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 20181126《靜思妙蓮華》第一妙法 其義深遠 (第1487集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五)

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20181126《靜思妙蓮華》第一妙法 其義深遠 (第1487集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五) Empty
發表主題: 20181126《靜思妙蓮華》第一妙法 其義深遠 (第1487集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五)   20181126《靜思妙蓮華》第一妙法 其義深遠 (第1487集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五) Empty周日 11月 25, 2018 7:40 pm

20181126《靜思妙蓮華》第一妙法 其義深遠 (第1487集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五)

⊙〈方便品〉云:知第一寂滅,以方便力故,雖示種種相,其實為佛乘。又實相之妙理,是即為第一義。
⊙又實相之妙理,是即為第一義;第一義者,一實之道,理極無過為第一。深有所以,稱為義也。
⊙「爾時、世尊欲重宣此義而說偈言:當精進一心,我欲說此事,勿得有疑悔,佛智叵思議。汝今出信力,住於忍善中,昔所未聞法,今皆當得聞,我今安慰汝,勿得懷疑懼,佛無不實語,智慧不可量。」《法華經從地涌出品第十五》
⊙「所得第一法,甚深叵分別,如是今當說,汝等一心聽。」《法華經從地涌出品第十五》
⊙所得第一法,甚深叵分別:佛所證得第一妙法,其義深遠,不可以思量、言語而論其義分別之。
⊙法華經唯談一乘實相之理,此之妙法,而獨以蓮華為喻,是妙法則權而實,一乘之法,理體同蓮華,華果同時,名妙法蓮華。
⊙如是今當說,汝等一心聽:如是深妙,今當演說;汝等咸須一心,善思念而諦聽。
⊙信心而有力,斯為深信,依然須住於忍善之中,則此信力更為不可搖動。能以此信聞受昔所未聞之如來智慧,方免疑悔與懼。
⊙「爾時、世尊說此偈已,告彌勒菩薩:『我今於此大眾,宣告汝等。』」《法華經從地涌出品第十五》
⊙「阿逸多!是諸大菩薩摩訶薩,無量無數阿僧祇從地涌出,汝等昔所未見者。」《法華經從地涌出品第十五》
⊙無量無數阿僧祇從地涌出,汝等昔所未見者:如是數量,如前云我常遍遊未見是事。

【證嚴上人開示】
〈方便品〉云:知第一寂滅,以方便力故,雖示種種相,其實為佛乘。

〈方便品〉云:
知第一寂滅
以方便力故
雖示種種相
其實為佛乘

這段文,是《法華經.方便品》經文裡面這樣說。現在我們已經從「跡門」,已經進來,之後我們入「本門」來了;本門就是根本。佛要講說諸佛菩薩來的因緣,要用什麼樣的事相,來解說這些道理呢?理是無形、無體相,要如何將這個法顯示出來?所以一定要我們接受法的人,前面我們就說「信」,我們要建立甚深的信心。我們對信心一定要很堅固、一定要很深入,而且沒有懷疑。「信為道源功德母,長養一切諸善根」,這就是我們進入佛門來,很重要!

因為我們要接受的是道理,道理就是這樣無形、無體相,所以佛法,有人將它叫做「空門」,無形、無體,它的道理就是這樣。這要如何來教法呢?佛陀就「以方便力」,發揮了他的方便智慧力。所以要「示」,顯示了那個善有為法,那就是「種種」相;用種種的人間世事形相,來告訴我們道理。其實說這麼多道理,做這麼多事情,一切善有為法,是很多,其實只為一件事情,那就是為一佛乘。其實,佛說這麼多事情,不論是他做;佛陀親自去做,顯示人間等等的經歷,就將這個經歷過的來告訴大家。而眾生有困難,有心靈不能解了的事情,他就從眾生那個心靈的苦處,從人間,人與人之間,什麼樣的起因,造成什麼樣的煩惱;是什麼樣的煩惱,又再延續造作的果報。這樣的起因,延續無明、煩惱造作,因緣果報,受報了。而這個因緣,他就再將它延伸到過去、過去,無量數劫,生生世世。光只是說眾生,他們也有他們過去生所造的因,現在生所得的果報,這都是用種種方便法。說它是方便法嗎?其實是一佛乘。這就是道理,道理就是在人、事、物中;人、事、物中一切的道理,總歸納起來那就是一佛乘,它的原理,原本的道理。

人也是這樣,人人千差萬別,不同的人種、不同的語言、不同的生活、不同的個性。哇,這真的是無法去計算、無法去分類。到底什麼樣的人是好人?各人都有優點,但是在各人的優點中,卻也有不好的缺點,總是不會圓滿。凡夫於德有虧,就是我們凡夫,哪怕是修行者也難得圓滿,這就是佛陀要如何為我們,說出了能夠圓滿。當然,這就是要用種種的方法,讓我們有耐心、信心、精進心,我們願意在四修法,「四修」──無間、無餘、長時,這樣不斷尊重著法。我們要真正深信,因為我們有深信,所以我們「四安樂行」──身、口、意、立宏誓願。佛陀弘法,他有次序,這樣、這樣將我們引導過來,我們應該要相信。

從〈方便品〉開始,要我們知道,「知第一寂滅法」。我們一定要知道,這第一寂滅,既然是寂滅,當然就是無生;無生就是,再也沒有又有煩惱產生。我們既然滅掉了煩惱了,乾淨了,就不要再讓那個無明染污,再次又來我們的心裡。這就是寂滅之後,已經寂靜清澄了,就不應該再受污染,這種的不再生污染。原來我們的本性不增不滅,開始無始無終,一直就是這樣,未來也沒有損滅掉,我們的真如本性,這我們應該要很透徹清楚。還未清楚,但是你一定要有信心,不要又在信心生起煩惱,不要在信心再生起疑惑。從方便法要轉過來一實乘法,這個當中關鍵是很重要。

我們現在來到這裡,佛陀又再為我們提起要信、要精進,不要有疑悔。我們昨天才說過而已。所以,在〈方便品〉開頭,既然佛陀要說法了,因為舍利弗「三請」,佛陀開始要講法了,他就要先告訴大家,「知一切寂滅」。大家要知道這個法最終的目的,就是大家一定要知道,從開頭一直知道、一直了解,共知、共識,我們現在已經在「共行」,要長時間精進。所以,「知第一寂滅」,要知道去除煩惱了,心地乾淨了,再也不要又有污染,再也沒有煩惱無明來污染我們;污染不到我們,到這個程度才是叫做滅,寂滅。

