Faith in a Time of Crisis
by Benny Liow Woon Khin

A Muslim neighbour, who isn’t very religious in normal times, told me she spent her time in quarantine praying five times a day and working with members of her mosque to find ways to help the less fortunate during these difficult times.

“This whole ordeal brings us closer together and deepens my faith in Allah,” she said. “Spending time praying and being with Him is comforting.”

A Pew Research Centre survey conducted in the summer of 2020 in the United States revealed that more Americans are saying the pandemic has bolstered their religious faith and the faith of their compatriots. Nearly three in 10 Americans (28%) reported stronger personal faith because of COVID-19, and the same survey suggested that the religious faith of Americans overall has strengthened.

Psychologists generally believe that faith can help people transcend stressful times by enabling them to see these as opportunities to grow closer to a higher power or to improve their lives. Faith in their religion also fosters a sense of connectedness, making them part of something larger than themselves. This can happen through prayer or meditation, or through participation in religious discourses, listening to spiritual music, or even taking a walk outside to admire nature.

So how should Buddhists, in the same predicament, manage their anxieties of adjusting to life in the midst of a global pandemic, and respond with their faith in the Buddha’s teachings?

FAITH, CONTEMPLATION AND PRACTICE

Dan Harris, the famous ABC News anchor who wrote 10% Happier, asked His Holiness the Dalai Lama the same question on his news programme Nightline in May 2020. The Dalai Lama offered the following advice to those who are having a difficult time dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic:

(a) Practise meditation — be it one minute, five minutes or 10 minutes each day, especially when we wake up. This basically involves training our minds to be positive so that we adopt a positive approach to life. Whatever type of meditation we follow, the main purpose should be to calm the mind so that we can respond to a situation mindfully, rather than reacting with thoughts of fear, worry, or doubt.

(b) Practise compassion — this will lessen our attachment to our ego as we look out for those around us who may need help. The Buddha taught us that we live in an interconnected world, so we should not just think of our own well-being but that of others too. It is when we cultivate thoughts of loving-kindness and compassion for others, that we too will benefit from such wholesome thoughts. As the Dalai Lama said to Dan Harris, “Taking care of others is actually taking care of yourself.”

We can say that the essence of the Buddha’s teachings is all about how to develop our minds. When we cultivate a positive attitude, we are able to respond to difficulties in life by being more relaxed, calm, peaceful, and equanimous. This is the exact opposite of having a negative mind state when we react to difficulties or a crisis with anxieties, worries, fears and frustrations.

In the Buddha’s own words, he said that for one who contemplates wisely, anxieties and troubles that have not yet arisen do not arise, and those already arisen will cease. As for those who do not contemplate wisely, anxieties and troubles that have not yet arisen will arise, and those that have already arisen will increase. (Sabbasava Sutta, MN 2).

When we understand the Buddha’s teachings, we realise that the pandemic vividly illustrates a core Buddhist principle: That we are all equally subject to birth, ageing, sickness and death. All things — physical and mental — are in continuous change, not remaining the same from one moment to the next. Consequently, although we crave stability and pleasant experiences, there is no real security, and happiness is fleeting. We are just not in control.

This explains why people around the world are feeling rudderless and adrift. As we go through lockdown after lockdown, many fear that they may be infected, retrenched, lose their loved ones, or be unable to get enough food and other essential supplies. How do we move forward with courage and hope? How can faith in the Dharma support us?

This is when reflecting on the wisdom of great masters like the late Ajahn Chah (1918-1992) helps us to gain an insight into the nature of existence better. He taught that whatever our states of mind, happy or unhappy, we should constantly remind ourselves, “This is uncertain.” This understanding of things is always timely and relevant. This is what the Buddha meant by impermanence, the first of the three characteristics of existence.

Therefore, having the understanding that even COVID-19 is impermanent is Right View. When we have faith in the Buddha’s teaching on impermanence, we have hope that the crisis we face will not last forever. This is why the following verses from Thich Nhat Hanh inspire faith and hope among Buddhists:

Suffering is impermanent, and that’s why we can transform it. And because happiness is impermanent, that’s why we have to nourish it.

