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 20190103《靜思妙蓮華》業力相牽 果報難避 (第1515集) (法華經·如來壽量品第十六)

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20190103《靜思妙蓮華》業力相牽 果報難避 (第1515集) (法華經·如來壽量品第十六) Empty
發表主題: 20190103《靜思妙蓮華》業力相牽 果報難避 (第1515集) (法華經·如來壽量品第十六)   20190103《靜思妙蓮華》業力相牽 果報難避 (第1515集) (法華經·如來壽量品第十六) Empty周三 1月 02, 2019 10:20 pm

20190103《靜思妙蓮華》業力相牽 果報難避 (第1515集) (法華經·如來壽量品第十六)

⊙是時空世界方位,皆由眾生業力造。善業有生樂果之力用,惡業有生惡果之力用;不思議業力,雖遠必相牽,果報成熟時,求避終難脫。
⊙世為遷流,界為方位。汝今當知:東西南北,東南,西北,上下為界,過去未來現在,為時世方位界,時空遷變無常,量無量際間隔。
⊙「譬如五百千萬億那由他阿僧祇三千大千世界,假使有人抹為微塵,過於東方五百千萬億那由他阿僧祇國乃下一塵。」《法華經如來壽量品第十六》
⊙「如是東行,盡是微塵。諸善男子!於意云何?是諸世界,可得思惟校計知其數不?」《法華經如來壽量品第十六》
⊙如是東行,盡是微塵:如是東行,曲折連綿邐迤而去,點盡如上所有微塵。
⊙是諸世界,可得思惟校計知其數不?:如昔所說東行世界,可以思量算計得其數不?
⊙「彌勒菩薩等俱白佛言:世尊!是諸世界,無量無邊,非算數所知,亦非心力所及。」《法華經如來壽量品第十六》
⊙菩薩眾問:成佛因緣,俱時回答:世界多故,算數計校不可知。
⊙「一切聲聞、辟支佛,以無漏智,不能思惟知其限數;我等住阿惟越致地,於是事中亦所不達。」《法華經如來壽量品第十六》
⊙一切聲聞、辟支佛,以無漏智,不能思惟知其限數:二乘之人,以盡煩惱無漏智慧,限量數目思惟莫及。
⊙我等住,阿惟越致地:諸大菩薩,皆悉住於不退轉地。阿惟越致:不退轉地。

【證嚴上人開示】
是時空世界方位,皆由眾生業力造。善業有生樂果之力用,惡業有生惡果之力用;不思議業力,雖遠必相牽,果報成熟時,求避終難脫。

是時空世界方位
皆由眾生業力造
善業有生樂果
之力用
惡業有生惡果
之力用
不思議業力
雖遠必相牽
果報成熟時
求避終難脫

用心多體會、多了解!「是時空世界方位,皆由眾生業力造」。我們人人生活在人間,這個人間,這麼的大、地球這麼廣,而我們(產)生聲(音)的地方,聲是在哪裡呢?你、我現在位置就是在臺灣,臺灣是在這個世界中,名,一個名稱、一個位置,位置的名稱。這個世界,地球有多久了?其實,科學家,說這顆地球是幾十億年,我們無法可考據,只是根據,憑據,現在的學者這樣說。到底是幾億年?我們無法去想像到那個時候。不過,我們現在能夠知道,所知道的,地球就是這樣,自古以來什麼時候開始有?我們不用管,只是說它的時間、空間;時間很長久了,空間就是在虛空中,在太陽系的一個位置裡。

我們地球公轉、自轉,所以有日夜;日夜累積,有分秒、有時間,幾點鐘。日、夜,整天的時間累積月;幾個月再累積就是年,有時間累積。所以,我們生活的地方,就是在這樣的空間,「時空世界方位」裡。「世」,就是時間流轉,分啊、秒啊,地球隨著這樣,不論是飛秒(千萬億分之一秒)、毫秒(千分之一秒)中,它還是不斷在轉動。因為它在轉動,所以是秒、分、時這樣過,就有日夜的累積,這就是遷流不定,這就是「世」。「世」,這就是遷流不定,「世」就是「時」的意思,「時」是沒有定下來,還是遷流不停,這叫做「時」。而「空」就是「界」,這個空,在這個大空間裡,我們有一個位置,地球在這個位置裡。我們的位置不能偏移掉,它就是不偏移,只是有轉動,沒有偏離;它若偏離軌道,還得了!就是不能偏離軌道,它要就軌道,不斷地轉。這「時」不停,位置沒有偏,不會讓它跑掉。

但是,有這個空、界,臺灣這個名稱,它的位置就是定在這樣,就是這麼大;在地球上它的定位,涵蓋就是這樣,這臺灣的名稱,定在這個限界的裡面,我們出生的地方,就是在這個位置裡,我們在臺灣成長。所以,「皆由眾生業力造」。我們生在這個地方,我們適合這個地方的生活,我們的生活,我們要時時感恩!非洲獅子山,很多、很多的國家,和我們的位置不同,他們的生態和我們不同;他們的生活空間,他有他們的生活空間,那個環境,苦啊,苦不堪!這完全不一樣的環境。

因為我們在那個地方為苦難人,也提供他們的物資生活,要如何安頓他們,能夠長久這樣平安的生活。有一群人道精神的團體,慈濟和他們結合在這個地方,要如何去為他們在急難災難中,我們去關心、我們去付出。接觸到之後,覺得他們的欠缺、他們的生態真的苦不堪。這群人,三四個基金會(希利國際賑災基金會、天主教自由城明愛會、蘭頤基金會、慈濟基金會),希望能夠用力來為他們規畫,規畫出了讓他們能夠維生,如何安住他們的生活,如何能夠改善他們,安穩的生態。因為我們去到那裡,我們對那個地方,我們很清楚、了解,體會到了、見苦了,回過頭來,我們在我們的出生地,我們在現在的環境裡,我們要很感恩!我們生活充足,還有有餘的力量,能夠去幫助人;這就是同在現在的時空中,不同的方位、不同的善惡業。

