English ilse v11-15 - Lecture Notes on the Essence of the Infinite Life Sutra

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無量壽經菁華講記 Lecture Notes on the Essence of the Infinite Life Sutra 淨空法師講述 by Venerable Master Chin Kung

無量壽經菁華講記
Lecture Notes on the Essence of the Infinite Life Sutra

淨空法師講述 
by Venerable Master Chin Kung

十一、常運慈心拔有情。度盡無邊苦眾生。

I will constantly use compassion to uproot [the misery of] sentient beings and to awaken the boundless beings who are suffering.

「常」,指時間;「無邊」,指空間。時空將所有一切眾生之類都包括盡了,盡虛空遍法界一切眾生類都是阿彌陀佛大慈大悲教化度脫的對象。

“Constantly” refers to time, and “boundless” refers to space. Time and space cover all manner of beings. Amitabha Buddha, out of great compassion, wants to teach and help all the beings in all the Dharma Realms.

十二、人有至心求道。精進不止。會當剋果。何願不得。

12. If one wholeheartedly seeks the Way and ceaselessly makes focused and diligent progress, one will surely attain Buddhahood. There is no wish that one cannot fulfill.

「道」是很難得到的,既然很難得到的都可以得到,何況其餘?但是求一定要懂得求的理論與方法,此地的理就是「至心」,至心就是真誠之心,真誠到了極處。曾國藩先生言:「一念不生謂之誠。」六祖大師言:「本來無一物」,這是真心。用如是之心去求道,求什麼就得什麼,因為世出世間一切法都是真心變現出來的。所以,諸佛菩薩神通廣大,手中能現無量珍寶。他何以能變現出來,而我們變現不出來?他是真心,我們是妄心。真心能變,十法界依正莊嚴都是真心變現出來的,所以大乘經上講:「諸法所生,唯心所現,唯識所變」。

It is difficult to attain the Way. When one can attain what is difficult, one can surely attain everything else. But one must first know the principles and methods of seeking. The principles lie in the word “wholeheartedly.” “Wholeheartedly” means having a true sincere mind, that is, one with the utmost sincerity. Mr. Zeng Guofan15 once said, “Not having a single thought arise is called sincerity.” Master Huineng said, “Originally, there was nothing at all.” This describes the true mind. If one seeks the Way with this mind, one will attain what one seeks because everything in the world is generated by the true mind.

Buddhas and bodhisattvas have extraordinary powers and can make boundless treasures appear. Why is it that they can do so but we cannot? Because their minds are the true mind and ours are the false mind. The true mind can cre-ate [everything]. Everything in the Ten Dharma Realms is cre-ated by the true mind. The Mahayana sutras say, “All phenomena are cre-ated by the true mind and al-tered by the consciousness.”

西方極樂世界的人,思衣得衣,思食得食,因為他們心清淨,清淨心就是真心。我們今天妄想、煩惱、憂慮、牽掛太多了,哪來的真心!所以,「至心」重要,佛法修學無他,只是將妄想、分別、執著放下,真心就現前了。「佛氏門中,有求必應」,這是真的。

The beings in the Western Pure Land make food and clothing appear at will. This is because their minds are pure. A pure mind is the true mind. Today, we have numerous wandering thoughts, afflictions, worries, and concerns—we do not have the true mind. The “wholeheartedly” is important.

Learning and practicing Buddhism is nothing other than letting go of wandering thoughts, discriminations, and attachments. When one does so, the true mind will manifest. It is true that “in Buddhism, every wish can be fulfilled.”

「精進不止」,這是求的方法。進是進步,絕對不會往後退;精是純而不雜,一個目標,一個方向,無論是佛法、世法,這一定會有成就。現前不少學佛的同修,天天在求進步,但是效果不彰。原因何在?學得太多、太雜,不是精進,而是雜進,所以努力而沒有效果。

“Ceaselessly make focused and diligent progress”—this is how one should seek. When one makes progress, one will not go backward. “Focused” means heading in one direction and towards one goal. Be it Buddhism or worldly pursuits, one will surely succeed in one’s seeking. There are many Buddhist practitioners who seek progress in their cultivation but have little success. What is the reason? They learn too many things, and the things they learn are too varied. They are not making focused and diligent progress; instead, the progress they make is unfocused. This is why their efforts are to no avail.

