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《上人法雨》

 

VENERABLE MASTER'S DHARMA RAIN

宣公上人開示選輯

Excerpts from the Venerable Master Hua Lectures

百子毒蛇作怪
The Hundred-Son Poisonous Snake Makes Trouble.

每逢南華寺的戒期,牠就來攪鬧。
This demon caused a lot of mischief during every precept transmission ceremony held at Nanhua Monastery.

摘錄自六祖壇經淺釋 Excerpted from the Sixth Patriarch's Sutra

今天,誰都知道,自己比不了六祖,我們既然比不了六祖,所以我們受的苦,應該比六祖更多一點。六祖尚且有千磨萬難,來考驗他,來成就他,來幫助他;我們如果遇到逆的環境,不能逆來順受,那怎麼能做一個真正的佛教徒?所以我們要人人抱定宗旨,逆來順受,譭譽不動心。我們若能這樣,六祖大師能降龍伏虎,我們也能降龍伏虎。我們對人不發脾氣,這可以說把龍就降住了。

什麼叫龍呢?就是我們發起脾氣來,就像一條龍那麼不可思議的,能隱能顯、能大能小。脾氣像一條龍,就是忽然就來,忽然又沒有,你找不著一個根,變化無窮。什麼叫虎呢?就是我們生怒氣的力量,就等於老虎那麼大的力量。「無明火,老虎神,這是前生的罪孽根」,你前生的罪孽重,今生你就好生怒氣。生怒氣,就有一些問題發生;你若不生怒氣,什麼問題也不會發生的。所以你能不發脾氣、不生氣,這就是降龍伏虎的辨法。不動肝火,就是降龍;不生煩惱,也就是伏虎。所以「道高龍虎伏,德重鬼神欽」,我們若有德行,不要說人,鬼神對你都是恭敬的。

在南華寺,當我到那裏的時候,現在在右邊建的禪堂,原來就是毒龍潭。潭裏有一條毒龍,常常出來作怪,每逢陰天下雨的時候,就顯神通,放出毒氣。人人在那兒,有的修修道,甚至於就中毒,就昏迷不醒了,有的時候,又發起神經來,這是很厲害的。

有一次,天陰陰的,這條龍現一個大身,用身體把龍潭都佈滿,然後把樹木也都用暴風雨摧毀。所以當時住那兒的僧眾,都非常恐懼,就告訴六祖。六祖出來看,就笑一笑,說:「你真是神通不小,你能現大身,又能現小身,忽然就有了,忽然就無了。如果你真是神龍,現在你是大身,你即刻變成小身給我看看!」這條龍聽他這麼說,果然就把身體縮得像一條蟲那麼大,有三寸多長,就在水裏游來游去。

六祖大師說:「你是有本事,你能變大身,又能變小身,可是你沒有膽量,跳到我這個缽裏來。你若真有神通,你可以跳到我的缽裏來試一試。」

龍是處處想要爭第一的,處處想要做王稱霸的,所以你看中國做皇帝的,都說是真龍天子,就因為他想要爭第一、做王。這條龍,聽到六祖大師說,牠不敢跳到缽裏,牠就單要爭第一。這條龍因為六祖大師說牠不敢跳到缽裡頭,牠就單要爭第一。你說我不敢跳,我就跳給你看看!就跳到六祖大師的缽裏了。可是跳到缽裏,能跳進來,就跳不出去,於是乎,這條龍就降伏了。這是講毒龍潭。

說起毒龍潭,我又想起來我一個經驗,我們人修道,切記不要躁進,不要貪快,不要想要得到神通。你想要貪快,想要躁進,想要求速效,「其進銳者其退速」,你進得快,退得也快。所以我們都是慢慢的,不要那麼用科學,不要坐火箭上天,我們還要一步一步地走。你若一步一步地能走到天上去,那才是真本事呢!你不能走到天上,要藉著火箭的力量來上天,那還不是你自己的真功夫。

我記得我收過一個徒弟,他會做成衣,很老實的,叫陸介霖,以後就跟著我出家。出家後,也很修行的,很不錯。有一次,我派他到鄉下做一點事情,我說:「我現在交給你我的拂塵,有必要的時候你才用;沒有必要的時候,沒有大的困難問題,你不要用。」這個拂塵就是白拂手,我交給他,我說:「你去辦事有什麼急難,你可以用一用。」他就去了。

到了鄉下,就遇著很多人來找他,都說有病,叫他治病。他拿著我的拂塵,給這個掃一掃,這個病也好了;給那個撣一撣,那個病也好了。以後這些人,都瘋狂地來找他,一天到晚,也沒有時間休息,就用白拂手,這麼給人家掃病。他那時候,沒有學白拂手,就拿我平時受持的白拂手,去這樣做。

回來就對我說:「師父,你的拂塵真靈!有什麼病,我給他撣一撣,他就好了。」我說:「撣一撣,就好了,恐怕將來這個病,都跑到你身上,我看你怎麼辦?」我說這話,他不太注意,以後還修行。

