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 20180704《靜思妙蓮華》勸持結成 啟安樂行 (第1384集) (法華經·勸持品第十三)

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發表主題: 20180704《靜思妙蓮華》勸持結成 啟安樂行 (第1384集) (法華經·勸持品第十三)   周二 7月 03, 2018 11:12 pm

20180704《靜思妙蓮華》勸持結成 啟安樂行 (第1384集) (法華經·勸持品第十三)

⊙凡有求法之處,菩薩往到其所,以無所畏住之,我當說此妙法,任持弘經誓願,佛心安隱無慮,於末後世弘經,堪耐忍難能忍。
⊙「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》
⊙「諸聚落城邑,其有求法者,我皆到其所,說佛所囑法。我是世尊使,處眾無所畏,我當善說法,願佛安隱住。」《法華經勸持品第十三》
⊙諸聚落城邑,其有求法者:村居聚落,或城郭中,或是縣邑諸眾生居。其或有人求大法者。凡所有求法之處,則是菩薩所應所到之處,以無所畏,說此妙法。
⊙我皆到其所,說佛所囑法:我等皆當到其所住,說佛所囑無上妙法。
⊙我是世尊使,處眾無所畏:八十萬億深地聖人,神通自如,道力充盛,能於濁惡末世之中,當為如來說法之所使。處眾演說,得大無畏。不同於先來初心菩薩及羅漢等。
⊙我當善說法,願佛安隱住:任持弘經,願佛無慮,安隱而住。
⊙「我於世尊前,諸來十方佛,發如是誓言,佛自知我心。」《法華經勸持品第十三》
⊙我於世尊前,諸來十方佛:不退轉諸菩薩契佛心懷,即於佛前。十方遠來諸分身佛。
⊙發如是誓言,佛自知我心:勇發如上深重誓言。佛神力故,自知我等廣大堅固誓願之力。
⊙此二頌頌勸持,一頌結成,問:此諸菩薩神通智力,不可思議,縱在末世說法,誰敢不信。而說如是種種弊惡者何也?
⊙答:有三意。一者:欲現前發願弘經者預知末世有此弊惡,使臨難不怖故。二者:欲當來聽法修行者,知有此過,當反邪歸正故。三者:欲世尊說以禦難之方,俾五種法師,皆安樂故。

【證嚴上人開示】
凡有求法之處,菩薩往到其所,以無所畏住之,我當說此妙法,任持弘經誓願,佛心安隱無慮,於末後世弘經,堪耐忍難能忍。

凡有求法之處
菩薩往到其所
以無所畏住之
我當說此妙法
任持弘經誓願
佛心安隱無慮
於末後世弘經
堪耐忍難能忍

菩薩,下定決心弘經在人間,這是佛陀在世,最後要講說的經典,就是《法華經》,暢佛本懷,是佛陀來人間一大事,就是希望將這個妙法留在人間。人接觸到法,能夠身體力行,能人間祥和、淨化人心,這是佛陀的心念,也是佛陀來人間的目的,期待眾生「悟、入」。「開、示」與「悟、入」,這當中一定要有人傳法,佛陀「開、示」的法,眾生一定要悟入。當中,佛若是滅度時,當中誰要來傳,傳給眾生?這是佛陀最擔心,佛的心懷,期待法能綿綿流長在人間。所以,求才心切,因為佛陀在晚年,最需要的就是要有人傳法,傳法的人才。

我們前面在幾品之中,從<法師品>,就已經是很明顯了,佛是為法求才,要求人才,很懇切;為弟子授記也是一種盼望,大家修行,接受佛陀的教法,佛陀也是盼望將法,弟子誠心,來傳。雖然幾十年間,所教育的弟子不少,不過世間,佛陀向大家說的苦、集,這個道理是永恆,都是這樣,只要有生命的地方,無不都是在這個娑婆世界,感受到這麼多的苦;這些苦難就是出自於人的心,起心動念,造作很多的業力;無明起惑,惑,就去造作,就再牽連,就很多的因,緣、果、報,這樣不斷,纍纍的無明苦難。弟子都了解,也看到了,不只是聽佛所說的苦,其實人人,已經都有感受到這個苦。成住壞空的道理,大家了解,心理的生、住、異、滅,大家也已經通徹。無奈的,很現實的生老病死,感受更深。這娑婆世界壽命很短,大家感覺娑婆世界不是大家想永居的,所以,人人都要求解脫,離開這個娑婆,到理想的地方去。

雖然接受佛陀的授記了,卻是盼望在他方國土去弘法、去利生,都不敢想要來娑婆世界,這還是「我相」。佛陀要教育我們,是要破除自私小我的心態,希望人人要就地發心,身體力行,要有那個勇氣,但是弟子都發願要他方世界。所以,佛陀的心情能夠想,想:已經晚年了,已經對三界眾生的關心,是三界的導師,還能夠有人能繼續教化呢?「四生慈父」,對「四生」這分憐憫、疼愛,還有人能夠來疼惜,「四生」眾生,那個心情,好像沒有人願意。所以,佛陀心情的落寞,用眼光來環視著周圍,這些菩薩,既然被佛陀的眼光接觸到了,大家已經體會佛陀的心懷,契佛心懷,大家願意發願。這幾天來,無不都是在描述佛陀的心境,娑婆世界修行者那個心情,還有已經發大心的菩薩,願意投入。甚至也了解娑婆世界這麼苦,眾生難度,未來,未來的五濁惡世,更惡、更濁、更加難度,這些菩薩都了解,也表達出來了,「佛啊,不用擔心,您安心,滅度之後,我們大家,會將佛陀所關心的地方,我們都會承擔起來。我們會關懷,我們會照顧,我們會傳法,我們能夠將妙法普遍人間,身體力行,雖然有種種種種的困難,我們已經有心理準,我們能面對現實,我們堪忍。」這就是這些菩薩。

