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 20190110《靜思妙蓮華》處處自說 令眾歡喜 (第1520集) (法華經·如來壽量品第十六)

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20190110《靜思妙蓮華》處處自說 令眾歡喜 (第1520集) (法華經·如來壽量品第十六) Empty
發表主題: 20190110《靜思妙蓮華》處處自說 令眾歡喜 (第1520集) (法華經·如來壽量品第十六)   20190110《靜思妙蓮華》處處自說 令眾歡喜 (第1520集) (法華經·如來壽量品第十六) Empty周四 1月 10, 2019 6:30 am

20190110《靜思妙蓮華》處處自說 令眾歡喜 (第1520集) (法華經·如來壽量品第十六)

⊙聞法身心喜悅,得未曾希有想,斯妙法濟群生,如蓮華出水開。無上甚深微妙法,百千萬劫難遭遇,我今見聞得受持,願解如來真實義。
⊙以此清淨之法水,淨行者之心器,且使生佛心田之佛種子,微妙法水,從空而注,以淨其心器。
⊙「諸善男子!若有眾生來至我所,我以佛眼,觀其信等,諸根利鈍,隨所應度。」《法華經如來壽量品第十六》
⊙「處處自說,名字不同、年紀大小,亦復現言當入涅槃,又以種種方便說微妙法,能令眾生發歡喜心。」《法華經如來壽量品第十六》
⊙說法之相不同,皆不離化身之妙用;但眾生根有淺深、機有遲速。
⊙處處自說,名字不同、年紀大小:處處自稱應身名號,各各不同,及以年紀大小亦異。
⊙處處自說:現跡利群生。橫論即昔日十方國土,豎論即過現之間,處處行因遍諸方土。
⊙名字不同:形既應機示現則有名字,因名召體,機有大小,形有勝劣。此約示現佛法界身,名字不同。若現九法界身,無量無邊,可以意得。
⊙年紀大小:此明壽命長短。大即勝應,小即劣應。劣應現壽有量,勝應現壽無量。壽命不同,名字不同,現身亦異,此皆隨所應度而利益之
⊙亦復現言當入涅槃:佛真法身,猶若虛空,本無終始,言涅槃者。悉是為生方便示現。
⊙佛在世間,不生難遭之想,言入涅槃,令其戀慕渴仰而得解脫。所請應滅度者即現滅度。
⊙又以種種方便說微妙法:為令眾生得妙法故,假諸方便,而為演說。
⊙又以下,聲益。小身短壽,說於漸教,故云種種方便。大身長壽,說於頓教,故云說微妙法。
⊙能令眾生發歡喜心:能令前機聞法解悟,發歡喜心。能令等,四悉施化,二益隨機,投其所好,故得利益發歡喜心也。過去益物竟。

【證嚴上人開示】
聞法身心喜悅,得未曾希有想,斯妙法濟群生,如蓮華出水開。無上甚深微妙法,百千萬劫難遭遇,我今見聞得受持,願解如來真實義。

聞法身心喜悅
得未曾希有想
斯妙法濟群生
如蓮華出水開
無上甚深微妙法
百千萬劫難遭遇
我今見聞得受持
願解如來真實義

要用心!聽,要好好記憶。法,傳是不簡單;說,也不是很容易!種種因緣一定要合成,因緣若有所缺,法要完成,聽也很困難!請大家要用心、要記憶,落實、受用啊!所以,「聞法身心喜悅」,得未曾有。這是要期待人人日日聽法,日日都要有歡喜心,日日聽法都要沒有厭倦的心;每天聽,每天都有清新的歡喜,這清新的歡喜,那就要身體力行,所以要很用心啊!聽法,要深入,身,是要聽來我們身體力用,這法在我們的身上起效用。這個方法可以做,所以我們的身可以用,這是身。還有心,你要入心、你要記憶,從內心的歡喜,身體就能夠去力行;身體力行就產生了歡喜。

付出幫助人,原來是這麼輕安、這麼容易、這麼歡喜的事情!平時沒有去付出,覺得這是很困難,但是付出了,原來捨,捨我們的力、捨我們的愛去付出去,這樣之後,那個心,愛的付出回歸回來,是那分的喜悅。只要我們願意付出,自然我們的心,就有歡喜的那個感覺,這種的喜悅「得未曾有」,這次做的比上次更加歡喜,做得更加有意義。過去雖然在做,但是做久了,感覺就是這樣而已,又再起動一下、又再加力一點,我們有不同的形態、不一樣的做法,不是只有墨守在一個範圍,我們還有有餘的力量,還能夠幫助、超越其他,還是有力,不是只有這一點點而已,還能夠付出。

就像這樣,愈做愈歡喜,我們常常聽到人這樣說:「開始做很歡喜,愈做又愈歡喜。每一回做的,增加歡喜的感覺。」所以,「得未曾希有想」。原來我對這個境界,那個感覺印在心裡,很歡喜。這種每一個境界不同,境界是「相」,我們的心去感覺,這叫做「想」(siong)。「不經一事,不長一智」,我們有緣到這個境界,我們去付出,那個心的喜悅,真正是未曾有。所以,不斷要有新的感覺,聽法要常常感覺,「苟日新、日日新」,要有這樣的感覺。每天在聽,新鮮,不是說「唉呀,昨天也聽這樣,今天也聽這樣。昨天你聽這樣,沒有感覺到,今天你聽這樣,有體悟到」。同樣的法,反覆在那裡說,過去沒有心得,現在「心有所得」,所以我們現在聽到心喜悅;同樣一句話,昨天聽到沒有感覺,今天聽到有心得,這就是我們「聞法身心喜悅」。聽法要日日新、苟日新;同樣這些法,我們反反覆覆,這樣聽起來,心得那個時候就是喜悅了。

就是緣那個境界去付出,每一個境界成了,我們的感覺一直又增長了,這叫做「想」。常常說,「相」下面一個「心」,每一個相不同,每一個境界的形象不同。我們用心用到那裡,我們就有這樣的印象,所以這法在我們的心,我們要「新」,日日新,我們的心,聽法的心,也要時時有新鮮感。不要說「唉呀,老舊了,老舊的法一直說」。經典本來就是千古不變,不變的法才是真實法,本來就是老舊,所以我們要很用心,「苟日新、日日新」的心情,來聽法。所以,若能夠這樣,「斯妙法濟群生,如蓮華出水開」。這妙法能夠利益群生,我們若心有所得,自然我們的法就能夠普被,普遍來滋潤眾生。所以,就像蓮花在水中,在泥與水之中,看它,這泥供應的肥分,它已經出那個水面來了,那個蓮出水面在盛開,那種很微妙,出污池的蓮華是那麼的清淨。

