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 20181218《靜思妙蓮華》久行佛道 住弘誓願 (第1503集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五)

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20181218《靜思妙蓮華》久行佛道 住弘誓願 (第1503集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五) Empty
發表主題: 20181218《靜思妙蓮華》久行佛道 住弘誓願 (第1503集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五)   20181218《靜思妙蓮華》久行佛道 住弘誓願 (第1503集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五) Empty周二 12月 18, 2018 4:16 am

20181218《靜思妙蓮華》久行佛道 住弘誓願 (第1503集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五)

⊙是諸菩薩諦審菩提之果,最勝無有過上,自成就已,普願是一切眾生咸皆得成就。故云佛道無上弘誓願成。
⊙「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,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》
⊙「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》
⊙「爾時、彌勒菩薩欲重宣此義而說偈言:佛昔從釋種,出家近伽耶,坐於菩提樹,爾來尚未久。」《法華經從地涌出品第十五》
⊙坐於菩提樹,爾來尚未久:伽耶城不遠,坐道樹下,自從爾來,四十餘年。而能成就如是,度化菩薩數難量,故顯難信問。
⊙「此諸佛子等,其數不可量,久已行佛道,住於神通力,善學菩薩道,不染世間法,如蓮華在水,從地而涌出。」《法華經從地涌出品第十五》
⊙此諸佛子等,其數不可量:此頌執遠疑近事應今時,理遊劫外,如蓮華在水,香潔不染。
⊙久已行佛道,住於神通力:是諸眾多菩薩,皆已久行佛道,住於神通道力,久已精修持行,住於弘誓願行,通達諸法神通力。
⊙善學菩薩道,不染世間法,如蓮華在水,從地而涌出:善能習學菩薩之道,不敢染著世間之法。譬如蓮華在於濁水,自於地中而忽涌出。

【證嚴上人開示】
是諸菩薩諦審菩提之果,最勝無有過上,自成就已,普願是一切眾生咸皆得成就。故云佛道無上弘誓願成。

是諸菩薩
諦審菩提之果
最勝無有過上
自成就已
普願是一切眾生
咸皆得成就
故云佛道無上
弘誓願成

要用心!「是諸菩薩諦審菩提之果,最勝無有過上」,這是我們要選擇方向,要如何修行?人生苦難事多,既知「苦」,也了解「集」,「集」了人間種種無明、煩惱,集成了那就是苦。既然這麼多的「集」,就是因為自己觀念想不開、看不透,所以不斷起了貪、瞋、癡。而人與人,人之間會合起來這麼多的煩惱,各人有各人的想法,各人就有各人自私貪念,就是這樣,眾多各不相同。個人自私的煩惱、無明,這樣的動作起來,想著這是不是人間的這個爭,你爭、我奪,這世間沒有一天,能夠安寧的日子。人與人之間就是這樣,大的,群眾從國家,國開始;縮小過來,社會;社會,再縮小就是家庭;家庭再縮小,那就是個己。

不論是從少的、小點滴的一個「我」,無數個「我」,共同會合就是眾多的「我」;眾多的我合成,就有眾多的我見、我行、我素,就這樣爭啊、鬥啊、奪啊,所以人間構成一股混亂,混亂的結果,造業,共業,那就是人與人之間就是人禍;人禍再共同又會合起來,就變成一股人氣,那種人人共同一股,這個業力的氣運,就變成了眾生共業。這個眾生共業這股的力量很大,形成了大自然,大自然慢慢污濁、慢慢不調和,這和人所累積的因緣是有關。所以看天下,看看天底下災難偏多,受苦難人多,危機重重,形成了瞬息之間的無常,可怕,很多所造成。

菩薩、佛陀、賢人、覺者,已經早早就了解了,我們一直說,從〈從地涌出品〉開始,每天、每天累積下來都是在說,長長久久,久遠劫前無量劫數,佛陀他還未成佛之前,發心,多久的時間?塵點劫,算不盡的塵點劫,不斷、不斷累積,累生世不斷就是在度化眾生,結眾生緣。受教的眾生,這念覺的種子、悟的意識,一直不斷累生累世的緣的累積,這種悟、覺,覺與悟,慢慢浸潤著,因緣就是不斷不斷凝聚會合,成為生生世世,所以能夠累積到在靈鷲山。佛陀已成佛,說法四十多年了,就因緣成熟講說《法華經》。

寶塔,多寶佛塔,也現前來見證了,諸方菩薩也紛紛來集;從地湧出的菩薩,也已經浮現出來了,道場的盛況,能夠佛陀開始向大家宣告,過去的「跡」,累生世、累生世結緣的事跡,就是這樣累生世,在這四十多年間就是隨機說法,譬喻言辭、講說因緣等等,無不都是在這四十多年間,這樣講過來。所以,「跡門」,已經前面顯示了;「本門」,過去的「跡」,現在已經成佛了,雖然才四十多年間,人間現相成佛。所以現在,這四十多年過後了,應人間的大自然,那就是年老了,即將示滅以前,這「法華」一定要完全說完。前面的「跡門」,因緣,那個「跡門」已經告一段落;現在開始開「本門」,所以,他就要說發心的因緣,如何開始?開始的源頭在哪裡?所以在這個場合裡,就有彌勒菩薩來顯「疑」。這也能夠顯出了菩薩的初發心,就是我們現在,人人也是初發意的菩薩;我們現在人人初發意,不論過去,我們有多少的因緣受佛化,不論我們是不是過去曾經有過,不過我們現在,我們現在知道了,有這樣的因緣,得了人身再遇佛法,這個因緣在現世這個時間裡,我們會合了,我們應該就是要發菩提心。

