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 20170208《靜思妙蓮華》佛出於世作眾生眼 (第1019集) (法華經•化城喻品第七)

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發表主題: 20170208《靜思妙蓮華》佛出於世作眾生眼 (第1019集) (法華經•化城喻品第七)   周二 2月 07, 2017 11:42 pm

20170208《靜思妙蓮華》佛出於世作眾生眼 (第1019集)
(法華經•化城喻品第七)

 
依惡業可往來之處,名為三惡道。一、地獄道,成上品十惡業者趣之;二、餓鬼道,成中品十惡業者趣之;三、畜生道,成下品十惡業者趣之。
聖主天中王,迦陵頻伽聲,哀愍眾生者,我等今敬禮。世尊甚希有,久遠乃一現,一百八十劫,空過無有佛。《法華經化城喻品第七》
三惡道充滿,諸天眾減少。今佛出於世,為眾生作眼,世間所歸趣,救護於一切。《法華經化城喻品第七》
三惡道充滿,諸天眾減少:惡人多而善人少,隨因感果。不遇佛化,作業者多,惡趣充塞;以不修善,福盡沉淪,天眾減少。
今佛出於世,為眾生作眼:不識是非,如無目者,佛出化導,如盲得眼。眾生盲瞑,失於正見,不知出要,佛為指示,引之令出,故云為眾生作眼。
為眾生之父,哀愍饒益者,我等宿福慶,今得值世尊。《法華經化城喻品第七》
為眾生之父,哀愍饒益者:世間之父,能生色身,佛為法父,從法化生,清淨法身,哀憐饒益世間之者。
 
【證嚴上人開示】

「依惡業可往來之處,名為三惡道。」三惡道者,就是「一、地獄道,成上品十惡業者趣之;二、餓鬼道,成中品十惡業者趣之;三、畜生道,成下品十惡業者趣之。」
 
依惡業可往來之處
名為三惡道
一、地獄道
成上品十惡業者趣之
二、餓鬼道
成中品十惡業者趣之
三、畜生道
成下品十惡業者趣之
 
這就是要告訴我們,我們常常說三惡道,三惡道,我們都知道,地獄、餓鬼、畜生道,這叫做三惡道。是造什麼樣的業,會在地獄道呢?在這三惡道中,最極苦的地方,叫做地獄道。若入地獄道去,那就苦不堪言,那種苦是無間,所以在地獄中,有一個名稱叫做「無間地獄」。這個「無間地獄」是集種種、種種苦的名稱,就是無間斷地受苦,非常的苦。為什麼他會墮入這種地獄無間苦呢?這是造上品十惡業,這樣的人他自然就到地獄。
 
惡業也有上、中、下品。就是最極最極惡的人,他的結果,墮入的是極苦極苦,無間的地獄,這是非常苦。說起地獄的名稱,說起了地獄的苦難,實在是不堪描述,也無法去描述那種苦。反正我們若看到人間,有的家庭又是貧困,又是一個家庭裡,從父母到孩子、孫子,三代人之中,代代,人人都集中在苦,不是貧病,就是殘缺,也不只是一個、兩個,那是全家。有的人,一家人只指望一個,但是一個也受到無常,或者是大傷害,或者是大拖磨等等,在人間看到的,也有這樣的家庭。
 
所以說苦,一輩子的苦,第二代、第三代的苦,三代人同一個家庭,這種病、殘、無常,重重疊疊,裡面的個案有多少啊!在人間,我們就能看到這樣,無間斷的苦難。人間菩薩走進這樣的家庭,去救度眾生,將破爛的房子,幫他翻修,變得了;將糞尿、骯髒、垃圾堆,替他清掃,到了很乾淨。將每一個受苦難,用什麼方法為他安頓,看是要在收容院、養老院等等,較重的,就好好安頓他,較輕的,就長期陪伴、教育。
 
這在我們的人間,有這樣苦難如地獄的家庭,就有人間這樣的菩薩出現。這就要看因緣,有因緣的,我們就救得到;沒因緣的,還是沒辦法,這就真的叫做「沒法度」。有因緣的,就是過去生,還是有這個因、有這個緣,所以,這輩子他的苦難,就有一群人有了因緣幫助。若是過去生沒有法,沒有因、沒有緣,這輩子還是繼續的無間苦難斷,這樣再一直延續下去。這是在人間。
 
而要說的地獄,是完全地獄的世界。這個地獄的世界,就是一個家庭,他認為:我的世界就是這樣,我的世界就是這樣的苦。《地藏經》裡,無間地獄,「一人亦滿,多人亦滿」。現在的醫院,在重症的病房裡,每個人的病痛痛苦,都是覺得「是我最苦」,我,就是只有「我」,我的痛苦充滿了這個空間,他沒有想到隔壁床,還有比他更痛苦的人,這叫做「一人亦滿,多人亦滿」的,無間地獄。躺在那張床上,那就是我極苦啊!
 
「我很埋怨,隔壁怎麼有醫師、護士,怎麼還沒來到我這裡?我的時間很長、很難過啊!」心的埋怨、憂愁、驚恐,身心的拖磨,折磨、痛苦,如「無間地獄」。人若在痛苦中,都是以為自己是最最痛苦。這有因、有果、有報。
 
身體,哪怕,「某某人就很善,怎麼這樣呢?」善,有已成熟,在人間享受的善。有福的人享受,難道他就沒病,沒病痛嗎?有啊,過去生不以為造惡,但是他的業滿身。比如說現在,大家都在做好事的人也很多啊,卻是多少生靈在他的不知覺中,只是一個口欲,不知殺傷了多少,吞食了多少,多少的生靈為他苦、為他受折磨,最終就是骨肉被吞食。這些人,他雖然有善心在做好事,卻是在不覺中,不知道多少生靈被吞食?光是一個貪口欲,這,一旦病來磨,身心受苦難,這也有啊。極重的,那就是在地獄,苦不堪啊!
 
