The Eight Auspicious Signs Explained
by Lama Zopa Rinpoche

Probably many of us do not know how important these eight auspicious signs are and how they affect our lives. They can be used externally to help with one’s own success as well as with the FPMT organisation to be successful in benefiting others and working for the [dissemination of the] teachings of the Buddha. Putting these eight auspicious signs around everywhere, outside and also inside the rooms, makes things very auspicious. It is not necessary to put all eight together, and they don’t all need to be in the same place. They can be placed separately at different locations, but you should have all of them.

The eight auspicious signs are the umbrella, yellow fish, vase, lotus, white conch shell, glorious peu, banner and Dharma chakra.

Here is the meaning of these eight auspicious signs according to my root guru, His Holiness Trijang Dorje Chang’s explanation.

1. The precious umbrella saves us from all this life’s obstacles – such as sicknesses, contagious diseases, spirit possessions, interferers and so forth – and also from the next life’s obstacles – the sufferings of the three evil-gone-ones, 3 of the devas, human beings and so forth. It saves us completely from being tormented by the heat of both temporary and long-term sufferings. It has the dependent arising of giving the extended joy of a cooling shadow of peace and happiness.

2. The yellow fish. Fish swim as they like without fear in the ocean. Like that [the yellow fish] is a dependent arising for oneself and others to run and enjoy freely with no resistance from happiness to happiness without fear of drowning in the oceans of suffering.

3. The vase of great treasure is a dependent arising that brings unceasingly all desired things, the fortune of a glorious life, enjoyments and so forth in the three realms of existence (the desire, form and formless realms) and peace (liberation from samsara).

4. The lotus is a dependent arising that frees us from all the stains of mistakes – the non-virtues of body, speech and mind. The abundant blossoming of a hundred petals of white virtue brings an abundance of the good essence of honey – everlasting happiness, definite goodness (liberation and the state of omniscient mind).

5. The white conch shell swirling clockwise is a dependent arising announcing the sweet melody of the profound and extensive Dharma that fits the elements, level of mind and wishes of sentient beings who are the objects to be subdued. It awakens transmigratory beings from the ignorant sleep of unknowing and persuades them to accomplish works for the benefit and happiness of themselves and others.

6. The glorious peu is a dependent arising for Dharma and politics to utilise and support each other in one continuous connection. Like that, at the time of the path, method and wisdom connect by being unified with each other; emptiness and dependent arising are connected in one without contradiction. At the time of the resultant state of buddha, omniscience and compassion are unified.

7. The banner is a dependent arising for the activities of one’s own three doors and those of others not be stepped upon by obstacles or disharmonious conditions but to be victorious and for the precious teachings of the Buddha to be victorious in the war over the black side, the types of maras.

8. The golden Dharmachakra is a dependent arising for the precious wheel of the holy Dharma, the scriptures and realisations of the Victorious One, to turn unceasingly in the whole universe. In dependence upon that, all those who are reborn and degenerating (samsaric beings who are continually being reborn and dying under the control of karma and delusion) apply themselves to the most glorious virtue, total liberation.

Wherever these eight auspicious signs exist, there will be the dependent arising of increasing the virtue of auspiciousness.

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The Dharma is complete when one combines hearing, contemplation, and meditation in one’s practise.

— Gampopa

“四大皆空”不是啥都没有 而是样样都有
弘一大师

佛法的道理很深,有的人不明白深义,只懂得表面文章,随便听了几个名词,就这么讲、那么说,结果不合佛教本来的意思。最普遍的如“人生是苦”“出世间”“一切皆空”等名词,这些当然是佛说的,而且是佛教重要的理论,但一般人很少能正确了解它:

一、人生是苦

佛指示我们,这个人生是苦的。不明白其中真义的人就生起错误的观念,觉得我们这个人生毫无意思,因而引起消极悲观,对于人生应该怎样努力向上就缺乏力量,这是一种被误解得最普遍的,社会一般每拿这消极悲观的名词来批评佛教,而信仰佛教的也每陷于消极悲观的错误,其实“人生是苦”这句话绝不是那样的意思。

凡是一种境界,我们接触的时候,生起一种不合自己意趣的感受,引起苦痛忧虑,如以这个意思来说苦,说人都是苦的,是不够的,为什么呢?因为人生也有很多快乐事情,听到不悦耳的声音固然讨厌,可是听了美妙的音调不就是欢喜吗!身体有病,家境困苦,亲人别离,当言是痛苦;然而身体健康,经济富裕,合家团圆,不是很快乐吗!无论什么事,苦乐都是相对的,假如遇到不如意的事就说人生是苦,岂非偏见了?

