心灵的自由与解脱
文珠法师

今天与各位讨论的题目,是心灵的自由与解脱。我们生长在资源发展迅速的大都市,工作疲劳,生活紧张,身心都不自由;更无法解脱现实种种烦恼的困扰,可谓心事重重,相当苦恼。现在,本人藉此机会,与各位谈心,介绍心的种种及其作用,希望各位藉著佛法的启示,能能抛开心事,止息妄想,恢复觉性的宁静,获得心灵的自由与解脱,进而改善生理与心理的健康,提高生活的意义与情趣,这该是有益身心讲座。现在,本人分为四点,讲述于后:

一、心灵的种类

人非草木,谁没有心?何况外界一切事物,皆因人心关系而存在,可以说:人类生活是否幸福,人类前途痛苦或快乐,无一不系于人心,以心作主。但心是甚么?心是人类行为的主宰,亦是人类精神的主帅。但心的种类繁多,有善有恶,有好有坏,有贪有嗔,有喜有怒……古人说:‘人心不同,各如其面。’而佛经则说众生的心,有八万四千妄想之多。归纳而言,不出以七五种。

(一)肉团心——人的心脏

肉团心,指人体的心脏言,居人体之正中稍偏左。人体所有血管皆与之相通,是促进人体血液循环的总机构,其形上大下小,尖端偏向左下方,像莲花含苞待开,其质纯是以筋肉混合,含有地水火风的成份,其量大如拳头,内部纵横分为左心耳,右心耳,左心室,右心室四区。由瓣膜直接相通,出入心脏血管共八条。入于右小耳约为上大静脉,由右心室出的为肺动脉,入于左心耳的四条,即左右肺动脉,由左心室出的为大动脉,四区外有一层滑泽的心囊包围,以保护心脏,防止人在剧裂运动或搏斗时,不致与体内其他部分摩擦而受伤。因是血肉组成,有形相、有实质,名肉团心,是人意识所依止的器官。

(二)缘虑心——人的知觉

缘谓扳缘,虑是思虑,属人体器官的机能,佛教名之为眼等六识。当人体眼等六根,与外界色等六尘对立时,能引生六识的心理分别作用。例如:眼缘于色而有知觉,耳缘于声而有听觉,鼻缘于香而有嗅觉,舌缘于味而有味觉,身缘于触而有触觉,甚至末那识缘于第八识见分,及八识见分缘于相分,而有我及我所等分别心理,更引生喜怒哀乐及爱恶欲之情,皆属人的缘虑心。不过在八种识心中,此眼耳鼻舌身意等六识,缘境显著,是以缘虑虽然通于八识,却偏指眼等六识为缘虑心。

(三)思量心——人的主观

因为第七识特别思虑量度第八识的见分以为实我,而引生我见,我慢、我爱、我痴等烦恼,所谓:‘恒审思量我相随’,所以思量心,专指第七末那识。虽然,第六意识,亦有思量审度的作用,但审而不恒,第八阿赖耶识,虽永恒相续,但恒而不审,唯独第七识,既恒又审,永远坚执八识见分为自我。基于自我主观,往往影响第六意识的活动,一切皆以自我出发,一切皆为满足自我私欲而努力,甚至唯达目的,不择手段,驱使人的意念,走向罪恶,作出种种越轨的行为。是以第七识,何止是思量分别计度,同时操纵人生,纯属主观作用。

(四)集起心——人的主体

集谓积集,起谓生起。指第八阿赖耶识,能积集一切善恶种子,作为一切业种的储藏室。又能保持业种不失不坏,作为引生同类果报体的主要因素。唯识宗认为人类日常生活的一切做作,无论善恶,都能形成一种特殊的习气,印烙于八识田中,保持不失,作为一种能引生未来同类果报体的业力种子。人的环境,善缘具足,便引生善道果报生命,享受人间天上的快乐;若然恶的因缘成就,恶的种子配合恶的助缘,便招致地狱、饿鬼、畜生等恶道苦果。若然觉悟的因缘具足,则转凡成圣,觉悟成佛。是以阿赖耶识,不独是宇宙现象界一切生命的本体,亦是创造宇宙人生的主要力量。宇宙间一切善恶好丑,及十法界圣凡悬殊,苦乐天渊,无一不从此识心所积集的业力种子而生起,因名集起心。

(五)坚实心——人的佛性

此坚固而真实的清净心,是人类精神的主体,亦是众生本具的佛性。在唯识宗名圆成实性,在天台宗名真如自性。真是真实,显非虚妄,如谓如常,表无变易。世间事物,皆虚妄不实,唯此真如自性,真实而又永恒。在时间言,此心穷尽三世,过去如是,现在,未来,甚至无量劫的将来,无不如是,所谓:‘亘古今而不变,历万劫而常新’。在空间言,此心体包太虚,量周沙界,弥满十方,无有方所,既不在内,亦不在外,更不在中间。在作用言,此心能随缘不变,不变随缘,灵明朗照,觉诸法底源,达实相边际,故又名觉性。此觉性非生灭去来,非大小一多,但能通人物,达四海,塞天地,亘古今,无有乎弗具,无有乎弗同,无有乎或变。所以说:佛性常住。

综上,可知众生心识活动,共有八种,分为五类。肉团心纯属物质,缘虑心因境而生,思量心因执而有,虽属精神活动,但皆是主观的想妄分别,所知不实,是假非真。集起心,虽是幻生宇宙人生一切现象的本体,是创造十法界圣凡的主要力量,但因无明不觉,坚执真心影子见相二分为我我所,引生俱生我法二执,作善恶业,积集而有,是真妄混合,染净交参。唯独坚实心,是诸法实相,众生本性,不生不灭,永恒常住,纯真无妄。可惜众生缺乏智慧,无法运用始觉智,理解此超越时空的本觉理。由于迷而不觉,致使此纯真之心,发生变化,染净混合,真妄交参,成为第八阿赖耶识的集起心。再因第七识的思量心,恒审思量,坚执不已,故由真而妄,由细至粗,由不觉而错觉,因错觉而扳缘外境,缘虑心生,分别取舍,引生意识虚妄想像的知觉。自此,失去真理依据,善恶原则,仅凭情绪冲动,‘爱之欲其生,恶之欲其死’。作诸善恶业缘,流转六道生死,招致果报体的肉团心。因此,释尊最初觉悟此坚实的真心时,即说:‘善哉善哉,大地众生,皆具有如来智慧德相,皆因妄想执著不能证得。’楞严经亦言:‘一切众生从无始来,生死相续,皆由不知,常住真心,性净明体,用诸妄想,此想不真,故有轮转’。证明妄想的思量心及缘虑心,是迷失真心枉受生死的主因,亦是幽禁佛性,奴役人性的罪魁祸首。

