般若与人生佛教
惟贤法师

般若有三个方面,第一是具大智慧,第二是有大悲心,第三包括菩萨的方便行。这个般若思想,是佛为大乘根基宣讲的。《大般若经》与我们东土华夏有缘。玄奘法师在翻译之后就曾说,能够翻译完成《大般若经》六百卷,这就是与东土有缘,因为东土的人具备大乘根基。我们应该继承祖师先贤们的遗志,既然已经进入佛门,走上了学佛的光明道路,就应该继承般若精神、发扬般若精神。同时在发扬的过程中,要与人生实际相结合,与生活相结合,使我们的人生,使我们的生活,充满般若智慧。般若的精神是淡泊宁静的,般若的精神是安详柔和的,般若的精神是慈悲喜舍的,般若的精神是大智无我的。只有淡泊宁静,才可以无私无欲;只有安详柔和,才可以抑止人与人之间的争斗欺诈;只有慈悲喜舍,才可以使人间充满仁爱;只有无我智慧,才能做到大公无私。所以,般若精神于我们人生是相当重要的。

一、以般若精神来指导人生

在般若思想的指导下,我们大家应该塑造一个怎样的人生呢?那应该是:

(一)理智的人生

这个理智的人生,要做到明因识果。明白因果道理是我们学佛的基本准则,也是佛教道德建立的基础。佛教道德之所以超过世间的一般道德,就是缘于有因果方面的认识。我们的认识思维要基于因果,行为上也要以因果律为指导,这样就是很理智的。必须具足正见与禅定,要有正知见,要有定力。有正见就可以去除邪见、恶见。恶见就是不善良,处处损人利己,以损人为前提。实际上,世间很多人都是以损人开始,以害己告终。损人就损到自己,这是因果道理,不过是时间早晚而已。邪见包括“常见”和“断见”,也包括拨无因果。所以,用般若指导的人生,就是理智的人生,充满智慧,不是无明痴暗。

(二)净化的人生

净化是什么呢?净就是清净,干干净净的。这个干干净净不单是表现在行为举止上的庄严和蔼,而且是在内心里没有污垢,是要把内心打扫干净。这一点,依佛教的指导思想,就要奉行三皈、严守五戒十善,这是作为佛教徒的基本行为准则。你们在座的在家弟子,不管老居士、新居士都是受了三皈五戒的。既然受了戒,就必须严格遵守,严格约束自己。诸恶莫作,众善奉行,自净其意,是诸佛教。做到意业清净、口业清净、身业清净,不自欺欺人,这样就能彻底净化自己内心。我们经常说,“庄严国土,利乐有情”。如何庄严?就是以净化心灵为庄严,心灵净化则身业、语业随之净化,人群也得到净化,国家就安定,国土就庄严。这是般若思想指导的人生——净化的人生。

(三)积极的人生

积极的人生,表现在大乘菩萨的大悲精神,具足四宏誓愿、四无量心、六度四摄之方便行。“四宏誓愿”就是“众生无边誓愿度,烦恼无尽誓愿断,法门无量誓愿学,佛道无上誓愿成”。大家不要轻视这个“四宏誓愿”,十方三世一切诸佛、一切菩萨都是依据这个“四宏誓愿”而修行、而证果。

“四宏誓愿”在菩萨戒中,就代表菩萨三聚净戒。“三聚净戒”即“摄律仪戒、摄善法戒、饶益有情戒”。三聚净戒的具体条文,在居士菩萨戒(六重二十八轻)、瑜伽菩萨戒(四重四十三轻)里都有具体说明。

“众生无边誓愿度”就是饶益有情戒,以悲心饶益一切众生。“烦恼无尽誓愿断”就是摄律仪戒,要断烦恼,必须要止恶行善,要守戒。“法门无量誓愿学,佛道无上誓愿成”就是摄善法戒。

所以“四宏誓愿”包括三聚净戒,也包括了在家菩萨戒、出家菩萨戒,是相当重要的。那么这个誓愿就是以大智慧为先导、以利他为前提。这是积极的人生。所以学佛并不是消极的,是积极的。

(四)奋进的人生

什么是奋进的人生呢?为了这个度众生而成佛的目标,只有奋斗,只有前进,无论遇到什么困难,都能够难行能行、难忍能忍、百折不回。这就是奋进的人生。

所以在般若精神指导下的人生,应该是理智的人生、净化的人生、积极的人生、奋进的人生。

二、依般若思想树立正确的人生观

般若的人生观,也包括人生的价值观,要把般若作为人生价值的标准。

一般的人生只顾眼前,不顾未来,因为他的内心被六尘境界所染污,心不能主宰,就做了物质的奴隶。就一般世人说,是什么人生?是沉迷的人生、是懵懂的人生、是堕落的人生。这一点我们佛教徒不予效法。

什么原因呢?因为我们的人生是建立在般若智慧的基础上的。就我们的宇宙观来讲,是认识到了诸法性空,万法没一个常恒不变的实体。就我们的人生观来讲,了解一切现象,诸法因缘生。由因缘法,一是可知道万法变化不实,二是可以明白因果道理而止恶行善,三是可明白生物与生物、生物与自然环境、法与法之间是互相联系的。这样,在我们的思想认识上,空间就广阔,时间就长远,对象就广大,心胸也就广大了。我们依因缘生法就晓得,无论是人与人之间、人与生物之间,还是人与宇宙之间,这一切的一切息息相通。有了这个观点,人与人之间、人与生物之间、人与宇宙之间就能打成一片,营造一种大和谐——人我一体、物我一体,这就是大平等、大和谐。大家想一想,我们从历史的古今流变来看,就必须实现人与人之间、人与生物间、人与宇宙间的平等和谐。这样,我们的生活就安宁,世界就安定,和平就可以永远维持。

基于般若而建立的人生观、宇宙观就与一般人不同了。我们具备了这个人生观、价值观,就会把自己投入到救度众生事业中去。过去有个弟子问释迦牟尼佛:“一滴水怎样才能不干枯呢?”佛就告诉他:“要把这滴水投入到大海中去,与大海水相融合,就永不干枯。”这是一个很好的譬喻。

我们学大乘、学般若,就是要以大悲大愿,把我们这个生命投入到整个众生界中去,与每个众生息息关联、打成一片。这就是菩萨事业、成佛作祖的事业。能够做到这一点,那我们的人生价值就无可比拟,在修养方面也可得到成就,自己与众生同时解脱得自在。那么在人间的效用呢,就是安定和平。从长远来看,对后世的效用,就只有向上增进,直到菩提。这一点是很重要的。

我们有了奋发的精神,就可以不断地前进,难行能行,难忍能忍,因为这中间有菩提心,菩提心里面就有般若智慧、有大悲心方便,这个精神是伟大的。有了这个精神的指引,我们就有奋起的精神,就有无我的精神,就有大无畏的精神,对于众生就只会有同情和悲悯,不会生起嗔恨,也不会引起争斗,心怀大愿,一切行持都是为了众生。这就是我们应该培养的法身慧命。

在《大智度论》里,有以下这么很好的两段。

有人问佛:众生这样刚强难调,烦恼重重,你要度他,他要恼害你,你怎样对待呢?佛就告诉他:佛菩萨的心胸是广大慈悲,佛菩萨对于众生视若儿女。一个母亲,怎么会不爱自己的儿女呢?儿女在抚养阶段难免要拉屎拉尿,难免要在父母身上打闹,难道你做母亲的,就不要这个儿女了吗?会把他抛弃吗?你还是要抚养他,逐步地教育他,使他能够长大成人。

大家想一想,佛说的这个话,具备多大的悲心呀!佛菩萨视众生若儿女,对于刚强难调的众生、暴恶的众生,我们应当按照佛陀的指示去做,不然,你就不能修方便行。当然在做的过程中,要因机施教,要像观音菩萨一样,现三十二应身而为说法。这是权巧方便。

在《大智度论》还有这么一个故事。一群商人在外经商。一天晚上,他们没找到旅馆,就宿身在树林中的一棵树下。树林中同时还栖着一群白鹤。深夜时分,一个商人起来点火吸烟,不慎引起大火,整个树林迅速燃烧起来。此时,其他商人们都在沉睡,而旁边鹤群中的鹤王被惊醒,它发觉大火熊熊,火光冲天。这怎么得了呢?不能眼睁睁的看着这群商人和自己的子孙被烧死。它发现在一个比较远的地方有个大水池,就急中生智的飞去将水盛在自己翅膀上面,再飞回以此水浇火。如此往返不计其数,火依然在燃烧。最后,鹤王被累趴在地,但它还是再三挣扎着想飞去取水。此情此景,感动了帝释天。帝释天也化为一只白鹤来问它:你为什么这么卖力,不怕累,不怕死,只顾弄水来救火呢?它说:我没想到自己,此时我只想救这些商人和我的子孙,尽管我力量小,可还要尽最大的努力去做。它说了这话以后,帝释(我们一般讲的玉皇大帝)非常感动,就马上以神力兴云作雨,把那场火熄灭了。

佛就告诉弟子们:我在过去生中,三大阿僧祇劫,经过了若干生死。其中鹤王救火,就是我生命中的一段事迹。

这段故事很动人的!大家想一想,在五浊恶世中,在这个人心混乱、极为动荡的时代,人心向恶的多、向善的少,我们如何对待呀?那就必须要有般若智慧,根据大悲大愿的精神、无我的精神、无畏的精神,尽我们的力量为众生奉献一切,乃至生命。这个故事,就是一个典型。

过去,我在读《大智度论》的时候,每每读到这段,我就很受感动。在解放初期的大风大雨之中,这对我的志向就起了一种坚固的支撑作用。如《楞严经》中的偈云:“伏请世尊为证明,五浊恶世誓先入。”

说到偈子,如果你们去大足宝顶朝山,就可以看到石壁上有这样两首偈子。

一首是:

