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《菩提田》

 

BODHI FIELD

試論宣化老和尚的佛學貢獻
A DISCUSSION OF VENERABLE MASTER HSUAN HUA'S CONTRIBUTIONS TO BUDDHISM

文‧陳由斌 by Yo-Bin Chen

其實上人講述這部《佛祖道影》是有一大因緣的。因為這部書當初是由虛雲老和尚于一九五八年寄給上人,信上寫著「茲寄奉近年增刻佛祖道影一部,存閱留念,並希自利利他,為道珍重」。且虛老早在一九五六年四月初九書信傳上人為第九代溈仰宗祖師,書信內容言及「座下為法心切,續佛祖慧命,當滿座下之願,附寄源流俾承祖脈,祖道賴以重興,是所至望,專覆不盡」可見上人秉持師訓,將《佛祖道影》講述成白話,令眾生皆得法益,這也是「空前絕後」的。

所以我以為這三部著作是上人的「三訣」,也是眾生的福報,才可以得閱如此珍貴的法寶。

縱觀上人一生詩詞橫溢,我大略估計最少有二千首以上,每句都是對仗押韻,令人不得不佩服上人甚深的般若智慧。尤其將楞嚴咒以偈解之,這是前所未有的事,若未證入「楞嚴大定」的祕境,如何能解之?又上人在講《佛祖道影》時,有時又超出了歷史文獻資料,讓人聯想起上人真有「宿命通」?

上人的願力是「只要我有一口氣在,我就講經說法」,所以上人的著述很多,加上上人的願力--要把佛經翻譯成世界各種語言--,這可說是無量無邊的功德。目前法界佛教總會已經譯出上百部的佛經及開示錄,上人圓寂後,這譯經的工作永遠不會間斷,永遠領導著眾生,由黑暗走入光明,由此岸到達彼岸的究竟涅槃。

第四章 老莊篇

為什麼這篇要名為「老莊篇」?因為縱觀上人一生的開示及行持,都很有老子哲學的味道。且上人在《水鏡回天錄》中對摩訶迦葉尊者評道:「化身老子遊震旦,接引有緣登彼岸」可見上人以為老子乃摩訶迦葉尊者的化身也。而老子一生只留五千言,卻深受歷代百姓及修道人所喜愛,上人的言行很多都與老子不謀而合。如老子言:「正言若反」,「信言不美,美言不信」,「正復為奇,善復為妖」,「反者道之動,弱者道之用」。上人也常以反面的教化來激勵眾生,如有人問如何消滅家中的小蚊蟲 ?上人答:

「我也是小蚊蟲小螞蟻,殺了我不要緊;殺了小蚊蟲不可以。」「你要消滅小蚊蟲,就得先消滅我。」這是上人何等的慈悲 !

上人一生以「不爭、不貪、不求、不自私、不自利、不妄語」六大宗旨來教化眾生(其實就是五戒)。很多人不以為然,認為這三歲小孩都知道的,何必再開示 ? 可是上人不知開示了多少次「我這一生的成就,都是由這六大宗旨走過來的。你們任何人想修行佛道,必須也要走這六大宗旨」。老子不也說過「吾道甚易知,甚易行,而天下莫能知莫能行!」,又「天下皆謂我道天似不肖,夫唯天,故似不肖,若肖久矣,其細也夫」,又說「大道若夷,而民好徑」。

本來修行就是很簡單的,「道在邇,莫求諸遠」,可是人們總想走捷徑,到處去打游擊去找「密法」修,真是「人之迷,其日固久」。殊不知「密在汝邊」,能放下一切物欲的追求,及分別執著心,能不發脾氣、不打妄語,當下就是「密法」,就是「道」了 !

上人一生辛苦體悟出來的六大宗旨,以熾熱的心情,希望貢獻於世,有益於眾生。但是人們卻不屑一顧,甚至嗤而笑之,這真是《老子》四十一章所說的:「上士聞道,勤而行之。中士聞道,若存若亡。下士聞道,大笑之,不笑不足以為道」。

上人一生倡「不爭」的哲學,跟老子的「不爭」是一樣的。上人題詩曰:「爭是勝負心,與道相違背,便生四相心,由何得三昧 ?」

真正不爭的人就是沒有脾氣的人,能「得饒人處且饒人」的人。上人又題詩曰:「事事都好去,脾氣難化了。真能不生氣,就得無價寶。再要不怨人,事事都能好。煩惱永不生,冤孽從哪找?常瞅人不對,自己苦沒了。」