在佛陀靈山會,也有新發意的菩薩,我們在這個地方,也應該要自己認為:你、我,我們也是在新發意的菩薩。我們新發意菩薩,也就要開始「諦審」;「諦」就是真理,「審」就是妙觀察來思惟。我們來思惟,為什麼我們要聽法呢?為什麼我們聽法之後,又一直就是要落實在人間、落實在生活行動中?因為學佛,就是要學來應用,佛心為己心,我們師師相傳,師志為己志。現在師父說給你們聽,現在的時代就是這樣,我們需要佛法,需要佛法來充足我們的智慧、成長我們的慧命。我們需要在這個時代及時發願,我們要弘宣佛法,因為現在就是要淨化人心,要很及時之時,廣結善緣。

在這個時代,見苦了,苦我們看到了,來不及的人間,看天地天災偏多,看人間人禍偏多,見苦要知福,我們居安要思危。我們現在是這樣,很有福的時間裡,我們要好好警惕,戒慎虔誠,居安要思危。所以在這個時代,真的是我們要用來不及的心情,把握在現在,要好好對道理要妙觀察,這是佛法。所以,我們要好好觀察,大自然的境界,好好觀察人間的行為。天災偏多,人禍也苦難偏多,所以,我們要居安思危,在人間裡,我們要見苦知福。所以我們要知道,菩薩要「諦審菩提之果」。「六度萬行」,我們要身體力行,要入這條覺道;這條覺道就是菩提道,菩提道方向準了、道要開了,「菩提之道」我們一定要很用功、用心,時間不空過,菩提道要開闊。向著成佛的方向走,佛心己心,我們以佛的心,我們要不斷追向佛的境界,向前前進,所以要開闢了這條菩提道,面向著佛果的境位去走。我們心中若沒有佛,要如何去開這條路呢?人人要提出,悲心、慈心、喜心、捨心,「慈悲喜捨」。捨棄了個己的煩惱無明,捨棄了個己執著見解,我們應該共同歡喜,「合和互協」,一念心向前開路,這本來就一直一直,跟大家分享的法;分享的法已經在前面了,方向我們這樣走,這條的道路是最殊勝,因為人間也需要,我們的菩提覺道,我們也必要開,所以是「無有過上」。選擇這條路,我們要很珍惜,好好選擇、好好向前開路,開道、鋪路,要與大家互相勉勵。時間真的是很不夠。

所以,「自成就已,普願是一切眾生,咸皆得成就」。我們自己開路,向前一直走,以佛心一直接近佛的境界,這樣不只是自己成就,我們路開到哪裡,大家一起鋪路就鋪到哪裡去。這幾天來一直告訴大家,開路的人,前面開,後面接,路不斷鋪,總是鋪得平坦到佛的境界,讓這條路能夠千秋萬世,就是這麼平坦的道路。看看〈授記品〉,大家再回想一下,〈授記品〉不就是佛陀告訴我們:「你將來一定會成佛,但是過程,要再過一段很長很長的時間;好好修行,因緣完成了,你能夠所度有成就,有這麼多這麼多的菩薩,與你同世,這成佛的境界多麼的莊嚴。成佛了,有菩薩伴群在周圍,這全都是要用長久長久的時間,去開道、去鋪路,完成起來就是那麼莊嚴的世界。」同樣的道理。所以,「自成就」,也還都要「普願是一切眾生,咸皆得成就」,這是我們共同要有的願力。所以故「佛道無上弘誓願成」。佛道是無上,我們的弘誓願一定要堅持,一直堅持到成佛,就是到佛的境界,這是我們人人應該要有的,學佛的目標就是這樣。

我們若自己不用功,真的是浪費了,我們來人間的這個行程。這個走過的足跡,我們要好好印著,這才是人生有留下來的東西,才是我們應用佛法在人間,成為眾生中的貴人,互相為貴人、互相幫助、互相成就,這就是我們來人間的價值。不要白白來一場,也就是空空過去,又再造一大堆的業,再去眾生共業,不要再來世的共業了,我們今生此世,那煩惱無明就要了斷了。今生此世要成就我們的慧命,生命是一直在減少,希望能夠慧命增長了,這是真實語,肺腑之言,請大家真的是要用心!