二、心灵的自由

众生妄想识心,虽善恶不定,是非不分,但此妄心不离真心。可谓:真妄原是一体,诸佛悟之,即妄即真;众生迷之,从真起妄。但妄不离真,如水与波,波即是水,离水无波。故在楞严经中,十方如来同告阿难:‘汝欲识知,俱生无明,使汝流转,生死结根,唯此六根,更非他物;汝复欲知,无上菩提,令汝速证,安乐解脱,寂静妙常,亦汝六根,更非他物。’华严经亦言:‘心如工画师,画种种五阴,一切世间中,无法而不造,心心佛亦尔,如佛众生然。心佛及众生,此三无差别。诸佛悉了知,一切从心转,若能如是解,是人见真佛。’又说:‘若人欲了知,三世一切佛,应当如是观,心造诸如来。’又因果经言:‘一切善恶,皆从心想生,是故真出家,皆明心为本。’何独出家人,应以明心见性为本,即一切学佛人,甚至一切众生,亦应以明心见性为本。因为明真心,见本性,知心佛众生,三无差别,自可除妄想,去执著,转迷为悟,转识成智,反妄归真,彻底粉碎心中烦恼枷锁,获得心灵的自由与解脱。

讲到自由,人皆喜爱。真的,谁不爱好自由?谁不追求自由?有人说:‘不自由,毋宁死。’多少人为争取自由,宁可放弃一切,利诗言:‘生命最可贵,爱情价更高,但为自由故,两者皆可抛。’现代很多民主国家,都提倡自由,不但思想自由,言论自由,而且生活自由,经济自由,行动自由……当然亦有人乖曲自由,利用自由。青年人不听父母师长教导,是个人自由;成年人不守秩序,藐视法律,也是自由;甚至作奸犯科,损人利己,将圣洁的灵魂,推落私欲的陷阱,身为形役,心为转境,声色犬马,流连忘返,都是自由。所以罗兰夫人说:‘天下古今,多少罪恶,皆假自由之名以行’。致使自由,成为违背真理,破坏传统道德,扰乱社会秩序的武器,实在不幸。何况国家法律,虽给予人民自由,但回顾现实,很多人限于时间与环境,限于人际与业力关系,在人生旅途中,又能获得多少自由?更何况在生老病死的关卡中,又有谁能自由冲关?在贪嗔痴慢,以及忧悲苦恼的烦恼区域里,又有谁能获得心灵的自由与解脱?所以人虽然生活在自由的社会里,但自由毕竟有限,特别是心灵的自由,除非能彻底摆脱贪嗔痴等烦恼枷锁,否则,绝无自由可言。

佛教教主释迦牟尼佛,降生印度时,正是极端专制毫无自由的封建时代。当时身为太子的释尊,眼见执政者的骄奢淫逸,专横无道,耳闻被征服被奴役者的哀鸣,因而激发救世救人的悲愿,誓为全人类的自由平等而奋斗,而牺牲。于是割爱辞亲,出家修行,找寻真理,追求自由。当其夜櫵明星,成等正觉,发现佛性平等之后,不但主张种族平等,同时主张理性平等,不但给人类带来生活上、思想上、行动上、言论上的自由,还强调生命的自由,远胜言行的自由,心灵的自由,更胜于物质生活的自由。也唯有生命的自由,心灵的自由,才是人生真正而又永恒的自由。然欲想获得心灵的自由,以导致生命的自由,非运用布施等心来对治贪嗔等六种根本烦恼不可。兹分述于后:

(一)以布施心对治悭贪

悭谓悭惜,悭惜自己财物,不肯与他人分享;贪谓贪欲或贪求,于五欲境,贪恋不舍,于他人财物,欲占为己有。中阿含经言:‘我见世间人,有财痴不施,得财后更求’。是名悭贪。属于一种恼乱自他的烦恼。因为悭贪之人,欲望无穷,得陇望蜀,欲壑难填,心中时刻充满欺骗奸诈,不是明抢暗偷,便是强夺巧取。结果,招致法律制裁,引生忧悲苦恼,恐怖不安。即使不致触犯法纪,但贪心之人,无论贪名、贪利、贪财、贪色,或贪食、贪睡,都能扰乱身心,患得患失,求不得时,固然失望悲哀,所求如意,又为保管操心。何如寡欲知足,安贫乐道,不为物累,不为己悲。何况世间财物,五家所共有。更何况因果报应,丝毫不爽。所谓:‘财色名食睡,地狱五条根’。是以佛劝世人,以布施心,对治悭贪,将世间无常财物,储存福田,更为安全,且利率更高,生生世世,福报随身,受用无尽。

布施,不一定需要大量金钱。迦旃延尊者,令贫女施一钵水,即福报生天。又如乞女施灯,终得授记作佛,号灯光如来。正如佛说:‘以不坚之财,贸易坚固之财。’(见本事经)因为世间无常,金钱纵多也有尽时。何况人命无常呼吸间,一旦无常到来,万般带不去,唯有业随身,是以智者勤苦积财,用于布施。以金钱财物布施,解除他人生活困苦,使人发奋向上,建功立业,是立功;用知识或佛法布施,令人增长智慧,己立立人,是立言;用无畏精神布施,令人感恩励行,建立品德,是立德。个人果能实行布施,立功、立言、立德,自然心安理得,俯仰无愧,现世善名流布,来世福报无穷。若能无相布施,三轮体空,或以布施功德,回向无上菩提,则福报更微妙难思,何止对治悭贪,更能尽断烦恼,速成佛道。

(二)以忍辱心对治嗔恨

嗔恨,是众生心病中最恶毒的一种。佛说是根本烦恼之一,能违害慈悲,障碍圣道,更能恼乱自他,使人心烦躁不安,趋向堕落。是以华严经言:‘一念嗔心起,百万障门开’。又言:‘一念起嗔,殃堕无间。’佛教世人,以忍辱心对治嗔恨。人心生嗔,多因逆境,或来自人事界的毁谤怒骂,侮辱与逼害。或因自然界的严寒酷暑,或风水火灾,或因贪求不遂,心中懊恼,或因疾病绵缠,身心苦恼,不自觉怒火中烧,迁怒他人,诽谤杀害对方,造诸恶业,现世烦躁不安,恶名远播,来世必招三恶道苦,是以欲免轮回苦,必须善护嗔心,勿使嗔火蔓延不息。

降伏嗔心主要方法,是以慈悲心,修忍辱行。佛遗教经言:‘忍之为德,持戒苦行,所不能及。’当知忍辱,非懦夫行为,亦非匹夫之勇,而是正人君子的美德。一个修养有素的正人君子,必能谦恭忍让,对他人无理取闹,横加毁谤怒骂,或自然界种种灾害,都能安然忍受,不为所动,不生嗔心,不思报复。结果,以柔制刚,以不变应万变,既可以化敌为友,还可以化险为夷。故佛说:‘能行忍者,名为有力大人’。千经万典,都教人修忍辱行,中外古今,一切大德圣人,皆以嗔心为戒。如弥勒菩萨化身的布袋和尚,又如文殊、普贤菩萨化身的寒山、拾得二大士,皆劝世人修忍辱波罗密。学佛人果能修学忍辱,由生忍进而法忍,进而无生法忍。如仁王经教化品所说,菩萨由伏忍而信忍,顺忍,无生忍,最后必得寂灭忍,终无烦恼,完成佛道。则忍辱功德,又岂止对治嗔心而已?

