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 20181120《靜思妙蓮華》彌勒能問 佛之大事 (第1483集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五)

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發表主題: 20181120《靜思妙蓮華》彌勒能問 佛之大事 (第1483集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五)   周一 11月 19, 2018 10:35 pm

20181120《靜思妙蓮華》彌勒能問 佛之大事 (第1483集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五)

⊙一大事因緣出現,顯令開示眾生悟入佛之知見,法華以佛知見為一大事因緣,由跡顯本歸源。
⊙就意識云知,就眼識曰見,又推求名見,覺了云知。又三智云知,五眼云見,皆為慧之作用。
⊙就意識云知,就眼識曰見,又推求名見,覺了云知。又三智云知,五眼云見,皆為慧之作用。
⊙三智:一切智、道種智、一切種智。五眼:肉眼、天眼、慧眼、法眼、佛眼。
⊙涅槃以佛性為一大事,華嚴以法界為一大事,般若以成佛因果為大事。
⊙「『世尊!此諸無量無邊阿僧祇菩薩大眾,從何所來?』爾時諸佛各告侍者:『諸善男子!且待須臾。』」《法華經從地涌出品第十五》
⊙「有菩薩摩訶薩名曰:彌勒。釋迦牟尼佛之所授記,次後作佛,已問斯事,佛今答之,汝等自當因是得聞。」《法華經從地涌出品第十五》
⊙「爾時、釋迦牟尼佛告彌勒菩薩:善哉!善哉!阿逸多!乃能問佛如是大事。」《法華經從地涌出品第十五》
⊙阿逸多:彌勒菩薩由彼多修慈心,多入慈行,修慈定故,義無能勝,又名慈氏。
⊙乃能問佛如是大事:即問所來諸菩薩眾,稱揚受持修習何道。
⊙彌勒此問,並非唯問菩薩之因行,並問佛果覺地之德,故曰佛之大事。
⊙能問佛如是大事:此乃開近跡顯遠本,三世益物,化化不絕,承先啟後之大事。彌勒為補處之主,不識地涌之眾,示此一問,開發諸佛甚深智慧,故雙讚善哉,以顯至善之美。

【證嚴上人開示】
一大事因緣出現,顯令開示眾生悟入佛之知見,法華以佛知見為一大事因緣,由跡顯本歸源。

一大事因緣出現
顯令開示眾生
悟入佛之知見
法華以佛知見
為一大事因緣
由跡顯本歸源

大家要用心!一大事因緣出現於世。常常說過了,釋迦牟尼佛,只是為了一大事因緣來人間,這個一大事因緣,就是佛陀為了要開示,開示眾生人人本具佛的知見,所以期待人人,就能夠「悟入佛之知見」。佛陀要人人知道,知道我們人人本身,就與佛同等的真如本性,也更期待眾生自己要悟入;佛陀既開示了,眾生應該要悟入了,「悟入」就是與佛同等,佛的知見。這是佛陀對弟子最大的盼望,也是佛陀來人間,一大目的。

這就是「心、佛、眾生三無差別」,佛陀開始所發現到,眾生的心性與佛的心性是平等,所以期待人人,能夠與佛有同等的境界。所以,我們一定不要輕視自己,佛陀不是要讓我們依賴的;佛陀是要向我們說,我們也有與佛同等的本領,不是什麼人依靠什麼人,希望人人要自己自立自強,自己要知道自己有這樣的本領。這些道理,就是在法華會上,佛陀就是為這一大事,要讓人人明白、清楚本具的佛性,眾生皆有。所以「法華」的目標,就是「以佛知見,為一大事因緣」──佛陀來人間的一大目標,現在說法的一大事的因緣。佛陀要表達出了,他這輩子來人間唯一的目的,就是要講說《法華經》。要讓大家知道要入人群,眾生人人要自信,自己能夠度眾生;要度眾生之前,自己就是本具佛性、真如、智慧,本領都很充足,叫我們要自信,生起了自信心,這是佛陀的一大事因緣,希望我們人人好好自己要體悟。

所以佛陀來,只是說他的過去,「由跡顯本歸源」。過去是這樣,無始以來,累生累世不斷、不斷為眾生,不斷、不斷來人間。每一次來人間,每一次都是有他的事蹟,所以一直說過去的因緣;因緣就是有事蹟,有走過的風光、有印過的足跡,所以「由跡顯本」。說過去,大家清楚嗎?佛陀這輩子來人間,大家也都知道佛的來源,迦毘羅衛國在皇宮,大家就知道了,出生的因源、過程,這都叫做「跡」。到了成佛,所接觸等等,四十多年的累積,這是今生此世。法華會講過去,在過去的再過去、再過去,就是無始生的源頭的之前,無盡頭,就是一直顯跡,讓我們大家清楚、了解。不是佛這樣而已,我們人人都與佛一樣,我們也有我們的過去前生,無量世以前。

只是不同的,就是在佛陀生生世世為眾生;凡夫呢?不由自己,隨業受生,那就是為自己的欲念、為自己爭取,造了很多的無明,業力一直牽絆著我們,由不得自己在人間。我們和佛一樣有過去的過去,不同的是佛有一個目的,他就是不斷地倒駕慈航,他的願力,乘願力而來,所以叫做「如來」──乘如是法而來人間,這樣叫做「如來」;來來往往、來來往往,沒有離開那個法性,法性明朗,法性清楚,他這樣來。而我們呢?就是迷了法性,所以我們以無明造業,糊里糊塗受報,生生世世。不同的就只是在這裡而已。我們同樣也是生生世世,佛同樣生生世世,差別就只是在這裡。所以我們就要很用心,不要再迷茫了,我們要趕緊建立我們的自信,我們要趕緊身體力行這條路,往前走,找回我們的本性風光,這就是我們修行的目標,所以說「由跡顯本歸源」。

