佛法谈“做人”
圣凯法师

现代的心理学研究表明,一个人有良好的人际关系,遇到问题时,有人可以和其讨论,或伸出援手,此人通常较能应付压力,不易被危机击倒。再进一步看,如果要维持“社会支持”的系统(良好的人际关系),你必须具有“爱与被爱”及“付出”的能力。

一个人在事业或生活不顺利的时候,内心比较脆弱,很容易对他人产生期待。在这种情绪低落的时候,容易把见到的每个人都当是自己的朋友,向他倾诉自己的不幸,并渴望获得安慰与同情。

其实,世界上的许多人都是以自己为中心,每个人的视角也完全是被自己先天或后天形成的思维框架所左右的,所以每个人都有不同的注意力,喜欢把注意力集中在自己感兴趣的事情之上。因此,这样就会影响人类选择自己的群体,这就是“物以类聚,人以群分”。不是每个人都是我们可以依赖的朋友,有些可能是你痛哭流泣的事情,可是别人可能觉得你想得太多、小题大做或能力不够等。

因此,人类需要真正的朋友,能够同喜同悲、同苦同乐,共同承担生命的痛苦,享受生命的快乐。

同时,事业的发展离不开良好的人际关系,但不应牺牲自己的追求与理想,去随波逐流。所以,在人际关系中也会经常出现“不合群”的现象。

我就是一个不太会合群的人,在中国佛学院读书时,我总是一个孤独的人,一个人躲在房间里看书、写作,从来不会跟同学聊天。惟一跟同学玩的机会只是打羽毛球,除此以外,连看电视都是一个人。我一般不会到教室里看电视,但是如果心血来潮,我会自己一个人坐在电视机前,从晚上八点到凌晨五点,也不用换频道。然后,五点半上早殿时,竟然跑去敲磬,大脑一片空白, 但是磬位是不会错的。

到了南京大学后,刚入学时,我努力地跟同学相处,可是这种造作的融洽让我十分痛苦。半年后,我又回到自己的世界,一个人读书、上课,偶尔打打羽毛球。

有时候,为了合群必须牺牲自己的爱好、时间,甚至前途为代价,其实这是媚俗。当然,不合群还有一种原因,是因为性格孤僻、自我封闭,或是人品道德上低劣而让大家疏远。

“木秀于林,风必摧之”,我记得我师父曾经说过:“我就是我,谁也代替不了我”、“走自己的路,让他们说去吧”。最主要的是,必须有自己的追求与理想。佛陀出家时,肯定是不合群的表现;比尔·盖茨中途从哈佛退学, 也不同于大家心目中的“好学生”标准一致……

但是,我们强调这种不合群并不是傲慢, 反而应该去处理好人际关系。佛法的人际关系学是以四摄为中心,即布施、爱语、利 行、同事。佛法中经常讲“布施结缘”,并且讲布施时应该三轮体空,即没有施者、受者、所施物的相,即没有图回报的心。其实,现代情绪管理学对布施是极为重视的,即是培养一个人的爱心,一个充满爱心的人,才能快乐地生活。

而且这种爱心是无所求地给予,与别人并无所约定。

加州心理治疗师的维史考特医生说:“有期望的爱就是有条件的爱,你若需要别人的爱,才会觉得好过,你便迫切地期望他,你是在‘害怕’的心情下付出你的爱, 你不断担心他会不爱你。这不是爱,是依赖,其中少有快乐和喜悦。”

佛法中经常提到的一句话“施比受更有福”,如果你想借付出获得回馈,那么不必了。付出者真正的收获来自心中的善,而非需求。只有心胸宽大的人才能快乐,在助人时能引发自己对生活的热爱,于是能安妥度过逆境。

布施不限金钱布施,还有劳力、欢喜、智慧等布施。惟有懂得布施的人,才是最富有的人。不管用语言、力量、精神、物质来布施,主要的是布施结缘,是人际间最好的善意表现。

对于自私的人来说,即是在谈话中经常提到“我”的人,较易得冠心病。自私的人,过度注意自己,可能使孤独感和隔离感加强,而寂寞对人来说,是致命的。

一个拥有爱心的人,要从各个方面能关心别人,爱语即是用柔和语、无诤语、质实语等,以鼓励代替责难,使人能从语言中得到益处。每一个人都喜欢别人的赞助、 别人的爱护,所不幸的是人世间常发生吵架和误会,乃是不懂爱语所致,若能善用爱护人的话,不但与人结缘,还会增进人与人之间的关系。

同事即是要设身处地为别人着想。慈爱的母亲,喂自己的小孩,本来是要把放置汤匙内的食物喂至小孩的口中,可是自己的嘴巴也跟着张开,这是由于内心的慈悲,引发出来同事的现象。多站在别人立场设想,如果好事好话,就说你如何、如何;假如欲要讲训诫的话, 就说我们以后如何、如何。

利行即是尽自己的能力,去做利益他人的行为。俗语说,给人方便,就是给自己方便,帮助别人就是帮助自己。有时候说一句话帮助别人,别人也会帮助你。我们从帮助别人的时候获得对自己的信心,从而更能爱自己,现代社会学指出利他主义可能是我们生存本能的一部分。

《善生经》中对人际关系给我们很清楚的指导,而且将父母、师长、妻儿、亲友邻居、奴仆、沙门六种关系, 列为佛教徒应该敬仰的对象。

第一、父母与子女的关系。子女在双亲年老时负起抚养之责,尽他们应尽的本分,保持家庭传统于不坠而光大门楣,守护双亲辛苦积聚的财富勿令散失,双亲死后妥为殡葬。父母对子女也有责任,避免子女堕入邪恶,教令从事有益的活动,予以良好的教育,为他们从良好的家庭中择配,并于适当时机付与家财。

第二、师长与弟子的关系。弟子对师长必须恭敬服从,师有所需,必须设法供应,并应努力学习。另一方面, 老师必须善巧训练弟子,使成良好模范;应当谆谆善诱,并为他介绍朋友;学业完成之后,更应为他谋职,以保障他生活的安定。

第三、夫妇关系。夫妇之爱在佛经中称为“居家梵行” ,也就是说这种关系是应当付予最高敬意的。夫妇应当彼此忠实,互敬互谅,向对方尽其应尽的义务。丈夫应当礼遇其妻,决不可对她不敬。他应当爱她,对她忠实,巩固她的地位,使她安适,并赠以衣饰珠宝,以博取她的欢心。妻子应当照顾家务,接待宾客、亲友和受雇的佣工;对丈夫爱护、忠实,守护他的收入,并在一 切活动中保持机智与精勤。

第四、亲邻关系。对于亲友邻居,彼此之间均应殷勤款待,宽大慈惠。交谈时应当态度愉快,谈吐优雅。应为彼此之福祉而努力,并应平等相待,不可争论。遇有所需,应互为周济,危难不相背弃。

第五、主仆关系。主人或雇主对他的雇工或奴仆也有好几种义务:应视其人的能力才干而分配工作及给以适量的工资,并应提供医药服务,并应随时酌发奖金。雇工应勤勿惰,诚实服从,不可欺主,尤其应该忠于所事。

第六、僧俗关系。在家众应当敬爱出家众及供养他们的物质需要。出家人应以慈心教在家众,以智识学问灌输他们,引导他们远离邪恶而走向善道。

所以,对于在人际关系上,佛法与现代情绪管理学,结果与方法都有一定的相同之处。但在本质上,现代情绪管理学是从自我的快乐出发,因为我们能从帮助别人而获得快乐;而佛法则从他人出发,这是同体大悲的表现。

When we have enough food and clothes, enjoy good health, have whatever we need and are without troubles of any sort, we should not become attached to these benefits nor dependent on them. Conversely, when we do not enjoy such good conditions, and when everything is going badly, we should use such a situation as a trigger for our courage and take them as the Bodhisattva path. We should not give up when conditions are difficult; on the contrary, that is precisely when we should practise the twofold Bodhicitta, bringing all our experiences onto the path.

— His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

Mahamudra by The Great Path to Enlightenment (Part 3 of 3)
by Khenchen Sherab Gyaltsen Amipa

DUALITY

Duality is always linked to ignorance. It leads us to differing opinions and constant uncertainty. Being free of it means having only one, correct view. Liberation from samsara cannot be produced by intellectual knowledge alone. We need to develop feeling, accumulate experience, and practise shunyata.