(三)以觉悟心对治愚痴

愚痴即无明,无明即不觉众生因内心不觉,对境迷恋执著,由于迷失理性,不知真心,妄见人我,幻生我法二执,名根本无明。若迷事相,不知因果,不识邪正,产生种种邪见谬论,是枝末无明。成唯识论言:‘诸烦恼生,必由痴故’。众生因愚痴固执,对事理性相,是非好丑,邪正曲直,缺乏智慧明辨,无法觉悟本具真心。遂迷真起妄,认物为己,以苦为乐,以无常为常,以无我为我,以不净为清净。无始劫来,积年累月,都在愚痴暗蔽的无明黑夜中,胡作非为。由诸善恶业力所牵,流转六道生死,致使本具佛性,失去智慧的光辉,使人类宝贵生命,失去生存的意义,贪嗔慢疑恶见等烦恼由是而生,所以愚痴,是根本烦恼的根本。

当年悉达多太子,手握智慧宝剑,破除无明黑幕,揭开宇宙奥秘,觉悟人生真谛,回复佛性尊严,理解心外无法,法外无心的原理,知心佛众生,三无差别。我等愚痴众生,若能对佛道响往,发心寻求,所谓发菩提心,行菩萨道,即是产生觉悟之心。以觉悟之心,解觉悟之理,修觉悟之行,循人生正轨,进入真理圣城,自可消灭愚痴黑暗,发挥智慧光明,转迷为悟,转凡成圣,转烦恼成菩提,转生死为涅槃。至此,心中坦荡荡,一切人我是非,自私嫉妒,一扫而空,心无挂碍,何等自由自在?所以觉悟,正是对治愚痴的特效药,是破除无明烦恼的利器。若想超凡入圣,觉悟成佛,非培养觉悟心不可。

(四)以惭愧心对治骄慢

骄慢,是一种我慢贡高,恃己凌人的心态。俱舍论将之分为七种,对一切不如己的人,生骄傲鄙视之心,或盛气凌人,谓之慢。对学问、财富、或地位与自己相等的人,偏言己胜,或对一切皆胜己的人,强言与自己相等,谓之过慢。对胜己之人,反说己胜,谓之慢过慢。顽固执著,以为自己才貌出众,学识过人,夜郎自大,不可一世,是我慢。修道之人,未能解行相应、悟道证真,但为求世间名闻利养,妄言证圣,迷惑世人,是增上慢。对品德超群,学诚丰富之人,生卑劣感,但又不肯虚心向人学习,或接受他人好意的劝导与帮助,名卑劣慢。邪知邪见的人,恃恶生憍,以恶为胜,未能流芳百世,亦要遗臭万年,是名邪慢。总之,憍慢是一种主观执著,喜欢炫耀自己,鄙视他人,欠缺谦恭礼貌的心理病态,能烦乱自他,引生罪恶,是以佛视之为根本烦恼之一。非生惭愧心,无以对治。

惭是惭己,愧是愧他。对自己过失,感觉羞耻而反省,力思改过自新谓之惭。对他人过失,引为警惕而自勉,谓之愧。所以惭愧之心,既可对治憍慢,且可雕刻美满的人格,孕育高尚的情操,激发人向上进取的雄心,以及学习圣贤的精神。一个有惭愧心的人,不但闻过则喜,见善则拜;且能见贤思齐。所谓‘彼既丈夫我亦然,何必自卑生退屈’。‘舜亦人也,我亦人也,有为者亦若是。’特别是学佛人,知佛性平等,生佛体同。释尊已成佛,弥勒当成佛,而我等仍居薄地凡夫,被业所牵,为生死所缠,能不惭愧,反躬自责?是以惭愧心生,憍慢幢折,忏悔往昔所造诸恶业,不再嫉贤忌能,而随喜功德;不再懈怠放逸,而勤求佛道,追随释尊后尘,发菩提心;学习弥勒菩萨,修菩萨行,将来龙华三会,见佛闻法,终必成佛。亦视一切众生为未来诸佛,心生恭敬,不敢轻慢,如法华经常不轻菩萨,对一切众生皆尊重恭敬,常说:‘我不敢轻慢汝等,汝等皆当作佛。’而西哲摩尔先生亦言:‘向上级谦恭是本份,同平辈恭谦是和善,向下级谦逊是高贵,向所有人谦恭是安全。’可知谦恭礼让,原是做人的本分。能惭愧反省,不因妒忌而自恼,不因憍慢而恼人,使自他内心都充满喜悦与和谐,又是多么高贵和安全?

(五)以正信心对治疑惑

疑是犹豫不决,惑是迷失事理。疑惑心重的人,既无智慧明辨事理,分析邪正,又缺乏信心,不肯敬信三宝,不肯接受善知识的指示。遇事不能当机立断,不是彷徨失措,便是坐失良机。或因迷惑无知,怀疑真理,谤无因果,妄作恶业。是以疑惑,亦是根本烦恼之一,能招三涂苦果,犹如毒刺伤人善根,令人不知向上进取。是以佛教世人,以正信心对治疑惑,凭借正信三宝功德,启发正智,认识真理,了解人生,知因识果,增长做人的信心,走向光明的前途。

正信,拣非迷信、邪信。迷信固然有害无益,邪信更是为患无穷。因为邪信拨无因果,毁谤三宝,断人善根,散播罪恶种子,必然自食苦果。所以本人希望在座各位,切勿迷信,邪信,必需正信三宝,知因识果,止恶行善,努力修改自己不良行为,取消不正常心态,积极进修佛道,增长福慧,扩展德性,运用正信的清洁剂来洗刷心中迷惑积垢,竖立正法幢,拔除众生疑根,导归无上觉道。否则,美其名曰信佛,实则神佛不分。每以拜神祭鬼的心态来拜佛,以贪求不已之心来求佛许愿,而不知自求多福,努力向善。既为生前个人利益著想,而损人利己,作诸恶业,更为死后的享受与占有,而诸多营为。例如先订高贵棺木,先要风水坟地,预买陀罗尼被以灭罪,准备往生咒焚烧以超生,而孝子贤孙们,既不知供给长辈生前的照顾与享受,反为其死后的享用而打算。购买纸扎房屋、汽车、飞机、游艇,甚至电视机,录像机等等模型以焚烧。真的迷信得可以。

根据佛教因果定律,人死不一定做鬼。而是随其生前所作善恶业力牵引,或上天堂,或堕地狱,或为鬼为畜,无不自作自受。子孙唯一能协助先人的方法,是敬信三宝,念经超度。使先人灭罪生福,不堕三恶道而速生善处。所以正信,不单是对治疑惑或迷信邪信的圣药,亦是自救救人,自利利他的良好方法。

(六)以智慧心对治恶见

恶见,指违情逆理,不合逻辑的成见,偏见,包括邪见。是人生心理的错觉,能危害自他,可分为五种,佛学名之为五利使。

1·身见、身指由四大五蕴所组合而成的人体,原是无常、苦空、无我,属于幻有、假有,非真有。但众生迷而不觉,不知缘起性空之理,执无常为真常,轨假我为真我。更不知我所占有的一切名利权位,皆幻妄不实,而分别计执我及我所有,这种执著的我见,因身而起,故名身见。

