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The Six Major Heterodox Philosophical Schools in India during the Time of
the Buddha and the Buddhist Refutations of Their Doctrine

西尼 文 by Sini
曾偉峰 中譯 Chinese translation by Wayne Zeng


By karma the world moves,By karma men live.

宇宙之如何形成,知識之如何獲得,佛陀都在一部經──百事經 Sabba-sutta 經中給予回答。他解釋了形成宇宙的各種事物是什麼?他說這些事物不出眼耳鼻舌身意;色聲香味觸法。各種事物都被六根與六塵所遮蓋。所有其他的回答都在經驗之外,只會帶來憂慮與煩惱。佛陀強調直接經驗知識。所以佛法又稱為 ehipassiko意即「讓人自己修,自己看」法。佛從不曾鼓勵弟子們只因為這些話是佛說的,就相信這些話。他要弟子們自己迴光反照,以他們內心的真知與經驗來驗證真理:
















From last issue:What can be known

The Buddha's answer to what constitutes the universe and what the methods of obtaining knowledge about it are is found in a Sutra called Sabba-sutta, "The Sutra on 'Everything.'" Here a philosopher named Janussoni questions the Buddha on 'everything,' on what is it that makes up everything in the universe. The Buddha answers that 'everything' is just eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind; sights, sounds, smells, tastes, objects of touch, and dharmas. Everything in the world is covered by the six senses and their objects. All other answers would be beyond the sphere of experience, and only lead to worry and affliction. The Buddha stressed knowledge gained by direct personal experience. Thus the Buddhadharma is called ehipassiko, which means ‘inviting one to come and see.’ The Buddha never encouraged his disciples to believe his teachings just because they were spoken by the Buddha. The disciples were to reflect, contemplate, and verify the truth of his teachings in the light of their own insight and experience:

"And now," he sometimes asked his monks, "that you know and think thus, will you say: ‘We honor the Master and, through respect for the Master, we say this or that?’"--"We will not do that, Lord."--"What you do assert, is it not what you yourselves have recognized, you yourselves seen, you yourselves grasped?"--"That is exactly so, Lord." 

The Importance of Morality and Precepts in Buddhism

Most of the heterodox schools mentioned above rejected moral causality, and denied that good and bad acts had any meaning or consequences. Not so Buddhism. Any achievement in Buddhist practice can only be based on a solid moral foundation. This is why Master Hua has said: “The most important thing in Buddhism is to uphold the five precepts.” The three non-outflow studies of precepts, samadhi, and wisdom are the whole Buddhist path in a nutshell. They are the effective antidotes to the three poisons of greed, hatred, and stupidity. The first step is observing ethical conduct, or upholding the precepts. This gives rise to samadhi, meditative concentration [or, in a broader sense, a mind that is unmoving, calm, and clear in all circumstances]. Out of samadhi arises prajna, transcendental wisdom, which leads one to enlightenment. Thus it is said in the Flower Adornment (Avatamsaka) Sutra: “Precepts are the foundation of unsurpassed Bodhi.” Master Hua never tired of stressing the importance of precepts:

Just before the Buddha entered Nirvana, he told the Venerable Ananda, "Take the precepts as your  master." From this exhortation, we can see the importance of precepts. Moral precepts are the very life-source of cultivators. Violating the precepts is as painful as having one's life cut off.

‘Shila’ is Sanskrit for ‘precepts.’ What are precepts? They are the rules of moral conduct that Buddhist disciples follow. The precepts prevent evil and guard against mistakes. When one maintains precepts, one doesn't indulge in any bad actions, but instead one conducts oneself properly and offers up one's good conduct to the Buddha. (...)

Laypeople who have taken refuge with the Triple Jewel--the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha--and those who wish to make progress should take the five precepts. The five are: not to kill, not to steal, not to commit sexual misconduct, not to lie, and not to take intoxicants. (...)

It is absolutely essential for people who want to cultivate the Way to receive precepts. If one can guard the pure precept substance, one is as beautiful as a gleaming pearl. The virtue of the precepts is very great. If one studies the Buddhadharma without receiving the precepts, one will be like a leaky bottle. To keep precepts is to patch the leaks. The human body has outflows. If one maintains the precepts for a long time, eventually there will be no outflows.

The three aspects of precepts, samadhi, and wisdom are unalterable. Those who cultivate the Way should diligently cultivate precepts, put to rest all evil and avoid wrong-doing. This is also known as "doing no evil and offering up all good conduct." (...) In that way the precepts will spontaneously be pure. When the precept substance is pure, one will be able to give rise to samadhi power.

Adherence to the moral code, the various sets of precepts laid down by the Buddha for monks, nuns, and laypeople, guarantees success in one’s cultivation. Ignoring the precepts nullifies all one’s efforts:

The Buddha said, “My disciples may be several thousand miles away from me, but if they remember my moral precepts, they will certainly attain the fruition of the Way.”

“If those who are by my side do not follow my moral precepts, they may see me constantly, but in the end they will not attain the Way.”

Karma and Cause and Effect

By karma the world moves,
By karma men live,
And by karma are all beings bound
As, by its pin, the rolling chariot wheel.

By karma one attains glory and praise,
By karma bondage, ruin, tyranny.
Knowing that karma bears fruit manifold
Why say you, “In the world no karma is?”

Most of the six heterodox teachers blankly rejected moral causation and karma. They might see causation in the physical world, and explain it in various ways, but not in the moral or spiritual sphere. In Buddhism, however, the principle of cause and effect is all-encompassing. Nobody and nothing is exempt from it, not even accomplished cultivators of the Way, as the story of Chan Master Baizhang and the fox spirit illustrates. Answering ‘no’ to the question of whether great cultivators fall within cause and effect doomed the monk of this story to 500 existences as a fox. He was only liberated when Chan Master Baizhang cleared his error by saying: “Great cultivators are not unclear about cause and effect. It's not that they don't come under it. They would never fail to understand cause and effect.” The point of the story is that having erroneous views of cause and effect or denying causality totally can lead to very serious karmic consequences.                                                                   

to be continued


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