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 20181011《靜思妙蓮華》修四安樂 夢感妙相 (第1455集) (法華經·安樂行品第十四)

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20181011《靜思妙蓮華》修四安樂 夢感妙相  (第1455集) (法華經·安樂行品第十四) Empty
發表主題: 20181011《靜思妙蓮華》修四安樂 夢感妙相 (第1455集) (法華經·安樂行品第十四)   20181011《靜思妙蓮華》修四安樂 夢感妙相  (第1455集) (法華經·安樂行品第十四) Empty周一 10月 08, 2018 11:18 pm

20181011《靜思妙蓮華》修四安樂 夢感妙相 (第1455集) (法華經·安樂行品第十四)

⊙謂諸眾生既聞甚深微妙法已,又能起正信心,思惟其義依教修行,甚為希有,是為世間難得之寶故,所聞之法應常能憶持。
⊙<安樂行品>說成四安樂行人,夢中感五種好相:一、見佛為眾說法,二、見己為眾說法,三、見己由佛授記,四、見修菩薩之道,五、見己八相成道 。
⊙「國土嚴淨,廣大無比。亦有四眾,合掌聽法。」《法華經安樂行品第十四》
「又見自身,在山林中,修習善法,證諸實相,深入禪定,見十方佛。《法華經安樂行品第十四》
⊙「諸佛身金色,百福相莊嚴,聞法為人說,常有是好夢。」《法華經安樂行品第十四》
⊙此頌身心精潔無垢,寂靜清澄,修行見佛。從見諸如來乃至十方佛,及靜思慮諸法妙事。今此結示所夢五十位事。
⊙菩薩由凡夫到成佛,一共要經過五十二個階位,即十信、十住、十行、十迴向、十地、等覺、妙覺。
⊙諸佛身金色,百福相莊嚴:見諸佛身作紫金色,百福相好,以為莊嚴。
⊙聞法為人說:從佛得聞微妙之法,自見其身為他演說。
⊙常有是好夢:若人修此安樂行者,常有如是善好美夢。前云:若於夢中但見妙事。
⊙「又夢作國王,捨宮殿眷屬,及上妙五欲,行詣於道場。在菩提樹下,而處師子座,求道過七日,得諸佛之智。」《法華經安樂行品第十四》
⊙頌夢中八相成道之相。又夢下,歷見修進成佛始終之行。
⊙諸佛之果,由行以致。安樂行人,先見其相,克果必矣。
⊙「又夢作國王,捨宮殿眷屬,及上妙五欲,行詣於道場。在菩提樹下,而處師子座,求道過七日,得諸佛之智。」
⊙夢作國王:即降兜率、託陰、降生、三相。捨宮殿五欲:詣道樹等,即出家之相。
⊙行詣於道場,在菩提樹下,而處師子座:行至道場,樹下安座。修聖道也。
⊙求道過七日,得諸佛之智:求道七日,得佛智慧。證妙果也。

【證嚴上人開示】
謂諸眾生既聞甚深微妙法已,又能起正信心,思惟其義依教修行,甚為希有,是為世間難得之寶故,所聞之法應常能憶持。

謂諸眾生
既聞甚深微妙法已
又能起正信心
思惟其義依教修行
甚為希有
是為世間
難得之寶故
所聞之法
應常能憶持

也就是要告訴大家,「諸眾生既聞甚深微妙法」,之後,「又能起正信心」。我們大家聽法,聽了之後,那就是要法入心;法入心了,同時我們要生起正信的心。這是佛陀說法,最期待眾生能夠接近佛法,能夠用心聽法,法聽入心,也能夠起正信的心。聽法我們若沒有起信心,聽也沒有用,所以「信」是很重要。但是「信」若不正確,一念偏差,差毫釐就是失千里。所以佛法難遭遇,真是微妙的法,我們要從起信心,而且正確的觀念來接受佛法,這種正信心很重要。「思惟其義」。有了正信心,就能夠思惟,思惟法裡面的內容。我們若沒有正信心,法聽了就過去了,只是聲音經耳就漏掉了,有聽、沒有聽不是一樣嗎?所以聽法要聽入心,要經過了思惟;靜思惟,好好心靜下來,來分析、來思考,我們所聽的法裡面的道理。若能夠這樣,就能夠「依教修行」。身體力行,才是真能體會佛法的道理,道理是要讓我們應用在生活中,人、事、物,所以我們一定要去體會,道理和事相才能夠會合。

所以,修行是「甚為稀有」,將法用在生活中,這是一件很快樂、很微妙的事情。若沒有身體力行,無法體會到法,也感受不到;你要感受到法,必定要用在日常生活中,而日常的生活必定在思惟中,將這個法真正用心去思惟,才能夠在日常生活中,這樣將它會合起來。那個事理會合而圓融,那就是很快樂的事情,所以「是謂世間難得之寶」。這就是法,難得、很難得,能夠有這樣的生活,生活中有法,法用在生活中,這樣的人真的是很難得。這就是「真修行者」,心有所得的法,所以每天都會很快樂。「所聞之法應常能憶持」。因為這樣,我們聽到的法我,們要好好記憶著,好好用在生活中,這叫做「憶持」;要記憶、要用,用在生活裡。所以,我們在《法華經》的,〈安樂行品〉,那就是在我們這一品,全品就是要叫我們修行,要修得安樂,心和法能夠體會,避開了很多粗重的煩惱;我們要體會,能夠用在很微細的法。

法是很微細,甚深微妙法是很微細,我們日常生活,有很多粗重的煩惱,「這些煩惱,把我壓得讓我心很難過,粗重的煩惱讓我透不過氣來」,我們常常都會有這樣的感覺。真的,煩惱是很粗、很重啊!佛法是甚深微妙,這個「甚深微妙」若能夠體會,入在生活中,自然那個粗重煩惱就化解掉了,這就是〈安樂行品〉,所在教育我們的,所以要用法。

「說成四安樂行」。我們若能夠四安樂行,行在日常生活,就是身、口、意、誓願安樂行。日常生活不離開我們的身體,我們的身體就是在生活中;生活中我們要做事情,待人接物,種種的事情就是要身體去力行。

在待人,少不了用口,和人說話,我們若是時時心有入在法中,說話自然就會很得法,所說的就是能夠啟發人心,不會去造口業。因為我們的口中,凡夫多數都是,妄言、綺語、兩舌、惡口,無不都是在造口業。修行,我們口就是要度人、要說好話、要讀誦經典等等,全都是為己、為人。這就是我們要好好用的「口的四大」,我們要好好將它節制好,身體的行動要控制好。

