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 20181101《靜思妙蓮華》唱導之師 問訊世尊 (第1470集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五)

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發表主題: 20181101《靜思妙蓮華》唱導之師 問訊世尊 (第1470集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五)   周四 11月 01, 2018 8:08 am

20181101《靜思妙蓮華》唱導之師 問訊世尊 (第1470集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五)

⊙菩薩四安樂行,身乃踐履萬行,賴於修正身行,口能宣說無邊妙義,持正語行,意思量作正行,弘誓恆持願行,大悲安樂立行。
⊙「爾時、四眾亦以佛神力故,見諸菩薩遍滿無量百千萬億國土虛空。是菩薩眾中有四導師:一名上行,二名無邊行,三名淨行,四名安立行。」《法華經從地涌出品第十五》
⊙「是四菩薩於其眾中,最為上首唱導之師。在大眾前,各共合掌,觀釋迦牟尼佛而問訊言。」《法華經從地涌出品第十五》
⊙是四菩薩於其眾中,最為上首唱導之師:是菩薩眾中最為領導上首,作善有為六度萬行,唱導為眾之師。
⊙在大眾前,各共合掌,觀釋迦牟尼佛而問訊言:領前出眾合掌觀佛問訊,而作是言。
⊙「世尊!少病、少惱,安樂行不?所應度者受教易不?不令世尊生疲勞耶?」《法華經從地涌出品第十五》
⊙世尊!少病、少惱,安樂行不:稱言世尊,是否少疾病,少憂煩不?於起居中常得安樂,正道易行不。
⊙少病少惱:問候如來安樂。此如來已離世間有漏五陰,豈有病惱?即欲示同人間法,順土常儀,故須問病惱。
⊙眾生煩惱病輕,則易化度,不生疲勞。問候如來,即問候其度生之事業。
⊙所應度者受教易不?不令世尊生疲勞耶?:所可度眾、易受教不?機易受化,師則不勞。
⊙此約如來應化之身,同於人世。故以世情而致問訊,若據真身,初無逆順。
⊙問眾生易度:身乃載道之器,日用相關,故首問問眾生易度。如來垂訓,眾生受化育之道,故次問之。

【證嚴上人開示】
菩薩四安樂行,身乃踐履萬行,賴於修正身行,口能宣說無邊,妙義持正語行,意思量作正行,弘誓恆持願行,大悲安樂立行。

菩薩四安樂行
身乃踐履萬行
賴於修正身行
口能宣說無邊妙義
持正語行
意 思量作正行
弘誓恆持願行
大悲安樂立行

用心啊!「行」是要我們身體力行,〈安樂行品〉,也就是這樣告訴我們,弘揚佛法,要在五濁惡世,能夠安安樂樂說法、受法,這必定要「四安樂行」,身、口、意、誓願,這都是在我們的日常生活中。「身」,一直都是和環境、聲色等等,就是接觸很密切,沒有一個時間,離開這個身的感受。儘管我們面對著外面的環境,外面的環境不斷在變,現在這個人來,在和我說話,他每一句話,那話都是一直隨著時間,消逝過去,我們在聽,聽進去了,但是「意」我們還在心裡,儘管聲音是這樣過去,卻是那個意念還是將它存著;說的話是什麼意思?每一個字都有它字句的意思。時間、聲音,瞬間過去,我們吸收進來,那個意解了,我們吸收來了。

所以外面的境界是這樣,沒有離開「身」,因為說話的人,是一個身體,身體完具,所以語言是從口出,而我們身體完全,六根完具,所以聲音從耳聞,耳朵聽進來,耳朵聽進來,我們就是「意」存著。我們的身體,「六根」都集中在我們身上,所以我們這個身體,在日常生活面對著的境界,不論是聽到的、看到的,即使看到,這個境界也不斷飛秒閃爍,這樣一直過去。就像在錄影,其實那個影像裡面的電子也是,就是要分秒分秒不斷、不斷,不只是分秒,是飛秒,很快速、快速這樣過去,連連接接,錄來的影像才不間斷。對著現況,現在在說話,現在的形影都是一樣。

同樣,大家眼睛看出去,其實不是靜靜地看,眼神經也是不斷,一直閃過、一直閃過。同樣的道理,境,一切所用的東西,以及存在的東西,就是不斷、不斷這樣消逝過去,但是我們的身體還是沒有感覺,如如不動;反正我就是面對著這樣的環境,我就是這樣聽,我就是這樣看,其實內含著,我們有很多瞬間不停留的,這樣消逝過去。我們自己也沒有感覺!但是這個沒有感覺的身體,力行在這個「理」,這就是道理,很多很多的物理世界,很奧妙、很微細,卻是我們在使用,我們卻不了解,不知道。

所以,我們每天都這樣過日子,是什麼時候在老化了,自己也不知道。自己的身體,我們每天在用,連自己都不知道。這種道理,很深祕的道理,我們無法了解。我們的身體有什麼毛病,我們自己也不知道;就是自己不知道,有病才要看醫生。我們的器官,哪一個地方有什麼樣的疾病,我們也沒有感覺。醫生,表面為我們看,也沒有感覺,但是要望、聞、問、切;我們要敘述說:我哪裡怎麼樣、怎麼樣。醫生要很用心、用心聽,憑他們的經驗,認為:哦!可能要再做進一步的檢查,就要再借外面的儀器來幫我們找,找出我們身體裡面的毛病。

現在科技發達,照一下,秒鐘一照,攝,這樣就起來了。經過了判斷,「哇,這個地方有塞住!」「哇,這個地方有長東西」,「哇,這個地方,已經在硬化了、老化了」,我們自己都不知道;老化,什麼時候?不知道。什麼時候塞住?也不知道。哪一個地方,長了不規則的毛病出來,我們也不知道!這就是我們人的身體,到底要如何能夠認識?其實,「生、老、病、死」是很自然的法則,不過我們若認清了,生命就是這樣,我們要如何了解生理之後,我們更加重要的是了解心理──生、住、異、滅,我們心理。

現在在聽,聽,感動了,卻是聽了之後過去了,忘記了,那些事情和我沒有關係,所以我的感動不必拿出來用,就是這樣,就「異」、「滅」,就不見了。雖然感動,我沒有身體力行,因為這些事情和我無關,這樣就放它過去了。法,我們每天都在聽,真正有用到的,是有幾項我們用得到呢?其實,每一個法,與我們日常生活都是很密切。不論是身體的價值觀,我們該做什麼樣的事情,該做的,我們要積極;不該做的,要防範,不要做。這就是我們對身體,借這個身體,身是載道器,修行也就是依賴這個身體,才有辦法去身體力行。

