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 20170105《靜思妙蓮華》以法增慧報親恩(第995集) (法華經•化城喻品第七)

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發表主題: 20170105《靜思妙蓮華》以法增慧報親恩(第995集) (法華經•化城喻品第七)   周四 1月 05, 2017 1:01 am

20170105《靜思妙蓮華》以法增慧報親恩(第995集)
(法華經•化城喻品第七)

 
以世道大孝報親情,唯資於一世盡天年;以法增慧命報親恩,有益於萬劫離三界。
供養恭敬,尊重讚歎。到已頭面禮足,繞佛畢已,一心合掌,瞻仰世尊,以偈頌曰。」《法華經化城喻品第七》
大威德世尊,為度眾生故,於無量億歲,爾乃得成佛,諸願已具足,善哉吉無上,世尊甚希有,一坐十小劫。《法華經化城喻品第七
大威德世尊,為度眾生故:有大威德大覺世尊,為欲度脫諸眾生故。威儀、威信、威嚴具戒無缺曰:大威德。
化世廣深曰:大德。折伏攝受,為眾生所依止,曰世尊。
於無量億歲,爾乃得成佛:長時修,無餘行因,歷久無量億歲,爾乃得成究竟諦理佛果。
諸願已具足:在昔因地,願成佛道,今得正覺,具滿諸願。因行之德具足,即因行圓滿之意。
善哉吉無上:讚言善哉,吉祥無上。果滿之德,萬德純淨,故云善哉;見者無不獲益,故云吉無上。
世尊甚希有,一坐十小劫:世上甚希有,在菩提樹金剛座上,入金剛喻定,一坐即經十小劫。佛智是常,不為生滅所壞。
類同金剛堅固不為物壞,故云金剛喻。故能十劫堅固不動。其體堅固,其用銳利,得斷一切煩惱之禪定謂之金剛喻定。
 
【證嚴上人開示】

「以世道大孝報親情,唯資於一世盡天年;以法增慧命報親恩,有益於萬劫離三界。」
 
以世道大孝報親情
唯資於一世盡天年
以法增慧命報親恩
有益於萬劫離三界
 
人間親情是一項很奧妙的感情!其實父母、親子,這是一個真是難斷的情,以常理來說,但是在現代的時代,孩子長大就是離鄉背井了,故鄉是老父、老母在故鄉,這個情已經是淡薄了;哪怕是父母在身邊,老來時有病也無法照顧,送老人院去了,這就是現代的親情。在古代呢?報父母恩是天經地義,人人應該要遵守孝道。
 
但是在佛法,說孝是要說大孝。什麼是大孝呢?什麼是大孝呢?大孝,已經我們透徹道理了,人生就是因緣會合,親子也是有過去的因,會合今生的緣來出生。但是,對父母的恩重難報,因為我們來到人生,就是父母的因緣才能來到人間,知道父母為孩子是多辛苦。
 
就知道母親生孩子是用生命,經過了陣陣、陣陣的痛苦,經過了幾個月的懷憂,擔心孩子在肚子裡,能否安全等等。時日到了,十月懷胎,順利生產,那個時間即使怎樣的順利,也是歷盡了母體的痛,也是歷盡了將要出生的孩子,赤裸裸的身體的痛,親子之間經過很掙扎,而這樣拚命生下來。
 
開始,父母為幼小的孩子,就開始想孩子的名字,將來盼望他的人生,與他的名字一樣。很多父母,孩子還沒出生就一直傷腦筋,要取名,總是一個盼望。所以我們不要以為平常名字,名字就只是一個名字而已,其實大家想一想,我們的名字,父母對我們有什麼樣的盼望?從小,生下來,是不是孩子都平安呢?是不是孩子平平安安,順利長大?長大了又很擔心要如何給他教育?要如何讓他將來在人間能成功?很多事情都是在,父母的心思掛慮。
 
長大學成,事業也成了,現在要回報父母恩。父母的恩情,知道要孝順,儘管怎麼孝順,還是「世道大孝報親情」,只是能在身邊來孝養父母。養父母,父母老了,我們要養父母。孔夫子說,父母不是只有餵養他,這樣就叫做孝,你若是不尊敬,這樣叫做孝嗎?你養你的孩子也是叫做養,你養一隻狗、一隻貓,養豬、養牛都叫做養。養父母,這樣就叫做孝嗎?不是只讓他有得吃、有得穿、有得住,這樣就叫做孝,不是。那就是要敬;你若不尊敬,不順父母,不敬重父母,這樣你光是養父母,這樣與養貓、養狗,又有什麼分別呢?
 
所以,孔夫子對這個「孝」字,教育他的弟子,還是要尊重、要恭敬,尊重、恭敬來供養。不是「養」(台語音同「勇」),是養(台語音同「用」),供養。我們普通人說供養(台語音同「勇」),提供養你,不是;要說供養(台語音同「用」),這就是要加上尊重、恭敬。
 
不論怎樣尊重恭敬,「唯資於一世盡天年」。再怎樣孝順,讓他這輩子很豐富,吃得很好、穿得很好、住得很好,也很尊重的孝順,這只不過是這輩子享盡天年,這就是人間的孝順。
 
現代是不是能求得,這樣的孝順呢?讓他盡天年,無煩惱、無氣惱,沒有生氣,沒有煩惱,現在的人有辦法嗎?時時在父母的身邊,這樣來敬重、順孝,做得到嗎?有時候父母若說了一句什麼,「你知道什麼。」好像父母什麼都不懂,這就是現代人。「哎呀!你別管啦!有得吃、有得住就好了,你別管,你知道什麼?」這句話常常聽人這樣說。將父母供養在家裡,但是「色難」啊!父母就是要看孩子的臉色,常常給父母好臉色看,這也很困難。所以說孝,(子夏)問孝,孔夫子回答:「色難」。
 
