印光法师家教思想的现实意义
文|慎言

印光法师是近代著名高僧,净土宗第十三代祖师。他不仅对净土宗的弘扬和发展作出了卓越的贡献,而且在家庭教育方面也提出了很多切实可行的观点。法师认为,良好的家庭教育对一个人的成长至关重要。由于法师的弟子均为在家居士,他在给弟子的开示中,特别劝诫弟子要采用善巧的方法教育好子女。法师还特别强调了教育好女儿的重要性。法师认为,教育子女的责任在于母亲,母亲的素质如何,直接关系到孩子未来的品行。

首先,法师指出教育子女的重要性。法师认为,对子女的教育好坏不仅关系到家庭的幸福,也关系到子女的前途和未来。法师在《复永嘉某居士书四》中谈到家教时指出:对子女的教育应当从娃娃抓起,要让他们从小学会孝敬父母,尊敬师长,为人忠实厚道,讲究诚信,还要教育子女养成勤俭节约的好习惯,以及谦恭待人的态度。好的品行养成了,上学才有了接受好教育的基础。加上学校的好的教育,子女品学俱佳,将来就可以成为社会有用之才。

法师还告诫弟子,教育子女要严格,切不能一味溺爱。待子女稍长大时,要让他们经常做一些力所能及的事情,养成勤劳节俭、朴实惜福的好习惯。法师说:凡彼力能为者,必须令其常做以习勤(如洒扫执侍等)。凡饮食衣,勿令华美。但凡抛撒五谷及损坏什物,无论物之贵贱轻重,必须告其来处不易,及折福损寿等义。

印光法师的这些言教,对于现代做父母的有深刻的教育意义。现代社会由于人们的物质生活水平高度发达,而现在的孩子大多都是独生子女,他们不仅受到父母的宠爱,更受到爷爷奶奶和外公外婆的宠爱。

由于父母对子女的过分溺爱,导致现代的孩子养成了好吃懒做、任性自私的习惯。这些孩子在家庭中不仅衣来伸手,饭来张口,不用说帮助父母搞卫生和洗碗,就是本来可以自己洗的衣,也都依赖父母帮他们洗。由于在家中长期不劳动,有的孩子离开家上大学时,连基本的生活自理能力也没有,于是就出现了许多大学生不能适应大学生活被劝退的悲剧。最近中国就有媒体披露,某大学女生在新学期开学后,将自己没洗的衣打包寄回老家让奶奶给洗。

由于现代人的家庭条普遍较好,吃穿都不愁,又加之父母对孩子的要求有求必应,使孩子们养成了爱慕虚荣、奢侈浪费的习惯。有很多孩子从小到大,每年添置很多新衣,还没穿上几天就因为赶不上潮流就丢弃了。这些孩子在吃饭时也挑三拣四,饭菜不合口味不吃,剩饭剩菜不吃,常常一碗饭吃不上几口就丢在一旁。这些孩子的奢侈浪费着实令人心痛。

以上种种不可理喻的事例,给现代年轻的父母敲响了警钟,从严管教子女,培养子女谦恭有礼、勤劳朴实、惜福节俭的优良品格已经刻不容缓。要知道,人的福报毕竟是有限的,不惜福就会折福。为了更好的教育子女,就应当以印光法师的言教来教育子女,把他们培养成有益于他人和社会的人。

其次,教育女儿的重要。在重视对子女教育的同时,印光法师特别强调了教育女儿的重要性。法师认为,女儿是一个家庭的未来和希望,女儿长大将会作人妻,为人母。女儿的素质如何,直接决定了其未来子女的综合素质。只有当下教育好女儿,才能成就将来的贤妻良母,才能使未来的家庭和睦幸福。法师在《复夏寿祺居士书》中说:子女跟随母亲的时间比父亲长,从母亲身上学的东西比父亲多,受到母亲的影响比父亲大。母亲如果贤惠,她的言行举止,都足以为子女效法,天长日久,在子女心中便养成好的规矩。如果母亲对子女能加以善巧的教育,培养出来的子女一定会知书达理。从这点来说,培养好现在的女儿,就是培养将来的贤妻和良母,也就是培养贤能聪慧的后代。

印光法师提出的重视教育女儿的观点,很值得现代人认真反思。我们都知道,华人的传统观念都重男轻女,男尊女卑,认为儿子是自己的人,女儿是人家的人。在这种观念的影响下,古代的女性基本失去了受到良好教育和参与社会活动的机会,以至于造成很多有才华女性的才能被扼杀。不仅如此,古代还有很多针对女性的歧视和约束。古人都认为女人无才便是德,还要求妇女在丈夫过世后,要从一而终,不许再嫁,否则,便会被人们认为伤风败俗,大加鞭挞。一个男人可以拥有三妻四妾,反而被人们夸赞为有本事。为了取悦男人,满足男人的感官刺激,从南唐开始,中国的女性从幼年开始便被迫接受裹小脚的痛苦。在男人赞许的“三寸金莲”之下,不知流淌了多少女性的血泪。