所以,「身乃踐履萬行」。我們的身體,在人間去接觸環境,我們了解了生命的價值,我知道應該如何做,如何做,就要身體力行。「六度」──布施、持戒、忍辱、精進、禪定、智慧,這個「六度」,我們面臨人、事、物,都能夠隨時施用。布施,很簡單,一句的好話,用心,能夠紓解掉人心的「鬱卒」;一句好話,能夠安人的心。身體布施更簡單,大家很忙,我趕緊出個手,幫忙一下。一個人做事情,可能一小時才做得完,我若能夠出個手,不一定四十分就做完了。這身體的力量,時間的布施,我們付出我們身體的力量,讓他能夠減輕長久的勞動,這也是一個布施。

我們要做布施很簡單,布施、持戒,生活,也是我們的身體在生活,身體安分守己;動作,我們的動作,「四威儀」要顧好,這就是修行。修行的動作無不都是要有道氣,讓人從你的身體,看出了修行的行儀。或者是修養,我們人開口動舌、舉止動作,無不都是表達我們的內心;內心有修行、有道,自然我們的行儀就能夠端莊。這都是我們的身體都能夠做的,舉這個例子,我們就知道要成就道業,身是載道器,這能夠度眾生,不論讓人看到、讓人聽到,或者是對他的幫助等等。「六度萬行」,眾生有多少的煩惱、苦難,我們都能夠集很多人的力量,去幫助他,應他的需要,這都在身體做出來的。

而我們的身體,就是要「賴於修正身行」。我們要依賴法,我們能夠吸收法,用在我們的身體上,用在我們的身和心,身行正行、口說正語,這全都是法入我們的心來,我們依賴著法,啟發我們的心,依賴著這個身體,顯示我們修行度人的功力。所以需要互相依賴,法要依賴身,才能夠現出了法的使用,所以依賴,互相依賴。而我們要依賴這個法入心來,我們才有辦法身體力行。所以,身端正、做好事,「口能宣說無邊妙義,持正語行」。我們的口,若有法在我們的心,自然我們說的話條條有理,無不都是引導人、教導人的法,所以這個心在想什麼,自然表達出來就是什麼,口的表達也是一樣。所以,身,「正身行,口能宣說無邊妙義,持正語行」。這個身、語是這麼的重要。

所以「意,思量作正行」。我們的「意」時時都在思考,我們的法若入心,我們的心意之中就是法;我們的心量所思量的,我們的思考,我們的內心,充滿了這個法,無量無邊,我們的方向、我們的計畫,無不都是「作正行」,所以,「意,思量作正行」。我們的心意是這樣,所以,「弘誓恆持」願力,自然我們的身、口、意,都向著正向,自然我們就立弘誓願,分分秒秒,我們的弘誓願,不離我們的身、心、口,這就是我們的願力。因為我們有願,有願,所以時時我們的思量,就是浮現著這個法,浮現著那個景象,心靈的景象不離法、不離思量的境界,這就是「弘誓願」。

就像我們若在看病人,看他有意識,但是他無法表達,就給他紙、筆,去表達出來,這是最重要的時刻,知道他的內心最重要的是什麼;最重要的,在一個人無法表達,但是他能夠用紙、筆,這樣寫,這就是表示他的心願、意念,在那個地方。凡夫就放不下他的子孫,凡夫放不下很雜亂的事情,放不下,無法表達,他也要用筆、用紙來寫字。這就是同樣的道理,眾生煩惱無明,同樣有他的心願。菩薩發心,也是要立弘誓願,這個願就是我們的意接觸之後,我們很堅定的意,佛菩薩的願力是無央數劫,菩薩能夠這樣累生累世來人間,就是依賴著這個,「弘誓恆持」的願力。

這個願力是什麼呢?是「大悲安樂立行」。就是大悲,這個大悲,「無緣大慈,同體大悲」。眾生和我們非親非故,但是我們還是眾生的苦,為我們心不安的苦。所以,眾生有病了,佛菩薩也有病;眾生若健康,佛菩薩就健康了。這就是我們要很清楚了解,因為接下來,就是菩薩要問佛的健康了。我們就要知道,諸佛菩薩是隨著眾生,眾生病了,諸佛菩薩也病,因為眾生煩惱了,佛陀、菩薩就是一樣,也放心不下,也是擔心,這我們要很用心去體會。

前面的文這樣說「(爾時) ,四眾亦以佛神力故,見諸菩薩,遍滿無量百千萬億,國土虛空。是菩薩眾中有四導師:一名上行,二名無邊行,三名淨行,四名安立行。」

爾時
四眾亦以佛神力故
見諸菩薩
遍滿無量百千萬億
國土虛空
是菩薩眾中
有四導師
一名上行
二名無邊行
三名淨行
四名安立行
《法華經從地涌出品第十五》

這就是前面說過的,「四導師」,是在很多菩薩的裡面,稱為上首。「上行」,那就是身體,我們的身正、持戒清淨,走入人群去度眾生。

「無邊行」,是語言、口正,所說的「正語」能夠引導眾生,開啟眾生的心意,導向眾生的「正行」去,這就是口。

三「淨行」,心意要清淨,煩惱無明無不都是從心意起,修行最重要,就是要好好將煩惱無明去除,回歸清淨如來本性。我們的「意」,我們的意境時時念好念,「慈悲喜捨」為眾生,這沒有其他的心念,這樣叫做「淨行」。

四就是「安立行」,這個德,菩薩的德,就是身、口、意合起來,為眾生付出,累積長久「慈悲喜捨」之行,立於誓願,生生世世度眾生,誠意願度一切眾生,這就是我們的「四弘誓願」。這就是諸佛菩薩,所以能夠成佛的目標,就要有這「四行」。

接下來的經文是這樣說:「是四菩薩於其眾中,最為上首唱導之師。在大眾前,各共合掌,觀釋迦牟尼佛而問訊言。」

是四菩薩
於其眾中
最為上首唱導之師
在大眾前
各共合掌
觀釋迦牟尼佛
而問訊言
《法華經從地涌出品第十五》

這麼多的菩薩,當中的四位菩薩作為代表,「是菩薩眾中最為領導上首」,就是這四位菩薩,領導著這麼多菩薩這樣來了。

是四菩薩於其眾中
最為上首
唱導之師:
是菩薩眾中
最為領導上首
作善有為六度萬行
唱導為眾之師

這四位就是在所有菩薩的前面,這樣接觸到佛最近,所以「領導上首」,是菩薩眾中走在最前面;最前面就是最接近佛,那就是「作善有為六度萬行」。也就是領導大家去作善有為法。善有為,做善的,一切有可作為的。入人群中做很多很好的事情,不只是自己做,引導人人做,教導人人做,做這種世間善有為的方法,這叫做「作善有為」。作善有為法是什麼啊?是「六度萬行」。就是走入人群去教菩薩法,引導人人行菩薩事,這叫做「唱導為眾之師」。入人群去引度人,這叫做大家唱導的導師。