什麼是孝?很簡單,你要很好的臉色給父母看,這樣就是孝。情緒若不好時,父母會擔心,「你怎麼了?」「你別管那麼多啦!我就是很煩惱就對了。」這都是很平常的事,要到讓父母安心,看到孩子每天都是很快樂,很難啊!是現在,現代的人,難。所以說,「以世道大孝報親恩」,就是你這樣盡心孝,就是讓父母,聽到孩子所說的話都安心,看到孩子的臉色都很歡喜,讓他一輩子享盡天年,實在是已經不簡單了。不過,這樣也只是一輩子而已。
 
佛教所說的是大孝,不只是一輩子,希望他們能受法,能夠得到法。人生再怎麼享受,若不懂道理,只是在人間空過;不只是人間空過,又是以煩惱養煩惱,複製煩惱。即使這輩子讓他享受,不懂道理,空度人生,所以,真正的孝,就是要讓父母瞭解道理,讓父母有機會為人群造福,瞭解佛法,讓父母,時日雖然日日減去,卻也是能慧命日日增長,這才是真報父母恩。這是佛法的大孝,這才真是報親恩。
 
「有益於萬劫(離三界)」。讓父母這輩子瞭解佛法,自己佛法自用。讓父母自己瞭解佛法,瞭解、吸收在內心,父母懂得身體力行,將佛法用在人間。若能這樣,那就是父母自造福德,自得福緣,有益於萬劫,這樣才能脫離三界。這才是真正透徹的孝。
 
其實,要怎麼孝呢?總是人生法則,要及時讓父母能享受法樂,這是我們修行者應該要有的。讓他們能先瞭解佛法,佛法是父母生命中的一部分。「是日已過,命亦隨減」,「是日已過,慧命增長」,同樣在過日子,一方面是壽命,自然法則的減少了,卻是佛法入心,用在生活中,利益人群,體會人間的道理,這樣他的慧命增長。這就是修行者,需要趕快給父母的,是法,這才是盡孝道。
 
還記得嗎?佛陀,釋迦牟尼佛,雖然他離開王宮那段時間,淨飯王思念孩子,(如)割心腸,但是悉達多太子是為了,要完成生命的大利益,利人群,所以他出家修行,很用功,完成他生命中的大使命。八年後,他回皇宮來了,淨飯王聽到太子要回來了,歡喜啊!太子已成佛了,很感動,太子已經度了無數的眾生,佛法真理落實人間,整個釋迦族都很歡喜,出城迎接。
 
看到遠遠地來了,這樣莊嚴威儀的僧團,國王、大臣,所有的眷屬、所有的人民,不由自己就是這樣頂禮下去,佛陀趕緊閃避,(隱身)不見,等到淨飯王三禮,三拜之後,釋迦佛才現身來向父王問安。這也符合世間的禮節,雖然完成了出世的大意義,卻也是與世俗的孝道合宜。
 
這樣開始回到迦毘羅衛國說法,有時在王宮,有時下鄉村,不論是宮裡的親族、大臣等等,都能聽聞佛法、親近佛陀,連全國的人民都能親近。這就是佛不只是回報親恩,淨飯王也能瞭解佛法的深意義,他的國家人民,都能瞭解佛法諦理,這是一場很圓滿,回國弘法。
 
回來之後,也度了釋迦族、度了王族,很多的王子隨佛出家。因為淨飯王要成就佛陀的心願,他有下達命令,只要兩個以上的孩子,就可以讓一個去出家。因為這樣,所以很多的王子、大臣的孩子都隨佛出家了,透徹道理,追求佛法。就這樣,佛陀很安心,就印度恆河兩岸這樣在宣道,宣說佛法。
 
人生的法則過了之後,淨飯王年紀也大了,臨命終時,病痛是痛苦啊!哪怕他是佛的父親,一病下去也是病痛很痛苦),日夜,他的兄弟、親王,還有大臣等等,日夜都圍繞在身邊,每天都這樣跟他說:「大王,國王,您要放心了,您這輩子很有福,您的兒子成佛,利益天下人間。您身為國王,您是施行正法,您對待人民,愛民如子,您這輩子做很多好事,造福很多人群,所以您這輩子已經是很有福了,您安心吧!」
 
國王的回答,淨飯王的回答:「是啊!不過,我的心還是很掛念著,想要看的人,是悉達多啊!我的兒子,是世尊。我還想要看,我要看難陀,我的次子,第二個兒子也出家去了。難陀,我還想要看他們。我還想看我的孫子羅睺羅,我更想要看的,就是斛飯王的兒子,阿難。阿難他傳佛法,佛法入他的心,就是這樣謹記著,阿難是傳佛法的人。唉!我想要見的人,現在都不在我身邊。」
 
圍繞在身邊的人就說:「國王,您已經很有福了。佛、難陀、阿難、羅睺羅,也回來看過您了,回來皇宮說法,回來迦毘羅衛國弘法。現在他們弘法在王舍城,離這個地方是五十由旬之遙遠,哪有可能回來看您呢?現在您病得這麼重,即使他們要回來,也是很遙遠啊!」
 
這裡是這樣,但是在王舍城的,釋迦牟尼佛知道了,已經將難陀、阿難、羅睺羅,一一對他們說,「迦毘羅衛國的國王是我們的父親,是阿難的伯父,是羅睺羅的祖父,現在他命在旦夕,他的世壽將結束了,我們大家趕快趕回去,滿他最後的願。」所以大家認為:是啊!要趕緊趕回迦毘羅衛國。運用他們快速的神通,就這樣回到迦毘羅衛國。
 
大家看到佛陀已經回來了,全國的人又歡喜、又悲傷。歡喜的是釋迦佛回來了,又有阿難、難陀、羅睺羅,也都回來了,所以大家歡喜;悲傷的就是國王將離開了,所以全國人民就是這樣的心情。大臣、親王看到,「到了!到了!」告訴國王,國王展露了安慰的笑容。
 
