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 20170118《靜思妙蓮華》幽冥惡道慧光悉照 (第1004集) (法華經•化城喻品第七)

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發表主題: 20170118《靜思妙蓮華》幽冥惡道慧光悉照 (第1004集) (法華經•化城喻品第七)   周三 1月 18, 2017 12:13 am

20170118《靜思妙蓮華》幽冥惡道慧光悉照 (第1004集)
(法華經•
化城喻品

 
「雖為有理,而幽遠非常理所及處;三惡道無真理光明,處幽冥尤劇;菩薩身光照入幽冥之處,靡不周。」
「佛告諸比丘:大通智勝佛得阿耨多羅三藐三菩提時,十方各五百萬億諸佛世界六種震動。」《法華經化城喻品第七
「其國中間幽冥之處,日月威光所不能照,而皆大明。其中眾生各得相見,咸作是言:此中云何忽生眾生?」《法華經化城喻品第七
其國中間幽冥之處:謂其世界中間日月不及照臨之處,如世界邊際為鐵圍山等是。
日月威光所不能照而皆大明:尋常之間,日月光明照不到處,今佛如來慈悲慧光,悉照明了。
日月不能照:惡業所障蔽。皆大明:因佛成道而明。
此光橫則五百萬億國土,豎起則各國上至有頂,下至阿鼻,與今一光東照同。
彼佛是始,今佛是終,彼此互顯本有之大通智勝也。又眾生既蒙佛光,無不獲益。
華嚴云:菩薩足底放光,照於地獄,眾生蒙光,皆生忉利,復聞天鼓說法,立證十地。
今經亦然,佛光照處必是宿種有緣,一蒙此光,未離苦者必離苦,未脫難者必脫難,應知此光所照必不徒施。
 
【證嚴上人開示】

「雖為有理,而幽遠非常理所及處;三惡道無真理光明,處幽冥尤劇;菩薩身光照入幽冥之處,靡不周。」
 
雖為有理
而幽遠
非常理所及處
三惡道無真理光明
處幽冥尤劇
菩薩身光
照入幽冥之處
靡不周
 
就能知道了,雖有理,但是幽遠,很遠很遠啊!非常理所及的地方。那個地方雖然有這個道理,但是有一個地方很遠很遠,離這個道理、光明的地方是很遠的,不是平常的道理,能夠到達的地方。那是什麼地方呢?這麼幽遠,這麼遠,道理無法到達的地方,那就是在三惡道,沒有真理、光明的地方,那個地方真的是很遙遠。
 
「幽冥尤劇」。在那個地方,光明照不到,黑暗,愈是黑暗,非常黑暗的地方,那就是在三惡道。沒有真理,真理的光明照耀不到那個地方,這愈是黑暗。唯有要有「菩薩身光,照入幽冥之處,靡不周遍」。自然有菩薩的身光到那個地方,自然那個地方就發亮起來了,到處都是光明,都是很周遍,遍處皆是光明。
 
這也就是要跟大家說的,真理就是光明,光明的真理。平常的理還是沒辦法,需要真誠的道理,是真諦理,佛法的道理,很極微、極深,這樣的道理有辦法普及。不是簡單,平常行得通就好了,平時的光照得到就好了,不是。要有那種光能透徹,千重夜、萬重山,有辦法透徹過去,這種光明才有辦法,這樣的真理才能到達。因為那個地方,那麼幽遠、那麼遠,光照不到的地方,這是因為它有三惡,這個三惡道的地方。
 
三惡道,大家都知道了,地獄、餓鬼、畜生道。地獄就是要造十惡業,極惡,五逆十惡,這種的惡業,他就要墮落地獄。像這樣,在人間不孝父母,兼行十極惡業,這樣的人都是都自我障礙,墮落地獄,沒有因緣能接受到這樣的光,道理不會入他的心,所以自障礙,無法光照入他的心去。這就是三惡道,在地獄道、畜生道。
 
畜生道,就是沒有分寸,沒有道理分寸,逆倫或者是,沒有倫理道德的行為,他就是在畜生道的業,這樣的人也是同樣自障礙。日常生活,在人間沒有倫理道德的觀念,所以自己障礙自己,就墮落在畜生道。
 
畜生道苦不苦?是真實苦啊!我們眼睛看得到,很多的畜生由人類所主宰,要牠活,牠就活,要牠死,牠就死。
 
人類對畜生,這種又要飼養牠,又是要殺牠。養牠,是為了利益,所以一次養很多。雞寮,看,一養下去就是這樣一格一格,讓牠不得自由,苦不苦?很苦!
 
吃的東西是人類所擺布的東西,用現在的化學飼料,就是每天這樣,關在窄窄的地方,吃的是同樣的東西,幾個月後就被殺了。這就是畜生道,不論哪一類,都是任憑人類來擺布,這很苦啊!
 
若是在外面自由跑的,看,貓啊、狗啊,失去了主人,全身這樣又臭又爛,靠近人,棍子就打過去。討厭嘛!所以就不要讓牠接近。這種既在畜生道了,又被人看了討厭,而且被人棍打腳踢,就是這樣,被人糟蹋,無奈,這就是畜生啊!
 
當然也有有造福的畜生,遇到的主人是這樣疼、這樣裝扮。自由不自由?不自由;是應主人的歡喜,很不自由的。就是整天把牠抱得緊緊的,任憑牠的主人的高興,就是這樣。這樣的畜生也是同樣不自由,這種失去自由的畜生道,很苦啊!
 
餓鬼道,別說到餓鬼道,是不是有特別什麼的餓鬼道,其實人間就有,苦不堪啊!生活,活生生的人,受到種種的因緣,飢餓。有的人是病、孤單,沒人照顧,這樣病中而飢餓,活活餓死的也有啊!不知死了幾天了,沒人知道。也有完全這個世界,周圍就是貧,就是乾旱,反正五榖雜糧都斷了。或者是受戰爭人禍的造成等等,現在電視畫面常常看到的,這種國家完全都是,在貧窮困苦中,在那種飢餓的環境中,人間都看得到,何況餓鬼道呢?
 
