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《菩提田》

 

BODHI FIELD

早早回頭,早早回頭!
“Turn back, turn back SOON!”

恆耐師/講述 曾偉峰/整理 一九九六年十二月十八日 萬佛聖城
by Bhikshuni Heng Nai on Dec18,1996 at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas Compiled by Zeng Wei-Feng

一九八二年,我還在洛杉磯金輪寺跟夏荊山老人學風水時。一天,夏老人告訴大家:「明天有一位度輪法師要來這裡弘法,有興趣的,可以帶一些素菜來跟他結緣。」

我當時尚不知如何準備素食,倒是我母親幫我打點好一些素菜帶去。第二天,我跟母親一同趕到金輪寺去 。

一見到上人,就先看到他的兩隻大眼睛,威神炯炯,似乎看到我的骨子裡,我有些害怕。飯後,在一位胡居士的指點下,我們母女二人皆皈依其座下。時隔不久,一夜忽夢見我在高速公路上開著車,迷了路,見到路旁有一廟宇,即下高速公路,逕往廟處,欲問道路。內有一老尼,頻頻相囑:「早早回頭,早早回頭,還不為晚。」一驚夢醒,實在惶惑,告於母親。母親說:「聽說宣化上人很會解夢,何不請他一占吉凶?」次日,我持夢而往。一見面,未等我開口,上人劈頭就問:「她是不是教你早早回頭?」我大驚而答:「是,師父。請問其詳。」「你不能結婚。你結婚不會快樂的。」「難道人人都要像你這般光頭?!」我心裡暗暗回師父一句。現在回想,才發覺我回上人這話時,已失去了以後免蹈苦海之天賜良機。我當時的執著是:我的很多基督教教友,他們既結婚,又生子;吃得好,住得好,實在看不出結婚有什麼不好。

不覺悟的我,仍舊違師良言,堅持結婚。一結了婚,才知不對,果然是苦果一顆。但回頭已晚,時時萌自殺的念頭。有一次與家人發生口角,悲憤之餘,買了一張飛機票,逕往三藩市金山寺,跪求上人讓我出家。當時我心裡全無出家為何之概念,還以為出家人與生具來就是光頭呢!上人當時安排我在女界住下,囑咐說:「你先生還會找到你的。

過了一段時間,我回洛杉磯去辭我的工作。我一回去,家中長輩大為不快,說我倒他們家的門楣子,因為他們家是官家,從此再也不許踏進他們家的門檻。我羞愧哽咽而回,那大概是我生命中最黑暗的時刻。求短的念頭總揮之不去,上人說:「好啦!像你這樣,應該去萬佛聖城大廚房工作三年,再談出家。你現在覺得世間沒意思,做人苦,等到你下地獄時,其苦百千萬倍。你現在都受不了,那時又如何受得了?」” 我到萬佛聖城時,正逢一九八二年彌陀七,緊跟著又有四個禮拜的禪七。我一到大廚房,看到這麼大的火爐、菜刀、鏟子,我嚇都嚇呆了。以前養尊處優,連電鍋都不曾摸過,這下我也不敢再提出家了,想一溜了之。法師們大概也知道我的想法,不安排我在廚房作事,而安排到大佛殿唸佛。 在我來聖城的路上,同車尚有一位老婆婆,叫李居士的,一路上對我備加照顧。以其高齡,不能我來照顧她,反叫她來照顧我,很叫我慚愧。

有一天,我發現大廚房沒麵包了,我一時忘了上人的一條規矩:任何人出山門皆須結伴而行。我獨自趕往山門外的小店買麵包,想不到李居士一直跟著我,當時是傍晚六、七點鐘,天色甚暗,我也沒有注意到她。等我回來,有人告訴我:「你知道嗎?李居士剛才出去,給車子碾了。」我一聽此話,頓時坐立不安,她一定是為保護我,而一直跟著我。她這一死,豈不是替我而死?我晚上睡覺時,亦夢見她在哭。後來上人道出她的一段因緣:「她的前生是一位將軍。有八員部下,因戰敗向他謝罪求饒,他不但不饒恕他們,反將他們統統處決。所以這些人,今生投胎來作她的家人,對她橫加忤逆不孝。另外,這八人的頭目,即今生開車撞死她的這一位司機。這一車禍,等於將她前生的宿債給了了」。

之後我為她誦了幾部地藏經,漸漸地晚上就不再聽到她的哭聲了。我很慶幸今生能夠碰到上人這樣的善知識。

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蘇東坡與承皓禪師 

蘇東坡自禪悟後,對佛法自視更高,聞說玉泉寺的承皓禪師禪門高峻,機鋒難觸,心中甚為不服。因此想要試一試禪師的禪功如何?

一見面,蘇東坡即曰:「聞禪師禪悟功高,請道禪悟是什麼?」。

承皓禪師不答,反問道:「請問尊官貴姓?」

蘇東坡道:「姓秤!乃秤天下長老有多重的秤!」

承皓禪師大喝一聲,說道:「請問這一喝有多重?」

蘇東坡無以為對,遂禮拜而回。

 

In Los Angeles, in 1982, I was learning geomancy under the Elder Hsia Jin Shan. One day, he announced that the next day Dharma Master To Lun would come to propagate Dharma and we could bring some vegetarian food to create affinities with him if we wished.

I had no idea how to prepare vegetarian dishes then; it was my mother who helped me get all the food done. The next day , we went to the Gold Wheel Monastery to pay our respects to the Venerable Master.

