Developing Single-pointed Concentration
by Gelek Rimpoche

Lama Tsongkhapa taught that we should practice both contemplative meditation and concentration meditation. In the former we investigate the object of meditation by contemplating it in all its details; in the latter we focus single-pointedly on one aspect of the object and hold our mind on it without movement.

Single-pointed concentration [samadhi] is a meditative power that is useful in either of these two types of meditation. However, in order to develop samadhi itself we must cultivate principally concentration meditation. In terms of practice, this means that we must choose an object of concentration and then meditate single-pointedly on it every day until the power of samadhi is attained.

The five great obstacles to samadhi are laziness; forgetfulness; mental wandering and depression; failure to correct any of the above problems when they arise; and applying meditative opponents to problems that are not there, that is, they are purely imaginary.

LAZINESS

The actual antidote to laziness is an initial experience of the pleasure and harmony of body and mind that arise from meditation. Once we experience this joy, meditation automatically becomes one of our favorite activities. However, until we get to this point we must settle for a lesser antidote to laziness — something that will counteract our laziness and encourage us to practice until the experience of meditative ecstasy comes to us. This lesser antidote is contemplation of the benefits of samadhi.

What are these benefits? Among them are attaining siddhis very quickly, transforming sleep into profound meditation and being able to read others’ minds, see into the future, remember past incarnations and perform magical acts such as flying and levitating. Contemplating these benefits helps eliminate laziness.

FORGETFULNESS

The second obstacle to samadhi is forgetfulness — simply losing awareness of the object of meditation. When this happens, concentration is no longer present. Nagarjuna illustrated the process of developing concentration by likening the mind to an elephant to be tied by the rope of memory to the pillar of the object of meditation. The meditator also carries the iron hook of wisdom with which to spur on the lazy elephant.

What should we choose as an object of meditation? It can be anything — a stone, fire, a piece of wood, a table and so forth — as long as it does not cause delusions such as desire or aversion to arise. We should also avoid an object that has no qualities specifically significant to our spiritual path. Some teachers have said that we should begin with fire and later change to swirling clouds and so forth but this is not an effective approach. Choose one object and stick to it.

Many people choose the symbolic form of a buddha or a meditational deity as their object. The former has many benefits and is a great blessing; the latter provides a special preparation for higher tantric practice. In the beginning we can place a statue or painting of the object of meditation in front of us and look at it as we concentrate. But as it is our mind, not our eyes, that we want to develop, this should be done only until familiarity with the object is gained. The most important point is to settle on one object and not change it. There are stories of great saints who chose the form of a yak as their object but generally it is better to select an object of greater spiritual value and not change it until at least the first of the four levels of samadhi is attained.

Consistency in practice is also important. Once we begin we should continue every day until we reach our goal. If the conditions are perfect, we can do this in three months or so. But practicing an hour a day for a month and then missing a day or two will result in minimal progress. Constant, steady effort is necessary. We need to follow a fixed daily schedule of meditation.

Let’s say our object of concentration is the symbolic form of the Buddha. The first problem is that we cannot immediately visualise the form clearly. The advice is this: don’t be concerned with details — just get a sort of yellowish blur and hold it in mind. At this stage you can use an external image as an aid, alternating between looking at the object and then trying to hold it in mind for a few moments without looking. Forgetfulness, the second of the five obstacles, is very strong at this point and we must struggle against it. Get a mental picture of the object and then hold it firmly. Whenever it fades away, forcefully bring it back.

WANDERING AND DEPRESSION

This forceful holding of the object gives rise to the third problem. When we try to hold the object in the mind, the tension of this effort can produce either agitation or depression. The forced concentration produces a heaviness of mind and this in turn leads to sleep, which itself is a coarse form of depression. The subtle form of depression is experienced when we are able to hold the object in mind for a prolonged period of time but without any real clarity. Without clarity, the meditation lacks strength.

To illustrate this with an example: when a man in love thinks of his beloved, her face immediately appears radiantly in his mind and effortlessly remains with clarity. A few months later, however, when they are in the middle of a fight, he has to strain to think of her in the same way. When he had the tightness of desire the image was easy to retain clearly. This tightness is called close placement [Tib: nyer-zhag; Skt: satipatthana]. When close placement is lost, the image eventually disappears and subtle depression sets in. It is very difficult to distinguish between proper meditation and meditation characterised by subtle depression, but remaining absorbed in the latter can create many problems.

We must also guard against the second problem, mentally wandering away from the object of meditation. Most people sit down to concentrate on an object but their mind quickly drifts away to thoughts of the day’s activities, a movie or television program they recently saw or something like that.

