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《專題/淨土法門專題/淨土法門》

 

SPECIAL SECTION/THE PURE LAND DHARMA-DOOR

老實念佛
HONESTLY RECITING THE BUDDHA’S NAME

宣公上人一九七六年開示於金山寺彌陀七
A Dharma talk by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua at the Gold Mountain Monastery during an Amitabha Buddha Recitation Session in 1976

釋迦牟尼佛成佛了以後,說的法門有八萬四千那 麼多。每一個法門,都是教眾生修行成佛––先要 發菩提心,然後要修種種的功德、行菩薩道,才能 有希望成佛。可是,在這中間經過的時間,不知道 要經過多長的時間,才能成佛。所以他在這個八萬 四千法門裡邊,有一個法門叫「淨土法門」。淨土 法門,就是專心念佛的法門,這一個法門是當初有 一個比丘叫「法藏」。法藏比丘,他在做出家人的 時候,就發了四十八願。這四十八願意思是說:將 來他若成佛了,他的國土,必須是「沒有眾苦,但 受諸樂」的一個國土,十方所有的眾生,無論哪一 個世界,或者星球、月球,其他的地球,所有的眾 生,若是稱念他的名號,他就一定接引這個眾生, 到他國家去,蓮華化生,究竟成佛。

假如有眾生,念他的名號的人或眾生,如果不成 佛的話,那麼法藏比丘也就永遠都不成佛。他若成 佛,稱他的名號的眾生,都一定生到他的國土–– 極樂世界去。因為這樣子,所以釋迦牟尼佛對這個 淨土法門,本來是沒有人請問,他自己說出來的, 這叫不問自說。其他的法門或者經典,都是有人請 問,然後佛就說這個法門。這淨土法門為什麼是不 問而自說呢?就因為這個法門,是個不可思議的。 其餘的大比丘、阿羅漢,都沒有這種智慧來請問這 個法門。所以,釋迦牟尼佛一看這個機緣成熟了, 雖然沒有人請問,他自己也就說這個法門。

這個淨土法門,是對一切眾生很對機的。所謂「 用力少而成功多」,用的力量很少,而成就卻很大 ,這個法門既契理又契機宜。由金山寺這兒打七就 證明出來,在打禪七時,只有二十多個人;現在打 佛七,就有三十多個人,所以就證明這個法門,是 對所有的人很相當的。對這個念佛法門,只怕你不 念,你若一念,阿彌陀佛的願力,就把你攝到極樂 世界去。這是最不可思議的一種法門。

阿彌陀佛在西方極樂世界,和我們這兒所有念佛 的眾生,都有一個電線似的。我們這兒一念佛,阿 彌陀佛那個地方的電話也就響了,說:在娑婆世界 有個眾生在那兒念佛呢!阿彌陀佛的電話在什麼地 方安著呢?他那個電話在阿彌陀 佛的毫毛孔裡頭,每一個毫毛都 有一個電話機在那個地方。你這 電話一響了,他說「Hello!」( 哈囉!)那個電話機一響了,他 說:「喂!」另一個電話響了, 他說:「Yes!」(是的!)那個 電話一響了,他說:「嗎西嗎西 !」(對不起!)這無量的電話 都在阿彌陀佛那個身上裝好了, 我們只怕你不打這個電話,你打 這個電話,阿彌陀佛一定會聽到 你念「阿彌陀佛」這聲音的。這 不是講笑話,這是說的真話。

念一聲「南無阿彌陀佛」,阿彌陀佛那兒就聽見 一聲。那麼,念十聲南無阿彌陀佛,阿彌陀佛那兒 就聽見十聲。等你念到百聲、千聲、萬聲、萬萬聲 ,念得多了,啊!阿彌陀佛就給你註冊了。在那兒 註冊說:「這個人等臨命終的時候,我一定接他來 !」給你記下來了。記下,等你臨命終的時候,「 身無病苦,心不貪戀,意不顛倒。」身也沒有痛苦 ,意也不亂,也沒有什麼疾病,如入禪定。阿彌陀 佛也手裡拿著金臺來迎接你,接你到西方極樂世界 去。在那兒蓮華化生,九品蓮華做你的父母,這是 一定的!無論誰修這個法門,誰就會去的。