假使热铁轮,于我顶上旋,终不因此苦,退失菩提心。

另一首是:

热铁轮里翻跟斗,猛火炉中打倒悬,伏请世尊为证明,五浊恶世誓先入。

这偈子是谁刻上去的呢?就是南宋修建大足宝顶圣寿寺创刻大足宝顶石刻的那个僧人,叫赵智凤。这个石壁修建成功,前后经过七十年。在当时的深山老林之中,交通极为不便,要把米粮一点点背上去,把各种材料一点点背上去,那真是不容易呀!背上去以后,把庙修起来,接着又搞石刻。你们想,在深山老林是多么不容易呀!为什么他要搞石刻?就是想让正法久住。在中国,有很多石窟,如云冈石窟、龙门石窟、敦煌石窟,还有北京房山石经,就是把大藏经刻到石头上然后再藏到山洞里面,工程很艰巨、很浩大!为什么这些祖师要这样做?就是怕到了末法时期佛法被摧残、遭厄运,所以必须要这样做。摧毁,你摧毁不到深山老林里去,你摧毁不到深山的石洞里去。你们看,这些石窟都保存下来了,而且保存得很好,大足的宝顶石窟和北山石窟都保存得不错。保存下来就是正法住世,佛教就住世间。这是祖师们的苦心,给我们把法宝留下来,也使我们中国的最优秀的传统文化保存下来,功德很大。

大足石刻前后经历了七十多年才修建成功,靠的就是这两首偈中体现出来的大无畏精神。没有这个精神,就不能创造这个伟业,我们中国就没有这样灿烂光辉的文化。现在尽管有些石刻不是我们出家人在管理,很多人借石刻、借佛教维持生活,有些人还在毁谤佛教(他沾了佛教的光,还在毁谤佛教),但我们先不去过问他,那是根基问题。总的来说,我们的法宝能保存下来,佛法能长住世间,都是靠的这种大无畏的菩萨精神,难行能行,难忍能忍。

因此,我们学习般若后,就要有个正确的人生观、宇宙观,在人生过程中,要利用这宝贵的时光,来创造无穷的价值,就像佛陀说的,把我们这一滴水投入到大海中,把我们个人生命投入到众生群体生命中,就可以创造价值。

三、结合“八正道”以净化心灵

般若摄(总揽、涵盖)“八正道”。“八正道”是佛初转法轮时就开始宣说的。最初佛在鹿野苑讲法,讲的是“四谛”、“八正道”。“四谛”就是苦圣谛、苦集圣谛、苦集灭圣谛、苦集灭所修道圣谛,简称“苦集灭道”。“苦、集”是讲世间的因果现象;“灭、道”就是解脱世间的因果现象。众生由于烦恼和业而受苦,要想解脱达到涅槃彼岸,就必须按照正确的道路修行,也就是修“八正道”。“八正道”包括了佛教徒修学的共同道路,通于“戒、定、慧”三学。

“八正道”与我们人类的实际生活紧密相关。

第一次世界大战,死伤几百万人,第二次世界大战死伤千万人以上,更是悲惨。英国有个历史学家叫威尔斯,写过一部书名为《世界史纲》。当时这部书已经翻译到中国,由商务印书馆出版。我在年轻时就读了这本书。威尔斯对大战之中和之后人们所遭受的牺牲痛苦,很叹惜、很哀伤。他就说人类要和平、要避免战争发生,就必须要有宗教思想作指导,而且必须是有理智的宗教。这里他提出了“理智的宗教”,那就只有佛教,佛教是理智的宗教。他还特别指出了“八正道”。他说,八正道不单是佛教徒应该走的一条共同的道路,也应该是一般人、各种人应该遵循的道德标准。假使人人都能行八正道,世界就不会有战争、混乱,就能保持和平稳定。这就是英国历史学家威尔斯,在《世界史纲》的末尾部分作结论时写的。

我在这里介绍一下这本书,是想说“八正道”不单是学佛的人要遵行,一般人都要遵行,把它作为人生的准则、道德的准则和净化人生的标准。这很重要!

“八正道”的内容是什么呢?正见、正思维、正语、正业、正命、正精进、正念、正定。现在我简单地解释一下。

正见。我们应该有个正确的、合理的见解。一个人见解不正确、不合理,以之指导思想和行动,那就是暴恶的、混乱的。所以佛法讲,必须要断除我见、断除邪见(邪恶之见)。所持见解必须含有智慧、顺于正道,其中心思想就是要了解因缘生法和性空无我的道理。懂因果法则就不会乱来,懂无我就可以彻底消除自私自利的观点。做人要有这个真知灼见。

正思维。思维就是我们第六意识的分别作用、思维作用、抉择作用,包括思想、理论、方法,包括认识、分析、综合判断。但是一般人的思维不正确,就是来源于不正确的见解。执常、执断、拨无因果、自私狭隘,所想的一切都只是为了满足自己的私欲,处处有门户之见,由此而制造矛盾,这就是不正确的思维。用现代的话说,就是不正确的思想。一个人的行为,必须有正确的思想作指导才能做好事,不然就要做坏事了。

正语。语言要真实。佛陀远离一切戏论,佛语是真语、实语、如语、不异语、不诳语。我们要奉行“正语”,就是要在言语方面保持清净,不说谎话,不打妄语,对人要真实;不说粗恶话、带脏字、骂人;不说挑拨离间的话,使人们不和(人与人不和,家庭与家庭不和,集团与集团不和);不说庸俗、下流、卑劣语。正语,就是说真实语、说正直语、说柔软语、说和合语,这是标准。这样就可以达到语言清净,即口业清净。

正业。即正当的行为。我们的一举一动,行、住、坐、卧,行为举止要正当,对于一切人、对于一切生物不残杀、不暴虐、不偷劫、不淫乱。这就是正确的行为。世界的混浊就是由于难以消除杀、盗、淫。你们大家看一看,许多人五毒俱全,贪污腐化、杀人放火、坑蒙拐骗、勾心斗角、尔虞我诈,无恶不作,结果害自己、害家庭、害社会,这就是行为不正确,其结果是遭受灾厄,自食苦果。祸福无门,唯人自召,善恶相报,如影随形。

正命。我们必须要正确地生活,要以正法而活命,不要以邪法而活命,不要欺骗。如果在勾心斗角中、在互相倾轧中来活命,就失掉了人生价值。有一种人堪为衣冠禽兽,看起来像个人,戴着人的帽子,穿着人的衣服,实质上他的内心不干净,外在生活行为不正当,人面兽心,尽管是人,造的却是三恶道的业,已经落入畜生道、地狱道、饿鬼道,尽管他自己不觉得,但有慧眼的人可以观察到这一点。可怕呀!可怕得很!所以,要以正法而活命,更不能学那些外道,譬如那样功、这样功、那样教、这样教,那不是正法,而是邪法,学不得!我们学的是般若法门,具有最高的智慧,是无漏清净法,是利益众生法。

正精进。什么叫精进?“精”,就是专精,保持纯一不杂,一个目标就是学法、度众生、成佛,称为“精”;“进”呢,就是奋斗不息,不管遭遇什么苦难、什么挫折都不退道心,只有向前不会退后,难行能行,难忍能忍,这叫做“进”。合起来叫“正精进”。玄奘法师到印度求法,他发誓只能前进,决不后退,只有向西,不回头向东,玄奘法师求得大法就是因为有这个精神。在“三十七菩提分”(又叫“三十七道品”)里面叫“四正断”(或“四正勤”),即已生善法令增长,未生善法令发生,已生恶法令消灭,未生恶法令不生。这就是“正精进”,我们必须要坚持的原则。

正念。念就是念头。由念头才能组成思维,构成思想。我们佛教徒就是要保持善念、正念、净念。保持善念,就不起恶念;保持正念,就不起邪念;保持净念,就不起染污念。正念相续不断,就是正思维、正观察,就可以保持“定”的功夫,达到正定,由正定就可以产生正慧,观察事物就很明确。

我们佛教徒应该保持什么样的“正念”呢?经典里讲到了“六念”:念佛、念法、念僧、念第一义天、念戒、念布施。这很重要啊!这是我们学佛人正念的标准,能够保持正念,就可摈弃消灭一切世俗之念。

世俗之念念什么呢?念六尘境界,念财、食、名、色、睡,这对于人有什么好处呀?追求六尘、追求五欲境界,只有造业、害人、害己,不会上进,只有堕落。

我们学了佛,就与他有区别了。区别在于时常保持正念,念念不忘佛法僧,念念不忘因果、念念不忘戒律,念念不忘布施。那个恶念啦、邪念啦、染污念啦,它就没有空子可钻。大家要注意这个问题。所以祖师常讲,怎样才能开悟呢?你必须时常提起你的念头,提起念头就是要保持正念。抛弃这个念头,那就不能保持正念,就堕入世俗。你怎么开悟?怎样能够成道嘛!

