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 20170309《靜思妙蓮華》三轉法輪苦集滅道 (第1040集) (法華經•化城喻品第七)

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發表主題: 20170309《靜思妙蓮華》三轉法輪苦集滅道 (第1040集) (法華經•化城喻品第七)   周四 3月 09, 2017 5:15 am

20170309《靜思妙蓮華》三轉法輪苦集滅道 (第1040集)
(法華經•化城喻品第七)

 
佛法不離世間,人事物起無明,動一念生三細;尋求出世資糧,總一切法唯心,勸修持一切善。
惟願受我請,以大微妙音,哀愍而敷演,無量劫習法。《法華經化城喻品第七
爾時,大通智勝如來受十方諸梵天王及十六王子請,即時三轉十二行法輪。《法華經化城喻品第七
佛受天人眾殷勤勸請。此釋大通智勝如來許可受請,轉此廣大微妙法輪,非餘眾所能。所轉法輪為何?即四諦與十二因緣之法。由佛受請說法,王子後得覆講,正作結緣。
即時三轉十二行法輪:三轉,謂每於一法必有三轉。茲先假四諦中之苦諦釋之:如說苦法,佛必先示苦之事相,如廣說三界、五道、四苦、三苦、八苦、一百八苦,種種逼迫不自在之相,以種種顯苦事相,此名示相轉。
次復各各說明苦之所由來,以明知苦之諦理。雖苦之理,非即是苦,然理恆通於三界各苦之事相,故需明苦源;因而知苦諦之實不虛,此名勸修轉。
次更說苦之實性,若明實性則苦無自性,即以真如法身實相之性為性。苟證知此,則苦之事相與苦之理均了不可得,此明作證轉。是謂三轉。
 
【證嚴上人開示】

「佛法不離世間,人事物起無明,動一念生三細;尋求出世資糧,總一切法唯心,勸修持一切善。」
 
佛法不離世間
人事物起無明
動一念生三細
尋求出世資糧
總一切法唯心
勸修持一切善
 
這是佛法,佛法是不離世間法,世間法更是沒有離開,人、事、物,而人、事、物中,總是往往起了無明,無明都是在人、事、物中,所產生出來。所以我們人人就只是一個心念,我們動一念就生三細。三細,那就是很微細,我們的心在想什麼,沒有人知道。只是我們自己看到外面的境界、看到一切物,內心起了貪念,聽到外面的聲音不如意,起瞋怒,這種貪、瞋,都是一分的無明,叫做癡。
 
癡就是懵懂,懵懵懂懂,看事物、聽聲音,起心動念,事理分不清,這叫做癡念。瞋怒的心也是從癡,懵懂、瞋怒。貪,去造作,這癡念一起,貪念行動,做了很多不該做的事。瞋怒的心,表達出很多,不該表達的表情與事相,就這樣一直纏綿下去了。這是三細,從我們內心開始,起心動念,是非不分,不清楚,就這樣開始,微細的心念,會造作出很大的遺憾的事情。
 
世間,新聞每天在看,很多都是一念之間,那分無明,覆蔽了我們的心,就去造作很多,親情,有的父殺子,或暂是子殺父母等等,社會這樣的事故,好像常常都有。或者是愛恨情仇,互相毀滅,或者是同歸於盡。也有的人莫名其妙,怨恨一件事,就毀滅了很多人的生命財產,或者是……等等。很多都是從動一念心,生了三細的惑、業、苦,去造作很多的無明,這都是從一念開始,而這一念間,就是在人、事、物中生起的無明。
 
佛陀說法無不都是向我們分析,分析人間苦、集的道理,啟動我們能知道要去滅,滅盡苦的源頭,那就教我們滅的方法,要如何消滅這些,貪、瞋、癡、無明的念頭。這是我們應該要學,應該要追求佛法,我們若能瞭解透徹,才有辦法增長慧命。所以「尋求出世資糧」,我們要好好來找,我們的慧命如何增長,慧命增長了,在我們這一生的生命中,所造作的一切,才有辦法好好理出了生命中,這一條道路應該如何走。
 
我們現在,時間是一天一天過去,人生的生命是一天一天減,一輩子的壽命剩多少?我們不知道。因為無常,無法讓我們說我還沒老,就要老了才會死。不是這樣。這是無明生,不斷造作,無常一來,不分年齡,這種無明一來,我們的生命就結束了;或者是造成了性命中的無常,由不得自己的無奈,你想要做什麼也沒辦法。這是無常,不是死,便是殘,這是苦一直折磨下去。道理還不清楚,就無常發生了,這在世間也很多。
 
所以我們必定要趕緊,將我們的慧命找出來,已經知道了,從佛法中瞭解,生命中,我們有我們的慧命存在,慧命要從求得法來。我們若瞭解法,這叫做慧命。將道理吸收入我們的內心,內心瞭解道理,應該如何走,應該如何做,我們懂道理了,就是長慧命。我們的生命減少,時間把握,慧命增長。所以我們必定要趕快,「尋求出世資糧」,出世資糧,那就是要找法,道理要聽進去,不只是聽進去,要身體力行做出來。聽進去是用功,做出來是德行,我們要功德並行。
 
內心若不修,光是聽,聽,會說,卻是內心還是在無明。事情,我不高興,所以對做事情,我就會鬆散了,或者是發一念很精進的心,外面什麼樣的境界給我,我將這念心退失了。像這樣,與時間無常,生命,就是這樣隨著時間、隨著無常隱伏著,生命何時會結束?不知道。就是這樣迷迷茫茫,過著懈怠空過日子,這就是要說法沒有入心。
 
也曾有過精進的時期,但是道心不堅固,法不入心,所以退失道心了,這樣又是再回歸我們的無明。凡夫這種起起落落,就是資糧沒有吸收進去,慧命沒有增長,生命不斷減少、漏掉,這是很可惜。
 
