Analects of Master Kuang-chin

廣 欽 老 和 尚 - 開 示 法 語 錄

Analects of Master Kuang-chin

 

目錄                    Contents

 

1.  修行                                   On practice                                                                                                                 

 

2.  守戒                                   On Keeping the Precepts                                                                                           

 

3.  念佛                                   On Reciting the Name of the Buddha                                                                         

 

4.  讀經                                   On Reciting the Sutras                                                                                               

 

5.  我相                                   On the Sense of Self                                                                                                  

 

6.  放心                                   On Calming the Mind                                                                                                 

 

7.  忍辱                                   On Forbearance                                                                                                         

 

8.  是非                                   On Gossiping                                                                                                             

 

9.  做事                                   On Work Ethics                                                                                                         

 

10. 習氣                                  On Habitual Patterns                                                                                                  

 

11. 粗衣淡飯                          On s Simple Life                                                                                                        

 

12. 臭皮囊                              On the Foul Body                                                                                                      

 

13. 西方                                  On the Pure Land                                                                                                      

 

 

        廣欽老和尚 (一八九二一九八六)福建省惠安縣人, 因家貧幼時即與人為養子, 未受教育故不識字。二十七歲於泉州承又寺出家, 苦行念佛十餘年始受比丘戒, 後入山中獨目潛修十三年, 禪定功夫深厚。一九四七年來台, 先後創建廣明寺、承天寺、廣龍寺、廣承岩、妙通寺等道場, 度眾無數。

 

            Master Kuang-ch'in 1892-1986 was born in Hui-an Country of Fu-chien province in China. He was given up for adoption when he was four and was not educated, hence, illiterate. He became a monk at the age of twenty-seven, but did not receive the formal bhiksu monk precepts until the age of forty-two. Meanwhile, he practiced asceticism and recitation of the name of Amitabha Buddha. After receiving the full bhiksu precepts, he dwelled in a cave in the mountains where he practiced meditation alone for thirteen years, attained an elevated level. He came to Taiwan in 1947 and founded several monasteries, among them the Cheng-tien Temple of Taipei and Miao-tung Temple of Kao-hsiung. He had inspired a great many people into the dual practice of Zen and Pure Land doctrines.

 

 

 

 

1. 修行                  On Practice

 

我們從無始以來, 所造的業就像山那麼高, 如今來修行, 就是要消這些業若不好好修, 反而更造新業, 這座業障山就越堆越高, 會使我們永遠無法跳出生死圈

 

The negative karma we have accumulated in the eons has grown as high as a mountain. The purpose of practice is to eradicate such karma. If we fail to practice diligently and continue to create more negative karma, that mountain of obstruction will grow to ever more formidable height, baring us from escaping the cycle of birth and death.

 

修苦行就是在洗頭腦, 換種子一洗掉貪、瞋、癡的凡夫種子, 換上慈悲喜捨的佛菩薩種子。

 

Ascetic practice means cleansing our minds, or replacing the bad seeds within us: washing away the seeds of greed, anger, and ignorance common people cling to, replacing them by lovingkindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity, which are the seed of buddhahood and bodhisattvahood.

 

苦行不是簡單的! 修苦行是修心, 一切都不計較, 日常生活中不起分別心, 就是修苦行。

 

Ascetic practice is no easy matter! In our daily lives, we must train our minds to abstain from calculations and from discrimination. That is the essence of ascetic practice.

 

修行談何容易? 要想當一個修行人不是那麼簡單的。我們貪、瞋、癡、慢、疑未斷, 現在只是藉著領執事來磨練我們的心智, 等斷了貪、瞋、癡, 才能算入道。

 

To practice, or be a practitioner, is easier said than done. As we are all subject to the common ailments of greed, anger, ignorance, pride, and doubt, let us carry out monastic duties with a purpose to train our minds and untie ourselves from such fetters. Only if we have attained that can we set out on the path of practice.

 

修道是去除貪、瞋、癡, 使身、口、意清淨。

 

The purpose of practice is to eliminate our greed, anger, and ignorance so that our deeds, words, and thoughts will be pure and clean.

 

不去除貪、瞋、癡的人, 無法開智慧。

 

Wisdom will not unfold for those who do not eradicate their greed, anger, and ignorance.

 

如果貪著於(色)、聲、香、味、觸、法, 也是不能開智慧。

 

Likewise, those who cling to the pleasure of the six gunas sense objects, i.e. sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, and ideas can not unfold their wisdom.

 

帶來的業, 善少惡多, 所以才要修苦行, 以期消業障

 

Most of the karma we are born with are negative, few are virtuous. Therefore, we must practice asceticism to eradicate our karmic obstructions

 

唯有去掉壞念頭, 正念才會現前, 才能斷煩惱

 

Only after we have expelled evil thoughts can right mindfulness come to the fore and steer us away from Klesa vexations, i.e. attitudes, views, emotional states, or conditions, arising from attachments, that cause suffering or disharmony.

 

苦行是修道的助緣, 所以歷代祖師、文殊、普賢、觀音、地藏菩薩等, 無不以苦行為行願。今天我們來修行, 就應該學菩薩的願力, 依菩薩苦行的願心去修。

 

Asceticism is a great help in support of practice. Thus the great patriarchs and Bodhisattvas Manjusri, Samantabhadra, Avalokitesvara, and Ksitigarbha all took asceticism as their vow and practice. Now, in our practice, we ought to follow their determination, treading the paths of the bodhisattvas.

 

虛雲老和尚朝山時, 赤足、一只椅、揹包袱, 度飢過日, 朝到那裡算那裡, 明天的事明天再說, 心無罣礙, 所以龍天護法都在護持。我們就是沒有願力, 如果有的話, 什麼事都可以做得到。

 

When Master Hsu Yun set out on his pilgrimage, he left bare-footed, took along only a stool and a simple bundle, and passed many a day with scanty food. He would just follow his path, never worrying about the next day. since his mind was free of clinging, all the dragon kings and devas safeguarding the Dharma protected and maintained him. We simply lack such determination; or else there should be nothing we might not accomplish in our practice.

 

〔野鶴無糧天地寬〕, 它隨處而飛, 飛到那裡就停到那裡, 是最〔自在〕的一種鳥。修行就是要像這樣, 隨處而安, 動靜無罣礙; 心能寂靜, 如如不動, 才是真 〔定〕 。

 

"Wild cranes seek no fodder: the wide world is theirs." They fly and rest as they please and are truly "free." Our practice ought to be like that: tranquil wherever at rest or in action. Come what may, our minds should remain still and unmoved. Such is the state of "samadhi perfect absorption."

 

修行要有境界來才有得修, 要能自己去參悟, 去斷除煩惱, 才能開智慧。譬如有人刺激我們時, 心中自然平靜, 不起煩惱, 這就是修行。

 

Expect and embrace obstacles! For without them, we can not make progress in our practice. Only when we comprehend the true nature of adversity and be free of vexations would our wisdom unfold. For example, when provoked by someone, our minds nevertheless remain tranquil, calm, and free of vexations. That is the essence of practice.

 

修行要 〔做人不做的〕, 才能消業增福, 所以要發心, 要勇猛精進, 不要和人計較 〔這不是我的事, 我不願意做〕, 和世俗人一樣斤斤計較。修行不是〔算行〕, 不是用算的、計算的, 算算人家做多少, 我做多少, 這樣不是修行的意思, 不能修福慧。

 

Practice means "doing what others won't;" only in this way will we be able to eradicate karma and raise merit. Therefore, we should vow to practice diligently. Let us not argue with others and refuse to take up tasks because "That matter is no concern of mine," bickering as worldly persons are wont to do. Practitioners do not haggle, do not calculate how much work "they" have done as opposed to "I." Such behavior undermines practice and would not facilitate the advance of merit and wisdom.

 

修行是要找回我們本來面目, 也就是父母未生我們以前的 〔那個〕。這你們還不能了解, 因為智慧還沒有開, 就像月亮被烏雲遮住了, 本來的面目就顯不出來。

 

Practice aims at retrieving our true nature: "that certain state" in which we were before we were born. You fail to understand this now because your wisdom has not yet unfolded. It is like the moon veiled by dark clouds: its true nature, although shining, can not be seen.

 

修行不爭對不對, 即使自己對, 人家偏說你不對, 你也要接受。凡事能承認自己不對, 就不會起煩惱, 否則心不安, 煩惱立刻跟著來。

 

Practitioners should not quibble over who is right or wrong. When accused of being in the wrong, accept it even though you know you are right. If you are ready to admit mistakes, you will remain untroubled; if not, your mind will be disturbed and vexation will follow.

 

 

修苦行是要訓練自己能捨身, 要體會出這個身是假的, 一定會壞, 再怎麼照顧也照顧不好, 所以不要過於執著這個身體。再說 〔捨身〕, 捨身是什麼? 就是要粗衣淡飯, 生活簡單, 不追求吃 好穿好。修行要先從這些衣食住的放下、淡泊修起。

 

Ascetic practice means training yourself to "renounce your body" i.e. renouncing physical desires and cravings. You should realize that no matter how well you take care of it, this body is unreal and will eventually decay. What does it mean when we speak of "renouncing the body?" It means to dress unobtrusively, to eat plain fare, and in general to live a moderate life. Stop craving for lavish clothes, meals, and living conditions is the first step into practice.

 

修行的路要越苦, 才會開智慧。不是希望人家對我好, 否則和世俗沒兩樣。

 

The harder the path of practice, the closer to enlightenment you will be. Do not expect people to treat you well, otherwise you shall be no different from a lay person.

 

修行要學吃虧, 凡事忍讓不計較, 才會有進步

 

Learn to take losses or be taken advantage of without resentment. Strive to be tolerant rather than calculating so that you may progress in practice.

 

〔常自見己過, 與道即相當。〕 一個越有修行的人, 越會發覺自己的缺失而覺得慚愧懺悔。

 

"Keep constant watch over our own transgressions, and we will not stray from the right path." The more we practice, the easier it will become for us to discover our own shortcomings and feel remorse.

 

修行要修到動靜無罣礙。什麼叫做動靜無罣礙? 就是在動境中心不動, 不被 〔動〕 轉; 而靜時也沒有 〔靜〕 的念頭, 不執著 〔靜〕 相。

 

Practice to remain tranquil and unfettered whether in action or at rest. What does this mean? It means that while you are active, your mind should stay calm and unswayed by your concerns; but while you are at rest, you must not cling to the idea, or to the appearance, of "motionlessness."

 

〔念佛掃塵埃, 蓮花朵朵開。〕 就是說修行人要有正念, 隨時以念佛轉我們的心, 把惡念都轉為正念。

 

"Sweep the dust by reciting the name of Amitabha Buddha, and the Lotus will flourish." This stanza means that we practitioners ought to be guided by right mindfulness, purify our minds and turn all evil thoughts into proper ones by incessant recital of the Buddha's name.

 

凡事要隨緣, 任何事都不能擾亂我們修道人的心。所有衣食住行、是非榮辱, 皆要放下; 如此外緣清淨, 心中智慧自然開朗。平常心就是道! 每天保持不起煩惱, 也不起歡喜心, 對人不好也不壞, 隨緣和人結善緣, 但不要變成攀緣。時時刻刻注意自己的起心動念, 有壞念頭馬上要提醒自己。

 

Take everything as it comes; nothing ought to disturb the mind of a practitioner. Forgo your cravings for worldly goods such as lavish clothes, meals, housing, cars, as well as all your sense of judgment, praise, or blame. Once you have untied yourself from physical and mental distractions, wisdom will unfold. Conduct your daily lives in an unobtrusive fashion--the path is the wisdom of ordinariness. Also, abstain from both vexation and exultation. Treat others neither overly kind nor too harsh. Foster good karmic affinity with others when occasions arise but do not court their favor. Be forever on the watch over your own thoughts and take note whenever an evil notion arises.

 

 

修行要自己親身修, 修到有體悟了, 悟到娑婆世界的苦、輪迴的苦時, 智慧就會開顯, 悟到一條, 就是個靈靈覺覺的智慧光明。

 

The only way to grasp the essence of the Dharma is to practice in person. Once you have truly understood the bitter misery of both living in this world and the perpetual wondering through the cycle of rebirths, your wisdom will unfold. Increasing awareness will then lead you on to the path of supreme enlightenment.

 

修行修到有智慧時, 頭腦自然很清晰靈敏, 無論碰到什麼事, 都能做得圓滿無礙。所要度化眾生, 必須自己先自度, 才不會誤導眾生, 同時別人也會歡喜接受。

 

Once you have obtained wisdom through practice, your mind will become clear and keen, than you shall be able to complete all your tasks satisfactorily and without obstacles. Therefore, to deliver other beings, you must first liberate yourself lest you should lead them astray. Then, people will more readily accept your teaching.

 

修行要有恆常心, 非一蹴即成, 若沒有下點工夫, 以念佛來除妄念, 要想開悟證果是沒有那麼容易的! 要從日常生活中去行持, 信、願、行, 一句佛號執持下去, 自然會明心見性。

 

Practice requires perseverance; do not aspire to any instant enlightenment. Without reciting the name of Buddha continuously thereby removing omnipresent illusions, how can you hope for any attainment? But if you exercise faith, dedication, and practice reciting the name of the Buddha continuously, even during your daily round, you will quite naturally arrive at an enlightened mind and at the realization of the Buddha-nature immanent in all beings.

 

修行人不管到那裡都要保持平常心, 都能無罣無礙,漬淨自在, 而修行就是要修這一點 〔自在〕

 

Come what may: the mind of a practitioner ought to remain calm, unfettered, and unobstructed. Indeed, it is at the attainment of such "complete freedom" that our practice aims.

 

修行要靠自己去行, 才會有真實的領悟, 所謂: 〔如人飲水, 冷暖自知。〕 要自己去行, 才會有真工夫。

 

In order to attain true comprehension of the Dharma, you must practice yourself. Just as they say, "He who drank it knows whether the water was cold or warm." Go ahead and practice yourself; only then may you have genuine attainment.

