五种邪命值得我们去认真反省
静波法师

佛教在说八正道之第五正命的过程中,相对应地说了五种邪命。我愿意相信,肯定很多人都知道!但是我还是要再强调一下。这五种邪命的第一个就是诈现奇特,第二个是自赞功德,第三个是占相吉凶,第四个是高声示威,第五个是称得供养。因为这个邪命是会让我们迷失和堕落的!所以它不是正命!虽然有人会说:可以方便,那么根本在哪里?这五种邪命的含义是:

(一)诈现奇特

正当的活命方式,不应该是诈现奇特即故弄玄虚,或者耸人听闻,更不应该是乘人之危……未知的世界我们不知道,确实很神秘,确实很疑惑……但是,如果别有用心、不懂装懂,就故弄玄虚,那么它是有可怕的副作用的!当我们骗别人的时候,我们自己也是有后遗症的!请不要心存侥幸!当借佛教之名故弄玄虚的时候,它是有市场的。江湖上说:“和尚不作怪,没有人来拜。”这个话是值得我们思考的。但是,请记住:这种“拜”是对正信佛教的伤害!

(二)自赞功德

所谓自赞功德,就是自吹自擂,到处炫耀!佛教是破斥我执的。自吹自擂的后遗症是招来很多是非:荣誉来了,诋毁也就来了!佛教提倡无我、谦卑、不把自己当回事!弘一大师自称“二一老人”,即:“一事无成人渐老,一钱不值何消说”,值得我们思考!我们今天很多人唯恐天下人不知道自己!其实名闻天下也很麻烦。请记住,为浮名所累,问题很多。

(三)占相吉凶

无论是佛教的戒律,还是佛陀的《佛说佛遗教经》中,都明确地告诉我们,是不可以占相吉凶、仰观星宿的!那么,我们为什么不依教奉行呢!我们今天把佛教弄得就像“卖掺了水的牛奶”一样:到我这里了,我掺点儿水;到他那里,他又掺点儿水。最后的结果就是,不知道牛奶是什么了!还以为这个水就是牛奶了!末法是人末,不是法末!所以我们希望恢复到佛陀原本的教诲,且能对症下药!就是原来是什么样的,我们现在就恢复到什么样的,并能解决问题!只是,人们喜欢带着个人情绪引导别人!

占相吉凶是佛教所不提倡的!为什么不提倡?因为:法无定法,定法不是法!自作自受!所以:我们需要改变自己!这就是修行!我们经常会说别人骗了我……那么为什么会上当呢?这是我们需要反思的。所以占相吉凶,是佛教所不提倡的。

(四)高声示威

所谓高声示威,就是到处去宣传自己,觉得自己与众不同!这也是佛教所不提倡的。当然,如果为了佛教的大局,应该是可以去宣传的,“不为自己求安乐,但愿众生得离苦”……就像这样一个场合中的讲座和录像,已经不再是个人的事情!这是随缘!人在江湖上了,身不由己……

(五)称得供养

所谓称得供养,就是迷失了自己信仰的方向,因为出家和弘法利生并不是为了名闻供养、为了某种希望和企图。弘法是家务,只是责任和义务!不是攀缘和化缘,应是随缘!如果迷失了自己,就会误导别人!

五种邪命的内容,是值得我们去认真地反省的。人生短暂,几十年很快会过去!如果我们迷失在邪命和不正见之中,它会有可怕的后遗症!如此,不但误了自己,而且也会误了别人!诚可谓:自欺欺人!

我们这样身份的人,一言一行将会非常敏感的!因为你不代表你,我也不代表我,我们代表这个信仰!所以说话时要谨慎!理由是:祸从口出,病从口入。

现实中的情况就是这样!每个人都需要考虑由于我们自身的原因所带来的正面和负面的作用!请不要轻易说:我不执着!

Ven Jing Bo (静波法师) 12.

A donkey carrying a pile of holy books is still a donkey.

— Zen Proverb

Lotus 288.

Old Relationships, New Possibilities
by Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche

We all have some rough relationships in our lives that seem held together by the stickiness of attachment and expectation. It is true that we have love and care for these people, but, at the same time, it’s not so clean; there’s plenty of complexity. Inside, we feel an emotional tug when we see or think of them. This is often exaggerated with the people we are close to and with whom we share a strong dynamic, such as our parents, children, close friends, or spouse — all relationships where a lot of expectations tend to arise. There are many unspoken demands. In the midst of our romance, marriage, or parenting, we find ourselves responsible for someone else’s loneliness and their emotional or physical pain.

