让心走到轨道上
学诚法师

人的才能、人的技术、人的学问都属于世间法的范畴、世间法的一部分。我们生命潜能的开发,我们的觉悟、我们的智慧,是不共世间法的。就是说,再多的知识、再多的学问、再大的能力,都不能开发智慧。用得好,它对我们人的觉悟,对智慧的开发是有用的;用不好,它起反作用,刚好成了我们心所缘的一个对象,心所缘的一个境界。

反过来说,我们体悟了无我,超越了种种事物的生住灭相,我们能够把握诸法都是仗因托缘这样一种和合的假象,既然仗因托缘,那么它就是假象;所谓假象,就是不真实的。不真实,这种境界就是能够改变的,能够过去的。那么,不好的就让它改变,变成好的;好的我们就能够仗因托缘,让它一直持续,并且好上加好。这是我们生命所要去着力的地方。

如果我们不会、不能在这些方面去着力,那么我们就非常容易让自己生命在现实世界的边缘上存在。什么意思呢?就是你会认为说,现实社会、现实缘起,这个世界众生共业所感,我也没有办法来改变这个世界,我又不想去改变这个世界,但是我又不能说我不活,那我怎么活呢?算了,我也不能跟你们大家混在一起,我站在最边缘的地方去,所以你就活在这个世界最边缘。不知不觉,人都是这样莫名其妙的一种心态。

在一个团体当中也是一样。慢慢慢慢,自己认为说:别人不重视我,自己好像边缘化了。其实没有那一回事。为什么会认为自己被边缘化了?说明你自己缺乏主人翁意识,或者说自己的主人翁意识在退化,才会有这样一种思想。就比如说我们是中国人,你不会怀疑说“我不是中国人”,哪一个人会怀疑我们不是中国人呢?我们学佛法也是一样,你住在一个道场也是一样,你本身就是这个道场的一员了,但你一直不相信,一直在怀疑,所以法就学不进去。从此以后你会引发很多很多问题,都是因为这些,你的正见出了问题。你的正见要是出问题,那么你的念头、正念也出问题,正知也出问题,正行也出问题,一切都出问题。所以,我们要远离颠倒梦想,要让我们的心走到正路上,要走到心的这个轨道上。

我们人的心念念持续不断,真如法性是如如不动的,它是超越生灭的,无为法是超越生灭的,我们的心念——有为法,是念念在生灭。念念生灭,伴随着自己,伴随着自己的一生,伴随自己的生生世世。我们的心这样念念相续,但是我们往往是忘失本心。忘失本心的话就会造成舍本逐末、舍近求远。舍近求远就是说,总觉得不容易得到的才是好的。那什么东西不容易得到呢?最远最远的东西不容易得到,这个东西在喜马拉雅山最高峰,或者在大海最深的地方,不容易得到,认为这个最好,这个就是舍近求远的标志。舍本逐末,就是认为外在的成就才是实在的,内心的成就不实在,所以就不会非常重视在自己内心上去观照和做功夫。这样的话,我们向外追求,怎么能够解决我们内心的问题呢?不可能的事情!

有些人认为说:“现在因缘还不到,我还不需要去好好去修行;因缘到了,那我好好去用功,好好去努力。”这个也是错误的。哪里说有人建了一个非常好的环境,一个非常殊胜的修道场所,最后请你来,“某某,请你到这里来修行。”这有可能的事情吗?没有可能的事情。你还等待什么,没有什么等待不等待,都是念念相续。我们修道的人、用功的人,绝对不能说,哎呀,我还要等待,还有什么期望,期待以后怎么样,谁再给我教什么东西,谁给我们讲什么东西……实际上这些都是一种梦想,都是一种颠倒梦想,都是不知道佛法的知见是在自己内心上面用功。