善業的,那就是能夠「生樂果」。我們的生活這樣,很舒服,能夠過日子,人生,衣、食、行沒有欠缺,這就是福,也能夠平安過,這就是善;有善、福的業,才能夠平安過日子。所以,過去有造善業,才能夠在這樣的環境中,所以我們要惜福,這是「善業有成樂果之力用」。我們要來之前,我們無法求我是要去哪裡,這是我們過去生,已經累積的因、緣。你命中,你將來生活的生態,而你和你的父母已經有這分緣,所以你就來這個家庭,依這個因緣,和父母的善、惡緣,所以這股的力量引你來,依就他們的緣而生。

而我們自己,就是過去造什麼業,善業,自然你帶著善的業來。哪怕你是生在家庭困苦,只要你有福業、有善業,來到這個家庭小時候是貧困,有這個好的因緣給我們的機會,自己如何去白手成家,卻是成為了很成功,這在我們的社會也有很多這樣,比比皆是啊!這就是都過去生,有結好緣、有造福業,所以依這個因緣,在這個地方。我們這個善緣、福緣,若這樣,我們若能夠再成長我們的慧,智慧,自然我們就能夠繼續,去結好緣、造福業。這就是我們未來生,這是絕對是這樣,有如是因、就如是果報,所以說,「善業有生樂果之力用」。

這種的力量,就我們有做過,我們若能夠盡我們的力量,能夠做,你去做,這就是我們原來累積的善福因,這個種子。因為我們還是凡夫,我們來生無法自己有自力說:我要點去哪一家,我們無法點,總是最後一口氣吞下去了,再也出不來,那個時候呼吸停止了,我們的靈魂飄飄然,就有一股的境界,就會引導我們到該去的地方。這股飄飄然的力量,就是我們平時所造作的,善惡業的「力用」;善業,那就是「善力用」。這股的力量,它將我們牽引著,我們就去,這就是凡夫。若是聖人,我們若下決心:我就是未來的去向,投入人群,我的方向是要做什麼事情。自然我們煩惱去除了、雜染沒有了,我們就能夠愈來愈清楚了,清楚我的方向是去到哪裡,自己就很清楚。這股飄飄然,要去向,我們自己就有一股,自在力量的去向。

我們若還是凡夫,就是飄飄然,隨著境界飄去了,等到你那一口氣再出來的時候,那就是第一聲,哭了,那個時刻,那就是你的因、緣,依報、正報的業力,已經再成就了,那一刻。所以說,善、惡業,全都是在這個時空、方界,這個世界,我們都在這當中由不得自己,這叫做眾生。我生在臺灣,我滿足嗎?我若生在獅子山,這樣的生活,你會討厭嗎?這種,討厭又有什麼奈何呢?而你生在這個地方還不滿足;不滿足,你要如何?這是由不得自己的業力,所以我們應該,這個業力,我們要很清楚。起初就是我們如何造業,不懂道理,永遠都不知道如何造業;懂道理之後,我們就自己知道,我應該如何來造善福業。若是不知道道理,什麼叫做善?什麼叫做惡?就是我做我歡喜的,我歡喜做,沒有什麼不可以,善惡雜糅。而我們若是知道道理,我們選擇的是善的方向,我甘願去做;善的事情,我情甘意願,我很虔誠要付出。清楚的人是甘願;不清楚的人是歡喜──我歡喜,沒有什麼不可以!

這種迷茫渾沌的眾生,自己不知道定位方向,人情世事都由不得自己,只是聽人說,「哇,很崇高,我很崇拜」,只是一味崇拜,不知道我們應該要做的,是什麼事情。應該我們要如何為我們定方向,我們清楚,人人也清楚,不是人云亦云,應該要自己有自己的方向。若是隨著人走,其實「惡業有生惡果之力用」,善惡業都有,它那個善惡業的方向。所以說起來,就是善惡業是每一個人,個體的感受,我們各人造業,各人承擔,但是各人造業,也有共同造業之時,這個共同體就是與個人會集。我們有聚集善力,善的力量,去同時造善福,造善、做福,那就是大家往善的方向走。

這善就是能夠讓每一個地方,很祥和、很自在、很歡喜。就像獅子山那麼苦,他們的苦,若都沒有人去關心,那種的苦,根本自己就無法分辨出了,什麼叫做「樂」,只是一輩子就是這樣苦、這樣磨、這樣病、這樣痛,這樣的貧困、這樣的環境惡劣,他們什麼都沒有其他可選擇,無法分別的機會,這也是共業!這個共業一定是過去生中,他們同時造作,那就是看在那個方向,哇!好像有一個,很聚集的一股力量,他們就是去趣向在那個地方,還有人禍造成。

為什麼會人禍?對立,就是有起動,造出了這些惡。這個一念的心念,就這個觀念,能夠影響到周圍的人;周圍的人的響應,共同將這股勢力共合起來,不順他的意,那就開始破壞。這種破壞人間,家破人亡,造成天下間多少的苦難。這些苦難,這些共同合力那個趣向的苦,與那個共同在那個地方,所受的苦,這都是有共業,惡因、惡果、惡報。這種惡念的心境,與受惡念所破壞那種的苦難,全都是苦,全都是不快樂,全都這樣再纏下去,就是這樣不斷循環、不斷累積,所以變成了這濁惡世,這叫做共業,眾生共業,這種的共業很可怕,所以「惡業生惡果之力用」。

你看是善的較強,善的團隊力量強?或者是惡的團隊力量強?善的團隊力量強,自然這股的濁氣就慢慢消退,善的祥和就愈來擴大起來。這種的人人所造作,人人的心態,這都是在這個時空中;時間、空間,混合、會合起來,所以有善惡,這善惡,造成人間社會,有享福的地方,有受苦難的國土,很多,這是不可思議,「不思議業力,雖遠必相牽」,雖然是很遠也是有稍牽連。看看,美國休士頓,那種本來在享受,科技的發明的地方,很多、很多科技發展都在那裡,科學、工業都在那個地方,很多。卻是忽然間(二0 一七年) ,這個災害(哈維Harvey颶風)發生了,那個損失,人所受的苦,這段時間,那裡的苦那麼多,為什麼又外面的力量,還願意去支援它,甘願在那個地方去一直付出呢?