 

好的學起來, 壞的擱一邊, 自己心裡明白就好, 借境修忍辱。 因為修行不論是與非, 有理與無理, 是要看你碰到境時有沒有煩惱。

 

Emulate the good examples given by others, ignore the bad. Keep your sense of right and wrong to yourself. Unpleasant circumstances are propitious for the practice of forbearance. Practice is not about judging who is right or wrong or who has more reason. Rather, the strength of practice lies on whether you can remain undisturbed under challenge.

 

若你已將地掃乾淨, 師長卻說你沒掃乾淨, 這時你若辯解, 就是在論是非爭對錯, 還沒有脫俗。如果你能接受說: 〔好! 我再把它掃乾淨!〕 這就是修行。

 

It may come to pass that the master blames you for not having swept the floor even after you have indeed done so. If you object, debating right and wrong, you will not yet be in any way different from a lay person. If, however, you accept the reproach, answering, "Fine, I shall sweep it again," you have set out into practice.

 

 

〔忍辱〕 修行才是根本, 依此去做, 到那裡都能感化人, 因為修忍辱能生德行, 能度瞋恚, 故人見生歡喜, 自然能攝化眾生

 

"Forbearance" is fundamental to practice. If you forbear with others, you will be able to reform people wherever you go because forbearance brings forth moral conduct and forestalls resentment. As people enjoy your company, you will quite naturally attract them toward practice.

 

要修忍辱! 〔忍〕 是我們修行的根本, 奴果不能忍, 則徒具出家人的外表, 所以不要以為自己做的都是對的。 〔我見〕不除, 無法修忍辱。

 

Practice forbearance! This is the root and foundation of our practice. If you lack forbearance, you are a monastic practitioner in name only. Therefore, do not presume that you are right in whatever you do. If you don't abstain from seeing everything your "own way," you can never practice forbearance.

 

修行是向內修學, 不是向外追求, 要內心自然法喜, 而不是外面環境好才生歡喜。所以要觀照自己的心, 不要讓這個 〔心猿意馬〕去攀緣外面的環境; 要修到 〔我沒有怎麼樣〕, 才是老實修行。

 

Practice means looking inward and gain awareness of your own mind, not going after matters of the outward world. Instead of tying your happiness solely on agreeable circumstances, your mind should naturally fill with dharmic joy from practice. Guard yourself against capriciousness and indecision lest your mind should come under the sway of external conditions. If you can abstain from attachment to the form and sense of "self," you are honestly treading the path of practice.

 

修行要修到慈悲相, 眼神讓人看起來很和藹慈悲, 這樣才能吸引眾生來信佛學佛修行

 

In your practice, strive to personify lovingkindness and compassion. This must radiate from the expression in your eyes and let people sense that here, indeed, is a kind, compassionate person. Only then will you be able to summon people toward faith in the Buddha, learning and practicing Buddhadharma.

 

如果有一個人修成就了, 那麼其他人也會得到福蔭, 而且人人都會起勇猛心向他學習。所以既然每個人都想修行, 有緣聚在一起共修, 就應該彼此互相提攜勉勵; 否則是非、嫉妒、愚痴心起, 不但會擾亂眾人的 〔道心〕, 自己也不能安定修行。

 

In group practice, if one attains a certain level, all others benefit. They will be inspired to follow his/her example and practice vigorously. Since all of you wish to practice and karmic affinity has brought you together, you ought to help and encourage each other along the way. If, however, you allow sentiments of judgment, jealousy, and delusion to flourish, it will not only affect your companions' resolution but will also impede your own tranquility in practice.

 

修行要修智慧, 但也要修福。常存慈悲心, 儘量方便幫助別人的困難, 布施接濟, 與人廣結善緣, 福、慧雙修。

 

Practice aims at unfolding wisdom, but you ought to cultivate merit as well. Be forever merciful and compassionate, try your best to help those in need and foster good karmic affinity with others. This, then, is the dual practice toward gaining both merit and wisdom.

 

修行要福、慧雙修, 修到老時, 福、慧具足, 一切自然成就。

 

Set out with the dual practice toward gaining merit and wisdom. As you get on in life, gradually attaining both, you will quite naturally reach the ultimate goal of practice.

 

要憐憫一切眾生, 要想到他們和我們一樣, 也是來修行、來種善根的, 所以要發慈悲心, 行菩薩行, : 〔情與無情, 同圓種智。

 

Be merciful to all beings. Remember that they, like us, were born into this world so as to practice and plant good seeds. Therefore, be merciful and compassionate. Tread the bodhisattva-path and wish that: "May all beings, sentient or otherwise, acquire buddha-wisdom."

 

信徒拿東西到寺裡布施供養, 是為了求褔, 不管拿的東西是好是壞, 即使只是摘一根草來, 我們也要以歡喜心接受。最重要的是不能對東西起分別, 因為一分別, 就會對好東西起貪念, 對壞東西嫌棄起煩惱, 甚至造口業而障道修行。應該隨緣處理這些東西, 運用智慧把不好的東西做適當調理或處置, 如此則褔、慧雙修。

 

Worshipers bring offerings to the temple with the intention of seeking merit. You must not assess these offerings at their merit. You must not assess these offerings at their material value. Whatever is offered, if only a blade of grass, we should accept with joy. Most important of all: do not distinguish the offerings; for as soon as you do, you would desire the good ones and despise the bad. You might become vexed or even create negative karma through sneering at them hence spoil your practice. Handle the offerings as they come, use your wisdom to make the best out of them. Such will then be in keeping with the dual practice toward attaining merit and wisdom.

 

要做一位菩薩, 不可以存著 〔自己好就好, 別人不管他〕 的心理。凡事以利益別人為前提, 自己吃虧沒關係, 如果事事只想利益自己, 無明煩惱就會一大堆。

 

Those who wish to tread the bodhisattva-path must never think, "As long as I myself am doing fine, what are the others to me?" It is indeed the others whose welfare should always be foremost on your mind--even at your own expenses. On the other hand, if you only look after your own concerns, endless delusive vexations will follow.

 

出家人慈悲為本, 方便為門, 一切菩提道果都是從慈悲中生出來的

 

Monastic practitioner ought to be kind and compassionate to all beings while providing them with expedient guidance for practice. Remember, all bodhi fruits grow out of lovingkindness and compassion.

 

以後師父不在, 不必擔心修行沒有人指導, 只要照師父的話一念佛修苦行, 道心堅固, 不執著六塵好壞, 一切隨緣。能這樣做, 就如同師父在時一樣。

 

After I am gone, there is no need to worry that no one would guide you in your practice. Just remember what I told you: reciting the name of the Buddha; practice diligently and with firm determination; abstain from the pleasures of the six senses; adapt yourselves to circumstances rather than insisting on your own way. If you are able to do so, it will be as if I were still among you.

 

聽師父開示, 覺得很好, 但這個 〔好〕 是師父的境界, 至於我們自己的道行, 還是需要依照師父的開示, 自己去體會、去實修、去實證。

 

You might enjoy a great deal listening to your Master's expositions and feel them quite agreeable. However, such "agreeableness" reflects the stage reached by your Master. As for your own lever of attainment, it depends on how much you put those teachings into practice. Only through such a process will you be able to fully comprehend and verify their truthfulness and usefulness.

 

聽開示不在於聽得多不多, 而是在於聽得進或聽不進。即使聽進去了, 也還要會隨境應用, 才能得到法益。

 

True listening does not rest in how much you have listened to your Master but in how well you have listened. Even if you have listened well, you would benefit only if you  can apply properly what you have heard to the circumstances you come across.

 

我們修苦行, 是在藉各種事境, 磨練我們的身心, 破除無明煩惱, 洗滌俗染習氣, 鍛鍊各種能耐, 並不是做了一點勞力事就叫做苦行。出家不要怕吃苦, 不要怕逆境! 只有在苦中才能歷練我們、開發我們的智慧。

 

We who chose the path of ascetic practice ought to regard all circumstances and hardships as good opportunities to discipline our minds and bodies. Such training will help to cut off our delusion and vexations, to cleanse our habitual patterns, and to toughen us against all resistance. Merely performing laborious tasks in the temple certainly does not turn us into ascetics. Therefore, you who have left home for practice ought not to be afraid of hardships. Only through overcoming continuous adversities can we discipline our minds and unfold our wisdom.

 

〔無苦不成道〕 一修苦行要有真切願力, 而有願力必能行, 自然對一切粗賤的工作, 不會去分別計較, 都會很盡心的去做, 甚至不感覺痛苦, 而這一切也都是在磨我們的傲氣, 消我們的業障。所以修行不要怕苦, 有苦才有行好修, 無苦就沒有道行可言。

 

"Without hardships, there can be no attainment in practice." Walking the path of asceticism requires firm determination. With such will-power, you naturally will not discriminate against tasks assigned to you. Instead, you will carry them out devotedly without even considering them as menial, for such tasks will wear down your pride and help to reduce your karmic obstructions. Therefore, a practitioner ought not to be afraid of , nor try to escape from, hardships, for without them there is nothing to practice on hence no attainment to speak of.

 

人生有八苦一生、老、病、死、愛別離、怨憎會、求不得、五蘊熾盛苦, 及一切貪、瞋、癡的苦毒逼惱。一般人每天就是被這些無明煩惱業轉來轉去, 痛苦不已, 如果沒有以佛法來對治, 從修行上下工夫, 是無法得到解脫的。

 

There are eight kinds of misery from which we constantly suffer: birth, aging, disease, death, separation from loved ones, company of hated ones, failure to obtain what we desire, and all the ills of the five skandhas form, sensation, perception, volition, and consciousness. In addition, we are also vexed by our greed, anger, and ignorance. Unenlightened as we are, we totter from day to day under the full sway of such delusive and afflictive karma, suffering immensely. Without diligent practice under the guidance of Buddhadharma, we can never be liberated.

 

我們人道是四生中最靈的, 若不懂佛法因果, 為了一己的貪欲, 想吃肉就任意宰殺, 這樣會造下很嚴重的惡業。你看! 當我們在殺那些動物時, 他們也知道死苦, 哀哀而鳴, 而這哀鳴就是怨恨, 殺了牠, 我們就與牠結下了冤業, 將來冤冤相報, 生生相殺, 永脫不出生死輪迴。所以學佛的人要戒殺、長養慈悲心, 即是這道理。

 

Among the four forms of birth, the spiritual level of human beings is the most elevated. However, if we do not understand the Dharma and the principle of causality, we might kill animals just to satisfy our desires of eating meat. This will create very severe karmic obstructions. Listen! As we butcher those creatures, they, too, know the pangs of death and will scream out miserably, and those are screams of resentment. If we kill them anyway, we shall come under the sway of this negative karmic affinity. This will start a vicious cycle of killing and revenge, barring us forever from escaping samsara. For this reason, a Buddhist should faithfully keep the precept against killing, cultivating a compassionate mind instead.

 

人身難得! 我們得到了這個人身, 是要用來修行的, 要藉這個人身來了生死、成佛做祖; 不要再依這個人身又造貪、瞋、癡的惡業, 貪好吃、貪美服、貪享受、貪子孫兒女, 在六根塵中做夢, 不知回頭修行, 等到失去這個人身的機會時, 輪迴就有我們的份了。要知道, 畜生道中, 牛、馬、豬、狗等都是我們人去做的, 地獄、餓鬼道也是我們人去投的, 一切都是我們這個心所造成的, 所以說, 由這個人身可修行成佛做祖, 亦可造業墮六道輪迴。既已出家, 就該依著佛法, 找到一條修行的途徑, 看能不能由此超出生死輪迴, 脫離娑婆之苦。

 

Among the six divisions, our human existence is by no means easy to attain! The idea, though, is that we should grasp this unique opportunity for practice so as to break out the cycle of birth and death and ultimately reach buddhahood. Do not accumulate additional negative karma through our greed, anger, ignorance, and endless pursuits of tasty food, lavish clothing, worldly pleasure, children and grandchildren, etc. If, instead of diligent practice, we remain attached to the six sensual objects and lose this precious opportunity of human existence, we will be forever confined to samsara. Be aware that human beings can easily be reborn as animals like cows, horses, pigs, dogs, etc., hell-beings, or hungry ghosts. Where we end up depends on where we put our minds. We can either utilize this human existence to practice in the hope of attaining buddhahood, or to create more negative karma hence confine ourselves in the six divisions of rebirth. Since we all have chosen to leave home for practice, wouldn't it be suitable way to escape the entanglement and torment of samsara?

 

我們出家, 是身心都要出家, 真正發出離心, 不要與世俗過分攀緣。譬如俗家父母親人來探望, 失們應與之談論佛法, 以佛法接引、度化他們, 不可流於俗情, 否則愛別離苦的情執不斷, 俗心便不能除, 以玫僧不僧、俗不俗, 成為障道因緣。

 

When leaving home for practice, both your body and your mind should "leave." In other words, genuine renunciation means you ought to have as little secular entanglement as possible. In case your parents or relatives come for a visit, discuss with them only Buddhadharma so as to convert and deliver them. Do not indulge in the sentiment of parting from loved ones.

Otherwise, you will be a monastic practitioner in name only. And such attachment will surely become a great impediment to your practice and to your attainment of total liberation.

 

這世間, 什麼都要看破, 不但財不能貪, 名也不能貪, 娑婆世界沒有一樣東西是可留戀的。我們出家人更要捨下世俗的一切, 粗衣淡飯苦行, 身做常住的事, 利益大眾, 心要寄託在道業上, 才能妄念不起, 業障自消, 心無罣礙。能夠這樣安份地一天過一天, 就是老實修行。

 

Relinquish all aspirations to secular gains! Not only must we part with our greed for wealth, but likewise with our hankering after fame. In fact, there is nothing in this world with which we should be reluctant to part. We monastic practitioners should go even further: consuming only plain food and clothing, devoting ourselves to our tasks in the monastery for the benefit of all beings, and keeping our minds solely on practice. Only through such ascetic practice can we eradicate our karmic obstructions and free our minds of illusive ideas as well as other disturbances. If we live our lives, day in day out, in this manner, we are truly treading the path of practice.

