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 20170102《靜思妙蓮華》捨諸珍玩往詣佛所 (第992集) (法華經•化城喻品第七)(自本集延長播出時間)

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發表主題: 20170102《靜思妙蓮華》捨諸珍玩往詣佛所 (第992集) (法華經•化城喻品第七)(自本集延長播出時間)   周一 1月 02, 2017 12:33 am

20170102《靜思妙蓮華》捨諸珍玩往詣佛所 (第992集)
(法華經•
化城喻品

 
自受用身,謂自己修因之所感,稱性受用種種法樂;自在無礙,謂之身心自在,故受用身亦名圓滿報身。
他受用身:為他機所感。謂諸如來,由平等智,轉正法輪,令他受用大乘法樂。
其佛未出家時,有十六子,其第一者名曰智積。《法華經化城喻品第七
諸子各有種種珍異玩好之具,聞父得成阿耨多羅三藐三菩提,皆捨所珍,往詣佛所,諸母涕泣而隨送之。《法華經化城喻品第七
諸子各有種種珍異玩好之具:其諸王子平昔之間各有受用珍玩之物。
種種珍玩:龍鳳之胄,窮奢極欲,定非世人所及,極耳目之娛,充滿口體之歡,宮室之美麗,姬妾之媚曼,無往而非珍玩之物。
皆捨所珍,往詣佛所:皆悉棄捨常所玩好,往至父王成佛之所。
聞父成道,各捨珍玩寶物而往成道說法處,表輕榮重道。
富貴人之所欲,天下之情,視若浮雲,故捨世間恩愛而去之,非無返復,所謂善繼其志,善述其事,其達孝矣乎。
諸母涕泣而隨送之:是諸王子所生之母,見子棄俗,從父出家,所以涕泣,各隨其子而往送之。
天年有限,頓捨有為之道,欲求無為之理,以世道報親,唯資於一世,以佛法報親,有益於萬劫。
諸母泣送:十六子非一母生,故曰諸。骨肉恩愛,難割難捨,眷戀之情,痛崩於肺腑,慘然之跡,著散於諸竅,故涕泣而送。愛其子,兼近其夫君以成道也。
 
【證嚴上人開示】

「自受用身,謂自己修因之所感,稱性受用種種法樂;自在無礙,謂之身心自在,故受用身亦名圓滿報身。」
 
自受用身
謂自己修因之所感
稱性受用種種法樂
自在無礙
謂之身心自在
故受用身
亦名圓滿報身
 
修行,修行,希望能夠輕安自在,要修得輕安自在,這必定要下一番功夫。我們每天聽法,瞭解了佛應世人間,因緣在這個娑婆世界,叫做堪忍世界。堪忍,就是表示生這片土地,佛生在這個世界裡,那就是要堪得受忍耐。什麼叫做忍耐呢?有苦才要忍耐啊!
 
所以,這個世界就是五趣雜居,苦就是來自於人心很複雜。有善良的人,發大心,願意為人群造大福,富中之富如天人。有人安分守己,不犯錯誤,這樣善良的人。但是卻也有就是心思雜亂,善惡雜揉,有時善,有時惡,善事看因緣而做,惡事時時就是環境周圍,常常在貪、瞋、癡。這種雖然有做善事,那是要看因緣,若是平時周圍環境稍微不稱意,那就是發瞋怒,貪不到,開始發瞋怒,用了種種的手段,要取得他所貪、所欲,取不得,不擇手段傷害他人,又是不利自己,這叫做阿修羅。
 
阿修羅若善再少一點,惡再重一點,那就要墮落地獄了,這種不定性的眾生,那就容易造十惡業,墮地獄。地獄壽盡了,要壽盡是很難,地獄就是一落地獄,要脫離是不容易。若是有因緣,壽若盡了,地獄壽盡,就要再輪迴在畜生道,做牛做馬,很多要去還。這在《地藏經》裡,過去講《地藏經》,也舉出了很多的因緣,稍微不小心,一墮落,千劫萬劫,想要脫離地獄就很困難。等到他脫離地獄了,業還未盡,還是依報在畜生道、在餓鬼道,真的是由不得自己,不得自在。
 
我們就是期待,修行,懂道理,路如何來、如何去,要清清楚楚。我們同樣要與佛同心,與佛同一個願,我們要發願再來人間。你要發願再來人間,必定現在要聽佛的教法,我們依著二千多年前佛陀所說法,法流傳到現在,敬佛如佛在,經典,展開經典的地方便是道場。
 
所以我們每天在禮拜,早課,《法華經》的精髓,是《無量義經》,每天都是在靈山會,我們應該要很用心。精髓就是要來解釋法是如何來,它最重要的,那就是利益人群,利益人群,自然我們的心自在,這就是我們日常所要受用的身。既聞佛法,依教奉行,我們若與法規沒有脫軌了,自然我們的「自受用身」,自己在修因所感,我今天同樣依法行。
 
這個法,到底在我們的日常生活中,哪一項是法呢?只要你看到人就是歡喜,人家看到你也歡喜。你開始就要問自己:如法啊!因為我與人有結善緣,有這分善緣,他看到我對我笑,我看到他,歡喜心,這善緣。
 
看到人在搬東西,趕緊快走一步,趕緊去幫他接著,減輕他一分的負擔。這個東西搬到了,對方感恩我們,我們法喜,因為我們用到法了。他搬得很重,我們快步及時去替他扶一下,減輕他的重量,自然他就會感恩我們,這就是如法,而且我們感受到如法,我做到了,其實就是這麼的簡單。「自受用身」,給我們這個身體要做什麼呢?就是如法付出。這叫做修因。在我們的日常生活中,沒有什麼特別,就是這樣修,修善因,得福緣,這彼此所感受。
 
