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 20180723《靜思妙蓮華》三學齊備 六度行因 (第1397集) (法華經·安樂行品第十四)

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發表主題: 20180723《靜思妙蓮華》三學齊備 六度行因 (第1397集) (法華經·安樂行品第十四)   周日 7月 22, 2018 11:06 pm

20180723《靜思妙蓮華》三學齊備 六度行因 (第1397集) (法華經·安樂行品第十四)

⊙惡世法末眾生瞋慢剛強,持經宏宣妙法有難堪忍,不若防難而安。以何法修?觀諸法如實相體離虛妄。慧平等觀近處以戒定為體,遠俗離塵而戒行精嚴為體,斂遊念而湛寂歸性寂真空。
⊙慧平等觀近處以戒定為體,遠俗離塵而戒行精嚴為體,斂遊念而湛寂歸性寂真空。
⊙定力既深,智光明發,三學齊備!六度行因是修為正身之妙行,因圓趨果成佛之樞要。
⊙「常好坐禪,在於閒處,修攝其心。文殊師利!是名初親近處。」《法華經安樂行品第十四》
⊙「復次,菩薩摩訶薩觀一切法空,如實相,不顛倒、不動、不退、不轉。」《法華經安樂行品第十四》
⊙觀一切法空:謂修安樂行之菩薩,從正定心中,起觀照慧。觀察世出世間,一切生死涅槃,種種當體真淨,不受一塵,故云空,即第一義空。
⊙如實相:以一切眾生心境諸法,皆同諸佛所證實相平等,無動無壞,離諸妄緣相故。
⊙不顛倒:識得自體本空,實無顛倒。背覺合塵:遠離顛倒相;滅塵合覺,即無顛倒妄想。
⊙不動:法性本空,了徹空性平等,如如不動。不退:於眾生真如隨緣不減。不轉:於諸佛實不曾轉,真如隨淨不增。
⊙心無動轉,攝心不動如須彌山。菩薩具正知正見,故如是觀一切法。

【證嚴上人開示】
惡世法末眾生瞋慢剛強,持經宏宣妙法有難堪忍,不若防難而安。以何法修?觀諸法如實相體離虛妄。

惡世法末眾生
瞋慢剛強
持經宏宣妙法
有難堪忍
不若防難而安
以何法修
觀諸法如實相
體離虛妄
慧平等觀近
處以戒定為體
遠俗離塵
而戒行精嚴為體
斂遊念而湛寂
歸性寂真空

用心聽,因為再下去的文,完全就是要以法來體解。前面的事,佛陀向我們教育的是很精細,要我們在人事上要如何修行。文殊菩薩很細心,配合佛陀教育的理念。深奧的經典要講解得很深,要聽不簡單,文殊菩薩,在那最艱難要如何聽法?這個境界,文殊菩薩就會來領眾,求法,讓佛陀更加微細,將法說得讓大家,更加清楚了解。所以在這段,文殊菩薩,他就提出了在這個惡世中,要來承擔弘揚這部經典,他的法要在人群中施行,有種種種種的困難。若遇到這麼多的困難,要怎麼樣面對呢?若要去對到困難,難道沒有方法能夠預防,不要去碰到這些困難。這是在前面的文,文殊菩薩提起來問,佛陀才開始再講解,希望大家能更加清楚,我們要如何避離?

我們的心,你既然發心了,你要如何避離,這會影響我們道心?發大心是一項好事,也就是大乘佛法,要在人間中施行最重要,但是道心若是沒有很堅定,或者是道行較淺,那就容易被人誘引了。文殊菩薩請佛陀說出了預防,能夠避免這個危險,道心被人影響,要如何避免?佛陀就開始說,從國王、王子開始,一直說到女人、不男之人等等,我們不要去親近。因為我們的道力還未很堅固,這些人的心態,以上這些人的心態,就是還很剛強,要調伏他們沒有那麼簡單,所以我們要避開。

所以,才有這一段「惡世法末眾生瞋慢剛強」。在惡世中,眾生有這樣的生態,要持經之人,就是「宏宣妙法」,有種種的困難,他就要「堪得忍」;不只是明的來要堪忍,暗的來也都要忍、要耐,要耐得住這個心念。甚至外面種種心態不端的人,我們還沒有那個力量幫助他,反而我們會被他拉過去,這樣的人,我們也都要避免。所以,這種要在那個地方堪忍,不如就是預防,不要影響道心。所以,要用什麼方法?下面就說,佛陀開始就會說,要「觀諸法如實相體離虛妄」。這個相和體,要怎麼樣將它離開虛妄呢?這個如實的相,相的體形是虛?還是實呢?我們要認清楚。

我們要發揮我們的智慧,「慧平等觀,近處以戒定為體」。

慧平等觀近
處以戒定為體
遠俗離塵
而戒行精嚴為體
斂遊念而湛寂
歸性寂真空

我們為了要離開那個妄,所以,我們要認「真」,認「真」那個實,實的相體,所以,我們要用平等。平等觀有遠近,近的就是在我們的周圍,遠的就是周圍外面的境界,有種種的生態在外面,但是最重要的是,我們自己裡面的心境,我們的心境要如何去預防?如何接受?該不該接受,那就是在我們的心境裡。這心境就是近處。我們雖然對眾生是平等;慧是平等慧,眾生都是平等。但是我們和外面的境界,六根對著六塵,這個「識」,就是我們內心的識,我們要如何去分別,該不該接受呢?道理要很清楚。雖然知道平等,但是應該要有分別相。外面的體相,一定要有,要懂得分別,是非要清楚。所以,我們用平等觀,要從我們的內心、意識,要自我警覺,用「戒定為體」;我們要持戒,我們的心要定,我們若脫離了戒的軌道,我們的心就沒辦法定下來。定下心來,沒有事情做不到。

有的人過去的習氣很剛、很強,但是接受佛法之後,佛法有種種的戒,這個「戒」,戒我們心理,要怎麼樣不要有瞋相剛強,轉瞋為柔,那個瞋怒的心將它轉過來,用柔軟心。同一個人,我們若是心中有戒規,自然這個形態就能夠調伏;好好調伏回來,面向著真理,自然去除了妄念。不該有的形象,我們就「戒」,戒除,開始用心避免,我們怎麼對人的態度,這就是要戒;有戒才不會與人衝突之後,心才自己來懊惱。我們若能夠與人外面的境界,常常很和睦維持著,這也是叫做「戒」。若能夠常常和睦維持,我們的心就沒有起伏煩惱雜念,這樣就「定」了。所以,「以戒定為體」,這就是我們要實用。

