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宣化上人開示錄(四)
Venerable Master Hua's Talks on Dharma Volume Four 

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

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虛雲老和尚出家的因緣

The Story of Venerable Master Hsu Yun's Leaving the Home-life


志不退,願不退,行不退,一心一意向前精進。
Never retreat from your resolve, from your vows, and from your practice. Advance with single-minded vigor.

虛老是湖南省湘鄉人氏,俗姓蕭,父玉堂公,曾任福建省泉州府知府之職,為官清廉,愛民如子。年逾四十,膝下無子,夫婦到城外觀音古寺求子。心誠則有感應,回府之後,夫人果然懷孕。十月期滿,夫婦同夢一位老者,長鬚青袍,頭頂觀音,跨虎而來。驚醒,胎兒降生,乃是一肉團(八地菩薩,才有此境界),母驚嚇而氣絕。

 

The Venerable Master Hsu Yun (Empty Cloud) was born to the Xiao family and was a native of Xiang County of Hunan Province in China. His father, the Elder Yutang, was an incorruptible magistrate of Quan Prefecture in Fujian province who loved the people as if they were his own children. At the age of forty, he was still childless. One day, he and his wife went to the ancient Guanyin Temple outside of town to pray for a son. Their sincerity inspired a response; soon after their return to the prefecture, Mrs. Xiao conceived a child. When the pregnancy reached full term, one night both husband and wife dreamed of a long-bearded old man, wearing a dark-green robe and bearing an image of Guanyin Bodhisattva on his head, who came riding astride a tiger. Startled awake, the woman delivered a child who emerged in a bag of flesh. (This is the state of Bodhisattvas at the eighth stage or above). Frightened by the uncanny event, the woman passed away.

翌日,來了一位賣藥的老翁,用刀將肉團剖開,內埵酗@男嬰,遂由庶母撫育。虛老因為有善根,不歡喜讀儒家的書籍,對功名視為浮雲,可是對佛經頗有興趣,所以在年少就萌起出家修道的念頭。有一次,逃到福州鼓山擬出家,被家人找回。其父遣之回湖南老家去,請二叔嚴加管教,杜絕其出家之念。

 

The following day an old peddler of medicines passed by and cut open the flesh-bag to reveal a baby boy inside. The child was raised by his stepmother. Endowed with keen faculties, the boy considered honor and position to be meaningless. Rather than delighting in the Confucian classics, he had a consuming interest in studying the Buddhist Sutras, and at an early age, he conceived the idea of leaving the home-life to cultivate the Way. Once, he tried escaping to Gu Mountain in Fu Prefecture to become a monk, but his family dragged him back home. His father ordered him to return to their old home in Hunan, and told his uncle to keep a close watch over him and to drive the idea of leaving home out of his mind.

虛老是獨生子,三叔很早就往生,沒有兒子,所以就成為「一支兩不絕」的繼承人。按照當時的風俗,可以娶兩個太太,一個是父母的媳婦,一個是叔父的媳婦,使兩支都有後代,可以延續香煙。這是一舉兩得的事,一般人求之不得,可是虛老認為是苦惱事。

 

The Venerable Master Hsu Yun was the only child in the family. His third uncle had passed away long ago, leaving no descendants. Thus he became the heir of two branches of the family. By social custom, he was entitled to marry two wives; one to be the daughter-in-law of his parents, and the other to be the daughter-in-law of his uncle. In this way, both branches could have heirs, and both family lines could continue. To get "two birds with one stone" was a situation most men might seek but never find, but to Venerable Master Hsu Yun, it only meant suffering and affliction.

   

為傳宗接代的使命,奉父叔之命,在十八歲時,和田氏、譚氏二女,同時舉行結婚儀式。這二女都是名門閨秀,深明大義。結婚之夜,虛老向二女約法三章,有夫妻之名,無夫妻之實,保持童真之體,三人同居,互不侵犯,相安無事。

 

In order to preserve the family lineage, he obeyed his father and uncle, and, at age eighteen, he married Miss Tan and Miss Tian in a double wedding. Both women were well-bred daughters of noble families, and both had deep understanding of ethical conduct. On the night of their wedding, the Venerable Master Hsu Yun entered into a solemn oath with the two young women, promising that their marriage was to be in name only, and that they would never consummate their troth. Maintaining their virginity, the three of them lived together without sharing husband-wife relations.

