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 20170127《靜思妙蓮華》言有法行有則(第1011集) (法華經•化城喻品第七)

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發表主題: 20170127《靜思妙蓮華》言有法行有則(第1011集) (法華經•化城喻品第七)   周五 1月 27, 2017 12:41 am

20170127《靜思妙蓮華》言有法行有則(第1011集)
(法華經•化城喻品第七)

⊙「悲智宏遠無物不受其化,廣化一切天人稱運慈心,施教五乘而不失其機宜,言中有法則行儀天人師。」
⊙「其所散華,如須彌山,並以供養佛、菩提樹。其菩提樹高十由旬。華供養已,各以宮殿奉上彼佛。」《法華經化城喻品第七》
⊙「而作是言:惟見哀愍饒益我等,所獻宮殿,願垂納處!時諸梵天王即於佛前,一心同聲以偈頌曰。」《法華經化城喻品第七》
⊙而作是言,惟見哀愍饒益我等:願佛見憐,利益我等。
⊙所獻宮殿願垂納處:如我所獻寶飾宮殿,願佛垂慈,為之納受。納處:留。
⊙「世尊甚希有,難可得值遇,具無量功德,能救護一切,天人之大師,哀愍於世間,十方諸眾生,普皆蒙饒益。」《法華經化城喻品第七》
⊙具無量功德,能救護一切:明行足也,善能普度一切眾生。
具無量功德:讚悲心。道成曰德。兩利曰功。數不可知曰無量。稱法界理,無飢無歉,曰具。
⊙能救護一切:悲救弘遠,無物不受其化,曰救一切。
⊙天人之大師:讚慈心。範圍五乘而不失幾,曲成六道而無所遺,言有法,行有則,曰天人師。
⊙哀愍於世間十方諸眾生:慈哀憐愍世間眾生。十方世界,三乘九道的眾生。
⊙普皆蒙饒益:三惡業苦,因光攝而即息,五性沉流,借慧棹而登岸,故曰普皆蒙饒益。

【證嚴上人開示】
「悲智宏遠無物不受其化,廣化一切天人稱運慈心,施教五乘而不失其機宜,言中有法則行儀天人師。」

悲智宏遠
無物不受其化
廣化一切天人
稱運慈心
施教五乘
而不失其機宜
言中有法
則行儀天人師

就說「悲智宏遠,無物不受其化」。諸佛人間化度眾生,時間很長久。不只是釋迦牟尼佛,所有諸佛,修行過程都是要很長久的時間。<化城喻品>就跟我們說起了,多長的時間呢?很長啊!多久?塵點劫,無始以前的無始,就是這麼長遠。諸佛修行的過程就是長久,尤其是悲智,那個悲心、智慧就是這麼開闊,時間有多長,他的悲智就已經有多長了,多高、多麼徹底,空間有多廣,悲智就普遍。

不論時間、空間,總是悲智宏遠,遍及人間一切,所以「無物不受其化」。所有,不論是天、人,甚至四生五道,無不都是受佛所感化。所以道理,只要是有理,無不都是叫做覺道。稱覺稱道,就是有道理,我們瞭解,這都叫做覺道。

這個道理,有的人迷迷糊糊,不知道理是什麼,還是在無明中,違背道理而行。也有人就是就道而行,守法則、守軌道,按照道理,這樣在人間,自受還要教人,守住道理,行正道。這就是理,有理,體悟,能體會去瞭解,這無不都是覺道,而這覺道是歷年來,不只是歷年,歷久以來,無不都是這樣道道相傳。

有道傳,道理才會存在,所以不論是任何多久的時間,佛法都是歷久常新,這就是我們要傳道的目標。所以傳道,道的內容就是慈悲、智慧,這就是有道。撥開了慈悲、智慧,這樣就無道了。所以,慈悲、智慧,是歷久以來常住。我們人人本具的佛性,人人「人之初,性本善」,任何一個人,都有這樣的道理而來。只是我們真的在生活中,熏習的習氣不好,那就是煩惱、無明,使我們背道而行,這就是缺了道的傳承。這個道若能較多人去傳,人人守志奉道,自然這個世間就是這麼順暢,無不都是,人間覺悟的道理,無不都受化,全都受化了。可悲的就是,欠缺這分傳道的精神。但是佛法永在,說「無物不受其化」,只要道理永遠在人間,不論什麼時候,道理遇到有緣人,自然就能受感化。

「廣化一切天人,稱運慈心」。若能這樣,在人間,法是常住不變,有緣的人,因緣會合,自然就一切天與人,不論富有或者是貧窮,不分貴賤,因緣會合了,自然就能度化。這種「廣化一切天人,稱運慈心」,這種法無障礙,讓我們稱心如意,接受這個法,那就是慈。

慈,常常說過了,是人生的福。人人若有道理,知道理,按照道理,不是少數人,是人人,人人能夠接受到慈,慈心運用在人間,這樣叫做造福人群。人與人之間互愛、互動,這就是最幸福的人間,彼此造福,這叫做運慈心,「稱運慈心」。這必定要,「施教五乘,而不失其機宜」。施,就是布施,去教化,要展開教化。要教化什麼呢?是運慈心。人人都是這樣,將這個慈心運轉在人間,在五乘中。

什麼叫做五乘呢?佛陀所施教,沒有超出這五乘。即使是天、人,佛陀對人間說法,人間能夠接受佛法,瞭解道理,自然增長大愛,守五戒,愛心開闊,這是對人的教育。在人間教育除了守五戒,自然他要再行十善,對佛陀的教法信受奉行,守五戒又行十善,這樣叫做天乘。守五戒,這就是人乘。行十善法,這就是天乘。再者就是聲聞、緣覺、菩薩乘,這稱為五乘。

聲聞、緣覺、菩薩,常常說了,其實聲聞也是人,天也從人修的。唯有在人間能聞佛法,而且能法入心,甚至身體力行,運慈心,悲智雙運。在幸福的人間向他施教,教育守護這念善心,能造福人間,這叫做運慈。人間有苦難,及時去拔苦,這叫做啟悲。運慈啟悲,悲智雙運。啟悲運智,用智慧要如何去救度眾生,從眾生的苦難,「苦既拔已,復為說法」,又是再運慈施教,這就是我們教育的過程。

