十二因缘
懺雲老法師

十二因缘,追究宇宙人生、我们今生,怎么有今生呢?古代帝王,也有很高超的,他自己说不幸生在帝王家,生在帝王家他以为不幸,有人还羡慕帝王啊!种种的宇宙人生从哪儿来的?我们今生怎么投生在这个世界、这个国、这个省、这一县、这一市、这个家庭中呢?佛说一定有过去种种思想作用,不过这些心理作用,都不知道自己有佛性、自性,像达摩祖师面壁那个壁一样,平坦的、清净的,和佛一样。总说过去生中,这些思想都无明,不明白自己能成佛、自己有佛性的种种无明。不明白就是无明、糊涂了,就有种种不合理的行为,就是“无明”缘“行”。无明是惑、行是业、今生投胎第一念就是“识”。我小孩的时候,都问小孩从哪来?当年在北方,我问堂嫂,小孩从哪来的呢?说是十字路口捡回来的。来到本省也是,说捡孩子。从何处捡来的?从街上捡回来的。不晓得小孩是生下来的。以后大了才知道,我想这怎么回事?人怎样生呢?进一步信佛才了解,哦!都是由过去生的无明和行为,迷惑的心理、颠倒的行为,死了之后,渺渺冥冥、幽幽荡荡,经过中阴身,或是阴曹地府。投生之前,就看见天地一片漆黑,但看远远的有一点点亮光,男女在那里拥抱,到男精女血交合的时候就投生、投胎了,这投胎的第一念就是“识”。从第二念起到三十五天之内,有胎胞,叫“名色”。胎胞的心理作用不那么清楚分明,但知道冷啊、热啊、苦啊,那个心理但有些名字就叫名;胎胞叫色,这是第二念到三十五天。三十五天以后就有眼耳鼻舌身意,变成胎儿了,叫“六入”。眼耳鼻舌身意怎么叫六入呢?眼耳鼻舌身意都有入色声香味触法六尘的作用。比如在街上走,看见一个女孩子,眼就入;研究她的声音,耳朵入;研究她化妆品的味,鼻子也入;活鱼八吃、熊掌猴头,舌就入;色声香味触落在心里,从心里再起第二念、从心里再现,就是法、法尘。前五识:眼看色、耳闻声、鼻嗅香、舌尝味、身感触,这是第一念;落到心里,从心里再现,这是法尘。色声香味触都是第一念;法尘是落到心里、由心里再现,这些都能染心,叫六尘。眼耳鼻舌身意都能入六尘,叫六入,这还是在胎中。进一步,生下来到两三岁之间叫“触”。从四、五岁到十三、四岁叫“受”,他有感受。十五、六岁开始就“爱”,过年要妈妈给买衣服,要什么样的衣服、什么样的皮鞋、什么样的手表,但是对男女还没有强烈的爱。到了二十岁以后,就是“爱、取”,进一步再去追求;就“有”,有就是造业了、有生死业。来生再“生”、生了再“老死”。如此,无明、行属于前生的惑业;识、名色、六入、触、受属于今生的果报──惑业苦。在果报中又起爱取有,就是今生的惑业。果中再起因,来生再生老病死,就是来生的果。就这么循环不息啊!

讲到十二因缘,说是我们生从何来呢?是自己无始劫来的惑业;可是对父母,我们还得要尽孝。虚云老和尚参禅,都讲空,参个“无”字,而虚云老和尚三步一拜拜到五台山,为报亲恩。来果老和尚也是禅宗。这是当代两位禅宗的高僧。来果老和尚割肝给母亲吃,母亲吃了病就好了。第二次割肝,母亲不吃,说:“孩子,妈妈宁可死,再不吃你的肝。”以后母亲故去了,他就出家。那么了生脱死要断无明和行,也就是今生的爱、取、有;要是行菩萨道,第一先讲孝顺父母。两方面都能兼有,又能行菩萨道、又能了脱生死,这才好。

电视的荧光幕什么都没有,电视一开,什么都有;电影的银幕上白白的,电视荧光幕也是,所现的影像有,都是如梦幻泡影。实际也是如此,人生就是一场戏,好比电影电视的演员,导演告诉今天要穿什么衣服,穿得不对、再改一改、改了就演,演的时候说是:你要笑、大笑、要哈哈大笑!完了,还不够,还叫你哭,稍稍哭一会、接着要特别悲伤的哭、哭得都要撞墙、以后哭得趴在地下起不来了。都是随着导演演嘛!演完了悲剧,回家买东西给妈妈,哈哈大笑。演了喜剧,半路上,好比摔一跤,回家好疼,一夜睡不着的叫。这些喜怒挨乐,都是如梦幻泡影;心里的本体没有这些,就像镜子的玻璃本体没有这些影相。所以“有”也是如幻。