若是中品,就是墮在餓鬼道。不只是貧窮,又是出生在那種依報,沒有水,缺淨水,沒有清淨的水,沒有充足的糧食,也就是苦不堪。我們現在看國際新聞,多少這樣的國家受了戰亂,多少國家受了乾旱,多少國家向來的貧民,就是這樣病苦、飢餓等等,人間的餓鬼道,有多少呢!這種苦真正是,難去描述他們的苦。很難救,救不到,這樣的餓鬼道,飢餓的苦,雖然他也是在人間,卻是真的苦不堪啊!
 
三惡道中有這樣。就如有的人,一種病,偏偏吃不下,想要吃,吞不下,很想,但就是沒辦法吞、沒辦法吃,這在人間病痛之中,也有這樣的病,也有一種叫做厭食症。有一種就是神經系統失調,要吞下去,就是沒辦法吞,那個要吞的方法,一時之間失調了,吞食的神經失調了,沒辦法吞食。這,明明就有東西可以吃,卻是得到這樣的病痛,也有啊!何況在依正二報的苦呢?這種餓鬼道就是造中品的惡業,不是如十惡無間,地獄那種上品(十惡),還次一點,降一點點的惡,他就在餓鬼道。
 
第三就是畜生道。畜生道,同樣是在人間裡,我們所看得到的種種的動物,不論是多大型的動物,或是很微小的小蟲等等,這都叫做畜生道。畜生同樣有靈性。
 
一大早,我在瀏覽,我們全球慈濟人在做什麼事,發現到一則讓我很感動,那就是巴西(慈濟人),(2015年)七月底,他們去發放,在一個村莊,在那裡發放。那個村莊有華人,也有當地人,這種華裔與當地人,都是在貧困中,所以去義診、去發放。在義診、發放中,發現到了不少人眼睛近視,所以他們就去為他們,量眼睛的度數。
 
在八月一日,就是他們開始將大家集中起來,要送他們眼鏡,也有華人,也有當地人。一個是用華語為他們介紹慈濟,一個是用葡萄牙語,來向他們說慈濟,一個說中文,一個葡萄牙文,這樣來翻譯。在跟他們說慈濟當中,就向他們提倡慈善的愛,就是人與人之間要互愛,除了人與人之間互愛,人還要愛惜動物。他們就舉了一個故事,和他們分享。
 
這個故事是在一九七六年,唐山大地震,發生了中國唐山的大地震。其中有一位,在這個地震之前,這位善心的人,他看到一隻狐狸進到他的家裡,在廚房偷吃。廚房裡的魚煮好了,蓋在桌上,這隻狐狸把蓋子掀開,就這樣偷吃,把牠吃掉了。這位主人進來看到了,雖然是很生氣,不過這念心,一念悲心起,雖然有人喊打,卻是這位先生一念悲心起,保護了這隻狐狸,代替牠說情,保護著牠,就這樣將牠放生,把牠帶去放生了。
 
這是在地震的幾天前發生的事。到了地震之前一刻間,這隻狐狸又出現,出現,就來這位放生牠的人的面前,在那個地方,用種種的方式這樣逗他、逗他,這位放生的人,就一直和這隻狐狸玩,這隻狐狸的形態很可愛,這隻狐狸就邊誘引他、誘引他,就引出了他的家門,引出到一個安全距離的地方。忽然間天搖地動,整個唐山,唐山大地震發生了,整個房子都夷為平地了,家族有的也已經被埋了,但是這位放生的人安然無恙啊!
 
這是一個(真實的)故事,他故事說完之後就接著說,他說:「師父這樣說,我們人人貪一念口欲,吃盡了一切生命,眾生就是這樣相殺、相生,就是這樣互相來報應。如這隻狐狸就是這樣來報恩。感應,這是為善的感應,這隻狐狸來報恩。」他說:「師父常常這樣說,蠢動含靈皆有佛性。你殺牠,你吃牠,牠的心有恨、有怨,所以在不知覺中,哪一生世是你的眷屬,哪一生世是你的仇人等等。」說這段故事,引述得很感動人。
 
這是在巴西,他們也是定期在發放,不只是發放,又是義診,眼科、牙科。有看到如這樣眼睛模糊,看不清,他們就幫他配眼鏡;有的牙齒都壞了,他們就為他做假牙。總而言之,他們的用心愛,慈濟的精神、靜思的法脈,雖然離(臺灣)半顆地球之遙遠,那個心是那麼,距離這麼的密,這麼的近。「性相近」,在那個地方,同樣在聽法,所以他的聲聲句句都是「師父這樣說」、「上人這樣說」。看,同樣這些話,這個精神理念,他們用在那個地方。
 
他們也講出了,畜生道的因緣果報觀。是啊!善惡皆有報。地獄道,上品十惡業的苦,那是苦不堪言,無間斷的苦。餓鬼道,不論在人間,我們所感受、看得到的,貧困的地方,這樣的世界,富有的地方,這樣的病痛苦難,這與餓鬼界的境界也一樣。畜生道,到處都是,有空中飛的,我們現在聽到的鳥叫聲,有地上跑的,我們常常看到的貓啊、狗啊,還有種種微小的生命、動物,很多,也是說不完。這都是在善惡因緣循環中,這樣有這麼多形類的,生命的苦難,真是苦不堪。
 
所以我們必定要相信,三惡道,四生:胎生、卵生、化生、濕生,真的是苦啊!尤其是人天,也有無常的苦。人間生命也苦短,天人的生命雖然長,享福欲樂多,但是壽盡,同樣要墮落於五道輪迴裡。所以這段(經)文,就是<化城喻品>,範圍很大,梵天王不斷從東方、東南方,一直找光,要來推尋道理,找光的源頭,道理的源頭,不就是為了要如何脫離這種生死輪迴嗎?
 
