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 20181210《靜思妙蓮華》積時累分 聚諸因緣 (第1497集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五)

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20181210《靜思妙蓮華》積時累分 聚諸因緣 (第1497集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五) Empty
發表主題: 20181210《靜思妙蓮華》積時累分 聚諸因緣 (第1497集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五)   20181210《靜思妙蓮華》積時累分 聚諸因緣 (第1497集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五) Empty周日 12月 09, 2018 5:41 pm

20181210《靜思妙蓮華》積時累分 聚諸因緣 (第1497集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五)

⊙時即時分,聚諸因緣,能生為因,助成為緣。謂五濁不增時唯善,諸有情類具大威德,好修諸善減貪癡等。蓋於彼時無諸濁惡,其人雖不樂為妙行,然而亦自然安祥和。
⊙「云何世尊於少時間,教化如是無量無邊阿僧祇諸大菩薩,令住阿耨多羅三藐三菩提?」《法華經從地涌出品第十五》
⊙「即白佛言:世尊!如來為太子時,出於釋宮,去伽耶城不遠,坐於道場,得成阿耨多羅三藐三菩提。」《法華經從地涌出品第十五》
⊙去伽耶城不遠,坐於道場,得成阿耨多羅三藐三菩提,去於山城未得長遠,便坐道場,得成佛果。
⊙「從是已來,始過四十餘年,世尊云何於此少時大作佛事。」《法華經從地涌出品第十五》
⊙此釋事相難信。如來說法,本不限於時相。惟就顯相言之,法華一會,在般若會以後,去佛成道後,止四十餘年。

【證嚴上人開示】
時即時分,聚諸因緣,能生為因,助成為緣。謂五濁不增時唯善,諸有情類具大威德,好修諸善減貪癡等。蓋於彼時無諸濁惡,其人雖不樂為妙行,然而亦自然安祥和。

時即時分
聚諸因緣
能生為因
助成為緣
謂五濁不增時唯善
諸有情類具大威德
好修諸善減貪癡等
蓋於彼時無諸濁惡
其人雖不樂為妙行
然而亦自然安祥和

多用心啊!「時」,就是在說我們要注重時間!生命在呼吸間,所以我們要好好把握時間,一切的成就也是在時間。時間、空間、人與人之間,所以人間一定要把握時間,應用在空間裡,這是一定的道理。

我們要重視時間,因為時間和我們是最密切,等於和我們的生命一樣;有人這樣說,時間和生命等長。各位,我們有想要將生命留長一點嗎?留長一點,就是要多利用生命,要利用得有意義。也就像是時間,我們要多利用時間,是對的事情、好的事情,要把握時間做,做就對了。所以時間是很重要,對我們的生命,能夠成長慧命。生命隨著時間減少,常常一句話說,「是日已過,命亦隨減」,時與日就是這樣消逝就過去了,我們若好好把握,時間用得很充足,求知、求識、求行。

我們要知道,好好求我們應該知道的事情,而除了求得知,每樣事情我們若知道了,世間事我們清楚。不只是只有知道就好,知道,就還要再去鑽究,好好想。這件事情是要如何來會理呢?道理是這樣說,與人間事能夠會合嗎?我們要去認識,道理和事物會合成為一體;而我們若要知道,事理會合我們必定要身體力行。你只有聽的道理,你沒有去做;沒有做,永遠都在那裡猜,猜啊,體會不到,容易生疑。這個「疑」和「信」,也是在時間之中,一切都沒有離開時間。

我們早上在誦經,不就是「甚深、甚深,真實甚深」?只是在那裡,在喊「深、深、深」,你若沒有身體力行,深,我們永遠都鑽究不到;你沒有好好去深入,只是在那裡喊「深哦,很深」,沒有去動作,永遠都不會徹底的了解。所以我們要「信」,一定要「行」。我們同修者,叫做同知識,也要同受持;我們要求知、求識,要求身體力行,這個時間對我們才有用。

所以,時就是時分,在分秒中;一大早天亮,一大早到天亮,天亮和中午,中午和晚上。這個「時分」,時間隨著秒而分、而時,這樣一直過去,所以分秒要累積起來。其實,我們每一個,分秒鐘的時間,無不都是在聚因緣。開口動舌,造福人間嗎?是說一句好話讓人感動呢?啟發他的善心嗎?或者是一句無意的話說出去,去傷到人的心、斷了人的道根?這也是在短暫的時間,分秒中我們會造成了因、緣;是善因呢?或者是惡因緣呢?這我們就要很用心來警惕。這「聚諸因緣」,無不都是在分秒中,這樣累積、累積,善惡因緣都是點滴累積。我們在時間,要常常時時、刻刻,要好好利用,利用對的就是積功德,「六度萬行」也是在分秒中。而我們若是煩惱無明,同樣時日在過,人我是非,那個無明、煩惱累積,都是在時間裡。

所以,這個時間「聚諸因緣」,也「能生為因」,就是在這個地方聚集,聚集之後,這個因緣就是這樣生出來。既然緣累積,久來它也會產生,產生了果報,這一定的道理。所以,生滅都是在因緣中,造作在因緣中、感受在因緣中、果報在因緣中,因緣無不都是「時」來累積。所以我們要好好重視時間,把握時間、累積時間,分分秒秒要用,因為它是在「能生為因,助成為緣」。我們輕易一句話出去,就是因為有對方,有對象、有人,所以人的「緣」,所以我們和他在對答的當中,無意中就有這樣的「因」,就是因為有「對緣」。人與事也因為有這項事情,我一個動作,這項事情結果是成就?或者是這項事情,結果是遺憾的事情?這也是在舉止動作中,這個當中一定是有什麼樣的緣。

這「因」是能生的意思,起一念心,這叫做「生」;我要說一句話也是一念心,我要一個舉動也是一個動作,這都叫做「因」。有那個對象,所以那叫做「緣」;話對人說的,事是對物的對象,都是有對境。有因、有對境為緣,所以叫做「助成為緣」。「能生為因,助成為緣」,我想要罵人,就是因為有人我才想罵。同樣的道理,沒有對象,那就沒人可罵,也沒有對機等等。舉這樣的譬喻,大家應該能清楚。我要做事情,是因為有事情我要去做,這全都有對象,所以這種能生就是因,對象就是助成的緣。所以,因緣就是這樣,在時間、空間的對象中,我們完成了因緣。

