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 20170217《靜思妙蓮華》法鼓警醒生死長夜 (第1027集) (法華經•化城喻品第七)

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發表主題: 20170217《靜思妙蓮華》法鼓警醒生死長夜 (第1027集) (法華經•化城喻品第七)   周五 2月 17, 2017 1:37 am

20170217《靜思妙蓮華》法鼓警醒生死長夜 (第1027集)
(法華經•
化城喻品

 
法輪轉,警醒生死之長夜,如鐘鼓敲響;法說如來四德,常樂我淨,靜寂清澄;一切眾生皆有真如佛性,善惡一念。
如優曇缽華,今日乃一遇。我等諸宮殿,蒙光故嚴飾,世尊大慈愍,惟願垂納受!《法華經化城喻品第七
爾時,諸梵天王偈讚佛已,各作是言:惟願世尊轉於法輪。《法華經化城喻品第七
示述誠敬供養禮讚,次則更加勸請轉法輪。
令一切世間諸天、魔、梵、沙門、婆羅門,皆獲安隱而得度脫!時諸梵天王,一心同聲以偈頌曰。《法華經化城喻品第七
令一切世間諸天、魔、梵魔:欲界第六天之魔王。梵王色界之梵天王。
沙門:出家學者。婆羅門:在家研修各種宗教行者。
皆獲安隱而得度脫:未聞法前,心不自在,聞已心安,得度生死。
惟願天人尊,轉無上法輪,擊於大法鼓,而吹大法螺,普雨大法雨,度無量眾生!我等咸歸請,當演深遠音。《法華經化城喻品第七
惟願天人尊,轉無上法輪:一心虔誠請法,惟願諸天人所尊敬大覺者,能為人天演說大法斷惑,是名為轉。
佛之法輪為無有上,能轉運入,悟道妙法。
 
【證嚴上人開示】

「法輪轉,警醒生死之長夜,如鐘鼓敲響;法說如來四德,常樂我淨,靜寂清澄;一切眾生皆有真如佛性,善惡一念。」
 
法輪轉
警醒生死之長夜
如鐘鼓敲響
法說如來四德
常樂我淨靜寂清澄
一切眾生
皆有真如佛性
善惡一念
 
這就是和大家分享,「法輪轉」,警醒著我們生死之長夜,就如晨鐘暮鼓。一早鐘聲開始這樣叩,響了鐘,鐘聲一起,我們大家都要醒悟過來了。
 
昨晚已經長時間讓我們休息,休息的時間,什麼都不知,除了夢,夢是虛幻,除了夢以外,還有什麼呢?長長的長夜,就如我們在生死中六道輪迴,生死由不得自己,就如在做夢一般。夢,不是我們自己想要做什麼,境界自然現前,隨著這個境界虛幻,有人是做惡夢,夢得很驚惶,夢得醒不過來,很痛苦。
 
常常聽到人說:「我做了一場惡夢,很怕!到底這有什麼異兆嗎?」醒來就是害怕,睡著就是夢。像這樣,就是在我們凡夫生死中,一直都與這樣,由不得自己,長長的夜,什麼時候才會清醒呢?唯有我們早上鐘聲響,我們醒過來了,大家要精進了,一念心,要精進,要把握時間,與時間來拚。這就是鐘聲叩響起來了,我們人人都要,好好提醒,就如法輪能警醒我們,生死之長夜,就如早上的鐘聲。
 
「法說如來四德」,什麼是四德呢?那就是「常、樂、我、淨」,這叫做四德。「常」,我們能夠,塵點劫以前,大通智勝佛那個時代,我們無始無始以前,我們已經真如本性永恆,常住在我們的心,只是我們自己不知。這念真如本性,那就是大覺大悟的本性,卻是我們不知,將這個「常」這樣埋沒,隱没起來了。
 
本來我們有清淨的本性,我們能逍遙自在,就是如虛空法界,我們有一顆很開闊的心,我們有無量無邊覺悟的慧海。這個真如就是我們自己本身,一片清淨,本來就無染穢,卻是我們也是同樣,無明惑將我們遮蓋了,要不然我們四德永遠,都在我們的心裡。真如本性具足四德,那就是「常、樂、我、淨」。
 
本覺慧海遍虛空法界,清淨無染,這是我們人人本具,而且能夠回歸到那種靜寂清澄,無染著,包容天下,無染著,這就是我們原來本具。所以「一切眾生,皆有真如佛性」,只是一項,善惡就只是在那一念間而已。「一念無明生三細」,這就是我常說的口頭禪。
 
我們都是在那一念間,很微細的無明展現出來,貪、瞋、癡。貪心一起,貪一切欲,貪一切的享受,「貪」,貪字是無底洞,「貪」字是高高在上。一句話說:「山高未是高,人心節節高。」這是臺灣俚語。就是人的心,地位高,還不夠高,還要求再高、再高;利益大,還不夠大,還要再大、再大。永遠無窮無盡,無不都是這念貪,貪念開始,名、利、地位,永遠都是無窮無盡。高,比山還要高,深,比海還要深,只是一個貪字,真的是「高深莫測」,這個貪,所以這就是惡念。
 
既有了貪,求不得,那就會瞋怒了。瞋,瞋怒的心,人與人之間結了多少愛恨情仇。這從貪、瞋,求不得的苦,這種的愛恨情仇,實在是沒完沒了,無窮無盡。所以我們要好好地,如鐘,鐘聲這樣叩響了,我們要趕緊醒來,與時日競爭。因為「是日已過,命亦隨減。」時間是在分秒中過,日子也就是這樣分秒中消失,我們的生命,同樣也就是在這樣日子過,就是我們生命減少,因為日子過了,人就老了,老的盡頭,那就是死,總有一天。所以我們要好好把握時間,要好好聽法。
 