正定。定就是禅定,就是止观,印度语又叫禅那、舍摩他,即是“定”。有定力可以产生智慧,可以正确观察,抉择事理。

刚才只是简略地介绍了“八正道”的基本内容。到现在大家就可以了解,“八正道”与做人的道德是密切相关的。真正要做个人,不能离开“八正道”。那个英国历史学家能够见到这一点,很不容易!他还是很有慧眼的。

“八正道”就包括了“戒、定、慧”三学。正语、正业、正命包括在戒里面,其中包括了五戒十善、八关斋戒、在家菩萨戒、出家菩萨戒;正见、正思维包括在慧里面;正念、正定包括在定中;正精进通于三学。我们履行“八正道”,也就是修了“戒定慧”三学,佛法整个经、律、论三藏十二部教典都是在开显“戒定慧”三学,经藏就是定学,律藏就是戒学,论藏就是慧学。

四、修方便般若以慈悲为本怀

修方便般若就是修无缘大慈、同体大悲。

“无缘大慈”就是说我们修慈心是发自本心,不去分别对象,不用世间人的眼光分别贫富贵贱、高低上下、男女老少。“无缘”就是无分别心。对各种层次、各种阶级不加分别,对一切众生都要施以安乐,不使他们受痛苦,叫“无缘大慈”。若有上面那些分别叫有缘,而不能叫“无缘”。

“同体大悲”就是视众生如自己,我与众生同一体,众生的苦就是我的苦,众生的安乐就是我的安乐。《菩提道次第广论》里面指出,要修“自他换”。什么叫“自他换”呢?把他人当成我自己,不要区别自与他。“同体大悲”就是这种精神。在儒家也讲:人饥犹己饥,人溺犹己溺;己所不欲,勿施于人。儒家讲的仁爱与佛家讲的慈悲,境界不一样。佛家的境界更宽广——胎、卵、湿、化、有色、无色、有想、无想、非有想、非无想等等如恒河沙界里的众生都包括在内,对象宽泛无量,目标无上高远,不是一般普通所讲的仁爱可以比拟的,因为世间爱是有一定界限的。

有了无缘大慈、同体大悲,才能很好地修方便般若。密宗《大日如来灌顶经》讲“菩提心为因,大悲为根本,方便为究竟”,有菩提心,有大悲心,还要广行方便。方便是体现在行动上,所以佛经里常讲“慈悲为本,方便为门”。要处处与人方便,不要为难人,不要烦恼人,不要扰乱人,这就体现了慈悲精神。菩萨拔度苦厄,广行方便,利益众生,这就是方便般若。

五、介绍太虚大师的“人生佛教”

“人生佛教”是太虚大师20世纪30年代在缙云山提出来的。为什么提出“人生佛教”呢?有两方面的原因。

一方面来自佛教外部对于佛教误解的压力。世间一般人往往把佛教与“迷信”相提并论,迷信是崇拜神鬼嘛!到现在还有很多人都这样,认为佛教只是讲鬼神的、讲来世的;另外,世俗人认为学佛人是消极的、保守的。殊不知佛家精神是积极的、救世的。这种误解,从过去到现在一直存在。

另一方面从佛教内部来讲,佛教内部不振作。由于历史的传统因素,作为僧众(也包括其他四众弟子)只是注重在山门内作佛事、超度死人。好像说到佛教就只是与作佛事、超度死人有关系,成了死人的佛教了,成了端公道士做道场那么一种形式化的佛教了。这是一个很值得引起注意的现象。另外,山门内与山门外不相联系,不问世间的事情,逐步走向孤立化、保守化。这样一来,佛教本身力量就薄弱了,佛教真理就不能顺利传播,佛教的大乘救世精神就不能发扬,同时也引起了世间人的误解,甚至引起一部分世俗人对佛教的攻击,和对寺庙僧人的迫害。过去历史上的“三武一宗”是这样子,二十多年前的“文革”也是这样的。

以上是一些背景情况。下面我简单介绍一下太虚大师。

太虚大师住世的时间并不长,只活了59岁,不足60岁。太虚大师学识很渊博,为了佛教,奋斗了一生。他早年在普陀山闭关三年,除了阅读藏经和礼佛以外,还博览群书,广阅了当时的中外名著。他在闭关期间因读《大般若经》而开悟,获得了很高的智慧,从此能够判摄佛法,提出了佛教“八宗平等”的理论见解,这是很不容易的。过去的宗派之间,总是互相发生矛盾,你攻击我,我攻击你。太虚大师提出的“八宗平等”,思想很圆融,契合佛心。过去空宗反驳有宗,有宗反驳空宗(其它宗派也有类似的情况),自相破斥、互相摧残,这是要不得的。

他曾经游学欧美,回国以后,由于僧制不能整顿,就转过来弘扬佛法,大力办教育,并创办了武昌佛学院、闽南佛学院、柏林佛学院、汉藏教理院。他在游历欧美时,在巴黎曾筹备创办世界佛学苑。他的雄心壮志就是要把佛法在世界范围内广泛传播。在国内办的几所佛学院,在造就僧才上是很成功的。假如没有太虚大师当年办教育、办佛学院培养的一批佛教人才,那么今天从宗教政策落实以后的这二十年以来,就不会有佛教的复兴。没有人才,佛教元气就要断尽。可以说佛教今日的复兴,就是太虚大师当年办学的功劳!现在老的僧人已不多了,太虚大师的学生已不多了。所以赵朴老在上海举行的“汉语系佛教教育座谈会”上再三呼吁:我们佛教面临的严峻形势是缺乏人才,第一是培养人才,第二是培养人才,第三还是培养人才。赵朴老奉行的是太虚大师的遗志,把培养人才当做中心任务。

这次我到成都来,看到文殊院管委会是以青年僧人组成的班子,他们能够维持正常的丛林秩序,并推动了各项工作,这是值得安慰的。我希望这些青年僧才,能够健康成长,继承老一辈的事业,把这个班子接下来,绍隆佛种,弘扬正法。

太虚大师个人生活简朴,并不像有些人传说的那样,因为我亲近了他大概有十年时间,耳濡目染了他的教诫和个人生活。他老人家生活很简朴,经常穿一件灰布衣服,一天三顿饭都很简单,早晨吃稀饭馒头和一点咸菜,中午两菜一汤。另外,居士们供养的钱财,他全拿出来做好事,周济贫困学生,供养他的食品也完全交出来分给大众。这是我亲眼看到的。

他的学术思想是伟大的,融摄佛法,提倡“八宗平等”。我们在汉藏教理院读书的时候,就开设有各个宗派的课程,并设专人授课。聘请的老师也来自各个宗派,有讲中观般若的,有西藏来的活佛,也有汉地的老师,有讲小乘的,也有讲大乘的。

除了这些课程以外,还设有国学、史地、科学等。图书室还订有全国新书和各种报刊杂志,供学僧们课余阅读。当时,除了正课以外,还请许多名人到缙云山参观,有政治界的、经济界的、文学界的,如马寅初、巴金、老舍、郭沫若、冰心等,这些人都曾被请上过讲台。不管他们知见如何,但这使学僧们充实了见闻,扩大了眼界,以期达到世间法和出世间法的融通。

1947年太虚大师在上海圆寂。在圆寂的前四天,他把《人生佛教》一书交给了赵朴初居士。赵朴老后来晓得,太虚大师是要他继承他的遗志。这个话是赵朴老亲自讲给我听的。赵朴老提倡“人间佛教”,就是继承了太虚大师的遗志。太虚大师圆寂以后,经过火化,共得到五彩舍利子三百多颗,还有舍利花,另外最奇特的是,他的心脏没被烧化,烧成了坚固体,且上面挂满了舍利。这是大师德行的体现!这是大师空前的成就!震惊了中外!因为这个关系,过去反对他、诽谤他的人都忏悔!

太虚大师的“人生佛教”精神是什么呢?就是以人乘为主,兼修菩萨行。他在《人生佛教》里讲:我们做一个人,要做个完人,完人以后要做个超人,超人以后还要做个超超人。从人乘到佛乘,就是完成这么一个过程。完人,就要遵守五戒十善,要明因识果;超人,就要宁静淡泊,要身心解脱;超超人,就要具大悲、大智、大无畏,修菩萨行,这样才能成佛。所以,他的理论是做一个完人,进一步做个超人,再进一步做个超超人。佛菩萨就是超超人,也就是最伟大的人。这一点,并不是一般的神秘化,而是人格化。他有几首诗。

一首是:

仰止唯佛陀,完成在人格,人成即佛成,是名真现实。

另一首是:

如果发愿学佛,先须立志做人,三皈四维淑世,八德十善严身。

学佛首先要做人,进一步做菩萨,欣乐菩萨行。他给我们讲过今菩萨行、菩萨学处。他自称太虚菩萨,并有首诗:

我今学修菩萨行,我今应证菩萨名,愿皆称我以菩萨,比丘不是佛未成。

他说,我学的是菩萨,不是比丘,也不是佛。我是学的菩萨,当然是出家菩萨。有关具体内容,要看他于1944完成、于1947年出版的一本书,叫做《人生佛教》。

六、介绍赵朴初老居士的“人间佛教”

从解放初期到改革开放,我们中国佛教的复兴没有赵朴老是不行的!赵朴老为人为教费尽心力。他青年时就皈依了三宝,同时参加了民主革命,以后同周总理一起搞过慈善工作,救人救世,赈灾救苦。他是虔诚的三宝弟子,恭敬信仰三宝,对佛教是很忠诚的。他提倡“人间佛教”就是继承了太虚大师的“人生佛教”思想。

“人间佛教”内容是怎么样的呢?赵朴老在1983年提出了“一个思想,三个传统”。

“一个思想”就是说,佛教要适应时代,现在就要适应社会主义的时代,不能与社会脱离,不能与时代脱离。这就是“一个思想”。

那“三个传统”指的又是什么呢?

第一,要做到“农禅结合”的传统。一方面要修行、要参禅念佛,保持佛教的优良传统,另一方面要自力更生、要劳动,与劳动结合。唐代百丈禅师就提出“一日不作,一日不食”。百丈禅师作为一个楷模,他活到老都还在劳动。那么我们现在更要进行劳动。在现代社会要自力更生、自给自养,不要依赖。劳动同时要不忘修行,这叫做“农禅结合”。

第二,要重视“学术研究”的传统。关于学术研究的重点思想,他提出,佛法是最高的哲理,佛教的内容含摄很深,在优良的历史文化遗产之中占有极为重要的地位。进行学术研究,就是要发挥佛学的哲学性、文化性,具体讲,就要发扬佛教真理。我们的藏经不只是搁到藏经楼作陈列、作展览的,我们要读经、要学经、要研究,关键是学了以后还要弘扬,要把弘扬佛法的真理作为我们唯一的事业,这很重要!

