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 20170209《靜思妙蓮華》史實相理 度苦眾生 (第1020集) (法華經•化城喻品第七)

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發表主題: 20170209《靜思妙蓮華》史實相理 度苦眾生 (第1020集) (法華經•化城喻品第七)   周四 2月 09, 2017 12:19 am

20170209《靜思妙蓮華》史實相理 度苦眾生 (第1020集)
(法華經•化城喻品第七)

 
大悲淨光探討推尋來處之真諦,久遠即當下瞬間第一時間史實,塵點磨墨擎筆難述盡菩薩長情,悲智雙運從東往西中發送應急。
「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,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
「爾時,諸梵天王偈讚佛已,各作是言:惟願世尊哀愍一切,轉於法輪,度脫眾生!」《法華經化城喻品第七
「時諸梵天王,一心同聲而說偈言:大聖轉法輪,顯示諸法相,度苦惱眾生,令得大歡喜。」《法華經化城喻品第七
大聖轉法輪,顯示諸法相法運無窮,如輪之轉,顯示一切善惡之相。
大聖乃說法之人,法輪乃所說之法,法有頓漸性相,隨機演說,度苦惱眾生,離苦得樂。
 
【證嚴上人開示】

「大悲淨光探討推尋來處之真諦,久遠即當下瞬間第一時間史實,塵點磨墨擎筆難述盡菩薩長情,悲智雙運從東往西中發送應急。」
 
大悲淨光
探討推尋
來處之真諦
久遠即當下
瞬間第一時間史實
塵點磨墨
擎筆難述盡
菩薩長情
悲智雙運
從東往西中發送應急
 
大家聽,再用心來回憶。佛法就是這樣,不論時間有多長,我們要用信,這分信念,從佛經中所描述一切的道理,從古來今,我們懂得相信,我們就懂得去運用。要如何來推尋,要如何去推尋、推理,要如何找出道理的源頭來?這就是要有信心。現在的人已經將道理,全都迷而模糊掉了,我們現在就是希望去推尋回來,我們久遠前,道理本來就有的,我們要如何把它找回來。這種「久遠即當下」,要去哪裡找呢?當下即是啊!在瞬間的發生,是現在嗎?現在聽法,句句的法,都是在瞬間時間說出去,每一字都是瞬間聽了,就是過去了,這是瞬間。這瞬間,到底是什麼樣的時間,那個瞬間裡面的道理是永恆呢?這就是我們要用心瞭解,那個第一時間的史實。
 
從古至今,人間,不論在哪個國家,都有每個國家的史實。光說我們,我們自己本身,我們本身就有一生中,永遠不會忘記所發生的事情,那個瞬間,這也是史實,我們個人的人生歷史,真正的事情。個人是這樣,我們的團體也是這樣,整個社會也是,在我們的國家也有,就是那個瞬間所發生的,人人不會忘記的事情。

比如「九二一(大地震)」,大家還記得嗎?記得「九二一」,是在我們這個國土社會裡,一件已經是成為歷史了,一九九九年,對嗎?(對)發生在九二一那天,一大早一點四十幾分,一般人叫做半夜,對我們來說是一大早了。時間,忽然之間,大家還在睡夢中,瞬間驚醒了,大家都趕快向外跑,這是應該大家都還記得。這個時間人都很驚惶,有人就是,門在哪裡?就在那裡跑不出去,因為地震同時停電,方向感沒了,非常的驚惶。這個時間過後,我們在精舍,大家都到外面去,看,大家都平安嗎?平安,大家平安。是啊,人平安,周圍應該也是平安。但是停電了,到底地震從哪裡?是叫做地震的震災區呢?花蓮是這樣,到底外地是如何呢?我們自己是平安,到底花蓮地區,還有哪裡怎麼樣嗎?電視沒電,趕緊找廣播,那個收音機,收音機,趕緊去找一台收音機來,開始聽,聽,臺中,報出了臺中地震很大。開始在聽,花蓮的電來了,趕緊轉成看電視,看電視,真的接連一直報下去,地震的震央,就在臺中、南投這之間,全都是大災難,就這樣一直聽,那一天晚上到天亮。

天還沒亮,趕緊打電話,所聽到的,臺北也有一棟大樓倒了,趕緊打電話臺北(慈濟人):「人人平安嗎?」很多人都代替師父打電話,同時問,人都平安,卻是在(松山) 後車站,一棟大樓倒了。我就問:「這一區,信義區這邊又是如何?」「我們大家都已經來到這棟大樓,東星大樓。」「這個地方到底怎麼樣?」「整棟都倒了。」「人呢?」他說:「目前不知道,不過,邊(疏散)出來,大家很怕,很怕。」「那我們(慈濟人)大家呢?」「大家都平安,都集中到這裡了。開始我們有人在開會,站著就地開會。這個時間應該大家,有人要分頭去看,到底有哪裡還有傷患嗎?若有傷患送醫院,就要去關心,明天一大早的餐食,要趕緊準備了。」

 
又聽到們一位榮董,接過電話就說:「師父,我已經訂了豆漿、饅頭了。」我說:「你的手腳怎麼那麼快,還有人在做嗎?」他說:「有啊!做豆漿的人,現在(地震)過去了,我認識他,這(豆漿店)很有名,我就拜託他趕緊幫我們準備。」很感恩啊!這就是在北部,知道人都平安,只有在這個地方,這棟大樓的損失。當然,再往市區外出去的,還不知道。知道的就是平安。那個瞬間,現在一提起,相信大家,在聽的人,那時間的緊張,大家如何的動作,有什麼樣驚惶,那個史實都有,是與我們的生命中有關,與地方、與大地有關,這樣第一時間的史實。

