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 20181128《靜思妙蓮華》娑婆堪忍 雜惡雜會 (第1489集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五)

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發表主題: 20181128《靜思妙蓮華》娑婆堪忍 雜惡雜會 (第1489集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五)   周二 11月 27, 2018 9:36 pm

20181128《靜思妙蓮華》娑婆堪忍 雜惡雜會 (第1489集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五)

⊙娑婆者堪忍之義,此界眾生需堪忍,又作雜惡雜會者,謂三惡五趣雜居;娑婆堪忍事苦多,三千世界之總名,是一佛攝化之境。
⊙「我於是娑婆世界得阿耨多羅三藐三菩提已,教化示導是諸菩薩,調伏其心,令發道意。」《法華經從地涌出品第十五》
⊙「此諸菩薩,皆於是娑婆世界之下,此界虛空中住。」《法華經從地涌出品第十五》

【證嚴上人開示】
娑婆者堪忍之義,此界眾生需堪忍,又作雜惡雜會者,謂三惡五趣雜居;娑婆堪忍事苦多,三千世界之總名,是一佛攝化之境。

娑婆者堪忍之義
此界眾生需堪忍
又作雜惡雜會者
謂三惡五趣雜居
娑婆堪忍事苦多
三千世界之總名
是一佛攝化之境

各位,要用心!娑婆世界,「娑婆」的意思是堪忍,譯作堪忍世界。名稱叫做「堪忍」,顧名思義,我們就能夠知道要堪得忍耐,意思就是:是很苦哦,你要能堪得忍耐哦!就是這樣的名稱。這種堪得忍耐,眾生是由不得自己,造業來人間,就是依報、正報,糊里糊塗來到人間。既來了,又奈何呢?就是這樣,也不知道生來這個地方,是什麼原因、什麼因緣、什麼果報。因緣果報大家都不知道,也沒有想要去知道,反正就是這樣生來,也就是這樣糊里糊塗的生活。

生活在這個環境,外面的境界,我們身體的根,去接觸外面的境界,生出意識──這個境界我愛!愛就要去貪,心念就貪念出來了;貪念出來也就是「想」,想要去取著。要取著這當中就去造作了,很多強求、強取,沒有道理也是要去爭,違逆了道理,想盡辦法,喪天害理的工作也去做。所以就像這樣,去造作,這雜惡,也是雜會。看看,我們的意念,我愛什麼,有小、中、大的貪。小貪,輕微他也要貪,小小的東西他也要愛,為了小小的東西,心雜念煩惱,取,取不得,心就無明起。有的人這個無明悶在內心,造出去心不安,總是這個煩惱在自己悶著,這樣悶著,一直取不到,有煩惱等等。

光是說我們家庭的生活,「怨憎會」,開始之時愛,相處沒有多久就怨,看到人就不歡喜,彼此之間說話不投機,彼此心就分道揚鑣,還是一樣,無奈又同住同屋內,像這樣也是鬱悶。家庭的組合也沒有那麼簡單,光是一個家庭,小小的事情,就悶出了內心的病態、煩惱的無明。對外,所愛的,就是這樣將它類推去,就知道小的、大的都是從心;小事累積多也是惡,所以所造作的煩惱無明,不對的事情,就是不斷、不斷累積。這種很雜,這種雜惡,我們無意中會造很多,一輩子小小、小小的累積,就是成為中中的雜惡;中中的雜惡,更大的那就是驚天動地,很大很大的惡;再累積這種雜惡,那就雜會。一輩子到底做多少種的惡?是遠或是近?是故意或是無意等等,人間是很多,形形色色的因緣牽引,錯誤的事情累累一直去,這種很複雜,這個惡這樣會合起來,這叫做「雜惡雜會」,這樣的很苦難這樣會合起來了。

若是真正很惡的人很多了,惡業造得很大,這些人累積累積,因、緣、果、報,長時間累世累積,那就慢慢那個緣,愈集愈近、愈集愈近,到了因緣成熟,共同那就是「三惡五趣雜居」,就在同一個地方、同一個世界。也就是有這樣,三惡業會集的地方,受因緣果報的地方,苦啊,苦不堪言。說墮三惡道,惡道,地獄在哪裡啊?地獄的世界我們看不到。世間人只是知道迷,「七月,開鬼門,害怕!」老實說,既然三惡道去了,哪有讓你自由。再來到人間,人間,是心理在作怪,心,自己有鬼怪。因為心不正,平時心不知道理,沒有一個方向、沒有一個軌道,所以很雜,雜念的事情很多,迷的事情也很多,所以就在人間產生很多的無明,才會說七月是開鬼門。其實,鬼有鬼的世界;地獄,地獄,在裡面極苦,就是脫離人間之後另外的世界,那個極苦的世界叫做地獄,但是地獄我們看不到。畜生道我們看得到,地獄道我們看不到,畜生道我們看到,地獄道我們看不到,其實人間就有地獄道,可讓我們看到!