佛陀來人間「不失其機宜」,眾生是什麼樣的根機,佛陀就應機說教,眾生有什麼樣的苦難,佛陀就以眾生的苦難,運智慧去拔除他的苦,這就是佛法在人間。所以「言中有法則」,佛陀開口動舌,所說的教法都有法則在,有法、有規則。佛陀在人間,他既然教人人,教導人人能守規戒,他自己本身,他是以身作則,他是人間的典範,所以他的行儀,又是天、人視為師,天人師。

釋迦牟尼佛,十號之一也是「天人師」。是他的行儀能教化天與人,不只是說而已,他的舉止動作,所有的身行,無不都是天與人的模範。所以講話,言中有法則,而行呢?行中有威儀,就是天人師了。這是佛陀化度人間,不只是釋迦佛,佛佛道同。

但是,佛在人間,也是常常都受到很多的困難。佛陀的僧團中,提婆達多,大家都知道了。有一時候,佛陀在王舍城裡,那時候,提婆達多開始,看到佛陀這麼多人,愈來愈多人的敬重。他本身就是希望,他是與佛同族,也是佛的堂兄弟,與佛平輩,王子之一。出家了,佛陀是太子,成佛了,他是王子,也出家了,他以他的才能,聽佛的教法,他全都瞭解。

雖然是瞭解,對佛法瞭解,生起了傲慢的心──佛陀能受到這麼多人的尊重,而我對佛法,我也已經瞭解了,我也應該能自己來領導眾生,我也要稱佛,讓人認為我是覺者,我也能被人尊重。

但是,人人所公認的,是一位大覺者,釋迦牟尼佛。所以提婆達多,他就唆使阿闍世王,這個過程以前說過了,阿闍世王就一直偏護提婆達多,提婆達多說什麼話,他就是怎麼聽。所以他就向阿闍世王說:「王舍城這麼多人都一直供養佛,你下一道指令,叫所有人民停止供養佛,看看佛他有什麼樣的神通廣大,能夠領導僧團如何生活下去。」

阿闍世王聽提婆達多的話,真的下一道指令,聖旨就傳下去:僧團出來托缽,家家戶戶禁止布施飯食。大家對這一點非常的憤怒,大家很不捨,不過不能違背國王的傳令,違背就是犯法了。所以,那時候,全國的人都很憤怒,也很擔心佛的僧團,要怎麼生活呢?人人心的憤怒、悲慟,天地搖動了。

帝釋天感覺到,為什麼?為什麼大地震動呢?是什麼因緣呢?他就趕緊來觀察。原來大地眾生,為了佛陀受阿闍世王禁令,僧團無法托缽,生活受了很大的限制困擾。所以,帝釋天(主) ,他就率領了他的天眾,用了很豐盛,用銀盤、金盤、一切寶器盛飯食,很美味的飯食,從天而降,莊嚴的氣氛,來到佛前供佛。同時向佛求,說:「求佛陀,是不是能讓我,諸天終身供養?」佛陀默然,沒有答應。

天帝釋看到佛陀沒答應,「不然給我五十年的供養?」佛陀還是默然。「要不然,五年好嗎?讓我五年的供養?」佛陀還是沒答應。「不然五個月?」也是沒答應。帝釋就說:「不然至少給我五天來供養。這五天的時間,接受我帝釋與諸天人,來造福,來供佛?」佛陀歡喜接受了。

就在這五天裡,每天,天人供佛,那種每一天中午時,全城都有這樣的瑞相。那一天,第五天,阿闍世王在樓閣看到了,「怎麼這麼莊嚴啊!這種瑞相從天降,降落在祇園精舍,這到底是什麼因緣呢?」旁邊的大臣就說:「五天了,必然是天(主)來供佛。」那時候,阿闍世王自己內心很懊惱,提婆達多在他身邊,他就責怪提婆達多,說:「你怎麼這麼毒,要我下這個令,佛的僧團不得受我的人民供養。看看,大地震動,以為是什麼事?原來是人民的悲怒,感天供佛的心。我這樣聽你的話,不對了。」

他趕緊率領大家,不顧提婆達多的語言,他就往佛的道場去了。到了精舍,向佛懺悔下這道指令是錯誤。身邊的大臣,就趕緊向阿闍世王說:「請大王是不是廢止這道指令呢?能讓全國的人恢復供佛。」「那當然啊!全國人民能造福供佛,這是全國的福啊!」就這樣,佛陀也歡喜為國王、大臣說法,大家皆大歡喜。這道旨令也已經取消了,就這樣恢復了僧團的生活,恢復了全國能夠供佛。

這就是佛陀在世,他在修行的過程,也常常會遇到人我是非,聽起來好像有道理,其實是沒道理。阿闍世王旁邊,若有這樣非法的人在身邊,所說的,他若接受,全國人民也是無可奈何啊!但是佛陀的智慧,悲智,看,天人要終身供養佛僧,佛陀沒答應;五個月?佛陀也沒答應;五天,可以。這是不是佛陀希望造福人群,讓大地眾生人人有機會,來接觸僧團、接觸佛,供佛及僧,這是佛的悲智弘願。自古以來累世度眾生,就都一樣是這樣,這是佛陀運用智慧,在人間,眾生剛強難調伏。

看,提婆達多,也是在僧團裡,卻是背叛佛。就是癡迷,他驕傲,想要自己獨立領導眾生。無德,如何能領導眾生呢?光是有知識,沒有智慧,沒有德行,如何能領導眾生?所以將「是」反「非」,這就是我們人間,像這樣的人也不少,所以時時我們要自我警惕。佛陀的悲智宏遠,無物不受其化,他也是天人師的行儀,言中有法則,而且行儀度化人天,這是佛的福德。

