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 20180801《靜思妙蓮華》無畏之德 轉妙法輪 (第1404集) (法華經·安樂行品第十四)

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發表主題: 20180801《靜思妙蓮華》無畏之德 轉妙法輪 (第1404集) (法華經·安樂行品第十四)   周二 7月 31, 2018 11:06 pm

20180801《靜思妙蓮華》無畏之德 轉妙法輪 (第1404集) (法華經·安樂行品第十四)

⊙謂如來成無上正等覺,具無上勝智;於諸眾中,作大獅子吼,轉妙法輪,得大自在,名無所畏心。
⊙「及比丘尼,好戲笑者,深著五欲,求現滅度,諸優婆夷,皆勿親近。」《法華經安樂行品第十四》
⊙「若是人等,以好心來,到菩薩所,為聞佛道。菩薩則以,無所畏心,不懷希望,而為說法。」《法華經安樂行品第十四》
⊙佛菩薩於大眾中說法,泰然無畏之德,化心不怯,名為無畏。<方便品>云:無量無礙,力無所畏。
⊙若是人等,以好心來,到菩薩所,為聞佛道:若是其人,用虔誠好心意來到菩薩所,為欲聞佛道:謂聞修行成佛之道。
⊙菩薩則以,無所畏心,不懷希望,而為說法:為眾說法,即需先自安心,不懷有所希望,當須安詳為之說法。
⊙不懷希望,謂不懷有所回饋希望,或知名報以恭敬。唯是一心說法,無求希望,方能荷擔弘宣大法。
⊙不懷希望:古有未嘗為利說一句法,未嘗因法受一毫財,方可謂之不希望。
⊙「寡女處女,及諸不男,皆勿親近,以為親厚。亦莫親近,屠兒魁膾,畋獵漁捕,為利殺害。」《法華經安樂行品第十四》
⊙寡女處女,及諸不男:寡婦、未嫁女。五種不男,非法器之眾生。
⊙皆勿親近,以為親厚:皆莫近傍,親愛相厚。
⊙亦莫親近,屠兒魁膾:屠:殺也,分割其肉曰屠。魁膾:細切肉之人。
⊙畋獵漁捕,為利殺害:縱火曰畋,用犬曰獵,漁捕:漁網張捕。為利殺害:為財利故,而行殺害。畋獵:射擊禽獸者。為利殺害,為謀生之利而以殺害生命為事。

【證嚴上人開示】
謂如來成無上正等覺,具無上勝智;於諸眾中,作大獅子吼,轉妙法輪,得大自在,名無所畏心。

謂如來成
無上正等覺
具無上勝智
於諸眾中
作大獅子吼
轉妙法輪
得大自在
名無所畏心

用心來體會!如來,釋迦牟尼佛,就是已經成「成無上正等覺」。佛陀所覺,是覺眾生心本具萬法,只是眾生心迷,成為凡夫。佛陀覺悟了,所以稱為「如來」,覺者。「如」,乘如是法,如是眾生所具有的法。佛陀以這個真理而來人間,入眾生,眾生在法中迷了,佛,他就是來度眾生。如何度啊?佛他累生累世來人間,因緣成熟還是現相人間,修行成道,這是一個身教導,叫做「身教」。有相,法本來無體、無相,就是要依「相」來說「理」。若不是悉達多太子降生在王宮,身為太子,在人間一個國家舉足輕重。太子出生了,舉國歡喜,這個國家有太子了,一來到人間,就開始大家歡騰,這就是降皇宮。開始就引起了人們的注意,迦毘羅衛國國民,人人都在注目太子長大的過程,不只是皇宮的重視,是全國人民的共識。

他長大的這個過程,這個過程,太子異於平常人,和平常的孩子就不同了。他智慧超然,很多老師來教,他總有一種,與人不同的觀念、思想,這就是他已經是具足這個法,生生世世帶著他的真如本性,明明朗朗來人間。從小就有和其他,一般的孩子不同,一般的人即使學問很高,還是嘆為不如這位太子,不如太子的觀念、思想。超越了人類的看法,世代都是這樣,「四姓階級」,大家認為理所當然,就是世代就是這樣傳,唯獨這位太子認為:不平等、不公平,同樣是人類,為什麼就要分,這個種族的階級呢?何況苦難人,列為賤民,永遠永遠就是累代這樣一直世襲,一直這樣傳下去,就是賤民就是賤民,世世代代都是。他認為不對,應該人類應該是平等,但是要如何平等?沒辦法讓大家很體會了解。

想,要如何能夠從人間的心態,讓他們超越出來?唯有心、觀念的超越,才有辦法打破了「四姓階級」,這種的觀念。所以,一直累積累積,哪怕將來是成為國王,也只不過一個國家,要轉動百姓和大臣、王親國戚,這種的觀念,並不簡單啊!所以他認為,一國之王解決不到這種的問題。所以,超然的思想,脫離皇宮,現出家相,又是再起一波的波動,全國人民震驚、擔心。開始大家都還是一直注意,太子的安危、太子的行蹤、太子的將來……等等。這就是已經,一來到人間,他就已經影響那個國家。

他慢慢修行,修正覺了。眾生的迷,他突破了迷,豈是今生此世才突破了迷呢?不是,是一切因緣,就這樣現相,要有相,才慢慢來接引,從這樣一點一滴來浸潤,人的心、人的觀念,這樣一直到成正覺了,又是全國的震撼,舉國也是非常的震撼。「太子成道了,太子成佛了!」這也是很大的影響。就是要有這樣的影響,才能夠一個宗教,僧團很順利成立起來。初度五比丘,這五比丘也是有名望,是王親國戚,有舅輩、有叔輩,要這樣來跟著佛陀出家了。這樣的修行過程,無不都是一路走過來,「乘如是法」,這樣一路而來,不論是從成佛之後,也是一直到了最後涅槃,這一條路的過程,真的是因緣。所以,「如來成無上正等覺」。這樣說法,從聲聞的教育,如何用聲音循循善誘。投入僧團,就要循規蹈矩,接受佛陀的聲教,所以了解「苦諦」。人間的苦,「集」來了,就是人人的觀念、思想、無明、行為等等累積,所以成為「苦」,苦的道理這樣來的。

