反观自心
净慧长老

说到开示,讲来讲去,都是剩语,因为讲不出什么新鲜的东西来。讲出来的都不是禅。禅是靠每个人自己去修行,去体验的。

每个人反观自心就会知道,说出来的都不是禅;自己哪怕有那么一点点体会、受用,那一点点受用就是禅。

从古到今,禅宗提倡不立文字,不以语言文字取胜,但是从来没有完全摒弃语言文字。所以,以语言文字作为入道的方便,自古以来都是这样使用。今天,我们更不能不借助于这种方便来共同地学习、体会、修行。

不仅是佛教,世法也是如此,讲来讲去,讲的便是我们这颗心。世法里讲,做事要凭良心,这个人心好,这个人心不好,这是个有心人,一天到晚做任何事,都离不开这颗心。佛法里更是如此。

佛经,正式翻译过来的七、八千卷,加上历代祖师的著作,一共是两万多卷,打开这些经卷,可以发现使用得最多的便是“心”字,描绘得最多的是我们心的状态。禅宗,叫做“心宗”,禅宗法门是“心地法门”。所以,要怎样来观察我们这颗心?实际上,修一切的法门都是在观心,都离不开观心,只不过表现的方式有所不同而已。

“观心”二字,可以概括佛教的一切修行法门,因此,这可以说是个大总持,是一个总的法门。

观心——以“念心所”来观察我们当下的这一念妄心,从而最终去妄显真。

讲到心,有各种各样的说法,心的状态也有各种各样的描述。大体上来讲,心可以分为“真心”与“妄心”。我们观心就是把自己当下的这一念心对象化、客体化,这是个念心所。

心有各种活动,这种现象在佛教中称为“心所”,即心所发挥作用的那种状态。那么,我们平常作用最多的,是“念心所”——十个善心所里最为主要的一个。以念心所来观察我们当下的这一念妄心。

观心,是一个手段,目的是要去妄显真。无始以来,我们轮回六道不得解脱,便是缘于这一念妄心的主宰。

观察这一念妄心有种种方便。上根利智的人可以直接以念心所看破当下一念,让它不思前不想后,不思善不思恶,让这一念心孤立起来。这一念心孤立起来了,就逐渐产生定力,能够不被烦恼、无明、妄想所缠绕。

我们难就难在这一念心孤立不起来,总是和各种各样的杂念妄想联系在一起。

《金刚经》所云:应无所住而生其心,应生无所住心。无所住,就是不住色生心,不住声、香、味、触、法生心,应无所住而生其心。要用这种方法来观心,则非有大智慧、大善根、大毅力之人才能做得到。

参禅这一法,就是上根利智的人所修的法门。它叫做单刀直入,或者叫做直指人心,见性成佛,这是最直截了当的法门。

一心不乱——让当下一念心和色声香味触法脱离关系,使心恢复到它的原态。

我们不可能人人都与这种比较难的法门相应,因此,也可以借助其他的方法来达到观心的目的,达到集中意念,孤立这一念心的目的。

为什么说念佛不可以有杂念?一有杂念,其心则难以孤立。所谓杂念,就是和色声香味触法发生了染着,一经染着要使我们很快地去妄显真是不可能的。

色声香味触法是染污我们一念心的染法而不是净法,心里能够恢复到它的原态,则必须从六尘中完全脱离出来。

只要有生活,不和六尘发生关系,那也是不可能的。又要和六尘发生关系,又要使你这一念心孤立起来不受染着,这就相当相当地困难,但是,又必须如此,否则,要获得禅定、智慧、解脱,是不可能的。

很多人是经常诵《金刚经》的。《金刚经》告诉我们用功的方法,最关键的是“应无所住而生其心”。

我们可以注意到,不是不起心,不是不生心,而是要起那个无住的心,要生起那个不被染着的心。这就是禅宗里所讲的初步功夫,对境不起心。

对客观六尘,不起心,不动念,使当下这一念心孤明历历。孤明历历,就是不和过去心、末来心发生联系,就是当下一念能时时把着,念念提斯,日久天长自自然然地达到去妄显真的目的,所以说,修行“观心”是个根本的法门。观心的诀窍,就是让我们当下的这一念心孤立起来。

希望我们在修行时,在打坐时能够善用其心,不要辜负光阴。

Ven Jing Hui 净慧法师 26.

A crystal takes on the colour of the cloth upon which it is placed, whether white, yellow, red or black. Likewise, whether the influence of the people with whom you spend your time is positive or negative will make a huge difference to the direction your life and practice take.

— Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche (顶果钦哲仁波切) 57.

Generating the Mind of Enlightenment
by His Holiness the Dalai Lama

I would like to extend my greeting to all of you.

Yesterday when I arrived here it was raining quite a lot, but today it is quite different and pleasant. Perhaps half of you have come here partly to have a good time, for a holiday, so if you wish to stay for the whole talk or if you wish to walk around and take it easy, please do so.

The teaching that is going to take place here today is preceding the ceremony for taking the generation of the mind of enlightenment and for that I will be doing some preliminary recitations including the recitation of the Heart Sutra.

In the context of giving the teachings, both on the part of the person who is giving the teaching and the people who are receiving the teachings, it is very important to ensure that you have the right motivation. Therefore, for Buddhist teaching, it is very important that you take refuge in the Three Jewels and commit to the ideals of bodhicitta.

So please recite the refuge formula.

I have visited this place several times and also I have had the opportunity to give teachings at this place several times. When I look around here today, one thing that I notice is the change in the trees. Some of the trees have really grown; some of them have really spread their roots. So, this points out to us and reminds us of the basic principle of impermanence, the transient nature of life. This is also something that we can remember if we think about the founder of the centre, the late Geshe Wangyal-la, who is no longer with us. All of these things point towards the nature of impermanence, the transient nature of life. This transient nature and the process of change that we go through, that everything goes through in time, is something that no one and nothing can stop. This is a basic fact of reality; a basic fact of existence.

Now what we do, what control we have in our hands, is how we utilise this time, which is constantly going through change. If we utilise our time for a more beneficial and positive purpose, we give our existence some kind of purpose and meaning. If we use it for destructive purposes, we create harm for ourselves and others. If we just lead a life with no mindfulness, we just completely have no sense of direction. So, the only thing that we have in our hands is how we utilise the time. So, wouldn’t it be wonderful to utilise whatever remaining time that we have in our existence, in our life, towards something that is noble and meaningful; something that is purposeful?

However, leading our lives in a purposeful and meaningful way does not necessarily mean we have to lead a religious life in the sense of a religious belief or with religious faith. The key or essence is to lead a life which is grounded in the principle of helping others, if possible. If not, at least refrain from harming others. So, that is the key.

If we wish to create a sense of purpose, we can make our existence meaningful on the basis of religious faith. Of course, on this planet there are so many different major world religious traditions, so we can pursue these paths through different traditions. However, it is important for the followers of these religious traditions to utilise, to implement the essential teachings of whatever religious path we are following in daily life.

If we can integrate the essential teachings of the religious path that we subscribe to and follow into our day-to-day experience, then of course there will be a tremendous benefit.

Today, in the context here, the religious teaching that is being given is a Buddhist teaching, because this is a Buddhist centre. Although many of you may already be aware of this, the key message of the Buddhist teachings is to try to seek a path to happiness and joy through a method that involves primarily bringing about the discipline of the mind. This discipline of mind really brings about a transformation of the mind, which is the key path to obtaining happiness according to the Buddhist approach.

From our own personal experience, we know that the more conviction, the more convinced we are of the value of a particular goal that we are pursuing, the greater our commitment and the greater our desire to attain that. In some cases, the commitment to achieving that goal is so strong that even if we are tempted to be distracted or diverted, there is a check, so we can follow the path without distraction.

What becomes important in this context for us here is to ensure that our wish to obtain that goal is grounded in a firm conviction, not only in the value of that goal but also that our conviction is grounded in some personal experience and some valid reasons. The stronger it’s grounded in such valid reasons and personal experience, the more firm our commitment to that goal will be. Therefore in the context of Buddhist spirituality, the Buddhist religious path, understanding the nature of reality becomes very crucial.

Given that understanding, the nature of reality becomes crucial for a Buddhist religious path to achieving the goal of ultimate liberation, what becomes important for Buddhist practitioners is not to be deceived by whatever perception we have. We should not be deceived by the level of appearance. Even from our own personal experience in day-to-day living, we know that appearance does not necessarily always convey the right picture of reality. Often in our day-to-day interaction with life, there is a disparity or a gap between how things seem to us and how things really are. This is really the basis for the Buddhist emphasis on developing such deep understandings like the nature of the two truths. Understanding the nature of reality is crucial, and in order to arrive at such a proper understanding, we need to appreciate that sometimes appearance is not the true picture of reality. Therefore, having the sensitivity to appreciate that there are different levels of reality becomes critical.

The whole purpose of trying to seek a deeper understanding of the nature of reality based on the concept of the two truths is to bring about our ultimate spiritual aspiration of attaining lasting happiness and overcoming suffering, therefore, the teachings of the two truths are directly related to the Buddhist teachings of the four noble truths.

Once we look at the Buddhist teachings from this kind of angle or perspective, then we really appreciate the principal significance of the Buddha’s teaching on the four noble truths at his first public ceremony. Through teaching the four noble truths, he lays down the whole foundation or framework of the entire Buddhist path to enlightenment.