 

修行要修心, 心要怎麼修? 就是不去分別, 沒有執著, 沒有煩惱。一般人不曉這個道理, 凡事論好論壞、分是非、別愛僧; 而我們修行人, 不論是對、是錯、是好、是壞, 不管是耳朵聽到的, 還是眼睛看到的, 心都不可以起分別、執著, 也不可以起煩惱, 這才是修行修心。出家人如果還一天到晚說這個人好, 那個人不好, 論是論非的, 則徒具修行的外表而已。像這個樣子身出家, 心未出家, 與道不相應。其實不管對不對、好不好, 只要我們會感到別人不好, 這個不對, 那個不對, 就是我們的眼根不清淨, 耳根不清淨, 在分別好壞, 而這種 〔分別好壞〕 真接人心, 會使我們起煩惱, 不能了生死。

 

The essence of practice is to train the mind. How, then, shall be proceed? First, train our minds to abstain from discrimination, attachment, and vexations. Most people, not realizing this principle, are prone to distinguish good and evil, right and wrong, love and distaste. Practitioners, on the other hand, ought to abstain from discriminating what we see or hear, not to become attached to, or vexed by, them. Such is the practice of training the mind. If a monastic practitioner carries on the habit of gossiping around and judging people, then he/she is a monastic practitioner in name only. Such behaviors are not in tune with the Dharma; in fact, they only reflect the impurity of our eyes and ears. Such "discrimination," though involuntary, will nevertheless defile our minds, create vexation, and lead us astray from the path of liberation.

 

菩薩的度化眾生是沒有色相的, 都是在默默之中, 自自然然的感化。至於眾生能不能受到菩薩的度化, 就端看眾生能否真實信願皈依。因為菩薩有慈悲度眾生的 〔因〕, 而眾生要有受度化的 〔緣〕,  〔因緣和合〕, 這就是所謂的 〔感應道交〕 。就像觀世音菩薩, 每日端坐佛殿, 無所為, 卻以大慈大悲, 攝受了無數信心祈求的眾生, 由信而入佛法大海。

 

Do not anticipate any specific form through which bodhisattivas deliver sentient beings. The process of deliverance often occurs quietly and naturally. Whether sentient beings can be delivered depends on the degree of their faith, resolution, and willingness to take refuge in the bodhisattvas. While the compassion of bodhisattvas to deliver is the primary cause, deliverance can not take place without the secondary cause, i.e. the vow and dedication of those who wish to be delivered. In other words, only when the two causes correspond will deliverance be possible. Take Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara Kuanyin for example. Sitting high up on the altar, the Bodhisattva appears to be motionless. However her compassion and mercifulness have been providing relief to many who prayed for help and, in response to their faith, guiding them through the practice of the Dharma.

 

修道人不談佛法, 而談俗事, 這非出家人的本分。把在家的俗事一分別、計較、競爭拿來出家用, 拿到佛門來論是論非, 俗氣未斷, 怎談得上修行?

 

Instead of chattering on worldly matters, we monastic practitioners ought to discuss only about the Dharma. Otherwise, how can there be any "practice" to speak of if we carry on the discriminating, calculating, and competitive demeanor and gossip like lay people do?

 

一般做父母的, 總是希望子女長大成人以後有一番作為一讀大學、攻慱士、賺大錢、吃好、穿好、住好, 對兒女企望得很深切。可是等到做兒女真的有所成就,卻常見他們拋棄父母不顧, 這時做父母的, 希望就落空了。但很多人仍然不能就此覺悟, 甚至到最後一口氣快斷時, 還想著: 〔 我的兒子, 我的兒子, 我的孫子!〕 哀哀怨怨地罣礙著兒孫。由於這種愛情愛別不能放下, 六道輪迴之苦也就逃不了。所以說做父母的人, 對兒女的這種期待、執著、罣礙, 就是生死輪迴的根源。

 

Most parents wish for their children to grow up to have a bright future: college education, doctoral degree, wealth and success, etc. Unfortunately, many turn their backs on their parents after attaining success. But these parents, failing to realize its futility, continue to place their hope on their children. For many, their concern of, hence attachment to, their children and grandchildren would never cease, not even to the moment of their last breath. They do not realize that such deep affection will confine them to the six divisions of rebirth. Their expectations, attachments, and concerns are the very cause of their lingering in samsara, hence the sources of their perpetual misery.

 

〔貪愛世間一枝草, 就要再來輪迴〕 一枝草代表娑婆世界的一個事物。貪著娑婆世界的事物, 就要再來娑婆輪迴。一枝草也表示一個念頭, 只要有念頭, 就不能超出三界。所以即使所貪著的事物, 所動的念頭, 只是一枝草那麼輕賤、微不足道, 都會使我們再來輪迴。

 

Buddhists believe that "Craving for just a blade of grass, and it will guarantee your remaining in samsara." A blade of grass stands for an object of this world, and desire of which will result in your rebirth into it. A blade of grass also represents a thought, ad possession of which will prevent you from transcending the three realms of sentient existence. Even if the object you desire or the thought you have is as trivial as a blade of grass, it is nevertheless powerful enough to confine you in the cycle of birth and death.

 

做人要惜福, 不可蹧棄任何可吃可用的東西, 要以智慧、耐心, 將損壞的東西做適當的處理, 這樣來用心垃福修功德, 才是修福、慧。

 

Regard everything you come across as a blessed reward and conserve it mindfully. Do not squander anything edible or useful; rather, use your wit and patience in handling things broken or worn. Put your mind into it, then you will set out into the dual practice of gaining both merit and wisdom.

 

〔未成佛要先結人緣〕 --我們修行人要 〔廣結善緣〕, 方便幫助別人, 凡事忍讓不計較。再壞的人, 甚至一隻小動物, 也要以歡喜心與牠結緣。沒有人緣, 或是相見人不歡喜, 皆是前世沒有和人結善緣所致。所以廣結善緣, 將來才會有福報, 才能人見人歡喜, 也才有度化眾生的善因緣。

 

"Before attaining buddhahood, be sure to foster good karmic affinity with people." As practitioners, we ought to help others the best we can, be patient and not calculating, joyfully foster good affinity with all beings--even with an evil person or an animal. If, unfortunately, you sense that people don't really like you or feel unpleasant seeing you, it is because you did not foster good affinity with them in previous lives. Therefore, be sure to foster good relations with everyone so that you may later enjoy blessed rewards and favorable affinities. By then, you will have the good karmic conditions necessary to deliver other sentient beings.

 

你看彌勒佛、布袋和尚、他的肚量有多、多慈悲! 如果一個人沒有肚量, 吃不了一點點虧, 受不住別人的一兩句話, 就是沒有修行!

 

How magnanimous and merciful Maitreya Buddha and Putai Hoshang Cloth-bag Monk are! If we can not emulate them, i.e. we would take no losses, not tolerate any criticism, then we have not attained any level in our practice!

 

一個修行的人, 如果不精進修持, 不為常住、眾人效力, 不修福德, 不修戒、定、慧, 則龍天護法必定遠去, 自然業障現前, 使身心不能安定自在, 致滋生種種事端。相反的, 如果守本分, 精進用功, 則善神戒神、天龍八部來相護持, 自然心得清淨、安祥自在, 才能真正安心辦道。

 

If a practitioner does not practice diligently, does not work for the benefit of others, does not accumulate merits, does not keep his precepts, practice meditation, or foster the growth of wisdom, then the dragon kings and devas safe-guarding the Dharma will not watch over him. He will then be under the full sway of his karmic obstructions and all sorts of problem will arise. On the other hand, if he keeps himself well and practices attentively, all devas will come to his protection. With the mind pure and free, he will then be able to practice without distraction.

 

什麼叫做莊嚴? 不起無明, 身心清淨, 是名莊嚴。慈、悲、喜、捨, 行止如儀, 是名莊嚴。

 

What does it mean when we say that someone looks solemn and dignified? When one does not act upon ignorance and delusion, when one constantly purifies one's body and mind, he/she will acquire a natural solemn and dignified manner. When one enacts the ideas of lovingkindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity, when one conducts him/herself in good manners, he/she will look solemn and dignified.

 

修行人要 〔有上求佛道, 下化眾生〕 的願力。但在行願當中必須要先求自度, 才有力量廣度眾生, 所以對衣、食、住、名利、世間情愛、執著等等, 都要看破、放下。而身心清淨, 無所罣礙了, 才談得上宏法利生。否則自身未了, 尚受世間名聞利養種種束縳, 焉能教化別人, 普利眾生?

 

We practitioners should dedicate ourselves to "attain buddhahood and deliver all sentient beings." However, we must work on our own salvation first so that we may acquire the ability to deliver others. The first step is to forgo our desire to eat, dress, and live lavishly, and to forsake our secular affections, attachments, and our incessant pursuit of wealth and fame. Only when our minds and bodies become pure and free of hindrance can we begin to talk about preaching Buddhadharma for the benefit of all sentient beings. Otherwise, with our own minds enslaved by secular attachments, how can we help to free others from such bondage?

 

做為一個修行人, 對於日常生活的食、衣、住、名利等, 各方面都要看破、放下, 也就是要斷色、聲、香、味、觸、法, 從這五蘊裡面來修, 這樣才不會受慾望需要的束縛羈絆. 而我們的 〔道行〕 就是從這裡增長出來的。所以出了家要安於清苦、淡泊, 才好修行, 也才能讓眾生自然的生信心、恭敬心, 才堪作一位真正的人天師範, 度化眾生, 自利利他。

 

As practitioners, we ought to relinquish all cravings for good food, nice clothing, comfortable housing, wealth and fame, etc. In other words, we can begin our practice by curbing desires stimulated by what we see, hear, smell, taste, touch, and think, thereby shake off the fetters of sensual passions. This is how the strength of our practice may grow. Therefore, we monastic practitioners ought to content ourselves with a simple life and really devote ourselves to practice. Only by so doing can we hope to win the confidence and respect of all beings and become genuine masters who, while liberating ourselves, can guide them out of their misery.

 

〔吃苦了苦, 能忍才有福。〕 我們修行, 吃的苦有多少, 了的業就有多少, 但看我們修行用功的程度而定, 所以福報是自己修來的, 不是可以對外求來的。

 

We ought to recognize that "Only through endurance can we transcend hardships, and only through forbearance can we gain blessed rewards." The amount of karmic obstructions we can reduce is proportional to the hardships we endure and the efforts we put into practice. Similarly, merits can only be earned through diligent practice, not external pursuits.

 

靜坐不是枯坐, 更不能執著 〔我在靜坐〕、〔我在念佛〕、〔我在參禪〕等, 這些都是 〔我相〕、〔著相〕修行。如果還有一個 〔我怎麼樣〕, 仍是妄想, 不得自在; 縱使枯坐千年, 就像煮石蒸沙, 仍如頑石不能了生死。行、住、坐、臥也要如此, 不著一切淨, 不著一切法, 心地清淨, 遠離分別, 才能超出三界, 跳出生死輪迴。

 

Do understand that sitting meditation does not mean sitting there idly, doing nothing. Most important of all, do not cling to the ideas that "I am meditating," "I am reciting the name of the Buddha," or "I am practicing Zen," otherwise, you will be practicing with the omnipresence of the sense of "self." If you continue to dwell on the idea that "I am doing this and that," you are still clinging to erroneous and illusive thoughts and can never be genuinely free. In this way, even if you meditate for thousands of years, the effect will be the same as cooking rocks or steaming sands--all useless in terms of getting yourself to transcend the cycle of birth and death. Forsake all forms, attach your mind to nothing, and think not of what you are doing. Also, conduct your daily activities be it moving, staying, sitting, or sleeping without clinging to any idea of purity, or dwell on any dharma. Only by steering clear of all discrimination and differentiation can you transcend the three realms and break out of the prison of samsara.

 

這個人生就像演電視劇一樣, 每個人都扮演著各自不同的角色, 隨著劇情悲歡離合, 喜怒哀樂的變化, 情緒也隨之忽喜忽樂, 憂悲無常。而這些喜怒哀樂, 其實不過是我們在分別而已。我們看娑婆世界也是這樣, 無論是順境、逆境、善的、惡的、好的、壞的, 心境常隨之起伏不定。 再加上我們無始劫以來的染習深重, 總是見惡易隨, 見善難徙。所以看到惡的、契合自己習性的緣境, 就心生歡喜, 恣心縱意, 隨順而去; 而聽到佛菩薩 〔難忍能忍, 難行能行〕 的作為, 卻心生為難. 認為那是佛菩薩們的境界, 自己只是個凡夫, 如何學得來, 因此心生退卻, 對佛菩薩只有空讚嘆。結果最可惜的是, 好的沒學到, 壞的卻越染越深, 這就是凡夫見地, 本身沒有堅定願力的緣故。

 

Real life is very much like a soap opera in which everyone plays a role. We all have the experience of following the emotional swings of the characters of soap operas. However, we rarely sense that the ensuing sentiments, of joy, anger, sorrow, and happiness are but distinctions made by our own minds. It is much the same in real life. More often than not, we allow our distinction of circumstances or judgments of people to take charge of our emotions without even being conscious about it. Furthermore, it seems that we always find it easier to emulate bad examples than good one. This is because our delusions accumulated through the eons can easily overwhelm us. Hence, we are often swayed by circumstances befitting our sinister desires. On the other hand, how often have we claimed that "to tolerate the intolerable and practice the impracticable" is the attainment of buddhas and bodhisattvas, thereby excusing ourselves for not following their examples but merely praising them with empty words? The most unfortunate result is that we keep on ingraining bad habits while shunning the good. This is what we called the misconception of an ordinary person, and it is due largely to our lack of firm resolve to practice.