尤其是心意,起心動念,凡夫心,難免外面的境界來,很煩惱,身心交瘁,煩啊!很多。就要用心去體會法,儘管很煩,也要用心化解,這就是「意」,心意。心意中有法,自然不論是口,或者是身的行為,過了之後自己稍微調整一下。不論是壓力有多大,煩惱有多粗重,總是心再自我調解一下,很快粗重的煩惱就過去了,法再拿來心,入我們的心再記憶一下,再回憶、再記得,法,用法來化解,就要再接再厲。不論是多粗重的煩惱,應該做,再發願,這個弘誓願不會受到這些煩惱,來阻擋了我們的心,礙了、障礙我們的意。

所以,每一項有經過,有了粗重的煩惱境界,過去就好了,人間就是這麼多的困難,所以我要再精進,我為眾生還要再接再厲,這叫做「誓願」;這樣叫做「四安樂行」--身、口、意、誓願,這叫做「四安樂行」,大家應該要記得。

面對著人間,難免會感覺很重,但是法若再入心,自然就輕安自在,就要有弘誓願。若能夠這樣,就「夢中感五種好相」。

<安樂行品>
說成四安樂行人
夢中感五種好相:
一、見佛為眾說法
二、見己為眾說法
三、見己由佛授記
四、見修菩薩之道
五、見己八相成道

我們前面在說「心」,白天若是法,不斷記憶在我們的心裡,自然晚上,也會有這樣很美的夢境。第一,「見佛為眾生說法」。雖然我們離佛,已經二千多年的事情,我們現在不曾見到佛,但是我們夢中也能夠看到佛;佛為大眾在說法,好像我們在法會中,在聽佛說法一樣。

第二,「見己為眾說法」。前面說過了,我們再將它記憶一下,佛為諸修行者,聲聞、緣覺、菩薩、大眾說法。我們也會夢見,夢見到天人、阿修羅,來聽我們說法,也能夠受恭敬,這都在夢中所見到的。

又第三,「見己由佛授記」。好像佛為我們授記了,我們讀過了〈授記品〉,也很羨慕與佛同世,得佛直接的教導,最後佛陀要親自為他們授記,我們也很羨慕啊!是不是我們也能夠得佛授記呢?事實離佛二千多年,不過在夢中,也能夠夢到佛親自為自己,為我們自己,夢中的人授記。

第四,是夢「修菩薩之道」。還是夢見我們在菩薩群中,或者是在靜處人中,我們在那個地方精進,在那裡修行,心心念念都是念菩薩之道。夢境也有這樣的心,因為白天的精進,晚上做這樣的夢。

第五,就是「見己八相成道」。也看到自己這樣修行,八相成道。這個八相成道下面我們會解釋,真的是很微妙的境界。我們白天記憶在佛法裡;晚上,我們也能夠從佛法中,看到佛法境界的美的境。這雖然不是真實,但是這是意識的熏習。我們的意識,白天就是這樣一直想,這樣在記憶,不只是聽法入心了,我們在生活中也這樣在動作。我們的心版也是很深的思考,這種「日有所思,夜有所夢」,白天的記憶在法中,晚上的記憶就自然在道場中。

所以這是很簡單,也表示人間如夢如幻,環境在真實的人間煩惱很多。在晚上,就是將白天的生活若帶入夢境,就是同樣很多的煩惱,這些煩惱讓我們煩、讓我們苦,這個煩和苦的白天的生活,就帶入夢境去,惡夢很多。我們若是放輕鬆,將法入心,一切有為法就是如夢幻泡影,就是沒有了,有的就是無為法,真實法,空中妙有。放輕鬆的心態,將法用在生活中,放輕鬆的心態,雖然「有為法」很煩,但是用「無為法」放鬆了,人生就是這樣,如夢幻泡影。在泡和影這當中,它也有,有那個真妙的法在裡面,所以「空中妙有」、「真空妙有」,這全都是在法之中感受得到,我們自然就帶入夢境去。這一切都是虛幻,不要去執著它,不過讓我們日夜輕安自在。這意思就是,放掉了這前一分鐘的煩惱,其他就都將它放鬆了,一直到睡眠中也是輕安,也是自在。這意義就是這樣而已,不要去執著。

前面的文這樣說:「國土嚴淨,廣大無比。亦有四眾,合掌聽法。又見自身,在山林中,修習善法,證諸實相,深入禪定,見十方佛。」

國土嚴淨
廣大無比
亦有四眾
合掌聽法
《法華經安樂行品第十四》

這還是在說夢境!夢中就是夢見,我們有這樣、這樣修行的過程,佛為我們授記,也有這樣「國土嚴淨,廣大無比」,也有這些聽法的人來聽法。又再見自身又在山林中修行,「修習善法」,又是「證諸實相,深入禪定,見十方佛」。

又見自身
在山林中
修習善法
證諸實相
深入禪定
見十方佛
《法華經安樂行品第十四》

這種的境界都在夢中所夢,很美的境界,無不都是在夢中修行。接下來,這段文又再這樣說:「諸佛身金色,百福相莊嚴,聞法為人說,常有是好夢。」

諸佛身金色
百福相莊嚴
聞法為人說
常有是好夢
《法華經安樂行品第十四》

這裡就是這樣說,這段偈文就是在稱頌,我們的身心「精潔無垢」。修行,我們就要修到這樣,身和心要很精、無雜。我們的身,「觀身不淨」,我們常常每天、每天,我們都要有這樣的觀念,我們的身體真的是很不乾淨。所以,我們就是要修行,讓我們「戒」,戒得沒有垢穢。生理的不乾淨,這既來之,則安之,但是我們的身體行為,那就要好好修好,叫做防非止惡,這就是「戒」。不對的行為、不乾淨的動作,我們的身體絕對不能去作為到,自然就是身清淨。生理雖然還是不淨,但是我們的身體的行為,是乾淨的,我們的心也是很乾淨,沒有煩惱來染著了,所以叫做「身心精潔」。「精」就是沒有雜染,「潔」就是很淨潔,很乾淨、沒有垢穢,這樣我們的境界,自然「寂靜清澄」。

此頌身心精潔無垢
寂靜清澄
修行見佛
從見諸如來
乃至十方佛
及靜思慮諸法妙事
今此結示
所夢五十位事

這就是我們很希望的境界,就是「靜寂清澄」,必定要先「身心精潔無垢」,自然我們的境界就會靜寂清澄。用這樣來修行,「修行見佛」,自然我們身心清淨了,我們就有見佛的機會。雖然佛不在人間,自然夢境也會見到佛,這是表示我們的心,不論是在造作,或者是靜下來的時候,我們的身心不離佛。

