怎麼樣解釋法？「不知道！」那麼我們一談到「菩薩」這兩個字，我們就應該知道，這是大乘裏邊一個聖人。菩薩也是半梵語，具足就叫菩提薩埵，英文又叫 Bodhisattva ，翻譯到中文，它就叫覺有情。有情就是眾生之一，菩薩是九法界眾生之一，也是四聖法界裏邊一個聖人。怎麼叫覺有情呢？就是說他用這個覺悟的智慧，來度脫一切的有情眾生。有血有氣的都叫有情；沒有血沒有氣的，那叫無情。好像一切的植物，這叫無情，可是無情它們都有性，它們都在佛的大光明藏裏邊來生長，所以雖然是無情，可是有性。
Bhikshus seek alms in silence, unlike common beggars, who may stand at people's doors and say flattering things, such as, "Sir! Madam! May blessings, wealth, and good fortune be yours!" When Bhikshus seek alms, they stand silently and accept whatever offerings are given. If none are offered, they simply leave, without becoming upset. That's how mendicant monks differ from ordinary beggars.
The second meaning of "Bhikshu" is "frightener of demons." Because a Bhikshu is very proper and upright, the demons from the heavens and the externalists are afraid of him. The demons and ghosts stay far away from him. His proper energy overcomes all deviant beings.
The third meaning is "destroyer of evil." Ordinary people find it difficult to give up their bad habits. Bhikshus who cultivate the Way, however, concentrate on giving up bad habits and reforming themselves. They are able to make a new start, changing their faults and becoming good. That's why they’re called destroyers of evil.
Present in the assembly were eight thousand great Bhikshus and thirty-six thousand Bodhisattvas Mahasattvas. Bodhisattva is a Sanskrit word, but it has become a very popular term in China. Although many people use it, most don't know what it really means. "A Bodhisattva is just a Bodhisattva!" they say.
A "Bodhisattva" is a sage of the Great Vehicle. The full Chinese transliteration of the Sanskrit term is putisaduo, but the Chinese use the abbreviated form pusa. "Bodhisattva" means "one who enlightens sentient beings." Bodhisattvas are one of the nine Dharma Realms of living beings and also one of the Four Dharma Realms of Sages. A Bodhisattva uses his enlightened wisdom to rescue and liberate all sentient beings, beings with blood and breath. Although beings without blood and breath, such as plants, are considered insentient, they do have natures, and they are born and grow within the Buddhas' great bright light treasury.
A Bodhisattva is also defined as "an enlightened sentient being." The Bodhisattva is the same as other living beings, except that he is enlightened. Being enlightened, he "does no evil and practices all good deeds." He has no bad habits or faults. Having attained supreme wisdom, he is not confused anymore, so he does not act out of ignorance.
Ordinary living beings always bungle things up in their ignorance. They don't have any real wisdom. When confronted with a problem, they don't know how to handle it, because they are unenlightened. Those of the Two Vehicles are self-enlightened--they have come to understanding and are no longer confused. However, they have not tried to teach other people the method by which they themselves became enlightened. Bodhisattvas are self-enlightened, and they also share their enlightened wisdom with other living beings, teaching those beings to become enlightened through the method they themselves used. Bodhisattvas enlighten themselves and also enlighten others, but their enlightenment is not complete. A Buddha is one who has enlightened himself, enlightened others, and perfected his enlightened practice. Since he is perfect in the three enlightenments and replete with the myriad virtues he is called a Buddha.
When Bodhisattvas continue to advance, they can attain Buddhahood. There are many different levels of Bodhisattvahood; for example, there are Bodhisattvas of the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Grounds. When Tenth Ground Bodhisattvas reach the level of Equal Enlightenment, their enlightenment is virtually equal to that of the Buddhas--they are only one step away from Buddhahood.
"Mahasattvas" are great Bodhisattvas endowed with great vows, great wisdom, and great skill and accomplishment in cultivation. There were thirty-six thousand of such Bodhisattvas in the assembly of Medicine Master Buddha, which was as vast as the ocean.
Also kings, ministers. Various kings were also present. Kings rule the country in order to bring blessings and prosperity to the people, and they are assisted by ministers.
Brahmans. The Brahmans [the priestly class] were one of the two noble classes in ancient India. While practicing, Brahmans, like Buddhists, may observe certain ascetic practices and be vegetarian, but their goal is to be born in the heavens. Although they cultivate purity and asceticism, they do not work on subduing greed, anger, and delusion. Their equivalent in China are the Taoists. Despite their external differences, Brahmans and Taoists share similar practices and beliefs. There are quite a few skilled cultivators among the Brahmans.
Lay disciples. While others may address you by the title of "Upasaka" or "Upasika" [titles for a Buddhist layman and laywoman, respectively] it is not permissible to use these titles to refer to yourself. Some laypeople print business cards giving their names as "Upasaka So-and-so," and they also speak of themselves as Upasakas. Such people do not know the proper etiquette. Maybe you don't understand what I mean, so let me talk about "Mr." instead. In China, xiansheng ("Mr.") is the most common form of address. Other people may address you as "Mr. So-and-so" out of respect, but you certainly wouldn't introduce yourself as "Mr. Smith" or "Mr. Jones." If you shamelessly call yourself xiansheng, you simply don't understand the Chinese language. This is something everyone should know. Remember not to call yourself "Mr. Smith" or "Upasaka Smith." "Mr." is a title reserved for learned, virtuous elders, and "Upasaka" is used for a layman who has ten kinds of virtue.
"Dharma Master" is also a title used by others to address you. If you call yourself a Dharma Master, you are praising yourself. It's like calling yourself the emperor. Others can hail the emperor, "Long live your Majesty!" but the emperor does not say that to himself. That's common sense. The same goes for the title "Upasaka" and "Dharma Master." These are respectful forms of address. You use them to respect others, not yourself. Of course you should respect yourself, but you don't need to make a show of it. The lore and knowledge of Chinese culture is boundless and inexhaustible. If you miss one small point, you may end up making a big blunder. These rules of etiquette are commonly overlooked.
To be continued