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 20170213《靜思妙蓮華》修善持戒求法淨心 (第1022集) (法華經•化城喻品第七)

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發表主題: 20170213《靜思妙蓮華》修善持戒求法淨心 (第1022集) (法華經•化城喻品第七)   周日 2月 12, 2017 10:28 pm

20170213《靜思妙蓮華》修善持戒求法淨心 (第1022集)
(法華經•
化城喻品

 
本具真如清淨佛心如宅,心業種藏識中緣熟報成,慇勤播植善種修善持戒,自古來今大通自性本具。
眾生聞此法,得道若生天,諸惡道減少,忍善者增益。爾時,大通智勝如來默然許之。
《法華經化城喻品第七
又諸比丘,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。《法華經化城喻品第七
即各相詣共議此事:以何因緣,我等宮殿有此光曜?時彼眾中有一大梵天王,名曰妙法,為諸梵眾而說偈言。《法華經化城喻品第七
我等諸宮殿,光明甚威曜,此非無因緣,是相宜求之。《法華經化城喻品第七
過於百千劫,未曾見是相,為大德天生?為佛出世間?《法華經化城喻品第七
爾時,五百萬億諸梵天王與宮殿俱,各以衣裓盛諸天華,共詣北方推尋是相。《法華經化城喻品第七
見大通智勝如來處於道場菩提樹下坐師子座,諸天、龍王、乾闥婆、緊那羅、摩睺羅伽、人非人等恭敬圍繞。《法華經化城喻品第七
 
【證嚴上人開示】

「本具真如清淨佛心如宅,心業種藏識中緣熟報成,慇勤播植善種修善持戒,自古來今大通自性本具。」
 
本具真如清淨
佛心如宅
心業種藏識中
緣熟報成
慇勤播植善種
修善持戒
自古來今
大通自性本具
 
一直都是跟大家這樣說,我們本具真如清淨佛性,就是在我們的心宅中,所以我們要人人,法往外聽來、求來,我們就要放在我們的心裡。釋迦牟尼佛修行的過程,累生累世都是同樣的心志,用心、虔誠、精進,不怕辛苦、不惜身命,就是只為了求法。為什麼要求法呢?就是要利益眾生。不知道方法,就無法利益眾生,所以必定要求法,哪怕是剝皮下來做紙,集血來做墨,抽骨來做筆,這樣,字字的法,都要將它寫下來。
 
將皮做紙,將骨做筆,將血做墨,要將真理、所追求的法,這樣抄寫下來。你們想,這種銘心刻骨,法真的要入心來!
 
其實,法,求法時是這麼辛苦,法,原來本具真如清淨,是人人本具,人人都同樣這念佛心存在,在我們的心宅裡面,我們還是向外一直追求。但是求來,求三漏四,你求三法,漏了四法,我們一直煩惱不斷增加,善念不斷漏失,想,是多麼可惜呢?所以我們要好好用心,向外聽來的法,我們應該愈刻骨銘心,在我們的內心。靈山塔永遠都在我們的心裡,法華會永遠,這個道場也是都在我們的心裡,所以我們要好好用心。
 
「心業種藏識中,緣熟報成」。心業種子,無不都在我們的藏識中,看我們到底是,做什麼因、什麼緣,因緣果報成熟時,同樣的,在這個藏識中有污染的識,我們一直都在第八識裡,我們若念念過濾清淨,這清淨的淨,真如清淨,那就是在我們的第九識裡,這種不增不減。可惜我們都沒有拿出來用,我們所用的,都是前面的根、塵、識,就是到六識的造作,七識的思考,八識的收納,所以所有起心動念都是煩惱心。
 
煩惱心在十八界裡,六根、六塵、六識也就是這樣,不斷心業在造作種子,種子完成,它就放進藏識裡,因緣若是成熟,果報就開始了,由不得自己捨此投彼。這輩子所造作的業,最後就是歸入藏識,這裡的藏識完成,我們就帶業再往生。來生來世,我們的正報、依報在哪裡呢?看過去所造作的心業種子,如何藏,藏在哪個地方,我們就隨這個業種子受報去了,由不得自己。
 
我們現在樣樣都知道,但是我們是不是,樣樣都要很用心,將這些無明煩惱都過濾掉,讓它回歸到清淨真如的本性,我們的佛心,佛心真如宅中來。這是我們現在能做的,我們現在做得到,我們有這樣的環境,所以我們人人有這樣的共識,這是一個很好修行的地方,我們應該要用心。
 
就如菲律賓慈濟人,他們這樣一大群人回來,就是要來感恩。菲律賓慈濟的種子,華人(較多),華人,大家都在富貴中,所以說「富貴學道難」。因為當地,菲律賓有好幾次的大水災難,慈濟人開始以工代賑,不斷呼籲他們,希望他們能將這個種子,撒在當地,培養當地(志工),讓他們能落地生根,當地人來認識慈濟,當地人也來和華人共識,來承擔。
 
海燕颱風,也幸好有當地人,通達他們的語言。在獨魯萬那個地方的大災難,我們需要很多人去投入,需要通達他們的語言,需要幫助他們去做粗重的工作,就要去帶動他們以工代賑,所以在馬利僅那市這一群,,他們就和我們華人慈濟人,共同投入。
 