好,來看看前面說過的文:「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,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。」

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
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》

是啊,或者是不信受佛陀的真實語。眾生,佛的時代,(及)未來的眾生,那真實語,不一定就是這樣,聽了就是過去了,不信又不受,真的是很令人感傷的事情。所以不信受,自然就會破法、誹謗等等,不信,還再反過再造業,這種現在的無明網也很多,只要是心不調,無明網就產生起來,好事不信,還要再誹謗,這是業力。所以,大家要很用心,前面的文接下來說,「唯然,世尊!」

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》

彌勒菩薩用很決定的語義,「唯然,世尊!」用懇切的心來請佛「願為解說,除我等疑」。「佛陀,要說,解釋得讓它很清楚,免得現在的人沒有很透徹了解,也免得未來業重的眾生,又生出了種種的誹謗來,請佛要好好,必不厭其煩來跟大家解釋。」除當場的人的疑,還有未來,「及未來世諸善男子,聞此事已,亦不生疑」。

未來世的人聽到佛法,能夠體會了解,不要為了沒有徹底的相信,半途而廢,這種的「善男子」。意思是有緣的人既然入佛門了,就不要讓他的心又有起疑,半途而廢,這是未來新發意的菩薩。也就是說我們現在,現在的未來,有這樣的人。所以請佛陀要跟大家解釋,讓大家建立信心,堅定。

現在再接下來這段文就說:「爾時、彌勒菩薩欲重宣此義而說偈言:佛昔從釋種,出家近伽耶,坐於菩提樹,爾來尚未久。」

爾時
彌勒菩薩
欲重宣此義
而說偈言
佛昔從釋種
出家近伽耶
坐於菩提樹
爾來尚未久
《法華經從地涌出品第十五》

這段經文,就是彌勒菩薩既講完了,但是很重要,所以他要再重複一次,用偈頌的文再一次。加重我們的記憶。所以,「佛在昔時,從釋種」,就是釋迦族。「棄俗出家。近伽耶城」。他出家到伽耶城,其實不只有到伽耶城,這段時間還有十幾年的時間,到處訪道,一直到了最後他就到伽耶城,離伽耶城沒有多遠的地方,那就是菩提樹下坐,成正覺。

所說的「釋種」,「釋種」那就是「剎帝利」,就是貴族,「即是釋迦之種族」,釋迦佛的種族,就是剎帝利。他們在四姓階級中,這是貴族。或者是,「翻為能仁」,這個族姓就是表示德,有德、有仁,有仁德這樣的種族,這是自古以來所被尊重,這是釋迦族。釋迦族這個貴族的太子,出去修行。出去之後,他是五年參訪、六年苦行,這時間經過十一年。修行最後,在伽耶城沒有多遠,坐在樹下。在樹下覺悟了,夜睹明星,覺悟了。

坐於菩提樹
爾來尚未久:
伽耶城不遠
坐道樹下
自從爾來四十餘年
而能成就如是
度化菩薩數難量
故顯難信問

「自從爾來」,覺悟了,展開了「五時」說法,從這樣開始以來,就是「四十餘年」。因為佛陀說法是四十九年,《法華經》,是在佛陀說法四十二年後,才開始講《法華經》,所以在這個地方說,「四十餘年,而能成就如是,度化菩薩數難量」。因為菩薩都已經集過來,從地湧出這麼多,難道是在這四十多年間,才成就呢?其實,佛在過去就說,久昔以來所度化,但是記憶沒有去體會到,過去佛說,所以容易斷章取義,就會變成了成佛之後,怎麼有可能這四十多年間,度那麼多人呢?這就會引起疑。前面的沒有聽、沒有記憶,現在聽、看,他就會起疑。只看現在,所以執近迷遠。

我們前面也說過了,所以,故顯難信來問,彌勒菩薩就說:「這大家很難得以相信,這麼短的時間,怎麼有可能!」這就是我們要去用心去體會。

所以,接下來的文就這樣說:「此諸佛子等,其數不可量,久已行佛道,住於神通力,善學菩薩道,不染世間法,如蓮華在水,從地而涌出。」

此諸佛子等
其數不可量
久已行佛道
住於神通力
善學菩薩道
不染世間法
如蓮華在水
從地而涌出
《法華經從地涌出品第十五》


這段文就能了解了,因為這麼短的時間,為何能夠成就這樣呢?所以這些菩薩實在是太多了,大家的成就,真的是很有成就的菩薩。不能相信,這裡又再表達出來了。這就是偈頌,要再重複再解釋給大家。再重複一次,疑的源頭是為何?要如何去體會這些量,佛怎麼會化度的眾生這麼多?

此諸佛子等
其數不可量:
此頌執遠疑近
事應今時
理遊劫外
如蓮華在水
香潔不染

「此諸佛子等,其數不可量」,這裡這段文,那就是要來解這個,執遠迷近,這就是要在這個地方來解說。所以,「事應今時」,這個「事」在現在,這個道場這麼多人,都說是佛這樣這樣度出來的。這個事實,看起來這麼多,現在,現在這個時,所看的形象是這樣。但是「理遊劫外」,道理很遠;道理很遠,「劫」就是長時間,要說起來,說道理,那回溯到那麼的遠?是這樣累積累積來的道理,卻是現在看起來,就是這麼多、這麼多。

現在人都是短見,要如何解釋從過去來的因,才有辦法來看現在的果,所以還是佛陀,要從那個遠因要說。所以這是要追溯,所以叫做「執遠疑近」,「疑近」就是看到這麼多人。所以時間這麼短,能夠度化?他們懷疑。「但是佛陀說過去多久多久以前,希望佛要再說清楚一點。」一直追根究柢,這叫做「執遠」,要追根究柢,才要相信在現在,用這樣的方式,期待佛陀更加清楚釋疑。「如蓮華在水」,就是「香潔不染」,是如何在這種的濁惡世中,能夠不受到濁世染著他,這些人能夠保持得道心堅固,這樣在修行,這些菩薩好像出塵蓮華一樣,不受污染,還是很淨潔,這是如何來的?所以,「久已行佛道,住於神通力」。

