略说舍利
文|僧禅

舍利是诸佛菩萨,或历代高僧在荼毗后所遗留下的遗骨。舍利,意为身骨、灵骨。舍利曾专指佛陀的遗骨,称为佛骨、佛舍利,其后也指高僧圆寂后,焚烧所遗之骨。《翻译名义经》云:“所遗骨分,通名舍利。”佛门中通常认为,舍利是修道者在生前勤修戒定慧而成,是最为无上的福田。《金光明经·舍身品》云:“是舍利者,即是无量六波罗蜜功德所重。”又云:“舍利者,是戒定慧之所熏修,甚难可得,最上福田。”

根据入葬的方式不同,舍利分为全身舍利和碎身舍利两种。全身、碎身舍利之说,起源于古印度梨俱吠陀时期所流行的土葬与火葬二两种方法,以土葬之遗体称为全身舍利,以火葬后的遗骨称为碎身舍利。另有一种根据舍利处置方式的不同,将遗骨全部收入一塔者,称为全身舍利;将遗骨分置多处者,称为碎身舍利。

根据生身和法身的不同,舍利又分为生身舍利与法身舍利两种。生身舍利,是指佛的遗骨。法身舍利,是佛所遗留的教法、戒律,而以舍利作为比喻。佛说的三藏十二部经典,旨在阐明实相中道之理,不变不易,性相常尔,故称法身舍利。能代替佛舍利,供奉于塔中。《法华经·法师品》云:“若说、若读、若诵、若书、若经卷所住处,皆应起七宝塔,极令高广严饰,不须复安舍利。所以者何?此中已有如来全身。此塔应以一切华、香、璎珞、缯盖、幢幡、伎乐歌颂、供养、恭敬、尊重、赞叹。”

根据修道者荼毗后身体不同部位的颜色,舍利又分为骨舍利、发舍利和肉舍利三种。骨舍利呈现为白色;发舍利呈现为黑色;肉舍利呈现出赤色。通常所说是都属于骨舍利。骨舍利多为坚硬珠状,五彩耀目。

盛装舍利的器皿称为舍利瓶、舍利壶。多以金属、石器、陶器、木材等制造,形状不一。据《长阿含经·游行经》载,佛涅槃后,荼毗遗骸,诸国遣使欲得佛舍利,时有香姓婆罗门,乃将佛舍利八分,分与八国,婆罗门则自得舍利瓶而归。

中国有关舍利瓶的记录,见《梁高僧传·康僧会 传》载,康僧会最初到达南京时,吴主孙权并不认可他。告诉他若能感得稀有之事,即可得到特别的礼遇, 否则便有杀生之祸。康僧会许诺孙权,自己将在三七日内祈得舍利。可是,两个七日过去了,并没有出现舍利,孙权怀疑康僧会纯属招摇撞骗。下令若三七日内求不到舍利,则杀之。康僧会于佛前虔诚祈求,这时天地神祇,咸加灵被,终于在三七日圆满之时,于铜瓶中感得舍利。当时,孙权手持铜瓶,将舍利倾倒盘中,铜盘顿时破裂。众人以火烧锤砸,均不能损毁舍利,孙权于 是建塔供养舍利,从此大兴佛法。

安放佛陀或高僧舍利的塔称为舍利塔。据《游行经》载,佛陀涅槃后,由香姓婆罗门保管佛舍利,而波婆国欲分得舍利,在本土起塔供养,乃备四种兵至拘尸城,遣使者请分舍利。然拘尸王谓世尊于该国灭度,国内士民当自供养,遂拒分舍利。同时遮罗颇国、罗摩伽国、毗留提国、迦毗罗卫国、毗舍离国,及摩揭陀国亦各备四种兵进渡恒水,请分舍利,拘尸王也以同理由拒分舍利,诸王即欲执干戈以力取,香姓婆罗门告谕彼等不可,乃八分舍利,八国皆得舍利而归,各起塔供养。其后,阿育王建立八万四千塔以供养佛舍利,高僧法显、玄奘至印度时仍可见及阿育王所建之塔。