「遠俗離塵而戒行精嚴為體」。我們若要修行,遠俗離塵。世間的情、愛等等,我們不就準備好了,辭親割愛,俗念的俗情、俗愛,我們應該去除,就是「遠俗」。遠離了世俗的情、欲、愛,這就是要「遠俗」。「離塵」,「塵」就是塵染。世間很多就是這樣在攀緣,那就有很多的染,染著我們的心,人我是非無不都是在塵染之中。修行,我們要將名利、地位、人我是非,我們都要撥開,要認清楚,這就是要如何離塵。你既然離俗了,斷了家屬的情愛,我們要更加小心,在人群中這些污染,名利、地位、人我是非,我們是不是有攪拌在那裡面嗎?我們不要和人我是非,在那裡攀緣,若是這樣才能叫做「離塵」。對錯要分清楚,人群中,我們是要入群度眾生,這是佛陀要我們行大乘法,不能離群,但是不受群眾所染著,我們就要有這一分,「遠俗離塵」的功夫,要有這個功夫。

所以,佛陀對我們說,說我們若這個功夫,還未很堅固,前面所說的,從國王、王子、大臣,這種的權勢有力的攀緣,我們開始就要注意,我們就要遠離。不要在這個俗情,染污中,再去染污很多事情。所以,要有種種要遠離,不可親近。所以,因為這樣,前面若有聽過,沒有將它忘記,應該會清楚。「遠俗離塵而戒行精嚴為體」,我們自己要好好收攝我們的心,不要去受情緣把我們牽染著。雖然在人群中,要保持著心清淨行,所以,這是「戒行精嚴」。這就是我們的「體」,我們的相和體質應該要有這樣。

所以,要「斂遊念而湛寂」。我們不可有放逸,「我要去哪裡觀光,我要去那裡找名勝……」等等。一切風光都在我們的心裡。要去哪裡朝聖呢?聖地在我們的心。走多遠的路,心就散到多遠。所以,我們要「斂」,收斂一下,要稍微「歛游念」,不要這樣起心動念,光只是想我要去哪裡、要去哪裡,在那個地方,心緣境攀緣。這個念,我們要收斂起來。我們的心要常常保持在很清淨,「湛寂歸性寂真空」。我們的心,不要常常放著這些俗緣,我們的心要好好遠離,才能知道「靜寂清澄,志玄虛漠」;這大家最清楚,也是最熟識的字句。「靜寂清澄,志玄虛漠,守之不動,億百千劫」,《無量義經》,就開始我們這個心境,匯入在無量義的境界。若能清楚了,這些事情就很了解分明。

定力既深
智光明發
三學齊備
六度行因
是修為正身之妙行
因圓趨果
成佛之樞要

「定力既深,智光明發」,我們的定力若深,自然我們的智慧就不模糊,我們看境界清清楚楚,不受境界、道理,將我們混淆了。道理歸道理,境界歸境界。我們的根和塵,雖然在根塵、塵境中,但是我們的意識是很清楚,所以,定力分明,很深,自然智慧明亮。這就是我們的真如本性,本來就有。我們在「三學齊備」。「三學」大家知道嗎?戒、定、慧,也要「六度行因」,這就是我們的修行,我們要行「六度行」,在人群中,布施、持戒、忍辱、精進、禪定、智慧,我們要具備這些條件。入人群中去,要有「三學」、「六度行」,這個心和這個行。

六度行因,為正身之妙行,我們要學佛,我們有這個身體來人間,光是說修行、修行,是不是只是獨善其身?佛陀叫我們要兼利他人。要用什麼方法去兼利他人?就是用這「六度行」,這是我們的身,「正身之妙行」。我們的正方向,正行在人間、人群中。因為我們有這樣在修行,人群讓我們有機會行六度,所以「因圓趨果成佛」,這是最重要的樞紐,就是樞要,我們很重要的方法。這個門要打開,你就要將重要樞紐,要將它打開,這機器要先將源頭開動,自然機器就會轉。同樣的道理,所以我們學佛,源頭,要怎麼樣找得到源頭,讓我們打開心門。佛陀來開、示,我們就要悟、入,這個機竅我們要打開,所以我們要好好用心,要如何定力深,要如何慧光發,就要從「三學齊備,六度行因」要修,我們才有辦法「正身妙行」。

我們正身,我們所走的路,身向都是正,正行、正方向,走過來都是步步妙啊。我們要引導人入佛的法,我們自己就是要充分有法。法與法相會,這不就是很歡喜,法喜的事情嗎?所以我們要很用心,心要來體會寂靜清澄的境界。接下來是要如何讓我們瞭解,空,真空寂靜的境界?我們開始就要很用心啊!

前面的文說:「常好坐禪,在於閒處,修攝其心。文殊師利!是名初親近處。」

常好坐禪
在於閒處
修攝其心
文殊師利
是名初親近處
《法華經安樂行品第十四》

前面會引誘我們的心,去偏向的那些境界,我們要先預防起來,再接下來,我們的心要「靜」和「定」。所以我們要在靜思修,這就是「禪」,「擔柴運水無不是禪」。佛陀的時代,他叫大家修行,你的心要靜、要定,你要找一個地方好好思考。但是,佛陀知道未來人間,五濁惡世,大家要把握時間,我們了解佛法了之後,我們就清楚,清楚這個心的動念,其實將它的方向回歸回來正向。同樣是動,但是動中有靜,這種做該做的事情,心沒有虧損,所以他的心會時時輕安自在,走在那個正道上,舉手動足,無不是禪。因為就是我們的方向,所以這個時候,要說,常常在那裡坐,你在文字上來解,就是「在那裡坐」。時光易過,你光只是在那裡坐,坐了之後,你的心思有專嗎?有定嗎?假如不專、不定,在那個地方妄想,想入非非,招惹來了很多的邪思、邪念,走火入魔要怎麼辦?所以我們還是心寂靜,我們好好靜思修惟。

法在我們的日常生活中,遠的在外境,近的在我們的內心,要好好回心回來找我們的真如。「在於空閒處」,明明要我們入人群中,怎麼又叫我們在空閒處呢?人群,我們若是心受染,那就是很雜了。若是心不受染,外境是外境,我們的根識是根識。這個塵境在外面,根識是在我們的內心,在我們的身和心。我們的身所行的、所做的是正向,是正行,若這樣,在人群中和那個外境,交雜的雜染就沒有了。像蓮花,穩穩地在污泥中,蓮花的種子在很髒的污泥裡,它有它自身的清淨。同樣對污泥,就是成長了蓮花。

總而言之,這是清淨,避掉了污染,他還是獨處清淨。他的心還是一樣空曠,沒有這些雜念,就像天空包容大地萬物一樣,所以還是心很開闊,閒處,空曠清淨的閒處,同樣,這就是我們要很用心。文字,我們要好好去深入法的精要,不要受這個浮面,浮面的東西,這樣讓我們曲解掉了。我們要好好「修攝其心」,就是心要修好。