這同樣的道理,常常告訴大家,污泥是因為有蓮花,所以美化了,而蓮花是因為污泥,所以它盛開了,這是何其微妙啊!濁與淨,能夠在源頭這樣起來。佛法就是在芸芸眾生中,會合眾生來講說佛法,同樣的道理,所以「斯妙法濟群生」,蓮花在污泥顯出,就是在污濁中,現出了蓮華,同樣的微妙!因為這樣,我們佛法經典,就是這樣在讚歎,「無上甚深微妙法,百千萬劫難遭遇,我今見聞得受持,願解如來真實義」。這我們讀經的開頭,不就是常常這樣唸過去嗎?而我們有體會到,無上甚深微妙法嗎?當你要開經來讀誦的時候,這本經的裡面,是有無上甚深微妙法的法,那個道理存在。我們有起恭敬心,開始要來開啟這個妙法,我們讀經的目的是什麼呢?是要成長自己的慧命,從慧命要發揮悲智雙運,這才是真正的讀經。「經」能夠發揮無限的力量,在我們的身心,讓我們發心、讓我們身能夠身體力行,這是無上甚深微妙法,啟發我們的心智,就是微妙法。

法是「百千萬劫難遭遇」,要聽佛法不是很簡單,要種種的因緣會合。尤其是法要繼續、繼續每天聽,這是很不簡單,要懂得珍惜,不要因為它每天有,所以「加減聽」,應該要很用心。「我今見聞得受持」。現在,我已經看到這樣的法,我也體會到了,我的身心都受用了,我應該要珍惜它,要長長久久、生生世世都要受用。我們應該要發這樣的願,身、口、意,還要再弘誓願;弘誓願,就是「願解如來真實義」。我們的誓願就是要深入,真正要解如來真實義;如來的真實義,我們若不了解,那我們讀經就白讀了,聽經也是白聽了!

以此清淨之法水
淨行者之心器
且使生佛心田
之佛種子
微妙法水
從空而注
以淨其心器

所以,「以此清淨之法水,淨行者之心器」。我們就要有一個清淨的心器,器具,我們的心,要洗得清清淨淨,才來用這個法水,這個法水要裝在清淨的器具。就像我們要喝的水,桶子若沒有洗乾淨,較清的水裝下去,也不行。所以,法,要清淨心來接受法。所以,「淨行者之心器」。我們既然修行的人,既然有心的人,我們就將我們的心,好像一個裝水的器具,我們要洗得乾淨來裝淨水,將法裝入我們的心來。甚至使我們的心,能夠生佛心這個田的種子,所以,微妙的法水,能夠滋潤我們的心田,這個清淨的法水,是「從空而注」,〈藥草喻品〉就是期待,期待有雨水來滋潤地上的種子,讓它盛開。同樣的道理,希望我們真正清淨的心,來接受清淨微妙法,要用心啊。

前面的文這樣說:「諸善男子!若有眾生來至我所,我以佛眼,觀其信等,諸根利鈍,隨所應度。」

諸善男子
若有眾生來至我所
我以佛眼
觀其信等諸根利鈍
隨所應度
《法華經如來壽量品第十六》

就是:「善男子!若有眾生來到我的面前,我用佛眼……。」說過了,佛陀具足「五眼」,來分析這個人的根機,「他的虔誠、他的根機有多大,我就適應他的根機;他的相信,那個信力有多少,我就說多麼深,或者多麼淺的法給他,適應他的根機,所能接受。」因為這些根機,有利、有鈍的根機,所以,「隨所應度」而說法。

接下來這段文這樣說:「處處自說,名字不同、年紀大小,亦復現言當入涅槃,又以種種方便說微妙法,能令眾生發歡喜心。」

處處自說
名字不同
年紀大小
亦復現言當入涅槃
又以種種方便
說微妙法
能令眾生發歡喜心
《法華經如來壽量品第十六》

這段文就要來說,說法,「說法之相不同,皆不離化身之妙用」。我們前面有說過法身、應身、報身,我們全都有說,前面已經說過。現在就來說,這個「相」,「說法之相不同」。

說法之相不同
皆不離化身之妙用
但眾生根有淺深
機有遲速

佛的應化身在人間,是隨機不同而應化人間;隨眾生的根機,隨眾生的生態,所以應化人間,佛陀,他的應身,就是這樣應機而來的妙用。佛陀在六道中應眾生的根機,應眾生因緣而化度眾生,這我們應該要清楚。「但眾生根有淺深,機有遲速、敏捷」。眾生的根有淺的,微劣的小根,就像〈藥草喻品〉,有小根、小枝、小葉,雨水若落下來,適應它多大的葉子,滋潤多大;多粗的枝、多細的枝,就適應那個根和枝和葉,這就是應眾生的根機。有的接受到這個水,很快就滋潤了,有的水落下去變成一粒珠,這粒珠它還是再滴入土,葉子,它就沒有沾到水。同樣的道理,有的是慢慢地吸收,有的很快就吸收。我們人也是這樣,法,在他的身邊,有的人好像沒有用到,有的人很快就吸收;有的人是慢慢地來,來感覺,慢慢吸收,同樣的道理。所以,「處處自說,名字不同、年紀大小」。

處處自說
名字不同
年紀大小:
處處自稱應身名號
各各不同
及以年紀大小亦異

就是應這樣根機,「處處自稱應身名號」,不論到哪裡都有名字。佛陀來到世間,在皇宮,叫做悉達多;修行、成佛,人人稱他「如來」、「世尊」、「佛陀」,這不一樣的名稱。這就是有這樣隨機應化,今生此世是這樣的名稱,過去生世、來生世又是不同。所以,「各各不同,及以年紀大小」,都有異。佛陀今生此世也有幼年的悉達多、少年的悉達多、中年的修行者,到了中年以上來了,開始就是要稱「佛」了,不同了。「處處自說:現跡利群生」。

