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 20181231《靜思妙蓮華》佛得三身 遍虛空界 (第1512集) (法華經·如來壽量品第十六)

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20181231《靜思妙蓮華》佛得三身 遍虛空界 (第1512集) (法華經·如來壽量品第十六) Empty
發表主題: 20181231《靜思妙蓮華》佛得三身 遍虛空界 (第1512集) (法華經·如來壽量品第十六)   20181231《靜思妙蓮華》佛得三身 遍虛空界 (第1512集) (法華經·如來壽量品第十六) Empty周六 12月 29, 2018 9:36 pm

20181231《靜思妙蓮華》佛得三身 遍虛空界 (第1512集) (法華經·如來壽量品第十六)

⊙宇宙浩瀚,大覺真空,滅苦集諦,得道解脫;本性慧海,無量邊際,解脫法性,遍虛空界。
⊙<如來壽量品>經中文云:我智力如是,久修業所得,慧光照無量,壽命無數劫。
⊙「爾時世尊知諸菩薩三請不止,而告之言:汝等諦聽,如來秘密神通之力。」《法華經如來壽量品第十六》
⊙「一切世間天、人及阿修羅,皆謂:今釋迦牟尼佛,出釋氏宮,去伽郰城不遠,坐於道場,得阿耨多羅三藐三菩提。」《法華經如來壽量品第十六》
⊙述說出執近之情。佛於三世等有三身,於諸數中,祕之不傳,故一切天人修羅,皆謂今佛始於道樹,得此三身,故執近以疑遠。
⊙今釋迦牟尼佛,出釋氏宮:靈嶽釋迦說法華者。出釋迦氏淨飯王宮。
⊙去伽耶城不遠,坐於道場,得阿耨多羅三藐三菩提:去處時節,坐道樹下,示成正覺,名坐道場。
⊙就三身合言之,統為一佛,更無別相,以三身即一身故。若別言之,則可分為應身、真身二種。
⊙為二乘、凡夫應現之三類化身,皆為應身;至佛之法身及報身:即自受用身,皆為真身。
⊙又受用身中之他受用身,亦為應身。然若為新發意菩薩及二乘人言,則為他受用身,亦謂真身。被機雖各不同,其說互有所當。

【證嚴上人開示】
宇宙浩瀚,大覺真空,滅苦集諦,得道解脫;本性慧海,無量邊際,解脫法性,遍虛空界。

宇宙浩瀚
大覺真空
滅苦集諦
得道解脫
本性慧海
無量邊際
解脫法性
遍虛空界

要用心!「宇宙浩瀚,大覺真空」,我們有感覺嗎?宇宙浩瀚無窮際,我們最近一直在說,「遍虛空法界」;佛陀壽量無限制,佛陀來回人間無量數劫,遍虛空、盡法界。這前面也說過了三身──法身、報身、應身,無處不在!我們就能夠體會到宇宙浩瀚,這麼的開闊,無法有邊際可測量。佛的智慧也是同樣,「大覺真空」!常常說,善有為法回歸到無為法,這大家都一定要一直回憶;聽過的法回憶,記憶要在,而且法應用在日常生活中。雖然聽起來「空」,但是一直告訴大家的「妙有」;「妙有」,我們要「好」自為之,要善有為,把握我們的壽命時間。我們是凡夫,這幾天一直告訴大家,「是日已過,命亦隨減」,過一天是我們減一天的生命,但是我們將法聽入,用在日常生活中,那就是長慧命。常常說過,「不經一事,不長一智」,你若沒有經過一件事情,你哪有辦法體驗一個法呢?

法,法性,不是只有聽,我們要真正有體會;而體會就是要理與事有去會合。就像科學者,他們也要去做研究,研究到很多的東西合成了,才說這就是物理的真實。不論生理、物理,是要很用心去體驗,真正體會到其中的道理,那才是真正是我們所得的。要不然,一切的理很空泛,道理本來是無體、無相,但是每一樣東西,都有它的道理存在。「空」的道理,合起來就是「有」的真相。一粒種子,你需要土;入土,需要空氣、熱度、需要水分等等,這些因緣會合起來,那粒種子就變作樹苗;樹苗需要時間,就長成為樹,大樹了,就成為合抱之樹。千年大樹就是從那粒種子,一粒種子基因與因緣會合,合成起來,才有這棵大樹,讓我們體會到,我們展開雙手來抱這棵樹。其實,追究這棵樹的源頭,那就是那粒種子的基因,這法的源頭在那裡。其實是不是,那粒有形的種子就是呢?是種子裡面的「理」。

同樣,我們學佛,如何能夠成佛為大覺,體會真空道理?佛陀的覺悟,盡虛空、遍法界,這也就要用很長久時間,累生世入人群,無私的大愛付出、付出,見證了「苦、集、滅、道」,所以佛陀覺悟了。這幾天都一直覆講這些事情,六年的苦修,最後菩提樹下靜坐的時候,他夜睹明星,瞬間覺悟,那個瞬間與天體合而為一。因為這樣,與時間、與空間,天地之間忽然間合成為一,這個感覺,「靜寂清澄,志玄虛漠」。常常有這樣說,大家也常常這樣聽,應該能夠清楚,很熟了。是不是有體會到呢?這就是我們要從佛陀所說過,「跡門」,我們前十四品,所說的「跡門」,佛陀歷盡了塵點劫以來,他來回人間,進出人群眾生,所以他去體驗、歷練過了。因為這樣,所以到了最後現相,示相出生、示相出家、示相苦行,也示相覺悟。覺悟的瞬間,那個感覺,那念間很期待能夠和人人分享。

眾生畢竟是凡夫,我們所累積的是煩惱無明,佛陀累積的是體驗。所以,體驗的人成功了、覺悟了,而我們呢?迷茫,由不得自己,隨著人間的煩惱無明在轉動;愛恨情仇、愛別離等等的苦難,隨著愛欲,所以我們苦不堪。佛陀的覺悟,塵點劫累積來瞬間的覺悟,這個心境要和我們分享──心、佛、眾生「皆無差別」,我們凡夫就是「皆有差別」,但是佛要告訴我們,「皆無差別」。這個無差別要回溯在那個本源。你手抱著這棵樹,要告訴你這棵樹,(因)就是這粒種子,你忽然間,「這棵樹是這粒種子嗎?」無法去相信,就要經過了詳細解釋,但是沒有實在的東西,他如何來相信?只是像這麼大群的菩薩,彌勒菩薩不斷騰疑,不要相信,做了一個譬喻,二十五歲的年輕人指著說:「這群百年的人,這些人都是我的孩子。」這什麼人會相信呢!和道理相差很多。所以,彌勒菩薩用這樣譬喻,來表達他們無法相信的道理,還是要佛陀解釋。

