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 20180724《靜思妙蓮華》虛空無相 語言道斷 (第1398集) (法華經·安樂行品第十四)

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發表主題: 20180724《靜思妙蓮華》虛空無相 語言道斷 (第1398集) (法華經·安樂行品第十四)   周一 7月 23, 2018 10:08 pm

20180724《靜思妙蓮華》虛空無相 語言道斷 (第1398集) (法華經·安樂行品第十四)

⊙諸法當體真淨,不受塵染云空,即第一義諦空。諸法無人我相,如虛空藏萬物,蘊含有相而幻;真空而實妙有。如是語言道斷。
⊙虛與空者,無之別稱也。虛無形質,空無障礙,故名虛空。心體本寂,實相如是,一切法諸,性自寂滅。
⊙「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》
⊙「如虛空,無所有性。一切語言道斷,不生、不出、不起。」《法華經安樂行品第十四》
⊙如虛空,無所有性:如大虛空,無一切相;無其所有,種種虛妄無所有性,妄既本空,心思處滅。
⊙一切語言道斷:虛空無所有,亦無能有,實無所有一定之性,詮說不及,故語言道斷。
⊙不生、不出、不起:性空寂故,本自不生。業如幻化,本自不出。無始無終,本自不起。
⊙起滅皆幻,性自本空。三際來之,如夢所見。生出起相,皆不可得。
⊙三相:生、出、起,皆有為相,即有變異,有毀滅。
⊙解脫相:無生死相;離相:無涅槃相;滅相:無生死涅槃相;連無相亦無!即是非有、非無之中道妙理。
⊙若實相平等常住,無毀滅相故無生相,無變異相,故無出相、無起相。

【證嚴上人開示】
諸法當體真淨,不受塵染云空,即第一義諦空。諸法無人我相,如虛空藏萬物,蘊含有相而幻;真空而實妙有。如是語言道斷。

諸法當體真淨
不受塵染云空
即第一義諦空
諸法無人我相
如虛空藏萬物
蘊含有相而幻
真空而實妙有
如是語言道斷

用心聽、解、入,大家真的要用一點點功夫,攝心,好好來體會「空」,真空、妙有很奧妙。人間所有的有相那個「妙」;所有的形相皆空。是啊,「諸法當體真淨」,因為空,所以無物,而什麼會受污染呢?沒有,就沒有受污染的。看看,沒有看到的,在這個大空間裡,不論多少污濁的東西,空,一片空,污濁的東西還是污染不到;「空」,無形,就是因為無形,它無體,所以不受污濁。若是真實的「體」,那就是「真淨」,是最乾淨的,沒有形相,這就是原來清淨的本性。這才是我們清淨的自體,也是一切道理,原來的真諦,那就是「真淨」。道理在這個物質的上面,沒有合成之前,沒有體相,當然原來就是清淨。因為它原來清淨,「不受塵染」,因為這樣,叫做「空」。

這個「空」,它的原來的體性,就是「第一義諦空」,第一義。世間所有一切的妙法,妙在無體、無性、無相那個真理,那就是「空」。「諸法無人我相」,法,是體空,哪有人、有「我」這個相?也沒有你、也沒有他的相。其實人原來是在哪裡?還沒有生之前,我們是長得怎麼樣呢?我們生來,這一輩子幾十年,再找回到過去,找不到!我們過去的相,我們已經看不到了。過去的我們已經沒有了,現在的我們呢?也不常住,在現在此刻,不斷分秒變遷;我們的體內,也是不斷新陳代謝過去,身體的行蘊,還是不斷地在變化,無時不在變化中,這是我們的身體,無住相、無定相,一切都沒有一個「原」的我。所以,這種人我相,求不可得。

要說這個孩子忽然間出現了,在向我們打招呼,我們認不出來,「哎呀!我是某某人。」「這個孩子那個時候來之時,師父,您摸過他的頭。」「喔!那是幾年前?」「在二年前、一年前。」沒看到,轉眼間,這個孩子化為,從這麼小變這麼大;那個時候伸手就摸得到,現在就是要踮起腳來,還是手要伸高來摸他。這就是求相不可得,所以,「諸法無人我相」,自己是這樣,別人也是這樣,這是很自然,很簡單。每一天都看到沒有感覺,但是都是在這個,沒有感覺中,變化,不知不覺。這就是我們眾生的無明,沒有真正明白,平時變化種種的形相,我們都「不覺」,就是不明白。這樣所說的「無明」,日常的生活都不很清楚,真正其中每日、每時刻,無不都是虛幻變化中。人生就是這樣,所以「諸法無人我相」。多用一點心,我們就能夠了解、體會。

「如虛空藏萬物」。宇宙、天空,這裡面蘊藏著多少的東西;山河大地,一草一木,哪一項不是在這個大空間裡呢?是!是在大空間裡。不只是有形的東西,它涵蓋著很多道理,物理、生理,很多很多的道理都是在這裡面。

就像我們有一群,來自十個國家(地區)的實業家,他們來靜思生活營,不同的國家,不同的企業,不同的科技,不同的科學家,全都集會來到花蓮。不論什麼樣的活動,不論哪一位講師來分享心得,聽到這群企業家、科學者、科技人,人人在分享中,都是這樣哽咽、感動,這幾天之中所見、所聞,他們無不感動。不論在國際間,不論在富有的人間、貧困的人生,富有的人怎麼付出,愛心的人如何用心,去為需要的苦難人如何付出?大家聽,都是很感動。

尤其是環保站,看看,這一大堆被放棄的東西,原來就是污染源,影響到氣候,影響到人類的生態,這些東西是怎麼來?要如何讓它回歸物質它的本性,他們都有聽,有去經驗、去了解,無不都是很震撼。他是學者,他是科學家,他是博士,他是企業家,竟然在這樣一堆的環保,這群的做環保的人,只是在裡面所體悟到的,所見識到的無不都是「魂」,無不都是生命。本來被丟掉的,這全都是經過了人的精心,用他們的心去取資源,不論從山礦來的,從地底下抽的,很多很多;取得的,全都是人用心計較去取得。傷害多少的山河大地,破壞、抽取了多少,地底下的物質,大地都已經受傷了。物質呢,資源也已經快要空掉了,最後的結果就是一堆垃圾,過程是污染空氣,污染大地。

