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 20181030《靜思妙蓮華》五十小劫 謂如半日 (第1468集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五)

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20181030《靜思妙蓮華》五十小劫 謂如半日 (第1468集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五) Empty
發表主題: 20181030《靜思妙蓮華》五十小劫 謂如半日 (第1468集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五)   20181030《靜思妙蓮華》五十小劫 謂如半日 (第1468集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五) Empty周二 10月 30, 2018 7:56 am

20181030《靜思妙蓮華》 (第1468集) 五十小劫 謂如半日(法華經·從地涌出品第十五)

⊙菩薩修行從初發心,乃至成佛,心不棄捨,常行六度,布施持戒。歷經無量數劫,盡未來世,無量無邊,無有厭足,菩薩長時忘我。
⊙「右繞三帀,合掌恭敬,以諸菩薩種種讚法而以讚歎,住在一面,欣樂瞻仰於二世尊。是諸菩薩摩訶薩從初涌出,以諸菩薩種種讚法而讚於佛,如是時間經五十小劫。」《法華經從地涌出品第十五》
⊙「是時、釋迦牟尼佛默然而坐,及諸四眾亦皆默然。五十小劫,佛神力故,令諸大眾謂如半日。」《法華經從地涌出品第十五》
⊙是時、釋迦牟尼佛默然而坐:菩薩禮佛讚法,如是長時間。世尊默然端坐受讚。默然而坐:攝盡今時,全歸實際。
⊙及諸四眾亦皆默然:是時集會諸大眾皆默然。四眾亦皆默然:師資道合,不動纖毫。
⊙五十小劫,佛神力故,令諸大眾謂如半日:明不思議延長促短,自在神通之力,促彼長劫,令其見短。
⊙知曉解了之者,即短而長;見半日事、如五十劫;不曉了之者,即長而短,見五十劫如半日事。
⊙而五十小劫之久,佛以神力促之,令大眾謂如半日。即如眾生感覺此時分,心量中之半日,實則佛心量中之五十小劫如故,此所謂由佛神力。
⊙蓋一類有一類之時劫,而每類時劫中即各自有其心量中之單位,與其極短極長之概量。
⊙如人類心量中之壽量,為時、日、月、年、世紀等;四王天之壽量,以人間五十年為一天等;至佛之壽量,則短劫攝長劫,長劫攝短劫,劫至無量,佛亦與為無量,劫只半日佛亦與為半日。此即不可思議佛境界之時劫數量矣。非若眾生心量中之壽量,有智慧、根器等為之囿限。

【證嚴上人開示】
菩薩修行從初發心,乃至成佛,心不棄捨,常行六度,布施持戒。歷經無量數劫,盡未來世,無量無邊,無有厭足,菩薩長時忘我。

菩薩修行
從初發心乃至成佛
心不棄捨
常行六度布施持戒
歷經無量數劫
盡未來世
無量無邊無有厭足
菩薩長時忘我

用心啊,用心來體會。「菩薩修行」。菩薩修行是從最初發心那念心,一直維持這個心態,一直就是「六度萬行」,經歷了無央數劫,時間之長、之久。「虛空有盡,我願無窮」,這是諸菩薩他們從發心開始,一直用心付出,心無退轉,堅持這念心。是啊,是這念心,所以一直到成佛,心絕對不棄捨,就是「常行六度」,不遺棄一切眾生;任何一個眾生,他都是沒有將他放棄,他就是不肯捨,不捨離一切眾生。就是這個心態,時時與眾生在一起,常行六度,這就是菩薩的心願。長期布施,布施付出,永遠都是無所求回報,所以常行六度布施。這個布施,同時還是持戒,守規矩;修行、發心、付出,也是要守規矩。持戒,是維持我們的慧命的軌道;我們在付出,我們更需要將戒律守好,這戒律能夠維持我們方向,不要偏差錯誤,這是給我們生活中,身、口、意的軌範。

眾生,道理就是禮節,禮節就是要靠持戒,戒律來維持;我們若有戒律,那就有禮節了。什麼能夠做,什麼不能做,該進行的要有分寸、要有禮節,若能夠這樣,我們就沒有犯規律,也就能夠維持著,我們的人身在人間。常常說,眾生,佛來人間救眾生,就說救人就好了,怎麼會說「眾生」呢?「眾生」,就是各種不同生態的生命,叫做眾生;不論什麼樣的生態,本具佛性,也是具足真如本性存在。

看到泰國,有一隻象,主人養牠好幾年了,主人年紀大了,八十多歲了。有一天,就這樣一場的車禍就往生了。往生,家裡的人在為他辦後事,主人的孩子看這隻象時,就對牠說:「爸爸往生了,是一場的車禍往生了,明天就要出殯了。」這隻象這樣聽到,就衝出了象寮,就向主人的家,的家庭走去。去到靈前,這麼大隻的象,這樣穩穩、穩穩走,走來到靈前,很莊重,那個形態面對著靈柩,這樣緩緩在那個地方腳屈下去,四腳屈下去,頭著地,很莊重地頂禮,禮拜他。

那個態度看到讓人很動容,看到這樣的形態,實在很感慨,人有這樣莊重的禮節嗎?這種知恩圖報,感情這麼的溫馨、這麼的密切,動物的世界能夠有這樣,人的世界呢?這種的感情,這種的禮節,人是不是人(能)維持做得到呢?這個舉動真的讓人很感動,雖然牠是象身,卻是行儀不輸人。但是為什麼落在象身?這就是他的過去生,在過去生中,失了禮節,失了規戒,但是今生此時,這位主人和他在一起,這樣慢慢地養、慢慢地教,也能夠這個本性真如,也能夠浮現,培養了感情,養成了禮節。動物近人性,比人性更加人性的真如本性,這種的表現,我們就能夠證明佛所說的,眾生皆有如來智性。

所以我們要好好用心,修行在我們的行動中,我們的行動,付出守規戒,這要歷經無量數劫,時間要長久用心,我們一點點都不能偏差失錯。我們若是偏差失錯了,這因果也是要負責。善的種子或者是惡的種子,永遠都是在,惡的,同樣受業要報;善的,能夠受福得報。善惡皆有報,所以我們能夠遇到佛法,我們要好好。這個善惡雜揉,惡的趕緊將它減少,善的趕緊增加。