所以下面,佛陀再叫文殊:「文殊師利!是名初親近處」,前面的那些境界,我們遠離,心收回來,「修攝其心」,這就是遠離。

下面接下來這段文:「復次,菩薩摩訶薩觀一切法空,如實相,不顛倒、不動、不退、不轉。」

復次
菩薩摩訶薩
觀一切法空
如實相
不顛倒 不動
不退 不轉
《法華經安樂行品第十四》

這就是開始要帶我們,入那個「空」,要如何來體會那個空相,大家要用心了。一切法要觀,「觀」就是要用心,「攝心」就是觀,將心好好,我們的精神要集中在哪裡?這「觀」,「觀一切法空」。

觀一切法空:
謂修安樂行之菩薩
從正定心中
起觀照慧
觀察世出世間
一切生死涅槃
種種當體真淨
不受一塵
故云空
即第一義空

「一切法空」,我們已經發心了,要持經延續在未來濁世中,願意這樣發心,你能夠很多的困難你能夠克服,最重要的,你要如何避離那個困難,我們就要修「安樂行」。

所以,要修「四安樂行」,不要去染著煩惱,我們的心自然輕安,自然沒有煩惱;沒煩惱的心,叫做「安樂」。要如何避免煩惱?發心,這樣的菩薩就要了解。所以,「從正定心中」,我們的心要正、要定,有正、有定,正方向,有定心力,這樣之中起觀照的智慧。我們剛才說,「慧平等觀」,要用智慧來觀照,因為智慧發揮了光明,發出了這個光,能夠來照外面的境界,外面要如何讓它平等?一切眾生皆有佛性,我們要「智」發光,「慧」就能去體會眾生皆平等,等等這些法,要用,很攝心,要收攝其心來「觀一切法空」,這樣才能夠心在安樂行中。發心的菩薩,雖然很忙碌,他還是一樣避開了種種的難,也能夠安樂相處,在這個濁惡世中,能夠心得安樂。所以,這是「從正定心中」,起觀照的智慧,這在人群中。

所以,「觀察世出世間,一切生死涅槃,種種當體真淨」。我們應該要好好用心,觀察世間法,世間人我是非,是如何產生?是如何有前面所說的,不該親近,那些人的心態?這世間為什麼會有這些事情呢?尤其是世間還有,有真正的單純,本來人性就單純了。世間有世間法,有「三綱」、「五常」,有這樣的規律,這全都有啊!但是,眾生那個心若亂掉了,那就變成了亂相,讓我們不可去親近這些亂象,我們要很用心自我警惕。要如何順世間道?行善、行孝不能等,這就是「歸」,回歸人的道理,要如何維持一個家庭很祥和,這是世間法。要如何「三綱」、「五常」,回歸回來,家庭和睦?家庭和睦,社會自然很祥和,這就是世間法。

出世間法呢?那就是生死輪迴,很苦啊!雖然世間法,我們已經用世間法來教化,讓大家從心亂,心態偏差,把它導正過來,循循在這個世間法,這個倫理之中,軌道,但是生死永遠都是苦。要出世間,出世間法,那就是在佛法甚深一層,再深入的一層,如何了脫生死,能夠進入了涅槃。「涅槃」,就是出世間法;「生死」,就是還在人間法。要如何從這個人間法?我們一不小心,就是煩惱重重、造業了,所以,不如要了脫生死,從出世間法,不執著,了解一切法空,能夠讓大家慢慢脫離了貪,貪欲、瞋、癡、慢、疑,這些習氣慢慢將它斷除了,回歸我們的本性清淨,寂靜清澄,回歸不生不滅,這個涅槃的境界,這就是「一切生死涅槃」。

「種種當體清淨」。回歸回來,我們是清淨的真如本性。「不受一塵」,叫做「空」,我們就是都很淨了,透徹的清淨。雖然「空」,但是我們知道「妙有」,妙有是「真如」,真如是清淨,沒有再受到人世俗煩惱的塵,來染污我們。雖然我們處在凡夫紅塵滾滾裡面,但是不受污染,就像蓮花一樣,所以叫做「空」,終歸是空。 就像空中,一切的物資「生」在大地,「壞」在大地,但是與這個空間,好像沒有一點影響。空間還是永遠大空間,不論大地如何的變化,空間,這個天空還是永遠都是天空,都沒有受污染,這叫做「第一義空」。空,永遠就是空相,就是沒有受這種種的事物,所污染到。

雖然我們現在說這天空受污染,其實這個污染塵,離天空還很遠,天空本來就是無體、無相,只是我們的眼睛,無法透徹到天空上,所以,這一切的氣,氣象,在這虛空中。我們所看到的有藍天,有白雲,或者是有…等等,有白天、有晚上。其實,這只是在大宇宙中,有形的東西,地球也只是大宇宙中的一顆星球,同樣的道理。所以,天空還是離太陽,也還很遠很遠,不是太陽貼在空中,同樣,空就是無窮盡、無形,所以「空」的道理。我們要了解「空」是這樣的空,無窮盡的空,無形體的空,這個空,完全不受污染,這才是「真空」。我們真空,所以我們才能夠,真正是「妙有」,所以我們的「妙有真空」,互相沒有怎麼樣,有什麼污染。「空」也不受污染,「妙有」也是不污染,這都是叫做「真諦」,就是道理,這叫做「第一義空」。這就是「第一義空」,就是真諦。「如實相:以一切眾生心境諸法」。

如實相:
以一切眾生
心境諸法
皆同諸佛所證
實相平等
無動無壞
離諸妄緣相故

這些回歸回來,近的,那就是在我們一切眾生的心境,裡面的法。「皆同諸佛所證實相平等」。其實,我們人人的本心裡面,人人就已經具有這個實相。「以一切眾生心境諸法」,要看清楚,「皆同諸佛所證實相平等」,都是一樣。所以,「無動無壞」。我們內心的真如實法,和佛所證的是一樣,「平等,無動無壞」。因為既無相,哪有「動」呢?既無相,哪有「壞」呢?所以,「離諸妄緣相故」。 我們已經離開了很多妄想,以及周邊的緣,都離開了,所有的相也都沒有執著。所以,「不顛倒。」

不顛倒:
識得自體本空
實無顛倒
背覺合塵:
遠離顛倒相
滅塵合覺
即無顛倒妄想

我們不顛倒,我們心若沒什麼掛礙,那就沒有什麼樣的顛倒。所以,「不顛倒」,識得自體就是本空。我們若是很了解我們的自體,自體「實無顛倒」。我們的本質,真如,我們若認識了。我們現在和我們自己的真如,也還不認識;雖然真如本性在我們的內心裡,但是我們自己和自己是不認識。我們若認識,就能夠借力使力,就能夠和平合作。偏偏我們的行為,和我們真如本性,常常就是互相違背,就是我們自己還沒認識,我們自己的真如本體。所以,我們若能夠「識得」,認識了,認識我們自己「自體本空」,我們自己的自體,真如本性,本來就是真空如虛空,就是無體相。我們若能夠了解這個「空」,是無窮盡的空,空性無窮盡,但是,我們應該要很了解,空性中就是有「妙有」。明明這個「妙有」,萬物帶不走,「唯有業隨身」。

