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 20181113《靜思妙蓮華》普願眾生 咸皆成就 (第1478集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五)

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發表主題: 20181113《靜思妙蓮華》普願眾生 咸皆成就 (第1478集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五)   周二 11月 13, 2018 8:13 am

20181113《靜思妙蓮華》普願眾生 咸皆成就 (第1478集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五)

⊙菩薩諦審正道菩提之果,最勝無有過上,自成就已,普願一切眾生咸皆成就,故云佛道無上弘誓大願。
⊙大乘甚深微妙法,立弘誓護持憶念,應機根不濫開演。
⊙《法華經序品》曰:為諸菩薩說大乘經名無量義教菩薩法,佛所護念。
⊙「一一諸菩薩,所將諸眷屬,其數無有量,如恆河沙等。或有大菩薩,將六萬恆沙,如是諸大眾,一心求佛道。是諸大師等,六萬恆河沙,俱來供養佛,及護持是經,將五萬恆沙,其數過於是。」《法華經從地涌出品第十五》
⊙「四萬及三萬、二萬至一萬,一千一百等,乃至一恆沙、半及三四分,億萬分之一,千萬那由他,萬億諸弟子。」《法華經從地涌出品第十五》
⊙「乃至於半億,其數復過上,百萬至一萬,一千及一百,五十與一十,乃至三二一。」《法華經從地涌出品第十五》
⊙「單己無眷屬,樂於獨處者,俱來至佛所,其數轉過上。如是諸大眾,若人行籌數,過於恆沙劫,猶不能盡知。」《法華經從地涌出品第十五》
⊙單己無眷屬,樂於獨處者:好樂在於獨處自在修行,閑靜獨善無爭精進修持者。
⊙俱來至佛所,其數轉過上。如是諸大眾:如是俱來至佛所。此土他方其數轉過於上;如是諸大眾所集無央之眾。
⊙若人行籌數,過於恆沙劫,猶不能盡知:若復有人行籌量算計數之過於恆沙劫,猶不能知。
⊙此頌菩薩來數茲以經頌互證釋其數量之義,以下各頌、乃次第舉其數目。

【證嚴上人開示】
菩薩諦審正道菩提之果,最勝無有過上,自成就已,普願一切眾生咸皆成就,故云佛道無上弘誓大願。

菩薩諦審正道
菩提之果
最勝無有過上
自成就已
普願一切眾生
咸皆成就
故云佛道無上
弘誓大願

要用心啊!菩薩就是覺有情者,覺有情的人,對於人間一切疾苦,菩薩就是不堪忍,世間眾生的苦難。他用心去體會,如何能夠救度眾生,所以用很縝密的心情,好好來審諦、來了解道理,到底是什麼樣的道理,才真正能夠真正教化人人,開啟一念心?有力量的人發揮他的力量去幫助人。要用什麼樣的方法,才能夠引導人人發這念心?所以,就要很用心去「諦審」。

「諦」就是道理,道理要先去找;找出了道理,適合,是真實,道,他就決定了,選擇正道去行,去身體力行、去追究,追究真實的道路,要走的。走就是起步,只要你有起步,就有到達的時刻,所以他就找正道,走這條覺悟的道路,就是菩提,希望能夠很用心、用功精進。就像一個耕地的人,土地,要如何讓它,土地上面雜草除掉,種下了一個已經選擇好的果實,擇土地而下種?所以這個土地播種,後,也就要用心耕耘,耕耘出了一片土地,開出了一條正確的道路,所以這叫做「菩提果」。成果了,這樹成蔭,一條道路出來了。

所以,「最勝無有過上,自成就已」。這條路開出來了,真實道,尤其是種樹,兩邊樹很美、很旺,道路平坦,而且菩提樹也很旺盛,一條很成熟的道路,這就是「最勝無有過上」,一條路已經完成了。我們修行也是這樣!我們真正開始用功,你要好好選擇你的趣向,選擇你的目標,選擇是很正確方向。雖然前面一片雜草叢林,我們只要是方向對到了,我們下功夫,整土地、鋪道路,種樹,育種;育種,種樹起來。只要你用功,你就會覺得很有成就感,又能夠後面的人好好走路,走上這條正確的道路。這就是菩薩將要鋪的路,將要開的道。

所以說,「普願一切眾生,咸皆成就」。不是我開這條路而已,還要期待人人一起,一起鋪,一起享受成就的果實。所以說起來,不(只)是現在的人鋪路、過道,也希望將來的人,同樣繼續這樣的路,同樣繼續開、同樣繼續鋪這樣的路。所以說,「普願一切眾生,咸皆成就」,讓大家能夠走,很決定這個方向是對的,路繼續開下去,一定會到的。自己有信心,讓大家人人有信心。所以,「故云佛道無上,弘誓大願」。這是很決定的,決定覺悟的道路。佛就是覺,這條覺悟的道路,是無上、是正確,一直開去,絕對是對的路。所以,我們要身體力行,身、口、意身體力行,能夠立弘誓願,這就是決定我們的方向;我們要下功夫,我們要身體力行。

就像《法華經》,「大乘甚深微妙法,立弘誓護持憶念,應機根不濫開演」。

大乘甚深微妙法
立弘誓護持憶念
應機根不濫開演

在〈方便品〉的時候,也是這樣告訴我們,甚深微妙的法,大家一定要立弘誓願,來護持、來憶念這部經。而且還記得,舍利弗請佛開示,這麼深、這麼深的法,到底它的道理、方法,要如何才能夠到達呢?釋迦牟尼佛「三止」,那就是要看時機,應機;應機就是這個時機成熟了嗎?雖然大家在這個地方請法,真正對機的人,是不是到達了呢?還是要再觀察。

