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 20190111《靜思妙蓮華》為樂小者 施以權教 (第1521集) (法華經·如來壽量品第十六)

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20190111《靜思妙蓮華》為樂小者 施以權教 (第1521集) (法華經·如來壽量品第十六) Empty
發表主題: 20190111《靜思妙蓮華》為樂小者 施以權教 (第1521集) (法華經·如來壽量品第十六)   20190111《靜思妙蓮華》為樂小者 施以權教 (第1521集) (法華經·如來壽量品第十六) Empty周四 1月 10, 2019 7:22 pm

20190111《靜思妙蓮華》為樂小者 施以權教 (第1521集) (法華經·如來壽量品第十六)

⊙愚鈍之根機者,不堪成就佛道。法華經藥草喻:正見邪見,利根鈍根。樂小乘法者,施以權教方便法,至靈山會暢本懷,顯一大乘真實法。
⊙「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》
⊙「諸善男子!如來見諸眾生樂於小法、德薄垢重者,為是人說:我少出家,得阿耨多羅三藐三菩提。」《法華經如來壽量品第十六》
⊙諸善男子!如來見諸眾生樂於小法、德薄垢重者:佛眼觀見諸眾生。由根鈍故,樂小乘法,福德淺薄,業障垢重者。
⊙樂小法:即所見之機。貪於二十五有,即人天機。
⊙由業因而有果報生,故果亦名為有。三界之果法,分為二十五類,名二十五有。
⊙貪著涅槃求自解脫,即二乘機。樂於漸次,宛轉托方便法,應機教化,迴入佛道,此等皆名樂小。
⊙德薄:緣了二善,功用微劣。垢重:見思二惑,未能伏斷,此約跡論樂小。若約本論,樂聞出釋宮近跡,不樂聞長遠久成之本因。
⊙一、定善,定心所修之善業。息慮凝心觀淨土之依正二報。二、散善,散心所修之善業。策身口意廢惡修善。
⊙此等小根機,非如今日,若先樂大,佛即不說從始跡至今,說始至今成佛者,皆為樂小法小根機人說。
⊙為是人說,我少出家,得阿耨多羅三藐三菩提:為如是等鈍根障重者說云少年出家成道。
⊙為樂小者,應機現跡於生,說少出家,苦行得果。

【證嚴上人開示】
愚鈍之根機者,不堪成就佛道。法華經藥草喻:正見邪見,利根鈍根。樂小乘法者,施以權教方便法,至靈山會暢本懷,顯一大乘真實法。

愚鈍之根機者
不堪成就佛道
法華經藥草喻
正見邪見
利根鈍根
樂小乘法者
施以權教方便法
至靈山會暢本懷
顯一大乘真實法

用心啊!要把握時間多用心!「愚鈍之根機者,不堪成就佛道」。佛陀已經告訴我們,心、佛、眾生是三無差別,人人應該都能夠透徹了解,佛法真理。為什麼有這樣,「愚鈍之根機者,不堪成就佛道」呢?既是人人平等,是為什麼有這樣的人,無法成就佛道?這要說,是眾生,一類的眾生總是業重、根鈍。業重,什麼叫做業重?那就是煩惱無明。平時就是一直輪迴,生生世世庸庸碌碌,就是這樣由不得自己來回人間,隨著人間的欲樂──貪、瞋、癡、慢、疑,不斷就是這樣來回。

這種的習氣已經根深蒂固,不過,他們還是有善根。因為有這個善根,有了與佛因緣,所以也這樣長久的時間,隨佛修行,所以接受佛法。有在修行,卻是累生世的煩惱無明,也是要一步一步這樣煩惱去除,一分一分無明惑滅盡,這樣才有辦法佛法完全清楚。這樣的根機,我們,現在我們大家豈不就是呢?我們就是!我們對佛法,每天聽、每天聽,「知不知道?」「知道!」「了解嗎?」「我們會慢慢地消化!」消化多久?消化是入心記憶的消化呢?還是消化就是不見了呢?我們要好好用心!

人生,時間分秒無法等待我們。大自然的法則,時日不斷過,一直飛逝過去;生命的大法則,也是這樣很快在催,還是要好好把握時間。聽,現在已經了解,就要用心去體會;知道了、了解了,就要身體力行,要找機會入人群,體會人群的疾苦,人群的觀念、思考。一樣是人,有很多種、很多種不同的法;哪怕是看到很多苦難不解,煩惱的心、解不開的無明,我們也能夠在那當中聽、了解,這就是「煩惱即菩提」。「為什麼這件事情這麼簡單,你也要煩惱這麼多呢?」是啊,這麼簡單的事情,他也要煩惱那麼多,我們不就是,不需要去貪求的,而我們也是去貪求很多?看別人、聽別人,他們的煩惱是有多少種,我們就多少種那個煩惱,拿回來解開疑題。世間很多的疑題,一疑,我們就有一悟。

看看別人為什麼在那個地方,這樣絞住、纏住,煩惱纏不出來。「當局者迷,旁觀者清」,明明就是這樣,不就是這樣就理得了嗎?為什麼要在那裡一直纏?為什麼在那個地方,一直煩惱,跳不出來呢?為什麼要在那個地方愛恨情仇,記恨、記怨和執著愛,這樣這麼苦呢?這就是所在說的,佛經所說的種種愚癡、煩惱。這「愚癡」、「煩惱」,這些字眼,是在人的生活中,人群之中,我們發現到,不是在文字寫的而已,不是佛陀拿出來告訴我們,讓我們惹來了很多無明,讓我們生死不得自己。這些源頭原來是在人群中,人群中就是這樣──貪瞋癡慢疑、愛恨情仇,苦難不盡;生老病死、愛別離等等,這全都是在人間裡。這些苦原來就是法;法,佛陀為我們說法,就是要為我們解開,人間有這麼多、這麼多的苦,你要知道這個法,才有辦法對治那些苦,知苦才能夠了苦。

看別人就是這樣,纏綿過來的辛苦,我們才懂得提高警覺──該不該做?自己有的,是不是要警惕自己及時改過來?這就是在世間,佛法不離世間法。

總而言之,人生這原來有的東西,佛法已經為我們點點分明,煩惱和法套用在一起,讓我們懂得警覺,所以我們應該要很用心。我們若是鈍根,只是一直聽法歸聽法,「我聽得很歡喜,聽法說會開智慧」。但是只是到這裡,名相只有這樣而已,其實在人群中,煩惱還是一樣執著,自己不要去解開他的煩惱,明明才聽過了煩惱要放棄,回歸真實的生活,又是在那個地方計較、執著,這就是愚鈍,叫做「愚鈍之機」,這樣的人。

若是回歸到佛陀的時代,他在說法的對機弟子中,同樣為自己獨善其身,小根機的人,他只是執在自己。「我知道苦,我要了斷生死,我不要再來人間」,這樣的想法。他不想要再進一步,感覺:我自己解脫就好了。哦!可怕,可怕!可怕人間的因緣來牽纏。所以一直守在他的界限裡,所以佛陀說,這也是愚鈍。這樣的人不願意再進步接受大乘法,這「不堪成就佛道」。不願意來接受、不願意入人群、不願意去付出,與眾生接觸,這怎麼能夠成佛呢?「六度萬行」沒有啟動,要如何能夠前進佛道呢?所以「不堪成就佛道」!