「佛陀您說這麼多的眾生,是佛您度的,這種,大家的感覺,佛陀您才成佛,過去修行的十一年,一直到覺悟之後,說法才四十多年。這樣的時間,能夠度這麼多人,我們怎麼有辦法相信呢?」這種的對答,我們應該要很用心,用不能相信的人的心理,我們要去探討。道理到底如何解釋,能夠解釋得讓他們肯相信?不只相信,還要讓他們有體會。這就是要用時間讓他們了解,這實在是很不容易。但是這段時間,彌勒菩薩也這樣說:「其實我們都相信佛,佛的人格、佛所說的話,句句是真、句句是實,只是忽然間這麼多菩薩來,這些菩薩的成就讓人不可思議。這些菩薩的數量、成就,都歸納是佛開始化度過來的人,這就無法接受,要不然大家絕對相信佛的講法。」

所以,佛陀就這樣三次、四次的警惕:「你們一定要相信,佛是真語、實語、不妄語、不誑語者,所說都是真實法。」這樣一而再、再而三,第四次還是這樣的叮嚀:「你真的要我說,我說給你們聽,你們一定要相信。」 可見〈壽量品〉是要經過考驗,要有實證來給大家看,要不然〈壽量品〉,「量」和「壽」這也很抽象,這是時間;時間就是這樣分秒一直過,你累積變成長時間。我們人的壽命只是在數字,數字說很大,很大也是同樣在經文之中,恆河沙不斷累積,不是我們算師或算師弟子,可以算出它的數量,這是不是也很抽象啊?這「量」無法去比量。

就像宇宙浩瀚無邊際,要如何去測大宇宙的空間,到底是多大?很難。就像要測量佛「大覺真空」,佛陀的本性慧海也是無邊際,他有這樣的大覺,要讓我們眾生知道:「你也有!佛陀有,你也有!」看看,世間有多少的智慧者,他們知道的有多少呢?很多!他們是專門,世間,他們是很專門,所以研究,博士、教授能夠來教育人。他們所知道的,也只他們的專業,佛陀是所有天地間,萬物道理無不清楚。要為我們解「時」,解釋時間的「量」,要為我們解釋壽命的「量」,這不是很簡單。這個「量」是要拿來,讓我們作用在日常生活中,所以佛陀來教菩薩法,不是只有空講,我們空聽,不是,是真實;真實人間就是「苦」、「集」,這個「苦」和「集」的道理。而我們已經,經過佛陀為我們分析:人生苦啊!苦都看得到,也有感受到了。

就像獅子山苦啊!在那個地方的境界裡,看到人人的生活、看到人人身態、看到他們的環境,這不是在我們的環境中、我們的生態中能夠去體會;他們全部是這樣的環境裡,在生活,我們無法去想像。為什麼那裡那麼苦呢?其實在獅子山,它有產鑽石,就是在那個地方發現到有鑽石,就惹起了人心的貪著;人心的貪著,那就惹起了人的爭端。十一年的內戰,戰得人損失是很多,人的損失是一、二十萬人。那段十一年的時間,時代也不是很久,發生的時代,是從一九九一年發生。這樣連續十一年了,獅子山的人禍內戰,才會造成到這麼的貧困。

又再接下來,連續的天災,因為那個山礦的裡面有寶石,過度開採。大地已經受到很大的損傷。這幾年來不斷不斷天災,風、水,這種山,一些人住的房子,經不起大雨,山崩,埋很多人。這次(二0一七年),就是在八月下旬,那場的大雨,再次山崩了,也埋了千多人了,一直在找,找得到的,都往生了。一個孩子,四歲,現在成孤兒,他一家九口都埋掉了,剩這個孩子是孤兒,是慈善機構在收養。一個年輕人,是一家十一口都被埋掉了,這個年輕人埋了第三天,才被人救出來,現在單獨一個人。我們美國,我們慈濟人在獅子山,也有一位謝居士(謝公達),他是心理輔導師,他也到那個地方去,對這些受重創的人,去做心理輔導。說起了幼小孩子的無辜,說起了年輕人的苦難,心無法安定下來。類似這個人,類似這個孩子,比比皆是!苦啊!

因為那個地方含藏著寶石,引起了這麼多人去爭取、去過度開發、去引起內戰,惹成了這麼多的人禍,造成天災,受了這麼多、這麼多的苦難。想,這叫做人生,就是苦、集、滅、道,無明煩惱會引盛起來,這樣引起這麼大的禍端災害。佛陀教我們,要如何「滅苦集諦」,滅苦的道理;「滅」與「道」,「諦」就是道,我們要如何滅掉這個「苦」,滅掉這個「集」的源頭?「集」就是爭取,鑽石本來就在那裡面,人去發現;不要去爭,讓它安然在大自然裡面,何必這樣爭呢?爭到人禍大作,爭得了,山河大地破壞,不堪這大雨一沖。看看,大雨一來,山崩、人埋,這就是「集」來的「苦」。

因為這樣,佛陀要說很多道理,讓我們能夠「得道解脫」。心理醫生在那個地方輔導,到底成效好或不好?這位謝居士他也說:「最好的辦法──引導他去做志工。不要讓他閒閒在那裡胡思亂想。」就是要輔導他去做志工。同樣的道理,我們人間充滿了無明煩惱,還是人人要打開心門,走入人群去付出,「不要計較,付出無所求,感恩哦」。這種的菩薩道,這回歸到「本性慧海」,佛陀的覺海來。「無量邊際」,我們的心包太虛,無量邊際,佛陀包得到,我們也包得到,這是人人都有可能。只是我們人人,重重無明煩惱將我們包住了,人我得失的計較,若是這些煩惱去除了,不就是「本性慧海,無量無邊際」嗎?是啊,這有困難嗎?成佛不困難,解法也不困難,所以「解脫法性,遍虛空界」。我們煩惱若去除了,我們真如本性就是脫體而出,與佛陀所說的覺性會合,天地宇宙真理就會合起來,這叫做「覺性」,所以我們要很用心。