因為了解過去,現在接下來,就是要顯出了佛如來的本性,人間是如何來?我們就要很用心去體會、去了解,佛如何歸源,我們就要用心,要如何顯本歸源呢?那就是(導正)「意識」,我們要知道,我們用我們的意識緣著外境,緣出了很多糊里糊塗的,六道輪迴,這全都是一念的意識;意識不很清楚,我們就無明緣生。「就眼識曰見」,叫做知見。這個知見,佛陀來人間就是要開示悟入佛的知見;凡夫的知見是糊里糊塗,佛的知見是清楚明朗。

就意識云知
就眼識曰見
又推求名見
覺了云知
又三智云知
五眼云見
皆為慧之作用

我們要如何,從那糊里糊塗的見識,回歸到非常的清楚?我們就要很用心,去追求,追求我們的「見」,同樣在人群中、生活中,以這個「識」去緣這些境界;我們的「識」,要去到如何分別,之後如何應用,是「成所作智」,也有在妙觀嗎?好好去分析,這些東西是以凡夫心、欲心,貪為己有,用心思要如何取得,或者是苦難眾生偏多,我們要什麼樣的東西,他很需要,現在正是需要什麼東西,我們要趕緊快去付出。要知眾生的苦,知所需求的量,我們要用「意識」去好好細思,叫做「妙觀察智」。

就像我們美國,執行長、副執行長,回來在報告獅子山有好幾千人在那個地方,正是在緊急受困,我們要緊急的東西要如何去?我們就要趕緊來想,去測量美國去的,要多久、用多少錢;臺灣去的要多久、要用多少錢,就告訴他們:「你們應該要將這些,都要去問清楚,計算起來,來評估。」「有啊,我們有計算,光是應這些量,緊急要實用,香積飯、毛毯等等,急需要的。光是現在應這些人,差不多十四天的量,光是運費就要臺幣好幾百萬。」哦,聽到,這是不是太多了?光是運費就要用這麼多,這樣難道可行嗎?若是要用船,要五十多天,將近兩個月。但是,他們的緊急期,差不多在半個月,十四天之中,這是他們生命、生活中,所需要,要怎麼辦呢?

再思量,想看看,知道,知道我們去的白米,其中一百噸已經到達了。是啊,到達了。是不是我們趕緊用米?對啊,他們現在所有的鍋子、鍋、盆,什麼都沒有,我們是不是就地採購,這些鍋子的工具,一些大鍋子、小鍋子,這些工具我們來採購,就地採購。米抵達了,和另外一個,還有其他的慈善機構(希利基金會、自由城明愛會和蘭頤基金會合作煮熱食),大家調人來,就這樣,米,用鍋子,我們發鍋子給他們,這樣趕緊先讓他們自己去煮。有鍋子,大、小鍋子,他們就是就地取來的木材,石頭稍微支撐一下,也就能夠維持生命。

所以,我們就在那個地方,買鍋子給他們,這樣他們也能夠用,(洪)水沖光了,一無所有,也是同樣,等於替他們添家具一樣,還有米,他們就能夠及時用。這樣,可以緩的,我們就從海運;緊急的、救命的東西,也就要用空運。這就是如何來省錢,如何東西能夠到達,如何有時效,有時效。要不然,在這十幾天之中是緊急期,我們就要去思考,要如何達到這幫助的目的。

所以,「識」從外面緣境,考慮那裡到底苦難人多少,最需要、必須,在這個緊急的十幾天裡,一定要全都補給到的,這些人能夠安全,延續他們的生命,這就是妙觀察、思考,要如何將這些東西能夠運用。因為那些人是平等,都是生命,不論他是遠或近,受到災難總是生命平等,我們運用「妙觀察智」,所以我們要很緊急,要趕緊去付出。

這全都是我們的這個「識」,要如何來用在我們的菩薩道上,做得到、去發揮,這也就是在見識之中,為人群去思考,很多的思考,這樣也就是我們的真如本性,那就是「大圓鏡智」了。他能夠考量在那遠景很遠的,能夠它那裡的境界,我們完全掌握在我們的手掌中,了解他們需要的是如何,我們才有辦法,去全面做得會圓滿。這就是要「四智」平行,這叫做「見識」。

就意識云知
就眼識曰見
又推求名見
覺了云知
又三智云知
五眼云見
皆為慧之作用

「知見」,我們要先了解,所以要有知,有見,我們就要行動──共知、共識、共行,這全都是要平行的事情。所以,「又推求名見」。我們好好來去找、追尋,好好追尋,這些東西要如何應用?那些人要如何去救?這全都是叫做「妙觀察」。這就是「覺了云知」。「哇,那些量我知道了,那裡有這麼多人的數量,我們需要用多少量進去,這我都了解了」,這叫做「知」。「又三智云知,五眼云見。」

三智:
一切智
道種智
一切種智
五眼:
肉眼
天眼
慧眼
法眼
佛眼

「三智」就是一切智、道種智、一切種智,「三智」共合起來,叫做「佛智」。「五眼」就是肉眼、天眼、慧眼、法眼、佛眼,這叫做「五眼」。我們凡夫的就是肉眼,天人有智識,他就是天眼;修行聲聞、緣覺,那就是慧眼;菩薩已經超越了,他將自己和眾生合為一體,天下眾生法他體會了解,這是菩薩,叫做法眼。到佛的境界又不同,「大圓鏡智」,明朗圓滿一面鏡子,這叫做佛眼。這叫做「三智」、「五眼」。「皆為慧之作用」,這全都是智慧的作用,凡夫的智慧和佛的智慧,差得很遠;菩薩的智慧和佛的智慧,就離得較近等等,這就是我們修行的過程。「涅槃」,就是「以佛性為一大事」。

涅槃
以佛性為一大事
華嚴
以法界為一大事
般若
以成佛因果為大事

《法華經》,是佛陀準備要入滅的道場,所以這個涅槃就是寂靜,就是心很寂靜,心沒有浮動。這是佛的境界,永遠永遠就是在這個涅槃,寂靜清澄的境界。不是到了佛陀示寂那天,才叫做涅槃,是從覺悟之後,他的心就已經進入了,寂靜清澄的境界,這已經回歸佛性。佛陀他自己的本性回歸一大事,也期待眾生的性,回歸如來真如本性。這個本性從什麼時候發現呢?

