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達摩祖師西來意
The Intention of Patriarch Bodhidharma's Coming from the West

化老和尚講述 by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua

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梁王武帝 炫示功德

達摩祖師最初從廣州到南京,便去度化梁武帝。梁武帝就問:「我這一輩子造了很多廟,度了很多和尚出家;又拿國家的錢,布施給所有的窮人,也供僧,打齋供眾。我這樣有什麼功德?」那時誰若出家,皇帝特別歡迎,什麼都供養你,吃的他也供著,住的他也供著;只要你出家,皇帝就供養你,恭敬你,向你叩頭。

梁武帝這個人,什麼都要第一的,所以一見達摩祖師,也不求法,儘想要達摩祖師

來讚歎他一下,來給他戴幾頂高帽子。他怕達摩祖師不知道他造寺、度僧、布施、設齋的功德,不知道他這些好處,於是就自我介紹:「你看我,造了幾百處廟,又有這個廟,又有那個廟,所有的廟堻ㄕ矰F很多和尚,這些和尚都是我一手成就他們出家的。我又做了多少布施,供養多少僧,你說我這功德怎麼樣啊?」這個意思就是自我介紹,自己說:「噢!你看我,我這個皇帝和其他皇帝是不一樣的;我這個皇帝是專門做好事的,做功德的。你說我有什麼功德呢?」他這不是想要求法了生死,是先要炫示炫示自己的功德。

Emperor Wu of Liang
Boasts of His Own Merit and Virtue

When Patriarch Bodhidharma first arrived in Nanjing from Guangzhou, he went to convert Emperor Wu. Emperor Wu asked him, "In my whole life, I have built many temples, helped many people to leave the home-life, provided the needy with money from the national treasury, and also made vegetarian meal offerings to the Sangha. What merit and virtue have I created?" At that time, whoever left the home-life would be treated well by the Emperor, with everything including food, dwelling, and clothing provided for.

As long as you were a left home person, the emperor would make offerings to you, pay reverence to you, and bow to you. Emperor Wu was the kind of person who wanted to be number one in everything. That was why when he met Patriarch Bodhidharma, he didn't seek Dharma from him. Instead he was totally engrossed in how to win praise from the Patriarch. He wanted to inflate his ego. Concerned that the Patriarch might not know of the good deeds that he had done, such as building temples, converting monks, practicing giving, and making vegetarian meal offerings, he went ahead and pointed them out as he introduced himself to the Patriarch. 

He said, "You see, I have built hundreds of temples. This one and that one all house many monks whom I helped to leave the home-life. The amount of giving I have done is not small and the number of monks I have provided for is not small. How much merit and virtue would you say I've amassed?" Basically, he was providing his own promotion campaign. He was saying, "Look at me! I am different from other emperors. I specialize in doing good deeds, creating merit and virtue. How much merit and virtue would you say I have?" He did not want to seek the Dharma for ending birth and death; instead, he wanted to boast of his own merit and virtue first.

法界佛教總會 • DRBA / BTTS / DRBU

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