〈藥草喻品〉就這樣說,「正見邪見,利根鈍根」,樂小乘法者,這全都是各人執著在,各人的成見,各人執著在他們各人所要修的法。雖然他們能夠直接聽佛法,雖然他們能夠在佛的時代修行,但是也是各人,有各人的成見存在,所以佛陀才會講出了,〈藥草喻品〉。〈藥草喻品〉,同一片的土地上面,同一片的地方,卻也有小花、小草,小根、小枝的小樹,也有大根、大枝的大樹,在這土地上面。這很簡單,我們若走出去外面就能夠看到。

所以,這就是譬喻根機,小根、小草,就是這種「樂小乘」的人。因為小根、小草,水澆下去,一點點就足夠了。就像這個花盆這麼小,像這個花盆更小;這個小小,超迷你的小花盆,這不用一滴水,它就滿了。而這個花盆呢?一點點,一手這樣捧著,一點水將它滴下去,它就已經溼了,吸收的水就是這一點點而已,這樣更多給它,就滿溢了,沒有用。同樣的道理,小根機就像這個小器物一樣,能夠裝的法,卻是這一點點、這一點點而已,這就是鈍根,「樂小乘法者」,佛陀只好就,「施以權教方便法」。就是這樣用權教、用方便的法給他們,因為他們的根機,能夠接受也才這樣而已,他們自己不願意,將這個心發更大一點。若願意,這個迷你的小盆子,同樣這一棵小樹,若願意換一個較大的環境,它不用多久,就會很大棵。

若是再將它移到土地上,沒有將它局限著,自然它就很自由,解脫了它所被束限的,它就可以在大地伸根、展枝,葉就茂盛了,自然它就變成一棵大樹。就是這個器,小器將它局限,不是這棵樹這麼小棵,是那個器這麼小,將它局限著,枝伸不出去。這是我們的心,所以我們應該,要將我們的心展開,這才有辦法接受;這棵樹它會自由發展,就是我們的心解脫了,不受局限、束縛了,它就可以伸展出去,這就是大乘法。小乘法就是被局限著,這樣成見局限了,我們發根、展芽的機會,所以這就是佛陀,只好適應他的根機,局限在他現在的心量,能夠接受的,施教給他,所以「施以權教」

時間這樣很快就過去了,也四十多年了,佛陀的年紀,也已經邁入了老邁的階段,不得不說了。長久以來,就是那個心懷還未施展出來,成佛那時候的第一個念頭──眾生皆有佛性,人人可成佛。這件事情,就是還未正式向大家宣布,這個時候應該要說之時了。一直到靈山會這個時間,佛陀暢本懷,「至靈山會暢本懷」,要將他的內心本懷,法,完全說出來。「顯一大乘真實法」,這就是佛陀將要暢演本懷,要說出他所發現到的。所發現到的,豈是今生此世發現?早早、早早就發現了,而且是身體力行,在來來回回塵點劫時、塵點劫處,不斷無時不在、無處不有。法,總是施用在人間,只是因緣,一期一期的因緣。所以這是佛陀他這期的因緣,現相成佛。

在那個時候,二千多年前,佛法正式在人間,不是代表過去沒有佛法。過去有,就是與我們釋迦佛的佛法一樣,有正法、有像法、有末法,有無佛的時代;這個佛法,慢慢就沒有這個,佛、法、僧的名稱,就沒有了,道理慢慢地就消退去,隱起來了,就沒有人在用了。就像我們現在,東西用、用、用,用到一段時間,這個東西無形中消失了,這同樣的道理。所以,佛,過去也是有很多佛出世,就是在很多佛的時間內去求法,在很多佛的時間內也得受記了,也在經過很多佛的時間內,體悟佛法,也成就,上求、下化,也已經度化很多人了,這就是佛陀已成佛。

所以前面的文:「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》

這就是已經在任何一個時間,佛陀無處不在,無處不現身說法;每一次同樣是來人間,「處處自說」,每次來都不一樣的名,所以「名字不同」。而在這個「年紀大小」,不論壽命長短,無不都是現身在說法。這種長久的時間,不同的生態、不同的年齡、不同的名稱等等,總是,就是這樣,人間來來回回,現生死相在人間,就是要警惕人,用道理來警惕。

就像這樣,「種種方便說法」,累生累世,用各種各種不同的生態,來教化眾生,「能令眾生發歡喜心」。能夠使令眾生,發出了追求佛法,啟動他們的心念,這就是佛陀過去現身人間的經歷,很多很多,無法去計算。不只是在人間,六道來回,就是這樣來來去去,請大家要相信,用心去體會。

接下來這段經文再說:「諸善男子!如來見諸眾生樂於小法、德薄垢重者,為是人說:我少出家,得阿耨多羅三藐三菩提。」

諸善男子
如來見諸眾生
樂於小法
德薄垢重者
為是人說
我少出家
得阿耨多羅
三藐三菩提
《法華經如來壽量品第十六》

佛陀再次向大家這樣說:「諸善男子!」如來就是釋迦佛。「我,釋迦佛,看,很詳細來看看這麼多的眾生,大多數的人都是好樂在小法,都是為自己,獨善其身。儘管有因緣願意修行,卻是人人都是為自己偏多。」樂小法者,這是為自己修行,那就是「德薄垢重」,修行的福很少,這個業力要完全盡消除,實在還有很多的業力要消。因為他的緣,善緣,因緣果報,善緣還未具足、累積,過去所造作的因,還未消,因為由是因、如是緣、如是果報,閃避無法化消那個業力,所以業力還是存在,逃避只是避一時。就像悟達國師,他能夠逃避也才十世而已,最後還是同樣,業力也是找來了。這意思和這樣相同,所以叫做「德薄垢重」,修小乘法就是只有這樣,拖一時的時間。