所以說「五濁惡世」,現在就是五濁惡世!這個時代天下災難偏多,四大在空輪中完成,也是因緣完成。有人的因來破壞大環境,人與人之間起心動念,人與人之間因為物質的誘引,所以起心動念,累積、累積變成造很多業。創業很多,在創業的過程,事物,大的就像大山,山被破壞了;大的就像海洋,海洋被破壞了,就像這樣,不斷地累積、不斷地擴大,這都是在「時分,聚諸因緣」開始。能生,就是人的心起心動念,起心動念,是因為有這麼多的這個欲,要去貪取,所以因為這樣,累積來長久了。長久,是幾千年也是從分秒累積,幾百年就是這樣累積來,大地被破壞了,空氣被污染了,變成了濁。這個濁,「五濁」──見濁、眾生濁、煩惱濁、命濁、劫濁,這五濁還是不斷循環,累積成了眾生共業,天下災難偏多,可怕!

在這個時分的裡面,這樣這樣長時間的累積,就是這樣,要怎麼辦呢?現在就唯有「五濁不增」。「五濁」,就是人的見解,不要再增加不正確的見解了。現在人的見解、現在動不動就說現在的年輕人,觀念不同,其實,現在的人,不只是年輕人,不只是中年人,即使是老年人,也不得不隨著現在社會的生態,在生活、在改變,這就是現在人的見解,「五濁」在這個見解中,累積成了煩惱,這種煩惱累積,造成了憂鬱、躁鬱等,心無法能穩定下來,煩惱重重。這不是少數人,已經成為「眾生濁」,所有所有的人類。不只是人類,現在動物也有動物心理醫生。可見眾生已經進入了,這個眾生濁。已經見濁了,再加上了眾生濁,眾生累積了煩惱,煩惱濁,這樣,所以眾生濁氣很重,所以人禍頻傳,眾生濁。所以就這樣有見濁、煩惱濁、眾生濁,所以造成了生命的威脅,叫做「命濁」。看看,人禍,不只是破害家園,現在天底下,常常有的國家,不只是外患,是內戰,全都是自己這樣,不斷國家在互爭互鬥、互相破壞。看看,家園破碎了、人命傷亡了,人禍累累,很多。再宏觀天下,四大不調和,地大不調、風大不調、水大不調、火大不調,無不都是在大地空間,這樣不斷發生。

所以,有地、水、火、風,無不都是發生,在這個大空間的裡面。天下宇宙間,這都是一個空輪,很廣大,很多很多,「四大」都是在這個裡面。本來四大是大自然,就是因為心的煩惱無明,眾生所造作的業,所以惹成了大自然的不調,所以叫做四大不調,變成了就有這樣,這麼多、這麼多的災情,人生苦不堪。要如何能夠讓這個五濁,不要再增加?唯有善。「謂五濁不增時唯善」,唯有善,我們若希望濁氣不要再增加,唯有要推動善。因為現在地球高溫,海水升溫,整個生態,都是變作「溫室效應」,是名副其實「火宅」。

我們《法華經》中「火宅」譬喻,就是譬喻在這個時代,已經就像火爐了,這個大空間,就像一間大房屋火燒了,所以叫做「溫室效應」,已經是這樣溫度升高了。還有海水溫度也升高,所以因為這樣的因素,才會災難那麼大。

就像德州的休士頓,(二0一七年)這波的大水災,是世紀性的,面積這麼大,這是所不曾看到的。這就是科學家去探究來,原來是海水升溫,海水熱度高了,所以那個雨,颱風、颶風,風雨大,水這樣下下來。又是那個建設開發得太快了,人口增加、工業增加,所以整個土地都是鋪水泥了,大地沒有呼吸的空間,所以病了。雨水一下來,沒有那個功能排水,雨水也特別大,這惡性的循環。這樣的事情不是只會在美國,這是天下事,美國只是一個警訊,我們要提高警覺,要如何五濁能夠停下來?唯有善,善。

所以,「諸有情類具大威德」,要大家善心要起,心要淨化,不再有欲念了,不再有無明煩惱了,要好好累積修行,修行威德,我們真真正正要用功了。修行不敢說到要有多大的威德,至少大家盡本分──不要殺生。口欲我們要節制起來,愛惜生命,為大地球、大乾坤,不要再增加污染,若能夠這樣,這才有辦法。先對人的生活習慣開始,就是對飲食和用物,戒口欲,戒我們的貪念,若這樣,這是為了整個乾坤,要救地球,就是要疼惜小乾坤。每一條生命都是小乾坤,小乾坤身心健康了,大乾坤就是呼吸等等,就能夠平安、乾淨,我們要很用心。所以好好修行,要「好修諸善」,大家要好樂,向諸善法來走。「好修諸善,減貪瞋癡」,普通經文都是說,「滅貪瞋癡」,一時要滅沒有那麼簡單,我是覺得:大家更減一點、更減一點,我們現在這個時代,不敢盼望都清淨,都滅,無貪瞋,不敢這樣盼望,我們就邊減、邊減,減貪瞋癡,要修行。

所以,我們若能夠這樣,「彼時無諸濁惡」。若這樣,這個時候、那個時候,我們這時候趕緊推蔬食,把握時間,現在推。未來呢?他們回過頭來就說:「那個時候有這群人為了救大地,為了淨空氣,推動了這樣清淨的飲食,蔬食,改變人的生活、口欲。」那個時候若能夠這樣,我們現在和未來的那個時,若能夠這樣,那就沒有諸濁惡了。希望我們現在開始,到未來的那個時候,我們不要嫌進步慢,我們要有起動、要共行,我們這時候是要共識的時候,共知、共識,我們要共行,我們必定要起步,這就是根本。因為,佛現在已經進入了,那個「本門」,我現在也會用較長的時間,說做人的根本。佛陀要說的,是成就菩薩的根本,我不敢想如何成就,我一直期待我們來成就「人」,現在如何來發心做菩薩。菩薩在人間覺有情,我們能夠為未來鋪路,希望我們能夠,減輕了貪、瞋、癡,能夠盼望未來,會將這個濁氣將它減少,沒有這個濁惡,一直減少。