苦,很苦。所以大家很怕,「因緣」、「果報」。「十二因緣」,從一念無明,意識動念,一念無明起,因緣生,「十二因緣」,這樣一直延續下來。緣覺接受了,不只是接受「四諦法」的道理,還接受這「因緣果報」觀。這因緣果報,一念心一動,無明就散發出去,他們就怕,還是獨善其身,不要去動到一念的無明,就是要跟人隔絕,不要惹起了人來困擾我。這樣的觀念,所以聲聞、緣覺就是自求解脫,這叫著小乘教。當然,佛陀用四十二年的時間,要淨化人心,就讓大家的心,能夠「戒、定、慧」,這也很不簡單啊!這狂猴野馬,我們的心思就是沒有一時刻,這個思想、觀念,沒有一時刻不在動,都是在虛幻不實的環境中。很多的思想、觀念在虛幻中,如夢如幻,想入非非,很多事情。在想什麼呢?都沒有實體,就像夢境一樣。

因為想很多,這個「想」與「想」,「想」就是「相」。白天的形相,印掛在心裡,心帶著白天,白天很多的心念,帶進去睡眠當中,這個心「念不亡」,帶進去夢境,虛幻的夢很多,這就是我們的人生。其實,夢是凡夫想入非非,那個「想」印在心裡,帶入睡眠中去。真的有修養的人,夢就是夢,聖人無夢,夢境是虛幻。這連儒教的修養,都能夠去除雜念,佛陀當然也是要淨化人心,不要動不動就是執相;執在相,執名、執利等等,就不要執著,這就是如來要來淨化人心。

前面也說過了,我們就是因為在「相」,所以,心有起有落,自然就有轉,就是轉在這個境界裡。佛陀叫我們心要清淨。心,是心在轉,不是境。所以我們前面也有說到,是船在行,「行離開岸」,我們迷的人,就說是「岸離開船」。到底是船離開岸?還是岸離開船呢?應該是船移了,不是岸移。

所以,我們要有這樣如實,很踏實、清楚。是是、是非,是它離開它?還是它轉離它?那都要很清楚。因為我們的心,應該是「不動不轉」,自然身外的法就「不生不起」。其實,天地宇宙間原本就有的理,我們眼睛所接觸到的事事物物,都有它的理存在。所以,是我們的心為了這些物質,我們起了貪念,我們的心就起了物的形象,去分別它是有價值的,是沒有價值的。沒有價值的東西,隨手丟掉;有價值的東西,就是寶藏,藏著。這種分別相,沒有好好想想看,讓你隨手丟掉的東西,是你生活中需要使用的;那些被你收在庫藏裡,這些東西,是已經破壞山河大地所取得的,珠寶等等。這些東西在你的生活中只是裝飾,但是為了裝飾,名稱是寶,惹來了人間多少的紛爭、煩惱?這就是我們眾生,真正是生命中不可缺少的,我們隨意將它丟掉了,變成了垃圾;在我們生命中,並沒有很需要的東西,他將它當成是寶,這就是顛倒啊!

我們要用心去體會,法,法讓我們慧命成長,在我們生命中很重要,卻是我們人人,都是疏忽掉了求法的心。看看,國外的企業家專程來,要了解人間菩薩的法。十幾個國家,就是來了解,慈濟這個宗門是如何開?靜思的法是如何傳?什麼樣的法,能夠給人一條道路走?是用什麼樣的門這樣進來的?他們用心來體會,體會之後,歡喜啊!這就是遙遠的地方,不惜路途遙遠,一心就是要來探討這個法,用什麼法用在人間,對己、對人,都能夠這樣很和平,社會祥和,家庭和睦。這是一個法,人與人之間和合、協力,要如何能夠這樣創造了事業,與道業平衡在人間,這就是需要了解。

走入覺道,佛陀就是這樣,「如來」如是法而來人間,就是要引導人人走上這條覺道,指引我們,這種迷的境界要離開,執著相要離開,如何讓心清楚,方向正確,就是安住我們的心不動、不轉,法就自然就是都很平等了。法,法的平等,那看法,人人就能夠有一個方向。所以說,風若是止,自然水就很清;風若颳起,水就會動。你若看一泓水在那裡,你用手揮它一下,稍微手揮過,那個風,水就會動;水若靜,你站在水邊,水會照到你的臉。若是手稍微揮一下,水就開始動,你的臉就模糊掉了。所以,這個風從哪起?是心起的風,所以我們要心不動,自然風靜波澄,就很澄清。

「心法性一如」。心與法的性是同一項,「相」,其實,這個相,也是由我們心在轉,所以因為這樣,有煩惱的形象,也有安然自在的相。佛陀教育我們,你要弘法,要如何去克服很多的困難?你的心要清楚,自然世間種種困難的境界,你能夠避過。所修行的過程,或者是要弘法的大心,自然在安樂行中,你付出無所求。

聽到慈濟菩薩,已經回來很多天了,幾千公里的遙遠程,他們專心一志,就是回來,要如何將這個種子、法,更清楚帶回去,如何來培育當地,人人那分心的方向,要如何種子帶回去,去布善種子,在那個地方完成功德田。這是他們的心願,很精進哦!這就是「安樂行」,很歡喜,他們抱著歡喜心這樣回來求法。

這就是要「具無上勝智」。我們為什麼不要快快樂樂去遊覽呢?為什麼要辛辛苦苦,回來這裡在取經呢?回來這裡每樣都很不方便,但是就像回到家裡一樣,這樣很自在,也是一念心啊!