There is a Tibetan term that describes this kind of dynamic: lenchak, commonly translated as “karmic debt.” Len literally means “time” or “occurrence,” while chak refers to “attachment,” “attraction,” or the notion of a karmic pull toward someone, usually in an unhealthy way. So lenchak could be understood as the residue that revisits us from the dynamic of a relationship from what some would call a past life, a dynamic now strengthened by habitual responses. Lenchak is most often used to explain or describe why a particular relationship is how it is.

In the Buddhist texts, we read that in certain hell realms beings experience the negative results of past unwholesome relationships. They hear their name being called out and experience a pull toward the voice of the person they once knew. They travel toward that voice but end up encountering horrendous creatures and experiencing intense physical and mental anguish. This is interesting because, with those with whom we have lenchak, we feel an immediate pull beyond our control or sense of resistance. Our name is called, and we jump at once to serve them. This is not a conscious decision — not a joyous decision — but more like being propelled by a strong wind. Our reaction — whether with anger, jealousy, attachment, or what have you — only serves to reinforce the dynamic. People have done many things “in the name of love.” But if this is love, it’s not a healthy kind of love.

In Tibet they say there is a lake where, during a particular full moon each year, the seal-like creatures who live there gather fish in their mouths and offer them up to hordes of owls who hover in the trees above, waiting to eat. There is no apparent reason for the seals to offer the fish other than the fact that the owls seem to expect it. As the story goes, the seals gain nothing from offering the fish, and the owls are never satisfied. So, they say, since there is no obvious reason for this dynamic to be as it is, “it must be lenchak.”

The lenchak dynamic has two sides: the seal side and the owl side. If we are the seal, we feel an unspoken emotional responsibility for someone else’s mind and well-being. We feel pulled toward this person as if they have a claim on us. It’s a strong visceral experience, and we have a physical reaction to it: the phone rings and we check our caller ID — it’s “the owl.” We should pick it up, but we are overcome by a strong wave of anxiety and repulsion as if we are being attacked by our own nervous system. We brace ourselves for a problem or a strong emotional download. As much as we want to detach ourselves from this person, we can’t break loose; it’s as if they have captured us, and there’s no escape — checkmate! Of course, this is not the case. In truth, we are held hostage by our own attachment, guilt, and inability to resist the pain that comes from feeling unreasonably responsible for them. On one hand, we can’t bear watching the owl struggle. On the other hand, we can’t let go. This dynamic brings us down; it makes us lose our lustre as human beings.

Meanwhile, the owl is never satisfied, no matter how many fish the seal tries to feed it. Of course, when caught in the owl syndrome we don’t see it in this way. We feel neglected, isolated, and weak. The reason for this is that we are depending on someone else in hopes that they will manage our fears. We have so many unspoken demands, although we often express these demands in a meek and needy way. The owl syndrome reduces us to a childlike state. We begin to question whether or not we can do things on our own, and we lose confidence in our ability to face our minds and emotions. Interestingly, the owl — so frail, needy, and insecure — is not necessarily as feeble as it seems to be. In fact, the owl has the upper hand. It’s a little manipulative if you want to know the truth. The owl just doesn’t want to clean up its own mess. This is a privileged attitude. If the owl couldn’t afford to be weak — if it didn’t have the seal — it would naturally rise to its own challenges.

The irony of this dynamic is that, in most cases, the more fish the seal offers the owl, the more resentful, demanding, and dissatisfied the owl gets. For both the seal and owl, this kind of dependence and expectation gives way to a lot of ugliness. At work, we may have to hold our tongues and swallow what our boss has to say, but there is no holding back with our loved ones. We let our guard down and allow ourselves to get ugly, spreading our web of ego anxieties all over the place. It’s true, the seal may temporarily pacify the owl, but no mutual respect arises from this kind of arrangement. And in truth, isn’t it respect that we want most of all? Everyone wants love and care, but, more than these, human beings want respect for who they are. Even an enemy can respect another enemy. There is a sense of human dignity in this.

In this confusion of lenchak for love, we fear that without the lenchak dynamic our relationships will completely fall apart. What is there beyond all the obligations, all the “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts,” and all the fantasies we try to live up to? The distinction between love and lenchak needs to be examined carefully. Love and care toward others warm the heart and makes us generous and giving. Feelings of love and care arise naturally; they are not the product of pressures and demands. Think about the attachment and pain of lenchak. Think of all the insecurities and resentment that come with it. Lenchak makes us feel like we are not up for our own life and its challenges or that we can’t handle seeing others in pain. And yet we don’t trust that they can handle their own lives, either!