佛法難遇,因為很長久,才能有一尊佛出現,所以我們應該要很珍惜佛出人間,說法轉法輪。法輪在人間轉,雖然釋迦佛入滅二千多年了,法輪還是不斷在轉,只是我們的人心受了無明覆蓋。法輪在轉,卻是我們的心,沒有鋪出了這條法的路,心門沒有開,還未鋪出這條路。
 
其實我們人,人人只是在一念的偏差,這一念偏差,那就是流落於六道,這全都是在一念間。所以我們應該要從福中做,做中得歡喜。福從做中得歡喜,慧呢?是要從,善解得自在,福,要去做,我們才能體悟到。
 
最近有很多,因為天災,比如說尼泊爾地震,已經有多少人,多少梯次去過了,回來之後的分享,看到人間無常、苦啊!一個颱風,蘇迪勒,讓烏來(受災)。大家都喜歡去玩、去觀光,去泡溫泉的整個觀地區,變色了,完全不同了,多少人間菩薩就是這樣去投入,慈濟人,哪個地方需要,這群菩薩,七八天的時間,很辛苦,不怕苦,去體會人間變化無常、山河危脆。
 
去體會人間無常!山河危脆,人間無常啊!只是一個颱風,整個山河變色。財產再多,飯店再大,同樣的,泥土進去,原來人很多,在那個地方溫泉,人多,不淨物就多,一個泥土一來,全都混在一起。山上的泥、河中的水,整個山洪洩下來,和原來污水池那些人體排泄物,污染的東西,混合在一起,從山上這樣下去,到了地下一二樓去,可以想像是多麼臭啊!
 
泥土混著不淨物,量之多,要打掃那些,實在要很忍,勘得忍!為了要能幫助這麼多人,有一個輕鬆,能住的地方,所以要很多人,很多菩薩投入。看到之後,回來就能分享,體會了,體會無常,體會山河變色,體會了國土危脆。若沒到那個地方,無法體會。
 
比如說在日本,街友滿街道,公園有一群人間菩薩,為那個公園的街友,一個月有兩天,有兩次,第一個星期日,第三個星期日,就是慈濟人到那個公園去發放,去給他們物資,給他們送飯糰等等。這次,在七月,就是第三個星期,就是他們一個節日,連續三天放假,這一回,很多男眾,也就是委員的先生,也都出來幫忙,同樣的,他們親手捧著飯糰,到那些街友面前。
 
還沒吃飯之前,就開始將大家叫過來。這些日本先生,慈濟人的先生,用日文和大家分享,分享現在慈濟在國際間,所做的救濟──在尼泊爾的地震,在臺灣發生了粉塵爆,臺灣愛的力量如何付出。所以邀這些街友,要為臺灣,為天下,為他們的國家,也是緬甸,那時候也是淹大水,所以他們來告訴他們,為天下來祈禱。
 
這些街友聽到這些日本先生,這樣侃侃而談,說很多他們的太太在做的事情,臺灣發生的粉塵爆,說到地震或者是水災,這樣國際間的災情說出來,所以,呼籲那些街友,要提出了虔誠的心來祈禱。大家很聽話,也是很虔誠、祈禱。而且他們又帶他們一個團康,讓他們感覺到,原來不只是這一群女士,臺灣來的一群婦女的愛心,原來日本男人,也是同樣與太太這種共同的(愛)心,對佛法的瞭解,對天下無常、災難偏多,人間短暫,這樣的道理說給他們聽。他們如夢初醒,這一次好像真真正正,如鐘聲響起,叫醒他們迷茫在街頭的心。
 
在後面做的人,要準備這樣這麼多的東西,給這些街友,有一群我們的菩薩,就在廚房裡,他們邊做,就很歡喜。他們若要裝便當,他們都用鐵的碗,他們都很用心,每一次都要煮過。
 
在路邊煮碗時,就有一位這樣說,她說我平時,過去,過去,再強調「過去」,都是常常要去三溫暖、都去泡溫泉,洗三溫暖,這都要花錢。但是我現在在慈濟,也都是在三溫暖,一個月兩次負責在爐前,火爐前面,在這個地方煮這些碗,煮好還要再等它涼,再把它擦乾。一下子熱、一下子涼。再者,以前要去讓身體流汗,我就要在三溫暖裡,讓身體流汗,現在都不用,在這裡同時也能流汗,尤其是又不用花錢,又能做得很歡喜,心很踏實。」
 
所以他們大家在那裡,邊做、邊歡喜。這就是愛的力量,真的是投入,這個「投入去體悟」,這就是法。我們若光是聽法,不能瞭解,就要親身投入,才是真正能體會。這愛的力量。
 
再者,在我們臺灣內湖(慈濟園區) 也是,內湖(慈濟園區)每天每天,都有五六十位在薰法香。現在應該也是,其中有一位郭居士,他有一個朋友是馬來西亞,林居士。他從馬來西亞來臺灣,一直要把他度出來,但是好像很難,但是,他就告訴他:「好啦!我會去。」一直到了覺得朋友就是這樣,有這樣的約,內湖近近的,去環保站看看!
 