開始問台中,全都不同了,台中開始就說:「很嚴重,臺中市內有不少房子倒了,某一條街已經倒了多少。」慈濟人平安,大家紛紛電話打來,我們的分會裡,已經接收到消息的災區,已經有幾個了。還有南投埔里,更嚴重,就這樣開始,那是第一時間的史實,這樣就從這個瞬間開始。天亮了,整夜,從天未亮,一直到天亮,一直一直搜集,全部去瞭解,南投(慈濟人)去了,埔里(慈濟人)去了,臺中,中區的人,集中到那個地方,開始有要求支援,很早,七、八點,這個支援的物資需要,就開始匯報回來了。需要的是,希望我們(慈濟)醫院供應屍袋;裝屍體的袋子。第一個時間給我的消息,要五百個,「有那麼多嗎?」趕緊向醫院求援,拜託醫院向廠商要求準備。醫院的電話說完了,災區的電話又打回來,「師父,能再增加一千個嗎?」我嚇到了,「真的是這樣嗎?」「是啊,應該需要。」我就趕快再說:「趕緊聯絡醫院再增加。」過了不到十分鐘,電話再來了,「師父,希望再增加一千個。」「這麼慘喔?」「是真的。」真的趕緊這樣增加,總共二千五百個袋子,裝屍體的袋子。這樣從醫院聯絡廠商,直接送到埔里、南投去。這是不會忘記的史實。

就這樣開始,就準備要如何發放?想到大家這樣跑出來,全身的衣服,可能所需要的東西,都無法拿出來,即使要買東西,應該也沒錢可買,說不定只穿內衣褲出來,也說不定。所以,第一個想到的就是現金,要趕快發放現金。就開始聯絡臺中,是不是趕快,到銀行去領現金?電話報回來,銀行的門都無法開,都停電了,銀行無法操作。問臺北,臺北也是一樣,電還沒有恢復,銀行要操作,難啊!無法拿出現金來。只好從花蓮,這樣領出了兩千萬元的現金,兩個人,一個人背一千萬,這樣直接從東部運到西中部去。這就是要很緊急,要如何去發放,馬上能運作,讓受災的人馬上在同這一天,他就能得到他所最需要的東西。所以說來,時間只是這樣匯集起來,再回想過去,要集很多人的故事,即使現在說,現在大家聽到的,心裡的記憶,應該都記得。

這些人人的記憶,這麼多人的付出,要將這麼多人的付出,一一用筆寫下來,真的這種「塵點磨墨擎筆難述」。動用多少人啊?中南北部,所有所有的慈濟人,都是這樣集中到中部來,他們去承擔的,不是人做得到的事。比如說,這麼多的屍袋,當然,就是表示那麼多的屍體。這些屍體要裝進屍袋裡,就是慈濟人去幫忙去裝。同時,同在那一天,電話來了,「師父,有辦法調冰櫃來嗎?」「冰櫃要做什麼呢?」「要裝屍體,己經太陽很大了,到了將近中午時,屍體裝在屍袋裡,會放不久。一一都要再驗屍,張三李四要認出來,所以放在(屍袋)裡,天氣這麼熱,堪不了這個天氣。師父,我們是不是找找看,有沒有冰櫃嗎?」

這是春治的聲音,一直腦海中還是會想到那個瞬間這通電話,春治電話這樣說。我要到哪裡調這樣的冰櫃?能夠當天就送到那個地方,若沒有當天到達是沒辦法。要怎麼辦?貴人啊!李宗吉,想到了,李居士他在做海運,貨物海運,食品的東西,也是要用冰凍貨櫃。腦海中就浮現他是做這個行業,所以電話,我就跟他說:「李居士,一件(事) ,不知會為難嗎?你做得到嗎?」他就說:「什麼事情?師父,哪有事情做不到的?只要我有辦法。」「你能調派兩個冰凍貨櫃,你有嗎?」「有啊,我這個行業怎麼會沒有。」「兩個,能及時運到災區嗎?」「可以、可以,我趕快去安排。」這個東西就馬上過去,下午到達,下午就到了。同樣的,還是慈濟人,一一、一一搬進冰凍貨櫃裡。

 
也有聽到,在今年(二0一五年),有一位菩薩,慈誠隊,在四五月間,他回來了,我在說:「人間災難偏多,慈濟人為臺灣所做的,臺灣所有的災難,慈濟人絕對不缺席的。哪一個地方有災難,哪一個地方,慈濟人的付出。」想到「九二一」,我就開始說,剛好這位菩薩,他就在那裡坐著,他就說:「是啊!師父,那時候我的記憶很深。」我說:「你再重述一次。」他說:一位媽媽,來到我們的面前,跪下去,拉著我說,師兄,師兄,拜託你,你們現在若再進去貨櫃裡面,搬動(遺體)。因為疊、疊、疊,這要四五十分鐘,就要再進去翻一次,要不然因為一層疊一層,這樣一直疊上去。雖然是冷凍,卻若沒有再搬動,翻過去,也會有熱氣。
 
所以,這位媽媽知道是這樣,也有看到他們在搬,所以她說:「拜託如果你們進去,我孩子是最先被搬進去的。師兄,我的孩子被人壓得很重,你能若進去的時候,在第一位時,你們第一個搬進去的,能把他翻上來一點嗎?搬上來一點嗎?」我那天聽了,我說:「這實在是聽了,心很難過,不過這是一個史實,你是不是還是再跟大家分享?」
 