我们的种种幻想、种种梦想,是造成我们无法安住当下的一个最根本的原因。实际上,大部分的人、绝大部分的人,所追求的外在上的一些成就——刚才我谈到的舍本逐末、舍近求远,这一些梦幻泡影的境界、海市蜃楼的境界——就是我们生命状态的扭曲。如果我们生命状态没有扭曲,非常正常、非常健康、非常有判断力,有慧就有判断力,就知道怎么办,此时此刻、当下就知道怎么办,而不是说期望以后再过几年怎么样,那就不是一种判断力。有判断力,时时刻刻都知道今天做什么、明天做什么,都非常清楚。

所以,我们要去做的东西,我们要去追求的东西,我们要去安住的东西,是我们生命本质上面真正需要的东西,而不是那些不切合实际的东西。追求不切合实际的东西,最后就会造成远离大众、远离师法友的因缘。就是你跟大家在一起,但是你另外想去得到一个什么东西,大家都没有的;去得一个什么,比大家都要高一点的。这种念头就会造成你不能安住,就会造成你远离师法友,就会造成对佛法的体会越来越遥远,而不是越来越接近佛法。就是用心用错了。

我们要安住当下,能够安住当下,需要安住当下。但是不等于说我们要安住当下就能够安住,对不对?我刚才讲,舍本逐末、舍近求远不能安住,但不等于说我想安住就能安住,这也不能画等号。我们为什么不能安住呢?就是有种种幻相,如梦幻泡影的这些幻相。我们不能通达人无我、法无我,所以不能消除这些幻相。因为不能消除,我们会把这些如梦幻泡影的形相信以为真,认为是真实的,认为这就是我们所要追求的、所要拥有的。这样,我们就无法解脱。

所以,我们信佛,我们修行,我们用功,这一切都是要认识我们的本心,认识我们本心所创建的种种幻相,然后来净化我们的本心,而不是说停留在对佛法种种内涵、法相名词、意义假设的这些观念上。

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The false views entertain by beings in the world are without number, but they can be summarised as being of four kinds: those of the unreflective, the materialists, the nihilistic extremists, and the eternalistic extremists.

The unreflective have no understanding as to whether or not phenomena are the causes or results of anything. They are completely confused.

The materialists have no understanding as to whether or not there are previous and future lives. They work to achieve strength, riches, and power in this one life, for which they rely on the secret knowledge of worldly beings.

Nihilistic extremists do not believe that things have causes and effects. For them, everything that comes about in this one life does so “just like that” and finally is extinguished.

Eternalistic extremists believe in a permanent self, which they imagine to be present in all phenomena. Some believe in a reality – an effect – for which there is no cause. Some have an incorrect view of causality. Some believe that whereas the cause is real, the effects are unreal.

All these are the views of ignorance.

— Padmasambhava, Guru Rinpoche

Elucidating the Essence of the Instructions for Entering the Three Gateways to Liberation
by Rongtön Sheja Kunrig

Homage to the guru and the supreme deity!

With wisdom, like the maṇḍala of the sun, maker of the day,
You illuminate all knowable things without exception,
And with your immeasurable compassion, you care for beings,
O sun-like lord of sages, at the jewel of my crown I honour you.

You who banish entirely ignorance’s gloom,
While shining the light of genuine meaning,
Guiders of beings, unsurpassed in your activity,
Hosts of buddhas’ heirs, billions in number, to you I offer praise.

A message finely communicated throughout the excellent teachings,
Instructions for meditating on liberation’s three gateways,
Now that I have understood them well, I shall, for others’ sake,
Make them perfectly clear, using the voice of reasoning.

The three meditations (samādhi) to be cultivated are: 1) meditation on emptiness; 2) meditation on the absence of characteristics; 3) meditation on the wishless.

1. MEDITATION ON EMPTINESS

We must arrive at a definitive understanding of the ground, which is emptiness, because it is by realising the emptiness of the ground that we can counteract the ignorance of clinging to things as real. And this, in turn, will put an end to saṃsāra. As it says in the Seventy Verses on Emptiness:

Any thoughts of genuine reality
The Teacher has declared to be ignorance.