入人群,還是一定要入人群,我們不只是說:「我要預防、預防。」你能夠透徹了解,清楚了、了解了,自然在人群中,什麼樣的環境絕對不會搖動你,不會影響你,也無法去染污到你。所以,這個煩惱永滅盡無餘,全都滅掉了,全都盡了,沒有剩下來,也沒有再受污染的,這是「知第一寂滅」。也知道佛陀設方便法,從無形、無體相,就是為了要教育,不得不要用這樣的方便力,展示出了善有作為,善有為法,這樣來示範於人間。

所以「雖示種種相」,雖然在設方便法,雖然是這樣在教育,其實每一項都是內含著佛性,就是一乘法。雖然是開三乘,但是其實那個三乘中的,一真實法都存在,所以「其實為佛乘」。佛的智慧──一切智、道種智、一切種智,我們都能夠很清楚,這就是真實相的妙理;實相,實相是要有體形。是啊,不論是什麼樣的形體,無不都是有它內含的道理存在。

同樣是樹木,樹大棵,葉子有的很大,大棵樹,有的葉子很小。看看,若是七、八月的時候,學校(學子)都將要畢業了,說鳳凰花開,這個時候,以前的學校都會有,它的葉子細小,落花時校園就要一直掃。這樣的樹過去很普遍,因為若開花,一片紅,很美,但是它的葉子很細小。就像我面前這個盆栽,是很細,還有另外一盆,比它更小盆,它的葉子比這盆的葉子更粗。看看,同樣是樹,麵包樹,巴吉魯(阿美族的野菜。阿巴魯,桑科,波羅蜜屬,即麵包果),葉子就像芭蕉葉那麼大。看看,它一定每棵樹有不一樣的形;不一樣的形,就有它不一樣那個基因,就是道理,種子裡面的道理存在。就像我們人,同樣名稱叫做「人」,看起來人人都一樣,佛、眾生都一樣。其實每一個人的個性不同,每一個人看法、思想、見識,絕對不同。古時候的人一句話說:「一個母親生十個孩子,和母親合起來有十一念心。」這就是母親生的,就無法與母親一樣的心念,這就是人間的複雜。

所以心念,心念會造萬端,是善有為法呢?或者是惡有為法?這全都在行為中。這個行為總是從那一念間,這就是佛陀要我們能夠「知」,這個字「知」,在這個地方的「知」,是很重要的。所以,這是「實相之妙理」,要去透徹了解佛法的道理。你若能夠很透徹,一理通,萬理徹,用心去體會、去了解。所以,「是即為第一義」,這叫做「第一義」。佛法中最第一甚深的義理,因為它沒有形象,要說到讓大家知道,真的是很困難。不是普通人用口頭、語言,能夠分析、議論,真的這個法很深,所以是「實相的妙理,是即為第一義」。

又實相之妙理
是即為第一義
第一義者
一實之道
理極無過為第一
深有所以稱為義也

而「第一義者」,是「一實之道」,那是一實相的道理,而且這個理,「理極無過為第一」。這個理很透徹,至高無上、至深無底,就是這樣很透徹。你要去測量很難測量,無法測量高的有多高、深有多深,所以,深是「有」,能夠很深的法展現出了無量數,無法去分析很多,所以這就是「義」。從這個道理現出了無量無數,無法計算的體形出來,這就是道理。很多深的道理,它在各形各色的形態顯出來,這就是法。

總而言之,歸納回來,凡是你所接觸,包括自己,包括自己生活中,我們的動作、我們的身體、我們的眼力,我們說話的聲音,是多少這個生理組合,生理裡面的器官。若是物理裡面說的「東西」,那就是零件,很多的零件合起來──一個麥克風、一個擴音機。這不是兩項而已,還有線,牽得……等等,這要多少、多少的零件,會合起來,發揮它的功能、效用。而我們人的身體,多少的器官,要有它的功能會合起來,要不然空有兩顆眼睛,有很多系統失調,發揮不出眼睛的功能,外面再多東西,和我們沒有接觸的機會。這可見這個義理,生理,人的生理,外面體形的物理,森羅萬象,包含在一切生物的體態等等,這全都是歸納回來,就是在第一義諦,「理」的源頭,所以「第一義」很深奧。我們在世間,很多的學問分門別類,分科,愈分愈精、愈細,這樣是不是每一個人分出來,很精細,他有透徹嗎?還未透徹,何況林林總總是這麼多!

這就是佛陀他的覺性,要告訴我們人人本具。因為人人本具,我們是凡夫,所以在任何一種的界限。現在你想要徹底了解,你就要分科別門,專精、專精去探討。就是這樣專精探討,理稍微可以了解、了解,但是了解,無法真正能去體會,一件事情都了解不完了。所以我們要用長時間,要用很長的時間,今生此世透徹一件事情,印象、知識印證下去,來生來世再專精、再學習。對人要如何教育?這就是我們,佛陀的法,我們要深生信,一定要信,「信為道源功德母,長養一切諸善根」,要長長久久來培養我們的善根,我們才有辦法發揮善的有為法。一切都是善,要如何身體力行?如何去帶動?如何來教育?這「一切智,道種智」合起來,就是「一切種智」。天下之間林林總總會合起來,佛陀的覺悟,那就是與天地合而為一,那些真理無不清楚,所以我們要很相信。有相信,我們就要向前前進。

所以,前面的文就是這樣說:「爾時、世尊欲重宣此義而說偈言:」

爾時
世尊欲重宣此義
而說偈言
當精進一心
我欲說此事
勿得有疑悔
佛智叵思議
汝今出信力
住於忍善中
昔所未聞法
今皆當得聞
我今安慰汝
勿得懷疑懼
佛無不實語
智慧不可量
《法華經從地涌出品第十五》

前面的文要再重複,用簡短的文字,深奧的道理,再幫助我們的記憶,所以就用偈,就像詩句一樣。所以,偈文就這樣說,「當精進一心」,要我們大家精進一心,心要專,不要分心出去。「我欲說此事,勿得有疑悔」。我現在開始要說這麼深的事情,大家心中不要起疑,因為這個法本來就是與佛智契合。佛智,你要了解佛智,不可思議,很難思、難議,所以要用耐心,不要起懷疑心。

