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 20180719《靜思妙蓮華》年少輕躁 道業難貫 (第1395集) (法華經·安樂行品第十四)

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發表主題: 20180719《靜思妙蓮華》年少輕躁 道業難貫 (第1395集) (法華經·安樂行品第十四)   周三 7月 18, 2018 9:58 pm

20180719《靜思妙蓮華》年少輕躁 道業難貫 (第1395集) (法華經·安樂行品第十四)

⊙年少涉世未深,閱歷淺不更事,心浮情操難守,愛道易守志難;沙彌兒童稚年,好動活潑難靜,遊樂喜閒厭勞,不勤行道難會。
⊙「亦復不近五種不男之人以為親厚,不獨入他家,若有因緣須獨入時,但一心念佛。」《法華經安樂行品第十四》
⊙「若為女人說法,不露齒笑,不現胸臆,乃至為法猶不親厚,況復餘事。」《法華經安樂行品第十四》
⊙「不樂畜年少弟子、沙彌、小兒,亦不樂與同師。」《法華經安樂行品第十四》
⊙沙彌初入佛法,多存俗情,畜養易致擾動所謂嚴訓則乏慈言,寬待則失教規,是故皆惹麻煩於心。
⊙不樂畜年少弟子:年少之人,多諸輕躁,道業難貫注入心。
⊙沙彌、小兒,亦不樂與同師:沙彌幼小,未稟具戒,小兒憍稚規戒難,非受道器,亦不欲與是等同師。
⊙畜年少弟子、沙彌、小兒及與同師,則均不免任教育保護之責,事至紛擾,亦非菩薩志存宏道之時所宜。
⊙以上種種,皆教菩薩之律儀離十惡緣,即為菩薩之修戒行也。此釋修定行並總結,一切惡律儀之法;既已遠離,由是守護六根,不令放逸,能與禪定相應,此為由戒生定,惡緣之處,既不應親近,益顯善緣之處,當親近耳。

【證嚴上人開示】
年少涉世未深,閱歷淺不更事,心浮情操難守,愛道易守志難;沙彌兒童稚年,好動活潑難靜,遊樂喜閒厭勞,不勤行道難會。

年少涉世未深
閱歷淺不更事
心浮情操難守
愛道易守志難
沙彌兒童稚年
好動活潑難靜
遊樂喜閒厭勞
不勤行道難會

用心,要體會,我們前面已經一直在說,我們不要親近著,不要貪著著幾種人群,我們不要去沈溺,貪著在那個地方,也就是要我們,好好顧好我們的心,不要有煩惱、雜念,來擾動我們的心。所以,為我們舉出了,種種不可親近,也就是針對初發心,針對道心還未很堅固者。我們在外面,在人群中,萬一受人影響了,本來想要發大心,卻是外面的環境很強,度人不成,反而讓人拉過去,讓人度過去。所以,佛陀要我們初發心的人,就要謹慎,不要去走入這樣,前面所說過的等等,會惹起我們心混亂的地方。所以,這麼詳細,我們也要聽得清楚,也要好好分別,這要很用心。

下面要提醒我們的,就是少年,或者是童年,這樣年紀較輕的人,因為他年少,年幼,對世俗的事情,人間事,還未很清楚,所以,他的「閱歷」,還是淺,不懂得事情,就是經歷、閱歷不夠;經驗不夠,所以,好、壞不會分,這都是比較年幼,較年少。人間很複雜,他不知道人間複雜的險象,所以,還是讓人在保護,這種少年,像這樣的人。

這樣的年齡,就是心比較浮,情操比較難守,因為,他事情看不清楚,還沒有很透徹了解。什麼叫做守規矩?什麼叫做修行?他們現在就是在娛樂場中,在人群中杜開始,所以佷容易對人間娛樂,心一直被引過去。所以,他們的生活,總是在那分荒廢時光,也就是比較遊樂的方向,所以,他們不知什麼叫做情操,也不知道志向要如何堅定。類似這種對世事,沒有責任的年齡,對自己的人生方向還不清楚,這樣的懵懂年齡中,這樣的年齡心很浮。這個情操,還沒決定他的人生方向,你就開始要他守好這念心,困難啊!

所以,「愛道容易」,你發心,想要把這些少年帶來,要將他引導,讓他們來聽法,讓他們來與法同行,與道同修,這可能他聽到會很歡喜。歡喜地認為:很新鮮,修行好玩。所以,他們愛道容易。叫我來拜佛,叫我來靜坐,來聽聽故事,很好玩,就這樣,愛道容易。是不是他能夠將這個法,真正收入心嗎?入心之後,是不是堅定志向,能守志奉道?這也是很不簡單。所以,修行者不簡單。在人群中,能夠修行,守志奉道,就不簡單了,何況幼少年,對世間事經歷還不很清楚,不知道人間什麼是苦?不知道人間什麼是道?哪一條路是應該走的?因為他都還沒有接觸到,人間世事。所以,他雖然一時聽到法,看到人家在修行,說不定歡喜心一起來修行、打坐、禮佛、聽經、聽故事,歡喜,但是,還沒辦法說,他已經道心已生了,這我們要很清楚。

所以說起來,能夠從少年輕入道,更是不簡單。能修行已經不簡單了,年紀比較大,歷盡滄桑,了解人間的疾苦,了解人間複雜,所以看透了人生,入道來,這也已經不容易了。何況少年就願意入道,願守志奉道,這實在是很稀有。像釋迦牟尼佛,從幼小,他對人間就會起著疑問,這是佛陀現相人間,從童年,他的生活形態描述出來是這樣。應該就是少年時,他就開始對人間有使命感,了解人間生態,「四姓階級」觀念不平等,所以,他發心要去探討,道心堅固。出家,走上這條路,再也沒有回頭,一路向前走,這是稀有,人間稀有,所以,修行成佛,很難得。

