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 20180711《靜思妙蓮華》應修一心三軌四忍 (第1389集) (法華經·安樂行品第十四)

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發表主題: 20180711《靜思妙蓮華》應修一心三軌四忍 (第1389集) (法華經·安樂行品第十四)   周二 7月 10, 2018 9:21 pm

20180711《靜思妙蓮華》應修一心三軌四忍 (第1389集) (法華經·安樂行品第十四)

⊙菩薩敬順佛意,發願於惡世中,周旋往返十方國土不惜身命,忍難弘宣經教。諸菩薩忍難事,自謂得無生忍,願行末法濁惡,持經守護眾生。
⊙處事於微能察,安祥能忍心安,於理柔和善順。若事上見得透,則浮議不能惑,是胸中持得定,一時浮氣不能動。此道人處世良方,亦即持經之妙訣。
⊙一心者:一念心。弘經三軌:慈悲室、忍辱衣、法座空。四忍:是菩薩所應修,身、口、意、誓願,四安樂行之通因。
⊙一心者:一念心。心性周遍,虛徹靈通,諸法無礙,散之則應萬事,斂之而成一念,是故若善若惡,若聖若凡無不皆由此一心造。
⊙弘經三軌:慈悲室、忍辱衣、法空座。四忍:是菩薩所應修身、口、意、誓願四安樂行之通因。
⊙「又復於法無所行,而觀諸法如實相,亦不行不分別,是名菩薩摩訶薩行處。」《法華經安樂行品第十四》
⊙「云何名菩薩摩訶薩親近處?菩薩摩訶薩不親近國王、王子、大臣、官長。」《法華經安樂行品第十四》
⊙恐流俗為諂媚竊取權勢驕奢,取供養苟於諂媚取悅,是誡之不可近。一有至此,則荒廢正務,而怠墮於包裹藏污。
⊙奔於搖尾乞憐,慮無所不至,為俗人拭涕不暇,何心於道哉?由是誡之不可近。
⊙云何名菩薩摩訶薩親近處?:前云安住親近之處,身勤修持一切諸善行,護念大乘經教法。
⊙不親近:不可縱情,親附倚靠仗勢凌人,若近貴人,恐恃權勢,損物無益於道。
⊙國王、王子、大臣、官長,為一時有權力之人,莫要攀緣,以世緣深重,故其行動未必盡合佛道。
⊙若與親近,不隨順則受種種煩惱糾纏之逆境損害,若隨順之則受非分名利供養之順境損害,均為害道上之增上緣,此應離損害緣者一也。

【證嚴上人開示】
菩薩敬順佛意,發願於惡世中,周旋往返十方國土不惜身命,忍難弘宣經教。諸菩薩忍難事,自謂得無生忍,願行末法濁惡,持經守護眾生。

菩薩敬順佛意
發願於惡世中
周旋往返十方國土
不惜身命
忍難弘宣經教
諸菩薩忍難事
自謂得無生忍
願行末法濁惡
持經守護眾生

我們這幾天,大家要很用心,我們真正要吸收法,法要入心,發願就是要入人群,將法與大家分享;要跟大家分享,我們一定要很清楚。聽法,不是要經文這樣一直看過去,依文解義過就好了,我們應該依文解義之後,我們要再去體會。這個體會,雖然口,用嘴來解釋經文是這樣,我們耳朵聽進去,心了解,這樣是不夠的。我們要從心了解,再來自己有走過嗎?有感觸到嗎?法,雖然是無形、無體相,但是我們在這樣團體裡,過去我們所做,我們團體的伴侶,我們的菩薩伴侶有做過的,和我們分享的,去付出、互動,他們所感受的,他們將感受的。做事情,待人接物,和我們的法有對照到嗎?我們自己做的,有對應到嗎?這是很重要的。

經文是文字,講經只是聲音;文字我們可以看,卻是聽,聽進耳朵裡,就已經聲音不見了,但是那個記憶有在心裡嗎?在心裡,我們有曾去用到嗎?我們與過去有去接觸到嗎?我們若有去接觸到,那就是這個法,就是一條路,我們曾經走過的道。所以,這條路我們曾經走過,這個道我們實踐過了。道就是經,所講的經我已經有體悟到了。我們一定要在「經者道也,道者路也」。所以,菩薩的覺悟道路,我們是不是接觸到這個法,從我們的內心深處,有啟發出來嗎?啟發出我們這一念心,我們來印證,我們是不是有將這個經用在道,道用在路,我們日常在走嗎?這就是我們要每天反覆再反覆。前面的經文的意義重新再說,我們不要讓它忘記,重複再提,一定要將這些事情,一直一直在我們的心。

所以,「菩提」就是覺,「薩埵」就是有情人。菩薩那就是覺悟的有情人,因為菩薩雖然體會到了,雖然他也是身體力行,雖然他這樣長久的時間,心不退轉,依教奉行。但是行六度萬行,那個因還沒有圓,要因圓才趨果,這就是要因緣都具足。這個因緣就是我們在身體力行。道走到了嗎?我們的心,這個心識,還有沒有煩惱?付出去,雖然在這個惡世中,人事物很複雜,我們還是同樣這樣發心,紅塵滾滾,願意在人群中去付出。

但是,現在的人不論是被救的,被救度的人是不是很歡喜接受?之後他的心有受到淨化嗎?我們只是盡心力付出,期待他人間疾苦消除。當然我們也很期待他,再加上了他的內心能夠接受,這就是我們要用心。或者是在我們的周圍,和我們同心、同道、同志願;同心、同道、同志願,雖然他發菩薩心,和我們同樣的方向,但是各人各人那個習氣都不同。不同的習氣,彼此要會合起來,去走同樣的一條路,是不是人人都能如我們的意呢?讓我們看到很順眼呢?讓我們聽到很歡喜呢?或者是習氣還有。有什麼樣的差、錯,我們要怎麼樣來待這樣的人,這就是我們要修。

同修淨化,和他來同修,共同來勉勵,要怎麼樣彼此之間,方向正確,再接再厲,這就是要用很長的時間。菩薩要六度萬行,就是同志願的人我們要照顧;被我們幫助的人,我們要用心。這要能讓全部都很圓滿,救人者、被救者都能夠很圓滿。這個因緣,轉惡為善,轉善為福,轉福,那就是覺悟的覺有情人,這就是我們要付出去同度,要去同時度化。所以,菩薩道要能夠圓滿,不是那麼簡單。總是我們要不斷在這樣的世間,不斷不斷地歷練,這是覺有情人。在這種五濁惡世裡面,要面向的是很艱鉅,很艱鉅的一件事情,這就是一大事。

菩薩也是為一大事,因為我們要上求佛道,所以我們要敬順佛意,佛所教育我們的,我們要非常的殷勤、恭敬,將它接受下來。佛法,你要能夠得,你必定要接受;接受佛法,你若沒有恭敬心,法在你的心裡,一點都不珍貴,你怎麼能夠去運用它呢?所以我們必定要珍惜,我們要尊重,所以我們要「敬順佛意」。