所以,「從見諸如來,乃至十方佛,及靜思慮諸法妙事」。我們從那個經文,開始就是「見諸如來」,要廣說在夢中,已經見到很多如來,以及十方的諸佛,在夢境的裡面無不都是佛,有諸如來。「諸」就是很多,「十方佛」呢?到處,周圍都是佛。這些諸佛,以及在場的修行者,全都是在「靜思慮諸法妙事」,大家都很清淨,「身心精潔無垢」,人人都是在這種,寂靜清澄的境界在修行。「見諸如來,十方佛」,就是互相所見的無不都是佛,這是一個很微妙的境界。這個夢,已經前面說那麼多,那就是表示我們平時修行,就是已經接近在「五十二位」,「五十位」至「五十二位」。什麼叫做「五十二位」呢?過去也有說過了。菩薩,我們已經發大乘心了,我們從凡夫地要到成佛,總共要經歷五十二個階段。

菩薩由凡夫到成佛
一共要經過
五十二個階位
即十信、十住、
十行、十迴向、
十地、等覺、妙覺

「五十二位」,那就是「十信」,要先有信心,要經過了十種的信的考驗。信心既定了,我們要「十住」,這十個位置我們要住定了;這個過程我們要住定,要不然有信心,心不定下來就沒有用。所以,心住定下來,我們還要再身體力行,要經過十個階段,這種的身體力行。身體力行,修行的過程我們不是為了自己,就「十回向」,我們還為眾生回向,法歸於源。所以,有為法歸於無為法,這是「十回向」。登「十地」,我們一步一步向前的階段,這樣一步一步向上這樣登高了。這就是我們修行的過程,要從凡夫地步步階升、步步踏實,登上一步一步向前的階段,站在高的地方才能夠看到清楚的境界。這就是菩薩,要經歷的「五十位」,才能夠超越,「等覺」、「妙覺」的地步,那就是成佛,修行就是要這樣一段一段走。

到底我們的「十信位」,足夠了沒有?「十信位」若不夠,要說進入到「十住位」也難。所以我們凡事要從起頭要穩定。接下來說,「諸佛身金色,百福相莊嚴」。

諸佛身金色
百福相莊嚴:
見諸佛身作紫金色
百福相好
以為莊嚴

諸佛的身是金色,百福相莊嚴,這個夢境不是遠遠看佛而已,又能夠很接近佛,看到佛身是這樣發紫、發光、發金的顏色。所以,「百福相莊嚴」。「百福」過去也解釋過了,我們要很用心去記憶。

聞法為人說:
從佛得聞微妙之法
自見其身為他演說

「聞法為人說」。我們聽法了之後,我們還要再為人說法,聞法者、說法者、傳法者,我們應該要好好聽,聽好,我們要好好說,法就是要這樣不斷傳。法在生活中體驗出來,和大家分享生活中的法,這叫做「佛法不離世間法」。所以,從佛法的體悟,體悟在我們人間所感受,所造作、付出的心得,這也是一種的說法。所以,「聞法為人說」。這就是我們要從佛陀的教法,我們「從佛得聞」,我們今天才有這樣的法,傳在人間。我們現在的人間社會不同,和佛法的時代是不同,所以我們同樣的法,生態不同,我們要用心如何聽,落實在這種不同的生態,要如何讓大家,能夠一樣用心來接受,這慧命成長在人人的生命中。這就是我們要很用功的地方。所以,「自見其身為他演說」,我們也再看到,看到我們自己本身,在為大家說法,這夢境中也有這樣。

常有是好夢:
若人修此安樂行者
常有如是善好美夢
前云:
若於夢中但見妙事

所以,「常有是好夢:若人修此安樂行者,常有如是善好美夢」。我們若能夠常常這樣,心不離開法,心就是人人都是佛,不論什麼樣的種族,在我們的面前他們都是好人,在我們的面前他們都是未來佛,他們人人都是菩薩!而我們就是要將這樣的法,就是傳在人間,哪怕是做夢,我們也這樣在想,也是這樣在感受。所以,「修此安樂行者」,要如何去度眾生,度得很快樂、很歡喜?這樣的人,自然他常常「有如是善好美夢」。只要你有這樣的心,自然就有這樣夢的美景,好夢成真。但願我們的道心就要這樣繼續,白天、晚上繼續這個善念,同樣的道理。

所以,前面有一段文這樣說,「若於夢中但見妙事」。就是連做夢,所看到都是微妙的事情──見諸佛、如來、十方佛、諸菩薩等等,或者是我們自己也在修行,我們自己也是一樣,能夠得到這樣,為人說法,連夢境也是這樣。這不是要大家執著在夢,一直向大家叮嚀,這是法要告訴我們,讓我們的這個心念念皆是善法,這無間,叫做「無間修」、「無餘修」。我們要長時就是這樣修下去。要用恭敬心,這個恭敬的心,人人無不是佛,所以大家要很用心。

接下來這段文再說:「又夢作國王,捨宮殿眷屬,及上妙五欲,行詣於道場。在菩提樹下,而處師子座,求道過七日,得諸佛之智。」

又夢作國王
捨宮殿眷屬
及上妙五欲
行詣於道場
在菩提樹下
而處師子座
求道過七日
得諸佛之智
《法華經安樂行品第十四》

又再夢,再一次再跟我們說夢境。

頌夢中
八相成道之相
又夢下
歷見修進成佛
始終之行

又再夢,就是夢中,有「八相成道」的境界,就是「歷見修進成佛,始終」。 我們在修行,自己如何修行,過程一直到成佛的開始,和最終入涅槃,這諸佛的果報,成佛之後這個果報。前面是要一直修行,過去一直告訴大家,「六度萬行」,一直到了「因圓果滿」,那就是成佛了。

諸佛之果
由行以致
安樂行人
先見其相
克果必矣

所以,由行為,所以得到成佛的境界。「安樂行人,先見其相」。我們若有安樂行的人,就是入人群,心很歡喜,付出無所求又是很歡喜。這樣的人,事先就是見到這樣的相,自然我們照這樣一直修行,就是心不離佛,沒有離善,沒有離修行。「不離」就是無間,這樣在修,長期這樣在修,沒有空餘的時間不修行。就是這樣,用尊重道法這樣的心在修行,自然我們將來,慢慢就是靠近真實的人生,就是成佛了。

