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

舍利子的遐想
Some Thoughts on Sharira

姚育明/文 by Yuming Yao

上海玉佛寺監院法本法師最近(一九九三年三月)圓寂,終年八十三歲,火化後撿出的舍利子,大大小小有十餘顆。本人有幸得見其中三顆,一顆酷似佛珠,中間有一小孔;一顆才從骨上長出,很小,仿若枯木之靈芝;另一片斷,並不圓,然質地與兩顆相仿,表面全呈班駁的青綠色。舍利在陽光下明顯區別于骨頭,骨頭色澤無華,舍利卻有潤澤之光。

陝西法門寺之所以有名,就是因為供奉釋迦牟尼佛指舍利的緣故。古印度小國間,也曾為爭奪釋迦佛舍利而發生紛爭。中國民間也有舍利可避邪的傳說,可見舍利是個聖物。

內蒙深山中有幾座舍利塔,裡面埋著閉關修定的喇嘛舍利。當地人警告我莫上塔台,我不聽勸,剛上去腿便被無形物螫得鑽心的疼。舍利還真有些神秘的色彩哩!

一位練功有素者,曾在恍惚中神遊虛空,遇一宇宙人,宇宙人心語於他:「當你靜坐無私無欲時,當你持善助人時,當你捨去自己的一切利益時,你純潔的精神之子,就在體內長出了」。這是多麼富于詩意,又多麼崇高的對舍利的注釋。

著名的《般若波羅密多心經》中,也有「舍利子」字樣,如「……舍利子,色不異空,空不異色……舍利子,是諸法空相…」當然,這兒的舍利子指的不是佛骨,而是佛的大弟子舍利弗。

這頗有趣味。佛經上記戴的許多人名,都具有象徵意義,例如:大施、福增、滿願、善求等。我們為什麼就不可以設想心經中的舍利子,也是個象徵性的姓氏呢?舍利弗被視為羅漢果位中「智慧第一」,智慧者不正是要解達佛說的空義嗎?再看世間萬千事物哪樣本性不空?更何況是短促的人生!即便是富有智慧的舍利弗,面對佛的即將滅度,也是同樣的無能為力,他所能做到的,僅是提前結束自己這一世的生命。

真正智者,只是在認識了自己那不生不滅的清淨之身後,才能獲得另一種意義的永生。而要達到這一步,就必須放下現有生命中的一切負擔、累贅。這正是俗說「入空門」的真正涵義。不空,就不相應;不相應,就不能明白佛心。

佛心是嚴父心,是慈母心,是孝子心,是仁者心,是天上人間最美妙、最殊勝、最不可言說的一顆平常心。正是這個原因,我看《心經》讀到舍利子幾字時,便有一種親切、隨意之感。好像佛在喚人,亦好像在提示一種境界。若是喚人,是喚舍利子一人嗎?不!一切心有所悟者,都是與佛有緣者;一切心不所動者,亦是佛慈悲的對象。佛境是我們難以達到,又是我們嚮往的所在。

在我們嘈嘈雜雜的浮華生活中,我們是否好好想過舍利子的問題?從一般意義上講,當嬰兒純真地凝視世界,當垂死之人平靜地回顧往事,應該說,他們比我們具有光輝。這種光輝是無意識的,微弱的,猶如螢火閃亮。然而舍利子的光輝,卻如同日月,肉眼不可辨別,心眼卻能識得。長生不死、榮華富貴,求所不得,無為修煉,卻能獲得大自在,舍利子便是有形的結業證章。宇宙就具有這般奇妙的邏輯。

宣公上人開示      本刊編輯部整理

金剛經云:「一切有為法,如夢幻泡影;如露亦如電,應作如是觀。」

一般人常被有形相、不究竟事相、非真之相,迷的不能辨別真假,乃背覺合塵,認賊作子。把本源的清淨心性染污與遮蓋住了,就像鏡子蒙上很厚的灰塵,不能照了一切外相,對真假不認識了,於是糊裡糊塗地把光陰空過。

又,世上的一切有形質、有所表之事相,皆是虛妄不實。這些有為法,如做夢一樣不真實;如幻化的景象,海市蜃樓;又如水泡,看去似有,探之則無,本無自性;又如影子,根本無真實體性。

而晨朝的露水,在太陽一出來便蒸發掉;電光石火,亦是瞬頃即逝,皆不實在,可是人卻不認識,被外相所迷,終日奔波勞碌去追逐妄相。有些人被財所迷,拼命想賺錢,甚至不擇手段。有些人被色所迷,念玆在玆,晝夜追求滿足其色欲。有些人貪好名,被名譽所驅使而顛倒。有些人放不下吃的,整天惦著吃好、穿好,這個食欲也包括衣著在內。還有一些人,對財色名食都能夠放下,偏偏放不下睡覺。

財色名食睡這五欲,是地獄五條根,皆是有為法,我們應該要認識這一切的有為法,如夢幻泡影,如露亦如電,應作如是的觀察,把它們看得透徹,覺悟它們是不實在的。

Dharma Master Fa-Ben of Shanghai's Jade Buddha Monastery entered into Nirvana in March 1993, at age 83. After the cremation, more than a dozen sharira of varying sizes were collected. I was fortunate to see three of them. One looked very much like a Buddha pearl with a hole. Another came out from his bones; it was very small just like a fresh sprout coming out of dried wood. The third one had the same quality as the other two, being greenish in hue, but it was not round. Sharira can be distinguished from ordinary bones by their gleaming appearance in sunlight.

