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宣化上人開示錄(六)
Venerable Master Hua's Talks on Dharma Volume Six 

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

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蛇來聽法

A Snake Comes to Hear the Dharma


佛法傳到西方,牠亦不憚遠渡重洋,來美國護法。
Now that the Buddhadharma has come to the West,
a snake has also crossed the vast ocean and come to America to protect the Dharma.

(編按:一九八二年六月二十日星期日晚,萬佛聖城法筵正盛,四眾弟子繞著萬佛殿,齊念「南無阿彌陀佛」。回殿時,赫然發現一條青色花斑小蛇,伏在大殿前門側,蛇長約三、四尺,形狀細長。大眾中有人睹之,即被嚇得卻步不前。

 

[Editor's Note: On the evening of Sunday, June 20, 1982, the fourfold assembly of disciples was holding a Dharma celebration at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. Everyone was circumambulating the Hall of Ten Thousand Buddhas, reciting in unison, Namo Amitabha Buddha. As people were returning to the hall, they suddenly noticed a mottled green snake lying to the side of the front door. The snake was three or four feet long and very thin. Upon seeing it, some of the people in the assembly froze in fear, unable to take a step forward.

當時糾察建議把蛇拿走,但上人莞爾微笑說:「不必。所有眾生皆有佛性,此蛇乃來親近三寶聽法,不應驅之。」

 

The monk who was the prefect at the time suggested that the snake be removed, but the Venerable Master smiled and said, It not necessary. All living beings have the Buddha-nature. This snake has come to draw near the Triple Jewel and listen to the Dharma, so it should not be driven away.

奇怪的是,此蛇不同於普通的蛇,牠伸直躺在地上,雖然有近百人前後來往,牠卻毫無怯意,甚為柔順馴服。上人登法座後,說:「告訴牠可以進來聽法。」該蛇立刻聽招呼,隨即從前門爬行到殿內,未曾驚怖任何人。再從大殿左側爬至右側,做繞佛一圈狀,然後靜靜地伏在法座前面,儼如跪在佛前,聆聽說法。)

 

Strangely enough, this was no ordinary snake. It stretched out on the ground, and although there were nearly a hundred people coming and going on all sides, it didn't show the slightest sign of fear. Rather, it was tame and docile. The Venerable Master ascended to the Dharma-seat, and said, Tell it to come in and listen to the Dharma. The snake immediately responded by slithering into the hall from the front door without frightening anyone. Then it slithered from the left side of the hall to the right side, as if circumambulating the Buddha once. Finally, it settled down in front of the Dharma-seat, as if kneeling before the Buddhas with quiet dignity in order to listen attentively to the Dharma. In response to the snake's appearance, the Master spoke as follows:]

   

「一切眾生皆有佛性,皆堪作佛。」這是佛親口告訴我們的,但因眾生妄想執著,故不能證得如來的智慧德相。從這句「一切眾生皆有佛性」看來,就應該不殺生、不偷盜、不邪淫、不妄語、不飲酒,持這五戒。若殺眾生,則與殺十方諸佛一樣。蓋一切眾生乃是諸佛所示現,但因「一念不覺生三細」(即業相、現相、轉相),便愈跑愈遠,所以沉淪苦海,永失真道。這種道理是很淺顯的,可惜被人忽略。

 

All living beings have the Buddha-nature and can become Buddhas. This is what the Buddha personally tells us, but because we have discursive thoughts and attachments, we cannot certify to the Buddha's wisdom and virtue. In view of the fact that all living beings have the Buddha-nature, we should refrain from killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, and taking intoxicants, and we should uphold the five precepts. If we kill living beings, it's the same as killing the Buddhas of the ten directions. All living beings are manifestations of the Buddhas; however, since a single unenlightened thought produces the three subtle attributes (the attribute of karma, the attribute of manifestation, and the attribute of turning), the more we run, the farther off we stray, and so we sink and drown in the sea of suffering, losing sight of the truth forever. This is a very simple principle, but unfortunately people have overlooked it.