而我們自古也不少,有這樣的賢人、神童,也是少年時開始,就能夠看出人生,該不該走的路,追求真理的,也有,不是沒有。佛世時,像舍利弗,也是童年就懂得很多道理。八歲,就能和論師辯道,不是沒有,古代以來,也有這麼年少、幼年,對道的看法。說我們現在,我們現在也很多。我們的靜思書軒,一群幼童,三五歲、五六歲、六七歲、七八歲,從三五歲開始,一直到現在,在讀中學了,從這樣.幼稚園而小學的,從小學到大學也有,還是「書軒小志工」。不論是北中南,在書軒,帶起了這樣的小兒入道,也不少,他們的道心還是很堅固。

在現在,有時候會回來,就問他:「你的發心,發願還在嗎?」「堅定的志願,永不變。」「真的嗎?」「真的!」「你的願,你還記得嗎?」「清修士。將來清修士,要護持慈濟,要為天下擔米籮。」「而你呢?」「我將來要當醫生,同時也要當清修士,我要救人的性命,我也要為天下做好事。」而你呢?…各言其志,幾年前的志願,現在還是不忘,這都是幼童。

所以,我們在聽,總是不要說這個(經)文,就是這樣說,我們就排斥年少,要聽清楚。年少、幼稚的孩子,有他的缺點,是從大多數的心態來說,特殊的孩子,我們應該要相信。反過來,在這些孩子的身上,我們也能看到我們的道心,有時候看到這些孩子,自己內心起著慚愧、反省,孩子年紀這麼小,這麼的懂事,年紀這麼小,這麼能夠投入,而且道理分明、精進。我們就自己反省自己,我們是不是跟這些孩子一樣,用很單純、純真的心,道心是不是像孩子,這麼的純真堅定?我是不是和他們一樣,這樣志願堅切?

所以,在孩子的身上,我們也能取來,回顧自己、反省自己,這是很重要,不要一概認為孩子心很浮。慈青來受證,就會說:「您的孩子回來了,我的心都沒變。」是啊,一句無意中和孩子說:「唉呀!孩子心多變。」他們學成了,大學畢業了,事業有成了,投入慈濟,見習、培訓,來受證了,走到我面前,就很得意:「上人,您的孩子回來了。」每一位走過面前,若在分享時,他就說:「說孩子心多變,我都沒變。」是啊!這些都沒變,所以,他們少年的心,童貞的心,開始進來,一路一直走,到現在都沒變這個道心。所以,心不是浮,其實他們的心很堅實。

但是一般多數的差不多都是心浮,而少數能夠向道堅定,這畢竟還是較少數,所以令人讚歎!佛陀要說的是大多數,擔心我們若是道心不堅定,很容易受世間,多數這種年少、年幼不懂事,這種心態,亂了要修行的人,心還沒很堅定,亂了這群人的心。所以,佛陀是為這群人所說的。所以擔心他們,你發心要去度他們,反過來受他們的心氣浮躁,給影響了。愛玩,把你帶去玩;愛遊樂,把你帶去,這就是這樣要警愓我們,所以讓我們知道這種年少的人,就是還太年輕,他的心浮動,「情操難守」,愛道容易守志難。

所以,還有沙彌,「沙彌兒童稚年,好動活潑」,難靜下來。看若到這,我們就想到,我們那一群很端正的幼童,很可愛。但是,多數都是這樣,這種沙彌年齡童稚,比較幼稚的年齡就好動、活潑,沒辦法靜下來,要靜下來的機會很少。他們的心,都是向著「遊樂喜閒」,就是這樣能夠閒閒地來去遊玩,你要他去勞動,去做一些較勞動的事,定在勞動,玩一下可以,做太久,不耐煩,這就是孩子心。所以「不勤行道難會」,不勤行,道就難會。所以我們要知道,這樣的年齡的心態,我們道心還沒有很堅固,我們要去接近他們,我們要很警愓,提高警愓,不要心與他們在一起,心被他們帶去,帶他們不過來,反而讓他們帶過去,所以我們要謹慎。

接下來,前面向我們講的文就是這樣:「亦復不近,五種不男之人。」前面是說,不親近小女、處女、寡女,不可單獨親近。接下來再不要親近,「五種不男之人以為親厚,不獨入他家,若有因緣須獨入時,但一心念佛」。

亦復不近
五種不男之人
以為親厚
不獨入他家
若有因緣
須獨入時
但一心念佛
《法華經安樂行品第十四》

我們不要想獨入人的家庭,我們的心要照顧好,若有特殊的因緣非進別人的家,我們要怎樣的心?就是一心念佛。所以根、塵、境、識,意識多數都是在說,男人面對著這種景象,有女人的境界,或者是有不男之人,這種的人群,你們就要好好提高警覺,這是佛陀對比丘用心叮嚀。

所以說:「若為女人說法,不露齒笑,不現胸臆,乃至為法猶不親厚,況復餘事。」

若為女人說法
不露齒笑
不現胸臆
乃至為法猶不親厚
況復餘事
《法華經安樂行品第十四》

我們叫人面對著這個境,外面的境界是女人,修行者,男眾要好好警惕自己的心,你要向她說法,你要很端莊,不要單獨和她談笑風生,不要講話露齒哈哈大笑,這樣對自己很輕浮,沒有莊重,就容易引起對方的境,也是會不尊重我們,不崇敬我們,所以要用心,這是佛陀向修行者所說的。尤其是穿衣服也要端正,不要坦露胸背,女人也不行,男人更不行,同樣的道理。所以「乃至為法猶不親厚」,哪怕你是要為她說法,說法就是說法,不要再越界去親近,要有分寸,不能越界,所以何況其他的事情。說法都不行了,何況其他的事情更要有分寸,守規戒。

接下來這段文就是這樣說:「不樂畜年少弟子、沙彌、小兒,亦不樂與同師。」

不樂畜年少弟子
沙彌 小兒
亦不樂與同師
《法華經安樂行品第十四》

沙彌初入佛法
多存俗情
畜養易致擾動
所謂嚴訓則乏慈言
寬待則失教規
是故皆惹麻煩於心

「沙彌初入佛法,多存俗情」。沙彌就是還沒有受大戒,都稱為沙彌,不論他是幾歲,還沒有去受戒都是叫做沙彌。所以,沙彌有幼小的沙彌,也有少年沙彌,年齡不分,初入道都叫做沙彌。入佛法來,就是存著俗氣,還有世俗的情在,這都已經在世俗家庭生活的人,入佛法來,這種習性還是在。所以「畜養易致擾動」,你若收容,收沙彌來同住,他們的俗情很重,我們要很謹慎,我們要如何來教他,如果要教他,這些年輕的,你要教他,這可能要拿捏,俗氣若出來,不守規戒,你若要訓示他,若比較嚴厲一些,會感覺缺少慈悲。