Our worry or fear of the pandemic won’t make the virus disappear. We do what’s required of us to be safe, accept it and then, we let it go!

Psychologists have revealed that 90% of things which we worry about are out of our control, so it’s not helpful to worry about them. However, for the 10% that we can control, we should do something about it, instead of worrying. This is the same advice that the 8th century Indian Buddhist pandit, Shantideva taught: “If a problem can be solved, why worry? If the problem cannot be solved, worrying will do you no good.” (Verse 10, Chapter 6, Bodhicaryāvatāra).

When facing the COVID-19 crisis, it is not only faith and hopes that we should develop but also courage, specifically the courage to change our mindset. For instance, we cannot stop COVID-19 from affecting the world, but it is within our control to prevent it from affecting our well-being. For instance, we identify our habitual, negative patterns of thinking and behaviour, and replace them with positive alternatives that medical science has taught us, to be safe from COVID-19.

CONCLUSION

Since I began by quoting from His Holiness the Dalai Lama, let me conclude with what he said to TIME Magazine on April 14, 2020, about the nature of the crisis that we are all experiencing now:

“As a Buddhist, I believe in the principle of impermanence. Eventually, this virus will pass, as I have seen wars and other terrible threats pass in my lifetime, and we will have the opportunity to rebuild our global community, as we have done many times before. I sincerely hope that everyone can stay safe and stay calm. At this time of uncertainty, it is important that we do not lose hope and confidence in the constructive efforts so many are making.”

May all of you stay well and healthy!

Lotus 305.

We talk about blind faith in religion, but actual blind faith exists in our everyday world. What do we really trust? We trust our senses, our perceptions, our culture, our thoughts, completely, one-pointedly, and blindly. We trust this more than we trust our religion. So the idea of having blind faith in religion is totally a myth. The real blind faith exists in our worldly existence. We trust anything that is within the range of experiences of our mind, whether it is perceptual or conceptual mind.

— 7th Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche

Ponlop Rinpoche 12.

走进生命的实相
文|张家珍

佛家所说的:缘起缘灭。缘灭的时候,也就是缘起的时候,生老病死,都是我们要经历的,无常状态,也是我们必须去接纳的。而如何接纳与看待一件事,如何走近生命的实相?才是我们真正要面对的内容。

有人说,修行就是不要有负面情绪。这当然对,但负面情绪来自何处?依靠压抑、转移焦点的方式,真的可靠吗?真的因为压抑就可以跳脱轮回吗?我们的怨恨,不满,难过,不会因为压抑而减少,反而只会增加。

不是说我们不要有负面情绪,不是让我们压抑自己的情绪,而是如何看待生命的过程,如何走近生命的实相。简单举例来说,我们如果受伤,就是我们有受伤的情绪在,悲伤痛苦遗憾,这些情绪都是可以存在,但这些是自发的反应,而不是将这种情绪形成某种对自己的观点:“我真倒霉”,“我怎么总是这么惨”,“我怎么这么糟糕”……这些观点都是自己加工的,而不是实相,实相就只是“我受伤了”,我要承受伤口的疼痛,或者情感上的不开心,我要做的是接纳,而不是那这件事来批判自己,或者得到某种定论。

可是我们的生活中,很多时候都会形成这样的论断,一件事情发生后,我们很容易抗拒、不接受,产生负面情绪,之后还要给自己加注一个念头:“我很倒霉”或者“我不够好”,“我连这点事都做不好”、“我总是这样不幸”—这些念头的建立,不是事实的真相,但却形成自己的认知。让自己开始活在这样的“所知障”里,困在其中,几年、几十年甚至一辈子。而在之后的岁月,凡是遇到类似的事情,我们就会将事件切割成,自己认知中的样子,而忽略了事情的全貌。而这个全貌才是你需要看到的实相。

输赢或者幸与不幸,其实只是人类的线性观点,线性的维度是很窄的,就如同蚂蚁看见的世界,与三维意识中人类看到的世界是两个概念。我们有五感看得见的部分,也有看不见的部分,但如果我们把自己框架在某种信念里的时候,我们就只能看见线性的有限内容,自己想要看见的,自己认知的部分。你只会切割出你想要看见的点,就如同《红楼梦》中,美食家只能看见美食,阴谋家只能看见阴谋,人文学家只能看见文化,诗人只能看见文辞一样,你的信念觉得了你看事情的角度,就如同瞎子摸象一样。