看看現在,貧窮困難、飢餓邊緣的國家,有多少呢?尤其是不只是很貧困,又再不安定,也是常常在內亂、內戰等等,居無平安的日子,尤其是貧困苦難,尤其是天災偏多。大自然的災害、人為的禍端,生來就是在這樣的,依報、正報裡面,苦不堪啊!就像我們在開會,每星期的會報,(二0一七年)現在的國家,很多國際間的大災難,在印度、孟加拉、尼泊爾,天災偏多。尤其是已經過程將近一個月了,水災一直漫延,雨季,從還沒雨季的開始就大水災了,已經是罕見的大水災。

要如何救濟呢?水很大,而難得靠近,已經進入到雨季,雨繼續在下,水繼續在淹,國際救災要如何進去?真的這種人道精神會合,要去幫助不簡單! 就是,物資都來給我政府,我政府才替你去做。偏偏這樣的政府,就是沒有辦法國際間能夠信任,再多東西進去,真正受苦難的災民,就是無法能夠得到幫助。苦還是苦,災中苦難,還是在那裡在苦,生死邊緣一線間。 堪忍,我們不堪忍要進去,也是沒有因緣、沒有路線,讓人很掛心。

會務報告,我們在盡心力,包括在尼泊爾有幾位,也是很努力,還是嘆無奈,人力薄弱,哪怕我們願意物力支援,人力他們評估起來,路遠!又不只是路遠,又有這種的關卡,你根本也行不得。結果大家討論完,因緣還不具足,這幾個地方也就暫時放著。苦的,他們在受苦,我們無奈,嘆無奈,這是在天下間這樣,那一大片的國家,地球上,印度(土地)大片,孟加拉,還有尼泊爾,接連續三個國家,有這樣共同的災難,這我們無奈!

又有美國德州,在休士頓市那個地方,除了大雨,水一直淹、一直高,看到那個畫面,是一片水鄉澤國,家家戶戶都泡在水中。又很害怕,害怕在水庫要洩洪(阿迪克Addicks和巴克Barker水庫),因為水已經太大了,水庫不堪了,它要洩洪。這已經在淹水了,水庫若再洩了,到底會如何?我們在開會那個時間,是他們的凌晨,他們的半夜四點多,那時候。你們就知道,整天、整天,他們那裡水就在,開始在漲、在淹了,很緊張了。水一直淹,一直到了大家沒辦法出門,彼此之間就是只能靠著視訊,其他沒有辦法,不敢出門。又再入夜了,晚上開始緊張的心情愈升愈高。尤其是氣象局的報導,這一波,要維持三四天的大雨一直下,怎能堪得忍耐呢?

白天,尤其是晚上,你想,這個時間,本來在那個地方,休士頓,在美國,在德州,就像天堂一樣,人間天堂!這樣一波的大雨來,忽然間陷入了就像地獄一樣。你們若曾讀到《地藏經》,這業力的眾生,在那個地方載浮載沉。現在與這同樣,心何忍呢?又有奈何?不過,我們也是要去想,要如何緊急支援物資。想像中,幾天的水過了之後,他們的生活資生之物要怎麼辦?這時候瓦斯沒有辦法,電不能繼續,也斷了;他們的吃,三餐要怎麼辦?現在最重要的,香積飯,不用煮,能夠吃的米,我們要趕緊準備;有菜、有飯,香積飯,趕緊準備。但這麼遠要怎麼辦?空運。運費那麼貴要怎麼辦?救人,所以就要起動。量很多,要起動,因為需要、必需要、急需要,非空運不可。這個時候物資能夠供應,但是若想到他們,在那水中載浮載沉,想到他們家家有水,到底水退之後的情景又是如何?不堪設想,很不忍心。

現在大家要趕緊戒慎虔誠,該是反省的時候了。天下苦難偏多,苦不堪,不知道他們會這樣,那麼苦,忽然間,很無奈,就是這樣,無語問蒼天,唯有虔誠祈求。人人都有過失,人人都有共業,該懺悔的時候了。德州是這樣,我們再說到獅子山大水災,獅子山苦啊!苦,苦在長期的苦,現在(二0一七年)是慘啊!苦與慘。因為平時就已經很苦,瘟疫(爆發伊波拉病毒疫情)、病症,傳染病才剛了之後,又再大自然天災又再來。平時他們的生活,總是我們全都能夠知道,那種不是人能夠過的生活。

