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 20181116《靜思妙蓮華》六度因行 十方現跡 (第1481集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五)

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發表主題: 20181116《靜思妙蓮華》六度因行 十方現跡 (第1481集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五)   周五 11月 16, 2018 7:06 am

20181116《靜思妙蓮華》六度因行 十方現跡 (第1481集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五)

⊙佛施以方便度化,處處有緣之眾生,分身於十方而現跡,圓六度之因行。法華經見寶塔品,為召遍十方度化分身佛集,說三變土田化穢為淨土。
⊙法華經見寶塔品,釋迦如來之十方分身佛,各將一菩薩,為供養多寶塔,來靈鷲山時。釋迦如來以神力,三變穢土而為淨土。
⊙初變娑婆一世界,次變二百萬億那由他之國,三更變二百萬億那由他之國為淨土。依此謂之三變土田。
⊙「我常遊諸國,未曾見是眾,我於此眾中,乃不識一人。忽然從地出,願說其因緣。」《法華經從地涌出品第十五》
⊙「今此之大會,無量百千億,是諸菩薩等,皆欲知此事。」《法華經從地涌出品第十五》
⊙「是諸菩薩眾,本末之因緣,無量德世尊,惟願決眾疑。」 《法華經從地涌出品第十五》
⊙「爾時、釋迦牟尼分身諸佛,從無量千萬億他方國土來者,在於八方諸寶樹下,師子座上,結跏趺坐。」《法華經從地涌出品第十五》
⊙爾時、釋迦牟尼分身諸佛,從無量千萬億他方國土來者:即寶塔品所集分身;此下明十方分身諸佛弟子致疑。
⊙在於八方諸寶樹下師子座上結跏趺坐:四方四維名之為八。在此佛現寶樹下坐。
⊙「其佛侍者,各各見是菩薩大眾,於三千大千世界四方從地涌出,住於虛空,各白其佛言:」《法華經從地涌出品第十五》
⊙侍者具八法:一信根堅固,二其心覓進,三身無病,四精進,五具念心,六心不憍慢,七能成定意,八具足聞智。
⊙其佛侍者:即他土菩薩,是分身眷屬,橫在八方者。與彌勒同疑,俱不知如來本地成佛甚久,於是各各以疑陳於己佛。
⊙於三千大千世界四方從地涌出:述自下而升。佛知彌勒問意,故云汝等自當因是補處之問,得聞從地涌出之所以。
⊙住於虛空,各白其佛言:塔佛在空故住空裡,各白自己所師之佛。

【證嚴上人開示】
佛施以方便度化,處處有緣之眾生,分身於十方而現跡,圓六度之因行。法華經見寶塔品,為召遍十方度化分身佛集, 三變土田化穢為淨土。

佛施以方便度化
處處有緣之眾生
分身於十方而現跡
圓六度之因行
法華經見寶塔品
為召遍十方度化
分身佛集
說三變土田
化穢為淨土

用心來聽,好好體會!佛施方便來度化。釋迦牟尼佛,來來回回人間無數量次,無法計算,無量無邊次,一直都是人間來度化眾生。時間是這麼長,空間也是處處遍滿了無窮盡,無處不在,只要有緣的眾生,在什麼地方,佛陀就是這樣累生世,隨眾生緣化度。所以,「分身十方而現」。時間這麼長,空間普遍,已經是「現跡」。大家已經知道,「現跡」的意思了,現跡人間,如何來人間,在某一個國家,什麼家庭,如何的生長。成長的過程、修行的方向,覺悟之後如何來度眾生,這都叫做「現跡」;現相人間,他的一生走過的足跡、做過的事情、接觸過的人等等,這都叫做「現跡」。

這個現跡人間,還是不離開「六度萬行」,生生世世無量時啊!無法計算的時。我們一直在說幾萬億恆河沙劫,那就是長久、長久,無法算計的時間,就是了。佛陀也是隨眾生緣,也是無法算計的時間來來回回。所分身也就是隨眾生緣;空間,無計量,無法計量的邊際,他都去!所以在十方。「十方」,四方四維,就是叫做八方;還有上、下,叫做「十方」,所以說所有的空間,無一不遍。所以到處都是這樣,可見無邊際的空間都是現跡,現跡行六度,「六度萬行」。這都是在「施因」,因緣果報,佛陀還是施眾生因,教化眾生,於眾生群中,慧命之中,就是時間長、空間普遍,與他結緣的人當然就很多了。所以,這個因,不斷在播種子,因很普遍,所以這樣這叫做「圓六度之因行」,到處都是播善種子,與眾生結善緣,度化眾生。

所以,我們這兩天來,就是說彌勒菩薩在問,問這麼多、這麼多菩薩如何來?其實,彌勒怎麼會不知道呢?彌勒他所了解,差不多和釋迦牟尼佛快要同等,所以叫做「等覺」。他無量劫前與釋迦佛是同修,同一個道場修行的人,兩位都叫做菩薩。但是,釋迦佛提前成佛,因為得佛授記,提前成佛了。為何會提前成佛呢?就是眾生緣,眾生的因、緣,很具足,所以那個時候,古佛就為釋迦菩薩授記在先,彌勒菩薩則授記在後。因為彌勒菩薩,他就是已經成就自己,智慧夠了,就是眾生緣不夠,就是這樣的因緣。

現在說,彌勒已經是等覺了,意思就是與佛快要同等了。這些菩薩全都來,難道彌勒菩薩,不知道這些菩薩的因緣嗎?不是,彌勒菩薩也知道,但是,為什麼要再現出了:「我也有疑,其他的菩薩都有疑。」「疑」的意思就是無法了解,不能了解,忽然間,怎麼這麼多菩薩湧現出來?他向釋迦佛、大眾中,表達他也不了解;其實不是不了解,他有用意,所以提出來問。就是要讓釋迦牟尼佛,親口一句話,因為釋迦佛與眾生的因緣具足,與眾生結好緣,句句的話都是真語,句句都是實法,所以眾生聽會歡喜,願意接受。

這就是釋迦佛已經成佛之前,長時間、普遍的空間,和無量數的眾生,已經結了這麼多的好因緣,這叫做「圓」,圓六度萬行的因,是他這樣走過來的好因緣。今生此世在印度,古印度,迦毘羅衛國出生,因緣成熟成佛了;現在在法華會上,就是靈鷲山,開始要將這個緣圓,將它圓滿起來。四十多年的說法,期待一實乘的大法,在這場靈山會能夠圓滿,圓滿他的六度行因。這一輩子所做過的方式,過去累積來的智慧,那就是要傳法給所有的弟子,教菩薩法。菩薩法,就是釋迦佛無央數劫累積來,入人群、度眾生,種種的因緣合和起來的法,所以在這個地方圓了,「圓六度之因行」。

