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 20181211《靜思妙蓮華》久遠恆修 植諸善根 (第1498集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五)

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20181211《靜思妙蓮華》久遠恆修 植諸善根 (第1498集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五) Empty
發表主題: 20181211《靜思妙蓮華》久遠恆修 植諸善根 (第1498集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五)   20181211《靜思妙蓮華》久遠恆修 植諸善根 (第1498集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五) Empty周一 12月 10, 2018 9:50 pm

20181211《靜思妙蓮華》久遠恆修 植諸善根 (第1498集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五)

⊙ 如來恆修六度,萬行功德為因,而成法身之果,故名功德法身,遍空界。功者福利眾生,累世行所得;德者諸善有為行,德澤深厚恩宏廣。
⊙「去伽耶城不遠,坐於道場,得成阿耨多羅三藐三菩提。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》
⊙「以佛勢力,以佛功德,教化如是無量大菩薩眾,當成阿耨多羅三藐三菩提?」《法華經從地涌出品第十五》
⊙以佛勢力,以佛功德:此疑所化多眾行位深妙。轉凡成聖,佛之威德勢力,令具福慧圓滿,成就佛功德。
⊙行位是無學道,證理斷惑究竟,更無法可學之位。在聲聞乘為阿羅漢果。在菩薩乘為佛果。⊙「世尊!此大菩薩眾,假使有人於千萬億劫數不能盡,不得其邊。」《法華經從地涌出品第十五》
⊙「斯等久遠已來,於無量無邊諸佛所,植諸善根,成就菩薩道,常修梵行。世尊!如此之事,世所難信。」《法華經從地涌出品第十五》
⊙斯等久遠已來,於無量無邊諸佛所:謂是等眾久事之佛。斯等下,植因非淺。以修行必經多劫,發心定非一佛,時長行遠,道果始就,豈少時之可及哉?
⊙植諸善根,成就菩薩道,常修梵行:靈山會眾不識地涌大菩薩。云何得知久植德本成菩薩道,常修淨行?由見所來神通智慧、以果驗因,知是久習。
⊙由彌勒既不知其數,又不識一人,請示於佛故,得知久植善根。必於久遠無量佛所,植諸善根,成就梵行也。
⊙世尊!如此之事,世所難信:言此一事,師少子老,一切世間之所難信。

【證嚴上人開示】
如來恆修六度,萬行功德為因,而成法身之果,故名功德法身,遍空界。功者福利眾生,累世行所得;德者諸善有為行,德澤深厚恩宏廣。

如來恆修六度
萬行功德為因
而成法身之果
故名功德法身
遍空界
功者福利眾生
累世行所得
德者諸善有為行
德澤深厚恩宏廣

用心啊!要用心,把握時間,人生不再!一天一天過,時日過,命亦減,身體功能都是在減弱中!要時時提醒,利用我們利根明朗之時,好好要多用功啊!要知道,「如來恆修六度」。如來,釋迦牟尼佛,長長久久的時間,無量數劫來,都是應如是法而來人間,這叫做「如來」。長久、長久的時間,他來來回回在人間,無法去計算來幾回了,無法計算!時間多長了?塵點劫,時間之長,同樣應如是法、應眾生所需要。眾生就是因無明煩惱造作業力,人間,不斷惹來了人間濁氣重重,就是因為迷了因也迷了理,人生都在迷途中。如來就是因為應眾生,這種的迷茫,他還是不斷來人間做引導;眾生有什麼樣的煩惱、無明,佛陀,如來,就是用他的智慧,不斷來啟發眾生。無奈眾生眾多,很多、很多,覺悟者稀少;真正能夠覺悟,願意經歷久遠修行、持法,這樣的人很少,所以得度,已經又是再次會再墮落。佛,覺者,他就是不放棄,一次一次、不斷不斷,追著眾生苦難而付出。

所以,這麼長久的時間,有人會問:「怎麼那麼長久?以佛的德行,怎麼會無法度眾生呢?」不是無法度眾生,「有法度」,但是眾生業重,重重疊疊,這種知一,而就再迷失。一項已經知道了、了解了,知少分,我願意修行了。我們昨天說「時分」,我們知少分,也修小時,很快無明煩惱,無明煩惱又是將他引過去,很快就是這樣又是再度迷。所以眾生頑劣、剛強難調伏,而如來也是不斷應眾生的根機,以法還是累生世,不斷不斷來人間,和眾生一樣這樣不斷來,卻是無奈。唯一的是不願意放棄,佛陀愛眾生的心不願意放棄,他一次再一次,次次,生生世世就是盼望能夠引度。因為這樣,時間就會很長啊!

覺者,他就是永遠持著道理不變;眾生就是變化多端,眾生造業了,變化多端。所以,以不變來應萬變,還是要耐心來,應如是法而來人間,應如是緣而來人間;如法、如緣這樣來人間度眾生。所以,必定要「恆修六度」,要永遠、永遠,這麼長久的時間,不斷人群中修六度行,修自己、覺悟他人,很多的付出。眾生迷茫,可貴就是不捨,不忍捨去,這就是成佛的因。經過了「萬行功德」,就是因為這麼長久的時間,耐心、愛心、不捨眾生心,而累世修行六度,行於萬行、累積功德,這為「因」,就是這樣地累積「而成法身之果」。佛陀已經發心成就了,那個因已經累積,累積了,「萬行」圓了,現在功德已經成為果了,那就是「法身」。因為這樣,叫做「功德法身」。修行的過程,「六度萬行」為功德,成就,覺悟了,這為「法身」。

「法身」是遍虛空法界,那個法的體。其實法看不到,無形體相,就是人在人間這樣、這樣修行,法就是這樣一再一再,再覆講,從不了解,一直分析到你能夠了解;不只是能夠了解,還能夠讓你體悟;體悟之後,還要帶你力行來走。這要一次再一次,長長久久的時間,要帶到,「這樣了解嗎?」「了解了。」傳法有人了,這非常的圓滿無缺,表達出了「因圓果滿」,覺悟了。在迦毘羅衛國那位太子的故事,一直到菩提樹下夜睹明星,與天體宇宙合而為一,覺悟了;這個身體,含著天地宇宙間的覺性,這樣歸為這個身體。你看得到,來,告訴你,說現在、談過去。現在這個身叫做「法身」,是累積過去無量數的功德;過去無法去計算那個功行,用功行道累積的德而完成。現在叫做「功圓果滿」,成為法身,叫做「功德法身」。修行那麼久了,到這時候才叫做成佛了,叫做「功德法身」。

