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《菩提田》

 

BODHI FIELD

遇到火狗的經驗
A Firsthand Experience with
Fire-Breathing Dogs

易果參     文   By Terri Nicholson


火山,是地獄在人間的示現,有很多地獄眾生住在裡頭。
Volcanos are manifestations of hell on earth and many hell-beings dwell there.

外子艾倫與我皈依上人座下,已超過二十五年了,這個事件發生在一九八五年,那時我們的女兒瑪雪兒剛滿三歲。她從出生至今,一直住在萬佛城,四個月大就皈依了上人。在她出生之前,上人即賜名「妙華」。

一九八五年夏末,我們全家赴雷森峰國家公園,與外子艾倫的兄弟共渡假期。雷森峰是座死火山,最近一次爆發是在一九一六年,至今公園內仍有蒸汽坑、滾熱泥漿與洞穴,均為上次火山爆發的遺跡。美國人認為這是很奇特值得探訪的風景區,完全不了解該地的危險。很不幸,外子與我當時也同樣無知。

我們初抵那座公園時,就覺得很不舒服,主要因為那裡有很多打獵、釣魚等活動。在我們原先計劃過夜的小屋前,有座池塘,可以從池中捕魚以供午餐烹食。還有關在圍欄內的小鹿,小鹿的母親都己經被獵殺。因為我們覺得很不安,所以決定住在公園外。瑪雪兒更是特別焦躁不安,好幾次要求回去見師父,還要去聽經。但是我們已經和外子的兄弟擬定渡假計劃,所以還是留下來了。那一週接下來的日子平安無事,只有一次去公園內的洞穴時,瑪雪兒變得極度驚恐、沮喪。

我們回家後的幾個月中,瑪雪兒訴說常作惡夢,夢裡是狼群追她、咬她。我們鼓勵她持誦觀音菩薩聖號,但當時並不了解問題的嚴重。在她四歲生日後不久,一月初的某一天,瑪雪兒很早就醒過來,痛楚地呼叫,說她的腿疼。那天白天她看起來還沒事,但腿痛接著又開始了。幾天以後,我們帶她去看醫生,那位醫生判定是某種病毒。她的症狀日漸嚴重,痛楚加劇,我們也隨著更驚惶。因為她痛得太厲害了,最後痛得不能坐,也不能走。我們計劃去醫院看醫生,但當我們準備好要出門時,瑪雪兒卻開始堅持要找師父。當時師父正與大眾一同用午齋,我們就在去醫院的路上,順道去見師父。奇怪的是,瑪雪兒先前吵著要見師父,但當我們快到師父那兒時,她又哭叫著要離開。師父告訴我們:「業障來了!」當我們解釋說,我們正要去看醫生時,師父答覆道:「他們找不出毛病的!」醫生確實找不出毛病在那兒。血液檢驗做過了,又有兩位醫生,一位是小兒科醫生,一位是整形外科醫生,都檢查她的病情,但找不出毛病。最後他們診斷為濾過性病毒引起的關節發炎,但是當我們在醫生那兒時,瑪雪兒並不感到疼痛。那個下午,我們接到萬佛城辦公室打來的電話,說有某種眾生附身在瑪雪兒身上,所以她生病了。(師父)並教我們誦持「觀世音菩薩」聖號和〈大悲咒〉。但是瑪雪兒的病情繼續惡化,疼痛加劇。平常瑪雪兒是個性情溫順的女孩,但當時她的脾氣好大,也不肯跟我們一起持咒、誦聖號。唯一能讓她安靜下來的,是師父念誦「地藏王菩薩」聖號的錄音帶。

師父這時去了溫哥華,瑪雪兒惡化的情況令我們很擔心,於是打電話到溫哥華去請示師父。師父嚴格告誡我們要更誠心地持誦聖號,又說瑪雪兒絕對不可以發脾氣,必須念誦「觀世音菩薩」聖號。靠著朋友的幫忙,我們想盡各種方法去幫助她。她若念誦,我們就給她獎品;我們和她一起編製許多書,內容是有關念誦「觀世音菩薩」聖號病情即轉好的故事;還做星星圖表,以幫助她不發睥氣。她還一定要我們在星星圖表上加上「不吼叫」一項,這點後來顯得非常重要。

