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 20181217《靜思妙蓮華》通達正道 世第一法 (第1502集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五)

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20181217《靜思妙蓮華》通達正道 世第一法 (第1502集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五) Empty
發表主題: 20181217《靜思妙蓮華》通達正道 世第一法 (第1502集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五)   20181217《靜思妙蓮華》通達正道 世第一法 (第1502集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五) Empty周日 12月 16, 2018 9:31 pm

20181217《靜思妙蓮華》通達正道 世第一法 (第1502集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五)

⊙正法道悉通達,從世第一法後,審察諸法體性,虛幻本無生滅;信解真實心無妄動,安然忍可,體會真如,智照於理得見中道。
⊙「善能次第習諸善法,巧於問答,人中之寶,一切世間甚為希有。」《法華經從地涌出品第十五》
⊙「今日世尊、方云得佛道時初令發心,教化示導令向阿耨多羅三藐三菩提。世尊得佛未久,乃能作此大功德事!」《法華經從地涌出品第十五》
⊙「我等雖復信佛隨宜所說,佛所出言未曾虛妄,佛所知者皆悉通達。」《法華經從地涌出品第十五》
⊙佛所出言未曾虛妄,佛所知者皆悉通達。:佛所說法,皆是真實,未曾虛妄。佛智無礙,所知如實,無不通達。
⊙「然諸新發意菩薩,於佛滅後,若聞是語,或不信受,而起破法罪業因緣。」《法華經從地涌出品第十五》
⊙然諸新發意菩薩,於佛滅後:彌勒之所以問難於佛者,唯恐新發意菩薩,於佛滅後,後世眾生不能信故。
⊙若聞是語或不信受,而起破法罪業因緣:為疑惑故,不信是法者,不信則生毀謗,招惹罪過。
⊙「唯然世尊!願為解說!除我等疑,及未來世諸善男子,聞此事已亦不生疑。」《法華經從地涌出品第十五》
⊙唯然:確定之辭。請願世尊決現及未來世人之疑。惟願為說,去我等疑。
⊙及未來世諸善男子,聞此事已亦不生疑:由問答,斷二種疑,一斷現在人疑,二斷未來人疑。
⊙此釋疑問所由言如來說法,恆隨眾生所宜,且從無妄語又我等於佛所說,縱未了解,然因信佛智通達無礙故,即無不先信佛之所說。
⊙我等久從佛化者、信佛之理。至新學菩薩,則易以眾生思議測度如來,及至思議不及則不信,不信故疑謗,或指為虛妄,或指為惑世之說。自不信佛,並阻人信佛,故為破法之罪業因緣。
⊙此彌勒所由率眾生疑,冀啟如來之解說,得以將護新發心之大乘眾生也。

【證嚴上人開示】
正法道悉通達,從世第一法後,審察諸法體性,虛幻本無生滅;信解真實心無妄動,安然忍可,體會真如,智照於理得見中道。

正法道悉通達
從世第一法後
審察諸法體性
虛幻本無生滅
信解真實心無妄動
安然忍可
體會真如
智照於理得見中道

要用心!正法,「正法道悉通達」。是啊,學佛要道理能通,道理若通,什麼事情無不都是圓滿,遍虛空、盡法界的道路,條條皆通。我們所要通達的是,「世第一法」,「世第一法」那就是佛法中修行的過程,從「五心觀」、「四善行」,就是「三賢四聖」。這是名詞,其中修行的一個項目,一直到達所修之行的過程,到達世間一切諸法都完全通達。當然,修行有次序,一樣一樣的過程按照次序,修,就在心,心就是在日常生活一切的行動。修行,法就是方法,是我們生活中的方法,這才是真佛法。道理通了,行在日常生活中,這就是要通達、了解世間諸相;世間的法,道理要清楚。這個名相很多,過去也是有說過了,未來還有很多的名相要再說。

所以,我們要記得「世第一法」。就是我們要通達世間人情世故,如何待人、如何接物,如何在人間真正落實的法,這落實的法不離開「諸惡莫作,眾善奉行」,不離開身、口、意。我們的心和意念,在人間的生活中,我們學法靠一念誓願,身、口、意、誓願,這就是我們不能放鬆的,身體力行,「四安樂行」,都不能離開世間的一切修養;自己要修養,待人接物能夠圓滿,這第一法。要事事「審察諸法體性,虛幻本無生滅」。

過去我們也告訴大家過了,「四智」,「成所作智」,開頭一句,因為說很多次了,在生活中可以落實,應該後面就會記得──「妙觀察智」、「平等性智」、「大圓鏡智」。這不就是在我們的日常生活中嗎?法是這麼接近我們的生活,名稱很多,但是我們沒有離開在日常生活;面對著人、事、物的環境,我們一定在事物中,要與「理」合,要與「理」會。說話、做事,這有形象,但是觀念不能離開理法,就是道理,所以要「審察諸法體性」。

我們這麼做有合道理嗎?說話、做事若有合理,事事皆通。對外面在緣境界,緣著外境,在接觸到一切的境界,我們有起心動念嗎?我們這當中有起了貪念,或者是瞋,或者是癡念嗎?若有,想,事情在過程中,是不是有想:就是因為我有利益的,就不去考慮別人有損失;於別人的損失不顧,還是爭取自己的利益較多。我們若有這樣的念頭,我們就在體性之中,要趕緊浮現出了,「虛幻本無生滅」,不要計較了,計較什麼呢?唉呀,不要生氣了,是要生氣什麼呢?我們自然很快,對人、對事、對物,我們的心就開、闊了,自然人事無障礙,這是我們很重要,日常生活中。

佛法,我們會看到這麼多、這麼多,那個名相好像很深,這與我們的生活有隔礙在;聽法歸聽法,日常的生活歸日常的生活,若這樣,法沒有入心,這叫做「無法度」。我們在人與人之間,無法將心互通起來;我說我的,你聽你的,這樣法在人間沒有起作用。我們必定將這麼,好像很艱澀的法,好像這個法──「審察諸法體性」,日常生活我難道用得到?會啊,你待人接物的當中,「妙觀察智」,就是在你的根、塵接觸,人事在對觸的時候,這都能夠用到!「審察」就是妙觀察,其實在根、塵、境接觸的時候,我們就要好好去觀察、思考,人、事、物這樣有圓融嗎?和我們修行的規則,到底有沒有脫離?我們是用世俗人,人我是非在處事呢?或者是為說法者、傳法者的心態,在做事情呢?這就不同了。所以聽法,我們要時時聞法,已經聽、聽多少了,我們就是聽了之後是身體力行,要說法;不是「如是我聞」的說法,是受用在我們生活待人接物,用身體的典範來說法,這是妙觀察、審察。

事情我們既然發心要做,不是在做世俗事,雖然入人群中,在人群、人與人之間說話是平常話,但是平常的話是做說法的典範。我們要常常警覺自己,這這麼大的菩薩群,要如何每一位菩薩,讓他心合於軌道,身體力行,這是很重要。這是人間事,但是要做適合佛法的道理,所以佛法不離世間法。文字看起來很深,其實和法,是一直全都是結合在一起。所以,就像人的生命、身體的器官,無不都是在維持我們的生命,它們各有功能。說「骨髓」這個名稱,大家聽起來,「哦,骨髓」,以前要說「骨髓移植」,捐骨髓,聽起來是天大的事!是啊,天大的事,因為攸關人命,這人的生命,這個髓是多大的事情,關係一個人生命的生存。

