四大本空无有我,一身自重不干人
宽运法师

我们都知道,修行人首要的条件就是要看得开、放得下,也就是要先破除我执──要看清楚这个‘我’到底是什么?依佛法来说,其实我们的身体不过是四大(地、水、火、风四种元素)假合,如果我们对这个假合的身体不能看破的话,修行就很难成就,更惶论了生脱死。

历代的祖师大德们,都是透过坚持不断的苦修,直至修到我空、人空、法空,最后才能获得真正的解脱。可见,‘我空’是第一步,但是如何才能做到‘我空’?确实是绝不容易。以下为大家说一个苦修多年的高僧的故事。这个故事发生在梁武帝的时代:

在一个严寒的冬天,天空下着鹅毛大的雪片,梁武帝兴致勃勃的邀请志公禅师同赴郊外,欣赏雪景,瞩目远望,山河大地被白雪铺盖成一片银白色世界,煞是好看,忽然看见东南面的高山上,没有积雪,而且还看见微微的暖气往上升腾;梁武帝觉得很奇怪,就问国师志公禅师:‘为什么那边山上不积雪?’由于志公禅师是一位有名的神僧,一切皆能未卜先知,于是就回答道:‘那边山上有位大修行人,在上面住着,因为人杰地灵,所以雪都不会下到这个地方。’梁武帝听了,不禁龙心大悦,高兴地说道:‘既有如此的大修行人,也是寡人的洪福,我一定要请他下山,到皇宫供养,以求福德。’志公说:‘这位大修行人,道德很高,定力也很好,可惜我执未破,生死还不能了。’梁武帝不信,一定要上山,恭迎此大修行人下山住在宫中,执弟子礼,拜他为师,供养丰裕。

这位大修行人法名为呼海禅师,自迎请入宫以后,静住多时,每一入定就是很多天,确实是‘严整威仪,肃恭斋法’,不愧为人天师表。一天梁武帝对志公说:‘师父!你说禅师我执未破,四大不空,将来生死不能了,照寡人看来,恐怕国师看错了人吧?’志公知道梁武帝对他的话生了疑心,便回答说道:‘陛下不信的话,我们可以试一试他,自然便见分晓。万岁可与贫僧同食一席盛筵佳肴,另外再做几样下劣的小菜,送给呼海独吃,如果他真的是我执已破的人,对饮食不起丝毫善恶观念,就不会有人我的分别;假使我执未破,这样被轻慢、鄙视的悬殊不平的对待,一定会怒形于色。’

梁武帝听了觉得也有道理,就依照志公的话去做,还故意在对面席上欢呼畅饮的轻慢他。这时呼海不禁心头火起,几次想发作,回想自己在深山苦修了几十年,今天为了一点饮食生起气来,实在不好看,因此还是勉强压抑着,不敢表现出来。散席后,呼海一句话都没有说。梁武帝看起来呼海已经很‘无我’了,所以对志公说:‘国师说他我执未破,我们今天如此侮慢他,他都没有改变颜色,可见国师量人不定,神算不准了!’梁武帝甚至还以为志公嫉妒呼海;志公知道了梁武帝的疑惑,因而答道:‘你那里知道他的心思呢?其实他已经含恨在心,只是未形之于色,如果再来一次,他定必无明火起三千丈,像炸弹似的爆发起来!’

几天后,他们又故意与呼海开了一场大玩笑,梁武帝召集群臣,与呼海和志公欢宴宫中,席间,梁武帝命宫女们将上等彩缎,每人赏赐一匹。众宫女将彩缎捧出来分送各人,在座大小群臣及志公每人都分到一匹。呼海一向是深山的苦修穷和尚,看到这种上等的彩缎,早已心花怒放,眼见每人都分到一匹,而最后分到自己的时候,想伸手去接,宫女们不但不给他,反而讥讽他无福消受;这下可把呼海气坏了,心想:皇上欺我不算,连宫女都看不起我、欺侮我,真是‘士可忍,孰不可忍’!气得七孔生烟。呼海是上了年纪的人,真是一气不留命,突然从座上倒下来,一命呜呼去了!神魂堕落恶道,因为一念贪爱彩缎,投生鹊身,身有‘呼海’二字。

这时梁武帝眼见呼海气死,深为后悔,责怪志公不应该设计气弄呼海,令他气愤而死。志公说:‘死了还是小事,可惜已经堕入畜道,投生鹊身了。’梁武帝不信:‘如此大修行人,怎会堕落恶道?’不过志公的确是神异屡验屡应,故又不能不信,因此很担忧地说:‘呼海是我们请下山来的,我不杀伯仁,伯仁却因我而死,请国师你救一救他吧!’志公说:‘赶快派人西去三十里,某一树上有一鸟窠,窠中有小鸟三只,其中一只花斑点的,上有呼海二字,把它捉回来,我就有办法救他了。’梁武帝急忙派二人火速依言行事,果然按地点把小鸟捉回来。志公接过小鸟,来到呼海尸边用力将小鸟拍死,识神回入本体,渐渐活过来了,此时呼海也知道自己已转过一次世了,而且知道是志公把他救回,免堕恶道,所以非常感激再生之恩,五体投地向志公顶礼,并请为开示。

志公毫不客气地对他开示道:‘你少听经教,我执未破,生死未了,将来是很危险的,今回为了一点小事,就如此生气,瞋愤遭堕,我不救你,你已作禽兽,你看可惜不可惜呢?现在我有两句话,望你放下一切,早脱生死,不负己灵:四大本空无有我,一身自重不干人。’呼海从此打开我执,看破四大,努力修行,终于了生脱死。

这就是‘四大皆空’的真正意义!我们作为佛弟子、作为修行人,又怎能不以此为鉴,警剔自励,打破我执,放开心怀,好好地用功修行?