Pabongka Rinpoche, the root guru of both tutors of the present Dalai Lama, used to tell the story of a very important Tibetan government official who would always put a pen and a notebook beside his meditation seat whenever he did his daily practices, saying that his best ideas came from mental wandering in meditation.

Our mind wanders off on some memory or plan and we don’t even realise that it’s happening. We think we are still meditating but suddenly realise that for the past thirty minutes our mind has been somewhere else. This is the coarse level of wandering mind. When we have overcome this we still have to deal with subtle wandering, in which one factor of the mind holds the object clearly but another factor drifts away. We have to develop the ability of using the main part of our mind to concentrate on the object and another part to watch that the meditation is progressing correctly. This side part of the mind is like a secret agent and without it we can become absorbed in incorrect meditation for hours without knowing what we are doing — the thief of mental wandering or depression comes in and steals away our meditation.

We have to watch, but not over-watch. Over-watching can create another problem. It is like when we hold a glass of water: we have to hold it, hold it tightly, and also watch to see that we are holding it correctly and steadily without allowing any water to spill out. Holding, holding tightly and watching: these are the three keys of samadhi meditation.

FAILURE TO CORRECT PROBLEMS

The fourth problem is failure to correct problems such as depression or wandering. The antidote to depression is tightening the concentration; the antidote to wandering is loosening it.

When counteracting depression with tightness, we must be careful to avoid the excessive tightness that a lack of natural desire to meditate can create; we have to balance tightness with relaxation. When our mind gets too tight like this we should just relax within our meditation. If that doesn’t work, we can forget the object for a while and concentrate on happy thoughts, such as the beneficial effects of bodhicitta, until our mind regains its composure, and then return to our object of meditation. This is akin to washing our face in cold water.

If contemplating a happy subject does not pick us up, we can visualise that our mind takes the form of a tiny seed at our heart and then shoot this seed out of the crown of our head into the clouds above, leave it there for a few moments and then bring it back. If this doesn’t help, we can just take a short break from our meditation.

Similarly, when mental wandering arises, we can think of an unpleasant subject, such as the suffering nature of samsara.

When our mind is low, changing to a happy subject can bring it back up; when it’s wandering, changing to an unpleasant subject can bring it down out of the sky and back to earth.

CORRECTING NON-EXISTENT PROBLEMS

The fifth obstacle is applying antidotes to depression or wandering that are not present or overly watching for problems. This hinders the development of our meditation.

THE MEDITATION POSTURE

The posture we recommend for meditation is the seven-point posture of Buddha Vairochana. Sit on a comfortable cushion in the vajra posture with both legs crossed and your soles upturned. Indians call this the lotus posture; Tibetans call it the vajra posture. It is the first of the seven features of the Vairochana posture. If you find this or any of the other points difficult, simply sit as is most convenient and comfortable.

The seven-point posture is actually the most effective position for meditation once you develop familiarity and comfort with it, but until then, if one of the points is too difficult you can substitute it with something more within your reach.

Keep your back straight and tilt your head slightly forward with your eyes cast down along the line of your nose. If your eyes are cast too high, mental wandering is facilitated; if too low, sleepiness or depression too easily set in. Don’t close your eyes but look down along the line of your nose to an imaginary point about five feet in front of you. In order not to be distracted by environmental objects, many meditators sit facing a blank wall. Keep your shoulders level, your teeth lightly closed and place the tip of the tongue against the front of your hard palate just behind your top teeth, which will prevent you from getting thirsty when engaging in prolonged meditation.

THE MEDITATION SESSION

Start your meditation session with a prayer to the lineage gurus in connection with your visualisation. Then go directly to concentrating on your chosen object, such as an image of the Buddha.

At first, your main difficulty will be to get hold of the mental image; even getting a blurred image is difficult. However, you have to persist.

Once you have succeeded, you have to cultivate clarity and the correct level of tightness, while guarding against problems such as wandering, depression and so forth. Just sit and pursue the meditation while watching for distortions. Sometimes the object becomes too clear and you break into mental wandering; at other times it becomes dull and you lose it to sleep or torpor. In this way, using the six powers and the four connecting principles,1 you can overcome the five obstacles and ascend the nine stages to calm abiding, where you can meditate effortlessly and ecstatically for as long as you want.