佛陀的理想,他來人間,其他無所求,只是要求眾生要能夠體悟,人人有真如本性,人人能夠自愛愛人,人人心無煩惱。心無煩惱,人間事物就對我們沒有障礙;沒有障礙,沒有恐怖,沒有煩惱、顛倒,顛倒、煩惱、妄想全都去除。眾生的苦,就是煩惱、妄想太多了,心真的是無法輕安自在,這就是我們心念雜,雜了之後,一念之偏,可能就惹來了心中密密的煩惱,那是很難過啊!所以,我們要好好用心,我們敬順佛意,就要發願,發願於惡世中。唯有在惡世中有辦法來磨我們,我們要經得磨。東西要能很光滑,必定要先磨過,要如砌如磋,要經過磨,經過琢過,這個東西才能成為很精,很光滑,必定要砌要磨,所以我們必定要發願。

唯有在這個惡濁的世間,就像一個洪爐熱火一樣,我們要經得起歷練,所以發願惡世中,不要逃避,面對現實。你要入這個人群,要入這個濁世,我們一定要有願力。不是因為業來的,是因為願而來的,所以發願於惡世中來淨化。不論是我們的同修者,或者是我們要去感化的人,苦難我們要去救拔的人,這都是我們的心願。我們要不怕麻煩,來來回回,這一生度不到你,我來生再來,生生世世。所以,「周旋往返十方」。任何一個國土我都願意去;十方國土,在任何一個地方,我就是拼命,不惜身命,盡形壽去付出,不論累生世,或者是任何一個地方,就是這樣不惜身命。在這個五濁惡世,心理要有準備,「忍難弘宣經教」,要忍得起很多重重、重重的困難。「諸菩薩忍難事」,要堪得忍很多很多人事物,種種的艱鉅困難,這一定要忍。

有的菩薩,他就是很有信心來表白了:「我已經有得到這種無生忍。佛陀所說的教法,我尊重佛;佛陀所教育的,我都已經有歷練過了。」這「無生忍」,人間不論大自然或者是人為,種種一切困難,我都堪得忍受。所以,「願行末法濁世」。我願意,我願意在這個末法濁惡世中,我願意,願意什麼?願意持經守護眾生。各位,我們要很用心,也要很透徹了解;你了解了之後,我們採取行動,這念心就是堅定的。若只是聽,「你就是這樣講,我就跟你這樣走。」這樣,願力不堅定。所以我們要經過思考,決心立志,這個志不動搖了,這才是真菩薩的願力。

處事於微能察
安祥能忍心安
於理柔和善順
若事上見得透
則浮議不能惑
是胸中持得定
一時浮氣不能動
此道人處世良方
亦即持經之妙訣

「處事於微能察」。在這個世間中,哪怕是很小的事物,我們也要很用心去觀察。這事情,每一句話,每一件事,每一個人,人有各人不同的習氣。人所講的話,裡面所含的意思是真是假,是實是虛,我們都要很用心,去體會、去面對,不同的人,不同的習氣,不同的……等等。所以事或者是道理,我們全都要用很微細的心思,去觀察,所以「處事於微能察」。很小,很小,我們要去了解,也知道這個人的習氣就是這樣,還是一樣,要如何去包容,如何來慢慢感化。這也就是我們要很用心思,在人群中,不能放棄任何一項困難的事情,不能放棄一項,任何一個習氣不好的人。總是我們既來人間,生生世世是不放棄。我們深願,很深立願,所以不能輕易放棄。所以在這濁惡世中,就是菩薩要有所堅持,這樣,我們才心能夠安定。

「安祥能忍心安」,我們才能夠面對著,什麼樣的坎坷,或者是人為,種種的事事物物,雖然心很清楚,事情很麻煩,但是要怎麼辦?就要安祥、能忍、心安,要不然要怎麼辦?就是要好好歷練,我們要如何面對著,這麼複雜濁世的人間呢?「於理柔和善順」。我們在道理,雖然人事有很多的困擾,但是道理,我們要先歷練,這是長期我們所要的修心養性,要養出我們這柔和善順。這平時我們就要修心,平時就要養好我們的性,所以我們在道理上,就能夠時時敬佛意,克服種種的困難,在這個複雜的人間。「若事上見得透」,我們若能夠理,我們很清楚,我們在事的上面,就能夠看得透徹,即使微細,我們都有辦法去觀察出來。所以,這個道理,我們若能夠柔和善順,這事相我們就看得透,這樣就能夠「浮議不能惑」。

非常的虛浮的這些事情,我們就能夠很了解,心很沉著,不會受到人事很虛浮,很浮,又像是真,又像是不實。道理,我們要很清楚去分析,該不該做呢?不該做,我們就要很用心,守住不該做的事情;該做的,要如何去克服,我們應該做而有困難的事情,所以我們的心要很清楚,對錯,一定要分明。所以,「浮議不能惑,是胸中持得定」。我們的心中,心胸必定要堅持,我們的定心、願力。所以,「一時浮氣不能動」。不要意氣用事,一時都不能氣浮,心浮氣躁,不能這樣。「不能動」,我們的心要很安定,因為「心中持得定」,我們要很安定。「此道人處世良方」,這就是修行在道上的人,他要如何面對世間最好的方法。所以,「亦即持經之妙訣」。這是我們修道人,也是發願要持經的人,最好的方法,那就是我們要,「於理柔和善順」,我們在事上才看得透,遇到事情,我們不要這樣心浮氣躁,我們要安定,才不會讓它將我們誘惑走,心才不會迷亂,心中才能夠定,才能不會一時遇到事情,那就這樣心浮氣躁起來。所以,這就是我們要好好堅持的,這就是修道人的處世良方。要如何持經?就是要用這樣的方式來,我們才能在這條道路,堅持走下去,才有辦法能夠克服。所以,我們必定要用佛陀所教法,「一心、三軌、四忍」。

一心者:
一念心
弘經三軌:
慈悲室
忍辱衣
法座空
四忍:
是菩薩所應修
身、口、意、誓願
四安樂行之通因

「一心者」,就是「一念心」。

一心者:一念心
心性周遍,虛徹靈通
諸法無礙
散之則應萬事
斂之而成一念
是故若善若惡
若聖若凡
無不皆由此一心造

「一念心:心性周遍,虛徹靈通,」。我們一念心很快,跟你說:「澳洲風景很美。」曾經去過的人,這個心就跑到那個地方去,瞬間,剎那馬上到達了。這是一念心,「心性周遍,虛徹靈通」,都沒有障礙,這個心要上天堂,要墮地獄,全都沒有障礙。不論你要去哪裡,或者是發心要救人,一念心起,我們願力定,自然我們就能做出了,很多利益人群。所以,這個「心性周遍,虛徹靈通」,這個境界就是一念心。「諸法無礙」,我們通達諸法更加無礙。

雖然佛法很深奧,只要你一念心,佛法你絕對通達,世間的道路周遍,你也能夠到達。只要你有去過,那個印象都在。同樣的道理,佛法雖然無形體相,但是道理很紮實在我們的心裡。這種「散之則應萬事」,佛法我們用在我們的心裡,我們想要將它用得很開闊,也能很開闊,都能夠受用。