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Arrogance, lack of faith, lack of any interest, outward distraction, inward tension, and discouragement are the six stains.

— Vasubandhu

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Human Beings Experience Three Forms of Suffering
by Khenpo Sodargye Rinpoche

You may know something about these sufferings. Human beings experience many obvious sufferings which are called ‘suffering of suffering’. What does that mean? I’m happy but suddenly my parents die and then my business is in trouble and I find out my health is poor. One suffering is piled upon another; one suffering comes after another. This is what is meant by ‘suffering of suffering’.

What is the suffering of change? We are living happily as if in heaven. Then suddenly there is a tsunami, such as what happens in Japan or the Philippines. I asked some people whether there had been any tsunami activity recently in Singapore. Many said no but the future is hard to predict. They live at the seaside and tsunamis are unpredictable. I asked if there had been any political conflict. They said no, but again it’s hard to see into the future. Food here is imported and people here are immigrants. It’s difficult to ascertain what the future holds. People here are friendly now but given this mundane world, it’s hard to know if they can maintain harmony in future. Maybe now we’re having good relations with our loved ones, but it’s hard to tell what may transpire in the future. Changes may happen suddenly. This is the suffering of change. We suffer when we try to hold onto things that are constantly changing.

There is also the all-pervasive suffering of conditioning. We may not recognise it as suffering but in fact, it is. Today we live happily. Happiness is made possible by many people’s hard work. The buildings here in Singapore are so high that they amaze me. When I saw the surrounding areas of the Singapore River yesterday I had a strong feeling that Singaporeans are smart and brave and they have very advanced science and technology. In an underdeveloped area, such achievements would be hard to imagine. However, behind every high-rise and skyscraper are the painstaking effort and suffering of many people. This is the all-pervasive suffering of conditioning.

So please do not think life is full of happiness. Why is my book called Living Through Sufferings? I hesitated about calling it that because many people believe life is happy and happiness is life. This has been repeated so many times by so many people. It may sound good but in fact, people from every walk of life have their own sufferings, such as high-ranking officials, wealthy people, students, teachers, ordinary officials, beggars, etc. So we know in fact that life is full of sufferings.

SUFFERINGS OF BIRTH, OLD AGE, SICKNESS AND DEATH

In this mundane world, we experience sufferings associated with birth, old age, sickness and death. When a person is born he suffers greatly. Why do we say that? If we are truly happy to come into this world, why do all babies cry when they are just born? No baby is ever born laughing. It’s never happened. This tells us that birth is suffering. After we’re born, we inevitably age. Many people who worry about ageing end up using cosmetics and health care products. However, none of these can keep you young forever. As time goes by, your face will become more wrinkled and your hair greyer.

I feel the Singaporeans are pretty optimistic. This morning, I saw a 70-year-old man working in a hotel. I asked him how many more years he planned to work. He said he felt good and that he planned to work for some more years and was confident he could. I said this was great. In Tibet, when people approach 60, they say they are old. Actually, how we feel about ourselves is important. Some of my former classmates are in their fifties and are already thinking about retiring, stopping work altogether. I don’t think this is good for them.

Nevertheless, it is true that ageing is an inevitable process. Many people go to Korea to have facelifts and other cosmetic surgeries but after a few years, the wrinkles come back. Cosmetic surgeries cannot help; somehow their ads are aimed at making money. We should face the fact that getting old is a law of nature; none of the famous beauties in history could do anything about it. We often say no flower can bloom forever and good times do not last forever. Neither beautiful flowers nor good times last for very long. Everything in this world is as transient as the fleeting clouds and keeps changing constantly. When we think about this we can understand the teaching the Buddha taught us a long time ago.

When we become old we experience suffering. When we are dying we experience even worse suffering. Many people are afraid of death, especially those who hold no religious beliefs and dare not mention the word ‘death’. In fact, death is not so scary. We should make preparations for our death. People leave this world in different ways. Some leave without any preparation while others are fully prepared. Some die young, some die old. Death may come in many different ways. Therefore, we should be aware of these sufferings of birth, old age, sickness and death.

In Singapore, most people have medical insurance. The government may provide all kinds of assistance. You live in high standard society, however, there are still many people who are afraid of becoming sick because they cannot afford medical treatment. Such problems exist in almost every country in the world. When you become sick, you feel that being healthy is the greatest happiness. Neither wealth nor social position compares to physical and mental health. Health is the greatest happiness. So when you are healthy you should really enjoy it. Otherwise, when you are seriously ill or when you’re dying you’ll regret that you didn’t cherish your health. These are examples of the sufferings of birth, old age, sickness and death. You should think seriously about them.