The first moment I saw him,he seemed to be looking right at me, his eyes, bright and awesome, were as if seeing through my bones. I was somehow awed. After the lunch, my mother and I both took refuge with him, having been guided to do so by Mrs.Woo, a lay woman.

Time passed and it wasn’t long before I had a dream that I got lost driving on an express highway. At a glance,I saw there was a temple by the roadside. I pulled off the highway, and straightaway headed toward the temple. An old nun inside the temple received me, and she reminded me over and over again while conversing with me:“Turn back, turn back ! before it is too late.” I woke up bewildered and told Mother about the dream. She said, “I heard that the Master is good at interpreting dreams. Why don’t you go ask for his help.” So the next day, I brought my dream to the Master; even before I uttered a single word, he started off by asking me, “Did she tell you to turn back soon?”

rue, indeed, Master,” I replied in great astonishment, “but what does it mean?”

 “You’d better not marry, for marriage would bring you no happiness; only the opposite.”   

Unconvinced, I retorted in my heart “Do you mean that everyone should shave their heads just like you?. But as I look back now, that was the very moment when I lost the opportunity to save myself from stepping into the sea of sufferings that arise from marriage,which awaited me down the road. I was attached to my impression that many of my friends who were Christians had very stable marriages; they raised many sons and daughters, and they ate well and dressed well. So I saw no reason not to get married.

Still unawakened and muddled, I plunged into marriage, going exactly against the Master’s advice. True indeed, it wasn’t sweet at all, but a fruit of bitterness, and it was too late already. I gave rise to thoughts of committing suicide more and more often. After a verbal quarrel with my family, in a fit of grief and anger, I bought an air ticket and flew to the Gold Mountain Monastery in San Francisco. Kneeling down in front of Master, I begged to leave the homelife, without the proper knowledge of what left-home life really meant. I had a misconception that left-home people were born hairless and that was the way they were. Master had me settle down in the Women’s Quarter of the Monastery, predicting my husband would find me .

After some time , I humbly requested leave to go back to L.A. and resign my job before I came back. The Master agreed to let me go. When I returned home, my family was upset and unhappy and rained their blaim down upon me, saying I was shameful and a disgrace to the family, for they held a high position in the government .They forbade me to step into the house from then on.

Shame-faced, I made my way back, sobbing , facing the darkest moment of my life; the thoughts of committing suicide caught me like a spider web. The Master consoled me, “It will be all right. A person like you should go to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas and work in the Big Kitchen for three years before you talk about leaving the homelife. You feel life is gray and meaningless now and wish to die rather than to live. If you do that, then when you fall into the hells, the sufferings will be hundreds of thousands times greater than your sufferings now. You can’t even take them here now, let alone in the hells.”

It was during the 1982 Amitabha Dharma Session when I arrive at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, and there was a four-week Chan Session that followed right away after the Amitabha Session. The first time I went into the kitchen, I was shocked to see how huge the stoves , pots , knives, and shovels  were. I had been living such an easy and comfortable life for so long that I had never even touched an electric rice cooker. The idea of leaving the homelife evaporated into thin air, and I no longer dared to mention it. I even thought of running away. The Dharma Masters seemed to have read my mind. They arranged for me to recite the Buddha’ name in the Buddha Hall instead of working in the kitchen.

On my way to CTTB, there was a lay woman Lee who took the same bus as I did. Although she was elderly, she still managed to take very good care of me. I felt ashamed for not knowing  how to take care of her.

One day , I noticed that the kitchen had run out of bread, so I went out of CTTB with the intention of buying some bread at the corner store, forgetting one important rule set down by the Master: “Whoever wishes to go outside the Main Gate should go in pairs or more.” I went out alone, without realizing Upasika Lee was actually following me and protecting me. It was around  6 or 7 PM and was already getting dark, which was another reason why I didn't catch sight of her.  When I came back, someone told me the sad news: “Do you know that Lee was run over by a car? “ I was shocked at the dreadful news and have been overwhelmed with extreme uneasiness ever since. I feel certain that because she was trying to follow me and protect me, she met with such a tragic death. I felt she  died for me. At night in my sleep I could hear and see her weeping. 

Later the Venerable Master told us about the cause and effect of her fate. In her past life,she was a general. There were eight surbodinates on his military staff. They  lost a battle and repented before him, begging for their lives. Unforgiving as he was, he had all of them executed. Some of these eight men were reborn as her sons and daughters, and grew up to be extremely disrespectful and unfilial to her, really making her later years in life miserable. The head of these eight men was reborn as the driver who drove the car and knocked her down in this traffic accident. So the cause had come to ripen and she had to pay back the debts of that life .

I recited the Earth Store Sutra for her many times. Gradually I no longer heard her crying at night. I am very fortunate to be able to have encountered such a great knowing advisor as the Venerable Master.

The End

Sudongpo and Dhyana Master's Chenghao

After the poet Sudongpo gained some awakening while sitting in Chan meditation, he became arrogant about his knowledge of Buddhism. He heard that at Jade Springs Monastery Dhyana Master Chenghao's practice of Chan was lofty and his Chan banner hard to understand. Sudongpo's attitude was condescending. and so he decided to test out the Dhyana Master's skill.

As soon as they met, Sudongpo said: "I've heard that the Dhyana Master's Chan skill is lofty, would you please explain what a Chan awakening is?" Not answering, Dhyana Master Chenghao asked back: "What is your name?" Sudongpo said: "The name's Ch'eng [balancing scales] as in weighing the Elders of the Universe to see how heavy they are!" Dhyana Master Chenghao gave a great shout and said: "Tell me, how heavy was that shout?" Sudongpo was left speechless. He made obeisence and left.

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