Thus, since clinging to things as real is explained as ignorance, it follows that we must realise emptiness as the antidote to clinging to things as real. That is why the Root Verses on Wisdom says:

The cessation of ignorance comes about
Through meditating on the very nature with wisdom.

2. MEDITATION ON THE ABSENCE OF CHARACTERISTICS

The absence of characteristics can be explained in relation to both the truth of cessation and the truth of the path. This is because the truth of cessation is the very essence of the absence of characteristics, whereas the truth of the path consists of methods for eliminating thoughts that involve characteristics.

Meditation on the eight aspects of the truths of cessation and the path is explained as “meditation on the absence of characteristics” because it is meditation with a focus on the absence of signs. It is therefore described as “meditation on the absence of characteristics” in terms of its objects of focus.

Meditation on six aspects — two aspects of the truth of suffering and four aspects of the truth of origination — is explained as the meditative absorption on the absence of the wishless, because the focus is on the phenomena of saṃsāra, which are not things one aspires towards.

Meditating on impermanence and suffering, which are aspects of the truth of suffering, is necessary in order to turn the mind away from the present life and develop an attitude of concern for future lives. The meditation on the eight aspects of the truths of cessation and the path is necessary because we must see the benefits of liberation and understand the necessity of applying the means to attain it.

Meditating on the two aspects of the truth of suffering and the four aspects of the truth of origination corresponds to understanding saṃsāra’s defects because it brings about an attitude of wishing to escape from saṃsāra. As Dampa Gyagar said:

Unless you can feel revulsion for the things of saṃsāra,
Even knowing the entire Tripiṭika is of no benefit.

In short, the meditation on emptiness brings realisation of emptiness as an antidote to clinging to the ground as real, and the meditation on the absence of characteristics cuts through any clinging to the characteristics of the path. These two illustrate the means of eliminating conceptual imputations (sgro ‘dogs) towards objects and the means of eliminating conceptual imputations towards the path.

3. MEDITATION ON THE WISHLESS

The meditation on the wishless brings an understanding of the faults of saṃsāra and an attitude of determination to be free.

CONCLUSION

These three meditations serve as antidotes to any clinging to characteristics in the ground, path and fruition, and are therefore described as an antidotal approach. It is because this eliminates any imputations in meditative absorption that noble beings have described it as “signless samādhi”. And it is because it brings about a realisation of how the ground is emptiness, the path is without characteristics, and the phenomena of saṃsāra are beyond aspiration, that it is divided into three gateways to liberation.

Summarising Dharma’s eighty-four thousand sections,
I have here clarified, without error, the stages of cultivating,
The threefold samādhi — through the virtue of this,
May all beings swiftly attain awakening!

When heat, moisture, and fertile soil come together, you do whatever you can to sow grain. When you discover a deposit of gold or silver, you do whatever you can to exploit it. When the crops are ready in autumn, you do whatever you can to harvest them. When you have an escort to accompany you on a dangerous path, you redouble your energy. When you have labour and assistants, you accomplish your tasks. Now that you have a precious human life free of all impediments and endowed with all favourable conditions, apply yourself unrelentingly to spiritual practice!

— Shechen Gyaltsab Rinpoche

人生如梦幻
圣开法师

张尚德是一个无依无靠,孤苦零丁的苦命人,自小父母双亡,经常流落街头,乞食过活,一天,遇见清风寺的海果上人,老和尚本着慈悲为怀的心胸,收容在寺,平日教他读书写字,并指导一切礼仪和处世做人的道理。

尚德在晨钟暮鼓,经籍为伴的生活里,不知不觉已过了十年岁月,整日孜孜不倦的精进求学。现在再也不是从前那狼狈不堪的样子,已是个仪表非凡,举止潇洒的青年书生了。海果师父看在眼里,得到十分的安慰,满心希望尚德能继承自己的衣钵,将来弘法利生,替佛教做点事业,放些光彩;但又担心的是,恐不能如他所愿,因觉得这孩子还有些业障,尚未完全消除。一天,海果师父因事,必须进城一趟,这消息给尚德知道了,心中就想:我自上山迄今,都未进城,何不趁此机会,要求师父带同前往。越想越迫切,就快步来到师父丈室,顶了礼便说:「师父!听说您要进城,徒儿已好几年没进城了,这次可否带弟子一道入城见识见识呢?」师父是个和祥慈悲,心疼徒弟的好上人,顺口便答应了。

