萬佛城金剛菩提海 Vajra Bodhi Sea
萬佛城金剛菩提海 Vajra Bodhi Sea

金剛菩提海:首頁主目錄本期目錄

Vajra Bodhi Sea: HomeMain IndexIssue Index

回想萬佛城的生活及法會
Remininiscing on Life and Sessions at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas

比丘恆佐 by Bhikshu Heng Tso

上人說:
「修行最重要的事情就是利益眾生。」

這是聖城成立的宗旨。自從一九七六年成立以來,聖城的一貫的精神就是為了利益眾生。

當我們初次來到這裡,甚至沒有衣夾子可以把衣服在寺院中掛起來。一切都很簡陋。衣、食、臥具,所有的一切都比現在簡單得多。師父用這種方法來教導所有來向他學習的弟子。不管我們缺什麼,我們都很用功。在這些追隨師父修行及學習上人的風範的人當中,有種精神存在––同參道友間的友愛及互助。上人教導我們的其中一件事情是:為了利益眾生,我們必須竭盡能力去學習一切。《華嚴經》中描述,菩薩幾乎能做所有的事情,從善於講經說法的老師到木匠、雕刻師、農夫等等。菩薩善知一切工巧和技術。為什麼呢?因為菩薩必須教化所有各類不同的眾生。

上人也注重教育。我們每個人都參與多方面的學習,並沒有專學某一樣東西。上人教導我們盡力地去學習每一件事情。上人因材施教––依各人最會做的而教。當念佛法會及禪七來臨,由於各人平日一起精進辦道,把這種態度和氣氛也帶入法會。早在法會開始前數月,各人都已安排好自己的時間表,以盡量爭取多一些參加法會的時間。

過去,我們一年之中最少會打三至四次禪七。禪七有為期三週、四週、五週、六週,乃至一百零八天的。每個人都很興奮,能有機會修學這個法門,差不多像是從所有的工作中休假。為什麼你會認為從早晨兩點半至午夜十二點的受苦,是假期呢?這是因為我們真用功。這是一個一心專修一個法門的機會。

法會期間,你所以要按照時間表作息。這些法會的性質是,只要你能夠依照時間表作息,便會獲得很大的利益。寺中或喜捨院(出家女眾的寮房)所有的住眾,每晚必須去聽經。不能溜去睡覺、找朋友、或閒談等等。必須去聽經。聽講經是我們的生計:麵包、和奶油––食物。假如你住在萬佛城而不去聽經,其他的人會說「既然這個人可以不去聽經,我也不必去。我可以在房間休息,或找人談話去。」這樣,你不但自己懶惰,也因為影響人不去聽經而造業。

上人所講的經––雖然是在二十、十五、十年前講的––與我們現在的生活是很契機且恰當的。不要因為這是錄音講經,就不把它看得同樣重要。我記得有一次在金峰寺,在聽上人的錄音講經時,上人來看我們。上人走下台階,坐在佛殿當中,用手加持每一個人。我對這件事的看法是:不管上人的肉身在與否,這是上人所做的事情。那一次上人告訴我們:「假如你來聽我講經(或錄音講經),我會盡全力來幫助你。」據我所瞭解:不管上人是否親身在講經,上人還是在那裡,上人還是在幫助我們。

有一次,一位女居士在法會結束後說:「並沒有什麼特別的事情,發生在我身上。」我問她:「你是否發了脾氣?」她說沒有。「你覺得有什麼不妥嗎?」她說沒有。「那麼,這已經是件很好的事情了。」試想想,世間上所有的人,尤其是在西方,他們為了可以暫時感覺好一些,花了上千塊錢去看醫生。能平平安安、快快樂樂,已經是很大的利益了。

法會期間,我們從早晨四點到大殿做早課,一整天都留在大殿修行,直到晚上九點半大回向結束。唯一離開大殿的時間,是在用午齋的時候。法會的格式非常簡單––通常我們會用一個慢調,和一個快調。當我們整天都用同一種念法,即使是在不念的時候,的的確確還是會聽到念佛的聲音。

記得有一年夏天的觀音法會,當時佛殿中有風扇,經過數天念佛,有人聽到觀音聖號從風扇中發出來。當你靜下來,或去睡覺時,還是會聽到念佛的聲音,因為一整天你一直重覆地在念佛。

上人強調,持名念佛是人人可行的。上人會在佛殿安置暖爐,以使老人家不會覺得冷。年輕人雖不介意冷,但是老人家,假如冷的話,會感受到很大的煩惱,或者在念佛時,不能放鬆自己。

上人教導我們的方法是:半小時經行念佛、半小時坐念、及半小時靜坐默念。這個方法給予人們足夠的時間來一心專注和靜坐。

待續

The Master said,
The most important thing in cultivation is to benefit living beings.