能夠就像菩薩行六度,布施、持戒,「歷經無量數劫」,能夠時時、時時,就是善緣種子充足,煩惱無明去除,全都沒有,若能夠這樣,那就是菩薩修行,從初,一直到成佛,這樣能夠不犯錯誤,這就是要看我們這念心,能夠「歷經無量數劫,盡未來世,無量無邊,無有厭足」。這念心,為善的心,度眾生的念,永遠沒有厭足,就是生生世世都是這樣,不斷受持、修行。這是「菩薩長時忘我」,長時間都忘記自己了,我就是從發心開始,不論經歷多久的時間,不論經歷了多生多世,多少生、多少世,我都是一樣。問我何時開始發心?忘記了;問:幾世前?忘記了,這是菩薩忘我;守持,長時間就是不棄、不捨,常行六度布施持戒,這就是菩薩的心。

我們發心修行,必定要有這樣的心態,這個心態是不是很困難呢?不困難,我們若將它當作「理所當然」,我們既然發現了道理,我們行這個禮節,順軌道去布施,落實在生活中,這是理所當然,若這樣怎麼會有厭足呢?這樣,我們長長久久,就是這樣這念心。這是在前面的文,菩薩從地湧出,在靈鷲山,多寶佛塔前,前後次序向二世尊,兩位世尊禮拜。然後,寶樹下的分身佛,他們也一一向他們禮拜,同時繞,圍繞,這樣在周圍這樣三圈,「三帀」,所以「恭敬合掌」。

右繞三帀
合掌恭敬
以諸菩薩種種讚法
而以讚歎
住在一面
欣樂瞻仰於二世尊
是諸菩薩摩訶薩
從初涌出
以諸菩薩種種讚法
而讚於佛
如是時間
經五十小劫
《法華經從地涌出品第十五》

這是前面的文,「以諸菩薩種種讚法」而讚歎,「住在一面」,這樣一直讚歎,在一面的地方,大家歸位來了,就是瞻仰二世尊,「是諸菩薩摩訶薩」,是大菩薩,從湧出開始,他們就是一直。「以諸菩薩種種讚法」而讚於佛,讚法、讚佛,時間多久呢?經過時間「五十小劫」。五十小劫是很久,這到底是多久,這個長時間是在表現什麼呢?我們要耐心、用心體會。

接下來這段文,就這樣說了:「是時、釋迦牟尼佛默然而坐,及諸四眾亦皆默然。五十小劫,佛神力故,令諸大眾謂如半日。」

是時
釋迦牟尼佛
默然而坐
及諸四眾亦皆默然
五十小劫
佛神力故
令諸大眾謂如半日
《法華經從地涌出品第十五》

這要很用心入這個境界去體會。這個時候,釋迦牟尼佛,雖然這麼多的菩薩,恭敬在那個地方禮讚,禮佛、讚法,時間這麼長,這麼的虔誠,卻是釋迦牟尼佛是安然不動,默然端坐。

是時
釋迦牟尼佛
默然而坐:
菩薩禮佛讚法
如是長時間
世尊默然端坐受讚
默然而坐:
攝盡今時
全歸實際

這個「默然而坐」,就是靜靜的,讚歎就讓人去讚歎。大家在讚歎,「讚法」,說起了法的心得。「讚法」就是法的心得,一直在讚歎,用什麼法修行,得什麼樣的心境,他靜靜地聽。

在那個時間,就是「攝盡今時」。這個時間,大家在分享,分享佛的教法,用在內心,施行在行動裡;這個行動中利益了眾生,有什麼樣的成果嗎?就像常常聽,聽我們菩薩,慈濟人,平時到哪裡去,不論是救災拔苦,或者是有什麼活動,教育、人文在活動,之後都有心得。用什麼法去施行、去造作這些活動,結果有什麼樣的成效?他們會集時,就來講心得;他們在講心得,我們就要靜靜地聽他們說,用心聽他們說。他們的分享,將這個法回向回來,這樣在讚歎法,使用之後那個成果來分享。這就是在那個時候,所以默然,「默然而坐」,那就是「攝盡今時」。

任何人在說話,我們都也是要這樣。這是把握當時,享受人家心得的分享,我們也是要吸收。所以,「攝盡今時」,佛陀說出去的法,他們如何用?回來在回報,佛也是要靜靜地聽。所以,「默然而坐:攝盡今時,全歸實際」,表示法實用,實用在人間,能夠教導給大家,大家如法受持,施用在人群中,這就是很實用。所以,「及諸四眾亦皆默然」。

及諸四眾
亦皆默然:
是時集會諸大眾
皆默然
四眾亦皆默然
師資道合
不動纖毫

不只是唯有佛陀「默然端坐」,即使其他的四眾,佛陀的弟子,比丘、比丘尼,在家的優婆塞、優婆夷,全都就是這樣很靜默來聽,這集會的大眾都一樣,「四眾皆默然」,這就是表示「師資道合」。老師和學生,老師教出去的方法,學生已經成為師了。我們前面說,很多的數,慢慢一直時間變成了,「師多徒少」,應該已經去發揮功能了。接受了法,法去教度眾生,眾生的成果慢慢成就了,這些過去是佛所教化,成為菩薩;菩薩在人間再教化眾生,這些就是變作老師。這些老師再回過頭來到佛的面前,他們還是佛的弟子,所以,「師資道合」。菩薩就是受到佛陀教化,這個法去化度眾生;這個道和佛的道,就是會合,就是一致,法是一體、相同,所以沒有一點偏差,這叫做「師資道合,不動纖毫」,一點點都不差。佛的法,用在弟子的身上,弟子再去廣度眾生、教化眾生,也是同樣這個法,這樣去化度眾生。時間呢?很久,要分享的事情很多,所以在分享的時間很久,「五十小劫」。

五十小劫
佛神力故
令諸大眾
謂如半日:
明不思議延長促短
自在神通之力
促彼長劫
令其見短

「佛神力故,令諸大眾謂如半日」。更加要用心聽,五十小劫和半日差很多了。我們若想到一劫到底是多久呢?那是幾億年啊!「五十小劫」,這幾十萬億年,無法去計算的時日,和半日是要怎麼比啊!這也是要告訴我們,真的是不可思議,「不可說,不可說,不可言說」,那是為什麼呢?這法,佛陀在說法,言辭譬喻,談今說古,不只說今生此世你們要用這樣這樣的方法,想過去無量數劫以前,有什麼因、什麼果、什麼樣的緣,如何來接受。就像這樣過去過去,釋迦牟尼佛,他也談起了過去大通智勝佛,這麼長久的時間,十六沙彌,這個時間到底多長啊?但是幾句話這樣就過去了。