第二天,尚德跟随师父下山,一同进城去,所见到的尽是五花十色,双双对对的青年男女们,个个热情活泼,尚德看在眼里,想在心头,痒痒欲动,又经过几条街道时,刚好碰上人家正在娶亲,喧天锣鼓,热闹非常,尚德好不羡慕。师父发现此情,知道不妙,匆匆办妥事情,师徒二人,仓促回山。尚德从此再也无法静下心来,看经礼佛或坐禅的时候,也在忆念城内所见所闻,有时想道:为什么同是一个人,出家人就不能和常人一样,娶妻生子,建设家庭,过着世人一般的生活,我又何苦像师父,一辈子住在山上,过这种枯燥无味的日子呢?越想越是无明满心,焦躁难过,度日如年,虽然心里想去要求师父,看看能否允许他离寺下山,去追寻他幻想的美梦;但又想到,从小苦难,幸蒙师父抚养培植,恐怕上人不会答应,故不敢向师父开口,只是天天愁眉苦脸,一副困倦无神的样子。师父见此情形,颇感痛心,几次慈言善语,劝他收心修静,但尚德仍旧不改其心。海果上人觉得这孩子,业障深重,倘若勉强留他,于事无益,徒增困恼而已,不如让他随缘而去。第二天便叫尚德到房里对他说:「孩子!师父了解你的心事,但我还是劝你三思而行,一切的世事,皆是无常虚幻的,并不如你想象的那么美丽,应该慎重的考虑才好。」可是尚德现在的心里已是黑暗无光,再也听不进师父的教诲了,并坚决想要离去,海果上人见此,不得已只得答应他离寺下山而去。

尚德因懂得不少文字,而且长得亦颇俊秀,故离师后没几天,便找到了一份待遇颇优的工作,加上他勤俭过日,不久便有了一些积蓄,凭着媒妁之言,很快的达到他心中的愿望,娶了一房媳妇。起初夫妇两人恩恩爱爱,夫唱妇随,甚为美满幸福,但好景不长,几年之后,生儿育女,接二连三的人丁增加,衣食住行样样要钱,直逼得他俩口子喘不过气来,两个大人每天卖力工作,所得的收入,今只够维持一家清苦生活,再也无法像以前,人口简单时那样舒服了。古语说:「屋漏偏逢连夜雨,船危又遇逆来风」,尚德的妻子,因孩子家累的折磨,终于不支病倒了,尚德为了妻子的病,当尽一切值钱的东西,但还是不能挽回她的生命,竟撇下恩爱的丈夫和可爱的孩子撒手而逝了。受此打击的尚德,真是肝肠寸断,痛不欲生,至此他才真正感受到世事的残忍和无情,一切的妄想,就是苦恼的远因,甚觉人生如梦如幻,没有一样是实在的,也无一件是属于自己的,越想越恼,越是伤心,深深体会到「无常苦空」的滋味,百般后悔不听师父劝导之言,来追寻这镜花水月的幸福,而今所得的,除了几个没娘的孩子之外,就是烦恼和苦痛了。前途茫茫不知何去何从?唉!「人生如梦,万事竟皆空」。

经云:「夫生有死,合会有离,何有生此,而永寿者,宜割恩爱,以存道意。」一切诸法万相,都是虚幻无实的,有生必有死,有合必有离,绝对没有那一种事物是永恒不变的,所以世人千万不要堕于七情六欲的梦幻泡影之中,应回头是岸,去追求那宇宙人生的真理,信佛修行,以求解脱,超出三界火宅,出离轮回之苦,才不辜负此生为人的可贵。虽然不能人人出家,但应以出世的精神,作入世的事业,求得自己心灵的解脱,多做一些利人利世的善业,共同建设世间的乐土。

Don’t hope that others will express their gratitude in words of thanks for your own practice of dharma, your helping others, or your practising virtue. In a word, get rid of any expectation of fame or prestige. All these points of advice are means that will strengthen mind training and prevent it from weakening.