SUFFERING OF LOSING ONE’S LOVED ONES AND MEETING HATED ENEMIES

There’s also the suffering of losing loved ones. Your loved ones are not always with you. Your parents, family or friends may leave you. There is also the suffering of meeting hated enemies. You do not desire a certain person’s company but very often have to be with him.

Nowadays people have poor interpersonal relationships. I hope students can develop good interpersonal relationships in university. If one can’t get along well with the people around him, no matter what academic degrees he achieves, no matter where he is, poor relationships could compromise his ability to do anything. You could be in an unsatisfying love relationship, under pressure from your job or from other aspects of life, but they do not last forever. However, poor relationships with parents, family members or friends will stay with you and bring suffering.

In many colleges and universities in China, poor interpersonal relationships have led to horrible crimes. Many years ago in a university in Beijing, a student named Zhu Ling was poisoned and ended up in a vegetative state. This case, as we all know, gave rise again to a lot of discussions last year. Again, in 2004, a poor student from Yunnan province named Ma Jiajue killed his four roommates for no apparent reason. Today’s students may easily become unhappy and this can strain their relationships.

I’m not clear about what it is like here. A couple of days ago I heard that education here emphasises morality and humanity in every aspect of life. This is very good. Among these personal qualities, keeping a healthy relationship is more important. For many people, knowledge is important, but morality is even more important than knowledge. Without morality, it is impossible to associate with anyone.

I heard that a fellow Buddhist found associating with others so difficult that he almost had a nervous breakdown. But if he had prepared himself with an open mind, he would not be so helpless. In this world, there are many good and many bad people. When we encounter bad people, we should not feel frustrated or have a nervous breakdown or commit suicide.

In Singapore last year, more than 480 people committed suicide. These days, many young people choose suicide. This is not a wise decision. The suicide rate in the world keeps climbing. Last year, the suicide rate across the globe was about one million. This is tragic. The GDP may rise in some countries, but while the economy is striding forward, our morality, compassion, wisdom and confidence is slipping backwards. We need to solve this spiritual crisis. We may not now encounter an economic crisis, but a spiritual crisis can come at any time.

Many people seem to feel happy, but actually feel unhappy deep in their hearts. But many unhappy things are just like fleeting clouds. We shouldn’t keep them in our minds forever. We should understand that in our life there are many things that we don’t want to accept but must face in any case. This is the suffering of meeting hated enemies.

THE SUFFERING OF NOT GETTING WHAT ONE WANTS

There is also the suffering of not getting what one wants. Having been to many universities, I can imagine the pressures students face with job searching, love, study, family, etc. I asked many teachers yesterday about job opportunities here in Singapore. They said the job market was not so bad and students could find jobs, though maybe not always the most satisfying one. But what is a satisfying job? We cannot expect too much. I don’t know if it’s the case here but in many places, people are somewhat lazy. They expect to be well-paid but don’t want to work hard. They want to rest on Saturdays and Sundays and maybe weekdays as well, while still expecting a lot from their jobs.

In actual fact, we need to put in hard work. Without hard work, you cannot expect to reap rewards. It’s the same with monks. We can’t just eat and sleep every day. Although we have no pressure from family or work, if we sleep all day maybe we won’t starve but that’s not the aim of our lives. Therefore, I believe for most of us, the fear in life should not be that we have too many things to do, but that we have nothing to do. The ants and bees are very hard working. There are stories about them in Buddhist scriptures. They seldom rest from their hard work. That’s why they are highly successful in their lives.

So for each of you here, finding a job should not be aimed at making money. This is not a good life goal. Instead, you should find a job that can make you both physically and mentally healthy. And meanwhile, what you are doing should bring benefit to society, to your country and to all humankind. These elements will make a job meaningful. Maybe this kind of job does not give you good pay, but in terms of the value of life, it is more important.

Many people work only to make money and nothing else. This is what Einstein called ‘the ideal of a pigsty’. If we were to have nothing but money, how depleted our morals would be. Not every problem can be solved with money, be it of a personal or social nature. We see that many rich people fail to pass the test of money. In the interest of money, they come to their death, are imprisoned or commit suicide. This is something that happens everywhere. It’s not unfamiliar to us. So we should be aware of these sufferings in our lives.

THE SUFFERING OF THE FLOURISHING OF THE FIVE AGGREGATES

The last type of suffering is called the suffering of the flourishing of the five aggregates. Under the constraints of the five aggregates, everything in our lives can be the cause of suffering, the fundamental root of suffering or the causal condition of suffering. Nevertheless, some may argue that they enjoy their lives and are not suffering at all. Actually, this point has been well analysed in Buddhist teachings. A famous Abhidharmika named Aryadeva once wrote,

The impermanent is definitely harmed,
What is harmed is not pleasurable.
Therefore, all that is impermanent
Is said to be suffering.

This is an important teaching that tells us all the good things we experience in life are impermanent. There is no never-ending feast in the world. Our families, our lives, our relationships, none of these can provide us with lasting happiness.

Yesterday, I went sightseeing in the city of Singapore. On the one hand, I feel the city is like heaven. What a beautiful and cosmopolitan city! On the other hand, it came to me that all of the people here today would not be alive a hundred years from now and would become others. So the owners of properties will change and we’d better not hold the view that once we own something — for example a building — it belongs to us forever because we never know how many years we have left.