就像在四川,大家在精進,他們就是用同樣的法,就是在那個地方,將精神道理會合起來,在那個地方去用心付出。所以大家共同,在好幾個省,會合在那個地方。現在他們也在聽經,這沒有障礙,我們一念心可以這樣,「散之應萬事」,無障礙的地方。若是將它收起來,「斂之而成一念」,將它會合起來,就是一念而已。

我們一念心可以散開,普天之下,若是將它收進來,那就是一念。「是故若善若惡,若聖若凡,無不皆由此一念心」。我們是要做聖人,還是要做惡人呢?就是同樣這念心。所以這念心散開了,能夠在普天之下,發揮它的功能效用;收回來,一念心就是一個法。所以,我們要用這一心,但是要好好守護這念心,不要偏差,惡人和聖人,就是只是一個方向而已,一個方向偏差就成惡人。一個方向對,那就是成佛、菩薩了。所以,我們弘經要有「三軌」,入大慈悲室、著忍辱衣、坐諸法空為座,這就是「三軌」。

弘經三軌:
慈悲室
忍辱衣
法空座

「四忍」呢?那就是菩薩應該要修,身、口、意、還要再加上誓願,這叫做「四安樂行」。

四忍:
是菩薩所應修
身、口、意、誓願
四安樂行之通因

能夠通達,就是需要「一心」、「三軌」、「四忍」,大家要用心,這在前面都已經向大家,反覆說過好幾遍,無非就是要大家,好好將這個法入心。不只是入心,我們用在多少,用在多遠,多少人用得通,我們有和大家共事過,做一件這樣我們心很安,利益人群的事情。我們稍微想一下,到底我們到哪裡去呢?我們用什麼方法去做呢?這就是法散開,能夠普遍很多、很遠,我們現在再想一下,再又在那麼遠,去回顧一下,收回來,就是我們現在這念心,所以要時時用心去體會。

所以,前面的文:「又復於法無所行。」

又復於法無所行
而觀諸法如實相
亦不行不分別
是名
菩薩摩訶薩行處
《法華經安樂行品第十四》

我們有這麼多法,所以前面的經文,就是又再講,要於法無所住,在付出。「無所行」就是「無所住」。我們在法中,其實我們就是這樣很自在。我們若再加一個,說:「我就是怎麼樣在修行,我就是這樣在做好事,我……。」,「我」好多啊!哪一個才是真我呢?在所做的,對的事情,去做就對了,「無所行」,這就是這樣。法,我們就要用心,不要常常掛煩在內心,付出要無所求。「而觀諸法如實相」。來觀,這個法的如實相,如實相是無體無形,道理就是這麼的紮實,但是沒有體形,這就是道理。心能夠散徹,盡虛空遍法界,收回來,是我們的一念而已,收放自如,這就是法。

「亦不行不分別」。不用再怎麼樣,過去了就是過去了。「是名菩薩摩訶薩行處」。菩薩一直都是保持一念心,乾淨,無掛礙,無掛礙故,這就是菩薩真空妙有,這是我們要理解的地方。

下面接下來這段文文:「云何名菩薩摩訶薩親近處?菩薩摩訶薩不親近國王、王子、大臣、官長。」

云何名
菩薩摩訶薩親近處
菩薩摩訶薩
不親近國王 王子
大臣 官長
《法華經安樂行品第十四》

菩薩要親近的、不能親近的,我們要很分明。

恐流俗為諂媚
竊取權勢驕奢
取供養
苟於諂媚取悅
是誡之不可近
一有至此
則荒廢正務
而怠墮於包裹藏污

這是因為怕,恐怕「流俗為諂媚,竊取權勢驕奢,取供養苟於諂媚取悅」。這就是要為我們戒,為我們預防,我們的心不要去攀這樣的緣。我們若是去諂曲,諂曲那些坐在高位的人,這恐怕我們會,心的道業慢慢就會一直退失掉,會趨向就是權勢,一直向著權勢去攀緣。「什麼樣什麼樣的人我都認識,你們要對我另眼看待」,「什麼樣的人我都行得通,叫得動,你們要對我……」等等,這就是「竊取權勢驕奢」,非常的驕慢,非常的奢癡。這種愈來,這種的慢心,自我、自大。

「取供養」。在這樣,修行者只是為了供養,而去諂媚人,這萬不可行。我們有我們的情操、我們的節操在,所以要好好保守好,我們的品格,不要只是要獻殷勤去取悅人。我們要柔和善順,對人誠意,但是不需要巧言令色。對他說好話,對他說法,這都可以,但是不是用諂媚的方式,我們自己要很謹慎。對就是對,不對就是不對,但是不對的,我們要如何去對他這個不對,但是不是心浮氣躁,我們要如何定心,要怎麼樣才能讓他了解他是不對的,我們自己要知道。所以,不用取悅,也不用去諂媚,我們要做對的事情。不要不對的,因為他有權、有勢,我們一直為了要博取他的歡喜,所以不對的,我們也向他說:「對、對、對,是你的對。」這樣是不對,是我們不對。所以,我們應該要是非分清楚,這就是在教育我們,教育我們要防非止惡,不要有這個惡的習氣入我們的心來。

「一有至此,則荒廢正務」。我們若是有這個,偏於「諂媚竊取權勢驕奢」,有這個心,要去倚重人家的權、人家的勢、人家的名,我們自己要趕緊要好好自省,若有這樣,這就是容易會荒廢了,我們的正務,我們的道業,我們的正務會受它荒廢掉,會容易墮落,這都是很不好,這就是我們要好好用心。

奔於搖尾乞憐
慮無所不至
為俗人拭涕不暇
何心於道哉
由是誡之不可近

若落得這樣,這種這樣為了要取悅,有權有勢的人,「奔於搖尾乞憐」,好像只想要去取悅主人,在那裡搖尾。這種大家不知道知道嗎?不要搖尾乞人。狗若靠近我們的身邊,摸牠,牠的尾巴就一直搖啊,搖啊!就是讓你比較愛牠。我們不需要做這樣的事,真的我們有我們的品格,修行者。但是不是自高、自驕慢,大家要分別清楚。我們要守節志,要守我們的節,守我們的志,不要去這樣搖尾乞憐,去諂媚。

「慮無所不至」。這個心思在那個地方浪費。「為俗人拭涕不暇」,光是在那個地方,在那裡巴結人,哪有心修行呢?光是在那個地方在攀緣,來來去去,世俗,那裡要做什麼,「沒有去一下,不好意思」等等,很多的事情。我們該做的,要做我們該做的事情,不是光是在那個地方攀緣。若這樣在那裡攀緣,多少時間可攀緣呢?我們總是要把握時間,要不然,我們這條路要如何走?時間有限。「由是誡之不可近」。因為這樣,佛陀教誡我們,不要去親近,親近國王、大臣等等,我們不要去這樣。當然,我們要做什麼事情,我們用尊重心、感恩心、真實心,需要協助我們的,我們來向他們表明。我要做這個事情,需要我們政府,需要能夠來了解、能夠幫助。這倒是為天下人做天下事,不是為自己的利益,去一味去博取、去諂媚,不是這樣,所以大家要分清楚。