在靈鷲山這當中,〈見寶塔品〉這段文,就有這樣說,召來了遍十方的分身佛。這些分身佛,都是釋迦佛無量、無量劫中,所化度,用釋迦佛的精神,在十方世界廣度眾生,這些叫做分身佛;分身,法身應在十方世界。這分身佛,就是佛陀的法,用在十方世界,這些佛還是一樣集合回來。那時候〈見寶塔品〉,十方分身佛集,這也已經說得很詳細,我們的記憶再回顧一下,也就會清楚。

法華經見寶塔品
釋迦如來之
十方分身佛
各將一菩薩
為供養多寶塔
來靈鷲山時
釋迦如來以神力
三變穢土而為淨土

那段時間〈見寶塔品〉,分身佛來之時,又再十方的菩薩來之時,又是寶塔現前之時,佛陀三變穢土為淨土,希望空間能夠更廣、更大一點,這個空間能夠很莊嚴。娑婆世界就是這樣穢濁,以釋迦牟尼佛的德就將周圍三變,人人來了,人人歡喜;歡喜,心的道場就是莊嚴,所以有「三變」。

因為釋迦佛集十方分身佛來,所以「各將」,每一尊佛來,分身佛來的時候,不是只有一個,還有侍者,也是菩薩;佛帶著菩薩侍者,所以說「各將一菩薩,為供養多寶塔」。這些分身佛,釋迦佛將他們召喚回來了。每一個來又帶一個,量就已經不少了,一個又帶一個,當然量就再增加,所以空間就要再增加,要供養多寶塔。這要來表達,在十方度眾生的形態。還有來到靈鷲山那時候。人來多了,釋迦佛自然就以神力三變淨土。分身佛來,又再增加侍者菩薩來,尤其是寶塔現前,這樣「三變穢土為淨土」,這應該就要清楚。

初變娑婆一世界
次變二百萬億
那由他之國
三更變二百萬億
那由他之國為淨土
依此謂之三變土田

這個「三變」,「初變娑婆一世界」。開始就是只有娑婆世界,靈鷲山,大家來、來、來,從〈序品〉開始,來的人就不少了。其實,實際的靈鷲山,現在若去朝聖,靈鷲山的環境並沒有很大,要容納很多人,這實在是很勉強。不過以佛的威德,初變娑婆世界,是真實的靈鷲山,其實,我們的《經典》(團隊) ,去到佛說《法華經》處,去拍回來的,那是真實,是二千多年前佛陀說法的地方,那就是娑婆世界,那就是不平坦。

經典中也就是這樣說,「初變娑婆一世界」,這樣就夠了。那就是大家來聽《法華經》,佛陀在那個地方說法。因為多寶佛,來見證佛說《法華經》,在人間是正確,佛陀也是要召集這些分身佛,在不同的地方在行菩薩道這些,也應該要回來集會了。

是啊,就像長春的菩薩,還有北京的菩薩,還有大連的菩薩,這些菩薩回來,這些人,他們從(二0一七年)七月上旬、中旬一直大水災,連續跨過了八月,總共三次的大水災。那種的水災,面積很大,真的很辛苦。最近的是長春,長春的菩薩為主體,大連、遼寧,還有其他也去支援;還有最遠的天津、北京,千多公里。這些菩薩這樣共會合,到吉林市,去幫助那個大災難後的救災,總共將近二十天。

尤其是第三次,他們又去勘災了,聽到這些菩薩,那種的用心、堅持、耐苦、耐勞,放下他的事業,交代他們的家庭給其他,拜託親戚來照顧。這樣總共合起來,人數是二百多位,若要說人次,那就很多了。就是這樣,他們去看、去發放、去付出、去膚慰等等,看到他們的付出,其實和我們,資深的慈濟人相等,同樣。雖然你看他們,「藍天白雲」的有,但是「灰天白雲」更多,穿灰衣的更多。因為需要很多的人力,藍色的是表示資深,也表示受證了,尤其是從北京、從天津去的,都很資深,去指導他們、去和他們作伴、去陪伴他們去付出。但是那些灰衣的承擔,他們分的組,不論什麼組,分得很細膩,很多都是幹部、組長,什麼組的組長,負責任!

那種的合心、協力的精神,都做到了,能夠那麼的整齊。尤其是每一天在整隊時,那在整隊起來,站起來,好像一塊一塊的豆乾,兩種顏色──「藍天白雲」、「灰衣」。「藍天白雲」在前面,「灰衣」在後頭,這樣四四方方集合,出發前的叮嚀。又最感動的,日夜這樣一直付出,他們原來長年既定,一年既定下來,多久、什麼時候就是培訓課,剛好這次大家集中在幫助水災,雖然每天都是這樣,他們也沒有放棄了其中一天,就是要培訓。

那個培訓,剛好因緣,有一間寺,這間寺是臺商去那個地方,建的一間寺。我們就借那間寺,在那裡做培訓課,在那裡上培訓。看起來好像自己的道場一樣,好整齊,很有道氣,這就是聽他們在分享。

從七月上旬開始集合到吉林(永吉縣),這個時間,這樣一直一直說過來,以及每天他們的行儀,去哪一個村,如何分隊?如何分組?去接觸到的,不同的災戶,不同的菩薩去接觸,各人說出了遭遇災難的苦。那種說到災難的苦,滿目瘡痍,而且那個泥,泥土淹沒了房屋裡面,水是這樣淹掉了,那個家庭的裡面,那分的狼藉,真的……。

他們說,又是在哭,含著眼淚說話,流著眼淚敘說,那種,那個情那麼的貼切,覺有情,覺有情,那種的貼切和付出。甚至在做總務,他連睡都睡在車裡,真的是很感動人。

看,沒有停歇,你們想,那種的度化眾生、救濟眾生那念心,這是很不簡單。回來,也是心歡喜,雖然我們在花蓮,精舍很熱、很熱,問他們說:「會很熱嗎?聽說大陸雖然是熱,但是不會這麼悶。臺灣這麼悶,又熱!」他們說:「歡喜啊!」是啊,歡喜,歡喜就是淨土。這雖然是娑婆,娑婆要堪忍,我也讚歎他們,他們那麼的辛苦,聽他們在描述那個辛苦,我也說:「唉呀!你們是真的是堪忍的菩薩。」是啊,堪忍的菩薩,在那個地方若不堪忍耐,哪有辦法這樣一二十天的時間,投入在那個地方呢?所以堪忍。回來到這裡,大家都說:「歡喜啊!」所以,穢土和淨土,就是只在一個心靈。

