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《佛學概要》

 

Introduction to Buddhism

佛教的梗概
General Outline of Buddhism

宣化上人講述     Lecture by the Venerable Master Hua


可是這時候用火一燒,怎麼樣呢?佛教的經典都沒有燒著,都放光!
When the fire was lit, guess what happened? Instead of burning, the Buddhist sutras emitted light!

前期提示:佛圓寂的時候,雖在印度,但中
國也都看見了。

當時中國盛行的是道教,佛教傳到中國,道教有一些道士就生了妒忌心,對皇帝說:「佛教是假的,是外國的宗教,不是中國的,所以不應該在中國流傳,要把佛教趕出去!若不把佛教趕出去,就要來比較一下。怎麼樣比較呢?把佛所說的經典和道教所說的經典放在一起,用火燒。誰的經典若燒了,誰就是假的!誰的經典若燒不了,就是真的。」

當時道教有一個道士叫褚善信,他是道教的首領,帶著五百道士把道教的經典、靈文都放在一起,就祈禱太上老君說:「道德天尊哪!你一定要顯大靈感,令我們道教的經不要燒了,讓佛教的經燒了。」

當時的道士很多有神通的––有能騰雲駕霧的,有能飛天遁地的,有能隱形的。隱形就是你這麼看著,他在前面這兒,忽然間就沒有了!這麼樣有本事的道士都有。他能藉著遁法––奇門遁甲就逃跑了,藉著道教這種的符啊、咒啊,就有很大的神通。

可是這時候用火一燒,怎麼樣呢?佛教的經典都沒有燒著,都放光!佛的舍利也放五色的光,經典也放光到空中,好像太陽照耀世間似的。

而道教的經典呢,一燒就燒著,都被火燒沒有了。能騰雲駕霧的,不能騰雲了,也不能有神通了;能飛天的,也不能飛天了;遁地的,也不能遁地了;能隱形的,也不能隱形了。他們的符咒也都不靈,沒有功效了。這時候,道教的經典都被燒了,褚善信和費正清這些道士當場都氣死了,而他們的徒弟也當場把頭髮剃去,有二、三百人都做了和尚。所以這是最初佛教和道教鬥法,把道教鬥失敗了。

之後迦葉摩騰、竺法蘭這兩位尊者就踴身虛空,現十八變,身上出火,身下出水;身下出火,身上出水;在虛空裡走路;在虛空裡躺著睡覺,在那兒現種種的神變。當時這一班人,連皇帝也就一起信了佛教,所以《佛說四十二章經》是很重要的。最初佛經傳到中國,就是這一部經,所以今天和大家共同來研究這一部經典。

Reminder from last issue:
Although the Buddha entered Nirvana in India, people in China also knew about it.

During that era, Taoism was flourishing in China. When Buddhism came to China, some of the Taoist masters became jealous. They held an audience with the emperor and told him, "Buddhism is a false faith. It's a foreign religion; it’s not Chinese. Therefore, you shouldn't permit it to spread through China. Buddhism should be abolished!" they urged. "If you won't abolish it, then you should at least hold a contest." How would it work? The Taoists suggested that the emperor put the Buddha’s sutras together in a pile with the Taoists’ texts, and then set fire to them. Whichever books burned belonged to the false religion, and the texts that survived the flames would be the true ones.

Chu Shanxin, the Taoist leader of the time, and five hundred other Taoist masters put the Taoist books and spells together with the Buddhist texts and then prayed to the Venerable Lao Jun, saying, "Divine Lord, Oh Virtuous One of the Way! You must grant us a magical response to insure that our texts will not burn and that the Buddhist sutras will go up in flames!"

Many Taoist masters of the time had psychic powers. Some could "soar through the clouds and ride the fog." Others could sail through the heavens and hide in the earth. Some could vanish into thin air. That is, you might see one in front of you, but suddenly he would disappear! There were Taoists who had the power to do almost anything! Some of them could make a quick escape by disappearing. They had used the charms and spells of the Taoist religion to gain a considerable number of spiritual powers.

But this time, when the fire was lit, guess what happened? Instead of burning, the Buddhist sutras emitted light! The relics (sharira) of the Buddha also emitted a five-colored light that flared into space as bright as the sun, shining over the entire world.

As soon as the Taoist texts were set on fire, they burned to ashes and were gone. Those who had been able to "soar through the clouds" couldn’t do it anymore. They lost their spiritual powers. Those who had been able to sail to the heavens could no longer manage it. Those who had been able to hide in the earth could no longer hide in the earth. Those who had been able to vanish couldn't vanish. The spells they mumbled no longer worked. There was no response. The Taoist texts burned to a crisp and the Taoist masters Chu Shanxin and Fei Chengqing died of rage right then and there! Two or three hundred of their disciples shaved their heads and became Buddhist monks on the spot. This was the first time Taoism and Buddhism held a Dharma-contest, and the Taoists lost.

After the book burning, the Venerable Kashyapa-matanga and the Venerable Gobharana ascended into space and revealed the Eighteen Transformations of an Arhat. Their upper torsos emitted water, and their abdomens emitted fire; then their upper torsos emitted fire, and their abdomens emitted water. They walked about in space, and then lay down and went to sleep in the air, and manifested various spiritual transformations. Everyone, including the emperor, came to believe in Buddhism. So the Sutra in Forty-two Sections Spoken by the Buddha is an extremely important sutra. This Sutra was the first Buddhist sutra transmitted to China. So we have come together to investigate this Sutra today.

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小啟

Notice

  

本刊承方氏兄弟印刷公司,發心贊助,承印達十年之久。方氏兄弟不計個人利益之護法精神,堪為世人楷模,特此敬告讀者,知其義行。

This journal has been printed voluntarily by Fong Brothers Printing Co. for over ten years. Their spirit to protect the Buddhadharma and forsake personal profit is surely an example for people to follow. We hereby inform all our readers about their volunteer work.

萬佛城金剛菩提海月刊     謹啟
The Buddhist Monthly--Vajra Bodhi Sea

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徵求義務教師

Volunteer Teachers Wanted

  

萬佛聖城長期徵求大、中、小學各科系義務教師。歡迎有能力、肯發心、不計較,能遵守聖城六大宗旨–不爭、不貪、不求、不自私、不自利、不妄語,願放棄城市生活,投入淡泊而充實的精神生活者。我們也需要體育、童軍、園藝、工藝(雕塑)及住宿輔導等人才。不拘年齡、性別與國籍,有志從事義務教學工作者,請與姜吉甫教授洽談。聯絡辦法:萬佛聖城 Talmage, CA 95481-0217, U.S.A., Tel: (707) 462-0939

(聖城歡迎義工參與服務,不限學歷)

The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas (CTTB) needs long-term volunteer teachers to teach a variety of courses at elementary, high school and university level. We welcome capable individuals who have a firm resolve, do not crave benefits, and will follow the Six Guidelines of CTTB: not contending, not being greedy, not seeking, not being selfish, not pursuing personal gain, and not lying. People who are ready to leave an urban life-style and want to lead a simple but fulfilling spiritual life are welcome to apply for a voluntary teaching position. We are also looking for people with backgrounds in physical education, gardening, handicrafts, and dormitory counseling. There are no restrictions of age, gender or nationality. Please contact Prof. Chiang Chi-fu at CTTB, Talmage, CA 95481-0217, U.S.A., Tel: (707) 462-0939. Other volunteers are also welcome to join in the work at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, regardless of their educational backgrounds.

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