教不外四谛、十二因缘、六度,这是佛的言教最基本的。藏教是生灭的四谛、十二因缘、事六度──生灭的六度。通教是思议不生灭的四谛、十二因缘;理六度──无生而生的六度,也是无生、三轮体空。就如我布施的东西,我要是不布施它也是没有了。比如五十年前,在东北故乡我的东西、我的什么,现在都空了嘛!体会体会事六度,确实三轮体空,就是理六度。这四谛、十二因缘、六度,叫谛、缘、度,普通说是小乘、中乘、大乘的修行方法。

The meaning of Madhyamaka is freedom from all extremes such as existence and non-existence, and “is” and “is not.” One must therefore abandon all grasping at extremes and all grasping at signs.

If one does not initially refute the truth of an object that is apprehended as truly existent, one will be unable to refute the later grasping at extremes.

Because of that, it is necessary to definitively set down the truthlessness of all things, both internal and external, by means of logical reasonings such as neither-one-nor-many.

Since this is the gross object of negation, as well as the main cause of samsara, the texts give extensive reasonings for negating the truth of conceived objects.

Having negated truth, however, one grasps at the very emptiness of truth, just as, for example, one riding a horse may not fall off on the right side, but falls off on the left side.

In the same way, if one has not gone beyond falling into the extreme of nihilism, that view must also be refuted.

Therefore, since grasping at things as both empty and non-empty, and neither empty nor non-empty must also be refuted, no object of grasping whatsoever is found in the four extremes. This non-grasping is called “the realisation of the Madhyamaka view.”

But, if one grasps to any one extreme and says, “this is the Madhyamaka view,” then, since one has not gone beyond grasping at extremes, conceiving things as empty, non-empty, and so on, this is not the Madhyamaka view.

— Gorampa

Countering Stress and Depression
by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

At a fundamental level, as human beings, we are all the same; each one of us aspires to happiness and each one of us does not wish to suffer. This is why, whenever I have the opportunity, I try to draw people’s attention to what as members of the human family we have in common and the deeply interconnected nature of our existence and welfare.

Today, there is increasing recognition, as well as a growing body of scientific evidence, that confirms the close connection between our own states of mind and our happiness. On the one hand, many of us live in societies that are very developed materially, yet among us are many people who are not very happy. Just underneath the beautiful surface of affluence there is a kind of mental unrest, leading to frustration, unnecessary quarrels, reliance on drugs or alcohol, and in the worst case, suicide. There is no guarantee that wealth alone can give you the joy or fulfilment that you seek. The same can be said of your friends too. When you are in an intense state of anger or hatred, even a very close friend appears to you as somehow frosty, or cold, distant, and annoying.

However, as human beings we are gifted with this wonderful human intelligence. Besides that, all human beings have the capacity to be very determined and to direct that strong sense of determination in whatever direction they like. So long as we remember that we have this marvellous gift of human intelligence and a capacity to develop determination and use it in positive ways, we will preserve our underlying mental health. Realising we have this great human potential gives us a fundamental strength. This recognition can act as a mechanism that enables us to deal with any difficulty, no matter what situation we are facing, without losing hope or sinking into feelings of low self-esteem.

I write this as someone who lost his freedom at the age of 16, then lost his country at the age of 24. Consequently, I have lived in exile for more than 50 years during which we Tibetans have dedicated ourselves to keeping the Tibetan identity alive and preserving our culture and values. On most days the news from Tibet is heartbreaking, and yet none of these challenges gives grounds for giving up. One of the approaches that I personally find useful is to cultivate the thought: If the situation or problem is such that it can be remedied, then there is no need to worry about it. In other words, if there is a solution or a way out of the difficulty, you do not need to be overwhelmed by it. The appropriate action is to seek its solution. Then it is clearly more sensible to spend your energy focussing on the solution rather than worrying about the problem. Alternatively, if there is no solution, no possibility of resolution, then there is also no point in being worried about it, because you cannot do anything about it anyway. In that case, the sooner you accept this fact, the easier it will be for you. This formula, of course, implies directly confronting the problem and taking a realistic view. Otherwise you will be unable to find out whether or not there is a resolution to the problem.