男尊女卑的思想观念直到现代还留存在许多人的思想中。在思想落后的农村,如果夫妻没有生男孩,便会被人瞧不起。很多家庭为了能生个儿子传宗接代,即便生了四五个女孩后仍不罢休。为了躲避计划生育的追查,有的人背井离乡,过着乞丐一般的生活,直到生个儿子才善罢甘休。

在子女众多,家庭贫困的家庭,儿子可以得到受教育的权利。而女儿很多上不了几年就被迫辍学了。家庭的重男轻女,也引起了女孩的不满,有的女孩怨恨父母的偏袒形成了不良的性格,也有的离家出走,染上了不良习气。在现代社会的雇佣制度上,也形成了对女性的歧视。有很多单位在用人时,为了自身利益的考虑,在招工时不招或减少招收女工,原因是女工将来结婚生子影响工作。这些人为的歧视,给女性造成了严重的身心伤害。

对于中国长期以来形成的男尊女卑的思想观念,印光法师给予当头棒喝。他通过入情入理的分析,提出在教育子女的同时,侧重教育女儿的观点。女儿是一个民族的未来和希望,女儿长大后将为人妻,为人母,承担着相夫教子的责任。一个品德高尚又有才华的女性,不仅可以影响丈夫,还能够培养出品行端正,学有专长的子女。若每个女性都如此,我们国家将会日渐强盛,人们的文明程度也会明显提高。因此,在现代社会提倡关爱女童,教育女儿的观念是事关民族前途和未来的大事。

第三,母教的重要。印光法师在谈到家庭教育时,认为母亲在教育子女中的作用比父亲更重要。法师在《复朱石僧居士书》中说:一个家庭中妻子承担着相夫教子的重任。有贤妻才能促进丈夫的事业发展。妻子同时还承担着教育子女的职责。作为 一个母亲,她应当严格管教子女,让子女懂得做人的道理,切不能娇惯子女,以免子女走上邪路。法师还指出,坏人太多,社会不安定,都是由于母教的缺失。

法师指出,母教的正确与否,直接关系到一个家庭安定幸福,也关系到子女将来品行的好坏,以及子女将来能否成为贤才。法师在《复白慧导女士书》中说:在家教中母教最为重要,一个妇女能够相夫教子,则丈夫不仅事业有成,德业日进,儿女也能成为贤能善良之人。印光法师强调了母亲在教育子女中的重要作用,也对母亲的基本修养提出了自己的看法。法师认为,母亲要成为子女的表率,首先要在德行方面有一定的涵 养,其次还不能娇惯子女,否则便会祸害子女。再次,母亲要尽到教育子女的责任。

法师所提出的这些母教的观点,颇值得现代母亲深思。从德行方面来说,现在有很多做母亲的年轻人,不仅起不到教育引导子女的作用,反而处处充满私心。他们对待自己的父母能够倾其所有,在所不惜,而对待公婆却是冷眼相待,口出恶言。甚至有的作母亲的因为对婆婆有意见,还教唆子女疏远辱骂公婆。佛教主张冤亲平等,年轻母亲对待公公婆婆应当像对待父母一样,才能够给子女树立敬老孝亲的良好形象。

母亲对子女不能过于娇惯宠爱,娇惯的结果是培养出的子女专横自私,一事无成。子女的品行不好,责任不在子女,而应归罪于母亲。再看看我们周围,有许多做母亲的对子女百般娇惯。当她的子女与别人家的孩子发生矛盾时,她们会给自己的子女撑腰,导致她们的子女有恃无恐,为所欲为。即使是自己孩子有过错,她们非但不责怪,还会找别人家孩子的毛病。以这种方式培养出来的孩子,其霸道蛮横的气焰可想而知。我们常说“有娘养,无娘教”,“小孩没娘,说来话长”之类的俗语,这些俗语都告诉我们母亲在教育子女中的重要作用。而现代的很多母亲非但没有教育好子女,反而将子女引向邪路,有的甚至导致子女走上违法犯罪道路。

在现实生活中,有很多做母亲的生养了子女,却没有尽到教育子女的责任。那种为了生活所迫骨肉分离的母亲,尽不到教育子女的责任实属无奈。但我们常见到有很多作母亲的,能够尽到教育子女责任,却弃之不顾。其中有的母亲是为了家庭矛盾拿孩子赌气,也有的是另有新欢置骨肉于不顾。但不管哪种理由,那种有教育子女的能力,却逃避教育责任的母亲都令人不能容忍。

正因为现代母亲都有很多需要改进之处,印光法师所提倡的母教重要性的观点才显得尤为重要。现代的母亲若能认真领会法师母教的意义,并将这些言教用来教育子女,相信自身素质会有很大的提高,才能够培养出品学俱佳的子女。

印光法师从教育子女和母亲素质等方面论述了教育子女的方法,强调了母亲在家教中的重要地位。现代的年轻父母,若能正确领会和运用法师的家教思想,不仅能够培养出知书达理,事业有成的子女,还能造就出称职的母亲。

Lotus 26.