人間難得遇佛法。我們這段時間不是一直說嗎?諸梵天王蒙光,承蒙著這道光,這樣四散八面,上、下照徹,他們乘著這道光,經過了很長很遠的路,這樣來到大通智勝佛的道場,各個都表達出惡道增長了,天人善道減少了。這就是每一段,都有這樣的梵天王的表達。
 
梵天王他們都很懇切求法,要請佛轉法輪。世間的法是永遠存在,所以塵點劫無始以前,就是永遠存在,但是要如何表達出來呢?人間的事相。大悲梵天王請佛轉法輪,希望佛要轉法輪,表達出人間的事相,那就是我們世間,有這麼多懵懵懂懂,法雖然在我們身邊,卻是懵懂讓它漏失了。
 
其實,法在我們的前面,在我們的後面,在我們的身邊,忽焉在前,忽焉在後。法,不論是在你的前、後,你轉東轉西,轉來轉去,無不都是法在我們身邊。但是,因為我們,有這麼多的無明煩惱,而這麼多的無明煩惱,就是動一念,這一念心一動,三細,很微細的心態,那就是起心動念起來。
 
這是我們在日常生活中,非常無奈,為什麼我們會這麼無明懵懂呢?為什麼我們自己,這麼微細的心態,我們都控制不了呢?我們就不由自己,受這三細的念頭,這樣牽引得我們團團轉。其實,道理都在我們的周圍旁邊,我們卻是自己在那裡團團轉。
 
到底我們在轉什麼呢?時間是這樣無常地過,苦難的日子是這樣逼迫一直來,人間世事這麼多,我們到底還要,沉迷到什麼時候呢?為什麼我們已經,法在我們的身邊了,我們還在法中無明盲轉,無法突破為什麼人生會這樣呢?尋求出世的資糧,明明是我們探手就可得,取之不困難,卻是我們就這樣讓它流失了。法,聽了,只是拿來做辯論的工具,沒有拿來做我們,入心修行的資糧,這實在是很可惜。
 
其實,法在我們的日常生活,法要去哪裡找呢?「總一切法」,佛為我們說法是要讓我們全都瞭解一切,世間的事物,我們應該要很清楚瞭解,世間一切萬法,無不都是佛陀向我們開示的,第一轉法,苦,明示集來。林林總總,總一切法就是唯心。動一念心,很多就是在我們這念心,這念心是從所有一切法,是善法?是惡法?你動這念心是善或是惡?這我們要去明白。
 
一切佛法,總一切善的法,也要從一心開始,這念心要堅定,這念心,聽法,對世事要分明,這都叫做善法。若是我們懵懂的心起,很固執,或者是心無定性,起了一念,發心勤精進,道理明白清楚,知道方向,但是定不下那念心,法很快就漏掉了。
 
我們的心不專,意不定,還是固執在我自己的方法,這樣就無法,隨人間社會的法去行。常常說佛法永遠不變,但是也隨著時代,我們要去應時代,人心、社會、生活不同,當然佛法也要應時代生活,人心起心動念的習氣,我們要如何能讓它回歸本質。要「總一切法唯心」,要如何調整人心。
 
誰能夠去調整人心呢?佛陀說法,也只一個方法,給我們正確的方法,唯有我們自己能調自己的心,任何人都無法調我們的心。我們只是應用佛陀所說的法,佛能夠開示,悟入是要我們自己。同樣的道理,佛法擺在我們的前後、身邊,卻是我們不懂得要去用這個法,卻是執著我自己,若是這樣就是總一切惡法;就是我們的心源,我們的心,這念心一動,很快將道心退失,隨著惡法去行,這樣的執著。
 
佛陀來人間,到底是說什麼法呢?「勸修持一切善」,就是這樣而已。勸我們人人要修一切善,勸我們人人要瞭解自己的心,這是「總一切法唯心,勸修一切善法」,我們才能「諸惡莫作,眾善奉行」,這就是佛法。佛法不離世間法,世間就是不離人、事、物,也就是因為人、事、物,才讓我們起很多的無明,動了我們的心,污染了我們的心,所以我們的心念一起,就生了三細。
 
貪、瞋、癡、我慢、懷疑,對佛法不能生起信心,對因緣果報觀沒有好好用心,這就是我們人生的苦,輪迴六道。法的資糧在我們的身邊,我們要好好把握這輩子,時間是不斷地過,唯有我們現在聽法,我們要好好接受佛法,從現在開始接受佛法,不斷增長慧命,道理不斷入心。我們能有這麼好的環境,入人群,好好修攝善法,吸收資糧。
 
蓮花在蓮花池吸收營養分,這就是資糧。我們在濁惡的世間,在人群中,我們這麼好的環境,修行的道場,我們應該要用心,(吸收)資糧,來增長我們的智慧。這就是「總一切法唯心,勸修持一切善」,就是這麼簡單。這叫做佛法不離世間法,注意在人間的人、事、物,我們要好好用心去注意。
 
所以,我們瞭解<化城喻品>,其實體會要更深。道理本來就是在我們的身上,偏偏把它丟得那麼遠,而且,道理原來就在當下,把握當下即是道理,我們卻是把它拉長到塵點劫,無數劫、無數劫的無始以前。這就是我們凡夫。
 
所以梵天王,已經來請佛轉法輪了,前面的(偈)文這樣說,「惟願受我請,以大微妙音,哀愍而敷演,無量劫習法。」
 
惟願受我請
以大微妙音
哀愍而敷演
無量劫習法
《法華經化城喻品第七
 
我們已經說過了,大微妙,道理是很大,涵天蓋地。這麼大的法,有宇宙虛空,宇宙,無不都是涵蓋的道理,最大的道理,最微妙的心法,非常的微妙。
 
心,我們都看不到;道理,也看不到,多麼的微妙!但是無明一造作起來,驚天動地,很多人禍從這樣開始。所以,這就是很大,也很微細,這全都叫做法,惡法、善法。
 
梵天王就是要請佛轉法輪,請佛以大微妙音,就是大道理,很微細的道理;很大又是很微細,這麼的深奧,其實是在人間,卻是我們無法去體會,那就是很深奧。我們能瞭解的,是在我們的日常生活中,是在我們的身邊,在前在後、在左在右,都有,四面八方、上下,無不都是法,所以我們要用心。
 
