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 20180625《靜思妙蓮華》五濁惡世 當忍諸惡 (第1377集) (法華經·勸持品第十三)

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發表主題: 20180625《靜思妙蓮華》五濁惡世 當忍諸惡 (第1377集) (法華經·勸持品第十三)   周日 6月 24, 2018 9:16 pm

20180625《靜思妙蓮華》五濁惡世 當忍諸惡 (第1377集) (法華經·勸持品第十三)

⊙一真實乘之道,已覺己後覺他;上使法鼓常鳴,下驚撼動群迷。覺醒奉行大道,持經教弘妙法;解大道發大心,入經藏智慧海。
⊙承重任願無畏,立宏誓廣度化,擔負如來志業,諸賢各守一方。世間無不可度之人,亦無不可行道之處。
⊙「書寫此經,受持、讀誦、解說其義、如法修行、正憶念,皆是佛之威力。惟願世尊在於他方遙見守護。」《法華經勸持品第十三》
⊙「即時諸菩薩俱同發聲而說偈言:惟願不為慮,於佛滅度後,恐佈惡世中,我等當廣說。」《法華經勸持品第十三》
⊙末法世中聖人漸減少,惡習業行增多,無人救正,傷風敗倫者多,故云恐佈惡世。以聖道訓世,令人避惡,遷善崇德,諸惡莫作,眾善奉行故當廣說。
⊙「有諸無智人,惡口罵詈等,及加刀杖者,我等皆當忍。」《法華經勸持品第十三》
⊙有諸無智人,惡口罵詈等:有諸不善無智之人,惡口穢言罵詈等事。正斥曰罵,傍及曰詈。
⊙及加刀杖者,我等皆當忍:即以加之刀劍杖石,我等誓願當為弘經,皆當悉忍諸惡。
⊙下愚無信,視正如怨,嫉其法,惡其人,惡言毀之不足,加刀杖而害之。菩薩怨親平等,不校不報,以理自責,以忠自恕,惟道是務,皆當忍之。
⊙聖人去世,無人救正,傷風敗倫者多,故云恐佈惡世。以聖道訓世,令人遷善崇德,故當廣說。

【證嚴上人開示】
一真實乘之道,已覺己後覺他;上使法鼓常鳴,下驚撼動群迷。覺醒奉行大道,持經教弘妙法;解大道發大心,入經藏智慧海。

一真實乘之道
已覺己後覺他
上使法鼓常鳴
下驚撼動群迷
覺醒奉行大道
持經教弘妙法
解大道發大心
入經藏智慧海

要用心,其實,每一天無不都是,我們要在道上覺法,而且在法中體會。每一時間無不都是修行好因緣。今天(二0一七年)是,農曆二月八日,二月初八應該大家都會知道,是佛教中一大喜事,那就是釋迦牟尼佛出家。沒有出家這一天,哪有修行的道路;沒有修行的道路,哪有覺悟的時刻;沒有覺悟的時刻,哪有說法的人;沒有說法的人,就沒有被度化的眾生。所以,佛出家是一大喜事,覺悟天地宇宙萬物真理,體會一真實乘之道,這是佛陀在出家,經過了十幾年的時間,很辛苦。心在有為法、無為法,或者是,忍,這種的忍,大地氣候的冷、熱等等,忍大自然的境界。修行者,不是像我們,有一個家庭,有一個家,有遮風避雨的牆壁。冷,關窗戶,穿得暖和一點。修行者沒有這樣,尤其是釋迦牟尼佛出家,是於大自然間,樹下一宿,就是哪裡走,就是在哪裡睡。

不論是冬天,不論是夏天,是下雨天,或者是星光滿天,都是一樣,在這大自然境界,他就要忍耐,不是人為能夠去防止,不是,那就是面對著大自然,接受著大自然冷、熱;接受大自然是蚊蟲、衛生等等,他總是這樣過來的,這就是修行者的決心。在十幾年的時間,這樣走過來,五年的苦行,六年的修行,這種靜下心來,真的是很不簡單。我們要了解,佛陀要能夠得到,「一真實乘之道,已覺己後覺他」,已經覺悟了自己,他還要再去覺悟其他的人。因為成佛那剎那間,「一真實乘之道」,這個道理就在他的腦海中,與天地宇宙合而為一,發現了大地眾生皆有佛性,佛性平等。人也是一樣,一切物都是一樣,有形、無形,無不都是在這一真實法中,這是佛陀他的體會,他的覺悟。

覺者,成就一位覺者,是因為有開頭那一念間,出家去,有這個動作,才有這樣的過程,才有這樣的結果,才有這樣的成就。所以成就是,「已覺己後覺他」,自己已經覺悟之後,也就要趕快做度化眾生的功能,開始就付出了。當然要很大的思考,思考之後,決定的方向,那就是為五比丘說:「苦、集、滅、道」四諦法,就這樣展開(度化)人間。我們大家,修行者都能知道,人生是苦。每一天面對到人、事、物,不如意的事情很多,我們已經了解了,一笑置之。這就是這樣,自然的法則原來是這樣,放下了。這是有修行的人能了解的事情,將人間的疾苦,不會惹來內心這樣長久憂鬱,很快看得開、放得下,心就放棄了煩惱,減少無明,這就是「道理」。

道理既然發現了,那就要時時讓道理會發聲。道理是看不到的,雖然說天地有形,無不都是含藏著道理存在,無形也充分的理在裡面。我們大空間,有「四大」,含藏在你看不到的大空間,地、水、火、風。地有形,但是它有無形的地理存在,不是你看到的有形的土地。有形的土地裡面,所含藏著無量的道理。物質,各項的物質,都有不同的理性存在,那個理性含藏在大地,無限量,有各形各色。光是一個大地,就沒辦法去分析,永遠分析不完,它的道理含藏在裡面。所以說起來,法,道理,我們要時時不斷去啟發,讓它無形的理衍生著有形,去分析出無量數無形的道理。所以人間,佛陀常常說:不可思,不可議,不可說,不可言語譬喻。「不可」,不是說不能,是無法一一,全都一時都說得完。就是要千秋萬世,有很多的時間發現的道理,還有很多新的可再發現。