所以,「汝今出信力」,很不容易,現在大家已經相信了,〈信解品〉也說過了,大家都相信了。所以,「住於忍善中」,也就要堪得忍耐。聽法體會道理,要用忍耐的心,要持長久心,好好來聽、繼續聽,這一切都是善法。所以,你要去救濟眾生,一定要有方法,「有法度」;法,你若不要認真、耐心,那要如何入人群度眾生?自己沒有法,如何度眾生呢?那就「無法度」了。所以,我們要住在忍善中,上求法、下化眾生。所以,「昔所未聞法」。現在要說的,可能過去還不曾聽到。「今皆當得聞」,過去你們沒有聽到的法,因為那時候開「三乘法」,小乘人就取小乘法,中乘的人取中乘的法,根本他們就不曾,想要去聽大乘法。過去沒有聽的人,現在應該才更要聽。

所以,「我今安慰汝,勿得懷疑懼」。佛陀用輕柔、殷切的心來安慰:「開始聽,你聽不懂不要緊,但是不要生出懷疑的心,就要堪得忍,用長時間好好來接受。」佛陀就是這樣慢慢地來膚慰,讓大家要耐得住這念心,不要生疑。又向大家保證,「佛無不實語」,佛絕對是真實語,向大家保證。所以,「智慧不可量」,因為這樣,是佛的智慧,覺悟者的智慧,不是我們平常的人,就能夠體會到、聽得到。現在要說的是那個入心的本性,真真正正要談心、談本懷,所以大家不要懷疑。

所以,下面接下來這段文,就是這樣說:「所得第一法,甚深不可分別,如是今當說,汝等一心聽。」

所得第一法
甚深叵分別
如是今當說
汝等一心聽
《法華經從地涌出品第十五》

佛陀向大家這樣安撫好,回過頭來說:「大家要好好用心,佛所得到的法……。」「所得第一法」,佛的境界,他的心體是與天地虛空,合而為一,這麼的開闊,這麼充足的法,這是佛已得的法。因為這樣,我們平常人真的是無法體會,很難為你們分析。

所得第一法
甚深叵分別:
佛所證得第一妙法
其義深遠
不可以思量、言語
而論其義分別之

無體相的真理,是真空,真空是要如何來教育呢?「言語道斷」。話要說出去,用什麼樣的語言,都是無法展現出,這個道是長得什麼樣,沒有辦法,凡夫感受不到,小根器的人無法體會。所以,這個道理,這第一法這麼深,是很難得將它分門別類,收納下來是一念心。在這個這念心要去分析這麼多,這不是我們有辦法去接受到的,這要分析也很困難啊!

所以,「佛所證得的第一妙法」,是理實在很深,「不可以思量」,無法用我們平常人的心思,去測量它,沒辦法。也無法用我們的語言,言語來論,論議佛他的智慧,到底是到什麼程度,無法去分別佛陀所說法,那個內涵這樣很清楚,將它分析到我們能夠了解。其實我們若用簡單的心,一點就通,我們若是用複雜的心,解釋得再多,真正你不了解的事情很多,一一為你解釋到讓你了解,哦!時間要很長了。因為這個一念間,那個真實法含蓋森羅萬象,真的是很不簡單。我們人人若能夠用簡單的心,真真正正佛陀所說的法,說我們能夠接受下來,身體力行,一件一件我們去做;做得到一件一件體會得到。我們若做不到,聽再多都沒有用。所以,《法華經》唯談一乘法。

法華經
唯談一乘實相之理
此之妙法
而獨以蓮華為喻
是妙法則權而實
一乘之法
理體同蓮華
乃華果同時
故名妙法蓮華

《法華經》,其實所談的是一乘實相的道理,這是《法華經》的要點。「此妙法獨以蓮華為喻」,唯有用蓮花來譬喻。蓮花出淤泥不染,大覺聖者在人群中,不受人群煩惱無明所(染)著,這就是蓮花,用蓮花來譬喻,這就是妙法。「則權而實」。蓮花出污泥,它的真理就是「實」,蓮花、污泥的形象,那就是「權」,所以權、實,其實無法離開,就是,是「權」,也就是「實」。所以,「一乘之法理,體同蓮華」,一乘法道理,那個「體」,和外面的這個「相」,真的是一樣。什麼樣的理,自然那個生物出來,是什麼樣的形態,只要你有用心去研究,那個最精要的生態,因緣會合起來,自然那個生態顯出來的「相」,就是它的「理」。

總而言之,有研究不完,無盡的道理,很多,所以歸納起來,也是「一乘實相之理」。這個妙法與蓮華來做譬喻,裡面也有很深奧的道理。為什麼這些污泥,不會去染到蓮花?蓮花葉子,水將它滴下去,你能夠在那裡將它搖啊、搖啊,水不會散掉,水變成珠,在那蓮花葉上面也可以搖動,在芋頭葉上面也能夠搖。這生物,生物的道理,所以,很多,這種世間的道理很多。所以,佛法終歸納起來,不出「心」,一切唯心造。「三世一切佛,一切唯心造」,天下一切萬物無不都是心,一個心念,我們要回歸我們的心念。所以,妙法是「權」、是「實」。「一乘之法理體同蓮華」。「蓮華」,「華果同時」。其實,我們的心念就這樣起一念,因為外面有結果,我們的心就會有起念。不論是「因」和「緣」,因和緣總是這樣會合起來;有因和緣會合起來,它就又再有「果」。這個果現成了,「報」,我們就會起心動念。所以因、緣、果、報,這不斷循環,同樣的道理。所以,「妙法蓮華」就是這樣,在污泥中這個種子,它還是不斷不斷延續。「如是今當說,汝等一心聽」。

如是今當說
汝等一心聽:
如是深妙
今當演說
汝等咸須一心
善思念而諦聽

現在佛陀要將這些道理,讓大家知道,現在佛陀說:「我現在應該要說了,但是你們大家要用一心,要信心、耐心,好好下定決心,好好來聽,這這麼深的法,的妙法。」現在將要說了,若沒有用很虔誠一念心,聽了之後好好思考……。常常說,聽法不要這邊聽,那邊漏過去;那就枉費我們在這裡,坐這麼久了。那麼的耐心坐在這個地方,我們聽,就要記起來。我現在看到聞法筆記,真的是大家很用心聽法,聽了之後,他們的心得用筆寫下來,這已經出版了。這出版,我們能夠來看看大家聽法,用什麼心態聽法,聽得他將法入心,自己有心得,就這樣寫下來的心得,這聞法筆記,那個心得已經出版了,是期待人人自己聞法入心,在我們的心版之中,我們再和大家分享,聞法者互相分享。