一到了那裡,真的就這樣投入了,聽法了,不論是環保和聽法,很投入,他自己這樣說,現在也在培訓了。他是電子軟體的工程師,所以他說平時都喜歡玩軟體,過去的生活,頭髮,雖然是男生,卻也是很喜歡那些裝飾,珠寶的裝飾。現在他應該是在乎內湖)現場,聽師父在講他,他說他每天不間斷都是法,他也打開他的珠寶箱,給我們的記者看,說:「這就是以前我戴的。」就戴上,有戒指、有鍊子、有項鍊等等,他說:「以前就是也喜歡玩這些。」但是此時不同了,頭髮剪短了,就是慈濟人,他若沒有說,實在無法瞭解,他的過去,原來也是在生死長夜茫茫中。現在每天都是與時間競爭,每天都是那麼早起床,因為他要來薰法香,所以與時日競爭。
 
不只是薰法香,還有讀書會,還做環保,還隨(環保)車出去等等,都會做。環保場,從垃圾變成了一個科技的道場,變成了環保教育站。看看,生命就是這樣,我們沒有接觸到法之前,長夜茫茫,就是這樣度過人生,由不得自己。來生會是什麼?不知道。所以這時候,這輩子活得很快樂,雖然流汗,雖然為人付出,無所求,卻是內心很享受法這個歡喜,這樣在享受,「福從做中得歡喜」。慧是從,「慧中善解得自在」。因為聽法開啟了智慧,所以事事善解,現在很自在。看,這就是法。所以善惡只是在一念間,人人本具佛性,善惡只是在一念間而已,所以我們要用心。
 
我們本來,我們就是有四德具足,卻只是一念迷,四德「常、樂、我、淨」。受了污染,真的是山河變色,讓我們的心地,完全被污泥所遮蓋了。所以我們要好好用心,希望我們這個佛性,在這一念之間,我們翻轉過來,念念善,步步就是精進。這種精進在菩提大直道上,這樣不是很輕安自在嗎?所以我們要好好與時間來競爭,來,把握現在。
 
看看過去的經文,「如優曇缽華,今日乃一遇。我等諸宮殿,蒙光故嚴飾,世尊大慈愍,惟願垂納受!」
 
如優曇缽華
今日乃一遇
我等諸宮殿
蒙光故嚴飾
世尊大慈愍
惟願垂納受
《法華經化城喻品第七
 
這個應該大家還記得。昨天的(經)文還有前天的(經)文,梵天王,這群梵天王,是來自哪個方向呢?南方。過去是東方、東南方,現在是正南方。南方梵天王,代表是誰啊?妙法。是啊,希望大家聽了就要記住,他也已經到佛前來了,也是虔誠的心,供養,(請)轉法輪,所以他們請佛來轉法輪,希望佛陀能夠,給他們一個很明朗的法。因為他們還有一點點的迷惑,還未完全去除。
 
所以佛陀要出現人間,是很長久的時間,「如優曇缽華」,今乃一遇。優曇缽華,我們昨天說過了,是「瑞應」,有實無花,等到它開花時,那就是佛出世、佛轉法輪、佛將要涅槃,有大事,這種花才會開。「優曇缽華」,表示佛出世難遇,佛說法也難遇,這就是瑞相。
 
(諸梵天王)還是同樣,「我等諸宮殿」」,用很虔誠的心,「與宮殿俱」,全部都來,表示身心虔誠,這樣全都帶來,來供佛。
 
接下來這段(經)文說,「爾時,諸梵天王偈讚佛已,各作是言:惟願世尊轉於法輪。」
 
爾時
諸梵天王
偈讚佛已
各作是言
惟願世尊
轉於法輪
《法華經化城喻品第七
 
那時候,大家供養之後,讚歎佛之後。再用偈文再次讚歎,之後那個時候,就是「爾時」。
 
示述誠敬
供養禮讚
次則
更加勸請轉法輪
 
這些梵天王,大家「各作是言」,每個人都有這樣的需求,「惟願世尊轉於法輪」。這是表示,敘述每個人內心的恭敬。他們的供養是虔誠的供養,他們的頂禮、他們的讚歎,這都是一念虔誠,這是每一位梵天王的心聲。這麼恭敬讚歎是為什麼呢?就是希望能勸請佛來說法。因為他們所勸請,卻是佛還是「默然許之」,還沒開始說,「還沒,時間還沒到,我會說,但是還是默然。」這是佛還他在等,人還沒到齊。
 
下面這段(經)文再說,「令一切世間諸天、魔、梵、沙門、婆羅門,皆獲安隱而得度脫!時諸梵天王,一心同聲以偈頌曰。」
 
令一切世間
諸天、魔、梵、
沙門、婆羅門
皆獲安隱而得度脫
時諸梵天王
一心同聲以偈頌曰
《法華經化城喻品第七
 
這就是請轉法輪。又是希望佛若能轉法,就能令一切世間,不是為了我自己來請法,還有為世間諸天,還有魔、梵、沙門(婆羅門)、天、魔,還有就是修行人,還有其他的宗教者,也都能夠,人、非人等都能聽到佛說法。每一個,不論是在天或者是魔,或者是人間的修行者,他們若聽佛說法,自然他們就能法入心,心就會安穩,就能度脫,給他們一顆種子。那時候,這樣的心意,表達出來之後,那時候梵天王,「一心同聲以偈頌曰」,再次用偈文來頌。
 
可見這個法是多麼重要,天人是多麼重視,佛陀要發聲來講話,所以他們很懇切,「一心同聲以偈頌曰」。大家都是一條心,人很多合起來一念心,用偈文來說。
 
令一切世間
諸天、魔、梵
魔:
欲界第六天之魔王
梵王
色界之梵天王
 
所以,令一切世間諸天魔梵,一切世間那就是三界,在欲界、色界、無色界。魔呢?魔就是在欲界裡。梵,那就是在色界裡。
 
所以說,天也有這樣,想要將人都留在六道裡,也有想要如何自己也能解脫,六道眾生都能解脫,連魔、梵也能接受法。所以來請法的都是梵天王,期待魔,魔就是比較會作亂人,他們也能聽到,能受正法降伏,也能清淨沒有迷惑,不會迷在天福,讓他們能知道,天福也有享盡時。所以「諸天、魔、梵」。
 