The fear of death and infernal rebirths due to my evil actions has led me to practise in solitude in the snow capped mountains. On the uncertainty of life’s duration and the moment of death I have deeply meditated thus have I reached the deathless, unshakeable citadel of realisation of the absolute essence. My fear and doubts have vanished like mist into the distance, never to disturb me again. I will die content and free from regrets. This is the fruit of Dharma practice.

— Milarepa

Milarepa (米勒日巴) 37.

Finding Excellence, A Buddhist Land (Part 5)
by Joseph Houseal

There are not so many places left on Earth where the population is virtually 100 per cent Tantric Buddhist. Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh, India, adjacent to Tibet, is one of them. Core of Culture, the organisation I direct, has completed its summer 2016 Cham dance research fieldwork there and is able to bring forward a wealth of information about Buddhist dance, meditation, and history that has never before been made public.

The pervasive Buddhist character of Spiti Valley is part of the protection surrounding the serious practice of Tantric Yoga in the monasteries there. No commercialism, nor Hinduism, nor Islam, nor communism have negatively impacted the practice of Buddhist monasticism yet. Conversely, monastic Tantric Yoga is part of the protection surrounding the Buddhist population. I have written accounts of our visits and the Tantric practices related to Buddhist dance in the first four parts of this series. This is the fifth and final instalment of “Finding Excellence.”

Bhutan, where Core of Culture worked during the final five years of absolute monarchy, is another Buddhist land. Bhutan was a Buddhist kingdom and is now a Buddhist democracy. The pure spiritual flavour of a place, the immersive values rooted in peace, the cultural coherence and ritual integrity are all qualities of Buddhist lands that simply cannot be found in pluralist societies, occupied territories, colonial outposts, and disputed borderlands. There is something profound to be learned from these few remaining Buddhist lands. Indeed, we learned much about the nature of dance itself.

The nature and impact of change is most clearly seen against a baseline of unadulterated cultural practices. While Bhutan remains a mostly Buddhist nation, the culture had more integrity under the direct rule of kings than it does as a fledgling democracy, with its attendant capitalism that has infected the population. Bhutan is open for business. A fundamental change occurs when Buddhist monasteries, monks, and festivals become commercial commodities.

Not unlike western art scholarship and museum culture assigning commercial value to ancient religious art, the industry of tourism overlays a value system on Buddhist architecture and rituals based on their power to lure tourists and bring money to hotels, taxis, restaurants, and merchants. Basically, the tourism industry, often with the full support of the government, treats Buddhist sites and rituals as natural resources like mountains and rivers. Everyone makes money from it except the monasteries, mountains, and rivers.

The tourism industry is the single greatest destructive influence on Buddhist lands. Surely its impending ingress into Spiti Valley bodes darkly for the preservation of Buddhist values and cultural expression. Tourism is literally making inroads, as excellent new roads have been constructed through certain sections of Himachal Pradesh. Thankfully there are still plenty of perfectly awful, dangerous, harrowing roads to dissuade the leisure traveller.

This is, therefore, a very important time to be conducting research in Spiti Valley as it is on the cusp of change. The abbots and rinpoches in the Spiti monasteries were emphatic: Cham dance ceremonies are not for tourists, were never intended to be, and tourists are not invited. Is it surprising, then, that we encountered some of the most rigorous integrations of dance and meditation in Spiti among the many monasteries of the Trans-Himalaya we have visited over the past 20 years? Is not this integrity and spiritual accomplishment worth protecting and carrying forward?

Indian middle-class tourism, catered to by a sprawling ancillary industry, has turned the charming city of Manali into a lawless nightmare. Rather than escaping India’s urban centres further south, tourists bring the worst of urban behaviour to once lovely places. Simla is another famous city struggling to bear the weight of an excess of tawdry tourism. Cham ceremonies in Ladakh are overwhelmed with tourists, and battling them has become part of the experience for the monks and foreigners alike.

During our monastery visits in Spiti Valley, the very mention of the word “tourist” would cause the monks to mime the act of taking photographs. To the monastic leaders here, tourists and the prioritisation of, or surrendering to, photography are one and the same. Death by paparazzi.

The Sakya sect monastery Sakya Tengon Lundup Choekor Ling towers over the town of Kaza, which serves as the seat of the regional government. Nawang Tashi, the lama tipa, or functional leader of activities at the monastery, shrugged when I asked him about tourists or problems with tourists during their festivals: “What can you expect from foreigners except ‘click, click, click’? They are not many, but they are ignorant and they always leave — they never stay for the full ritual. They are more like mosquitoes or flies than a big problem, but they are an irritation. They are not really interested in what we are doing, but rather what they are getting.”

“Kaza is the seat of government for Spiti and so the monastery serves a more public function than other remote monasteries here that have the opportunity to restrict who attends,” Nawang Tashi observed. “Government and military officials always attend, tourists passing through, and school children from around the district come. The monastery works with all the institutions in Kaza.”