當然,這是一個很大型的大災難,所以慈濟人好幾個國家,這樣會合起來,也是去投入。但是主導者是要當地,若是光要靠華人,這實在是,要完全完成就有困難了。幸好在好幾年前的累積過來,有培養這樣的種子,有不斷地將精神帶動落實,很感恩我們這一群菩薩,用心在培養。
 
因為每年能回來培訓等等,精進,都只有華人有辦法回來。因為每一次回來,飛機錢等等,交通費也是一筆負擔,當地人他們的生活較困苦,所以他們無法人人都能夠回來。
 
這次(四合一幹部研習),我們兩位師父去,當然還有我們的同仁。不過大家集中,「師父說的話都對的。」「師父這樣告訴我們。師父這樣教我們,我們大家很歡喜!」我們五六百位當地的志工,那些都是信仰其他的宗教,卻是這次去,因為有師父來帶,他們會向他們解釋,我們為何什麼要拜《法華經》,我們為什麼要唱誦<爐香讚>,我們要如何表達恭敬的心,我們的虔誠,如何能與佛菩薩來相應。拜經之前,德勱(師父)就這樣這樣,為他們解釋。
 
我們華人有很多資深,好幾位資深的慈濟人,他們說:「我們過去,雖然也是回來精進,也是很歡喜,不過,我們只覺得,為什麼<爐香讚>唱那麼久?我們就跟人家拜,都不知道裡面的意思,就是跟著人家拜就對了,不過不知道裡面的意思。」中文不通,是我們的華人,三不五時回來精進,一年一二次,實在是,尤其是中文不通,所以他們只是跟著人家拜,不過心裡會覺得,為什麼要唱那麼久?
 
這次他說不同了,很歡喜。因為有(師父)解釋過,在那個地方,那個感覺,就是在他們的原地,在他們的地方,遠方的師父來了,所以他們很用心聽解釋,入心了。對他們當地人呢?因為我們大家都用臺語說話,不是用華語,他們說哪怕是華人,回來,我們若說華語,說國語,其實他們都聽不懂,他們還是要說臺語。所以我們這次去,大家對用臺語和他們說話,所以華人聽起來很親切感,當地人,他們用即時翻譯,雖然天主教、基督教(徒),他們五六百人都聽懂了,知道佛教裡面的道理。
 
為什麼大家那麼嚴格帶他們,要他們規矩要整齊?其實,他們只是一直覺得,這個團體就是要整齊而已,意思不知道,現在才明白,知道佛法的道理來自一念間,心要正、道要正。他們這樣來和我分享,就又一直要求:「師父,像這樣,請師父您要派我們的師父,能去那個地方帶我們,佛法,我們相信在菲律賓,一定會興起來。」不只是在馬尼拉,宿霧也是這樣,他們也這樣在要求。
 
我就向他們說:「不就是宗教處也常常去啊!」他說:「不一樣啦!還是要師父來。」我就說:「還是出家,形象佔優勢。」出家,覺得是師父派來的,就像師父自己親自來,這樣這麼的重法,他們接受到了。
 
所以我們學佛,道理本來就有。所以前面的諸梵天王,不就是請佛轉法輪,大通智勝佛默然許之。他們就再重說偈言,希望「眾生聞此法,得道若生天,諸惡道減少,忍善者增益」,就是希望要再用事與相,讓大家看得到。有這件事,有這個形相,現出家相,說這樣的道理,說這樣的事情,這樣他們終於清楚了。所以說起來,有理就要有事相、禮節,這是多麼重要啊!
 
所以我們要知道,道理是無形,卻是我們用事相,所造作的不就是人去做事嗎?人做事,不就是在這些形相裡面嗎?我們起分別心,在六識、六根、六塵裡,意識讓我們的眼根,去緣外面的塵境,這樣就起了分別心,起心動念等等,這都是在有形、有相,在人與事之間。所以,讓我們起心動念,起心動念,它的源頭在哪裡?就是在我們的(清淨)本性,有意識,那個道理的含藏,這個道理它會成為有為法。
 
我們真如就是天地間的道理,這個天地間的道理,它會成就有為法,有相的東西。所以這些有相的東西,來誘引我們內心無形相,與外面的境去接觸,變成了人事物的執著。所以這個執著心就是煩惱。你轉個煩惱,去除執著,就是回歸真如,還是回歸道理。每件事都不離開事相,事相引起我們的心,去造作的業力,完成了種,業種,所以業種成為因緣,由不得自己,我們就是這樣在輪迴。好像常常說,卻是大家常常在漏掉,所以這次的經文,不論如何,希望大家還是反覆反覆,一定要去思考,無形的道理、這種有形的事相,我們真的要很謹慎。
 
所以我們要「殷勤播植善種」,我們要好好播種,我們的善種,這就是我們常常說,要入人群中去,好好與眾生結善緣,好好在人群中,瞭解人群的問題、煩惱,我們增長我們的慧命。因為我們看別人,瞭解自己,所以這樣,我們需要「修善持戒」。看到別人,我們才更要警惕自己,要修善持戒。這是「自古來今,大通自性本具」,從塵點劫以前,「大通智勝」就是我們的本性,我們有無量的智慧,無理不通達,我們原來真如本性,這是我們應該要珍惜,希望大家要很用心去體會。
 
