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 20180810《靜思妙蓮華》修堅固戒 安住不動 (第1411集) (法華經·安樂行品第十四)

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發表主題: 20180810《靜思妙蓮華》修堅固戒 安住不動 (第1411集) (法華經·安樂行品第十四)   周四 8月 09, 2018 8:06 pm

20180810《靜思妙蓮華》修堅固戒 安住不動 (第1411集) (法華經·安樂行品第十四)

⊙堅固戒,是謂菩薩持戒時,一切利養恭敬,及諸貪瞋癡等煩惱,悉皆不能惑動,持淨戒不毀壞。
⊙菩薩具大慈悲得大捨安樂行,為欲救拔一切世間四諦苦集,滅諸煩惱惑業道向菩提有情,世間諸利益事得大法樂自在。
⊙「顛倒分別,諸法有無,是實非實,是生非生。」《法華經安樂行品第十四》
⊙「在於閑處,修攝其心,安住不動,如須彌山。」《法華經安樂行品第十四》
⊙在於閑處,修攝其心:修行之法,貴在攝意,專念清澄。於空閒寂靜處,以攝其心。若處嘻戲,雜亂隤鬧,心豈能安。
⊙安住不動,如須彌山:安心住定,而不傾動,猶如鎮靜須彌山王。

【證嚴上人開示】
堅固戒,是謂菩薩持戒時,一切利養恭敬,及諸貪瞋癡等煩惱,悉皆不能惑動,持淨戒不毀壞。

堅固戒
是謂菩薩持戒時
一切利養恭敬
及諸貪瞋癡等煩惱
悉皆不能惑動
持淨戒不毀壞

用心,要多用心啊!我們要堅固我們的心,要堅持我們的戒律。戒是防非止惡,修行者缺少了修戒,這樣難道算是叫做修行嗎?佛法與一般的行善不同,就是要多守戒。除了行善,我們要有守規律、守規矩,這才是宗教的宗旨。你不論是什麼樣的宗教,宗教,正信的宗教就是教育。人心啊,從過去無明、煩惱、迷茫,不知道,不知所向的人生。宗教,不論是什麼樣的宗教,只要是正信的宗教,總是要入人群中向他們說:「一切要從善。」除了從善以外,還要守規矩,這樣才是叫做宗教,也是正信的宗教。任何一個宗教,只要有規律,正確、正信、正行的宗教,總是有教育人心的良能。何況大徹大悟的佛陀所講法,一大事因緣,無不都是為了要開示。

眾生迷茫中,要向眾生提醒,指一個方向,「你的路已經走偏了,而且偏得非常的離譜了,再去的路,那就是三惡道了,再過去的路,那就是苦難偏多,人間迷茫的路,大家要趕緊及時回頭,向著正道走。在人間要好好修人間道,人間道上也要有正覺向。」這是佛陀來人間的目標,希望我們不要偏離人道,走入了三惡道。在人道還有救,行善,十善法還能夠生天,做人,才有機會去行十善道。十善道還不究竟,希望超越十善道,能夠行菩薩道。這就是佛陀循循善誘,說人間道,說聲聞乘,說菩薩乘,佛陀覺悟了之後,在人間無不都是,循循來教導我們,所以,將迷茫的眾生,指導他行善:你行善,人間修十善法,還要有五戒,要守五戒才能夠不失人身,還能夠進行,行到天道,去享受人間福或者是天福。這是佛陀來人間為一般人所開導的十善,起碼也都要五戒,再進步就是行十善。意思就是說,先把人的規矩守好,再進步去行善道。

你行善道若沒有守規戒,這樣就容易墮落阿修羅道,會做善,會修福,但是不修性,容易就是在阿修羅道。所以佛陀希望我們持戒,教育我們人間五戒。享天福、修十戒,這樣雖然是在天道,在人間,佛陀再向我們說六道輪迴,一不小心,除了人道、天道,後面還有三惡道——地獄、餓鬼、畜生。哪怕你修十善、五戒,一不小心也是會被誘惑去;欲,容易誘惑人。所以,佛陀再進一步,要我們好好看清楚「四諦法」,了解「苦」,更要看透「集」來的因緣果報。所以,除了「四諦法」,佛陀再和我們說,「十二因緣」;說「十二因緣」,是要提高我們警覺,修行的方法,《三十七助道品》,一步一步讓我們能清楚,讓我們有規戒,我們能夠知道「四正勤」,要如何認真,如何好好勤修「戒定慧」。我們要如何,才能夠得到我們如意,「四如意足」。在人間道上,在修行過程中,我們能夠事事明達、通理,讓我們能夠了解,就再向我們說,「五根」、「五力」、「七菩提分」,還要保持我們的心態,所以需要我們,要「八正道」等等。

這都是佛陀用智慧層次,這樣一次一次來循循善誘,希望我們能夠「堅固戒」。這就是有了這個堅固的戒心,我們就能夠「菩薩持戒」。菩薩在持戒之時,這個時候就是「一切利養恭敬」。雖然得到利養、恭敬,菩薩能夠很清楚,得到眾生這樣的利養、恭敬,他分得很清楚。是利的供養?或者是敬的供養?或者是行的供養呢?