「華嚴會」那個時間,因為佛陀他覺悟,與天體宇宙合而為一那個時間,那就是華嚴的境界。十方諸佛菩薩完全顯現出來,來慶祝娑婆世界,(釋迦菩薩)成佛了,娑婆世界的佛已經成佛了,這是佛那時候覺悟,他的心靈的境界,就是在華嚴會上。

他接下來,「般若以成佛因果為大事」。「般若」就是叫做智慧,智慧就是運用這個華嚴的法,總法,「總一切法,持一切善」。佛陀用這個法,天地宇宙萬物的道理,他一心一意,就是要讓我們眾生體會了解,所以,回歸到人間,隱實施權,開始講說「苦、集、滅、道」。其實,也是要接近人人,能夠體會到佛的本性,要來開啟人人本具佛性,那一定要從開頭說起;眾生就是這樣,累生世所造作的苦源、苦因,所以受到這麼多的苦報。佛陀將這個苦報,顯現在的情形,讓大家了解,看得到、體會得到的,道理比較容易了解。這就是佛陀講《法華經》,開始要顯本了,就是從一大事因緣出現在人間,這種的意義我們一定要知道,要開顯使眾生能夠體會、了解,開示眾生能夠悟入佛的知見,所以「知見」是我們的目標。

前面的文要用心體會:「『世尊!此諸無量無邊阿僧祇菩薩大眾,從何所來?』爾時諸佛各告侍者:『諸善男子!且待須臾。』」

世尊
此諸無量無邊
阿僧祇菩薩大眾
從何所來
爾時
諸佛各告侍者
諸善男子
且待須臾
《法華經從地涌出品第十五》

那時候,分身佛帶來的侍者,他們已經,已經有很多了,因為來的分身佛多,這些隨身來的菩薩也不少了。看到更多無量邊數的菩薩,十方浮現出來,大家心有所疑問。所以,就問他的親教師,所親近的佛:「到底這些是從哪裡來呢?」他,來的佛就各個向他的侍者,所回答的,「諸佛各告侍者」,就是回答他的侍者:「稍等一下,這是一件大事情……。」也是一大事,因為佛陀開始要顯本了,「跡門」已經過去,現在就是大事情,要讓大家來了解,了解修行的方向。這是佛陀顯跡人間,為了要度眾生,過去用方便法,現在,現在才開始開「本門」,大家要專心一意好好聽,聽聽佛怎麼說。

這當中,那些諸佛回答他們的侍者之後,這當中就緊接著,就「有菩薩摩訶薩。」是誰呢?是彌勒。

有菩薩摩訶薩
名曰彌勒
釋迦牟尼佛
之所授記
次後作佛
已問斯事
佛今答之
汝等自當因是得聞
《法華經從地涌出品第十五》

釋迦牟尼佛對彌勒菩薩,已經是向他授記了,所以,「次後作佛」,介紹這位彌勒菩薩,就是將來能夠來接受佛陀過後,像法、末法過後,再來的佛,那就是彌勒菩薩成佛之時。所以這位菩薩,現在在釋迦佛,這個(法運)時間,他還是一位菩薩。這位菩薩,前面的文,很清楚,他都問過了,代替所有的菩薩提起了問佛,「以問斯事」,已經全都問過了。「佛今答之」,現在佛開始要來回答了。

接下來的這段文就這樣說:「爾時、釋迦牟尼佛告彌勒菩薩:善哉!善哉!阿逸多!乃能問佛如是大事。」

爾時
釋迦牟尼佛
告彌勒菩薩
善哉善哉
阿逸多
乃能問佛如是大事

很歡喜,釋迦牟尼佛,聽到彌勒菩薩這樣在問,正是他正要說的話,這麼的契機。所以,佛陀向彌勒菩薩這樣說:「善哉,善哉!阿逸多!」「阿逸多」是誰呢?當然是彌勒菩薩,而彌勒菩薩又有另外一個名字,叫做「慈氏」。

阿逸多:
彌勒菩薩
由彼多修慈心
多入慈行
修慈定故
義無能勝
又名慈氏

彌勒菩薩,就是一直一直修慈悲行,一直就是以慈心來看待眾生,以慈心在修法、修正法,以慈心要度眾生。他就是以慈為行,修慈的定,所以那個意義很深、很長,所以「義無能勝」。光是一個「慈」字,他要去用心,「無緣大慈,同體大悲」,要如何去用功?如何去受持?光是這個意義,就很深、很闊、很大了,所以「義無能勝」。這是彌勒菩薩將要專修的課題,所以他長期累劫來,就是這個課題,是他的方向。所以,也叫做慈氏,就是慈,以「慈」為姓。「乃能問佛如是大事」。

乃能問佛
如是大事:
即問所來諸菩薩眾
稱揚受持修習何道

彌勒菩薩有這樣的境界,事事就是以眾生來著想,現在這麼多、這麼多的菩薩,大家的心向力就是想要了解,了解過去的「跡門」,現在的「本門」,到底這麼多人來各有因緣,到底是什麼因緣?所以,「即問所來諸菩薩眾,稱揚受持修習何道」,他們到底是修什麼行,從什麼地方來?是不是只有問這樣而已呢?