生命,每一個人,都是靠著造血功能要順適,我若造血功能不好,現在的科技,就要靠別人,給我造血的種,那就是血髓,這個血髓,就是它造血那個功能。健康人他會不斷造血產生出來,所以他能夠將它的功能,血髓,一點點,幾 CC 這樣出來,就移植在另一個,缺造血功能那個人的身體,將它移過去。這個人他就將他過去的細胞,他就要都整個將它滅掉,全都完全沒有了,才來移植這個髓,新的血髓的功能來了。與我們不是一樣嗎?我們要先去除,很多、很多的無明煩惱,就像一個要移植的,那個人要移植之前,要先進去無菌室裡面。

同樣,我們接受到佛法,我們自己也就要,先消滅我們的無明煩惱,貪、瞋、癡完全都消滅掉。我們凡夫的習氣要不斷去除,要不斷、不斷去除,我們才有辦法,將佛法不斷、不斷接納進來,這是要我們修行用功。人人要先將我們的心要先淨化,接受佛法來,就是要落實在我們的生活中;生活中的落實,就像血到我們的身體來,我們要趕緊再恢復、復健,恢復它就自然,這個東西它就變成這個人新生,很自然的生命源頭,他的造血功能又開始會合。

同樣,我們法要入我們的心來,我們一定要掃除了過去的習氣,一定要完全掃除;帶著我們過去的習氣、觀念,不覺得我們過去的觀念不對,沒感覺,還執住,這叫做煩惱還存在。這種無明還在心裡,這好的法,哪有辦法入我們的心來呢?依然故我,永遠改不過來,永遠凡夫一個;不只是有害自己,若在入群中也有害群。這就是我們大家要很謹慎,請各位一定要用心。

「審察諸法體性」。諸法體性若不去審察,真的我們會時時聞法不能說法,更不能傳法,而且一毫釐的偏差,我們就落入虛幻,我們就容易,回歸在無明、煩惱、惑。所以,我們應該要知道,人間真是虛幻,要趕緊掃除;這種人間,我們要認真、清楚。

我們回歸我們自己,造血的功能源源不斷很健康,今天產生出來的造血功能,很快它不斷不斷新陳代謝,這種循環。我們應該要淘汰過去的無明,我們要每天接受,我們新血髓的功能,應該就要有這樣的觀念,法才能入心。每天聽,每天一定要接受,舊的無明煩惱一定要掃除,這就是聽法能有法度入心,有法再度他人;法沒有度入自己的心,如何去度他人呢?所以聞法者、說法者、傳法者,所以我們必定要,「信解真實心無妄動」。我們要信解我們的真實的心意,學佛法的心意,我們一定要時時要記住。信解我們的真實心,不要再有妄動,要好好安然守住我們這念心。日日的法入心,日日我們要淘汰掉了,我們那個舊的煩惱無明,要新的血髓功能,法髓應該要注入我們的心來。所以,我們要「實心無妄動」,不要再有這些虛妄、煩惱無明,我們要安住,真正的「安然忍可」;我們要安住「四安樂行」,我們要身、口、意要安住在法中,不要入人群中去,法忘記了,就是與世俗人紅塵滾滾,人、事在那個地方在迷,不可啊!

所以要體會,「體會真如智照」。我們的真如,這個智慧之光,要照耀在我們的道理中;道,一條康莊的路,用我們的智慧來照明這條路,通達佛的境界。菩薩道要自度自己,還要再度人,所以度人者豈能夠迷失呢?不能迷失。法,在相看起來好像很深,其實真實走起來,路,走對的路是很平坦,都在日常生活中,沒有什麼樣的艱難。所以,大家一定要,「信解真實心無妄動」,只要安,安住在我們的真實法,安住在我們的身、口、意,安住在我們已經立定的誓願,這道理都是在我們的生命中,在我們的生活中,並沒有離開我們,所以我們要好好用心。

來,前面的經文要記得:「善能次第習諸善法。」

善能次第習諸善法
巧於問答
人中之寶
一切世間甚為希有
《法華經從地涌出品第十五》

我們要常常記得,前面所說過了,要次第,一次一次所說,一項一項的名相分析,我們應該要清楚!學法長長久久,就是這樣,要「次第習諸善法」,學習之後就記在我們的心。在人群中,「巧於問答」,因為聞法者就是要說法者,我們要「巧於問答」。「人中之寶」。希望我們有辦法,做人中的開道者、說道者。我們學佛,佛是開道者、說道者,佛是不妄語者、實語者,我們有辦法到達不妄語,是真實語嗎?我們想要為人說法,我們有辦法到達「不妄語」嗎?不妄語是「法」來會「實」;我們的「實」,日常的真實,面對到的人生,有辦法來會這個道理嗎?這就是真實法,那就是不妄;真實就是不妄。希望大家要很用心聽法,次第過去,我們要化為我們的實用。

所以,「人中之寶」。人生難得,佛法也難聞,我們這個身是載道器,自用、自度,若用於人群就是度人。我們的身真的是要很寶貴,自己也要很認定。我的生命希望做人的貴人,我們自己要自許,自己要對自己要有所願,要不然人生空過,到最後不就是腐爛,就是化不見了,為什麼我們不要好好把握?我們要好好把握,也是同樣要成為「人中之寶」。不只是在經文之中,看,「哦!這樣就是人中之寶」。我們自己也期待我們自己也是,因為我們要成佛,所以我們期待自己也是。「一切世間甚為希有」,希望我們要做一個,真真正正有用處,讓人重視的人。

接下來它的文再這樣說:「今日世尊方云,得佛道時初令發心,教化示導令向阿耨多羅三藐三菩提。世尊得佛未久,乃能作此大功德事!」

今日世尊方云
得佛道時
初令發心
教化示導
令向阿耨多羅
三藐三菩提
世尊得佛未久
乃能作此大功德事
《法華經從地涌出品第十五》

彌勒菩薩希望佛陀能夠再解釋,那麼多菩薩的成就,應該是要長久的時間來完成,但是佛陀修行成佛了,到現在時日沒有很長,如何能夠成就這麼多事情呢?因為這些菩薩已經接近了,將臨近「賢」,臨近「聖」的地位了,到底是為何?這是彌勒菩薩,還是期待佛陀來解釋。所以,「世尊得佛未久,乃能作此大功德事」。這是大家想要了解的,這幾天都在解釋,彌勒的疑問無不都是,為了未來的眾生能夠更加清楚。有問才有答,所答出來的解釋,才能夠讓我們疑、不清楚的,完全能夠解開,無疑問;不清楚的,能夠讓我們更加清楚一點,這就要有問、有答,能夠解開人的疑念。