近百年以来,中国汉地佛教很缺乏研究,这一点要注意。我到文殊院来,有师父给我介绍,文殊阁修好后将来要充实图书、设备,要开办讲座,也要供内部和旅游者阅览。研究佛教文化,突出佛教的哲理性、文化性。我觉得这点很好,应该这样做!能这样做,就可以净化人心、净化社会。佛法的真理一得到广泛传播,世间的邪知邪见,这种道门、那种道门,比如“法lun功”之流,它就没市场了。

第三,发扬“增进国际友谊”的传统。在国际上,要努力传播佛法的真理,为增进国际友谊和维护世界和平作出贡献。历代高僧大德,像晋代的法显和唐代的玄奘、鉴真等,他们传播中国佛教到国外,与东南亚佛教相融合,增进了友谊,传播了佛教文化,维护了国际间的和平。我们要学习这些高僧,这是我们中国佛教的优良传统。另外,对国内来说还要增进民族团结。中国有五十多个少数民族,我们就要搞好接待工作,以增进民族间的友谊,促进民族团结和民族文化的交流。

赵朴老提出的“一个思想,三个优良传统”,紧密结合了时代精神,很伟大、很崇高、也很切合实际。这就是“人间佛教”思想的基本内容。

另外,关于佛教自身建设问题,朴老提出五项基本内容,一是信仰建设;二是道风建设;三是教制建设;四是人才建设;五是组织建设。这些都很重要、很宝贵。

Ven Wei Xian (惟贤长老) 12.

In the absolute expanse of awareness, all things are blended into that single taste, but, relatively, each and every phenomenon is distinctly, clearly seen.

— Shabkar Tsokdruk Rangdrol

Shabkar Tsokdruk Rangdrol 5.

The Traditional Meaning of a Spiritual Seeker
by Alexander Berzin

Many people may consider themselves spiritual seekers and may even study with spiritual teachers at Dharma centres. The most committed type of spiritual seeker, however, is a disciple of a spiritual mentor. Problems in relating to spiritual teachers often arise because of students prematurely considering themselves to be someone’s disciples — whether or not the person chosen is a qualified mentor — and then trying to follow the traditional protocol for a disciple-mentor relationship. To begin to dispel this confusion, let us continue our rectification of terms by examining the Sanskrit and Tibetan words usually translated as disciple.

THE IMPLICATIONS OF THE SANSKRIT TERMS FOR A DISCIPLE

The main Sanskrit terms for a Buddhist disciple are shaiksha, shishya, vaineya, and bhajana. A shaiksha is someone who offers him or herself for shiksha, training by a spiritual mentor. Specifically, this means receiving three types of “higher training” — in ethical self-discipline, concentration on constructive objects, and discriminating awareness of reality.

Training in ethical self-discipline means learning to restrain from acting, speaking, or thinking destructively. It also entails engaging in constructive behaviour and positive ways of thinking and feeling. As with the explanation of spiritual friends and spiritual mentors, constructive implies behaving and thinking without disturbing emotions or attitudes, such as greed, attachment, hostility, or naivety. It also implies having confidence in the benefits of being positive and maintaining a sense of values derived from respecting positive qualities and persons possessing them. Thus, disciples train in methods for self-development, such as meditation, within a wholesome, ethical framework. Moreover, in the context of being a disciple of a Mahayana spiritual friend, constructive also signifies that the higher training aims for reaching enlightenment. Thus, while training to become Buddhas, disciples actively help others as much as they can.

The term shishya derives from the same root as the word shasana, meaning an indication of Buddha’s attainments. Through his way of being and his spoken words later recorded as scriptural texts, Buddha indicated his enlightenment to others and taught methods for attaining it. Correspondingly, disciples learn the three types of higher training from a spiritual mentor through observing the person’s character and demeanour and through listening to his or her explanation of the scriptural teachings. Similarly, disciples combine experiential and theoretical knowledge, to bring about constructive transformations of their personalities and manner.

Vaineya implies someone who trains in vinaya, the methods for “becoming tame.” Through vinaya training, disciples gain ethical self discipline through keeping the vowed restraints of Buddhist laypeople or monastics. By formally taking vows to tame their unruly patterns and to behave and think more constructively, disciples demonstrate a deep level of commitment to the process of self-development.

Bhajana means a receptacle or container. Disciples serve as receptacles for receiving and holding the Dharma teachings. Specifically, they serve as vessels for containing the three types of higher training and either lay or monastic vows. To be proper vessels, disciples require a certain level of maturity before establishing a relationship with a mentor. They need open-mindedness to receive training and vows, stability to maintain the continuity of each, and freedom from strong psychological problems so that they can observe the two purely.

The term chela, commonly used for a Hindu disciple who leaves household life to live and study with a sadhu (a homeless spiritual devotee), means someone who dresses in the rags of an ascetic yogi. The Tibetan translation raypa (ras-pa), however, lost the connotation of a disciple. Instead, it became a term for a tantric yogi who dresses in the scant rags of an Indian ascetic, for example Mila-raypa (Milarepa).

Tibetans translated both shaiksha and shishya as lobma (slob- ma), vaineya as dülja (gdul-bya), and bhajana as nö (snod). The Tibetan terms carry mostly the same nuances as the Sanskrit equivalents, but in certain cases add more richness. The syllable ma in lobma, for example, connotes wisdom, another word for discriminating awareness, as it does in lama. Disciples train to discriminate for themselves what is constructive from what is destructive and fantasy from reality. Nö is often coupled with chü (bcud), meaning the refined essence of something. Disciples serve as proper vessels for receiving and holding the refined essence that a mentor can offer — the enlightening methods for becoming a Buddha.

In short, if spiritual mentors are constructive persons who lead others to behave and to think constructively in order for them to attain enlightenment, disciples are those who are led to enlightenment by such persons through training in constructive behaviour and thought.

THE MEANING OF BEING A TEACHER’S GETRUG

Getrug (dge-phrug), an additional Tibetan term for disciple, corroborates the previous explanations. Ge means constructive and trug means a child. A getrug is a child raised by a spiritual mentor to be constructive — along the way as an increasingly balanced, ethical, and positive person, and ultimately as a Buddha. Child does not necessarily refer to the disciple’s age. It means a minor with respect to the spiritual path.

In addition to its etymological meaning, the term getrug has another connotation. The term may also signify someone who has lived in a teacher’s home since childhood and is included in the finances of the household. Often, getrug are younger relatives. The two meanings of getrug do not necessarily overlap. Spiritual disciples may not be included in the finances of their mentors’ households and those included may hardly receive any formal spiritual training, for example the cook.

THE STARTING POINT FOR BECOMING A DISCIPLE

To understand correctly what being a disciple means in the Buddhist context requires knowing at which stage on the spiritual path one may appropriately become a disciple. Although the classical texts agree on the necessity for spiritual teachers at every stage along the path, spiritual seekers begin the journey long before becoming disciples of qualified mentors. Much confusion has arisen about this point because Kadam masters, such as Sangwayjin, explained the disciple-mentor relationship as the “root of the path” and presented the topic at the start of their graded-path (lamrim, lam-rim) texts. Subsequently, Tsongkapa and all later Gelug masters followed suit. The placement of this topic in the outline of their texts, however, does not mean that seekers need to enter a disciple-mentor relationship as the first step on their spiritual paths. Let us examine what these masters meant.

In The Essence of Excellent Explanation of Interpretable and Definitive Phenomena, Tsongkapa explained that the classification system of three Dharma cycles (three turnings of the wheel of Dharma) does not indicate a temporal sequence of teachings. It indicates, instead, a division scheme made according to subject matter. The first cycle’s topic, the “four noble truths,” serves as the basis for the teachings classified in the second two cycles. Similarly, Sangwayjin’s placement of the disciple-mentor relationship as the first major topic in An Extensive Presentation of the Graded Stages of the Path does not indicate its temporal position on the path. It merely indicates its essential role as the stable foundation for developing the graded stages of spiritual motivation in their fullest forms.

In The Gateway for Entering the Dharma, Sönam-tsemo, the second of the five Sakya founders, explained that before building a relationship with a spiritual mentor, seekers need to recognise and acknowledge suffering in their lives and to develop the wish to overcome it. In other words, they need a rudimentary level of “renunciation.” In addition, they need knowledge of Buddha’s teachings about what to practice and what to avoid in order to reduce and eliminate the suffering they wish to overcome. Only then are seekers ready to establish a serious relationship with a spiritual mentor, to help them achieve their goals.

Spiritual mentors, however, are teachers who help disciples to reach enlightenment. Therefore, before establishing a disciple-mentor relationship, seekers also need initial interest in becoming Buddhas for everyone’s sake. This is clear from the writings of the Indian master Atisha, the formulator of the graded path and fountainhead of the Kadam tradition. In An [Auto-]Commentary on the Difficult Points of “A Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment,” Atisha first mentioned the disciple mentor relationship in the context of developing bodhichitta. Moreover, developing a Mahayana motivation of bodhichitta presumes at least a beginning level of safe direction (refuge) in the Buddhas, the Dharma, and the highly realised Sangha community.

The Fifth Dalai Lama made these points explicit in his graded-path text Personal Instructions from Manjushri. There, he argued for the necessity and propriety of taking safe direction and developing bodhichitta before establishing a disciple-mentor relationship. Following this argument, the Second Panchen Lama, in A Speedy Path, changed the order of Tsongkapa’s Grand Presentation of the Graded Stages of the Path. To reflect the actual order of spiritual development, he placed the preliminary practices before the discussion of the disciple-mentor relationship. The preliminaries include taking safe direction and enhancing one’s bodhichitta motivation. Thus, the Kadam/Gelug understanding of the graded path is consistent with the frequent Kagyü and Nyingma explanations that establishing safe direction, bodhichitta, and then a healthy disciple-mentor relationship is the sequence of essential preliminaries for Buddhist spiritual advancement.