希望人,「其人雖不樂為妙行」。我們人人,叫他求佛法、修佛法,能夠成佛,雖然他沒有興趣,不要緊,我們只做前面,我所說過這些事情,我們來減貪、瞋、癡;我們來盼望在未來,我們的社會、人間,能夠減輕了這些濁惡,我們做得到,現在就能夠救地球,能夠保護大地、尊重生命,這我們都能做得到的,就是這樣就好了。你不敢盼望你到成佛,不敢盼望你到行菩薩道,就是做好人,人格成,佛格就成了,就是盼望我們做好人。所以,「其人雖不樂為妙行」,若不盼望:我要「六度萬行」,我要去轟轟烈烈,去做救人的事情。你不要去救人不要緊,你救你自己,你就累積你自己的善行,這樣就好了。這樣對地球、對濁氣,這全都有幫助。所以,「然而亦自然安祥和」。我們若能夠這樣,這個天下自然就很乾淨了,天下無災,人間祥和、平安了。這就是累積在時間。

現在時間,及時要把握時間;現在我們要累積因與緣,我們要很清楚,我們要了解,點點滴滴,我們要將這個濁氣減少,這是很期待人人要把握時間。時間很不夠,道理很長,要徹底說到,大家可以很清楚了解,這就要看人人是不是有用心。

好吧,時間不夠,來,來看看。佛陀在顯「本門」,本來開這道門,就是要讓我們知道行要如何修,我們心要如何發。我們若能夠像這樣開始,在現在的時代,這麼的濁氣這麼重,我們要如何使這個時代、使這個濁氣,使現在的人,要如何能夠覺醒起來?這就是根本。同樣,我們這時候沒有顧好,要如何談到有時間可修行呢?所以我們應該要清楚,這個根本的門既然打開,我們根本的理我們要清楚。

所以,前面的文,彌勒菩薩還是不斷提起問題問佛。所以說:「云何世尊於少時間,教化如是無量無邊阿僧祇諸大菩薩,令住阿耨多羅三藐三菩提?」

云何世尊於少時間
教化如是無量無邊
阿僧祇諸大菩薩
令住阿耨多羅
三藐三菩提
《法華經從地涌出品第十五》

這是彌勒菩薩又再這樣問,因為大家既然問起了,這些菩薩是如何來,佛陀既然答了,這些菩薩這麼有成就,這麼有成就,佛陀又是回答的,那就是,「這麼成就,這麼多,都是我度過來的。」大家更加不相信了,不相信在佛陀成佛以後,就沒有多久,哪能夠已經成就那麼多,從來不曾看到,這麼有成就的菩薩!這彌勒菩薩再追問,追問佛;他愈問,佛陀愈解釋,我們就愈清楚了。

所以,所以,他「即白佛言」,是彌勒菩薩這樣問。

即白佛言
世尊
如來為太子時
出於釋宮
去伽耶城不遠
坐於道場
得成阿耨多羅
三藐三菩提
《法華經從地涌出品第十五》:

前也說過。「世尊!如來為太子時,出於釋宮」。離開了皇宮,就去到伽耶城沒有多遠的地方;去「坐道場,得成阿耨多羅三藐三菩提」。文是將它縮短了,它這個文跳過了去修行等等。其實這個當中,佛陀已經走過了很多的道場,去拜訪過外道,印度教,幾個地方過去了,這時間、距離,也已經這樣走了一片;時間,離皇宮到成佛,那個時間前後也有十一年!所以,他離皇宮去到伽耶城,這個山城。

去伽耶城不遠
坐於道場
得成阿耨多羅
三藐三菩提
去於山城未得長遠
便坐道場
得成佛果

我們因為(二0一五年)尼泊爾地震(規模7.8),我們去才知道,原來伽耶城,那個山崙很多,山丘很多,稱為山城。「未得長遠」,平地沒有很長、很遠,不是像臺灣,若是平地的就很廣,或者是大陸更是廣。這不是這樣,它就是很多的山巒,所以平地不遠。「未得長遠」。所以走過,經過了,十一年的時間,回過頭來在菩提場,坐菩提樹下成道。其實成道之後才四十幾年,

所以接下來這段文就這樣說:「從是已來,始過四十餘年,世尊云何於此少時大作佛事。」

從是已來
始過四十餘年
世尊
云何於此少時
大作佛事
《法華經從地涌出品第十五》

這文之中就這樣說,彌勒菩薩疑,疑在:為何佛陀出城,修行,離皇宮到伽耶城,伽耶城這段時間,十一年,去看看人家的道場,到處去參訪有五年的時間,有六年自己靜下來思考、修行的時間。所以,前參訪五年,後六年的時間,默默地來思考天地之間、天地人間的道理,自己慢慢去思考,六年的時間。

最後他選擇一個地方,坐下來好好來思惟,終於他忽然間這樣覺悟了,與天地宇宙合而為一,這個真理,大乾坤所有的真理,收納入佛大覺性的心靈裡,成佛了。所以,時間不是很長,十一年的時間,五年參訪,六年修行,時間也不長。成佛之後又再說法,也才四十多年,這前後的時間還不到五十年,差不多是五十年的時間。你們想,這樣他要成就這麼多菩薩,全都很有成就,這個事情很難解釋。彌勒菩薩知道大家有疑了,他就會問了。

所以,這表示我們要解釋的、要表示的,那就是這個事難信,真的是很難解釋。湧現出來,從地湧出是這麼多、這麼多的成就功德,是這麼多啊!用這麼短的時間,修行過程十一年,說法時間四十九年,這樣就能夠成就這麼多事情,實在是不可思議,所以他們就會問。

此釋事相難信
如來說法
本不限於時相
惟就顯相言之
法華一會
在般若會以後
去佛成道後
止四十餘年

「如來說法,本不限於時相」。其實如來說法,哪有時間的限制呢?但是人事就是這樣,有時間等等,就是這樣來計算。所以,「唯就顯相言之,法華一會,在般若會以後」。「般若」,佛陀「五時說法」,他有「阿含時」,「阿含時」,那就是佛陀開始離開菩提場,成佛之後離開菩提場,他就開始測量,眾生的根機,要如何才能夠體會佛法?這我常常說過,大家清楚,因為根機,所以他到鹿野苑去,開始就是為五比丘說「四諦」法,才成就五比丘。從這樣開始,開啟了「阿含時」,十二年。開始那就是,之後就「方等」了,《方等經》八年;八年後開始就「般若」,二十二年!而這樣後面接下來,才開始是「法華」。