為什麼我們在沒死之前,或者我們很年輕的就要 去念佛呢?因為我們修行就修這「臨終一念」。這 臨終的一念,有的時候你想起來了,有的時候你就 會忘了。最要緊就是臨命終的時候,你若能記得念 「南無阿彌陀佛」,那一定是往生極樂世界的。因 為阿彌陀佛他不對眾生打妄語,他一定要接我們到 西方極樂世界去。

那麼說:「阿彌陀佛,阿彌陀佛……,我天天念 ,意思我完全不懂。」好啦!我現在教你懂一懂這 個「阿彌陀佛」的意思。「南無」是梵語,翻譯成 中國話叫「皈命、敬投」。皈就是皈依,命就是生 命,皈依我們這個生命,恭恭敬敬地投到阿彌陀佛 的面前,這叫「南無」。「阿彌陀佛」是梵語,梵 語叫「阿彌陀」,中國話叫「無量壽」,壽命是無 量的。又翻譯成為「無量光」,因為阿彌陀佛他不 單是無量壽,而且光明也無量。他壽命無量、光明 也無量、智慧也無量、神通也無量,一切一切都是 無量的,所以叫無量壽,又叫無量光。無量壽,他 的壽命,無終無始,也不知道是什麼時候開始?也 不知道是什麼時候終了?不過,在《彌陀經》上說 :「阿彌陀佛成佛以來,於今十劫。」所以阿彌陀 佛既有無量壽又有無量光,又有無量神通,又有無 量的變化、無量的智慧,一切一切都是無量的,所 以叫阿彌陀佛。

這一位佛,我們每一個眾生念他的時候,他都接 我們到他那個極樂世界去,做阿彌陀佛的弟子。我 們現在人人都知道觀世音菩薩,這觀世音菩薩就是 阿彌陀佛的弟子,大勢至菩薩也是。觀世音菩薩和 大勢至菩薩在阿彌陀佛的左右兩邊站著,所以這叫 西方三聖。西方的三聖就是阿彌陀佛、觀世音菩薩 、大勢至菩薩。觀世音菩薩、大勢至菩薩,既是阿 彌陀佛的護法,又是阿彌陀佛的代表。阿彌陀佛在 西方極樂世界來接引眾生,有的時候,觀世音菩薩 也來接引,大勢至菩薩也來接引。所以你念觀世音 菩薩,也會生到極樂世界去;你念大勢至菩薩,也 會生到極樂世界去。所以這西方三聖,是接引十方 一切眾生,同歸極樂世界去成佛的。

After Shakyamuni Buddha became a Buddha, he spoke as many as 84,000 Dharma-doors (methods of practice). Each one of them teaches living beings how to cultivate and accomplish Buddhahood. One must first bring forth the Bodhi mind, then cultivate all kinds of merit and virtue, and practice the Bodhisattva path. Only then can one hope to become a Buddha. However, the process takes an immeasurable amount of time. Among these 84,000 Dharma-doors is one called the Pure Land Dharma-door, which teaches people to concentrate on reciting the Buddha's name. This Dharma-door was created by a Bhikshu named Fa Zang (Dharma Treasury). When Bhikshu Fa Zang was a left-home person, he made forty-eight great vows. These vows said that when he became a Buddha in the future, his land would be one which had "none of the sufferings, but every kind of bliss." If any living being in the ten directions, in whatever world or planet, recites his name, he would receive and lead that living being to his land to be born from a lotus flower by transformation and eventually become a Buddha.

If a living being recited his name but did not become a Buddha, Bhikshu Fa Zang would never realize Buddhahood. If he became a Buddha, then living beings who recite his name would surely be born in his land—the Land of Utimate Bliss. Therefore, Shakyamuni Buddha spoke the Pure Land Dharma-door without being requested to do so. All other Dharma-doors or Sutras were spoken by the Buddha only after they were requested. Why was the Pure Land Dharma-door spoken without request? It was because this Dharma-door is inconceivable. The great Bhikshus and Arhats did not have the wisdom to request this Dharma-door. So when Shakyamuni Buddha saw that the time was ripe, even though no one made the request, he went ahead and spoke this Dharma-door.

The Pure Land Dharma-door is suitable for all living beings. It is said, "With little effort, one can achieve great success." Thus, this Dharma-door not only tallies with principles, it also tallies with the appropriate potentials. This session at Gold Mountain Monastery proves it. There were only twenty people during the Chan meditation session, but now that we are having a recitation session, there are over thirty participants. This proves that this Dharma-door is suitable for all people. It's only to be feared that you don't recite. As long as you recite, the vow power of Amitabha Buddha will bring you to the Land of Ultimate Bliss. This is the most inconceivable Dharma door.

