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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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大善大惡,超出數外

Great Good and Great Evil Can Transcend Fate


命運是可以改造的,操之在自己手中。
Fate can be changed, and the power to do so is in our own hands.

從前有一個人,名叫袁了凡,他本名袁學海,是明朝的名儒,小時候就讀書,可是父親要他學醫,濟世救人,所以改學醫。後來遇到一長鬚老相士對他說:「你命帶官印,你應該讀書可做大官。某年某月某日可考中秀才,某年某日可作縣官,俸錄多少。某年某日陞官,俸錄多少。到五十四歲八月十四日半夜子時壽終正寢,終生無子。」於是乎袁學海就轉讀書,一切都如算者所言中,十分靈驗。既然命中是註定,所以他就等命運安排,受命運支配,不求上進,終日遊山玩水。

 

Once there was a man named Yuan Liaofan, who was originally named Yuan Xuehai and was a famous Confucian scholar in the Ming Dynasty. He pursued scholarly studies in his youth, but because his father wanted him to learn medicine in order to save the world's people, he changed his course of study to medicine. Later, he met an old, long-haired diviner of physiognomy who told him, “It is your fate to become an official. You should pursue scholarly learning, for then you can become a great official. On a certain day, month, and year, you can pass the examination and become a graduate of the first degree. On a certain day and month, you can become a district magistrate with a salary of so much. On a certain day of a certain year, you will be promoted and your salary will become so much. At midnight on August 14th of your fifty-fourth year, your life will come to an end. You will have no sons.” Thereupon, Yuan Xuehai changed his course and pursued scholarly studies, and everything turned out as the diviner had predicted. It was completely accurate. Since he thought his destiny was fixed, he just waited for fate to take its course. He was ruled by fate, and did not seek to improve himself. Instead, he spent his days traveling and enjoying the scenery of mountains and rivers.

有一天,遊到南京棲霞山,聞有雲谷禪師,他就上山參訪。禪師給他一個蒲團,二人無言對坐三天。雲谷禪師很驚奇說:「你從何處來?能夠三天安坐不動不打妄想,是有道奇人也。」

 

One day he traveled to Qixia Mountain in Nanjing, and hearing that the Chan Master Yunku was there, he went up the mountain to pay a visit. The Chan Master handed him a cushion, and the two of them sat facing each other for three days without speaking. The Chan Master was very surprised and said, “Where are you from? If you can sit peacefully without moving or having idle thoughts for three days, you are an exceptional cultivator of the Way.”

袁學海就說:「既然什麼事都是命中註定,所以我就不貪、不求、不妄想。」

 

Yuan replied, “Since everything is determined by fate, I crave nothing, seek nothing, and have no idle thoughts.”

   

雲谷禪師說:「我還以為你是非常人,原來只是凡夫俗子。」

 

The Chan Master said, “I thought you were an extraordinary person, but it turns out you are just an ordinary person.”

   

袁學海不高興說:「為什麼說我是凡夫俗子?」

 

Yuan was upset and asked, “Why do you say I'm an ordinary person?”

   

雲谷禪師曰:「如果不是凡夫,為什麼被命運所縛?」

 

The Master replied, “If you weren't an ordinary person, why would you allow yourself to be bound by fate?”

   

袁學海就問:「命運可逃嗎?」

 

Yuan asked, “Is it possible to escape fate?”

   

雲谷禪師回答:「你是讀書人,《易經》上不是說得清清楚楚『趨吉避凶』,如果命數不可逃,那怎麼可以趨吉避凶呢?」

 

He replied, “You are a scholar. The Book of Changes very clearly says, ‘Pursue good fortune and avoid calamity.’ If it were not possible to escape fate, how could we pursue good fortune and avoid calamity?”

   

袁學海大悟,所以改名為「了凡」,意思就是從今天起,已不是凡人了。從此以後,他廣行善事,多積功德。如此一來,以前相者所說的,都不靈驗,並且活到八十多歲,又有三個兒子。所以命運不是一定的,凶吉也不是一定的,古人說:「君子造命」,有道德的人、正人君子,是可以改造命運,超出命數之外的。

 

Yuan experienced a great awakening and changed his name to Liaofan (Ending the ordinary). From that day onward, he was no longer an ordinary person. Thenceforth, he extensively practiced good deeds and accumulated a lot of merit and virtue. The diviner's words were no longer accurate. He lived to be over eighty, and had three sons. Thus, fate is not fixed, and fortune and calamity are not fixed. The ancients said, “The superior person creates his own destiny.” People who are virtuous, wise and proper can mold their own destinies and transcend their fate.

   

為什麼不吉祥?就是心堣ㄕN祥,種下惡因當然有惡報,要是能改過遷善,就可以趨吉避凶。從這個看來,命運是可以改造的,操之在自己手中,所謂「大善大惡,超出數外」。

 

Why is there misfortune? It's because there is misfortune in the mind. If you plant bad causes, of course there will be a bad retribution. If you can reform your faults and go toward the good, then you can pursue good fortune and avoid calamity. From this perspective, we see that fate can be changed, and the power to do so is in our own hands. As it is said, “Great good and great evil can transcend fate.”

   

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