其實,彌勒菩薩他所要問的,不是只有這樣這麼簡單,只是問菩薩的來由,不是只有這樣。他同時也是要問的,「佛果覺地之德」,那就是「本」。

彌勒此問
並非唯問
菩薩之因行
並問佛果覺地之德
故曰佛之大事

侍者問他們的佛,問:到底這些菩薩的因緣是什麼?其實,彌勒菩薩最重要要問,就是修行的過程、結果成佛那個目標,這是彌勒菩薩很重要的,如何來行才能夠累積德?這是彌勒菩薩。這個德若不夠,眾生緣若不夠,要成佛的期間還很長。

這就是彌勒菩薩的一大事,他更要了解菩薩是這樣修,但是行要如何積,積成為德。這種修外為功,修內為德;修外就是善事要做,眾生緣要結,但是內心要如何來讓自己的心,能夠這樣這個德行,在聽、行,一直與眾生的緣很深下來,那就是要我們心行,心與法、與行為,要如何合而為一。要不然,我們只是聽,文字懂很多,詞句也說得很好,但是,路沒有開出來。因為這條路的風光,如何鋪、如何開,開路很踏實,踏踏實實的路如何走、如何開,還沒有很落實。只是從別人說的方向,只是知道那個方向,別人開的路鋪平了,我們來走;走過只是看那些風光而已,真實鋪路的感受,我們沒有感受到。

所以,想要問就是這些,那種的感受、那個德本,要如何去鋪路?一寸一寸的心,鋪在一寸一寸的路,這樣的心地風光,累積起來的這個德,這就是彌勒菩薩,所想要了解的德,也就是「佛果覺地之德」。

要聽得清楚,彌勒菩薩要問的是這樣,佛,成佛這段路,已經到達要成佛,如何能夠成佛,登這個果地去,那個感覺,真的有體會到,那個感覺,那個德。是啊,剛才說「寸寸愛鋪寸寸路」,就像我們在鋪路一樣,我們總共鋪幾塊磚,寸寸路,寸寸愛這樣鋪出來,這叫做「佛果覺地之德」,我們要很清楚,透徹了!徹底清楚,不是只在浮面,「知道,知道了」,不是這樣,就是要很踏實。所以說,叫做「佛之一大事」。你有路可走,絕對有理可說;有理可說,絕對有地可踏。所以,我們有踏到地嗎?這是最重要的。所以,「能問佛如是大事」。

能問佛如是大事:
此乃開近跡顯遠本
三世益物
化化不絕
承先啟後之大事
彌勒為補處之主
不識地涌之眾
示此一問
開發諸佛甚深智慧
故雙讚善哉
以顯至善之美

能夠聽佛這樣的大事情,這是很不簡單。所以,「此乃開近跡顯遠本」,開近近的這個跡門,但是顯示出了那個「遠本」,很長、很久,那個「本」是如何建立來?就是又再問:「佛陀是如何開始知道方向、知道開路、知道鋪路?」開道鋪路,這就是要從開始的第一步,方向既知了,真正道就要開、路就要鋪,這就是「能問佛如是大事」,這大事情,這條路要如何過來,來問佛。所以,「此乃開近跡顯遠本」,開近跡、顯遠本,那就是很遠、很遠,那個本來是什麼?

所以,「三世益物,化化不絕」。不斷生生世世、生生世世,就這樣在化度,不間斷、不停息過去。所以,「承先啟後之大事」,要問的是這個事情,承過去的方向,開始開路,如何走過來度眾生?要如何教化後面的人?這就是我們也是一樣,要去用心、去了解,不是只有「知道了、知道了,我很會說」,只是很會說沒有辦法,我們還要很能行;能說、能行,是聞法者、行法者、說法者。我們說,我們就要身體力行,我們要去做,所以「聽」要行而做。

所以,「彌勒為補處之主,不識地涌之眾,示此一問」。因為彌勒,雖然已經這樣那麼久了,也累生世不斷來人間在修行,但是這些來的菩薩,他不認識一個人。因為這樣,就知道釋迦牟尼佛,度化那個「跡」的過程,足跡印多少,度多少人。所以,在這個地方,他把握這個時間,就是要問:如何度,怎麼會度這麼多人?如何結的緣,怎麼會這麼多?所以,「開發諸佛甚深智慧」,因為這一問起來,釋迦牟尼佛,後面就會回答很多、很多,這「諸佛甚深智慧」。「故雙讚善哉」,釋迦佛就是讚彌勒菩薩:「很好、很好,問得很好!你這樣一問,要再說下去的法,那就是諸佛甚深智慧。」

與我們在〈方便品〉,佛陀也是對舍利弗說,但是舍利弗三問,佛陀是「三止」;彌勒菩薩這樣一問,佛陀就:「善哉,善哉!」因為正是因緣成熟,開始能夠諸佛甚深的智慧,因緣成熟了。而在〈方便品〉,是因緣還未成熟,所以「止!止!止!」,「三止」哦!這時候因緣成熟了,開始讚歎「很好」,「開發諸佛甚深智慧」。從這樣開始,「故雙讚善哉」,這內容的意思,菩薩和佛那個心意,以讚「至善之美」,這很好,讚歎至善之美。總而言之,我們要了解,佛陀在人間,就只有很簡單的一項事情,而我們就是這麼的渾沌,可見佛的智慧甚深微妙,可見眾生煩惱無明多麼深重,就要讓佛用很多很多時間,說很多,動用了很多人來見證,還要智慧問答。我們到底了解了嗎?還未了解,不要緊,前面的「跡門」,已經大家清楚了,後面的「本門」,大家要時時多用心!
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發表主題: 回復: 20181120《靜思妙蓮華》彌勒能問 佛之大事 (第1483集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五)   周六 12月 15, 2018 6:00 am

Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: Maitreya Is Abide to Ask about Great Matters (彌勒能問 佛之大事)
Date: November.20.2018

“The Buddha appeared for one great cause. He manifested to open and reveal His understanding and views for sentient beings to realize and enter. For the Lotus Assembly, the Buddha’s understanding and views were the one great matter. He used the manifest to reveal the intrinsic and returned to the source.”

Everyone must be mindful! [The Buddha] appeared in this world for one great cause. I have often talked about this. Sakyamuni Buddha only came to this world for one great cause. This one great cause was for the Buddha to open and reveal to sentient beings that everyone intrinsically has the Buddha’s understanding and views. So, He wished for everyone to “realize and enter the Buddha’s understanding and views.”