來,再接下來下面這段文,要用心哦!「我等雖復信佛隨宜所說,佛所出言未曾虛妄,佛所知者皆悉通達。」

我等雖復信佛
隨宜所說
佛所出言未曾虛妄
佛所知者皆悉通達
《法華經從地涌出品第十五》

我們大家都很相信,相信佛對大家所說的法,應該都是真實、都是隨機說法,我們大家相信;不論佛陀說什麼法,我們全都全都相信。所以會說,「我等菩薩,雖復信佛,如來方便」隨宜說法。佛陀對大家所說的法,我們全都沒有疑問。「佛所出言未曾虛妄,佛所知者皆悉通達」。尤其是佛陀所說的,全都沒有虛妄,佛所知道的應該全都很通達。

佛所出言未曾虛妄
佛所知者
皆悉通達:
佛所說法皆是真實
未曾虛妄
佛智無礙
所知如實
無不通達

這是彌勒菩薩這樣說,但是他所意所含著的就是說,說法,皆是真實,未曾虛妄,佛智無礙。大家所相信的,佛的智慧是無障礙,所知道的都是很實在,就是沒有不通達的地方,這是我們大家全都很相信。但是,「然諸新發意菩薩,於佛滅後,若聞是語,或不信受,而起破法罪業因緣」。

然諸新發意菩薩
於佛滅後
若聞是語
或不信受
而起破法罪業因緣
《法華經從地涌出品第十五》

彌勒菩薩表達他自己的心意了,說:「佛的真實語,佛的智慧通達一切,隨機說法,這我們都很清楚,我們了解,我會提出來這樣問,就是因為,因為這些新發意的菩薩。」

然諸新發意菩薩
於佛滅後:
彌勒之所以
問難於佛者
唯恐新發意菩薩
於佛滅後
後世眾生不能信故

這些,「然諸新發意菩薩,於佛滅後」。佛若滅度之後,聽到這樣的話,說:「佛出家、修行、說法,哇,就度這麼多人了。」可能這些新發意的菩薩,可能他們還無法相信,無法相信就會起疑、就會破法;疑心若起了,信心就沒有了,不見了,所以就容易生起了破法。就是批判,就會生出了很多的疑問,有疑就會誹謗。

所以,「諸新發意菩薩」,這是彌勒菩薩他用心這樣問。用批判型的來問佛,「難於佛」,就是批判,「哪有可能二十五歲的人,說這些近百歲的,都我的孩子」。就像「佛成佛沒有多久,說這些這麼有修行的菩薩,都是您的弟子,這什麼人要相信!」用這樣的方式來問佛。所以,這就是意思含著,「唯恐新發意」,就是信根很淺,才開始發心的人,這種的人在佛滅度之後,還未得受到佛很深的教育。佛若滅度之後,又再後世的眾生無法可相信,因為這些數量和時間,以及佛的成就,這離得很遠,很無法可相信。所以,「若聞是語,或不信受,而起破法罪業因緣。」

若聞是語
或不信受
而起破法
罪業因緣:
為疑惑故
不信是法者
不信則生毀謗
招惹罪過

若聽到這樣的話可能不會信受,不只是不會信受,反過頭來又會破法。就是疑惑,因為疑惑,所以不信法;所以不信法,他就生起誹謗;就是毀謗,就會招惹了這個罪業。因為誹謗正法,罪業就很重。所以,為了這樣,彌勒菩薩他就是這樣來問,希望佛陀能夠很詳細來解釋。

下面接下來的文就再說:「唯然世尊!願為解說!除我等疑,及未來世諸善男子,聞此事已亦不生疑。」

唯然
世尊
願為解說
除我等疑
及未來世諸善男子
聞此事已
亦不生疑
《法華經從地涌出品第十五》

「唯然」,那就是很決定,用很決定的語氣,就不是疑問了,是懇求的語氣,就來說:「我們很決定,決定。佛陀,我們大家都很相信,就是為了未來,現在和未來;現在新發意、未來的眾生,所以絕對要請,懇請佛陀一定為我們現在的人,來解釋這個疑問,也為未來世的人,來讓他們能夠很清楚了解。了解佛陀度化眾生這個道理,是如何累積來,這是要有一個真實,接近事實的道理,才有辦法後世的人,能夠心合、口服這樣接受。」所以說「唯然」。

唯然:
確定之辭
請願世尊
決現及未來
世人之疑
惟願為說
去我等疑

這就是決定,很確定,佛陀一定要受我們懇請,「請世尊要決定,對於現在的人與未來的人,來為他們解疑」。這叫做「惟願」。唯有請佛要為大家,詳細解釋清楚,讓未來的人無疑,現在的人能夠解疑。

所以,「及未來世諸善男子。」不只是當場的人,心要釋疑,就是一直到未來世,未來世就是我們現在了。彌勒菩薩那個時候,當場的人,他代表那些人來問,希望佛陀能夠解釋,讓當場那些人能夠更加清楚,同時就是讓未來世的人,他們發心,能夠相信。世尊他的「本門」,就是他的本能,他開始是怎麼樣的時間,這樣不斷連連接接在人間,在娑婆世界度化眾生。能夠在娑婆世界,這麼長的時間累積,度這麼多人的成功,這起頭、緣由是從哪裡開始?希望這個時間、空間、人間的數字,讓大家能夠合理接受。這是彌勒菩薩希望佛陀更加詳細,「理」來會「事」。

所以,過去的顯跡,「跡門」,現在的「本門」是要如何讓大家更加清楚。所以,「由問答」,來「斷二種疑」,來斷兩種的疑。

及未來世諸善男子
聞此事已
亦不生疑:
由問答
斷二種疑
一斷現在人疑
二斷未來人疑

一就是「斷現在」,現在就是彌勒菩薩的時代,那時候,當場的人心有疑。「二斷未來人疑」,未來人就是我們現在,我們現在,不只我們現在,還有未來未來無窮盡,那個時候的現在的人,希望讓大家看到這部經,能夠相信,為何要走入菩薩道。菩薩道是治世良方,這個方法就是要延續在人間,所以必定要除去了那個疑。疑生惑,惑就產生無明,無明就產生煩惱,這煩惱、無明、惑,就是因為從疑開始,一定要讓大家去除,那個煩惱、無明、惑,這就是要好好來解釋,才有辦法走入菩薩道,讓人人慧命健康。這法,法髓一定要清楚。慧命若健康需要法髓,人要健康需要血髓,所以要很用心去體會。

此釋疑問所由
言如來說法
恆隨眾生所宜
且從無妄語
又我等於佛所說
縱未了解
然因信佛智
通達無礙故
即無不先信
佛之所說

「如來說法,恆隨眾生所宜」。知道佛陀就是這樣長久的時間,隨著眾生六道這樣在輪迴,佛陀不忍,所以長久的時間,隨順眾生來度化,恆隨眾生所需要,這樣去付出。「且從無妄語」。累世累世以來,所說的法都沒有偏差,從開頭一直到成佛,累世以來法是正確,這就是佛陀這樣長年、長生世、長劫數就是這樣過來,就是不妄語的真實法。

