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The Science of Our Own Natures

1998年法界佛教總會臺灣訪問團 Dharma Realm Buddhist Association's Delegation to Taiwan in 1998
A talk given by Bhikshu Heng Sure on July 24, 1998, at the Buddhist Studies Symposium at Ching Hua University
比丘尼恆音 英譯 English translation by Bhikshuni Heng Yin





今天晚上,我先講幾句話,先跟各位結個法緣。然後我們想請恆持法師--在我右手邊,也要跟各位介紹一下她今天晚上想講的話。恆持法師講完之後,我們跟果勒居士 Doug Powers特別有緣,他是這位高高大大留了鬍子的美國人,大家不用怕的。他雖然長得那麼大,他不會吃人;他是吃素的,是素食家,所以你們放心好了。他會講一些佛教的心理學。果勒居士講完了之後,我們想介紹恆雲法師;恆雲法師在恆持法師右手邊,她也會講幾句話,做法佈施。然後,我們看看時間,我們大家一起討論研究今天晚上所介紹的一些道理。如果有哪一方面大家覺得不夠深入,或者講得根本不對,或是要補充一點,都可以隨意發表意見。





Dharma Masters, professors and students of Ching Hua University, and guests: Amitofo!

This evening I have the rare honor of discussing with you the topic: The Science of Our Own Natures. You see here on stage many Dharma Masters who are part of the visiting delegation from the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. We have come to Tai­wan this year to hold a Great Flower Adornment Dharma Assembly for Protecting the Nation, Cherishing Blessings, and Quelling Disasters. Therefore, the Great Flower Adornment Dharma is our main topic. Everyone has just come off the highway and probably is not very calm and concentrated yet. The   Flower Adornment Sutra was spoken from within a state of concentration, and in order to understand its profound principles, one must listen to it in a concentrated state of mind. Therefore, let us calm our minds by reciting in unison, "Homage to the Great Means Expansive Buddha Flower Adornment Sutra and to the Flower Adornment Assembly of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas as Vast as the Sea." Please recite after me:  

Homage to the Great Means Expansive Buddha Flower Adornment Sutra and to the Flower Adornment Assembly of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas as  Vast as the Sea  

You have recited very well, like experts. Have you all read the Flower Adornment Sutra before? It sounds like you already know how to recite the name. So let us chant it three times now. [Everyone chants in unison]  

Homage to the Great Means Expansive Buddha Flower Adornment Sutra and to the Flower Adornment Assembly of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas as Vast as the Sea (3x)

There are over a thousand Buddhist Sutras. Is the longest Sutra the Flower Adornment Sutra"? No. It's the Mahaprajnaparamita Sutra. What's the shortest Sutra? The Heart Sutra? No, it's the Prajna Sutra-one word Prajna. It's said that when the Buddha spoke the letter "A", it contained all dharmas within it. No matter how much else was spoken, ultimately Prajna-wisdom-is still the most important. The Buddha taught the Dharma for fortynine years, turning the Dharma wheel numerous times in over three hundred assemblies. What was he talking about? How can we put all that Prajna that he spoke in a nutshell? You could say the Buddha was talking about the mind and nature-the enlightened nature and the bright mind. We are now in a scientific age, and Ching Hua University is a well-known scientific university. Therefore, let us take a look at the Buddha's Sutras through the eyes of science.

Tonight I will first say a few words of Dharma, and then Dharma Master Heng Chih on my right will speak. Then Doug Powers, Upasaka Guo Lei, this tall, bearded American, will speak. Although he is big and tall, you need not be afraid of him; he doesn't eat people, because he's a vegetarian. He will talk about Buddhist psychology. Then Dharma Master Heng Yun will speak a few words of Dharma. Then in the time remaining there can be a discussion in which people may elaborate on, criticize, or correct something in this evening's talks. Feel free to speak out.

There are two microphones, and people may use them to raise questions for everyone to examine. Is this acceptable to all of you? Yes, good.

After the Buddha realized Buddhahood beneath the Bodhi Tree, he had all of the Five Eyes and Six Spiritual Powers. The Three Bodies and Four Kinds of Wisdom were perfected in him. Opening his Dharma-eye, he could perceive all the truths of the universe. In that state of incomparable liberation and happiness, he proclaimed the truths that his pure Dharma-eye could see. Who was the audience? It's said that Bodhisattvas and gods were listening. That was the time that the Buddha spoke the Flower Adornment Sutra, the Great Flower Adornment Dharma. Knowing that people in the world were not ready for it, he stored it away. When the conditions were ripe, Nagarjuna Bodhisattva went to the Dragon Palace to retrieve the smallest version of the Sutra, of which there were three: large, medium, and small. He brought back the smallest version, which was still very long, and translated it to Chinese. This small version still exists in Chinese, as well as in Japanese and Korean. The Venerable Master Hua brought this Sutra to America and lectured on it nightly for nine years without a break. It took a full nine years for him to completely lecture the Flower Adornment Sutra, in which the Buddha speaks of all the truths underlying the phenomena of the universe, and this explanation is still extant in the world.

You might think: "I'm not a Bodhisattva or a god; how could I understand this treasure trove of wisdom, this jewel of bright light? Many people say the Flower Adornment Sutra is at the pinnacle of Buddhist philosophy. I'm not at that level. I think I'd better stick to Buddhist stories of cause and effect, or just the letter 'A' for starters."

To be continued


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