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節自上人百日禪期間開示:
老吾老以及人之老;幼吾幼以及人之幼
Treating Others' Elders and Others' Children as Our Own:
Instructions from the Venerable Master during the Hundred-Day Chan Session

王隆琴 英譯 Translated by Linda Wang

1970年12月2日金山寺

……這個國家的青年人,多數都往邪路上跑,歡喜吃毒,歡喜對父母最壞,這是英雄。為什麼他這樣呢?就因為父母不管他,所以他覺得父母最壞了。若是一小的時候就教他孝、悌、忠、信、禮、義、廉、恥,這一些個問題,那麼他就不會走到這一種途徑上了。

所以現在我們佛教裏頭應該成立一個佛教的青年會,令這些個青年人都由那不正當的路走到正當的路。走到什麼正當的路上呢?走到孝順父母這個正當的路上。這個佛教青年會是一定需要的,沒有任何的問題說是不成立的,這一定要的。成立青年佛教會,令一般的青年人都明白他自己應該做的事情,不至於把光陰都空過去了。你們這一些個青年人現在在佛教裏頭,應該做領導的人,做模範。我相信不久的將來,這個佛教的青年會一定會實現的,一定會有人來發起辦這一種的事情。你們各位都要擁護這個事情,幫助這個事情,令它成功。那麼青年人走到一個正當的路上了,這對於國家就有幫助;對國家有幫助,對於社會上也有幫助,對於人類上都有幫助;再往大的說,對於整個世界都有幫助了。令青年人都知道他應該做什麼,不應該做什麼,這是很要緊的一件事。

還有要做的事情,就是想法子來幫助老人。現在(美國)這個國家,對老人是很有幫助的;給他錢,令他餓不死,又有地方住,政府能以照顧老人,這是很好的一件事。可是照顧是照顧身體,沒有能照顧他的精神;他這個肉體雖然有衣服穿,有飯吃,有地方住,但是他精神非常痛苦。怎麼痛苦呢?到老年的時候沒有人來親近他,侍候他,所以就雖然有錢,政府幫助或者自己有錢,但是子女都跑到遠遠的;就是聖誕節或者回來看一看,但是還要父親母親給買飛機票,這個兒子才回去看,甚至於到家裏再要給一點錢。這一種的情形在這個國家認為是很好的,但是這精神上我知道很痛苦的。老年的人一定要有人來護持他,幫助他;吃的東西也不能太硬了,穿的衣服也不能少,一定要有子女在面前來保護著他,令他精神上有一點寄託。

因為這樣子,我們在佛教裏頭又應該做安老院。這安老院是怎麼樣子呢?就是把老人聚會到一起,找一個孝順的女兒,或者找一個孝順的兒子,來天天侍候這個老人,就像侍候自己的父母那麼一樣盡心竭力,讓這些老人得到快樂,得到安慰,比他在自己家庭裏頭好得多;令他精神快樂,精神有所寄託,這是現在很要緊的一件事。那麼在佛教裏頭要真正來照顧老人和小孩子,所以「老吾老以及人之老」,我自己的老人我應該孝順他,我也應該孝順其他的老人;「幼吾幼以及人之幼」,我疼愛自己的小孩子,也應該疼愛一般人的小孩子。所以在佛教裏頭,這個佛教青年會和佛教安老院,是現在很要緊的事情,我們人人都應該提倡,並且也應該成立佛教學院。

佛教的工作很多,不過一步一步向前做去,不要怕困難。最初一定是很困難的,但是我們做一個領頭,或者現在在這個國家來講,這些事情還沒有人做。西方的人都很聰明的,很有做事情的能力,那麼現在這些事情各位應該動一動腦筋,特別注意一點,去叫它進行。這樣子呢,你們將來做人父母的人都可以放心,將來到老的時候都有人照顧,不會像以前這些個老人,他們太不幸運,沒有人照顧,枯燥得不得了,一點做人的意思都沒有。