這也有因緣啊!就是有這樣的因緣。若沒有這分的因緣,生命中兩極端,他們的距離也很遠,但是為什麼,會將他們牽在一起呢?苦難眾生是菩薩的道場,但是也要有因緣,要不然還有其他的國家,受盡苦難,菩薩就沒有辦法踏上那個地方。那些地方的苦難眾生,業力不斷、災難不斷,但是他們有一股業力的屏障,很想要進去,就是讓他們這個業力障礙到。他們在那個地方的生態,在那個地方就是無奈。同樣,在現在的休士頓會有這個因緣,因為他們沒有這個的屏障,沒有這樣的業力來障礙,自然菩薩就是緣苦眾生,道場去精進。苦難眾生因為這樣的因緣,與菩薩結一分緣,這因緣是不可思議。所以我們要很用心,在人世間裡,要好好在空間跟這個時間中,我們要時時注意。理和事就這樣會集,事事有道理、理理有事相,我們必定要用心去會合。所以不論我們那個因緣有多遠,只要這個因緣成熟,「雖遠必牽」,就是這樣將它牽來了,這股的因緣不可思議。多少?現在分布在不同的地方、不同的國家在發揮,這就是力,善緣,善的力量,要如何透過了這因緣去會合。

「果報成熟時」,若果報成熟之時,那就是「求避終難脫」。就像有業力,業障的人,業重,他業到來了,想要逃避也難!他受到果報,但是就得不到幫助,這樣的人也很多,這樣的界限的眾生也很多。總而言之,人間凡事離不開這個業力。業力就是起自我們的作為,起心動念、開口動舌、舉步動作,這在我們的日常生活中,點滴累積來,無不都是在一念心的造作,那分的力量叫做業力;業力是在點滴中會合起來的。

「世」為遷流,「界」就是方位,我們應該要知道。「汝今當知」,要知道,這就是世間,時間與空間的會合。

世為遷流
界為方位
汝今當知
東西南北
東南西北
上下為界
過去未來現在
為時世方位界
時空遷變無常
量無量際間隔

方位,我們自己要清楚,我們的方位在哪裡,我們的方向要往哪裡走,所以我們要知道。「東西南北」,方向清楚,「上下界」,這我們都要很清楚。「過去未來現在」,這都是世間的時間;過去、現在、未來,這都叫做時間。這方位,我們現在住的在哪裡?這我們全都是名稱的定位,在這個世界。所以,「時空遷變無常」。時間永遠都沒有定在那個地方,永遠都是這樣在遷移,遷變是無常的。但是,它不斷的「過去」、不斷的「現在」、不斷的「未來」,那就是無停止。所以,「量無量際」,這個間隔就是有一個,「你在哪裡,我在哪裡」,有這個空間。空間來穿梭起來,我們能夠超越時間。

一大早從臺灣搭飛機去美國,美國還是一大早。因為我們的早上,是他們的晚上,而我們飛機飛十幾個鐘頭,到那個地方,換他們是早上了。這就是穿越過了空間,這種時間和空間的界限,這全都是名稱。時間真的是這樣的流逝,實在是我們要知道的事情,真的是很多,所以我們要好好知道數量,這過去、現在、未來,到底時間、世界有多大。很大、很大,這遍虛空法界的世界很大。

所以,我們前面的文這樣說:「譬如五百千萬億那由他阿僧祇三千大千世界。」

譬如五百千萬億
那由他阿僧祇
三千大千世界
假使有人抹為微塵
過於東方
五百千萬億
那由他阿僧祇國
乃下一塵
《法華經如來壽量品第十六》

那個無數量,是千萬億無數量的世界;這個無數量的世界,「三千大千世界」,小千、中千、大千,這名稱叫做「三千大千世界」,這每一個世界,它的生活的生態是不同。有欲、色、無色這三界,遍布在三千世界之中,這我們過去都有說過。所以,「假使有人抹為微塵,過(於)東方,五百千萬億,那由他阿僧祇國,乃下一塵」。所有的東西都將它抹做粉,過很遠的地方又放一點,就像這樣不斷不斷去,這個空間有多大,真的是很大,距離是很長、很大、很大,這我們也是說過了。所以無法去譬喻,就是用這樣無數量,「若算師,若算師弟子,數不能盡」,這種的方式來表達,表達這個世界的大,無法測量。

接下來的文:「如是東行,盡是微塵。諸善男子!於意云何?是諸世界,可得思惟校計知其數不?」

如是東行
盡是微塵
諸善男子
於意云何
是諸世界
可得思惟校計
知其數不
《法華經如來壽量品第十六》

請問,這樣的世界,經過了這樣向東去,放一微塵,經過很遠再放,將這些微塵放完了,佛陀再問:「諸善男子!你們有用心嗎?你們用心,有辦法去計算這些世界?這些世界,可得思議嗎?」這些世界,空間這麼大,這麼大的世界,這樣你們去計算它,這些空間,你們有辦法去計算嗎?所以,「如是東行,盡是微塵。」

如是東行
盡是微塵:
如是東行
曲折連綿邐迤而去
點盡如上所有微塵

就是從這樣去,向前一直去,曲折綿延,這樣這樣一直過去了,「點盡如上所有微塵」。一點一滴一直去了,所有的國土微塵界,都將它放下去,這世界到底又多少?根本就無法去計算。