以後我帶他到南華寺,在南華寺,他著了魔,因為有一個魔,不怕白拂手。這是什麼魔呢?牠的名字,叫百子毒蛇,一生仔,就會生一百個,在南華寺常常作怪。怎樣作怪呢?南華寺每逢戒期,牠就去攪鬧。怎樣攪鬧呢?一定令受戒的沙彌,或者沙彌尼,就有一個發神經的。

那時候,虛老在那兒傳戒,有人就發神經,虛老也沒辦法。發神經是怎麼樣發法呢?一發神經,就說他自己成佛了,他又是什麼什麼佛,也不穿衣服,上身下身,都不穿衣服這麼跑,不管什麼羞恥不羞恥,各處胡說亂講的,就這樣攪鬧戒壇。每逢傳戒的時候,一定攪鬧人,就有一個人會發狂。虛老在南華寺,傳那麼多年戒,每一年都有這樣的,最後就輪到我徒弟身上,我這個徒弟,也發了狂。一發狂,十幾個人,沒有他一個人力量大,他身上還會放臭氣,人聞到就作嘔。一天到晚,就發神經,發神經說什麼呢?說我師父的法,原來都是假的,說四十二手眼都是假的,因為這個魔就是要胡說八道,來破正法的。

正在這時,有一個明相法師,八十多歲,也是坐單的,八歲就出家,出家後自己默默苦修,他盡打般舟七,打了八次。每一個般舟七,是九十六天,不眠不睡,站著走路,走九十六天。你或者念佛,或者持咒,或者做什麼,總而言之,九十六天不休息,這叫佛立三昧。他這一生,修了八個佛立三昧,所以功夫不錯,他一入定,還可以做一些事情。

當時遇著這個老修行,他一來的時候,不知道是吃錯了什麼東西,就天天屙肚,屙得滿褲子都是邋遢東西,他自己在那屙肚,不能收拾自己的衣服。他是在上客堂掛單,我在南華寺當堂主,當時我這個班首,天天要到上客堂,去看看有什麼人來,有什麼人走。為什麼我看這個呢?我想看看有沒有什麼異人、異僧,有沒有什麼高人,到南華寺來,我不要當面錯過。所以每一天我到上客堂,去看幾次。他來了,我就看見。我一看這個老修行,覺得很有緣,可是他就屙肚。他屙肚,我就給他洗褲子,洗了幾天褲子,他屙肚好了。

然後,正在那時,我這個徒弟發神經。我和那位老修行一說,老修行和我就想法子,來令我徒弟病好。當時一觀察問題,就是有一條毒蛇,叫百子毒蛇,在很久很久以前,就攪鬧南華寺。所以這樣一來,我們兩個人,以他的定力和我的定力,就把這毒蛇給降伏,我這個徒弟病才好。

We all know that none fo us can compare to the Sixth Patriarch. Therefore, we ought to suffer a little more than the Sixth Patriarch suffered. Even the Sixth Patriarch had to undergo countless trials and tribulations before he managed to accomplish what he did. If we can't endure difficult situations, how can we consider ourselves real Buddhists? We must stick to our principles and face the adversities as they come. Praise and slander should not move our minds. If we can be this way, then we will be able to subdue dragons and tigers just as the Sixth Patriarch did. If we don't get mad at people, then we have subdued the dragon.

What is the dragon? Our temper is as inconceivable as a dragon; it can appear and vanish, increase and decrease, at a moment's notice. Like a dragon, our temper comes and goes suddenly; it transforms in endless ways, but one cannot discover its source. What's meant by a tiger? Our anger is as powerful as a tiger.

Fiery ignorance and a tigerlike spirit
Are rooted in the offenses of past lives.

The offenses you created in past lives cause you to get angry all the time in the present life. Your anger leads to all sorts of trouble. Without anger, there are no problems. If you keep your temper and avoid getting angry, then you've subdued the dragon and the tiger. Not letting the fire rise in your liver is subduing the dragon. Not getting afflicted is subduing the tiger.

When one's attainment in the Way is lofty,
dragons and tigers are subdued.
When one's virtue is profound,
ghosts and spirits are respectful.

If one is virtuous, then even ghosts and spirits respect one, not to mention people.

When I was at Nanhua Monastery, there was a Chan Hall built on the right side, at the site of what used to be a pond with a poisonous dragon in it. The dragon often came out to make trouble. On rainy days, the dragon would show off its spiritual powers. It would emit such a noxious vapor that some of the cultivators would pass out or go insane from breathing it. That's how bad the poison was.

One cloudy day, the dragon appeared in a large body that covered the entire pond. It began stirring up a storm that devastated all the trees of the forest. The monks were afraid and informed the Sixth Patriarch. When the Sixth Patriarch took a look, he smiled and said, "Your spiritual powers are not small. You can appear in a large body and in a small body, appearing and vanishing just like that. If you're really a divine dragon, then let's see you transform your big body into a small one right now!"