若是對這些年紀比較小,或者是青年,你若比較寬待他,就失去了教訓的規戒。因為入佛門來是要很嚴格,規矩,行、住、坐、臥要很有規矩,這麼嚴格的規矩,甚至在作務上也要很嚴,在叢林,擔柴運水,這些都要歷練過。但是這些世俗剛捨去,入佛門來,俗氣還沒有去除那種,或者是年少,或者是俗氣深,這都是很難去教化。所以說來,道心若不堅定,你用比較嚴厲,我們失去了慈悲;你寬待他,不管他,那就會失去了教規的教育。因為這樣,皆惹麻煩的心。真的惹來很多麻煩,到底是要怎麼教他才能剛剛好?所以,在僧團裡面,若是有沙彌,不論是年輕、年幼不懂事情,涉世不深;或者是年紀比較大的,那就是俗念很深,要去除不簡單,所以要把他調教過來,實在是較麻煩,較困難。這是在僧團裡面,你教人不來,自己惹來麻煩。嚴教,說不慈悲;不教他,就沒有規律,這實在是很煩惱的事情。

不樂畜年少弟子:
年少之人
多諸輕躁
道業難貫注入心

所以,「不樂畜年少弟子」,這就是年少弟子。「年少之人,多諸輕躁」,所以「道業難貫注入心」。這道業要將它貫注入心,不簡單啊!所以,「沙彌、小兒,亦不樂與同師」,像這樣是沙彌,這些孩子進來叢林裡面,我們也在叢林在修行,我們就要知道那些人,都還沒有受規戒,這些沙彌年幼,或者是還未受大戒,規矩都不懂。像這樣,我們要很警惕。

沙彌、小兒
亦不樂與同師:
沙彌幼小
未稟具戒
小兒憍稚規戒難
非受道器
亦不欲與是等同師

要知道「小兒憍稚規戒難」。這小兒很嬌弱,很幼稚,你要規戒他,為他設規矩,要叫他守這樣的戒律,這很難。所以「非受道器」。這不是能夠和我們一樣,在這個法能夠接受,能夠在這個道和我們一起走。所以這樣的年齡還無法受法,所以「非受道器」。就是說,像盤、像缽髒了,或者是桶子骯髒,還不能裝乾淨的東西一樣,所以非受道器,還不是器具。所以,亦不樂欲與是等同師。一樣同師父,你就要和他同樣在那個環境中,可能在那個地方,我們自己的心也靜不下來,所以不要和這群這樣伴在一起。

畜年少弟子、
沙彌、
小兒及與同師
則均不免
任教育保護之責
事至紛擾
亦非菩薩
志存宏道之時所宜

所以,「畜年少弟子、沙彌、小兒及與同師」。與這些人,「則均不免,任教育保護之責,事至紛擾,亦非菩薩,志存宏道之時所宜」。我們若和這些,收這麼多沙彌的人,這些幼小,這樣的老師父,我們若是在這裡面,難免我也要負起教育,或者是保護責任,就要和這些孩子打成一片。「事至紛擾」,這很麻煩。所以「亦非菩薩,志存宏道之時所宜」。菩薩,我們現在就發大心、立大願,現在要學習的是菩薩道,要如何把法貫注入心?如何把這個法能夠帶入人群去,非常莊重的教法。

你若是在這年少童貞的群中,可能我們的心就會散掉,所以我們要好好,盡量要避免入這種沙彌,畜養沙彌群眾之中,我們要找好我們的時間,向著我們真正要學的道路,去修持,這就是我們要用心。因為進入這種事情,要負這樣的責任,「事至紛擾」,很煩,整天都在聽那些聲音,整天都是和孩子這樣在周旋,這不是菩薩所要修的志向。這樣說也是很不公平,沒有孩子,哪有大人呢?沒有兒童,哪有少年呢?沒有少年,哪有中年?道心要堅定,就是要從幼年開始。剛才說的,那些書軒小菩薩,他們若能好好帶,將來就是居家的居士,或者是真正入他們的心,心志要當清修士,願意投入人群,這些都是,從幼年、少年出來的啊!

所以,我們這段文,要很用心去體會。畢竟少年懂事不是很多,多數是這樣很浮動。不過,浮動也得要教育,我們若是不肯教育,什麼人要教育呢?當然,教育要有教育的環境,你就是像現在,要教育有教育的環境,幼稚園、小學、中學、大學,一貫教育,他有他教育的環境陪他長大,這也就是教育的方式。在學校的裡面,若有老師能夠有道心,將這個法也帶進去學校裡,孩子能夠受一般的教育,又能接受到佛法的洗滌,讓他們的心常常保持清淨,讓他們的願能夠培養入人群,去利益眾生,這是兩全其美啊!所以,我們教育不是不可,一定要有教育,不是叫你去排斥他,是叫我們要道心顧好。教育有教育的環境,我們道心要顧好。「以上種種,皆教菩薩之律儀」。

以上種種
皆教菩薩之律儀
離十惡緣
即為
菩薩之修戒行也
此釋修定行並總結
一切惡律儀之法
既已遠離
由是守護六根
不令放逸
能與禪定相應
此為由戒生定
惡緣之處
既不應親近
益顯善緣之處
當親近耳

所以,「律儀」,那就是我們的教規,我們要怎麼樣的行儀,在人群中,我們若是失去了戒律威儀,我們可能一不小心,十惡就出來了。十惡,只在我們的身、口、意而已,「身三」、「口四」、「意三」,合起來是「十惡」。「身三」,殺、盜、淫,這是惡;「口」,妄言、綺語、兩舌、惡口,這也是惡;「心」,貪、瞋、癡,這也是惡。所以,光是身、口、意,緣著外面的境,「六塵境」,起「六意識」,這就是造成了,我們那個惡的業力。所以,這外面的環境,和我們的心意,外面的境界會誘惑我們的心意;這個境界,我們盡量要遠離。上面說的有很多,我們要謹慎,我們不可親近的,我們要遠離,這是環境。所以,我們要很用心去體會環境。