我们会用我们习以为常的点,去做一个结论,而那些没有发现的部分,你永远不会去留意。这样你就会丧失生命中许多更加真实,更加让自己平安的内容,也就是事情的真相和完整性。你只会被卡在某个点中,转不出来。

除非你去重新摆正自己的意识焦点,用更高维度的角度,去看待事情的发展与变化。看待因缘的走向,积蓄的能量,与各个角度,而非故步自封。我们可以把发生的事情看做“了业”,当然也可以看做我们提升维度的跳板。我们过往的课题,要通过这个“跳板”去把我们的意识提升,去让我们摆脱那种让我们产生负面情绪的意念。就是当同样的事情再来一次的时候,你就抓住了一个改变的契机,你就可以重新用不同的维度去拉高自己的意识,看清事情的实相后,建立新的信念,它不是偿还,而是幸运。问题来临时,不是惩罚,而是改变的契机。花多些时间去关注自己的内在,拥有转念和看见实相的力量才是自己真正应该做的事情,它会带给你内心无比的平静与喜悦,就如佛陀所形容的觉醒的状态一般。

没有扭曲的核心信念与印记,处理事情看到的都是实相,你就能够体会“空性”的境界,不代表没有负面情绪,而是面对负面情绪,找到扭曲信念,让它成为你自我扬升的阶梯。

Lotus 277.

If there is always affinity
or the lack of it,
we might as well create
only good affinity.

— Shilashanti

Lotus 265.

宗教与封建迷信的四大区别
惟贤法师

宗教与封建迷信是不同的,有很大的区别。

一、产生的来源不同

封建迷信来自民间,涉及民间的习惯、民间的传说、民间的理想、民间的愿望。而宗教的产生有其历史、教主及教义,既有产生的历史根源,又有道理可讲,有理论基础。宗教有教规,就是在行为上有所遵循、有所约束,大都是劝人为善;另外还有教团,是有组织的。

宗教,不管是佛教、天主教、基督教、伊斯兰教还是道教,在净化人心方面都能起到良好的作用。

二、内容不同

迷信是什么呢?迷信是宣传神权,借鬼神附身,借神敛财。具体讲就是相信鬼神、占卜、扶乩、预言天书这些东西,这往往就带了一定的神权思想。本来人生了病需要吃药,佛家讲有医药可以治病,迷信却往往让人不吃药,使人们受到很多损害。相面、算命、预言天书、跳神扶乩等等都属于迷信,它使人们在鬼神中、命运中不能摆脱。

宗教是以劝善止恶为主,有其教史(历史)、教义、教规、教团,发生的作用是劝人止恶为善,这样对社会的稳定就有一定好处。而迷信就是以神权、以各种不可知的东西来愚弄人们,从中渔利,使人们受到损害。所以说宗教与迷信有极大的区别,不能混为一谈。

三、与哲学的关系

宗教与哲学有关系,迷信与哲学完全没有关系,因为迷信是说不出什么道理来的。宗教可以说自己做主,当然其中唯神论的也有,但是这个方向还是很好。迷信则是自己完全不能做主,赋予神权,迷信神权,自己完全不能主宰自己,这是极大的区别。迷信一般来讲得不到政府支持,中国现在提倡五大宗教,发扬五大宗教,而迷信却是要取缔的。

四、与邪教的区别

但是迷信也不是邪教。邪教完全以神我,发扬神我,以此来愚弄人。神我之说在印度就是婆罗门教,崇拜梵天,以神权来主宰,被佛教视为外道。中国过去的“法论功”,就说自己是神,自己是主宰,能支配一切。这个是很荒唐的,引人入邪,害人不浅。这个为害的程度,比迷信还大。所以,宗教与迷信、邪教是有区别的。可以多看有关资料作一下参考,大体区别即是如此。

五、佛教的特点

佛教既不是迷信,也不是一般意义上的宗教,更不是邪教。邪教讲神我,佛教讲无我。一般宗教讲万能的上帝,讲神权;佛家讲因果,能自己做主、自己创造。哲学讲内心思辨,佛家讲实践、心物一体,又有不同。