In the Western Land of Ultimate Bliss, Amitabha Buddha has a wire connecting to all living beings who recite the Buddha's name. When we recite here, Amitabha Buddha's telephone rings and tells him that in the Saha World there is a living being reciting the Buddha's name! Where is Amitabha Buddha's phone located? The phone is located in every one of his hair pores. Each hair pore has a phone in it. When the phone rings, he says, "Hello!" When that phone rings, he says, "Wei!" (Greeting on phone in Chinese) Another phone rings, he says, "Yes!" Yet another phone rings, he says, "Mashi! Mashi!" (Greeting in Japanese) So, limitless phones have been installed on Amitabha Buddha's body. It's only to be feared that you don't make the call. As long as you call, Amitabha Buddha will surely hear you reciting "Amitabha Buddha." This is not a joke. It's true.

If you recite "Namo Amitabha Buddha" once, Amitabha Buddha will hear you once. If you recite ten times, Amitabha Buddha will hear you ten times. If you recite a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand, or a hundred million times, Amitabha Buddha will make a note of you saying, "When this person comes to the end of his life, I will go and pick him up!" He makes a note. When your time comes, "your body will suffer no illness, your mind will have no greed, and your mind will not be disoriented." Your body will not feel pain, your mind will not be confused, and you won't have any sickness; it will be like entering samadhi. Amitabha Buddha, holding a golden dais in his hand, will come to welcome you to the Western Land of Ultimate Bliss. There, you will be born from a lotus flower by transformation, with the nine grades of lotus flowers as your parents. This is for sure. Whoever cultivates this Dharma-door will go!

Why should we recite before we die, or when we are still very young? It is because what we cultivate is the "one thought before death." In this one last thought, you may remember to recite, or you may forget. The most important thing is that on the verge of death, if you can remember to recite "Namo Amitabha Buddha," then you will surely be reborn in the Land of Ultimate Bliss. Since Amitabha Buddha does not lie to living beings, he will definitely take us to the western Land of Ultimate Bliss.

Someone may say, "Okay! Amitabha Buddha, Amitabha Buddha... I will recite every day but I don't understand what it means." Well, I'll explain for you the meaning of "Amitabha Buddha." "Namo" is Sanskrit and it is translated as "return one's life to," or, "respectfully offer oneself to." It means We return our lives to and respectfully offer ourselves up in front of Amitabha Buddha. "Amitabha Buddha" is also Sanskrit. The Sanskrit "Amita" means "immeasurable life span." Another meaning is "limitless light." Not only is Amitabha Buddha's life span limitless, his bright light is also limitless. His life span is immeasurable; his bright light is also immeasurable; and his wisdom and spiritual power are also limitless. Everything about him is limitless. Thus, he is called "one with an immeasurable life span" as well as "one with limitless bright light." His life has neither a beginning nor an end. We do not know when it began nor when it will end. However, in The Buddha Speaks of Amitabha Sutra, it says, "Since Amitabha realized Buddhahood, ten kalpas (eons) have passed." Since Amitabha Buddha has a limitless life span, limitless light, limitless spiritual power, limitless transformations, and limitless wisdom, and everything about him is limitless, he is called Amitabha Buddha.

When we recite the name of this Buddha, he will take us to the Land of Ultimate Bliss to become his disciple. We are all familiar with Guanshiyin Bodhisattva. This Bodhisattva is Amitabha Buddha's disciple. So is Great Strength Bodhisattva. Guanshiyin Bodhisattva and Great Strength Bodhisattva stand to the left and right of Amitabha Buddha. The three are called the Three Sages of the West. Guanshiyin Bodhisattva and Great Strength Bodhisattva are Amitabha Buddha's Dharma-protectors; they are also Amitabha Buddha's representatives. Amitabha Buddha receives living beings in the Western Land of Ultimate Bliss. Sometimes, Guanshiyin Bodhisattva will also come and take living beings to the Land of Ultimate Bliss, and so will Great Strength Bodhisattva. So, when you recite the name of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva or Great Strength Bodhisattva, you will also be reborn in the Land of Ultimate Bliss. These Three Sages of the West take living beings of the ten directions to the Land of Ultimate Bliss to become Buddhas.

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