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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

上人並非反對「造廟」,只是現在的人太享受了,不知道以「法義及教育」去度化眾生。只知道以「廟大」去度眾生,弄得一些名利是非出來。而上人對「造廟」的看法是 ;

「造廟不如造人,造人不如造佛」,我要來做一個塑造師,我要來塑造活佛、塑造活菩薩、塑造祖師;我還要把整個世界的眾生都變成活佛、活菩薩、活祖師。

「我拆的不是大廟,而是土地廟、城隍廟、子孫廟。住小廟的人搬到大廟去,大伙兒一起修行,才是大叢林的生活。為什麼住小廟不好?因為住在那兒太無拘無束。不要觀自在,而是吃自在、穿自在、睡自在、行自在,很容易忘了修道;每天只懂得攀緣。這習氣是破壞佛教的致命傷。」

希望佛教對這些話都能痛定思痛,不要再掩耳盜鈴,欺騙眾生。今天佛教亂相已經非常嚴重,但都沒有人敢站出來呼籲,眼睜睜看著佛教走向滅亡之路。三步一精舍,五步一大廟,拚命的做法會、超渡、灌頂、傳法、建寺……,而不知去弘揚教義,教導眾生如何了脫生死?

佛的根本教義就是--教育,使人人都有智慧、有擇法眼,知因知果,斷惡修善,而非一味以蓋廟建寺做法會為務。上人直心的說詞背後隱藏了多少心酸血淚 ?

所謂「但能光照遠,不惜自焚身」,「雖千萬人吾往矣」,正是上人最佳的寫照。

第二節 嬰靈與超渡

由於經濟的發達,大家都向「錢」看齊,所以也興起了一些超渡的「行業」。例如「供養嬰靈」的事,上人對這個問題開示道 :

「這事不能談『供養』,因為它不是三寶(佛法僧),若說是『供養』,就落入邪見,應該講做『超渡』。但是此冤甚深,很難超渡,因為這是『奪命債』,就須以『奪命還』。但是如果遇到『不貪財』的真修行者,可以『有機會』超渡他們。」

「墮胎這個問題非常嚴重,今天世界上會有這麼多疑難雜症,墮胎是很大的因素。你想想看,一個生命還未出世,就成冤魂,到處是要命的小鬼,你說社會會安寧嗎?這些小鬼需要『不貪財』、有道行的人,才能超渡。」

文中上人提到了「此冤甚深」,實難超渡,且需不貪財的修行人才可「有機會」超渡他們。所以大家千萬不要迷信,以為「錢」功德做多了,就「一了百了」超渡去了,這是不明因果本末倒置的,而且在佛經中也屢言不可殺生墮胎。如《佛說長壽滅護諸童子陀羅尼經》中云:「世間有五種懺悔難滅,何等為五 :

一者殺父,二者殺母,三者殺胎,四者出佛身血,五者破和合僧。如此惡業,罪難消滅。」在《佛說業報差別經》中亦云:

「有十種業,能令眾生得短命報,一者自行殺生,二者勸他殺生……七者壞他胎藏(即自我墮胎),八者教人毀壞(即教人墮胎),……以上十業,得短命報。」又《佛說優婆塞五戒相經》云: 「若為殺胎,故作墮胎法,若胎死者,犯不可悔。」

雖然上人也有為眾生舉辦超渡的儀式,但是上人卻很謙虛的說:「我這一生不願參加趕經懺、放焰口、打水陸,因為我沒有德行,道不足以感人,德不足以化人,自己還沒超渡好自己,怎麼去超渡亡魂?所以我是沒有那麼大的膽量的。」

但現在不僅到處成立「超渡中心」,且價位也有一定的「行情」,甚至白衣也參加這種「行業」,專門以超渡來賺錢,這真是「附佛法外道」的道混子。

上人開示說:「現在末法時代,白衣居然也受人供養(白衣即在家人),在家人也居然給人念經,給人超渡,向人家收錢,指佛穿衣,賴佛吃飯。在家人居然就能給人超渡了,那誰超渡他自己呢?不要說在家人,就算出家人盡給人家趕經懺、超渡亡魂,賺錢,這都是有問題的。」

可見末法時,白衣為人超渡,的確是不如法的事,因為在家人修行的功德力畢究有限,不如修行清淨的出家人比較得力。且在家人的義務就是護持三寶,供養三寶,並非適合去主持超渡法會。自己都未得度了生死,如何去超渡人家呢?