前面的經文這樣說,「其所散華,如須彌山,並以供養佛、菩提樹。其菩提樹高十由旬。華供養已,各以宮殿奉上彼佛。」

其所散華
如須彌山
並以供養佛
菩提樹
其菩提樹高十由旬
華供養已
各以宮殿奉上彼佛
《法華經化城喻品第七》

這我們昨天說過了。很多天人梵宮殿都來供佛,供佛同時散花,那個場面是多麼莊嚴啊!不只是供佛,也供樹,覺樹,因為佛在這個地方修行,在這個地方靜坐,在這個地方覺悟,就是因為有這棵樹。所以大家敬樹如敬佛一般,同時的供養。所以他散花散得,菩提樹雖然很大很高,從天降落的花,也是供在佛、樹上,鋪在大地,這個場面是很莊嚴。

下面接下來(經文)這樣說,「而作是言:惟見哀愍饒益我等,所獻宮殿,願垂納處!時諸梵天王即於佛前,一心同聲以偈頌曰。」

而作是言
惟見哀愍饒益我等
所獻宮殿
願垂納處
時諸梵天王
即於佛前
一心同聲以偈頌曰
《法華經化城喻品第七》

這段(經)文很簡單。這樣散花之後,諸天還是希望再供養,再供養,所供養的,他們就是獻宮殿等等來供佛。那分虔誠的心,因為佛陀所說的教法,讓他們的心開意解。身外的物質是有形無常,唯有真理入心,心靈的財富,這才是真正富有。所以在這個地方,天人還是要求法的心、比求名利,有形的物質,還更強烈,所以求法、求道理,比求物質的心還更強烈,所以他們就說「惟見哀愍」。物質再多也是不夠,最重要的,我們所需要的,就是道理來覺悟,所以叫做「惟見哀愍,饒益我等」,「願佛見憐,利益我等」。

而作是言
惟見哀愍
饒益我等:
願佛見憐
利益我等

唯有道理,我們能透徹瞭解,所以我們要再供養,將宮殿的一切一切,都來供佛,請佛要哀愍。哀愍,就是無常的人生,他們所要得的是永恆的覺悟,不是要停滯在無常的天。天福享盡,他也要再墮落人間;人間一不小心,煩惱無明一起,同樣要墮落三惡道。所以覺得享受的一切都是無常,希望要求的是永恆的道理。所以請佛哀愍,希望饒益大家得到永恆。

所以「時諸梵天王」,這樣說完之後,又再重複,在佛前「一心同聲以偈頌曰」。前面這樣說還不夠,還是重複用偈頌的文,來請佛接受供養,「願佛見憐,利益我等」。

所獻宮殿
願垂納處:
如我所獻寶飾宮殿
願佛垂慈
為之納受
納處:留

「所獻宮殿,願垂納處」。希望我們所要獻出來的,請佛陀慈悲納受。這就是表示至高無上的虔誠。

願,就是很虔誠的願,希望佛陀慈悲接受,這就是用虔誠。其實佛就是知道,他們的虔誠就對了,佛陀生活本來就很簡單,三衣一缽,一缽千家飯,哪有再接受宮殿等等,物質的供養?當然是沒有。不過,諸天的心意,佛陀領納他們的誠意。所以梵天王他用偈文再誦,所以再次表達他們的誠意。

接下來的經文這樣說,「世尊甚希有」,這是重頌的偈文。前面用長行文說完,再重複一次,用偈文再重複說:「世尊甚希有,難可得值遇,具無量功德,能救護一切,天人之大師,哀愍於世間,十方諸眾生,普皆蒙饒益。」

世尊甚希有
難可得值遇
具無量功德
能救護一切
天人之大師
哀愍於世間
十方諸眾生
普皆蒙饒益
《法華經化城喻品第七》

「世尊甚希有」。我們常說,多久多久,才能夠一尊佛出現人間。大家都清楚了,所以世尊要經歷過這麼長久,在人群中生生世世度化眾生。這種長久的世界,世尊當然是甚稀有,是世間所希有,所以「難可得值遇」,要遇到佛是這麼不容易。

世尊甚希有
難可得值遇:
佛智佛德
及以相好
世所希有
過久遠劫
時乃出現
難可遭逢

「佛智佛德,及以相好」,就是一定要累世累世修來,才是「世所希有」。佛的智慧、佛的德性、佛的形象,全都是累世修來。我們要長成什麼樣子,都由不得自己,要怎樣叫做莊嚴?結好人緣,有投人的緣,這就是大家看了,大家歡喜。要能大家看了,歡喜、尊重,實在是「世所希有」。這都是要有德行,要有福、有德,才有辦法得到這樣,人見人歡喜、人尊重,這是「世所希有」。所以「過久遠劫」,長久的時間,「時乃出現」,時間在過都很長久,「難可遭逢」,要遇到不那麼容易。「具無量功德,能救護一切」。

具無量功德
能救護一切
明行足也
善能普度一切眾生

累生累世都是這樣「明行足」。佛的十號(之一),「明行足」。明行足,就是福慧雙具,他有福、有智慧,就是來來回回在五道四生,來來回回在救度眾生,投入人群,所以「善能普度一切」。明行足,福慧雙具,來來回回普度眾生。「具無量功德」,所以一切的功德都具足了。

具無量功德:
讚悲心
道成曰德
兩利曰功
數不可知曰無量
稱法界理
無飢無歉
曰具

「讚」,這是稱讚悲心。具足一切的功德,(度)眾生,造福人間,讓世間能和平,社會能祥和,眾生有苦難,去拔除他的苦難,這就是我們人人要稱讚,佛的德是具足了悲心。慈悲,同體大悲,將眾生視為一子,同體大悲。

所以「道成曰德」。他有這樣的德行,就投入人群中來來回回,長久的時間,完全造福人間,拔除苦難,這就是他的德。所以「兩利曰功」。內要有修行,這叫做功;外要身體力行,這叫做德。所以這種的功德。

「數不可知曰無量」。稱法界的道理,沒有飢歉,(沒有)歉處,就是很具足。這就是修行所得來的,完全很圓滿,沒有欠缺,已經很圓滿。

能救護一切:
悲救弘遠
無物不受其化
曰救一切

所以「能救護一切」。就是「悲救弘遠」,他的悲心,救度眾生的宏願,實在是很長遠,歷劫以來,長久,「無物不受其化」。在五道四生,沒有眾生被他漏掉。

所以我們常常說「無餘修」。無餘修,就是沒有漏掉這種修。愛,就是全都沒有漏,不分國界,不分種族,也不分宗教,愛的力量就是遍布一切。這就是悲心救護一切,也是悲心宏大,很宏遠、很長很久的時間都是這樣救護一切。