這個「功德法身」,就是「遍空界」,這個「功德法身」無處不在,遍虛空法界。這個法身到現在還在,在哪裡啊?虛空法界,無不都是佛陀的時代,曾這樣說過,我們現在從經藏之中延續下來,來了解。談天說地,說人間事物道理,將佛法成為,現在我們能夠行動的一條道,這就是這條道、這個理,就是遍虛空法界,即為藏經。「經」就是道,我們去了解它,了解之後,我們來說它;說了之後,我們大家知道;大家知道,大家趕緊照這個方向。我們要走的路,我們要趕緊開它;本來就有了,久來已經荒廢掉了,我們要重新,現在重新了解、重新開道。方向知道了,原來有的路,現在就是這樣,雜草很多、很多,我們開始,這個雜木、雜草,我們要開始用功來開它。所以開路,大家來鋪、大家來走。路要鋪多長?就是一直鋪去就對了。

看看地球有多大,我們路就這樣一直鋪多長去;時間有多少,而我們就是一直鋪。後面鋪路的人,他接著前面的道,他就要繼續下去開,開那個道,再帶後面的人來鋪路;鋪路的人接到,他還是向前面去開道。這就是這樣不斷累積,將這個道,人間道,向前一直開,無窮盡;道開到哪裡,路鋪到哪裡去。人人能夠就道走路,這樣就是將整個人間淨化了,人人接觸到這個道,在道上如理行。所以我們還記得,記得佛陀〈授記品〉,授記你未來,「某某人,你未來功德圓滿了,也能夠成佛,但是你要成佛的過程,你要經過再多久多久、多長的時間。你要行什麼樣的行,就要這樣去鋪,路不斷這樣去開、不斷這樣去鋪,鋪到你的因緣成熟,你成佛了。

你所度的人,應你所鋪的路,讓人走過來。你成佛的國土,有多莊嚴、多莊嚴!大家鋪過的路,已經有這麼莊嚴了,琉璃為地、金繩界道等等等等。」那些菩薩也都成就了,菩薩就是在一起鋪路的人。看看,〈授記品〉的意思也是這樣。你還未成佛之前,你就一直要修行、修行;修行就是在開道,按照方向在開道。你就是用心一直開,開道的當中就是在度人;讓你度的人,就是與你一起在鋪路的人,你在開道,他們在鋪路。這已經緣一層一層累積了,累積到這個世界,普遍的道路都平坦了。所以,開道的人成佛了,鋪路的人成菩薩了,所以那個世界莊嚴。

同樣的道理,佛陀他選擇的,是這個堪忍的世界,污濁、堪忍,所以他選擇在這裡。他要度的眾生是剛強難調伏,他願意生生世世,所以他累積功德,法身成就了。道理差不多是這樣,談天說地,我們差不多知道了。所以,他的娑婆世界,後面還有很多菩薩要不斷繼續,道要開、路要鋪。其實釋迦佛沒有休息,還是再繼續,這是一個階段性,道理永恆,周而復返。所以,乘如是法而來人間,不斷不斷一段落完成,他就要再來一段落,一定要到了人間完全淨化,所以,到彌勒要來人間,那就是其中還有這麼長的時間。這當中,釋迦佛還是要不斷,要將這個人間完全淨化完了,一個康樂的世界這樣完成了。所以佛,他的「功德法身」,那個法性「遍空界」,我們要清楚。

「功者福利眾生」。「功」就是福利眾生,不斷不斷為眾生的福利在付出;來利益眾生,教導眾生如何互相去利益。所以,要經過了「累世」,要累生累世,不斷累生世所行的路,所得到才能夠有德,要用長久的時間來累積,最後所得的德。所以,「德者諸善有為行」。得到什麼呢?得到諸善行的有為法。我們過去一直說,說〈安樂行品〉,那就是善有為法,不斷要行善,點點滴滴的善不斷要累積。這善有為法,我們用我們的身、口、意、發誓願,長長久久這樣身體力行去累積,這種善有為法,這樣生生世世的德來潤澤群生,給眾生。

所以,這個德很深,很厚的德,對眾生的宏恩廣大。累生世,這就是佛陀乘如是法來人間,行久了,很久很久,塵點劫以前,一直一直累積,所修「六度萬行」的功德,這就是「因」。這個過程無不都是在福利眾生,不斷在累積、付出,這就是佛為眾生。眾生再怎麼剛強,再怎麼難調難伏,佛陀就是沒有放棄。每次若看到佛在度眾生,慈、悲,抱著那分永遠不疲倦,就是殷勤、歡喜、甘願在付出,不捨眾生這個心態,有時候若看,一直看,一直去了解,回顧自己,實在是慚愧重重啊!要學的實在是還很長、很長。難怪道要不斷地開,路還是要不斷地鋪,光是在世間,有形的土地,我們到底是鋪多少路?能夠救拔多少的眾生?解開多少眾生的苦?重重疊疊,總是還這麼多等待我們開的路,等待我們救拔的眾生,還是那麼多,重重疊疊,很多!所以需要很多很多的人,趕緊及時開道,趕緊及時鋪路,還有這麼層疊,這麼無量數的道路要鋪,這麼多眾生的心,心要去淨化。

所以,不斷看到眾生業累,業報,不論是天災人禍,在這個濁惡的世間共業明顯,就會愈想到佛陀那分殷切,在募人,人間在募菩薩,來身體力行救拔眾生那個心情,真的是很深的體會。時間,總是時間我們要好好把握,自然法則,時間總會過去,壽命總會盡,佛陀也是很迫切講《法華經》,也是因為年老了,就要趕緊傳法。真的是「五根」也會不管用,所以我們要趕緊把握生命體,要精進,不要懈怠了。

來,看看前面那段文。

去伽耶城不遠
坐於道場
得成阿耨多羅
三藐三菩提
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》

佛陀現相娑婆世界,成佛,在那當中,修行過程要出皇宮,向他修行的目標走。所以,他出皇宮,去伽耶城(古摩揭陀國都城)。這當中有十一年,五年參訪,六年苦修。回過頭來修行的道場,那就是選擇在這個地方,伽耶城菩提樹下,這個地方為他修行覺悟的地點。

所以,「從是已來,始過四十餘年」。所說的時間也沒有很長,成佛之後,前後算起來「五時說教」,從「華嚴」,心靈的世界,覺悟之後稍微整理一下,要用什麼法在人間。之後,就開始走入了鹿野苑,第一場的說法,「四諦」法──苦、集、滅、道。光是一個「苦、集、滅、道」,為五個人說,也說盡了苦的道理;為五個人來講「四諦」法,也就要重複三次,叫做「三轉四諦法」,也是要說三遍。