……因為大家都是人,人與人之間要互相愛護,因為這個,所以老年的人對青年人應該要慈悲,青年的人對老年的人應該要孝順。人人都應該要孝順,人若不孝順,就和禽獸沒有分別了,甚至於不如禽獸。老年的人對青年的人應該慈悲,如果不慈悲的話,那也就是等於沒有人性的動物一樣的,沒有人性就是不懂做人的道理。

為什麼說人若不孝順父母,甚至於不如禽獸?你看一看那個黑色的烏鴉,那小烏鴉生出來的時候要反哺餵老烏鴉。因為老烏鴉生小烏鴉生完了之後就不會飛了,所以那個小烏鴉就來找吃的東西回來餵老烏鴉,這叫烏鴉反哺。羊羔跪乳,那個羊羔吃奶的時候把前腿跪在那地方吃奶。所以烏鴉是孝順的鳥,羊羔子就是一種孝順的獸;飛禽和走獸牠們都知道報父母的恩,我們人若不報父母的恩,是不是連禽獸都不如了呢?

有的人說:「不如禽獸,那也沒有什麼關係嘛!你看那美國人,前幾天報紙上公開的,那個人就願意做禽獸,有的人就願意做鹿,有的人就願意做大笨象,有的人要做飛禽,這種種,這也都是人,他們都願意做那個嘛!」

這不是他們願意做,根本他本來就是那個,所以現在做人了,覺得做人沒有什麼意思,還是回他那個老家去比較好一點,所以他願意做禽獸去;有的願意做蛇,有的願意做貓,有的願意做狗,這因為他方才從那條路上來到這地方做人,他覺得做人很麻煩的,還莫如回去做禽獸,吃現成的最好,也不用做工。你看,那個鹿啊,蛇啊,那個老鼠啊,貓啊,都吃現成的。雖然是這麼樣子說,但是做人還是比做禽獸好得多,因為人是個有智慧的生物,人為萬物之靈。那麼既然為萬物之靈,所以所行所做就與其他的禽獸不同了。

這是青年人應該孝順父母,老年人對子女應該慈悲;你慈悲,就應該想他好,想他好,你就要教育他。所謂「養不教,父之過。」養兒子若不教,這父母有過錯。說由他自己去發展去,這就像樹一樣;這樹,你種上就不管它了,它生出來左一個板,右一個(找不到此字),很多,不能做大的用途。這棵樹,它一出來的時候,你必須把它支支相板都給削去,讓它很直的,將來可以做什麼大的樓房都可以用它,這是棟樑之材………。

待續

December 2, 1970 at Gold Mountain Monastery.

Most youth in this country are heading down the wrong path. They think that taking drugs and being rude to their parents is heroic. Why are they that way? It is because their parents don't teach them well, so they feel that their parents are the worst. If they were taught filial piety, fraternal respect, loyalty, trustworthiness, propriety, righteousness, incorruptibility, and a sense of shame ever since they were young, they would not have walked down this wrong path.

Therefore, we should establish a Buddhist youth group so that these young people will turn away from those improper paths and walk down the proper path. Which proper path? The proper path of being filial to their parents. This Buddhist youth group is a must. There is no reason why it cannot be formed. In this way, young people will understand what it is that they ought to do, and thus not let the time pass in vain. You young adults within Bud­dhism should be leaders, role models for others. I believe that in the near future, a Buddhist youth group will definitely become a reality. Someone will certainly organize this group. When some­one does, you must all support and help to make it successful. Consequently, young people will walk down the proper path. This would help the country, which in turn helps the society-at-large, the human race, and on an even larger scale, the entire world. Such a group would ensure that children know what they should and should not do. This is crucial.

There are other things that we need to do. We need to think of ways to help the aging population. Currently, the United States government is very helpful to the elderly, giving them money so that they don't starve to death, and providing them with housing. This is a good thing. The government can take care of elders. However, it only takes care of their physical needs, and not their psychological needs. Although they have clothes to wear, food to eat, a place to live, they suffer a great deal of mental anguish. What kind of anguish? They have no one who comes around to be close to them and to attend to them. Although they have money either from government assistance or themselves, their children have run far away. The children may return on Christmas to pay a visit, but only if their parents pay for their airfare. They may even ask their folks for money. This country considers these arrangements to be fine, but I know that this is miserable for the elders. Elders must have people to protect and help them. They can't eat things that are too hard to chew; they can't wear too few layers of clothing. They must have their children around them to protect them so that they feel more secure psychologically.

