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 20180627《靜思妙蓮華》假名練若 自譽蔑他 (第1379集) (法華經·勸持品第十三)

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發表主題: 20180627《靜思妙蓮華》假名練若 自譽蔑他 (第1379集) (法華經·勸持品第十三)   周二 6月 26, 2018 2:24 pm

20180627《靜思妙蓮華》假名練若 自譽蔑他 (第1379集) (法華經·勸持品第十三)

⊙謂法將滅時出家修行人,多貪利養唯思口體供奉,不以勤苦操勞遂漸衰邁,不能弘通佛教時逝法斷。
⊙凡居蘭若者,謂調煩惱故,自謂已得真道不勤無多聞,自不解妙義,而與白衣說法。
⊙懷惡心無正念,常念世俗事,不順教而行。自譽蔑他,非無諍行,故云:假名阿練若。
⊙「惡世中比丘,邪智心諂曲,未得謂為得,我慢心充滿。或有阿練若,納衣在空閒,自謂行真道,輕賤人間者。」《法華經勸持品第十三》
⊙「貪著利養故,與白衣說法,為世所恭敬,如六通羅漢。是人懷惡心,常念世俗事,假名阿練若,好出我等過。」《法華經勸持品第十三》
⊙表明惡比丘之假行,離內外真修。內修心在養性,外端正在行為,向內滋養慧命,向外行儀弘聖道。
⊙貪著利養故:背道行者,則為貪著利養。與白衣說法:己不解妙義,何能為人說。
⊙末世中人多懷增上慢,功德淺薄,瞋濁諂曲,心不實故!形現出家相,心不離俗習痴欲。
⊙為世所恭敬,如六通羅漢:企圖得諸世人之所恭敬,仿彿同得果六通羅漢。
⊙其義有二:一、 即諸菩薩謂此惡人貪著利養,自慢妄擬得道羅漢。二、 指如是貪著利養,妄擬羅漢之惡人。
⊙好出我等過,謂搜尋諸持經者之過失。其義均通。
⊙是人懷惡心,常念世俗事:如是惡人口雖說法心存求利,是人內懷惡見,常念世間塵俗之事。
⊙人懷惡心:其心不存善故無正念。常念俗事:背道偏向不受導正,不順教而行。
⊙假名阿練若,好出我等過:借練若名,行塵俗事,不懷好意,吐虛造謠,好出我等弘經者過。自讚譽己,而輕蔑他,不守規戒,非無諍行,故云:假名阿練若。

【證嚴上人開示】
謂法將滅時出家修行人,多貪利養唯思口體供奉,不以勤苦操勞遂漸衰邁,不能弘通佛教時逝法斷。

謂法將滅時
出家修行人
多貪利養
唯思口體供奉
不以勤苦操勞
遂漸衰邁
不能弘通佛教
時逝法斷

感慨良多,用心啊!「是日已過,命亦隨減」,時間要好好利用,我們若沒利用時間,時日空過,這是人生一大的損失;不只是損失了聞法,損失了體會道理,損失了我們修行。身是載道器,年輕時,記憶力好,領悟力強,吸收佛法不困難。願意身體力行,入人群中去付出,這更是容易。時光不留給人,我們若不去做,時間,時間就這樣流逝過去了。法,不好好把握入心,這樣道理不存於心裡,什麼我們都空的,我們又沒投入人群,又沒去結好緣,體力也是會衰邁,所以我們要好好自我警覺。

我們說過了,在惡世法末的時代,惡比丘只是空有形相,而沒有實修行,這樣的修行,名稱修行人,真的是很可惜。在經文裡面,我們可以體會很多。所以說「謂法將滅時」,這就是末法,法已經將近到末端之時,出家修行的人到底是如何修行?他們「多貪利養」。心裡只是想,想要在生活中享受,能夠暢盡口欲;讓我們的身體,住,住的地方能很舒服。身體、口欲、感受,都是只有貪在供養,貪在享受。若像這樣,名稱叫做修行,不但對自己無益,再者對佛法是一大的損傷,所以我們要很用心。佛陀的時代,那些菩薩就是擔心,佛陀更是憂念,未來佛法要如何住世?期待人人受教,然後發心立願,能在人間弘揚教法。大家面對著娑婆世界,總是失望、懼怕了,不敢再來娑婆世界。受教之後,得佛授記之後,更期待能夠此身了脫,了脫在這個娑婆世界,得以到他方去。

這是靈山會上,佛陀面對這些弟子沒有大志,沒有發大願,立大志,實在是心很落寞。幸好當場有這些菩薩,「當局者迷,旁觀者清」,這些菩薩,看佛陀為弟子授記,聽佛講說佛法、妙法,未來,法,非常盼望著能夠留在人間,那念心的懇切,但是弟子沒辦法體會,所以這些菩薩,就開始發心、立願,向佛陀安慰「願勿慮」,「希望佛陀不用擔心,我們願意,就是將來在惡世法末的時代,眾生多剛強,多麼的惡劣、驕傲,這我們都不怕。」

未來的末世,末法的時代,將來說不定會出現了佛教裡,「獅子蟲自食獅子肉」,名稱的出家人,形像是在出家在修行,名稱的出家,其實內心貪圖利養。將來,這未來的世間,修行的生態若是變成這樣之時,有這麼多類的惡比丘;或者是有人,在阿練若(阿蘭若)修行,自命清高,輕視在人群中的出家人。這就是各不相同,在人群中的,有的就是這樣這麼惡劣,但是願意在阿練若修行的人,卻是看不起在人群中的人。其實在人群中,發心立願也是有,老實在修行,依教奉行,入人群度眾生,也是有。但是就是壞的形態,蓋過了真實修行的。但是在「阿練若」,遠離人群,就是自己很清淨,「無諍」,以為他這樣在修行,就已經很清高了,所以,他也是看不起,在人群中的修行者,這就是未來有這樣兩極端的惡。但是當中,老實修行的,這些人有心修行在人群,但是卻讓這些兩極端掩蓋過去了。