Tsongkapa further explained that each stage of self- development along the graded path is a stepping-stone on the way to enlightenment. Thus, although seekers need already to have recognition of suffering, renunciation of it, knowledge of what to practice and avoid, safe direction, and bodhichitta before becoming disciples, they need merely to have the five as a spiritual orientation. The initial level of intensity of the five that seekers possess acts as a stepping-stone for proceeding further, now as disciples of spiritual mentors, and is hardly the end of the development of them along the way. Thus, although having safe direction and bodhichitta implies striving toward liberation and then enlightenment, having the two as merely a spiritual orientation does not imply comprehending and accepting on a visceral level the full implication of attaining these goals.

THE NECESSITY OF CORRECT UNDERSTANDING AND CONVICTION IN REBIRTH FOR A DISCIPLE TO AIM SINCERELY FOR LIBERATION AND ENLIGHTENMENT

To strive toward liberation and then enlightenment, with a full comprehension and visceral acceptance of what these goals imply, comes only after comprehending and viscerally accepting the Buddhist explanation of rebirth. In Buddhism, rebirth does not imply the existence of a permanent soul that goes to an eternal afterlife or that passes from one incarnation to the next, facing progressive lessons that are given to it to learn. The Buddhist understanding implies, instead, an infinite continuity of individual experience, without an unchanging, singular entity, independent from body and mind, which is really “me” and which continues from one life to the next. The continuity proceeds from one lifetime to the next either uncontrollably driven by disturbing emotions and attitudes and by compelling impulses (Skt. karma) or consciously directed through the force of compassion. The Buddhist explanation is sophisticated and extremely difficult to understand.

Liberation means freedom from the suffering of uncontrollably recurring rebirth (Skt. samsara) and its causes, while enlightenment brings the ability to help others gain similar freedom. How can disciples sincerely strive for liberation from uncontrollable rebirth without correctly understanding what rebirth means according to Buddhism and without conviction that they have been experiencing it uncontrollably, without a beginning, and will continue to do so, unless they do something about it? How can they strive for enlightenment without certainty that everyone else also experiences the suffering of samsara?

THE NECESSITY OF CORRECT UNDERSTANDING AND CONVICTION IN REBIRTH FOR A DISCIPLE TO REACH EVEN THE FIRST STAGE OF SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT

Correct understanding and conviction in the Buddhist explanation of rebirth is necessary for reaching even the first stage of spiritual development once one has entered a disciple-mentor relationship. For example, in A Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment, Atisha identified three distinct stages of self-development that disciples reach while progressing along the graded path to enlightenment. Disciples attain the initial stage when they aim for favourable rebirths because of wishing to avoid the suffering of unfavourable ones. Clearly, they will only aim for favourable rebirths if they are sincerely convinced that future lives exist and that they will experience them after death. They attain the second stage when they aim for liberation from uncontrollable rebirth altogether, whether favourable or unfavourable, and the third when their goal is enlightenment.

The spiritual context of the initial aim of Buddhist disciples differs greatly from that of followers of other traditions who pray to go to heaven after they die and to remain there for eternity. To continue working, beyond this lifetime, toward liberation and enlightenment requires gaining rebirths with circumstances that are conducive for spiritual practice. Thus, gaining favourable rebirths is only a provisional goal for Buddhist disciples.

All subsequent Tibetan formulations of the stages of the path concur with Atisha about the initial level. For example, Sachen, the senior of the five Sakya founders, popularised Manjushri’s revelation to him of Parting from the Four [Stages of] Clinging. In this formulation, the first stage of spiritual life entails parting oneself from clinging to the wish to benefit this lifetime. The four themes of Gampopa, the father of the twelve Dagpo Kagyü lines, echo this view. The first theme, turning one’s mind to the Dharma, also requires switching the major focus of attention from this lifetime to future ones. The consensus is clear.

THE PLACE OF CONVICTION IN REBIRTH IN ENTERING A DISCIPLE-MENTOR RELATIONSHIP

Although a correct Buddhist understanding of rebirth and conviction in its existence are necessary for reaching even the initial level of the graded path to enlightenment, the question remains whether or not conviction in rebirth is a prerequisite for becoming a disciple of a spiritual mentor. I would argue that merely intellectual understanding, openness to the idea, and tentative acceptance are required, but not full conviction, despite the fact that conviction is traditionally assumed. As the place of conviction in rebirth is controversial in Western Buddhism, let us examine the reasoning behind this assertion.

According to the presentation of the graded path, disciples begin training in the initial scope teachings while still obsessed and worried about their material welfare, emotional happiness, and interpersonal relationships in this life. By meditating on the rarity of attaining a human life and on death and impermanence, they overcome that obsession. When their main concern is to gain welfare, happiness, and positive relationships in future lives — but only as provisional goals on the way toward liberation and enlightenment — disciples reach the initial level of spiritual development.

If spiritual seekers had no need to accept rebirth before becoming disciples, but needed to gain conviction in its existence as part of their training to reach the initial level of development, explanations and proofs of past and future lives would appear in the graded-path texts. The logical place for such material is after the discussion of death and impermanence and before the presentation of karma. Its absence there suggests that the intended audience — seekers imbued in the traditional Tibetan worldview — had no need for this material. Only advanced textbooks of logic contain explanations and proofs of rebirth and these are to refute the obscure beliefs of an ancient Indian school of materialists.

Most Tibetans accept rebirth as a reality, although their understanding of it may be vague. When a relative dies, for example, Tibetans regularly request prayers and rituals to help the departed attain a favourable rebirth. Westerners who seek relationships with spiritual teachers, however, typically share few of the cultural assumptions made in the classical Buddhist texts. Despite the Biblical teachings about heaven and hell, most question the existence of an afterlife. Even if Westerners believe in rebirth, they often understand the phenomenon to occur in the manner in which Hindu or New Age texts explain it, which differs significantly from the Buddhist explication. Therefore, they need a correct Buddhist explanation and certainty about its validity before they can reach the initial level of the graded path. If, for most Westerners, conviction in rebirth develops only in stages, where on the spiritual path does consideration of the existence of rebirth as understood in Buddhism logically need to begin?

In the case of renunciation, safe direction, and bodhichitta, seekers need an initial, stepping-stone level of the three as their general spiritual orientation before entering a disciple-mentor relationship. After establishing the relationship, they develop them fully during the course of their training. Correct understanding and conviction in the Buddhist explanation of rebirth are likewise fundamental to a Buddhist spiritual orientation. Therefore, it seems reasonable to assert that potential disciples similarly need an intellectual understanding of rebirth as Buddhism explains it, and either a tentative acceptance of its reality or at least an open mind toward the possibility of its existence, before committing themselves to the Buddhist path. Conviction comes afterwards, before reaching the initial level of spiritual development, through further study and thought about the logical proofs and documented evidence of rebirth.

ENTERING A DISCIPLE-MENTOR RELATIONSHIP WHILE AIMING FOR SPIRITUAL GOALS ONLY IN THIS LIFETIME OR ALSO FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS

Another important question is whether or not Western seekers, to become Buddhist disciples, need concern for fortunate rebirths as their starting motivation, even if their acceptance of the existence of rebirth is still only tentative. I would argue that this does not necessarily need to be so. Sönam-tsemo stated that the prerequisite for becoming a disciple is merely to recognise some level of suffering in one’s life and to have the determination to be free of it. He did not specify the scope of suffering one needs to address.

Moreover, in The Three Principal Aspects of the Path, Tsongkapa differentiated two levels of renunciation, depending on the scope of suffering from which one determines to be free. Following the model of Sachen’s Parting from the Four [Stages of] Clinging, Tsongkapa formulated the two levels in terms of turning first from thoughts of only this lifetime and then from thoughts of only future lives. If disciples advance through progressive stages of renunciation in general, it is reasonable to assert that within a specified stage they also advance through progressive steps.

Most Western seekers recognise the problems that arise from obsession with instant gratification of material and emotional desires. In renouncing that suffering and turning to the Buddhist path, they may be willing to commit themselves first to working for ecologically sustainable material welfare, emotional well-being, and good relationships in the future. The future may include the later part of their lives or, with expanded scope, it may extend to the lifetimes of future generations. However, while having only an intellectual understanding and tentative acceptance of rebirth, Western seekers cannot sincerely work for happiness in future lives as a realistic option in case they do not succeed in reaching their goals before they die.

Similarly, in renouncing the suffering that comes from obsession with instant gratification of desires, Western seekers may be willing to commit themselves to working toward liberation and enlightenment. However, until they gain fi rm conviction in rebirth as understood in Buddhism, they can sincerely aim for liberation and enlightenment only in this lifetime, not in future lives.

I would argue that renouncing the suffering that comes from obsession with instant gratification of desires is sufficient for entering a Buddhist disciple-mentor relationship. I would further assert that provisionally aiming for happiness later in life, or also for future generations, or for liberation and enlightenment only in this lifetime, is sufficient motivation thereafter, until one gains conviction in the Buddhist explanation of future lives. Moreover, I would further assert that, for most Western disciples, aiming for these provisional goals is pragmatically necessary as a preliminary stage for making the classical graded path accessible. Certain stipulations, however, are required.

STIPULATIONS FOR A BEGINNER DISCIPLE TO AIM PROVISIONALLY FOR THE NON TRADITIONAL GOALS

By restraining from destructive behaviour and disturbing emotions and attitudes, disciples may experience sustainable welfare, happiness, and good relationships later in life, but there is no guarantee. Many additional factors may affect what happens, such as being killed in an accident before experiencing the fruits of their efforts. Similarly, there is no certainty that future generations will gain happiness as the result of their constructive steps. Much depends on the behaviour and attitudes of future generations themselves. Thus, while striving to eliminate difficulties later in life or also for future generations, beginner disciples need to understand and acknowledge the impossibility of solving all problems with this limited scope. The best they can hope for is some improvement.