For this reason, Buddhists must also set up a home for the elders. What do I mean by a home for the elders? A filial daugh­ter or son would come and serve a group of senior citizens every day, each trying one's best to treat the elderly as if they were his or her parents. The elders would be happy and comforted, which would be much better than the way they are in their own homes. They would be joyful and feel that they have some psychological support. That is the most critical matter right now.

We within Buddhism must truly take care of the elderly and the young. We should "serve others' elders as if they were our elders." I should be filial to my own elder relatives as well as others' elder relatives. We should "care for others' children as if our children." I should cherish my kids as well as others' kids. Therefore, a Buddhist youth group and a Buddhist elders home are presently important matters. Each of us should promote and support them. In addition, we should set up a Buddhist academy.

There is a lot to do for Buddhism. Don't be afraid; all we have to do is move forward one step at a time. It will be difficult at first. However, we are pioneers. Perhaps no one has done any of these things in this country before. You in the West are very intelligent and capable. You should give some thought to these matters at hand. Pay special attention as you execute them. In this fashion, those of you who will be parents in the future may rest assured that you will be taken care of when you are older— unlike the unfortunate elders in the past who have had no one to take care of them and lived such monotonous lives. Life was meaningless to them.

As human beings, we ought to take care of each other. Elders should be compassionate to young people, and young people should be filial to elders. Filial respect is essential. Unfilial human beings are no different than, or even worse than, beasts. Elders should be compassionate to the youngsters. If they lack compassion, they are comparable to animals, in the sense that they don't know the principles of being human.

Why do I that say people who are not filial to parents are worse than beasts? Take a look at crows. As soon as they are born, baby crows know to feed the older crows. Since older crows cannot fly after they give birth to fledglings, the baby crows have to find food for the aged crows. Crows return to feed their elders. Baby lambs kneel to take milk. When little lambs drink milk, they kneel with their forelegs on the ground. Therefore, crows are filial birds and lambs are filial animals. If birds and mammals know to repay their parents' kindness, aren't we hu­mans worse than beasts if we do not repay our parents' kindness?

Some people claim, "So what if I am worse than a beast! Look at those Americans! Wasn't it published in the newspaper a few days ago that some people wish to be beasts, some wish to be deer, some wish to be elephants, some wish to be birds, and so on. They are all people, and they are all willing to do that!"

This is not about willingness, but about their past lives. Now that they have become humans, they feel that being human is meaningless. These people figure they might as well go back to their "old home," which they believe to be better. Therefore they are willing to become beasts. Some wish to be snakes, some wish to be cats, and some wish to be dogs. This is because they just came from that particular path. Having arrived at the human realm, they feel that it's such a hassle to be humans that they might as well return to being animals. It was better when they could just eat what is ready-made and not work. You see, deer, snakes, mice, and cats eat without having to prepare their meals. Even so, it's still better to be a human than a beast. Humans are crea­tures of intelligence; they are the most intelligent among all creatures. For that reason, their actions and behavior should dif­fer from that of other animals.

Youngsters ought to be filial to their parents and elders ought to be kind to their children. If you are kind, you will want your children to be better. Wanting them to be better, you will educate them. "To raise children but not educate them is a fault on the part of the parents." The parents are at fault for not teaching their children. "Just let them develop on their own," you say. Raising children is analogous to planting a tree. You may plant a tree, but if you pay no attention to it afterwards, it will grow a stray branch to the left and a stray branch to the right. It will not be very useful with so many twigs. You should prune every branch of the tree as it grows so that it's very straight. That way, you have the material for upstanding pillars that could be used for building high-risers in the future.

To be continued

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