In the beginning, your main struggle will be against wandering and depression. Just look for the object and as soon as you notice a problem, correct it. On the ninth stage, even though you can concentrate effortlessly for a great length of time, you have not yet attained samadhi. First you must also develop a certain sense of pleasure and harmony within both body and mind. Concentrate until a great pleasure begins to arise within your head and spreads down, feeling like the gentle invigorating warmth of a hot towel held against your face. The pleasure spreads throughout your body until you feel as light as cotton. Meditate within this physical pleasure, which gives rise to mental ecstasy. Then when you meditate you have a sense of inseparability with the object — your body seems to disappear in meditation and you sort of become one with the object; you almost want to fly away in your meditation. After this you can fix your mind on any object of virtue for as long you want. This is the preparatory stage, or the first level of samadhi. Meditation is light and free, like a humming bird in mid-air drinking honey from a red flower.

Beyond this you can either remain in samadhi meditation and cultivate the four levels of samadhi or, as advised by Lama Tsongkhapa, turn to searching for the root of samsara. No matter how high your samadhi, if you do not cut the root of samsara, you will eventually fall.

Lama Tsongkhapa likened samadhi to a horse ridden by a warrior and the wisdom that cuts the root of samsara to the warrior’s sword. When you have gained the first level of samadhi you have found the horse and can then turn to the sword of wisdom. Unless you gain the sword of wisdom your attainment of samadhi will be prone to collapse. You can take rebirth in one of the seventeen realms of the gods of form but eventually you will fall. On the other hand, if you develop basic samadhi and then apply it to the development of wisdom you’ll be able to cut the root of samsara as quickly as a crow takes out the eyes of an enemy. Once you’ve cut this root, you are beyond falling.

You are chained, entangled in the barbed wire of hope and fear. So give it up! Simply sustain present wakefulness, moment after moment.

— Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye

什麼是“如來藏”
慈誠羅珠堪布

“如來藏”的見解很重要。因為它是顯宗最頂峰的見解,即顯宗沒有比它更高的見解了。麥彭仁波且等高僧大德認為“如來藏”的《寶性論》是顯密結合的一種經典,也就是說,“如來藏”既可以歸於密宗的范疇,也可以歸於顯宗的范疇。所以這個很重要。

釋迦牟尼佛住世時,公開地三轉法輪。第一次轉法輪時,佛宣講了“人無我”,以及“因果”的存在,為我們闡述了雖然“我”是不存在的,但因果相續的循環卻無欺存在的理論等等內容。第二次轉法輪時,佛宣講了空性的見解,即不論是有情世間,還是外境的山河大地,都是不生不滅的空性。第三次轉法輪時,佛宣講了“如來藏”的內容,即一切法雖然不生不滅,但不是像虛空一樣什麼都沒有,而是存在一種用語言無法表達的東西,這就是“如來藏”。

一、推翻六識的見解

建立“如來藏”見解首先要推翻六識的見解,我們的器官,如眼、耳、鼻、舌等的功能是有限的。這些功能局限於某種范圍,一旦超出這個范圍,這些器官就無能為力了。而我們的第六意識,雖然有觀察的功能,但觀察的依據也來自於眼耳鼻舌。譬如當人在回憶往事的時候,他對往事的記憶仍來源於眼耳鼻舌。這樣就可以得出結論:思維的依據來自於眼耳鼻舌。但眼耳鼻舌等器官本身,不但不能看見或了知“大光明”、“如來藏”、“空性”等,而且,就連我們平時自認為看得一清二楚的東西,其實都沒有真正分辨清楚,看個究竟。

比如我們以肉眼觀察某個事物,認為它處於靜止狀態。但佛告訴我們,它們不是靜止的,是一剎那一剎那運動變化的事物。從科學的角度也證明了這一點。另外,我們以肉眼看桌子,就會認為它是完整的木板,看不出它中間有縫有孔。但《俱捨論》中卻認為:一切物質由微塵構成,微塵之間是有間隙的。眾所周知的科學理論也告訴我們,桌子是由無數微塵組成,微塵之間並非相互連接,而是存在間隙的。這就像我們遠看銀河,認為是一片光明,但如果借助於天文望遠鏡,或者從近距離觀察,就會發現銀河並非一片光明,而是由很多星星構成的。

同理,平時我們看到的極其堅固的金鋼石,也不是沒有縫,也是由很多微塵組成的。實際情況就是如此。而且,對於眼睛而言,事物若太遠太近太大太小,眼睛都會看不見,所以眼睛的能力是很微弱的,必須與所觀察的事物配合好後,才能看得見。所以說,眼睛所見非常有限。我們的肉眼連這些都看不清楚,又如何能看清“空性”呢?所以,相信眼耳鼻舌,是十分荒唐可笑的事情。