處處自說:
現跡利群生
橫論
即昔日十方國土
豎論即過現之間
處處行因遍諸方土

佛陀成佛之後,到處都有說:「過去在哪一個地方,遇到什麼樣的人;什麼樣的根機,有什麼樣的煩惱,我為他說什麼法。」今天向這些人說,昨天有遇到這樣的人,就引過去,有過煩惱的眾生來問佛;佛就說昨天、過去用什麼法,為他啟發,說給今天的人聽,這就是說過去法。比昨天更長的過去,再過去、過去,比今生此世再過去,過去的法就是這樣處處不同,處處根機、煩惱不同,用不同的方法來輔導、來教化,這就叫做「現跡利群生」。這樣的環境、這樣的人,應這樣的事物,為他說法,利益群生。

這是橫向來說,就是「昔日十方國土」,「橫」的來說;那就是這個世界,空間在那裡、在這裡,叫做橫的。我在什麼地方,與什麼人說的話;若是直的,是過去、現在、未來,同樣的道理,不論是橫和直,全部到處都是這樣。「處處行因遍諸方土」,就是這樣,就是不斷,不論是時間,「六度萬行」,不論是空間,還是「六度萬行」,就是這樣,「橫」、「直」普遍,無時不在。

所以,「名字不同」,不同的空間。在這些空間,用臺語說的,你是什麼名字?到日本說的,你是什麼名字?這聽起來都不太一樣,儘管用臺語、用中文叫的名,你去到外面的國家,別人用外種的語言,來稱呼你的名,聽起來,好像不是叫我的名字,不太一樣。何況現在的人要說的名字,我都聽不懂,你到底什麼名字?不是英文,就是德文,要不然就是葡萄牙文,他們的名字,「明明就一個中國名字,你怎麼那麼多名字」,這同樣的道理。

名字不同:
形既應機示現
則有名字
因名召體
機有大小
形有勝劣
此約示現佛法界身
名字不同
若現九法界身
無量無邊
可以意得

「名字不同,形既應機」而示現,何況佛陀在不同的地方,應化身,就是在不同的地方出現。過去的佛陀,我們現在說的,已經是用我們人間的時間,說二千多年,其實,他二千多年前的佛陀,再來人間,不知道經過幾次,或者在這個空間,是天堂、地獄,或者在畜生道,不知走過幾次去度化眾生,這是諸佛菩薩的心願。「四生慈父」,「三界導師」,無處不在,這當然他是「應機示現」,這個行跡不同,名字也是一樣不同,那個身體也不同。這就是這樣,佛陀的心願,在五道之中,遍布佛陀所教化的行跡。

有勝機、有劣機,殊勝的根機,那就是很敏捷的根機;若是劣,那就是比較愚鈍的根機,有的是向不同、不同的,這觀念,知識都不同,他用不同的方法,適應他們的根機,這就是顯示,「佛法界身,名字不同」。佛,他在不同的形態世界,他用不同的名字。「若現九法界身,無量無邊,可以」,我們「意」應該就是要能夠體會。「九界」,記得幾天前說的,「五趣雜居地」,我們有聲聞、緣覺,也有菩薩,還有天、人、地獄、餓鬼、畜生,這些界合起來叫做「九界」。佛陀在這個九界眾生之中,就是隨時應機現形說法,這就是佛陀普現十方世界。不論是應世間這個壽命的長短,他就來人間現那個時間,佛陀的時代,現八十歲的壽命在人間。所以,「明壽命長短」。

年紀大小:
此明壽命長短
大即勝應
小即劣應
劣應現壽有量
勝應現壽無量
壽命不同
名字不同
現身亦異
此皆隨所應度
而利益之

「大」就是勝,就是用大法來適應;「小」即是劣,所以這叫做勝、劣的根機。「大機」,就大法給他,大法;「小機」,就給他較輕微、小的法。所以,「劣應現壽有量」。看看眾生的根機,眾生的根機若可以,需要,趕緊快給他,他就趕緊能夠接受,能夠發揮他的良能;若是根機劣,就耐心。眾生若壽命短,可能要把握時間,用小法先為他種一個善因,根機若較深的,他就要用「頓法」,讓他趕緊了解,這就是不同的方式、不同的施教的方法。「亦復現言當入涅槃」。

亦復現言
當入涅槃:
佛真法身
猶若虛空
本無終始
言涅槃者
悉是為生方便示現

佛陀也會示現,這八十年齡,到了年老的時候,和我們人都一樣,同樣,他也有到老邁的階段。所以開始就要「現言」,開始說:「我年紀大了,我再不久了。」這「佛真法身,猶若虛空」。其實佛的真正的法身,就像虛空一樣,「本無終始」,本來就沒有終始,沒有什麼開頭,也沒有時候的結束,沒有!但是應眾生所需要,所以,他就有壽命現給大家看,說,我老了。不是我老了,大家也老了,我們在〈信解品〉,難道不是嗎?弟子也都自己譬喻,我已經老邁了。對啊,人就是這樣,現這個相。所以,佛的真法身,我們也常常說,理,法身就是理,理就是遍虛空法界,「本無終盡」,本來沒有盡頭。言有「涅槃」,就是「悉」,完全是為了眾生,要來度眾生。所以,他就有這個壽長、壽短,用這種的方便法現相在人間。所以我們要很用心體會。

佛在世間
不生難遭之想
言入涅槃
令其戀慕渴仰
而得解脫
所請應滅度者
即現滅度

「佛在世間,不生難遭之想,言入涅槃」。這些人,若是不懂得要珍惜,佛陀就一直會告訴大家:「再沒有多久,我就將要入涅槃了,你們若不珍惜,我將要入涅槃了。」人間的壽命有限了。「令其戀慕渴仰得解脫」。讓他能夠知道:若不趕緊把握,將要不見了。所以,他就會趕緊精進。「所請應滅度」。就這樣,就趕緊,要將法趕緊來請,請佛詳細說,要不然佛要入滅了。彌勒菩薩豈不就是這樣呢?趕緊懇切,「請佛趕緊,趕快說法,這些人,大家,還有很多新發意的菩薩,聽進去擔心會有懷疑,未來可能他們若懷疑,就沒有人可以解,請佛要趕緊解釋,擔心他們會受懷疑」。所以,「又以種種方便,說微妙法」。

又以種種方便
說微妙法:
為令眾生得妙法故
假諸方便
而為演說

所以佛陀趕緊,趕快用種種方法,應這個人間、這個時間,過去根小、微劣根機的人,佛陀用方便法趕緊為他們說法,應機;若根機深的,趕緊引導他們直接接受大乘法。這時間在留下來沒有多久了,用方便微妙,可以適應所有的根機,這樣的法來度化。所以,「令眾生得妙法故,假諸方便」,就是借這些方便來說法。所以,我們下面就是以聲聞,用聲音來利益,讓人聽進去,有辦法聽。