By totally eliminating disturbing emotions and attitudes, disciples may gain liberation in this lifetime, and by additionally eliminating their instincts, they may also reach enlightenment. However, since these goals are extremely difficult to attain, it is quite probable that they will not achieve them in this lifetime. Thus, while striving toward liberation and enlightenment in this life, disciples need to understand and acknowledge that most likely they will only be able to make strides in that direction before they die.

In short, so long as beginner disciples understand and tentatively accept future lives as explained in Buddhism and avoid unrealistic expectations for success, I would argue that they might reasonably strive for spiritual goals only in this lifetime, or also for future generations. In addition, however, they would need to regard these goals as mere stepping-stones until they gain firm conviction in the Buddhist understanding of rebirth. Only with firm conviction may disciples actually progress through the graded levels of motivation outlined in the traditional texts.

One might object that the assertion of these provisional goals violates the logical consistency of the graded path. According to the classical presentation, one of the prerequisite causes of taking safe direction is dread of experiencing the suffering of unfavourable rebirths. If potential disciples need a spiritual orientation of safe direction and yet typical Western seekers hardly dread unfavourable rebirths because they lack conviction in rebirth, how can they have safe direction as their spiritual orientation? I would argue that dread of experiencing emotional problems becoming worse in this lifetime, or also becoming worse for future generations, could serve as a stepping-stone level of incentive prior to having the prescribed motivation. Either of the two could serve as provisional motivations, but with the stipulation that the seeker has a correct understanding of rebirth as explained in Buddhism and a tentative acceptance of its existence.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BECOMING A DISCIPLE OF A SPIRITUAL MENTOR AND BECOMING A CLIENT OF A THERAPIST

Consider someone wishing to gain emotional happiness and good relationships for the rest of his or her life. Becoming a disciple of a spiritual mentor to achieve this goal in many ways resembles becoming a client of a therapist for the same purpose. Both arise from recognising and acknowledging suffering in one’s life and wishing to alleviate it. Both entail working with someone to recognise and understand one’s problems and their causes. Many forms of therapy, in fact, agree with Buddhism that understanding serves as the key for self-transformation.

Further, both Buddhism and therapy embrace schools of thought that emphasise deeply understanding the causes of one’s problems, traditions that stress working on pragmatic methods to overcome these factors, and systems that recommend a balanced combination of the two approaches. In addition, both Buddhism and many forms of therapy advocate establishing a healthy emotional relationship with the mentor or therapist as an important part of the process of self-development. Moreover, although most classical forms of therapy shy away from using ethical guidelines for modifying clients’ behaviour and ways of thinking, a few post classical schools advocate ethical principles similar to those in Buddhism. Such principles include being equally fair to all members of a dysfunctional family and refraining from acting out destructive impulses, such as those of anger.

Despite similarities, at least five significant differences exist between becoming a disciple of a Buddhist mentor and becoming a client of a therapist. The first difference concerns the emotional stage at which one establishes the relationship. Potential clients generally approach a therapist when they are emotionally disturbed. They may even be psychotic and require medication as part of the treatment. Potential disciples, in contrast, do not establish a relationship with a mentor as the first step on their spiritual paths. Prior to this, they have studied Buddha’s teachings and begun to work on themselves. As a result, they have reached a sufficient level of emotional maturity and stability so that the disciple-mentor relationship they establish is constructive in the Buddhist sense of the term. In other words, Buddhist disciples need already to be relatively free of neurotic attitudes and behaviour.

The second difference concerns the interaction one expects in the relationship. Potential clients are mostly interested in having someone listen to them. Therefore, they expect the therapist to devote concentrated attention to them and to their personal problems, even within the context of group therapy. Disciples, on the other hand, normally do not share personal problems with their mentors and do not expect or demand individual attention. Even if they consult the mentor for personal advice, they do not go regularly. The focus in the relationship is on listening to teachings. Buddhist disciples primarily learn methods from their mentors for overcoming general problems that everyone faces. They then assume personal responsibility to apply the methods to their specific situations.

The third difference concerns the results expected from the working relationship. Therapy aims for learning to accept and to live with the problems in one’s life or to minimise them so that they become bearable. If one approaches a Buddhist spiritual mentor with the aim of emotional well-being for this lifetime, one might also expect to minimise one’s problems. Despite life’s being difficult — the first fact of life (noble truth) that Buddha taught — one could make it less difficult.

As stated earlier, making one’s life emotionally less difficult, however, is only a preliminary step for approaching the classical Buddhist path. Disciples of spiritual mentors would at least be orientated toward the greater aims of favourable rebirths, liberation, and enlightenment. Moreover, Buddhist disciples would have an intellectual understanding of rebirth as explained in Buddhism and at least a tentative acceptance of its existence. Therapy clients have no need for thinking about rebirth or about aims beyond improving their immediate situations.

The fourth major difference is the level of commitment to self-transformation. Clients of therapists pay an hourly fee, but do not commit themselves to a lifelong change of attitude and behaviour. Buddhist disciples, on the other hand, may or may not pay for teachings; nevertheless, they formally change their direction in life. In taking safe direction, disciples commit themselves to the course of self-development that the Buddhas have fully traversed and then taught, and that the highly realised spiritual community strives to follow.

Moreover, Buddhist disciples commit themselves to an ethical, constructive course of acting, speaking, and thinking in life. They try, as much as is possible, to avoid destructive patterns and to engage in constructive ones instead. When disciples sincerely wish liberation from the recurring problems of uncontrollable rebirth, they make an even stronger commitment by formally taking lay or monastic vows for individual liberation (Skt. pratimoksha vows). Disciples at this stage of self-development vow for life to restrain at all times from specific modes of conduct that are either naturally destructive or which Buddha recommended that certain people avoid for specific purposes. An example of the latter is monastics abandoning lay dress and wearing robes instead, to reduce attachment. Even disciples who aim to avoid unfavourable rebirths or to minimise emotional difficulties in this lifetime, or also for future generations, might take liberation vows with any of these three provisional objectives before developing the prescribed motivation.

Clients of therapists, on the other hand, agree to follow certain rules of procedure as part of the therapeutic contract, such as keeping to a schedule of fifty-minute appointments. These rules, however, pertain only during treatment. They do not apply outside the therapeutic setting, do not entail refraining from naturally destructive behaviour, and are not for life.

The fifth major difference between disciples and therapy clients concerns the attitude toward the teacher or therapist. Disciples look to their spiritual mentors as living examples of what they strive to attain. They regard them in this way based on correct recognition of the mentors’ good qualities and they maintain and strengthen this view throughout their graded path to enlightenment. Clients, in contrast, may conceive of their therapists as models for emotional health, but they do not require correct awareness of the therapists’ good qualities. Becoming like the therapist is not the aim of the relationship. During the course of treatment, therapists lead their clients beyond projections of ideals.

INAPPROPRIATE USAGE OF THE TERM DISCIPLE

Sometimes, people call themselves disciples of spiritual teachers despite the fact that they, the teacher, or both fall short of fulfilling the proper meaning of the terms. Their naivety often leads them to unrealistic expectations, misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and even abuse. Becoming an object of abuse, in this context, means being exploited sexually, emotionally, or financially, or being manipulated by someone in a show of power. In our effort to rectify terms, let us examine three common types of pseudo-disciples found in the West who are especially susceptible to problems with spiritual teachers.

Some people come to Dharma centres looking for fulfilment of their fantasies. They have read or heard something about the “mysterious East” or about superstar gurus, and wish to transcend their seemingly unexciting lives by having an exotic or mystical experience. They meet spiritual teachers and instantly declare themselves to be disciples, especially if the teachers are Asian, and even more so if they are robed. They are prone to similar behaviour with Western teachers who have Asian titles or names, whether or not the persons wear robes.

The quest for the occult often destabilises the relationships such seekers establish with spiritual teachers. Even if they declare themselves disciples of properly qualified mentors, they often leave these teachers when they realise that nothing supernatural is happening, except perhaps in their imaginations. Moreover, the unrealistic attitudes and high expectations of “instant disciples” often cloud their critical faculties. Such persons are particularly open to deception by spiritual charlatans clever in putting on a good act.

Others may come to centres desperate for help to overcome emotional or physical pain. They may have tried various forms of therapy, but to no avail. Now, they seek a miracle cure from a magician/healer. They declare themselves disciples of anyone who might give them a blessing pill, tell them the special prayer or mantra to repeat, or give them the potent practice to do — like making a hundred thousand prostrations — that will automatically fix their problems. They especially turn to the same types of teachers that fascinate people who are in quest of the occult. The “fix-it” mentality of miracle-seekers often leads to disappointment and despair, when following the advice of even qualified mentors does not result in miraculous cures. A “fix-it” mentality also attracts abuse from spiritual quacks.

Still others, especially disenchanted, unemployed youths, come to Dharma centres of cultist sects in the hope of gaining existential empowerment. Charismatic megalomaniacs draw them in by using “spiritual fascist” means. They promise their so-called disciples strength in numbers if they give total allegiance to their sects. They further allure disciples with dramatic descriptions of fierce protectors who will smash their enemies, especially the followers of inferior, impure Buddhist traditions. With grandiose stories of the superhuman powers of the founding fathers of their movements, they try to fulfil the disciples’ dreams of a mighty leader who will lift them to positions of spiritual entitlement. Responding to these promises, such people quickly declare themselves disciples and blindly follow whatever instructions or orders authoritarian teachers give them. The results are usually disastrous.

