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 20170202《靜思妙蓮華》梵天大悲請轉法輪 (第1015集) (法華經•化城喻品第七)

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發表主題: 20170202《靜思妙蓮華》梵天大悲請轉法輪 (第1015集) (法華經•化城喻品第七)   周四 2月 02, 2017 5:39 am

20170202《靜思妙蓮華》梵天大悲請轉法輪 (第1015集)
(法華經•化城喻品第七)

 
弘誓大悲救他苦,菩薩悲心四無量,諸佛悲智大圓妙,菩薩心為大行因,菩提道源大果具,梵天大悲請法輪。
爾時,大通智勝如來默然許之。又諸比丘!東南方五百萬億國土諸大梵王,各自見宮殿光明照曜,昔所未有。歡喜踊躍,生希有心,即各相詣共議此事。《法華經化城喻品第七
時彼眾中有一大梵天王,名曰大悲,為諸梵眾而說偈言。《法華經化城喻品第七
是事何因緣,而現如此相?我等諸宮殿,光明昔未有。為大德天生?為佛出世間?未曾見此相,當共一心求。《法華經化城喻品第七
未曾見此相,當共一心求:見所未見,勸共推求。此東南方梵天因光驚問,而大悲梵天王集議推求。
大悲梵王:於大德天生、及有佛出,東南方二疑問中,獨信為有佛出世,與前稍異。
大悲梵王:於大德天生、及有佛出,東南方二疑問中,獨信為有佛出世,與前稍異。
 
【證嚴上人開示】

「弘誓大悲救他苦,菩薩悲心四無量,諸佛悲智大圓妙,菩薩心為大行因,菩提道源大果具,梵天大悲請法輪。」
 
弘誓大悲救他苦
菩薩悲心四無量
諸佛悲智大圓妙
菩薩心為大行因
菩提道源大果具
梵天大悲請法輪
 
我們能了解嗎?「弘誓大悲救他苦」。希望我們人人都要發弘誓願,這是諸佛的通願。每一尊佛一定有一個共同的願,那就是四弘誓願、四無量心,這是諸佛共通的願。當然,每一尊佛還有別願,但是要有一個通願,佛佛道同,同一個願,才又有另外的別願。
 
成佛,不離四弘誓願、四無量心。我們要先立弘誓願,起大悲心,不忍眾生苦,要發菩薩心,去救度苦難眾生。苦難眾生從無始以來就有了,因為眾生都是,在因緣果報中的循環,從無始以來善惡,智慧與無明總是這樣,也是無始以來。所以,既然有很多無始以來的善,當然就有無始以來累積的惡。
 
所以,善,那就是要時時發心立願。善者,凡夫善,那就是修天福,賢人的善就是(修)梵天,若是聖人的,那就是斷生死,這不同。怎樣的善,其實善念,哪怕到了梵天,於梵夫,即使色究竟天,是有色界中最高的天,像這樣色究竟,完全都是享天樂,沒有苦,壽命長,享樂多。不過,梵天界的人都有自知,天福有盡,所以他們也很期待,要有進一步透徹真理,真理究竟透徹了才能夠斷生死,不必又在六道輪迴中。所以他們也會很用心,待佛出世,必定就是來請佛轉法輪。
 
可見,連天,梵天,他們也是要經過修行,但是修福,就是享盡天福,也同樣(有)墮落之時。所以我們發心立願,不只是修天福,還要超越天福,那就是斷生死。天福再追求,窮盡,就是盡頭的善,善的源頭,就是人人本具,真如的本性,那就是佛大覺悟,與天體合一。所以我們應該,也要有這樣的心態。
 
當然就要發弘誓願,要大悲救他苦。眾生有苦難,發心要去救濟。「菩薩悲心四無量」,首先要有弘誓願來起動,我們的悲心,才有辦法很堅固,我們的四無量心。弘誓願,四弘誓願、四無量心,大家都很清楚了。所以「諸佛悲智大圓妙」,就要經過四弘誓願,要再身體力行四無量心,志在成佛,無上正等正覺,這樣不斷向前走。成佛了,那就是諸佛,因為諸佛的通願,共同就是弘誓,與無量的大慈悲心。
 
所以「悲智大圓妙」,慈悲具足了,四弘誓願,「佛道無上誓願成」,智慧圓滿了,叫做「悲智大圓妙」,全都大圓鏡智完成了。這就是「菩薩心為大行因」。大行,開始發心,我們就是要成佛;要成佛,前面的條件就是「眾生無邊誓願度」,這是四弘誓願。無邊的眾生苦難偏多,我們要首先發大心、立大願,度盡苦難眾生。
 