When the dragon heard the Sixth Patriarch challenge him, he shrank himself to the size of a worm, three inches long, and swam back and forth in the water.

The Sixth Patriarch said, "You can appear in a big body or a small body as you wish, but you wouldn't dare jump into my bowl, would you? If you really have spiritual powers, then I dare you to get into my bowl."

Dragons are highly competitive and love to be in the top position. In China, emperors called themselves "The True Dragon, the Son of Heaven," because they wanted to be number one. When the Sixth Patriarch dared the dragon to get into his bowl, the dragon thought, "You say I don't dare? I'll show you!" Then he jumped into the Sixth Patriarch's bowl; and once he was in, he couldn't get out. That's how the Sixth Patriarch subdued the poisonous dragon.

I am reminded of one of my own experiences. Cultivators of the Way should never be rash. They should not be greedy for quick results or for spiritual powers. If you advance quickly, you will also retreat quickly. That's why we want to go slowly. We don't want to be so scientifically advanced that we take a rocket to the heavens. We want to go one step at a time. Climbing to the heavens one step at a time is true skill! If you rely on a rocket to take you to the heavens, then it doesn't count as your own skill.

I remember that I took a very honest disciple named Jielin Lu, who was a tailor. Later, he left the home-life with me and cultivated very diligently. Once I sent him to the countryside to do an errand. I gave him my dust whisk, the one in the White Whisk Hand, and told him not to use it unless there was an emergency. "If there's no great trouble, then don't use it. Use it only in an emergency."

When he arrived in the countryside, many sick people came and asked him to heal them. What do you think he did? He took my whisk and waved it over one person, curing him. Then he tapped another sick person with it and he was healed as well. People went wild and sought him out day and night, and he had no time to rest because he was busy curing illnesses using the whisk. He had never formally learned the White Whisk Hand, but he just copied the way he saw me do it usually.

When he returned, he said, "Teacher, your whisk is really efficacious! No matter what kind of illness a person has, all I have to do is tap him with the whisk, and he's cured." "You'd better watch out. All those illnesses may end up with you!" I told him.

He continued working at his cultivation and didn't pay much heed to my words. Later I took him along to Nanhua Monastery. That's when he became possessed by a demon that was not afraid of the White Whisk Hand. The demon was known as the Hundred-Son Poisonous Snake, because it would have one hundred offspring each time it reproduced. This snake caused a lot of mischief at Nanhua Monastery. How? It would invariably possess one of the novice monks or nuns during every precept transmission ceremony held at Nanhua Monastery and cause him or her to go berserk.

Venerable Elder Master Hsu could not do anything about it when it happened. The novice who went berserk would claim that he had attained Buddhahood and that his Buddha-name was such and such. He would run around naked, blabbering this nonsense without feeling the least bit embarrassed, causing a spectacle among the preceptees. Venerable Elder Master Hsu transmitted the precepts at Nanhua Monastery for many years, and every year this would happen. That particular year, it was my disciple's turn. When he went berserk, his strength was such that he could overpower more than ten people. His body gave off a nauseating stench that made people vomit as soon as they smelled it. He went into fits of insanity day and night, and he would say, "My teacher's Dharma is phony. The Forty-two Hands and Eyes are false." He said this because the demon possessing him was intent on destroying the proper Dharma.

At that time, Dharma Master Ming Xiang was at the monastery. He was over eighty years old, and yet he still slept sitting up. He had left home when he was eight and had cultivated diligently since then. He had attended eight ninety-six-day sessions during which he constantly walked and never slept. During such sessions, one usually recites the Buddha's name or upholds a mantra, and one attains the Standing Buddha Samadhi. As a result, his spiritual skill was such that he could do things while in samadhi. When the Dharma Master first arrived, he must have eaten some bad food, for he had diarrhea and soiled his pants every day. Being sick, he couldn't clean up his own mess. He lived at the guest hall, and I was the leader of the assembly at Nanhua Monastery. Every day I would go to the guest hall several times to see who came and went. Why? Because I didn't want to miss any eminent monks or special people who came to visit Nanhua Monastery. And so when this Dharma Master came, I saw him right away and felt an immediate affinity with him. When he got diarrhea, I helped him wash his trousers every day. After a few days, he got better.

It was then that my disciple went berserk. I told the elder cultivator, and he and I tried to figure out a way to cure my disciple. We entered into contemplation and saw that a snake--the Hundred-Son Poisonous Snake--was causing the problem. In fact, it had been causing trouble at Nanhua Monastery for a long time. Combining the power of our samadhi, we managed to overcome the snake and save my disciple.

Why do I mention this? I wanted to point out that my disciple got himself into this mess because he didn't follow my instructions. I had given him the whisk and told him to use it only in an emergency, but he disobeyed me and casually used it to cure people's illnesses. That's why he later went insane at Nanhua Monastery. Although it's true that he recovered, the situation he'd gotten himself into was truly dangerous. Therefore, in cultivating the Way, if you're off by a hairsbreadth in the beginning, you'll miss by a thousand miles in the end.

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