所以「天人之大師」,就是「讚慈心」。

天人之大師:
讚慈心
範圍五乘而不失幾
曲成六道而無所遺
言有法
行有則
曰天人師

剛剛說的是悲,同體大悲。「天人之大師」,就是讚慈心。天人已經很有福了,沒有苦,所以有福無苦。但是,道理若不徹底,還是同樣有限量,壽命再長,也有一天自然法則也是凋零,福再大,福盡同樣還是要再墮落。所以佛要再說道理讓他瞭解,真理入心,永恆的覺悟,這才是真正天人所需要。

所以天人無苦,不必用悲心,但是天人有欠缺的,就是道理還不很具足,所以需要讓他們能增長他們的智慧,讓他們能體會真理,永恆無缺,這叫做慈心。所以,他的範圍,我們剛剛說過,不離開五乘,就是對人的教育、天的教育、聲聞的教育、緣覺的教育、菩薩的教育,這叫做「五乘」,不離開五乘。

也「曲成六道而無所遺」。不論在五道、六道,六道就是多一個阿修羅道。但是我們在《法華經》裡,完全將阿修羅,都混在其他的五道。阿修羅就是愛發脾氣,雖然在天界,有天福無天德,所以,未將他列入,他是普遍在五道中。所以說「曲成六道」,其實是五道。「而無所遺漏」,哪怕阿修羅,也沒有將他遺漏了。說五乘,即使是阿修羅,同樣在佛陀的感化中,所以叫做,六道而無所遺,沒有漏掉。

「言有法,行有則」。言中有法則,行儀是天人師,我們剛才說過了,所以這就是愛的力量。

哀愍於世間
十方諸眾生:
慈哀憐愍世間眾生
十方世界
三乘九道的眾生

所以「哀愍於世間,十方諸眾生」。希望佛陀的愛能憐憫世間,甚至十方的眾生。「慈哀憐愍」,這是大家所期待、所尊重的佛陀,他的愛,他的悲憫,所有的眾生,「十方世界三乘九道的眾生」,人人都能承蒙佛陀的愛,能接受道理。所以「普皆蒙饒益」。

普皆蒙饒益:
三惡業苦
因光攝而即息
五性沉流
借慧棹而登岸
故曰普皆蒙饒益

三途的苦難眾生,三途,知道了,地獄、餓鬼、畜生,所以「因光攝而即息」。在這三途裡受苦難中的眾生,也能承蒙這道光,就是道理,這個光照耀。

我們前面的(經)文,不是說過了,一道光,哪怕是幽冥界的眾生,也忽然光亮起來,忽然人與人能互相相見。過去都是黑暗的,忽然一道光,能夠互相見,互相相見。這就是真理,真理能普照到人人的心地,所以「因光攝而息」,因為三途是苦,有了道理入心,自然地,雖然受苦中,心有道理,自然瞭解因緣果報。

外境雖然是苦,內心,他能瞭解。也常常聽到,「人生就是苦啊!佛法不是這樣說嗎?就是因緣啊!欠多少的惡緣,我們就要趕快還人。我們有餘的時間,就趕緊造一些福,盼望於來世。」我們也常常聽到人這樣說。

所以在「五性沉流,借慧棹而登岸」。借慧可以讓我們登上彼岸。慧就是平等,借這個平等的慧。「法如筏者」,法就如竹筏,從此岸的苦渡到彼岸,安定的地方去,就是借智慧,這樣讓我們很平安,能夠踏上彼岸,故曰「普皆蒙饒益」。

我們眾生,真的是各人的境界不同,但是我們學佛,道理是平等,不分人類或是動物,我們都是同樣的愛,何況是國界,何況是種族,何況是宗教等等,我們都要普遍,這叫做慈悲等觀。這是佛陀宏遠以來,很長久以前的悲智,這樣一直在人間付出,這樣在攝受眾生,教化眾生。眾生要用最虔誠的心來供佛,不是用物質,是要用誠意來供佛,接受佛的教法,付出於人間,這才是真供養者。所以時時要多用心。


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發表主題: 回復: 20170127《靜思妙蓮華》言有法行有則(第1011集) (法華經•化城喻品第七)   周日 4月 16, 2017 10:09 pm

Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: Speaking with Dharma, Acting with Principles  (言有法行有則)
Date: January.27. 2017
 
“With great, far-reaching compassion and wisdom, there is no being He does not transform. He widely transforms all heavenly beings and humans, accordingly exercising His loving-kindness. He gives teachings to all in the Five Vehicles and never misses suitable opportunities. His speech contains the Dharma and principles. His conduct and demeanor make Him the teacher of heavenly beings and humans.”
 
“With great, far-reaching compassion and wisdom, there is no being He does not transform.” All Buddhas in the world transform sentient beings. It takes a very long time to do so. Sakyamuni Buddha was not the only one. For all Buddhas, the process of spiritual practice requires a very long time. The Chapter on the Parable of the Conjured City beings by telling us about a period of time that is how long? Very long. How long? Dust-inked kalpas, since before the beginning of Beginningless time. This was such a long time.
 
The process of spiritual practice for all Buddhas takes this long amount of time. In particular, Their compassion and wisdom are so open and vast. However long a time has passed, Their compassion and wisdom have existed that long. No matter how high or how deep or how extensive the space is, Their compassion and wisdom reach everywhere. Regardless of time or space, Their compassion and wisdom are always far-reaching and extend to all things in the world.
 
So, “There is no beings [They] do not transform.” Among heavenly beings, humans and even the four forms of birth and Five Realms, there are none whom the Buddha does not transform. So, as long as there are principles, this is the path to enlightenment. Being in accord with enlightenment and the path, having principles and understanding them, we are thus on the path to awakening.
 