明明我們就會再來人間,人間就是這麼的複雜,煩惱的事情明明就這麼多,這就是我們還無法去了解,我們這個煩惱中,藏著我們的真如。就是我們的心應該要很開闊,心包太虛,我們偏偏將它卡住,將這些人我是非這樣將它,這樣整個全都拉過來,這就是我們的顛倒。所以,我們要如何學得,「不顛倒」,那就是要認真,認識我們自己的本性。「實無顛倒」。放開了我們的執著,自然我們就不會有顛倒了。我們都執著在這個境界裡,所以顛倒很多,凡夫常常所做的都是,「背覺合塵」。

是怎麼會去「背覺」呢?怎麼會來「合塵」呢?「背覺」就是剛才說過了,我們不認識我們自己,我們的真如,我們和我們的真如不認識,所以我們常常,違背我們的覺性在行動,這叫做「背覺」。「背覺」,在這個塵埃、污染中,我們應該就要很清楚,去認識它,所以我們要「遠離顛倒相」。我們要先和外面,前面不該親近這些境界,我們要避開,不該親近,我們不要去親近;該追求的法,我們要身體力行,這我們應該要做的。「三學」、「六度」,這全都我們在學的過程,我們一定要去做的。

所以,我們要好好用功在,「滅塵合覺」,不要「背覺合塵」。「背覺合塵」,我們就是在那個地方顛倒,我們一定要「滅塵合覺」,才能夠沒有「顛倒妄想」,這要很用心。

不動
法性本空
了徹空性平等
如如不動
不退:
於眾生真如
隨緣不減
不轉:
於諸佛實不曾轉
真如隨淨不增

「不動」,那就是「法性本空,了徹空性平等,如如不動」。我們的法性本來就是空,我們的真如與真空合一,真空與性會合,那就是「妙有」。我們自己要去體會,這個「真空」的性,所以「法性本空,了徹空性平等,如如不動」,自然就「不動」了,就「不退」了。

「不退」,就是「眾生真如隨緣不減」。眾生還是在這個真如,我們沒有離開真如,只是我們不認識真如,我們和它不認識。其實,是我們自己,在我們自己的本性,所以,眾生真如只是隨緣,隨緣,隨在這個境界裡面,污染的境界,隨這個緣去緣外境,去緣貪、瞋、癡等等。這是我們的真如這樣在外面,我們自己在外面,帶著我們的真如本性在外面,去污染很多東西。真如的本性,就沒有辦法發揮它的良能,但它還是存在,它是不減。雖然隨著我們這樣到處在攀緣,卻是它還是「如如」,它還是不減,這是我的真如本性,我們自己沒有去啟發起來,剛才說的,眾生內心隱藏著的法,就是佛陀覺悟的法,這是同樣的道理。所以,真如隨緣不減。

所以我們「不轉」,就是也不曾轉過。「於諸佛實不曾轉。」既然佛陀覺悟的道理,和眾生內心的法是一樣,「諸佛實不曾轉」,我們的本性,本來我們就不動、不轉。佛陀覺悟,也是不曾轉。其實,法,原來就是,只是我們眾生迷,佛陀就要轉法輪,轉迷為悟。其實悟性是人人本具,這都是我們要很用心去體會。真如隨淨而不增,我們真如,若能夠回歸,自然真如就是淨的,永遠都是清淨的真如本性,它並沒有增,沒有減,既不增、不減,哪有麼什麼「轉」呢?

心無動轉
攝心不動如須彌山
菩薩具正知正見
故如是觀一切法

所以,「心無動轉,攝心不動如須彌山,菩薩具正知正見,故如是觀一切法」。攝心,不能動,就像須彌山。其實,有形就有動,尼泊爾的地震,須彌山也動了,不是不會動。不過,我們的心無形,它就不動。佛陀的時代一直用須彌山來譬喻「不動」,但是佛陀說,世間成、住、壞、空。連須彌山,在《藥師經》,須彌山也有傾動之時。在《藥師經》裡也有講,也是會傾動。所以,我們要用心去體會,「法性本空」,理就是清淨。「菩薩具正知正見,故如是觀一切法」。就是要用這樣來觀法。

各位,真的是要好好用心,愛的力量,雖然是愛,它有力量,那個力量是清淨;清淨的愛,能夠讓我們行「六度行」,不受污染,付出無所求。「六度」的因,我們乾乾淨淨,好好這樣種在人間,人間不論是世出世間法,都是以清淨無染,能夠為人群去付出,不傷害、染著我們的本性。這樣,我想,這是應行的菩薩道。所以,大家要時時多用心!


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發表主題: 回復: 20180723《靜思妙蓮華》三學齊備 六度行因 (第1397集) (法華經·安樂行品第十四)   周六 8月 18, 2018 4:40 pm

Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: Replete with the Three Studies and Six Paramitas (三學齊備 六度行因)
Date: July.23.2018

“Sentient beings in the evil world in the age of Dharma-degeneration are angry, arrogant and stubborn. Those who uphold the sutra and spread the wondrous Dharma will be able to endure hardships, but this is not as good as preventing difficulty and finding peace. So, what Dharma should we practice? We must contemplate all phenomena in their True Appearance, their essence free from all delusion. With the wisdom of impartial contemplation, the place to draw near to [lies in] taking precepts and Samadhi as our essence. To free ourselves from mundane defilement, we must take the diligent and rigorous practice of the precepts as our essence. We must collect our wandering thoughts; clear and calm, we will return to our tranquil nature of true emptiness.”

Listen mindfully, because the passage that follows must be understood through the Dharma. Earlier, the Buddha taught us very meticulously about how we ought to engage in spiritual practice while [dealing with] people and matters. Manjusri Bodhisattva was very careful to accord with the principles of the Buddha’s teachings. Profound sutras require very in-depth explanations. Listening to them is not easy. How did Manjusri Bodhisattva, during [the sutra’s] most difficult parts, [help people] listen to the Dharma? During these circumstances, Manjusri Bodhisattva led the assembly in requesting teachings so that the Buddha could expound the Dharma in more detail to help everyone understand it more clearly. So, in this section, Manjusri Bodhisattva mentioned that in this evil world, in undertaking the task to spread this sutra and putting the Dharma into practice among people, there will be all sorts of difficulties. When we encounter so many obstacles, how should we face them? With these obstacles that we have to face, are there no ways we can prevent them so that we will avoid encountering them? In a previous passage, Manjusri Bodhisattva raised this question.