所以,佛眼所看的是這樣,看現在就能透徹未來,引你進來,是要讓你懂佛法是這樣;讓你知道「苦」,苦的因緣是來自「集」,集種種人的因緣,所以在那裡纏著,苦難啊!是要如何去解決,你所集的那些事?那些因,應該要如何去將它滅掉?不是只有逃避可以滅掉,真正滅掉,那就是要大福、大因緣。不論如何,過去如何,現在你修行,遇到、來了,你虔誠懺悔,平常多付出,再對你怎麼恨,他到頭來,他也說:「這樣好了,這樣可以原諒你了。」原諒,那就沒事了,原諒就消了;彼此之間心結開了,這樣業就消了。你若沒有一直一直付出,對方的恨和怨還是存在;過去結多少恩怨,你沒有去面對,同樣這些恩怨還是存在,所以這叫做「德薄垢重」。

諸善男子
如來見諸眾生
樂於小法
德薄垢重者:
佛眼觀見諸眾生
由根鈍故
樂小乘法
福德淺薄
業障垢重者

「佛眼觀見眾生」。就是因為根鈍,所以他們只是知道法、知道苦,知道集來是苦的根源,所以他們要將這個苦的根緣斷,但是沒有想到,你過去所造的因也應該還。所以,我們應該要投入人群,事事就對人去付出,之後被你感動,即使過去的恩怨,真的也能夠解開。所以,鈍根就只有看眼前,「執近迷遠」,我們幾天前也這樣說。所以,「樂小乘法」,就是「福德淺薄,業障垢重」。

樂小法:
即所見之機
貪於二十五有
即人天機

所以,「樂小法:即所見之機。貪於二十五有」,就是人天機。佛陀說法的這個小乘法,包括人、天,包括人間、包括天人。人間,佛陀教我們守五戒,你守五戒,就能夠保住你的人身,免墮畜生道、地獄道、餓鬼道,這就是要守五戒。佛陀就再講說十善法,他就能夠生天堂。就是還在三界之中,三界之中,就是還有「二十五有」。「二十五有」無不都是種種欲念等等,這就是天、人,還貪在這個地方,還未去除。所以「由業因而有果報」。

由業因而有果報生
故果亦名為有
三界之果法
分為二十五類
名二十五有

「由業因而有果報」,天與人還是同樣還有業因,同樣要再受果報。天人福盡,也是同樣要再墮落人間,過去的惡因、惡緣,他也要再來人間接受,何況人;人又再在造作的因緣果報,同樣,我們吞下了這口氣,到底後面那口氣,要在哪一道開始呼吸?我們也不知道!所以,我們全都是有這個果報,因為業因而有果報;所以生出了這個果。不斷衍生下去,業種不斷衍生,這叫做「有」。你有二十五種的「有」還存在,不論你修人天福,同樣存在著「二十五有」。

所以,「三界之果法」者,若是「三界之果法」,那就「分為二十五類」,也是名為「二十五有」。因為三界之中,就是欲界、色界、無色界,這都還是在,有那個「念」。欲界就是有相,粗相;色界,因為還有形形色色,貪念難免。那無色界呢?雖然沒有在貪著有形色,但是還有內心的思想存在,起心動念還存在。所以,這個「有」,還有這個「有」的微分煩惱,還是一樣都在三界之中。所以,「貪著涅槃求自解脫,即二乘機。樂於漸次」。雖然願意修行,他還是同樣有貪,貪在什麼呢?貪取涅槃,就是要能夠全都「滅」。

貪著涅槃求自解脫
即二乘機
樂於漸次
宛轉托方便法
應機教化
迴入佛道
此等皆名樂小

修小乘法的人,他認為「滅」都一切都滅了,再也沒有什麼因緣果報,來交結了,他以為是這樣。所以就是要貪求,「涅槃自解脫」,這就是「二乘機」,就是聲聞、緣覺,有在修行的人,還是執著在自我解脫,他還沒有去了解;沒有去了解既有造的因,沒有消,還是不得消受,只是一時的避開,這樣而已,不是永久。所以,一定要去歷練,所以這就是佛陀所需要,大家要入人群去。所以,「樂於漸次」,「二乘機」的人,聲聞、緣覺,就是「樂於漸次」,一步一步來,佛陀只好就是用這個小教,讓他們一步一步,「宛轉托方便法」,應機教化。佛陀很辛苦,就是要這樣宛轉,這樣來教育,才讓他們慢慢「迴入佛道」,這樣叫做樂小法的人。所以,「德薄」,德薄的人,那就是「緣了二善」。

德薄:
緣了二善
功用微劣
垢重:
見思二惑
未能伏斷
此約跡論樂小
若約本論
樂聞出釋宮近跡
不樂聞長遠久成
之本因

就是這樣,緣覺與聲聞就是這樣,隨著這個緣,就這樣要修,聲聞緣著聲音而聽、而了解;那緣覺呢,緣著這個境界,將佛的教法,緣著這個境界,他去體會道理。只是靠這樣,就要來成就道業,這如何用功就是很微劣,只是靠自己、靠聽法,就是獨善其身,在這個境界這樣休閒的修行,這樣的用功是很微劣,所以說「垢重」。「垢重」,還是在「見思二惑,」。同樣,還有見思微細的煩惱,粗重的煩惱,你沒有去造,但是見思的煩惱,你還未斷;只要你還未斷的煩惱,那些業緣果報還是,還是一樣會再回過頭來,同樣要再受報。

所以,應該就要好好,很坦然面對群生,去歷練,歷練出了我們這個業業的煩惱,重重的無明都要去面對,將它消除掉,這樣會輕安自在,不必再掛在心裡,這個「見思二惑」,不必再掛在心裡。很泰然,應該我們一定都要將它降伏;有處理過了,泰然,就已經去除了,要不然還是一定要去降伏它,還是心掛慮在那個煩惱裡,煩惱覆藏在裡面,還是不知什麼時候,也會浮現出來。這就是「約跡」來「論樂小」,用那個「跡」,來譬論樂小法的人。

就是佛陀現身在人間,就在釋氏宮,佛陀已經感覺道理了,他要去追求,出皇宮去了,開始修行。大家只是執著在這個地方──我也去修行,這樣我就一了百,沒有去想:佛陀是多麼長久時間以來,就已經成佛。我們人人,都只有執在那個「跡」──今生此世佛陀的成就。不知道佛陀在過去的塵點劫前,他是怎麼樣的過程來,這不清楚、不知道。所以我們應該要用心,好好將我們的心定下來。所以,它前面說「二善」。