因為要講這部經一定要對機,機若成熟能夠接受這個法,意志堅定,願意信受奉持,願意承擔。這樣的機,有這樣對機的人,才有辦法來成熟承擔。而那個根機,是不是能堪得接受嗎?說的、聽的,是不是聽懂了嗎?機就是根機,也是時機,兩項意思。那根呢?是他的根器,到底還是小乘的根機嗎?或者是慢慢已經體會了,不只是獨善其身,要透徹了解,人間無常、因緣果報。要能夠透徹了解人間,過去的因緣如何做、如何受,哪怕你這輩子要獨善其身,這輩子封閉了自己,不願意入人群中,但是已成的因在前面,這輩子不受,來生還是因緣果報。

所以,佛陀他說很多過去生,顯跡人間,生生世世有結過緣的眾生,生生世世有度化過的人,甚至生生世世也有冤家對頭。就像提婆達多,看,也是生生世世;就像悟達國師,也是生生世世。那個緣,「因」既然結了,總是「果」一定要受。所以,佛法之中,雖然是說一乘實法,但是也是一樣,因緣果報觀。人人要知道過去所受、所做的,今生、來生還是要面對!佛陀是教育我們,現在知道了,惡的不要再造了,那個惡緣、惡因,減少、減少、減少,生生世世減少;善因、善緣,增長、增長,不斷增長。「六度萬行」從此開始,不斷去付出,不斷結善緣;惡緣減少、減少,善緣增長、增長,還是不斷發心立願,自覺覺他,自己修善法,也是一樣能夠咸皆成就,其他人的道業。我自己想要成就我的道業,我也期待其他的人也能夠成就;我得到佛法、正法,也期待這個正法,其他人也同時來接受。這就是佛陀教育眾生,希望眾生能夠覺悟,事事都是為我們自己做的,絕對沒有依靠他人;你自己所造的業自己要承擔,而自己所造的福也是自己享受。福緣福果,善緣善果,這一定的道理,善惡分明。

現在要講《法華經》,就要過去有累積、累積,這個發心立願,造福因、種福因,願意接福果。就是有緣人,這個人聽法,前面有聽過,他有契合他的心意,現在繼續接受,願意發心,這種的人就是應機,時機,也是根機。這種的人能夠到場來聽,也能夠契機、合道理,他能夠接受這麼好的法,應機受教的人來接受,這就是「應根」。而需要的,就是不斷培養他的根機,從小乘獨善其身,希望他漸漸一直啟發起來,聽讚歎甚深微妙法,慢慢培養他的歡喜,從法中來起歡喜心。所以,舍利弗的懇求,佛陀來開講甚深法,佛陀就「三止」,那就是要「應機根不濫開演」,沒有這樣這麼隨便,就開演這部經,所以佛陀就是這樣,等待到四十二年後,才開始講說《法華經》。所以,《法華經‧序品》就這樣說,「為諸菩薩說大乘經,名無量義,教菩薩法,佛所護念。」

《法華經序品》
曰:
為諸菩薩說大乘經
名無量義
教菩薩法
佛所護念

你們常常在誦《無量義經》,佛陀還未開講《法華經》,就已經為菩薩說大乘經──名《無量義經》,就是教菩薩法,這就是佛陀的用心,要對機說法,佛陀前面就要鋪這麼長的路了,讓大家這樣步步踏實走過來,這就是佛陀的用心。

前面的文這樣說:「一一諸菩薩,所將諸眷屬,其數無有量,如恆河沙等。或有大菩薩,將六萬恆沙,如是諸大眾,一心求佛道。」就這樣來,「是諸大師等,六萬恆河沙,俱來供養佛,及護持是經,將五萬恆沙,其數過於是。」

一一諸菩薩
所將諸眷屬
其數無有量
如恆河沙等
或有大菩薩
將六萬恆沙
如是諸大眾
一心求佛道
是諸大師等
六萬恆河沙
俱來供養佛
及護持是經
將五萬恆沙
其數過於是
《法華經從地涌出品第十五》

前面的文說得較長,那就是從這個數字,所來的人、在領導人的人,領導多少的人,就是這樣,數字一直說下來。

接下來的經文也是這樣:「四萬及三萬、二萬至一萬,一千一百等,乃至一恆沙、半及三四分,億萬分之一,千萬那由他,萬億諸弟子。」

四萬及三萬
二萬至一萬
一千一百等
乃至一恆沙
半及三四分
億萬分之一
千萬那由他
萬億諸弟子
《法華經從地涌出品第十五》

已經都說過了,教化的時間很長,從開始教化,很多很多苦難眾生需要教化。不斷不斷地教化,受化的人很多,得法的人不少了,一個得法,就減一個受化,這就是愈來愈多,「哎呀!我知道了,我能夠為別人說法。」就像這樣,「師」,老師愈來愈多。學生呢?要教的學生,因為數量很多很多,就是已經都成就了,所以「師多徒少」。過去也有說過了,應該大家還記得。所以數字,苦難的眾生會愈來愈少,得法的眾生會愈來愈多。

「四萬及三萬,二萬至一萬,一千一百等」,就這樣一直減下來,「乃至一恆沙、半及三四分」。從六萬恆河沙、五萬恆河沙、四萬恆河沙,一直一直變成了,一千、一百的恆河沙,或至剩到一恆河沙,一恆河沙的一半,就是半恆河沙。或者是,一恆河沙的四分之一,或者是,再將它分攤、分攤,億萬恆河沙之一。「千萬那由他,萬億諸弟子」,你就算是千萬億分之一的恆河沙,你也算不完,也是要將一粒一粒算出來,還是「萬億諸弟子」,沙數之多!