人生只會散出了無明網,這種人間的史實就是很健忘。那個時候,「九二一」的記憶,應該要再稍微提起,警惕人人,人生無常,在這個社會人間,多少菩薩為社會在付出,這種無常的人間,真實的人生,菩薩的付出,這就是叫做記憶。不要健忘,這叫做歷史,這叫做大藏經。我就一直交代他:「林居士,拜託你,你如果有機會再跟大家分享一下,有的年輕人,根本就不知道『九二一』,有的人也都忘記了。所以你們要各人、各人去分享,當初你們如何去付出的,不是普通人做得到的,你們都做到了。」

這就是「久遠即當下,瞬間第一時間史實」,那個瞬間,就是發生在久遠的時間,久遠的以前。不論是大通智勝佛世的久遠,或者是我們現代,事過當初那個時間,這都是發生在那瞬間的時間。那個瞬間的第一時間是真實的,是史實,是真實的,不是傳說。這麼真實的事情,要用墨來寫字,真的是「塵點磨墨」,就是用很多的墨水、很多支筆,要如何來寫?這是名副其實掛一漏萬,幾萬件的事情才能寫一件出來,這實在是要全都寫出來,真的是擎筆難書,也是「擎筆難述」。用說的,你寫的也一樣寫不盡,寫不盡了菩薩的長情。若想到那時候,要如何一一說出了,投入的人那麼多,那麼多人的付出,只好現在藏在各人的腦海中,再回想一下,這個歷史還是瞬間浮現出來,浮現出久遠,很長久的時間,那個記憶還是很深。這種菩薩情,菩薩的長情,所以我們應該要相信。

 
你要做付出,為人間付出,必定要悲智雙運。雖然心很痛,很悲,人傷我痛,人苦我悲。錢要從哪裡來?北部、西部、中部,銀行無法作業好幾天,要怎麼辦?只好從平安的地方,銀行能操作的地方,這樣用現金,用人這樣運送到達,這就是東,從東往西,到中部去,去發送應急,這是史實。
 
所以說,在〈化城喻品〉,一切都是幻化,但是你們不要將它當作是幻化,這是真實。但是過去了,如夢亦如電,要再如何拿東西出來,都沒有,但是事情發生,現在所看到的南投縣,倒塌的那些房子,倒塌的那些學校,都翻新了。五十所學校在瞬間倒塌,五十所學校,現在去看,都是鞏固的,造型美,學校歷久常新,它們是同樣的色,不同的造型。這就是要看過去的,什麼都沒了,要看現在,一切都是新的。所以,這就是史實。用很多筆墨要如何寫,都寫不出,這麼多菩薩的長情大愛。在那個地方,大家都是發揮他們的悲智雙運,這樣從東西南北方集中到中部。這些菩薩,真的是說來也是很長。
 
所以,道理的源頭,到底是如何?人人心中的一念大悲心。所以「大悲淨光,探討推尋來處之真諦」,用道理。所以我們在〈化城喻品〉,這一段(經文),就是「(一大)梵天王,名曰大悲」。想到大悲梵天王在找光,由不得不想起了這件事。所以說,久遠就是在當下的剎那間,瞬間我們要時時,要好好去回憶。這都是歷史,這都是道理,能人人平安度過,用什麼方法讓人人平安度過?這都是道理,這條路這樣走過來,這我們要用心。說不盡,所以,一個目的,就是要跟大家說〈化城喻品〉。菩薩大悲,希望我們人人做一位,長情大愛、大慈大悲的菩薩,他是從本至今,就是這念心,無始劫以來,就是這樣來的,人人本具。
 
所以常常說,大通智勝,就是我們人人的真如本性,人人本具。發光,散發出去,東南西北的梵天,就再尋找光回來,要請佛再轉法輪。這就是我們要很重視,這一品〈化城喻品〉,也是很重要,雖然這(經)文,一直反覆,就是表示它的道理是很深。
 
前面那段(經)文這樣說,「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,為眾生之父,哀愍饒益者。我等宿福慶,今得值世尊。」
 
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
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
 
這是大悲梵天王及諸梵天王,他要請佛轉法輪,再用偈文反覆,再說,再說一次。就是說,惡人增加,所以三惡道充滿,就如我們人間,犯罪的人若愈多,監獄的人就愈多。同樣的道理,天眾減少,如善的人減少,在監獄的人增加。
 
所以,佛,覺者,出現在人間,所以諸梵天王,希望佛替眾生來開眼目,因為眾生的心眼已經迷茫了,所以,佛就是世間所歸依處,覺悟者是迷途的人所歸投,所盼望帶路的人,是救護一切,為這個世間的人來作父,那就是佛陀本來就是,「三界導師」,「四生慈父」,所以哀愍饒益眾生。所以「我等宿福慶」,就是梵天過去有造福,過去的福很大,所以才能生在梵天。「今得值世尊」,現在世尊的光耀,已經照得那麼遠,經過照遍五百萬億國土,那麼遠的光芒,受到照耀,他們這樣尋找光而來,這是前面的意思。
 
接下來(經文)這樣說,「爾時,諸梵天王偈讚佛已,各作是言:惟願世尊哀愍一切,轉於法輪,度脫眾生!」
 
爾時
諸梵天王偈讚佛已
各作是言
惟願世尊
哀愍一切
轉於法輪
度脫眾生
《法華經化城喻品第七
 
那時候,諸梵天王,不只是大悲梵天王,還有很多(天)人,是異口同聲。大家還記得吧?異口同聲來請佛轉法輪,來說這個偈。所以叫做「諸梵天王偈讚佛已」,這樣說。再說就是,「惟願世尊,哀愍一切」,請佛來轉法輪,來哀愍我們。
 
