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宣化上人開示錄(三)
Venerable Master Hua's Talks on Dharma Volume Three 

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

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參話頭

On Investigating a Meditation Topic


參就是找,找這個念佛是誰?
To "investigate" means to look, to look for the one who is reciting the Buddha's name.

參話頭,就是研究「念佛是誰?誰在念佛?」這句話的來龍去脈。所謂:

大疑大悟,
小疑小悟,
不疑不悟。

 

When we investigate a meditation topic, we examine the question, "Who is mindful of the Buddha?" back and forth. It's said that,

When one has a large doubt, then one's
    enlightenment can be large.
When one has a minor doubt regarding this
    topic, one's enlightenment will be small;
When one has no doubts about this topic,
    one will have no enlightenment.

參透「念佛是誰?」,就是金剛王寶劍,能斬斷一切欲念,只留有參話頭的念,別的念一概沒有了,這時道心就生出來了。

 

A thoroughgoing investigation of this topic, "Who is reciting the Buddha's name?" acts as an adamantine sword which can mow down and sever every thought of desire. All that remains is the single thought of the meditation topic; no other thoughts are left. At that moment the resolve for the Way can come forth.

「念佛是誰?」在沒打禪七之前,先打個佛七。打完佛七之後,再打禪七,比較有功效。先念佛,後參「念佛是誰?」參就是找,找這個念佛是誰?是鬼,是哪個鬼?是人,是哪個人?是我,我死了,還會不會念?裝在棺材堙A就沒有人念佛。找究竟對「誰」念佛?念「誰」呢?找念佛是「誰」?「誰」在念佛?找不到。永遠地找,也找不到。這個「誰」如果找到了,什麼妄想也沒有了。為什麼還有妄想?因為沒有找到「誰」的緣故。

 

Before a Chan Meditation Session, we always have a Buddha Recitation Session. After the recitation session, we hold the Chan Session; this way we can expect better results. First we recite the Buddha's name, and then we investigate the question, "Who is reciting the Buddha's name?" To "investigate" means to look, to look for the one who is reciting the Buddha's name. Is it a ghost? Which ghost is it? Is it a person? Which person is it? Is it me? After I die will I still be able to recite? After I'm put in the coffin, no one will be reciting. Find the final answer to the question "Who?" How about the asker of "Who"? Can you tell who is reciting the Buddha's name? Who is asking? You can't find out. No matter how long you look, you won't find out who it is. If you actually find out "Who?" then you won't have the least bit of idle thinking left. Why do you still have idle thoughts? It's because you haven't found out "Who?"

   

這個「誰」字,可以找上一個大劫。老修行坐在那堣ㄟ吽A就是在定中找這個「誰」字。因為專參這個「誰」字,一切妄想沒有了,豁然開悟,在黑暗中現出光明,什麼都看見了。所謂:

迷時千卷少,
悟時一字多。

 

This question of "Who" can be sought for a great eon. When you see those meditation adepts sitting absolutely still, it's because they are working on finding the "Who." Their search for this one word brings them to a state of concentration where not even one idle thought arises. Suddenly at that point, they can get enlightened and, in the midst of darkness, bring forth bright light that shows them absolutely everything. It's said,

When one is confused, an entire library
     of books is too few;
But when one is enlightened, even a single
     word is too many.

   

這就是「念佛是誰?」的道理。所以,誰能不打妄想,誰就有功夫;誰要是打妄想,什麼功夫也用不上,這就是參禪的中心思想。

 

This expresses the principle we use to investigate the meditation topic. Anyone who can be entirely free of idle thoughts is a person with skill. Anyone who entertains idle thoughts is someone whose spiritual skill is still immature. This is the central idea underlying the practice of Chan meditation.

參禪的功夫,就是專一其心來參,行也參,住也參,坐也參,臥也參。總而言之,時刻在參,不放棄參的機會。所以在打禪七的期間,不拜佛、不念經、不上殿,也不過堂。到時候去吃飯,吃完飯立刻回到禪堂,繼續參禪;到時候去廁所,方便後即刻回禪堂,繼續參禪。不浪費一分一秒,因為不知在哪一分、哪一秒就會開悟了?所以要分秒必爭。

 

The skill of Chan meditation comes from concentrating the mind and looking into the topic, so that when walking, sitting, and reclining, you are investigating at all times. To sum it up, you must work at it constantly. Don't pass up this opportunity to investigate. This is why during the Chan session no one bows to the Buddha, recites Sutras, does ceremonies, or eats in the formal style. At lunchtime we take our meal, then we hurry back to the meditation hall and continue to meditate. When one has to go to the bathroom, one takes care of business and then returns immediately to the hall to continue to meditate. We don't want to waste even one minute or second of the session, because who knows in which minute or second we'll become enlightened? This is why we treasure every moment of time.

   

所謂「不離這個」。不離哪個?不離「念佛是誰?」不離念佛是誰,那就是智慧劍,斬斷七情六欲。這種習氣毛病一除盡,本性就現前;本性現前,菩提道果就成就了。

 

As it's said, "Do not depart from this!" Don't depart from what? Don't depart from the question, "Who is reciting the Buddha's name?" This "Who" is a wisdom-sword that cuts through the seven emotions and six desires. Once you've gotten rid of your faults and habits for good, your fundamental nature can appear. Once your fundamental nature appears, the fruition of Bodhi will be accomplished.