有人不了解佛法, 就隨便批評修行的出家人, 也會病苦, 也有災厄, 也是生死無常。殊不知這色身外表的病痛, 與外境上的災厄, 雖然與世俗人等受無異, 但是這靈性的昏與明則大不同。世俗人在這般病厄災難時痛苦不已, 怨天尤人, 命終後靈光昏昧, 為業所牽, 輪迴於四生之中。而修行人卻能自在的捨下這一身業塵, 一點清澈靈明的心光, 超越六趣, 直往西方, 這是大不相同的。

 

Many people, having no real understanding of Buddhadharma, are apt to comment that monks and nuns are nuns are no different from the laity: they get sick, run into troubles, and will eventually die. What they do not recognize is that even though disease and calamity attack monastic practitioners as they do ordinary people, the degree of spiritual enlightenment of the former is immensely different from that of the latter. Ordinary people, with an unenlightened mind, suffer gravely and complain bitterly upon misfortune; when they die, they are driven by karmic forces and continue to roam among the four forms of birth. When practitioners pass away, however, they would readily forsake their karmic-driven bodies and, guided by their inner light to transcend the six divisions of rebirth, go straight to the Pure Land.

 

今生能得富貴, 是過去生中布施而得之福報。而此生在享受福報時, 如果沒有無常的磨難, 種種的挫折來歷練, 會很容易沉迷其中, 不知醒悟, 不知求出世解脫之道。等福報享盡時, 便隨所造作的其他業緣, 再受永無休止的輪迴了。

 

The reason that some people are affluent and prestigious is because they have accumulated a great deal of merits through generous giving in previous lives. However, there is a catch taking pleasure from such rewards. Without suffering from impermanence and all sorts of frustration, people may easily indulge in them, unaware of the need, nor searching for the means, to escape the prison of samsara. When time comes that they have used up all their rewards, they will be driven by other karmic forces and continue to roam in the eternal cycle of rebirths.

 

修行要利他, 因為利益別人就是利益自己, 這樣才能使我們脫出人我的限囿, 遠離執著我相、一切顛倒夢想、貪、瞋、癡等。而那些〔我相〕 所引起的種種煩惱, 也才能漸漸得到解脫, 自性中的無量三昧自然開顯。也惟有如此, 一切以利他為前提, 一切以度脫眾生苦厄為江懷, 則自身得無事, 心胸漸寬廣。

 

Keep reminding ourselves that we are practicing for the benefit of all beings, and this will in turn bring us immeasurable rewards. Only by so doing can we transcend the captivity of discrimination between self and others, and let go all our attachments, inverted dreams, as well as our greed, anger, and ignorance, etc. We can also gradually be free of the vexations caused by the attachment to "the form of self," and the infinite samadhi of our true nature will then unfold. Therefore, the premise of our practice should always be for the benefit of others, and the foundation the deliverance of all beings. Only then can we expand the horizon of our concern and attain genuine liberation.

 

出家修行不要怕逆惡的環境, 修行就是要修這些 〔壞的、惡的、不能適應、不得自在〕的境。因為這些逆因緣, 會啟發我們的智慧, 成就我們的忍辱行, 使我們愈來愈無罣礙。而當我們的智慧開啟到某一程度時, 就能折服那一個程度的煩惱, 所以懂得修行的人, 是不害怕逆境的。

We monastic practitioners ought not to have fear of adverse circumstances, for it is exactly those "baffled, confounded, unfitting, and uncomfortable" conditions that we practice to tackle. Theses adverse courses will help, along our way of practice, to unfold our wisdom, enhance our tolerance, and gradually free us from all fetters. And as our wisdom develops to a certain level, we would naturally overcome vexations of that level. Therefore, those who really know how to practice never feel apprehensive about adverse circumstances.

 

修苦行是從各種執事中去磨練, 在工作中要能吃苦、能忍耐。一次、兩次之後, 就不覺得苦, 這就是業障漸漸在消除。若是越修越覺得痛苦煩躁, 那就是業障在翻絞。就像佛菩薩已從苦行中磨得業障盡除, 沒有苦惱的感受, 做什麼事都很自在, 而不覺得在做什麼, 也不覺得自己在度眾生。

 

Ascetic practice means to train our minds through our daily chores about the temple. In carrying out our tasks, we should learn to bear hardships and extend the level of our tolerance. After a while, we may find the tasks less unbearable, indicating the waning of our karmic obstructions. On the other hand, if we feel growing pain and impatience, we are under the full swing of our karmic obstructions. As we know, buddhas and bodhisattvas, with all their karmic obstructions eradicated through ascetic practice, are free of vexations and pain. They have attained perfect freedom hence having no sense that they are "doing something" or "delivering sentient beings."

 

太陽對萬物一視同仁, 普照一切, 好人也照, 惡人也照。我們就是要像這樣: 別人的好壞, 是他個人的事, 我們自己卻一定要心存平等慈悲, 如果因為對方不好, 我們就和他計較, 那我們自己也就半斤八兩了。

 

The sun does not discriminate: it shines on virtuous people as well as on immoral ones. This is how we should treat others. The morality of others is their concern only; we ought to treat everyone with similar compassion and lovingkindness. If we discriminate against some people because they are immoral, then we are not that much different from them.

 

我們在做事時, 不要認為是在為佛菩薩做事, 或是為師父做, 實際上是在為消自己的業障而做。老和尚說: 〔在我這裡沒有什麼給你們學的, 只是叫你們掃掃地, 做些苦行而已。〕不過掃地也不是一件簡單的事, 如果掃不好, 掃得起煩惱, 無明業障反而纏上來。所以不僅要掃得好, 還要能高高興興的掃, 掃得三障無明煩惱清淨, 掃得智慧開朗, 法喜充滿, 才是真掃地。修行就是從這些日常生活當中用功夫、斷煩惱、了生死。

 

When carrying out our daily tasks about the temple, do not feel that we are doing it for the buddhas, the bodhisattvas, or the Master. In fact, we are doing it solely for the reduction of our own karmic obstructions. As I often tell you "There isn't much to learn here; all I do is asking you to sweep the floor and do other laborious chores." However, do not think floor sweeping is an easy matter. If not doing it right, you may feel vexed and come under the sway of your delusive karma. Therefore, not only should you sweep the floor clean, but also do it gladly: feel that you are at the same time sweeping away all delusive vexations, all obstructions of arrogance, envy, and ignorance, and all dusts clouding your wisdom, and while doing this, fill your mind with dharmic joy. Were you able to do so, you can claim that you truly know how to sweep the floor. Practice, then, means mindfully carrying out daily tasks and, through which, eliminating all vexations so as to break out of the cycle of birth and death.

 

修行是在修心, 心若清淨, 則一切都無障礙。度眾生也是一樣, 是用這個 〔心〕 在度, 不必攀緣強求, 既不分別選擇, 一切眾生胎、卵、濕、化, 貧、富、智、愚, 都平等度之, 也沒有感覺〔我在度眾生〕!

 

The key to practice is the mind. When the mind is pure, there shall be no hindrance on the path of practice. Likewise, the key to deliverance of all beings is also the "mind." When attempting to deliver others, put your mind into it but do not be forceful, selective, or discriminating. Whatever forms or shapes beings take, be they rich or poor, smart or dumb, help and guide them just the same. Moreover, do not attach to the sense that " I am delivering these sentient beings!"

 

曉得自己是凡夫才好修行, 這樣才會很慚愧地發勇猛精進心, 接受善知識的教誨。否則自視過高, 自以為了不起, 貢高我慢, 就很難入道。修行就是要腳踏實地, 從〔一切境〕中去調整自己、磨練自己, 去除無明、煩惱習氣, 要心能轉境而不被境所轉, 才能入聖流。所以修行從心修, 是在 〔修自己〕, 這是別人無法代替的事。若能調得自在, 自能明心見性, 智慧開朗。

 

Your practice will be enhanced by the realization that you are but an ordinary person. It makes you humble hence more willing to embrace teachings of masters and practice diligently. Otherwise, you might be too arrogant to learn and, consequently, unwilling to practice. Practice means to walk the path step by step, to adjust and discipline your mind through challenges. Only when your mind becomes its own master, free of all delusions and vexations, unsusceptible to the swing of circumstances, can there be hope for any attainment in practice. Therefore, practice should begin with the training of "your own mind," which no one else can do for you. If you practice to the extent that your mind is free of all fetters, your intrinsic nature will manifest and wisdom unfold.

 

 

修苦行是去除妄念最好的方法。在難行難忍中, 一切看破, 萬緣放下, 一心做去, 就沒有分別, 沒有煩惱, 自然業障消除, 無明不起, 而法喜充滿。功夫日久, 一切事情都會明明朗朗, 無不通曉, 智慧大開。

 

Ascetic practice is the best way to expel erroneous and illusive thoughts. When facing impossible and unbearable circumstances, let go of all aspirations and attachments and practice with an undivided mind. With our minds gradually free of discrimination and vexations, our karmic obstructions and delusions will naturally be reduced and our hearts filled with dharmic joy. Keep on such practice and the degree of our awareness will grow and our wisdom unfold. By then, everything will become crystal clear thus easily comprehensible.

 

以前的祖師總是安分守己, 不求聞達。因為越是默默無名, 不攀緣的人, 越是妳用功。若是心多攀緣, 則意根散亂, 心常驕滿, 易致失敗, 而道業不得成就, 也枉費我們來出家。

 

It is clear in Buddhist history that the great patriarchs always kept a low profile and pursued no fame. As we know, those who desire less of worldly fame and gains are more apt to practice diligently. Too many secular concerns distract our minds and make us pretentious. Under these circumstances, no attainment is possible and our efforts of leaving home for practice will all be in vain.

 

智慧勝過神通, 神通只是智慧的妙用。智慧是光明, 能善巧分別, 明了一切事理, 破除一切無明煩惱, 了脫生死。若求神通而沒有智慧, 就不能成就佛道,仍然落在三界之內,六道輪迴當中。

 

Wisdom is much more powerful than supernatural capability, for the latter is but the ingenious application of the former. Wisdom is the inner light that enables us to discern and comprehend the essence of everything; it helps us eliminate all vexations generated by our ignorance and escape the cycle of birth and death. Therefore, if you covet supernatural capability rather than wisdom, you will have no hope of attaining buddhahood. Instead, you will remain in the three realms and be confined to the six divisions of rebirth.

 

修行不是修給別人看的, 表面功夫是不會有道行的, 深淺別人一試便知曉。《金剛經》云: 〔若有我相、人相、眾生相、壽者相, 即非菩薩。〕 所以修行是〔密行〕, 是修自己的心, 向內觀照自己的起心動念, 不是向外攀緣追求得到的。然而即使自己真有功夫, 也不必故意讓別人感覺出來, 這樣才好真實辦道。

 

The purpose of practice is not for others to see. Ostentatious practice gains no strength and lack of substance, and will be easily detected by others. As the Diamond Sutra puts it: "No bodhisattva who is a real bodhisattva distinguishes forms of self, of others, of sentient beings, and of life." Therefore, practice is a very "private" business. It is a training of your own mind to introspect the incipience and motivation of your each and every thought, which can never be attained through external pursuits. Even if you have attained a certain stage, do not show off lest it should hamper your practice.

 

真正修行的人, 〔道心〕 很堅固, 〔願力〕 很堅強。當境遇越壞時, 越能深刻去體認, 反而能培養堅忍的道行。所以說: 〔 無苦不成道。〕出家和在家大不相同, 出了家是越苦越好修。

 

Genuine practitioners ought to have firm "faith" and strong "resolve." The harder the situations become, the deeper their understanding of the Dharma will be hence the stronger their perseverance in practice. That is why "no attainment is possible without hardship." Monastic practitioners should expect a lifestyle vastly different from that of laity, and realize that, the more arduous the circumstances are, the better for practice.

 

修行和世俗不一樣, 不是在爭對不對。以前有兩個徒弟在打坐, 一個坐得很莊嚴, 一個坐得東倒西歪, 可是師父拿起香板, 卻打那個坐得莊嚴的徒弟, 目的是要看他心中是否也莊嚴。如果不是很莊嚴, 就一定會起無明瞋恨, 而生煩惱; 如果內外都很莊嚴的人, 反而會很虛心慚愧地請求師父開示教導。所以說修行不是在爭對不對, 而是要看自己有沒有真功夫--即使你做的都沒有錯, 人家卻硬說你不對, 你也能接受。

 

Unlike the laity, practitioners should not argue about right or wrong. Once there were two disciples practicing meditation. One sat in a very solemn and dignified manner, the other quite at ease, not even keeping his posture. However, the master hit the former with incense board to test whether his mind was as solemn and dignified as his posture indicated. If not, he would resent the master and become vexed. On the other hand, if his mind were solemn and dignified, he would humble request the instruction of the master to improve his practice. So, as you see, instead of quibbling over right and wrong, what you really should do is constantly introspecting whether you yourself have gained genuine strength through practice. Here is a good measurement of strength: when others insist you are wrong even though you have done everything correctly, you can sincerely accept such criticism.

 

修行一定要在大叢林, 人多的地方, 才會有參學磨練的機會。否則一、兩個人住在一起, 沒有叢林規矩的約束, 很容易變成我行我素, 隨心所欲, 而失去了磨練的機會。

 

When leaving home for practice, be sure to select a large monastery. The experience of living together with more people provides ample opportunities to practice against diverse circumstances. When practitioners live in a small group without the restraint of monastic rules, they may easily indulge themselves hence forfeit the opportunities to discipline and train their minds.

 

在世俗社會裡, 有分貧、富、貴、賤, 但佛門中就沒有這種分別、無論是貧、是富、是貴、是賤,一律以慈悲心平等對待,因為〔未成佛要先結人緣〕,要與眾生廣結善緣,將來度眾生才有法緣。

It may be inevitable that, in the secular world, people are classified as rich or poor, prestigious or humble; however, there should be no such distinctions among Buddhists. Whatever people's financial or social status may be, you ought to treat them equally and with similar lovingkindness and compassion. "Before attaining buddhahood, be sure of foster good karmic affinity with all people." Only by fostering good relations with as many sentient beings as possible will you create the dharmic affinity to deliver them in the future.