所以,「具無上勝智」,也是很有智慧。所以「心、佛、眾生,三無差別」,佛是這樣在修行,我們現在也是這樣,在取法、取經,所以「心、佛、眾生三無差別」,平等啊!所以,「作大獅子吼,轉妙法輪」。我們若這樣,有經歷過這種的心路歷程,就能夠很踏實,這樣說「如是我聞」,說「如是我見、證」,這就是不歷其境,沒有辦法去了解,那個境界的內容。

佛陀覺悟了天地宇宙萬法,所以他也「無畏心」,就是在人間出大音聲,沒有分什麼樣的道,他瞭若指掌,所以他說法就是「無所畏,得大自在,名無畏心」。佛陀,如來的覺悟,就是這樣經歷過,我們現在求法,也要經歷這樣的境界,「心、佛、眾生三無差別」。我們沒辦法,像玄奘法師再去取經,不用了,也沒有這個環境,也不需要讓你去哪裡取經,現在我們就要求法。不論去哪裡求法?也要這樣的心態,玄奘法師的心態,這樣去求法,也要像佛陀在修行這個心態,眾生平等,這我們一定都要有的。所以,我們要弘揚大乘法,也要這樣走。

前面的文,那就是:「及比丘尼,好戲笑者。」

及比丘尼
好戲笑者
深著五欲
求現滅度
諸優婆夷
皆勿親近
《法華經安樂行品第十四》

我們什麼能親近,什麼不能親近,我們應該要很清楚。過去我們已經說過了很多,你不要親近,惡的知識不能親近,要避開。現在已經來到,「及比丘尼,好戲笑者」。這雖然是名稱修行,但是道心還未具全,所以他們就是全都貪著在嬉笑,深著在五欲。「求現滅度」,或者是求現在,就要能夠全都解脫。「未得謂得」,這種以為:我「戒定慧」修得很好,法我都了解了,我今生就要滅度了,不會再來人間。豈是這樣嗎?這不是佛陀要教育的目標。出家人是這樣,還有優婆夷。優婆夷就是在家修行的女眾,在家的修行者,不是道心堅定,真正在修行,也是信、無信,信不徹底,只是在求福報。這不是徹底,真正是學佛的居士女,若像這樣,這種的女眾,希望修行比丘,修行者不要太親近。

下面接下來就說文:「若是人等,以好心來,到菩薩所,為聞佛道。菩薩則以,無所畏心,不懷希望,而為說法。」

若是人等
以好心來
到菩薩所
為聞佛道
菩薩則以
無所畏心
不懷希望
而為說法
《法華經安樂行品第十四》

這段,我們就清楚。佛為大眾說法中,他是這樣「泰然無所畏」。在〈方便品〉中,我們也已經都有看到了,佛陀是以「無量無礙,力無所畏」。

佛菩薩
於大眾中說法
泰然無畏之德
化心不怯
名為無畏
<方便品>云:
無量無礙
力無所畏

佛陀他在人間在說法,他要讓我們很清楚,能夠修行的方法你要精進,要道心堅定。道心還沒堅定之前,有人間這麼多的陷阱,這些陷阱都是人的心態,人的心態有這麼多種;心態不同,生活不同,行業不同,你任何事情,你道心還沒有很堅定,你要先避免這樣的環境。這就是佛陀提醒我們,佛陀他用無畏的威力,來為我們說「是」與「非」。「非」,你就不可接近;「是」,你就要趕緊精進。這是佛的大威力,「作獅子吼」,這就是我們要真正用心,體會佛意。「若是人等,以好心來」。

若是人等
以好心來
到菩薩所
為聞佛道:
若是其人
用虔誠好心意
來到菩薩所
為欲聞佛道
謂聞修行成佛之道

就是那些人,我們不要自己自動要接近,而像這些人,若有很虔誠,「好心」就是虔誠,很虔誠,很認真,很想要了解法。有這樣的人靠近來,來到你這個新發意的菩薩,想要弘揚大乘法的人,靠近你的身邊來,為了要求聞佛法,這些人有虔誠,要來求你為我說大乘法是什麼。若是這樣,他來了。所以,「為欲聞佛道」,就是要求聞如何修行才能成佛。這種的人,就是「好心」,就是誠意的心意來了,若像這樣,「菩薩則以無所畏心」。你就不用擔心,就像佛陀一樣,你知道多少法,你就為他說多少;但是不要抱希望,「不懷希望」,就不要有希望。

菩薩則以
無所畏心
不懷希望
而為說法:
為眾說法
即需先自安心
不懷有所希望
當須安詳為之說法

因為你為他說話,不是說:我說話,你就一定要接受。因為他虔誠來,我們也用心為他說,但是不要想:他有什麼回報要給我們?是要接受,或者是要供養?都不要想這些事情。自己要先心安好,不要從來的人,我們有所希望。只盼望他真正接受正法,能夠淨化自己的心。若能夠這樣,我們盡量讓他知道,盡量讓他去除煩惱,盡量讓他慧命增長,就是付出的心態,不要想要求回報的心理。

所以,「不懷有所希望」,不要有這樣的希望。「當須安詳為說法」。就是一心付出就對了,不要想要求回報,這就是「不懷希望」。

不懷希望
謂不懷
有所回饋希望
或知名報以恭敬
唯是一心說法
無求希望
方能荷擔弘宣大法

沒有回饋的希望,或者是名利的回報。不是:「我是很會說法的人,我說給你聽,你就要去和別人炫耀,炫耀你聽什麼人說的法,多好多好。」我們不用要求他這樣,總是任何我們都無所要求,就是為他說法,讓他去除煩惱,這是我們唯一的目標。

