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萬佛城金剛菩提海 Vajra Bodhi Sea

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《菩提田》

 

BODHI FIELD

真修實證與口頭禪
True Cultivation versus Scholarly Knowledge

謹慎 文 By Vigilance
沈海燕 中譯 Chinese translation by Haiyan Sheng

盲人藝術家能畫出很美的畫,但不能親眼目睹:我們要向那些有真修實證的人學法,而非向僅有學 問的人學法。

雖多誦經集,放逸而不行。
如牧數他牛,自無沙門分。

雖誦經典少,能依教實行,
具足正知識,除滅貪瞋癡,
善淨解脫心,棄捨於世欲,
此界或他界,彼得沙門分。

                 《法句經》

英文版《法句經》裡的這段話是佛親口所說。這是兩位好朋友以不同的方法來追求佛的教導。他倆在聆聽了佛的開示 後,矢志出家為比丘。經過五年的訓練,各自選擇了修行的重點。年輕的決定以研究為修行的方向;年長者則專注實修,發展坐禪的技巧,於是他們各自分道揚鑣 了。

以後,年輕的比丘擅長記誦,宣講佛所說的典籍,為五百僧眾的導師,任十八個僧團的傳戒師;年長的比丘,在接受 了佛陀的教導後,獨自一人在森林中苦修,證得了四果羅漢,具六神通。一群僧侶至長者處請教坐禪的法門,在他的言傳身教下,也都一一證得了四果羅漢。

然後,這群開悟了的比丘們便告別了他們的導師,前去向當時住在舍衛國祗樹給孤獨園的佛陀致敬。導師請他們轉達 他對佛陀,對八十位大弟子,以及對他那位年輕朋友的敬意。當他們到達祗樹給孤獨園後,即一一致敬。年輕的朋友問年長者的弟子:「你們從你們的老師那兒學了 些甚麼?」他想,這位比丘,佛典中什麼重頌都不知道。他一成為比丘,就從垃圾堆裡撿了一些破布,進入深山,以後收了許多弟子。等他回來時,我得好好問問 他。他根本就沒料到他的長者朋友早已開悟,還一味地懷疑他的朋友是否有能力教授佛法。

稍後,年長的比丘親自到祗樹給孤獨園來向佛陀致敬。他把袈裟和缽留在他朋友處,才去問候佛陀及其八十位大弟 子。等他返回時,他那年輕的朋友按照禮節款待他,為他安排了座位,自己才就座。佛陀以其神通之力,早已知道了這是怎麼回事。如果年輕的比丘一意孤行,向他 的朋友發難的話,那他來世就會墮落。於是,佛陀就降臨兩位比丘處來調停此事。

按照慣例,比丘們無論何時在祗樹給孤獨園他們的住處聚會時,都會出於尊敬,給佛陀準備好座位。另外也是為了以 防萬一,佛陀湊巧降臨他們的住處。所以,當佛陀來臨時,他就坐到為他準備好的座位上,然後開始向兩位比丘發問。佛陀先問年輕的比丘有關四禪天的境界,以及 證得無色界的境界,年輕的比丘都一一作了正確的回答。可是,當佛陀問及有關初地之開悟境界,及入流之初果直至四果之阿羅漢的境界時,他卻無法回答這些問題 了。接著,佛陀又問年長者同樣的有關開悟境界的問題,長者卻都能應對自如。

於是,佛陀稱讚長者比丘,而對年輕的學者比丘,無一字讚譽。後者的弟子們不禁困惑。為了解開他們心中的結,佛 陀解釋說,他們的老師盡管熟讀聖言,但缺乏實證。所以,「在我的言教中,其人猶如受雇的牧牛人;而年長比丘猶如牛之主人,盡享牛之乳酪。」

如果我們將佛的教誨付之於當今的實踐,這偈頌和這個故事所表達的真理完全適用於我們今日之時代,尤其是在美國 這個社會。

待續


The Blind Artist Makes Beautiful Drawings But Cannot See Them: Learn the Dharma From Those With Experience and Realization, Not Mere Scholarly Knowledge.