我們前面的文,經文這樣說說,「聖主天中王,迦陵頻伽聲,哀愍眾生者,我等今敬禮。世尊甚希有,久遠乃一現,一百八十劫,空過無有佛。」
 
聖主天中王
迦陵頻伽聲
哀愍眾生者
我等今敬禮
世尊甚希有
久遠乃一現
一百八十劫
空過無有佛
《法華經化城喻品第七》
 
這段經文,我們應該更加瞭解了,這三惡道,真的是苦不堪。
 
這段(經)文再接下來這樣說,「三惡道充滿,諸天眾減少。今佛出於世,為眾生作眼,世間所歸趣,救護於一切。」
 
三惡道充滿
諸天眾減少
今佛出於世
為眾生作眼
世間所歸趣
救護於一切
《法華經化城喻品第七》
 
這段(經)文很清楚了。三惡道,前面所描述過的惡道,真的是苦不堪。惡道,愈來眾生愈多,在人間也是一樣,愈來人口愈多。他說「諸天眾減少」,可見天上壽盡,已經再墮落人間,在人間道上,所以叫做「諸天眾減少」。因為「三惡道充滿」,因為人間,這念無明,我們的無明,一念無明起,造作很多上、中、下品的惡業,那就要墜落三惡道。所以「三惡道充滿,諸天眾減少」。
 
「今佛出世間」,現在佛出現在世間。所以「為眾生作眼」,唯有佛陀才是真正的明眼人,因為佛已經見道了,他覺悟了,心眼開,虛空法界的道理無不盡見,「世間所有我盡見」,佛經裡,這樣說。所以,希望佛陀能為眾生作眼,因為眾生已經盲瞑,盲了,眼盲了,黑暗了,現在需要佛來為眾生作眼目,就是要請佛開示。
 
「世間所歸趣」,世間所皈依的地方,就是希望佛是眾生所依靠的,唯有佛能「救護(於)一切」。
 
確實需要。看看巴西(慈濟人),去發放同時義診。眼科,看不清楚的,就趕緊幫他量度數,幫他配眼鏡,讓他看得更清楚。這念愛心就是佛心,佛心、佛眼,為眾生作眼目,不就是這樣嗎?
 
所以三惡道都是在因緣果報中,所以惡人增多了,善人就減少了。所以「隨因感果」,都是因。這個因,過去的因,你如何做,你如何虐待眾生,如何吞食,如何無明造業的因,現在所感受到的,無不都是果報。
 
這假使「不遇佛化」,若未遇到佛來開示我們,開啟道理,我們所做的業就愈來愈多了,惡趣就愈來愈開闊。現在我們的世間,常常都聽到監獄人滿為患,就是犯罪的人多。所以說,地獄也是一樣,惡趣愈來愈多受罪的人。這種因,因就感果,趣因感果。我們就是向這種惡因一直造,所感受來的,就是這樣苦難的果報很多,就是「不修善」。若是在人間,現在都在享受,福盡同樣要沉淪,由不得自己帶業,只要你是惡,只要你的心不善,所造作的一切、造作的煩惱。
 
若有煩惱,沒造惡,同樣會累積這種無明,來生來世,無法擔保你能明白道理,同樣惡業愈累積;此生不造惡,因為無明累積,來生也由不得自己。因為你今生只要有無明,就沒有結好緣,只要有煩惱,就是已經與人有對立,所以來生還是結惡果,同樣這樣。
 
所以,「福盡沉淪」。不要想,我今生此世,我很有才華,我有物質,我與大家,大家的苦與我有什麼關係?就是這樣,所以來生來世「福盡沉淪」,天眾自然減少。享受的人,人間享福的愈來會愈少,苦難的人會愈來愈多。不只是人間,人間過後,極品的惡,就是在地獄道,中品的惡是在餓鬼道,下品的惡那就是在畜生道,所以三惡道眾生增長起來了。
 
三惡道充滿
諸天眾減少:
惡人多而善人少
隨因感果
不遇佛化作業者多
惡趣充塞
以不修善福盡沉淪
天眾減少
 
「今佛出於世,為眾生作眼」。「不識是非,如無目者」,對是非分不清,就如一個人有眼睛,但是看不清道理,這與沒眼睛還不是一樣嗎?我們的心眼未開,只有肉眼,就是心眼受無明遮蔽,所以「不識是非」,是非不會分,就如沒有眼睛的人一樣。我們的內心就是這樣。肉眼雖然很明,卻是心眼未開,道理不清楚。
 
所以「佛出化導,如盲得眼」。佛出現人間,開始他就會說道理給我們聽,轉法輪,說道理讓我們瞭解,讓我們知道,這是善、這是惡,要如何做事,能很周全、很圓滿,考慮的要很細膩,不是這種懵懵懂懂,說:「我有做善事就好了。」在懵懂中去做事,做善事,還要很細膩、微細去分析,怎麼做,才能做得很透徹圓滿,這也是要很用心,道理要清楚。
 
佛陀就是這樣,仔細地為我們分析,分析得很透徹。聲聞聽法,緣覺體會了法,引導菩薩入人群,在法中修行,於菩提道中接近佛的境界。這是佛陀用種種方法,來接引我們。所以「佛出化導,如盲得眼」。你若能接受佛的教法,心眼開、道理明。
 