Some remain in confusion about the principles. They do not know what the principles are and remain in [a state of] ignorance, where they act against the principles. There are also people who follow the path in their actions, who abide by the laws, the path and the principles. Thus in the world, they accept the principles and also teach others. They stick to the truth and walk the right path. These are the principles.
 
With principles, they can awaken and experience the truth to understand. This is all on the path to enlightenment. The path of enlightenment has been there for years, not only years but ever since the distant past, with the path always being passed down. It because the path is transformed that the principles still exist. No matter how much time has passed, the Buddha-Dharma always stands the test of time. This is our goal in transmitting the path.
 
So, we transmit the path, and its content is compassion and wisdom. Thus there is a path. Without wisdom and compassion, there is no path. So, compassion and wisdom, throughout time, have been ever-abiding. We all intrinsically have Buddha-nature. For everyone, “Human nature is inherently good.” Every person in the world was born with these principles. However, in our daily living, the habitual tendencies we formed are not good; our afflictions and ignorance cause us to act against the path. This means the path has not been transmitted. If many people are transmitting the path, if everyone upholds their mission and follows the path, naturally the world will run smoothly; everything will be a principle of awakening in the world. All beings in the world will be transformed.
 
What is tragic is that we lack the spirit to transmit the path. Still, the Buddha-Dharma is ever-abiding. So, “There is no being He does not transform.” As long as the principles remain in the world, no matter when, if principles meet people with affinities, naturally those people can be transformed. “He widely transforms all heavenly beings and humans, accordingly exercising His loving-kindness.” In this way, in the world, the Dharma is ever-abiding and unchanging. For people with affinities, the causes and conditions converge. For all heavenly beings and humans, whether wealthy or poor, noble or lowly, once the causes and conditions converge, they can naturally be transformed.
 
Thus, “He widely transforms, all heavenly beings and humans, accordingly exercising His loving-kindness.” When the Dharma is free from obstructions, it allows us to have everything we wish. When we accept the Dharma, we have loving-kindness.
 
I have often said that loving-kindness is life’s blessing. [I hope] everyone has the principles, understands and follows the principles. I do not mean just a few people; I means everyone. Everyone can accept loving-kindness and exercise loving-kindness in the world. Thus we can create blessings for all people. If we have mutual love when we interact in our interpersonal relationships, we will live in a most blessed world. When we create blessings for one another, we are exercising loving-kindness. So, “accordingly exercising His loving-kindness” requires that He “gives teachings to all in the Five Vehicles and never misses suitable opportunities.”
 
Giving [teachings] is also a practice of giving. He goes to teach, to reveal the teachings. What does He want to teach? Exercising loving-kindness. Everyone can do this, can exercise this loving-kindness around the world and in the Five Vehicles. What are the Five Vehicles? All the teachings that the Buddha gave never go beyond the Five Vehicles. Even for heavenly beings and humans, the Buddha would teach the Dharma for the world. If people in the world can accept the Dharma and understand the principles, the will naturally develop great love, abide by the Five Precepts and have an open and spacious loving heart. This is what He taught for humans. In the world He taught not only upholding the Five Precepts but also practicing the Ten Good Deeds. We should faithfully accept and practice the Buddha-Dharma, uphold the Five Precepts and practice the Ten Good Deeds. This is the Heavenly Being Vehicle. If we abide by the Five Precepts, it is the Human Vehicle. If we practice the Ten Good Deeds, it is the Heavenly Being Vehicle. Then there are the Hearer Solitary Realizer and the Bodhisattva Vehicles. These are the Five Vehicles.
 
As for Hearers, Solitary Realizers and Bodhisattvas, we often say that Hearers are also human, and heavenly beings were humans who practiced. Only in the human realm can we hear the Buddha-Dharma, take the Dharma to heart and put it into practice by exercising loving-kindness, practicing compassion and wisdom together. For people in the world who enjoyed blessings, He taught them to protect their kind hearts. To benefit people is to exercise loving-kindness. If people in this world are suffering, to promptly relieve their suffering is to exercise compassion; we must exercise both loving-kindness, compassion. We must practice both compassion and wisdom; through compassion we apply our wisdom. We use wisdom to find ways to save and deliver sentient beings. From sentient begins’ state of suffering, “Having relieved them from suffering, [Bodhisattvas] then expound the Dharma for them.” Then they again exercise loving-kindness to give teachings. This is the process in which we were taught.
 
When the Buddha comes to the world, He never misses suitable opportunities. Whatever capabilities sentient beings have, the Buddha teaches according to capabilities. Whatever hardship sentient beings face, the Buddha would, making use of their hardship, exercise His wisdom to relieve their suffering. This is the Buddha-Dharma applied in the world. “His speech contains the Dharma and principles.” Everything that the Buddha said, the teachings He expounded, contained principles, contained Dharma, contained rules. When the Buddha was in this world, since He taught everyone to uphold the precepts, He Himself set an example for others to follow. He is a role model for the world. So, His dignified demeanor made Him the Teacher of Heavenly Beings and Humans. For Sakyamuni Buddha, one of His ten epithets is the Teacher of Heavenly Beings and Humans. His dignified demeanor could teach and transform heavenly beings and humans. He did not only use His speech; every one of His actions and all His physical conduct were examples for heavenly beings and humans [to follow]. So “His speech contains the Dharma and principles.” What of His actions? He had a dignified demeanor. He is the Teacher of Heavenly Beings and Humans. The Buddha transforms and delivers people from this world.
 
This was not only true for Sakyamuni Buddha. All Buddhas share the same path. Still, in the world the Buddha often encountered many difficulties. Among the Buddha’s Sangha, we all know Devadatta. One time, the Buddha was in Rajagrha. At that time, Devadatta began to see that the Buddha was becoming more and more well-respected by many people. He hoped [the same] for himself. He came from the same caste as the Buddha and was the Buddha’s cousin. He was one of the same generation as the Buddha, and one of the princes who became a monastic. The Buddha, who used to be the crown prince, had attained Buddhahood. Devadatta was also a prince who had renounced the lay life. Through his talent, he understood all teachings taught by the Buddha. Though Devadatta understood the Buddha-Dharma, he gave rise to an arrogant mindset. “The Buddha is well-respected by so many. I have also understood the Buddha-Dharma. I should also be able to lead sentient beings. I also want to be called a Buddha, have people acknowledge me as the Awakened One. I will also be respected by people.”
 