眾生與我們自己本身,都是在凡夫無明中,所以眾生煩惱無量,我們就要誓願斷,我們自己要好好斷煩惱,不只是自己斷煩惱,眾生的煩惱,我們也要發心立願去斷。煩惱無邊,不是我們自己而已,眾生也是。所以,佛道是很開闊,我們必定要用心去學,用心聽,用心去體會。佛道無上,至高無上的佛道,我們要誓願成。
 
修行就是要成佛,不成佛,我們絕對不停止。所以「菩薩(心)為大行因」,大行,生生世世,發大心,立弘誓願,這就是叫做大行,大行為因。菩提道呢?「菩提道源大果具」,這就是成佛了。這條路,菩薩道,我們要走。大行的因、菩薩的道,我們要不斷向前走,不能間斷。
 
所以「無間修」,菩薩道一定要走,這是我們的覺道,這是我們要成佛的道源,這條道的盡頭,那就是成佛了,這叫做大果圓具,成佛了。
 
所以,梵天大悲都來請法輪。我們最近一直說梵天王,梵天,東、西、南、北、東南、西北,十方的梵天(王)都來。(大通智勝)佛開始要轉法輪了,從八方、上、下,合起來十方,梵天王都共同要來求,求佛的覺道。唯有覺道才有辦法斷苦難,要不然,人間眾生造業共業,就會引來了災禍。世間有共業,以及各人的因果,各人隨自己的業,這也有共業。
 
就像我們現在這樣平平安安,外面風平浪靜,我們才能坐在這裡,我說話,你們聽法。其實海面上一個颱風,蘇迪勒,這個颱風已經在海面上,一直一直接近臺灣來了,今天(2015年8月7日)它就要登陸臺灣了。
 
自古以來,已經有好幾次在八七,八月七日登陸的颱風,也前後有十一個颱風,在「八七」這一天登陸。讓我們印象很深的,常常說「八七水災」,在一九五九年,現在若說八七水災,最代表的名詞是在一九五九年。這次的八七水災,不是颱風正式登陸,是一個中度的颱風,叫做「艾倫」,這個艾倫颱風,還沒直接登陸臺灣,它只是在外圍,熱帶低氣壓這樣引向臺灣,形成了強大的西南氣流,這樣就來了三天三夜的大雨,從八月七日一直到八月九日,這樣三天的大雨。
 
這個大雨造成了臺灣,十三個縣市都受到重大的災難,從苗栗、臺中、彰化、雲林、嘉義等等,是災情最重的地方,尤其是彰化縣。那時候印象很深,這樣經過了整個月的時間,車子從彰化市區經過,看到滿目瘡痍。那時候的人蓋房子,都是土埆厝、竹管厝,大雨過後,雨又再泡兩三天,所以土埆厝都倒塌了,造成了六百多人,將近七百人往生,有四百多人就是失蹤,十八萬多人受災。又有另外一個說法,差不多三十萬人都受很重的災。
 
知道那時候十八萬也好,三十萬也好,那時候,臺灣的人口才七百多萬人,我們若想到若是十八萬人,或者是另外一個傳說,這是記載,三十萬人,你們就知道那個災情有多大,這是在八七水災。過後,那時候,政府在八月十二日,全臺禁屠八天。災難很大,所以那時候的政府,也知道要如何來祈福,如何來虔誠表達祈福,所以禁屠宰有八天的時間,停止一切宴會,停止殺生拜拜,這是在那時候。
 
看到這個歷史,實在也覺得怵目驚心啊!那個時代,臺灣的人口七百多萬人,受災的人有那麼多,可見那時候的臺灣,尤其是那時候的政府,能夠那麼的明智,用八天禁屠,不能宰殺,這樣來做虔誠的祈禱,這實在是令人很感動。也知道那時候的災情很大。根據老一輩的人,有遇過那時候的災難,他們已經都知道,那實在是很大,所以損失的地方很多。
 
再想到0九年,二00九年,莫拉克颱風也是在八月七日,莫拉克颱風登陸了,這我們的印象就很深了。南部造成了很大的災難,所以他們叫做八八水災,因為八八是父親節,父親節,所以他們叫做八八水災。在八月七日登陸,八月八日看到災情還沒過去,開始登陸之後,就是大雨,報出了很多很多的災情,一直報出來。
 
所以我們人間菩薩開始動員,從北到南,對這段時間,回憶還很深,因為它是二00九年的災難。若是在八七水災,它是一九五九年所造成的水災,這樣前後幾年呢?
 
今天也有一個颱風,(蘇迪勒)在海面上,我們要提高警覺。而且,那個風速很快,而且那個(風)力也很大,它的結構很結實,(強度)在中度,也是方向,它是向著花蓮來登陸。是要在花蓮和宜蘭,或者是在花蓮和臺東,這一帶(登陸)呢?
 