「稱性」這就是,我們清淨的佛性。清淨佛性在哪裡呢?善。為一件善就是,稱我們清淨的佛性。真如本性本來就是善,你願意去付出,你願意人與人的相處,彼此之間「稱性」沒有逆向,我們都很歡喜互動、歡喜接受,你稱你的善心,我稱我的佛性,這樣彼此之間「稱性受用」。
 
種種日常生活,哪一件不歡喜呢?歡喜啊!這叫做法喜。我們每天所做的一切都是如法,我們很歡喜。你們想,這樣修行豈有什麼困難?日常生活中這麼簡單,平時這樣的受用身,互相的感受就是這麼的稱性、歡喜、受樂。這就是在我們的道場,我們的道場就是這樣修行。
 
「自在無礙」。自然我們就很自在,沒有什麼好障礙。「謂之身心自在」,只要我們的心不虧欠,只要我們的心是為好事,大家共同一心,合和互協,自然我們的身心自在,不會有煩惱、不自在,來障礙我們,沒有。我們若有虧心,虧心就是我們的心不圓滿,善不圓滿,還有虧欠,還不圓,這就是我們的障礙。這有瑕疵、有缺角,這是障礙,我們的心常常有虧欠,我們的心常常就有障礙。
 
我們若沒有做到人與人之間,有互相虧欠,自然我們的身心就自在。常常一句話說,我問心無愧。不論人家對我怎樣,我自己自省、自問,問心無愧。若是有做不夠的、有虧欠的,我就要再加強,要再鞏固我的道心,再穩定我的腳步。雖然我還不是很圓滿,但是我「自受用身」,我就是這樣如法規矩地走,我沒有虧心,沒有做到虧心事,只是還沒有很圓滿,這樣我就要趕快努力。這是「身心自在」。
 
「故受用身亦名圓滿報身」。我們大家都還是凡夫,我常常說我還要加強,我還要鞏固,很鞏固我該做的事情,只是現在有感覺到:來不及了啊!來不及。自然法則,什麼時候,我能將事情做得圓滿呢?這就是我現在一直覺得虧欠,必須再更認真一點,有這樣的虧欠,我要再更認真,盡量能達到圓滿的程度。
 
但是談何容易啊?沒關係,反正佛陀說塵點劫,只要我的心不要再迷了,我有生生世世的時間。佛陀的過去都在塵點劫,這樣累生世一直修過來,他的依報、正報,選擇在這娑婆世界,這是願啊!他的願力。因為娑婆世界的眾生,就是煩惱重重,娑婆世界的眾生,就是善惡雜揉,所以他發願來人間。
 
人間還不是很理想的世間,但是他地藏菩薩,地藏菩薩也是用心聞法,他契佛的心,還是立佛的願,他所選擇的就是,「地獄未空,誓不成佛」。但是佛陀所選擇的,五趣雜居,要先將這些人教育,教育好他們不要去墮地獄;若萬一墮地獄了,苦不堪,就有弟子願意在那個地方,去救濟眾生。這就是師徒的心願,所選擇的就是苦難處。
 
所以,我們人人,這個「自受用身」,或者是報身,報身就是,你為什麼選擇這個地方出生?是由不得自己來的嗎?或者是與釋迦牟尼佛有緣,在這末法的時間來受法致用,來聞法,來傳法,是這樣的緣來的嗎?說不定我們各種因緣都有。
 
於佛陀在大通智勝佛,十六沙彌的法華會上,我們也是結緣眾之一。經歷過塵點劫,時間很長久,我們一直都在善惡雜揉中,有時行善,有時造惡,善因、惡緣雜揉在一起,所以我們不斷延續下來。所以,我們現在,既然有因緣得生人身,得法、聞法,這樣我們還要等待何時呢?我們要把握當下,自受用身,在日常生活,這麼簡單能幫助人,我們為何不趕快幫助人呢?
 
看到人,大家結好緣,在這個這麼多人的道場,時時結好緣,人人互相「稱性受用」,得到法樂,這就是真正我們的道場,我們在這個道場,我們自在無礙。因為我們有心想要修行,不論是什麼好事,我們要稱讚,讚歎人好事、度好人,我們要時時稱讚。這總是我們每天都在自在中,身心自在,自受用身,就是要好好利用我們的身體,盡此一報身,做我們該做的、該修的法,就是在這報身,好好地做,做得好,希望我們來生世是乘法而來。
 
這是最近一直向大家,重複再重複,修行不困難。剛剛說,讓人看了歡喜,彼此歡喜。幫助別人,趕緊,手腳俐落一點,趕緊去幫助人,讓人向我們感恩,我們感覺到法喜充滿,這日常生活中這麼簡單,並不困難。
 
他受用身:
為他機所感
謂諸如來
由平等智
轉正法輪
令他受用大乘法樂
 
「他受用身」,昨天也說過了,就是「為他機所感」。我們從如來的平等智,去轉正法輪,這就是「令他受用」。我們(聞法)瞭解之後,去教導別人,讓別人同樣能接受到正法,我們「轉正法輪」,讓他,對方人人聽得到,人人也能受用,人人都能發大心、立大願,這就是我們也是這樣,日常生活也在轉法輪,讓大家皆大歡喜,這就是我們的道場。
 
前面的(經)文這樣說,「其佛未出家時,有十六子,其第一者名曰智積。」
 
其佛未出家時
有十六子
其第一者
名曰智積
《法華經化城喻品第七
 
這我們昨天說過了,這十六子的長子,大兒子,名叫做智積。就是承佛智,要用很長久的時間,不斷不斷累積,這樣的意思。
 
接下來(經文),「諸子各有種種珍異玩好之具,聞父得成阿耨多羅三藐三菩提,皆捨所珍,往詣佛所,諸母涕泣而隨送之。」
 
諸子各有
種種珍異玩好之具
聞父得成阿耨多羅
三藐三菩提
皆捨所珍
往詣佛所
諸母涕泣而隨送之
《法華經化城喻品第七
 
親情依依不捨,兒子要出家,母親不捨。因為這十六個兒子,只是同父,但是不同母。因為國王有很多妻妾,所以有這麼多兒子,有不同母親生的。每一個兒子都要隨父親修行,所以很多母親,所以叫做「諸母」,不捨,這樣哭,也是同樣要送兒子去修行,成就孩子的心願。
 