These days there are lots of people whose personal assets may amount to thousands or hundreds of thousands of RMB. However, the ownership of those assets may change from time to time. It is just that the owners may not notice this fact, and this may cause them confusion and anxiety. Indeed, any good situation is impermanent, and when it is about to change, we may experience pain.

This is why in Buddhism we say all phenomena are impermanent and all impermanence brings suffering. This is a very insightful teaching. So please do not think that Buddhism lacks enthusiasm for life or that life is only full of sweetness and happiness. Since youth is full of joy, why is the metaphor of a burning house used in Buddhism to describe life?

THE WISDOM OF BUDDHISM SHOULD NOT BE VULGARISED

The teachings of Buddhism have already elaborated the truth of life and such truths should not be replaced by any external image. I have noticed that there are lots of Buddhist followers in many countries, both from colleges and universities as well as other walks of life. Whenever there is a Dharma event, tens of thousands of people will attend. This is good because religion is a great way to purify human minds. However, many people simply treat Buddhism as a ritual, considering it a money-making tool, a way to keep them safe or as a type of ‘medicine’ to maintain health. Given this, they can barely taste the deep meaning of Buddhism or make the effort to study the vast and profound Buddhist teachings. This is to be regretted.

Some dharma masters and scholars try to appease these peoples’ taste by simplifying or vulgarising Buddhism. As a result, divorced from profundity, many people just see it as a way to make money or to keep fit and stay healthy. For those people with limited and narrow insight, the only reason for taking refuge is to keep themselves and their families safe and sound. Indeed, this is a rather diminished goal.

You will find that Buddhism offers knowledge of aspects from the macroscopic to the microscopic and in particular, the subtle knowledge of the mind. You can find and learn all of these valuable truths in Buddhism. If you doubt this and think I am bragging about Buddhism because I’m a Buddhist, you will find proofs in the Tripitaka, which has a history of more than 2500 years. This has convinced many scientists and scholars these days. Likewise, a great number of people throughout history achieved great wisdom through these teachings. In Eastern cultures, Buddhism offers an amazing fund of wisdom that has been maintained up to this day. This precious treasure of human thought deserves both our study and investigation.

But many people do not study Buddhism in a systematic way. Rather they regard it as a simple ritual to be followed and to bestow upon them what they want. For example, Buddhism can ensure my health and bless me so that I am safe while driving. That’s my purpose for taking refuge. The other day I met someone who had just taken refuge with a guru. He was a college professor. I asked him, “why did you take refuge?” He said he wanted to feel safe while driving since he drove a lot and always worried about traffic accidents. That was his reason for seeking out a guru and taking refuge with him. If this is the motive of a college professor in taking refuge, we may need to think more about it.

PURSUING HAPPINESS: AN ENDLESS STORY

In Buddhism, it is taught that life is full of suffering but this is not just a Buddhist view. In the book Happiness: A History, the author, an American professor, after spending six years studying the evolution of happiness over 2000 years of Western thought and culture, drew a similar conclusion. In the book, he argues that the idea of happiness is actually a human expectation without any solid basis. I completely agree with him. Today, many people pursue what they hope is the ultimate happiness, but when the moment finally comes, they often want more than that. The reason is that desire drives us to pursue happiness and since desire is endless, our pursuit is endless.

For instance, you may think that a happy family is all you want. You keep pursuing that goal, but once you do have a happy family, you may start to desire something else, like making more money and so on. Different desires will follow one after the other. It is just like trying to catch a rainbow. Each time you get closer, you will find it has moved a little further away. Once you have a house, you may wish for a better one. Once you earn 1 million SGD you want 2 million. Once you have 2 million you may want 3 million. If you possess 3 million SGD, you may want 3 million American dollars. Your expectation keeps getting higher and higher. When you’re about to leave this world, you still may not be able to satisfy your desire and attain happiness. You just keep running after happiness.

So does the happiness we pursue truly exist? We do experience temporary happiness. Schopenhauer described such happiness when he wrote that life is essentially suffering, but there are different levels of happiness that people can pursue. For instance, the creative ideas of modern artists and the contemplations of philosophers are fascinating, but happiness obtained through them is due simply to a temporary state of no-ego.

I see your university is building an art centre. This is very nice. When an artist visits, he may be so deeply enchanted that he temporarily forgets himself. However, under different circumstances with different causes and conditions, his ego will again emerge and bring him suffering. The same can happen with philosophers. When contemplating, philosophers may be completely immersed in their thoughts and forget about their lives, money or anything else and thereby reach a state of no ego. Nevertheless, their ego will emerge sooner or later.

That’s why Schopenhauer paid special attention to the Buddhist Nirvana. If we analyse the state of Nirvana, we will find that the so-called ‘I’ who seeks happiness does not exist and that the nature of all phenomena is emptiness. When we deeply understand the truth of emptiness, we will realise it cannot be refuted or overthrown by any other theory. At such time, we will fully accept the fact that the so-called ‘I’ or self-attachment is baseless and cannot stand up under analysis or investigation. However, we are lost in our illusions and cling to non-existent things as real. The sooner we realise the truth, the sooner we will achieve everlasting liberation and happiness.

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Deep in the wild mountains, is a strange marketplace, where you can trade the hassle and noise of everyday life, for eternal Light.