「唯是一心說法,無求希望,方能荷擔弘宣大法」。我們要有這個心,就是付出、付出無所求,慈濟人就是這樣,「無緣大慈,同體大悲」。這些人和我沒有關係,不過我還是因為他有苦難,我希望他改變那個苦,轉苦為樂,我願意付出,其他無所求。這就是能夠擔起如來家業,能夠弘宣大法,這就是我們要學的,是我們的目標。

不懷希望:
古有未嘗為利
說一句法
未嘗因法
受一毫財
方可謂之不希望

所以,「不懷希望」。古時候的人就有這樣,不曾為了利來說一句法,不是我因為這個地方有利益,所以我來為你說話,不是。也不會因為說法,來受一分一毫的供養,受這錢財的付出,不會。他不會說:「你要付出給我,我才給你這些法」。沒有啊!法是這樣,如何能夠利益人群,社會祥和,哪裡需要,我就去說。這種心得分享,不是為錢財來付出你的法,不是。法不是要讓我們賣的,是要讓我們弘宣,讓我們弘揚大法,這是我們的責任,所以我們要很用心去體會。

接下來這段文,那就是:「寡女處女,及諸不男,皆勿親近,以為親厚。亦莫親近,屠兒魁膾,畋獵漁捕,為利殺害。」

寡女處女
及諸不男
皆勿親近
以為親厚
亦莫親近
屠兒魁膾
畋獵漁捕
為利殺害
《法華經安樂行品第十四》

這些人,我們要很用心來體會。「寡女處女,及諸不男」,這應該前面的文我們都說過了。

寡女處女
及諸不男:
寡婦、未嫁女
五種不男
非法器之眾生

「寡女」,就是已經沒有先生在身邊了,單獨的女人;或者是還沒有嫁的閨女,這我們都不要這樣單獨去接近。這是向比丘所說的法。因為女色會誘惑人,擔心道心受影響,所以佛陀他就再三警惕,不要靠近這種單獨的女人。或者是五種「不男」,那就是心理狀況,心沒有辦法很正向。身心有缺。我們的道心還沒有很堅定,可以友善,但是不要這樣親近,不要親,不要近,這就是我們前面,也有稍微說過了。

皆勿親近
以為親厚:
皆莫近傍
親愛相厚

類似這樣的人,「皆勿親近,以為親厚」。就是這樣很親,常常在一起,這樣纏繞在一起,不可!

「亦莫親近,屠兒魁膾」。就是不要去親近這些其他,我們要很用心去了解。「屠兒」,那就是為利殺生,或者是生物不只是殺,還一直剁牠,變成了很豐富的菜餚,這全都叫做「屠兒魁膾」。

亦莫親近
屠兒魁膾:
屠:殺也
分割其肉曰屠
魁膾:細切肉之人

「屠」就是「殺」,分割其肉而屠,「魁膾」就是細細地剁牠,這就是「魁膾」,看看,這我們要避免。所以,一直要提倡盡量不要殺生。尤其是現在氣候極端,這若要以宗教觀來說,眾生造業太多了,殺生很多,「因緣果報」在反撲了。現在的科學也這樣說,就是動物類也是很污染大地。人口這麼多,動物又這麼多,盡量就是不要刻意去養,天地有好生之德,任何一種生物,讓牠自由,自由的環境、自由的境界,不用刻意去畜養這些動物。自然就不會愈來愈多,污染愈來愈大,所以要避免。這是現在的世界的環保的觀念。

但是在佛教,佛陀就是從二千多年前,就一直一直提倡了,眾生平等,不要去殺害眾生。這個殺,實在是造業。

所以,「畋獵漁捕,為利殺害」。

畋獵漁捕
為利殺害:
縱火曰畋
用犬曰獵
漁捕:漁網張捕
為利殺害:
為財利故而行殺害
畋獵:射擊禽獸者
為利殺害
為謀生之利
而以殺害生命為事

「畋」那就是火耕,這個田是怎麼耕?平地的田,有的人收穫起來之後,地上還有稻梗,還有雜草,還有……等等。他們有時候是用火燒。我們現在也常常看到,在火耕,這叫做「畋」。整地,放火燒草,或者是在經營土地。用,放火燒,會燒到很多的生物。我們現在也說,放火燒也是污染空氣,所以不可。所以,用狗去「獵」,去打獵,有那獵犬去追,看到生物牠就追,就知道要去打牠。所以,就像這樣,都是接近殺生。因為火耕也是會殺生,蟲蟻等等也會殺生,這個「獵」也是殺生。漁網打開,捉魚,這也是殺生。所以,這全都是「為財利故,而行殺害」。

「畋獵」就是「射擊禽獸」。「畋」,就是用火攻;「射」,就是打獵,這全都是很不好的動作。所以「為利殺害」,有的是完全是為了謀生,所以去從事殺生的行業。所以,大家真的要用心,用心在我們的生活中。我們若是沒有好好用心,擔心我們動不動開口動舌,我們也會去造到業。我們若心念不堅定,我們也會很快,心就會起浮動,會動起來,這我們就要真正用心。一念好心,能夠做很多好事情,開口動舌無不都是,舉手動足無不都是,舉心動念無不都是。所以,我們在日常生活中,心顧好,方向要對準;對準的方向,無不都是利益人間。

所以說起來,人心一動念,能夠做這麼多好事情;一動念,有這麼多不當的行為,就是一念心。所以,我們要時時多用心!


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Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: Turning the Wondrous Dharma-Wheel (無畏之德 轉妙法輪)
Date: August.01.2018

“This means the Tathagata has attained supreme, universal and perfect enlightenment and possesses unsurpassed and superior wisdom. Among the assembly, He gives the great lion’s roar and turns the wondrous Dharma-wheel. He has attained the greatest freedom, which is known as the fearless mind.”