佛陀到了淨飯王身邊,伸出手來牽著父王的手,說:「父王,我悉達多回來了。」「是啊,世尊,您回來了。」佛陀在淨飯王將臨終之前,為他說法。淨飯王牽著世尊的手,貼在他的心口上,佛陀也展開他的手掌,也是撫摸在淨飯王的心上,淨飯王的手也是貼在佛的手上。這分親情,大家都很感動。佛陀的說法句句入心,淨飯王帶著安詳微笑,這樣就離開了。
 
就這樣開始,羅睺羅、大家哭啊,大家都是不捨,但是佛陀就來撫慰大家,生老病死是人生的法則。羅睺羅就提出來說:「世尊啊,是不是能允許我來扶棺呢?」難陀也響應:「是啊,是不是能讓我們來扶棺?」阿難也響應了。佛陀就說:「是啊!為了教育未來眾生的孝道,提倡人人的孝道,我也是要來盡最後扶棺啊!」這個時候,就四大天王也現前了,向世尊頂禮,向世尊就說:「我們四位也願意來扶棺。」
 
佛陀就向他們說:「你們是住在須彌山的四方,各稱為天王,你們怎麼願意來扶棺呢?」他們就說:「我們已經是佛的弟子了,佛的父,就如我們的長輩。佛陀既然看天下眾生都如子,皈依佛陀,人人都是佛子,所以佛的生佛之身,父王離開了,應該天地之間,都要來回報他生佛之恩。若沒有淨飯王,怎有世尊的因緣在人間呢?」
 
就是這樣,所以有佛陀世尊扶棺的故事,無非就是教育人間要盡大孝。光是世間的孝還不夠,一定還要再讓父母,有機會接觸佛法,佛法入心,要讓他自己去造福人群,結善緣,種善因,得福報,這就是真正的大孝。
 
人間,是不是都能到這樣,盡這分孝道呢?這就是世間人,人人要學的。連孔夫子也這樣說,怎樣才叫做孝?孔夫子回答一句,二個字「色難」。大家要能盡孝,你的物資等等,會供應給父母安享天年,但是你能否做到,你的臉色都很好的對待父母是嗎?困難,對不對?所以,這就是,世間要盡孝道都不簡單,何況要度父母能夠瞭解法,能夠體會生命的大意義,真的是不簡單。
 
所以「以法增慧命報親恩,有益於萬劫離三界」,這才是盡大孝啊!這是真正佛出世人間是不容易,要生(成)佛子,孩子能有這樣的成就,更是困難啊!所以我們修行要好好修行,希望人人都要有願,將來要成佛,成佛之前要行菩薩道,將父母留給你的身體,你就是要去去利益人群,這就是報父母恩。
 
前面的(經)文,這樣說,「供養恭敬,尊重讚歎。」
 
供養恭敬
尊重讚歎
到已頭面禮足
繞佛畢已
一心合掌
瞻仰世尊
以偈頌曰
《法華經化城喻品第七》
 
其實,供養就是要恭敬,不只是將物質擺在面前,這樣就對了,不是,還要恭敬。恭敬就要做到,「頭面禮足,一心合掌」。要很虔誠,除了禮拜以外,還要很虔誠。這是面對佛。因為父母生的是我們的身體,生我們的身體,是要造福或者是要造業,都是在人的身上。但是「佛口所生子」,佛口他說法,從用法成長我們的慧命,所以我們對佛的恭敬,就是要尊重,「供養恭敬,尊重讚歎」。到了見佛,要「頭面禮足」,這行大禮,圍繞,還要很虔誠地合掌,就是去除雜念為一心,這是「合掌」,這樣來等待佛陀的開示,「瞻仰世尊」,這樣讚歎,這就是要等待佛陀的開示。
 
接下來(經)文這樣說,「大威德世尊,為度眾生故,於無量億歲,爾乃得成佛,諸願已具足,善哉吉無上,世尊甚希有,一坐十小劫。」
 
大威德世尊
為度眾生故
於無量億歲
爾乃得成佛
諸願已具足
善哉吉無上
世尊甚希有
一坐十小劫
《法華經化城喻品第七
 
就知道,是哪一尊佛?大通智勝佛。是啊,大通智勝佛已成佛了,成佛的過程時間是長久啊!現在成佛,他的威儀,大威德,是經歷多久的時間,體會天地宇宙人間的真理,無不都是攝受入佛的覺海中,這樣累積多久的時間,所以叫做大威德。很威儀、威德,「大威德世尊」,這樣的讚歎。
 
所以「為度眾生故」。
 
大威德世尊
為度眾生故:
有大威德大覺世尊
為欲度脫諸眾生故
威儀、威信、威嚴
具戒無缺
曰:大威德
 
佛修行,是為眾生而修行,成佛也是為眾生而成佛,每一尊佛,人間修行,只不過就是要度眾生。所以,這種修行的過程,就是要讓我們學,叫做「大威德世尊,為度眾生故」,就是為了要度眾生而修行。
 
所以「有大威德大覺世尊」,這是已經大徹大悟,世間唯一無二,獨一無二,稱為世尊。為欲度眾生,為了要度脫眾生,所以這樣長久的時間修行。修行完成,就是在表態上能看到。修於內心,表達出來的是在形態上,所以有威儀、威信。因為佛的威儀能眾生看到,就是生出深信的心,又有威嚴,就是「威而不猛」,這就是「溫而厲」,很,看起來很威嚴,但是不是很兇,就是很
溫柔,在溫柔中也是有那一分的威嚴,溫而厲,非常溫和。所以「具戒無缺」,所有的戒,他能修行「三無漏學」,完成了「三無漏學」,無漏,都完成了,戒、定、慧都完成了,所以能這麼的威儀。這種威儀的形象,就是要六度萬行,四修、三學都完全無漏,這就能(具足)威儀,「大威德」。所以「化世廣深,曰大德」。
 