   

次年,虛老決心出家修道,徵求二女同意(此二女後來亦出家為尼),偷偷離開溫暖的家,來到福州鼓山湧泉寺,禮妙蓮長老為師,名演徹,號德清。虛老深恐被家人再找到,所以在深山巖下修苦行,飢時吃松子和草葉,渴時喝山澗之溪水。這種苦行,不是一般人所能修持的,所謂:

穿人所不能穿,
吃人所不能吃,
忍人所不能忍,
受人所不能受。

 

The following year, the Venerable Master decided to leave the home-life and cultivate the Way. But first he obtained the permission of his two wives, who later both left home to become nuns. He then secretly stole away from his comfortable home and travelled to Yongquan ("Bubbling Spring") Monastery on Gu Mountain in Fu Prefecture to become the disciple of Elder Master Miaolian ("Wonderful Lotus"), who gave him the names Yence ("Thorough Expression"), and Deqing ("Virtuous and Pure"). Fearing that his family might find him again, Venerable Master Hsu Yun went off to the remote mountain wilds to live as an ascetic. When hungry, he ate pine nuts and wild plants; when thirsty, he drank mountain spring water. The bitter conditions were certainly beyond the tolerance of ordinary people, but he was one who could:

Wear what others cannot wear;
Eat what others cannot eat;
Endure what others cannot endure; and,
Tolerate what others cannot tolerate.

   

面臨種種考驗,他卻受之泰然,不但不覺得痛苦,反而感覺快樂。

 

He faced numerous tests, but he passed each one with a peaceful, tolerant attitude. Instead of feeling miserable, he felt very happy.

   

三年之後,他為了親近善知識,為了研究佛法,於是到處參方。他跋山涉水,歷盡艱辛,凡有高僧大德所在之處,無論是千山萬水,也擋不住他求道為法的心。在參方期間,處處受到歧視,可是虛老本著堅忍不拔的意志,為求法而忘己,雖然經過多次的挫折,也不灰心,不變初衷,依然勇猛向前,精進學習。虛老這種精神,實在令人欽佩,足以為人效法。

 

Three years later, in order to draw near to good and wise advisors and to investigate the Buddhadharma, he embarked on a study-tour. Crossing mountains and fording streams, he suffered untold hardships. As long as it was a place where eminent, virtuous monks resided, all the mountains and rivers couldn't impede him from going there to seek the Way and dedicate himself to the Dharma.He met prejudice and troubles at every turn of the road, but he stood firm in his indefatigable resolve and simply forgot himself in his quest for the Dharma. Despite continual setbacks, he never gave up, nor lost sight of his initial purpose. Instead, he simply forged ahead and studied with even more vigor. This spirit inspired others' respect and caused many people to emulate him.

   

後來為報母恩,他發心三步一拜,從普陀山拜向五臺山。經過三年的時間,完成志願,功德圓滿。以下敘述虛老在三步一拜時,所發生的感應道交的小故事。

 

Later on, he made a vow to undertake a pilgrimage in which he would bow to the ground once every three steps, in order to repay the kindness of his mother. His route took him from Potala Mountain to Five Peaks Mountain, and he made prostrations all the way. Three years later he fulfilled his vow, and the merit and virtue of the pilgrimage was completed. The following is a brief account of one of the responses the Venerable Master Hsu Yun experienced in the course of his pilgrimage.

   

虛老拜到黃河岸的時候,正逢天降大雪,三天三夜下得不停。他住在小草棚中,又飢又寒,已經失去身體的知覺,不省人事。醒來時,發現有一個乞丐為他做飯,他吃了之後,恢復元氣,於是繼續朝拜五臺山。後來到五臺山,才知道這個乞丐原來是文殊菩薩的化身。

 

He had bowed to the banks of the Yellow River, when a huge snow-storm blew up, dropping powdery snow for three days and nights without cease. The Master stayed in a tiny hut and suffered from hunger and cold. Finally he lost consciousness and fainted. When he revived, he saw a beggar sitting nearby, fixing him food. After eating the meal, he recovered his strength and continued to bow towards Five Peaks Mountain. Upon his arrival, he discovered that the beggar had been none other than a transformation body of Manjushri Bodhisattva.