有的人聽了之後,又去「讀書會」互相分享,有的人筆記,將心得寫出來,來出版,再與大家分享。看到出版,我很歡喜,真的大家要去參考,別人如何聽法,聽了之後,落實生活中有什麼感想、有什麼心得。所以聽法要一心,「善思念而諦聽」。聽進去,要好好再想,回想一下,記憶一下,我們要落實在記憶之中。所以,「信心而有力」,我們若生出信心,我們就有力量了。

信心而有力
斯為深信
依然須住於
忍善之中
則此信力
更為不可搖動
能以此信聞受
昔所未聞之
如來智慧
方免疑悔與懼

《三十七助道品》裡面,不是有「信力」?「五根」、「五力」,不是有信根、信力呢?有了信,我們就能夠伸出了,我們的道根出來,道心就出來了;這個信心、信根、信力就出來。所以,「斯為深信」,你要有信心力,必定要深信;要有力就是要深信。所以,「依然須住於忍善之中」,還是要告訴大家,聽經也就要有忍,要耐得住,要耐心好好聽,耐得住。「則此信力更為不可搖動」,這個信力,我們不要受到外境,來將我們搖動了。

「能以此信聞受」。這個「信」,好好來聽,來聽、接受。過去還未聽到的,如來的智慧我們還未聽到,現在更要有耐心。因為《法華經》,過去已經說很長了,現在擔心大家沒有耐心,鼓勵大家要再耐心聽下去;後面要說的是真實佛的智慧,所以大家一定要耐心。我們要成佛,與佛同等的智慧,當然我們就要了解佛的智慧,所以,才不會生出了疑悔;生出了疑悔,我們就會懼怕,會怕,這到底還要到多久呢?就沒有耐心了,所以佛陀在這個地方警惕我們,希望我們要有信心、要有耐心,不要在這個地方生出了懷疑,或者是懼怕,或者是不耐煩的心,都不要。

接下來這段文這樣說:「爾時、世尊說此偈已。」這段偈文到這裡結束,接下來佛就再說,「告彌勒菩薩:『我今於此大眾,宣告汝等。』」

爾時
世尊說此偈已
告彌勒菩薩
我今於此大眾
宣告汝等
《法華經從地涌出品第十五》

因為彌勒菩薩提出來問,佛陀這樣為大家回答,解疑,再叮嚀大家。現在佛陀就再向彌勒菩薩說:「彌勒菩薩,我今於此大眾,宣告汝等。」現在在這麼多人的面前,公然對大家宣布。大家,這些話大家一定要謹記,用心深入,一定要有信心,一定要耐心。

佛陀向彌勒菩薩又再說,下面接下來這段文:「阿逸多!是諸大菩薩摩訶薩,無量無數阿僧祇從地涌出,汝等昔所未見者。」

阿逸多
是諸大菩薩摩訶薩
無量無數阿僧祇
從地涌出
汝等昔所未見者

因為彌勒菩薩,就是阿逸多。他就是表達:「這麼多人、這麼多人來,從地湧出的人來,這些人我怎麼都不曾看到?」這個問題,是代替眾人,心裡所想的問題,由彌勒提出來問,佛陀現在答覆。就是說:「阿逸多!」就是,「彌勒!這麼多人的出現,你們大家都不曾看到。」其實這些大菩薩,從地湧出這些大菩薩,其實是很久了,這你們都還不認識他們。這些人,要算它的數量,很難算,很多;要說他們從修行以來的時間,從佛陀開始累世結緣的時間,都很長。

所以,「無量無數阿僧祇,從地涌出」,算時間和說它的數量,這都沒有辦法。

無量無數阿僧祇
從地涌出
汝等昔所未見者
如是數量
如前云
我常遍遊未見是事

所以,「如是數量,如前云我常遍遊未見是事」。這些事情,彌勒他就說:「這些事情,我真的都不知道,都沒有看到,所以請佛為我們開示。」佛陀重複阿逸多所問的,「彌勒!你說這些人有這麼多、這麼多,無法計數的人,其實這些人,要用時間來說他們的累積,也是同樣無法去計算,這有很多很多。」當然,裡面含著很深的意義。 我們接受佛法,佛陀的教法,在文字的表相,我們能夠看出了重重複複,好像很繁瑣,卻是我們若很用心深入它,每一件事情,同一項的文字,要來分析它裡面的道理,要講的還是很多、很多。同樣這些經文,都同樣不斷重複,要說盡了經文之中的義理;你即使講盡了多久的時間,都是分析不完,道理之深,道理之廣啊!而我們要如何去認識它?

佛陀一直要我們要有耐心,要我們有信心,因為事關於我們眾生。所有的眾生,六道的眾生與天地之間,很大的關係。我們不要只是常常在依賴,依賴在「佛啊!您說法給我聽,我要如何才會得救?」佛也告訴你們不要依賴,是你們自己本身原,來就有的力量,只要你們了解這個法,你們體會到,你們原來就有,沒有什麼人能夠給你依賴。所以,也不要動不動就要來求神、怕鬼,都不用。因為要將自己,自己的內心,我們的智慧,我們的真如本性,真的要啟發出來。這樣,雖然現在很辛苦,我們要扎很深的信,要展很廣的根,但是我們若能夠一一了解,我們真正的自在。我們一念間收回來,一切唯心造,所以我們平時時時要多用心!


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Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: The Supreme, Wondrous Dharma Is Deeply Profound (第一妙法 其義深遠)
Date: November.26.2018

“Knowing the ultimate state of cessation, He uses the power of skillful means to manifest various appearances, which actually all lead to the Buddha Vehicle.”