這以上種種,叫我們不可親近,不論是女色也好,或者是生活的惡律儀,或者是人間少年,這種行儀不端等等,要逞強逞很多的惡,前面都說過了,共起來也有近十項。我們一定要遠離、遠離、遠離,一直到現在,連少年,年少,或者是沙彌,都要遠離。想想看,我們要顧好道心。其實,這段經文有很多,我們要很謹慎。自古以來,這種重男輕女這個觀念,佛陀的時代、孔子的時代、我們能夠很明顯看出,是不是真的重男輕女呢?其實不是,是境界,根、塵對立,根與塵的對立。我們的,眼、耳、鼻、舌、身、意,對外面的聲、色……等等,我們的無明煩惱。在這當中,有這個「根」和外面的「塵」,當中我們的意識,所以已經失去了道心。煩惱無明,不知累生世來就是這樣的習慣。男女之間,貪色惹禍,衍生出了很多的禍端出來。

所以,佛陀名稱說:「女人,你不能去親近。」那個「不能親近」,就是你的意識。你也是修行,你的意根守不好,這個根去緣外面的塵,你起貪念,對這種塵境,你要很謹慎。到底是塵境的過錯呢?或者是自己的意根,意識和根去犯錯?這是要好好用心去體會。為什麼女人,會讓人有這麼多文章提出來,有歧視?因為女人依賴心大,一直都是要依靠、依靠。所以,女孩子長大以後,若沒有嫁,以後要怎麼辦?好像若沒有嫁,就沒有辦法活下去,自己沒有辦法生活的樣子,這就是錯誤的觀念。男女之間的心態,就是自古以來就有這樣的看法。

其實,人間沒有女人,世間是要怎麼辦?本來是陰陽相伴,女人,沒有女人,哪有人呢?沒有女人,這個家庭如何維持呢?剛,就缺了柔;有柔、有剛,一個家庭才有辦法維持下去。社會也是需要啊!有女人,能夠生活很美,很美,這樣善、美,這種的生活。女人她的心態細心,她能夠整理家庭,布置每項都是,很細,很微細,她的考慮,她的看法,她的……等等,這全都是女人的良能。

但是,女人也能夠很堅強啊!看看慈濟裡面多少女人,創立了慈濟。過去不是三十支竹筒、三十位善女人嗎?就是這樣一路,才能完成一把沙、一塊磚,不就是她們這樣步步踏實,句句勉勵去勸募來的?這也是女人。尤其是這時在承擔四大志業,也有很多,多數女人。四大志業裡面,慈善,也很多;醫療、教育、人文,現在醫療的醫生,女醫生也不少,女醫生也有外科的,不論是拿刀、開刀等等,很準確,也不輸男人哦!現在女人開火車、開飛機,也有,這不是沒有,世間女強人倒也很多。

非洲慈濟人,看,那麼苦難的地方,卻也有在那個地方,弱女子承擔起,在這麼困苦、貧窮,這種的環境中,去承擔起了慈濟的志業。賴索托、非洲,南非國家中間一個小小的國家,它的周圍都是南非將它包起來。這當中的賴索托這個國家,美娟,她幾年了,在那個地方承擔慈濟的志業,那裡全都是黑人,她生活的周圍都是黑人。在那個地方開始做救濟。

一直到現在,潘明水居士,非洲執行長,他將這個棒目前就是交給她,交給她,一個女人,她要承擔整個南非慈濟的志業,現在同樣潘明水以前負責的,潘居士到了賴索托、史瓦濟蘭等等,他出去跨國去開發。同樣還是帶著非洲這群人,他們也是這樣陪伴,他們現在發願,要入非洲所有的國家,現在已經進展到第七個國家了,美娟真的是一個女人,她要面對這麼多。當然,也有我們臺商的菩薩,在那個地方,好幾位是我們的委員,當然,非洲是男士開始在那裡帶動;現在也是女人,她也來帶這些,這些居士同樣是支持,現在已經跨過幾個國家了,也是南非要去關懷。

莫三比克也一樣,岱霖,一個弱女子,她就是在莫三比克有因緣。看,現在在那個地方,一個人帶幾千個人,慈善,去為他們發放、去關懷他們,帶這些人。南非去為她起個頭,接下來的她就接下去了,身體沒有很好,在莫三比克常常感染到,卻是意志堅定。在那裡帶得這麼好,光是志工就將近三千多人;志工投入,也隨喜,常常一直在帶,名稱上也要近五千人。想,一個弱女子,從臺灣嫁到那裡去,她也能夠承擔。

所以,我們要很用心,女人不是不能接近,就是要看,經不得起那個色的挑逗。因為有的,確實女人就是要依賴,女人的習氣,有女人不好的習氣,就要改。但是,對女人的看法,我們不要歧視她,應該也要尊重。女人有大丈夫的志,外形是女人,她的志節是大丈夫。就像龍女,累生世修行來,現在她也能夠成佛了。

所以,我們在這段文,說是很難說,其實,我們現在能夠證明,也不是說佛說的不對,不是。佛陀的教育是很細膩,希望修行者要警惕。所以會擾亂我們的心思,我們要預防,因為這樣,所以我們聽經就要很細心,時時多用心!


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發表主題: 回復: 20180719《靜思妙蓮華》年少輕躁 道業難貫 (第1395集) (法華經·安樂行品第十四)   周五 8月 10, 2018 8:56 pm

Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: Young People Are Frivolous and Impetuous (年少輕躁 道業難貫)
Date: July.19.2018

“Young people have not yet deeply entered the world; they have seen little and are inexperienced. Their minds are unsettled and they find it hard to control their emotions. To love the path is easy; to uphold the resolve is difficult. Novices are children who are young in age, so they are restless, energetic and have a hard time keeping still. They love play and leisure and hate work. They are not diligent in spiritual practice and find it difficult to attain the path.”