那么,佛说人生是苦,这苦是什么意义呢?经上说:“无常故苦。”一切都无常,都会变化,佛就以无常变化的意思说人生都是苦的。譬如身体健康并不永久,会慢慢衰老病死;有钱的也不能永远保有,有时候也会变穷;权位势力也不会持久,最后还是会失掉。以变化无常的情形看来,虽有喜乐,但不永久,没有彻底,当变化时,苦痛就来了。所以佛说人生是苦,苦是有缺陷、不永久、没有彻底的意思。学佛的人如不了解真义,以为人生既不圆满彻底,就引起消极悲观的态度,这是不对的。真正懂得佛法的,看法就完全不同,要知道佛说人生是苦这句话,是要我们知道现在这人生是不彻底、不永久的,知道以后可以造就一个永久圆满的人生。等于病人必须先知道有病,才肯请医生诊治,病才会除去,身体就恢复健康一样。为什么人生不彻底不永久而有苦痛呢?一定有苦痛的原因存在,知道了苦的原因,就会尽力把苦因消除,然后才可得到彻底圆满的安乐。所以佛不单单说人生是苦,还说苦有苦因,把苦因除了就可得到究竟安乐。学佛的应照佛所指示的方法去修学,把这不彻底不圆满的人生改变过来,成为一个究竟圆满的人生。这个境界,佛法叫做常乐我净。

常是永久,乐是安乐,我是自由自在,净是纯洁清净。四个字合起来,就是永久的安乐、永久的自由、永久的纯洁。佛教最大的目标,不单说破人生是苦,而是主要的在于将这苦的人生改变过来(佛法名为“转依”),造成为永久安乐自由自在纯洁清净的人生。指示我们苦的原因在那里,怎样向这目标努力去修持。常乐我净的境地,即是绝对的最有希望的理想境界,是我们人人都可达到的,这样怎能说佛教是消极悲观呢?

虽然,学佛的不一定能够人人都得到这顶点的境界,但知道了这个道理真是好处无边。如一般人在困苦的时候,还知努力为善,等到富有起来,一切都忘记,只顾自己享福,糊糊涂涂走向错路。学佛的不只在困苦时知道努力向上,就是享乐时也随时留心,因为快乐不是永久可靠,不好好向善努力很快会堕落失败。人生是苦,可以警觉我们不至于专门研究享受而走向错误的路,这也是佛说人生是苦的一项重要意义。

二、出世

佛法说有世间出世间,可是很多人误会了,以为世间就是我们住的那个世界,出世间就是到另外什么地方去,这是错了。我们每个人在这个世界,就是出了家也在这个世界。得道的阿罗汉、菩萨、佛都是出世间的圣人,但都是在这个世界救度我们,可见出世间的意思,并不是跑到另外一个地方去。

那么,佛教所说的世间与出世间是什么意思呢?依中国向来所说,“世”有时间性的意思,如三十年为一世,西洋也有这个意思,叫一百年为一世纪。所以世的意思就是有时间性的,从过去到现在,现在到未来,在这一时间之内的叫“世间”。佛法也如此,可变化的叫世,在时间之中,从过去到现在,现在到未来,有到没有,好到坏,都是一直变化,变化中的一切都叫世间;还有,世是蒙蔽的意思,一般人不明过去、现在、未来三世的因果,不知道从什么地方来,要怎样做人,死了要到哪里去,不知道人生的意义、宇宙的本性,糊糊涂涂在这三世因果当中,这就叫做“世间”。