We must mindfully seek to understand this! The Tathagata, Sakyamuni Buddha, has already attained “supreme, universal and perfect enlightenment.” What the Buddha realized was that all Dharma is intrinsically in the minds of all sentient beings. It is just that sentient beings’ minds are confused, turning them into unenlightened beings. The Buddha is enlightened, so He is called the Tathagata, the Enlightened One. The Tathagata journeys on the Dharma of Suchness. This Dharma is intrinsic to sentient beings. It is for this true principle that the Buddha came to this world and went among sentient beings. Sentient beings are confused about the Dharma, so the Buddha came to transform sentient beings. How did He transform them? The Buddha kept returning to this world lifetime after lifetime. When the causes and conditions were mature, He again manifested in this world to engage in spiritual cultivation and attain the path. This is guiding by example, being a role model.

When it comes to appearances, the Dharma inherently has no form or appearance, but He had to rely on appearances to teach the principles. Siddhartha was born as the prince in a palace. Being the crown prince of the kingdom, his every move was significant. When the prince was born, the entire kingdom rejoiced; the country now had a prince! As soon as he came into this world, he was celebrated by everyone. This is how he descended into the royal palace. He immediately attracted everyone’s attention. The citizens of the kingdom of Kapilavastu all watched as the prince grew up. Not only did everyone in the palace place great importance on him, so did the entire kingdom. Throughout this time, as he grew up, the prince was extraordinary. He was different from ordinary children. He had transcendent wisdom. Many teachers came to teach him, and he always had thoughts and perspectives that were different from others’. This is because he was already replete in this Dharma. Throughout lifetime after lifetime, he carried the intrinsic nature of True Suchness and came with clarity and brightness to this world. Since [the time] he was very young, he was different from other children. Even those who were highly educated lamented that they could not match the prince. Their perspectives and thoughts could not compare to the prince’s which surpassed those of [ordinary] humans. For many generations [in India], [society] had the “four castes”. Everyone took it for granted; this had been passed down for generations. Only this prince felt that this was unequal and unfair. Everyone is human. Why must there be caste distinctions? This is to say nothing of those in suffering, such as the untouchables. [People’s caste] had always been passed down from generation to generation. Untouchables were always untouchables. For generation after generation, this was always [their caste].

[Siddhartha] thought this was wrong. All humans should be equal. But how could they attain equality? He was not able to help everyone understand this. Thinking about it, how could [he] help people transcend this worldly mindset? Only by transcending their state of mind and perspective would they be able to break through the mindset of the “four castes system.” So, [these thoughts] continued to accumulate. Even if he were to become a king in the future, even just for this single country, to change the mindset of the people, ministers and royal family members would not be easy at all! Thus he felt that the king of a country cannot solve this problem. So, in his transcendent thinking, he left the royal palace and adopted the appearance of a monastic. This created another wave of upheaval. The entire country was shocked and worried. Everyone began to pay attention to the prince’s security, the prince’s movements, the prince’s future and so on. He had already come to this world, and he was already influencing that country. He gradually engaged in spiritual practice until he attained perfect enlightenment. He broke through the confusion of sentient beings. Was it only in this lifetime that he broke through this confusion? No, all causes and conditions had [brought about] this manifested appearance. Once he had this appearance, he could gradually guide [the people]. Little by little, he nourished people’s minds and thoughts. Thus [he practiced] until he attained perfect enlightenment. Once again, the entire country was amazed. The prince had attained enlightenment! The prince had attained Buddhahood! This also had a very big influence. Only with such a major influence could a religion and a Sangha be successfully established.

The first five bhiksus who were transformed were also well-renowned. They were part of the royal family. They were His maternal and paternal uncles who followed the Buddha in becoming monastics. In the process of His spiritual cultivation, he was always advancing on a single path, “journeying on the Dharma of Suchness.” This was the path He journeyed on. After He attained Buddhahood until the end when He reached Parinirvana, throughout this whole journey, there were truly many karmic causes and conditions. So, “The Tathagata attained supreme, universal and perfect enlightenment.” He taught the Dharma in this manner, beginning with teaching the Hearers by using His voice to patiently guide them. Entering the Sangha, they had to follow the rules and received the Buddha’s oral teachings. So, they understood the “truth of suffering,” that the “suffering” in the world comes from “causation,” from the accumulation of everyone’s perspectives, thoughts, ignorance, behaviors and so on. These all result in “suffering”.

This is where the principle of suffering is from. Suffering is very difficult [to bear]. So, everyone was very scared of “causes and conditions” and “karmic retributions”. The Twelve Links of Causes and Conditions start with a thought of ignorance that arises in our consciousness. When ignorance arises, the cycle of causes and conditions is initiated. Theses links of causes and conditions then continue to lead to one after another. Solitary Realizers have accepted this [teaching]. They not only accept the principles of the Four Noble Truths, they also accept the concept of the karmic law of cause and effect. Following the law of karma, a single thought that arises in our minds causes ignorance to spread. So, they are afraid and seek only to benefit themselves. They do not want to give rise to a thought of ignorance, so they separate themselves from people. They do not want to provoke anyone to come and disturb them. This is their perspective. So, the Hearers and Solitary Realizers seek only to liberate themselves. These are the Small Vehicle teachings.

Of course, the Buddha spent 42 years to bring purity to people’s hearts and help everyone to take precepts, Samadhi and wisdom to heart. This was not at all easy either! Our minds are like wild monkeys and horses. There is not a single moment when our thoughts and perspectives are not constantly in motion. They are always in an illusory environment. So many of our thoughts and perspectives are illusory. They are like a dream or an illusion; our imagination runs wild. There are so many things like this. What are we thinking about? This has no substance; it is like a dream. We have so many thoughts. Speaking of “thoughts,” they are “appearances” from the daytime which have been imprinted in our minds. Our minds carry the many thoughts from the day and bring them into our dreams when we sleep. Our minds “think without ceasing” and the thoughts are brought into our dreams, these many illusory dreams. This is our life.

