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 20170223《靜思妙蓮華》守戒無染修善淨福 (第1030集) (法華經•化城喻品第七)

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發表主題: 20170223《靜思妙蓮華》守戒無染修善淨福 (第1030集) (法華經•化城喻品第七)   周四 2月 23, 2017 7:28 am

20170223《靜思妙蓮華》守戒無染修善淨福 (第1030集)
(法華經•
化城喻品

 
梵天淨行因緣,威儀規範不缺,守清凈戒無染,修諸上善淨福;梵天身心妙圓,身淨自瑩之光,照物澄徹理明。
爾時,大通智勝如來默然許之。西南方乃至下方,亦復如是。爾時,上方五百萬億國土諸大梵王,皆悉自睹所止宮殿光明威曜,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斯光明?時彼眾中有一大梵天王名曰尸棄,為諸梵眾而說偈言。《法華經化城喻品第七
今以何因緣,我等諸宮殿,威德光明曜,嚴飾未曾有?如是之妙相,昔所未聞見,為大德天生?為佛出世間?《法華經化城喻品第七
威德光明曜:威德光曜,可畏者威,可愛者德。
嚴飾未曾有:種種嚴飾,莊麗美善,柔光祥瑞,昔所未有。
為大德天生,為佛出世間:為是大德降生世上?為是果佛出現人間?
爾時,五百萬億諸梵天王與宮殿俱,各以衣祴盛諸天華,共詣下方推尋是相。《法華經化城喻品第七
共詣下方推尋是相:自上至下,尋奇瑞相。
 
【證嚴上人開示】

「梵天淨行因緣,威儀規範不缺,守清凈戒無染,修諸上善淨福;梵天身心妙圓,身淨自瑩之光,照物澄徹理明。」
 
梵天淨行因緣
威儀規範不缺
守清凈戒無染
修諸上善淨福
梵天身心妙圓
身淨自瑩之光
照物澄徹理明
 
梵天,那就是在人間的時候,他就是修上上的善,也持上上的戒,總而言之,是在人間行善、守規矩的人,至善的好人。他這樣不知累生修了,多久的人間福,守持長久的人間戒,都是很有循規蹈矩,不是一生一世,同樣也要累生累世持戒修行,入人間也造福,瞭解道理,只是斷了(煩惱)無明,惑,微細的惑還未斷,不過他乘這樣的福業,也是清淨的福業,所以報生在梵天。
 
梵天,那就是清淨,超越了欲界,在色界裡。色界有物質,物質都是很乾淨、很莊嚴,到處都可以看到寶物,這是他們天人所享受的環境。
 
眾生各有不相同的環境,在我們人間界,看,人的環境就各不相同了。富有人家,他能將他的環境周圍,家的範圍很大、造景,有假山、流水、小橋,樹木剪得什麼樣的造型都有,這是富貴人家。屋外前後都有很廣闊的土地,可以造作它那麼美的環境,周圍都有佣人,僱人來做事。家裡一進去,看,一間房子多麼堂皇啊!裝修的東西都是高貴的東西,擺設都是價值連城的東西,這是富貴人家。
 
同樣是人,穿金戴銀,全身珠光寶氣,這就是他們的福。也是同樣是人,我們可以看到人間是苦難偏多,沒有地、沒有房子;有時候看到他們的房子,有房子的是破破爛爛,很骯髒,住的地方是這麼窄,而且人又病,又窮,很貧窮,又貧又病,一無所有,整個家裡所囤積的是垃圾。像這樣,與垃圾為營,這也是叫做人生。
 
經常看到,人間菩薩就是為這些苦難人,而去付出,去為他們清掃,小小間的房子,破破爛爛,那些東西搬出去,可以載好幾輛卡車的垃圾出去,裡面再清理清理一下,已經一無所有了。趕緊啊,這些菩薩,從無變有,有床,有桌子、椅子,有廚房的用具。清掃好了,東西擺設好了,這樣,人生病,我們就趕緊再帶他去看醫生,或是定期的帶醫生去家裡,為他居家關懷,去居家門診。人間的菩薩為苦難眾生去付出,疼惜、照顧,像是在疼惜自己的親人,這樣在付出。
 
這種付出,到底要求什麼呢?在貧窮苦難人的身上,你要求得什麼呢?什麼都不求。只是看到被我們幫助的人,住的環境已經乾淨了、舒適了;尤其是,人生病,我們幫助他去看醫生,平時常常去探望、關懷他,看到他的笑容,看到他的身上乾淨了,看到他的病好多了,看到他迎接著慈濟人的時候,面容露出了笑容,這就是這群的人間菩薩最歡喜,所要得到的就是這樣的境界。受幫助的人看到菩薩來了,用至誠的心,露出他們的笑容,大家的付出只是為了這樣而已,還有什麼好求呢?這就是造上上福。在人間就是這樣在造福,付出無所求,人人也是這樣守規矩。
 
昨天,一群菩薩從尼泊爾,回來的菩薩,回來精舍,聽他們在分享這段時間,將近一個月,他們一個月的時間,住在那個地方,每天出門。他們這次所做的重點,分成了有慈善、有教育、有醫療、有人文,依四大志業這樣,在那個地方將他們分成四個組。
 