用心細思惟,本來回歸到空無一物。山河大地歸山河大地,豐富的土地,那就是在土地之中,我們沒有去發現它,裡面所含藏的這麼多的東西。物歸原處,本來相安無事,就是人類要去計較它,去爭、去取、去得,所以,造成了人和人之間,互相爭端,世間有很多人禍,也是這樣出來的。看看,常常聽到礦場崩塌了,崩下來了,塌下來了;或者是礦坑爆炸了,一不小心,造成了災難,也很多。本來沒有這麼多事情,不論是意外的,或者是人禍的,或者是造成了人間種種的欠缺,現在已經大家很緊張。油源、水源也一直都很緊張,尤其是影響到大地的水資源,整個整個人類的生態,都已經受損、受傷了。

這就是虛空中所蘊藏著的萬物,就是被人類虛妄顛倒的心,所以沒有節度去取得,所以造成了這麼多,很多的問題發生,這就是「有」。從虛妄中,產生了很多的「有相」,這些相就很多了。是垃圾的相嗎?或者是黃金、鑽石的相呢?這無不都是人類破壞山礦、破壞大地所得來的,不論是很有價值的、沒有價值的,變垃圾等等。「蘊含有相而幻」。真的是,本來它是在山裡的礦,本來是在大地,因為人的顛倒去爭取,變成了有相,而變成了虛幻。就像那堆垃圾不就是嗎?這就是人間,「如虛空藏萬物」。。

因為人類顛倒,所以,人類去了解了,這大地蘊藏著、蘊含著的東西,就這樣去取。可要知道想要一塊寶石,是要挖,傷害多大的山呢!這樣找得到找不到,不知道,總是一定將它找到這麼大塊,切一切,磨一磨,琢,說不定只有一點點而已。犧牲多少、破壞多大,只是在虛榮相,貪著虛華、虛榮,這些東西就顯耀他的身份,還有其他什麼作用?沒有,只是它取得難,所以價值高,只是這樣而已,可是要破壞多少呢?說起來,人也是神通廣大,沒有用在正確,變成了去破壞。所以,相,是有相的東西回歸到來,真的沒有什麼是很價值的,還是這些很價值的東西,放在保險箱,還有什麼作用呢?虛幻,是虛華的心態來造成。所以,我們回歸到真理來,那就是「真空而實妙有」。

其實,天地宇宙,這個「真空」裡面,蘊含著奧妙的道理,但是,這種妙的道理,被人類顛倒使用了,所以像這樣,要如何去分析一切諸法,性,本來就都是自寂滅,我們本來的性,都是這樣非常的靜寂,無生就無滅,無相就沒有壞,但是就是因為人去執著,從這個所有的理去把它用心,顛倒想,去合成它,所以很多東西,有了假相。所以很多,要如何去分析呢?說之不盡。所以現在大學的科,科系是愈分愈細,愈分愈細密,因為要專精。所以因為這樣,分出去很多、很多,造成了隔行如隔山,到底你隔行如隔山,這個科學無法去解釋那個科學。這就是連一個科學就有很多,有天的天文,有地的地理,分道揚鑣了,到底很多的道理要如何講起呢?真是「語言道斷」,我能講到這裡,再去的這不是我的專門,就是這樣。所以虛與空,就是真正是虛空。

虛與空者
無之別稱也
虛無形質
空無障礙
故名虛空
心體本寂
實相如是
一切法諸性自寂滅

「虛」與「空」是無有之別稱,就是都沒有。「空」就是全都沒有,無有一物叫作「空」;「虛」就是無形,什麼樣的形,為它取什麼樣的名。其實,無形就沒有名,有形的名也是假名。桌子,難道真的是桌子嗎?桌子,它的源頭是什麼?「這明明是一塊板子,你怎麼說是桌子?」「不是,不是板,它是木。」木,木為什麼叫做木?樹,樹,是啊,是樹。不是樹,因為樹是從種子來。很多很多的名相,這都是以這個相去為它定名。其實,虛、幻,沒有。所以「虛無形質,空無障礙」。虛,就是沒有,你把它分開,什麼都沒有;但是空,空也是虛空無障礙,有東西才有障礙,沒有東西就沒有障礙,所以這樣叫做虛空。

「心體本寂」,我們的心的道理,本來沒有什麼,沒有什麼,我們的生理和我們的心理。其實,生理,想想看,未生出來時,在母親的體內,投胎之前,從沒有到有,慢慢六根,慢慢五臟六腑,慢慢地,我們的根起來。本來也是沒有,生出來之後,這樣的變相一直到現在。所以我們的身體,光是在生理,生理拿出來看,沒有東西,構成了有這個體。你擔憂,你歡喜,拿出來看,「擔憂」拿不出來,「歡喜」拿不出來,但是就是在你的表態上,看到你的表情。所以心體,都是虛幻,只是一個表相而已。所以「實相如是」。「一切諸法,性自寂滅」,一切的諸法是性自滅,不論什麼法,性都是滅,本來就是沒有,滅就是空,本來就是空。這些道理我們若能清楚,下面要說的話才能了解。

所以前面的文:「復次,菩薩摩訶薩觀一切法空。」

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》

釋迦牟尼佛再說,還有,菩薩,「一切法空,如實相」。菩薩們,大家要清楚,「一切法空,如實相,不顛倒、不動、不退、不轉」。所以所有的菩薩要用心,細細思考,好好來觀照,一切一切的實相就是不顛倒,就是不動、不退、不轉,這我們要用心去體會。

「如虛空,無所有性。」

如虛空
無所有性
一切語言道斷
不生 不出 不起
《法華經安樂行品第十四》

就像虛空,沒有什麼性,你看我們的空間,你們人與人所距離的空間,真的是還有什麼呢?你看不到,這空間是無所有性,在這個空間裡。「一切語言道斷,不生、不出、不起」,這我們就要很用心去體會,這段經文的含義。「如虛空,無所有性」。就像大虛空,我們現在,現在你我的距離,是小小的距離的空間,大家所坐著的,更加近距離的空間,其實我們來看,看那大虛空,這天地宇宙間,這個大虛空,「無一切相」,是沒有,這個大虛空沒有一切相。