「欲界第六天之魔王」。雖然他已經在欲界,在第六天了,卻是還有要留住,不希望人人都去接觸佛法,他會作亂。對這個要接受佛法、斷生死,他就會去作亂。所以這就是希望魔王也能受法。
 
梵王是色界之梵天王,現在來請法的,都是在色界梵天王。魔王是在欲界的第六天。稱為「魔、梵」。梵天王他們都修善法、持善戒,所以稱為梵天王,他們生在色界,享受很多、壽命很長、心很清淨,只是還有少分的惑還未除,要如何斷生死,這個法還未究竟。
 
沙門:
出家學者
婆羅門:
在家研修
各種宗教行者
 
沙門就是出家的學者,出家修行就是沙門。婆羅門是在家研修,各種宗教的修行者,也有婆羅門的出家,在山林中修各種法的人。婆羅門是很多種,希望這些人都能,「皆獲安隱,(而)得度脫」。
 
皆獲安隱
而得度脫:
未聞法前
心不自在
聞已心安
得度生死
 
希望,還未聽到法的人,以前的心不自在。還沒聽法,哪怕是魔、梵,同樣還沒聽到法,或者是天龍八部還未聽到,未聞法前,心就是不自在。「聞」,聽法之後,自然就是心安,自然就能慢慢有法入心,就慢慢「得度」。所以「時諸梵天王,一心同聲以偈頌曰」。
 
下面(經文)接下來,「惟願天人尊,轉無上法輪,擊於大法鼓,而吹大法螺,普雨大法雨,度無量眾生!我等咸歸請,當演深遠音。」
 
惟願天人尊
轉無上法輪
擊於大法鼓
而吹大法螺
普雨大法雨
度無量眾生
我等咸歸請
當演深遠音
《法華經化城喻品第七
 
對啊,現在就是要惟願,大家來請法,請佛轉法,這就是大家的心願。
「惟願天人尊,轉無上法輪」。
 
惟願天人尊
轉無上法輪:
一心虔誠請法
惟願諸天人
所尊敬大覺者
能為人天
演說大法斷惑
是名為轉
 
就是表示「一心虔誠請法」,那就是叫做惟願。「惟願諸天人所尊敬」,這叫做「天人尊」,「惟願天人尊」惟願這兩字是表示虔誠,志心虔誠的心願,來恭請天人尊,大家所尊敬的大覺者,所以「能為人天,來演說大法斷惑」,名叫做「轉」。所以我們要用心。
 
佛、佛法要遇到實在不容易。梵天王來請法,一次再一次,東方、東南方、南方,前前後後,都是經過了,五百萬億土這樣過來,表示很遙遠。到了發光的源頭,就是道理的源頭,開始發出了那分這麼恭敬的心,來請佛轉法輪。佛還是有所等待,還在等。這些天人還是一而再,再而三,表達出他們的虔誠,表達出了他們求法懇切的心,這是多麼珍重啊!
 
求法,請佛轉法輪,法輪一轉,我們才有辦法,真的是道理的源頭,要如何一直深入,去除了很微細的塵沙惑,還有很微細,因為我們的心,要能完全去除,能完全沒有惑,沒有迷惑,全都徹底信悟,不是那麼容易。所以法輪要轉,法才有辦法,不斷,不間斷這樣流入眾生的心。
 
幾天前我們也說過了,佛,轉佛心入凡夫心,佛慈憫的心,希望我們凡夫聽法之後,也能改惡從善,轉惡念為善念,轉自私為無私的大愛。這種入人群,不受人群所污染,這一直要到了很自在,不論是什麼樣的事、相,現前,都不會受搖動,要到這樣的境界是不簡單。
 
所以「佛之法輪為無有上」。法輪是很高,也是很大,應該就是要將法源源不斷,法遠流長。法從無始無始以前就有了,不斷不斷地,這個道理要不斷留下來。我們若是不接法,這個道理就會斷了。就如那道光一照,是五百萬億土。就如法在塵點劫之前,這樣一直到現在。
 
佛之法輪
為無有上
能轉運入
悟道妙法
 
所以,「佛之法輪,為無有上」。佛之法輪一轉,所轉的是無上法,「能轉運入」眾生的心,也就是「悟道妙法」,這個法輪讓我們能體悟道,這個法。
 
其實,法若能入心,我們有無限量本性慧海,這個覺性慧海自然展現。所以我們用心學法,不要走一步退兩步,若這樣,我們永遠都是,在茫茫長夜中,都是在做夢,夢不醒,那就苦不堪。所以我們要時時多用心!


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Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: Rousing Us from the Long Night of Cyclic Existence (法鼓警醒生死長夜)
Date: February.17. 2017
 
“When the Dharma-wheel turns, it rouses us from the long night of cyclic existence, like a bell or a drum struck loudly. The Dharma teaches the Tathagata’s four virtues of permanence, joy, self and purity, that tranquil and clear state of mind. All sentient beings have the Buddha-nature of True Suchness; good and evil are determined by a single thought.”
 
This is to share with everyone that “the turning of the Dharma-wheel” rouses us from the long night of cyclic existence, just like the morning bell and evening drum. Every morning the bell will sound, and once the bell has sounded, we all must wake up. Last night, we already had a long time to rest. When we were resting, we did not know anything. There is only our dreams, which are illusory. Apart from our dreams, what else is there? The long night is like our transmigrating within the cyclic existence of the Six Realms. Cyclic existence is beyond our control, just like our dreams.
 