在堪忍的地方要去付出,回來到他的目的地,這就是他歡喜的地方,這就是我們心地,淨土和穢土。所以,佛陀說,變「三變」,「初變」就是「娑婆一世界」。那二呢?「次變二百萬億那由他之國」,就是很開、很闊,人人的心靈世界。「三更變」,就是也是二百萬億的世界,就是加倍再加倍,就像一個分身佛又再加一個。二百萬億又再加倍,就是這樣不斷地,加倍的心,化為淨土。這叫做「三變」,也是在形容,這種變化都是在心地。所以經文之中,前面那些也要很清楚,這就是「綱」,要很清楚。每天經文的前面那就是「髓」,要很用心。

接下來的經文這樣說:「我常遊諸國,未曾見是眾,我於此眾中,乃不識一人,忽然從地出,願說其因緣」。

我常遊諸國
未曾見是眾
我於此眾中
乃不識一人
忽然從地出
願說其因緣
《法華經從地涌出品第十五》

彌勒菩薩前面就是這樣說:「我全都遊在這麼多的地方,但是在現在來的人,我怎麼都不認識半個人呢?」所以,「今此之大會,無量百千億,是諸菩薩等,皆欲知此事」。

今此之大會
無量百千億
是諸菩薩等
皆欲知此事
《法華經從地涌出品第十五》

現在都已經聚集來在這裡的人,這些還未從地湧出之前,佛陀就三變淨土,那就是二百萬億那由他之國,再二百萬億,可見這些從地湧出的,還未到達之前,已經就有那麼多了,在靈鷲山的周圍了。所以,「皆欲知此事」,要知道從外地來這些人的因緣。

所以,「是諸菩薩眾,本末之因緣,無量德世尊,唯願決眾疑」。

是諸菩薩眾
本末之因緣
無量德世尊
惟願決眾疑
《法華經從地涌出品第十五》

就是這些人,這些菩薩大家都是有心,想要了解這些菩薩因緣,來的因緣。現在向釋迦牟尼佛:「您是無量德的世尊,但願釋迦佛,您能夠提出來向大家說。」因為彌勒菩薩,他也可以向大家說,不過還是佛陀與大家結的緣,佛陀說的話,大家會相信,一句話,大家就能夠,體會很多的道理出來,所以還是請釋迦牟尼佛說。

接下來這段文就這樣說:「爾時、釋迦牟尼分身諸佛,從無量千萬億,他方國土來者,在於八方諸寶樹下,師子座上,結跏趺坐。」

爾時
釋迦牟尼分身諸佛
從無量千萬億
他方國土來者
在於八方諸寶樹下
師子座上
結跏趺坐
《法華經從地涌出品第十五》

這段文,就是那個時候,彌勒菩薩已經很虔誠了,用意佛陀已經很清楚了。所以那個時候,釋迦佛分身諸佛,就是在<(見)寶塔品>,他們就已經全都集到達了。這些都是分身佛,釋迦牟尼佛分身在十方,將佛陀說法那個精神理念,散播在十方,現在將這些精神理念,去度化眾生,都已經歸回來,在這個道場上。

爾時
釋迦牟尼分身諸佛
從無量千萬億
他方國土來者:
即寶塔品所集分身
此下明十方分身
諸佛弟子致疑

下面的文,開始要了解十方分身佛的弟子;不只是分身佛來,分身佛還有度眾生。就像我們現在的菩薩,到每一個地方都有他的會員在,我們這些菩薩若是較有責任,都會一直說,為他們介紹慈濟的精神、慈濟的理念等等,慈濟事、法脈宗門,連會員也能夠很清楚。了解法的人一個再傳一個,比一個再多一個,重重倍倍更多,所以有愈來愈多。所以「在於八方諸寶樹下,師子座上,結跏趺坐。」

在於八方諸寶樹下
師子座上
結跏趺坐:
四方四維
名之為八
在此佛現寶樹下坐

所說的「八方」,那就是「四方四維」,這樣叫做「八」;
「在此佛現寶樹下」,這些分身佛,就一一就是在那寶樹下。這是在這個時間內,十方菩薩來,樹下,分身佛也在那個地方。這個過程我們都說過了,這個地方的多,人很多,菩薩很多。其實,靈鷲山的現場,周圍很大的地方,樹也很多,所以在那樹下,形容全都有菩薩,那個境界應該是很莊嚴。

接下來這段文就說:「其佛侍者,各各見是菩薩大眾,於三千大千世界四方從地涌出,住於虛空,各白其佛言:」

其佛侍者
各各見是菩薩大眾

三千大千世界四方
從地涌出
住於虛空
各白其佛言
《法華經從地涌出品第十五》

在現場這些分身佛的侍者,跟佛來的侍者,看,看到各各來的人,從地湧出,這樣這些人覺得心有疑,是侍者的心也有疑。所以,「其分身佛所從來侍者」,跟他來的侍者,「各見地涌出」,這些這麼多的菩薩,已經看到了。侍者,什麼叫做侍者?

侍者具八法:
一信根堅固
二其心覓進
三身無病,
四精進
五具念心
六心不憍慢
七能成定意
八具足聞智

要做侍者就要有八項具足。一要「信根堅固」。第二「其心覓進」,就是要有精進,要找法,自己要精進。在佛的身邊聽法的機會最多,了解的道理最充足,所以精進的機會是最多,所以要找機會精進。所以,第三,身體要健康,沒有病。第四,要精進,要比別人更精進,因為他最接近法。第五,是要「具念心」,要很具足,心念、見解要很清楚,比別人要更清楚。第六,「心不憍慢」,就要自己要自我常常警惕,不能驕慢,他要常常降伏自己,那個驕慢的心態。第七,「能成定意」,心要能堅定。第八,「具足聞智」。

第八項就要很具足,聽,聽能夠知音,要知道佛的心意,不只是在和人說話的心意,連佛陀生活、起居、動作,他也都要很用心了解他的習慣,了解佛生活起居的方法,這全都是要具足。要做侍者一定要有這樣,要很貼心、很了解,這才有辦法將法傳下去。阿難就是這樣在傳法,因為他用心,因為他精進,因為他很體會佛的本懷,這是做侍者真正需要的條件。

其佛侍者
即他土菩薩
是分身眷屬
橫在八方者
與彌勒同疑
俱不知如來
本地成佛甚久
於是各各
以疑陳於己佛

所以,「其佛侍者,即他土菩薩,是分身眷屬」。最近一直說,菩薩還有眷屬,就是親近佛,尤其是侍者更是親近佛,不能缺少,很親近。所以,分身佛,他最少還是和一位來,侍者來,這也是眷屬,分身佛的眷屬,也是「橫在八方」,普遍,「橫」就是普遍;「八方」,東、西、南、北,也「與彌勒同疑」。這些侍者就是和彌勒菩薩同疑,同樣的疑問。其實彌勒並沒有疑問,彌勒本來就是「等覺」了,就是「隱實施權」。彌勒也一樣隱實施權,他本來他就知道了,但是知道眾生和佛的因緣,應該是要釋迦牟尼佛為主講者,請佛陀來為大家說。是分身佛的侍者有疑,不是彌勒有疑。所以,「俱不知如來本地」,全都還不知道佛陀他的心地。釋迦牟尼佛在這個娑婆世界,他的開始是如何,怎麼會有這麼多因緣,這麼多菩薩來呢?因緣是什麼?菩薩的因緣、釋迦佛的因緣到底是什麼?