所以,菩薩他就是佛前,來講說未來,未來末世的形態若是變成這樣,這些人,未來的世間,大家怕辛苦,「不以勤苦操勞遂漸衰邁」。這些人都是這樣,在社會人群貪求利養,時間空過,只有一個名稱修行,這樣而已,就一直過一直過,這個生活空過。很怕操勞,很怕辛苦,但是時間也這樣空過了。所以「遂漸衰邁」。這不是說我不要操勞,我就能常常體態很好,常常年輕,不是這樣!時日是不能留給我們,同樣時間過,體態,我們的身體同樣,生態也是在衰邁中,這樣消逝去了,空空過一輩子。

「不能弘通佛陀」,不能弘通佛陀的教育,時間就是這樣這樣一直過,法就這樣斷掉了,這叫做「末世」,這叫做法將滅。佛法會將在人間消滅掉,到這樣的時代,大家怕辛苦,修行,光是貪圖人家供養而已,不想要好好做典範,不想要好好弘揚佛的教法。回過頭來,敗壞佛法,這樣時間一直過,佛法會滅得很快。這就是菩薩他說清楚,佛陀擔心的未來;擔心未來,佛法就是會變成這樣。

凡居蘭若者
謂調煩惱故
自謂已得真道
不勤無多聞
自不解妙義
而與白衣說法

所以,前面我們有說,有的就是在「阿練若」,就是他在修苦行,凡是居在阿練若者,「謂調煩惱」,說他是在調伏煩惱,其實他什麼都沒做,光是很想,我就是修行,就是空空的這樣過,是與人無爭而已,不理世間事,時間到就去托缽,之後回來,就在那個地方靜坐、看經,但是「不勤無多聞」。以為自己已經煩惱調伏了,所以我沒有煩惱,不與世間爭,我已經是得道了。

所以,因為這樣,「不勤無多聞」。就是不肯勤修,好好去請教,好好聽法,只是守在,我都有在讀經,我有在看經。讀經、看經,但是你沒去體會內涵的真理,你不願意入人群去度化眾生。獨善其身,這種「不勤」,而且「無多聞」,就是隱居,不要說給人聽,也不要去聽人說。像這樣「自不解妙義」,自己沒有好好,將這個微妙的道理好好去體會,好好去了解,這要如何能了解妙義呢?不是只有在經典中就能體會到。經典所說的,是很靜,靜態,在靜中要入動態中去體會,常常告訴大家:「入人群中,人人身上都有一部經,每一個人那個經歷的經典,是活的經典。我們在動態中,體會到佛的教法是這樣說,在人群中體驗到,真實是這樣的形態,應該動靜要會合。」卻是這些人只取在靜,與世無爭,不肯入人群,這樣的人,這在「阿練若」裡。

尤其是有的,他就是只要接受供養,「而與白衣說法」,這是在一般的地方修行,他向居士說法,就是有企圖。有的就是在「阿練若」靜下來,自己了解經典,但是不去和人分享,或者是自以為得,以為自己已經了解很多,不要聽,這是靜態的一部分。還有另外的比丘,出家者,他很願意去說法給人聽,但是去說法,自己是還沒有很透徹了解,因為勞勞碌碌都在人群中,而且心靜不下來,心就是一直貪圖利養,穿梭在護法群中,他心靜不下來。所以為他們說法,那個心就是有這樣的貪圖。

懷惡心無正念
常念世俗事
不順教而行
自譽蔑他
非無諍行
故云:假名阿練若

所以,「懷惡心無正念,常念世俗事」。這是又另外一類就是這樣的人。在居士群中,「與白衣說法」,其實他的心所懷念的,就是世俗的事情,享受,享受口福,享受人間的物質,人家拿很多的供養,就是享受物質。所以這種「常念世俗事,不順教而行」,沒有順著佛陀的教育,自己自作行為。「自譽蔑他」,自己讚歎自己,以為自己很了不起,像這樣的人,即使是在阿練若裡,也不是無諍。「阿練若」的名稱,叫做「無諍」,就是精舍。既然入精舍修行,就是要與人無爭,與世無爭,與事無爭,「與事無爭則事安,與人無爭則人安,與世無爭則世安」,一直和大家這樣講過,這是我們修行的目標。雖然我們入人群,應該完全都無爭,這才是真正心淨,境淨,真正是淨行。

但是,你身在靜的環境,很美的境界裡,卻是內心懷惡,沒有正念,只是念在世俗事,沒有接受佛陀的教育。就是自己得一點法,就只是作工具,去向人講法,讓大家讚歎我們;甚至以為自己已經很崇高了,講到其他的修行者,就是輕視人、污蔑人,這就是有這類的出家人。像這樣,豈是叫做無諍行呢?非也!不是,不是無爭的人,不是修行的人。雖然形體,說他住在蘭若,雖然形體說他是出家,但是心懷惡,沒有正念,這也是有爭議,不是無諍,所以「非無諍行」,所以叫做「假名阿練若」。這個道場,這個修行的精舍,說他是在這裡修行,其實這是假的,不是真的,只是一個名稱而已,裡面沒有真實修行者。

所以我們要很自我警惕,不要做一個假名的,住在寺院裡面,我們既住在寺院裡面,在精舍裡面,在蘭若裡面,人人要名副其實。既是出家,就是要修行;你修行是與人無爭,與事無爭,與世無爭,這就是名副其實的修行者。你若違背這樣,那就是心懷惡念,所以我們要自我警惕。前面的經文的大意也是這樣。

惡世中比丘
邪智心諂曲
未得謂為得
我慢心充滿
或有阿練若
納衣在空閒
自謂行真道
輕賤人間者
《法華經勸持品第十三》

所以前面的經文,「惡世中比丘,邪智心諂曲」,就是這樣的情形。「未得謂為得」,這就是貢高自慢的人。「我慢心充滿」,就是很我慢。「或有阿練若」,有的人說在修苦行,「納衣在空閒」,就是穿破衣在空閒中,在很空曠的地方,離人群有比較遠,但是也沒有多遠,就是獨居在一個很悠閒的地方。「自謂行真道,輕賤人間事」,對人間世俗事,他看不起。這就是前面的文。有的是這樣,「邪智心諂曲,未得謂為得,我慢心充滿」,這種人,這就是在人群中的惡比丘,或者是在阿練若,雖然就是住在空閒處,其實他輕賤人間事,這也不對。