However, the world only acknowledged a single Great Enlightened One, Sakyamuni Buddha. So, Devadatta went and incited King Ajatasatru [to seize power]. We had talked about this before King Ajatasatru had always favored Devadatta. Anything Devadatta said, he would accept. So, Devadatta told King Ajatasatru, “Many people in Rajagrha have been making offerings to the Buddha. You should issue an order to all people to stop them from making offerings to the Buddha. Then we will see what great powers He has in how He leads the Sangha to sustain their lives.”
 
King Ajatasatru listened to Devadatta and truly issued a command which was then handed down. When the Sangha came to beg for alms, every household was prohibited from giving food. The people were very angered by this order. Everyone was very reluctant, but they could not disobey the king’s order; that would be breaking the law. So, at that time, everyone in the kingdom was angry and also worried about the Buddha’s Sangha. How would they survive?
 
Everyone was upset and sad. This shook the heavens and the earth, and Sovereign Sakra felt it. “Why? Why did the earth shake? What were the causes and conditions?” He quickly went to investigate. It turned out that sentient beings on earth [were upset] over King Ajatasatru’s prohibition. With the Sangha unable to beg for alms, they faced great constraints and trouble in life. So, Sovereign Sakra led his heavenly beings to prepare an abundant [offering], using silver and gold plates and other treasures to serve a meal [to the Sangha]. The food was very delicious. They came from heaven with a dignified atmosphere, came before the Buddha and made offerings to Him. At the same time, they requested, “Will you allow us heavenly beings to make offerings for your entire life?”
 
The Buddha remained silent and did not answer. Sovereign Sakra saw that the Buddha did not respond, [so he asked], “Can you allow us to make offerings for 50 years?” The Buddha remained silent. “What about five years? Will you allow us to make offerings for 5 years?” The Buddha still did not answer. “What about five months?” He still did not agree. Then, Sovereign Sakra asked, “Please allow five days for us to make offerings in these five days, please allow me, Sakra, and the heavenly beings to create blessings and make offerings to the Buddha.” The Buddha happily accepted this.
 
For these five days, the heavenly beings made offerings to the Buddha every day. Every day at noon, these auspicious signs would manifest across the city. On the fifth day, King Ajatasatru saw this from his pavilion. “How dignified this is! This auspicious sign came from heaven and landed at Jeta Grove. What are the causes and conditions for this?” The king’s minister then said, “It has been five days. Those must be heavenly beings that came to make offerings to the Buddha.” At that time, King Ajatasatru felt very upset. Devadatta was by his side, so he blamed Devadatta, saying, “You are poisonous to have me give such an order. When the Buddha’s Sangha were not allowed to receive offerings from my people, the heaven and earth shook. What made that happen? This was caused by the anger of my people, which moved the heavenly beings to make offerings the Buddha. I was wrong to listen to you.”
 
The king quickly led everyone [to Jeta Grove], not listening to what Devadatta said. He went to the Buddha’s place of practice. When he came to the abode, he repented to the Buddha for his mistake in giving that order. The ministers who were with him at that time quickly proposed to King Ajatasatru, “Will your majesty withdraw this order so the people are allowed to make offerings to the Buddha?” “Of course! If my people can make offerings to the Buddha, it will bring blessings to the entire kingdom!”
 
With this, the Buddha happily expounded the Dharma for the king and his ministers. Everyone was very happy about this. The order had been withdrawn. This way, the life of the Sangha resumed, and everyone in the kingdom could again make offerings to the Buddha. This happened when the Buddha was in the world. During His journey of spiritual practice, He often encountered interpersonal conflicts. People say things that seem to make sense, but actually they do not make sense. If there were people around King Ajatasatru who acted against the principles and if he accepted what they said, then the people in his kingdom could do nothing.
 
But, the Buddha had such wisdom and compassion. The heavenly being wanted to make offerings to the Buddha and the Sangha throughout their lifetimes, but the Buddha did not agree. Even for only five months, He would not agree. He accepted their offerings for only five days. Isn’t this because the Buddha wanted to benefit people by letting sentient beings have the opportunity to encounter the Sangha and the Buddha and make offerings to them. This was the Buddha’s great vow of compassion and wisdom.
 
From ancient times until the present, He transformed sentient beings in life after life, always in the same way. This is how the Buddha applied His wisdom. In the world, sentient beings are stubborn and hard to train. See, Devadatta was also in the Sangha, but he had betrayed the Buddha. He was deluded and arrogant. He wanted to lead sentient beings himself. But without virtue, how could he lead sentient beings? With only knowledge, lacking wisdom and virtues, how could he lead sentient beings? He had turned right into wrong. This is how our world is; there are many people like this.
 
So, we must constantly be vigilant of ourselves. The Buddha has great, far-reaching compassion and wisdom. There is no being He does not transform. His conduct and demeanor made Him the Teacher of Heavenly Being and Humans. His speech contained the Dharma and principles. His conduct and demeanor guided and transform heavenly beings and humans. These were the Buddha’s blessings and virtues.
 
The preceding sutra passage states, “The flowers they scattered were like Mt. Sumeru. They were used to make offerings to both the Buddha and the Bodhi-tree. This Bodhi-tree was ten yojanas in height. Having made offerings with flowers, they each offered their palaces to that Buddha.”
 
We explained this yesterday. Many heavenly beings from the Brahma palaces. They scattered flowers as they made offerings. How magnificent that scene was! They not only made offerings to the Buddha but also to the tree of enlightenment because the Buddha engaged in spiritual practice there, had sat in meditation there and awakened there. This was all thanks to this tree, so the tree was respected like the Buddha, and offerings were made to it at the same time.
 
So, they scattered flowers all around to the point that thought the Bodhi-tree was very tall, the flowers that fell from the sky were [piled] in an offering as high as His tree. They were also scattered on the ground; this scene was very dignified.
 