佛經中曾講過:一名具有有漏神通的外道修行人,在一個車輪般大的圓圈中,所能看到的眾生數量,可以和我們普通人在三千大千世界裡所能看到的眾生數量相比。阿羅漢或初地以上菩薩在一個車輪般大的圓圈中,也能夠看到外道修行人在三千大千世界裡所能看到的所有東西。然後隨著修道層次,依次往上類推,修行層次越高,所能觀察的程度也越深。可是,我們的眼睛根本就看不見那麼多的眾生。

可以舉顯微鏡的例子來稍稍說明一下。若以肉眼看手掌,看不到其中的生命,而顯微鏡卻可以,這個情況你們比我還清楚。但是,顯微鏡也只能暫時並且有限地彌補一些眼睛的能力,從根本上講卻於事無補。與有些修行人的眼睛相比,顯微鏡也不算什麼了不起的東西。修行人所見的境界,可以遠遠超越顯微鏡為人類所提供的視覺范圍。而且,這些所見的境界並非幻覺,而是確鑿不移、顛撲不破的事實,但我們凡夫卻看不出來。

所以,企圖用我們的肉眼去觀察宇宙、人生、真理等等的真相,簡直是癡人說夢,即使加上顯微鏡鏡片的幫助,其能力也是有限的。平時我們眼耳鼻舌之所見、所聞、所感都是幻覺,這些器官看不到什麼東西。

二、證悟如來藏的方法

“如來藏”是存在的,但我們卻沒有辦法如實地講出來。我們的語言僅能傳達眼耳鼻舌所感受的東西,我們的概念也僅能表達這些東西,而對於沒有看到、沒有聽到、沒有領略到的東西,心裡就沒有概念,所以就無法言表。

比如我們看到經中描繪“西方極樂世界”,完全是由琉璃珠寶所組成,但什麼是琉璃珠寶呢?我們就沒有概念,只好心想:可能和商店裡的差不多吧。又比如我們提到甘露,也只能說是比礦泉水還好喝的東西,用其它語言和概念再也無法描述了。這都是因為我們的眼耳鼻舌等器官,其作用范圍的有限性所致。“如來藏”不屬於眼耳鼻舌的范圍,我們沒有見過,沒有聽過,連它的概念都無從產生,想如實地表達更是無計奈何。

那麼“如來藏”的論點又是如何傳下來的呢?為解決這個疑問,佛經裡有這麼一個很好的比喻。有人問什麼是月亮?回答時,即可用手指指著天空中的月亮回答他說:這就是月亮。那人若順著手指所指的方向去看,即可看見月亮。實際上手指有沒有具體指著月亮呢?月亮與手指距離相當遠,又沒有辦法捅著月亮清清楚楚地指給人看。“指月”僅僅是一種方法而已。只要通過這個方法,使人能看見月亮就可以了。

同樣地,我們通過語言的指引,逐步去證悟無法用語言表達的東西,這是佛的唯一方法,佛最偉大之處即在於此。因為,平常讓我們去了解、感受看得見、摸得到的東西,這並不難。世間的學科皆是如此。而要讓薄地凡夫去了解並證悟從未見過、難以言傳的境界,這就很難。但是佛有辦法。辦法就是首先把我們原有的觀點推翻掉。很多人認為非常了不起的所謂“文明”、“正確的觀點”等等都要全部推翻。推翻以後,就沒有觀點、沒有概念了。這個“沒有觀點”就是“觀點”。

三、證悟如來藏的本體大空性的真偽

我們的思維其實是很簡單的,“有”、“無”、“非有”、“非無”這四點,可以涵蓋所有的思維。將這四點完全打破以後,我們還能說出什麼呢?再沒有別的觀點了,這就叫“證悟空性”。

對此也曾有過理解出錯的公案:以前禅宗的摩诃衍法師來西藏弘揚禅宗,曾在西藏引起極大的爭論。並不是藏地不接受禅宗的法,禅宗的法其實是非常好的法,但依照西藏歷史的記載,摩诃衍講禅宗的法時出了一些問題。當然,這僅僅是西藏和印度人的觀點,當時漢傳佛教的描述與此大相徑庭,我們暫時不去論述誰是誰非,只根據西藏歷史的記錄描繪他所提出的觀點。

他說無論“有”、“無”、“善”、“惡”都不要想,“非善”“非惡”也不要想,一切都放下,放下以後就解脫了。若不能放下而去行善造業,就會在輪回中流轉。因為取捨善惡是下等根基人的修法,而上等根基的人則應全部放下,什麼都不想。這種道理從表面上看是沒有問題的,但是他要求暫時放不下的也非得要放下,這是不對的。說放下就放下是不可能的,沒有那麼輕而易舉的事。放下需要某種有力的方法才能實現,沒有方法是不可能放下的,所以說只講放下不講究方法是不對的。