慈善組,就是在那個地方陪伴。發心要做慈善的小組,這群很多年輕人,年輕人,因為他們跟著慈濟已經幾個月了,從尼泊爾地震,慈濟人及時去,開始,從他們慢慢瞭解慈濟,一直到那分親近慈濟,現在愛慈濟,同時也已經發願要做慈濟。所以這群年輕人想要做慈善,他們就分這樣的組,慈善組去帶他們。這組裡一位年輕人,這位年輕人,他不只是自己做,做得很歡喜,將他的妹妹,也帶出來做了。我們的菩薩,慈濟人就說:「媽媽呢?媽媽喜歡你們出來做嗎?」「高興」「那你就邀媽媽出來。」連媽媽他也把她邀出來了。
 
母親出來了,與孩子都投入慈善組,慈濟人就趕緊用心帶,希望這位媽媽就是慈善的種子。因為家庭主婦比較有時間,孩子愈大,各人有學業,各人有事業,所以希望媽媽若投入,媽媽也還年輕,家庭主婦比較有時間,這是我們慈濟人的看法。孩子既然出來,媽媽也一起出來了。
 
所以有一天,他們說,他們有一個印度一種神的節日,他們的節日很多,什麼神、什麼教,就有他們的節日,所以他們要舉行節慶,就如過年一樣,也就是說要將家裡的東西,全部搬出來,地板全都要清理過,他們在清理地板,他們就是用牛糞拌紅泥土,抹地板。
 
我們的菩薩這樣分享,他說:「我看了好感動,這個媽媽很俐落,分到這個區域,她知道這個區域,有一位老婆婆是獨居,這位婆婆已經八十多歲了,身體又沒有很好,哪有辦法搬東西?哪有辦法抹地呢?」
 
尤其是住在樓上,她說:「那間房子,進去是小小間,但是有三樓,搖搖欲墜,這是好心人,借給這位老人住的房子。」所以,他們樓下都是放東西,樓上就是這位老媽媽住,煮飯也在樓上,在三樓。所以我們這位「種子」,慈善種子,這位菩薩,她就是去幫老婆婆清理、打掃。東西都搬出去外面,地板,她就用手,赤手,就是這樣的手用牛糞拌攪紅泥,紅泥土在地上,她就這樣抹,用手去抹,去塗,抹這位老婆婆要住的地面上,就這樣一直抹,抹得很平坦、光滑。
 
看到這位發心的菩薩,滿面笑容付出,她到底求什麼呢?什麼都無所求。因為她現在在學的,就是要如何行善,付出無所求。她能為一個老人,清理得這麼乾淨,尤其是我們送的「福慧床」,這樣鋪起來,毯子再鋪上去、床單再鋪起來,很亮麗啊!地板是這樣的光滑,又很乾淨。
 
我就問:「牛糞拌泥土,抹起來,你們
難道,進去難道沒有什麼氣味嗎?」他們說:「沒有啊,沒有氣味。」他們那個地方,牛就是最殊勝的,他們很尊重牛。牛在路上走,若是被車撞到或是人傷到牛,人都要被判刑。說不定人與人吵架、打架,或者是重傷,還沒有那麼重罪,你傷到牛就要判重刑。
 
所以在那個地方,在街上若看到牛,車子就要趕快停下來,讓牛優哉遊哉走過大路,車子才能開動。所以牛,他們認為是聖物,是神聖的。所以牛的糞,他們說牛吃草的,所以牠的排泄物,平時是人這樣沿路收,收起來,就去曬,抹成一片一片去曬。他們平常囤起來可以當燃料,就是煮飯用的,可以燒的燃料。
 
若是平時遇到這樣的節日,用這個東西拌泥土,抹地板,這就是他們過這種年節,必定要有的。所以家家戶戶,將家裡的東西搬出去,清洗乾淨,自己家裡的地板,就是用這種紅泥拌牛糞,在地上這樣抹,抹得很光滑,很乾淨。
 
這就是我們現在在那個地方,在培養的善種子,在那個地方,教他們:「你付出,你無所求,但是你的內心會很歡喜。」所以那一天,那位善女人,她不只是兒子、女兒投入慈善,她歡喜支持,她被人點名,請她出來投入,她更歡喜。又讓她有機會,知道做好事是一種功德,知道做好事無所求,歡喜心,這才是叫做真虔誠,所以她很甘願、很歡喜,做得這樣乾乾淨淨。
 
後來她就向慈濟人說:「原來做好事是這麼歡喜,這比得到物質更歡喜。」這是自己去體悟到的歡喜,這種身體力行的感受,那種輕安自在。所以修行在人間,不困難,這樣的付出,我們都叫做菩薩。
 
菩薩在人間行善事,付出無所求,同時要修自己的身與心,心無貪著,身無犯戒。在我們心不貪著,身體不殺、不盜、不邪淫,這就是在家人的好修行。心不起欲念,不貪求我付出,我就能得到什麼回報,完全沒有想要得回報,只看到被幫助人安住了,被幫助人的笑容,開心了。付出,只為了這樣,又能看到人間苦難相。這就是在人間行善事,同時也是在修淨行,這叫做「上上善」,行善無所求,也是「上上戒」,做好事,壞事都不犯。這種身、口、意,三業十善,他們都做到了,這叫做「梵天淨行因緣」。
 