Taking a realistic view and cultivating a proper motivation can also shield you against feelings of fear and anxiety. If you develop a pure and sincere motivation, if you are motivated by a wish to help on the basis of kindness, compassion, and respect, then you can carry on any kind of work, in any field, and function more effectively with less fear or worry, not being afraid of what others think or whether you ultimately will be successful in reaching your goal. Even if you fail to achieve your goal, you can feel good about having made the effort. But with a bad motivation, people can praise you or you can achieve goals, but you still will not be happy.

Again, we may sometimes feel that our whole lives are unsatisfactory, we feel on the point of being overwhelmed by the difficulties that confront us. This happens to us all in varying degrees from time to time. When this occurs, it is vital that we make every effort to find a way of lifting our spirits. We can do this by recollecting our good fortune. We may, for example, be loved by someone; we may have certain talents; we may have received a good education; we may have our basic needs provided for – food to eat, clothes to wear, somewhere to live – we may have performed certain altruistic deeds in the past. We must take into consideration even the slightest positive aspect of our lives. For if we fail to find some way of uplifting ourselves, there is every danger of sinking further into our sense of powerlessness. This can lead us to believe that we have no capacity for doing good whatsoever. Thus we create the conditions of despair itself.

As a Buddhist monk I have learned that what principally upsets our inner peace is what we call disturbing emotions. All those thoughts, emotions, and mental events which reflect a negative or uncompassionate state of mind inevitably undermine our experience of inner peace. All our negative thoughts and emotions – such as hatred, anger, pride, lust, greed, envy, and so on – are considered to be sources of difficulty, to be disturbing. Negative thoughts and emotions are what obstruct our most basic aspiration – to be happy and to avoid suffering. When we act under their influence, we become oblivious to the impact our actions have on others: they are thus the cause of our destructive behaviour both toward others and to ourselves. Murder, scandal, and deceit all have their origin in disturbing emotions.

This inevitably gives rise to the question – can we train the mind? There are many methods by which to do this. Among these, in the Buddhist tradition, is a special instruction called mind training, which focuses on cultivating concern for others and turning adversity to advantage. It is this pattern of thought, transforming problems into happiness that has enabled the Tibetan people to maintain their dignity and spirit in the face of great difficulties. Indeed I have found this advice of great practical benefit in my own life.

A great Tibetan teacher of mind training once remarked that one of the mind’s most marvellous qualities is that it can be transformed. I have no doubt that those who attempt to transform their minds, overcome their disturbing emotions and achieve a sense of inner peace, will, over a period of time, notice a change in their mental attitudes and responses to people and events. Their minds will become more disciplined and positive. And I am sure they will find their own sense of happiness grow as they contribute to the greater happiness of others. I offer my prayers that everyone who makes this their goal will be blessed with success.

It is difficult to learn the names of the vows, let alone observe them. So at least you should strive to be loving to people, especially those who are close to you such as friends, relatives, Dharma brothers and sisters, and neighbours. Try to avoid harming them. Be respectful to them, as all are enlightened in their true nature. Then, in a simple way, you are moving towards fulfilling the pratimoksha vow of not harming others, the bodhisattvas’ vow of being loving to others, and the tantric vow of pure perception.

— Dodrupchen Rinpoche

论三世因果的殊胜
印顺法师

这个时代,大家都明白:人类正受到毁灭的威胁,到处是恐怖与迫害。人类的自由呼吸,几乎要被窒塞了!人间恶化到如此,到底为了什么?依佛法说,这主要是人类丧失了人生的意义,否定了自己的价值;大家都在空虚的、幻灭的心情中生活。这不是腐化,便是恶化;不是沉醉在金粉的爱欲里,便是疯狂在虐杀的仇恨里。物欲的贪爱,人情的嫉恨,把我们这个世界,带向阴森森的死亡边缘。

