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 20181121《靜思妙蓮華》被精進鎧 發堅固意 (第1484集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五)

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20181121《靜思妙蓮華》被精進鎧 發堅固意 (第1484集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五) Empty
發表主題: 20181121《靜思妙蓮華》被精進鎧 發堅固意 (第1484集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五)   20181121《靜思妙蓮華》被精進鎧 發堅固意 (第1484集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五) Empty周二 11月 20, 2018 10:35 pm

20181121《靜思妙蓮華》被精進鎧 發堅固意 (第1484集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五)

⊙謂諸菩薩修行,於佛法僧、父母、師長之前,常生卑下之心,敬事孝養,以此為因,輪迴異生感果,令諸眾咸受化,是名修因感果。
⊙異生感果,因凡夫輪迴六道,受種種別異作業果報而生。凡夫作種種業,感種種果,身相萬種而生,故名異生感果。
⊙「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》
⊙「汝等當共一心,被精進鎧,發堅固意;如來今欲顯發宣示諸佛智慧。」《法華經從地涌出品第十五》
⊙發堅固意:意不堅固,事不能成,故先勸發精進、堅固,此為告誡會眾,令起深信。
⊙發堅固意:意不堅固,事不能成,故先勸發精進、堅固,此為告誡會眾,令起深信。
⊙以心不精進,意不堅固,則易滋生惑亂,將不能正信於佛道。一心誡勿散亂,披鎧誡勿懈怠,精進誡勿退怯,堅固誡勿疑惑。
⊙汝等:佛慈提警示誡,將欲說而先誡者,令其勇猛諦聽,聞已信行,不可以意趣幽深,而生疑退。
⊙如來今欲顯發宣示諸佛智慧:欲明大事,故誡勸之;諸佛所證無上智慧。如來明因果智。諸佛智慧,甚深無量,人不能知。今借地涌之眾,開示壽量,以顯如來甚深智慧,故云發堅固意,顯發心起行之因等。

【證嚴上人開示】
謂諸菩薩修行,於佛法僧、父母、師長之前,常生卑下之心,敬事孝養,以此為因,輪迴異生感果,令諸眾咸受化,是名修因感果。

謂諸菩薩修行
於佛法僧、
父母、師長之前
常生卑下之心
敬事孝養
以此為因
輪迴異生感果
令諸眾咸受化
是名修因感果

用心啊,聽,了解!是啊,「謂諸菩薩修行」,菩薩也就要修行,累生世修行,這個過程生生世世都有父母、都有師長,這是人生一定的道理。菩薩也是化生人間,同樣和我們人生一模一樣,只是菩薩來生人間,從凡夫的生活中去覺悟,體會了人間各種的疾苦,而且是要感覺人生,只是生、生活、老病,最後,死,這樣的人生的價值在哪裡呢?就會心生探討人生的道理,去體會人生的真理在哪裡。為什麼人間有這樣生、老、病、死苦?為什麼人間有愛別離苦?為什麼人間有怨憎會苦?為什麼人間有貧、富、貴、賤的苦?唉呀,苦啊,怎麼會那麼多?

探究、探究,愈來愈感覺到了,從這樣開始發心追求。在追求的過程中,立願,這條路能夠往前走,有方向。天下苦難眾生偏多,應該就是要將這個道理,讓大家知道,所以一方面用心追求佛法,這叫做「上求佛道」;一方面把握時間,要將這麼好的道理如何能夠播種,送到人群中去,讓人人也能夠體會理解,將佛法普遍人間,這叫做菩薩。這種能夠追求真理、體會佛法,同時身體力行在生活中,願意付出,善事、好事去付出。法,有人的心在煩惱,解不開、理不清楚,他就來教他,這叫做「上求佛道,下化眾生」,也就是聽法者、實行者、說法者、傳法者。

佛法就是由菩薩這樣一方面修,一方面身體力行,一方面就這樣傳。所以,法來自於佛,說法的源頭就是大覺者,就是佛陀,所以我們要恭敬、尊重法來源,佛給我們的方向。我們還要很感恩,法流行在人間,我們要依教奉行,所以我們發心修行,專心。人生世間這麼多的苦,我們若自己不先放棄,放棄了那個苦因源頭,我們要如何修行呢?所以就放下了,專心入叢林,侍佛、僧。進來了,開始我們依佛的教導,身心奉行,所以我們生活在這樣的環境中。

所以,於佛、法、僧,我們要有尊重。而我們的身體,身體從哪裡來?父母。所以,我們對父母要孝;大孝,父母給我們的生命,我們應該回報於慧命。人生本無常,本來就是有生、老、病、死,大自然的法則,一輩子一對的父母,而我們已經生生世世了,多生多劫。多劫就是長時間,我們長時間以來,不知道累生幾次,幸好我們是在人間,無常的道理,能夠常常提高我們的警覺。生命何其短啊,我們要自己自我警惕。既然是生命短促了,尤其是世間無常,這個道理是確定的、是真實的,我們更加要警覺,所以要把握時間,就會知道人間的享受是短暫,不只是短暫,多變化,很無常。

我們若能夠把握今生此時,這輩子的這個時候,我們要好好心不離法,而且法要及時用在生活中;生活中不離開人群,我們要不斷在人群中學習。有的人依教奉行,聞一知十、知百,或者知千萬,有的人聞十不解一句、一偈,這就是根的利、鈍不同。為什麼有的人根能夠那麼利呢?那就是他在這個人倫道德中,沒有散失掉,知道道理;學法的源頭──佛、法、僧、父母恩,這都是很清楚。有人傳法給我們、有人教育我們,我們要很感恩,這都是很明朗,我們心中這個版,已經刻著很明朗的人生道理,在我們的心版裡,銘記著。因為這樣,他就會常常對人起恭敬心,對佛懂得恭敬,對法懂得恭敬,對僧恭敬、父母尊重,希望我們能夠回報三寶恩,回報父母、師長恩。

用什麼來回報呢?那就是精進,盡此這一報身。對道理要很清楚、了解、明白;做人,方向要很正確,沒有錯亂。我們要如何要把心修得秒秒分分無不都向覺悟的方向?是一位「覺有情人」──覺悟在人間,有情的人。這就是我們要回報父母恩,給我們身體,讓我們有機會學法,讓我們生活,在佛、法、僧三寶中。你若有恭敬、有感恩,自然我們的內心,就「常生卑下之心」。我們身的源頭,我們的思想、心理的源頭,是來自於佛法的教育,所以有這個身體為載道器,好好利用,不要貢高驕傲。我們一定要放下身段,用很謙卑的心來面對,面對佛、法、僧,面對父母、面對人群,這就是恭敬、感恩心,這叫做「卑下」。不是只有高高在上,就是「我有聰明,我認識很多」,他放大了自己,忘記了,我們身心觀念的來源是什麼,這我們應該要自我警惕。