這應該就能夠知道,佛在這個娑婆世界成佛,是很久很久,但是其他的佛無法了解這個因緣,無法了解。其實,佛陀,我們從開頭,剛才說過了,開頭所說的,那就是無央數劫,時間無盡頭,無法計算,已經是這樣現跡在人間,來來回回,這個因圓果滿,六度的因緣已經很成熟,所以現相成佛了。這是過去是很長久的時間,但是這些菩薩還不知道,彌勒菩薩期待佛陀開始來說,這個壽量有多少。這是用這樣的用意,彌勒施權,那就是「顯權隱實」,請佛來講說。「於(是)各各,以疑陳於己佛」,就是這些侍者來問他的佛,就是分身佛,「這是什麼因緣?」彌勒菩薩也有疑!彌勒菩薩的疑,就是請佛來為大家解釋,他們還是再回過頭來,問他們的佛。這就是用這樣的方式。所以,在那個道場裡面,不是單向,是很普遍,菩薩和菩薩,分身佛和他的侍者之間,這都是表示了,我們人的心性也是這樣!我來,看到這樣、聽到這樣,我覺得不可思議,我就會在旁邊再問人,同樣的道理。

「於三千大千世界四方,從地涌出」,文中就是這樣說。這開闊,八方是很普遍、無窮盡的空間,很廣的空間。就這些人都來,普遍了三千大千世界,這四方四維全都從地湧出,從下面出來這些菩薩。


三千大千世界四方
從地涌出:
述自下而升
佛知彌勒問意
故云汝等
自當因是補處之問
得聞從地涌出
之所以

在這個境界中,釋迦佛已經了解彌勒菩薩,所提起來問的意思,知道期待釋迦牟尼佛,說出了自己的因緣,來人間長久的時間,也說出了和這些菩薩,過程如何結緣的因緣。這是補處菩薩,就是彌勒,將來將要成佛的彌勒菩薩,為娑婆世界眾生未來的疑問,他故意提出來問釋迦佛,希望大家都能夠聽得到,釋迦佛現在說的道理,就能夠傳於後代。所以,希望大家,「得聞從地涌出之所以」,大家希望能夠聽到,這到底是什麼因緣從地湧出呢?「住於虛空。各白其佛(言)」。

住於虛空
各白其佛言:
塔佛在空
故住空裡
各白自己所師之佛

因為他方來的菩薩,這些也都住於虛空!因為塔在虛空,大家湧出來,應該還記得,湧現出來也是向多寶佛塔頂禮,也是禮二世尊,所以大家都是浮現在虛空。要不然,這靈鷲山的地界,實際的土地是很窄,要容納這麼多人,唯有虛空可以去容納。所以,「塔佛在空」,塔和佛,因為兩尊佛都在塔內,塔在空中,所以頂禮也是在空中;「住」,就是在那個地方。所以,「各白自己所師之佛」。這些侍者來問這些分身佛,因為這些侍者,在虛空看到這麼多,他們到底要問誰?就是問與他所親近的佛,這就是「住於虛空。各白其佛」。因為這些菩薩都在空中,所以這些侍者就是「各白其佛」;「各白其佛」就是表示跟他來這尊佛,只好就是這樣問了。

這是佛的境界,顯跡,其實「跡」就是過去了,就沒有了。就像雲在虛空,你抬頭看到藍天白雲,有沒有?有啊,我有看到啊!再一下子,雲變了,這白雲慢慢過去了,晴空無雲,雲歸何處呢?就不見了,這道理一樣。我們人也是一樣,這長短,所以我們前一段文,也有恆河沙劫,五十小劫促為半日。這種恆河沙(數)的時間,促為半日。同樣,因為境界不同,我們的心境不同。我們心包太虛,人人的心中就是一片天、一片地;你的心從地湧出,湧出來的就是要在開闊、無障礙、無雜染,這個心態來接納佛法。這就像空中的道理,這樣接受來。真理無體、無相,但是收入我們的記憶裡面,記憶在哪裡?也是無體、無相,卻是你還可以,「哦,我想到了」,同樣的道理。所以這不是神話,是我們的生態,心腦的生態,就是這樣,道理就是在這樣之中。

所以,我們接受來的道理,我們要如何來將它應用?應用下去才是真理;沒有用,那就是空理。所以,「空中妙有」,你有應用,就是「妙有」的真理;你沒有應用,那就是「空」。所以,這個空中,都住在虛空;住在虛空,所以還是要問。總而言之,學佛,我們一定要透徹,我們靈通,真正要透徹靈通。所以要時時要多用心!


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發表主題: 回復: 20181116《靜思妙蓮華》六度因行 十方現跡 (第1481集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五)   周五 12月 14, 2018 9:51 pm

Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: Manifesting throughout the Ten Directions (六度因行 十方現跡)
Date: November.16.2018

“The Buddha applied skillful means to transform sentient beings with affinities everywhere. His multiple manifestations manifested throughout the ten directions and fulfilled the causal practice of the Six Paramitas. In the Chapter on Seeing the Stupa of Treasures,” it says that “to gather all His manifestations throughout the ten directions, He thrice transformed the lands, transforming defiled lands into pure lands.”

We must mindfully seek to listen and comprehend this. The Buddha applied skillful means to transform sentient beings. Sakyamuni Buddha returned to this world countless times, an incalculable, infinite number of times. He continuously came to this world to transform sentient beings.

For such a great length of time, He pervaded endless spaces; there was nowhere [He did not go]. As long as there were sentient beings. He had affinities with, He would go anywhere; for many lifetimes, the Buddha followed His affinities with sentient beings to transform them. Thus, “His multiple manifestations manifested throughout the ten directions.” For such a long time, throughout such an expansive space, they had been “manifesting”.

We should know by now what it means to manifest. Whenever the Buddha manifested in the world, He was born into a certain country, into a certain family, with a certain upbringing and engaged in a certain course of spiritual practice. After attaining enlightenment, He found certain ways to transform sentient beings. These were all His “manifestations”. The appearances He manifested in the world were the footprints He left behind in life, the things He did, the people He encountered and so on. These were all His “manifestations”. He manifested in the world, never deviating from the myriad practices of the Six Paramitas; He did this across many lifetimes for an immeasurable amount of time.