諸子各有
種種珍異
玩好之具:
其諸王子
平昔之間
各有受用珍玩之物
 
「諸子各有,種種珍異,玩好之具」。王子平時在王宮,在世俗,又是在王宮之內,應有盡有,很多寶物。這麼多的寶物,「各有受用」,所受的、所用的東西都是寶。金碗、銀筷,所穿戴的就是金銀、珠寶、玉衣,玉的衣等等,所用的東西,沒有一樣不是人間之寶。這是王宮,表達他們的富貴,所用的東西,所受用的都是珍寶。再者「種種珍玩」。
 
種種珍玩:
龍鳳之胄
窮奢極欲
定非世人所及
極耳目之娛
充滿口體之歡
宮室之美麗
姬妾之媚曼
無往而非珍玩之物
 
那就是「龍鳳之胄」。就是有雕龍畫鳳,都是很精細,那個精巧的東西,哪怕是頭上所戴的頭盔,這叫做胄。不論是身上所掛的珍寶,雕龍畫鳳,頭上所戴的也是一樣,都是珠寶金銀所雕琢。這種很細膩的手工,全身從頭到身上到腳,全都所穿戴的東西,完全都是很珍貴,全都是很細工,很細膩的工,這樣雕刻出來的東西,連帽子、連鞋子,何況是穿的衣物,都是很寶貴。所以說「窮奢極欲」。很奢侈,很盡心所欲,他心想要什麼就有什麼。
 
像這樣的生活,皇宮裡面這樣的生活,絕對不是世間人,所有辦法享受到的。所以「極耳目之娛」,就是你的眼睛所接觸到的,都是這麼精雕細琢,讓人很能玩,能欣賞的,眼睛所看到的,都是這麼的細膩,不只是質好又貴,貴重,連手工都是那麼精密。這「極耳目之娛」,眼睛所看到,或者所有的樂器,所造作的音聲出來,都是娛樂。「充滿口體之歡」,眼睛、耳朵所聽所看,都是微妙,所享受的都是那麼珍貴的東西,所吃的都是,無不都是入口欲,盡口欲,吃的東西也是很好,不論是喝的,不論是……,全都是「極」,充滿了口體之歡。
 
「宮室之美麗,姬妾之媚曼,無往而非珍玩之物」。每一位姬妾,就是每一位女孩子,每一位婦女,不論是從皇后、或者是妃等等,或者是宮女,所穿戴的都是一樣,所用的東西都全是。所以,你所看到的一切,每一個地方,「無往而非珍玩之物」。所有走過的,所看過的,不論是人,不論是物等等,都是盡其最微妙、珍貴、玩好,很好玩的東西。這是盡人間所沒有的享受,享受的事情很多,卻是在這種盡世間,所無法享受的,他們全都享受了。
 
十六王子,在這樣的環境中在享樂,卻是聽到他們的父親,已經成就阿耨多羅三藐三菩提了。時間很久,修行,過去不知多久,何況坐在菩提樹下十小劫,從第一時間一小劫,乃至十小劫,時間過了這麼久,這樣成道了。悲心起,契悲心運智,契悲運智,這樣完全大圓鏡(智)現,成佛了,那就是阿耨多羅三藐三菩提,就是無上正等正覺,至高無上。
 
所以這尊佛已成了,這個消息傳出,這尊佛開始說法,他的道場與釋迦牟尼佛一樣,開始應機逗教說法,來皈依的人也很多,開始傳出去,皇宮裡面也知道了。所以,這十六王子,本來在很享受的大環境中,聽到他的父王出家之後,已經成等正覺,聽到他在傳法,也已經傳到王宮。釋迦牟尼佛,不也就是傳法再傳回王宮嗎?所以在聞法之後,覺得佛法才是永恆的,享受只是短暫的一生世,福若享盡,也不知來生。所以,十六王子也好樂佛法,就是發心出家。這是他們的心願,要傳佛志,傳承佛的志向,所以大家出家去了。
 
皆捨所珍
往詣佛所:
皆悉棄捨常所玩好
往至父王成佛之所
 
「皆捨所珍,往詣佛所」。人人就是將最珍貴的東西,他們願意捨,捨所珍玩的東西,往至父王成佛之所。
 
每天都是在這麼享受的環境中,但是,真正接觸了佛法之後,細細思惟,這些東西就不是常住,也有「成住壞空」。這些東西的道理同樣有成就,用人工很刻意,成就這些珍玩的東西,現在「住」這個時候,我在玩,但是再久的時間都有盡頭,何況人命呢?他們細細思惟,十六王子就大家常常在論法,最終一個目標,共同就是修行去了。所以因為這樣,他們捨離,放下了,放下了名利地位,放下了富與貴,他們都捨了。「往至父王成佛之所」,就是到成佛的地方,說法的道場去了。
 
聞父成道
各捨珍玩寶物
而往成道說法處
表輕榮重道
 
「輕榮重道」。這個榮華富貴如浮雲,這有什麼好再重視呢?聽法之後,富貴如浮雲,透徹瞭解,那就是「輕榮」,對榮華富貴不重視,不重要了,名利地位這都不重要了,現在最重要的是道,所以「輕榮重道」。
 
「富貴人之所欲,天下之情,視若浮雲」。
 
富貴人之所欲
天下之情
視若浮雲
故捨世間恩愛
而去之
非無返復
所謂善繼其志
善述其事
其達孝矣乎
 
富貴人的欲,這樣在享欲,天下卿卿我我這種的情,這都如過眼雲煙,一下子就過去了,這都是虛幻。瞭解了,所以他們願意放下。「故捨世間恩愛而去之」。世間的恩恩愛愛,這種難免都有愛恨情仇,這個世間就是因為恩愛如繩索,情索將他綁住了,現在都要捨了。
 