不過,我們就是沒有辦法,很悲哀,請佛慈悲,普遍將這大小的道理向我們說。出佛的微妙音,道理要從佛口出。雖然是在我們的生活周圍,但是我們不知,就是經過佛的佛口所說出來。我們現在所說的法,也是從當初佛陀所說法,轉法輪,我們再按照這樣的道理,這樣的記載,這樣再不斷重複來講,我們不斷重複來吸收這個道理,這都叫做敷演。聽法者,說法者,傳法者,就是這樣。
 
所以「無量劫習法」,無量劫,就是不斷將這個法這樣聽,不斷聽,生生世世聽,聽來,生生世世說,說了之後,生生世世傳,就是佛法要這樣傳下去。所以「無量劫習法」,真正的,法要不斷聽、不斷練習。
 
接下來這段(經)文這樣說,「爾時,大通智勝如來受十方諸梵天王及十六王子請,即時三轉十二行法輪。」
 
爾時
大通智勝如來
受十方諸梵天王
及十六王子請
即時
三轉十二行法輪
《法華經化城喻品第七
 
不論是十六王子請法、諸天請法,或者是諸梵天王請法,佛都是默然許之,只是默然,但是後面就又有人來了,一直在等這些具足,想要來聽法的人,全部該來的都來了,這時候,最後的尸棄大梵也到了,這樣開始,大家,十方梵天王到齊了。尤其是十六王子,也已經請佛轉法輪了,這樣已經因緣成熟了,所以大家所請法,就即時佛受天人眾,殷勤請轉法輪。這個時候就即時,這就是表示大通智勝如來許可,已經即時開始,三轉十二行法輪。開始了,這就是表示大通智勝佛,已經許可了,不是默然許之,現在開始,即時就要說了。
 
佛受天人眾
殷勤勸請
此釋大通智勝如來
許可受請
轉此廣大微妙法輪
非餘眾所能
所轉法輪為何
即四諦
與十二因緣之法
由佛受請說法
王子後得覆講
正作結緣
 
「轉此廣大微妙法輪」,開始了,大通智勝佛已經許可,開始要說了。但是這個法,轉這個法輪,「非餘眾所能轉」,這個法唯有佛陀才有辦法轉。雖然法,本來普天之下,鋪天蓋地無不是法,但是沒人有辦法將法轉動,因為這個法要經過覺性慧海,真正完成大覺啟悟的人,大覺者才有辦法來分析,鋪天蓋地的大道理,所以「非餘眾所能轉」。
 
「所轉法輪為何?即四諦與十二因緣之法」。為什麼佛開始就用四諦、十二因緣法?佛佛道同,過去的佛是這樣,過去的大通智勝佛也是同樣,四諦、十二行法。現在的釋迦牟尼佛,開始第一次說法,也是說四諦、十二緣法,這是佛佛道同。佛受請,所以,尤其是十六王子聽法之後,開始他們就要聞法者、傳法者,要不斷覆講《法華經》。這段開始,就要做過去請法因緣,這一段的結束,未來再開始的是十六王子請法,將來要聞法、說法、傳法的緣,一段結束,又是一段的開始。
 
所以「即時三轉十二行法輪」。「三轉」,那就是,一法必有三轉,每一個法,都要再有反覆、反覆。佛經的經文也是,長行文說完,偈文,偈文之後再解釋,同樣的道理,講法還是要三轉,較能清楚。這是這樣,你要知道;這是這樣,你要修;這是這樣,所以你應該瞭解。這叫做三轉。
 
「謂每於一法必有三轉」。我們要知道,我們要修,我們要證。同樣的道理,先用四諦中之苦諦來說,說苦「如說苦法」,苦諦,苦的道理。佛陀必先要讓大家知道人間苦,苦有苦的事相,所以大悲梵天王為了我們眾生,道理要如何聽才會瞭解呢?請佛說事相,就是苦的事相。因為這位梵天王,就是對人世間的苦,與世間同體大悲,請轉法輪。
 
佛陀真正說法就是同體大悲,就是要苦眾生之苦,要讓眾生明白苦的事相,所以佛「示苦之事相,如廣說三界、五道、四苦、三苦、八苦、一百八苦」,很多苦啊!
 
六道,天、人、阿修羅、地獄、餓鬼、畜生。其實,這六道之中,就有四道是苦。阿修羅也是苦,要多列入阿修羅,他也是苦,他有天福,無天德,所以他也是苦。雖然很富有,能享受物質,不過他的心常常起煩惱,發瞋怒心,這也是苦。
 
又有八苦,人生八苦:生、老、病、死,愛別離、怨憎會、求不得、五陰熾盛,這是八苦。又有一百零八苦,這要說到何時呢?總是苦、苦、苦,無量無數苦,豈止是一百零八苦?不止啊!煩惱,真的是很多的煩惱苦,所以很多苦,種種逼迫不自在之苦相,很多。「以種種顯苦事相」,用種種的苦難,我們若大家好好聽,好好體會,現在人間的事相有多少苦呢!真正是顯出了,好好去體會,世間多少的苦啊!不論是天災、人禍,家庭、社會,人與人之間,很多的苦,這就是名叫「示相轉」。示這個苦相,轉法輪,轉苦諦法輪,這叫做「示相轉」。
 
即時
三轉十二行法輪
三轉:
謂每於一法
必有三轉
茲先假四諦中之
苦諦釋之
如說苦法
佛必先示苦之事相
如廣說三界、五道
四苦、三苦、八苦
一百八苦
種種逼迫
不自在之相
以種種顯苦事相
此名示相轉
 