In our dreams, we do not act on our own accord. The conditions naturally manifest, and we go along with this illusory state. Some people have nightmares; their dreams are very frightening. They are unable to wake up from the dream. This is very miserable.
 
We often hear people say, “I had a nightmare; it was very frightening. Is this an omen?” When they wake up, they are scared; when they fall asleep, they have [nightmares]. Likewise, as we unenlightened beings go through cyclic existence, everything is constantly beyond our control.
 
When will we awaken from this long night? Only when the bell is struck in the mornings do we wake up. We all must be diligent. We only have one mindset; we must be diligent. We must seize the time, must race against time. So, when the bell is struck in the morning, we need to earnestly alert ourselves. This is like the way the Dharma-wheel rouses us from the long night of cyclic existence. It is like the morning bell.
 
“The Dharma teaches the Tathagata’s four virtues.” What are the four virtues? They are “permanence, joy, self and purity.” These are the four virtues. “Permanence” means we can [trace back] to dust-inked kalpas ago, to the era of Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha, [to know] that since before Beginningless Time, our nature of True Suchness has existed forever; it permanently abides in our minds. It is just that we do not recognize it. Our nature of True Suchness is our intrinsic nature of great enlightenment and great awakening. However, we do not know it and thus bury this “permanence,” conceal it completely. Originally, with our pure intrinsic nature, we could be free and at ease, like the vast void of the universe. We all have a very open and spacious mind; we have a limitless and boundless ocean of enlightened wisdom. This nature of True Suchness is our intrinsically pure state, which was originally without any defilements. However, all the same, we covered ourselves with ignorance and delusions.
 
Otherwise [we would know that] the four virtues are always in our minds. Our nature of True Suchness is replete with the four virtues, which are “permanence, joy, self and purity.” The ocean of wisdom of our innate enlightenment pervades the universe and all Dharma-realms. It is pure and undefiled. This is something everyone intrinsically has, and moreover we are able to return to this tranquil and clear state. Without defiled attachments, we can embrace all things in the world. This undefiled state is something we all intrinsically possess. So, “All sentient beings have the Buddha-nature of True Suchness.” There is only this one thing; good and evil are decided by a single thought.
 
“An ignorant thought creates the Three Subtleties.” This is a catchphrase I often use. In the span of a thought, a very subtle lack of clarity appears in our mind. Then greed, anger and ignorance [follow]. Once greed arises, we are greedy for all desires, greedy for all pleasures. Greed is a bottomless pit; greed reaches high up in the sky. There is a saying that “Mountains are not as high as the greed in our minds.” This is a Taiwanese idiom. It describes the minds of human beings. People have high status, but it is not high enough. They want it to be even higher. Their profit is great, but not great enough. They want it to be even greater. Their greed is endless, never satisfied. Every thought consists of greed. Once greed arises, reputation, profit and status are endlessly pursued. Our greed is higher than the mountains and deeper that the ocean. This is all “greed”; it is truly “vaster than we can comprehend.” This is greed; it is an unwholesome thought.
 
Once greed arises, and we do not get what we want, we become angry. With anger in our minds, we form many emotional entanglements with others. From greed to anger to the suffering of not getting what we want, these emotional entanglements are truly endless and inexhaustible. So, we must put in effort to [end this], like how when the bell is struck, we must quickly wake up. We must race against time, because “With each passing day, we draw closer to death.” Time passes by with every second; the day also pass by with each second. As for our lives, as each day passes, we draw closer to death, because as the days pass by, we age. The end of aging is death. One day, this will eventually happen, so we must put in the effort to seize the time.
 
We must earnestly listen to the Dharma. The Buddha-Dharma is rarely encountered, because a long time passes before a Buddha appears in the world. So, we must cherish it when a Buddha manifests in the world to expound the Dharma and turn the Dharma-wheel. The Dharma-wheel is turned in the world; although Sakyamuni Buddha entered Parinirvana over 2000 years ago, the Dharma-wheel is still constantly turning. It is just that our minds are covered by ignorance. The Dharma-wheel is still turning, however, in our minds, we did not paved a road to accept the Dharma. We did not open the door to our minds and have not yet paved this road.
 
In fact, for us human beings, we just had a single thought that went astray. When this thought went astray, we ended up in the Six Realms. All this came from a single thought. So, while we have blessings, we must act and gain joy through giving. “Blessings are the joy we gain through giving.”
 
What about wisdom? Wisdom is the freedom we gain from being understanding. We need to take action and give in order to experience the meaning of having blessings. Recently, many natural disasters have occurred, such as the earthquake in Nepal. Many of our volunteers have gone there [to do relief work]. Upon returning, they shared their experiences of seeing impermanence and suffering in the world. Typhoon Soudelor [caused great damage] in Wulai. This place that is very popular for sightseeing and for soaking in hot springs, this tourist spot, was completely changed. It was totally different.
 
Many Living Bodhisattvas dedicated themselves. Wherever Tzu Chi Volunteers needed, these Living Bodhisattvas were there; for seven or eight days they worked so hard, but they did not fear hard work. They experienced the impermanence in life and the fragility of the land. The world is impermanent! One typhoon can cause the mountains and rivers to change completely. No matter how much wealth one has or how big one’s hotel is, the mud will flood inside just the same. Originally, there were many people there to enjoy the hot springs. With many people, there was a lot of human waste. When the mud flooded in, everything mixed together. Mud from the mountains and water from the rivers came streaming down the mountainsides. This mixed with the pools of waste water, with all of their defiled human waste. All of this came down from the mountain to the first and second underground floors. We can imagine how bad the smell was. The mud mixed with large amounts of human waste.
 