我們前面不是說,很多很多數,很多的數字,又再減下來、減下來,這我們前面已經說過了。就是要有人去宣導,有人去教化,自然引導人人,人人發心去學,學了之後,人人也能夠教化人。所以教化的人多了,被教化的人,「我知道了,我領解了,我願意了,我身體力行了」,已經慢慢增加出來了,人多了。

就像臺中菩薩這樣整群回來,問他們:「你們回來做什麼?」「看師父啦,也要表達,師父,我們已經開始大家心準備好,就是要這樣、這樣精進。」在說他們的精進,守護那個道場,要如何接引人?或者是這個發放,我們的善法。在發放,他們已經用出了這個發放日,如何能夠接引我們關懷的人,感恩戶。

來,他要如何進來?我們如何和他互動?我們要如何有形的物質給他,無形的關懷讓他感受得到。就在這裡分享。還有他們的精進,就像拜《法華經》,他們就說:三十年來不間斷。在我們臺中民權路這個道場,從那個日式的宿舍,一直到了現在民權路這個地方,同在那個地點,建築已經翻修過了、重建了,他們全都沒有停歇,三十年來不間斷,拜《法華經》,很感動。

他們還說:「師父,我們每個月和精舍都是同步,《水懺》也好,《地藏經》也好,我們都同步。」哦!不簡單,沒有停歇。還有,我們的(農曆)每月二十四,他們是朝山,在那很熱鬧的街道上,在那個地方這樣朝山。「人家的車來車往,你們怎麼能在那裡朝山?」他們就說:「我們用一大早,很早,沒有什麼車,我們就有人交通維持;我們每個月,就是在這個地方朝山,從路上一直,朝山到裡面。這是很精進。所以在法,他們也沒有懈怠,所以他們的心全都有法。

尤其是每天早上的薰法,他們最少五十人在民權路,只是在一個地方,對聽法、禮法,以及拜法、誦經,他們沒有停歇。聽他們大家共同在分享,真的是很感動。還有,花、東的原住民,他們幾十年離鄉背井到中部,去工作,做了之後歸鄉不得,因為故鄉已經也沒有家,也沒有地了。在外面已經幾十年的時間,下一代也出來了,但是在做工,所以隨著工程搬遷,現在老的老了,幼小的幼小,所以家庭沒有一個依止。我們慈濟向臺中政府提出了,看能否在那個地點,政府能夠撥出土地來,我們願意為這群,為他們建設,讓他們能夠落籍在臺中,不要再流浪了。也讓他們身有一個安定處,而能夠這樣,代代落籍在那個地方。已經市政府替我們,有兩塊土地,要幫助這些人。

我在臺中,市長這樣對我說之後,開始就向臺中的慈濟人說,而他們發心立願了,就是要為花、東,這在那個地方落籍的人,能夠有一個,代代安定生活的地方。

總而言之,聽到他們三十年來,這個法,這樣長久持下去,聽到他們為苦難的眾生,讓他們有一個家,讓他們永恆(安住),這就是菩薩在人間,就是要有這樣的用心去付出,這是入人群去做,所以「作善有為」這叫做「善有為」。為「六度萬行,唱導為眾之師」。

所以接下來說,「在大眾前,各共合掌,觀釋迦牟尼佛而問訊言」。

在大眾前
各共合掌
觀釋迦牟尼佛
而問訊言:
領前出眾合掌
觀佛問訊
而作是言

這些領前出眾,就是四菩薩帶著所有的菩薩,虔誠合掌、作禮,要來向佛陀講話,請問佛陀、問候佛陀。

所以,下面這段文說:「世尊!少病、少惱,安樂行不?所應度者受教易不?不令世尊生疲勞耶?」

世尊
少病 少惱
安樂行不
所應度者受教易不
不令世尊生疲勞耶
《法華經從地涌出品第十五》


這就是這樣說,很恭敬來稱呼:「佛陀啊、世尊,是不是健康呢?是不是沒有病痛?」「少病」就是沒有病痛。身體健康嗎?少憂惱,是不是沒有什麼事情讓你擔憂?是健康沒擔憂嗎?意思就是這樣。就是說,起居是不是常常很安樂呢?因為佛陀在法華會上,年紀也有了,所以菩薩也都要來問安,來請安問好,所以有這樣的文,這是一個禮節。

世尊
少病、少惱
安樂行不:
稱言世尊
是否少疾病
少憂煩不
於起居中常得安樂
正道易行不

菩薩來問佛,生活起居是不是很平安,是不是沒有擔憂呢?「在度眾生,在這種堪忍的世界在度眾生,煩惱群中在度人,佛啊,您的心是不是很安樂呢?這裡這麼堪忍的世界,佛陀辛苦了,您在這個地方是不是安樂呢?心有常常得到安樂嗎?」意思就是,「這麼的剛強難調伏的眾生,佛陀,您要度他們,是不是容易呢?有如佛陀您的意嗎?容易度嗎?」佛最歡喜的就是眾生得度,這就是佛最安,心最安、最快樂。這些菩薩來問佛,就是問佛:「這些人好度嗎?」好度,佛就心安了,就快樂了,所以就這樣問。「正道易行不」。這個正道在這個地方,這麼的剛強,這麼複雜的世間,這個正道在這個地方,能夠施行嗎?能夠付出嗎?有辦法?能通嗎?可見,這些菩薩從地湧出,也是在關心,這個娑婆世界難堪忍。

所以,他們來問,問候,問安,就會問出了:好度嗎?眾生好不好度?就是「少病、少惱」的問候。

少病少惱:
問候如來安樂
此如來
已離世間有漏五陰
豈有病惱
即欲示同人間法
順土常儀
故須問病惱

佛陀已經是很自在了,但是菩薩這樣來問,因為這就是,適應我們的世間的禮節。要不然,佛已經離開,已經遠離了「五陰」;「五陰」就是色、受、想、行、識,沒有這些身心的障礙了,而菩薩還在這樣問。就是佛法不離世間法,同樣,世間的人情世事禮節,菩薩和佛同樣這樣在進行。所以常常說,「禮」就是道理,道理就是要這樣,這就是一個禮節。