He who can extensively recite the Word of the Buddha,
But, being slothful, does not act accordingly,
Is like a cowherd protecting the cows that belong to others.
He does not partake of the Shramana's life.

Even if he recites but a little of the Word of the Buddha;
If he lives in accordance with Dharma,
Having given up greed, hatred, and delusion,
He possesses wisdom and his mind is liberated.
He does not cling to this world or another world.
He does partake of the Shramana's life.

These passages from the Dharmapada (verses #19 and #20), were spoken by the Buddha concerning two close friends, who pursued the teachings of the Buddha in quite different ways. Both of them had heard the Buddha give an instructional talk to a gathering of people and were so moved by his teaching that they decided to renounce the life of a householder and become monks. After they had undergone monastic training for five years, each chose a path of focus. The younger friend decided he would pursue the path of study, whereas the older of the two focused his energies on the path of practice, developing skill in meditation. They then went their own separate ways.

Later, the younger monk became adept at reciting from memory and lecturing on the Buddhist Canon. He was the lecturer for a group of 500 monks and was the Preceptor for eighteen large communities of monks. The older monk, after receiving personal instruction from the Buddha, strove and struggled alone in the forest, and became a Fourth Stage Arhat with the Six Superknowledges. A group of monks went to the older friend to seek instructions on meditation. By faithfully observing his instructions, the entire group also became 4th Stage Arhats.

Then this group of enlightened monks wanted to take their leave of their teacher to go and pay respects to the Buddha who was staying in Shravasti in the Jeta Grove. Their teacher told them to please convey his own respectful greetings to the Buddha, the 80 Chief Disciples, and his younger friend. After they arrived at the Jeta Grove they paid their respects to the Buddha, his disciples, and the friend. The younger friend told the disciples of his older friend, “What have you learned from your teacher? Have you learned any sections of the Buddhist Canon?” And he thought to himself, “This monk does not know a single four line verse from the Canon. As soon as he became a monk, he took rags from a garbage heap, entered the forest, and later gathered a great many pupils about him. When he returns, it behooves me to ask him some questions.” Not realizing that his older friend was already enlightened, he was very doubtful that his friend had the ability to teach the Buddhadharma.

At a later time, the older monk came to the Jeta Grove to pay his respects to the Buddha. He left his robe and bowl with his friend while he greeted the Buddha and the 80 Chief Disciples. When he returned, his younger friend showed him the customary attentions, providing him with a seat etc. and then sat down. His intention was to question his older friend, so as to show that he was not really qualified to teach. The Buddha, with his spiritual powers was aware of what was about to take place. If the younger monk were to carry out his intention and tried to trouble his friend, the Buddha saw that it could result in being reborn in a lower state of existence in his future life. Therefore, the Buddha intervened by going to where the two monks were.

As was customary whenever monks would meet together in their dwellings in the Jeta Grove, a seat for the Buddha was prepared out of veneration, and also just in case the Buddha happened to come to their dwelling. Therefore, when the Buddha arrived he took the seat already prepared for him and then commenced to question both of the monks. Upon questioning the younger monk on the states of the Four Dhyana-meditations, as well as the states connected with the Formless Realm attainments, he was able to answer each question correctly. However, when the Buddha questioned him on the lowest stages of Enlightenment, from the first stage of Stream-Winner up to and including that of the Fourth Stage Arhat, he was unable to answer any of the Buddha's questions. Then the Buddha asked his older friend the same questions concerning the stages of Enlightenment. The older friend was able to answer them all.

Then the Buddha applauded the older monk, and offered not a single word of praise for the scholarly younger monk. Thereupon, the pupils of the younger monk who witnessed this were rather perplexed that the Buddha had showered lavish praise upon the unscholarly older monk and not a single word of approval on their learned teacher. To resolve their doubts the Buddha told them that, although their teacher knew the Sacred Word by heart, he lacked enlightened realization, so that “In my teaching he is like a man who tends cows for hire. But the older monk is like the owner who enjoys the dairy products of the cow at his own good pleasure.”

The principle expressed in this verse and story has great relevance to the teachings of the Buddha as they apply to our present modern time, particularly in America.

To be continued

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