<如來壽量品>
經中文云
我智力如是
久修業所得
慧光照無量
壽命無數劫

經文之中,就有這樣一段文說,佛陀這樣說:「我智力如是,久修業所得,慧光照無量,壽命無數劫。」我們就能夠去體會到,「壽命無數劫」,這就是智慧。我們要智慧,我們的真如本性啟發出來,智慧如燈光照耀出來,所以能夠看到千年的暗室,一光,一炬可照,讓它能夠明亮起來。這就是佛陀這樣說,他的智慧力如是,就是覺性慧海,因為他已經全都體會、了解了。這是要經過了歷久,塵點劫這樣「久修業所得」。

有所作為的人間志業,這叫做「久修業所得」。要長久,不只今生此世,「善有為法」要不斷不斷,來來回回入人群中。這個「跡門」,不斷來來回回、進進出出,我們必定要有這樣,這道門進出方便,這樣來回累積。「不經一事,不長一智」,不斷不斷累積,智慧光耀就照無量,「壽命無數劫」。這種法身、報身、應身,這幾天,過去所在說的「三身」,應人間所需要來付出,這時間能夠很長、很久,所以大家要很用心。

前面的文這樣說:「爾時世尊知諸菩薩三請不止,而告之言:汝等諦聽,如來秘密神通之力。」

爾時
世尊知諸菩薩
三請不止
而告之言
汝等諦聽
如來秘密神通之力
《法華經如來壽量品第十六》

我們現在要入〈壽量品〉了,所以我們要很了解,佛性是這樣,這麼的開闊。這麼開闊,它裡面很奧妙,所以佛陀就三次,不只三次!是四次。因為菩薩三請,佛陀三次向大家叮嚀、教誡:「你們要聽法,你們一定要信,信受佛語是誠諦,真正的誠,你們要諦聽,要仔細聽、要很認真聽,沒有疑的心。」這樣不斷叮嚀,這是前面這樣說過了。不只是三次,最後彌勒菩薩還是向佛陀說:「我們一定相信。」大家調整他們的態度,表達那個恭敬、相信的態度。所以第四次,彌勒菩薩等還是說:「唯願說之,我等絕對恭敬、相信佛所說的話。」這是第四次。

佛陀後面,就是這段文,也是佛陀「而告之言:汝等諦聽」。再次、再叮嚀:「要很審慎,很謹慎,要很用心,好好聽。」現在又是說,「祕密神通」。我們解釋過了,「祕密」。其實唯有佛體會得到,就像我們前面說,這個佛性慧海,這個覺性慧海,是佛陀塵點劫的付出,人群中所體驗過來;體驗過來,唯有佛,他能夠清楚,是我這樣這樣體驗過來。我現在要告訴你們,沒有保留要告訴你們;是我體驗,你們還未體驗,所以你們一定要相信。因為體驗過,你們還不知道,叫做「祕密」,唯有我能夠體驗。諸佛體驗過了,到這樣的境界的人體驗過,這是諸佛祕密之藏,是諸佛體會得到,一般的人還體會不到,所以你們現在要聽要很用心,大家要有很無疑的心。」

接下來,這段文又再說:「一切世間天、人及阿修羅,皆謂:今釋迦牟尼佛,出釋氏宮,去伽郰城不遠,坐於道場,得阿耨多羅三藐三菩提。」

一切世間
天 人及阿修羅
皆謂
今釋迦牟尼佛
出釋氏宮
去伽郰城不遠
坐於道場
得阿耨多羅
三藐三菩提

這段經文,佛陀再重述:「你們現在那個疑,只是光看『近』,『執近』,你們是『迷遠』。」我們「執近迷遠」,過去幾天也有解說過,所以執在近、迷在遠。現在就是要告訴我們,我們應該要「出執」。

述說出執近之情
佛於三世等有三身
於諸數中
祕之不傳
故一切天人修羅
皆謂今佛始於道樹
得此三身
故執近以疑遠

我們一定要脫離這個執,因為我們「執近迷遠」,只是執在這個「近」,就是這一輩子,佛陀就是這樣的修行,苦修的時間十一年,前後,但是說法也才四十多年而已。大家都只是執在這個「年」,這輩子的「年」,佛陀的今生此世,這個時間。

其實,「佛於三世等有三身」。「三世」,三世要說的就是過去的無量世,還有現在這一世,還有未來無量世。所以,大家只是執在,現在這世,這一世,沒有考慮、沒有聽,過去佛陀所說的塵點劫,那過去無量世,已經很長了,何況這一世的以後,還有無量世。所以不要只執在,單獨這一輩子,這幾十年的時間,應該要有過去、現在、未來;有過去、現在、未來,那就是「三世有三身」。同樣每一世都是,法身、報身、應身;法身是永恆,永恆,過去、現在、未來,古今不生不滅,這叫做真理;而報身呢?就是這樣的修行,大家看得到,成佛的經歷、過去,就是這一輩子報身受用;應身,就是應那個道理,利用這個身體,來發揮教育的精神理念。這「三身」,過去是要用這樣,現在也要用這樣,未來也要用這樣,「三身」。

所以,「於諸數中,祕之不傳」。在這個過程中,單獨任何一個人、任何一個感受,都是自己而已;你不是我,我不是你,我告訴你:很歡喜,很歡喜,歡喜長得什麼樣?你感受不到。是啊,我們都彼此無法了解。說出來的感覺,我們豈有辦法體驗到呢?所以這要說如何傳?要說真正聽法、受法的人,自己是不是願意去體驗到呢?你們體驗到,你們自己就有所得了。所以,「於諸數中,秘之不傳」,無法傳,總是就是說給你們聽,你們自己要去身體力行、體會。

「故一切天人修羅」,不論是天界也好、人間也好,或者是修羅也好,「皆謂今佛始於道樹,得此三身」。大家都以為,佛陀若說三身,就是這輩子成的,都是執在這輩子。這就是佛的道理,已經前面說那麼多了,沒有傳到、沒有感受到,所以不傳,佛說那麼多,也沒有感受到,天與人與修羅還是懷疑著。這種都是說,佛在這輩子出皇宮修行,一直到了伽耶城,菩提場坐下來,夜睹明星,成佛了,這樣得到三身──法身、報身、應身。其實不是這樣,但是大家都以為是這樣,將它執,執在這幾十年的裡面。所以,所疑的,要說過去的過去,大家都有懷疑,「真有這樣的過去嗎?」看不到啊,因為凡夫無法了解過去。就像我們在說,我們的祖先的祖先的祖先,我們沒有看到,我們的祖先的祖先,難道我們沒有祖先的祖先嗎?一定有的,卻執在,只是在現在,這就是,不信就會起懷疑。

