开发智慧烦恼断
明一法师

生活中有各种各样的烦恼障碍着我们的生活、学习与工作。烦恼产生的原因多种多样,根本的原因就是没有智慧。所以,我们常常说,有智慧就没有烦恼。佛教所教导我们的就是如何断除烦恼,如何转化烦恼乃至开发我们的智慧。因为智慧这个如意宝珠是我们每一个人都本自具足的。

佛教中把烦恼归纳为“八风”,所谓“称、讥、毁、誉、利、衰、苦、乐”,这八风基本上把所有的烦恼都包括在内了。大家可能会难以理解,要说“讥、毁、衰、苦”这四个是烦恼好理解,怎么把“称、誉、利、乐”也说成是烦恼了呢?这个问题我们慢慢地来解释。

佛教有个说法叫“冤亲债主”,大家很容易明白,冤家是债主,而很难明白亲家也是债主,这都是二元对立的问题。我们遇到冤家都知道“冤家路窄”要避开,而不知道“亲家路窄”也要避开,故常被爱缠,缠得死死的。

大家都知道如何去面对冤家,知道要无悔、无怨地面对冤家,而不知道如何去面对亲家,这个时候就忘记了也要用无悔、无怨去面对自己的亲家,结果纷纷在亲家面前缴械投降,在爱缠的旋涡里沉溺而亡。即使是学佛的人,也常常避免不了。亲家也路窄这回事,在大家的心目中往往是没有地位的。

八风也是一样,都是一对一对的。一般人都只知道“讥、毁、衰、苦”是烦恼,而不知道“称、誉、利、乐”也是烦恼。知道被“讥”是烦恼,知道被“毁”是烦恼,知道有“衰”是烦恼,知道有“苦”是烦恼,而把“利”看成是好的,把“乐”看成是好的,把“称”看成是好的,把“誉”看成是好的。

“讥、毁、衰、苦”大家一看就想避开,想着如何去断除或者转化,知道要用无悔、无怨的态度去面对它们,或者说承担这些由自己以前的过失而产生的后果。而看到“称、誉、利、乐”就不同了,不但不知这也和“讥、毁、衰、苦”一样,要去处理、转化,反而想牢牢地抓住,牢牢地当作宝贝抱住。我们正是因为无止限地追求这些宝贝,所以引发无尽的烦恼。而且不但自己把这个宝贝拿来享受,还分给大家,结果一起陷进烦恼的深渊。

我们看看八风中的“称、誉、利、乐”是如何引发烦恼的:“称、誉、利、乐”可以说大家都喜欢,每个人都想得到。所以,你要那个好的,别人也同样盯着那个地方,结果就发生矛盾了,觉得分配不公,觉得表扬不公,觉得赞誉不公,我吃亏了。处处都把我放在前面,什么事情都把我放在第一位,根本就不考虑他人,这就是烦恼产生的根本所在。

我们学佛的人,经年禅修之后,应该说心地比较清静。但是在八风面前,很多人照样透不过这一关。为什么呢?因为他觉得跟我的利益有关,跟我的面子有关,或者说跟我的寺院有关,跟我的师父有关,跟我的信仰有关,跟我的……有关。

“我”,因为有“我”在,烦恼的根本就在这个地方,他不会把“我”当成处理品。把“我”当成处理品,就是把“我”破掉了,如果把“我”处理掉了,就能证圣果了。或者说跟“法”有关,认为有一个真理非坚持不可,事物的发展一定要按照某种模式,离开了这种模式就无法接受。

烦恼不断,或者因为“我”,或者可以不要“我”,但是要坚持某种规律或者自认为的真理。我们就是放不下这些,我们每一个人不管是佛弟子还是俗人,我们不只执著于“我”,还执著于“法”。结果,给自己套上了一层坚固的枷锁,牢牢地被自己喜欢的这个宝贝锁定在烦恼中。

我们不可能生活在一个孤岛上,而是生活在人群当中、人际关系当中,每时每刻都有一个自他关系存在,一切的问题都在自他的关系当中表现出来,而表现得最突出的,就是彼此都是我第一,首先考虑的是我。有的人可能能够舍去“我执”,但是“法执”一样坚固不舍,一定要坚持自己认为的真理或形式。

所以,处理烦恼的第一方法就是要求自己。要怎样要求自己呢?你不要老用眼睛盯着别人,早上一上殿就用眼睛盯着别人,看今天来了多少人;出坡的时候用眼睛盯着别人,看看都有谁在卖力做事情;过堂的时候也用眼睛盯着别人,看今天怎么只有这几个人吃饭;坐香的时候,还是用眼睛盯着别人,看看谁来了、谁没来、谁坐得稳……

乃至看看得到“称、誉、利、乐”的人,觉得他们处处还不如自己,这些“称、誉、利、乐”应该归自己得到。所以,在《六祖坛经》的《无相颂》中说:“世人若修道,一切尽不妨,常自见己过,与道即相当……若真修道人,不见世间过,若见他人非,自非却是左。他非我不非,我非自有过,但自却非心,打除烦恼破。”

心生则种种法生,有了佛法,就会知道处理烦恼的方式。那就是当我们遇到烦恼的时候,用“断烦恼”或者“转烦恼”这两个方法。现实生活中,我们对待事情都说处理,为了使大家更容易理解,这里就借用“处理”这个词。

“处理”这个词有一语双关的作用,一个是说你要怎么样解决烦恼,第二个意思是你把烦恼当成什么东西。如果我们把烦恼当成一个处理品,我们大家一定不会自找烦恼。但是,我们大家往往就没有把烦恼当成处理品,而是当成宝贝,总是牢牢抱着不放,觉得烦恼很好,所以烦恼很多。

在现实生活中,我们大多是这样,把烦恼当成宝贝,一点一点地享受这个宝贝,而且还要分给别人。结果不但自己烦恼个没完,还连累着大家一起烦恼个没完。反过来,如果我们把烦恼当成处理品,不要去享受这个烦恼,而把它处理掉,那么烦恼就会被断除或者说被转化掉了。

