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《菩提田》

 

BODHI FIELD

佛教的梗概
General Outline of Buddhism

岳興華 文 By Xinhua Yue
逸蓮 英譯 English translation by Yilian

前期提示:宣 化禪師與美國佛教篇完。

凡事物由因生,有因就有果;果就是因的報應。例如有種子--豆之因,得結豆之果報。善因當然結善果。其實宇宙 並無意識,亦無善惡;它並不是為因果報應而有因果。因果關係是緣生法實際作用的過程。它本身並無要求誰信。宇宙間有情之物多啦,唯人最靈,又有佛之所教, 所以知因果報應,想逃脫也不可能。因果報應是宇宙的實際過程,無可非議。信不信在個人,但是誰也逃不出因果網。

緣起法就是宇宙的實況。它揭破了人類有史以來宇宙間一切現象的起源,平服了亙古以來對世界的論斷,解決了哲學 中許多疑難問題。它是絕對真理,獨一無二的。佛在《分別緣起初勝法門經》說緣起法的有無作者、有因生、離有情、因他起、無動作、性無常、剎那滅、因果相續 無間斷、種種因果品別、因果更相符順、因果決無雜亂,十一意。

無作者:

什麼叫無作者?諸法依因緣生,就不能承認有一個獨立的造者。任何一個因都是因生的,任何一個緣又都是緣而起 的。因有前因,緣有前緣。從縱向推,無始無終;從橫向推,無邊無際。

由此而推出的結論,沒有一個絕對待的因,緣起論者不僅否認人格化的造物主,也否認了以宇宙為本源的理性化的存 在。

有因生:

緣起論者固然不承認有一個絕對待的因,但同時又反對認為一切出自於偶然的觀點。他們主張任何現象的生起都不是 無因的,而是由必然的因果規律所支配的,這就是「有因生」主義。

離有情:

有情梵語是薩埵,人和一切有情感的生物都叫有情。婆羅門和其他各派主張一切有情都有一個常住的,固定不變的, 起主宰作用的自我(意義與靈魂相似)。

緣起論則認為所謂有情,無非是種種物質和精神要素的聚合體。從身體的組織來說,有情是由於地、水、火、風、 空、識,六大(元素)所構成的;依前五大而有身體的機能及其作用--地為骨肉;水為血液;火為暖氣;風為呼吸;空為種種空隙,而依藉後一大(識)而表現為 種種精神活動。

再從心理的要素來說,有情的組織可分為:色、受、想、行、識五蘊(包括一切)。蘊就是堆,把不同的現象分類, 每一類一堆。

簡單地解釋,色是各種物質:眼、耳、鼻、舌、身五根(根即人身的感覺器官),和色、聲、香、味、觸五境(境就 是感覺對象),都屬於色。

受、想、行、識,則包括重要的精神要素。

受是感覺:感覺苦樂,或不苦不樂等等。)

想是印象:攝取事物相貌,知道是青黃赤白,是長短方圓,是苦是樂等。

行是思維:思維推動身心活動的力量所以叫作行。

識是了解分別:對於所認識的對象予以判斷和推理。

佛教根據以上兩方面的分析,說明有情不是固定單獨一體,而是種種要素的聚合體;而任何要素又都是剎那剎那依緣 而生滅的。所以找不到一個獨立的有情支配著身心,也就是找不到我的存在。這便是無我的簡單解釋。

待續


From last issue: End of “Dhyana Master Hua and American Buddhism”

Everything arises from causes, and if there is a cause there will be an effect. The effect is just the retribution. Take the example of seeds—with beans as seeds, one will get beans as the result. Good causes, of course, lead to good results. The universe itself actually is devoid of mental volition and has no concept of good and bad. It does not set up causes and effects for the sake of having causes and effects. Causes and effects are simply the process by which the principle of conditioned arising actually functions. They do not require anyone to believe them. Among the myriad sentient beings of the universe, human beings are the most highly developed and, having access to the Buddha’s teaching, know about causes, effects, and retributions, and the impossibility of escaping them. Causes, effects, and retributions are part of the reality of the universe and cannot be nullified. Whether you believe them is up to you. However, no one can escape the net of causes and effects.

The law of conditioned arising describes the reality of the universe. It explains the origin of all phenomena in the universe since the beginning of human history and resolves many difficult philosophical questions. It is the absolute truth. In the Sutra of the Analysis of the Initial Supreme Dharma-door of Conditioned Arising, the Buddha said that the Dharma of conditioned arising has eleven aspects, namely: that things have no creator, are produced from causes, are separate from sentient beings, arise because of other things, are devoid of movement, are impermanent in nature, perish in an instant, and are characterized by uninterrupted continuation of causes and effects; that causes and effects come in various grades, correspond to one another, and are never out of order or confused.

Having No Creator

What does it mean that things have no creator? If all things are born from causes and conditions, then one cannot affirm the existence of an independent creator. Any given cause is born from a previous cause; any given condition arises from a previous condition. Extending the line of reasoning that every cause and condition is preceded by another, we see that there is no beginning and no end, no limits or boundaries.

Conclusion: There is no absolute cause. The theory of conditioned arising not only denies a humanistic creator, it denies the very principle that the universe has an original cause.

Produced from Causes

“Are produced from causes”: While proponents of conditioned arising do not admit that there is an absolute cause, at the same time they oppose the idea that everything comes into being by chance or coincidence. They maintain that nothing arises without cause, and everything is controlled by the inevitable law of causes and effects. That’s the theory of the existence of causation.

Separate from Sentient Beings

“Are separate from sentient beings”: The Sanskrit word for “sentient being” is sattva. People and all other beings with sentience are called “sentient beings.” Brahmans and other sects believe that all sentient beings are endowed with an eternal, fixed, unchanging “self” with its own will (something like a soul). The doctrine of conditioned arising maintains that sentient beings are no more than an aggregation of various material and psychological components. Speaking in terms of their bodies, sentient beings are composed of six elements--earth, water, fire, wind, space, and consciousness. The first five elements give the body its various aspects and functions: earth is the bones and flesh; water is the blood and liquids; fire is the warmth; wind is the breath; space is the various hollow cavities. The last element (consciousness) provides for the various psychological activities.

From a more psychological point of view, sentient beings are composed of the five skandhas--form, feeling, cognition, impulses, and consciousness--which are all-inclusive. Skandha means ‘heap’ or ‘pile’, because it is as if the different features of a sentient being are divided into piles. Here is a brief explanation of each. Form refers to various material aspects, including the five sense organs of eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and the five sense objects of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touch.

Form, feeling, cognition, impulses, and consciousness encompass the important psychological factors. Feeling refers to sensations (be they pleasurable, painful, or neutral). Cognition refers to impressions (of the appearances of things, such as their color, dimensions, shape, and whether they are pleasurable or painful). Impulses refers to mental deliberation (mental deliberation activates the mind and body, so it is termed ‘impulses’.) Consciousness refers to understanding and discriminating (that is, making judgments and deductions about the objects perceived). Based upon the two analytical approaches above, Buddhism makes clear that sentient beings are not fixed, individual entities; rather, they are an aggregation of various kinds of factors. And each of those factors may come into being or perish from one instant to the next. Therefore, it is impossible to identify an independent entity called a ‘sentient being’ that controls the body and mind, and also impossible to discover the existence of an ego. This has been a simple explanation of the doctrine of egolessness.

To be continued

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