這就是儘管大通智勝佛,這段文,〈化城喻品〉,我們也說了一段時間。但是再怎麼說,那個文章也是短暫,唸著就過去了,但是要說它的內容,就要說一段很長的時間。其實要說它的內容,所描述的時間無量數劫,這不可思議,真的是很長久的時間。所以,「明不思議延長促短」,時間能夠拉得很長,也能夠二三句話就過去了。這些菩薩聽佛說法,他們出去在度眾生是廣無邊際,無法去說那個空間多大,去度多少眾生。同這樣的法,時間多久,去度多少人,這些若是好好說,當然很長的時間。所以也能夠說很長,也能夠說很短。

而菩薩,所有的菩薩在分享,大家要很用心聽;用心聽就不覺得到底是說多少,到底是多長?也會忘記時間,但是就是這樣說。因為佛的神力,「神通之力,促彼長劫,令其見短」。這也就是佛陀為我們,解釋很多的法,讓大家了解,很長久長久以前的事情,就拉過來,一場的說法就能夠說盡了,長久劫以前的事情,意思相同是這樣。這就是要讓大家「知曉解了」,對法很清楚了解。

知曉解了之者
即短而長
見半日事如五十劫
不曉了之者
即長而短
見五十劫如半日事

人人若能夠清楚了解,那就是時間不算長,引古說今,雖然古時代到底是多久多久以前,現在用現在來譬喻,或者拉長久的以前,來解現在的道理,這樣我們聽的人,知了!曉了了!體會理解了,若這樣,這個人自然就用很短的時間。就像現在,儘管用一個鐘頭的時間,大家應該若全都了解,就知道理,它能夠潛淫在歷久不變,這麼的涵蓋著那麼深奧的道理,我們就已經全都清楚了解,了解法。

所以,短就是長,就是用短短的時間,「我知道了,我知道了,我終於明白了,過去我還想不通、解不了,經過了這幾句話,唉呀,我終於了解了、我體會了」。這「即短而長」,這就是了解,道理更怎麼深、再怎麼開、再怎麼廣,也是在短短的時間,我們全都體會了解。所以,「見半日事」。將很長久的事情,很開闊的道理,我們就是半日,我們就能夠了解。「不曉了之者」。若無法了解的人,「見五十劫」,就像半日的事情,不了解,五十小劫實在很長久,這我們要去體會。所以,五十小劫之久,佛神力促之,「令大眾謂如半日」。

而五十小劫之久
佛以神力促之
令大眾謂如半日
即如眾生
感覺此時分
心量中之半日
實則佛心量中之
五十小劫如故
此所謂由佛神力

就是佛陀他的智慧,講古說今,他就是這樣幾十劫、幾十劫,無央數劫前的事情,他就是這樣說;說盡了道理了,我們開始,〈譬喻品〉、〈信解品〉等等,難道不就是這樣譬喻過呢?很長久的時間,世間很細小的物質等等,來做譬喻時間,〈化城喻品〉不就是這樣呢?用種種的方法,還是不了解的人,「若算師,若算師弟子」永遠都無法去了解,算出了五十小劫的時間。就是道理就像時間。

你這五十小劫的時間,你根本無法去算,就像那沙土,要將它當做一個世界,那個世界裡面的物質,全都再將它磨像墨水;墨水再去滴,很微細、很微細,層層分析,這些世界才將它當成時間,這樣的時間多久?就是「若算師,若算師弟子」無法得知。同樣的道理,糊塗的就是我們凡夫,有無明、有煩惱,你說這些數字,沒有數字可說,因為他無法體會那些道理。

但是佛陀對心靈的世界瞭如指掌,所以說,「佛以神力促之」。就是佛陀心靈的世界,他瞭如指掌,要說到讓大家能夠接受、體會、了解。所以,「令大眾謂如半日」。這麼長久,這麼開闊的道理,用什麼方法在短時間內,讓大家能夠接受?「即如眾生感覺此時分」,讓大家在聽這麼冗長的道理,讓大家能夠很清楚聽得懂,「知曉解了」,聽懂,這樣聽懂的法,就是他會感覺很短。所以,他「感覺此時分,心量中之半日」,這個心量,好像半天就透徹了解了。「實則佛心量中之,五十小劫如故」。因為佛陀的心量,在五十小劫以前的世界,道理歷歷分明在佛陀的心中,這是「佛心量中之五十小劫」,記憶還是很深。一直告訴大家,聽法還要再記憶著,同樣的道理。所以,「此所謂由佛神力」。因為這樣,才說是佛的神力,始令眾生「謂如半日」,好像半日。其實,佛陀用他的心量,他的時間、空間經過這麼的,歷盡了這麼多的時間、人間眾生的事相,他因緣果報等等,都收納在他的心靈世界裡。所以,「蓋一類有一類之時劫」。

蓋一類
有一類之時劫
而每類時劫中
即各自有其心量中
之單位
與其極短極長
之概量

若再用另外一項的角度來說,各一類的生靈沒有一樣的時間,「時劫」就是時間,每一類眾生,生命的世界、時間都不同。你還記得以前,在精舍的「大寶」,獸醫說牠的壽命,已經是十幾歲了,「依照牠的壽命時間,差不多人的八十歲的老。」好像,記憶中好像是這樣。壽命的世界,這個眾生壽命世界和我們不同。而我們人間的壽命呢?四天王天的一天是我們五十歲,若是忉利天呢?它一日是我們的一百歲。天人的歲數和我們人間的歲數是不同。所以說起來,每一類有每一類眾生的時間,那個劫,時間的長短是不同。

所以說起來,我們應該要很相信,佛陀所說的時間不是說,「哪有可能時間那麼長」,是啊,狗類、貓類,這和我們很靠近,這樣的牲畜,牠們的壽命類推,和我們人的壽命,同樣都是有這樣,各類不同的壽數、時間,所以,「時劫」就是時間和壽命。慢慢要接近壽命的觀點來了。所以,「而每類時劫中,即各自有其心量中之單位」。應該大家會清楚了,我們人有我們心理的數字,天有天人心理的數字,每一種生物就有每一種生物的,心理、生理的數字在,所以與其極短及長;極短和極短那個概量是不同。所以,人類的心量是用壽命,我們的心量是用壽命來推測。壽命,我們這個壽命,我們就是在這個人間,這個人間如何叫做「壽」呢?壽就是年齡,年齡就是時間。

如人類心量中
之壽量
為時、日、月、
年、世紀等
四王天之壽量
以人間五十年
為一天等
至佛之壽量
則短劫攝長劫
長劫攝短劫
劫至無量
佛亦與為無量
劫只半日
佛亦與為半日
此即不可思議
佛境界之時劫數量矣
非若眾生心量中
之壽量
有智慧、根器等
為之囿限