如虛空
無所有性:
如大虛空
無一切相
無其所有
種種虛妄無所有性
妄既本空
心思處滅

天文學家葉教授,還有陳所長等等,他們送給慈濟一顆,我們在虛空中,「慈濟」小行星,已經在國際間,正式命名為「慈濟」的小行星。我就一直想要知道,追根究柢,既然用「慈濟」的名命名,這顆星離開我們地球是多遠呢?我很感恩,葉教授,他是國家的院士哦!我這樣一句話,這樣問他,很用心,真的他也去了解到了。

我還要知道的,這顆星繞在太陽系中,地球繞太陽,是三百六十五天是一年,它繞一圈到底是幾年?葉教授很確定告訴我,跟我解釋,我們的「慈濟」小行星,在大虛空中,它是繞大陽一圈而已,而我們已經過五年七個月了。所以,我們將來發願生回到,我們的「慈濟」小行星的世界,生命會比較長。你看,那裡過一年,是我們的五年七個月哦!除了這位葉教授,陳所長一群的天文學家,後面還有一群也是,毛教授、毛博士,他也拿著,要來交功課,因為師父要問他:「哪一顆星星是忉利天?」他這樣,已經這樣去找,找到連《大藏經》都找了,天文學也找了,終於讓他發現到一顆星星,在那個星河之中,一顆特別發亮那顆星。所以看到大虛空的那個景象,聽到專門的科學家來分析,真的是佛法是科學,佛法真的要好好去體會。所以,這大虛空沒有一切相,因為天外有天,世界外還有另外的世界,但是我們凡夫肉眼真的是難,很難,難得去分析。所以,這個大虛空,真的在每一顆星球的外面,也還很大的虛空,所以真的整個虛空沒有一切相。其他的物質,就是在大虛空中而構成的,所以真正的虛空沒有一切相,「無其所有」才叫做虛空。虛空,本來無一物,就是本來就是沒有,所以「無其所有,種種虛妄無所有性」,一切虛妄,沒有什麼樣的性,所以這就是虛空。不論是晝夜,不論是晚上、白天;白天、晚上,其實它沒有分別白天、晚上,是地球自轉,有白天、晚上。所有的星在自轉,有無量數的太陽系,所有的星,都是屬於它另外的世界,另外的太陽系在互轉。這就是虛空本來無相、無性,所以「種種虛妄無所有性」。

這在這個空的裡面,所看到的是它們的各別體,都有成、住、壞、空之時。所以「妄無所有性」。「妄既本空,心思處滅」。既然「妄」,就沒有,空,空間什麼都沒有,分析到最後,真的什麼都沒有。而我們的觀念、思想呢?其實心,我們的心所在想的,想到哪裡,就離開哪裡;定在哪裡,又離開哪裡,所以「心思處滅」。你想到這裡,就沒有在那裡,所以這種就是「動」,沒有定相。連我們的心思是跟著境界在動,我現在在說話,你們也跟著我的聲音在動;你若沒有動,我在說什麼,你們也不知道。要有分別,現在在說,你們的思考也要分別,去「識」,這就是「耳識」,耳根接觸聲音,這識,耳識,意識要去將它分別,才知道是在說什麼。說有、說無,說真或說假,你們就要聽進去,才有辦法分別。所以,這就是「心思處滅」。你聽這句,要換這一句,所以也是前念是不見了,後念再產生。所以,「一切語言道斷」。

一切語言道斷:
虛空無所有
亦無能有
實無所有一定之性
詮說不及
故語言道斷

一切的語言都是「空」、「斷」。所以,「虛空無所有,亦無能有」。這個虛空本來就是空空的,無所有,它也沒有辦法無中生有!所以,「空無所有,亦無能有」。沒辦法憑空化一個什麼出來,沒有。「實無所有一定之性」。所以這樣,實在是沒有什麼性。就像石斛那種的藥草,說是所有藥草之王,是寶。這個東西,原來就是可以寄在樹上,它能夠生起來,這也是寶。但是,它若沒有貼在樹上,那就沒有辦法了。雖然它不用在土地,但是它一定要有一項物質,讓它貼著,它才有辦法產生。

這草本,藥草的,還是同樣要有物質。藥草供應人體,要不然人體有病無藥醫;有藥,但是它要有依靠一個地方,它才有辦法生長。什麼樣的氣候,什麼地質等等,這都要互相依靠,要不然空空,要依靠什麼呢?所以,「實無所有一定之性」。若沒有東西,它就沒有辦法,定下來那個「性」去發揮,沒有。所以,「詮說不及」。要將這些東西全都準備好,要向你解釋這項,說那項,「言語道斷」,說不完!真的是天下光是要說「空」,就說不完!所以,「不生、不出、不起」。

不生、不出、
不起:
性空寂故
本自不生
業如幻化
本自不出
無始無終
本自不起

這種「性空寂故」。這個性是空寂,是空的,是「寂」,本來就沒有。天地間有很多東西本來是沒有,因為有這個空間,所以才會有這些東西;沒有空間,你就沒有東西。但是,空間本來就沒有東西,這就是要用這樣去了解。「性空寂故」。性就是空,就是有這個空寂,所以,本來「本自不生」。這個空間,沒有辦法自己生出東西,但是「業如幻化」,就是有很多的,造很多的業,就是有很多的,造很多的業,所以就有這個東西名稱。很多東西都是合成,這種要有人,人的識,意識去運作,這就是本來自不生。自己單體沒有辦法生,但是「業如幻化」。就是因為做了,動作了,很多的動作,才開始會合。這種很多東西因緣會合了。所以,「本自不出」。本來就不生,要從哪裡出呢?所以,它本來亦不出。「無始無終」,沒有盡頭,沒有終止。這個虛空,長空,大虛空是無始終,「本自不起」,本來就沒有自己會生起的。那就是「起滅皆幻,性自本空」。真的「起」和「滅」,都是幻化。

起滅皆幻
性自本空
三際來之
如夢所見
生出起相
皆不可得

「幻化」就是有所作為,讓它這樣合成起來,變成了有一項東西。就像你們,我們在看,看這句話是要說什麼,看牆壁,牆壁它就浮出字來了。這個字如何來的呢?這個相是如何來呢?這是經過很多人用心思去組合,去研究等等,科技去發展,發展出了這種應萬物而幻化。在那個地方,一片牆壁,可以現出了種種,不同的字幕出來,不同的形相出來。一片的電視,它也可以照出人來。看,這本來就沒有,卻是有這樣的幻化。所以,「性空寂故」。性本來是空,空寂,所以這就是沒有「自性」,沒有「性」自己會生,所以這就是經過很多的作業,很多行業過來,去作為,才有這些東西,這樣讓我們人生,大家在使用這些幻化,卻是人就是受到這些幻化,迷住了心。