又以下 聲益
小身短壽
說於漸教
故云種種方便
大身長壽
說於頓教
故云說微妙法

有的眾生,有的人就是命短,來不及了,所以他要趕緊應用他的根機,再剩的壽命沒有多少,那就要趕緊用方便法,趕緊引導他種一個小小的因緣,來生再有緣接觸佛法。這個小身命短,這個生命短暫的物體、生命體,包括人、包括其他,他要用種種法,說「漸教」。因為他的根機太劣了,無法很快接受,也就要用方法來接引他,「故云種種方便」。沒辦法,佛陀總是要用這個小法,來度眾生。所以,「大身長壽,說於頓教」。就是說大法,「頓教」就是開門見山,說真實一乘實法,這就是大法。若是小根機,那就是用「漸教」,哪怕這一輩子,無法一下子就聽到大法,至少為他種一個善根,將來還有機會,用這樣慢慢地教。再者,「能令眾生發歡喜心」。

能令眾生
發歡喜心:
能令前機聞法解悟
發歡喜心
能令等
四悉施化
二益隨機
投其所好
故得利益
發歡喜心也
過去益物竟

我們能夠讓眾生發起歡喜心,看到佛法發歡喜心。「能令前機聞法」,能夠讓前面的那個根機,聽法的人能夠解悟。現在釋迦佛在法華會上,就是為這些已經來,已經很久了,過去無量數劫以前,已度化的人,那些菩薩,這都是前面的。還有,前面所說過的根機,包括在內,有的是利根,有的是劣根,就是這樣用種種法,趕緊將他們集合會遇起來,讓他們小根的人,能夠接受到小法,慢慢去體會、去了解,善根深入他們的心,來生還有機會。頓教,就是說給很利根的人、很大根機的人,他收納法進去之後,讓他堅定道心,讓他能夠延續這分法,再更加深入。這種聞法,這過去的根機,因緣集合來,讓人人同時聽,同時歡喜。

你即使是漸機的人,就是較劣根,他也能夠清楚。即使是新發意的菩薩,他現在聽,為他解釋得好,後面他若碰到,遇到時,他會心開意解,慢慢知道。過去的,我們讓他更加清楚、更加了解,堅定道心。所以,不論是資深,還是資淺,全都皆大歡喜在這個法會上。在這場《法華經》大法會之中,他們可以人人,各種的根機,三機普被,可以各個得到歡喜心。

所以,「能令等」,「等」就是前面說過的這些人,過去、現在和未來的人,讓他們定下這念心,「四悉施化」,「四悉壇」我們過去說過了。我們要很用心,入那人群中,好好將他們帶出來,完全以法利益眾生。所以,所有的利益全都要隨機,不論是「自利」或者是「利他」。我們自利就是益自己,「利他」就是益他人,大機、小機,大、小根機,這我們都要好好入群。我們要布施,我們要利行,我們要愛語,我們要去同事,就是同入群中,去好好度化眾生。大小根機要普被,所以「投其所好,故得利益發歡喜心也」。

是啊,我們要布施,「布施」就是付出;我們要「利行」,我們所做一切一切,就是要利益群生。我們要用「愛語」,說出了適應他根機,能夠接受的法,「愛語」。我們一定要入人群去,去度化眾生。這這麼簡單,我們若做得到,就是自己利益、利益他人。小根機的,我們也可以利益,大根機,我們也可以利益,這我們就能夠投其所好,他聽到都很歡喜,做得很歡喜、聽得很歡喜,都是有利益。所以,這發歡喜心,讓大家歡喜,過去也是這樣,是利益,現在也是、未來也是!這就是,要如何來利益一切眾生,就是這樣用心過來。所以,人人要把握時間,時時要多用心!

【附註】〔四悉檀〕(名數)佛之說法不出四悉檀也。悉檀Siddha^nta者,古師一譯為成。謂以此四法成就眾生之佛道,故名。南岳解悉為漢語普遍之義,檀為梵言檀那之略,是施之義。佛以此四法普施眾生,故云悉檀。天台隨於南岳,愚案悉檀與新譯之悉曇同,成就之義也。一世界悉檀,佛先順凡情用人我等假名隨順眾生所樂而說世界之法,令聞者歡喜適悅。二各各為人悉檀,佛說法鑑眾生之機,隨機宜之大小,宿種之淺深,說各人所應之法,令彼發起正信,增長善根。三對治悉檀,貪欲多者教以慈心,愚痴多者教以因緣觀,如是施種種之法藥,除遣眾生之惡病。四第一義悉檀,佛見眾生之機緣既熟,說諸法實相,令彼入於真證。要之佛始說淺近之事理,令聞者適悅者,世界也,令眾生生善根者,為人也,除遣眾生之惡病者,對治也,遂使悟入聖道者,第一義也。智度論一曰:「有四種悉檀:一者世界悉檀,二者各各為人悉檀,三者對治悉檀,四者第一義悉檀。四悉檀中總攝一切十二部經八萬四千法藏,皆是實相無相違背。」 (以下略)(丁福保《佛學大辭典》)

〔四攝法〕(名數)一布施攝。謂若有眾生樂財則布施財,若樂法則布施法,使因是生親愛之心,依我受道也。二愛語攝。謂隨眾生根性而善言慰喻,使因是生親愛之心,依附我受道也。三利行攝。謂起身口意善行利益眾生,使由此生親愛之心而受道也。四同事攝。謂以法眼見眾生根性,隨其所樂而分形示現,使同其所作霑利益,由是受道也。仁王經中曰:「行四攝法:布施,愛語,利行,同事。」梵 catvāri sajgraha-vastūni。(丁福保《佛學大辭典》)


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Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: Helping Sentient Beings Give Rise to Joy (處處自說 令眾歡喜)
Date: January. 10.2019

“In listening to the Dharma, we must give rise to joy in our body and mind and to the thought that it is something rare that we have never had before. This wondrous Dharma that helps sentient beings is like the lotus flower that rises and blooms from the water. The unsurpassed, extremely profound, subtle and wondrous Dharma is rarely encountered in billions of kalpas. Now that we can see, hear and accept it, we vow to understand the Tathagata’s true meaning.”