所以,「眾生煩惱病輕,則易化度,不生疲勞」。

眾生煩惱病輕
則易化度
不生疲勞
問候如來
即問候
其度生之事業

眾生若煩惱較輕一點,就較好度;眾生煩惱若重,就很難度。因為煩惱多,你現在教他,他也是習氣回過頭來,還是同樣這樣的習氣,很難教、很剛強。「就這樣告訴你們了,你們怎麼還這樣?」「這樣教你們了,你們怎麼不改呢?」這實在是很煩惱、很辛苦。若能夠大家自己的煩惱、無明,自己要趕緊去除,較用心、較專心點,自然煩惱不會侵入,自然我們的願力就能夠加強。願力不強,所以我們的身、口、意,就會很弱了。所以,來加強我們的願力,有錯就要趕緊改,有法要趕緊接受;法要接受來,我們的錯才能夠改過。所以,眾生實在是很難調伏,想到實在是很辛苦,光是想到就很疲勞了。

所以因為這樣,菩薩「問候如來,即是問候所度眾生的事業」。到底這個志業好做或不好做。在這麼苦難偏多,這個堪忍的世界,眾生這麼剛強,在這裡要做這些事情,是不是很辛苦呢?用這樣來問候佛陀,這是一個禮節。知道佛陀全都解脫了,不過世間就是這樣的形態,就是這樣的問候。

所應度者受教易不
不令世尊
生疲勞耶:
所可度眾
易受教不
機易受化
師則不勞

所以,「所應度者,受教易不?不令世尊生疲勞耶?」這些眾生,已經佛在度化他們,這些人,到底好教嗎?還未度的還在外面,已經度進來了,既然成佛的弟子了,這些人到底好教嗎?容易嗎?這些人是不是,有再增添佛的煩惱?是啊,弟子多,多拖累,煩惱多。到底有增加疲勞、有增加煩惱嗎?實在是增加很多。這是一般,但是佛陀是超越。所以,所可度眾,「易受教不?」這些眾生容易受教嗎?這些眾生的根機容易度化嗎?這(為人)師啊,就是在度人的人,是不是很辛苦?真正要說,是很辛苦!這就是「如來應化之身」。

此約如來應化之身
同於人世
故以世情而致問訊
若據真身
初無逆順

因為如來已經來到人間了,「應化」,和世間人都一樣,和世間的行儀都一樣,同樣這個肉身,肉的身體,同樣會怕冷,同樣也會有熱,同樣,生理、形態是都一樣。雖然佛陀心理解脫了,其實,生理都一樣,這個身體都一樣。所以菩薩這樣問,「故以世情而致問訊」,用世間的禮節。世間人生活,佛陀他也是每天要去托缽、每天要飲食來維持身體的健康,這都和人一樣。所以,用世間的情的形態,這樣來問候,問候世尊。所以,「若據真身」,那就是「初無逆順」。這些菩薩來問佛的平安,問佛,對眾生好度嗎?這是一個很平常的事情,沒有違背道理,順理成章,這是順禮節,一個禮貌。

問眾生易度:
身乃載道之器
日用相關
故首問問眾生易度
如來垂訓
眾生受化育之道
故次問之

「問眾生易度」,是「身乃載道之器,日用相關,故首問」。剛才開頭就說,「菩薩四安樂行,身乃踐履萬行」,菩薩「六度萬行」,都是這個身體去力行出來的,所以說起來身就是載道器。我們在日常生活中,修行也是在日常生活中;作善有為,也是在生活中。所以「日用相關」,我們的身和日用都相關。所以,問,問佛的平安,問佛度眾生是不是容易?

「如來」,來人間,垂訓人間,所以,「眾生受化育之道」。這實在是一層一層,真的是很不簡單。不過,此地菩薩,既然在這個大道場,已經在靈鷲山,在多寶佛塔前,這樣向過去佛、現在佛,這個禮節的表達,以及佛所應度,已經化度了的化身佛,也一一問訊作禮。化身佛是依照佛的教法,去實行化度眾生的法,這樣,他們也很恭敬。所以這種敬法、禮法,敬佛、禮佛的這個禮節,這就是諸菩薩,儘管他們在各處行菩薩道,「六度萬行」在施行,也是一樣為人群之師;還是來到這個道場,他們也是要照這個禮節去付出。所以,佛法是完全是世間法,世間的禮節就是道理。

我們學佛,就是要學,行道理。剛才在說,臺中的菩薩很精進,有形的很精進,在法的上面,雖然這樣也是叫做在用功,表示這個法,不離他的身、不離開他的心,是真正殷勤精進;然後日常生活,依法而行,照這個法去身體力行。這我們就要學。

真的有很多事情,不是知道多,我們就是在精進;知道多,不實行,讓你知道更多,再多、再多的法,你都認識,但是不身體力行,也是空。聽到他們這樣在行,實在是歡喜。

總而言之,化度眾生,眾生願意接受,身體力行,是最大的供養。這就是愛的力量,這就是師增長,徒減少。我們從六萬億恆河沙數,一直減到三、二、一,那就是能夠度化的眾生,能夠愈來煩惱愈少,愈來他的知識、他的智慧,愈來愈增高,這就是諸佛菩薩的目的。不是永遠都是做凡夫,永遠都是佛菩薩在度你、在教你;將來你也能夠去度人,你也是佛,你也是菩薩,你也是能夠再去度人,這樣會愈多。總而言之,我們學,就要學而得,得而教,這是希望我們人人,都要有心付出,時時多用心!


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發表主題: 回復: 20181101《靜思妙蓮華》唱導之師 問訊世尊 (第1470集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五)   周日 12月 02, 2018 10:12 pm

Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: The Guiding Teachers Greet the World-Honored One (唱導之師 問訊世尊)
Date: November.01.2018

“Bodhisattvas engage in the Four Practices of Bringing Peace and Joy. With their bodies, they put the Dharma into practice in all their actions by cultivating right bodily conduct. With their speech, they can expound boundless wondrous meanings and uphold right speech. With their minds, they contemplate how to carry out proper conduct. They make the great vows and forever uphold the practice of their vows. With great compassion, they engage in the practice of bringing peace and joy.”