科学方面呢,是倾向于物质以及在物质上的研究。佛法讲心物总和,讲心就有物,讲物就有心,讲中道实相,所以与科学也有所不同。

上个世纪初曾经有个争辩,一派认为“佛教非宗教、非科学、非哲学”,另一派认为“佛教亦宗教、亦科学、亦哲学”,这两派都有理由。

“佛教非宗教、非科学”:为何非宗教?宗教讲神权,不管是上帝也好,梵天也好,神我也好,都是归于神权,而佛教不是!为何非科学?科学崇尚物质,以人为本;佛法是总和观点,人与自然、社会是连成一体的,故非科学。为何非哲学?哲学是形而上学的,欠实践;而佛法讲究实际,注重实践,理论与实践相结合。

“佛教亦宗教、亦科学、亦哲学”:从信仰方面来讲,佛教有历史,既然信,就要崇拜三宝,在这一点上佛教与宗教相似。佛教亦科学,因为佛法讲逻辑,讲因明,讲实证,与科学的求证方式接近。佛教亦哲学,佛学在思维方面注重思维的形式,讲现量、比量等等,这与哲学相类似。

Ven Wei Xian (惟贤长老) 19.

When truth and the courage to walk on the path of truth are joined with mindfulness, a practitioner truly begins to practice the dharma.

— His Holiness Mindrolling Trichen Rinpoche

Mindrolling Trichen Rinpoche 5.

Prajnaparamita Upadesa by Aryadeva

Through awareness free of artifice and corruption
Recognize your mind as the root of both samsara and nirvana.
It’s not produced by causes or conditions,
Unborn, naturally serene, its nature is emptiness.
So with regard to all phenomena with form or formless,
Whether the karmic impact is positive or negative,
Don’t turn anything into a fixed reference or support,
Not even so much as an atom.
The meaning of the Prajnaparamita
Is not to be looked for elsewhere: it exists within yourself.
It’s neither real nor endowed with characteristics,
The nature of the mind is the great clear light.
Neither outer nor inner, neither god nor demon,
Not existent within samsara’s cycles nor nirvana’s beyond,
And neither manifest nor empty:
Mind is free from any such dual appearances.
This is the Buddha’s true intention, his flawless view.
If looking for a simile, one could say it is like space.
The supreme method here to realize the nature of mind,
Is to unite space and awareness.
When thus mixing space and awareness,
You spontaneously purify all fixed notions
Such as a reality and characteristics, negating and establishing,
And you abide in the truth of suchness, dharmata,
Free from dualistic subject-object cognition.
With both body and mind thus in their natural state,
Without further intervention fresh awareness arises,
Extending just as far as the reach of empty space,
Within this vast expanse remain absorbed without constraints or limits.
At that time you will experience a state of consciousness
Free from any support or from any sort of foundation,
An awareness abiding nowhere,
Not absorbed in either the aggregates or any outer object.
Having moved to desolate places,
When magical displays of gods or demons, grasping or aversion arise,
Separate awareness from the gross material body.
The physical body is like a stone — nothing can harm it
And mind has no real existence, being similar to space.
So who or what could then possibly be harmed?
Pondering this, remain in suchness, with no anxiety, no fear.
Attachment to a philosophical tenet is obscuration.
Non-dual, self-liberated is the ultimate nature of mind.
So take refuge in the essence of reality
And constantly generate the bodhi mind.

Aryadeva (圣天菩萨) 9.

Ideal Solitude
by Ayya Khema

In the Sutta Nipata we find a discourse by the Buddha entitled “The Rhinoceros Horn” in which he compares the one horn of the rhinoceros with the sage’s solitude. The Buddha praises being alone and the refrain to every stanza of the sutta is: “One should wander solitary as a rhinoceros horn.” (K.R. Norman transl. P.T.S.)