吴主孙权建舍利塔供养舍利,是中国建造舍利塔的最早记载。隋文帝时,天下诸州建舍利塔的风气盛行。 据《广弘明集》载,仁寿元年至二年(601—602),隋文帝诏令天下八十二寺立塔。其后,历代都有建造、修治舍利塔的记载。

佛的舍利也称为“佛骨”。唐代朝廷多次迎请法门寺佛骨舍利入宫中供养。其中,唐宪宗元和年间,朝廷所举行的大规模恭迎佛舍利的活动,遭到大文学家韩愈的激烈反对,韩愈的反佛之举激怒了唐宪宗,因此被贬官到潮州。

佛的牙齿舍利称为“佛牙舍利”。相传帝释天曾取佛牙在天上建塔供养,故佛牙备受青睐。释迦牟尼留下四枚佛牙,其中一枚受到历代帝王的供养,今藏在北京灵光寺舍利塔中。

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Compassion is the very soul of your Dharma practice. It’s compassion that brings you to the resultant state of Buddhahood, and so allows you to perform wonderful enlightened activities for the welfare of others.

— Ribur Rinpoche

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Intention Is the Practice
by Norman Fischer

When you practice meditation, you are assured of success. But by “success” I don’t mean that things will go as you hope they will.

When you meditate, you soon forget about whether things go as you hope they will. You are happy to be surprised by what happens, knowing you can make use of anything for your practice. In that way, your meditation is always successful, no matter what arises. All you have to do is do it.

But here’s the problem: it is difficult to sustain a meditation practice. We are so easily sidetracked, distracted, and discouraged. Events of our lives throw us off almost every day. Our intention to practice wobbles and wavers.

Intention is everything. If your mind is always aligned with your intention to practice, you are always practising. Practice is the spirit of practice, more than any specific activity. The mind of practice is practice. And that’s intention.

What is intention? Probably we can’t completely define it. Like all inner states, it’s hard to grasp. Intention has to do with purpose. Its Old English/French/Latin root intender implies “to stretch.” So intention is to grow, to develop, toward something purposeful.

Intention is closely connected to two other important inner activities that are foundational for Buddhist practice: commitment and vow. Let’s see how the three work together.

Intention: Somehow the events of my life and the feelings I have about those events bring me to want to think, feel, and act in a particular way.

Commitment: Affirming my intention, I commit to staying with it. I confirm it in my heart.

Vow: I identify with my commitment as myself. No matter what happens — lifetime after lifetime (that is, in a scope wider than I can ever know or experience) — I vow to go on with my commitment.

In the practice of vowing there is no sense that I will ever fully accomplish what I intend. My vow is beyond that — it is to keep on going with my practice forever. In Zen, we call this the bodhisattva vow, to practice forever for the sake of all sentient beings. Dogen calls it continuous practice. In Zen, “practice” always means practice for and with others. There is no other kind of practice.

Recently I interviewed the poet Alice Notley about her relationship with Philip Whalen, the late great Buddhist Beat poet. Philip was a Zen priest and one of my dearest teachers. I asked Alice if Philip had ever talked to her about Buddhism. She said, “We had one conversation once, right after my husband died. I told him I needed to take a vow so I could go on. He said there was only one vow in Zen — the bodhisattva vow. He told me what it was, and I took that vow in my head.”

This is an example of someone who, without any other formal practice, has built a life on intention and vow.

Zen, following the sweeping teachings of Mahayana Buddhism, proposes that “all beings have buddha nature,” or, as Dogen purposely misreads it, “all beings are buddha nature.” That is, our basic human nature is awakening, goodness, compassion, connection, and love.

But if this is true, why is life so hard? Why is sustaining the intention to spiritual practice, committing to it, and vowing to go on so difficult? Why is the human world so full of violence, unfairness, and selfishness if we are all buddha nature?