When it’s time for a child to start walking, a mother needs to let her child walk. She needs to let the child lose his or her balance, fall down, and then find balance once again. Alone, the child needs to get up and stand on his or her own two feet. Although children need protection, we need to have confidence in their potential to flourish. We don’t want to hold them captive by our own fears and doubts — this creates the unhealthy dependence we have been talking about. Letting children immerse themselves in a challenging situation or obstacle for a while gives the child confidence. It gives the mother confidence, too. It’s one of the early steps a mother takes in letting the child become a citizen of the world.

When challenges or obstacles arise for us, we don’t have to get so intimidated; we can say, “Yes, it’s an obstacle, but it is not intrinsically bad; it’s not going to destroy me.” To create a relationship with the obstacle, learn about it, and finally overcome it is going to be a helpful thing to do. It gives us a chance to cultivate wisdom and skilful means. It gives us confidence. We cannot eliminate all of the challenges or obstacles in life — our own or anyone else’s. We can only learn to rise to the occasion and face them. Shantideva suggests that we need to cultivate a “Can do! Why not? No problem!” kind of attitude toward our neuroses and obstacles in order to overcome them. If we have no confidence, we’ll already be defeated, like a dead snake lying on the ground. Around a dead snake, even a sparrow can act like a garuda! (This ancient mythological Indian bird, said to be able to travel from one end of the universe to the other with a single movement of its wings, is also said to hatch from the egg fully developed, and is thus used as a symbol for the awakened state of mind.) In the same way, the smallest fear or neurosis will entirely overpower us.

The great deception of lenchak is that it doesn’t even occur to us that our suffering is our own. We automatically expect that others should share in it or take it on themselves. In this way, lenchak gets in the way of our owning up to the responsibility of our lives. There are times when we try to pull others in for sympathy. If asked, “How are you?” we will review our full history. It starts off, “I’m okay, but . . . .” We feel a need to share everything. At the end of the conversation, others know all our troubles and ailments. We just can’t seem to go through the process on our own with our own strength.

But do we really need to be transparent as glass? Do others really want this kind of honesty? People often can’t handle all the details and confusion in their own lives. It is safe to assume that they have emotional ups and downs and uncomfortable physical sensations like we do. Furthermore, unless they are our doctors, what can they actually do for us?

At the end of my mother’s life, when she was quite sick, an old friend came to see her. When he asked how she was feeling, she said, “I’m fine.” I later asked her why she said that, and she replied, “What else should I say?” When you ask accomplished teachers how they are, they always say, “Good, good, very good” — always good. Many people say that they feel dishonest saying they are good when in fact they have problems. But what we are talking about here is developing a fundamental sense of strength and well being. Wouldn’t it be better to associate our mind with that rather than with all the fleeting emotions and physical sensations we experience throughout the day? What is the point of being honest about something so fleeting and impossible to pin down? If your well-being is so dependent upon your emotions and physical sensations, you will have little opportunity to say, “I am well.” So when people ask how you are, say, “Good!” You may need to pump yourself up a little bit in the beginning, but soon you will start to believe it yourself. You will begin to see that people feel more attracted to you. They won’t feel that subtle tug when they see you coming. And they will be less hesitant to ask how you are!

When we are bound by the emotional needs of others, or simply afraid of our own, how can we entertain the idea of engaging a spiritual path? And when our relationships with others are so unclean and confused, how can we expect to extend kindness to others and work for their benefit? Lenchak goes against the most fundamental principles of spiritual practice. We are always seeking something from the outside and forgetting that our fundamental well-being and strength depend on how we relate to our own minds. Falling under the sway of the lenchak dynamic is like losing possession of our very lives. It’s like letting others lead us around by the nose ring as if we were a buffalo or a cow. What could be more detrimental than losing our freedom in this way?

All the great practitioners know the consequences and pitfalls of lenchak, so they fiercely guard their independence. They are savvy when it comes to working with others because they know that whether it concerns their students, parents, family, or whoever, if they fell prey to the lenchak dynamic, it would eat up their time and their peace of mind. Moreover, because it is a dynamic based on neurosis, lenchak leaves no supportive ground on which to serve others. In the end, they would find themselves leading an entirely different life from the spiritual life of practice they envisioned for themselves.