過去常常說過,供養有三種,一種就是利養,這種的利養,這容易讓我們貪而無度。我們在前次也有說過了,世間濁惡,哪怕是修行也是一樣,容易被利養污染了我們的心,我們也會迷失掉,所以我們要很謹慎,哪怕是修行者也都要戒慎。我們若有戒,就不會受利養染污我們的心。或者是貪人恭敬我們而修行呢?不是,是我們的本分,應該要修行。自然你好好修,人家尊重你,我們更要覺醒,更要覺悟。讓人讚歎,我們要好好要提醒自己,不要人家尊重我們,我們就自大,我們就起我慢心,不可,要再更謙卑。要不然,因為一受了供養,就容易再貪、瞋、癡,所以我們要好好提高警覺。

菩薩持戒,要時時提高警覺,一切的利養,或者是恭敬,要常常有警惕心,要知道貪、瞋、癡等煩惱,這全都是迷惑人,讓我們修行守很多的戒律,明很多的是非,只是為一個貪利供養,就起了瞋、癡,迷惑了我們,滿心煩惱。這都不行,我們要常常提高警覺。「悉皆不能惑動」。這些貪、瞋、癡,不要來迷惑了我們的心。因為修行持戒,自然人就會供養,這個供養就是利的供養,恭敬的供養,這不是我們最重要的,我們最重要的,希望人人以行供養,有志一同。

佛陀教育我們入人群去傳佛法,最大的目標就是要淨化人心。淨化了他的人心,自然人的行為,人的觀念、思想被淨化了,有志一同,這就是行的供養。不是為了利,或者是恭敬的供養,不是,我們要提高警覺,不要在這當中起了貪、瞋、癡,這些煩惱。這些煩惱在我們的面前,我們不受惑動,所以入人群而不受污染,這就是我們要學的。在持戒中要很堅固,要行菩薩道;菩薩道入人群,入人群中要持戒。不要說,我們修行,就是讓人這樣利養、恭敬,就不要,我們要提高警覺,這樣容易使我們起貪、瞋、癡,會來迷惑我們的心,不要。因為菩薩就是「悉皆不能惑動」,菩薩就是不會受這些,利養、恭敬等等,來將我們迷惑了,我們方向要正確,這叫做「堅固戒」,堅固的戒。這就是菩薩戒,菩薩要守的戒。

菩薩是大乘行者,不應該受到利養或者是恭敬等,來引起了我們,再度又有貪、瞋、癡。我們凡夫之時,曾經有過這無明過,我們現在已經修行了,我們的心都要清淨,不要受惑動搖我們的心;「惑」就是無明,不要受無明來動搖了我們的心。我們要好好持戒,不受毀壞,這個「堅固戒」,自然好好修行,要行大乘道在人群中,持戒不受毀害,這是最重要。所以,請大家修行的目標要正確。所以,「菩薩具大慈悲,得大捨安樂行」。

菩薩具大慈悲
得大捨安樂行
為欲救拔一切
世間四諦苦集
滅諸煩惱惑業
道向菩提有情
世間諸利益事
得大法樂自在

我們要捨棄,一切貪、瞋、癡的念,捨棄一切利養、恭敬的念,所以我們要捨。我們有大慈悲行在人群中,我們要捨棄一切貪名利養,自然我們會時時輕安自在,安樂行在人間,這就是很重要,用心,要堅持。所以,「為欲救拔一切」,「世間四諦苦集,滅諸煩惱惑業」。這是我們要用功,因為我們既起大悲心了,我們捨棄一切的利養,我們要再發心入人群中,去救拔一切眾生。眾生在世間,受盡了「苦」、「集」,這當中的苦,我們要怎麼樣?我們自己要滅掉一切煩惱,同時我們也要去除一切無明,這樣我們才有辦法這條路向道,這個覺道,「道向菩提」,我們才能夠清清楚楚,走上了這條的覺道,菩提道。

這個菩提道面向著有情,就叫做「覺有情」,我們的心願就是在人群中去覺悟有情。因為我們自己已經了解,佛法是這樣教育我們,我們既是受到佛法的教育,清楚了解,將這個法傳入人間去。我們用很清楚、覺悟的心,帶入了人群有情中去,這就是「世間諸利益事」。我們難得人生,既來生命,我們要用在生命的價值,我們要利益人群。所以,「得大法樂自在」。我們若付出,我們無所求,看到他們,我們用我們的方法入人群去,人群中已經接受到了,他們也覺醒了,他們也體悟了,他們也和我們有志一同了,這就是我們的目標。

就像在厄瓜多,厄瓜多有一群的菩薩,從美國的菩薩,南美洲;阿根廷、巴拉圭、巴西,或者是智利,這幾個國家的菩薩,已經在那個地方,用心這樣輪流,巴拉圭是在,今年(二O一七年)的四月初,一場大水災,這個大水災禍延三個國家,從哥倫比亞到厄瓜多,再向南,祕魯,這三個國家,都是豪大雨,他們的大災難。而我們看他們那麼多天了,還沒辦法復原,不忍啊!要如何去救這三個國家呢?力量有限。因為面積太大了,我們只好量力而為,我們選擇的是有因緣,這就叫做因緣了。

再說去年(二O一六年)的,四月間,他們的大地震,就是因為這個因緣,慈濟人接觸到這個國家,投入進去,以工代賑,將它救拔起來,讓他們在社區、市區,能夠經濟復甦。雖然還有很多人,還住在帳篷區裡面,但是他們的生機,已經提升起來了。這是過去有這樣的因緣,得到幫助,大家認識了慈濟;那個過去在這塊土地上,播種下去的種子,也已經在發芽了,他們認識慈濟了,他們了解慈濟了,他們為慈濟,而感恩慈濟,所以,他們紛紛表示:慈濟願意到達,他們願意付出。所以,有這個因緣種子,我們還是就決定,就選擇這個國家,也是大力去支援。感動人的故事,就是這樣一直出來了。