乃至於半億
其數復過上
百萬至一萬
一千及一百
五十與一十
乃至三二一
《法華經從地涌出品第十五》

「乃至於半億,其數復過上」。那個數字很多,從很多一直減、一直減。「百萬至一萬,一千及一百,五十與一十,乃至三二一」。很長哦!這個恆河沙數,我們那些數字一直減量下來,這就是要很多人下去度眾生。開始一個人發心立願,要面對著,幾百萬億恆河沙的眾生,邊一直自己找到真理、找到覺道,不斷自己開路,不斷引人來開路;不斷自己鋪路,不斷大家來鋪路。就像這樣,路愈開愈長,路愈鋪愈平,就像這樣的路愈開愈闊,走路的人愈多。這就是一個成就。

接下來的文再說:「單己無眷屬,樂於獨處者,俱來至佛所,其數轉過上。如是諸大眾,若人行籌數,過於恆沙劫,猶不能盡知。」

單己無眷屬
樂於獨處者
俱來至佛所
其數轉過上
如是諸大眾
若人行籌數
過於恆沙劫
猶不能盡知
《法華經從地涌出品第十五》

「樂於獨處者,俱來至佛所」,意思就是這樣說,我們前面,帶很多人的菩薩來,有的人帶得較少,這樣來;有的帶更少,帶更少,這樣陣陣一直來了。甚至有作伴來的,甚至沒有作伴來的,就像這樣,「單己無眷屬」,這種自己來的人。

單己無眷屬
樂於獨處者:
好樂在於獨處
自在修行
閑靜獨善無爭
精進修持者

「樂於獨處者」,像這樣的人,平時自己都獨居、獨處,無眷屬,無作伴修行的人。這樣的人,那就是「好樂在於獨處,自在修行,閑靜獨善無爭,精進修持」的人,這樣的人叫做「單己無眷屬,樂於獨處者」。這類的人,也「俱來至佛所,其數轉過上。如是諸大眾」。就像這些人,全都「俱來至佛所」,這些人都到達了。

俱來至佛所
其數轉過上
如是諸大眾:
如是俱來至佛所
此土他方其數
轉過於上
如是諸大眾
所集無央之眾

這大場面的地方,「挨挨陣陣」的人都一直來,有伴的人一直來,就是沒伴的人,他也來了。所以,「此土他方,其數轉過於上」。形容著這些來的人,佛陀經一直在說,「挨挨陣陣」的人,愈招愈多人來。「如是諸大眾」,就是這樣的大眾,「所集無央之眾」,無法去算,無央數,無法去算的人,就是這樣,來的形態,就是這樣「挨挨陣陣」,一直湧現出來了。「若人行籌數,過於恆沙劫,猶不能盡知」。

若人行籌數
過於恆沙劫
猶不能盡知:
若復有人
行籌量算計數之
過於恆沙劫
猶不能知

若有人想要來將它算算看,計算看看,計算看到底來多少人?有人想要這樣去做,「若人」,就是「行籌量算計數,過於恆沙劫」。用時間要來算數,即使用恆河沙長的時間,長時間叫做「劫」,「猶不能知」,用這麼長的時間。我們記得嗎?大通智勝佛所經過的劫數,時間數字是那麼多,「若算師,若算師弟子,數不能盡」。現在釋迦牟尼佛在講《法華經》,來靈鷲山的菩薩,修行者、菩薩很多,天龍八部也很多,全都這樣一直湧進來,要算數,用多長多長的時間,還是無法算計出來。所以,這個頌,這段文,那就是菩薩在描述著,菩薩來的數字有多少。

此頌菩薩來數
茲以經頌互證
釋其數量之義
以下各頌
乃次第舉其數目

有多少?根本無法可數計,這是這樣在描述那個環境,來的情形,人眾不斷,絡繹不斷,這樣一直來,經邊在說,聽法的人也愈來愈來愈多了。這就是「以經頌互證」。邊說邊一直證明,佛陀邊在講經,這個景象愈來愈證明,大乘經典對這個人間世界,是多麼的需要大乘法。這解釋那個數量和法的無量。這個無法算計的道理。無量、無形的義理的量,就是和外面有形,能夠描述那個數字的量來比較,那就是要讓我們了解,虛空有盡,願力無窮,虛空有邊際,但是這個諦理是無窮盡。這個道理含天蓋地,釋迦牟尼佛所覺悟的真理,就是這樣。在《無量義經》、在《法華經》,就是要來講說,能夠將這些無量的道理,顯揚在人間,人與人之間要互相應用,能用的道理,不是不能用的道理,是能用的道理。

人人要自己覺悟本性的來源,絕對不是靠別人,有創造給我們的道理,沒有,道理就是不生不滅才是真道理,無始無終才是真道理。就像虛空法界,虛空稱為法界,那就是虛空無盡、法界無窮,這就是真理,這就是道理。所以,這麼多的數,其實是一種的形容;形容來的數字,形容要表達的道理有多少。所以,解釋其「數量之義」,下面還有。所以,「次第舉其數目」,真的是很多。「六萬恆河沙菩薩摩訶薩」,還有,還是要用這樣的方式來比量,來比量那個道理。