   

我們在參禪期間,要面對現實,克服一切環境,抱定宗旨。苦就是快樂的開始,我常對你們說:

受苦是了苦,
享福是消福。

 

As we work at Chan, we must maintain a practical attitude regarding the surrounding states. We must not lose sight of our principles. Bear in mind that pain is the forerunner of pleasure. As I often tell you,

To endure suffering is to end suffering;
To enjoy blessings exhausts blessings.

   

古人說:

禍兮福所依,
福兮禍所附。

 

The ancients said,

Disasters bring blessings along;
Blessings usher in catastrophes.

   

就是說在不吉祥的事情後面,會有吉祥的事來;在吉祥的事情後面,會有不吉祥的事來。世間法都是相對待的。

 

This means that following a run of bad luck we often encounter very lucky events. Disasters often follow lucky events. The phenomena of the world come in pairs of opposites.

   

我們在往昔不知造了多少業?所以要受果報。若能努力用功,勇猛精進,把業果受完,就會成就道業。各位要注意!無論遇到「順」的境界或「逆」的境界,都要忍受,忍受不了也要忍受。

 

Who knows how much evil karma we've created in the past? For this reason, we must endure the retribution. If we can work hard at our meditation and courageously advance, then when we've patiently endured our karmic retribution to its end, we can accomplish our work in the Way. Pay heed to this, all of you! No matter whether we encounter states that please us or states that go against the grain, we must patiently endure them all. Even the ones we can't endure, we still need to endure.

   

修道,就是修忍受。所謂「忍是無價寶」,能忍受得住,才能得到真正的快樂。好像練過武術的人,沒有經驗,等打架的境界來了,就把所學的招式忘了;等境界過去了,想起招式,已經太晚了。參禪也是這樣,等境界來了,要忍受,要吃虧,咬緊牙根,度過難關,便得到自在。

 

Cultivating the Way is simply a matter of gaining the ability to endure. As it's said, "Patience is a priceless jewel." You can experience true happiness only if you can bear up under all situations. As martial artists know, when an inexperienced fighter steps onto the mat to spar, he often forgets the moves he has just learned. Once the match is over, he recalls his techniques, but it's too late. Cultivating Chan is the same way. When a situation comes up, you have to endure it; you have to be willing to suffer a loss. Grit your teeth, and when you make it through the gate of difficulty, you'll gain a bit of self-mastery.

   

參禪要朝於斯,夕於斯。在早晨也修這個禪定,在晚上也修這個禪定,修得時間久了,自然就有成就。要能忍耐,腰痠不要管它,腿疼不要管它,一心一意參「念佛是誰?」這樣就時刻不會打妄想,能攝受身心,令其清淨,一點妄念不生。心不離「念佛是誰?」四個字,時時提起來,刻刻不忘記,這就是用功的目標。

 

Chan meditation requires that you cultivate this same way morning and evening. In the morning you should practice Chan meditation, and in the evening you also must practice Chan meditation. When you cultivate long enough, you'll naturally succeed. But you must be patient. If your back aches, pay it no mind. If your legs hurt, pay them no attention. Simply turn your thoughts to single-minded investigation of "Who is mindful of the Buddha?" This method will prevent you from indulging in random thoughts, and it will help you gather back your body and mind. You must make them pure, until not even one idle thought arises. When your mind no longer leaves the topic, "Who is mindful of the Buddha?" and you can bring up these words over and over, when you don't forget them for even an instant, then you'll have realized the aim of your effort.

   

參話頭是一個妄想,雜念是多個妄想。用以毒攻毒的辦法,所以用參話頭的妄想來控制多個妄想,慢慢將妄想一個一個消滅,不再起作用。這時候,無論什麼境界來了,都不會迷惑。你分析清楚,就不會走火入魔,古德說:

寧可千生不悟,
不可一日著魔。

 

To investigate the meditation topic is one idle thought; our scattered thoughts are a great many idle thoughts. Employing the method of fighting fire with fire, we use one idle thought to stop the many idle thoughts. Slowly, one by one, we bring these random thoughts under control and eradicate them, so they no longer arise. At that time, no matter what situation appears, you won't be deluded by it. You will discriminate clearly and not become possessed by demons. The ancients said,

It would be better to go without
    enlightenment for a thousand lifetimes, Than to be possessed by a demon for even
    a single day.

   

修禪定要謹慎小心,不可偏差,要正大光明,不要給魔找機會。你有雜念,就是替魔開門;而參話頭,就是驅魔的法寶。

 

As we cultivate Chan meditation, we must be cautious and circumspect, and not get carried away. We must be proper, magnannimous, and forthright, so that demons have no chance to trouble us. Idle thoughts open the door to demons, but the meditation topic is the Dharma-treasure that exorcises those demons.

   
     

一九八○年禪七 十二月開示

 

A talk given during a Chan Session
in December, 1980

 

法界佛教總會 • DRBA / BTTS / DRBU

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