我們若多多去看現在的媒體,這不是看不到的世界,以現在的媒體,我們看得到,他們現在的生活,我們現在看得到。想想,這難道不是人間地獄?受刑,受刑啊,如夜叉、惡鬼,無形中一次再一次;在那受苦難中的人,還是要再經過一次次的折磨,一次一次受苦難。你們想,多麼苦。獅子山,我們空運的東西,也已經這樣一波一波抵達了。不論是從空中、從水運,還有在那個地方有國際的支援,就像「希利」,國際的援助基金會(Healey Foundation,簡稱HIRF),這也是一個很大,國際救援的一個會,一個基金會。還有天主教自由城的明愛會(Caritas Freetown Foundation),還有一個蘭頤基金會。有這三個基金會與我們會合起來,分工合作,大家共同合和,要為獅子山去付出。

但是,每天要吃飯的人,有六千多人,大鍋飯要供應出去,每一天、每一餐六千多人;那個食量,沒有其他,就是吃飯,很大,要不斷去供應。無家可歸的人又是很多;那個地方的衛生問題又是很大。資生的糧食缺、醫療缺等等,沒有一樣是有的。想,這難道不是眾生共業?累生累世這樣的造作,將這個業力集中起來,就是在這樣的地方,大家去受苦。

看,這個「雜惡雜會者」,在那個地方,有在受苦、受難人多,真真正正那個地方,同樣也有人間,生活還過得去。那個地方同樣也是有企業家,但是數字很少,他們的生活也不是物資很豐富,只是不像多數多數的人,全都這麼苦。一半以上,那裡的人口,全都是苦難人!那個地方的「人間」,有多少都是就像在地獄中的人,這叫做「雜惡雜會者」。在那裡有業較輕的、有業較重的,他就是依報在那個地方,所以是雜會的地方,這就是娑婆世界。娑婆世界除了獅子山,還有多少呢?非洲還有很多,不論……等等,這是很開闊。所以這個世界,我們在地球上面,這個地方叫做娑婆世界,是堪忍。多少人間地獄,多少人間畜生,多少人間餓鬼,我們看得到的,這「三惡五趣雜居」,這是這個娑婆世界。「三道」,是地獄、餓鬼、畜生道;「五趣」,就是三道,還有人道、修羅道。這就是看我們的業力,五趣。

雜居在這個人間裡,看看,動不動就戰爭,起戰,這種人禍的阿修羅。想,在這個人間,「三惡」、「五趣」,堪忍嗎?若不堪忍耐,這個世間如何住下去?就算有經濟來源,生活不錯,也苦啊;有的很富有,好幾千億,很多錢,但是他也是看不開!同樣,「我在哪個地方有財產,我在哪個地方有土地,被人佔走了,我,苦、苦、苦啊!」苦到人病倒了,也還是為了那財產、土地,還是放不下,還是在苦。想,人生豈有快活嗎?有錢人、富有人也都要忍,要放得下,放得下才有辦法,也真的要懂得捨,要懂得反省過去,累積很多,也得到很多;得到的,是不是都在我們的身上在用;身上在用,能用多少?用不了多少。但是賺的名稱,說我賺多少錢,我擁有多少,也不是全都裝在口袋裡,也不是全都背在身上,也是要很驚惶,要怎麼去寄放銀行,去寄放保險箱,去寄放,還要再貼人家錢。就像這樣,很矛盾!那些錢、那些財產,都不懂得用在苦難人間這麼多,去付出,不會,只是知道擔憂、貪著!你想,是不是很苦的人間呢?

「娑婆堪忍事苦多」,堪忍的事情,那個苦實在是很多,這個世界就是三千大千世界。「三千」,那就是這個世界,欲界、色界、無色界,包攬在裡面。小千世界、中千世界、大千世界,會合起來,我們這個世界的遍虛空法界,無不都是三千世界的裡面,它的總名詞叫做「堪忍」。只要我們人類生活中,感覺得到的,這包含起來,我們叫做「堪忍世界」。這個堪忍世界,是一尊佛所攝化的境界,那就是釋迦牟尼佛。釋迦牟尼佛要來面對這麼的大,三千世界,在這個娑婆堪忍的世界,想想看,這是多麼苦、多麼沉重的世界,實在是苦不堪。佛陀的教育,眾生剛強,真的是很剛強,真的是難調伏,很難調伏的。你面對周圍的人,「唉呀!你的習氣要改!」,「你要多用心!要專心一點」,只是盼望這樣都很難!

佛陀的心,我們有辦法了解嗎?當然不可思、不可議,我們無法體會佛心。我了解,我也知道,光是說我的心,你們了解嗎?你們也無法了解!天下眾生苦難這麼多,心裡的負擔是長得什麼樣子?不知道,無法了解。同樣啊,任何一個人的心,其他的人一樣也不了解。我們的苦就是苦在這裡,彼此不了解。大家的盡心力,盡心到什麼程度我也不了解,這就是苦。人間苦難偏多,我們只好依靠佛法。佛法,佛陀已經將法留在人間,我盡心力我來說,大家也要耐心力來聽,要忍,忍得聽;聽,能夠用多少、了解多少,我們就用心在多少。我們有多少的力量,我們要及時,因為時日不會等待人,「是日已過,命亦隨減」,尤其是現在。