云何名
菩薩摩訶薩
親近處:
前云安住親近之處
身勤修持
一切諸善行
護念大乘經教法

所以,「云何名菩薩摩訶薩親近處」。前面所說過的,我們要「安住親近之處」。我們該親近的,應該親近。身要勤修受持,「一切諸善行」,要好好「護念大乘經教法」。這我們自己要很殷勤,修行我們要受持一切善,斷除一切惡。一切惡,不該做的事情,我們要趕緊斷除;該做的,我們還是要殷勤受持。我們要保護我們的心,我們的心念,那就是大乘經的教法。利己利人,自己好好修行是利益自己,通徹道理,利益自己;付出,那就是利益他人。

所以我們,「菩薩摩訶薩,不親近國王、王子、大臣、官長」。

不親近:
不可縱情
親附倚靠仗勢凌人
若近貴人
恐恃權勢
損物無益於道

這就是我們不用去獻殷勤,不用去諂媚,不用去巴結,但是我們要用誠意的心來面對。不論是國王,不論是大臣、官長,其實也是要為人民做事啊!若要巴結才要做事情,這就很不應該了。不過,人民有義務,總是要做事情,一定要循規矩報告,這就是循規矩,這是正法的動作。「不親近:不可縱情」。我們不要去縱情,放縱我們自己的情緒,我們也不要去「親附倚靠,仗勢凌人」。我們光是要依靠勢力,這就不對了。我們是老實做事情,老實辦事,為了要利益群生,我們要有這個規矩,如法去辦事情,但是不是只為了這有權、有勢,來放縱我們自己,這樣去依附。這種親附、依靠,光是要去靠這些,仗勢力,這樣就會凌人。對人,有時候不該得的,去向人家取得。弱勢的人,無法守好他應該有的,被那個強的人將他搶過去,這就不應該,這種「依靠仗勢凌人」,這不應該。

所以,「若近貴人,恐恃權勢」。這些權貴的人,權勢很大的人,我們只是一直要去親近,這恐怕我們自己,就是有這樣的作為,這就不對了,不可以。「損物無益於道」。只是在那個地方浪費時間,只是為了諂媚,為了要依靠這些有權勢的人,我們浪費很多時間在那裡,不只是在那裡,也取得了這種不應該得,這不利益人的事情,對我們的道也是沒有利益。所以,損物.不利益人,又不利益我們修行。所以,在這個界線的裡面,我們要很體會,細心、用心。

國王、王子、
大臣、官長
為一時有權力之人
莫要攀緣
以世緣深重
故其行動
未必盡合佛道

所以,「國王、王子、大臣、官長」,那就是「一時有權力之人」。我們不要去攀,「莫要攀緣」。其實,國王、王子,這也只是一個名稱而已,就算讓他一輩子都做國王,讓他一輩子都做大官,也是一輩子,也無常啊!也不是永遠,天長地久。這種國王也有失力的時候,也有無常的時候,王子、大臣都是一樣。何況人心不調和,世間如何變遷都不知道,現在你仗勢,將來失勢時要怎麼辦?不需要。我們真正心正、念正,我們為天下眾生而付出,不要只是去攀這種有權力的人,這只是一時,長、短時,我們都不知道,所以不需要這樣去攀。尤其是修行,我們就是要靠我們自己,要好好用心力在我們這個法。法入心,我們才能夠理一條道讓我們走,要走得正,我們來回,如是法再來人間,叫做「如來」。依如是法而來人間,就是來來回回,保持著我們的真如本性,沒有讓它亂掉,沒有讓它雜掉,所以絕對不要攀緣。

「以世緣深重,故其行動未必盡合佛道」。因為一直一直和世俗直攀緣,我們已經修行了,盡量能夠不要去攀緣,就盡量不要。但是,為了要做事情,真的是為淨化人心,真的是為了要利益人群,我們就要準備好,我們要能夠如何去淨化人心?我們要如何能夠引導人人,互相利益人群?我們就是為這樣的事情,在人群中,不能為了討好人,他能夠給我們權、給我們勢,不是這樣。所以我們要一定要很用心去體會,要不然「世緣深重」,這個行動對我們,「未必合佛道」。所以,我們發心在人群中,也要有這樣的界線。

若與親近
不隨順
則受種種煩惱糾纏
之逆境損害
若隨順之
則受非分名利供養
之順境損害
均為害道上之增上緣
此應
離損害緣者一也

所以,「若與親近,不隨順則受種種煩惱糾纏,之逆境損害」。若是和他親近,親近久來,忽然間我們沒有再隨順,沒有再去諂媚他,沒有再去順他,可能會惹來了很多,煩惱糾纏的逆境損害,也說不定哦!不要說:「這就是我已經和權勢的人,走很近了。」權勢,若是有時候你若沒順他的意,也是會惹來很多那個逆境損害。「若隨順之則受非分名利供養之順境」,這也是損害,你現在一直一直順他,一直順下去,只是得到一些非分的名利,來供養我們,這樣也是一種的損害。所以說起來,去依附、仗勢,這都不對了。

所以,「均為害道之增上緣」。一直要去親近這些人,這全都是害道,對我們的修道,對修行者總是有害,會增長這個害道上的增上緣。「此應離損害緣者一」。這就是一項,不要親近,我們該要親近的是法,我們的正法;我們不該親近的,我們不要親近,不親近,就是這樣。該親近的是什麼,我們真正用心,該親近的「一心、三軌、四忍」,我們要很用心。在這個權勢,我們不要去靠近,所以這就是損害緣的一項。所以,對國王、大臣等等,這些權勢,我們就要用心去體會。所以,請大家要時時多用心!


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發表主題: 回復: 20180711《靜思妙蓮華》應修一心三軌四忍 (第1389集) (法華經·安樂行品第十四)   周三 7月 11, 2018 10:10 am

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發表主題: 回復: 20180711《靜思妙蓮華》應修一心三軌四忍 (第1389集) (法華經·安樂行品第十四)   周日 8月 05, 2018 6:47 pm

Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: Cultivating the One Mind and the Three Directives ( 應修一心三軌四忍)
Date: July.11.2018

“These Bodhisattvas reverently followed the Buddha’s intent and vowed to travel back and forth in the evil world throughout the lands of the ten directions. They were unstinting with their lives and would endure hardships in order to widely spread the teachings of this sutra. These Bodhisattvas could endure hardships and claimed that they had attained non-arising patience. They vowed to practice in the turbid and evil age of Dharma-degeneration to uphold the sutra and protect sentient beings.”

These few days everyone has had to be very mindful in using the Dharma we have truly absorbed. We must take the Dharma to heart and make vows to go among people so we can share the Dharma with everyone. If we wish to share it with others, then we have to understand it clearly ourselves. Listening to the Dharma is not just constantly reading the sutras and just understanding the meaning of the text. After we understand the meaning of the text, we must go further to experience its truth. This means that even though when the meaning of the sutra is verbally explained and our ears can take it in and our mind can understand it, this is still not enough. We must take what we understand in our minds and [ask] whether we ourselves have practiced it and have experienced it. The Dharma is intangible, without substance or appearance. However, here in this organization, there are many things we have done in the past. And our companions in this organization, our Bodhisattva-companions, have done things in the past that they have shared with us. They have given and interacted with people; they have experienced these things. Can the ways they do things and treat people be correlated with the Dharma we have learned? Do the things we ourselves have done correspond? This is very important [to ask ourselves].

