因緣,這個因緣完全充分具足了,這樣轉一個身就成佛了,向南方世界去教導眾生,我們應該也很清楚。同樣的道理,這「五百弟子內修菩薩行」,已經都很清楚了,所以,裡面的種子都已經具足。當然所說的具足,在人間來說,修行還再一段時間。

就像舍利弗他應該也修菩薩行,過去在《本生經》之中,也曾有過這樣發菩薩心,只是一個境界現前,讓他退失菩薩行。但是那個因緣還在,佛陀來世,他還是與佛同生;佛陀成佛,他也很有智慧,那時候,母親懷孕了,就已經母親承著胎兒的智慧,特別辯才無礙。舍利弗出生之後,年紀小小,道理充足,也可以登壇說法。到了年紀長大,也成為宗教師,與目犍連為好友,兩個人還是互相鞭策,互相勉勵,同參好友。但是佛陀的道理又感動他們,比他們所修的行,比他們所體會的道理,更是深密,所以他們皈依佛。開始在僧團中修行,這也就是「內祕菩薩」,內祕是菩薩行,外現是聲聞。這就是他過去生修過行,累生世。但是未來呢?還要再一段長久的時間修行。

儘管他們「諦理無處不在」,但是,也都要等待佛陀的授記,授記之後,他們自我肯定,他還是繼續要修行,還是要繼續在人間。所以,「佛陀授記菩薩在人間」,就是在人間,還要再不斷繼續修行。

諦理無處不在
佛陀授記
菩薩在人間
佛法不離世間
娑婆一大事
實難堪忍
覺有情入人群
感驗四諦
苦集滅道法

所以,佛法不離世間法,在娑婆世界是一大事,實難堪忍。為什麼他們就一定要來娑婆世界?因為娑婆世界,是一個堪忍的世界,釋迦佛有願來,這些修行者同樣也是有願來。追隨佛陀來娑婆世界,為一大事因緣,來這個難堪忍的世界,和佛陀的配合起來,佛陀怎麼說法,他們怎麼示現生態,生活的形態,這樣可以讓我們更加了解,這都是因緣會合。同樣志同道合,志同道合修行,也有前後。先發心的人,更精進的人,他就提前成佛,再度未成佛的人。

前面,大愛道同樣,領導六千位的眷屬追隨佛陀,這六千位各有因緣,發心出家,修行也很殷切,佛陀也為他們授記,將來都能夠遇到很多,六萬八千億佛,在這樣的世界去修行,成為法師,聞法、說法,還是要傳法,人人都發大心、立大願,這樣將來也能成佛,互相輾轉、互相授記。前面成佛的人,為後面的人再授記;後面的人成佛了,又再向後面的人傳,再授記。同樣的道理,這必定要在人間,看我們修行是精進,會進步;或者是慢慢來,或者是停滯。不論是進步,或者是慢慢來,或者是停住,他裡面的種子還是隱藏著,所以叫做「內祕」。

經過了佛陀授記,自我肯定,菩薩行再啟動起來,就再向前前進,這就是要長久的時間,互相輾轉,這要看我們修行是不是精進。同樣在修行。有的人很精進,體會的道理就比較明朗,就更加清楚。有時候聽到,同樣我們裡面就是每天在聽法,聽了之後,消化了,然後分析出來,跟大家分享,我也很歡喜,這精益求精,這就是要不斷輾轉循環,要聽,聽了之後,自我肯定,肯定,法收入我們的心,我們還能夠和人分享。這就是每天在過程,每天的時間這樣在過,生生世世,同樣。常常說,過去、現在、未來,昨天是過去了,今天是現在,尤其是這個時候,是現在。今天的未來,到明天的未來,到底有多久的未來?就是現在要延續下去。就像我們常常聽到的數字,哇!這麼多。除了數字表達時間的長;數字,也在表達我們修行的法,就像「六萬八千億」,我們就把它當做法來受持。「六萬」是什麼啊?「六根明」。

我們每天在修行,每天都要記得,我們是不是眼睛,被色將我們迷掉了呢?或者是耳根,被聲音將我們擾亂了呢?等等,同樣的道理。這「八千億」,那就是我們的無明煩惱,只是一個念頭就錯亂掉了,我們很多人生的方向。聽法是這樣,做事情是這樣,我們若是遇到,有人一句話偏差掉了,我們就感覺:他講這樣也對。其實這樣,不對啦!對和不對,都是在人的聲音,所傳來的「是」與「非」。聽來好像是,但是後面的人又一個聲音,負面,那個負面的聲音,就亂了我們的心。所以說,六根門,八千億的煩惱,就惹來了,收入了很多的煩惱無明。所以佛經裡面常常有數字,數字也表達法,也表達我們過去、現在、未來。有很短的過去、現在、未來;也有很長久,我們昨天的以前,上個月的以前,去年的以前,過去生的以前,這都是叫做時間。今天的未來,今生的未來,來生的未來,所以時間也能夠長,也能夠短,我們就要趕緊把握。