— Milarepa

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思维暇满人生
净慧长老

今天我要讲的题目是《思维暇满人生》。如何来思维我们今生已经得到的人生因缘-这就叫做思维暇满人生。暇,有两个含意。一是指有这个时间;二是指有这个因缘。倘若有了这个时间,又有了这个因缘,那么就可以叫做有暇的人生。如果相反,既没有这个时间,又没有因缘,就叫做无暇的人生。我们拥有了这个时间、因缘来做什么?就是要听闻佛法来修行。

有暇与无暇是相对的,各有十种。唯识宗讲八无暇。密宗讲十无暇。我们根据唯识宗来讲。八无暇,亦是八难,指八种环境。在这八种环境中没有修学法佛,听闻佛法的闲暇,没有可能来修学善业。

第一种无暇是地狱。在地狱的众生经常受苦,根本没有因缘得闻佛法,故称无暇。第二种无暇是饿鬼。饿鬼的痛苦很多,连饮食尚不能满足。饿鬼肚子很大,咽喉很细,时时刻刻渴求饮食,也没有机会得闻佛法。第三种无暇是畜生。因为畜生没有思维能力,没有办法来接受佛法。所以,在地狱、恶鬼、畜生三恶道受苦的众生,它们不得自在,难闻佛名。

第四种无暇是边地。边地,指没有佛法传播的地方。从我们国家来讲,有佛法不到的地方;从整个世界讲,也有佛法不到的地方,这些佛法不到的地方就是边地。所以,我们发愿时,都希望不要生在边地,要生生世世生逢中土,得闻佛名,得遇明师。第五种无暇是长寿天。由于所修的福报,在长寿天里所感的寿命很长,然而,整个生命的过程就是昏昏沉沉,没有智慧,没有觉醒,因此,也就不可能有得闻佛法的机会。第六种无暇就是没有佛出世的地方,也可以说,那是佛不出世的时间。有佛出世,我们才可以听闻佛法,无佛出世,则没有经典的流通,没有法音的传播,我们要想接受佛法也是不可能的。第七种无暇就是诸根不俱。倒如呆傻、愚痴,要让这一类的人来修学佛法,是很难的,而盲聋哑,诸根不全要修学佛法,也要有很大的因难。第八种无暇就是邪见。这种人可能已经避免了上面的七种无暇,或许还很聪明,但他持有邪见,不相信因果轮回,不相信三宝。他有可能天天与佛法接触,却不会有敬信心。这样的人是很多的,这种人也属于无暇,无暇来接受佛法。

八无暇对于我们在座的每个人来讲,都避免了,避开了。我们生而为人,而且是生在有佛出世的世间,经像流通,法音流布,是何等幸事!我们六根俱足,生逢中土,也没有堕于邪见的罗网,所以,我们应为此而感到庆幸,应该生起一种难得的稀有心。

暇满人生,满就是圆满。这个圆满有自圆满和他圆满。自、他圆满各有五种,共是十种圆满。

自圆满:第一种圆满就是生在人中;第二种圆满是生在中国;第三种圆满是诸根具足;第四种圆满是无宿业的颠倒,第五种圆满是俱足正信。五种自圆满的具足,也就是具备了一个人接受佛法的内在因素。

他圆满:第一种圆满是佛出世;第二种圆满是说正法;第三种圆满是教法住世;第四种圆满是助法随转;第五种圆满是对善知识的摄受。五种他圆满,是我们能够接受佛法的外在的五个积极因素。

自、他圆满合起来是十圆满。作为一个学佛的人,要经常地想一想这十种圆满。那么我们今天就以这十种圆满来检查一下,看我们今天学佛的环境是否具备了这十种圆满。应该说,我们这些在座的还有很多不在座的比丘、比丘尼、善男子、善女人,都具备了这十种圆满。既然具备了这十种圆满和八种有暇,那么,我们就得到了一个暇满的人生。我们既然拥有了一个暇满的人生,就不要辜负它,要时时刻刻珍惜这来之不易的暇满人生!

我记得我们在中国佛学院的时候,证果老师就以常教导弟子要经我们得到的这个暇满的人生来很好地修行,很好地学佛。而在平常,我们确实往往不去思考,不去思维,感觉不到现在这种环境的殊胜和来之不易。比如这八有暇,因为我们已经得到了这个人身,便觉得没有什么好稀罕的了。但你若仔细思考,才可体会到人身的得来不易。佛教里有这么句话:失去人生的机会,就如同大地的土一样多,而得到人生的机会呢,就如同僧挑土。僧挑土与大地土是根本无法相比的。我们如果能把这个道理经常加以思考,牢牢地记在心中,那么时时刻刻,我们都会珍惜此生,发起无上的道心。特别是我们年青人,更不懂得这个道理。不懂得这个道理,人就会放逸,就会不晓得抓紧时间。就不能趁此青春年少的大好机缘多学习、多修行,多来充实自己。

今天,我讲《思维暇满人生》这个题目,就是要提醒大家,要强化“人生难得,佛法难闻”这个思想。“人生难得,佛法难闻”这句话人们常常讲,常常说,但说到其中的道理却往往比较抽象。如果用这八种有暇,十种圆满来加以细致的讲解,道理就比较具体,概念也就比较清晰、难忘了。

我给大家讲这个题目的目的,就是要大家经常思维-思维我们这个得之不易的暇满人生,从而发起对我们拥有人身的稀有难得之心,发起我们的勇猛精进心,这才有利于我们的修行。

Ven Jing Hui 净慧法师 18..jpg

What’s recommended is that if you have a good experience, don’t get too excited. And if you have a bad experience, don’t mistake it for a serious deviation or a sidetrack that you have to find your way back from. If you have a bad experience, just continue practising as you were. In other words, whatever happens, just keep looking at your mind.