The sutras are written texts; the oral teachings are just sounds. We can look at the written sutras [at any time], but when we listen, by the time the sound enters our ears, it has already disappeared. Does the memory of it remain in our minds? We may remember it, but have we used it? Have we experienced it in the past? If we have experienced it, then we will know that this Dharma is a path; it is a path that we have walked. So, this path is a path we have walked; it is a path we have actualized. This path is the sutras. We have already awakened to the sutras we were taught. So, “The sutras are a path; this path is a road to walk on.” So, on the awakened path of Bodhisattvas, have we encountered this Dharma? If so, from the depths of our hearts, we will be inspired; we are inspired to give rise to this aspiration. We must verify for ourselves whether we are using this sutra as a path and whether we use this path to walk on every day. This is something we should reflect upon again and again each day.

When the meaning of a previous sutra passage is repeated again, this means that we must not forget it. When something is brought up again, it is something that we must be sure to continuously keep in mind. So, “Bodhi” means “enlightenment” and “sattva” means a sentient being. A Bodhisattva is an awakened sentient being. Even though Bodhisattvas have achieved realizations, have been putting the Dharma into practice and, for a very long time, have been practicing according to the teachings without retreating from their aspirations, still, when it comes to actualizing the Six Paramitas in all actions, they have not yet perfected their causes. Only when their causes have been perfected will they approach the fruition. This means they must be replete with all causes and conditions. To have the causes and conditions, we must put the teachings into practice. Have we walked the path? When it comes to our mind, do we still have afflictions in our mind, in our consciousness? When it comes to giving, though this is the evil world where people, matters and things are very complicated, we still form aspirations to do this. Amidst the swirling dusts of the world, we willingly go among the people to help them.

Yet now, even though people are saved, will those people joyfully accept [the teachings]? Afterwards, can their minds be purified? All we can do is do our best to give in hope of eliminating their illness and suffering. Of course, we also hope that in addition they will be able to accept the teachings in their hearts. This is what we need to be mindful of. Perhaps there are those around us who share the same aspirations, the same path, the same resolve. Though we share this aspiration, path and resolve, and though they have Bodhisattva-aspirations and are headed in the same direction as we are, every person’s habitual tendencies are different. When people with different habitual tendencies all come together to walk the same path, is it possible that everything will always go the way we want? Will everything we see always be pleasing to us? Will everything we hear always make us happy? They may still have their habitual tendencies, may still have faults or make mistakes. We still need to know how to treat these people. This something we need to practice. We purify each other by practicing together. When we practice together, we encourage each other, we help each other learn how to move in the correct direction, how to persevere in our efforts. This requires a very long time. Bodhisattvas must actualize the Six Paramitas in all actions, so we must care for those who share our aspirations and be mindful of those who need our help. This helps all things become perfect and complete, helps those who are saving and those being saved to have perfect and compete [karmic conditions].

Then, with these causes and conditions, we can transform evil into goodness and turn goodness into blessings. Then we can turn blessings into awakening to be awakened sentient beings. This means that when we give, we transform those around us. We transform people at the same time. So, to perfect and complete the Bodhisattva-path is not an easy thing to do. In a world like this we must continually and incessantly train ourselves. This is how awakened sentient beings, in this evil world of Five Turbidities, will face great difficulties; this is a very difficult task. This is the one great cause; Bodhisattvas also have this one great cause. Because we wish to seek the path to Buddhahood, we should reverently follow the Buddha’s intent. When it comes to what the Buddha taught us, we must be extremely diligent and reverent as we accept it. If we wish to be able to attain the Buddha-Dharma, then we must accept it. When we accept the Buddha-Dharma, if we do not have reverence, if we do not cherish at all the Dharma in our hearts, then how will we ever be able to utilize it? So, we must cherish [the Dharma] and we must respect it. So, we must “reverently follow the Buddha’s intent.” The Buddha had an ideal; He sought nothing else in coming to the world, only that sentient begins could awaken to the fact that everyone has the nature of True Suchness, that everyone could love themselves and love others, and that everyone could be free of afflictions.

When our mind is without afflictions, we will not be obstructed by matters or things in the world. We will have no obstructions and no fear, no afflictions, or delusions; all delusions, afflictions and discursive thinking will have been eliminated. Sentient beings suffer because they have too many afflictions and discursive thoughts. It is truly impossible for their minds to be at peace and at ease. If we engage in discursive thinking once we have stray thoughts and one thought goes astray, it can stir up a dense cloud of afflictions in our minds. This is will be very hard for us. So, we should be very mindful to respectfully follow the Buddha’s’ intent. We must made vows, vows to be in this evil world. Only in this evil world can we become polished; we must withstand this polishing. If we want some object to shine, we must first polish it. We must cut and polish it, for only when it is cut and polished does it become very refined and smooth. An object must be cut and polished. So, this is why we must make vows. This evil and turbid world is the only place; it is like a fiery furnace that enables us to become refined. So, we make vows to be in this evil world. We do not try to escape; we face its reality. If we wish to go among people, if we wish to enter this turbid world, then we must have the power of vows. We return to the world not because of our karma, but because of our vows. So, we make vows to be in this evil world and bring purity.

Whether our fellow practitioners or those we wish to influence and transform, those suffering people whom we wish to help, these are all people for whom we make vows. We are not afraid of the trouble, so we return again and again. For those we cannot transform in this life. We will come try again in the next one, lifetime after lifetime. So, they would “travel bake and forth throughout the ten directions.” They were willing to go to any land, any land in the ten directions, any place at all. They would give everything they had; they were unstinting with their lives and would give until their last breath. Regardless of how many lifetimes it takes or of what place they must go to, they were always like this, unstinting with their lives. In this evil world of the Five Turbidities, our minds must be prepared to “endure hardships in order to widely spread the teachings of this sutra.” We must be able to endure all kinds of different difficulties. “These Bodhisattvas could endure hardships.” We must be able to endure so many [challenges] with people, matters and things, all kinds of difficulties and hardships; we must endure all of these. Some of those Bodhisattvas expressed a great deal of continence and said, “I have already attained non-arising patience. When it comes to the Buddha’s teachings, I have respect for the Buddha and have experience with everything the Buddha taught. With non-arising patience, whether I face difficulties that arise from the natural world or from other people, I can endure them all.” Thus, they vowed to practice in the turbid world of the era of Dharma-degeneration. “I am willing to remain in this evil world of turbidities in this era of Dharma-degeneration. I am willing.” What were they willing to do? They were willing to uphold the sutra and safeguard sentient beings. Everyone, we should be very mindful, and our understanding should be very thorough.

After we attain understanding, we must then take action. This resolve must be firm. If we only listen and say, “I will do whatever you tell me” then we will not be determined in our vows. So, we must consider things, and then firmly establish our resolve. Then our resolve will not waver. This is the true power of a Bodhisattva’s vows.