THE REALISTIC ATTITUDE OF AN AUTHENTIC DISCIPLE

Authentic disciples are relatively mature and sober spiritual seekers whom mentors train in ethical discipline, concentration, and awareness in order to improve the quality of this lifetime, while they are working to gain conviction in rebirth as Buddhism explains it, and then to gain favourable rebirths, liberation, and ultimately enlightenment. They do not expect occult phenomena, miracle cures, or existential empowerment from spiritual mentors. To fulfil the meaning of the term disciple, then, spiritual seekers need realistic attitudes. Such attitudes derive from a proper understanding of the progressive goals their training can bring. Thus, authentic disciples avoid aiming for too little or too much on each stage of the graded path.

On the preliminary level, authentic disciples avoid aiming for ecologically sustainable material welfare, emotional happiness, and good relationships in this lifetime as the final goals of their spiritual paths. Moreover, disciples do not expect that with such an aim they can escape experiencing further problems in this life.

On the initial level, authentic disciples avoid aiming for fortunate rebirths as an excuse for ignoring emotional problems in this life. Further, disciples do not conceive of a fortunate rebirth as an eternal paradise.

On the intermediate level, authentic disciples avoid aiming for liberation merely from emotional problems, without including freedom from the recurring problems of uncontrollable rebirth. Moreover, disciples do not conceive of liberation as a total annihilation of their existence, free from ever appearing again in the world to benefit others. Finally, on the advanced level, authentic disciples avoid aiming for an enlightenment that does not entail liberation from the recurring problems of uncontrollable rebirth. Further, disciples do not conceive of enlightenment as a form of omnipotence, with the power to cure all beings instantly of their problems.

In short, just as not everyone who teaches at a Buddhist centre is an authentic spiritual mentor, similarly not everyone who studies at a centre is an authentic spiritual disciple. The call for a rectification of terms requests precise usage of both the terms mentor and disciple. Full implementation of the policy requires spiritual honesty and lack of pretence.

Alexander Berzin 2.

Uprisings, apparitions, evidence of success are just mind’s labels — they never existed. In the reality of their primordial nonexistence, any rejection or acceptance is the devil itself. Don’t pursue objects; cut through inflation. Realise the nonself of the self-fixated devil. When you know nonself, you’re released from ego-fixation. If you know that, severing and severance object, this or that devil, don’t even nominally exist. The devil of inflated object and the devil of inflation itself — If you know what inflates, inflation can’t touch you. Once you cut off inflation of that devil, mere inflation appears like the water of a mirage. An illusory being can’t maintain self and other — You are free of the impaired eye that sees two moons. Clouds arise in the sky without rejecting the sky. As everything is naturally appearing and naturally free, how could you possibly accept or abandon yourself? If it were possible, whatever you accept or abandon would therefore be cherished, and that itself is the devil. Therefore, do not cherish anything, disciples. Released from cherishing, there is no severance or object to be severed, supreme path of liberation, or any supreme spiritual powers. The devil to be rejected is the same god to be accomplished. Know they are the same, mere designations that never existed, with no single thing to be demonstrated. Once you know your inflation, it is released in its own ground and you cannot speak or think of your own essence. Dualistic fixation of object and subject are cut right through. Disciples, rest freely without contrivance within reality itself, pure as the sky, in emptiness, nonself, and utter simplicity.

— Machig Labdrön

同样一个东西,每个人产生的想法不同
净界法师

这个妄想是怎么来的呢?我们一念明了的心跟外境接触的时候,就会产生一个想法、一个感受,有——快乐、痛苦的感受;由这快乐、痛苦的感受当中,又产生一个想法出来,而这个想法是从你生生世世、你生命的经验累积而成的。

你看:喜欢吃榴梿的人,他跟榴梿一接触的时候,他闻到它的味道,他产生美好的想法:这榴梿是非常甜美的东西;你过去生对榴梿有痛苦经验的人,你看到这个榴梿说:唉!这个味道真的很臭秽。同样一个东西,你会产生不同的想法,而这个想法会产生不同的欲望,这个就是造业的根本。

销我亿劫颠倒想─以佛法的角度来说,我们一个凡夫的想法,绝大部分都是错的。所以刚开始我们不能相信自己的想法,因为它都是跟我爱执相应;而这个妄想就是─我们在过去的生命经验当中,造了很多很多的业,留下很多的生命经验,就变成我们今生的一个想法,佛法说这叫颠倒想,这是一个生死的根本。

那么我们的目标,就必须把这无始劫的颠倒想,要转成一个清净的真如。整部《楞严经》就是做这件事情─把心带回家,或者说是恢复我们的本来面目。

从《楞严经》的角度来说:妄想跟真如它们二个是同时存在的;生灭心跟不生灭心,这两个随时随地都是同时存在,但不幸的是,我们永远跟着妄想走,我们总是觉得跟着妄想走是对的,是给我们带来快乐的;所以我们无始劫来,忽略我们真实主人的存在,就是忽略了真如的存在,因为我们没办法回光返照。那怎么办呢?

《楞严经》告诉我们:修学“首楞严王三昧”就是─正念真如。

Ven Jing Jie (净界法师) 10.

The emptiness which is nothingness, and the emptiness of mind, are two different things.

The emptiness which is nothingness does not exist at all.

The emptiness of mind does not have any form or colour or shape, so in a certain way it is non-existent, but at the same time it is everything. It gives rise to the whole of samsara and nirvana.

— His Holiness Penor Rinpoche

Alone Together
by Toni Bernhard

In 2001, I contracted what appeared to be an acute viral infection. I have yet to recover. Imagine the aches and pains that accompany the flu — that’s how I feel every day, just without the fever. It has forced me to trade an active work and social life for the relative isolation of being mostly housebound. Because I’d always enjoyed being alone, I was caught off-guard when loneliness accompanied me into this new life. I longed for the companionship of others and to be able to share adventures with friends and family. I also felt a strong aversion to this new feeling of loneliness, and this added to my suffering. All in all, it was a dark period for me physically and emotionally.

During that time, I was reading Ann Packer’s novel, The Dive from Clausen’s Pier, and came across this passage: “Lonely is a funny thing. It’s almost like another person. After a while, it will keep you company if you let it.” Immediately, the Buddhist practice of metta came to my mind. Metta is often translated as loving-kindness, but I prefer the more modern translation — friendliness. (This is also a more accurate rendering because metta is derived from the word mitta, which means “friend.”) Packer’s words suggested to me that it was possible to change my reaction to loneliness from aversion to friendliness.

Metta is one of four brahmaviharas, along with compassion, empathic joy, and equanimity. The brahmaviharas are referenced in several early Buddhist texts, including the well-known Kalama Sutta, and are called many names: the four immeasurables, the four sublime states, and the divine abodes. Traditionally, they’re understood as the highest spiritual abiding. I think of them as “the four awakened states” and consider them to be the heart of the Buddha’s teachings — four practices I can turn to for help whenever I’m troubled. With Packer’s words as an initial guide, I discovered that cultivating one or more of the brahmaviharas was a healing antidote for loneliness.

THE FRIENDLINESS OF METTA

If I were going to let loneliness “keep me company,” as Ann Packer suggested, instead of continually trying to force it out of my mind, which never worked anyway, I had to start greeting it with openhearted warmth. Doing this uncovered a profound sadness beneath the aversion. Allowing myself to feel sad attenuated my negative reaction to loneliness. After a week or so, instead of seeing it as an enemy, I began to see it as an old friend who’d shown up uninvited. Just as you wouldn’t turn away an old friend, I stopped turning away in aversion from the feeling of loneliness. I came to view it as one of the myriad emotions that come and go in the mind. I didn’t have to love feeling lonely, but hating it was only tightening its grip on me. Over the years, I’ve learned that treating any painful emotion with friendliness takes away its sting and lessens its intensity.

THE SOOTHING BALM OF COMPASSION

Treating loneliness with friendliness revealed to me that I’d been blaming myself for feeling lonely, as if it were proof of mental weakness on my part. “You shouldn’t need the company of others in order to be happy,” I’d lecture myself in a harsh tone. “Stop this stupid ruminating and do something constructive.”

The antidote for this kind of self-talk is compassion, the second brahmavihara. A compassionate heart responds with care and kindness in the presence of suffering. Self-blame is the antithesis of self-compassion. While cultivating metta toward feelings of loneliness, I also began to change my self-talk from words of blame to words of compassion: “Sweet Toni — it’s not your fault that you’ve become mostly housebound. Of course you’re sad about many of the changes it’s led to, including isolation from others. Be as kind to yourself as you’d be to a loved one who came to you for help with his or her loneliness.” Speaking words of compassionate understanding to myself in this way alleviated the self-blame.

A particularly powerful compassion practice in the face of loneliness is tonglen, from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Tonglen is a two-for-one practice because you simultaneously cultivate compassion for yourself and for others. Here’s how it works. On the in-breath, breathe in the suffering of others. On the out-breath, breathe out whatever kindness, compassion, and peace you’re able to offer.

I practice tonglen whenever my old friend loneliness pays a visit. These visits tend to coincide with events I’m unable to participate in. One year, my family gathered at our house for a long holiday weekend. I spent most of the time in my bedroom, listening to the sounds of laughter coming from the front of the house. The louder the laughter, the more intense my loneliness became. Then I remembered tonglen practice. I breathed in the sadness of everyone in the world who was too sick or in too much pain to be with family on a special occasion. Then I mustered whatever kindness, compassion, and peace I had within me and, on the out-breath, sent it to all those people. As I did this, I was also sending those soothing states of mind to myself because I was one of those people.

One reason that tonglen is such a powerful practice is that it connects you with people everywhere in the world. Like many others, I have a tendency to focus solely on my own troubles. On this particular family visit, I’d been acting as if I were the only person in the world who was lonely. Opening my heart to others who were suffering in the same way took me out of this self-focused thinking.

THE JOY OF MUDITA

Mudita is the third brahmavihara. No one English word captures its meaning. Empathetic joy comes close because empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. When you cultivate mudita, you work on feeling joy for others who are happy.