「非無返復,所謂善繼其志,善述其事,其達孝矣(乎)」。要知道愛就是這樣去來返復,這種愛恨情仇,這不是永恆的,所以他們完全將它棄捨,但是去除這些有形的物質,和人間這種的恩恩愛愛,纏綿的情,其實捨去了私情,就是覺有情。所以要回歸人群,就是覺有情,不是完全離開人群,是回歸大覺的有情,是清淨的有情,施恩於眾生,那分無污染的恩、愛,不是在世俗裡那種執著污染的愛,那就是再回歸回去的情與愛,是清淨無染著,是覺悟之後的有情愛。所以說「非無返復」,雖然你捨去了染著的愛,卻是能成為清淨無染著,覺有情的愛。
 
所以「所謂善繼其志」,就是要繼承父親的志向。父親已經捨這個欲,專心修行去了。這個法脈就是要再傳下去,所以「善繼其志」,就是繼父親的志,將善法要普遍傳給人間。道理要「善述其事」,道理,無形無體看不到,所以要懂得聽,聽法入心,用這個事來表達這個道理。「其達孝矣乎」,因為這樣,要用身體力行,用行動來表達。
 
雖然佛成佛之後,大通智勝佛將法傳回王宮,這些王子用事來回饋,表達他們聽到父親的道理,用他們的身行,身體力行,這個人事來表達,出家是最好的表達,表達要傳父志。這是最好的表達,用事,聞理現事,這樣來表達。
 
「諸母涕泣,而隨送之」。
 
諸母涕泣
而隨送之:
是諸王子所生之母
見子棄俗
從父出家
所以涕泣
各隨其子而往送之
 
不捨,這都是各個母親的兒子,但是他們的立志是這樣。「諸王子所生之母,見子棄俗」。這些諸母,就是這些王子的母親不同人,所以才叫做「諸母」,所以她(們)這樣看到兒子,要捨俗,棄俗,「從父出家」,要隨父親出家,「所以涕泣,各隨其子而往送之」,將他送到達;雖然不捨,但是也是要將他送到達。
 
這種瞭解,瞭解,「天年有限」,就是母子相處再久的時間,都是有限量,知道早晚都要分開,既然要為佛,為傳父志,雖然不捨,也要將他們送過去。因為瞭解「天年有限」,我們再怎麼孝順,也是有限期,自然法則。不如用父母給我的身體修行,能利益更多人,這就是行孝。
 
天年有限
頓捨有為之道
欲求無為之理
以世道報親
唯資於一世
以佛法報親
有益於萬劫
 
所以利用這個身體,「頓捨有為之道」。這個世間有為法,世間一切眷屬,世間所有的名利地位,所有的享受,這都叫做有為。所以「頓捨有為之道」,這種有為法棄捨了。「欲求無為之理」,就是真理,無為法,道理是自然的,所以「(欲)求無為之理」。
 
「以世道報親」,用這個世間之道報親。雖然身體是母親生的,要向母親來別離,拜別母親,母親不捨,也是這樣,人間的常理,就是這個世俗是這樣。修行是報親恩,所以「(世孝)唯資於一世」,一輩子,就是孝順一輩子,也是一輩子而已。去修行能夠生生世世度化,這天年就是這樣,世俗的年,人間的生命,家庭也只不過是這樣,所以再怎麼孝順也是一輩子。「以佛法報親,有益萬劫」,佛法來報親,能益萬劫。所以,「諸母泣送,十六子非一母生」,這個地方向大家解釋,「故曰諸」。「骨肉恩愛,難割難捨」,難割捨。
 
諸母泣送:
十六子非一母生
故曰諸
骨肉恩愛
難割難捨
眷戀之情
痛崩於肺腑
慘然之跡
著散於諸竅
故涕泣而送
愛其子
兼近其夫君
以成道也
 
所以「眷戀之情」,「痛」,很痛苦。「慘然之跡」,就是哭得很淒慘,這就是母親要送兒子出家,「著散於諸竅,故涕泣而送」,全都是這樣。散發出了悲泣的心,「積水無流,七孔生煙」,這樣的意思就是很極痛。愛子「愛其子」,所以她「兼近其夫君,以成道也」。所以這樣,她也就是送子,一來送子,二來去看離別這麼久,已經成佛的過去的王子。像這樣人之常情,纏綿不休。
 
總而言之,我們要很瞭解,人生世間,給我們的身體,報身,我們要如何來受用。父精母血,真正的孝順不是一輩子的孝順,是要生生世世,這是「一子出家,七祖八宗盡超生」。這就是古人說的。總而言之,我們日常生活中,修行就是這樣,很自受用、他受用,彼此受用,利益天下,這就是,我們報生在人間的目的。所以我們要時時多用心!


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Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: Abandoning Precious Playthings and Going to Where the Buddha Is (捨諸珍玩往詣佛所)
Date: January.02.2017
 
“The body of joyful use is a response to the causes that He Himself cultivated. Put to use according to intrinsic nature, it brings all kind of Dharma-joy, freely and without hindrance. It means body and mind are free and at ease. Thus it is the body of joyful use, also called the perfect reward-body.”
 
We engage in spiritual practice in order to attain a sense of peace and freedom. Attaining this peace and freedom through our spiritual practice requires our best efforts. Listening daily to the Dharma, we understand that the Buddha came to this world due to His causes and conditions for the Saha. World, the world that must be endured. Calling it a world that must be endured means that world the Buddha was born into required a lot of patience in order to endure it.
 
What is patience? It is patience in the face of suffering. So, in this world where beings of the Five Destinies coexist, suffering arises out of its great complexity. Some people are good, form great aspirations and are willing to create great blessings for others; these are the rich among the rich. They are like heavenly beings. Some faithfully fulfill their duties. They do no wrong. There are those who are good like this.
 