怎样才叫出世呢?出是超过或胜过的意思,能修行佛法,有智慧,通达宇宙人生的真理,心里清净,没有烦恼,体验永恒真理,就叫“出世”。佛菩萨都是在这个世界,但他们都是以无比智慧通达真理、心里清净,不像普通人一样。所以出世间这个名辞,是要我们修学佛法的进一步能做到人上之人,从凡夫做到圣人,并不是叫我们跑到另外一个世界去。不了解佛法出世的意义的人,误会佛教是逃避现实,因而引起不正当的批评。

三、一切皆空

佛说一切皆空,有些人误会了,以为这样也空、那样也空,什么都空,什么都没有,横竖是没有,无意义,这才坏事干、好事也不做,糊糊涂涂地看破一点,生活下去就好了。其实佛法之中空的意义是有着最高的哲理,诸佛菩萨就是悟到空的真理者。空并不是什么都没有,反而是样样都有,世界是世界,人生是人生,苦是苦,乐是乐,一切都是现成的,佛法之中明显的说到有邪有正、有善有恶、有因有果,要弃邪归正、离恶向善,作善得善果,修行成佛。

如果说什么都没有,那我们何必要学佛呢?既然因果、善恶、凡夫圣人样样都有,佛为什么说一切皆空?空是什么意义呢?因缘和合而成,没有实在的不变体,叫空。邪正善恶人生,这一切都不是一成不变实在的东西,皆是依因缘的关系才有,因为是从因缘而产生,所以依因缘的转化而转化,没有实体,所以叫空。

举一个事实来说吧,譬如一个人对着一面镜子,就会有一个影子在镜里,怎会有那个影子呢?有镜,有人,还要借太阳或灯光,才能看出影子,缺少一样便不成,所以影子是种种条件产生的,这不是一件实在的物体。虽然不是实体,但所看到的影子是清清楚楚并非没有。一切皆空,就是依这个因缘所生的意义而说,所以佛说一切皆空,同时即说一切因缘皆有,不但要体悟一切皆空,还要知道有因有果、有善有恶。

学佛的要从离恶行善、转迷启悟的学程中去证得空性,即空即有,二谛圆融:一般人以为佛法说空,等于什么都没有,是消极是悲观,这都是由于不了解佛法所引起的误会,非彻底纠正过来不可。

By the time you have set yourself up with a comfortable place to stay, plenty of food, warm clothes and a generous benefactor, you have completely cultivated the demon before even starting to cultivate the Dharma.

— Jigme Lingpa

How RAIN Can Nourish You
by Jack Kornfield

Mindfulness does not reject experience. It lets experience be the teacher. With mindfulness, we can enter the difficulties in our life and find healing and freedom.

There are four principles for mindful transformation of difficulties that are taught in Western mindfulness retreats with the acronym (coined by Michele McDonald) called RAIN. RAIN stands for Recognition, Acceptance, Investigation, and Non-Identification. This acronym echoes the Zen poets who tell us “the rain falls equally on all things.” Like the nourishment of outer rain, the inner principles of RAIN can transform our difficulties.

RECOGNITION

Recognition is the first step of mindfulness. When we are stuck in our life, we must begin with a willingness to see what is so. It is as if someone asks us gently, what is happening now? Do we reply brusquely, “Nothing”? Or do we pause and acknowledge the reality of our experience, here and now?

With recognition we step out of denial. Denial undermines our freedom. The diabetic who denies his body is not free. Neither is the driven, stressed-out executive who denies the cost of her lifestyle, or the self-critical would-be painter who denies his love of making art. The society that denies its poverty and injustice has lost a part of its freedom as well. If we deny our dissatisfaction, our anger, our pain, our ambition, we will suffer. If we deny our values, our beliefs, our longings, or our goodness, we will suffer.

“The emergence and blossoming of understanding, love, and intelligence has nothing to do with any outer tradition,” observes Zen teacher Toni Packer. “It happens completely on its own when a human being questions, wonders, listens, and looks without getting stuck in fear. When self-concern is quiet, in abeyance, heaven and earth are open.”

