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 20180703《靜思妙蓮華》念佛告敕 徇身忍難 (第1383集) (法華經·勸持品第十三)

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發表主題: 20180703《靜思妙蓮華》念佛告敕 徇身忍難 (第1383集) (法華經·勸持品第十三)   周一 7月 02, 2018 9:28 pm

20180703《靜思妙蓮華》念佛告敕 徇身忍難 (第1383集) (法華經·勸持品第十三)

⊙此菩薩敬佛弘經徇身忍難,一切行中瞋害尤甚忍最難,若行忍者唯此一事最不可耐,小人輕慢謂為怖畏得堪忍。
⊙濁惡世中法末,人心瞋濁慢高,欲心強盛難調,癡心利養名聞,邪見生失正念,私心得失念強,不容正法入世,堆積心思毀辱,持經著忍辱鎧,入人群弘正法。
⊙「濁劫惡世中,多有諸恐怖,惡鬼入其身,罵詈毀辱我。我等敬信佛,當著忍辱鎧,為說是經故,忍此諸難事。」《法華經勸持品第十三》
⊙「我不愛身命,但惜無上道,我等於來世,護持佛所囑。」《法華經勸持品第十三》
⊙「世尊自當知,濁世惡比丘,不知佛方便,隨宜所說法。惡口而顰蹙,數數見擯出,遠離於塔寺。如是等眾惡,念佛告敕故,皆當忍是事。」《法華經勸持品第十三》
⊙世尊自當知,濁世惡比丘:我心如是,佛自當知,何待我說。
⊙不知佛方便,隨宜所說法:濁惡世中,諸比丘等不善,不知佛慈方便三乘法,隨宜所說。乃生疑心,執權謗實。
⊙惡口而顰蹙:顰蹙即是眉頭皺。以薄福故,聞是妙經,顰蹙罵罟。惡人不知佛所說法,為隨順眾生機宜而說,而反以為外道,故惡口顰蹙而橫加擯斥也。
⊙數數見擯出,遠離於塔寺:人眾漸散去,反聞受諂佞之言。擯出持正法人於眾之外,遠離僧坊塔寺之處。
⊙如是等眾惡,念佛告敕故,皆當忍是事:有如是等種種眾惡。因契佛心傳佛教敕,故當忍如是等違惱之事當忍之。
⊙一切行中,瞋害尤甚,故忍最難。若行忍者,唯有一事最不可耐,小人輕慢,謂為怖畏,故不應忍。
⊙佛言:若以小人輕慢為怖畏而不忍者,是即不忍之罪,莫甚於此。何故?不忍之人,賢聖之所輕慢!
⊙忍辱之人,忍小人之所輕慢。寧為小人之所輕,不為聖賢之所賤。無智之人,見解卑微,輕於不可輕。賢聖之人,賤於所可賤。為是義故,須行忍辱。

【證嚴上人開示】
此菩薩敬佛弘經徇身忍難,一切行中瞋害尤甚忍最難,若行忍者唯此一事最不可耐,小人輕慢謂為怖畏得堪忍。

此菩薩敬佛弘經
徇身忍難
一切行中瞋害尤甚
忍最難
若行忍者
唯此一事最不可耐
小人輕慢
謂為怖畏得堪忍

「此菩薩敬佛弘經徇身忍難」。是啊,這些菩薩就是能夠體悟佛心懷,佛心無非就是為眾生,希望眾生體會,體會佛的用心一大事;一大事,來人間度眾生,期待眾生能夠接受佛的教法。所以,佛陀就要設種種法,隨眾生機,隨機逗教,所以用三乘教法,循循善誘,不離開「開、示」。佛陀三乘法,就是要啟開眾生的心門,指示大家一個方向,因為眾生的心門關閉了,眾生無明遮蓋了,佛陀希望,在眾生這個心的門打開,讓大家看到,前面一條正確的道路。把眾生內心的無明撥開,指向一條確實的正道,這就是佛陀「開、示」,希望眾生能夠見到,一條康莊的大路。但是,眾生是不是有看得到呢?看到,是不是願意去了解,這條路所通向的地方,這就要看眾生了。

看到這條路了,到底有沒有要去體會了解嗎?體會了這條路的趣向,是直達什麼樣的境界,若了解、願意,要身體力行。路要起步走,我們若沒有起步走,光是說門開了,看到路了,但是,都沒有起步,還是原地踏步在那個地方,不會進步。所以,佛陀來人間,為了眾生而「開、示」,眾生是不是願意「悟、入」?時間自然法則是有限的,佛陀能夠來人間住世多久呢?釋迦佛住世在人間是八十年,佛法開始,從頭到佛陀入滅,「四諦法」,一直到「法華」,「涅槃」,前後是四十九年。短短的人生,短短說法的時間,要怎麼樣讓這個法能夠永恆,這樣一直綿綿流傳下去呢?這就是佛陀心很掛慮,年紀大了,求才心切。

從〈法師品〉開始,一直就是希望,大家能夠了解、肯發心,入大乘法,啟發了承擔家業的精神,所以殷殷的盼望著弟子發心。佛陀一一授記,讓你們知道,這條路你們看到了,你們放心,腳踏實地向前走下去,沒有錯!大家已經立定、了解,這個心向就是發大乘心,卻是還有懼怕,因為娑婆世界的眾生太剛強了。雖然是發心,但是就是要到他方世界。佛陀雖然充滿了希望,也是一番的落寞。這群菩薩,「此菩薩」,這群菩薩了解佛陀的心意了,體佛的心懷,趕緊來安慰佛。「這些菩薩」,好像一直在反覆對大家說,「這些菩薩」。「這些菩薩」就是佛慧命的法脈,若沒有這些菩薩開始起動,佛在授記之後,大家發願要到他方世界。那個時候佛陀就開始默然了,「還有什麼話好說呢!」。

