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《菩提田》

 

Bodhi Field

一位墨西哥人的學佛心得
A Mexican's Insight into Buddhism

周果如    &nbs By Winnie Tiu

法藍西斯哥.芮發拉,於一九五一年九月十一日出生在墨西哥的一個天主教家庭,十三個兄弟姊妹中排行最小。出生時,醫生已宣告他死亡,家人遂安排喪禮。父親把他放置在一口小棺材內,停放家中;不久大出醫生、家人的意料,他竟活過來,也開始啼哭!

一九七五年學瑜珈時,教練教他不要吃肉、蛋、奶,他便開始吃素。同年他遇到日蓮宗,可是有好長一段時間,遇到的寺廟都不如法,譬如出家人,有抽煙的、有吃肉的、還有認為吃素不好的。並在兩間寺廟,受到種族歧視。

然而這些都沒有使法藍西斯哥氣餒,終於給他遇到了正法的道場。當他第一眼見到金輪聖寺時,就有種特殊的感覺,寺裡散放出異香,招呼他的出家人看來如此脫俗。第二週他去參加法會,日誦課本上有漢語拼音又有翻譯,很容易明白。他知道自己終於找到了一個盼望多時清淨修行的道場!廟裡的同修們就好像自己家人似的,大家在一起認真共修,沒有無益閒雜話。

在長堤聖寺見到上人時,他想,這真是一位有靈有覺,可以指引自己修行的善知識!心中有許多問題,卻並未開口。後來讀上人《阿彌陀經淺釋》(西班牙語版)高興地發現,所有的問題在書裡都已有答案!他讀上人的事蹟,對師父所昭示「人要用功修行,嚴守戒律,不可盜人財物,還要謹慎身語意。」印象深刻。同時使他想起父親小時對他說:「不要懶惰!時時努力,盡力幫助需要的人。不要受人錢財或望報。」目前他每天研讀萬佛聖城的日誦課本,念佛、持〈大悲咒〉,晚間靜坐。

九三年十二月二十四日,法藍西斯哥首次到萬佛聖城參加彌陀誕法會,以下是他自述耶誕節那天的經歷:

「這是我第一次到聖城,第一次參加佛七。十二月二十五日清晨四點四十分,我們念完阿彌陀佛聖號後,我全身放鬆地坐在座墊上,這時候什麼也沒感覺,不覺得有身體的存在,也不覺得冷。我身心放下,驀然間,清楚地在心裡觀到:很多金人在我上面的金地上行走。他們穿著長袍,身上放光。事實上我所見的都是金色的!四周既寧靜又莊嚴,有異香,還有這輩子我從來沒有聽過的天樂!然後,我看到一尊大佛坐在一個廳堂的中央。一看到佛,我就對他說:「佛啊!我已準備好了,請帶我去吧!」我想永遠留在那個地方,不想回到世俗世界。佛伸出手臂摩我的頂,此時我內心喜樂無比。正納悶身在何處?金人是誰?我聽到了引磬,境界就消失了––我還坐在佛殿中,第一炷香的靜坐已結束了!」

「經過了這次難忘的經驗,我覺得煥然一新。回到洛杉磯家中,身心都很寧靜。以前因為獨居,有時自己很沮喪。母親和兄弟姊妹都在墨西哥,我去看他們,午餐時他們吃肉,還勸我也吃。除了我的外甥和他太太,家人都覺得我吃素很沒有道理。自我前妻再婚和我女兒同住以後,我心裡一直很難過,也經常哭。但是佛七後,我覺得很平靜滿足,不再有問題。我求那位佛,能照顧她們。有一次夢裡,我見到白衣大士,站在面前,房內彌漫著異香,醒來非常快樂。我在晚間睡不著時,就念阿彌陀佛,靜坐半小時。不論工作或開車時,我也念佛號和觀音菩薩聖號,每天盡量念誦。」

「萬佛聖城是非常特別的一個地方,我覺得好像置身於另一個世界。當我聽到佛殿裡唱誦祝禱的音聲,我想這裡真是與眾不同,好像天堂!我以前是天主教徒,用拉丁文禱告。以前讀了很多天主教的基本教義,我深信耶穌基督繼續了佛教的傳統,而天主教是源自於佛教。我一定要再回到萬佛聖城,參加更多的法會並且開始修行。」

Francisco Rivera was born in a Catholic family on September 11, 1951 in Mexico. He is the youngest of thirteen brothers and sisters. When he was born, he was pronounced dead by the doctor. The family arranged his funeral and his father placed him in a tiny coffin at home. Shortly after, much to the astonishment of the doctor and his family, he revived and started crying!