The Buddha wanted everyone to know that we ourselves have the same nature of True Suchness as the Buddha. He also wished that we ourselves could realize and enter [this understanding]. Since the Buddha has opened and revealed it, sentient beings should then realize and enter it. “To realize and enter” is to [attain] understanding and views equal to the Buddha’s. This is the Buddha’s greatest hope for His disciples and His greatest purpose for coming to this world. This means that “the mind, the Buddha and sentient beings are no different [in their nature].” The Buddha initially realized that the nature of sentient beings’ minds is equal to the Buddha’s. So, [He] wished for everyone to [reach] the same state of mind as His own.

Thus, we must not take ourselves lightly. We must not become dependent on the Buddha. Instead, the Buddha wants to tell us that we have the same capabilities as [Him]. We should not be dependent on another person. He hopes for everyone to become self-reliant and to know that we ourselves have this capability. These principles were [revealed] at the Lotus Dharma-assembly. The Buddha [came] for this one great cause. He wanted to make it clear to everyone that all sentient beings intrinsically have Buddha-nature.

So, the purpose of the Lotus Assembly was “the Buddha’s understanding and views [which were] the one great matter.” This was His main goal for coming to the world and His one great cause for expounding the Dharma. The Buddha wished to express the sole purpose of His coming to this world, which was to expound the Lotus Sutra. He wanted everyone to know that in order to go among people, we all need confidence in ourselves, in that we can transform sentient beings. Before transforming sentient beings, we [must realize that] we intrinsically have Buddha-nature, the nature of True Suchness and [true] wisdom. Our capabilities are quite sufficient. He tells us to be confident, to give rise to self-confidence. This is the Buddha’s one great cause. He hopes that everyone can earnestly realize this for themselves. The Buddha had only spoken of His past. “He used the manifest to reveal the intrinsic and returned to the source.” [He explained] His past like this. Since Beginningless Time, throughout many lifetimes, for sentient beings’ sake, He ceaselessly came to this world. Every time He came to this world, He left His manifestations. So, He constantly spoke about past karmic causes and conditions. These past causes and conditions left behind [achievements] and footprints.

So, “He used the manifest to reveal the intrinsic.” Is everyone clear about His past? As for the Buddha’s present lifetime, everyone knows that the Buddha came from the royal palace in Kapilavastu. Everyone knows about His birth and His process [of growing up]. These are all called “manifestations”. He then attained Buddhahood, had many encounters and so on, accumulating [teachings] for over forty years. This was His current lifetime.

During the Lotus Dharma-assembly, He talked about the past, the time before that and further back in the past, prior to the start of Beginningless Time. There was no end. He kept revealing the manifest for everyone to clearly understand. This is not only true for the Buddha; each of us is the same as the Buddha. We too had our past lifetimes infinite lifetimes ago. The only difference is that the Buddha dedicated countless lifetimes [to helping] sentient beings. What about us ordinary people? We have no control and are born through karmic forces. Out of our own desires, we fight and grasp for our own sake, creating much ignorance. So, [negative] karmic forces keep entangling us, and we are in this world beyond our own control.

We had many past lives, as the Buddha did. The difference is that the Buddha had a purpose. He constantly returned on the ship of compassion, journeying on the power of His vows. So, He is called the Tathagata, who journeys on the Dharma of True Suchness to come to this world. He is called the Tathagata; as He repeatedly came and went, He has never departed from the Dharma-nature. With His bright and clear Dharma-nature, He thus comes [to this world]. What about us? We have lost our Dharma-nature, so we create [negative] karma due to our ignorance. Confused, we suffer lifetimes of retributions. This is the only difference. We have had many lifetimes, and the Buddha has also had many lifetimes. The only difference lies in [our ignorance]. So, we must be very mindful not to be delusional anymore. We must quickly establish our confidence promptly put this path into practice and walk forward to catch sight of our intrinsic nature again. This is the goal of our spiritual practice. So, “He used the manifest to reveal the intrinsic.” With His understanding of the past, now [He continued] to reveal the intrinsic nature of the Buddha, the Tathagata, and how He journeyed to this world. We must mindfully seek to comprehend and understand how the Buddha returned to His source. We must be mindful.

How do we reveal the intrinsic and return to our source? It is through [correcting] our “consciousness”. We must recognize how we use our consciousness to connect with external conditions, which results in so many confused transmigrations in the Six Realms. This is all due to the consciousness of our mind.

When our consciousness is unclear, we give rise to ignorance according to conditions. “Views come from the eye-consciousness.” This is called understanding and views. With the Buddha’s understanding and views, He came to this world in order to open and reveal them for [sentient beings] to realize and enter. Ordinary people’s understanding and view are confused, while the Buddha’s are clear and bright.

Understanding comes from the mind-consciousness. Views comes from the eye-consciousness. Or what we deduce is called views, and what we awaken to is called understanding. Also, the Three Kinds of Wisdom give rise to understanding. The Five Eyes give rise to views. All of these are the functions of wisdom.

How can we return our confused views and consciousness to greater clarity? We must be very mindful. We must seek out and pursue those “views”. As we go among people or in living our lives, we use our consciousness to connect with these external conditions. We use our “consciousness” to [properly] distinguish things and then apply [our wisdom]; this is called “all-accomplishing wisdom”.

Are we also profoundly discerning? When we thoroughly analyze things, are we craving these things with an ordinary mind of desires and greed, devising ways to grasp and obtain them? Or, [seeing] sentient beings full of suffering, do we determine what materials they really need at this moment and quickly give of ourselves to help them? We must know the suffering of sentient beings and the extent of their needs. We should use our consciousness for careful contemplation. This is called “profound discerning wisdom”.