化世廣深
曰:大德
折伏攝受
為眾生所依止
世尊
 
大威大德,就是大威德,所以能「折伏(攝受)」,就是讓眾生接受。眾生很剛強,他能折伏眾生,受佛的教育,這是為眾生所依止。因為他的威德,來折伏眾生的諸無明煩惱,能依止佛的教育,成長慧命。
 
於無量億歲
爾乃得成佛:
長時修
無餘行因
歷久無量億歲
爾乃得成
究竟諦理佛果
 
「於無量億歲,爾乃得成佛」。要能夠成就這樣,就要長時修了。因為無量億歲,塵點劫,這麼長久的時間,「無餘行因」,從開始一直一直善因,就是這樣一直修過來。「歷久無量億歲」,經歷了很長久,是無法去計算的歲月。「爾乃得成究竟諦理佛果」,佛的境界。這是佛陀的用心、耐心,長久修持善因,現在已經佛果完成了。「諸願已具足」。
 
諸願已具足:
在昔因地
願成佛道
今得正覺
具滿諸願
因行之德
具足即
因行圓滿之意
 
「在昔因地」,過土去在因地,還未成佛,發心修行,這叫做「因地」。修行的過程很長久,願成佛,開始發心就是那個願要成佛,很長久的時間,那個願都不退。有進無退,長久的時間,已經「今已得正覺」,現在已經得到了。「具滿諸願」,全都具足,滿願了,所以「諸願已具足」。
 
「因行之德」,這過程很長久,就是這樣如律如儀,如戒律、如威儀,四弘誓願、四無量心,一直一直在因行中這樣走過來。是時間長久,無量億劫,因行之德具足了,即是因行圓滿,善因全都具足圓滿了。「善哉吉無上」。
 
善哉吉無上:
讚言善哉
吉祥無上
果滿之德
萬德純淨
故云善哉
見者無不獲益
故云吉無上
 
真的是要讚歎的,已經沒有其他好讚歎,真的是很好,真真正正吉祥的事情很多,所以叫做「善哉吉無上」。真的是無上尊,這是讚歎,讚歎「善哉,吉祥無上」,佛成佛了,普天吉祥。
 
「果滿之德,萬德純淨」。圓滿,修因證果,果的德就是萬德純,回歸非常純、很淨,很乾淨,故云善哉。這要讚歎佛德,很難讚歎,所以一直是「善哉」,很好。「見者無不獲益」。看到的人,大家都得到利益,光是看到就歡喜,光是看到,煩惱就消了、煩惱就除了,看到佛就能,亂的心就能平靜下來,如這樣「故云吉無上」。「世尊甚希有,一坐十小劫」。
 
世尊甚希有
一坐十小劫:
世上甚希有
在菩提樹金剛座上
入金剛喻定
一坐即經十小劫
佛智是常
不為生滅所壞
 
世尊真的很稀有,世間稀有,這樣一坐就是十小劫,時間很長久,「世上(甚)希有」。「在菩提樹金剛座上」,菩提樹下、金剛座上,「入金剛喻定,一坐即經十小劫」,這樣一坐就十小劫了。這對佛來說,他一切的道理全都圓滿了,現在這個十小劫,對一位即將成佛的人來說,這是平常事。入定思惟,悲智雙運,在這個時候,佛智就是常,「不為生滅所壞」,就不受生滅所壞。所以「類同金剛堅固不為物壞」,所以叫做「金剛喻」,用金剛來譬喻,「故能十劫堅固不動」。
 
類同金剛堅固
不為物壞
故云金剛喻
故能十劫堅固不動
其體堅固
其用銳利
得斷一切煩惱之禪定
謂之金剛喻定
 
金剛就是很堅固、很銳利,所以能斷一切煩惱,而且堅固,就是如在禪定中。這是佛陀他的純淨,已經都沒有煩惱的心,完全很堅固,定力,這樣一坐十小劫。
 
各位,學佛真的是要用心,只要我們用很純淨的心,時日就是那麼單純地過日,法在心中,在日常生活,還是時時利益人群,這就是報佛、父母恩。因為父母生我們的身體,佛陀用口說法,成長我們的慧命,希望這個慧命,在父母的身上能入心,能瞭解佛法,這就是反度父母,這叫做大孝。父母生我們的身,我們瞭解佛法來度父母,這樣才是真大孝,讓他們成長慧命。這是我們要努力,時時要多用心!


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Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: Repaying our Parents with the Dharma (以法增慧報親恩)
Date: January.05. 2016
 
“To repay our parents’ love with the worldly path of filial piety only benefits them for one lifetime and ends along with their life. To repay parents’ grace by helping their wisdom-life grow with the Dharma benefits them for thousands of kalpas and enables them to be free from the Three Realms.”
 
The familial bond is a wondrous kind of affection. Indeed, the affection between parents and children is a bond almost impossible to break. This is normal. However, in this modern era, when children grow up, they leave their homes; they leave their aging parents behind at home. These familial bonds have already weakened. Even if their parents are by their side, when they get old and ill, their children cannot care for them and send them to nursing homes. This is the modern parent-child relationship.
 
What about in ancient times? Repaying our parents’ grace was a fundamental duty. Everyone abided by the virtue of filial piety. Yet, in the Buddha-Dharma, the filial piety spoken of is great filial piety.
 
What is great filial piety? Great filial piety comes from thoroughly understanding the principles. Life results from the coming together of causes and conditions. Parents and children have a past cause which converged with conditions in this life, resulting in the children’s birth. But parents’ grace is great and hard to repay, because it was the causes and conditions of our parents that allowed us to come into the world. We know parents suffer much for their children, how a mother risks her life in giving birth, how she is inflicted with repeated bouts of pain, how she goes through several months of anxiety, worrying if her baby is safe in her womb and so on.
 
When the baby is due, after growing in the womb for [40 weeks], and she gives birth smoothly, even if the birth has no complications, it causes the mother excruciating pain. The child, too, must undergo the pain of emerging naked into the world. Both mother and child go through this struggle; both risk their lives in the act of birth.
 