一、 定善
定心所修之善業
息慮凝心
觀淨土之依正二報
二、 散善
散心所修之善業
策身口意廢惡修善

「二善」,那就是要定的善,定心所修是善業。心,我們一定要定下來,不論你修小乘、大乘,這個定心定在善,這一定要有。不只是人群中,入人群,接受到人群,我們還能夠將心完全定下來,這就是功夫。我們要如何去做,這「定」,所以這個善業,將「定心所修之善業」,我們完全這樣很穩定在人群中。所以,「息慮凝心,觀淨土之依正二報」。我們就是要將心靜下來之後,心一片都是淨土,雖然我們在污濁的人群中,我們的心還是一片淨土,污水中,開蓮花,同樣的道理,這就是要在人群中去歷練。而第二,那就是「散善,散心所修之善業。」那就是不是很專,不過這善,見賢思齊。是善事,你做,我也來隨喜功德;你在告訴我,這是好事,我也來學,要如何來學呢?要從身、口、意開始,「諸惡莫作,眾善奉行」。這就是新發意的菩薩,心還沒有很定,但是要有人帶,開始見賢思齊,而且願意學,那是向善,身、口、意願意向善去修,所以這就是開路和鋪路,開道、鋪路。我們如何開,讓人看、帶人走,同樣的道理。

此等小根機
非如今日
若先樂大
佛即不說
從始跡至今
說始至今成佛者
皆為樂小法
小根機人說

這全都是小根機,這些小根機是「非始今日」。真的我們要知道,這些小根機全都是看在現在,不知道在過去,這小根機的人就是限在這裡,不知道真正的善法,不是現在才開始,所以,應該就是要樂於大法,要知道這個善根的由來,是在很過去,我們自己無始到現在,無始至今。所以,「佛即不說,從始說跡至今」。因為大家還迷在那個小善,那個散善和定善而已,還在小根之中,他還不知道、無法去了解長遠劫之前,起那念心的,根本那念心,還不知道,所以佛無法在那個時候講。

四十多年來,只是說「跡法」,就是今生什麼時候出皇宮,幾年來一直說大、小法,適應根機;就是說在這當中,也做在這個時間,大家看得到、聽得到,執在這個地方。佛陀開始就要來說,那過去無數劫,這就是「說始至今成佛」。要說過去和現在,但是若是在「跡」,大家只是聽那過去的「跡」,他們還未透徹體悟到那個根本,所以樂小法、小根機的人,總是無法這樣的體悟。因為這樣,所以「為是人」,經文這樣說,「為是人說,我少出家,得阿耨多羅三藐三菩提」。

為是人說
我少出家
得阿耨多羅
三藐三菩提:
為如是等
鈍根障重者
說云少年出家成道

因為這些人根機,要告訴他們,一下子就說過去的根本,他們根本聽不懂,只好就是現在的,他們看得到,能夠知道、有根據,讓他們看、讓他們學。說在現在,說:「我何時離開皇宮、我如何修行過來、我在哪裡苦行;在哪一個地點坐菩提樹下,是如何夜睹明星;我覺悟了,覺悟天地之間宇宙的道理。」說給大家聽,發現到人間是苦,從這樣開始。

因為他所要說的,他體會到,人人皆有成佛的本性存在。這個話,他先放著,因為說這個根本,人人從始至今就有的東西,你這樣告訴他,他無法相信,所以,說,不信也沒有用。只好就說他們現在,感受得到的現象這樣出來,這就是「近跡」。要說「遠本」,就要現在,現在的靈鷲山,不得不說這個時候。所以過去就是說到,成「阿耨多羅三藐三菩提」,開始說法。這「如是等鈍根障重者,說云少年出家」,就是讓大家知道,「少年的時候,我就是這樣出家去了」。

為樂小者
應機現跡於生
說少出家
苦行得果

「為樂小者,應機現跡」而生。為樂小法的人來說這樣,「從看到人間,這樣的不平等、這樣的苦難,為了探討生命,我才去修行。修行之後,我得到了生命的真諦,所以現在對大家說法」,佛陀就是說這樣、這樣,過來的道理。這就是「為樂小者,應機現跡」而生,就是這個因緣,所以他現在這個皇宮,出生、修行。

總而言之,出家修行,這只是在無量數劫以來,因緣成熟的一段,這樣而已,不是真實長久的根本故事;若是真實,現在佛應該還在人間。就是一個現相,現跡,一個足跡,是在人間走過的一個「跡」,這樣而已。

所以,我們聽佛法,也是要用這樣的心,知道現在,我們就要再去相信過去,要推,要向前推想,過去那個真實道理的來源。探源,我們一定要去相信;你要探源,不相信,你無法探出它的源頭來,所以大家要時時多用心!

【附註】〔二十五有〕
由業因而有果報生,故果亦名為有。三界的果法,分為二十五類,名二十五有。其中欲界十四有,即四惡趣四洲六欲天。色界七有,即四禪天為四有,另大梵天五淨居天無想天為三有。無色界四有,即四空處。(陳義孝《佛學常見辭匯》)


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Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: Provisional Teachings for the Small Vehicle (為樂小者 施以權教)
Date: January.11.2019

“People of dull capabilities are unable to attain the path to Buddhahood. The Lotus Sutra’s Chapter on Medicinal Plants says people have right views or deviant views, sharp capabilities or dull capabilities. For people who take joy in the Small Vehicle Dharma, the Buddha gives provisional teachings and skillful means. When it came to the Vulture Peak Assembly, He freely expressed His original intent and revealed the True Dharma of the One Great Vehicle.”

We must be mindful! We must cherish time and be very mindful. “People of dull capabilities are unable to complete the path to Buddhahood.” The Buddha has told us that the mind, the Buddha and sentient beings are no different [in their nature]. Everyone should be able to thoroughly understand the true principles of the Buddha-Dharma, so why are there these “people of dull capabilities” who “are unable to attain the path to Buddhahood”? Since everyone is equal, why are there people like this who cannot attain the path to Buddhahood?