「又我等」,那就是佛的弟子,大家,「於佛所說,縱未了解,然因信佛智通達無礙故」。知道佛陀所說的法,雖然我們還未很通達,不過我們相信佛的智通達了,佛的道理是透徹通達,從開始到現在,我們都沒有疑。相信,但是還沒有很了解,請佛再詳細為我們解釋。他的意思這樣,不是疑,是還不了解。所以,「我等久從佛化者」。

我等久從佛化者
信佛之理
至新學菩薩
則易以眾生思議
測度如來
及至思議不及
則不信
不信故疑謗
或指為虛妄
或指為惑世之說
自不信佛
並阻人信佛
故為破法之
罪業因緣

「我等久從佛化者」,前面的文就有說過了。「信佛之理」,這些人受佛陀所教化過了,所教化,「我們都信佛所說的真理了」。「至」,一直到了新發意的菩薩。我們大家都相信,完全完全無疑,但是一直到了新的,新來的菩薩,新發意的菩薩這個時候,「則易以眾生思議測度如來」,不就是和我們現在的人一樣呢?現在的人就有他的思想,有他一套的議論,要來測量,要來考試,佛,你到底是什麼樣?要來測量,這就是現代新潮流,那個時候佛陀的時代,就已經考慮到新潮流的時代,是新發意的菩薩,哪怕是新潮流的青年,願意接受佛法,他就是新潮流派。這也是讓我們很擔心。所以,「及至思議不及則不信」。他自己那個思惟以及議論,還無法到達真理的程度,他就開始將它撥開了,他就不相信,就以那個叛,這個反叛,有判論潮流,那就是為反叛而反叛,他還不及議論,他就開始不信。

因為不信故而疑謗。這個批判、批叛論,因為自己的智慧無法到那裡,他就開始一直議論。有的人還未到達了,可以堪得起批判,就聞風起舞,就會滿天飛,就會變成了無明風,就造成了無明論。佛法就這樣會被破壞,這是很擔心的事情,未來。

所以這部經,故意在這個地方,提出了那個難問,就是批判,彌勒菩薩,這段經文提出來,才能夠再讓我們,去了解未來眾生,新發意菩薩,那種的新潮流的態,我們才能夠了解。

所以,「或指為虛妄」,就這樣將它批判,把佛法當作是虛妄。其實佛無虛妄,但是新發意,未來,未來新潮流的人,他們就會很容易,將法這樣撥無因果,就這樣將它批判掉了。所以,「或指為惑世之說」。他就告訴他:「佛法是迷信,佛法就像是在吃鴉片。」就是這樣,所以就會滅佛法,會毀滅佛法。這個時代,也有經過了這樣的時代過,那只是一個開始的潮流。不論是孔子的道理,或者是佛法的道理,有道理的也這樣被批判過,未來會更加嚴重,所以我們要很用心守護著。

所以,他會說這是惑世之說,是在迷惑人的話,這「不信」,所以就不相信。這些新發意菩薩,未來的人,他們新潮流派,那就是不相信佛,所以「並阻人信佛,故為破法之罪業因緣」。那就會起了這種消滅掉佛法,破害佛法。這樣,人間的道理,道,都毀滅掉了,這是很可怕!

此彌勒所由
率眾生疑
冀啟如來之解說
得以將護新發心之
大乘眾生也

所以,這就是「彌勒菩薩所由率眾生疑」,他就帶領著大家開始,開始起疑問。這是彌勒菩薩故意,他就率領著這些人來起疑問,就是希望能夠啟發出了,如來能夠解說更清楚點。所以,「得以將護,來保護未來新發意菩薩的心。這能夠維護大乘的佛法,這就是彌勒菩薩的用意。用心良苦啊!我們要好好用心。真的我們很擔憂,未來的人間到底會變成如何呢?我們很無法去預測,但是我們要堅定在現在;堅定在我們現在,我們要如何來護法?要從我們自己身體力行,將現在的道方向清楚。我們現在的道要趕緊來開,向著那個正確的方向開出了一條道,趕緊身體力行,讓大家趕緊來鋪一條平坦的路,讓大家能夠有路的方向可走。

雖然前面的人路開不透,後面鋪路的人會再接來開路,後面的人再接下去鋪路。這種開道、鋪路會源源不斷,而我們沒有離開。前面的路開到一段,我們的自然法則到了,我們就再回過頭來開始再鋪路,接著再開道。這就是不斷不斷將這條道,開到佛的境界去,這就是譬喻要如何開一條路,開一道門來入如來室。你要入如來室,也要有路入,要不然如來室的外面,都是雜草、雜樹,在遠遠的地方要來入如來室,就是這麼地雜草亂生,若沒有從前面開道來,要如何入如來室呢?這些雜草就像疑,希望我們這煩惱、無明、疑惑,要如何去去除。佛的時代重視未來我們現在,現在的人還要再為未來的人,我們道要清楚。自己的心地道路沒有開清楚,我們就無法為未來,來大家鋪路。所以,「正法道」一定要通達,這條路一定要通達,要走到那個「世第一法」,那個路要不斷走。所以,請大家要時時多用心!

【附註】
小乘三賢之第一,修五種之觀法而五種之過失停心也。是為聲聞乘入道之初。
有二種,一種:一、不淨觀,觀境界不淨之相,停止貪欲之法。貪著心多之人修之。二、慈悲觀,向一切有情,觀可憐之相,而停止瞋恚之法。瞋恚多之人修之。三、因緣觀,觀十二因緣,三世相續之理,而停止愚痴之法。愚痴多之人修之。四、界分別觀,向諸法而分別六界或十八界,停止我見之法。我見多之人修之。五、數息觀,計呼吸數以停止散亂心之法。散心多之人修之。
又一種:以第四之界分別觀與第三之因緣觀相似,省之而加觀佛。因觀佛之相好。能治一切之煩惱故也。業障多之人修之。
淨影於大乘義章十二正明第一種,傍示第二種。曰:「問曰:有人諸患等分何以為治?成實法中十六特勝能為對治,依如觀佛三昧經中觀佛三昧能為對治,毘曇法中義亦同此,以佛相好非三毒境界故爾。」
天台於四教儀、四念處、名第四觀為界方便,而舉第一種。
於玄義、止觀即、為念佛觀,而舉第二種。
(摘自丁福保:佛學大辭典)


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Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: Understanding the Dharma of Foremost in the World (通達正道 世第一法)
Date: December.17.2018

“We must thoroughly comprehend all Right Dharma, from the Dharma of foremost in the world onward. We must contemplate the substance and nature of all phenomena as empty, illusory and fundamentally non-arising and non-ceasing. We must have faith and understanding in our true mind, free of delusions and disturbances. When we peacefully endure, realize our True Suchness and illuminate the principles with wisdom, we will be able to see the Middle Way.”

We must be mindful! “We must thoroughly comprehend all Right Dharma.” Indeed, to learn the Buddha-Dharma, we must comprehend the principles thoroughly. When we thoroughly understand the principles, everything will be perfect, and the paths that pervade the universe and all Dharma-realms will be open. That which we must thoroughly comprehend is “the Dharma of foremost in the world.” It is the process of cultivating the Buddha-Dharma. Through the Five Mental Perspectives and the Four Practices of Goodness, we will reach the Three Sagely States and the Four Noble Realms. These terms refer to stages in the process that leads to the goal of spiritual cultivation, which is to reach the state of thoroughly comprehending all phenomena in the world.