We need to be mindful! “Practice” means putting the Dharma into practice. The Chapter on the Practice of Bringing Peace and Joy also tells us that, in order to spread the Buddha-Dharma in the evil world of the Five Turbidities, we must be able to teach and accept the Dharma with peace and joy. This requires us to engage in the Four Practices of Bringing Peace and Joy. [These practices] in body, speech, mind and vows are all part of our everyday lives. Our bodies are intimately connected with our environment through sights and sounds we come in contact with. There is never a time when we are not experiencing bodily sensations. Although we experience the outside world, the outside world is always changing. Someone might come and talk to us, but every word they say disappears with the passage of time. As we listen, we absorb what they say, and the meaning remains in our mind. Even though their words are gone, this meaning remains in our mind. What do the words they say mean?

Every word means something. The sound of a voice disappears in an instant, but we can absorb and understand the meaning. We can absorb it. So, to experience the outside world, we must depend on our physical body. When a person speaks, they must use their body. If they are able-bodied, they can use their mouths to speak. If we are able-bodied and have all six senses, we can use our ears to listen to their voice. When we hear [this voice] with our ears, we will store its meaning in our mind. The Six Sense Organs are all part of this body; so, it is through this body that we experience the world in everyday life. No matter what we hear or see, as soon as we have seen it, that image in here one moment and gone the next.

This is like the images in a movie, which are actually made up of electrons that are continuously [streaming by], second after second. This happens not just in a matter of seconds, but in split seconds. They pass by so swiftly, [creating] a continuous, uninterrupted flow of recorded images. Our present surroundings, the words I am speaking, these present images are all like this too. Similarly, when we use our eyes to see, this is not a passive experience. Our optic nerves are working ceaselessly, firing one after the other. By the same principle, everything we use and everything that exists around us is constantly fading away like this. Yet our bodies are not even aware of this, so we remain undisturbed by it. In any case, as we experience this environment, we hear and see things.

In fact, everything contained [by our environment] comes at us in a continuous flow and disappears just like this. We are not even aware that this is happening! Although our body is unaware of it, our body is actualizing the “principles”. These are the principles, the many, many principles of the world that are so wondrously profound, subtle and intricate. Nevertheless, we make use of them, even when we do not understand them or know that they are there. So, this is how we spend each day. When do we start to grow old? We are unaware of this. We just keep using our bodies each day, without even being aware [that we are aging]. These profound and mysterious principles are impossible for us to understand. There could be a disease in our body, and we might not even know it yet. Because of this, we need to see a doctor when we get sick. It could be that one of our organs is diseased, yet we might not even be aware of it. When a doctor examines us [just by looking], they might not notice anything. They need to observe and question us thoroughly. We have to describe [our symptoms]. “I’m [hurting] here” or “I have [a pain] there.” After the doctor listens to us carefully, depending on their degree of experience, they will say, “Ok, I want to run some more tests.” Then they will use medical instruments to help us diagnose what illness we may have inside our body.

Nowadays, technology is so advanced that [an X-ray] can take a picture in seconds and display it right away. After evaluating [these images], [the doctor will say,] “Oh! There’s a blockage!” “Oh! There is a growth there” or “Oh! This place is ossifying and getting old.” We might not even be aware of these things. When did we start getting old? We have no idea. When did this blockage occur? We do not know this either. Do we have an abnormal growth somewhere? We are not even aware of it! This is the human body. How are we supposed to understand it? In truth, “birth, aging, illness and death” is a very natural process. If we can clearly recognize the nature of life and come to understand these biological principles, this can deepen our understanding of the principles of the mind as well. There is arising, abiding, changing and ceasing; these are the principles of our mind. Right now, we are listening. What we hear may inspire us, yet once we hear it, we forget what we have heard. “This has nothing to do with we.” So, we do not make use of our inspiration. This is what happens. Our [thoughts] “change” and “cease,” and then they are gone. People get inspired, but fail to put the teachings into practice because they cannot relate to them. So, they simply put them aside.

We listen to the teachings every day, but how many of them are we really able to put into use? Actually, every single teaching is intimately connected to our daily lives. [This includes] the value we put on our body. If there is something we should be doing, we should do it; we need to be proactive. As for things we should not do, we should prevent ourselves form doing them. When it comes to our body, we rely upon it, for the body is a vessel for spiritual cultivation. We must rely on our body to engage in spiritual cultivation, for only then can we put the Dharma into practice.

So, “With their bodies, they put the Dharma into practice in all their actions.” Thought our body, we come in contact with the outside world. Once we understand the value of life, we will know what we must do. What must we do? We must put the Dharma into practice. The Six Paramitas are giving, precepts, patience, diligence, Samadhi and wisdom. We can apply the Six Paramitas any time we deal with people, matters and objects. Giving can be simple. A kind word, spoken mindfully, can alleviate a person’s troubles. A single kind word can put a person’s mind at ease. Giving with our bodies is even simpler. If people are busy, we can hurry to lend a hand and help them. If it takes someone an hour to complete a certain task, if we lend them a hand, it may only take them 40 minutes to finish it; this is giving our bodily strength and out time. When we use our physical strength to help others, it reduces the time that they have to work, so this is also a type of giving. It is very easy to give of ourselves. Giving and upholding the precepts are ways we use our bodies in life to faithfully fulfill our duties.

When it comes to our actions, we should be mindful of the Four Demeanors. This is spiritual practice. As we go about the actions of spiritual practice, we must always maintain an air of spirituality so that others can see from our bodies the demeanor we cultivate through spiritual practice and [the level] of our cultivation. Every word we utter and every action we take is an expression of our innermost being. Since we engage in spiritual practice from deep within, our demeanor will naturally become dignified. This is what our body is capable of.

Through this example, we know that in order to perfect our spiritual practice, we must use this body as a vessel for practice by which we can transform sentient beings. Whenever we do anything that others see or hear and whenever we do something to help them, we must “actualize the Six Paramitas in all actions”. Whatever afflictions or suffering sentient beings experience, we can always gather the strength of many people to help them and to meet their needs. These are all things we use our bodies to do. Moreover, it is through our bodies that we “cultivate right bodily conduct”. We must rely upon the Dharma. We can absorb the Dharma, apply it with our bodies and use it physically and mentally so that our conduct and speech will be proper. This all happens when we take the Dharma to heart. We rely on the Dharma to inspire us and we rely upon our bodies to manifest our skillfulness in spiritual practice and transforming others.

So, they must rely upon one another. The Dharma relies upon the body to manifest its applications. So, they are interdependent. We also rely upon the Dharma and must take it to heart before we are able to put it into action. So, with right conduct, we can do good deeds. “With their speech, they can expound boundless wondrous meanings and uphold right speech.” When it comes to our speech, so long as the Dharma is in our heart, everything we say will make sense to others and serve to guide others and teach them the Dharma.