精進的人,都把長的時間促為短暫,「把握當下,恆持剎那」,對的事情,堅持做就對了,再也不會再讓六根門聽來的聲音,「非」的聲音,再搖動我們的道心,不會被其他的色,亂了我們的眼根,迷惑了我們的前程,都不會,就是把握當下。我現在發這個心,我永遠永遠堅持下去,這就是叫做「守六根門」,這我們要很用心去體會。所以,「佛法不離世間,娑婆一大事,實難堪忍」。這個世間,佛陀會來人間,就是因為人間難堪忍,所以佛陀悲心難忍,他來人間,就是為眾生開、示、悟、入。佛是這樣,所有的弟子也是這樣。所以說,「覺有情入人群」。「覺有情」就是菩薩,入人群中去感受,去體驗「四諦」的法。這個堪忍的世界,所以佛陀為我們講四諦法──苦、集、滅、道。你若沒有入人群,如何能夠體會呢?所以,「覺有情人入人群,感驗四諦苦集滅道」,去感受,去體驗這四諦法的道理。所以我們要用心來體會,不要浪費時間。時間可長,時間也可短,要很用心體會。

所以,前面的文,那就是因為摩訶波闍波提、耶輸陀羅,他們大家都是很期待佛陀,為他們能夠證明授記。佛陀已經開始授記,憍曇彌也已經得記了,將來能夠成佛,成佛也是同樣得十號具足,那就是:「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。」

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
《法華經勸持品第十三》

憍曇彌是佛的姨母。已經佛陀為他授記了,將來能夠成佛,是一切眾生喜見佛。

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
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
《法華經勸持品第十三》

接下來,那就是羅睺羅母,那就是耶輸陀羅也是得佛授記,因為她的心念也是一樣,同樣,「佛怎麼還沒有,叫到我的名字來授記?」這都過去說過。釋迦牟尼佛授記中,只是沒有叫到我的名字。這是耶輸陀羅過去所想的,所以佛就向耶輸陀羅這樣說:「汝於來世百千萬億諸佛法中,修菩薩行,為大法師,漸具佛道。」

佛告耶輸陀羅
汝於來世
百千萬億諸佛法中
修菩薩行
為大法師
漸具佛道
《法華經勸持品第十三》

這就是佛陀為耶輸陀羅,這樣特別告訴他:「將來你也是漸漸具佛道。」因為耶輸陀羅所想的:「怎麼沒有講到我的名字?」其實六千人裡面,就已經為他們授記了,能夠在很多百千萬億諸佛法中,同樣成為法師,聽法、說法,同樣。

佛告耶輸陀羅
汝於來世百千萬億
諸佛法中
修菩薩行:
佛陀將為
耶輸陀羅授記
百千萬億諸佛之法
不出修行一念之心
善淨心法名曰介爾

諸佛法不出修行一念心,每一尊佛都是一樣,同樣要經過發心行菩薩道,同樣也是要出家,同樣,很明顯的還是要菩薩行圓滿,這都是出於一念心,就是一切善,全都要修,「總一切法,修一切善」,經過陀羅尼門,那就是「總一切法,修一切善」,心要清淨,這叫做「善淨心法」。

為大法師
漸具佛道:
常為大眾演法之師
漸漸具足成佛之道

「為大法師,漸具佛道,常為大眾演法之師,漸漸具足成佛之道」。已經為大法師,聽法之後,法已經入心,入心之後,又再分析、解說,讓其他的人知道,所以常常「為大眾演說法之師」,這叫做法師。講,不是講就能夠全都了解,同樣一邊聽,一邊了解,一邊解說,但是還是要身體力行,所以叫做「漸漸具足成佛之道」。光是講不夠,還要做得到,所以這樣一邊修行,一邊度眾,一邊身體力行,這都要具足,這樣一直到成佛。所以,修行就是要這樣身體力行。

接下來這段文又再說:「於善國中當得作佛」,將來你這樣一直修行一直修行,到了最後,就是「於善國中,當得作佛,號,具足千萬光相如來」。

於善國中
當得作佛
號具足
千萬光相如來
《法華經勸持品第十三》

因為一直在修善行,未來的果報,那個國家就是清淨的國土,都是善人、善事,在那個地方成佛,名叫做「具足千萬光相如來」。

於善國中
當得作佛:
因修善行
果應善國
善國:謂清淨國土

在那個地方,因為在「因中」,時時「供養百千萬億佛」,因為將來耶輸陀羅,未來修行的方向,就是不斷供養百千萬億佛。常常告訴大家,眾生人人本具真如本性,眾生都具有佛性,用愛心、善念,對所有的眾生去付出,這全都是未來佛哦!要了解啊!常不輕菩薩,「我不敢輕視你,因為你未來也能成佛。」我們若抱這個心態,這百千萬億佛都在我們的眼前,我們能夠用心,對人人感恩、尊重、愛,這也是都叫做供養。和人人互相互動,彼此鼓勵,時時心存感恩,和人結好緣,讓人的心歡喜,讓人也能夠跟我們一樣聽法,跟我們一樣行菩薩道,這也都叫做供養!告訴過你們了,付出就叫做供養。要不然,我們會感覺:喔!要再供養百千萬億佛啊,在世間要遇到佛這麼不簡單,要到多久才能還到佛圓滿這個,「百千萬億佛的供養」?

