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《菩提田》

 

BODHI FIELD

常隨佛學
Always Following the Buddhas' Teaching

孫果秀/文 by Jennifer Lin

師父的色身,已經不在人世,可是師父的影像,在我心中反而更鮮活。或者以前因為有一個所見,就意識到師父在這地方,師父在那地方;現在師父把他的質礙除去了,我才覺知師父其實一直無所不在。

皈依師父時,師父已開始示疾,不常回萬佛城;因此親近師父,直接聆聽師父教誨的次數,並不像一些早期弟子那麼多,卻已夠我受用生生世世。更何況師父留下那麼多法寶,只要肯用心去逐字體會,就是得到師父的法了!若光執著師父的色身,卻輕法慢教;師父雖在,亦如不在。所謂「跟師父」,就是要「隨學師父」,來改正自己的習氣毛病,不是要當黏答答的「跟屁蟲」。不是嗎?

記得第一次與師父面對面談話,師父看著我,很認真地一字一字說:「你要替我好好教育我那些孩子!」當師父說「我那些孩子」時,聲音裏充滿了深深的慈愛和切切的悲哀;到今天,我就閉上眼睛,都還可以感受到師父關懷教育,和憐憫眾生的心意。教育社會國家棟樑的責任,是那麼地重,要走的路卻又那麼地長、那麼地崎嶇;但師父的這句話,幾年來一直在支撐著我不要懈怠,更不可洩氣。

另一次,是黃昏的時候,我在路上讓師父叫住。當師父聽到我是送晚餐給安老院需要用晚餐的老人時,師父語重心長地說:「老人對社會國家的貢獻是很大的,一定要恭敬老人家。老人家身體不好,一天願意吃多少餐都可以的。給老人做飯菜要多用一點心,煮得軟一點!」師父對老人家的照顧和設想,一點兒也不遜於對青少年。我因為生病的母親就住在安老院,幾乎一天要跑安老院好幾趟,也就順便為其他須要幫忙的老人家做一些服務,說來還是個私心;師父「老吾老以及人之老」的大公精神,實在是我該努力學習的。

我有個貪快的毛病,因此有時就不免打馬虎眼。我永遠不會忘記第一回替師父寫黑板的事。那一陣子,師父常回聖城,每次回來,一定不辭病苦,給大家上對聯課,而我是師父的助教。那天,師父要我替他把他即興的上聯寫在黑板上。師父站在我旁邊,一字一字慢慢地唸著;我才寫了幾個字,師父就說:「你一筆一劃慢慢寫嘛,不要把字連到一起,教人不容易看清楚。」我急忙擦掉,重新一筆一劃慢慢寫;心裏可是更急了,那麼多人在等著看師父的上聯呢!這一失去定力,用力就不平均,「啪噠」一聲,粉筆斷了一截,掉在講臺的地板上。我迅速瞥了一眼,又繼續寫;我不是不想撿,總以為這種「小事」,可以等我寫完再做。殊不知師父卻彎下腰撿起來,我一下子慚愧得無地自容。師父用無言的身教來教化我:再小的事,也要為別人設想;再微細的毛病也要隨時糾正,絕不可以說「等一下」。的確!所有的習氣毛病,不就是在「等一下」裏定型,並累積出來的嗎?

另一次也是上對聯課時。師父自己把上聯寫在黑板,並加以簡單的說明之後,大家就鴉雀無聲地開始構思。我馬上走上臺去對,師父瞇著眼湊近前看著(那時師父的視力已不太好了);我看師父沒有問我話的意思,就又寫了第二個。師父笑咪咪地說:「哦!你這把大家的聯都寫完囉?」我又差一點兒把粉筆掉到地上。師父是在告誡我不要逞能,凡事給別人一個機會呢!

類似的情況還有一次。師父在大清早交待我代寫一篇序,給我兩天的時間,可是我下午就拿著去見師父了。我看師父很歡喜的樣子,就鼓起勇氣對師父陳述我的教育理念。師父凝重地注意聽著,不時頷首表示同意;我就更加大放厥詞起來,甚至批評起某教授錯誤的方針。師父只是輕輕嘆了一口氣說:「我是everything is O.K.(什麼都可以!)既然有人願意做 事,我也就讓他去做去。這鼓勵大家做事嘛!就算錯了,改了就是了,沒關係的!」我又深深懊悔起自己的執著和猛浪了,以為自己真是什麼教育專家嗎?其實一點兒智慧和涵養也沒有!這叫自作聰明,根本就沒能用心去體會師父愛護人才、培植人才的深心!師父的處處民主開放,和無所執著,是我該努力隨學的。雖然事後師父一點兒也沒責備我放肆,且對別人稱說我「思想很完全」;但三年多來,我一直在懺悔這件事,也一再提醒自己:要知道韜光養晦,要凡事給別人嘗試的機會;絕不要執著於自己的知見,而抹煞了事情任何的可能性。

如今,師父的色身,雖然已經不在人世,可是師父的典型和教化,卻是日月常輝,永遠在弟子們心中。我發願:生生世世,一定常隨佛學、常隨師學。虛空界盡,我願無盡!