In fact, dreams are ordinary beings’ imagination running wild. Those “thoughts” are imprinted in our minds and brought into our dreams. For those with a high level of spiritual refinement, dreams are simply dreams. Noble beings have no dreams; dreams are illusory. Even practitioners of Confucianism can eliminate discursive thoughts. Of course, the Buddha also wanted to bring purity to people’s hearts so that they would not become easily attached to appearances; appearance, fame, profits and so on are things we must not be attached to. This is how the Tathagata wanted to bring purity to people’s hearts.

We have also just mentioned this. It is because of “appearances” that or minds keep fluctuating. Naturally [our minds] are turning among these states. The Buddha asks us to keep our hearts pure. It is our heart that turns, not the state. So, previously we also said that. It is the ship that is moving when “the ship leaves the shore”. Those who are confused might say, “The shore is leaving the boat.” Did the ship leave the shore or did the shore move away from the ship? It is the ship that has moved, not the shore. So, we must be realistic, very grounded and clear about this. What is right and what is wrong? Did [the shore] leave [the ship], or did [the ship] leave [the shore]? We must understand this very clearly. Our minds should “neither move nor turn,” then naturally the phenomena external to us “will neither originate nor arise”. In fact, there are principles that inherently exist in the universe. All matters and objects that we see and encounter contain their principles.

So, when it comes to these materials, our minds give rise to thoughts of greed. When the image of these objects appears in our mind, we will distinguish them as valuable or worthless. If something is worthless, we carelessly throw it away. As for something valuable, we cherish and hide it. When we distinguish by appearances and do not carefully consider them, those things we carelessly throw away could be things we need to use in our life. Those things that we have stored away were obtained by destroying nature. Jewelry and precious stones etc. are only decorations in our lives. But for the sake of decorations, for these things called “treasures,” how many disputes and afflictions have been brought to this world? This is how we unenlightened beings [behave]. What is truly indispensable in our lives we carelessly throw away, letting them turn into garbage. But in our life, when it comes to things that we do not really need, we treat them as treasures. This is truly distorted [thinking]! We must mindfully comprehend this.

The Dharma helps grow our wisdom-life; it is very important in our lives. However, all of us neglect our aspiration to seek the Dharma. Look at these entrepreneurs from abroad who intentionally made a trip here to understand the Dharma of Living Bodhisattvas. People from over ten countries came to learn how the Tzu Chi school of Buddhism was established and how the Jing Si teachings are transmitted. What teachings are these that help give people a path to walk on? What door do people come in through? They mindfully came to comprehend this. After comprehending this, they were very joyful! From places very far away, they traveled a long distance and wholeheartedly came to delve into this Dharma and learn teachings that can used in the world to bring peace to themselves and others and harmony to society and families. These are teachings that bring people together in concerted effort and help them balance their business and their [humanitarian] mission in the world.

We must understand this. In order to enter the path to awakening, this is what the Buddha did. The Tathagata [journeyed on] the Dharma of Suchness to this world to lead everyone onto this path of awakening. He guided us to leave our state of confusion and our attachments to appearances. He [taught us] how to have a clear mind and advance in the right direction, how to steady our minds so they neither waiver nor turn. The Dharma is naturally very impartial. Since the Dharma is impartial, when we look at the Dharma, we see that everyone can follow the same direction. So, if the wind ceases, naturally the water will be still. If the wind picks up, the water will move. If there is a body of water and we move our hands over it, even with a slight movement of the hand, that resulting wind will ripple the water. If we stand next to a still body of water, the water will reflect our faces. But with even a slight movement of our hand, the water will start to move and our reflection will become blurry. So, where does this wind come from? The wind starts in our minds. So, our minds must be unwavering. Then, naturally, the wind will die down and [the water] will be very clear. “The nature of the mind and the Dharma are one”. The mind and the Dharma have the same nature.

[When it comes to] “appearances”, actually, they come from our minds turning. So, because of this, we have the appearances of afflictions and the appearance of being free and at ease. The Buddha teaches us that, if we want to spread the Dharma, how can we overcome so many obstacles? Our minds must be clear. Then naturally we can avoid the various difficulties in this world. So, the process of spiritual cultivation or our great aspiration to spread the Dharma can naturally be practiced with peace and joy as we give without expectations. I heard that the Bodhisattva-volunteers [from abroad] have already been here for several days. On this long journey of several thousand miles, they single-mindedly and whole-heartedly came to learn to take these seeds, this Dharma, back with an even clearer [understanding] and cultivate this direction in the minds of local people. [They learned] how to bring this seed back and sow seeds of goodness to create a field of merits and virtues there. This is their vow; they are very diligent! This is “practicing to bring peace and joy”. It is very joyful. With a joyful heart, they returned in search of Dharma.

This requires “possessing unsurpassed and superior wisdom”. Why did they not happily go play tourists? Why did they laboriously come here to learn the teachings? Being here, many things are inconvenient, but it is like returning home. They feel very at ease. This is all in our mind too! So, to “possess unsurpassed and superior wisdom” also means to be very wise. So, “Then mind, the Buddha and sentient beings are no different [in their nature]”. The Buddha engaged in spiritual practice like this. Now, they were doing the same coming to seek the Dharma, to seek teachings. Thus, “The mind, the Buddha and sentient beings are no different [in their nature]”. They are equal. So, “He gives the great lion’s roar and turns the wondrous Dharma-wheel”. If we have experienced this spiritual journey, what we can do very firmly is say, “Thus have I heard” and “Thus have I seen and verified”. Without experiencing it, we will not be able to understand the content of that state. The Buddha has realized all Dharma in the universe. So, He also has a “fearless mind” and speaks out with a loud voice in this world. No matter what principles they are. He understands them like the back of His hand. So, He fearlessly teaches the Dharma. “He has attained the great freedom, which is known as the fearless mind”. The Buddha [attained] the Tathagata’s awakening through such a journey [of spiritual practice]. Now, as we seek the Dharma, we must also experience this state. “The mind, the Buddha and sentient beings are no different [in their nature]”.