好在「這群菩薩」體佛心意,從座而起,安慰:「佛啊,不要擔心,我們願意,就是佛所關心的地方,我們都願意。不論是時間長遠的未來,我們還是願意這樣去身體力行;時間,即使到達未來末法世中,這人心剛強、惡劣加甚,又再加深、加強,我們也願意去。使令這些眾生,有機會能夠接受到佛法,能夠走向正路,我們願意耐心,長久的時間這樣來回人間,娑婆世界。我們願意,佛陀關心的地方,空間,我們無處不在,我們都會去照顧;我們會入人群,在人間中,所以佛陀,您不必擔心,但是要請佛為我們加持,因為佛將入滅了。佛陀,您一定再來人間,任何一個地方,我們都能夠得到佛的力量,來支援我們。」這就是約定,一個默契,約定。

是啊,授記是約定,約定在未來。佛與菩薩,彼此之間就是因緣,因緣就是一個約定。好因緣,我們再來,這我們要很用心來體會。我們的因緣,生命中的密碼,我們一定要認清楚。所以,這些菩薩發願了,「敬佛弘經徇身忍難」,他們願意,願意哪怕捨身也在所不惜,願意徇教,就是這個身體願意完全付出。其實佛的時代是這樣,在我們現在也是有這樣的人,帶著病痛,他不怕,還是趕緊地把握著時間。生命也轉為慧命,就是要精進。這徇教、徇身、忍難,就是為了道;要怎麼來鋪這條路,來教化眾生,他們願意「弘經徇身忍難」。

「一切行中瞋害尤甚」。要忍難,我們要忍耐,其實未來世中眾生剛強,這個瞋,除了欲,欲心引起,就有瞋心就這樣隨伴出來。這個瞋,有的是從內心,有的剛強顯在形相裡,這個瞋很嚴重。雖然是很困難,我們也願意忍耐。「若行忍者」,我們願意忍,但是在忍耐這當中,「唯此一事最不可耐」,還有一件事情,雖然可以忍難,但是很難耐。忍,是忍著就過了,「耐」,就要很有耐力,要長久這樣忍得過去。不是光是忍著就過了,還是要長久,這項事情是什麼呢?就是要面對著小人,難調伏,很狡猾。有的時候面對你,每樣都是百依百順,但是內心、背後來譏毀、誹謗,這也不少哦!還有的,是當面謾罵,就是很驕傲的心,很自大。這麼自大的人,其實也是小人,他道理分不清,只是要現,現他大,現他懂,現他知道,不肯接受別人的道理,一直來誹謗別人的錯,批評別人的不對。若這樣,這是最可怖畏,這種最難堪耐,可是卻是還是要堪忍。

瞋,忍了就過了,但是還要再「耐」,還要在這個人群中耐得堪忍,耐得考驗。要忍比較簡單,要耐,耐力,這樣這個忍力能夠堪得耐,實在是更不容易,所以「忍耐、忍耐」,不是只是忍就好了,「忍」是很快就過,但是「耐」要長久。病痛雖然是很痛,病得很嚴重,短暫一段時間,藥物治療就好了,這個痛這樣忍了就過,短時間忍就過了。但是這個病變成了慢性,長期的拖、磨,還是要忍。那忍下去是不是病在床上,這樣在忍痛呢?要勇敢,還是面對人間,這樣去接受法,而且願意付出。有的時候看到環保站很多菩薩,他們也是帶著病痛來環保站。為了環保,為了愛護地球,你能夠看到很多,老菩薩也好,年輕也好,有的有病還是這樣很勇敢,日日都是在那個地方,也有這樣的人呢!慈濟的菩薩中,也是有,也是抱病同樣在付出的人,也不少啊,所以,我們應該要去體會,這種徇身,願意這樣用這個心,徇教,用心來忍耐,這實在是很不簡單,但是他們做得到。

濁惡世中法末
人心瞋濁慢高
欲心強盛難調
癡心利養名聞
邪見生失正念
私心得失念強
不容正法入世
堆積心思毀辱
持經著忍辱鎧
入人群弘正法

在這濁惡世中,那些菩薩他們的發願,願意在這個,「濁惡世中法末」,的時候,這個時候是人心濁,瞋濁,尤其是我慢、貢高,很嚴重。不是現在而已,未來更加嚴重。尤其是這個「欲心強盛」,真的是很難調伏的,這是未來的眾生。現在難道沒有嗎?也是很多。還有癡心,貪、瞋、癡,「癡心」就是在,「利養名聞」裡。邪見的人,就是生起了邪見之後,他就失去了正念;邪見一生,自然正念就失去了,所以「私心得失念強」。大家都是小愛,愛自己而已,貪小利在自己,這種「私心得失念強」,這種的心念很強,而且「不容正法入世」。自己因為貪念大,有正法要進來的時候他會排斥,所以這種正法要在人間弘揚,真正的是很困難,所以「不容正法入世」。

堆積心思就來毀辱。這種一直想盡辦法要怎麼樣,來誹謗、來中傷這些正法,弘正法的人,這就是小人,這就是濁惡世中這樣的人。卻是這些菩薩,他們為了持經,所以他們要「著忍辱鎧」。所以,「入人群弘正法」,要弘揚正法,就像在入戰場一樣,要庇護自己的道心,不要受到這些人影響,失去了道心。要保護慧命,法絕對不能讓它漏掉,在我們的慧命中,「戒定慧」、「聞思修」、「六度萬行」不能漏失掉,所以他要穿起了「忍辱鎧」。這就是未來惡世眾生充滿了,這麼多貪、瞋、癡、慢、疑,用種種方法來障礙正法,要弘正法的人是這麼的辛苦。這是我們能夠想像,在現在的時代來推想,推想到未來這個世代,以現在這樣的人生,這樣的心態,要一直延續下去,實在是未來真正堪憂。難怪佛陀會堪憂,難怪菩薩對這個世間,未來這個濁惡世的惡比丘,他用這麼明顯來敘述。

這都是這些菩薩在敘述未來,哪怕將來到這樣的程度,要入人群很困難,因為還有這些形色上,好像是修行者,卻是就是只是貪利養,這種修行人,再來誹謗真修行者,傳正法的人。未來的正法在人間,就是會發生這樣的事情,「獅子蟲自食獅子肉」,這個形態會不斷不斷增強起來,讓我們很擔心。