We must be mindful! As we listen [to the Dharma], we must earnestly commit it to memory. Spreading the Dharma is no easy task, nor is teaching it! Various causes and conditions must come together. If causes and conditions are lacking, then completing or listening to the Dharma will be very difficult. Everyone, please be mindful, and please remember to apply [the Dharma] in your lives. So, “In listening to the Dharma, we must give rise to joy in our body and mind and to the thought that it is something that we have never had before.” We hope that everyone will listen to the Dharma every day, give rise to joy every day, and never grow tired as they listen to the Dharma every day. As we listen to it every day, we have fresh joy. To have this pure and renewed joy, we must put [the Dharma] into practice. Therefore, we must be very mindful. We must let the Dharma enter deep into our body so that we can put it into action with our body, and so that it can become useful for us. We can apply these teachings, so our bodies can make use of them. This is in terms of our body. In terms of our heart, we also need to take [the Dharma] to heart and memorize it. With joy within our hearts, our body can put the teachings into practice. By putting it into practice, we will also give rise to joy. “Giving and helping others is actually something very peaceful, easy and joyful.” If we do not help others often, then we will feel that it is difficult. However, once we help others, [we find out that], actually, as we give our effort and our love to others, having done this, what returns from giving with love is a sense of joy. As long as we are willing to serve others, our hearts will naturally give rise to joy. Such joy is “something that we have never had before.” Each time we [serve others] will bring us more joy and a stronger sense of meaning that the last time. While we have previously engaged [in serving others], having done it for so long, we may not feel much. But once we motivate ourselves some more and work a bit harder, we will have a different disposition and different way of doing things. We will not limit ourselves; we will still have extra strength to be able to help others and surpass [our limits]. We will still have the strength, and not just a small amount; we will still be able to give of ourselves. So, in this way, the more we work, the more joyful we will be.

We often hear people say things like, “I was very happy when I started [volunteering], and the more I volunteered, the happier I became.” Every time they volunteered, their joy increased. So, we give rise to “the thought that it is something rare that we have never had before.” It turns out that the impression this state leaves in our minds makes us very joyful. Every state is different. States are “appearances”. When our hearts experience [them], this is called “thinking.” “Without experience, we cannot grow in wisdom.” As we connect to such a state and serve others, the joy in our hearts will be like what we have never had before. So, we must constantly gain new insights. When listening to the Dharma, we must constantly “renew ourselves daily and begin each day afresh.” We must have this kind of feeling. When we listen to the Dharma every day, it should feel new; we should not [feel like], “Ah! It sounded like this yesterday, and it sounds the same today.” When we listened to it yesterday, we might not have felt anything, but when we listen today, we may understand it. When people repeat the same teachings, we might not have had many insights in the past, but we may gain more insights now, so we feel joyous when we listen to it. We might not have felt anything when we heard the same line yesterday, but we may have gained some insights today. This is how we, “in listening to the Dharma, give rise to joy in our body and mind.” When we listen to the Dharma, we must “renew ourselves daily and begin each day afresh.” With the same teachings, as we listen to them over and over again, what we gain in our minds will be joy. That is, as we connect with these conditions to serve others, as we fulfill every condition, our experience will continuously grow. This is [the power of] thought. We often say that [a thought] is an appearance in our heart. Every appearance is different; the appearance of every condition is different. As we put our heart to it, we will have a certain impression.

So, as we take the Dharma to heart, we must begin each day afresh. Our heart, the heart that listens to the Dharma, must always feel refreshed. We must not say, “Oh, this is old! You’re always teaching the same old Dharma.” The sutras do not change over time. Only the teachings that remain unchanged are the True Dharma. They are inherently “old”. So, we must be very mindful and have a mindset that [we must] “renew ourselves daily and begin each day afresh” as we listen to the Dharma. So, when we can do this, “This wondrous Dharma that helps sentient beings [will be] like the lotus flower that rises and blooms from the water.” This wondrous Dharma can benefit all beings. If we are able to comprehend it, naturally, the Dharma will become widespread and universally nourish sentient beings. So, it is just like a lotus flower in muddy water. Look, with the fertile soil provided by the mud, it has already risen out of the water. The lotus has risen out of the water and bloomed. It is so subtle and wondrous; the lotus that grows from the muddy pond is so pure. The principle is the same. I often tell everyone that the lotus flower beautifies the mud, and it is because of the mud that the lotus flower blooms. This is so subtle and wondrous. Turbidity and purity can arise from the [same] origin in this way. The Buddha-Dharma requires that [we go] among the multitudes of sentient beings and come together with them to teach the Buddha-Dharma. Similarly, “This wondrous Dharma helps sentient beings.” The lotus flower emerges from the mud. Out of turbidity, a lotus flower emerges. It is just as subtle and wondrous. Because of this, we praise the sutras of the Buddha-Dharma [by saying], “The unsurpassed, extremely profound, subtle and wondrous Dharma is rarely encountered in billions of kalpas. Now that I can see, hear and accept it, I vow to understand the Tathagata’s true meaning.” Don’t we often recite this before we start reading a sutra? So, have we experienced “the unsurpassed, extremely profound, subtle and wondrous Dharma”? When we open the sutra to read and recite it, within the sutra is the unsurpassed, extremely profound, subtle and wondrous Dharma. All these principles exist within it, so have we given rise to a reverent mind and begun to unfold this wondrous Dharma? What is our purpose in reading the sutra? It is to grow our wisdom-life. From our wisdom-life, we must exercise both compassion and wisdom. This is what it truly [means] to read the sutra. “Sutras” can activate infinite power within our body and mind, helping us form aspirations and helping our bodies put teachings into action. This is the unsurpassed, extremely profound, subtle and wondrous Dharma that can awaken the wisdom in our minds. This is the subtle and wondrous Dharma. The Dharma “is rarely encountered in billions of kalpas.”

It is not easy to listen to the Buddha-Dharma; various causes and conditions must come together. In particular, to continuously listen to the Dharma every day is not easy, so we must cherish it. It is present every day, but we must not “listen casually”. We must put great effort into this. “Now that [we] can see, hear and accept it,” now that we have seen this kind of Dharma and have also experienced it and have made use of it with both body and mind, we ought to cherish it. We must always, throughout countless lifetimes, make use of it. We must form such vows; we must practice it with body, speech and mind and make great vows. Making great vows means “[vowing] to understand the Tathagata’s true meaning”. Our vow is to deeply enter and truly comprehend the Tathagata’s true meaning. If we do not comprehend His true meaning, then reading and listening to the sutra will be fruitless.