有一天,有一位居士,還是教授,回來在精舍,在說話,對我說:「我爸爸一夜之中……,昨天還好好的,一大早醒來時,太太去叫爸爸來吃飯,爸爸抬頭問:『妳是誰?』『我是您的媳婦啊。』『妳叫什麼名字?』」不認得人了,一晚哦!失憶症(失智症),在一晚之中完全變了一個人。我們應該要把握在當下,我們能夠做,能清清楚楚做好,要把握時間,所以現在的人間,我們要很用心。

所以,前面的經文這樣說:「我於是娑婆世界得阿耨多羅三藐三菩提已,教化示導是諸菩薩,調伏其心,令發道意。」

我於是娑婆世界
得阿耨多羅
三藐三菩提已
教化示導是諸菩薩
調伏其心
令發道意
《法華經從地涌出品第十五》

前面的經文,釋迦牟尼佛,要來表達出他在這個娑婆世界,因為這塊化土,就是釋迦佛負責的,他從多久的時間開始,就為這個娑婆來負責教化,從大通智勝佛的時代,那時候的發願,成佛要在這種苦難堪忍世界,去度眾生。從這樣開始,不斷不斷累生世就是這樣,在教化眾生。因為時間那麼長,所以與他結緣的眾生,就是這樣不斷累積、累積;長時間的教育,從凡夫接受教化,累生世在做。

就像前面在說恆河沙數的菩薩,從恆河沙數,幾億恆河沙數,減半,減至四分之一,減至六分之一,減,一直減、一直減,一直到了那個數字最少,四、三、二、一。這些數字從多的凡夫,煩惱的眾生,一直感化、一直感化,感化到能夠弘法、能夠教人,能夠教導人,這種人已經增長起來,受化的人減少了。我們前面不是有這樣說嗎?所以有緣的很多,佛陀一直感化、一直教育,教育到這個因緣都成熟,人人有成就了,都能夠體會到,行菩薩道、教菩薩法,從懵懂不懂法的人,現在已經已經,已經能夠來接受大乘法。

所以,這就是佛陀,這麼長的時間,有緣的眾生是這樣度化,度到現在,再接下去是要大家,有緣的眾生要再發願再去化度。這是佛陀要表達,從地湧出的,所看到這麼多、這麼多。彌勒菩薩在近的道場裡,近道場的人不曾看到過去,這麼多累積來的有緣的菩薩,現在都已經到了。佛陀就表示,這麼多數,就是因為有這麼多的時間,從在娑婆世界這個地方,一直修行、一直修行,一直度眾生,結緣、一直教育,在人群中不斷不斷因緣成熟,已經練出了,「得無上正等正覺」,就是「阿耨多羅三藐三菩提已」,已經得到了,成佛了。這段這麼長的時間,所教化的數字提出來,大家看到了,「教化示導是諸菩薩」。

這段時間這麼長、這麼長,全都在這個娑婆世界,沒有去其他的地方,就是在娑婆世界。在這個地方調伏,從懵懂的凡夫,一直到現在發大心,成為菩薩道,在行「六度萬行」的菩薩,現在已經發道意了,行菩薩道了。

這些人,「此諸菩薩,皆於是娑婆世界之下,此界虛空中住」。

此諸菩薩
皆於
是娑婆世界之下
此界虛空中
《法華經從地涌出品第十五》

就是這樣這麼普遍、這麼遠,還是在各地方在付出。所以,各位菩薩,真正是要用心,我們若是不用心,我們根本就無法去體會到,人間菩薩到底是要如何去施行,到底人間有多少苦,我們沒有見苦,我們不知福。我們是很有福的人,最有福就是我們通達道理,最有福,我們能夠關心到天下眾生。我們還是一樣,佛陀他在這個娑婆世界,無處不在、無人不度,遍虛空法界;在這大片三千世界,這個忍土裡無處不在。

所以,我們能夠有這樣的緣,在這樣的人間,我們能夠知道,又能夠做、又能夠走到,這是多麼真實的法,在我們的生活中。各位,我們真的是要名副其實,發大心行菩薩道,是人間菩薩;不是做不到,把握現在,及時做就對了。若能夠這樣,這就是我們要好好珍惜生命,要時時多用心!


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發表主題: 回復: 20181128《靜思妙蓮華》娑婆堪忍 雜惡雜會 (第1489集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五)   周日 12月 16, 2018 2:50 pm

Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: The Evil of the Saha World Must Be Endured (娑婆堪忍 雜惡雜會)
Date: November.28.2018

“’Saha’ means ‘endurance’. The sentient beings of this world must endure. It also means as intermingling of various evils. This refers to the coexistence of beings of the Three Evil Realms and the Five Destinies. In the Saha World, there is much suffering from the matters that must be endured. This is the general name for this trichiliocosm which is the place embraced and transformed by one Buddha.”