久已行佛道
住於神通力:
是諸眾多菩薩
皆已久行佛道
住於神通道力
久已精修持行
住於弘誓願行
通達諸法神通力

這些菩薩都已經是這樣了,所以大家期待佛陀,再詳細讓大家了解。因為這些菩薩,「是諸眾多菩薩,皆已久行佛道」,這些人應該都是長久以來,就是在這條道路在走,是開道者;已經開那麼遠的道路了,是開道者。甚至他們「住於神通道力」,應該這個道,來來回回都很熟悉了,開這條道的人去又來了,接著再開;開了再來,接下去再開,來來回回,應該是很長久,已經通達這道路的風光,諸法都已經很清楚,所以叫做「神通道力」,這些法,來來回回。

「久已精修持行」。久來了就是全都很精、精進,專修佛法,就是這樣專心在佛道,「六度萬行」,專心這樣精進。持弘誓願,累生累世就是這樣修持弘誓願,在身、口、意,累生世就是這樣,「四安樂行」就是來來回回,堪忍這濁氣很重的娑婆,所以來來回回,所以已經很久了。「住於弘誓願行,通達諸法神通」,來來回回就是這樣,一念心。「住」就是堅定,很堅定在這條道路來來回回,所以心地風光很清楚了,所以「通達諸法神通力」。這就是我們要很用心去體會。所以,「善學菩薩道,不染世間法,如蓮華在水,從地而涌出」。

善學菩薩道
不染世間法
如蓮華在水
從地而涌出:
善能習學菩薩之道
不敢染著世間之法
譬如蓮華在於濁水
自於地中而忽涌出

「善能習學菩薩之道」。就是這樣,一直生生世世都在修習菩薩道,「不敢染著世間之法」,「譬如蓮華在於濁水,自於地中而忽涌出」。就是很專精,完全在佛法中,不敢去染著世間法,現在的人為了世間的名、利,廣學博聞,所以道必難會,《四大二章經》也是這樣說,我們要專精在一條道,就是要好好用心去行,所以,我們要不敢去染著,世間的法,不敢染著世間的名利,什麼叫做學位,不敢想,我應該專心聽聞佛法,要好好入人間行六度行,這就是菩薩的專精,確實要用這樣的心,要不然真的是道難會,真正要將佛法,真實的佛陀所教育的菩薩道,體會人心,這實在是難會。

總而言之,我們人間菩薩道要如何鋪,就是要專精,要修,「不敢染著世間之法」,不敢染著了,所以專精。「譬如蓮華在於濁水,自於地中而忽湧出」就像蓮花一樣,在那濁水污泥的裡面,它能夠出來,蓮池因為蓮花而美化,蓮花好在有這蓮池的污濁,才能夠供應它的營養分。蓮花盛開了,這就是我們要知道,道理本來就是這樣,真正要用心去體會;不用心,只是在表面上說:「我有聽、我有讀,我知道很多。」這知道,沒有停留在心裡,也沒有用在我們的日常生活裡,那這樣,知道多又是如何呢?知道而不應用,心還是在無明煩惱中,還是在污泥之中,不斷心會惑,在無明、惑、煩惱裡,這樣是不是,不斷再累積於未來呢?又再匯入眾生共業呢?現在的眾生共業,就已經有一股很大的濁惡的氣氛,未來會更大,那個濁惡會更強。我們這時候若不趕緊消除現在,不要再延續在未來,也是加上了一股、一分的無明共業。我們看能夠來世,是一粒淨化人心的蓮子嗎?看能夠在那污濁中生起了蓮花,纍纍的蓮子這樣產生出來,這是我們應該要立的願。

各位菩薩,真的是要用心,用虔誠的愛心,現在天災、人禍,我們要好好自我覺醒,是要很覺悟的時代,所以,我們要用心走入菩薩道,開闊菩提道,要時時多用心!


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Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: Practicing and Abiding in Great Vows (久行佛道 住弘誓願)
Date: December.18.2018

“All these Bodhisattvas contemplate the truth of the Bodhi-fruit, which is supreme and unsurpassed. Having attained it themselves, they vowed that all these sentient beings would universally reach attainment as well. Thus it says that Buddhahood is unsurpassed, and we must vow to attain it.”

We must be mindful! “All these Bodhisattvas contemplate the truth of the Bodhi-fruit, which is supreme and unsurpassed.” We must choose the direction in which we must engage in spiritual practice. There is so much suffering in life. We know “suffering” and understand that it is due to “causation”. It is caused by [the accumulation] of all kinds of ignorance and afflictions in the world; this is what causes suffering. These many accumulated causes are the result of us being unable to see clearly through our own perspective. Therefore, we continuously give rise to greed, anger and ignorance. And when it comes to people, between individuals, we accumulate so many afflictions. Every person has their own idea. Every person has their own selfishness and greedy thoughts. In this way, everyone is different. When people begin to act upon selfish afflictions and ignorance, isn’t this what leads to fighting in this world? When we all fight with each other, there will not be a day of peace in the world. This is what it is like between people. On a larger scale, “people” refers to countries. On a smaller scale, [it refers to] communities. Even smaller than communities are families, and even smaller than families, there are individuals. Even if we start small with a single “self,” countless “selves” come together to form groups of many “selves”. When many selves come together, there will be many views of self and people following their own way. In this way, conflicts and fights over things lead to much chaos in the world. The outcome of this chaos is the creation of [evil] karma. Collective karma [results in] manmade calamities between people. When manmade calamities are further conflated, they form a collective energy. People’s collective energy of karmic forces then becomes sentient beings’ collective karma. The forces of sentient beings’ collective karma is very powerful. It is causing nature to gradually become contaminated and out of balance. This is closely related to causes and conditions accumulated by people.