This passage is from the Lotus Sutra’s Chapter on Skillful Means. By now, we have entered “the door of the manifest.” Next, we must enter “the door of the intrinsic.” The intrinsic is the fundamental root. The Buddha wanted to explain the causes and conditions of all the Buddha and Bodhisattvas who had arrived. What worldly matters could He use to explain these principles? The principles are intangible, without substance or appearance; how could He possibly demonstrate such principles? Thus, people who can accept the Dharma are a necessity. We previously spoke of “faith”. We must establish extremely profound faith. We must absolutely have firm faith; we must delve deeply into our faith, and we must not harbor any doubt. “Faith is the source of the Way, mother of merits. It nurtures all roots of goodness.” This is vital to our entry into the Buddha’s door. Because we must accept these principles, these intangible principles which lack substance and appearance, the Buddha-Dharma is referred to by some as “the door of emptiness.” Its principles are formless and without substance. In that case, how can the Dharma be taught? The Buddha “used the power of skillful means.” He used His wisdom and power of skillful means. So, He needed to “manifest,” to manifest wholesome conditioned phenomena. These are the “various” appearances. He used various forms and appearances of all kinds of worldly matters to explain these principles to us. Truly, to teach so many principles and accomplish so much, the amount of wholesome conditioned phenomena. [He used] was enormous.

Actually, He did this all for the sake of the One Buddha Vehicle. In truth, the Buddha spoke of many things. Whether He used deeds that He did personally or His experiences manifesting in the world, He shared all of these experiences with us. Sentient beings experience hardships, and there are things that the heart is unable to comprehend. The Buddha [explained how] this suffering in the hearts of sentient beings comes from the world and interpersonal relationships, [explaining] what kinds of causes lead to what kinds of afflictions. [He then explained] what kinds of afflictions lead to the continued formation of karmic retributions. These causes continue to produce ignorance and suffering, which leads to karmic retributions. [The Buddha went from] these causes and conditions and extrapolated into the past, back throughout countless kalpas and myriad lifetimes. Just speaking of sentient beings, they also have their causes they created in previous lifetimes and retributions they attain in their present lifetime. [To teach] all this, He had to use various skillful means. Are we saying this was all [just] skillful means? In truth, this was all the One Buddha Vehicle. These are the principles. The principles exist among people, matters and things. All the principles of people, matters and things will always return to the One Buddha Vehicle. This is their fundamental, intrinsic principle. People are like this too, with our many differences. We have different races, speak different languages, live different lifestyles and have different personalities. Really, it is impossible to enumerate all [our differences], and we are unable to clearly discern which people are good people. Each person has their positive characteristics; however, among these positive characteristics, they also have many negative characteristics. In the end, no one is completely perfect. Unenlightened beings are lacking in virtue precisely because we are unenlightened beings. Even spiritual practitioners have a hard time attaining perfection. This is why the Buddha had to find a way to explain to us how we can achieve perfection. He had to use various skillful means to help us [gain] patience, faith and diligence. We must be willing to engage in the Four Practices.

The Four Practices are uninterrupted practice, practice with nothing further, extended practice and constantly [practicing with] reverence for the Dharma. We must have truly deep faith. Because we have this deep faith, we can engage in the Four Practices of Bringing Peace and Joy through our body, speech, mind and vows. The Buddha spread the Dharma in a methodical fashion. Thus, as He guides us along, we must have faith. Starting from the Chapter on Skillful Means, we must all understand “the teaching of the ultimate state of cessation.” We must absolutely understand the ultimate state of cessation. Since this is [the state of] cessation, it is obviously non-arising. Non-arising means that afflictions will never arise again. That afflictions will never arise again. When we have eliminated our afflictions we will become pure, and we will no longer allow ignorance to defile us or come into our minds ever again. This is what happens after cessation; we will enter this clear and tranquil state. So, we must remain undefiled and never give rise to defilement again. Our intrinsic nature is inherently non-increasing and non-ceasing. It has neither beginning nor end; it has always been this way, and in the future, we will never lose our nature of True Suchness. This is all must be thoroughly clear to us. We may not understand it yet, but we must have faith. With faith, we will not give rise to afflictions, nor will we give rise to doubt. We must transform these skillful means into the True Dharma of the One Vehicle. This is extremely important. Now that we have reached this point, the Buddha reminds us once again that we must have faith and diligence. We cannot harbor doubts and regrets. We have just mentioned this.

In the beginning of the Chapter on Skillful Means, the Buddha wished to teach the Dharma. Sariputra “thrice requested [the Dharma],” so the Buddha began to expound it. He first needed to explain to everyone that they must “know the ultimate state of cessation”. Everyone needs to know the Dharma’s ultimate goal. This is something that everyone must know. They must know and understand it from the very beginning, with a common understanding and a common vision. We are already engaging in “common action” and we must advance diligently for a long time. So, we “know the ultimate state of cessation” and must also know how to eliminate afflictions, purify our minds and never allow them to become defiled again. We must never allow our afflictions and ignorance to arise and defile us again. When we reach the point when we remain undefiled, this is called cessation, tranquil cessation. Yet, we still need to go among people. We cannot merely say, “I must guard myself.” When we are able to have compete knowledge, clear understanding and comprehension, naturally, when we go among people, nothing in our environment will disturb us or influence us. It will never be able to defile us.

In this way, our afflictions will be forever eliminated with no remainder. We will eliminate them completely until there are none left, and we will never be defiled again. This comes from “knowing the ultimate state of cessation”. We also know the Buddha devised skillful means in order to teach us the intangible [principles] which have no substance or form. He had no choice but to apply the power of skillful means to manifest conditioned good deeds. Through wholesome conditioned phenomena, He served as a model for the world. So, He had to “manifest various appearances”. Even though He devised skillful means, even though he taught in this way, in actuality, His every teaching still encompassed the Buddha-nature, the One Vehicle Dharma. Even though He taught the Three Vehicles. In truth, the One True Dharma still exists within these Three Vehicles. So, they “actually all lead to the Buddha Vehicle”. [In this way,] the Buddha’s wisdom, the wisdom of all Dharma, the wisdom of all paths an all-encompassing wisdom will all become clear to us.

This is the wondrous principle of ultimate reality. Until ate reality requires form and substance. It does! No matter what the form or substance, they all contain the principles within them. Three are similar in this regard. Some big trees have huge leaves, while other big trees have small leaves. In July or August, when students are about to graduate, it is time for the royal Poinciana trees to bloom. Every school used to have some. Their leaves are small, so when they start to fall, they have to be swept constantly. In the past, these trees were extremely common because when they bloom, they turn all red and gorgeous. However, their leaves are very small, just like this plant before me, which is so tiny. We have another plant even smaller than this. Its leaves are thicker than these. Look, a breadfruit tree is also a tree, and its leaves are the size of banana leaves. Take a look; each tree has a different shape. They have different shapes and different genes. This is their principle, the principle that exists within their seeds.