所以,理是無量數,你說不完,算不盡。就像〈化城喻品〉,用塵點劫的時間,每一個塵沙,這樣化為每一個劫。你們想,這個數量,豈是人有辦法去分析出來的。所以,佛陀他就這樣說:「若算師,若算師弟子。」沒辦法去算計出來。所以說,天地宇宙萬物真理,經千年萬年怎麼說都說不完。所以,我們修行,要能夠徹底盡知這個道理,當然要用很長久的時間。佛陀的覺悟,是過去生,不斷用很長久的時間,千秋百世,千生萬世,就是這樣不斷不斷探討真理;不斷不斷入人群,去發現人性的道理,去發現人性所造作煩惱無明,所產生的苦。這就是佛陀所修行,要用很長久的時間,去探討這個道理。所以,道理要不斷追求「上使法鼓常鳴」,生生世世不間斷向上求法。

每發現一項的道理,每是一分發出了震撼人心,「法鼓常鳴」就是震撼大家。同樣,我們世間也是這樣,一些學者這樣,孜孜在研究、在探討,不知道要用幾十年的時間,一直在他那個研究,小小的顯微鏡的之中,不斷去在分析。哇!忽然間發現到了新天地。小小微細的細菌,它就有驚天動地的大道理存在。同樣的道理,植物、礦物、動物全都有很多還未打開的奧秘在,不斷不斷地在研究,直至發現到了,這完全很響亮、震撼,很震撼人心。這種就像在擊鐘、擊鼓。鼓,一直震,聲音會震動。新加坡,我們在幾年前(2013年,慈濟新加坡分會成立二十周年 ),大家在安排就是「入經藏」,在練鼓,他們借一間工廠,我們的榮董,提供一個工廠。怕聲音出了外面會讓人抗議,所以他們就將窗戶關起來。在那裡打鼓,鼓聲一響,很多人在那裡打,打大鼓,一響起來,你們知道嗎?地會震,玻璃會破,真的,窗戶的玻璃破了,這是他們的經驗。

所以,「法鼓常鳴」,就是驚撼大家,因為人還是在睡,眾生還在沉迷中,所以要趕緊清醒,法鼓要常鳴,這樣來,能夠讓眾生「驚撼動群迷」,讓大家能夠覺醒起來,覺醒才能「奉行大道」,要不然在那裡打瞌睡。看書,書是在面前,白紙黑字,每一句無不都是法在裡面,但是,他睡著了。外面的聲音來震撼他,讓他能夠清醒起來,趕緊坐正,趕快再讀,這也是一樣的道理。所以我們擊,覺醒了自己的心,能夠鼓勵自己的性,所以要持經,要懂得「奉行大道」,要「持經教」,持經,欲受教,也能夠「弘法」,也能夠教育他人。自己受教,再教育他人,這樣「弘妙法」。佛陀的教法,真正能在我們用心來弘揚。所以,持經教、弘大法,要「解大道、發大心」,「入經藏」,才能智慧如海。這就是我們應該要知道。

承重任願無畏
立宏誓廣度化
擔負如來志業
諸賢各守一方
世間無不可度之人
亦無不可行道之處

所以,我們要「承重任願無畏」,不要怕,雖然是娑婆世界是堪忍,我們要無所畏。因為我們立宏誓,這個宏誓願能夠廣度眾生,發願要「擔負如來志業」,還要再「諸賢各守一方」。看看現在,多少人在不同的國家,有多少的菩薩守護在那裡。我們若是看到媒體,知道哪一個國家有大風小雨?」有什麼樣的災情,電話就趕緊問看看:「那個地方有大風嗎?有大雨嗎?他們會回報回來,「我們這裡都平安,但是某一個地方災情嚴重,我們已經準備了,我們要去勘災。」這樣我們就安心。所以在全球,有慈濟人的地方,他們就在那個地方負責起來,他們在那個地方,他們守護著。哪一個地方有需要,他們就開始要去關懷。所以,「世間無不可度之人」。因為世間這麼廣,和我們有緣,等待救援,等待我們去幫助他,等待我們去度化他,很多,很多。所以,有很多和我們有緣的人,需要我們去接引。

同樣「亦無不可行道之處」。世間既然有很多,沒有不能度的人,也有很多的地方,我們還沒有走到,但是我們有辦法走到的地方,我們應該,娑婆世界還很廣,還很大,與我們有緣的人還很多,不要畏懼。不要畏懼這個地方,娑婆世界眾生剛強,所以我們應該要發願。佛的時代,佛陀,因為他的弟子,比丘、比丘尼,大乘心雖然發了,勇氣還不夠,因為娑婆世界眾生剛強,他們畏懼。佛陀實在心很寂寞,也是很憂鬱,「大家怎麼沒辦法,體會我的心志呢!為大家授記,證明將來當成佛了,大家怎麼沒有這個勇氣發大願,在這個娑婆克服困難,(在)娑婆來度化眾生。為什麼大家還是這樣,這麼沒勇氣呢?」所以,他就看看大家,盼望其他人。出家的人還不敢立大願,那就盼望其他發大心的菩薩了。其他發大心的菩薩,不一定出家,「在家菩薩智慧長」。所以,這樣看,發大心的菩薩開始起動了,等待佛陀來叮嚀交代,「我們願意接受,他們不敢去,我們願意守護。」

所以這些菩薩,開始就向佛來發願,發願要在娑婆世界:「書寫此經,受持、讀誦、解說其義、如法修行、正憶念,皆是佛之威力。惟願世尊在於他方遙見守護。」

書寫此經
受持 讀誦
解說其義
如法修行
正憶念
皆是佛之威力
惟願世尊
在於他方遙見守護
《法華經勸持品第十三》

因為這些菩薩,有在家、有出家,這全都是過去有大因緣,他們願意,願意將這些佛陀所說的法,要準備好,經典讀誦、解說,不斷意義在內心裡,都準備好了,法都清楚了。尤其是內心那個方向,「正憶念」,正道、正思、正見,這些已經全都再回憶,佛的法已經歸位入心了,佛陀的分身都歸位入心來了。所以,「正憶念,皆是佛之威力」。因為佛陀在<見寶塔品>,已經將分身佛歸位了,這就是法。人人聽法之後,我們應該回憶,將這個法歸位。我一直向大家這樣說。所以,這叫做「正憶念」,回憶回來,我們佛陀所說的法,我們都謹記在心裡,這就是佛的威力。