所以,「一一各將,六萬恆河沙眷屬,如是六萬恆河沙之大菩薩,既皆一心求道,俱來供佛。」這麼多的菩薩都已經一心,很多的道理覺悟了,由一念心,這念心所有所得到的法,已經入心來了,很歡喜。這分很感恩、歡喜,所以要身心奉獻,因為以行來供養、供佛,這些菩薩要來證明:我們已經在十方國土,在教化眾生,有所成就,回來要與佛來分享。這種供佛,用這個行來供佛,用行動來供佛,這些人已經帶著,他們滿滿的成就來供佛,所以這就是持經。持經的人,「俱來持經」,這全都就是這樣,帶著這分法出去教化,帶著這樣的成果回來,就像衣錦而歸,這是最歡喜的事情。

「(然)仍有將五萬」,這些人來了,還有,後面還有。「五萬恆河沙眷屬之諸菩薩,此諸菩薩之數,更多於,將六萬恆河沙眷屬之,菩薩摩訶薩之數。」因為還會繼續來,這五萬恆河沙菩薩,這些他們的眷屬,他們的眷屬比來的菩薩更多。就像我們的海外回來精進,多數都是負責人、幹部的人回來,還有很多志工,也很能幹的人,沒有回來的也還很多,會員也很多,所以沒有回來的人,比回來的人更多。同樣的道理,來到法會中的人,就是沒有來的人更多,因為是代表性的人到了,而同這個志願力的人,還沒有來的還很多。所以,表示還很多。

這大菩薩的數還很多,「更多將四萬恆河沙眷屬之,諸菩薩」,何況「猶有將三萬、(將)二萬、乃至一恆河沙、二分恆河沙之一。」就像這樣,這代表人,代表很多人回來,一個人回來、二個人回來、三個人回來,也有!我們常常在辦海外精進營,有的一個國家一個代表回來,也有。這一個代表,他那個國家,還有很多沒回來的人,是很多,同樣的道理,若這樣的道理,來比較那個時代、那個道場,我們就能夠清楚。所以,「二分恆河沙之一、三分、四分恆河沙之一」,就像這樣的數字,我們就能較清楚了解。

「乃至千萬億那由他」,這一千萬分之一,還是很多,這樣回來的,他所化的有那麼多菩薩。這數字再重複這樣說。因為這是大家都不了解,愈要解釋,好像愈解釋愈多,真的是很多。不過,我們若能夠了解,這種去分身度化,將一種法,同樣的法體會了解;了解之後,到其他的地方去教化,其他的地方也得到這樣的法,去幫助眾生。這樣一個人,變成很多很多人,同樣的心念,同樣在教育,同樣在施善、拔除眾生的苦難,這種能夠救人的人愈多,教育人的人自然也是會增加了。來代表的人雖然沒有那麼多,但是在那個地方發揮功能、發揮救人的數量愈來愈多,這就是表達這樣的道理。所以,「此諸眷屬之數之大」,實在是要如何說,說不完,所以暫時就這樣。

「而此一一大眾」,這「唱導之首」,前面我們就說過了,這代表來的人,返回到他們的國土,還是在領導人的人。這些菩薩帶人來,就像我們說合心的這個團體,去帶和氣,和氣的團體……,一直帶下去,到了協力,一個也可以再代表幾個人,同樣的道理。這就是這樣一層一層,這些人的代表都是「唱導之首」。菩薩,帶人的人,那個數字,「實已不可思議」,光是這樣就是不可思議,不是有辦法算出來的事情,很多。何況又再加入了,那「將千萬億那由他」。將這個千萬億,在後面還是很多,這就是我們要去體會、了解。每一個人後面都還有很多人,有緣人可度。或者是正在當成就的人,全都有。

「將億萬眷屬者,將千萬、百萬眷屬者,乃至將一千、一百等」等等。或者是「一十眷屬者,乃至將五、四、三、二、一弟子」,能夠跟他來的,帶他來的,能夠帶來,雖然數很少,其實他的背後在度化的是很多。這是表達這個數字。

「乃至一,無所將來者」。「無所將來」,就是沒有跟他來的;沒有跟他來,單獨來的,也是有!「如是等諸菩薩眾之數」,就像這些菩薩,這些數量,「若算師籌量算計」,用專門在算帳的人,就像大通智勝佛那段的經文。那專門在算數字的人,將這些人集過來,來算計這些到底有多少人,同樣是算不完!沒有辦法。歷,經歷恆沙劫的長時間,無法算盡的數字,可見這個數字真的是算不完。

就像我們慈濟這個團體,現在在這五十幾個國家,現在地球上,看看這些發心的菩薩,每一位菩薩,每一位在任何一個國家的菩薩,都是背後還有很多的會員。除了會員以外,還要幫助救濟,不是只有就地國家在救濟;就地那個國家,還在幫助其他國家。就像泰國,我們泰國分會,我們和聯合國難民署有簽約,我們在那個地方,每個月都在義診;現在不只是在義診,又在靜思堂開課,去補習。有的為他們補習電腦,或者是教他們語言,各種都能夠補習。

泰國,這些難民到底是有多少呢?我們光是在義診,來求診的人,就有這些不同的國家的人種,那個語言都不同。我們華人的慈濟人會泰語,還能懂英語,但是,其他的國的語言,我們沒有辦法。不過,其他很多國家,英語會通的可能也有,所以要能夠找出,他們那裡的人的菁英,那些人,那些難民說起來也不是怎麼了,泰國過去有這樣開放,現在也是這樣開放。開放要入境來很簡單,辦手續很簡單,你辦一個觀光的護照,你進來了;進來後,你能夠住三、四個月,三個月你能夠住下去。所以有很多國家,那個國家較不穩定,經濟較不好,或者是那個希望的方向,較沒有辦法,所以大家就借著觀光這個機會,就來到泰國。