有一位七十二歲的老先生,他出來向濟舵表達,他是負責這個社區,帶動以工代賑的組長,他已經七十二歲了。這位看起來很慈祥,但是也是在慈祥中,也感覺是一位很有人格的人。原來才知道,原來他是一位外科醫生,他年輕的時候,也是任職在公職中,在政府的公職,他也是醫生。退休之後,他的生活本來就是很好,他能夠在家裡含飴弄孫。但是雖然是生活很好,忽然間這場的大水災,他和他的子孫都上去樓上,水一直一直淹,在那個地方他也要求救,呼救,好不容易救援隊將他們救出去,一家人平安,但是房子都淹了。

他也是在收容所裡面,好幾天了,也是同樣,感覺:沒有事情,只是在這個地方怨天怨地,聽到大家在埋怨,看到大家在苦難,這樣不是辦法。所以他自己,也走出了這個受困的,大家埋天怨地,無語問蒼天,這種的境界他走出去,去看家家戶戶,災難過後就是這麼亂,要怎麼辦呢?所以家家戶戶他都了解,一直到慈濟,再回歸這個地方的時候,他知道「以工代賑」這個訊息,他就出來帶領這一區。因為他家家戶戶都有去關心過,提供正確的訊息,就是這樣投入進來了。他很感恩,感恩慈濟能這樣進來,讓他們的鄉親,讓他們的環境能夠早日恢復。這就是其中的一個故事。

又另外一位,那就是一位,好幾天都有他的身影,看到他的人,那就是一位司機(Alfredo)。這幾天來,出出入入,要去飯店,或者是要去災區,任何一個地方,都是這位司機在載。這位司機,他就是這樣忽然間,他出現在慈濟人的面前,穿著志工背心,提著礦泉水,這樣穿梭在人群中,在那裡倒水給人喝,很親切感。走近人群,去為人群服務,他也是慈濟的志工。這種看到慈濟人身體力行,他也是很感動,所以也也投入進來。

還有,又另外是一位,從遙遠的地方來的,卡諾亞的志工(羅伯特 Robert),就是剛才說過的,受地震,我們為他們以工代賑的幾十位,他們這樣來了。三天的時間,這樣很沉默,一直在人群中,在打掃。一直到了第三天,他就和他們當地,現在水災的當地的人來分享,他自我介紹。他就向大家說:「我也是災民,我是在另外一個地方,就是去年受了震災,所以我也接受過以工代賑,這個團體幫助過,這是我過去有這樣幫助到,受到幫助。所以現在來到這個地方,看到大家在苦,我感受很多,只不過,我也是災民,你也是災民。我是因為地震,讓地震震垮了,所以我也是一無所有,也是苦難人。你們是受水災,你們讓水災將你們淹得那麼苦。所以你苦、我苦,同樣是受苦的人,不過也是要提起精神來,總是苦是一段時間,振作起來還有恢復的機會。所以我今天已經能來幫助你們,投入這志工群,換我來幫助你們,我們能夠重新開始。」

和大家來鼓勵:「我們應該都是有機會的人,我們應該都可以重新開始的人,我們大家應該要趕緊站起來,就像我現在在幫助你們一樣。」這真的很溫馨,這就是愛的力量,轉變了他的人生觀。過去他有災難,我們幫助他,啟發了一念的愛心,但是在一年後,另外一個縣受災難,他這念愛心啟動,他也和大家一起來,來投入,看到別人苦,想到自己的苦,但是過後他總也會想通。只要愛心啟發,力量發揮出來,想通了,不只是自己通,有力量,還能夠去勸導別人,也要想得通,也要站起來。

這就是我們人生能夠去幫助人,「菩薩具大慈悲」,就要開始先啟動這念心,然後發揮力量,「大捨安樂」,就是在人群中去付出,去為救拔一切世間,了解世間「四諦法」,苦、集、滅、道,去了解。了解「苦」是「集」來的煩惱,已經我們了解,所以我們要立決心,來「滅諸煩惱」。就像一位來勸同時受災難的人:「煩惱拋在一邊,我們還是開始努力起來,向道走。」同樣的道理。這就是「道向菩提有情」,世間就是這樣,有諸利益的事情,我們都能夠去付出;去付出,「得大法樂自在」,這樣就能夠有方法讓自己想通,有方法去幫助人。幫助人,看到他們得救了,也能夠在這泥濘中,將它清出了乾淨的形態出來,他們要再經濟復甦就不困難了。這就是真正大轉變,需要要有心人。所以我們要很用心。

前面,我們說過「顛倒分別,諸法有無,是實非實,是生非生。」。

顛倒分別
諸法有無
是實非實
是生非生
《法華經安樂行品第十四》

我們前面就講因緣,所以因緣生滅,我們要了解因緣生滅法,自然我們就會離開顛倒。人間,昨天說過了,過去生的二千多年前,一對的父女,二千多年後因為那個因緣,二千多年後竟然是做夫妻,只要那個心態、種子在,經過了二千多年後,這種因緣不斷這樣的輪迴著,就像悟達國師,十世修行,卻是還是要受到果報。

所以「因緣果報」我們要相信,不要在這個因緣,這樣受到無明因緣牽引,在那裡顛倒,所以我們要很了解,要分別清楚。所以,「諸法有無」。諸法到底是有沒有?光是在那裡論,有用嗎?「是實非實,是生非生」,這都是昨天我們說過的。