The next sutra passage stated, “They said these words, ‘Please look upon us with mercy and benefit all of us. As for the palaces that we offer, may you honor us by taking them.’ At that time, all the Brahma kings in the presence of the Buddha spoke with one mind and in one voice.”
 
This sutra passage is simple [to understand]. After the flowers were scattered, the heavenly beings wished to make offerings again. This time their offering was to other their palaces and so on to the Buddha. Their minds were full of reverence because the teachings that the Buddha taught had opened their hearts and let them understand. [They realized] material wealth is tangible but impermanent. Only by taking the true principles to heart as spiritual wealth can one truly be wealthy.
 
So, at this place, heavenly beings sought the Dharma more intensely than they sought fame, profit or material wealth. So, their resolve to seek the Dharma was stronger than that to seek material wealth.
 
So they said, “Please look upon us with mercy.” “No matter how much material wealth we have, the things that we need the most are the principles that can help us awaken. So the text says, “Please look upon us with mercy and benefit all of us.” They “prayed the Buddha would look on them with mercy and benefit all of them.”
 
Only the principles can allow people to thoroughly understand. So they wished to make offerings again, to use everything in the palace to make offerings. They asked the Buddha to look upon them with mercy.
 
In this impermanent life, they were seeking everlasting awakening. They did not want to remain in the impermanence of the heaven realm. Once they depleted their heavenly blessings, they would once again fall into the human realm. If they were careless in the human realm and gave rise to afflictions and ignorance, they would fall into the Three Evil Realms. They felt the comfort they enjoyed was impermanent and hoped to seek the everlasting principles.
 
They asked the Buddha to look upon them with mercy and benefit all of them by helping them attain that which is everlasting. “At that time, all the Brahma kings, having says this, then repeated it again. Before the Buddha, “with one mind and in one voice [they] spoken in verse.” It was not enough for them to say it once, so they repeated themselves in verse to invite the Buddha to accept their offerings.
 
“Please look upon us with mercy and benefit all of us. As for the palaces that we offer, may you honor us by taking them.” They hoped that the things they offered would be compassionately accepted by the Buddha. This showed their supreme reverence. This was their reverent prayer, hoping the Buddha would compassionately accept their offerings. This was their reverence.
 
Actually, it was enough for the Buddha to know that that were reverent. The Buddha’s life was very simple. He had three robes and one bowl. With one bowl, He could [beg] from 1000 households. Would He accept these material offerings such as the palaces? Of course not. However, the heavenly beings’ sincere intent was accepted by the Buddha. So, the Brahma kings used verses to once again express the reverence in their minds.
 
The next sutra passage states, “A Would-Honored One is profoundly rare.” This is the repeated verse. They finished with the ling-form prose before, and now they repeated themselves. They used the verses to repeat once again.
 
“A Would-Honored One is profoundly rare and difficult to encounter. You are replete with infinite merits and virtues and are able to save and protect all. Great teacher of heavenly beings and humans, have compassion for the world and all sentient beings of the ten directions so that all will universally receive benefits.”
 
“A Would-Honored One is profoundly rare.” We often say that it takes a long time for a Buddha to manifest in the world. Everyone is clear about this. A Would-Honored One must undergo a long time of going among sentient beings life after life and transforming them. Over such a long time in the world, a World-Honored One is profoundly rare. So, one is “difficult to encounter.
40 So, one is “difficult to encounter” It is not easy to encounter a Buddha.
 
A World-Honored One is profoundly rare and difficult to encounter: The Buddha’s wisdom and virtue, as well as His Marks and Characteristics, are rare in the world. Lengthy kalpas must pass before He appears in the world. He is difficult to encounter.
 
“The Buddha’s wisdom and virtue, as well as His Marks and Characteristics,”   had to be cultivated life after life. Thus they are “rare in the world.” The Buddha’s wisdom, virtue and His appearance all come from life after life of practice. Our appearance is not something that we can choose. What does it mean to be dignified? If we form good affinities, when everyone sees us, they will be joyful. If people sees us and feel respect and joy, that is truly “rare in the world.” We must have virtue for this to happen; we need to have blessings and virtues for people to feel a sense of joy and respect when they see us. This is “rare in the world.”
 
So, “Lengthy kalpas must pass,” a very long time, “before He appears in the world. He is difficult to encounter.” It is not easy for us to encounter a Buddha. “You are replete with infinite merits and virtues and are able to save and protect all.”
 
You are replete with infinite merits and virtues and are able to save and protect all: He is One Perfect in Wisdom and Action, so He can universally deliver all sentient beings.
 
For many lifetimes, He has been “One Perfect in Wisdom and Action” is one of the ten epithets of the Buddha. One Perfect in Wisdom and Action is replete with blessings and wisdom; He has both blessings and wisdom. He returns repeatedly to the Five Realms and four forms of birth. He returns continuously to transform sentient beings and dedicate Himself to people. “He can universally deliver all sentient beings.” One Perfect in Wisdom and Action has both blessings and wisdom; He repeatedly returns to universally deliver sentient beings. “You are replete with infinite merits and virtues.” He is replete with all merits and virtues.
 
You are replete with infinite merits and virtues: This is to praise His compassion. Completing the Path brings virtues; benefiting oneself and others brings merits. These are incalculable, so it says “infinite.” In terms of the principles of the Dharma-realm, being without deficiency is called being replete.
 
This was to praise His compassion. He is replete with all merits and virtues. He [transform] sentient beings and benefits others, so the world can be peaceful, and society can be harmonious. If sentient beings are suffering, He will relieve their suffering. This is something that we should praise. The Buddha’s virtue is replete with compassion. With universal compassion, He sees all sentient beings as His only child. This is universal compassion. So, “Completing the Path brings virtues.” He has this kind of virtue to repeatedly return and dedicate Himself to helping. Over a very long time, He has done everything to benefit the world and relieve suffering. These were His virtues. So, “Benefiting oneself and others brings merits”. Engaging in spiritual cultivation internally creates merits and taking actions externally creates virtues. As for His merits and virtues, “These are incalculable, so it says “infinite.” According to the principles of the Dharma-realm, He is without deficiency. Without deficiency, He is replete. This [state] is attained from spiritual practice. It is very perfect and complete without deficiency. It is already perfect and complete.
 