所以,「諸善男子!」大家想想看。好好用心去思考,有辦法去去算嗎?「是諸世界,可得思惟校計知。」

是諸世界
可得思惟校計
知其數不:
如昔所說東行世界
可以思量算計
得其數不

可以嗎?有辦法去思惟嗎?去計算嗎?如過去所說的東行世界,可以思量,可以得其數嗎?過去所說的,那就是〈化城喻品〉,也是這樣譬喻過。塵點劫,意思一樣,我們要很用心。

所以經文接下來再說:「彌勒菩薩等俱白佛言。」

彌勒菩薩等
俱白佛言
世尊
是諸世界
無量無邊
非算數所知
亦非心力所及
《法華經如來壽量品第十六》

佛陀是這樣說:「這麼多這麼多,你們大家去計算看看。」現在彌勒菩薩等,大家再來回答佛陀了:「世尊!是諸世界,無量無邊,非算數所知,亦非心力所及」。這是彌勒菩薩回答,我們很簡單就會清楚了。世尊所說的這些世界很多,已經無量無邊,不是算數算得出來,也不是心力,哪一個人的心力,有辦法去遍及到這麼多的國土,去了解這些數量,這已經連用想的,都想不到那個空間界限了。這就是大家所問佛陀,佛陀回答。所以表示佛陀所說出來的數字,根本大家就無法去體會了解。所以,「菩薩問:成佛因緣」。

菩薩眾問:
成佛因緣
俱時回答:
世界多故
算數計校不可知

菩薩是要問成佛的因緣,「釋迦牟尼佛,為什麼成佛沒有多久,就能夠度那麼多人,到底成佛的過去的因緣是什麼?」這是這些菩薩要問,佛陀竟然用這麼多的數字,來譬喻,讓大家有辦法回答嗎?大家所回答的:世界這麼多,我們怎麼有辦法去計算呢?這與大家要問佛,說,您的因緣是如何來?好像沒有相符!所以,菩薩的回答就是:「這很多,我們沒有辦法,其實我們要問的,只是要知道因緣。」這就是大家在等待法,佛陀要講的法,那個追求心切。但是佛陀還是──讓我詳細慢慢說來。從這個這麼遙遠的時間,這麼開闊的空間,我是如何過來?佛陀也是話說從頭,慢慢來。

所以下面這段文,接下來再說:「一切聲聞、辟支佛,以無漏智,不能思惟知其限數;我等住阿惟越致地,於是事中亦所不達。」

一切聲聞 辟支佛
以無漏智 不能思惟知其限數 我等住阿惟越致地
於是事中亦所不達
《法華經如來壽量品第十六》

這就是這些菩薩,大家的心聲:那些數字我們不懂,無法計算。這些聲聞、辟支佛,無法去計算所了解。

一切聲聞、辟支佛
以無漏智
不能思惟知其限數:
二乘之人
以盡煩惱無漏智慧
限量數目思惟莫及

「二乘人」,他們就是聲聞、緣覺,聲聞就是一直聽佛的聲音,就只是聽、去體會,都在這個範圍的裡面;而緣覺就是在聽了之後,他所知,他再做思考,只是能夠體會天地萬物,無常的道理,不常住,這些道理,人生苦、空,能夠知道這樣,其他也還不很清楚。所以,「不能思惟知其限數」,這是大家所回答的心聲,彌勒就說:「我等住阿惟越致」,二乘的人絕對無法了解,而我們已經是發菩薩心了、行菩薩道了,這些菩薩已經在佛法中,也有一些成就了,叫做「阿惟越致」,就是已經住不退地了,那個心已經很堅定,不退的菩薩。這些人,還是也不太能了解,何況二乘呢?所以,「限量數目思惟莫及」,二乘絕對沒有辦法了解。

我等住
阿惟越致地:
諸大菩薩
皆悉住於不退轉地
阿惟越致:
不退轉地

所以「我等住,阿惟越致地」。這些大菩薩,「諸大菩薩,皆悉住於不退轉地」。二乘的人當然無法了解,但是這些菩薩,已經到不退轉的地位,他們可能也無法,所以這些菩薩的境界,都無法了解了,何況其他呢?因為這個微塵數的數字,實在是很多,真的無法了解。

各位,我們知道人生苦短,學佛,時間也不是讓我們很充足。用短時間的人生,要來了解無限量,就像佛陀的譬喻,這種無量數,無法去推測這麼大的這個數量;要將它推測到,這些數量算得出來,就是這麼的困難。你們想,算數量那麼困難嗎?這些完全在數學,數學家、科學家在數學,他們就要很成功,才有辦法做科學家。其實,這個數字,在佛法也很需要,非常需要,每一部經之中,一定會提起了數字,「恆河沙數」、「無量無邊」、「不可思議」,這都叫做數字。這種「無量無邊」、「不可思議」,這就是要考驗我們,到底在佛法的這個道理,我們感受來的,我們能夠受用多少?你沒有受用到,佛法這麼的多,那是無量數的佛法;數字,那若要法法將它等於數字,也是無法計算。而我們學佛者,我們若沒有好好法用心,只是聽,只是在那個聲聞的界限,我聽多少、我了解多少,聽的,前後次序在說,何況這個前後次序,說話的速度有限,有限量、時間有限量,一天能夠說多少?能夠句句清楚分明?能夠多少道理,無法層層疊疊下去,必定要字字句句分明。

大家聽進來,其實是每一個道理,就涵蓋了很多,裡面每一句的聲音,涵蓋很多的道理,就是在發聲這當中,也有很多理的合成,才有辦法這樣的聲音高低出來。也是要有很多道理,生理,這器官會合,很清楚才聽得進來;每一個時間,我們的動作一切,一舉手,這也是需要有這個身體,有他的道理、物理。這我們自己要知道,這是要將道理來,我們對到的境界如何去應對,不是只有很多很多來一直聽,這樣叫做道理;聽來,我們能夠應用,這才是真道理。所以道理是無量數,我們所要應用的方法,實在也有一個限度;有限度應用的,我們就要去取來很多的道理,讓我們的知識能夠會合,應時付出,這就是「無量數」。

總而言之,一切法入心來,我們若化為自己,那就是一理通,就萬理徹了,了解的事情就很多,處理事情就是應用,隨心可以應用在這,希望大家要隨時多用心!