Dear Bodhisattvas, we must be mindful! When we speak of “the Saha World,” “Saha” means “endurance,” so it means a “world that must be endured.” Its name is “that which must be endured,” and from its name we can infer that it is something that we must patiently endure. This means it is a place of great suffering. We must patiently endure it! This is what its name means. We must patiently endure like this. We sentient beings, without any control, come to the world through our karma. Through our circumstantial and direct retribution, we arrive in the world in a stage of confusion. Now that we are here, what now?

This is the way it is; we do not know the reason why we are born in this place, what are our causes and conditions. We know nothing about the law of karmic cause and effect, nor do we wish to find out about it. In any case, we are born like this and live our lives in a state of confusion. Living in this environment, in this outside world, when our sense organs come in contact with the outside world, consciousness arises and then craving beings. With craving comes desire; desirous thoughts arise in the mind. Desirous thoughts are thoughts of “wanting”. We “want” to get something, and in the process of trying to get what we want, we create karma. We insist on getting so many things, fighting to get them even without reason.

We may even go against our principles, by thinking of every way possible to get what we want. We even do things devoid of conscience. In this way, we create karma, causing various evils to intermingle.

If we look at our thoughts regarding things that we crave, our desires may be small, medium or great ones. When it comes to small desires, the thing we want may be trivial. It may be insignificant, yet we crave it, and for the sake of that trivial thing, we become anxious and afflicted, seeking to get it. If we cannot get it, then ignorance arises in the mind. Some people cover up this ignorance inside. It causes them anxiety, always keeping these afflictions sealed inside, suppressing them like this. They can never get what they want, so they have afflictions and so on.

If we just talk about our family lives, we may be “meeting those we hate.” What may have been love in the beginning may after a short while turn into resentment, to where they become unhappy to see one another. They have nothing to say to one another and would like to part ways but keep living together, lacking any other options. This can also make them depressed. Family dynamics are never simple. Even within a single family, a very trivial matter if suppressed can bring about mental illness and ignorance due to afflictions. When it comes to outside things, to things that we crave, we can conclude that whether they are great or small, all of them begin with the mind. Even small things can accumulate and become evil, so that the afflictions and ignorance we create, and the wrong things that we do just keep on accumulating. We can create a great variety of evils without even realizing it. Small things add up over the course of a lifetime and turn into a great variety of evils, and if this great variety of evils becomes even greater, they can become earth-shaking. They can become very great evils! Various evils keep accumulating like this, and this is how they become intermingled. How many kinds of evil can we commit over the course of our lifetimes? Are we far from or close to these? Intentionally or unintentionally, people are dragged along by all kinds of karmic conditions, so that their mistakes keep piling up. Things become complicated when these evils come together like this. This is “the intermingling of various evils”.

This is what causes many difficulties. If there are many genuinely evil people, they can create great evil karma. Their causes, conditions, effects and retributions keep on accumulating over long periods of time, over the course of many lifetimes. As those conditions gradually accumulate, they begin to catch up with them, until causes and conditions finally mature. They are together in the “coexistence of beings Three Evil Realms and the Five Destinies”. They are together in the same place, in the same world. That is a place where the threefold evil karma gathers together, where they suffer karmic retribution. It is a place of suffering, a place of indescribable suffering! We speak of falling into the Three Evil Realms. When it comes to the evil realms, where is hell? The realm of hell is not something we can see. People only know about superstition, [saying], “Oh my! The ghosts will come out in July!” “I’m scared!” Frankly speaking, if you find yourself in the Three Evil Realms it will be difficult to be freed and return to the human realm. People create ghosts in their minds. Those bogeymen exist in their minds, because their minds are not upright. They are not morally aware of the principles. They have no direction, no track [to follow] so their minds become distracted, filled with discursive thoughts, and they also have many superstitions.

So, it is only because people are ignorant that they call [lunar] July “the ghost month.” In fact, the ghosts have their own realm. Hell, in which there is extreme suffering, is a separate realm where they go after death. The realm of extreme suffering is called hell, but hell is not something we can see. We can see the animal realm, but we cannot see the hell realm. Actually, the hell realm exists on earth. That is a realm we can see. Look now at how many countries are on the brink of poverty, hardship and hunger. Not only are they very poor, but they are also not stable. They also suffer constantly from internal strife, from civil wars and so on. They never know peace, and they moreover suffer from poverty or from many natural disasters. Natural disasters and manmade calamities are all they know ever since birth. Their circumstantial and direct retributions entail such unbearable suffering!