第一個接受到的,那是阿若憍陳如;五個人當中,第一輪唯獨憍陳如體會到:原來苦的道理就是這樣,人間真實「苦」,來自於「集」,知道方法,應該修「道」。憍陳如了解了,其他還有四個,所以還要再二轉、三轉,終於五個人完全了解了,這樣才是開始發心出家,就現僧相,才是佛成佛說法第一場完成了。五個人出家了,所以叫做「三寶」具足,佛、法、僧具足了,從這樣才開始展開了弘法,開始到處說法。所以,時間不是很長,怎麼會四十多年後,現在在靈山會,這麼多的菩薩從地湧出?這些人既然起來了、現前了,為何靈山會這些人不認識,不認識這些,忽然間現身出來這些菩薩?彌勒菩薩就代替這麼多人,來啟疑、來問。這就是這段文,大家要記憶著。

所以,下面這段文說:「以佛勢力,以佛功德,教化如是無量大菩薩眾,當成阿耨多羅三藐三菩提?」

以佛勢力
以佛功德
教化如是
無量大菩薩眾
當成阿耨多羅
三藐三菩提
《法華經從地涌出品第十五》

難道是這樣這麼近的時間,佛陀的勢力、佛陀的功德,就能夠這樣成就,忽然間浮出來這些菩薩?這樣的道業嗎?這是大家的心疑,所以彌勒問,問大家的疑,疑在這裡,短時間如何能成就?所以,這就是疑,所化眾多,怎麼會那麼多?

以佛勢力
以佛功德:
此疑所化多眾
行位深妙
轉凡成聖
佛之威德勢力
令具福慧圓滿
成就佛功德

這些人「行位深妙」。「行位」,大家要了解「行位」是什麼。「行位」就是,「無學道,證理斷惑究竟」。就是說,這些菩薩,他們修行的地位,已經這樣到達「無學道」。他們要學的應該全都很完備了,所要開的路也應該都很開成了,盡道路了,他們已經到達「無學」。

行位是無學道
證理斷惑究竟
更無法可學之位
在聲聞乘
為阿羅漢果
在菩薩乘為佛果

我們在《法華經》的開頭,不就是有念到,來的人「學與無學」,「無學」就表示他的位很高,所學很充足。就像我們人間的學位,拿到博士了,幾個博士學位;博士,那就是他所專修的科,已經到頂端了,這叫做「博士」。博士再上去就沒有什麼學位了,除非是他又不了解,又換其他要研究的,才說他拿幾個博士學位,要不然就是博士的名稱,就是很高了,學所最高。

豈是最高呢?卻是佛的道理,他們,這些菩薩應該的位置,就是到這樣的位置,至高的位置了,這叫做「行位」。他的行,那個道行走到的位置,已經到「無學道」的位置,路已經開透了,已經是「證理斷惑究竟」。他們已經了解這些道理了,所有的這個惑、無明煩惱都斷盡了、都究竟了,他們都沒有疑問了。這些菩薩已經到這樣的位置了,已經沒有什麼法再學的位置,這已經是至高了。所以,若以聲聞來說,那就是阿羅漢;阿羅漢果是聲聞的極位,就是聲聞的博士了。而若是菩薩呢?他的果位就是要到成佛,還未成佛,所以他還叫做菩薩。就是菩薩,他就要再向前走,一直要到成佛的位置,叫做他的極果,這是他的目標。而小乘呢?他就是:我到阿羅漢果就好了,我解脫就好了,我獨善其身。這就是他的位置。

所以說起來,「行位」是目標,因為這些是菩薩,所以他們還要再向佛果走,所以他們還要再來,應這個靈山會再來,來再成就這個靈山會,再聽佛陀成佛之道,所以這些菩薩又再集過來。所以,菩薩,菩薩乘就是以成佛為果。這叫做「行位」。

所以,這些菩薩,已經到「行位深妙」,已經完成了菩薩應該要走,這個境界。這些人怎麼現在在這靈山會?原來在聽法這些人,都不曾看過這些人。這些菩薩,他們已經「轉凡成聖」了,「佛之威德勢力,令具福慧圓滿」。現在就是需要佛陀的威德勢力,再次來完成這些菩薩,他們的福慧圓滿。所以他們這次來靈鷲山再聽法,就是要聽這個,福慧圓滿的菩薩道,才能夠成就他們,再繼續行成佛的路上,去修行、去完成他們的德。這就是我們要真正去了解。到「無學」的境界,就是我們修行那個過程,我們若獨善其身,我們就只是要停在羅漢果而已,這就是一個境界。行菩薩道要精進,就是入人群去,人群中不受污染,人群中的煩惱即是菩提道,就是要開的道路,這就是菩提道,菩薩將要開的道路,這就是要成佛之道。

所以,我們這道理要很清楚,這就是根本。下面接下來,就說「教菩薩法」,因為佛的威德來教,「教化如是無量大菩薩眾」,就是因為佛的威德,來教化這麼多的菩薩。看這些菩薩,「當成阿耨多羅三藐三菩提?」這些菩薩應該將要接近,「無上正等正覺」,這個事情,很大的事情,這就是一大事因緣;佛陀的盼望就是這樣,一大事。所以,彌勒菩薩,大家因為佛的,成佛的時間這麼短,怎麼能成就那麼多?所以佛陀就為他們說「遠因」;遠因,哪能夠度那麼多人?大家心還是不解。

接下來這段文再說:「世尊!此大菩薩眾,假使有人於千萬億劫數不能盡,不得其邊。」

世尊
此大菩薩眾
假使有人
於千萬億劫
數不能盡
不得其邊
《法華經從地涌出品第十五》

這麼多、這麼多的大菩薩眾,假如有人用很長的時間來算數,怎麼算都算不盡。是啊,「若算師,若算師弟子,數不能盡」,同樣的道理。這就是道理有多少,受法的人,所體會的的道理就有多大,人數就有多少。只要用心,人人本具真如本性,所以道理都還是存在,算不完。所以,「世尊!此大菩薩眾」,用這麼長時間,還是算不盡!「眾之多」,算不盡。

接下來再說:「斯等久遠已來,於無量無邊諸佛所,植諸善根,成就菩薩道,常修梵行。世尊!如此之事,世所難信。」

斯等久遠已來
於無量無邊諸佛所
植諸善根
成就菩薩道
常修梵行
世尊
如此之事
世所難信
《法華經從地涌出品第十五》

真的,實在是很難信!這種的事情,這從久遠劫來無法去計算,無邊際的時間,所以,在無數佛所,也是「植諸善根」,在那個地方一直在培養善根,一直在行菩薩道,將這個信根、善根,善有為法,不斷不斷在人間,所以說叫做「斯等久遠以來,於無量無邊諸佛所」。那些人也是這樣,在每一尊佛世之時都是。