前面的經文很長,「眾生聞此法,得道若生天,諸惡道減少,忍善者增益。爾時,大通智勝如來默然許之。」
 
眾生聞此法
得道若生天
諸惡道減少
忍善者增益
爾時
大通智勝如來
默然許之
《法華經化城喻品第七
 
這就是大悲(梵)天王,他的大悲心,他來,從東南方找光,光的源頭,所以見到大通智勝佛。他們虔誠地供養,然後請佛轉法輪,向佛請求。雖然大通智勝佛默然,他又再重複(說偈),希望大通智勝佛,前面的(經)文說顥事相,顯出事相,將道理顯出事與相來。要不然,惡道一直增長,善,諸天眾減少。
 
現在再說,希望用事相來開示,讓眾生聽到這樣的法,能「得道若生天」。因為有這個事相,大家才會瞭解。就如菲律賓,有這樣出家師父到了那個地方,說的都是法,所以他們能瞭解。他們向他們舉出了,很多天下的災難,舉出很多發心的人間菩薩,這樣他們聽懂了。他們看到這樣人的形象,說出這麼多,人間所發生的真實事,過去變成故事了,人人都是這樣在做,他們瞭解了,所以大家很歡喜,開始精進了。
 
這樣精進、得道,得道就是瞭解道理了,若能好好修善法,將來就是能生天。若這樣,無明撥開了,自然就不會墮落惡道了,所以諸惡道減少了,「忍善者增益」。知道了,道理是這樣,在人群中,人我是非不重要,要趕緊把握時間,做好事,自然這種「忍善者增益」,就得到利益了。爾時,大通智勝如來,還是默然許之,答應了。
 
接下來這段(經)文,前面已經結束了,東南方的梵天王請法,現在再接下來又是另外一段,「又諸比丘」,釋迦牟尼佛又在靈山會上,聽法的人說,再叫他們一下,大家要注意。方向又換了,東南方告一段落了,接下來就是南方。
 
「又諸比丘,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。」
 
又諸比丘
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
《法華經化城喻品第七
 
這和過去一樣,大家梵天宮殿,忽然間光明照耀起來了,過去不曾有的,大家那種歡喜,不由自己,大家起了歡喜心。
 
經文再說,「即各相詣共議此事:以何因緣,我等宮殿有此光曜?」為什麼有這樣的光明呢?「時彼眾中有一大梵天王,名曰妙法,為諸梵眾而說偈言。」
 
即各相詣共議此事
以何因緣
我等宮殿有此光曜
時彼眾中
有一大梵天王
名曰妙法
為諸梵眾而說偈言
《法華經化城喻品第七
 
這大梵天王,名曰妙法。前面是「大悲」,現在是「妙法」,再更前面,東方呢?那就是「救一切」,因為這樣,前後(都)有代表的梵天王。這位南方的梵天代表,叫做「妙法」,「諸梵眾而說偈言」。
 
接下來(經)文就是這樣說,「我等諸宮殿,光明甚威曜,此非無因緣,是相宜求之。」
 
我等諸宮殿
光明甚威曜
此非無因緣
是相宜求之
《法華經化城喻品第七
 
這個光明瑞相,威德光耀,這道光明與平常不同。雖然它有光,但是很柔軟,很柔軟中,卻是有一分攝受人心,這種威德的光耀,能夠攝受人的心。這樣的光來照耀,像這樣的光明,非無因緣,不是沒有因緣,無端產生光明出來,所以,諸梵天眾,大家應該要一心,應該要共同來尋覓,推尋這個光,光明的來源。
 
所以,經文再說,「過於百千劫,未曾見是相,為大德天生?為佛出世間?」
 
過於百千劫
未曾見是相
為大德天生
為佛出世間
《法華經化城喻品第七
 
已經過很久了,百千劫了,時間很長了,還不曾看到這樣的形象,還不曾看過,這是很稀有的事情,大家不可不珍惜、不可不重視這道光,真的大家要很重視。這到底是大德天生嗎?應該,或者是如來出現世間了?
 
經文再說,「爾時,五百萬億諸梵天王與宮殿俱,各以衣裓盛諸天華,共詣北方推尋是相。」
 
爾時
五百萬億諸梵天王
與宮殿俱
各以衣裓盛諸天華
共詣北方推尋是相
《法華經化城喻品第七
 
諸梵天王開始就要找。這個光不是平常,大家知道這除了光明柔軟以外,又是能攝受人的心,所以大家應該要好好,用心來找,所以「諸梵天共詣北方」。前面東方與東南方諸梵天王,他們要找的光是從哪裡來?是西方往東方照,所以東方、東南方,他們就要往西方(與西北方)找。一個方向,在東方,他就向,這是西邊;若是南邊呢?就要向北邊。
 
這個發光的源頭,都沒有轉動,只是光的照耀,方向不同,名相就不同。方向也是一個名相,所以方向不同,名相就不同。要不然同一個發光的點,為什麼就是東要向西找呢,南要向北呢?這就是叫做事相,方向事相。其實,它如如不動,就如我們的真如,如如不動,但是道理能發散在虛空法界,天地萬物之間,所以這就是道理,光明的道理發放出來。
 