So, the Buddha began to explain further in hopes that everyone could understand more clearly how to avert [these obstacles]. Since we have formed these aspirations, how do we avert [these obstacles] so that they do not affect our spiritual aspirations? Forming great aspirations is a good thing, and for the Great Vehicle Buddha-Dharma to be practiced in the world, this is extremely important. However, if our spiritual aspirations are not firm, if our spiritual practice is relatively shallow, then we will be easily influenced by others. Manjusri Bodhisattva asked the Buddha to teach about preventative [measures] that will enable us to avert these dangers. How do we keep our spiritual aspirations from being affected by others? The Buddha began to speak, starting with kings and princes, all the way to women and pandakas and so on; these are people we should not draw near to. This is because the strength of our spiritual aspirations is not yet firm. The mindset of these people mentioned above is still very stubborn. They are not easy to tame, so we should distance ourselves from them. This is why it says that “Sentient beings in the evil world in the age of Dharma-degeneration are angry, arrogant and stubborn.” In this evil world, sentient beings have this kind of mindset. Those who uphold the sutra and “spread the wondrous Dharma” will face many hardships, so we must “be able to endure”. Not only must we endure what people do openly, we must also patiently endure what people do behind our backs. We must patiently persevere in our aspirations. There are people outside with all kinds of crooked mindsets. If we still do not have the ability to help them, we will instead be swayed by them. We must avoid people like this. So, in order to endure these kinds of places, it is better to take preventative [measures] so that they will not affect our will to practice. So, which methods should we use?

Next, the Buddha began to speak and said, “We must contemplate all phenomena in their True Appearance, their essence free from all delusion.” When it comes to this appearance and essence, how can we [contemplate it] without delusion? When it comes to their True Appearance, is the appearance of phenomena illusory or real? We must understand this clearly. So, we must exercise our wisdom. “With the wisdom of impartial contemplation, the place to draw near to [lies in] taking precepts and Samadhi as our essence.”

“With the wisdom of impartial contemplation, the place to draw near to [lies in] taking precepts and Samadhi as our essence. To free ourselves from mundane defilement, we must take the diligent and rigorous practice of the precepts as our essence. We must collect our wandering thoughts; clear and calm, we will return to our tranquil nature of true emptiness.”

In order to free ourselves from delusion, we must recognize the “true,” the true appearance and essence of things. So, we must be impartial. Impartial contemplation concerns what is both near and far. Our surroundings are what is near. The external world beyond this is what is far. There are many ways of life in the world, but what is most important is our own state of mind. How do we guard our minds? How do we decide what to take in? That is all within our state of mind. This state of mind is the place to draw near to. We may be impartial toward sentient beings, our wisdom may be impartial wisdom and [we may see] all sentient beings as equal; however, when we [connect] with the external world, when the Six Roots and Six Dusts come together, there is “consciousness”. This refers to our minds. How do we discern between what we should and should not take in? We must understand the principles very clearly. Though we know [all sentient begins] are equal, we must be able to discern between appearances. We must definitely be able to discern between external appearances, and we must clearly understand right from wrong. So, contemplating things in an impartial way must come from our own consciousness. We must constantly be vigilant of ourselves and take “precepts and Samadhi as [our] essence”. We must uphold the precepts, and our minds must be in Samadhi. If we deviate from the course of the precepts, our minds will fail to remain in Samadhi. When we focus our minds, there is nothing we cannot accomplish.

Some people’s past habitual tendencies are very stubborn and strong, but they [change] upon accepting the Buddha-Dharma. The Buddha-Dharma contains many precepts. These “precepts” guard our minds from giving rise to anger and stubbornness, turning anger into gentleness. How do we transform this angry mind of ours into a gentle mind? When we hold the precepts in our minds, we will naturally subdue this disposition. As we train ourselves to return to the true principles, we will naturally rid ourselves of delusion. When it comes to improper conduct, we use the precepts to eliminate it. We can start to mindfully refrain from any kind of [negative] attitude towards others. This is why we need the precepts. With the precepts, we will not get into conflicts with others and then feel frustrated afterward. If we can always maintain harmony with other people in the outside world, this is also considered upholding the precepts. If we can always maintain harmony, then our minds will not give rise to afflictions and discursive thoughts. This is Samadhi. So, “taking precepts and Samadhi as our essence” is what we must put into practice.

“To free ourselves from mundane defilement, we must take the diligent and rigorous.” To engage in spiritual practice, we must free ourselves from mundane defilement. Regarding our worldly ties and affections, aren’t we ready to sever our ties to our loved ones? We must eliminate worldly ties and affections. This is “freeing ourselves from mundanely.” We must free ourselves from worldly ties, desire and affections. This is “freeing ourselves from mundanely” and “freeing ourselves from defilement.” “Defilement” refers to contamination by the Dusts. Because of these many [dusts], we contrive many affinities in the world, so our minds have become heavily defiled. Interpersonal conflicts are all due to contamination by the external Dusts. Spiritual practice means that we must relinquish fame, wealth, status and interpersonal conflicts. We must relinquish all of them and clearly understand that we must free ourselves from defilement. When we distance ourselves from mundanely and sever the ties of our affection for family members, we must be even more careful. Have we gotten ourselves mixed up in defilement, fame, wealth, status and interpersonal conflicts amount people? Amidst interpersonal conflicts, we must not forcefully contrive connections. Only when we accomplish this can we be said to have “free ourselves from defilement”.

We must clearly discern right from wrong. We must go among people to transform sentient beings. The Buddha wants us to practice the Great Vehicle Dharma; we cannot distance ourselves from people, but we must also not be defiled by them. So, we must have the skill to “free ourselves from mundane defilement”. We must have this skill.

So, the Buddha tells us that if our skills are not strong enough yet, when [we encounter] the afore-mentioned kings, princes and ministers who forcefully contrive affinities through their power and influence, we must be very wary of them. We must distance ourselves from them. We should not [sink] into the defilement of worldly ties and go on the defile many other things. So, we must distance ourselves from all of this and refrain from drawing near to them. So, since we have heard this before and have not forgotten it, we should understand this clearly.

“To free ourselves from mundane defilement, we must take the diligent and rigorous.” We must earnestly collect our minds and refrain from entangling ourselves in worldly ties. When we are among people, we must maintain the practice of purifying our mind. In this way, “the diligent and rigorous practice of the precepts” will become our essence. Our appearance and our essence should be like this. So, in order to “collect our wandering thoughts [to become] clear and calm,” we cannot be indulgent. “I want to go sightseeing there. I want to go look for scenic places and so on.” All scenery lies entirely within our minds. Where do you want to go on a pilgrimage? The holy land is in our minds. However far we go, our thoughts go just as far. So, we must “collect” and restrain [ourselves] a little. We must “collect our wandering thoughts” somewhat. We must not give rise to discursive thoughts, only thinking about where we would rather be and clinging to conditions and forced affinities there. We must collect these thoughts. Our minds must always remain very pure. “Clear and calm, we will return to our tranquil nature of true emptiness.” Our minds must not remain attached to worldly ties.