所以,「阿含」、「方等」、「般若」、「法華」,這樣是四個,還有一個在哪裡呢?「華嚴時」,就是成佛那個時候,那個天地宇宙萬物的道理,會合而入了佛的覺海。他,所以那個時間,二十一日的時間,佛陀在靜謐中,那個境界,諸天還有諸菩薩都現境,他在那個地方講說「華嚴」。華嚴海會有諸佛菩薩來慶祝,有諸方菩薩來聽法,有天人來聽法,那個華嚴海會的境界,完全是在佛陀的心理──定靜中的道場。一直到出定之後,才會去考慮天人都難解了,何況人間呢?當然更加難解。因為這樣,所以佛陀開始就「五時說法」,分作這麼多的時分來說法。這就是「時分」,分作這麼多的時分來說法,這就是我們要去清楚、要去了解,佛法是從這樣開始。

其實,難道只是在這個裡面而已?不只!佛從這四十多年來,是這樣經過了過去無數劫前,之前也向大家提起,降皇宮之前是在兜率天;兜率天之前就是有這位修道者,他遇燃燈佛,以髮布地,供佛,那位燃燈佛為這位修行者授記,為他祝福:「未來你開始修行,將來成佛會和我一樣,但是你要再經過無數劫的修行,一直到最後遇到迦葉佛,迦葉佛的補處是你──未來釋迦牟尼佛。你的補處就是在兜率天。」這是來人間之前,在兜率天;兜率天以前,無量劫前的燃燈佛,燃燈佛為他預言,一直到迦葉佛。這是很長久的時間,無數劫、累劫不斷在廣度眾生。

所以,因為有經過了這樣的時間,所度過來的人、所成就的人,是所結緣的過程的度化因緣,就是累積很多的時分。我們開頭說「時分」,在佛的時間,那就是無量、無數劫的時間,不斷不斷累積;累積,已經到了,在佛陀他因緣成熟了,來人間現相成佛。現相成佛這個時分,有從孩童的時代,有從……,一直到出家,一直到修行,這都有時間,這個時分的累積到成佛,是從古遠、古遠,無法計算的時間,一直說到現在,這累積下來的時間所成就。所以,我們要成佛就是要這樣,很用心修行才有辦法。所以,在這輩子,從開始短短四十多年來,所在化度的因緣。

譬如說現在的弟子,就像憍陳如,是佛陀說「四諦」法,覺悟了、清楚了;三轉四諦法輪,憍陳如是第一個體會到,體解大道的人,這就是「阿含時」。「阿含」的時代,就是為小乘人說小乘法,獨善其身,潔身自愛,這樣的人來講法。接下來才是「方等」,接下來就是「般若」,就是這樣的過程,到「法華」才四十多年而已。

所以,現在從地湧出的人這麼多,這麼多菩薩,廣大無數,數過恆河沙。佛的功德勢力是如何來教化?這已經看到這些人的功德,累積到這麼高,到底這這麼短的時間,是如何教化過來?因為這樣,大家用時間來計較,計較那個時,佛陀出皇宮去修行開始,來計算它,這個過程,以及成佛之後的時間的過程,只不過是這樣的年限,怎麼能夠度那麼多人啊?這就是大家的疑問。

各位,真的是道理,我們若是要去探討,實在是要花費很多很多時間,說來話長!大家若用心好好能夠體會,我們就要知道「時分」,回歸到佛陀將要說他如何修行,那個根本,那個「本門」開始。時間是無法去推測,從佛陀的生世,來推測修行到成道,時間是這樣而已,往前推就是無量劫。這種的時分,累積起來能夠成就這麼多,我們要重視這個時分。我們,時分能夠累積一切因緣,時分能夠累積一切的成就,現在把握時間。這個時代的污濁,不容許我們又在那裡慢慢地說、靜靜地聽,我們就是要知、要識,最重要的身體力行。所以,要請大家好好把握時分、把握因緣,為這五濁惡世盡一分心力,所以要時時多用心!

【註一】〔時因緣〕
〔出自《阿毘達磨大毘婆沙論》〕時即時分。因緣者,能生為因,助成為緣。謂五濁不增時,諸有情類,具大威德,好修諸善。蓋於彼時,無諸濁惡,其人雖不樂為妙行,而亦自然能行也。(五濁者,劫濁、見濁、煩惱濁、眾生濁、命濁也。)(《三藏法數》)

【註二】菩提伽耶距迦毗羅衛國五百多公里。
伽耶城:古代中印度摩竭陀國之都城。即今孟加拉巴特那市(Patna)西南九十六公里處之伽耶市,臨恆河支流之尼連禪河。(《佛光大辭典》)
菩提伽耶:又稱菩提道場、佛陀伽耶、摩訶菩提、菩提場。為佛陀成正覺之地。位於印度比哈爾南部伽耶市近郊七公里處之布達葛雅。(《佛光大辭典》)


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Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: In Time, All Causes and Conditions Are Accumulated (積時累分 聚諸因緣)
Date: December.10.2018

“Time’s refers to a length of time, during which we can accumulate all causes and conditions. That which leads to arising are causes. That which assists formation are conditions. This means that only goodness can stop the Five Turbidities from increasing. All sentient beings must possess great might and virtue, take joy in cultivating all that is good and reduce greed, delusions and the like. At that time, there will be no turbidity or evil at all. Though these people might not take joy in engaging in the wondrous practice, nevertheless, they will naturally be in peace and harmony.”

Please be mindful! When it comes to “time,” we must pay attention to the time [we have]. Human life is measured between breaths. So, we must earnestly make good use of our time because all things take time to accomplish. In our time, space, and interpersonal relations, we must seize the time we have in this world and make good use of it while we are in this place. This principle is certain. We must value time because it is the most intimate to us. It amounts to [the length] of our lifetime.