所以諸梵天王,他們共詣北方推尋光明,趣向光明,趣向。(光)它是從北方來的,照到南方,所以南方就要向著北方,這樣的方向去找。這樣找到佛所了,所以大家要很恭敬,來禮讚、來供養。所以「爾時,五百萬億諸梵天王,與宮殿俱」。這麼多的梵天王,大家都共合起來,同樣的,就是「與宮殿俱」,用他們誠懇的心,不只是人來了,帶著他們所有的一切,最誠懇,包括他們的宮殿俱,全都「各乘宮殿」,就是這樣與宮殿一起來了,「從空而來」。為什麼叫做「從空」呢?因為佛出生一定都是在人間,只是在大通智勝佛的世界,那個時間很長很長久的以前的以前,無始以前那個世界,梵天(王)當然要從空而降,向這個方向而來。
 
所以「各以衣祴盛諸天華,共詣北方推尋是相」。不只是宮殿俱,又是盛著很多的天花,這樣共同都往北方來。他們的信心滿滿,一定是佛出現人間,這道光明很異常,不是大德天生,肯定是佛、覺者,修行覺悟者,將要轉大法輪的一大因緣,所以他們用著很虔誠的心,這樣來,所以「共詣北方推尋是相」。「自南至北」這樣來推尋,而且是從空而降。
 
(經文)再接下來說,「見大通智勝如來處於道場菩提樹下坐師子座,諸天、龍王、乾闥婆、緊那羅、摩睺羅伽、人非人等恭敬圍繞。」
 
見大通智勝如來
處於道場菩提樹下
坐師子座
諸天、龍王、
乾闥婆、緊那羅、
摩睺羅伽、
人非人等
恭敬圍繞
《法華經化城喻品第七
 
已經全都到齊了。所以,看到的,確實是大通智勝佛。這個發光的源頭,光明的源頭就是大通智勝佛,得(見)如來處於道場,坐在菩提樹下,所以大家己經看到佛了,已經在這個菩提場中,大家用最虔誠要來供養。來的人不只是梵天王,除了梵天王,有五百萬億這麼多的梵天王來,還有龍王、乾闥婆、緊那羅、摩睺羅伽、人非人等,大家都是用很恭敬的心而來。
 
恭敬心是人天共同一心,表示就是至誠。我們要知道,修行最重要是那念虔誠的心,虔誠的心,才有辦法回歸,我們的真如本性來。因為這個本性人人本具,不只是諸梵天王,同樣含藏著,如來真如本性,不過,過去的過去,無始塵點劫前,與我們一樣也有迷茫過,也和我們一樣,發現了真理佛法,同樣也努力用心修行。
 
在家菩薩,戒若守得好,而且善法不斷不斷累積,這樣他能乘他的善,有多少,他就是生什麼樣的天界。是生在欲天界呢?或者是生在色界呢?或者是生在色究竟天?那就是有物質,但是沒有欲念,清淨的境界,這叫做梵天。
 
梵天就是很多很多的享受,也是很清淨,心沒有污染、沒有欲念,不過一個遺憾,就是還未斷生死,因為還有一點點的道理,還未透徹,所以真如本性還未完全現前。他們是在天界享樂,卻是他們瞭解,天福享盡同樣要再墮落,所以這點,他們還是要求法,要再到最究竟,連那個最微細,一點點的惑也都要去除,這樣再開始修行,行菩薩道,入人群中都不受污染,鍛鍊到心的清淨。啟悲運智,這樣在人群中悲智雙行,都不受污染,福慧兩足,這樣就能成佛了。他們現在只差一點點,而我們還差很多,我們還是在芸芸煩惱中。
 
不只是諸天差一點點,他們還是在追求,微細塵沙一點點的惑還未盡,他們都還是在追求真理,何況還有龍王、乾闥婆,這個八部龍眾,八部,龍王、乾闥婆、緊那羅、摩睺羅伽、人非人(等),人間或者是不是人間,就是天龍八部,這些都是一樣,他們要追求真理。何況我們人間呢?所以我們人人要用最虔誠的心,來追求真理。我們若沒有好好用心,殷勤播善種子,播善種子,我們若不好好修善持戒,其實,未來我們,到底要去哪裡呢?我們真的不知道。所以我們要用心。
 
我們是在修行,最有條件的道場裡,我們能看到人間,多少的無常、苦、空,這種道理現前,我們在看,我們還能深入其中去幫助他們。菩薩道在人間,我們也這樣在做,大家互相勉勵,這種條件這麼具足,我們應該要好好把握,時時我們要多用心!
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發表主題: 回復: 20170213《靜思妙蓮華》修善持戒求法淨心 (第1022集) (法華經•化城喻品第七)   周二 五月 30, 2017 12:15 pm

Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: Purifying the Mind to Seek the Dharma (修善持戒求法淨心)
Date: February.11. 2017
 
“We intrinsically possess the pure Buddha-mind of True Suchness, which is like our home. The seeds of mental karma are kept in the storehouse consciousness; when conditions mature, the retributions form. We must diligently sow good seeds, cultivate goodness and uphold precepts. From the ancient past until now, we have had the Great Unhindered intrinsic nature.”
 