來到泰國是能夠,能夠讓他們自由辦要去哪裡,所以那個地方,也成立一個難民署,難民署就讓他們能夠轉。若來到這裡,你不想要再回去了,在這裡過期了,你已經成為難民了。成為難民,你要去哪裡?你若不回去你們的國家,你要去哪裡?你來登記,在這個地方。所以泰國很特殊,好幾十種國家語系在泰國,就是因為不同的國家,全都湧入在泰國,所以泰國現在是好幾萬、好幾千的難民在那個地方,尤其是在曼谷裡。

所以因為這樣,在那裡的難民,是已經有的好幾年了,停滯在那個地方,要出去,已經經濟也不好了等等,所以就停在那裡,稱為難民。就像這樣,很多國家有難民,這些人是很可憐、很困難。所以在那裡的年輕人,他們懂得英文的,他們也都有讀書,有讀過大學的等等,能懂英文,他們就將他們自己的文,從他們的人找出來做翻譯,幫助醫生;醫生也都會英文,所以,在那個地方,需要翻譯的語言有二三十種,就是要不斷去做翻譯,長久。我們以工代賑,以工代賑,以工來教育,讓他們有一個工作,也能夠幫助我們。

因為這樣,發現到這些人若將他們訓練,讓他們有一技之長,所以我們現在在靜思堂也是有開課,電腦等等,也已經看到成果了。有整個家庭,能夠得到一技之長,他們能夠出國去了,去德國、去法國、去歐洲了。所以,也有這樣的訊息出來了,有兄弟、有姊妹,跟著家庭能夠出去了,這種歡喜的訊息也傳來了。可見類似這樣,泰國到底幾百位委員在那裡?只幾千人的會員在那裡。但是他們又再另外幫助的,這些困難的人又是有多少?這些困難的人,也了解這是叫做「慈濟」,有人也已經報名做志工了。這樣的數字,就像這樣,在這麼多國家其中之一的泰國,每一位菩薩,都是背後還有很多的會員。

總而言之,這是舉一個例,說一個理;用這個事來合這個理。所以大家聽了之後若能夠了解,這些數字增、減,我們就會通了。要不然,這些數字將我們纏住了,每天都在說數字。所以請大家要時時多用心!


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發表主題: 回復: 20181113《靜思妙蓮華》普願眾生 咸皆成就 (第1478集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五)   周二 11月 13, 2018 8:13 am

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發表主題: 回復: 20181113《靜思妙蓮華》普願眾生 咸皆成就 (第1478集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五)   周三 12月 12, 2018 7:59 pm

Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: Helping All Sentient Beings Attain the Path (普願眾生 咸皆成就)
Date: November.13.2018

“Bodhisattvas contemplate the principles of the right path toward the fruit of Bodhi. Having achieved the extraordinary, unsurpassed [path] themselves, they make the universal vow [to help] all sentient beings attain it as well. Thus it says they made the great vow to [attain] the unsurpassed path to Buddhahood.”

We must be mindful! Bodhisattvas are awakened sentient beings. Awakened sentient beings [see] all the suffering in the world, and these Bodhisattvas cannot bear to see the sufferings of the world’s sentient beings. They seek to mindfully comprehend how to save and transform sentient beings. So, with a meticulous mindset, they work hard to contemplate and understand the principles. Exactly what principles can they use to truly teach and transform people to open up and inspire their minds?

For those who have strength to exercise their strength to help others, what methods can [Bodhisattvas] use to lead and guide everyone to form this aspiration? They must be very mindful to “contemplate the principles”. “Principles” are what we must seek first. When we discover the principles that are appropriate and true, we then decide that this is our path; we choose the right path to walk on. We put [the teachings] into action and pursue the true path that we must walk on. We must start taking steps to walk the path. As long as we begin taking steps, we will arrive at some point. So, we must find the right path to walk on this path towards awakening. [Our goal] is Bodhi.

We hope that we can be very mindful and diligently advance. It is like people who cultivate a field. How can we clear the land of weeds to plant the fruit we selected, select the right soil and sow the seeds? When we sow the seeds into the soil, we must also mindfully cultivate the land. When we cultivate a plot of land and open up a proper path, this is called the “Bodhi-fruit”. The fruits grow, the trees provide shade and there is now a path.

So, “Having achieved the extraordinary, unsurpassed [path] themselves…”. This path that has been cleared is a true path, especially since we have planted trees. There are trees on both sides, looking very beautiful and thriving. The road is very smooth, and the Bodhi trees are also thriving. It is a very mature path. This is “the extraordinary and unsurpassed” path that has already been completed. This also applies to our spiritual practice! We have truly begun to work hard. Now we must earnestly choose where we go, our goal and a direction that is correct. Although there is a thicket of weeds ahead, as long as we choose the right direction, put in the effort, prepare the land and pave the path, [we can] plant the trees and cultivate the seeds. We can cultivate the seedlings into trees.

As long as we work hard, we will feel accomplished and enable those who come after us to earnestly walk this path, enable them to enter this correct path. This is the path that Bodhisattvas must pave, the path they must open up. So, “They make the universal vow [to help] all sentient beings attain it as well.” We are not just clearing the path for ourselves. We also hope that everyone will join us in paving it and enjoying the fruits that we will attain.

So, we say that we are not just paving the path for people now, but we also hope that people of the future will continue on this path and likewise continue to clear and pave this path. So, “They make the universal vow [to help] all sentient beings attain it as well,” to help everyone walk it. They have decided that this direction is right, and by continuing to clear this path, they will definitely reach the destination. When we have faith ourselves, we help everyone else have faith as well. So, “Thus it says they made the great vow to [attain] the unsurpassed path to Buddhahood.” This is a firm decision. We decide to take the path toward awakening. The Buddha is enlightened. This path to awakening is unsurpassed and correct. If we continue to clear this path, it will definitely be the correct path. So, we must put [the teachings] into action by practicing in body, speech and mind so that we can make great vows. This determines our direction.