所以,「凡有求法之處,菩薩往到道之所」。菩薩,只要有人需要,願意求法,他們絕對「不請之師」,一定到達去教導眾生,這是菩薩的心。

就像我們,在這幾天(二O一七年),在國際間慈濟人的活動,在柬埔寨有義診,柬埔寨的義診,有五個國家慈濟人,從新加坡去的,從馬來西亞去的,從越南,柬埔寨本土……等等,這樣會合起來,三天大義診。場面真的是很多貧窮苦難人,裡面很多人,不知拖多久的病,有的地方真的是很落伍。老人、鄉下的人,眼睛已經都沒有看到了,慈濟人趕緊去宣導,大家能夠來,有白內障,眼睛沒有看到,有眼科能夠為你開刀。聽到了,害怕!不敢出來,為什麼不敢出來?他們說:「那要把眼球整個都挖出來,洗一洗,再將它放進去。」有這樣的想法。

就是這樣放著,一直看不到,這樣不斷,他們去到偏遠的地方遊說,去將他帶出來,醫生仔細地解說,讓他安心,安心之後為他開刀。開了之後,很快眼睛就看到了,歡喜了,從恐懼的心態,一直到了他見到光明,不知近十年,不曾看到真實的東西,看到了。這都已經一場圓滿的義診,多國家的會集,那個地方有病苦、有困難,有知識還沒有開通等等,還是他們用耐心、愛心去付出。

現在也有這樣,這麼多的國家,慈濟人不惜辛苦,攀越山嶺,渡過了海岸,這樣一個一個國家,會集到一個國家去,這樣去付出,真正的成功。在厄瓜多,有巴西,有阿根廷,有美國慈濟人,這樣會合了。到達了厄瓜多,是要做什麼呢?大家應該還記得,在去年(二O一六年),四月十六日那一天,厄瓜多忽然間天搖地動,大地震,讓那個國家好幾個縣市,全都受很大的影響,房屋毀損了,實在是慘不忍睹。那個時候,還是一樣委託慈濟人,在美國慈濟人他們承擔起來,就從美國去關懷。但是語言不通,英語不是天下全部會通,所以,需要南美洲的慈濟人來,阿根廷、巴西、巴拉圭,那時候的慈濟人,集合來那個地方做語言翻譯,也是不同的國家,我們的慈濟人也能夠會合勘災,也能夠語言的翻譯。這次當然也少不了,南美洲的慈濟人,和美國的慈濟人會合。

這次又回去做什麼呢?是因為我們在那段時間,有為一個教堂清掃過,那個教堂完全都塌了,三個修女在那個地方,慈濟人看到,自動靠近,就會了解了。這個教堂倒下去之後,什麼時候才能夠恢復呢?遙遙無期。他們把這個訊息傳回來,因為那個時候,也是「以工代賑」,去為他們清掃。這個消息回來了,聽到三位修女,再聽到他們要復建,但時間遙遙無期……。那個國家是天主教信仰,所以人民只要有,正確的宗教信仰,就有辦法輔導人心向善,安住人心。這個教堂是那個鎮的信仰中心,所以這樣,我們考慮來將它復建起來,重建。這次去就是重建教堂。這個教堂有神父、有修女,我們表達我們願意,很感恩。所以這是跨國,超越國家,而且超越宗教,是一個非常令人感動的,一個大場合。

這幾天(二O一七年)已經,正式動土了,慈濟人也皆大歡喜,已經又回去,各人回去南美洲,回去美國,他們開始工程動了。這也就是天下有困難,就去為他們付出。

所以,「凡有求法之處」,凡有所求,菩薩就是「往到其所」。這是我們平時,精神理念,要有合心、和氣、互愛、協力,任何一個地方都有這樣的菩薩,在那個地方動員,在不同的國家,慈濟人都到每一個國家去。所以說,「凡有求法之處,菩薩往到其所」。「以無所畏住之」。哪個地方需要,我就到哪個地方去,去那個地方付出;而且付出之後,我們再為他們說法。所以在那個場面在動土,他們有他們的主教,總主教(曼納比省總主教羅倫佐)來主持動土,修女、神父等等,地方人士都來哦!這種大家看到,這是一個佛教的團體,竟然是和我們這樣的會合,這個大愛是永恆的。

所以,有愛是永久的忍耐,只要有愛,他就有辦法克服一切的困難。就那是「恩」和「慈」,為眾生去付出是一念的慈心,這是他們當地,他們的神父、修女都這樣在說,《聖經》之中有這樣的記載。是啊,佛佛道同,正確的宗教,都有一個正確的方向,「愛是永恆忍耐,又有恩慈」,這是他們的《聖經》,其中有一段這樣記載。我們的佛教,那就是永恆綿綿不斷,哪一個地方有困難,「無所畏住之」,會去那個地方去幫助,不只是物資的幫助,也是法,這個愛的力量去會合起來。所以,宗教沒有分什麼樣的名稱,有共同的一個方向,那就是無私大愛。所以,菩薩也就是這樣,「我當說此妙法」,「普天三無」大家都會比,大家都同時來唱,唱「普天三無」,哪有分宗教呢?神父、修女、慈濟人在那個地方帶動,手語比得很美,歌聲很整齊,唱出了「普天三無」。

所以這就是在說法,「任持弘經誓願,佛心安隱無慮」。我們大家都能承擔起來,任何一個地方,佛不在,我們也是同樣這樣,所以這個弘誓願既立,請佛安心,不用再為這樣來掛慮。「於末後世弘經」,我們大家都會按照這樣,在未來長久的世間,不論它是多麼惡濁,我們都能去關心,我們能把這個法,用各種的方法住在人間。「堪耐忍難能忍」,忍所不能忍,我們都能忍。這是大家的發心立願,我們要很用心去體會。