In a short sutra in the Pali canon, the Buddha says, “This mind, O monks, is luminous. Only it is covered by adventitious defilements from without.”

In other words, the mind, consciousness, is basically buddha (“luminous”). However, the luminousness of the mind has been covered over by bad conditions and the accumulation of our bad responses to those conditions over time. So it is hard for us to see.

When conditions of our life bring us to the intention to see our own luminous beauty, we are going to be okay. We don’t know exactly what will happen but we have confidence in our practice. The path is clear — even when sometimes it may seem not to be. All the activity of Buddhist practice is for the purpose of developing our intention until it becomes our vow, and our intention and our life are one.

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If you and this world desire to attain unsurpassed enlightenment, its roots are an enlightenment mind as firm as the great king of mountains, compassion that reaches every quarter, and the wisdom that avoids the two [extremes].

— Nāgārjuna

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信则有,不信也有
净空法师

造作罪业,实在讲非常非常容易,极短的时间可以造作罪业,可是将来受的苦报可不得了。像这样,地藏菩萨苦口婆心把事实真相给我们说出来,谁相信?一般人读这个经,以为什么?这是佛教劝人为善的,说这些话吓唬人,劝人不要做坏事。不以为然,不以为它是真的。这就是这个经上讲的“刚强难化的众生”,自以为是,那里晓得这是事实真相?

这个里面不是说,信佛的人才会堕地狱,不信佛的人就不堕地狱,没这回事。如果说不信佛的人,就不堕地狱,那我们就不要信佛了。不信佛的人照样堕地狱,不管你信不信。你修善决定升天,你造恶决定堕落,一定道理,不管你信不信。

诸佛菩萨劝导我们:存好心、行好事、说好话、做好人。好的标准在哪里呢?——《地藏菩萨本愿经》就是最好的标准。我们起心动念、言语造作,跟经典里面所讲的相应,就对了,决定得福,这个福报生生世世永远享不尽。千万不能够违背经教,造一些恶事,图眼前一点微薄之利,后来遭受无穷的苦报,那就得不偿失了。

杀生、偷盗、邪淫、妄语是性罪,不受戒造了也有罪,不能说没有罪,这是四重罪。不管有没有佛法,不管学不学佛,你造了都是极重的罪业。造的时候,看你用的是什么心,看你造的业之深广,结罪不同。如果我们把《地藏经》故事跟他说,他摇头,不相信,却说那是骗人的。这就是谤佛、谤法,这个罪就更重了。不相信因果,他就恣意的为非作歹,他不相信有报应。所谓在这个世间作威作福,不肯饶恕别人,他不晓得,后来的果报不可思议。把它说作迷信就是毁谤,加上迷信这两个字,就让许许多多众生断绝闻法的机缘。

《地藏经》常常读有好处。读一遍提起自己高度的警觉,这里面句句都是实话,没有一句是吓唬人的、是威胁人的,没有。佛讲的句句都是真实话。

菩萨用什么方法来救拔众生的苦难,我们一定要晓得。菩萨不是用神通,神通救不了众生。菩萨用教学、劝导。众生造的罪业,他自己一定要受果报,佛菩萨不能代他受。佛菩萨如果有能力代这一切众生受这些苦报,他大慈大悲应当代我们受,我们何必还要修行?不需要了嘛。佛家是跟你讲理的,不是像宗教,你信了就得救,佛家不可能。你信了佛,你也不能得救;你信菩萨、敬菩萨、拜菩萨,你也不能得救。怎样才能得救?你要回头就得救。佛给我们说这个道理。你是怎么样迷惑的?这么样造罪业的?怎么样受苦报的?佛把这些事情给你讲清楚、说明白,你恍然大悟了。觉悟之后,你能够断一切恶,修一切善,那不就得度了吗。

Ven Jin Kong 45.