2·边见、指断常二边。众生不知因果轮回之理,有人以为人死如灯灭,而堕于断见;亦有人以为人死复为人,属于常见。此皆妄想执著,愚痴武断,各有所偏,违背中道,因名边见。

3·邪见、是一种拨无因果的谬论。涅槃经憍陈如品说:‘善恶之报,如影随形,三世因果,循环不失。’明乎此理,自当规范身心,妨患于未然;更可止恶从善,创造幸福,走向光明。可惜邪见之人,每以为善不足珍,恶不足惧,毁人善根,陷人于迷信,邪信,永远沉沦生死苦海,无救无归,是以邪见是人生思想上最严重的毛病。

4·见取见、见,指人的主观,取见,指坚执己见以为正确的固执。由于执己为胜,自是非他,导致人间纠纷,是人类思想斗争的主因。

5·戒禁取见、指一类导人迷信的宗教,仅凭个人强烈的主观错觉,设立邪见的戒条,用以禁止信徒的思想与行动。在二千多年前,佛在世时,印度已经流行种种苦行外道,以拜火、拜水、断食……种种苦行,认为是解脱之因。或以牛是神圣的动物、不可侵犯。例如回教徒不准食猪肉而专食羊肉等禁戒的固执。目前,东南亚各地都有蛇庙,给人拜祭,而印度现在却流行一种信奉老鼠的宗教,视老鼠为神圣的使者。每天都有成千上万的信徒去老鼠庙谟拜,相信老鼠可以治病,而俯伏在地上,让老鼠在身上四处爬行,舔他们的手指,信徒以老鼠舔过的水沐浴,奉献金钱给老鼠,而庙中祭师亦相信自己将来会轮回为老鼠。祭坛上有个三尺长的钵,放满糖果麦片等食物,人鼠都从中取食。据美国记者安德逊到印度迪斯禄村一老鼠庙探访的报导:人们信奉老鼠已有四百多年的历史,由于长久以来,被人们友善对待的鼠群,已变成训良的宠物,随手可以拿起一只老鼠放在掌中玩赏。安德逊见到的一部份,最少有五百多只。美国驻印度使馆发言人查加尔敦说:‘我们的社会对宗教信仰,十分宽大,因为人人有选择信仰自由。’香港也是信仰自由,虽不致自由信奉老鼠,但谟拜石头,木头,处处都是。这都是无济于事的迷信行动,简直是误己误人,佛教视之为恶见邪行,属根本烦恼之一,是人类知识方面的心理毛病,由迷失真理而起。

是以佛劝世人,以智慧心对治恶见,因为智慧能明白真理,知世间事物,缘起性空,四大无我,不执身见;知众生六道轮回,非断非常,不落边见;知因果报应,三世循环,不生邪见;知识心分别,妄想为患,不固执己见为是,故无见取见;知成佛真因,在发菩提心,行菩萨道,利己利人,不作无益苦行,无戒禁取见;进修佛法,开拓智慧,以一切智,证真空理,断见思惑,了分段生死以自利;以道种智,证俗谛理,留惑润生以利他;以出世间上上智,圆修三观,圆断三惑,圆证三身。至此法身清净,纯真无妄,摆脱烦恼生死,即得解脱,自由自在。

三、心灵的解脱

解脱,即解除烦恼的束缚,脱离生死轮回的痛苦。众生心中因为充满贪嗔痴慢疑恶见等烦恼,策动身口意三业,作善作恶,遂形成一种招引未来果报的业种子,牵引八识心王,投生六趣,身心皆苦,不得解脱。今修学佛法,能以布施心对治悭贪,以忍辱心对治嗔恨,以觉悟心对治愚痴,以惭愧心对治憍慢,以正信心对治疑惑,以智慧心对治邪见,彻底取消贪等六种根本烦恼,根治心理毛病,不再因烦恼而作业流转,即可解除烦恼束缚,解脱生死痛苦,回复纯净无染,纯乐无苦,纯真无妄的正觉境界,不再受外界物质引诱,不怕人事界冲击,不畏自然界灾害,身心皆得自由自在,谓之心灵的解脱。

四、由心到身的自由解脱

一般人所追求的仅是行动的自由,以及现实生活痛苦的解脱。殊不知真正的自由、绝对的解脱,是基于人心而非人身。因为心,是人生命的主体,行动的统帅。人生正报的美丑,智商高低,依报的贫富,环境苦乐,皆由人心创造。所以华严经说:‘若人欲了知,三世一切佛,应观法界性,一切唯心造’,唯识宗亦说‘万法唯识’。由于人识心的真妄与善恶有别,所创造的十法界众生生命亦苦乐悬殊。六道众生,上升人天,下堕三涂,固决定于人心的善恶,而圣人的品位高低,甚至觉悟成佛,亦基于人心的真妄。

凡夫迷失真心,用诸妄想,不知佛性本具,原可作佛,反被贪嗔等六根本烦恼所感,身则杀盗淫,口则妄言绮语,两舌恶口,心则贪嗔痴,形成引生未来或苦或乐的果报体的业力,因业感果,故有四大组合的色身。人因有身,需要生存,不得不努力奋斗,初则但求温饱,进而讲究享受;初则只为个人著想,次则为家庭打算;不得不汲汲于富贵,戚戚于贫贱,身为形役,心为境转;既牵挂个人事业的成败得失,更牵挂家人的健康、前途与幸福。总之人生于世,太多希望,诸多牵挂,更多负累,心中懊恼不安,直接导致心理忧悲苦恼,间接影响生理建康,由心苦而导致身苦,再因身苦增加心苦,结果身心都苦,陷于苦境,无法自拔。唯一自救的方法,是学佛修行,寡欲知足,实行布施,心离悭贪;勤劳忍苦,不为顺逆境所动,而停止嗔恨;恒抱惭愧之心,策励自己,不生憍慢;常以觉悟心,自觉觉他,远离愚痴;以正信心,深信因果,开导众生,断诸疑惑;以智慧心,灭诸邪见,正己正人;使自己由修心养性,进而明心见性,断惑证真,在无贪、无嗔、无痴,无我慢、嫉妒,无疑惑邪见种种心苦,导致身体健康,从心不苦做到身不苦,从心灵的自由,做到身体的自由,身心都净化,身心都自由,才是真正的自由与解脱。

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As long as you have negative thoughts in your mind, no matter how much you attempt to be pure, you cannot become pure. It is said that everything that appears and exists is all-encompassing purity, and also that within every sentient being dwells the buddha. The Secret Mantra Vajrayana teaches that the external universe is an immeasurable palace, and all the internal sentient beings are dakas and dakinis. This is how it truly is in reality. When you understand this, your mind becomes like space, very blissful and happy.

— Garchen Rinpoche

The Sky Dragon’s Profound Roar
by Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche

We practice the genuine dharma because it is a method for clearing away the temporary stains that obscure our vision of the true nature of mind. The abiding nature of our mind is clear light. It is the Buddha nature, the undifferentiability of clarity and emptiness. In its essence, it is primordially pure and primordially free from any stain at all. It has been free and pure from the very beginning. Yet, although this is the basic nature of mind, there are temporary, adventitious stains, which are not of the nature of mind but which, nevertheless, prevent us from realising what it is.