其實,我們的心,數字若用在法中,人人無不都是佛。《無量義經》,「無量法門,悉現在前」,每一個人都是我們一道的法門,每一個人無不都是我們修行的道場。所以,我們若能夠用這樣的心態,數字就是法。所以,百千萬億佛在我們的眼前,在我們的生活中,所以我們要好好用心來體會,若這樣,「具菩薩道」,這樣我們就能夠具足菩薩道了。「果上具足千萬光相」。你因圓了,趨果了,在果的地方,你的名稱叫做「具足千萬光相」,這樣就是「成十力尊」,就是成佛了。

號具足千萬
光相如來:
因中供養
百千萬億佛
具菩薩道
果上具足千萬光相
成十力尊

耶輸陀羅示跡在人間,就是現在名稱,叫做「耶輸陀羅」,其實她是表現出了那大悲心。

耶輸示跡
蓋表大悲
法喜稱適大智
智悲雙運
然後萬德具足
千相光嚴
故果號具足
千萬光相
取相好莊嚴
身光無盡之意

「法喜稱適大智」。她也是隨喜,生生世世幫助釋迦佛,能夠完成他的心願。所以,佛的成就,耶輸陀羅也是有因緣存在,生生世世都有這樣的因緣,這就是「大智」。

所以「智悲雙運」,悲智雙運,「然後萬德具足」。耶輸陀羅時時都是歡喜,時時都是發善念,所以是「感恩、尊重、愛」。同樣的道理,我們想要去付出,又有人幫助我們,和我們一起去付出,我們向這些人,我們也要感恩;被我們幫助的人,我們也要感恩。時時感恩,時時尊重任何一個人,自然我們都會很歡喜,這就是因為我們付出的愛,所得來的,所以這樣就是「萬德具足」,這叫做「悲智雙運」。你很願意付出,這就是智慧,悲智雙運。「千相光嚴」。他那個身相就有千萬種,讓人怎麼看都是覺得很亮麗,很莊嚴,所以這叫做「果號具足千萬光相」。圓因趨果,有這悲智雙運,常常心思很亮,光亮,沒有那些無明煩惱,沒有,修這樣的行,將來成佛就有這樣千萬光相的莊嚴。這就是他的果,「身光無盡」的意思。

下面再說,所得到的十號:「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。」

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
佛壽無量阿僧祇劫《法華經勸持品第十三》

這些法已經在他的身上,開始已經十號具足。佛壽能夠「無量阿僧祇劫」。這個十號,佛佛道同,十號就是德行也就完成了。所以,佛壽多長啊?無量阿僧祇劫,很長的壽命。所以從這位,

「具足千萬光相佛」住世,他的壽無量,就是這樣,這麼長久的時間,這就是因為他修行的過程,也是很長久,既然那個國土是這麼的善,仁慈的人很多,不斷產生。所以,因為這樣,心若寬大,脾氣,養成了很好的脾氣,沒有壞的習慣,這樣的人都比較長壽,尤其在這樣的國家,非常的悠閒,自然他的命就很長。所以,「隨機之壽」,因為這個國家是這麼的善,人人的壽命都很長。我們釋迦牟尼佛,是在這個堪忍的世間,人人這個心都是無明惡濁,造作的業多,所以人的命會比較短;在慈悲善良的地方,壽命就會比較長。這就是「機」,「故隨機之壽,住世亦永恆長遠」。這就是耶輸陀羅未來成佛,他的因緣。是啊!這都要在很善良的環境中,自然彼此之間壽命就很長。

佛壽無量
阿僧祇劫:
彼具足千萬光相佛
住世壽量如是長遠
仁人相踵
秉命悠長
故隨機之壽
住世亦永也

看到在臺灣,我們慈濟人,壽命很長的也很多。看看王成枝已經百歲了,同樣還是在收(善款),他,大家都叫他「老土地公」。也有超過九十歲,來受證,也滿他的心願。他本來是八十歲開始將要受證,只是他太太向他說一句,說:「你這麼多歲了,能做什麼事情?你也敢想要去和人家受證!」要不然,他也培訓得差不多了,只是這一句話,打消了他受證的念頭。後來,太太往生了,老太太過世了,他一個人很孤單,孩子有事業要做。慈濟人就這樣再去關心他,把他帶出來做環保,做,同樣很快樂,身體很健康。這樣一做就將近十年,七八年過去了。然後,他就想:我這時候九十歲了,我是不是能夠受證?

有一次我去桃園,他就問:「師父,我這樣九十歲了,八十歲那年我要受證,我的老牽手跟我講一句,讓我耽誤了十幾年。師父,我現在身體還很勇健,我在環保站做得很歡喜,一些師兄都鼓勵我說,像我這樣的身體,能夠來報名受證。我怕師父您會嫌我太多歲嗎?」我說:「幾歲啊?」「我這樣呢!」(用手比歲數)我說:「哦!這樣不多啦!。你若有心,就是要培訓,要見習,要培訓哦!」他說:「只要師父您若說,我就開始來做。」這樣,開始見習、培訓了,已經超過九十歲了才來受證。

我這次去桃園,他就告訴我:「師父,我已經九十三歲了!我做得很歡喜。」「你還很健康呢!你能夠再繼續下去。」看,這就是壽長,但是不要認老,開始他還能夠做很多事情。在環保站,受證環保(志工)之後,再來受證慈誠,和那些慈誠師兄,也這樣跟人家值勤,跟人輪班。你們想,壽命長,這就是「心寬念純」,有好的事情,做就對了。利益人群,我們的心的方向,就是向利益人群走,這就是光明,這叫做「善」;「善」,就是心的光明。我們心寬念純,投入做下去,「做」就是我們的壽命;沒有做,世壽再長,也對人間沒有什麼奉獻。總而言之,「壽」就是有在用的時間,這叫做壽命長;沒有什麼用的時間,那有和沒有也差不多。所以,大家要時時多用心!