We must mindfully seek to comprehend this. We have been saying previously that we should not get close to or grow attached to certain kinds of people. We should not flounder or get stuck in that place. This means that we must earnestly take care of our hearts. We must not let afflictions and discursive thoughts disturb our hearts. So, [the Buddha] mentioned all kinds of [people] to whom we must not draw near. This was for the sake of those who have just formed their initial aspirations, those whose spiritual aspirations are not yet firm. When we go out among people, there is a chance we may be affected by them. Originally, we wanted to form great aspirations, but [the influence of] the external world is so strong that we cannot transform people. On the contrary, we let others pull us off course and lead us [astray]. So, the Buddha wanted those of us who have formed initial aspirations to be vigilant. We should not go to places like the ones we previously talked about, for they will disturb our minds. He explained all this in such detail, so we must listen carefully in order to clearly distinguish them [from wholesome places]. We must be mindful of this.

The following [passage] reminds us about the youth or children, those who are younger in age. Since they are still young, when it comes to worldly matters, they still do not clearly understand them. [This is because] they have “seen little”. They do not understand things because they do not have enough experience. Since they are inexperienced, they are unable to distinguish good and evil. All of this applies to people who are younger. The world is very complicated, but they do not realize the dangers in this complicated world. So, people like this, these young people, still need the protection of others. At their ago, their minds are unsettled and they find it hard to control themselves. Because they cannot see things clearly, they have not yet thoroughly understood them. What is upholding precepts? What is engaging in spiritual practice? Now, they are in a world of amusement. They have just started going among people, so their hearts are easily tempted by worldly amusements.

So, in their daily living, they tend to waste their time as they are oriented more toward amusement. So, they do not know what a good character is nor how to be firm in their aspirations. They are at an age where they have no responsibility for worldly matters. They are not clear on their direction in life. At this confusing age, their minds are unsettled. As for their morality, they have not decided on a direction for their lives. If we try to ask them to uphold a mindset [of spiritual practice], this is very difficult for them!

So, it is easy to love the path. In our enthusiasm, we want to bring young people along and teach them to listen to the teachings, practice the Dharma and cultivate the path. They may be joyful when they hear this and happily think that spiritual practice is something new and fun. So, it is easy for them to love the path. “They told me to come to pay respect to the Buddha, to sit in meditation and to listen to stories. It is very fun.” So, it is easy to love the path, but can they truly take this Dharma to heart? And after taking the Dharma to heart, are they firm in their aspirations and can they uphold their vows to follow the path? This is truly not easy; it is not easy to be a spiritual practitioner. [When we go] among people, engaging in spiritual practice and upholding our vows to follow the path are not easy. This is even more so for the youth. They do not have much experience or a clear understanding of worldly matters. They do not know that suffering in the world is, what the path in the world is, nor which path they should walk on. This is because they have not yet experienced worldly matters. So, they may have once listened to the Dharma and seen people engaging in spiritual practice, and they may happily come to practice with them. They sit in meditation, prostrate to the Buddha, listen to the sutras and stories and feel joyful. However, we still cannot say that they have formed spiritual aspirations. We must be clear about this. So, when we think about this, being able to enter the path while young is [truly] very difficult. It is not easy to engage in spiritual practice. Those who are older have experienced all kinds of hardship. They understand the suffering in the world and its complexity. Understanding life, they enter the path, which is already not easy. This is to say nothing of those who willingly enter the path while young, who are willing to uphold their vows and who follow the path. This is truly extremely rare.

Since childhood, Sakyamuni Buddha raised questions about the world. In the Buddha’s manifestation in the world, from early childhood, His life has been described as being like this. It was while He was young that He began to have a sense of mission in the world. He learned how people lived in the world and the inequality of the “four castes,” so He formed aspirations to learn more. His spiritual aspirations were firm, so He became a monastic and entered this path. He never turned back, continuing to advance. This is really [seen] in the world. So, it is very rare to engage in spiritual practice and attain Buddhahood.

Since ancient times, there have been many sages and child prodigies. From a young age, they could see what is the right path to follow in life. There have also been people who seek the true principles; these people do exist. In the Buddha’s era, there was Sariputra who also understood many principles as a child. When he was eight years old, he could debate the principles with great masters. There have been people like this. Since ancient times, there were so many young children and youth who had perspectives about the path.

Currently, we also have many [children like this]. In our Jing Si Bookstores, there are children [ranging in age] from three to five or six years old and six to seven or eight years old. Some have been there since they were three to five until now, when they are in middle school. There are some who went from kindergarten to elementary school and some from elementary to middle school; they remain “[Jing Si] Bookstore young volunteers.” Whether it is in northern, central or southern [Taiwan], [their time volunteering] in our bookstores has guided many young children onto the path. Their spiritual aspirations are very firm. Now, sometimes, when they come back here, I ask them, “Do you still maintain the aspirations and vows you made? May vows are firm and will never change.” “Really?” “Yes. Do you still remember your vows?” ”[I will become] a Pure Practitioner. I will become a Pure Practitioner in the future to safeguard Tzu Chi and carry the world’s rice basket.” “How about you?” “I will be a doctor in the future. At the same time, I will be a Pure Practitioner. I will save people’s lives, and I will do good things for the world.” “How about you?” They each voice their own aspirations. These aspirations from several years ago, they still remember them now.

These are all young children. So, as we listen [to the Dharma], we should not say, “This is what the sutra says,” and reject the youth. We must understand this clearly. Young and naive children have their flaws, but this is mostly due to their state of mind. There are some special children, and we should have faith in them. From these children, we can in turn [more clearly] see our own spiritual aspirations. Sometimes, when we see these children, we feel remorseful and reflect upon ourselves. They are so young yet so thoughtful. They are so young yet so devoted; they understand the principles clearly and are [very] diligent. We should reflect upon ourselves. Are we like these children, who [engage in spiritual practice] with pure and innocent hearts? Are our spiritual aspirations as pure and firm as these children’s? Are we as resolute in our aspirations as they are? So, from these children we can also take something away and [use it] to reflect upon ourselves. This is very important.