所以,「惟願世尊在於他方遙見守護」。佛陀若滅度之後,再應緣化在其他的地方,「不論我們在什麼地方,佛陀啊!您就要為我們加持。」他們有大心、立大願,很勇敢,但是真正所吸收修行的道行,他們還要再繼續。心性是已經立大願了,上乘的階位了,但是還要再修行。

所以,這些菩薩,接下來這段文就這樣說:「即時諸菩薩俱同發聲,而說偈言」。這些菩薩已經表達他們的心意,願意接受經教,不論是抄寫、讀誦等等,他們要入人群他們都願意,表示堅定他們的心志。所以說偈,講法,用偈文重新表達,「即時諸菩薩,俱同發聲而說偈言:惟願不為慮,於佛滅度後,恐怖惡世中,我等當廣說。」

即時諸菩薩
俱同發聲
而說偈言
惟願不為慮
於佛滅度後
恐佈惡世中
我等當廣說
《法華經勸持品第十三》

因為大家都是有這樣發願,再重複一次,補充還沒有完全表達的意義,所以又再重說。就是發願了,發聲立願:不用擔心,世尊不用擔心,我們大家,都已經契合佛的聖意了,我們向佛保證,我們已經有立這樣的願了。所以,佛啊!希望佛陀您能夠安心,您不用擔心,不用掛慮在未來的眾生,所以請佛陀安心。入涅槃,您就安心。」

「於佛滅度後,恐怖惡世中,我等當廣說」。「佛陀,您說的教法,我們都已經入心了。」佛陀若滅度之後,「未來世態甚可怖畏」。佛陀滅度之後,我們都很覺悟,未來的世間愈來是愈惡濁,所以這個世代的變化很恐怖,讓人很害怕。這將來會成為濁惡的世界,這是佛陀用法這樣為我們講過,我們知道。雖然佛陀這樣講,五濁惡世,我們也不怕,我們也發願生生世世,在未來也是要在這個五濁惡世。世代不論怎麼變遷,不論時間還要多長,不論我們會幾生世再來人間,我們都一樣要在五濁惡世裡面,我們不怕,我們不畏,我們都發願在這裡講說經典。因為佛陀已經讓我們知道了,我們也應該將佛的教法,讓它發聲出來,就像在擊法鼓一樣,我們會時時搥響法鼓,會將這個法這樣一直傳下去,請佛陀不用擔心。」

末法世中
聖人漸減少
惡習業行增多
無人救正
傷風敗倫者多
故云恐佈惡世
以聖道訓世
令人避惡
遷善崇德
諸惡莫作
眾善奉行
故當廣說

這個末法世中聖人慢慢減少了,惡習業行會增多,會愈增加起來。因為好的人一直一直減少,因為自然法則,今生此世得佛教育,未來生世,大家都要發願到他方世界,這些賢人會愈來愈少。這個惡濁的世間,人的習氣愈來愈惡;行業,他們的行為造作,業力會愈來愈多。將來這些人,就沒有人可為他「救正」,沒有人可救,沒有人可將他改正過來。像這樣,大家若都不敢在這裡,好的人就減少,惡的人愈增加,有惡沒有人去救他,沒有人去更正他。這樣,像這樣,未來這個世間,傷風敗倫的人愈來愈多,所以因為這樣,叫做「恐怖惡世」。未來的世間就是這樣,我們也擔心哦!

所以,「以聖道訓世,令人避惡,遷善崇德,諸惡莫作,眾善奉行」。這我們應該會一直去布達下去,要不然這個聖道衰微掉了,唯有聖道才能夠在世間,才能夠教導人,才能夠糾正人心,才能夠使人避開這個惡。要有戒,戒是防非止惡,要能夠告訴他:「這是惡的,你不可做;這是善的,你要精進。」所以,要好好去教導他們,使他們避惡,使他們往善的方向走,去崇仰道德,不可傷風敗俗,不可。所以,這就是要聖教在人間,聖教若沒有在人間,那就是惡的事情就愈來愈多了。

所以要教導人,「諸惡莫做,眾善奉行」。惡若生,趕緊,使惡趕緊滅掉,「已生惡令速滅,未生惡令不生」,要「未生善令速生,已生善令增長」。這就是教育,讓人人善的要更善,惡的不可。若要生起惡來,趕緊警惕不要生起來;已經生起來,想辦法讓他改過過來;還未生善的,我們要教育他,啟發他的善心,讓他能夠生起善念;已經有善念了,我們就要再鼓勵他,要再增加,要前進。這就是我們聖教在人間。

接下來這段經文又這樣說:「有諸無智人,惡口罵詈等,及加刀杖者,我等皆當忍。」

有諸無智人
惡口罵詈等
及加刀杖者
我等皆當忍
《法華經勸持品第十三》

這惡世,不只是惡人自行惡,甚至無智慧的人,還要開口罵人,不只是自己的行為惡劣,惡人先告狀,惡人先罵人。

有諸無智人
惡口罵詈等:
有諸不善無智之人
惡口穢言罵詈等事
正斥曰罵
傍及曰詈

就像這樣的惡,「有諸不善無智之人,惡口穢言罵詈等事」。這個「罵」,就是直接罵,或者是旁邊這樣酸人家,這種對人就是,看到人家好的事情,他就一直講人家的不對。人家在做好事,就在旁邊講風涼話,或者是惡口來毀謗,不論是正面罵,或者是旁邊在毀謗的。是不是這樣做好事就停下來呢?善者既善,還是要精進;惡者既惡,我們要用心教化,這就是要好好用心。有的人,總是有的直接罵人,有的直接就是打人,這種就是恐怖的惡世,不只是用手,就是動刀杖等,這真的是很惡劣。就像彌多羅尼子要去弘法,佛陀就說:「那個地方是很惡劣哦!法是行不通,你要去那裡說法,那裡人是會罵人哦!」「不要緊,罵,我既然下決心了,罵不要緊,我就是還是為他們說法,我要感恩。」「若是打你呢?」「打我,我也要感恩啊!空手、空拳打我,沒有傷害,我也感恩啊!我也能夠忍。」「若是用刀、用棍呢?」「我也要感恩啊!」看,彌多羅尼子,願意入那個剛強的地方,惡劣的地方,去度化眾生,那個志願是多麼堅定。所以,現在這一群菩薩也是一樣,「未來世眾生這麼恐怖、惡劣,不只是罵人,還要打人,還用刀杖等等,大家都願意忍。彌多羅尼子做得到,我們也做得到。」