現在它的面積大,它光是半徑,就有二百九十多公里,所以涵蓋是全臺灣,登陸是從花蓮,是在花東,或者是在花宜?總是大家要很提高警覺,請大家要很用虔誠的心,密切注意。現在看起來,外面還無風無雨,明天這個時候就不知道了,因為它從下午開始,就慢慢風雨進來了,請大家要密切注意。說到過去的經驗、回憶,我們不要輕視這一次,大家要密切注意。
 
人間就是有這樣的苦,眾生共業,所以我們要好好,時時要謹慎用心。
 
發弘誓願,必定我們要有的,四無量心,這是菩薩必經的道路,是成佛的大因。所以要成佛果,不能欠缺四弘誓願、四無量心。
 
來,我們來看前面的(經)文,「爾時,大通智勝如來默然許之。又諸比丘!東南方五百萬億國土諸大梵王,各自見宮殿光明照曜,昔所未有。歡喜踊躍,生希有心,即各相詣共議此事。」
 
爾時
大通智勝如來
默然許之
又諸比丘
東南方
五百萬億國土
諸大梵王
各自見宮殿
光明照曜
昔所未有
歡喜踊躍
生希有心
即各相詣共議此事
《法華經化城喻品第七
 
前面是東方的梵天王,現在是東南方的,五百萬億國(土)的梵天王,同樣的,各見宮殿光明照耀,大家趕緊共同來共議:這個光好像很異常,光的來源從西方來,到底是大德天生?或是佛出世間呢?這是在過去的(經)文所有的,東方的梵天王,他們心的疑念。最後確定是大覺世尊,應該就是佛出世間,或者是佛將要轉法輪了,所以這樣大家去推尋,共議此事。
 
所以下面接下來,這段(經)文說,「時彼眾中有一大梵天王,名曰大悲,為諸梵眾而說偈言。」
 
時彼眾中
有一大梵天王
名曰大悲
為諸梵眾而說偈言
《法華經化城喻品第七
 
這梵天王中有這位大梵天王,名叫做大悲。因為他,這位梵天王,也是他的心,有悲濟一切眾生的心願,這就是他的名號,他也是要再求究竟法,所以他的名字叫做「大悲」。「為諸梵眾而說偈言」,意思就是說,這位大悲梵天王,希望人人(乘)過去生的福,救濟眾生,但是那個法還不究竟,所以應該要再追尋佛透徹的法。
 
佛成佛,大家都到齊了,現在是佛將要轉法輪之時,所以這位大悲梵天王,就向諸天眾這樣說:「是事何因緣,而現如此相?我等諸宮殿,光明昔未有。為大德天生?為佛出世間?未曾見此相,當共一心求。」
 
是事何因緣
而現如此相
我等諸宮殿
光明昔未有
為大德天生
為佛出世間
未曾見此相
當共一心求
《法華經化城喻品第七
 
這件事,這道光明,到底是什麼因緣呢?有這麼微妙光明的瑞相,照耀在宮殿,這到底是什麼因緣呢?所以大家要趕緊去推尋,看這道光到底是什麼因緣而來,有這麼瑞兆的形象。
 
「我等諸宮殿,光明昔未有」。像這樣的光耀,其實過去好像很少有,是宮殿的光,這是過去都沒有的。
 
「為大德天生?為佛出世間」嗎?這是大悲梵天王向大家這樣說,到底是不是還有,世間行大菩薩道的人,生來梵天嗎?或者是佛出現在世間呢?這就是大家要好好來推尋。因為這是東南方的梵天王,這位大悲(梵)天王,這樣鼓勵大家,去找光的來源。光的來源,就是真理的來源。
 
所以「未曾見此相,當共一心求」。
未曾見此相
當共一心求:
見所未見
勸共推求
此東南方梵天
因光驚問
而大悲梵天王
集議推求
 
過去好像未曾看過,現在我們應該要勤,要很殷勤去求,推究光的來源。這就是東南方的梵天,因為這個光,所以人人互相驚問,彼此之間看到這個(光),驚喜,這種瑞相,到底是怎麼來的?互相來問。這是大悲梵天王,去聚集這麼多人,共同來推尋,來問。
 
這位大悲梵天王這樣說:「是大德天生嗎?」就是做很多好事的人,能夠生在梵天,這是很不容易。梵天就是色界,色(界)說過了,就是有物質的天(界),有物質、有享受的地方。能在人間造福,一直到了生在這個天,這是很不簡單,所以叫做「大德」。這是具足了很多,行善(修定)又持戒,持淨戒。因為梵天就是清淨的意思,沒有犯戒的人,能夠行大善的人,才能生到這個天來,所以稱為「大德天生」。
 
