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《菩提田》

 

BODHI FIELD

點點滴滴憶上人
篳路藍樓話慈興 空穀回音憶上人(續)
Memories of the Venerable Master
The Toil of Building Cixing Monastery—Echoes of the Past (continued)

*比丘恆興師 比丘尼恆益師講於華嚴聖寺2000年9月25-27日梁皇寶懺法會
Spoken by Bhikshu Heng Sying Shi and Bhikshuni Heng Yi Shi on September 25-27, 2000, during the Emperor of Liang
Repentance Ceremony at Avatamsaka Monastery
*編輯室整理 Compiled by the Editorial Staff
*摩尼珠英譯 English translation by Mani Pearl

又有條蛇經常出來遊蕩,令人害怕。恆益師把牠抓進桶裡,到海邊放生,可是牠又回來;把牠放到幾個山嶺外去,牠還是爬回來,不改習性,經常出來騷擾,唯有報告上人。上人說:「如果再出來騷擾大眾,把牠放進我缽內,送到茶果嶺放生––遷單。」

有位記者問恆益師說:「這裡這麼高,病了怎麼辦?」恆益師回說:「病了就病了,也沒法子。」記者又問:「死了怎麼辦?又沒電。」恆益師說:「死了便算,也不想那麼多。有得吃便吃,也沒法子。」記者說:「不如裝電話。」恆益師說:「裝電話?這麼貴!哪有錢?要幾萬元。」記者說:「不用錢。」真是開玩笑!

幾個月後,那記者到處找恆益師,結果找到佛教講堂。記者說:「我建了八十多根柱子,還不見妳來申請電話?」恆益師說:「我以為你開玩笑。」記者說:「不用錢,只要三百五十元安裝費。」

為了人車通行方便,恆益師自己開路。別人看了說:「妳這樣開路不合法,會有人找妳的。」恆益師說:「沒法子,人要走,車也要行。」後來有人幫忙開路,個個發心。

慈興寺前有一個營地,有人紮營嬉戲。一晚,露營的人半夜聽到號角聲。次日上山,問寺內人為何這麼早吹響號角?有人回答:「沒有人吹號角,我們也沒號角。」據說是山神吹起號角,集合眷屬來參加早課。

有次恆益師擔沙經過離慈興寺較遠的仙人洞,看到很多仙人在洞內玩,有打鞦韆,有玩屍;也見到了十八羅漢中的一位,就是捲起一隻腳那位,這個洞是他修行的地方。

恆益師在慈興寺天天種田做工,日子實在太苦,撐不下去了。於是她買了火水、稻草,準備自焚,不是供佛,實是苦到沒辦法,也餓了七天,心想這回必死無疑。但上人卻在她焚身前一天,找人叫她下山。上人問:「火燒上身妳跑不跑?」恆益師回說:「天知道!我又未被火燒上身過。」上人要她放下,去唸佛,不要再種田。上人說:「修行是要苦的,苦的才度,不苦不度。」如果不是上人要她下山,恒益師就死定了。次日她看到《金剛輪+魔障經》事障,知道自己有這個事障,就放下出家了。

出家後三年受具足戒,隔年(1962)上人便到美國弘法。上人走時,恆益師哭得差點昏過去。上人說:「如今妳出家,我又要走;我怕我走後,妳會改變主意還俗。」恆益師答:「我不會改變主意,我還要報恩。我要報佛恩,報師恩,我要報您的恩呀!師父。」上人也是一汪淚,怕弟子退心,告訴她們只去一年便回,還說:「不信,看!這是機票,只一年期,一年後我回來。」她們答應上人絕不退心,請上人放心。怎料上人一去十一年!

經過近半個世紀,位於大嶼山北部的慈興寺很多地方已破爛不堪,非重修不可。因坐東南朝西北,每當颱風來臨,正好吃上西北風,有時整個簷篷都被吹起,甚至廚房屋頂也被掀起,又跌回原位,幸好沒有嚴重損壞。屋頂是石綿瓦做的,補漏多次,勉強可用。有時邊修邊漏,邊漏邊吃,外面下雨,裡面也下雨。

恆益師告訴上人:「師父,很煩呀!慈興寺又得重修了。」上人答:「煩什麼呢?把它放下。」「如何放得下呀?師父。」恆益師問。上人說:「我萬佛城也能放得下,妳為何不能放下?」恆益師追問:「我放下往後往哪裡去?」上人:「處處地方皆如是。」

上人圓寂前還拉著恆益師的手要她放下。恆益師說:「我不能呀!」萬佛城方丈恆律師請恆益師答應上人。恆益說:「師父,我只能答應你美國、香港兩邊跑。」上人拉著恆益師的手,久久才慢慢放下,再沒講話。