The most important thing is a warm mental feeling, for great intellectual knowledge alone may make the ego even stronger. In order to prevent such a strengthening of the ego, we must follow the path of Mahamudra with shiney (samatha) and lhag- tong (vipashyana). Ego and attachment diminish only when we constantly examine our mind. In our practice, we need to carefully observe whether our mind is becoming freer. If not, we must find the reason. What is essential is the knowledge that everything comes from within ourselves. The cause of all disturbances lies within us, not outside. We only believe that disturbances come from outside because we are not yet free from attachment. Attachment results in wrong views. Doubts and wrong views can only be recognised when we are rid of attachment.

Only when we have more experience of shiney, lhag-tong, bodhicitta and shunyata, and have trained ourselves in self-observation (Tibetan: nal-jor) can we expect the duality of our perception to change and our perception become correct. Our mind will then be in samadhi. It will have developed the quality needed to practise Mahamudra.

NAL-JOR

Nal-jor is the Tibetan word for sadhana. A sadhana is a form of meditation with an object. For example, Buddha Avalokiteshvara, the loving compassion aspect of the Buddha, can be taken as an external object or our own consciousness as an internal object.

Nal signifies that the mind has become gentle through this practice: it has acquired selflessness which is the quality of love and compassion.

Jor means concentration. Consciousness enters the meditative state. Nal-jor, also expresses all the different aspects of the Buddha, for example, Manjushri – the wisdom aspect, Avalokiteshvara – the loving compassion aspect, Tara – activity, or Vajrapani – wrathfulness.

The practice of the four classes of Tantra also comes under nal-jor, (See chapter 5).

A nal-jorma or a nal-jorpa is a woman or a man who has experience in the development of the mind.

SAMADHI

Samadhi or yoga (Tibetan: ting nge dzin) has many meanings. It means great concentration coupled with insight. It also refers to yoga exercise as well as the higher practice of a person with great development.

All the paramitas are necessary for yoga practice: in other words, if we wish to practise correctly we need to know and exercise all six or ten paramitas. This lessens the non-virtuous part in us and increases our feelings of joy. The non-virtuous part covers negative thoughts, doubt, lack of faith, of love and compassion, as well as a lack of interest in virtue.

As soon as non-virtues disappear, the mind becomes as clear as the sun or the moon in a cloudless sky. These are the distinguishing marks of inner development. If we have produced this clear mind we are liberated from the two root illnesses, egoism and attachment.

Sometimes we wonder what it feels like to be free from ego, or we might ask: what is ego, what is consciousness?

Ego and consciousness are totally opposed. Ego is the error through which we are enchained to this world and the sufferings of samsara. Ego means selfishness, that is, me-only. It causes wrong activity, keeps thoughts concentrated upon oneself, limiting them severely. It is only without ego that they can open up and we can develop a feeling of the importance of other living beings.

We need to know exactly what ego is and what it means in order to develop good practice. First there is ego, and through ego, attachment. The two together confine us within narrow limits and until we have eliminated them, we can have no freedom. In our ordinary state, so long as we do not know our own mind, we often cannot tell if we are acting rightly or wrongly. We suffer from innumerable doubts, make many mistakes and become more and more uncertain.

Through practice, study, and attentive listening to Dharma teachings, we gradually get to know ourselves. In this way the hold of the ego lessens. However, theoretical knowledge is not enough, we have to develop compassion. Our wrong dealings are then reduced, our knowledge of the Dharma increases, and our nature becomes gentle. In this way we gradually gain faith and confidence in ourselves and find the path which leads us out of the sufferings of samsara.

Unlike the ego, consciousness exists individually and continually, both in samsara and in nirvana, and it continues to exist unchanged even beyond the point where Buddhahood is reached.

In other words, all enlightened beings keep their own specific characteristics, but they are free from ego, attachment, and ignorance, while the ordinary mind is constantly mixed up with disturbances and ignorance. One could say it still possesses positive and negative karma. Through practices such as yoga we can purify all non-virtue and ignorance. We become flled with inner clarity, compassion and wisdom. We have no more ego and attachment, only pure, clear awareness. We reach a higher state and fnd the path to enlightenment.

Samadhi means skillful yoga. This kind of meditation brings great joy. With our fully transformed perception, we can carry our development, through method and wisdom, even further, that is, we can practise still higher samadhi, like the great Mahasiddhas, Nagarjuna and Virupa. In this way we reach Mahamudra. We act only for the beneft of other living beings. This is yeshey, the virtuous mental quality. It signifes freedom from ignorance and the attainment of shunyata.

At this point we can recognise more clearly our own precious consciousness, the pure Buddha-nature within us. We experience this moment as great joy, like that of parents when a long-absent and deeply loved child returns home. Even this example does not sufficiently express the deep-felt joy, for this is our own original consciousness that we had lost and have now found. The mind can now be compared to a palace, full of joy. In religious terms, we say that the mind is like a mandala. In this state there is no difference between samsara and nirvana, all is nirvana. This too is a characteristic of Mahamudra.

When we listen to descriptions of this kind, we might think that Mahamudra is beyond our reach and unattainable. Indeed, Mahamudra is a very high state, but it is not outside us, on the contrary, it is within us. It is true however that it is not easily achieved.

THE BODHISATTVA PATH

In Mahamudra practice, which has now been explained up to its highest stage, we can use any type of meditation whose goal is enlightenment. This is Mahamudra. In Buddhist philosophy, the Hinayana path is said to lead to enlightenment in eleven bhumis; Mahayana takes thirteen. Bhumis are stages on the path of mental development.

The eleven stages or bhumis on the Bodhisattva path in Hinayana are as follows:

First the bhumi of the supreme joy Second the bhumi of the stainless Third the bhumi of the luminous Fourth the bhumi of the radiant Fifth the bhumi of the very hard to conquer.

Sixth the bhumi of the directly facing Seventh the bhumi of the gone far Eighth the bhumi of the unshakeable Ninth the bhumi of wisdom mind Tenth the bhumi of the cloud of Dharma (Dharma-essence) The eleventh stage is enlightenment, (Buddhahood).

In Mahayana there are thirteen bhumis. Those who practise its essence, that is, Bodhicitta and Mahamudra, can reach the thirteenth stage, either in this life or at least in the bardo, the intermediate state between death and re-birth.

The thirteenth stage is the quality of Buddha Vajradhara. Buddha Vajradhara includes the qualities of all five Dhyani Buddhas: Aksobhya, Amitabha, Amoghasiddhi, Ratnasambhava and Vairocana to which is added the quality of Buddha Vajrasattva, who has the spiritual power to purify.

5. TANTRA

In this context the question now arises: how can we reach Mahamudra in a single lifetime?

This possibility does exist in Mahayana through the practice of Tantrayana or Vajrayana. Vajrayana is also called the swift vehicle since it can take us to enlightenment in one lifetime. Tantrayana is divided into four classes:

THE FOUR CLASSES OF TANTRA

Kriya-Tantra, Carya-Tantra, Yoga-Tantra, Anuttarayoga-Tantra

The four classes exist because people have very different dispositions. For some, Kriya-Tantra is the most appropriate practice for reaching enlightenment. For others it may be Carya-Tantra and some yogis and yoginis practise all four classes on their way to enlightenment. The choice of method arises naturally out of our practice and through our own consciousness.

However, we need a qualifed guru if we wish to take this swift path.

THE GURU

A good guru is very important for Mahayana practice since we cannot directly perceive the Buddha. We can, however, receive his teachings through the guru. A guru needs to have the right qualities; not everyone is eligible. For this reason we should not be hasty, but give ourselves time to seek out a suitable person and, before taking refuge with someone, make sure they have suffcient experience, knowledge, and above all, compassion. Only a guru who has these characteristics can show us the way. All true gurus have the ability to awaken in us Bodhicitta thought through their compassion and wisdom. A teacher and a guru are not the same. A teacher can give us knowledge, but a guru changes our nature (body, speech and mind) through the initiations given to us. When we are in a position to represent the guru’s qualities, we can see the guru as Buddha Vajradhara. We can take refuge with a guru of this kind. We develop faith and trust, show respect and keep good tamzig. Tamzig means mutual respect for the secrecy of the teachings and respect for the relationship between guru and disciple. Out of compassion and at our request, the guru gives us the four consecrations of body, speech, mind, and wisdom. During the consecrations the guru develops great power to help disciples realise their own nature.

YOGA PRACTICE

Yoga practice means observation of our own mind and the accumulation of experience of its purity. For this, our nature needs frst to be gentle, clear and supple. In addition, we need the strength of virtue.

In the first place, we should practise developing loving compassion, Mahakaruna, relative and absolute Bodhicitta.

Those who are engaged upon this path are called yogis or yoginis. Yogis and yoginis can be recognised by the fact that they practise correctly and act impartially for themselves and for others.