及加刀杖者
我等皆當忍:
即以加之刀劍杖石
我等誓願當為弘經
皆當悉忍諸惡

所以,「及加刀杖者」。刀劍或者是棍,或者是石頭等等,我們都能夠忍。為了要弘經,為了要將佛陀的教法弘揚在後世,聖道要施行在這個世間裡,為了聖道施行,我們一定要忍。所以,我們是發誓願。「誓願當為弘經,皆當悉忍諸惡」。不論他是什麼惡,我們都能夠忍耐。

下愚無信
視正如怨
嫉其法
惡其人
惡言毀之不足
加刀杖而害之
菩薩怨親平等
不校不報
以理自責
以忠自恕
惟道是務
皆當忍之

所以,「下愚無信」。因為未來世間的惡會那麼恐怖,是因為人失去了信心,沒有那個正念,所以「下愚」,這種下根機,很愚癡,貪、瞋、癡、慢、疑,這麼的昌盛集在一起,這種下劣的人,他沒有信心,沒有那個正信的心念。所以,「視正如怨」,他看到正氣的事情,他都是很怨,看到好人,他就無法容忍這些好人,在做好事。他這種「下愚無信」的人,他就是無法容忍好人、好事在他的心裡,所以他就會層層要去破害人家。因為他心懷嫉妒,因為他愚癡,貪、瞋、癡、慢、疑,這種愚癡,就有嫉妒的心,所以嫉這個法。對這個法他很嫉惡,就是連這個人,他也是很不歡喜,所以他就是惡相、惡聲、惡言、惡語,惡的形態來對待這個好人,教育、布達經法的人,他就是不歡喜。所以,「惡言毀之不足」。這樣還不夠,罵人家還不夠呢!甚至「加刀杖而害之」。這就是「下愚無信」的人,「視正如怨」,看人正派,就像是他的仇人一樣,所以他就很怨他,他就這樣要置人於死地,所以有這樣這麼兇惡的形態。

「菩薩怨親平等,不校不報」,不和他計較,也沒有要將他怎麼樣,過去就好了。「罵我,不要緊,過去就好了,以德報怨。打我、害我等等,不要計較了,不要在那裡冤冤相報了,我應該要再回報你,能夠讓你能得度,能夠接受正法,所以我用正法來回報你。」這樣「以理自責」。雖然他罵我們,我們自己就不要,因為他的無理取鬧,而惹我們的心不歡喜,我們應該也要好好來善解他。「他會這麼惡,應該他有他的看法,應該他是為我們好的,愛之深,責之切,可能是這樣,所以善解他一下。」那就是「以理自責」,自己說自己,不要去和對方計較。自己要好好反省自己:我自己是不是有錯誤,他才會那麼生氣?是我們惹他生氣。

所以,我們「以理自責,以忠自恕」。我們既然這樣做,任勞任怨,不論怎麼樣,就是盡一切所能,做對的事情,我做就對了。我忠於事、忠於信、忠於理,所以我應該就是要這樣好好,好好再繼續,我知道自己是正確的方向,我不能自我障礙。所以,「以忠自恕」,不要自己自責之後,覺得:我得罪到他,要不然,我就退步。就像佛陀為他們授記之後,他們覺得:這個地方這麼難待,眾生這麼剛強,我就讓他,我就離開就好了啊!不是這樣。

所以,「以忠自恕」。雖然自責,我就是這樣的業,才會來這個地方,依報、正報在這麼惡劣的地方,來自己自責:我可能是這樣。雖然是自責,但是我應該,要為這個地方去付出,要忠於此事。所以,也要把自己放寬一點,不是光自責,讓他就好了,「我還是要再在這裡,好好來感化他,好好要在這裡守護著。」所以,「以理自責,以忠自恕」。大家應該不要錯解了。所以,「惟道是務」。這道是我們發心立願,這條路是我們要走的,因為這樣,「皆當忍之」,所以我們就要好好忍耐。

聖人去世
無人救正
傷風敗倫者多
故云恐佈惡世
以聖道訓世
令人遷善崇德
故當廣說

總而言之,我們既然發心立願,應該就是要讓聖道,永遠在人間流傳。聖人雖然是已經消逝了,但是聖道在人間。聖道要由我們傳,佛陀的弟子所學來,我們就要發心立願,就要這樣再傳下去。不論這是恐怖惡世,聖道還是一樣要將它流傳,讓他避惡、讓他遷善,道德才有辦法繼承下去。所以我們要時時多用心!
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Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: Enduring the Evil World of Five Turbidities (五濁惡世 當忍諸惡)
Date: June.25.2018

“On the path of the True Vehicle, those who already awakened then awaken others. They constantly beat the Dharma drum to rouse and inspire the deluded multitudes. Once awakened, they will practice the great path accordingly. We must uphold the teachings of the sutra to advance the wondrous Dharma, comprehend the great path, form great aspirations and enter the sutra treasury’s ocean of wisdom.”

We must be mindful. In fact, every day, in all we do, we want to awaken to the Dharma on this path and then achieve realizations through the Dharma. Every moment is a good opportunity for spiritual practice. Today is the 8th day of the second month in the lunar calendar (2017). We should all be aware that the 8th day of the second lunar month is a joyous occasion in Buddhism, for this is the day that Sakyamuni Buddha left the lay life to become a monastic. Were it not for this day when he left lay life, how would He have a path of spiritual practice? Without His path of spiritual practice, how would He have had His moment of awakening? Without His moment of awakening, how would there be anyone to teach the Dharma? Without anyone to teach the Dharma, how would sentient beings ever be transformed?

