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Bodhi Garden

水陸空法會 「送聖」感應篇
A RESPONSE DURING THE CEREMONY FOR SENDING OFF THE SAGES
IN THE WATER-LAND-AIR DHARMA ASSEMBLY

圓光 By Ywan Gwang

「送聖」意義
送聖儀式,乃因水陸法會是普度各道冤魂,故請諸佛菩薩及一切天神共來參與,執事者必須熟悉過程、法器、儀軌,才能助一切冤魂往生淨土,故法會圓滿完成後,所迎請之諸佛菩薩,我們以誠敬心頂禮並恭送,亦請諸佛菩薩引領一切鬼魂往生淨土,法會乃告成就,故稱之為「送聖」。

感應道交
一九九二年九月於萬佛聖城水陸空法會送聖當天,首見天女散天花,花如雨下;佛菩薩到;天龍八部護法到;帝釋、大梵天王及一切天神、天將、天兵到。此時天上現出一莊嚴宮殿,宮殿外有大大小小朵朵蓮花,狀極清淨(不知是否是西方淨土之九品蓮花--每一朵蓮花皆有天人坐在其中)又聞流水聲,及天女奏樂,曲調幽遠,不似凡間音。

天上射出一道道光,照射在地上、道場上,使整個道場佈滿金光。見釋迦牟尼佛、阿彌陀佛、觀世音菩薩、大勢至菩薩、地藏王菩薩、八大金剛護法,及眾多菩薩等出現在道場上。會場一切在家、出家眾,頂禮諸佛菩薩,誦經並唱聖號。此時,見宣化上人中坐,面帶慈悲,口帶微笑,心放大慈光,道場中的眾生,若心真誠,皆能接受此慈光感應道交。(此是師父示現廣大神通願力,降福人間眾生,普度災苦之鬼道眾生。)因師父願心感召,法師如法虔誦,參加者誠心 祈求之故,凡因溺死(水),冤死(陸),災死(空),及一切生生世世不能往生之冤魂及曾經修道而未能往生者,皆得來此道場,共與盛會。

師父此時全身放光,口出金光,示現出大願地藏王菩薩之法相,頂戴五方佛冠、手持錫杖,眾多弟子圍繞師父--有的現今世出家、在家相;有的現往昔出家、在家相;有的現已成佛菩薩相,圍繞在師側。(在此世的弟子中,得以見者為師父身邊誠心修持,護持大乘佛法之弟子,這些眾多弟子乃是乘願而來,願助師父度盡罪苦之眾生,方證佛果者。天機暫不可洩說,由是因緣未成熟,故不能將眾名字一一說出示眾人。)

又見韋陀、伽藍菩薩,一左一右站於師側,帝釋執奏摺一件予師父,師父笑而不自接奏摺,此奏摺似黃色錦緞,但不得見其內。師父收起奏摺,仍坐道場,又見天兵、天將另帶一奏摺,奏摺從空中緩緩而降,隨即自開,上有無數人名,無法看清,只記得一名字晃眼而過,是--楊淑惠。(後經查證,確有其人,且此人為此次水陸空法會大齋主之一,名字眾多,無法一一記下,故不能一一記述。)

且見一大法船,眾多鬼魂皆已上船,站在船上等候。(而在道場儀式中,亦的確有一紙糊成之大船,放有往生者之牌位。)師父站在船首,手持奏摺,(此奏摺即是先前提及的水陸空法會一切齋主之親人及冤親債主名。),師又下船坐回道場中,見伽藍菩薩持此奏摺站立船首。船上有男、有女;各現異相--有冤死、有殘缺、有老弱、有婦孺,亦有現軍人相者,並眾多鬼魂各現不同悲哀痛苦相。  

道場此時鼓聲、鑼聲齊響,送聖者誠心圍繞道場,此眾鬼魂叩謝菩薩恩,叩謝施主恩,叩謝一切眾生恩,其中更有心生感激懺悔者,有落淚者,實在令人感動。阿彌陀佛洪名不斷,且有天女奏樂,琴聲、鑼聲、鼓聲、鐃鈸聲、大磬聲、小磬聲,種種不同樂器奏出如天籟般之樂曲,諸天女歡喜迎接。見遠處天門漸開,有一道強光,從天門出,此光形成一個圓形 光圈,法會之船即隨光圈而去,當船進入圓形光圈後,即漸漸消失掉,從人間地上,只能見得圓光,卻已不見船。(因此光圈內可見大光明,在阿彌陀佛大願中,西方淨土是無量光:是否意味著,此次法會之鬼魂,皆往西方淨土去,誠心參與此會者,必能明白其中理。)