The fact that the true nature of mind could be this clear light, the Buddha nature that is completely free of any imperfection at all, and yet be obscured by temporary stains, is called the first of the “four inconceivable points” in a text called the Gyü Lama. This text presents the highest view in the continuum of the Mahayana teachings. Why is this point inconceivable? It seems to be quite a contradiction to state that the basic nature of mind is pure and, at the same time, there are stains that prevent us from seeing it. If the true nature of our mind is pure, why then don’t we realise this?

The situation is like gold that is pure and yet is obscured by some coarser mineral; it is like water that is pure in essence, and yet is muddied by dirt; it is like the sun that is shining and yet is blocked from our view by clouds. The purpose of practising dharma is to clear away these temporary stains so that the essence of mind shines forth. At that time, mind will be like pure gold that is refined of all impure materials. It will be like pure water, uncontaminated by any trace of dirt. It will be like the sun shining in a cloudless sky. We can understand how this apparently contradictory point is not contradictory when we consider such examples. On the surface, there might appear to be a contradiction while, fundamentally, there is not.

The qualities of the basic nature of this clear light, or Buddha nature, are that it is naturally open, spacious and relaxed. When a person realises this directly, they are freed from the bondage of their conceptuality; they are no longer bound by conceptual mind. Further, this realisation benefits not only those who have experienced it directly, but it also benefits us while we are still in the process of listening to and reflecting upon these teachings. As we develop our understanding, we progressively gain certainty that the nature of this mind will help to release us from the bondage of our thoughts, and from the bondage of our own anger and desire.

AWARENESS AND THE EXPANSE

The glorious Third Gyalwa Karmapa, Rangjung Dorje, described the true nature of mind as the “undifferentiability of awareness and the expanse.” The quality of the “expanse” refers to the transcendence of all conceptual notions; it cannot be described in words or grasped by thought. It is the great openness transcending all conceptuality. The quality of “awareness” describes the natural state of the mind, which is clear, luminous, and bright. This quality of luminosity is what is meant by awareness.

This description by the Third Karmapa of the basic nature of the mind as the undifferentiability of awareness and the expanse is the perfect unification of the intention of the Buddha’s speech in both the Second and the Third Turnings of the Wheel of Dharma. The description of this mind as being in the nature of the expanse is the aspect that is in harmony with what is taught in the Second Turning of the Wheel of Dharma. The Second Turning sutras of the Transcendent Perfection of Wisdom, or the Prajnaparamita, describe the basic nature of reality as transcending all conceptual fabrication, as being beyond any conventional name, term, or description. Furthermore, the awareness aspect, the natural clarity and luminosity of mind, is in harmony with the Buddha’s intention in the sutras on Buddha nature, which constitute the Third Turning of the Wheel.

When one realises this nature of mind that is the awareness and the expanse undifferentiable, then all conceptual fabrications are pacified and the darkness of ignorance is completely dispelled. It is through our realisation of the aspect of the expanse — the transcendence of all conceptual fabrications — that conceptual mind is completely pacified; and it is through our realisation of the aspect of awareness — the luminous nature of mind — that the clarity of awareness dispels the darkness of ignorance.

When one gains stable certainty that, in fact, the nature of reality is “awareness and expanse undifferentiable,” then realising the nature of reality as bliss-emptiness, mahamudra, or as awareness-emptiness, dzogchen, becomes quite easy.

The great scholar and master, Mipham Chokle Namgyal, said, “If one seeks to master the basic nature of alpha purity, or kadak, it is necessary to perfect one’s understanding of the view of the Prasangika, or the Consequence School.” Alpha purity describes the basic nature of mind as it is expressed in the dzogchen descriptions. If one wishes to realise dzogchen, alpha purity, or trekcho, as it is also called, then one must perfect one’s understanding of the Consequence School. That is, one must realise that the nature of reality transcends all conceptual fabrications; it cannot be described by any conceptual terms. This is the aspect of the “expanse.”If one recognises this, then it is easy to realise the mahamudra because, as Milarepa sang:

The view is original wisdom which is empty
Meditation clear light free of fixation
Conduct continual flow without attachment
Fruition is nakedness stripped of every stain.

“The view is original wisdom, which is empty,” describes awareness, which is empty of any flaw, empty of any type of conceptual fabrication, and cannot be described by any conventional terms.

If one is able to gain certainty that the nature of mind is awareness and the expanse undifferentiable, then one will perfect the intention of the glorious Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, who expressed this realisation again and again. The Buddha nature, itself, is nothing other than the awareness and the expanse undifferentiable. It is very important for us to gain certainty that this is the case through the practices of listening and reflecting. This has been a brief explanation of the view of the Third Karmapa, Rangjung Dorje, and the Sixteenth Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, which expresses the true nature of reality as awareness and the expanse undifferentiable.

Subhuti asked: “Is perfect wisdom beyond thinking? Is it unimaginable and totally unique but nevertheless reaching the unreachable and attaining the unattainable?”

The Buddha replies: “Yes, Subhuti, it is exactly so. And why is perfect wisdom beyond thinking? It is because all its points of reference cannot be thought about but can be apprehended. One is the disappearance of the self-conscious person into pure presence. Another is the simple awakening to reality. Another is the knowing of the essenceless essence of all things in the world. And another is luminous knowledge that knows without a knower. None of these points can sustain ordinary thought because they are not objects or subjects. They can’t be imagined or touched or approached in any way by any ordinary mode of consciousness, therefore they are beyond thinking.”

— The Buddha, Prajnaparamita

烦恼的制造过程
心定法师

前面曾经说过,只要我们的六根对着六尘产生了六识的分别作用,就会一直不断地制造身、口、意三业。关于这方面,我要从十二因缘来分析我们修戒定慧我说过的只要是因为我们六根来分析我们的思想、我们的行为如何从过去世演变到现在世以及未来世的过程。从中让大家体会到:修行必须从持戒、修定、观慧下手,才有办法斩断生死的流转。

烦恼的方程式—十二因缘

在十二缘起里头,「无明」与「行」是过去世思想上与行为上的错误,今生的「识、名色、六入、触」这几种是今生的感「受」。从感「受」以后就继续产生一些行为,所以「爱、取、有」是今生所造的,来生就有「生、老、死」。因此「无明、行」是过去世所种的因;「识、名色、六入、触、受」是今生所受的果。「爱、取、有」是今生所造的因;「生、老、死」是未来将要受的果。这里面要用修行来对治的是「触、受、爱、取」,只要能对治这些,就有办法断除烦恼。

(1)触

当我们六根接触到六尘境界的时候,就产生「触」。这种「触」有「可意触」(合自己心意的感触)及「不可意触」(不合自己心意的感触)两种。这些接触都是与「无明」相应的,意思就是说我们内心都潜在着一种自我的思想、一种自我的执着。只要心里的念头是在想:「我要怎么样子、我想怎么样子、我认为怎么样子」,都是在跟我执相应。