當師父回到萬佛城時,師父直接到我們家來看瑪雪兒。坐了很久之後,師父解釋說:「火山,是地獄在人間的示現,有很多地獄眾生住在裡頭。」(師父首先問我們,這一次都帶她去了哪些地方?)師父又說:「在雷森峰住了一隻火狗和牠的侍從,這些狗生在這山上的火山岩裡,靠著火和瞋心來成長茁壯,他們的本性是極端惡劣難馴的。但當我們去雷森峰時,火狗的頭頭被瑪雪兒的純潔所吸引(瑪雪兒那麼小就皈依了上人),火狗的頭頭想要瑪雪兒作牠的侍兒,因此咬她,使她病得快要死掉了。」師父說他已經說服火狗的頭頭讓她走,但其他的火狗並不完全同意,所以我們必須繼續努力念誦。當我們得知是我們的無知「領她到獅穴」,給她帶來所有這些苦難,又給師父添麻煩,我真無法形容那種痛苦。我們繼續念誦、拜〈大悲懺〉,瑪雪兒的疼痛逐漸開始減輕,她也可以念誦更多聖號。她還是從會痛的尖叫聲中而醒來,但是只要我們讓她念誦觀音聖號,不消幾分鐘,她就能安穩入睡。

瑪雪兒的小小朋友們,住在城內的(萬佛聖城),每天都來看她,這也讓我很感動。每個朋友來時,都把自己最寶貝的東西送給她當作禮物,並且留下來,在她的床邊玩,這樣她就不覺孤單。他們也會坐著念誦觀音聖號,並且要瑪雪兒也念。很快地,疼痛完全消失,她能夠坐起來了,也可以挪動身體,但仍不能走。師父叫我們別著急,說她一定會再能走路的。

不久,艾倫與我發心供僧。在開始供僧時,瑪雪兒只可以蹣跚地走幾步,到供僧將結束時,她己經行走自如,而且跟朋友們玩在一塊兒了。接下來的幾個月裡,瑪雪兒有幾次發高燒,我很害怕她又病倒。師父慈悲的解釋說,對了,她又碰到火狗,不過我不用擔心。如果她再度病發,師父會幫她再恢復健康。所以我們三個人永遠欠師父的恩情,因為師父大慈大悲,不但讓我們在這清靜的道場中養育孩子,而且將她從死亡關頭搶救回來。

My husband Alan and I have been disciples of the Venerable Master for over 25 years. This particular incident occurred in 1985 when our daughter, Marcelle, had just turned three years old. She has lived her entire life at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas and took refuge with the Master at four months of age. Before she was born the Master named her Wonderful Flower (妙華).

At the end of the summer of 1985 our family went to Mount Lassen National Park to spend some time with Alan's brother. Mount Lassen is an inactive volcano which last errupted in 1916. There are, however, still steaming pits and boiling mud in the park as well as caves created by the last volcano eruptions. Americans consider it a fascinating and unusual place to visit and are completely unaware that it is dangerous in any way. Unfortunately, at the time, my husband and I were equally ignorant.

From the time we arrived at the park we felt uncomfortable, mainly because a great deal of hunting and fishing was going on. At the lodge where we originally planned to stay, there was a pond where you could pick your own fish for lunch and penned deer whose mothers had been hunted and killed. Because we felt so uncomfortable, we decided to stay outside of the park. Marcelle was particularly ill at ease and asked several times to go home to see the Master and hear the sutra lecture. Since we'd already made plans with Alan's brother, we stayed anyway. The rest of the week was uneventful except for a trip into one of the caves in the park where Marcelle became extremely frightened and upset.