前面的經文就是這樣說:「濁劫惡世中,多有諸恐怖,惡鬼入其身,罵詈毀辱我。我等敬信佛,當著忍辱鎧,為說是經故,忍此諸難事。」

濁劫惡世中
多有諸恐怖
惡鬼入其身
罵詈毀辱我
我等敬信佛
當著忍辱鎧
為說是經故
忍此諸難事
《法華經勸持品第十三》

就是這樣,那些人就像著魔一樣,惡鬼入心一樣,這樣的無理謾罵,一直在誹謗,失去了理智。這是未來這些世間,對正法的形態,會變成這樣,為了要說正法,所以一定要忍,忍這麼多的困難。所以他們說,「我不愛身命,但惜無上道」。

我不愛身命
但惜無上道
我等於來世
護持佛所囑
《法華經勸持品第十三》

這就是徇身在教中,不疼惜自己,不惜自己的生命,視傳法為重要。因為法一傳,正法能夠讓眾人吸收,慧命人人增長;所以他不惜自己一條生命,是疼惜無量眾生的慧命,所以「但惜無上道」。這條路鋪好來,人人走得通。

「我等於來世,護持佛所囑」。我們大家在未來長時間,一直到了惡世法末,我們也是一樣,這種這麼困難的時代,我們都堪得忍耐,我們是因為要來護持佛所交代,所留下來的這個法。所以這些菩薩是這麼懇切,這是一群菩薩他們的發心。

接下來這段文,又再這樣說:「世尊自當知,濁世惡比丘,不知佛方便,隨宜所說法。惡口而顰蹙,數數見擯出,遠離於塔寺。如是等眾惡,念佛告敕故,皆當忍是事。」

世尊自當知
濁世惡比丘
不知佛方便
隨宜所說法
惡口而顰蹙
數數見擯出
遠離於塔寺
如是等眾惡
念佛告敕故
皆當忍是事
《法華經勸持品第十三》


「世尊啊!」這些菩薩再稱:「世尊啊!您應該能夠了解我們。」「自當知」,「世尊,您應該都了解了,應該很了解我們的心了。所以將來,未來的世間,這些惡比丘,應來未來,我們願意就是這樣來持法,因為世間不論任何形態,我們就是願意。」因為世間人還是等待著,這群有心人,入人群中去。「我們有這樣的決心。」

世尊自當知
濁世惡比丘:
我心如是
佛自當知
何待我說

那些惡比丘,就是「不知佛方便,隨宜所說法。」

不知佛方便
隨宜所說法:
濁惡世中
諸比丘等不善
不知佛慈
方便三乘法
隨宜所說
乃生疑心執權謗實

大家還不了解,尤其是未來的惡比丘,那些人「不知佛方便」。那些濁惡世的比丘,根本就不知道佛他用「方便」,因為眾生根機參參差差,而不整齊,佛陀就要用耐心,隨眾生的根機,開方便的法門,隨眾生接受得到的法,而施於教法,所以他就要用三乘法,要用方便法。

但是,濁惡世的惡比丘,他「不知佛方便」,不知道佛的方便法,不知道佛陀是隨機說教。所以他們不了解佛陀時代的生活,那個時候剛開始的小乘法,這樣隨緣托缽,接受人人的供養,以為這樣就是在化緣,以為這樣就是在度眾生。後來濁惡世的時代,也會這樣以為,以為是這樣,不知道佛陀這是起頭方便,僧團生活,為了降伏這個我慢,所以用很多方法,人人平等,這樣的方法,組立這樣的僧團,僧團的生活是這樣過來的。但是末世的眾生,這惡濁的時代,大家都停滯了,出家就是要大家來供養,大家來接觸,這樣供養就有福了。他就是停滯在這個地方,所以「不知佛方便」,不知道這是佛陀,起頭的一段,那是三乘法,為了要牽引他們進來。他們不知道這種方便法。所以佛陀是隨根機而說法,也隨根機設教。

所以「濁惡世中,諸比丘等不善」。因為到濁惡世來,這個心不是很單純。「不知佛慈方便開三乘法」,「隨宜所說」。這是佛陀教育眾生的方便,他停滯在那個地方,「乃生疑心」,大家都還執在那個權,「謗實」。佛陀從小乘、中乘,已經到大乘了;開始開大乘法之時,這段沒有納入,他們修行的方向,所以還在懷疑,「執權」的時候。來謗,毀謗這個真實法,一乘實法,他們就這樣來誹謗。

惡口而顰蹙:
顰蹙即是眉頭皺
以薄福故
聞是妙經
顰蹙罵罟
惡人不知佛所說法
為隨順眾生
機宜而說
而反以為外道
故惡口顰蹙
而橫加擯斥也

所以「惡口而顰蹙」。他那個面相整個皺下來,不會展開他的笑容,那就是眉頭都整個皺下來,開口罵人,這種種的誹謗,或者是用種種非法,來誹謗正法。所以,「以薄福故,聞是妙經」。妙法的經典,他就是皺起這個眉頭,就是這樣「罵罟」,這樣在罵人,這樣在誹謗。這就是未來正法難行,就是遇到這種看來像是修行人,但是誹謗正法這樣的人,這就是未來世代佛法所會遇到的。

所以,「惡人不知佛所說法」。這些惡人,不只是出家,還有在家,就是未來的人群,這些惡人不知道,佛陀隨順眾生根機,開頭開方便門,但是這些人都不知道,所以「反以為外道」。到了一真實法,他們已經排斥掉了,他們以為這是外道的教法,所以就惡口罵,橫加擯斥,這就是未來世間是這樣。