至於真正的超渡還是要從自己先做起,再靠三寶的加持,和師父的德行才行。上人開示說 :

「不發脾氣,不爭、不貪、不求、不自私、不自利、不妄語。做一個好人,諸惡不做,眾善奉行,父母祖先就自然超渡了。」

可見,當我們努力修持,不發脾氣,做一個好人,自然就有無量無邊的功德,以此「功德」,亡魂當然可以得利益而解脫。《六祖壇經‧疑問品》中云:「念念無間是功,心行平直是德;自修性是功,自修身是德。善知識!功德須自性內見,不是布施供養之所求也。」並非一定要花錢或誦幾部經才能有功效。所謂「自性眾生誓願度」,自度的當下,即是度人,度人的當下,即是自度,兩者沒有前後的分別。《六祖壇經‧疑問品》又云:「心中眾生所謂邪迷心,誑妄心,不善心,嫉妒心,惡毒心,如是等心,盡是眾生,各須自性自度,是名真度。」

曾有人問過去殺生數量超上萬,往生咒要持幾句才有效?上人說 :

「你要斷慾了,持一句就靈得不得了;你要沒有斷慾,持一萬句也不靈的。」

所謂的「斷慾」,無非是教我們斷煩惱,去無明,去除一切的私慾、愛慾以及脾氣。能斷除私慾及貪心,再以清淨之心念往生咒或誦經,當然一定靈驗的。

過去中國的佛教,常常給人誤以為是專門超渡死人的宗教,這令一些知識份子排斥輕視佛教,上人在圓寂前二年大聲疾呼說 :「中國的佛教,打水陸、放燄口、做佛事、超渡人……這是中國佛教的一種『形狀』、『樣子』。他們就沒想一想,這樣子下去,養成了一班無業的遊民,在佛教裡混飯吃,這有多可惜!只知道賺錢、做超渡! 其實超渡,你必須要有根基,有德行。不要說念經、念咒語,你有德行的話,就說一句話『你往生去了』,他就會往生極樂世界去的。你既無道德,又沒有一個行持,這你憑什麼去超渡人?可以說是負這個施主的債務,並且也把佛教的根本制度都弄得不存在了。」

的確,佛教有的是三藏十二部經,這麼多無量無邊的智慧寶藏,不去開發它的教義,卻儘在「表面」上用功夫,這實在是很可惜的事。

還有佛教裡頭也存著「燒紙錢」的問題。其實燒紙錢是從漢朝才開始有的,如唐朝的太常博士王嶼說:「漢以來,喪葬瘞錢,後世以紙寓錢為鬼事。(見《舊唐書‧列傳卷八十王璵傳》)」意思是要用錢幣與死人同葬。因為中國自古以來都以為「人死為鬼」,所以擬想鬼跟人一樣需要用錢,但到了近代卻演變成以燒紙錢為超渡的工具。

待續

The Master is certainly not opposed to building temples. It's just that nowadays everyone is too comfortable and so they forget that they should be using the "meanings in the Dharma and the principles of education" to rescue living beings. All they understand is using "big temples" to save beings and come up with ways to get famous and rich. The Master's view on building temples is this:

“Creating temples is not as good as creating human beings; creating human beings is not as good as creating Buddhas.” I want to mold teachers;  I want to mold living Buddhas; to mold living Bodhisattvas; to mold living Patriarchs.  I want to mold living beings in this world so that they turn into living Buddhas, living Bodhisattvas and living Patriarchs.

“What I'm demolishing are not large monasteries.  It's the small-town temples, the little-city temples, and the family-line temples. When those who live in the small temples move to the large monasteries and cultivate together with everyone else, then the lifestyle of the large monasteries can be preserved.  Why is life in a small temple so good?   It's because of the total lack of restraints and hindrances. There's no need to“Contemplate At Ease.” Rather, one can eat at ease, relax at ease, sleep at ease, travel at ease-it's really easy to forget all about cultivation.  All day long is spent in climbing on conditions.  Habits like that are the fatal wounds that will completely destroy Buddhism.”

I hope Buddhism will take these words to heart and not continue to "plug up its ears while stealing a bell"-cheating all of humankind. At present the signs of turmoil in Buddhism are alarmingly serious. But no one dares to stand up and shout. Everyone just stands by and watches while Buddhist followers race toward their demise. Three steps and a hermitage; five steps and a big temple-they run around having Dharma Assemblies, crossing over souls, anointing crowns, transmitting dharmas, and setting up temples. They never stop to realize that they should be propagating the teachings and explaining their meanings-instructing and guiding living beings in how to end birth and death.

The fundamental intent of the Buddha's teaching is education--to cause everyone to develop wisdom and the Dharma-selecting eye, so that they recognize cause and effect, cut off evil, and do good. The intent is not to focus on building monasteries and setting up temples. One wonders how much blood, sweat, and tears are hidden behind this stern instruction by the Master.