我們大家雖然是享福,享福,壽也有盡時,希望能斷生死,得究竟的道理,斷生死。所以請佛為我們轉法輪,度脫一切眾生。我們若能了解,我們若能斷了生死,我們大家也能再去度眾生。這就是大悲梵天,諸梵天王,大家的心聲,人人願意成佛道,人人願意度脫眾生,這是表示他們的虔誠,他們求佛法的真切。這是表示東南方,這是東南方的(諸)梵天王,大悲梵天王所率領的天人,來到大通智勝佛座前,「勸請大通智勝佛轉法輪」。那時候,大通智勝佛「默然許之」。佛就是答應了,但是時間還未到,所以他默然。
 
接下來的經文再說,「時諸梵天王,一心同聲而說偈言:大聖轉法輪,顯示諸法相,度苦惱眾生,令得大歡喜。」
 
時諸梵天王
一心同聲而說偈言
大聖轉法輪
顯示諸法相
度苦惱眾生
令得大歡喜
《法華經化城喻品第七
 
諸梵天王看到佛陀,大通智勝佛已經是默然,默然就是允許,所以他們再這樣說,大家一心同聲,就是期待佛陀能趕快來說法。「大聖」,大聖人就是佛,來轉法輪,顯示諸相。佛是默然,大家希望(佛)能表達,顯示佛願意開始要轉法輪。所以「法運無窮,如輪之轉」。法的運轉,那就是不只是一方,是要周圍全部,既然法輪將要轉,不只是這樣起動而已,還是要全部轉。
 
所以,「法運無窮」,他要運轉。「如輪(之轉)」,像輪子在轉一樣。所以,「顯示一切善惡之相」。希望佛能將法輪一轉,讓大家才能了解,什麼是善?什麼是惡?從理顯事,從事顯相,這就是佛要講經說法的目標。

大聖轉法輪

顯示諸法相
法運無窮
如輪之轉
顯示一切善惡之相
 
道理是無形無相,道理無形無相,要說出來,大家還是無法很清楚,佛就要用種種的人間事來譬喻。所以用道理,道理若用事,事就要用相,要有相,這樣有事、有相,才有辦法顯出道理來,這就是要轉的法輪。不論是說什麼相,相的裡面有什麼理?讓大家能了解,這就叫做事、相、理。度苦惱眾生,要用佛陀的智慧,才能把握時間,用這個相,現在的世間相與事事物物,來分析這些道理讓大家瞭解。

所以,「度苦惱眾生」。這些眾生的苦惱,不離事與相,在事相中,生起無限量的苦惱,這就是眾生生死輪迴的源頭,不離開事相。就是不懂道理,所以,事相苦惱了眾生,造了很多的業力。所以希望人人,能從事相中體會道理,「令得大歡喜」。這「度苦惱眾生」。

所以「大聖」就說法之人,法輪乃所說之法,法有頓漸性相,隨機演說,度苦惱眾生,離苦得樂。

所以,「大聖」,就是能說法的人。「法有頓漸根相」,就是有「頓」,也有「漸」。「頓」就是較利根,頓悟,很快,道理一說,你馬上就能了解,這是「頓」,頓悟。也有「漸」,有要聽,耐心在聽,但是就要慢慢來,不很清楚,不過,很願意用心去體會。這個法對機,有頓機的人,馬上體悟,他就能一下就去行菩薩道;若是慢慢來的,就是聲聞、緣覺。這種「(頓漸)性相」。每一個人,都有每一個人不同的根機,所以佛就要「隨機演說,度苦惱眾生」,希望人人能脫離苦難。

 
大聖乃說法之人
法輪乃所說之法
法有頓漸性相
隨機演說
度苦惱眾生
離苦得樂
 
這段(經)文,也就是諸梵天王,再一次更懇切,來要求大聖轉法輪,要求,再一次用偈文來要求,所以叫做大悲心切。大梵天王,他的名字叫做大悲,雖然佛已經默許了,但他還再一次的請求佛,大聖轉法輪。因為眾生因為事、相,困擾了眾生的心,讓眾生的煩惱很多,造作惡業的人很多。所以三惡道眾生已經增加,諸天眾已經減少了,所以請佛要趕緊顯示這個事相,善惡分明,讓大家更清楚,讓大家心開意解。
 
對啊,聽法,我們就要心開意解。我們剛剛所說的,雖然很長久的時間,長久以來,無不都是在當下瞬間,發生的事情,從個人或者是社會,或者是國家,人人都有這種第一時間的史實,這要好好記錄,要寫下來,真的是擎筆難書。
 
總而言之,都是在我們的記憶中,在我們的八識田中,八識田中,我們到底是善或是惡呢?反正,我們是善的,去救人,去付出的,這也是在我們的八識田中,這個種子、因緣,還是帶到未來的未來。所以我們最重要的,是把握在當下,此時,要時時多用心。


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Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: Understand History to Transform Sentient Beings (史實相理 度苦眾生)
Date: February.09. 2017
 
“Seeing the pure light of great compassion, we must investigate and seek out the truth of its origin. The distant past is also right now; in a flash, that first moment in history appears. If all dust was ground into ink, taking up a pen, one still could not completely describe the lasting compassion of Bodhisattvas. They exercise both compassion and wisdom and went from east to west to deliver what is urgently needed.”
 