前面的文,這些菩薩所說的那就是:「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》

以上所講的這麼多的困難,在惡世濁氣很重,哪怕是顯出宗教的形象,自己「獅子蟲自食獅子肉」,自己來誹謗自己修行的方法,真實妙法,他把它當做這就是自己自作,自己所寫的,自己所編的,這是外道的論義等等,用種種方法來誹謗。這是未來要講說正法,實在是很不簡單的,遭遇的困難是重重疊疊,一定要有勇,要慈悲、要勇敢守護這個法。所以我們用心,要了解體會佛心,要向這樣的菩薩來學,這種發弘誓願。

接下來這段文:「諸聚落城邑,其有求法者,我皆到其所,說佛所囑法。我是世尊使,處眾無所畏,我當善說法,願佛安隱住。」

諸聚落城邑
其有求法者
我皆到其所
說佛所囑法
我是世尊使
處眾無所畏
我當善說法
願佛安隱住
《法華經勸持品第十三》

我們就能很了解了,菩薩發願,要到每一個地方,「諸聚落城邑」,不論是大城,小鄉鎮,同樣,只要有求法的地方,在村落裡,城市裡,都會區裡,或者是在縣邑裡,不論任何地方。「其或有人求大法者」,裡面若是有人要求法的地方。

諸聚落城邑
其有求法者:
村居聚落
或城郭中
或是縣邑諸眾生居
其或有人求大法者
凡所有求法之處
則是菩薩
所應所到之處
以無所畏
說此妙法

「凡所有求之處」,只要有求的地方,不論怎麼求,有求的地方,「則是菩薩所應所到之處」。這些菩薩所應、所到之處,那就是理所當然,一定要去的地方,因為愛護眾生,眾生有所需求,應該要到達的地方。「以無所畏,說此妙法」,要去付出,不害怕,雖然濁惡世惡比丘多,但是我們也不怕,這都是這些菩薩的心聲。

我皆到其所
說佛所囑法:
我等皆當到其所住
說佛所囑無上妙法

所以,「我皆到其所,說佛所囑法」。不論怎麼樣,我都是到達,我們大家全都能在那個地方,長短的時間,我們都願意在那個地方,不會受排斥,我們就離開,不會,我們永遠在那個地方,應所需要,所住在那個地方,不論是長、短,來來回回都為了關懷眾生,我們都會在那個地方。所以「說佛所囑」,佛陀所交代的法,我們會在那個地方這樣去付出。

我是世尊使
處眾無所畏:
八十萬億深地聖人
神通自如
道力充盛
能於濁惡末世之中
當為如來說法
之所使
處眾演說
得大無畏
不同於先來
初心菩薩及羅漢等

「我是世尊使,處眾無所畏」。我們大家都是佛陀所教育,我們要做佛所要做的事情,是佛的使者,佛所要做的事情,所遣使來的,我們都會盡心力。所以,「八十萬億」,在這個很資深,已經登聖地的人,這些聖人,他有這個「神通」。其實很多很多十方諸佛,釋迦牟尼佛,都已經登這個聖地,過去古來佛,或者是現在佛,應該大覺悟者,他有這個神通,能了解,了解未來的濁惡的世間,有這群使命,發弘誓願,佛陀所派遣的人,我們應該都在這個地方,諸佛能夠證知,能夠了解我們。所以,「道力充盛,能於濁惡末世之中」。我們這些人,過去也都很久了,所以這樣來來回回,佛應該能了解,了解我們來回的誓願力,我們的道力,走過來的路都很充足,能在這個惡世中,末法之中去延續慧命。

所以「當為如來說法之所使」。我們的力量應該足夠,我們很資深,來來回回。佛應該了解我們,我們大家是如來所派遣,所遣使的人,所以佛應該要很相信,佛您應該要安心。所以,「處眾演說,得大無畏」,我們能在眾人的面前,不論是什麼環境,在那裡講法,絕對是無所畏,不管什麼樣的權利,什麼樣的形態,如何來刁難,我們都無所畏。「不同於先來,初心菩薩及羅漢」,我們是很資深,和前面佛您所授記的弟子,已經發菩薩心,但是他們才是初發心而已。初發心,那個願力,資格還不夠,所以他們會懼怕娑婆世界,他們自己認為,他們的力量還不夠。我們是自己很有信心,我們的力量足夠,佛您應該也能相信我們,了解我們的道力,來來回回菩薩道中,很充足的力量,資歷足夠,佛不用煩惱。

我當善說法
願佛安隱住:
任持弘經
願佛無慮
安隱而住

所以「我當善說法,願佛安隱住」。我們大家能隨佛所說的教法,我們都能這樣來接受,我們也能這樣,將這個法再傳下去,傳給後世,傳給長長久久無窮盡未來,哪怕是惡世,我們也照傳。所以「我當善說法,願佛安隱住」,佛,您就安心!這是諸菩薩在安慰佛陀。這是多麼貼心,多麼誠意,既然接受佛的教法,他們就是要有這樣的大志願力,願意接受佛教法延續在後世,綿綿不斷,這叫做願力,這叫做誠,誠意,誠意願度一切眾生,這就是大菩薩一心(所念)。

接下來這段文再說:「我於世尊前,諸來十方佛,發如是誓言,佛自知我心。」

我於世尊前
諸來十方佛
發如是誓言
佛自知我心
《法華經勸持品第十三》

我們大家,全都在釋迦牟尼佛您的面前,甚至又有「諸來十方佛」,很多,十方佛,應該都能為我們證明,還有不退轉諸菩薩,就是契佛心懷,不退轉,就像文殊、彌勒、觀音、普賢等等,很多很多就是大菩薩,這都是不退轉,也已經早就已有成就了,再來人間助佛道場,來度化眾生。這些菩薩,還有真發廣大心,像我們大家這些菩薩,這全都是很契佛心,都很了解佛,很貼心,所以請佛不用擔心。

我於世尊前
諸來十方佛:
不退轉諸菩薩
契佛心懷
即於佛前
十方遠來諸分身佛

連十方遠來分身佛都全部會合,意思就是所有佛的教法,全都集合過來。大家道心堅固,只要得佛這樣教化過,那些真理再回歸回來,這也是分身佛,是釋迦牟尼佛的精神,釋迦牟尼佛那個理念,所有的妙法都回歸集合。這是這品〈勸持品〉最後的文。