To clean this up, people would really need to have patient endurance. In order to help many people have inhabitable living conditions, many Bodhisattvas got involved [to help]. After seeing this, when they came back they shared their experience of the impermanence in the world, of mountain and rivers suddenly changing form, of the fragility of the land. If they had not gone there, they would not be able to experience this.
 
Or take Japan, for instance. There are many homeless people on the streets. In the park, a group of Living Bodhisattvas would [hold distributions] for the homeless. They did this twice, two days a month. On the first and third Sunday of the month, Tzu Chi volunteers would distribute material goods, rice balls, etc. in the park.
 
During the third week of July every year, there is a three-day holiday in Japan. This time, many male volunteers, the husbands of our commissioners, all came out to help. They held the rice balls in their hands as they approached the homeless people. Before they began their meals, they gathered everyone together. The Japanese husbands of our commissioners spoke in Japanese to share with everyone the disaster relief work that Tzu Chi had done around the world, such as after the earthquake in Nepal, or the power explosion in Taiwan, how volunteers in Taiwan give with the power of love. So, they invited these homeless people to [pray] for Taiwan and for the world, for all the countries for all the countries in the world. In Myanmar at that time there was a great flood. So, [the husbands] asked all of them to pray for the world. the homeless listened to the [husbands] talk about the things that their wives where doing after the powder explosion in Taiwan and the earthquakes, floods and other disasters around the world. So, the volunteers called on the homeless people to pray with a reverent heart. Everyone listened and reverently prayed. Then, the volunteers led them in an activity. This helped them feel that they were not only receiving love from a group of ladies from Taiwan; these Japanese men also had the same mindset as their wives. [They talked about] their understanding of the Buddha-Dharma, how the world is impermanent, with many disasters, and how life is very short. they shared these principles with them. The homeless seemed to awaken as if from a dream. This time, it truly seemed like a bell had been struck to wake them up from their confused wandering on the streets.
 
The people behind the scenes had to prepare so much food and other goods for the homeless. There was a group of Bodhisattvas who worked joyfully in the kitchen. If they needed to pack lunchboxes, they used metal bowls. They were very mindful and would boil the bowls each time. As they boiled the bowls by the side of the road, a volunteer said, “I would usually, in the past, she emphasized the phrase “in the past, often go to the sauna; I would go to hot springs or to the sauna. Of course, this costs money. But now, volunteering for Tzu Chi, I am also in a sauna. Twice a month, I will be in front of the stove boiling all these bowls. After boiling, we wait for them to cool down, then we wipe them and dry them. One moment I am hot, and next moment cold. Also, before, when I wanted to sweat, I would go to the sauna to let my body sweat. Now, there is no need, because I sweat a lot while I am working here. Furthermore, I do not need to spend any money, and I feel very happy as I do this work; I feel very grounded.” So, everyone there felt very happy as they were doing the work. This is the power of love. They had truly dedicated themselves. They “dedicated themselves to awakening.” This is the Dharma. if we only listen to the Dharma, we will not be able to understand it. We must personally get involved to truly be able to realize this power of love.
 
Next, in Taiwan’s Neihu District, as our Neihu [Tzu Chi campus], every day there are 50 to 60 people there to listen to the morning Dharma lecture. They are probably there now. Among them, there is Mr. Guo, who has a friend from Malaysia named Mr. Lin. He came from Malaysia to Taiwan, and [Mr. Guo] had been trying to bring him in; however, it seemed very difficult to do. But [Mr. Lin] told him, “Alright, I will go.” Now he felt that he made this agreement with his friend, and Neihu was very close to where he lives, so he went to check out the recycling statin. Once he got there, he truly got involved and listened to the teachings. Whether recycling work or listening to the Dharma, he was very dedicated. This is what he said himself.
 
Now, he is in the advanced certification training. He is a software engineer, so he enjoys playing around with software. In the past, [he cared very much] about his hair. Although he is a man, he really liked to accessorize himself with jewelry. Now, he is likely at the campus in Neihu district listening to me as I talk about him. He said that every day he listens to the morning Dharma lecture. He also opened up his jewelry box for our news reporters to see. He said to them, “This is what I used to wear.” There are rings, bracelets, necklaces, etc. He said, “I used to enjoy these things very much.” But now, it is different. He cut his hair and became a Tzu Chi volunteer. If he did not tell us, we would not be able to understand his past. Before, he dwelled within the long night of cyclic existence.
 
Now, he competes against time every day. He wakes up very early every morning to listen to the Dharma lecture. Thus, he is competing with time. Besides listening to the morning Dharma lecture, he also attends study groups, does recycling work, goes out with the truck, etc. He helps with all the work. This recycling station can turn garbage into a spiritual practice center full of technology; it is used to educate others about doing recycling.
 
As we can see, life is like this. Before encountering the Dharma, we are in a very long night; that is how we pass the time in life. Things are beyond our control. What will our future lifetimes be like? We do not know. So, at this time, we must fill our lives with joyfulness. Although we sweat a lot, although we are helping others unconditionally, in our minds we experience Dharma-joy. We experience this enjoyment.
 
“Blessings are the joy we gain from giving”. As for wisdom, “Wisdom is the freedom we gain from being understanding.” By listening to the Dharma, we can unlock our wisdom. So, being understanding of all things, we will feel very free. See, this is the Dharma. Good and evil are determined by a single thought. Everyone intrinsically has Buddha-nature, while good and evil are determined by a single thought. So, we must be mindful.
 