「次復各各說明苦之所由來」,這個苦的由來就很多了,這麼多的苦,我們若知道,道理是這樣,這個道理是從哪裡來?雖然說苦的道理,「非即是苦」,但是理就是通於三界,其實,這些苦若分析到底,其實一切歸空。人生短暫,問苦,苦何在?到底是如何苦?你的煩惱分析到底,這有什麼好煩惱呢?沒有什麼煩惱,人生因緣生、因緣滅,真正的,緣生緣滅,偏偏這個生滅中總是苦不堪,這就是在三界裡,就有這麼多的生滅法之苦。欲,貪欲苦;色,色的掛礙苦;無色,心靈煩惱苦。很多的苦,所以我們要去明白事相,事相的苦很多,所以因為這樣,我們知道苦,苦的源頭,我們瞭解了,因為瞭解,我們知道苦的道理,苦的道理是真實不虛。
 
真的是世間的確是苦,真實不虛,這叫做「集」,因為集了種種的苦。我們集來這樣的,我們要瞭解是我們自己去造作,自己去惹來這麼多的苦;造作這麼多的無明,造作那麼多的苦因,所以得來了這麼多的苦果,這都是集種種的因緣。我們既然知道,我們要修,這個苦,我們要修;因為「集」,所以我們要修。
 
次復各各說明
苦之所由來
以明知苦之諦理
雖苦之理
非即是苦
然理恆通於
三界各苦之事相
故需明苦源
因而知苦諦之
實不虛
此名勸修轉
 
苦,苦有苦的實性,「次更說苦之實性,(若)明實性即苦無自性」。再向我們較深地說,苦本無自性,不是說你一定要這樣的苦,不是,是我們自己去造,造成很多的苦因,才會受了這麼多的苦報,它本來無自性,真真正正是無明去造作。
 
我們一直說要修的、要去除的,就是無明。無明煩惱去除了,才能真如實性現前。這些無明都沒有自性的,那是我們的習氣,我們不斷習氣、煩惱覆蓋著。一念心,是總一切法,就是因為你的習性,所以我們現在要修,知道這些總一切法,「諸惡莫作」,總一切(惡)法莫作,我們就不要,不要再去造作;要一切善,「總一切善」,我們要修,修一切善,我們才能回歸我們的真如本性。去除污垢、無自性的苦,我們能存下來的,是我們的真如法身,實性,這才是我們的真如本性,是我們的真面目。
 
所以,我們能證,「(苟)證知此」,證明苦的事相與苦的道理,全都瞭解不可得。這些苦的事相,其實你這樣爭啊爭啊、執啊執啊,爭執之間,到底你得到什麼呢?什麼都沒有得到,只是惹來了,很多的無明、煩惱、苦,這樣而已。到底我們要爭什麼呢?苦在哪裡呢?道理我們若透徹了,就沒有什麼好爭執了。所以苦的事相來自我們這念心,這實在是苦追究到底,了不可得,沒有什麼。
 
「此明作證轉」。此是苦,你應該都要瞭解,瞭解證明這些苦,都是我們一心造作出來的,我們應該要瞭解。瞭解叫做「證」。要很透徹瞭解這個苦的源頭,其實是一念心的動作,所以這叫做三轉。
 
次更說苦之實性
若明實性
則苦無自性
即以真如法身
實相之性為性
苟證知此
則苦之事相
與苦之理
均了不可得
此明作證轉
是謂三轉
 
總而言之,要知、要修、要證,這就是三轉。
 
要修的是集、滅,才能夠得道。你若瞭解苦,我們已經就是受苦了,瞭解苦是來自「集」,要去除苦,就是要滅,若能滅苦,才是道。這樣不斷反覆讓我們瞭解,所以,三轉四諦法,希望我們人人能夠瞭解。
 
利根的人一聽,就能夠瞭解;中根的人,再轉,再次說給你聽;若是較鈍根的人,就要三次,再反覆(說明)。這過去都說過了。同樣的四諦法,我們要很用心去瞭解,我們是如何的過程、如何的造作,我們招來了多少的煩惱、無明等等,我們要用什麼方法來滅,滅了之後,我們才能證知,完全瞭解。這要看我們大家,是不是有用心在法上,所以,最重要的,還是要人人多用心。


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Explanations by Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: The Three Turnings and the Four Noble Truths (三轉法輪苦集滅道)
Date: March.09. 2017

“The Buddha-Dharma is inseparable from the world. Ignorance arises among people, matters and objects. An ignorant thought creates the Three Subtleties. One must seek the world-transcending provisions. Retaining all Dharma depends only on the mind. The Buddha encourages us to diligently practice upholding all that is good.”

This is the Buddha-Dharma. The Buddha-Dharma is inseparable from the workings of the world. The workings of the world have everything to do with people, matters and things, and it is among people, matters and objects that ignorance always arises. It is among people, matters and objects that ignorance is produced. So, for all of us, just by giving rise to a single thought, one thought can create the Three Subtleties. The Three Subtleties are very subtle things. What is going on in our minds? No one else knows. We ourselves only see what is in our external environment. With all the material objects that we see, greed arises within us. When we hear things we do not like, we become angry. Such greed and anger are a lack of clarity, which we call ignorance. Ignorance is a state of confusion. Once we are confused, when we see things, hear things or give rise to thoughts, we are unclear about matters and principles. This is called ignorance.

Anger also stems from ignorance. In this confusion, anger arises. With greed, we create karma; this is also ignorance. Once this ignorance arises, we act on our greed and desires and do many things we should not do. When we are angry, we express many statements and emotions that we should not. In this way, we continue to be entangled. These are the Three Subtleties. Starting from our minds, when we give rise to discursive thoughts, we become unclear about what is right and wrong. Starting in this way, with these subtle thoughts, we do things that we deeply regret.