所以,「又夢作國王,捨宮殿眷屬,及上妙五欲」。

又夢作國王
捨宮殿眷屬
及上妙五欲:
雖為國王
一切棄捨
樂出家也

記得前面的文也有一段,〈提婆達多品〉也是一段,這個國王貼告示,捨國王的王位,要取得能夠求法的精進。這故事也有說過了,是經文。這時候又再回復說,也是會夢到自己是做國王,國王的精進,捨去宮殿、捨去眷屬,「上妙五欲」。

夢作國王:
即降兜率、
託陰、降生
三相
捨宮殿五欲
詣道樹等
即出家之相

就像這樣雖然做國王,一切都將它棄捨,很愛道、樂道,所以出家去了。所以,「夢作國王:即是降兜率、託胎」。「託胎」就是入胎、坐胎等等。然後捨皇宮的五欲,就是出家去修行,這就是在「八相」的裡面。

所以,「行詣於道場,在菩薩樹下,而處師子座」。

行詣於道場
在菩提樹下
而處師子座:
行至道場
樹下安座
修聖道也

修行的過程,就是在這樣,菩提樹下去坐著,將心定下來。佛的故事大家都知道了,苦行之後,捨苦行,尼連禪河洗淨了身體。下定決心,坐在金剛座菩提樹下,這樣坐下來開始修行。在這個當中修聖道,所以出家修行,開始安靜這個心下來,將苦行捨掉,安靜心來修行。「求道過七日,得諸佛之智」。

求道過七日
得諸佛之智:
求道七日
得佛智慧
證妙果也

在這當中,很細思,靜慮思惟,不斷不斷來思考,天地間法的道理。經過了七天,「得佛智慧」。「證妙果」。這就是我們要學佛的地方,在這個過程中,在苦行之後,捨掉然後修行,接受牧女的供養,恢復了體力,然後在那個地方連續七天當中,也有降魔的過程,心靈的煩惱很澎湃。在那個地方一段一段,那個內心有很多很多的矛盾,塵沙惑,就在這個地方忽然間湧現出來,很多的煩惱無明。

我們都將它形容是魔,魔就是煩惱,在我們的腦海中起浮,浮現了很多的境,境界來。這些境界也有來誘惑我們的心,也有來威脅我們的心,這種不論是軟硬的、粗重的,這個幻化,那個幻境不斷不斷浮現出來。在這種心將要靜下來之前,有很多很多不同的境界,不斷不斷一直出現出來。這就是有時候若在打坐,一不小心,很多虛幻的境界,不斷一直出現出來,一點點貪著,那就會走火入魔。這個境界若浮現,有時候浮現著很恐怖的境界,有時候會浮現著很美,就像夢境這樣的境界,虛幻、夢境,就像這樣的境界,就執著住了,覺得:哇!我若是這樣坐下來,就有這樣這麼多的境界,這是不是我已經得道了?有這麼輕安的美景,讓我的心很歡喜、很輕安,我很歡喜,所以我會常常要在那裡坐,坐久來,那個虛幻的聲音、虛幻的境界,你即使沒有在那裡坐也會聽到聲音,有人對他說話,或者是有人叫他去哪裡,由不得自己。這變成了精神錯亂,走火入魔,思想偏差了。

所以,常常說,我們是要將我們的心靜下來,靜下來我們是調息。曾對大家說過了,坐下來,我們將我們心的氣,用「數息」用算。這個氣從丹田如何起,慢慢地呼吸,讓它出去;出去到多遠,我們再呼吸進來,歸納丹田。像這樣的呼吸,算,從一到十,或者是要從一到百,都可以。這都是調我們的心,讓它心不要跑到別處去。我們有時候心亂跑,我們光是要算,坐下來要算到十,要算到三十,可能心就跑掉了。我們要如何讓心能夠專注,在我們的身上、呼吸裡,調我們的氣息?這就是靜下來,很多雜想都放下了,不要去想其他,只在我們的呼吸間來數息,這叫做「數息觀」。算數,算我們從一到十,或者是一到百,那個數字隨便我們的定。在這當中,我們的心思都沒有偏掉,都沒有去想到其他,就是專注在那個數字。這個數息觀會比較安全。

不要想:哇!這段都是好的夢,我們是不是靜下來,來追求這樣靜的境界,有這樣的境界出來嗎?若有這樣的境界出來,要趕緊警惕。這不是在睡的夢,這是在打坐時,有這樣、這樣的境界浮現,這不是真實的境界,這是魔的境界,這是煩惱,我們的雜念浮現出來的境界。所以一直要讓我們知道,這種的境界,打坐不要去執著任何一個境界。打坐的過程中有什麼樣的境界出來,那都是虛幻,絕對不能去執著它,這才是我們真修行。所以,佛在修行的過程,這七日間,也遇到很多很多煩惱浮現,這種無明的幻境不斷浮現,他就要去降伏,就是這些東西都不要理它,這些事情,都是不會污染到他的心。要用盡了這樣的功夫,這些東西沒有了,完全靜寂了,才那當中,剎那之間,他的心與天地宇宙萬物,會合在一起,這個境界「靜寂清澄」,清淨沒有污染,這種淨潔,精潔、清淨的心。

這是大家修行過程,要好好自我警惕,要警愓好,不要放散掉,不要亂掉,這樣我們才不會讓我們的心,在修行的過程中,有什麼樣粗重的事情,來煩惱我們,才不會在這個修行的過程中,去讓它錯亂了。我們要修得「四安樂行」──身、口、意、弘誓願。這是真實人生的生活的修行,不是虛渺無形的東西;我們所修的是要腳踏實地,這道的方向,實在去鋪的路,這就是我們人間修行,不要散失的道路。要時時多用心!
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Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: Dreaming of Wondrous Things (修四安樂 夢感妙相)
Date: October.11.2018

“All sentient beings, once they have listened to the extremely profound, subtle and wondrous Dharma, can also give rise to right faith, contemplate its meanings and practice according to its teachings. This is extremely rare. This is a treasure rarely encountered in the world, so we must always be able to remember and uphold the Dharma that we hear.”

This is to tell everyone that “All sentient beings, once they have listened to the extremely profound, subtle and wondrous Dharma, can also give rise to right faith.” We all listen to the Dharma. Once we listen to it, we must take it to heart. At the same time, we must also give rise to right faith. When the Buddha taught the Dharma, what He hoped for most was for sentient beings to draw near to the Buddha-Dharma, listen to it mindfully, take it to heart and give rise to right faith. If we listen to the Dharma without faith, it will be useless for us to listen to it. So, faith is very important. However, if our faith is incorrect, our thoughts will go astray, and a slight deviation will take us far off course. So, the Buddha-Dharma is rare to encounter. The Dharma is truly subtle and wondrous. We must begin from a foundation of faith and right views to accept the Buddha-Dharma. Right faith is very important.