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發表主題: 回復: 20180615《靜思妙蓮華》耶輸受記 佛壽無量 (第1371集) (法華經·勸持品第十三)   周五 11月 30, 2018 7:14 pm

Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: Yasodhara Receives a Prediction of Infinite Life (耶輸受記 佛壽無量)
Date: June.15.2018

“Seeking to benefit both oneself and others to perfectly fulfill the fruit of Buddhahood is the great practice of all Bodhisattvas. These are the causes that Bodhisattvas perfect by actualizing the Six Paramitas in all actions through giving, upholding precepts and so on. These 500 disciples secretly cultivated the Bodhisattva-practice inwardly, while outwardly appearing as Hearers.”

We must mindfully seek to experience this and be even more mindful as we try to understand it. We have seen all along how the Buddha was always recruiting people for the sake of the Dharma. What he hoped for most was for His disciples to be able to understand the importance of spreading the Dharma. He encouraged them to uphold the Dharma, spread the Dharma and apply the Dharma in the world; this was the Buddha’s greatest goal. Sentient beings are lost and confused; only the Dharma can correct the direction of their lives. If the person giving directions does not know the lay of the land, how can this person point out the path for others and give them directions? So, the Buddha was very mindful. He hoped everyone would work hard to understand. We need to know how to walk the path back to our nature of True Suchness. This is very important. So, we must engage in spiritual practice and rid ourselves of our discursive thoughts, which are like a fog. When we walk the path, if this fog is thick, we cannot see where we are going at all. Are the conditions and the path safe? We do not dare to walk straight ahead.

Therefore, first we must clear away the fog; only when the fog clears can we proceed forward. The principle is the same. Our ignorance is like this; our ignorance is like a fog that envelops us. We cannot see what is ahead of us, the direction or the path. Thus, we must work hard to [eliminate] the afflictions and ignorance that surround us, clearing them away completely surround us, clearing them away completely. So, we must form good affinities with the people around us in our lives and not attract negative affinities. We must be very mindful of this.

This is why we must eliminate our own afflictions and rid ourselves of ignorance. We seek the Dharma in order to understand our direction in life. This is something that “benefits oneself”. As for “benefitting others,” we [must] understand that all worldly phenomena are impermanent. Even though all phenomena are impermanent, amidst this impermanence we keep multiplying our ignorance and afflictions. This is wrong. Only after understanding the Buddha-Dharma do we begin to see that this is wrong. Only then do we start to seek out the right principles and head in the right direction. This is how we can find the path that is right. So, we must benefit ourselves by understanding our own direction. Once we have reached a state of clarity by ridding ourselves of ignorance, we can proceed to advance forward. Now that we [see things] clearly, now that we have become experienced and have come to understand, when we see other people lost in confusion, in dangerous circumstances, we should reach out and lend them a hand, point them in the right direction so they can safely walk the same path that we walk.

This is what it means to “benefit others”. In this way we “perfectly fulfill the fruit of Buddhahood.” This is “the great practice of all Bodhisattvas.” Actually, it is very simple to be a Bodhisattva. This is the path we have walked ourselves, one that we have experienced ourselves. As we go among people, we lead them toward the right path. This is called the “Bodhisattva-practice”. Life is full of so much suffering. When we have more Dharma, we must share it with others. When we have more benefit, we must go and give to others. When have more strength, we must use it to guide people. Sentient beings suffer from countless unbearable hardships, so we must use all kinds of methods to respond to their suffering. This is the great practice of Bodhisattvas, “actualizing the Six Paramitas in all actions,” which are giving, upholding precepts, patience, diligence, Samadhi and wisdom. These practices that we cultivate are known as “the Bodhisattva-path.”

Charitable giving benefits others, and upholding the precepts benefits oneself. Benefitting others comes first, while benefiting ourselves is our basic duty. Whether we benefit others and ourselves, it is all part of practicing the Six Paramitas. This is all known as the Bodhisattva-path. With the Six Paramitas, we are walking this path. Lifetime after lifetime, for such a long time, we have been putting them into practice, actualizing the Six Paramitas in all actions. As our causes and conditions ripen to perfection, the fruit of our retribution will manifest. This is known as “perfecting the causes”; what follows from this is “perfect fruition”. A single seed gives rise to an ocean of fruits. This requires a very long time to cultivate. So, the Buddha bestowed predictions upon the 500 disciples because they “inwardly secretly practiced as Bodhisattvas while outwardly appearing as Hearers”.

In the Chapter on 500 Disciples Receiving Predictions, in the sutra text, this is what the Buddha said. Those 500 disciples had long ago begun practicing the Bodhisattva-path. They engaged in practice for many lifetimes. They had engaged in spiritual practice not just in this lifetime, but for a very long time before; they had spent many lifetimes engaging in spiritual practice. They always [sought] to benefit themselves as well as others, seeking the path to Buddhahood while transforming sentient beings. They already knew their direction. Through inwardly cultivating the Bodhisattva-practice, they already had these seeds within them and were replete in the causal practice of Bodhisattvas. Thus, it says that they “inwardly secretly practiced as Bodhisattvas”. The Bodhisattva-seeds inside them were already perfect and complete.

However, they “outwardly appeared as Hearers” because in order to deliver sentient beings, they still had to join in [as Hearers] again; when the Buddha appeared to attain Buddhahood, He needed the two groups of monastics to complete the Singh.

