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《法界音》

 

NEWS FROM THE DHARMA REALM

剃度前夕祝辭
A Few Encouraging Words to Those Entering the Monastic Life

比丘尼恒持講於1998年11月3日剃度典禮前夕萬佛城大殿
By Bhikshuni Heng Chih on November 3, 1998, the eve of the Ceremony for Entry into Monastic Life in the Buddha Hall, City of Ten Thousand Buddhas
比丘尼恆田 中譯 Chinese translation by Bhikshuni Heng Tyan

今晚是各位出家的前夕;明天你們就要出家了。這是每個人都為你們感到高興的時刻。明天有十九位女眾要落髮。我們懇切地想看看有幾位男眾發同樣的心。(編按:有五位。)

聖人出世,他們的作風往往是出乎我們意料之外,讓人驚訝。聖人對他所信受及傳授的教理,持堅定的立場;但是聖人必定同時要面對當代的眾生。聖人對他的教理不妥協退讓,而能恰當地使他們的教法讓當代的眾生接受並傳揚開來。

孔子推廣聖王的禮法,可以追溯到周公。根據禮法,當時的讀書人必須具有相當的出身。「士」乃世襲,不具「士」階級的家世者,不得視為真正的士人。孔子有一股正氣及仁愛,不管是什麼樣出身的人,只要有學習能力的人,他不摒棄。他對弟子的一視同仁,讓當時的人感到驚訝。

釋迦牟尼佛亦令當時的人感到驚訝。他不顧那根深蒂固,紮在印度的文化中的種姓制度,讓所有的人都可以出家修道。佛陀的平等的深理更超越了孔子的正義。佛陀正確地觀察了一切眾生皆有佛性,皆堪成佛。

孔子立志不教女人;但釋迦牟尼佛卻願意教導女眾。佛明白一切眾生皆能成佛,所以不摒棄女眾。他慈悲且有智慧。他的決定留傳至今,所以明天這十九位女眾非常幸運,能有機會出家。

我記得上人首次為弟子們準備受具足戒時--當時一共有五個人。你們都還記得那些故事。上人說我們從台灣受具足戒回來後,他用了好幾個月的時間來平靜我們散亂的心。為什麼呢?因為在台灣有太多的「善知識」告訴我們說日中一食是荒謬的,在佛門中是已經落伍的風尚,現在已經沒有人那麼做了,我們被我們的師父騙了--美國人讓中國人騙了。大家對第一次受戒的故事我相信都都很熟悉了。

對第二批到台灣受戒的弟子上人較少提及。這一批共有四個男眾,當他們受戒回來後,加上我們一共就有七個比丘和兩個比丘尼了。這些比丘們和上人開會,告訴上人他們「偉大的計劃」--決定不再讓女眾受戒;不再度女眾了。他們對上人說,當年阿難尊者實在愚癡,向佛陀為女眾祈求出家。佛陀警告阿難尊者說這樣做將會加速法的衰亡。現在既然上人提倡要讓正法久住世間,他們說現在佛教傳到西方,他們應該往正確的去做,要保持佛教的清淨,所以只讓男眾出家。

上人的回答直截了當:「放狗屁!」我們女眾聽到這回答時,必須要小心不要誤解它的意思。上人為我們尋求的是究竟的解脫,不是現在的婦女解放運動的「解脫」。婦女解放運動關係到社會的結構,是表面而膚淺的;究竟的解脫在於心地,是內在而有深度的。外表的解放是有限的;內心的解脫卻超越所有的界限。上人的回答是基於「一切眾生皆有佛性,皆堪究竟覺悟」的真理。

什麼是以心傳心?以心傳心是怎樣發生的?尤其是在上人講《六祖法寶壇經》時,我們常常請上人詳盡地解釋這一點。上人說:「傳法是經常在發生的:你得到多少,那就是你的;沒有人看得到,也沒有人知道誰得到多少。」所以,作為女出家眾,我們的禮法、威儀,都應該遵循佛陀的戒條。同時要發掘及盡量發揮我們的潛力。女眾一樣可以成為阿羅漢,可以成為菩薩,也可以成佛。

上人第三次為弟子準備受戒是在美國,在上人領導下由弟子們協助傳戒的。當時是七十年代早期,引用的是邊地的傳戒方式,因為佛教在美國還是剛開始。到了第四次弟子受戒時,上人為了團結南北傳佛教,開始邀請了許多不同宗派的比丘來傳戒。

但一九九五年,當上人座下的老戒比丘請示上人,下一次傳戒該邀那一些高僧來傳戒時,上人的回答直截了當:「你們可以在你們之中挑選傳戒的人;不需要請別人來幫你們傳戒。」

這一次,沙彌尼會在不同的地方接受比丘尼的教導。過了明天在萬佛聖城舉行的剃度典禮後,有的沙彌尼會留在聖城喜捨院受訓;有的會在沙加緬度法界聖城受訓;又有的會在其他法總的分支道場受訓。你們應該知道,所有這些地方都是適當的訓練場所,所有教導你們的比丘尼都是合格的教師。

無論你們在哪裡受訓,受誰教導,我們女眾僧團都在觀察你們,關心你們,會很注意你們受訓的進展。沒有說哪一個地方是你們唯一能受訓的地方,也沒有哪一個人是你們唯一可以學習的對象。你們應該確信,不管你在哪,那裡便是你適當的訓練所;無論誰是你的教導人,那人就是適當的人選來教導你們。你們不必擔心假如沒有在某個地方受訓,到受(具足)戒時你們便不能受戒。我們都在觀察你們受訓的進度。

將來你們是否能受戒,並不取決於你們受訓的地方,或者你們的訓導人;而是取決於你們自己,取決於你們的接受實行各種訓練的程度,那才是你們受具足戒的標準。這是我對你們的期望,希望你們每一個人都能很快地發掘到自己內在的無量潛力,同時在上人的教法下,及在上人的道場中,很精進地學習成為比丘和比丘尼。

Tonight is the eve of your leaving home. Tomorrow you will enter into monastic life. It is a time when everyone feels happy and rejoices for you. Nineteen women are prepared to have their heads shaved tomorrow. We are eagerly waiting to see how many men have made the same resolve. [Editor's note: It turned out to be five.]