目犍連尊者他就是到了餓鬼道,看到他的母親,苦不堪啊!即使有飯要給她吃,開口就吐出火焰,將整碗飯就變成了炭。這樣的餓鬼道也是苦啊!為什麼會這麼多的苦難呢?就是在人間,道理於他自己自障礙。眾生剛強,難調難伏,怎麼地勸,怎麼地教,他都不願意接受好人的教育、有智慧人的勸導,這些道理他都聽不進。好的道理把它曲解、惡解,就把這個道理排斥在他之外,好像這個光、道理,離他很遙遠,這就是他自己障礙。這樣的眾生難免在三惡道中。
 
自我障礙,遠離道理,這將來就是墮在三惡道。因為他沒有真理,哪怕有真理的光明要照,因為他就是處在這種幽冥,很暗,自己的心隔礙了光明,很幽遠的地方,已經是業造成了,已經陷落在那個,非常深而黑暗的地方了。
 
這該怎麼辦?唯有菩薩,菩薩發心,菩薩的行為、典範,不是用說的,是用做的,身體力行,這樣入人群中去投入,將真理靠近,克服種種的困難接近他,他才有機會接觸到。
 
「菩薩身光,照入幽冥」。我們用心入人群去,若能這樣,這身光所照、所到的地方,哪怕是再幽冥的地方,再深再暗的地方,只要菩薩到了,自然道理就遍布到那個地方。所以「靡不周遍」,任何一個地方都能得到光明,一線的光明。要看我們是不是有心。
 
看到我們慈濟人在社區,或者是醫院附近,或者是醫院裡面,他們就是用心,如何將法、虔誠的心念帶進去,帶進醫院,能為那些粉塵爆受傷者,或者是在醫院有病苦的人。是病苦人,痛不欲生,很痛啊!或者是在旁邊周圍,他最親愛的人在照顧,看到他,看到他的親人,他最愛的人受傷、生病了,凡是所有的家屬,在醫院裡,也是很擔心啊!
 
慈濟人設法,不論是粉塵爆受傷者的家屬,或者是一般有病的人,住院中的患者,或者是家屬,慈濟人將這樣虔誠的心,帶進去了,引導他們虔誠來祈禱,希望能安定大家的心,提起大家的希望,淨化他們的心,穩定他們的心,引起了他們虔誠的心,這樣給他們機會來接觸道理。
 
甚至醫生、醫護人員,也出來虔誠參加,大家啟開了他們的心門,來接觸到愛與虔誠的道理。也有進到社區、市場裡也是去帶動,也是去辦祈福會,希望為社會來啟動虔誠的心。
 
那就看到慈濟人的用心,這樣把它清掃起來,布置起來,鄰里之間來邀請,在市場的二樓帶動。只要我們進去,只要我們用心去邀請,大人,大手牽著小手,阿嬤牽著孫子,母親牽著孩子,大家來參加這一場祈福會。
 
里長也來了,他就這樣分享:「原來這樣的祈福,讓人的心很舒服、很安心,希望慈濟,你們要多常在這個地方辦。」民眾也接受到,真善美的(人文志工)菩薩訪問他,他說:「不知道用這樣,心靜下來時,每一句祈禱,祝福的每一句話,好像將他的心與外面的境界,那種虔誠合一起來,好像上天堂,希望那個心念很虔誠。」他就說:「我真的很虔誠,希望這個虔誠的聲音,融合周圍境界的聲音,都是虔誠上達諸佛聽。」
 
看,這是一位民眾,他這樣一場祈禱,他也知道虔誠的心上達諸佛聽。這就是菩薩將真理,帶到平常不曾接觸到的地方,也讓他們有機會能接觸到。這樣,沒有障礙,只要菩薩的身心,身的行動、心的虔誠,願意這樣普遍去做帶動,道理就能普遍。要不然,不懂道理的人,那就是永遠心地黑暗。現在的社會,就是需要更多人聽法,去說法,去傳法。
 
有的宗教(者)騎著腳踏車,家家戶戶都要去布教,他們也是希望,能夠讓每一個家庭,接受到他的宗教道理,這就是有心、虔誠。我們應該也要學這樣的精神,不是只是,我自己去寺院,求消災、去禮拜,不是這樣。我們要真正用虔誠的心,才有辦法很普遍,將道理入人的心,除去了心靈的障礙。
 
前面的經文這樣說,「佛告諸比丘:大通智勝佛得阿耨多羅三藐三菩提時,十方各五百萬億諸佛世界六種震動。」
 
佛告諸比丘
大通智勝佛
得阿耨多羅
三藐三菩提時
十方各五百萬億
諸佛世界
六種震動
《法華經化城喻品第七
 
當覺者,修行者覺悟那個時候,它會震動,十方各五百萬億諸佛世界。十方就是東、西、南、北(四維、上下) ,諸佛,佛佛道同。世間一尊佛覺悟,諸佛都歡喜,佛佛道同,諸佛都是同一念心,就是歡喜、感動。「五百萬億」,五百萬億表示範圍很大,不只是諸佛世界,連五道,天、人、地獄、餓鬼、畜生道,全都震動。
 
道理真正入心來時,心體,我們的心體,這個理很重要;心體若無理,我們就是在幽暗中。道理是有理無體,但是它的道理就是無所障礙,它能普遍五百萬億,諸佛世界的範圍裡去。所以說,理是很重要,這就是道理,道理沒有形體,沒有形體,自然它就會很普遍,但是道理是很深。
 