“There is a two-year meditation retreat requirement before becoming the champon (dance master) at Kaza monastery, and the philosophical aspects of Cham are emphasised. Kaza monastery is primarily a place where Buddhist monks can continue their education in philosophy, debate, and liturgy, and at any given time, as many as 120 of our 200 monks are away at higher centres of learning. Forty monks know Cham well, and 40 boys are in training.”

Kaza monastery was the only monastery in Spiti we visited that named “quality and skill in dancing” as one of the factors in choosing dancers. The lama tipa, with the help of senior monks, look for monks who can dance well and uphold the prestige of the monastery and town of Kaza.

“Almost 100 per cent of the attendees at the Cham festivals are Buddhists — 50 per cent come for the ritual aspect, and because at least nine villages attend the festival, probably 50 per cent come for a social event,” said Nawang Tashi.

The Buddhist culture of Spiti Valley is fundamentally one of respect. The monasteries and villages survive on a mutual and symbiotic relationship based on the noble and spiritual values of Buddhism. Between the five major monasteries that rotate hosting celebrations in Spiti to mark the birth of the Buddha, more than 40 associated villages are involved in expressing themselves with dances and songs alongside the monks who perform the dances of their tantric practice. This is a remarkable danced expression of the mandala of monasteries and villages that etch the mountainous landscape; that defines this Buddhist land.

As I ponder what work is meritorious for Core of Culture to undertake going forward, I can think of nothing more rare and meaningful than documenting the Tantric dances, the “Mandala of Vajrayana Buddhism” as it is lived in Spiti Valley; to ensure that the ongoing and authentic practice of Cham dance is performed as a monastic discipline, and not as a tourist commodity. Spiti will surely change, as all things do, but for now, I can only be grateful to have encountered another true Buddhist land and to learn everything we can from this amazing remnant of how the world once was when Buddhism pervaded every aspect of life and landscape.

Joseph Houseal 1.

Compassion and tolerance are not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength.

— His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Dalai Lama 74

Inter dependency means we should not ignore anything. And we should understand the relationship between each one of us, including…. you yourself.

— Shunryu Suzuki

Shunryu Suzuki 12.

Finding Excellence, What Buddhists Do (Part 4)
by Joseph Houseal

Mutual amazement at what the other does not find extraordinary is a situation I regularly encounter when speaking with monk dancers. They usually cannot believe that someone like me exists — who cares only about the quality and transmission of ancient gnostic dance. And I am routinely astounded by some of the training certain monasteries require of their Cham dancers.

In the summer of 2016, we distributed a rare Buddhist dance treatise, The Snow Lion’s Attributes, published by Core of Culture, the organisation I direct, to monasteries in Himachal Pradesh, northern India, where ancient roots and relative isolation from destructive modernity have maintained for the world some of the most serious and undiluted practices of Vajrayana Buddhism, respected worldwide for its profound teachings in meditation yoga. Actor Richard Gere, who does meditation retreats in remote Zanskar, refers to Vajrayana monks as “the Olympians of meditation.”

Perhaps you will agree with me that the meditation requirements aligned with Buddhist Cham dance at the 1,000-year-old monasteries at Dhankar and nearby Kye are astonishing. My astonishment is based on nearly 20 years of research, documenting Cham throughout the Himalaya — particularly in Bhutan, where Cham practice is exuberant and skilful. It is refreshing after 20 years to still be so amazed and enchanted by the subject of my driving interest.

There are dates, monastic roles and hierarchies, and changing schools of Buddhism that need unwinding to tell this story. Dhankar and Kye monasteries were built during the Guge Kingdom in the 11th century, part of an expansionist plan to extend the empire with trade, art, and religion. Dhankar and Kye marked architectural departures as they were developed into fortresses as well as monasteries, and so were perched on high cliffs, raised up strategically, in a way we associate with many monasteries now.

UNESCO has placed Dhankar Gompa on the Watch List of Endangered World Monuments. Both the mountain cliff and the ancient tower perched upon it are precariously holding on. Kye Gompa is nested on a mountain spur among mountains, a most dramatic setting. The Gelugpa subjugation of these monasteries was coupled with new architecture, purpose, and rituals. Both monasteries have endured attacks and invasions.

Dhankar was a hereditary and military monastery, aligning itself and its rituals with several Buddhist schools. Kye was a trading post and a centre of debate. The Gelugpa school, notable for being the school of the Dalai Lama, was not established until the 15th century. The monasteries in this account had half a millennium of rituals and dance before the Gelugpa asserted political authority and fortified the existing structures. Dhankar and Kye both became known for the seriousness of their meditation practice, just as Tabo Gompa in Spiti Valley was renowned for its scholarship and accomplished monks.

Here’s the time warp: Dhankar does the same Cham as ancient Tabo, which means it derives from a Gelugpa monk named Jampa Tharchen, who escaped from Tibet in 1957 and found refuge at Tabo. The lineage he taught belongs to Tashigang Gompa in Gnari, Tibet. Seemingly — and this needs to be clarified by further research — replacing the dances already performed there, ostensibly by offering a more authoritative and complete canon of Gelugpa Cham dances directly from Tibet.