This is just like Tzu Chi USA’s CEO and Deputy CEO, who came back to report on Sierra Leone. Several thousand people there were trapped in an emergency situation. How could we quickly deliver relief goods to them? We had to think quickly. We had to [estimate] the time and cost of delivering [supplies] from the US, as well as the time and cost of delivering them from Taiwan. So, I told them, “You should find out the details clearly, make the calculations and assess accordingly.” “Yes, we did the calculations. Just to cover the emergency and practical needs, including instant rice, blankets etc., just for these people, we will need about 14 days’ worth of supplies. Freight alone will cost several million Taiwan dollars.” Hearing this, I wondered if this was too costly. Freight alone would cost so much. Was this feasible? If we ship by sea, it would take more than 50 days, nearly two months. But their emergency situation will last for about another two weeks. For these 14 days, these goods were what they needed to survive. What could we do? We contemplated further. We knew that the 100 tons of rice from Taiwan had already arrived. Yes, that had arrived. Should we put it to use right away then? Yes. [However], they had no pots or pans at all. Maybe we could buy them locally, large and small pots and utensils. We could buy these utensils locally. The rice had arrived. Other charity groups came and provided manpower. So, we supplied the rice and the pots, and they did the cooking right away. With our large and small pots, they used wood that they obtained locally and rocks for support; they were able to sustain themselves. So, we bought the pots locally for them so they could put them to use. The [flood] had washed away everything, leaving the survivors with nothing. [Giving them the pots] was the same as giving them furniture, and the rice [arrived] in time for them to use. Then, for the materials that could wait, we shipped them by sea. For urgent life-saving goods, we shipped them by air.

This is how we could save money and how materials could arrive in a timely manner. As those ten or so days were an emergency period, we had to think about how to achieve the purpose of this aid. So, we connected our consciousness with these external states. We considered how many people were suffering and what their needs were during those over ten days of the emergency phase. We had to supply all of that [in time] so that they could be safe and sustain their lives. Thus, we profoundly discerned and contemplated how these goods could be utilized. Those people’s lives are equal [to ours], whether they are near or far [from us]; even when they suffer from disasters, their lives are equal [to ours], so we must use profound discerning wisdom to urgently and quickly give our help. It is all about our consciousness, how we utilize it on our Bodhisattva-path how we utilize and employ it. Within our views and consciousness, we contemplate deeply for the sake of others. That is our nature of True Suchness, which is great perfect mirror wisdom. We can contemplate prospects far away and fully grasp their conditions. Only when we understand what their needs are can we devise ways to fully [satisfy] them. This requires the Four Wisdoms to act in parallel. This is the consciousness of views.

Understanding comes from the mind-consciousness. Views come from the eye-consciousness. Or what we deduce is called views, and what we awaken to is called understanding. Also, the Three Kinds of Wisdom give rise to understanding. The Five Eyes give rise to views. All of these are the functions of wisdom.

“Understanding and views” are what we must first comprehend. So, we must have understanding and views, and then we must take action. This takes common understanding, vision and action. These all need to be occurring in parallel. So, “What we deduce is called views”. We should earnestly seek and determine how to utilize these materials and how to help these people. All of this [requires] profound discerning wisdom. So, “What we awaken to is called understanding. Wow, I know the required amounts. This is the number of people there. I know the amount of relief goods we must send in”. This is “understanding”. “Also, the Three Kinds of Wisdom give rise to understanding. The Five Eyes give rise to views”.

The Three Kinds of Wisdom are wisdom of all Dharma, wisdom of all paths and all-encompassing wisdom. Combined, the Three Kinds of Wisdom are called Buddha-wisdom. The Five Eyes are physical eyes, heavenly eyes, wisdom-eyes, Dharma-eyes and Buddha-eyes.

These are called the Five Eyes. We ordinary people have physical eyes. Heavenly beings have wisdom-consciousness, so they have heavenly eyes. Practicing Hearers and Solitary Realizers have wisdom-eyes. Bodhisattvas have already transcended and see themselves and sentient beings as one. They deeply comprehend the Dharma of sentient beings in this world. As Bodhisattvas, they have Dharma-eyes. These also differ from the state of the Buddha, [who has] great perfect mirror wisdom. It is like a bright, clear and perfect mirror. This is called Buddha-eyes. The Three Kinds of Wisdom and the Five Eyes, “all of these are the functions of wisdom”.

These are all the functions of wisdom. The wisdom of ordinary people and that of the Buddha are far apart, whereas the wisdom of Bodhisattvas and that of the Buddha are much closer. This is the process of our spiritual practice.

“In the Nirvana [period], Buddha-nature is the one great matter”.

In the Nirvana [period], the Buddha-nature is the one great matter. In the Avatamsaka [period], the Dharma-realm is the one great matter. In the Prajna [period], the cause and effect of attaining Buddhahood is the one great matter.

The Lotus Sutra represents the spiritual training ground where the Buddha prepared to enter Parinirvana. This Nirvana is tranquility, meaning His mind is very still and does not waver. This is the state of the Buddha, forever in Nirvana, a state of tranquility and clarity. Nirvana is not [what is attained] when a Buddha’s [physical body] passes away. Instead, it is after attaining enlightenment that His mind enters the state of tranquility and clarity, [meaning that] He returns to His Buddha-nature. The Buddha returning to His nature is the one great causes. He also wished for sentient beings to return to the Tathagata’s nature of True Suchness. When was this intrinsic nature discovered? It was during the Avatamsaka Assembly. When the Buddha awakened and became one with the universe, became one with the universe, that was the state of Avatamsaka. Buddhas and Bodhisattvas from the ten directions fully manifested to celebrate that in the Saha World, Shakyamuni Bodhisattva had attained Buddhahood. He had attained Buddhahood in the Saha World. When the Buddha attained enlightenment, His spiritual state was [revealed] at the Avatamsaka Assembly.