時間要從秒啊、分啊、鐘點、時為單位。時間再來說日,一天是二十四小時,就是一天;月,三十天為一個月,十二個月叫做一年,這就是人的壽命,用壽命來測量。到底時間要如何算?人間名稱的時間,就是用這樣來明顯讓大家知道,這是時間,和我們人類很接近要用的,人類在用的時間,就是從秒、分、時,這樣說到日、月、年,再來就是「世紀」;一百年為一個世紀。就是說起來,時間就是這樣算。所以,「四王天之壽量」,是「以人間五十年為一天」,就這樣將它推算去。若是兜率天,那是幾千年了。總而言之,這個數字,用這樣,以人類的時間來算,那就要算劫,劫就是劫波,劫波就是叫做長時間。這長時間就是這樣。

所以,「至佛之壽量」,到佛的壽量,那就是「則短劫攝長劫」。佛陀在這個時間,在我們地球上的人間裡,他的壽就是「短劫攝長劫,長劫攝短劫」,意思就是涵蓋,雖然在人間,這個壽量來和天人比,那差很多;不過以佛的心量,他就是能夠短短的人間,能夠用長長長的慧命。若要告訴我們這個慧命,真如本性是無始終,無始無終,這個命更長,不只是佛有,我們人人都有,本具佛性。所以,佛性在這種短暫的人間,佛性是永恆,所以「則短劫攝長劫,長劫攝短劫」。

但是,他的佛性,就是為了不捨眾生,一大事因緣,顯跡人間,所以在人間同樣有嬰兒的時段,這個時間,有少年的時間,就是這樣一直到八十(歲),就是老年的時間。這慧命,佛性是無量,還是一樣,無生、無死,不老、不滅,總是永恆是這樣,所以「長劫攝短劫」。這用慧命、用佛性來人間。「劫至無量,佛亦與為無量,劫只半日,佛亦與為無量」。這樣,就是同樣,佛陀又是以這個無量時間,只讓大家在半日間這樣去體會。在靈鷲山裡,這天的時間就是佛陀入寶塔去,與多寶佛並坐在一起。這當中在說法,也是這些菩薩從地湧出,這個時間,所以說起來,佛陀靈鷲山說法七年,這一天諸菩薩從地湧出,意思就是佛陀已經為眾生,講起了行菩薩道重要的法──大慈悲為室,柔和忍辱衣,諸法空為座,而這樣去說法。「三軌法」,又再教我們,「四行法」、「四修法」,都全教過我們了。大家的心地,心開意解了,所以有這樣從地湧出,這個時間大家湧出、湧現出來,來讚法、讚佛,這時間用了半日的時間,讓大家來分享。

「此即不可思議」。這是佛陀心靈的境界,讓大家這樣互相來看到,聽到大家在讚佛,看到大家在發心。這「佛境界之時劫數量」,這就是佛的心靈世界,讓大家體會到,體會到佛的教法,所以人人心開意解了,很了解。再來就是說,「非若眾生心量中之壽量,有智慧、根器等為之囿限」。就是這是佛的心量,他能夠在五十劫與為半日,用這樣的方法讓大家容易接受。不是像我們眾生,仔細在那裡計較:五十劫是多長,我要如何分、如何分。這種計較心在那個地方,只是在論道理,論而沒有實際行動,不是這樣而已。凡夫就是都只在那裡聽、在那裡論,沒有身體力行,就沒有心得,就無法知、無法曉了,無法了解,所以心量還是在那個地方。所以,眾生的心量,還是有一個界限,所以「有智慧、根器等,為之囿限」。我們凡夫是以為,這樣是很有智慧,我懂很多,我了解很多,將自己局限起來,所以「囿限」,這「囿」字又將它圈起來。就是再怎樣,世間凡夫讓你再有智慧,同樣也是一個局限,就是這樣而已,無法跨出了與佛一樣的心量。

各位,學佛真的是要突破這個心量,我們不要「有」,再用「框」將它框起來,這樣的智慧總是一直就是,在這樣的世界之中,無法像佛陀,將他的心量打開,無量的世界瞭如指掌。長時間,空間,過去五十劫,他,對佛的心來說,就像展開我們的掌,我們的掌心,來看掌心上的東西、數字,同樣的道理。我們凡夫說,「知道了、知道了」,讓他算很多,一直去研究,一直去……。他的突破就只是在,「知道了、知道了」的範圍,知、識,不行,不去行,怎麼樣的空間,他就是走不到,怎麼樣的時間都是短暫,所以無法維持著菩薩心,是在永恆,就是很難。

所以,我們剛才說,菩薩修行要從初發心,乃至成佛,這個時間這麼的長,空間更是無邊際,一定這念間就是絕對沒有間斷,這是長時修,無間斷,這就是菩薩心。所以,我們平時在說的菩薩心,好像很簡單,要持久是不容易,修行難就是難在發這念心,繼續持久,長久的心,這樣的困難。所以我們既然聞法,有困難嗎?要克服。要克服,就是要時時多用心!


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Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: 50 Small Kalpas Seen as Half a Day (五十小劫 謂如半日)
Date: October.30.2018

“For Bodhisattvas in their spiritual practice, from forming initial aspirations until attaining Buddhahood, they never abandon [their practice]; they constantly practice the Six Paramitas, giving, upholding the precepts [etc.] Throughout countless kalpas, in all future lifetimes, they practice without bounds and without becoming tired. For a long time, Bodhisattvas forget their self.”

We need to be mindful! We should mindfully seek to comprehend this. “For Bodhisattvas in their spiritual practice….” Bodhisattvas’ spiritual practice starts when their minds form initial aspirations. They continuously maintain this mindset and “actualize the Six Paramitas in all actions.” [They do this] throughout countless kalpas, for a very long time. “Though the universe has bounds, our vows are boundless.” This is how Bodhisattvas, starting when they first make aspirations, continuously and mindfully give of themselves. Their minds never retreat or turn; they firmly persist in this aspiration. Indeed, with this aspiration, [they persist] until they attain Buddhahood. Their minds will never give up on [their practice]. They constantly practice the Six Paramitas. They will not abandon any sentient being. Whichever sentient being it is, they will not abandon him or her. They refuse to abandon or leave any sentient being. This is their mindset. They are always together with sentient beings, constantly practicing the Six Paramitas. This is the vow of Bodhisattvas.