We must work hard and put [the teachings] into action. The Lotus Sutra is the extremely profound and wondrous Dharma of the Great Vehicle. We form great vows to uphold and remember it. “We must accord with sentient beings’ roots and capabilities by not expounding it casually.”

The Chapter on Skillful Means also tells us that [the Lotus Sutra] is extremely profound and wondrous Dharma. Everyone must form great vows to safeguard, uphold and remember this sutra. We must also remember how Sariputra asked the Buddha to teach us this profound Dharma. How can we ever attain its principles and methods? Sakyamuni Buddha refused three times because it depended on timing and capabilities. To accord to capabilities is to see whether the time is ripe. Although everyone was seeking the Dharma in this place, had those with the right capabilities arrived? He still needed to observe them more. This is because to teach this sutra, He must accord with their capabilities. If their capabilities were mature, they would be able to receive this Dharma. With firm resolve, they would willingly believe, uphold [the sutra] and take on responsibilities. Only people with suitable capabilities would be mature enough to take on these responsibilities.

Were their capabilities ready to accept [this teaching]? It was spoken and heard, but was it understood? Capabilities depend on both roots and timing. These are the two things [they depend on]. What about their roots? This refers to their capabilities. Were they Small Vehicle capabilities? Or had they gradually comprehended that they should not just benefit themselves but must also thoroughly understand the impermanence of life and the law of karmic cause and effect? We must be able to thoroughly understand life, how causes and conditions were created in the past and how we must receive [the retributions]. Even if we want to benefit only ourselves in this life by isolating ourselves and refusing to go among people, the causes we created in the past are still there. Even if we don’t accept them in this life, our retributions will manifest in the next life. So, the Buddha talked about the many past lives that He had manifested in this world. Throughout lifetime after lifetime, He has formed affinities with sentient beings. Throughout lifetime after lifetime, He has transformed people, and throughout lifetime after lifetime, He even had rivals and enemies who resented Him.

For example, there was Devadatta, whom He had [enmity] with for life after life. This is like Master Wu Da who also [had an enemy] for lifetime after lifetime. Speaking of affinities, once we have created the “causes,” we must receive the “retributions”. So, within the Buddha-Dharma, although we teach the True Dharma of the One Vehicle, it is also the same, that the teaching is about the concept of karmic causes and retribution. All of us must know that in this life and the next, we must face [the results] of what we have done in the past!

This is what the Buddha teaches us. Now, we know that we cannot create more evil. That way, those negative conditions and causes can become fewer and fewer, decreasing throughout lifetime after lifetime. As for virtuous causes and conditions, we continue to grow more and more of them. We begin doing this by “actualizing the Six Paramitas in all actions”. We continually give and form good affinities. Negative conditions decrease while good conditions continue to increase. We also continue to form aspirations and vows. We awaken ourselves and others. As we ourselves cultivate virtuous Dharma we can also help others attain [success] in their spiritual cultivation. As we wish to accomplish our own spiritual cultivation, we also hope that others will accomplish theirs. As we attain the Buddha-Dharma, the Right Dharma, we also hope that this Right Dharma will be accepted by others at the same time. This is what the Buddha taught all sentient beings in the hope that sentient begins could be awakened. Everything [comes from] our own actions, and we definitely cannot blame others. We must bear the karma that we ourselves created, and we also enjoy the blessings that we created ourselves. Blessed conditions bear blessed fruit, and good conditions bear good fruit. This is an absolute principle; good and evil are clearly distinct.

Now as [the Buddha] wished to teach the Lotus Sutra, He needed the [conditions] accumulated in the past from those who formed aspirations and vows to create and plant blessed causes and willingly receive the fruit of blessings. These were people with affinities. They had heard the Dharma in the past. It resonated with their hearts. Now, they continued to accept it and were willing to from aspirations. Such people had the right capabilities. The timing and capabilities were both [right]. These people could come to the assembly to listen, and [their capabilities] could also resonate and converge with the principles. They could receive such good teachings. When those with the capabilities to accept the teachings accepted them, this was “teaching according to capabilities”. What [the Buddha] needed was to continually cultivate their capabilities from the Small Vehicle that only benefits oneself to gradually inspire them to listen to and praise this extremely profound and wondrous Dharma. He gradually cultivated their joy, so that they could give rise to joy from their hearts because of the Dharma.

So, Sariputra earnestly asked the Buddha to expound the extremely profound Dharma. The Buddha “refused three times”. This is to “accord with sentient beings’ roots and capabilities by not expounding it casually”. We cannot be casual in expounding this sutra. Therefore, the Buddha waited for 42 years before expounding the Lotus Sutra.

So, the Introductory Chapter of the Lotus Sutra says, “For all Bodhisattvas, He expounded the Great Vehicle Sutra known as the Sutra of Infinite Meanings, and taught the Bodhisattva Way that is safeguarded by all Buddhas.”

We often recite the Sutra of Infinite Meanings. Before the Buddha expounded the Lotus Sutra, He had already taught a Great Vehicle sutra for the Bodhisattvas. It was called the Sutra of Infinite Meanings that teaches the Bodhisattva Way. This is the Buddha’s mindfulness in teaching the Dharma according to capabilities. The Buddha paved such a long road from the start to help everyone take solid steps along this path to get here. 2000OK

If someone were to tally their number, after kalpas as numerous as Ganges’ sands, the still would not know it completely: Even if someone were to tally and calculate their number, after kalpas as numerous as Ganges’ sands, they still would not know it.