For several months after we returned home, Marcelle complained of nightmares of wolves chasing and biting her. We encouraged her to recite Guanyin's name, but, at the time, did not realize how serious the problem was. In the beginning of January, soon after her fourth birthday, Marcelle woke up early one morning screaming in pain and saying that her legs hurt. Later that day she seemed fine, but the leg pain continued. After a few days we took her to the doctor, who assumed it was some sort of virus. As her symtoms grew more painful and severe, we became increasingly alarmed. The pain became so severe that she was unable to sit up or walk. We planned to meet the doctor at the hospital but as we were getting ready to go, Marcelle began to insist that she wanted Shifu (the Master). The assembly was eating lunch with the Master and so we stopped to see him on the way to the hospital. Strangely, though Marcelle had asked to see him, as soon as we drew near she cried that she wanted to leave. The Master told us, "A karmic obstacle has come." When we explained that we were on our way to see the doctor, the Master replied, "They won't find anything." And they didn't. Blood tests were done and two doctors, a pediatrician and an orthopedist, examined her and could find nothing. They finally diagnosed it as a viral inflamation of the joints, but Marcelle was not in pain while we were there.

That afternoon we received a call from the office of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas explaining that some sort of being had attached itself to Marcelle and was making her ill. We were instructed to recite Guanyin's name and the Great Compassion Mantra. However, Marcelle's condition worsened and she was in a great deal of pain. Normally a sweet-natured child, she developed a vicious temper and refused to cooperate in reciting at all. The only thing that calmed her was listening to a tape of the Master reciting Earth Treasury Bodhisattva's name.

Meanwhile the Master had gone to Vancouver. We became so alarmed at her worsening condition that we called there and asked for advice. The Master sternly exhorted us to recite more sincerely. He also said that Marcelle absolutely must not lose her temper and must recite Guanyin's name. With the help of friends we thought up every expedient device we could to help her. We gave her prizes for reciting, made books with her about getting better by reciting Guanyin's name and star charts to help her not get angry. She insisted that we add "not growling" to the chart, which later gained more significance. When the Master returned to the City, he came directly to our house to see Marcelle. After a long time he explained that volcanos are manifestations of hell on earth and that many hell-beings dwell there. (He first asked where we had taken her recently.) Residing at Mount Lassen was a fire-breathing dog and his retinue. These dogs are born inside the mountain in the lava and thrive on fire and anger. They have extremely cantankerous natures. When we visited Mt. Lassen, the leader was attracted to Marcelle's purity as a young disciple of the Master, and wished to make her part of his retinue. (This involved making her sick by biting her so that she was near death.) The Master said he'd convinced the leader to let her go, but that others in the retinue hadn't all agreed, so we had to continue to recite diligently. I cannot describe the pain we felt when we realized that we had "led her into the lion's den" and brought all this suffering upon her and trouble to the Master in our ignorance. We continued to recite and bow the Great Compassion Repentance and very gradually Marcelle's pain began to lessen and she was able to recite more. She would wake up screaming in pain, but if we could get her to recite Guanyin's name even for a few minutes she would fall into a more peaceful sleep.

I was moved also by Marcelle's young friends who lived at the City and who came each day to see her. Each gave her a gift of something they held precious and stayed to play by her bedside so she wouldn't be alone. They would also sit and recite Guanyin's name and try to get her to recite as well. Soon the pain went away completely and she was able to sit up and move around, though she was still unable to walk. The Master told us not to worry, that she would walk eventually.

Soon afterwards, Alan and I made a meal offering to the Sangha. At the beginning of the meal offering ceremony, Marcelle could walk only very awkwardly, but by the end of the meal she was walking around and playing with her friends. In the next few months Marcelle came down with an extremely high fever several times and I became frightened that she would get sick again. The Master compassionally explained that, yes, she had bumped into the fire-breathing dog again but that I shouldn't worry. If she got sick again he would help her get well. And so the three of us are eternally indebted to the Master for his great compassion not only in allowing us to bring up our child in this pure Way-place, but also in rescuing her from the jaws of death.

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