修道人又應作如是觀想:「一切眾生皆是我過去生中父母,未來諸佛。」既是過去生中父母,就應想法子孝順他們,超薦他們,令他們離苦得樂,了生脫死,不再流轉於輪迴之中。既然是未來諸佛,在他們還未成佛之前,就應當尊重恭敬他們,如面對十方三世諸佛無異。若能常做如是觀想,就不會對任何眾生有不恭敬、不禮貌,或惱害眾生。

 

Cultivators of the Way should contemplate in this way: All living beings have been my parents in former lives, and they will become Buddhas in the future. Since they have been my past parents, I should find ways to be filial to them, save them, and enable them to leave suffering, attain bliss, and end birth and death. Since they will become Buddhas in the future, I should honor and respect them just as I would the Buddhas in the ten directions and three periods of time. If we always keep this contemplation in mind, we will never be disrespectful, rude, or mean to any living being.

所謂眾生,不單是我們凡夫肉眼所能看見的,有很多是看不見的,譬如鬼、神、仙、魔等,也是眾生的一部分。既然是眾生之一,就應該要平等恭敬,尊重他們,不應看不起任何的眾生。

 

There are many living beings, such as ghosts, spirits, immortals, and demons, which we cannot see with our physical eyes. We should also respect these invisible beings and not look down on them. All living beings should be regarded with equal compassion.

今天大家進佛殿時,看見一條蛇,牠也是眾生之一。但因示現蛇身,眾人便望而生畏,見之而不認識,甚至被嚇呆了。但這蛇是來親近三寶,聽經聞法的,否則牠怎麼會老老實實躺在門檻上,一點也不動彈呢?

 

The snake that appeared as we entered the Buddha Hall today is also a living being. Since it appeared in the body of a snake, everyone was apprehensive and failed to recognize it. Some were even scared out of their wits. However, this snake came to draw near the Triple Jewel, and to hear the Dharma and the Sutras. Why else would it be so docile, lying motionless by the door?

雖然乍眼看去是一條小蛇,其實牠懂得千變萬化,會隱形,會現小、變大,又能騰雲駕霧,在空中自在飛行,只是我們不能知道牠的本領而已。這蛇將來修行成功,也能得道的。佛經上講「天龍八部」,牠就是其中一部「摩喉羅伽」,就是大蟒蛇。

 

Although it appears to be a relatively small snake, it is able to transform in countless ways; it can disappear, shrink, expand, mount the clouds and ride the mists, and fly freely through space. We just aren't aware of its powers. This snake can also cultivate and attain the Way. It belongs to the eightfold division of gods, dragons, and other Dharma-protecting spirits mentioned in the Buddhist Sutras, in particular the division of mahoragas (great pythons).

觀察這條蛇的來由,可能牠在周朝時為一小國的大臣,可是心懷詭計,謀篡國位,以浸過鴆酒的匕首,藏於袖內,刺殺國王。但此舉不但沒有奪得王位,反而搞得天怒民怨。大臣臨終時生大瞋恨心,死後即墮蛇身,轉為巨蟒。

 

A contemplation on the background of this snake might reveal that it had been a high official in a small kingdom during the Zhou Dynasty. With a treacherous heart, this official plotted to usurp the throne. Hiding a poison-tipped dagger in his sleeve, he went to assassinate the king. However, not only did he fail to seize the throne, he also provoked the anger of the heavens and was blamed by the people. At the time of his death, he felt great wrath and consequently fell and became a snake, a giant python.

世間上有兩種力量:一為「陰」,一為「陽」;亦可說一為「善」,一為「惡」。從善者盡修福慧,能成仙、成聖、成菩薩、成佛。惡者的力量亦大,但專做黑暗見不得光的勾當,互相仇報殺害,所以釀成一股巨大無比的怨氣。

 

Two kinds of forces operate in the world: yin and yang, or good and evil. Good beings who constantly cultivate blessings and wisdom can become immortals, sages, Bodhisattvas, and Buddhas. Evil beings are also very powerful, yet they engage exclusively in devious intrigues, killing and hurting each other in vengeance, generating a great deal of hatred.