現在多少人「掌中乾坤」,孩子就拿著那個手機,不論老和年輕,路上就是低頭。這個東西從哪裡來?感覺在手掌中,這手掌中它就有這麼的多,迷住了他的心,走路也這樣頭低低。所以,現在的人生就是這樣,這就是由作業,引起了幻化的形相出來。社會很多問題,幻化中產生了很多的煩惱,問題很多。所以,「本自不出」,所以「無始無終,本自不起」。這就是我們要很去用心去體會。

所以,在這個「起滅皆幻」。不論這個東西是起,或者是滅,這全都是幻,虛幻。就像螢幕上,一下就閃過去了。所以,「性自本空」。這個性本來就是空。「三際來之」。「三際」,就是過去、現在、未來,就是這樣,「如夢所見」。昨天的事情已經過去了,晚上在睡也還在作夢,到底晚上這段真?或者是昨天那段是呢?同樣人、事、物,或者是你眼睛所看到的那塊,電視裡面、手機裡面是真呢?實在是了不可得。昨天是昨天,過去了,所以過去、現在、未來。不過,我們每一個時候,就要把握在那個時間。

就像靜思生活營圓緣了,這個圓緣成就了多少菩薩!假使他們這念心若這樣保持著,發揮,回去他們的國土,去發揮他那分的力量,就能夠造福人群。聽到很多企業家在宣導茹素,每一個公司推出去,是好幾千人能夠茹素,好事!能夠這念心永恆保持下去。聽到大家在臺上發願要茹素,要素食,這感覺好事啊!希望好事情是這樣定下來。但是,這人生是不是有變化呢?要看這念心。今生此世是不是有堅定下來嗎?不論是他的「三際」,剛才一念,現在,不停的未來,這念心要好好方向正確。這叫做「妙有」,雖然一切「空」,但是也能夠成為一切「妙有」,發揮很大。

所以,雖然人生如夢,但是夢中也有真。常常聽到:「就夢見,所以又是我應該這樣做。」就像約旦濟暉難道不就是嗎?夢見師父,師父對他說了什麼話,他很,就是夢中也是真,他要為人群,為苦難人去付出。他決定還是繼續堅持下去,所以夢,真實的,很有愛心的人的一場夢,能夠造福多少人,解除多少的困難。若是,若是沒有心的人,或者是心性不定,讓他聽很多,也沒有作用,就是在人間面對,也沒有作用。所以,如夢幻,但是人生本來就是在夢幻中。所以,「生出起相」,生和出、起,三相,「皆不可得」。說我們何時生的,其實何時生的,和現在的形,和未來的死,其實是一條線。老實說,到了最後是皆不可得,最後就是不見了。所以「生出起相」。生和出現,和起作起來,這個有相都是不可得,不是我們永遠得的到,不是我們所擁有。

三相:
生、出、起
皆有為相
即有變異
有毀滅

所以,三相:「生、出、起,皆有為相」。「有為相」就是人造作的相,這叫做「有為相」。「即有變異,有毀滅」。這就是我們所在,每天在接觸的,都是在有變異,有異滅。所以,這個「三相」,我們要去了解。「解脫相、離相、滅相」。

解脫相:無生死相
離相:無涅槃相
滅相:
無生死涅槃相
連無相亦無
即是非有、非無之
中道妙理

那就是要如何能夠解脫?修行要如何解脫?「解脫」,是「無生死相」。我們若能夠「無生」,不要一直執著在那個「生」,有的人什麼要傳宗接代,難道一定要這樣呢?我們應該了解人生就是苦難偏多,這就是「無生死相」。我們若能夠脫離了這種執著,沒有生死相,我們就解脫了。尤其是「離相」,「離相」,也沒有「涅槃相」,我們要修行,也不用說我要執著在:我一定要到達解脫,入涅槃。

其實,死就全都一切皆休了,還要什麼自我解脫?這個解脫,因為這樣一念,所以會變成了小乘,守在小乘法。所以我們不用煩惱我們的生死,生就來了,自然生,「既來之,則安之」,好好為人群去付出。「六度萬行」,不用擔心未來我會再來生輪迴。是啊!來生輪迴,就是要來度眾生,所以不用擔心,不用執著。所以,「離相,無涅槃相」。我們要脫離這個相的掛礙。「滅相」,就是連無相都不用去想,反正來之,安之;方向對了,往六度萬行走,這樣就對了。「即是非有、非無之中道妙理」。中道,不用執在有,不用執在空,我們走在中道,這才是我們修行無障礙的地方。所以,「若實相平等常住」。

若實相平等常住
無毀滅相故無生相
無變異相
故無出相無起相

實相,若要說實相,它是很平等,是常住的,所以就是「故無生相」,我們就不用有生相。所以,沒有這個毀滅相,所以就無生相。「無變異相」。就是沒有什麼樣的變異,我們的心態不用跟著它變異,那就「無出相、無起相」。這就是我們修行,要去透徹了解的相,這才是真正的實相。一切平等,也是平常,不用很刻意。不過,我們要了解,世間萬物本來就是沒有,是人這樣虛幻造作,那個造業來構成了這麼多的物。有的變成了廢物,有的在過程中造成污濁等等,這都是人類的顛倒妄想,所造作出來。很多的事情,言語道斷,沒有辦法一語道盡。所以,我們時時多用心!


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Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: Emptiness Is Without Appearance and Beyond Words (虛空無相 語言道斷)
Date: July.24.2018

“All phenomena are 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 free of the appearance of self and other. This is like how the empty void holds the myriad things; all that is contained [in it] has appearance but is illusory. Thus, true emptiness is actually wondrous existence. Such things are beyond the reach of language.”