I noted earlier that loneliness is a complex emotion, often accompanied by self-blame. It’s also often accompanied by resentment. A few years ago, my entire family travelled from different parts of California to Disneyland so they could spend the day together. There are eight in our immediate family, but only seven were able to go on this special trip.

Having learned to cultivate friendliness and compassion whenever loneliness paid a visit, I thought I’d made peace with it. While my family gathered at Disneyland, I planned to spend a quiet day at home, enjoying the solitude. So I was surprised when I began to not just feel lonely but “angry lonely.” It didn’t take long for me to realise that this anger stemmed from resentment. “It’s not fair that they get to go and I don’t,” I kept repeating.

To ease my suffering, I decided to focus on tonglen practice. I breathed in the suffering of everyone who had to stay home while family and friends were off on a fun outing. It helped, but the “angry loneliness” lingered, so I turned to empathetic joy. I thought about the good time they were having by picturing them enjoying each other’s company and going on my favourite rides. It took time, but eventually my loneliness and anger subsided and I felt genuinely happy for them. Then something magical happened. I began to feel as if they were at Disneyland for me. Suddenly, I wasn’t just feeling happy for them; I was happy myself, and the loneliness and resentment vanished.

THE PEACE OF EQUANIMITY

Equanimity is the fourth brahmavihara. It refers to a mind that is calm and at peace in any circumstance, including in the presence of painful emotions. After practising friendliness, compassion, and emphatic joy, cultivating equanimity became the icing on the cake for me in the face of loneliness. I’d begin by calling to mind the first noble truth, in which the Buddha set out a list of painful experiences everyone can expect to encounter at some point in life. At least two items on that list pertain to loneliness: getting what we don’t want (the feeling of loneliness) and losing what we cherish (the company of others). To make peace with these unpleasant and painful experiences, I turned to equanimity.

I began by reminding myself that life is always a mixture of pleasant and unpleasant experiences. The Buddha’s list of painful experiences told me it’s okay to feel lonely at times because unpleasant experiences come with the human condition. This means that loneliness is not due to some flaw in my personality; the conditions of my life are ripe for it to appear, so it does. When I accepted without aversion that I couldn’t always get what I wanted or feel the way I wanted, my heart opened and made room for loneliness. Then I’d calmly and patiently wait out this unpleasant emotion until it passed.

I never know when loneliness will pay a visit. I do know, however, that the best medicine for it is to cultivate whichever brahmavihara(s) fits the circumstances that triggered the loneliness. The good news is that each time you commit to cultivating a brahmavihara, it comes more naturally. As the Buddha said, whatever you “frequently think and ponder upon becomes the inclination of your mind.” So, for example, each time you respond to loneliness with compassion, you’re inclining the mind to respond that way the next time you feel lonely. With dedicated practice, friendliness, compassion, empathetic joy, and equanimity can become your natural responses to this painful emotion. This has been true in my life, and I’m confident it can be true in yours.

When entering the Buddhist path, it is not sufficient to be a person who only adopts the outer appearance of a person on the path. Cut all entanglements to desirable things and to this life’s affairs. When you enter the gate to Buddhist practice without having cut these ties, you will lack determination but not attachment to homeland, wealth, possessions, lovers, spouses, friends, relatives, and so forth. Your attitude of attachment becomes an underlying cause; the objects of your attachment, catalysts. When these meet, negative forces will create obstacles. You will once again become an ordinary worldly person and will turn away from creating positive karma.

— His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche

末世持戒多障碍
文|释德亮

在末法时期,持戒的障碍太多了。众生的根机低劣,内在的烦恼炽盛,业力的遮障深重。再加上外面环境影响,善知识稀少,恶友常多。你想行善法,有恶友嘲笑你,你想做恶事,有恶友鼓励你,想要精进办道的话,人家嫉妒你。而且恶行充斥,染缘遍满,时时熏习,日日染污,这些都是破戒的次第方便和持戒的障碍。

三大杀手开启魔界的大门

1.三大杀手。电脑、电视、手机等现代媒介,为我们开启了魔界的大门,充斥着大量暴力色情等染污的内容。

古人住在山里,没有这些境缘,想犯戒,没缘分。即使起了爱欲烦恼,周围也没有发露烦恼、满足欲望的地方。

在现代社会,我们的生活方式已截然不同。虽然也在道场里住,但上网很方便,要么有电脑可以自由上网,要么用手机上网。晚上拿个手机躺在被窝里,什么都可以看,没人监督,自己的道心往往又战胜不了欲望,花花世界极其精彩,太诱惑了,魔界的大门一 触即开,太容易了,里面充斥着种种的情色图片、文字和视频,对于我们欲界凡夫而言,是极具染污性,一沾就染,一染就污,这就太可怕了,就是修道几十年的老修行如果面对这种境界都不能自控,何况一般道人呢。修道的本质就是断除内心的贪瞋烦恼,不在于表面的形态如何,如果白天表现很精进,而晚上又肆意发露滋长自己的爱欲,那就彻底完了,功德没有成就,罪业一大堆。以这种心性状态来持守身口戒律,那是很危险啊。不遇外缘都烈火熊熊,一遇干柴,那是一沾就着,轻重诸戒随时可能毀破。

2.主动亲近。更有不思远离,以学法为由而亲近者,以浏览新闻为由而亲近者,以放松一下为由而亲近者。当然,还有一些人通过理性思维觉得可以上网,我可以通过上网来学法,或者说,我放松的时候,只看看新闻而已。理由貌似很好,但实际就不是这么回事了。就好像媒体在大力宣传,色情暴力是危害社会、危害人类的,但宣传的内容情节太具体了,反而让人看了蠢蠢欲动,而且学会了很多恶法。上网为了学法也是这样,本来还很清净,结果一接触网络,法益尚未沾身,爱欲烦恼却增长了很多。学法的方式有很多渠道,还有经书光碟,都是没有副作用的媒介,为什么不选择呢?要么是有偷心,要么就是图方便,学法不愿多花一点力气,也是轻法慢法的心。还有看新闻,起初浏览新闻,慢慢地就被一些染污的东西给吸引去了,而且新闻本身也都离不开这些染污的信息。

3.网络包围。从专业网吧,到家庭宽带,再到WIFI网络、4G联网,乃至到以后用全球免费的卫星WIFI,烦恼的魔军将我们重重包围,随时随地都可以开启魔界的大门,轻而易举地进入其中,满足你种种的欲 望。我们的大陆被欲海淹没,现在只剩下一个小岛栖身,很快就完全陷溺到欲海当中,真是无处躲藏啊。我们的贪瞋烦恼即使没有染缘诱惑,都很难制伏,何况浸泡在染缘之中呢。螳臂当车,杯水车薪,戒律将何以持守,这颗躁动不安的心,将何以平息。

这个时代,你想不用手机,不用电脑,好像都很难实现,被种种的不得已所牵,根本离不开它,这就是魔力啊,不是大力量之人绝对难逃它的手掌心。

4.手机网聊。彼此沟通,男女更易亲熟,以正事为由常常联络,情感渐次滋长,一发不可自制。电话牵动,其心扰扰,难得宁定。

现在手机让彼此的联络太方便了。居士请法,用电话或微信,开始谈佛法,后来谈生活,再后来就慢慢谈情感,感情慢慢变浓了,就一发不可收拾了。本来是非莲台不上 的,结果连宝马都不用出动,一辆QQ车把你接走了。所以,男女感情问题是修行人最大的杀手。

即使没有男女感情问题,我们想清清静静地坐一会儿,看一会儿书都很难,电话短信频频骚扰,让人不得安宁。在这种情况下,还能将身心融入到法义里面去吗,比较难。

当然,你也可以体验体验,今天从早开始关机,一天都不开机,体验体验这种感觉,是不是很舒服。好像是断了线的风筝一 样,这么自由自在。如果能够不用手机,那是善莫大焉,不用电脑,更是最好不过。即使不能,我们也要尽量地小心注意了。应当常常警觉、回避,不要陷溺在污泥中而不自知。

屏息诸缘,一意精修  

古德有个偈子说:

僧仆城隍佛祖诃,先贤多是隐岩阿。
山泉流出人间去,清水自然成浊波。

僧人在一些热闹的市区建寺院、打理寺院,就像做城隍的仆人一样,打理他的居处。这样的情况,是为佛陀和祖师所呵斥的。以前那些修行的贤达之士,大多数是在深山里面隐居修行的。就好比山里的泉水,在山里时是很清澈的,流到人间以后,清水自然变成了很污浊的水波。

对我们来说,这是一个警示。远离尘嚣,这是一种很好的修行方式。能够入尘廛垂手,深入人间还能够不被染污,那就不是一般人了。小隐隐于林,大隐隐于市。问题是我们做不到大隐,那就先须小隐。在城市里,喧杂的人群当中,不为所动,不被染污,如鹅鸭入水,你能做到吗,做不到的话,就别唱高调了。

人有个说法:凡修道者,必游方之外。修道人一定是远离尘嚣,游方之外。世间的缘分先断除,一意精修。如果对世间百态有闻有见,那你心里自然就会起念头,分别是非。有是非心,就有爱憎心。有爱憎心,喜怒哀乐之情就会迭起。这样每天都七情扰动,定心难就,道业难成啊。如果远离这些境界,没有这些外缘扰动,散心容易凝定,道业就容易成就,等道成以后,再往来人间的时候,看世间的一切机心械肠,种种的谋划算计,就像看戏一样。等成道之后,再来人间,那就是游戏变化了,一切染缘都不能染污,一切顺逆都无所挂碍了。

所以,知道修道的障缘就要努力地去回避,知道修道的方法就要努力地去争取,一切只为了当生成办道业,解脱生死。大家共勉。

If we only practice compassion on the mind level, we run a great risk of our compassion being just talk. As we know, talk is cheap. To develop true compassion we have to put our money where our mouth is.

— Gelek Rimpoche