With right faith, we can engage in contemplation, contemplate the content of the Dharma. If we lack right faith, we will listen to the Dharma and forget it. If we only listen and let it leak away, won’t it be the same whether we listen to it or not? So, when we listen to the Dharma, we must take it to heart. We must contemplate it with a calm mind and analyze and contemplate the principles behind the Dharma we hear. If we can do this, we will be able to “practice according to the teachings.” Only when we put it into practice will we be able to truly comprehend the principles of the Buddha-Dharma. We must apply these principles amidst the people, matters and objects in our daily lives. Thus, we must comprehend them so that we can unite the principles with matters and appearances. So, spiritual practice is “extremely rare.” Applying the Dharma in life is a very joyful and wondrous experience. If we do not put it into practice, we will not be able to comprehend or experience the Dharma. If we want to experience the Dharma, we must apply it in our daily life. In daily life, we must engage in contemplation. We must truly contemplate the Dharma mindfully. Only then will we be able to connect the matters and principles in our daily lives and perfectly reconcile them. This is a very joyful thing.

So, “This is a treasure rarely encountered in the world.” This shows how extremely rare the Dharma is. For people to be able to have this kind of life, to experience and apply the Dharma in life, is truly something very rare. Such people are “true spiritual practitioners.” Their hearts have attained the Dharma, so they are very joyful every day. “We must always remember and uphold the Dharma that we hear.” Because of this, we must work hard to remember the Dharma we hear and make sure to apply it in our lives. This is called “remembering and upholding.” We must remember it and apply it in daily life.

So, as for the Lotus Sutra’s Chapter on the Practice of Bringing Peace and Joy, the chapter we are on, this entire chapter calls upon us to engage in spiritual practice with peace and joy. This way, we can comprehend the Dharma and avoid many coarse afflictions. We must seek to comprehend [the Dharma] so that we can apply its intricate principles. The Dharma is very intricate. The extremely subtle and profound Dharma is very intricate. Our daily lives are full of so many coarse, heavy afflictions. These afflictions pressure us, causing us so much suffering. These coarse, heavy afflictions will suffocate us. We often experience feelings like these. Truly, these afflictions are very coarse and heavy. The Buddha-Dharma is extremely profound, subtle and wondrous. If we can experience what is extremely profound, subtle and wondrous and bring it into our lives, those coarse afflictions will naturally dissolve. This is what the Chapter on the Practice of Bringing Peace and Joy teaches us.

So, we must apply the Dharma. As for “those who accomplish the Four Practices of Bringing Peace and Joy,” if we want to practice the Four Practices of Bringing Peace and Joy in our daily lives, we must use our body, speech, mind and vows. Our bodies are essential to our daily living; we live our lives in this body. In everything that we do in life, in all our interpersonal interactions and in all matters, we must put the Dharma into practice. When we interact with people, we need our mouths to speak with them. If we always take the Dharma to heart, our speech will naturally accord with the Dharma. Our words will be able to inspire people instead of creating [negative] karma of speech. Because what comes from our mouths as unenlightened begins is mostly lies, flattery, gossip and harsh speech, this all creates [negative] karma. When we engage in spiritual practice, we must use our speech to transform people, speak good words, recite the sutras and so on. This is all to benefit ourselves and others. This is why we must work hard to do “the four good deeds of speech”. We must put effort into moderating [our speech]. We must control our bodily actions and especially our discursive thoughts that arise.

As ordinary begins, when our minds encounter external conditions, we will inevitably become afflicted and exhausted in body and mind. There are so many of them. We must mindfully seek to comprehend the Dharma. Even if we are very upset, we must mindfully resolve [our afflictions]. This all comes from the thoughts in our minds. When we have the Dharma in our thoughts whether it is our speech or bodily actions we will naturally be able to make subtle adjustments to them on our own. No matter how much pressure we are under or how coarse our afflictions are, we will always be able to adjust our mindset and these coarse afflictions will quickly pass. We will bring the Dharma into our thoughts again. We will be able to recall it and remember it again. To resolve [our afflictions] with the Dharma we must double our efforts. No matter how coarse and heavy our afflictions. We must continue to take action and make vows. These afflictions will not affect our great vows, impede our aspirations or hinder our thoughts. So, every [situation] we encounter creates coarse afflictions. But once they pass, everything will be fine. Life is full of hardships, so we must be more diligent. For the sake of sentient begins, we must double our efforts. This is the “vows” [part of] the Four Practices of Bringing Peace and Joy. Through our body, speech, mind and vows, we enact the Four Practices of Bringing Peace and Joy. We are ought to remember this.

When we face this world, it is hard to avoid feeling heavy-hearted. However, if we can take the Dharma to heart, we will naturally feel peaceful and free. This requires us to make great vows. If we can do this, we will “experience five kinds of virtuous phenomena in our dreams as a result”.

The Chapter on the Practice of Bringing Peace and Joy says that people who accomplish the Four Practices of Bringing Peace and Joy will experience five kinds of virtuous phenomena in their dreams as a result: 1.Seeing all Buddhas teach the Dharma for the assembly. 2.Seeing themselves teach the Dharma for the assembly. 3.Seeing themselves receive predictions from a Buddha. 4.Seeing the practice of the Bodhisattva-path. 5.Seeing themselves manifest the Eight Aspects of Attaining Enlightenment.

Earlier, we talked about the mind. During the day, if we constantly keep the Dharma in mind, at night, we will also naturally have beautiful dreams like these. First, we will “see all Buddhas teach the Dharma for the assembly”. Although the time of the Buddha was over 2,000 years ago and we cannot see the Buddha now, we can see the Buddha in our dreams teaching the Dharma to people. It will be as if we were in the Dharma-assembly listening to the Buddha teach the Dharma. Second, we will “see [ourselves] teach the Dharma for the assembly”. We mentioned this earlier; let us think back. Those Buddhas taught the Dharma for all spiritual practitioners, for the Hearers, Solitary Realizers, Bodhisattvas and all members of the assembly. We will also dream about heavenly beings and asuras coming to hear us teach the Dharma. We will also get to revive their reverence. This can all be seen in these dreams. Thirdly, we will “see [ourselves] receive predictions from a Buddha”. It will seem as if a Buddha is bestowing predictions upon us. Reading the Chapter on Bestowing Predictions makes us envy those who lived during the Buddha’s time for being able to receive His teachings directly. In the end, the Buddha personally bestowed predictions upon them. We envy them for this as well! Can we also receive predictions from the Buddha?

