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大智度論

EXCERPTS FROM THE SHASTRA ON THE PERFECTION OF GREAT WISDOM

四種悉壇(續)
The Four Siddhantas,continued

龍樹菩薩著
姚秦三藏法師鳩摩羅什譯
Written by Bodhisattva Nagarjuna Translated into Chinese by Tripitaka Master Kumarajiva of the Yaoqin dynasty
English translation © 1996 Dharmamitra reprinted with permission of Kalavinka (http://www.teleport.com/-dh-mitra/)

問曰:諸佛經何以故初稱如是語?
答曰:佛法大海,信為能入,智為能度。如是者,即是信也。若人心中有信清淨,是人能入佛法;若無信,是人不能入佛法。不信者言是事不如是,信者言是事如是。

信·牛皮喻

譬如牛皮未柔,不可屈折,無信人亦如是。譬如牛皮已柔,隨用可作,有信人亦如是。

信·手喻

復次,經中說信為手,如人有手,入寶山中,自在能取;若無手,不能有所取。有信人亦如是,入佛法無漏根、力、覺、道、禪定寶山中,自在所取。

無信如無手,無手人入寶山中,則不能有所取。無信亦如是,入佛法寶山,都無所得。

無信·枯樹喻

佛自念言:若人有信,是人能入我大法海中,能得沙門果,不空剃頭染衣。若無信,是人不能入我法海中,如枯樹不生華實,不得沙門果,雖剃頭染衣,讀種種經,能難能答,於佛法中空無所得。

以是故,如是義在佛法初,善信相故。復次,佛法深遠,更有佛乃能知。人有信,雖未作佛,以信力故能入佛法。

梵天王請法

如梵天王請佛初轉法輪,以偈請曰:

閻浮提先出,多諸不淨法;
願開甘露門,說諸清靜道!

佛以偈答:

我法甚難得,能斷諸結使,
三有愛著心,是人不能解!

梵天王白佛:大德!世界中智,有上、中、下。善軟直心者,易可得度,是人若不聞法者,退墮諸惡難中。

蓮華日光喻

譬如水中蓮華,有生有熟,有水中未出者,若不得日光則不開。佛亦如是,佛以大慈悲憐愍眾生,故為說法。

佛念過去、未來、現在三世諸佛法,皆度眾生為說法,我亦應爾。如是思惟竟,受梵天王等諸天請說法,以偈答曰:

我今開甘露味門,若有信者得歡喜。
於諸人中說妙法,非惱他故而為說。

佛此偈中,不說布施人得歡喜,亦不說多聞、持戒、忍辱、精進、禪定、智慧人得歡喜,獨說信人。

佛意:如是法第一甚深微妙、無量無數不可思議,不動不倚不著,無所得法非一切智人則不能解。

是故佛法中信力為初,信力能入,非布施、持戒等能初入佛法。如偈曰:
世間人心動,愛著福果報,而不好福因,求有不求滅。先聞邪見法,心著而深入,我是甚深法,無信云何解?

Faith

Question: Why do all of the Buddha's sutras begin with "Thus..."?
Reply: It is by virtue of faith that one is able to enter the great sea of the Buddha's Dharma. It is by virtue of wisdom that one is able to cross over. "Thus..." connotes believability. If there exists pure faith within a person's mind, this person is able to enter the Dharma of the Buddha. If there is no faith, this person is unable to enter the Dharma of the Buddha. One who does not believe says, "This matter is not `thus'." This is the mark of not believing. One who believes says, "This matter is 'thus'."

Faith "Cowhide"Simile

One who has no faith is just like a cowhide which, prior to being softened [by being tanned] can be neither curled nor folded. A person who has faith is like a cowhide which, having already been softened, may be put to any use.

Faith "Hands" Simile

Then again, in the Sutras it says that faith is like one's hands. If a person has hands, upon entering the bejewelled mountain, he is able to freely pick up jewels. The possession of faith is just like this. Upon entering the bejewelled mountain of the Buddha's Dharma which contains the no-outflow faculties, the powers, the branches of bodhi, the [eight-fold] path, and the dhyana (meditative) absorptions, one is freely able to take whatever one desires.