接下來就是「在於閑處,收攝其心,安住不動,如須彌山」。

在於閑處
修攝其心
安住不動
如須彌山
《法華經安樂行品第十四》

我們要多了解,在閒處,因為我們菩薩,開始修行的第一步,要先安住我們的心,所以在閒處。

在於閑處
修攝其心:
修行之法
貴在攝意
專念清澄
於空閒寂靜處
以攝其心
若處嘻戲
雜亂隤鬧
心豈能安

「在於閑處」,就是不要在那個憒鬧的當中,先避鬧,我們在比較清靜的地方。所以,為什麼要離俗,入叢林中來呢?叢林就是專心修行,哪怕是很辛苦,卻也是沒有這種世俗的,煩擾的事情。我們專心一志,我們的目標一致,若這樣雖然生活比較辛苦,卻是沒有這些世俗顛倒亂想、無明來困擾我們。所以我們有清淨的伴侶,我們能夠互相收攝我們的心。所以,「修行之法,貴在攝意,專念清澄」。我們將這樣很複雜的人間事,收過來就是一念心,這修行的法,貴在攝心。世俗很複雜,收攝為一意,一念心。所以,「專念清澄」。我們就是一心一志,要向前走的路是什麼很清楚,我們有一個規戒,我們有一個方向,所以路的方向我們清楚。

所以,「於空閒寂靜處」。沒有雜染來牽引我們,我們有專心向道的伴侶,所以我們不會受雜的方向,將我們偏差掉。所以「以攝其心」,就是有這樣的環境,讓我們的心方向正確。「若處嘻戲,雜亂隤鬧,心豈能安」。我們若是還在世俗裡,雜亂的心就很多,我們所在一起的就是很雜,好像一個染缸,染甕一樣,十花五色,我們心要專下來沒有那麼容易,全都是在世俗,這樣在嘻笑、嘻戲,就是心定不下來。尤其是「雜亂隤鬧」,這個雜亂,很鬧,所以我們要好好將心攝受好。這麼雜亂的地方,我們的心哪有辦法安呢?

安住不動
如須彌山:
安心住定
而不傾動
猶如鎮靜須彌山王

所以,我們一定修行要安住,要好好安住下來,住在我們要修行的這條道路,要安住得這樣,沒有其他雜念方向。就像須彌山,這樣穩穩而不動,這就像須彌山一樣,所以我們要好好用心來體會。這分力量是來自一個環境,一個有志一同的環境中,就像須彌山一樣,如如不動,「安心住定」,要安好心來,好好要在那個定力中,這是我們要有的方向。愛的力量,一定要有這樣,這個大環境,才有辦法成就大愛的力量,我們的心才能夠很穩定,因為這個穩定,才是真正我們修行的道場;我們若沒有一個很穩定的環境,我們就沒有辦法修行了。今天發好心,去做事情,但是很快,人與人之間,聲音複雜在我們的心裡,起心動念,我們道心容易被影響。這就是缺少這個環境,缺少陪伴的道侶,所以我們容易被污染到。

我們應該要選擇這個環境,孔夫子說:「擇不處仁,焉得知?」你要住的地方,你終身想要依靠的地方,要安住的地方,你若不懂得選擇,選擇在一起的人,選擇那個環境位置,這樣你就不是有智慧的人。要培養人也要有環境,「孟母三遷」,要教育她的孩子,也是要選擇環境。我們自己想要住的、要安住地方,也是需要環境,有這樣的環境給我們,我們才有辦法,真正力行在菩薩道上。菩薩道要有能夠入人群的機會,要有周圍這樣的環境,因為我們才是初發意菩薩。初發意的菩薩,心要穩定下來,我們還無法像佛菩薩那麼穩定,諸佛菩薩他們的智慧很定,方向篤定了,所以什麼都影響不到他們,因為他們很清楚。

我們幾天前也說過了,諸佛菩薩能夠了解,須彌山有幾斤幾兩,也能夠知道,海水有幾滴、有幾點,幾點、幾滴,佛菩薩能夠了解,我們凡夫就沒有辦法啊!所以我們要自量力,自己量我們自己的力,我們應該選擇好的環境。有這樣的伴侶,能夠不斷讓我們有這樣的環境,去入人群,讓我們有這樣的環境,堅定道心、好好修行,這才是能夠好好成就。所以,「安住不動,如須彌山」。「猶如鎮靜須彌山王」一樣。我們的心王,人人都有一個心王,那就是真如本性,我們要穩定下來,因為我們要回歸真如,因為我們已經看清楚方向了,我們必定清楚,我們就要殷勤精進。方向清楚,你若不肯精進,原地踏步,「知道了、知道了」,知道又是要怎樣呢?知道,你就要去向前前進,這叫做行菩薩道,這樣才真正有辦法,到達「大慈悲」,「大捨安樂行」,這樣我們才能夠,一直到利益世間,「得大法樂自在」。這就是我們學佛的方向,所以我們要時時多用心!
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發表主題: 回復: 20180810《靜思妙蓮華》修堅固戒 安住不動 (第1411集) (法華經·安樂行品第十四)   周三 9月 12, 2018 6:44 pm

Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: Firmly Uphold the Precepts (修堅固戒 安住不動)
Date: August.10.2018

“Firmly upholding the precepts means that when Bodhisattvas uphold the precepts, no offerings of wealth or reverence, nor any afflictions of greed, anger, delusion and so on can delude or disturb them. They uphold the purifying precepts and guard them from destruction.”