接下來,接下來這段文再說:「貪著利養故,與白衣說法,為世所恭敬,如六通羅漢。是人懷惡心,常念世俗事,假名阿練若,好出我等過。」

貪著利養故
與白衣說法
為世所恭敬
如六通羅漢
是人懷惡心
常念世俗事
假名阿練若
好出我等過
《法華經勸持品第十三》

未來有這樣的比丘,這段文的表達,就是「惡比丘之假行,離內外真修」。外面就是在世俗人、大護法群中,在那裡攀緣,內心就是心沒有定力,就是散漫心,這是離開了這種內外真修的行,外面放縱在人群中,內心就是無定力,這就是惡比丘。

表明惡比丘之假行
離內外真修
內修心在養性
外端正在行為
向內滋養慧命
向外行儀弘聖道

「內修心在養性」,什麼叫做內修?內修就是內心修心養性,好好把我們的性0很穩定,好好滋養慧命。我們要知道,我們不知道在多久了,生生世世,在這個煩煩擾擾的世間裡,我們已經很多的煩惱無明,現在難得聽到佛法,要很用心接受,去除我們種種的習氣,那個習氣去除了,培養我們的真如本性,這叫做內修。

外面的習性,因為我們的習氣,已經讓我們已經是這樣,就知道要改,但是在人群中,這個習氣若再起來,還是又忘記了。我們修行,要好好將佛法接受下來之後,我們要養性,我們的慧命要好好來滋養起來,不要讓我們的慧命再虛掉了,不紮實,所以我們要好好修心。

修心,就是在養性,過去的習氣要趕緊改除,好好培養我們這念道心,我們要好好培養。既發心,既立願,我們莫忘初心,這念心要常常記住,身、口、意業在行為中,要好好將它顧好,這叫做內心養性。外,外行,那就是要好好端正行為,你的行為是在你的起心動念,你是什麼行為,那就是知道你的心性,你的內心,你的習氣還沒有改除。所以我們的行為,在外面的造作,都會大大小小粗細犯錯。修行要有內修、外行,內修是「誠正信實」,外行是「端正行為」,用這樣很白話,我們就能夠很清楚。所以,「外端正在行為」。「向內滋養慧命」,向內,我們要好好滋養我們的慧命;向外,我們的行儀是在弘聖道。修行就要有修行的形態,作為人間的典範,佛法才能因為你的典範,而興盛起來。你若是在外面形態不端,就很直接損害佛教的名譽,這就是我們要很用心。

貪著利養故:
背道行者
則為貪著利養
與白衣說法:
己不解妙義
何能為人說

所以,「貪著利養」,這樣就是「背道行者」。佛陀這樣教我們,指引我們這條路這樣走,你偏偏背離了佛陀的教育,這是背道者。法,明明是這樣告訴我們,我們利用法,在人群中沽名釣譽,像這樣就是不對的,這叫做背道而行。修行就是看淡了名利,殷勤為人群去付出。但是向白衣說法,只是為了貪著利養,這就是背道了。所以,「與白衣說法:自己不解妙意,何能為人說?」自己若沒有好好內心用功,只是表相文字的解說,只是這樣,內心沒有修為,對人不真實,這樣是要如何對人講話呢?這末世中的人,多是這樣懷增上慢,這就是很擔心。到了末世,在這個末世,就是法已經在世間,將近要消滅掉了。為什麼法在世間將要消滅掉呢?因為人多是懷增上慢。這些修行者,和這人群凡夫,同樣都是在增上慢中,和凡夫沒有差別,只是名稱上,這樣形態上說他是出家人,其實內還是與凡夫一模樣,同樣的。

末世中人
多懷增上慢
功德淺薄
瞋濁諂曲
心不實故
形現出家相
心不離俗習痴欲

所以「功德淺薄」。既沒有修行,哪有功德呢?內心所有的,就是「瞋濁諂曲」。貪、瞋、癡、慢、疑全都有,對人講話都是諂曲,這種只是應人的歡喜心,護法,擁護他人的歡喜心,就是去博取他的歡喜。這種「瞋濁諂曲」,貪、瞋、癡都還在,再加上了諂曲,這實在是很可憐,為享受而博取人的歡心。

「心不實」,這樣的修行,是心不實的修行,沒有實在的心。我們要「誠正信實」,他不誠、不正,不正確的信,更無實。像這樣,「形現出家相,心不離俗習癡欲」,沒有離開世俗,沒有離開那個習氣,那個癡念,所以貪瞋癡都還在,這種習氣全都還在。所以,「為世所恭敬,如六通羅漢」。

為世所恭敬
如六通羅漢:
企圖得諸世人
之所恭敬
仿彿同得果
六通羅漢

這就是那個模樣只是這樣自高,自己讚譽自己,讓人家看到外表好像很有修行,是六通的羅漢,這種「企圖得諸世人之所恭敬」,自己要仿冒,仿冒著有修行人的形態,只是著這個修行者的衣服,彷彿中讓人看到以為他很有修行,以為他已經得六通的修行人。這是他自己內心的企圖,希望世間的人供養,所以在人的面前,好像很有修行。

其義有二:
一、 即諸菩薩
謂此惡人貪著利養
自慢妄擬得道羅漢
二、 指如是
貪著利養
妄擬羅漢之惡人

所以,「其義」,這種的有兩種的意思。一、是「諸菩薩謂此惡人,貪著利養」。這是這些菩薩向佛及在大眾中,要表達出了,未來世間的修行者的生態,他們是貪著利養,這些貪著利養的人,就是「自慢妄擬得道羅漢」。自己模擬自己已經是,「我得道了」,其實他什麼都還不知道,只是在文字上做模樣說法,其實內心還是不穩定,還是心不定、意不專,這就是有這樣的一類。