In 1985, the Panchen Choegyal Nyima, from the legendary Tashilunpo Monastery founded by the first Dalai Lama in the 15th century, brought their lineage of Cham dances into India. A monk named Karchen Laktor taught these dances to Kye Gompa in Spiti, to Thikse and Spituk monasteries in Ladakh, and to a monastery in Nubra Valley.

In both cases, a fresh input of authoritative Cham, directly transmitted from Tibet, was integrated with local meditation practices hundreds of years old. This explains to a degree why the meditation requirements to perform Cham are so thorough at these monasteries. Although a young monk who could not contain himself during our meeting with senior monks blurted out the obvious standard that should not be overlooked: “Where the Dharma is strong, Cham is strong!”

The names of monastery roles and positions are not universal. The same title at one monastery can imply a different job at another. However, three positions are at play in this exposition of Cham and meditation. The omze is the master of rituals and chant — meaning he leads the accompaniment of Cham dances and has memorised all the ancient sutras, scriptures, and mantras that are chanted. This is encyclopedic commemoration.

The lama tipa is an archaic title for a regent, someone who rules in the name of someone else. He is not the abbot, but has all the authority and is also required to know how to run and manage every aspect of a monastery. The champon is the dance master, required to know every dance and to be able to teach it. At Dhankar and Kye, this implies knowing the tantric visualization and Deity Action Yoga empowering the Cham dances.

Prepare to be astonished. At Dhankar Gompa, the omze must undertake a two-year cave retreat practising his primary teachings before he can become the lama tipa, a position he fills for two years. He must then do a further one-year cave retreat specialising in Yiddam meditation in order to become the champon.

Primary teachings here refer to the teachings given to you by your own guru, and as such are entirely personal and designed by the guru for each person he teaches. No two are the same. It is a kind of development of the tantric personality of an individual. A Yiddam is a meditation deity, and in the case of a rising champon, the monk must accomplish the yogic act of conjuring the deity Mahakala, and further, making him move. The lama tipa at Dankhar explained that Mahakala is the root of all Deity Action yoga for Cham and any deity can be yogically extrapolated having mastered making a Mahakala visualisation move.

This is really the line between black and white magic as once a new being has been realised, the meditator, or sorcerer as the case may be, has the choice to make the being do anything, and it is at this point that tantric adepts can lose control over their own creations, just as Mickey Mouse did in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. This is serious, ancient yoga: older than Buddhism, older than the hills, and one reason Vajrayana Buddhism is so special for keeping these skills alive. This is the fine, much debated, tantric line between something actually happening and something symbolically happening.

At Kye Gompa, no meditation requirement exists for the position of omze, but he must complete one year of Yiddam meditation before becoming the champon and teaching the other dancers. The champon can keep the position indefinitely providing he completes a one-week Yiddam meditation retreat each year before teaching Cham.

Dhankar Gompa has the most intensive meditation retreat requirement for the position of champon of any monastery I have encountered in 17 years. Kye Gompa also clearly prioritizes the mastery of meditation as a pre-requisite for teaching Cham to anyone else. Clearly, these profound approaches to cultivating the inner person for a dance performance have nothing to do with theatricality or a public audience. In fact, these aspects seem mundane, irrelevant to our discussion.

The lama tipa at Dhankar was busily sweeping the 1,000-year-old tower where the special chambers of the Dalai Lama are situated when I accidentally met him after talking to two senior monks. I was thrilled to encounter him as he was about to embark on a year-long cave retreat to gain the yogic skill of conjuring Mahakala and making him move, and then becoming the champon. Perhaps too thrilled; he thought my excitement was unwarranted

He told me with some amusement that yogic mastery was not an amazing feat, nor peculiar to him, nor intimidating, but rather an aspect of ancient mental training protected by Buddhism since its inception when Guru Rinpoche subjugated and at the same time protected the ancient pre-Buddhist spiritual beings and the deep psychic and intellectual forces they embody and represent.

“You’ve been visiting the most remote monasteries of all sects, with a dance treatise, wearing a mustard-coloured suit and tie, and you think we are out of the ordinary?” he enquired with humour. “Deity Yoga for Cham? It’s a known thing,” he continued. “What Buddhists do.

Joseph Houseal 1.

要回光返照,常常作出自我检讨。常思己过,则近 “道 ”矣!一发觉有错误,就要马上进行修改,从一切境中去调整自己。每一个人要将几十年的习气去除,必定要下一番工夫!当你有感觉 “艰苦、烦恼 ”的时候,这就是在修行过程中所遇到的种种考验,这时你必须运用智慧来降伏心念上的障碍,拿出修行的精神来克服万难。因为 “有境才好修,无境不成道。

— 廣欽老和尚

Ven Guang Qing 3

出家生涯初探
文|見安

一個人的前程志願,往往都是隨著因緣環境而轉變、向上增長。三寶難值難遇!佛法,如破暗之明燈,點燃心中勵慕出世志向,使我於凡塵俗世發厭離心、興出世願,選擇出家這條路;為法,而求依止僧團學習。