This pure Dharma-water is used to cleanse the vessel of the practitioner’s mind and also give rise to the Buddha-seeds of the field of the Buddha-mind. The subtle and wondrous Dharma-water pours from the sky to purify the vessel of our mind.

So, “This pure Dharma-water is used to cleanse the vessels of the practitioners’ minds.” Our mind must be a pure vessel. This vessel, which is our mind, must be completely pure before we use the Dharma-water. This Dharma-water must be held in a pure vessel. This is like when we wish to drink water, if the bucket is not clean, then no matter how pure the water is, it will still be useless. So, we must receive the Dharma with a pure mind. [We must] “cleanse the vessel of the practitioners’ mind”. Since we are spiritual practitioners and are sincere, we should turn our minds into vessels for the [Dharma-water]. We must cleanse them so they may hold pure water and take the Dharma into our minds. We must even let our minds give rise to the seeds of the field of the Buddha-mind. So, the subtle and wondrous Dharma-water can nourish the field of our mind. This pure Dharma-water “pours from the sky”.

The Chapter on Medicinal Plants [expresses] the hope that there will be rain that nourishes the seeds on the ground and help them bloom. By the same principle, we hope that we have truly pure minds to receive the pure, subtle and wondrous Dharma. [For this], we must be mindful.

In the previous sutra passage, [the Buddha] says, “Good men, if sentient beings come to where I am, I use my Buddha-eyes to observe how sharp or dull their roots of faith and so on are and thus transform them accordingly.”

So, [the Buddha said], “Good men, if sentient beings come before me, I will use my Buddha-eyes.” We said that the Buddha is replete with the Five Eyes and uses them to analyze a person’s capabilities. “Depending on their reverence and how great their capabilities are, I will [transform] them accordingly. Depending on how much faith they have, I will give teachings that are profound or simple to them, accoding to what they can accept with their capabilities.” Because their capabilities are either sharp or dull, He teaches the Dharma and “transforms them accordingly”.

In the next sutra passage, [the Buddha] says, “In all places, I spoke of myself as having different names and as being young. I also say now that I will enter Parinirvana. I further use all kinds of skillful means to teach the subtle and wondrous Dharma, which can help sentient beings give rise to joy”.

This passage discusses teaching the Dharma. “Although the one speaking the Dharma may have different appearances, all are inseparable from the wondrous application of the Nirmanakaya”. We have previously spoken of the Dharmakaya, Nirmanakaya and Sambhogakaya. We have previously spoken about all of them. We must now speak of these “appearances”. “Although [the Buddha] may have different appearances while teaching the Dharma…”.

Although [the Buddha] may different appearances while teaching the Dharma, all are inseparable from the wondrous application of the Nirmanakaya. Yet sentient beings’ roots are either shallow or deep and their capabilities are either slow or fast.

Within the world, the Buddha’s Nirmanakaya comes to the world according to different capabilities. In accordance with sentient beings’ capabilities and their ways of life, He comes to the world. The Buddha’s Nirmanakaya is the wondrous application that comes in response to capabilities. Throughout the Six Realms, the Buddha transformed sentient beings according to their capabilities and karmic conditions. We must be clear about this. Sentient beings’ roots are either shallow or deep. Their capabilities are either dull or sharp. Sentient beings’ capacities can be shallow and limited, just like in the Chapter on Medicinal Plants, where there are small roots, branches and leaves. When the rain falls, the water absorbed depends on the leaves’ size and the branches’ size. [The amount absorbed] accords with the roots, branches and leaves. This represents suiting the capacities of sentient beings. Some [leaves] that receive water are quickly nourished, while from some, the water falls and becomes a droplet that falls onto the ground, and these leaves are not moistened. The principle is the same; some slowly absorb [the water], while others absorb it quickly. It is the same for humans. Although the Dharma is around us, some people may not use it. Some people may quickly absorb it, while others may slowly realize and absorb it. The principle is the same. So, “In all places, I spoke of myself as having different names and as being young or old”.

In all places, I spoke of myself as having different names and as being young or old; In all places, He said that His manifestations all had different names and epithets, and His age also differed in being young or old.

[The Buddha] responded to such capabilities. “In all places, He said that His manifestations all had different names and epithets”. No matter where He went, He had a name. when the Buddha came to the world, He was called “Siddhartha” in the palace. When He engaged in spiritual practice and attained Buddhahood, people called Him “the Tathagata, the World-Honored One” or “the Buddha”. These were all different names. So, this was how He manifested according to capabilities. In this lifetime, He had this name, but in previous and future lifetimes, His name was and will be different. So, “All had different names and epithets and my age also differed in being young or old”. In this lifetime, the Buddha was the young Siddhartha and then the middle-aged practitioner. After He reached middle age, we began to call Him “Buddha”. His names are different. “’In all places, I spoke of myself’ [means]. He revealed manifestations to benefit all beings”.

In all places, I spoke of myself: He revealed manifestations to benefit all beings. In terms of [space], this refers to the lands of the ten directions in the past. In terms of [time], this refers to how, in the period between the past and now, He engaged in causal practice throughout the lands in all directions.

After the Buddha attained Buddhahood, He went everywhere to say, “In the past, in a certain person, I encountered a certain person, with certain capabilities and afflictions, and I taught him these teachings”. Today, He would tell people that He met this kind of person the previous day. He drew from the past. When sentient beings with afflictions asked Him a question, the Buddha would speak of the kind of teachings He used in the past to inspire the people in the present. This is teaching the Dharma from the past. As for what happened longer ago, in the even more distant past before this present lifetime, His pass [appearances] all [differed] in each different place. In each place, [sentient beings’] capabilities and afflictions are different. Thus, He used different methods to guide and teach them. Thus, “He revealed manifestations to benefit all beings”. According to the conditions and the listeners, He responded to the matters [present] in teaching them the Dharma. He benefited all sentient beings like this. In terms of space, this refers to “the lands of the ten directions in the past”. Here, space refers to the world. The space may have been here or there; this is referring to space, where we are located and who we are speaking with. As for time, there is the past, present and future. The principle is the same. Whether space or time, it was the same everywhere. “He engaged in causal practice throughout the lands in all ten directions”. He had done this ceaselessly. Across time, He actualized the Six Paramitas in all actions. Across space, He also actualized the Six Paramitas in all actions. In this way, whether in time or space, [His practice] reached every place and every time. So, [He] “had different names” in different places. In this place, using Taiwanese, the way we say our name compared to how it is said in Japanese is rather different. Even between Taiwanese and Mandarin our names [sound quite different]. When we travel to foreign countries and others use a foreign language to say our names, they do not sound like our names. They are not quite the same. Even now, when people say their names, I often cannot understand them. “What is actually your name?” Their names may be in English, German or perhaps even Portuguese. “You only have one Chines name, so how can you have so many other names?” The principle is the same.

