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《菩提田》

 

BODHI FIELD

試論宣化老和尚的佛學貢獻
Discussion of Venerable Master Hsuan Hua's Contributions to Buddhism

陳由斌/文 by You-Bin Chen

第二章 正法篇

何謂正法?佛法共分為三個時期,即正法時期、像法時期、末法時期。世尊法運期限,各經所載不同,古德多依正法五百年,像法一千年,末法一萬年之說。正法時期,正者證也;佛雖滅度,法儀未改,有教,有行,有證果者,是名正法時期,又名「禪定堅固」。像法時期,像者似也;此時期有教、有行,但證果的人已經很少,又名「寺廟堅固」。末法時期,末者微也;此時期轉為微末,只有教而無行,更無證果者,又名「鬥爭堅固」。這是一般對「正像末」法的解釋。而上人對正法的解釋是:

你老老實實去修行,不好虛名假利,不貪供養,就是正法住世。如果每個出家人,能持銀錢戒、能坐禪,能日中一食,能時刻搭衣,嚴持戒律,就是正法住世。

甚至上人更簡單的說:

你們能不爭、不貪、不求、不自私、不自私、不妄語,這就是正法住世。

那什麼叫做「末法」?根據《法華義疏》卷五云:「轉復微末,謂末法時。」,在《大乘法苑義林章》卷六也說:「有教無餘,名為末法。」,但是真正詳細談到末法之說的,則出現在《大方等大集經‧月藏分》和《法滅盡經》之中。後來的末法之說,則出現在北齊的《南嶽思禪師立誓願文》;慧思禪師自記生於末法第八十二年,並書寫金字《般若經》等,誓傳至彌勒之世。隋‧信行禪師,倡導「三階教」,以一乘為第一,三乘為第二,普法(即指全佛教)為第三階之法。唐‧道綽、善導等大師,則謂當時已入末法,主張「時教相應」,而勸人修念佛法門。儘管末法是一定會來到的,但佛也在《十誦律》卷四十九中,舉了末法之時,有五種可以令正法不滅之說,這五種是:

一、尊重正教。謂諸比丘唯依正教進修,遠離小乘及諸外道偏邪之說,是故能令正法不滅。

二、止息瞋惡。謂諸比丘常行忍辱,不生瞋恚,德譽遠聞,令人歸仰,是故能令正法不滅。

三、敬事上座。謂諸比丘於大德之人居上座者,恭敬順事,勤求法要,是故能令正法不滅。

四、愛樂正法。謂諸比丘於上座所聞說妙法,深生愛樂,歡喜奉行,是故能令正法不滅。

五、善誨初習。謂諸比丘於大乘法方便演說,令初心習學之人,有所依憑,進修於道,是故能令正法不滅。

現今的人,大都缺乏「擇法眼」,對於邪正無法分辨,以致跑錯佛門修行的,大有人在。雖然末法佛門中「魚目混珠」的現象不少,然而上人的願力卻是:

我一定要復興正法,我只許可佛教有正法,沒有末法!我走到那兒,那兒就有福慧、減少災難;這是我的願力。因此我就不自量力,到處說正法、行正法。

待續

 

Part Two   Chapter on Proper Dharma

What is Proper Dharma? The Buddhadharma divides into three periods which are the Proper Dharma Age, the Dharma Image Age, and the Dharma Ending Age. The period of time that the Venerable Shakyamuni's Dharma abides varies according to the different Sutras, but most of the virtuous ones of old set the Proper Dharma period at 500 years, the Dharma Image period at 1000 years, and the Dharma Ending period at 10,000 years. During the Proper Dharma period ("proper" meaning "certifying"), although the Buddha entered Nirvana, the Dharma and deportment had not yet changed. There was teaching, practice, and certification to sagehood. That's the meaning of the Proper Dharma Age, which is also called the period "strong in Chan Samadhi." During the Dharma Image Age ("image" meaning "the appearance of things"), there was also teaching and practice, but by that time there was very little certification to the levels of sagehood. It is also called the period "strong in building temples and monasteries." During the Dharma Ending Age ("ending" meaning "insignificant"), the Dharma is regarded as unimportant and there is only teaching. There's no practice, how much the less any certification to the levels of sagehood. It is also called the period "strong in fighting." This is the usual explanation of "proper, image, and ending." But the Venerable Master's definition of the Proper Dharma is this:

You should cultivate honestly. Don't be fond of phony name and false profit. Don't be greedy for offerings. Just that is the Proper Dharma abiding in the world. If every left-home person can hold the precept against possessing or touching money; if they can sit in Chan meditation, take only one meal a day at noon; wear their precept sashes all the time, and strictly uphold the precepts, then that is the Proper Dharma abiding in the world.