所以「雖(為)有理,而幽遠,非常識所及之處」,不是平常人所能接到的。這個道理,我們人,非平常的人,就是自己遠隔道理,所以在三惡道中,真理真的是無法到達,自己自我隔礙了。所以我們要瞭解,道理,就是要自己先去除了,要去除我們自己心靈的障礙,才有辦法,道理普遍在幽暗的地方,同樣也能得到道理的光明。所以說來,總而言之,我們的心體、心靈,我們人人本具佛性,我們的佛性不要自我障礙。
 
我們接下來這段(經)文,「其國中間幽冥之處,日月威光所不能照,而皆大明。其中眾生各得相見,咸作是言:此中云何忽生眾生?」
 
其國中間幽冥之處
日月威光所不能照
而皆大明
其中眾生各得相見
咸作是言
此中云何忽生眾生
《法華經化城喻品第七
 
「其國中間」,就是在這五百萬億(佛)國,有諸佛很多的世界,全都能照到那個光。只是這當中「幽冥之處」,幽冥,那就是很黑暗的地方,那個遙遠而黑暗的地方。「日月威光所不能照」,哪怕是日月,是日光或者是月光,都照不到的地方,但是,同樣也能得到光明,那就是真理的光明,是佛覺悟的時候,那時候那個光的遍照,諸佛世界,甚至五道,都同樣能得到。
 
忽然間光明了,黑暗之中,「其中眾生各得相見」。在這當中本來暗,很暗,我不知道這黑暗中,到底有沒有人?因為周圍都很暗。但是忽然間光一亮起來,原來裡面有這麼多人啊!我也看到你,你也看到我了,忽然間,人這樣浮現出來了,所以其中「眾生各得相見」。
 
「咸作自言:此中云何忽生眾生?」本來以為只有我而已,怎麼會忽然間,有這麼多人在這個地方呢?《地藏經》在地獄,鐵床地獄,平常那個痛苦好像只有我而已,原來那個地方同樣在受罪,在黑暗中自障礙的人,原來是那麼多啊!所以這個地方這樣解釋。
 
「其國中間,幽冥之處」。就是其世界中,「日月不及照臨之處,世界邊際」,「鐵圍山」。
 
其國中間
幽冥之處:
謂其世界中間
日月不及照臨之處
如世界邊際
為鐵圍山等是
 
在這世界的邊際,日月照不到的地方,那就是鐵圍山。鐵圍山,《地藏經》鐵圍山之內,那就是地獄。鐵圍山,這是日月照不過去的地方。所以日月,就算是威光,威力很大,但是有鐵圍山隔著,你就是照不過去。這道鐵圍山,就如我們人的無明一樣,這種無明惑比鐵圍山還高,比鐵圍山還更牢固,這就是我們的無明,光明真理都透不過去,這是人生的苦就是在這裡。
 
所以這時候已經有光明之時,照不到的地方,只要有光,這個光開始照,平常中間,是日月光明照不到的地方,但是「今佛如來慈悲慧光」,全都照得到。
 
日月威光所不能照
而皆大明:
尋常之間
日月光明照不到處
今佛如來慈悲慧光
悉照明了
 
唯有智慧,唯有慈悲。慈悲、智慧,啟悲運智。只要你的悲心一起,智慧的心起,自然那道光就會照到那裡了。就如他們不能來,我們就過去,不論是去醫院,不論是去市場裡,這都是用心走進去,自然這個道理,他們就能接受到這個理。他們沒有來,我們沒有去,這個道理永遠都是隔礙著。
 
所以,「日月不能照」,就是因為「惡業所障蔽」。「皆大明」,是因為佛已經成道了。
 
日月不能照:
惡業所障蔽
皆大明:
因佛成道而明
 
就是一道鐵圍山,就是惡業,惡業就是無明,就是鐵圍山把我們障蔽了,這就是我們的無明。但是佛的慈悲慧光,就「皆大明」,是因為佛已經成道了,成道,自然就有真理。
 
佛成道,這個真理是從佛口出,我們用心來接受,接受之後,我們身體力行。佛還沒成佛之前也叫做菩薩,所以菩薩的身光,也能照耀幽暗的地方,所以成佛之後,所有的道理從他的口出,他能再更普遍讓人人去除無明,讓人人發大心、立大願,入人群去結善緣,去轉無明為菩提。這就是成道能這樣震動了天地之間,也能震動人人的心。
 
「很震撼啊!我好感動,很感動到我的心。」有感、有動,那就是真理入心了,感動。這就是表示真理出現了,大地震動的道理,前面的(經)文說過了。
 
所以說,「此光橫則五百萬億國土」,很廣,「豎起則各國上至有頂,下至阿鼻,與今一光東照同」。
 
此光橫則
五百萬億國土
豎起則
各國上至有頂
下至阿鼻
與今一光東照同
 
橫的就是這麼廣,五百萬億(國土),包括五道,幽暗的地方,光都照得到橫的。若是上下,直的上下,就是「上至有頂」。「有頂」就是有物質的世界,全都叫做「有頂」。包括忉利天,包括(色)究竟天,包括六欲天,全都照得到。若只要有物質的地方,還有欲(界)的地方,真理都照得到。還有「下至阿鼻地獄」,往下就是到阿鼻地獄去。這個光就是橫與直都是很普遍,「與今一光東照(同)」。太陽是從東出,所以東出的太陽向西照,同樣的,這個光也是同樣這樣出來,與大陽一樣。
 
所以「彼佛是始,今佛是終,彼此互顯本有之大通智勝也。又眾生既蒙佛光,無不獲益。」
 
彼佛是始
今佛是終
彼此互顯本有之
大通智勝也
又眾生既蒙佛光
無不獲益
 
彼佛是大通智勝佛,今佛是現在的釋迦牟尼佛。釋迦牟尼佛是從大通智勝佛,十六王子時,開始修行,聽《法華經》,說《法華經》。那是在塵點劫以前,無始的無始以前,一直開始,生生世世修行。
 