So, the day the Buddha left the lay life is a very joyous occasion. He awakened to the true principles of all things in the universe and experienced the path of the True Vehicle. After the Buddha left the lay life, He spent more than 10 years undergoing great difficulties, His mind focused on both conditioned or unconditioned phenomena, or patiently enduring the heat and the cold of the climate and so on. He had to endure these natural phenomena. This spiritual practitioner did not [live] like we do now. We have houses with walls to protect us from the elements. If it is cold, we can shut the windows, or put on some warmer clothes.

Spiritual practitioners then had none of these things; when Sakyamuni Buddha in particular left home, He lived outdoors in nature. He slept beneath a tree at night. Wherever He went, that was where He slept. Regardless of whether it was winter or summer, whether it was raining or stars filled the sky, it was always the same; whatever the natural conditions, He had to patiently endure them. These are not things people can prevent; when facing the natural world, He had to endure the cold and heat, endure the mosquitos and the [lack of] sanitation and so on. This was how He got to where He was. He had the great resolve of a practitioner. For more than ten years He continued like this, engaging in ascetic practice for five years and spiritual practice for six years. In this way He settled His mind; this was truly not a simple matter. We should understand that what the Buddha wanted to attain was “the path of the True Vehicle.” Once He awakened, He could then awaken others. Having already awakened Himself, He still wanted to then go and awaken others, because in the moment He attained Buddhahood, [He attained] “the path of the True Vehicle”.

These principles were now in His mind, and He became one with the universe. He discovered that the world’s sentient beings all possessed Buddha-nature. The Buddha-nature is equal in all. Humans are like this, and all things are like this. Things both tangible and intangible are all a part of the Dharma of the True Vehicle. This is what the Buddha realized, what He awakened to He had awakened, had become an Enlightened One, because of that aspiration He had at the start to leave the lay life and become a monastic. It was because of this action that He went through this process, that He achieved these results, that He attained this fruition. So, what came to fruition was “awakening Himself” and then “awakening others”. After He had awakened Himself, He quickly put His ability to deliver and transform sentient beings into action. He began to give of Himself.

Of course, He had to deeply contemplate this. After contemplating, He decided on a direction. He would teach those five bhiksus about “suffering, causation, cessation and the path,” the Four Noble Truths. This is how He began transforming the world. As spiritual practitioners, we all know that life is filled with suffering. We know when dealing every day with people, matters and things that most things will not go as we wish. Having understood this, we can let things go with a smile. This is the way things are; the laws of nature have always been like this, so we can let go. This is what people who have engaged in spiritual practice can understand. They do not allow the suffering of the world to stir up feelings of long-lasting depression. They can quickly see past this and let go. They can let go of these afflictions and decrease their ignorance. This comes from the principles. Having discovered these principles, we should proclaim them at all times. We cannot see the principles. Although we say the tangible things in the world, all contain principles within them, the intangible things are full of principles as well. In this great space, the four elements are all contained within this great, invisible space. Among earth, water, fire and wind, earth is tangible, but it also has intangible principles within. They are not the tangible earth that we see. Within this tangible earth, infinite principles are contained. Every kind of material substance has different principles of its nature. The principles hidden in the earth are unlimited; they manifest in every kind of way. Even just the principles of earth alone are impossible for us to analyze fully. We will never be able to finish analyzing the principles that are hidden within it. So, in summary, when it comes to the Dharma, the principles, we must constantly, at all times, seek to develop them, so these intangible principles can give rise to something tangible and we can them analyze and understand these countless intangible principles. So, when He was in the world, the Buddha would often say, “It cannot be conceived, cannot be imagined, cannot be explained or analogized with language.” “Cannot” does not mean He was not able to do it, it means it would be impossible for each of them to all be explained fully at one time. It would take ages to do this. After spending a long time discovering the principles, there will still be many new ones that we have yet to discover. So, the principles are infinite; we can never finish teaching them, nor ever finish counting them.

This is like how the Chapter on the Parable of the Conjured City used the time period of dust-inked kalpas; every speck of dust is equal to one kalpa. Think about it; with numbers like this, is it possible for anyone to clearly analyze them? This is why the Buddha said, “Neither a mathematician nor a mathematician’s disciples” would ever have any way to calculate these. So, the true principles of all things in the universe could never be explained even in 10,000 years. Thus, if we engage in spiritual practice in order to thoroughly grasp all these principles, of course this will take a very long time. The Buddha had already become awakened in past lifetimes. It took Him a very long time to do this, countless lifetimes of thousands of lifetimes of continually investigating the true principles, continually going among people to discover the principles of human nature, to discover the afflictions and ignorance which our human nature creates and the suffering to which this gives rise. This is why the Buddha’s spiritual practice took such a very long time. He had to investigate these principles. So, we should continually seek the principles. “They constantly beat the Dharma drum.” Lifetime after lifetime, He constantly sought the Dharma. Every principle He discovered was profound and moving. To “constantly beat the Dharma drum” is to alert and rouse people. Likewise, we can see this in our world. There are scholars who have been researching and investigating ceaselessly for who knows how many decades. They are constantly doing research, analyzing things through tiny microscopes. After who knows how long, “Wow!” They suddenly discover a new world one of very tiny microorganisms with earth-shaking principles contained within. This principle is the same. Plants, minerals and animals all contain many mysteries that have yet to be unlocked. Through continual and incessant research, they discover things that are completely resounding, that are stunning, that shake people to the core. This is like the beating of a drum; when the drum resounds its sound is starting. A few years ago in Singapore, volunteers arranged a sutra adaptation performance and were practicing drums. They borrowed a factory to practice in; one of our honorary board members provided it. Fearing people would protest at the sound, they closed all the windows. They beat the drums there and when the drums sounded, when so many people beat those large drums and the sound rang out, what happened? It shock the ground and it broad glass. Really! It shattered some windows!