Every day, we see on the news many instances of how a single thought, one of ignorance, covers people’s minds and results in the creation of so much karma. Among families, a father may kill his son, or a child may murder his parents, and so on. These things seem to happen often in society. Afflictive emotions can often lead people to destroy one another or to end their lives together. There are also those who, for some unknown reason, have such hatred and resentment that they destroy people’s lives and properties. There are many other examples too. The arising of a single thought creates the Three Subtleties of delusion, karma and suffering, resulting in our creating much ignorance. This all begins with a single thought, and in this single thought, among people, mattes and objects, we give rise to ignorance.

In teaching the Dharma, the Buddha analyzed for us the principles of suffering and causation and inspired us to know we must eliminate them, to totally extinguish the source of our suffering. Thus, He taught us the ways to eliminate it, how to eradicate these thoughts of greed, anger, ignorance and delusion. This is what we should learn. We should seek the Buddha-Dharma, for only by understanding it thoroughly will we be able to increase our wisdom-life. “One must seek the world-transcending provisions.” We must earnestly search for these, the ways to nurture our wisdom-life. If our wisdom-life can increase, then throughout our entire life, in everything we do, we will be able to thoroughly reason out how to walk our path in life.

Right now, our time is passing day by day, and our remaining life is decreasing day by day. How much of our life remains? We do not know, because life is impermanent. We cannot say, “I am not yet old!” There is no guarantee of growing old before dying. It is not like that. When ignorance arises, we continually create karma; impermanence does not discriminate by age. When impermanence manifests, our life will be over. Or we may meet with impermanence in life that is beyond our control and leaves us helpless, unable to do anything we want to do. Impermanence is like this. If we do not die, we may become disabled. That suffering will continually torment us.

Before reaching an understanding of principles, people become victims of impermanence. This is something that occurs often in the world. So, we must quickly seek out our wisdom-life. We already know, we have understood from the Buddha-Dharma, that in our lives our wisdom-life exists. Wisdom-like is attained by seeking the Dharma. Our understanding of the Dharma is our wisdom-life. We absorb the principles and take them into our hearts. When we understand the principles in our hearts, we know where we should go, what we should do. By understanding the principles, we develop our wisdom-life. Our lives are becoming shorter, so we should seize the moment to nurture wisdom-life.

We must hasten to “seek the world-transcending provisions.” Seeking the world-transcending provisions means seeking the Dharma, listening to and taking in the principles. It is not only listening to and taking them in, but putting them into action as well. Listening and taking them in is meritorious work; putting them into practice is virtuous action. We must practice merit and virtue simultaneously. If we do not inwardly cultivate ourselves, but only listen, then we may be able to speak about them, but in our minds there will still be ignorance. If we are not happy with something, then we may go about doing it inattentively. Or, we may form diligent aspirations, but when the outside world gives us challenges, we may retreat from our aspirations. Just so, due to time and impermanence, our life are passing away along with time and will the hidden [dangers] of impermanence.

When will our life come to an end? We do not know. Yet we continue on in this confusion, in our indolence wasting our days like this. This means we have not taken the Dharma to heart. We were once diligent for a time, but our spiritual aspirations were not firm, and we did not take the Dharma to heart. So, we retreated from our will to practice, and we again returned to our ignorance. Unenlightened begins go through these ups and downs. This means we did not absorb any provisions and did not nurture our wisdom-life. Our life constantly grows shorter and leaks away, so this is such a pity. It is rare to encounter the Buddha-Dharma in the world.

Haven’t we constantly been talking about this? The Brahma kings were covered by the light, which illuminated everything in all directions. Journeying on [the course of] this light, they had to travel a great distance until arriving at the place of enlightenment of Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha. Each expressed how those in the evil realms had increased while those in the heaven and human realms had decreased. This is what the Brahma kings had talked about in every passage.

The Brahma kings all earnestly sought the Dharma and asked the Buddha to turn the Dharma-wheel. The Dharma in the world is everlasting, so for dust-inked kalpas, since before Beginningless Time, it has always existed. But how can it be expressed? Through worldly matters and appearances. When Brahma King Great Compassion asked the Buddha to turn the Dharma-wheel, he hoped the Buddha would turn the Dharma-wheel by expressing matters and appearances of the world. This is because there are many types of confusion in the world. Though the Dharma is by our side, we confusedly let it slip away.

Actually, the Dharma is in front of us, as well as behind us, and by our side. It is suddenly in front, then suddenly behind. Whether the Dharma is to the front or back of us, or left or right, whatever direction we turn, the Dharma is always there by our side. Yet, we have so much ignorance and afflictions, and with so much ignorance and afflictions, we give rise to thoughts. Once our minds begin to stir, we create the Three Subtleties, those very subtle states of mind. This is the arising of discursive thoughts. This is something in our daily living that leaves us helpless.

Why do we remain in such ignorance and confusion? Why are our own subtle and intricate states of mind not under our control? Unable to help ourselves, we are pulled by thoughts of the Three Subtleties until we are spinning in circles. Actually, the principles are all around us, but we keep running ourselves in circles. Where are we trying to go? Time continually passes amidst impermanence; days of suffering arrive relentlessly, and there is so much in the world to worry about. How much longer do we still want to remain submerged in our confusion? Why is it that although the Dharma is always by our side, we continue turning blindly in ignorance, never finding it possible to break through or understand why this is so. In seeking the world-transcending provisions, we can clearly just reach out and take them. Obtaining them is not difficult. Yet we always seem to let them slip away. If we listen to the Dharma and use it only as a tool for debate, if we never take it to heart as our provisions for spiritual practice, then that is truly a pity.