佛法經典很多,從理論上說,門門第一,法門平等,無有高下。但是從事上講,每一個人的根性不相同,聰明智慧不相同,生活環境不相同,有些法門修學起來覺得方便,有些法門修學起來覺得困難,所以難易不在法門,在個人的根性與生活環境。

There are many sutras. F-rom the aspect of principle, every method is number one. All methods are equal, and no one method is superior or inferior to another. But f-rom the aspect of phenomena, every person’s capacity, intelligence, and living environment differ. They find some methods easier to learn and practice and others harder to do so. Hence, the question of easiness or difficulty does not lie in the methods. It lies in a person’s capacity and living environment.

而念佛法門不管根性勝劣,統統適合修學,其他如參禪、學密都很不容易修學。念佛法門簡單方便,你家裡有無佛像、香花供養,皆可修學,而且不重視形式、修學環境,真是第一方便。

The Buddha-name chanting method is suitable for everyone to learn and practice regardless of one’s capacity. Other methods such as Zen meditation and Tibetan Buddhism are not as easy for one to learn and practice. The Buddha-name chanting method is simple and convenient. It does not matter whether one has a Buddha image at home or if one has flowers to offer. Everyone can learn and practice. This method does not emphasize appearances or learning environment. It is the most convenient method.

每個人的根性不相同,若勉強修學就會有困難,順著自己的興趣修學就容易了。我們修別的法門,能不能生淨土?能!《無量壽經》講得很清楚,修其他法門,只要迴向淨土,統統能往生。可見得阿彌陀佛並不是限制你一定要學《無量壽經》,一定要念阿彌陀佛,才能往生。但無論修學哪個法門,一定要能伏煩惱,發願求生極樂世界,親近阿彌陀佛。如果煩惱伏不住,就無法往生,這是真正的條件。

Everyone has a different capacity. If one forces oneself to learn an unsuitable method, one will have a difficult time. But if one learns a method that one is interested in, then the learning will be easier. Will one be able to attain rebirth in the Western Pure Land if one practices another method? Yes, one will. It is clearly stated in the Infinite Life Sutra that if a practitioner of another method dedicates merits to be reborn in the Western Pure Land, he or she will attain rebirth there. F-rom this we can see that Amitabha Buddha did not say that one has to learn the Infinite Life Sutra and mindfully chant “Amituofo” to achieve rebirth in the Western Pure Land.

Regardless of whatever method one learns and practices, one must be able to suppress one’s afflictions and vow to seek rebirth in the Land of Ultimate Bliss whe-re one will be close to Amitabha Buddha. If one cannot suppress one’s afflictions, one will not be able to attain rebirth there. This is the true requirement.

所以,只要把「精進」這兩個字掌握了,我們就決定有成就。古大德說,佛法「貴精不貴多」,又所謂「一經通一切經通」。如果我們想深入經藏,應該怎麼做?是廣學多聞,還是一門深入?從歷史上看,自古以來,一門深入成就的人非常非常多;從廣學多聞,成就的人少,因為那是屬於特殊的天才,中下根性的人沒有這個能力,因此還是要「一門深入」。

As long as we grasp the principle of “focused and diligent progress,” we will surely achieve in our practice. Ancient accomplished practitioners said that mastering one is more important than studying many. It is also said, “When one masters one sutra, one naturally masters all sutras.” If we want to have a deep understanding of the Buddhist Canon, what should we do? Should we learn many or delve deeply into one method?

Historically, many of those who delved deeply into one method achieved in their learning and practice. Of those who learned many methods, very few succeeded in their cultivation. Those who learned a variety of methods and succeeded were exceptionally talented. People who have a medium or low capacity do not have the ability to learn many methods and succeed.