摩诃衍所說的“放下”、“不要想”,如果真是僅僅不思而沒有悟性的話,那其實還是在想,想的什麼呢?想的就是“不要想”。心裡想著“不能思維”,其實內心還是在思維。這樣做只不過在方法上有所不同而已,這種觀點不對。漢地寺廟現在的修行人,如果修的是真正的禅宗,那十分了不起,如果修的是不思的觀點,那就十分危險。

前面所講的打破、推翻原有觀點從而證悟空性是《中觀》的見解,而僅僅不思的觀點不是《中觀》的見解。這二者從詞語語氣上不易鑒別。
《中觀》的觀點,是觀察“有”“無”“生”“住”“滅”等等,當觀察到一定程度後,才能深深體會到原來“有”“無”等都是我們自己的一種佛經上稱之為“增上安立”的東西。

“增上安立”就是指把根本不存在的東西當作“有”而不當作“無”等等。然而現在事實卻根本不是我們以前所想象的那樣,我們原來所想是一回事,但是現在證悟之所見又是另外一回事,此二者之間有天地之別!概念都不一樣。這種“深深的體會”叫“初前期證悟”,可以稱之為“證悟了”“開悟了”。但開悟是分層次的,並非指成佛。證悟就是開悟,但開悟不一定指成佛。

大小乘的四禅八定,可以修到鼻孔沒有呼吸。還可以修到很長時間心裡都沒有念頭,坐著非常舒服,但是,這樣的修行也與解脫沒有任何關系!解脫是指用智慧去拔除輪回的根,這才叫解脫。當所有的“有”“無”念頭都真正地消失後,剩下的就是“如來藏”。禅宗裡這叫“本來面目”,也可以稱之為“大光明”、“大平等”、“大圓滿”、“自然智慧”等等。這才是真實的“不思”和“不想”,辨別這二者之間的差別極為重要。

四、進入如來藏的幾種方法之區別

“光明”就是無垢、純淨的意思。污垢即指我們的執著。修行時,“惡”“善”的念頭都要斷掉。要進入這種狀態,需要一定的方法。(1)首先有推理的方法,這個方法常常易於理解;(2)在密宗中有修氣脈明點的方法,也能進入這種狀態,而且還比較快;(3)還有大圓滿、大手印的修法,特別是大圓滿所講的上師的加持和竅訣,也能同樣進入這種狀態,而且可以飛速進入,這是最快的速度。

這三種進入方法,第一種是《中觀》的思維方法,這是最慢的,但比較踏實;修“氣脈明點”速度中等,但有些危險性,因為氣、脈輪和人的思維有密切關系,若修不好則精神都會不正常,會遺患無窮;如果有正確的引導就可放心大膽地修習;第三是上師的訣竅,出錯少,危險小,沒有彎路,並且收獲大,見效快,但是需要無偽的信心,沒有信心是不行的。以上三種方法都可進入這種“不可言不可說”的狀態。

五、萬法不離如來藏

當我們生而為人,有了軀體和心相續以後,就會建立很多諸如“上”、“下”等概念,而“如來藏”的狀態就像當我們進入太空後,大腦裡原有的、在地球上建立的“上”“下”概念就消失了一樣,進入這種狀態,就進入了“如來藏”、“大光明”。它們並不是在身體內存在的一個東西,並不象計算機裡面有軟件一樣。密宗裡講的“自然的智慧”也是如此,心的本性也就是它。從無始以來,它就從來沒有離開過我們,而且距我們非常非常近,只不過是我們沒有發現,如果我們發現了,就是“初步證悟”。

除了不作夢的深度睡眠以外,在一天的24小時中,在我們的頭腦裡不停地產生著“善”“惡”等念頭。其實,每一個念頭都是從“如來藏”中出來的,它現在住在“如來藏”中,以後毀滅時也消失在“如來藏”中。

《寶性論》中有一個比喻,就是以世界來比喻心。世界最初不存在,雖然世界產生的原因有種種說法,但都只是推測而尚未加以證實。世界從太空中產生,至今在太空中存在,最後也必將毀滅於太空之中,並沒有到其它地方去。這就說明世界來自於虛空,安住於虛空,毀滅於虛空。