所以,「一切世間天人,及阿修羅,皆謂」。 這個世間,「世」就是時間的意思,「間」就是空間界線,所以「世間」,是包括了時間、空間,一個大範圍,叫做「世間」。所以「一切世間」,含括了,包括天與人、阿修羅。這些眾生都以為,佛陀的時間就是這樣,幾十年的時間。所以,「今釋迦牟尼佛,出釋氏宮」。

今釋迦牟尼佛
出釋氏宮:
靈嶽釋迦說法華者
出釋迦氏淨飯王宮

大家都認為這段時間,佛陀他出釋氏宮,一直到說法的道場,「靈嶽釋迦說法華者」,靈嶽,也就是道場,靈鷲山。釋迦佛講《法華經》的道場,從成佛的菩提樹,一直到講《法華經》的道場,這就是只繞在這個地方。以及釋迦佛的父親叫做淨飯王。他出生的地方就是在王宮,大家都執在這樣。所以現代的印度,有很多古跡,皇宮的古蹟、佛出生的藍毘尼園等等,古跡都在。這是證明人間,在這個世間上,有這樣的人出現過,時間經過二千多年了。所以,大家都以為,「出釋氏宮,去伽耶城不遠,坐於道場,得阿耨多羅三藐三菩提」。

去伽耶城不遠
坐於道場
得阿耨多羅
三藐三菩提:
去處時節
坐道樹下
示成正覺
名坐道場

這些我們都清楚了,前面也說過了,我們清楚,這就是離開了皇宮到伽耶城,那個林中,在那個地方,菩提樹下夜睹明星,這我們過去有說過了。所以,「去處時節」,說這個地方,伽耶城沒有多遠的道場裡,得阿耨多羅三藐三菩提,在那個地方開悟了。所以那個「去處」,從皇宮一直到成佛的地點,一直到他講說《法華經》。所以,「示成正覺」,名叫做「坐道場」,開始到處坐道場說法了。

就三身合言之
統為一佛
更無別相
以三身即一身故
若別言之
則可分為
應身、真身二種

「就三身合言之」,他法身、報身、應身,其實「統為一佛」,這我們也前面有解釋過。「更無別相」,就是這樣,佛法歸納回來,是一個道理,「以三身即一身故」。所以,「若別言之,則可分為應身、真身二種」。

應身就是「為二乘、凡夫,應現之三類化身」。這就是佛陀,他為二乘和凡夫,所應現人間,應我們的根機在人間,所以有在王宮,出王宮等等等等,應化世間,有留下來世間的古蹟。這是應眾生的根機來人間,這種「應現之三類化身」,應眾生需要,所以在這個地方講法,歸於法,法身,「皆為應身」,應世間的根機,而來人間現身說法。

為二乘、凡夫
應現之三類化身
皆為應身
至佛之法身及報身
即自受用身
皆為真身

所以,「至佛之法身及報身」,就是「自受用身」。佛陀這法身,是要自己去感受,真的要自己覺得,法是自己得到的,就是只能夠分享給大家聽,這佛所得那個覺悟的境界,大家就是無法去感受到;唯有去體悟了才有辦法。所以,這全都是,你說再多法,法都沒有減少,因為還是自己受用。我自己說很多法,我自己不只沒有減少,我還要很感恩,因為講法,而我自己受用。大家是不是有感受有呢?有增長嗎?那就是你們自己的感受了。所以,我自己的感受是自受用;你們聽,你們有自感受嗎?這是各人的感受,所以是「自受用身,皆為真身」,「真身」就是法身。又再說「受用身中,之他受用身,亦為應身。

又受用身中
之他受用身
亦為應身
然若為新發意菩薩
及二乘人言
則為他受用身
亦謂真身
被機雖各不同
其說互有所當

我說給大家聽,大家若有感受,他也能夠去受用。同樣的一句話,我說給大家聽,大家的感受不同,能夠不同的感受,去應用不同的方法,有心得,各人感受去,這也就是「他受用身」,也是「應身」,應他自己的根機,去造作他自己的受用。「然若為新發意菩薩,及二乘人言,則為他受用身,亦謂真身」。「真身」就是法,就是說給你聽之後,你自己的感受,與這個法來會合起來,自心靈的感受若和法會合,這就是真身。「被機雖各不同」,各人的根機雖然不同,「其說互有所當」,大家所說的都差不多。

各位,我們若將法歸納起來,法就是真理;真理的法,大家對準真理來開道,條條道路就到佛的境地。這是要看大家的受用,將法聽進來,我們要將這個法,如何落實在我們的生活;在我們自己受用,人與人之間,要如何去發揮與人互相享受,那種的法的感受,這就要看大家自己的用心。確實,「宇宙浩瀚,大覺真空,滅苦集諦」,要「得道解脫」,這樣的境界,就只是在自己那個本性慧海,無量無邊,所感受得到的,別人無法傳給你們,所以要時時多用心!


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Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: The Buddha’s Three Bodies Pervade the Universe (佛得三身 遍虛空界)
Date: December.31.2018

“The universe is vast like [the Buddha’s] great enlightenment to true emptiness. With the truth of the cessation of suffering’s causation, we can attain the Path to liberation. The ocean of wisdom of His intrinsic nature is infinite and boundless. The Dharma-nature of liberation pervades the universe.”