We should not always assume that children’s minds are unsettled. When the collegiate volunteers come back to be certified, they say. “Your child is back. My mind has not changed.” Indeed, I once casually told them, “Children’s minds are always changing!” As they finish their studies, graduate from college and become successful in their career, they [remain] devoted to Tzu Chi. They undergo training and become certified. When they come see me, they are very proud. [They say], “Master, your child is back.” Every one of them who comes before me [says this]. In the sharing session, they say, “’Children’s minds are always changing,’ but mine did not.” Indeed! These children have not changed. So, with their young hearts, their childlike innocent minds from the time they started until now have not changed in their spiritual aspirations. So, their minds are not unsettled. In fact, their minds are steady. However, most [children’s] minds are unsettled. Only a few of them are firm in attaining the path. Being such a small number, they are certainly praiseworthy. The Buddha was speaking about the majority. He worried that if we did not have firm spiritual aspirations we could be easily affected by the many young, inexperienced people in the world. These people’s mindset might disturb those who want to engage in spiritual practice. Their minds are not firm yet, so they disturb other people’s minds. So, the Buddha said this for the sake of this group [of spiritual practitioners]. He worried that the practitioners would form aspirations to transform them but would instead be affected by their unsettled minds. They love to play, so they bring us along. They are engrossed in amusements, so they take us with them. This is what we must be vigilant of. So, we must know that these young people are still too young. Their minds are unsettled and “they find it hard to control their emotions”. To love the path is easy; to uphold the path is difficult.

Then, there are also novices. “Novices ae children who are young in age, so they are restless, energetic and have a hard time keeping still”. When we see this, we think about those very proper children of ours. They are very adorable. However, most young children are [restless]. They have the childishness of children at the age of [young] novices. At younger ages, they are restless and energetic. They cannot keep still. They are rarely able to calm down. Their minds all tend to “love paly and leisure”. They [like to] be able to leisurely play around. If we want them to do something more laborious and keep working at it, they can do it for fun for a while. But if they work for too long, they will become impatient. This is a child’s mind.

So, “They are not diligent in spiritual practice and find it difficult to attain the path”. They are not diligent in spiritual practice, so they find it difficult to attain the path. So, we must understand that this is their state of mind at this age. If our spiritual aspirations are not yet firm when we try to draw near to them we must be very vigilant. Our minds should not become like theirs or be led astray by them. If we do not transform them, they may instead lead us [astray]. So, we must be vigilant.

Continuing on, this is the passage we discussed previously. “Furthermore, they do not draw near to the five types of pandakas”. The previous sutra passage says that they should not draw near to young girls, virgins or widows. They should not approach them alone. In additions, they should not draw near to “the five types of pandakas or become close with them”. Also, “They do not enter others’ homes alone. If for some reason they must enter alone, they should focus their minds on the Buddha”.

We should not want to enter others’ homes alone. We must take good care of our hearts. If for some reason we must enter others’ homes, what kind of mindset should we have? Our minds should be focused on the Buddha. So, when speaking of roots, dusts, states and consciousnesses, most of the time this is about how men [should] face these kinds of situations. When we [encounter] women or pandakas, we must be vigilant around these kinds of people. Thus, the Buddha mindfully reminded the bhiksus.

So, “If they teach the Dharma to women, they should not smile to let their teeth show nor expose their chests. They must not become close with them, even for the sake of the Dharma, much less for any other purpose”.

We advise people [on how to face] conditions, and when these external conditions are women, as spiritual practitioners, men must earnestly be vigilant of their minds. “When you teach her the Dharma, you must be dignified. You should not laugh and joke with her alone. When talking to her, you should not laugh out loud and let your teeth show. These will cause you to appear frivolous and not dignified. This may [cause] them to give rise to certain thoughts such that they will not respect us or be reverent towards us. So, you must be mindful”.

This is what the Buddha said to the spiritual practitioners. In particular, we must dress properly. We should not expose our chest or back. Women must not do this, and even more so for men. The principle is the same. So, “They must not become close with them, even for the sake of the Dharma”. If we are teaching the Dharma [to a woman], teaching must remain teaching; we should not cross the boundaries and get too close to her. We must have appropriate behavior and not cross the boundaries, not be mention other things [we might do]. We cannot [do this] when teaching the Dharma. Moreover, we must be even more careful in other matters and uphold the precepts.

The next sutra passage continues, “They take no joy in raising young disciples, novices or children, nor do they enjoy sharing the same teacher”. When most novices first enter the Buddha-Dharma, they still retain worldly sentiments. As we raise them, they can easily disturb us. If we are too strict with them, we will lack loving speech; if we are too lenient, we lack discipline.Thus, they will always trouble our minds.

“When most novices first enter the Buddha-Dharma, they still retain worldly sentiments.” Novices refers to those who have not yet received the great precepts. They are al called novices. No matter how old they are, if they have not yet taken the precepts, they are all called novices. So, among these novices, there are young children and adolescents. Their age makes no difference. Anyone who has just entered the path is called a novice. They have entered the Buddha-Dharma, but they still retain worldly tendencies and worldly sentiments. They used to live in lay households. Having [recently] entered the Dharma, they still have their habitual tendencies.

“In raising them, they can easily disturb us”. If we give novices accommodations to live with us, since their worldly ties are still strong, we must be careful. How do we teach them? When it comes to teaching these young people, we need to be skillful. When their worldly tendencies appear and they do not uphold the precepts, if we admonish them more sternly, if we admonish them more sternly, they will feel that we lack compassion. But if we are too lenient with them, we lack discipline in how we train them. As they enter the Buddha’s door, we must be very strict with them. [They must follow] the rules and precepts. When walking, standing, sitting and sleeping, they must follow the proper etiquette. The rules and precepts are very strict. Even when doing chores, there are strict [rules]. In the monastic community, whether carrying firewood or carrying water, they must experience all of these. However, they have just given up their lay lives to enter the Buddha’s door, so they must still eliminate their worldly habits. Those who are young or who have severe worldly tendencies are difficult to transform.