This is just like us humans. We are all called “human”. We all look the same; Buddhas and sentient begins all look the same. But in truth, we all have a different personality. Each person’s opinions, thoughts and perspectives, are unquestionably different. In ancient times, people used to say, “If a mother has 10 children, this makes for 11 minds.” Even though their mother gave them life, they cannot have the same mind as their mother. The human world is complicated. Thus, our mind creates all kinds of [phenomena]. Are they wholesome conditioned phenomena, or are they unwholesome conditioned phenomena? This all depends on our actions, and every action arises from a thought. This is what the Buddha wants us to “know”. The word “know” is extremely important here. So, this is “the wondrous principle of ultimate reality”. We must completely comprehend the principles of Buddha-Dharma. If we can be perceptive enough, we will grasp one truth and understand all truths. We must mindfully seek to comprehend this.

So, this “is the supreme meaning”. This is called “the supreme meaning”. The Buddha-Dharma’s supremely profound meanings and principles lack form and appearance, so it is very different to express them in a way that everyone understands. They are not something the average person can analyze and discuss through language. Truly, this Dharma is extremely profound.

“The wondrous principle of ultimate reality is the supreme meaning. ‘Supreme meaning’ means that this is the path of the one reality, the principle of ultimate reality”. This principle is “unsurpassed, thus it is called ‘supreme’”.

This principle is extremely comprehensive. It is unsurpassably high and bottomless deep, thus it is very comprehensive. When we try to fathom it, it is very difficult, for there is no way to appreciate how high or how deep it really is. Thus, it is the deepest form of existence. The extremely profound Dharma begets infinite manifestations. It is impossible to analyze them all. So, from this meaning, from this principle, arise infinite, countless and incalculable forms. This is the nature of the principles; there are so many profound principles, and they are manifested in every single form. This is the Dharma. This is the Dharma. In short, this encompasses everything that we encounter, including ourselves, our own lives, our actions, our bodies, our eyesight and our voice. These are due to the combination of various biological principles and our bodily organs.

As for physical “objects”, they are made up of many components coming together. A microphone and an amplifier are not just two things by themselves. There are also chords, connectors and so on. Many, many pieces must be combined together for them to exercise their function and use. The many organs of the human body also have their own functions, which act in unison. We have two eyes, but if some bodily systems stop working, our eyes may stop functioning, and we will be unable to [see] external objects. We can see that with these principles, from the biological principles of human biology to the physical principles of external objects, all their myriad forms, including the physical forms of all living beings, are encompassed within them. This is the truth of the supreme meaning, the origin of the “principles”. Thus, “the supreme meaning” is deep and profound.

In our world, academic pursuits are divided into categories and disciplines, becoming more and more specialized. We have divided them up in such a specific way, but have we gained complete understanding? We still lack complete understanding, and this is to say nothing of how all the different [principles] are so numerous. This brings us to the Buddha’s enlightened nature; He told us that this is intrinsic to us all. Though this is intrinsic to us all, we are still unenlightened beings, so we face limitations in all things. If we wish to gain complete understanding, then we must specialize ourselves and conduct focused and precise investigations. By conducting focused and precise investigations, we will slowly begin to understand the principles. Although we will begin to understand, if we do not genuinely experience them personally, we will never fully understand any one of them.

Thus, this takes a great deal of time. We must spend a great deal of time. To completely understand something in this life, we must verify our impressions with knowledge, continuously focusing our expertise and learning throughout lifetime after lifetime. How should we teach others? We need to have deep faith in the Buddha-Dharma. We must certainly have faith. “Faith is the source of the Way, mother of merits. It nurtures all roots of goodness”. We must nurture our roots of goodness for a long time before we can do conditioned good deeds. All of this is good, but how can we put it into practice? How can we lead and teach [others to do the same]? We need the “wisdom of all Dharma, wisdom of all paths and all-encompassing wisdom”. We must bring together all the different principles of the universe. The Buddha attained enlightenment. He became one with the universe. He came to clearly understand all the principles. We must have great faith, and with faith, we must advance forward.

The previous sutra passage says, “At that time, the World-Honored One, wishing to restate His meaning, “spoke in verse”.

At that time, the World-Honored One, wishing to restate His meaning, spoke in verse, “You must advance diligently and be of one mind. I wish to speak of this matter. You must not have any doubts or regrets, for the Buddha-wisdom is inconceivable and indescribable. Now you must give rise to the power of faith and abide in the virtue of patience. This Dharma has never been heard in the past; now you are all about to hear it. I comfort you now; do not have any doubt or fear. The Buddha speak nothing but the truth, and his wisdom is unfathomable”.

This sutra passage reiterates, in short and simple language, these profound principles to help us remember them again. So, it uses verse, which is just like poetry. So, it says in verse, “You must advance diligently and be of one mind”. We all must advance diligently and single-mindedly. We must focus our minds and avoid getting distracted. “I wish to speak of this matter. You must not have any doubts or [fears]. Now I will begin to teach something very profound. You must not have any doubt in your minds”. This is because these teachings intrinsically resonate with the Buddha-wisdom. We must understand the Buddha-wisdom. It is inconceivable, for it is difficult to conceive of and describe.

Thus, we must have patience and never give rise to doubt. “Now you must give rise to the power of faith”. This is not an easy task. We all have faith now; we have [studied] the Chapter on Faith and Understanding, so we all have faith now. So, we must “abide in the virtue of patience”. We also need to have patience. To listen to the Dharma and understand the principles, we must have a patient and long-enduring mind. We must earnestly listen, continue to listen. This is all virtuous Dharma. So, to save sentient beings, we must use various methods; we must “have the Dharma to transform them”. If we are not earnest and patient, then how can we go among people to transform sentient beings? If we lack the Dharma, how can we transform sentient beings? So, we must abide in the virtue of patience as we seek the Dharma and transform sentient beings.