[Bodhisattvas] regularly practice giving over a long time and never seek anything in return. So, they are constantly practicing the giving of the Six Paramitas. While practicing giving, they must also uphold the precepts, meaning they abide by the rules. In spiritual practice, as we make aspirations to give, we must also follow rules. Upholding precepts is maintaining the right course for our wisdom-life. When we are helping others, it is even more important to earnestly uphold our precepts. The precepts help us maintain our direction so that we do not deviate or make mistakes. This gives our lives a set of rules for our body, speech and mind.

For sentient beings, upholding the principles requires having etiquette. Having etiquette requires upholding the precepts and maintaining discipline. If we have precepts, then we have etiquette. What should we do? What should we not do? When it comes to what we should do, we must know our boundaries and etiquette. If we can do this, then we will not be violating the rules. This means that we can maintain our human form [when reborn] into the world.

We often use the word “sentient beings”. The Buddha came to the world to deliver sentient beings. We could simply say “to deliver people,” so why do we say “sentient beings”? “Sentient beings” refers to all various different forms of life. They are called sentient beings. No matter what way of life they have, they all intrinsically have Buddha-nature and are replete with the nature of True Suchness.

We see that in Thailand, there is an elephant. His owner had cared for him for many years. His owner was old, over 80 years old. One day, he suddenly died from a car accident. After his passing, his family held a funeral for him. When the children of this owner saw the elephant, they said to him “Our father has passed away. He died in a car accident. The funeral will be held tomorrow.” When this elephant heard this, he ran out from the elephant enclosure and went to his owner’s home. He went up to the coffin. Such a large elephant walked very steadily and came before the coffin. He was very solemn! In this manner, he faced the coffin and slowly bent his legs. With his four legs bent, his head bowed to the ground, [the elephant] very solemnly prostrated to his owner. His actions were very moving.

Seeing such actions really cause me to lament; do humans have such dignified etiquette? Animals are capable of such act of gratitude and of such warm sentiments and closeness. Animals are capable of this, but what about humans? Is such sentiment and etiquette something that humans are capable of upholding? [The elephant’s] actions are truly touching. Although he may be in elephant form, his demeanor was no less [dignified] than that of humans. However, why was he born as an elephant? It was because of his past life. In a past life, he did not uphold propriety and did not keep to the precepts. But in this present lifetime, he and his owner spent time together. His owner gradually cared for and taught him so that his nature of True Suchness could also manifest. They developed a strong bond, and the elephant developed propriety.

This animal’s nature is close to human nature. He had a more human nature of True Suchness than humans themselves. Through the display [of these actions], we get proof of what the Buddha said, that all sentient beings have the Tathagata’s nature of wisdom. So, we must be earnestly mindful.

Our spiritual practice lies in our actions. In our actions, we must give of ourselves while upholding precepts. We must continue doing this for countless kalpas. We must be mindful for a long time. We cannot deviate even the slightest bit. If we have deviated or made errors, then we must take responsibility for our karmic retributions. Whether it is a seed of goodness or evil, it always exists. With seeds of evil, we will face retributions all the same. With seeds of goodness, we can attain blessings. Good and evil all lead to retributions. So, since we have encountered the Buddha-Dharma, we must earnestly, with this mixture of good and evil, quickly decrease what is evil, and quickly increase what is good. We must practice the Six Paramitas just like Bodhisattvas, giving, upholding precepts [etc.]. “Throughout countless kalpas,” we must, at all times, be full of seeds of good karmic conditions and eliminate afflictions and ignorance so that there are no more of them. If we can do this, that is how Bodhisattvas engage in spiritual practice from the start until they attain Buddhahood. Being able to be free of mistakes in this manner depends on our minds. “Throughout countless kalpas, in all future lifetimes, they practice without bounds and without becoming tried.” With this mind that aspires toward goodness, this thought of transforming sentient beings they never become tired. This means that for lifetime after lifetime, they continuously accept and uphold the teachings and engage in spiritual practice. “For a long time, Bodhisattvas forget their self.” For a long time, we forget ourselves. Since we formed aspirations, regardless of how much time has passed or how many lifetimes we have experienced throughout these many lifetimes, we [maintain] the same [aspiration]. When we are asked when we formed our aspirations, we have forgotten. When we are asked how many lifetimes ago it was, we have forgotten. This is how Bodhisattvas forget their self and uphold [their aspiration]. For a long time, they have never abandoned or given up [on their practice]; “They constantly practice the Six Paramitas giving, upholding the precepts [etc.]” This is the aspiration of Bodhisattvas.

As we form aspirations for spiritual practice, we need such a mindset. Is it very difficult to [maintain] this mindset? Not at all! We should take it as a given. Since we have discovered the principles, we can practice this etiquette, follow this path in practicing giving and implement this in our daily living. This is a given. With this [mindset], how would we become tired? Then, for a very long time, we can maintain this aspiration.

This is in the previous [sutra] passage. Bodhisattvas emerged from the ground at Vulture Peak, before the stupa of Many Treasures Buddha. One after another, they prostrated to the two Would-Honored Ones. Then they also prostrated to the Buddha’s manifestations beneath the trees of treasure, all the while circumambulating [Them]. They circumambulated Them three times. So, they reverently put their palms together.

They circumambulated clockwise three times, put their palms together with reverence and with all Bodhisattvas’ many methods of praise, uttered their praises. They then stayed to one side and joyfully gazed upward in admiration at the two World-Honored Ones. All these Bodhisattva-Mahasattvas, starting from when they first emerged, used all Bodhisattvas’ many methods of praise to praise the Buddhas. The time that passed was 50 small kalpas.

This is the previous [sutra] passage. They praised Them, “with all Bodhisattvas’ many methods of praise. They then stayed to one side.” In this way, they continuously praised Them. Standing to one side, they all returned to their positions and gazed upward in admiration at the two World-Honored Ones. “All these Bodhisattva-Mahasattvas” were great Bodhisattvas. Since emerging [from the ground], they continuously used “all Bodhisattvas’ many methods of praise” to praise the Buddha. They praised the Dharma and praised the Buddhas. For how long? For 50 small kalpas. 50 small kalpas is a long time. How long is it actually? What does this long period of time represent? We must patiently and mindfully seek to comprehend this.

The next sutra passage states, “During this time, Sakyamuni Buddha sat in silence and all in the fourfold assembly were also silent 50 small kalpas [passed], but through the Buddha’s spiritual powers. He made it seem like half a day to the assembly.”