At the start, the parents begin by thinking of a name for the young child, choosing a name which they hope the child will live up to in the future. Many parents, before a child is even born, wrack their brains to pick a name, all of which shows their hopes.
 
So, we must not think that a name is nothing more than an ordinary name. In fact, let us all think for a moment. What hope did our parents hold for us when they chose our names? From the time the child is born, will the child always be safe? Can the child always be safe and sound and grow into adulthood smoothly? As the child grows, they worry over how to educate him and how to help him be successful in the future. There are so many things that parents worry about. Having grown up, completed his studies and established his careers, it is then time to repay his parents’ grace. He knows he should practice filial piety to repay his parents’ grace, but no matter how filial he may be, he is still only “repaying parents’ love with the worldly path of filial piety.” He can only do this while he is by their side. He takes care of them; as our parents grow old, we should take care of them.
 
Confucius said that merely providing our parents with food is not filial piety. If we do not respect them, how can we call it filial piety? In taking care of children, we say we raise them. We raise dogs and cats; we raise pigs and cows. Is filial piety merely raising one’s parents? Merely providing them with food, clothing and a place to live is not what we mean by filial piety.
 
We must respect them. If we do not respect them, if we do not listen to and respect our parents, then we are merely raising them. What is the difference between this and raising a cat or a dog? So, in regard to filial piety, Confucius taught his disciples that parents must also be honored and respected, that we must make offerings of honor and respect. We do not merely raise them; we make offerings to them.
 
People normally say they make offerings by providing support [for parents]; it is not that. When we speak of making offerings, we must include honor and respect. But no matter how we honor and respect them, it “only benefits them for one lifetime and ends along with their life.” However filial we may be in enabling them to live an abundant life, eat well, dress well and live in good houses, even if we treat them with obedience and respect, they can only enjoy this in this lifetime, but the end of their lives. This is the worldly concept of filial piety. Can this kind of filial piety still be found in our modern era? Helping parents make it through their lives without afflictions, without aggravation, without anger or afflictions, are people nowadays capable of this? Always staying by our parents’ side while deeply respecting and being filial to them, is this something we can do?
 
Sometimes our parents may say something and [we say,] “Ah, what do you know?” It seems like parents do not know anything. This is how people can be nowadays. “Oh! Stay out of it! Isn’t having food and a place to live enough? Leave me alone; what do you know?” We often hear people say these things. They look after their parents at home, but “It is hard to keep a pleasant expression.” Parents notice their children’s facial expressions. Always being pleasant to one’s parents is difficult.
 
So, when asked about filial piety. Confucius replied, “It is hard to keep a pleasant expression.” What is filial piety? It is very simple. It is showing our parents a cheerful countenance. This is being filial. When we are not in a good mood, our parents will be worried. “What is the matter with you?” “Stop being so nosy! I am just worried.” This is a common occurrence.
 
To put our parents at ease by letting them see their children happy every day is very difficult! This is something people nowadays find hard to do. So it says, “to repay our parents’ love with the worldly path of filial piety,” which means to do our best to be filial, to put our parents at ease with the things we say, to make them happy when they see our expression, to enable them to enjoy their entire lifetime. Truly, this is already not a simple matter.
 
However, this still only lasts for one lifetime. The so-called great filial piety of Buddhism is not limited to a single lifetime. We hope for our parents to receive the Dharma, to be able to attain the Dharma. No matter how one enjoys life, if one does not understand the principles, it will be a wasted life. Not only will it be a wasted life, afflictions will breed more afflictions, multiply our afflictions. Even if we help our parents enjoy their lives, if they do not know the principles, it will be a wasted life. So, true filial piety means helping our parents understand the principles, giving our parents the chance to benefit others. By understanding the Buddha-Dharma, our parents, though their time still decreases day by day, can develop their wisdom-life day by day. This is the only way to truly repay parents’ grace. This great filial piety of the Buddha-Dharma is the only true way to requite our parents’ grace.
 
This “benefits them for thousands of kalpas.” We can help our parents understand the Buddha-Dharma in this lifetime, so they can apply the Dharma themselves. If our parents understand the Buddha-Dharma for themselves and absorb it into their hearts, if they know to put it into practice and apply the Buddha-Dharma in the world, they will create blessings and virtues. They attain blessed conditions for themselves, which will benefit them for thousands of kalpas. Only then can they liberate themselves from the Three Realms. This is truly thorough filial piety.
 
In fact, no matter how filial we are, life is subject to the laws of nature. We should help our parents attain Dharma-joy while there is time. This is what we must do as spiritual practitioners. We should first help them to understand the Buddha-Dharma, so the Buddha-Dharma becomes a part of their lives. “With each passing day, we draw closer to death. With each passing day, our wisdom-life increases.” The day are passing in either case. On one hand their lives are growing shorter following the laws of nature. But by their taking the Buddha-Dharma to heart and using it in their daily lives to benefit others, they can realize life’s principles. This way, their wisdom-life increases.
 
This is what spiritual practitioners need to immediately give their parents, the Dharma. This is how we truly fulfill our filial duties. Do you still remember? When the Buddha, Sakyamuni Buddha, left the palace for that period of time, His father King Suddhodana missed his son so much it hurt. But Prince Siddhartha wanted to accomplish this great [mission] in His life, to benefit others. So, He left lay life, engaged in spiritual practice and worked very hard in order to accomplish His great mission in life.
 
Eight years later He returned to the palace. When King Suddhodana heard that the prince was returning, he was overjoyed! He was moved that the prince had already attained Buddhahood. The prince had already transformed countless sentient beings and implemented the true principles of the Buddha-Dharma in the world. The entire Sakya clan was very joyful and left the city to welcome Him.
Seeing Him approaching from afar, with such a dignified and majestic Sangha, the king, his ministers, all their families and the subjects could not help but prostrate before the Buddha. The Buddha hurriedly evaded and disappeared, and it was only after King Suddhodana prostrated three times that Sakyamuni Buddha appeared and greeted His father the king. This was in accord with worldly propriety. Although He accomplish a great world-transcending mission, He also fulfilled His worldly filial duties.
 