數數見擯出
遠離於塔寺:
人眾漸散去
反聞受諂佞之言
擯出持正法人
於眾之外
遠離僧坊塔寺之處

「數數見擯出,遠離於塔寺」。就這樣一直一直大家集靠過來,集中這個惡勢力。「數數」就是要來聽正法的人,受到這些惡人一直來唆使,一直來誹謗,要接受正法的人,也慢慢受到影響,慢慢也這樣漸漸會散掉。所以,正法要弘揚,實在是很困難。這些人棄了「正」,正法,他回過頭來,去接受到這種「諂佞之言」,就是這種會巴結他,這種就是叫他要去供養,才是功德,就是這種的人。正法在人群中,漸漸大家將它遺棄掉了,反向這種很權小,而且懷不善心,這樣在誹謗正法,往那邊走過去。所以說起來,「善惡拔河」就是這樣。

將正法開始擯出,持正法的人,就將他擯出於眾人,人群中的外面。這未來是惡會成為群眾,那就是擯離了,這樣這些人遠離正法;要講正法的人,覺得很無奈,被擯出去了。所以,「遠離僧坊寺塔之處」。其實,這實在是很可怕。很多道場被佔有,變成了就是名聞利養的道場,正法很難住在人群中,這是未來讓人很擔心。

「如是等眾惡,念佛告敕故,皆當忍是事」。

如是等眾惡
念佛告敕故
皆當忍是事:
有如是等種種眾惡
因契佛心傳佛教敕
故當忍如是等
違惱之事當忍之

這麼多的眾惡,這麼多的惡,正法要在這個世間上去弘揚,實在是很困難。不過,我們的心中念佛,佛,念佛心為己心,我們能夠了解佛向我們告敕的,是教育我們,要我們所做的,持法在未來的世中,必定要將正法傳下去。所以,我們應該要忍這些事情,所以有很多種種的惡,我們應該要忍,因為我們應該是契佛心,傳佛告敕的人。我們一定要很堅持,不只是「忍」,還要「耐」。所以,「故當忍如是等,違惱之事」。就要「當忍之」。違背常理這種的見解,正法還是要堅持下去,為了要堅持正法住世,所以種種來違背道理,來惱亂我們,這些事情我們全都要忍。

一切行中
瞋害尤甚
故忍最難
若行忍者
唯有一事最不可耐
小人輕慢
謂為怖畏
故不應忍

所以,「一切行中,瞋害」。這個「瞋」非常旺盛,用種種逼害,所以應該要忍。這些惡世,貪、瞋、癡,種種的逼害,尤其是有形的罵辱,這些全都是要忍。「若行忍者,唯有一事最不可耐」,就是小人。當面罵我,我要忍,我真的要忍,但是,小人更加恐怖。這種小人背後來誹謗,或者是自己傲慢,尤其是這樣中傷等等,這樣的人實在是很恐怖。「故不應忍」。這是不是有辦法忍呢?沒有辦法忍,真的這一定要忍,「不忍而忍才是真忍」。

所以,「佛言:若以小人」。佛陀有這樣說過,「若以小人輕慢,為怖畏而不忍者,是即不忍之罪。」

佛言:
若以小人輕慢
為怖畏而不忍者
是即不忍之罪
莫甚於此
何故
不忍之人
賢聖之所輕慢

就是這些小人,你明知他是小人,你又不肯忍,這樣你就沒有道理了;明知道他是小人,所以應該要忍。你忍小人之過,你才有辦法去度化小人,為做正人君子。你一定要在這小人中,你這樣若不忍,那就是你的不對。這是佛曾有這樣說過。所以,我們明知他是小人,我們才要好好忍。若不忍,那就是你不對。

為什麼呢?「不忍之人,賢聖所輕慢!」你若不懂得對這個小人,用心去忍耐,讓他,你哪有辦法去感化他呢?聖人,賢聖的人,他是明理的人,看到你們不肯忍耐,你們就會和小人對立;那你就忍耐,才沒有對立。你忍耐,沒有對立,自然就有辦法去感化他。所以,聖賢教我們就是也是要忍。所以說起來,這是佛陀的教育,曾有過這樣的教育。

忍辱之人
忍小人之所輕慢
寧為小人之所輕
不為聖賢之所賤
無智之人
見解卑微
輕於不可輕
賢聖之人
賤於所可賤
為是義故
須行忍辱

所以,「忍辱之人,忍小人之所輕慢」。小人辱罵我們,小人誹謗我們等等,我們應該要忍。「寧為小人之所輕,不為聖賢之所賤」。大家應該能知道了,我讓小人誹謗我,還值得,有價值,因為他是小人,我應該要感恩他,因為有這樣的人,所以我才有修養的機會。

釋迦佛難道不就是,向提婆達多說感恩嗎?還為提婆達多授記,還說:「我能夠成佛,就是因為有提婆達多,這樣世世來折磨我,讓我堅定道心。」所以說起來,這就是賢人對小人的看法,對忍和不忍的看法。你忍小人之過,我們才是真正修行者,能夠堪得忍耐。但是,我們不要讓聖人,看不起我們。所以我們為了讓聖人證明我,是正人君子,所以我一定要堪忍,小人的這個困難,小人種種辱罵的困難,我一定要忍。

所以,「無智之人,見解卑微,輕於不可輕。賢聖之人,賤於所可賤」。這就是說,這無智的人,他的見解很輕微,所以他所輕視的,是不應該輕視的事情。但是聖人,聖賢之人所賤的,就是這個人真的很無可救藥,那就是很沒有價值的人了,所以說起來,我們要很體會聖人的心。「為是義故,須行忍辱」。應該要忍,所以忍耐是很重要。我們要好好用心,前面就是這樣講,要忍,忍耐就是有這麼多。我們真的要時時多用心!


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Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: Sacrificing Their Lives and Enduring Hardships (念佛告敕 徇身忍難)
Date: July.03.2018

“In order to honor the Buddha by spreading the sutra, these Bodhisattvas would sacrifice their lives and endure hardships. Among all actions, the harm from anger is especially severe and is the most difficult to endure. For those who practice endurance, one thing is the hardest to be patient with, the disrespect of petty people. This is dreadful and must be endured.”