   

虛老在九華山住茅棚的時候,聽說揚州高旻寺打八個禪七,就想去參加。他從九華山沿江而行,當時正逢大雨季節,江水氾濫,水漫路面,他不慎失足,掉落水中,漂流二十四小時之久,流到采石磯附近時,被打魚的網打上來。這個時候,虛老已經奄奄一息。漁夫通知附近的寶積寺,將他抬回寺中,於是被救活,可是他七孔流血,病況十分嚴重。休息數日後,他為法忘軀,將生死置於度外,還是不變初衷,仍然到高旻寺參加禪七。

 

While the Elder Master Hsu Yun was living as a hermit on Jiuhua ("Nine Flowers") Mountain, news came to him that Gaomin Monastery in Yang Zhou Province was preparing to host an eight-week Chan meditation retreat, and he decided to participate. He walked down from Jiuhua Mountain, steering his course by the river-bank. It was the rainy season, and at that time the river was flooded and had overflowed its banks on the road ahead of him. Suddenly the Master lost his footing on the treacherous path and fell into the river, where he bobbed and floated for twenty-four hours. The current carried him downstream near Cai Jetty, where he was caught by a fisherman's net. By that time the Venerable Master was nearly drowned. The fisherman pulled him up, then informed the nearby temple. Monks from Baoji ("Jewel Cluster") Monastery carried the Master back to the temple, where they revived him. The Venerable Master was bleeding from seven orifices, and was in critical condition, but he would not give up his original intent. After resting for a few days, the Master set aside his personal welfare for the sake of the Dharma, and, putting life and death out of his mind, he went on to Gaomin Monastery to join the Chan retreat.

   

高旻寺規矩非常嚴格,執行非常認真,如果有犯規矩的,就打香板,毫不客氣。當時住持月朗禪師,請他代職,虛老不答應,遂按規矩打香板。虛老接受不語,但經責打之後,他的病勢加重,血流不止,病況危殆。

 

According to Gaomin Monastery's extremely strict regulations and their high standards of practice, anybody who broke the rules earned a beating with the incense-board (discipline-rod); there was no recourse to courtesy at all. The acting abbot, Chan Master Yue Lang ("Moon Radiance"), had requested the Venerable Hsu Yun to substitute for him in his position as official administrator. The Venerable Master declined the request, and thereby, according to the rules of the monastery, deserved a beating. He took his punishment without complaint. But after the beating, his illness grew worse; he bled non-stop from every orifice and his condition grew nearly fatal.

   

有人在想:「虛老這麼樣用功修道,為什麼護法神不護持?還讓他掉在水堙H」其實,還是護法神在護持,不然的話,漁夫怎麼會用網把他打上來?所以在冥冥之中,都有佑護。

 

Someone may be wondering, "Since Venerable Hsu Yun was a sincere and diligent cultivator, why did the Dharma-protecting spirits fail to protect him, and let him fall into the river like that?" In fact, the spirits were still protecting him. If not, then how could he have been saved in the fisherman's net? Thus, we can know that he was protected invisibly at all times by the Dharma-protecting spirits.

   

這也是生死的考驗,看他遭受這次的災難,有什麼感想?是不是生了退道心?「啊!我修行這麼多年,又讀經,又拜懺,又燃指,又住茅棚,種種的苦行,我都認真去修,為什麼一點感應也沒有?算了吧!我不修行了,我要還俗,過五欲的生活。」如果這樣一想,就不會做禪宗五宗的祖師了。

 

The entire episode was a life and death test to reveal his thoughts and feelings upon meeting such a disaster. The test determined whether or not he would retreat from his resolve for the Way. Would he entertain thoughts such as these: "Ha! I've been cultivating for so many years, reading Sutras, bowing repentances, burning a finger, living as a hermit, practicing all kinds of austerities, and my cultivation has been earnest, so why haven't I had the least response? Forget it! I'm giving up! I'm not going to cultivate any longer! I'm going to return to lay-life and indulge the five desires!" If he'd allowed such thoughts to occur, then he could never have become the Patriarch of the Five Sects of the Chan School.