We are all intrinsically replete with the four virtues. However, one thought of delusion caused our four virtues, “permanence, joy, self and purity,” to be contaminated. This is like when the mountain and rivers shifted; this causes the ground of our minds to be covered up completely by mud. So, we must put effort into being mindful.
 
We hope that our Buddha-nature can [manifest] in the span of a thought. Then with a change in our mindset, all our thoughts will be good, and we will be diligent at every step, will diligently walk the great, direct Bodhi-path. Then won’t we feel happy, peaceful and at ease? So, we must earnestly complete against time.
 
Come, let us seize the moment. The previous sutra passage states, “He is like the udumbara flower. Only today were we able to encounter Him. All of our palaces were magnificently adorned by the radiance. World-Honored One of great loving-kindness, we only pray You honor us by accepting them.”
 
Everyone should still remember this. The sutra passage from yesterday and the day before [all talked about] this group of Brahma kings. Where did they came from? From the south. Previously, it was east and southeast, now, they came from the south. Who was the representative of the Brahma kings of the south? It was Wondrous Dharma. Right; I hope you can all remember what you hear. Wondrous Dharma had already come before Him with a reverent mind to make offerings and [request] the Dharma. They asked the Buddha to turn Dharma-wheel hoping that the Buddha could give them very clear teachings. They still had delusions in their minds; they had not yet completely eliminated them.
 
For a Buddha to manifest in the world, a very long period of time must pass. “He is like the udumbara flower.” Only today were they able to encounter Him. We had mentioned yesterday that udumbara flowers are called an “auspicious response;” [the trees] have fruits but no flowers. When the flowers finally bloom, it means a Buddha is manifesting in the world or is about to turn the Dharma-wheel or is going to enter Parinirvana. The flowers only bloom when great events occur.
 
The udumbara flower represents how rare it is to encounter a Buddha manifesting in the world, to encounter Him teaching the Dharma. Thus it is an auspicious appearance. Just as before, [the Brahma kings described] “all of our palaces.” With very reverent hearts, they went “along with their palaces.” They all came with reverent bodies and minds, bringing all their things to make offerings to the Buddha.
 
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 turn the Dharma-wheel.’”
 
After everyone made offering and praised the Buddha, they then used verse to praise the Buddha once again. After that is what the sutra refers to as “at that time.” This shows their sincere respect in making offerings, prostrating and praising Him. Next, they further entreated Him to turn the Dharma-wheel.”
 
These Brahma kings “each spoke these words. Everyone had this same request, “We only pray that the World-Honored One will turn the Dharma-wheel.” This expresses the reverence in each of their minds. They made offerings out of reverence, prostrated to and praised the Buddha, all with reverence. This is what was in each Brahma king’s heart.
 
Why did they reverently praise the Buddha? They hoped to make a request of the Buddha. They had made this request, but the Buddha “silently consented;” He did not yet start teaching. “Not yet; it is not yet time. I will teach, but for now I am silent.” The Buddha was still waiting, because not everyone had arrived.
 
The next sutra passage then states, “‘[We pray You will] enable all in the world, heavenly beings, Mara, Brahma, sramanas and Brahmins, to attain peace and stability and be delivered and liberated.’ Then the Brahma kings, with one mind and one voice, spoke in verse.”
 
This is asking the Buddha to turn the Dharma-wheel. They hoped that if the Buddha did so, it would enable all in the world [to be liberated]. They did not request the Dharma foe themselves, but also for all heavenly beings, Mara, Brahma, and sramanas. Whether heavenly beings, maras or spiritual practitioners, even practitioners of other religions, all would be enable, both human and non-human, to hear the Buddha teach.
 
Whether they were heavenly beings, maras or spiritual practitioners in the world, if they could hear the Buddha teach the Dharma, they could naturally take the Dharma to heart. Then their minds would be at peace, and they could be delivered and liberated. They would be given this seed. At that time, when they expressed this thought, the Brahma kings, “with one mind and one voice, spoke in verse.” They again used verse to speak. Clearly this teaching is very important; heavenly beings placed great importance on it. The Buddha need to speak and teach the Dharma, so with genuine sincerity, they “with on mind and one voice, spoke in verse.” Everyone was on one mind; so many had come together, all with the same mind. They spoke using verse.
 
So, they hoped to enable all in the world, heavenly beings, Mara, Brahma, [to be liberated]. All in the world means all in the Three Realms, the desire realm, form realm and formless realm. What about Mara? [King] Mara is in the desire realm. [King] Brahma is in the form realm. So, some heavenly beings were like this; they want all beings to remain in the Six Realms. Others sought liberation for themselves and for all sentient beings within the Six Realms. Even maras and Brahmas can accept the Dharma. So, it was Brahma kings requesting the teachings. They hoped the maras, the ones who were always creating trouble, would also be able to listen to the Dharma and be tamed by the Right Dharma. Then they could be pure and free from delusions and not be deluded by heavenly blessings. This way, they would be able to understand that heavenly blessings will also come to an end.
 
So, this includes “heavenly blessings, Mara [and] Brahma. [Mara is] King Mara of the sixth heaven of the desire realm.” Though he is already in the sixth heaven of the desire realm, he wanted to keep people [in the Six Realms]. He did not want people to encounter the Buddha-Dharma, so he would stir up trouble. If people wanted to accept the Buddha-Dharma and be liberated from cycling existence, he would stir up trouble for them. So, [the Brahma kings] hoped that King Mara also accept the Dharma.
 