“In order to honor the Buddha by spreading the sutra, these Bodhisattvas would sacrifice their lives and endure hardships.” Indeed! These Bodhisattvas were able to comprehend the Buddha’s intent, which was [to act] entirely for the sake of sentient beings. He hoped all beings could comprehend His dedication to His one great cause. This one great cause was coming to this world to transform sentient beings in the hopes they could accept His teachings. So, the Buddha used all kinds of methods to teach according to sentient beings’ capabilities. He used the teachings of the Three Vehicles to patiently guide them, all in order to “open and reveal” [the Dharma]. The Buddha’s teaching of the Three Vehicles is meant to open the door to sentient beings’ minds and give them a direction.

Because the doors to their minds are closed, they are covered in ignorance, so the Buddha hoped to open this door in sentient beings’ mind, so that everyone could see the right path before them. He pushed aside sentient beings’ ignorance and directed them to the right path. The Buddha “opened and revealed” [the teachings] with the hope that sentient beings could see this broad and direct path. But could sentient beings see it? And if they saw, were they willing to understand the destination this path leads to? This depends on the sentient being. When we see this path, do we try to comprehend it? Once we comprehend the direction of this path and the states it leads to, if we understand and are willing, we must put the teachings into practice. We must take the first step on this path. If we do not take the first step and simply say, “The door is open! We see the path!” without taking any steps, we will remain walking in place and not advancing. So, the Buddha came to this world “to open and reveal [the Dharma]” for all sentient beings, but are we willing to “realize and enter” it? Our time [in this world] is limited due to the laws of nature. Having come to this world, how long could the Buddha abide here? Sakyamuni Buddha was in this world for 80 years. From when the Buddha-Dharma was first [taught] until the Buddha entered Parinirvana, from the Four Noble Truths to the Lotus and Nirvana [teachings], it was a total of 49 years. In this short life, with a limited amount of time to teach the Dharma, how could He make the Dharma everlasting so that it would be continually passed on? This was what the Buddha worried about. He had grown old and was eager to find talent. Since the Chapter on Dharma Teachers, He had been hoping that everyone could understand and willingly form aspirations, enter the Great Vehicle Dharma and awaken their spirit of undertaking His mission. So, He earnestly hoped that the disciples would form aspirations. The Buddha had bestowed predictions on each one of them to help them understand that they had seen the path. “You can put your minds at ease. Just go forward steadfastly. It is the right way.” Everyone was determined and understood, so their minds were focused on their Great Vehicle aspirations.

Yet, they were still afraid, because sentient beings in the Saha World are too stubborn. Although they formed aspirations, they wanted to go to other worlds. Although the Buddha was full of hope, He was also disappointed. This group of Bodhisattvas, “these Bodhisattvas” understood the Buddha’s intent. They comprehended what was in the Buddha’s mind and quickly came to comfort Him. Speaking of “these Bodhisattvas,” it seems like I have been repeatedly talking about “these Bodhisattvas” to everyone. [This is because] these Bodhisattvas are the Dharma-lineage of the Buddha’s wisdom-life. These Bodhisattvas had to take the initiative. After the Buddha bestowed predictions on them, everyone else had made vows to go to other worlds.

At the time, the Buddha fell silent; what else could He say? Fortunately, this group of Bodhisattvas comprehended the Buddha’s intent and rose from their seats to comfort Him. “Venerable Buddha, do not worry. We are willing. Anywhere the Buddha cares about, we are willing to go there. No matter how far into the future, we are still willing to put [the Dharma] into practice. Across time, even in the future when it is the era of Dharma-degeneration and people’s minds are increasingly stubborn and evil, we are still willing to go. We will give these sentient beings the chance to accept the Buddha-Dharma and go toward the right path. We are willing to endure this for a long time, returning again and again to the Saha World. We are willing [to go] any place the Buddha cares about. Across space, we will be everywhere and take care of all these places. We will go among people in this world. So, Venerable Buddha, You do not need to worry. But please give us Your protection. You are about to enter Parinirvana, and You will surely come to this world again. Then, wherever we are, we will be able to receive the Buddha’s power to support us.” This was the promise, a silent pact. Indeed, the predictions [from the Buddha] were promises for the future. The Buddha and the Bodhisattvas have affinities with each other. Their affinities are a promise [to meet again]. They have good affinities, so they will come [to this world] again. We must seek to mindfully comprehend this. Our karmic conditions, the sestet codes of our lives, are something we must understand clearly. So, these Bodhisattvas made vows. “In order to honor the Buddha by spreading the sutra, they would sacrifice their lives and endure hardships.” They were willing, even if they had to give up their bodies. They would willingly sacrifice themselves for the teachings, which means they were willing to fully give to themselves with their bodies. In fact, it was like this during but we also have people like this today. They are ill, yet unafraid. They still quickly make use of their time and turn their life into wisdom-life by practicing diligently. They make sacrifices for the teachings, sacrifice their bodies and endure hardships for the sake of the path.

In order to pave this path to teach and transform sentient beings, they were willing “to spread the sutra, sacrifice their lives and endure hardships. Among all actions, the harm from anger is especially severe.” We must endure hardships and have patience. The fact is, future sentient beings will be stubborn. They will be angry; apart from giving rise to desires, they will also give rise to anger in their minds. Regarding this anger, sometimes it remains in their minds, and sometimes it manifests as stubbornness in their appearance.

This anger is very severe. Although it is very difficult, we must willingly endure it as “those who practice endurance,” We are willing to endure, but when it comes to [actually] enduring, “one thing is the hardest to be patient with.” There is one more thing which can be endured but is very hard to endure. Once we have endured it, it will pas. To “endure” is to have patience; we must be able to endure for a long time.
We must not only endure it, but we must do so for a long time. What is this thing [that is hard to endure]? It is facing petty people who are hard to tame and very cunning. Sometimes when they see us, they are very obedient, but in their minds or behind our backs, they ridicule and slander us. There are many like this!