In dealing with matters, we must be able to observe the subtlest things. We must be serene and patient with peace of mind. In terms of the principles, we must be gentle, harmonious, virtuous and compliant. If we can see thoroughly into matters, we will not be deluded by baseless opinions. We must keep our hearts stable so that we will not be disturbed by momentary irritations. This path is the best method for practitioners to be in the world as well as the wondrous way to uphold the sutra.

“In dealing with matters, we must be able to observe the subtlest things.” While we are in this world, even the smallest objects and matters are things we should be very mindful of observing. This applies to every word we speak, everything we do and every person we deal with. Every person has different habitual tendencies. When we [hear] what others say, whether the meaning within is true or false, real or illusory, it is what we need to very mindfully seek to understand and deal with. Different people have different habitual tendencies and many other differences. So, whether with matters or principles, we must always have meticulous contemplation as we are observing them. So, “In dealing with matters, we must be able to observe the subtlest things”. We must try to understand even the smallest of things. We know that this person’s habitual tendencies are like this. Yet regardless, we must learn how to accommodate them, how to gradually influence and transform them. This is also what we must be mindful of when we go among people. We cannot give up on anything just because it is difficult. We cannot give up on anything or anyone, even if a person has bad habitual tendencies.

As long as we remain in the world, we will never give up, even over many lifetimes. Our vows are deep and profound, so we must not give up easily. Thus, in this world of evil turbidities, Bodhisattvas must have perseverance. This is the only way for our minds to settle down. “We must be serene and patient with peace of mind”. Only in this way can we face any kind of bumps in the road or [problems] caused by other people, any kind of thing at all. Although our minds are quite clear, these matters are quite troublesome, but what else can we do? We must be serene and patient, have peace of mind. What else can we do? We must experience it fully. How can we face such a complicated and turbid world? “In terms of the principles, we must be gentle, harmonious, virtuous and compliant”. We [need] the principles. Although there are many difficulties when it comes to people and matters, we must first train ourselves with the principles. This means we must cultivate our mind and character over a long period of time. We must cultivate this gentleness and harmony, this virtue and compliance. This requires that we cultivate our mind and our character at all times. So, when it comes to the principles, we will always be able to respect the Buddha’s intent and overcome all kinds of difficulties in this complicated world. “If we can see thoroughly into matters”, if we can be clear on all of the principles, then when it comes to matters, we will be able to see thoroughly into them. Even with the most subtle and intricate things, we will have a way to observe them all. So, with this principle, if we are gentle, harmonious, virtuous and compliant, we will see through all matters and appearances and “will not be deluded by baseless opinions”. We will be able to understand how illusory and baseless these things are. When our mind remains calm and collected, we cannot be influenced by illusory, baseless things among people and matters, things which seem to be true but also untrue. We must clearly analyze the principles. “Should I do this or not?” If we should not do it, then we should be mindful to hold fast to not doing these things. When it comes to things we should do, we must learn to overcome any difficulties to doing what we should. So, our minds must remain very clear; we must discern right and wrong clearly. So, “We will not be deluded by baseless opinions. We must keep our heart stable”. In our hearts and minds, we must persevere in our Samadhi and the power of our vows. So, “We will not be disturbed by momentary irritations”. We must not act rashly or give in to momentary irritations, allowing ourselves to become agitated or annoyed. We must “not be disturbed”. Our mind needs to be very stable so our mind can remain focused in Samadhi. We must remain very stable. “This path is the best method for practitioners to be in the world”. for those practicing upon the path, this is the best method to use when they are dealing with the world. It is also “the wondrous way to uphold the sutra”. For these of us who practice the path and who have also made vows to uphold the sutra, this is the best method. This means “In terms of the principles, we must be gentle, harmonious, virtuous and compliant”. Only then will we be able to penetrate matters so that when we encounter issues, we will not become that irritated or annoyed. We must be peacefully settled; only then will we not be tempted by things, nor will our minds become confused by them. Then we will be able to have Samadhi and not become momentarily irritated or annoyed because of something we have encountered. So, this is what we must truly persevere in. This is the best method of being in the world for practitioners on the path. The way we uphold the sutra is by using this method, for it is only through this that we can persevere along this path and be able to overcome difficulties. So, we must use the Buddha’s teachings of “one mind, Three Directives, Fourfold Patience”.

One mind: This refers to a single thought. The Three Directives for Spreading the Sutra: The room of compassion. The clothing of patience. The seat of the emptiness of all phenomena. The Fourfold Patience: This is the common cause which Bodhisattvas must practice, the Four Practices for bringing peace and joy with body, speech, mind and vows.

“One mind” refers to “a single thought”. One mind: This refers to a single thought. The nature of the mind is all-pervasive; it pervades the void in an instant, unhindered by phenomena. When it spreads out, it responds to all things. When it converges, it forms a single thought. Thus, whether it is good or evil, noble or ordinary, everything is created by the mind.

“This refers to a single thought. The nature of the minds is all-pervasive; it pervades the void in an instant“. The mind is very nimble. If I tell you, “Europe’s scenery is beautiful”, anyone who has ever been there will be off there in their mind; they will arrive there in the blink of an eye. This is the mind. “The nature of the mind is all-pervasive; it pervades the void in an instant”. It is completely unobstructed. The mind can ascend to heaven or descend to hell. It is completely unobstructed. If you want to go somewhere or if you form an aspiration to save someone, as soon as that thought arises and you form a firm and powerful vow, you naturally will be able to do many things that will benefit that person. So, “The nature of the mind is all-pervasive; It pervades the void in an instant.” This state is determined by our mind. [The mind] is “unhindered by phenomena.” We completely understand all Dharma and are furthermore unhindered by anything. Although the Buddha-Dharma is very profound, as long as we can [transform] our mind, we will definitely completely understand it. Wherever you want to go in the world, you will be able to arrive there. As long as you have been there, This principle is the same. Though the Dharma has no substance or form, its principles are still firmly rooted in our mind. “When it spreads out, it responds to all things.” When we apply the Buddha-Dharma to our mind if we wish to apply it on a vast scale, it can be applied very widely and broadly.

For instance, in Sichuan, everyone is very diligent. They are using the same Dharma there to bring together our spirit and ideals in that place so they can mindfully help others there. They all gather together there from many provinces. Right now they are also listening to the teachings. They are unhindered in doing so. Our mind is able to be like this. “When it spread out, it responds to all things.” It is unhindered in going anywhere. If we collect it, “When it converges, it forms a single thought.” When we bring it together, it is collected in one thought. We can spread out our mind so that it can go anywhere in the world. When we collect it, it becomes a single thought “Thus, whether it is good or evil, noble or ordinary, everything is created by the mind.” Do we want to be a noble person or do we want to be an evil person? Both result from the same mind. So, when we spread out our mind, it can reach everywhere in the world to manifest its abilities and effectiveness. When we focus it, the mind becomes one teaching. So, we should use this one mind, but we must work hard to safeguard it. We should not let it deviate; whether we become a noble or an evil person depends merely on the direction we take. If we deviate in our direction, then we can become an evil person. If we follow our direction correctly, we can become Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. To spread the sutra we need the Three Directives. We enter the room of great compassion, wear the clothing of patience and sit on the seat of the emptiness of all phenomena. These are the Three Directives.