In the second public ceremony, the Buddha’s key teaching was the two truths. Although the two truths as a philosophical concept are something that is found not just in Buddhist teachings but also in non-Buddhist schools, it is in the teachings of the second public ceremony that we find a presentation of the highest level of understanding of the two truths. This addresses the fundamental issue at the heart of our existence as individual human beings or as sentient beings.

Now that we realise that the teaching on the four noble truths presents two sets of causality — one set that deals with the causality of suffering and its origin, and the other set which deals with the causality of cessation, the cause of that cessation, which is the path — we can raise the question, “Why?”

What was the significance of the Buddha teaching the four noble truths to begin with? The significance of that is to address the fundamental issue of our existence as individual human beings or as sentient beings. At the heart of our existence is this instinctual or innate desire to seek happiness and to overcome suffering. So, sentient beings who possess these natural instincts exist.

This suggests that naturally there exist sentient beings who possess this instinctual desire to seek happiness and to overcome suffering, and that really is the basis. So the question can be raised about the nature of those sentient beings. We find a reference in one of the tantras where Buddha speaks about the beginningless and endless continuum of mind, that is said to be the ever-good or eternally good. The reference to the beginningless and endless continuum of consciousness or mind is that from the Buddhist point of view, there is nothing that exists outside the bounds of causation. Every event and everything must come into being as a result of causes and conditions. This is also true of consciousness, as it is true of the external world. In the case of a material phenomenon, not only must the object have a cause, but also there must be some substance which maintains its continuum from one instance to another. Buddhists call this a substantial cause or material cause — a cause which maintains the continuum.

Similarly, in the case of consciousness — of mind or mental phenomena — there must be a continuum, and not only must there be a continuum, but also that continuum must be maintained on the basis of entities which share the same nature. A physical entity cannot become a continuum for a mental entity or mental phenomena. So it is on that basis, as far as the continuum of consciousness itself is concerned, there is nothing that can really destroy that continuum, therefore, it is also endless.

However, this is not to say that every instance of consciousness or mental event is beginningless or endless. Of course, when we talk about consciousness — mind or mental phenomena — we must appreciate that there are so many different levels of subtlety and coarseness. For example, many of the gross levels of consciousness, such as our sensory experiences and many of our thought processes, are time-bound; they are contingent on that. Many of these aspects of consciousness are contingent upon specific additions, specific organs and so on.

Within the continuum of consciousness, there must be something unique to consciousness, that makes the first instance and the second instance and so on possess that nature of being an experience, which is called the luminous nature. There must be something in the nature of mere experience or in the nature of mere awareness, and it is on that basis that we speak of the beginningless continuum and the endless continuum. That faculty, that quality of pure awareness or mere experience is not contingent upon any physical conditions and neither is it contingent upon any specific time, so it is from that point of view that consciousness or mind is said to be beginningless and endless.

In Buddhism, when we speak about the nature of self — the person or I — that self or I is something that is designated upon the basis of this continuum of consciousness. So, just as the continuum of consciousness is said to be beginningless and endless, therefore in Buddhism, the person — the self or I — that is designated upon that continuum of consciousness is also said to be beginningless and endless.

The method or means by which we can fulfil the aspirations of that self or that person which is designated upon the continuum of consciousness must come about on the basis of some transformation of that mind or consciousness.

This fact is very forcefully demonstrated in the Buddhist teachings on the twelve links in the chain of dependent origination. The teachings say very explicitly that it is our fundamental ignorance that creates the whole chain that eventually makes the cycle of the twelve links. Ignorance leads to volition, volition leads to karmic consciousness and so on and so forth, so it is the fundamental ignorance that creates the whole cycle of unenlightenment.

However, it is through the elimination of ignorance that we reverse the cycle and thus create a process towards enlightenment. When Buddha taught the twelve links of dependent origination, we were never given the impression that although fundamental ignorance lies at the root of the whole cycle, we can eliminate ignorance simply through a prayer or simply through adopting certain physical discipline or some form of physical behaviour. We are taught that we can begin the process of reversing the cycle only through cultivating the right insight that sees through the delusion created by ignorance. So in brief, ignorance leads to unenlightenment and knowledge, the opposite of ignorance leads to…

Geshe Thupten Jinpa: Sorry…Ignorance leads to suffering, unenlightenment. [The Dalai Lama laughs] The opposite of ignorance, which is knowledge, leads to happiness or enlightenment.

His Holiness is saying he realises that it is not only him who sometimes uses the wrong word.

His Holiness: Using the wrong word, not only me alone, but some people also there.

Geshe Thupten Jinpa: If you look at some of the epistemological texts, these texts speak of different fruits of valid knowledge or valid cognition, and in these texts, attainment of liberation or enlightenment is identified as the long-term fruit of cultivating knowledge or valid cognition. So what seems to be true is that if we examine this carefully, much of our experience of suffering and confusion really comes from states of mind which are ultimately deluded, and much of our experience of joy and liberation and enlightenment really comes from stages of thought or states of mind which are not deluded, which have their roots in some kind of valid experience or valid knowledge.

What becomes evident through all of this discussion is the fact that even for our spiritual path, cultivating the right knowledge and insight seems to become really crucial and critical. In some sense, we are aware of this fact, because even conventionally speaking we all appreciate the value of education and knowledge. The higher the level of education of the person, the better informed that person will be to cope with the challenges of life. In some sense, we do appreciate this basic point.

So we can raise the question, how does cultivating the knowledge and the insight help us eliminate fundamental ignorance? Here, when we talk about opposing forces and how one expels the other, we can use the analogy of light and darkness—illumination and darkness. The moment the illumination, the light, is switched on, the darkness is dispelled, so here we have an analogy.

Similarly, when we think about the different forms of mutual exclusivity, for example, in the case of our thoughts, if we know that something is a tree or that something is not a tree. If we know that something is not a tree, then so far as our thoughts relate to that particular object of concern, we can at that very instant never have the possibility of thinking, “That is a tree.” One thought, by the simple fact of its occurrence, by definition excludes the possibility of another.

There is a similar kind of relationship between ignorance on the one hand and wisdom or insight on the other. Ignorance here is not a case of mere unknowing, but rather it is an active case of perceiving things in a way that they do not exist. So when we cultivate the opposing thought, which is true knowledge or insight, given that these two thoughts oppose each other, the only difference is that insight is grounded in valid cognition. Just as we have insight that things and events do not possess some kind of independent existence, this also corresponds to the actual reality, because things do not possess an independent existence.

On the other hand, fundamental ignorance misperceives things as possessing an independent existence, but this does not have any validity — it does not have any ground or any support. So, when we compare two opposing thoughts which are directly opposed to each other, whichever has the validity and whichever has the support grounded in our experience is going to be more powerful. So, it is in this way that ignorance will have to be eliminated.

These reasons make it very important in Buddhism to cultivate an understanding of emptiness, and this is why emptiness becomes important in the Buddhist path. Of course, depending upon different interpretations, there are different ways of understanding what emptiness really means according to the Buddhist teachings. We understand that the emptiness as taught by Nagarjuna — where in the final analysis, emptiness is understood in terms of dependent origination — is the highest level of understanding of the teachings on emptiness.

Dependent by nature suggests that things are devoid of independent reality, or intrinsic reality. They are devoid of inner existence and identity, and this is what is meant by the Buddhist teachings on emptiness. It doesn’t mean that things do not exist. It simply means that things do not exist with some kind of independent identity or existence. So the nature of dependent origination is used as the final proof that things are empty, in the final analysis.

The thought which believes in the independent, intrinsic reality of things and events is known in Buddhism as the self-grasping thought or attitude. This we know is one source of much of our confusion and much of our ignorance. We also know that there is another element which is also one of the major origins of much of our suffering and problems. We are not only grasping at some kind of true existence of things and events and also at oneself, but we also have an attachment to the self which the Buddhists call the self-cherishing thought. This is a thought which cherishes one’s own self-interest and is completely oblivious to the well-being of others.

However, this is not to say that any form of self-regard is a source of suffering, because we do need a sense of self and also we do need our thoughts to have an element of self-regard. It is on the basis of a strong sense of self that we can proceed with many of the methods for attaining liberation: salvation, helping others and so on.

Now there is a problem when this form of self-regard becomes extreme to the point where we are prepared to exploit others; we are prepared to totally sacrifice others’ well-being in pursuit of that self-interest. In that form of extreme self-regard, a sense of self is a powerful problem.

His Holiness is making the point that if you don’t have any experience of caring for yourself, how can you even begin to care for others because there is no real basis from which you can engage with others.

How do we overcome this excessive form of self-cherishing, that is prepared to sacrifice and exploit others’ well-being? The effective way to overcome this is through cultivating thoughts that cherish the well-being of others.

We can say that these two forces — the certain grasping at the self-existence of things and the self on the one hand, and also this excessive form of self-cherishing attitude — these two are said to be like two poisons that pollute from within. We could almost say that these two are poisonous trees that are growing in us.

Through this, we can appreciate that the essence of our spiritual path should be the practice of cultivating compassion and love, which counteracts self-cherishing, and also the practice of cultivating correct insight into emptiness — the knowledge of emptiness which counteracts the other force. These two should not only be the essence of the teaching but the key elements of our individual practice.