It is because sentient beings generally have severe karma and dull capabilities. What does it mean to have sever karma? This refers to having afflictions and ignorance. They keep transmigrating, lost in mundane matters lifetime after lifetime. They come and leave the world in this way without control. They follow worldly desires and pleasures and [give rise to] greed, anger, ignorance, arrogance and doubt. They repeatedly return like this. Their habitual tendencies are deeply rooted, but they still have roots of goodness. Because of these roots of goodness, they have affinities with the Buddha. So, for a long time, they also follow the Buddha to engage in practice and thus accept the Buddha-Dharma. Even though they engage in spiritual practice, their afflictions and ignorance have accumulated over many lifetimes. They need to eliminate their afflictions one step at a time and completely eliminate their ignorance and delusion little by little. Only in this way can they clearly understand the Buddha-Dharma. Don’t we all have such capabilities? We are all like this! We listen to the Buddha-Dharma every day. “Do you know it or not? We know it! Do you understand? We will slowly take it in.” How long will it take? Are we taking it into our memories? Or are we taking it in and letting it disappear? We must put effort into being mindful.

In our lives, time will not wait for us even for a second. [According to] the law of nature, time constantly flies by. The great law of nature in life is also pressing upon us, so we must earnestly cherish our time.

As we listen and understand [the Dharma] now, we must mindfully seek to realize it. As we know and understand it, we must put it into practice. We must find opportunities to go among people to understand their suffering and their perspectives and ways of thinking. Among human beings, there are many different kinds of teachings. Even if we see many [instances] of unresolved suffering and afflicted minds with unresolved ignorance, we can listen among them and understand them. This is why we say, “Afflictions are Bodhi”. “Why is it that, with such a simple matter, you have so many afflictions?” Indeed, regarding such a simple matter, a person may have so many afflictions. Don’t we crave for many things that we do not need to crave for? As we see and listen to other people, we can see the many kinds of afflictions they have and take their many kinds of afflictions to resolve the doubts [we have]. There are many doubts in the world. With each doubt, we can have one realization. We can see how other people are entangled by afflictions and cannot free themselves. “Those involved are deluded while bystanders see clearly.” This is clearly how things are. Shouldn’t people be able to [untangle themselves] like this? Why do they continue to be entangled? Why do they continue to have afflictions, and why are they unable to free themselves? Why do they remain [entangled in] love, hate, passion and animosity, bear hatred and resentment and be attached to love so that they suffer so much? These are what Buddhist sutras refer to, the various kinds of ignorance and afflictions. As for “ignorance” and “afflictions,” we can find these words in our daily living and among people. They are more than written words. They are not something the Buddha presented to us. They bring much ignorance, causing us to be in cyclic existence beyond our control. Their source is originally among people. This is what people are like; among greed, anger, ignorance, arrogance, doubt, love, hate, passion and animosity, they suffer endlessly. [The suffering from] birth, aging, illness, is all [found] within the human world. But this suffering is [part of] the Dharma. The Buddha taught the Dharma to us to resolve the many forms of suffering in the world. We must understand this Dharma to be able to treat these forms of suffering. Only by understanding suffering can we end it. Only by seeing others’ hardship as they struggle through it do we know to be more vigilant about a what we should and should not do. If we have any [shortcomings], should we not remind ourselves to be vigilant and quickly correct ourselves? This is how, in the world, the Buddha-Dharma is inseparable from the workings of the world. In short, when it comes to things that originally exist in human life, the Buddha-Dharma points them out clearly for us. [The Buddha] applied the Dharma to afflictions, helping us know that we must be vigilant.

So, we must be very mindful. We may have dull capabilities and just keep listening to the Dharma [and say], “I am joyful when listening to it. I hear that listening to the Dharma will develop my wisdom.” But this is as far as we go. This is [listening] in name and appearance only. In fact, we still attach ourselves to afflictions among people. We do not want to resolve our afflictions. We may have just clearly heard that we must let go of our afflictions, but when we return to our daily life, we still take issue over and are attached to the same matters. This is having dull [capabilities]; we say that these people have “dull capabilities”. If we return to the Buddha’s era, among the disciples He taught the Dharma to according to their capabilities, there were those who only benefited themselves, those of limited capabilities who were attached to benefiting themselves. “I understand suffering, and I want to cease cyclic existence. I do not want to return to the human realm again.” This was what they thought; they did not want to advance one step further. They thought, “I just want to liberate myself. [The world] is very scary!” They were afraid of the entanglement of causes and conditions in the world. So, they always stayed within their own boundaries. The Buddha said this is also being dull. People like this do not want to advance further to accept the Great Vehicle Dharma. They “are unable to attain the path to Buddhahood”. They are not willing to accept it, go among people, help people nor approach sentient beings. How can they attain Buddhahood like this?

If they do not begin to actually the Six Paramitas in all actions, how can they advance upon the path to Buddhahood? So, they “are unable to attain the path to Buddhahood”. The Chapter on Medicinal Plants states, “People have right views or deviant views, sharp capabilities or dull capabilities.” People who take joy in the Small Vehicle Dharma are attached to their own perspectives. They are attached to the Dharma that they want to cultivate. Although they could directly listen to the Dharma and engage in practice in the Buddha’s era, they still had their own biases. This is why the Buddha taught the Chapter on Medicinal Plants. In the Chapter on Medicinal Plants, on the same land and at the same place, there are small flowers, small plants, and small trees with small roots and small branches, and there are also large trees with large roots and large branches. They are all on the same land. This is very easy [to see]. If we go out there, we can see them. So, this is an analogy for capabilities. Small roots and small plants refer to those who take joy in the Small Vehicle Dharma. For the small roots and small plants, a small amount of water is sufficient.

For example, this flower pot is so small, and this other one is even smaller. These extremely tiny flower pots will be filled with just a little bit of water. What about that flower pot? Bu just dripping in a little water that we hold in one hand, [the plant] will be soaked. It can only absorb this much water. If we were to give it more water, the water would overflow; it would be of no use. The principle is the same. [People of] limited capabilities are like these small containers. They can only take in very little Dharma. This is to have dull capabilities.