所以「眾生盲瞑,失於正見」。因為我們眾生已經(心眼)盲了,眼睛看不見;若看得到,也是模糊不清的,這種不清楚,就如在黑暗中看到的只是影子,但是不清楚。所以「眾生盲瞑,失於正見」。我們人就是這樣,失去了正見。正見若失,正思惟就都沒了;若沒有正思惟,就沒有正業、正念等等,一切都失掉了,「八正道」就全都沒了。這種「失於正見」,路就不會走了,八條正確的道路都已經模糊了,看不到了,所以「不知出要」,不知要如何出離生死、斷生死。我們要如何脫離,這個業、無明的方法,我們就不知道了,「不知出要」。
 
唯有佛出世間,來指示我們、指導我們,「開」、「示」;我們就要接受,「悟」、「入」。這樣來引導我們,「引之令出」。我們若不悟入,我們哪有辦法,脫離這種三界的苦難呢?哪有辦法脫離三途的痛苦呢?所以我們三界的苦,欲界、色界、無色界,哪怕到了色界,最高等的梵天界清淨,但是享受很大,但是他們也會很擔心,壽盡時,「不知出要」,要如何斷生死?這也是他們的擔心。
 
所以他們就要找這個光明,究竟道理的源頭,所以他們就要這樣找,他們在找要出離三界,這種最重要的道路。唯有佛陀轉法輪,來指示、開示他們。「引之令出,故云為眾生作眼」。希望人人開啟了心眼,看清道理,才有正確的路可走。
 
今佛出於世
為眾生作眼:
不識是非如無目者
佛出化導如盲得眼
眾生盲瞑失於正見
不知出要佛為指示
引之令出
故云為眾生作眼
 
所以「世間所歸趣,救護於一切」。佛陀就是世間所依靠、所皈依處。皈依佛,體解大道,我們就要發無上心。我們皈依法,深入經藏,我們才有辦法智慧如海。我們皈依僧,要統理大眾,要皈依僧,統理大眾,法若沒有入心,沒有智慧,要如何引導眾生?所以,佛、法「開、示」,我們必定要「悟、入」,才有辦法啟開智慧。智慧有辦法如海,覺性慧海才會出來,要不然佛的開示,我們不想要接觸,不想要收入,入我們的心,那就根本無法體會,所以我們要用心。
 
「世間之所歸依趣(向)」,那就是佛陀的法,讓我們做依靠,我們就要發無上心。我們要發心,法入我們的內心,好好用心來追求、來瞭解。所以期待我們人人得到佛陀的法,我們要好好依靠在佛的周圍、佛法的周圍,不要離開。所以,他能救度我們,能庇護我們,這是佛法讓我們不離開道理。
 
接下來(經文)這樣說,「為眾生之父,哀愍饒益者,我等宿福慶,今得值世尊。」
 
為眾生之父
哀愍饒益者
我等宿福慶
今得值世尊
《法華經化城喻品第七》
 
「世間之父」。我們看<譬喻品>、<信解品>,應該很清楚。因為世間的父親,是「能生色身」,我們的身體是父精母血,但是佛,佛生我們的是從口出,生我們的法身。這種「佛為法父」,法,說法給我們聽。「從法化生」,我們大家從法,佛口所生子,佛法來化度我們,我們能重生,用清淨的心,入人群中去。「清淨法身」,這就是梵天,也是求佛給他一個清淨的法身,就要先淨化我們的心,要能入人群中,去饒益世間一切。
 
為眾生之父
哀愍饒益者:
世間之父
能生色身
佛為法父
從法化生
清淨法身
哀憐饒益世間之者
 
所以,我們,「既入惡道者,救之令出」。因為是聖人的感化,之後我們也要自己心靈清淨,我們也是一樣,能入惡道中去救度眾生。這是佛陀教我們行菩薩道,要入人群中去,苦難的地方,才需要我們入苦難中。所以說,這種菩薩發心,入人群中去度眾生,就是這樣在付出。若已經入惡道者,我們就去度他。「未入惡道者,護之不入」,還沒去造惡的,還未入惡道者,我們要趕緊教他,有壞習氣要趕緊改過,不要再繼續做壞事,去感化他們。
 
所以「我等宿福慶,今得值世尊」。我們大家很有福,所以很慶幸,現在能遇到世尊出世,在轉法輪。我們大家把握在這個時候,請佛護佑,來為我們開示。
 
是啊,我們要時時要法入心,雖然是離我們二千多年,佛法身存在,我們要珍惜法,所以我們要起難遭遇之想。聽到法,我們要用心於法,法能印證人間的苦難,苦難中能印證,人間的菩薩投入苦難中去付出,救濟幫助之後,心的清淨,法喜充滿,只要我們人人用心,我們就能體會得到。所以要大家時時多用心!


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Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: The Buddha Appears to Be Sentient Beings’ Eyes (佛出於世作眾生眼)
Date: January.08. 2017
 
“The places where those with evil karma go are called the Three Evil Realms.” The Three Evil Realms are: “One, the hell realm. Those who create the greatest karma of the Ten Evils go to this place. Two, the hungry ghost realm. Those who create average karma of the Ten Evils go to this place. Three, the animal realm. Those who create the least karma of the Ten Evils go to this place.”
 
This is telling us about what we often speak of, the Three Evil Realms. The Three Evil Realms, as well all already know, are the hell, hungry ghost and animal realms. These are called the Three Evil Realms.
 
What kind of karma do people create that will lead them to go to the hell realm? In the Three Evil Realms, the place with the greatest suffering is the hell realm. If a person enters the hell realm, they will face unspeakable suffering. Such suffering is uninterrupted, so in hell, there is a place known as Unremitting Hell. This Unremitting Hell is a place for people who have accumulated all kinds of suffering, so they face constant, unremitting suffering. It is extreme suffering.
 