所以要好好敬重、感恩,有這個身,自然「敬事孝養」。凡事我們都要很放下,很用敬重的心來孝養,不論是師長,不論是佛、法、僧。因為這樣,日常的生活,開口動舌、舉手動作,我們的態度、我們的表達,無不都是因。因為你有這謙下的心、恭敬的心,這念心表達出你的態度;你的態度的表達,感受的人就不同了,歡喜心,自己的內心,已經成就這個「識」,就是讓我們,已經是這個法,入心版裡,我們對佛法、對師長、對長輩,常常都是有這個謙卑,自然在人群中就是這樣,這就是已經成為我們的「(業)識」,記憶中的種子。而普通的人叫做習慣了,待人接物就像在對長輩一樣,這種謙卑的心來對待人群,將這個習慣養成,那就是種子成熟。

所以,「以此因」。這已經是我們沒有造作,就是習慣,就是這樣做,理所當然,這是「理」。而在禮節中這樣的行為,禮節是這樣過來,所以禮者歸於理,理所當然,就變成了我們人人那個「識」的習慣,這就是叫做「因」,就是種子。不用如何用心,本來就是,就是這樣在對人,本來就是啊,就是我的舉止行動也就是這樣。從佛、法、僧、師長、父母這些長輩來,一直到人群中,這念心,這已經很自然,自然就叫做道理。這禮,禮節,道理自然,這叫做因,因的種子。

所以,因為我們人人,「萬般帶不去,唯有業隨身」,凡夫還是「輪迴異生感果」。我們到底這輩子做的,在修行叢林裡面,應該是不失人身,除非你有願,除非你有貪天道。因為平時你沒犯戒,沒有十惡,沒犯戒;你有在行善,但是你的心是求在不用受苦,那就是生天堂。除非你的心很堅定,「天堂我也不要去,我就是要做佛,要成菩薩」,除非這念心──要成菩薩、要成佛,不貪求享受,不怕在六道在輪迴。因為智慧的盡頭就是不貪涅槃,這叫做智慧。

學佛就是要學成,真成佛,就是要能夠完全成佛。佛就是生生世世來人間,佛陀不只來人間,六道,在六道中隨著眾生來回,救拔眾生。所以「三界導師」、「四生慈父」,三界內就是接受到佛法的教化,佛總是隨著,隨著眾生的緣,他發心立願,從四惡道中去拯拔眾生苦,這他也要去。

所以,不論是我們在人間沒有犯戒,不失人身,或者是萬一,萬一我們過去生中餘業未盡,各人修各人得,我們若造,造惡業,必定要受惡果;我們若是善業,我們就得善報。但是凡夫的時代,在我們還未修行之前,還未聽到佛法之前,可能不只是沒修十善,還是在造十惡。你十惡已經造了,這個果要什麼人擔?還是自己。

但是我們的善,接觸到了法,我們有這個因緣,我們很強力的因緣,走入了佛法來。我們改往,過去的惡,十惡我們翻過來,我們行十善;十善累積、累積,改掉了過去的習氣,完全就向著善的善因、善果,這樣累積了這個善。是不是我的善事,已經累積那麼多了,那些過去做的壞事,是不是都消了?是沒有消,這就看,我們若是累生累世行善,累生就以善的業,善業,善道這樣在走。但是我們的惡業,過去有造過的緣,若是很強時,我們的善若較薄弱時,這個惡的因浮現了,你就逃不過。

就像悟達國師十世為高僧,但是代代、代代,他就是很謹慎在修行,一旦受到懿宗皇帝的敬重,賜檀香的椅子,賜座。將要就座時,哇,一心得意;這個業門稍微開一下,這樣惡念就進來了。那個貢高,得意忘形,腳不注意去碰到,只是去碰到,這樣而已,瘀青。瘀青,開始裡面就這樣化膿,作怪了,開始不可收拾,腳,它長起了人面瘡,折磨得苦不堪啊!

也就是因為有這樣的因緣,就是迦諾迦尊者。他救過了迦諾迦尊者,這個善因會合了這個緣,所以及時救他,他指引他去洗滌了他的業障,我們才有《水懺》可誦。一代高僧,應該是說十代修行,累積來這一代高僧。但是過去設計用心殺人,那個惡業還是同樣還在,所以這若沒有消,業好像不會化掉的鐵丸,火的鐵丸一樣,還是在那裡在沸騰。所以我們要很用心,我們若較不小心,六道輪迴,看你造什麼因,就得到什麼果。結果,你要報在地獄,那就到地獄去;報在畜生,就到畜生道去;報在餓鬼,那就在餓鬼道中了。

這不同的道,叫做「異生感果」,這就是你過去生所造作的,那個因感來了這樣的果報,這樣叫做眾生,不一樣,不同一條道路的地方。這種「輪迴異生感果,令諸眾咸受化」,菩薩是期待能夠在這樣,任何一道,他都願意與佛一樣,哪一個地方有苦難他都願意救濟。但是最重要的是人間,在人間就是把守著那地獄門,也關了畜生門,能夠教導人人做好事,不要犯戒,自然他就不會造這樣的因,感這樣的果,所以人生來來回回行菩薩道,所以菩薩修行就是要修在這裡。

看人,我們就要做一個典範,我們要修才有德,與人結(的)才有好的緣,你說的話他才能夠接受,這必定要身體力行。所以,「令諸眾咸受化」。有緣,你說話他才肯接受,他才能夠讓你感化,因為這樣,「是名修因感果」。我們要去感化人,我們自己要修行、要修因。說這麼多無不都是要引導我們,要好好發心立願。善惡是分明的,善若較強,我們就能夠順這個善因緣,趕緊累積,我們生命中才有貴人。看悟達國師,就是行善,還未發達之前行善救人,救到迦諾迦尊者;就是生命中有迦諾迦尊者,是他的貴人,這樣才讓他有機會解除了苦難,而我們後世的人才有機會讀到這《水懺》,這都叫做因緣,所以因緣就是要我們好好把握,在日常生活中。