I constantly tell everyone that we intrinsically have the pure Buddha-nature of True Suchness; it is in the home of our mind. So, after we hear or acquire the Dharma from outside of ourselves, we should take it and put it in our mind.
 
Over the course of Sakyamuni Buddha’s spiritual practice, across all lifetimes, His resolve never changed. He was mindful, reverent and diligent, unafraid of hardship and unsparingly dedicated His life, all for the sake of seeking the Dharma. Why did He seek the Dharma? For the sake of benefiting sentient beings. If He did not know the methods, He would not be able to benefit sentient beings. So, He definitely had to seek the Dharma. Even if He had to peel off His skin for paper, pool His blood for ink and extract His bones for a pen to write down each and every word of the Dharma, He would use His skin as paper, His bones as a pen and His blood as ink. He would copy down the true principles, the Dharma He sought. Think about it; He was carving these words into His mind, into His bones. We truly must take the Dharma to heart.
 
In fact, He went through such hardship to seek the Dharma. The Dharma, the pure nature of True Suchness, intrinsically exists in everyone. Everyone has this Buddha-mind inside them. It is in the home of our mind, yet we continue to seek it outside ourselves. But when we seek it [outside], for every three teachings we gain, four leak out. In our minds, afflictions continuously increase, and thoughts of goodness continue to leak away. Think about this; isn’t this a pity? So, we must put effort into being mindful.
 
When we hear the Dharma from outside ourselves, we should carve it even more deeply into our mind. Within our mind, the pagoda on Vulture Peak will always be there. The Lotus Dharma-assembly, this spiritual training ground, will also forever be in our mind. So, we must put effort into being mindful.
 
“The seeds of mental karma are kept in the storehouse consciousness; when conditions mature, the retributions form.” The seeds of mental karma are all stored in our storehouse consciousness. It all depends on the kinds of causes and conditions we create; when retributions mature, the results are likewise. In our storehouse consciousness is defiled consciousness, so we always remain in the eighth consciousness.
 
If every thought can be filtered to become pure, that state of purity is our pure nature of True Suchness, which is our ninth consciousness. It never grows or diminishes, but sadly we do not make use of it. What we always make use of are our Roots, Dusts and other Consciousnesses. With the sixth consciousness we take action, with the seventh consciousness we contemplate, with the eighth consciousness we take it all in. Thus every thought that we give rise to is an affliction. With afflictions, the 18 Realms, the Six Roots, Six Dusts and Six Consciousnesses, continually creates the seeds of mental karma. After these seeds are created, they are placed in the storehouse consciousness. When causes and conditions ripen, karmic retributions then begin to manifest. Without any control, we leave this life and enter the next. The karma we create in this lifetime in the end returns to our storehouse consciousness.
 
Once fully in our storehouse consciousness, we carry that karma with us when we pass on. In our next life, where will our direct and circumstantial retributions take us? That depends on the seeds of mental karma we created in the past. However and wherever they are stored, we will follow these karmic seeds to receive our retributions. This is beyond our control. We know all of this now, but are we mindful in everything we do? We must filter out all ignorance and afflictions so we can return to our pure intrinsic nature of True Suchness, to our Buddha-mind, to the home of True Suchness. This is something we can accomplish now. We can do it now; we have the environment for it. We all have this common understanding, so this is a great place for spiritual practice. We should be mindful.
 
Take the Tuz Chi volunteers from the Philippines as an example. They come back in a large group to express their gratitude. Among the seeds of Tzu Chi in the Philippines, [most are] Chinese. The Chinese people there are well-off. It is said, “It is difficult for the wealthy to learn the Way.” In the Philippines, there have been many severe floods, so Tzu Chi volunteers started implementing “cash for work” programs there, calling on the local people [to get involved], hoping that this could sow seeds in the local soil and cultivate local (Filipion) volunteers. They hoped these seeds could take root there. Then the local people would get to know Tzu Chi, would develop a common understanding with the Chinese there to take on this responsibility. During Typhoon Haiyan, we were fortunate to have local volunteers who spoke the language. To help with the severe disaster in Tacloban, we needed many people to join in. So, we needed to communicate in their language to guide them in the heavy work of the clean-up but mobilizing them with a “cash for work” program.
 
Thus, a group [of local volunteer] from Marikina worked together with Chinese Tzu Chi volunteers. Of course, as this was a large scale disaster, Tzu Chi volunteers from many countries all gathered together there to join these efforts. However, the leaders had to be local volunteers. If they relied solely on the Chinese volunteers, completing this project would have been difficult.
 
Fortunately, many years had been spent on cultivating these seeds, continuously helping them understand and implement the [Tzu Chi] spirit. I am very grateful to this group of Bodhisattvas who have mindfully nurtured them. Each year, those how can come back to Taiwan for advanced training, retreats and so on are mostly Chinese, because the cost of each trip, the plane ticket and other travel expenses, is a financial burden. The local volunteers are more limited in means, so it is impossible for them to come here.
 
For a recent [training], two of our Dharma Masters went there. Of course, some of our staff went too, but when volunteers gathered to share they said, “What the Dharma Masters told us was perfect. What the Dharma Masters said to us and the way they taught us made us very happy.” There were 500 to 600 local volunteers, most of whom believed in other religions. But this training, since it was led by Dharma Masters, they were able to explain things like why we do the Lotus Sutra bowing ceremony, why we chant the Incense Chant, how we express our respect and how our reverence can resonate with the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Before the bowing ceremony, Master De Mau explained all this to them.
 