Then, whatever thoughts are on our mind, we will naturally be able to express them through our speech exactly as they are. We use our body to practice “right bodily conduct”. “With their speech, [Bodhisattvas] can expound boundless wondrous meanings and uphold right speech.” Both our conduct and our speech are so important. So, “With their minds, they contemplate how to carry out proper conduct.” Our minds are constantly thinking, but if we take the Durham to heart, then the Dharma will be in our thoughts. Whatever we contemplate, whatever we think about, our minds will always be full of this Dharma, which is infinite and boundless. When it comes to our [life’s] direction and our plans [for the future], we must always “carry out proper conduct”.

So, “With their minds, they contemplate how to carry out proper conduct.” This is how our minds must become. So, by “forever upholding the power of great vows,” naturally, our actions, speech and thoughts will always head in the right direction, and we will naturally make great vows. In every moment and every second, our body, mind and speech must never deviate from our vows. This depends on our power of vows. When we make vows, our minds will always be focused on the Dharma. Whenever something arises in our mind, it will be spiritual, inseparable from the Dharma and inseparable from this contemplative state. This comes from making great vows. This is like visiting a sick person. When we see that they are conscious but cannot express themselves, we give them a pen and paper so that they can express themselves. At this crucial moment, we should know what is on their minds and what is most important to them. When someone is unable to speak their most important [thoughts], they might still be able to use a pen and paper to write them down.

In this way, they can express their wishes and whatever is going on in their minds. People never stop thinking about their children and grandchildren. People ever stop thinking about many different things. They cannot let them go. Even though they cannot express themselves, they wish to use pen and paper to write down [their thoughts]. The principle is the same. Sentient beings have afflictions and ignorance, but they still have aspirations and vows. When Bodhisattvas form aspirations, they must also make great vows. These vows come from our firm resolve that arises once our mind is inspired. The power of vows of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas is timeless. Bodhisattvas can return to the world for lifetime after lifetime relying upon their power of vows to “forever uphold great vows”. What is this power of vows? “With great compassion, they engage in the practice of bringing peace and joy”. This is great compassion. This great compassion is “unconditional loving-kindness and universal compassion”. Other people may not be related to us in any way, but nonetheless, their suffering still makes us feel uneasy. So, when sentient beings get sick, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas will also feel sick. When sentient beings are healthy, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas will feel healthy. We must seek to understand this clearly, because in the following sutra passages, the Bodhisattvas will ask after the Buddha’s health. What we should learn from this is that Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are always in accord with sentient beings. When sentient beings are sick, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas will also feel sick. When sentient beings are afflicted, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas will be the same. They also become uneasy and anxious. We must mindfully seek to understand this.

The previous sutra passage says, “At that time, the fourfold assembly, also due to the Buddha’s spiritual powers, saw those Bodhisattvas filling the empty space of infinite trillions of lands. Among the assembly of Bodhisattvas, there were four guiding teachers. The first was named Superior Practice. The second was named Boundless Practice. The third was named Pure Practice. The fourth was named. Peacefully Abiding Practice”.

As previously mentioned, the four guiding teachers were the foremost among those many Bodhisattvas. “Superior Practice” refers to bodily [conduct]. When our bodily [conduct] is upright and we uphold the pure precepts, we will go among people to transform sentient beings. “Boundless Practice” refers to speech, to the propriety of our language and speech. This so-called “right speech” enable us to guide sentient beings, awaken their minds and lead them in the direction of proper conduct. This is speech.

The third was “Pure Practice”. Our mind must be pure. All afflictions and ignorance arise in the mind. The most important thing in spiritual practice is to work hard to eliminate our afflictions and ignorance and return to our pure Tathagata-nature. When our mind is always focused upon thoughts of goodness, we will have loving-kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity for sentient beings. When we have no other thoughts but these, this is the meaning of “pure practice”.

The fourth is “Peacefully Abiding Practice”. This refers to the virtue of Bodhisattvas in uniting their body, speech and mind in the service of sentient beings. They practice loving-kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity for a long time and make vows to transform sentient beings over the course of many lifetimes. They sincerely vow to transform all sentient beings. These are our Four Great Vows. In order for Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to reach their goal of attaining Buddhahood, they must carry out these Four Practices.

The next sutra passage says, “These four Bodhisattvas were, among that group, the foremost guiding teachers. Before the assembly, they each placed their palms together, looked at Sakyamuni Buddha and spoke to Him in greeting”.

Among those many Bodhisattvas, there were four who served as representatives, for “among that group of Bodhisattvas, these were the preeminent leaders”. These four Bodhisattvas led these numerous bodhisattvas here.

These four Bodhisattvas were, among that group, the foremost guiding teachers: Among that group of Bodhisattvas, these were the preeminent leaders. They did conditioned good deeds by actualizing the Six Paramitas in all actions. Guiding teachers serve as sentient beings’ teachers.

These four came in front of all the Bodhisattvas and drew nearest to the Buddha. So, “these preeminent leaders” walked at the very front of the assembly of Bodhisattvas. This means they were closest to the Buddha. This was because they “did conditioned good deeds by actualizing the Six Paramitas in all actions”. This means they also led everyone else in doing conditioned good deeds. [They did] conditioned good deeds. Everything they did was a good deed. They did many good things among people, and not just by themselves; they also guided and taught others to do conditioned good deeds like these.

Thus, it says they “did conditioned good deeds”. What does it mean to do conditioned good deeds? It means “actualizing the Six Paramitas in all actions”. It means going among people to teach the Bodhisattva Way, to guide everyone in carrying out the mission of Bodhisattvas. These are “guiding teachers [who] serve as sentient beings’ teachers. They go among people to guide and transform them. These are everyone’s guiding teachers. We talked earlier about all the different numbers used here. These numbers kept falling and falling. We yalked about this earlier. When people spread [the Dharma] and teach and transform others, they will naturally guide others. When people form aspirations to learn, once they have leaned, they can teach and transform others. In this way many people will be transformed will say, “I know, I understand. I am willing to put the Dharma into practice. They will gradually increase until they become very numerous.