— 3rd Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche

Applying the Teachings
by His Holiness Penor Rinpoche

The most important thing is to have faith and trust in the Buddha’s words. The Buddha’s teachings were not taught to deceive us but to explain the way things actually are. Many people try to analyse the Buddha’s teachings, but how is it possible to scrutinise a Buddha’s qualities? We don’t even know what will happen tomorrow, or when we will die, or anything about our future lives, so how could we possibly examine the teachings of the Omniscient One? Since we are totally obscured by our strong disturbing emotions, in order to progress on the path toward enlightenment, we have no choice but to have faith in the Buddha’s teachings and apply them in our own lives.

The ability to practice Dharma depends on certain conditions. For example, this is a rare time during which the teachings of the Great Perfection are said to flourish. We’re very fortunate that through Padmasambhava’s blessings, such teachings have appeared and we’re able to receive them. We must have accumulated incredible merit and made fervent prayers very sincerely over numerous lifetimes to be able to encounter such amazing teachings now. Still, most people are just too involved in worldly activities to have time to practice the Dharma, and very few people in this world totally dedicate themselves to the teachings. Most people work for the sake of success in this life, to gain wealth, fame, power, and so on, but none of these worldly aims can liberate us from the suffering of samsara; in fact, they only create further conditions for ensuring that we remain in samsara for countless lifetimes to come.

Dharma is not just something to study — it must be put into practice. These days, most people study Dharma for a little while and then start to teach it to others, thinking they have a certain depth of realisation; however, without the realisation that arises through practice, one doesn’t actually know much at all.

This can’t be stressed enough: Dharma must be applied! By properly practicing over the years — your whole life, in fact — you can attain some accomplishment. If you are hungry, just talking about food and describing how delicious it tastes will not fill your stomach, but if you actually prepare a meal and eat it, your hunger will be satisfied. Similarly, just talking about the Dharma will not lead you to enlightenment. Just as eating food is necessary to satisfy your hunger, the teachings you receive must be applied to have any effect.

There’s a saying in Tibetan: “Someone who has a great deal of knowledge may become very proud, and someone who does a great deal of meditation practice may have strong afflicting emotions.” That is what happens when someone goes against the Dharma and doesn’t integrate their mind with the teachings. The spiritual path should be mingled with your mind stream to awaken your true nature; it should not be a source for boasting about your knowledge or experience. You can see by people’s conduct — the way they talk and walk, whether they are proud or humble, and whether they have tamed their emotions or not — if they really practice or not. If someone is very calm and doesn’t have many negative thoughts and emotions, that is a sign of a good practitioner. The more understanding of the Dharma one has, the more humble one should be; the more meditation one has done, the fewer disturbing emotions one should have.

Please remember that whether your studies and practice are effective or not depends on how much you actually integrate them into your life. At all times, try to watch your own mind to see how much your thoughts and conduct are in accord with the teachings. It’s very easy to notice someone else’s faults and criticise their practice, but instead you should turn your attention to your own thoughts and behaviour. It is very important to watch your own mind and check how much you really apply the practice — just look at how many emotions come up in the span of a few seconds! We constantly get carried away with worldly activities and distractions, spending time with our family and friends and working at our jobs; all this exhausts us and takes up our time, so we end up neglecting our Dharma practice. We tend to make the less important concerns the most important in our life, but the most important thing in this world is to practice Dharma until we attain ultimate enlightenment, isn’t it? Having food and clothing is a short-term necessity for this life, but we get so involved in our attachment to these things that we squander what little time we do have. We consider trivial matters more important than our Dharma practice, but when death comes, only practice will be of any benefit.