就是在人間有這樣做、這樣在付出,若有這樣,人間有這樣的做法,這種因緣的累積,自然就是「威儀規範不缺」。這樣的人,在人間不犯戒,這樣的人,對人應該就是有規矩,對自己的內心有規範,對自己的內心有規範,什麼不可做,我們絕對不會去做,待人接物按規矩行,這是在人間修行,自然,人家看了就覺得很端正,很威儀。這就是在人間所造作的,做事不亂來,就是守規矩,威儀規範在人間無缺,這叫做規戒。所以守清淨的戒無染著,不貪戀、不染著。「修諸上善淨福」,所修的就是淨福。別人做不到,我們願意去做,做到了。
 
就像(新店)龜山,或者是烏來,平常是人人所享受的地方,溫泉區,山明水秀的地方,平時都是人去享受的地方。但是,人生無常,國土危脆,四大不調,一陣大雨,這樣山崩土石流下來,很多很多人常常到那個地方,因為這個泥這樣整個流下來,大污水池,就是專門囤排泄物的地方,與泥、水完全合而為一。所以要去清掃,清掃那些泥土,就是清掃那些大糞池一樣,那個環境是多臭啊!多麼難清理!卻是一群慈濟人,自己出車資,付出自己的力量,這樣不怕辛苦去付出,付出之後,還跟大家(說):「祝福你們」。 大家最後那一天,就是清除之後都乾淨了,「來啊!大家來祈福。」來一個祈禱,這樣做圓緣結束,為他們祝福,大家皆大歡喜下山了。
 
這就是「修諸上善淨福」。不只是付出,幫助他們,將周圍的環境清理好之後,又帶動災區的民眾來個祈禱,來為他們祝福。你們想,這不就是修諸上善的淨福嗎?清淨付出。他們不想去那裡,為了「我下次若來這裡泡溫泉,讓你招待。」沒有!所以在那個地方,實在是付出無所求,這就是叫做「上善淨福」。我們就是修這樣的行。
 
所以,梵天就是這樣,在累積很多生多世,就是這樣在付出,這是梵天王的報。他們報生在梵天,他們在人間的時代,就是這樣走過來的因緣,所以他們的果報在梵天。
 
梵天的身,那就是妙,很圓滿,身形都很莊嚴。在那種富貴的境界,在色界天中,所享受的物質都很好,穿戴也都很好,所以「身心妙圓」。因為那個(色界)天,是沒有欲心,沒有染煩惱,所以他們是「身淨自瑩之光」。他們的身形,就是這樣很乾淨、很亮麗,好像從身上會發光,能夠「照物澄澈理明」。那個地方人人都很明理,身心很清淨,這就是梵天。
 
修行若能在人間開始就這樣修,修到雖然還沒成佛,但是他們福也都很圓滿,生在梵天界。不過他們還有,少分、微分的惑還未除,所以生死未盡。雖然梵天壽很長,但是再怎麼長的壽,總也有盡時,福盡,同樣要再生死輪迴中,所以他們還在三界內。不過,他們還是有修行,但是還有一點點的惑未盡,所以生死未斷。
 
現在在他們的梵天宮殿,還有光照耀,這與平常不同,所以所有的梵天,開始循著這個光明,要來找光明的起點。大家都知道,這是真理的源頭,佛已經出世轉法輪,所以大家來到道理的源頭,大通智勝如來要轉法輪的地方。
 
所以我們前面的(經)文,這樣說,「爾時,大通智勝如來默然許之。西南方乃至下方,亦復如是。爾時,上方五百萬億諸大梵王,皆悉自睹所止宮殿光明威曜,昔所未有。歡喜踊躍,生希有心。」
 
爾時
大通智勝如來
默然許之
西南方乃至下方
亦復如是
爾時
上方五百萬億國土
諸大梵王
皆悉自睹
所止宮殿光明威曜
昔所未有
歡喜踊躍
生希有心
《法華經化城喻品第七
 
大家都很歡喜,生起了希有心。「即各相詣共議此事:以何因緣我等宮殿有斯光明?時彼眾中有一大梵天王名曰尸棄,為諸梵眾而說偈言。」
 
即各相詣共議此事
以何因緣
我等宮殿有斯光明
時彼眾中
有一大梵天王
名曰尸棄
為諸梵眾而說偈言
《法華經化城喻品第七
 
在梵天已經東方、東南方、南方,上、下都已經到了。當中這上方的梵天的領導者,叫「尸棄大梵」,他看見這片光明,這實在不是普通的事情,應該是很殊勝,應該是佛出現人間,轉法輪的時刻。所以他集大眾,大家到了,用偈來重複講一次。
 
下面的文,接下來就是偈文,「今以何因緣,我等諸宮殿,威德光明曜,嚴飾未曾有?如是之妙相,昔所未聞見,為大德天生?為佛出世間?」
 
今以何因緣
我等諸宮殿
威德光明曜
嚴飾未曾有
如是之妙相
昔所未聞見
為大德天生
為佛出世間
《法華經化城喻品第七
 
現在到底是什麼因緣呢?我們大家,梵天,每個人的宮殿都是有這種,這種的光相,這種光明的形相、瑞相,這到底是什麼因緣呢?大家在宮殿中所看到的,異於平常,所以大家集合來議論。這一定是一種威光,威光,威德的光明,威德的光曜。什麼叫做威德呢?威德,「可畏者是威,可愛者為德」。
 