 

〔三皈依〕 要好好去體會。譬如皈依法〔智慧如海〕, 什麼是 〔智慧〕呢? 智慧是空性, 是從修行中自然修出來的, 不是想出來的, 而且也沒有一個具體的東西可以指出來說那是 〔智慧〕, 因為智慧是 〔無色相〕 的, 譬如佛陀所說的經典就是智慧。在日常行持當中, 我們所做的一切事能達到圓滿, 就是智慧的運用。

 

Be sure to contemplate thoroughly about the meaning of the "Three Refuges." For instance, we take refuge in the Dharma where "wisdom is as immeasurable as the sea." What is "wisdom?" According to Buddhadharma, the nature of wisdom is "emptiness," and it can only be developed through practice, not thinking. Furthermore, wisdom has neither form nor color, so there is no concrete object that can be called "wisdom." The teachings of the Buddha, as recorded in the sutras, represent "wisdom." If we can manage everything in our daily lives satisfactorily without generating vexations, such is wisdom at work.

 

社會的〔境〕很多, 但〔境〕從哪來? 從我們的〔心〕所生。你若不去感覺它, 就什麼 〔境〕 都不存在。

 

We know that there are all sorts of "situations" or "circumstances," but where do they come from? They originate from the distinction in our minds. Make no distinction, then no circumstance exists.

 

我們現在都是在娑婆世界的六道輪迴當中, 真艱苦! 因為做人〔難苦〕,但是也只有在六道輪迴當中, 從這個人身來修, 才能成佛; 若是沒有經過六道這個〔苦〕, 沒辦法修行。然而六道中雖然很苦, 但我們自己苦, 可以去體諒別人的苦, 體諒一切眾生的艱苦, 可以讓我們來行菩薩的〔六度萬行〕, 慈悲忍辱, 自利利他, 就是來過這個苦劫, 這樣漸漸修, 積功累德, 而究竟了生, 死證無上道。

 

It is a great agony that we are now all confined to the cycle of birth and death, transmigrating among the six divisions of sentient existence. Indeed, life is tough. However, it is only through rebirths and practice as human beings that we can hope to attain buddhahood; no practice is possible without this ordeal. Our suffering enables us to appreciate more the pain of all beings hence helps to strengthen our resolve to tread the bodhisattva path and practice myriad methods of the six paramitas giving ethics, forbearance, diligence, meditation, and wisdom. With compassion and forbearance, we can advance ourselves while benefiting others. And via the ordeal of samsara, we can accumulate merits for our ultimate liberation and supreme enlightenment.

 

修行要怎樣修才會有正念呢? 就是先從衣、食、住方面來簡單化, 不去貪它、執著它, 無好無壞, 可以過就好。雖然這衣、食、住, 三歲小孩都會講, 但行起來較困難。我們修行人一定要從這方面下工夫, 去除我們的貪念, 這樣自然會產生正念, 到臨命終時, 意不顛倒, 才會 〔靈靈覺覺〕地現出光明。

 

How can we attain right mindfulness in practice? We can start by simplifying our demands for food, clothing, and living conditions. Do not desire or be attached to material comforts, nor make distinctions about their qualities as long as they are sufficient to sustain our lives. This might sound easy, but is by no means easy to carry out. We must practice vigorously to eliminate avarice, which in turn will bring forthright mindfulness. Then, when our time in this world is up, we can avoid the distractions of inverted ideas and be guided by our inner light.

 

〔住山修行〕 要有住山修行的工夫, 這個工夫就是不會去想吃的, 、食、住方面能夠隨緣, 這就叫做 〔天人供養〕, 山上有什麼就方便吃, 所以不會有貪念。

 

If you choose to practice in the monastery, there is a basic requirement, i.e. you should desire no lavish food, clothing, and living conditions, just live on whatever is available. This is what we call "to be sustained by the nature." And because you take whatever comes to you, greediness will not arise.

 

有的人然用功修行, 但走偏差了, 一直 〔著相〕修行, 執著 〔人、我、眾生、壽者〕四相, 不但引起煩惱、顛倒想, 到最後竟說自己很有修, 說自己 〔得到什麼, 得到什麼., 其實已經錯誤了還不自覺, 甚至影響別人, 這些都是沒有佛法的正知正見。

 

Some people, though practicing vigorously, deviate from the path because they remain attached to the "forms" of self, others, sentient beings, and life, which only induce vexations and inverted ideas. These people might claim to have attained a certain stage, but in fact are unknowingly treading the wrong path. Worse, they might lead others astray. This deviation results from a lack of correct understanding of Buddhadharma.

 

出家修行不要 〔好事相〕, 要真正為修行而修, 這樣道心才會堅固, 每天心才會安定。修行也不是求相安無事, 要能吃苦。但這個苦不是只有做事情的苦, 還包括修行過程中所遇到的種種考驗。所以當你有感覺〔艱苦、煩惱〕 的時候, 就是在考驗了。這時你必須運用智慧來降伏心念上的障礙, 拿出修行的精神來克服萬難, 因為 〔有境才好修, 無境不成道。〕

 

Monastic practitioners ought to avoid distractions. Practice for the sake of practice itself so as to strengthen your resolve and stabilize your mind. Do not plan on being uneventful and be prepared to endure hardships--not just of laborious tasks, but of all kinds of challenges. Hardships and vexations are tests of your strength. Use your wisdom to subdue impediments of the mind and your determination to overcome all difficulties. "Adverse circumstances are good for practice. Without them no progress will be made toward ultimate liberation."

 

老和尚一生都念佛。出家時, 方丈轉塵上人看老和尚的根基很好, 就教他念佛。有一次寺內在聽學講經, 當時老和尚亦趨前要學, 轉塵上人卻對他說: 〔去! 去念佛, 去做你的苦行, 要聽什麼?〕 老和尚當時聽了心裡很難過, 想著: 〔 出家就是要學經, 竟然不讓我聽!〕 不過老和尚畢竟是有根基, 有善根的人, 雖然怠覺難過, 但心裡會轉境, 立刻說: 〔 好啊! 師公叫我怎樣, 我就怎樣!〕 所以直心就是道場, 老和尚就去做他的苦行, 去念佛! 就這樣一門深入, 邊做事邊念佛, 福、慧雙修, 才有今天的成就。他一心專注地念佛, 所以也教我們念佛, 教我們對淨土深入的修行法門, 這是最直接、最穩當, 也是最契合我們現代人根基的修行法門。

 

The Old Master practiced reciting the name of the Buddha all his life. When he first became a monk, Master Chuan-chen, the abbot of the temple, recognized his potential and taught him this method. Once, another Master was expounding the sutras in the temple, the Old Master wished to attend. Master Chuan-chen nevertheless said to him: "Why listen? Go recite the name of the Buddha and carry on your ascetic practice!" The Old Master was upset, thinking: "The purpose of becoming a monk is to learn the sutras. Now the Master would not even let me listen!" However, the moment he realized what went through his mind, he changed his perception and said: "I will do whatever the Grand Master has told me to." So the Old Master continued his ascetic practice and reciting the Buddha's name, accumulating both merit and wisdom. In this way, he was able to attain an exalted stage in practice. Therefore, he taught us to concentrate on reciting the name of the Buddha as he did himself. The doctrine of the Pure Land is the most direct and secure one among all disciplines; it also is the most suitable method for contemporary people.

 

心經》裡面講〔觀自在菩薩〕, 〔自在〕 是什麼呢? 就是觀這個心讓它〔自在〕 。不管什麼境界來, 或是妄念紛飛時, 同樣保持 〔寂靜〕, 佛號抓緊, 沒有好, 沒有壞, 沒有 〔好〕 念, 也沒有 〔壞〕 念, 沒 〔高興〕, 也沒 〔生氣〕, 時時觀住這個心, 就是 〔觀自在〕 。所以說 〔觀〕 不是 〔一直去觀〕, 一直去想 〔怎樣、怎樣〕? 而是當我們 〔心猿意馬〕, 妄念紛飛, 壞念頭起來時, 我們就把它〔觀住〕, 不可以被這些幻化的妄念轉走, 就是在觀這些東西, 讓這個心能時時都 〔自在〕、〔清淨〕。所以在行、住、坐、臥方面, 不論是念佛、禮佛或在禪堂內外都一樣, 這個自在心不可以被 〔境〕 轉走, 就是 〔觀自在〕 了。

 

The Heart Sutra describes the practice of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, "Kuan-Tzu-Chai," the Sovereign Regarder. What does "Tzu-Chai" mean? It means reflecting on the mind so that it will attain "perfect freedom." Whatever circumstances emerge, or whenever illusive thoughts arise, the mind should remain tranquil. Continue to recite the name of the Buddha while making no distinction between, nor even think of the idea of, "good" and "bad." Do not feel "happy" or "agitated," just keep a watchful eye on your own mind. Such is the state of "Kuan-Tze-Chai." But being introspective does not mean that you should keep pondering: "how is it?" Rather, just be alert and take note of illusive thoughts or evil ideas at their incipience, lest they should take control of your mind. Such practice will ensure that your mind is "free" and "pure: at all times. Wherever you are and whatever you do, be it reciting the name of the Buddha or performing prostration, within or outside of the temple, if your mind is free of the sway of circumstances, you have attained the state of "Kuan-Tzu-Chai."

 

修行一切法門都是講這個心, 我們行持也是在 〔行〕 這個心。這個心若有定力, 就會像清淨的水靜靜的時候一樣, 如如不動, 物影投映, 無所不現。所以當我們的心很清淨的時候, 自然能明了一切真相; 我們念佛就是要將這個心念到像水一樣的清淨寂靜。心若散亂, 不清淨, 就如同濁水般的污穢, 壞念頭很多, 會去分別好壞, 什麼東西好吃、不好吃、或香、或臭, 著在這些 〔色、聲、香、味、觸、法〕 裡。因此念佛念到這個很清明, 無雜無染時, 自然不會執著 〔五蘊〕; 這樣六根對六塵不起作用, 煩惱斷盡, 五蘊皆空了, 自能度一切苦厄, 現出自性光明智慧, 通達甚深微妙法。

 

All methods of practice as taught by the Buddha focus on the mind; when we practice, we are also learning how to discipline our minds. A well-composed mind resembles clear and placid water that truthfully reflects whatever appears above it. Likewise, when our minds attain absolute tranquility, we will be able to grasp the essence of everything. The purpose of reciting the name of the Buddha is to help still our minds so that they may be as pure and tranquil as placid water. A restless and scattered mind resembles muddy water from which evil and discriminatory ideas easily arise. When our minds are in such a state, we are prone to make distinctions of what we see, hear, smell, taste, touch, and think, thereby indulge in the pursuit of sensual passions. Therefore, we must recite the name of the Buddha to the extent that our minds become absolutely clear and pure, neither defiled by nor attached to sense objects. When we reach that stage, naturally we will not cling to the five skandhas form, sensation, perception, volition, and consciousness. With our six organs untainted by the six causes of impurity, we can naturally help to relieve all sentient beings from their misery. And with the essence of our minds enlightened and our wisdom unfolded, we can easily comprehend even the most abstruse part of Buddhadharma.

 

我們出家就是要來斷這 〔七情五欲〕, 但要斷這 〔七情五欲〕 不可執著。如果執著不吃不睡, 會造成虛火上升, 擾亂我的身心, 使我們身心散亂、四大不調、體衰氣弱, 甚至會吃不下、睡不著。當不能吃、不能睡的時候, 如果沒有正念, 很容易走偏路。所以我們在修行受持當中, 不要執著 〔不吃不睡〕, 或要 〔怎樣、怎樣〕。畢竟還要靠這個身體來修行的, 應以 〔平常心〕 來行持, 行、住、坐、臥取 〔中道〕, 這樣來保持我們的身心, 安養我們的身心。因為修行取中道, 就可以行持我們要走的路程, 自然在修行的路程上比較不會有障礙。

 

We chose to leave home for practice so that we may concentrate on eliminating our physical and psychological desires. However, do not become attached to any particular ascetic method. For example, some insist on giving up food and sleep, which might result in a physical disorder causing mental and/or physical aberrations and weaknesses. In the end, they might not be able to eat or sleep at all. Under the circumstances, they can easily go astray if they have yet to attain right mindfulness. Therefore, do not insist on, or be attached to, the method of "no food, no sleep," or to any specific austerity. After all, it is necessary to sustain this physical body so that we may continue our practice. What we should do is not to stray from ordinariness; adopt a "middle way" in our daily activities so as to maintain our physical as well as mental strength. This middle way will sustain us in the long path of practice and help us avoid unnecessary hindrances.

 

信佛要怎樣信? 就是要皈依三寶, 因為佛、法、僧三寶是一體的, 有佛才有法, 有法才有僧。而法是什麼呢? 〔法〕 就是正法, 是佛祖修行所悟出來的道理。而佛祖悟出道理以後, 再來度我們, 讓我們依隨這個法來修, 使末法眾生有依靠。〔迷者眾生, 覺者佛。〕 如果時時保持我們的心是念佛的心, 就是 〔悟〕, 就是 〔佛〕。心心都在念佛, 就是時時在 〔悟〕。

 

How can we be Buddhists? Just take refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. The Triratna Three Jewels are an integral whole: without Buddha, there will be no Dharma, without Dharma, no Sangha. What, then, is Dharma? Dharma represents the truth realized by the Buddha. It is what the Buddha learned from his practice and he taught it to us for our salvation. We can practice according to the Dharma to attain enlightenment. As we know, "Those unenlightened are ordinary beings; the enlightened ones are buddhas." If we constantly keep our minds in the state of reciting the name of the Buddha, we will be "enlightened" therefore are "buddhas." In other words if each and every thought or ours is a recitation of the Buddha's name, then we are constantly in the state of "enlightenment."

 

眾生從無始劫以來輪迴生死, 一直到這一世雖然得到人身, 但還是在六道當中, 而無始以來的壞念頭、壞種子, 依然如影隨身, 所以我們要勤求懺悔, 懺悔過去的業障。受戒也是一樣, 儘量求懺悔, 懺悔往昔所造諸惡業, 才可以得到清淨戒。眾生皆有佛性, 但必須要靠修行並懺悔業障, 才能成就佛道。

 

For eons, we have been roaming through the cycle of birth and death. Despite this life's human existence, we remain in the six divisions of rebirth with all vicious ideas and evil seeds accumulated through the eons following us like shadows. Hence, we must repent unremittingly for our past karmic obstructions. This is exactly what we should do when we receive our precepts because it is the only way we can attain pure and clean precepts. Indeed, with buddha-nature immanent in all beings, it nevertheless takes diligent practice and sincere repentance to attain buddhahood.