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本刊以弘揚佛陀正法為宗旨,歡迎各界投稿。凡是有關佛法之學術論述、個人學佛因緣、心路歷程、心得感應等經歷,以及對於現今教育的看法、學習的感想、心得報告,都歡迎您來投稿。對於來稿:(一)本刊沒有任何稿酬。(二)原則上,本刊對貴作會依實際需要做修正。(三)如果您不同意本刊對貴作有任何修正,請註明。(四)請自行留複本,原則上本刊不退稿;若需退稿者,請附上回郵信封。來稿請寄:萬佛城金剛菩提海雜誌社編輯部

Although the Venerable Master's physical body does not exist in this world anymore, his image is constantly more alive in my heart. Maybe this is because previously I used to attach to what I could see and so I was concerned with where the Master was. But now that he has renounced his obstructive body, I have started seeing things with my true mind and I have realized that he exists everywhere.     

When I took refuge with the Venerable Master, he was already manifesting his illness and didn't come to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas often. I didn't have as many opportunities as some early disciples to draw near him and be taught directly by him. But what I have obtained is enough to benefit me in life after life. Actually, the Master has left us a lot of Dharma jewels, and if we study them closely and wholeheartedly, we can still receive his Dharma. If, however,  we remain attached to his physical body and ignore his Dharma and his teaching, then even if he was still here, it would be the same as his not being here. Following the Master means following him in learning and in correcting our own faults and bad habits. It doesn't just mean becoming a sticky follower. Isn't this right?

I still remember the first time I had a face-to-face talk with the Venerable Master. He looked at me and said seriously, "You ought to educate my children well for me." As he said "my children," his voice was filled with deep, deep kindness and sorrow. Even today, even with my eyes closed, I can still feel his concern about education and his mercy towards living beings. The responsibility of educating the younger generation is heavy, and the way ahead is long and rugged, but the Master's words always support me and help me not to become lazy or discouraged.

Another time he stopped me on the road one evening. When he heard that I was delivering dinner to the old people's home for those who need to eat dinner, he said seriously and thoughtfully, "The elders have contributed a lot to our society and our nation, and we should respect them. Since their health isn't good, they can eat as often as they need. Preparing food for the elders must be done carefully, and the food must be soft." His concern over the daily meals showed that his concern and care towards the elders wasn't the least bit less than his concern for the young. At that time my mother was sick and lived at the old people's home, and as I had to run over several times a day, in passing I did some services for the other residents who needed something. But I was still acting out of a concern for myself. The Master's great spirit of "caring for others' parents as we care for our own" is exactly what I should be learning vigorously.

I have a shortcoming of being too hasty, so sometimes I cannot avoid doing things in a perfunctory and slovenly manner. I will never forget the day I wrote some Chinese characters on the blackboard for the Master for the first time. At that time, he returned to the City more often and whenever he arrived, he always gave a class on matching Chinese couplets, without any concern for his own health. I was his teaching assistant. The Master asked me to write the opening lines of the couplets, which he always made up right on the spot, on the blackboard. He stood beside me and pronounced the words slowly. After I had written a few words, he said, “Write the characters slowly, with separate strokes, don't let them run together. People won't be able to recognize them easily.” Rashly I wiped the characters off and rewrote them slowly stroke by stroke.

But my mind was now even more anxious, because there were many people waiting for that first couplet. Since I had already lost my samadhi, the strength I used to hold the piece of chalk was uneven. The chalk broke into two pieces and fell onto the floor of the platform. I took a quick look and continued  writing. It wasn't that I didn't want to pick it up, I just thought I could do it after I had finished writing; it was such a small matter. But ponderously the Master bent down (he was ill) and picked up the chalk. I was extremely embarrassed. With his silent teaching, the Master taught me that “although a matter is small, one should have concern to others; although a mistake is tiny, one should correct it right away.” This is so true. One can't always say,“Wait a moment!”, for all of our bad habits and faults are formed and accumulated under the cover of this one phrase, “Wait a moment!” Isn't this so? 

Another time during the matching couplets class, the Master wrote the opening line himself and explained its meaning. Then everybody started thinking of their matching lines silently. I immediately went up to the platform to write mine. The Master came closer, narrowing his eyes to see what I had written. (His sight was deteriorating at that time). After having waited a short while, I thought he was not going to ask me anything, so I wrote the second one. He smiled and said to me, “Oh, are you going to finish all the couplets for everybody?” I almost dropped my chalk again. The Master was warning me not to show off, to let others have their chance.

There was one more similar case. Early one morning, the Master told me to write a preface for a publication. He gave me two days and I presented it to him the afternoon of the same day. Seeing the Master so happy, I mustered my courage to talk about my educational ideas. He listened attentively and seriously, and nodded his head in agreement once in a while. This encouraged me to continue without forethought, and I even criticized the incorrect principles of one professor. The Master just sighed slightly and said,“To me, everything is O.K. If someone wishes to do things, I just let him do it. This will inspire everyone else to do things, too. Even if mistakes are made, just correct them. That's O.K.!'

Again, I deeply regretted my attachment and imprudence. Did I consider myself a specialist in education? In actual fact, I was the one who lacked wisdom and the capacity to be patient and kind. I was too conceited and lacked any understanding of the Master's profound thoughts, his wanting to cherish and nourish talents. He was always democratic and open-minded to all things, without any attachment. That's what I should learn from him. Though he never scolded me and even praised me to other people as having complete thinking, for these past three years, I have always repented of this matter. I keep reminding myself that I should know the right time to conceal my talents and live in retirement waiting for another, better chance. I should also give other people a chance, and not attach to my own views, blocking other possibilities.

Now the Master's physical body does not exist in the world anymore. But his example and teachings are as brilliant as the sun and the moon and will always live on in the hearts of his disciples. I vow to follow the Master and the Buddhas, learning from them in life after life. Empty space might end one day, but my vow won't end. 

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