Without practice we experience how joy and sorrow, peacefulness and aggressiveness alternately arise in our minds. Through the practice of Mahamudra our mind is calmed and we recognise that our original mind is clear light; this state is called gyuma yeshey in Tibetan. This is the wisdom aspect of the mind, completely free of all ignorance.

Several names are given to this high development, for example, chöying yeshey (Tibetan). Translated, this means: the mind is very spacious. It is free from ego and has the same characteristics as Buddha Vairocana. This quality can also be called dorje sem. Dorje means vajra and vajra stands for unchanging, unshakeable plenitude of power. The mind is so powerful that ignorance cannot disturb it.

Yogis and yoginis who reach Mahamudra in one lifetime no longer have normal bodies, but unchangeable, powerful vajra-bodies. They can work with the energy of their chakras. Chakras are energy centres, the most important of which lie inside the body near the spine. Working with energy means that the veins are not blocked, the yogis’/yoginis’ consciousness is full of Bodhicitta and Shunyata qualities and they have deep faith in the guru. We hope with the guru’s blessing to take on the characteristics of Vajradhara.

To work with the chakras without thorough directions from our guru can entail danger to the mind and body. However, if we have received sufficient training from our guru and have developed the necessary understanding, these exercises allow us to make rapid progress.

Human beings are made up of five elements: earth, water, fre, air and space. Among these, the air element is especially important as it is directly related to our consciousness. In addition, it is the element which allows us to move our bodies. In order for us to work with all the chakras and the veins, the connection between the wisdom-air element and our body must be maintained. In ordinary people the air element is not pure, but a yogi/yogini can change it into the wisdom element (Tibetan: yeshey lung) through correct practice.

Teachings on this subject are not given publicly, but through direct contact with an experienced guru.

If we practise further on this path we obtain the Dharmakaya. This is the state of knowledge which Bodhisattvas possess. It is one of the four kayas: Nirmanakaya, Samboghakaya, Dharmakaya and Buddhakaya.

Buddhakaya signifies enlightenment, Samboghakaya is the form that is active under many different aspects, and Nirmanakaya is the conscious higher state of great knowledge, higher than Dharmakaya. There is a great difference between normal and enlightened knowledge, as also between Bodhisattva-knowledge and Buddha-knowledge. Only a Buddha has at his disposal the eighty different spheres of knowledge.

The goal is Mahamudra, enlightenment for the benefit of all living beings.

As a river rushes to the sea, as the sun and moon glide across the mountains of the west, as the days and nights, hours and moments flee, life flows away, inexorably.

— Padmasambhava, Guru Rinpoche

點亮心靈之光
星雲大師

我們看到世界上形形色色、日月星辰、樹木花草、山河大地,我們都看的清清楚楚,甚至人——老人、小孩、男人、女人,我們也看的清清楚楚。問題很嚴重的就是看不到自己的心,我們的心才是自己。可能是人生無常,生老病死,到了有一天身體都毀壞了,但是我們看不到的心,它不會壞,它一再跟隨我們,前世、今生、來世都有一個,所以永恒的心才是我們的。當然這個心不是心臟的心,心臟是肉體的,心是無形無狀的,但是,是真實的我。可是我們平常沒有註意用心來看心,讓這個心受到汙染,所以心房黑暗。

在禪門裏面說,千年暗室要一燈才能明亮,要點亮心裏面的光。怎麽樣子才能點亮心裏面的燈光?現在我們也有這個本領,比方說:我們睡覺,枕頭掉到床下,眼睛在黑暗裏也看不到,不過我們會伸手把那個枕頭拿起來,繼續睡覺。那是什麽?那是心啊!不一定用肉眼,用心啊!

也向各位報告,我最近眼睛不好。我一點也不可惜,因為用了八十多年的眼睛,它不能夠永遠的跟隨我,它總有個限度。人生有流轉生死,好像一根木材,燒完了以後,再一根木材,再一根木材。這個木材一根一根不同,好像身體一期一期不一樣,生命的火是一直燃燒的,就是我們的心會跟隨我們。可是我們這個心靈,承受了好多汙染,把我們真正的真心覆蓋在下面。什麽汙染?好像桌子上有灰塵,衣服或者是骯臟,心靈上的汙染——貪欲、嗔恨、嫉妒、傲慢、邪見,很多的無名,不明白的東西,這些骯臟,垃圾,覆蓋著我們的心,使這個心不能發光。

我們少了一本書、少了一支筆,很著急,我的書呢、筆呢;或者我的錢呢、東西呢?卻很少找自己的心。

現在我今天來跟各位幫忙——如何認識自己,認識我們的心。有一位叫一休的禪師出去傳教,帶了個徒弟。遇到大雨把橋梁沖斷了,流水滔滔,沒有辦法到那邊去,正在左右為難的時候。後來有一個漂亮的姑娘,大概也有急事要過河,看到橋斷了也著急。禪師說:“姑娘,你要過去嗎?我背你好嗎?”那個姑娘也不得辦法,是有急事啊,好吧。於是撩水往河那邊走,這個師父背了女人在前面撩水,他帶的徒弟只有在後面跟隨。不過他的徒弟心裏就想:哼!師父,你平常口口聲聲跟我們講,男女授受不親,遇到這麽一個漂亮的小姐,那你也吃人家的豆腐嗎,還要背她。不過只是徒弟心裏這樣想,口中不敢說。背到對岸各自西東了,可是這個徒弟心裏掛礙:師父,你不應該,你言行不一致嗎!跟我們講的和你做的不一樣。這個心裏頭掛礙,一個月、兩個月、三個月……忍耐不住。終於有一天,“師父慈悲,弟子有一件事情很不以為然。為什麽我們男女授受不親,你卻可以背女人呢?”一休禪師聽了以後,一拍桌子,“哎呀,不得了!不得了!你太辛苦了!你太辛苦了!那個女孩子我把她背到對岸就放下了,你怎麽把她背在心上背了三個月呢!太辛苦啦!。”可見,我們心上背負的不一定是女人,也背負了很多很復雜的東西,很多的,不過自己不知道,因為平常沒有註意自己的心。

在佛經裏面也有一段這樣的事情:過去古老的中國,有錢人有三妻四妾。一個大富翁,他真的有四個老婆。不過人到了老了都要死亡,他想:我萬貫家財,這麽多的妻子兒女,我就這樣死了,心有不甘。我們中國有找人陪葬的古規,像秦始皇不是有很多陪葬嗎?大富翁想要找一個人陪葬,找哪一個呢?當然最愛的就是第四個姨太太,年輕貌美,把她找來對她說:“我老了要死了,我要帶你陪我一起去。”四姨太一聽花容失色,說:“那怎麽行呢?我還年輕,我不能跟你死。”大富翁很失望,不過沒關系,還有三姨太,也是年輕美貌。只是平常的待遇會稍微差一點,不過常常什麽吃的用的,什麽都給她。把三姨太叫來,三姨太一聽也是一樣:“哎呦,那怎麽行哪?你雖然平常是待我很好,但是你死了以後,我還是會嫁給別人的,我也不能陪你去。”找二太太,二太太說:“家裏沒有人,你死了,喪葬事情還要人處理,我要幫你處理。不過這樣好了,你死了以後,我們這麽多年夫妻感情,我會送你到荒郊野外,然後把你安葬了,我們再拜拜。”大富翁沒有辦法,最不喜歡的大老婆,那個黃臉婆,平常也沒有關心照顧她。到了這時候想想,還是要有一個人陪伴比較好。於是問道:“大老婆,你願意跟我一起死嗎?”大老婆一口答應,她說:“我們女人,嫁雞隨雞,嫁狗隨狗。現在你要去了,我願意跟你一起去。”大富翁很感動,平常愛的到最後都不是我的,平常不愛的,卻是路遙知馬力,日久見真心。

我這麽啰嗦復雜的講了這麽久,其實這個故事是很有意思的。四姨太是身體,身體你平常清洗、保養、保健,要化妝,愛護她,種種的愛護,到了死了以後,這個身體不是我的。三姨太表示金錢,你人在世有多少錢,到死了,金錢就流動要給別人去用了,等於她要改嫁給別人,不是我們的。二姨太就是我們的親朋好友,平常有一點來往,你死了我也要盡一點情意,幫你喪葬、料理後事,送你到荒郊野外。大老婆就是我們的心,你平常沒有愛護它、關心它,你都照顧身體、金錢,照顧自己的朋友親戚,沒有照顧自己的心,最後這個心它是你的,它是永遠都跟隨你的。所以我們平時辜負我們的心,不如提早去找到它。