Please mindfully seek to listen and understand as we enter [the Dharma]. We must all genuinely put in more effort and focus our mind to earnestly comprehend “emptiness”. True emptiness and wondrous existence are profound. All appearances in this world are “wondrous”. All forms and appearances are empty. Indeed, “All phenomena are truly pure in essence.” Because phenomena are empty, they are devoid of substance, so what is there that can be defiled? There is nothing that can be defiled. If we look around, there is nothing to see. Within this great space, no matter how many defiled things there are, this emptiness can never be defiled. “Emptiness” is intangible; because it is intangible, it has no substance, thus, it cannot be defiled. When it comes to true “essence,” it is “truly pure”. This is what is most pure; it has no form or appearance. This is our pure intrinsic nature. This is our pure self-essence as well as the intrinsic true essence of all principles. This is “true purity”.

The principles come before material substance. Before [phenomena] are formed, they have no substance or appearance, thus it follows that they are originally pure. Because [all phenomena] are originally pure and “undefiled by even a single speck of dust,” they are said to be “empty”. Speaking of “emptiness,” the intrinsic nature of its essence is “the supreme meaning of emptiness.” This is the supreme meaning. All wondrous phenomena within the world are wondrous because of this true principle that has neither substance, nature nor appearance. [That principle] is “emptiness”.

“All phenomena are free of the appearance of self and other.” If all phenomena are empty in essence, how could there be any appearance of self and other, or the appearance of us and them? Where do humans actually come from? Before we were born, what did we look like? Once we are born, we live for several decades, but when we look for what is past, we cannot find it. We cannot see our past appearance anymore. Our previous self is gone, so what about our present self? This is also impermanent. At every moment, we are continuously changing. Even our bodies are constantly metabolizing, ceaselessly undergoing infinitesimal changes. There is never any moment in which we are not changing, therefore, our body has no permanent or fixed appearance. All things are devoid of an original “self”. Thus, we cannot hold on to any such appearance of self and other.

For example, a child suddenly appeared and said hello to me, but I did not recognize him. “Oh, my name is so-and-so. This child came to visit back then. Master, you touched his head.” “Oh, how many years ago was it?” “One or two years ago.” I had not seen him, and in the blink of an eye, this child had grown up and gotten so big. Back then, I could reach out and touch his head. Now, even if I stand on my tip-toes, I need to reach up in order to touch his head. Thus, we cannot hold on to any appearances. So, “All phenomena are free of the appearance of self and other.”

This is the case for us as well as for others. This is very natural and very simple. We see it every day without noticing it, but it is all changing without us realizing it. Such is the ignorance of us sentient beings; we do not understand things clearly. As for these ever-changing appearances, we are unaware of them, so we do not understand them clearly. This [lack of clarity] is called “ignorance”; we do not clearly understand our everyday lives.

In truth, in every moment of every day, everything is illusory and changing. Such is life. Thus, “All phenomena are free of the appearance of self and other.” By being a little more mindful, we will be able to understand and comprehend this.

“This is like how the empty void holds the myriad things.” The universe and sky hold countless things. There are mountains, rivers, the earth, every blade of grass and every tree, isn’t this all contained within this great space? Everything is contained within space. This is not limited to just tangible things, for the universe also contains many principles, [such as] the principles of matter and life. Many principles are contained herein.

For example, we had a group of entrepreneurs from ten different countries who came to attend a Jing Si Lifestyle Camp. People from different countries, different industries and different technical and scientific fields all gathered together in Hualien. No matter what the activity was or which instructors came to share their insights, these entrepreneurs, these professionals in science and technology were moved to tears by these sharings. What they saw and heard during these few days inspired every single one of them. Whatever country the instructors were from, whether people there are wealthy or live in poverty, [they shared about how] wealthy people gave of themselves to others and how loving people dedicated themselves to serving those in suffering who needed help. Everyone listened to this and was deeply moved. This was especially true at eth recycling station, where they saw a large heap of discarded objects which were already a source of pollution. [This pollution] affects the climate and our way of life as humans. Where did these things come from? How can we return them to their intrinsic nature? [The attendees] all went to listen and learn by experience to understand [this issue]. They were all greatly impacted.

These scholars, scientists, PhDs and entrepreneurs found themselves among a pile of recyclables and among our recycling volunteers. It was only then that they realized that everything has a spirit, everything has a “life”. These objects that had been thrown away had been meticulously processed by people who worked hard to extract these resources. Be it from mountain mines or from underground, a great amount of [resources] had been extracted. What they acquired was painstakingly attained. Countless mountains, rivers and plains have been destroyed, and so many rescores have been extracted from underground, causing damage to the earth. What about the materials? These resources are quickly being depleted. The final result is a pile of trash, while the entire process pollutes the air and the earth. If we contemplate this mindfully, [we will see] that fundamentally, everything goes back to nothingness. The land is just the land. The rich soil lies within the land. If we had never discovered that the land contains so many things within it, everything would remain in its original state and exist in harmony. But people get into conflicts over [resources]; they fight over, extract and obtain them, thus leading to conflicts between people.

So many man-made tragedies are caused in this way. We frequently hear about mines collapsing or caving in on themselves or mines exploding. A single moment of negligence leads to disaster; there are many examples of this. There never used to be so many issues as these. Nowadays, accidents, man-made calamities and resource shortages have caused everyone to become very worried. Oil and water sources have always been big concerns, especially water [shortages], which impact the whole planet. The entire human ecosystem has already been damaged. This is because the myriad things of the universe, due to humanity’s deluded mindset, have been extracted and used without moderation. This has created so many problems. This is “existence”. In our delusion, we give rise to “appearances of existence”. These appearances are so many. Do they appear as garbage? Or do they appear as gold or diamonds? They are all obtained through the human destruction of mountain resources and the destruction of the earth. Whether they are valuable or not, they all become trash. “All that is contained [in it] has appearance by this illusory.” These resources originally are within the mountains and the earth. Out of delusion, humans fight over them. They turn into something with an appearance, but in the end they are illusory. Is this not just like that pile of garbage? This is the human world. “This is like the empty void [which] holds the myriad things.” Because humanity is deluded, when people learn about these things held within the earth, they go to extract them like this. Do they know how large of a mountain they’ll need to mine and destroy to obtain a single gemstone? Whether they will find one or not, they do not know. Still, they keep looking for a big [gemstone]. After cutting, grinding and polishing it, perhaps only a tiny stone will be left. They about how much was sacrificed and destroyed only for the sake of vanity and greed. Think about how much was sacrificed and destroyed only for the sake of vanity and greed. People use such items to show off their status.