Let us listen and then mindfully think back. The Buddha-Dharma is just like this. No matter how much time has passed, we must believe; we must have faith. With all the principles described in the sutras from ancient times until now, if we are able to have faith, then we are able to apply them. How do we seek out, investigate, examine and find the origin of all the principles? We must have faith.
 
Nowadays, people have become so confused about the principles they can no longer see them clearly. Now, we hope to seek them out and find them again. Long ago, these principles already existed. How can we find them again? “The distant past is also right now.” Where can we find them? Right in the present moment! Everything happens in an instant. What about right now? As we listen to the Dharma now, every line of the Dharma is spoken in an instant. Every word is heard in an instant and then passed by; this is also in an instant.
 
Just what kind of time is an instant that the principles spoken in an instant can be everlasting? This is something we must mindfully understand. This is that first moment in history; from ancient times to now, in this world, every country has had its own history. Even for us ourselves, there are things in our lives that happened that we will never forget. Those instants are also history, a part of the history of our lives. These are true events. It is like this for individuals, for our organization, for our society and for our nation. The things that happened in those instants are things that we will never forget.
 
Take the 921 Earthquake as an example. Does everyone still remember? The 921 Earthquake was an event that has already become a part of the history of our society. It happened in the year 1999, right? This earthquake stuck on September 21, early in the morning at 1:47. Most people call this time midnight, while for us it is very early in the morning. All of a sudden, everyone was roused from their dreams. Everyone quickly ran outside. This is something that we all should remember. During this time, everyone was scared.
 
Some asked, “Where is the door?” Some people were unable to get out, because the power went out during the earthquake. People lost their sense of direction; everyone was panicking. Right after the earthquake, we all went out of the Abode. Was everyone safe? Everyone at the Abode was safe. Since we were safe, the people around us should also have been safe. But, the power had gone out. Where was the origin of the earthquake. Where was the epicenter? If Hualien was like this, what about other places in Taiwan? We were safe, but what about other places in Hualien? The TV had no power, so we quickly turned to radio. We quickly located a radio and began to listen for [the news report]. The news reported that Taichung was greatly impacted by the earthquake. As we listened, the power returned, so we quickly turned to the TV. As we watched, the reports kept coming. The epicenter of this earthquake was located between Taichung and Nantou. Both suffered greatly from the disaster. We continued listening to the news until the next morning. We quickly made calls. Before sunrise, we heard that a high rise building in Taipei had collapsed. We quickly called Tzu Chi volunteers from Taipei. “Is everyone safe?” Many people called on my behalf and found out that the [volunteers] were safe. However, near Songshan Station, a building had collapsed.
 
I asked, “What are the conditions in Xinyi District like?” [They said,] “We have arrived at this building, Tunghsing Building.” “What are the conditions there?” “The entire building has collapsed.” “What about the people inside?” He said, “We don’t know yet, but as they were [evacuate] from the building everyone was very scared.” “What about our [Tzu Chi volunteers]?” “Everyone is safe and are gathering here. At first, when we had our meetings we had them standing on the spot.” “Right now, every should split up to assess [the disaster]. We need to see if there are more people who are wounded. If people are hospitalized, we must go and care for them. We must quickly prepare hot meals for tomorrow morning.”
 
One of our honorary board members took the phone and said to me, “Master, I have already ordered the soymilk and steamed buns.” I said to him, “You are very fast. Is there anyone else working on this?” He replied, “Yes, the person making the soymilk. Now that the earthquake has passed, there is this person I know who is famous here; I asked him to help us prepare [the meals].” I was very grateful! This was in the northern part of Taiwan. Everyone was safe, except for the people living in this building.
 
We had not yet gotten information about the areas outside of the city. Those we had heard from were safe. When we bring up now the events of that instant, I believe that everyone who is listening [can recall] the nervousness at that time, the way we mobilized [our volunteers] and the panic that was experienced. These are all part of our history. This is all related to our life. It is also related to this place and the land. This was that first moment in history.
 
When we asked about Taichung, it was a completely different story. People in Taichung said, “It is very severe. In the city, many houses have collapsed. On this street, this many houses have collapsed. Tzu Chi volunteers are safe. Many people have called the branch office. We have received phone calls from several disaster areas. In Nantou, Pili, it is even more severe.” This is how it began. That first moment in history began like this in an instant. By the time dawn came, throughout the whole night, from early in the morning until first light, we had been constantly collecting [information]. Once we understood the situation, [Tzu Chi volunteers] went to Puli and Nantou. Volunteers from Taichung and central Taiwan gathered there and began to request supplies. It was very early in the morning, about seven or eight am, when the list of materials needed for relief was reported back to us. They hoped that [Tzu Chi] Hospital could provide them with body bags to store the corpses. In the beginning, they asked for 500 [body bags]. “Do we have that many in stock?” We quickly turned to the hospital for help and asked the hospital to contact the manufacturer. After the call with the hospital ended, I received another phone call from the disaster area. “Master, and we add another 1000?” I was in deep shock, “Really? It is really that bad?” “Yes, it will be necessary.” I quickly contacted the hospital and requested that they order more. Less than ten minutes later, another phone call came in. “Master, can we add another 1000 again?” “Is it that bad?” “Yes it is.” So, we quickly phoned in the request. That would be 2500 body bags in total. The hospital contacted their manufacturer, and [the body bags] were sent to Puli directly. This is history that we will not forget.
 
Starting this way, we began to prepare for the relief distribution. I think of how everyone rushed out with only the clothes on their backs. They might not have had a chance to bring any of their daily necessities. Even if they had wanted to buy things, they did not have the money to do so. Some may have run out with only their underwear on.
 