So, there were already Bodhisattva-practitioners in the Singh. They had already engaged in this practice throughout many lifetimes, even if they had yet to complete it. This is like the dragon girl. She had also spent a long time engaging in spiritual practice during her previous lifetimes. Then, finally, in the dragon palace and then at Vulture Peak, she made use of these causes and conditions and transformed her body, went toward the world of the south and attained Buddhahood. This was one more way for the Buddha, as He was transforming the beings of the Saha World, to help everyone to understand the principle that all sentient begins are equal. The principle that all sentient begins are equal was still not really understood by some people. Some people still had doubts about it. However, the dragon girl took advantage of this opportunity. She was replete with the causes and conditions to transform her body, attain Buddhahood and head to the world of the south to teach and guide sentient beings. We should understand this very clearly as well. The principle is the same. The 500 disciples who inwardly cultivated Bodhisattva-practices already understood this very well.

So, the seeds inside them were already complete. Of course, when we say they were complete, from the perspective of this world, they still needed to engage in spiritual practice for a bit longer. This is like Sariputra, who was also cultivating the Bodhisattva-practice. In the past, in the Jataka Sutra, he had formed Bodhisattva aspirations, but when he faced a challenging situation, he retreated from his Bodhisattva-practice. Nevertheless, those karmic conditions still remained. When the Buddha came to the world, Sariputra lived at the same time as the Buddha.

By the time the Buddha attained Buddhahood, Sariputra also had a great deal of wisdom. When [Sariptura’s] mother was pregnant with him, his mother inherited her unborn child’s wisdom and became especially eloquent. After Sariputra was born, when he was still quite young, he was so proficient in the principles that he could go on stage to teach the Dharma. When he grew up, he became a religious teacher and was good friends with Maudgalyayana. The two of them challenged and encouraged each other as fellow spiritual practitioners and good friends. However, the Buddha’s principles moved them. Compared to the practices they were cultivating, the [Buddha’s principles] were much more profound than they had realized, so they took refuge with the Buddha and began practicing within the Sangha. Thus, “Inwardly they [were] secretly Bodhisattvas”.

They inwardly engaged in the Bodhisattva-practice, while outwardly appearing as Hearers. This refers to the spiritual practice that they had cultivated over many past lifetimes. But what about the future? They still had a long period of spiritual practice ahead of them. Although “The true principles exist everywhere,” they still had to wait for the Buddha’s predictions. After they received predictions, they felt sure of themselves. They still had to continue to engage in spiritual practice. They still had to continue to remain in the world. So, “The Buddha bestowed predictions upon Bodhisattvas in the world”. In this world, they still had to keep engaging in constant spiritual practice.

The true principles exist everywhere. The Buddha bestowed predictions upon. Bodhisattvas in this world. The Buddha-Dharma is inseparable from the workings of the world. He had one great cause for coming to the Saha World, [a world] that is truly difficult to endure. Awakened sentient beings go among people to experience the Four Noble Truths, the Dharma of suffering, causation, cessation and the Path.

So, the Buddha-Dharma is inseparable from worldly phenomena. There is one great cause for coming to the Saha World, [a world] that is truly difficult to endure. Why did they have to come to the Saha World? Because the Saha World is a world that must be endured. Sakyamuni Buddha came due to His vows. Those spiritual practitioners also came because of their vows, following the Buddha into the Saha World. For the sake of this one great cause, they came to this world that is difficult to endure. They went along with what the Buddha needed; whatever the Buddha taught, they would demonstrate it in their lives, in the way that they lived, so as to help us better understand. This was causes and conditions coming together. They shared the same mission and the same path.

Although they had the same mission and path, some were ahead of others. Those who formed aspirations earlier and those who were more diligent would attain Buddhahood sooner, and then they would deliver those who had still not attained Buddhahood. Earlier, it was the same for Path-of-Great-Love. She led a retinue of 6000 [practitioners] to follow the Buddha. Each of the 6000 had the karmic conditions to form aspirations to engage in monastic practice. They, too, practiced very earnestly. The Buddha also bestowed predictions upon them. In the future, they will all be able to meet 6.8 trillion Buddhas, engage in spiritual practice in those worlds and become Dharma teachers. They will listen to the Dharma, teach the Dharma and also transmit the Dharma. Everyone formed great aspirations and made great vows, so they will also be able to attain Buddhahood in the future. They will [transform] each other and bestow predictions upon one another. These who attain Buddhahood earlier will then bestow predictions on the later ones.

When those people attain Buddhahood, they will then pass it on to the even later ones, bestowing predictions upon them in turn. The principle is the same. This all depends upon how diligent they are in this world, whether they are making progress or if they just take it easy or stop altogether. But whether they make progress, take it easy or just stop altogether, these seeds will still be stored within them. Thus it says “inwardly” and “secretly”. With the predictions received from the Buddha, they felt sure of themselves, so they began their Bodhisattva-practice again, advancing forward once again. They will need a very long time, as they transform one another. This all depends on whether we practice diligently. Although we all engage in spiritual practice, some of us are very diligent and can comprehend the principles more clearly; some have a much clearer understanding. I often hear about those among us who listen to the Dharma every day, digest what they listen to and then analyze it and share it with everyone. This makes me very happy they are constantly seeking to improve. This requires constant repetition of the cycle. We must listen; then, after listening, we [must] confirm it for ourselves. After we confirm it, we must take it to heart so that we are also able to share it with others. Every day is the same process. This is how we spend our time each day. For many lifetimes, we have always done the same.