“This Dharma has never been heard in the past. What I will teach now has never been heard before. Now you are all about to hear it. You have never heard this before, because I taught the Three Vehicles at that time. Small Vehicle practitioners got the Small Vehicle teachings. Middle Vehicle practitioners got the Middle Vehicle teachings. They had never considered listening to the Great Vehicle Dharma at all. Those who had never listened to it needed to hear it now more than ever. So, [the Buddha said], “I comfort you now; do not have any doubts or fears”. The Buddha comforted them with gentleness and sincerity. “Come listen. Do not worry if you do not understand, but you must not harbor any doubts in your mind. You must be patient it takes a long time to fully accept it”. The Buddha slowly consoled them like this, helping everyone to patiently uphold this mindset and avoid giving rise to doubt. Then He assured everyone that “The Buddha speaks nothing but the truth”. The Buddha’s words are unquestionably true. He assured everyone of this. “[The Buddha’s] wisdom is unfathomable.” This is because it is the Buddha-wisdom the wisdom of an enlightened being, which is not something that an ordinary person can realize or even hear about. He was about to teach about our intrinsic nature He genuinely wanted to discuss His original intent. So, we must not harbor any doubts.

The sutra passage continues on with [the Buddha] saying, “The supreme Dharma that I have attained is extremely profound and beyond analysis. As such, I must expound it now, and you must all listen single-mindedly.

After the Buddha had comforted them all, He turned back and said, “Everyone must be very mindful, for the Dharma that the Buddha has attained is the supreme Dharma. In the state of Buddhahood, one’s mind is one with the universe. [The Dharma] is so open and expansive and so full of principles. This is the Dharma attained by the Buddha.

Because of this, we ordinary beings are unable to truly understand it. It is very difficult to analyze.

The supreme Dharma that I have attained is wxtremely profound and beyond analysis: What the Buddha has attained is the supreme wondrous Dharma. Its meaning is deep and profound. We cannot use thoughts or language to discuss analyze its meaning.

True principles, without substance and appearance are true emptiness. How can true emptiness be taught? “Language falls shouts.” We must speak about it, but what kind of language should we use? All language is incapable of explaining the nature of this path, it is impossible. Unenlightened beings are not to perceive it. Those with limited capabilities cannot comprehend it. So, [let us consider] these principles. The supreme Dharma is so profound that. It is difficult to analyze into different parts. It all comes down to a single idea. We must analyze this idea extensively. This is not something we are capable of accepting, so analyzing is very difficult.

Thus, the supreme and wondrous meaning that the realized contains] very profound principles indeed. “We cannot use thoughts.” The thoughts of ordinary beings are incapable of fathoming this, it is impossible. We cannot use our language, either, to discuss it or deliberate on the extensiveness of the Buddha’s wisdom. there is no way to analyze the Dharma He taught, to make its contents clear or explain it so that we can comprehend it.

Actually, if we think about it simply, we can comprehend immediately. But if we think about it in a complicated wat and over-explain it, there will indeed be many things that we do not understand. We could explain them one by one, but it would take such a long time! This is because, within the span of a thought, the True Dharma encompasses the myriad forms. This really is not simple at all. But if we can think about things simple, we can accept the true Dharma the Buddha taught and put it into practice. We can practice these teachings one by one, and we will comprehend them each through practice. If we fall to practice them, then no matter how much we listen, it will be of no use. Thus, the Lotus Sutra exclusively discusses the One Vehicle Dharma.

The Lotus Suta exckusively discusses the principles of the ultimate reality of the one Vehicle. This wondrous Dharma uniquely uses the lotus flower as an analogy. This is the wondrous Dharma, which [contains] both the provisional and the true. The One Vehicle Dharma has the same principles and essence as the lotus flower, which blooms and yields fruit at the same time. Thus it is called the Wondrous Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra.

In fact, everything the Lotus Sutra discusses is the principles of the ultimate reality of the One Vehicle. This is the main idea of the Lotus Sutra. This wondrous Dharma uniquely uses the lotus flower as an analogy. It uniquely uses the lotus flower as an analogy. The lotus flower emerges from the mud unsoiled, [just as] great awakened sages among people will not be defiled by their afflictions and ignorance. This is the analogy of the lotus flower. This is the wondrous Dharma. It “[contains] both the provisional and the true. The lotus flower emerges from the mud; the true principles [behind this] is the “true”. The image of the lotus amidst the mud is the “provisional”.

So, the provisional and the true are inseparable. It [contains] both the “provisional” and the “true,” thus, “the One Vehicle Dharma has the same principles and essence as the lotus flower”. The principles of the One Vehicle Dharma, its “essence” and its external “appearance,” are truly the same. According to certain principles, living beings will naturally arise to take on a certain form. If we mindfully seek to investigate the core essence of biological life forms, we find that causes and conditions converge, the manifested “appearance” will reflect] its “principles”. All in all, here are so many endless principles that have yet to be investigated. They are all encompassed by the ultimate reality of the One Vehicle. This wondrous Dharma uses the lotus flower as an analogy, which contain very deep and profound principles. Why doesn’t this mud defile the lotus flower?

When we drop water on the lotus leaves, we can shake it about, and the water will form beads. We can shake the lotus leaves. We can also shake the leaves on a taro plant. These are the principles of living beings; there are many such principles in our world. So, the Buddha-Dharma is ultimately inseparable from the mind, for all things are created by the mind. “All Buddhas of the Three Periods…. All things are created by the mind”. All the world’s myriad things are [created by] the mind, in a single thought. We must return to this thought. So, the wondrous Dharma [contains] both the “provisional” and the “true”. “The One Vehicle Dharma has the same principles and essence as the lotus flower. The lotus flower blooms and yields fruit at the same time”.

In fact, our minds produce thoughts like this. The external effects [of causes and conditions] cause our minds to give rise to thoughts. No matter what the causes or conditions, causes and conditions will eventually converge. The convergence of causes and conditions results in effects. These effects form retributions. This leads us to form discursive thoughts. So, causes, conditions, effects and retributions follow an endless cycle. The principle is the same. This is the Wondrous Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra. Seeds in the mud proliferate endlessly. “As such, I must expound it now, and you must all listen single-mindedly”.

As such, I must expound it now, and you must all listen single-mindedly: “It is wondrous and profound as such, and now I must expound it. You all must single-mindedly engage in earnest contemplation and listen carefully”.

Now the Buddha had to [explain] these principles to help everyone understand. Now the Buddha said, “I must explain this now, but you all need to have single-minded focus, faith and patience. You must earnestly establish your resolve and listen carefully to this very profound Dharma, this wondrous Dharma”. Now He would teach it. What if they lacked a reverent state of mind, or if they did not earnestly contemplate it afterward?