There are two kinds of solitude, that of the mind (citta-viveka) and that of the body (kaya-viveka). Everyone is familiar with the solitude of the body. We go away and sit by ourselves in a room or cave or tell the people we are living with, that we want to be left alone. People usually like that sort of solitude for short periods. If this aloneness is maintained, it is often due to people not being able to get along with others or being afraid of them because there isn’t enough love in their own hearts. Often there may be a feeling of loneliness, which is detrimental to solitude. Loneliness is a negative state of mind in which one feels bereft of companionship.

When one lives in a family or community, it is sometimes difficult to find physical solitude, it’s not even very practical. But physical solitude is not the only kind of aloneness there is. Mental solitude is an important factor for practice. Unless one is able to arouse mental solitude in oneself, one will not be able to be introspective, to find out what changes in oneself are necessary.

Mental solitude means first and foremost not to be dependent on others for approval, for companionable talk, for a relationship. It doesn’t mean that one becomes unfriendly towards others, just that one is mentally independent. If another person is kind to us, well and good. If that isn’t the case, that’s fine too and makes no difference.

The horn of a rhinoceros is straight and solid and so strong that we can’t bend it. Can our minds be like that? Mental solitude cuts out idle chatter, which is detrimental to spiritual growth. Talking about nothing at all, just letting off steam. When we let the steam go from a pot, we can’t cook the food. Our practice can be likened to putting the heat on oneself. If we let off steam again and again, that inner process is stopped. It’s much better to let the steam accumulate and find out what is cooking. That is the most important work we can do.

Everybody should have an occasion each day to be on her own physically for some time, so that we can really feel alone, totally by ourselves. Sometimes we may think: “People are talking about me.” That doesn’t matter, we are the owners of our own kamma. If somebody talks about us, it’s their kamma. If we get upset, that’s our kamma. Getting interested in what is being said is enough to show that we are dependent on people’s approval. Who’s approving of whom? Maybe the five khandha (body, feeling, perception, mental formations and consciousness) are approving. Or possibly the hair of the head, the hair of the body, nails, teeth and skin? Which “self” is approving, the good ones, the bad one, the mediocre one, or maybe the non-self?

Unless one can find a feeling of solidity in oneself, from the centre, where there is no movement, one is always going to feel insecure. Nobody can be liked by everyone, not even the Buddha. Because we have defilements, we are always on the lookout for everybody else’s pollutions. None of that matters, it’s all totally unimportant. The only thing that is significant is to be mindful; totally attentive to each step on the way, to what one is doing, feeling, thinking. It’s so easy to forget this. There’s always somebody with whom to talk or another cup of tea to be had. That’s how the world lives and the inhabitants are mostly unhappy. But the Buddha’s path leads out of the world to independent happiness.

Letting off steam, idle chatter and looking for companionship are the wrong things to do. Trying to find out what people are thinking about one, is immaterial and irrelevant and has nothing to do with the spiritual path. Solitude in the mind means that one can be alone in the midst of the crowd. Even in a large and agitated crowd of people, one would still be able to operate from one’s own centre, giving out love and compassion, and not being influenced by what is happening around one.

That can be called ideal solitude and means one has removed oneself from the future and past, which is necessary in order to stand straight and alone. If one is attached to the future, then there is a worry, and if one is hankering for the past, there is either desire or rejection. That is the constant chatter of the mind, not conducive to mental solitude.

Solitude can only be fully experienced when there is inner peace. Otherwise, loneliness pushes one to try and remedy a feeling of emptiness and loss. “Where is everybody? What can I do without some companionship? I must discuss my problems.” Mindfulness is able to take care of all that because it has to arise in the present moment and has nothing to do with the future and past. It keeps one totally occupied and saves one from making mistakes, which are natural to human beings. But the greater the mindfulness, the fewer mistakes. Errors on the mundane level also have repercussions on the supermundane path, because they are due to a lack of mindfulness, which will not allow us to get past our self-inflicted dukkha. We will try again and again to find someone who is to blame or someone who can distract us.

Ideal solitude arises when a person can be alone or with others and remain of one piece, not getting caught in someone else’s difficulties. We may respond in an appropriate manner, but we are not affected. We all have our own inner life and we only get to know it well when the mind stops chattering and we can attend to our inner feelings. Once we have seen what is happening inside of us, we will want to change it. Only the fully Enlightened One (Arahant) has an inner life which needs no changing. Our inner stress and lack of peace push us outward to find someone who will remove a moment of dukkha, but only we, ourselves, can do it.