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Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: Karmic Retribution Is Unavoidable (業力相牽 果報難避 )
Date: January.03.2019

“Time, space, the world, places and directions are all created through sentient beings’ karma. Positive karma has the power to give rise to fruits of joy. Negative karma has the power to give rise to fruits of evil. Though the inconceivable forces of karma may be distant, they still have their effect. When the fruits of our karmic retribution mature, though we may seek to avoid them, they are ultimately inescapable.”

We must mindfully seek to deeply comprehend this. “Time, space, the world, places and directions are all created through sentient beings’ karma.” We all live in this world. This world is so great and vast, but where is the origin of the sound you hear? We are currently in Taiwan. In this world, “Taiwan” is the name of a place; it is the name of a certain place.

How old is our world, planet Earth? In truth, scientists say that Earth is several billion years old. I have no way to verify this; I can only base it off of what current scholars say. How many billions of years old is it? We cannot imagine what it was like back then. However, we can know what Earth is like now. When did Earth come into existence? We do not need to be concerned about that. We just need to speak of its time and space. It has [existed] for a very long time, and the space it [exists in] is our universe, in a place in our solar system. Our Earth both revolves and rotates, and thus there is day and night. The days and nights accumulate. There are minutes and seconds of time, [accumulating into] hours, days and nights. The time of entire days accumulates into a month. Several months accumulate into a year. This is the accumulation of time. So, where we live is in such a space, in “time, space, the world, places and directions.” The world rotates with the passage of time. With [every] minute and second, the world [rotates]. Whether it be a femtosecond or millisecond, it still constantly rotates. As it constantly rotates, seconds, minutes and hours pass by, and the days and nights accumulate. Thus, it is constantly flowing. This is “the world”. “The world” is always flowing and never stopping. Thus, “the world” [is inseparable from] “time”. “Time” does not stop, but continues to flow without end. This is “time”. “Space” [is something that has] boundaries. Within this great space, we have a location; we are on Earth. [Earth’s] position cannot deviate. It does not deviate; [Earth] revolves, but it does not leave its orbit. If it were to deviate from its orbit, this would be disastrous. Thus, it cannot deviate from its orbit. It must ceaselessly revolve in this orbit.

Thus, “time” does not cease, and our position does not deviate; [Earth] will not go off track. However, there is this space and these boundaries. The name Taiwan refers to a location that is set firmly here and is this large. This is its position on Earth and what it covers. The name Taiwan is defined as what is within this boundary. The place where we were born is within this place. We grew up in Taiwan. “All is created through sentient beings’ karma.” We were born in this place and are accustomed to this way of life. We must always be grateful in our daily living.

[Think of places like] Sierra Leone in Africa. Many other countries are located in places different from us and have different ways of life than we do. [People there] live in their space, and their environment is full of suffering, unbearable suffering. They are in entirely different environments. In [Sierra Leone], we provided material supplies for the suffering people and found ways to help them settle down so that they can live peacefully for the long term. There was a group of [people] from humanitarian organizations that came together with Tzu Chi in that place to find a way, amidst the disaster, to provide care and serve [these people]. After encountering [these people], we felt that their [degree of] deprivation and their living conditions were truly of unbearable suffering. This group of people from three or four different organizations hoped to put in the effort to create a plan to help these people survive, to find a way to help them settle down and improve the safety and stability in their lives. Because we traveled to those places, we have a clear understanding of them; we have experienced and seen their suffering. Reflecting upon our own places of birth and our current environment, we must be very grateful.

We live in adequacy, and we even have extra resources to help others. We are in the same time and space, but we are in different places and have different karma. Positive karma can “give rise to fruits of joy”. Our lives are like this, very comfortable; we can live comfortably. In our lives, we are not lacking in clothing, food or transportation. This is living a blessed life. We can also live our days in peace. This is positive [karma]. Thus, with blessed and positive karma, we can live our life in peace and safety. So, since we created positive karma in the past, we can now be in such an environment. Thus, we must cherish our blessings.

This is how “Positive karma has the power to give rise to fruits of joy.” Before we came to [this life], we could not ask to be [born] into a certain place. This is because in our past lifetimes, we had already accumulated causes and conditions. [We already had the conditions] for this life and our future lifestyle. We and our parents had already formed these affinities. So, we came to this family. Depending on these causes and conditions and our parents’ good or bad karma, we were drawn here by this force, born according to our affinities with them. As for us ourselves, it depends on what kind of karma, we created in the past. If it was positive karma, we naturally bring positive karma with us. Even if we were born into an impoverished family, all that is needed is blessed and positive karma. We may come to a certain family and be poor when we are young, but we may have good karmic conditions that give us the chance to build our lives from nothing and become very successful. In our society, many people are like this; it is very common. This is because in their previous lifetimes, they formed good affinities and created blessed karma. So, it is because of these karmic conditions that we were born here with positive and blessed affinities. In this case, if we are able to further develop our wisdom, we will naturally be able to continue forming good affinities and creating blessed karma. In our future lives, it will certainly be like this [as well]. With such causes, there will be such effects and retributions.