所以,「異生感果」,不同道,我們最好要守在人間道;人間道能夠涵蓋著六道之中,我們能夠好好修行。

異生感果
因凡夫輪迴六道
受種種別異作業
果報而生
凡夫作種種業
感種種果
身相萬種而生
故名異生感果

「因凡夫輪迴六道,受種種別異作業果報而生」。因為做什麼業,你就到哪一道去,這叫做「異生」。所以,「凡夫作種種業」,那就是「感種種果,身相萬種」。每一個眾生,每一道的眾生都不一樣的形象,光是畜生道,哇,不知幾千萬種的畜生道。所以「凡夫作種種業,感種種果」,結果你是象或是雞、鴨呢?這全都是叫做畜生報,種種類形,雞、鴨也會救人,雞、鴨,這都有故事在。所以,「身相萬種而生」,所以叫做眾生,任何一種動物,就是列入眾生之中,而我們要救拔眾生,就是要包括這些。眾生不是要供應給人吃,是因為牠受果報而來畜生道,這我們就要很提高警覺,要好好用心去體會。「故名異生感果」,不同樣的生態,感到這樣的果報,我們要很清楚。雖然還未入經文來說話,但是這些就是要讓我們知道,要如何精進,在我們的日常生活中,要如何顧好我們的心,所以要用心聽法。

前面的文:「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
《法華經從地涌出品第十五》

這是前面說過的,很簡單,聽過就清楚。下面這段文,就又這樣說:「汝等當共一心,被精進鎧,發堅固意;如來今欲顯發宣示諸佛智慧。」

汝等當共一心
被精進鎧
發堅固意
如來今欲顯發宣示
諸佛智慧
《法華經從地涌出品第十五》

大家要很用心聽,要一心一意聽,而內心要精進,要真正堅固道心。佛陀很慎重,教誡我們心不要散亂,所以才會說,「汝等當共一心,被精進鎧」,就像是要入戰場一樣,這個甲要披起來。

汝等當共一心
被精進鎧:
佛將答示先誡攝心
修道破魔
貴乎精進
譬如入陣而披鎧甲

這就是佛陀應彌勒菩薩問,他要回答。要回答之前就警戒我們,我們要一心要精進,不要用散亂心來聽,要用專心來聽,這就是佛將要答話之前,這樣警告我們一下:「大家不要散亂,好好專心。」所以,「先誡攝心」,先告誡我們,叫我們心要收攝在一處。所以,「修道破魔,貴乎精進」。我們修行,要將心收攝過來,就是魔不要來擾亂我們。魔,就是我們的心魔。

我們的雜念心,這都叫做魔。雜念的心一來,煩惱魔就起來了,我們心中煩惱的魔,因為我們的心向力分掉了,分支在外面,我們應該將心都收攝回來,一心。這是佛陀要講話給我們聽之前,就叫我們要攝一心,共攝一心。所以,我們要好好用心、精進,一心,將心收攝過來才是真精進,這要「貴乎精進」。「譬如入陣披鎧」,就是要將戰甲穿起來。

「發堅固意」,意若不堅強,就事不能成。你要做什麼事情,也要講究有沒有堅定的心?你的意志力有沒有堅強?這也要看你,你有專心嗎?有堅定的心嗎?要做這件事,是不是很願意付出,這全都是我們要很用心。所以若不堅定,沒有一心,事無法成。

發堅固意:
意不堅固
事不能成
故先勸發
精進、堅固
此為告誡會眾
令起深信

所以,「故」,先為我們勸發精進心,要立堅固願,這就是教誡。教誡在會眾,你們大家若要聽法,就是要這樣,要一心、要精進、要堅定你的心念。一心精進、堅定、堅固起來,這是多麼重要啊。佛陀要講法也是這樣,令起信心,心要很深,相信要信得深。

以心不精進
意不堅固
則易滋生惑亂
將不能正信於佛道
一心誡勿散亂
披鎧誡勿懈怠
精進誡勿退怯
堅固誡勿疑惑

所以,「以心不精進,意不堅固,則易滋生惑亂」。因為我們的心若不精進,意若不堅固,很快心就散亂掉了,若這樣就容易生起了惑亂,我們的心就惑了。「惑」是很細膩、細膩,那些不正當的想法,甚至幻知、幻見,虛幻,就想了一大堆,就容易這樣亂掉了。所以,「將不能正信於佛道」。你的心若不專,不肯精進、不肯堅固,若這樣在佛道之中,正信的佛道你就無法進來了。所以,「一心誡勿散亂」,就是警告我們、教誡我們,我們的心要一心精進,對佛法一定要一心一意,堅固、堅定。看看,很多的宗教,不同的宗教,他們也是這樣,而我們也應該也是要這樣。我們要取得正信、正見、正知、正行,道理是要走得通的,思想是要與事能夠合,才是「理」。這我們就要很用心去選擇,選擇對的方向,我們要用功來開路。所以,要用功來開路,我們要好好準備,披精進鎧,我們要披起來,要我們不要懈怠。

就像要入戰場,入戰場去,豈能懈怠呢?就是要很敏銳,敵軍在我們的前面,這些魔,很多的雜念,很多會影響我們信念的偏差,我們應該就像在披戰甲一樣,我們就要向前精進,不要有懈怠。所以,「精進鎧勿退怯」。我們要精進,我們要預防我們的心退轉了,所以,要「堅固誡勿疑惑」,對佛法我們不要疑惑。

記得舍利弗「三請」,佛陀已經說過幾次了,「止!止!」,因為這個法很深、很深,無法信解、無法接受的人,他會起了邪思、會起了邪行,會起了……等等。現在來到這裡,在「跡門」就已經為我們提起,現在來到這裡,入「本門」之中,佛陀還要再次提醒我們;過去是舍利弗問,現在是彌勒菩薩來問。

所以佛陀開始說,雖然是馬上回答,但是現在在說,佛陀的過程,要說的過程他還要再提醒我們、要交代我們。我們要很堅固心,要有深信心,這事關在天下的真理,事關在我們的慧命。我們生命的來去,在人間、在六道,到底是要去哪一道?這事關重大,一大事因緣,我們怎麼能夠不用心呢?所以,我們一定要很一心,堅定、深信。

所以,「汝等」。這就是前面開頭,就是「汝等」,「開始你們要共一心」。這就是開始在教誡我們。大家要好好,心就是要共一心,這是佛的慈悲,「提警示誡」,提高我們的警覺,表示佛陀對我們的教誡,是真實不虛,我們就要好好用功受持。

汝等:
佛慈提警示誡
將欲說而先誡者
令其勇猛諦聽
聞已信行
不可以意趣幽深
而生疑退

「將欲說而先誡」,要說之前又先提醒我們,「令其勇猛諦聽」,要讓大家要提起精進的心,提起精神來好好聽,因為他是要「顯本」,大家要好好認真聽。所以,「聞已信行」,聽了之後要相信,要身體力行,「不可以意趣幽深,」,不要說「這個很幽深,這個意怎麼含那麼多?怎麼會那麼深?」從這樣,心起了懈怠、起了疑懼。這深要深到哪裡去?懈怠,就開始,這當中就會有疑,就無法向前前進,所以我們要很自我警惕。