我说:‘人类丧失了人生的意义,否定了自己的价值’,这话是什么意思?这点,我想作一番简单的解说。人类对于自己,有三种不同的看法,这就是一世论,二世论,三世论。现在,唯物主义的一世论,普遍的侵袭人心。人类大都著眼于物质界,以物质世界为唯一的真实。他们觉得:人生不过是这么一回事。生,不过是父母和合而生,纯为生理发育与交合的结果。死,只是生理组织的瓦解,从此等于没有。人生在这个宇宙里,不过如此;但认现在,否认生前,抹煞死后。一死就完结的人生观,再也无从安身立命,陷入了极端空虚,无限的伥惘。人生碌碌,到底所为何事?为自己,自己不过如此;死了完了,有何意义?为家庭,为国家,为世界,到底与自己有何关系?这样,惟有专为现在著想,一切为自己利益著想。越有知识,越是欺诈,越是好话说尽,坏事做尽。年长一辈的,走向颓丧、功利的私欲。想像丰富而生命力旺盛的年青一辈,受著诱惑而走向疯狂;走向重全体而轻个人;求目的而不择手段;苛刻残酷的世界。死了完了,抹煞个人的真意义,那是一世论的,唯物主义者的人生观。当前的世界,正是传染著这种毒疫,弄得全世界都在疯狂化。有些自以为是反唯物论的,反共产主义的,而不知自己的人生观,与唯物论者一模一样,都是死了完了的一世论。

说到二世论,那是多神教、一神教的一般看法。他们认为:死了以后,还有未来。照中国旧有的思想说:人死为鬼。有德有功的,升入神界;如作恶多端,或者子孙绝嗣,那就成为‘游魂’了。但从宋明以来,非宗教的精神昂扬,知识界已十九变成庸俗的一世论。这种二世论,无论是不是迷信,在过去甚至现在,著实坚定了鼓舞了人类的内心,使人类充满远景的光明,忍受当前的困难,而终于克服他。对于人格的、道德的进展,更有过非常的贡献!不过,神教的二世论,现在是一天天的没落了!因为,二世论者,大抵相信有一独立的个灵,从生前到死后,像从甲室而进入乙室那样。这种离开肉体的,离开身心的个灵或自我,是不能为近代思想所接受的。如西方的一神教,只说从现在到未来——落地狱或生天国,而现有生命的来源,始终不能有完满的说明。如说这是神的创造,依著神的意旨而来人间,这显然与神的慈爱,完全矛盾。因为千千万万的人类,时刻不断的在出生,而真能上天国的,究有多少?神如果是全知的,对于这种大量的走向地狱,不应该不知道!假使说:神给人以自由意志,神欢喜人类,依自由意志来服从神。然而人类充满了愚痴,真是小孩一样。使无知的小孩们,处在非常危险中,而欢喜能有一个两个,冲出险境,这是怎样的残酷!神是欢喜这样的吗?共产党驱使千千万万的青年,使他们以人海来对付火海。透过火海而回来的,被奖励而夸耀为英雄,这也是慈爱吗?如果有神,神明知千千万万人的落入苦境,而依旧不断的创造出来;如不是神的痴狂,便是残酷!神教徒的二世论,越来越不能为人类所信仰,内心陷于空虚,精神没有寄托,这才落入唯物主义一世论的魔王境界。这便是近百年来世界文明没落的重要因素!

三世论者,是印度宗教的特色,而佛教最为究竟。人类与一切众生,是无限生命的延续:不是神造的,也不是突然而有的,也不是一死完事的。这如流水一样,激起层层波浪;生与死,只是某一阶段、某一活动的现起与消散。依据这种三世论的信念,便摆脱了神权的赏罚,而成为自作自受的人生观,肯定了人生的真意义。我们在前生,思想与行为,如向于自利利人的、善良而非邪恶的,今生才能感到褔乐的善果。这样,如今生而不再勉力向善,一死便会陷入黑暗的悲惨境遇。有了这三世因果的信念,想起从前,能够安命,决不怨天尤人;为了未来,能够奋发向上,决不懒惰放逸。安命而又能创命的人生观,是三世因果论的唯一优点。还有,从无限延续去看,受苦与受乐,都是行善与作恶的结果。善行与恶行的因力,是有限的,所以受苦与受乐,并不永久如此,而只是生命历程中的一个阶段。任何悲惨的境遇,就是地狱,也不要失望,因为恶业力尽,地狱众生是要脱苦的。反之,任何福乐的境遇,那怕是天国那样,也不能自满。因为善业力消尽,还有堕落的一天。所以,真正的三世论者,在一切境遇中,是充满了希望,而又不断的向上精进著。从自作自受而看到共作共受,每一家庭,每一国家,在历史的延续中,也从来就符合这因果升沉的规律。

二世论的缺点,在三世论中完全消除了。所以,惟有大家来接受三世论的因果信念,成为坚定的、共同的信念,才能从庸俗的、唯物论的、一世论的祸害中解脱出来!