We often say that, when it comes to the past, present and future, yesterday is in the past and today is the present. In particular, this moment is the present. From today’s future to tomorrow’s future, just how much of the future is there? It is all just a continuation of the present. This is just like the numbers we always hear about. “Oh my! They are so large!”.

In addition to representing lengths of time, these numbers also refer to the Dharma we practice, such as “6.8 trillion”. We should treat it as Dharma to uphold. What does the digit “6” refer to? The six senses. Every day in our spiritual practice, we should always remember [to ask ourselves], have our eyes been deluded by forms? Have our ears been disturbed by sounds? It is the same for [the other senses]. This digit “8” refers to our ignorance and afflictions. Just a single discursive thought can throw off so many people’s direction in life. Listening to the Dharma is like this. Dealing with matters is also like this. If we meet someone who says something off, we may think that what he says is right. Actually, he is wrong! Whether we think something is right or wrong is influenced by the way people spread their [opinions and conflicts]. Something might sound “right” to us [at first], but someone else might say the opposite later. This refutation will confuse our minds. So we say that the six senses can stir up the 800 billion afflictions, [causing us to] take in large amounts of ignorance and afflictions. So, the Buddhis sutra are often full of numbers. These numbers can also represent the Dharma, or can represent our past, present and future. There is the immediate past, present and future. There is also the distant [past], such as [the time] before yesterday, before last month, before last year or even before our past lifetime. These are all part of time. There is the future of today; there is the future of this lifetime; there is the future of our lives to come. So, our time can be long or it can be short, but we need to make the best use of it. Diligent people can always shorten long periods of time into shorter ones and “seize the moment and sustain it forever”. We must persist in doing what is right and never let our six senses or the sounds we hear, the sounds of [conflict], shake our spiritual aspirations. We must never let forms delude our eyes or confuse our future path; we must never allow this. By seizing the present moment, the aspiration we form right now, we can sustain it forever. This is “guarding the gates of the six senses”. This is what we must mindfully seek to experience. So, “The Buddha-Dharma is inseparable from the workings of the world. He had one great cause for coming to the Saha World, [a world] that is truly difficult to endure. The Buddha came to this world precisely because it is the world that is difficult to endure.

So the Buddha, because He was compassionate and could not bear to let others suffer, came to the world to open and reveal [the Dharma] for sentient beings to awaken to and enter. The Buddha was like this, and all of His disciples were like this, too. So, it says, “Awakened sentient beings go among people”. “Awakened sentient beings” are Bodhisattvas. They go among people to experience the Dharma of the Four Noble Truths personally. Since this world is difficult to endure, the Buddha taught us the Dharma of the Four Noble Truths, suffering, causation, cessation and the Path. If we never go among people, how will we ever experience this for ourselves? So, awakened sentient beings go among people to “experience the Four Noble Truths”. They go to experience the principles of the Four Noble Truths personally. So, we should mindfully seek to experience this and never let our time go to waste. Our time may be long or it may be short, we need to mindfully seek to realize this.

So, the previous sutra passage described how Mahaprajapati, Yasodhara and the rest were waiting expectantly for the Buddha to bestow predictions of Buddhahood upon them. The Buddha now began bestowing predictions. he had already bestowed predictions upon Gautami. In the future, she would attain Buddhahood. She would also be replete with the Ten Epithets.

These are “One Worthy of Offerings, Completely Awakened One, One Perfect in Wisdom and Action, Well-Gone One, Knower of the World, Unsurpassed Guide, Tamer, Teacher of Heavenly Beings and Human and Buddha, the World-Honored One.

Gautami was the Buddha’s mother’s sister. The Buddha had bestowed predictions upon her that she would attain Buddhahood in the future with the name All-Beings-Rejoice-in-Seeing Buddha.

Gautami! This All-Beings-Rejoice-in-Seeing Buddha and the 6000 Bodhisattvas will receive predictions in turn of attaining Anuttara-Samyak-sambodhi. At that time, Ragula’s mother, Yasodhara Bhiksuni, had this thought, “As the World-Honored One bestowed predictions of Buddhahood, only my name was never called.

Next, it was Rahula’s mother, Yasodhara, who would also receive predictions from the Buddha. she was thinking the same thing then, “Why has Buddha still not called my name while bestowing predictions? We discussed this previously “Sakyamuni Buddha is bestowing predictions, but still has not called out my name”. This was what Yasodhara was thinking, so the Buddha spoke to Yasodhara, saying, in the future, amidst the Dharma of countless Buddhas, you will cultivate the Bodhisattva-practice, become a great Dharma teacher and gradually complete the path Buddhahood, telling here specifically that “in the future, you will also be able to gradually complete the path to Buddhahood”. This was because Yasodhara was thinking “Why hasn’t He mentioned my name?” actually, as part of the 6000, He had already bestowed predictions upon her that she would be able to be amidst Dharma of countless Buddhas and would also become a Dharma teacher. She would also listen to and teach the Dharma.

The Buddha tole Yasodhara, “In the future, amidst the Dharma of countless Buddhas, you will cultivate the Bodhisattva-practice”: The Buddha was about to bestow predictions upon Yasodhara. The Dharma of countless Buddhas is all about cultivatind each and every thought; when we purify the workings of the mind, that is said to be the smallest unit of thought.