There are also some who hurl abuse in our face. They are very arrogant and proud. People with such big egos are actually small-minded people. They are unclear on the principles, and they only want to show off how great and knowledgeable they are and how they know everything. Yet, they are unwilling to accept other people’s reasoning. They continually slander others for their mistakes, criticizing their wrongdoings. People like this are the most frightening. These kinds [of people] are the hardest to endure, but we must have patience. With anger, it will pass if we can endure but we must still be patient. We must still go among people and patiently endure the challenges. To endure is a bit simpler, but to have the power of patience, the strength to endure patiently, this is truly very difficult. So, [we must] “patiently endure”. It is not enough to simply endure. We can endure something very quickly, but “patience” lasts for a long time. Although illnesses can be very painful and may be very severe, after a brief period of time, they can be cured with medicine. This pain will pass, as long as we can endure it for a short amount of time.

But when an illness becomes chronic, the long-term suffering must also be endured. To endure it, will we have to simple endure this pain while bed-ridden? We must be courageous, face the world and accept the Dharma. Furthermore, we must willingly give of ourselves.

Sometimes I see many Bodhisattvas at the recycling stations who come despite their sickness for the sake of protecting the environment and their love for Earth. We can see many people [who go there], both elderly and young Bodhisattvas. Some of them are sick but still very brave. They still go there every day. There are people like this! There are some among Tzu Chi Bodhisattvas. There are many people who have illnesses but still give of themselves. So, we should seek to comprehend [their spirit of] sacrificing their bodies. They are willing to put their heart into it, sacrificing themselves for the teachings and putting their heart into enduring [the suffering]. This is truly very difficult, but they are able to do it.

During the era of Dharma-degeneration in the evil world of turbidities, people’s minds are angry, turbid and arrogant. Their desirous minds are strong and hard to tame. Their ignorant minds seek offerings and fame. Their ignorant minds seek offerings and fame. They give rise to deviant views and lose right mindfulness. Their selfish minds are stubbornly fixated on gain and loss, so they will never allow. Right Dharma to enter the world and will come up with all kinds of schemes to slander and disparage it. Those who uphold the sutra must wear the armor of patience to go among people to spread Right Dharma.

In this evil world of turbidities, those Bodhisattvas formed vows to willingly [stay] here “during the era of Dharma-degeneration in the evil world of turbidities”. At this time, people’s minds are angry and turbid. In particular, they have severe arrogance and pride. It is not only [like this] now; it will be even more severe in the future. In particular, because “their desirous minds [will be strong” they will truly be very hard to tame. That is how future sentient beings will be. Isn’t this the case now? There are also many people like this. They also have ignorant minds, [full of] greed, anger and ignorance. “Ignorant minds” think about “seeking offerings and fame”. For people with deviant views, after they give rise to deviant views, they lose their right mindfulness. Once they give rise to deviant views, they naturally lose right mindfulness. So, “Their selfish minds are stubbornly fixated on gain and loss”. All of them know only selfish love. They only love themselves and crave small gains for themselves. “Their selfish minds are stubbornly fixated on gain and loss”. This kind of mindset is very strong.

Furthermore, “They will never allow. Right Dharma to enter the world. Because people are very greedy, they will reject Right Dharma when it is about to enter. So, for Right Dharma to advance in this world, it will be truly very difficult, because “they will never allow”. “Right Dharma to enter the world”. They come up with all kinds of schemes to slander it. These people constantly think of all kinds of ways to slander and harm Right Dharma as well as those who are advancing it. These are petty people. These are the people in the evil world of turbidities. Yet, these Bodhisattvas, for the sake of upholding the Dharma, will “wear the armor of patience”. “They go among people to spread Right Dharma”. Spreading Right Dharma is like entering a battlefield. They must protect their aspirations so as not to be influenced by these people and lose their spiritual aspirations. They must protect their wisdom-life and not [Right Dharma] leak away. When it comes to our wisdom-life, “precepts, Samadhi and wisdom” and “actualizing the Six Paramitas in all actions” cannot be allowed to leak away. So, they must “wear the armor of patience”. This is because sentient beings in the future evil world will all be full of greed, anger, ignorance, arrogance and doubt. They will use various methods to hinder Right Dharma and make it difficult for people to advance it.

We can imagine this. Based on this present era, we can imagine future eras. Based on our present ways of living and people’s mindsets, if thing are to continue on [like this], the future will be truly very worrisome. It is no wonder that the Buddha was so worried. No wonder the Bodhisattvas described the world and the evil bhiksus in this future evil world of turbidities with such clarity. These Bodhisattvas were all describing the future. When it reaches this point in the future, it will be hard to go among people. This is because there will be those who outwardly appear to be spiritual practitioners, but who only seek offerings and fame. Such spiritual practitioners will also slander the true practitioners who transmit Right Dharma. When Right Dharma enters the world in the future, these kinds of things will happen, [just as] “The lion’s parasites eat the lion’s flesh”. Such situations will become more and more prevalent, which is very worrisome.

The previous sutra passage says, “In the evil world during the kalpa of turbidity, there will be much to fear”; it will be very scary. “Evil ghosts will enter people’s bodies to abuse and slander us. But we who revere and have faith in the Buddha will don the armor of patience. For the sake of teaching this sutra, we will endure all these difficulties”.

This is how it will be. It will be as if they are possessed by demons, as if evil ghosts entered their bodies. They will irrationally abuse and slander people, losing their reason. In the world of the future, this will be the way that [people] treat Right Dharma. So, to teach Right Dharma, we must endure many difficulties.

Thus, [the Bodhisattvas] said, “We care nothing for our own lives; we only treasure the unsurpassed way. In the ages to come, we will protect and uphold what the Buddha has entrusted to us”.

This meant sacrificing their lives for the teachings. They did not reassure themselves, were unstinting with their own lives, as transmitting the Dharma was the most important. Once the Dharma is transmitted, Right Dharma can be absorbed by everyone, and everyone’s wisdom-life will grow. So, they did not care for their own lives; they cared only for the wisdom-lives of countless sentient beings. Thus, “We only treasure the unsurpassed way”. They paved this path so everyone can walk on it.