Dharma Door Monastery in Shanshi province is famous for displaying the finger sharira of Shakyamuni Buddha. In ancient India, small kingdoms vied with each other for Shakyamuni Buddha's sharira. The Chinese consider sharira to be sacred and believe that they can ward off evil spirits.

There are several stupas in the mountains of Inner Mongolia containing the sharira of lamas who cultivated samadhi in seclusion. When I stepped onto the terrace of one of those stupas, ignoring the warnings of the locals, my feet were stung by some invisible force and I was in severe pain. Sharira really carry some mysterious clout.

Once when a cultivator was engaged in astral travel, he met a cosmic being who told him by telepathy, "When you sit in stillness with no self and no desire, when you help others with a good heart and renounce your own interests, the son of your pure spirit is born within your body." What a poetic and lofty interpretation of sharira!

The Heart Sutra says, "Shariputra, form does not differ from emptiness, emptiness does not differ from form (...) Shariputra, all dharmas are empty of form (...)" Of course, here Shariputra is not the Buddha's bones, but the name of a disciple of the Buddha. [In Chinese, both ‘sharira’ and “Shariputra’ are transliterated using the same characters she-li-zi.]

In the Sutras, people's names often carry meaning, for instance, Great Giver, Increaser of Blessings, Wish-Fulfiller, Seeker of Goodness. Why can't we assume that Shariputra is also a symbolic name? Shariputra was deemed  in wisdom among all the Arhats, and wisdom is needed to explain the meaning of Buddha's discourses. Further, everything in this world is characterized by emptiness, how much the more our fleeting human life. Even the greatly wise Shariputra was at his wits’ end when Buddha was about to enter Nirvana; all he could do was end his own life sooner.

The true wise man can achieve eternal life only after he recognizes the pure body which neither is born nor perishes. In order to reach that level, one must relinquish all one's burdens in life. This is the true meaning of "entering the door of emptiness”; without emptiness there is no response, and without a response one cannot understand the Buddha's mind.

The Buddha's mind is like the mind of a parent, a filial son, and a benevolent person; it is the most wonderful, sublime, and indescribable ordinary mind. And so when I read about Shariputra in the Heart Sutra, I felt very close to the Buddha. I felt the Buddha was calling out to remind us about our situation. Was the Buddha only calling out to Shariputra? No, anyone whose mind is awakened has affinities with the Buddha; the Buddha's compassion is aimed at anyone with a still mind. Although the Buddha's state is far beyond us, we yearn to achieve it.

Living in this noisy, bustling world, have we ever thought about sharira? Generally speaking, when babies gaze at the world and those who are dying recall their entire lives, they posses more light than we do. These lights are meaningless and dim, like the light of a fire. However, the light from sharira is dazzling like the sun or the moon; it is seen not with our eyes, but with the mind. If we cultivate the Way without seeking longevity or fortune, we can attain great freedom and ease, and sharira are tangible proof of it. This is the wonderful principle of the universe.

From the Venerable Master Hua’s Talks on Dharma

The Vajra Sutra says, “All conditioned things are like dreams, illusions, bubbles, and shadows, like dewdrops and lightning flashes; we should contemplate them thus.”

Conditioned things have form and appearance, but they are ultimately unreal. Ordinary people are deluded by false appearances and cannot distinguish the real from the unreal. They turn away from enlightenment and join with defilement, “taking a thief to be their son.” Just as a dusty mirror cannot reflect things, their inherently pure minds, obscured by worldly defilements, cannot distinguish true from false. Thus they waste their time in confusion.

All material and visible things are unreal like dreams, illusory visions, castles in the air, water bubbles that pop when touched, and ethereal shadows. They are like dewdrops that evaporate in the morning sun, or fleeting lightning flashes or sparks of fire. Not recognizing that appearances are false, people busily chase after them all day long. Some people crave wealth and won’t stop at anything to make money. Others seek to indulge their sexual desires day and night; lust is constantly on their mind. Some are confused by fame and seek a good reputation. Others are connoisseurs of good food and fine clothes. Some may not be attached to wealth, sex, fame, or food, but they love to sleep.

The desires for wealth, sex, fame, food, and sleep are causes for falling to the hells. We should realize that these and all conditioned things are unreal, like dreams, illusions, bubbles, shadows, dewdrops, and lightning flashes.

▲Top

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