They experienced this. So, it says that when “we constantly beat the Dharma drum” it alerts and rouses everyone. This is because people are still asleep. Sentient begins are still sunken in delusion, so we should hasten to awaken them by constantly beating the Dharma drum. This way we can help sentient begins by “rousing and inspiring the deluded multitudes.” We can help everyone awaken, for only by awakening can they “practice the great path accordingly”. Otherwise, they will just nod off. When reading a book, the words are in front of us in black and white; the Dharma is there in every sentence.

However, someone may nod off. Then, an outside sound can startle him and enable him to awaken so that he will sit up and quickly begin reading again. This is also the same principle. So, we beat the drum to awaken our own minds, to encourage ourselves. So, we should uphold the sutra and know to “practice the great path accordingly”. We should “uphold the teachings of the sutra”. If we uphold the sutra and wish to accept the teachings, then we can also spread the Dharma and will be able to teach it to others. We accept the teachings ourselves, then we go on to teach them to others. This is “advancing the wondrous Dharma”. When it comes to the Buddha’s teachings, they can truly be advanced and promoted when we put our hearts into it. So, to uphold the sutra’s teachings and advance the Great Dharma we must “comprehend the great path, from great aspirations” and “enter the sutra treasury”. Then we can have wisdom as vast as the ocean. This is what we must understand.

We must shoulder this heavy burden without fear. We must make great vows to widely transform [sentient beings] and undertake the Tathagata’s mission. Each of those sages protected one place. There is no one in the world that cannot be transformed nor any place where the path cannot be practiced.

So, we should “shoulder this heavy burden without fear. We should not be afraid. Although this Saha World is one to be endured, we should have no fear, because we have made great vows. With these great vows we can widely transform sentient beings. We vow to “undertake the Tathagata’s mission”. Then, “Each of those sages protected one place”. We can see how now there are so many [volunteers] in different countries, so many Bodhisattvas protecting these places. When we look at the news, if we see strong winds and rains in some country, if we see there has been a natural disaster, we can quickly pick up the phone and ask, “Have there been great winds and rain there? They will report back to us, “We are safe here, but in such-and-such a place, the effects of the disaster were severe. We are already preparing to go and assess the situation there”. After this, we will have peace of mind. So, wherever in the world. Tzu Chi volunteers may be, they take responsibility for the place they are in. They protect and safeguard that place. Wherever they may be needed, they go to provide care. So, “There is no one in the world that cannot be transformed”. The world is so vast and those we have affinities with, those waiting for us to rescue them, those waiting for us to go and help them, those waiting for us to deliver them are so numerous! So, there are many whom we have affinities with who need us go and guide them. Similarly, “There is no place where the path cannot be practiced”. There are many people in the world, but there is no one who cannot be transformed. There are also many places that we are able to reach but have not yet been to we are able to reach but have not yet been to. So, despite the Saha World being so vast, so big, with so many people who have affinities with us, we should never be afraid. We should not be afraid of this place. The Saha World’s sentient beings are stubborn, so this is why we should make vows.

In the Buddha’s time, although His disciples, those bhiksus and bhiksunis, had already formed Great Vehicle aspirations, they still were not brave enough. This is because the Saha World’s sentient beings were so stubborn. They were afraid of them. The Buddha truly felt lonely, and He was quite worried. “Why can’t anyone comprehend my aspiration? I bestowed predictions on you. I confirmed that you will attain Buddhahood in the future. Why don’t you have the courage to make great vows and overcome the difficulties in transforming sentient beings in the Saha World? Why are you all still so lacking in courage?” So, He looked at everyone, hoping for someone else [to make vows]. These monastics still did not dare to make great vows. His hopes were on these other Bodhisattvas who had formed great aspirations. These Bodhisattvas with great aspirations were not necessarily monastics. “Lay Bodhisattvas have great wisdom”. So, as He looked at them like this, these Bodhisattvas with great aspirations began rousing themselves. They waited for the Buddha to instruct them. “We are willing to accept [this mission]. Where others are unwilling to go, we will willingly go to protect those places”.

So, those Bodhisattvas began making vows to the Buddha, vowing that in the Saha World they would “transcribe this sutra, accept, uphold, read and recite it, expound its meaning, practice in accordance with the Dharma and rightfully keep it in mind. All this will be done through the mighty power of the Buddha. We only wish the World-Honored One, from other places, will watch over and protect us from afar.

Because these Bodhisattvas, both lay people and monastics, all had great causes and conditions from the past, they were willing to prepare all of the teachings the Buddha had given so they could read and recite the sutra, explain and teach it, and constantly keep its meaning in their hearts. They prepared everything fully. They were all very clear on the Dharma. In particular, when it came to the direction of their heart, they “rightfully kept [the sutra] in mind”. The right path, right thinking and right views were all kept in their memory.

The Buddha’s teachings had already been returned to their place inside their hearts. The Buddha’s manifestations had returned to their place inside their hearts. So, they had to “rightfully keep it in mind”. “All this will be done through the mighty power of the Buddha”. In the Chapter on Seeing the Stupa of Treasures, His manifestations had returned to their place. These were the teachings. Whenever we listen to the Dharma, we should remember it and return the Dharma to its place. This is what I always keep telling everyone. This is “rightfully keeping it in mind”. We remember it. We take the Dharma the Buddha taught and keep it carefully written in our hearts. This is the mighty power of the Buddha.

So, “We only wish the World-Honored One, from other places, will watch over and protect us from afar”. After the Buddha entered Parinirvana, He would then respond to conditions to transform people in other places. “It doesn’t matter where we are. Venerable Buddha, all we need are your blessings and protection”. They had great aspirations, had made great vows. They were very brave, but truly they still needed to keep engaging in the spiritual practices they already had absorbed. In their mind they had already established great vows, and they were already at the stage of the [Great] Vehicle, but they still had to engage in practice further.

So, as for these Bodhisattvas, the next passage says, “Right away, all the Bodhisattvas joined their voices together and spoke this verse”. These Bodhisattvas were now expressing the intentions they had in their hearts. They willingly accepted the sutra’s teachings, whether transcribing it, reading and reciting it or so on. They were all willing to go among people. This shows they were determined in their resolve. So, they now spoke in verse, expressed themselves again in verse.