From our meetings where [our staff] report to me each week, I know there are many countries now (August, 2017) that are suffering from great natural disasters. In India, Bangladesh and Nepal, there have been many natural disasters. In particular, over the course of last month, flooding has continuously spread there. It is the rainy season there now, but there was great flooding even prior to that, flooding at a level that is rarely seen. How are we to do disaster relief work there? The floods are so extensive that it is difficult to even get close to them there. The rainy season is now upon them, so the rain continues to fall and the waters continue to rise. How can international relief aid even get in? For those humanitarian agencies to get in and help them is truly not easy! The government tells us, “Give all the supplies to us, and we will distribute them for you.” Unfortunately, this is the type of government the international community finds impossible to trust. No matter how much aid goes in, the disaster victims who truly are suffering are unable to get help. They remain suffering.

They remain there suffering from the disaster, hanging on the verge of life and death. We cannot bear it, so we wish to go in, but we do not have the necessary karmic conditions or connections. This is a cause for great worry. [Our staff] reported in the meeting that they are doing everything they can.

In Nepal, there are several individuals who are working very hard, yet they are unable to do much. They do not have enough manpower. Even though we are willing to assist with goods they do not have the manpower to deliver it. It is too far away. Not only is it far away, but other obstacles make it impossible to get there. Finally, after disusing the situation, we decided that the conditions were insufficient so we are leaving those places alone for now. They are suffering there, but there is nothing we can do about it. This is how it is in the world. [India] is such a large country.

On Earth, India is very large, and then there is Bangladesh and Nepal. There three countries have experienced similar disasters one after another, but there is nothing we could do about it. There is also what is happening in the US, in Houston, Texas. Because of heavy rains, the water there keeps on rising and getting higher. When we look at the scenes there, we see broad swaths of land underwater. All of the houses are under water. They are also afraid that they will have to release water from a reservoir. Because there is already so much water, they are afraid the dam may not take it, so they may have to discharge water. Since it is already flooding there, what will happen if they must discharge even more water from the reservoir? When we held the meeting, it was early morning for them there, between 4 and 5 am. We learned from them there that throughout the entire previous day, the point that it was beginning to flood, so they are very nervous there. The water has kept on rising, making it impossible for them to go outdoors. All they can do is rely on videoconferencing; there is nothing more they can do. They do not dare to even go outside.

When night came, their anxiety steadily increased from the beginning of evening onward, especially since the weather bureau had predicted that the waves of heavy rain will continue over the next three or four days. How will they bear up under this, even in the daytime, but especially at night? Imagine what it is like there now.

Originally, living in a place like Houston, there in the US, in Texas, was just like living in heaven on earth. Then just like that, great waves of rain came and threw them into what is like a hell on earth. We may have read in the Earth Treasury Sutra how sentient beings’ karmic forces keep them rising and sinking there. It is the same now. How will they bear up under it? How are they to cope? Nevertheless, we must think of ways of getting emergency supplies to them. Imagine after these several days of flooding, what are they going to do about the things that they need for their daily living? There is no way for them to get natural gas, and there has been a power outage. How will they eat, how will they cook? Most important for them now is to have instant rice that doesn’t need to be cooked to be eaten. We need to quickly prepare this. It contains vegetables and rice, this instant rice, so we should quickly prepare it. It is so far away, but what can we do? We have to ship by air freight. Shipping is so expensive, but what can we do? We have to save people, so we need to move. They need such a lot of it, so we need to move. They need it and they need it quickly, so we have no choice but to ship it by air. We can provide them with supplies right now, but as we think of them there rising and sinking in that water, as we think of the water in each of their homes, what is it going to happen to them after the water has receded there? It will be unimaginable. It is very heartbreaking.

We should all hasten now to be vigilant and sincere. This is a time for self-reflection. There is so much suffering in the world, so much unbearable suffering. They never knew such suffering would hit them. It was so sudden; there was nothing they could do. In this way, they have nowhere to turn for help. All they can do is reverently pray. Everyone has made mistakes, and everyone has collective karma. This is a time for repentance. This is how it is in Texas.

Now let us talk about the great floods that are happening in Sierra Leone. They are suffering there in Sierra Leone! Their suffering there has been such long-term suffering. Now things have become [even more] terrible! It is terrible how they are suffering there. Normally, they were already suffering, suffering from pestilence and disease. They had just gotten over an infectious disease, and another natural disaster is now upon them. Ordinary life there, as we all may know, is already impossible enough for them. If we pay attention to what we see in the news, then this realm is not invisible to us. We can see it on the news now, the way they are living there. We can see it now. If you think about it, isn’t that a hell on earth? They are being tortured there! Intangible yaksas and evil ghosts [visit them] time and time again so that those already suffering people have to further undergo time after time of torment, time after time of suffering. Imagine how they suffer there! The air-freight shipments to Sierra Lenone have already arrived there one after the other, both the air and sea shipments. There is also international support, like the Healey International Relief Foundation. This is also a very large international relief organization. It is also a foundation. There is also the Caritas Freetown Foundation, as well as the Lanyi Foundation. These three foundations have teamed up with us to cooperate in dividing up the work. Everyone is working together to help the people in Sierra Leone. However, there are more than 6000 people that need to be fed every day, who need to have meals provided for them. Each day, each meal needs to feed over 6000 people. Nothing else but rice is being prepared for them to eat, but that is a lot of rice, and it must be continuously prepared for them. There are also many people without any homes to return to, so sanitation is also a major problem there. They lack food supplies, medicine and so on; they have nothing there. If you think about it, isn’t this due to the collective karma of sentient beings? When karmic forces created over many lifetimes are all gathered together in a place like this, then everyone there will suffer.