Some people say that time and our lives are equal in length. Everyone, do we want to extend our lives? Extending [our lives] means making better use of them. We must use [our lives] so as to give them meaning. Likewise, we must also make better use of time. If something is right or virtuous, we should seize the moment and just do it. So, time is very important in our lives because it can help us grow our wisdom-life. Life shortens with the passing of time. We often say, “With each passing day, we draw closer to death”. Time fades away like this, day by day. If we earnestly seize [the time we have], we can put it to full use by seeking knowledge and practicing. We should know that we must earnestly seek the knowledge we should have.

In seeking knowledge, we can know about everything and be clear on worldly matters. Not only should we simply have knowledge, but once we know it, we must study it further and earnestly contemplate it. How does this matter converge with its principles? This is what the principles say. Do [these principles] correlate with worldly experience? We must familiarize ourselves with how principles and matters converge to become one.

Furthermore, if we want to know how matters and principles converge, we must put [the principles] into practice. If we only listen to the principles but do not put them into practice, without acting on them, we will always be guessing. When we cannot comprehend [the principles], we will easily give rise to doubt. “Doubt” and “faith” also [arise] with time. Nothing is separable from time. When we recite the sutra in the morning, don’t we chant, “It is extremely profound, true and extremely profound”? If we only chant “profound, profound, profound,” without putting [the teachings] into practice, then we can never study their profundity. If we do not try to comprehend it earnestly, and only exclaim, “It is profound, very profound!” without putting it into action, we can never thoroughly understand it. So, for us to have “faith,” we must “practice”.

Fellow spiritual practitioners are called spiritual friends with common knowledge; we must also uphold [the teachings] together. We must seek wisdom and knowledge, and seek to put [the Dharma] into practice; only then will our time be of any use. So, time refers to periods of time that are made up of minutes and seconds. The sun rises early in the morning. From before dawn to daybreak, from morning to noon, and then from noon to evening, these are “periods of time.” Time goes from seconds to minutes and then hours. This is how it passes by continuously.

So, we must make these minutes and seconds count. In fact, when it comes to every minute and every second of our time, we are constantly gathering causes and conditions. When we open our mouths to speak, are we creating blessings in the world? Are we saying something good that touches people? Are we awakening the goodness in their hearts? Or are we saying something unintentionally that hurts people’s feelings and severs their spiritual roots? This is also how, in a short time, within minutes and seconds, we can create causes and conditions. Is this a good cause? Or are they bad causes and conditions? We must be mindfully vigilant of this. This “accumulation of all causes and conditions” occurs within minutes and seconds. They accumulate and accumulate. Good and evil causes and conditions are all accumulated little by little. When it comes to time, we must always earnestly make good use of it. When we use it correctly, we accumulate merits and virtues. “Actualizing the Six Paramitas in all actions” is also something we do every minute and second.

If we [dwell on] afflictions and ignorance, time still passes us by just the same. The accumulation of interpersonal conflicts, ignorance and afflictions happens with [the passage of] time as well. So, time “accumulates all causes and conditions. That which leads to arising are causes.”

[Causes] are gathered [in time]. Once they gather, [more] causes and conditions arise. Since conditions are accumulated, over time they will also give rise to retributions. This principles is certain. So, all things arise and cease through causes and conditions. We create karma and experience feelings through causes and conditions. Retributions [result from] causes and conditions. Causes and conditions all accumulate over “time”. So, we must earnestly value time. We must seize our time and make it count putting every minute and second of it to use because it amounts to “[causes] by which [things] arise” and “[conditions] by which formation is assisted”. When we make a careless remark, because there is a receiving party, there is a person who is the object of our remark. This is how [we form] affinities with people. So, it is during our conversations with them that [we may create] unintended causes, due to the “corresponding conditions” [of our relationship with them]. When it comes to people and matters, a single action in a situation can lead to a successful outcome, or it may cause the situation to result in a regrettable outcome.

This depends on our actions and on the conditions that are present. A “cause” is that which gives rise [to something]. To have a thought is “to give rise” to it. If I want to say something, it comes from a thought. If I want to do something, it requires an action. These are all called “causes”.

That there is that other person is considered “a condition”. Words that are spoken to people and matters that [people] are faced with all have corresponding states. There is a cause and its corresponding state, which serves as the condition. So it said, “That which assists formation are conditions. That which leads to arising are causes, and that which assists formation are conditions.” When we want to yell at someone, it is because there is someone [to be yelled at]. The principle is the same. If there is no other person, then there is no one to be yelled at, one is there a corresponding situation and so on. This example that I have given should be clear to everyone. When we want to do something, it is because there is something for us to do, which requires an object [to be acted upon]. So, the cause is what gives rise to [action], while he objects are the conditions that assist the formation [of the situation]. So, this is how causes and conditions work. Within the corresponding time and space, we complete the causes and conditions.

As for “the evil world of the Five Turbidities,” it refers to our present era. In this era, there are many disasters in the world. The coming together of the four elements in space also happen through causes and conditions. The causes of some people destroy the environment. Discursive thoughts arise and stir among people; due to material temptations, discursive thoughts arise in our relationships. As they accumulate, they result in the creation of so much karma. [This is the case for] many enterprises. In the process of doing business, there are matters and things; some are as large as mountains. Things as large as mountains and oceans are destroyed [as part of this process]. In this manner, [unwholesome karma] continuously accumulates and expands. This all occurs over “periods of time,” beginning with “the accumulation of all causes and conditions”. “That which leads to arising” refers to how people’s minds give rise to discursive thoughts. We give rise to discursive thoughts because we have so many desires and greedily wish to obtain things. So, because of this, [our karma] accumulates over a long time. Even several thousand years are accumulated over minutes and seconds. Several hundreds of years are all accumulated in this way. The land has been destroyed and the air has been polluted, resulting in turbidities. These Five Turbidities are the turbidity of views, of sentient beings, of afflictions, of life and the kalpas of turbidity. These Five Turbidities continue their cycle, leading to the accumulation of sentient begins’ collective karma and a world where disasters abound; it is so scary! At this period in time, our [karma] has been accumulating for so long.

Since this is the case, what can we do? All we can do now is “stop the Five Turbidities from increasing”.