The day before yesterday I participated in a symposium on neuro-science and Buddhist meditation at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York. One of the speakers made a presentation where he showed an empirical study that was done, which seems to suggest quite conclusively that those people who have a tendency to use more self-reference terms, such as “I”, “me” and “mine” in a much higher proportion than the average person, have a much higher degree of self-involvement. Those people tend to have more health problems and also have much more hyper-kind of personalities, and they are more prone to aggression and so on, including a much higher possibility of an earlier death.

This seems to suggest that not only Buddhist meditation on selflessness and counteracting the self-cherishing thoughts through the cultivation of thoughts cherishing others’ well-being; not only do these kinds of practices have the benefit of leading to Buddhist liberation, nirvana, but even within this lifetime, even in immediate terms, there seem to be visible beneficial effects. Because of this, just before the teaching, I told one of my friends, that if this is true then maybe many of the ritual practices that are aimed toward longevity — visualisations and meditations which involve prolonging one’s life, through focusing on one’s life — perhaps these may be counterproductive because the focus is on oneself whereas the focus should be on the others.

If we think carefully, it seems that the more self-involved we are, the more self-absorbed we are, thinking, “Oh yes, me, my problem, my this and my that,” it seems to have an immediate effect of narrowing our focus down to some tiny spot and reducing everything to that. It’s almost as if our vision is blurred, even to the point of being burdened, being pressed down by some heavy load. If we shift our focus from ourselves to others and think more about others’ well-being and welfare, immediately it has a liberating effect, because of that shift of focus. It gives rise to some kind of strength and also it makes us feel more expansive. Even if we are facing problems and we are aware of our own problems, somehow that very shift in the focus provides the space so the problem that seemed enormous earlier now seems to be much more manageable. It seems to be less significant than it was before. This is the truth.

Since the main actual teaching here is the generation of the mind for enlightenment you should cultivate the right attitude, which is to put the focus on others, not on oneself and spread it out, extending it to all sentient beings, if possible. For the benefit of all sentient beings, make a strong commitment that you will ensure that this altruistic mind never degenerates.

As usual, for the ceremony of generating the mind of enlightenment, you should visualise here in your presence, the Buddha, the teacher, and all the bodhisattvas of the past and also the great masters of India and Tibet, such as Nagarjuna, Asanga and so on, and focus on them. Cultivate strong faith and admiration in them and then imagine that you are surrounded by all sentient beings and then focus on them. You should reinforce within you a strong sense of empathy and compassion towards their suffering and their problems and then cultivate the thought, “For the benefit of all these sentient beings, I shall generate the mind of enlightenment in the presence of all the buddhas and bodhisattvas, and the great masters of the past. As a preliminary to that generation of the mind of enlightenment, I need to overcome all obstacles, therefore I shall engage in the preliminary practices, such as the purification of negativities, accumulation of merits and so on.”

This will be performed through the recitation of the preliminary practices, which will be done in Tibetan. When the recitation is being done, on your part, you should imagine that you are going through these practices of purification and accumulation of merits.

I believe that a small sheet has been distributed to all of you with three verses in English. The first verse deals with taking refuge and the second verse deals with the generation of the mind of enlightenment. I believe that they are citations from one of the tantras.

The first verse basically states that motivated by the wish to free all beings, “I will go for refuge to the Buddha, the Dharma and Sangha until I attain full enlightenment.”

The second verse states that this is reinforced with compassion and is grounded in true insight or wisdom, “I shall generate the mind for enlightenment in the presence of all the buddhas here today.”

The wisdom of emptiness, the insight of emptiness, reinforces compassion because through the cultivation of the right insight, the wisdom of emptiness, we will gain the awareness or the knowledge that grasping at true existence is a form of delusion. Because it is a form of delusion it is something that can be corrected — it is something that can be removed or eliminated. Once you gain the conviction of the possibility of eliminating that delusion from within, then your compassion toward sentient beings who continue to be deluded, who continue to be deceived by such forms of delusion will increase even more, because you know that there is a way out. Sentient beings continue to be chained in the cycle, so of course, this true insight into emptiness will reinforce your compassion towards other sentient beings.

The mind for enlightenment, or bodhicitta, is a state of mind that is altruistic and is derived on the basis of true aspirations. One aspiration is to fulfil the welfare of all other sentient beings, and the other aspiration is to seek full enlightenment for the sake of fulfilling the objective of helping others. So it is on the basis of these two wishes that we cultivate the mind that seeks full enlightenment. This is called bodhicitta or the mind of awakening.

The third verse is really a verse of dedication and also an aspirational prayer. This is from Shantideva’s Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, the Bodhicaryavatara.

When you recite these three verses, you should dwell on their meaning. In the first verse, you are taking refuge in the Three Jewels; in the second verse, you are cultivating and generating the mind for enlightenment; and in the third verse, you should have a strong sense that, “Now that I have generated the mind of enlightenment, I shall follow in the footsteps of the great bodhisattvas, and share in the powerful sentiments expressed in this verse, as long as space remains.”

We will do the recitation in Tibetan and while the Tibetan recitation is being done, you should read it all together in English.

With a wish to free all beings
I shall always go for refuge
To the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha,
Until I reach full enlightenment.
Enthused by wisdom and compassion,
Today in the Buddha’s presence
I generate the Mind for Full Awakening
For the benefit of all sentient beings.
As long as space remains,
As long as sentient beings remain,
Until then, may I too remain
And dispel the miseries of the world.

I think whenever you have spare time, it would be very effective and beneficial to recite these three verses and reflect on their meaning. In that way, you can experience the benefit. There is a Tibetan expression which states that the mind follows familiarity. So it is through constant familiarisation and constant practice that something becomes more natural, easier and more applicable. So with that, today’s teaching is over. I would like to ask all of you to be happy.

His Holiness [in English]: Of course, I believe the ultimate source of happiness is within ourselves. I think it is very important that our mental state remains calm, and peaceful, and then the external disturbances will not much disturb our internal peace. So therefore while we are earning money or some other things, I think it is equally important to pay more attention to our inner values, to be somewhat balanced. We should not be a slave to money. So, I think a happy balance. Of course, money is very important, hmm? [Laughter.]

Geshe Thupten Jinpa: You may be interested to know that Tibetans have a nickname for money; it is called, “that which by which all the wishes are fulfilled.” [Laughter.] So, the Tibetan expression translates as, “that which makes everybody happy and that which makes all the wishes fulfilled”.

His Holiness [in English]: So, as I mentioned before in the beginning, I think it is very, very important to be a warm-hearted person, a good-natured person, with more sense of caring for others. Ultimately, you get more happiness.

So, as I think — our old friends, I think you often heard before, I’m always telling people — I myself feel that if you are going to be selfish, you should be wise-selfish rather than foolish-selfish. So I think that’s very important. If you take care more of others, ultimately you get the benefit. That’s all. Thank you very much.

Dalai Lama 239.

Whatever karmic habits positive or negative,
We have planted in our mental stream in the past
Will cause us to take rebirths,
With happy or unhappy qualities accordingly.

— Tulku Thondup Rinpoche

Tulku Thondup Rinpoche 8.

死亡无惧
堪布卡塔仁波切

我们都诞生了,也都将要死去。

所有的生命都要去面对死亡。

在过去长久的岁月中,许许多多的人诞生在这个世界上,却从来没有一个人能不死的,生的另一端就是死,这是可以确定的。

但虽然每个人都会死,一般人却都不会去注意这件事!只知迷恋轮回中的事物,贪图世间的享受,而且因为没有接触过佛法,他们不知道为什么生,也不知道什么能导致快乐,什么会招来苦难。

这种无知有时是个很麻烦的问题。

因为不知道死后会怎么样,所以有些人生活上遇到困难,就自杀了,他们想藉着自杀来结束人生的痛苦,而这正是对死后一无所知最好的例子。

自杀的人通常要在死后的中阴身之中经历极大的痛苦,并且还将因为自杀的行为堕入三恶道,这些人因无法忍受世间的苦楚而自尽,但若是比较一下,那些所谓无法忍受的痛苦,实在比不上中阴身之苦的千万分之一。

因此对死后中阴身的了解是相当重要的,我们要趁早去了解它,如果不趁早的话,当死亡到来的时候可能就太晚了,因为你没有足够的时间去作观想,好比各种意外、灾害一发生,根本来不及作观想就已经死了,所以我们应把握现在这个机会,好好地对中阴身作一番研究和了解,这不只是为了一些浅近的利益而已,也是为了未来无量的利益,同时也不只是为了一己的利益,也为了一切众生之福。

一个人如果已证悟自心本性,那死就没什么好怕的了,这时死只是换个地方罢了,就像从一个花园到另一个花园一样,不但不可怕,反而很快乐,对一个能了悟自性的人而言,连下三恶道都不觉可怕,就像从这个净土到那个净土一样。

伟大的尊者──惹琼巴曾说:‘对一个觉者而言,死是个小悟。’,对一个已觉悟自心无染本性的人,死亡就如同一次微小的觉悟,而它能充实一个更广大的觉悟。

在一般的观念中,一个人成长,我们说他长大了,但若是从另一个角度来看,他是一步步地走向死亡,没错,他是长得更高壮更成熟了,但就整个一生而言,正是不断地走向死亡,就好比射箭一样,从箭射出去的一瞬间开始,箭就会逐渐的落下来,同样的,生命也是不断走向死亡,绝对不要去期望长生不老,在开始讲解中阴身之前,大家必须先确定:死是一定会来的!