In fact the Master puts it even more simply:

If you don't fight, aren't greedy, don't seek, aren't selfish; don't pursue self-benefit; and don't lie, then that is the Proper Dharma abiding in the world.

Well, what is the Dharma Ending Age? According to scroll 5 of the Commentary on the Dharma Flower : "[The Dharma] becoming insignificant and unimportant is what is meant by the Dharma Ending Age." In scroll 6 of the "Profuse Meanings Section" of the Collection of Great Vehicle Dharmas it is stated: "Having only the teaching and nothing else is called Dharma Ending." However a much more detailed description of the demise of the Dharma appears in The Large Compilation from Great Vaipulya Sutra in the Ywe Zang Section and in The Ultimate Extinction of the Dharma Sutra. A later reference to the Dharma Ending Age appeared in the Northern Chi dynasty (550-577 A.D.) in the vows of Chan Master Sse of Nan Ywe. Chan Master Hui Sse (Wise Consideration) himself recorded that he was born in the 82nd year of the Dharma Ending Age and, having written out the entire Prajna Sutra and other texts, vowed to transmit the Dharma until Maitreya Bodhisattva came into the world. During the Sui dynasty (589-618 A.D.) Chan Master Xin Xing advocated "three-step teaching" with the One Vehicle being the first step, the Three Vehicles being the second step, and the Universal Dharma (the entirety of the Buddha's teachings) as the third step. During the Tang dynasty (618-905 A.D.) Great Master's Dao Cho (Generous in the Way) and Shan Dao (Wholesome Guide) said that the time they lived in was already the Dharma Ending Age and advocated "meshing the teaching with the times," exhorting people to cultivate the Dharma door of being mindful of the Buddha. In general, the Dharma Ending Age is bound to come, but in scroll 49 of the Ten Recitations Vinaya the Buddha brings up five things that can prevent the Proper Dharma from becoming extinct. Those five are:

"l. Respect the Proper Teachings : This means that Bhikshus rely on only the proper teachings in their cultivation and stay far away from the one-sided explanations of the Small Vehicle and the deviant explanations of externalists. In that way they can prevent the Proper Dharma from becoming extinct.

"2. Put a Stop to Anger and Evil: This means that Bhikshus always practice patience; do not get angry; and become well-know for their virtue which causes people to return to and look up to them. In that way they can prevent the Proper Dharma from becoming extinct.

"3. Respectfully Serve Elders: This means that Bhikshus venerate and compliantly serve great virtuous ones who are elder and diligently seek the essentials of Dharma from them. In that way they can prevent the Proper Dharma from becoming extinct.

"4. Cherish the Proper Dharma: This means that Bhikshus cherish a deep regard for the wonderful Dharma they hear from their elders and they delight in offering up their conduct according to it. In that way they can prevent the Proper Dharma from becoming extinct.

"5. Explain Well to Those Who are Just Beginning to Study: This means that Bhikshus expediently speak the Great Vehicle Dharma in order to enable those who have just begun to study to have standards on which to base themselves as they progress in their practice of the Way. In that way they can prevent the Proper Dharma from becoming extinct."

In the Dharma Ending Age living beings are continually unable to distinguish the proper from the deviant, to the extent that a lot of people get involved in the wrong kind of practices under the name of Buddhism. That is all because they lack the "Dharma Selecting Eye." Although during the Dharma Ending Age there are a lot of cases of "mistaking fish eyes for pearls" even within Buddhism, still, the Master's vow-power is decisive:

I am definitely going to revive the Proper Dharma. I will only allow Buddhism to have Proper Dharma and will not let there be any demise of the Dharma. Wherever I go, that place will have blessings and wisdom and there will be a diminishing of disasters and difficulties. That is my vow. Because of that, ignoring the limits of my capabilities, I go everywhere speaking the Proper Dharma and practicing the Proper Dharma.

To be continue

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