到了離我們過去的二千多年前,在迦毘羅衛國出生,這就是我們現在佛法的開始。我們現在的佛法來自於釋迦牟尼佛,他口出佛法,這樣再留下來的。釋迦牟尼佛,他是來自於大通智勝佛,所以法的開頭從那個地方,現在到今天,同樣的,這個法,就是在我們現在的釋迦牟尼佛,我們接受到的是現在。
 
現在,這樣是不是終呢?還沒,還有未來。對我們現在來說,算是終,就是佛的開頭到現在這個站,但是我們要再,將這個法要再流傳下去。佛,釋迦牟尼佛,還是同樣,這是一個站,未來他還要再將這個法再傳,生生世世,時間是無窮盡。所以,「彼此互顯本有之,大通智勝也」。所以說,彼、此,過去的大通智勝佛,現在的釋迦牟尼佛,與我們大家所聽的法,人人都是同樣,「顯本有之大通智勝」,我們人人也是一樣,要顯出了人人本具的,「大通智勝」。其實,「大通智勝」,是表示人人本具的佛性,我們現在要如何,將我們的佛性顯現出來。
 
「又眾生既蒙佛光,無不獲益」。每個人聽到法,不會沒有得到利益。大家聽法,將法身體力行,自己歡喜;將這分歡喜,解開煩惱的法再帶入人群,人群中用這個法,解開煩惱,也是歡喜,放下煩惱。我們每天都看到很多菩薩,分享他們過去的人生、現在的人生,完全不同,境界雖然沒變,卻是心的感覺是不同。
 
所以菩薩這個光,橫的與直的,縱橫是這麼開闊,道理是遍虛空法界,不只是在地面上的虛空法界,哪怕是地底下的地獄。所以在《華嚴經》一句話這樣說:「菩薩足底放光,照於地獄,眾生蒙光,皆生忉利,復聞天鼓說法,立證十地」。
 
華嚴云:
菩薩足底放光
照於地獄
眾生蒙光
皆生忉利
復聞天鼓說法
立證十地
 
菩薩就是指,釋迦佛還未成佛之前,他就是這樣走過來的路,不論是人間、地獄,他生生世世都是這樣走過來。所以說,不論在哪個地方,就是只要有菩薩入人群中,那個地方自然就發光;道理到達了,心光啟動,人人都有這個道理存在。
 
所以,這些地獄的眾生接受了道理,自然「皆生忉利,復聞天鼓說法,立證十地」。這是譬喻,佛還未成佛之前,來來回回,接受他的法,開始依教奉行,修十善法,同樣能生到忉利天去,地獄的眾生也能生忉利天,不只是生忉利天,還會聽到天鼓說法,連鼓也會說法。
 
對啊!叩鐘、敲鼓,這也是要學啊。敲鼓的時候,敲鼓人的心,還是內心要默念著法。同樣要默念法。在叩鐘的時候也要虔誠,心中要有法,舉手動作,無不都是用心。你虔誠的心,哪怕是一陣天鼓,大家聽到了,鼓動人心,向道理的方向走。能這樣,這就是要看我們修行者,是不是人人修行都是如釋迦佛,用菩薩心入人群中,舉手動作無不都是用法、用虔誠的心,是不是這樣呢?若能這樣,你所說的法,他們都能證,印證,能瞭解。修行十地菩薩,從初地,歡喜地開始修,修到法雲地,這就是我們要一步一步,將法接受來好好修。
 
今經亦然
佛光照處
必是宿種有緣
一蒙此光
未離苦者必離苦
未脫難者必脫難
應知此光所照
必不徒施
 
現在的經典這樣說。「佛光照處必是宿種有緣,一蒙此光,未離苦者必離苦,未脫難者必脫難,應知此光所照必不徒施。」
 
佛光所到之處,一定過去有緣。大通智勝佛講法那麼久,聽法的人很多,十六王子也是聽法、請法,同樣複講《法華經》,也是很久的時間,也是聽的人很多。可能我們過去「宿種有緣」,在很久很久以前,同樣也有種下這個因緣。
 
所以「一蒙此光,未離苦者必離苦」。這個光一到了,還未離苦的人,有了這個因緣,必定就離苦了。「未脫難者必脫難」,還未脫離困難,只要接觸到這個道理,起歡喜心,他的困難也完全解除了。
 
「應知此光所照,必不徒施」。不是這樣隨意就布施出去,不是,這全都是有因緣。付出與接受,這當中一定都有因緣,絕對沒有錯謬給人的東西,給人的東西都是真實,接受到的法都是真實,這都是要有因緣。
 
所以說,「其中眾生各得相見」。「其幽冥中雖有眾生,各個不相見」,但是因為佛光,「悉見明了」,都能見面了。所以「咸作是言:此中云何忽生眾生?」眾生大家都覺得:我以為只有我在苦而已,以為道理,我一聽,我一個人瞭解而已。不是啊,原來這個黑暗打開之後,原來這裡面,此幽暗中,忽然間有這麼多人。苦,受苦的人,是很多人在受苦;聞法得解的人,原來也有這麼多人聞法得解。
 
所以說,眾生久處暗冥,所以他「彼彼不知」,彼此都不知,我們大家都在無明中,大家都不知。但是一聽到佛法,「一蒙佛光」,就「各得相見」。一聽到這個道理之後,原來我們的心就是有志一同。所以「故驚怖云」,忽然間看到、嚇到,「我看到你,我嚇一跳,怎會是你也在這個地方?」這是一種形容。所以「咸作是言:此中云何忽生眾生」。
 
總而言之,學佛,我們要很用心學,而且聽法要用細膩的心來解釋。聽了,不是過去就好,要好好地再彼此互相啟發、互相討論,法要愈論愈明。事情也是一樣,「怎會有這樣的事情?」大家再來討論看看。理愈辯愈明,愈論愈清,不可以聽了就過去了,要好好用心,理,道理就是一線人生的光明,希望大家時時多用心!