發如是誓言
佛自知我心:
勇發如上深重誓言
佛神力故
自知我等
廣大堅固誓願之力

所以,「發如是誓言」。這些菩薩以及聽法之後,真理入心,佛的分身佛,那就是法,都已經歸位,凝聚起來大家都是發願,就是「發如是誓言,佛自知我心」。大家的「勇發如上深重誓言」的志願,這些菩薩都已經這樣發願起來了。「佛神力故,自知我等,廣大堅固誓願之力」。佛陀應該都是能夠了解我們。這段完全在提起〈勸持品〉,不論遇到什麼樣惡劣的環境,有這群菩薩願意,佛陀在勸大家,來為法募才,為法在募人,這些菩薩願意來承擔;佛勸,菩薩發願,所以叫做〈勸持品〉。

此二頌頌勸持
一頌結成
問:
此諸菩薩神通智力
不可思議
縱在末世說法
誰敢不信
而說如是
種種弊惡者何也

有人就這樣問,「此諸菩薩神通智力」。這些菩薩神通智力,「不可思議,縱在末世說法,誰敢不信」。這些都是大菩薩,不退轉的菩薩,哪怕他們這樣傳法下去,怎麼末世的眾生,什麼人敢不相信呢,哪有那些惡比丘呢?「而說如是種種弊惡者」,怎麼說有那些惡比丘呢?末世再怎麼的惡,這麼的有能力、資深,真正已經既得道的大菩薩,在人間在說法,怎麼說哪有人敢這麼的兇惡來面對,哪有那些惡比丘呢?再回答他,這就是用對答的方式來說。

答:有三意
一者
欲現前發願弘經者
預知末世有此弊惡
使臨難不怖故
二者
欲當來聽法修行者
知有此過
當反邪歸正故
三者
欲世尊說以
禦難之方
俾五種法師
皆安樂故

有三項,一者,「欲現前發願弘經者,預知末世有此弊惡」。這是要在那個道場,經典就這樣記載下來,有這些菩薩在看大家不敢發願,而他們出來發願,來說這些未來濁惡世,有這樣這樣這麼的惡。這是要提醒大家,你要發願,哪怕是遇到這樣,也不要怕,這是一種鼓勵。萬一若遇到這樣的形態,就要「忍所難忍」。這就是這種在這個道場,預知未來,會有這樣的環境會發生,所以要先讓我們知道。未來,我們在講經遇到困難,我們也都要自我警惕,也要自我勉勵。佛的時代,就有這樣的交代,佛的時代,那些菩薩就有這樣的發心,勇猛精進,我們要向這些菩薩看齊。這是為未來眾生,給我們一個心理的鼓勵,「使臨難不怖故」。這就是鼓勵未來的人,遇到困難也不要怕,這就是佛在世之時,那些菩薩就全都有這樣說過了。

其實,佛在世就這樣說過了,要弘這部經很困難,從〈方便品〉開始,就說「持是經者難」,所以舍利弗三請,佛陀就一直警惕,要講這部經的困難處。我們在這裡聽到菩薩來重複說困難,有這樣的惡比丘來誹謗,修行者自己來誹謗,這種形態就有了,何況一般的人?

第二,就是「欲當來聽法修行者,知有此過,當反邪歸正故」。這個經,除了講經的人有困難,他心理有準備,要發勇猛心。第二也要讓來聽法的人,知道這部經是真實佛所說,因為未來在聽經,也有人會誹謗。誹謗,這是已經佛陀就預知的事情。我們自己若被人引去,要趕緊快回過頭來,反邪歸正,這是第二。

第三,那就是「欲世尊說以禦難之方」。要如何防止那個難?要去除那個難的方法,就是使有「五種法師,皆安樂故」。這就是又未來再接下去,未來〈安樂行品〉,那就是這品已經到這裡,再接下去就是〈安樂行品〉。〈安樂行品〉,就是要如何弘法,要如何在人間克服種種的困難,能夠這樣講法,說得皆大歡喜。聽的人法喜,說的人歡喜,這樣就是有法師要如何講經,能夠說得很歡喜。這就是我們在〈勸持品〉,我們要感恩佛和菩薩,這樣彼此安排的全都恰恰好,讓我們知道準備未來要講說這部經,有這麼多的困難,我們要用怎樣的方法能夠度過。這很感恩佛與菩薩,這分用心良苦的教育。在《法華經》裡,愈說會愈歡喜,會覺得諸佛菩薩為人間的用心,這是佛一大事因緣開、示,眾生悟、入。所以,我們若有所覺悟,體會佛的心懷,我們就會很歡喜來接受。所以,我們要時時多用心!


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Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: From Upholding the Sutra to Peace and Joy (勸持結成 啟安樂行)
Date: July.04.2018

“Wherever there are people who seek the Dharma, Bodhisattvas will go to that place and abide there fearlessly. ‘We will teach this wondrous Dharma and uphold our vow to spread this sutra so that the Buddha’s mind will be at peace and free of worry. We will spread this sutra in the future age of Dharma-degeneration and will be able to patiently endure what is difficult to endure.’”

The Bodhisattvas had made up their minds to spread this sutra in the world. During the Buddha’s lifetime, the last sutra He expounded was the Lotus Sutra, where He freely expressed His original intent. This was the one great cause for which the Buddha came to the world. He hoped to leave behind this wondrous Dharma to remain in the world. When people encounter the Dharma, if they can put it into practice, they can bring harmony to the world and purity to people’s hearts. This was the Buddha’s wish and His goal in coming to the world. He hoped to see all sentient beings “realize and enter” [the teachings]. To go from “opening and revealing” to “realizing and entering” [the teachings], there must be people to pass down the Dharma. The Buddha “opened and revealed” the Dharma for sentient beings to “realize and enter”. In this process, after the Buddha entered Parinirvana, who would pass down the Dharma and transmit it to sentient beings? This was the Buddha’s greatest worry. The Buddha’s intent was for the Dharma to forever circulate in the world.