“For people who take joy in the Small Vehicle Dharma,” the Buddha can only “give provisional teachings and skillful means”. He gives them provisional teachings and skillful means. This is because they can only accept so much with their capabilities. They are not willing to form greater aspirations. If they were willing, [it would be] just like moving this small tree in the small pot to a bigger [pot]; it would not take long for it to grow into a big tree. If we transplant it into the ground, there will be nothing to limit [its growth]. Naturally, it will be free and liberated from its restriction. It can expand its roots in the ground and grow its branches. Its leaves will flourish. Naturally, it will become a big tree. The small container is what restricts it. It is not that the tree is small, it is the container that is too small and restricts [the tree] from extending its branches. This is like our minds. So, we should broaden our minds. Only then can we accept [the Buddha-Dharma]; only then can this tree develop freely. This is like when our minds are liberated and free of restrictions and bonds. We can expand outward. This is the Great Vehicle Dharma. The Small Vehicle Dharma is limited. Our preconceptions limit our opportunity to develop roots and sprout. So, this is why the Buddha has to [teach] according to capabilities and teach what people can accept with the limited capacity of their minds. So, He gave “provisional teachings”. Time passed very quickly. In had been more than 40 years. The Buddha had entered old age. The Buddha had entered old age. He now had to teach [His original intent]. For a long time, He had not revealed His original intent. When He attained Buddhahood, His first thought was that sentient beings all have Buddha-nature, that everyone can attain Buddhahood. Regarding this matter, He had not officially explained it to everyone.

At this time, it was time to say it. At this time at the Vulture Peak Assembly, the Buddha freely expressed His original intent. “When it came to the Vulture Peak Assembly, He freely expressed His original intent”. He thoroughly expressed the Dharma of the original intent in His mind. He “revealed the True Dharma of the One Great Vehicle”. The Buddha was now about to freely express His original intent. He wanted to talk about what He had uncovered. As for what he had uncovered, did He uncover it in this lifetime? He already uncovered it a long time before and put it into practice as He repeatedly returned throughout dust-inked kalpas. [He] had been everywhere, at all times. He always applied the Dharma in this world; it just [depended on] the causes and conditions in one period of time or another. So, these were the causes and conditions for the Buddha in this period of time. He manifested the attainment of Buddhahood.

At that time, more than 2,000 years ago, the Buddha-Dharma officially existed in the world. This does not mean that the Buddha-Dharma did not exist before. It had existed in the past. It was the same as for Sakyamuni Buddha’s Dharma; there were the eras of Right Dharma, Dharma-semblance, Dharma-degeneration and eras without a Buddha. Regarding the Buddha-Dharma, gradually, the names of the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha had vanished. The principles slowly disappeared and became hidden, so no one used them any more. This is like how right now, as we repeatedly use an object for a period of time, this thing will disappear without us realizing it. The principle is the same. So, as for the Buddha, many Buddhas had appeared in the world in the past. [Sakyamuni Buddha] had sought the Dharma in the times of many Buddhas and received predictions in the times of many Buddhas. He also went through the times of many Buddhas to comprehend and realize the Buddha-Dharma, seeking the Dharma and transforming people. He had already transformed many people. This means the Buddha had already attained Buddhahood.

So, the previous sutra passage states that “In all places, I spoke of myself as having different names and as being young or old. I also say now that I will enter Parinirvana. I further use all kings of skillful means to teach the subtle and wondrous Dharma, which can help sentient beings give rise to joy”.

This means that, in any period of time, the Buddha is in all places. He manifests in all places to teach the Dharma. Every time He comes to the human realm, “In all places, I spoke of myself”. He comes with different names every time. So, He “has different names”. When it comes to “being young or old”, no matter how long or short His lifespan is, He always manifests to teach the Dharma. Throughout such a long period of time, in different forms of life, with different ages, different names and so on, He always returns repeatedly to the world. He manifests the appearances of birth and death in this world to remind people to be vigilant; He uses the principles to warn them. In this way, [He] teaches the Dharma with “all kinds of skillful means”. Throughout many lifetimes, He [takes] various forms of life to teach sentient beings, “[helping] sentient beings give rise to joy. He can help sentient beings give rise to the aspiration to seek the Buddha-Dharma. This is the experience of the Buddha manifesting in this world in the past. His experiences are too many to be counted. He comes not only to the human realm; He repeatedly returns throughout the Six realms. We all need to believe in this and mindfully seek to comprehend it.

In the next sutra passage, [the Buddha] says, “Good men, the Tathagata observed those sentient beings who take joy in the limited teachings and have meager virtues and severe defilements. It was for these people that I said that I said that at a young age, I left home and attained Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi.

The Buddha again told everyone, “Good men!” The Tathagata is Sakyamuni Buddha “I, Sakyamuni Buddha, carefully observed so many sentient beings. Most of them take joy in limited teachings. They all practice to benefit themselves. Although they have the causes and conditions to be willing to engage in spiritual practice, most of them do it for themselves”. Those who take joy in limited teachings engage in spiritual practice for themselves. They “have meager virtue and severe defilements”. They cultivate very few blessings and truly still have many karmic forces that they need to eliminate. In terms of their karmic retributions. In terms of their karmic retributions, they have not yet sufficiently accumulated good affinities. [Furthermore], the causes they created in the past have not yet been eliminated. As are the causes and conditions, so are the effects and retributions. They can only avoid but not eliminate their karmic forces. So, the karmic forces still remain. They can only avoid them temporarily.

This is like Master Wu Da He could only avoid them for ten lifetimes. In the end, the karmic forces still came to find him. The meaning of this is the same. So, [people like this] have “meager virtues asnd severe defilements”.

Those who practice the Small Vehicle Dharma are like this. They can pnlt postpone [retributions] for some time. So, this is what the Buddha-eyes see. [The Buddha] can see through to the future by observing what is in the present. He guides us in helping us understand the Buddha-Dharma. He helps us understand what suffering is and “the causation” of suffering from causes and conditions from all kinds of people. So, we are entangled there in suffering! What should we do to resolve these causes? When it comes to these causes, what should we do to eliminate them? We cannot eliminate them by avoiding them.

Ro truly eliminate them, we must have great blessings and great causes and conditions. no matter what [we did] in the past, now, we are engaging in spiritual practice. When we encounter [our past enemies], we must sincerely repent and give of ourselves more in our daily living. No matter how much they hate us, in the end, they will tell us, it is alright; I can forgive you. Since they can forgive us, it will be fine. When they forgive us, the karmic forces vanish. Our mutual entanglements will unravel. Then, the negative karma will be eliminated. If we do not continuously give, the resentment from the other party still exists. If we do not face the enmity with others from the past, the enmity still exists. So, this is to “have meager virtues and severe defilements.

Good men, the Tathagata observed those sentient beings who take joy in the limited teachings and have meager virtues and severe defilements: The Buddha observed those sentient beings who, due to their limited capabilities, take joy in the limited teachings and have meager blessings and virtues and severe karmuc obstructions and defilements.

The Buddha observed those sentient beings”. Because they have limited capabilities, they only understand the Dharma of suffering. They understand that “causation” is the source of suffering, so they want to eliminate this source of suffering. But they do not realize that they need to pay back for the causes they created in the past.