   

高旻寺的規矩最認真,彼此不准講話,就是同住之人,也互相不知姓名。虛老在禪堂堳雃u規矩,雖然病得很厲害,仍然隻字不提,也不說出落水被救的事,只是一心一意參禪。二十天後,病況好轉,此乃蒙佛菩薩之加被矣!

 

The Venerable Hsu Yun obeyed the rules closely in the meditation hall, especially since Gaomin Monastery was noted for the extreme severity of its regulations. Nobody was allowed to hold conversations, and often it was the case that cultivators living side by side in the monastery would not even know each other's name. Venerable Hsu Yun was seriously ill, but did not mention the fact to anyone, nor did he tell the story about falling into the river. He only investigated Chan with a single-minded concentration. Twenty days passed, and his sickness abated, thanks to the aid bestowed upon him by the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

   

有一天,采石磯寶積寺住持德岸法師,來到高旻寺,發現虛老在凳上端然正坐,容光煥發,大為驚悅,於是乎將虛老落水被救的事,向大眾宣布。眾人皆欽歎不已,為成就虛老用功修行,於是禪堂內職,不令虛老輪值。至此,虛老更能一心參禪,直至一念不生的境地。

 

One day, the Venerable Master De An ("Virtue Shore"), the Abbot of Baoji Monastery at Cai Jetty, happened by the retreat at Gaomin, and he encountered the Venerable Hsu Yun, who was sitting upright and properly on the meditation bench, his face radiant and beaming. The Abbot De An was startled, and told the entire assembly about the incident of Venerable Master Hsu Yun's fall into the river and his rescue. After hearing the story the meditators expressed their unceasing admiration, and in order to allow Venerable Master Hsu Yun to cultivate successfully, they excused him from the rotation of administrative duties. Thus he was able to concentrate on his meditation single-mindedly, until he penetrated to a state of "no further thoughts arising."

   

第八個七的第三天晚上,開靜時,當值斟開水,不慎將開水濺在虛老手上,於是手中茶杯落地,杯碎之聲,虛老聞而開悟(明朝時紫柏禪師聞碗碎聲而開悟),乃說偈曰:

杯子撲落地,
響聲明瀝瀝;
虛空粉碎也,
狂心當下歇。

 

On the third night of the eighth week, at the end of an hour of meditation, an attendant brought hot water around to serve to the sitters. As he poured a cup of water for the Venerable Master, he carelessly spilled some of the boiling water on the Master's hand. The teacup fell to the floor and shattered, and the Venerable Master Hsu Yun became enlightened upon hearing the sound of the cup shattering. (A similar event happened to Venerable Master Zibuo, "Purple Cedar," a Chan Master of the Ming Dynasty, who became enlightened at the sound of a shattering bowl). Venerable Master Hsu Yun spoke a verse on the spot:

Smashing with a clear, echoing sound,
The teacup fell and hit the ground.
Shattering empty space,
The mad mind finally stops right there.

   

又說:

燙著手,打碎杯,
家破人亡語難開;
春到花香處處秀,
山河大地是如來。

 

And then he said another verse:

My hand was scalded, the cup shattered.
The family's broken and relatives are gone-
Words are hard to find.
Spring's come now; buds are in bloom,
Full and sweet in every place.
Mountains, rivers, and the earth itself
Are just the Thus Come One.

   

開悟之後,虛老離開高旻寺,更努力精進,雲遊四方,勤訪善知識。後來到雲南,重修雞足山的寺院,因為經費不足,所以到南洋去募款。搭船到新加坡時,在船上患病。下船後,因為沒有護照,英國人認為是傳染病,把他送到傳染病院;這也就是在該處等死的意思。後來才被送到極樂寺閉關,不久病漸得癒。後又到泰國募款,在某寺掛單,入定九天,似死而非死,驚動泰京(曼谷),上自國王、大臣,下至老百姓,都來皈依虛老。信徒供養,布施鉅金,都匯回雲南,做為建寺之需。

 