你看這不是非常淺白的開示嗎?真能不爭了,就是無量無邊的功德。但是上人可能會落得跟老子一樣的下場「知我者希,則我者貴,是以聖人被褐懷玉」。

上人除了六大宗旨外,另有二句詩很值得我們終身信受奉行,那就是:「真認自已錯,莫論他人非,他非即我非,同體名大悲。」「一切是考驗,看你怎麼辦?覿面若不識,須再重頭煉。」

在《論語》、《孟子》書中,聖人也教我們要「行有不得,反求諸己」、「君子求諸己,小人求諸人」、「君子錯其在己者,小人錯其在天者」(荀子)。上人的教導也是「反求諸己」的,且上人的身教有時令人措手不及。

如一九九三年二月十日,竟發生上人蒙著面紗出現在萬佛聖城。原因是弟子違背日中一食及搭衣的規矩,上人在痛心疾首之下,蒙著面紗回城。上人說:「我在去台灣之前,我就知道萬佛城從我開山以來到現在,所有的宗旨就一掃而光,人都不遵守了。因為這個,令我大失所望,我對你們是沒有面目回來見你們各位的……我要戴一個假面紗,免得用真面目看你們大家。」

上人如此的舉動,真可說是打破佛教界師父蒙羞戴面紗的例子,其實該蒙面紗的是犯戒的我們,而不是師父。我私下言,由此可知上人已達「無我」的境界。

另外在一九九二年春天聖城舉辦了一次空前絕後的「無遮大會」,在大會中上人開示說:

「我自己痛打自己,痛痛打了幾大頓,打得幾乎昏去。因為我沒有德行,教育出這樣的徒弟。如果你懺悔是真的,有什麼過錯,我都願意承擔過來。但你不說真話,要快點下地獄,我是沒辦法救你的。說了真話,真心懺悔,那麼你所應該受的地獄罪報,都算我的。」

待續

Actually the Master’s explanation of the Portraits of Buddhist Patriarchs comes about from great causes and conditions. In l958, the Elder Master Hsu Yun mailed this book to the Venerable Master, enclosing a letter which said, “I am sending you this volume of Portraits of Buddhist Patriarchs that I have composed in recent years. Read and remember it well and I hope you will benefit yourself and benefit others and treasure the Way.” Actually on the 9th of April in l956 Elder Master Yun sent a certificate to the Master that named him the ninth Patriarch of the Weiyang School. The letter said, “You are a disciple who is concerned about the preservation of the Dharma and the continuation of the wisdom-life of the Buddhas and Patriarchs. Now, in accord with your vows, I am sending you the Source, the inheritance of the Patriarch’s pulse, the Patriarch’s Way. Entrusted to you, it will prosper. It is my hope that this transmission will be perpetuated.” It is evident that the Master followed his teacher’s instructions and explained the Portraits of Buddhist Patriarchs into modern language so that beings could gain the benefit this unprecedented Dharma. That is why I consider these three to be the Master’s three most important works. And beings who have the good fortune to be able to read these precious Dharma jewels are truly endowed with blessings!

I generally estimate that the Venerable Master composed over two thousand  verses and poems during his life. Every verse is rhymed and evidence the Master’s profound prajna wisdom. This is especially true of the unprecedented verses on the lines of the Shurangama Mantra; only someone who had truly entered the Great Shurangama Samadhi would be capable of such explanations. Also the Master’s explanation of the Portraits of Buddhist Patriarchs sometimes transcends historical records, leaving the reader wondering if the Master really has the Penetration of Past Lives.

Part Four Chapter on Lao Zi and Zhuang Zi

The reason this chapter is called “Lao Zi and Zhuang Zi* has to do with the extent to which Lao Zi’s philosophy is evident in the Venerable Master’s instructions and practices. In Reflections in Water and Mirrors Reversing the Tide of Destiny, the Master’s critique of Venerable Mahakashyapa states: Transforming and appearing as Lao Zi, he roamed through China; Welcoming those who had affinities to ascend to the other shore. Obviously the Master recognized Lao Zi to be a transformation-body of Venerable Mahakashyapa. Although Lao Zi left behind only five thousand words, they have been profoundly cherished and enjoyed by generations of cultivators and ordinary people. Much of what the Venerable Master said and did accords with Lao Zi. For instance Lao Zi said: Proper words may appear to be the opposite. Truthful words are not pretty; pretty words are not truthful. Being proper has value; being pretty is cheap  Counteracting is the movement of the Way; gentleness is the function of the Way. The Venerable Master often used reverse psychology to prod living beings. One example is when the Master was asked about exterminating house pests and insects. The Master replied:

I am an insect, I am an ant. It doesn’t matter if you kill me, but you shouldn’t kill them.
If you want to exterminate insects, first exterminate me.
That is how based in equality the Master’s compassion was!