So, He is “able to save and protect all. He saves with great and far-reaching compassion.” His compassion and His vows to transform sentient beings are very long and far-reaching. Throughout many kalpas, “There is no being He does not transform.” In the Five Realms and four forms of birth, no sentient beings are left out. So, we speak of “practice without nothing further.” To practice with nothing further is to practice without missing anything. [Great] love leaves nothing out; there is no discrimination between countries, ethnicities or religions. The power of love can cover all things. This is a compassionate mind, with which He can save and protect all. The mind of compassion is vast; it is far-reaching and lasts for a very long time. [This mind] can save and protect all. “Great teacher of heavenly beings and humans” is [a title] “praising His loving-kindness.”
 
Great teacher of heavenly beings and humans: This is praising His loving-kindness. Within the scope of the Five Vehicles, no capability is missed. He reaches all in the Six Realms, leaving no one behind. In His speech there is Dharma. In His actions there are principles. So, He is called Teacher of Heavenly Beings and Humans.
 
We just mentioned universal compassion. “Great teacher of heavenly beings and humans” is praising His loving-kindness. Heavenly beings have blessings and no suffering; with blessings they experience no suffering. However, with blessings, if they do not thoroughly understood principles, there will be a limit to [their enjoyment]. No matter how long their lifespan is, one day, they will decay due to the laws of nature. No matter how greatly we are blessed, in the end, we will fall into a lower realm.
 
So, the Buddha taught the principles for them to understand. Once they take the principles to heart, they will attain everlasting awakening. This is what heavenly beings truly need. So, heavenly beings encounter no suffering; He does not need to have compassion for them. But, what heavenly beings are lacking is a full understanding of the principles, so He must help them increase their wisdom and help them comprehend the true principles, which are everlasting and lacking nothing. This is loving-kindness.
 
So, the scope of His teachings is, as we said, within the Five Vehicles. He taught heavenly beings, humans, Hearers, Solitary Realizers and Bodhisattvas. These are the Five Vehicles. His teachings never leave the Five Vehicles. “He reaches all in the Six Realms,” “leaving no one behind.” It is the same for the Five Realms or Six Realms. The Six Realms includes the asura realm, but in the Lotus Sutra, the asura realm is mixed with the other Five Realms. Asuras constantly lose their temper. They are in the heaven realm and have heavenly blessings but not heavenly virtues. So, it was not listed as one realm. [Asuras] are spread among the other Five Realms.
 
So, it says “He reaches the Six Realms,” but He is actually in the Five Realms and [leaves] no one behind.” Even asuras were not left behind. By teaching the Five Vehicles, even the asuras could be transformed by the Buddha. So, in the Six Realms, He leaves no one behind. He lets no one slip through. “In His speech there is Dharma. In His actions there are principles. His speech contained the Dharma and His conduct made Him Teacher of Heavenly Beings and Humans. We mentioned this earlier; this is the power of love.
 
So, “Have compassion for the world and all sentient beings of the ten directions.” They hoped that the Buddha could have compassion for the world, even for all sentient beings of the ten directions. “He has mercy and compassion.” This is something that everyone hoped for. The Buddha was well respected in the world for His loving-kindness and His compassion toward all sentient beings. “[For] those in the worlds the ten direction, for all sentient beings in the Three Vehicles and the nine realms,” everyone can receive the love of the Buddha and accept the principles.
 
Thus, “All will universally receive benefits.”
 
“All will universally receive benefits: Those in the Three Evil [Destinies] suffer. Because the radiance shone on them, their suffering ceased immediately. [Beings of] the five natures sink in the current. They rely on the car of wisdom to reach the shore. Thus it says, “All will universally receive benefits.”
 
Sentient beings suffer in the Three Evil Destinies. We all know the Three Evil Destinies. They are the hell, hungry ghost and animal realms. Because the radiance shone on them, their suffering ceased immediately.” In these Three Evil Destinies, the sentient beings who are suffering are also able to receive this light, the principles. This radiance, as the previous passage stated, would be a ray of light for even the sentient beings from the netherworld, who would find their environment brightened up. Suddenly, people were able to see one another. In the past, they were in complete darkness. When a streak of light illuminated their world, they were able to see one another. This [light] is the true principles. The true principles can spread to everyone’s minds.
 
So, “Because the radiance shone on them, their suffering ceased immediately.” There is much suffering in Three Evil Destinies. When the principles enter their hearts, thought they are suffering, with the principles in their minds, they can naturally understand the law of karma. Though they are suffering in external conditions, they understand the [principles] in their minds.
 
We often hear, “Life is full of suffering! Isn’t this what the Buddha-Dharma says? These are the karmic conditions!” If we have a negative affinity, we should quickly repay what we owe. “If we have more spare time, we should use it to create blessings for our next lifetime.” We often hear people say this.
 
“[Beings of] the five natures sink in the current. They rely on the oar of wisdom to reach the shore.” With wisdom, we can reach the other shore. This wisdom is impartial. Using this impartial wisdom, the Dharma is like a raft that takes us from this shore of suffering to the other, peaceful shore.” We use wisdom to safely arrive on the other shore.
 
Thus it says, “All will universally receive benefits.” We sentient beings are each in different conditions. But as we are learning the Buddha’s teachings, the principles are impartial. Whether toward humans or animals, we express the same kind of love, let alone toward differing ethnicities, nationalities, religions and so on. We must spread our love universally. This is showing compassion to all equally.
 
The Buddha had great, far-reaching compassion and wisdom from a long time ago. He constantly gave of Himself in this world. He captivated all sentient beings and taught and transformed them. Sentient beings must use a mind of the utmost reverence to make offerings. We do not use material things to make offerings to the Buddha. We must accept the Buddha’s teachings and practice giving in the world. This is the true offering. So, let us always be mindful.
 

(Source: Da Ai TV – Wisdom at Dawn program – Explanation by Master Chen-Yen)
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20170127《靜思妙蓮華》言有法行有則(第1011集) (法華經•化城喻品第七)
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