光明曜:
威德光曜
可畏者威
可愛者德
 
可畏者是威,很有威嚴,讓人看了,就是馬上立正,不敢沒有恭敬之心,這就是威;讓人會敬,讓人會畏。
 
「子溫而厲,威而不猛。」一個有威儀的人,是「威而不猛」。雖然是很有威德、有威嚴,但是不會讓人覺得很兇、很猛,是威而不猛。「溫而厲」,在溫和中,當然也很有威嚴,像這樣叫做德;「可愛者德」,這就是「溫而厲」。很可愛,讓人見了,覺得很溫暖,不過,他總是有一股,令人覺得很畏敬,很恭敬,自然有那分讓人恭敬的心,這叫做威德。
 
所以「種種嚴飾」,在那個形態,宮殿中有這道光明,覺得很亮,但是很柔軟、很祥和、很可愛的光,這樣照耀得宮殿有種種的嚴飾。
 
嚴飾未曾有:
種種嚴飾
莊麗美善
柔光祥瑞
昔所未有
 
「莊麗美善,柔光祥瑞」。這道的光明,是這樣的光明,這是令人忽然間會嚇到,但是感覺是那麼柔軟的光,這是過去不曾有的。「如是之妙相,昔所未曾見」,像這種形象,過去都不曾有。
 
為大德天生
為佛出世間:
為是大德降生世上
為是果佛出現人間
 
「為大德天生,」或者是「為佛出世間」?好像大家都這樣疑問。所以,這是「大德降生世上」,這是「果佛出現人間」。
 
這就是大德天生,兜率天,(或是)降兜率、下皇宮,這就是從兜率天下來,在皇宮出生,這是佛出世間,也是一樣會發出這種光明。要轉法輪時,同樣道場完成,要轉法輪,這是道理的源頭,開始展現發出一道光明來。
 
接下來這段(經)文說,「爾時,五百萬億諸梵天王與宮殿俱,各以衣祴盛諸天華,共詣下方推尋是相。」
 
爾時
五百萬億諸梵天王
與宮殿俱
各以衣祴盛諸天華
共詣下方推尋是相
《法華經化城喻品第七
 
這個時候,「五百萬億諸梵天王,與宮殿俱」,同樣帶著宮殿俱,向著發光的地方。因為這個地方是上方的梵天王,所以他就要從上而降下來人間,所以叫做「共詣下方」,他就是向下方來「推尋是相」。就是表示梵天王,現在尸棄大梵,他不是在東西南北,他是在上,上方的梵天王。全都是「各乘宮殿俱」,連宮殿,也同時而來,這是一個境界。「各以衣裓盛諸天華」,就是所有沿路散花,表示恭敬,從空而降,所有的花從空而降,,這就是散花供養,表示虔誠。
 
「共詣下方推尋是相」。從上而下,同樣也是很遠的路,這樣從上而下來找,找這個光,很溫柔,這道光是從哪裡來?這樣「尋奇瑞相」。
 
共詣下方
推尋是相:
自上至下
尋奇瑞相
 
這是天人已經從十方,四方八面,上下,這樣是十方,找這道光明,上下透徹,這樣(尋)這道光明,尋光而來。
 
知道我們梵天,剛剛所說的梵天,是修滿了很圓滿的人間福,這是一個過程。我們修行,若只是獨善其身,只是自利自己,煩惱未去除,還是同樣在人間。所以,說不定懂得修福,沒有道理,脾氣都沒有改善,都是動不動就是,嫉妒、懷疑、發瞋怒。
 
雖然你平時有在造福,但是看別人做得比你更好,你就會嫉妒;看別人受人尊重,你就起瞋怒。雖然你也有在做好事,但是擔心別人勝過你,別人得到的讚歎比讚歎你的更多,這樣你也不歡喜。像這樣,有天福,沒天德,這種叫做什麼?修羅。人間像這樣的人有多少呢?
 
人間,我們要好好像梵天王一樣,人間「上上善」。不只是造善而已,還要超越這個善,無所求,而且邀大家一起來做,「你要做得比我更好」,互相讚歎,這種叫做「上上福」。我造福,邀大家都來造福,讚歎別人所造的福,而且無所求,願意付出,而且大家共同來聽法,瞭解道理。
 
人間,為什麼人間苦難偏多?為什麼人間這麼無常?為什麼有生死的輪迴?為什麼……?有很多,我們要追求的道理。我們要趕緊,不只是我要來瞭解生命的源頭,真諦的源頭。這種追究真理,生理、物理、心理,它有他的道理,我們應該要透徹瞭解。
 
佛法的道理,能夠解開,人生很多的迷茫疑惑,所以,很多煩惱去除了,疑惑,我們也解開了。就如梵天王,只是微分的惑還沒,還沒完全去除。他也一樣不惜辛苦,遙遠的地方來追求,法,究竟的源頭,如何斷生死輪迴。這就是善,這就是覺,覺悟的有情人,他不斷去迷就覺,還是要到達無上正等正覺,這樣這就是成佛了。
 
所以我們學佛,就是為了要成佛,這是我們的目標。所以我們不是只想要修天福,我們希望能了斷生死,這才是我們的目標。所以我們要時時多用心!