“The Five Turbidities” refers to how people’s perspectives must not continue to increase due to incorrect views. Nowadays, we are quick to say that young people these days have different mentalities. In truth, people nowadays, not just young people and middle-aged people, even elderly people can only follow current social norms and change [their ways] in life. This is the perspective of people nowadays. With these views, the “Five Turbidities” accumulate into afflictions. As these afflictions accumulate, they lead to depression, anxiety and so on. [People’s] minds cannot calm down, and they have severe layers of afflictions. This is not true for only a small group of people. This has become the turbidity of sentient beings [that affects] all humankind. Apart from humans, nowadays even animals have psychologists. We can see how all beings have entered into the turbidity of sentient beings.

We already have the turbidity of views, plus the turbidity of sentient beings. As sentient beings accumulate afflictions, their afflictions cause turbidity. Thus, the turbidity of sentient beings is very severe. This leads to frequent manmade calamities due to the turbidity of sentient beings. So, in this way, there are the turbidities of views, of afflictions and of sentient beings, and all of these threaten our lives. This is the turbidity of life.

We can see that manmade calamities do not only destroy homes. Right now in the world, there are often countries which suffer not only from foreign invasions but also from civil war. The entire [country is at war] with itself and [people in] the nation continuously fight and destroy each other. We see homes destroyed and lives lost. There are so many manmade calamities. Moreover, looking at the world, [we see that] the four elements are out of balance. The earth and wind elements are imbalanced, and the water and fire elements are imbalanced. This leads to continuous [disasters] in this world. So, [disasters of] earth, water, fire and wind all occur within this great space. The universe is as vast empty realm that [encompasses] so much. The four elements are all within it. The four elements make up the natural world. Due to our mental afflictions and ignorance, sentient beings create unwholesome karma that causes nature to become imbalanced. This is what we call the imbalance of the four elements. This is what leads to so many disasters and unbearable suffering in people’s lives. What can we do so that these Five Turbidities do not continue to increase? Only goodness [can help us]. “Only goodness can stop the Five Turbidities from increasing”. This is only possible with goodness. If we wish that the turbidities will no continue to increase, we have to promote goodness. Because the earth’s temperature is increasing, the ocean is growing warmer too. Entire ecosystems are suffering from “global warming”. This [world] is truly a “burning house”.

In the Lotus Sutra, the analogy of the burning house is an analogy for this era. [This world] is already like a fireplace. This great space is like a huge burning house. So, what we call “global warming”, has already caused the temperature to rise, and the ocean’s temperature has also risen. So, it is for these reasons that [natural] disasters are so devastating.

Take for example Houston, Texas. The major flooding [in August, 2017] was a 100-year disaster. The affected area was so large; it was unprecedented. Through scientists’ research and investigation, [the found that] it was caused by a rise in ocean temperatures. The ocean temperature has arisen, resulting in a hurricane with intense wind and rain that released huge amounts of water. In addition, rapid development due to the growth in population and industries means that the land is covered by concrete; the earth had no space to breathe, so it has become sick. Once the rain fell, there was no [natural] drainage system [to handle] this especially heavy rainfall. This is a vicious cycle.

This does not only happen in the US; this is a global matter. [The incident in] the US was just a warning. We must heighten our vigilance. How can we stop the Five Turbidities? Only goodness can stop them.

So, “All sentient beings must possess great might and virtue”. Everyone must give rise to a heart of goodness. We must bring purity to our minds. We should no longer have thoughts of desire, ignorance or afflictions. We must earnestly accumulate [merit through] spiritual practice and cultivate might and virtue. We must truly work hard at this. When it comes to our spiritual practice, we dare not talk about great might and virtue, but we should at least do our duty by not killing living beings. We must curb our craving for taste and cherish [all forms of] life. For the sake of the earth, the macrocosm, we must not [allow] pollution to keep increasing. Only if we can do this can we [stop the Five Turbidities]. We must start with people’s daily habits, [our attitudes] toward food and things we use. We must eliminate our cravings for taste, as well as our greed. If we can do this, we are helping to save the earth. This is [working to protect] the macrocosm by cherishing the microcosm. Every person’s life is a microcosm. When the microcosms of the body and mind are healthy, then the macrocosm can breathe and so on. Then, it can be peaceful and pure. We must be very mindful.

So, to earnestly engage in spiritual practice, we must “take joy in cultivating all that is good”. We should all joyfully walk in the direction of all virtuous Dharma. We should “take joy in cultivating all that is good” and reduce our greed, anger, and ignorance. Throughout the sutras, it says to “eliminate greed, anger and ignorance” but they are not so easily eliminated all at once. I think that we should all try to reduce them little by little. In our current era, we cannot expect [everyone] to be pure, with greed and anger completely eliminated. We dare not hope [for so much]. Instead, little by little, we should decrease our greed, anger and ignorance through spiritual practice.

So, if we can do this, then, “At that time, there will be no turbidity or evil at all”. If we are to do this, at this time and [in the future], we should quickly promote a plant-based diet, seizing the moment to promote this now. And what about the future? People will look back and say, “At that time, a group of people, for the sake of protecting the environment and purifying the air, promoted this clean plant-based diet. The changed people’s way of life and [helped curb] their cravings for taste. If this could have been accomplished in the past, then in our present and in the future, there would be no evil turbidite is at all. I hope that by starting now, in the future, at that time, we will not resent people for advancing too slowly. We must mobilize and take common action together. This is the time for us to have consensus. We need common knowledge, consensus and to take common action. We must make these first steps. This is the root.

Since the Buddha already entered “the teaching of the intrinsic”, I will also take more time now to discuss the basic of being a good person. What the Buddha wished to teach was the basics of becoming a Bodhisattva. I dare not think of how to attain this, but I am always hoping that we can succeed in being good people and that we can now aspire to becoming Bodhisattvas. Bodhisattvas are awakened sentient beings in the world. We can pave the path for the future, so I hope that we can reduce our greed, anger and ignorance. Then there will be hope that, in the future. We can decrease these turbidities until are gone, continually decreasing them. [The Buddha] hoped that “while these people might not take joy in engaging in the wondrous practice…”.