上人圓寂後,恆興師等迎請上人的舍利回香港,先請到佛教講堂,隨後請上慈興寺。到山腳下時,恆興師及恆祥師等三人開車上山。在上山的同時,寺內一位老居士,在天階處外看見很多人拿著五彩大旗,抬著轎恭迎上人。這位居士講出這件事後,才知道原來上人比恆興師等更早到達慈興寺,而那些早先迎請的人據說是山神。

恆益師語重心長地說:「上人建了二十幾個道場,找這麼多地方給我們,幫助我們修道。如果我們不知足,就很難修行。上人找這麼多地方不為自己,他自己睡得了多少地方?」

恆興師說:「大家聽到這麼多故事,其實每個修行人都有他的故事,但聽者不應把故事當作輕鬆小品,做為調劑。事相皆有其理體,聽事應究其理之所在,理明白了,自己逢緣遇境之時,才能靈活處理。單看事相有趣而不解其理,就白白浪費了聽法的時間。」

如今大嶼山上依然屹立著上人血汗淚水所建之慈興寺,廟內依然稟承著上人六大宗旨的精神而修行。這些傳承不會因為上人圓寂而改變,也不會受外在時空因素之改變而改變。我們常常看到大家喜歡輕描淡寫地用「從地湧出」,來讚歎道場的興起;當你看到這點點滴滴之後,是否明白上人為我們揹負多少的苦難,才使座座道場從地湧出?是否也要捫心自問,什麼時候我們的心地中才會湧出一座慈興寺––因為它是上人流血汗、不休息,大慈大悲大喜大捨的表徵。

如要對這幾十年來的點滴做結語,且聽:

一掌打開大嶼山 闢出一條通天路
拄杖點地龍泉生 拂塵掃去颱風眼
一磚一瓦疊寶剎 香江蘭嶼慈興寺
上人在此所流的血汗,又做麼生?
水月道場滿天下,有誰辛酸這許多!

(全文完)

People were frightened by a snake that often came out to play. Heng Yi Shi caught it in a bucket and set it free by the ocean, but it returned. She captured it again and released it several mountains away, but again it crawled back and continued to disturb people. Heng Yi Shi finally reported this matter to the Master. The Master said, "If it disturbs people again, put it in my bowl and send it to Tea-fruit Peak—banish it from the monastery."   

A reporter once asked Heng Yi Shi, "You're very isolated up here. What happens if you get sick?"
"If I'm sick, then I'm sick. There's nothing I can do," she replied.

"What if you die? There's no telephone."   
"Death is even less of a concern. Why worry so much? If there's food, I eat. I have no other choice."
"Why not install a telephone?" suggested the reporter.   
"A phone is so expensive. Who's got the money? It costs several tens of thousands of (Hong Kong) dollars."
"It's free," said the reporter. What a joke!   

Several months later, that reporter searched for Heng Yi Shi and finally located her at the Buddhist Lecture Hall. The reporter said, "I've had more than eighty telephone poles put up, but you haven't applied for a telephone yet." "I thought you were joking," Heng Yi Shi replied.   

"It's free, other than an installation fee of $350 (Hong Kong)." said the reporter.   

To facilitate human and automobile travel, Heng Yi Shi started opening up a road herself. She was told, "That's against the law. You're going to be reported."   

"I have no choice," she replied. "People have to walk, and cars have to drive through." Other volunteers pitched in later to help her build a road.   

Hikers often camped out at a campground in front of Cixing Monastery. Once the campers heard a horn being blown at midnight. When they asked people at the monastery why they blew a horn so early, they were told, "We didn't blow a horn. We don't even have one." It's said that the mountain spirits blow a horn to summon their fellow spirits for morning recitation.

Heng Yi Shi was once hauling sand past a cave of immortals some distance from the monastery. She saw many immortals frolicking in the cave. Some were swinging, while others were playing around. She also saw one of the eighteen Arhats, who had one leg drawn up. That Arhat cultivated at the cave.

Heng Yi Shi worked in the fields every day at Cixing Monastery. Feeling that life was too hard, she bought gasoline and hay and prepared to immolate herself—not as an offering to the Buddhas, but because life was too bitter. She fasted for seven days and thought her death was certain. The Master summoned her down the mountain the day before she planned to immolate herself, however, and asked her, "Will you run away when the fire reaches your body?"   