Why would someone fall into this hell with its constant suffering? They have created the greatest karma of the Ten Evils. Such people will naturally be born in the hell realm. Evil karma can be categorized as greatest, average or least. For those who commit the most extreme evils, their retribution is to fall into the extreme suffering of Unremitting Hell; this is extreme suffering. When speaking of the names of hell and the suffering there, they are truly unbearable to describe; it is impossible to describe such suffering.
 
In any case, if we take a look at this world, some families are not only impoverished, but in the whole family, from parents to children and grandchildren, across three generations, all are collectively suffering. If not poverty, then disability. It is not just one or two of them, but sometimes the whole family; for some, the whole family relies upon one person. But even that person can experience a misfortune or a major injury or great torment and so on. We can see that in this world there are families like this.
 
Speaking of suffering, there is suffering that lasts for a lifetime and suffering that lasts for two or three generations. In one family, three generations may suffer from layers of illness, disability and misfortune. How many cases like this have we already seen? In our world, we can already see this kind of unremitting, constant suffering.
 
Living Bodhisattvas interact with such families to save and transform sentient beings. We help renovate or repair their broken-down homes and turn them into beautiful places. We clear away the feces, dirt and garbage for them until it is very clean. For each person who is suffering, we use different methods to help them settle down, perhaps in a shelter, a senior home or so on. If it is severe, we will properly resettle them. If it is less severe, over the long term we keep them company and educate them. In our world, there are such families that face hell-like suffering, so there are also Living Bodhisattvas who manifest.
 
This depends on causes and conditions. If there is an opportunity, we can save them. If there is none, we cannot do anything. Then, there is truly “no Dharma to transform them.” For those with the causes and conditions, those who in a past lifetime had already created causes and conditions, in this lifetime, when they are suffering, there is a group of people who have the causes and conditions to help them. If in their past lifetimes there was no Dharma and no causes or conditions, then in this lifetime, it will still be hard to break free from this unremitting suffering. It will continue on this way. This is how it is in our world.
 
Then if we want to speak of hell, of a state that is completely in the hell realm, this state of hell is like a family where a person may think, “This is my whole world. My whole world is filled with such suffering.” As mentioned in the Earth Treasury Sutra, in Unremitting Hell, “One person will fill it, as will many.”
 
Nowadays, in the hospital, in Acute Care wards, everyone is suffering from the pain of illness. All they think of is, “I am suffering the most.” For them, it is all about “me”. “My pain and suffering fill up this space.” They do not think of the bed next to theirs, where there is someone in more pain; thus it says, “One person will fill it, as will many” [when describing] Unremitting Hell. Lying on the [hospital] bed, they think, “I am suffering the worst! I have many complaints. Why do the doctors and nurses go to the bed next to mine? Why haven’t they come to me yet? My wait time has been so long. This is very upsetting.” Their hearts have resentment, worries and fear. Their bodies and minds are tormented with pain and suffering. This is called “Unremitting Hell.”
 
If a person is in pain and suffering, he thinks he himself is the one suffering most. There are causes, effects and retributions to this. If something [happens] to their health, [we think] “He is a very good person; how can this happen?” As they are good, some karma has already matured, so they can enjoy good fruitions in this world. If people have blessings to enjoy, will they be free from illness and pain? They will not; in the past they did not realize they were committing evils, but they are still replete with evil karma. For example, nowadays there are many who practice good deeds, but still unconsciously sacrifice many lives because of their craving for taste. They do not realize how many lives they have harmed or swallowed. They do not know how many beings have suffered and been tormented for their sake before their bones and flesh were consumed. For these people, even though they are kind and do good deeds, they are still not aware. They do not know how many lives they have eaten just because of their cravings for taste. Thus, once sickness befalls them, their bodies and minds will suffer; this also happens. Those who suffer severe illness will be in hell, facing unbearable suffering.
 
For those who create average evil karma, they go to the hungry ghost realm. Apart from poverty, they are also born into circumstantial retributions where they lack water, lack clean water. Without clean water or a sufficient food supply, they are also suffering unbearably.
 
Now, when we watch international news, how many countries are suffering from warfare? How many countries are suffering drought? How many countries have impoverished people who are suffering from sickness and hunger? How many people live in the hungry ghost realm in this world? Such suffering is truly hard to describe. It is very difficult to save them, to reach them. Being in the hungry ghost realm and suffering from hunger like this, though those people are living in this world, it is still truly unbearable suffering!
 
In the Three Evil reams, there is such suffering. For instance, some people have diseases where they just cannot eat. Although they want to eat, they cannot swallow. They really want to eat, but they cannot swallow, so they are unable to eat. Among the diseases in the world, there are such sicknesses. There is also something called anorexia, which is a nervous system disorder. Though the patient wants to swallow, they cannot. The mechanism for swallowing suddenly goes awry. The nerves for swallowing have a disorder, and the patient cannot swallow food. There is obviously food for them to eat, but they have such a disorder; this happens, too. What about suffering from both direct and circumstantial retributions? Those who suffer in the hungry ghost realm are those who created average evil karma. Ti is not as extreme as the greatest evil karma of the Ten Evils of Unremitting Hell. Those who have created a little bit less evil will fall into the hungry ghost realm.
 
