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《菩提田》

 

BODHI FIELD

點點滴滴憶上人——沙門的慈悲
In Memory of the Venerable Master—The Shramana's Kindness

謹慎 文 By Vigilance
王青楠博士 中譯 Chinese translation by Qingnan Wang, Ph.D.

沙門的慈悲,是佛陀教化的心要,也是反復出現的主題。在佛陀的教化生涯中,這一點可以清楚地從他於一次前所未有的盛會中的開示看出。那是佛陀徹悟後幾年的事,在他已指示遣派聖僧們將法傳遍整個北印度之後。一千二百五十位聖僧未經預約,同時相聚於佛所在的王舍城竹林精舍。

在這次稀有、祥吉的集會上,佛以簡潔的三組偈頌開示了佛道的心要。這對於出家獻身宗教生活的沙門而言,尤其契機。佛說過去諸佛也曾說過這些偈頌。其中第二組偈頌已在全世界廣為流傳,其內容如下:

做,眾善奉行;
自淨其意,是佛教。

第一組偈頌,卻鮮為人知。

忍耐之行最難,
涅槃上。
傷人者未「出
惱人者非沙門。

讀了以上文字,人會情不自禁地感受到慈悲待人在佛教中的重要地位。這裡,佛兩次說到出家人絕不能使人苦惱或受傷害。這也就是沙門的慈悲之意。

那些有幸長期跟隨上人身邊的弟子,都曾親眼目睹上人一生在日常生活中為沙門的慈悲心所樹立的榜樣。一次次地對這種慈悲的經驗感受,其意義與影響遠超過其他形式的教授。以下例子足以使我們沉思沙門慈悲的深遠寓意。

曾有位西班牙中年婦女,每週至少來金山寺—、兩次頂禮上人。這位婦女很不尋常,她對佛教幾乎一無所知,可對上人卻恭敬備至,當上人是轉世的天主教聖人一樣。這樣地誠心拜訪金山寺約一年左右,忽然她不再來了。大約過了一個月,一天上人問我她在甚麼地方。我說她已經一個月沒來了,不知為什麼。上人問:「那你有沒有打個電話問問她呢?J我非常吃驚,我說我覺得和尚打電話給在家人,只為了問一下她怎麼樣了,這不合適。我是說和尚不應過問世事,對不對呢?何況她還是女眾。這時上人慈悲地告訴我,我們設身處地同情別人的重要性。這位婦人非常虔誠地定期來訪,現在忽然不來了,這表明或許有她甚麼問題了,也許需要幫助。我後來打電話去,果然發現她的生活陷於困境之中,家庭發生嚴重問題。這通電話幫助了她渡過了難關。幾週之後,她又回到金山寺來禮拜上人了。

類似的例子太多了。另有一次,1986年上人應邀去印尼弘法一週,我和另一位和尚陪同前往。剛一到,熱情的東道主就按日程為我們安排活動,其中一項是風景觀光。當然,我告訴他們,我們對觀光風景沒興趣。首先,我們不願意這樣「浪費時間」。其次,和尚去觀光風景也不合適。後來當我報告上人以後,上人說我們處理得很不對。他們是主人,我們應該隨順他們邀請觀光風景的心願。這樣他們就會高興,而這對和尚而言,觀光風景也不一定就不合適。

我和另一位和尚隨順主人的心願之後,結果眞是令人大開眼界。我們看到他們那麼興奮,他們將這樁事看得那么重要,好像完成了什麼重大任務似的。

在印尼,每天都有五十到一百位信徒來見上人。每一位都要求單獨「加持」。當他們逐個跪在上人面前受「加持」時,我想「這不是迷信嗎?為什麼上人要這樣做?」

待續

The Shramana's kindness is an essential teaching and recurring theme in the Buddha's teachings. This is clearly shown in the important instructional talk the Buddha gave during one of the most unprecedented events in his teaching career. This event occurred several years after the Buddha's Great Awakening, when he had already sent out many holy monks to spread his teaching, the Dharma, throughout northeastern India. Without any prior appointment or announcement, 1250 of these holy enlightened monks came to where the Buddha was in the Bamboo Grove in Rajagriha at the same time.

At this rather unusual and auspicious gathering, the Buddha spoke a very concise summation of the Buddhist path in a set of three verses. This instruction was specifically meant for the Buddha's Shramanas, those who renounced the householder's life to devote themselves completely to the religious life. The Buddha indicated that these verses had also been spoken by other Buddhas in the past. The second set of verses is quite well known throughout the world at this present time. It is as follows:

Not doing any evil, upholding the good,
purifying one's mind— 
This is the teaching of the Buddhas.

The first set of verses, less known, is as follows:

Patience is the highest austerity.
Nirvana is supreme, say the Buddhas.
He is not one who has "gone forth" who harms another.
Nor is he a Shramana who afflicts others.

In reading this one can't help but recognize the importance the Buddha placed on being kind towards others. Here the Buddha mentions twice, how a monk or nun should never afflict or harm others. This is what is meant by the Shramana's kindness.

Those who had the good fortune to spend a lot of time with our late Venerable Teacher saw that he exemplified the Shramana's kindness continuously throughout his daily life. To see and experience that kindness over and over again was more significant and influential than any other teaching. The following are some examples which should cause all of us to ponder and  consider the deeper significance and meaning of the Shramana's kindness.

There once was a middle-aged Spanish woman who visited the old Gold Mountain Monastery to bow and pay her respects to the Venerable Master at least once or twice every week. It was rather unusual to see this woman, who did not understand much at all about the Buddha's teachings, show such devotion to the Master--as if he were the incarnation of a Catholic saint. She came faithfully to the monastery like this for about a year. Then suddenly she stopped coming. After about a month went by, one day the Master asked where she was. I responded that she hadn't come for a month now, and I did not know why. The Master then said: "Well, did you call her?" I was quite sur­prised and told the Master that I didn't think it was appropriate for a monk to be calling a lay person just to see how she was. I mean, monks are supposed to be detached from the world, right? And, in addition to that, she was a woman. The Master compassionately instructed us about the importance of having empathy for people. She was very sincere and came regularly. Her not coming might indicate that there was something wrong and she might need some help. I did call, and I discovered that she was indeed undergoing difficulties in her life. There were some serious family problems, and the call helped her, in the end, to get through it all. A few weeks later she was back in the monastery paying her respects to the Master again.

There are so many instances like this. Another time, another monk and myself had accompanied the Master to Indonesia (1986), where the Master was invited to stay for one week and give some Dharma talks. When we first arrived, our gracious hosts were going over the schedule with us, and they included on the venue some sightseeing. I, of course, said that we were not interested in sightseeing, thinking that first, we weren't in­terested in wasting our time in this way, and secondly, it would be inappropriate for monks to be going sightseeing. Later, when we told the Master about this, he said we were quite mistaken. They were our hosts, and we should comply with their wish to show us a few sights, as that would make them happy and was not necessarily inappropriate for monks. When the other monk and myself complied with our hosts' wish, it was a very eye-opening experience to see how happy they were and just how important it was for them to do this for us. It was as if they were fulfilling some important duty on their part.

In Indonesia, every day about fifty to a hundred devout Bud­dhists would come to see the Master. Each one wanted the Master to bless them individually. As each one took a turn to kneel before the Master and be blessed, I thought to myself, "Isn't this kind of superstitious? Why does the Master go along with this?"

To be continued

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