And the Fourfold Patience? This is how Bodhisattvas should practice, with body, speech, mind and also vows. These are the Four Practices for Bringing Peace and Joy. To be able to completely understand, we need the one mind, the Three Directives and the Fourfold Patience. Everyone, we must be mindful. Previously these were all explained repeatedly. This was all done to help everyone really take the Dharma to heart. We must not only take it to heart, but also apply it to many things, in many places. So many people have used it successfully. We have all worked together to do things, which have brought us peace of mind, These things have benefited others, and we can recall them, thinking “Where did we go?” What methods did we use there? This is how the Dharma can be spread out to reach many different faraway places. We can recall them now. No matter how far away they are, we can recall them. Then we collect our thoughts and return our mind to the present. So, we should always mindfully understand this.

Thus, the previous passage says, “And furthermore, when it comes to the Dharma, if they have nothing to practice….” …and furthermore, when they have nothing to practice regarding the Dharma and observe the True Appearance of all Dharma without any action or discrimination, this is known as the place of practice of Bodhisattva-Mahasattvas.

We have so many teachings, so the previous passage tells us again that we must not have any attachments to the Dharma as we give to others. “Having nothing to practice” means we have no attachments. Amidst the Dharma, we are actually very free and at ease. If we then try to say, “This is how I engage in practice” or “These are the good deeds I do, we are constantly talking about this I !” What is this “I” really? When it comes to what we do, if it is right, then we just do it. We have “nothing to practice.” This is just how it is. When it comes to the Dharma, we should be mindful, not constantly be hung up by inner afflictions. We give without any expectations. We “observe the True Appearance of all Dharma.” We observe the ultimate really of the Dharma, how in really it is without substance or appearance. The principles are solidly rooted, but they are without substance or shape. This is what the principles are. We can spread our mind throughout the universe, or return it to one thought. We can send it out or pull it back freely. This is the Dharma. We are “without any action or discrimination.” There is nothing further to be done; the past is the past. “This is known as the place of practice of Bodhisattva-Mahasattvas.”The mind a Bodhisattva constantly preserves is a clean and unhindered one, and because it remains unhindered, the Bodhisattva knows the wondrous existence in true emptiness. This is what Bodhisattvas understand.

The following sutra passage says, “What do I mean by the places that Bodhisattva Mahasattvas draw near to? Bodhisattva-Mahasattvas do not associate with kings, princes, great ministers or officials.”

Those who Bodhisattvas can and cannot draw near to must be delineated very clearly. He feared that if they followed worldly customs, they would become sycophants who grasp at power and status and become arrogant and extravagant. Grasping at offerings, these people engage in devious flattery in order to ingratiate themselves. Thus [the Buddha] admonished them to not draw near [to these people]. Once they drew near to people like this, they might abandon their rightful duties and allow themselves to sink into internal defilement.

This is because the Buddha was afraid that “If they followed worldly customs, they would become sycophants who grasp at power and status and become arrogant and extravagant.” Grasping at offerings, “these people engage in devious flattery in order to ingratiate themselves.” This is telling us we must discipline ourselves, teaching us we must prevent this.” Our hearts should not contrive to create these kinds of affinities. If we go flatter people, flatter those sitting in high positions, there is the fear that we will gradually keep retreating from and eventually lose our spiritual aspirations, that we will move toward wanting to have power. We will continually want to make connections with those who have power. [We may say], “I know this person and that one, so you should treat me differently.” I can get in touch with so-and-so and have them help me, “so you should be good to me and so on.” This is “grasping at status and power.” People may become very arrogant and extravagant. They become more and more arrogant, selfish and self-aggrandizing. They “grasp at offerings”. When this happens, spiritual practitioners end up flattering others merely for the sake of receiving offerings. This is absolutely unacceptable. We have our moral character and moral integrity, so we must earnestly protect our character. We should not ingratiate ourselves with others merely for the sake of pleasing them. We use gentleness, harmony, virtue and compliance and are very sincere with others, but we never need to use cleverness or pretension. We can say good things to them, and we can teach them the Dharma. These are things that we can do. But are we using a method of flattery? This is something we should be very cautious about. What is right is right and what is wrong is wrong, but when someone does something wrong, we must find a way to deal with their mistake. Still, we must not get irritated or annoyed. We must be able to keep our mind settled and find ways to help him understand why he is wrong. We need know ourselves [why it is wrong]. So, we do not need to try to please others or ingratiate ourselves with them. We want to do the right thing. If something is wrong, we should not do it just because people have authority or power and we want to try to curry favor with them. So, if something is wrong and we will still tell them, “Right, right, right! You are right!” then this is wrong; we are the ones who are wrong. We should clearly distinguish right from wrong. This is teaching us to guard against wrongs and stop evils so that these evil habitual tendencies will never enter our minds. “Once they drew near to people like this, they might abandon their rightful duties.” If we go astray by flattering and grasping for power, wanting to rely on other people’s authority, on other people’s power, on other people’s fame, then we should quickly earnestly reflect on ourselves. If we are like this, then we may easily abandon our rightful duties, abandon our spiritual aspirations. If we abandon our rightful duties because of this, then we can easily degenerate. This is very bad. This is something we should truly be mindful of.

We will run about wagging our tails and begging for pity. We will be anxious about everything. We will be busy wiping away the tears of the mundane; how will we keep our minds on the path? Because of this, He warned us not to draw near to [these people].

If we degenerate to the point where we are trying to please those with authority and power, “We will run about wagging our tails and begging for pity.” This is like [a dog] wanting to please his master; it just sits there wagging its tail. Do we all understand this? Do not wag your tail to beg from people. If a dog comes near and we pet it, it will just keep on wagging its tail! It does this to make you love it more. We do not need to do this. As spiritual practitioners, we truly have our moral character. However, we should not be conceited or arrogant. We should distinguish these clearly. We need to preserve our moral integrity, preserve our integrity, preserve our aspirations, not wag our tails pitifully or try to flatter others. “We will be anxious about everything.” Thinking like this is just a waste of time. “We will be busy wiping away the tears of the mundane.” If all we are doing is flattering others, then when will we find time to engage in practice? All we will do is contrive affinities with others, coming and going doing mundane things. “What are you doing there? Why didn’t you take care of this?” “Oh, sorry!” Many things happen like this. We should do the things that we should do, not just try to contrive affinities with others. If all we do is contrive affinities like this, how will we have time for anything else? We need to make good use of our time; otherwise, how will we ever walk the path? Our time here is limited. “Because of this, He warned us to not draw near to [these people].” Because of this, the Buddha warned us to not draw near to these people like these, to kings and ministers and so on. We should not do this. Of course, if we need to get something done, then if we are very respectful, very grateful and truly sincere, we can go to people whose help we need and ask them for their help. Sometimes to get things done, we need our government. We need them to understand and to help us, but we do these things for all the world. We do not do these things for our own benefit, single-mindedly currying favor by flattering them. This is not what we do. Thus, we should distinguish between these clearly.