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Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: Upholding Precepts and Cultivating Blessings (守戒無染修善淨福)
Date: February.23. 2017
 
“Brahma kings, with their causes and conditions of pure practice, are not lacking in any standard of demeanor. They uphold pure precepts without defilement and cultivate all supreme good deeds and pure blessings. The bodies and minds of Brahma kings are wondrous and perfect. Their bodies are pure, and the light that shines from them illuminates matters clearly so that principles become lucid.”
 
When Brahma kings were in the human realm, they practiced supreme good deeds and upheld supreme precepts. In short, they were people who did good deeds and followed rules in the world; they were good people of utmost virtue. There is no telling how many lifetimes they spent cultivating worldly blessings or how long they upheld worldly precepts. They strictly obeyed the rules in everything. This was not just for single lifetime. They likewise had to uphold precepts and engage in spiritual practice life after life. Coming to the human realm, they created blessings and understood the principles.
 
But when it came to eliminating ignorance, they had not yet eliminated their subtle delusions. Still, they would journey on their blessed karma, their pure, blessed karma, to be reborn in the Brahma heavens. The Brahma heavens are pure. They surpass the desire realm and are in the form realm. In the form realm there are material things; these material things are very clean, very magnificent. All around, one can see treasures. This is the environment heavenly beings enjoy.
 
Sentient beings all have different environments. In the human realm, we can already see that people’s environments are not the same. Wealthy people can take their environment, their big piece of land, and create scenery on it. They can have fake hills, steams, small bridges and trees trimmed into all kinds of shapes. Wealthy people have a lot of land in front of and behind their house, so they are able to create such beautiful environments. They hire servants to do all the work. When you enter their homes, you can see they are very grand and magnificent. All their decorations are very grand. All their furnishings are priceless. These are wealthy people. They are human like everyone else. They cover themselves in gold, silver, jewelry and other precious things. These are their blessings.
 
They are also humans. We can see how the world is filled with so many suffering people. They have no land, no homes. Sometimes we see that their houses, those who have them, are dilapidated and very dirty. They live in cramped quarters. Moreover, they may be sick and impoverished. They may be sick and poor, with nothing at all. All they have accumulated at home is trash. They are entrenched in trash. This is also how some humans live.
 
We often see. Living Bodhisattvas help these suffering people by giving of themselves, by cleaning these homes. From inside these cramped, dilapidated houses, they move these things out. There is enough trash to fill several trucks. Then they clean the homes; there is nothing left inside! These Bodhisattvas quickly make things appear, beds, tables, chairs and kitchen utensils. After cleaning and setting everything up, if someone [at this home] is ill, they quickly take that person to see a doctor or regularly bring a doctor to their home to make a house call, to provide outpatient services. Living Bodhisattvas help suffering sentient beings. They cherish and care for them as they would their own loved ones. This is how they give of themselves.
 
When they give in this way, what are they seeking? What could they possibly attain from poor and suffering people? They seek nothing at all. All they want is to see those they have helped living in clean and comfortable environments. In particular, for those who are sick, we help them to go see a doctor and regularly visit and care for them. When we see them smile, when we see them look clean and refreshed, when we see them recovering from their illness, when we see them welcome Tzu Chi volunteers with a smile on their face, that is what makes a Living Bodhisattva happiest.
 
This is all that we want to see. When those who received help see these Bodhisattvas come, they smile with utmost sincerity. The reason everyone gives is nothing other than this. What else is there to seek? This creates supreme blessings. In this world, this was how they created blessings, by giving without seeking anything in return. Everyone also abides by rules.
 
Yesterday, a group of Bodhisattva-volunteers returned from Nepal to the Jing Si Abode. I listened to them share about their time there, which was close to a month. During that month, they lived there and went out every day [to help]. The work they focused on there this time was divided into charity, education, medicine and humanistic culture. According to Tzu Chi’s Four Missions, they divided into four teams. The charity team focused on accompanying a group there who had formed aspirations to do charity work. This was a large group of young people who had already been with Tzu Chi for some months. From the time Tzu Chi volunteers arrived right after the earthquake in Nepal, they began by gradually understanding Tzu Chi, then becoming close to Tzu Chi, and now loving Tzu Chi. Now they have vowed to be Tzu Chi volunteers. These young people want to do charity work, so we formed a team to guide them.
 
Within this group there was a young man. This young man did not only happily volunteer by himself, he even brought his younger sister along to help. Our Tzu Chi Bodhisattvas asked him, “What about your mother? Is your mother happy about you volunteering?” “She is!” “Then why not invite her to come as well?”
He even invited his mother to come and help. The mother came and joined her children on the charity team. Tzu Chi volunteers were mindful in guiding her, hoping the mother would become a seed for charity.
 