Third is the animal realm. The animal realm can also be found in this world. We see various kinds of animals, be it very large animals or very miniscule insects and so on. They are all in the animal realm. Animals also have consciousness. Early this morning, while I was browsing through what our global Tzu Chi volunteers are doing, I found a news report that really moved me. It was about Tzu Chi volunteers in Brazil. [In 2015,] at the end of July, they held a distribution. They distributed aid in a village. There were Chinese and Brazilians in that village. Both the Chinese and the locals were living in poverty, so we provided a free medical clinic and aid. During the free clinic service and distribution, we discovered that many were near-sighted, so the volunteers measured their visual clarity. On August 1st, they gathered everyone to give them glasses they gathered everyone to give them glasses. There were Chinese and Brazilians amongst them. One volunteer introduced Tzu Chi in Mandarin, while another used Portuguese when introducing Tzu Chi to them. One spoke Chinese, another spoke Portuguese, translating what the other said.
 
As they were introducing Tzu Chi, they promoted the love behind our charity work, which is the mutual love between human beings. Apart from mutual love between human beings, humans should also love and cherish animals.
 
They shared a story with the audience. This story happened in 1976 during the Tangshan Earthquake. This was a great earthquake in Tangshan, China. Before this earthquake, there was a kindhearted man. He saw a fox entering his home and stealing food from his kitchen. In the kitchen, there was a cooked fish covered on the table. The fox lifted the lid and stealthily ate the fish. The owner came in and witnessed the whole thing. Although he was furious, a thought of compassion arose in him. Even though someone yelled, “Beat the fox!” this thought of compassion arose in this man. He protected this fox and spoke on his behalf, defending him, and then released him into the wild.
 
This happened a few days before the earthquake. Just fifteen minutes prior to the earthquake, this fox appeared again and came before the man who had released him. In that place, the fox used all kinds of methods to tempt him out. The man who released the fox continued to [follow] this fox. This fox was very adorable in his attitude and thus enticed and led the man out of his house to a spot that was a safe distance away. Suddenly, the earth shook all of Tangshan; the great Tangshan Earthquake had struck. His whole house was leveled. Some of his family members were buried, but the man who released the fox was unharmed.
 
This is a story. After telling the story, the volunteer said, “Master told us that we humans are greedy in our craving for taste and consume all kinds of living beings. Sentient beings kill and give life to each other, bringing mutual retributions upon each other. For instance, this fox came to repay the man’s grace; this was in response to his goodness. This fox came to repay his grace.” The volunteer said, “Master often says that all living beings have Buddha-nature. If you kill and eat an animal, there will be hatred and resentment in his heart. So, without you knowing it, in some life they may be your family member, while in another they may be you enemy.”
 
They told this story, which touched many people. This happened in Brazil. The volunteers regularly held distributions and also free medical clinics, which included optometry and dentistry. When they saw those who could not see clearly, they helped by giving them prescription glasses. For those who had rotten teeth, they helped by making dentures for them. In summary, they mindfully and lovingly explained the Tzu Chi spirit and Jing Si Dharma-lineage. Even though they are half a globe apart from us, our hearts are so close in distance. They are so close; “Our natures are similar.” In that place, they likewise listen to the Dharma, so every sentence they spoke was “Master says this; Master teaches us this.” See, with the same words, they applied the same spirit and ideals there; they applied the same spiritual ideology there. They also spoke of the law of karma in regards to the animal realm.
 
Indeed, good and evil each have their retributions. The hell realm, the suffering from creating greatest evil karma, is unspeakable suffering, unremitting, constant suffering. When it comes to the hungry ghost realm, even in our world we can experience and observe those places of poverty, those states, or those wealthy places where there is such suffering of sickness. This is the same as the hungry ghost realm. The animal realm is everywhere. There are animals that fly, such as birds we now hear chirping. There are animals that run on the ground, such as the cats and dogs that we often see, as well as all kinds of tiny living beings. There are so many we could never list them all. They are all in a karmic cycle of good and evil.
 
There are so many forms and kinds of suffering in life; it is truly unspeakable. So, we must believe in the Three Evil Realms and the four forms of birth, which are womb-born, egg-born, transformation-born and moisture-born. This is all truly suffering! Even in the human and heaven realms, there is the suffering of impermanence. In the human realm, life is painfully short. Although heavenly beings have long lifespans and enjoy great blessings and pleasures, when their lives end, they also fall into the Five Realms and undergo cyclic existence.
 
So, this sutra passage, which is the Chapter on the Parable of the Conjured City, covers a very large area. Brahma kings continued to come from the east and southeast, seeking the light and investigating the principles. They sought the source of light and principles. Wasn’t this for the purpose of escaping their transmigration in cyclic existence?
 
The previous passage of the sutra says,
“Lord of the sages, king of heavenly beings, one with the sound of kalavinka, who takes mercy on sentient beings, we now respectfully prostrate to You. The World-Honored One is profoundly rare, only appearing after a long period of time 180 kalpas have passed with no Buddha.”
 
We should have gained a greater understanding of this passage. The Three Evil Realms are unspeakable suffering. The passage continues on to say, “The Three Evil Realms are filled, and the heavenly beings have diminished. Now a Buddha born to this world to serve as the eyes for sentient beings. You are the refuge of the world who saves and protects all.
 
This sutra passage is very clear. The Three Evil Realms, as we described previously are truly filled with unbearable suffering. More and more sentient beings are going there. It is the same in our world; the human population continually increases. He said, “The heavenly beings have diminished.” Clearly, when lifespans in heaven are over, they again fall into our world, the human realm. So, it says, “The heavenly beings have diminished” because
“The Three Evil Realms are filled.” In the human realm we give rise to ignorance, and once a single thought of ignorance arises, we create different amounts of evil karma. Then we will fall into the Three Evil Realms, so “The Three Evil Realms are filled, and the heavenly beings have diminished.”
 