「如來今欲顯發宣示,諸佛智慧」,這個時候開始,不是只有說這些菩薩而已,連諸佛,或者是外方來的分身佛,或者是過去、未來的諸佛,很多的大士都會在這個地方。開始要明朗化,要向大家來說這些諸佛的智慧,是如何累積來。

如來今欲顯發宣示
諸佛智慧:
欲明大事
故誡勸之
諸佛所證無上智慧
如來明因果智
諸佛智慧
甚深無量
人不能知
今借地涌之眾
開示壽量
以顯如來甚深智慧
故云發堅固意
顯發心起行之因等

所以「欲明大事」,這就是一大事。每一尊佛如何修行過程?他們的「六度萬行」如何行過?如何得到這一大事因緣在人間?在他們國土成佛這個過程。所以,「故誡勸之」,要教育大家;要聽這樣的法,我們應該用恭敬心。我們剛才開頭就說,向三寶──佛、法、僧,我們要這樣恭敬。我們也要恭敬我們的父母,給我們這個身體,我們要感恩。感恩圖報,那就是要我們成就,我們修行有要修行的態度,我們做人有做人的責任,這就是要盡我們的本分,做我們該做的本事,這就是我們要好好依教奉行。

所以,佛陀還是要教育我們,教誡我們、勸導我們。過去從很容易了解,那個「跡門」,已經讓我們通過了,現在要入「本門」時,要入這個根本道理的門來,才得要更加謹慎,我們該做的是什麼;過去的諸佛,現在的佛,過程是如何走過來?所以,我們要好好用心。「諸佛所證無上智慧」,那個智慧是如何的累積來?

所以,「如來明因果智」。「明因果智」,就是明白,要讓我們很清楚,明白那個因;因,你種什麼因,但是,這個因和這個因,無法混合在一起;不論你用一個桶子,幾種的因,這些種子都將它混合在一起,拿去種,肯定你土地上面,是好幾種不同類,出來的東西。同樣的道理,造惡,那就是種惡因,將來是結惡果。但是,善因若較多,當然那善的力量就較旺起來;若惡因多,惡的現行就會更多。是不是善過了,現行,惡就不見了?同樣惡還是在。這就是我們要很用心,要去體會,這個因,明因。我們要去觀察,所以「成所作智」,我們就要再「妙觀察智」。我們這輩子已經在人間裡,我們所看到的環境等等,所接觸到的,我們要好好細思,好好地觀察,好好詳細來思考,聽法更需要!我們能夠通達了眾生平等,平等,「平等性智」。我們現在在這一輩子,要將它完成起來,看有沒有辦法將我們的這個法,一直到就像大面鏡子一樣,能夠普觀一切,法都成就。這就是我們要用心,沒有身體力行,根本就沒有辦法。

所以,佛,他的一切智、道種智、一切種智,這就是「佛智」。所以佛就是這樣的成就,三智具足,所以結果成佛,這個智慧在人間度化。所以,「諸佛智慧,甚深無量」。佛的智慧是很深、很深,甚深、甚深,真實甚深!不過,我們人就是不知;因為它很深,不過我們不能不知道。所以,「今借地湧」,「今」,現在,借著這個土地裂開,種子都湧現出來,用這樣的境界要為大家開示。其實,這個因的源頭,是從多久多久以前所有的東西,埋在地下裡。

就像我們人,我們善念,都一直埋在我們的心底下,人人本來有的真如本性,都一直埋沒掉,現在已經展開了。所以,現在展開、心開了、意解了,現在佛陀就要為我們指示,為我們開示,開示這個因的種子的由來,如何來,那就要說到「壽量」了。所以,「以顯如來甚深智慧」。說這個種子的來源,就是有多久、多久,多深、多深,這樣一路要告訴我們。「故云發堅固意」,你一定要很堅固的心,堅固的意,來「顯發心」,顯出了發心起行的因。從發第一念心開始,一直過來。這個一直增過來的這個因。所以我們行「六度萬行」;一直說「六度萬行」,「六度萬行」是什麼?就是這樣,「發堅固意」,而且顯出了初發心那念心開始,一直走來,這萬行,這個因就是這樣,不斷、不斷這樣一直延續過來,叫做「六度萬行」,因圓果滿,就能夠成佛。但是這當中,這當中是很重要,發心第一念,我們是不是在這個第一念,我們脫節掉了呢?應該要沒有,沒有脫節,我們才能綿綿連連,這樣一路走過,「六度萬行」。當然,這必定要來自第一念心。

所以菩薩修行,一定這念心繼續走,過程就是要起這分的恭敬,縮小自己,用敬,最親近的人;我們表達的恭敬,自然對人群中,我們就一樣,如父、如母,如師、如友,這樣的恭敬,這就是我們修行的起頭。總而言之,做人很好,有法可聽,只是需要我們要時時多用心!


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Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: Donning the Armor of Diligence With Firm Resolve (被精進鎧 發堅固意)
Date: November.21.2018

“When Bodhisattvas engage in spiritual practice in front of the Buddha, the Dharma, the Sangha, their parents, teachers and elders, they always give rise to humility to respectfully serve, be filial and provide for them. With this as their cause, it gives rise to different effects in their cyclic existence. Bodhisattvas will help all beings be transformed. This is known as cultivating the cause and receiving the effects.”

We must be mindful! We need to listen and understand. Indeed, “Bodhisattvas engage in spiritual practice.” Bodhisattvas must engage in spiritual practice over the course of many lifetimes. Over the course of these countless lifetimes, they always have parents, teachers and elders. This is a definite principle in life. When Bodhisattvas are reborn in the world, their lives are exactly like ours, except that when they come to live in the world, they attain realizations from the lives of ordinary people, understand various kinds of suffering in the world and also realize that in life as a human, there is only birth, living, aging, sickness and finally death. “What is the value of a life like this?” They then aspire to investigate the principles of life, to comprehend where the true principles of life really lie. Why is there suffering of birth, aging, illness and death in this world? Why is there the suffering of parting with loved ones? Why is there the suffering of meeting those we hate?

Why is there the suffering of disparities in wealth and status? Oh, why is there so much suffering? The more they investigate, the more they come to realize [the truth]. This is how they begin forming aspirations to pursue [the answers]. In the course of their pursuit, they make vows to keep moving forward along the path in the right direction. The world is full of so many suffering sentient beings; they must make everyone aware of this principle. So, on one hand they mindfully pursue the Buddha-Dharma; this is called “seeking the path to Buddhahood.” On the other hand they also seize the moment to find ways to spread the wonderful principles by sharing them among people, so that everyone can realize and understand them. In this way, they spread the Buddha-Dharma widely throughout the world. These people are Bodhisattvas.

