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Cultivation Is The True Art

梁素芬 文 By Liang Soohoong

Every time I hear the Venerable Master’s taped lectures on the rules I am very happy, because my compassionate teacher is teaching me the rules of being a good Buddhist, the rules of being a proper person, and the art of being a fine human being. From beginningless time until now I have been revolving in the wheel of birth and death, creating boundless evil karma and limitless offenses because I did not know, did not truly understand, and did not observe the rules of being a good Buddhist.

I remember that during my first appointment with the Venerable Master in his office in the Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, the Venerable Master said to me, “Simply being able to draw is useless; cultivation is the true art.”

每次我聽到師父的錄音帶,講解戒律時,我都很高興。因為我慈悲的師父 正在教我做一個佛弟子的規矩,做一個正人君子的規範,和作為一個好人的藝術。從無始以來,我一直在生死輪迥中轉,因為不知、不明亦復不守戒律,造下無量無 邊惡業和罪孽。

我記得當我第一次在萬佛城辦公室覲見師父時,師父對我說:「只會繪畫 是無用的,懂得修行才是真正的藝術。」

當我回味這句話的含意和微妙的暗示時,得到莫大的鼓舞,而完全 同意師父所說。在一句很簡單的話中,師父在告訴我藉假修真。他慈悲地鼓勵我創造一個真實的傑作,這傑作並不是用油畫布或畫紙,而是在自性內繼續努力地改進 自己。師父亦提醒和忠告我要用戒律和佛陀的教誨作為畫筆和顏料,來鑄造和琢磨自己成為一個完美的人。在眾多藝術中,如何作為一個完美的人是最困難的。因此 我深深感激,今生有幸能遇到佛法和碰到一位有智慧的大善知識––師父,師父很有耐心來教導我這個又愚癡、糟糕、又冥頑不靈的學生。

當我們買一件用品時,通常會有一本說明書,註解怎樣使用和保養 用品;但當我們出生時,並沒有與生俱來的一本戒律書,教我們如何去作一個人。因此,我們應該深深感激和慶幸,遇到師父這麼願意教我們做一個真正的佛弟子的 戒律。雖然師父用普通語言來說法,聽起來很平凡,但實際上,卻是不平凡的智慧之言。我會舉例來證明此點。愛因斯坦博士是世界著名的物理學家,他提出了相對 論;據說在當時只有極少數人完全明白他的理論。因此,愛因斯坦不費力地用簡單的方法去解釋如此複雜的理論,使到與他同時代的人都很驚訝和留下深刻印象,我 相信愛因斯坦能夠做到這點,正因為他是這理論的發現者。同樣道理,我相信師父不可思議的能力,能用如此一種簡單、淺易的方法來解釋戒律和佛經,證明了師父 完全洞悉修道的真諦。如果我們希望認識到真諦,我們可以開始學習做人基本的道理;因為只有用戒律作為我們的鏡子、老師、和守則,我們才終究可以成為一個完 人。

一切佛經、戒律、疏論基本上都是教我們同樣的事情,教我們如何 「諸惡莫作,眾善奉行」。換句話說,經律論是教我們覺悟的藝術。當我們住在清淨的道場,我們就是與三寶同住。既然我們與三寶,諸佛,菩薩同住,我們應該盡 力,隨時都保持最優秀的品行。師父曾經說過,地球原是菩薩的應化身,因此我們可以把整個世界看作是大菩提道場和廟宇;既然我們住在菩薩的慈悲道體上,不論 在哪裡,我們應該要保持好品格和行為。古語有云:


因此我衷心希望各位能珍惜此吉祥、稀有的機緣來學習佛經、戒 律、規矩。

I totally agree with his statement, and when I reflect on its meanings and subtle implications, I feel inspired. In one simple sentence, the Venerable Master is telling me to use my false body to cultivate the true. He is kindly encouraging me to create a real masterpiece, not on canvas or paper, but by making a continuous effort to improve myself from within. He is also admonishing me and reminding me to use the Buddhist precepts and the Buddha’s Teachings as my working tools and colors to mold and shape myself into a perfect human being. The art of being a perfect human being is the most difficult of all arts. Thus, I am deeply grateful to have encountered the Buddhadharma and to have met a Greatly Wise and Compassionate Good Knowing Advisor, the Venerable Master, who has the patience to teach such a stupid, bad, and obstinate student like me.

When we buy a piece of office equipment, there is usually a booklet in the package that explains how we should use and care for the equipment. But when we are born, we are not born with a book on the rules of being a human being. Therefore, we ought to be most grateful and happy that the Venerable Master is willing to teach us the basic rules of being a true Buddhist. Many of the things the Venerable Master speaks about sound like common sense, but, although the Venerable Master usually speaks in simple language, they are in actuality words of rare wisdom. I will give an example to illustrate my point. Dr. Albert Einstein was the world-renowned physicist who formulated the theory of relativity, and it is said that only a few people in this world are able to completely understand his theory. Therefore, his contemporaries were impressed and amazed that Einstein was able to explain his complex theory in such an effortless and simple manner. I believe that Einstein was able to do this because he was the master of his own theory. By the same token, I believe that the Venerable Master’s remarkable ability to explain the precepts and the Sutras in such an incredibly simply and penetrating manner is proof of his true understanding of the Way. If we wish to realize this truth, we can begin by learning to appreciate the fundamental rules of being a proper person, for only by using the precepts as our mirror, teacher, and foundation can we eventually realize ultimate perfection.

The Buddhist Sutras, precepts, and shastras are basically teaching us the same thing: They are teaching us to cut off all evil and to cultivate all good. In other words, they are teaching us the art of being a perfectly enlightened being. When we live in a pure Way-place, we are dwelling in the same household as the Triple Jewel. Since we are living in the same household as the Triple Jewel, as the Buddhas and the Bodhisattvas, we ought to try and be at our best behavior at all times. The Venerable Master has mentioned before that the earth is actually a transformation body of a Bodhisattva. Hence, we can also regard the world as a huge Way-place and temple; and since we are dwelling on the compassionate body of a Bodhisattva, we should maintain our good conduct and deportment no matter where we are. It is said,

To learn what is good, a day is not enough;
But to learn what is bad, an hour is too long.

Thus, I sincerely hope everyone will cherish this auspicious and rare chance we have now to study the Buddhist rules, precepts, and Sutras.


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