So, we should go among people and help others with everything. Then, people will be moved by us. Even enmity from the past can be resolved. So, those with limited capabilities only see what is in front of them. They are “attached to the near and doubt the far. We talked about this a few days ago. So, they “take joy in the limited teachings”. They “have meager blessings and virtues and severe karmic obstructions and defilements”.

So, they “take joy in limited teachings. These are the capabilities of those He observed. Those who crave the 25 forms of existence have the capabilities for the Human and Heavenly Being Vehicles.

The Small Vehicle Dharma the Buddha taught includes humans and heavenly beings. it includes this world and the heaven realm. [To remain in] this world, the Buddha teaches us to uphold the Five Precepts. If we uphold the Five Precepts, we can retain our human form and avoid falling into the animal, hell and hungry ghost realms. This requires us to uphold Five Precepts. The Buddha then moves on to teach the Dharma of the Ten Good Deeds. Those [who upheld these] can be born in heaven. Yet they are still in the Three Realms. In the Three Realms, there are still “the 25 forms of existence”. These “25forms of existence” are all different kinds of desires and so on. heavenly beings and humans still have desires here; they have not yet eliminated their desires. So, “Due to their karmic causes, people [are born] as an effect”.

Due to their karmic causes, people are born as an effect. Thus, this effect is also known as existence. All these effects throughout the Three Realms are divided into 25 kings, known as 25 forms of existence.

“Due to their karmic causes, people are born as an effect. Heavenly beings and humans alike still have karmic causes and still must receive the effects. When heavenly beings exhaust their blessings, they will fall into the human realm all the same. As to their past negative causes and conditions, they must come to this world again to face their retributions. This is to say nothing of human beings; people keep creating karma [and suffer] effects. Likewise, after our last breath, in which realm will we draw our next breath? We do not know.

So, we all have these retributions. Because of our karmic causes, we have retributions. So, we have this fruit. The karmic seeds continue to reproduce. This is called “existence”. There are 25 forms of “existence”. If we cultivate human and heavenly blessings, we still have “25 forms of existence”. So, there are “all these effect throughout the three realms” are “divided into 25 forms”. They are also known as “the 25 forms of existence”. In all Three Realms, the desire realm, the form realm and the formless realm, “thoughts” still exist. In the desire realm, there are obvious appearances. in the form realm, there are all kinds of forms, so thoughts of craving are inevitable. What about the formless realm? Although people there do not crave for things with form, they still have thoughts in their minds; they still give rise to discursive thoughts. So, there is this “existence”; the subtle afflictions of existence still remain in the Three Realms. So, “those who crave Nirvana and seek their own liberation are people with two Vehicle capabilities. “these people take joy in gradual [teachings]. Although they are willing to engage in spiritual practice, they still crave something. What do they crave? They crave Nirvana. They want to be able to attain complete “cessation”.

Those who crave Nirvana and seek their own liberation are with Two Vehicle capabilities. These people take joy in gradual [teachings], so the Buddha tactfully uses skillful means to teach according to capabilities and guide them to return to the path to Buddhahood. These people are all said to take jot in the limited teachings.

Those who practice the Small Vehicle Dharma think that once they attain complete “cessation,” there will not be any karmic retributions to entangle them. They think this is the case. So, they crave “Nirvana and seek their own liberation. They are people with “Two Vehicle capabilities,” Hearers and Solitary Realizers. They engage in spiritual practice but are still attached to their own liberation. They still do not understand this; they do not understand that since the causes they created have not yet been exhausted, they must still receive [the effects]. They can only avoid them temporarily; that is all. They cannot do no permanently. Thus, they need to temper themselves. So, this is why the Buddha wants everyone to go among people.

So, “These people take joy in gradual [teachings]”. Those with Two Vehicle capabilities, Hearers and Solitary Realizers, “take joy in gradual [teachings]”. They take one step at a time. The Buddha can only use this limited teaching to help them [learn] on step at a time. “So the Buddha tactfully uses skillful means” to teach according to capabilities. The Buddha works hard to tactfully teach them like this and slowly “guide them to return to the path to Buddhahood”. They “take joy in limited teachings”.

So, they have “meager virtues”. Those with meager virtues [seek] having conditions and understanding and the two virtues.

Meager virtues: [They seek] having conditions and understanding and the two virtues, but the efforts they make are of dismal use. Serve defilements: They are unable to eliminate the two delusions of views and thinking. With regards to the manifest, they take joy in the limited teachings. With regards to the intrinsic, they take joy in hearing about. His recent manifestation leaving the Sakya Palace, but take no joy in hearing about the intrinsic cause of His distant attainment.

[They are] like this; Solitary Realizers and Hearers are like this. They practice according to these conditions. Hearers connect to sound to listen and understand. What about Solitary Realizers? They connect to their external conditions. They connect the Buddha’s teachings to the external conditions to comprehend the principles. They only rely on this and want to make achievements in their spiritual cultivation. But no matter how hard they work, [the efforts they make] are of dismal use. They only rely on themselves and rely on listening to the Dharma. This is benefiting themselves. In this state, they leisurely engage in practice. Effort like this is of dismal use. So, [they have] “severe defilements”. The “severe defilements” lie in “the two delusions of views and thinking”. Likewise, they still have the subtle afflictions of views and thinking. They do not cause obvious afflictions, but they have not eliminated their afflictions of views and thinking. As long as they have afflictions that have not yet been eliminated, these karmic retributions will still return. They still have to receive their retributions. So, we should put effort into openly facing sentient beings and temper ourselves [among them] until we can face the afflictions from our karma and our layers of ignorance and eliminate them all. Then, we will be free and at ease. We no longer need to carry them in our minds. As for “the two delusions of views and thinking,” we no longer need to carry them in our minds. We can be at ease. We must tame them all. After taking care of them, we can be at ease since we have eliminated them all. Otherwise, we still must go and tame them; our minds will still be attached to our afflictions. With our afflictions concealed within, we do not know when they will appear. This is how, with regards to “the manifest, They took joy in limited teachings”. [The Buddha] used “the manifest” to refer to how people take joy in limited teachings.

The Buddha manifested in the world in the Sakya Palace. He was already aware of the principles, so He wanted to seek them. He left the palace and begin His spiritual practice. People are attached to this stage [and think], “I should engage in spiritual practice as well” “This way, I can [understand] it once and for all”. They do not think about that the Buddha had already attained Buddhahood a long time ago. We are all attached only to “the manifest,” to the Buddha’s accomplishments in this lifetime. We do not know what the Buddha experienced throughout dust-inked kalpas in the past. We do not know this. Thus, we must be mindful and earnestly focus our minds. So, previously [we] mentioned “the two virtues”.