Therefore, we should delve deeply into one method.

所以,「精進不止,會當剋果,何願不得」,只要我們懂得道理與方法,任何願望都能滿足。在我們眼前,無論是學業、事業,乃至學佛人的道業,用此理論與方法都能成功圓滿。因此,世出世間一切法,以真誠之心行之,則沒有難事。難就是我們有邪念、邪思,這個障礙是自己造成的,確實「心外無法,法外無心」,一定要了解。

If one “ceaselessly makes focused and diligent progress, one will surely attain Buddhahood. There is no wish that one cannot fulfill.” If we understand the principles and methods, we will be able to fulfill any wish. Be it academics, one’s work, or a Buddhist practitioner’s cultivation, applying this principle and method will lead to complete success.

It will not be hard to accomplish any undertaking in this world or beyond if we have a sincere mind. What makes it difficult is our deviated thoughts. Obstacles are cre-ated by us. Indeed, “no phenomena exist outside the mind; the mind does not exist outside any phenomena.” We must understand this.

十三、法藏聞佛所說。皆悉睹見。起發無上殊勝之願。於彼天人善惡。國土麤妙。思惟究竟。便一其心。選擇所欲。結得大願。精勤求索。恭慎保持。修習功德。滿足五劫。於彼二十一俱胝佛土。功德莊嚴之事。明了通達。如一佛剎。所攝佛國。超過於彼。

13. Dharmakara heard the Buddha’s discourse and saw everything shown to him. He aspired to make supreme, wondrous vows. He thoroughly contemplated16 what was good and bad about heavenly and human beings and what was wonderful and inferior about their lands.17 He single-mindedly se-lected what he wanted and formed his great vows. For five kalpas, he diligently sought and explored, respectfully and carefully persevered, and cultivated merits and virtues. He thoroughly understood all the merits and adornments of the twenty-one kotis18 of Buddha Lands as thoroughly as he understood one Buddha Land. The Buddha Land he cre-ated surpassed all Buddha Lands.

「法藏聞佛所說」,「聞」是聽老師介紹,「佛」是世間自在王如來,即法藏菩薩的老師。「法藏」,阿彌陀佛在因地出家的法名。法藏菩薩將自己的願望向老師報告,請求老師教導他。學生有善願、有大願,老師總是盡心盡力幫助他、成就他。所以,他所想要知道的,佛不但說明,而且還將十方諸佛世界以神力顯現在他面前,讓他看得清清楚楚。

“Dharmakara heard the Buddha’s discourse.” “Dharmakara” was the Dharma name of Amitabha Buddha at the causal stage, when he was a bhiksu. “Heard” refers to listening to his teacher’s introduction. Here “Buddha” refers to Lokesvararaja Tathagata, Dharmakara Bodhisattva’s teacher.

Dharmakara Bodhisattva told his teacher about his aspirations and asked his teacher to teach him how to fulfill them. When a student has a virtuous and great aspiration, the teacher will always wholeheartedly help the student accomplish it. Therefore, Lokesvararaja Tathagata not only explained to Dharmakara what he wanted to know but also used extraordinary powers to display the Buddha Lands in the ten directions to him, and that allowed him to see them clearly.

《觀無量壽佛經》的發起因緣也如是,韋提希夫人遭家庭變故,她的兒子要殺父親、害母親,篡奪王位。她遭這樣的大難,於是乎心灰意冷,請求釋迦牟尼佛有沒有安全好的世界可以往生?釋迦牟尼佛並沒有主動介紹給她,而是把十方諸佛的世界變現在她面前,讓她自己選擇,這與世間自在王如來對法藏菩薩使用的方法相同。韋提希夫人選擇阿彌陀佛的西方極樂世界,然後佛才教給她求生極樂世界的方法,這就是一部《觀無量壽佛經》

At the beginning of the Visualization Sutra, a similar situation is described, which was the cause of Sakyamuni Buddha speaking the sutra. Queen Vaidehi encountered family misfortunes. Her son killed his father the king, harmed her, and usurped the throne. Having encountered such great misfortune, she became disheartened and asked Sakyamuni Buddha if there was a better and safer place whe-re she could be reborn. Instead of directing her to one specific Buddha Land, Sakyamuni Buddha displayed all the Buddha Lands in the ten directions for her to choose f-rom. This was the same method that Lokesvararaja Tathagata employed for Dharmakara Bodhisattva.