Is there any other use for them? None at all. It is only because they are difficult to obtain that they are so expensive. That is all there is to it, but how much damage must be done? On a related note, people have great powers, but they do not always use them for good; instead they use them for destruction. So, when it comes to appearances, anything tangible is in the end not truly valuable. Even for very valuable objects, when stashed in a safe, what use do they have? They are illusory, created by vanity in the mind. So, when we return to the true principles, we find that “true emptiness is actually wondrous existence”.

In fact, in the universe, contained within this “true emptiness” are profound and wondrous principles. However, these wondrous principles have been exploited by people in deluded ways. So, knowing this, how can we analyze all phenomena? Their fundamental nature is tranquility and cessation. Our nature is inherently tranquil, non-arising and non-ceasing, without appearance, and thus without decay. However, because people have attachments, they take these principles and intentionally force them together through deluded thinking. So, they [produce] many things that are all illusory. How can we analyze these many things? We can never finish discussing them. Because of this, departments in universities are split into more specific fields, becoming more specialized with each split. This is because people need to be specialized. So, because of this, there are many specializations, causing the gaps between fields to become wider.

As the gaps between fields grow wider, one field of science cannot explain the other. Just science alone has many branches. They study the sky in astronomy, the earth in geology, each going their separate way. How can we even begin to discuss so many principles? “Such things are beyond the reach of language. I can only speak to a certain point; anything beyond that is outside my expertise”. This is how it is. So, “emptiness” and “void” actually refer to the empty void.

Void and emptiness are other terms for nothingness. “Void” means without form or substance, and “emptiness” means without hindrances and obstructions, thus it is called “the empty void”. The essence of the mind is inherently tranquil. True appearance is as such. The nature of all phenomena is tranquility and cessation.

“Void” and “emptiness” are other terms for nothingness, and they all mean nonexistent. “Emptiness” means that nothing exists. When nothing exists, this is called “emptiness”. “Void” means without for. We give things names based on their form. In truth, that which is formless has no name. Even the names for things that do have form are just labels. Is this table really a table? Where did this table come from? “This is clearly a piece of board, how can you call it a table? No, it is not a board; it is piece of wood! Why is wood called wood? [it comes from] a tree, yes, a tree. Yet it is not a tree, for trees come from seeds”. There are many, many names; this is because we give names [to things] based on appearances. In fact, everything is void, illusory, nonexistent. “’Void’ means without form or substance and ‘emptiness’ means without hindrances or obstructions”. Void means nonexistent. When we break things down, nothing remains. Emptiness is also an empty void without hindrances or obstructions. When things exist, there are no hindrances. So, we call this the empty void.

“The essence of the mind is inherently tranquil”. When it comes to the principles of our mind, there is nothing inherently there. There is no [separation between] biological and psychological principles. Speaking of biological principles, if we think about before we were born, before we form in our mothers’ womb, we go from nonexistence to existence. Our Six Sense Organs and internal organs form, and slowly our senses begin to develop. Originally, we were nothing. Once we are born, our appearance changes constantly. So, when we look at our bodies just in terms of these biological principles, we see that this body was formed from nothing. When we have worries or joyful feelings, can we show them to people? We cannot take out our “worries” to show them. It is the same with our “joy”. However, through our expressions, people can see our emotions. So, the essence of the mind is illusory, merely an appearance.

Thus, “True Appearance is as such”. “The nature of all phenomena is tranquility and cessation”. The nature of all phenomena is tranquility and cessation. Whatever the phenomenon, its nature is cessation. Originally, it did not exist. Cessation is emptiness, so it is inherently empty. Only when we understand these principles can we understand what we will discuss next.

The previous sutra passage stated, “Furthermore Bodhisattva-Mahasattvas contemplate all phenomena as empty.”

Sakyamuni Buddha further said, “Also, Bodhisattvas, all phenomena are empty in their Ture Appearance. Bodhisattvas, you must understand this clearly. All phenomena are empty in their True Appearance. “[Bodhisattvas] are undeluded, unwavering, never-retreating and never-changing”. Thus, all Bodhisattvas must mindfully contemplate and earnestly observer the True Appearance of everything so that they become undeluded, unwavering, never-retreating and never-changing. This is what we must mindfully seek to comprehend.

“Like the empty void, [phenomena] have no inherent existence”. They are like the empty void, which has no nature that exists. When we look at space, the distance between people, is there really anything there? We cannot see it. This space has no inherent existence. “They are beyond the reach of language. They are non-originating, non-appearing, and non-arising”. We must mindfully seek to comprehend the meaning of this passage. “Like the empty void, [phenomena] have no inherent existence”. This is like space. The distance between you and me is a very small amount of space. Everyone who is sitting here is even closer to each other in space. In truth, when we consider the great empty void, the universe, this great empty space, it is “free of all appearances;” there is nothing there. This great empty void has no fixed appearances.

Like the empty void, [phenomena] have no inherent existence: Like the great empty void, which is free of all appearances, where nothing exists at all, everything is illusory and has no inherent existence. It is illusory and inherently empty, so it is beyond the reach of thought.

The astronomer Professor lp, Director Chen and their team have honored Tzu Chi by naming an asteroid space after Tzu Chi. It is now recognized internationally as the Tzu Chi asteroid. I’ve always wanted to know for certain, since it is named after Tzu Chi, how far the Tzu Chi asteroid is from Earth. I am very grateful to him. Prof, Ip is [a member of Academia Sinica]! When I asked him this question, he dedicated himself to figuring this out. Another thing I wanted to understand was this asteroid’s orbit in the solar system. When planet Earth orbits the sun, it takes 365 days, a year; how many years does it take the Tzu Chi asteroid? With great certainty, Prof, Ip explained to me that for our Tzu Chi asteroid to finish one orbit around the sun to finish one orbit around the sun takes 5 years and 7 months. So, in the future, when we make vows to be reborn in the world of our Tzu Chi asteroid, our lives will be longer. One year there is 5 years and 7 months on Earth! In addition to Prof. Ip’s and Director Chen’s team, there is another team of astronomers as well.