This was because housewives have more time. As children grow up, they focus on their studies and careers, so they hoped the mother would get involved. The mother was still young, and housewives may have more freetime. This is how Tzu Chi volunteers see things. Since her children joined, the mother could come along as well.
 
One day they said that in India there was this kind of festival for one of their gods. They have many holidays there. Every god in every religion has their own holiday. So, they were going to hold a festival similar to our Chinese New Year. This meant they have to clear everything out of their homes. They completely scrub the floors. To clean their floors, they used cow dung mixed with red clay to cover the floors. As our volunteer shared this, he said, “I was very moved when I saw this. The mother was quite nimble. In the area she was assigned, she knew in that area there was an elderly woman living alone. The woman was already in her 80s, and her health was not great. How could she move things? How could she cover her floors? Moreover, she did not live on the ground floor. This mom told us that this house was very small. It has three stories, and it is rickety. A kind-hearted person had lent the old woman this place to live. So, they used the downstairs for storage, and the old woman lived upstairs. She did her cooking on the third floor. So, this seed (our volunteer), our charity seed, this Bodhisattva, went to help her clean and tidy up. She moved everything outside. Then she got on the floor and used bare hands to mix cow dung in with red clay and then spread it all over the floors. She did this by hand on the floors where the old woman lived. She continued to spread it until the floors were smooth and glossy. I saw that this dedicated Bodhisattva was all smiles as she helped this woman.”
 
What did she ask for in return? She asked for nothing in return. This is because she was learning how to do good deeds and give unconditionally. She was able to help this elderly woman clean things so thoroughly. In particular, she set up the Jing Si folding bed we had given this elderly woman. She made the bed with sheets and blankets; it was so beautiful! The floors were so glossy and clean. I asked, “When the dung is mixed with clay and spread out, do you mean to tell me that when you go in there, it doesn’t smell?” They said, “No, there was no odor at all.” In that place, cows are sacred. They deeply respect cows. If a cow is in the road and someone hits it with their car or injures it, that person will be sentenced to prison. If a person argues and fights with another person and injures them badly, the punishment would not be as severe. Injuring a cow results in a severe sentence.
 
So, when you are there, if you see a cow in the street, you have to quickly stop your car and allow the cow to leisurely cross the street before you can continue driving. They believe cows to be sacred animals, to be holy. So, when it comes to cow dung, they say because cows eat grass, their droppings are regularly collected as people pass by. After being gathered, they are set out to dry. They are spread into patties to be dried. Then people store them up and use them for fuel. They use it for cooking fuel; they burn it to cook. Whenever they have this kind of festival, they mix it with clay and spread over the floor. This is something they must do for this festival. .So, every household moves everything out of their homes and cleans everything. For their floors they mix red clay with cow dung, then spread it our until it is glossy and clean. This is how we are now, in [Nepal], cultivating seeds of goodness
 
In that place, we teach them, “You are giving without any expectations, but you will feel very happy in your hearts.” So, on that day, that good woman not only joyfully supported her son and daughter as they devoted themselves to charity work, when asked to join in and devote herself as well, she became even more happy. This also gave her an opportunity. She knew that doing good brings merits and virtues. She knew that doing good unconditionally brings happiness; this is true reverence. So, she was very willing [to give] and joyful. She cleaned this place thoroughly, and afterwards she told Tzu Chi volunteers, “Who knew that doing good deeds was so joyful? This brings more joy than getting things.” This is joy that she realized for herself, the experience of putting teachings into practice, that sense of freedom and ease.
 
So, engaging in spiritual practice in the world is not difficult. Those who give this way are called Bodhisattvas. Bodhisattvas in the world do good deeds, give unconditionally and at the same time cultivate their bodies and minds. Mentally they have no greed and attachments; physically they do not break the precepts. When our minds have no greed and attachments, we will not use our body to kill, steal, or engage in sexual misconduct. These ae the good practices of lay practitioners. Their minds do not give rise to desires. They are not greedy for getting something in return for what they give. They expect nothing in return at all, but only wish for those they help to be settled, for those they help to smile and be happy. This is the only reason they give. They can also witness the states of suffering in the world. This is how they do good deeds in the world while also cultivating purifying practices. This is known as “supreme goodness.”
 
By doing good deeds unconditionally, they also [uphold] “supreme precepts.” They do good deeds and commit no bad deeds. In body, speech and mind, the Threefold Karma, they do all Ten Good Deeds. This is like “the Brahma kings, with their causes and conditions of pure practice.” This was what they did in the human realm. They practiced giving this way. When we do this in the world, these causes and conditions accumulate. Then naturally we are “not lacking in any standard of demeanor.” People like this do not break the precepts. People like this behave properly when interacting with others. We have standards for our own minds. When we should not do something, we absolutely must not do it. We should follow rules in everything we do. By practicing this way in the world, naturally people will feel that we are very proper, with a dignified demeanor. This is what we can do in this world. When we do not act recklessly, when we are following the rules, we do not lack any standard of demeanor. This is discipline.
 
So, upholding pure precepts without defilement, having no cravings or defilements, “[We] cultivate all supreme good deeds and pure blessings.” What we cultivate is pure blessings. What others cannot achieve, we are willing to do; we have accomplished it.
 