Yet, there are also those with disordered minds, in whom good and evil are mixed. They are sometimes good and sometimes evil. They will at times do good, if causes and conditions allow, but often do evil depending on their surroundings, often by becoming greedy, angry and ignorant. Although people like this can perform good deeds, their doing so depends upon causes and conditions. If their normal environment is even slightly unsatisfactory, they can become angry. In not getting what they want, they become angry and may use all kinds of methods to get what they desire, what they crave.
 
If they cannot get it, they may go to any length to get it, even if it means harming others. This is of no benefit to themselves either. These are asuras. If the good in asuras is more or less lacking, and their evil is a bit heavier, then they will fall into hell. Sentient beings in the habit of wavering like this can easily commit the Ten Evils and fall into hell.
 
Life in hell does end, but ending it is difficult. Once one descends into hell, it is not easy to become liberated from it. When causes and conditions are such that life in hell does come to an end, one than transmigrates to the animal realm as an ox or a horse, for there is still much to be repaid.
 
This is in the Earth Treasury Sutra. When I taught the Earth Treasury Sutra previously, I cited many examples of causes and conditions where, due to a slight carelessness, people descended into hell for thousands and thousands of kalpas, and it became very difficult for them to extricate themselves from that hell. When they were finally liberated from hell, their karma still had not been exhausted, where, due to a slight carelessness, people descended into hell. Truly, it was beyond their control. They were not free.
 
What we hope for in our spiritual practice is to gain an understanding of the principles, of how we can be very clear about the paths upon which we come and go. Similarly, we wish to have the same mind as the Buddha as well as the same vow as the Buddha. We should make a vow to return to the world. If we wish to vow to return to the world, we most definitely must listen to the Buddha’s teachings. It is through the Dharma-stream of the sutras, the teachings of the Buddha that were passed down from more than 2000 years ago until now, that we can respect the Buddha as if He were still here.
 
Then, wherever we open the sutras will become our spiritual training ground. So, we reverently engage in daily morning recitation. The essence of the Lotus Sutra is contained in the Sutra of Infinite Meanings. Everyday at our Vulture Peak Assembly, we should be very mindful.
 
In essence it explains the origin of the teaching, the most important part of it is benefiting others. When we benefit others, our mind naturally feels at ease. We do this in our daily lives through the body of joyful use. Having listened to the Buddha-Dharma, we practice according to the teachings. If we do not deviate from the teachings, then naturally our “body of joyful use” will respond to causes we ourselves have cultivated, and today again we can practice according to the teachings. When it comes to the teachings, how are the teachings ultimately expressed in our daily lives?
 
If we feel joy when we see others and they are similarly joyful when they see us, then this is when we can say to ourselves, “This is the Dharma!” When we form good affinities with others, it is because of these good affinities that they smile when they see us and we feel joy when we see them. These are good affinities. If we see someone carrying something, we pick up our pace without delay to hurry to help him with it, to help him lighten his burden. After having helped him carry it, he thanks us and we feel Dharma-joy because we have applied the teachings. If what they are carrying is very heavy, and we move quickly to take it for them to help them lighten their heavy weight, they will naturally thank us for it. This is to accord to the Dharma, and we experience acting in accordance to the Dharma. We have done it. Actually, it is really that simple. “The body of joyful use.” Why has this body been given us? To help others according to the Dharma. This is what is known as cultivating a cause.
 
In our daily lives, it is nothing special, we just practice like this. To help others according to the Dharma. This what is known as cultivating a cause. The response is mutual. “According to intrinsic nature.” This is our pure Buddha-nature. Where does pure Buddha-nature lie? It lies in goodness. Any act of goodness we do accords with our pure Buddha-nature. Our nature of True Suchness is intrinsically good. When we are willing to help others, when we are willing to interact with others, when our intrinsic natures mutually accord and we never go backwards, then our interactions will always be ones of joyful acceptance. You accord with your nature of goodness, and I accord with my Buddha-nature, then this way we both “put to use according to our intrinsic natures.” Of the many things we do in our daily lives, which among them does not bring us joy? We are joyful! This is called Dharma-joy.
 
Everything we do every day accords with the Dharma. We are very joyful. Think about it, how can anything be difficult for us when we practice like this? It is this simple in our daily lives. When we joyfully use our bodies like this, our experiences with one another accord with our own intrinsic natures, and [we experience] joy and delight. This is our spiritual training ground, and this is how we practice in this spiritual training ground.
 
“Freely and without hindrances.” We naturally feel free, for nothing really obstructs us. “It means body and mind are free and at ease.” As long as we have not wronged others, as long as our intentions are good and everyone works together wholeheartedly, in concert and in harmony, naturally we will be physically and mentally free, for no afflictions will constrain or hinder us.
There will be none. If we have a guilty conscience, it means our mind is not perfect and complete. Our goodness is not perfect and complete. We are still deficient, still not perfect. These are our obstacles.
 
Defects and deficiencies like these are obstacles. If we always have a quilt conscience, then our minds will always be hindered. If we can handle our interpersonal relationships so we never have mutual wronged one another, naturally we will physically and mentally be free.
 
It is often said that if our conscience is clear, then regardless of how others treat us, after self-reflection we can decide that our conscience is still clear. If we have not done enough, if we are deficient, then we will again fortify ourselves, further strengthen our spiritual aspirations, further steady our steps. Although we are still not perfect and complete, we do have our “body of joyful use.” We continue accordingly by the rules of the teachings with no guilty conscience, for we have done nothing to feel guilty about. We have just not yet become perfect and complete, and so continue at once to work hard. This is “body and mind free and at ease.” “Thus it is the body of joyful use, also called the perfect reward-body.”
 
All of us are still unenlightened beings, so I often say I still need to strengthen myself, I still need to bolster myself, pull myself together to do the things I should do. It is just that now I feel that time is running out! I am almost out of time. This is the law of nature. Will the time ever come when the things I do are perfect and complete? This is the deficiency I constantly feel now. I definitely must be a little more earnest. With deficiencies like these, I must become even more serious and do my best to reach that level of perfection and completeness.
 