中阴身有三个阶段。

籍着修行的证量和对中阴身的了解,亡者在临终时证悟法身实相而得解脱,这是第一阶段,如果不能在此阶段得解脱,也有机会在下一阶段,认证报身而解脱,但是证悟法身和报身的机会都相当的微小,接着第三个解脱的机会,就是在投胎之前,避免投生恶道,而以化身的形式解脱,以上就是中阴身解脱的三个阶段。

我们的色身是由地、水、火、风四大元素所合成的,当我们生病或年老的时候,四大元素的能量便会减退,于是死亡。

当一个人临终的时候,体内地大会先衰竭,身体变得迟钝,移动困难,接着水大衰竭,眼、口等和体内各器官变得干燥、缺水,再接着火大衰竭,体温由四肢尖端散去,六识也随着衰退,这时临终的人会感到外界的形色和声音愈来愈远,且愈来愈模糊,最后风大衰竭,这时候,有些临终者会试着移动他的手,如果有人看着他,他会像是要去触摸那个人似的移动着,但他本身对此动作完全没有意识知觉的存在,同时风大呈现衰弱征兆,临终者呼吸变短,直到他无法再呼吸时,气息便停止了。

当呼吸停止的时候,某些特别的事物仍然能使他复活过来,因为这还不是死亡的最后阶段,依靠一位很好的上师或是某些药物的帮助,呼吸停止的人是可能再复活的,但若是在这时没有活过来,而进入了中阴身的三个阶段,那么就无法起死回生了。

了解中阴身的境界,很明显地有自利和利他的两种好处。

在自利方面:如果你明了中阴境界,也对此有所修持,清楚在死的时候,会出现那些征兆,那么当你临终见到这些征兆出现的时候,便能清楚知道自己将要死亡了。

当死亡到来的时候,在生前无论做过任何修持,例如你曾亲近某位上师,对他很有信心,或是曾修持某本尊法,对此本尊特别虔诚,特别熟悉,你就试着观想这位上师或本尊在自己的头上,当死亡的征兆出现时,你立刻观想要随上师或本尊到佛净土去,切勿将注意力分散到其它的事物上,你所拥有的任何财富、地位、家人、亲友,都不要去执着,将一切都供养上师和本尊并追随他们,这样你便可能在此刻能解脱轮回的束缚了。若你能一心不乱地观想上师或本尊,便可能在死后认出法性中阴而解脱,但若因某些情况使你不能认出法性中阴,在下个阶段,也有机会认证报身中阴而得解脱。

在利他方面:如果你明了这些死亡征兆,假如有一天你正好在某位临终的亲友身边的话,你的帮助就很重要了,这时候,无论你是站或坐,都尽量靠临终者的上半身,不要接近他的下半身,你甚至可以轻轻地触摸他的头顶,如果你知道他曾修持过那个本尊法,或知道他的上师是谁的话,可以在他的耳边,告诉他观想本尊或上师就在他的头顶上,叫他一定要专心,不要想别的事,你也可以持咒,如阿弥陀佛心咒、嗡玛尼贝美吽 等等,都可以使他免于恐惧。能为一个正面临死亡的人解说观想的方法,便能解除他的惶恐害怕,就像救了一个正被追杀的人一样。这就是我们能带给他人的极大利益。

当临终者呼吸停止后,虽然外表上他死了,但事实上在深层的意识里;他并未完全死亡,他仍必须经历三个过程:

第一个称‘觉’,亡者会感觉到忽亮而又忽不亮的白色,这个征兆表示他和三毒中的嗔分离了。

第二个称‘切’,这时亡者会感觉到幌动的红色,有如红旗在风中飘动一般,一直幌动不停,这红色让人感觉快发疯一样,这表示亡者和三毒中的贪分离了。

最快一个过程称‘暗’,亡者会感觉到一片漆黑,表示他和痴分离了。

亡者所感觉到的这些白、红、黑并不是发生于身体外可以见到的情况,这些都是内在精神上的感受。

在这些征兆出现后,将有法身实相的净光出现,如果亡者无法认出这清净无染的实相净光的话,便失去了第一个解脱的机会。

若一个人生前曾修持过禅定,如大手印、直观本性等等法门的话,籍着禅定的帮助,就能当下认出此净光;好像见到一个很久不见的老朋友一样的亲切熟悉,立刻能与此净光合而为一,从此净光中解脱,但如果你没有禅定的功夫,即使这原始本然、清净无碍的自性明光是每一个众生都能见到的,你也仍然无法契入,因为缺乏足够的定力,你会对这实相明光感到害怕或犹豫不决,以致于无法在这第一个阶段的法身中阴之中获得解脱,因此而进入下一个阶段的中阴身了。

许多大成就者如仁波切或转世活佛,在圆寂的时候,都以禅定的姿势坐着,虽然医生宣称他们已经死亡,但他们的心脏部位却仍存有余温,这现象有时可持续三、四天,甚至七天,这就是他们已认出实相明光,证入法身的征相,在佛学名相中称此为母子相会,母代表自性光,而子代表的是认出自性光的修行证量。

每个众生一旦出生就必定要面对死亡,然而要在死亡和再投生之间的中阴身解脱轮回,就必须于在世之时修禅定,有过入定的经验,有定力才能认出法性净光而契入解脱,如果没有这样的定力,就无法认出净光了。

接下来当净光消失后,没有即时契入的亡者便陷入无意识状态之中,而等到他恢复意识时,便形成了来生的意识,也就是说他将再度受生。特别在此时,亡者会发觉到自己确实死去了,因为他能看到旧有的事物、房子、家人、亲戚朋友等,他想要和他们说话、和他们亲近,但无论怎么努力去引起他们的注意,就是得不到任何的反应,他于是变得很沮丧,因为他知道死亡真的到来了。

接着是中阴身的第二阶段。

这时,亡者的智慧和烦恼都变得很敏锐,而由于智慧变得更敏锐,亡者在此时可以见到报身佛的法相,特别是五方佛。

首先,亡者能见到白色的毗卢遮那佛,毗卢遮那佛放出极亮的白光,非常的亮,比一千个太阳齐放的光都还亮,亡者几乎无法直视,此外,伴随着这亮光的,是来自亡者自身的无明烦恼的光,它是幽暗而苍白的,亡者除了能见到报身佛的形像之外,还能听到佛的心咒,这咒音非常的响,据说比一千只龙的吼叫还要大声。

从这里我们可以明了为何要修本尊的观想和其心咒的持诵,如果你在世的时候,曾经持本尊的心咒,观想本尊的形像,譬如持毗卢遮那佛的心咒、观想其法相的话,那么当中阴身境界来临,毗卢遮那佛的形像、光亮及其咒音出现时,你便能立刻辨认出来而不会恐惧或排斥,但如果你对毗卢遮那佛的形像及心咒都不熟悉,自然地你对这极强的亮光和如雷贯耳的咒音,会产生恐惧和排斥,如此一来,你便会‘逃离’诸佛本尊的加持,而‘躲进’烦恼无明中了,观想本尊和持诵心咒不仅是积聚功德的好方法,在中阴身时,还有莫大的帮助,这些修持能使我们认出本尊而起欢喜心,这便是解脱的方法。

当亡者见到毗卢遮那佛极强的白光和自身无明烦恼苍白之光时,如果亡者接受本尊极强白光,便能往生毗卢遮那佛的净土而得解脱,但若亡者因恐惧或排斥而无法接受此佛光,且选择了代表无明的幽暗苍白之光,则便堕入畜生道了,如果亡者对于此二种光芒都无法摄入,便将进入下一阶段的中阴历程。

接着亡者将见到蓝色的阿閦毗佛,阿閦毗佛会放出极强的蓝光,同时伴随而来的是暗蓝色近黑的幽光,此幽光是来自亡者心识中的嗔恨烦恼,同样的,本尊所放出的光是极亮的,也有极响的咒音伴随,如果亡者能认出阿閦毗佛的形像和咒音的话,便能往生其净土,获得解脱,但如果逃避本尊的蓝光,选择了来自烦恼的幽光,亡者便将堕入地狱道,而如果于此二种光都没有作选择的话,便将进入下一阶段之历程。

这时黄色的宝生佛出现,放出极亮的黄光和极大的咒音,而旁边也有一道淡黄色的幽光,这是来自亡者心识中贪欲烦恼之光,若亡者进入了本尊之光,则便往生宝生佛的净土中,而如果亡者选择了贪欲淡黄色之光,则将于饿鬼道中受生。

然而若于此二者都无法摄受,则红色阿弥陀佛便将显现,同样地阿弥陀佛会放出极亮的红光和巨响的咒音,同时也有淡红的幽光于一旁,这是来自亡者心识中执着之光。而如果亡者能认证阿弥陀佛的形像及其咒音,便顿时往生阿弥陀佛之净土中,若亡者舍弃明亮的佛光而选择了淡红色的执着之光的话,那便将受生于人道中。

如果亡者无法投入本尊所发的红色亮光中,也没有进入淡红色的幽光,接着绿色的不空成就佛将显现,不空成就佛发出极亮绿光和极大的咒音,于一旁亦有来自亡者心识中嫉妒的淡绿幽光,亡者若能摄入不空成就佛之极强绿光,以此光为庇护,则当下便能往生佛土,但如果亡者没有把握此机会,却投入淡绿的嫉妒之光中,则便将于阿修罗道中受生,同样地,假使亡者于此两者都无法摄入,则将进入下一阶段的中阴境界。