再來,第二種,就是「指如是貪著利養,妄擬羅漢之惡人」。這非常的妄,虛妄;「妄」,就是「虛」的,現在叫做「虛擬」,這「虛擬」,好像、模仿,其實不是這樣,但是外面的境界、形態看起來是這樣。這種模擬,妄擬自己以為自己就是這樣,一直讓人知道他有修行。這種的人,這是妄擬羅漢的惡人。

所以,「好出我等過」。他會常常在這些有修行的人,發心立願要在人群中的人,他就是一直要去找他的缺點。

好出我等過
謂搜尋
諸持經者之過失
其義均通

「搜尋諸持經者之過失」。就是一直要去找,他有什麼樣的缺點嗎,一點點就要將它說得很大。或者是只是看到,不了解,就吐虛去毀謗,「一人吐虛,萬人傳實」,這就是這樣。對有修行的人,他就是這樣,要去找出他的缺點等等。這就是這些惡比丘,對善良的出家人,老實修行,傳佛法的人,就是這樣,一直想盡辦法要去毀謗他。這說出了這些修行者的過錯,這就是「惡比丘」,要說老實修行人的過失,這個毀謗的心態,這就不對了,這就是真的是惡。

是人懷惡心
常念世俗事:
如是惡人
口雖說法
心存求利
是人內懷惡見
常念世間塵俗之事

「是人懷惡心,常念世俗事」。那就是「惡人,口雖說法,心存求利」。這些人「內懷惡見,常念世間塵俗之事」。就是說這些惡人,常常雖然口中都說在講法,其實他的內心所存的,說法就是為求取名利。這就是他的內心所懷的惡見,所念的是世間塵俗的事情,根本他的內心就沒有想要脫俗修行,根本就沒有這樣。

人懷惡心:
其心不存善
故無正念
常念俗事:
背道偏向不受導正
不順教而行

所以,「人懷惡心」,這個人是懷惡心,「其心不存善,故無正念」,因為他的心沒存在善,所以叫做就是沒有正念的人。「常念世俗事」,這就是這樣的惡比丘,「背道偏向,不受導正」。這種人,他自己偏差掉,不只是不願意接受,人家導正他過來,反過來要毀謗人。這種惡比丘,心懷惡心,常念的是世俗事。這樣的人,這就是我們要很擔憂未來。

未來,到底我們再來的未來,這樣的世代,就是在什麼時候呢?是在我們的現在,有少數的人這樣嗎?或者是在我們的未來,我們的未來有多數的修行者,是這樣呢?「假名阿練若」,假名說他是在修苦行,或者是不實,口說法,沒有真實的心,這樣表達文字的意,但是沒有真實內心的修行。像這樣的人,未來到底有多少呢?這是很擔心啊!未來惡世的惡比丘,濁世的惡比丘,他會不論是在人群中,或者是僻靜的地方,修行形態不同,但是就有互相衝突、矛盾。當中,不是沒有老實修行的人,是受這些人,這惡比丘所毀謗的,這就是很單純的修行者,但是這些惡比丘,就是要時常找他們的短處,找他的麻煩,時時就是找種種來毀謗。「假名阿練若,好出我等過」。

假名阿練若
好出我等過:
借練若名
行塵俗事
不懷好意
吐虛造謠
好出我等弘經者過
自讚譽己
而輕蔑他
不守規戒
非無諍行
故云:假名阿練若

我們在外面在修行,但是這些僻靜在阿練若,就是這樣在毀謗。所以,「借練若名,行塵俗事」。其實是借練若的名,叫做「苦行」,借這個名稱,其實還是世俗事。「不懷好意,吐虛造謠」。對老實修行的人,就是這樣「吐虛造謠」。「好出我等過」。真的,將來我們若要在惡世、濁惡的世間修行,我們會去遇到這樣的人。像這樣,這種人很多。這種人,「自讚譽己,而輕蔑他,不守規戒,非無諍行」。自己自我讚歎自己,輕賤別人,就是「不守規戒」。這種「非無諍」的人,不是真實修行的人,他就是時時對著真修行者,這樣在毀謗。這樣的人,也是不少,這叫做「假名阿練若」。像這樣的人,在未來末世中,要真正修行,真的是很困難。

這種「好出我等過」,好出我等,要弘經的人的過失,老實要修行,反過頭來受他們毀謗。不論是在人群中造謠,這種惡比丘,或者是在靜處說他是在苦修,但是對在老實修行,要老實將法傳法的人,卻是有這樣,對他們來毀謗。這就是這些菩薩表達出了,未來他們若是要入人群,就會遇到這樣,兩邊不同的修行方式,心不正的修行者。自己若要在那個地方,去弘揚佛法,就是會受到這樣的壓力。因為這樣,所以大家雖然得記了,不敢,不敢在這個地方,不敢繼續在娑婆世界,因為繼續在娑婆,未來的眾生,哪怕是修行者,也是這麼剛強,就是難調伏,不順正法教育,這麼的多。這是菩薩所表達出來的,讓我們能夠知道,未來真的要修行不簡單。所以,我們要時時多用心!


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Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: Falsely Claiming to Be Aranyas (假名練若 自譽蔑他)
Date: June.27.2018

“When the Dharma is nearly extinguished, many monastic practitioners will crave offerings. They will only think of offerings for their mouth and body and will not toil diligently through hardships. They will gradually become decrepit and incapable of advancing the Buddha’s teachings. As time passes, the Dharma will cease to exist.”