Solitude may be physical, but that’s not its main function. The solitary mind is one which can have profound and original thoughts. A dependent mind thinks in cliches, the way everybody else does because it wants approval. Such a mind understands on a surface level, just like the world does, and cannot grasp the profundity and depth of the Buddha’s teaching. The solitary mind is at ease because it is unaffected.

It’s interesting that a mind at ease, which can stand on its own, also can memorise. Because such a mind is not filled with the desire to remove dukkha, it can remember without much trouble. This is one of its side benefits. The main value of a solitary mind is its imperturbability. It can’t be shaken and will stand without support, just as a strong tree doesn’t need a prop. Because it’s powerful in its own right. If the mind doesn’t have enough vigour to stand on its own, it won’t have the strength and determination to fulfil the Dhamma.

Our practise includes being on our own some time each day to introspect and contemplate. Reading, talking and listening are all communication with others, which are necessary at times. But it is essential to have time for self-inquiry: “What is happening within me? What am I feeling? Is it wholesome or not? Am I perfectly content on my own? How much self-concern is there? Is the Dhamma my guide or am I bewildered?” If there’s a fog in one’s mind, all we need is a searchlight to penetrate it. The searchlight is concentration.

Health, wealth and youth do not mean no dukkha. They are a cover-up. Ill-health, poverty and old age make it easier to realise the unsatisfactoriness of our existence. When we are alone, that is the time to get to know ourselves. We can investigate the meaning of the Dhamma we’ve heard and whether we can actualise it in our own lives. We can use those aspects of the Dhamma which are most meaningful for us.

The solitary mind is a strong mind because it knows how to stand still. That doesn’t mean not associating with people at all, that would lack loving-kindness (metta). A solitary mind is able to be alone and introspect and also be loving towards others. Living in a Dhamma community is an ideal place to practice this.

Meditation is the means for concentration, which is the tool to break through the fog enveloping everyone who is not an Arahant. At times, in communal living, there is togetherness and lovingness and service. These should be the results of metta not of trying to get away from dukkha. Next time we start a conversation, let’s first investigate: “Why am I having this discussion? Is it necessary, or am I bored and want to get away from my problems.”

Clear comprehension is the mental factor which joins with mindfulness to give purpose and direction. We examine whether our speech and actions are having the right purpose, whether we are using skilful means and whether the initial purpose has been accomplished. If we have no clear-cut direction, idle chatter results. Even in meditation, the mind does it, which is due to a lack of training. When we practice clear comprehension, we need to stop a moment and examine the whole situation before plunging in. This may become one of our skilful habits, not often found in the world.

An important aspect of the Buddha’s teaching is the combination of clear comprehension with mindfulness. The Buddha often recommends them as the way out of all sorrow, and we need to practice them in our small everyday efforts. These may consist of learning something new, a Dhamma sentence remembered one line of chanting memorised, one new insight about oneself, one aspect of reality realised. Such a mind gains strength and self-confidence.

Renunciation is the greatest help in gaining self-confidence. One knows one can get along without practically everything, for instance, food, for quite some time. Once the Buddha went to a village where nobody had any faith in him. He received no alms-food at all, nobody in the village paid any attention to him. He went to the outskirts and sat down on a bit of straw and meditated. Another ascetic came by who had seen that the Buddha had not received any food and commiserated with him: “You must be feeling very badly not having anything to eat. I’m very sorry. You don’t even have a nice place to sleep, just straw.” The Buddha replied: “Feeders on joy we are. Inner joy can feed us for many days.”

One can get along without many things when they are voluntarily given up. If someone takes our belongings, we resist, which is dukkha. But when we practise self-denial, we gain strength and enable the mind to stand on its own. Self-confidence arises and creates a really strong backbone. Renunciation of companionship shows us whether we are self-sufficient.

The Buddha did not advocate exaggerated and harmful ascetic practices. but we could give up — for instance — afternoon conversations and contemplate instead. Afterwards, the mind feels contented with its own efforts. The more effort one can make, the more satisfaction arises.