Knowing this, many yogis have steered clear of societal demands and led simple lives, travelling alone without the complications that come with having many sponsors and attendants. The great Nyingma teacher Patrul Rinpoche [1808–1887] had a strong, uncompromising presence and was completely immune to any kind of deception or partiality. There are stories that when important dignitaries would come for an audience — some of them so proud it would have taken a bulldozer to get their heads down — they would shake like prayer flags in his presence. But don’t think for a moment that Patrul Rinpoche, even though he was free of entanglements, had even a trace of indifference! He was known as a loyal and kind friend, a compassionate friend, who dedicated his life solely to benefiting others. Because he was able to see the greater potential of the human mind’s ability to awaken, he spent his entire life expounding the teachings with great care and tenderness. Through his wisdom and compassion, he was able to preserve his independence and serve others, perfecting his own mind through the jewel of bodhicitta (“enlightened heart”). On the relative level, bodhicitta has two aspects: aspiration bodhicitta, which is the wish to attain enlightenment in order to bring all living beings to liberation; and engaged bodhicitta, which includes such practices as generosity and patience. On the absolute level, bodhicitta is insight into the nature of all phenomena.

Wisdom and compassion are the two components of bodhicitta. When we begin to discover the mind’s natural potential and strength, we are cultivating wisdom. This doesn’t mean we become hard-hearted and indifferent. It doesn’t mean we have to cut our family ties, quit our job, or live in a cave. It simply means we refuse to give in to lenchak because we see that it doesn’t serve us and that it makes it impossible for us to serve others. We recognise lenchak, and we can “just say no”! We can see it as a form of civil disobedience — a nonviolent approach in which we refuse to succumb to our own and others’ ignorance. When we can reclaim our nose ring, we are left with no real reason to resent others. With a mind free from lenchak, we have a lot of room to expand the heart through serving others. This is how wisdom can protect us so that we can be soft and caring. This is the Bodhisattva’s way.

In the sutras, it says that a Bodhisattva is like an immaculate lotus that floats on muddy water. The lotus is a metaphor for the Bodhisattva, who engages the world of confusion in order to serve beings. But how is it that the bodhisattva stays afloat without sinking into the muddy water of confusion? It is due to the wisdom of knowing the mind — how it can serve us or how, if left unchecked, it can spin in the direction determined by confusion. This kind of clarity may seem a long way off for us, but it all begins with rising to the occasion of our lives and facing our minds. We need to think clearly about this. Since this is our life, we must find some determination to rise to it in a way that supports our aims. Once we taste the freedom that comes with independence, it gets easier. We realise how much we have lost by desperately holding on, and we know how much there is to gain through disengaging from confusion. We can do this while expanding our most precious qualities: our good heart and our compassion for others. Through our innate qualities of wisdom and compassion, we can burn the seeds of lenchak once and for all, ensuring benefit for both self and others. This knowledge has been of great personal value to me in my life as a teacher, householder, and friend. I hope that it serves you well, too.

Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche 53.

Always keep a smiling face and a loving mind, and speak truthfully without malice.

— Atiśha

Atisha (阿底峡尊者) 14.

存好心行善事 学佛先学做人
昌臻法师

为什么学佛要先从做人下手?太虚大师说,学佛先学做人,把人做好了,才能成佛。佛陀,梵文音译,意译是“觉悟的人”,并不是神,也不是天生的。我们大家是“没有觉悟的佛”,我们虽然是迷着的,但我们的本性没有迷。佛揭示了这个奥秘:众生都有佛性,都能成佛,这就是真理。凡夫与佛在本性上没有区别,迷就是凡夫,觉就是佛。所以我们学佛的过程,就是一个由迷到觉的过程。

学佛就是向佛学习,学习佛陀的思想、言论、行动,以佛陀为师,向佛陀看齐。学佛的最终目的就是要成佛,这一点是佛教与其它宗教不同的地方。佛教希望众生都成佛,“是心是佛”,就看自己能不能认识到这点,敢不敢承担。阿弥陀佛的四十八愿,愿愿都要度一切众生往生净土,希望一切众生都成佛。往生的目的是度众生,成佛的目的也是度众生。

那么,怎样才能把人做好呢?那就是必须遵循做人的准则,佛教提出两条,叫“诸恶莫作,众善奉行”,这是《七佛通戒偈》提出来的。过去一切佛教化众生就是遵循这两条,这就是我们做人的基本准则,修行的纲领,成佛的基础。

唐代诗人白居易,对佛学很有研究。他在杭州做太守时,去拜访鸟巢禅师,他请教鸟巢禅师:佛法的精要是什么?禅师告诉他:“诸恶莫作,众善奉行”。他一听却说:“你这个太简单了,三岁儿童都懂得”。禅师说:“八十老翁行不得”。这两句话看起来也非常简单,但要落实在行动上却是一辈子也不一定做得好的,要想将它做圆满,那就更难了。