We must be very mindful in entering this state to comprehend it. During this time, Sakyamuni Buddha [was silent]. Through there were so many Bodhisattvas who very reverently paid respect and praised Him, paying respect to the Buddhas and praising Their Dharma for such a long time and with so much reverence. Sakyamuni Buddha remained still and unmoving. He sat upright in silence.

During this time, Sakyamuni Buddha sat in silence: During this long time when the Bodhisattvas paid respect to the Buddhas and praised Their Dharma, the World-Honored One sat upright in silence, receiving their praise. Sat in silence: He completely took in everything at that time. He completely took in everything at that time. This all showed that [the Dharma] is applicable.

To “sit in silence” means to be quiet. As others were praising Him, He let them do so. Everyone was praising [Him and] the Dharma while talking about their insights on the Dharma. To “praise the Dharma” is to share insights on the Dharma. They continuously praised and talked about which teachings they practiced and what state of mind they had attained. He listened silently.

During that time, “He completely took in everything at that time”. At that time, everyone was sharing about the Buddha’s teachings and how they applied them to their minds and put them into action. Through actions which benefitted sentient beings, what results did they get? This is just like how we often hear about our Bodhisattva-volunteers. Wherever Tzu Chi volunteers regularly go to provide relief for those in suffering or to organize events for education or humanistic culture, they always gain insights. What kind of Dharma is put in practice to create these activities, and what are the results? When they gather together, they talk about their experiences and insights. When they speak about their insights, we should quietly listen to them. We should mindfully listen to what they say. In their sharing, they dedicate the merits of the Dharma back here. This is how they praise the Dharma, by sharing the results of applying it.

This is why, in that moment, [the Buddha] sat in silence. “He sat in silence. He completely took in everything at that time”. Whenever someone is speaking, we should do the same as well. This is what it means to seize the moment and enjoy the sharing of others’ insights. We must take them in as well. So, “He completely took in everything at the time”. How did they apply the Buddha’s teachings? they came to report back. So, the Buddha wanted to silently listen.

Thus, He “sat in silence. He completely took in everything at that time. This all showed that [the Dharma] is applicable”. This showed that the Dharma is applicable in the world. It can be taught to everyone. Everyone can uphold the Dharma and utilize it among people. This makes it very applicable. So, “All in the fourfold assembly were also silent”.

All in the fourfold assembly were also silent: During this time, those gathered in the assembly were also silent. The fourfold assembly was also silent. Teacher and students were united in their path. They did not move even slightly.

Not only was the Buddha sitting in silence, but the others in the fourfold assembly, the Buddha’s disciples, the bhiksus and bhiksunis and the lay upasakas and upasikas, also very silently listened in this way. Everyone in the assembly did the same. “All in the fourfold assembly were also silent”. This means that “Teacher and students were united in their path”. Between teacher and students, as the teacher taught these methods, the students had already become teachers. We have previously discussed these great numbers which gradually decreased until there were “more teachers and fewer disciples”. [The disciples] should already be able to exercise their capabilities. They had received the Dharma which can be used to teach and transform sentient beings. Then, sentient beings’ effects slowly came to fruition.

In the past, the Buddha taught and transformed them to become Bodhisattvas. These Bodhisattvas then taught and transformed sentient beings in the world. This was how they became teachers. But when these teachers returned and came before the Buddha, they were still His disciples. So, “Teacher and students were united in their path”. The Bodhisattvas had received the Buddha’s teachings and transformation. They then used this Dharma to transform and deliver sentient beings. This path merged with the Buddha’s path; they were the same.

The Dharma is one; it is the same. There was not even the slightest deviation. This is how “Teacher and students were united in their path. They did not move even slightly”. There was no deviation at all. The Buddha applied His Dharma on His disciples. His disciples then went to widely teach and transform sentient beings. With the same Dharma, they went to transform sentient beings. What about the time? It took a long time. There were many things to share. So, the time they were sharing was very long. “It was 50 small kalpas”.

It was 50 small kalpas, but through the Buddha’s spiritual powers, He made it seem like half a day to the assembly: This explains His inconceivable spiritual power of freely extending or shortening time. He shortened those long kalpas so that they saw them as brief.

“But due to the Buddha’s spiritual powers, He made it seem like half a day to the assembly”. We must be even more mindful in listening. 50 small kalpas and half a day are very different. If we think about one kalpa, how long is it? It is hundreds of millions of years. So with “50 small kalpas”, how can these billions of years, these incalculable hours and days, be compared to half a day? This is also telling us that it is truly inconceivable. “It cannot be described. It is unexplainable”.

Why is that? when the Buddha taught the Dharma, He used descriptions and analogies and discussed the present and ancient times. [He] not only spoke of this lifetime and what methods [His disciples] should use. He also spoke of [what happened] countless kalpas ago, what were the causes and effects, what conditions [they had] and how to accept [the retributions]. This is similar to the ancient past described by Sakyamuni Buddha.

He also spoke of the past. Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha. It was such a long time [ago], [the time of] the 16 novices. Exactly how long was this time? [It was very long], but [He described it] in just a few sentences. Though we discussed the passage on Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha in the Chapter on the Parable of the Conjured City for quite a while, no matter how much we say, the passage is short. Once we have read it, it is over. However, to discuss its contents would take a very long time. In truth, to talk about its contents, the time described in it is countless kalpas. This is inconceivable It truly is a very long time.

“This explains His inconceivable spiritual power of freely extending or shortening time.” Time can be greatly extended, or it can pass by in only a few sentences. These Bodhisattvas listened to the Buddha teach the Dharma. When they went out to transform sentient beings, they widely [spread the Dharma] without bounds. It is impossible to say how vast that space was or how many sentient beings they transformed. With this same Dharma, when it comes to how long it took [to teach] and how many people were transformed, if we wanted to explain it well, of course it would take a long time.

Therefore, we can spend a very long time or a very short time to discuss this. So, when all Bodhisattvas are sharing their experiences, everyone should listen mindfully. If we listen mindfully, we do not realize how much is said or how long they speak. We will also forget about time; [we just listen to] what is discussed. Because the Buddha has spiritual powers, “Though His spiritual powers. He shortened those long kalpas so that they saw them as brief”. This is how the Buddha explained a great amount of Dharma for us so that everyone can understand what happened long, long ago. He could condense it so that a single teaching session was enough to teach about what happened many kalpas ago. The meaning is the same. He did this so that everyone would “know and understand, so they could very clearly understand the Dharma”.