As it's said, such a one "only wants the light of the torch he's holding to shine as far as possible; he's never concerned about getting burned." "Despite the odds, I will stick to my intentions." This is the best description of the Master.

Section Two     Souls and Ceremonies for Saving Them

Given current affluence in certain Buddhist countries, everyone is into "money" and this has led to the business of saving souls--such things as "making offerings to unborn souls."  The Master's comments regarding this issue are:

“You can't call that ‘making offerings’ because they are not the Triple Jewel (Buddha, Dharma, Sangha). If you call that ‘making offerings’ then you have fallen into deviant views. It should be called ‘saving.’ But their enmity is extremely deep and so they are difficult to save, because the debt is one of having had their lives snatched away and so it has to be paid back with having one's own life snatched away in return. But if one encounters a true cultivator who is not ‘greedy for wealth’ then there's a ‘chance’ to save them.

“The question of abortion is an extremely serious one.  One of the biggest reasons there are so many doubts and difficulties and so many different kinds of diseases is because of abortions.  Stop and think about it:  Before the life-form even had a chance to come out into the world it became a resentful ghost.  Tell me, with so many small ghosts around, who are bent on taking life because their own was taken, how can we ever expect humankind to be at peace?  These small ghosts must find someone who practices the Way and is not ‘greedy for wealth’ before they can be saved.” 

In this passage the Master brings up how "their enmity is so extremely deep," that they are difficult to save, and that the cultivator must "not be greedy for wealth" before there's a "chance" to save them.  So please don't be superstitious, everyone, and think that using "money" to create lots of merit and virtue will "take care of everything"  and get involved in "saving souls."  If you do, then that is a case of failing to understand the essentials of cause and effect.  Besides which, the Buddhist Sutras repeatedly say that one should not kill or have abortions.  For instance, in The Buddha Speaks the Dharani Sutra of Long Life and the Protection of Pure Youths there is a passage:  "There are five things in the world that are difficult to erase, even through repentance and reform.  What are the five? 

1) Killing one's father; 2) killing one's mother; 3) killing an unborn child; 4) shedding the Buddhas' blood; and 5) breaking up the harmony of the Sangha.  If one creates this evil karma, the offenses are hard to eradicate."  In The Buddha Talks About Different Karmic Retributions Sutra there's a passage that says:  "There are ten kinds of karma that will cause beings to receive the retribution of a short lifespan.  1) Personally committing acts of killing;  2) exhorting others to commit acts of killing...7) destroying an unborn child [that means personally having abortions]; 8) telling others to destroy an unborn child [that means advising someone else to have an abortion]...These ten deeds bring the retribution of a short lifespan."  Also in The Buddha Explains the Five Upasaka Precepts Marks  he said:  "If one deliberately has an abortion and the foetus dies, one commits 'an offense that cannot be repented of.'"

True, the Master also did ceremonies to cross over souls, but the Master said quite humbly:

“Throughout my entire life I have never been willing to participate in‘professionally reciting Sutras and doing repentances,’‘Flaming Mouth Ceremonies,’and‘Water and Land Ceremonies’ because I simply don't have the virtuous conduct required.   My Way is insufficient to move people; my virtue is not enough to teach people. I haven't even successfully saved myself yet, how can I go about saving dead souls?  I haven't got that much gall!”

But now, not only are there "centers for saving souls" everywhere you go, there's also a fixed "price."  Even the laity have taken up this "business."  Those who make a living as professional "savers of souls" are really the freeloaders of a mishmash of Buddhism and externalism. 

The Master said:“Now in the Dharma Ending Age, the laity casually accept people's offerings ["laity" is literally "those in white (secular) clothes."]  Left-home people casually charge money for reciting Sutras for people and performing ceremonies to save souls-while wearing the Buddha's robes and eating the Buddha's food. Laypeople casually agree to save souls-well, who's going to save them?  Not to mention laypeople, left-home people who charge money for professionally reciting Sutras and doing repentances, or for crossing over dead souls, also have a big problem.”

It's obvious that, in the Dharma Ending Age, for laity to be crossing over dead souls is something that's absolutely not in accord with Dharma. That's because the amount of merit and virtue derived from cultivating as a layperson is definitely limited. It cannot compare with the strength of pure cultivators who are left home. It is appropriate for the laity to protect and support the Triple Jewel and to make offerings to the Triple Jewel. It is not appropriate for them to be leading ceremonies to cross over dead souls. They haven't even crossed themselves beyond birth and death, how can they save others?