Having no faith is like having no hands. When a person who has no hands enters the bejewelled mountain, he is unable to take anything at all. Having no faith is also like this. When one enters the bejewelled mountain of the Buddha's Dharma, nothing whatsoever is gained.

Lack of Faith"Withered Tree" Simile

The Buddha said, "If a person has faith, this person is able to enter the sea of my great Dharma, is able to obtain the fruit of the shramana, and has not in vain shaven his head and [donned] the dyed kasaya [robe]. If one has no faith, this person is unable to enter the sea of my Dharma and is like a withered tree which produces neither flowers nor fruit. He will not obtain the fruit of the shramana.
Although he [may have] shaved his head, donned the dyed robe, studied all manner of scriptures, and be able to pose and respond to difficult questions [on Dharma], [still], with respect to the Buddha's Dharma,[his efforts are] in vain, and he gains nothing whatsoever.

It is on account of this that the purport of "It is thus..." is situated at the beginning of the dharmas set forth by the Buddha. It signifies [that this teaching is worthy of] wholesome faith.

Moreover, the Dharma of the Buddha is profound and far-reaching. Only another Buddha would be able to fathom it. If a person has faith, even though he has not yet realized buddhahood, he is nonetheless still able, by virtue of the power of faith, to gain entry into the Dharma of the Buddha.

The Gods Request Dharma

 [This point was alluded to] when the King of the Brahma Gods requested the Buddha to begin the turning of the wheel of Dharma. He used a verse to entreat the Buddha:

There first have appeared in Jambudviipa
The many and varied impure dharmas.
I pray you will open the sweet dew gateway
Proclaiming [for beings] the Way that is pure.

The Buddha replied with a verse:

My Dharma's profoundly difficult to master.
[But] able to sunder the bonds of the fetters.
In three realms of being, their minds are all love-bound.
Such people [I venture] cannot fathom [the Way].

"Lotuses" Sunlight Simile

The King of the Brahma heaven gods addressed the Buddha, "Venerable One, the wisdom encountered in the world may be superior, middling or inferior. Those good people possessed of pliant and straightforward minds may easily obtain deliverance. If these people do not hear the Dharma, they shall retreat and fall away into dreadful
adversity.

They are like lotuses in the water of which some are undeveloped and others more mature. If those in the water which have not yet come forth do not encounter the radiance of the sun, then they shall be unable to blossom. The Buddha is just like this [sunlight]. [Pray, may] the Buddha, out of great loving-kindness and compassion have pity for beings and proclaim the Dharma for their sakes."

The Buddha brought to mind the Dharma of all the Buddhas of the three ages, past, future and present: "They all delivered beings and proclaimed the Dharma for their sakes. I ought to do so as well." After reflecting thus, he accepted the entreaties of the King of the Brahma heaven gods and of the other gods that he speak forth the Dharma.
At that time, the World Honored One responded in verse:

I'll open now the gates to the flavor of sweet dew.     If there be believers, then delight shall be theirs.
Among all the people I'll speak wondrous Dharma.     To stay thus their torment, I speak for their sakes.

The Buddha did not speak in this verse of those who practice giving as being those who would gain delight, nor did he refer to those who are learned, who uphold the moral precepts, who practice patience, who are vigorous, who cultivate dhyana absorption, or who are wise as being those who would gain delight. He spoke only of those people who have faith. The Buddha's intent was this: "Unless one is omniscient, one will not be able to fathom my dharmas which are supremely profound, subtle and wondrous, immeasurable and innumerable, inconceivable and ineffable, unmoving and nondependent, unattached and devoid of anything gained."

Therefore, the power of faith is primary in the Dharma of the Buddha. It is by virtue of faith that one is able to gain entrance to it. It is not on account of giving, morality, dhyana absorption,wisdom, and so forth that one gains initial entrance into the Buddha Dharma. This is as noted in a verse:

The minds of people of the world all move          From love for blessings gained as an effect.
And yet they are not fond of blessings' causes.   They seek existence and favor not extinction.
At first they hear the dharmas of false views.     Their minds attach and then they enter deeply.
As for my Dharma which is most profound:         If one lacks faith how can one understand?

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