世上都是毒蛇、毒龍佈滿,這些毒蛇、毒龍,不是一般肉眼所能看見,然而他們確實瀰漫國土。這些毒蛇,就是由人心堛滿u貪瞋癡」積累成形,而到處為患。世上天災人禍、飛屍邪鬼、妖精魔魘、瘟疫流行,種種不治之奇症,都是這類毒蛇在作怪。這些惡龍疫鬼,專放毒氣,惑亂民心;或是魑魅魍魎,奪人精氣,使人驚怖顛狂。所以現在時下流行的種種心理病,譬如精神分裂、顛狂恐懼,生理上種種頑疾,都不外乎是這些妖魔鬼魅在興風作浪,荼毒生靈。

 

Open your eyes and look around. You'll find the world is filled with poisonous snakes and dragons. Although they aren't visible to our ordinary eyes, they actually fill up the land. These poisonous snakes are the greed, anger, and stupidity in people's minds, which have accumulated and taken shape, and cause illness everywhere. These poisonous snakes cause all the natural and man-made calamities, zombies, demons, ghosts, goblins, epidemics, and strange and incurable diseases in the world. Evil dragons and pestilential demons emit poisonous vapors which confuse people's minds. There are also nightmare ghosts and wang liang ghosts, who steal people's essence and energy, frighten-ing them and causing them to go insane. Nowadays, ghosts, goblins, and demons cause mischief and cause people to develop schizophrenia, insanity, phobias, and other mental illnesses and incurable diseases.

現代心理學、醫學界均不深明個中道理,不能對症下藥,所以治癒率不甚理想。當然,唯有佛法才是最究竟之靈藥,消難息災之奇方!

 

Modern psychology and medical science have no understanding of the underlying causes, and so cannot treat the victims of such diseases in an ideal manner. The Buddhadharma alone provides the ultimate medicine, the special formula for resolving difficulties and averting disasters!

這條毒蛇由瞋心所持,發奮修煉,繼而成精。牠的法術日益增進,久而能通天徹地,總以惱害庶民為樂。時下,類似這條蛇的事,不知多少,希望牠們趕快生懺悔心,無復妖孽,禍害民間。

 

As for the snake, it was driven by hatred and cultivated energetically until it became a spirit. When it developed the ability to penetrate the heavens and earth, it took delight in troubling multitudes of people. There are many cases similar to this snake. We hope it will soon repent and will never harm people again.

後來到了宋朝的時候,這蛇已變成毒龍,在大江娷蔬溘衎B,殺害無數的漁民或渡船人。這個時候,那地方的人民,生活在恐懼驚怖、焦急萬分之中。

 

By the Song Dynasty [960-1279 A.D.], the snake had turned into a venemous dragon that dwelt in a large river and stirred up violent storms which killed countless fishermen and ferry passengers and caused people to live in great fear and anxiety.

幸好得到某位法力高強的聖僧,特來營救。他手持著錫杖,站在岸旁,大聲呵斥毒龍。毒龍聞聲,勃然大怒,於是使出本領,現數千丈的巨蟒身。然而這法師由金剛三昧力所持,毫無怖畏,於是用鉤召法、降伏法,經過三天三夜的生死苦戰,終於把毒龍折伏。

 

Fortunately, a sage, a monk of formidable Dharma powers, came to the rescue. Grasping his tin staff, the monk stood on the shore and called out loudly to the venemous dragon. Hearing his voice, the dragon flew into a rage and displayed its powers: It appeared in the body of a giant python, tens of thousands of feet long. Aided by the power of Vajra-Samadhi, the Dharma Master was not daunted in the least. Employing the Dharmas of Hooking and Subduing, he battled with the dragon for three days and nights and finally subdued it.