Monks, these two people are hard to find in the world.

Which two?

The one who is first to do a kindness, and the one who is grateful for a kindness done and feels obligated to repay it.

These two people are hard to find in the world.

— The Buddha

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How to Structure a Daily Practice Session
by Tsoknyi Rinpoche

“I would like to discuss a little bit on how to put together the whole suitable package of practice and structure it in a certain way for you. For a practice session to be complete, there are four steps that must be present (five if you have a yidam or deity virtualisation practice): 1) refuge; 2) bodhicitta; 2(a) optional deity virtualisation with mantra practise; 3) meditation (shamatha and/or rigpa); and, 4) dedication. I have also included some additional practices here you may include if you wish as well, but the four or five steps must all be present.

“In terms of the duration of a session, it should not be less than 45 minutes. If you practice more than 45 minutes, then you can improve your practice, but one is at least able to maintain the quality of the practice if done for 45 minutes per session every day. You may do a session of practice in the morning or in the afternoon or night — however you wish, but when you decide that is the session, then don’t allow any interruptions. You have to put your full attention into the session and not start to think about what will come later, like what you’re going to do for the rest of the day. Just have complete dedication to the session.

“So in the morning when you wake up, the first thing that one usually does is to clear the dullness that comes from the deep sleep of ignorance. When we wake up, the first thing we do, if we have a gong, then we can hit it a number of times (Rinpoche demonstrates a roll down on the gong). Or if we have also a damaru or bell, then we can start to play them for some time. And together with that, then we imagine in the space in front of us dakas and dakinis are also playing the bell and damaru, and they’re telling us, ‘Now don’t be distracted. You’ve been sleeping. You have the dullness of sleep that is ignorance. You’re wasting half of your life sleeping, so wake up.’ There is a prayer that you can use that says all these things. *[Note: please see the prayer ‘Awakening At Dawn From the Sleep of Unknowing’ at the bottom of the page.] We can read the prayer while playing the damaru and bell, or we can leave the damaru and bell and just recite the prayer. So then you feel that you have awakened from sleep.

“After that, then we have to expel the air of the three poisons — that kind of wind energy of the three poisons. So first we start by blocking the right nostril. This is purifying the stale breath and consists of nine exhalations. First blocking the right nostril one breathes three times from the left. Then the opposite, blocking the left one, one breathes three times from the right. And then without any blocking, exhale three times from both nostrils. Then you feel that you have expelled the wind energies of passion, aggression and ignorance. Okay? We’re still not Buddhists yet.

“After expelling the stale breath, if you need some lung balance in the beginning, it’s very good to do a bit of this vase breathing or the kumbha ka by inhaling, bringing the speedy wind restlessness of lung down with the aid of inhalation. So do this gentle vase practice just a few times — perhaps three to nine times, something like two or three minutes to ‘cool down.’ How much would be the time when you think, ‘I feel okay. I think my body and my lung is okay. Now if I do Buddhist practice, it could be good.’ This depends on the individual; some only need a little bit of time, some need more.

“And if one still does not feel right, then it’s good to start practising shamatha a little bit. Once you feel good then you continue by reflecting on the Four Thoughts that Turn the Mind: 1) the preciousness of human existence; 2) impermanence and death; 3) the karmic law of cause and effect; and, 4) the consequences of remaining in samsara.

“Then if you wish, you can recite the prayer, Calling the Lama from Afar. That is sometimes recited before the Four Thoughts, or sometimes after. You can choose either way, but after the Four Thoughts may be better because then you already have some feeling. The meaning of reflecting on the Four Thoughts is to feel something, you know? To develop some feeling.

“There is a prayer called A Small Song of Yearning, Calling the Lama from Afar written by the first Tsoknyi Rinpoche. You could sing it with [omitted]¹ your own tune. Every single morning all the nuns in Tibet, 4000 people in Tibet chant this ‘Lama Khyeno’ (Calling the Lama from Afar). So after praying to the lama in this way, you feel that the lama’s enlightened body, speech and mind, merge with your body speech and mind and become one.