Now that we have obtained this precious human body, we should be sure not to squander this opportunity. There is no question that the sublime Dharma is far more important than mundane, worldly life. Mundane activity is bound to lead us to the lower realms. But if we sincerely engage in Dharma practice, we will be naturally guided to liberation and never to the lower realms. In particular, Dharma practice can get rid of our strong ego-clinging and afflictive emotions.

But getting rid of those is not like just peeling off your clothes and throwing them away. You’ve been cultivating your afflictive emotion for beginningless lifetimes, so unless you persevere in your practice for a very long time, it won’t be easy to reduce your afflictions and attachments. However, if you continuously practice in a steady manner, generating bodhichitta, faith, and devotion without any doubts, you can gradually progress.

You need to stabilise your Dharma practice by focusing on one practice with one-pointed mind. Dharma has to be practiced from the depths of your heart with great perseverance and in a very steady way, or it won’t be effective. Your practice has to be stabilised with stoutness of heart. In Tibetan, the term is nying ru, which literally means “heart bone.” It is said that when a courageous warrior dies, because he has been constantly at battle throughout his life, a small bone is found in his heart. Likewise, many practitioners with strong perseverance and diligence in the practice also have such stoutness of heart. Without that kind of perseverance, it will be hard to achieve any accomplishment.

Fortunately, the compassionate Buddha gave different levels of teachings to suit each person’s capacities and said, “My teaching has no owner and anyone can practice it; whether they are a king or a beggar, of high or low birth, rich or poor, beautiful or ugly, young or old, anyone who feels inspired and wishes to genuinely practice can attain ultimate happiness by correctly practicing my teachings.”

The Dharma is extremely vast, and the practices are as numerous as the stars in the sky, but thinking that one practice is better than another will only increase your concepts. It is like a child who picks a pretty flower only to throw it away as soon as she sees another one. If you continually discard one practice for another, you won’t be able to progress. It might be good to know many Dharma practices, but we don’t have time to practice them all, so it’s better to settle on one practice and stick with it to the end.

In the sutras, it is said that your Dharma knowledge may be as vast as all the volumes an elephant can carry on its back, but if you don’t apply it, you won’t be liberated. In Tibet, we have an animal called dremong, a type of brown bear. They usually dig in the earth and catch groundhogs in the forest and then kill them for their winter food. When they catch a groundhog, they sit on it so that it won’t escape. But when they get up to catch another one, the first one escapes. So though this bear might catch eight or nine groundhogs, most of them escape and it has just one left to eat. It’s the same with Dharma practice: you might know a little, but if you go off and chase one teaching after another, you will forget what you have already received and won’t apply it. Then there’s no benefit and the teaching becomes meaningless. Instead of chasing after teachings, you should apply what you have received and constantly train in it.

What is more, even though they have no realisation, many people think that they can teach others what they have learned. Although you may have received many empowerments and teachings, unless you have stabilised your practice, there can be no benefit in your teaching others. Only once you’ve stabilised your practice can there be any benefit in teaching. Just supplicating a stone will not give you jewels, but supplicating a wish-fulfilling gem can fulfill all wishes, and if you practice the Dharma correctly, you can become a wish-fulfilling gem that can fulfill others’ wishes. It’s all up to you and the amount of effort that you are willing to put into your own study and practice.

If you can apply the teachings and practice — not just when you attend retreats or visit a temple but throughout your daily life — then your efforts will not be in vain and you will please the lineage masters and yidam deities. Wealth is something impermanent and will again dissolve into emptiness, so offering money may be of some limited benefit in maintaining a center or supporting your teacher’s activities, but the best offering is if you can correctly practice the teachings you have received and attain freedom from samsara. As it is said, “Even if you offer a mansion full of gold or the wealth of the four continents, it will not please your teacher, for it is no better than a heap of donkey’s dung. However, if you apply the teachings in practice, that will really please your master.” If you properly practice the teachings you have received, you will be freed from samsara, and that is the best way to fulfill the wishes of the buddhas and bodhisattvas.