All Buddha-Dharma is inseparable from a mindset of spiritual practice. Every Buddha is like this. They all have to form aspirations to practice the Bodhisattva-path, leave the lay life and clearly fulfill Their Bodhisattva-practice. With Their each and every thought, they cultivate all that is good, “retain all teachings, uphold all goodness,” and purify Their minds. Thus this is called “purifying the workings of the mind”.

So, “You will become a great Dharma teacher and gradually complete the path to Buddhahood. As a teacher who constantly expounds the Dharma for everyone, the Dharma for everyone. “She will gradually complete the path to Buddhahood.

She will be a great Dharma teacher. As soon as she hearts the Dharma, she will take it to heart. Once she takes it to heart, after analyzing it, she will explain it so that others may understand it. Thus, because [Yasodhara] will constantly expound the Dharma for the assembly, she will be called a Dharma teacher. Though she will be able to teach, this does not mean she will understand everything. She also must simultaneously listen, learn and explain. She will still need to put the Dharma into practice.

So it says, “She will gradually complete the path Buddhahood. Just being able to take is not enough; she still has to put into action. As she engages in spiritual practice like this she will also be transforming sentient beings and putting the teachings into practice. She will have to be replete in all of these, continuing until she attains Buddhahood. So, spiritual practice actually means putting the teachings into practice.

The next sutra passage then says, “in a virtuous land, you will attain Buddhahood. In the future, after continuously engaging in spiritual practice, in the very end, in a virtuous land, you will become a Buddha with the [epithet] Replete-with-Millions-of-Radiant-Marks Tathagata. Because she will always practice good deeds, in her future retribution, the land will be very pure and full of good people and good deeds. There she will attain Buddhahood and her name will be Replete-with-Millions-of-Radiant-Marks Tathagata.

In a virtuous land, you will become a Buddha: Foe cultivating virtuous causal actions, her fruit will be to manifest in a virtuous land. A virtuous land: A land of purity.

She will be in that place, because “in the causal ground, she will constantly make offerings to countless Buddhas”. When it comes to Yasodhara, the future direction of her spiritual practice will be to make constant offerings to countless Buddhas. I always tell everyone that all sentient beings have the nature of True Suchness. Sentient beings are all replete with Buddha-nature. We must use love and thoughts of goodness to serve all sentient beings. They are all future Buddhas! We must understand this! Never-Sighting Bodhisattva [said], “I dare not look down upon you, because you will attain Buddhahood in the future. If we maintain this kind of mindset, then the countless Buddhas will all be there before our eyes. If we are able to be mindful and treat everyone with gratitude, respect and love, this, too, is making offerings. We must along harmoniously with people, encourage one another, always express the gratitude in our hearts and form good affinities with others. This will bring people joy and enable them to listen to the Dharma just like us and practice the Bodhisattva-path just like us.

This, too, is a way of making offerings. I have told you before that serving others is also making offerings. Otherwise, we will think, “Oh my! I have to make offerings to countless Buddhas? It is not easy to encounter a Buddha in the world. How long will it take to fulfill this [condition] of making offerings to countless trillions of Buddhas?” In fact, in our hearts, if we take these numbers in terms of the Dharma, [we will see] everyone as a Buddha.

In the Sutra of Infinite Meanings, it says, “Infinite Dharma-doors will readily appear before us”. Every single person is a door to the Dharma for us. Every single person is a training ground for our spiritual practice. So, if we can have this kind of mindset, these numbers become Dharma for us; there will be countless Buddhas there before us in our lives.

So, we should earnestly put our hearts into experiencing this. This is how we “fulfill the Bodhisattva-path”; we will be able to fulfill the Bodhisattva-path. “Thus in her supreme state of fruition, she will be replete with millions of radiant marks”. [She] has perfected her causes and is approaching fruition. When she reaches fruition, she will be called “Replete-with-Millions-of Radiant-Marks”. She will be an “Honored One with the Ten Powers”. She will have attained Buddhahood.

… with the [epithet] of Replete-with-Millions-of Radiant-Marks Tathagata: In the causal ground, she will make offerings to countless Buddhas and fulfill the Bodhisattva-path. Thus in her supreme state of fruition, she will be replete with millions of radiant marks and become an Honored One with the Ten Powers.

When Yasodhara manifested in the world, her current name was Yasodhara. Yasodhara also demonstrated great compassion.

Yasodhara’s manifestation represented great compassion. She was full of Dharma-joy and great wisdom. She exercised both wisdom and compassion. Then she became replete in myriad virtues and millions of radiant and magnificent marks. So, as her fruition, her epithet will be Replete-with-Millions-of Radiant-Marks. This means her appearance will be magnificent, and the radiance of her body will be infinite.