— Thrangu Rinpoche

Thrangu Rinpoche 16..jpg

The Very Heart of Buddhism
by Lama Zopa Rinpoche

A star, a visual aberration, a flame of a lamp,
An illusion, a drop of dew, or a bubble,
A dream, a flash of lightning, a cloud —
See conditioned things as such!

This verse is showing the reality of I, action, object and all phenomena — hell and enlightenment, samsara and nirvana — the whole thing. It is showing the reality of all phenomena, particularly causative phenomena.

When you encounter problems in daily life, it is very good to think of this verse; it is very good to meditate on this. This verse is not only for use in teachings; it is for use anywhere. It is recited during teachings, but our mind is supposed to be aware of this verse in daily life. That is the point. It’s meant to help us to be aware of emptiness, to meditate on emptiness.

Even though many examples are given in this verse, the point is that the whole thing is a hallucination. What we talk about, what we believe, what we do (our actions of coming, going, eating, walking, sitting, sleeping), what we experience (forms, sounds, smells, tastes, tangible objects): the whole thing is a hallucination. Everything appears truly existent, real, and we believe it to exist in the way it appears to us. We’re living life in a total hallucination. There’s no real person, no real I; what appears to be real is a hallucination.

So, the illusion person goes to an illusion restaurant and pays illusion money to eat illusion food in that illusion restaurant. It is like that. It’s fascinating. If you’re continuously meditating on your life, it’s really fascinating. It’s really fantastic! You really enjoy your life. This is the best TV. This movie of yourself is the best movie. It’s the best sightseeing. Everything is a total hallucination. There’s no such thing there. There’s only what is merely labelled.

That’s another meditation: the merely labelled I merely labelled goes to the merely labelled restaurant and merely labelled pays merely labelled money to merely labelled eat merely labelled food. That’s another way to meditate. Whatever you’re doing, everything is always merely labelled, so nothing exists from its own side. Everything is empty. But to our hallucinated mind everything appears real: there’s a real I, real everything. At the real market, you do real buying of real food. At the real stupa, you do real circumambulations to do real purifying of real negative karma. There’s no such thing!

In our busy life, we need meditation on emptiness, the very heart of Buddhism. All the teachings of the Prajnaparamita are for wisdom. The Prajnaparamita comes in twelve volumes, in three volumes, then becomes shorter and shorter, down to the Heart of Wisdom, then the Prajnaparamita in a few syllables, and then the Prajnaparamita in one word, AH. That’s it. In Sanskrit AH is a syllable of negation. The Heart Sutra mentions that there is no form, no sound, no smell, no taste, no tangible object and many other things. In Sanskrit, instead of no, there is AH. The AH means that there is no truly existent I, no truly existent action, no truly existent object. There is no true existence on the merely labelled phenomena; there is no phenomena that has true existence. So, it means everything is empty, totally empty. But this is not nihilism. This is the Middle Way (or Madhyamaka) view, devoid of nihilism and eternalism.

Hell and enlightenment; samsara and nirvana; forms, sounds, smells, tastes, tangible objects; I, action, object: all these are not non-existent, which is nihilism, and not truly existent, which is eternalism. They exist in accordance with the Middle Way view, which means they exist in mere name, merely labelled by the mind. So, what the I or any other phenomenon is is something unbelievably subtle. Take the I, for example. What it is is something most subtle, the most subtle. It’s not non-existent but it’s like it’s non-existent. You can see that this is not nihilism but it’s like nihilism. The word like makes the difference, giving a different meaning. For our mind, when it comes to the realisation, it’s like that. I haven’t realised it, but for the meditators who have realised emptiness, I is like that, like it doesn’t exist. All phenomena are like that.

So, one mindfulness meditation in daily life is to continuously practice awareness of the hallucination, looking at everything, which is a hallucination, as a hallucination, from morning until night. For example, when you’re going on pilgrimage, you can use that time to meditate on emptiness. From when you leave your room to go towards Rajgir (or wherever) until you come back, you can continuously use that time for meditation, looking at that which is a hallucination as a hallucination. You don’t need many words — just that. Practice this awareness with whatever you’re doing: the hallucinated I is hallucinated doing some hallucinated action. This leads to reality, to emptiness. What comes in your heart is that everything is empty. There’s no coming or going, there’s no car, there’s no road, there’s no Rajgir. (I mean, no truly existent ones, which is what appears to you and what you believe.) This is what comes in your heart.