Professor Mao also turned in some homework to us. Because I asked him which star represents the Trayastrimsa Heaven, he set about searching for it. He researched the sutra treasury and he researched astronomy. Finally, he discovered a star that stood out among other stars in the Milky Way due to its brightness. So, looking upon the sights of our universe and listening to these expert scientists’ analyses, the Buddha-Dharma truly is scientific. It really is something we must earnestly seek to comprehend. Thus, this universe has no fixed appearances. Beyond the sky, there is another sky, and beyond our world there are other worlds, but with the naked eyes of ordinary beings, it is very difficult to discern them. In this universe, around every planet, there is a great empty void. Thus, it is true that the entire universe is free of all appearances. All matter takes form within this great empty void, so the empty void itself is free of all appearances. “Nothing exists at all, thus it is called the empty void”.

The empty void is inherently devoid of matter, so it is fundamentally nonexistent. So, “Nothing exists at all; everything is illusory and has no inherent existence.” Everything is illusory and has no inherent nature. So, this is the empty void. Be it day or night, daytime or nighttime, there is no real difference between day and night. It is just the rotation of the earth that creates day and night. All celestial bodies are rotating [on their axis], and there are infinite solar systems. Every star has its own worlds. Every star has its own worlds orbiting in its own solar system. Thus, the universe is fundamentally without appearance and without nature.

So, “Everything is illusory and has no inherent existence.” Within this great emptiness, all that we see is these individual objects going through formation, existence, decay and disappearance. Thus, they are “illusory and have no inherent existence. It is illusory and inherently empty, so it is beyond the reach of thought.” Since it is illusory, it is not actually there. They are empty, there is nothing there. When we thoroughly analyze them, there is really nothing there at all. What about our thoughts are imagination? Actually, whatever our mind thinks about, whatever we think of, we will leave that thought and settle elsewhere, then leave it again. So, “They are beyond the reach of thought.” If our thoughts are here, they are not there; this is “motion”. There are not fixed appearances. Even our thoughts move according to conditions. As I am now speaking, [your thoughts] are moving according to my voice. If they were not moving, you would not understand what I was saying. We must be able to discern; as I speak now, your minds need to discern, to be “conscious” of things. This is our “ear-consciousness”. When our ear-root encounters sound, this is our ear-consciousness. Then, our mind-consciousness must discern it before we can know what was said. When I speak of existence, nonexistence, truth or illusion, you need to listen to it and take it in before you can discern [its meaning]. So, “They are beyond the reach of thought.” You listen to one sentience and then the next, so the previous thought disappears and then the next thought arises. Thus, “They are beyond the reach of language.”

They are beyond the reach of language: In the empty void, there is nothing that exists, nor anything that can give rise to existence. In fact, it has no fixed nature that exists. It can never be completely explained, so it is beyond the reach of language.

All language is empty and limited. “In the empty void, there is nothing that exists, nor anything that can give rise to existence.” This empty void is inherently empty, without anything that exists nor any way for existence to arise. “There is nothing that exists, nor anything that can give rise to existence.” There is no way to make something out of nothing. It is impossible. “In fact, it has no fixed nature that exists.” Therefore, it has no nature. This is like the medicinal plant dendrobium nobile. Known as the king of medicinal plants, it is a very valuable. This plant can be attached to a tree; that is how it can grow. It is very valuable. However, if it is not attached to a tree, it will not [grow]. Although it does not need soil, it needs some material substance to attach itself to before it can grow.

This medicinal herb also requires some material substance. Medicinal plants nourish the body. Without them, we would have no medicine [to treat] sick people. They are medicinal, but they need a place to grow in a certain climate, with certain soil quality and so on. Everything is interdependent. How could anything depend upon emptiness?

“In fact, it has no fixed nature that exists.” Since there is nothing, it is impossible for any “nature” to be fixed and demonstrated; there is no way at all. And so, “It can never be completely explained.” If I were to get ready to explain these things to you, because they are “beyond the reach of language,” they cannot be fully explained. Truly, just “emptiness” is something that we cannot fully explain. Thus, “they are non-originating, non-appearing,” “and non-arising.”

They are non-originating, non-appearing, and non-arising: As [phenomena] are empty and tranquil in nature, they are inherently non-originating. As the workings of karma are like an illusion, they are inherently non- appearing. As they have neither beginning nor end, they are inherently non-arising.

“[Phenomena] are empty and tranquil in nature” means that because this nature is empty and tranquil, they are inherently nonexistent. In the world, many things are inherently nonexistent. Because there is this empty space, these things come to exist. Without space, these things would not be. However, space is inherently empty. This is what we must seek to comprehend. “[Phenomena] are empty and tranquil in nature.” Their nature is empty and tranquil. Therefore, they are “inherently non-originating.” This empty space cannot give rise to anything on its own. Yet “the workings of karma are like an illusion.” So much karma is created; many things are named and many things are formed. For this, there must be people who act on their consciousness. Thus, everything is inherently non-originating. Our bodies alone have no way to originate things, but “the workings of karma are like an illusion.” Because we act and create [karma], our many actions make things come together. In this way, causes and conditions for many things come together.

Thus, “They are inherently non- appearing” [Phenomena] are inherently non-originating, so where would they appear? Thus, they are inherently non- appearing. “They have neither beginning nor end.” There is neither beginning nor end. This empty void, this vast space, this great universe is without beginning or end. “They are inherently non-arising.” Fundamentally, there is nothing that can give rise to itself; therefore, “arising and ceasing are both illusory.” Truly, “arising” and “ceasing” are both illusory.

Arising and ceasing are both illusory. The nature of all phenomena is inherently empty. What happens in the Three Periods is like what we see in our dreams. The appearances of originating, appearing and arising cannot be held on to.

“Illusory” refers to how actions combine to form something. This is just like all of us. As we look to see what this sentience is saying, we see the words [projected] along the wall. Where do these words come from? Where do these appearances come from? It took the dedication of many people, combined with research and technological developments to develop [this tool for projecting] illusions of various things. On that wall, many different things can appear, different text and different images. On a television screen, we can project people. We can see that originally there was nothing, but then there are these illusions. So, the nature [of all phenomena] is empty and tranquil. This nature is fundamentally empty and tranquil, so there is no “self-nature.” Nothing can arise by itself. Thus, it is through many actions and processes that these things are created. This allows us to make use of these illusory [things] in our lives. However, people are affected by these illusions and their minds are deluded.