In this manner, they pursue the true principles to realize the Buddha-Dharma, while simultaneously putting the principles into practice in their daily living by willingly helping others through good and virtuous deeds. When people’s minds are afflicted, entangled and unable to analyze things clearly, Bodhisattvas come to teach them with the Dharma. This is called “seeking the path to Buddhahood while transforming sentient beings.” So, they are those who listen to the Dharma, practice the Dharma, teach the Dharma and spread the Dharma. Bodhisattvas cultivate the Buddha-Dharma by putting it into practice and also spreading the Dharma.

So, the Dharma comes from the Buddha. The source of the teaching is the Great Enlightened One, who is the Buddha. Thus, we should revere and respect the source of the Dharma, the direction that the Buddha gave us. We must also be very grateful for the Dharma circulating in the world. We must practice according to the teachings. So, we should form aspirations to concentrate on our spiritual practice. With so much suffering in the world, if we do not first let go of our own suffering, let go of the source and cause of suffering, then how can we engage in spiritual practice? So, we set [everything] aside to focus on entering the monastic community and serving the Buddha and the Sangha. Having entered here, we begin to follow the Buddha’s teaching and guidance by upholding the practice with body and mind, since we live in such an environment. So, we should have respect for the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha. When it comes to our body, where do our bodies come from? They come from our parents. So, we should respect and honor our parents. To practice filial piety, we use the life our parents have given us and repay them through our wisdom-lives. Life is inherently impermanent. Birth, aging, illness and death are all in the law of nature. We have a pair of parents in each lifetime and we have passed through many lifetimes, being reborn over the course of many kalpas. Many kalpas is a very long time and over the course of that very long period of time, we do not know how many lifetimes we experienced. Fortunately, we are now in the human realm where the principle of impermanence serves to constantly heighten our vigilance.

Life is very short! We must remind ourselves to be vigilant. Since life is so short and especially since the world is impermanent, [we know] this principle is surely true, so we should be even more vigilant.

Therefore, we should seize the moment. We know that worldly pleasures are fleeting. Not only is [life] short, it is also constantly changing and impermanent. We should seize this moment in this lifetime. In the present moment of this lifetime, our minds should never deviate from the Dharma. Moreover, we should quickly apply the Dharma in our daily living. Our lives are inseparable from other people so we must constantly learn by being among people. When practicing according to the teachings, some people listen to one teaching and they can understand 10, 100, or even 10 million things while others cannot understand a word or a verse, even after hearing it 10 times. This is how our capabilities differ in sharpness or dullness. Why do some people have such sharp capabilities? It is because they never lose their morals and virtues, and they know the principles. The source of learning the Dharma is the Buddha, the Dharma, the Sangha and our parents’ grace, which are all very clear. When people pass on the Dharma to us or teach us,we must be very grateful. This is all very clear. We have engraved in our minds these very clear principles of life, and we will always remember them. Because of this, we always treat others with reverence. We know to revere the Buddha, revere the Dharma, revere the Sangha and respect our parents. We hope that we can repay the grace of the Three Treasures, and repay the grace of our parents, teachers and elders. How do we repay them? By being diligent with our reward-body. We must clearly understand the principles; in terms of how we act, we must always [advance] in the right direction so that we do not become confused. How do we cultivate our mind in very single moment so that we are constantly moving in the direction of awakening? We become “awakened sentient beings,” people who awaken in the world and have love for others. This is how we must repay our parents’ grace for giving us our bodies, which has given us the chance to learn the Dharma and live among the Three Treasures, the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha.

If we are reverent and grateful, then naturally within our minds, we will “always give rise to humility”. Since the source of our body, the source of our thinking and psychology, lies in the teachings of the Buddha-Dharma, we should take our bodies as vessels for spiritual practice. We should use them well and never be conceited or arrogant. Thus, we must humble ourselves and [cultivate] humility in our attitude toward the Buddha, the Dharma, the Sangha, our parents and all people. This is reverence and gratitude.

This is “humility”. It does not mean being aloof, thinking, “I am so smart; I know so much”. When we increase our self-importance, we forget, the concept of where our body and mind comes from. We should remind ourselves to be vigilant of this. So, we must earnestly cultivate reverence and gratitude. With this body, naturally we will ”respectfully serve, be filial and provide for [our elders]. We should set aside all matters and, with reverent heart, be filial and provide for our teachers, elders, the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha. When we do this in our daily living, everything we say and do, our attitude and expression will all be seeds.

If we are humble and reverent in our hearts, then this mindset will be expressed in our attitude. When we express this attitude, the people receiving feel differently; they will feel joyful in their hearts. In our minds, when this becomes part of our consciousness, we will have engraved the Dharma into our hearts. If we always treat the Buddha-Dharma, our teachers, and our elders with such humility, we will naturally be like this with everyone else. This will have already becomes part of our [karmic] consciousness, a seed in our memory. This is what people ordinary call a “[good] habit”. When we treat others and handle matters in the same way as we treat our elders, we are treating everyone with humility. By the time we have cultivated this [good] habit the seed has ripened.

“With this as the cause,” we will no longer need to strive to practice it, for it is habitual; we just do it that way, as it should be according to the principles. This is how we practice etiquette. This is how etiquette is developed. So, etiquette is based upon principles. It is what it should be according to principles. These become a habitual part of everyone’s consciousness. This is our “cause,” our seed. We do not need to put effort into it, because this is just how we do things! This is just the way we treat people, as it should be; this is just how we conduct ourselves. In facing the Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, our teachers, parents and elders and all the way to other people, this mindset will become very natural [for us]. It is a natural principle.

This etiquette, this propriety, is a natural principle. This is our cause, our causal seed. So, for all of us, “the only thing we take with us when we die is karma”. For us ordinary beings, “the gives rise to different effects in [our] cyclic existence”.