If you go on a one-month pilgrimage in Tibet, you can do this. For the whole of that one month, you can meditate, practising awareness of right view, the essence of Buddhism. Buddhism has three divisions, Hinayana, Mahayana Paramitayana and Mahayana tantra, which can be condensed into the lamrim teachings for the lower, middle and higher capable beings. There are then the three principles of the path: renunciation, bodhicitta and right view, the very heart of Buddhism. So, you can meditate on emptiness; you can integrate the practice in that way, exactly like a retreat. You’re travelling, you’re coming and going and doing many things, but if you’re able to keep your mind in this, it’s the same as doing retreat. It’s a question of keeping your mind in the practice of mindfulness, in meditation. It’s then fascinating, very enjoyable. Whether you are happy or having problems, if you look at things in this way, it’s most fascinating. There’s no real problem. There’s no real problem, in reality.

Since everything is merely labelled, you look at it that way. You look at the I and everything else in your life in that way, from morning until night. Whether you are sitting there in your room doing retreat or doing a pilgrimage or working in the office or having a meeting or cooking or cleaning or taking care of a baby or your parents or working as a doctor or as a nurse, keep your mind in meditation. You might have a very busy, very active life, but you keep your mind in meditation. With one part of your mind you’re doing things, but another part of your mind you always keep in meditation, looking at everything as a hallucination, as it is a hallucination; or looking at everything as merely labelled, as it is merely labelled; or looking at everything as empty, as it is empty. (The other meditation, the third one, is awareness of emptiness, looking at everything as empty. This is very, very good — the best.) Since that’s the way everything is existing, you look at it that way.

This is how to meditate on emptiness, the essence of Buddhism, while you’re living the busiest life. Normally people think, “To meditate, you have to sit on a cushion, cross your legs, not speak and close the eyes.” This is not the only way to meditate.

If you can meditate on emptiness in the ways I’ve just described, whatever you do — eating, walking, sitting, sleeping, working—doesn’t become a cause of samsara. Instead, it becomes a remedy to samsara, enabling you to eliminate ignorance, the root of samsara. So there is no doubt that it becomes a remedy to anger, attachment and all the rest of the delusions. As realisation of emptiness eliminates the root, the ignorance holding things to be truly existent, it stops the arising of all delusions. Loving kindness is the opposite to anger, but only to anger. Here, emptiness covers everything. It stops all the delusions; it is the remedy to all delusions.

So, it is good to try these meditations. This is how we should try to meditate on emptiness in our life. We have to put effort into this; we have to try. Then everything we do — eating, walking, sitting, sleeping, working, dancing — will become a remedy to samsara. Even dancing, if you’re doing it with this awareness, will become a remedy to samsara. Everything will become an antidote to ignorance; everything will destroy the root of suffering, ignorance. It will then become a cause to achieve liberation, nirvana, the sorrowless state. Of course, it is the wisdom realising emptiness that directly ceases the delusions, the gross delusions and also the subtle defilements, while bodhicitta indirectly helps to cease them. By ceasing the subtle defilements, you then achieve full enlightenment.

When you go from your room to the market or to the stupa, practice this awareness continuously. You go to the market, you buy things, you come back: you can do a session in that way. You can do a session sitting or you can do a session walking or doing things. You can do this when you go sightseeing. In your room, before you go sightseeing (here I’m talking about looking at ordinary scenery, not holy places), you think to practice lamrim, such as awareness of emptiness. For you, the sightseeing then becomes a session of meditation. Whether you’re at the ocean or in the mountains, whether you’re going or coming back, you’re continuously in meditation. It’s very, very meaningful. You made your life most meaningful. Since all your sightseeing was an antidote to samsara, it didn’t become the cause of samsara. It became a cause to achieve liberation and, if it was done with bodhicitta, it became a cause to achieve enlightenment.

When you encounter relationship problems and other problems in your life, if you practice renunciation or bodhicitta or emptiness, it is really fascinating. You see that the actual reality is something completely opposite to what you have been believing. It’s fantastic. The other life that people in the world normally lead then seems very childish. What kings or presidents or bankers are involved with and believe is all childish. You see that it’s nonsense.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche 56.

Activities are endless, like ripples on a stream. They end only when you drop them. Human moods are like the changing highlights and shadows on a sunlit mountain range. All activities are like the games children play, like castles being made of sand. View them with delight and equanimity, like grandparents overseeing their grandchildren, or a shepherd resting on a hill watching over his grazing flock.

— Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche

Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche (纽修堪仁波切蒋扬多杰) 17.

觉悟的心包括这几种层次
梦参老和尚

我们雪峰有个老修行。可能我们道友有知道的,就在那个枯木那儿。以前义存祖师时,有一个大树枯了,剩了半截了,他就坐那枯木里头成道了,开悟了。后来,专门修了个大房子,把枯木装起来。那儿有个老修行,在那儿拜千佛、拜万佛、拜华严、拜法华,拜了17年。我去那时候17年。85年我到雪峰,特别去看他。那时,他拜了17年了。我到那儿去了,他就问我,他说的的福建福南话,我不懂,有个小孩给做翻译。他说:“法师啊,怎么样了生死啊?”

他把我问得很莫名其妙。我说:“你在干什么啦?”他说:“我在磕头啊。”我说:“磕头干什么啊?”他说:“消业障。”我说;“消业障干什么啊?”他答不出来。我说:“你天天在了生死,你还问我怎么了生死啊!我还没有像你这样磕头呢!我都没了生死啊。悟到这样,你还问我。你就在了生死啊!