We cannot do what Master Xuan Zang did in obtaining the sutras again. It is unnecessary; the environment is no longer the same. We need not go anywhere to obtain the sutras. Now, what we must seek is the Dharma, we need Master Xuan Zang’s mindset in seeking the Dharma. We must also have the Buddha’s mindset in spiritual cultivation. All sentient beings are equal. This is what we must understand. So, when we spread the Great Vehicle Dharma, we must also walk this path.

The previous sutra passage says, “…nor to bhiksunis who love to play and joke around”. …nor to bhiksunis who love to play and joke around, who are deeply attached to the Five Desires and pursue present Nirvana, nor to any upasikas; they do not draw near to any of them.

We should clearly understand what we can and cannot draw near to. In the past, we have discussed many [people] that we must not draw near to. We must not draw near unwholesome spiritual friends. Now, we reach [this passage], “… nor to bhiksunis who love to play and joke around”. Although they call it spiritual practice, they lack the will to practice. So, all they want is to play and joke around, and they are deeply attached to the Five Desires, They “pursue present Nirvana”. They pursue to be immediately liberated from everything. “They claim to have attained what they have not.” Such a person thinks, “I have cultivated the precepts, Samadhi and wisdom very well. I understand all the Dharma I want to enter. Nirvana in this life and not return to this world.” Can this be right? This is not the goal that the Buddha taught us. There are such monastics. There are also upasikas.

Upasikas are female lay practitioners. Lay practitioners do not have the firm resolve to truly engage in spiritual practice. Their faith fluctuates and is not through. They only seek blessed retributions. This is not a through [faith]; they are not lay practitioners who truly want to learn the Buddha-Dharma. In this case, for such women, [the Buddha] hoped that the bhiksus, the spiritual practitioners, will not draw near to them.

The following [sutra passage] says, “If such people come with good intentions to places where Bodhisattvas are for the sake of hearing the path to Buddhahood. Bodhisattvas, with a fearless mind, without harboring any expectations, will teach the Dharma to them.”

We should clearly understand this passage. When the Buddha teaches the Dharma to the assembly, He does it “with composure and fearlessness”. In the Chapter on Skillful Means, we have also already seen that the Buddha has “limitless and unhindered power of fearlessness”.

Buddhas and Bodhisattvas expound the Dharma among the assembly with the virtues of composure and fearlessness. The mind with which they transform is dauntless. This is called “fearlessness”. As stated in the Chapter on Skillful Means, [this is the] “limitless and unhindered power of fearlessness”.

The Buddha teaches the Dharma in this world to help us clearly understand that in order to engage in spiritual practice, we must diligently advance and our will to practice must be firm. Before our will to practice becomes firm, there are many pitfalls in this world. All these pitfalls are in our mindsets. People have so many different mindsets. Our mindsets are different, our lifestyles are different and our careers are different. In anything we do, before our will to practice becomes firm, we must first avoid these [evil] environments. This is what the Buddha reminds us of. The Buddha uses the power of fearlessness to teach us what is “right” and “wrong”. We must not draw near to the wrong things. As for the right things, we must quickly and diligently advance. This is the Buddha’s great power .“[He gives] the lion’s roar”. We must truly be mindful and understand the Buddha’s intent. “If such people come with good intentions….”

If such people come with good intentions to places where Bodhisattvas are for the sake of hearing the path to Buddhahood: Those people, with reverence and good intentions, come to places where Bodhisattvas are because they want to hear the path to Buddhaood. This means they want to hear the path of engaging in spiritual practice to attain Buddhahood.

There are people whom we do not take initiative to draw near. Among these people, if some of them are very reverent, it means they have “good intentions”. They are very reverent and very sincere in seeking to understand the Dharma. Such people may approach us, approach us newly-inspired Bodhisattvas who wish to spread the Great Vehicle Dharma. They may approach us, seeking to hear the Buddha-Dharma. If these people are reverently asking us to explain the Great Vehicle Dharma, in this case, they come [to us] “because they want to hear the path to Buddhahood.” They seek to ask how to engage in spiritual practice to attain Buddhahood. Such people come with “good intentions, meaning with a sincere heart.”

In this case, Bodhisattvas, with a fearless mind….” We need not be worried. We can be just like the Buddha. However much Dharma we know, we can teach them that much. But we should not have any expectations. “Without harboring any expectations” means that we do not expect [any outcome].

Bodhisattvas, with a fearless mind, without harboring any expectations, will teach the Dharma to them: To teach the Dharma to people, they must first calm their own minds. Without harboring any expectations, they serenely teach the Dharma for them.

If we are teaching someone, we must not say, “You have to accept what I tell you.” Since they have come with reverence, we must also be mindful in teaching them. But we should not be thinking, “What will they give us in return? Will they accept our teachings or give us offerings?” We must not think of these things. Our own minds must first be calm. We must not have expectations on people who come. We only hope that they will truly accept Right Dharma and bring purity to their own minds. In this case, we must do our best to help them understand, help them eliminate their affliction and help them grow their wisdom-life. This is a mindset of service, a mindset that seeks nothing in return. So, “Without harboring any expectations….” We must not have any expectations. So, we need to serenely teach the Dharma, wholeheartedly giving of ourselves and not asking for anything in return. This is “not harboring any expectations”.

Without harboring any expectations: This means they do not harbor any expectation of getting something in return or rewards of fame and reverence. They expound the Dharma single-mindedly, without any expectations. Only in this way can they shoulder the task of widely spreading the Great Dharma.