When it comes to really being able to save others, the only way it will work is to start with oneself and then to rely on the aid of the Triple Jewel and the virtue of one's teacher. The Master said:

“Don't get angry, don't fight, don't be greedy, don't seek, don't be selfish, don't pursue self-benefit and don't lie.  Be a good person.  Don't do anything evil and do all kinds of good deeds.  In that way your parents and ancestors will naturally be saved.” 

From this we can see that if we work hard at cultivation, don't get angry, and are good people, then quite naturally we will acquire infinite merit and virtue.  And from that merit and virtue, the dead souls will, of course, attain benefit and be liberated.  In the "Chapter on Doubts and Questions" of the Sixth Patriarch's Sutra there's a passage that says: 

"Continuity of thought is merit and the mind practicing equality and directness is virtue. Self-cultivation of one's nature is merit, and self-cultivation of the body is virtue. Good Knowing Advisors!  Merit and virtue should be seen within one's own nature, not sought through giving and making offerings."  Nor is it the case that you must spend some money or recite some Sutras in order to get benefit.  It's said, "I vow to save the living beings of my own nature." Saving oneself is simultaneously saving others;  saving others is simultaneously saving oneself. There's no distinction of before and after.  In the "Chapter on Doubt and Questions" of the Sixth Patriarch's Sutra there's another passage that says: "The living beings in our minds are deviant, confused thoughts, insane thoughts, and treacherous thoughts. All such thoughts are living beings and they must all be crossed over within our own nature.  That is the real meaning of  saving."

Once someone asked how many times one would have to say the Rebirth Mantra in order to be effective in crossing over the tens of thousands of lives one had taken in the past.  The Master's answer was:

“If you cut off lust, then a tremendous response can be achieved by reciting     it once. If you haven't cut off lust, then reciting it tens of thousands of times won't be effective.”

"Cutting off lust" means nothing other than cutting off our afflictions, getting rid of our ignorance, casting out our sexual desire and emotional love, and putting a stop to our bad temper.  If we can cut off our sexual desire and the greed in our minds, then we will be using a pure mind to recite mantras and sutras and of course there will be an efficacious response.

In the past, Buddhism in China always gave people the mistaken impression that it was a religion that specialized in crossing over dead souls and so the intelligentsia looked down on and tried to get rid of Buddhism. Two years prior to the Master's Nirvana, he cried out in despair: 

“Chinese Buddhism's Water Lands, Flaming Mouths, and other ceremonies and their saving of souls have become the "status quo" in Chinese Buddhism. They never stop to think that if they keep it up, they are going to be doing nothing but handing out free meals to unemployed vagrants under the guise of Buddhism. What a terrible shame! All they know how to do is make money saving souls.“Actually, in order to save souls, you must have a foundation in virtuous conduct. Then, not to speak of reciting mantras or reciting sutras, the single sentence "you can go to rebirth" is sufficient for a soul to be able to gain rebirth in the Land of Ultimate Bliss. For those of you who lack any virtue in the Way, who don't have any cultivation, I ask you, what's your basis for being able to save souls? What you are actually doing is running up a debt with the donor. Besides that, you are destroying the basic system of Buddhism.”

Right!  It's a real shame that they don't open up the Tripitaka [Buddhist Canon] with its Twelve Divisions-a precious treasury of infinite wisdom-and learn to teach from it instead of applying all their effort to superfluous things. 

There's also the problem found in Buddhism of "burning paper money."  Actually the custom of burning paper money began in the Han dynasty according to Wong Yu, a Tang dynasty scholar who says:  "From the Han on, money was sacrificed at funerals. Later generations used paper money in ceremonies for ghosts." The meaning is that the corrupt practice of burning money at funerals became a custom. That's because in China, from of old to now, everyone thinks that "people die and become ghosts" and that probably in the path of ghosts they will need some cash. But nowadays it's turned into the burning of paper money being an essential item used in the saving of souls. 

The Master point out:

“Once the money is burned it becomes ashes.  Once it's ashes, how do I know whether it still has any value?  If you say that burning it has value, well, Westerns don't burn paper money, but you'd be hard-put to say they all become poverty-stricken ghosts who are beggars!  It's said ‘There aren't any poor ghosts in the West, nor any rich spirits in the East.’"

“Ghosts consume the ‘nature’ of things; they don't need real money or actual edible items. If you have some money, you can use it to do some merit and virtue and transfer the merit to the departed ghost.  But people who spend it on burning paper cars, paper airplanes, paper mansions and the like are terribly confused.  It's likely that using fire to burn the money has some connection with the religion that worships fire (Brahman), which claims that the fire spirits can somehow take the burned things and give them to the ghosts and spirits.  In the Indian religion, kuverna (a fire spirit) is credited with this ability.  In general, it would be best to cut out these customs in Buddhism lest it becomes a "booming business." 

To be continued


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