佛教对善恶的标准要求很高。利人才是善,利己就是恶,损人利己更是大恶。一般人常说,自私自利,损人利己。而从因果上来看,损人决定不会利己,而只会得到恶报;自私决定不会自利。自私,是从小我出发,加强了我执,出不了六道轮回;自私是贪、嗔、痴的根源,会使人堕入三恶道。所以,自私和利己都是恶,利人才是善,这也符合因果规律。自、他是一不是二,利人,是种善因,自然会得善果。如果是从利己出发而去利人的,这不是种善因。是善是恶,关键就在于你如何发心。

《易经》讲:“积善之家,必有庆余”。这就是贯通三世的因果规律所决定的。中国历史上著名的文学家、政治家范仲淹,是一个虔诚的佛教居士。在他当宰相时,虽身居高位,但家里的开支却非常节俭。他有三个儿子,却只备有一件礼服,因此三个儿子不能同时出外。他将他的工资收入,除了留很少部分作为生活费用外,其余都全部用来救济贫困。他还在苏州办了一个“范氏义庄”养活了三百家人,这个不简单,三百家人啊!他去世后,却连安埋费都没有着落;但他得到很大的善报是在他的后人身上。他的儿子范纯仁官至宰相,子孙后代,代代出人才,一直繁衍发达到现在。《人民日报》海外版曾经刊登过一则消息:“来自世界各地的范氏家族在台北市举行了一个隆重的集会,与会者将近两百人,纪念范文正公的一千年诞辰。” 范文正公种下善因,自然就会得到善报。

如果一个人能够损己利人,这就更加了不得。损己,从现在来看仿佛是“吃亏了”,但从长远来看,你的行为受到了别人的尊敬,并且你这种行为会感化别人,你自己虽然并不求福报,但却自然会得到更大的福报。清代末年的林则徐,也是一个非常虔诚的佛教徒。他做钦差大臣每次出巡时,虽日理万机,却必然把《阿弥陀经》等课诵写成的小册子随身携带,每日必定抽出时间来完成他自己的早晚课。至今还留有林则徐亲写的《行舆日课》。他撰联:“苟利国家生死已;岂因祸福趋避之。”“海纳百川,有容乃大;壁立千仞,无欲则刚”。在禁烟中焚毁鸦片的时候,他很清楚,明白做了这件事立刻会丢官,甚至会被杀头。他有充分的思想准备,完全没有考虑个人得失,考虑的仅仅只是国家民族的利益,为了利益国家民族,不惜这样做。这就是损己利人,就是修菩萨行。果然,当他焚烧鸦片结束后,就被免去了两广总督职位,还被充军到边远的新疆。由于他完全没有把个人的荣辱得失放在心上,到达新疆后,又亲自规划新疆的水利工程,修建了造福于新疆人民的“坎儿井”。这样做当时看起来是吃了亏,但却受到了大家的尊崇。他是真正具有毫不利己,专门利人的菩萨精神。现在,英国伦敦的蜡像馆里,陈列着世界各国的著名历史人物,有关我国清代历史人物,就专门选塑了林则徐的像为代表。不言而喻,历史自有公论。林则徐的子孙后代也非常发达兴盛。根据上海《新民晚报》和《四川政协报》提供的材料,现在世界各地居住的林则徐的后代,有联系的竟达三百多家人。

上述两个例子说明了一个道理,行善就是利人。利人实际上就是利己。佛教的观点是自他不二,但是有些同修以为,我要关着门做功课、念佛,其它的事情少管,先把自己度了再度人。这个说法是不正确的。印光大师说:“自未得度、先度人者,菩萨发心。是则唯欲利人者,正完成其自利;而唯欲自利者,乃适所以自害也。“这段开示说得很明白,你只想到利己,实际上利不了自己,反而会害自己,因为你把自己和别人对立起来看,归根到底还是自私自利。对待这个问题,我们应该遵循祖师的教导,端正自己的看法。

有些人虽然在学佛,却做些损人的事情。比如:不能宽容待人,并随意诽谤别人。让别人受冤枉,你自己绝对得不到任何好处,因为害人终究是害自己。事情肯定终究会被揭穿,别人不相信你,你也失去了大家对你的信任。你不仅现在犯了诽谤罪,而且,自己将来肯定要受到口业的恶报。因为你是出于嫉妒心、报复心、嗔恨心,这是种的堕恶道的因!这些人应该悬崖勒马,忏悔罪业,老实做人。