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Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: Radiant Wisdom Illuminates Dark and Evil Paths (幽冥惡道慧光悉照)
Date: January.18. 2017
 
“Though there are principles, they remain far off. It is not a place ordinary principles can reach. The Three Evil Destinies lack true principles and illumination; the deep darkness is particularly severe. The radiance of the Bodhisattva’s body shines into these places of deep darkness.” There is nowhere it does not reach.
 
Now we know that though the principles do exist, they remain far off. They are very far away! This is not a place ordinary principles can reach. In this place, though the principles exist, is very far away. It is very far from principles and illumination. This is not a place that ordinary principles are able to reach.
 
What is this place? It is so far off, so remote, that principles cannot reach it. It is the Three Evil Destinies, a place with no true principles or illumination. This place is truly very remote.
 
“The deep darkness is particularly severe.” The light cannot illuminate this place. It is an increasingly dark place, a place which is extremely dark. This is because in the Three Evil Destinies, there are no true principles. The radiance of the true principles does not illuminate those places, so it is exceedingly dark there. Only “the radiance of the Bodhisattva’s body shines into these places of deep darkness.” There is nowhere it does not reach. When the radiance of the Bodhisattva’s body reaches these places, these places naturally begin to shine. Every spot is illuminated; it reaches everywhere. This radiance is everywhere.
 
This is telling everyone that the true principles are the radiance; these are radiant true principles. Ordinary principles still cannot reach there. What are needed are genuine principles, the principles of absolute truth, the principles of the Buddha-Dharma, extremely subtle and extremely profound. Only these principles can reach everywhere. This is not possible for simple, easy-to-practice [principles] nor for any kind of ordinary illumination. It must be a light that can thoroughly penetrate. It must be able to penetrate 1000 layers of night, 10,000 layers of mountain because this place is so far off, so remote.
 
The light does not shine there because this place is so far off, so remote. It is because there are three kinds of evil there; this is the place of the Three Evil Destinies. We all know the Three Evil Destinies, the hell, hungry ghost and animal realms. Hell comes from the karma of the Ten Evils. With extreme evil, with karma of the Five Offenses or Ten Evils, one will descend into hell. If we are like this while in the world, disrespectful and disobedient to our parents, if we create karma of the Ten Evils, then in this way we will obstruct ourselves and will fall into hell. There we will not have the causes and conditions to receive this kind of illumination. We will be unable to take the principles to heart. So, if we obstruct ourselves, the light cannot shine into our hearts. This is what happens in the Three Evil Destinies, in the hell and animal realms [and so on].
 
Animals do not know propriety. They have no principles to regulate their behavior. By going against morality, or lacking morality in their behavior, people create karma for the animal realm. People who act like this similarly obstruct themselves. In daily living, if we are without moral values in the world, then we will obstruct ourselves and descend into the animal realm. Is being in the animal realm suffering? This is true suffering! We can see with our own eyes how so many animals are dominated by humans. If we want them to live, they live; if we want them to die, they die. This is how humans treat animals; on the one hand we raise them, on the other we kill them. We raise them for profit, so we raise so many at once. Look at chickens in their cages. They are raised together in tight confines, given no freedom at all. Is this suffering? Of course it is suffering. They eat what humans arrange for them to eat, which is modern chemical feed. Day after day, caged in narrow confines, they are fed the same thing. Then, after a few months, they are slaughtered. This is the animal realm. Whatever species they may be, they are at the mercy of humankind. This is suffering!
 
As for animals that run freely outside, like cats and dogs, those who have lost their masters begin to stink, become diseased and are beaten by humans if they come near. People become annoyed and do not let them near. They have been born in the animal realm and on top of that are despised by humans. Furthermore, they are kicked, beaten and abused by humans. They can do nothing, for they are animals!
 
Of course, there are also animals with blessings, those with masters who love them and dress them up. Do they have freedom! No, they do not. They are there for their master’s pleasure. They do not have any freedom. Held tightly by their masters all day, subject to the whims of their masters, they do not have freedom either. Being in eth animal realm without any freedom is truly suffering!
 
Then there is the hungry ghost realm.
Is there a special place that is the hungry ghost realm? Actually, it exists right here in our world. The suffering is unbearable! There are living human beings who, due to a variety of causes and conditions, are suffering from hunger. Some are sick and alone, with no one to care for them. They are sick as well as starving. Some even starve to death and lay dead for days before anyone even finds them. Everywhere in the world there are places facing poverty or suffering from drought where all the crops have failed. Some suffer from war and man-made calamities, etc.. We see them often on TV. Countries like these are all in the midst of poverty and suffering, in the midst of famine. We can see them right here in this world, let alone in the hungry ghost realm.
 
Maudgalyayana went to the hungry ghost realm and saw his mother there. Her suffering was unbearable! Even when he gave his mother food, when she opened her mouth, she spat fire and turned the entire bowl of rice to ashes. This hungry ghost realm is also one of suffering! Why is there so much suffering there? When they were in this world, they blocked themselves off form the principles. Sentient beings are stubborn and hard to train. No matter how you encourage or teach them, they are unwilling to accept teachings from good people or counsel from people with wisdom. They do not listen to the principles. They manipulate and misinterpret good principles, rejecting them as something outside themselves. It is as though illumination and the principles are very far away from them. But it is they who have obstructed themselves.
Sentient begins like these inevitably fall into the Three Evil Destinies.
 
Obstructing themselves and distancing themselves from the principles, they will end up in the Three Evil Destinies. This is because they do not have true principles. Even if the radiance of the true principles were to shine upon them, because they are in deep darkness, their hearts are cut off from the illumination. They are in a far off place. Their karma has already been created, so they have already fallen into a place that is very deep and dark.
 
What can be done? Only a Bodhisattva can help, by his aspirations, by his actions, saving as role model. This is not accomplished through words, but through actions, putting the teaching into action and going among the people to dedicate himself. He approaches them with true principles, overcoming every kind of difficulty in order to get close to them. Only then will they have the chance to encounter [the principles]. “The radiance of the Bodhisattva’s body shines into these places of deep darkness.”
 