Queen Vaidehi chose Amitabha Buddha’s Western Pure Land. And then Sakyamuni Buddha taught her the method to attain rebirth in the Land of Ultimate Bliss. This is essentially the content of the Visualization Sutra.

世間自在王如來把十方諸佛剎土展現在法藏菩薩面前,法藏菩薩統統都看見了,於是「起發無上殊勝之願,於彼天人善惡,國土麤妙。」「彼」指十方一切諸佛剎土,「天」指天道,「人」指人間。一切諸佛剎土裡的六道眾生,有善有惡,這是講人事環境。極樂世界不是阿彌陀佛自己憑空想像建立的,也不是他自己的理想,而是他確確實實見到了許多的諸佛剎土,而且十方一切諸佛剎土差別很大,有的世界非常美好,有的世界有許多缺陷。「國土麤妙」,是物質環境。「麤」是環境很惡劣;「妙」是環境非常美好。環境不相同,是由於眾生造的因不同,所得的果報就不一樣。這些理論與事實,法藏菩薩都明白。

Lokesvararaja Tathagata displayed all the Buddha Lands in the ten directions to Dharmakara Bodhisattva. After seeing all these, he “aspired to make supreme, wondrous vows. He thoroughly contemplated what was good and bad about heavenly and human beings and what was wonderful and inferior about their lands.”

In every Buddha Land there are Six Paths, and in every path there are good and bad beings. This is talking about the living environment, which involves living beings and situations. The Land of Ultimate Bliss did not come f-rom Amitabha Buddha’s baseless imagination or dreams. He truly saw many Buddha Lands, and they all differed vastly f-rom one another. Some lands were very wonderful, and others had many shortcomings. “What was wonderful and inferior about those lands” refers to the material environment [which involves inanimate things]. “Inferior” refers to a very bad environment. “Wonderful” refers to a very good and beautiful environment. The environment of every being is different. The causes every being cre-ates are different and results in different effects [environments]. Dharmakara Bodhisattva understood the principles and truths.

「思惟究竟,便一其心,選擇所欲,結得大願。」西方極樂世界是如何建立的?法藏菩薩到處參觀考察,取人之長,捨人之短。換言之,極樂世界是集十方一切諸佛世界美好之大成。在四十八願中,他看到十方世界都有六道,尤其三惡道太苦了,所以他發的第一大願是希望將來建立的國度沒有三惡道,於是結得這個大願。

“He thoroughly contemplated. . . . He single-mindedly se-lected what he wanted and formed his great vows.” How was the Western Pure Land cre-ated? Dharmakara Bodhisattva visited various Buddha Lands and adopted their strengths and rejected their shortcomings. In other words, the Land of Ultimate Bliss is an amalgamation of the excellent qualities of all the Buddha Lands.

He saw that all the Buddha Lands in the ten directions had Six Paths, and the suffering was tremendously intense, especially in the Three Evil Paths. Thus he wanted his first vow to be that there would be no Three Evil Paths in the land he would cre-ate. This is how this great vow came to be.

中國人常說:「讀萬卷書,行萬里路」,聽經是讀書,看到一切諸佛世界,等於是行萬里路。法藏菩薩親耳所聞、親眼所見,所以他的知識、智慧是真實的。他有這樣豐富的學歷與經歷,他就有選擇的建立自己的剎土,這是極樂世界成就的因緣。

The Chinese often say, “Read ten thousand books, travel ten thousand miles.” Listening to lectures on the sutras is like reading books, and seeing all the Buddha Lands is like traveling ten thousand miles. Because he heard with his own ears and saw with his own eyes, Dharmakara Bodhisattva’s knowledge and wisdom were true. He had such abundant knowledge and experience that he was able, by se-lection, to cre-ate his own land. This was how the Land of Ultimate Bliss came about.