As having different names: he manifests His form according to capabilities, thus He has names. Based on the names, he manifests bodies. [People’s] capabilities may be great or limited, so [His] forms may be superior or inferior. This demonstrates that the Buddha’s bodies in the Dharma-realms all have different names. When He manifests His bodies in the Nine Dharma-realms, they are infinite and boundless. We should be able to comprehend this with our minds.

“As having different names” refers to how. “He manifests His form according to capabilities”. moreover, when the Buddha is in different places, His Nirmanakaya appears in different places. The Buddha of the past that we now speak of [lived], in terms of our worldly time, over 2000 years ago. Actually, the Buddha from more than 2000 years ago has since returned to this world an unknowable number of times. Whether this [human realm], heaven, hell or the animal realm, we do not know how many times He had come to transform sentient beings. This is the vow of all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. He is the “kind father of the Four Kinds of Beings” and the “guiding teacher of the Three Realms. His is present everywhere. Of course, He manifests according to capabilities, so, His footprints are different [each time]. His names are also different, as are His bodies. This is how, because of the Buddha’s vow, the footprints of His transformation are spread throughout the Five Realms. There are those with great capabilities and those with limited capacities have sharp capabilities. those with limited [capacities]. People have different tendencies; they have different perspectives and knowledge. So, he uses different methods to suit their capabilities. this shows that “The Buddha’s bodies in the Dharma-realms all have different names. In different worlds, the Buddha used different names.

“When the Nine Dharma-realms, they are infinite and boundless. We should be able to comprehend this with our mind. In regards to the “Nine Realms,” remember how a few days ago we spoke of “the place where the five Destinies coexist”? We have the Hearers, Solitary Realizers and Bodhisattvas. Adding the heavenly beings, human, hell, hungry ghost and animal realms [etc.], these worlds are collectively called the “Nine Dharma-Realms”. While among sentient beings of the Nine Dharma-Realms, the Buddha always manifest and teach the Dharma according to capabilities. Thus, the Buddha is always present in the worlds of the ten directions. Regardless of the length of His lifespan in this world, He comes here to manifest for that length of time. While the Buddha was in the world, the Buddha manifested a lifespan of 80 years in the world. So, “this explains that His lifespan may be long or short.

As being young or old: This explains that His lifespana may be long or short. He responds to those of great capabilities by being old. He respinds to those of limited capabilities by being young. In response to those of limited capabilities, He manifests as having limited lifespan. In response to those of great capabilities, He manifests as having infinite lifespan. His lifespan differ, and His manifestations also differ. These all accord with those He must transform in order to benefit them.

“Being old” is for those of superior [capabilities], which means [the Buddha] responds to them with the Great Vehicle Dharma. “Being young” is for those of inferior [capabilities]. So, these are great and limited capabilities. those of “great capabilities receive the Great Vehicle Dharma, while those of “limited capabilities” receive the Small Vehicle Dharma. “In response to those of limited capabilities, He manifests as having limited lifespan. [He] examines sentient beings’ capabilities. If their capabilities are sufficient, he quickly gives them [the Great Vehicle Dharma] so they can immediately receive and realize their altruistic potential. If their capabilities are limited, he will be patient. If their lives are short, then He has to seize the time and use the small Vehicle Dharma to plant seeds of goodness for them. If their roots are relatively deep, He will use the “immediate teachings” to help them quickly understand. These are all different methods of teaching “I also say now that I will enter Parinirvana”.

I also say now that I will enter Parinirvana: The Buddha’s true Dharmakaya is like the endless void, having meither a beginning now an end. In saying that will enter Parinirvana, He was entirely manifesting it as skillful means for the sake of sentient beings.

The Buddha would also manifest an age of eighty years. When He reached old age, He was like all of us; He similarly reached the stage of old age. Thus, He began to “say now”. He began to say, “I am old; I do not have much longer. The Buddha’s true Dharmakaya is like the endless void”.

In truth, the Buddha’s true Dharmakaya is like the endless void, “having neither a beginning nor an end. It intrinsically has neither beginning nor end; it has no point of origin, nor any moment of cessation, none at all. Yet in response to what sentient beings needed, He manifested a lifespan for us to see and said, “I am old”. It was not only He who had aged, but everyone else as well. Wasn’t this the case in the Chapter on Faith and Understanding? These disciples also made an analogy for having reached old age. Yes! This is how people are; they manifest this appearance. So, in terms of the Buddha’s true Dharmakaya, we often say that the Buddha’s Dharmakaya are the principles. The principles pervade the universe; they inherently have no end or limit. He spoke of Parinirvana; this was “entirely,” completely, for the sake of sentient beings. He wanted to transform sentient beings, so He had long and short lifespans. He used these skillful means to manifest in the world. So, we must mindfully seek to comprehend this.

When the Buddha was in the world, people did not give rise to the thought that He was rarely encountered. He spoke of entering Parinirvana to cause them to adore, admire and yearn for Him and thereby attain liberation. The one they requested teachings from should enter Parinirvana, thus He will enter Parinirvana.

When the Buddha was in the world, people did not give rise to the thought that He was rarely encountered. “He spoke of entering Parinirvana”. If these people did not know to cherish Him, the Buddha would continuously tell everyone, “It will not be long before I enter Parinirvana. If you all do not cherish me, then I will soon enter Parinirvana”. A lifespan in this world is limited. [He did this] “to cause them to adore, admire and yearn for Him and thereby attain liberation”. He helped them come to understand that they must quickly seize this [opportunity], or He would soon be gone. So, they would quickly become diligent. “The one they requested teachings from should enter Parinirvana”.