Of course, there is a sequence in cultivation. We must cultivate one thing after another according to this sequence. What we need to cultivate is our mind. Our mind [determines] all our daily actions. In our practice, the Dharma provides the methods that [we should apply] in our daily living. This is the true Buddha-Dharma. After comprehending the principles, we need to practice them in our daily lives. This requires us to comprehend all worldly appearances. We need to clearly understand worldly Dharma and the principles. There are so many terms and labels. We have previously discussed some of them, but there are still many that we must discuss in the future. So, we must remember [them]. “The Dharma of foremost in the world” requires us to understand the ways of the world, the ways in which we treat people and things and the ways we truly implement the Dharma in the world. The Dharma that we implement is inseparable from “refraining from all evil and doing all that is good.” It is inseparable from body, speech and mind. Our hearts and thoughts are all part of our daily life in this world. In learning the Dharma we rely on the vows we make. Whether in our body, speech, mind or vows, we cannot get slack off when it comes to putting the teachings into practice. The Four Practices of Bringing Peace and Joy are inseparable from all cultivation in this world. We must cultivate ourselves so that we can perfect how we deal with people and handle matters. This is the foremost Dharma. In all matters, “We must contemplate the substance and nature of all phenomena as empty, illusory and fundamentally non-arising and non-ceasing.”

In the past, we have also told everyone of the Four Wisdoms. [The first is] “all-accomplishing wisdom.” This is the first [of four]. We have discussed it many times and we are able to implement it in our lives, so we should be able to remember the rest, [which are] “profound discerning wisdom,” “universal equality wisdom” and “great perfect mirror wisdom.” Aren’t they all applicable in our daily life? The Dharma is so close to our lives; there are many names for it, but it is inseparable from our daily life. In dealing with people, matters and things, amidst all these matters, we must be harmonious with the principles and converge with the principles. When we speak or do things, these are appearances. Yet our mindset must not depart from the Dharma, which is the principles. “We must contemplate the substance and nature of all phenomena.” Are our actions in accordance with the principles? If our speech and actions abide by the principles, we can deal with anything smoothly. When we connect with external states, as we encounter all these states, do we give rise to discursive thoughts? Do we give rise to thoughts of greed, anger or delusion? If we have these thoughts during the process, we might think, “Because I will benefit from this, I do not care about what others will lose.” We do not care about others’ losses and instead seek only to benefit ourselves. If we have such thoughts, then we must quickly think of substance and nature as “empty, illusory and fundamentally non-arising and non-ceasing.” We must not take issue [with things]. What is there to take issue with? We must not be angry, for what is there to be angry about? [If we can do this,] naturally we will quickly open our minds in regards to people, matters and things. So, naturally, we will be unobstructed in our dealings with people and matters. This is extremely important to our daily lives.

In the Buddha-Dharma, we will encounter numerous terminologies that may seem extremely profound. This seems to create a barrier between the Dharma and our daily lives; listening to the Dharma is one thing, but our daily life is another thing. If we are like this, we have not taken the Dharma to heart. This means that we “have no Dharma to transform us.” In our interpersonal relationships, if we cannot make heartfelt connections, and if we are stubborn about our opinions then we are not applying the Dharma in this world. We must [make use of] this seemingly difficult and obscure Dharma to “contemplate the substance and nature of all phenomena”. Is it applicable in our daily lives? Of course! It can be applied in our dealings with people and things. When it comes to “ profound discerning wisdom,” when our sense organs connect with sense objects and when we deal with people and matters we can apply [this wisdom]. “Contemplation” is profound discernment. In truth, when sense organs, sense objects and conditions meet, we must earnestly contemplate and consider whether we are dealing with people, matters and things perfectly and harmoniously. Are we departing from the rules of our practice? Are we using the mindsets of worldly people to handle our interpersonal conflicts? Or are we handling things with the mindset of people who expound and spread the Dharma? These are different. So, we must always listen to the Dharma. Whatever Dharma we have listened to, we must put it into action and teach it. We cannot teach by just repeating what we have heard. Instead, we must practice it in our life as we deal with people and matters, using our actions as example to teach the Dharma. This is profound discernment and contemplation.

Since we have formed aspirations to take action, we are not engaging in worldly affairs. Although we go among people and we are among them, and we communicate with others with ordinary speech, our ordinary speech serves as a role model for teaching the Dharma. We must constantly remind ourselves to be vigilant. In such a large group of Bodhisattvas, how do we find ways for every one of them to bring their hearts to accord with the path and put [the Dharma] into action? This is extremely important. Although these are worldly matters, they must still be done in accordance with the principles of the Buddha-Dharma. So, the Buddha-Dharma is inseparable from the workings of the world.

These words appear very profound. In truth, [the workings of the world] are never separate from the Dharma. So, it is same with human life; all the organs in our bodies are working to sustain our lives. They each have their own function. When we say the term “bone marrow,” hearing this, [everyone would say].

“Oh, bone marrow!” Whenever we discuss bone marrow transplant and bone marrow donation, it seems like such a big deal. Indeed, it is a big deal, because it is a matter of life and death. When it comes to a person’s life, the marrow is extremely important because it is a matter of survival for them. Each person’s life depends on a functioning hematopoietic system. If my hematopoietic system does not function well, with the help of modern technology, I can rely on others to give me hematopoietic cells, which are cells in the bone marrow. The cells in the bone marrow have the ability to produce blood cells. Healthy people continuously produce blood cells. Therefore, they can share their functioning cells in their bone marrow by donating a few milliliters of it. These cells are transplanted into another person whose hematopoietic system does not function well. The blood cells are transplanted. This person must have his or her old cells totally destroyed, completely annihilated, before they can receive the bone marrow transplant and for these new blood cells to function.

Isn’t it the same for us? We must first eliminate a great amount of ignorance and afflictions. This is just like people who need a transplant. Prior to receiving the transplant, they must first enter a sterile environment. Similarly, when receiving the Buddha-Dharma, we must also first eliminate our ignorance and afflictions; we must completely eliminate our greed, angered and delusion. We must constantly eliminate our habitual tendencies as unenlightened beings. We must constantly eliminate them. Only in this way can we continuously accept the Buddha-Dharma. This requires us to work hard at our practice. Every one of us must first purify our hearts. When we accept the Buddha-Dharma, we must implement it in our daily lives. This implementation in our daily lives is like receiving blood into our bodies. We must quickly recover through rehabilitation. When we have recovered, naturally [the blood cells] will become the source of our new life. Our hematopoietic system will function once again. Similarly, for the Dharma to enter our hearts, we must eliminate our past habitual tendencies and sweep them away entirely. When we carry on our old habits and mindsets, we are unaware that our old mindsets are incorrect. When we lack awareness and are still attached this means that our afflictions still exist and ignorance is still in our hearts. So, how can we take this virtuous Dharma to hearts? When we are stubborn, constantly unable to correct ourselves, we will forever remain unenlightened begins. Not only will we harm ourselves, we will also harm others if we are among people. This is what we must be extremely vigilant of. So, I implore everyone to be mindful.