Thus, if their spiritual aspirations are not firm and we [teach] them in a stricter way, we will show a lack of compassion. If we are lenient and ignore them, we will lack discipline in our education. For this reason, whatever their mindset, they cause trouble. They really cause so much trouble, so how can we teach them in just the right way? So, in the Sangha, there may be novices, whether are young, innocent, naïve and inexperienced or they are older in age and have severe worldly tendencies which are difficult to eliminate. So, of we want to train and change them, this is truly troublesome, it is quite difficult. Thus, in the Sangha, we may fall to teach them and instead cause trouble for ourselves. If we teach strictly, they say we have no mercy. If we leave them alone, they will have no discipline. This is truly very frustrating.

So, “They take no joy in raising young disciples.” This is what young disciples [can be like]. “Most young people are frivolous and impetuous.” So, “It is difficult for them to concentrate on spiritual cultivation or take it to heart.”

To concentrate on spiritual cultivation or take it to heart is not easy [for them]. So, “[They do not take joy in raising] novices or children, nor do they enjoy sharing the same teacher.” Novices are like this. These children come into the monastic community where we engage in spiritual practice. We should realize that these people have not yet taken the precepts. These novices are younger or have yet to take the full precepts, so they do not understand any of the rules. [Of children] like this we must be very vigilant.

… novices or children, nor do they enjoy sharing the same teacher: Novices are young and have yet to abide by all the precepts. Children are defiant and naive, and have difficulty observing rules and precepts. They are not vessels for accepting the Dharma, so [Bodhisattvas] do not want to have the same teacher as them.

We must know “children are defiant and naive and have difficulty observing rules and precepts. Children are tender and naïve. Teaching them to abide by the precepts, establishing rules for them and telling them to abide by these rules is difficult. So, “They are not vessels for accepting the Dharma.” They are not like us; they cannot accept the Dharma or follow the path with us. So, people at this age are not yet able to accept the Dharma. “they are not vessels for accepting the Dharma.” This is just like how [we cannot use] filthy plates, bowls or dirty buckets to hold clean things. [Likewise], they are not vessels for accepting the Dharma yet. “Noe do they enjoy sharing the same teacher.” When we are together with someone, while we are around them, we may find that we cannot calm our minds. These are people we should not be together with. So, when it comes to “raising young disciples, novices or children or sharing the same teacher.”

With people [this age], “we cannot evade the responsibility of educating and protecting them. This duty is extremely troublesome and not suitable for Bodhisattvas when they have resolved to spread the path.”

We will [inevitably encounter senior masters] who take on many novices, who serve as teachers for these young ones. If we are in [such a monastic community], we inevitably have to should the responsibility of educating and protecting [the young people]. Thus, we must be able to get along with them. “This duty is extremely troublesome, this is very troublesome.” So, it is “not suitable for Bodhisattvas when they have resolved to spread the path.

As Bodhisattvas, we must now form great aspirations and great vows. At this time, we must learn the Bodhisattva-path. We must learn how to concentrate, take the Dharma to heart and bring this Dharma as we go among people. These are very solemn teachings. If we are among these childlike innocent people, our minds mat waver. So, we must try our best to avoid being among these novices and the group that is raising them. We must seek out time to cultivate ourselves in the direction of the path. This means that we must be mindful. If we come upon this kind of situation and have to take responsibility for [novices], “This duty will be extremely troublesome. It will be very troublesome. Every day, we will have to deal with children. This is not what Bodhisattvas aspire to practice. [Actually], saying this is very unfair. Without children, how could there be adults? Without infants, how could there be adolescents? Without adolescents, how could there be middle-aged people? We must have firm aspirations stating from when we are children. This is like the little Bodhisattvas, in our bookstores that I just mentioned; if they can earnestly carry their aspirations, they will become lay practitioners in the future. Or they may truly take [the Dharma] to heart and vow to become Pure Practitioners, willing to devoted themselves among people. All these people start in their childhood and younger years.

Thus, we must be very mindful when comprehending this passage. After all, young people do not know many things. Most of them have unsettled minds, but we must still educate them all the same. If we are unwilling to educate them, who will educate them? Of course, to educate them, we must have an educational environment. We have something like this right now. To educate them, we have a place to do so. From kindergarten to elementary school, secondary school and college, we have a complete education [system]. They have an educational environment to assist them as they grow up. This is pour approach to education. In our schools, with teachers who have the spiritual aspirations to bring the Dharma into the classroom, children can receive a regular education and also take in the Buddha-Dharma to cleanse them. Thus, their minds can always be clean and pure, and they can cultivate vows to go among people and benefit sentient beings. in this way, we accomplish two things at once. It is not that we cannot educate [younger people]. We must educate the young, and we should not reject them. What this tells us is that we must take good care of our spiritual aspirations. Education [needs] an educational environment, and we must guard our own spiritual aspirations. “All the examples above are the rules and etiquette that He taught Bodhisattvas.”

All the examples above are the rules and etiquette that He taught Bodhisattvas so they would distance themselves from the conditions for the ten evils. This is the practice of the precepts cultivated by Bodhisattvas. This explains the practice of Samadhi and summarizes [what came before]. They must distance themselves from all unwholesome rules and etiquette. By safeguarding their Six Sense Organs, they refrain from indulgence and are able to resonate with Samadhi. This is how, from upholding the precepts, we give rise to Samadhi. Since we should not draw near to places of negative conditions, this shows that we should draw near to places of positive conditions.

So, “the rules and etiquette” are the rules and teachings we follow, how we should act and present ourselves among people. If we lose our [proper] discipline and demeanor, we might accidently commit the ten evils. The ten evils are all in our body, speech and mind. “Three evils of the body, four evils of speech and three evils of the mind” add up to the “ten evils”. The “three evils of the body” are killing, stealing and sexual misconduct. These are evil. The “[evils of] speech” include lies, flattery, gossip and harsh words. These are also evil. The “[evils of] the mind” include greed, anger and ignorance. These are also evils. So, our body, speech and mind connect with the “Six Dusts,” the external conditions, giving rise to “the Six Consciousnesses”. This creates an evil karmic force. So, when it comes to the external world and our minds, the external world will tempt our minds. We must do our best to distance ourselves from these external states.