With recognition our awareness becomes like the dignified host. We name and inwardly bow to our experience: “Ah, sorrow; and now excitement; hmm, yes, conflict; and yes, tension. Oh, now pain, yes, and now, ah, the judging mind.” Recognition moves us from delusion and ignorance toward freedom. “We can light a lamp in the darkness,” says the Buddha. We can see what is so.

ACCEPTANCE

The next step of RAIN is acceptance. Acceptance allows us to relax and open to the facts before us. It is necessary because with recognition, there can come a subtle aversion, a resistance, a wish it weren’t so. Acceptance does not mean that we cannot work to improve things. But just now, this is what is so. In Zen they say, “If you understand, things are just as they are. And if you don’t understand, things are still just as they are.”

Acceptance is not passivity. It is a courageous step in the process of transformation. “Trouble? Life is trouble. Only death is nice,” Zorba the Greek declares. “To live is to roll up your sleeves and embrace trouble.” Acceptance is a willing movement of the heart, to include whatever is before it. In individual transformation we have to start with the reality of our own suffering. For social transformation we have to start with the reality of collective suffering, of injustice, racism, greed, and hate. We can only transform the world as we learn to transform ourselves. As Carl Jung comments, “Perhaps I myself am the enemy who must be loved.”

With acceptance and respect, problems that seem intractable often become workable. A man began to give large doses of cod-liver oil to his Doberman because he had been told that the stuff was good for dogs. Each day he would hold the head of the protesting dog between his knees, force its jaws open, and pour the liquid down its throat. One day the dog broke loose and the fish oil spilled on the floor. Then, to the man’s great surprise, the dog returned to lick the puddle. That is when the man discovered that what the dog had been fighting was not the oil but his lack of respect in administering it. With acceptance and respect, surprising transformations can occur.

INVESTIGATION

Recognition and acceptance lead to the third step of RAIN, investigation. Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh calls this “seeing deeply.” In recognition and acceptance we recognise our dilemma and accept the truth of the whole situation. Now we must investigate more fully. Buddhism teaches that whenever we are stuck, it is because we have not looked deeply enough into the nature of the experience.

Buddhism systematically directs our investigation to four areas that are critical for understanding and freedom. These are called the four foundations of mindfulness: body, feelings, mind, and dharma, the underlying principles of experience.

Here is how we can apply them when working with a difficult experience. Starting with investigation in the body, we mindfully locate where our difficulties are held. Sometimes we find heat, contraction, hardness, or vibration. Sometimes we notice throbbing, numbness, a certain shape or colour. We can investigate whether we are meeting this area with resistance or with mindfulness. We notice what happens as we hold these sensations with mindfulness. Do they open? Are there other layers? Is there a centre? Do they intensify, move, expand, change, repeat, dissolve, or transform?

In the second foundation of mindfulness, we can investigate what feelings are part of this difficulty. Is the primary feeling tone pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral? Are we meeting this feeling with mindfulness? And what are the secondary feelings associated with it? Often we discover a constellation of feelings. A man remembering his divorce may feel sadness, anger, jealously, loss, fear, and loneliness. A woman who was unable to help her addicted nephew can feel longing, aversion, guilt, desire, emptiness, and unworthiness. With mindfulness, each feeling is recognised and accepted. We investigate how each emotion feels, whether it is pleasant or painful, contracted or relaxed, tense or sad. We notice where we feel the emotion in our body and what happens to it as it is held in mindfulness.

Next comes the mind. What thoughts and images are associated with this difficulty? What stories, judgements, and beliefs are we holding? When we look more closely, we often discover that some of them are one-sided, fixed points of view, or out-moded, habitual perspectives. We see that they are only stories. They loosen their hold on us. We cling less to them.