(2)受

一接触以后,适合自己心意的就会产生一种「乐受」--快乐的感受。遇到乐受时会希望染着、拥有、占有这个东西、这个人、或这个环境。相反的,遇到「苦受」时则希望排除、打击、破坏、消灭对方。所以接触以后就会产生一种感受,感受以后因为念头加深、印象加深,使得心里头的思惟力量加强,自然而然就会产生身体的行为和语言的行为。

(3)爱、取

心意再不断增强的话:必然是这样子对于所喜爱的境界(可爱境),就一直念念不忘,想了又想,这个阶段我们就叫做「爱」。这时候是属于意业,而且是很强的意业。内心里对可爱境(人、事物、东西)产生了染着心,粘住了,不放了。整天想,一有空档就想,事情做完了就想到这件事或这个人,这种状态就叫做「爱」。有了「爱」的力量来不断加强这个意念,让意念产生强烈的染着,自然就会产生身业、口业行为出来(唯识学称为「现行」),这时才叫做「取」。

(4)有

采取行动以后,就会留下一股投胎转世的力量。这股力量在十二因缘里叫做「有」;在业力的理论里称为「无表业」。如果以唯识学来说,就是熏习到阿赖耶识里成为「习气」。用现代话来讲,就是成为我们的「记忆力」。各种记忆力的强弱成分不同,会引导我们将来投胎转世的方向,但总不出于欲界、色界、和无色界。

这三界之内的「爱、取、有」属于「三有」--欲有、色有、无色有(投胎到欲界、色界、无色界的力量)。所造的业,都是三界内的—或者是善的行为的业、或者是恶的行为的业,还有不动业。我们打坐修定到了入定以后就称为「不动业」,因为身、口、意在禅定中不起念头,没有行为。这种不动业将来可以升到天上—或者欲界天,或者色界天,或无色界天,总之都是在凡夫的境界里打转。

与无明相应的这些「触、受、爱、取」都超不出在三界之内轮回生死,所以说「爱、取、有」以后,一定会有生、会有老死。来生再继续一样的从「识、名色、六入」产生「触、受」,「触、受」又产生「爱、取」,「爱、取」再产生一股强大的有表业,同时立刻构成无表业的力量。这些记忆力又再继续的投胎转世,引导我们形成另一个个体出来。人从过去到未来就是这样子,一直不停的轮回。

烦恼的种类

「爱」、「取」里头的「取」又分为好几种:

(1)欲取

对五欲的色、声、香、味、触,也就是大家一般常说的财、色、名、食、睡,这种欲望的贪念、染着、追取就叫作「欲取」。欲取当然会产生很大的力量,对家庭方面有感情的染着,对兄弟之间有财产的争执,对于社会的名利、权力、地位,这些追求就更强了。

整个社会对五欲的追取都会产生很大的力量,严重的或者谋财害命,或是情杀什么的。像社会里的议长、副议长、帮派老大被枪杀,这类事情目前台湾层出不穷。这种事情总不出于色、声、香、味、触,财、色、名、食、睡‥‥等对五欲、权力、男女的追取,可见它能构成那么强大的力量。

(2)见取

另外在思想、见解方面,这方面包括人生观、哲学的执着,这种叫做「见取」。这种见取有民进党的、有国民党的、有什么党的。哲学方面的有一元论、二元论、多元论的。总之,不同的哲学思想会产生极大的力量,造成宗教与宗教之间的冲突,比如基督教与回教几百年的战争。民主集团和共产集团因为思想而引发世界大战,造成人与人之间的不和谐。

(3)我语取

对于个人自我的自体爱(喜爱自己)、境界爱(喜爱与自己有关的人事物)也会产生强烈的染着,使得我们对这个「我」一直念念不忘,一直非常的爱护着。而且认定有自我,从过去延续到今生。今生一旦死了,一定会再继续投胎转世。这种见地是一种「我语取」,唯识称它为「补特迦罗」我执(指有情对自己的执着)。对自我的强烈染着也能构成一股强大的力量,投胎转世就是以这个力量为主。

(4)戒禁取

其它在修行方面,有的人认为这样的修行可以解脱生死,有的人认为那种修行可以解脱生死。在一般人来看,可能认为那是毫无意义、浪费时间,可是他认为那个方法才是解脱的不二法门。这种自以为是的修持方法如果是错误的,就叫做「戒禁取」。戒禁取也会构成一股强大的力量,带着我们去投胎转世。

所以对于「取」这方面,有很多种执取、追取。大概来说,可以分为这四部分:影响自我生死轮回的「我语取」、间接思想哲学方面的「见取」、对于五欲方面的「欲取」、对于修行方式的「戒禁取」。而每一种都有足够强大的力量,带领我们再去投胎转世。

这些都是经过自己的思想以后,认为对的就不断去喜爱它,包括对自己的(自体爱)、自己所拥有的(境界爱),也包括思想方面的、见解方面的。所以从「爱」而后「取」,当这个「取」表现出行为来的话,我们就必须用「持戒」来控制。

降伏烦恼的方法

「爱」和「取」这两部分,一定要从持戒来克制。不管你的思想、修行方式正确与否?都要本着「慈悲、尊重别人、不侵犯别人」的精神。你要怎么修是你自己的事,希望你不要影响到别人。但有一些主义、思想发挥出来以后,自然而然就会侵犯到别人。所以持戒的根本精神就是使我们身体的行为不杀生、不偷盗、不邪淫,我们的语言,不恶口、不两舌、不绮语、不妄语‥‥等等。这些原则能够守得住的话,不管你的思想、你的见地如何,那就能避免制造恶业了。

(1)持戒—控制语言、行为

在修持的过程中,「爱」和「取」都是比较能发出行为,比较粗浊的烦恼,所以一定要从五戒、十善这方面来控制自己。「爱」是对人、对事、对物已经升起了喜欢的感受,觉得 和自己的心意非常相应,所以构成了「爱」。既然相应,他会一直的想,想过了就增加心念的力量,使内心里的记忆一直加深。当印象不断加深,心念的力量不断加强以后,他必然会采取行动。

爱和取如果形成了心意的动作,就叫做「意业」;形成了身体的动作,叫作「身业」;形成了语言的动作称为「语业」或「口业」,也就是身、口、意三业。一旦行为制造完成,变成了过去式,就是属于「无明」和「行」的部分。如果这个「行」是今生所制造的,现前彼此都感受得到的,叫作「有表业」。如果存下来了成为记忆力,要等候来生才引发出「现行」的,那就是「无表业」,也就是「爱」、「取」以后的「有」。因此,今生的「有」就是前世的「无明」和「行」。

这个「爱」和「取」是要透过接触才有的,有了接触才会有感受。我们持戒的用意,是在行为方面不让「爱」起「现行」(变成行为)。因为行为要现起以前,都会在心中酝酿一段很长的时间,所以我们必须在酝酿过程之中就能够控制它,因此进一步就是要修禅定。

(2) 禅定--控制意念

修禅定也就是一般所说的「防微杜渐」。当我们六根接触六尘的时候,如果能在接触当下有定力,心里常常保持明明白白,那么当下就能非常清楚地知道我这个念头究竟是清净的、还是杂染的。

眼睛一看到就知道这可以看、这不可以看。这个不能再多看,多看下去会引起麻烦的。耳朵听人家在那里讲话,你不听则已,听了可能会断章取义,以为人家在说你的坏话。所以你不听就没事,多听几句以后从中切入下去,以为人家在背后毁谤你,反而引出你的苦恼。不听不就都没事?