This is like when an entire group of Taichung Bodhisattvas returned here. I asked them, “Why have you returned?” “To see Master and to let Master know that we have all prepared our minds well. We are being very diligent. They told me how they are diligently advancing and safeguarding their spiritual practice center how they recruit [volunteers], how they distribute aid and do good deeds. When they distribute aid, they use the day of the distribution to recruit care recipients [to become volunteers]. [They told me] how they get people to come in how they interact with them, and how, through the gift of tangible material goods, [the recipients] experience intangible loving care. This is what they shared with me. They are also very diligent in the way they do the bowing ceremony to the Lotus Sutra. They told me that they have done this for 30 over years without stopping. [They have done this] since the time when our office on Minquan Road in Taichung was a Japanese-style dormitory building. Now, at this same place on Minquan Road they have renovated and rebuilt [the office]. Yet they have never stopped to rest; for 30 years without interruption, they have done the bowing ceremony to the Lotus Sutra. I was greatly moved by them. “Master, every month, we are in sync with the Abode. Whether [reciting] the Water Repentance Sutra or the Earth Treasury Sutra, we are always in sync with you.”

Wow! This is not easy! They never rest! Moreover, on the 24th of every month, they do a bowing pilgrimage. On those noisy streets, they carry out a bowing pilgrimage. “There is so much traffic there! How can you carry out a bowing pilgrimage?” They told me, “when there isn’t much traffic. We have people who help direct traffic. We have a bowing pilgrimage there every month! We start bowing on the road and keep going until we are inside”. They are very diligent.

So, they are never lax when it comes to the Dharma. In fact, when they listen to the Dharma lecture each morning, there are always at least 50 people at Minquan Road, just in that one place, paying respects to the Dharma, bowing to the Dharma and chanting the sutra, they have never grown lax. Hearing them all share together here was truly very moving.

There are also indigenous people from Hualien and Taitung who left their homes and moved to the Central Region decades ago to find work. Once they [moved], they were unable to go back. They no longer have any houses or land back home. They have been away for several decades now and there is also a second generation. They still continue to work, relocating to wherever the work may be. Now they are older and have children, but they have no permanent place to live. Tzu Chi made a proposal to Taichung City to see if the local government there could set aside some land. We would be willing to construct housing for them and help them settle permanently in Taichung so they do not have to be itinerants anymore. This would give them a permanent place to live a place where future generations could reside. They city government has already set aside two places of land to help them. When I was in Taichung, after I spoke with the mayor about this, I started to tell our Taichung tzu Chi volunteers and they formed aspiration and made vows[ to help give] those from Hualien and Taitung who had ended up [in Taichung] a place where their future generations could settle.

In any case having heard about how they have upheld [the Dharma] for 30 years like this and that they will help give these suffering people a home where they can settle permanently.

[I feel that] they are truly Living Bodhisattvas. It is with this kind of dedication that we must give of ourselves by going among people to serve them. So, this is “doing conditioned good deeds”. These are “conditioned good deeds”. By “actualizing the Six Paramitas in all actions, guiding teachers serve as sentient beings’ teachers”.

Next, [the sutra passage] says, “Before the assembly, they each placed their palms together, looked at Sakyamuni Buddha and spoke to Him in greeting”. These are the leaders who went before the assembly. These four Bodhisattvas led all the other Bodhisattvas. Reverently, with palms together, paying respect wanting to take to the Buddha, they went to greet and ask after the Buddha.

So, in the next sutra passage, they said, “World-Honored One, are You free of illness and worry? De You practice in peace and joy? Do those who should be transformed easily accept the teachings without exhausting the World-honored One?

This is what they said. They addressed Him respectfully and said “Venerable Buddha, “World-Honored One, are You in good health? Are You free of illness?” “Free of illness” means not sick. “How is Your health?” Are Your free of worries? Does anything cause You to worry? Are You healthy and without worries?” this was what they meant. They asked Him things like, “Are You able to live in peace and joy?” This is because by the time of the Lotus Dharma-assembly, the Buddha was getting old. So, those Bodhisattvas came to pay their respects and wish Him good health.

So, this is what it says in the sutra passage. This was a form of etiquentte.

World-Honored One, are You free of illness and worry?”: They asked the World-Honored One if He was free of illness and worry, if He was able to live in peace and joy and if He could practice the right path with ease.

The Bodhisattvas came to ask after the Buddha, to ask if His days were peaceful and whether He had any worries or not. While transforming sentient beings in a world so difficult to endure as this and transforming people with such afflictions. Venerable Buddha, are You able to live in peace and joy? Living in a world so difficult to endure as this must be very difficult for the Buddha! Is this a peaceful and joyful place? Do You feel peace and joy in Your heart?” What they meant was, “These sentient beings are so stubborn and difficult to tame. Venerable Buddha! Has it been easy to transform them? Are things going as You would like? Have they been easy to transform?” What makes the Buddha happiest is when sentient beings are able to be transformed. This is what gives the Buddha the most peace, what gives Him the most peace and happiness. These Bodhisattvas asked the Buddha, “Are these people easy to transform?” If they were easy to transform, the Buddha’s mind would be at peace and He would be happy, so this is why they asked Him “if He could practice the right path with ease”. Is it easy to practice the right path in such a stubborn and chaotic world as this? Is it easy to practice the right path here? Is it possible to serve others? Is there a possibility? Is there a way? Obviously, these Bodhisattvas who had emerged from the earth also cared about this Saha World that must be endured. So, they came to greet the Buddha and to pay their respects to Him. This is why they asked Him, “Are sentient beings easy to transform?” They asked if He was free of illness and worry.

Free of illness and worry: They asked the Tathagata if He was in peace and joy. This Tathagata was already free of the Leaks and the Five Skandhas so how could He have illness or worry? This is to show that [the Bodhisattvas] accorded with the worldly Dharma and followed this land’s usual etiquette, so they had to ask about illness and worry.

They knew He should be at ease, but the Bodhisattvas asked after Him anyway in order to accord with the etiquette of the world. As it was, the Buddha was already free. He was already free from the Five Skandhas. The Five Skandhas are form, feeling, perception, action and consciousness. He was free of physical and mental obstructions, but those Bodhisattvas asked after Him anyway, for the Buddha-Dharma is tied to worldly Dharma. The Buddha and those Bodhisattvas did due justice by following the customs of this world. So, we often say that “etiquette” is the principles. The principles are what we must follow. This is what we call etiquette.

“When their illness of afflictions is mild, sentient beings are easy to transform, and He does not become exhausted.”

When their illness of afflictions is mild, sentient beings are easy to transform, and He does not become exhausted. In greeting the Tathagata, they asked about His mission to transform sentient beings.