The fourth foundation to investigate is called mindfulness of the dharma. Dharma is an important and multifaceted word that can mean the teachings and the path of Buddhism. It can mean the truth, and in this case it can also mean the elements and patterns that make up experience. In mindfulness of the dharma we look into the principles and laws that are operating. We can notice if an experience is actually as solid as it appears. Is it unchanging or is it impermanent, moving, shifting, recreating itself? We notice if the difficulty expands or contracts the space in our mind, if it is in our control or if it has its own life. We notice if it is self-constructed. We investigate whether we are clinging to it, resisting it, or simply letting it be. We see whether our relationship to it is a source of suffering or happiness. And finally, we notice how much we identify with it. This leads us to the last step of RAIN, non-identification.

NON-IDENTIFICATION

In non-identification we stop taking the experience as me or mine. We see how our identification creates dependence, anxiety, and in authenticity. In practising non-identification, we inquire of every state, experience, and story, is this who we really are? We see the tentativeness of this identity. Instead of identification with this difficulty, we let go and rest in awareness itself. This is the culmination of releasing difficulty through RAIN.

One Buddhist practitioner, David, identified himself as a failure. His life had many disappointments and after a few years of Buddhist practice, he was disappointed by his meditation too. He became calmer but that was all. He was still plagued by unrelenting critical thoughts and self-judgement, leftovers from a harsh and painful past. He identified with these thoughts and his wounded history. Even the practice of compassion for himself brought little relief.

Then, during a ten-day mindfulness retreat, he was inspired by the teachings on non-identification. He was touched by the stories of those who faced their demons and freed themselves. He remembered the account of the Buddha, who on the night of his enlightenment faced his own demons in the form of the armies and temptations of Mara. David decided to stay up all night and directly face his own demons. For many hours, he tried to be mindful of his breath and body. In between sittings, he took periods of walking meditation. At each sitting, he was washed over by familiar waves of sleepiness, body pains, and critical thoughts. Then he began to notice that each changing experience was met by one common element, awareness itself.

In the middle of the night, he had an “ah ha” moment. He realised that awareness was not affected by any of these experiences, that it was open and untouched, like space itself. All his struggles, the painful feelings and thoughts, came and went without the slightest disturbance to awareness itself. Awareness became his refuge.

David decided to test his realisation. The meditation hall was empty so he rolled on the floor. Awareness just noticed. He stood up, shouted, laughed, made funny animals noises. Awareness just noticed. He ran around the room, he lay down quietly, he went outside to the edge of the forest, he picked up a stone and threw it, jumped up and down, laughed, came back and sat. Awareness just noticed it all. Finding this, he felt free. He watched the sun rise softly over the hills. Then he went back to sleep for a time. And when he reawakened, his day was full of joy. Even when his doubts came back, awareness just noticed. Like the rain, his awareness allowed all things equally.

It would be too rosy to end this story here. Later in the retreat David again fell into periods of doubt, self-judgement, and depression. But now, even in the middle of it, he could recognise that it was just doubt, just judgement, just depression. He could not take it fully as his identity anymore. Awareness noticed this too. And was silent, free.

Buddhism calls non-identification the abode of the awakening, the end of clinging, true peace, nirvana. Without identification, we can live with care, yet we are no longer bound by the fears and illusions of the small sense of self. We see the secret beauty behind all that we meet. Mindfulness and fearless presence bring true protection. When we meet the world with recognition, acceptance, investigation and non-identification, we discover that wherever we are, freedom is possible, just as the rain falls on and nurtures all things equally.

Lotus 168.

Whether Buddhas arise or not, in actuality the emptiness of all things is proclaimed as other factuality. Limit of reality and thusness are the emptiness of other-factuality.

— Chandrakirti

菩提心的发起
心定法师

各位同参,专心谛听!佛教因为所谈的都是有关人生的问题,如「人为什么会有痛苦?」「痛苦的原因出在那里?」「怎么样来对治它,才会没有痛苦,只有快乐」等。所以,佛法讲的完全是人生的问题,怎么样得到圆满的人生。佛法本来就是人生的佛法,人生的佛教。

人间佛教的本意

至于说人间的佛教,它的用意可以分为两种。大乘佛教所讲的菩萨道,例如六度波罗蜜、四摄法,是在说人与人之间如何能互相尊重与包容、融和欢喜,怎么样达到和乐相处,自利利他。自利利他能够圆满,万德庄严,就是人间的佛教。