In 1975, Francisco became a vegetarian when he studied Yoga under a master who taught him to refrain from consuming meat, eggs, and milk. In the same year, he encountered Japanese Buddhism of the Nichiren sect. For a long time, he only found temples where improper activities occurred. For example, there were monks who smoked and ate meat, and who thought that vegetarianism was bad for one. He also experienced racial discrimination at two temples.

Nevertheless, Francisco was not discouraged. Finally he encountered a Way-place of proper Dharma. When he first saw Gold Wheel Monastery, instinctively he had a special feeling about the building. He smelled some kind of fragrance inside the monastery. The left-home people who received him were so free from worldly ways. The following weekend he went to join the Dharma Assembly. The bilingual Recitation Handbook helped him to understand. For the first time, Francisco knew he had found what he was looking for--a pure Way-place to cultivate. The assembly at the monastery was like his family. They all came to pray and cultivate, and did not engage in useless idle chatter.

The first time he met the Venerable Master at Long Beach Monastery, he thought to himself that he had found a truly good spiritual advisor who could teach and help him in cultivation. He had many questions in his mind which he did not ask at the time. Later, as he read the Amitabha Sutra (Spanish version), he was delighted to find that all his answers were already in the commentary! Francisco also read the Spanish version of Records of the Life of Venerable Master Hua. He was impressed with the part where it says one must always work hard, try his best to uphold the precepts and never try to take things away from people. Moreover, one must be very careful with his speech, body and mind. It reminded him of what his father had told him when he was a child: "Never be lazy! Work hard at all times and try your best to help those in need. Do not accept money or seek favor from others." Presently, his daily cultivation includes learning the Daily Recitation Handbook, reciting the Buddha's name and the Great Compassion Mantra, and meditating in the evening.

On December 24, 1993, Francisco visited the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas to celebrate Amitabha Buddha's Anniversary. The following is a description of his experience during the Buddha Recitation Session on Christmas Day: "This is my first visit to the City and the first time to participate in the Buddha Recitation Session. On December 25th, around 4:40 am, after we had finished chanting A-mi-to-fo, I remained sitting on my cushion and relaxed my body. During this time, I didn't feel that my body existed, nor did I feel cold. I just let my body and mind relax. Suddenly, I could see clearly in my mind, many golden people walking on floors of gold above me. They all wore long robes and I could also see light emitting from them. As a matter of fact, everything I saw was gold. The environment was very serene and beautiful. There were fragrances and heavenly music which I had never heard of before. Then I saw a big Buddha sitting in the center of a hall. As soon as I saw him, I said: "Buddha, I'm ready for you. Please take me." I wanted to remain in this place forever. I didn't want to return to the mundane world. Then the Buddha stretched out his arm and caressed my crown. I felt very happy inside. Just as I was wondering where I was and who those golden people were, I heard the sound of the hand bell, the vision disappeared, and I found myself back in the Buddha Hall. End of the first meditation period."

"After this unforgettable experience, I felt like a different person. When I returned to my home in Los Angeles, I felt very tranquil both inside and outside. Before, I sometimes felt depressed because I lived alone. My mother and my siblings are all in Mexico. When I visit them, they would serve meat for lunch and urge me to eat. With the exception of my nephew and his wife, my family thinks I'm crazy for being a vegetarian. It had been difficult for me since my divorced wife had remarried and lived with my daughter. So I used to cry a lot. But after the session, I felt very calm and content and there was no more problem. I prayed that Buddha would take care of them. Once in my dream, I saw a white-robed Guanyin Bodhisattva standing in front of me and smelled a rare fragrance in the room. When I woke up, I felt very happy. If I can't sleep at night, I recite Amitabha Buddha's name and meditate for half an hour. Whether I am at work or driving, I recite the Buddha's name and Guan Yin Bodhisattva's name. I recite everyday whenever I can."

"The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas is a very special place. I felt like I was in another world. When I heard the chanting and prayers at the Buddha Hall, I thought to myself that it's almost like heaven! I used to pray in Latin as a Catholic. I've read a lot of books about the roots of Catholicism. I really believe that Jesus Christ continued the tradition of the Buddha and that Catholicism was derived from Buddhism. I will certainly return for other Dharma Assemblies in the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas and prepare myself to cultivate the Way."

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