如何才能把烦恼断除或者转化掉呢?这就要用百丈禅师说的“烦恼以忍辱为菩提”的办法。如果你明白了这个,就会知道烦恼不过是个处理品,跟自己一点关系都没有,自然会认识到不应该保留这个处理品,而应该把自己本有的智慧发掘出来,用忍辱的方式把烦恼转化掉。

把烦恼当成宝贝的人比比皆是,他们舍不得扔掉这些烦恼。大家不要觉得好笑,这是实实在在的事情。包括我自己在内,也并没有完全觉得烦恼就是处理品,也往往自觉不自觉地把烦恼当成了宝贝,舍不得扔掉。这就是“我执”和“法执”在作怪,或者说“觉的能力”被迷惑了。

如果我们能够真正把烦恼当成处理品,我们每个人都能这样做,那么烦恼障、所知障老早就断掉了,老早被抛到九霄云外去了,哪里去找“我执”与“法执”的影子?关键就是我们死死地抱着烦恼不放,没有把烦恼当成处理品,而是把烦恼当成了宝贝。

大家如果从这个角度去理解烦恼、看待烦恼,那么我们要断烦恼、转烦恼成菩提就会容易一点。所以说,我们往往是自己跟自己生烦恼,自己跟自己过不去。不管是学佛的人还是没有学佛的人,大多如此,甚至学佛的人还多了一个学佛的烦恼。

有的人平常烦恼很少,为什么会这样呢?因为他们的贪、嗔、痴相对少些,或者说他们在小的贪、嗔、痴面前不会心动。那么,如何去防止因贪、嗔、痴而产生的烦恼呢?我们通过种种修行,把不受贪、嗔、痴影响的能力或者叫免疫力提高,渐渐地,我们就不被一般的贪、嗔、痴左右;继续下去,我们就能对稍微大点的贪、嗔、痴有了免疫力……

当然,还有很多的贪、嗔、痴,是在我们不知不觉中发生的,连自己也没有发觉。比如,我们往往喜欢观察别人的举动,用别人的举动来作衡量比较。

我们要学会时时刻刻反省自己,而不要把眼睛老盯着别人。在利益面前、名誉面前,在一切好事坏事、吃苦享乐等等面前,总要先检点自己,吃亏上当的事我自己去做,有好事让给别人,这就是在提高自己的素质。怎样对待“我执”,是一个素质问题。现在整个国家都在提倡素质教育,要提高全民族的素质,我们学佛的人更要不断地优化素质。优化素质实际上就是提高觉悟、增长智慧,就是在八风面前慢慢地做到如如不动。在八风面前如如不动了,我们的素质就算真正达到了优化的标准。

时时刻刻知道功德天与黑暗女的关系。知道带来好处的功德天与带来坏事的黑暗女是孪生兄妹,功德天出现的时候,黑暗女必然跟着就来了。不要想着只有功德天没有黑暗女的事情,不可能天下的好事全让自己一个人独享,更不可能天下的坏事都与自己无关。

这样一来,我们就能慢慢地淡化“我执”,慢慢地在处理“我”。这样做在开始时是很勉强,久而久之,就会变成一种自觉的行为,我们的素质就这样慢慢被优化提升了。这就是创建和谐社会与减少自心烦恼的妙药。

我们的烦恼很多,原因很简单,就是因为我们没有觉悟。我们常常被自己狭隘的思维骗了,迷惑得很深很深。所以往往做出错误的判断,增加更多的烦恼,走进了死胡同,掉进烦恼的深渊而难以自拔。这一切都是因为我们没有觉悟。

我们的眼睛只能看到电磁波的百分之三,这像是深井里面的青蛙了;而我们的耳朵呢,能听见振动波中的百分之十;我们的身体……可见我们对外界的了解是如何地贫乏。在这样贫乏了解的前提下,我们想正确判断事物的关系是不可能的,按这样的数据来看,我们就是瞎子。

所以,一旦发现问题的时候,首先应想到是自己的智慧缺乏,想到是自己对事物缺少洞察力。应自念言“我们只见贼吃肉,不见贼挨打”,“我们笑的时候都是在大庭广众面前,而哭的时候往往是在角落”……我们知道了自己的弱点以后,就可以少受点因为没有觉悟而带来的烦恼。

《六祖坛经》更绝,直接就不让我们去看这些,而说:“世人若修道,一切尽不妨,常自见己过,与道即相当……若真修道人,不见他人过。”这样就直接杜绝了我们因为缺少觉悟而带来的烦恼,让我们与烦恼尽量少地接触,使自己修行的道路顺畅一些。

所以,当我们有了觉悟之后,我们就不会再去埋怨自己命运不好,并且不再关心命运好与不好;就会明白为什么要过去无悔、现在无怨、将来无忧,并且如理如法地在日用中去做;就会明白行无为法的好处,并且用努力耕耘不问收获的心态去做;就会明白要对自己看不惯、看不顺眼的事情进行包容……

这样良性循环下去,我们就会减少在不知不觉中做坏事的机率。尽管我们现在还没有大彻大悟,心量眼界还没有完全放开,但是我们能够想象到大彻大悟与心量眼界完全放开的好处。按照智慧的人生去生活,走上快乐学佛的人生道路,把烦恼抛在脑后。

这样才能慢慢地知道为什么做人要有“信仰、因果、良心、道德”,为什么做事要“感恩、包容、分享、结缘”。才能知道要如何去落实净慧老和尚提出的这个做人做事的“二八”方针,以及做到这“二八”方针后,做人做事是如何的轻松自在与顺利,慢慢地向道靠拢,从而走上自利利他的菩萨之道。

Ven Ming Yi (明一法师) 3.

Without the slightest trace of anything to cultivate or focus upon in meditation, don’t allow yourself to drift even for a single instant into ordinary confusion. Instead, remain aware and undistracted during all activities, and train to recognise all sights and sounds and sensory experience as the play of illusion. In so doing, you will gain experience for the bardo state.