We always say [He did this for] kalpas an numerous as the sands in several trillions of Ganges Rivers. He did this for a very, very long time, for an incalculable amount of time. Following His affinities with sentient beings, the Buddha returned again and again for an incalculable amount of time. His multiple manifestations also followed Their affinities with sentient beings, going anywhere throughout limitless space. So, [They went] “throughout the ten directions.”

Among the ten directions, the four cardinal and four intermediate directions are known as the “eight directions”. There are also above and below, [which altogether] make for ten directions. Thus, there was nowhere He did not go. So, [the Buddha] went everywhere. From this we know that He manifested everywhere, throughout limitless space. He manifested to practice the Six Paramitas and actualize the Six Paramitas in all actions. He did all of this to provide causes [for future] karmic retributions. The Buddha provided sentient beings causes and taught and transformed them while going among sentient beings as part of His wisdom-life. Over such a long time and such a vast space, He formed affinities with so many people.

Thus, He endlessly sowed these seeds. He spread these causes so widely. This is what it means to “fulfill the causal practice of the Six Paramitas.” He sowed the seeds of goodness everywhere, forming good affinities with sentient beings and transforming them. So, during the past few days, we have spoken of Maitreya Bodhisattva’s questions. He asked why so many Bodhisattvas had arrived. But really, how could Maitreya not have known? Maitreya’s understanding was nearly equal to that of Sakyamuni Buddha, thus he was said to have “equal enlightenment.” He and Sakyamuni Buddha had practiced together countless kalpas ago. They practiced in the same place of practice, and they were both called Bodhisattvas then. However, Sakyamuni attained Buddhahood first. He received predictions of Buddhahood and attained Buddhahood earlier. Why did He attain Buddhahood earlier? He was replete in affinities with sentient beings.

So, back then, the ancient Buddha bestowed predictions of Buddhahood upon Sakyamuni Bodhisattva first, and then bestowed predictions upon Maitreya. Maitreya Bodhisattva was already accomplished himself. But though his wisdom was sufficient, his affinities with sentient beings were not. Such were his karmic conditions. Now, we say that Maitreya is already equal in enlightenment, which means that he is equal to the Buddha. So, when all these Bodhisattvas arrived, how could Maitreya Bodhisattva not know of these Bodhisattvas’ karmic conditions? This was not the case. Maitreya Bodhisattva also knew them. So, why did he rise [to ask questions] again? [He said], “I have doubts, and so do all the other Bodhisattvas.” They had doubts, meaning they could not understand. They could not understand why, all of a sudden, all these Bodhisattvas had emerged. Maitreya expressed to Sakyamuni Buddha, before the entire assembly, that he could not understand either. In truth, he did understand, but he had an purpose for doing this. He asked questions in order to get Sakyamuni Buddha to explain this Himself. Sakyamuni Buddha had ample karmic affinities with sentient beings. Since He had formed good affinities with them, every word He spoke was the truth; His every word contained the true Dharma.

Therefore, sentient beings happily listened to and willingly accepted His teachings. Before Sakyamuni Buddha attained Buddhahood, over a long period of time, across great space, with countless sentient beings, He had formed so many good karmic affinities. So, it says He had “fulfilled” His causal practice of actualizing the Six Paramitas in all actions. These are the good karmic conditions He created.

In this lifetime, in ancient India, He was born in the kingdom of Kapilavastu. His karmic conditions matured, and so He attained Buddhahood. Now, at the Lotus Dharma-assembly on Vulture Peak, He began to fulfill these conditions. Throughout over 40 years of teaching the Dharma, He hoped the Great Dharma of the One Vehicle could be [taught] at the Vulture Peak assembly and that He could fulfill. His causal practice of the Six Paramitas. He would pass all the methods He used in life and all the wisdom He accumulated in the past down to His disciples and teach the Bodhisattva Way. The Bodhisattva Way is what Sakyamuni Buddha worked toward throughout countless kalpas; this Dharma [arose from] going among people to transform sentient beings, from the convergence of various causes and conditions. He fulfilled [His causal practice] at this place. He “fulfilled the causal practice of the Six Paramitas”. At Vulture Peak, [according to] the Chapter on Seeing the Stupa of Treasures, it says that. He called upon His multiple manifestations throughout the ten directions. The Buddha’s many manifestations were people Sakyamuni Buddha had transformed throughout countless kalpas. With Sakyamuni Buddha’s spirit, they transformed sentient beings throughout the ten directions. They were the Buddha’s multiple manifestations. These multiple manifestations, the Dharmakaya, manifested throughout the ten directions. Thus, the Buddha’s multiple manifestations were the teachings He applied throughout the ten directions.

These Buddhas also had to be gathered together. In the Chapter on Seeing the Stupa of Treasures, the Buddha’s manifestations throughout the ten directions gathered together. We have already explained this in detail; if we try to remember back, this will become clear to us.

In the Chapter on Seeing the stupa of Treasures, Sakyamuni Tathagata’s multiple manifestations [gathered] from the ten directions. Each of them brought one Bodhisattva to make offerings to Many Treasures’ stupa. When they arrived at Vulture Peak, Sakyamuni Tathagata used His spiritual powers to thrice transform defiled lands into pure lands.

In the Chapter on Seeing the Stupa of Treasures, when the Buddha’s multiple manifestations and the Bodhisattvas of the ten directions arrived and the stupa of treasures appeared, the Buddha thrice transformed defiled lands into pure lands. He hoped to make this space broader, larger and very magnificent. The Saha World is turbid and defiled, but Sakyamuni Buddha, through His virtue, transformed it three times. Everyone came and rejoiced. Their joy made their. Inner spiritual training ground magnificent.

So, there were three transformations. When Sakyamuni Buddha’s many manifestations gathered from the ten directions, they “each brought [someone]”. When each of these Buddhas came, they were not alone. They also had Bodhisattvas as attendants. The Buddhas brought Bodhisattvas as attendants, thus, “Each of them brought tone Bodhisattva to make offering to Many Treasure’s stupa.” These multiple manifestations of the Buddha, having been summoned by Sakyamuni Buddha, each brought [Bodhisattva] with them. Their number was already great, and so, with each bringing [a Bodhisattva] their number could only increase again. So, the space had to be increased again as well, so that they could come and make offerings to Many Treasure’s stupa. This describes how they transformed sentient beings throughout the ten directions and came to be present at the Vulture Peak assembly. As more people arrived, Sakyamuni Buddha used His spiritual powers to thrice transform the pure lands. His manifestations came along with Their Bodhisattva-attendants right when the stupa of treasures had appeared. So, “[He] thrice transformed defiled lands into pure lands.” This all ought to be very clear.