We must be mindful. “The universe is vast like [the Buddha’s] great enlightenment to true emptiness.” Can we feel it? The universe is vast and boundless. Recently we have continually talked about “pervading the universe”. The Buddha’s lifespan is unlimited. The Buddha has repeatedly returned to this world for infinite kalpas, pervading the universe and all Dharma-realms. Previously, we talked about the three bodies, the Dharmakaya (Dharma-body), Sambhogakaya (reward-body) and the Nirmanakaya (transformation-body). They exist everywhere. We can comprehend the universe’s vastness. It is so expansive. We are unable to measure its boundaries. It is the same with the Buddha’s wisdom, “[His] great enlightenment to true emptiness.” We often talk about how conditioned good deeds bring us back to unconditioned Dharma. All of us must continuously recall this. Regarding the Dharma we have heard, we must keep the memory there and apply this Dharma in our everyday lives. Although it talks about “emptiness,” I have continuously been telling everyone about “wondrous existence”. “Wondrous existence” means we must have this “goodness” ourselves. We must do conditioned good deeds and seize the time within our lifespan. We are ordinary people. These few days I have continually told everyone, “With each passing day, we draw closer to death.” Each day that passes shortens our lives. However, if we hear the Dharma and take it to heart, using it in our everyday lives, then we will grow in our wisdom-life. I often say, “Without experience we cannot grow in wisdom.” If we do not experience something, how are we able to experience the Dharma? This Dharma, our Dharma-nature, is not something we just listen to. We must truly comprehend it; this comprehension comes from connecting principles with matters. It is like scientists. They must also do research. They research how many things come together, then they say, this is the reality of physics. Whether it is physiology or physics, we must be very mindful to research them so we can truly comprehend the principles within. Only then will we truly have attainments. Otherwise, all principles will be very vague.

The principles are inherently without form and appearance, but each and everything contains principles within. When principles of “emptiness” converge, we get the truth of “existence”. A seed needs to have soil [to grow]. After it enters the soil, it needs air, warmth, water and so on. When these causes and conditions converge, that seed will become a sapling. With time, that sapling will grow into a tree, a big tree; it will become a thick-trunked tree. Even a 1000-year-old tree began with a seed. When the genes in the seed converged with causes and conditions, they came together to form this big tree, which we can experience when we wrap our arms around it.

In fact, tracing the origin of that tree, it comes from the genes of that seed. This is where the source of this Dharma lies. In truth, is [the source] really that tangible seed? [The source] is the principle within the seed. In the same way, in learning the Buddha-Dharma, how can we attain Buddhahood, gain great awakening and comprehend the principles of true emptiness? The Buddha’s enlightenment encompasses the universe and pervades all Dharma-realms. This also took a very long time, going among people throughout many lifetimes, giving selfless great love to serve. He bore witness to “suffering, causation, cessation and the Path.” Thus, the Buddha attained enlightenment. We have been repeatedly discussing this these days. After six years of ascetic practice, finally, when He meditated beneath the Bodhi tree, He saw the bright star in the night and instantly attained enlightenment. In that instant, He became one with the universe. Because of this, He suddenly became one with time, space and all things in the universe. It was this feeling of having a “mind tranquil and clear and vows as vast at the universe.” We often talk about this. All of us have heard this very often. We should all be able to clearly understand and be very familiar with this.

Have we all comprehended it? This is what the Buddha spoke of in “the teaching of the manifest”. The previous 14 [sutra] chapters gave the teaching of “the manifest” on how the Buddha spent countless kalpas to repeatedly return to this world, going among sentient beings. So, through this experience, He was tempered. Because of this, He finally manifested the appearance of being born, becoming a monastic, engaging in ascetic practice and attaining enlightenment. That feeling in the instant. He attained enlightenment was what He wanted to share with everyone. Sentient beings are, after all, ordinary people. We have accumulated afflictions and ignorance, while the Buddha accumulated experience. So, as an experienced person, He succeeded and attained enlightenment. And what about us? We are lost and confused and, without control, follow our afflictions and ignorance in this world, moving in circles. We suffer from love, hate, passion, animosity, from parting with those we love and so on. We follow our desires, which bring us unbearable suffering.

The Buddha’s enlightenment, an awakening accumulated over dust-inked kalpas and attained in an instant, was a state of mind He wanted to share with us; the mind, the Buddha and sentient begins “are no different [in their nature]”. We ordinary people “are all different”. However, the Buddha wanted to tell us that. “There is no difference.” This idea can be traced back to this origin. As we wrap our arms around this tree, [He] wanted to tell us that its cause is this seed. Suddenly we [think], “This tree [came from] a seed?” We are unable to believe it. So, we need a thorough explanation. However, without anything tangible, how is it to be believed? It is like that big group of Bodhisattvas. Maitreya Bodhisattva continued to raise doubts. He could not believe it. He made an analogy of a 25-year-old person pointing to a group of 100-year-old men and saying. “These men are my children.” Who would believe that? It is so far removed from the principles. So, Maitreya Bodhisattva used this analogy to express the principles they were unable to believe and asked the Buddha to explain. “Venerable Buddha, You said that all these many sentient beings have been transformed by You.” Everyone’s feeling was that. “The Buddha has just attained Buddhahood. You engaged in practice for 11 years before attaining enlightenment; afterwards, You have only taught the Dharma for less than 50 years. How are we to believe that You have transformed so many people in this time?” We should be very mindful to heed this dialogue, taking the thoughts of those unable to believe and contemplate them, how should the principles be explained so that everyone can believe them? Not only must they have faith, we also help them comprehend it. This takes time for them to understand. It really is not an easy thing.

But, during that time, Maitreya Bodhisattva also said, “We do, in fact, believe the Buddha. The Buddha’s character and His words are all true and real. It is just that so many Bodhisattvas have suddenly appeared. The achievements of these Bodhisattvas are inconceivable. The numbers and achievements of these Bodhisattvas [are so great] that to say they were all transformed by the Buddha is something we are unable to accept. Other than that, we all absolutely believe in the Dharma the Buddha has taught us. So, the Buddha admonished them three times, four times. “You must believe that the Buddha tells the truth and does not speak falsehoods. What I am teaching is the True Dharma.” This is what He said over and over. The four time, He still reminded them like this, “If you really want me to teach, I will teach you. But you must have faith in it.” We can see that.

In the Chapter on [the Tathagata’s] Lifespan, He needed to be challenged as a verification for others to see. As it is, in the Chapter on the Tathagata’s Lifespan, the measure of “lifespan” is very abstract in terms of time. Time continues to pass, second by second. [Seconds] accumulate into long periods of time. Our lifespan is nothing more than a number. If we want to talk about large numbers, very large numbers can be found in the sutras. [Numbers as great as] the Ganges River’s sands continuously accumulate. Neither a mathematician nor his apprentices could calculate these amounts. Isn’t this also very abstract? The “amount” is impossible to compare or measure. It is like the vast and boundless universe. How can we measure the space in the universe and how big it is? That is very difficult. It is like gauging the Buddha’s “great enlightenment to true emptiness”. The Buddha’s intrinsic nature and ocean of wisdom are also boundless. He has such great enlightenment, and He wants us sentient beings to know, “The Buddha has it, and you have it too.”