We should not expect to get anything in return or to gain rewards of fame and profit. We must not say, “I can teach the Dharma really well. If I teach it to you, you must praise it to others, telling them what you heard from this person was very wonderful.” We cannot ask them to do this. In anything we do, we ask for nothing in return. We only want to teach them the Dharma to help them eliminate afflictions. This is our only goal. “They expound the Dharma single-mindedly, without any expectations.” This is the only way they can shoulder the task of widely spreading the Great Dharma. We must have this mindset of giving without asking for anything in return. This is how Tzu Chi volunteers [practice] unconditional loving-kindness and people are not related to us, but due to their suffering, we hope that they can transform that suffering and turn it into joy. So we willingly give of ourselves and ask for nothing in return. This is who we can take on the Tathagata’s family business and widely spread the Dharma. This is what we must learn, it is our goal. This is what we must learn; it is our goal. So, “[We do not] harbor any expectations.” In the past, people had this [principle]. They would not reach any Dharma for profit. It was not for the profit to be gained here that they came to speak to someone, no. They would also never accept any offerings in return for the Dharma. No, they would not accept offerings of wealth. They did not say, “You must serve me before will give you this Dharma.” No. This is how the Dharma is used to benefit people and bring harmony to society. Wherever there is a need, we will go there to teach. We must have the mindset to share our insights. It is not for the sake of money that we share the Dharma with others. No. The Dharma is not for us to sell. It is for us to widely spread. Spreading the Great Dharma is our responsibility. So, we must very mindfully seek to understand this.

Following this, the next [sutra] passage says, “As for widows, virgins and all pandakas, they do not draw near to any of them or become close to them. Also, they do not draw near to slaughterers, butchers, farmer, hunters and fishermen who kill for profit.”

When it comes to these people, we must mindfully seek to understand this. “As for widows, virgins and all pandakas….” We discussed [a similar] sutra passage before.

As for widows, virgins and all pandakas: Widows, unmarried girls and the five kinds of pandakas are sentient beings who are not vessels for the Dharma.

“Widows” are those who have lost their husbands. Single women or unmarried virgins are people we must not approach by ourselves. This was also taught to the bhiksus. This is because female forms can tempt people, which might influence their will to practice. So, the Buddha repeatedly warned us to not draw near these singe women, or the fire types of pandakas. These are people with certain mindsets; their minds’ direction is not very proper. They are lacking in body and mind. Before our will to practice becomes firm, we can be friendly, but we cannot draw near to these people. We must not draw near to them. We have touched upon this subject before.

As for these types of people, “They do not draw near any of them or get close to them.” Getting very close to them, being together often or being entangled with them are things we cannot do. “Also, they do not draw near to slaughterers, butchers….” We cannot draw near to these people. We must be very mindful to comprehend this. “Slaughterers” are those who kill living beings for profit. They not only kill living things but continue to chop them up to turn them into a lavish meal. All of these are called “slaughterers, butchers”. “Slaughterers” are those who kill, slaughtering [animals] by cutting their meat. “Butchers” are those who chop meat into tiny pieces. They are called “butchers”. We can see this is something we must avoid. So, we must always encourage people to not kill. We should not take lives. This is especially the case considering the extreme climate nowadays. From the religious perspective, sentient beings have created too much karma from taking so many lives. The karmic law of cause and effect is reacting. Modern science also tells us that animal agriculture pollutes the planet. There are so many people and so many animals. We must not deliberately raise them. Heaven and earth have the virtue of providing for all life. Any living being should be given freedom, a free environment [to live in]. We should not deliberately raise these animals; then naturally the animal population will not grow and we [prevent] even more pollution. So, we must avoid this. This is the concept of environmental protection in the modern world. But within Buddhism, the Buddha continually promoted this concept since more than 2000 years ago, that all sentient beings are equal. We must not kill and harm sentient beings. This killing truly creates [evil] karma. So it says, “Farmers, hunters and fishermen who kill for profit….”

Farmers, hunters and fishermen who kill for profit: Farmers burn the land [for cultivation]. Hunters use hounds [to hunt]. Fishermen: They spread nets to trap fish. Kill for profit: They kill for the sake of profit and wealth. Farmers and hunters: These people shoot animals and kill for profit. In order to make a living, they engage in work that takes lives.

“Farmers” refers to those engaging in slash-and-burn agriculture. How are the fields farmed? On level farmlands, some farmers will, upon finishing a harvest, since there are remaining stalks, wild grasses and so on, sometimes set them on fire. Even now, we often see this slash-and-burn agriculture among farmers. Fire is used to clear the land in an entire area or for soil management. But using fire to burn the land will also kill many living beings. Now, we also talk about how burning the land pollutes the air. So, we cannot do this. There are those who use dogs to hunt animals, setting hunting dogs to chase them. When they see a living being, the dogs chase it and they know to attack it. So, we cannot draw near to those who take lives. Slash-and-burn agriculture takes lives. Insects, ants, etc. will be killed. “Hunting” also takes lives. When the fishing net is cast, fish are caught. This is also killing.

So, they all “kill for the sake of profit and wealth”. As for “farmers” and “hunters,” [hunters] are “those who shoot animals”. These farmers use fire to burn the land. “Shooting” refers to hunting. These are all wrongdoings. So, “They kill for profit”. Some kill solely to make a living. So, they take lives to make a living.

Thus, everyone must truly be mindful. We must be mindful of how we live our lives. If we are not mindful, there is concern that in our casual speech, we might also create karma. If our thoughts are not firm, our minds will also very quickly fluctuate and waver. So, we must be very mindful. One good thought can lead to doing many good deeds in every word we speak, in every move we make, and in every thought we give rise to. So, in our everyday living, we must guard our minds and ensure our direction is correct. When our direction is correct, everything [we do] will benefit sentient beings. So, in summary, with a single thought, we can do many good things. With a single thought, there can also be many improper behaviors. This all comes down to our minds. Therefore, we must always be mindful!

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