1. Focused virtue. This refers to the virtuous karma we cultivate with a focused mind. We must stop our thoughts and focus the mind on contemplating the circumstantial and direct retributions of the pure land. 2. Unfocused virtue. This refers to the virtuous karma we cultivate with an unfocused mind. We must impel ourselves to eliminate evil and cultivate virtue through our body, speech and mind.

[First of] “the two virtues” is “focused virtue”. What we cultivate with a focused mind is virtuous karma. Our minds must be focused. Whether we practice the Small Vehicle or the Great Vehicle [Dharma], we must be focused on goodness. We must do this. We must not only go among people and interact with them, we must also be able to completely focus our minds. This is a skill; we must know how to become focused. So, with this virtuous karma, with this “virtuous karma we cultivate with a focused mind,” we are completely stable among people. So, “We must stop our thoughts and focus the mind on contemplating the circumstantial and direct retributions of the pure land”. After calming our minds, our minds will be pure lands. Although we are among people in turbidity, our minds will still be pure lands, [just as] lotus flowers bloom in muddy water. The principle is the same. We must train ourselves among people.

The second [virtue] is “unfocused virtue this refers to the virtuous karma we cultivate with an unfocused mind”. Though we may not be very focused, when we see virtue, we wish to emulate it. “If it is a virtuous deed and you are doing it, I also take joy in our merits. You are telling me that this is a good thing, so I am also coming to learn it”. How should people learn? They must begin with the body, speech and mind and “refrain from all evil and do all that is good”. These are newly-inspired Bodhisattvas. Their minds are unfocused, but someone needs to guide them. They will begin to wish to emulate the virtuous and be willing to learn. This is inclining toward goodness. They are willing to cultivate toward goodness in their body, speech and mind. So, this is clearing a path and paving it. We clear a path and pave it. We clear a path by showing it to people and guiding them to walk on it. The principle is the same.

These people of limited capabilities had these capabilities before then. If they initially take joy in the Great Vehicle, the Buddha will not say that He has taught the manifest from the beginning until now. He will say that from the beginning until now, He has always been a Buddha. He speaks to those of limited capabilities who take joy in limited teachings.

These people are all of limited capabilities. They “have these capabilities before then”. We must truly know that those of limited capabilities only see the present. They do not understand the past. This is the limitation of these people of limited capabilities. They do not understand that true virtuous Dharma does not begin only at this point. So, we must take joy in the Great Vehicle Dharma and understand that the source of this root of goodness is in the distant past. We ourselves [have the roots of goodness] ever since Beginningless Time. So, “The Buddha will not say that He has taught the manifest from the beginning until now.” It is because everyone is still lost in limited virtues, in the unfocused virtue and focused virtue. They are still of limited capabilities; they still do not know and cannot understand the root of that aspiration from distant kalpas ago. So, the Buddha could not teach this at that time. For more than 40 years, [the Buddha] had taught “the manifest.” This refers to the time He left the palace in this lifetime and how He had been teaching the Great and Small Vehicle Dharma for years according to people’s capabilities. This means that during this time when He [taught the Dharma], everyone could see Him and listen to Him and were attached to this. The Buddha wanted to start speaking of the countless kalpas in the past. “He would have said that from the beginning until now, He had always been a Buddha.” He wanted to talk about the past and the present.

But in terms of the manifest, everyone only listened to the past “manifest,” they had not thoroughly understood that root. So, those who take joy in the Small Vehicle, those with limited capabilities can never comprehend this. Because of this, “It was for these people…”.

The sutra passage states that. “It was for these people that I said that at a young age, I left home and attained Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi.”

It was for these people that I said that at a young age, I left home and attained Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi: For people like this and others with dull capabilities and severe obstructions, He said that, at a young age, He left home and attained enlightenment.

Because of these people’s capabilities, if He wanted to tell them immediately about the root in the past, they could not understand it at all. So, He could only speak of what they could presently see, understand and refer to so that they could see and learn. He spoke of the present and said, “I left the palace at this time, engaged in spiritual practice in this way, engaged in ascetic practice at this place, sat beneath the Bodhi-tree at this location and saw the morning star in this way. I attained enlightenment and awakened to the principles of the universe.” He told everyone about these things, starting from His discovery that the world is full of suffering. What He really wanted to say was that. He understood that everyone has the intrinsic [potential] to attain Buddhahood. He set aside these words. This is because if He were to tell them what everyone inherently has since the beginning, if He told them this, they would not believe it. Even if He told them, it would be useless since they would not believe. So, He could only teach them based on things that they could perceive at that point. This was His “recent manifestation.”

As for “the distant intrinsic,” He taught it at that time at Vulture Peak. This was the time that He had to teach it. So, in the past He talked about how He “attained Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi” and began to teach the Dharma. “For people like this and others with dull capabilities and severe obstructions, He said that, at a young age, He left home and attained enlightenment.” He helped everyone understand that at a young age, He left home.

For those who take joy in the Small Vehicle Dharma, He manifested in this lifetime in accordance with their capabilities, telling them that at a young age, He left home and engaged in ascetic practice to attain fruition.

“For those who take joy in the Small, He manifested in accordance with their capabilities.” For those who took joy in the Small Vehicle Dharma, He told them, “I saw in the world the inequality and how people suffered. In order to investigate the truth of life, I went to engage in spiritual practice. After engaging in spiritual practice, I have attained the absolute truth of life. So, now, I teach everyone the Dharma.” This is how the Buddha taught the principle He had experienced along the way. “For those who took joy in the Small Vehicle Dharma,” He “manifested in this lifetime in accordance with their capabilities.” Because of these causes and conditions, He was born in that palace and engaged in spiritual practice.

In short, leaving home and engaging in spiritual practice was only one part of His causes and conditions having matured throughout countless kalpas. This is how it is. This is not a true and long-lasting story of the roots. If this was true, the Buddha should still be in the world now. This is only a manifested appearance, a manifestation. This is only a footprint, a trace of Him walking through in the world. This is how it is. So, as we listen to the Buddha-Dharma, we must also have this kind of mindset. As we understand what is in the present, we must further believe in what was in the past. We must further contemplate the source of the true principles in the past. We must investigate the source and believe in it. If we want to investigate the source but do not believe in it, we will be unable to find it. So, everyone, we must always be mindful!

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