邪不勝正,毒龍的惡術被破,無奈之下,只好投降。法師為牠說法:一切皆苦、空、無常、無我,唯有業隨身,並諫彼應生慈悲心,以法術來裨益眾生,不可加害生靈。彼蛇聞法後,恍然有覺,得清淨眼。法師遂授以三皈五戒,命牠到某山洞去修行,不要再擾亂人民,毒龍欣然從命。從宋朝到現在,已有數百年歷史,這條龍至今已成天龍八部之一,神通變化自如。

 

After its evil powers were defeated, the venomous dragon had no choice but to surrender. The Dharma Master taught the dragon that everything is characterized by suffering, emptiness, impermanence, and lack of self; only karma follows us. He urged the dragon to be compassionate and to use its powers to benefit living beings instead of harming them. After hearing the Dharma, the dragon suddenly had an awakening and attained the pure Dharma eye. The Dharma Master transmitted the three refuges and five precepts to it, and told it to cultivate the Dharma in a certain mountain cave and never trouble people again. The dragon gladly did as it was told.

(編按:這個時候,女界有比丘尼說:「數星期前,我們見到這條蛇在喜捨院女界佛堂附近。因為怕是響尾蛇,所以把牠放在罐子堙A還用堅硬的木板蓋上,預備把蛇送到較遠的樹林釋放,以免擾害住眾。誰知一轉過頭來,打開鐵罐,這蛇已經不在,按理說牠是沒有法子跑的。原來牠有神通,難怪!」)

 

[Editor's Note: A Bhikshuni reports, Several weeks ago, we saw this snake at Joyous Giving House (nuns' quarters), near the women's Buddha Hall. Fearing that it was a rattlesnake, we put it in a can with a firm wooden lid, and planned to set it free farther away in the woods, so that it wouldn't bother the residents. Who would have thought that when we opened the can, the snake was gone! Logically, there was no way it could have escaped. No wonder it's said to have spiritual powers!]

這條蛇我老早就認識牠,二十多年前在香港大嶼山慈興寺,牠常到廟上聽經。雖然不曾惱害任何人,但是眾生都害怕牠的蛇形。一次有人也把牠放到鐵罐內,運送到幾哩外的山林處,擬釋放之,孰料打開罐子一看,蛇已不翼而飛!而今,佛法傳到西方,牠亦不憚遠渡重洋,來美國護法。

 

I've known this snake for a long time. More than twenty years ago, it would come to Cixing (Flourishing Kindness) Monastery on Lanto Island in Hong Kong [a monastery founded by the Venerable Master] to listen to Sutra lectures. Although the snake never harmed anyone, people were scared because it was a snake. Once someone caught it in a metal can and took it into a forest several miles away to set free, but when that person opened the can, the snake was gone! Now that the Buddhadharma has come to the West, the snake has also crossed the ocean, undaunted by the distance, and come to America to protect the Dharma.

學佛的眾生要深信因果,不要種惡因,否則會結惡果;若種善因,一定會結善果。因果是絲毫不爽的,殺人之父,人亦殺其父;殺人之兄,人亦殺其兄。不要為了得到好處,而不擇手段去殺人。你若害人,到最後反而是害了你自己。上天有好生之德,天不願任何人做惱害眾生的事,所以不要錯因果。所謂:

 

Living beings who study Buddhism should believe deeply in cause and effect. If we don't plant bad causes, we naturally won't receive a bad retribution. If we plant good causes, we will certainly receive a good retribution in the future. The law of cause and effect is clear, and it never fails. If you kill someone's father, that person will kill your father. If you kill someone's brother, that person will kill your brother in turn. You shouldn't kill people just to gain benefits. Harming others merely harms yourself in the end. The heavens cherish life and do not want living beings to harm each other. Therefore, you should not go against the law of cause and effect. As it's said,

「一失足成千古恨」

 

Once you lose your footing, you will regret it forever.

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