斯等久遠已來
於無量無邊
諸佛所:
謂是等眾久事之佛
斯等下
植因非淺
以修行必經多劫
發心定非一佛
時長行遠
道果始就
豈少時之可及哉

釋迦佛在每一尊佛世時,都是在修行,都是同樣這樣在度化;每一尊佛世時的眾生,同樣上求下化。就像現在釋迦佛的時代,也有很多弟子,以佛陀的精神、他的法,到處去度眾生。被授記的弟子不就是嗎?過去所說的四大弟子也好,反正富樓那也好,不都是,都是以佛陀的教法,到處去度眾生。佛陀也是經歷過了這樣的修行,這樣在度眾生。所以,這些事情真的是很久遠,很久、很久了,這樣一直延續來。這些人,「斯等」,真的是已經證很長、很久的因。這些菩薩也是跟著釋迦佛,修行、結緣、說法,應該要從十六王子,開始的結緣眾,累生世就是這樣一直在度,一直來。

所以,「以修行必經多劫」,修行一定要經過很長久的時間。所以,發心不是一佛,要經過很長的時間,長的時間;每一尊佛世時,他要不斷一直發心,不斷要修這個法,上求下化,同樣,所以時間長遠,很久,「道果始就」,就是這樣累世累世不斷、不斷,無量生世在修行,無量生世在度眾生,不斷累積,這「道果始就」。這不是短暫的時間。

所以,「植諸善根,成就菩薩道」,就是要「常修梵行」。我們要種很多的善根,要種很深,然後要不斷修出了清淨的梵行,才能夠成就菩薩道。

植諸善根
成就菩薩道
常修梵行:
靈山會眾
不識地涌大菩薩
云何得知
久植德本成菩薩道
常修淨行
由見所來神通智慧
以果驗因
知是久習

在靈山會上,原來在聽法的人不知,也不識,不曾看到從地湧出這些菩薩。所以,「云何得知,久植德本,成菩薩道」。他們怎麼知道,這些是已經過去就是這樣,這樣修行過來的,都永遠就是修在清淨行。所以「見所來」,就是忽然間浮現出來這些人,全都是「神通智慧」。這些人,這麼多的菩薩來了,這些都是已經累積他們的經驗,累積了他們的能幹,這樣到來。這就是「以果驗因」,看到現在所修、所度的人已經這麼成就,這就是果。佛陀所教化的果實,成就的果實已經纍纍了,這「果」來驗「因」,來推過去的因。為什麼這果會這麼成熟?它的源頭是如何去耕耘,能夠果實這麼成熟?所以「以果驗因,知是久習」,去追它過去是什麼方法,我們就知道這已經是「久習」,要很長久的時間要去修習,久習。所以,「由彌勒既不知其數,又不識一人,請示於佛」。

由彌勒既不知其數
又不識一人
請示於佛故
得知久植善根
必於久遠無量佛所
植諸善根
成就梵行也

因為彌勒他怎麼會不知道?但是他就是替其他的人來啟疑,說:「我們這些人都不認識,現在那些菩薩到底是如何來的?」因為這樣,他「請示於佛故」。了解原來修行不是短暫,又再讓我們加強,我們要用長久、長久的時間,來修行,不是今生此世,我們要很長久的時間。這就是菩薩的智慧,契佛的心,要讓我們後代的人更加清楚、更加了解,如果來追這個因,讓我們了解修行的方向,應該我們要有心理,徹底了解。所以,「世尊!如此之事,世所難信」。

世尊
如此之事
世所難信:
言此一事
師少子老
一切世間之所難信

就是因為這樣,大家無法相信,「您時間這麼短,能夠度這麼多人,這麼多人又這麼有成就,這有人就是無法相信」。這就是這件事情,「師少子老,一切世間之所難信」,這個事情,父親很年輕,孩子怎麼會那麼老?這個事情,覺得:佛成道就沒有多久,怎麼會有這一群這麼成熟?這就是大家會問,這是世所難信。

所以,我們要很了解,法有很多不可思議,但是我們要用心去體會。佛法,應該要從最深信的內心去追,去追問。要知道這個果,去追它的因,就知道能夠這樣這麼成熟,不是沒有因;有因,因緣會合,這是要好好用心。所以,「如來」是乘如是法,是恆修六度萬行而來人間,這就是累積的功德,有那麼大的成就。世間的道路還很長,就是需要我們去開;學佛就是要入人群度化眾生,煩惱中去鋪出了一條菩提大道。所以我們要時時多用心!


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Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: Practicing and Cultivating Roots of Goodness (久遠恆修 植諸善根)
Date: December.11.2018

“The Tathagata forever cultivates the Six Paramitas. His seeds are the merits and virtues from His myriad practices, thus He attains the fruit of the Dharmakaya. Thus, this is called the Dharmakaya of merit and virtue that pervades all the Dharma-realms of the universe. His merit is from benefiting sentient beings, which is attained through cumulative lifetimes of practice. His virtue is from all conditioned acts of goodness. His virtue from nurturing [sentient beings] is deep and profound, and his grace is grand and vast.”

We must be mindful! We must be mindful and seize our time. We cannot live the same life twice. Day by day, the time passes, our lives become shorter, and our physical capabilities weaken. We must constantly remind ourselves to make use of time while our capabilities are sharp and bright and earnestly put in the effort! We must know that “the Tathagata forever cultivates the Six Paramitas.” The Tathagata, Sakyamuni Buddha, over a long period of time, over countless kalpas, always come in response to the Dharma of Suchness. So, He is called the “Thus Come One” (Tathagata). Over a long period of time, He has come again and again to this world, countless times. We are unable to calculate this. How long has it been? It has been dust-inked kalpas, a very long time. He has always responded to the Dharma of Suchness and responded to the needs of sentient beings. Sentient beings create karma because of their ignorance and afflictions.