同樣,我們的每個念頭也是來自於法界,安住於法界,消失於法界。這是根據佛的引導了解來的,也是無以數計的成就者所證實了的,並非如外道所說是上帝創造的,因為這些觀點無法證實。

雖然凡夫人對此難以理解,但成就者是親自體會過的,修行人是通過慧眼而非肉眼來體會的。所有的成就者都走過這條路,有過這種體驗。比如從未品嘗過糖的人無法知道糖的味道,就只好通過比喻,告之甜味類似於牛奶,但這並不能准確表達甜味。最好的辦法是讓他親自品嘗糖的味道。正如禅宗所講:“如人飲水,冷暖自知。”

每一個念頭,從普通人的角度來看,是有差別的。但從修行人,特別是從大圓滿修行人的角度來看,都是“如來藏”。從實質上講,這一切並無差別。所謂差別,只是由我們的執著而產生的。因為心的能力比物質的能力要大得多,心可以控制物質,反之,物質卻很難完全駕御心。比如:以前有位印度婆羅門認為,火是很可怕的,但當他看見火中生存的火老鼠後,從此改變了看法,並由此得出如下結論:一切都是不一定的,沒有一個實在的東西,都是相互觀待而存在的。

同樣,所有的物質都是因緣產生的,所以物質時時刻刻都在變化,而“如來藏”則永遠不變,這是我們的本性。只要我們進入那種狀態,就能解脫,就能“當下成佛”。如果不能進入,則永陷輪回。

但所謂“當下成佛”,也並非一剎那間成佛。在密宗以及顯宗較深入的部份中,宣講“心的本性是佛,除佛以外別無它物。”很多居士也常說“佛祖在心上”,意即心的本性是佛。

但是,心除了本性之外,還有其它不利的東西。正如大海除了浩淼寧靜的海水之外,還有勢不可擋的驚濤駭浪一樣。雖然心的本性是佛,但針對未證悟者而言,心的現象卻層出不窮。如果已經證悟,則無本性和現象之分。所謂“勝義”、“世俗”、“地道”等概念,也是針對未證悟者之分別念而言的。

心的本來光明為“基”,因為一切法皆源自於它,所以稱之為“基”。進入這個狀態叫“趨進”,進入狀態且不離開叫“修法”,“修法”也可稱之為“道”。徹底進入不再返回叫“果”,“果”也就是證悟。“如來藏”包含了“基”、“道”、“果”,“基”、“道”、“果”也即心的本性。

在達摩祖師的悟性論中說:“眾生與菩提,亦如冰與水。”水凍結為冰,冰融化為水。它們沒有本質上的區別,都是H2O。如果溫度高於0℃,則只有水而沒有冰的存在;如果溫度低於0℃,則除了冰以外沒有水的存在。因為溫度不同,就有水與冰的不同顯現。同理,眾生與佛的本心同為如來藏,因為無明遮障,就顯現為有煩惱的眾生;因為遠離了無明的垢染,就稱其為佛。在佛的境界中,沒有無明煩惱的糾纏;而飽受煩惱折磨之苦的眾生,也無法理解自心即佛的道理。然而,從本質上講,二者的卻不分軒轾,皆為佛。

在顯宗的經典中,認為成佛的道路極其遙遠,要經過三個阿僧祗劫,也就是三個無數大劫,那是超越常人的思維、極為漫長的時間。但密宗卻認為,心的本性就是佛,我們與佛並沒有距離。只要進入那種狀態,佛與眾生當下融為一體。達摩祖師的血脈論中也提到此理論,他說:“若見性即是佛,不見性即是眾生。”當然,如果因為修行程度不夠,沒有足夠的定力,這種境界還會失去。但通過修行,必將達到佛與眾生無二無別,永不分離的境界,這就叫成佛。

所以,從密宗的角度而言,佛與眾生僅隔著一道窗簾,修習的方法也極為方便迅捷,拉開窗簾,即可成佛。所以,成佛並不是遙不可及的事,而是近在眼前、指日可待的。這就是密宗,特別是大圓滿的殊勝之處。

六、眾生平等

雖然這種境界只有修行人才能體會,但我們不能因為沒有體會過,就不予承認。佛經中宣講,每個生命都具有“如來藏”,哪怕蚯蚓、蟑螂這樣微小的生物也具有“如來藏”。佛經中不認為人性本惡,可以說是“善”。但這種“善”不是我們現在概念中的“善”,它是非常清淨,沒有任何煩惱的,從這個角度而言可稱之為“善”。如果蚯蚓、蟑螂可以觀察自己的內心,就會發現自己也是“善”的。雖然其內心的顯現比人簡單,但也有“我執”,如果它們能放下執著,其心的本性也是空性的,也是無有垢染的。沒有任何執著就可稱之為空性。從這個角度來講,每個生命都是平等的,都是一樣的,所有眾生的心都是一體的。