This is very saddening. We must be mindful! “With each passing day, we draw closer to death.” We must make good use of our time. If we do not make use of our time and let it pass by emptily, it will be such a great loss for one’s life. Not only will we lose the opportunity to listen to the teachings, but [also the change] to realize the principles and engage in spiritual practice as well. Our body is a vessel for spiritual cultivation. When we are young, our memory is good and our comprehension is strong. It is not difficult for us to absorb the Buddha-Dharma. We are willing to put it into practice to go among people and help others; this is even easier [when we are young]. Time does not wait for us; if we do not take action, time will pass by emptily. If we do not earnestly take the Dharma to heart, if the principles are not in our minds, then we will have nothing. We will not get involved in working with people, nor will we make good connections, and our physical strength will decline. So, we must earnestly be vigilant of ourselves. We mentioned that in the evil world during the era of Dharma-degeneration, evil bhiksus only have the empty appearance of [a monastic] and do not truly engage in spiritual practice. This kind of spiritual practice means they are spiritual practitioners only in name.

This is truly very pitiful. Through the sutra passages, we can realize many things. “When the Dharma is nearly extinguished,” that is the era of Dharma-degeneration. During the Dharma-degeneration era, how will monastics engage in spiritual practice? They “will crave offerings”. They only crave comfort and pleasures in their lives. They hope to satisfy all their cravings for taste and to have their body rest in a comfortable place. In their physical [sensations], desires for taste and their feelings, they are always craving offerings, craving enjoyment. If this is so, this is spiritual practice in name only.

Not only is this not beneficial to them, it also causes great damage to the Buddha-Dharma. So, we must be very mindful of this. During the Buddha’s era, those Bodhisattvas were worried, and the Buddha was even more worried. How would the Buddha-Dharma abide in the world? They hoped that everyone could accept the teachings, form aspirations and make vows to advance the teachings in this world. When faced with the Saha World, people were often disappointed and scared. They did not dare to come to the Saha World again. After receiving teachings and predictions from the Buddha, they further hoped to be able to liberate themselves from this body and from the Saha World and to be able to be [reborn] in another land. During the Vulture Peak Assembly, the Buddha saw these disciples not forming great aspirations or having a great resolve and He was truly very saddened. Luckily, these Bodhisattvas were there. “Those involved are deluded while bystanders see clearly.” These Bodhisattvas saw the Buddha bestowing predictions of Buddhahood upon the disciples and heard the Buddha expound the Buddha-Dharma, the wondrous Dharma. He truly hoped that in the future, the Dharma would be able to remain in the world. His intention was so sincere, but the disciples could not comprehend it. So, these Bodhisattvas began to form aspirations and make vows. They comforted the Buddha, “Please do not worry. We hope the Buddha will be free of worry. We are willing [to carry out Your intent]. In the evil world in the era of Dharma-degeneration, sentient beings will be stubborn, despicable and arrogant, but we will not be scared at all.” In the future era of Dharma-degeneration, among Buddhist [practitioners], there may be “the lion’s parasites [that] eat the lion’s flesh.” [These people] are monastics in name only. They appear to be engaging in spiritual practice as monastics and are monastics in name. But in fact, their minds still crave offerings and wealth. In the future, if the way of life for spiritual practitioners becomes like this, there will be all kinds of evil bhiksus.

Or there will be people who practice in aranyas who see themselves as better than others and belittle the monastics who go among people. These are all different [types]. Of those who go among people, some are very evil. But those willing to engage in spiritual practice in aranyas in fact belittle those who go among people. Actually, among people, there are also those who form aspirations and make vows, those who honestly engage in spiritual practice according to the teachings and go among people to transform sentient begins. There also some like this. But, [people with] poor demeanors overshadow those who honestly engage in practice.

However, for those in aranyas, they are far away from people, so they think that they are pure and “without conflict”. These people think that by engaging in spiritual practice like this, they are already above it all, so they belittle the spiritual practitioners among people. In the future, there will be these two extremes of evil. But in between, there are those who honestly engage in spiritual practice and aspire to do so among people. Still, they are overshadowed by these two extremes. So, these Bodhisattvas came before the Buddha to speak about the future. In the future era of Dharma-degeneration, if this is what the world becomes, people in the future world will all fear hardship and “will not toil diligently through hardships. They will gradually become decrepit.” This is what these people would be like; in society, among people, they would crave offerings and wealth. They waste their time and only engage in spiritual practice in name; that is all. They just let time pass and let their lives go to waste. They are afraid of hard work, but time still passes by in vain. So, “They will gradually become decrepit.” This does not mean that if we work very little, we can keep our body in good condition and stay young. This is not the case.
Time does not wait for us. Time still passes by like this. It is the same with our bodies; as they become decrepit, our life also fades away. We let our lifetimes pass by emptily and become “incapable of advancing the Buddha’s teachings”. We become unable to advance the Buddha’s teachings. Time constantly passes by like this, and this is how the Dharma will cease to exist. This is called “the era of Dharma-degeneration,” when the Dharma is about to cease to exist.

When the Buddha-Dharma is disappearing from the world, during that era, people will be scared of difficult work. People will engage in spiritual practice only for the sake of the offerings; they will not put effort into being role models and spreading the Buddha’s teachings. Instead, they will corrupt the Buddha-Dharma. As time passes by like this, the Buddha-Dharma will cease to exist very quickly. This was how the Bodhisattvas clearly explained the future that the Buddha was worried about. What He worried about was the future, when the Buddha-Dharma would become [degenerate] like this.

Those living in aranyas claim that they have tamed their afflictions, so they claim to have attained the true path. They are neither diligent nor well-learned. Without understanding the wondrous principles themselves, they teach the Dharma to lay practitioners.

So, previously we mentioned that there are some people who are in “aranyas”; they are cultivating ascetic practices. Those living in aranyas “claim that they have tamed their afflictions”. They claim to have tamed their afflictions, but actually, they have not done anything. They only think about engaging in spiritual practice, but they let time pass by emptily. They have no conflicts with others. They do not engage in worldly matters. When it is time, they go out to beg for alms. When they return, they meditate and read the sutras.