When sages come to our world, they do the unexpected. They often surprise us. A sage holds firmly to what he stands for—to what principles he embodies and wishes to impart. But a sage must also deal with the times and with the people of those times. Without compromising their principles, sages are able to approach the times and the people in appropriate ways so that their teachings are accepted and spread.

Confucius promulgated the propriety of the sage-kings, through to the Duke of Zhou. According to propriety, scholars of Confucius' time had to have acceptable background. A scholar came from a family line. Those without the proper family line were not accepted as true scholars. But Confucius also possessed a righteous energy coupled with a humane regard that prevented him from denying those with potential from studying with him, regardless of their background. The equality with which he accepted disciples surprised the people of his times.

Shakyamuni Buddha also surprised those of his time, because he ignored the strict caste system, so deeply imbedded in Indian culture,  and allowed people of any caste or class to leave home and cultivate the Way. The principle underlying the Buddha's equality went beyond Confucius' righteousness. The Buddha had directly perceived that all beings have the Buddha nature; all can become Buddhas.

Confucius made the decision not to teach women. But Shakyamuni Buddha agreed to teach women. Aware that all beings have the potential to become Buddhas, how could he do otherwise? His was an all-encompassing compassion coupled with wisdom. His decision then remains to this day and so it is that nineteen very lucky women have the opportunity to begin monastic life tomorrow.

I remember the first time the Venerable Master prepared disciples for full ordination, there were five. You all remember the stories about that. The Master said it took him several months to calm down our scattered minds after we returned from Taiwan. The reason? Too many "Good and Wise Advisors" in Taiwan kept telling us that eating one meal a day was ridiculous. It was an old-fashion custom already outdated in Buddhism; nobody did that anymore! We were being cheated by our teacher! The stories about that first ordination are familiar to us all.

The Master didn't talk as much about the second group of disciples that went to Taiwan for ordination. That was a group of four men. So when they returned, there were then seven monks and two nuns. Well, the monks had a meeting with the Master to tell him about their "grand plan." They had decided that no more women should be ordained. Their idea was to not cross over women. After all, they pointed out, the Master advocated that the Proper Dharma must long remain in the world. The Venerable Ananda was really dumb to ask the Buddha to let women leave home in the first place. The Buddha warned him that such a decision would speed the demise of the Dharma. And so, they concluded, now that Buddhism was being transmitted to the West, they would do it right. They would keep it pure and only allow men to leave home.

The Master's reply was simple and direct: "Dog shit!" (fang gou pi) But when we women hear that answer, we should be careful not to mistake its meaning. The liberation the Master sought for us all is ultimate liberation, not women's liberation. Women's liberation concerns social structure and as such is external and superficial; ultimate liberation points to the mind ground and as such is internal and profound. External liberation is limited in scope; internal liberation transcends all boundaries. The Master's answer was based on the fact that all beings have the Buddha nature and the potential for ultimate enlightenment.

What is the mind transmission? How does that mind-to-mind transmission occur? We used to ask the Master a lot about that topic, especially during his lectures on the Sixth Patriarch's Dharma Jewel Platform Sutra. The Master would answer: "the mind transmission is happening all the time: however much you get, that much is yours. No one can see it; no one knows who got how much."

Therefore, as nuns, our propriety, our outer deportment, should accord with the Buddha's regulations; our inner potential should be explored and used to the fullest. We women can become Arhats, we can become Bodhisattvas, we can reach Buddhahood.

The third time the Master prepared disciples for ordination, the precept transmission was held in the United States under the Master's direction and guidance and with his own disciple monks helping to administer the precepts. At that time, in the early 70's, the regulations regarding transmitting precepts in border regions were used since Buddhism was still very new to America. By the fourth ordination of disciples, the Master, in his efforts to join the Northern and Southern traditions, began to invite monks of many traditions to help administer the precepts.

However, in 1995 when some of the Master's long-precepted monks went to request instruction, they asked the Master which great high Masters they should invite to administer the precepts in the next ordination. The Master's answer was again simple and direct: "You may select from among yourselves who the ad­ministrators of the precepts will be. There is no need to invite others to do it for you."

This time, the novice women will train in several locations under many different nuns. After tomorrow's ceremony for entry into monastic life here at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, some of the novices will train at the Joyous Giving House here in the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. Some will train at the Sagely City of the Dharma Realm in Sacramento. And some may train in other DRBA branch Way-places. You should know that all of these locations are acceptable places for your training to take place; all of the nuns you study under will be acceptable training instructors.

No matter where you train or who you train under, we women of the Sangha are watching you, are concerned about you, and will be very aware of how your training is progressing. It is not that any one place is the only place where you can train or that any one instructor is the only instructor to learn from. You can be assured that wherever you are is an appropriate place for you to receive training and whoever your instructors are, they are appropriate people to train you.

We are all watching how your training progresses. It is not the locations or the instructors who will determine your readiness to receive the precepts. You, as the trainees, will determine that. To whatever extent you accept and embody the various aspects of the training, that is the extent to which you will be ready for full ordination when the time comes. And so it is my hope that each of you will quickly find that inner unlimited potential that we are all endowed with and at the same time apply yourself diligently to your training as a Buddhist monk or nun under the Venerable Master's teaching and in Way-places that he established.

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