If they cannot accept [the principles], we must mindfully go among the people. If we can do this, the radiance of the Bodhisattva will shine on them. Wherever we go, even if it is to the most dark and remote places, no matter how deep or dark, as soon as Bodhisattvas arrive there, the principles will naturally reach that place.
 
So, “There is nowhere it does not reach.” Everywhere can receive this radiance, this ray of light. It just depends on whether we have the resolve. We saw how Tzu Chi volunteers served in society or near the hospitals or inside the hospitals. They were so mindful of how to take the Dharma into the hospitals for those who were injured in the powder explosion or for other sick and suffering in the hospitals. For those who are sick and suffering there, their pain is so bad they do not want to live! We also [comforted] those around them, their loved ones who came to care for them. Those family members see their dear ones injured or sick, so all family members in the hospital must be very worried! Tzu Chi volunteers find ways to help. Whether it is helping the families of those injured in the powder explosion or helping other sick patients there, patients confined to the hospital, or members of their families, Tzu Chi volunteers go into the hospitals with reverence in their hearts. They guide them in reverent prayer. They hope to calm everyone’s minds, raise their hopes, purify their minds, settle their hearts and help them bring out the reverence within. This is how they give them the chance to come in contact with the principles. Even the doctors and nurses came and reverently [joined in the prayer]. All of them opened the doors to their hearts to come in contact with these principles of love and reverence.
 
There were also those who went into the communities and led others in a prayer gathering in the market, hoping to inspire reverence in the hearts of those in society. You could see Tzu Chi Volunteers’ mindfulness, how they cleaned and put that place in order before inviting all the neighbors to the second floor of the market. Since we were willing to go there, since we make the effort to invite others. People came with their children, grandmothers leading grandchildren and mothers leading their kids. Everyone came to join in the prayer gathering.
 
The village head also came and shared. This prayer gathering had actually helped everyone feel more comfortable and at ease, He hoped that Tzu Chi would come hold events there more often. The residents were also accepting. When our media Bodhisattvas interviewed him, he said he did not know how, but when his mind calmed down, every word of prayer or blessing felt like it was bringing his heart and the world together in reverence. It seemed as if he was in heaven. He hoped that he could [sustain] this reverence. He said, “I was truly reverent. I hope the reverence of our voices will harmonize with the sounds around us so our reverence will reach all Buddhas.”
 
This was a member of the public. Through the prayer gathering, he, too, knew that with reverent hearts they could be heard by the Buddhas. This is how Bodhisattvas bring true principles to places that usually do not encounter them, giving them the chance to encounter them. This way there are no obstructions. As long as Bodhisattvas, with body and mind, the practice of their body and the reverence of their mind, are willing to go everywhere to lead others, the principles will be universally available. Otherwise, people who do not understand principles will forever have minds covered in darkness.
 
Society now needs more people to listen to the Dharma, to teach the Dharma and to pass it on. Some missionaries will ride bicycles, going house to house spreading their religion. They wish for every family to accept the principles of their religion. They have resolve and are reverent. We should also learn this kind of spirit. We cannot just say, “I go to the temple to pray for safety, to worship.” No. Only with truly reverent hearts will we find the way to universally help people take the principles to heart and eliminate their spiritual obstructions.
 
The previous sutra passage states, “The Buddha told all the bhiksus, When Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha attained Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi, 500 trillion Buddha-worlds in the ten directions quaked in six different ways.’”
 
When a spiritual practitioner awakens, the [earth] will quake in the 500 trillion Buddha-worlds in the ten directions. The ten directions are east, west, south, north [and so on]. All Buddhas share the same path. When a Buddha awakens in the world, all Buddhas will rejoice. All Buddhas share the same path and mindset, so they are all joyful and moved. As for “500 trillion,” “500 trillion” indicates a large span. Not only the Buddha-worlds, but the Five Realms, the heaven, human, hell, hungry ghost and animal realms, also all quaked.
 
When we truly take the principles to heart, in the substance of our mind, the principles become very important. If the substance of our mind lacks principles, we will remain in darkness. The principles are without substance, yet they are never obstructed. They extend universally throughout the span of the 500 trillion Buddha-lands. So, we say that principles are very important. There are the principles. Principles are without substance. As they are without substance, naturally they can reach everywhere universally. But the principles are very profound. So, “though there are principles,” they remain far off; this is not a place ordinary consciousness can reach. They are not something ordinary people can reach. These principles cannot [be grasped] by ordinary people. We cut ourselves off from the principles. So, in the Three Evil Destinies, it is impossible to arrive at the true principles, for we have blocked ourselves off from them. So, we must understand; to reach the principles we must first rid ourselves of our own spiritual obstructions. Only then will the principles universally reach all dark places. Then all can attain the radiance of the principles.
 
So, in summary, in the substance of our mind, in our spirit, lies intrinsic Buddha-nature. We should not obstruct our own Buddha-nature.
 
The next sutra passage says, “The dark places within the lands of those worlds that the mighty light of the sun and moon is not able to illuminate all become clear and bright. The sentient beings there can all see one another and all say, How did all these sentient beings suddenly appear in here?
 
“Within the lands of those worlds” refers to the 500 trillion lands. The worlds of these many Buddhas are all illumined by that light. It is just that among them are “dark places.” These are places deep in darkness, very remote and darkened place. “The mighty light of the sun and moon is not able to illuminate [them].” Even the sun and moon, even the sunlight and the moonlight, do not shine in these places. Yet, these places likewise attain the radiance, the radiance of the true principles. When the Buddha became enlightened, that radiance shone universally. All of the Buddha-worlds, even the Five Realms, were all illumined by it. All of a sudden everything became light, and in the darkness, “The sentient beings there can all see one another.” It was originally very dark there. How could I know in the darkness whether or not others were there with me? It was dark everywhere. But suddenly, the place became bright “It turns out there were many people here! I see you, and you see me too.” All of a sudden, many people appeared. So, “The sentient beings there can all see one another and all say, ‘How did all these sentient beings suddenly appear in here?’” “I thought I was here by myself. How, all of a sudden, are there so many people here?”
 