接下来亡者将因种种不同的幻觉而体验到无法言喻的恐怖经历,因而产生非常强烈的恐惧,这种恐惧乃千百万倍于日常生活中所经历过的任何恐惧害怕,有时,亡者会感到被成千上万流动的波浪所牵引着,但实际上根本没有什么波浪,亡者之所以会有这种感觉,完全是由贪执所致,或者有时亡魂会感觉到被抛入火中,他将能看到整个娑婆世界的全景,这娑婆世界正燃烧着熊熊大火,而他就是被抛入这烈火中,但是实际上他根本没有被抛入熊熊大火中,这种感觉则完全是因为嗔恨所致,有时他会被追赶到一处黑暗的通道,在此黑暗中他会听到后面紧追不舍的敌人咆哮着:‘消灭他!杀了他!’,此时,由于亡者的极端恐惧,他会感觉到地面发出爆烈的巨响而更加惊慌害怕,然而同样的,地面的爆烈乃至追赶的敌人也都是虚幻的,这些都是心识中的无明所引起的。

接下来,由五方佛转化而成的愤怒本尊将显现,这种转变并非是诸本尊故意要吓人,而是由于我们的业障所致;由于无明幻惑和妄想执着的现前,所以我们无法再见到诸佛的寂静化现,而把诸佛本尊看成愤怒的形像。

打个比方,有一个房间,四周墙壁都涂着白色的漆,当红色光线照在上面的时候,原来是白色的墙,这时候看来也都成了红墙了,当然这是由于红光的关系;同样的,因为业障烦恼和幻觉的出现,所以我们将本尊看成了愤怒的形像,在这时候,假如我们曾修持过愤怒尊的法门,并熟悉其形像和心咒的话,这仍是一个解脱的机会,因为我们了解此愤怒尊并非可怕的敌人,而是护法,但若我们不曾修持过这些法门,甚至根本不熟悉愤怒尊的形像,那么在错过寂静尊的救度之后,于此愤怒尊的阶段就更不可能获得解脱了,因为这些愤怒尊的样子是非常的恐怖的,有些甚至还有很多只手,一般人是很难接受这些形像的。

谈到这里,便更突显出主题‘死亡无惧’的意义了。

我们之所以需要讨论这个主题,就是因为世上没有任何的身份地位或仙丹灵药可以令我们得到真正无恐惧的死亡,死亡无惧就是完全解脱中阴身的任何恐怖阶段,一个毫无恐惧的死亡,当然,最好的方法就是修持大手印,透过大手印的实修,证悟自心本性,而在第一个阶段的法性中阴,获取究竟而完全的解脱——法身成就,证入无尽的法界中,这是最理想的情况;若无法如此,我们仍可透过勤修本尊的观想及其心咒的持诵,怀着一种至诚的虔敬心,向本尊顶礼祈祷,而这即是所谓的本尊法,本尊法即是指以某一本尊作为我们虔诚、专注的对象,而因为对本尊至心虔诚所积聚的功德,将使我们在中阴的第二个阶段认证本尊,这也是一种解脱法门。

但是如果你对任何本尊法都一无所知,也从未曾接触过大手印的教法的话,那么就得去面临恐怖的死亡经验了,这种可怕不是言语所能形容的,其程度不只是恐怖二字所能涵盖的,因为我们将不可避免地去面对中阴时期的所有历程,并且由于无法解脱而产生极端的恐惧,举个例子,假如你走入一个险恶陌生的地方,而那儿有一群要保护你的人,如果你能知道他们是来保护你的的话,那一切自然就不会有恐惧了,但若你以为他们是可怕的怨敌而逃离他们的话,当然这就更可怕、更危险了,因为他们是你真正的守护者,而你却离开了真正保护你的人,同样的,如果你曾修持过本尊法,则你就能知道,无论寂静尊或愤怒尊都是守护者,你就会皈依他们而得安稳,否则就必须去经历极大的恐惧了。

在西藏,乃至于锡金,传统上都有向死者解说本尊的作法,这通常是由具德的上师或出家人对亡者解说或念诵有关于中阴身第一天、第二天……乃至第五天、第六天等等各种本尊色光、各种情况的法本,使这些重点如实地让死者或临终的人听入耳中,如果死者也是一位修行人,这样的解说或念诵可以使他忆起种种色光的情形,而如果死者并非是一位很高的修行者,这种作法也能对他有所助益而获解脱。

在西藏有两个关于中阴解脱,非常有趣的故事。

从前有一位牧羊人,他常单独带着羊群到山上放羊,到了中午,他就在附近一个大寺庙旁吃中饭。

这座寺庙的墙上画有一尊愤怒本尊,但牧羊人根本不知道这画像代表什么,当他吃饭之时,他都会将饭分一半给这位本尊,说道:‘这份是你的,一起吃吧!’,就这样牧羊人天天都对这位本尊作供养,就好像真有一个人在那儿似的,而此本尊实际上是中阴百尊之一,有着鹿的头和人的身体。

后来,牧羊人去世了,进入了中阴身境界,当这位本尊显现时,他立刻就认出来了,他高兴地说:‘嗨!朋友!让我们一起用餐吧!’,而就这样地,他解脱了。

另一则故事是:

有一个老婆婆,她常常经过一座佛堂,每天早上,她都会听到佛堂里的喇嘛所诵的经文,其中有一段经文的内容大概是这样的:‘……本尊有着红啄木鸟的头,手持弓和箭,放着光芒……我向这有着红啄木鸟头之光明本尊顶礼……’,这段经文常出现在她脑海,她很想知道这经文到底指的是什么,一个放着光,手持弓箭,还有着红色啄木鸟的头?她感到十分好奇,经常一次又一次地思索这个问题,后来,她死了,在中阴身时,她见到一位人身红啄木鸟头,手持弓箭放着光明的本尊,很快地她认出来了,这不就是她日夜思索的形像吗!因此她也获得了解脱。

修行的目的决不是为世间的种种功名成就,而是在死后的中阴身时能认证本尊而解脱自在,我们解脱的经验亦可利益其他的众生,乃至帮助一切众生了断充满苦难恐惧的生死轮回,这便是我们修持佛法的目标,一个人若真能如此地确实修持,则死亡便根本无法使他害怕了。

现在,我们来谈谈修行的重要。

通常很多人会想:‘在社会上,我们忙着工作,有太多的事要我们花费心力去处理,为何上师们还给我们这些额外的工作,叫我们修行呢?’,大家要了解到:每个人都很忙没错,但是很不幸地,每个人也都将面临死亡,所以我们最好能准备妥当地来面对死亡,无论我们的工作有多繁重,世间的任何成就都无助于死后的中阴境界,不管身份、地位、财富或亲朋好友都没用,到死亡来临时,这一切甚至会造成烦恼障碍,如执着、贪爱、嗔恨等种种情况,而如果你生起这些烦恼,就会生起极大的恐惧,解脱的机会便非常渺茫了,明白这些道理后,大家便应好好的修行,认清楚修行的目标。

能在法身中阴阶段成就的人非常的少,这必须在生前就已经证悟了自心本性,才有可能在此阶段获得解脱,而在报身阶段,就有较多的人能成就了,因为只要你熟悉一位本尊的法相和心咒,并虔诚恭敬,就有很大的机会此刻获得解脱,而到了化身中阴的阶段便将会出现许多的障碍,现在我们就要谈到这第三阶段的中阴身。首先,我要再次强调:如果死者在第一或第二阶段的中阴境界就已认出净光或本尊的话,则便可因此解脱或往生净土,而不须经历这第三阶段的中阴身了。

第三阶段的中阴身,其实就是通往六道轮回,再次受生的一个阶段。

受生的方式有四种,是谓‘四生’,即化生、湿生(或暖生)、胎生和卵生。化生是不须依赖父母交合,自然化现而生,湿生依湿、暖之境而生;胎生依父母之交合而藉母亲之腹胎而生;卵生则经母亲排出之受精卵而生,以上四生便是我们投生于六道轮回之中的四种方式,此外绝无其它方式。

我们之所以投生六道是因贪、嗔、痴三毒的牵引,因为贪恋某物或某人,或由于对某物或某人产生厌恶,这强而有力的贪爱心或嗔恨心都将导致我们堕入轮回,或者由于无明愚痴,使我们无法于前两个阶段的中阴身认证净光和本尊,因此便进入了中阴身的第三阶段而准备受生。

由于嗔的力量,将使亡者投生于地狱道之中,堕入地狱的过程大致是:首先因为业力驱使,亡者会意识到身体变成黑黑、圆圆、小小的,只有一个眼睛,并且觉得有无数的敌人正在后面追杀,亡者一直逃,最后逃进一个无底洞中,如此便堕入了地狱当中,从此将受十八种不可思议的痛苦。

如果亡者内心之中有非常强烈的贪念,则这贪心的力量将引导亡者投生于饿鬼道中,其受生方式和地狱道的相似,也不需经由父母之交合而直接化生,堕入地狱道和饿鬼道的共同特征是:亡者感觉到有凶恶的仇敌在后面追赶,而这时候亡者会看到一些可以做为避护的地方,如树下、柱子下或岩石下,亡者觉得可以躲进这些地方以避开恶人的追赶,然而当亡者躲进这些的时候,便堕入了地狱或饿鬼道,很不幸地,受生于地狱道或饿鬼道的众生是没有可能接受上师的开示而获得解脱的,因为会堕入此道便表示亡者背负非常严重的业力因果,因此要解脱是很困难的。