So, it says, “Positive karma has the power to give rise to fruits of joy.” This power comes from what we have done in the past. We should do our best and do what we can; this becomes the good and blessed causes that we accumulate, our [virtuous] seeds. Because we are still unenlightened begins, we have no power to choose for our future lifetime which family we want to be born into. We have no power to do so. When we inhale our last breath and never breathe out, our breathing cases at that time. Our spirit drifts away. Then, there will be a [force] that leads us to the place we ought to go. This force that causes us to drift away is due to our everyday actions; it is the power of positive and negative karma. Positive karma is a “positive power”. When this force pulls us forward, we just follow. This is the case for unenlightened begins. If we were sages, if we had the resolve, our future direction would be to go among people and do what we have committed to do. Then our afflictions would naturally be eliminated, and our defilements would be gone. We would become clearer and clearer regarding where our direction leads; we would be very clear ourselves. There is a force that causes us to drift away, that leads us in a direction, but we ourselves possess a force of our free will that directs us.

While we are still unenlightened beings, we will drift with the conditions until we exhale our first breath, which will be our first cry. In that moment, our causes and conditions, the karma forces of our circumstantial and direct retribution have been brought to fruition again, right at that moment. So, good and bad karma are all with this time, space and boundary. In this world, we cannot control [our retributions]. This is how sentient beings are. We were born in Taiwan, but are we content? If we were born in Sierra Leone, would we resent our lives? Even if we resented our lives, what could be done? If we are born in [Taiwan] and are still dissatisfied, what are we going to do? These are karmic forces beyond our control. So, we ought to clearly understand these karmic forces. We must [understand] how we create karma. If we do not understand the principles, we will never know how we create karma. After we understand these principles, we will then know how we should create positive and blessed karma. If we do not know the principles, we do not know what is good or what is bad. We will just do as we wish, doing anything that makes us happy, mixing positive and negative [karma]. If we know the principles, we will choose a good direction and willingly follow it. We will willingly do good deeds and sincerely give help to others. People with clarity are willing. People without clarity act out of pleasure; they will do anything that they want.

Sentient begins who are lost and confused do not know their own position or direction. Human relationships and worldly matters are not of their control. They only listen to what people say [and think], “Wow, this is so sublime. I truly revere it!” They only blindly revere it. They do not know what they ought to do. We must know how to set our direction. We must all be clear on this. We must not blindly follow others but should set our own direction. If we just follow other people, in fact, “Negative karma has the power to give rise to fruits of evil”. Both positive and negative karma have their own directions. So, we say that positive and negative karma are what each person personally experience. We must bear the karma we created ourselves. However, as we individually create karma, we also create collective karma. The collective karma is formed by the accumulation of individual [karma]. We have the power to accumulate good while simultaneously creating virtuous blessings. Through creating goodness and blessings, we can all move in the direction of goodness. This goodness can make every place very harmonious, peaceful and joyous.

Take for example Sierra Leone, a place with so much suffering. If no one goes to show concern for their suffering, then with such suffering, they themselves cannot identify what joy is. For their entire lifetime, they will be in suffering, be wearing down, be in illness and in pain like this and be in such poverty and harsh environments. They have no other possible choice and no opportunities to [experience joy]. This is also [the result of] collective karma. This collective karma was certainly created by them together in their previous lives. When we look in their direction, it is like a very concentrated force that draws them to end up in that place.

There are also manmade calamities. Why are there manmade calamities? Opposition leads to action, which in turn creates these evils. These thoughts and these views can influence the surrounding people. The response of the people around brings this power together. If something does not follow their wishes, then they will begin causing harm. This type of harm to the world, destruction of families and death of people creates so much suffering in the world. This suffering, the suffering caused by that collective force, the suffering that people share together in those places, is all due to collective karma. There are negative causes, negative effects and negative retributions. These types of negative states of mind and suffering due to the damage of negative thoughts are all forms of suffering. All of these are not joyous, and all, in this way, continue to entangle people. So, people continuously go through cycles and continuously accumulate [karma]. This there by becomes the evil world of turbidities. This is collective karma, sentient beings’ collective karma. This type of collective karma is very frightening.

So, “Negative karma has the power to give rise to fruits of evil”. Are the forces of good relatively stronger? Or are forces of evil stronger? When the forces of good are strong, naturally, this turbidity will slowly diminish, and harmony from goodness will expand. That which people create and their state of mind are all within this space and time. Space and time converge together, so there is both good and evil. Good and evil create places in society where people enjoy blessings and places where people experience suffering. There ae so many; this is inconceivable. “Though the inconceivable forces of karma may be distant, they still have their effect”. Although [forces of karma] may be far, they still have slight connections [to us].

Take Houston in the US for example. They were originally enjoying the developed technology. Many technological advancements were made there, and there were many science [companies] and industries. Yet, in an instant, [a hurricane] occurred [in 2017]. People experienced [tremendous] damages and suffering during this period of time. There was so much suffering, but why were there [people] from outside who were still willing to go there to support and constantly help them? This was also due to causes and conditions.

Without these causes and conditions, [these people] lived in two extremes in life, [in blessing and in suffering], and lived very far apart. So, how could they be brought together? The spiritual training ground of Bodhisattvas is among suffering sentient beings. However, this also requires causes and conditions. There are also other countries experiencing utmost suffering, but Bodhisattvas just have no way to go to them. Suffering sentient beings in those places experience endless karmic forces and disasters. However, they have a barrier of karmic forces; we really want to go in [and help them], but we are obstructed by their karmic forces. They are helpless when it comes to the living situation there.

People in Houston have these causes and conditions because they do not have this barrier; we were not obstructed by these karmic forces, so naturally, Bodhisattvas arose because of suffering sentient beings and advanced in this spiritual training ground. Because of these karmic conditions, these suffering sentient beings formed affinities with Bodhisattvas. These causes and conditions are inconceivable. So, we must be very mindful.