“She was full of Dharma-joy and great wisdom.” She took joy in other’s merits and helped Sakyamuni Buddha lifetime after lifetime to be able to fulfill His vow. So, when it came to the Buddha’s attainment, Yasodhara also had a karmic affinity with Him. She had these affinities lifetime after lifetime. Thus, she had “great wisdom”. So, “She exercised both wisdom and compassion,” exercising compassion and wisdom in parallel. “Then she became replete in myriad virtues”. Yasodhara was always joyful, always giving rise to thoughts of goodness, so she had “gratitude, respect and love”. By the same token, if we wish to go and help people, and there are people who help us and join with us to help others, we should be very grateful to these people. As for the people we helped, we must also be grateful to them as well. If we are always grateful, if we always respect each and every person, then naturally we will always be joyful. What we receive now is due to the love we gave before. This is being “replete in myriad virtues”. This is “exercising both compassion and wisdom”. When you are really and truly willing to give, this is wisdom. This is exercising both compassion and wisdom. With “millions of radiant and magnificent marks,” her body will have millions of marks and will be radiant and beautiful to all who see her. She will be very magnificent. So, “As her fruition, her epithet will be Replete-with-Millions-of Radiant-Marks”. She perfected her causes and approached fruition. By exercising both compassion and wisdom, her mind will always be bright and radiant. She will have no ignorance, no afflictions, none.

By engaging in this kind of practice, when she attains Buddhahood in the future, she will have millions of radiant and magnificent marks. This will be her fruit. This means the “radiance of her body will be infinite”.

Then [it lists] the Ten Epithets she attained. “One Worthy of Offerings, Completely Awakened One, Perfect in Wisdom and Action, Well-Gone, Knower of the World, Unsurpassed Guide, Tamer, Teacher of Heavenly Being and Humans and Buddha, the World-Honored One”.

These [virtues] adorn her body; she is replete with the Ten Epithets. This Buddha’s lifespan will be “infinite asankya kalpas”. All Buddhas share these Ten Epithets. These Ten Epithets mean that. She will be replete in virtues. So, will this Buddha’s lifespan be long? It will be infinite asankya kalpas long. This is a very long life. So, when this Replete-with-Millions-of Radiant-Marks Buddha abides in the world, Her lifespan will be infinite. That is how it will be. She will live for a very long time. This is because her course of spiritual practice will also take her a very long time. Since that land will be so virtuous, there will be a lot of benevolent people; they will emerge constantly. So, because of this, since their hearts will be so broad-minded, since they will all be well-tempered people without any bad habitual tendencies, the lifespans will be longer there. Especially in a land like that, where they are extremely carefree, their lifespans will naturally be very long there. So, “Her lifespan will accord with conditions”. Because that country is so virtuous, everyone’s lifespan will be long. Our Sakyamuni Buddha lived in a world that is difficult to endure, where everyone is engulfed in ignorance and evil turbidities, creating so much [negative] karma. Thus, people’s lives here are shorter. In a place of compassion and virtue, people’s lifespans will naturally be longer. This is due to “conditions”.

So, “Her lifespan will accord with these conditions and She will abide in this world for a long time as well”. This is what Yasodhara’s karmic conditions will be when she attains Buddhahood in the future. She will be in such a good environment, and naturally everyone’s lifespans will be longer.

This Buddha’s lifespan will be infinite asankya kalpas: Replete-with-Millions-of Radiant-Marks Buddha will abide in this world for a long time. Benevolent people will be born into this world with long lifespans, so her lifespan will accord with these conditions and she will abide in this world for a long time as well.

You can see that here in Taiwan, among our Tzu Chi volunteers; there are also many who are long-lived. See how Wang Chengzhi is 100 years old already, and he still goes around to collect [donations]. Everyone calls him “old Guardian Spirit.” There are also people over 90 years old who are getting certified to fulfill their vows. [One of them] was in his eighties when he first wanted to get certified, but his wife said to him, “You are too old! What can you possibly do? Do you really think that they will certify you?” As it was, he was already pretty much finished with his training then. This single remark made him give up the idea of becoming certified then. Later, his wife passed on. His wife had passed, and he was all alone. His children had careers that kept them busy. So, Tzu Chi volunteers went again to visit him and brought him out to do recycling with them. He was happy to do it. He is still in good health and has been volunteering for nearly 10 years now, at least for seven or eight years. One day, he thought, “I am already 90 now, I wonder if I still can become certified.” Once, when I went to Taoyuan, he asked me, “Master, I am already 90. I wanted to get certified in my eighties, but because of something my wife said to me, I ended up putting it off more than 10 years! Master, I am still very strong. I love working in the recycling station. Some Dharma-brothers encouraged me, saying with my [good] physical condition, I should register to become certified. Master, do you think that I am too old?”

I asked him, “How old are you?” “I am this old.” I said, “Oh! That is not too old! If you have the aspiration,” “then do the training. Do the introductory and the advanced training.”

He said, “So long as Master says so, then I will get to work.” He started his introductory and advanced training. He was over 90 years old when he got certified. On my last trip to Taoyuan [in 2017], he told me, “Master, I am already 93. It makes me happy to do this. You are still so healthy! You can keep at it!” Look at how long-lived he is! However, he does not admit that he is old. He is still capable of doing many things. At the recycling station, after certifying as recycling volunteer, he became a certified Faith Corps member. Together with his Faith Corps Dharma-brothers, he still takes turns being on duty. If you think about it, such longevity comes from having an “open heart and pure thoughts.” If something is good, we should just do it. When it comes to benefiting others, our heart’s direction is to benefit others. This is what it means to be radiant. This is “virtue.” “Virtue” is the radiance in our hearts. With open hearts and pure thoughts, we dedicate ourselves to our work. Our longevity lies in our work. If we do no work, then no matter how long we live, we do not really contribute anything to the world.

In any case, when we make use of the time in our “lifespan,” this is what it means to be long-lived. If we do not make use of our time, then it is no different from not having any time. So, we should always be mindful!

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