Actually, the Dharma is found in daily living. Where else would we go to find it? [We try to] “retain all Dharma. The Buddha expounded the Dharma for us so that we might come to understand everything. When it comes to worldly matters, we should understand very clearly. All the Dharma of the world is what the Buddha opened and revealed for us. In the first turning of the Dharma-wheel, He taught suffering and explained its causation. With so many [teachings], only the mind can retain all Dharma. Once the mind stirs, there is so much that the mind [can accomplish]. When it comes to all the things in our minds, are they good or are they evil? Are the thoughts that arise in us good or bad? We should be clear about this. All of the Buddha-Dharma, all of the virtuous Dharma we retain, begins from a single aspiration, and this aspiration must be firm. With this aspiration, when we hear the Dharma, we then must clearly discern worldly matters. These are all virtuous teachings. If confusion arises in us and we become stubborn or if our mind is not in a settled state, though we form aspirations toward diligence, clearly understand the principles and know the right direction, we are unable to settle our minds, and the Dharma quickly leaks away. If our mind is not focused and our intent not steady, we stubbornly insist on our own ways. Then it will be impossible for us to act in accord with the ways of the world and of society. We often say the Buddha-Dharma never changes, but as the times change, we must adapt to the times. People’s minds, our societies and ways of life are all different, so of course the Buddha-Dharma must also adapt to the times. With all of people’s habitual tendencies of giving rise to discursive thoughts, how do we help them to return to their original essence? “Retaining all Dharma depends only on the mind.”

How can we help people adjust their minds? Who is able to adjust people’s minds? The Buddha taught us that there is only one way. He gave us the correct method. Only we ourselves can adjust our own minds. No one else can do it for us. We just need to apply the Dharma that the Buddha taught. The Buddha opened and revealed; it is up to us to realize and enter. The principles is the same. The Buddha-Dharma is all around us, always by our side, yet we do not know to apply the Dharma; we remain attached to the self. Thus, all we retain are unwholesome teachings. Then, with our mind’s source, our mind, thoughts begin to stir and we quickly retreat from our spiritual aspirations. We act according to unwholesome teachings and become attached.

When the Buddha came to the world, what exactly did He teach? “The Buddha encouraged us to practice and uphold all that is good.” That is all. He encouraged us to practice all that is good, encouraged us to try and understand our own minds. That is because “Retaining all Dharma depends only on the mind. The Buddha encourages us diligently practice upholding all that is good”. Only in this way can we “refrain from all evil and do all that is good.” This is the Buddha-Dharma. The Buddha-Dharma is inseparable from the workings of the world, and the workings of the world are inseparable from people, matters and objects. It is due to people, matters and objects that we give rise to so much ignorance. This causes our minds to waver and contaminates our minds. So, when thoughts arise in us, we create the Three Subtleties, along with greed, anger, ignorance, arrogance and doubt. Then our faith in the Buddha-Dharma cannot arise. If we are not thoroughly mindful of the karmic law of cause and effect, the result is suffering in life and transmigration through the Six Realms. The provisions of the Dharma are right beside us. We should earnestly make use of this lifetime. Time is continually passing, and the only thing we can do is listen to the Dharma now. We must earnestly accept the Buddha-Dharma. Starting now, we accept the Buddha-Dharma, continually nurture our wisdom-life and take the principles to heart. We have such a wonderful environment; we should go among people, earnestly cultivate all virtuous Dharma and absorb wholesome provisions. Lotus flowers absorb nutrients from their ponds. These are their provisions. In this turbid world, when we go among the people, we have such a wonderful environment, a place for us to engage in spiritual practice. We should be mindful; with these provisions we can increase our wisdom. This is because “Retaining all Dharma depends only on the mind. The Buddha encourages us to diligently practice upholding all that is good. It is just that simple.

This is what is meant by the Buddha-Dharma being inseparable from the workings of the world. We should pay attention to people, matters and objects. We must mindfully pay attention to them. So, from understanding the Chapter on the Parable of the Conjured City, we will gain an even more profound experience of how the principles have always been by our side. Unfortunately, we place them so far from us. Moreover, the principles have always been right here in this moment. When we seize the moment, those are the principles. But we have drawn them out over dust-inked kalpas, countless kalpas, since before Beginningless Time. This is what we do as unenlightened beings. So, the Brahma kings had already arrived and asked the Buddha to turn the Dharma-wheel.

The previous verse reads, “We only pray that you accept our request and with the great, subtle and wondrous tone, out of mercy, expound the Dharma You have taken in over countless kalpas.”

We have previously spoken of the great, subtle and wondrous [tone]. The principles are great; they encompass the universe. This great teaching encompasses all of space. There is nothing in the universe that is not contained within these principles. Form the greatest principles, [this extends to] the most subtle and wondrous Dharma of the mind. It is incredibly subtle and wondrous. We cannot see the mind. We also cannot see the principles; they are subtle and wondrous. However, once we create ignorance, it disrupts the whole the world. Many manmade calamities begin this way. So, the Dharma is great, yet at the same time subtle and wondrous. All of this is called the Dharma, including both wholesome and unwholesome phenomena. The Brahma kings wanted to ask the Buddha to turn the Dharma-wheel with a great, subtle and wondrous tone to reveal the great principles as well as the subtle and intricate to them. They are great as well as subtle and intricate, so mysterious and profound. In fact, though they exist in the world, they are impossible for us to comprehend; they are so profound and mysterious. What we can understand are those within the scope of our daily living. They are always by our side they are in front of us and behind us, to the left and to right of us; all around. In the eight directions and above and below, the Dharma wherever. So, we should be mindful.

However, we are unable to, which is so tragic, so we ask the Buddha to, our of compassion, teach us all the great and small principles with His subtle and wondrous voice. The principles come from the mouth of the Buddha. Although they are all around us, we still do not recognize them, so it must be though what the Buddha speaks [that we come to know them]. The Dharma we teach today is the same Dharma the Buddha taught at the time when He turned the Dharma-wheel. It is according to these principles, which were later recorded, that we can continuously and repeatedly teach, continuously and repeatedly absorb these truths. This is the meaning of “expound.” Those who listened to, teach and spread the Dharma do so in this way. So, they said “the Dharma you have taken in “over countless kalpas.” It takes countless kalpas of continually listening to this Dharma, continually listening, life after life. With what He heard, life after life, He taught. After teaching, life after life He spread it. This is how the Buddha-Dharma is passed down. So, it speaks of “the Dharma you have taken in.” Truly, we must constantly listen to and practice it.