You see, this is the “intermingling of various evils”. In that place, there are so many in suffering and difficulty. In that place, there are actually also people who are able to get by. There are also businessmen there, but their numbers are few. They do not have an abundance of material goods; they are just not like the great majority who are all living in such suffering. Over half the population lives in suffering there! Not many live in the “human realm” in that place, because for most it is like living in hell. This is “the intermingling of various evils”. The karma of some whose circumstantial retribution is in that place is lighter, while the karma of others is more severe. So, they are intermingled in that place. This the Saha World.

How many other places besides Sierra Leone are like this in this Saha World? There are many other places like this in Africa. It is very widespread. So, this world, this earth we are son, the place we call the Saha World, is a place that must be endured. There are many people living in hell on earth, many living in the animal realm on earth, many living in the hungry ghost realm on earth. We can see this for ourselves. This “coexistence of beings of the Three Evil Realms and the Five Destinies is this Saha World”.

The Three Realms are the hell, hungry ghost and animal realms. The Five Destinies include the Three Realms as well as the human and asura realms. It depends on our karma which of the Five Destinies [we are born in]. These all coexist in this world. See how asuras start wars over nothing and create manmade calamities! If we think about the Three Evil Realms and the Five Destinies in this world, can we endure it? Without patient endurance, how can we go on living in a world like this? Even if you have a source of income, if you are fairly well-off, it is still suffering!

Some people are very wealthy. They have billions of dollars, are very rich, but they are still miserable! They may say something like, “I had such an such property, and I has such and such land, but someone has taken it away from me. It causes me untold suffering!” They may suffer until incapacitated by illness, even over things like property or land. Unable to let go, they still suffer. If we think about it, is this happiness? Wealthy people, rich people must patiently endure too. Only by letting go of their wealth will they have any way [of being happy]. They need to know the importance of giving, know to reflect upon the past, how much they have accumulated. Are we using what we have attained all for ourselves? How much can we possibly use for ourselves? We cannot use that much of it. Yet we talk about what we have earned, about how much we earn, how much we have, but we cannot keep it all in our pockets and we cannot carry it all upon our backs. Moreover, we are always in a panic, thinking, “How am I going to get it to the bank, get it into a safe and so on”. We also need to pay [for the safe]. This seems like a great contradiction. They do not know the importance of using their money and property to help the many who are suffering. No. All they know is worry about it and desire more. If you think about it, isn’t this a miserable existence? “In the Saha World, there is much suffering from the matters that must be endured.” There is indeed a lot of suffering from things that must be endured.

This world is a great trichiliocosm. The “trichiliocosm” refers to this world [consisting of] the desire, form and formless realms. There are all included within it. There are small chiliocosms and medium chiliocosms [that make up] a great chiliocosm when taken together. All Dharma-realms throughout the universe are included within this trichiliocosm. As a whole, we call it “[the world of] endurance”. Anything we humans experience over the course of our lives is included within it. We call it “the world of endurance”. This world of endurance is the realm embraced and transformed by one Buddha, by Sakyamuni Buddha. Sakyamuni Buddha has to come to deal with this great trichiliocosm, this Saha World that must be endured think about how much suffering and oppression there is in this world. It is truly unbearable suffering! The Buddha taught to the stubborn sentient beings. They are truly very stubborn and very hard to tame, they are extremely hard to tame. He would tell those who were around him, “Oh my, You must change your habitual tendencies!” You must be more mindful! You must focus a little harder”. But this was too much to hope for. Can we possibly understand the Buddha’s heart? This is of course inconceivable
We can never comprehend the Buddha mind [We may say], “I understand, I know”. But even if I just take about? But even if I just talk about my own mind, There is no way for you to understand. In the world, sentient beings suffering so much. What burdens do they bear in their minds? We do not know, we can never understand. It is the same! No one can ever understand what goes on in another person’s mind. This is why we suffer so, we cannot understand each other. Everyone gives their all, but I will never be able to understand how much they really give. This is suffering.