We must always be mindful. We must keep our minds firm and firmly uphold our precepts and discipline. Precepts guard against wrongs and stop evils. When spiritual practitioners do not cultivate the precepts, can we still call this spiritual practice? [Following] the Buddha-Dharma is different from typical acts of doing good, because we must also uphold the precepts. In addition to doing good deeds, we must uphold the precepts and rules. This is the direction religion gives us. No matter what religion we follow, all religions of right faith provide education [for life]. Due to the past ignorance, afflictions and delusions in the human mind, people do not know the direction of their lives. No matter what religion it is, as long as it is a religion of right faith, it is always about going among people to teach them to always do good deeds. Apart from doing good deeds, we must also follow the rules. Only religions [with beliefs] like these can be considered religions of right faith. Any religion, as long as it has precepts and [encourages] right faith and right conduct, has the potential to educate people, to say nothing of the Dharma taught by the Buddha, who attained great awakening. His one great cause is to open and reveal [the teachings] to people. Sentient beings are in confusion. He wants to give them a direction and remind them, “You have deviated from the path, very far from the path. Continuing down this road will lead to the Three Evil Realms. Continuing on this road [causes] great suffering. Those on a confused path in this world, must immediately turn back before it is too late and head towards the right path. You must earnestly cultivate [yourselves] on this path through the world. On this path, you must also head toward right awakening.”

This is the Buddha’s goal in coming to the world. He hopes that we will not deviate from the human path and enter the Three Evil Realms. In the human realm, people can still be saved. If we practice the Ten Good Deeds, we can even be reborn into the heaven realm. Only as humans do we have the opportunity to practice the Ten Good Deeds, but the Ten Good Deeds are not the ultimate. He hopes that we can surpass the Ten Good Deeds and walk the Bodhisattva-path. This is how the Buddha patiently guided us and taught us this path in the world, [from] the Hearer vehicle [to] the Bodhisattva vehicle. After the Buddha attained enlightenment, He patiently taught us in the world. So, He helped deluded sentient beings by guiding them to do good deeds, saying, “You must cultivate virtue by practicing the Ten Good deeds in this world. In addition, there are the Five Precepts; you must uphold the Five Precepts so that you will not lose your human form but can keep advancing and practicing until you reach the heaven realm. Then you can enjoy the blessings in the world or heavenly blessings.” These are the Ten Good Deeds that the Buddha came to the world to teach to sentient beings.

At the very least, we must [uphold] the Fie Precepts. To go further, we [practice] the Ten Good Deeds. This means that we must uphold the precepts first. Then, we can progress to doing good deeds. If we do good deeds without upholding precepts, we will easily fall into the asura realm. If we do good deeds and cultivate blessings but do not cultivate our character, we will easily fall into the asura realm. So, the Buddha hopes that we can uphold precepts. He taught us the Five Precepts for this world. To attain heavenly blessings, we must practice the Ten Good Deeds. Although we may end up in the heaven realm or the human realm, the Buddha explained to us about cyclic existence in the Six Realms. If we are not careful, apart from the human and heaven realms, there are also the Three Evil Realms, the hell, hungry ghost and animal realms. Even if we practice the Ten Good Deeds and the Five Precepts, if we are not careful, we can still be tempted.

Desires can easily lure people. So, the Buddha went one step further to help us to see the Four Noble Truths clearly. We must understand the truth of “suffering” and further understand that the “causation” is the accumulation of karmic retributions. So, in addition to the Four Noble Truths, the Buddha explained to us the “Twelve Links of Cyclic Existence.” The “Twelve Links of Cyclic Existence,” help us heighten our vigilance. As for how to engage in spiritual practice, [He taught] the “37 Practices to Enlightenment,” to help us clearly understand things step by step and to establish precepts for us. By understanding the “Four Right Efforts,” we know how to earnestly cultivate precepts, Samadhi and wisdom. [He taught us] how to fulfill our aspirations with the “Four Bases of Fulfilling Power”. On this path in the world, in the course of our spiritual practice, we must thoroughly understand and penetrate all of these principles. Having helped us understand them, He then taught us the “Five Roots, Five Powers and Seven Factors of Bodhi”. We must also look after our mindset, which rewires us [to practice] the “Eightfold Path” and so on.

The Buddha used different levels of wisdom to patiently guide us time after time, hoping we can “firmly uphold the precepts”. So, with this firm, disciplined mind, become “Bodhisattvas upholding the precepts”. When Bodhisattvas uphold the precepts, [they will not be influenced by] “offerings of wealth or reverence”. Although they attain offerings of wealth or reverence, Bodhisattvas clearly understand that as they attain these offerings and reverence from sentient begins, they must distinguish them clearly. Is it an offering of wealth? Or an offering of reverence? Or an offering of one’s conduct?

In the past, I have explained that there are three kinds of offerings. One of them is offerings of wealth. These offerings of wealth easily make us insatiably greedy. We talked about this previously. The world is full of turbidities. Even if we engage in spiritual practice, our minds are easily defiled by offerings of wealth, and we can also be deluded. So, we must be very vigilant. Even spiritual practitioners must be vigilant. If we uphold the precepts, our minds will not be defiled by offerings of wealth. Do we engage in spiritual practice because we crave reverence from others? No, we do not. It is our fundamental responsibility to engage in spiritual practice. Naturally, when we earnestly cultivate ourselves and people respect us, it is even more important to become awakened. When people praise us, we must earnestly remind ourselves not to let this respect from people go to our heads so that we give rise to arrogance in our minds. We cannot do this; instead, we must be humble. Otherwise, once we accept the offerings, we easily give rise to greed, anger and delusions. So, we must earnestly heighten our vigilance. As Bodhisattvas upholding the precepts, we must constantly heighten our vigilance. Speaking of offerings of wealth or reverence, we must constantly keep our minds vigilant. We must understand that the afflictions of greed, anger, delusions and so on will all delude people. We must practice upholding these many precepts and understanding right from wrong. If we crave offering of wealth or give rise to anger and delusion, we will become lost and full of afflictions. We cannot do that. We must constantly heighten our vigilance. “Nothing can delude or disturb them” means greed, anger and delusions must not delude our minds. Because we practice upholding the precepts, naturally, people will make offerings. These offerings are offerings of wealth and offerings of reverence, but this is not the most important part. What is most important is for everyone to make offerings [virtuous] conduct and share the same mission.