極樂世界的因緣,與一切諸佛剎土的因緣不相同,因為一切剎土的因緣是複雜的,不是單純的,有善有惡,善惡混雜。西方極樂世界專門選擇清淨、善法,他的目的是提供一個美好的修學環境,給十方世界真正發大心,一生要了生死成佛道的眾生,提供最佳的修學生活環境。

The causes and conditions for how the Land of Ultimate Bliss came about were different f-rom those for the other Buddha Lands. The causes and conditions for the latter were complicated and not simple: good ones and bad ones were mixed together. In the Western Pure Land, Dharmakara chose only pure and virtuous dharmas. His purpose was to provide a wonderful learning and practice environment for the beings f-rom all the Buddha Lands in the ten directions who truly generate the great mind and who aspire to [understand and] transcend the cycle of birth and death, and attain Buddhahood in one lifetime. He wanted to provide the best learning and living environment.

「精勤求索,恭慎保持,修習功德,滿足五劫。」「精勤」,精進、勤奮、努力;「求索」,索是尋找,哪些是善法、惡法,哪些是善果、惡報,要看得清楚,然後斷一切惡、修一切善。「恭慎保持」,恭是恭敬,慎是謹慎;對人、對事、對物要恭敬,恭敬心是真心。不但有恭敬心,還要謹慎保持,所修學的才不至於喪失。「修習功德」,修是修正,把錯誤的修正過來;習是學以致用,把所學的應用在生活上。

“For five kalpas, he diligently sought and explored, respectfully and carefully persevered, and cultivated merits and virtues.”

The words “sought and explored” mean that one needs to clearly recognize and understand the virtuous dharmas and the bad dharmas, and the good and bad retributions. And then one needs to end all wrongdoings and to cultivate all virtues.

The words “respectfully and carefully persevered” mean that one needs to be respectful when interacting with people and engaging in tasks. A respectful mind is the true mind. In addition to being respectful, one needs to carefully persevere, so that one will not lose what one has learned and practiced.

The word “cultivated” means correcting one’s faults and applying one’s learning to life.

「滿足五劫」,這是講他修行發願所用的時間。「劫」,有很多種說法,其中最常聽到的是「增減劫」。佛講我們娑婆世界的人,人壽最短的時候,平均年齡是十歲,這個世界非常非常之苦。每隔一百年增加一歲,加到八萬四千歲;再從八萬四千歲每隔一百年減一歲,又減到十歲,這樣一增一減,稱作一個「小劫」。二十個小劫為一個「中劫」;四個中劫為一個「大劫」。大乘經上講劫數,都是指大劫。法藏比丘修行的時間這麼長,所以才能真正吸收一切諸佛剎土的長處,捨棄不如人意之處。

“Five kalpas” is the time Dharmakara spent cultivating and forming vows. There are several ways to measure kalpas. “Increasing and decreasing kalpas” is the one that is most often heard of. Sakyamuni Buddha said that in the Saha world, the shortest life span of humans averages about ten years. At this point, the suffering in this Saha world is tremendously intense. Every one hundred years, the life span increases by one year, until the life span reaches eighty-four thousand years. Then subsequently, every one hundred years, the life span decreases by one year until the life span is again down to ten years. One cycle of an increasing and a decreasing life span is a small kalpa. Twenty small kalpas make up one medium kalpa. Four medium kalpas make up one great kalpa. The kalpas mentioned in the Mahayana sutras refer to great kalpas.

Dharmakara Bhiksu spent such a long time cultivating that he was able to truly take in all the strengths of all the Buddha Lands and reject the shortcomings.