In reality, we over 2,000 years apart from the Buddha, but in our dreams we will be able to dream about Buddhas bestowing predictions upon us who are dreaming. Fourthly, we will dream of “seeing the practice of the Bodhisattva-path”. We will dream of being among Bodhisattvas or among people in a quiet place, diligently engaging in spiritual practice there. When our every thought is on the Bodhisattva-path we will have the same thoughts in our dreams. Because of our diligence during the day, we will have dreams like these at night. Fifthly, we will “see [ourselves] manifest the Eight Aspects of Attaining Enlightenment”. We will see ourselves practice and manifest the Eight Aspects of Attaining Enlightenment. We will explain these Eight Aspects below. The realm [of the Buddha-Dharma] is truly wondrous. During the day, we keep the Buddha-Dharma in our memories. At night, through the Buddha-Dharma, we will be able to see the beauty of this realm. Although this is not reality, it will permeate our consciousness. In our consciousness, when we think [about the Dharma] during the day and hold on to our memories of it, not only will we take the Dharma to heart, we will also put it into action in our lives. Our mind will be engaged in deep contemplation. Whatever we contemplate during the day, we will dream of at night. If we keep the Dharma in mind during the day, at night, our mind will naturally remain. In our place of spiritual practice. This is very simple, and also shows us that this world is like an illusory dream. This world really is full of afflictions.

At night, if we bring what we experience during the day into our dreams, we will also encounter many afflictions. These afflictions will disturb us and make us suffer. We will bring our afflictions and suffering from the day into our dreams, where they will become nightmares. If we just relax and take the Dharma to heart, [we realize] all conditioned phenomena are like dreams, illusions, bubbles and shadows. They are non-existent. What exists is unconditioned Dharma, the true Dharma, the wondrous existence amidst the emptiness. With a relaxed state of mind, we can apply the Dharma in our lives. [We must keep] a relaxed state of mind. Though conditioned phenomena are very disturbing, we can relax in the unconditioned Dharma.

This is the nature of human life; it is like a dream, an illusion, a bubble, a shadow. Among these bubbles and shadows, the true and wondrous Dharma exists within. So, within emptiness, there is wondrous existence. True emptiness and wondrous existence can all be experienced through the Dharma. Then, we will bring it into our dreams. This is all an illusion; we should not form attachments to it. However, this will enable us to spend our days and nights in peace. This means that we must let go of our afflictions from a minute ago, and everything else will come easily. Even in our sleep, we will be free and at ease. This is all that it means. We must not be attached.

The previous sutra passage states, “Your lands will be dignified, pure and vast beyond compare. You will also have fourfold assemblies who will listen to the Dharma with palms joined”.

This is still talking about dreams. We will dream about engaging in spiritual practice like this and the Buddha bestowing predictions upon us. We will also dream that “[our] lands will be dignified, pure and vast beyond compare”. There will also be people who come to hear the Dharma.

Also, we may see ourselves engaging in spiritual practice in the mountain forest, cultivating the virtuous Dharma, realizing ultimate reality, deeply entering Samadhi and seeing the Buddhas of the ten directions.

This world will be in our dreams. We will encounter this beautiful world as we engage in spiritual practice in our dreams. The following sutra passage continues, “Those Buddhas’ bodies will be golden in color, with dignified marks from 100 blessings. They will listen to the Dharma and teach it to others. So, they will always have these good dreams”.

Here, the sutra verses are praising [those Buddhas]. Our body and mind must be “pure, clean and undefiled”. We must engage in spiritual practice until our body and mind becomes pure and undefiled. We must “contemplate the body as impure”.

Every day, we must always maintain the perspective that our body is truly very unclean. So, we must engage in spiritual practice and abide by the precepts to guard ourselves from defilement. As for physical uncleanliness, we must simply deal with it. But when it comes to our bodily actions, we must earnestly cultivate them to guard against wrongs and stop evil. This is “abiding by the precepts”. We must never commit wrongful behavior or engage in unclean actions with our body. Then, naturally, our body will be pure.

Physically, our body might be unclean, but our bodily conduct must be pure. We must keep our mind pure as well, free of afflictions and defilements. This is what it means to have a “pure [and] clean body and mind”. Pure means without defilements. Clean refers to cleanliness, to being free of filth. In this way, the state of our mind will naturally become “tranquil and clear”.

This describes their pure, clean and undefiled bodies and minds. They are tranquil and clear. They engage in spiritual practice and see Buddhas. From seeing all Tathagatas and Buddhas throughout the ten directions to tranquilly contemplating the many wondrous matters of the Dharma, this now concludes and reveals the 50 stages that they dream of.

This is the state we hope to attain, this “tranquility and clarity”. But our “body and mind” must first be “pure, clean and undefiled”. In this way, our state of mind will naturally become tranquil and clear. This is how we should engage in spiritual practice. We “engage in spiritual practice and see Buddhas”. Naturally, when our body and mind become pure, we will have the opportunity to see the Buddha. Although the Buddha is no longer in this world, it will be natural for us to see Him in our dreams. This means that when it comes to our mind, whether actively engaged or in a quiet state, our body and mind are inseparable from the Buddha. So, “From seeing all Tathagatas and Buddhas throughout the ten directions to tranquilly contemplating the many wondrous matters of the Dharma…”.

This sutra passage begins with “seeing all Tathagatas”. It states broadly that [those who read this sutra] see many Tathagatas in their dreams as well as all the Buddhas throughout the ten directions. They dream of nothing but Buddhas and all Tathagatas. “All” means that there are very many of them. And the “Buddhas throughout the ten directions”? There are Buddhas everywhere, all around us. The Buddhas and spiritual practitioners present are all “tranquilly contemplating the many wondrous matters of the Dharma”. Everyone is pure at heart, with “pure, clean and undefiled bodies and minds”. Everyone engages in spiritual practice in this state of tranquility and clarity. “They see all Tathagatas and Buddhas throughout the ten directions”. They see nothing but Buddhas. This is a very subtle and wondrous state. As we discussed earlier, dreams like these mean that in our regular spiritual practice, we are approaching the 52and stage, going from the 50the stage toward the 52nd stage. What are the 52 stages? We have discussed this before. Bodhisattvas have already formed Great Vehicle aspirations. For unenlightened beings to attain Buddhahood, they must go though a total of 52 stages.