— Longchenpa

Longchen Rabjam (龙钦巴尊者) 32.

Guidelines for the mind training
by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

Here is some further advice on how to apply the Mind Training to ourselves, consolidating and enhancing our compassion and Bodhichitta. Do everything with one intention.

We should try to think altruistically. For example, as regards our food and the way we dress ourselves, when we are given something delicious to eat, we should think: ‘May all beings also have good food to enjoy; would that I were able to share this meal with all who are hungry.’ Likewise, when we receive good clothes, let us think, ‘May everyone have good clothes like these.’

Apply one remedy in all adversity.

In the course of our Mind Training, when we fall sick or are a prey to negative forces; when we are unpopular and suffer from a bad reputation, when we have increasingly strong emotions and lose the desire for Mind Training: at such times we should reflect that in this world there are many who are afflicted in the same way and whose conduct is at variance with the teaching. Even if we were to explain the doctrine and the methods to develop good qualities, nobody would want to listen-our words would fall upon deaf ears. On the other hand, people take to lying and stealing naturally without having to be taught. Their actions conflict with their desires-where else could they be but in samsara and the lower realms? We should therefore feel sorry for them and, taking all their defects upon ourselves, we should pray that their negative actions might cease and that they might start upon the path of Freedom. We should pray that they might become weary of samsara and want to turn from it, that they might generate Bodhichitta and that all the effects of their laziness and indifference to the Dharma might fall upon us. In other words, we should practise the exchange of good for evil.

Two things to be done, at the start and at the finish.

In the morning, on awaking, we should make the following pledge:

‘Throughout the whole of today, I will remember Bodhichitta. Eating, dressing, meditating, wherever I go, I will practise it constantly. Should it slip my mind, I will remind myself. Mindful of it, I will not allow myself to wander into states of anger, desire or ignorance.’ We should make a concerted effort to keep this vow and at night before going to sleep, we should examine ourselves as to how much we have been able to generate Bodhichitta, how much we have been able to help others and whether all our actions have been in accordance with the teachings.

If we find that we have acted against the teachings, we should reflect that though we have entered the Buddhadharma and received the teachings of the Great Vehicle from our Teacher, we are still incapable of putting them into practice. This is because for countless lives we have turned our backs on the doctrine. If we carry on like this, there will be no end to our wandering in samsara and the lower realms. We should chide ourselves in this way, confessing the day’s faults and resolving that, from the next day onwards, within twenty four hours, or a month, or at least within the year, we will have some signs of improvement. We should steel ourselves so as not to be daunted by the work of abandoning defects. If during the day our actions have not been contrary to the teachings and we have maintained an altruistic attitude, then we should be happy, thinking, ‘Today has been a useful day, I have remembered what my teacher has taught me and this is to accomplish his wishes. Tomorrow I will do better than today, and even better the day after.’ This is how to ensure the growth of our Bodhichitta.

Bear whichever of the two occurs.

Through faith in the Three Jewels and the practice of generosity, it could happen that, by way of karmic fruit, we become rich, gain a high position in society and so on. This might lead us to think, ‘I am rich, I am important, I am the best, I have come out on top.’ If we practitioners have this kind of arrogance, our clinging to this life will increase and a demon will enter our hearts. If, on the other hand, we manage to enjoy happiness, possessions and influence without pride, we will understand that they are nothing but illusions, insubstantial dreams, all of which will one day fade away. For as it is said of all compounded things, ‘what is accumulated will be used up; what is raised up will fall; what is born will die; what is joined together will separate.’

‘Who knows,’ we should tell ourselves, ‘perhaps tomorrow I shall have to say goodbye to all of this. Therefore, I will offer to my Teachers and the Three jewels the best of my contentment and possessions. May they accept it with joy and bless me so that I might have no obstacles on the path. All of it is just a pleasant dream, but may all beings experience such happiness as mine, and even more.’

On the other hand, when we are in such poor shape that we cannot even practise, that we have strong emotions and feelings of irritation, fighting and quarrelling with everyone, we should reflect: ‘I know that everything is illusory; I will therefore not allow myself to be carried away by my feelings. I will not be a coward! I will shoulder the weakness, poverty, illness and death of other beings.’ To put it briefly, we should be able to think that, provided that the precious Bodhichitta does not decrease in us, who cares if we have to go to the lower realms, who cares if we lose our possessions? Come what may, like beggars with a precious jewel, we will not forsake Bodhichitta.

Even if it costs you your life, defend the two.

This refers in general to the vows of the Shravakayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana and particularly to the special vows of Mind Training. The vows of the Mind Training are: to give victory and benefit to others and to take all loss and failure, especially that of our enemies, upon ourselves. If we act accordingly, the Mind Training will take effect. On the other hand, if we fail to practise these two vows, we will achieve neither the short term benefit of happiness in this life and rebirth in the realms of human beings or of gods, nor the long term benefit of rebirth in a pure field. We should therefore observe these vows at all costs, just as we guard our eyes from thorns when we are walking through the woods.

Train yourself in three hard disciplines.

These are the difficult practices of mindfulness, of expulsion and of ‘interrupting the flow.’

As for the first of these, the difficult practice of mindfulness, it is necessary to recognise afflictive emotions as soon as they arise and it is hard, at first, to remain sufficiently aware to be able to do this. However, when negative emotions arise, we should identify them as anger, desire or stupidity. Even when emotions have been recognised, it is not easy to drive them out with the antidote. If, for instance, an uncontrollably strong emotion comes over us, so that we feel helplessly in its power, we should nevertheless confront it and question it. Where are its weapons? Where are its muscles? Where is its great army and its political strength? We will see that emotions are just insubstantial thoughts, by nature empty: they come from nowhere, they go nowhere, they remain nowhere. When we are able to repel our defiled emotions, there comes the difficult practice of ‘interrupting the flow.’ This means that, on the basis of the antidote described, defiled emotions are eliminated just like a bird flying through the air: no trace is left behind. These are practices in which we should really strive.

