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菩提園

 

Bodhi Garden

我的出家因緣
WHY I LEFT THE HOME LIFE

恆 象 Heng Shiang

自小姊姊便鼓勵我吃素,她還講了一個故事,讓我們兄弟姊妹明白:我們身邊的動物,在過去生中往往是我們的至親,因此應該慈悲愛護它們。

 我生長在一個多戰火的國家,曾見過許多軍車滿載棺木,鄰家的兒子戰亡,而表姊也命喪戰區中,但這些都不及祖父去世所給我的打擊。祖父生時爲增添存款,常向兒女們索財,自己卻吝於開支。他甚至爲自己預置了棺木墳地。七五年越南淪陷,不久我們舉家來美。後來祖父跌斷骨頭,多次赴院就醫,直至最後在醫院病終。我不禁感傷他一生處心積慮地存錢,終究都成徒然!眞是「萬般帶不去,唯有業隨身。」喪禮時請法師來誦地藏經,約略了解經文後,對地藏菩薩的孝順慈悲,我十分敬仰並畫了地藏聖像,此是與佛結緣的開端。之後,姊姊常帶我到寺廟禮拜,一九八零年姊姊首次帶我到萬佛聖城。數年後姊姊就在聖城出家了。 

一九八九年我請求師父許我出家,蒙他應允。並於一九九一年受具足戒。出家後,因緣所致使我能繼續研究地藏經。地藏菩薩的大願是,盡無量劫救度地獄受苦的眾生;眾生未成佛,他誓不成佛。希望人人能奉行地藏經的道理,早成佛道。

Ever since I was young, my sister always encouraged me to be a vegetarian. She told my  brothers and sisters a story that all animals around us  often are our immediate relatives from past lives, so  we should cherish and be compassionate to all of  them.

Even though I was born in a country at war, and  have seen many army trucks full of coffins, many  neighbors' sons die in combat, and my cousin died in  the battle zone where she had moved to stay close to  her husband who was a soldier, none of the above  incidents struck me as much as the death of my  grandfather. My grandfather was a very severe  person, who was difficult to live with. He wanted all  of his sons and daughters to offer him money, so that  he could save it in the bank. When it came time to  spend money, he was stingy. He even bought a  coffin and a grave site in preparation for his funeral.  When the fall of Vietnam came in 1975, all my  family moved to U.S.A. Soon after, my grandfather  fell and broke his femur bone, and went to the  hospital many times. His health gradually  deteriorated, and he finally died in the hospital. I  really felt sad for him that all the money he had  saved with such effort was useless! He could not take any material  things with him. The  only thing, that would follow him after death were the results of the good  and bad deeds he did. During his funeral, a Dharma  Master was invited to recite the Earth Store Sutra.  In my brief understanding of the story, I sincerely  respected Earth Store Bodhisattva for his filial  compassion for all living beings and drew a picture  of him. This was the beginning of my affinity with  the Buddha. Afterwards, my sister often took me to  a Chinese temple for worship. In 1980, my sister  drove me to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas for  the first time. Then a few years later, she left home  at the City. In 1989, I asked the Ven. Master's  permission to leave home, too. And in 1991, I was  fully ordained.

    After leaving home, I have deeper affinities for  further investigating the Earth Store Sutra. Earth  Store Bodhisattva's great vows say that for countless  millions of eons, he will rescue living beings who  are suffering in the hells for their offenses. Only  when they have all become Buddhas, will he himself  accomplish Right Enlightenment. I hope that  everyone can follow the instructions of the Earth  Store Sutra, and become Buddhas soon.

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