In this world, within space and time, we must always earnestly pay attention. Principles and matters converge in this way. Every matter has its principles, and every principle has its matters and appearances. We must mindfully connect them. So, no matter how far away our karmic conditions are, once these conditions mature, “Though they may be distant, they still have their effects”. The effects will still take place like this. These karmic conditions are inconceivable. There are many [volunteers] now spread over various places, exercising [their strength] in different countries. This is their power and good affinities. This is how the power of goodness comes about from the convergence of causes and conditions.

“When the fruits of our karmic retribution mature, though we may seek to avoid them, they are ultimately inescapable.” For those with karmic forces and karmic obstacles, when severe karma comes upon them, they may wish to avoid it, but it will be difficult. They can only suffer these karmic retributions, but it cannot be helped. There are many such people; sentient beings in these situations are numerous.

In summary, everything in the word is inseparable from karmic forces. Karmic forces are [the results of] our actions, the thoughts we give rise to, the words we say and the things we do. All of these are accumulated little by little in our daily living. They are all created by our minds. This power is called “karmic forces”.

Karmic forces are accumulated bit by bit. [The world is made up of] the flow of time] and places and directions. We must know this. “You should know [this]. “We must know” that this world is the converhence of time and space.

[The world is made up of] the flow [of time] and places and directions. You should know by now that east, west, south, north, southeast, northwest above and below are the directions. Past, future and present are the time of the world, along with its places and directions. Time and space are ever-changing and impermanent; they are defined by finite and infinite boundaries.

As for places and directions, we must clearly know where our position is located and where our directions is leading to. So, we must know “east, west, south and north. We must be clear about these directions as well as “above and below. We must be clear on all these. “Past, future and present are the time periods of the world. Past, present and future are all called “time”. What is the position where we currently live? We are all in positions with names in this world. “Time and space are ever-changing and impermanent”. Time is never set in a place, it is always shifting, and this shifting is impermanent. However, there is ceaselessly a “past,” ceaselessly a “present” and ceaselessly a “future”. It does not stop. This is “finite and infinite boundaries”. There is only one division, which is where you are and where I am. This is [a division] in space. When we travel across spaces, we can transcend time.

When we take a plane from Taiwan to it will still be morning in the Unites States. This is because our morning is their evening. So, when we fly for more than 10 hours and arrive in the US, it is then morning there. This is traveling through space; the bounds of time and space are all merely names. Time is truly passing in this way, and truly, there are a lot of things we need to know. So, we must put effort into knowing these numbers. From the past, present and future, how [long] and how great is time and space? They are extraordinarily great. The universe of this Dharma-realm is immense.

So, the precious passage states, “By way of analogy, suppose someone were to take 500 quadrillion nayutas of asankyas of great trichiliocosms and grind them into dust”.

“By way of analogy, suppose someone were to take 500 quadrillion nayutas of asankyas of great trichiliocosms and grind them into dust. Then, passing over 500 quadrillion nayutas of asankyas of lands to the east, they were to drop one particle of dust.

This incalculable number is incalculable quadrillions of worlds. These incalculable worlds [are expressed as] ”great trichiliocosms”. Small chiliocosms and medium chiliocosms [make up] a great chiliocosm. This is what is called a “great trichiliocosm”.

Each of these worlds’ living conditions are different. There are the Three Realms, the desire, form and formless realms that exist throughout the great trichiliocosms. We spoke of all of this previously. So, “suppose someone were to grind them into dust. Then passing over 500 quadrillion nayutas of asankyas of lands to the east, they were to drop one particle of dust”. [Imagine] we were to take all things and grind them into dust, then drop a dust particle after a great distance, and then again after another great distance. After continuously doing this, how large would this space [be]? It would be truly large. We have also talked about this before.

So, we have no way of forming an analogy, and so we use these incalculable figures. “Neither a mathematician nor his disciples” could calculate this amount. We use this way to express the enormous [number of] these worlds. It is incalculable.

The following sutra passage states, “They would continue eastward like this until all the dust particles were gone. All you good men, what do you think? Could the total number of all those worlds possibly be contemplated ot calculated?”

So, [in this analogy]. In this world, someone would move eastward and drop a dust particle. After traveling further, they would drop another. They drop these dust particles until they run out. The Buddha then asked, “All you good men, have you been mindful? With your mindfulness, could you calculate the amount of these worlds? Is [the number of] these worlds conceivable? These worlds are so large. With such large [numbers of] worlds, if you were to calculate them, would you be able to calculate their space?” So, “They would continue eastward like this until all the dust particles were gone”. They would continuously go forward from here, continuously winding their way. They would continuously go [until] “all the aforementioned dust particles were gone”. Continuously, bit by bit, they would drop all the dust particles of all those worlds. How many worlds are there? There is no way to calculate this.

So, “all you good men, everyone, should think about this”. We should mindfully seek to contemplate this; is there any way to calculate this? “Could the total number of all these worlds possibly be contemplated or calculated?” could they be? Is it possible to contemplate or calculate them? For the earlier mentioned worlds in the travel toward the east, could [their number] be contemplated? Could they be counted?

In the past, we discussed the Chapter on the Parable of the Conjured City, where there was also an analogy like this. “Dust-inked kalpas” [were calculated in a similar way]. We must be very mindful.

Continuing on, the sutra passage states, “Maitreya Bodhisattva and the others all said to the Buddha…”. The Buddha said, “There are so many [worlds]. You all can try to calculate this”. Now, Maitreya Bodhisattva and the others responded to the Buddha, “World-Honored One, those worlds would be infinite and boundless, impossible to know through calculation and beyond the reach of the power of the mind”.

This was Maitreya Bodhisattva’s response. We can very easily understand this. “The worlds the World-Honored One speaks of are very many. They are countless and boundless; they are not something that could be calculated by counting or by powers of the mind. No powers of the mind of anyone can reach so many lands and understand their number. The bounds of this space is something we cannot even imagine”. The Buddha responded in this way when everyone asked the Buddha. So, the number expressed by the Buddha is something that they had no way of comprehending or understanding. So, “The Bodhisattvas asked about His causes and conditions of attaining Buddhahood”.