Have recourse to three essential factors.

The three essential factors on which the accomplishment of the Dharma depends are: to meet with a qualified teacher; by receiving his instructions, to cultivate the correct attitude; and, finally, to have the necessary material conditions.

If we do not follow a genuine master, we will never know how to practise the teachings. If the Buddha had not turned the Wheel of Dharma, we would not know what actions we should do and what actions we should refrain from. How can we, who have not had the fortune to meet the Buddha in person, practise the path of liberation if we do not follow a master? How else could we recognise paths which are mistaken and inferior? Moreover, just as we treat stiff leather with oil to make it smooth and supple, so too we should practise the teachings correctly, with a calm and docile attitude, undisturbed by afflictive emotions. Finally, living in the realm of desire, as we do, we find it impossible to practise the Dharma if we lack food to fill our stomachs and clothes to cover us against the wind. If we have these three essential factors complete we should be happy at the thought we have all that is necessary to practise the teachings. It is as though we have been equipped with a good horse for an uphill journey – the way will be without difficulty. And we should pray that all beings might be just as fortunate.

If, however, we do not possess all of these essential factors, we should reflect that though we have entered the Buddhadharma and received plenty of teachings and instructions, we still lack the conditions suitable for practice.

As a matter of fact, there are many disciples who are unable to practise properly because of this shortcoming. They have what is known as ‘good karma going wrong.’ As was explained before, ‘Old yogis getting rich; old teachers getting married.’ We should feel sorry for such people and pray from our hearts that the cause of their not having such favourable conditions might ripen upon us and that, as a result, their situation might be improved.

Meditate on three things that must not deteriorate.

These are devotion, enthusiasm and Bodhichitta.

Devotion to our Teacher is the source of all the qualities of the Mahayana. If the Buddha himself were to appear in front of us and we were lacking in the devotion to see his qualities, his blessings would be unable to enter us. The Buddha’s kinsmen, Devadatta and Lekpe Karma, failed to see him as an enlightened being; they mistook and criticised all his actions and, abandoning themselves to their jealousy, were reborn in the realms of hell. If we have perfect confidence and devotion to see as positive all the activities of our Teacher – even if he is not a superior being-the wisdom of realisation will effortlessly arise in us, as it did in Sadaprarudita, who through devotion to his Teacher realised the nature of emptiness. Thus our devotion is something that we must never allow to deteriorate.

This Mind Training is the quintessence of the Mahayana. It is the butter which comes from the milk of the doctrine. Of all the eighty four thousand teachings expounded by Buddha, if we can but practise the Bodhichitta, that is sufficient. Actually, it is like an indispensable medicine: it is something we simply cannot do without. It is the distilled essence of all the teachings. To hear it is fortunate indeed, and great is the kindness of the teacher who explains it, for its greatness is simply inconceivable. By contrast, if we were to use the instructions on the four tantric activities, for the purpose of lengthening our lives or getting the better of our enemies, bandits and so on, we should be working only for our present lives.

But this precious teaching of Bodhichitta! If only we can experience it just a little in our minds! One instant of negative thought will bring us suffering for innumerable ages. Conversely, one instant of Bodhichitta can obliterate the effects of all the evil acts of infinite kalpas. All accumulations of merit and all acts of purification are gathered in a single thought of Bodhichitta. Any action grounded in this attitude partakes of the ocean-like activity of the Mahayana. Therefore we should practise Bodhichitta with joy and enthusiasm which we must never allow to lessen.

To accustom oneself to Bodhichitta is like keeping a garden neat, without undergrowth, insects, lumps of wood and weeds. Let us practise it, bringing together all the qualities of the greater and lesser vehicles, so that we are like containers gradually filled with grain, or pots with drops of water. Whether we practise Pratimoksha, the Bodhisattva training, or the stages of generation and completion of the Mantrayana, all that we do should act as a support for our vows of Bodhichitta. Even if we practise the Mantrayana, it should uphold and confirm our commitment as Bodhisattvas.

Whatever we do, listening to the teachings, contemplating or meditating upon them, we should take it all as an aid in our training. If we are able to use the Bodhichitta to bring everything onto the path, wholesome states of mind and positive thoughts will develop extraordinarily. By using the antidote, we should reverse all negative emotions that have so far arisen. In that way we should keep the Bodhichitta as our constant friend. Three things maintain inseparably.

Our body, speech and mind should always be engaged in positive activity. When we are performing virtuous actions such as prostrations, circumambulations and the like, our speech and mind should be in harmony with our bodily movements. When accumulating positive actions of speech, recitation for instance, our body and our mind should also be engaged. If we undertake some positive mental act, the body and the speech should also be in attendance. For example, if, while performing prostrations or circumambulations, we chatter, or entertain a lot of negative emotions, this is just like eating polluted food. Therefore, while performing virtuous actions, our body, speech and mind should act inseparably and in unison. Train impartially in every field; Your training must be deep and all-pervading.

We should practise the Mind Training impartially without picking or choosing, and in relation to everything, whether animate or inanimate. We should practise so that whatever thoughts arise, they will serve as a path for the Mind Training, rather than being occasions for hindrances. Let this not be something that we merely talk about, but something deep within our hearts which we actually do.

Always meditate on what is unavoidable.

We should constantly meditate on difficulties that we cannot escape. Towards people, for instance, who do us harm, who want to compete with us, who are at one moment friendly but who suddenly turn against us unprovoked, or towards people who for no apparent reason (due to our karma) we simply do not like, we should try to generate the Bodhichitta even more intensely, especially when it is difficult.

We should serve and reverence our elders, parents and teachers. As Guru Padmasambhava said, ‘Do not be a sorrow to your elders; serve them with respect.’ If we help them and those who are in need of help, we are treading the path of the Bodhisattvas. We should give up whatever is at variance with that attitude.

Do not be dependent on external factors.

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 Bodhichitta, bringing all our experiences onto the path.