Now, many people “hold a universe in their hands”. Children have cellphones. Both the young and the old walk with their eyes glued to their screens. Where did these things come from? When they hold it, there are so many [things] in their hand that delude their minds. When they walk around, they bend their heads low. Nowadays, this is the way of life. This is how our actions lead to illusory appearances. Society has many problems. Many afflictions arise from illusions, causing many problems.

So, “They are inherently non- appearing. As they have neither beginning nor end, they are inherently non-arising.” We must very mindfully seek to comprehend this. “Arising and ceasing are both illusory.” Whether something is arising or ceasing, it is entirely illusory. Just like images on a screen, they flash by in an instant. “The nature of all phenomena is inherently empty.” Their nature is inherently empty. “What happens in the Three Periods,” that is, the past, present and future, “is like what we see in our dreams.” Yesterday’s affairs have already passed. Is what we dream at night real, or is what happened yesterday real? They both have people, matters and objects. Is what we see on a screen, on the TV or on the phone, real? Truly, we can see them, but we cannot attain them. Yesterday is in the past. So, this is the past, present, and future.

However, in every moment, we must make the most of our time. This is just like the closing of the Jing Si Lifestyle Camp. This camp has [inspired] so many Bodhisattvas. If they can maintain this aspiration and make use of their strength when they return to their country, they will be able to benefit many people. I heard that many entrepreneurs have promoted vegetarianism. As each company promoted [vegetarianism], thousands of people were able to become vegetarians; this is such a good deed! They were able to maintain this aspiration. I heard everyone on stage make vows to become vegetarians; what a good deed! I hope they can persevere in these good deeds.

However, have these people’s lives changed? It depends on their aspiration. Will it remain firm throughout this lifetime? No matter where we are in the Three Periods, the past moment, the present or the unstoppable future, our aspiration must maintain the right direction. This is called “wondrous existence”. Though all things are “empty,” they can also become “wondrous existence” and be put to great use.

So, though our lives are like a dream, there is truth in our dreams. We often hear people say, “I saw it in a dream, so I must do it.” Isn’t this just like Chi Hui from Jordan? He saw me in his dream, and I said something to him. He saw truth in his dream, so he wanted to serve people in suffering. He has continued to persevere in this decision. So, dreams have truth in them. For a person of great love, a single dream can enable them to create blessings for so many people and overcome so many obstacles. If someone lacks aspirations or if their mindset is not stable, no matter how many [teachings] they hear, they will all be useless to them. As they face the world, [the teachings] will be useless to them.

So, this is like an illusory dream. Life is inherently an illusory dream. So, there are “the appearances of origination, appearing and arising”, the Three Appearance of originating, appearing and arising “cannot be held on to”. In fact, who we are at our time of birth, who we now and who we are when we will die in the future are actually all the same; truthfully, nothing can be held on to in the end; in the end, there is nothing at all. So, these are “the appearances of originating, appearing and arising.” Originating, appearing and arising occur, but these appearances cannot be held on to. They are forever unobtainable, and they do not belong to us. So, “The Three Appearances, originating, appearing and arising, are all conditioned appearances.” Conditioned appearances are contrived appearances. These are called “conditioned appearances”.

“Therefore, they undergo transformation and destruction.” This means that everything we come into contact with every day is ever-changing and impermanent. So, we must understand these Three Appearances. There are also “the appearances of liberation, distancing and cessation”.

The appearance of liberation: When there is no appearance of samsara. The appearance of distancing: When there is no appearance of Nirvana. The appearance of cessation: When there is no appearance of samsara or Nirvana. When there is not even this “non-appearance, this is the wondrous principle of the Middle Way of neither existence nor non-existence.

Now then, how can we achieve liberation? How can our spiritual cultivation liberate us? “Liberation” is when there is “no appearance of samsara”. [Reading the cycle of birth and death,] we must not be attached to “birth”. Some people feel that they need to have offspring, but is this truly necessary? We should [know] that life is full of suffering. When there is “no appearance of samsara,” if we can liberate ourselves from such attachment, there will be no appearance of samsara and we will be liberated. “The appearance of distancing” is when there is no appearance of Nirvana. We must engage in spiritual practice, but we must not become attached to [ the idea of] attaining liberation and entering Nirvana. In truth, when we die, everything ceases, so what why do we need to liberate ourselves? Because of this hope for liberation, we will turn into Small Vehicle practitioners and limit ourselves within the Small Vehicle Dharma. So, we need not worry about birth and death. When we are born, we will come to live naturally. “Since we here, we abide peacefully.” We must earnestly work to serve humanity by “actualizing the Six Paramitas in all action,” without worrying about being reborn in our next life. Indeed, we will be reborn to transform sentient beings.

So, we must not worry or form attachments. Then there is “The appearance of distancing when there is no appearance of Nirvana.” We must free ourselves from worries about this. “The appearance of cessation” means that was are not even thinking about nob-appearance. Since we are here, we must abide here in peace. With the right direction, we will “actualize the Six Paramits in all actions.” This is right. ‘’This is the wondrous principle of the Middle Way of neither existence nor nonexistence.’’ The Middle Way is neither attached to existence nor attached to emptiness. When we walk the Middle Way, our spiritual practice will have no obstructions. “True Appearance is impartial and everlasting.’’

True Appearance is impartial and everlasting. Because it has no appearance of destruction, it has no appearance of originating. It has no appearance of transformation, so it has no appearance of appearing or arising.

Speaking of True Appearance, it is impartial everlasting. So, it has no appearance of originating. So, it has no appearance of destruction, so it has no appearance of destruction. Thus, it has no appearance of originating. ‘’lt has appearance of transformation’’ means that it does not change; our mind does not need to change with it. So, “It has no appearance of appearing or arising”. This is our spiritual practice, which requires us to fully comprehend appearances before we can understand True Appearance. [This appearance] is impartial and everlasting, it is not contrived.

However, we must understand that all worldly phenomena are inherently nonexistent. They are contrived by people’s illusory delusions; the karma they create comes to form many things. Some things become garbage. Some things become polluted during this process. This is all a product of humanity’s deluded thinking. Many things are beyond the reach of language, and it is impossible to explain them in full. So, we must always be mindful!

(Source: Da Ai TV – Wisdom at Dawn program – Explanation by Master Chen-Yen)
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20180724《靜思妙蓮華》虛空無相 語言道斷 (第1398集) (法華經·安樂行品第十四)
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