現在廣告上有一句話很有意思:我找到了!你找到什麽?找到什麽東西都不實在,找到什麽東西都不是我的,大家有份,只有找到心才是我們的。這個心在我們講六根、六識:眼睛,認識紅、黃、藍、白、黑、長短方圓;耳朵認識各種聲音,好聽不好聽;鼻子好像探子和情報員一樣,可以嗅到香的、臭的、美味、什麽味道、空氣好不好;舌頭可以嘗鹹淡,可以說話;身體可以感受到冷暖、好受、舒服、不舒服;這個我們都很容易感覺的到。這個心卻不容易了解,但實際上,人的身體就好比一個村莊,住了剛才講的這六個人:眼、耳、鼻、舌、身、心,心是主導:心一動,叫眼睛看,眼睛就看;叫耳朵聽,耳朵就聽。所以心如果不在的話,就會心不在焉,視而不見,聽而不聞。有心才有分別。

這個心時好、時不好。在佛教的《大乘起信論》裏,一心開二門,一個心有兩條路,一條路是善路,一條是壞的惡路,就是善惡。所以我們平常是走善路還是走惡路,要做選擇。其實我們每一個人,一天之中,時而上天堂,時而下地獄,可能一天之中天堂去了好多次,地獄也去了好多次。早上起來心裏朗朗晴空,想今天幫什麽人忙,要去做什麽好事,就上天堂了;遇到了一些不好的事情,嗔恨心、嫉妒心、貪欲心生起了,地獄的心就出來了,所以天堂在哪裏,地獄在哪裏,不需要到遠處去找。常常有人問我天堂、地獄在哪裏。抽象一點說,天堂在天堂的地方,地獄在地獄的地方,這個等於沒有說。天堂、地獄在哪裏,其實就在我們人間。你看很多的高樓洋房,日用很周全,那不是天堂嗎?一個人的日子艱難,痛苦不堪,那不就是下地獄嗎?這就是我們人間的天堂地獄。實際上,天堂地獄在哪裏?在我們心裏。

當然,人世間本來就是一半一半,白天一半,晚上一半;男人一半,女人一半,什麽都是一半一半。現在我們的心裏善惡各有一半,佛有一半,魔有一半,如何讓善的一半把壞的一半降服一點,當然要靠我們的努力。人體的村莊,心好,就會帶領眼、耳、鼻、舌、身都做好事,所謂非禮勿視、非禮勿言、非禮勿動,這是儒家講的,很有意義。如果心地不好,他就天天殺生、偷盜、邪淫,就不自由了,就犯罪了。這個心,看不到也捉摸不到,但是自古以來有很多人將心來做一些比喻:心像什麽?像花,快樂的花朵,花有開放,不好的時候花就會謝了;王陽明先生說得好,心如盜賊,擒山中之賊易,捉心中之賊難,我們管不住這顆心,它不聽我們的。有時候我們常常講:你也不聽我的話,其實,自己何嘗聽自己的話,可以說其實最不聽我們的話的,就是這顆心。

有時候天人交戰,我們這顆心怎麽樣、怎麽樣。所以就講人要有智慧,有力量,要分析我這個行動,要駕馭、控制它,要讓心聽我的話,我不能去聽心的話。因為心好像國王,他能下達命令,要讓眼睛、耳朵、鼻子怎麽做,不過我們眼、耳、鼻、舌、身,也要有個性:你叫我看壞的,我不看;你要我聽壞的聲音,我不聽,也有自己的個性。所以修行,修眼、修耳,六根修行,一起修。桌子壞了把桌子修好一點;衣服破爛了修補一下,房子漏水了修一下,心漏了,有汙染了,如何修一下,怎麽樣修?我想,比方說戒:戒律、法治。中國現在經濟發展,尤其重視法治,要管束心,不可以亂來。心是身體之長,要把你的眼耳鼻舌身管好。

心如猿猴,翻來覆去;心也有好的:心如大地,心地、心田、心海,心海寬大,能包容;心田種植五谷,添了肥,五谷豐收。心地這塊的價碼很高,可以建大樓,這就是心的品質。麥克風,品質好不好,不一樣,有的麥克風一千塊、五百塊就買到了,有的可能要五萬、十萬,為什麽差那麽多,因為品質不一樣。萬物的心,就是人的品質,要看人的心、性格和能量,有的人能大不能小,做大可以,不能做老二。但有的人能大能小,能飽能餓,能早能晚,能前能後,能有能無,能樂能苦,能榮能辱,無所不能,這個人的能量很高,心的能量充分,就好像好汽車的引擎好、馬力好,當然價碼也不同。雖然人人都是平等的,都是一顆心,可是心表現出的能量卻有不同。

如何把我們心的能量,能表現到,比如說我對國家有使命感,對社會有責任,對父母、家庭、朋友、老師、學生有一種服務、效勞和包容的性格,要為了他們。像過去揚州的鑒真大師,六次去日本,最後才成功。中國的玄奘大師,二十六歲去西天印度求法,在八百裏流沙裏面,帶的水不小心倒了,向前去的話必死無疑,回頭或許還有一線生機。這時候玄奘大師說:“我寧可向西天一步死,也不願回東土一步生。”表示出他的壯誌淩雲。他們的成功都是基於他們的能量,他們的能量和平常人不一樣,在佛教裏面叫發心,開發我們的心。開發我們的心,它也有層次的。比方說,對於在家的一般是,要開發增上生心,家庭要增上,更美滿;你的團體、機構、事業要更增上,更高、更好,就等於奧林匹克精神:更高、更遠、更快,發揮我們心的力量。

心如大地,大地能生長萬物,心裏面也能生出好的東西。所以有時候,國家能源欠缺,要節省一點,節省能源,能源在哪裏? 在我們心裏。太陽能、到海裏勘探石油,是我們的經濟能源。人心的能源,人生的能源,在我們心裏。你要懂得,智慧是我們心裏的能源,慈悲是我們心裏的能源,忍耐是我們心裏的能源。

結緣,廣結善緣;服務,為你服務奉獻,是我們心裏的能源,每個人把我們心裏的能源都能取一點出來,為我們的國家社會。你說我不為國家社會,為我自己就好了,不行,為自己不是自己的,為國家社會才是自己的。在這個世界上,哪一樣東西能說讓我個人存在,所有的東西都是因緣共同聚合,我才能存在。沒有農民種田我哪裏有飯吃?沒有工人織布我哪裏有衣穿?沒有老師教化我哪裏能明事理?沒有父母養育,我不能從天上蹦出來呀;沒有士農工商,去街上買東西都買不到,沒有他們,我就不能存在。我所以能在世間做一個人,過的歡喜快樂,是因為有大眾,是大眾為我服務的,所以人世間是彼此依存。一朵花種在田地裏,它需要陽光、水分、肥料,它有因:種子;有緣,有因緣才有果報,才能開花結果。就算你是一個好品種,可是沒有陽光水分,種子再好,擺在桌上,沒有它要的緣分。我們每一個人,你怎樣能幹,因好還要有緣,因緣具備。

我們的心有層次,人家說凡夫心、聖賢心、菩薩心、佛心,人人均知。好心,怎麽樣讓心變好?這個也不是一下子好的,有時候看到別人悲苦想要去救濟;看到別人的錯誤提醒自己要改正;地臟了,掃一掃,洗刷洗刷;衣服臟了,洗刷一下,都很容易解決。可是心地骯臟了,要把它洗幹凈,要費一番心思。如何使我的心地幹凈,要讀書,讀書就是用一些道理來洗我的心,做事,對人要有禮貌;接受教導,別人教導也是幫我洗心;學習吃虧;學習待人好。

做人要想給人接受,你說你自己多好,人家不接受你:做老師的,校長不聘請,你做什麽老師,學生不選你的課,這個老師做了也沒意思;做學生的,你說你很好,可是考試不及格,而且常常犯規。你這樣怎麽叫董事長,總經理用你,不知道你有什麽條件給我接受,你說你有錢,可是我要找人才。怎麽樣子才能給人接受,要用心。我在美國的時候,有一天一堆人在吃飯,大家相互介紹,介紹一個先生的時候,我問:“你在美國高就什麽事業?”他回答說:“我開素食的餐館。” 素食餐館不容易開,我又問到:“你在哪裏開?” 他說:“你問我那家餐館啊?”我說:“你有幾家餐館?”他說:“我有四百多家素食餐館。”

我一聽,覺得這非常的了不起,管理、廚師、服務人員從哪裏來啊? 尤其是有這麽多人吃素嗎?我就又問他說:“有人吃嗎?”他說:“很多,美國人都很喜歡素食。”我驚嘆道:“這個生意會這麽好啊!”他回答說:“我不是光煮菜給人吃,我把自己的心煮來給他們吃。”我一聽覺得很有道理,不要說開四百間,就是開四千間,四萬件都有條件,因為心如虛空,大心大量,心大,就連虛空都能包容。