「水陸」意義
水陸法會  自梁武帝  歷經千年
參與眾生  無以計數  所度鬼魂
無以計數  此乃菩薩  憐憫眾生
不願眾生  受災受苦  故於人問
梁朝武帝  方示此法  因緣殊勝
無以言喻  人間眾生  只貪享樂
不願造福  故多造業  死後不能
往生淨土  流離鬼道  悲淒可憐
水陸法會  功德無量  普度冤魂
普度怨親  普度債主  普度有情
有怨有苦  有悲有凄  皆能往生

極樂淨土
我乃佛門之弟子  且可感應此殊勝
實乃誠心所至也  以此瑞相示眾人
必是有因亦有緣  殊勝因緣不思議
眾生切勿不信此  隨意毀謗此法會
參與眾生更應當  誠心求懺並布施
財施法施共相成  自可功德圓滿也
身為人身難得也  若能供養佛法僧
生生世世持三寶  自得圓滿無盡福

結語
愛財愛色愛錢者  生前享有無盡樂
因其享樂消散福  福報用盡到死了
死後因其福享盡  不能往生佛淨土
流離失所成冤魂  無居無住不能食
無福無善無德行  孤魂野鬼痛苦哀
誰又能夠真明了  人死身死魂未死
魂落異地滿街跑  求哀求憐無人助
若比生前享樂福  方知福盡惡報來
奉勸諸位善眾生  惜福種福方有福
切勿失其真正福  佛法乃因慈悲生
見佛菩薩之行願  悲憫眾生不捨度
今能見聞此事者  必是生前造善根
方能得知此因緣  但勸眾生多惜福
切勿福盡孤魂塚  莫大悲哀有何憐

The Meaning Of The Ceremony For Sending Off The Sages
The Water-Land-Air Dharma Assembly aims to universally rescue the souls of those who suffered unjust deaths in each of the paths, and all the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and heavenly spirits are invited to come and participate. Those conducting the ceremony must be thoroughly familiar with the procedures, the Dharma instruments, and the rituals, so that they can aid the aggrieved souls to be reborn in the Pure Land. At the completion of the Dharma Assembly, we bring forth our utmost sincerity and respect to bow in homage to all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas we invited, and to send them off. We also request the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to guide all the ghosts and spirits to be reborn in the Pure Land. Only then can the Dharma Assembly be considered successfully completed. So this is called "Sending off the Sages."

A Response Intermingles with the Way
On the day of sending off the Sages at City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, I first saw heavenly maidens scattering flowers, which fell like rain. The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas arrived, as well as the gods, dragons, and the 8-fold Pantheon of Dharma-protectors, Lord Shakra, the Great Brahma Heaven Lord, and all the Heavenly gods, heavenly generals, and heavenly troops. At this time a majestic palace appeared in the sky, surrounded by a profusion of pure lotus blossoms, both large and small. (I don't know whether these were the nine grade of lotuses of the Western Pure Land.) There was a heavenly being sitting upon each lotus flower. The sound of flowing water could be heard, as well as the music of heavenly maidens, whose subtle and far-reaching tones were not of this world.

Many rays of light shone from the heavens onto the ground and the Way-place, saturating the whole Way-place with golden light. Shakyamuni Buddha, Amitabha Buddha, Gwan Yin Bodhisattva, Great Strength Bodhisattva, Earth Treasury King Bodhisattva, the eight great Vajra Dharma­-protecting Bodhisattvas and a multitude of Bodhisattvas appeared in the Way-place. All the lay-people and left-home people in the Assembly bowed in homage to all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, recited the Sutras and chanted the names of the Sages. At this time the Venerable Hsuan Hua was seen sitting in the center, wearing a compassionate, subtly smiling expression, and emitting a great light of kindness from his heart. Those in the Way-place whose hearts were sincere could receive this compassionate illumination as a response to the Way. This was a manifestation of the Master's great and extensive spiritual penetrations and power of vows, bestowing blessings upon the living beings of the world, and universally rescuing the distressed beings of the ghostly realm. Because of the Master's vows, the earnest and proper recitation of the Dharma Masters, and the sincere prayers of the participants, all souls were able to come to this Way-place to join the splendid ceremony, whether they had died by drowning in the water, died unjustly on the land, or perished in an accident in the air. There were as well the aggrieved souls who failed to be reborn in a better place in life after life, and those who have cultivated the Way without attaining rebirth.

At this time the Master radiated light from all over his body, and emitted a golden light from his mouth. He assumed the Dharma appearance of Earth Treasury King, the Bodhisattva of Great Vows, wearing a pentagonal Buddha crown, holding a tin staff, and surrounded by a multitude of disciples. Some assumed their left-home or lay appearance as left-home or laypeople from past lives. Some appeared as already-accomplished Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, surrounding the Master. Among his disciples of this life, those who could be seen were the disciples who sincerely cultivated beside the Master, upholding the Buddha Dharma of the Great Vehicle. These many disciples have all come on the power of their vows, wishing to help the Master exhaustively cross over all living beings suffering from their offenses, before attaining Buddhahood. (Because the secrets of Heaven cannot be revealed before the conditions are ripe, I cannot tell everyone the names of these individuals.)