Next, “In the Prajna [period], the causes and effect of attaining Buddhahood is the one great matter. Prajna means wisdom. To have wisdom is to apply the Avatamsaka-Dharma, which retains all teachings by “retaining all teachings and upholding all goodness”. The Buddha makes use of this Dharma, the principles behind all things in the universe. He wholeheartedly wanted us sentient beings to comprehend and understand it. So, He returned to this world, concealed the true and gave the provisional, and began to expound suffering, causation, cessation and the Path. Actually, He had to draw near to people so they could comprehend the Buddha’s intrinsic nature. To engage everyone’s intrinsic Buddha-nature, He had to start teaching from the beginning, how sentient beings created sources and causes of suffering over many lifetimes, resulting in so many retributions of suffering. The Buddha presented the results of these retributions so everyone could understand. [Using] what they could see and experience made the principles easier to understand. As the Buddha expounded the Lotus Sutra, He was ready to reveal the intrinsic which was His one great cause for appearing in this world. We must understand the meaning behind this He wanted to open and reveal this so that sentient beings could comprehend, realize and enter His understanding and views. So, having His understanding and views is our goal. We must mindfully comprehend the previous passage.

“World-Honored One, where did this group of infinite and boundless asankyas of Bodhisattvas come from? At that time, all the Buddhas spoke to their attendants, Good men, wait just one moment”.

At that time, many attendants accompanied the multiple manifestations of the Buddha. There were many manifestations of the Buddha, so there were also many Bodhisattvas who followed. Seeing a boundless number of Bodhisattvas appear from the ten directions, everyone had doubts in their minds. So, they asked their own teachers, the Buddhas whom they were close to, “Where did they all come from?” The Buddhas each replied to their respective attendants. “All the Buddhas spoke to their attendants”. They replied to their respective attendants, “Wait just one moment, this is a great matter. It was a great matter because the Buddha was about to reveal the intrinsic”. The manifest had now passed. At that moment, the great matter was to everyone understand the direction of their spiritual practice. The Buddha revealed the manifest to this world in order to transform sentient beings. He had used skillful means in the past. Only now was He starting to reveal the intrinsic. So, everyone needed to mindfully listen to what the Buddha had to say. At that moment, after those Buddhas replied to their attendants, immediately following that [They said], “There is a Bodhisattva-Mahasattva”. Who was this? It was Maitreya.

There is a Bodhsiattva-Mahasattva whose name is Maitreya upon whom Sakyamuni Buddha has bestowed predictions of attaining Buddhahood after Him. He already inquired about this matter, and the Buddha will answer it now. You should be able to hear it because of this.

Sakyamuni Buddha had already bestowed His prediction upon Maitreya Bodhisattva. So, [Maitreya was the one] attaining Buddhahood after Him. Maitreya Bodhisattva was introduced as the one, after the Buddha had [entered Parinirvana], after Dharma-semblance and Dharma-degeneration, who would be the next Buddha. That is when Maitreya Bodhisattva will attain Buddhahood. So, this Bodhisattva, while Sakyamuni Buddha was presently [teaching the Dharma], was still a Bodhisattva. This Bodhisattva, as the previous passage clearly stated, inquired of the Buddha on behalf of all Bodhisattvas. “He already inquired about this matter”. He had already asked about everything. “The Buddha will answer it now”. Now, the Buddha began to answer.

The next passage states, “At that time, Sakyamuni Buddha said to Maitreya Bodhisattva, ‘Excellent! Excellent! Ajita, you are able to ask the Buddha about such great matters.”

Sakyamuni Buddha was delighted, hearing that Maitreya Bodhisattva asked regarding precisely what He was about to say. This was [how deeply] they resonated. So, the Buddha said to Maitreya Bodhisattva, “Excellent! Excellent!” “Ajita!” Who is Ajita? It is Maitreya Bodhisattva, of course Maitreya Bodhisattva also has another name, “the Loving One”

Ajita: Maitreya Bodhisattva had long been cultivating a mind of compassion, long entered the practice of compassion and cultivated Samadhi of compassion. It means “unsurpassed”. He was also called “the Loving One”.

Maitreya Bodhisattva had long been cultivating the practice of compassion, always treating sentient beings with compassion. He had practiced Right Dharma and transformed sentient beings with a heart of compassion. He had practiced with compassion and cultivated the Samadhi of compassion. So, [his name’s] meaning is deep and extensive. So, “It means ‘unsurpassed’.” He mindfully [practiced] solely “compassion,” to have “unconditional loving-kindness and universal compassion”. How did he work towards this? How did he up uphold it? Its meaning alone is already very profound, vast and great. So, “It means unsurpassed”. This was the subject Maitreya Bodhisattva focused on in his practice.

So, over the course of countless kalpas, this subject had been his direction. This is why he is also called the Loving One. “You are able to ask the Buddha about such great matters”.

You are able to ask the Buddha about such great matters: This refers to asking about what path was praised, accepted, upheld, cultivated and practiced by the Bodhisattvas who came.

Maitreya Bodhisattva had such a state of mind to consider sentient beings in all matters. Now, so many Bodhisattvas were focused on wanting to understand the manifest of the past and the intrinsic of the present. The many people came with their own causes and conditions. What were they? So, “This refers to asking about what path was praised, accepted, upheld, cultivated and practiced by the Bodhisattvas who came”. What spiritual practice did they engage in? Where did they come from? Was this all that he was asking about? In fact, what Maitreya Bodhisattva asked was not so simple. He not only asked about the Bodhisattvas reason for coming. There was more. He was also going to ask about “the virtues of the fruit of Buddhahood, the enlightened state,” which is “the intrinsic”.

When Maitreya inquired about this, he asked not only about the causal practice of those Bodhisattvas, but also about the virtues of the fruit of Buddhahood, the enlightened state. Thus, He said it was the Buddha’s great matters.

The attendants asked their Buddhas, “What are the causes and conditions of these Bodhisattvas?” Actually, the most important thing Maitreya Bodhisattva wanted to ask was about the process of spiritual practice and the goal of attaining the fruit of Buddhahood. This was very important to Maitreya Bodhisattva. How do we practice to accumulate virtue? This was Maitreya Bodhisattva’s question. If our virtue or affinities with sentient beings are lacking, the time it takes to attain Buddhahood will be very long. This was Maitreya’s [own] one great cause. He understood Bodhisattvas’ spiritual cultivation, but how do actions accumulate into virtue? External cultivation results in accomplishments, while internal cultivation results in virtue. External cultivation means doing good deeds and forming affinities with sentient beings, but internally, we must learn how to [connect] our mind to virtuous practice through listening and action so we keep deepening our affinities with sentient beings. This requires us to unite our minds and actions, our minds, the Dharma and our actions, as one. Otherwise, we are just listening.