In this world, they constantly incur layer upon layer of turbidities. This is because they are confused regarding their causes as well as the principles. They always live their lives lost in confusion. The Tathagata, in response to the confusion of sentient beings, continues to come to this world to guide them. No matter what afflictions and ignorance sentient beings have, the Buddha, the Tathagata, uses His wisdom to constantly awaken sentient beings. However, sentient beings are numerous; there are so very many of them, yet awakened beings are very few. Those who are able to truly awaken and are willing to endure a long period of spiritual practice and upholding the Dharma are extremely few. Thus, after people are transformed, they will fall once again. The Buddha, the Awakened One, will not give up. Over and over, continuously, He follows sentient beings’ suffering, serving them. He has done this for such a long time. Some may ask, “How can this take so long? With the Buddha’s virtues, how could He be unable to transform sentient beings?” It is not that He could not transform sentient beings; He has the Dharma to transform them, but sentient beings have layer upon layer of severe karma. They understand one thing, then get confused again. They know about one thing and understand it; they know a little bit and are willing to engage in spiritual practice. But very quickly, ignorance and afflictions will pull them away. Very quickly, they become confused again. Sentient beings are stubborn and hard to tame. So, the Tathagata ceaselessly responds to the capacities of sentient beings with the Dharma, ceaselessly returning to this world lifetime after lifetime. Like sentient beings, He keeps coming back in this way, but there is not much he can do.

All He can do is refuse to abandon them. Due to the Buddha’s love for sentient beings, He is not willing to abandon them. He returns repeatedly, over countless lifetimes, hoping to guide and transform them. In this way, He had spent a very long time. The Enlightened One forever upholds the principles; He never changes, while sentient beings are constantly changing. Sentient beings create karma and change in many ways. Thus, [the Buddha] unchangingly responds to these ever-changing [beings]. He still has to patiently return, coming to this world in response to the Dharma of Suchness, responding to conditions to come to the world. He responds to the Dharma and to conditions in coming to this world to deliver sentient beings.

He must “forever cultivate the Six Paramitas.” Forever, for a very long time, He has continuously gone among people to cultivate the practice of the Six Paramitas. He cultivates himself and awakens others; He has given so much. Sentient beings are lost and confused; it is truly praiseworthy how He cannot bear to abandon them. This is the seed of His attainment of Buddhahood. He has [cultivated] “the merits and virtues from His myriad practices.” This is because, over such a great length of time, with His patience, love and reluctance to abandon sentient begins, He has cultivated the Six Paramitas through many lifetimes; He has practiced these in all actions and accumulated merits and virtues. These are His “seeds”.

By accumulating them in this way, “He attains the fruit of the Dharmakaya.” The Buddha has attained the Dharmakaya. He has already accumulated His seeds and perfected “all actions”. Now His merits and virtues have borne fruit; this is His “Dharmakaya”. Thus, this is “the Dharmakaya of merit and virtue.” During His course of spiritual practice, “actualizing the Six Paramitas in all actions” has brought merits and virtues. He has succeeded in attaining awakening, so He has attained the Dharmakaya. The “Dharmakaya” pervades the Dharma-realm of the universe. Regarding the essence of the Dharma, in truth, the Dharma cannot be seen; it is without essence or appearance. He engaged in spiritual practice in this world like this and taught the Dharma repeatedly, again and again. When people could not understand, He kept analyzing things until they understood. He not only helped them realize [the teachings], but also enabled them to experience them. After they comprehended [the Dharma]. He further led them to put it into practice. He had to do this again and again, over a long period of time, until [when He asked], “Do you now understand?” [They replied], “Yes, we understand”. There are people passing on the Dharma. [His practice] was extremely flawless and perfect, indicating that He has “perfected His seeds and fruits”. He has attained enlightenment.

In the story of the prince of Kapilavastu, when he sat beneath the Bodhi tree, he saw the bright start and became one with the universe. He attained enlightenment. His body contained the lengthened nature of the universe. In this way, the [enlightened nature] returned to His body. People could see [His body], [so He said,] “Come, I will tell you.” He spoke of the present and the past. Now, this body is called “the Dharmakaya”. It is accumulation of countless merits and virtues from the past and countless past meritorious practices. It was attained through the virtues from diligently practicing on the past.

Now He has “perfected the merits and fruits” and attained the Dharmakaya, that is, “the Dharmakaya of merit and virtue”. After practicing for so long, He finally attained Buddhahood at this time. This is “the Dharmakaya of merit and virtue”. This “Dharmakaya of merit and virtue pervades all the Dharma-realms of the universe. The Dharmakaya of merit and virtue” is everywhere, pervading the Dharma-realms of the universe. This body still exists to this day. Where is it? It is in the Dharma-realms of the universe. It is all [the Dharma] taught during the Buddha’s time. We now understand it through the sutra-treasury that has been passed down. It talks about everything under the sun, about worldly matters and principles.

In this way, the Buddha-Dharma becomes a path that we can now walk upon. This path, this principle, pervades the Dharma-realms of the universe. This is the sutra-treasury. The sutras are a path. We must understand them. After we understand them, we must teach them. After we teach, we will all comprehend them. When we all comprehend them, we must quickly follow their direction. We must quickly clear the path we must walk upon. It has always been there, but it has long been left uncultivated. We must seek to understand the principles again and clear the path again. We already know the direction.

The path has always been there, yet it is now [covered] by many weeds. We must begin working diligently to clear away the trees and weeds [covering it]. So, we must clear the path so that everyone can pave it and walk upon it. How long must we pave it? We need to continue paving it.

However far the earth extends, this is how long we must pave our path. For however much time we have, we must keep paving it. Those who pave the path behind us follow the path laid before them. They continue to clear the path and further lead those behind them to pave the way. Then the people [behind] take over and continue to clear the path ahead. In this way, they continue to accumulate and clear this path in the world, continuing to clear it ahead endlessly. Wherever the path is cleared, it is paved, and everyone can walk following this path. This way, the entire world will be purified. When people encounter this path, they practice on it in accord with the principles. So, we should still remember that. In the Chapter on Bestowing Predictions, the Buddha [said], “I predict that in the future, so and so, when you have perfected your merits and virtues in the future, you will also be able to attain Buddhahood. However, in the course of attaining Buddhahood, you will need to go through this long of a time. You will need to cultivate this kind of practice. You must continue to clear the path like this and pave it until your causes and conditions have matured and you attain Buddhahood. Those you have transformed will follow the path that you have paved. The Buddha-land of yours will be so magnificent. The path that everyone has paved will be so magnificent; “The ground will be made of crystal, ropes of gold will border the paths and so on.” Those Bodhisattvas will all have attained this as well. Bodhisattvas are those who pave the path together.

See, this is the meaning behind the Chapter on Bestowing Predictions. Before we attain Buddhahood, we must continuously engage in spiritual practice. To engage in practice is to clear the path in the [right] direction. We must put our heart into clearing it. As we clear the path, we are transforming others. Those who let us transform them pave the path together with us. We are clearing the path while they are paving the path. We continuously accumulate good affinities until all paths in this world are even and smooth.