还有一种是损人来利己,比如把别人财产侵占了,别人受了损失,自己目前似乎是得到了利益,但你的恶名却流传出去了,一定会受到舆论的谴责和法律的制裁,未来还肯定会受贫穷困苦的恶报。纵然你今生逃脱了法律的制裁,但绝对逃脱不了因果。佛教关于善恶果报的道理,就是指导我们怎样做人,怎样待人接物,是很有受用的。我们学佛必须按照这个原则来做人、来待人接物。在个基础上修行才会相应。如果天天在念佛,却没有按佛的教导去做人,这是绝对错误的。我们首先就一定要做到“诸恶莫作”,严守五戒是起码应该做到的。把五戒守好,“众善奉行”就不难了。

Ven Chang Zhen (昌臻法师) 9.

When the mind is quiet
The moon reflects within it;
Then, even if there are waves,
They are bright.

— Dogen

Dogen 1.

Happily Dwelling Conduct
The Bodhisattva Conduct (Part 2)
by Venerable Hsuan Hua

Senior Bodhisattvas have been thoroughly smelted; they have passed through the fire. That is not to say that Bodhisattvas are actually burned. It means that they have been through experiences as painful as being burned by fire and as difficult to endure as being drowned by water. By passing through so many demonic tests, the Bodhisattvas have been successfully smelted and forged. That is how they become senior Bodhisattvas. Manjushri Bodhisattva is not only a senior Bodhisattva, he is a great and inconceivable Bodhisattva, which is why he is called a Mahasattva.

And so this Mahasattva said to the Buddha, “World Honoured One, all these Bodhisattvas are extremely rare.” He said, “All these many Bodhisattvas who are now before the Buddha making great vows are very unusual and rare. Reverently complying with the Buddha, they have made great vows. They are extremely respectful of the Buddha, and so they have accorded with the Buddha’s intent and brought forth mighty resolutions. In the evil world of the five turbidities, they want to practise the ascetic practices of bearing what others cannot bear and doing what others cannot do. Their great vows are to protect, maintain, read, and speak this Dharma Flower Sutra in the future evil age. In the future, when it is the Dharma Ending Age, they will guard those who receive and maintain this Sutra, those who read and recite it, and those who explain The Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra.

Therefore, now as we explain the Dharma Flower Sutra, there are who-knows-how-many myriads of Bodhisattvas, Hearers, and Those Enlightened by Conditions here protecting and supporting this Bodhimanda. Why? All these Bodhisattvas made the vow that wherever there is a Dharma Flower Assembly, they definitely will protect it. It is similar to Many Jewels Tathagata’s vow that wherever there is a Buddha speaking the Dharma Flower Sutra, he will appear before that Buddha to give certification.

SUTRA

“World Honoured One, how should Bodhisattvas Mahasattvas speak this Sutra in the future evil age?”

The Buddha told Manjushri, “If a Bodhisattva Mahasattva wishes to speak this Sutra in the future evil age, he should dwell securely in four Dharmas. First, by dwelling in a Bodhisattva’s range of practice and a Bodhisattva’s range of association, he will be able to expound this Sutra for living beings.”

COMMENTARY

Manjushri Bodhisattva addressed the Buddha, saying, “World Honoured One, how should Bodhisattvas Mahasattvas speak this Sutra in the future evil age? How can all those great Bodhisattvas propagate The Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra in the future Dharma Ending Age, when offences and evils fill the world?” In our present world, everyone likes to fight and wage war. People fight with people, families fight with families, countries fight with countries, and worlds fight with worlds. This world wants to conquer that world, and that world wishes to vanquish this one. As a result, human beings want to migrate to the moon, and moon-beings wish to invade our Saha World. That is what is meant by the future evil age. “During the Dharma Ending Age, which is so full of evil, how can Bodhisattvas explain The Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra?” Manjushri Bodhisattva asks the Buddha.

The Buddha Shakyamuni told Manjushri Bodhisattva, “If there is a Bodhisattva Mahasattva, a great Bodhisattva who has brought forth the resolve and wishes to speak this, The Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra, in the future evil age, in the future world of corruption, he should dwell securely in four kinds of Dharmas. The first of the four Dharmas is that, by dwelling in the Bodhisattva’s range of practices and the Bodhisattva’s range of associations, he will be able to expound this Sutra for living beings. He should reside where Bodhisattvas cultivate, that is, in the Six Paramitas or the Ten Paramitas. They cultivate the Ten Paramitas of giving, holding precepts, patience, vigour, dhyana-samadhi, wisdom, expedients, vows, powers and knowledge. They should reside in these Ten Paramitas, which are the Bodhisattvas’ range of practice.