Thus, they quickly requested the Dharma and asked the Buddha to explain it to them in detail, for the Buddha was about to enter Parinirvana. Was Maitreya Bodhisattva not like this? With urgent sincerity, [he said], “Buddha, please quickly teach the Dharma. All of these people as well as many newly-inspired Bodhisattvas may have doubts when they hear it. If, in the future, they have doubts, there will be no one to explain it to them. So we ask You to please quickly teach us, for we fear they will have doubts”. So, [the Buddha said], “I further use all kinds of skillful means to teach the subtle and wondrous Dharma”.

I further use all kinds of skillful means to teach the subtle and wondrous Dharma: In order to help sentient beings attain the wondrous Dharma, He used various skillful means to expound it for them.

So, the Buddha made haste and quickly used various methods in response to the world and the times. In the past, for those with limited capabilities, the Buddha hastily employed skillful means to teach them the Dharma in response to their capabilities. If their roots were deep, then He quickly led them to directly accept the Great Vehicle Dharma. The time remaining was limited. He used skillful and subtle Dharma that suited all capabilities to transform them. So, “In order to help sentient beings attain the wondrous Dharma, He used various skillful means”. He used these skillful means to expound the Dharma. Next, we speak of how He used His voice to benefit others, giving them a means of listening and apprehending.

Also, what follows is how He benefited others with His voice. For those with a short lifespan, He expounded the gradual teachings. Thus He said “all kinds of skillful means”. For those with a long lifespan, He expounded the immediate teachings. So, He said “[I ] teach the subtle and wondrous Dharma”.

Some peoples’ lives are short. Their time is insufficient. So, they must quickly make use of their capabilities, for they do not have much longer left to live. So, He must hastily make use of skillful means to guide them to plant small karmic seed so that in future lives they will again have the affinity to encounter the Buddha-Dharma. For those with a short lifespan, for lifeforms with a short lifespan, including humans and others, He uses various methods to give “gradual teachings”. Since they have limited capabilities and are incapable of quickly accepting [the Dharma], He has to use [skillful] means to guide them. “Thus He said ‘all kinds of skillful means”’. The Buddha had no choice but to rely upon the Small Vehicle Dharma to transform sentient beings. “For those with a long lifespan, He expounds the immediate teachings”. This means He teaches the Great Vehicle Dharma. “Immediate teachings” means that right away. He teaches the True Dharma of the One Vehicle. This is the Great Vehicle Dharma. If people have limited capabilities, then He must employ gradual teachings. Even if, in this life, they have no way to immediately listen to the Great Vehicle Dharma, at the very least, He can plant roots of goodness so that there will be the chance to gradually teach them in the future.

Next, “[These skillful means] can help sentient beings give rise to joy”. [These skillful means] can help sentient beings give rise to joy: He can help those of afore-mentioned capabilities to understand and awaken upon hearing the Dharma and give rise to joy. He can help them all transform themselves through the Four Siddhantas. He provides dual benefits according to capabilities, giving them what they like. Thus they attain benefit and give rise to joy. This is how He benefited all in the past.

We can help sentient beings give rise to joy and experience joy upon seeing the Buddha-Dharma. “He can help those of afore-mentioned capabilities hear the Dharma”. He can help those with aforementioned capabilities who listen to the Dharma realize and understand. At that time, Sakyamuni Buddha was at the Lotus Dharma-Assembly for the sake of those from a long period of time ago, [for the sake of] those Bodhisattvas transformed countless kalpas ago. They were all from the past.

In addition, those with afore-mentioned capabilities were also [among the assembly]. Some had sharp capabilities, while some had dull capabilities. He used various means to quickly bring them together so that those with limited capabilities would be able to accept the Small Vehicle Dharma and slowly comprehend and understand it. With the roots of goodness deeply entering their hearts, they would still have opportunities in the future. He taught immediate teachings for those with sharp or great capabilities. After receiving the teachings, they became resolute in their spiritual aspirations and thereby passed on these teachings and delved deeper into the teachings. As people listened to the Dharma like this, people with past capabilities and affinities came together so that all could simultaneously listen to [the teachings] and feel joy. Even those who learned gradually, those with limited capabilities, were able to understand clearly. Even for those newly-inspired Bodhisattvas who were listening at that moment, [He] had to explain [the teachings] well so that the next time they encounter [the teachings], they would be able to open their minds and gradually understand them. Regarding the past teachings, [He] helped them understand with more clarity and become determined in their spiritual aspirations. So, whether they were experienced or not, they were all very joyful at this Dharma-assembly. At this Great Vehicle Dharma-assembly of the Lotus Sutra, [the Buddha] spoke to people of all kinds of capabilities, of all three capabilities so that they could all attain joy.

So, “He can help them all…”. “All” refers to the previously-mentioned people, those of the past, present and future. He can help them be firm in their aspirations and “transform themselves through the Four Siddhantas”. We previously spoke of the “Four Siddhantas”. We must be very mindful and go among people to earnestly guide them, benefitting sentient beings with the Dharma. So, we must benefit people in accordance with their capabilities, whether we are “benefiting ourselves” or “benefiting others”. To “benefiting ourselves” means to help ourselves, while to “benefiting others” is to help others. Whether they are of great or limited capabilities, we must earnestly go among them. We must engage in giving and beneficial conduct. We must have loving speech and work together. We must go among people together and work earnestly to transform sentient beings, speaking to people of both great and limited capabilities.

So, [He] “gives them what they like. Thus they attain benefit and give rise to joy”. Indeed! We must practice “charitable giving”. “Charitable giving” is serving others. We must partake in “beneficial conduct”. All that we do should be done to benefit sentient beings. We must use “loving speech”. We must teach the Dharma according to others’ capabilities so that they will be able to accept it. This is “loving speech.” We must certainly go among people and transform sentient beings. It is really this simple. If we are able to do this, we can then benefit ourselves and others. We can benefit those with limited capabilities as well as those with great capabilities. Through this we can give them what they like. They will become very joyful about what they hear and will act and listen with joy. Everything [we do] will be beneficial. So, we must give rise to this heart of joy and help others become joyful. This was how [the Buddha] benefited people in the past, and now and in the future, [He] does the same. This is how we should benefit all sentient beings, by putting great effort in doing so. So, everyone, please seize the time and always be mindful!

(Source: Da Ai TV – Wisdom at Dawn program – Explanation by Master Chen-Yen)
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20190110《靜思妙蓮華》處處自說 令眾歡喜 (第1520集) (法華經·如來壽量品第十六)
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