十方共聚的這塊園地猶如叢林,蘊育著的幼樹是我渴求增長的心。在僧團和敬中,我學習與大眾志操相攜;聖道的理念目標,為我修行之動力與槳舵。生命的軌道, 恆馳在佛法之薰習與實踐。師長的教誨、同參的提攜,如陽光日日照耀,增上我如法學習的心苗。法義的潤澤如同甘露,在聞熏中栽培善種。止觀的實踐是清淨泉湧之水流,漸漸浣滌身心粗重、散亂與昏沈。發菩提心、開發智慧、修學聖道……,在這裡,我們逐漸深刻自己對僧團、對眾生、對正法的使命,堅固道心乃至不退。

對自己的要求,不是希望得到一張能向人炫耀的漂亮成績單,而是能學習付出奉獻、學習無私發心。典座、行堂、香燈……,煮飯、劈柴、梵唄……,各種職事的學習使我改正懈怠輕忽的習氣,體會團體生活的謙忍融入。於動於靜磨練自己,能時時正知而住,積集修行資糧。在發心培福的當下,也希望能了解道場之運作,如何安僧住持,然後學習把心放下,無我的去服務,一切行事考慮護持他人。在每一個因緣聚會的當下,該做好的就盡力去做。調柔、和合、堅忍、不退轉……,匯成之道基能令正法久住。

我尋求依止,不是因為貪求僧團的和樂、個人的安心,而是與之相契的志業、趣向──尊重戒、勤習定、增上慧,順於聖道、趣向涅槃,使我願奉獻一生的身心,在這裡依止善知識修學止觀。一片精誠之志意,請求依止這和合僧團出家。

希求聖道、志向解脫,是我越諸塵累發心修行之初心。願能窮究佛法真理,光明顯亮、慈柔付出;能於一切有情無邊苦海,誓願拔其苦、與之樂,洞察同體悲,成熟自利利他之因行,圓滿究竟之佛果。大悲如來示現於世間,棄捨世人所貪逐追戀的榮耀富樂,面對著世間諸多苦難,為求真理,為一切眾生尋覓解脫之道,而發心出家。體悟佛陀的教誨,使我所追求之解脫,不只是短暫生命的超越,而是淪歷長劫迷妄之心的徹底澄淨。唯願最初之這一念心,迄於未來際劫,生生世世開展它為極樂之清涼菩提,溫渥眾生的心靈,幫助一切眾生出離生死大海。

願為一切眾生承擔,是自我肯定的泉源;願培養能為眾生付出的能力。佛法教理深入的學習,以掌握正確的菩提道次第。思惟、修習止觀,柔和那長夜以來為煩惱所覆剛強之心,增長進趣無漏般若之堪能。以戒法的實踐養護聖道資糧,如菩薩於微小罪生大怖畏,輕重等習等持。執事中動心忍性、勞己筋骨,磨練剛正不阿的僧格,預備自身以為菩薩行業之法器。小眾階段從基層作起,琢磨高慢學習謙卑。為實踐對眾生的承諾,擬定出家生涯的短程藍圖:

居士階段:

1、脫去在家習氣、想法,淘治心性轉俗情為道人心。

2、奠定修行正知見,培養出離心、菩提願。

3、明白出家正因,並謹慎出家動機。

4、了解僧團的志向目標,培養對僧團、師長敬重不移的心。

5、了解清淨的僧格為何,並學習之。

6、端正人品,培養處世恭謹、待人真誠謙虛之好個性。

7、心性穩固,知修行之所為何。

8、對事物之學習認真、負責,以歡喜心做事並珍惜福報。

9、思考並實踐如何將十善法運用在日常生活中。

10、探求契機用功的下手處。

沙彌尼階段:

1、契入佛法、真正向道,從聖法中摒棄俗見,建立道品。

2、建立僧格、莊嚴自處學威儀。

3、建立增上道心。

4、內心能真實調柔的接受勸諫。

5、學習溝通、和團體一起生活。

6、學習能為一切眾生善友,常能主動幫助別人。

7、自尊、自愛、調柔無驕慢,具足感恩心。

8、學習從做事待人、生活點滴中體會善法恩德。

9、學習發心做事,不要問值不值得,不要計較失去的時間。

10、從心性中升起對戒定慧三學之好樂。

11、做定課加強心力,把靜坐拜佛時的心情運用在日常生活中──以禮敬諸佛的心禮敬周遭每一個人。

式叉摩那階段:

1、學習身口意三業真實不虛。錯誤,勇於承擔;過失,虛心請教。

2、願以心甘情願、無怨無悔的心學習奉獻。

3、堅固納受大戒之心;決定自己當成法器。

4、學習獨立承擔職事上之責任;做事當下因果分明。

5、落實式叉六法於生活中。

6、對止作二持有基本的認識及操守,如法學行二年圓滿方求受具戒。

7、依循佛菩薩法語如理思惟、觀照起心動念,使善根有力、惡種不起現行。

比丘尼階段:

1、穩固獨立修行的能力。

2、從每念當下體認佛法;長養慈悲喜捨心,願常以四無量向一切眾生。

3、繼續深入學習佛法,觀照思惟,法隨法行。

4、在心性上受善法調練,在人品上獨立自主堅固荷擔。

5、以圓滿受持三聚淨戒為志,不捨棄每一位眾生。

6、是具足慚愧、感恩、犧牲與奉獻精神的法門龍象。

7、體會佛陀的深意,承擔以法毗奈耶攝僧、令正法久住之如來家業。

8、成為決志弘揚大乘佛法之比丘尼;嚴持聲聞戒行,學習菩薩律儀,大小無礙。

9、多方面學習,增上自己,使成為真正可以延續佛法的僧伽命脈。

10、訓練自己成為能領眾之人才。

11、以定心、慧心做定課,祈使一念之功德能達到法界,一切有情無情眾生皆能蒙受利益。

12、把所學之佛法宣講宏揚,並行持出來給眾生做榜樣。

出家之所以「非將相所能為」,在於其有著高遠的心志。一位發真實心出家的人,對聖道解脫有真實的懇切的意樂。不待他人的敦逼催促,自動自發地在內心下功夫,而後以「法界一切眾生都是我的責任」之心而上求佛道、下化眾生,從今日始乃至盡未來際。祈求諸佛菩薩證鑑此心,慈悲加被圓滿此願。

出家生活的調練,使生命不再是一場迷夢;能積極的開拓心田,遵循佛陀的教誨,走向一條自覺之路。每日聽聞佛法,學習法義,開啟我們的智慧;靜坐修止觀,如理思惟、將佛法納入心裡,點滴終將匯成清淨流。依止善知識,師資相攝是慧命所在。職事與修行的融合,開展一天的生活;待人處事的學習,貫穿每一個當下。依四念處行道,常觀無常、無我,認識煩惱的根源來自於執一切法為真實。師長、同參真心的勸諫,使我們在團體中以善友為依。向著法的僧團是我們清淨緣中之增上;我們受這僧團保護,亦學習為僧團奉獻,這是安身立命的定點。

受教的心是自我修正的開始;從小我到大我,生命的宏觀,如因陀羅網無量無垠。依著修學次第漸次通往菩提道;普於十方法界、遍及一切有情,深深印下共成佛道的心願。當下最重要的是,培養堅固不動的道心、毅力。在僧團的洪爐大冶中,勇敢的投入,鍛之、鍊之、成就之。

曾經在修行的路上,色身的病痛是唯一的障礙;從這裡面成長過,才深刻的感念到僧團、師長慈悲成就眾生的苦心。不曾因為如是障緣局限了學習的決志。內心專一精誠時,有什麼做不成的呢?在佛陀大智慧光明的指引下,在生活的歷鍊與實行中,磨練出足以承擔的力量,使我們在有限生命的盡處,開展出無量莊嚴之自性淨土。在心性的調熟,願力的堅固運為中,無悔的走向修行之行山願海。

Lotus 102.

Openness does not mean to give up all your power or autonomy to others. However, you are opened in a bigger way toward the whole universe in order to work with others positively in the situations you encounter.

— Dza Kilung Rinpoche

Dza Kilung Rinpoche 7.

Finding Excellence, Who is the Best Dancer Here? (Part 3)
by Joseph Houseal

Venture into remote places and you will find a joyful purity. During our recent summer fieldwork in Himachal Pradesh, northern India, we distributed copies of a Buddhist dance treatise, The Snow Lion’s Attributes, among the monasteries there, and used it as a touchstone for illuminating conversations about Cham practice. In Spiti Valley and the adjacent Pin Valley, Buddhist researchers have for decades examined Vajrayana Buddhism in what has long been an almost inaccessible area in which some of the oldest Buddhist monasteries practice tantric disciplines in an uninterrupted mental climate, unmolested by modern tourism and beyond the reach of urban turmoil. Blocked by snow for many months of the year, isolation has preserved authenticity. Spiti is on the cusp of change, however, and this is a critical time to carry out research.

Core of Culture, the non-profit organisation that I direct, is the first to examine the Cham dance traditions at these monasteries that define a “Buddhist land” wherein virtually 100 per cent of the population is Buddhist. Sanga Choeling Monastery, belonging to the oldest and original school of Vajrayana Buddhism, the Nyingma, sits atop a mountain range overlooking the vastness of Pin Valley in Spiti, Himachal Pradesh. This enormous valley is flanked by snow-capped peaks on both tapering ends, with waves of mighty rock undulating in the sky surrounding this Nyingma sanctuary founded by Padmasambhava in the 8th century. Some temples and the art contained within them date from 1330 CE. The newest building — a prayer hall and dance courtyard — is quite recent, courtesy of a foreign donor. Most of Pin Valley is a national wildlife refuge; a home to many rare things.

It is our custom when we work, to meet with the resident rinpoche, abbot, or high lama — for their blessing and permission, if nothing else. There being no telephone service across these peaks, we considered ourselves fortunate to have met with high lamas at every monastery we’d visited so far this season. However, the day we reached Sanga Choeling monastery, the oldest in Kungri, we learned that the abbot, Yomed Rinpoche, was away.