We must always free our minds from these so that we will understand [the phrase]. “With minds tranquil and clear, vows as vast as the universe….” You all understand this phrase very well and are very familiar with it. “With minds tranquil and clear, vows as vast as the universe, they remain unwavering for countless kalpas.” Through the Sutra of Infinite Meanings, our state of mind will begin to enter the state of Infinite Meanings. When we understand this clearly, we will comprehend these matters very well.

When our power of Samadhi is great, the light of our wisdom will shine brightly. Replete with the Three Studies, we will engage in the causal practice of the Six Paramitas. This is the wondrous practice of right bodily conduct. When we have perfected our causes, we will approach fruition. This is the key to attaining Buddhahood.

“When our power of Samadhi is great, the light of our wisdom will shine brightly”. If our power of Samadhi is great, then the light of our wisdom will not be dim. We will be able to clearly discern conditions and will never confuse conditions with principles. The principles are the principles, and conditions are just conditions. Though we will be amidst the conditions of our sense organs and sense objects, our consciousness will be very clear. Thus, our power of Samadhi will be clear and deep, and, naturally, our wisdom will shine brightly. This is our nature of True Suchness, which is intrinsic to us. We must be “replete with the Three Studies”.

Does everyone know what the “Three Studies” are? They are precepts, Samadhi and wisdom. We must also “engage in the causal practice of the Six Paramitas”. This is our spiritual practice; among people, we must actualize the Six Paramitas, which are giving, precepts, patience, diligence, Samadhi and wisdom. We must be replete with these qualities as we go among people. We must have the Three Studies and Six Paramitas in our thoughts and actions. The Causal practice of the Six Paramitas is the wondrous practice of right bodily conduct. As Buddhist practitioners who come to the world in these bodies for the sole purpose of spiritual practice, do we do this only to benefit ourselves? The Buddha tells us we must benefit others. What kind of method should we use to benefit others? We must practice the Six Paramitas. This concerns our bodies conduct, “the wondrous practice of right bodily conduct”. The right direction for us in this world is among people. Because we engage ins spiritual practice like this, people give us opportunities to practice the Six Paramitas. So, “When we have perfected our causes, we will approach fruition and attain Buddhahood”. This is the essential key [to Buddhahood], a very important method for us. We must use an important key to open this door. We must turn on the power source for this machine; then, naturally, the machine will start to run.

The principle is the same. So, as Buddhist practitioners, how do we find the source that will help us open our hearts? The buddha came to open and reveal this, so we must realize and enter it. we must use this key to unlock [this door]. So, we must put effort into being mindful. How do we make our power of Samadhi great? How can we get the light of our wisdom to shine? It must come from being “replete in the Three Studies” and “engaging in the causal practice of the Six Paramitas”. Then, we will be able to engage in “the wondrous practice of right bodily conduct”. With right bodily conduct, the path we walk will be in the right direction. This is the right practice, the right direction, so every step on this journey is wondrous! To guide people to enter the Buddha-Dharma, we ourselves must be filled with Dharma. Isn’t encountering the Dharma a joyful thing, an occasion for Dharma-joy? So, we must be very mindful! We must mindfully comprehend the state of tranquility and clarity. The following [passage] helps us understand the state of true emptiness and tranquility. So, we must start from being very mindful!

The previous sutra passage says, “They always take joy in sitting in meditation in a tranquil place to cultivate and collect their minds. Manjusri, this is known as the first place to draw near to”.

These afore-mentioned external conditions will entice our minds to deviate, so first, we must guard ourselves against them. Next, our minds must be in “stillness” and “Samadhi”. So, we must engage in calm contemplation, which is “meditation”. “Carrying firewood and water is also meditation.” During the era of the Buddha, He taught everyone to engage in spiritual practice. “Your mind must be in stillness and Samadhi. You must find a place to earnestly contemplate.”

However, the Buddha knew that in the future, this world be the evil world of turbidities. Everyone must make good use of their time. Once we understand the Buddha-Dharma, then we will clearly understand the motion of the thoughts in our minds. In fact, if we return to the right direction, even though we are still in motion, there will be stillness in this motion. When we do the right thing, our mind will have no sense of loss, so our mind will always be free and at ease. As we walk upon the right path, our every action will be a meditation. This is because our direction [is right]. So, now we say that we often “sit there [in meditation]. If we interpret this literally, this means “just sitting there”. Time passes quickly, and we are just sitting there. But once we sit, are we concentrating? Are we focused? If we are not concentrating, if we are not focused, if we wallow in delusions and stir up many deviant thoughts, what do we do if we become obsessed?

So, it is best that our minds remain tranquil and we work hard to engage in calm contemplation. The Dharma is in our daily lives. What is far is in the external world; what is near is within our minds. We should turn our thoughts back to the search for our nature of True Suchness. [It speaks of] “an empty and tranquil place”. Clearly, we want to go among people, so why does it tell us to remain in an empty and tranquil place? If our minds become defiled among people, then things will become very complicated. If our minds remain undefiled, then external conditions will just be conditions, and our Root-Consciousnesses will just be Root-Consciousnesses. Sense objects are external; our Root-Consciousnesses are in our body and mind. As we conduct ourselves, everything we do must be [in align with] right direction and right conduct. If we are like this, then when we go among people and among external conditions, we will be free of entangling defilements. Like the lotus flower, we will stand steady in the mud. The lotus seeds are on the dirty mud, but the flower itself is pure. Moreover the mud nourishes the lotus.

In short, this is purity. Free of defilement, we will remain solitary in purity. Our minds will be vast and free of any of these impure thoughts, just like how the sky accommodates all things on earth. So the mind is also broad and open. It is tranquil place, a broad and open space. It is tranquil place, a broad and open space. This is why we must be very mindful.

From the text [of the sutra], we must delve deep into the essence of the Dharma. We must not allow superficial things to cause us to misunderstand. So, we must “cultivate and collect our minds, meaning we must take care to cultivate our mind.

So, next, the Buddha again called Manjusiri’s name. “Manjusri, this is known as the first place to draw near to.” We must distance ourselves from the afore-mentioned conditions and collect our minds. This is what it means to “free ourselves.”

The next passage says, “Furthermore, Bodhisattva-Mahasattvas contemplate all phenomena as empty. In their True Appearance. They are undeluded, unwavering, never-retreating and never-changing.”

This begins to bring us into that “emptiness”. How can we comprehend the emptiness of appearances? Everyone must be mindful. We must contemplate all phenomena. To “contemplate” means to be mindful. To “collect our minds” is contemplate. What should we try to concentrate on? On this “contemplation;” we must “contemplate all phenomena as empty.”