Take Guishan [in Xindian] or Wulai. These are normally palaces where people go to enjoy themselves, places with hot springs and enchanting scenery. These are normally places people enjoy. But life is impermanent and the land fragile. An imbalance in the four elements causes heavy rain and thus the earth and rock on the mountainside gave way. Many people often go there. Because all the mud came flowing down, it swept into a cesspool, where human waste was stored. [Waste] became mixed up with the mud and water. So, it had to be cleaned, and cleaning up mud was just like cleaning up a large cesspool. That place smelled terrible! It was incredibly hard to clean, but a group of Tzu Chi volunteers paid their own way to go there and exercise their strength [to clean up]. They gave without being afraid of hard work. After helping, they still said to everyone, “Blessing all of you.” On the very last day, after everything had been cleaned, they said, “Come everyone! Let us pray together.” They sang “Prayer” to close out their time there and give those people their blessings. Everyone rejoiced and then descended the mountain.
 
This is “cultivating all supreme good deeds and pure blessings.” Not only did they give of themselves and help others, after cleaning up the environment, they led the people in the disaster area to sing “Prayer” to offer their blessings. Think about this; isn’t this cultivating all supreme good deeds and pure blessings? This is pure giving. They did not go there hoping that the next time they go to sock in the hot springs, people will take care of them. That is not why they went there. When they went there, they were truly giving without expectations. These are “supreme good deeds and pure blessings.”
 
These are the practices we should engage in. So, those in the Brahma heavens are like this. Accumulating many lifetimes of giving like this results in being reborn in the Brahma heavens. They are born in the Brahma heavens because during their time in the human realm, these were the causes and conditions they created, resulting in their reward of being reborn in the Brahma heavens. The bodies of Brahma kings are both wondrous and prefect. Their stature is very dignified, and in that state of wealth, in the heavens of the form realm, the material goods they enjoy are all very good. What they wear is also very good. Their “bodies and minds are wondrous and prefect.” Because in those heavens, there is no desire, no defilements of afflictions. “Their bodies are pure and light shines from them.” Their figures are so pure and radiant; if is as though their bodies emit a light. This enables them to “illuminate matters clearly so that principles become lucid.” Everyone there is so clear about the principles, and their bodies and minds are pure. This is the Brahma heavens.
 
If they could begin to engage in spiritual practice like  this in the human realm, though they had not yet attained Buddhahood, they would perfect their blessings and be born in  the Brahma heavens.
 
However, they still have a small measure of delusions that they have not yet eliminated, so they have not yet transcended cyclic existence. Though lifespans in the Brahma heavens are long, no matter how long they are, there always comes a time when they will end. When their blessings are depleted, they continue to transmigrate in cyclic existence. So, they remain within the Three Realms. However, they do engage in spiritual practice. But they still have a bit of delusion that they have not eliminated, so they have not put an end to cyclic existence.
 
Now in their Brahma-palaces, there was a radiance, very different from normal. So, all in the Brahma heavens began to follow this light to find its source. Everyone knows that this is source of true principles. A Buddha had already appeared in the world and was turning the Dharma-wheel, so everyone went to the source of the principles, to where Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha was turning the Dharma-wheel.
 
Thus, the previous passage stated that, “At that time, Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha silently consented. For those from the southwest all the way to those below, it was also like this. At that time, in the 500 trillion lands above, all the great Brahma kings each saw with their own eyes, in the palaces where they stayed, a brilliant illumination, powerfully radiant, which had never happened before. They lumped with joy and gave rise to a rare and precious aspiration.”
 
Everyone was joyous and gave rise to a rare and precious aspiration.
 
“They immediately went to visit one another to discuss this matter. ‘What are the cause and conditions behind all our palaces having such a radiant light?’ Then, from amidst that assembly, a Great Brahma King named Sikhin spoke in verse for those in the Brahma heavens.”
 
The Brahma kings from the east, the southeast, the south, above and below had already arrived. Among these was the leader from the Brahma heavens above called “Great Brahma Sikhin.” When he saw this ray of light, he knew it was indeed not an ordinary phenomenon. It must be something very special; most likely a Buddha had appeared in the world and was about to turn the Dharma-wheel. So, he gathered everyone, and when they arrived, he used verse to repeat what was said.
 
The next passage is his verse. “Today, what are the causes and conditions behind all of our palaces being illuminated with a light of might and virtue adorning them like never before? Such a wondrous sign had never before been heard nor seen, it must be a Virtuous One being born in heaven or a Buddha manifesting in the world.”
 
What were the causes and conditions? In the Brahma heavens, each of our palaces has this bright sign, this radiant phenomenon. What are the causes and conditions behind this auspicious sign? What everyone saw in their palaces was different from usual, so they all gathered together to discuss it. This was definitely a magnificent light, a mighty light, a mighty and virtuous radiance, a mighty and virtuous illumination.
 
What is mighty and virtuous? “One with might inspires fear. One with virtue inspires love. One with mighty inspires fear. They are truly awe-inspiring. Anyone who sees them would come to attention; they would not dare to lack respect. This is “mighty;” it means they inspired respect and fear in people.
 
“Gently but stern, commanding but not forceful.” A person with majestic presence is “commanding but not forceful.” Although he has great might and virtue, is grand and commanding, he will not lead people to feel he is fierce. He is commanding but not forceful.
 