如同一斤黃金,可以作成戒指、耳環等等各種各樣的首飾,雖然外表形狀千奇百怪,但其本質——黃金都是相同的。同樣,從表面看,六道輪回形形色色,但從本質來講,眾生心的本性是別無二致的。即使是無神論者,他們心的本性也是如此,沒有絲毫差別。所顯現的差別取決於證悟與否,佛與眾生的差別也就是證悟與無明的差別。

七、修如來藏的法器

但修學密宗,也需要很多必不可少的條件。而且作為凡夫,即使條件具備,也要循序漸進,一步步來,而不能揠苗助長,妄想瞬間成佛。

《寶性論》是半密宗半顯宗的法,它告訴我們佛與眾生僅有“執著”的距離,一經打破,眾生即可成佛。為破除執著,密宗就會采用種種方便法門。因此,修行密宗需要具備一定的承受能力,若沒有這些承受能力,則會更麻煩。比如“誓言甘露”,雖然常人無法接受,但它就是為了打破干淨不干淨的執著。與之相比,顯宗因為沒有這些方便,所以成佛的速度很慢。

正如生病時,以動手術的方式治療則通常較快,而吃藥打針等保守治療的方法則較慢。我們知道,動手術治病雖然快,但如果身體基礎不好則會死掉。若身體條件不具足,則須慢慢吃藥解決病痛。

顯宗修持常人能夠接受的觀點,而密宗卻推翻了我們原來的一切觀點,大多觀點行為都與常人背道而馳。雖然從外表上看,密宗使用了一些凡夫無法理喻的方便,但實際上卻很有用,它能強迫我們丟掉原有的、固定的分別念,達到迅速成佛的目的。

如果條件具足,就會很快,很方便,易如反掌地達到我們修行的目的。這並非信口雌黃、憑空杜撰,而是鑿鑿有據的。漢地六祖慧能證悟的方法很簡單,一些藏地高僧大德的證悟也很方便。雖然普通人從中是看不出任何因緣,但密宗的修持方法的確當下即可證悟。

證悟的首要條件就是要具足對金剛上師和密法的信心;其次業障要清淨,至少相對要少一點,最起碼很粗大的罪業不能有;第三要具足資糧,最後要有善知識的引導。

想證悟“如來藏”,修習包括大圓滿、大手印等法門,如果有很好的根基,即使是忙碌的在家人也能證悟,甚至在乘公共汽車或上班時也可證悟。若無根基,即使皓首窮經,將全部經典背誦得一字不漏也無濟於事。如果沒有信心,一輩子也不行!

只要修五加行,則全部資糧都可具足。只要堅持不懈,就肯定能達到蓮花生大師的成就。關鍵是我們是否肯去實踐。從佛說法到現在,有許多人都接觸過佛法,卻至今尚未證悟,主要原因就是他們不去親身操作、體會,所以很多人都沒有解脫。

總之,首先不要相信眼耳鼻舌,因為他們的作用有一定的局限,只在一定范圍內起作用。其次,以眼耳鼻舌為根據,而產生的各種念頭都要否定,讓這些妄念的大廈徹底坍塌、崩潰。如同遮蔽天空的雲,只有被風吹散後,才能看見真正的藍天。徹底放下後,就能見到心的本性,就能成佛。

Those of little merit would not even have doubts about this doctrine of emptiness, even suspicion that objects are empty wrecks the seeds of cyclic existence.

— Aryadeva

The Truths of Life
by Venerable Yen Pei

What is life exactly? Religious teachers and philosophers of both the past and present have offered diverse explanations about life. What is the Buddhist perspective of life?

1. Life is suffering. From birth to death, isn’t all that we experience ultimately of the nature of suffering, in the final analysis? It is only with self-awareness that “life is suffering” that we can have right, penetrating understanding of life.

2. Life is impermanent. From birth to death, we undergo constant changes every instant along with the metabolic processes in the body, thus advancing steadily towards the end of death. It is only with self-awareness that “life is impermanent” that we will be constantly vigilant, treasure this precious human life and live earnestly.

3. Life is illusory. When we probe in-depth into life, we discover that life is causally arisen, without any substantiality of its own,. It is only with self-awareness that “life is illusory” that we could live fearlessly without misgivings, as we sacrifice self-interests for the benefit of others.