Those who clear the path will attain Buddhahood, and those who pave the way will become Bodhisattvas. Therefore, that world will be very magnificent. Similarly, the Buddha chose [to come to] this world that must be endured. It is turbid and must be endured, and that is why He chose to be here. The sentient beings that He want to transform are stubborn and difficult to tame. He is willing to [return] lifetime after lifetime. So, He has accumulated merits and virtues, and succeeded in His spiritual aspiration. The principle is roughly like this; it encompasses everything in heaven and earth, and we have come to roughly understand it.

So, in His Saha World, countless Bodhisattvas follow behind Him and continue endlessly to clear the path and pave the way. In truth, Sakyamuni Buddha has not stopped. He still continues on. This is done in stages. The principles are everlasting, so He returns repeatedly. Thus, He journeys on the Dharma of Suchness and comes to this world. Constantly, after He finishes a stage, He will come again for another stage until this world becomes completely pure.

So, before Maitreya comes to this world, there will still be such a long time. During this time, Sakyamuni Buddha must still work continuously to completely purify this world and accomplish peaceful and joyous world. So, when it comes to the Buddha’s “Dharmakaya of merit and virtue”, the Dharma-nature “pervades all the Dharma-realms of the universe”. We must clearly understand this.

“His merit is from benefiting sentient beings”. “Merit” [arises] from benefiting sentient beings, ceaselessly serving for their benefit. [He] comes to benefit sentient beings and teach them how to benefit each other. Thus, He has to go through “many lifetimes”. He needs to continuously walk upon the path lifetime after lifetime to attain virtues. He has to accumulate His virtues over a long period of time. So, “His virtue is from all conditioned acts of goodness”. What does He attain? He attains all conditioned acts of goodness.

In the past, in the Chapter on the Practice of Bringing Peace and Joy, we talked about conditioned acts of goodness. We must ceaselessly engage in acts of goodness and continue to accumulate every tiny bit of goodness. As for these conditioned acts of goodness, we must use our body, speech, mind and vows to carry them out over a long time to accumulate such conditioned acts of goodness. This way, with our virtues accumulated over many lifetimes, we can nourish all living beings, all sentient beings. So, His virtues are extremely deep and profound. His grand and vast grace toward sentient beings has accumulated over many lifetimes. This is how the Buddha journeys on the Dharma of Suchness and comes to this world. He has practiced for a great length of time. Starting dust-inked kalpas ago, he has continued to accumulate the merit and virtue that He cultivates through actualizing the Six Paramitas in all actions. These are His “seeds”.

Throughout this process, He has always benefited sentient beings. He has ceaselessly accumulated [merits and virtues] and given of himself. This is how the Buddha serves sentient beings. However stubborn sentient beings are, however difficult they are to tame, the Buddha never gives up on them. Every time, we [hear about] how the Buddha transforms sentient beings with compassion and loving-kindness, how He never tires. He serves earnestly, joyfully and willingly, unable to bear to abandon sentient beings. Sometimes as I see this and seek to understand this, reflecting upon myself, and I actually feel quite ashamed. There is still so much more that I need to learn. Now wonder we must continuously clear the path and continuously pave the way.

In this world, this tangible land, how many paths have we actually paved? How many sentient beings can we save? How much suffering can we alleviate? There are still many paths waiting for us to clear them; [the number of] sentient beings waiting for us to save them is still so great; there are very many. Thus, we need many, many people to quickly clear the path and quickly pave the way. There are still so many, countless paths to pave, and so many sentient beings’ hearts to purify.

So, we continue to see the accumulated karma of sentient beings and their karmic retributions, whether in the form of natural or manmade disasters. The collective karma in this evil world of turbidities is very prevalent. This all the more reminds us of how the Buddha earnestly recruits people and Bodhisattvas in this world to put the teachings into action and save sentient beings. We truly have a deep understanding of this. When it comes to time, as always, we must earnestly seize it. This is the law of nature; time always passes, and life always ends. Even the Buddha felt it was urgent to teach the Lotus Sutra. This was because he was advanced in age and needed to quickly transmit the Dharma.

Truly, our Five Roots will cease to work well. So, we must quickly make use of our bodies and be diligent without ever growing indolent.

Now, let us look at the previous sutra passage. You went somewhere not far from the city of Gaya where You sat in the place of enlightenment and attained Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi. 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 Buddha manifested in the Saha World and attained Buddhahood. In that time, in His course of spiritual practice, He had to leave the palace and advance toward the goal of His spiritual practice. So, He left the palace and went to the city of Gaya. This took eleven years; He visited other religious teachers for five years and engaged in ascetic practice for six years. This place of practice he chose to return to engage in spiritual cultivation in was this place, beneath the Bodhi tree [near] the city of Gaya. This place was where He engaged in spiritual practice and attained enlightenment.

“Only 40 so years have passed since then.” The time that He taught [the Dharma] was not very long; after He attained Buddhahood, from beginning to end, He “taught in Five Periods”. He started teaching from the Avatamsaka, discussing the world of His mind. After His awakening, He contemplated for a while, as to what Dharma He should use in the world. Following this, His went to Deer Park. His first teaching on the Dharma was the principles of the Four Noble Truths, suffering, causation, cessation and the Path. He taught the Four Noble Truths for five people. He taught them all the principles of suffering. Just to teach the Four Noble Truths to five people, He had to repeat [the teaching] three times. This is “turning [the Dharma-wheel] of the Four Noble Truths three times”. He had to teach three times. The first to accept [the teachings] was Ajnata Kaundinya. Of the five, AJnata Kaundinya was the only one who understood after the first round of teaching what the principle of suffering was like. The true suffering of this world arises from causation. When we know the way, we must practice the Path. Ajnata Kaundinya understood this, but there were still four others, so He had to teach for a second and third time. Finally, all five understood completely. Only then did they begin to form aspirations to leave lay life and manifest the appearance of monastics. Only then was the Buddha’s first teaching after attaining Buddhahood complete. These five all became monastics, completing the Three Treasures. The Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha were complete They then began to spread the Dharma, traveling everywhere to teach the Dharma. So, the time that had passed was not very long. How could it be that after only 40 years, now at the Vulture Peak Assembly, so many Bodhisattvas emerged from the ground? As these people arose and appeared before them why did those at the vulture Peak Assembly not recognize them? They did not recognize those Bodhisattvas who suddenly appeared. Thus, Maltreya, on behalf of so many people, initiated and posed the question. This is what this sutra passage is about. Everyone must remember it.

In the next sutra passage, [Matreya] said, “You used the Buddha’s power and the Buddha’s merits and virtues to teach and transform these countless great Bodhisattvas, enabling them to attain enabling them to attain Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi.