世界上最快的是什麽?電?不快;光也不快,最快的是心。像各位現在坐在這裏,忽然想到北京、上海,即刻,不要零點幾秒,心即刻就在北京、在上海。假如各位現在坐在這裏,動一個要建一百二十層大樓的念頭,一百二十層的大樓,建一下要好幾年,但是你心裏的一百二十層大樓即刻就能完成。心的動員,心的力道,心的廣大無邊。心如工畫師,就像一個美術家,我們自己要做自己的美術家、雕塑家,要把自己雕塑成什麽樣,自己的心知道。用心怎麽樣來塑造,自己做自己的醫師。這些毛病真的要懂的話,自己要比醫師高明。心要保健,醫生替你看病就是用X光、還有儀器,不會有我們更能了解自己。

用心,心是萬能的,這個世界上,人和人什麽都能交換,什麽都有分別,只有心沒有分別;什麽東西將來都可以換得了,眼睛壞了換一個眼睛,皮膚壞了換一塊皮膚,換腎,換肝,換心臟,但真正的心不能換。

佛經裏面有一個很深奧的預言,有一個旅行的人到了一個地方,沒有飯店旅館。怎麽辦呢,看到有一個小神廟,他就想:好吧,總之一晚,總算有個遮風避雨的地方,在神廟裏權且住一宿。到了半夜,問題來了,一個小鬼背了一個死屍進來,想想就很害怕。糟糕,遇見鬼了!正在恐懼的時候,後面又來了一個很高大的鬼,這還得了,一個鬼就很難應付了,兩個鬼,看起來今天難逃劫數。大鬼一進來,就指著這個小鬼說:“你把我的屍體背來幹嗎?”小鬼說:“這是我的,怎麽是你的呢?”經典裏面這個叫二鬼爭屍,兩個鬼就爭這個屍體,小鬼說是他的,大鬼也說是他的。嚇得這個神龕下面睡覺的人直哆嗦,小鬼一聽,一看,發現這裏還有一個人。他說:“餵,不要怕,出來為我們證明一下,你看到這個屍體是被誰背進來的?”這個人很為難,說是小鬼背進來的,大鬼不會饒過我;說是大鬼背進來的,這是說謊,偽證是有罪的,看起來人之將死,總要說句真話。他說:“我看到這個屍體是小鬼的。”大鬼一聽就生氣了,你怎麽都不幫忙我,就把這個人右邊的膀子掰斷吃了,小鬼一看,心想:糟糕,這個人幫我說話,你看膀子給大鬼吃了。嘿,有辦法,我把這個屍體上的膀子折一個下來給它接上去。大鬼還在生氣,又把左邊的膀子折下來吃了,小鬼把左邊的膀子也接上去,總之這一個人都給大鬼吃了,小鬼把這個屍體替這個人也都接好了。兩個鬼這麽一段惡作劇,呼嘯而去,留下了這一個人,有一個嚴重的問題:我是誰啊?我本來是揚州的張某某,現在這個身體不是我,不是張某某了。他是哪裏的?這個人說:“我是東門的張某某,這個身體不是我的。”他悟到一個道理:身體不是我的。所以我在想:

身是菩提樹,心如明鏡臺,時時勤拂拭,勿使惹塵埃。 ——唐 神秀大師

到了六祖慧能他又高人一等:

菩提本無樹,明鏡亦非臺,本來無一物,何處惹塵埃。——唐 慧能大師

我們知道神秀的那一首偈語,是從有的立場來說的,六祖慧能的境界高一些,是從無的境界來說的,這個心究竟是有是無?在禪門過去有一個信徒問智藏禪師:

“老師,有沒有善惡因果。”

“當然有啊!”

“有沒有因果,有沒有天堂地獄?”

“當然有啊!”

“有沒有佛菩薩?”

“有啊!”

不管弟子問他什麽,禪師都說有。這個信徒說:

“老師,你說錯了?”

“我怎麽說錯了?”

“我跟金山禪師請教的時候,他都說無。我問他有沒有天堂地獄,他說無;問他因果報應,他說無;問他有沒有佛菩薩,他說無。你怎麽都能講有呢?你怎麽和他都不同呢?”

“我問你,金山禪師他有沒有金銀財寶?”

“沒有。”

“他有沒有房屋田舍?”

“沒有。”

“他有沒有妻子兒女?”

“他也無。”

“所以金山禪師跟你講無。那我現在問你,你有沒有妻子兒女、房屋田地?”

“我也有。”

“你有沒有金銀財寶啊?”

“也有。”

“所以我就跟你講有啊。”

這個有和無是這樣差別,這個解釋,是這樣嗎?的確是這樣。其實有的看似是有,實際上是無,無的東西看起來是無,實際上是有。所以其實剛剛講有和無不是兩個,看怎麽用法。一個茶杯,一定要空,空就是無,空了以後就能裝水,就變成有,它不空不無就不能有。沒有空間,我們人在哪裏?袋子不空,錢放在那裏?腸胃不空,我們怎麽活下去?空是建設有的。所以佛門過去常常講四大皆空,實際上四大皆有,有和空不是兩個,真空生妙有,《般若心經》裏講:色即是空,空即是色。所以能把我們心中對於宇宙萬有的空、有都調和、包容起來,把人我都包容在心中,宇宙自然都在我的心中,我們的寶藏取之不盡,用之不竭。

真正懂了心的話,比方說,你發財,你擁有,沒關系,我看到你發財我很歡喜,我也享有;你買田地建高樓,我看到了也歡喜,我享有,你占有、擁有;你布施做好事,我做不起,我歡喜,真正歡喜,這就比有形的還要更寶貴。所以心能生萬法,心生萬物生,心滅萬物滅,若能了解一切心,就能了解一切法。以上講的不太周全的,請各位大家原諒。總之,今天沒有別的東西,我送給你們大家心。心,你們大家本來就有,我告訴你們,你們都有顆真心,祝福大家,謝謝!

People with a misconception about meditation believe that all thoughts should cease. We cannot, in fact, establish ourselves in a state devoid of thoughts. The fruit of meditation is not the absence of thoughts, but the fact that thoughts cease to harm us. Once enemies, they become friends.

— Bokar Rinpoche

Mahamudra by The Great Path to Enlightenment (Part 2 of 3)
by Khenchen Sherab Gyaltsen Amipa

4. THE PATH

The path consists of the practice of the six paramitas as well as samatha practice – extraordinary or uncommon meditative concentration (Tibetan: shiney) and vipashyana – extraordinary or uncommon insight (Tibetan: lhag-tong).

THE SIX PARAMITAS OR PERFECTIONS

The practice of the paramitas goes back to the Hinayana, the vehicle of the Shravakas, that is, “those who seek solitary self- realisation” and the Pratyeka Buddhas.

Over and above this, but on the same moral basis, Mahayana Buddhism has developed various yoga practices.

GIVING

We can give material things and, in the mental sphere, give help or advice. If someone is ill, we can give medicine and care. If someone is in a difficult situation, it is possible through mind training to help find a solution to their problem. However, we should always give with a pure motivation.

MORALITY OR SILA

Morality means the practice of the ten virtues with which we protect our minds against false ideas.

There are different kinds of morality: that which applies to monks or the Upasaka morality. Upasaka in Sanskrit refers to the precepts for lay people. When we receive an initiation, we are also under an obligation to observe the fourteen Mahayana rules or precepts. An initiation (or “empowerment”) is an enabling process, giving us the means to transform our body, speech and mind.

The fourteen Mahayana precepts are:

1. Follow the directions of your Mahayana teacher. Cause him no suffering. If we have a spiritual master our respect for him creates a deep bond, especially if we receive empowerments from him. An initiation (empowerment) from our spiritual master means that we receive it with all the instructions of the guru’s lineage.

2. Follow the rules of the tantric texts. As Buddhists we believe in the teachings of the Buddha and the Dharma. Mahayana rules and Hinayana rules are very different. If we have received the Mahayana rules we do not need to follow all the Hinayana rules since the Mahayana rules are more inclusive.

3. Keep a good relationship with your Dharma friends, particularly those with whom you have received initiation. We are all related in the Dharma, we belong to the same initiatory mandala. When we have received the same initiation, a spiritual connection is created through having the same guru. If we do not feel like a family, we have broken the rule.