「於彼二十一俱胝佛土,功德莊嚴之事,明了通達,如一佛剎,所攝佛國,超過於彼。」「二十一」不是數字,是表圓滿。如《阿彌陀經》用「七」表圓滿,就是指四方、上、下、當中。《華嚴經》用「十」代表圓滿,一到十是圓滿的數字,十個十就是一百,也是圓滿的數字。密宗以「十六」、「二十一」代表圓滿。

“He thoroughly understood all the merits and adornments of the twenty-one kotis of Buddha Lands as thoroughly as he understood one Buddha Land. The Buddha Land he cre-ated surpassed all Buddha Lands.”

“Twenty-one” is not an actual number. It represents perfection. For example, in the Amitabha Sutra, the number seven represents perfection. It signifies the four directions, the zenith, the nadir, and center. In the Avatamsaka Sutra, ten is used to represent perfection. Counting f-rom one to ten, ten is a complete and perfect number. Ten tens is one hundred, also a complete number.

Tibetan Buddhism uses sixteen and twenty-one to represent perfection.

「所攝佛國,超過於彼」,「攝」是他建立的極樂世界,「彼」是二十一俱胝佛剎。西方極樂世界是集一切國土美好之大成,一切諸佛剎土美好的,極樂世界統統具足,所有不好的缺點,極樂世界統統沒有,它自然超過一切諸佛剎土,這也滿足了他的大願,這是說極樂世界的建成。

“The Buddha Land he cre-ated surpassed all Buddha Lands.” “The Buddha Land he cre-ated” refers to the Land of Ultimate Bliss that he established. “All Buddha Lands” refers to the twenty-one kotis of Buddha Lands. The Western Pure Land is an amalgamation of the wonderful strengths of all the Buddha Lands. It has all the strengths of the Buddha Lands and is free of all the shortcomings. Naturally, it surpasses all these Buddha Lands and fulfills Dharmakara’s great vows. This sentence f-rom the excerpt is saying that the Land of Ultimate Bliss has been cre-ated.

往生西方極樂世界的條件是清淨心,心淨則土淨。所以,佛教我們用「信、願、行」修清淨心,真信、切願、一心專念阿彌陀佛,能把妄想、分別、執著伏住,達到初步清淨的標準,就能生「凡聖同居土」。

The prerequisite for rebirth in the Western Pure Land is a pure mind. When the mind is pure, the land will be pure. The Buddha taught us to cultivate a pure mind with “belief, vow, and practice.” True belief, sincerely vowing, and single-mindedly chanting “Amituofo” will help us suppress wandering thoughts, discriminations, and attachments. In doing so, we will meet the initial standards for purity and be reborn [in the Pure Land] in the Land Whe-re Sages and Ordinary Beings Together Dwell.

十四、住真實慧。勇猛精進。

14. He dwelt in true wisdom and courageously made focused and diligent progress.

佛在《無量壽經》講了三個真實,此地講「真實慧」,即真實的智慧。你能在一切法中,認識佛法,而且認識大乘法中的淨土法門,又能選擇「信、願、持名」,求願往生,將心真正安住在此,這就是「住真實慧」。對於淨宗法門「不懷疑、不夾雜、不間斷」,並依照大勢至菩薩教導的「都攝六根,淨念相繼」的方法用功修學,就是「勇猛精進」。

The Buddha mentioned “true” three times in the Infinite Life Sutra. Here, we have “true wisdom.”

Of all the teachings, one gets to know Buddhism. Moreover, one learns the Pure Land method of Mahayana teachings. Also, one chooses “belief, vow, and Buddha-name chanting” and seeks rebirth in the Western Pure Land, and one’s mind steadfastly dwells in this. Such is “dwelling on true wisdom.”

In practicing the Pure Land method, one follows the principle of “no doubt, no intermingling, and no interruption.” One also diligently learns and practices using the method of “the perfect control of the six senses with continuous pure thoughts” taught by Mahasthamaprapta Bodhisattva. This is “courageously making focused and diligent progress.”

世間一切都是虛妄的,我們要真正覺悟!世俗人也常說:「生不帶來,死不帶去。」所以,唯有念佛往生西方極樂世界,壽命與佛相同,都是無量壽,這才是真實的。沒有壽命,一切都落空了。因此,這才是真實的智慧,沒有比這個更真實的了!