So, when we look at the world, there are so many disasters in the world, so many people in suffering and so many crises that lead to sudden impermanence. It is scary! There are so many [such examples]. Bodhisattvas, the Buddha, sages and enlightened beings already understood this a long time ago. We have been talking about this. Since the start of the Chapter on Emerging from the Ground, day after day, we have been talking about this. A very long time ago, countless kalpas before distant kalpas ago, before the Buddha attained Buddhahood, He formed aspirations; it was a very long time ago! For dust-inked kalpas, countless dust-inked kalpas, He continuously accumulated [affinities]. Lifetime after lifetime, He continuously transformed sentient beings and formed affinities with them. As for sentient beings who had accepted the teachings, their seeds of awakening, their awakened consciousness, continue to accumulate from their affinities lifetime after lifetime. This realization and awakening slowly imbued them. Causes and conditions continuously came together, leading to [affinities that lasted] lifetime after lifetime so that they could be at Vulture Peak. The Buddha had attained enlightenment and expounded the Dharma for over 40 years. The causes and conditions had matured for Him to teach the Lotus Sutra. The stupa of treasures, the stupa of Many Treasures Buddha, had appeared to bear witness. Bodhisattvas gathered from all directions. Bodhisattvas had also emerged from the ground.

The magnificence of the Dharma-assembly enabled the Buddha to begin to tell everyone about. His manifestations in the past, the traces of His forming affinities lifetime after lifetime. Regarding His many [past] lifetimes, in these 40-some years, He taught the Dharma according to capabilities. He used analogies and expressions to teach causes and conditions and so on. This was all taught in these 40-some years. So, He had now already revealed “the manifest”. [He was about to teach] “the intrinsic” [after] “the manifest” of the past. He had now already attained Buddhahood. It had only been 40 or so years since He manifested the attainment of Buddhahood in the world. So now, after 40 or so years, in accordance with [the laws of] nature, He had become old. So, before manifesting Parinirvana, He had to finish teaching the Lotus Sutra. The “teaching pf the manifest” from before, the causes and conditions for the “teaching of the manifest,” had ended. At that point, he had to open up the “teaching of the intrinsic”.

So, He had to speak about how the causes and conditions of His aspirations started, conditions of His aspirations started, what was the original source. So, at this assembly, Maitreya Bodhisattva came to express “doubt”. This also shows the initial aspirations of Bodhisattvas. Right now, among us, everyone is a newly-inspired Bodhisattva. Every one of us is newly-inspired at the moment. It does not matter how many causes and conditions we have had in the past to accept teachings from the Buddha. It does not matter if we have [accepted teachings] in the past or not. Yet, we now know that we have had the causes and conditions to attain the human form and then encounter the Buddha-Dharma. Since these causes and conditions have arisen in this lifetime, since we have encountered them, we should give rise to Bodhisattva. At the Buddha’s Vulture Peak Assembly, there were also newly-inspired Bodhisattvas. In this place, we should also consider ourselves as newly-inspired Bodhisattvas. For us newly-inspired Bodhisattvas, we must begin to “contemplate the truth”. “The truth” refers to the true principles. “Contemplate” means to contemplate using profound discerning wisdom. We must consider why we must listen to the Dharma and why it is that after we listen to the Dharma, we must continuously utilize it in the world and in our daily actions. It is because as Buddhist practitioners, we need to learn how to apply [the teachings] and take the Buddha’s heart as our own. We pass on the teachings, taking our teacher’s mission as our own mission. Right now, I teach for you to listen. This is the way this era is right now. We need the Buddha-Dharma to bring our wisdom to completion and grow our wisdom-life. In this era, we must promptly make vows. We must widely promote the Buddha-Dharma, because we must bring purity to people’s hearts right now. We must promptly and widely form good affinities. In this era, we have seen suffering. In this world where time is running out, we see that there are many natural disasters and many manmade calamities in the world. When we see suffering, we must recognize our own blessings.

In times of peace, we must remain vigilant. Right now, we are in a very blessed time. We must earnestly remain vigilant, self-disciplined and reverent. In times of peace, we must remain vigilant. So, in this era, we truly must have the mindset that time is running out and seize the moment. We must earnestly observe principles with profound discerning [wisdom]. This is the Buddha-Dharma. So, we must earnestly observe the state of nature and closely observe [people’s] behavior in the world. There are so many natural disasters and manmade calamites leading to suffering. So, we must remain vigilant even in times of peace. In the world, we must recognize our blessings when we witness suffering. So, we must know this Bodhisattvas must “contemplate the truth of the Bodhi-fruit” and actualize the Six Paramitas in all actions. We must put these into action and enter this path to awakening. This path to awakening is the Bodhi-path. Once we found the right direction in the Bodhi-path, we must open up the path. When it comes to the “path of Bodhi,” we must work hard and be mindful. We must not waste time. We must open up the Bodhi-path widely and walk toward the direction of attaining Buddhahood. We must take the Buddha’s heart as our own. With the Buddha’s heart, we must continuously seek the state of the Buddha and go forward.