“We must contemplate the substance and nature of all phenomena.” If we do not contemplate the substance and nature of all phenomena, although we might constantly listen to the Dharma, we will be unable to teach it and much less able to pass it on. Furthermore, if we deviate even in the slightest, we will fall into an illusory [state]. We will then easily return to our Ignorance, afflictions and confusion. So, we should know that this world is truly an illusion, and we must quickly eliminate [these things]. In such a world, we must be earnest and clear. We must restore our hematopoietic function so that it is continuously working and healthy. The blood cells we profound today will quickly and ceaselessly be replaced by new ones in this kind of cycle. We need to eliminate our past ignorance, and every day, we must accept our new, functioning bone marrow. We should have this kind of perspective so we can take the Dharma to heart. As we listen to the Dharma every day, we must accept it. We must eliminate old ignorance and affections. This is how, when we listen to the Dharma, we will have a way to transform our hearts. With the Dharma, we can then transform others. If the Dharma cannot transform our own hearts, how can we transform others?

As people who listen to, teach and transmit the Dharma, we must definitely “have faith and understanding in our true mind, free of delusions and disturbances”. We need faith and understanding regarding our true intent. The intent to learn the Buddha-Dharma is what we must always remember. We must have faith and understanding regarding our true minds. We must no longer act recklessly. Instead, we must earnestly and peacefully safeguard this aspiration. We must take the Dharma to heart every day, and every day we must eliminate our old afflictions and ignorance. To have new functioning bone marrow, we must take this Dharma-marrow into our hearts. So, we must have “true minds, free of delusions and disturbances”. We must never again have delusion, afflictions or ignorance. We must peacefully abide and truly “peacefully endure”. We must abide in “the Four Practices of Bringing Peace and Joy”. Our body, speech and mind must peacefully abide in the Dharma. When going among people, we must not forget the Dharma. Otherwise, in this turbulent world of temptations, we will get lost amidst people and matters. We cannot do this.

So, we must “realize our True Suchness and illuminate [the principles] with wisdom”. Our True Suchness, this light of wisdom, must illuminate our principles. When it comes to this broad path, we must use our wisdom to illuminate it, for it will lead us to the state of Buddhahood. The Bodhisattva-path requires us to transform ourselves and then transform others. How can those who transform others be confused? They cannot be confused.

The Dharma seems very profound. In truth, when we take actual steps on the right path, we find that it is very smooth. [The Dharma] is all in our daily lives, and [this path] is not difficult at all. So, everyone must “have faith and understanding in our true mind, free of delusions and disturbances”. We only need to be at peace, peacefully abiding in the True Dharma, peacefully abiding in our body, speech and mind, and peacefully abiding in the vows we form. These principles are in our lives. They are in our daily life and are not separate from us. So, we must earnestly be mindful.

Next, we must remember the previous passage. “They excel in being able to practice all the virtuous teachings in sequence”.

They excel in being able to practice all the virtuous teachings in sequence. They are skillful in asking and answering questions. They are treasures among people and are extremely rare throughout all the world.

We must always remember that, as we said before, we must practice in sequence. Regarding what is taught in sequence and analyzed one by one in name and appearance, we must understand it clearly. This is why learning the Dharma takes so long. [We] must “practice all the virtuous teachings in sequence”. After learning, we must retain them in our minds. Among people, “They are skillful in asking and answering questions”. Since those who listen to the Dharma are people who must teach the Dharma, we need to be skillful in asking and answering questions. They are treasures among people”. We hope we can become people who clear and teach the path. We are Buddhist practitioners. The Buddha clears and teaches the path. The Buddha does not speak falsehood; He speak what is true. Can we reach the state where we never speak falsehoods and only speak what is true? If we plan to teach others the Dharma, can we reach the state of not speaking falsehoods? By not speaking falsehoods, we unite the Dharma with reality? Can the reality of our everyday life and what we encounter in life come to unite with these principles? In this True Dharma, there is no falsehood. What is true cannot be false. I hope we all can mindfully listen to the Dharma. As we go through this sequence, we must turn it into something we can use. So, “They are treasures among people”. It is true to be born human, and it is also rare to hear the Buddha-Dharma. Our body is a vessel for spiritual cultivation, and we can use it to transform ourselves. If we use it among people, we can transform them. Our body is truly precious, and we ourselves must realize this. If we hope be benefactors in people’s lives, we must have expectations for ourselves, and we must have vows for ourselves. Otherwise, our lives will pass by in vain. In the end, our bodies will just rot and disappear. Why don’t we make the best of it? We must earnestly cherish [our lives] and also become “treasures among people”. We must not just look at the sutra and say, “Look, this is a treasure among people”. We should hope to become like this ourselves. Since we hope to attain Buddhahood, we must expect ourselves to become “extremely rare throughout the world” as well. We hope that we can become people who are truly useful and valued by others.

In the next sutra passage, [Maitreya] states, “Yet today, World-Honored One, You tell us that when You attained Buddhahood, You helped them first form aspirations, taught, transformed and guided them and enabled them to advance toward. Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi. It has not been long since the World-Honored One attained Buddhahood, and yet You were able to accomplish this work of such great merit and virtue!”

Maitreya Bodhisattva hoped the Buddha would give further explanations. Bring all those Bodhisattvas to fruition must have taken a long time, but from the Buddha attained Buddhahood until now, not much time had passed. How could He have accomplished so much? These Bodhisattvas had already drawn close to the stage of sages and noble beings. How could this be? This is what Maitreya Bodhisattva still hoped for the Buddha to explain. “It has not been long since the World-Honored One attained Buddhahood, and yet You were able to accomplish this work of such great merit and virtue!” This is what everyone wished to comprehend. For the past few days, we have been explaining that Maitreya asked these questions entirely for the sake of helping future sentient beings understand more clearly. Only with question would there be an answer; only [the Buddha’s] explanation in His answer can completely resolve our doubts and confusion so that we can be free of doubts. To help us understand what was unclear we need to ask questions and receive answers to be able to resolve our doubts.

Lets us continue next sutra passage. We must be mindful! “We all have faith that the Buddha teaches according to what is appropriate, that the Buddha’s words are never that the Buddha’s knowledge is always thorough and comprehensive.

We all deeply believe that the Dharma the Buddha taught us is true and in accordance with our capacities. We all believe that, regardless of what Dharma the Buddha teaches, we can believe it in its entirety. So, we say, “All we Bodhisattvas have faith in the Buddha. The Tathagata [used] skillful means to teach the Dharma according to capabilities. regarding the Dharma that the Buddha taught us, we are entirely free of doubt. “The Buddha’s words are never illusory of false, and the Buddha’s knowledge is always though and comprehensive”. In other words, everything the Buddha taught is entirely without falsehoods. The Buddha’s knowledge is certainly always thorough and comprehensive.