As for “gentle but stern,” within gentleness one can also be quite commanding. This is called virtue. “One with virtue inspires love.” This is being “gentle but stern.” If we are amiable, when people see us, they feel warm. However, this person also makes people feel awe and respect great respect. They naturally give rise to respect. This is called might and virtue.
 
So, “They were adorned in various ways.” In that state, the radiance of the palaces was bright, but very soft harmonious. It was a lovely light that illuminated the palaces, so they were adorned in various ways.
 
Adorning them like never before: They were adorned in various ways. Magnificent, beautiful and virtuous; this auspicious and gentle radiance was something that had never been before.
 
“Magnificent, beautiful and virtuous,” “this [was an] auspicious and gentle radiance.” This ray of light, this kind of radiance, could make people suddenly feel frightened, but they felt it was such a gentle light. It was not something they had seen in the past. “Such a wondrous sign” had never before been heard nor seen. There had never been an image like this before.
 
“It must be a Virtuous One being born in heaven” or perhaps “a Buddha manifesting in the world.” This is what they all wondered. So, it must have been “a Virtuous One being born,” or “a realized Buddha manifesting in this world.” This was the Virtuous One being born in heaven, in Tusita heaven, or descending from Tusita Heaven into a palace. This is the Buddha coming down from Tusita Heaven to be born in a palace. This is how the Buddha appears in the world. At that time as well, He emits a radiance. When He wants to turn the Dharma-wheel, the assembly has to be complete before turning it. This is the source of the principles. Thus, a radiance began issuing forth.
 
The next verse 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. Together they went down from above to seek out this sign.”
 
At that time, “500 trillion Brahma kings went along with their palaces.”    They all brought their palaces along with them as they journeyed toward the place of light. Because these Brahma kings were from above, they had to descend below to the human realm. So it says, “Together they went down from above.” They went down in the direction of below to “seek out this sign.” These means that this Brahma king, the Brahma King Sikhin we speak of now, was not in the east, west, south or north. He was above, a Brahma king from above. They all “went along with their palaces.” They even brought their palaces with them. This was the scene. “They each used their mantle to hold all kinds of celestial flowers.” The flowers they scattered all along the way were an expression of respect. As they descended from above, all of the flowers fell from above. They scattered flowers and made offerings. This expresses their reverence.
 
“Together they went down from above to” “seek out this sign.” From above to below was still a long way. They came down from above to seek out the light. Where did the gentle ray of light come from? They “sought this extraordinary and auspicious sign.” The heavenly beings came from all ten directions, from every direction, including above and below, in search of the ray of light. They thoroughly searched high and low for this ray of light. We know that the Brahma king, the Brahma king just mentioned, was perfect and complete in cultivation of his worldly blessings. This is a process.
 
As we engage in spiritual practice, if we only seek to awaken and benefit ourselves without eliminating our afflictions, we will only remain in this world. So, although we may cultivate blessings, without the principles, our tempers may not change for the better. We may still, at the drop of a hat, become jealous, doubtful and lose our tempers. Though we may normally benefit others, when we see others doing better than us, we many become jealous. When we see others receiving respect, we may become angry. Although we may be doing good deeds, if we worry that others may surpass us, that others will receive more praise than we do, then we will not be happy. When this happens, we have heavenly blessings but no heavenly virtues. Then what are we called? Asuras. How many people like this are there in the world? We should try to be like the Brahma kings, practicing supreme goodness in the world.
 
This is not just doing good deeds; we must transcend these good deeds and give unconditionally. Moreover, we invite others to join us, hoping they can do even better than us. We mutually praise one another. These are called supreme blessings. When we create blessings and invite others to create blessings, we should praise the blessings created by them. Furthermore, we seek nothing in return and are willing to give. In addition, we listen to the Dharma together to understand the principles. Why is the world full of suffering? Why is the world impermanent? What is the reason for cyclic existence? There are many “whys,” so many principles to investigate. We should hurry up. We must not merely seek to understand the source of life, the source of absolute truth. As we pursue the true principles, [we find] the principles of life, of matter and of the mind. Each have their principles, which we should thoroughly understand.
 
The principles of the Buddha-Dharma can free us of so many of life’s doubts and delusions. So, we have eliminated many afflictions and dispelled many doubts and delusions. This is like the Brahma kings; they only have a small measure of delusion left that they have not completely eliminated. They similarly spared no effort, coming from so far in their search for the Dharma, for the ultimate source. How can we end transmigration in cyclic existence? This takes goodness; this takes awakening. Awakened sentient beings ceaselessly turn delusion into awakening until they arrive at supreme, universal and perfect enlightenment. This is the attainment of Buddhahood.
 
So, we learn the Buddha’s teachings in order to attain Buddhahood. This is our goal. We not only wish to cultivate heavenly blessings; we hope to put an end to cyclic existence. This is our true objective, so let us always be mindful.
 
(Source: Da Ai TV – Wisdom at Dawn program – Explanation by Master Chen-Yen)
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20170223《靜思妙蓮華》守戒無染修善淨福 (第1030集) (法華經•化城喻品第七)
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