“Now a Buddha is born to this world.” Now a Buddha has manifested in this world to serve as the eyes for sentient beings. Only the Buddha is one who truly has bright, clear eyes, because the Buddha has already seen the Path. He has awakened and His mind is open. Thus, He sees all principles in the whole universe. “Of all I have seen in the world, this phrase, is seen in the sutras.” So, we hope the Buddha can serve as the eyes for sentient beings, because sentient beings are already blind. They lost their sight and are now in darkness. Now we need the Buddha to serve as the eyes for sentient beings, so we must ask for the Buddha’s teachings. “You are the refuge of the world.” A place of refuge for the world means that we hope the Buddha is whom sentient beings rely on. Only the Buddha can “save and protect all.” Indeed, we need this.
 
Look at the Tzu Chi volunteers in Brazil who held distributions as well as free clinics. The optometrists, if some could not see clearly, quickly look their measurements and prescribed glasses for them so they could see more clearly. This loving mind is the Buddha-mind. With the Buddha-mind and Buddha-eye, he Buddha serves as the eyes for sentient beings. Isn’t this so?
 
So, the Three Evil Realms are all within the karmic law of cause and effect. Thus, when evil people increase in number, good people decrease in number. “According to the cause, they receive the effect.” This is all due to causes from the past. How we behaved, how we treated sentient beings, how we ate them and how we created karma out of ignorance are causes. What we are experiencing now are all the karmic effects. If we “do not encounter the Buddha’s teaching, if we do not encounter the Buddha teaching and revealing the principles to us, we will create more and more karma.” The Evil Destinies will be broader and broader.
 
Now, in our world, we often hear about overpopulated prisons, which means many people committed crimes. It is the same in hell. Increasingly, more people are suffering punishment in the Evil Destinies. With a cause, we face the effect. According to the cause, they receive the effect. When we continue to create such evil causes, what we experience is many retributions of suffering; this is “not cultivating goodness.”
 
If we are in the human realm, and are now enjoying ourselves, when our blessings are depleted, we still fall. We cannot help but follow our karma. All it takes is for us to commit evils; all it takes is to lack goodness in our heart. All we do [will be evil] and cause afflictions. When we have afflictions, even without committing evil, such ignorance will still accumulate. In future lifetimes, we cannot guarantee we will understand principles. Similarly, evil karma will accumulate over time. Even if we do no evil in this lifetime, because of accumulated ignorance, our next life will still be beyond our control.
 
As long as we have ignorance in this life, we cannot form good affinities. As long as we have afflictions, we have already formed conflicts with others. Then in our next life there will still be negative effects. So, “They fall when their blessings are depleted.” We should not think, “In this lifetime, I am so talented and have material wealth, What does everyone else’s suffering have to do with me?” If so, in coming lifetimes, “They fall when their blessings are depleted.” Heavenly beings will naturally diminish in number. Those enjoying pleasures and blessings in the human realm will decrease, while the people in suffering will increase. This is not only here, even after this realm, those with the greatest evil karma will be reborn in the hell realm. Average evil karma lead us to the hungry ghost realm. The least evil karma leads us to the animal realm. So, those the Three Evil Realms grow in number.
 
The Three Evil Realms are filled, and the heavenly beings have diminished: There are more evil people and fewer good ones. According to the cause, they receive the effect Those who do not encounter the Buddha’s teaching will create more karma. The evil destinies are packed full. By not cultivating goodness, they fall when their blessings are depleted. Thus heavenly beings have diminished.
 
“Now a Buddha is born to this world to serve as the eyes for sentient beings. Not being able to tell right from wrong is like having no eyes.” When we are not able to tell right from wrong, we are like a person who has eyes but who cannot see the principles clearly. Isn’t this the same as not having eyes? If our mind’s eye is not yet opened, we only have our physical eyes. Our mind’s eye is covered by ignorance. Thus, “Not being able to tell right from wrong, we are unable to tell right from wrong, like a person who has no eyes.” Our mind is like this. Though our physical eyes may be clear, the mind’s eye is still unopened, so we are not clear about the principles.
 
“The Buddha manifests to transform and guide, like giving eyes to the blind.” The Buddha manifested in our world and started by telling us the principles. He turned the Dharma-wheel and taught the principles so we can understand them, so we can know what is good, what is evil and how to do things in a very comprehensive and harmonious way. Our considerations must be very meticulous, not careless and confused. Some say, “It is enough that I do good deeds,” but they do things in a state of confusion. When it comes to doing good, we must be meticulous and detailed in analyzing how to do things in a thorough and harmonious way. This requires great mindfulness and a clear understanding of the principles.
 
This was how the Buddha carefully and meticulously analyzed [the principles] for us. He was very thorough in His analysis. He let the Hearers listen to the Dharma, let Solitary Realizers experience the Dharma and guided Bodhisattvas to go among people and, with the Dharma, engage in spiritual practice. On the Bodhi-path, they could draw near to the state of Buddhahood. This was how Buddha used various methods to guide us. “The Buddha manifests to transform and guide, like giving eyes to the blind.” If we can accept the Buddha’s teaching, our mind’s eye will be open, and we will clearly understand the principles. So, “Sentient beings are blind and in the dark, having lost right views.” We sentient beings are already blind, and our eyes have lost sight. Even if we can see, our vision is blurry. Such lack of clarity is like being in the dark. All we can see are shadows; the [details] are not clear. So, “Sentient beings are blind and in the dark, having lost right views.”
 