Those who know and understand can treat what is short as long. They view the events of half a day as if they were spanning over 50 kalpas. Those who do not understand treat what is long as short. They view 50 kalpas as the events of half a day.

If everyone can clearly understand this, then it does not count as a very long time. He brought up ancient times to discuss the present. Though ancient times were long ago, we can use present times as an analogy right now. Or we can recall a long time ago to understand the current principles. Then those who listen can grasp, understand, comprehend and realize [the principles]. If we can do this, then we can naturally use a very short time frame. This is just like how presently, although we only use one hour of time, if everyone can fully understand [what I say], then you will understand the principles. The [Dharma] can immerse us for a long time without itself changing. It encompasses such profound principles which we already understand clearly. We understand the Dharma. Therefore, to take what is short as long is to use a very short period of time. “I know, I know. I finally understand”. In the past, I could not comprehend it. I could not figure it out. After a few remarks, oh my! I finally understand. I comprehend it. “They can treat what is short as long.”

This means to understand [the principles]. No matter how profound the principles are, no matter how open or expansive they are, we can understand the all in a short time. So, “They view the events of half a day….” Something that happens for a very long time or very expansive principles can be understood in half a day. “Those who do not understand, people who cannot understand it, view [the events of] 50 kalpas” just as what happens in half a day. For those who do not understand, 50 kalpas truly [feels like] a very long time. We must seek to comprehend this. So, a time as long as 50 kalpas was shortened through the Buddha’s spiritual powers “so that the assembly saw it as half a day”.

The time was 50 small kalpas, but the Buddha used. His spiritual powers to shorten it so that the assembly saw it as half a day. This means that sentient beings felt like this time was half a day as measured by their minds. But actually when measured by the Buddha’s mind, it was still 50 small kalpas. This was due to the Buddha’s spiritual powers.

This is the Buddha’s wisdom. He spoke of ancient and present times. He spoke of tens of kalpas and of events from countless kalpas in the past. In this way, He explained all the principles. In the beginning, in the Chapter on Parables and on Faith and Understanding etc., weren’t there such analogies? [The Buddha] used very long periods of time, miniscule objects in the world etc., as analogies to describe time. Wasn’t this the case in the Chapter on the Parable of the Conjured City? He used all sorts of methods, but there were those who still did not understand. “A mathematician or a mathematician’s disciples” would never be able to understand this or calculate a period of 50 kalpas. This means the principles are just like time. We cannot even measure these 50 kalpas in time. This is like dust particles; we take each [dust particle] to be a world, then grind up everything in that world and use it to make ink. With the ink, we drip it in miniscule drops [unto worlds]. The analysis then continues. [In the end], we take these worlds to represent time. How long would that time be? “A mathematician or a mathematician’s disciples” would not be able to know. The principle is the same. The confused ones are we ordinary beings who have ignorance and afflictions. We say these numbers cannot be measured because we cannot understand those principles. However, in the Buddha’s spiritual state, He knew it like the back of His hand. So, “The Buddha used His spiritual powers to shorten it”. This is the Buddha’s spiritual state. He knew [everything] like the back of His hand, so He could teach in a way that everyone could accept, comprehend and understand. “…so that the assembly saw it as half a day.” With such lengthy and expansive principles, what method did He use so that in a short time everyone could accept them? “This means that sentient beings felt like this time….” [The Buddha] helped everyone listening to such lengthy explanations] of the principles to clearly understand what they heard so they would “know and understand”. Once they understood the Dharma they heard, they would feel the time going by fast.

So, they “felt like this time was half a day as measured by their minds”. With this mind’s capacity, it was as if they could clearly understand it in half a day. “But actually when measured by the Buddha’s mind, it was still 50 small kalpas”. This was because the Buddha’s mind contained the world from 50 small kalpas earlier; all principles were very clearly [etched] in His mind. This is why, “When measured by the Buddha’s mind, it was still 50 small kalpas”. His memory was still very deep. I continuously tell everyone that after listening to the Dharma, we must recall it. The principle is the same. So, “This is due to the Buddha’s spiritual powers”. This is why we say it was the Buddha’s spiritual powers which allowed sentient beings to “see it as half a day”. It felt like half a day. In truth, the Buddha used His mind; He had passed through so much time and space. So much time and so many matters and appearances of sentient beings in the world, including His karmic causes, affinities and retributions are all encompassed within His spiritual state.

So, “Every species has its own lifespan”. Every species has its own lifespan.

Every species, in its own lifespan, has its own lifespan. Every species, in its lifespan, has its own unit of time as measured by its mind, and its general concept of extremely short or extremely long.

If we were to look at it from another angle, different species have different lifespans. “Lifespan” refers to time. Every sentient being’s living environment and lifespan are different. Do you still remember [the dog] “Dabao” at the Abode? The vet said that he was already over 10 years old. “Based on a [dog’s] lifespan, he is about as old as an 80 year old human”. That seems to be what I remember. In the world of lifespans, [a dog’s] lifespan is different from ours. What about the human lifespan in the world? A day in Heaven of the Four Heavenly Kings is 50 years for us. What about in Trayastrimsa Heaven? A day there is 100 years for us. The way heavenly beings experience time is different from the time in our world. So, to sum it up, every species has its own lifespan. Their kalpas and lengths of time are different. So, all in all, we should truly believe that for the periods of time discussed by the Buddha, we should not say, “How was it possible that it took so long?” Actually, even speaking of dogs and cats, which are very close to us, when it comes to these animals, comparing their lifespans and our lifespans as humans, in the same way, we each have our own age based on our lifespan.

So, “lifespan” refers to time and age. Gradually, we are drawing near to the view of lifespans. “Every species, in its own lifespan, has its own unit of time as measured by its mind”. Everyone should clearly understand this now. We humans have our mental measurements and heavenly beings have theirs. Every species has their own mental and physiological measurement of numbers. So, when it comes to what is considered extremely short or extremely long, the conceived [time] scales are different.

So, the human mind’s capacity is [based on] our lifespan. The capacity of our mind is estimated through our lifespan. When it comes to lifespan. We are in this human realm. So what is “lifespan” in this world? Lifespan is age, and age is time.

For humans, we think of a lifespan in terms of hours, days, months, years, centuries etc. In the Heaven of the Four Heavenly Kings, 50 years in the human world is just a single day there. When it comes to the Buddha’s lifespan, short kalpas encompass long kalpas and long kalpas encompass short kalpas. A kalpa can be extended to an immeasurable time, so the Buddha makes it seem immeasurable. A kalpa can be shortened to half a day, so the Buddha makes it seem like half a day. Thus, this is inconceivable. The length of kalpas in the Buddha’s state cannot be comprehended in terms of sentient beings’ lifespan. Their wisdom, roots and capacities etc. are limited.