After his enlightenment, he left Gaomin Monastery and cultivated even more vigorously than before, travelling extensively to look for and pay his respects to good and wise teachers. His travels carried him finally to Yunnan Province, where he rebuilt the monasteries on Jizu ("Chicken Foot") Mountain. Because his resources were insufficient, he journeyed on to Southeast Asia to solicit donations. The Venerable Master fell ill on the boat to Singapore, and, once ashore, the English inspectors interrogated him because he did not have a passport. They suspected that his illness was contagious and confined him in an isolation ward, where he was virtually left to die. However, later on he was sent to Jile ("Utmost Happiness") Monastery, where he went into seclusion, and, before long, regained his health. Travelling on to Thailand to make his almsrounds, he stayed at a certain monastery and entered samadhi for nine days. His external appearance was lifeless, but in fact he was not dead. All Buddhists in Bangkok, the national capital, were startled by the news of his meditation skill; and the populace, from the King and his courtiers on down to the ordinary citizens, flocked to take refuge with the Venerable Hsu Yun. The offerings made by these faithful disciples were gathered into a lump sum and sent back to Yunnan, China, to finance the reconstruction of the monasteries.

   

一九四七年春,南華寺傳戒,我才和虛老第一次見面。現在還記得,傳完戒之後,虛老受了點刺激,喉嚨發炎,不能說話,因此當時不便詳問。經過醫生的治療,他才開始慢慢痊癒。

 

In the spring of 1947, when Nanhua ("Southern China") Monastery held a precept ordination, I personally met the Venerable Master for the first time. I still remember the occasion: After the precepts had been transmitted, the Venerable Master Hsu Yun was stricken with a throat infection and lost his voice, so it was an inopportune time to hold a conversation. He was treated by the doctor and recovered slowly.

   

虛老一生,所受困苦艱難,真是一言難盡!我相信沒有任何人能夠經得起這種的折磨。他老人家在這一世紀中,自度度他,自利利他,出神入化、祥瑞之事,不勝枚舉。今天簡單向各位介紹虛老一生的事蹟,希望各位學習他老人家忍苦耐勞的精神。

 

The troubles and miseries endured by the Venerable Master during his entire life were such that they could never be fully described in just a few sentences. I know beyond a doubt that few persons could have withstood the hardships and pressures that he endured. As he took both himself and others across, he benefitted both himself and others. The many miracles and spiritual marvels that he experienced throughout the century of his life span are too many to relate. I've given you only a brief sketch of his life, and I hope that in the future you will imitate the elder monk's untiring forbearance.

   

現在的出家人,坐了幾天的禪,就想有感應,就想開悟得大智慧,這未免貪心太大了。虛老一生之中,捨死忘生,才把本來面目認識清楚;我們受了什麼苦?做了什麼功德?就妄想開悟,簡直是幼稚的想法。

 

Left-home people of this day and age sit and meditate for a brief time and expect a response, or hope to get enlightened, and gain great wisdom. This is simply unrestrained greed. It took the Venerable Master Hsu Yun a lifetime of work to "see his original face," up to the point of forgetting all concern with life and death. What suffering have we undergone? What merit and virtue have we created? Yet we can still fantasize about getting enlightened! This is simply too childish!

   

修道人,要志不退,願不退,行不退,一心一意向前精進,所謂「百尺竿頭,更進一步。」不管成就如何,只要發菩提心,努力修行,不要有所企圖,想得什麼五眼六通、神通妙用,這不是修行究竟的成果。切記!不要一天到晚,想神通,想開悟,那是修道的絆腳石。

 

Cultivators of the Way must never retreat from their resolve, from their vows, and from their practice. They must advance with single-minded vigor, so that "at the top of the hundred-foot pole, they take one more step." It does not matter what accomplishment you have. What counts is that you bring forth a great resolve for Bodhi, and work hard at your cultivation. Don't hanker after the Five Spiritual Eyes and Six Spiritual Penetrations, or the wonderful functioning of spiritual powers. They are not the ultimate reward of cultivation. Remember this well! Don't be thinking about gaining psychic powers and enlightenment from morning to night. Such thoughts are truly the stumbling block of cultivation!

   
     

一九八一年禪七 七月十六日至廿三日
開示於萬佛聖城萬佛殿

 

A talk given during a Chan Session from July 16-23, 1981 The Hall of Ten Thousand Buddhas, The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas

 

法界佛教總會 • DRBA / BTTS / DRBU

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