So, we must open up this Bodhi-path and go towards the direction of the state of Buddhahood. If we do not keep the Buddha in our hearts, how can we open up this path? Everyone must bring forth their hearts of compassion, long-kindness, joy and equanimity. Once we let go of our own afflictions and ignorance, as well as our own attachments and perspectives, we should be joyful together and “work in concert with unity, harmony and love,” wholeheartedly moving forward and opening up the path. This is the Dharma that I have continuously shared with everyone. The Dharma I have shared is in front of us; this is the direction we must walk in. This path is the most extraordinary, because the world needs the Bodhi-path to enlightenment; we have to open it up.

So, it is “unsurpassed.” Having chosen this path, we must cherish it. We must make the right choices and put effort into opening up the path in front. We must clear the path and pave the road, and we must encourage each other. There really is not enough time. So, “Having attained it themselves, they vowed that all these sentient beings” would universally reach attainment as well”. We ourselves clear the road and continue to walk forward with the Buddha’s heart, drawing near the state of Buddhahood. In this way, it is not just we ourselves who reach fruition. Wherever our road is opened up to, everyone together paves the road there. Over the past few days, I have been constantly telling everyone that for people who open up the path, as they do so in front, people follow behind to continuously pave the path. We must pave the road evenly toward the state of Buddhahood so that it can forever be a very even road. Look at the Chapter on Bestowing Predictions.

Let us recall this; in the Chapter on Bestowing Predictions, the Buddha said, “You will attain Buddhahood in the future. However, in the process, you must go through a very, very long time. You must earnestly engage in spiritual practice. When the causes and conditions are fulfilled, you will have much success in transforming others. There will be so many Bodhisattvas in the same era as you. The state of Buddhahood is so magnificent. Once you attain Buddhahood, there will be Bodhisattvas to accompany you all around. This all requires a very long time of clearing the path and paving the road. Once complete, it will be such a magnificent world! It is the same principle”. So, “having attained it themselves”, they had to “vow that all these sentient beings would universally reach attainment as well”. This is the power of vows that we must all share.

“Thus it says that Buddhahood is unsurpassed, and we must vow to attain it”. Buddhahood is unsurpassed. We must remain persistent in our great vows and continue to persist until we attain Buddhahood, which is the state of the Buddha. This is [the vow] that every one of us should have. This is the goal of learning the Buddha’s teachings. If we do not work hard ourselves, then we will truly be wasting this is journey of ours in coming to this world. When it comes to the footprints from our journey, we must put effort into leaving an imprint. Only then are we leaving things behind in this world, applying the Buddha-Dharma in this world and becoming benefactors for sentient beings. We must be benefactors for each other, helping each other to succeed; this is our value in coming to this world. We must not come to this world for nothing and let time pass by emptily while creating a lot of karma, collective karma with sentient beings, for our future lifetimes. In this current lifetime, we must put an end to our afflictions and ignorance. In this current lifetime, we must develop our wisdom-life. Our [remaining] lifespan continues to decrease, but hopefully our wisdom-life can grow. These are sincere words from the bottom of my heart. Everyone, please truly be mindful.

Alright, let us take a look at the sutra passage we previously discussed. We all have faith that the Buddha teaches according to what is appropriate, that the Buddha’s words are never illusory or false and that the Buddha’s knowledge is always thorough and comprehensive. 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”.

Indeed! They might not believe in or accept the Buddha’s true words. for sentient beings during the era of the Buddha, as well as future sentient beings, His truthful words may not be [accepted]. They may hear them and let them pass without believing in or accepting them. This is truly a very saddening thing. If they do not believe in or accept them, naturally, they will damage the Dharma, slander it and so on. They may not believe in it but instead further create negative karma. Right now, there are many [examples of] webs of ignorance. When people’s minds are out of balance, they form webs of ignorance. Not only do they not believe in doing good deeds, but they will even slander them. These are [negative] karmic forces. So, everyone must be very mindful.

The previous sutra passage continues, “Naturally, World-Honored One…”. Naturally, World-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.

Maitreya Bodhisattva spoke with very determined semantics. [He said], “Naturally, World-Honored One…”. With a sincere heart, he asked the Buddha, “We hope that You will explain this to us in order to dispel our doubts. Venerable Buddha, please tell us and explain it very clearly so that the people of the present will understand it thoroughly and so that future sentient beings with severe karma would not give rise to all sorts of slander. We request the Buddha to earnestly and patiently explain this to everyone”. [They hoped that He would] dispel the doubts of those present as well as people in the future “so that those good men in the future who hear this matter will not give rise to doubts either”. The people of the future will hear the Buddha-Dharma and be able to understand it. They will not, due to not having thorough belief, give up halfway. Since these “good men” meaning those with affinities, have entered the door to the Buddha’s teachings, He must not let their minds give rise to doubt and let them give up half way. This was for future newly-inspired Bodhisattvas. This refers to our present times and the future of the present; there will be such people. So, he requested that the Buddha explain to everyone in order to build everyone’s faith and resolve.

Now, the following sutra passage says, “At that time, Maitreya Bodhisattvas, wishing to restate his meaning, spoke in verse. In the past, from the Sakya clan, the Buddha left home and went near Gaya, where He sat beneath the Bodhi tree. Since then, not much time has passed”.