In the Earth Treasury Sutra, there is the hell of iron beds. “It seems like I am the only one suffering here, but it turns out there were many others here. It turns out there were many people here who cut themselves off in the darkness.” This is how it is there.
 
“The dark places within the lands of those worlds” refers to the places in those worlds “that the mighty light of the sun and moon is not able to reach and illuminate, such as the ends of the earth, places like the ring of iron mountains and so on.” The ends of the earth are where the sun and moon cannot shine. This is the ring of iron mountains. I n the Earth Treasury Sutra, within the ring of iron mountains is hell. It is a place where the sun and moon do not shine. The sun and moon are mighty and formidable, but with the ring of iron mountains blocking them, their light never shines through. This ring of iron mountains is just like our human ignorance, but our ignorance and delusions are even taller than the ring of iron mountains and even more unyielding. This is our ignorance, which the true principles’ radiance cannot penetrate.
 
This is the reason for the suffering of life. So, at that time there was a radiance. In the places where light did not shine, once that radiance began to shine. Even in those places where sunlight and moonlight ordinarily could not reach, now “the light of the compassionate wisdom of the Buddha, the Tathagata, illuminated them all.” Only wisdom and compassion [can illuminate them]; we must exercise compassion and wisdom together. As soon as compassion arises, the wisdom within us arises. Naturally this will illuminate the places we go.
 
If people do not come to us, then we go to them. Whether hospital or markets, when we mindfully go into these places, naturally people can accept the principles. If they never come to us and we never go to them, then they are forever separated from the principles.
 
So, “The sun and moon are not able to illuminate” because “they are obstructed by bad karma.” “All become clear and bright” because the Buddha already attained Buddhahood. This ring of iron mountains is like bad karma. Bad karma is ignorance. It is the ring of iron mountains that obstructs us. This is our ignorance. Yet, the Buddha’s light of wisdom and compassion makes “all become clear and bright.”
 
This is because the Buddha attained Buddhahood. By attaining Buddhahood, He naturally had the true principles. When the Buddha attained Buddhahood, the true principles were put into words and spoken. We mindfully come to accept these. Then, after accepting them, we put them into practice. Before the Buddha attained Buddhahood, He too was called a Bodhisattva. So, the radiance of the Bodhisattva’s body also shines into the places of deeps of deep darkness. After attaining Buddhahood, all of the principles were spoken from His mouth. He could help people to even more universally get rid of their ignorance, help everyone to form great aspirations and make great vows, to go among people, create good affinities and turn ignorance into Bodhi. This is how His attainment of Buddhahood could quake the heavens and earth and shake everyone’s minds.
 
“I am stunned! I am deeply moved.”
“This moved my heart.” We are moved when we have taken the true principles to heart. When we are moved, this means the true principles have manifested. The principles that shake the earth are mentioned in the previous sutra passage.
 
It says, “This light horizontally spreads across the 500 trillion lands;” it is so vast. “[And it spreads] vertically over each land, from Akanishtha Heaven above to Avici Hell below. This is like the one radiance today which illuminates the east.”
 
Horizontally, it was so vast that it spread across the 500 trillion lands including the Five Realms, all those places that are dark. That light illuminated all horizontally. Vertically, it extends “from Akanishtha Heaven above.” “Akanishtha Heaven” is in the material world. It includes Akanishtha Heaven and Trayastrimsa Heaven, as well as the ultimate heaven of the form realm and the Six Heavens of Desire. It illuminates them all. All places with material forms as well as all the desire realms are all illuminated by the true principles. It also extends down to Avici Hell. It extends below to Avici Hell. This light extends everywhere, both horizontally and vertically. “This is like the one radiance today which illuminates the east.” The sun rises in the east. Rising from the east, it shines toward the west. The light shines in the same way the sun does.
 
So, “That Buddha was at the beginning.” “This Buddha was at the end. They both reveal Their intrinsic Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior. As sentient beings receive the Buddha’s light, there are none who do not benefit.”
 
That Buddha was Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha. This Buddha is the present Buddha, Sakyamuni. During that time, Sakyamuni Buddha was one of the 16 princes, and He began to engage in spiritual practice, listen to and teach the Lotus Sutra. That was dust-inked kalpas ago, in the time before Beginningless Time. Since then He engaged in spiritual practice for lifetime after lifetime. He did this until that time more than 2000 years ago when He was born in the kingdom of Kapilavastu. This was the start of our present Buddha-Dharma.
 
Our present Buddha-Dharma is the one that came from the mouth of Sakyamuni Buddha and has been passed down to us. Sakyamuni Buddha started [His practice] in the time of Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior. So, this Dharma, from its beginning there, has continued until today. This same Dharma continued through the time of Sakyamuni Buddha and has been passed down to us today.
 
And is it finished now? No, there is still the future. For us in the present, we say this is the end; from its beginning with the Buddha, it has reached this stop. However, we now continue to pass on the Dharma for the future. For the Buddha, Sakyamuni Buddha, this is similarly just a stop along the way; He will continue to pass on the Dharma lifetime after lifetime. Time is endless.
 
So, “They both reveal Their intrinsic Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior.” So, we say “they both.” The past Buddha, Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior, the present Buddha, Sakyamuni, and all of us who listen to the Dharma are all the same; we “reveal our intrinsic Great Unhindered Wisdom.” We are all the same; we, too, can reveal our inherent Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior.
 