So, He was eager to recruit capable people. Since the Buddha was now in His later years, what He needed the most were people who could pass down the Dharma. He needed capable people to pass down the Dharma. In the previous chapters, starting in the Chapter on Dharma Teachers, this was already made very clear. The Buddha was recruiting people for the Dharma. He was very earnest in recruiting people. Bestowing predictions on His disciples was also a way to express His hopes for them. Everyone engaged in spiritual practice and had accepted the Buddha’s teachings, but the Buddha also hoped that His disciples could sincerely pass down the Dharma. In those few decades, He taught many disciples. However, in this world, the principles of suffering and causation that the Buddha taught are everlasting; they are the same [everywhere]. Wherever there are living beings, here in this Saha world, they will all experience so much suffering. This suffering originates in people’s minds, as they give rise to discursive thoughts and create so much karma. Ignorance gives rise to delusion. Due to delusion, [sentient beings] create karma and become more entangled, which leads to many causes, conditions, effects and retributions. In this way, they continually accumulate ignorance and suffering. The disciples understood and witnessed this. They had not just heard the Buddha teach about suffering. In fact, everyone had experienced this suffering. Everyone understood the principles of formation, existence, decay and disappearance as well as the physiological principles of arising, abiding, changing and ceasing. Everyone already thoroughly understood them. But what made them feel truly helpless was the reality of birth, aging, illness and death; this gave them an even deeper feeling. In the Saha world, everyone’s lifespan is short. Everyone felt that the Saha World was not a place where they wanted to abide forever. So, everyone sought liberation to leave this Saha World and go to more ideal places.

Though they had received the Buddha’s predictions, they longed to be in other lands to spread the Dharma and benefit sentient beings. They did not dare to return to the Saha World. This is “the view of self”. The Buddha wanted to teach us that we must break away from this selfish state of mind and our limited view of self. He hoped everyone could form aspirations in this very place and put the teachings into practice. They needed this kind of courage. But His disciples all vowed to go to other worlds. So, we can imagine how the Buddha felt. Think about it; He was already in His later years and cared for all beings in the Three Realms. He was the guiding teacher of the Three Realms. Would there be anyone to keep transforming them? As “the kind father of the Four Kinds of Beings,” He had compassion and love for all beings. Would there be anyone to cherish the Four Kinds of Beings? This was His feeling. It seemed that no one was willing. So, the Buddha felt disappointed and forlorn. He gazed at the people around Him. As soon as these Bodhisattvas made eye contact with the Buddha, they all understood the Buddha’s intention. They all resonated with the Buddha’s intent and were willing to make vows.

Over the past few days, we have constantly been talking about the Buddha’s state of mind, His feeling toward the spiritual practitioners in the Saha World and how the Bodhisattvas who formed great aspirations were willing to devote themselves. They had understood that the Saha world is full suffering and sentient beings are hard to transform. In the future evil world of the five Turbidities, people would be even more evil, turbid and difficult to transform. These Bodhisattvas understood all this and told [the Buddha], “Venerable Buddha, You need not worry. Please put Your mind at ease. After You enter Parinirvana, we will all go to the places You care about. We will take on this responsibility. We will take care of [these places] and pass on the Dharma. We will spread the wondrous Dharma in the world and put it into practice. Although there will be all kinds of difficulties, we have prepared our minds to face the reality. We will endure [the difficulties].” These were the Bodhisattvas.

So, “Wherever there are people who seek the Dharma, Bodhisattvas will go to that place.” For Bodhisattvas, wherever people are in need or are willing to seek the Dharma, they will surely act as “uncommented teachers”. They will go there to teach sentient begins. This is the heart of a Bodhisattva.

This is like how, over these few days (in March 2017), Tzu Chi volunteers have held international events. A free medical was organized in Cambodia by Tzu Chi volunteers from five countries including Singapore, Malaysia and locally from Cambodia. These volunteers came together to hold a three-day, large-scale free clinic. At the site, there were many poor and suffering people. Among them, there were many who had been ill for who knows how long. Some places have truly fallen behind in their development. Some elderly people and country folk had already lost their eyesight. Tzu Chi volunteers quickly went to announce [the free clinic], [telling them that] everyone could come. For those with cataracts who could not see, there would be eye surgeons to operate on them. Yet when they heard this, they were afraid to come. Why were they scared to come? They said, “That rewires taking out the entire eye ball, washing it and putting it back.” That was their thinking. Thus, they had left their conditions untreated until they lost their sight. The volunteers continually went to remote areas to persuade them to come [to the free clinic].

The doctors carefully explained [the procedure], putting their minds at ease. After they put their minds at ease, the doctor performed the surgery. After the surgery, they could very soon see, so they were joyful. They went from a fearful state of mind to being able to see the light again. Who knows how many decades it had been since they could see anything? Now, they could see. This was a very successful medical clinic. [Volunteers] from many countries came together in that place of illness and suffering, where people lacked knowledge and so on. They still served them with patience and love. Now, there are so many countries like this. Tzu Chi volunteers, ,unafraid of hard work, climb mountains and cross oceans. [People from] many different countries gather in one country. In this way, they give of themselves to hold very successful [relief activities].

In Ecuador, Tzu Chi volunteers from Brazil, Argentina and the United States gathered together. Why did they gather in Ecuador? Everyone should still remember this. Last year (2016), on April 16, the earth suddenly shook violently in Ecuador. This large earthquake greatly affected many cities and villages in that country. Many houses were damaged or destroyed. The sight of it was unbearable. At that time, [the locals] asked for help from Tzu Chi. Tzu Chi volunteers in the United States took up the responsibility and went there from the United States to check on them.