4. Feel Bodhicitta and compassion for all living beings. We develop compassion towards all living beings and try to trouble no-one’s happiness or peace. If we forget this deep compassion or disturb the peace and happiness of even one single being, the rule is broken.

5. Bodhicitta is the basis of all religions. We cannot practise religion without Bodhicitta. Since the essence of Dharma is Bodhicitta, we must study the meaning of Bodhicitta as closely as possible and imprint it in our mind. Bodhicitta is the truth, the foundation of Dharma practice; we must have complete trust in it, otherwise the mind becomes weak. Without this trust, the rule is broken.

6. Preserve your own tradition, but do not assert that any one school or practice is the only correct path or way to practise the Dharma. We have respect for Hinayana and Mahayana as well as for other religions, and also for Tantrayana and the Sutras as far as the Buddhist path is concerned. We should not denigrate our own religion or that of others; otherwise, the rule is broken.

7. Do not discuss secret meanings or texts with people who have not had the necessary initiations. We should not explain the Mahayana path to those who have neither faith nor respect. We do not speak about the secret Tantras; otherwise, the tantric rule is broken.

8. Do not disturb someone who is meditating. When we meditate we become the body of the Buddha and should not disturb others or ourselves in the process (for example, by entertaining negative thoughts). In meditation we become the five Dhyani Buddhas and should have deep respect for this practice. We should be very careful to act correctly in this; otherwise, the rule is broken.

9. Do not doubt the Dharma teachings. All Dharma practice is true. Have no doubt about it; otherwise, the rule is broken.

10. Do not have any connection with people who harm other living beings. If someone wittingly disturbs others in any way whatsoever, advise that person to desist. We should always offer good thoughts and explanations because we already have a guru to show us the meaning of the Dharma and of religion. If we behave wrongly, we break the rule.

11. Do not interpret Dharma teachings in your own way. We must have respect for the purity of the Dharma. We are aware that we obtain happiness through holy religion and Dharma practice. If we do not think in this way, we experience no happiness and the rule is broken.

12. Do not try to convert people who believe in another religion. We should not wish to convert to our belief anyone who practises a different religion with deep faith. We leave them on their own path; otherwise, the rule is broken.

13. We should not allow people who do not practise the Dharma to see religious symbols such as the vajra (Tibetan: dorje) and the bell. We should not show holy objects to nonpractitioners nor should we explain any of their particularities. Once they have been offered, offerings are no longer material things but blessing and nectar. If any offering falls to the ground we should not step on it because it represents a blessing. Thankas should also not be shown to those who have no faith; otherwise, the rule is broken.

14. Do not despise or humiliate women for they are the symbol of wisdom. The dakinis, such as Vajrayogini, symbolise wisdom. We show respect to them; otherwise, the rule is broken.

PATIENCE (FORBEARANCE)

We should exercise patience in our cohabitation with others and in our practice. If we only practise now and then it is not enough. Practice must be regular. The quality of patience is important. The essence of Buddha’s teaching is loving compassion. This is what we need to gain first, and for this we need four different kinds of patience, for instance:

If someone speaks harshly to us, we do not speak harshly in return.
If someone slanders us, we do not slander in return, but remain patient and without bitterness.
If someone is angry with us, we should stay calm and be as loving as possible.
Even if some one strikes us, we should not return their blows.

We should also be patient with ourselves when we experience disturbances in our practice. We should accept these disturbances and try to find out their cause.

DILIGENCE

First of all we must be clear about the precious nature of human existence and of the time given us to live. We may think, seeing the immense number of people on this planet, that it is not extraordinary to be re-born as a human. This is not so. There are indeed many people, but in most of them the qualities and skills needed for Dharma practice are not strongly developed. All living beings do have Buddha-nature yet we can only really practise if we have a human body. This is why our life is precious and we should make use of it.

We can all of us reach Buddhahood in a single lifetime. Many people find this hard to believe, yet it depends entirely and solely on good practice and understanding. Therefore, in our daily lives we should act for the benefit of other living beings and should be careful not to harm anybody. We should closely examine who we are, what we do, and whether our mind is following the path of virtue or non-virtue. If we wish to avoid difficulty, we must renounce nonvirtuous activities. It may be that we are not clear about what is virtuous and what is not. Many people believe that it is virtuous to pray from morning to night. Though this is not without virtue, it is not what is most important. We achieve the best kind of virtue when the nature of our mind is so completely transformed that it has become gentle and full of compassion. Our actions are then virtuous whether we are sleeping, eating or working. Practice is not meditation alone; it colours all of our daily life. If our mind has acquired this quality, every meditation bears fruit.

With this understanding and practice, we develop diligence.

CONCENTRATION

Concentration is called sam-den in Tibetan; this means unshakeable consciousness and also the capacity to keep an object in mind.

There are two types of concentration: common or ordinary and uncommon or extraordinary.

Common or ordinary concentration is involved when we carry out our work. From time to time other thoughts which have nothing to do with the job in hand may go through our head. Likewise, listening to Dharma teachings requires ordinary concentration. One can compare it to filling a cup. If we are not attentive we may spill the liquid, but if we are attentive, we can fill the cup up to the brim without losing a drop.

Even if we are directing our thoughts on to a holy object, this is still ordinary concentration.

Uncommon or extraordinary concentration means constant, attentive self-observation. In this, no false thoughts arise and we develop extraordinary understanding.

We learn how to observe our mind by first listening carefully to Dharma teachings, meditating on what we have heard, and testing and examining our thoughts. We should ask ourselves if we have any doubts. If so, we must find out where our doubt lies. There are many different possibilities. Doubt is always harmful since it hinders our development. If, for instance, we wish to leave our house but hesitate in the corridor before choosing the door which leads outside, we will never be able to go out, yet we will not be completely in the house either.

In order to put aside doubt it is important to develop wisdom.

Maybe we have doubts about the truth of karma. If so, we should remember that virtuous deeds result in joy and happiness, whereas non-virtuous deeds lead to discord and suffering. Observations such as these will resolve our doubts.

We can check whether our mind produces virtuous thoughts, and we should also observe whether our thoughts are free from ego (me-only) and attachment.

Often our consciousness is not sufficiently relaxed for this special concentration. The cause lies on the one hand in disturbances due to wrong thoughts, and on the other hand in our uncertainty as to what produces them. Good deep concentration combined with relaxation cannot be forced. But, if in our daily lives we avoid modes of behaviour that are harmful to ourselves and to others, this inner relaxation will come of itself.

In order to develop this extraordinary concentration we must practise shiney.

WISDOM

Uncommon or extraordinary insight (Sanskrit: vipashyana or Tibetan: lhag-tong) is wisdom. It is also called shunyata, that is, voidness. Shunyata is called tong-pa nyi in Tibetan. This also means emptiness, not complete emptiness but rather the absence of something. By this we mean the absence of disturbances or non-virtue. Shunyata means the correct view untouched by ego, attachment or ignorance. In other words, in this state we understand that our representation of ego is erroneous, that all phenomena are empty of the property of unconditional arising. Everything that exists in samsara arises through the convergence of different conditions which represent the cause of the existence of a living being. Nothing occurs independently, everything is dependent on cause and effect and this decides what the experience or the activity will be. When we reach shunyata it means that we have recognised and understood this interdependence, and our original mind, free from ignorance, can emerge. We sometimes speak of the inner light of wisdom which clears away the darkness of ignorance.

In order to reach this state, our most important task is to liberate ourselves from the two principal errors, that is, ego and attachment, for these are the greatest obstacles on our way to enlightenment. Those who concentrate on themselves in the erroneous view of the ego are limited in their room or scope. If we think only of ourselves the door to our prison is closed. If we open ourselves up to others we experience light and joy.

SHINEY OR SAMATHA

What is the meaning of shiney? shi means foundation, ney means to remain. Shiney practice means training in the ability to maintain our concentration on the object.

Shiney is the most important exercise if we wish to succeed in any yoga practice or meditation. Our commitment to our daily life, in our normal existence, also comes into play, for meditation alone is not enough. Buddha’s teaching always includes both the relative and the absolute path. The relative path is one method and means that we accept things existing outside of ourselves. The absolute path is the practice of Bodhicitta, shunyata and great meditative concentration. It leads to the realisation that all truth is endless.

When a house is being built we begin with the foundation, not the roof. This is what we must do in our practice, except that in this case we are building a mental house, not a material one.

In order to begin constructing this foundation, we must proceed through outer and inner preparation.

Whenever possible we should find a peaceful place with good fresh air and pure water and maintain a balanced diet. These are conditions which help the mind relax. We should then familiarise ourselves with the five obstacles which can be met in shiney practice and which we have to recognise and overcome.