 

叢林以規矩為寶, 出家修行要依規矩去修, 不可依世俗法, 把世俗的念頭再拿來佛寺繞圈子。一個守規矩的人, 身心會自在、寬涵而無所罣礙。

 

What makes a monastery invaluable is its strict discipline imposed on all its members. Therefore, as soon as you enter the monastery, you should act according to the monastic, rather than secular rules. Do not continue to get tangled in thoughts and ideas of a layman. Those who strictly follow the monastic rules will find their minds at ease and unfettered.

 

西方極樂世界的一切是 〔無色相〕, 是自然的, 不像我們娑婆世界這裡所有的衣、食、住, 都是 〔有色相〕 的, 所以不要把種種有相的吃、穿 〔觀想〕 到西方去, 因為這也是貪, 就是 〔著相〕。如果著相修行, 在靜坐時, 你所想的念頭就會現出這個 〔境〕 來, 若沒有定力就會出問題, 很危險! 所以不要把〔有色相〕 的一切拿來執著, 〔無色相〕 的境界不是我們所能想出來的。

 

Unlike things in this world, everything in the Pure Land has neither color nor form. Do not project the ways in which we live in this world, such as what we eat, wear, etc., to the Pure Land because such projection reflects our sense of greed as well as our attachment to the form. If you are attached to the form, your cravings will create disturbances in your mind while meditating. This can be quite dangerous, especially when you lack the ability to control and stabilize your own mind. Therefore, do not cling to the images derived from "color and form," for the world "without color and form" is beyond our imagination.

 

我們無始劫以來所造的業無量無邊, 而冤冤相報、相纏, 使我們在修行過程中產生許多障礙。所以每天都要懺悔業障, 更要發願, 發願要了生死, 要普度眾生, 才能成就無上道。

 

We all have accumulated immeasurable and illimitable negative karma over the eons. These entanglements are the cause of the tremendous obstacles we encounter during our practice. Therefore, we must repent every day; further, we should vow to break out of the cycle of birth and death and to deliver all sentient beings. Only through such practice can we attain ultimate enlightenment.

 

修行人在修行的過程當中不可能不會有情; 有人就會有是非、有煩惱, 有一切種種的事情、種種的念頭。所以遇到境時, 〔願〕 要更加堅強, 要拿出願力來! 不去感覺它, 就能不起煩惱、執著, 而心開意朗。

 

The path of practice can never be free of obstacles. Where there are people, there are disputes, annoyances, conflicts and all sorts of disagreeable circumstances. Rather than expecting a smooth path, you ought to strengthen your willpower when confronting difficulties. Remember, when your attention does not focus on adversities, you will neither cling to them nor be vexed by them. Then, you will be able to practice with an unfettered mind.

 

六道輪迴裡面, 我們今世做人是要來修行的, 所以要把握這人身的機會, 不要自己 〔胡亂走〕, 〔胡亂做〕, 不吃不睡, 〔不倒單〕, 空頭很多, 花樣百出, 這都是 〔著相〕 修行, 不僅會把這個身軀搞壞, 還會造成身心散亂。若是還沒有修到那個境界, 怎麼有辦法行到那裡呢? 所以修行要有正念, 〔平常心〕 就是道!

 

The greatest blessing of human rebirth is the ability to practice; indeed, we ought to seize this opportunity and practice the best we can. However, do not cling to any specific asceticism, such as no food or no sleep, for this will be practice with an attachment to the "form." Not only will it spoil your health, but it also will leave your mind scattered and restless. If you haven't attained a certain level, how can you possibly benefit from that kind of asceticism? Therefore, practice should be guided by right mindfulness; the true path lays in the wisdom of ordinariness.

 

修行從 〔心〕 , 是要修這個心 〔清淨〕。如果眼睛老是在看別人, 注意別人好壞、別人怎樣, 甚至與人說長論短, 講得到處都是是非、煩惱, 這樣就沒辦法修這個心, 這個心就不會清淨。所以要 〔修心〕, 就要 〔觀自己〕, 觀我們自己 〔起心動念〕。

 

Practice should begin with training your "mind" to the extent that it's pure and clean. If, on the other hand, you keep your eyes mainly on others, finding their faults and making comments, you will only create animosities among people and breed vexations for yourself; you will not be able to cultivate your mind, nor will it become pure. Therefore, practicing purification of the mind means observing yourself carefully, being watchful of the incipience of each and every thought of yours.

 

《心經》云: 〔照見五蘊皆空, 度一切苦厄。〕 就是說要破除四相, 即〔我相、人相、眾生相、壽者相〕, 不執著世間上的形形色色, 才能度一切苦厄。但是我們對這個身體不能〔看破、放下〕, 一直在〔色、聲、香、味、觸、法〕裡打轉, 對世間塵緣無法不起染著之心, 所以不能了一切苦厄。

 

The Heart Sutra states: "Perceive that the five skandhas are empty thereby transcending all sufferings." This means that, in order to transcend all sufferings, we must eliminate our adherence to the four forms of existence: self, others, sentient beings, and life, as well as our attachment to the myriad colors and forms of this world. Unfortunately, most of us are not able to forgo our physical desires and continue to be swayed by the form, sound, smell, taste, touch, and other qualities of material appearances. And it is precisely due to this inability to forgo our clinging to worldly affinities that we cannot be relieved from our suffering.

 

釋迦牟尼佛過去一直是用 〔捨身〕 來成就佛道, 度眾生, 但這個 〔捨身〕 是自自然然而不是用勉強的。要修行到有定力, 無 〔我、人、眾生、壽者〕 相的時候, 自然不會有感覺。像我們的功夫還沒到那個程度時, 就是還有 〔我相〕。一支針刺到我們, 一隻蚊子叮到我們, 都會感覺痛, 這就是定力不夠, 還會隨境生心, 觸境生覺。所以 〔拾身〕 不可用勉強的, 否則就變成執著了。

 

Sakyamuni Buddha used to practice "bodily sacrifice" to attain buddhahood and deliver sentient beings. But he did it all spontaneously, not a bit forced. You see, when a practitioner attains a state of samadhi and no longer clings to a set form of existence either self, others sentient beings, or life, he naturally feels no pain. But most of us have yet to attain that level and are bound to the form of "self;" we are pained even when pricked by a pin or stung by a mosquito. Because we have yet to reach that state of smadhi our minds and senses will spontaneously react to external agitation, and we are easily susceptible to painful feelings. Therefore, we must not practice compulsory bodily sacrifice; otherwise, it will become a form of attachment.

 

苦行不是說我們做不動的硬要去做, 而是這個願力 〔難行能行, 難忍能忍 〔人家不吃的我來吃, 人家不做的我來做。〕

 

Asceticism does not mean that we should force ourselves to do what are beyond our capabilities. Rather, it is about the resolve to accomplish tasks that are difficult and challenging, to tolerate what may seem intolerable, to eat what others would not eat, and to do what others would not do.

 

、願、行〔行〕 是從願來的, 若沒有願力就沒辦法去行。像地藏王菩薩 〔地獄不空, 誓不成佛〕的大,願他憫念眾生, 慈悲喜捨的〔宏願〕 就已經成佛了。所以行菩薩行的人一直在 〔利他〕 , 而行持 〔利他〕 的內涵就是 〔無我〕 。這樣修持就是〔自度度他〕, 雖然眾生尚未度盡, 卻已經先自度了。

 

To believe, to resolve, and to practice--"practice" should follow a vow to perform the discipline of the faith; without it there would be no practice. Take Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha for example. He vowed not to attain buddhahood until all hell beings are delivered. Because the Bodhisattva has tremendous compassion for all beings, this grand vow he made bestowed on him the buddha quality. Hence, those who tread the bodhisattva-path continue to strive for the benefit of others. The essence of such practice is "selflessness." Even though this path emphasizes delivering others while striving for self-salvation, you yourself would have been liberated before all beings are delivered.

 

我們雖然發願, 但是願心不能堅固, 如果境界來時, 馬上會被轉走, 這不是真發願。願有大小, 我們要發大願, 大願就是 〔無色相〕 的願。〔願〕 不是用嘴巴講的,  〔願〕 ,要用心去行! 無論什麼境界來, 遇到任何事情, 心能 〔不動〕, 無好無壞, 這樣慢慢修持, 就能伏煩惱, 使身心自在。依你的願去行! 諸佛菩薩成就佛道也是依 〔願力〕 去行, 所以這個 〔願〕 是我們修行的 〔因〕, 有 〔因〕 就有 〔果〕 。如果願力不堅固, 做什麼事都沒有辦法。

 

It may come to pass that we pledge to do certain things but lack a strong enough willpower to carry it through, often giving up when things get rough. This, then, is not a genuine vow. There are grand vows and minor ones. What we should make are grand vows, i.e. vows that are without set "form or color." Therefore, put your mind into carrying out your vows, not just announcing them! Whatever challenges you encounter or circumstances you come across strive to maintain the tranquility of your mind while making no distinction between likes and dislikes. Continuation of such practice will gradually reduce your vexations while freeing your mind and body. So, practice by adhering to your own vows! Vows are the seeds of our practice that will eventually bear fruits. Without firm vows, nothing can be accomplished.

 

阿彌陀佛四十八願度眾生, 地藏王菩薩 〔地獄不空, 誓不成佛。〕諸佛菩薩都有他們的大願, 要度我們眾生了生死。但是眾生依然執迷不悟, 輪迴在 〔六道〕 裡而不能解脫, 為這些 〔七情五欲〕, 〔貪、瞋、癡〕, 〔色、聲、香、味、觸、法〕, 〔愛別離苦〕, 種種的事情執著而不能醒悟, 把這一切幻化的 〔境〕 都當做是真的。所以阿彌陀佛大慈大悲, 憐閔眾生故, 發這四十八大願來度我們, 希望眾生趕快離苦得樂, 橫超六趣。如果我們的願與阿彌陀佛的願相應, 臨終時就可蒙佛接引, 往生西方極樂世界。

 

Amitabha Buddha made forty-eight grand vows to deliver sentient beings while Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha vowed not to attain buddhahood until the hells are empty. However, despite all the grand vows buddhas and bodhisattvas made to assist us breaking free of the cycle of birth and death, all beings remained unenlightened, roaming among the six divisions of rebirth. We keep on our pursuit of sensual satisfaction, clinging to our greed, anger, and ignorance as well as other pains such as parting from the beloved. As we mistake all these illusions for reality, we can not be enlightened. That is why the compassionate Amitabha Buddha made his forty-right grand vows to deliver all beings, hoping that we will be able to transcend the six divisions of rebirth, shake off our misery, and attain eternal happiness. Now, if our vows correspond with these forty-eight vows, Amitabha Buddha will guide us along the way; and when we die, we will be reborn in the Pure Land.

 

一般人都好動, 心靜不下來, 但是修行要時時保持心 〔寂靜〕, 也就是這個心自己能靜, 不靜自靜。如果一個人坐在那裡, 能夠沒感覺什麼, 也沒有什麼心煩的事情, 自己這樣靜靜的很自在, 就是上軌 〔道〕。

 

Most people are active and their minds tend to be restless. However, a practitioner must constantly maintain the tranquility of the mind, i.e., the mind ought to be serene at all times regardless of circumstances. If you can sit quietly without sensing too much, or be vexed by, external turmoil, just feeling tranquil and at ease, then you are on the right track.

 

娑婆世界的眾生都是 〔有所求〕 的心, 〔有所求〕 而產生無量無邊的煩惱。我們 〔有所求〕都是從這個身上來的, 為這個身軀而生出種種的念頭來, 而唯有〔知足〕 才能止貪。〔知足〕 這兩個字不是這麼簡單的, 〔知足常樂〕, 說出來沒什麼, 但是行起來卻不是這麼容易。一個人若能隨時 〔知足〕, 隨時就沒有煩惱, 不會執著, 時時這個心都是清淨的, 很自在。

 

As we know, all beings in this world have cravings, which in turn generate illimitable and immeasurable vexations. Most of our cravings are for physical gratification and can only be restrained if we remain contented. There is an old saying: "Contentment leads to ceaseless joy." This may sound simple, but is by no means easy to carry out. Yet, it is undeniable that whenever you feel contented, your mind will be free of vexations and attachments and will stay pure and unfettered.

 

出家人若有知足的心, 一定 〔無所求〕, 沒有種種的執著煩惱。然而我們很容易〔觸境生心〕, 眼睛所見的、耳朵所聽的、嘴巴所吃的, 心裡馬上起念頭, 雖然你沒有要求什麼, 但是你有這個念頭就是〔有所求〕。所以能 〔知足〕 就是 〔無所求〕, 〔無所求〕 在我們修行行持當中非常重要, 如果時時能 〔知足〕, 這個心就不會被境所轉。

 

If we monastic practitioners were contented, we would crave for nothing and be free of all vexations derived from attachments. Unfortunately, our minds remain easily distracted by external environments, and all sorts of unruly ideas instantaneously come forth as we see, hear, and eat. Even though you make no explicit demand, but the fact that you have these ideas betrays your craving. Therefore, contentment means "craving for nothing," a principle crucial to our practice. If we stay contented at all times, our minds will not be swayed by ever-changing circumstances.

 

我們修行人時時都要 〔放下〕, 這樣臨命終時才不會有罣礙。否則平常放逸心, 臨終時一定很危險。所以沒事時, 心能靜靜的 沒有好、沒有壞, 這就是 〔對境無心〕。〔無心〕 不是不管, 而是什麼事都沒有好、沒有壞, 這才是真功夫。

 

We practitioners ought to relinquish our attachments all the time so that we would be free of secular concerns toward the end of our lives. If you continue to indulge yourself, there is the grave danger that you may go astray at this crucial moment of rebirth. Therefore, try to maintain the serenity of your mind while discarding all distinctions between good and bad. You will then attain the state of "mindlessness." This, however, does not mean that you have become indifferent; rather, it means that you have let go of your sense of discrimination. The attainment of such a state will then be a clear indication of your genuine prowess in practice.