“Right away, all the Bodhisattvas joined their voices together and spoke this verse, ‘We only wish for the Buddha not to worry. After the Buddha enters Parinirvana, in this terrifying and evil world, we will all widely teach [this sutra].’”

Everyone had already made vows like this, but they repeated them again. To make their intentions even clearer, they repeated themselves, making their vows out loud. “World Honored One, there is no need to worry. We are all already in accord with the Buddha’s noble intention, so we give the Buddha our guarantee. We have already made such vows, so Venerable Buddha, we hope You can put Your mind at ease. You need not worry about sentient beings in the future. Please, Venerable Buddha, put Your mind at ease. You can enter Parinirvana without worrying. So, “After the Buddha enters Parinirvana, in this tarrying and evil world, we will all widely teach [this sutra]. Buddha, when it comes to your teachings, we have already taken all of them to heart. After the Buddha entered Parinirvana, the future world would be terrifying and evil. After the Buddha enters Parinirvana, we are very aware that in the future, the world will become more and more evil and turbid. So, the changes of this era are terrifying; people are very afraid. In the future it would become a turbid, evil world. This is what the Buddha told us with the Dharma. “We understand. Although the Buddha told us that it will be an an evil world of Five Turbidities, we are not afraid. We have made vows for lifetime after lifetime.” In the future we will remain in this Five Turbidities. No matter the changes of the times, no matter long it may take, no matter how many lifetimes we return to the world, we will stay the same; we will remain in this evil world of Five Turbidities. We are not afraid. We all vow to teach the sutra right here. Because the Buddha has already helped us to understand, we too should give voice to the Buddha’s teachings, as if we were beating the Dharma-drum. We will always beat the Dharma-drum and will pass down the Dharma this way. Please, Venerable Buddha, do not worry.”

In the era of Dharma-degeneration, noble beings will grow fewer while those with negative habitual tendencies. And negative karma will become more numerous. There will be no one to save and correct them. There will be many who violate morals and ethics. So it says, “this terrifying and evil world.” With the noble path, they can instruct the world, help people to avoid evil, pursue goodness, respect virtue, refrain from all evil and do all that is good. Therefore, they must widely teach it.

In the era of Dharma-degeneration, noble beings will gradually grow fewer, while those with negative habitual tendencies, and negative karma will increase in number. They will be on the rise, because good people will continually grow fewer. This is due to the laws of nature. Having attained the Buddha’s teaching in that lifetime, for their future lifetimes they all vowed to go to other places, so these sages would steadily decrease in number. In an evil and turbid world like this, people’s habitual tendencies would become more and more evil. They would keep creating karma and the force of karma would continually increase. Those in the future would have no one to “save and correct” them. There would be no one who could save them, no one to get them back on the right track. It was because no one dared to return there that the numbers of good people would decrease, while evil people would become more numerous. Amidst evil, no one would go there to save them. No one would go there to correct them, in this way, in this world in the future, people who have lost their morals and traditions will be more and more numerous. Because of this,it will be a “terrifying and evil world.” This is what the future will be like, so we should be worried as well!

So, “With the noble path, they instruct the world, help people to shun evil, pursue goodness, respect virtue, refrain from all evil and do all that is good. This is what we should continually proclaim. Otherwise, this noble path will decay. In this world, it is only with the noble path that we can teach people, that we can rectify their hearts, that we can help people to avoid these evils. We need the precepts because the precepts guard against wrongs and stop evil. We should be able to tell people, “This is evil; you should not do it. This is good, so di it diligently.” So, we should put effort into teaching them, helping them to avoid evil, helping them to move in a good direction, to esteem and admire morals and ethics. We cannot allow people’s morals to be destroyed. So, the noble teaching is needed in the world. Without the noble teaching in the world, evil will always be on the rise. So, we need to teach people to “refrain from all evil and do all that is good.” If evil arises, then we hasten to eliminate it. We “swiftly eliminate evil already arisen” and “prevent evil not yet arisen from arising.” We “swiftly give rise to goodness not arisen” and “nurture goodness that has already arisen.” This is what we teach people, to increase their goodness and not to do evil. If they are about to give rise to evil we quickly warn them not to let it arise. If evil has already arisen, we think of ways to help them rectify it. If goodness has yet to arise in them, we should teach and inspire goodness in them, help them give rise to good thoughts. Id their thoughts are already good, then we should encourage them further, so their good thoughts increase and they advance. This is our noble teaching for the world.

The next sutra passage then goes on to say, “if there are ignorant people who cruse and criticize us with harsh words and attack us with knives and sticks, we will all endure them.”

In an evil world, there will not only be those whose actions are evil, but there will be ignorant people as well who will curse and reprimand others. Not only will their own conduct be evil, but they will be the first to reprimand others, they will be the first to scold others.

If there are ignorant people who curse and criticize us with harsh words: There will be unkind and ignorant people who do things like curse and criticize us with harsh and filthy words. Directly reprimanding someone is cursing. Indirectly reprimanding someone is criticizing.

There will be evil people like this. “There will be unkind and ignorant people
who do things like cursing and criticizing us with harsh and filthy words”. When we “curse” others, it means that we directly abuse them. Or, we may mock them from the sidelines. When people treat others like this, if they see them doing something good, all they talk about is what they do wrong. While others do good deeds, they make sarcastic remarks from the sidelines, or they slander them using harsh speech. Whether people directly curse them or slander them from the sidelines. Will the good they do be brought to a halt? If we know it is good, we must remain diligent. If we know it is evil, we must mindfully teach and transform them. This is something we must be very mindful of. Some will always curse others to their face, while some even hit others. This is a terrifying and evil world. They not only use their fists, but even use knives and sticks and so on. This is horrible indeed. It is like how when Purna Maitrayaniputra was going to spread the Dharma; the Buddha first told him, “That is a horrible place! You can never teach the Dharma to them there. Should you wish to teach them the Dharma, those people there will abuse you”. Purna replied, “It doesn’t matter! Since I am determined, even if they curse me I won’t mind. I will still teach them the Dharma and I will be grateful”. “What if they beat you?” “If they beat me, I will still be grateful that they beat me with just their bare hands. I was not injured, so I will still be grateful.I will be able to endure it”. “What if they should use knives and sticks?” “I will still be grateful!” Look at Purna Maitrayaniputra, he willingly went to such stubborn places, such horrible places, to transform the sentient beings there. That was how determined he was in his aspirations. So, this group of Bodhisattvas now was the same. The sentient beings in that future world would be so terrifying, so horrible. They would not only curse people, they would even hit them, even use knives and sticks and so on. “We all are willing to endure all these things!” If Purna Maitrayaniputra could do this, then we can do this too.