But, “They are neither diligent nor well-leaned.” They think they have tamed their afflictions, [so they think,] “We have no afflictions and no conflicts with the world. We have attained the truth.” Thus, “They are neither diligent nor well-learned.” They are unwilling to diligently practice, request teachings and earnestly listen to the Dharma. They just hold on to [thinking], “I do read the sutras!” Indeed, they read the sutras, but they do not comprehend the true principles or go among peel to transform sentient beings. They only seek to benefit themselves. They are neither “diligent” nor “well-learned”. They means they isolate themselves; they neither want to teach nor listen to others. In this way, [they do not] “understand the wondrous principles themselves”. If they do not earnestly seek to realize the sublet and wondrous principles or put effort into understanding them, how can they understand the wondrous meaning? We cannot comprehend [the principles] from the sutras alone.

[Learning] the sutras’ teachings is being in a state of stillness. From this stillness, we must enter into a state of action to experience [the teachings]. I often tell everyone to go among people because every person is like a sutra; everything they have experienced in their life becomes a living sutra. Through our actions, we will be able to experience what the Buddha taught; when we go among people, we experience how it is truly like that. We must combine action and stillness. Yet these people only want that stillness; they do not have conflicts with the world and are unwilling to go among people. These people live in aranyas.

In particular, some of them just want to receive offerings. “They teach the Dharma to lay practitioners.” These people practice in ordinary places and teach lay practitioners with ulterior motives. Some people [practice] in tranquility in aranyas. They try to understand the sutra for themselves, but do not share it with others. Or they think they have attained [the true path] and already understand a lot of [the teachings], so they are unwilling to listen. This is a state of stillness. There are also bhiksus or monastics who are willing to teach the Dharma for others. But when they teach the Dharma, they have no thoroughly understood the Dharma. They busy about among people and are unable to still their minds. They constantly crave offerings and wealth. They go here and there among their Dharma-protectors, but they are unable to still their minds. So, they teach the Dharma to people while craving wealth and offerings in their heart.

They harbor evil intentions, lack right mindfulness and constantly think of worldly matters. They do not practice according to the teachings. They praise themselves and disdain others. Their practice is not without conflict. Thus it says, “They falsely claim to be aranyas”.

So, “They harbor evil intentions, lack right mindfulness and constantly think of worldly matters”. This is yet another type of person. While among lay practitioners “they teach the Dharma to lay practitioners”, actually, what they harbor in their minds are worldly matters and pleasures. They enjoy the delicious tastes and the comfort of material things in this world. When others make offerings to them, they enjoy these material things. So, they “constantly think of worldly matters. They do not practice according to the teachings”. They do not follow the Buddha’s teachings; they act on their own accord. “They praise themselves and disdain others”. They praise themselves and think very highly of themselves. For people like them, even if they live in aranyas, they do not practice without conflicts. The name “aranyas” also means “no conflicts”. It is also an abode. Having entered an abode for spiritual practice, they should not have any conflicts with others nor conflicts over worldly affairs nor conflicts over matter. “If we have no conflict over matters, matters will be peaceful. If we have no conflict with other people, people will be peaceful. If we have no conflict with the world, the world will be peaceful”. I am always saying this to everyone; this is the goal of our spiritual practice.

Although we go among people, we should have no conflicts at all. Only then will our minds and our external environment truly be pure; only then will our practice be pure. However, even when people live in a tranquil and very beautiful environment, their minds can still harbor evil and lack right mindfulness. These people only think about worldly matters and have not accepted the Buddha’s teachings. When they gain a small amount of Dharma, they treat it as a tool to teach the Dharma to others so that others will praise them. They may even think that they have already reached a high status. When speaking about other spiritual practitioners, they belittle and slander them. There are monastics like this. In this way, how can they be practicing having “no conflicts”? This is not the case. They are not people without conflicts, nor are they spiritual practitioners. Though they themselves say they are in aranyas and appear to have renounced the lay life, their minds harbor evil and they do not have right mindfulness. So, there is still conflict; they are not without conflicts. “Their practice is not without conflict”. Thus it says, “They falsely claim to be aranyas”. In this place of practice, in this abode, they say they engage in practice here, but this is actually not true. It is [an aranyas] in name only; there are no true practitioners inside.

So, we must remind ourselves to be vigilant and not be a practitioner in name alone, living in a temple. Since we live in a temple, in an abode, in an aranyas, we must live up to the name. As monastics, we must engage in spiritual practice and have no conflicts with others, over matters or with the world. Then we will truly be spiritual practitioners. If we go against this, then we will have thoughts of evil in our minds. So, we must remind ourselves to be vigilant.

This was what the previous sutra passage is about. In the evil world, there may be bhiksus with deviant knowledge and devious minds who claim to have attained what they have not, their minds full of arrogance. Or there may be aranyas, dressed in ragged clothes and dwelling in remote places, who claim to practice the true path and disdain the human world.

So, the previous sutra passage states that. “In the evil world, there may be bhiksus with deviant knowledge and devious minds”. This is what it will be like. “[They] claim to have attained what they have not.” These are people filled with arrogance. “Their minds full of arrogance” means that they are very arrogant.” “Or there may be aranyas”. Some people will claim to engage in ascetic practice, “dressed in ragged clothes and dwelling in remote places”. They dress in ragged clothes and dwell in remote places, which are empty and spacious places away from people.

However, they are not too far away. They are just living alone in a relaxing place. “[They] claim to practice the true path” and disdain matters of the human world. These people disdain all worldly matters. This is the previous sutra passage. Some people are like this, “with deviant knowledge and devious minds who claim to have attained what they have not, their minds full of arrogance”. These ae the evil bhiksus among people. Or they may be in aranyas. Although they live in remote places, they actually disdain matters of the human world. This is not right either.

The following sutra passage states, “Craving wealth and offerings, they teach the Dharma to lay practitioners. They want be revered by the world, like Arhats with the Six Spiritual Powers. These people harbor evil in their hearts and constantly think of worldly matters. “They falsely claim to be aranyas and like to find fault with us”.

In the future, there will be bhiksus like this. This passage describes the “false practices of evil bhiksus who deviate from the internal and external true practices”. Externally, they go among worldly people, among the great Dharma-protectors, and contrive affinities there. Internally, they lack Samadhi; their minds are scattered. They deviate from the internal and external true practices. Externally, they indulge themselves among people, and internally, they lack Samadhi. This is what evil bhiksus [are like].