If someone wanted to calculate the number, to take a tally and see how many people were actually there, if someone wanted to do this, “if someone” were to “tally and calculate their number, [it would take] kalpas as numerous as Ganges’ sands”. In terms of the time it would take to tally their number, even after [as many kalpas] as the Ganges’ sands, where a “kalpa” is a very long time, they still would not know it even after [calculating] for such a long time. Do we still remember? Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha went through many kalpas of time. It is such a great amount of time that even a “mathematician or a mathematician’ disciples” could not finish calculating it.

Now, as Sakyamuni Buddha was teaching the Lotus Sutra, among the Bodhisattvas who came to Vulture Peak, there were many spiritual practitioners and the eight classes of Dharma-protectors. They all continuously surged forth. If we wanted to count them, however long a time we would use to do that, we would still not be able to count them. So, this verse, this sutra passage, describes the number of Bodhisattvas who came.

This verse describes the number of Bodhisattvas who came. The prose and verse verify one another here and explain the meaning of these numbers. Each subsequent verse presents their numbers in sequence.

How many were there? It was impossible to calculate. This is how [the sutra] describes the scene and how people came. The crowds came continuously without stopping. All this time, while the sutra was being taught, the number of listeners continued to increase. This is “prose and verse verifying one another”. It was taught and continuously verified. As the Buddha was teaching the sutra, this scene continued to be testimony [to the idea] that this Great Vehicle Sutra is the Great Vehicle Dharma that this world needs. This explained their numbers and how infinite the Dharma is. There are incalculable numbers of principles. These infinite, intangible meanings are compared to external, tangible number that we can describe. This is to help us understand that, though the universe has its bounds, the power of vows is boundless. The universe has its bounds, but the true principles are boundless. These principles encompass heaven and earth. These are the true principles that Sakyamuni Buddha awakened to.

In the Sutra of infinite Meanings and in the Lotus Sutra, they explain how we can demonstrate these infinite principles throughout the world. These are principles that people need to apply mutually in interpersonal relationships. They are not useless ideals; they are principles that can be applied. Everyone must awaken to the source of their intrinsic nature. We absolutely cannot depend on others to create the principles and give them to us. No. True principles are non-arising and non-ceasing. True principles have no beginning or end. It is like the Dharma-realm of the universe. The universe is called the Dharma-realm. That universe is unlimited, and the Dharma-realm is boundless. This is the truth and these are the principles. So, these great numbers are in fact a kind of description. The numbers used in these descriptions express how many principles there are. So, it explains the “meaning of the numbers”.

Following this, it goes on. So, “The numbers are presented in sequence”. These were truly great numbers. There were “Bodhisattva-Mahasattvas as numerous as 60,000 Ganges Rivers”. This was how [the sutra] used these numbers to relate to the number of principles. So, “Each of those [Bodhisattvas] has retinues as numerous as the sands of 60,000 Ganges Rivers. They all came with one mind to seek the path and make offerings to the Buddha”. These many Bodhisattvas were all of one mind and had awakened to many principles. From a single thought, all the Dharma they had attained had already entered their hearts, so they were very joyful. They were very grateful and joyful. So, they devoted both their body and mind because they used their conduct as an offering to the Buddha. These Bodhisattvas wanted to give testimony that they had come from lands in the ten directions where they taught and transformed sentient beings. They had accomplishments and they had returned to share this with the Buddha. This is an offering of conduct to the Buddha.

They used their actions to make offerings to the Buddha. These people had already brought their abundant accomplishments as offerings to the Buddha So, this is upholding the sutra. Those who uphold the sutra, those who “all came to uphold the sutra,” were all like this, bringing this Dharma to teach and transform”. When they brought these accomplishments back, it was like [a scholar] returning home with glory. This is the most joyous thing.

“There were also those with [retinues of] 50,000”. These people came, and there were more following them. “The Bodhisattvas with retinues as numerous as 50,000 Ganges River sands were even more numerous than the Bodhisattva-Mahasattvas with retinues as numerous as 60,000 Ganges’ River sands”. There were people continuously coming. These Bodhisattvas had [retinues] as numerous as 50,000 Ganges’ River sands. The people in these retinues were even more numerous than the Bodhisattvas who came. This is like our volunteers who come to Taiwan [for retreats] from abroad. Most of them are people with responsibilities who are team leaders as well as many volunteers who are also very capable. But there are also many who do not come and many donating members.

So, the those who do not return are even more numerous than those who do. This is the same principle Compared to those at the Dharma-assembly, there were even more people who did not come. Those who came were representatives. Among these who shared the same vows there were many who had not come. So, this means that there were still many of these great Bodhisattvas. “There were also all the Bodhisattvas with retinues as numerous as the sands of 40,000 Ganges Rivers. [There were] also those with 30,000, 20,000 down to the sands of one Ganges River or half of the sands of the Ganges River.” In this manner, those representatives came on behalf of many. There were instances of one person, two people or three people returning. We often host retreats for volunteers from abroad. Some countries will send one representative. This happens. This representative of that one country [represents] many others who do not come. It is the same principle. Using this principle, comparing to that era, that place of practice, we can be very clear. So, “half of the sands of the Ganges River, on-third or one-fourth of the sands of the Ganges River” are numbers [we use] to help us understand more clearly. “Down to one in ten million nayutas.” One ten millionth is still a large number. Those who returned had transformed so many Bodhisattvas. These numbers are repeated like this. This is because nobody could understand. The more He explained, the larger the numbers seemed to be. There truly were a lot.