The Bodhisattvas’ range of associations means the places Bodhisattvas draw near to. If one dwells in the state of the practice of Bodhisattvas and draws near to the states that Bodhisattvas should draw near to, then one will be able to lecture on The Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra for living beings.

SUTRA

“Manjushri, what is meant by
the Bodhisattva Mahasattva’s range of practice?
If a Bodhisattva Mahasattva dwells on the ground of patience,
is gentle and compliant,
not impetuous or volatile; if his mind is not frightened;
if, moreover, he does not practise in regard to any Dharma,
but contemplates the marks of all Dharmas as they really are
— not, however, practising non-discrimination —
that is called a Bodhisattva Mahasattva’s range of practices.”

COMMENTARY

This section of text discusses a Bodhisattva’s range of practices, which is why Shakyamuni Buddha says, “Manjushri, do you know what is meant by the Bodhisattva Mahasattva’s range of practices? Do you know what constitutes the scope of cultivation of a great Bodhisattva? If a Bodhisattva Mahasattva dwells on the ground of patience — when a Bodhisattva cultivates the practice of being patient and resides at the level of patience — what is he like? It must be that he is gentle and compliant, not impetuous or volatile.”

Being patient is not at all easy. In the past, when Shakyamuni Buddha was a Patient Immortal, King Kali dismembered his body, yet as a Patient Immortal, he did not feel any hatred or anger. That qualifies as dwelling on the ground of patience. Those who have heard the Vajra Sutra know that story, but those who have not will not know it.

Limitless kalpas ago, Shakyamuni Buddha was in the mountains cultivating the practice of patience. You may wonder, “Since there aren’t any people in the mountains, with whom was he being patient? No one came into conflict with him or had any dealings with him, and so how did he cultivate patience?” His cultivation of patience did not necessarily involve being insulted. He simply endured things people cannot bear.

For instance, in the mountains, there are many mosquitoes, and they bite people all the time. When the mosquitoes came to bite him, the Buddha, as a Patient Immortal, was patient and did not drive them away. First of all, he wanted to practise patience, and secondly, he was afraid that if he drove them away, he would terrify them. That is an example of how he was patient with small creatures. As to larger creatures, if snakes came to bite him, he would bear it. If wolves, bears, tigers, and leopards came wanting to tear into him, he endured it. He practised patience towards all the animals since there were no people there.

Ven Hsuan Hua (宣化老和尚) 9.

Delightful are the forests where worldlings delight not; the passionless will rejoice (therein), (for) they seek no sensual pleasures.

— The Buddha

Buddha 768.

信愿坚固
大安法师

印祖说,所遗憾的是自己的色力衰弱,身体不好,力量不够,修行呢,很难勇猛。这些都是谦虚的话,印祖的修行非常精进,有时候他闭关都叫“死期败烈”,把生命作为赌注来去闭关。但虽然行难勇猛,而信愿坚固,就是在这个过程当中,他对净土的信心、往生的愿力越来越坚固。这就是修行净土法门得力的地方,修行净土法门能不能成就,能不能得力,功夫能不能有进展,就看你的信、愿是不是坚固。

我们在东林寺举行的一些修行活动,无论是昼夜念佛,还是精进的佛七,还是百万佛号闭关,我发现有个规律 —— 这些谈体会包括实修我们也在参与,这个活动能不能得到利益,利益的浅深跟他的信、愿成正比,他的信、愿越好,他得利益越高。比如说,你在昼夜念佛念到晚上12点很瞌睡、很昏沉的时候,你怎么冲破这样的一个昏沉、这样的瞌睡,这是靠信心的。你有信心,这一念提得非常得孤明历历,这个昏沉、瞌睡它就会远离。包括念佛的时候,会有些疾病、业障现前,这些疾病、业障现前,你能不能够超越得过去,也是靠信心。业障现前,你知道这是业障,阿弥陀佛名号正在消业障,你就咬住这名号,业障就消失了;这个病来了,你相信这个“阿弥陀佛”就是阿伽陀药,一切病都能治,咬住这个名号,病就治好了。