In this passage, Maitreya Bodhisattva had finished talking, but since what he said was important, he had to repeat it again. He had to repeat it again in verse. So, repeating it in verse means that it is important. This is to further ingrain it in our memory. “In the past, from the Sakya clan, the Buddha…” means the Buddha was from the Sakya clan. “He left the lay life and became a monastic and arrived at a place near Gaya”. He became a monastic and arrived at the city of Gaya. In truth, He visited not only Gaya. That period of time lasted over 10 years, during which He visited many religious teachers. He then finally arrived at the city of Gaya. At a place not far from the city of Gaya, He sat beneath the Bodhi tree and attained perfect enlightenment. The “Sakya clan” we talk about is the “Kastriyas,” who are nobles. “This is the clan of Sakya”. The clan of Sakyamuni Buddha is the Ksatriyas in the caste system. In the caste system, these are the nobles. “Sakya” also means “mighty in benevolence”. The name of the clan represent virtue; it means they have virtue and benevolence. They are the clan of virtue and benevolence. Since ancient times, the Sakya clan had been respected. The prince of this noble clan of Sakya left to engage in spiritual practice. After leaving, he spent five years travelling and six year in ascetic practice. This period lasted 11 years. At the end of his spiritual practice, he sat beneath a tree not far from the city of Gaya and, under the tree, became enlightened. He saw the morning star and attained enlightenment.

[He] sat beneath the Bodhi tree. Since then, not much time has passed: Not far from the city of Gaya, He sat under the Bodhi tree. Since then it had been 40 or so years, yet He was able to accomplish the transformation of Bodhisattvas in numbers which are difficult to count. Thus, by asking about it, Maitreya revealed that it is hard to believe in it.

“Since then” [refers to] the time when He awakened. Starting from then, He started “the Five Periods of teaching the Dharma”. From then on, it had been “40 or so years”. The Buddha taught the Dharma for 49 years. As for the Lotus Sutra, the Buddha had expounded the Dharma for 42 years before He began to expound the Lotus Sutra. So, here we say, “[It had been] 40 or so years, yet He was able to accomplish this “transformation of Bodhisattvas in numbers which are difficult to count”. Since the Bodhisattvas all gathered and so many had emerged from the ground, could this have been accomplished in these 40 or so years? Actually, the Buddha said in the past that He had transformed [them] over a long time. However, in [people’s] memories, they were unable to comprehend what the Buddha had taught in the past, so it was easy to interpret things out of context. So, after the Buddha attained Buddhahood, they turned out [to question] how it was possible that, in these 40 or so years, He had transformed so many people. This gave rise to doubts. For those who were not listening before and had no memories of it, now that they listened to it and saw it, they gave rise to doubts. They only saw the present. Thus, they were attached to the near and confused about the far. We talked this too before. So, [Maitreya] revealed that It was hard to believe in it Maitreya Bodhisattva said, “This is very difficult for everyone to believe”. In such a short time, how was this [transformation] possible? This is what we must mindfully seek to comprehend.

So, in the next passage, [Maitreya] said, “The number of these Buddha-children is immeasurable”. They have long practiced the path to Buddhahood and abide in spiritual powers. They excel in learning the Bodhisattva-path and are undefiled by worldly phenomena. Like lotus flowers in water, they emerged from the ground.

From this passage, we can understand [their doubts]. In such a short time, how was [the Buddha] able to help so many Bodhisattvas succeed? There were so many of these Bodhisattvas, and they were all truly very accomplished. It was hard to believe This was again expressed here. This is a repeated verse passage, which [Maitreya] used to repeat his explanations to everyone. He again repeated what the source of their doubts was. How should we understand the number [of Bodhisattvas]? How did the Buddha transform so many sentient beings?

The number of these Buddha-children is immeasurable: This describes how they were attached to the far and doubted the near. The matter is in accord with the present time, yet the principle is tranced back to kalpas ago They are like lotus flowers in water, which remain fragrant, pure and undefiled.

“The number of these Buddha-children is immeasurable”. This passage explains [how they were] attached to the far and confused about the near. It is explained here “The matter was in accord with the present time”. This “matter” refers to the present. There were so many people at the assembly who all said they were transformed by the Buddha. The fact is, there seemed to be so many people. At this point in time, this was what they had seen. “Yet the principles is traced back to kalpas ago”. The principles can be traced back to long ago. “Kalpa” refers to a long time. Speaking of the principles, we must trace them back to so far away. These principles were accumulated, but when we look at it now, there were so many [people]. People nowadays are shortsighted. Causes from the past must be explained a certain way in order for people to see the present effects. But the Buddha still had to talk about the faraway causes. So, He had to trace back to them. “[They were] attached to the far and doubted the near”. To “doubt the near” means that when they saw so many people who could be transformed in such a short time, they were doubtful. “The Buddha spoke of the time long, long ago”. We hope that the Buddha can be clearer. They kept trying to get to the bottom of things. This is called being “attached to the far”. They wanted to get to the bottom of things before they could believe in the present. Using this method, they hoped for the Buddha to further clarify it. “[The Bodhisattvas] were like lotus flowers in water, which remain fragrant, pure and undefiled”. How did these people remain in the turbid world but not become defiled b the turbidity? These people were able to remain firm in their spiritual aspirations and practice like this. These Bodhisattvas were like lotuses which grow out of the [mud] while remaining undefiled and very pure. How did this come about? “They have long practiced the path to Buddhahood and abide in spiritual powers”.