So, the first thing we thought of was money. We had to quickly distribute money. So, we contacted the Taichung branch office and asked them to quickly withdraw money from the bank. They returned our call and said the door of the bank could not be opened due to the power outage. The bank was unable to operate. When we asked the Taipei office, we received the same answer. The power had not yet returned for the banks to operate; this was truly difficult! We were unable to get money.
 
We could only do it from [the bank in] Hualien. We took out NT$20,000,000 in cash and had two people, each carrying NT$10,000,000 in cash, go from eastern Taiwan to the central and western parts of Taiwan. This had to be done very urgently; we had to find a way to distribute it right away so, the disaster victims could get what they needed on the same day. So, in this short time, many people were mobilized.
 
When we reflect on what happened, we can collect stories from many people. Even when we talk about it now, when everyone hears it, I am sure this memory is still in our hearts. In everyone’s memories, there were so many people giving to help. If we wanted to write down everything that people did to help others, it would truly be like this, “If all dust was ground into ink, taking up a pen one still could not completely describe them. How many people did we mobilize? From central, southern and northern Taiwan, all Tzu Chi volunteers mobilized and gathered in central Taiwan. The missions that they accepted were not things people would be able to do.
 
For example, so many body bags had been requested; this means there must have been so many corpses. These corpses had to be put into the body bags. Tzu Chi volunteers had to help out with this. On the same day, a phone call came in asking, “Master, can we get some freezer containers?” “What do we need freezer containers for?” “We need them for the corpses; the sun is out. When it is around noon, the corpses in the body bags will not remain preserved for long. All the corpses must be preserved so that they can be identified later. After we put them in [the body bags], they will not be able to bear such warm weather. Master, can we look around and see if we can find any freezer containers?” This was Chunzhi’s voice. In my mind, I can still recall our conversation over the phone in that instant. This was what Chunzhi said to me.
 
“Where can we get freezer containers that can be delivered the same day to the disaster site?” If the freezer containers were not delivered on that day, then the corpses could not be preserved. What could we do? We had a benefactor, Lee Tsung-chi. Mr. Lee was in the marine shipping business. He shipped food and other items in freezer containers. I thought of Mr. Lee’s profession, so I called him and asked, “Mr. Lee, I have one thing to ask you, I do not know if this would be difficult. Do you think you would be able to help us?” He said, “How can I help? Master, what is there that cannot be done? As long as it is within my ability.” “Do you have two freezer containers that you can send [to the disaster site]?” “Yes, I do. In my business how could I not?” “Can they be sent to the disaster site in time? “Of course, I will make the arrangements now.”
 
[The containers] were delivered right away, arriving in the afternoon. Tzu Chi volunteers then, one by one, put the corpses into the freezer containers. I also heard that this year (2015), a Faith Corps Bodhisattva [who was there] came back in April or May. I was telling everyone that “There are many disasters in this world. Tzu Chi volunteers have done a lot for Taiwan. In any disaster that occurred in Taiwan, Tzu Chi volunteers have never been absent. Wherever a disaster hits, Tzu Chi volunteers will be there to help. I thought of the 921 Earthquake as I spoke. At this time, this Bodhisattva-volunteer was sitting in the audience. He said, “Master, I remember that well.” I said, “Please describe it [for us].” He said, “One mother came to us and knelt down. She held on to me and said, ‘Brother. Please help me. I know you go into the freezer container to move the corpses.’” As the corpses were piled on top of one another, every 40 to 50 minutes volunteers had to go in and rotate the corpses. Otherwise, since the corpses were stacked on top of one another all the way to the top, though the corpses had been frozen, without rotating them, there would still be heat. This mother knew about this process; she had seen volunteers moving the corpses. So, she asked us, “Please, when you go in there, my child was one of the first to be moved in. Brother, my child is crushed under many people. When you go in there, as he was one of the first to be moved in, can you please move him up a little?”
 
When I heard this, I said, “This is truly heartbreaking to hear, but his is our history. You should still share it with everyone.” In life, all it takes is for a net of ignorance to be cast, and it is easy for people to forget this history. Those times, our memories of the 921 Earthquake, should be revisited again to remind everyone to be vigilant of the impermanence in life. In this world, in our society, so many Bodhisattvas give for the sake of society. In this world full of impermanence, these are true stories of Bodhisattvas giving. These are the memories we create. We must not forget them. This is our history, our treasury of teachings.
 
I constantly encouraged him, “Mr. Lin, please, if you have the opportunity, share this with others. Some young people do not know what happened during the 921 Earthquake.” Some people have forgotten about it. So, you must share all about the way that you helped others during that disaster. This was not something ordinary people could do, but you did it.
 
“The distant past is also right now; in a flash, that first moment in history appears.” That instant happened a very long time ago. Whether it was as long ago as Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha’s era, or in this era we are in now, in those moments right after the incident, it all happened in a flash. In that instant, these things truly happened. This is history; it is true. These are not legends.
 
With these very real events, if we want to use ink to write them down, truly, “even if all dust was ground into ink”, even if we were to use so much ink, so many pens, how could we write it all down? This is truly what we call putting down one, losing ten thousand.” For every ten thousand things, we can only write down one. If we truly want to write all of it down, it will be very difficult. “One could not completely describe it.” Even if it is spoken out loud, we are still unable to write it all down. We are unable to write down the long-lasting compassion of the Bodhisattvas.
 
If we think about that time, how can we share each story in detail? So many people dedicated themselves and gave to help others. It can only be stored in people’s minds. When we think back, this history surfaces in our minds instantly. These things from long ago will surface. Our memories are still very deep. This is Bodhisattvas’ long-lasting compassion. So, we must have faith in it.
 