或者是佛出世間,才能有這樣的光明出來。東南方的梵天,有這兩種疑問。到底是大德天生呢?或是佛出世間呢?這是東南方梵天,這樣的疑問。
 
所以「獨信為有佛出世」。
 
大悲梵王:
於大德天生
及有佛出
東南方二疑問中
獨信為有佛出世
與前稍異
 
我們前面也講過了,東方梵天也是有這樣的疑問,這道光到底是大德天生呢?或是佛出世間呢?不過大悲梵天王評估起來,肯定應該是佛,佛出現在世間。佛出現世間,有大光明,那就是真理,就是虛空法界的真理,會合起來如一道光,這應該是佛出生在人間。這是大家的共議,共同的看法。
 
我們學佛真的是要很用心。佛法在人間,我們的心與行,心要有弘誓願,人人要瞭解,人與人之間,真的是要彼此互相要懂得關懷,將心比心想,人間真的是苦。
 
每天都要向大家說人間苦,我們難道沒有感受到這個苦嗎?尤其是我們現在的社會,雖然物質享受都很豐富,卻是煩惱無明更是很重。尤其是現在,不只是煩惱無明互相困擾、互相擾亂,家庭社會,人心,這就已經很苦了,加上人禍發生,人禍的發生,就是人的心,人的心不規則,所以妄動,就惹成了人禍。
 
小的是個人,或者是家庭,或者是社會,較大的,那就是國家,天下蒼生的災難,這都是在一念心。一念心的偏差,個人的煩惱,造成個人的傷害,個人的無明惹起了家庭的悲劇,個人的心態影響別人的心;別人的心無明匯聚,引起了社會不平安,人倫道德破壞,社會就有危機了。較嚴重的,人禍,國家的人禍就發生起來。
 
現在常常跟大家說,難民四散在多少多少的國家。看看這幾年來,敘利亞、伊拉克等等,不斷不斷人禍擴散出去,災民不間斷,這樣流離失所。幾百萬人,上千萬人,苦不堪啊!每天我們看新聞都看到,流離失所之後,就是又有天災。想想看,像這樣,有大風大雨,流離失所,住在帳篷區的人,他們又是什麼樣的生活感受呢?
 
大太陽,在帳篷區裡面;下霜雪時,在帳篷區裡面。想想看,天下苦難的人有多少呢?再來就是天災,看看水災、風災,這種地震,造成的苦,哪怕富有的國家,同樣的,天災過大了,造成的災難也很大。你想,人間怎會不苦呢?加上生、老、病、死的苦,加上家庭不順調,所結的緣不好。
 
我們常常慈善工作在做,一個家庭,幾個人心理有病,身體有障礙,一家人的業交結不清,真的是苦不堪!你們想,人間怎麼會不苦呢?梵天王雖然享受天樂,但是他瞭解道理,他知道,不過還有一項,生死未斷,所以生死未斷,他們現在要追求的,是如何斷生死。我們修行的目標,也希望斷生死,我們現在也很期待,期待不要再六道輪迴,六道確實是苦啊!不過,這是很長久的時間。
 
目前我們大家要戒慎虔誠,因為颱風一直逼近臺灣來了,請我們人人,家家戶戶都要做防颱準備,更重要的,不是只有我們自己,也要社區左鄰右舍四周圍,水溝要清,風吹得動的東西要收(好),門窗戶牖,彼此之間互相關懷。
 
昨天的新聞就看到,慈濟人已經去看看弱勢家庭,是不是安全嗎?更期待能向管區鄰里長,向他們提醒,這個區有多少需要人照顧的人,風雨中,請他們多關心。總而言之,大家要用最虔誠的心,最謹慎,要虔誠用心來祈福,總而言之,愛的力量,希望虔誠上達諸佛菩薩聽,當然要時時多用心。


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Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: Requesting the Dharma-Wheel Be Turned (梵天大悲請轉法輪)
Date: February.02. 2017
 
“With great vows and compassion, they save others from suffering. Bodhisattvas have compassion and the Four Infinite Minds. The compassion and wisdom of all Buddhas are great, perfect and wondrous. With Bodhisattva-aspirations, they work for the seed of great practice. With the source of the Bodhi-path, they are replete with the great fruits. The Brahma kings, out of great compassion, requested the Dharma-wheel [be turned].”
 
Can we understand this? “With great vows and compassion, they save others from suffering.” I hope each of us can make the great vows; these are the shared vows of all Buddhas. Every Buddha has this same set of vows, which were the Four Great Vows and Four Infinite Minds. These are the shared vows of all Buddhas.
 