First, He transformed the Saha world. Second, He transformed 200 trillion nayutas of lands. Third, He transformed another 200 trillion nayutas of lands into pure lands. So, it says He thrice transformed the lands.

Among these three transformations, “first, He transformed the Saha World”. He only [transformed] the Saha World to start with. Everyone kept coming and coming to Vulture Peak, so by the beginning of the Introductory Chapter a lot of people had already arrived. In truth, if we were to make a pilgrimage to Vulture Peak, [we would see] that it is not a very large area. For it to hold so many people, this would indeed be quite a stretch. Yet, by the Buddha’s mighty virtue, He first transformed the Saha World, which [contains] the real Vulture Peak. Actually, our team from Rhythms Monthly has traveled to the place where the Buddha taught the Lotus Sutra and brought back photographs. This is the real place where the Buddha taught the Dharma over 2000 years ago. This is the Saha World. It is not flat and even at all.

It is described like this in the sutra as well. “First, He transformed the Saha World” so that it would be big enough. This way, everyone could come hear the Lotus Sutra and hear the Buddha teach the Dharma there. Many Treasures Buddha came to testify that the Buddha’s teachings from the Lotus Sutra were right for this world. The Buddha had to summon the Buddhas of His multiple manifestations, who had all been practicing the Bodhisattva-path in different places, to return to gather together.

Yes, this is just like our Bodhisattvas from Changchun, Beijing and Dalian. All of these Bodhisattvas returned [here]. These people experienced constant flooding that lasted from the early weeks of July, 2017 into August. Altogether, there were three large floods. These floods covered a large area. [The conditions] were truly miserable. The closest [flood] was in Changchun Bodhisattva-volunteers from Changchun made up the bulk of that group, by volunteers from Dalian, Liaoning and other locations also came to help. Those who came farthest came from Tianjin and Beijing, over 1000 kilometers away. These Bodhisattvas gathered together in Jilin city. These Bodhisattvas gathered together in Jilin city to assist the disaster [survivors]. They did this for nearly 20 days in total. In particular, during the third time they went to assess the disaster, we heard how these Bodhisattvas were so dedicated, perseverant, resilient and hard-working. They set aside their own work and asked their relatives to take care of their families. There were more than 200 people in total. If we counted how many volunteer day shifts, it would be much higher. So, like this, they went to survey the disaster, distribute aid, assist and console survivors and so on. Just looking at the serve, it is clear they are on equal footing with our senior Tzu Chi volunteers [in Taiwan]. Although we saw plenty of blue and white uniforms, there were more people in grey and white uniforms. Most of them were wearing grey. This is because they needed a lot of manpower. The blue uniforms are for experienced, certified [volunteers]. In particular, volunteers from Beijing and Tianjin were all very experienced; they led and accompanied [the newer volunteers], assisting them in serving [the survivors], but the [volunteers in training] in grey shirts also took on responsibility. They were divided into groups, into many different groups with specific functions. Many were in leadership roles; they rose up to the task of leading their groups. They put the spirit of unity and concerted effort into action. They did this in such an organized fashion.

Every day, when they organized into teams, as they stood there in teams, each unit looked like a firm block of tofu. There were two colors, the blue uniforms and the grey uniforms. The people in blue uniforms were in the front, while those in grey were in the back. They were all lined up in orderly squares and [listened to] reminders before departing. The most moving part was how they served all throughout the day and night. It turns out they had set a yearly schedule for when and how often to hold volunteer trainings. This just happened to be the time when everyone united to do flood relief. Even though they did this every day, they did not skip their volunteer training [scheduled] during those days volunteer training [scheduled] during those days. During that training, it just so happened that there was a temple. A Taiwanese businessmen had gone there and built this temple. They borrowed the temple to hold volunteer training there. It looked just like our own spiritual practice center. It was orderly, with a very spiritual atmosphere. We listened to them share their experiences. In early July, they began to gather in Jilin. At this time, they talked about how it went, the things they did each day, which villages they traveled to and how they split up into teams and groups. Different Bodhisattvas met different survivors. Each person shared about the hardships they suffered during the disaster. They spoke of those suffering from the disaster and the ubiquitous devastation. There was also mud that flooded their homes. The water flooded their houses, [leaving behind] so much wreckage! The volunteers cried as they spoke of this. They cried as they told their stories. They had such heartfelt emotion. With such awakened love, they were so passionate and dedicated. Even the person in charge of general affairs slept in a car the entire time; they are truly very inspiring. See, they do not stop to rest.

Just think about it; this aspiration to transform and save sentient beings is not easy [to attain]. When they [came to the Abode], they were still full of joy. We are located in Hualien, and it was very hot at the Abode, extremely hot. I asked them, “Are you hot? I hear that while China is hot, in never gets this humid. Taiwan is so humid and hot.” They said, “We are so happy!”

Yes, they were joyful, and joy is a pure land. Since this is the Saha World, we must endure it. I also praised them, for they have worked so hard. When I heard them describe their hard work. I said “Wow! You all really are enduring Bodhisattvas”. Truly! They are enduring Bodhisattvas. If they could not endure that place, how could they have ever spent 10 to 20 days serving there? Thus, they are enduring. Upon [coming to the Abode], they all said it brought them such joy.

So, whether we are in a defiled land or a pure land depends entirely on our mind. They served in this difficult-to-endure place and then returned to their destination, their place of joy. Our minds [make the difference between] a pure land and a defiled land. So, the Buddha was said to have made three transformations. “First, He transformed the Saha World”. What was the second transformation? “Second, He transformed 200 trillion nayutas of lands,” which means He broadened and expanded everyone’s minds. “Third, He further transformed another 200 trillion nayutas of lands. Thinks kept doubling and doubling, just like how each of the Buddha’s manifestations had another [Bodhisattva with them]. He doubled the 200 trillion lands; this is how He kept increasing the number of minds He transformed into pure lands. There were the three transformations. This also describes how these transformation are all within the mind. So, we must clearly understand what came previously in the sutra. These are the key ideas, and we must understand them clearly. Every day, before [we discuss] the sutra passage, we [take about] is core ideas, so we must be very mindful.

In the following sutra passage, [Maitreya] says “I constantly travel to many lands, yet I have never seen this group. Among this group, I do not recognize even a single person. They suddenly emerged from the ground. I wish You would tell us their causes and conditions.

In this passage, Maitreya Bodhisattva said “I have traveled to so many places, but among the people who have just arrived why do I not recognize a single one of them?

Now at this great assembly, these countless trillions of Bodhisattvas and others all wish to know about this matter….”