I always say that when we listen to the Dharma, it must not go in one ear and out the other. This would be a waste of time, with us sitting here for so long. As we sit here listening with such great patience, we must retain what we listen to. Now I see people taking notes as they listen to the Dharma; truly, everyone is listening very mindfully. Once they finish listening, they record their insights. Once they have been published, from this publication, we can observe the mindset with which they listen to the Dharma, how they take the Dharma to heart, how they develop their own insights and write them down. This is their Dharma Study Journals in which they have published their insights. I hope everyone can personally learn the Dharma and take it to heart. Once we have taken it to heart, we must share it with everyone. Those who listen to the Dharma must share it. After listening, some people will go to study groups to share [their insights]. Others will journal about it; they write down their insights and publish them to share them with everyone. It makes me so happy to see these publications. We all really need to learn from how others listen to the Dharma, what realizations they gain from listening to it and applying it in their lives and what insights they attain.

So, when listening to the Dharma, we must have single-minded focus. We must “engage in earnest contemplation and listen carefully”. After listening, we must earnestly contemplate, reflect and recollect. We must let it live on in our memories. So, “Our faith gives us strength”. If we give rise to faith, we will have strength.

When our faith gives us strength, this is what it means to have deep faith. We still need to abide in the virtue of patience. Then this power of faith will be all the more unwavering. Only when we are able to use this faith to hear and accept the Tathagata’s wisdom that we have not heard in the past will we be able to avoid doubt, regret and feat.

Isn’t the “power of faith” part of the 37 Practices to Enlightenment? Don’t the Five Spiritual Roots and the Five Powers include the root of faith and power of faith? With faith, we can extend our spiritual roots and extend our spiritual aspirations. In doing so, we will extend our faith, our root of faith and power of faith. So, “this is what it means to have deep faith”. We must have the power of faith, a deep faith. We must have power, so we need deep faith. “We still need to abide in the virtue of patience”. We still need to tell everyone that we need to be patient as we listen to this sutra. We must abide in patience, listening earnestly and patiently. “Then this power of faith will be all the more unwavering”. This is the power of faith. We must not allow external conditions to disrupt us. We must “use this faith to hear and accept” [the Tathagata’s wisdom]. With this “faith,” we must listen carefully; we must listen and accept that which we have not heard before. We have not heard the Tathagata’s wisdom yet, so now we must be even more patient. Because [the Buddha] had been teaching the Lotus Sutra for a long time, He was worried they would not have the patience, so He encouraged everyone to listen patiently.

Next He would discuss the true Buddha-wisdom, so everyone absolutely needed to have patience. To attain Buddhahood and the Buddha’s wisdom, we must certainly comprehend the Buddha’s wisdom so that we will never give rise to doubt or regret again. When we give rise to doubt and regret, we will become afraid [and wonder], “How much longer must we go on like this?” This is because we lack patience. Thus, the Buddha warned us of this, hoping that we would have faith and patience and never give rise to doubt, fear or impatience again. We must have none of these.

The next sutra passage says, “At that time, the World-Honored One, having spoken these verses…”. He had finished this verse passage. The Buddha continued on, “He said to Maitreya Bodhisattva, ‘Among this assembly, I now proclaim this to all of you’.” Because Maitreya raised some questions, the Buddha answered them to resolve everyone’s doubts and remind everyone [about these matters] again. Now the Buddha explained to Maitreya Bodhisattva, “Maitreya Bodhisattva, ‘Among this assembly, I now proclaim this to all of you’.” Now, in front of all these people, He openly made a proclamation. We all need to keep His words in mind and take them deeply to heart. We must have faith, and we must absolutely have patience. The Buddha spoke to Maitreya once again in the next sutra passage.

“Ajita, these Great Bodhisattva-Mahasattvas, numbering in infinite and countless asankyas, have emerged from the ground. This is something you all have never seen before”.

This is because Maitreya Bodhisattva, Ajita, had said, “So many people have come, having emerged from the ground. How could I have never seen these people before?” He asked this question on behalf of the assembly, since it was on their minds. Therefore, Maitreya raised this question, and the Buddha answered him. He said, “Ajita!” This refers to Maitreya. “So many people have appeared, and none of you have ever seen them before. In fact, these great Bodhisattvas who have emerged from the ground are actually very old. Still, you do not recognize them. If you wished to count these people, it would be hard; there are too many.” The time since they began to engage in spiritual practice and since the Buddha began to form affinities has been very long. “Numbering in infinite and countless asankyas, [they] have emerged from the ground.” To calculate the length of time [they practiced] and their numbers would be impossible.

So, “Their numbers were as described previously. [Maitreya] was always traveling everywhere, yet he had never seen such an event.” Of these matters, Maitreya said, “I truly know nothing about this. I have never seen anything like it. So, I request the Buddha to explain this for me.” The Buddha repeated what Ajita had asked, “Maitreya, you said that there are so many people here that there is no way to calculate their number. In truth, for these people, it would take a great deal of time to explain their accumulation, which is likewise incalculable, for it is truly great.” Of course, this was of deep significance. Clearly, we must accept the Buddha-Dharma. In the Buddha’s teachings, [when we examine] the sutra text, we can see a great deal of repetition, making it seem quite tedious. Still, if we are able to deeply take it to heart and examine every matter and every word and the principles within them, there will still be much left to discuss.

The sutra text is constantly repeating itself. If we tried to fully discuss all the meanings and principles in this sutra, no matter how much time we spent discussing them, we would never be able to analyze them completely. Their principles are deep and far-reaching; how can we come to know them? The Buddha has always hoped we can have patience and faith. Since these matters concern us sentient beings, all sentient beings within the Six Realms and the world have a great connection. We must not keep being so dependent, [saying], “Venerable Buddha! Teach me the Dharma! How can I be saved?” The Buddha told us that we must not rely on Him, for we intrinsically possess the strength. So long as we understand this principle, we will understand that we have always had this, and there is no one that we can truly depend upon. So, we must not impetuously seek out gods or fear demons. We must [awaken] ourselves, our hearts and our wisdom and our nature of True Suchness; we must truly awaken them all. Although it is extremely difficult, we must deepen our faith and broaden our roots. If we can understand these things one by one, then we will be truly content. So, we must collect our thoughts, for all things are created by the mind. So, at all times, we must always be mindful!

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