However, that is truly not easy at all! It does not matter, as the Buddha told us it would take dust-inked kalpas. As long as our minds do not again become deluded, we have many lifetimes worth of time. The Buddha continually practiced for periods of dust-inked kalpas, over the course of many lifetimes, choosing circumstantial and direct retributions in the Saha World, for this was His vow! Such is the power of His vows have severe afflictions, and sentient beings in the Saha World are intermingled with good and evil, He vowed to come to the world. The human world is not an ideal world, but look at Earth Treasury Bodhisattva. Earth Treasury Bodhisattva also listened mindfully to the Dharma, resonated with the Buddha-mind and made vows of Buddhahood, but the vow he chose was, “Until hell is empty, I will not attain Buddhahood.”
 
The Buddha, however, chose the place where begins of the Five Destinies coexist so as to educate the people beforehand, for if they were t aught well, then they would not fall into hell. In the event that they fall into hell, their suffering there would be unbearable, so the disciples were willing to save those sentient beings. This was an aspiration of both master and disciple. Though the place He chose was one of suffering.
 
So, we all have this “body of joyful use.” also called the reward-body. With regard to the reward-body, why did you choose to be born in this place? Was your coming here beyond your control? Or was it because you had affinities with Sakyamuni Buddha that you were born in the era of Dharma-degeneration in order to accept the Dharma and put it to use, to listen to the Dharma and to spread the Dharma? Where these the affinities that brought you here? Perhaps each of us has our own causes and conditions that have brought us here. The Buddha was among those 16 novices at the Lotus Dharma-assembly of Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha, and we had the affinities to be part of that assembly as well.
 
For dust-inked kalpas, very long periods of time, we have continually passed through existences where good and evil coexist, sometimes doing good, sometimes evil, with good causes and negative conditions all mixed together, and this is how we have continued until today. So, now that we have had the causes and conditions to attain birth in human form, now that we have the Dharma and are able to listen to the Dharma, what else are we waiting for? We must seize the moment.
 
Body of joyful use in our daily lives we can easily help other people, then why don’t we go and help others at once? When we see each other, we all form good affinities with one another. There are so many of us here in this place of spiritual practice constantly forming good affinities, all “putting to use” our “intrinsic natures accordingly” in order to attain Dharma-joy. This truly is our spiritual training ground, and in this spiritual training ground, we are free and unhindered.
 
Because we wish to engage in spiritual practice, whenever someone does good, we must praise them. When they do good, when they transform others, we must continually praise them. We will always at ease every day, free in body and mind, in our bodies of joyful use. We should earnestly utilize our bodies, we should use, to the utmost, these reward-bodies to do the things we should do, use these reward-bodies to earnestly practice the teachings we should and carry them out well, hoping we may be able to journey upon the Dharma in our subsequent lifetimes. This is what I have been recently and continually emphasizing to you all, how spiritual practice is really not difficult.
 
As we have just said, by bringing joy to others, we ourselves also feel joy. By helping others, by moving just a little faster in hurrying to help others, when people feel gratitude toward us, we ourselves become filled with the Dharma-joy. In daily life it is just simple. It is really not that difficult.
 
“The body of benefiting others,” as we mentioned yesterday, serves to “respond to others’ capabilities.” Through the impartial wisdom of the Tathagata, we turn the wheel of Right Dharma. This serves to “enable others to be benefited.”
 
Having understood this, we go on to teach others so they can similarly accept the Right Dharma. We “turn the wheel of Right Dharma” to allow others and everyone to hear it, so that everyone else can also put it to use, form great aspirations and make great vows. This is why we turn the Dharma-wheel the way we do in daily life, to enable everyone to experience great joy. This is our spiritual training ground.
 
The previous sutra passage says, “Before this Buddha became a monastic, he fathered 16 sons. The first among these was named Wisdom Accumulated”.
 
We spoke of this yesterday. The eldest of the 16 sons was named Accumulated Wisdom because he had inherited Buddha-wisdom, having accumulated it continually over a long period of time. This is what [the name] means.
 
It continues, “Each of these sons had all kinds of precious and marvelous playthings. When they heard that their father had attained. Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi, they abandoned their precious playthings and went to where that Buddha was. Their mothers all wept and followed them to see them off”.
 
Parting with family is heartbreaking, and when a son wishes to enter the monastic life, the mother parts with her son reluctantly. These 16 sons all had the same father but had different mothers. It is because the king had many concubines that he had so many sons, each born to different mothers. Each of the sons wanted to follow their father to engage in spiritual practice, and there were many different mothers, thus it says “their mothers.” They were reluctant to part and so they wept when they accompanied their sons, seeing them off to engage in spiritual practice as they went to realize their aspirations.
 
“Each of these sons had all kinds of precious and marvelous playthings: Princes normally live in palaces. In the mundane world, with princes in a palace, they have everything they could ever want; they have many precious treasures. There had many precious treasures there “for their joyful use.”
 
Everything they used was a treasure. They had golden bowls and silver chopsticks, and they wore gold, silver, precious treasures, clothing made of jade and so on. Of all the things they used, none were not worldly treasures. They lived in palaces, which meant they were rich. Of all the things they used, all that was given to them were precious treasures.
 
Moreover, they had “all kinds of precious playthings.”
 
All kinds of precious playthings: With exquisite headpieces, they enjoyed themselves with no restraint.  Common people could never attain this. They enjoyed the ultimate pleasures of sight and hearing and fully satiated their enjoyment of their taste and their body. The palace was very beautiful and the concubines very charming. Everywhere they went, there were precious playthings.
 