The Buddha taught us to go among people and spread the Buddha-Dharma. The greatest goal is to bring purity to people’s hearts. If we bring purity to people’s hearts, naturally, their behavior, perspectives and thoughts will be purified, so they will share the same mission. This is the offering of conduct. We do not [practice] for offerings of wealth or offerings of reverence.

We must heighten our vigilance. We must not give rise to afflictions of greed, anger and delusions and so on. When these afflictions are in front of us, we must not become confused. So, as we go among people, we must not become contaminated; this is what we must learn. We must be firm in upholding the precepts. We must walk the Bodhisattva-path. The Bodhisattva-path means going among people. To go among people, we must uphold the precepts. We should not engage in spiritual practice so that people can make offerings of wealth and reverence to us. We must not do this. We must heighten our vigilance. [These offerings] cause us to easily give rise to greed, anger and delusions which confuse our minds; this must not happen. It is said of Bodhisattvas that “nothing can delude or disturb them”.

As Bodhisattvas, we do not allow offerings of wealth and reverence and so on to cause us to become deluded. We must [move in] the right direction. This is called “firmly upholding the precepts”. Firm precepts are the Bodhisattvas’ precepts, the precepts which Bodhisattvas must uphold. Bodhisattvas are Great Vehicle practitioners. We should not, in accepting offerings of wealth or reverence and so on, allow ourselves to give rise to greed, anger and delusions. As ordinary people, we experienced such ignorance before. Now, we engage in spiritual practice, so we must purity our minds and not let delusions cause us to waver. “Delusions” are ignorance. We must not let ignorance sway our minds. We must earnestly uphold the precepts and guard them from destruction. “Firmly upholding the precepts” means we must earnestly engage in spiritual practice and walk the Great Vehicle path among people. We must uphold the precepts and not break them. This is the most important thing.

So, we must ensure that we have the right goal in our spiritual practice. Thus, “Bodhisattvas possess great loving-kindness and compassion. They have attained great equanimity and practice to bring peace and joy.”

Bodhisattvas possess great loving-kindness and compassion. They have attained great equanimity and practice to bring peace and joy. They wish to relieve all [sentient beings]. With the truths of suffering and causation from the Four Noble Truths in the world, they bring all afflictions and deluded karma to cessation. They follow the path to Bodhi for sentient begins. All these works bring benefit to the world. Thus they attain great Dharma-joy and freedom.

We must abandon all thoughts of greed, anger and delusions. We must abandon all thoughts of offerings of wealth and reverence. We must abandon them all. As we practice great compassion among people, we must abandon all greed for offerings of wealth. Then, we can constantly be peaceful and at ease and practice peacefully and joyfully in the world. This is very important. We must mindfully persevere in this. So, “They wish to relieve all [sentient beings]. With the truths of suffering and causation from the Four Noble Truths in the world, they bring all afflictions and deluded karma to cessation”. We must work hard [to do this]. Giving rise to great compassion, we must let go of all offerings of wealth and form aspirations to keep going among people to bring relief to all sentient beings. Sentient beings in the world experience “suffering” and “causation”. Seeing how they suffer, what can we do? We must eliminate all of our afflictions and must also eliminate all of our ignorance. Only then will we be following this path, the path to awakening. “They follow the path to Bodhi”. Only by doing this can we clearly follow this path to awakening, the Bodhi-path. This Bodhi-path is meant for sentient beings; thus we talk about “awakened sentient beings”.

Our aspiration is to go among sentient beings and awaken them. Since we already understand that the Buddha-Dharma teaches us in this way and we have accepted the Buddha-Dharma’s teachings and clearly understood them, we will spread these teachings in this world. With this clarity of our awakened minds, we bring [the Dharma] as we go among people. “All these works bring benefit to the world”. It is rare to be born human. Since we have this life, we must make it valuable by putting it to use to benefit people.

“Thus, they attain great Dharma-joy and freedom”. When we help others, we give unconditionally. Once we see them, we use our methods to go among people. When people accept [our help], they too become awakened. Once they have also awakened, they share the same mission as us. This is our goal.

This is like how in Ecuador, there is a group of Bodhisattva-volunteers from the United States, as well as from [places in] South America, including Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil and Chile. The Bodhisattvas from these countries are already in that place, serving mindfully in shifts. In Ecuador, at the beginning of April in 2017, there was a great flood. It impacted three countries, from Colombia to Ecuador and all the way south to Peru. In these three countries there were heavy rains which caused this great disaster. We saw how it lasted for so many days, and people could not recover from it. We could not bear to see them suffer. How could we send aid to these countries? We have limited power. Because the area is too big, we had to work according to our abilities. We chose to go [to Ecuador] where we had already formed connections. This is what we call causes and conditions. In April of 2016, there was a big earthquake. Through causes and conditions, Tzu Chi volunteers came in contact with [people in] this country. The volunteers got involved and held a Cash for Relief program. This was how they helped this country. They helped revive the economies of the cities and communities that were affected. Although many people still lived in a tent city, their spirits were lifted.

There were such causes and conditions before; they received our help and got to know Tzu Chi. The seeds we planted in this land in the past have now already begun to spout. They are now familiar with Tzu Chi, and they understand us. They are grateful to Tzu Chi. Thus, they told us that as long as Tzu Chi is willing to be there, they are willing to help. So, because of these karmic seeds, we chose to [go to] this country and support them with great efforts.