In order to give of ourselves for the sake of the world, we must exercise both compassion and wisdom. Our hearts were very pained and saddened as we felt others’ pain and suffering as our own. Where would the money come from? In northern, western and central Taiwan, the banks could not operate for days. What could we do? We could only start from places that were safe, places where banks were able to operate. We withdrew cash, then had people personally deliver it. So from eastern Taiwan, we went west to central Taiwan to provide emergency relief. This is our history.
 
Regarding the Parable of the Conjured City, everything is illusory, but we should not treat it as illusory. It is true. But it is in the past, so it is like a dream or a flash of lightening. Even if we try to take something out to show it, we cannot. But this thing happened. Now, if we look at Nantou Country, all the houses that collapsed and all the schools that collapsed have been rebuilt. 50 schools crumbled in an instant. When we look at these 50schools now, they are very strong. Their designs are beautiful, and they can stand the test of time. They have the same color, but different designs. If we want to see what was there in the past, nothing is left. If we look at it now, everything is brand new. So, this is history.
 
No matter how much ink and pens we use, we are unable to write out all the long-lasting compassion of Bodhisattvas. In that place, everyone exercised their compassion and wisdom. These Bodhisattvas came from north, south, east and west and gathered in central Taiwan. This is truly a very long story.
 
So, what is the origin of principles? It is the great compassion in everyone’s minds. So, “Seeing the pure light of great compassion, we must investigate and seek out the truth off its origin.” We do this using the principles. So, in the Chapter on the Parable of the Conjured City this sutra passage states that “There was [a Great] Brahma King named Great Compassion.” When I think of Brahma King Great Compassion looking for [the origin of] the radiance, I could not help thinking [of this earthquake]. So, the distant past is also the present instant. In this instant, we must constantly and earnestly look back. That is all history; it is all principles. For everyone to live in peace and at ease, what methods must we use to help them? These are all principles. As we walk on this path, we must be very mindful. There is too much to share.
 
So, I have one purpose, which is to tell everyone that in the Chapter on the Parable of the Conjured City. Bodhisattvas have great compassion. I hope that everyone can be a Bodhisattva with long-lasting compassion and great love, great loving-kindness and great compassion. From their origin until now, Bodhisattvas have this mindset. For countless kalpas it has been like this; everyone intrinsically has it.
 
So, we often say that Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha is everyone’s nature of True Suchness. Everyone intrinsically has this. When His radiance shone forth, Brahma king from the east, south, west and north came back to seek out its origin. They asked the Buddha to turn the Dharma-wheel. We must place great importance on this.
 
The Chapter on the Parable of the Conjured City is very important. Though these passages are very repetitive, this shows that the principles are very profound. The previous sutra passage states, “The Three Evil Realms are filled, and the heavenly beings have diminished. Now a Buddha is born to this world to serve as the eyes for sentient beings. You are the refuge of the world who saves and protects all. You are the father of sentient beings, the one takes mercy on and benefits us. We celebrate pur past blessings that allow us to today encounter the World-Honored One.”
 
This was what Brahma King Great Compassion and the other Brahma kings [said]. They asked the Buddha to turn the Dharma-wheel, then used verses to repeat themselves and say it again. The number of these doing evil had increased, so the Three Evil Realms were filled. It is the same in our world; if more people commit crimes, then more people will be in prison. The principles are the same. The heavenly beings have diminished, meaning the number of those who do good deeds decreased, and the number of people in hell increased. So, the Buddha, the Enlightened One, appeared in the world. All the Brahma kings hoped that the Buddha would open His eyes on behalf of sentient beings. Sentient beings’ mind’s eyes were already deluded. So, the Buddha is whom the world takes refuge in. The Enlightened One is a shelter for the Deluded. He is the one we hope will lead the way, who can save and protect all. He is the father of sentient beings. The Buddha is fundamentally “the guiding teacher of the Three Reals and kind father of the four kinds of beings.” So, they hoped that the Buddha could take mercy on and benefit sentient beings. “We celebrate our past blessings” means the Brahma kings had created great blessing in their past lives, so they were born into the Brahma heavens. Today [they] encounter the World-Honored One.” The radiance of the World-Honored One had shone very far. It has passed through 500 trillion lands. The radiance shining from so far away had illuminated them, so they came to seek the light. This is the meaning of the previous passage.
 
The next sutra passage states, “At that time, all the Brahma kings, having praised the Buddha in verse, each spoke these words. ‘We only pray that the World-Honored One will have mercy on all and turn the Dharma-wheel to transform and liberate sentient beings.’”
 
At that time, all the Brahma kings, not just Brahma King Great Compassion, but also many other heavenly beings, spoke in unison. Do we still remember? They spoke in unison to request that the Buddha turn the Dharma-wheel and thus spoke this verse. So, it says that, “all the Brahma kings, having praised the Buddha in verse,” then went on to say, “We only pray that the World-Honored One will have mercy on all.” They requested that the Buddha have mercy and turn the Dharma-wheel for them. Though they were enjoying pleasures, their blessings and lifespan would come to an end. They hoped to be liberated from samsara and attain the ultimate principles in order to be liberated from birth and death. So, they requested that the Buddha turn the Dharma-wheel and transform and liberate all sentient beings.
 
If they were able to understand this, if they could be liberated from samsara, they could then also transform sentient beings. For Great Compassion and the other Brahma kings, these words were from their hearts. All of them were willing to attain Buddhahood; all willing to transform sentient beings. This shows their reverence, their sincerity in seeking the Buddha-Dharma. This shows that the Brahma kings of the southeast and the heavenly beings led by Brahma King Great Compassion had come before Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior “and requested that Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha turn the Dharma-wheel.”
 