The Bodhisattvas all asked about His causes and conditions of attaining Buddhahood. They answered Him all at once, “Those worlds would be so numerous that they would be incalculable”.

The Bodhisattvas wanted to ask about His karmic conditions for attaining Buddhahood. “Sakyamuni Buddha! How were You able to transform so many people after attaining Buddhahood not too long ago? What were Your past karmic conditions?” This was what the Bodhisattvas wanted to ask. Since the Buddha used such large numbers as analogies, was everyone able to answer Him? They responded to Him, “There are so many worlds. How could we have any way of calculating them?” Compared to the question they wanted to ask the Buddha, “How did Your causes and conditions come about?” The [answer the Buddha gave] did not seem to match. So, the Bodhisattvas’ response was, “We cannot [calculate] such a large number. In truth, we only wished to ask about Your causes and conditions. Everyone was anticipating the Dharma, the Dharma that the Buddha would teach; they earnestly sought it. However, the Buddha still [said], “Let me speak slowly and in detail. From such a distant time and such a vast space, how did I arrive here?” The Buddha spoke from the beginning and took His time.

So, in the following passage, [Maitreya] continues to say, “All the Hearers and Pratyekabuddhas, in their flawless wisdom, would be unable to contemplate or conceive of their limit or number. We who abide at the stage of avaivartikas would also be unable to comprehend this matter.”

These were these Bodhisattvas’ honest words. “We do not comprehend these numbers. We have no way to calculate them”. These Hearers and Pratyekabuddhas had no way of calculating and understanding it.

All the Hearers and Pratyekabuddhas, in their flawless wisdom, would be unable to contemplate or conceive of their limit or number: Even Two Vehicle practitioners with their flawless wisdom that eliminates afflictions would be unable to contemplate their limit, amount and number.

“Two Vehicle practitioners” refers to Hearers and Solitary Realizers. Hearers constantly listen to the Buddha, yet they only comprehend what they listen to. They are all within this scope. As for Solitary Realizers, after listening, they further contemplate what they know. But they can only comprehend the impermanence of all things in this world. When it comes to the principles of impermanence, including life’s suffering and emptiness, they are able to comprehend them. Other principles are still unclear to them. So, [they] “would be unable to contemplate or conceive of their limit or number”. These were the thoughts they responded with. Maitreya said, “We who abide at the stage of avaivartikas…. Two Vehicle practitioners have no way of understanding this. As for us, we have already formed Bodhisattva-aspirations and walk the Bodhisattva-path”. These Bodhisattvas already had some achievements in the Buddha-Dharma. [They were at the stage of] “avaivartikas”. They were already at the ground of non-retreating. Their minds were already very firm, and they were non-retreating Bodhisattvas. Yet even these people could barely understand it, to say nothing of Two Vehicle practitioners.

So, “[They] would be unable to contemplate their limit, amount and number”. Two Vehicle practitioners certainly had no way of understanding [this]. So, “We who abide at the stage of avaivartikas” [refers to] these great Bodhisattvas. “Those great Bodhisattvas all abided in the state of non-retreating”. Two Vehicle practitioners would obviously have no way of understanding. But even these great Bodhisattvas who had already reached the state of non-retreating may not be able [to understand it] either. So, if these Bodhisattvas in this state could not understand it, how could anyone else do so? Because the number of these dust particles was truly enormous, there was truly no way to comprehend it.

Everyone, we know that life is painfully short. The time we have to learn the Dharma is also very limited. We must use our brief lifetime to understand infinite [Dharma]. This is just like the Buddha’s analogy. This infinite number is so large that we have no way to calculate it. If we wanted to calculate this amount, it would be very difficult. Think about it; is calculating an amount very difficult? This all has to do with mathematics. Regarding mathematicians, scientists must be very accomplished in mathematics in order to do scientific research.

Actually, numbers are also very important in the Buddha-Dharma. They are extremely necessary. Within every sutra, there are always numbers mentioned, [like] “the sands of the Ganges River, infinite, boundless and inconceivable”. These are all numbers. Such an “infinite, boundless and inconceivable [number]” is meant to test us; of the principles of the Buddha-Dharma, how many have we experienced and put to use? We have not made use of them. There are so many teachings of the Buddha-Dharma, countless teachings of the Buddha-Dharma. In terms of numbers, if we were to consider every teaching as a number, [the amount] would be incalculable.

For us Buddhist practitioners, if we are not very mindful of the Dharma, we merely listen and remain at the state of Hearers. We only understand as much as we hear. What we hear are teachings in sequential order. Moreover, with this order, the speed of our speech is limited. Time is limited. How much can we teach in a single day? If we are to explain each line very clearly, how many principles can [we convey]? We must not [explain it] incoherently; we must explain each word and sentence clearly. Regarding that which we listen to, in truth, every principle contains a great deal more. The sound of every sentence contains many principles. This is just like how in the process of speaking, many principles have to come together in order for us to make different sounds. It also requires many principles of biology and of our organs coming together for us to hear [the sounds] and take them in. Every time we perform an action, even the raising of a hand, we need our body, which has its own principles as well as physics. This is what we must know. We must apply these principles in response to the conditions we face. It is not that just by constantly listening to many teachings we [attain] the principles. Only when we can employ what we have heard can it be considered true principles. So, the principles are countless. The methods we should employ, in truth, also have their limitations. There is a limit to their use, so we must gather many principles and let our knowledge converge with them, so that we can give of ourselves at the right time. This is [why it is] “countless.”

In summary, if we take all Dharma into our hearts and make it our own, when we grasp one principle we will understand all principles. Thus, we will understand many matters and will be able to freely apply [the principles] in dealing with matters. Everyone, we must always be mindful!

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