In this lifetime, as we engage in spiritual practice as monastic, we most lively will not lose our human form, unless of course we aspire to be reborn in the heaven realm. Usually, when we refrain from breaking precepts, refrain from committing the Ten Evils and do good deeds, as long as our hearts still seek to escape suffering, we will be reborn in heaven. [This will happen] unless, with firm aspirations, [we say,] “I will not go to heaven!” I will do the Buddha’s work as a Bodhisattva. [That is], unless we have this aspiration to become Bodhisattvas and attain Buddhahood and do not crave pleasures or fear transmigration throughout the Six Realms. This is because at the ultimate level of wisdom, we do not crave Nirvana. This is wisdom. We learn the Buddha-Dharma to truly attain Buddhahood, which means to completely attain Buddhahood. The Buddha repeatedly comes to the world lifetime after lifetime. The Buddha not only comes to the human realm, He comes and goes throughout the Six Realms, following sentient beings to relieve sentient beings [from suffering]. So, He is the “guiding teacher of the Three Realms” and “kind father of the Four Kinds of Beings”. Those in the Three Realms can all receive the Buddha-Dharma’s teaching and transformation. The Buddha always follows sentient beings; He accords with their conditions. He forms aspirations and makes vows to relieve sentient beings from suffering in the Four Evil Realms, so He must go to those realms as well. Thus, although we may not break the precepts while in this world, although we may not lose our human form, there is still the chance that we have remaining karma from a past lifetime.

Everyone is responsible for their own karma. If we create evil karma, we must accept its negative retributions. If we create good karma, then we will receive positive retributions. Yet, when we were still ordinary people, before we began engaging in spiritual practice and before we heard the Buddha-Dharma, we might not have practiced the Ten Good Deeds, and we might have even committed the Ten Evils. If we committed the Ten Evils, then who is responsible for the effects? It is always we ourselves. Yet, through our blessed [affinities], we have encountered the Dharma. Through our causes and conditions, our very powerful causes and conditions, we have come to enter the Buddha-Dharma. We changed our past [behavior]. We have transformed our past evil deeds, the Ten Evils we committed in the past, and now we practice the Ten Good Deeds. These Ten Good Deeds accumulate, so we have eliminated our past habitual tendencies. Now we are fully headed toward virtuous causes and good fruits as we accumulate this goodness. When we accumulate a lot of good deeds, do those bad deeds we did in the past all disappear? They do not disappear. It all depends on whether we have done good deeds in our past lifetimes, whether we have accumulated good karma over many lifetimes and walked the path of goodness. However, when it comes to our evil karma, if the negative conditions we created in the past are very strong and our positive [conditions] are weaker, then this evil cause will manifest itself in ways that we cannot escape from.

This is like how, for ten lifetimes, Master Wu Da had been an eminent monk. Throughout lifetime after lifetime, he was very careful in his spiritual practice, to the point that he gained the respect of the Tang emperor Yizong, who rewarded him with a sandalwood chair. Just as he was about to sit in it, Master Wu Da became smug and self-satisfied. With this, his karmic door was slightly ajar, and an unwholesome thought entered his mind. In his arrogance, he forgot himself; he was not paying attention and hit his leg. All he did was bump it against something, but it then became bruised. The bruise began to fester and took on a strange shape; tis growth could not be controlled. The boil took on the shape of a human face. It tormented him unbearably. Thinks to his karmic affinity with Venerable Kanaka from when he had come to Venerable Kanaka’s aid, this blessed cause came together with these conditions, and Venerable Kanaka came to save him in time. He instructed him to wash away his karmic obstacles. This is why we now have the Waster Repentance Sutra to recite. An eminent monk in this lifetime, He had engaged in spiritual practice for 10 lifetimes, culminating in his eminence in this lifetime. But in the past he had plotted to murder someone, and that evil karma still remained. So, if karma is not exhausted, it is like a ball of iron that never disappears. It is just like a burning ball of iron that continues to burn red hot. So, we need to be very mindful.

If we are not careful, as our transmigration in the Six Realms depends on the causes we created, then we will attain the results accordingly. If our retribution is to go to hell, then that is the realm we will go to. If our retribution is to become an animal, then we will go to the animal realm. If our retribution is to become a hungry ghost, then we will go to the realm of hungry ghosts. These are all different realms. [Causes] “give rise to different effects”. Because of what we have done in our past lives, these causes bring about different retributions. This is how, as sentient beings, we end up on different paths in different places. [These causes] “give rise to different effects in cyclic existence. Bodhisattvas will help all beings be transformed”. This is what Bodhisattvas hope for. Whatever realm they go to, they go there willingly just like the Buddha did. Wherever there is suffering, they willingly go to relieve them. However, the human realm is most important, for it is in the human realm that we guard the door to the hell realm and shut the door to the animal realm. If we can teach people to do good deeds and refrain from breaking the precepts, then naturally they will not create those causes so as to suffer those kinds of results. So, as we repeatedly come and go in life, we practice the Bodhisattva-path. This is what Bodhisattvas practice. Thus, we must be a role model for others. With cultivation, we gain virtues and form good affinities with others. Only then can others accept what we t ell them. Thus, we need to put [the Dharma] into practice. So, “Bodhisattvas will help all beings be transformed”. Only when we have affinities with people will they accept what we say and let us transform them. Because of this, “This is known as cultivating the cause and receiving the effects”. If we wish to transform others, we must engage in spiritual practice ourselves and cultivate our causes. The purpose of all this is to guide us to earnestly form aspirations and make vows. Good and evil are clearly different. If our goodness is stronger, then we can follow these good karmic conditions and quickly accumulate them so that we have benefactors in our lives. We see how Master Wu Da practiced goodness. Before he was accomplished, he did good by saving someone He saved Venerable Kanaka. Venerable Kanaka then became Master Wu Da’s benefactor, who gave him the chance to eliminate the suffering in his life. Thus, people of future generations have the chance to read the Water Repentance Sutra.

This is all a matter of causes and conditions. So, we must earnestly seize karmic conditions as we go about our daily living. So, “[Causes] give rise to different effects”. In different realms. It is best for us to stay in the human realm. In the human realm, we see all the Six Realms, so we can earnestly engage in spiritual practice.

[Causes] give rise to different effects. Unenlightened beings transmigrating through the Six Realms are reborn according to the retributions from all the different kinds of karma they create. Unenlightened beings create all kinds of karma, so they receive all kinds of effects and are reborn in 10,000 different physical forms. Thus, it says, “[Causes] give rise to different effects”.

“Unenlightened beings transmigrating through the Six Realms are reborn according to the retributions from all the different kinds of karma they create”. The karma we create determines the realm we will be born in. This is how it “gives rise to different effects”. Unenlightened beings create all kinds of karma, so they receive all kinds of effects and are reborn in 10,000 different physical forms”. Every kind of sentient being born in every realm has different appearance. In the animal realm alone, who knows how many millions of species there are! “Unenlightened beings crate all kinds of karma, so they receive all kinds of effects”. Will we ultimately be reborn as an elephant, as a chicken or a duck? These are all animal realm retributions. There are many different forms, Even a chicken or a duck can save someone. There are many such stories. So, they are reborn in 10,000 different physical forms. These are all sentient beings. Every kind of animal is included when we talk about sentient beings. When we speak of saving beings, these animals are all included. Animals do not exist for us to eat. They are born in the animal realm due to their karmic retribution. This is why we should heighten our vigilance and mindfully seek to comprehend this.