King Brahma is in the form realm. The ones who now requested the Dharma were all Brahma kings from the form realm. King Mara is in the desire realm. Together these are “Mara [and] Brahma.” The Brahma kings cultivate virtuous Dharma and uphold wholesome precepts. This is the reason they can be Brahma kings. They enjoy many pleasures in the form realm; they have very long lifespans and pure minds. But they still have a little bit of delusion that they have not yet eliminated. They have not thoroughly understood the way to liberate themselves from cyclic existence.
 
What about sramanas? Sramanas are monastic practitioners. Sramanas are those who renounce the lay life. The Brahmins are lay religious practitioners, practitioners of all kinds of religions. Some Brahmins also become monastic practitioners and cultivate all kinds of spiritual practices in the forests. There are many different types of Brahmins. [The Brahma kings] hoped that all of them could “attain peace and stability and be delivered and liberated.”
 
[Enable all] to attain peace and stability and be delivered and liberated: Before having heard the Dharma, their minds were not at ease. Having heard it, their minds were at peace, and they were delivered from birth and death.
 
Their hopes were for those who had not heard the Dharma; their minds were not at ease because they had not heard the Dharma. Whether maras or Brahmas, some had not yet heard the Dharma. Or, some of the eight classes of Dharma-protectors had not yet heard; before they listened to the teachings, their minds were not at ease. Once they heard the Buddha-Dharma, their minds would be at ease. Naturally, they could take the Dharma to heart and slowly be delivered. So, “Then the Brahma kings, with one mind and one voice, spoke in verse.”
 
The next [sutra passage] states, “We only pray the one honored by heavenly beings and humans will turn the supreme Dharma-wheel, beat the Great Dharma-drum and blow the Great Dharma-conch. Universally let fall the Great Dharma-rain to deliver countless sentient beings. We all take refuge in and entreat You to teach with the deep and far-reaching tone.”
 
Right, their only prayer now was everyone’s asking for teaching, asking the Buddha to turn the Dharma-wheel. This is the hope of everyone. “We only pray the one honored by heavenly beings and humans will turn the supreme Dharma-wheel.”
 
We only pray the one honored by heavenly beings and humans will turn the supreme Dharma-wheel: They wholeheartedly and reverently requested the Dharma. They only prayed that the Great Enlightened One respected by all heavenly beings and humans would, for humans and heavenly beings, expound the Great Dharma to eliminate delusions. This is called “turning.”
 
This means “They wholeheartedly and reverently requested the Dharma.” This why it says that they “only prayed. They only prayed that the one respected by all heavenly beings and humans…” He is “honored by heavenly beings and humans.” [This was their only prayer]. The phrase “we only pray” shows their reverence. They were determined and reverent in their wish to respectfully ask the honored one, the Great Enlightened One respected by all heavenly beings and humans. So, “[He] would, for humans and heavenly beings, expound the Great Dharma to eliminate delusions. This is called ‘turning.”’
 
Thus, we must be mindful. It is not easy to encounter the Buddha-Dharma. When Brahma kings came to request the Dharma, they asked over and over again. From the east, southeast and south, they all came one after another and had to travel through 500 trillion lands to get there. This means they were very far away. When they reached the source of the light, which is the origin of the principles, they began to give rise to that reverence and asked the Buddha to turn the Dharma-wheel. The Buddha was still waiting for something; He was still waiting. These heavenly beings again and again expressed their reverence and their earnestness to seek the Dharma. They truly valued it! They asked the Buddha to turn the Dharma-wheel. Only when the Dharma-wheel is turned will we be able to [accept the teachings]. This is the true origin of the principles. How do we immerse ourselves in it? We must eliminate our subtle and intricate dust-like delusions. These subtle [afflictions] are still there. This is because in our minds, to completely eliminate them, to be free from all delusions and confusion and be thoroughly awakened, is not that easy.
 
Thus, the Dharma-wheel must be turned so that the Dharma can constantly flow into the minds of sentient beings. We said a few days ago that the Buddha must turn [the wheel] so the Buddha-mind can be delivered into our minds. With the Buddha’s compassionate mind, He hopes that after unenlightened beings, listen to the Dharma, they will be able to turn from evil to good. We must turn evil thoughts into good thoughts and turn selfishness into selfless great love. We must go among people and not be contaminated by others. Our minds must be free and at ease; regardless of the things that we encounter, we will not be shaken.
 
To reach this state of mind is not easy. So, The Buddha’s Dharma-wheel is supreme.” The Dharma-wheel is very tall and very big, since the Dharma must be continuously passed down. The Dharma has been passed down for a long time. The Dharma existed even before Beginningless Time, and the principles are continually passed down. If we do not accept the Dharma, then the principles will be cut off. It is just like the light that could shine on the 500 trillion lands at once, like the Dharma from dust-inked kalpas ago, that has existed to the present.
 
So, “The Buddha’s Dharma-wheel is supreme.” Once the supreme Dharma-wheel begins to turn, what is turned is the supreme Dharma. “It turns to transport us to enter,” so sentient beings’ minds can “realize the Path and the wondrous Dharma.” The Dharma-wheel helps us comprehend and awaken. With this Dharma, in fact , if we can take the Dharma to heart, then the unlimited ocean of wisdom in our intrinsic nature, our ocean of enlightened wisdom, will naturally manifest.
 
Thus, we must be mindful as we learn the Dharma, so that we do not take one step forward and two steps back. Otherwise, we will forever remain dreaming in the long night. When we cannot awaken from our dream that suffering is unbearable. So, let us always be mindful.
 

(Source: Da Ai TV – Wisdom at Dawn program – Explanation by Master Chen-Yen)
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20170217《靜思妙蓮華》法鼓警醒生死長夜 (第1027集) (法華經•化城喻品第七)
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