The Buddha’s words are never are never illusory or false, and the Buddha’s knowledge is always thorough and comprehensive: The Dharma that the Buddha teaches is all true, never illusory of false. the Buddha’s wisdom is unobstructed. What He knows is the truth. There is nothing He does thoroughly comprehend.

So, this is what Maitreya Bodhisattva said. What he meant by these words was that when He taught the Dharma, everything He said was true and without falsehood. What everyone believes in, the Buddha’s wisdom, is unobstructed. That which He knows is all true. That is, there is nothing He does not understand. This is what we all believe in.

“But for newly-inspired Bodhisattvas, after the Buddha enters Parinirvana, when they hear these words, they might not believe in or accept them and thus give rise to the negative karmic conditions of damaging the Dharma.

Meitreya Bodhisattva expressed his own thoughts. He said, “The Buddha’s words are true, and His wisdom comprehends all. He teachers according to our capabilities. we clearly understand all of this. I raise this question for these newly-inspired Bodhisattvas.

But for newly-inspired Bodhisattvas, after the Buddha enters Parinirvana…: The reason that Maitreya asked the Buddha difficulty questions was out of fear for newly-inspired Bodhisattvas for after the Buddha entered Parinirvana, future sentient beings would be unable to believe this.

“But for newly-inspired Bodhisattvas, after the Buddha enters Parinirvana…”. After the Buddha entered Parinirvana, people would listen to these words and say “After the Buddha left home, engaged in practice and taught the Dharma, He really transformed so many people! Perhaps these newly-inspired Bodhisattvas would still be unable to believe this. Unable to believe, they would give rise to doubt and slander the Dharma. If they had doubts, their faith would disappear, and they would thus easily slander the Dharma. This means they would criticize and give rise to many doubts. When they had doubts, they would slander it. So, for the sake of “newly-inspired Bodhisattvas”. Maitreya mindfully asked these questions. He used a critical tone in asking the Buddha, “[asking] difficult questions”. This was a form of critique “How could a 25-year-ole [young man] say that these nearly 100-year-old [old men] were all his children? The Buddha did not attain Buddhahood age, but You say that these cultivated Bodhisattvas are all Your disciples. Who would believe this?”

[Maitreya] asked the Buddha in this way. In his mind, he did this “out of fear for the newly-inspired”. This refers to those with shallow roots of faith, who had only begun to form aspirations. After the Buddha entered Parinirvana, they would have yet to accept the Buddha’s deep teachings. After the Buddha entered Parinirvana, unable to have faith [in the Dharma]. This is because when comparing [the Bodhisattvas’] numbers and the time [it took to transform them] to the Buddha’s attainment, there is a great discrepancy.

They would not be able to believe it. So, “When they hear these words, they might not believe it or accept it and thus give rise to the negative karmic conditions of damaging the Dharma”.

When they hear these words, they might not believe it or accept it and thus give rise to the negative karmic conditions of damaging the Dharma: Due to doubt and delusion, they will not believe in this Dharma. Due to disbelief, they will give rise to slander and incur transgressions.

If people hear such words, they may not believe it. Not only will they not believe, they may even slander the Dharma. This is due to doubts. Because they have doubts, they will not believe in the Dharma.

So, due to disbelief in the Dharma, they may start to slender it. This slander will cause them to incur karmic transgressions. It is because slandering Right Dharma incurs very severe karmic transgressions. So, because of this, Maitreya Bodhisattva raised such questions, hoping that that the Buddha would explain carefully.

In the next sutra passage, [Maitreya] continues, “Naturally, Would-Honored One, we hope that You will explain this to us in order to dispel our doubts and so that those good men in the future who hear this matter will also not give rise to doubts.

Naturally means that he was very certain He spoke with such certainty. That is, he had no doubts. He spoke with an imploring tone. He said, “We are very resolute. Venerable Buddha. we all have faith, but for the sake of the present and future, for the newly-inspired and for future beings, I must ask this; I implore the Buddha, for the sake of us here, to please resolve our doubts. This is also to help people in the future to very clearly comprehend how the principles by which the Buddha transformed sentient beings were accumulated. This requires the true principles that are applicable in real life, so that people of the future can take them to heart and be convinced. So, [Maitreya] said, “Naturally”.

Naturally, this is a word of certainly He requested the world-Honored One to resolve the doubts of the present and future people of this world He only hoped the Buddha would explain to them in order to eliminate their doubts.

He was very resolute and very certain. “The Buddha surely needs to accept our request. Please, World-Honored One, we must be certain. For the sake of people now and in the future, please resolve their doubts”. He “only hoped,” he only asked that the Buddha, for all their sake, would explain in clear detail so that people of the future would have no doubts and people of the present could resolve their doubts. This was also for “those good men in the future”. This was not merely to resolve the doubts of the people present but to continuously do so into the future. Their future is our present time. During Maitreya Bodhisattva’s time, on behalf of those present, he asked thee questions, hoping that the Buddha would explain to help those present gain a clearer understanding, while simultaneously helping those in the future form aspirations and be able to have faith. The World-Honored One’s door of the intrinsic is His innate ability. Since the beginning, how much time did He spend continuously being in the world and transforming sentient beings in the Saha World?

In the Saha World, for such a long time, He was able to successfully transform so many. Where did these affinities and causes begin? He hoped that the numbers in time, space and in the world would be reasonable and accepted by everyone. This is what Maitreya Bodhisattva hoped the Buddha would explain more in detail by uniting the “principles” with “matters”. So, regarding “the teaching of the manifest” that He previously revealed and the present “teaching of the intrinsic,” how could he help everyone understand this more clearly? So, “He used questions and answers to eliminate two kinds of doubts”. He did this to eliminate two kinds of doubts.

So that those good men in the future who hear this matter will also not give rise to doubts: He used questions and answers to eliminate two kinds of doubts. 1. To eliminate the doubts of present people 2. To eliminate the doubts of future people.

The first is “to eliminate present [doubts]”. The present refers to Maitreya’s era. Those present had doubt in their hearts. Second, “to eliminate the doubts of future people”. Those future people are we who live now. This does not refer only to us but to those who will exist in the distant future, and on and on without end. For those who were present at that time, he wished that everyone, upon seeing this sutra, would be able to have faith in why they must enter the Bodhisattva-path. The Bodhisattva-path is the wondrous medicine for treating this world. This method must be passed down in this world, so he had to eliminate doubts. Doubt gives rise to delusion, delusion gives rise to ignorance and ignorance gives rise to afflictions.

These afflictions, ignorance and delusions all begin from doubt. So, he had to help people eliminate these afflictions, ignorance and delusions. This means that this must be explained well for people to enter the Bodhisattva-path and attain a healthy wisdom-life. This Dharma, the Dharma-marrow, must be clearly understood. A healthy wisdom-life requires Dharma-marrow, just like a healthy person requires bone marrow. So, we must mindfully seek to comprehend this.

Here he explained the reason for the doubts. He said, “The Tathagata, in expounding the Dharma, always according with what is appropriate for sentient beings’ capabilities. Moreover, He has never said anything false Even though we all might not yet understand what the Buddha teaches, because we believe that the Buddha’s wisdom is thorough, comprehensive and unhindered, we will always first believe in what the Buddha has said.