This time, do what is important.

Throughout our many lifetimes in the past, we may have taken many different forms. We have been rich. We have been beaten by our enemies and lost everything. We have had all the pleasures of the gods. We have been victims of political oppression. We have been lepers or have suffered from other diseases. All those experiences of happiness and suffering have brought us nothing. But now, in this present life, we have entered the path set forth by the Buddha, we have met many learned and accomplished spiritual teachers: this time we must make such circumstances meaningful and do what is important.

If a merchant, visiting an isle of jewels, were to return empty-handed without his cargo of gems, he would be ashamed to show his face in public. It is the same for us, who at this very moment, have such favourable conditions for the practice. If we can give rise to genuine Bodhichitta, it does not matter if we are poor, unknown and of no account.

The Dharma has two aspects: exposition and practice. Exposition is only the work of the mouth, and many there are who do not practise the teachings explained. As the saying goes: ‘Many have heard the doctrine but those who implement it are few. Even those who have practised a little, are sidetracked and get lost.’ As far as the Dharma is concerned, practice is more important than teaching and talking about it; the Dharma is something that we really have to do. Furthermore, we may recite millions of mantras, and do any number of good works, but if our minds are distracted, nothing beneficial will come of it; the teachings will not have benefited us and Bodhichitta will have had no chance to grow. Let us adopt Bodhichitta, therefore, above all other practices.

As it is said:

One deity, Chenrezig, embodies all Buddhas;
One mantra, the six syllables, embodies all mantras;
One Dharma, Bodhichitta, embodies all practices of
the development and completion stages.
Knowing the one which liberates ll, recite the six syllable mantra.

Bodhichitta is thus the chief of practices; it is better moreover to follow single-mindedly the instructions received from our Teachers than to practise on the basis of our own book-learning and intelligence. To the extent that they are processed and refined, gold and diamonds become pure and proportionately more precious. So too through the assiduous practice of the instructions received from our Teacher, our understanding of them will become increasingly profound. The Buddha himself said, ‘Treat my words like gold, cutting, melting and refining; examine my doctrine well, for it is not to be accepted simply out of respect for me.’ Just as with the smelting and refinement of gold, likewise the teaching of Buddha: by listening, we gain an understanding, which, the more we meditate, will become increasingly profound and vast. It is most important therefore to practise with a steady concentration. Of all our activities, the most important is to sit and practise. We should not move around too much, we should just remain on our seat. We will only stumble if we get up! We should sit properly, not too stiffly, and remember that the best practitioners wear out their meditation cushions, not the soles of their shoes. Indeed, to apply the antidote to the emotions is even more important than to leave our homeland. For, if, on leaving home, we have even stronger attachment, desire and anger, our actions have not helped, but only harmed, our practice. The most important thing, therefore, is to use the antidote.

Do not make mistakes.

There are six errors or misconceptions which we should guard against.

Mistaken patience or endurance. Religious people, who bravely put up with hardships and persevere in the practice even though they have nothing in the way of food and clothing, suffering from cold and so on, may well be a sorry sight. They may in fact lack material possessions, but they do not need us to feel sorry for them. After all, their discomforts will be short lived and are the means through which they will finally come to liberation. Quite different from that sort of courage is the mistaken bravery of ordinary heroes who, in order to destroy their opponents and protect their own side, undergo unbearable hardships in the fight against their enemies, or suffer the cruel discipline and fury of their leaders.

Misplaced interest. It is also a mistake to be intent on the accumulation of wealth, power and comfort for this life at the expense of Dharma practice.

If you wish to practise properly,
Sustain yourself with Dharma,
Your Dharma with a humble life,
Your humble life with the thought of death,
Your thought of death with a lonely cave.

Our intention should be to help all sentient beings, who have been our mothers, and to bring them to the state of Buddhahood. We should never be self-satisfied and rest on our laurels, thinking that we have meditated well, that we have done retreat and are familiar with the rituals, or that we can chant and know all there is to know about the practice. This is an obstacle on the path.

Taking delight in worldly pleasures instead of in the Dharma. This is also mistake. ‘Learning comes from listening to the teachings; evil is reversed through listening to the teachings; futile ways are shunned by listening to the teachings.’ Bear this in mind. We should try to understand whether the teachings are expressed in the relative or the absolute sense, and we should make an effort to grasp the ultimate meaning beyond the words. Then we should practise it with an undivided heart. That is how to make sure progress. However, having experienced a taste of the Dharma, most ‘experts,’ armed with their intellectual knowledge, allow themselves to be side tracked into arguments and disputes with opponents, all for worldly satisfaction. Their taste of Dharma has played them false.

Misplaced compassion. It is a mistake to feel sorry for practitioners who endure a lot of difficulties for the sake of the Dharma, staying in lonely mountain hermitages without much food or warm clothing. It is incorrect to worry and think, ‘These poor practitioners! They are going to die of starvation!’ By contrast, the ones we should really feel sorry for are those who commit evil actions, such as army leaders and military heroes who kill hundreds and thousands of people, and whose hatred will drag them down into the realms of hell. We should show compassion to those who need it.

Being helpful in the wrong way. It is a mistake, too, to introduce our relations and dependants to worldly happiness and success instead of bringing them into contact with the Dharma. If we really care for them, we should help them to meet religious teachers and instruct them in the practice. Day by day, we should show them how to tread the path of liberation. Good people are like medicinal trees: whoever frequents them becomes good also. But if, by contrast, we teach people how to do business, how to trick others and stand up to their enemies, they will become as vicious as we are.

Rejoicing inappropriately. It is wrong to rejoice at the sufferings of enemies instead of at whatever is joyful and virtuous. By contrast, when people engage in work for any kind of good cause, or when Dharma practitioners undertake innumerable nyungne fasts, when they do a lot of work, building temples, constructing stupas and images or printing books, we should pray: ‘In this life and their lives to come, may they always practise virtue, may their good actions bring about the birth of Bodhichitta in their minds.’ This is the proper way to rejoice. But if, on the contrary, we feel pleasure and satisfaction when someone we dislike is punished by his superiors, or even killed-thinking that he only got what was coming to him, we are rejoicing wrongly.