For Bodhisattvas to go from the stage of unenlightened beings to the state of Buddhahood, theu must pass through a total of 52 stages. These are the Ten Stages of Faith, the ten Abiding Conducts, the Ten Practice, the Ten Dedications, the Ten Grounds, equal enlightenment and wondrous enlightenment.

The 52 stages [begin with] the Ten Stage of Faith. First, we must have faith and overcome these ten tests of faith. Once our faith is established, we must uphold the Ten Abiding Conducts. We must abide by these ten stages and establish our course [of spiritual practice]. Otherwise, even with faith, our irresolution will render it useless. So, once we establish our resolve, we still need to put our faith into action by going through these ten teats, putting our faith into action in this way. As we put our faith into practice, we must not practice solely for our own benefit. Hence the Ten Dedications. We dedicate [our practice] to sentient beings, returning the Dharma to its source. In this way, we return conditioned phenomena to the unconditioned Dharma. This is the Ten Dedications. Ascending through the Ten Grounds, we progress through the stages step by step. Step by step, we ascend upward. This is our course of spiritual practice. We start from the ground of unenlightened beings and ascend step by step, steadfast and sure-footed. Step by step, we progress through each stage. Only when we stand at high places can we see things clearly. This is what Bodhisattvas must go through in the 50 stages before they can transcend them to reach equal enlightenment and wondrous enlightenment and attain Buddhahood. We engage in spiritual practice stage by stage.

Have we fulfilled the Ten Stages of Faith? Have you fulfilled the Ten Stages of Faith? If we have not fulfilled the Ten Stages of Faith, it will be difficult for us to enter the Ten Abiding Conducts. In all thing, we must start from the beginning to [progress] steadily.

Next, we will discuss how “those Buddhas’ bodies will be golden in color, with dignified marks from 100 blessings. “Those Buddhas’ bodies will be golden in color, with dignified marks from 100 blessings: They will see that those Buddha’s bodies are marked by a purple-gold hue and dignified with marks and characteristics from hundreds of blessings.

Those Buddhas’ bodies will be golden in color, with dignified marks from 100 blessings. In our dreams, we will not only be able to see the Buddhas from afar, we will also get to be very close to the Buddhas and see the Buddhas’ bodies emitting light, purple and golden in hue, “with dignified marks from 100 blessings”. We have discussed the “100 blessings” before. We should mindfully commit it to memory.

They will listen to the Dharma and teach to others: From the Buddha, they will be to hear the subtle and wondrous Dharma. They will see themselves expound it for others.

“They will listen to the Dharma and teach it to others. Once we listen to the Dharma, we still need to teach it to others. We listen to the Dharma, teach the Dharma and spread the Dharma. We should earnestly listen, and then we must earnestly teach. The Dharma must be ceaselessly passed on like this. We must experience the Dharma in our lives and share it with others. “The Buddha-Dharna is inseparable from worldly phenomena”. So, we gain realizations from the Buddha-Dharma through our experiences in this world, through the insights we gain by serving others. This is another way to expound the Dharma. So “They will listen to the Dharma and teach it to others. We must start from the Buddha’s teachings. From the Buddha, we are able to hear [the Dharma]. It is only because of this that today we have this Dharma to spread in the world. In today’s world, our society is different than it was during the age of the Buddha-Dharma. The Dharma is the same, but people’s way to life is different. We should mindfully consider how to listen to it and how to apply it in our lives when [society] is so different from before. We must find a way to help everyone to mindfully accept [the Dharma] in the same way and nourish their wisdom-life in each of their lives. This is what we must constantly work toward. Then, we “will see [ourselves] expound it for others”. We will also see ourselves expounding the Dharma for others. We will see this in our dreams as well.

So, they will always have these good dreams: Those who cultivate this practice of bringing peace and joy will always have wonderful and beautiful dreams like these. Previously, the sutra said, “When they are dreaming, they will only see wondrous things.

So, “They will always have these good dreams. Those who cultivate this practice of bringing peace and joy. Will always have wonderful and beautiful dreams like these”. If we can constantly maintain [this practice]. Our mind will never deviate from the Dharma. Our mind will regard everyone as a Buddha. regardless of ethnicity, we will see everyone before us as a good person, as a future Buddha. we are all Bodhisattvas, and we must spread this Dharma in the world. Even in our dreams, we will think and feel this way. So, how do “those who cultivate this practice of bringing peace and joy transform sentient beings to bring them joy and happiness? People like these will always “have wonderful and beautiful dreams like these”. As long as we have this mindset, we will naturally see beautiful sights like these in our dreams, and our good dreams will surely come true. However, we must sustain our spiritual aspirations. Day and night, we must sustain our good thoughts. The principle is the same.

So, a precious sutra passage states, “When they are dreaming, they will only see wondrous things”. This means that even when they are dreaming, everything they see will be wondrous. They will see all Tathagatas and Buddhas throughout the ten directions, all Bodhisattvas and so on. If we also engage in spiritual practice, we will also be able to experience this. We will be teaching the Dharma to others even in our dreams. This dies not mean we should get attached to our dreams.

I often remind everyone that the Dharma teaches us to focus our every thought on the virtuous Dharma. Such practice is called “uninterrupted practice” and “practice with nothing further”. We must practice this way for a long time. We must practice with a reverent heart, treating everyone as a Buddha. So, we all need to be mindful.

The following sutra passage states, “They will also dream of being kings who abandon their palaces, families, followers and their supreme and wondrous Five Desires. They will go to the place of enlightenment beneath the Bodhi tree and sit upon the lion’s throne. After seeking enlightenment for seven days, they will attain the wisdom of all Buddhas.”

This is still about their dreams. Once again, it tells us about their dream-state. In their dreams, they will [manifest] “the Eight Aspects of Attaining Enlightenment. They will see and experience the journey of practicing and advancing to attain Buddhahood from beginning to end.” We are engaging in spiritual practice. Our spiritual practice begins from [our aspiration] to attain Buddhahood and enter Nirvana in the end. The fruit of all Buddhas, the fruit gained upon attaining Buddhahood, requires constant practice from the beginning. I have always said that we must actualize the Six Paramitas in all actions until we reach “perfect fruition,” which is attaining Buddhahood.

The fruit of all Buddhas is realized through practice. Those who engage in the practice of bringing peace and joy will first see these aspects and will certainly attain the fruit.