Also seen were the Bodhisattvas Wei Tou and Chye Lan, standing on the Master's right and left. Lord Shakra presented a letter to the Master, who smiled and accepted it without speaking. This letter was of yellow brocade, but its contents could not be seen. The Master put the letter away and remained sitting in the Way-place. The heavenly troops and generals were also seen carrying another letter, which drifted down from space. Opening of itself, it showed the names of numerous people, which could not be seen clearly. I remember only one name which passed under my gaze, that of Yang Shu-hwei. Later, I discovered that there really was such a person, and she was one of the main sponsors of the Water-Land-Air Dharma Assembly this time. I had no way to remember or record all of them.

Also seen was a great Dharma ship, which a multitude of ghosts and spirits had already boarded. The ghosts and spirits were standing there waiting. There were men and women with unfamiliar faces, those who had died untimely deaths, cripples, the old and feeble, women and children, those manifesting as generals, and numerous ghosts and spirits, all with sorrowful expressions of suffering.

The drums and gongs now sounded in unison in the Way-place, and those sending off the Sages circumambulated the Way-place with minds of devotion. The numerous ghosts bowed in gratitude for the kindness of the Bodhisattvas, the sponsors, and all living beings. Some were sincere and repentant to the point of tears; it was truly touching. Amitabha Buddha's name was chanted continuously, as the heavenly maidens made music. The lute, gong, drum, cymbals, handbell, and large bell were all played, making a heavenly sound. All the heavenly maidens came in joyful welcome. The gate of the heavens was seen slowly opening in the distance, and a bright light shined out. This light became a brilliant orb. The ship at the Dharma Assembly followed the light and entered the orb, gradually disappearing from sight. From the ground, only the orb of light could be seen, but not the ship. (One of Amitabha Buddha's vows is that the Western Pure Land will have boundless light. Does this mean that the ghosts and spirits in this Dharma Assembly all went to the Pure Land? Only those who sincerely participated in this assembly will be able to understand.)

The Meaning of the Water-Land Assembly
The Water-Land Dharma Assembly, starting with Emperor Wu of Lyang, Has passed through a thousand years.
The living beings who have taken part, are beyond reckoning.
The ghosts and souls who have been rescued, are beyond reckoning. This is because the Bodhisattvas, pitying living beings,
Are unwilling to let living beings, undergo calamities and suffering. Therefore in the World, to Emperor Wu of the Lyang Dynasty, This Dharma was revealed.
Its supreme causes and conditions, cannot be expressed in words. The people of the world, only know how to enjoy happiness, And do not want to create blessings.
Thus they create much karma, and after death they cannot Be reborn in the Pure Land.
Wandering aimlessly in ghostly realms, in grief and sorrow, they are to be pitied. The Water-Land Dharma Assembly, boundless in merit and virtue, Universally rescuing souls of ancestors, universally rescuing relatives in distress, Universally rescuing creditors, universally rescuing sentient beings, Those with grievance and suffering, those with sorrow and melancholy, Can all be reborn, in the Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss.
As a Buddhist disciple, I've had a response in this supreme event. It is truly the result of a sincere mind
That this lucky appearance can be shown.
There must be causes and conditions.
These supreme causes and conditions are inconceivable. Living beings should take care not to doubt this,
Carelessly slandering the Dharma Assembly.
All living beings taking part, should earnestly seek repentance and practice giving. Giving both wealth and Dharma,
One can perfect one's merit and virtue.
Having a human body which is hard to obtain,
If one can offer it up to the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, protecting the Triple Jewel in life after life,
One can perfect inexhaustible blessings.
Conclusion
Those fond of wealth, sex, and money
Enjoy blessings and inexhaustible happiness in life.
Because they consume happiness, their blessings are used up.
When blessings are used up, they die. After death, having used up their blessings,
They cannot be reborn in the Buddha's Pure Land. Wandering homeless, they become ghosts in distress,
With no dwelling and nothing to eat,
With no blessings, no good deeds, and no virtuous conduct,
The lone souls and desolate ghosts suffer and grieve.
Who can truly understand
That when a person dies, the body dies but the soul doesn't die?
The soul falls into an unfamiliar land and roams everywhere,
Seeking sympathy and pity, but no one helps. If they enjoyed happiness and blessings in life,
They will know that when blessings end, evil retribution comes.
I respectfully exhort all good living beings
To cherish blessings, plant blessings, and thus have blessings.
Take care not to lose your true blessings.
The Buddha Dharma is born from compassion.
See the conduct and vows of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas;
Out of pity for living beings they do not renounce rescuing them.
Those who have seen and heard this today Must have planted good roots in the past,
So now they can know of these causes and conditions.
/just exhort living beings to cherish their blessings.
Don't exhaust your blessings and become a solitary spirit.
There is no greater sorrow, but who will take pity?

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