“Thus, it says, [Causes] give rise to different effects.” Different ways of life exist due to different karmic retributions. This is what we need to clearly understand. We have yet to get into the sutra itself, but [the previous passages] help teach us how to be diligent, and as we go about our daily living, how we should care for our minds. So, we must mindfully listen to the Dharma.

The previous sutra 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’”.

We talked about this before. It is simple, so we understand it upon hearing it. The next sutra passage goes on to state, “All of you together should be of one mind, don the armor of diligence and form firm resolve. The Tathagata now wishes to reveal and proclaim the wisdom of all Buddhas.”

We must all listen mindfully and wholeheartedly. We must be diligent in our mind and truly be resolved in our aspirations. The Buddha carefully admonished us to never let our thoughts become scattered, so this is why He said, “All of you together should be of one mind, don the armor of diligence…”. It is as if we are going into battle, so we must don our armor.

All of you together should be of one mind, don the armor of diligence: Before the Buddha would reply, He first admonished them to focus their minds. In practicing the path to destroy the maras, diligence is most valuable. It is like donning an armor before entering a battle.

This was the Buddha responding to Maitreya Bodhisattva’s question. The Buddha was about to answer him. Before He answered, the Buddha admonished us to be single-minded in our diligence and not be scatter-minded when listening to the Dharma. We must focus on listening to the Dharma. Before the Buddha responded, He first warned us, “Do not get distracted. You must really focus”. So, “He first admonished them to focus their minds”. He first admonished us, telling us that we should focus our minds. “In practicing the path to destroy the maras, diligence is most valuable”. In spiritual practice, we must focus our minds like this, so the maras cannot come and disturb us. The maras are the maras of our mind. The discursive thoughts in our minds are all called maras.

When the mind becomes distracted, the maras of afflictions arise in our minds. This is because the mind becomes distracted and branches toward external objects. We must always collect our thoughts to be of one mind. Before the Buddha began to speak, He told everyone to focus their minds and be of one mind, so we must earnestly be mindful and diligent. Being of one mind is to focus the mind and truly be diligent. “Being diligent is most valuable.” It is like donning an armor before entering a battle. It means we must don our battle armor. It is “Forming firm resolve”. If our resolve is not firm, we cannot do anything.

If we want to accomplish something, this depends on whether we have a firm resolve, whether we have string willpower and it depends upon ourselves; are we focused? Do we have firm resolve? As we seek to accomplish this thing, do we willingly give of ourselves? This all requires great mindfulness. So, if we are not resolved and single-minded, we will not be able to accomplish anything.

Form firm resolve: Without firm resolve, one cannot accomplish things. Thus, He first exhorted them to be diligent and firm. This was to admonish those in the assembly and help them give rise to deep faith.

“Thus, He first exhorted them to be diligent and to establish firm resolve.” This was how He admonished them. He admonished the assembly, “If you want to listen to the Dharma, you need to be like this. You need to be single-minded and diligent. Be firm in your resolve”. Being single-mindedly diligent and firm in resolve is very important! When the Buddha taught the Dharma, He did this as well. This helped them give rise to faith so they had deep resolve and faith.

If people’s minds are not diligent and their resolve is not firm, they will easily give rise to delusion and disturbance. They will be unable to have right faith in the path Buddhahood. He admonished them to be of one mind, so as not to be distracted and disturbed. He admonished them to don the armor, so as not to become lax. He admonished them to be diligent, so as not to retreat out of fear. He admonished them to be firm, so as not to become doubtful.

So, if “we are not diligent” and our “resolve is not firm, we will easily give rise to delusion and disturbance”. If our minds are not diligent and our resolve is not firm, then our minds can quickly become distracted and easily give rise to delusion and disturbance. Our minds then become deluded. These delusions can be very subtle. They can lead to improper thoughts, even illusory understanding, illusory views and fantasies. As we have all these thoughts, we can easily be distracted. So, “They will be unable to have right faith in the path to Buddhahood”. If we do not focus our minds and refuse to be diligent and have firm resolve, then, while we are on the path to Buddhahood, it will be impossible to enter the path to Buddhahood with right faith. So, “He admonished them to be of one mind so as not to be distracted and disturbed”. This warns and admonishes us to advance diligently and single-mindedly. When it comes to the Buddha-Dharma, we must be single-minded in our firm resolve. We can see that many different religions also [require the same resolve]. So, we must do the same.

We must have right faith, right views, right understanding and right conduct. The principles must be practiced. Our thinking must come together with matters in order to be principles. We must be mindful in choosing our direction and make an effort to clear the way. So, to diligently clear the way, we must earnestly prepare ourselves by donning our armor and never growing lax.

It is as if we were going into battle. When going into battle, how could we be lax? We must be sharp, for the enemy is before us. These maras are all forms of discursive thinking that influence us to deviate in our faith. Just like donning armor for battle, we must advance forward and not be lax. “He admonished them to be diligent, so as not to retreat out of fear”. We must be diligent to prevent our minds from retreating. So, we must “be firm, so as not to become doubtful”. We must not have doubts in the Buddha-Dharma.

Remember when Sariputra “requested three times”. The Buddha had already told him several times, “Stop! Stop!” This was because the Dharma is so profound that those who cannot understand or accept it will give rise to deviant thoughts, deviant actions and so on. Now, at this point, He had given us the “teaching of the manifest”. Now, at this point, He was entering the “teaching of the intrinsic”. The Buddha had to again remind us. In the past, it was Sariputra who did the asking. Now it was Maitreya who did the asking.

So, when the Buddha began to teach, although He would promptly answer them, as part of His process of teaching, as a matter of course, He still wished to remind them again. He wished to instruct them to have firm aspirations and profound faith. This matter relates to the true principles of the world. Our wisdom-life depends upon it. As we come and go in life, in this world, among the Six Realms, which realm will we go to? It is very important, our great cause, so how can we not be mindful? So, we must be very single-minded, determined and have deep faith.

Next [He said], “All of you”. At the beginning, He said, “All of you. You must all start by together having one mind”. He began by teaching and admonishing them. “You all must be earnest and single-minded”. This is the Buddha’s compassion. He “warned and admonished them” to heighten their vigilance. The admonishment the Buddha conveyed toward us was true and not false, so we must earnestly be diligent to accept and uphold it.

All of you: The Buddha, out of loving-kindness, warned and admonished them. He first admonished them before He was about to teach to help them be courageous and listen carefully. After listening, they had to have faith in and practice it. They could not give rise to doubt and resignation just because its meaning and purpose were obscure and profound.