Look how many wise people are in this world. How much do they know? They know a lot. They are specialists. In the world, they are very specialized. So, through their research, these PhD’s and professors can teach others, but what they know is only their own area of expertise. In contrast, the Buddha clearly understands all principles in the universe. To help us understand “the length of time,” He needed to explain the length of His “lifespan”. To explain to us the “span” of His lifespan is not an easy thing to do. [These concepts] are meant for us to apply in our everyday lives.

So, the Buddha came to teach the Bodhisattva Way; He did not just give theoretical teachings for us to just listen to. No, what He taught us was real. The reality of the world is “suffering” and “causation”, these principles of “suffering” and “causation”. Through the Buddha’s explanation to us, [we understand that] life is suffering. We can see the suffering, and we have experienced it too.

Take for example the suffering in Sierra Leone. From the situation in that place, we see the life of everyone there, their physical conditions and their environment. This is not something that we can comprehend with our environment and way of living. They all live in a kind of environment that is unimaginable to us. Why is there such suffering there? In fact, Sierra Leone produces diamonds. Diamonds have been discovered there. This brought about greed and attachment in people. The greed in people’s minds led to conflict among people. The civil war there lasted for 11 years. The war cost many lives; 100,000 to 200,000 people lost their lives. Those 11 years of war occurred not long ago. The war began in 1991, and it continued for 11 years. The manmade calamity of Sierra Leone’s civil war has created such poverty. Following this, there were subsequent natural disasters. Since there are diamonds in the mountain ores, excessive mining has caused severe devastation to the land. In the past few years, there have been continuous natural disasters of wind and rain. These mountains where people were living could not bear the heavy rain. There were landslides burying many people. This time, during the end of August (of 2017), there was more heavy rain that caused another landslide on the mountain that buried over 1000 people. They continuously searched, but all they found were dead bodies. There was a four-year-old child who is now an orphan. His family of nine were all buried [in the landslide]. Only this child was left, orphaned. A charity organization is taking care of him. There was also a young man whose family of 11 were buried. This young man was buried for three days before being rescued. Now he is all alone. Our Tzu Chi volunteers from USA were in Sierra Leone. Among them was a Mr. Xie. He is a psychotherapist who also went to that place to give counseling to those who were severely traumatized. When speaking about this innocent young child and the suffering of that young man, he was very upset. [Tragedies] like this young man and this child are very numerous. This is suffering! Due to the diamonds found in that place, many people were led to fight over them. It led to excessive mining and civil war. This has brought about so many manmade calamities and natural disasters. There has been so much suffering from this. Think about it; this is how in life there are the principles of suffering, causation, cessation and the Path. Ignorance and afflictions lead to one another, and they bring about great disaster and damages. The Buddha teaches us how to use “the truth of the cessation of suffering’s causation”. This is the principle for ceasing suffering, for “cessation” and “the Path”. “The [Noble] Truths” refer to true principles. How do we eliminate this “suffering” by destroying the source of its “causation”? The “causation” [in Sierra Leone] is strife. The diamonds are there in the ground. When people discover them, they should not fight over them. They should leave them at peace in nature. Why must they fight over them? When the fight for them, it results in manmade calamities and destruction of nature, of mountains and rivers. [The mountains] now cannot withstand heavy rains. See how heavy rains lead to landslides that buried so many people. This is “suffering” due to “causation”. This is why the Buddha had to teach so many principles to help us “attain liberation”. Did the psychotherapist’s counseling there have any effectiveness in the end? To this, Mr. Xie said that the best way was to lead them to volunteer, so they are not idling with discursive thoughts. So, he counseled them to do volunteer work. It is the same principle. Our world is full of ignorance and afflictions. We must open the door to our hearts and go among people to serve. We must not take issue with things but give without expectation and with gratitude. This is the Bodhisattva-path. It is returning to the “intrinsic ocean of wisdom”, the Buddha’s ocean of enlightenment. It is “Infinite and boundless”; our minds encompass the universe and are without bounds. The Buddha’s [mind] encompasses it. This is a potential that we all have. It is just that all of us have layers of ignorance and afflictions covering us. We take issue over gains and losses with people. If we can eliminate these afflictions, isn’t this the “intrinsic ocean of wisdom” that is infinite and boundless?

Indeed! Is this difficult to attain? It is not difficult to attain Buddhahood or to understand the Dharma. So, “The Dharma-nature of liberation pervades the universe”. If we eliminate afflictions, our nature of True Suchness will emerge from its shell and converge with the awakened nature that the Buddha talked about. We will converge with the true principles of the universe. This is our “awakened nature”, so we must exercise great mindfulness.

In the sutra, there is a passage. The Buddha said, “This is the power of my wisdom, the light of my wisdom illuminates infinitely. My lifespan extends over countless kalpas. It was only attained through long practice”.

If we are able to comprehend a “lifespan of countless kalpas”, this is wisdom. We must have wisdom. When our nature of True Suchness comes forth, our wisdom will shine like lamplight. This is like a room that has been dark for thousands of years; a single light, a single torch, can illuminate it and make it become bright. The Buddha described His power of wisdom as such. It is an ocean of enlightened wisdom, because He has already completely. He had to go through a long time [to go there]. It “was attained through long practice”. Conditioned actions relating to His mission in the world “were attained through long practice”. It took a long time, not only this lifetime. “The conditioned good deeds must be continuously performed as He repeatedly returned to go among people. In this “door of the manifest,” [the Buddha] repeatedly returned to this world [and went among people]. We must also do the same. It is convenient to go through this door. Thus, we repeatedly return, accumulating [experience]. “Without experience we cannot grow in wisdom”. We continue to accumulate [wisdom], [until] the light of wisdom illuminates infinitely. “My lifespan extends over countless kalpas”. With the Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakaya, the “three bodies” we have been discussing in the last few days, He comes to the world to give what is needed. This will take a very long time. So, everyone must be very mindful.

The precious sutra passage says, “At that time, the World-Honored One knew that those Bodhisattvas would not stop after three requests, so He told them, ‘All of you must listen carefully to the Tathagata’s mysterious and secret spiritual powers’”.