We need a solitary mind in meditation, so we need to practice it sometime during each day. The secluded mind has two attributes; one is mindfulness, full attention and clear comprehension and the other is introspection and contemplation. Both of them bring the mind to unification. Only in togetherness lies strength; unification brings power.

Ayya Khema 6.

儒家提倡孝道 佛教也重视孝道
印光大师

孝之为道,其大无外,经天纬地,范圣型贤,先王修之以成至德,如来乘之以证觉道。故儒之孝经云:“夫孝,天之经也,地之义也,民之行也。”佛之戒经云:“孝顺父母师僧三宝,孝顺至道之法,孝名为戒,亦名制止。”是世出世间莫不以孝为本也。

奈何世俗凡情,只知行孝之显迹,不知尽孝之极致。每见出家释子,辄随己臆见,肆其谤讟,谓为不孝父母,与荡子逆徒无异。

不知世法重孝,出世间法亦无不重孝。

盖世之所谓孝者,有迹可循者也。释氏之所谓孝者,略于迹而专致力于本也。

有迹可循者,显而易见。专致力于本者,晦而难明。

何以言之?

儒者服劳奉养,以安其亲,孝也。立身行道,扬名于后世,以显其亲,大孝也。推极而论,举凡五常百行,无非孝道发挥。故礼之《祭义》云:断一树,杀一兽,不以其时,非孝也。故曰:孝悌之道,通于神明,光于四海也。论孝至此,可谓至矣尽矣,无以复加矣!然其为孝,皆显乎耳目之间,人所易见。

惟我释子,以成道利生为最上报恩之事;且不仅报答多生之父母,并当报答无量劫来四生六道中一切父母;不仅于父母生前而当孝敬,且当度脱父母之灵识,使其永出苦轮常住正觉。故曰释氏之孝,晦而难明者也。

虽然,儒之孝以奉养父母为先者也。若释氏辞亲出家,岂竟不顾父母之养乎?

夫佛制:出家必禀父母;若有兄弟子侄可托,乃得禀请于亲,亲允方可出家,否则不许剃落。其有出家之后,兄弟或故,亲无倚托,亦得减其衣钵之资以奉二亲,所以长芦有养母之芳踪(宋长芦宗赜禅师,襄阳人,少孤,母陈氏鞠养于舅家,及长,博通世典,二十九岁出家,深明宗要,后住长芦寺,迎母于方丈东室,劝令念佛求生净土,历七年,其母念佛而逝,事见《净土圣贤录》),道丕有葬父之异迹(道丕,唐宗室,长安人,生始周岁,父殁王事,七岁出家,年十九,世乱谷贵,负母入华山,自辟谷,乞食奉母,次年往霍山战场,收聚白骨,虔诵经咒,祈得父骨,数日父骨从骨聚中跃出,直诣丕前,乃掩余骨,负其父骨而归葬焉,事见《宋高僧传》)。

故经云:供养父母功德,与供养一生补处菩萨功德等。亲在,则善巧劝谕,令其持斋念佛,求生西方;亲殁,则以己读诵修持功德,常时至诚为亲回向,令其永出五浊、长辞六趣、忍证无生、地登不退。尽来际以度脱众生,令自他以共成觉道,如是乃为不与世共之大孝也。

推极而论,举凡六度万行,无非孝道扩充。故《梵网戒经》一一皆言应生慈悲心、孝顺心。又云:若佛子以慈悲心行放生业,一切男子是我父,一切女人是我母,我生生无不从之受生,故六道众生皆是我父母,而杀而食者,即是杀我父母。因兹凡所修持,皆悉普为法界众生而回向之,则其虑尽未来际,其孝遍诸有情。

若以世孝互相校量,则在迹不无欠缺,约本大有余裕矣。

惜乎不见此理者,不谓之为妄诞,便谓之为渺茫。岂知竖穷三际、横遍十方,佛眼圆见,若视诸掌也。

Ven Ying Kwang (印光大師) 14.

It may be that you become rich,
But you will have a hard time being satisfied.
Be able to cut the knot of greed.
That is what really matters.

— Terdak Lingpa

MinlingTerdak Lingpa (德達林巴尊者) 3.