All his life the Master used the Six Great Principles of not fighting, not being greedy, not seeking, not being selfish, not pursuing self-benefit, and not lying to teach and transform living beings. (Actually these are the Five Precepts). Many people didn’t take them seriously, thinking that even a child of three knew those things. What need to discuss them? Still, I don’t know how many times the Master said, “Any success that I have had in my life is due to abiding by these Six Great Principles. Anyone who wants to cultivate the Way should follow these Six Great Principles.” Didn’t Lao Zi also say, “My Way is easy to understand and easy to practice and yet there isn’t anyone who understands and practices it!” He also said,  “People say that my Way seems unfathomable, but that’s because they seems unfathomable, but that’s because they have  just discovered it. If they acquaint themselves with it for longer, they will fathom its subtitles.” He also said, “The Great Way is level, easy for everyone to traverse.”

Basically cultivation is quite simple: “The Way is right there with you; don’t seek afar for it.” But people are always looking for shortcuts; they scout around trying to find “secret dharmas” to cultivate. It’s really a case of people getting more and more muddled. Shouldn’t we realize that “the secret lies with us.” It’s in being able to pursuit of material desires and attachments of the discriminating mind; it’s in refraining from anger and refusing to lie. Those are instantaneous “secret dharmas”; that is the Way!

Those Six Great Principles, experienced by the Master through his lifelong asceticism, were fervently set forth by him with the hope of contributing to the good of the world and the benefit of humankind. But people did not take them seriously; even made fun of them. It is truly as Lao Zi put it in Chapter 41: “When the superior person hears of the Way, his is moved to practice it. When a mediocre person hears of the Way, he accepts and rejects at random. When an inferior person hears of the Way, he makes fun of it. The Way is found in not ridiculing and not being self-satisfied.”

Throughout his life, the Venerable Master advocated a philosophy of non-contention that was identical to Lao Zi’s non-contention. The Master often mentioned the verse:

Contention, thoughts of victory and defeat, is in opposition to the Way.
Once the four marks arise in the mind; how can samadhi be attained?

Those who are truly non-contending don’t get angry. They have reached the level of being able to forgive and are truly forgiving. The Master brings up another verse:

It’s easy to get rid of other things, but our temper is hard to change.
Those who can truly refrain from anger have attained a priceless gem.
Further, if we can not blame others, then everything will go our way.   
Afflictions will never arise and so resentment will never find us.
By always picking at others’ faults, it’s impossible to end our own suffering.
 

Now isn’t that an extremely simple instruction? True non-contention amasses boundless and infinite merit and virtue. But the Venerable Master would no doubt omit Lao Zi’s conclusion: “Rare are those who know me; honored are those who can fathom me; such is a sage’s rare jade that he keeps wrapped in coarse cloth.”

In addition to the Master’s Six Great Principles, there are two verses worthy of believing and putting into practice. They are:

Let us truly recognize our own faults and not discuss the faults of others.
Others’ faults are just our own;
 to be one with everyone is great compassion.
Everything is a test to see what we will do.
Not recognizing what’s before our eyes, we have do start anew.

In the Analects and Mencius the sages tell us that when things don’t go our way, we should look within ourselves. Also the superior person seeks within himself; the petty person looks at others. Also when the superior person makes a mistake, he takes responsibility for it. When a petty person makes a mistake, he blames heaven. (Xun Zi). The Venerable Master’s guidance was also to turn around and seek within yourself.

It’s true that people were sometimes stunned by the Master’s teachings, like the time on February 10, l993, when he wore masks during his visits to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. It turned out to be because his disciples had violated the practices of taking only one meal a day at noon and always wearing the precept sash. It was with a sense of grief that the Master wore the masks when he returned to the City. He commented:

Before I went to Taiwan I knew that all the principles I had established from the founding of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas onward would be wiped out; I knew people would not honor them. That has caused me a tremendous lose of hope and I cannot face you all. And so I’m wearing a mask to avoid having to look you all straight in the face.

The Master’s stance is unprecedented in Buddhist history. Never has a teacher donned a mask. Actually it is we disciples who violate the precepts who should be covering our faces, not our teacher. My own aside on this is that it verifies that the Venerable Master has reached the state of “no self.”

Another example of teachings that stunned the disciples took place in the spring of  l992 at the Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas when an unprecedented  During that meeting the Master said:

I painfully beat myself. I have beaten myself several times to the point of knocking myself unconscious. Because I lack virtuous conduct, the disciples I teach end up like this.If the power if repentance and reform is real, then whatever mistakes have been made, I vow to take upon myself. But if you don't speak truthfully, and are only hoping to fall into the hells a little faster, then I have no way to save you.    Tell the truth; use your true mind to repent and reform and then all the retributions for offenses that you should have to endure in the hells I will count as mine.

To be continued

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