Time is measured in seconds, minutes and hours as units. We then use “days” to speak of time. One day is 24 hours. One month is 30 days. 12 months makes a year. This is how we use a human’s lifespan as a basis for the measurement of [time]. But how exactly should we measure time? In this world, the terms we use to describe time are used in this way to help everyone understand that this is [the amount of] time. It is closely related in how humans use time. It starts with seconds, minutes and hours, then moves on to days, months and years. Then comes “centuries”. 100 years makes a century. All in all, this is how time is measured.

So, [according to] “the lifespan in Heaven of the Four Heavenly Kings, 50 years in our world makes one day [there]”. If we calculate according to this, then in Tusita Heaven, [a day] would be several thousand years [in our world]. In summary, when it comes to using numbers, when calculated using human time, then we measure in kalpas. A kalpa is an eon. An eon is a very long period of time. This is how [we measure] long periods of time. So, “for the lifespan of the Buddha,” when it comes to the Buddha’s lifespan, “short kalpas encompass long kalpas”. Regarding the Buddha, during His time in the human realm on planet Earth, in regards to His lifespan, “short kalpas encompass long kalpas,” while “long kalpas also encompass short kalpas”. The meaning of “encompass” is that although in the world, when we compare our lifespan to that of heavenly beings, there is a huge difference, nonetheless, in the Buddha’s mind, He could during a short life in the world grow a very long wisdom-life. If He were to tell us about this wisdom-life, then it would be that our nature of True Suchness has no beginning or end. Its life is even longer. Not only does the Buddha have it, every one of us also does. We all intrinsically have Buddha-nature.

So, in this temporary world, our Buddha-nature is everlasting. So, “Short kalpas encompass long kalpas,” while “Long kalpas also encompass short kalpas.” However, with His Buddha-nature, He could not abandon sentient beings. For this one great cause, He manifested in the world. In the world, He experienced a period of infancy, a period of adolescence [and so on] all the way until 80 years of age, which is the time of old age. However, His wisdom-life, His Buddha-nature, is infinite. It stays the same; there is no birth, death, aging or ceasing for all of eternity. So, “Long kalpas also encompass short kalpas.” He came to this world with His wisdom-life, with His Buddha-nature. “A kalpa can be extended to an immeasurable time, so the Buddha makes it seem immeasurable. A kalpa can be shortened to half a day, so the Buddha makes it seem like half a day.”

In the same way, the Buddha once again used this immeasurable time so that everyone, in half a day, could comprehend. At the Vulture Peak, He took this day’s time to enter the stupa of treasures and sit there together with Many Treasures Buddha. He was teaching the Dharma the whole time. It was also [at that time] that these Bodhisattvas emerged from the ground. [It happened] at this time. So, all in all, the Buddha expounded the Dharma for seven years at the Vulture Peak.

On this day, Bodhisattvas emerged from the ground. This meant that the Buddha, for the sake of all sentient beings, began teaching the important Dharma of walking the Bodhisattva-path. “Great compassion is the room, gentleness and patience are the clothing and the emptiness of all phenomena is the seat.” He expounded these teachings of “the Three Directives.” Then He taught us “the Four Practices and Four Methods [of Bringing Peace and Joy].” He taught all of these to us. Everyone’s heart became open and understanding. So, they emerged from the ground like this. During this time, everyone emerged to praise the Dharma and the Buddha. It took half a day’s time for everyone to share. “This is truly inconceivable.” This is the spiritual state of the Buddha. Everyone could see each other, hear people praising the Buddha and see everyone forming aspirations. “The length of kalpas in the Buddha’s state” is the spiritual state of the Buddha that helps everyone to comprehend the teachings of the Buddha. So, everyone can open their hearts and understand very well.

Next, it says that “It cannot be comprehended in terms of sentient beings’ lifespan. Their wisdom, roots and capacities etc. are limited. This is the capacity of the Buddha’s mind. He can make 50 kalpas seem like half a day. He used this method for everyone to easily accept [the teachings]. He is unlike us sentient beings who so meticulously take issue with how long 50 kalpas is. “How am I to calculate this and that?” People have this calculative mindset here. They are just discussing the principles. It is mere discussion without practical action. Not only that, in that place, ordinary beings only listen and discuss. Without putting it into practice, we will have no insights, so we will not know, understand or comprehend. Then, our mind will still be stuck in that place. Therefore, the capacity of sentient beings’ minds is still limited. “Their wisdom, roots and capacities etc. are limited.” We ordinary beings think that we are full of wisdom. “I know a lot; I understand a lot.” We limit ourselves in this way. Therefore, we are “limited.” The Chinese word for “limited” is framed up. This means that no matter how much wisdom ordinary beings have, there is still a limit to it. This is what it is; we are unable to step forth to have the same mind and capacity as the Buddha.

Everyone, as Buddhist practitioners, we must overcome this limitation in our mind. We should not take “something” and then put a frame around it [to limit it]. If we do, our wisdom will always be limited to this world. Then we cannot be like the Buddha who opened His mind and knew infinite worlds like the palm of His hand. Speaking of very long times and vast spaces, of the past 50 kalpas, in the Buddha’s mind, it is like opening our hands and looking at the things and numbers on our palm. The principle is the same.

We ordinary beings say, “I know, I know.” Humans do so many calculations and continuous research, but our breakthroughs are only within the realm of ‘I know, I know.’ When it comes to knowledge, without practicing it in action, no matter what space it is, we cannot reach it, and whatever time will just be temporary. So, we are unable to maintain our Bodhisattva-aspirations for eternity. It is very difficult. So, as we said just now, Bodhisattvas’ spiritual practice begins from their initial aspirations and continues until they attain Buddhahood. This time is very long, and this space is limitless. This aspiration definitely does not waver. This is to be practiced extensively without interruption. This is the Bodhisattva-aspiration. So, when we usually talk about Bodhisattva-aspirations, it sounds very easy, but it is not easy to persist [in our practice]. What is hard about spiritual practice is to form this aspiration, an aspiration that is continuously persistent. This is the difficulty.

So, since we listen to the Dharma, do we have difficulties?” We must overcome them. To overcome them, we must always be mindful!

(Source: Da Ai TV – Wisdom at Dawn program – Explanation by Master Chen-Yen)
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20181030《靜思妙蓮華》五十小劫 謂如半日 (第1468集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五)
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