In such a short time, how could the Buddha, with His power, merits and virtues, have helped these Bodhisattvas who had suddenly emerged become so successful in their spiritual cultivation? This was the doubt they all had in their minds. Thus, Maitreya raised questions about the doubts they all had. They doubted that the Buddha could have accomplished this in such a short amount of time. So, this was their doubt; how could He have transformed so many people?

You used the Buddha’s power and the Buddha’s merits and virtues: Here, [Maitreya] doubted how He could have transformed so many people to teach a profound and wondrous stage of practice and turn from unenlightened beings into noble beings. The Buddha’s majestic power helped them become perfectly replete with blessings and wisdom and attain the Buddha’s merits and virtues.

These people were at “a profound and wondrous stage of practice”. We must understand what “stage of practice” means. Their “stage of practice” was “beyond the stage of learning”. They had realized the principles and eliminated delusions to the ultimate extent”. This means that these Bodhisattvas stage of practice had already reached beyond the stage of learning. They had completely learned what they had to learn. They had fully cleared the path they had to clear. They had reached the end of the path and were already beyond the stage of learning.

Their stage of practice was beyond the stage of learning. They had realized the principles and eliminated delusions to the ultimate extent, thus there was no more Dharma for them to learn. In the Hearer Vehicle, this is the fruit of Arhatship. In the Bodhisattva Vehicle, this is the fruit of Buddhahood.

At the beginning of the Lotus Sutra, didn’t we read that “Among those who came there were those and beyond the state of learning”? “Beyond the stage of learning indicates that they were at a very high stage, that they had learned an ample amount. It was as if they had a PhD in terms of academic degrees in the world, or multiple PhD degrees. PhDs are those who have already reached the top in their field of study. This [degree] is called a PhD. There is no degree higher than a PhD. Some people may not be knowledgeable in and may want to study in another field; then they will go on to get multiple PhD degrees. But normally, the title of PhD is very high in status, the highest of all academic degrees. How is it the highest? In truth, this is the Buddha’s principles. These Bodhisattvas had to have reached such a stage, the highest stage. This was their “stage of practice”. In their practice, in their stage along the path, they had already reached the stage “beyond the stage of learning”. They had thoroughly cleared the way, “realized the principles and eliminated delusions to the ultimate extent”. They already understood these principles.

They had completely eliminated all delusions, ignorance and afflictions to the ultimate extent. They had no doubts at all. These Bodhisattvas had already reached this stage where is no more Dharma to be learned. They had already reached the highest stage. So, for Hearers, this is Arhatship. Arhatship is the ultimate stage of Hearers, like the PhD of Hearers. As for Bodhisattvas, their stage of fruition is Buddhahood. They have yet to attain Buddhahood, so they are still called Bodhisattvas. They are Bodhisattvas and still need to advance before they can attain the stage of Buddhahood. This is their ultimate fruit, their goal. What of Small Vehicle practitioners? They think, “Attaining Arhatship is good enough. It is good enough for me to be liberated; I only seek to benefit myself”. This is their stage. So, when it comes down to it, this “stage of practice” is their aim. Because they were Bodhisattvas, they still had to advance toward Buddhahood. Thus, they still had to come again; they came again in response to the Vulture Peak Assembly to again help this Vulture Peak Assembly succeed and again hear the Buddha teach the path to Buddhahood. Thus, these Bodhisattvas gathered again.

So, for the Bodhisattva Vehicle, attaining Buddhahood is the fruit. This is what is meant by their “stage of practice”. So, these Bodhisattvas had already attained “a profound and wondrous stage of practice”. They had already reached the stage that Bodhisattvas must go through. Why were these people now at the Vulture Peak Assembly? Those who were there listening to the Dharma had never seen these people before. These Bodhisattvas had already “turned from unenlightened beings into noble beings. The Buddha’s majestic power helped them become perfectly replete with blessings and wisdom”. Now they needed the Buddha’s majestic power to help these Bodhisattvas become replete with blessings and wisdom again. So, they came to Vulture Peak this time to listen to the Dharma again, to [the teachings] about the Bodhisattva-path that is perfectly replete in blessings and wisdom. Only then could they succeed in continuously walking the path to Buddhahood and practicing to perfect their virtues. This is what we must truly come to understand. Reaching the state beyond the stage of learning is part of our course of spiritual practice. If we only seek to benefit ourselves, then we will stop at the stage of Arhatship. This is a state. In walking on the Bodhisattva-path, we must be very diligent. This means we must go among people and remain undefiled among people. The afflictions among people are the Bodhi-path. This is the way that must be cleared. This is the Bodhi-path, the path that Bodhisattvas must clear.

This is the path to Buddhahood. So, we must clearly understand these principles. These are the roots. Continuing onward in the sutra passage, it discusses “teaching the Bodhisattva Way”. Because of the Buddha’s majestic power, He could “teach and transform these countless great Bodhisattvas”. With His majestic virtue, He taught and transformed so many Bodhisattvas. These Bodhisattvas [were about to] “attain Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi”. These Bodhisattvas were about to approach “supreme, universal and perfect enlightenment”. This is truly a great thing. It is the one great cause.

This is the one great cause the Buddha hopes for. So, Maitreya Bodhisattva and everyone [had doubts] because the Buddha had attained Buddhahood such a short time ago, yet He had transformed so many [people]. So, the Buddha explained “distant causes” to them. Even with these distant causes, how was He able to transform so many? Everyone still did not understand.

In the next sutra passage, [Maitreya] said, “World-Honored One, as for this assembly of great Bodhisattvas, even if someone spent trillions of kalpas counting them, he would be unable to finish or reach their limit”.

With such a great number of Bodhisattvas, even if someone spent a long time counting, he would not be able to count them all. Indeed! “Even a mathematician and his disciples are unable to count them all”. The principle is the same. This means that however numerous the principles are, that is how great the principles comprehended by the recipients of the Dharma will be and however many [the recipients] will be. We must be mindful, for we all intrinsically possess the nature of True Suchness. So, the principles always exist and are innumerable. “World-Honored One, as for this assembly of great Bodhisattvas,” even if someone spent a long time [counting them] they would still be unable to count them all. The Bodhisattvas were too many to all be counted.

Next, [Maitreya] went on to say, “Since the far distant past, these Bodhisattvas, in the presence of infinite and boundless Buddhas, have planted all roots of goodness, succeeded upon the Bodhisattva-path and constantly cultivated purifying practices. World-Honored One, such a thing is hard for those in this world to believe in!”