Among the Chinese, there were many senior Tzu Chi volunteers. They shared that, “In the past, although we had returned for spiritual retreats and were very happy, we did wonder why we have to chant the Incense Chant for so long. We followed along and bowed, but we never really knew what it meant; we were just following everyone else. But we did not know the meaning behind it because we didn’t understand the words.” They were Chinese, and they regularly returned for training, usually once or twice a year. But their Chinese was not that good. So, they followed the others in bowing, but in their heart they wondered, “Why do we have to chant for so long?” They said it was different this time; they were very happy, because it was explained. The feeling they had now in this place was that this was their place; this was their space. The Dharma Masters had come from afar, so they listened mindfully to the explanation and took it to heart. How did they communicate with the locals? We actually used Taiwanese to speak with them, not Mandarin. They said even though they were Chinese, it they came here and we spoke Mandarin to them, they actually could not understand. They needed to hear things in Taiwanese.
 
So, when we went there this time, everyone used Taiwanese to speak to them. This gave the Chinese there a sense of intimacy. For the locals, they provided simultaneous interpretation. Although they were Catholics or Protestants, those 500-600 people could understand and recognize the principles of the Buddha’s teachings and why the [senior volunteers] had been so strict in training them, why they wanted them to be so neat and orderly.
 
Actually, they had always thought it was just because the organization required orderliness. They did not know the meaning behind it until now, that the principles of the Buddha-Dharma are all about the mind, having the right mindset and the right path. They shared all this with me, then they requested, “Master, after this experience please keeping sending Dharma Masters over there to lead us. Then we are confident that in the Philippines the Buddha-Dharma will flourish.”
 
Not only those from Manila, but also those from Cebu made this request. I replied to them, “Don’t the staff from the Dept. of Religious Affairs go there often?” They said, “It isn’t the same! We need the Dharma Masters.” I said that for the monastics, it seems their appearance is an advantage. When monastics go, they feel I have sent them directly, as if I am there myself. This way, they have such respect for the Dharma and accept the teachings. So, when we learn the Buddha’s teachings, the principles are already within us. This is why previously, when the Brahma kings entreated the Buddha to turn the Dharma-wheel, Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha silently consented. Then they repeated themselves in verse, hoping, “As sentient being listen to this Dharma, they attain the Path or are born in heaven, so those in all evil realms will diminish, and those who are patient and good will increase.” They hoped He would again use matters and appearances so everyone would have something they could see, some kind of appearance, like our monastic appearance. By explaining these principles and these matters, the volunteers were finally able to understand. This is why we say that with the principles, there must be matters and appearances, such as proper etiquette. This is very important!
 
So, we should know that the principles are without form, yet we use matters and appearances. Isn’t everything that is created made by people doing things? When people do things, don’t we remain on the level of forms and appearances? Our minds give rise to discrimination. With the Six Consciousnesses, the Six Roots and the Six Dusts, our mind-consciousness allows our eye-root to come into contact with external conditions; this gives rise to discrimination, stirs up thoughts and so forth. This is all around forms and appearances, people and matters. Thus we give rise to discursive thoughts. Where is the origin of these arising thoughts? In our intrinsic nature. Our mind-consciousness contains principles, and these principles become conditioned phenomena.
 
Our nature of true Suchness contains the principles of everything. The principles of everything allow the creation of conditioned phenomena, things with appearances. So, these things with appearances entice our mind, which is without form, to connect with external condition and give rise to attachment to people, matters and objects. These attachments are afflictions.
 
By transforming these afflictions and getting rid of attachments, we return to True Suchness, to the principles. Everything is inseparable from matters and appearances. Matters and appearances lead our minds to act and to create karma, thus creating karmic seeds. These karmic seeds become causes and conditions, so without any control, we continue to transmigrate. It seems that I talk about this a lot, yet everyone continues to let it leak away.
 
So, with this sutra passage, no matter what, I hope that as you all go through it repeatedly, you will definitely contemplate it. Regarding intangible principles and tangible matters and appearances, we must truly be very careful. So, “We must diligently sow good seeds. We must earnestly sow seeds, our seeds of goodness. This is why we always say that we must go among people and earnestly create good affinities with sentient beings, earnestly go among people to understand their problems and their afflictions and thus nurture our wisdom-life. This is because by seeing others, we come to understand ourselves. This is why we need to “cultivate goodness and uphold precepts.” Only by seeing others can we become even more vigilant of ourselves in cultivating goodness and upholding precepts. This is because “From the ancient past until now, we have had the Great Unhindered intrinsic nature.” Ever since dust-inked kalpas ago, there has been “Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior,” which is our intrinsic nature. We have infinite wisdom; there is no principle we cannot understand. Our original intrinsic nature of True Suchness is something that we should cherish. I hope we put our hearts into experiencing this.
 
The previous sutra passage was very long. “As sentient beings listen to this Dharma, they attain the Path or are born in heaven, so those in all evil realms will diminish, and those patient and good will increase.” At that time, “Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Tathagata silently consented.”
 