Contemplate all phenomena as empty: This means Bodhisattvas who cultivate the Practices of Bringing Peace and Joy, starting from a mind of right Samadhi, give rise to the wisdom of contemplation. They observe and contemplate all worldly and world-transcending [Dharma] and all [phenomena of] samsara and Nirvana as truly pure in essence, undefiled by even a single speck of dust. Thus, it says “empty”. This is the “supreme meaning of emptiness.”

“All phenomena [are] empty.” We have already formed aspirations to persistently uphold the sutra in the future evil world. In being willing to form aspirations, we can overcome many hardships. Most importantly, how do we avert these hardships? We must cultivate “the Practices of Bringing Peace and Joy.” So, we must cultivate the Four Practices of Bringing Peace and Joy so that afflictions will not defile us. Then, our minds will naturally be at peace, and we will have no afflictions. A mind free of afflictions [abides in] “peace and joy”. How can we avoid afflictions? This is someth8ing dedicated Bodhisattvas must know. We must start from “a mind of right Samadhi”. With right mindfulness and Samadhi, with right and focused [thoughts], with the right direction and the power of Samadhi, we will give rise to the radiant wisdom of contemplation.

We just mentioned “the wisdom of impartial contemplation.” We must contemplate with wisdom. when the light of wisdom shines, it illuminates our external conditions. How do we view the outside world with impartially? All sentient beings have Buddha-nature. We should use [discerning] wisdom to illuminate and [impartial] wisdom to be able to comprehend how all sentient beings are equal. Regarding all phenomena, we must cultivate and collect our minds to “contemplate all phenomena as empty.” In this way, our mind will be able to abide in the practices of peace and joy. Although dedicated Bodhisattvas are very busy, they still avert all sorts of hardships while also being able to get along peacefully and joyfully in this evil world of turbidities and can attain peace and joy in their hearts. So, “starting from a mind of right Samadhi, they give rise to the wisdom of contemplation by being among people. So, “They observe and contemplate all worldly and world-transcending [Dharma] and all [phenomena of] samsara and Nirvana as truly pure in essence as truly pure in essence.” We should work hard to mindfully observe and contemplate all worldly Dharma. How do interpersonal conflicts form in the world? How do the afore-mentioned people whom we should not draw near to [give rise to] these mindsets? Why are there such things in the world? Moreover, there are still people who are very pure-hearted in the world. Human nature is originally pure. The world has its worldly Dharma [such as] the Three Bonds and Five Constant Virtues; there are all kinds of rules like these!

However, when sentient beings’ minds become confused, [the world] turns into chaos. [These rules] prevent us from nearing such a chaotic situation. We must be mindful and remind ourselves to be vigilant. How do we follow the worldly Dharma? Good deeds and filial plenty cannot wait. This is why we must “return,” return to the principles to humanity. How do we maintain harmony in our families? This is the worldly Dharma.

How can we adhere to the Three Bonds and Five Constant Virtues to bring our families back into harmony? When families are harmonious, then society will naturally be harmonious. This is the worldly Dharma. What about the world-transcending Dharma? Cyclic existence is full of suffering! When it comes to the worldly Dharma, we are already teaching based on it, guiding everyone away from a confused mind and deviant thoughts, patiently leading them with the worldly Dharma toward an ethical and principled course [of life]. However, samsara will always be full of suffering. We must transcend this world. The world-transcending Dharma is a deeper level of the Buddha-Dharma. How can we transcend the cyclic of birth and death and enter Nirvana?

“Nirvana” is world-transcending Dharma. “Samara” is small just worldly Dharma. We must find a way to [transcend] the worldly Dharma. A single instance of carelessness will fill us afflictions and cause us to create [negative] karma. Thus, it is better to learn how to transcend samsara. From the world-transcending Dharma, we [learn to] be free of attachments and understand that all phenomena are empty. This helps everyone gradually break away from greed, anger, ignorance, arrogance and doubt. We must slowly eliminate these habitual tendencies to return to our pure, intrinsic nature, which is tranquil and clear and return to the state of Nirvana, which is non-arising and non-ceasing. Thus, “All [phenomena] of samsara and Nirvana [are] truly pure in essence.” Ultimately, in our nature of True Suchness, we are pure. [Our nature] is “undefiled by even a single speck of dust”; it is “empty”. Thus, we are all very pure, completely pure. Although [all is] “emptiness,” we understand “wondrous existence”. Wondrous existence is “True Suchness”. Our nature of True Suchness is pure, undefiled by the dust of worldly afflictions. Although we are in this turbulent world of temptations, we remain undefiled, just like the lotus flower. Therefore, this is called “emptiness”. All things return to emptiness. This is just like empty space. All things on Earth experience “formation” and “decay,” but when it comes to space, they have no effect on it whatsoever. This space will always remain empty space. No matter how Earth changes and transforms, the sky will always remain empty space. It remains undefiled. This is called “the supreme meaning of emptiness.” Emptiness will always be empty, meaning that it cannot be defiled by anything. Although we say that the sky is being polluted, this pollution is actually still very far away from the sky. The sky originally has no appearance or form. It is just that our eyes cannot see past the sky. So, all of this air and this atmosphere is within this empty void. All that we see is the blue sky and white clouds and so on, the day and the night. In reality, they are just tangible objects within the greater universe. Earth is also a planet within the greater universe. It is the same principle. So, the distance between our sky and the sun is still very great. It is not that the sun is stuck in our sky. Similarly, emptiness is infinite and formless. This is the principle of “emptiness”. We must understand that “emptiness” is this kind of emptiness, an infinite emptiness, a formless emptiness. This emptiness is completely undefiled. This is “true emptiness”. Because we have true emptiness, we are able to truly have “wondrous existence”.

So, neither true emptiness nor wondrous existence have any defilements. “Emptiness” is undefiled. “Wondrous existence” is also undefiled. This is called the “absolute truth,” which is the principles. This is the “supreme meaning of emptiness,” which is the absolute truth. “In their True Appearance” refers to “the Dharma within the mind of every sentient being.”

In their True Appearance: This refers to the Dharma within the mind of every sentient being, which is equal to the ultimate truth realized by all Buddhas. It is unwavering, imperishable and free from all deluded conditions and appearances.

This all comes back to the fact that what is near is the Dharma within the mind of every sentient being, “which is equal to the ultimate truth realized by all Buddhas.” In truth, within our original minds, we all possess this ultimate truth. “This refers to the Dharma within the mind of every sentient being.” We must see clearly that this is “equal to the ultimate truth realized by all Buddhas.” It is all the same. So, [this truth] is “unwavering, imperishable.” The Dharma of True Suchness in our minds is the same as that which all Buddhas realized. It is “equal, unwavering, imperishable”. Since it has no appearance, how could it “waver”? Since it has no appearance, how could it “perish”? So, it is “free from all deluded conditions and appearances.” We have already freed ourselves from many deluded thoughts and conditions around us, and we are not clinging to any appearances. Therefore, we are “undeluded”.