必须懂得啊!为什么要学啊?因为你不懂得教义,你怎么走入错路了,你还不知道!必须得有次第啊!成佛得发菩提心呐!发菩提心才能行菩萨道啊!你心都没发,愿也没发,忏悔也没做,那你修道呢,很容易走入歧途!

先忏悔。在你早上上殿,你一去,就忏悔,心里观想忏悔。完了下了殿,把做的这个功德,布施、供养。给一切诸佛菩萨是供养,给一切众生是布施。发愿、忏悔、回向、这三步,一天到晚,你一定得做,这才能够。做的时候,要把普贤菩萨的十大愿观恒进去。

礼佛怎么礼?有十种礼法。礼,就是身体在磕头,心里在想。心里的想,是“观想”。口里还在唱念。身、口、意。在你正做的时候,转变你的身口意,变成诸佛菩萨的身口意。这样子呢,你的成就呢,快一点。那么,你修行的时候,少走弯路。像我们住佛学院的,我们在鼓山的时候,我们佛学院老和尚传禅的时候,两个经常地辩论、争执。这种争执是不对的。一个人从言语进,一个从观想入。

禅定呢,禅,这个字,意思就是三昧。平常说“观”,就是想,想,就是修观。所观的不同,修的生死观嘛,了生死的观嘛。你观什么?换句话说,你在想什么?这是禅的最简单的开示。禅,一个示,一个单,很简单!简单的开示,就是很简单的启发。

假使说,你没有发菩提心,悟不了。为什么?你连这个娑婆世界的事,厌离心还没有,你能离开娑婆世界吗?我们经常念:“发菩提心”、“发菩提心”,我们大陆上的历代祖师有省庵大师发菩提心文,莲池大师发菩提心文……,发菩提心文很多,很笼统。不笼统应该怎样呢?如果大家学习学习那个西藏的《菩提论道》,或者学习斯里兰卡的《清净道论》,清净道,菩提道。走菩提道,发菩提心的时候,你要入普贤行愿,你必需得发菩提心。菩提心就是觉悟的心。

觉悟的心包括有几种层次。

第一个,必须对娑婆世界厌离,生厌离心。有了厌离心了,对娑婆世界心不贪念、意不颠倒。厌离得越究竟,你成就越大。不管你修哪一法门。生极乐世界,你不厌离娑婆世界,娑婆世界的肉又想吃,男女关系你又想得到,又想开大公司、发大财,……还能去到极乐世界?!那真是作梦了!把这些全放下,得有厌离心!你自己厌离不行啊,还有这么多六亲眷属,还有这么多众生啊。

第二个,大悲心。怜悯众生,行菩萨道,我要度他们。我不能因为这种苦难,我一个人走了,不行。我得把众生都度了,把这些道理给他们都讲清楚,让他们都明白。但是,这个大悲心啊,容易产生爱见大悲:跟我有感情的、跟我说话投得来的、很我有关系的呀……。这个不能有关系户,有关系户是不行的!平等大悲!但是这个大悲心得有智慧。

第三个,是般若心。以智慧指导大悲,以大悲心厌离世间,使众生生厌离心。你给他们作榜样。你也离、让他们也离,离啊离,都离了,完了不离娑婆而生极乐。生了极乐世界,把极乐世界和娑婆世界划开了。实际,你生了极乐世界,也就是娑婆世界。

学《华严经》呢,把这个极乐世界立的,种种光明瑞相,上头20层华藏世界,咱毗卢遮那说的,他这个法身,他所教化的区域,第十三层,叫华藏世界。凡是释迦牟尼佛所说的法的、所有说的世界,所有的无量诸佛,都在十三层华藏世界。

有一次,阿难尊者,他听到了,他就问释迦牟尼佛,因为他对佛什么话都说的,他毫不拘束的。他说:世尊啊,你在因地大概发愿不清净啊,为什么你这世界这么脏、这么坏、苦难这么多?你说的极乐世界、琉璃光世界、不动世界、……,那么多世界为什么都很好?佛没有答复他,文殊师利就答复他了:你说什么?你看到的!我看到的世界就不是这样的。正在文殊师利跟阿难尊者说呢,佛用足点大地。啊!马上这个世界变成了华藏世界!众生的业!

如果这个娑婆世界的苦难,释迦牟尼佛不来发大悲心,咱们怎么离苦呢?都到极乐世界了,谁来度我们呢?你到极乐世界去,马上得请回来!不为安养,回入娑婆世界。你得发这个愿,生得更快一点。你说,我到那儿享受去了,你去不了!那界那么清净、那么好,你去不了!

“啊,我们上海龙华寺很舒服”,我们那个道友维那师傅说:“住这儿比我们住山里舒服多了,我们就在这儿住着好了”,这能行吗?没有这个缘!我们今天讲这个“华”、“严”,还得有这个“因”。

你是什么因,你就结什么果;那你得找好因。发菩提心,就是因,将来成佛,成菩提果。

Ven Meng Can (梦参老和尚) 23.

If you respond with anger when another harms you, does your wrath remove the harm inflicted? Resentment surely serves no purpose in this life and brings adversity in lives to come.

— Chandrakirti

Chandrakīrti (月称菩萨) 15.