They have long practiced the path to Buddhahood and abide in spiritual powers: These many Bodhisattvas had long practiced the path to Buddhahood and abided in spiritual powers. They had long diligently cultivated and upheld the practice, abided in the great vows and practices and thoroughly understood all Dharma and spiritual powers.

These Bodhisattvas were already like this. So, everyone hoped that the Buddha could help everyone understand it in more detail. This is because “These many Bodhisattvas had long practiced the path to Buddhahood”. These people had to have been walking on this path from a long time ago. They were those who cleared the path. They had already cleared such a long path. They were those who cleared the path. Moreover, they “abided in spiritual powers”. When it comes to this path, they should have been very familiar with it since they had come [to this world] many times. Those who cleared this path left and came back to continue clearing it. After clearing it, they returned to continue on. They repeatedly returned over what must have been a very long time. They had completely understood the scenery of this path. They were very clear on all Dharma. Therefore, [it says they had] “spiritual powers”. With this Dharma, they repeatedly returned. “They had long diligently cultivated and upheld the practice”. For a long time, they had all been very diligent and concentrated on practicing the Buddha-Dharma. They concentrated on the path to Buddhahood and “actualized the Six Paramitas in all actions”. They concentrated on being diligent. When it came to upholding their great vows, lifetime after lifetime, they cultivated and upheld great vows. In body, speech and mind, for many lifetimes, this was the way they were. With the “Four Practices of Bringing Peace and Joy,” they repeatedly returned, enduring the Saha World of severe turbidity. So, they have been repeatedly returning for a very long time. They “abided in the great vows and practices and thoroughly understood all Dharma and spiritual powers”. Returning repeatedly, they [maintained the same] aspiration. “Abide” refers to how they were firm; they were very firm on this path as they returned repeatedly. So, they were very clear about the landscape of their minds and they “thoroughly understood all Dharma and spiritual powers”. This is what we must mindfully seek to comprehend.

“They excel in learning the Bodhisattva-path and are undefiled by worldly phenomena. Like lotus flowers in water, they emerged from the ground. They are excellent in leaning and studying Bodhisattva-path.” Like this, lifetime after lifetime, they continuously engaged in the practice of the Bodhisattva-path, “daring not become defiled by worldly phenomena. Like lotus flowers in turbid water, they suddenly emerged from the ground”. They were very focused and completely [immersed] themselves in the Buddha-Dharma. They dared not become to be defiled by worldly phenomena. People nowadays, for the sake of worldly fame and profits, try to learn everything, which makes the path hard to attain.

The Sutra of 42 Chapters mentioned this. We must focus on a single path, which means we must earnestly practice with mindfulness. So, we must not dare defile ourselves with worldly phenomena. We must not dare defile ourselves with worldly fame and profits. What level of attainment are we at? We dare not think about it. We should concentrate on listening to the Buddha-Dharma. We should earnestly go among people to practice the Six Paramitas. This is the focus of Bodhisattvas. Indeed, we must have such a mindset. Otherwise, the path will truly be hard to attain. To truly take the Buddha-Dharma, the true Bodhisattva-path as taught by the Buddha, to heart is truly hard to do.

All in all, how should we pave the Bodhisattva-path in this world? We should be focused, practice and “dare not become defiled by worldly phenomena”. Because we dare not become defiled, we focus on [the Dharma]. “Like lotus flowers in turbid water, they suddenly emerged from the ground”. They were just like lotus flowers; from within the turbid waters and mud, they can emerge. A lotus pond is beautified by lotuses. The turbidity of the lotus pond provides the lotus with nutrients so that lotus flowers may bloom. This is what we must know. The principle has always been like this. Truly, we must mindfully seek to comprehend this. If we are not mindful and only say on the surface, “I have listened to and read [the Dharma]. I know a lot,” what we know will not remain in our minds, nor will we apply it in our daily living. Then what is the use of knowing so much? Knowing [the principles] and not applying them, our minds remain filled with ignorance and afflictions. We will remain within the mud. Our minds will continue to be confused and remain among ignorance, delusion and afflictions. In this way, do we not continuously accumulate them into the future? Do they not [add to] the collective karma with sentient beings?

Currently, sentient beings’ collective karma already [creates] a very strong atmosphere of evil and turbidity. In the future, that turbidity and evil will become even greater and stronger. Right now, if we do not earnestly eliminate it so that it does not continue into the future, then we will also be adding more ignorance and collective karma. In future lifetimes, will we be lotus seeds that can bring purity to people’s hearts? Will we be able to give rise to lotus flowers amid turbidities and produce many seeds in this manner? This is the vow that we must make.

Fellow Bodhisattvas, we must truly be mindful with a sincere and loving heart. With natural disasters and manmade calamities, we must earnestly awaken ourselves. It is an era that requires us to be awakened. So, we must mindfully enter the Bodhisattva-path and broaden the Bodhi-path. We must always be mindful!

(Source: Da Ai TV – Wisdom at Dawn program – Explanation by Master Chen-Yen)
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20181218《靜思妙蓮華》久行佛道 住弘誓願 (第1503集) (法華經·從地涌出品第十五)
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