Brahma King Great Compassion, in his great compassion, came from the southeast seeking the light, searching for the source of the light. When they saw Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha, they reverently made offerings, then requested that He turn the Dharma-wheel. Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior remained silent, so [Great Compassion] repeated himself in verse, hoping Great Unhindered would, as the previous sutra passage talked about, manifest matters and appearances. Manifesting matters and appearances means revealing the principles through matters and appearances. Otherwise, those in evil realms would continually increase and those who are good, the heavenly beings, would diminish. Now he asked again, hoping the Buddha would teach through matters and appearances so sentient beings listening to this Dharma could “attain the Path or be born in heaven.” He hoped that, through matters and appearances, everyone would come to understand.
 
This is like how in the Philippines, the monastics, the Dharma Masters, went there and everything they taught was the Dharma. So, everyone could understand. They cited examples of the many disasters in the world and the many Living Bodhisattvas who formed aspirations. In this way, they could understand. They were able to see these people’s appearances and hear so many true stories of what has happened in the world. The past has become stories; this is what people have been doing. They understand now. So, everyone rejoiced and began to diligently practice. Advancing in this way, they attain the Path. Attaining the Path means understanding the principles.
 
If we can earnestly cultivate virtuous Dharma, in the future we can be born in heaven. Then, if we can brush away ignorance, naturally we will not fall into the evil realms. So, those in the evil realms diminish, “and those patient and good will increase.” They understood that these are the principles. “When among people, interpersonal conflicts are not important; we should seize the time to do good deeds.” Then naturally. “Those patient and good will increase,” they will attain benefits. At that time, Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Tathagata silently consented; He agreed.
 
Let us go on to the next sutra passage. The previous one has concluded. The Brahma kings from the southeast had requested the Dharma. That is now followed by another passage. “Then, bhiksus…” Sakyamuni Buddha was speaking to those at the Vulture Peak Assembly who were listening to the Dharma. He called to them again, telling them to pay attain, for now He was talking about another direction.
 
The section about the southeast had ended. The next section was about the south. “Then, bhiksus in the 500 trillion lands to the south, all the Brahma kings each saw their palaces illuminated be a great radiance, which had never happened before. They jumped with joy and gave rise to a rare and precious aspiration.”
 
This is the same as before. The Brahma king’s palaces had suddenly become illuminated by the radiance. This had never happened before. They could not help but rejoice. Happiness arose in them all.
 
Then it says, “They immediately went to visit one another to discuss this matter. What are the causes and conditions behind all our palaces having such a radiant light?” Why was there such radiance? “Then, from amidst that assembly, a Great Brahma King named Wondrous Dharma spoke in verse for those in the Brahma heavens.”
 
This Great Brahma King was named Wondrous Dharma. The previous one was Great Compassion. This one was Wondrous Dharma. And the one before that from the east? That one was called Saving All. This is because each [direction] had a representative Brahma king. The representative Brahma king from the south was called Wondrous Dharma; he “spoke in verse for those in the Brahma heavens.”
 
The next sutra passage states, “In all of our palaces, the brilliant illumination is powerfully radiant. This is not without causes and conditions. We had better investigate this appearance.”
 
This auspicious sign of radiance, the brilliance of this awe-inspiring virtue, this ray of light, was different than normal. Thought it was radiant, it was very gentle. Though it was very gentle, it could capture people’s hearts. The brilliance of this awe-inspiring virtue was able to capture people’s hearts. They were illuminated by this kind of light. A light like this cannot arise without causes and conditions; it did not arise for no reason. So, [he said] all those in the Brahma heavens should with one hearts, gather and search together, investigate this light, its source.
 
So, the sutra then says, “Hundreds and thousands of kalpas have passed without us ever seeing such a sign. It must be a Virtuous One born in heaven or a Buddha manifesting in the world.”
 
A very long time had already passed, hundreds of thousands of kalpas, a very long time, and they had never seen any sign like this. They had never seen anything like it. This was a very rare occurrence, so everyone has to treasure it, had to value that light. They must truly place importance on it. Had a Virtuous One been born in heaven? That was likely; or perhaps a Tathagata had manifested in the world.
 
The sutra then says, “At that time, 500 trillion Brahma kings went along with their palaces. They each used their mantle to hold all kinds of celestial flowers and together went to the north to seek out this sign.”
 
All the Brahma kings began to search, for that light was unusual. They knew that this radiance, aside from being gentle, could also captivate people’s hearts. So, they put in effort to mindfully search for it. “The Brahma kings together went to the north.
 
Earlier, the Brahma kings from the east and the southeast wanted to find where the light was coming from. The light came from the west to shine on the east. So, those from the east and the southeast went toward the west [and northwest] to look. One direction was those in the east going toward the west. And those in the south? They went toward the north. The source of the light never moved; it is just that the direction the light illuminated was different, so the terms are different.
 
Directions are also just terms. When the direction is different, the term for it is different. Otherwise, since it radiated from the same source, why talk about those in the east going west, and those in the south going north? These were matters and appearances, the appearance of the directions.
 
Actually, the source was unmoving. Like our nature of True Suchness, it was unmoving. But the principles can be sent forth throughout the universe, throughout all things in the world. These were the principles. The radiance of the principles is sent forth. So, all the Brahma kings went together to the north to seek the radiance. They went in the direction of the direction of the light, as it appeared to come from the north to illuminate the south. So, those in the south went north. They went searching in that direction. In this way, they found the place of the Buddha. They were very respectful in praising and making offerings to Him.
 