The next sutra passage says, “At that time, “Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Tathagata accepted the request of the Brahma kings and the 16 princes. Thus He immediately began the Three Turnings and Twelve Applications of the Dharma-wheel.”

Whether it had been the 16 princes, the heavenly beings or the Brahma kings who requested the teachings, the Buddha had consented silently, He simple remained silent, but more people continued to arrive. He kept waiting for everyone to be present. When those wishing to hear the Dharma, all those who should be there, had all arrived, and at last, Brahma Kind Sikhin had also arrived, then He began. The Brahma kings of the ten directions had all arrived. Furthermore, the 16 princes had already requested that the Buddha turn the Dharma the Dharma-wheel. Thus, the causes and conditions were mature. So, as everyone had requested the teachings, the Buddha immediately accepted all the heavenly beings’ and humans’ requests to turn Dharma-wheel. This is when He “immediately began.” This shows that Great Unhindered Superior Wisdom agreed He immediately began the Three Turning and the Twelve Applications of the Dharma-wheel. This shows Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior had already consented. Now He was not silently consenting; starting now, He immediately began teaching.

The Buddha accepted the earnest request of the assembly of heavenly beings and humans. This explains that Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Tathagata consented to and accepted their request and turned the great, subtle and wondrous Dharma-wheel that none other in the assembly was able to. What was the Dharma-wheel that He turned? It was the Four Noble Truths and the Twelve Links of Cyclic Existence. Since the Buddha accepted their request to teach the Dharma, the princes could later expound it again. This was how they formed affinities.

“He turned the great, subtle and wondrous Dharma-wheel. Thus He began Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha consented and began to teach. But with this Dharma, when it came to turning this Dharma-wheel, “No others in the assembly were able to. Only the Buddha has a way to teach this Dharma. Although fundamentally, the Dharma is present in all things in the universe, no one else was able to turn this Dharma-wheel. That is because it takes someone who has reached the ocean of enlightened wisdom, one who has truly achieved great enlightenment, a Great Enlightened One, to be able to analyze this Dharma, the great and all-encompassing principles. So, “None other in the assembly was able to.” “What was the Dharma-wheel that He turned? The Four Noble Truths and the Twelve Links of Cyclic Existence.”

Why did the Buddha begin with teaching the Four Noble Truths and the Twelve Kinks of Cyclic Existence? All Buddha share the same path. Past Buddha were like this, and Great Unhindered Wisdom Superior Buddha was like this as well; He taught the Four Noble Truths and the Twelve Applications. As for our present Buddha, Sakyamuni, when He first began teaching the Dharma, He also taught the Four Noble Truths and the Twelve Links of Cyclic Existence. This is how all Buddhas share the same path. The Buddha accepted their request, especially that of the 16 princes who after listening to the Dharma would, from listeners, become teachers of teachers of the Dharma, continually teaching the Lotus Sutra anew.

Starting on this passage, the description of the causes and conditions for requesting the teachings had come to an end. Coming up, the 16 princes will again request the teachings, as the conditions for their future listening to, teaching and spreading the Dharma. One section has ended, and another has now begun. “Thus He immediately began the Three Turnings and the Twelve Applications of the Dharma-wheel. Three Turnings means that every teaching must have the Three Turnings. Each teaching must be repeated again and again and again. The test of the Buddhist sutras is also like this. When the long-form prose is finished, it is then repeated in verse. When the verse is finished, it is then explained again.

The principle is the same. When taught, the Dharma needs the three Turnings for it to be clearer. “This is what it is; you must know. This is what it is; you must practice. This is what it is; you should understand.” These are called the Three Turnings. “This means that each teaching must have the Three Turnings.” We must know, we must practice, and we must confirm. The principle is the same. With the Four Noble Truths, we first take the truth of suffering as an example, To teach suffering, “to teach the truth of suffering,” the truth of suffering meaning the principle of suffering, the Buddha had to first let everyone know that this world is filled with suffering. Suffering has its own matters and appearances. Brahma King Great Compassion, for our sakes, wanted us to understand the principles we hear, so he asked the Buddha to teach with matters and appearances, those of suffering. Because this Brahma king was filled with universal compassion for those suffering in the human realm, he asked the Buddha to turn the Dharma-wheel. Truly, the Dharma that the Buddha taught was that of universal compassion, which is to feel sentient beings’ suffering as our own. He first had to help sentient beings understand the matters and appearances of suffering. So, the Buddha “illustrated the matters and appearances of suffering.”

For example, He extensively taught that in the Three Realms and the Five Destinies, we face the Four Sufferings, the Three Sufferings, the Eight Sufferings and the 108 Sufferings.” There are so many! The Six Destinies are the heaven, human, asura, hell, hungry ghost and animal realms. In fact, among the Six Realms, four are considered to be realms of suffering. The asura realm is also one of suffering. The asura realm must also be included. They also suffer. They have heavenly blessings, but not virtues, so they too are suffering. Though they may be rich, enjoy material comforts, afflictions still often arise in their minds. They still get angry, and this is suffering. Then there are life’s Eight Sufferings of birth, aging, illness, death, parting from loved ones, meeting those we hate, not getting what we want, the raging Five Aggregates. These are the Eight Sufferings. There are also the 108 Sufferings. How long would it take to explain all of this? In the end, it is suffering, suffering, suffering! There are countless kinds of suffering. Are there merely 108? No, there are many more. Truly, there is so much suffering from afflictions. So, there are many kinds of suffering, many states of suffering which oppress us and prevent us from being free. “He illustrated these matters and appearances of suffering in all kinds of ways.” He used all kinds of hardships [to explain].

We must listen well and try to comprehend. How many matters and appearances of suffering are there in our world today? Truly, since they are revealed, we must earnestly try to comprehend. How much suffering there is in the world! Whether in natural disasters, in manmade calamities, in families, societies or personal relationships, there is so much suffering. This is the “turning of illustration.” He illustrated the appearances of suffering to turn the Dharma-wheel, to turn the Dharma-wheel of the truth of suffering. This is the called the turning of illustration.