Of course, each Buddha also has specific vows, but They must have these shared vows. All Buddhas share the same path and same vows; only then can They give rise to specific vows. Attaining Buddhahood is separable from the Four Great Vows and Four Infinite Minds. We must first make the great vows. When we give rise to great compassion, we cannot bear to let sentient beings suffer. Thus we form Bodhisattva-aspirations to save and deliver suffering beings.
 
There have been suffering beings since Beginningless Time, because sentient beings have always been subject to the cycle of karmic cause and effect. Since Beginningless Time, there has been good and evil in everyone. Wisdom and ignorance have likewise been in all of us since Beginningless Time. So, since we have accumulated much goodness since Beginningless Time, of course we have accumulated much evil since Beginningless Time as well. To accumulate goodness, we must constantly form aspirations and make vows. Ordinary people who cultivate goodness are cultivating heavenly blessings. When sages cultivate goodness, they cultivate blessings to be in the Brahma heavens. If noble beings cultivate goodness, they can put an end to cyclic existence; this is different. Regardless of the kind of goodness cultivated, even if one reaches the Brahma heavens, or even Akanishtha heaven, the highest heaven of the form realm, even in this ultimate heaven, where all one does is enjoy heavenly blessings, and there is no suffering, very long lives and many pleasures, still, heavenly beings in the Brahma heavens are all themselves aware that their heavenly blessings are limited. So, they also look forward to going a step further to thoroughly understand the true principles.
 
Only with an ultimate, thorough understanding of the true principles can they put an end to samsara. Then, they will no longer transmigrate in the Six Realms. Therefore, they were very mindful. They waited for a Buddha to be born in the world so they could ask Him to turn the Dharma-wheel. Clearly, even beings in the Braham heavens had to go through a process of spiritual practice. But they cultivated blessings, and once these have been enjoyed and depleted, they will once again fall [into a lower realm]. So, when we form aspirations and make vows, we not only [seek to] cultivate heavenly blessings but to transcend this and put an end to cyclic existence. When we pursue heavenly blessings to the end, when we get to the bottom of that goodness, the source of all goodness, it is our intrinsic nature of True Suchness. This is what Buddha’s great awakening was, when He became one with the universe. So, we should also have the same state of mind.
 
Of course, this means we must make the great vows. We must have the great compassion to save others from suffering. When sentient beings are suffering, we form the aspiration to provide relief. “Bodhisattvas have compassion and the Four Infinite Minds.” First we must make the great vows to inspire our compassion, only then can we remain firm in the Four Infinite Minds.
 
The Four Great Vows and Four Infinite Minds are very clear to everyone. So, “The compassion and wisdom of all Buddhas is great, perfect and wondrous.” We must first make the Four Great Vows and then put the Four Infinite Minds into practice. Our goal is to attain Buddhahood, supreme, universal and perfect enlightenment. By continuously advancing in this direction, we will attain Buddhahood; this is what all Buddha have done. The shared vows of all Buddhas are the great vows and infinite great compassion.
 
So, “The compassion and wisdom of [all Buddhas] is great, perfect and wondrous.” They are replete with compassion, and with the Four Great Vows, “vow to attain unsurpassed Buddhahood.” Their wisdom is perfected, so, “The compassion and wisdom of [all Buddhas] is great, perfect and wondrous.” They have accomplished great perfect mirror wisdom. This is because, “With Bodhisattva-aspirations, they work for the seed of great practice.”
 
When we form aspirations for great practice, our goal is to attain Buddhahood. To attain Buddhahood the first requirement is to “vow to deliver countless sentient beings.” This is part of the Four Great Vows. Countless sentient beings have so much suffering, so we first must form great aspirations and make great vows to deliver all suffering sentient beings. Sentient beings and we ourselves are all in an unenlightened state of ignorance. So, the afflictions of sentient beings are boundless, and we must vow to eliminate them. We must earnestly eliminate our afflictions. In addition to our own afflictions, we must also aspire and vow to eliminate the afflictions of sentient begins.
 
Afflictions are boundless; it is not only we how have them, but all sentient beings. So, the path to Buddhahood is very wide. We must mindfully learn, mindfully listen, mindfully experience all of it. The path to Buddhahood is supreme, what we must vow to attain. We engage in spiritual practice in order to attain Buddhahood. We will not stop until we attain Buddhahood. So, “With Bodhisattva-aspirations, [we] work for the seed of great practice.” We must engage in great practice life after life. Forming great aspirations, making the great vows, these are the great practice, which is like a seed.
 