At that time, Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha “silently consented.” The Buddha agreed; however, the time had not yet arrived, so the Buddha remained silent.
 
The following sutra passage states, “Then the Brahma Kings, with one mind and one voice, spoke in verse.‘The great noble one turns the Dharma-wheel to manifest the appearance of all Dharma and deliver suffering, afflicted sentient beings, enabling them to attain great joy.”’
 
The Brahma kings saw that the Buddha, Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha, had remained silently, and in His silence consented. So, with one mind and with one voice, they spoke this verse. They hoped the Buddha could quickly expound the Dharma. “The great noble one” is the Buddha. He came to turn the Dharma-wheel and manifest the appearance of all Dharma.
 
The Buddha silently consented. Everyone hoped that the Buddha would express His willingness to begin to turn the Dharma-wheel. So, “The Dharma can be applied inexhaustibly, just like the turning of a wheel.” The Dharma is applied not only in one direction, but in every direction all around. Since the Dharma-wheel was about to be turned, not only should it be set in motion, but it must be turned all the way around. So, “The Dharma can be applied inexhaustibly, just like the turning of a wheel.” It is like the turning of a wheel. So, “It reveals all good and evil appearances.” They hoped the Buddha would turn the Dharma-wheel so that everyone would be able to understand what is good and what is evil. The principles are revealed by matters, and matters are revealed by appearances. This was the Buddha’s goal as He taught the Dharma.
 
The great noble one turns the Dharma-wheel to manifest the appearance of all Dharma: The Dharma can be applied inexhaustibly, just like the turning of a wheel. It reveals all good and evil appearances.
 
The principles are intangible, without appearance. If these intangible principles were taught, people still could not clearly understand them. So, the Buddha has to use all kinds of worldly matters as analogies. If the principles were expressed by [worldly] matters, and matters were expressed by appearances, then with matters and appearances, the principles could be manifested. This is the Dharma-wheel that must be turned.
 
No matter what appearances were taught or what principles were within these appearances, they were to help everyone understand. These are matters and appearances and principles. To deliver suffering, afflicted sentient beings, the Buddha had to use His wisdom to seize the moment. The appearances of this world, the matters and objects in this world, were used to explain these principles for everyone to understand, thus to “transform and liberate afflicted beings.” These afflictions that sentient beings have are inseparable from matters and appearance. Sentient beings give rise to infinite afflictions amidst matters and appearances. This is the origin of cyclic existence; it is inseparable from matters and appearances.
 
They do not understand the principles, so sentient beings give rise to afflictions due to matters and appearances. Thus they create many karmic forces. So, He hoped everyone could realize the principles through matters and appearances, thus “enabling them to attain great joy.” This is to “liberate afflicted beings.”
 
So, the “great noble one” is someone who can expound the Dharma. “The teachings have a nature and appearance that can be gradual or immediate.” It can be either “gradual” or “immediate.” “Immediate” is for someone with sharp capabilities. They understand immediately. Once the principles are taught, they are able to understand immediately. This is “immediate”, an immediate awakening.
 
There is also “gradual.” They listen to the Dharma patiently. They take in the teachings more slowly, but they are willing to put their hearts into comprehending them. So, the teaching must match their capabilities. People with “immediate” capabilities are able to quickly comprehend and awaken. They can walk the bodhisattva-path immediately.
 
The people who take things slowly are the Hearers and Solitary Realizers. So, these are their “natures and appearances.” Everyone has different capabilities. So, the Buddha had to “teach according to capabilities to deliver suffering, afflicted beings.” He hoped everyone could be free from suffering.
 
The great noble one is the one who expounds the Dharma. The Dharma-wheel is the Dharma He expounds. The teachings have a nature and appearance that can be gradual or immediate. He taught according to capabilities to deliver suffering, afflicted sentient beings so they can be free from suffering and attain joy.
 
This sutra passage states that all Brahma kings once again sincerely asked the great noble one to turn the Dharma-wheel. They once again requested it in verse. So, this Great Brahma King had great compassion. His name was Great Compassion. Though the Buddha had silently consented, he asked the Buddha once again for the great noble one to turn the Dharma-wheel. [He did this] because the minds of sentient beings were troubled by matters and appearances. Sentient beings had given rise to many afflictions and many people had created bad karma. So, [ the number of] sentient beings in The Evil Realms had increased, and the number of heavenly being had decreased. They requested that the Buddha quickly reveal these matters and appearances for everyone to clearly discern right from wrong and thus open their minds and understand.
 
When we listen to the Dharma, we must open our minds and be understanding. We have said this earlier. Although it has been a very long time, the distant past is also right now. With the events that have happened before, whether for individuals, society or even an entire country, everyone has those first moments in history. We must put in effort record it, to write it down. Truly, taking up a pen, one still cannot completely describe it.
 
In summary, these are all within our memories and within the field of our eighth consciousness. In our eighth consciousness, do we have good or evil [seeds]? Regardless, the good we have done by saving people and giving of ourselves is also within our eighth consciousness. These are the seeds, our causes and conditions, that we will bring with us to the future. So, the most important thing we must do is to seize the present moment and always be mindful.
 

(Source: Da Ai TV – Wisdom at Dawn program – Explanation by Master Chen-Yen)
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20170209《靜思妙蓮華》史實相理 度苦眾生 (第1020集) (法華經•化城喻品第七)
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