All those people gathered there had come before [those people] emerged from the ground, when the Buddha thrice transformed the pure lands. This was 200 trillion nayutas of lands, plus another 200 trillion. Clearly, before those who emerged from the ground had even arrived, there were already so many people there surrounding Vulture Peak. Thus, “All wish to know about this matter, …”. They wanted to know the causes and conditions of those who had emerged from the ground.

“…about the causes and conditions of this group of Bodhisattva from beginning to end World-Honored One of infinite virtue, we only wish that You resolve people’s doubts.”

These people, these Bodhisattva, were all sincere about wanting to understand the causes and conditions that had brought these Bodhisattva here. So, [Maitreya] then asked Sakyamuni Buddha, “You are the World-Honored One of infinite virtue. We only wish that Sakyamuni Buddha would explain this to us. Maitreya Bodhisattva could have also explained this to everyone but it was the Buddha who had formed affinities with everyone so they would believe what the Buddha said. With one phrase, everyone would be able to comprehend a great number of principles. Thus, Maitreya asked Sakyamuni to explain this.

Continuing on, the sutra passage states, “At that time, Sakyamuni’s multiple manifestations, who came from countless trillions of other lands, sat beneath the trees of treasures throughout the eight directions upon the lion’s thrones. They sat cross-legged in the lotus position.

In this passage, at that time, Maitreya Bodhisattva was very sincere, and the Buddha clearly understood his intent. So, by that time, all the Buddha, all Sakyamuni Buddha’s manifestations, had gathered there during the Chapter on Seeing the Stupa of Treasures. They were all manifestations of the Buddha. Sakyamuni Buddha manifested in all ten directions spreading the Buddha-Dharma’s spiritual principles throughout the ten directions. Now, these spiritual principles had returned from transforming sentient beings to this Dharma-assembly.

At that time, Sakyamuni Buddha multiple manifestations, who came from countless trillions of other lands…: These were the multiple manifestations gathered in the Chapter on Seeing the Stupa of Treasures. The following explains the doubts of the disciples of the Buddha’s many manifestations throughout the ten directions.

From the following passage, we begin to understand the disciples of the Buddha’s multiple manifestations from the ten directions. Not only had the Buddha’s multiple manifestations arrived, but there were also the sentient beings They had transformed.

They were just like our Bodhisattva-volunteers. In every place, they have their donating members. Our more dutiful Bodhisattva are constantly speaking [to others] to introduce them to Tzu Chi’s spirit, Tzu Chi’s principles, Tzu Chi story, our Dharma-lineage and School Buddhism, so that our members can understand these things clearly. Those who understand the Dharma pass it on one by one. As they constantly transmit the Dharma, those who understand it continue to multiply. So, they will be more and more numerous.

“They sat beneath the trees of treasures throughout the eight directions upon the lion’s thrones. They sat cross-legged in the lotus position. “Eight directions” refers to the four cardinal and four intermediate directions. This makes eight. “In this place, the Buddhas manifested sitting beneath the trees of treasures. In this place, the Buddha’s many manifestations manifested one by one beneath the trees of treasures. It was during this time that the Bodhisattva came from the ten directions. The multiple manifestations of the Buddha were also beneath those trees. We have already explained this process. In this place, there were so many people, so many Bodhisattva. In truth, the area around Vulture Peak was very vast, and there were many trees. So, below every tree, there was a Bodhisattva. That scene must have been very magnificent.

Continuing on, the next sutra passage states, “Each Buddha’s attendant saw this group of Bodhisattvas emerging from the ground in the four directions of the great trichiliocosm. They abided in empty space, where they each spoke to their own Buddha.

At the assembly, the attendants the many manifestation Buddhas, the attendants who came with these Buddhas, watched as every Bodhisattva came, emerging from the earth. This left people with doubts in their minds. The attendants also had their doubts.

So, “Those attendants of the multiple manifestations of the Buddha, those attendants who followed Them, each saw [those Bodhisattvas] emerge. They had seen so many Bodhisattvas already. What does it mean to be an attendant?

Attendants are replete with eight virtues: 1. A firm root of faith. 2. A mind that seeks to advance. 3. A body free of illness. 4. Diligence. 5. A mind full of [proper] thoughts 6. A mind free of arrogance. 7. The ability to achieve Samadhi. 8. Ample wisdom from listening.

Attendants must be replete must be replete with eight virtues. First, they need a “firm root of faith”. Second, they need “a mind that seeks to advance” which means they must be diligent. In order to seek the Dharma, they must seek to diligently advance. Since they are right beside the Buddha, they have the most chances to listen to the Dharma, thus they have the fullest understanding of the principles. Because they have the most opportunities to diligently advance, they must seek out opportunities to be diligent.

Therefore, thirdly, they must have a healthy body free of illness. Fourth, they must be diligent. They must be more diligent than anyone else, for they are the nearest to the Dharma. Fifth, they must have “a mind full of [proper] thoughts”. Their minds must be full of [proper thoughts]. Their thoughts and views must be clear, clearer than anyone else’s.

Sixth is “a mind free of arrogance,” which means they must constantly remind themselves to be vigilant and to refrain from arrogance. They must overcome themselves and subdue their arrogant mindset. Seventh is “the ability to achieve Samadhi”. They must be firmly in Samadhi. Eighth, they must have “ample wisdom from listening”. The eighth virtue is ample wisdom from listening; they need to be able to be good listeners and understand the Buddha’s intent. This is more than knowing the intent behind His words to others; even when it comes to the Buddha’s everyday life and actions, they also mindfully seek to understand His habits and His daily way of life. They must have ample understanding of all of this. To serve as His attendants, they must be like this. They must be close to His heart and understand Him well; only then can they transmit the Dharma. Ananda transmitted the Dharma like this because he was mindful, diligent and comprehended the Buddha’s original intent. These are all necessary requirements for serving as an attendant.

The attendants of these Buddhas were Bodhisattvas from other worlds. They were part of the retinues of the Buddha’s many manifestations. Across the eight directions, they had the same doubts as Maitreya Bodhisattva. None of them knew that the Tathagata had attained Buddhahood in this land long ago. So, each of them spoke of their doubts to their own Buddha.