而至于投生畜生道,有依湿、暖受生的,也有依父母交合而生的,包括卵生和胎生,如果是依湿、暖的环境而受生的话,则于中阴身时,我们会对这湿、暖的环境感到舒适、快乐,而如果是依父母的交合而生的,则贪执父亲生为雌性,贪执母亲生为雄性,同样的,导致亡者堕入畜生道的业力亦是非常强大的,几乎无法改变,所以亡者很难有机会在这种情况下获得解脱。

接下来谈到人道。同样地投生人道的原因,也是由于过去世所累积的业力所致,因为业力的驱使,亡者能看到和自己有缘的双亲,然后亡者对其中一人产生起极大的贪爱,这时亡者便进入母亲的子宫了。

对一个完全不懂佛法的人来说,要在此时此刻解脱是十分困难的,他可能只得随业转生了,但若对一位熟悉佛法的人,尤其像在座的各位――曾受过许多灌顶的人来说,你可能会在这时候回想起你所受过的灌顶,在灌顶第三阶段,有所谓‘引见灌顶’,介绍该法门的本尊,如果你在接受灌顶的时候,能专心留意的话,这些灌顶就十分有用了,当你由于业缘而看见双亲时,通常只是把他当作一般的父母而已,但现在因为在灌顶时曾介绍过本尊,你学习了所谓‘清净观’,所以你不会将他们看作是凡人,而能视他们为佛父和佛母,也就是灌顶的本尊,由于这样的清净观,你便能以化身的方式投生,因为你有能力去认出双亲的清净本性,而这也就是转世活佛的投生方式,因此如果你熟悉佛法的话,这仍是一个解脱的方式。

接下来是阿修罗道,阿修罗道比起人、畜生、饿鬼或地狱道都要来的高,投生阿修罗道的原因是由于善业和嫉妒心的混合,好比说修持佛法是善业,但若当你发现别人修持得更多更好,便产生嫉妒之心的话,善业便混杂了嫉妒的成份,虽然有修持的善业,但却混杂了嫉妒的毒素,又譬如说你修持佛法已有很长一段时间,而别人修得没有你久,却修得比你好,若你因此而产生了嫉妒心的话,这亦是在善业之中混杂了烦恼毒,而这将使你往生阿修罗道。

投生阿修罗道的方法和人道很相近,亡者亦对父亲或母亲起很大的执着,然而因为生为阿修罗道是由嫉妒心所致,所以在阿修罗的世界中,总是不断地打斗、争吵,每个阿修罗都在彼此争斗,而亡者投生该处亦同样会受到这些战争、打斗的刺激和影响,虽然阿修罗道比人道要高,但阿修罗一生却只是在残杀别人或被别人残杀,而由于这些杀业,自然地会导致堕下三道的命运,所以虽然人道比阿修罗道要低,但投生人道要比阿修罗道好多了。

最后谈到天道。天道是六道轮回中最高的,生为天人是由于善业的累积,但这些善业也混杂了烦恼毒。

天道充满了喜悦、富裕,在那儿不论男女,都非常俊美而吸引人,他们身上都穿戴着各种珍宝、花朵等等美丽的装饰,每个天人都是快乐的,在天道都是幸福和完美,生为天人都有美丽的身体,且和人道不同的是,天人的寿命相当的长,他们所享受的喜乐也是人间无法想像或形容的。

往生天道的众生是由于善业和我慢的混合所致,如何将善业和我慢混合呢?举个例子,一个人修持正法,却常认为自己是最好的修行者,或是在做供养或布施时,总是认为自己所做的这些好事都比别人的好,这些都是我慢,虽然修持佛法、行布施、供养,但却抱着贡高我慢的心态,这便导致往生天道的结果了。

生为天人能享受极长久的喜乐,然而在死亡到来的前七天,会出现一些征兆,预示生命的结束:如身体会变坏、衰弱,身上的种种装饰、香气会消失,朋友、子女都会离去等等,而由于生为天人,他们都有神通能预知自己将投生何处,但不幸的是,他们的来世往往得下堕三恶道,所以他们十分痛苦,这七天中,知道生命要结束了,而且还要往生恶道,这种痛苦是无法言喻的,在生前他们因种种的享乐,故精神十分散乱,从未想过修行这回事,不但如此,在天道甚至连佛法都没有,因此虽然天道是六道中是最高,但生在有机会修行佛法的人道,还是比较好的。

谈过了种种不同的境界和投生其中的原因后,知道自己有着贪嗔痴慢嫉许多不同的烦恼妄识,似乎有点令人沮丧,你可能会怀疑:有这么多烦恼毒素怎么可能解脱呢?但千万不要灰心,反而因此要更正确的修行。

如何正确地利用善业和修行,使任何的烦恼毒都不渗入其中呢?首先最好的方法就将心安住于空性中,但你也许会说:‘我们还是初学者,实在不懂如何安住在空性的境界中。’,那么第二种方法就是不管是在修法、布施……等等时,要想这一切都是为了利益所有众生而做的,这就是觉悟之心――菩提心,修行并不只是为了解决众生目前暂时的苦难而已,而是要究竟地解脱,也就是要成就佛果,当你的修持或善行完成后,一定要回向功德,对任何功德都不执着,将功德回向给一切众生,愿以此功德在目前能够去除一切众生的苦难、障碍和疾病,而在未来能够令一切众生成就无上正等正觉,以这些要领来修行,便不会在善业中混杂任何烦恼毒,这些就是正确的修行方法。

大家一定要正确地、清净地来修行佛法,很多人常常只为现世的利益而修行,只为获得一些财富、成功或权势而修行,完全没有考虑来生,甚至很多人也对来生的存在与否感到质疑,然而既然无法确定,为何却又完全只是为此生而拼命努力呢?显然我们一点也没有对自己未来的生命负责,这是很多人的通病,要知道中阴身时的痛苦是无法言喻的,比较起来的话,现在的痛苦根本不算什么,因此我们一定要为长远作打算。

正确而清净的修行方法是相当重要的,就像曾经提到过的,我们常常由于不知道如何修行,而在种种的善业中混入了烦恼之毒。如在许多祖师大德的教诫中常提到:赞助佛寺或*轮中心是累积善业的好方法,但若是不懂如何正确地来做赞助的话,这也许是积聚善业的好方法,但同时也可能是积聚恶业的途径。举个例子来说,你赞助某一个*轮中心,而另一个*轮中心却发展的愈来愈好,因此你开始嫉妒:‘那个中心可好了!他们有好的上师,好的这个,好的那个……等等。’,你虽然有赞助的善行,但你却因为嫉妒的心态而累积恶业,因为嫉妒心,所以善业和恶业便混杂在一起了,事实上你根本不用嫉妒,反而应该高兴才对!

同样的,我们也常听人家说布施是累积善业的好方法,但是我们也要清楚怎样来行布施,有些人见到别人有困难,就会布施一些财物给他,但随后却又想到可能给太多了,便后悔自己做了一件傻事,在这种情况下,当然布施是件善行,但因为你反悔给了太多,故也产生了一些恶业,你浪费了布施的财物,也浪费了善业,布施的正确方法是当你布施某物给别人后,什么都不要想,不要执着你做了什么好事或坏事,你已完全地布施了,任何一丝期望都没有。

我们已谈过了许多如何成为一个好的修行人的方法,但光是听许多的教法,是不能变成好的修行人的,要成为一个优秀的修行人,必须先体会到修行的重要,并且明白清净的修行法,一旦你掌握修行的宗旨、道理和重点之后,一个法门便足够你去累积资粮到开悟解脱了,否则,光听闻许多教法,也许可以从上师那儿得到一点加持,但却可能无法获得更好的理解,因为你没有掌握到修行的意义和道理。

解释完了这许多,或许你以前已经听过了,那么现在就是再一次的提醒,然而未曾听过的现在也听过了,希望大家能将这些重点和正确清净的修行之法谨记于心,我们修行佛法是因为我们想要超越世俗,不因世俗的一切而满足,但如果在佛法的修行之中加入自己愚妄的心态,那便是在良药里面加进了毒药,修行人不应如此,无论任何的善业或修持,都应做得正确又干净,毫无污损。

Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche 29.

Mind itself [natural and coemergent] has no support, has no object: Let it rest in its natural expanse without any fabrication. When the bonds [of negative thoughts] are released, you will be free, there is no doubt.

— Machig Labdrön

Machig Labdron 5.

Authentic Faith and Devotion
by Orgyen Chowang Rinpoche

The more you study, the more you practice meditation, the more teachings you listen to, the more inspired you feel, and the more you give rise to a natural-born feeling of connection with enlightenment. That is devotion.

It is only through your own study and your own practice that you can feel more true devotion. The more you study, the more you practice, the more you listen to teachings, the more your mind becomes connected to enlightenment, and to manifestations of enlightenment like Buddha and Guru Rinpoche Padmasambhava. That opens your mind and relaxes you. That inspiration or connectedness is devotion.

You really take refuge in, you really admire, you really appreciate enlightenment. You really consider that to be your ultimate protection. That feeling occurs naturally without having to do anything to fabricate it. Through practising and learning and listening to teachings or studying and reading books, that kind of inspiration and feeling of devotedness arises in your mind. It’s not as if devotion is something that can be imposed on you. It is not some kind of rule where someone tells you, “You must have devotion.” It comes automatically.