However, there was a language barrier. English is not universally understood. So, they needed Tzu Chi volunteers from South America to come. At that time, Tzu Chi volunteers from Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay gathered there to help with interpretation. So, from different countries, Tzu Chi volunteers gathered to assess the damage as well as to do oral interpretation. This time, of course the Tzu Chi volunteers from South America were needed as well, to work together with the US Tzu Chi volunteers. So, what were we doing there this time? At that time, [last year], we cleaned the debris of a church which had completely collapsed. There were three nuns there. Tzu Chi volunteers saw them and approached them to understand [their situation]. After their church collapsed, when would they be able to rebuild it? A reconstruction was nowhere in sight. The volunteers sent this information back. At that time, it was through the Cash for Relief program that we helped them clean the debris. At this information was sent back, we heard about these three nuns and how they wanted to rebuild the church, but that they had no [resources to do it]. People in that country are Catholic. As long as people have a proper religious faith, people’s hearts can be guided toward goodness and their minds be put at peace. This church was the center of the town’s faith.

Because of this, we considered helping them to rebuild it. This time, they went to start the reconstruction. The priests and nuns at that church expressed their willingness and gratitude to us. Thus, this is an international [project] which transcends national borders and religions. This was a very moving and great occasion. In the past few days, they have formally broken ground. Tzu chi volunteers were also very joyful. They have now already returned, some to [countries in] South America, others to the United States, but the construction work has begun. This is how, when people in the world are in difficulty, we go to help them.

So, “Wherever there are people who seek the Dharma, wherever there are people in need, Bodhisattvas will go to that place”. In our everyday [work], we need the spirit of unity, harmony, mutual love and concerted effort. Wherever it is, there are Bodhisattvas like this ready to be mobilized there or from different countries. Tzu Chi volunteers willingly go to any country. So, “Wherever there are people who seek the Dharma, Bodhisattvas will go to that place and abide there fearlessly”. Wherever it is that people need us, we will go to that place and help [the people] there. After we help them, we then teach them the Dharma.

So, at the groundbreaking ceremony, it was their bishop and archbishop who hosted the ceremony. There were nuns, priests etc. Many local people came. Everyone saw how this Buddhist organization came to work together with them. The great love is everlasting. So, with love, there is everlasting patience. As long as we have love, we can overcome all difficulties. This is [the kindness of love]. We help sentient beings with love and kindness. This was mentioned by their local priests and nuns; it is something recorded in the Bible. Indeed, all Buddhas share the same path, and all proper religions share a single direction. “Love is patient, love is kind”. This is a passage in their Bible. This is a passage in their Bible.

In Buddhism, [we talk of love] as everlasting and never-ending. Wherever there are difficulties, [we] abide there fearlessly”. We will go to those places to help. We not only help them materially but also teach them the Dharma. We come together with the power of love. So, despite the differences in religion, we all share the same direction, which is selfless great love. This is what Bodhisattvas are like. “We will teach this wondrous Dharma”. Everyone knew the sign language for. “The Spirit of Great Love”. Everyone sang the song. “The Spirit of Great Love” together. There were no differences due to religion. The priests, nuns and Tzu Chi volunteers together led [the sing-along]. Their sign language was very beautiful, and the sound of their singing was harmonious. They sang “The Spirit of Great Love”.

So, this was [a way of] teaching the Dharma. “We will uphold our vow to spread this sutra so that the Buddha’s mind will be at peace and free of worry. We can all take on responsibility. Wherever it is, even if the Buddha is absent, we will do it. So, since we made these great vows, please, Venerable Buddha, put Your mind at ease. You no longer need to worry about this. We will spread this sutra in the future age of Dharma-degeneration. We will all abide by [these vows]. However long and however far in to the future, no matter how evil and turbid the world, we will care for [the people]. With this Dharma, we will use various ways to abide in the world. We will be able to patiently endure what is difficult to endure. We will endure everything that is unbearable”. These were everyone’s aspirations and vows. We must mindfully seek to comprehend this.

In the previous sutra passage, these Bodhisattvas were saying, “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 was 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”.

There are many difficulties mentioned in the sutra. In this evil world, there are severe turbidities. Even if these people appear to be religious, [they are like] “the lion’s parasites that eat the lion’s flesh. They slander [their fellow Buddhists’] methods of spiritual practice. They treat the true wondrous Dharma as if [those practitioners] created it themselves, as something they wrote and edited themselves, [saying] it is a heretical teaching and so on. They use many ways to slander [the true Dharma]. Thus, to expound the Right Dharma in the future truly will not be easy. We will encounter many difficulties, so we definitely need courage. We will need compassion and courage to safeguard this Dharma. So, we must mindfully seek to comprehend the Buddha’s intention and learn from these Bodhisattvas, from how they made great vows.

The following sutra passage states, “If in villages and cities there are people who seek the Dharma, we will all go to where they are to teach the Dharma entrusted to us by the Buddha. We will be the World-Honored One’s messengers, dwelling fearlessly among the multitudes. We will excel in teaching the Dharma. We hope the Buddha will abide in peace”.

[From this] we can thoroughly understand how the Bodhisattvas made vows to go everywhere. “In villages and cities” means that, be it a big city or small village, [they will go] as long as there are people who seek the Dharma. Whether in village, cities, metropolises or townships, no matter the place, “there are people who seek the Great Dharma”. There may be people there who seek the Dharma.

If in villages and cities there are people who seek the Dharma: In village settlements or in walled cities or in the townships where people live, there may be people who seek the Great Dharma. Whatever place has people who seek the Dharma, these are the places. Bodhisattvas must respond to and go to fearlessly teach this wondrous Dharma.

“Whatever place has people who seek the Dharma” means as long as people there seek the Dharma, it does not matter how they seek it. With any place where people seek the Dharma, “These are the places. Bodhisattvas must respond to and go to”. These are the places that Bodhisattvas must respond to and go to. These are the places where they are naturally sure to go. Because they love sentient beings, wherever there are sentient beings in need, they must go there and “fearlessly teach this wondrous Dharma”. They fearlessly go there to help people. Although in this evil turbid world, there will be many evil bhiksus, they are not afraid. This was the voice in these Bodhisattvas’ hearts.