所以六根在接触六尘境界的时候,如果我们心里头能够明明白白,当下就能克制自己的冲动。而这种能力必须靠修禅定来培养。所以当我们的「爱」、「取」还没有发展起来的时候,如果能在「触」与「受」这两个阶段以定力来降服它,那就不会再发展成「爱」和「取」。

我们修行为什么一定要修禅定﹖修禅定就是修心的意思--修我们这颗心。让这颗心在接触到种种境界的时候,不要迷糊。一迷糊就会染着境界、贪念境界,心里放不下,所以必须平时下功夫。

就数息观来说,平常要老老实实的「数呼吸」。我们会妄念纷飞,就是因为对一些可爱境界或是可憎恨的境界一直不断重复的在想象、分别,所以印象越来越深,心力越来越强,最后就产生行为、动作出来。现在我们必须老老实实的照顾呼吸。随你的习惯,不论你喜欢数吸气的部分,还是喜欢数呼气的部分,只要保持不变就好。在一支香里头,从头到尾数吸气的话,就一直数吸气的;数呼气的话,从头到尾都算呼气的。

如果你很投入、很专心的数呼吸,肯定不会有其它妄念的。一天、两天下来,或是你用功一点,每天坐几支香,训练原本纷飞的妄念不再窜动个不停,不再现起。训练久了,自然有功力。定力加深以后,因为你经常熏习、训练你的心在所缘境上,所以当其它念头起、其它境界一现起时,你就能立刻察觉,这个时候就已经达到修心的层次了。

我们修心修到这个时候已经有定力,心里明明白白、清清楚楚,所以任何境界一现起,就会明白我现在有什么念头,不会像以往那么迷糊。对于任何一个行动,不管是穿衣、走路、吃饭、或是大小便,心里随时随地都很清楚。所以修定就是让我们在接触到外境时,当下明明白白,不要让念头继续发展下去。所以「触」与「受」这两个阶段就是以定力来对付的。

断除烦恼的关键--了解什么是无明

由于无始以来的习气是从过去世延续到今生,而今生有时候接触到的境界很强烈,不管是外面境界的诱惑力很强,或是内心烦恼已经很强,使得我们身不由己的被习气牵着走。有时也知道这种念头不能再继续想了,有时候也知道那种境界不能再染着了,但是「根」对着「尘」不肯放。应该放,但没有办法放。还是喜欢去看、喜欢去听、喜欢去吃、喜欢去做。这一类根深蒂固的习气非常难以控制。

想到一个讨厌的人,心里越想越讨厌,越愤愤不平。你明知道想下去也没有意义,想下去只有伤害自己的身体,但还是气愤不过。这些都是自己的一些瞋恨习气。想到一个可爱的境界或可爱的人时,也是克制不住的一直想下去。因此在修禅定的过程中,有时候会失败在习气、无明的冲动下,到最后还是爆发出来,破口大骂,或者作出粗鲁的行为。

所以我们必须进一步了解这些无明、习气作祟的最主要因素,是自我的念头太强了,我执太强了。因此「无明」是对治烦恼的第一个关键。由于过去的无明(思想、见解的错误),一直认为世间每一样东西都是真实的,自我也是真实的,所以才会产生贪爱或瞋恨。身、口、意的错误行为就是「无明」和「行」制造出来的。

这种强大的业力能构成一个生命体,也带来了今生的「识」。这个识就需要依附在一个物质体(名色,意即精神与物质)上,所以缘「识」而有「名色」。同时缘「名色」的物质也必须有这个「识」才能继续存在,所以「识」与「名色」共同构成了今生的生命体。接着为了发展未来的生命,所以产生了眼、耳、鼻、舌、身、意的「六入」。「六入」出离母胎以后就接触到外境。有接「触」就有感「受」,然而它的根源都在「无明」上。

所谓的「无明」就是自我的执着--什么事都觉得别人是不对的。我们这个世间比较可怜的一种人,就是自己的行为已经侵犯到别人了还不自知。他不了解这样的动作就是侵犯到别人,这样的言语就是侵犯到别人,因为他个人的习气就是这样子。过去世的习气如果是这样子,今生的习气也常常还是这个样子。

在教育方面,家庭教育所带来的无明就已经够严重了。再加上自己从过去世延续到今生的习气,成为一种习惯性的行为,不明白这是错误的,所以无法控制。自己做了、讲了,也认为这是很理所当然的。所以有一些人已经侵犯到别人了还自以为是,没有办法自我检点,这些都叫做无明。思想上、见解上的错误会引发行为的错误,而行为的错误却不知道、不能察觉。因此根源的「无明」必须花点时间再向大家说明。

今天先告诉大家「无明、行、识、名色、六入、触、受、爱、取、有、生、老死」。或许大家把它当作佛学名相、学术研究来认识,以为它就是说「过去世怎么样、现在世怎么样;现在世做了,来世怎么样子」的一个过程而已吧!但是做一个修行佛法、真正要解脱生死的人,就是要从十二因缘这里正确的明白我们的错误行为,以及要用什么来对治。

今生所造的「爱」、「取」就是要「持戒」来对治它。对「爱」、「取」我们如果不让它发展出真正的行为出来,就要在微细接触的时候、感受的时候,当下就明明白白,所以一定要修定来对治「触」、「受」。「触」、「受」一旦解决掉就不会产生「爱」、「取」。

所以缘无明而行,缘行而识,缘识而名色,缘名色而六入,缘六入而触,缘触而受,缘受而爱,这是一个流转门。反过来说,我们这个触灭则受灭,受灭则爱灭,爱灭则取灭,取灭则有灭,有灭则生灭,生灭则老死灭,老死灭则一切纯大苦聚皆灭,这就是还灭门。

我们学佛最终目的是要进入涅盘、成佛,而涅盘就是解脱,就是佛陀告诉我们的「凡所有一切众生,我皆令入无余涅盘而灭度之」。这就是生活的佛教、人间的佛教。如果「触、受、爱、取」这些不灭,你怎么达到这些目标呢?大家好好的把定力修好,将来就容易持戒。定力要修得好,还要看破、还要能够放下,这就需要智慧门了。我们以后再来谈智慧门如何对治无明、怎样帮助修定、修慧,达到明心见性、解脱生死的境界。现在大家继续用功!

You don’t have to say anything. You don’t have to teach anything. You just have to be who you are: a bright flame shining in the darkness of despair, a shining example of a person able to cross bridges by opening your heart and mind.

— Tsoknyi Rinpoche

The Paramita of Prajna
by Tai Situ Rinpoche

The three aspects of prajna are ordinary samsaric wisdom, lesser transcendent wisdom and highest transcendent wisdom. The first covers all the many sorts of worldly wisdom which we used to call’ art’ in Tibet, all the studies of which are covered by ten topics, five of which are minor, and five of which are major. The five minor disciplines are: poetry (and rhetoric), astrology, terminology (including grammar), dramatic art and etymology.