We mentioned many of them above. We must be vigilant and not draw near to them. We must distance ourselves from them. These [things are in] our environment. So, we must be very mindful in seeking to comprehend our environment. All the different conditions mentioned above are what we should not draw near to. This includes women, those who live unwholesomely and young people in the world who conduct themselves inappropriately. At will, they commit all kinds of evil. We previously talked about this. There are nearly ten of them in total. We must stay far, far away from them.

[Now it mentions that] we must distance ourselves even from young people and novices. Think about this; we must guard our spiritual aspirations. In fact, there is a lot in this passage that we must be very vigilant about. The attitude of favoring men over women [has existed] since ancient times. In the Buddha’s era and in Confucius’s time, we can clearly see that it was like this. Did [the Buddha] truly favor men over women? In fact, this is not so. [He was talking about] external conditions. Our Roots connect with the external Dusts. Our eyes, ears, noses, tongues, bodies and minds connect with external sounds, forms and so on, causing ignorance and afflictions [to arise]. Between our Roots and the external Dusts, there is our consciousness. So, when we lose our spiritual aspirations, [we give rise to] afflictions and ignorance. We do not realize that we have [developed] this habit over many lifetimes. Men and women crave each other physically, which gives rise to many troubles. Thus, the Buddha said, “You must not draw near to women. Not drawing near to [women]” refers to our consciousness. If we engage in spiritual practice but cannot guard our mind-root and w let this root connect with external dusts, we will give rise to thoughts of desire. When faced with these dusts, we must be vigilant. Is it the dusts’ fault? Or is it our own mind-root, our consciousness and senses that are at fault? We must mindfully seek to comprehend this.

Why are women described in discriminatory terms in so many texts? This is because women tended to be dependent, to always need someone to depend on. When a girl grew up, if she did not get married, what could she do in the future? If she did not marry, she had no way to survive on her own. This is a mistaken perspective. This mindset about men and women has existed since ancient times. But in fact, without women in the world, what would the world be like? In the world, yin and yang have always accompanied each other. Without women, how could there be people? If there were no women, how would families be maintained? With only sternness, there is a lack of gentleness. A family needs both gentleness and sternness. Society also needs [women]. Women bring beauty to our lives; they bring goodness and beauty to our lives. Women’s minds are very meticulous. They are able to organize the home and decorate everything in great detail. Their considerations, their perspectives and so on are all good traits of women. But women can be strong as well. Look at how many women there are in Tzu Chi. [Women] founded Tzu Chi. Wasn’t Tzu Chi established with 30 bamboo banks and 30 good women? It has continued this way until today; hasn’t each handful of sand and every brick depended on their steadfast steps as they encouraged people to make donations? This was all done by women. Furthermore, in Tzu Chi’s Four Missions now, there are many women; women are the majority. Within Tzu Chi’s Four Missions, many are in our charity mission as well as our medical, education and humanistic culture missions. Now, also among our doctors, there are many who are women. There are also female surgeons. In surgical procedures and so on, they do them with great precision; they are as good as the men. They do it all. Now, women also work as train engineers and pilots. There are women in [all these fields]. There are many strong women in the world.

[Take for example] Africa’s Tzu Chi volunteers. We see that they are in a place of such suffering, but in that place, those women take on [our mission]. Amidst such hardship and poverty, in this kind of environment, the take on Tzu Chi’s missions. Lesotho, which is in Africa, is a small country inside South Africa. It is entirely surrounded by South Africa. For several years in Lesotho, Jennifer Chen has been shouldering Tzu Chi’s missions. Everyone there is African; everyone living around her is African. It was there that she began to do charity. She has been doing this until now when Michael Pan, the CEO of Tzu Chi Southern Africa, passed the baton to her. He passed it to her, a woman. She will take on the responsibility for all of the missions in Southern Africa. She has taken on the responsibility that was Michael Pan’s. Mr. Pan went to Lesotho, Swaziland and so on. He developed the missions internationally. He also brought African volunteers with him. They accompanied him all the way. Now, they make vows to go to all the countries in Africa. They have already [ brought Tzu Chi] to a seventh country now. Jennifer Chen is a woman, but she is faced with so many [responsibilities]. Of course, there are also some Taiwanese businessmen there. Several of them are our Tzu Chi commissioners. In the beginning, it was certainly the men who [ developed Tzu Chi] in Africa. But now they have a woman to lead them. The male volunteers also support her. Now, they have already gone into many countries, supported by our South African [volunteers]. It is the same in Mozambique. Denise Tsai is a woman. She [has married a man] from Mozambique. Over there right now, we can see how this one person leads thousands of volunteers in doing charity work and holding distributions to care for [the local people]. She leads these local people. Our [volunteers] from South Africa went there to help her initiate [ Tzu Chi], and now she has taken on this work. Her health is not very good; in Mozambique, she often gets infections. Yet, her resolve is firm. She leads people very well. Just the volunteers alone are more than 3000 people who are all very devoted. There are also casual volunteers whom she often brings in as well. We can say that there are almost 5000 people. Think about it; this woman from Taiwan who married over there has taken on such a responsibility.

So, we must be very mindful. It is not that we cannot draw near to women, but it is on us to resist the temptations from their form. There are some women who indeed need someone to depend on. Speaking of women’s habitual tendencies if we have bad habitual tendencies [associated with] women, we must change them. But as for our perspective on women, we must not discriminate against them. We should respect them. Women also share the aspirations of great men. They may have a female appearance, but their moral integrity is that of a great man. Take for example the dragon girl, who engaged in spiritual practice over many lifetimes until she was also able to attain Buddhahood.

So, this sutra passage can be difficult to explain. But in fact, we can verify it now. We are not saying that the Buddha spoke wrongly. The Buddha’s teachings are meticulous, and He hoped for spiritual practitioners to be vigilant. So, as for that which may disturb our minds, we must guard against it. It is for this reason that we must be very careful as we listen to the sutras. We must always be mindful.

(Source: Da Ai TV – Wisdom at Dawn program – Explanation by Master Chen-Yen)
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20180719《靜思妙蓮華》年少輕躁 道業難貫 (第1395集) (法華經·安樂行品第十四)
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