What about the Bodhi-path? “With the source of the Bodhi-path, they are replete with the great fruits.” This is about attaining Buddhahood. We must walk this road, this Bodhisattva-path. With the seed of great practice, the Bodhisattva-path, we must continue to advance without interruption. So, this is “uninterrupted practice.” We must walk the Bodhisattva-path; this is our path to awakening, the origin of the path to Buddhahood. At the end of this path, we attain Buddhahood. This is being replete with great fruits; this is attaining Buddhahood. So, the Brahma kings, out of great compassion, requested the turning of the Dharma-wheel.
 
Recently, we have been talking about Brahma kings. From the Brahma heavens of the east, west, south north, southeast, northwest [and so on], the Brahma kings of the ten directions all came. The Buddha was about to turn the Dharma-wheel. The eight directions and above and below are altogether the ten directions. The Brahma kings all came to seek the Buddha’s path to enlightenment. Only the path to enlightenment can eliminate suffering; otherwise, the collective karma created by sentient beings of the world will attract disasters.
 
In the world there is collective karma as well as people’s individual karmic causes and effects. Every person follows his or her own karma and is also [subject to] collective karma. For example, we are safe and at peace right now, and the weather is calm outside, thus we can sit here, I can teach and you can listen. But actually, Typhoon Soudelar is over the ocean. This typhoon has already appeared on the ocean, and it is getting closer to Taiwan. It will make landfall in Taiwan today.
 
Since ancient times, many typhoons have landed on Taiwan on August 7. There have been 11 typhoons that have made landfall in Taiwan on August 7. One that left a deep impression on us was the August 7th Flood that we often mention. This happened in 1959. If we talk about an August 7th flood now, we are referring to the flood of 1959. That August 7th Flood was caused by a typhoon that did not land on Taiwan. It was a medium-sized Typhoon called Ellen. Typhoon Ellen did not directly hit Taiwan. It remained on the periphery, a tropical depression heading toward Taiwan, creating a powerful southwesterly air current. This brought three days and three nights of heavy rain, from August 7th until the 9th. This heavy rain lasted for three days. This rain caused great damage in all 13 counties and cities in Taiwan. Miaoli, Taichung, Changhua, Yunlin and Chiayi, etc., were places where the damage was most severe, especially Changhua County. This left a deep impression on me.
 
For an entire month, when we passed through Changhua by car, we could see the devastation everywhere. At the time, people built houses out of mud bricks or bamboo. After the heavy rain and two days of flooding, the clod houses collapsed. This led to the deaths of more than 600 people, close to 700 people. More than 400 people were missing, and more than 180,000 people were affected.
 
Another report stated that approximately 300,000 people were deeply affected. Whether 180,000 or 300,000 people, at the time, Taiwan’s population was only seven million. If 180,000 people were affected, or according to another report, 300,000 people were affected, we can imagine the scale of the disaster.
 
After the Flood of August 7th receded, on August 12, the government banned animal slaughter in the entire country for eight days. The disaster was so severe the government at that time recognized that they should pray for blessings, should find a way to sincerely pray for blessings. So, they banned animal slaughter for eight days. They put a stop to all banquets, to rituals that required sacrifices. This was what they did back then. When we look at this period in history, we feel great shock and astonishment.
 
During that era, Taiwan’s population was about seven million, and so many people were affected by the disaster. Clearly people at that time in Taiwan, especially in the government, were very wise. They used an eight-day ban on animal slaughter as a form of sincere prayer. This was truly moving and also tells us how devastating the disaster was. According to the older generation, those who lived through that disaster all knew how devastating it was [at the time]. Many places suffered losses.
 
Next we may think back to the year 2009. Typhoon Morakot also struck on August 7th. That is when Typhoon Morakot made landfall. It left a deep impression on us. It resulted in a great disaster in the south; so, they called it the August 8th flood. Since August 8 is Father’s Day, they called it the August 8th flood. It touched down on August 7, and on August 8, its effects still had not passed. After it made landfall, there was heavy rain. We continually heard reports of damage. So, our Living Bodhisattvas began to mobilize to travel from the north to the south. My memory of this time is still vivid because it happened in 2009.
 
But the August 7th Flood was a flood that happened in 1959. How many years apart were these? Today, there is also a typhoon; [Typhoon Soudelor] is over the ocean. We must heighten our vigilance. Furthermore, its wind speed is very high, and its winds are very powerful. Its makeup is very stable, and it is moderate in strength. As for its direction, it will likely make landfall near Hualien. Will it be between Hualien and Yilan or between Hualien and Taitung that it makes landfall? Right now it is very large; its radius alone is more than 290km. It can cover all of Taiwan. It will make landfall in Hualien, either closer to Taitung or Yilan. In any case, we must heighten our vigilance.
 