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Bodhicitta is something that we have to give birth to so it’s not like a metaphysical concept – saying that bodhicitta is there and you have to believe in it. You have to give rise to it so in your mind and heart you have to experience that. When you do that then you become transformed and the possibility of reducing ignorance, reducing anxiety, fear – all the problems that we face as living beings can be reduced.

— Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche

Authentic Freedom
by His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje

Freedom is a powerful idea. But I am not sure we are always very clear what we have in mind when we speak of it. Does freedom mean doing whatever we feel like in any given moment? Does it mean having the power and liberty to exercise our will with no obstruction? Does it evoke a state in which we have shed ourselves of all obligations to others?

Many of our notions of freedom are based implicitly on the idea that we are utterly self-sustaining and separate entities. This model leads us to feel that others’ claims on us undercut our freedom. We experience our relationships as ties that bind us and limit our freedom. Based on this, we assume that we cannot all be free, because the freedom of one person comes at the cost of another’s. If we believe that, it is small wonder that people so often seek to dominate and oppress others. This is an idea that slips into discussions of freedom — the idea that freedom is in some fundamental way a limited resource, such that one person exercising his freedom detracts from another person’s ability to be free. But this is not the case. Freedom is not a zero-sum game.

It is possible and realistic for every person to experience real freedom. The reason we have not managed to do so is we lack an understanding of what real freedom is and how it can be achieved. We need the wisdom to distinguish the egocentric pursuit of self-interest from the pursuit of authentic freedom.

When I hear what people say about freedom sometimes, it sounds to me like longing to live out the fantasy of being independent and absolutely autonomous individuals, of being free of consequences and responsibilities — that is to say, exempt from the principle of interdependence. But there is no such thing. We cannot exist out-side causality or outside the connections of interdependence, and so freedom cannot be a matter of escaping from those connections.

Only freedom developed on the basis of a realistic view of who we are and how we relate to others can be authentic — and extended universally to all. If we acknowledge our interdependence, and take into account the vast networks of interconnections in which our lives and actions are embedded, we will find that our own freedom is inseparable from the freedom of all other people. When we truly appreciate this fact, we experience interdependent freedom — a freedom that does not detract from others’ freedom. This is the freedom that we can all enjoy together without conflict.

FREEDOM’S INNER CONDITIONS

Freedom does not start from the outside. Although external conditions have a part to play, that is not where freedom originates. This might sound backward, but authentic freedom arises initially from inner conditions. Its deepest roots are within us.

Most often when we speak of freedom, what we actually have in mind are freedom’s outer manifestations. This may be the gravest error we make in our understanding of freedom. If we think we will achieve freedom when we can exercise complete control over our immediate environment, we overlook the single most important determinant of authentic freedom: our own minds.

Our mind has unlimited potential. It is not bound to any one position or viewpoint. What we think or feel — our mental state — is not simply determined by outer circumstances. Because of this, no matter how challenging our external conditions might be, we can experience freedom if we cultivate the inner resources that allow us to feel free. The basis for establishing authentic freedom is within us.

If you can access a sense of inner freedom no matter what is going on around you, you are experiencing freedom. As important as outer liberties are, freedom does not consist solely in enjoying physical or verbal liberty, such as freedom of movement or freedom of speech. We may have the liberty to do and say as we wish and yet still be deeply unfree mentally or emotionally. This is why inner freedom is key. When we have freed our minds and hearts from within, our happiness no longer depends on making the rest of the world serve our self-centered goals. Not only that, we gain freedom to work to change the external conditions that have the potential to limit or obstruct our freedom from outside, and we also have what we need to be able to work for the freedom of others.

What are we looking for when we seek freedom? Maybe at the bottom of it all, the freedom we seek is the experience of genuine happiness. Since this is an inner experience, external things cannot be the measure of our happiness or our freedom. We will come back in a moment to the question of what we mean by happiness and how it enables us to experience freedom, but I think if we examine our own experiences, we can see that whether we call it freedom or not, if we feel free, we feel happy, and if we feel happy, we also feel free. The state of mind and the feeling we seek can be called freedom, or it can be called happiness. But whatever name we give it, if we want to experience happiness or freedom, we must cultivate the inner conditions that give rise to those states.