但人间佛教的本意,是说唯有在人间修行佛法,才有办法成佛。佛出生在人间,修行成道也在人间。人与天、阿修罗、地狱、恶鬼、畜生这几类的差别,在于人能克制自己。为了达到道德的真善美,他可以克服一切的困难。人可以修梵行,可以修清净心,可以克制任何欲望,达到人格的完美。

人不同于其它众生,是因为有惭愧心、有羞耻心,所以有一股强大的力量,要向上追求。人有辨别是非、善恶的能力,有了历史作借镜,可以对不好的方面加以改善,好的加以保存、继续发扬。

人间因为还有苦、乐,所以知道离苦而得乐,追求这些目标。所以在人间里头,有比天上更好的条件。「人定胜天」表示有坚强的毅力,所以唯有在人间才能够成佛。在人间修行成就佛道,这是人间佛教最重要的说法。

至于说我们怎么样在人间行慈悲、行忍辱、行持戒,这当然都是人间佛教重要的部分。但最重要就是要好好「珍惜人身」,出生为人,在人间能够有这样的思考、辨别、克制、坚毅的力量,所以说最为难得。对于人间的佛教有了这些理念上的认识,更要好好爱惜人身。

大乘佛法的特色—菩提心

我们如果通达了佛法,必定会发愿普度众生,希望大家一定要发菩提心。释迦牟尼佛生生世世现各种身相,行菩萨道,普度一切众生。诸佛的三十二相、八十随形好,这都是生生世世广结善缘、广作善事所得到的福报相。每个人作的善事多寡不同,所以相貌也不同。我们肯定要福慧双修,就必需广行菩萨道,才能够庄严无上佛菩提,得到万德庄严。

在中国的佛教徒,有些是急急忙忙的,一心一意求生西方;有些则是急急忙忙的,希望当下明心见性,赶快成佛。参禅的要求明心见性,观空的要求体证法性,念佛的要求往生净土,这些都很好,但是一定要先发菩提心、大悲心。一定要发「生生世世广度众生」的愿心,天天发愿,天天发愿,这才合乎大乘佛法的精神。

有些人可能不敢发这种长远心。大家要明白,解脱生死并不是远离世间;解脱生死是在生死的当体,就知道它的空寂性。所以「生死即涅盘,烦恼即菩提」,所有的烦恼当下都是无自性的。而烦恼如何现起的?它一定是六根对六尘,产生了分别、计较、执着,才引起苦恼的。

所以烦恼是缘起的,烦恼不是自生的。既然是缘起的,就是无自性;无自性就是空性。所以说烦恼的当体即是空性,它的当体即是菩提。生死只不过是假相,一切众生本来不生不灭、不来不去。有来有去都是假相的生灭,都不是真实相,所以生死当下即是涅盘。

并不是说开悟了、解脱生死了,我的罪业就统统没有了。不可能!纵使解脱生死,过去所造的罪业仍然是存在的。那么生死怎么解脱呢?解脱生死只不过是因为我们了解「无明」是虚假不实的,所以不再造业而已。

过去以为一切事物是实在的,所以产生分别、贪爱、染着,生起一股强大的追求力。这股追求的力量会引导我们做出种种的行为,使我们的习气种子再度现前。现在明白「无明」的体性也是空性,明白世间一切都是假相,透过这些空性的认识,对于世间的假相没有妄求、染着的心意识,就产生不了那股强大的吸引力。

旧业依然存在,但是因为已经破除了这种我执、染着,所以没有那股吸引力的带动,就没有润业的力量。好比稻谷没有水分、没有泥土,它就没有因缘来发芽。

因此解脱并不是把无始以来的业统统拿出来甩掉,甩不掉的。只是已经破除了贪爱、染着这种错误的见解,所以发不起引动的力量而已。既然没有发业带动的力量,所以现前当下就是解脱。