This clarifies the false practices of the evil bhiksus who deviate from the internal and external true practices. Internally, we must train our minds to cultivate our character. Externally, we must rectify our behavior. Inwardly, we must nourish our wisdom-life and conduct ourselves on the outside in such a way as to advance the noble path.

“Internally, we must train our minds to cultivate our character.” What does inner cultivation mean? It means to train our minds to cultivate our character, to earnestly [cultivate] our character and nourish our wisdom life. We must understand that we do not know how long we have been here. Lifetime after lifetime, in this world full of afflictions, we have [accumulated] lots of afflictions and ignorance. Now that we have the rare chance to listen to the Dharma, we must mindfully accept it and eliminate all of our habitual tendencies. Once we eliminate our habitual tendencies, we must cultivate our nature of True Suchenss. This is called inner cultivation.

[As for our] external habitual nature, our habitual tendencies made us [behave] this way, so we know that we must fix them. But among people, when our habitual tendencies arise again, we will forget again. As we engage in spiritual practice, we must earnestly accept the Buddha-Dharma and cultivate our character. We must earnestly nourish our wisdom-life so it will not become empty and hollow. Thus, we must earnestly cultivate our minds. When we cultivate our minds, we are cultivating our character. We must quickly eliminate our past habitual tendencies and earnestly cultivate our spiritual aspirations. We must earnestly cultivate [our character]. Since we have formed aspirations and made vows, we must not forget our initial aspiration; we must remember it all the time. The behavior of our body, speech and mind creates karma, so we must be careful with it. This is to internally cultivate our character.

Externally, we must rectify our actions. We take action as our thoughts arise and stir. The actions we take reflect our minds. When we have not changed or eliminated the habitual tendencies in our minds, in the actions we take externally, we will make lots of different mistakes. When we engage in spiritual practice, we must have internal cultivate and external practice. Internally, we must cultivate “sincerity, integrity, faith and steadfastness”. Externally, we must practice correcting our behavior. Using simple terms like this, we can understand it clearly.

So, “Externally, we must rectify our behavior. Inwardly, we must nourish our wisdom-life”. On the inside, we must earnestly nourish our wisdom-life. On the outside, we must spread the noble path. We must have the conduct of a spiritual practitioner and be a role model for this world. Only then can we help the Buddha-Dharma flourish through our example. If we do not have proper conduct on the outside, we will directly tarnish the reputation of the Buddha’s teachings. So, we must be mindful of this.

Craving wealth and offerings: Practitioners who violate the path will crave wealth and offerings. They teach the Dharma to lay practitioners: They do not understand the wondrous principles themselves, so how can they teach it to others?

So, [those who] “crave wealth and offering violate the path”. This is what the Buddha taught us as he guided us on this path. When we depart from the Buddha’s teachings, we violate the path. This is what the Dharma tells us, but we use the Dharma [as a tool] to seek fame among people. This is not right, so this “violates the path”. When we engage in spiritual practice, we must let go of fame and diligently give of ourselves to others. But when we teach lay practitioners only to seek wealth and offerings, we are violating the path. “They teach the Dharma to lay practitioners”. When we do not understand the wondrous principles ourselves, how can we teach them to others? If we do not work hard internally and only use words to explain the Dharma, if we do not cultivate internally and are not truthful towards people, then how can we talk to others [about the Dharma]? During the era of Dharma-degeneration, there are many people with overbearing arrogance. So, [the Buddha] was worried that during the era of Dharma-degeneration, the Dharma would disappear from the world. Why would the Dharma disappear from the world? Because many people have overbearing arrogance. Spiritual practitioners and ordinary people all have overbearing arrogance. They are no different from ordinary people; it is just that in name and in appearance, they are monastics. But internally, they are still ordinary beings like everyone else.

In the age of Dharma-degeneration, many people have overbearing arrogance. Their merits and virtues are shallow, so they are angry, defiled and devious, and their hearts are not steadfast. They appear to be monastic practitioners, yet their minds never depart from worldly habits and ignorant desires.

So, “Their merits and virtues are shallow”. Since they do not engage in spiritual practice, how can they have merits and virtues? In their hearts, they are “angry, defiled and devious”. They are filled with greed, anger, ignorance, arrogance and doubt. They are devious when speaking with others. They only want to please others, please their Dharma-protectors and supporters. They try to curry favor with them. They are “angry, defiled and devious”. They have greed, anger and ignorance. Furthermore, they are devious. This is truly very pitiful. They try to curry favor with people for the sake of attaining enjoyment. “Their hearts are not steadfast.” Engaging in spiritual practice like this, they do not have a steadfast heart; their minds are not steadfast. We must have sincerity, integrity, faith and steadfastness. They lack sincerity, they lack integrity, they lack correct faith and lack steadfastness even more so. In this way, they “appear to be monastic practitioners, yet their minds never depart from worldly habits and ignorant desires”. Their minds do not depart from the worldly, from their habitual tendencies and ignorance. So, their greed, anger and ignorance still remain. All of their habitual tendencies still exist. So, “They want be revered by the world, like Arhats with the Six Spiritual Powers.”

They want be revered by the world, like Arhats with the Six Spiritual Powers: They intend to receive the reverent offerings of all people in the world as if they had attained fruition like Arhats who possess the Six Spiritual Powers.

They think very highly of themselves. They praise themselves and appear to be well-cultivated, as if they were Arhats with the Six Spiritual Powers. “They intend to receive the reverent offerings of all people in the world”. They pretend to be spiritual practitioners. They dress in the clothes of spiritual practitioners, so people think they engage in spiritual practice and have already attained the Six Spiritual Powers. This is their intention; they crave wealth and offerings from people. So, in front of the people, they act like they are well-cultivated.

This has two meanings: 1. The Bodhisattvas said that these evil people crave offerings. These Arhats, in their arrogance, falsely claim to have attained the truth 2. This refers to these evil people who, craving offerings, falsely claim to be Arhats.