Upon returning to Kapilavastu to teach the Dharma, He would sometimes teach in the palace and sometimes in the countryside. So, whether they were His relatives in the palace, the ministers or so on, everyone was able to listen to the Buddha-Dharma and draw near to the Buddha.
 
Even the people of the entire kingdom were able to draw near to Him. The Buddha was not merely repaying. His father’s grace and helping King Suddhodana to understand the profound meaning of the Buddha-Dharma; all his subjects could also understand the true principles of the Buddha-Dharma.
 
So, His return to His kingdom to spread the Dharma was very satisfactory. After returning and transforming the royal Sakya clan, many princes followed the Buddha into the monastic life. Because King Suddhodana wanted to help Him succeed in His aspiration and vow, he issued an order that if there were more than one child in a family, one of them could join the monastic order. Because of this, many princes and the children of ministers followed the Buddha to seek the Buddha-Dharma and penetrate the principles. This put the Buddha’s mind at ease.
 
He traveled up and down the banks of the Ganges to teach and spread the Buddha-Dharma. With the natural course of life, King Suddhodana became old. As he approached the end of his life, he suffered from painful illness. Despite being the Buddha’s father, he too suffered greatly when he became ill. Day and night, his brothers, royal relatives, ministers and others were by his side, telling him every day, “Your majesty, put your mind at ease. You have been very blessed in this lifetime. Your son became a Buddha, and He has brought benefit to all the world. As the king, you implemented the Right Dharma and treated your subjects like your children. You have done many good deeds in your lifetime and have benefited so many people, so you lifetime has been one of great blessings. You can now put your mind at ease.”
 
King Suddhodana replied, “This is true! Yet, my mind is still not at ease, for it is Siddhartha whom I wish to see. My son is the World-Honored One. I also wish to see Nanda, my second son, for he too has also renounced the lay life. I still wish to see them. I also wish to see my grandson Rahula. The one I want to see even more is Dronodana’s son, Ananda. “Ananda spreads the Buddha-Dharma. He has taken the Buddha-Dharma to heart and remembers it all so clearly. Ananda is one who spreads the Buddha-Dharma. Oh, why are the ones I wish to see not here now by my side! Those who were by his side said, “Your majesty, you are already so blessed. The Buddha, Nanda, Ananda and Rahula have come back to see you before, returning to the palace to teach the Dharma, returning to Kapilavastu to spread the Dharma. They are now spreading the Dharma in Rajagrha, 50 yojanas far from here. How could they possibly return to see you? You are now gravely ill. Even if they wanted to come back, they are so far away!”
 
That was the situation there, but in Rajagrha, Sakyamuni already knew what was happening, so one by one He called Nanda, Ananda and Rahula and told them, “The king of Kapilavastu is my father. He is Ananda’s uncle and Rahula’s grandfather. He is now nearing the end of his life. His time in this world is nearly finished. All of us must return at once to fulfill his one remaining wish.
 
Everyone felt, “That’s right, we must hurry back to Kapilavastu. They used their spiritual powers to speedily return to the kingdom of Kapilavastu. When everyone saw that the Buddha had returned, the kingdom’s subjects were both joyful and sad. They were joyful Sakyamuni Buddha had returned, and that Ananda, Nanda and Rahula returned along with Him. This is why they were joyful. They were sad their king was about to leave them. This was how the entire kingdom felt.
 
When the ministers and relatives saw them arrive, they shouted, “They’re here!” and told the king. The kind let a comforted smile appear in his face. When the Buddha arrived at King Suddhodana’s side, He reached out to take hold of His father’s hand and said, “Father, Siddhartha has returned.” “Indeed, World-Honored One, you have returned!” As King Suddhodana neared his end, the Buddha taught him the Dharma. The king took the World-Honored One’s hand and placed it upon his chest. The Buddha opened His palm to gently caress King Suddhodana’s heart, and King Suddhodana placed his hand on top of His. Everyone was moved by this expression of affection.
 
As the words of the Buddha-Dharma entered his heart, King Suddhodana had a serene smile on his face as he left the world. With that, Rahula and the others began weeping, for everyone was reluctant to part with him. Yet, the Buddha consoled them by telling them that birth, aging, illness and death were the natural course of life. Rahula asked, “World-Honored One! Will you allow me to be a pallbearer?” Nanda also responded, “Yes! Will you let us all pallbearer?” Ananda responded in this manner as well. The Buddha said, “Yes. To teach future sentient beings the path of filial piety, to promote the path of filial piety among all, I, too, will do my final duty as a pallbearer.”
 
At that time, the four heavenly kings also appeared, paid respect to the World-Honored One and said, “We four are also willing to be pallbearers.” The Buddha said to them, “You all live on the four faces of Mt. Sumeru, and each of you is a heavenly king. Why would you wish to be pallbearers?” They replied, “We have already become the Buddha’s disciples. The Buddha’s father is like one of our elders. Since the Buddha looks upon all the world’s beings as His children, by taking refuge with the Buddha, we all become the Buddha’s children. So, when the king was father to the Buddha has passed away, all the world should come to repay his grace in fathering the Buddha. If not for King Suddhodana, where would causes and conditions come from for the World-Honored One to be born in the world?”
 
This is the story of how the Buddha, the World-Honored One, became a pallbearer. It was all for the purpose of teaching the world to exercise great filial piety. More worldly piety is not enough. We must also give our parents the chance to come in contact with the Buddha-Dharma and to take the dharma to heart, to enable them to benefit others, form good affinities, plant good seeds and attain blessed retributions. This is true great filial piety.
 