Thus, touching stories continue to come out of [Ecuador]. There was a 72-year-old man who told Chi Duo (George Chang) that as the leader of the community, he would head the Cash for Relief program. At 72 years old, this man looked very kind, but within this kindness, we could sense the strength of his character. Later on, we found out that he had been a surgeon. When he was young, he worked in the public sector for the government as a doctor. After he retired, his life was very comfortable. He could stay at home and spend time with family. [In the midst of] this comfortable life, suddenly this great flood [forced] him and his grandchildren to flee upstairs. As the water continued to rise, they kept calling for help from that place. With great effort, the rescue team saved them. The whole family was safe, but their house was flooded. He stayed in the shelter for several days, and [each day] he felt there was nothing to do. He could only blame his circumstances. He heard how everyone was bitter and saw how they suffered. [He thought to himself], “This cannot go on”. So, he made the effort to leave behind this trapped [mindset], how they all blamed their circumstances and felt so helpless. So, he left behind that state of mind and went to [inspect] every household. Everything was so messy after the disaster. What could he do? He understood every family’s [situation], so when Tzu Chi returned to this place, he knew about the Cash for Relief program and he led the [volunteers] in this area. Because he had visited every family, he provided us with accurate information. This is how he devoted himself to the work. He was very grateful that Tzu Chi could come and help his villagers to restore the environment there. This is just one of the stories [from Ecuador].

In addition, there was another person. We saw him on several [occasions]. He was a driver. Volunteers were coming and going during this time, either to the hotels or to the disaster area. Wherever they went, this driver took them there. Suddenly, [one day] his driver appeared before the Tzu Chi volunteers. He was wearing a volunteer vest and carrying bottle water. He went among the people and poured water for them to drink. He was warm and approachable as he went among people to serve them. [Now], he is also a Tzu Chi volunteer. Seeing how Tzu Chi volunteers took action, he was very touched, so he also got involved in the efforts. In addition, there was also another volunteer who came from a faraway place. This volunteer is from Canoa, where the earthquake I just mentioned had struck. We organized a Cash for Relief program for the survivors there, so they also came [to participate]. During those three days, he was very quiet as he cleaned alongside the others.

Then, on the third day, he shared [his own story] with the local flood survivors. He introduced himself and told everyone, “I am a disaster survivor as well. I came from another place that suffered from an earthquake last year. I also participated in the Cash for Relief program. This group helped me. They helped ne in the past. I received their help, so now, I have come to this place. Seeing how everyone is suffering, I [truly] feel for you. I am a disaster survivor, and you are all disaster survivors also. My home collapsed because of the earthquake, and I also lost everything, so I have also suffered. [Now], you have experienced flooding, and because of this, you are suffering. So, we have all suffered; we are all people who have suffered. Still, we must raise our spirits. The suffering will last a while, but we must pull ourselves together. We still have a chance to recover. So, today I was able to come here to help you and dedicate myself as a volunteer. Now it is my turn to help you so that we can start fresh again.” He encouraged everyone, “We are people with opportunities. We can start fresh again. So, we should all quickly get back on our feet [and help each other] just like I am helping you now.” This was very touching. This is the power of love. He changed his perspective on life. In the past, he suffered from disaster. We helped him, and that inspired a thought of love in his mind.

One year later, when another area experienced a disaster, this love was activated and he joined in alongside everyone else. Seeing others’ suffering, he remembered his own, but then he came to thoroughly understand that as long as people are inspired to love, they can exercise this [great] power. He understood this, and not only that, he also had the power to encourage others to understand too and get back on their feet. This is how we can help people in this life. “Bodhisattvas possess great loving-kindness and compassion. We must first inspire this mindset [in ourselves], and then we can exercise our strength. “They have attained great equanimity and practice to bring peace and joy.” We go among to give of ourselves and relieve all sentient beings in the world.” To understand “the Four Noble Truths” of this world, we must understand suffering, causation, cessation and the Path. We understand that “suffering” is “caused” by the accumulation of afflictions. When we understand this, we must become determined to “bring all afflictions to cessation”. Just like this person who encouraged disaster survivors like himself to. “Toss your afflictions aside! We must begin to work hard and walk forward along the path.” The principle is the same. These are sentient beings following the Bodhi-path. The world is like this. All these works that bring benefit come from our ability to always give. When we help others, “we attain great Dharma-joy and freedom”. We are able to think things through and find ways to help others. As we help others, we see people being saved. Once the debris and mud are cleaned up, then it becomes [easier] for the economy to recover. This is a truly great transformation. This requires people with dedication, so we must be very mindful.

Previously, we talked about how, “It is through deluded discrimination that phenomena seem existent or non-existent, real or unreal, arising or non-arising.”

We previously talked about causes and conditions. Everything arises and ceases due to causes and conditions. [Once] we understand that all things arise and cease due to causes and conditions, we will naturally distance ourselves from delusion. Yesterday, we talked about how, in this world, in a past lifetime more than 2000 years ago, there are a father and daughter. After more than 2000 years, due to their causes and conditions, they [were reborn and] became husband and wife. As long as that mindset, those seeds, still exist, then even after 2000 years [this can happen]. Such causes and conditions are continually cycling like this.

This is like Master Wu Da who engaged in spiritual practice for ten lifetimes but still received his retribution. So, we must believe in the law of cause and effect. Amidst these causes and condition, we must not be dragged around by ignorance or become deluded by it. We must understand thoroughly and must clearly distinguish things. So, “Phenomena seem existent or non-existent”. Do phenomena exist or not? If we just sit here debating this, what use is it? “[They seem] real of unreal, arising or non-arising”. We talked about all of this yesterday.