This human form is rare and hard to come by. One must not live this human life in vain or let it degenerate. Moreover, one must make life sublime, by following the flawless life-outlook of the Middle Path and purifying this imperfect life that is rooted in craving, so as to accomplish the perfect, enlightened life that is based upon right wisdom. Only then can one imbue this human life with great, noble value.

Our sublime teacher, Buddha Shakyamuni, expounded numerous methods of Dharma practise, diverse schools of teaching, and various paths to liberation, suitable for the respective capacities and aspirations of sentient beings. Although the distinct methods or practise rituals may vary in different traditions, all the teachings ultimately share the same core principle, for the masters of the different traditions are inseparable in essence.

— Khenpo Sodargye Rinpoche

世界上最公平的就是因果
星云大师

人有一個身體,可以做好事,做壞事。拳頭,我打你一拳,你把我送到公安局,是惡; 你幫我捶背,那就是好事。錢有淨財,也有不義之財。人有三個東西很重要:身體可以做好事做壞事; 嘴巴,可以說好話說壞話; 心,可以有好的念頭,有壞的念頭。

過去古人說,不要造惡業哦; 善的業可以上天堂,惡的業可以墮地獄,人可能有上過天堂,有下過地獄,都是根據我們的念頭來。所謂三好之家,指身、口、意。身做好事,口說好話,心存好念,就是三好。前面有兩條路,一條善的路,一條惡的路,我們走到十字路,該選擇哪條,這“三好”,會幫我們決定該走哪條路; 善有善報,惡有惡報,不是不報,時辰未到。

有人懷疑善惡因果的關系,有的人做好事沒有好報,做壞事富貴榮華,這在我看來是因果,這個做壞事的人,他的銀行有存款,有富貴的因緣,你不能不讓他拿; 如果你做好事,為什麼不能有好報,那是因為你銀行裡有負債啊,做好人就可以不還債嗎? 經濟有經濟因果,道德有道德因果,健康有健康因果。要健康就要做運動,要注意營養和衛生,不是說我拜佛吃素就可以長命百歲了,這是錯誤因果; 要想發財,就要勤勞,好好經營事業。有因才有果,因與果不相應,就不能得果。

行“三好”,就是好的因緣,如果做好人沒有看到好報,不必著急,因果一定不會辜負人; 它遲早會還給你一個果報,在我70多年出家的歲月中,我所體悟到的世間上最公平的就是因果。非不能勝理,理不勝法; 法不能勝權; 權不能勝天,不要在果上計較,他為什麼要打你,找出原因; 他侮辱我的父母,傷害我的師長……總有原因,要找出原因。

因果之間還有一個重要的“緣”,因才會有果報,財富、事業、交友,都是如此,都要看緣分的。這個緣是什麼東西? 釋迦牟尼佛在菩提樹下悟道,悟道了什麼? 是真理,什麼真理? 就是緣起,無論什麼都是因緣而起。因緣的關系,因不能生果,必須要有緣。比如你把西瓜種子,放在桌子上,不能開花結果,要把他種到土壤,有陽光、空氣、水分,這個因才會開花結果,所以是因-緣-果,這個緣的真理,我們不容易懂,不是那麼簡單。

因緣第一步,是正見,要有正確的見解,沒有錯誤; 正確的見識就是不能看錯,實際上我們認識錯誤很多。是非、善惡、好壞,都有一定的標准。從人看物,知識分子、學者、聖賢,獲有正知見,他看到一個茶杯,他看到的不只是茶杯,它還是瓷器,它是從哪裡出產的,價值多少……以為看到很多了。

比如(敲桌子)問大家,這是什麼? 大家都說這是桌子,但你錯了,這個桌子是假象,真相是木材,木材可以給我們做椅子、桌子; 這是木材? 又錯了,它不是木材,木材也是假相,它是一棵樹; 那這是大樹? 也錯了,這是一顆種子,它通過陽光、空氣、泥土、水分,這些因緣和合成為了一棵大樹。

別說一棵樹,即使一顆沙子,它都結合了宇宙萬有的力量,才成就了這個東西。你們各位有家庭,家裡有因緣,夫妻有緣分,但是要有好的姻緣。不好的因緣,大家志向不投,或者水分太多,或者陽光不夠,所以緣分要剛好,那就是善緣。我說了一句好話,可能不經意,但是你聽了之後,就成了一個緣分,緣分往上才是空,緣是需要條件的,不能單獨存在的,人你們單獨存在嗎,人要吃飯,要有農夫,要穿衣服,就要工人,要買東西就要商人,交通就要司機,人要很多的緣分才能存在。