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宣化上人開示錄(一)
Venerable Master Hua's Talks on Dharma Volume One 

化老和尚開示 Lectures by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua

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修行有四個階段

The Four Stages of Cultivation


皈依那天,看作我們的生日,把我們修行的階段從那時候算起。
We could consider the day we took refuge as our birthday,
and start ounting the stages of our cultivation from there.

一年媕Y有「春、夏、秋、冬」這四季,這是人人所知道的事,然而大家是不是知道,在人生的路程上,也分為「生、老、病、死」這四個階段?因為誰也免不了一死,所以,我們應好好地為自己的身後歸宿打算一下,這就要修道了。從修行方面來說,也可分為「學、行、成、了」四個階段:

 

In one year, there are the four seasons of spring, summer, fall and winter─that's common knowledge. But does everyone know that the journey of life is also divided into the four stages of birth, old age, sickness, and death? Since no one can avoid death, we should seriously be thinking about where we will go when our life ends. That means we have to cultivate the Way. Cultivation can also be divided into four stages: study, practice, attainment, and full realization.

人生由一至二十歲,可說是「學道」的時期,在這段時間,我們應好好地讀書,或學佛法,這就等於《大學》中所說的「在明明德」一樣,這時應把自己的光明德性弄明白。二十一至四十歲,是「行道」的時期,應該學以致用,把以前所學的,所明白的,用以普渡眾生,匡扶世俗,這是《大學》中所說的「在親民」。

 

The period from ages one to twenty can be considered the period of studying the Way. During this interval, we should be diligent in our academic studies or in our study of the Buddhadharma. This is equivalent to “illumining the bright virtue” spoken of in The Great Learning. At this time we should have a clear understanding of our bright inherent virtue. From the ages of twenty-one to forty is the period of practicing the Way. We should put what we have learned, what we have understood, into practice, in order to extensively save living beings and reform the world. In The Great Learning, this is called “renewing the people.”

四十一至六十歲,便到了「成道」的時候,這是《大學》中所說的「止於至善」。可是孔子所說的「至善」並不徹底,並不能達到真空、涅槃的境界,並不是究竟的,所以我們還要「了道」。在成道以後歸於涅槃的境界,這要比儒教的三綱領:「明德、親民、止於至善」更為圓融了。

 

From the ages of forty-one to sixty is the period of “attaining the Way.” This is spoken of in The Great Learning as “resting in the highest excellence.” However, what Confucius called “resting in the highest excellence” still isn't the end, for it doesn't reach the state of true emptiness and Nirvana. It's not ultimate. Therefore, we still have to achieve the full realization of the Way. After attaining the Way, we must still return to the state of Nirvana, which is more all-encompassing than the three Confucian principles of illumining virtue, renewing the people, and resting in the highest excellence.

   

也許有人會這樣說:「我在一到二十歲的時期中還未信佛,這樣說來學道的時期已經過去了,那麼是不是沒有機會學,也不用學了呢?」可是,我們要明白,方才所說的四個階段的年期,只是一種理想,這並不是硬性的規定,所以我們可以把皈依那天,看作我們的生日,把我們修行的階段從那時候算起。

 

Maybe some people will say, “When I was between the ages of one and twenty, I wasn't a Buddhist yet. Since the period for studying the Way has already passed, does it mean I have no chance to study, and that I don't need to study?” Well, you should understand that the ages for the four stages mentioned above are just ideals, not rigid definitions. So we could consider the day we took refuge as our birthday, and start counting the stages of our cultivation from there.

   

有些人又說:「我皈依了四、五年,可是一點佛法也沒學到。」其實你皈依了四、五年,在佛教堨u不過是一個四、五歲的小孩罷了!所以,我們不用引以為憾,說自己沒有用。佛法深奧,只要你在皈依的二十年中努力去學道,那不是一樣能有所成就嗎?

 

Some people say, “I took refuge four or five years ago, but I haven't learned any Buddhadharma at all.” Actually, if you took refuge four or five years ago, you're merely a four or five year-old child in Buddhism. So there's no reason for us to lament that we're useless or that the Buddhadharma is too deep and abstruse. After you take refuge, if you diligently study the Way for the first twenty years, and diligently practice the Way for the next twenty years, won't you have achievements just the same?

或者老一輩的居士又會感慨地說:「我現在已八十歲囉!恐怕沒有機會二十年又二十年地活下去吧?」一點也不錯,「時光減處命光微」,時日確是無多了,那麼你也可以把時間縮短了來算,譬如兩個月修道,兩個月行道,如此類推,只要肯下真心與決心,老當益壯,精進勇猛地一步一步做去,也是可以成功的,努力吧!

 

Perhaps the older generation of laypeople will sigh, “I'm already eighty, and may not live for that many more twenty years!” You are absolutely right, for “As time gets shorter, life is slipping away.” Indeed, there's not much time left, so you can shrink the time. For example, you can study the Way for two months, practice the Way for two months, and so on. As long as you are sincere and determined, growing younger with the years, proceeding step by step with vigor and courage, you can also succeed, so work hard!

   
     

一九五八年六月十五日下午開示

 

A talk given on the afternoon of June 15, 1958

 

法界佛教總會 • DRBA / BTTS / DRBU

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