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《菩提田》

 

Bodhi Field

指引生命的燈光
A Guiding Light in my Life

果攻    文    By Sarah Kennedy Owen

一九六七年八月,我十六歲時,到三藩市去看姊姊和姊夫。當時他們已經皈依宣公上人,所以就帶我去天后廟街的金山寺打坐,介紹我認識佛教。我還記得當時的金山寺是在樓上,我們得爬好幾重樓梯才到得了。當時的金山寺並不大,但感覺頗寬敞。我結雙跏趺坐,坐了整整一個小時,覺得很受用。其他人放腿下坐時,都在呻吟,我覺得很驚訝,因為我一點兒也不疼,雖然我的腿已經完全麻木了。我想大概是以後,我才知道結雙跏趺會痛。在金山寺打坐的經驗,留給我很深刻的印象。因為我一向很喜歡自我反省,但從不知道內省還有方法,而且已經有很多人試過這個方法。我開始對佛教產生強烈的興趣,特別是對禪坐。

我對師父最早的記憶是一九六九年初,住在二十九街的公寓時。有一次我正在掃地,每一下都很短促、很用力。當時門是開著的,師父正好經過,就走進來,教我怎麼用掃把,要長長地甚至掃過整條地板。現在每當我掃地時,便想起師父的教誨。這個故事的教訓是:除非必要,否則做事不要選困難的方法做。

師父不只一次問我一個很難的問題。他要我坐下,抓著我的手,問我真正要的到底是什麼?這個問題並不容易回答,這點嚇到了我。但是,我一直記著這個問題。並且以這個問題作為指引我生命的燈光。這是一個很基本的問題,但每次都能幫我作出更周詳、更有原則的決定。

我真正要的是什麼?直到現在我還不能完全找到答案。不過大概不外乎:在這個亂世中,我們可以一起找到和平。我也相信從宣公上人所教誨的道理中,我們可以學到很多有關和平的道理。

In August of 1967, when I was sixteen years old, I visited my sister and brother-in-law in San Francisco. They were already disciples of the Venerable Master Hua, and they introduced me to Buddhism by taking me to meditate at Gold Mountain Monastery on Waverly Street. I remember that Gold Mountain Monastery was located on the upper floor of the building and we had to go up several flights of stairs to get there. The temple itself was not large but it had an open feeling. I sat in meditation in full lotus for a full hour and enjoyed it a lot. I was surprised when others groaned at taking their legs down, as I hadn't the slightest bit of pain, although my feet had gone to sleep. I guess it was later that I dutifully learned that full lotus hurts. This one experience at the temple left a lasting impression, for even though I had always been introspective, I had never realized there was a method for introspection, and that many others had tried this method. I became very interested in Buddhism, especially Chan meditation.

My earliest memory of Shifu (the Master) himself was at the beginning of 1969, when I was living in the apartment house on 29th Avenue. I was sweeping my room, using short, forceful strokes. The door was standing open and Shifu, passing by, came into the room and showed me how to sweep using long strokes, even all the way across the entire floor. Now I think of those instructions every time I sweep! There is a moral to this story: Don't do things the hard way unless you absolutely have to!

Shifu also asked me on more than one occasion a very difficult question. He sat me down, held my hand and asked me what it was that I really wanted. This question is not so easy to answer and it frightened me. Nevertheless, I always remembered it, and tried to use it as a guiding light in my life. It's a basic question, but one that never fails to bring out a more thoughtful, principled decision.

What is it that I really want? I still haven't narrowed it down completely, but it goes something like this: that we all can find peace together in this tangled world. I also believe we can learn a lot about peace from the principles taught by our wonderful teacher, Venerable Master Hua.

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