Everyone, please be reverent and pay close attention. Right now, there is still no rain or wind outside. But what about this time tomorrow? We cannot know. Starting this afternoon, the wind and rain will gradually arrive. Everyone, please pay close attention.
 
Based on our past experiences and memories, we must not take this lightly. Everyone must pay close attention. There is this kind of suffering in the world because of the collective karma of sentient beings. So, we must earnestly and always be vigilant and mindful.
 
Making the great vows is something we must do. The Four Infinite Minds is the path Bodhisattvas must ravel. It is the great cause for attaining Buddhahood. Therefore, to attain the fruit of Buddhahood, we cannot be lacking the Four Great Vows and Four Infinite Minds.
 
Come, let us read the previous sutra passage. “At that time, Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Tathagata silently consented. Moreover, bhiksus in the 500 trillion lands to the southeast, all the great Brahma kings, each saw their palaces illuminated by a great radiance, which had never happened before. They jumped with joy and gave rise to a rare and precious aspiration, then immediately went to visit one another to discuss this matter.”
 
Previously we described Brahman Kings from the east. Now these are the ones from the southeast. The Brahma kings from 500 trillion lands all saw their palaces beings illuminated by light. They quickly gathered together to discuss this. This light seemed very unusual. It originated from the west. Had a Virtuous One been born in heaven or had a Buddha manifested in the world? This was what previous passages mentioned. Brahma kings from the east had this question in their minds. Finally, they confirmed that it was a World-Honored One of great enlightenment. Either a Buddha had manifested in the world or He was about to turn the Dharma-wheel. So, they all began to seek out [this sign] and discuss this matter together.
 
Then the sutra continues as follows, “Then, from amidst that assembly, a Great Brahma King named Great Compassion spoke in verse for those in the Brahma heavens.”
 
There was a Great Brahma King among them named Great Compassion. This was because this Great Brahma King had this aspiration to provide compassionate relief to all beings. Thus, this was his name. He also sought out the ultimate teachings. So, his name was Great Compassion.
 
“[He] spoke in verse for those in the Brahma heavens.” This means that Brahma King Compassion had hopes for everyone who came on the blessings they created in their past lives by saving sentient beings. However, this was not the ultimate Dharma. So, they had to further pursue the thorough teachings of the Buddha. After the Buddha attained enlightenment, they all came together. Now He was about to turn the Dharma-wheel, so Brahma King Great Compassion asked those in the Brahma heavens, “What are the causes and conditions of this, that such a sign would appear? In all palaces there is a great radiance like never before. Has a Virtuous One been born in heaven or has a Buddha manifested in the world? We have never seen such a sign before, so we should seek this together with one mind.”
 
What were the causes and conditions behind this matter, this radiance? With this auspicious sign of such subtle and wondrous radiance, the palaces were brightly illuminated. What were the causes and conditions behind this? Everyone wanted to quickly seek out the causes and conditions behind this light and this auspicious appearance.
 
“In all our palaces there is a great radiance like never before.” A radiance like this one had almost never appeared in the past. There has never been this radiance in the palaces. “Has a Virtuous One been born heaven or has a Buddha manifested in the world?” This was what Brahma King Great Compassion asked. Has someone who walks the great Bodhisattva-path in the world been born in the Brahma heavens? Or has a Buddha manifested in the world?
 
They earnestly sought to answer this question. This Brahma king from the southeast, Brahma King Great Compassion, was encouraging everyone to find the source of the light. The source of this light is the source of the true principles. “We have never seen such a sign before, so we should seek this together with one mind.”
 
We have never seen such a sign before, we should seek this together with one mind: They saw what they had not seen before, so he encouraged them to investigate together. When the Brahma kings from the southeast, because of the light, asked in astonishment, Brahma King Great Compassion brought the discussion together to explore this.
 
“We have not seen this before in the past; now we must be diligent and earnestly seek the source of this light.” The Brahma king from the southeast said this. Because of this light, everyone asked each other in astonishment. They each saw this radiance and were astonished; how did this auspicious sign come to be there? So, they asked each other. This was why Brahma King Great Compassion gathered so many people, so they could together seek the answer and ask each other about this.
 
This Brahma King Great Compassion asked, “Has a Virtuous One been born heaven?” people who do many good deeds can be born in the Brahma heavens. This is not easy to achieve. The Brahma heavens are in the form realm. As we have said, the form realm is the heavens with material things. It is a place of material things, of enjoyment. To create enough blessings in the human realm to be born in this heaven is not an easy thing to achieve.
 