So, there are two meanings to this. The first is “Bodhisattvas said these evil people crave offerings”. This was what the Bodhisattvas expressed before the Buddha and the assembly. They explained the way of life of future spiritual practitioners. They crave offerings; these people who crave offerings are “Arhats [who], in their arrogance, falsely claim to have attained the truth”. They falsely claim that they have attained the truth. Actually, they do not know anything at all. They only pretend to teach the Dharma with words. Actually, their minds are unstable. Their minds are unstable and unfocused. There are people like this.

Then, the second kind [of meaning] is “evil people who, craving offerings, falsely claim they are Arhats”. This [claim] is false and illusory. [It is illusory like] today’s “virtual reality” [technology]. It is an appearance, an imitation. It is not actually [real], but its external state and form appear to be so. With this imitation, [these evil people] make false claims, thinking that they are like this. They hope to let others know that they have engaged in spiritual practice. This kind of people falsely claim they are Arhats. So, “They like to find fault with us”. Often they will, among spiritual practitioners and those who have formed aspirations and made vows, try to find fault with these practitioners.

And like to find fault with us: They search for faults in those who uphold the sutra. These meanings are all more or less the same.

“They search for faults in those who uphold the sutra.” They constantly look for faults among these [spiritual practitioners], exaggerating their mistakes. Or when they see something, without understanding it, the speak falsehoods to slander others. Then, one man’s lie becomes truth for thousands. This is the way it is; towards spiritual practitioners, they are always trying to find faults. These evil bhiksus treat virtuous monastics and those who are honestly practicing and spreading the Dharma like this, doing all they can to slander these people and talking about the practitioners’ faults. These are “the evil bhiksus”. They discuss the faults of people who honestly engage in spiritual practice. It is not right to have a slanderous state of mind. This is truly very evil.

“These people harbor evil in their hearts and constantly think of worldly matters. Though evil people like these may teach the Dharma with their words, in their minds they still seek benefits. These people harbor evil views and are always thinking of worldly matters.”

Evil people like these often teach the Dharma with their words, yet in their mind they still seek fame and benefit. These people harbor evil views and are always thinking of worldly matters. Fundamentally, in their minds, they do not want to depart from worldly matters and engage in practice.

People harbor evil in their hearts: Their minds do not embrace goodness, so they lack right mindfulness. Constantly think of worldly matters: They violate and deviate from the path, unwilling to be guided or corrected. They do not practice according to the teachings.

So, “People harbor evil in their hearts. Their minds do not embrace goodness, so they lack right mindfulness”. Since they do not embrace goodness in their mind, they lack right mindfulness. They constantly think about worldly matters. These are the evil bhiksus. “They violate and deviate from the path, unwilling to be guided or corrected.” These people deviate from the [path]. Not only are they unwilling to accept corrections from others, they also want to slander others. These evil bhiksus harbor evil thoughts and constantly think about worldly matters. With people like this, we should be very worried about the future. When we return in the future, when will this kind of era [of Dharma-degeneration] arrive? Is it right now that there are a few people like this? Or is it in the future that most spiritual practitioners will be like this? “They will falsely claim to be aranyas.” They will claim to engage in ascetic practice. Or, they will be insincere. When speaking the Dharma, they will not be sincere; they will express the meaning of the words, but will not truly engage in practice. How many people will be like this in the future? This is truly very worrisome. For the evil bhiksus in the future evil world, no matter if they are among people or in a remote area, [no matter] their different ways of practice, they will create conflicts with others. Of course, there will be honest spiritual practitioners, but they will be slandered by the evil bhiksus. These spiritual practitioners are pure-hearted, but the evil bhiksus will constantly find faults with them and cause them trouble. They will find all kinds of [excuses] to slander them. “They falsely claim to be aranyas and like to find fault with us.”

They falsely claim to be aranyas and like to find fault with us: They claim the name of aranyas while engaging in profane worldly affairs. They do not harbor good intentions; they spread falsehoods and rumors and like to find faults with those of us who advance the sutra. They praise themselves while disdaining others and do not abide by the rules or precepts. Their practice is not without conflicts. Thus it says, "They falsely claim to be aranyas.”

As people engage in spiritual practice, these people in remote and tranquil aranyas slander them. So, “They claim the name of aranyas while engaging in profane worldly affairs.” They are using the name of aranyas, which represents ascetic practice. They make this claim, but they still [engage] in worldly affairs. “They do not harbor good intentions; they spread falsehoods and rumors.” Towards simple and honest practitioners, “They spread falsehoods and rumors and like to find faults with them.” Truly, in the future, if we engage in spiritual practice in the evil, turbid world, we will encounter many people like this.

These people “praise themselves while disdaining others ad do not abide by the rules or precepts. heir practice is not without conflicts.” They praise themselves while disdaining others. They “do not abide by the rules or precepts.” These people are “not without conflicts.” They are not truly engaging in spiritual practice; they constantly slander true spiritual practitioners. There will be many people like this. So, it says “They falsely claim to be aranyas.”

With people like this, in the future era of Dharma-degeneration, it will truly be very difficult to engage in spiritual practice. “They like to find fault with us.” They like to find fault with those who want to advance the sutra. Those who honestly engage in spiritual practice are slandered by them. Whether they are evil bhiksus who seek to show off among people or those who claim to engage in ascetic practice in a tranquil place, [when they encounter] those who honestly engage in spiritual practice and spread the Dharma, they will slander [these spiritual practitioners]. These Bodhisattvas expressed that when they go among people in the future, they will encounter these practitioners with two different forms of practice who have deviant minds. If people were to spread the Dharma in those places, they would face this kind of pressure. Because of this, although they received predictions, [the disciples] did not dare stay in this land and remain in the Saha world. Because if they remained in the Saha world, those future sentient beings, even those spiritual practitioners, would all be very stubborn and hard to tame. They would not follow teachings of Right Dharma, and there would be so many of them.

This was what the Bodhisattvas expressed to help us truly understand that it would not be easy to engage in spiritual practice in the future. So, we must always be mindful!

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