When sentient beings’ afflictions are mild, they are easier to transform. When their afflictions are more severe, they can be very difficult to transform. When their afflictions are numerous, though we might teach them now, their habitual tendencies will still come back. They will retain their habitual tendencies. They are hard to teach and very stubborn. “I already told you about this! Why are you still like this? I taught you like this! Why haven’t you changed?” This is truly a troublesome and painful [process]. However, if we all hasten to eliminate our own afflictions and ignorance, if we are more mindful and focused, naturally, our afflictions will no longer intrude upon us and our power of vows will strengthen. If our power of vows is not strong, then our body, speech and mind will become very weak. So, we must strengthen our power of vows, hasten to correct our mistakes and hasten to accept [the Dharma]. Only by accepting the Dharma will we be able to correct our mistakes. So, sentient beings are indeed hard to tame. Just thinking about it is painful. Just thinking about it can be exhausting. So, because of this, “in greeting the Tathagata,” the Bodhisattvas asked about His mission to transform sentient beings. Was His mission going well? Faced with so many hardships in a world so difficult to endure where sentient beings are so stubborn, was it very difficult to do these things there? This was how they asked after the Buddha. This was a form of etiquette. They knew the Buddha was completely liberated, but because of how the world was, they asked after Him like this.

Do those who should be transformed easily accept the teachings without exhausting the World-Honored One?: Do those sentient beings who can be transformed easily accept the teachings? When people have the capabilities to easily accept transformation, their teacher will not become tired.

“Do those who should be transformed easily accept the teachings without exhausting the World-Honored One?” Were the sentient beings whom the Buddha had already transformed easy to teach? “Those yet to be transformed are still out there, but as for those You have transformed who have since become Your disciples, were they easy to teach?” Had it been easy? Had these people added to the Buddha’s troubles? Of course they did! Having so many disciples must have been very burdensome, very exasperating! Did they add to His exhaustion? Did they add to His troubles? They actually increased them greatly! This is normal, but the Buddha transcended this. So, did the beings He was able to transform “easily accept the teachings”? Did those sentient beings easily accept the teachings? Were those sentient beings’ capabilities such that they were easily transformed? This was a teacher who served to transform others. Was this very difficult for Him? To be honest, it must have been very difficult. This was “the Tathagata’s transformation-body”.

This was the Tathagata’s transformation-body, which accords with the human world. Thus, they followed the worldly customs to extend their greetings. In terms of His true body, there is nothing adverse or favorable.

Because the Tathagata had come to the world in His “transformation-body,” He was the same as other people in the world. His demeanor was a worldly one. He had the same physical body as ours. He felt the cold and the heat just like we do. His was just the same, and so was His physical form and appearance. Although the Buddha’s mind was liberated, He was physically the same as everyone else. He had the same body as everyone else. So, the Bodhisattvas asked after Him like this. “Thus, they followed the worldly customs to extend their greetings”. They were following the worldly etiquette. In order to live in this world, the Buddha also went to beg for alms each day. He had to drink and eat every day to sustain His physical health. He was just like everyone else. So, out of common courtesy, they asked after the World-Honored One. “In terms of His true body, there is nothing adverse or favorable”. These Bodhisattvas came to greet the Buddha and asked. “Are these sentient beings easy to transform?” This was a very ordinary occurrence. There was nothing unreasonable about this; it was very reasonable. They were just following etiquette, being polite.

They asked if sentient beings were easy to transform: The body is a vessel for spiritual cultivation and is inseparable from daily living, so their first question [was about His health]. As for their question about whether sentient beings were easy to transform, the Tathagata gave the teachings so that sentient beings would accept the path of transformation, so they asked about it next. “They asked if sentient beings were easy to transform. The body is a vessel for spiritual cultivation, and is inseparable from daily living, so their first question [was about His health].”

We just said in the beginning that “Bodhisattvas engage in the Four Practices of Bringing Peace and Joy. With their bodies, They put the Dharma into practice in all their actions.” Bodhisattvas “actualize the Six Paramitas in all actions.” They actualize them through their bodies. This is why the body is a vessel for spiritual practice. As we go about our daily living, spiritual practice is part of everyday life. Doing good deeds is also part of everyday life. So, they are “inseparable from daily living.” Our bodies are essential to our daily living. So, they asked after the Buddha’s well-being. They then asked the Buddha, “Has it been easy to transform sentient beings?” “The Tathagata” came to give teachings to the world so that “sentient beings would accept the path of transformation.” Since this must be done in stages, it is truly not easy at all. However, since those Bodhisattvas had come to that great Dharma-assembly and were already at Vulture Peak before the stupa of Many Treasures Buddha, they went to the past and present Buddhas to pay their respects. Also, to those whom the Buddha came to transform and the multiple manifestations of the Buddha that had already been transformed, they paid their respects to them all one by one. The manifestations of the Buddha followed the Buddha’s teachings to actualize the Dharma by teaching and transforming sentient beings, so [the Bodhisattvas] also revered them greatly. Paying one’s respects to the Dharma and the Buddha, this form of etiquette, is something that all Bodhisattvas [practice].

Though they practice the Bodhisattva-path in different places, they all practice “actualizing the Six Paramitas in all actions.” They were still people’s teachers, and they still came to the Dharma-assembly to pay their respects in accordance with etiquette. So, the Buddha-Dharma is nothing other than worldly Dharma. Worldly etiquette is the principles. As Buddhist practitioners, we must learn and practice the principles. We were just discussing how diligent the Bodhisattva-volunteers from Taichung are. Their diligence is tangible. When it comes to the Dharma, the efforts they are making show how this Dharma is inseparable from the body and mind. They are truly very diligent. In their everyday life, they act in accordance with the Dharma. They put the Dharma into action in accordance with the teachings. This is what we must learn to do. There are so many things [to learn]. It is not that because we know a lot, we are automatically diligent. When we know a lot but do not practice any of it, no matter how many teachings we know, if we do not put them into action, it will all be a waste.

When I hear of everything they have done, I feel truly joyful! In short, transforming sentient beings so that they willingly accept the Dharma and put it into practice is the greatest offering we can make. This is the power of love. It creates more teachers and less students. We go from [having disciples] as numerous as the sands in 60,000 Ganges Rivers to as few as three, two or one. When we can transform sentient beings, their afflictions will become less and less, and their knowledge and wisdom will increase. This is the aim of all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. We will not remain unenlightened beings forever, always needing. Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to transform and teach us. We will also transform others in the future. We too are Buddhas, we too are Bodhisattvas, we too can go out and transform others. In this way, there will be more and more of us.

To sum things up, as we learn [the Dharma], with learning comes understanding, and with understanding, we can teach others. We do this all in hopes that everyone will aspire to help others and always be mindful!

(Source: Da Ai TV – Wisdom at Dawn program – Explanation by Master Chen-Yen)
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20181101《靜思妙蓮華》唱導之師 問訊世尊 (第1470集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五)
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