No one can tell you to fall in love. No one can say, “You must fall in love.” The conditions need to be there for you to fall in love. To love someone first you need to meet that person, whether it is your father or mother or child or lover or whoever. Then, the more you spend time with that person, the more you see their qualities and characteristics, the more you appreciate and admire them. You begin to feel really inspired by them. And then slowly through your interactions, through getting to know them more, you slowly begin to fall in love with them or develop an intimate connection of love.

Devotion works exactly the same way. It is not just faith. It comes about in a similar way as falling in love. The more you study Buddhist teachings, practice, listen to talks, read dharma books, contemplate enlightened qualities, the more a natural inspiration arises to connect with enlightenment and a connection to enlightenment is naturally built in your mind. You become devoted to, you admire, you really respect, you appreciate, you want to connect with enlightenment. Whether it is a happy time in your life or a difficult time, at all times you always admire enlightenment. You always think and feel in your heart how special enlightenment is. Mentally you have that appreciation, and emotionally and psychologically as well there is a connection that occurs naturally. That is called devotion. That is the meaning of real faith.

It’s not that faith isn’t important. But the experience I’ve just described here is real faith. This is the genuine type of faith that we need. When we talk about faith and devotion we’re talking about building this type of connection with enlightenment. We sometimes hear the term “taking refuge” in Buddhist teachings. This is also what taking refuge is about. Once you have this type of faith and devotion, then you automatically take refuge in enlightenment. This devotion inspires you to do that. It inspires you to practice meditation. And it inspires you to attain enlightenment. All these are the result of genuine, real, true, authentic devotion or faith.

Orgyen Chowang Rinpoche 12.

Whoever is only in accord with the doctrine of the Victorious Ones will teach without mental distraction. Since this is in harmony with the path to liberation, like the speech of the Sage, we can place it on our crown.

— Vasubandhu

Vasubandhu (世親菩萨) 14.

生活禅的真谛
净慧长老

各位法师、各位教授、在座的各位老师、各位同学:

今天是一个偶然的机会,能够到陕西师范大学来跟各位见面,做一次生活禅的分享,应该说这是一件很难得的事情。昨天晚上吴教授跟我提起这件事情的时候,我是一再地推辞。我说这次会议的日程安排比较紧张,我也有好几年没有来到西安来了,来了以后也想去拜望一下我的老同学,就是兴教寺的常明老和尚。我与他是1956年中国佛学院第一届的同学,屈指算来也有五十年的时间了。今天我走到那里,看到常老身体很健康,精神面貌非常好。彼此有一些寒暄,都非常高兴。

讲台后边的横幅上说是要我讲“生活禅的真谛”,连我自己都莫明其妙,不知道生活禅的真谛究竟是什么。我想,既然是说生活禅,平常我讲生活禅离不开两句话:“在生活中修行,在修行中生活。”要说生活禅的真谛,大概这就是真谛。我们人生所面对的一切无非就是生活,离开了生活还是生活。我们面对的现实、面对的人生实相,就是生活。在生活中怎么样处理我们的心念,就是我们人生最大的问题。佛教给我们做了一个非常好的回答。

今天上午走到草堂寺,草堂寺是鸠摩罗什法师创建的,草堂寺有一块匾额,上面写了五个字:“烦恼即菩提。”那是什么意思呢?那就是生活禅。烦恼就是我们的生活,菩提就是禅。我们的生活还没有转化的时候,烦恼与菩提就处在相互对立的状态。怎么样转化呢?就要在中间的“即”字上做功夫,就看我们“即”不“即”得了。“即”得了,禅就是生活,生活就是禅;“即”不了,生活是生活,禅是禅,烦恼是烦恼,菩提是菩提。菩提的意思是什么呢?我想大家一定都知道,菩提就是觉悟。在烦恼中能觉悟,我们的生活就是觉悟的生活。觉悟的生活是谁的生活呢?就是圣者的生活。如果烦恼不能觉悟,生活就是凡夫的生活,就是普通芸芸众生的生活。

生活禅在佛教的传统理念当中随处可见,俯拾即是。它不是我杜撰的,不是我别出心裁提出来的与传统佛法不契入的理念,它完全是在传统佛法的基础上,根据现代人的思想观念,根据现在主流文化的观念提出来的。现代观念认为一切要人性化、生活化,实际上佛教的修行就是最生活化的一种方法。

大家想想看,“烦恼即菩提”不就是最生活化的理念吗?你说我们谁没有烦恼呢?谁都有烦恼!烦恼是现现成成、实实在在的。烦恼能觉悟,修行当下就能落实;如果烦恼不能觉悟,修行就永远是可望而不可及的,仅仅停留于一种宗教仪式而已。烦恼是当下的,所以修行也必须是当下的。我们在读书,我们在做学问,我们在做事业,有没有烦恼呢?都有烦恼。小学生有小学生的烦恼,中学生有中学生的烦恼,大学生有大学生的烦恼。随着生活环境的改变,烦恼的表现也在改变,但是烦恼对人的逼迫,对人思想的搅动,使人不安定、不安宁,这种烦恼的状态是不会改变的。不是说有学问的人就没有烦恼,不是说有钱的人就没有烦恼,当然也不是说没有学问的人就没有烦恼,或者说越穷的人烦恼越多。都不是!烦恼是平等的,烦恼不会回避任何一个人。为什么呢?因为烦恼都是自己找的。所谓天下本无事,庸人自扰之,自己要不找烦恼,烦恼不会找上门来。我们有的同学笑起来了——大概你找了一些烦恼来:弄得学习不能安心,功课不能够跟上,或者事业不能顺利,或者家庭不能和睦。那些烦恼从哪里来啊?没有一个烦恼不是自己找的。自己要是不去找烦恼,永远都不会有烦恼。我们修生活禅,就是要随时起觉照,不去找烦恼。

关于生活禅的修行方法我总结了四句话,其中有一些内容各位有兴趣的可以听听,也可以加以落实;有一些内容各位不一定有兴趣,但是也可以作为参考。不管是有信仰的人,还是没有信仰的人,烦恼是平等的,都要学会对治烦恼的方法。

第一句话:将信仰落实于生活。我们不一定具有宗教信仰,但是都有自己的理想和信念。任何一个有理想的人,不能让理想悬在半空中,一定要把它贯彻到学习和生活当中去,理想和信念才能逐步成为现实。

第二句话:将修行落实于当下。烦恼即菩提,是要我们当下就动手去做,当下就要解决问题。解决问题就靠那一个“即”字。“即”是等号,这个等号不容易画。“即”是等号,就是说烦恼等于菩提,怎么样才能等于?里面有很深的功夫,这个功夫要在每一个起心念的当下落实。所以要将修行落实于当下,不能等待。

第三句话:将佛法融化于世间。六祖大师讲:“佛法在世间,不离世间觉,离世觅菩提,恰如求兔角。”佛经有很多好的格言,有很多好的语句,世间好语佛说尽。六祖这四句话,恐怕是中华人民共和国成立五十多年来,佛教界引用得最多的四句话;还有两句话说得很多,就是“庄严国土,利乐有情”。为什么这几句话说得最多呢?就因为这些话把佛法的精神融化于世间了。佛法如果不能融化于世间,佛法就永远搁置在藏经楼里面,就永远被关在寺院里面,不能发挥它应有的作用。所谓世间是什么呢?世间者,烦恼也。烦恼是烦恼,菩提是菩提,就是世间;烦恼即菩提,就是出世间。

最后一句话:将个人融化于大众。这句话说起来很容易,做起来是千难与万难,特别是要转变这个观念不容易。我们总觉得一切成就都是自己的功劳,都是我自己的聪明才智、我自己的创造发挥、我自己的本领、我自己的财富、我自己的才华……总是个人当头。但是我们每一位,包括我自己在内,时时刻刻都要想到:个人如果离开了大众,不但是一事无成,连自己的生命都不知道在哪里。个人不能离开大众,就像一棵树不能成为森林;只有众多的树生长在一起,都长得很茂盛,那才是森林。我们一定要养成时时感恩大众、回报大众的思想。

这就是我讲生活禅经常提到的四句话。这四句话的提出,到今年已经有十五年的时间。1992年,我在柏林禅寺举办第一届禅七的时候,就提出了落实生活禅的这四个理念。如果说到生活禅的真谛,这四句话大概也属于生活禅的真谛。把这四句话与刚才讲的“在生活中修行,在修行中生活”结合起来,就是我们修生活禅,或者说修学佛教一切法门的要诀;甚至于我们学习世间一切文化、知识、技术,这个方法也可以参考,用起来也一定是非常有效。

生活禅是在祖师禅的基础上,为了适应当代社会人心的需要而提出来的一种修行理念,是人间佛教在修行上的具体落实。人间佛教指出了佛法的总目标,如何落实人间佛教的思想呢?生活禅。在生活中修行,在修行中生活。

生活禅的宗旨有八个字:“觉悟人生,奉献人生。”佛教的精神两个字:一“智”、二“悲”。“智”就是大智大慧,“悲”就是大慈大悲。大智大慧和大慈大悲,是大乘佛教的精神,是佛法的总体精神,佛教的一切精神都包括在这两个字当中。有大智慧所以觉悟人生,有大慈悲所以奉献人生。“觉悟人生,奉献人生”,是把悲与智用现代的语言加以诠释,并且把它落实于生活这个很具体的范围之内。