We will all go to where they are to teach the Dharma entrusted to us by the Buddha: We all will go to wherever they live to teach the supreme and wondrous Dharma that the Buddha entrusted to us.

So, “We will all go to where they are to teach the Dharma entrusted to us by the Buddha.” No matter what, they will go there. All of them will go to that place. Whether for a long or a short time, they are willing to be in that place. Even if they are rejected, they will not leave. They will always be there to respond to people’s need. They will abide in that place. Whether the time is long or short, they will repeatedly return to care for all beings. They will all be in that place. They “teach [the Dharma] entrusted by the Buddha”. In accord with the Dharma the Buddha entrusted they will be in that place to give of themselves.

We will be the World-Honored One’s messengers. dwelling fearlessly among the multitudes: 80 trillion noble beings at the advanced stage who have spiritual powers at their disposal and are replete with the power of aspirations can serve as messengers of the Tathagata to teach the Dharma in the turbid and evil world during the age of Dharma-degeneration. They dwell among people to teach them and have attained great fearlessnesss. They are different from the previous newly-inspired Bodhisattvas and Arhats.

“We will be the World-Honored One’s messengers dwelling fearlessly among the multitudes.” They have all been taught by the Buddha. “We will do the things the Buddha wants to do.” They will all be messengers of the Buddha. Whatever the Buddha would have wanted to do, those who are sent out by Him will do their best to do it. Thus, these “80 trillion” were highly experienced people who had already ascended to the Noble Realms. These noble beings “have spiritual powers”. In fact, the many Buddhas of the ten directions, including Sakyamuni Buddha, have reached the Noble Realms. Past Buddhas as well as the present Buddha, all the Great Awakened Ones, have these spiritual powers; They can understand that in the turbid and evil world of the future, there will be this group of [Bodhisattvas] with a mission, who have made the great vows. As those sent by the Buddha, they should all be in this place. “All Buddhas can attest to and understand [our vow].” So, “We are replete with the power of aspirations.” [They can] be in the turbid and evil world. These people had repeatedly returned [here] for a very long time in the past. The Buddha must have understood the power of their vows in repeatedly returning. Their spiritual aspirations were very [apparent] from the path they had walked in the evil world of the era of Dharma-degeneration, they will continue to develop their wisdom-life. “They can serve as messengers of the Tathagata to teach the Dharma.” Their strength should be sufficient. Having returned over and over, they were very experienced. The Buddha should understand them. They were all those sent out by the Tathagata, so the Buddha should have faith in them/ The Buddha should be able to put Him mind at ease/ Thus, “They dwell among people to teach them and have attained great fearlessness.” They can face sentient beings. No matter what environment they are in, they can expound the Dharma there without any fear whatsoever. No matter what forces, forms or appearances come to challenge them, they will be fearless. “They are different from the previous newly-inspired Bodhisattvas and Arhats.” They were very experienced. The disciples who previously received predictions from the Buddha had formed Bodhisattva-aspirations, but they had just formed initial aspirations. With newly-formed aspirations, their power of vows was not yet sufficient, so they were afraid of the Saha World. They thought their strength was insufficient. These Bodhisattvas had faith in themselves and [knew] they were strong enough. The Buddha could have faith in them and understand their power of aspirations. They had kept returning on the Bodhisattva-path, so they had abundant strength and sufficient experience. The Buddha did not need to worry.

We will excel in teaching the Dharma. We hope the Buddha will abide in peace: They will uphold and spread the sutras, so they hoped the Buddha would be free of worry and abide in peace.

So, “We will excel in teaching the Dharma.” We hope the Buddha will bide in peace. They could all follow the Buddha’s teachings and accept them in this way. In the same way, they could also pass down the Dharma to the next generation and to endless [generations] in the future. Even in the evil world, they will pass it down. So, “We will excel in teaching the Dharma. We hope the Buddha will abide in peace. Venerable Buddha, please put Your mind at ease!” This is how the Bodhisattvas comforted the Buddha. They were so close to [the Buddha’s] heart, so sincere. Since they accept the Buddha’s teachings, they needed to have such great vows. They were willing to accept the Buddha’s teachings and continuously pass them down to future generations. This is called having [great] vows. This was their sincerity. They sincerely vowed to transform all sentient beings. They had the heart of great Bodhisattvas.

The next sutra passage continues with, “Before the World-Honored One and all the Buddhas from the ten directions, we make this vows; the Buddha must know what is in our hearts.”

They were all in front of Sakyamuni Buddha and “all the Buddha from the ten directions”. These many Buddha from the ten directions should all be able to bear witness for them. There were also never-retreating Bodhisattvas, those who resonated with the Buddha’s intent and would not retreat, such as Manjusri, Matreya, Guanyin, Samantabhadra and so on. There were many great Bodhisattvas. They were never-retreating and had already accomplished [the path] long ago. They returned to the world to help transform sentient beings at the Buddha’s Dharma-assembly. These Bodhisattvas had also made all-embracing, great aspirations. These Bodhisattvas felt, “We Bodhisattvas all resonate with the Buddha’s mind.” They understood the Buddha and were very close to His heart, so they asked the Buddha not to worry.

Before the World-Honored One and all the Buddhas from the ten directions: Those never-retreating Bodhisattvas resonated with the Buddha’s intent, so they came before the Buddha and His many manifestations from throughout the ten directions.

Even His many manifestations from throughout the ten directions had come together. This meant that all the Buddha’s teachings had come together. Everyone had firm spiritual aspirations. This [represents] any who received His teachings. When these true principles returned, they were His many manifestations, Sakyamuni Buddha’s spirit and principles. All the wondrous Dharma returned and gathered. This is the last passage in the Chapter on Encouragement to Uphold the Sutra.

We make this vow; the Buddha must know what is in our hearts: They courageously made the profound and solemn vow as stated above. “Because the Buddha has spiritual powers, He must know the immensely strong power of our vows.”