There is so much suffering in life. The best we can do is rely on the Buddha-Dharma. The Buddha left the Buddha-Dharma. I do all that I can teach it, but you must listen to it as patiently as you can. You must patient, you must listen patiently! When we listen, we can use it and understand it to the degree that we put effort into it. However much strength we have, we should promptly [make use of it], for time waits for no one. “With each passing day, we draw closer to death”. This is especially true now. One day there was a lay practitioner, a professor, who returned to the Abode. While we were speaking, he told me, “Something happened to my father overnight”. He was fine yesterday, but when he got up this morning, when my wife went to call him for breakfast, my father looked up and asked her “Who are you?” [She replied], “I’m your daughter-in-law”. [He asked her], “What’s your name?” He did not recognize her. It happened overnight! He had amnesia. He had completely changed overnight. We should seize the present moment. Whatever we can do, we should do well and with clarity. We must seize the moment.

So, in this world today, we need to be very mindful. So, the previous sutra passage said, “In this Saha World, when I attained Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi, I taught, transformed and guided these Bodhisattvas, disciplining their minds and helping them form the will to practice”.

In this previous sutra passage, Sakyamuni Buddha is explaining exactly why He had come to the Saha World. It is because this transformation-land was Sakyamuni Buddha’s responsibility. Beginning a long time ago, He took on the responsibility of coming to teach and transform in the Saha World. It was at the time of Great Unhindered Buddha that He [first] made vows to attain Buddhahood and deliver sentient beings in this world of suffering that must be endured.

Beginning from then on, He has continually come like this, lifetime after lifetime, to teach and transform sentient beings. Because it had been such a long time, the number of sentient beings who had formed affinities with Him had continually accumulated like this. He had been teaching them for a long time, since the time they were ordinary people until they accepted the teachings and were transformed. He did this over many lifetimes. This is like those Bodhisattvas, the ones we talked about before, who numbered as many as the sands in the Ganges River. From as many as the sands in billions of Ganges Rivers, the numbers were then reduced to one half, to one quarter and to one-sixth. The numbers [of unenlightened beings] kept on decreasing until they became very small, until reaching four, three, two then one of them. The numbers of unenlightened beings, those sentient beings with afflictions, went from being many at first, but through continued transformation, they kept being transformed until they were able to spread the Dharma, were able to teach others and were able to guide others. The ones like that had already increased, while those to be transformed had decreased. Didn’t we talk about this before? Thus, so many [people] had affinities [with Him]. The Buddha kept transforming and teaching them until their karmic conditions had ripened, until they all had attained realization and they all had come to understand how to practice the Bodhisattva-path and teach the Bodhisattva Way. They went from confusion, from not understanding the Dharma, to where they were now able to accept the Great Vehicle Dharma.

So, the Buddha had, for such a long time, been transforming sentient beings who had affinities with Him like this. He transforms them even today, but next it is up to those with these affinities to form vows themselves, vows to transform and deliver others. This was what the Buddha wanted to tell us about those great many [Bodhisattvas] whom they saw emerging then from the earth then. Maitreya Bodhisattva and the others there, those nearby in that Dharma-assembly, had never before seen so many Bodhisattvas who had affinities with the Buddha. They had now all arrived there. The Buddha explained that their numbers were so great because it had been such a long time since He arrived in the Saha World and continually engaged in spiritual practice and continually transformed sentient beings. He had formed affinities by continually teaching, continually helping people’s karmic conditions to mature. He had then attained “supreme, universal and perfect enlightenment,” which is “Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi”. He had already attained this, attained Buddhahood. By bringing up the great numbers of those whom He had taught and transformed over such a long period of time, everyone could see how He had “taught, transformed and guided these Bodhisattvas”.

Throughout that very long time, He had always been in the Saha World. He never went anywhere else apart from the Saha World. He had been training them there since the time they were unenlightened beings right up until now when they had formed great aspirations to accomplish the Bodhisattva-path and become Bodhisattvas themselves who practiced “actualizing the Six Paramitas in all actions”. By now, they had all already resolved to practice the Bodhisattva-path.

All those people, “these Bodhisattvas, all abide below this Saha World, in the empty space of this realm”. These Bodhisattvas were everywhere, in such far-away places, always helping people everywhere.

Dear Bodhisattvas, we really need to be mindful. If we are not mindful, it will be impossible for us to realize how Living Bodhisattvas give or how much suffering there is in the world. If we do not witness suffering, we will never know our blessings. We are very blessed people. The greatest blessing is that we understand the principles. Our greatest blessing is that we are able to care about all the world’s sentient beings. We need to keep doing this. In the Saha World, there is nowhere the Buddha is not and there is no one He cannot deliver throughout the Dharma-realm of the universe. Throughout this great trichiliocosm, throughout this land that must be endured, His presence is everywhere. So, we have these conditions in a world such as this, to be able to know as well as practice and carry out this Dharma that is so true in our daily lives.

Everyone, we must truly, and not in name only, form great aspirations to practice the Bodhisattva-path and be Living Bodhisattvas. This is not out of reach for us if we seize the moment and promptly do what is right. By doing this, we will really be cherishing our lives. We must always be mindful!

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