THE FIVE OBSTACLES TO SHINEY PRACTICE

The first obstacle is laziness.

Laziness here has a special meaning. In daily life, laziness results in not doing what we should do. In this case, however, laziness means that we take no interest in karma, virtue, and Dharma study. This hinders the development of the mind. If we wish to have at our disposal more compassion and wisdom in our next life, we must comply with the corresponding preparations in this one. If we do not reach enlightenment in this life, we will nevertheless be much nearer in the next. So laziness is the first obstacle in shiney practice and we try to avoid it.

The second obstacle is forgetfulness.

We need a good memory for shiney practice. A good memory is also useful in everyday life, but in our practice it acts as a protection. As long as we keep the teachings firmly in mind, they prevent us from taking a wrong path. Body, speech and mind commit no wrong acts.

If we do not listen attentively we run the risk of wrong practice. It would be as if we wanted to climb a mountain without using our hands. We would not get far. Someone who does not listen carefully cannot meditate properly.

There are several different kinds of teachings, for example, the normal oral teachings for practitioners. The most important kind is direct personal teaching, which is exclusively oral, from an experienced lama. A master has two types of knowledge: theoretical knowledge appropriated through the study of texts and personal experience gained through practice. The combination of the two enables the lama to give advice that is appropriate for the individual. We should always keep in mind the counsels we are given.

The third and fourth obstacles are lack of faith and lack of trust.

The Tibetan word for faith is ded-pa; this means that faith permeates everything: body as well as speech and mind. Trust is yi-che in Tibetan. With faith and trust permanently pervading our whole being, our practice will be powerful. Without these qualities we are like someone who is walking in a park and wishes to take a particular path. However, in spite of their deep-felt desire, if they are blind and cannot see, they may well go in the wrong direction.

Likewise, the result is not the same if we act with faith and trust alone or with the addition of knowledge or with none of these qualities. For knowledge, faith and trust are like the light of our eyes, the vision of the stroller in the park.

Faith depends on reliable knowledge of the quality of a fact or an object, such as, for instance, the Three Jewels when we take refuge. When we recognize the quality of the Guru or the Buddha and understand the meaning of the Dharma and the activity of the Sangha, then faith grows within us quite spontaneously. The better our understanding, the deeper our faith. Faith therefore is not a blind acquiescence in the truth of something that we do not know, but the conviction we have gained through constant trial.

In this sense we can develop faith and trust in ourselves. Thus we gain this faith and trust and a clearer understanding of our own mind.

The fifth obstacle is lack of attention.

Sometimes we can become sleepy during our practice and lose our clarity of mind. When we observe this we need a powerful antidote to re-direct our attention. We can think of three things:

1. We reflect on how important it is for us to practise diligently, otherwise we will lose our precious human life without having made full use of it. Time goes by so quickly and it is not good to use it all up without practising.

2. We must be aware that one day we will die but we do not know exactly when. However, we can prepare ourselves for death already by developing our minds powerfully and virtuously through our practice.

3. We keep in mind that our belief in karma has to be very strong. Karma is true. We are all connected through karma. If at the present time we enjoy a fairly good life, if we are healthy and in a peaceful state, this too has its cause in a former life. Even bodily and mental illnesses derive from karmic connections which we have forged.

When our minds become inattentive, negligent or lazy, we should remember these three things. In this way our practice becomes more profound, we become calmer, and disturbing thoughts disappear.

So, to conclude, shiney practice requires diligence, a good memory, faith, trust and attentiveness.

This provides us with the foundation on which we can build our mental house, our mind becomes joyful and ready to begin shiney practice.

SHINEY PRACTICE

We should sit in the lotus or semi-lotus position for meditation. If we cannot do this, we should sit in what is for us a comfortable position. Whatever the case we should be careful to keep a straight back so that breath and energy can flow freely. We place our hands in the Buddha Vairocana position, that is, laying them about four centimetres below the navel, with the left hand beneath the right hand. The palms of the hands are turned upward and the thumbs should be just touching.

Once we have settled into the right bodily posture, we put aside the five obstacles and calm our mind, if necessary, through a breathing exercise: for example, twenty-one deep breaths, in and out. We then choose an object on which to concentrate.

The object may be external or internal. Some examples of external objects are the Three Jewels (Sanskrit: triratna), Buddha, Dharma, Sangha when taking refuge, or the form of the Buddha Avalokiteshvara, the embodiment of love and compassion.

We direct our thoughts towards the object that we have chosen with the deep desire to obtain similar qualities.

Internal objects are our breathing, our chakras which are the energy centres in the body, or our own consciousness.

While directing our attention to one point and keeping it there to the best of our ability, we should be careful at the same time to remain relaxed. If we are tense we will not be able to maintain our concentration on the object. We try to keep out any unnecessary thoughts and above all, any doubts about the Dharma or the truth of karma. Even positive thoughts are disturbances to concentration in their very diversity. So, patiently, we try to be calm and not allow our mind to wander restlessly around.

THE MIND

Buddhist philosophy recognises different manifestations of the mind. However, it is difficult to pin them down to a precise concept in another language. Mind in its ordinary form is called sem in Tibetan. In this, our desires and representations change form every few seconds. We cannot see it, but only feel it. It has two states. On the one hand, there is the samsaric state, very unclear and confused. Our thoughts dart here and there and cannot settle. The mind is disturbed but it is still our own mind. On the other hand, when nirvana is reached there is no obscurity in the mind. Peace and glowing untroubled joy arise in us. This is the original pure nature of our mind, Buddha-nature.

It is possible to say that everything comes from our mind: virtue, love, compassion as well as nonvirtue, hatred, suffering and ignorance. Sem is the basis, the precious foundation which we always have at our disposal. It is our own clear, original consciousness. Sem exists without interruption and consists of a principal mind and fifty-one mental factors.

The principal mind could also be called consciousness. The mental factors correspond to our subjective perceptions. The principal mind perceives the reality of something, for example, a flower. The different mental factors, working through sense impressions, allocate specific, mainly evaluative, attributes. So we say: this flower is beautiful, it smells nice, we would like to have it.

This in turn gives rise to three qualities of mental factors: a feeling of attachment, of non-attachment, or of neutrality. Some of these mental factors act virtuously, others non-virtuously and some again neither virtuously nor non-virtuously. If the feeling involves attachment, then the mental factors belong to the non-virtuous part; if no attachment is involved, then they belong to the virtuous part; if the feeling is neutral, to neither.

Let us take the flower as an example:

The flower is beautiful; we want it for ourselves alone. This involves mental factors which are acting non-virtuously. They always lead to suffering.

The flower is beautiful; we want nothing to happen to it, only that it may flower without disturbance and produce fruit. In this case the mental factors act virtuously. They always lead to joy.

The flower is beautiful. This involves neutral mental factors.

In the practice of samatha (Tibetan: shiney) it is possible to transform all the activities of body, speech and mind into virtuous behaviour.

When sem (mind) has developed into higher consciousness, it is called rigpa in Tibetan.

In an iconic representation of samatha practice which is very common in Tibet, the mind is shown in the form of an elephant. The elephant is a very powerful animal, its virtuous and non-virtuous qualities are very strong. At the beginning of the path which it is going to follow in shiney practice, the elephant is still black, that is, non-virtuous. On the path, its colour changes gradually until it is finally white. Its mind has become clear and is following the path of virtue. A monkey restlessly jumping here and there represents the disturbances in the mind.

In shiney practice we try to overcome this restlessness and practise reining in the mind until it loses its monkey-like quality and becomes peaceful.

In order to test the development of the mind we need to observe it carefully. At the beginning of the practice it is very stiff and stubborn, exclusively concerned with itself (me-only). Disturbing thoughts rush through us like a waterfall tumbling from the mountainside. As we progress in the practice the mind resembles a lake, hardly any movement is perceptible across its surface. Wrong thoughts and doubts diminish.

Doubts are particularly perturbing; for a good practice we need to put them aside. If they still torment us, we should ask where they come from. There are two possible causes: doubt arises when we have too little faith or not enough practice and insufficient self-knowledge; or it may come from a lack of knowledge as to how to practise correctly. In order to put aside these doubts, a very precise control over the mind is necessary.

The physical and mental signs of progress in shiney are a feeling of lightness and health, and a joyful mind constantly at peace. Our darting thoughts will settle when we have learned how to remain concentrated in observing our mind. Endless pure joy and lasting peace then arise within us. We recognise that the Dharma is in truth no other than the pure original nature of our own mind, Buddha-nature.

Other meanings can be given to the concept of Dharma; holy teachings, for example, may be called Dharma, and the path to enlightenment as well.