So, “We make this vow”. After these Bodhisattvas listened to the Dharma, they took the true principles to heart. The Buddha’s many manifestations were the Dharma. They had all returned and gathered together to make their vows. This refers to how “We make this vow; the Buddha must know what is in our hearts.” Everyone “courageously made the profound and solemn vow as stated above.” All these Bodhisattvas had begun to make vows. “Because the Buddha has spiritual powers, He must know the immensely strong power of our vows.” The Buddha should be able to understand this about them. This passage is talking about the Chapter on Encouragement to Uphold the Sutra. No matter what harsh environments they would face, these Bodhisattvas were willing to go there. The Buddha encouraged everyone; He was recruiting capable people for the sake of [spreading] the Dharma. These Bodhisattvas were willing to take on this responsibility. The Buddha encouraged; the Bodhisattvas made vows. This is in the Chapter on Encouragement to Uphold the Sutra.

These two verses express encouragement to uphold. The last verse concludes [this chapter]. Question: These Bodhisattvas’ wisdom and spiritual powers are inconceivable. As they teach the Dharma, even in the age of Dharma-degeneration, who would dare not to believe them? So why do they talk about all these evil people?

Some people wondered about this. “These Bodhisattvas’ wisdom and spiritual powers are inconceivable. As they teach the Dharma, even in the age of Dharma-degeneration, who would dare not to believe them?” These were great Bodhisattvas. They were never-retreating Bodhisattvas. When they pass down the Dharma, even to beings in the age of Dharma-degeneration, who would dare not to believe them? How could there be such evil bhiksus? “So why do they talk about all these evil people?” Why do they say there will be evil bhiksus? However evil the age of Dharma-degeneration, these great Bodhisattvas are capable and experienced and have already attained the path. As they expound the Dharma in the world, how could there be anyone who would dare to face them with aggression? How could there be any evil bhiksus? This is explained in the form of questions and answers.

Answer: There are three reasons. First, those who desired to appear before the Buddha and make vows to spread the sutra anticipated that there will be such evil people in the age of Dharma-degeneration, so they will not be afraid to face hardships. Secondly, those spiritual practitioners who will come to listen to the Dharma in the future knew they will have these transgressions and that they must rectify their deviant ways to return to the Right Path. Thirdly, they wished the World-Honored One would teach the way to guard themselves from hardships to enable the five kinds of Dharma teachers to live in peace and joy.

There are three reasons. First, “Those who desired to appear before the Buddha and make vows to spread the sutra anticipated that there will be such evil people in the age of Dharma-degeneration.” This happened at the [Lotus] Dharma-assembly as recorded in the sutra. There were these Bodhisattvas who saw that everyone lacked the courage to make vows, so they came to make vows and told them that in the evil turbid world of the future, there would be such evil [bhiksus]. This was to remind everyone that they must make vows. Even if they would face something like this, they must not be afraid. This was a kind of encouragement. If we face such appearances and attitudes, we must “endure what is difficult to endure”. In that spiritual training ground, they anticipated that in the future there would be such an environment. So, they wanted to first let us know that in the future, when we face difficulties in expounding the sutra, we must remind ourselves to be vigilant and encourage ourselves. In the Buddha’s era, He gave these instructions; in the Buddha’s era, these Bodhisattvas formed these aspirations. They were courageous and diligent. We must seek to emulate these Bodhisattvas. This was encouragement for sentient beings in the future, “so they will not be afraid to face hardships.” This was encouraging people in the future not to be afraid if they encounter difficulties. This happened during the Buddha’s lifetime. These Bodhisattvas all talked about this. In fact, during the Buddha’s lifetime, He talked about this. It is difficult to spread this sutra. Starting in the Chapter on Skillful Means, He said that “upholding this sutra is difficult”. So, Sariputra asked the Buddha three times, but the Buddha kept warning about the difficulties relating to this sutra. At this point, these Bodhisattvas also repeatedly talked about the difficulties. Evil bhiksus will slander [the sutra]; these practitioners will slander it themselves. Even [bhiksus] will have such attitudes, let alone ordinary people.

Secondly, “Those spiritual practitioners who will come to listen to the Dharma in the future knew they will have these transgressions and that they must rectify their deviant ways to return to the Right Path.” In order for those who would expound this sutra to avoid difficulties, they had to prepare themselves and be courageous. The second reason was to help those who come to listen to the sutra know that this sutra is truly what the Buddha taught. This is because in the future when people listen to the sutra, there will be some who will slander it. Slander was something the Buddha anticipated. If we ourselves are led astray by others, we must immediately rectify our deviant ways to return to the Right Path. This is the second reason.

Thirdly, “They wished the World-Honored One would teach the way to guard themselves from hardships.” How do we prevent those difficulties? To eliminate these difficulties, we must enable “the five kinds of Dharma teachers to live in peace and joy”. This is continued in the next chapter on the Practice of Bringing Peace and Joy. This chapter ends here, and next is the Chapter on the Practice of Bringing Peace and Joy.

[That chapter] is about how to spread the Dharma and how to overcome various difficulties in the world so we can expound the Dharma to bring great joy. Those who listen will have Dharma-joy, and those who expound it will be joyful too. This is how a Dharma teacher can expound the sutra in a very joyful manner. When it comes to the Chapter on Encouragement to Uphold the Sutra, we should be very grateful to the Buddha and Bodhisattvas. They arranged everything so well with each other so that in the future, we are prepared to face the many difficulties in teaching this sutra. With these methods, we are able to overcome them. We should be grateful to the Buddha and Bodhisattvas for putting their heartfelt effort into teaching us. With the Lotus Sutra, the more we teach it, the more joyful we become. We can understand the Buddhas’ and Bodhisattvas’ dedication to the world. The Buddha’s one great cause is to open and reveal [the Dharma] so sentient beings can realize and enter it. So, if we can gain some degree of realization and an understanding of the Buddha’s intention, we will very joyfully accept [these difficulties]. Thus, we must always be mindful!

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