Everything in this world is illusory. We need to be truly awakened! People often say “We bring nothing with us at birth and we take nothing with us at death.” Only mindfully chanting the Buddha-name and seeking rebirth in the Western Pure Land, whe-re our life span will be as infinite as that of Amitabha Buddha, is real. Without life, everything is futile. This is true wisdom. Nothing is truer than this!

十五、積植德行。不起貪瞋痴欲諸想。不著色聲香味觸法。

15. He accumulated and nurtured moral conduct. He gave no rise to any thoughts of greed, anger, ignorance, or desire. He was not attached to form, sound, smell, taste, texture, or mind object.

「植」是培植、累積,積功累德要從「不起貪瞋痴欲諸想」、「不著色聲香味觸法」做起,內不起貪瞋痴欲妄念,外不被境界誘惑,就是功德。能如此做功夫,得心地清淨,清淨心能生智慧,有定慧就得大受用。定慧是自己的真心起作用,在宇宙之間,自己做得了主宰。失去定慧是煩惱誘惑作主,這個人就可憐了。所以,修行無非是內去「貪瞋痴」,外斷一切誘惑而已。

Accumulating merits and virtues should start with “giving no rise to any thoughts of greed, anger, ignorance, or desire” as well as “not being attached to form, sound, smell, taste, texture, or mind object.” When there is no greed, anger, ignorance, desire, or wandering thoughts, and when one does not yield to external temptations—this is merit. If one cultivates this way, one will attain a pure mind, f-rom which wisdom will arise.

When one has meditative concentration and wisdom, one has great benefit. Meditative concentration and wisdom come forth when the true mind is active. As a result, one is able to control one’s destiny anywhe-re in the universe. When one does not have meditative concentration and wisdom, one is controlled by affliction and temptation. This is pitiable.

Therefore, cultivation is nothing but this: internally, ridding oneself of greed, anger, and ignorance; and externally, cutting off all temptations.

這一句是教導我們修學的原則,心中起「貪瞋痴欲諸想」,我們的行為就不正了,要加以修正,這是邪正之標準。

This excerpt teaches us a principle of learning and practice. When we have “thoughts of greed, anger, ignorance, or desire,” our behavior will not be proper and will need reforming. This excerpt is the standard for [differentiating between] proper and deviated

六祖慧能大師云:「本來無一物」,那是真心,因為真心無物。「貪瞋痴慢」是妄心,有了這些虛妄的東西,我們雖有真心,真心不能現前。除去貪瞋痴慢,心就得清淨,外面「色聲香味觸法」的境界來誘惑你,也不會起貪瞋痴慢之念。大經云:「一切眾生本來成佛。」何以現在變成這樣?《華嚴經》說得好,因為有妄想、執著,執著變成貪瞋,妄想即是愚痴,這是眾生的病根。

Master Huineng said, “Originally, there was nothing at all.” He was talking about the true mind because there is nothing in the true mind. Greed, anger, ignorance, and arrogance are the false mind. Because these illusory things are there, even though we have the true mind, it is unable to function. When we eradicate greed, anger, ignorance, and arrogance, our minds will become pure. Even when forms, sounds, smells, tastes, textures, and mind objects f-rom the external environment try to tempt us, we will not have any thoughts of greed, anger, ignorance, and arrogance.

The major sutras say “All beings are Buddhas in nature.” So why have we become the way we are? The Avatamsaka Sutra puts it aptly: it is because of wandering thoughts and attachments. Wandering thoughts are ignorance. Attachments turn into greed and anger. These are the root problems of sentient beings.

_________________________________________

  1. 1811-1872. An eminent government official, military general, and Confucian scholar of the Qing dynasty.—Trans.
  2. Contemplated also means understood.—Trans.
  3. All the Buddha Lands in the ten directions.—Trans.
  4. The edge, the highest point. As a numeral, koṭi means one hundred thousand, one million, or ten million.— http://www.sutrasmantras.info/glossary.html#koti

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