These, then, are six wrong actions that we should forsake if we wish to follow the unmistaken way.

Be consistent in your practice.

When we are content and our lives are going well, we feel inclined to practise; but when, for instance, we are hungry and have nothing to eat, we lose interest. This is because we lack perfect confidence in the teachings. As the saying goes, ‘Well fed and warm in the sun: that’s when we look like practitioners. But when things go wrong, we are very ordinary people. The Dharma and our minds never seem to mingle. Bless us with the proper attitude!’ And it is said too, ‘Meditators whose behaviour has drifted into ordinary ways will never be free. Reciting many mantras for the sake of appearances will not help us on the path.’

Be zealous in your training.

Let us train ourselves wholeheartedly, completely saturating ourselves with the Mind Training: sometimes meditating on emptiness, sometimes on detachment from this life and sometimes on compassion towards beings. Through investigation and examination, we should endeavour to practise the methods of cultivating the Mind Training more and more.

Free yourself by analysis and testing.

Let us first examine which of our emotions is strongest. Then let us make a concerted effort to generate its antidote, investigating whether the emotion increases when we are confronted by certain specific situations. We should observe whether it arises or not, recognise it and, with the help of the antidote, rid ourselves of it, persevering until it no longer arises.

Don’t take what you do too seriously.

If we help others by providing them with food and clothing, by freeing them from prison, or by promoting them to some position of importance, it should not be with the expectation of some kind of recognition. If we practise intensely and for a long time, or if we are knowledgeable and disciplined, we should not expect to be respected for it. If, on the other hand, we find that others know a great deal, we should pray for them to become really learned; if they are very disciplined, we should pray for them to be like the disciples at the time of Buddha; if we see people practising, we should pray that their minds be blended with the practice, that their practice be without obstacle and that their paths might lead to the final goal. That is how we should meditate, caring more for others than for ourselves. But if we manage to do so, we should not congratulate ourselves on having done something great or extraordinary. ‘Do not rely on other human beings; just pray to the yidam.’ Such was the advice of Radreng. Therefore, do not count on others for help with food, clothing, etc. Rather have a confident faith in the Three Jewels. As it is said: ‘Trusting in the Teacher is the ultimate refuge, working for the benefit of others is the ultimate Bodhichitta, therefore do not brag about your accomplishments.’ We should always have this attitude, because if we depend on others, the results may not be as we wish…

Do not be bad tempered.

If it happens that we are slighted in public, we should never think to ourselves that despite the fact that we are such good practitioners, people have no regard for us and do not come to pay respects or to receive our blessings. We should not react with annoyance and harsh words. At the moment, because we have not used the teachings as an antidote for ego clinging, our patience and forbearance are more fragile than a blister and we are as irritable as a bear with a sore head. All that because we have failed to use the instructions as an antidote.

Do not be temperamental.

Because of its transparency, a crystal ball takes on the colour of whatever it is standing on. In the same way, there are some practitioners, who, if they are given a lot of money, will have all sorts of positive thoughts. ‘Oh, this is such a kind sponsor,’ they will say. But if they get nothing, they will say bad things and hold a grudge. We should not be swayed by such trivial things.

Do not expect to be rewarded.

If we have been of help to others or have managed to practise, we should not expect thanks, praise or fame. If we practise the two Bodhichittas all our lives, perform our meditation and post-meditation properly, and if we mingle our minds with the view of meditation, our experience in day to day life will not be ordinary. Furthermore, if we are not distracted in our daily lives, this will help our meditation to progress. If, however, we meditate single mindedly during the sessions, but afterwards are completely distracted, we will not gain confidence in the view of meditation. Conversely, if we develop virtuous habits in post-meditation but during the meditation session engage in useless activities, again our practice will be meaningless. Therefore we should make sure to train ourselves correctly.

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche (顶果钦哲仁波切) 101.

Have a mind that is open to everything, and attach to nothing.

— Tilopa

学佛先从做人起
太虚大师

在佛典里有这样的两句话:“人身难得,佛法难闻”。今天在座的诸君,已是一个人世间的人,又能来到这儿听讲佛法,因此,我今天特提出此“学佛先从做人起”来讲。我们还保存着这人的身体,但在世间的难疗的生死中,我们说不定会堕诸恶道,到那时,有谁来听你的一腔哀声?所以,做了人,倘若不学佛法,岂不是在人生道上空跑一趟吗?因此,不由的想到“人身难得,佛法难闻”的意义,引起我讲此题的动机。

先从做人讲起如我们现在所得的人生,有什么善因,有什么胜缘而得来的呢?既得了人身,生活在这无边的人海里,要怎样的次养它、维持它才能够很安善的的过这一生呢?更进一步讲,要怎样使其了知人生的真意义而且得到人生最高的真价值,才不辜负这人身呢?——这问题,一到深处,便必须学佛才有解决的希望,否则生死难关冲不破,弄到“船沉人尽”沉到生死海里,毕竟失了人身难得的真意义和价值了。

我们毕竟是人世间的人,我们不是披戴角的动物,因为我们有人的身体。然而;我们的人身,究竟从何而来呢?我们的回答是:(1)从自身过去世造作了能得人身果报的福业——因,再凭藉了现在世(2)父(3)母的遗体——缘。由此,可知道我们此身的来之不易。倘若没有过去世福业的因,和现在世父母的缘,我们做人基础的身体即无由成立。了知构成此身体的因和缘,所以我们要继续培修福业,而同时对于父母要孝顺恭敬奉养,这是人生应作的第一要事——培本报恩,也即是开关未来世的升进之路!