Actually, Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior refers to the intrinsic Buddha-nature that is inherently in us all. How should we now reveal our intrinsic Buddha-nature? “Since sentient beings receive the Buddha’s light, there are none who do not benefit.” Anyone who hears the Dharma will not fail to benefit from it. In listening to the Dharma and putting it into practice we ourselves rejoice; then this joy and this Dharma of eliminating afflictions can be brought among the people. When it is used among people to eliminate afflictions, [other] also rejoice and are able to put down their afflictions. Every day we see many Bodhisattvas who share about their past lifestyles and how they are completely different now. Though their situations may not have changed, their inner experiences certainly different.
 
So, the light of the Bodhisattvas extends both horizontally and vertically. Its length and breadth is vast and wide. The principles extend throughout the universe, not only on the surface of the Dharma-realms, but even below the ground in hell.
 
Thus, in the Avatamsaka Sutra it says, “The light that radiates from beneath the Bodhisattva’s feet can illuminate hell. All sentient beings who receive this light are reborn in Traysatrimsa Heaven. When they further hear the heavenly drums and teachings of the Dharma, they immediately realize the Ten Grounds.
 
The Bodhisattva refers to Sakyamuni Buddha before He attained Buddhahood. This is the road He walked upon, whether in the human realm or in hell. This is how He practiced lifetime after lifetime. So, no matter where they may be, when Bodhisattva go among people, that place will naturally be brightened. When the principles arrive, the light of the mind is ignited. Everyone possesses these principles within.
 
So, when sentient beings in hell accept the principles, they naturally “are reborn in Trayastrimsa Heaven.” “When they further hear the heavenly drums and teachings of the Dharma, they immediately realize the Ten Stages.” This is an analogy for the Buddha before His attaining enlightenment. As He came and went, those who accepted His Dharma and began practicing according to the teachings, cultivating the Ten Good Deeds, would similarly be reborn in Traysatrimsa Heaven. Even sentient beings in hell could be reborn in Traysatrimsa Heaven. Not only could they be reborn in Traysatrimsa Heaven, they could also hear the heavenly drums and teachings of the Dharma. Even drums can teach the Dharma.
 
That is correct! We should also learn how to strike the bell and beat the drum. When we beat the drum, we strike people’s hearts as we silently recite the Dharma inside our mind. We are still silently reciting the Dharma. When striking the bell we should also be reverent, for the Dharma must be in our hearts. We must be mindful in all of our actions. If our hearts are reverent, even a single beating of the drum will drum up people’s hearts when they hear it; they will follow the direction of the principles.
 
Doing this depends on whether or not, as spiritual practitioners, we can practice like Sakymuni Buddha and go among the people with the heart of the Bodhisattva, in our every action applying the Dharma and expressing reverence. Can we do this? If so, then the Dharma we teach will be able to be realized, confirmed and understood by others. In practicing the Ten Grounds of the Bodhisattva, we start from the first ground, the ground of joy, and practice until reaching the ground of Dharma-cloud. This is how we go step by step, accepting the Dharma and earnestly practicing it.
 
The sutra now states that, “In the places illuminated by the Buddha’s light, people must have planted these conditions in their past lives. As soon as they receive this light, these who have not yet escaped suffering will escape suffering; those not yet liberated from hardships will be liberated from hardships. We must know, with all this light illuminates, that it will not be given off in vain.”
 
Anywhere the Buddha’s light reaches, there must have been affinities in the past. Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha taught the Dharma for a very long time, and many listened to His teachings. The 16 princes also listened to the Dharma and requested teachings. They also repeated the Lotus Sutra for a very long time, and there were also many who listened. Perhaps we also “planted conditions in the past;” a very long time ago, we too planted these causes and conditions.
 
So, “As soon as they receive this light, those who have not yet escaped suffering will escape suffering.” As soon as there is light, those not yet liberated from hardships, those with the proper causes and conditions, will undoubted from their suffering. “Those not yet liberated from hardships will be liberated from hardships.”
 
For those not yet liberated from hardships, as soon as they receive the principles, joy will arise in their hearts, and they will be completely liberated from hardships. “We must know, with all this light illuminates, that it will not be given off in vain.” [The light] is not given off carelessly. No, it all depends upon causes and conditions. Given and receiving it all depends upon causes and conditions. We do not give people things by mistake. All the things we give to people are real, and the Dharma they receive from us is true. This all depends upon causes and conditions.
 
So, it says, “The sentient beings there could all see one another. Though sentient beings were there in the darkness, they could not see one another.” But because of the Buddha’s light, “They could all see clearly.” They could all see each other. So, “They all said, “How did all these sentient beings suddenly appear in here?” All sentient beings feel that they are only ones who are suffering. They think when they hear the principles that they are the only ones who have comprehended. This is not true! Once the darkness is dispelled, it turns out that [many are] within the darkness; suddenly so many people appear. These are people who are suffering; so many are suffering. Those who hear the Dharma and are liberated also turn out to be very numerous.
 
So, since sentient beings are long in darkness, “They do not know each other.” They do not know of each other. All of us have remained in ignorance, and we did not know. However, once we hear the Dharma, as soon as we receive the light, we can all see one another. As soon as we hear the principles, we realize that our hearts share the same aspirations. So, “They are shocked and frightened.” Suddenly they could see, so they were taken aback. I was shocked when I saw you. How is it that you are also here?” This is a kind of description. So, “They all said, ‘How did all these sentient beings suddenly appear in here?’”
 
Thus, in summary, we should be very mindful in learning the Buddha’s Way, and after hearing it, we should be meticulous in explaining it to others. We should not simply let it go by after hearing it. We must then earnestly inspire each other, discuss it with one another. The more we discuss the Dharma, the more we will understand it. Matters are also like this. When something happens, everyone discusses it. The more it is discussed, the clearer it becomes. Do not let it just go by after listening to it, but make an effort to be mindful. The principles are the radiance in our lives. I hope everyone will always be mindful.
 

(Source: Da Ai TV – Wisdom at Dawn program – Explanation by Master Chen-Yen)
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20170118《靜思妙蓮華》幽冥惡道慧光悉照 (第1004集) (法華經•化城喻品第七)
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