"Heaven knows! I've never been burned before," she replied. The Master asked her to give up her work in the fields and recite the Buddha's name instead. He said, "Cultivation must be bitter. It takes bitterness to reach liberation. Without bitterness, there is no liberation." If the Master hadn't summoned her, she would certainly have died. The next day she read the Sutra of the Vajra Wheel of Ten Demonic Obstacles and realized that she was obstructed by affairs. She let go of the obstacle and left the home-life.   

She received full ordination three years after leaving home, and the year after that (1962) the Master was going to the United States to propagate the Dharma. Heng Yi Shi nearly fainted from crying prior to the Master's departure. The Master said, "You have left home, yet I must leave. I worry that you may change your mind and return to lay life when I'm gone."

Heng Yi Shi pledged, "I will not change my mind. I must repay the Buddhas' kindness, my teachers' kindness, and your kindness." Tears ran down the Master's face. Fearing that his disciples would retreat, he told them he would return in a year's time. "If you don't believe it, look at my ticket. It is good for one year. I'll be back in a year." They promised him they would not retreat and asked him not to worry. Little did they know that the Master would not return for eleven years!   

After nearly half a century, Cixing Monastery, situated on the northern part of Mount Dayu, was quite dilapidated and in desperate need of repair. Since it faced northwest, it received the full blast of the northwest wind. Sometimes the entire awning would be blown upwards. The kitchen roof would even be ripped and pulled upwards, but would then fall back into place. Fortunately, no grave damage was done. The asbestos tile roof had been patched for numerous leaks and could barely be used. Sometimes it leaked as they fixed the roof, and leaked as they ate. It rained not only outside, but inside.   

Heng Yi Shi told the Master, "I'm afflicted. Cixing Monastery needs to be renovated again."
"What's there to be afflicted about? Let go of your attachment!" said the Master.
"How can I let go, Master?" she asked.
"I've let go of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. Why can't you let go?"
"But where will I go if I let go of it?" she pursued.

"Every place is the same," was the Master's reply. Before he passed into perfect stillness, the Master held Heng Yi Shi's hand and urged her to let go of her attachment. "I can't," she said. Heng Lyu Shi, the abbot of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, asked her to promise the Master. Heng Yi Shi said, "Teacher, I can only promise that I will travel back and forth between the United States and Hong Kong." The Master held her hand for a long time and said nothing more.   

After the Master passed into stillness, Heng Sying Shi and others took the Master's sharira [relics] back to Hong Kong, first to the Buddhist Lecture Hall, and then to Cixing Monastery. Heng Sying Shi, Heng Xiang Shi, and a third person drove from the foot of the mountain toward the monastery. Meanwhile, an elder layperson standing on the outer stairs of the monastery saw a crowd welcoming the Master with five-colored flags and a sedan chair. When that layperson related the vision, people realized that the Master had reached the monastery before Heng Sying Shi and the others, and that mountain spirits had come to welcome him.   

Heng Yi Shi said solemnly, "The Master established twenty-some Way-places. He gave us so many places in which to cultivate. If we aren't satisfied, it won't be easy for us to cultivate. The Master didn't set up all those places for himself, for how much space does he himself use?"   Heng Sying Shi said, "Everyone has heard a lot of stories. Actually, every practitioner has his or her own stories. The listener should not regard them merely as amusing anecdotes. Every incident has a principle behind it. When we hear about a matter, we should delve into its principle. When we understand the principles, we will be able to apply them when the situation calls for it. If we are entertained by an incident but fail to grasp the principle involved, we have listened to the Dharma in vain."   

Built with the Master's blood, sweat, and tears, Cixing Monastery still stands on the peak of Mount Dayu today, and its residents are still imbued by the Master's spirit—crystallized in the Six Guiding Principles. These traditions remain unchanged by the Master's passing into perfect stillness. They will not be altered by external changes in time and space. We often hear people casually use the phrase "welling forth from the earth" to praise the emergence of a Way-place. Having read these accounts, do we realize how much hardship the Master suffered to make each Way-place "well forth from the earth" for our sakes? Have we asked ourselves when a Cixing Monastery—symbol of the Venerable Master's great kindness, great compassion, great joy, and great renunciation, in which he spares no blood or sweat, and never pauses to rest—will well forth from our own hearts?

The following verse summarizes the memories of these past several decades: Single-handedly he blazed a path up Mount Dayu And built a stairway to heaven. At the touch of his cane, the dragon's spring bubbled forth. With a flick of his whisk, the eye of the typhoon was deflected. Brick by brick, tile by tile, a precious monastery was built By the name of Flourishing Kindness in Lantou of Hong Kong. As for the Master's toil and exertion: Who toiled so long and hard to create Way-places as numerous as the moon's reflection in water?   

(The End)

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