Poetry means the expression of things in a pleasant way and in a way that enables others to feel as we do, even if they are not in that particular situation themselves.

Astrology is the study of the inter-relationship of the various bodies of the universe. The way that we exist internally is a total true reflection of the way that outer things exist. This is why a charting based upon a correlation of the outer elements at our birth can show exactly and undeniably the sort of mother and father we have and so forth. The outer universe is the outer body and our earth its inner body. This human body is an outer body and within it are the subtle bodies and then all the aspects of mind. There are many bodies and they all have connections with one another. The study of these connections is astrology. An example of this is our calendar. Sometimes there are thirteen months in the year, sometimes only eleven. Sometimes there are twenty-eight days in the month and sometimes there are thirty. Why? because we regulate our calendar according to the cycles of the moon in a way which allows no mistake for the seasons. Our summer months are always summer months and the winter months always winter months. Eclipses of the sun and moon, everything, is clearly described by astrology and can be charted in the calendar. There are several systems of astrology. There is ‘white’ astrology and ‘black’ astrology; nothing to do with white magic and black magic or good and bad. The black astrology is more complicated and mathematical, involving angular calculations and so forth, while the white astrology is a simpler form.

Terminology and grammar deals with the use of terms in order to express ideas. For Tibetan language there were originally seven master treatises giving the rules for language but unfortunately five were lost. However, these two contained all the information of the other five and so Tibetan grammar is complete.

Dramatic art incorporates many things and covers many topics. It can be used to portray history or as a means of expression and it involves pretending; pretending whatever it is that we wish to portray. If it is an historical drama then we reproduce as faithfully as possible the historical event – the personalities of the people involved, their background and the historical facts. Theatre is like poetry since the people watching it are transported to that condition, that realm, that situation by the motion and imagery of the players. It utilises movement, music, singing, – many things.

Etymology is a loose name for the fifth of the lower studies. It deals with names. Names are used for everything; some of them are meaningful and exist through reason while others are meaningless. When, for instance, we say sang-jay in Tibetan, our word for Buddha, it implies ‘sang’ – ‘awakened’ from the sleep of ignorance, and ‘jay’ – ‘full blossoming’ of all the qualities and knowledge. There is another sort of name which has no meaning: house, for example. A house is just called a house – a sound grew up in association with that object. There is a whole text which contains hundreds of names, many for each thing, showing how a flower can be called ‘that which drinks through its feet’ or ‘that which has fine petals’ and so on.

The above five topics are known as the five lesser disciplines and they deal with less important topics. The five greater disciplines are: crafts, medicine, communication, truth and dialectics.

The first of these is the study of how to create and how everything was created. The whole universe is made of five component elements, five qualities of nature which support one another thereby enabling the universe to exist as it is. Even when we make a pot, it is possible without a teacher to learn how everything is composed. We need clay (solidity), water to make it wet (humidity), air to propel it, space in which it moves and heat to make it usable. We have gained insight into the five elements by simply making a pot. This branch of the greater disciplines or sciences covers metalwork, woodwork, weaving, pottery and a host of other creative activities.

Second is medicine. In craft we learn how everything is created. In medicine we study how it functions. When the functioning goes wrong, we apply the correct treatment and it works again. There are many ways of diagnosing the problem when the human body goes wrong. In Tibet, if a good doctor was unable to diagnose the problem immediately then, if there were ten possible sicknesses with ten potential cures, he would take ten small pots and place a sample of the patient’s urine in each. To each was added one of the ten medications and by skillful observation of what happened the doctor could tell which remedy to apply. The medications are chemical; chemical in the broadest sense of the term, that is, a composition of naturally occurring things. Tibetan medicines were closer to nature than Western ones. The organs of the human body have specific qualities and attributes which correspond to similar qualities in herbs in the outer world and those herbs can be picked and applied carefully to cure the organs of beings. That is basically how Tibetan medicine works.

The study of communication covers many things. It is often considered to be just the study of the Sanskrit alphabet but it is much more than that. It requires a study of all the elements, movement, feelings, the environment, the atmosphere and so on. Someone who develops this understanding of communication or sound can hear and comprehend the language of animals, who may not have language in the same sense that we do but who do make sounds to express certain things. In a similar way, we can understand the language of the wind or of fire burning, water running and so forth.

Movements make sound. One part of this knowledge is being presently developed in the form of an understanding of the theories which have given rise to television, radio and the telephone, enabling us to talk to someone on the other side of the planet just as though that person were in the same room as ourselves. It is the use of movement, the environment and sound.

Truth means the study of what is validly perceived and what is not. It is often translated as logic. Logic is one way of determining the truth. Buddhist philosophical logic is very complicated and the specialised section of dialectics is hard to master. One needs ten or fifteen years of determined practice to be able to do it properly.

Thus first we learn how everything is made, then how it functions, then the inter-relationship of everything and finally the truth about that. These five lesser and five greater sciences comprise worldly wisdom.

Lower transcendent wisdom covers both the relative and absolute levels of truth but from a one-sided approach, wherein killing and the other non-virtues are bad and suffering is very bad. To do the positive things is good and happiness and altruism are very good. All takes place within the realm of duality. Even the ultimate is the opposite of the relative. It transcends samsara but is the lower aspect of the wisdom that transcends samsara.

The highest non-samsaric wisdom is the wisdom of non-duality. This is the pure essence of Madhyamaka, beyond words, imagination or explanation. To know the way things work is thus the first stage (samsaric wisdom). To know the way they really are is the second stage and to know that which is truly the essence of everything is the third stage. This third stage can only be described very roughly and unclearly – it needs to be tasted. We have to taste it.

When we practice the path of the Bodhisattva, we practice according to the six paramitas. Having three aspects each, there are thus eighteen aspects of practice to accomplish and we develop them from their beginnings until they truly become paramitas or perfections. In doing this we traverse the five paths of the Bodhisattva – the paths of accumulation, preparation, insight, familiarisation and fulfilment. As we make this journey, the ultimate of the first path becomes the relative of the second path, and the ultimate of the second path becomes the relative of the third path and so on until the fifth path.

The first stage of profound Bodhisattva realisation is achieved with the third path and this grows profoundly through ten stages. Until the tenth stage, although there will be a growth in actual realisation and understanding, there is still the obstacle of subject and object. There is not full Buddhahood. At the last level of the tenth stage there is full realisation of the transcendent ultimate truth itself, by itself, just as it is. That is the non-dual wisdom which we call the Buddha. That wisdom from the end of the tenth stage to Buddhahood is called the Vajra-like wisdom – indestructible, unobscurable wisdom.

We should understand what the Mahayana means, its fundamental principles – the Bodhicitta, compassion and the results of Mahayana practice – understand the qualities of the Bodhisattvas and Buddhas and what realisation really means. It was not that there was first the Buddha and that then we named him as being the realisation of the ultimate truth. The realisation of the ultimate truth is always there. He who achieves such realisation is a Buddha.