我们从生身起以至老死,每天所需要的衣食住行之具,从何而来?你如果肚皮俄了,有食物来充饥;冷了,有衣服来遮体;风雨聋来,有房屋给你住,你如果往何处去,有道路给你走。这些资生的赠与,都是仗人类互助的能力——大众的力量而得到的。人世间林农工商的共同的能力,维持了你的生命,资养了你的生命;换句话说:你的生命完全倚靠社会大众的能力来维持、资养。所以你要去服务社会,替社会谋利益,凡是社会各种辛苦事业,你要耐劳的去做——这是第二报酬于社会的。

人生在世,要怎能样才能安居乐业?固然,我们的生命由社会群众的力量来资养,但社会如何能使它安宁?我们常能得到丰乐的生活呢?这即是要有国家。有国家,则有政治、法律;对外有保护疆土之实的军队,使强暴之外患不能侵入,奸逆之内乱可以弭除,即天灾疫难,亦可设法防止。若无国家,不但外患无法抵御,国内人民的生命也没有保障,生活也没有安宁,要报父母、社会恩亦无从报起。所以,我们更要报答国家恩,大家要以爱国心为前提!在今日众敌围攻的中国,我们中国的国民,英勇的将士,慷慨的豪杰,应在众敌环攻之时,一致奋起建设光荣的国家吧!

不瞒你们说,如果前三种能够“实践躬行”的做得到,也只是一个平庸的人,还没有了解人之所以为人的真意义,也没有得到不虚生而为人的最高价值;所以,这里要说明进德修道的第四点。德者,德行也。即以做人而言,因为过去世造作了德行的福业,才有现在世的人身。所以,我们在享受人世间福乐的时候,我们要能在人生道上更进一步。好像每次出门做生意,必须多赚得几分利息回去,决不要亏了本。我们做人亦然,要一生一生的上升,不要糊裹糊涂的醉生梦死,要企图向上进步。因为要进德,所以我们要修道;要依据真正贯通万事万法的道理——佛法去修习,我们才能进德。倘若此生所修的福德,比较前世更进了一步,也就不“枉在人间走一遭”!谈到进德修道,则对于现前的师长以及古昔的圣贤,都有恭敬亲近的需要。由是而观察到圣中之圣的佛,觉得唯有他能以究竟圆满的教法教授我们。我们不但要去礼拜,同时要依佛的教法去信、解、行、证。不然,难于超越生死苦海的厄难,人面兽心的样子也不易变化了!所以,要进德修道,便须依佛而学,走上学佛的道路,因为佛是圣中之圣啊!怎么知道佛是圣中之圣呢?我们要知道:佛原是人类中的一人,不是另外的什么怪异,不过是我们最完全的模范——人天师而已。“佛”是焚语,此云觉者。为什么称他为觉者?难道我们没有觉吗?不错,我们也有觉,但不是常觉,不是普遍觉。例如:我们生死在人间,生不知从何而来,死不知向何处去;对于世事,也许只知其一不知其二;所以有许多错误颠倒,邪见丛生。佛呢,他是自觉、觉他、觉行圆满的究竟觉悟的大觉者!假若你要了解人生真义,免除人生道上的危险,应找这条道儿走,这就是要依佛的教法请明师指教去修行——归依三宝。依佛的法而行住坐卧不离,才有出离生死苦海之一日!

人生究竟是捉不住的!随着一叠叠的波浪而来去,不能自主,犹如航海,无一时不是过着波浪漂泊的生涯。在渺茫的生命道上,除非依佛法的道理——经典去研究,进而实行,将自己的身心以佛理来范围它,才能稳登彼岸。要使我们的思想与佛的思想合一,要以五戒十善为根本。五戒是戒杀、盗、淫、妄、酒。十善是不杀、不盗、不淫(这是身三种)、不两舌、不恶口、不妄语、不绮语(这是口四种)、不贪、不嗔、不痴(这是意三种)。若能如此,再进而修习禅定,自然能对诸经典不要他人讲解,而能自己发明,而有真的智慧生起,渐渐证入佛的真理的境界。

以上,关于学佛的大意已讲完了。你要是能行前三种,只能说勉强算个人,不过空空泛泛地做人,没有了知人生真意义,没有得到人生真价值。若要了知人生真意义和得到人生真价值,要看你能行第四种到如何程度为标准。若能行此第四种,则人生永远是上进的。此第四种是修学戒定慧的途径,是佛法的精髓。——如今再回到“人身难得,佛法难闻”的意义。在佛法,这是启示人生的理智的方法——就是说:人为万物之灵,佛法唯人类才可以修学,由此可见到人生真价值之所在。如今,我们是人身难得今已得,佛法难闻今已闻。这种机缘颇不易得;即来到这人世间,即入宝山,切莫空手而归!我们要誓愿成佛,才能获得做人的真价值!

Ven Tai Xu (太虚大师) 12.

It is very difficult to practice Dharma due to the habits of disturbing emotions that keep us attached to the worldly preoccupations of this life. It’s as if you have to climb a mountain with a burden of heavy baggage on your back. You have to undertake a very long and arduous journey in your Dharma practice, but it is very easy for you to lose your footing and fall down on the way. Furthermore, your fall back down again will be very swift, much swifter and further than for those who do not carry much of this kind of baggage. When you climb up a steep mountain, it is very difficult and very tiring, similarly the practise of Dharma is also challenging. To achieve ultimate happiness you have to maintain Dharma practise diligently. When you practice Dharma, you have to abandon any doubts and practice it with a single-pointed mind. There is no need to have doubts concerning Dharma, because since time without beginning, an ocean of practitioners have already attained enlightenment through this kind of practice.

— His Holiness Penor Rinpoche

Penor Rinpoche (貝諾法王) 3.

Luminosity of the Mind
by His Holiness the Dalai Lama

In relation to the nature of mind, what is luminosity? In this respect it might be interesting to reflect on a passage which one finds in certain texts which says that ‘between the arisal of different instances of conceptual thought, the clear light nature of mind arises uninterruptedly’.