“He first admonished them before He was about to teach”. Before teaching, He wanted to first remind them, “to help them be courageous and listen carefully”. He wanted to help elevate their diligence and lift their spirits so they would listen carefully. This is because He was to “reveal the intrinsic,” so everyone needed to listen very carefully. So, “After listening, they had to have faith in and practice it”. After listening to it, we must have faith in it and put it into practice, though “its meaning and purpose were obscure and profound”. We cannot say, “This is so obscure and profound. How can have so many meanings? How can it be so profound?” Such thinking gives rise to laziness, doubt and fear. How deep can it possibly go? When we become lax, we begin to have doubts and it will be impossible to advance forward. We must always remain vigilant of this. “The Tathagata now wishes to reveal and proclaim the wisdom of all Buddhas”. Starting from that point, He was not only speaking to those Bodhisattvas, but also to all the Buddhas, the Buddha’s manifestations from other lands, past Buddhas, Buddhas to come and the many great beings who had gathered there. He would begin to clearly explain to all of them how the wisdom of every Buddha was accumulated.

The Tathagata now wishes to reveal and proclaim the wisdom of all Buddhas: He wished to explain this great matter, so He admonished and exhorted them. With the supreme wisdom realized by all Buddhas, the Tathagata would explain the wisdom of cause and effect. The wisdom of all Buddhas is profound and infinite and not something people can understand. Now by using the group emerging from the ground, He taught about His lifespan to reveal the Tathagata’s extremely profound wisdom. Thus, He said to “form firm resolve”. This was to reveal the cause of forming aspirations and beginning to practice.

So, “He wished to explain this great matter” This was a great matter. What is the process of spiritual practice that every Buddha must go through? How do they “actualize the Six Paramitas in all actions”? How do they attain the karmic conditions for this one great cause in the world? How do they attain Buddhahood in the lands that they are in? So, “He admonished and exhorted them”. He wanted to teach them all. In order to listen to a teaching like this, we must have reverence in our hearts.

As we said at the beginning, we need reverence toward the Three Treasures, the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha. We should also respect our parents for giving us our bodies; we should be grateful to them. If we want to repay their grace, then we need to become accomplished ourselves by having the proper attitude toward our spiritual practice, by being responsible in conducting ourselves. This means fulfilling our responsibilities and doing the things we should do. This means we should practice earnestly in accordance with the teachings. So, the Buddha still wanted to teach us, admonish us and guide us. He started with teachings more easily understood, with “the door of the manifest,” which we have all gone through. At this time, He was about to enter “the door of the intrinsic.” To begin teaching these fundamental principles, He had to be even more cautious. What should we do? How did all past Buddhas and the present Buddha finish their journey?

So, we should put effort into being mindful. “The wisdom of all Buddhas is profound and infinite.” How did they accumulate such wisdom? So, “The Tathagata would explain the wisdom of cause and effect. Explaining the wisdom of cause and effect” meant He would make it clear and help us understand that cause. What cause, what seed will we plant? We cannot mix different causes together. If we were to place in a bucket several different kinds of seeds and mixed them all together, then sowed them in the ground like that, several different plants would grow. By the same principle, if we plant evil seeds, in the future we will reap negative fruits.

However, if there are more good seeds, then the strength of those good seeds will be relatively stronger. If there are more evil seeds, then there will be more evil that manifests. Even if there is more good that manifests, does it mean that evil has disappeared? That evil is still there. This is what we should mindfully seek to comprehend. To understand this cause, we must observe it.

So, we need “all-encompassing wisdom” and then we need “profound discerning wisdom.” In this lifetime, we are now in the human realm. With everything we see in our surroundings and everything we come in contact with, we should carefully contemplate it, carefully observe it and earnestly and meticulously consider it. Moreover, we need to listen to the Dharma. We can thoroughly understand how all sentient beings are equal. This understanding of equality is “universal equality wisdom.”

Right now in this lifetime, we should try to attain this, to go from an understanding of this teaching to becoming like a great perfect mirror that can observe all things universally and understand all Dharma. This is why we need to be mindful. Without putting it into practice, we cannot do this. So, when it comes to the Buddha, the wisdom of all paths and all-encompassing wisdom. This is the Buddha’s wisdom.

This is what the Buddha attained. He was replete in the three kinds of wisdom, so this resulted in His enlightenment and in transforming others in the world with this wisdom. So, “The wisdom of all Buddhas is profound and infinite.” The Buddha’s wisdom is very profound. It is profound, profound, truly very profound! We humans do not know about this. It is very profound, but we still cannot afford not to know about it. So, He “now used the group” that was “emerging from the ground.”

“Now,” at that moment, He used the splitting open of the earth and the emergence of all those seeds as an analogy to open and reveal this to everyone. In fact, those seeds had originated from things that existed a long time ago, but were buried underground. This is like us humans; our good thoughts have always remained buried at the bottom of our hearts. The nature of True Suchness intrinsic to everyone has always remained buried. Now, it is revealed. So, now that it is revealed, our hearts have opened and we understand. At this point, the Buddha wanted to instruct us, to open and reveal for us, the origin of these causal seeds and how they came about. This is why He taught about His “lifespan.” So, He “revealed the Tathagata’s extremely profound wisdom.” He explained the source of these seeds, their great ages and their great profundity. He wanted to tell us about all of this. “Thus, He said to ‘form firm resolve.”’ Our aspiration must be very firm, and our intent must be firm if we are to “reveal our aspiration.” In revealing our cause for forming aspirations to begin our practice, we must start from that initial aspiration. All along the way, we have always strengthened that cause.

So, we must “actualize the Six Paramitas in all actions.” We often discuss “actualizing the Six Paramitas in all actions.” What does this mean? This is how we “form firm resolve” from the time we formed our initial aspiration, all the way as we actualize it in all actions. This is how the cause has ceaselessly continued on. This is “actualizing the Six Paramitas in all actions.” When causes and conditions are perfected, we can then attain Buddhahood. However, during this process, what is very important is the initial aspiration on our mind; have we lost touch with that initial aspiration? We must not lose contact with this, so that we can continuously walk this path and “actualize the Six Paramitas in all our actions.” This of course comes from always maintaining our very first aspiration. So, to practice the Bodhisattva-path, we must continue to practice our aspiration. Throughout this process, we must have this reverence, and we must humble ourselves. If we are respectful to those closest to us, we will naturally respect others in the same way that we respect our parents, teachers and friends. This is the starting point for our spiritual practice.

In summary, it is good to be human, for we can listen to the Dharma. All we need to do is to always be mindful!

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