This is how we humans are; we have lost right views. If we lose right views, we also lose right thinking. Without right thinking, we have no right action, right mindfulness and so on. We will lose all of it. The Eightfold Noble Path will all be lost. This “loss of right views” means we will not be able to walk the path. These eight correct ways are already blurred; we cannot see them, so “[We] do not know how to escape.” We do not know how to escape cyclic existence. As for how to escape this karma and ignorance, we do not know the method. “[We] do not know how to escape.” Only when a Buddha appears in our world, can we be guided and instructed. When a Buddha “opens” and “reveals” the Dharma, we should accept it to “realize’” and “enter.” This is how He guides us, “guides [us] to be free.” If we do not realize and enter, how will we have a way to escape the suffering in the Three Realms? How can we escape the suffering in the Three Evil Destinies? There is suffering in the Three Realms, to desire realm, form realm and formless realm. Even in the form realm, the Brahma heavens’ highest states, which are pure and filled with great enjoyment, they are still worried that when their life is over, “They will not know how to escape.” How could they put an end to cyclic existence? This was what they worried about. Therefore, they wanted to find this light, the source of the ultimate principles. Thus, they had to search in this way, seeking out this most important path of escaping the Three Realms. Only the Buddha can help, turning the Dharma-wheel to guide, open and reveal to them. He “guided them to be free. Hence it says, ‘He serves as the eyes for sentient beings.’” He hopes everyone will open their mind’s eye. Only when they see the principles clearly will they have a correct path to walk on.
 
Now a Buddha is born to this world to serve as the eyes for sentient beings: Not being able to tell right from wrong is like having no eyes. The Buddha manifests to transform and guide, like giving eyes to the blind. Sentient beings are blind and in the dark, having lost right views. They do not know how to escape, so the Buddha instructs them, guiding them to be free. Hence it says, “He serves as the eyes for sentient beings”
 
So, “You are the refuge of the world who saves and protects all.” The Buddha is whom the world relies and depends on. He is the refuge of the world. When we take refuge in the Buddha, we comprehend the great path and must form the supreme aspiration. We take refuge in the Dharma and delve deeply into the sutra treasury. Only then can we gain wisdom as vast as the ocean. When we take refuge in the Sangha, we must lead the people harmoniously. If we want to take refuge in the Sangha and lead people harmoniously, but do not take the Dharma to heart and lack wisdom, how can we lead sentient beings? So, the Buddha and Dharma “open” and “reveal,” and we must “realize” and “enter.” Only then can we unlock our wisdom, so our wisdom can be as vast as the ocean. Then the ocean of enlightened wisdom will manifest. Otherwise, if we do not want to connect with [the Dharma] the Buddha opened and revealed, if we do not want it to enter our heart, we will be unable to experience and realize it. So, we must be mindful. “You are the refuge of the world.” This refers to the Buddha’s teachings, which we can rely on.
 
So, we must form the supreme aspiration.  We must form aspirations, take the Dharma to heart and mindfully investigate it, seek to understand it. So, I hope that when we all can obtain the Buddha’s teachings, we will earnestly take refuge around the Buddha and Buddha-Dharma, never leaving them. So the Buddha can deliver and transform us, can shelter us. The Buddha-Dharma helps us to never depart from the principles.
 
Next, the sutra passage says, “You are the father of sentient beings, the one who takes mercy on and benefits us. We celebrate our past blessings that allow us to today encounter the World-Honored One.
 
As for “fathers in the world,” after reading the Chapter on Parables and the Chapter on Faith and Understanding, we should be very clear about this. Fathers in the world can “give life to our physical body.” Our body comes from our father and mother, but the Buddha through His speech gives birth to our dharma-body. So, “The Buddha is the Dharma-father.” He expounds the Dharma for us, and we are “transformation-born from the Dharma.” We all are children born of the Dharma from the Buddha’s mouth. The Buddha-Dharma transforms and delivers us so we can be reborn and go among people with a pure mind. As for the “pure Dharma-body,” this shows that those in the Brahma heavens asked the Buddha to give them a pure Dharma-body. This requires that we first purify our heart so we can go among the people to benefit all in the world.
 
You are the father of sentient beings, the one who takes mercy on and benefits us: Fathers in the world can give life to our physical body. The Buddha is the Dharma-father, and our pure Dharma-body is transformation-born from the Dharma. He is one who takes mercy on and benefits the world.
 
So, ”For those who have enters an evil destiny, He saves them by freeing them.” Because we are inspired by noble beings, afterwards we must also purify our minds. Then we can also go into evil realms deliver sentient being. This was the Bodhisattva-path taught by the Buddha; we must go among people, into places of suffering, it is these places where we are needed. So, when Bodhisattvas form aspirations to go among people and deliver sentient beings, they give of themselves in such a manner. For these who have entered the evil destinies, we must deliver and transform. “For those yet to enter an evil destiny, He protects them by not letting them enter.” For those who gave yet to create evil Karma and have not yet entered the evil destinies, we must quickly save them. They must quickly change and negative habitual tendencies and stop committing evil actions. We must inspire them in this way. “We celebrate our past blessings that allow us to today encounter the World-Honored One.” All of us are very fortunate and blessed. So, we rejoice that the World-Honored One was born in our time and turned the Dharma-wheel for us. Thus, all of us should seize this moment and ask the Buddha to protect us by opening and revealing [the Dharma] for us.
 
Yes, we must always take the Dharma to heart. Although it has been more than 2000 years, the Buddha’s Dharma –body is still here we must cherish the Dharma. So, we must have the mindset that it is rare and precious to encounter [the Dharma]. Once we hear Dharma, we should be mindful of it. The Dharma can verify the suffering in the world and, amidst suffering, bear witness to the devotion and service of Living Bodhisattvas. After providing aid and relief, our hearts will be pure and filled with Dharma-joy. As long as all of us are mindful, we can experience this. So everyone, please always be mindful.
 

(Source: Da Ai TV – Wisdom at Dawn program – Explanation by Master Chen-Yen)
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20170208《靜思妙蓮華》佛出於世作眾生眼 (第1019集) (法華經•化城喻品第七)
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