Now, we begin the Chapter on [the Tathagata’s] Lifespan, so we really need to understand how open and spacious the Buddha-nature is. It is very broad and contains profound wondrous. So, the Buddha [admonished them] three times; not just three times but four times. The Bodhisattvas asked Him three times and three times, the Buddha reminded and admonished everyone, “You must listen to the Dharma. You must believe. Believe and accept that the Buddha’s words are the true principles. You must really be sincere and listen to the principles. Listen carefully and earnestly, without doubt in your minds. He kept reminding them like this. This is what we talked about previously. It was not just three times.

Finally, Maitreya Bodhisattvas still tole the Buddha “We definitely believe you”. Everyone adjusted their attitude and expressed a mindset of reverence and faith. So, after the fourth time, Maitreya Bodhisattvas and the others still said, “We only hope that You will teach this. We absolutely respect and believe the words taught by the Buddha”. this was the fourth time.

Later, there is this passage spoken by the Buddha. The Buddha also told them, “All of you must listen carefully”. This was another reminder to them “you must be very sincere and earnest. You must be very mindful and listen well”.

Moreover, the sutra speaks of “mysterious spiritual powers”. We have already explained what “mysterious” means. In fact, only the Buddha comprehended this. It is as we said previously; this is the Buddha’s intrinsic ocean of wisdom. this ocean of enlightened wisdom was realized by the Buddha through dust-inked kalpas of coming to serve among people. After experiencing this, only the Buddha clearly understands this. “This is how I realized these things one by one. Now, I will tell you about it without any reservations. I have comprehended it, while you have not yet. So, you must have faith in it. Because I have experienced it while you do not know it yet, it is called ‘mysterious and secret’. Only I and able to comprehend them. All Buddhas have experienced this. Those who have attained this state have comprehended it. This is the mystery hidden within all Buddhas. All Buddhas have comprehended this, but the average person cannot yet comprehend it. So, you must now listen very mindfully”. Without any doubts in your minds”.

Following this, the sutra passage says, “All throughout the world, heavenly beings, humans and asuras all say that the present Buddha, sakyamuni, left the Sakya Palace and went somewhere not far from the city of Gaya, where He sat at the place of enlightenment and attained Anuttara-samyak-samnodhi.

In this passage, the Buddha again explained, “Your doubts now are due to only seeing what is near. Being attached to the near, you ‘doubt the far’”. We are “attached to the near and doubt the far. I have been explaining this for several days. So, we are attached to the near and doubt the far. Now, He was telling everyone that we should “transcend our attachments”.

He described how people were attached to the near. Throughout the Three Periods, the Buddha has three bodies. Throughout all this [time], this secret could not be shared. So, all the heavenly beings, humans and asuras said that the present Buddha first attained these three bodies when He sat beneath the Bodhi-tree. Thus, they were attached to the near and doubted the far.

We must transcend these attachments. We are “attached to the near and doubt the far. People were attached to the near, which is the Buddha’s present lifetime, how He engaged in spiritual practice and ascetic practice for a total of 11 years. Yet He taught the Dharma for less 50 years. Everyone was attached to this concept of “years,” the “years” in this lifetime, the time the Buddha spent in this lifetime. In fact, “Throughout the Three Periods, the Buddha had three bodies.” The Three Periods are the infinite lifetimes in the past, this lifetime and the future, which is also infinite. So, everyone was attached to just this one lifetime, this one period. They did not consider or listen to the fact that the Buddha mentioned dust-inked kalpas of the past. Those were infinite lifetimes in the past. This was already such a long time. This is to say nothing of the infinite periods of the future. So, we must not be attached just to this one lifetime. This is only a few decades of time. We must [consider] the past, present and future. There is the past, present and future, so there are “three bodies in the Three Periods”. The same applies for every period, there is the Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakaya. The Dharmakaya is everlasting, lasting through the past, present and future from ancient times to today, without arising or ceasing. It is the true principles. And what about the Sambhogakaya? It is how [the Buddha] engaged in practice. Everyone could see His process of attaining Buddhahood in the past. It is using the Sambhogakaya of this lifetime. And what about the Nirmanakaya? In response to the principles, He makes use of this body to employ the spirit and ideals of education. As for the “three bodies,” to employ the spirit and ideals of education. As for the “three bodies,” this was how He had to use them in the past, this is how He must use them in the present and this is how He must use them in the future. These are the “three bodies”. So, “Throughout all this [time], this secret could not be shared”. This process, for any one person can only be felt by that person. You are not me; I am not you. “I am really joyful, so joyful!” What does joy look like? You cannot experience it.

Indeed, neither of us can understand the other. When we talk about our feelings, how can we really experience them? So, to talk about how to spread [the Dharma], we must discuss whether those who truly listen and receive the Dharma are willing to comprehend it themselves. What we comprehend is our own attainment. So, “Throughout all this [time], this secret could not be shared. I am unable to share it; I have always wanted to tell you, but you yourselves must put it into practice and experience it. So, all heavenly beings, humans and asuras,” whether they are in heaven or on earth or they are asuras, “all said that the present Buddha first attained these three bodies when He sat beneath the Bodhi-tree”. Everyone thought that the three bodies the Buddha talked about were attained in this lifetime. They were attached to this lifetime. The Buddha had already taught so many principles, but they did not receive or experience them. So, they did not receive the transmission. The Buddha taught so much, but they still did not experience it. Heavenly beings, human beings and asuras still had their doubts. When the Buddha explained that, in this lifetime, He left the palace to engage in spiritual practice, this went on until He reached the city of Gaya, where He sat at the Bodhimanda. He saw the morning star in the night sky and attained Buddhahood. They thought this is how He attained the three bodies, the Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakaya.

In fact, it was not like this. But everyone thought it was like this. They were attached to this, attached to these few decades of time. So, what they doubted was the past beyond the past. All of them had doubts. Had there really been such past lifetimes? They could not see it. This is because ordinary people are unable to understand the past. It is like how, when we talk about our ancestors’ ancestors, we are unable to see them. There are the ancestors of our ancestors. Can it be that we have no ancestors of ancestors? Of course we do. This is being attached only to the present. This is how not having faith leads to doubt.