For each one of us, when we ask others to seek and practice the Buddha-Dharma and we [tell them] they can attain Buddhahood, we need not worry if they are not interested. All we do is what I explained previously, to reduce our greed, anger, and ignorance. We hope that in the future, in our society and in this world, there will be less evil turbidities, if we are able to do this, then right now we can [begin to] save the earth [by] protecting the land and respecting [by] protecting the land and respecting life. We can accomplish all of this, and it is enough. If people do not hope attain Buddhahood or to walk the Bodhisattva-path, then [they can at least] be good people. When we have perfected our character, then we can attain Buddhahood, so I hope that we can be good people. So, “Though these people might not take joy in engaging in the wondrous practice…”. They may not wish “to actualize the Six Paramitas in all actions or do glorious deeds of saving lives. If they do not to save others, it is okay. They can save themselves. They can accumulate good deeds on their own. This is good enough. All of this is helpful for the planet and [for reducing] turbidities.

So, “Nevertheless, they will naturally be in peace and harmony. If we can do this, then naturally, this world will be very pure the world will be free from disasters, and there will be harmony and peace. This accumulates over time. Right now we must promptly make use of our time. We must accumulate causes and conditions right now. We must be very clear and understand that little by little, we must decrease this turbidity. I really hope that everyone can seize the moment. There is not enough time, and there are many principles. Thoroughly teaching them so that everyone can clearly understand them depends on whether everyone is mindful.

Okay, time is running out. Let us [continue]. The Buddha revealed “the method of the intrinsic.” Originally, He revealed this method to help is understand how we should engage in spiritual practice and how to form aspirations if we can start like this, then in this present era, with such heavy turbidities, what can we do in this turbid era to help the people awaken now? These are the intrinsic fundamentals.

Likewise, if we do not take good care of [the intrinsic] now, how can we talk about having time to engage in spiritual practice? So, we should be clear about this. Since the door of the intrinsic has been opened, we must be clear on the fundamental principles.

So, in the previous sutra passage, Maitreya Bodhisattvas still continued to ask the Buddha questions.

So, “How could the World-Honored One, in a short time, teach and transform such infinite and boundless asankyas of great Bodhisattvas, enabling them to abide in Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi?

This was Maitreya Bodhisattvas asking [the Buddha] again. Since everyone asked how these Bodhisattvas came about, the Buddha answered He answered that these Bodhisattvas were very accomplished. The Buddha further said, “Those who are so accomplished have been transformed by me. Everyone was in further disbelief. They could not believe that since He attained Buddhahood, which had not been that long ago, the Buddha could already have helped so many accomplished Bodhisattvas whom they had never seen before. Maitreya continued to question the Buddha. the more he asked, the more the Buddha explained, and the clearer it became for us.

So, “Then they spoke to the Buddha”. it was Maitreya Bodhisattvas who asked this, as it mentioned preciously. “World-Honored One, “when the Tathagata was the prince, You left the Sakya Palace”. He left the palace and went not far from the city of Gaya to sit at the place of enlightenment. There, He “attained Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi”. The passage summarized [His journey]. This passage skips His spiritual practice etc. Actually, during that time, the Buddha had already visited many spiritual training grounds He visited non-Buddhist practitioners, Hindus. He visited many different places. During this time, He traveled far and wide. From leaving the palace to attaining Buddhahood took ii years. So, He left the palace to go to the city of Gava this mountainous city.

[You] went somewhere not far from the city of Gaya where You sat in the place of enlightenment and attained Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi: He had not gone far from that mountain city when He sat in His place of enlightenment and attained the fruit of Buddhahood.

Following the Nepal earthquake in 2015, when we went [there], we realize that the city of Gaya is very mountainous and hilly. So, it is called the mountain city. “He had not gone far”. The flat lands were not very wide, nor did they extend very far. It is not like Taiwan, where there are vast plains, of China, which is even more expansive. It was not like that. The city [is made up for] many mountains. So, the flat lands did not go far. “He had not gone far”. So, He spent 11 years traveling about before coming back to the Bodhimanda, where He sat below the Bodhi tree and reached enlightenment. Actually, [at this point], it had only been about 40 years since He attained Buddhahood.

So, the next sutra passage says, “Only forty or so years have passed since then World-Honored One, in this short time, how could You have done the Buddha’s work to such a great extent?

The sutra passage expresses this Maitreya Bodhisattvas had doubts regarding [how short the time was] after the Buddha left the palace and engaged in spiritual practice He left the palace to go to the city of Gaya. Before He came to Gaya, during those 11 years, He visited many religions teachers. He spent five years traveling around and six years calmly contemplating on His own, engaging in spiritual practice. So, first, He visited [teachers] for five years. Then, in the latter six years, He silently contemplated the principles of the world. On His own, He slowly contemplated for six years. In the end, He chose a place to sit down and earnestly contemplate.

Finally, He suddenly awakened and became one with the universe. The true principles, all the true principles in the macrocosm gathered into the great enlightened nature of the Buddha’s mind, and He attained Buddhahood.

So, the time was not very long; it was 11 years. He spent five years visiting [teachers] and six years engaging in spiritual practice. The time was not very long. After He attained Buddhahood, He expounded the Dharma for over 40 years. His total time [teaching] was not even 50 years. It was almost 50 years of time. Think about it; for Him to help so many Bodhisattvas [attain] such a [high degree of] accomplishment was very hard to explain. Maitreya Bodhisattva knew that everyone had doubts. Therefore, he asked [about] this.

So, this means that what we must explain and express here is that this matter is hard to believe. Truly, it is hard to explain [Bodhisattvas] emerged [from the ground] in such great numbers and with so many virtues and merits. There were so many of them! In such a short period of time, 11 years of spiritual practice and 49 years expounding the Dharma, [the Buddha] was able to accomplish so much. It is truly inconceivable, so they had questions.

This explains why these matters and appearances were difficult to believe in. In expounding the Dharma, the Tathagata is inherently not limited by time; there are only limits in terms of the appearances manifested. The Lotus Dharma-assembly came after the Prajna Assembly. Since the Buddha attained enlightenment, it had only been forty or so years.