 

〔財、色、名、食、睡〕地獄五條根! 我們都是在貪吃、貪睡的五欲中流轉生死而不自覺, 所以出家就是要修 〔心清淨〕, 來度這 〔七情五欲〕 的束縳。

 

Cravings for "wealth, lust, fame, food, and sleep" will lead us straight to hell! Not knowing it, we are all entangled in these five cravings, unable to break out of the relentless cycle of birth and death. Therefore, the reason for our leaving home for practice is to purify our minds so that we can be free from the constraints of our own sensual passions.

 

我們今天能夠 〔看破〕 來出家, 〔看破〕 兩個字很重要。到底要看破什麼東西呢? 就是看破 〔七情五欲〕! 既不去貪這衣、食、住裡的 〔色、聲、香、味、觸、法〕 種種, 還要看破一切情感 ―― 父母的情感,、眷屬的情感, 這些都要放下, 要放得下!

 

In order to become monastic practitioners, we all have "renounced" the secular way of life. Now, the word "renounced" the secular way of life. Now, the word "renounce" is crucial. What exactly do we need to renounce? We have to renounce our physical desires and sentimental attachments. Not only should we let go of our cravings for good clothing, tasty food, lavish housing, etc., but also of our emotional attachments to our beloved parents, spouses, and children. All our attachments should go. Really let go!

 

修行用功時, 必須把身心全部放下, 否則雖然在那裡靜坐, 外表坐得很莊嚴, 其實都在打妄想, 要保持正念很不容易。如果這個心是〔妄想意識〕, 就是意識在轉; 如果心是 〔佛〕, 那麼佛就是 〔心〕。要把身心世界全部放下, 一心專注一句佛號, 這樣才會有正念。我們平常就要保持這種工夫, 到臨命終時才能保持正念, 因為成佛在這一念之間, 而生死輪迴也是在這一念之間。

 

While you practice, be sure to let go of both your mind and your body. Otherwise, your dignified meditation posture only belies a mind overflowed with illusive and erroneous ideas. Under the circumstances, you will have great difficulty retaining right mindfulness. If your mind is preoccupied with misleading thoughts, the illusive mind is in charge. On the other hand, if your mind thinks of nothing but "buddha," then buddha is your mind. You should let go of the body, the mind, and the world; just concentrate on reciting the Buddha's name so as to foster right mindfulness. In order to retain right mindfulness when we are dying, we have to practice this all the time. This is crucial because it will determine whether we can attain buddhahood or continue to roam in the cycle of birth and death.

 

修行就是要去除貪念, 因為如果有貪念壞種子在我們心裡, 心會散亂, 就不會有正念, 一天到晚這個心都被這些壞念頭 〔翻來覆去〕的, 看這個也不對, 看那個也不對, 無明煩惱一大堆, 被轉得身心都不自在

 

One of the goals of practice is to eliminate the sense of greed. When tainted by the evil seeds of greed, our minds will easily become scattered and we will not be able to retain right mindfulness. Thereupon, our minds will be swamped with evil ideas and become restless and discontented, which in turn will create endless delusive vexations. Under the circumstances, we can never feel free nor at ease.

 

素食不僅是修行的助緣, 又可戒殺, 免落因果。〔吃人一斤肉, 還人十六兩。〕冤冤相報、六道輪迴、因果循環絲毫不爽。所以不吃殺生的東西, 不貪口味, 不但可以去掉貪念, 不必每天為 〔口慾〕 的事情貪求忙碌, 又可不造惡業、解冤釋結、長養慈悲心, 同時我們的心也會清淨自在, 這就是在修 〔色、聲、香、味、觸、法〕, 對治六根對六塵的執著。

 

Vegetarian diet is a positive auxiliary cause for practice, and also a good method to keep the precept against killing. Be aware that the karmic obstructions created by killing for food eventually have to be repaid in full; there is no escape from the laws of causality and rebirth. Eliminating our desire for food, the satisfaction of which cost the lives of other beings, brings a great relief. Not only will we be free of enslaving ourselves just to satisfy the desire of our mouth, but we also will avoid creating more negative karma while cultivating our sentiments of lovingkindness and compassion. Therefore, vegetarian diet will help to purify and liberate our minds; it is also a method to practice relinquishing the attachments of our sense organs to the six gunas sense objects.

 

五濁惡世――劫濁、見濁、煩惱濁、眾生濁、命濁中, 這裡面包含我們眾生的一切習氣, 一切煩惱, 還有過去世帶來的所有壞種子。而這些東西都是由 〔色、聲、香、味、觸、〕 法引起的, 也就是六根對六塵的接觸, 由六識起分別作用, 產生出來的種子現, 前所造出來的業, 才會有這個五濁惡世。

 

The five kasaya periods of impurity contain all the negative habitual patterns, vexations, and sinister seeds all beings accumulated through the eons. Derived from contact of the sense organs with the six gunas, these negative elements are enacted by our sense of discernment, which lead to distinction and discrimination. These distinctions will bring forth the fruits of the sinister seeds and accumulated karmic obstructions, which in turn create the five-kasaya periods of impurity i.e. periods of increasing calamities, erroneous views, vexations, miseries, and shortening of human life.

 

修行要福、慧雙修, 而 〔皈依佛, 兩足尊〕, 這兩就是 〔福、慧〕。至於〔福〕 從那來呢? 我們如果能吃苦、忍苦, 苦出頭了, 就有福。有福就能消業, 待業障消除, 佛智就會現前。所以 〔忍辱第一道〕, 能修 〔忍〕 的人, 必能成就道業。

 

Our practice should aim at attaining both merit and wisdom. "Take refuge in the Buddha and attain twofold satisfaction." The two folds are merit and wisdom. Where does merit come from? It grows out of forbearance. With genuine forbearance, we can accumulate merits and eventually will be able to enjoy blessed rewards and reduce our negative karma. When all our karmic obstruction as are eradicated, our buddha-wisdom will unfold. Thus, "forbearance" is the first principle of the path to buddhahood. Those who practice forbearance will attain supreme enlightenment.

 

出家要捨慳貪, 從來食住裡 〔色、聲、香、味、觸、法〕去修, 才可以了生死, 因為有這些六根對六塵, 六識在分別起作用, 所以生出種種貪念來。我們的念頭從這裡來, 就要從這裡去斷, 這是我們生死的根本, 生死的路就是從這裡去走。

 

One basic principle of monastic practice is to eliminate our sense of greed. We can start by eliminating our cravings for the six gunas sense objects; this is the initial step to break out of the cycle of birth and death. As we know, greed derived from the contact of the six sense organs with the six gunas and enacted by our sense of discernment, which leads to distinction and discrimination. We have to expel greed from where it originates. Such practice is fundamental and is crucial to whether we can escape samsara or not.

 

世間一切都是 〔緣〕, 是我們過去結來的緣。如果過去世結〔好緣〕, 這一世就感覺很好, 結壞緣就是煩惱痛苦, 所遇到的 〔境〕 會讓你很不滿意。所以學佛的人要瞭解這個 〔緣〕 字一 〔緣起性空〕, 當〔緣〕 來時, 他自性是空的。因此, 我們遇到不如意的事時應將它想開。一切都是〔因緣〕 所生法, 千萬不要被這個 〔緣〕 轉走, 應該依佛法來看破痛苦的事。

 

Things do not happen to us by accident. Rather, they all have their roots in the karmic affinities we created in the past. If we fostered good affinities in previous lives, we will enjoy this life; otherwise, we will be dissatisfied, even troubled or pained. A practitioner should understand that things arise according to conditions and have no inherent existences of their own. When we feel distressed or dissatisfied, we should know that the ways things are merely results of certain conditions, not reality in itself. Hence, there is no need to cling to disconcerting sentiments, or be perturbed by them. Such a change of perception according to Buddhadharma will free us from the grip of pain.

 

今世我們有這個因緣得到人身, 並且能道三寶門中皈依三寶, 乃是過去世我們曾在寺廟禮佛、拜佛、供養三寶、布施、念佛等, 在佛前種下善根, 這世才有這個佛緣來皈依三寶。但為什麼要皈依呢? 佛陀說世間有八苦 ―― 〔生、老、病、死苦、求不得苦、愛別離苦、怨憎會苦、五蘊熾盛苦。〕 凡是做人, 這八苦都是無法避免的。只有皈依三寶, 來學佛修行, 才能跳出娑婆世界輪轉生死的苦海。

 

The fact that in this life we attain human existence and take refuge in the Three Jewels Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha is due to our practice in previous lives. We might have prostrated, made offerings and almsgiving in the temple, or recited the name of the Buddha, etc. thus planted seeds of good affinity with the Buddha. But why take refuge? Sakyamuni Buddha taught us that there are eight kinds of misery form which we constantly suffer: birth, aging, disease, death, separation from loved ones, company of hated ones, failure to obtain what we desire, and all the ills of the five skandhas. As long as we remain in human forms, there can be no escape from such pains. The only way out of this bitter sea of rebirths is to take refuge in the Three Jewels and practice according to the teachings of the Buddha.

 

這世間的一切都是因果循環, 不論在家出家都一樣。我們學佛修行, 乃至宇宙間的一切, 也是不出這 〔因果〕 兩字。譬如我們就是過去是有種出家的善因, 這世才能出家修行, 而這世我們再來修行也是種未來成佛的 〔因〕。所以有 〔因〕就有 〔果〕, 娑婆世界裡種種一切的事情, 乃至心內一個動念, 都是有因果的。佛陀所說的經典也都是在這 〔因果〕, 出家的因要 〔正〕, 要為發菩提心出家, 為解脫生死出家, 不是為了某事或逃避現實或受到刺激才來出家。如果因為這些事情, 因這條件來出家, 這個道心一定不會堅固, 時時都會被壞念頭轉走, 不會有正念。我們出家要有堅強的願力, 意志要堅定! 不論遇到多困難的 〔境〕, 多艱辛的障礙都可以服。如果沒有這個願力就無法成佛, 所以佛陀叫我們要 〔懺悔發願〕, 這條修行的道路才會走得圓滿。

 

The law of causality applies to everyone, whether you are a lay person or a monastic practitioner; it also applies to everything that happens in this universe. For instance, the reason that we are able to leave home for practice is due to the good seeds we planted in or previous lives. Our monastic practice, on the other hand, will pave the way for our attaining buddhahood in the future. Hence, where there is a cause, there is a result; everything we do, even just an idea that crosses the mind, will have its effect. All teachings of the Buddha recorded in the sutras are premised on this law of "cause and effect." Good cause brings good result. Accordingly, we must have "right" reasons to become monastic practitioners, i.e. a vow to attain supreme enlightenment for the deliverance of all sentient beings, and a desire to be relieved from the circle of birth and death. If you entered a monastery because you experienced unbearable blows or because you wished to evade hardships or reality, you would not have the firm determination indispensable for monastic practice. You might easily be overtaken by evil ideas and would not be able to retain right mindfulness. We all need a strong resolve when entering the monastery so that we can overcome all adversities--however difficult they may be. No attainment of buddhahood is possible without it. Therefore, the Buddha taught us to repent and make grand vows so that we can tread the path of practice with success.

 

我們每個人從無始劫以來所造的殺業無量無邊, 譬如單就所食的一碗飯裡就不知道有多少眾生? 要殺多少眾生才有這碗飯吃! 況且現在所種的東西幾乎都要灑農藥, 而這也是殺生, 雖然不是我們直接殺的, 但是也有果報存在。所以這世如困不努力修行, 求生西方極樂世界, 僅是這個殺業我們就沒辦法償還!

 

In the eons, we all have accumulated immeasurable and illimitable karmic obstructions through killing. For example, immeasurable beings contained in the rice are killed so that we may have a bowl of rice. Further, using pesticide in growing farm products is also a form of killing. Despite the fact that we do not commit these killings directly, we still have to bear certain consequences. If we fail to practice diligently to ensure our rebirth in the Pure Land, we can not even redeem the karma resulting from such indirect killings in this life!

 

出家修行要有願力, 不要為了一些不如意的小事或身體微恙就心生煩惱, 應該很慶幸這一世可以出家修行, 這乃是我們過去世有種修行的因; 如果因為身體不好, 就影響我們修行的心, 就是沒有智慧, 被這個身體 〔度〕 走了。要拿出道心來! 發菩提心修行可以克服一切的境界, 一切煩惱。有因就有果, 不要再種世間的因了, 要種了脫生死的因。若能常念 〔阿彌陀佛〕, 心清淨, 沒煩惱, 就時時刻刻都在種好的因、成佛的因、往生極樂世界的因。既然我們有念佛的因, 就一定有成佛的果。

 

We monastic practitioners ought to have strong resolve. Do not be perturbed by petty agitation or minor diseases. Rather, we should count our blessings that we sowed the seeds in previous lives thus have attained the opportunity to leave home for practice. If, however, our resolve wavers due to ill health, it indicates a lack of wisdom on our part and the fact that we are reigned by our physical body. Hence, show your determination! A vow to attain total enlightenment will enable us to overcome all adversities and eradicate all vexations. Every cause has its effect, as every effect arises from a cause. Do not sow more seeds of rebirth into this world; sow seeds of liberation from the cycle of birth and death. If we constantly recite the name of Amitabha Buddha and keep our minds pure and free of vexations, we are sowing good seeds that will result in our attainment of buddhahood and our rebirth in the Pure Land. Once we have sowed the seeds of reciting the name of the Buddha, it is certain that we will reap the fruits of attaining buddhahood.