We must be able to understand how [the Bodhisattvas] manifested to transform sentient beings. After they comprehended and understood this one teaching, they went to other places to teach and transform. [People in] these places also attained this Dharma and went out to help sentient beings. Thus, one person became many people. With the same thought in mind, they gave the same teachings, likewise practiced giving and relieved the suffering of sentient beings. This allowed even more people to help others. The number of those who taught people also grew. Although there were not many representatives, the people who exercised their abilities to save people were growing in numbers. This is the principle represented.

So, “The numbers in their retinues were great”. To truly explain this could go on without end, so for now, this was it. “So, all those in the assembly” were each “leaders who instructed and guided”. We discussed this previously. When these representatives returned to their own lands, they were also leaders. These Bodhisattvas brought people to come. It is like how we have the Unity teams in our organization lead the Harmony teams. The Harmony teams continue to lead others until we get to the Concerted Effort teams. One person can also represent several people. It is the same principle. In this way, level by level, these people are representatives, and they are all “leaders who instruct and guide”.

The Bodhisattvas who were leaders were already so great in numbers that is “truly was unbelievable”. Just that alone is inconceivable. It is something impossible to tally, a great number. That is to say nothing of those who joined in “in the thousands of trillions, in nayutas”. [Besides] the thousands of trillions, there were also many that came after them. This is something we must seek to understand clearly. Behind each person, there are many others who have affinities with them that they can transform, people in the process of attaining accomplishments. It includes all kinds of people. “Retinues numbering in the trillions, tens of millions, millions, down to one thousand, one hundred etc.” Or “retinues numbering in tens, down to five or four or three, two or one disciple”. [Apart from] those who could follow the leaders and come there, even though the numbers are very small, in fact, those [who did not come] who were also being transformed were numerous. This is the number it represents. “Some brought just one or even no [disciples]. Or even no [disciples]” means there were also those who had no followers. No one came with them; they came alone. “This was how great the number of Bodhisattvas was”. As for the number of these Bodhisattvas, “even if a mathematician was to calculate it….” Not even a mathematician [would be able] to calculate this.

This is like the passage about Great Unhindered Buddha. Even if we were to gather those mathematicians to tally how many people there were, they would still not be able to finish counting. It would be impossible. Even through kalpas as many as the sands of the Ganges River, we could not finish calculating that number. We can see that this number truly cannot be tallied. This is like how Tzu Chi, our organization, is in more than 50 countries now. Now we can see dedicated Bodhisattvas all over the world. Every Bodhisattva, no matter which country they are in, has the support of many donating members. Besides the donating members, there are [those who receive] their aid. They not only help those in their own country, they also help those from other countries.

For example, our branch office in Thailand signed a contract with the United Nations Refugee Agency. In that country, who hold a free clinic every month. Now, not only do we host a fee clinic, we also host tutoring classes at the Jing Si Hall. There are computer classes, language classes, all kinds of classes to tutor [the refugees]. How many refugees are there in Thailand? Just the people who come for our free clinic are from many different countries and speak different languages. Our Chinese Tzu Chi volunteers speak Thai and also understand English. But when it comes to other languages, we cannot understand them. However, among [the people form] these countries, some may understand English. So, we were able to find among them people who are educated. These people are also refugees but are not in [dire situations]. Thailand was a very open country in the past, and even now they are very open. Their border is easy to cross and the paperwork is simple. With a tourist visa, people can enter the country. Once they enter, they can stay for three to four months. So, in many countries that are less stable, with a weaker economy and fewer opportunities, people use a tourist visa as a means of coming to Thailand. Coming to Thailand makes it possible for them to apply to move where they want. So, in that country, a United Nations refugee agency was established. The agency helps them transfer to other countries. If people come there and do not want to return [to their country], once their [visa] expires, they become refugees. Once they become refugees, where do they go? If they do not return to their country, where will they go? They need to register themselves in this place. So, Thailand is very unique. The languages of dozens of different countries can be found in Thailand, because people from different countries all come there. So, there are tens of thousands of refugees residing in Thailand now.

This is especially true of Bangkok. So, because of this, there are refugees who have lived there for many years. They are stuck there. They want to leave but they lack the finances etc. So, they are stuck there as refugees. This is how there are refugees from many countries. These people are very miserable; their lives are very hard. So, some of the young people there know how to speak English. They are educated, have studied at the university etc., so they understand English. Thus, the volunteers looked for these people to act as translators for their native languages to help the doctors. The doctors all speak English. So, in this place, they need translators for 20 to 30 languages. They have these translation needs for the long term. We use our Cash-for-Relief Program to offer them financial aid. In this way we give people work, and they can also help us. Because of this, we realized that, if we train people, we can help provide them with a skill. So, now we use the Jing Si Hall for classes, computer classes etc. We have begun to see some success.

There are entire families who learned a skill and who could then leave the country to move to Germany, France or [other countries] in Europe. We also heard news about siblings who could follow their families to emigrate. We have also heard of such happy news. In this case, how many hundred commissioners are there in Thailand? How many thousand donating members? And how many other people in hardship are there that these commissioner have helped? These people in difficulties also know about Tzu Chi, and some of them have signed up to volunteer. The number is like this. Thailand is [only] one of many countries. Every Bodhisattva has the support of many donating members.

In summary, this is an example to explain a principle. We use this matter to converge with this principle. So, if after we hear this, we can understand it; we can comprehend how these numbers increase and decrease. Otherwise, these numbers might become an obstacle to us. Every day we have been talking about numbers. Therefore, we must always be mindful!

(Source: Da Ai TV – Wisdom at Dawn program – Explanation by Master Chen-Yen)
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20181113《靜思妙蓮華》普願眾生 咸皆成就 (第1478集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五)
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