“In expounding the Dharma, the Tathagata is inherently not limited by time.” In truth, when the Tathagata expounded the Dharma, how could He have been limited by time? However, when it comes to people and matters, there is such a thing as time and so on. This is how we calculate and measure things. So, “There are only limits in terms of the appearances manifested. The Lotus Dharma-assembly came after the Prajna Assembly”. “Prajna” [is one of] the Buddha’s “Five Periods of Teachings” There is the Agama period. The Agama period [began] when the Buddha left the Bodhimanda. Once He attained Buddhahood, He left the Bodhimanda and began to assess sentient beings’ capabilities in order to find ways for them to comprehend the Buddha-Dharma. I have often spoken of this; this should be clear to everyone. [Considering] capabilities, He went to Deer Park and began to teach the Four Noble Truths to the five bhiksus. This was how He helped the five bhiksus succeed. Starting like this, He began the Agama period, which lasted 12 years. That was how it started.

Then came the Vaipulya [period]. [He taught] the Vaipulya sutras for eight years. After eight years, the Prajna period began. [It lasted for] 22 years! Then, after that, He began the Lotus period. So, there are the “Agama,” “Vaipulya,” “Prajna” and “Lotus” periods. These make four, so what is the fifth one? The “Avatamsaka” [period].

This was at the time of the Buddha’s enlightenment when the principles of all things in the world converged and entered the Buddha’s ocean of enlightenment. During that time, for 21 days, the Buddha remained in a state of tranquility. All heavenly begins and bodhisattvas appeared. In that place, He taught the “Avatamsaka [sutra]”. At the Avatamsaka Assembly, all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas came to celebrate. Bodhisattvas from all directions and heavenly beings came to listen to the Dharma. The state of Avatamsaka Assembly entirely [expressed] the Buddha’s state of mind, this tranquil place of practice. It was when He emerged from Samadhi that He considered how difficult it was for heavenly beings to understand [the Dharma], to say nothing of humans. This would certainly be even more difficult. Because of this, the Buddha began “the Five Periods of Teachings”.

He divided the Dharma into different periods in order to teach it. These were “time periods”. Creating these periods for teaching the Dharma is something we must seek to understand clearly. This is how the Buddha-Dharma started. [Was the Buddha’s spiritual practice] limited only to this? No. The Buddha, [before] these 40 or so years, had also experienced countless kalpas in the past.

I have previously mentioned this to everyone. Before He descended into the palace, He was in Tusita Heaven. Before He was in Tusita Heaven, He was a spiritual practitioner. He encountered Burning Lamp Buddha and used His hair to pave the ground as an offering to the Buddha. Burning Lamp Buddha bestowed a prediction of Buddhahood to this spiritual practitioner and gave him His blessings. “In the future, you will begin to engage in spiritual practice. Later on, you will attain Buddhahood just like me. But you must first go through countless kalpas of spiritual practice until you meet Kasyapa Buddha. Kasyapa Buddha’s successor will be you, the future Sakyamuni Buddha. As His successor, you will be in Tusita Heaven”. In this way, He arrived in the world from Tusita Heaven.

But before Tusita Heaven, Burning Lamp Buddha, countless kalpas earlier, bestowed this prediction upon Him. From then until the time of Kasyapa Buddha, a very long time passed. For countless kalpas, He continued to widely transform sentient beings. So, because He underwent this period, those whom He transformed and helped succeed were transformed and delivered through the causes and conditions from the affinities He had formed with them. He accumulated [these affinities] over a long time. At the beginning, we discussed “time periods”. The time of the Buddha refers to the countless kalpas that He underwent in order to continuously accumulate [affinities] until His causes and conditions were mature. Then, He came to the world to manifest the attainment of Buddhahood.

His time to manifest the attainment of Buddhahood began with His childhood, until the time He became a monastic and engaged in spiritual practice. All of this took time. The time it took until He attained Buddhahood [began] long ago; an incalculable amount of time passed [from then] until now. This is what He achieved with the accumulation of time. So, to attain Buddhahood, we must also do this. We must very mindfully engage in spiritual practice to get there. So, in this lifetime, [the Buddha] spent 40 or so short years [fulfilling] His causes and conditions. for transforming and delivering [sentient beings].

For example, His disciples, like Ajnata Kaundinya, awakened and clearly understood [the principles] when the Buddha taught the Four Noble Truths. As He taught the Four Noble Truths three times, Ajnata Kaundinya was the first person to comprehend the great path. This was during the Agama Period. The Agama Period was for teaching the Small Vehicle Dharma to those with Small Vehicle [capabilities]. It was for those who sought to benefit and purify only themselves.

After that came the Vaipulya, and then it was the Prajna period. This was the process. It took only 40 or so years to get to the Lotus period. So, right now, there were so many people who emerged from the ground. There were so many Bodhisattvas. [Their numbers] were vast and immeasurable, like the sands of the Ganges River. How could the power of the Buddha’s merits and virtues teach and transform [all these people]? They could see that these people had already accumulated so many merits and virtues. In such a short time, how was it possible for the Buddha to have taught and transformed them? They were calculating the time, how long it had been since He left the palace to engage in practice. This was how they calculated the time. This process, including the time after He awakened, only amounted to this many years. How was it possible to transform so many people? This was everyone’s question. Everyone, when it comes to the principles, if we want to investigate them, it will take us a very long time. It takes too long to explain them! If everyone mindfully seeks to comprehend this, then we have to understand “time periods.” We must go back to when the Buddha was about to describe how He engaged in spiritual practice. We need the basics, starting from “the intrinsic.” [The beginning of] time is impossible to measure. From the Buddha’s birth to when He engaged in practice and became awakened, there was only so much time, and there are countless kalpas yet to come. When it comes to time, once accumulated, we can accomplish so much. So, we must value our time. In time, we can accumulate all causes and conditions. In time, we can accumulate all accomplishments. We must seize the present moment. This era’s turbidities do not allow us to speak slowly and silently listen. We must have knowledge, and most importantly, we must put it into practice.

So, everyone, please earnestly seize the moment and [make use of] the causes and conditions. We must make an effort for the sake of this evil world of Five Turbidities. So, we must always be mindful!

(Source: Da Ai TV – Wisdom at Dawn program – Explanation by Master Chen-Yen)
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20181210《靜思妙蓮華》積時累分 聚諸因緣 (第1497集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五)
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