“Exquisite headpieces of dragons and phoenix.” These were carved dragons and painted phoenix, all very exquisite, things of very fine workmanship. This applied even to the helmets they wore upon their heads that were called headpieces. Whether things adorning their bodies, carved with dragons and painted with phoenixes, or things they wore upon their heads, all were similarly ornately carved with gold, silver and gems. All were of exquisite workmanship. From head to toe, everything they wore was all very precious. All were of exquisite workmanship, all ornately carved. Their hats and shoes were like this, not to mention the clothes they wore were all very precious.
 
So, they “enjoyed themselves with no restraint.” They lived extravagant lives and enjoyed themselves to their hearts’ content. They got whatever they wanted. Life like this, life like this inside the palace was something that ordinary people would never be able to enjoy.
 
So, “they enjoyed the ultimate pleasures of the eye and ear.” Whatever the eyes saw were things created with care and precision, things to plat with and enjoy. Everything the eye saw there was all very exquisite, not only of excellent quality, but very valuable. All workmanship there was very exquisite, so “they enjoyed the ultimate pleasures of sight and hearing.” Of all the eye saw there, even the musical instruments and the music produced were all delightful and “fully satiated their enjoyment of their taste and their body.” Everything seen and heard there was all quite subtle and wondrous. Everything enjoyed there were precious things, and everything they ate there satisfied their desire of the palate. The things they ate were also very good; their drinks, whatever they were, were all of high quality and satisfied all their desires.
 
“The palace was very beautiful and the concubines very charming. Everywhere they went, there were precious playthings.” For every concubine, meaning all the women there, whether they were the imperial consort, the concubines or the palace maids, everything they wore was like this; everything they used was precious.
 
So, everything you saw, everywhere you looked, everywhere they went, there were precious playthings. Everything you passed, and everything you saw, whether people, objects or whatever, all were most entertaining and exquisite precious playthings, enjoyments not found elsewhere in the world. There were so many things to enjoy there.
 
Indeed, these pleasures, impossible to enjoy elsewhere in the world, were all enjoyed there. The 16 princes enjoyed pleasures in such an environment, but then they heard that their father had achieved Anuttara-samyak-sambidhi. He engaged in spiritual practice for a long time, for who knows how long, not to mention that He sat under the Bodhi-tree for a full 10 small kalpas. Beginning with one small kalpa, He continued sitting through 10 small kalpas. Such a very long time had passed before He finally attained enlightenment. Compassion arose in Him, and, exercising wisdom in accord with that compassion, great perfect mirror wisdom manifested, and He attained Buddhahood, achieving Anuttara-samyak-sambidhi, supreme universal and perfect enlightenment unsurpassed [enlightenment].
 
He had attained Buddhahood. The news began to spread that this Buddha had begun expounding the Dharma. His place of enlightenment was just like Sakyamuni Buddha’s. Both taught the Dharma according to capabilities. Many people came to take refuge, and when this news began to spread, even the palace found out about it. So, those 16 princes were originally enjoying their surroundings when they heard that their father, who renounced the lay life, ad already attained perfect enlightenment. They heard He was spreading the Dharma, for the news had reached the palace as well.
 
When Sakyamuni Buddha spread the Dharma, didn’t the news return to the palace as well? So, after hearing the Dharma, they realized that only the Buddha-Dharma is everlasting; pleasures are short-lived, last a single lifetime, and when blessings are exhausted, who knows what future rebirth will bring. So, the 16 princes took joy in the Buddha-Dharma and formed aspirations to renounce the lay life. This was their aspiration, to pass on the Buddha’s will. They had inherited the Buddha’s aspiration, so they all renounced the lay life.
 
“They abandoned their precious playthings and went to where that Buddha was.” They all gave up their most precious things, they became willing to abandon their most precious playthings and go to the place where their father, the king, had attained Buddhahood.
 
Everyday they lived in an environment where there were so many pleasures, yet when they truly encountered the Buddha-Dharma and contemplated it carefully, [they realized] all these things were impermanent and subject to “formation, existence, decay and disappearance.” Through the principles, they realized that these objected had come into existence, that these precious playthings had been purposely created by man. Now during their current stage of existence, they could enjoy them, but that sooner or later they would eventually come to an end. This is to say nothing of human life.
 
Contemplating these things carefully, the 16 princes often discussed the Dharma amongst themselves. In the end they all came to the same conclusion and left together to engage in spiritual practice. So, because of this, they abandoned and gave up everything. They gave up their wealth and status, gave up their riches and nobility. They abandoned all these and “went to the place where their father, the king, had attained Buddhahood.” They went to the place where He attained enlightenment and expounded Dharma.
 
“Hearing their father had attained enlightenment, they each abandoned their precious playthings and went to the place where their father had attained enlightenment and taught the Dharma.” They had all understood, and this showed that they took prosperity lightly and valued the Path.
 
Glory and splendor are like the fleeting clouds, so why place great importance on them? After they listened to the Dharma, they thoroughly understood that wealth and high status were like fleeting clouds, so they took “prosperity lightly.” They no longer placed importance on wealth and splendor; these were no longer important to them. They no longer placed importance on fame, profit or status. What was most important to them then was the Path.
 
So, they “took prosperity lightly and valued the Path.” “They saw all the things the wealthy desire and all the affections in the world as fleeting clouds.”
 
They saw all the things the wealthy desire and all the affections in the world as fleeting clouds. Thus, they abandoned worldly affections and left, never to return. By skillfully continuing His aspiration and skillfully relating His teachings well, they exhibited filial piety.
 
The things the wealthy desire, the passions of intimate relationships, all pass by the eyes like mist, gone in a moment, all are illusory. Having understood this, they became willing to give them all up. “Thus, they abandoned worldly affections.” All worldly affections inevitable result in conflicting emotions. They knew worldly affections are like ropes. That bound them up in passions. Now, they abandoned these “and left, never to return. By skillfully continuing His aspiration and skillfully relating His teachings well, they exhibited filial piety.”
 