Next, it says, “in quiet spaces, [Bodhisattvas] cultivate and collect their minds. They abide, peaceful and unwavering, like Mt. Sumeru.”

We must better understand [the importance of] being in quiet spaces. For Bodhisattvas like us, the initial step in engaging in spiritual practice is to first bring peace to our minds. So, this requires us to be in quiet spaces.

In quiet space, [Bodhisattvas] cultivate and collect their minds: The most precious method of spiritual practice lies in collecting the mind and focusing our thoughts to become tranquil and clear. In open and quiet places, we must collect our minds. If we stay in a place full of frivolity, we must collect our minds. If we stay full of frivolity, chaos and noise, how can our minds be at peace?

“In quiet spaces” means that we should not be amidst chaos and noise. We should first avoid chaos and find a more tranquil place to be. So, why do we leave the mundane world and enter the monastic community? We enter the monastic community to focus on our spiritual practice. Even if it is difficult, there are no worldly matters to disturb us here. We must focus single-mindedly on our shared goal. Although our lifestyle requires more effort, there is none of the deluded thinking or ignorance of the mundane world to trouble us. So, we have pure companions who can help us cultivate and collect our minds.

“The most precious method of spiritual practice lies in collecting the mind and focusing our thoughts to become tranquil and clear.” From amidst these complicated worldly matters, we collect our minds back to one thought. The most precious method of spiritual practice lies in collecting the mind. Worldly matters are very complicated, so we must collect our minds into a single thought. By focusing our thoughts, we become tranquil and clear. We become single-minded in our resolve. We must clearly know the path we are advancing on. We have the precepts, and we have a direction. We are clear about the direction of the path.

Thus, “in open and quiet places” there are no defilements to sway us. Our companions are also focused on the path. So, we will not by influenced by mixed-up courses to deviate in our path. So, “We must collect our minds.” In these kinds of environments, our minds must be oriented in the right direction. “If we stay in a place full of frivolity, chaos and noise, how can our minds be at peace?” If we are still tangled in worldly matters, we will have many chaotic thoughts. Then, when we get together, there will be chaos. It is like a vat of [many] dyes; there are too many colors. It is not easy for our minds to focus like this. We [think] only of worldly matters and frivolity, so our minds cannot be at peace, especially when [things are] “chaotic and noisy”. This sort of chaos is very hectic. So, we must earnestly collect our minds. In such a chaotic place, how can our minds be at peace?

They abide, peaceful and unwavering, like Mt. Sumeru: They bring peace to their minds and abide in Samadhi, unwavering, just like serene Mt. Sumeru, King of Mountains.

We must abide in peace in our spiritual practice. We must earnestly abide on the path where we engage in spiritual practice. We must abide peacefully like this, with no other discursive thoughts. We must be like Mt. Sumeru, unwavering. So, we must make an effort to comprehend this. This strength comes from being in an environment where we all share the same mission. We must be like Mt. Sumeru, unwavering. “We abide, peaceful and unwavering.” Our minds must be at peace, and we must earnestly abide in the power of Samadhi. This must be our direction. When it comes to the power of great love, we need this kind of greater environment in order to bring the power of love to fruition. Only then can our minds be unwavering. Only with this stability can this truly become a place of spiritual practice. Without this very steady environment, we cannot engage in spiritual practice. Today, we may form great aspirations to do things, but as soon as we interact with people, all the complicated chatter in our minds leads us to give rise to discursive thoughts and our spiritual aspirations will easily be affected. This happens when we lack this kind of environment with spiritual companions to accompany us. Thus, we easily become defiled. So, we should choose [a proper] environment.

Confucius said, “If we choose a place without benevolence, how can we be considered wise?” When it comes to where we want to live or a place for us to rely on in this life, a place where we can peacefully abide, if we do not know how to choose the people who will accompany us or our environment or location, then we do not have wisdom. To cultivate talent, we also need the [right] environment. “Mencius’s mother moved three times.” To educate her child, she had to choose the right environment for him. When it comes to where we live, to where we peacefully abide, we also need the [right] environment. Only in an environment like this can we truly put the Bodhisattva-path into action. Practicing the Bodhisattva-path requires the opportunity to go among people. We need such an environment around us, because we are just newly-inspired Bodhisattvas. Newly-inspired Bodhisattvas must steady their minds. We are unable to be as unwavering as the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. All Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have unwavering wisdom and are certain in their direction. So, nothing can affect them. This is because they have clear understanding. We talked about this a few days ago. All Buddhas and Bodhisattvas know how much Mt. Sumeru weighs, and they know how many drops of water are in the great oceans. This number of droplets is something that all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas understand in great detail. Ordinary people like us cannot do this! So, we must know our own strength. We must evaluate our own abilities and choose a good environment for ourselves. [Choosing virtuous] companions will provide us an environment where we can constantly go among people. With such an environment, our aspirations will be firm as we engage in spiritual practice. Only then can we thoroughly accomplish this.

So, “They abide, peaceful and unwavering, like Mt. Sumeru.” They are “just like serene Mt. Sumeru, King of Mountains”. We all have a mind-king. This is means we must settle our intrinsic nature of True Suchness. Since we want to return to True Suchness and we can clearly see the direction, we must be certain to diligently advance. If we clearly know our direction but refuse to advance, we will be walking in place. “I know it; I understand it.” But what use is merely knowing it? If we can understand it, we must advance forward. This is how we practice the Bodhisattva-path. Only then can we truly attain “great loving-kindness and great equanimity and practice to bring peace and joy”. Only then can we benefit the world at all times and “attain great Dharma-joy and freedom.” This is our direction as we are learning the Buddha-Dharma. So, we must always be mindful!

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