众生需要我们的关怀,需要我们发菩提心。当我们开悟了以后,在日常生活之中,能照顾自己的起心动念,知道「无眼、耳、鼻、舌、身、意的自性」,「无色、声、香、味、触、法的自性」,见到一切境界都知道是虚妄不实的。这样子消灭我们贪、嗔、痴的习气,这样子广度众生,最后就能圆满自己的福德、智慧,来庄严无上的菩提。所以希望大家在参学过程之中,要发大菩提心。

认识缘起法而发起菩提心

当我们从时间来推论缘起法,就可以发现一个人上面有父母,父母又各有他们的父母。往上推算一千年、两千年,这样加倍的算下去,那么不知道有多少众生跟我们有这些血缘关系。光是这些众生就已经无量无边,何况无始以来、生生世世,我们不知跟多少众生有过因缘。

现在的自我有极度高兴的时候、有极度愤怒的时候。有时候有因缘就造下极大的善事,有时候有其它因缘就造下极大的恶事。有些人是因为自己福德深厚,所以没有那种制造罪恶的因缘现起,并不是没有那种瞋恨心。

以往的众生跟我们一样有贪、嗔、痴。以此推论,生生世世的父母、兄弟、姊妹、亲人,几乎都有可能造了极重的罪恶,也可能造了极大的善事。以现前的社会型态来说,亲兄弟为了争财产而打官司,死去的父亲或是母亲不把他埋葬,等官司打过了再说。这些都是亲人变成仇人的例子。

所以生生世世以来,不见得现前亲爱的人,过去都是我们亲爱的人。也许过去都是仇恨的人,现前聚在一起。现前仇恨的人,过去都是亲爱的人。恩爱、仇恨,都是在某种因缘之下形成的。利益相同就是朋友,利益冲突就是仇敌。人与人之间,无始以来就是这样子。

国家也是如此,大陆、台湾海峡两岸都是从亲人到仇人,等到利益关系改变以后,又从仇人变成亲人。人际间的关系都是这样,所以搞不清楚是亲爱还是仇恨?权力、名位、财富、感情‥‥等等,都是制造这些仇恨或亲爱的外在因缘。

总之,以此来推论生生世世以来的亲人,有些在天堂、有些在人间、有些在地狱、恶鬼、畜生。所以从缘起法来观察,一切众生都是我们每一个人生生世世以来的父母、兄弟、姊妹、亲人。因此菩萨以这种观察缘起的智慧,不舍弃任何一个众生。

当然众生也有顽强的,这时菩萨总会生起悲悯心,等到因缘成熟时绝不放弃度他,像胜鬘夫人一样不舍弃任何一个众生。只要因缘够,只要他语言辩才够,甚至他权力够,总是要度化他,摄受他。菩萨就是透过智慧来观察缘起法,才生起无缘大慈的大慈悲心。

由于众生都是五蕴和合而成的,所以众生当体是空性的。个人是空性的,别人也是空性的。现象界一个个的个体虽然是有间隔、有差别的,空性里头却没有间隔的、没有差别,所以说「是法平等,无有高下」。

诸法空相里头,一切都是空性的,这实相里头不生不灭,全体都是法性。如同灯光,每一盏灯的灯光可能有些差别,但是它的光明照耀出来以后,互相融摄,没有间隔,没有距离了。光光相照,灯灯相应。

同样的,在空性里众生都是一体的。所以观察缘起的空寂性,才知道众生的体性原本是相同的。菩萨因此觉得众生的体性与我相同,而在现象界里头他还是照样执着、染着、顽强,所以处处都有障碍,处处都是痛苦。既然是同体(同一体性),他的个体不得解脱,就是菩萨自身还没有圆满。

所以菩萨发起同体的大悲心,一定要度尽一切众生,自己才成就佛道。因此菩萨的同体大悲心,是去成就别人,来完成自己。圆满了众生,自己才算完成。从缘起法来观察,一切众生与自己都有缘份;从空性来观察,一切众生都是平等,都是同体的。所以菩萨就能生起「无缘大慈、同体大悲」的菩提心。唯有观察缘起性空,得到体悟的人,才能够真正的奉行无缘大慈、同体大悲。这是今晚对大家的鼓励,希望大家继续用功。