[If they] attack us with knives and sticks, we will all endure them. This means that even if they were attacked with knives, swords, sticks and stones, for the sake of advancing this sutra, they vowed to endure all evils.

So, “[If they] attack us with knives and sticks. Whether they use knives, swords, sticks and clubs, if they use stones or something else, we will endure all of it”. In order to speared the sutra, to provide the Buddha’s teachings for future generations, we must practice the noble path in this world. To put the noble path into practice, we must endure everything. So, they made this vow. “For the sake of advancing this sutra, they vowed to endure all evils”. Whatever kind of evil it would be, they could patiently endure it all.

People of limited wisdom and no faith regard what is right as their enemy. They envy right teachings and hate people who uphold it. It is not enough for them to disparage these people with harsh words; they even hurt them with knives and sticks. Bodhisattvas treat friend and foe impartially. They do not take issue or retaliate. They fault themselves based on the principles and forgive themselves based on their dedication. The path is their only duty, so they must endure all [these evils].

It says “People of limited wisdom and no faith” because in the future, the evil in the world would be so terrifying. This is because people will have lost faith. They will lack right mindfulness, so they will have “limited wisdom”. They will have limited capabilities and be foolish. Greed, anger, ignorance, arrogance and doubt are all fiercely gathering together in them. People of limited capabilities are like this; they have no faith. They have no thoughts of proper beliefs, so they “regard what is right as their enemy”. When they see people doing upright things, they resent them. When they see good people, they cannot stand that these people are doing good deeds. They are “people of limited wisdom and no faith”. They cannot stand good people or good deeds, so they try to harm them in any way they can. This is because their minds harbor jealousy, because they are foolish, greedy, angry, ignorant, arrogant and doubtful. In their ignorance, they are jealous. So, they envy the Dharma; towards the Dharma they feel envy and resentment. People like this are so unhappy that they display a very negative appearance with harsh words and speech. They treat good people with negative attitudes, as well as those who teach and proclaim this sutra. They just do not like them. So, “It is not enough for them to disparage these people with harsh words”. This is not enough for them. It is not enough that they curse them. “They even hurt them with knives and sticks”. These are people with inferior wisdom and no faith. “[They] regard what is right as their enemy”. Seeing those who are upright, they regard them as if they were enemies. They resent them, and even wish to put them to death. This is how fierce and cruel they are. “Bodhisattvas tread friend and foe impartially. They do not take issue or retaliate”. They do not take issue with others, nor do they wish to do anything to them. They let go of the past. “You cursed at me, but it doesn’t matter. Let go of the past!” We requite resentment with virtue. If they hit us or harm us in any way, we do not make an issue of it, do not continue the cycle of revenge. We should respond to them in a way that helps them to transform, helps them to accept the Right Dharma. So, we requite them with the Right Dharma. Thus, we “fault ourselves based on the principles”. Although they may yell at us, we should not, due to someone picking a fight for no reason, allow our minds to be troubled. We must do our best to be understanding of them. If they are so cruel to us, it is probably because they have their own view. They probably mean us well; “The deeper the love, the more earnest the scolding”. Perhaps this is what is happening. So, we should be understanding of them. Thus, we “fault ourselves based on the principles”. We focus on ourselves and do not take issue with others. We must carefully reflect on ourselves. “Have I made a mistake in some way? Is that why they are so angry? Perhaps we did something that made them angry.” So, we “fault ourselves based on the principles and forgive ourselves based on our dedication.” Since we are already doing this, we must endure the difficulties and the criticism. No matter what happens, we do the best that we can do. Since it is the right thing to do, we just do it. “I am dedicated to the work, to my faith, to the principles, so I should earnestly keep on doing what I am doing. The direction I am heading in is correct.” I must not hinder myself.”

So, we “forgive ourselves based on our dedication.” We should not, after faulting ourselves, think, “I have offended them. Maybe it is better if I turn around.” This is like when the Buddha bestowed predictions upon them. Afterwards they thought, “This place is do difficult; people are stubborn. I will just let them be” “I will just leave.” This is not how it is. So, we “forgive ourselves based on our dedication.” We may fault ourselves, thinking it is our karma that led us to be in this place, to have circumstantial and direct retributions here in such a horrible place. We criticize ourselves like this, thinking “I may have this fault.” But although we may criticize ourselves, we should still work to help this place. We must be dedicated to the work. So, we should also go easy on ourselves. We should not merely fault ourselves and let others do whatever they want. In this place, we should still try to earnestly transform them, to earnestly protect them. So, we “fault ourselves based on the principles and forgive ourselves based on our dedication.” We should not misunderstand this.

So, “The path is their only duty.” This is the path we have formed aspirations for. This is the path that we want to walk. So, because of this, we “must endure all [these evils.]” We must do our best to patiently endure these.

If noble beings leave the world, no one will be left to save and correct people. Many will lose their morals and traditions. So, it says “this terrifying and evil world.” The noble path is used to instruct the world, to lead people to pursue goodness and respect virtue, so they must widely teach it.

In summary, since we have formed aspirations and made vows to help the noble path circulate forever in the world, although noble beings may slowly disappear, the noble path will still remain in the world. This noble path depends upon us. What we learn as the disciples of the Buddha is that we should form aspirations and make vows, for this is how we transmit the Dharma. Even if this is a terrifying and evil world, we still have to help transmit the noble path. Only when people avoid evil and pursue goodness will our morals and ethics continue on. So, we must always be mindful!

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