Say you look at an object which doesn’t have bright colours but is rather subdued in colour and not very attractive. And you look at it for a while. Then, while looking at this object, you make the determination: ‘I shall retain my concentration in order to focus my attention upon my own perception, upon my own experience. And I shall not allow myself to be distracted by other objects, external or internal.’ With such mindfulness, you will be able to recognise the very moment your mind is distracted. For example, you hear a beautiful tune and you are distracted by it, but you immediately realise you are distracted, reinforce your mindfulness, and withdraw from it. Similarly, if you recollect past events, you will immediately realise that you have become distracted. Or if you have preconceptions of the future, you will also be able to identify that your mind has become distracted.

So, normally, it is these types of thoughts which come into being at any given moment and which obscure the essential nature of our minds. When this technique of mindfulness is utilised, therefore, of maintaining attention on the perception of the object in front of us, as and when a distraction arises, we are able to identify it and to withdraw from such distractions. Thus, eventually, all these conceptual events, the cognitive processes that obscure the natural state of the mind, will be cleared away. And the result will be a very stable and lucid state of mind.

The mind is an affirmative phenomenon, but on the ordinary level, it is obscured by concepts, different states of thinking and preconceptions, and so on. In order to recognise the essential nature of the mind, therefore, we have to peel off these different layers and clear away these obscurations. Then we shall see the true face of our own minds.

If you undertake such practices, such experiments, when you say ‘consciousness’, it will not be a mere word. You will be able to understand what it is. Consciousness is a phenomenon that is non obstructive; it is nonphysical and has the quality of luminosity. It is analogous to a crystal. If a crystal is placed on a coloured surface, the real clarity of that crystal will not be seen. If it is removed from anything coloured, however, then its real form will be seen.

The luminosity of the mind, the nature of clarity of the mind, is something that I cannot simply explain in words to you. But if you undertake this kind of experiment on your own, you will begin to understand,’ Ah, that’s the luminosity of the mind!’

Dalai Lama 221.

Despite its omnipresence, we do not take notice of impermanence until unexpected or even drastic changes occur. Consequently, we misperceive impermanence as the maker of life’s misery, not knowing that our own fear of change is the real culprit.

— Khenpo Sherab Zangpo Rinpoche

Khenpo Sherab Zangpo Rinpoche (希阿荣博堪布) 61.

修行路上做到这一点 你的修行就会越来越好
智敏上师

我们学法的目的是闻思修的过程,法听过以后,心中应有所触动,不光是听闻了算数。我们学的就是修的,有多少的闻慧,便有多少的思慧,有多少的思慧,才有多少的修慧。而要广大听闻,又必须积资净障资粮聚集好了,方能听闻获得利益。

而普遍存在着一种思想:学法只重表面,加行不愿修,殿也不肯上,就是拿着本书要听经、听磁带、要自己研究。如此是否真正能得解脱利益?末法时期,要广大听闻,表面上看是在努力,而这个还需要资粮的积聚方能收效,正好《福智之声》第83期,谈到广大听闻与净罪集资,没有集资净障的前提,你虽广大听闻,却听不进去的,有时还会毁谤。

如果你广大听闻而不清楚,这时候赶快去广大积集资粮,再去听闻,就会听得更清楚,更深刻地了解。我们中间,有些人学法,皮面上了解一点,深刻的不谈了,即使皮面上的了解,也是根据自己主观的理解。到底对不对,还不敢说,这就不够了。没有广大的集资净障,不管你学得那么多,都不会有真正修持的进步,犹如种花,需要阳光、空气、土壤、水分等缘,不管缺了哪一方面,都不会开出理想的花朵。

如何集资?礼拜、绕塔、布施、供养、持咒等等,这些都是积聚资粮的方式,而要净罪则是通过“四力门”以此忏悔过现罪业。这些不做到,光靠听经是不会去除五欲的。又在此中,如礼拜等,不但能净障,甚至能开智慧,如五台山某法师拜《华严经》,到最后,不但罪障消除,智慧也开了。所以一个法有多种作用。《四加行》里的法,集资净障都安排好了,而我们有的人来了很长时间,连“四皈依”都不修,结果便是信心不坚固,在这里修不起,便跑回去,回去后又感不适应,又再来,来了又不修,跑来跑去,最后什么也未学到。所以我们学了法,要时常用法去观察,俾在事上起用,不要在文字上纠缠。

在广大听闻中,若过去造有许多恶业,当此业障来上,不管你怎么学,也抵不住。虽然你很用功,很努力,但是罪未忏净,便不会有什么进步,甚至于退道,业障来时,则会使你害病,或者出魔障,甚至还有生命的危险。如过去传说中,经常听到某些人,念书多年,去京城赶考,在其考试房间里,若过去有怨业,便会出魔障,以前的冤鬼找上,使他考不上,甚至命也送掉。

在佛教里,这种情况也很多,尤其在受三坛大戒。最现实的,我们这里的宗归师,他在五台山受戒时,出障,他有一天眼睛一幌,见一人来,此人是他以前针灸治病扎瞎了眼的,见后,两眼就开始发炎,继而两眼红肿如球,最后渐成两块蛋白似的,如果在登坛前内不治好,便不能受戒,幸亏他通过佛前忏悔求加持,又有几位师父的帮助,去台山针灸,才化险为夷。在大型传戒法会中,几乎每次授戒,都会出障。有些人明天就要登坛,而今天便死掉了。这些都是以前的业现起,障碍他们趋向清净解脱。

所以要忏除身口的恶业,便是要集资净障。而侍候上师,为上师执事,则是净除罪障最好的方法,这其中身口意都包括了。如所举之仲登巴,因为承事上师,使他成为阿底峡尊者弟子中成就最大的一个。

Ven Zhi Min (智敏上师) 1.

If one is distracted by characteristics without dwelling in the state of realisation, one will not be able to avert the traces of the characteristics of dualistic appearances, though it seems a particle is in the eye of one with ophthalmia, the ophthalmic appearance cannot be repaired without curing the eye disease.

— Mahasiddha Virupa

Virupa 7.