Undeluded: We must recognize our essence to be intrinsically empty and truly free of delusion. When we turn away from enlightenment, we converge with dusts. We must distance ourselves from these appearances of delusion. By eliminating dusts and converging with enlightenment, we will be free of confused and deluded thoughts.

We must be undeluded. If our minds are without hindrances, then we will be free of delusions. Therefore, we will be “undeluded” and recognize that our essence is intrinsically empty. If we truly recognize our own essence, [we will see it as] “truly free of delusions”. We must recognize our original essence, our nature of True Suchness. At the moment, our nature of True Suchness is still unrecognizable to us. Although our nature of True Suchness is within us, we do not recognize it ourselves. If we did, then we could make use of its strength to work together peacefully. Instead, our actions and our nature of True Suchness often go against each other. So, we ourselves have not yet discovered the essence of our True Suchness.

So, we need to “recognize” our essence to be intrinsically empty. Our essence, our nature of True Suchness, has always been truly empty, like the empty void, without substance or appearance. If we can understand that this “emptiness” is infinite emptiness, that the nature of emptiness is infinite, then we should also understand that the nature of emptiness contains “wondrous existence”. Clearly, when it comes to “wondrous existence,” we cannot take anything with us; “only karma follows us to our next life”. Clearly, when we come back to the world again, the world is so complicated and contains so many things that bring afflictions. We are still unable to understand that concealed within our afflictions lies our nature of True Suchness. This means our minds should be very open so as to encompass the universe. Instead, we get stuck and draw in all kinds of interpersonal conflicts. This is because we are deluded. So, how can we learn to be “undeluded”? We must earnestly come to recognize that our own intrinsic nature is “truly free of delusion”. Once we let go of our attachments, we will naturally become undeluded. We are attached to external conditions, so we give rise to many delusions. Ordinary beings are always “turning away from enlightenment [and] converging with dusts”. Why do we “turn away from enlightenment”? Why do we “converge with dusts”? We just said earlier that we “turn away from enlightenment” because we do not know ourselves, know our nature of True Suchness. We do not know our nature of True Suchness, so we often go against our enlightened nature. This is called “turning away from enlightenment”. We “turn away from enlightenment” amongst dust and defilement. [Instead,] we must come to know it very well. So, we must “distance ourselves from these appearances of delusion”. First, we must refrain from drawing near the aforementioned external conditions. We must avoid them. We should refrain from drawing near what we must not draw near to. We must put into practice the Dharma we must seek. This is what we must do. The “Three Studies” and “Six Paramitas” are what we must practice in the course of our learning. So, we should work diligently to “eliminate dust and converge with enlightenment and converging with dust,” for we will become deluded there. We must “eliminate dusts and converge with enlightenment” so that we can “be free of confused and deluded thoughts”. This requires us to be very mindful.

Unwavering: The Dharma-nature is intrinsically empty. By thoroughly understanding that the nature of emptiness is equal in all, we will become unwavering. Never-retreating: Sentient beings’ nature of True Suchness goes along with conditions without ever decreasing. Never-changing: In all Buddhas, [their nature] never changes. True Suchness followed what is pure without ever increasing.

Unwavering means “the Dharma-nature is intrinsically empty. By thoroughly understanding that the nature of emptiness is equal in all, we will become unwavering”. Our Dharma-nature is intrinsically empty. Our nature of True Suchness is one with true emptiness. When true emptiness and our nature become one, this is “wondrous existence”. We must personally seek to comprehend the nature of “true emptiness”. So, “the Dharma-nature is intrinsically empty. By thoroughly understanding that the nature of emptiness is equal in all, we will become unwavering”. Naturally, we will become “unwavering” and “never-retreating”. “Never-retreating” means, “Sentient beings’ nature of True Suchness follows conditions without ever decreasing”. Sentient beings still have this nature of True Suchness. We have never departed from our nature of True Suchness. It is just that we do not recognize it. We are unfamiliar with it.

In truth, it is within ourselves, within our own intrinsic nature. So, sentient beings’ nature of True Suchness only goes along with conditions. We go along with conditions within this world, this world of defilement. We follow these external conditions of greed, anger, ignorance and so on. This is what our nature of True Suchness is like from the outside. When we are out in the world, we bring our nature of True Suchness with us and become defiled by many things. Then, our nature of True Suchness cannot manifest its potential. So, it is still there, and it never decreases. Although [our True Suchness] follows us as we contrive affinities, it is still “unwavering” and never decreases. This is our nature of True Suchness. It is just that we have yet to awaken to it. We just discussed how the Dharma latent within sentient beings’ minds is the Dharma that the Buddha awakened to. The principles are the same. True Suchness goes along with conditions without ever decreasing. So, we are “never-changing,” which means [our nature] has never changed.

“In all Boddhas, [their nature] never changes”. Since the principles the Buddha awakened to are the same principles as in sentient beings’ minds, “in all Buddhas, [their nature] never changes”. Our intrinsic nature has always been unwavering and never-changing. The Buddha’s enlightenment also never changed. In truth, the Dharma has always been like this. It is just that we sentient beings are deluded. The Buddha turns the Dharma-wheel and transforms delusions into awakening.

In truth, everyone intrinsically has an awakened nature. We must mindfully seek to comprehend all of this. Our nature of True Suchness follows what is pure and never increases. If we could return to our nature to True Suchness, then naturally we would become pure. Our nature of True Suchness will always be pure. It never increases or decreases. Since it neither increases nor decreases, how would there be any “change”?

“Their minds have never wavered or changed. They train their minds to be as unwavering as Mt. Sumeru. Bodhisattvas possess the right understanding and the right views, thus they contemplate all things in this way”.

We must collect our minds and remain unwavering just like Mt. Sumeru. In truth, anything with form can waver. During the earthquake in Nepal, Mt. Sumeru wavered as well. It is not as if we will never move. However, our minds are formless, thus our minds are unwavering. When the Buddha was in the world, He always used Mt. Sumeru as an analogy for “unwavering”. But the Buddha also said that the world goes through formation, existence, decay and disappearance. Even Mt. Sumeru, in the Medicine Buddha Sutra, wavered at one time. In the Medicine Buddha Sutra, He even talks about it topping. So. We must mindfully seek to comprehend that “the Dharma-nature is intrinsically empty” and the principles are pure. “Bodhisattvas possess the right understanding and the right views, thus they contemplate all things in this way”. This is how we must contemplate the Dharma.

Everyone, we must always be mindful. Loves has its power. Although it is [intangible], it has its power, and this power is pure. It is pure love that enable us to practice the Six Paramitas and remain undefiled as we give unconditionally to others. We must earnestly and neatly plant the seed of the Six Paramitas in this world. Whether it is the worldly Dharma or world-transcending Dharma, it is pure and undefiled and enables us to serve among people without impairing or defiling our intrinsic nature. This, I believe, is the Bodhisattva-path that must practice. So, we must always be mindful!

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

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