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《菩提臺》

 

BODHI STAND

投入學校敎學
PLUNGING INTO TEACHING IN THE SCHOOLS

【曾瑞平老師】

MR. ZENG RUIPIN

  

人生際遇實在奧妙,在臺北軍事單位服務 二十三年,工作嚴謹、忙碌,而有規律,轉 至報社雜誌工作三年,依然分秒必爭,無暇 過問工作以外的事,而晚間生活忙於人際關 係,在杯觥交錯之中,其生命里程與佛學幾 乎扯不上關係。雖有點輪迴概念,如不做惡 事,死後可歸西方極樂世界等,但佛法理念 僅止於拿香求菩薩保祐而已。

一九九二年初,於偶然機會,經友人介紹 ,得知萬佛城及培德中學、育良小學,均係 由宣公上人所創辦,並獲饋贈《宣公上人開 示錄》與其佛學經典淺釋。在此機緣中,初 識佛法,對萬佛城、佛法,及萬佛城所創辦 的學校,比較有廣泛之認識。後來又蒐集各 方佛學資料,頓覺在佛教正法的萬佛城就學 的孩子,一定不會學壞。

因此,一九九二年底,決定先讓孩子前來 萬佛城就學。次年六月,我放下事務,抵萬 佛城,首次對佛法的內涵有接觸的機會,方 感覺宗教能給予我們安身立命的精神力量。 它不是一種強制的教導,而是在生活中的薰 陶。正信的宗教情操,促進個人精神生活的 成長與圓滿,它能給孩子一項人生最大的財 富,因此對當初的決定是肯定的,萬佛城的 確是讀書與學佛的最佳聖地。適時宣公上人 提倡義務老師教學,再經姜校長大力邀請, 經深思熟慮,遂於當年十二月初,毅然決然 放下良好安穩的編輯工作,接受義務老師聘 請,投入學校教學與學生宿舍管理工作,並 進一步接觸學習佛法。

一九九四年七月皈依師父上人,對在此清 靜禮佛與素食的環境中薰習,深深喜愛,此 聖地將世俗生活遠拋城外。

The encounters in our lives are really mysterious and wonderful. I worked in a military agency in Taipei for twenty-three years. The work was serious in nature. It kept me busy and gave order to my life. Later I switched to working in a newspaper and magazine publishing company for three years. I was still very busy there and had no spare time for matters unrelated to work. My evenings were spent at social gatherings. Amidst tumblers and wine glasses, my life did not seem to have any connection with Buddhism. I had only some vague ideas about transmigration; for instance, I knew that if one did not do evil deeds, one could be reborn in the Western Land of Ultimate Bliss. As to Buddhist doctrines, my knowledge was limited to offering up incense to seek protection from the Bodhisattvas.

In early 1992, I learned by chance through a friend that the Venerable Master Hua was the founder of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, Instilling Goodness Elementary School, and Developing Virtue Secondary School. I was also given the Venerable Master's Talks on Dharma and commentaries on Sutras. This gave me the chance to learn about the Buddhadharma and find out more about the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas and the schools there. I also collected information regarding all aspects of Buddhism. I was convinced that children who went to school in the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, with its orthodox Buddhism, would certainly not become bad kids.

Therefore, at the end of 1992, I decided to send my child to school at the City. In June of the following year, I put down all business and came to the City for a visit. That was the first time I had a chance to come in contact with the essence of Buddhism, and I realized that religion could give us the spiritual strength to establish our lives and settle ourselves. It is not a teaching that people are forced to follow. Rather, we are permeated with it in our daily lives. The spirit of orthodox religion makes possible the growth and perfection of our spiritual life. It provides children with the greatest wealth of life. Therefore, my decision was a positive one; the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas is surely the most wholesome holy place for attending school and learning Buddhism. At that time the Venerable Master was promoting volunteer teaching, and upon receiving Principal Chiang's enthusiastic invitation, I firmly made up my mind, after deep consideration, to give up my stable editing job and accept the invitation to become a volunteer teacher in early December. I plunged into the work of teaching and managing the school dormitory. I also furthered my contact with and study of the Buddhadharma.

In July of 1994, I took refuge with the Venerable Master. I am deeply fond of being permeated by this environment of pure, tranquil bowing and vegetarian food. This holy land is far removed from the worldly life outside the City.

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