“At this point, you can begin a formal practice session. You do the refuge and bodhicitta steps of your practice session by visualising the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha while reciting the outer, inner, and extraordinary refuge and bodhicitta prayers in the chant book.

“After reciting the extraordinary bodhicitta prayer, then you start to do the sadhana of a yidam or a deity yoga. Vajrasattva, Manjushri, Tara, whatever you have you go with that. Chant the mantra, do the virtualisation, purify yourself, purify all sentient beings, whatever you do. Then at the end of that, the deity dissolves into you. There’s no outside, there’s no inside, it is inseparable with you, okay? From there you can go directly into Dzogchen.

“If you don’t have a yidam practice, then you would go straight into the practice of mind practice of meditation after refuge and bodhicitta. If you can go directly into rigpa then do that, otherwise, you do some shamatha and then rigpa. You can do shamatha with support, then shamatha without support, then rigpa, then again go back and do alternatively any of these, as they’re all in the same kind of sphere.

“Maybe you start to feel a bit tired of doing mind practice at some point. Then at that point, you can do tonglen, the practice of giving and taking, or also you can start to recite supplications to your teacher. And all these have to be done within the whole session of practice that you’re doing. Sometimes while you’re doing the mind practice maybe you’re becoming attached or you’re having some kind of fixation happening. At that point then either you shout Phet! or you completely just destroy the meditation, shake a little bit, interrupt it for some time, then you go back into that practice again. You don’t walk away, that is still part of the session. Then you practice again.

“Then from time to time, it’s good to pay attention to the different aspects of rigpa. You’re practising mostly in essence rigpa, but as we saw there is the expression, display and also ornament. These things should come automatically and naturally out of stability of the practice, but still there is some kind of training that we can do in order to help that to happen. It is like an exercise. So while you’re meditating in this mind practice and resting in essence rigpa then you start to pay a little bit more attention on the expression rigpa, the juicy part of the rigpa, rather than empty part of the rigpa. Make it more like homey rigpa. And then see whether you are attached or stuck or covered by that hominess or not. It’s very good if you’re not.

“Because our conceptual mind is very used to having an object during the session of practice, sometimes we need to feed it with some objects. So that’s why we leave that mind practice and maybe practice tonglen or some other type of practice in which there is an object. So alternating within this part of the session is no problem. It’s not like a completely frozen state. You can move from here and there, okay? You can do shamatha without, with support, then practice resting in the nature of mind for quite a long time. Then when you start to feel you need something to chew, some object in the meditation, go back into shamatha with support. When you feel a little bit tired of practising with support and you need some more refined practice go back into rigpa or shamatha without support.

“So you do a session for 45 minutes to two hours, and then at the end of the session, you distribute the merit and dedicate it properly. To close the session you can recite the whole chant book except for the Mandala Offering and Request for Teachings. You may or may not recite the one hundred syllables of Vajrasattva as you like. If you can, recite it may be eight or 21 times while visualising Vajrasattva for a short time for purification. Then you finish up the chant book. But follow the meaning. If you have more time, reflect on the meaning of each chant you chant. This is the right way of doing the chants: you chant and then reflect, then the next one: chant, reflect.

“Once you have finished, at the end dedicate the merit and your aspirations. If you already have some aspirations then recite them as usual, like aspirations for the health of your family and your father and mother and so forth, for global warming, aspirations that the world may improve, aspirations particularly how the situation in Tibet may improve, and for help with that since the teachings of the Buddha are also in danger. Any aspiration in that way. When we recite these aspirations for a certain objective, then by the force of the prayers there’s a certain energy that will help that objective be met. Then pray for your practice, I think you can pray for your life a little bit at the end. Why not? So at that point, the session is over.