“The attendants of these Buddhas were Bodhisattvas from other worlds. They were part of the retinues of the Buddha’s many manifestations”. Recently, we have been discussing about how the Bodhisattvas also had retinues and were close to the Buddha. The attendants were especially close to the Buddha. They were indispensable to Him; that is how close they were. So, the Buddha’s many manifestations were accompanied by at least one attendant as part of their retinue. T

he retinues of the Buddha’s manifestations also [came from] “across the eight directions”. They were everywhere. “Across” means throughout. Throughout the eight directions, to the north, south, east and west, all “had the same doubts as Maitreya Bodhisattva”. These attendants shared the same doubts as Maitreya Bodhisattva; they had the same questions. In truth, Maitreya was not doubtful, for he had already attained equal enlightenment. He “concealed the true and gave the provisional”. Maitreya also concealed the true to give the provisional. He already understood this, yet he knew about the karmic affinities between the Buddha and sentient beings and that Sakyamuni Buddha ought to be the main speaker, so He asked the Buddha to explain to everyone. It was the attendants of the Buddha’s multiple manifestations who had their doubts, not Maitreya.

Hence, “None of them knew that the Tathagata [attained Buddahood] in this land [long ago]”. None of them understood the Buddha’s [intent]. When Sakyanumin Buddha was in the Saha World, what was the beginning [of His practice] like? How could He have so many affinities? Why did so many Bodhisattvas come? What were their causes and conditions? What exactly were the causes and conditions of thee Bodhisattvas and Sakyamuni Buddha? We must understand that the Buddha attained Buddhahood in the Saha World a long, long time ago. Yet, the other Buddhas were unable to understand His causes and conditions. In truth, the Buddha, just as we said in the beginning, had [manifested] since countless kalpas ago.

For an endless, incalculable amount of time, He had been manifesting in this world, returning time and time again. He had perfected His seeds and fruits. His causes and conditions from the Six Perfections had come to fruition. Thus, He attained Buddhahood. This had happened a long, long time ago, but these Bodhisattvas did not know this yet. Maitreya Bodhisattva hoped the Buddha would begin to speak about the length of His lifespan. This was his intention. Maitreya gave the provisional. He revealed the provisional and concealed the true by asking the Buddha to explain.

“So, each of them spoke of their doubts to their own Buddha”. These attendants asked their own Buddha, those multiple manifestations of the Buddha, about these causes and conditions. Maitreya Bodhisattva also had doubts. So, due to Maitreya’s doubts, he asked the Buddha to explain this to everyone. Yet, [the attendants] still turned around to ask their own Buddhas, using this kind of method.

Thus, at this Dharma-assembly, there was not just one track [of communication]; it was universal. The exchanges between the Bodhisattvas and between the Buddha’s many manifestations and Their attendants demonstrate how it is our human nature to be like this. When we go somewhere and see or hear things that seem inconceivable to us, we will ask the people next to us about it.

The principle is the same. “[They emerged] from the ground in the four directions of the great trichiliocosm.” This is what it states in the passages. It was vast. The eight directions reached everywhere throughout endless space, this very vast space. These people came and pervaded the great trichiliocosm; from the four cardinal and four intermediate directions, they emerged from the ground. These Bodhisattvas emerged from below.

[They emerged] from the ground in the four directions of the great trichiliocosm: This describes how they rose up from below. The Buddha knew the meaning behind Maitreya’s questions. So, He spoke to them all. He felt that due to this question from the one who will succeed Him, everyone would be able to hear the answer as to why they had emerged from the ground.

In this state, Sakyamuni Buddha already understood the meaning behind the questions Maitreya raised. He knew [Maitreya] hoped that He, Sakyamuni Buddha, would explain His own causes and conditions, His extensive time in this world and the causes and conditions behind the process by which He formed affinities with these Bodhisattvas. The Bodhisattva who will succeed the Buddha is Maitreya. Maitreya Bodhisattva, who will attain Buddhahood in the future, intentionally raised this question to Sakyamuni Buddha [to resolve] the future doubts of sentient beings in the Saha World, He hoped that everyone could hear it, so that the principles Sakyamuni Buddha taught could be passed on to future generations. So, he hoped that everyone “would be able to hear the answer as to why they had emerged from the ground.” Everyone hoped to hear the causes and conditions behind [these Bodhisattvas] emerging from the ground. “They abided in empty space, where they each spoke to their own Buddha.”.

They abided in empty space, where they each spoke to their own Buddha: The stupa and the Buddhas were in the sky. So, [the attendants] abided in the sky. They each spoke to the Buddha that they followed.

The Bodhisattvas who came from other lands all abided in empty space because this stupa was in the sky when they emerged. We should still remember that those who emerged also came to pay their respects to the stupa of Many Treasures Buddha and the two World-Honored Ones. So, everyone abided in empty space. The ground at Vulture Peak was quite scarce, so only the sky could contain so many people. Thus, “The stupa and the Buddhas were in the sky.” The two World-Honored Ones were in the stupa, and the stupa was in the sky, so they paid their respects in the sky as well. They “abided” there.

“They each spoke to the Buddha that they followed.” These attendants questioned the Buddha’s multiple manifestations. These attendants saw so many [Bodhisattvas] abiding in empty space, so who could they ask about this? They each asked the Buddha closest to them. Thus, “They abided in empty space, where they each spoke to their own Buddha.” Since these Bodhisattvas were all in the sky, these attendants each “spoke to their own Buddha. They each spoke to their own Buddha” means they questioned the Buddha they came with. They could just as well ask Them.

These were the footprints of the Buddha. In fact, these footprints were in the past. Now they are gone, like clouds in the sky. Do you look up and see white clouds and blue sky? “There are some! I see them.” But a moment later, the clouds will shift and slowly drift away. When the sky becomes cloudless, where do these clouds go? They are gone. The principle is the same.

Our lives as humans are just the same. The previous passage also mentions kalpas as numerous as Ganges’ sands. The Buddha shortened 50 kalpas to half a day. He shortened a length of time as extensive as the Ganges’ sands are numerous to seem like half a day. In the same way, different environments lead to different states of mind. Our hearts encompass the universe. Each person’s heart contains heaven and earth. When our hearts emerge from the earth, we must open our hearts and become free of hindrances and defilement. With this state of mind, we will come to accept the Buddha-Dharma. This is like the principle of emptiness, which we must accept in this way. The true principles are without substance or form, yet we store them in our memories. Where is our memory? It is also without substance or form. But, at the same time, we can still remember things. The principle is the same.

This is not mythology; this is our way of living, our state of mind. This is how it is, and the principles lie within this. So, these principles that we accept, how will we put them to use in the future? They are only true if we put them to use; if we never put them to use, they will be empty. This is “wondrous existence within emptiness.” If we put it to use, this is true “wondrous existence.” If we do not, then it is just “emptiness.” So, we all abide in empty space. We abide in empty space, so we must question it.

All in all, as we learn the Dharma, we must be thorough. We must have a truly clear, thorough understanding. Thus, we must always be mindful!

(Source: Da Ai TV – Wisdom at Dawn program – Explanation by Master Chen-Yen)
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20181116《靜思妙蓮華》六度因行 十方現跡 (第1481集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五)
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