“The Tathagata, in expounding the Dharma, always accords with what is appropriate for sentient beings’ capabilities”. He knew that, over a long time, the Buddha had accompanied sentient beings in their transmigration throughout the Six Realms. The Buddha could not bear [their suffering], so for a long time, He accompanied sentient beings to transform them. He always accords with sentient beings’ needs and serves them in this way. “Moreover, He has never said anything false”. Throughout many lifetimes, the Dharma He taught has never been in the wrong. From the beginning until He attained Buddhahood, throughout many lifetimes, His Dharma has always been right. This is how the Buddha has been over many years, many lifetimes and many kalpas. He never speaks falsehoods, only the True Dharma. “Even though we all” refers to the Buddha’s disciples.

Though everyone “might not yet understand what the Buddha teaches, they believe that the Buddha’s wisdom is thorough, comprehensive and unhindered”. We know the Dharma the Buddha taught. Although we still do not fully understand it, we believe that the Buddha’s wisdom is thorough and comprehensive. His principles are thorough and complete. From the very beginning, we have had no doubts; we have faith, but we have yet to fully understand. [Maitreya] asked the Buddha to carefully explain. This is what he meant; it was not that they had doubts but they still did not fully understand. “We have all for a long time followed the Buddha and accepted transformation”.

We have all for a long time followed the Buddha and accepted transformation. We have faith in the Buddha’s principles. When it comes to newly-inspired Bodhisattvas, they are likely to measure the Tathagata from the mindset of sentient beings. When their minds cannot understand Him, they will lose faith. Without faith, they will doubt and slander Him. They may either take what He said as falsehood or regard it as speech meant to delude the world. They will not have faith in the Buddha themselves and obstruct others from finding faith in Him. So, they will give rise to the negative karmic conditions of damaging the Dharma.

“We have all followed the Buddha for a long time and accepted transformation”. The previous passage spoke of this. “We have faith in the Buddha’s principles”. These people were transformed by the Buddha. Being taught and transformed by Him, they all believed in the Buddha’s true principles. When it came to the newly-inspired Bodhisattvas, they all believed and were entirely free of doubts. And yet, when it came to the newly-inspired Bodhisattvas, these newly-inspired Bodhisattvas, at this moment, “were likely to measure the Tathagata from the mindset of sentient beings”. Isn’t this just like people nowadays? People nowadays have their own way of thinking and their own reasoning. They want to measure and challenge Him, asking, “Buddha, what are You exactly?” They want to measure Him. This is the modern trend. During the Buddha’s time, He had already thought about the newly-inspired Bodhisattvas in the modern age. Even if youths in the modern age are willing to accept the Dharma, they [still] follow this modern trend. This is very concerning. So, “When their minds cannot understand Him, they will lose faith.” Their thinking and discourse are still unable to reach the level of true principles. They will just push [the Dharma] away and will not believe in it. They just rebel against [the teachings]. This rebellion is another trend of criticism, to rebel for the sake of rebelling. Before they have time to discuss it, they begin to question it. Because they do not have faith, they doubt and slander it. They criticize it. Since they have not reached that level of wisdom, they begin to constantly debate. Some people have not reached the level of being able to endure criticism. They will just follow others blindly and spread criticisms everywhere. This will create a storm of ignorance and lead to ignorant debates. In this way, the Buddha-Dharma will be damaged. This is a very worrisome issue for the future.

So, this sutra intentionally raises these difficult questions at this point, which were all in the form of criticisms. In this passage, Maitreya Bodhisattva’s questions can again help us come to understand future sentient beings, the newly-inspired Bodhisattvas, and this modern way of thinking. This is how we can understand them. So, “They take what He said as falsehood.” They criticize it, seeing the Buddha-Dharma as false. In truth, the Buddha is without falsehood. However, newly-inspired [Bodhisattvas] in the future, these people following the new trend, will very easily deny the law of karma in the Dharma. They will criticize and discard it “or regard it as speech meant to delude the world.”

They will tell others, “The Buddha-Dharma is superstition; the Buddha-Dharma is like taking opium.” This is how they will crush and destroy the Buddha-Dharma. In our times, there were times like these before too. This was only the start of a trend [in thought]. Be it the principles of Confucius or the principles of the Buddha-Dharma, even reasonable teachings have been criticized. In the future, it will be even worse, so we must mindfully guard [against this]. They will say this is meant to delude the world, that this teaching is meant to confuse people. This is “losing faith.” So, they do not have faith in it. These newly-inspired Bodhisattvas and people of the future follow the modern trend [of thought], which is to not believe in the Buddha. Thus, “They obstruct others from believing in Him. So, they will give rise to the negative karmic conditions of damaging the Dharma.” This will give rise to this kind of destruction and damage to the Buddha-Dharma. In this way, the principles in the world, the path, will all be destroyed. This is truly frightening.

This is the reason that Maitreya led sentient beings in raising their doubts. He hoped to induce the Tathagata’s explanation so as to protect the sentient beings who are newly-inspired Great Vehicle practitioners.

So, “This is the reason Maitreya led sentient beings in raising their doubts.” He led everyone by beginning to raise their doubts. This was Maitreya Bodhisattva’s intention, to lead these people to raise their doubts in hopes that this would inspire the Tathagata to explain even more clearly. Thus, [he did this] “so as to protect [them],” to protect the hearts of newly-inspired Bodhisattvas in the future. This could protect the Great Vehicle Buddha-Dharma. This was Maitreya Bodhisattva’s intention. He put his heartfelt into this. We must earnestly put in our effort [as well]. This really worries us; what will future people be like? We have no way of predicting it, but we must be resolute in the present. We must be resolute in the present; how can we protect the Dharma? We can do so by putting it into action and making the direction of the path clear. We must clear our current path with haste, turning toward the right direction and clearing a path. We must quickly put it into practice in order to help everyone make the path smooth, providing all with a path to walk on. Though those in front did not fully clear the path, those at the back will continue to clear the path and those following them will continue paving it. This clearing and paving the path never ceases, and we have never departed from it. Once we have cleared a section of the road ahead, our life comes to an end, and we return and start to pave this road again. Then we will further clear the path. In this way we continue to clear this path onward all the way to the state of Buddhahood. This is an analogy of how we can clear a path and open a door to enter the Tathagata’s room. In order to enter the Tathagata’s room, we need a path to enter it. Otherwise, outside of the Tathagata’s room, it will all be weeds and brushwood. We want to enter the Tathagata’s room from afar, but there are so many weeds. Without clearing a path leading up to it, how can we enter the Tathagata’s room? These weeds are like doubts. We hope we will find a way to eliminate our afflictions, ignorance and delusions. During the Buddha’s time, they were concerned for the future, which is our present. We in the present must also consider people in the future. We must be clear about the path. If the path in our own heart is not fully cleared, we cannot pave the way for people of the future.

So, we have to walk the “path of Right Dharma” to the end. We must reach to the end of this path. To reach “the Dharma of foremost in the world,” we must ceaselessly walk on this path. So, everyone must always be mindful!

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