So, “All throughout the world, heavenly beings, humans and asuras all say…” In [the Chinese word for] world, the first character means time. The second character is for the boundary of space. So, [the Chinese word for] “world” includes both time and space. This is a very large scope that we call “the world”. So, “All throughout the world” includes heavenly beings, humans and asuras. All these sentient beings felt that the Buddha’s lifetime was only these few decades of time. So, “The present Buddha, Sakyamuni, left the Sakya Palace”.

The present Buddha, Sakyamuni, left the Sakya Palace: Sakyamuni, who expounded the Lotus Sutra at Vulture Peak, left the palace of King Suddhodana of the Sakya clan.

Everyone felt this period of time was from when the Buddha left the palace of the Sakya clan until He expounded the Dharma at the assembly. “Sakyamuni, who expounded the Lotus Sutra at Vulture Peak…” Vulture Peak was the place of practice on Mount Grdhrakuta. This is where Sakyamuni Buddha taught the Lotus Sutra. From the Bodhi tree where He attained Buddhahood all until the place of practice where He taught the Lotus Sutra, He only traveled around this region. There was also Sakyamuni’s father, King Suddhodana. The Buddha’s place of birth was the palace. Everyone was attached to this. So, in present-day India, there are many ancient sites, such as the ancient place, the Buddha’s birthplace, Lumbini etc. These historical sites are all there as a testimony to the world that such a person appeared in the world over 2000 years ago.

So, everyone felt that “[He] left the Sakya Palace and went somewhere not far from the city of Gaya where He sat at the place of enlightenment and attained Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi”.

He went somewhere not far from the city of Gaya where He sat at the place of enlightenment and attained Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi: In the place He went to at that time, He sat beneath the Bodhi-tree and manifested the attainment of perfect enlightenment. Thus, He was said to have “sat at the place of enlightenment”.

We understand all these things very clearly. As we discussed it before, we are clear about this. He left the palace and went to the city of Gaya. In that forest, He sat under the Bodhi tree and saw the morning star in the night sky. We have talked about this before. So, “In the place He went to at that time…” It was in this place, the place of practice not far from Gaya city that He attained Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi. In that place, He attained enlightenment. So, that is the “place He went to”. He went from the palace and arrived at the place where He attained Buddhahood. This continued until He expounded the Lotus Sutra.

So, He “manifested the attainment of perfect enlightenment”. This is “sitting in the place of enlightenment”. He began to teach the Dharma everywhere. “Speaking of the three bodies altogether,” His Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakaya are, in fact, “all one Buddha”. We have explained this before. “They have no individual appearances”. This is the way the Buddha-dharma returns to this one principle, “because the three bodies are one body”. So, “If one were to speak of them individually they could be divided into two kinds, the manifested body and the true body”. As for “the manifested body, for the sake of Two Vehicle practitioners and ordinary beings,” “He manifests three kinds of Nirmanakaya”. This is what the Buddha did for Two Vehicle [practitioners] and ordinary people when He manifested in this world. He responded according to people’s capabilities. So, He was in the palace, left that palace and so on and so forth. He manifested in this world and left historical evidence behind in this world. According to sentient beings’ capabilities, He came to the world and “manifested three kinds of Nirmanakaya” according to sentient beings’ needs. This is where He taught the Dharma, returning to the Dharma, to His Dharmakaya. So, “These are all His manifested bodies”. According to this world’s capabilities, He manifested in this world personally to teach the Dharma.

For the sake of Two Vehicle practitioners and ordinary beings, He manifests three kinds of Nirmanakaya; these are all His manifested bodies. As for the Buddha’s Dharmakaya and Sambhogakaya, they are His bodies of joyful use. These are His true bodies.

“As for the Buddha’s Dharmakaya and Sambhogakaya, they are His bodies of joyful use.” The Buddha’s Dharmakaya is something we must experience personally. We must truly experience it personally. The Dharma is what He attained for Himself. He could only share it for everyone to listen. This state of enlightenment the Buddha attained cannot be experienced by anyone else. Only through experience it can we [understand]. So, for all the Dharma that the Buddha taught, the Dharma has not diminished, but we ourselves must accept and apply it. As I myself have discussed so much Dharma, not only has the Dharma not diminished in me, I must also be very grateful. This is because in teaching the Dharma, I myself have accepted and applied it. Can everyone accept it? Is [the Dharma] growing [in us]? Then, that is your own experience. My own experience is for my own application. As all of you listen, are you putting it to use? This is a matter of our individual experience.

So, “They are His bodies of joyful use. These are all His true bodies.” The true body is the Dharmakaya. It also says, “Among the bodies of joyful use, the body of benefitting others is also called His manifested body.”

Moreover, among the bodies of joyful use, the body of benefitting others is also called His manifested body. For newly-inspired Bodhisattvas and Two Vehicle practitioners, the body of benefitting others is also called the true body. Though their capabilities are all different, what He taught was appropriate for everyone.

As I am explaining for everyone, if everyone can experience it, you can also put it to use. When it comes to the same phrase that I explain to everyone, everyone receives it differently. Through different experiences, we can apply them differently. We each have our own insights and experiences. This is “the body of benefitting others,” and it is also “His manifested body.” According to our own capabilities, we act to apply them in our ways. “For newly-inspired Bodhisattvas and Two Vehicle practitioners, the body of benefitting others is also called the true body.” The “true body” is the Dharma. After I teach you [the Dharma], you can bring your own feelings together with this Dharma. When our feelings converge with the Dharma, this is the Dharmakaya. “Though their capabilities are all different,” though we all have different capabilities, “what He taught was appropriate for everyone.” What everyone [received] was about the same. Everyone, when it comes to the Dharma, if we summarize the teachings, this Dharma is the true principles. With the Dharma of the true principles, we must aim toward the true principles as we clear the path. Then every path leads to the state of the Buddha.

It is up to everyone to put it to use, to take the Dharma to heart. We must take this Dharma and learn how to implement it in our daily lives. As we put it to use ourselves, we must learn how to apply it in our interpersonal relationships and to mutually enjoy the experience of the Dharma. This depends on everyone’s own mindfulness. Indeed, “The universe is vast like [the Buddha’s] great enlightenment to true emptiness. With the truth of the cessation of suffering’s causation, we can attain the Path to liberation.” This state of mind is only within our own intrinsic ocean of wisdom, which is infinite and boundless, for us to experience and feel. No one else can transmit this to us. Therefore, we must always be mindful!

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