当然,佛教讲的生命不仅仅是人,而是包括十法界。宇宙间的生命现象,由于智慧的不同、烦恼的不同、所处生活环境的不同,一共有十大类,佛教称之为十法界。十法界就是佛教对于生命现象的分类。十法界的中心枢纽是人法界。十法界分为四圣六凡,四圣可以说是高级生命层次,六凡可以说是较为低级的生命层次。高级与低级怎么分呢?就是以烦恼的多少、觉悟的程度如何来区分。只有菩提,没有烦恼,那就是佛法界;已经获得了觉悟,但是还有一些烦恼没有完全去掉,那就是菩萨法界、缘觉法界和声闻法界;烦恼很多,菩提极少,那就是天法界、人法界、阿修罗法界;只有烦恼,没有菩提,那就是地狱法界、饿鬼法界、畜生法界。所以十法界就是生命的实体,由于转化的方向不同,所趣向的法界就不同。以人法界为基本转化点,能够做到烦恼即菩提,生命层次就提升了;做不到烦恼即菩提,生命层次就下降了。生命的苦乐升沉,关键就在人这一法界;而人这一法界之所以有苦乐升沉,一切唯心造,都是我们心念的善恶迷悟来决定、来操控的。所以我讲要“觉悟人生,奉献人生”。

“觉悟人生,奉献人生”具体怎么操作呢?觉悟人生可以说是如何做人,奉献人生可以说是如何做事。在这里我也初步有一点点体会贡献给各位。

觉悟人生就是讲如何做人。有八个字需要我们在做人的时候认真去落实。这八个字就是:信仰、因果、良心、道德。

有信仰,讲因果,有良心,讲道德,就能够做一个人上之人。这就是佛法的根本精神。一个人有没有智慧,就体现在是否具有正确的信仰上,就体现在是否认识一切事物的因果规律上,就体现在是否讲良心、讲道德上。佛教虽然没有用良心这个词,但是在中国传统文化当中,存好心、说好话、做好事的根本出发点,就是要有良心。有良心才能讲道德,这是做人做事的本分。伦理、佛教的戒律、社会的法制,都是属于道德的范畴。有这八个字,做人的功夫就算是差不多了。

做事也有八个字。首先是感恩,第二是包容,第三是分享,第四是结缘。

做世间的一切事情,从发财出发容易做,容易想到;从升官来做事情,容易想到,容易落实;从感恩来做事,这就不容易了。如果我们做事情首先有一个感恩的心,这个事情就好做。你知道感恩,你就知道每一件事情的成功都是大众的成就,都不是单纯个人的因素。每一件事物的存在,都是与天地万物分不开的。这朵花今天能够在这个地方开得这么鲜艳,你们大学生又懂物理、又懂化学、又懂数学、又懂生物学,都知道这朵花之所以能够开得这么鲜艳是什么原因。这是整个宇宙的成就。没有整个宇宙的成就,这一朵花的存在是不可能的。由此而想到我们做学问、做事业、成家立业,哪一件事不是整个宇宙的成就呢?所以我说要以感恩的心面对世界。不管发生了什么事,不管有什么成就,都要想到这是大众的就成,这是社会的成就,这是国家的成就,这是全人类的成就,这是天地万物的成就。能有此心,我们做人做事,心地坦荡无碍。

然后要包容。做事情也好,做人也好,都不是一帆风顺,处处都有疙里疙瘩,处处都有不同的意见。怎么办?不能采取你死我活的办法;不能有不是我吃掉你,就是你吃掉我的想法。这一盆花非常好看,是由各种各样的颜色组成。有红花,有黄花,有绿叶,各种色彩组织在一起,它才显得千姿百态,这个世界才是有颜有色。这是什么原因呢?这是我们插花的人有一个包容的心态。哦!不能光是黄花,也不能光是红花,一定要万紫千红春满园。所以我们在做事情的时候,一定要想到包容不同的意见、不同的想法,要互相取长补短,扬长避短。这样,成就一切事业就会一帆风顺。

第三要分享。事业成就了怎么办呢?不能一切占为已有,一切都独享。如果那样的话,一定是“一家饱暖千家怨,半世功名百世冤”。既然一切都是大众成就的,那就要大众来分享。这是当今社会需要十分认真去思考的一个问题。要以包容的心和谐自他,以分享的心回报大众。你对大众有良好的回报,有公平合理的回报,那么大众对你这个老板也好、校长也好、院长也好、系主任也好,一定会有良好的回报。他们会勤奋学习、努力工作,积极配合。这就是善有善报。

我在河北省佛教协会也有将近二十年的时间,开始也是赤手空拳,一无所有。后来当地政府又要我去修建柏林禅寺。那里是一片废墟,瓦砾堆中建道场。怎么办呢?我就运用共产党的群众路线,我把它具体化为四句口号:“大众认同,大众参与,大众成就,大众分享。”这个“四大”一提出来果然很灵。首先是认同这个事业,然后参与这个事业,然后成就这个事业,然后大家来分享。我没有发财,我也不能够给大家发工资,怎么办呢?寺院不卖门票呗!让大众一起来分享。大众成就了这一所寺院,大众随时可以自由出进,来烧香,来拜佛,不受任何限制。柏林禅寺进门不要门票,也没有人管理,也没有保安人员。因为什么呢?大家觉得自己是回到家了,回到家了他就晓得要爱护家里的一草一木。柏林寺开始的时候并没有多少人去朝拜,香火冷清清的。那个时候有人贡献了一口从内蒙古买去的大锅,就放在那里做香炉,三年下来,那个香炉的香灰都没有满!哎呀,好惨哪!三年时间那个香炉的香灰都没烧满!我心想,要是哪一天能够一年就把这个香炉烧满了香灰就好了!1997年以后,人逐渐多起来了;等到万佛楼在开始修建,那个香炉的香灰十天八天就满一次。现在不行了,现在要限制大家烧香了,提倡文明敬香,每个三柱香。就是这样也要每天清理一次香炉。

大众来参与,大众来分享,这一点非常重要。有人曾经给柏林寺做过一个计算,按照当时的情况,一年卖一百万元的门票是没有问题的;如果按照现在的情况,十元一张的门票一年也能收入两三百万元。所以有人就说:你这多不合算!我就说:要那么多钱干什么?钱多了不是好事。寺院里有功德箱里的那几毛钱够吃饭就行了。因为现在柏林寺的建设都做完了,用不了多少钱,能够维持常住一百多人的生活就行了。而且最主要的一点,社会大众能够到寺院里来净化心灵,参观游览不受阻碍,觉得像回家一样,这就是我们最大的满足,这比收钱更有意义。钱多了还是浪费,钱多了会造成寺院的腐败。钱少,寺院可以长久保持一种清贫的生活。所以坚持不收门票。我在柏林寺退职的时候,把这一条特别地提出来,要永远保持不收门票的传统,这个不能变。这是我们出家人自愿来回报大众的一点点用心。

从2003年开始,我又到湖北当阳玉泉寺、黄梅四祖寺任住持,都是很大的寺院,都是千年祖庭。当时,当阳玉泉寺由旅游部门卖38元一张票,黄梅四祖寺由四祖村卖10元一张票,还要收停车费。我就和当地政府商量:是不是可以不卖门票?不卖门票来的人就多,可以提高知名度,可以为当地创造一个良好的旅游和休闲环境。来参观的人都会说:你看当阳这个地方,寺院不卖门票。这就是大众对地方政府的一种认同、一种非常良好的印象。经过半年多的努力,当地政府认同了我的想法,把旅游部门撤销了,把所有的财产都移交给了寺院,然后由寺院再对旅游单位作了一定的补偿。

寺院本来就是一个公共场所,公共场所都是由大众成就的。寺院的工作,就是由佛教徒、佛教界集合民间的力量,来为国家、为社会做一点事。寺院是国家所有,是社会所有,不是和尚所有,是大家的资源,是大家的财富。想通了这个问题,大家就能够认同分享的理念。我觉得,这个分享的理念,在各个部门、各个单位都可以贯彻,做每一件事都可以贯彻。

分享有物质的分享,也有精神的分享。我今天在这里与各位在一起,可以说是一种精神的分享。我之所以能学习到一点佛法,也是大众成就的。没有大众的成就,我想要学习一点佛法,想在寺院安心修行,也是不可能的。所以,这既是一种感恩,也是一种分享。

最后是结缘。做事情和结缘有什么关系呢?之所以能做事,就是因为有缘。结了缘才有缘。缘成就了某一件事,成就了以后就要继续结缘。如果不懂得结缘,往往事情成就了,缘法缘份就断绝了。昨天你帮了我的忙,我的事情成就了,咱们今天就拜拜了。有许多的人,官当起来了,人缘没有了;事业成就了,财发了,人缘没有了。那就是最大的损失。不能这样,要把这个缘源源不断地延续下去,它可以延伸到其它事业的成就。要以结缘的心成就事业,成就了事业继续结缘。

感恩、包容、分享、结缘,就是我们做事的八字方针。两个八个字加在一起,就是我所提倡的做人做事的“二八”方针。这个题目我与企业界的人士讲过一两次,今天能够在陕西师范大学与同学们、老师们、法师们一起来结法缘,我感到很高兴。感谢吴言生教授的成就,感恩各位法师的成就,感恩同学们的成就,下次有缘再会!

Ven Jing Hui 净慧法师 21.

“If your love is only a will to possess, it’s not love.”

— Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh 8