So, “What do I mean by the places that Bodhisattva-Mahasattvas draw near to?” It said previously that we should “peacefully abide in the places where [Bodhisattvas] draw near to.” These are places we should draw near to. With our bodies we diligently cultivate and uphold all good deeds and we should put effort into retaining “the teachings of the Great Vehicle Sutra.” This is where we need to be diligent. In our spiritual practice, we should uphold all good deeds and eliminate all evil. We must quickly eliminate all evil, all the things we should not do. As for the things that we should do, we should hasten to diligently carry them out. We should safeguard our mind and out thoughts. This is what the Great Vehicle sutras teach. We benefit ourselves and benefit others. By earnestly engaging in spiritual practice, we benefit ourselves. By thoroughly understanding the principles, we benefit ourselves. By giving, we benefit others. So, “Bodhisattva-Mahasattvas do not associate with kings, princes, great ministers or officials.”

Do not associate with: This means they must not be driven by emotions. By clinging to or relying upon powerful people, they end up oppressing others. If they were to draw near powerful people, the Buddha feared they would come to rely upon power and status and do harmful things that would be of no benefit to the path.

This means we do not need to ingratiate ourselves with others. We do not need to flatter or fawn upon others, but we must use sincerity when dealing with them. Whether it is a king, a great minister or an official, in fact they should want to serve the people. If we have to flatter them to get something done, then this is very inappropriate. However, as citizens we have our duty. Whenever we want to do something, we must follow the rules and make [proper] reports. This is following the rules. This is acting with Right Dharma. ‘“Do not associate with’ means they must not be driven by their emotions.” We should not let our emotions rule us, indulging ourselves in our emotions. We also should not “cling to or rely on powerful people and oppress others.” Only relying on the power of others would not be correct. We should do things honestly, handle matters honestly, for the benefit of sentient beings. We should be upright and honest, do things according to the Dharma and not indulge ourselves by becoming attached to those with authority and power. If we cling to and rely upon people like this, if we only depend upon their power, by relying on their power we may oppress others. Sometimes people take things that they should not have from others.

Those who are weaker have no way to hold on to what should be theirs because it is taken away by those who are stronger. This should not happen. Thus, “clinging to and relying on powerful people” is something we should not do. So, “If they were to draw near powerful people, the Buddha feared they would come to rely on power and status.” If there are influential people, people with great power, and all we do is continually try to get close to them, then there is a fear that we ourselves will start acting like this. This would be wrong; we must not do it. This would do “harmful things that would be of benefit to the path.” All we would be doing is wasting time there. If will we do is flatter powerful people in order to depend on them, then we will waste a lot of time.

Not only that, we may acquire things we should not have. This is something that does not benefit others, nor does it benefit our own spiritual path. So, these are harmful; they do not benefit others, nor are they beneficial to our spiritual practice. Whatever falls within these boundaries, we should comprehend clearly. We must be meticulous and mindful.

Kings, princes, ministers and officials were powerful people at that time. They must not contrive affinities with them. If their worldly affinities were too heavy, their actions would not completely accord with the path to Buddhahood.

So, there were “kings, princes, ministers and officials.” These “were powerful people at that time.” Practitioners must not contrive affinities. “They must not contrive affinities with them.” Actually, “king” or “prince” is only a title. Even if someone is a king for a lifetime or is a great minister for a lifetime, it is only for a one lifetime, it is not eternal!. It is not forever; it is not eternal. A time will come when a king will lose his power or he may also meet with an accident. It is the same for princes and ministers, to say nothing of how people’s minds are not balanced; one ever knows when the world may change. We may rely on someone’s power now but what if they lose their power in the future? There is no need. If our mind is truly upright, if our thoughts are correct, if we give of ourselves for the sake of the world’s sentient beings, then we need not contrive affinities like these with powerful people. These are only temporary.

We have no idea how long they will last, so there is no need to contrive these affinities, especially as in spiritual practice. We need to rely upon ourselves. We must earnestly use the power of our minds to cultivate the Dharma. Only by taking the Dharma to heart. Will we understand the path we should walk. By walking it correctly, as we come and go, we return to the world with the Dharma of Suchness. One who does this is called a Tathagata. By coming to the world on the Dharma of Suchness, coming and going like this, we preserve our intrinsic nature of True Suchness and do not allow it to become disrupted, do not let it become scattered. So, we absolutely do not contrive affinities. “If their worldly affinities were too heavy, their actions would not completely accord with the path to Buddhahood.” This comes from continually seeking to contrive affinities in the mundane world. Since we are engaging in spiritual practice, we do our utmost not to contrive affinities. We do our best not to do this. However, when it comes to doing things that will truly purify people’s hearts, that will truly benefit people, we must prepare ourselves well. How will we be able to purify people’s hearts? How will we be able to guide people to mutually benefit one another? It is for reasons like these that we go among others. It is not to curry others’ favor so they will give us authority and power. This is not why we do it. So, we must be very mindful in trying to understand this. Otherwise, ”if their worldly affinities were too heavy,” if their actions were like this, they “would not be completely in accord with the path to Buddhahood.” So, we should form aspirations to go among people, and we should stay within the proper boundaries.

If we draw near to these people, as soon as we refuse to comply with them, we will be harmed by the adverse conditions that come from our entanglement in their afflictions. If we do comply with them, we will be harmed by the favorable conditions that come from improper offerings. All of these are beneficial conditions that are harmful to the path. This is one of the reasons why we must avoid these harmful affinities.

So, “If we draw near to these people, as soon as we refuse to comply with them, we will be harmed by the adverse conditions that come from our entanglement in their afflictions.” If we associate with these people for a long time and then suddenly we no longer comply with them, if we no longer flatter them, it could possibly bring on many adverse conditions of afflictions or entanglements that may harm us. This is possible. We should not say, “I am a close associate of that powerful person.” He may be powerful, but if a time comes when you no longer do what he wants, it may bring on many harmful adverse conditions. “If we do comply with them, we will be harmed by the favorable conditions that come from improper offerings.” This is also harmful. If now you keep complying with him, and keep on complying with him, the only thing we attain will be offerings of fame and fortune that are undeserved. This too is harmful in its way. So, this is why we say that attachment to and reliance on power is never correct. So, “All of these are beneficial conditions that are harmful to the path.” To continually associate with these people will always be harmful to our path. Its effect on our cultivation of the path as spiritual practitioners will always be harmful. These are this [kind of] beneficial conditions. “This is one of the reasons why we must avoid these harmful affinities.” This is only one reason why we should not associate with them. What we should draw near to is the Dharma, Right Dharma. The things that we should not draw near to, we should draw near to. This is what it means to “not draw near.” With things that we should draw near to, we should truly be mindful. What we should draw near to is the one mind, Three Directives and Fourfold Patience. We must be very mindful.

We must not draw near to those with power, for this is one kind of harmful affinity. So, kings, ministers and so forth are the ones who have power. This is what we should mindfully seek to realize. So, I ask you all to always be mindful!

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