上次有一个百万佛号闭关的一个同修,他是心脏病呐,他就是本着要往生的心理到这儿闭关,果然念到第二天心脏病发作,心脏病发作是很要命的,说不准就有生命危险,他的口袋里面就装着救心丸的,他本能地就要准备掏那个救心丸那个药来吃,就在这一刹那,他想到了什么?他说:“我来这里闭关干什么?我就是要求往生的,现在我往生的时侯到了,我还吃那个药干嘛呀?!”他就不吃那个药,他就这时候恳切地念念念……念了三个小时之后,什么事情都没有了,心脏病念好了。这里真的就是靠信心,这句名号就能治疗你的心脏病。但如果说心脏病一来,哎呀,赶紧吃药,吃药你就离开了阿伽陀药,你就认为阿伽陀药还比不上世间的药;如果你把世间的药抛弃,我就是靠阿伽陀药,阿伽陀药就产生作用了。怎么产生作用?你信心产生的作用,西方人也现在讲一种疗法,叫信仰疗法。所以我们在净土法门,你对这个名号,对阿弥陀佛的愿力信得越深,信得越广,信得越坚固,你的利益就随着你的信心成正比,这是千真万确的。

那么这个信、愿属于什么?属于智慧呀 —— 般若智慧呀,只有般若智慧才能产生坚固的信愿啦。那么这个般若的智慧、这种信心的善根,真的不是一佛二佛三四五佛而种善根,乃是无量佛所种善根的一个结晶哪。

信愿坚固到什么程度呢?不但这个世间的宗门的善知识、教下的善知识说:“你放下念佛吧,跟我参禅,让你明心见性 —— 见性成佛。”教下说:“你跟我修止观,一心三观能够当下 —— 能够大开圆解,能够证到什么三昧。”包括还有“诸师”,也包括一些密宗说:“你跟我持什么咒,能够即身成佛。”你听到这些怎么办?常常一般的人是:“哎呀!他们都很殊胜哪,等一等吧,我这佛号放一放,还是跟着他们学吧。”常常会动摇 —— 我们看到很多信众会有这个现象。不仅这些教内的这种宗门、教下的法门,甚至那些练气功的都能把他吸引过去:“哎呀!你跟我练练气功吧,能够这个开什么眼啦,能够得什么神通啊,能够治什么病啦。”他也觉得很好,哎,佛号放下。那印祖告诉我们,他的修行过程:宗门、教下讲这些不能移动他一点信、愿;不仅宗门、教下的善知识不能改变他的信愿,即便诸佛 —— 释迦牟尼佛现身,叫他放下念佛修其他的法门,他也不会放下。佛现前都不改变自己的信愿,不会违背自己最初的那个发心,更何况其它。这种信愿在《彻悟大师语录》里面,它也有相类似的表达,在善导大师《观经四帖疏》里面也有相类似的表达,那么印光大师也是这么表达。所以我们净业行人也得要向这里学习,如果你念念佛又转而去搞其它的,那说明你根本就 —— 开始你的信、愿就没有建立起来。

印祖说:“只是虽然信愿坚固,但自己宿业所障碍,最终没有得到一心不乱,没有证到念佛三昧,惭愧何如。”对这些话我们都要认真地理解,印祖确实功夫甚深,但是他在这里说出的话,对我们有好处。为什么呢?净土法门主要是注重信、愿,首先不要在功夫上去计较,能得念佛三昧固然好 —— 上品上生,没有证到念佛三昧,照样以信愿持名之能感,感通弥陀愿力,照样可以往生。所以印祖这段话它是包含着一种教化的意义。我们在平时也感觉到,特别一些出家比丘,他一修念佛法门,他就很注重:“我怎么得念佛三昧?”面对这些来问的,我说:“你先注重你的信、愿。”那有些禅宗的坐禅的比丘,他也在念佛,但他那种念佛是不是净土宗的意义上的念佛呢?他有可能把这个佛号作为一个功夫:参念佛是谁呀,我通过念佛伏住烦恼哇,通过念佛我明心见性啦。这些指向都不是信愿坚固这个层面上的念佛,念佛是要指向往生的,这里面是用信愿来庄严。这里是不能够去混淆的,差之毫厘,失之千里的。

所以印祖在这里告诉我们,能不能得一心不乱,能不能证念佛三昧,实际上是不重要,关键问题 —— 你信愿坚固是最核心的。没有得一心不乱,没有得念佛三昧可以生惭愧心,但是往生这个事情可以决定的。但我们从印祖的文稿里面,以及他在38岁写的《与大兴善寺体安和尚书》,那真的不是到家之人,不是证到念佛三昧之人,是写不出那种文句的。印祖还确实是获得念佛三昧的一个人,但是他从来没有说自己证到念佛三昧,这是他的谦德。

一般的佛教徒就证到什么,都不能随便说出来。

Ven Da An (大安法师) 8.

In Buddhism, dualism is the evil.

— Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche

Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche 8.