So, “At that time, 500 trillion Brahma kings went along with their palaces. “There were many Brahma kings, and all of them together did the same thing, which was “[going] along with their palaces.” With their sincerity, they did not just come by themselves; they brought along everything they owned, and in their great sincerity, this included their palaces. They all “each journeyed on their palaces.” In this way, they came with their palaces. They “came from the heavens.”
 
Why does it says they “came from the heavens?” Because when a Buddha is born, He is always born in the human realm; this was just in the world of Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha. This period of time was a time long before times long ago, in a world before Beginningless time. Of course, the Brahma kings had to descend from the heavens to come in this direction. So, “They each used their mantle to hold all kinds of celestial flowers and together went to the north to seek out this sign.” They did not only come with their palaces, but also with many celestial flowers as well. In this way they came north together. They were filled with faith that a Buddha must have manifested in the world. This radiance was very unusual. If a Virtuous One had not been born in heaven, it certainly was a Buddha, an Enlightened One, a spiritual practitioner who had awakened. He had the great cause of turning the Great Dharma-wheel. This is why they came with such reverence. So, they “together went to the north to seek out this sign.”   “From south to north” they came to investigate. Moreover, they descended from the heavens.
 
The sutra then continues, “They saw Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Tathagata in the place of enlightenment beneath the Bodhi-tree, sitting on the lion throne. All heavenly beings, naga kings, gandharvas, kinnaras, mahoragas, humans, non-humans and so on respectfully surrounded Him.
 
They had all already arrived. So, what they saw was that indeed Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha was the source of that radiance. The source of the light was Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha. They saw the Tathagata in His place of enlightenment, sitting beneath the Bodhi-tree. So, having already seen the Buddha, having already come to this Bodhimanda, they all made offerings with utmost respect. It was not just the Brahma kings who came. In addition to the Brahma kings, the Brahma kings of the 500 trillion [lands], there were also naga kings, gandharvas, kinnaras, mahoragas, humans, non-humans and so on. All of them came with utmost reverence. This respect was the one heart shared by humans and heavenly beings. What they expressed was utmost sincerity.
 
We should know that the most important thing for spiritual practice is a heart of reverence. Only with a reverent heart can we return to our nature of True Suchness. Everyone has this intrinsic nature, not just the Brahma kings. Everyone similarly possesses the intrinsic Tathagta-nature of True Suchness. But, in the distant past, beginningless dust-inked kalpas before, these beings, like us, were lost. And like us, they discovered true principles, the Buddha-Dharma. They too worked hard to mindfully engage in spiritual practice.
 
If lay Bodhisattva uphold precepts well and continuously accumulate virtuous [deeds], they can journey on this goodness and thus be born into a certain heaven accordingly. Will they be born in a heaven in the desire realm? Or will they be born in the form realm? Or will they be born in Akansihtha Heaven? There are material things there, but no thoughts of desire. A pure state is what characterizes Brahma heavens.
 
The Brahma heavens are filled with many pleasures and also very pure. Their minds are undefiled, free of desires. However, they have one regret; they have not ended the cycle of birth and death. Because there are still a few principles they have not thoroughly understood, their nature of true Suchness has not completely manifested. Right now they are still enjoying the pleasures of the heaven realm, but they understand that once they have depleted their heavenly blessings, they will again fall [into the lower realms]. Because of this, they still must seek the Dharma. To reach the ultimate state, even the most minute and subtle delusions must be eliminated. So, they begin to engage in spiritual practice and walk the Bodhisattva-path again. They go among people without becoming defiled and train their minds so they are pure. By awakening compassion and exercising wisdom, they thus go among people and exercise both compassion and wisdom without ever becoming defiled. Replete in both blessings and wisdom, they are able to attain Buddhahood.
 
They are just a small step away right now, but we are still very far off. We still have multitudes of afflictions. It is not just that the Brahma kings are only a small step away, they are also still seeking. As long as a tiny amount of dust-like delusions still remain, they will still seek the true principles. Then there are the naga kings and gandharvas. The eight classes of Dharma protectors include the haga kings, gandharvas, kinnaras, mahoragas, humans, non-humans and so on, those who are of this world and those who are not. These are the eight classes of Dharma protectors. They are all the same; they are seeking the true principles, so what of us humans? This is why we should exercise utmost reverence in seeking the true principles.
 
If we do not put effort into being mindful and do not diligently sow seeds, seeds of goodness, if we do not earnestly practice goodness and uphold precepts, then where will we end up in the future? We truly do not know, so we must be mindful. We are in the best place for spiritual practice. We can see that in the world there is so much impermanence, suffering and emptiness. When these principles manifest, we observe them and can go even deeper into them to help others. The Bodhisattva-path is in the world. As we continue to practice it, we encourage one another. We have all the conditions we need, so we should make the best use of them. Let us always be mindful!
 

(Source: Da Ai TV – Wisdom at Dawn program – Explanation by Master Chen-Yen)
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20170213《靜思妙蓮華》修善持戒求法淨心 (第1022集) (法華經•化城喻品第七)
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