So, our practice will lead us to the state of Buddhahood. “Those who engage in the practice of bringing peace and joy will first see these aspects.” Those who engage in this practice will go among people with a joyful heart, serving others without expectations. People like these will first see these aspects [of fruition]. Naturally, when we keep practicing in this way, we will never distance ourselves from the Buddha, nor from goodness, nor from spiritual practice. “Never distancing” means being uninterrupted. We must engage in practicelike this for the long term. There should be no time when we are not practicing. This is how it is. When we practice with reverence for the teachings of the path, naturally, in the future, we will slowly draw near a life of truth, and we will attain Buddhahood. So, “They will also dream of being kings who abandon their palaces, families, followers and their supreme and wondrous Five Desires”.

They will also dream of being kings who abandon their palaces, families, followers and their supreme and wondrous Five Desires: Although they are kings, they will abandon everything and joyfully renounce the lay life.

Let us recall an earlier sutra passage from the Chapter on Devadatta, which also talks about a king who posted a proclamation about renouncing the throne in order to diligently seek the Dharma. We discussed this story before; it comes from a sutra passage. When we look back on this story now, we might dream of ourselves as kings. Due to his diligence, this king abandoned his palace, family, followers and his “supreme and wondrous Five Desires”.

They will also dream of being kings: This refers to the three aspects of descending from Tusita Heaven, entering their mothers’ womb and being born. Abandoning their palaces and the Five Desires, going to the Bodhi tree and so on are the aspects of renouncing lay life.

Although they are kings, they will abandon everything because they love and delight in the path. So, they will renounce the lay life. So, to “dream of being kings” refers to descending from Tusita Heaven, entering their mothers’ womb [and being born]”. Abandoning their palaces and the Five Desires, they will renounce the lay life to engage in spiritual cultivation. This is all part of the Eight Aspects. So, “They will go to the place of enlightenment beneath the Bodhi tree and sit upon the lion’s throne”.

They will go to the place of enlightenment beneath the Bodhi tree and sit upon the lion’s throne: They will go to the place of enlightenment, sit peacefully beneath the Bodhi tree and cultivate the noble path.

This is the journey of spiritual practice, to sit beneath the Bodhi tree and focus the mind. We all know the story of the Buddha. After abandoning the ascetic practice, He washed Himself clean in the Niranjan River. With firm resolve, He sat on the Vajra throne beneath the Bodhi tree and began his practice. During this process, He began to practice the noble path, so He renounced the lay life and began to calm His mind. Abandoning the ascetic practice, He calmly began to engage in spiritual practice. “After seeking enlightenment for seven days, they will attain the wisdom of all Buddhas”.

After seeking enlightenment for seven days, they will attain the wisdom of all Buddhas: After seeking enlightenment for seven days, they will attain the wisdom of all Buddhas and realize the wondrous fruit.

Throughout this process, they will engage in careful, calm contemplation. They will constantly contemplate the principles of the universe. After seven days, “they will attain the wisdom of all Buddhas and realize the wondrous fruit”. This is what we must learn from the Buddha. During His course of practice, He abandoned the ascetic practice to engage in spiritual practice. After accepting the offering of the shepherdess, He recovered His strength. Then, over the course of the seven consecutive days He spent there, He went on a spiritual journey to subdue the maras and the surging afflictions in His mind. At that place, one after another, so many contradictions and dust-like delusions suddenly emerged in His mind. There are so many afflictions and so much ignorance. We call them maras.

Maras are afflictions that float upon the sea of our minds, causing many [deluded] states of mind to emerge. Some of these states will tempt our minds, and some will endanger our minds. Whatever their [degree of severity], these illusory states are emerging ceaselessly.

Whenever we are about to quiet these thoughts, all of these different delusions begin to emerge ceaselessly. This is why sometimes during meditation, if we are not careful, we will constantly give rise to illusory states. A bit of greed may cause us to lose our minds. When delusions like these arise [in our minds], sometimes this will bring about terrifying delusions. Other times, this will bring about a beautiful, dream-like state of mind, an illusory dream. People might get attached to delusions like these and think, “Wow! If I sit in mediation like this, I can experience so many states of mind. Does this mean I have attained the Way? Seeing such peaceful and pleasant scenery here brings my heart so much joy and peace. I am very happy, so I will keep sitting here.” If they sit for too long, they will experience illusory sounds and delusions. Even when they are no longer sitting there, they might still hear the sounds of someone speaking to them or calling for them. They will have no control over it. This will lead to a state of delirium. Their mind will be lost, their thinking gone astray.

So, we often say that our goal is to calm our minds by regulating our breathing. We have discussed this before. We should sit down and calm our minds by counting our breaths. As our breath comes from our dantian, we slowly exhale it out into the distance. Then, we inhale it back into our dantian. We breathe this way and count from one to ten or from one to a hundred, either is fine. All this is meant to regulate our minds so that they do not wander somewhere else. Sometimes our minds wander everywhere. Even when we just sit down and try to count to 10 or 30, our minds might wander. How can we get our mind to focus on our bodies and our breathing in order to adjust our breathing? We need to calm down and let go of all our discursive thoughts. We must not think about anything else except for counting our breaths. This is the breath-counting technique. We may count from one to ten or from one to a hundred. The number is up to us. When we do this, our thoughts will not go astray or wander elsewhere. We will just focus on counting. The breath-counting technique is much safer.

We must not think, “Wow! This part of the dream is good.” Should we calm ourselves to pursue this peaceful state of mind? Will this state of mind emerge? If it does, we should alert ourselves right away. This is not a dream during sleep. It is a state that emerges during meditation. It is not a real state, but rather a mara-state. It is an affliction, a state brought about by our discursive thoughts. So, [the Buddha] always warned us about these states of mind. When we meditate, we must not let ourselves get attached to any state. As we meditate, whatever states that emerge are all illusory. We must not become attached to them. That is how to truly engage in spiritual practice. So, as the Buddha engaged in spiritual practice during those seven days, He too encountered many afflictions. These illusions of ignorance kept emerging, so He had to subdue them. He did not react to these things or allow them to defile His mind. Through His wholehearted effort, these delusions disappeared. All was tranquil. At that point, in that moment, He became one with everything in the universe. This state of “tranquility and clarity” is pure and undefiled; it is a mind that is pure and clean. On our journey of spiritual practice, we must be vigilant [of our minds.] We must remain vigilant and avoid letting [our thoughts] become scattered or [our minds] become disturbed. This way, in our spiritual practice, we will not allow any coarse [afflictions] to disturb us. This way, in our course of spiritual practice, we will not become confused. We must cultivate the Four Practices of Bringing Peace and Joy with the body, speech, mind and great vows. This is a true spiritual practice in life; there is nothing illusory or intangible about it. Our practice should be well-grounded in the direction of our path, which we must pave. This is our practice in the world, a path we must not lose track of. So, we must always be mindful!

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