In truth, it is very difficult to believe. This matter [started] distant, incalculable kalpas ago, a boundless amount of time ago. So, in the presence of infinite Buddhas, they “planted all roots of goodness”. They continued to cultivate roots of goodness there and continue to practice the Bodhisattva-path. They used the root of faith, root of goodness and conditioned phenomena of goodness ceaselessly in this world. Thus, he said, “Since the far distant past, these Bodhisattvas, in the presence of infinite and boundless Buddhas…”. This is also how these people were; they were like this in the time of every Buddha.

Since the far distant past, these Bodhisattvas, in the presence of infinite and boundless Buddhas: [Maitreya] meant that these Bodhisattvas, under the Buddhas they served for a long time, had planted deep seeds. They had to have engaged in spiritual practice throughout many kalpas and formed aspirations before more than one Buddha. They had practiced for a long time before they began to achieve the fruit of the Path. How could this have been done in such a short time?

Sakyamuni Buddha engaged in spiritual practice during the time of every Buddha. He always transformed beings in this way. For sentient beings in the time of every Buddha, He always sought the Dharma and transformed them in the same way. Similarly, now, in the time of Sakyamuni Buddha, there were also many disciples who used the Buddha’s spirit and His Dharma to transform sentient beings everywhere. Weren’t the disciples who received predictions of Buddhahood like this? Whether the four lead disciples mentioned earlier or Purna, they all used the Buddha’s teaching to transform sentient beings everywhere. The Buddha had already undergone this practice and transformed sentient beings in this way.

So, these things truly started from a long and distant time ago, a very, very long time ago, and continued on in this way. These people, “these Bodhisattvas,” had already realized far and distant causes. These Bodhisattvas had followed Sakyamuni Buddha to engage in practice, form affinities and teach the Dharma. They had to have been the associators since the time of the sixteen princes. Over many lifetimes, the Buddha continued to transform them in this way and continued to return. So, “They had to have engaged in spiritual practice throughout many kalpas”.

They must have gone through a very long period of spiritual practice. So, they did not form aspirations in the time of one Buddha, but over the course of a very long time. Over a very long time, in the time of every Buddha, they had to have constantly formed aspirations, ceaselessly cultivated the Dharma, sought the Dharma and transformed others. So, it took a very long time “before they began to achieve the fruit of the path.” They continued this way over many lifetimes. They practiced and transformed sentient beings over countless lifetimes. They ceaselessly accumulated [their practice] “before they began to achieve the fruit of the path.” This cannot be done in a brief period of time. So, “[They] planted all roots of goodness [and] succeeded upon the Bodhisattva-path.” This means they “constantly cultivated purifying practices.” We must plant many roots of goodness and plant them very deeply and then ceaselessly engage in purifying practices. Only then can we succeed upon the Bodhisattva-path.

[They] have planted all roots of goodness, succeeded upon the Bodhisattva-path and constantly cultivated purifying practices: People at the Vulture Peak Assembly did not recognize those great Bodhisattvas who had emerged from the ground. How could they know that they had long planted the roots of virtue to succeed upon the Bodhisattva-path and had constantly cultivated purifying practices? Since they had seen the spiritual powers and wisdom of the Bodhisattvas who had come, using the fruit to examine the seed, they knew that these Bodhisattvas must have practiced for a long time.

At the Vulture Peak Assembly, those who had been listening to the Dharma did not know nor recognize them, nor had they seen these Bodhisattvas who emerged from the ground. So, “How could they know that they had long planted the roots of virtue to succeed upon the Bodhisattva-path?” How could they know that these Bodhisattvas had practiced in this way in the past and had been constantly cultivating purifying practices? “They saw the Bodhisattvas who had come,” these people who had suddenly emerged, and that they were all replete with “spiritual powers and wisdom.” All these people, the many Bodhisattvas who came, had already accumulated experiences and accumulated abilities; they came in this way. This is “using the fruit to examine the seed.” They now saw that these cultivated people who were transformed by Him had attained such fruition. This is the fruit. The fruits of the Buddha’s transformation were abundant. People used this “fruit” to examine the “seed,” to deduce their past causes. Why was this fruit so mature? How had it been cultivated at its place of origin so that its fruit could grow so mature?

So, “using the fruit to examine the seed” means to seek its method in the past. We then know they had “practiced for a long time.” They had to practice for a long time. So, “Since Maitreya did not know their numbers nor recognized even a single one of them, he respectfully asked the Buddha for teachings.”

Since Maitreya did not know their numbers nor recognized even a single one of them, he respectfully asked the Buddha for teachings. He knew that for them to have long planted the roots of goodness, for a long time, they must have been in the presence of infinite Buddhas, planted all roots of goodness and succeeded in purifying practices.

How could Maitreya not have known this? Yet, he still brought up these doubts for others, saying, “We do not know these people. Where did these Bodhisattvas come from?” Because He “respectfully asked the Buddha for teachings,” we understand that engaging in practice cannot be done in a short amount time. This further reminds us that we need to spend a long period of time engaging in spiritual cultivation. It cannot be done in a single lifetime. We need to spend a great amount of time doing this. This is the wisdom of the Bodhisattvas; they resonated with the Buddha’s mind. He wanted to help us future generations understand more clearly and seek the seed from the fruit. He helped us understand the direction of practice; we must thoroughly understand this. “World-Honored One, such a thing is hard for those in this world to believe in!”

World-Honored One, such a thing is hard for those in this world to believe in: He said that such a thing was like a young father with an old child; for anyone in the world, this would be difficult to believe in.

Because of this, no one could believe it. “You attained Buddhahood such a short time ago, yet you were able to transform so many people who are all so accomplished. This is what some of us cannot believe.” This was something like “a young father with an old child; for anyone in the world, this would be difficult to believe in.” This thing is like a very young father with a very old child. This is what this is like. They felt that the Buddha had attained Buddhahood not very long ago, so how could there be these Bodhisattvas who were so mature? This is why everyone wanted to ask questions. This is what was hard for those in the world to believe in. So, we must thoroughly comprehend the Dharma.

There is much in the Dharma that is inconceivable, but we must earnestly comprehend it. We must seek and request the Buddha-Dharma with the deepest faith within our hearts. We must know the fruit and seek its seed. Then, we will know that these people being so mature was not without a cause. There was a cause, and causes and conditions converged. We must be very mindful. So, the Tathagata journeys on the Dharma of Suchness. He comes to this world forever cultivating the Six Paramitas in all actions. These are His accumulated merits and virtues and how He accomplished so much. The path in this world is still very long, and it needs us to clear it. As Buddhist practitioners, we must go among people to transform sentient beings. We must pave a great Bodhi-path amid afflictions. So, we must always be mindful!

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