Young monks were working throughout the monastery and courteously offered to fetch the oldest monk they knew, who lived in the village. Our team was already returning to our vehicles when I told them to stop. “We don’t need to bother the old monk,” I told the teenage monk standing near me. “But tell me, who is the best dancer here?” The young monk, Tshering, 18, invited me to his room for tea and within minutes another monk, 23-year-old Palden Tundup, appeared. He spoke some English and was surprised that anyone, much less a foreigner, would ask for “the best dancer.” He was a little embarrassed that the designation “best dancer” was pretty much unanimously agreed upon by his fellow monks.

Palden Tundup explained that the rituals used at their monastery were from the Tantras of the Bhutanese Saint Pema Lingpa, with the exception of his 15th century dances. Also carried out were rituals of the Nyingma Terser tradition. Cham is performed twice each year, in a major Tsechu in October, as well as on the birthday of the abbot when several dances are performed.

Sanga Choeling has 75 monks and 38 boys. There is no champon or dance master. Instead, six jorpon, a type of monastery official, take responsibility for training and selecting the dancers. I asked how the dancers are selected and how he came to be the “best dancer.” He laughed and replied, “We all have to learn Cham movements when we are 12. So the dancing is easy, we know it from childhood. We enjoy doing it, it is almost second nature.” We’d seen as much when the monks started dancing upon our arrival.

I asked about a Chams Yig, or dance manual, and Palden Tundup casually answered, “Every monk has a copy. Knowing it is part of being a monk here.” In nearly two decades of carrying out Cham research in the Himalaya, where most monasteries do not even have a Chams Yig, or cannot find it, or don’t use it if they do have one, we had never before encountered a monastery in which every monk had his own copy and knew its contents.

“Really?” I asked incredulously.

“Yes!” he laughed, and told the young monk making tea to show us his copy. The poor lad couldn’t find it, so Palden Tundup instructed the monk precisely where in his own room his copy could be found, and within minutes it was produced for us. Since we consider a Chams Yig to be a kind of Holy Grail for ancient Buddhist dance and have produced an expensive and beautifully designed dance treatise to share. We were a little surprised, therefore, to be handed a stapled, mimeographed copy of the Tibetan manuscript, quite the worse for wear. I was dumbstruck.

Palden Tundup was amused that we thought his monastic exercise of Cham was so extraordinary. It is a scholarly, tantric, and choreographic discipline performed by every monk with whom he lives. He further explained that the battered document I was holding was written in two types of Tibetan script, and that it instructed in all aspects of Cham at once: dance, meditation visualisations, and mantra (empowered chant), which are performed with the dance.

“Since Cham dances are ingrained in our bodies from childhood, we don’t worry about the dancing part. It is the meditation visualisations that are difficult, but we see improvement every year,” Palden Tundup related. “The Chams Yig is really a guide to Deity Action yoga. We like reading it, because it is more than reading.”

The original manuscript was produced in some unspecified ancient time by a monk named Dorje Dundop, who spoke out the Cham teachings to a scribe, who recorded them in the document we held before us. The Cham teachings themselves were attributed to Dortol Lingpa — a title that intrigued us greatly. “Lingpa” is a title used for a terton, or “treasure revealer” who is privileged to receive the hidden teachings of Guru Rinpoche, which were intended to be discovered at a future time. Pema Lingpa, whose rituals were used by Sanga Choeling, was a terton, and the many extant dances of his remaining in Bhutan are ter cham, or dances specifically left for the future by Guru Rinpoche.

We are searching for answers. Sounding similar to “Dortol,” the terton Dorje Lingpa also revealed a canon of Cham dances in the 14th century, and these dances have been kept alive at three monasteries in Bhutan. Pema Lingpa and Dorje Lingpa are two of the five Treasure Kings who left major bodies of tantric practices for posterity. Clearly, we have work ahead of us, unwinding this mystery of ancient dance.

I have so far been unable to find any information on Dortol Lingpa, but it remains a primary point of inquiry for us, particularly considering the age of the monastery and the fact that it is of the Nyingma school, the oldest school of Vajrayana Buddhism, and one that has shown us on numerous occasions to have the most interesting dances. The Chams Yig at Sanga Choeling details 14 unique dances. It still astounds me that every monk here can dance from the age of 12, and further, is easily familiar with the contents of the ancient Cham Yig that they keep in their rooms.

I asked Palden Tundup for his thoughts on the future of Cham, and his answer came swiftly: “All of Kungri is proud to uphold the ancient Nyingma teachings. It is still the case that every family’s second son becomes a monk. We are very proud of this tradition, and it will not fade away any time soon.” The other monks in the room nodded in approval. I was impressed with his sincerity and the nobility with which he spoke of his own traditions.

“We’re all really good dancers, too,” Palden Tundup teased me, his joy infectious. “You should come and see our Cham ceremony. We don’t do it like a tourist show, but I can tell you would like it.”

He’s right about that.

Joseph Houseal 1.