“In the ages to come, we will protect and uphold what the Buddha has entrusted us”. [They said], “We all, for a long time in the future, even in the evil world of Dharma-degeneration, will remain the same. In such difficult times, we will still be able to endure because we all came to protect what the Buddha entrusted to us, the Dharma He left behind”. This is how earnest these Bodhisattvas were as they formed their aspirations.

The following passage then says, “As the World-Honored One Himself must know, in the world of turbidity, evil bhiksus will fail to recognize the Buddha’s skillful means, how he taught according to what is appropriate. They will speak harsh words and scowl at us. Again and again they will banish us far away from stupas and temples. As for all these various evils, because we will keep the Buddha’s instructions in mind, we will endure them all”.

“World-Honored One!” These Bodhisattvas said again, “World-Honored One! You should be able to understand us.[You] must know World-Honored One, You should already understand.” You should understand our minds very clearly. So, in the future world, with these evil bhiksus, we are willing to uphold the Dharma in this way. Regardless of what state this world will be in, we are willing [to do this] because people in the world are still waiting for people with aspirations to go among them. We are determined.

As the World-Honored One Himself must know, in the world of turbidly, evil bhiksus…: Our minds are like this, and the Buddha Himself must know it. He need not wait for us to say it. Those unwholesome bhiksus will “fall to recognize the Buddha’s skillful means which He uses to teach the Dharma.”

They will fall to recognize the Buddha’s skillful means, how He taught according to what is appropriate: In that turbid and evil world, there will be unwholesome bhiksus who do not recognize that the compassionate Buddha uses skillful means to teach the Three Vehicles according to what is appropriate So, their minds will give rise to doubt; they will be attached to the provisional and will slander the true.

They will have yet to understand, especially the evil bhiksus in the future. Those people will “fail recognize the Buddha’s skillful means”. Those bhiksus of the evil world of turbidities fundamentally will not know that the Buddha used skillful means. Because sentient beings’ capabilities vary and are not the same, the Buddha had to be patient and, in accord with sentient beings’ capabilities, open the Dharma-doors of skillful means. Using the Dharma sentient beings could accept, He gave them teachings. So, He had to teach the Three Vehicles; He had to use skillful means. But the bhiksus in the evil world of turbidities will fail to recognize the Buddha’s skillful means. They will not know the Buddha’s skillful means and will not understand that He taught according to their capabilities. This means they will not understand.

During the Buddha’s era, the way they lived, when the Small Vehicle Dharma was first established, was for [monastics] to beg for alms and accept offerings from people. [Monastics then] thought that by doing so, they were forming connections and transforming sentient beings. In the evil world of turbidities in the future, they will also think like this. They will mistakenly believe it is like this and not understand that the Buddha began with skillful means, that the Sangaha’s way of life was to tame people’s arrogance. He used many [different] methods. He did this to make everyone equal and to establish this spiritual community. This was how life in the Sangha came to be.

But sentient beings in the future, in the era of evil turbidities, will stop advancing. They will become monastics so that everyone will make offerings to them. The people who encounter them will make offerings to have blessings. The [practitioners] will be stuck at this stage. Thus, “They will fall to recognize the Buddha’s skillful means”. They will not understand that [these practices] were only the beginning of the Buddha’s teachings, the Three Vehicle Dharma that He used to draw them in. They will not realize that these are merely skillful means or that the Buddha taught the Dharma according to capabilities.

So, “In that turbid and evil world, there will be unwholesome bhiksus.” In the evil world of turbidities, people’s minds will not be very pure. “They will not recognize that the compassionate Buddha uses skillful means to teach the Three Vehicles according to what is approariate.” The Buddha uses skillful means to teach sentient beings, but they will remain at that stage.

“So, their minds will give rise to doubt.” Everyone will still be attached to the provisional, and they “will slander the true”. The Buddha went from the Small Vehicle to the Middle Vehicle before reaching the Great Vehicle. When He began to open the Great Vehicle Dharma, they did not take in [these teachings] within the direction of their spiritual practice. So, they will still remain doubtful and attached to the provisional. They will slander this true Dharma, the True Dharma of the One Vehicle; they will come to slander it in this way.

They will speak harsh words and scowl at us; “Scowl” means to furrow one’s brows. Since their blessings are shallow, upon hearing this wondrous sutra, they will scowl and reproach us. Evil people will not recognize that the Buddha, in teaching the Dharma, teaches in accordance with sentient beings’ capabilities as is appropriate. They will instead regard it as heretical teachings. So, they will scowl and speak harshly of it; they will forcefully reject and dismiss it.

So, “They will speak harsh words and scowl at us”. They will furrow their entire face and not show any smile. This means they will furrow their eyebrows and reproach people with many forms of slander. Or they will use all kinds of non-Dharma to slander the Right Dharma. So, “Since their blessings are shallow, upon hearing this wondrous sutra, this sutra of the wondrous Dharma, they will furrow their brows” and “reproach us”. This is how they will reproach and slander us. This is how it will be in the future when Right Dharma is difficult to practice. We will encounter people who appear to be spiritual practitioners but who slander Right Dharma. These are the [obstacles] that the Buddha-Dharma will encounter in the future. So, “Evil people do not recognize that the Buddha [was] teaching the Dharma”. These evil people will not only be monastics, but also lay practitioners, people [from all walks of life] in the future. These evil people will not understand that the Buddha worked according to sentient beings capabilities. He opened the door of skillful means. In the beginning But these people will not understand this. So, “They will regard it as heretical teachings” Encountering the True Dharma of the One Vehicle they will dismiss it. They will think it is heretical teachings, so they will speak harshly of it, forcefully rejecting and dismissing it. This is how the world will be in the future.

Again and again they will banish us far away from stupas and temples: As the assemblies gradually disperse, they will instead listen to the devious flattery [of evil bhiksus] and expel those who uphold Right Dharma our of the assembly to places far away from monasteries, stupas and temples.