That exemplifies what the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas has always been about. Ever since its establishment in 1976, the spirit of the City has been to benefit living beings.

When we first came here, we didn’t even have clothespins to hang up our clothes in the monastery. Everything was very basic. The food, clothing, bedding, and everything was much more basic then than it is now. The Master used this as a method to teach all of us who came and studied with him. It didn’t matter what we had; we all worked hard. There was a certain spirit—cama­raderie—among the people who were cultivating and trying to follow the Master’s example. One of the points he taught us was that in benefiting living beings we should learn as much as you can. The Avatamsaka Sutra talks about how a Bodhisattva can do just about anything, from being a very skilled and wise teacher who can lecture Sutras to being a carpenter, a sculptor, a farmer, and so on. A Bodhisattva knows all these skills. Why? Because he has to teach all different kinds of living beings.

The Master also emphasized education. All of us took part in learning many things. We didn’t specialize in one thing. The Master taught us to learn everything we could. He taught each person according to their propensities—according to what they were best at. When it came time for recitation and meditation sessions, because everyone was working together and working vigorously, the attitude carried on to the sessions. Months before we would have a session, we would be arranging our schedules so that we could attend it as much as possible.

In the past we used to have Chan sessions at least three or four times a year, and they would last three, five, six weeks...up to 108 days. Everyone was always very excited to have the opportunity to cultivate this dharma. It was almost like a vacation from all the work. Why would you think suffering from 2:30 in the morning till 12 midnight would be a vacation? It’s because we really worked hard, and this was a chance to single-mindedly practice one Dharma-door.

During a session, all you have to do is follow the schedule. The session is such that you will gain a lot of benefit just by following the schedule. People who live in the monastery or the Joyous Giving House (nuns’ quarters) are required to come to the lectures every evening. You can’t run off to sleep or visit friends or chat or whatever. You have to come to the lectures. The lectures are the bread and butter—the food. If you live at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas and you don’t come to lectures, other people will say, “Well, this person doesn’t go to lectures, so I don’t have to go either. I can rest in my room or go talk to people.” You’re not only being lazy yourself, but you’re creating an offense by influencing other people not to attend.

The Master’s lectures—even though they were spoken twenty, fifteen, or ten years ago—are very pertinent to our life right now. Just because it’s a taped lecture doesn’t mean it’s not equally as important. I remember one time at Gold Summit Monastery, we were all listening to his taped lecture and he came to visit. He walked downstairs and sat in the Buddha Hall, and he used his hand to bless everybody. The way I took it was: This is what he does whether he’s there in the flesh or not. He told us that time: “If you attend my (taped) lectures, then I’ll try my best to benefit you.” The way I understand it is, it doesn’t matter whether or not he is physically present at the lecture; he’s still there, and he’s still helping us.

Once a laywoman said after attending a session: “Well, nothing special happened to me.”

I asked her, “Well, did you get angry?”

She said, “No.”

“Did you feel bad in any way?”

She said, “No.”

“Well, that’s already a really good thing.” Think of all the people in the world, especially in the West, who pay thousands of dollars to doctors just so they can feel good for a little while. Being peaceful and happy is already a big benefit.

During the sessions, we go to the Buddha Hall for morning recitation at four o’clock in the morning and stay in the Buddha Hall cultivating all day long until the end of the Great Transference at nine-thirty at night. The only time we leave the hall is during lunchtime.

The style of the sessions is quite simple—usually we use only one slow tune and one fast tune. When we recite one way the whole time, we can actually hear the Buddha’s name recited even when we are not reciting.

I remember once during a Guanyin Session in the summertime, there were fans in the Buddha Hall, and after a few days of reciting, people were hearing Guanyin’s name coming out of the fans. When you’re quiet or even when you go to sleep, you can also hear the Buddha’s name, because you keep repeating the sound over and over throughout the day.

The Master emphasized that reciting the Buddha’s name is something everyone can practice. He would have heaters in the Buddha Hall so the old people wouldn’t be cold. Young people don’t mind the cold, but old people are very bothered if they are cold or they can’t relax as they are reciting the Buddha’s name.

The method that the Venerable Master taught us was to recite half an hour walking, recite half an hour sitting, and recite half an hour in silence. That gives people a lot of time to concentrate and to meditate.

To be continue

▲Top

法界佛教總會Dharma Realm Buddhist Association │ © Vajra Bodhi Sea