In all types of meditation we use wisdom and method. Shiney and Bodhicitta are the method, vipashyana – uncommon or extraordinary insight – is wisdom. Without shiney and Bodhicitta one cannot practise vipashyana, the mind will be too restless.

VIPASHYANA, UNCOMMON OR EXTRAORDINARY INSIGHT

Vipashyana means wisdom, knowledge free from ego.

If we really desire peace and happiness but remain strongly self-centred, we stand in our own way. This is also true of attachment. As soon as the state of nirvana becomes our goal, it is already within us, but attachment holds us back. The ego’s self-centredness and attachment are the two root illnesses. Until we have freed ourselves from them, we suffer from morning to night. All roads are blocked because we are living in duality.

Collective Karma is a very important theory in Buddhist doctrine. Almost all Karma is accomplished in a collective way, involving more than one person or being. It is almost unlikely that a single person, not dependent on any other, should accomplish a forceful Karma. If you need to accomplish a good Karma, you need to do something beneficial to others. It always depends on the other: if there’s no other, you cannot give, you cannot forgive, you cannot help. It is due to the presence of other sentient beings that you are in a position to do something beneficial or, on the other hand, something harmful. In fact, the accumulation of bad Karma depends on other sentient beings. Whether you are killing or stealing or indulging in sexual misconduct, it always depends on the presence of other sentient beings. If there is no other living being, you can’t kill anyone. When you kill somebody the karmic force is individual as well as collective: individual because the actual act of killing is being done by you alone; in this regard it is an individual Karma. But it is also collective. For example, the person you have killed or harmed might have wronged you in a previous life. Therefore, the act of harming that person is not “free”: the person being harmed has some contribution from a previous lifetime. Or it can be a matter of usefulness: most animals are killed for their meat or their hides, and the perceived necessity for meat and hides are relative to each other and to the killer and to the killed animal, and in this way a collective karmic force is established.

— 5th Samdhong Rinpoche, Lobsang Tenzin

放下俗情,提起願力
廣欽老和尚

如果情執未斷,嘴裏念佛,念念還是墮娑婆。但如至誠懇切,萬緣放下,那麽一念之間,便能到西方……

會信仰佛教或出家,大都是受了打擊、刺激,有了刺激才會覺悟來修道。每個人出家都有其因緣,但不要以為受刺激出家不好,反而因受刺激來修道,道心會更堅固。不管出家人或在家人,都要有誌氣,人有了打擊才會提出誌氣來修道、做事。

假如修道人不談佛理而談俗事,這不是出家人的本份。以家庭俗事拿來出家用,俗氣未斷,怎能談到修道?

如果情執未斷,嘴裏念佛,念念還是墮娑婆。但如至誠懇切,萬緣放下,那麽一念之間,便能到西方。如果萬緣牽扯,割舍不下,那麽,百年萬年還是在三界內。

父母只是讓我們藉著他們的身體來投胎,不論是恩是怨,都是業緣,只有立誓成道報親恩,才是修行的正因。

在俗家,我們是享受慣了、受驕縱慣了,什麽事情都受不得委屈,總是固執自己的意思,剛愎自用,受不住約束。而今出家了,便是要把在俗家及無始以來,所帶的這種習氣種子換成佛種子。而培養種子並不是簡單的事,要用我們的信、願、行的力量慢慢改過,拔除習氣種子,讓佛的種子逐漸發芽茁壯。

在大陸,出家就沒有了家,父母來也沒有說那是父母,那像臺灣的出家人,不但和父母家人牽扯不絕,甚至連六親眷屬也溷雜在一起,不成一個出家人的體統。出家就是要斷與父母親眷的牽纏,否則出家反落俗套,變成不像出家,也不像還俗。

學佛要具足信、願、行,僅有信還不夠,還須要有成佛度眾生的願力,這樣遇到業障逆境時,才有辦法以這個願力來堅定自己,不致退心。只有信念而無願力的人,遇到逆境很容易就退失道心。遇到逆境時,要以念佛來克服它。

我們出家是看破愛別離苦來出家的,所以說出了家便忘了家,如果還跟家裏的人牽扯,則身雖出家,心中的念頭卻沒有出家,臨終時,念頭會被這些愛別離苦纏住,無法跳出輪回,且與家人牽扯,自己也會俗氣化。不要與家人牽扯愛別離苦,不與人攀緣,則念頭自然清凈,到時候要往生西方才有希望,到極樂世界得不退地後,才有辦法報親恩。

我們出家是在修心思純一,不雜亂,不與親友過分攀緣。我們出了家就是斷了家,若父母家人來探望,我們以對待一般信徒的平等態度,體貼一下對方即可。若是過於攀緣,不但親情的愛別離苦斷不了,且心思會散亂。臺灣的出家眾就是敗在這裏。

出家要有願力 —— 願成佛度眾生。依這個願力去行才能成就,否則出家沒有願力,不會有什麽結果。念阿彌陀佛,也要有成佛度眾生的願力。

在這娑婆世界中,無論什麽事情都不要去貪戀它,這樣才能有一條解脫的路,臨終時直往西方。

你們這些年輕人很發心來出家,可是這個身出家了,心也要出家。我們出家人的身、口、意跟在家人不一樣,要知道怎樣才能了生死,我們所追求的目標是了生死。如果你心中還有什麽貪境、喜愛的或掛礙的,那麽臨終時就現那種境界,一見歡喜就跟著去了,結果是墮於輪回之中。如果我們凈念念佛,則臨終現蓮花、佛菩薩及光明等聖境。所以在世時要除掉貪念,使心凈化。出家人要粗衣淡飯,不能再著於色聲香味觸法,不要跟在家人一樣。

每個人都是帶因果而來,帶因果而去,我們的父母眷屬都在四生中輪回,所以我們要趕快修行,去度脫他們。

父母生我們恩情很大。如不出家,要報父母恩很難,因為都是冤親來的。出家要上報四重恩,要父母也能了生死,才是度他們。父母不僅是這一世的,不出家就不知道,還有以前那麽多世的父母,所以不要起想父母的念頭,不要一直想父母的事,這是生死念頭。父母喜歡我們結婚,像他們一樣愛別離苦,如果你喜歡這些,以後你愛怎麽演都可以,可以演更自然的戲,也不用禮、義、廉、恥,畜生中都沒有這一些,更自然。

父母對我們越好,越是有恩怨。出家與世俗社會是相反的,越疼我們的,到臨終時越放不下。不要一直想父母如何如何,應專心於道上,否則又是愛別離苦,生死輪回的路真危險。

不要拿那些壞東西放在心裏,很痛苦,不要愛漂亮,穿我們這件出家衣,直接到西方,如果愛漂亮,以後就有自然的衣服可穿,像昆蟲、畜生類,都不用做衣服。有的人還沒有去,就已經在裝扮那個形了。如果人愛漂亮喜歡穿高跟鞋,以後就有自然的高跟鞋可穿——投胎為馬。

在家人看不懂,以為我們很苦。如果道心不堅固,就會感覺像處在活地獄一樣,什麽都不好、不自在,又有煩惱。有的道心比較堅固,但以前的種子還在。師父講是講,你們聽是聽,外境的影響還是很大。

我們腦子裏有很多境界,我們以前種的種子都在裏面,一看到外境就浮現出來。有的人是看在家人穿好衣服,就想:我來出家這麽辛苦,什麽都沒有,就穿這種衣服……;有的人就會想:娑婆世界再好也只不過如此而已。女眾不來出家就擦口紅,你們現在沒擦,看起來也很好

有一天,弟子們跟隨老和尚到後山走走,看到一些很美的花草,有位弟子就說:“我等一下去拿剪刀把花剪下來,插在水瓶裏供佛。”

老和尚說:“這些花草長在這兒,本來就是供養十方佛,那有需要‘你’去剪來插水瓶才叫做‘你’在供佛!要知道,在娑婆世界,只要貪戀一枝草,就要再來輪回!”

來出家是大孝,要上報四重恩,下濟三途苦,度生生世世的父母,不只是現世父母,連以前很多世的父母也要度。

Well then, one may wonder, because of what reason are sentient beings possessors of the essence of the buddhas?

Since the dharmakaya pervades sentient beings through emptiness; since there is no distinction within the suchness of phenomena themselves; since all sentient beings have the buddha nature; therefore, since there are three reasons, sentient beings are endowed with the essence of the buddhas. Like that, moreover, as it says in the Uttaratantra Shastra: “Since the body of complete buddhahood is all-pervasive, since suchness is without division, since there is the presence of buddha nature, all beings are always endowed with the essence of the buddhas.”

— Gampopa