Can people in the world achieve this level of filial piety? This is what everyone in the world needs to learn. Even Confucius said this. When asked, “What is filial piety?” Confucius replied with this sentence, “It is hard to keep a pleasant expression.” People can do their best to be filial, providing material resources and so on for parents so they can enjoy their old age, but in doing so, can they always show a cheerful countenance. It is difficult, isn’t it? So, practicing worldly filial piety is not simple, to say nothing of transforming our parents so they can understand the Dharma, realize the great meaning of life. This is truly not an easy matter.
 
So, “Repaying parents’ grace by helping their wisdom-life grow with the Dharma benefits them for thousands of kalpas and enables them to be free from the Three Realms.” This is practicing great filial piety!
 
It truly is not a simple matter for a Buddha to appear in the world. To become a disciple of a Buddha, for a child to achieve this kind of accomplishment, is even more difficult! So, we must be earnest in our spiritual practice. I hope everyone has the vow to attain Buddhahood in the future. Before attaining Buddhahood, we must practice the Bodhisattva-path, using the bodies our parents gave us to do and benefit others. This is repaying our parents’ grace. 
 
The precious sutra passages says, “They made offering to, showed reverence to, paid respect to and praised Him.
 
They made offerings to, showed reverence to, paid respect to and praised Him. Having arrived, they made prostrations with their head at His feet. After they circumambulated the Buddha, with one mind they joined their palms together and gazed at the World-Honored One, then praised Him in verse.
 
In fact, offerings must be made respectfully. It is not simply placing some material goods there and thinking that is enough; it is not like that. We must also be respectful, respectful to the point of “making prostrations with our heads ay His feet [and] with one mind joining our palms together. We should be very reverent. In addition to paying our respect physically, we should be reverent while doing so. This is how we regard the Buddha.
 
Our parents gave us our bodies. Since they have given is these bodies, we can create blessing or create karma with them. This is all done with our bodies. However, we are also “children born from the Buddha’s speech. The Buddha taught the Dharma through His speech and through the Dharma we develop our wisdom-life. So, we should be respectful and reverent toward the Buddha. “They made offerings to, showed reverence to, paid respect to and praised Him.” When they saw the Buddha, they “made prostrations with their heads at His feet.” This action indicates great respect. They circled around Him with their palms reverently placed together. They eliminated their discursive thoughts to return having one mind. Thus, they “joined their palms together.” They waited like this for the Buddha’s teaching. They “gazed at the World-Honored One” and praised Him. They waited like this for the Buddha to teach.
 
The next sutra passage says, “The World-Honored One of great might and virtue, for the sake of delivering sentient beings, spent countless billions of years before finally attaining Buddhahood. You have fulfilled all Your vows. Excellent! Your auspiciousness is supreme. The World-Honored One is most extraordinary, sitting for ten small kalpas straight.”
 
Which Buddha is this? Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha, yes! Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha had already attained Buddhahood. The process of attaining Buddhahood took Him a very long time. Now He was a Buddha, and His demeanor was of great might and virtue. It took Him a very long time to realize the true principles of the universe, all of which are embraced in the Buddha’s ocean of enlightenment. This was accumulated over a long period of time. Thus, He was said to have great might and virtue. With such majesty, such awe-inspiring virtue, He was praised as “the World-Honored One of great might and virtue.”
 
So, “[He worked to] deliver sentient beings.” The World-Honored One of great might and virtue, for the sake of delivering sentient beings: The World-Honored One of great enlightenment and great and virtue, because He wished to deliver sentient beings, has mighty demeanor, prestige and dignity. He is replete with precepts, missing none, hence it says, “great might and virtue.”
 
The Buddha engaged in spiritual practice for the sake of sentient beings and attained Buddhahood for their sake as well. Every Buddha engaged in spiritual practice in the world solely for the sake of transforming sentient beings. So, this process of spiritual practice is to help us learn. “The World-Honored One of great might and virtue, for the sake of delivering sentient beings,” means that He engaged in spiritual practice for the sake of transforming sentient beings. So, “the World-Honored One of great enlightenment and great might and virtue” had already attained great enlightenment. He is unique in the world; there is no other. Thus He is called World-Honored One.
 
He wished to deliver sentient beings. Because He wished to deliver sentient beings, He engaged in spiritual practice for such a long time. When His spiritual practice was complete, it could be seen in His demeanor. What He cultivated within was expressed through His appearance. So, His demeanor majestic; He had prestige. Because sentient beings could see the majesty of the Buddha’s demeanor, it gave rise to deep faith in them.
 
He was also dignified, “imposing but not forceful.” This means that He was “gentle but stern.” Though He seemed very imposing, He was never fierce or harsh. He was very gentle. Yet, in His gentleness, there was great dignity. He was gentle but stern, extremely gentle.
 
So, “He is replete with precepts, missing none.” With all of the precepts, he practiced the Three Flawless Studies. By perfecting the Three Flawless Studies, He was flawless, replete with everything. Precepts, Samadhi and wisdom were all complete. This is why He was so dignified.
 
To develop an appearance of dignity like this, we must actualize the Six Paramitas in all actions. The four Practices and Three Flawless Studies must be completely without Leaks. Then we can be replete with this demeanor, with “great might and virtue.” So, “Transforming the world widely and profoundly is called great virtue.”
 
Transforming the world widely and profoundly is called great virtue. He subdues and captivates; He is sentient beings’ source of support. Hence it says, “the World-Honored One.”
 
He has great might and great virtue; with great might and virtue, He is able to “subdue and captivate,” to help sentient beings accept [teachings]. Sentient beings are very stubborn. He is able to subdue sentient beings so they can accept the Buddha’s teachings. This is why He is their source of support. Because of His might and virtue, He subdues all of the ignorance and afflictions of sentient beings so they can be supported by the Buddha’s teachings and develop their wisdom-life.
 