“Again and again they will banish us far away from stupas and temples.” In this way, they will all continue to gather together the power of evil. “Again and again” means the people who come to listen to Right Dharma will be continually provoked and slandered by these evil people. The people who want to accept Right Dharma will thus gradually be influenced and gradually disperse. So, for Right Dharma to advance will be truly very difficult. These people will abandon Right Dharma and instead accept “the devious flattery [of evil bhiksus].” [The bhiksus] will try to gain their favor and tell them that only by making offerings will they gain merits and virtues. This is the kind of people they will be. Right Dharma a [will be lost] among people, and they will all slowly abandon it. They will turn to provisional and limited teachings, and those with evil intentions will slander Right Dharma in this way. They will move in that direction. So, this is the tug-of-war between good and evil. They expel Right Dharma; for those who uphold Right Dharma, they expel them from the assembly. In the future, those evil people will become the majority, and they will expel [the virtuous]. They will distance themselves from Right Dharma, and those who want to teach it will be helpless as they are expelled. So, “[They will be expelled to] places far away from monasteries, stupas and temples.”

Actually, this is very scary. Many spiritual training grounds will be occupied and become places for profiting from offerings and [pursuing] fame. It will be very hard for Right Dharma to abide among those people. This is what is very worrisome about the future. “As for all these various evils, because we will keep the Buddha’s instructions in mind, we will endure them all.”

As for all these various evils, because we will keep the Buddha’s instructions in mind, we will endure them all: When it comes to all sorts of evils like these, because we resonate with the Buddha’s intent to pass on the Buddha’s teachings and instructions, we will patiently endure all these matters of adversity and affliction.

With so many evils, to advance Right Dharma in this world will be truly very difficult. “But we keep the Buddha in our minds. We take His mind as our own, so we can understand that the Buddha’s instructions are His teachings for us and what He wants us to do. We must uphold the Dharma in the future and pass on Right Dharma. So, we should endure these things. These are all kinds of evil that we should endure because we resonate with the Buddha’s intent and pass on His teachings. We must be very resolute and not only endure but also have patience.”

So, “We will patiently endure all these matters of adversity and affliction.” We must “patiently endure”. When we face views and understandings that go against reason, we must persist with Right Dharma. We must persist in maintaining Right Dharma in this world. So, when there are things that go against the principles and disturb us, we must endure them all.

Among all actions, the harm from anger is especially severe and is the most difficult to endure. For those who practice endurance, the one that is most difficult to endure is the disrespect of petty people. This is so dreadful that people feel they cannot endure it.

So, “Among all actions, [there is] the harm from anger.” This “anger” is raging. There will be many methods used to harm us, so we must endure [them all]. In facing the oppressive harm from greed, anger and ignorance in this world, especially that of verbal abuse, we must endure it all. “For those who practice endurance, the one thing that is hardest to endure” is [facing] petty people. When people scold us to our face, we must endure it; we must truly endure it.

Still, petty people are even scarier. They slander us behind our backs. Or they are arrogant. In particular, they cause us harm and so on. Such people are truly terrifying. “People feel they cannot endure it.” Are they able to endure it? That which we have no way to endure is what we must truly endure. “Enduring without enduring is true patience.” So, “The Buddha said, ‘if one thinks [of] petty people…’”
The Buddha said, “If one thinks the disrespect of petty people is so terrifying that one cannot endure it, one commits the transgression of impatience.”

The Buddha said: If one thinks the disrespect of petty people is so terrifying that one cannot endure it, one commits the transgression of impatience, and no transgression is graver than this. Why is it so? Those who are impatient will be disdained by the nobles and sages.

These are petty people. Since we clearly know they are petty, if we are unwilling to endure them, then we lack principles. Since we clearly know they are petty people, we ought to endure them. Only if we can endure the mistakes of petty people can we then transform them into honest people. We must be among petty people, so if we cannot endure them, then it is we how are in the wrong. The Buddha said this before. So, because we clearly understand they are petty, we must make an effort to endure them. If we do not, then we are wrong. Why is that? “Those who are impatient will be disdained by the nobles and sages.” In facing petty people, if we do not understand how to mindfully be patient and accommodate them, how can we connect with them or transform them? Nobles and sages are people who understand the principles. They can see when we are unwilling to be patient. If we are in conflict with petty people, it is only with patience that we [can resolve it]. When we endure them and [resolve] our conflicts, then we can naturally transform them. So, nobles and sages taught us to have patience. This is also what the Buddha taught us; He also taught us this before.

Those with patience will endure the disrespect of petty people. They would rather be slighted by petty people than be despised by nobles and sages. Those who lack wisdom and have debased views and understanding disrespect those who cannot be disrespected. Nobles and sages despise those who are despicable. Because of this principle, one must practice patience.

So, “Those with patience will endure the disrespect of petty people.” When petty people reproach us, slander us and so on, we should endure them. “[We] would rather be slighted by petty people than be despised by nobles and sages.” Everyone should be able to understand this. We should be willing to let petty people slander us. It is still worth it [to endure], because they are petty people. We should be grateful toward them. Because of people like them, we have the chance to cultivate ourselves. Didn’t Sakyamuni Buddha express His gratitude to Devadatta? He even bestowed predictions of Buddhahood on him, saying, “I was able to attain Buddhahood because of Devadatta, who came life after life to torment me. He helped me persist in my spiritual aspirations.” So, this is the nobles’ view of petty people and whether one has patience or not. Only when we endure the mistakes of petty people can we be true spiritual practitioners who can patiently endure [everything]. We can tolerate petty people, but we should not give the sages a reason to look down upon us. So, to prove to the sages that we are honest, virtuous people, we must patiently endure these challenges from petty people. Challenged by their slander and reproach, we must endure it all. So, “Those who lack wisdom and have debased views and understanding disrespect those who cannot be disrespected. Nobles and sages despise those who are despicable.” This is saying that people who lack wisdom have debased views and understanding, so they disrespect what cannot be disrespected. But when nobles and sages despise someone, it means those people are incorrigible; they are people without any sense of value. So, we must comprehend the sages’ intent. “Because of this principle, one must practice patience.” We must be able to endure, so patience is very important. We must be earnestly mindful.

We were talking about patience before; there is much that [requires] our patience.
Truly, we must always be mindful!

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