So, such a person is called “Virtuous One.” This is one who is replete in practicing goodness, [cultivating Samadhi] and upholding precepts, the pure precepts. Because the Brahma heavens are pure, only those who do not violate precepts and have practiced great goodness can be born in this heaven. So, they are “Virtuous Ones born in heaven.”
 
OraBrahma might have manifested in the world, and that was source of this radiance. The Brahma kings from the southeast made these two speculations, had a Virtuous One been born in heaven or had a Buddha manifested in the world? The Brahma kings from the southeast had these speculations. Then, “They solely believed it was a Buddha manifesting.”
 
Brahma kings Great Compassion: As to whether a Virtuous One was born in heaven or a Buddha had manifested in the world, the two speculations of those in the southeast, they solely believed it was a Buddha manifesting. This differs slightly from earlier.
 
We said previously that those in the Brahma heavens of the east also made these speculations. Did this light signify a Virtuous One being born in heaven? Or a Buddha manifesting in the world? However, according to Brahma kings Great Compassion’s evaluation, he was certain it was a Buddha manifesting in the world. When a Buddha manifests in the world, there is a great radiance, which is the true principles. It is the true principles of the universe, converging like a beam of light.
 
So, it was likely a Buddha appearing in the world. After their discussion, this was their consensus. As Buddhist practitioners, we must truly be mindful. The Buddha-Dharma is in this world, so with our minds and actions, our minds must make the great vows, and we must understand that we have to truly take care of each other we have to truly take care of each other. When we put ourselves in other’s shoes, we know the world is indeed full of suffering.
 
Every day I tell everyone about the suffering in the world. Have we not felt this suffering? In particular, in our modern society, we have an abundance of material things to enjoy, but we have even more afflictions and ignorance. Right now, especially, not only do we cause trouble for each other with our afflictions and ignorance, disrupting families, societies and minds, which already results in great suffering, there are also manmade disasters on top of that. Manmade disasters [originate] in people’s minds. When our minds are disorderly, we are deluded, so we create manmade disasters. On a small scale, this affects the individual, or a family or a society. On a larger scale, it affects the nation. All disasters in the world arise from a single thought. When a single thought goes astray, an individual’s afflictions harms the individual. An individual’s ignorance causes family tragedies. An individual’s mindset affects other’s mindsets. When the ignorance in people’s minds converges, it will stir up societal unrest and destroy ethics and morality. Then society will be in crisis. In more severe cases, there will be manmade disasters; national manmade calamities will occur.
 
Recently, I have often talked about how refugees are spread throughout so many countries. Look at how over these past few years, in Syria, Iraq and so on, manmade disasters continue to spread endlessly. There is an unceasingly flow of refugees; those who have been displaced number in the millions and tens of millions. This is unbearable suffering!
 
Every day, watching the news we see how after being displaced, they have to face natural disasters. Think about it; when there is strong wind and heavy rain, what will the refugees in tents experience in their lives? Under the blazing sun, they are living in tents. When the snow falls, they are living tents. Think about it. How many people are suffering in the world?
 
Then there are natural disasters. Look at how floods, winds and earthquakes cause suffering. Even in wealthy nations, if the natural disaster is severe, the resulting damage will be great. Think about it; how can this world be free of suffering? In addition there is the suffering from birth, aging, illness and death, from disharmony in the family, from negative karmic affinities. Often when we do charity work, we encounter a single family with several members who have troubled minds or who are physically challenged. The entire family’s karma is severely entangled. This truly brings unbearable suffering. Think about it; how can this world be free of suffering?
 
The Brahma kings may enjoy heavenly pleasures, but they understand the principles. They know they still have one more thing to do; they have not yet put an end to cyclic existence. Since they still experienced samsara, what they now sought was to find a way to put an end to samsara. The goal of our spiritual practice is also to put an end to samsara. Now we are also looking forward to no longer transmigrating the Six Realms. The Six Realms are indeed full of suffering! However, this will take a very long time.
 
Right now, we all need to be vigilant and reverent. There is a typhoon approaching Taiwan. Everyone, please make preparations to protect your homes. Even more importantly, we must not only prepare ourselves, but gather all our neighbors and together clean out the storm drains, secure anything that might be blown away and tightly shut doors and windows. We must check up on each other.
 
Yesterday, I saw in the news how Tzu Chi volunteers are already visiting vulnerable households to ensure that they are safe. I also hope that we can remind village heads about the people who need more support so they will check in on them during the storm.
 
In summary, we must all use the most reverent and vigilant mindset and reverently and mindfully pray for blessings. In conclusion, I hope through the power of love, our most reverent prayers can be heard by all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Of course, we must always be mindful.
 

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