“[He] spent countless billions of years before finally attaining Buddhahood.” To be able to accomplish this takes a long period of extended practice, countless billions of years, dust-inked kalpas, long periods of time such as these. Then He had “No further causes to cultivate.” From the beginning He had constantly cultivated virtuous causes. “He passed countless billions of years,” He passed through such a very long time, a period of time impossible to calculate, “before being able to attain the ultimate truth of the fruit od Buddhahood, the state of Buddhahood.”
 
Because of the Buddha’s mindfulness and patience, long practicing and upholding virtuous causes, He had now attained the fruit of Buddhahood. “You have fulfilled all Your vows.”
 
You have fulfilled all Your vows: in the past, in the causal ground, He vowed to attain Buddhahood. Today He has attained perfect enlightenment and fulfilled all His vows. The virtue of His causal practice was fulfilled; this means His causal practice was perfected.
 
“In the past, in the causal ground, in the causal ground in the past, before attaining Buddhahood, He formed an aspiration to engage in spiritual practice. This is known as the “causal ground.” The process of spiritual practice is a long one He had vowed to attain Buddhahood. In the beginning He formed an aspiration, a vow to attain Buddhahood. For a long time, He did not retreat from that vow. He always advanced and never retreated for a very long period of time. “Today He has attained perfect enlightenment.” Now He had already attained it. “[He has] fulfilled all His vows.” All His vows were completed and fulfilled. So, “He had fulfilled all His vows.” The virtue of His causal practice was fulfilled; this process took a long time of constant discipline, keeping the precepts and the demeanors. With the Four Great Vows and Four Infinite Minds, He continued to advance in His causal practice. It took a long time, countless billions of kalpas, until the virtue of His causal practice was fulfilled. Then His causal practice was perfected; His virtuous causes were perfect and complete.
 
“Excellent! Your auspiciousness is supreme.”
 
Excellent! Your auspiciousness is supreme: They praised Him by saying “Excellent!” His auspiciousness is supreme. With the virtue of perfected fruition, His numerous virtues are pure and clean. Thus it says, “Excellent!” All those who see Him will be benefited, thus it says His auspiciousness is supreme.
 
This was truly so praiseworthy that nothing else can be praised [in comparison]. This was truly quite excellent. There was so much that was truly auspicious. This is why it says, “Excellent! Your auspiciousness is supreme.” Truly, He was supremely honored, and this is praising Him. “Your auspiciousness is supreme.”
 
The Buddha’s attainment of Buddhahood was auspicious for all the world. “With the virtue of perfected fruition, His numerous virtues are pure and clean. He was perfect and complete. He had realized the fruit by practicing the cause. The fruits of His virtue were numerous and pure. He returned to an extremely pure and clean state.
 
Thus it says, “Excellent!” This is praising the Buddha’s virtue. Such virtue was difficult to praise, so they kept on saying, “Excellent!” “All those who see Him will be benefited. Everyone who saw Him would be benefited. Just by seeing Him, one felt joyful. Just by seeing Him, affliction evaporated; they were eliminated. Upon seeing the Buddha, a disturbed mind would be calmed.
 
“Thus it says His auspiciousness is supreme. The World-Honored One is most extraordinary, sitting for ten small kalpas straight.”
 
The World-Honored One is most extraordinary, sitting for ten small kalpas straight: He is extremely rare in this world. He sat on the Vajra-throne under the Bodhi-tree and entered Vajra-like Samadhi. Once He sat, ten small kalpas passed. The Buddha-wisdom is permanent; it cannot be destroyed by arising and ceasing.
 
The World-Honored One was most extraordinary. He was extremely rare in this world. Once He sat, He sat for ten small kalpas, which was a very long time. “He is extremely rare in this world. He sat on the Vajra-throne under the Bodhi-tree.” Under the Bodhi-tree, He sat on the Vajra-throne “and entered Vajra(diamond)-like Samadhi. Once He sat, ten small kalpas passed.” Once He sat, He sat for ten small kalpas.
 
For the Buddha, in whom all principles were perfect and complete, to sit there for ten small kalpas, for one on the verge of attaining Buddhahood, this would be a very ordinary thing. He entered Samadhi and contemplated, exercising both compassion and wisdom. At this time, the Buddha’s wisdom was permanent. “It could not be destroyed by arising and ceasing.” It was not subject to arising and ceasing.
 
So, “It is as solid and strong as diamond, which cannot be destroyed by other objects.” Thus, it is called “Vajra(diamond)-like.” Vajrais used as an analogy. Thus He “remained firm and unmoving for ten kalpas.”
 
It is as solid and strong as diamond, which cannot be destroyed by other objects. Thus it is called Vajra-like. He could therefore remain firm and unmoving for ten kalpas. Its essence is solid and strong, and its function is sharp. The state of Samadhi which can end all afflictions is called Vajra-like Samadhi.
 
A diamond is very solid and strong, very sharp. It can cut through all afflictions. Moreover, it is solid and strong. This is like the state of Samadhi. The mind of the Buddha was pure and clean, already free from all afflictions, completely solid and strong. With the power of Samadhi, He sat for ten small kalpas straight.
 
Everyone, we must be truly mindful as we learn the Buddha’s Way. As long as our minds are pure and clean, we will live each day without complications. By keeping the Dharma in our hearts in daily life and by constantly benefiting others, we repay the grace of the Buddha and our parents. Because our parents gave us our bodies and the Buddha used his speech to teach us the Dharma, we are able to develop our wisdom-life. We hope that this wisdom-life, when used for our parents, will enter their heart so they can understand the Buddha-Dharma. This is giving back by transforming our parents and is great filial piety. Our parents gave birth to our body, so only by transforming our parents through our understanding of the Buddha-Dharma do we truly practice great filial piety. We should help them to develop wisdom-life. This is where we must put in great effort. So, let us always be mindful.
 

(Source: Da Ai TV – Wisdom at Dawn program – Explanation by Master Chen-Yen)
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20170105《靜思妙蓮華》以法增慧報親恩(第995集) (法華經•化城喻品第七)
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