We may know many texts, and we may be able to discuss them well, but we have not cleared the path. As for the scenery along this path, how do we pave and clear this path so that it is very solid and steady? When it comes to walking and clearing this steady path, we have not yet carried this out in action. We only know the direction by hearing from others, or we walk on the road others have paved smoothly. We have only enjoyed the scenery along the way, but we have never actually experienced the feeling of paving the road [for ourselves]. So, this was what [Maitreya] wanted to ask about, those feelings, the roots of virtue and how to pave the path inch by inch with love. We pave the road inch by inch. This kind of scenery in our minds accumulates into virtue, which is what Maitreya Bodhisattva wanted to understand.

These are “virtues of the fruit of Buddhahood, the enlightened state”. We must also listen carefully. This is what Maitreya wanted to ask. Throughout the Buddha’s practice, when He was close to attaining Buddhahood, how did He reach the fruit of Buddhahood and truly experience those feelings and virtues? Indeed, as we said before, “We pave every inch of the road with love”. It is like paving a road. We lay down a number of bricks together. Every inch of the road is paved with our love. These are the “virtues of the fruit of Buddhahood, the enlightened state”. We should understand this clearly and completely, not just superficially. “I know, I know”. We must not be like this; [our understanding] should be well grounded. That is why it is “the Buddha’s one great cause”. When we have a road to walk on, we definitely have principles to expound. When we have principles to expound, we definitely have ground to stand on. So, are we standing on the ground? This is the most important thing. So, “You are able to ask the Buddha about such great matters”.

You are able to ask the Buddha about such great matters: This is opening up the manifest nearby to reveal the intrinsic faraway. He benefited all beings in the Three Periods, transforming them endlessly. This is the great matter of carrying on the past to inspire those who come later. Maitreya is the one who will succeed the Buddha, and because he did not recognize that group emerging from the ground, he asked this question and released the extremely profound wisdom of all Buddhas. Thus, He praised him by saying “Excellent” twice to show the beauty of ultimate goodness.

Being able to ask the Buddha about such great matters is not easy. So, “This is opening up the manifest nearby to reveal the intrinsic faraway”. He opened the manifest nearby to reveal the intrinsic faraway, which [means] far away and long ago. How was the intrinsic established? So, he asked again, “How did the Buddha begin to know the direction and how to clear and pave the road?” Clearing the way and paving the road must begin with the first step.

Once we know the direction, we must truly begin to clear the way and pave the road. So, [when it says], “You are able to ask the Buddha about such great matters,” these great matters [were] about how this road should be built, which he asked the Buddha. So, “This is opening up the manifest nearby to reveal the intrinsic faraway”. He opened the manifest nearby to reveal the intrinsic faraway. Being so far away, what is the intrinsic? So, “He benefited all beings in the. Three Periods, transforming them endlessly”. Throughout lifetime after lifetime, He transformed [sentient beings] ceaselessly and without rest. So, “This is the great matter of carrying on the past to inspire those who come later”. This is what he wanted to ask. [As for] carrying on the direction of the past and beginning to build the road, how do we follow it to transform sentient beings? How do we teach and transform those who come later? This is the same [question we must ask]. We must mindfully seek to understand this. We should not just say, “I know, I know! I’m good at teaching the Dharma!” Only knowing how to talk is useless. We must also be able to put it into practice. When we can teach and practice, we [can become] those who listen to, practice and teach the Dharma. Whatever we say, we should put it into practice. So, listening should be followed by action.

“Maitreya is the one who will succeed the Buddha, and because he did not recognize that group emerging from the ground, he asked this question”. Although Maitreya, for many lifetimes, had been coming to this world for spiritual practice, he did not recognize anyone among the Bodhisattvas who emerged [from the ground]. This shows that Sakyamuni Buddha, in [using] the manifest to transform others, has left countless footprints and transformed countless people. So, in this place, [Maitreya] seized the moment and asked how He had transformed so many people. How did He form so many affinities? So, [he] “released the extremely profound wisdom of all Buddhas”. Because of this question, Sakyamuni Buddha would later provide numerous responses, with “the extremely profound wisdom of all Buddhas. Thus, He praised him by saying ‘Excellent’ twice”. Sakyamuni Buddha praised Maitreya Bodhisattva, “Excellent! Excellent question! Now that you have asked, the Dharma I will be teaching now will reveal the extremely profound wisdom of all Buddhas.”

In the Chapter on Skillful Means, the Buddha also responded to Sariputra. But, for Sariputra’s three requests, the Buddha responded by refusing three times. With Maitreya’s question, the Buddha responded with “Excellent! Excellent!” This was because the conditions were ripe. He could begin to expound the extremely profound wisdom of all Buddhas, as the conditions were now mature. In the Chapter on Skillful Means, the conditions were not yet ready. So, [He said,] “Stop, stop, stop” He refused three times. At this moment, the conditions had become mature. So, He praised him, saying, “Excellent” and “released the extremely profound wisdom of all Buddhas”. This is how it began. “Thus, He praised him by saying ‘Excellent’ twice”. This meaning shows the Bodhisattvas’ and the Buddha’s intent, to praise “the beauty of ultimate goodness”. He praised the beauty of ultimate goodness.

In summary, we should understand that the Buddha came to this world for only one simple matter. As for us, our minds are so chaotic and confused. We can see how profound and wondrous the Buddha’s wisdom is and how deep sentient beings’ afflictions and ignorance are. The Buddha had to spend a very long time to teach and mobilize many people to bear witness and respond to questions with wisdom. Have we understood this? It is fine if we still do not understand. Everyone is already clear about the manifest that we discussed previously. Later, when it comes to intrinsic, we must always be mindful!

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