“So in general, one by one maybe you can spend 10 minutes on each of the four or five sections sometimes, but all together it’s 45 minutes or more. Sometimes you can spend more time on refuge, sometimes more time on bodhicitta, sometimes more time on visualisation, sometimes more time on resting meditation, nature of mind. Traditionally in Tibet, we spend more time on the deity visualisation with mantra, and also resting at the beginning, and not as much time on the refuge, bodhicitta and dedication. So you can adjust a little bit here and there according to what you need to transform.”

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Full enlightenment is attained
by fully realising Buddha-Nature
and fully renouncing all other ‘natures’.

— Shilashanti

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打破我执的枷锁 才能往生佛国净土
静波法师

枷锁即是能、所的束缚,众生身心净化的前提是要打破我所及能的束缚,一般人修学净土总认为有一个实在的东西,有一个能去的我,有一个所去的西方极乐世界,总在这上面攀缘,在心外求法,有这样的观念,那肯定是去不成的。往生佛国,必须要打破这种执著,打破这把枷锁,否则的话,就会培养更大的贪欲和我执。

去西方极乐世界是有条件的,有位法师讲从民国到现在只有四十八位往生的,其他的都随业力去了。我执破不了,就意味着继续在滋长自我意识,也就只能继续在世间轮回,不可能往生佛国净土。虽然佛国是接引众生的,但往生佛国的条件与方法却是和世间的思想观念完全不同的,我们常听说“当局者迷,旁观者清”,我认为对学佛人而言是“当局者清,旁观者迷”。有些人认为我们出家人把青春都搭到里面,不吃肉、不喝酒、也没成家,亏得很。

但我很清楚,对于别人认定是莫名其妙的想法,就没必要和他争论,因为那是没有用的,就像再漂亮的一朵花对牛来讲,不过是把草而已。往生的条件必须建立在无我、无所得的坚实基础上,而且这也是一切学佛的根本,如果有一个实在的我,有一个我所有的思维观念,那你是没法走出这个怪圈的,你会依旧去轮回,只能在佛法里结个善缘,将来有一点福报,但很难活得自在与快乐。有人说自己很快乐,那是你跟别人比了之后的感觉,别人没钱你有钱,别人没当官你当了官,但你忽略了自己有的苦恼,你用自己的优势比较别人的劣势,你才有了成就感,这只是相对的,不是绝对的,这一切都会消失的,你还会轮回。

只有建立在无我、无我所的基础上,才能实现平等自由的佛土。在佛土里绝对是平等的,分九品是由于我们努力得还不够,努力到最后一定是平等的。学佛不要走形式,否则容易让人误解,也起不到应有的作用。我曾听说过一个事例,在北京有位老法师要准备念佛往生,很多居士去帮助助念,为了使这位法师能顺利往生,就不让他吃东西,但他还想吃一些食物,结果被饿得很痛苦地走了。其实往生是心里往生,而不是这个肉体往生,肉体是谁也带不走的,学佛要取中道,切不可走极端。如果我们在现实生活中能好好改变自己,彻底打破我执的枷锁,就一定能够往生佛国净土。我对网上的朋友要说的是:参加了几次夏令营,我认为佛法真的是要多讲的,不讲大家会迷惑;讲完之后是要做,不然的话是欺骗自己,也欺骗众生学佛。如果自己做不好,别人会研究你,有一天会讲“闹了半天,你把我们给骗了。”这样他就会更失落,信心一下子就会打掉。所以每个人要或多或少地去脚踏实地改变一下自己,做总比不做好,不一定一下子就成就,但只要是朝着那个方向迈进就足够了。还是那句话,脚踏实地去做吧,就这么简单!

Ven Jing Bo (静波法师) 8.

Since ignorance obscures its true nature, this is the seeming. The Sage has declared that seeming reality is that which is fabricated and appears as real through this [ignorance]. Thus, fabricated entities are the seeming.

— Chandrakirti

Chandrakīrti (月称菩萨) 14.