They knew how love came and went repeatedly. They knew that love, hate, passion and animosity were not everlasting, so they completely abandoned them. Getting rid of these tangible material things as well as the entanglements of worldly affections and the binds of passions [are one thing], but abandoning selfish love is true enlightenment. So, the one who returns among people is the one who is truly enlightened. It is not that we completely separate ourselves from others but return among them with great enlightenment. This is pure enlightenment, the requiting of gratitude to sentient beings. This is undefiled gratitude, undefiled love. It is not the attached and defiled love of the mundane world. The love we use when returning among others is unattached, undefiled awakened love that comes from becoming enlightened.
 
So, it says, they “left, never to return.” Though one has abandoned defiled love, one can in fact turn it into pure undefiled love, turn it into enlightened love. So, “by skillfully continuing His aspiration, they wanted to carry on their father’s aspiration. Their father had already abandoned desire in order to concentrate on spiritual practice. He wanted this Dharma-lineage to be carried on, to “skillfully continue His aspiration. They inherited their father’s aspiration to spread virtuous Dharma throughout the world.
 
The principles lay in skillfully relating His teachings well. The principles are intangible, without form; they cannot be seen, so in order to understand them, we listen to take the Dharma to heart then express our understanding through our actions “they exhibited filial piety.” They did this by putting the teachings into practice, be expressing it through their actions.
 
After He had attained Buddhahood, Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha took the Dharma back Him to the palace, the princes requited their gratitude through their actions, showing they understood their father’s principles, then they expressed that understanding through their physical actions. When it came to physical actions, renouncing the lay life was the best way to show their father they were passing on His mission. This was the best way to express it, by demonstrating the principles through actions, by expressing it like this.
 
“Their mothers all wept and followed them to see them off.”
 
Their mothers all wept and followed them to see them off: The mothers who gave birth to the princes saw their sons abandon the lay life to follow their father as monastics. Therefore they cried, and each followed her son to send them off.
 
They were reluctant; each mother was reluctant to see her son off, but such were the vows of the sons. “The mothers who gave birth to the princes saw their sons abandon the lay life. “Mothers” is plural. These princes were born to different mothers, therefore it says “the mothers.” So, they watched as their sons abandoned the lay life “to follow their father as monastics.” They followed their father into monkhood. “Therefore they cried, and each followed her son to send them off.” The mothers accompanied them to their destination. Although they were reluctant to see them go, they accompanied them to their destination.
 
They understood “natural lifespans are limited.” No matter how long they lived with their sons, their time together would ultimately be limited. They knew they would eventually be separated, but since their sons wished to pass on their father’s mission, though the mothers were reluctant, still they sent them off. We understand “natural lifespans are limited, so no matter how filial our actions may be, we are limited, for that is the natural law. It would be better to use the body our parents gave us to engage in spiritual practice to benefit even more people. This is filial behavior.
 
Natural lifespans are limited, so they at once relinquished the conditioned path and wished to seek the unconditioned principles. Following a worldly path to repay parents will only benefit them for one lifetime. Using the Buddha-Dharma to repay parents will benefit them for 10,000 kalpas.
 
So, utilizing their bodies, “they at once relinquished the conditioned path.” Worldly conditioned phenomena are all families in the world, all worldly fame, profit and status and all worldly pleasures. These are all conditioned phenomena. “They at once relinquished the conditions path.”
 
They abandoned these conditioned phenomena “and wished to seek the unconditioned principles.” These are the true principles, the unconditioned Dharma. These are the natural principles; they “wished to seek the unconditioned principles. Following a worldly path to repay parents.”
 
This is using a worldly path to repay our parents. Though their mothers gave birth to them, the sons bid farewell to their mothers; they took leave from their mothers. Though their mothers were reluctant, this was the way it was. This is common sense, the way of the secular world. To engage in spiritual practice is to requite our parents’ gratitude.
 
So, “following a worldly path to repay parents.” This is one lifetime; it may be filial piety, but it spans only a single lifetime. If we engage in spiritual practice, we can transform them life after life. This is how it is in the mundane world, how people live their lives in the world, how it is in families. So, no matter how filial one may be, one can only be that way for one lifetime. “Using the Buddha-Dharma to repay parents will benefit them for 10,000 kalpas.”
 
“Their mothers all wept and saw them off. The 16 princes were not born to the same mother.” Here, it explains to everyone, “Thus, it says their mothers. The loving affections of flesh and blood are difficult to sever or relinquish.”
 
Their mothers all wept and saw them off: The 16 princes were not born to the same mother. Thus, it says their mothers. The loving affections of flesh and blood are difficult to sever or relinquish. The attachment of their affection for their sons painfully tore at their hearts. Signs of their grief were dispersed through all their orifices. Thus, they wept as they saw them off. This was because they loved their sons, also because recently their husband had attained the Path.
 
“The attachment of their affection for their sons.” This was painful for them. “Signs of their grift.” This was them crying miserably. Because the mothers were sending their sons off to renounce the lay life, [grief] “was dispersed through all their orifices. Thus, they wept as they saw them off.” Through all their nine orifices came the discharge of their grievous weeping. Water backs up, venting through the seven orifices. This means they were in extreme pain. “This was because they loved their sons” and “also because recently their husband had attained the Path.”
 
Water backs up, venting through the seven orifices. On one hand, they were sending their sons off, but on the other, they also saw their prince who had left so long ago and had attained Buddhahood. These were ordinary emotions that bind endlessly.
 
In summary, we should understand that [it was our parents] who gave us life, our bodies, in this world. They have given us our reward-bodies, so sow should we use them? We came from our father’s sperm and mother’s egg. True filial piety does not last just one lifetime, but it should continue lifetime after lifetime. One son renouncing the lay life can liberate many generations of ancestors. This is what the ancients used to say.
 
In summary, in our daily living, this is how we engage in spiritual practice using the body of joyful use to benefit others, benefiting one another while benefiting the world. This is purpose of our incarnation in the world. So, let us always be mindful!
 

(Source: Da Ai TV – Wisdom at Dawn program – Explanation by Master Chen-Yen)
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