Thus He immediately began the Three Turnings and Twelve Applications of the Dharma-wheel. The Three Turnings: This means that each teaching must have the Three Turnings. First, of the Four Noble Truths, the truth of suffering is used to explain this. To teach the truth of suffering, the Buddha first had to illustrate the matters and appearances of suffering. For example, He extensively taught that in the Three Realms and the Five Destinies, we face the Four Sufferings, the Three Sufferings, the Eight Sufferings and the 108 Sufferings, all kinds of states that oppress us and prevent us being free. He illustrated these matters and appearances of suffering in all kinds of ways. This is called the turning of illustration.

“Next, He further explained one by one the origins of suffering.” There are many origins of suffering. There is so much suffering. If we know that the principles are like this, where do these principles come from? Although we may speak of the principles of suffering, the principles “are not suffering”. Yet these principles exist throughout the Three Realms. Actually, if we exhaustively analyze suffering, everything returns to emptiness. Life is short. Where is the suffering we speak of? How is it that we suffer? If we exhaustively analyze our afflictions, what is there really to be afflicted about? There are no afflictions. Life arises with causes and conditions and ceases with causes and conditions. There is only the arising and ceasing of conditions. Despite this, in the process of this arising and ceasing, we face unbearable suffering. This occurs in the Three Realms, where so much suffering takes place due to arising and ceasing.

In the desire realm, suffering comes from desire. In the form realm, suffering comes from worrying. In the formless realm, there is the suffering of spiritual afflictions. There is so much suffering. So, we should try and understand matters and appearances, the many matters and appearances of suffering. So, because of this, we recognize suffering and understand its origin. Because we understand this, we know the principle of suffering. The principle of suffering is true and not false. Truly, the world is filled with suffering. This is true, not false; this is causation. Because we caused all kinds of suffering, because we accumulated it in this way, we must know that we ourselves created it. We ourselves provoked this suffering. We created so much ignorance and so many seeds of suffering. So, what we attain is the many fruits of suffering. These are all due to the accumulation of all kinds of causes and conditions. Since we know this, now we must practice. We can practice by using this suffering. It is because of its causation that we must engage in spiritual practice.

Next, He further explained one by one the origin of suffering to explain the principle of recognizing suffering. Although these are the principles of suffering, they are not suffering. Still these principles can be applied across the Three Realms in the matters and appearances of every kind of suffering. Thus, we must understand the origin of suffering in order to know the truth of suffering is real and not false. This is called the turning of persuasion.

Suffering has its own true nature. “Next, He further taught the true nature of suffering.” “When we understand its true nature, we will know suffering has no inherent nature.” This is teaching us in an even more profound way. Suffering is inherently without nature. It is not the case that we need to suffer. No, it is something that we created ourselves. Because we created many causes of suffering, we received many retributions of suffering. Suffering itself is inherently without nature; it is just created out of our ignorance. We constantly say that in our spiritual practice we must get rid of ignorance, for it is only by getting rid of ignorance and afflictions that our nature of True Suchness can be revealed.

Ignorance itself is inherently without nature; it is merely our habitual tendencies. We are continually covered in habitual tendencies and afflictions. Our mind must retain all teachings, so it is because of our habitual nature that we now must engage in spiritual practice. We know that we should retain all teachings. “Refrain from all evil.” We refrain from doing any evil. We no longer want to do it; we no longer want to create karma. We wish only to do good and “retain all goodness”; this is want we practice. We practice all that is good. Then we can return to our nature of True Suchness. If we get rid of defilements, since suffering is inherently without nature, what will be left is Our Dharmakaya of True Suchness, our true nature. This and only this is our intrinsic nature, our true self.

So, we can realize this “If we can realize this, if we can confirm the matters, appearances and principles of suffering, then we will be able to understand that they [have no real existence]. The matters and appearances of suffering are all caused by our own struggles and attachments. Yet with all these struggles and attachments, what in the end do we really attain? We attain nothing. We merely provoke much ignorance, afflictions and suffering, nothing more. So, what is the sense in struggling? Where is suffering? If we thoroughly understand the principles, then there is nothing to struggle with or remain attached to. So, the appearance of suffering arises in the mind. When suffering is truly investigated to the end, we will find that there is nothing to be attained, for there was never anything there. “This is the turning of confirmation. This is suffering, you should now understand it.” We understand and confirm that this suffering is all a creation of our mind. We should be able to understand this understanding here is called confirmation. We should thoroughly understand the source of our suffering, that it is actually the working of the mind. These are the Three Turnings.

Next, He further taught the true nature of suffering. When we understand its true nature, we will know suffering has no inherent nature, but has the ultimate really of the Dharmakaya of True Suchness as its nature. If we can realize this, then the matters and appearances of suffering, as well as the principle of suffering, will all be nowhere to be found. This is the turning of confirmation. These are the Three Turnings.

To summarize, we must know, we must practice and we must realize. These are the Three Turnings. What we practice is the “cessation” of “causation.” Only then can we attain the Path. If we understand “suffering,” We know we are already suffering. We understand it is “caused” by accumulation. To get rid of suffering, we need to bring about its “cessation.” If we can eliminate suffering, that is “the Path.” This is continually repeated for us to understand. So, the Four Noble Truths were turned three times in the hopes that everyone could understand. Those of sharp capabilities understand as soon as they hear it. Those of average capabilities need an additional turning, so it must be repeated for them again. Those who are slower need it repeated three times, so it is explained again for them. We have explained all this before. With the Four Noble Truths, we must mindfully try to understand how we have come to be here, the karma that we have created, The affliction we have brought upon ourselves, our ignorance and so on. What method can we use to extinguish them? Only when these are eliminated will we realize and understand, totally comprehend. This depends on whether or not we are mindful of the Dharma. So, most importantly, let us always be mindful.

(Source: Da Ai TV – Wisdom at Dawn program – Explanation by Master Chen-Yen)
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