 

出家修行要 〔發心〕, 培褔修功德。人家不做, 我們去做, 人家沒看到而我們看到的地方. 我們就做, 即使別人在休息時, 尚未做完的事你看到了, 也要隨時 〔發心〕去做, 不可以說: 〔那不是我的工作, 那不是我的事。〕 不要這樣想, 否則不但沒功德, 在修行上也沒辦法突破。應該隨時心, 因為出家這一法是無上法, 如果沒有 〔常住〕, 不能成就佛道。

 

Monastic practitioners should vow to work for the benefit of others so as to accumulate felicities and merits. We should be willing to d whatever others refuse to do, and pay attention to things others ignore. Pick up unfinished chores when others are taking a break; do not complain that "such is not my assignment thus not my business." Otherwise, not only would we accumulate no merit, but we also can not expect any breakthrough in our practice. So, constantly offer yourself to serve public interests. You should know that, even though monastic practice is the supreme dogma, without consistently dwelling on it, you would not attain buddhahood.

 

打佛七是在打這個 〔不生不滅〕, 就是說打我們生死的路能夠清清楚, 找回我們本來的面目

 

The purpose of attending an intensive seven-day retreat on reciting the name of the Buddha is to let us fully comprehend the doctrine of "no birth nor death," i.e. to see clearly the path of birth and death and to retrieve our intrinsic nature.

 

打佛七時, 大家要把願力, 精神拿出來, 這個心都專注在 〔阿彌陀佛〕 , 集中一念, 一心念佛, 不要讓這個 〔心猿意馬〕 跑到外面去, 這個心不能被外境所轉, 這個念佛的心不可讓他斷掉, 要保持一直念、一直念, 念到一心不亂。

 

When attending an intensive seven-day retreat on reciting the Buddha's name, your mind should concentrate on the name of "Amitabha Buddha." Recite the name with full concentration; do not unleash your mind lest it should be distracted or swayed by external circumstances. Continue your recitation uninterrupted to the point that your mind is undivided and free of perplexity.

 

打佛七就是要克服我們的心猿意馬, 克服我們這個心不會去打妄想, 一心都在 〔佛號〕 上面。所以打佛七的意思就是行、住、坐、臥念頭要〔專一〕。

 

The purpose of attending an intensive seven-day retreat is to tame our bewildered minds so that we can concentrate only on the name of the Buddha. Therefore, while in the retreat, we should train ourselves to be single-minded, i.e. whatever we do, we ought to have no thought other than the name of the Buddha, be it walking, staying, sitting, or sleeping.

 

眾生無始劫以來種在八識田中的種子很多, 〔好的、壞的〕 都有, 尤其是壞念頭無量無邊。我們打佛七念佛, 就是在種好的種子來增長善根, 將過去壤的種子徹底地從心田裡拔除淨盡。

 

In the eons, all beings continue to sow seeds in their eighth field of cognition; some of the seeds are good, but more significant are the immeasurable and illimitable evil ones. The purpose for our attending a seven-day retreat on reciting the name of the Buddha is to sow good seeds and to weed out the evil ones from our eight fields of cognition.

 

度眾生沒有那麼簡單, 須有佛緣及褔報, 而且目己修到有功夫, 、慧具足時, 自然護法菩薩會擁護, 否則想要度人, 人卻不讓你度。

 

To deliver other beings is by no means an easy matter. With enough merit and karmic affinity to the Buddha accumulated in your previous lives as well as a certain degree of wisdom through diligent practice in this life, all bodhisattvas guarding the Dharma will come to assist you in your attempt to deliver others. Otherwise, no matter how hard you try, all the efforts will be in vain.

 

業障就是煩惱、罣礙, 如罣礙家中的男女老少等。每個人罣礙不同, 但皆把自己的生死路忘記, 甚至連臨命終時將去那裡也不關心了。

 

Our karmic obstructions are manifested in our vexations and in the numerous hindrances to our minds. For example, worrying about family members is a common form of impediment. We all worry about different things, but largely ignore the most important one: how to escape the cycle of birth and death--we do not even care where we will be going after death.

 

 

人若知道信佛、回頭念佛修道, 懺悔往昔所造諸惡業, 則必可承佛慈力業消障除。否則眾生隨業轉, 個人業感不同, 若不覺悟修行, 不能轉業, 就得輪迴。

 

If you have faith in the Buddha, practice according to the Dharma and repent past transgressions, you can then eradicate your karmic obstructions with the assistance of the Buddha. On the other hand, if you are not aware of this fact and fail to practice diligently, the strength of your negative karma will prevail and confine you to the eternal prison of rebirths.

 

打坐如果還有 〔怎樣坐、怎樣觀〕的念頭, 這都還不是, 仍舊還有 〔我〕, 還是一個形式相。禪淨雙修須從六根清淨下手, 而〔戒〕是禪的基礎。

 

If you still think of "how to sit, how to introspect" while practicing sitting meditation, you are not on the right track. This is an indication that you still cling to the sense of self and are attached to the "form," or outward appearances, of practice. The dual practice of Zen and Pure Land must begin with purifying the six sense organs. Keeping the precepts is the foundation for practicing Zen.

 

修行要用 〔苦功〕, 也就是捨身修苦行, 不要顧惜這個假殼子, 不要自己放在最前面 ―― 什麼事都考慮對自己有沒有利益, 要看破、放下!

 

Practice should begin with asceticism, i.e. renouncing the body. Do not attend too much to the need of your body, which is nothing but an illusive shell case; do not put yourself in the fore-front of all your concerns, nor be calculating only of your own interests. Relinquish all attachments to your physical desires!

 

娑婆世界的眾,, 都是在苦海裡打滾, 為了三餐食飽而勞苦, 在苦中求生。山中的在山中尋食, 海裡的在海裡找食, 空中的在空中覓食。大食小、強食弱, 最後不色免一死, 因此輪迴不斷, 若不修行求解脫, 就沒有 〔了出苦海〕 的一天。

 

In this bitter sea of birth and death, all beings are struggling for survival--laboring for food, striving to transcend their misery. In the mountains, under the sea, and in the air, sentient beings search for food in their surroundings; they kill and eat the smaller and weaker species, though can not escape death in the end. They are thereby confined to the eternal prison of rebirths; without the will and diligent practice, they can never escape the bitter sea of samsara.

 

人的一生脫離不開生、老、病、死苦, 既然認識人生是苦, 就是設法離苦, 而學佛是離苦最妥善的一途, 要尋求解脫也只有學佛。

 

As a human being, no one can avoid the pain of birth, aging, disease, and death. Once we recognize this fact, we should try to escape from this misery. The most appropriate means that can guarantee us a genuine liberation from suffering is to practice Buddhadharma; it is also the only means that can deliver us from all trammels of life.

 

有些居士不懂佛法, 說錯了, 我們出家人應該指導他, 不可隨順他的意思, 使不能進步, 否則我們就有過失

 

It is possible that some lay practitioners, while not comprehending fully the essence of Buddhism, may interpret incorrectly the teachings of the Buddha. We monastic practitioners ought to enlighten them when appropriate. Do not allow them to hold on to their misconceptions thus hinder their progress in practice. Otherwise, we are guilty of neglecting our responsibility.

 

以在家人來說, 靜修就很不簡單, 自度都已經很難, 怎麼談得上度人? 必須要先度自己這個 〔心猿意馬〕, 倘〔這個〕未度, 怎能度人? 我們帶著五蘊假體來就是要修〔這個〕

 

It is not easy for the laity to practice without interruption. Consequently, it is difficult for them to even liberate themselves, not to mention deliver others. In practice, we should first try to restrain our own scattered minds. Otherwise, with our minds dispersed and easily distracted, how can we expect to deliver others? The purpose of our being born with the illusive existence of five skandhas i.e. our physical body is to practice restraining and liberating our scattered minds.

 

 

有人學佛學了一段時間後, 反而生出更多的煩惱, 這是業障惑之故, 須從身、口、意三業清淨下手, 才能消除根本業障。

 

Some people may find themselves become even more vexed after practice for a period of time. This is due to the manifestation of their karmic obstructions. Under these circumstances, they ought to purify their deeds, words, and thoughts so as to eradicate their deep-rooted karmic obstructions.

 

念頭從何處來? 念頭從〔無明〕來, 從六根門頭而起, 也就是眼、鼻、舌、身、意六根去看、去聽、去分別時, 念頭就來了。

 

Where do all our ideas come from? They originate from our delusion and from the imperfect senses of our eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind, ideas arise when we see, hear, and try to make distinctions of the messages received by our sense organs.

 

利人即利己, 六根從〔心〕了。若貪一根草, 還得再輪迴。

 

You ought to understand that, while working for the benefit of others, you are in fact working for your own interests. Also, purification of the six senses begins with purifying your own mind. If you crave even just a blade of grass, you will remain in the cycle of rebirths.

 

要攝六根不使造業 惟有〔念佛〕。當念到一心時, 一切音聲聽來皆是念佛聲。此外, 還要修忍辱, 忍辱功夫到家, 則什麼事情都會悟出來的。

 

The best means to restrain our sensual organs from creating more negative karma is to recite the name of the Buddha. When recitation is done with an undivided mind, all voices will sound like recitation of the Buddha's name. Furthermore, we have to practice forbearance. After attaining a high-level of forbearance, we will be enlightened and can grasp the essence of everything we encounter.

 

所謂行、住、坐、臥皆可參禪, 端在心地清淨。先要放下一切, 若有一絲罣礙, 即非禪也。時人多來問奴何修禪? 然既有家室, 又在名利中掙扎, 那能學禪? 即如出家人, 倘終日為名為利、為食為住奔波, 其所修禪, 又如何可得其中三昧? 誠欺人也。

 

Provide your mind is pure and clean, you can practice Zen in whatever you do, be it walking, staying, sitting, or sleeping. The initial step is to let go of all your worldly attachments; even the slightest attachment can impede your practice of Zen. These days, people keep asking me how to practice Zen. What they do not realize is that, because they are clinging tightly both to their families and to their pursuits of fame and wealth, it is very difficult for them to practice Zen. This is also true for monastic practitioners. If monks or nuns still run after fame and wealth, or desire lavish food and housing, how can they expect to attain samadhi perfect absorption when practicing meditation? To say that they are practitioners of Zen is deceiving.

 

出家人以〔法〕度人, 而在家人以〔心〕布施, 供養佛、法、僧, 恭敬佛、法、僧。

 

Monastic practitioners deliver others by teaching the Dharma; lay people can practice offering with all sincerity and be respectful to the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha.

 

佛法不是問出來的, 經書指示路徑, 完全要靠自己苦修去〔悟〕出來, 沒有說我要做什麼

 

No one can attain enlightenment just by seeking instruction of Buddhadharma from a Master. All sutras are maps that mark the paths practitioners may take. Only through diligent practice, not pronouncements, will we be able to comprehend the teachings of the Buddha and attain various stages.

 

世間〔事〕可以用學的, 但是〔佛〕卻不是可以裝腔作勢〔學〕出來的。所以經典的實義也非以我們凡夫知見去研究就可以了解, 即如你所想像測度的〔經〕理, 只是個人的見解, 縱使遍覽一切經典, 亦如〔鏡花水月〕, 畢竟都不是自己所證悟。所以看經書不可執著文字相, 在經文字句裡徘徊思義, 反而〔著〕在那裡, 無法跳出去。《金剛經》云: 〔法尚應捨, 何況非法?〕 一切經典都是佛陀指引我們〔了生死〕的路, 研究經典的目的是要我們依教奉行, 老實修行, 親自去體悟。這條〔了生死〕的路必須要自己苦心修持地走過去, 並以〔深信諸佛皆充滿〕 的信願, 兼仗佛力加被, 才能到達彼岸, 開顯我們自性的無相般若智慧。

 

We can "learn" secular knowledge, but we can never pretend that we are able to "learn" Buddhadharma in a similar fashion as we do secular knowledge. Hampered by our imperfect perception, as all ordinary people are, we can never truly comprehend the essence of the sutras through research or study. Thus, you may very well think that you understand the meaning of a sutra after reading it. But your understanding is as illusive as the flower's reflection in the mirror or the moon's reflection on the water because it is derived more from your imagination and speculation than from a genuine comprehension attested through practice. Therefore, you should not cling to the words of any sutra and adopt a literal interpretation of what you read. Otherwise, you will be bound by the words and can not attain true liberation. In the Diamond Sutra the Buddha taught us: "one should relinquish even the Dharma; how much more so undharmic doctrines." All sutras are paths pointed out by the Buddha to help us escape the cycle of birth and death. The purpose of studying them is to follow the paths, to practice diligently so as to attest the teachings. There is no other way to escape the cycle of birth and death but to practice in person. Have faith that all Buddhas are guiding and watching over us so that we can ultimately reach nirvana and unfold the formless wisdom immanent in the essence of our minds.

 

 

 

 

 

2.      On keeping the Precepts

 

戒是戒自己, 求懺悔即是戒

 

The purpose of receiving the precepts are to remind us to be alert of our own thoughts and conduct. When we repent over any and every transgression, we are keeping the precepts.

 

守戒不是執著 〔戒相〕, 把自己綁得緊緊的, 與大眾格格不入, 看這樣不行, 看那樣也不行, 結果反而心生煩惱。而是要把握到戒的精神, 身、口、意二業清淨才是最重要。也就是無論做什麼事都要慈悲、方便, 所謂 〔慈悲為本, 方便為門。〕 這兩條若照顧好, 比較不會犯戒。

 

When I say keeping the precepts, I do not mean that we should cling to the "form" of precepts, i.e. adhere to the precepts word for word. If you take such a literal approach, not only will you put yourself in a straitjacket, but you will also be at odds with the rest of the world. You will become judgmental and are prone to find fault with others thereby increase your own vexations. Therefore, the key is to observe the quintessence of the precepts, i.e., purify your deed, words, and thoughts through keeping them. Basically, you should "be kind and compassionate to all beings while providing them with expedient guidance for practice." Whatever you do, observing this principle will safeguard you against possible breach of the precepts.

 

受戒是在受持〔忍辱〕, 如果耳朵聽到別人罵你、刺激你, 你能不起煩惱, 不犯過失, 那就是戒。

 

To a large extent, receiving the precepts means practicing forbearance. If you can be free of agitation, vexation, and violent reaction while listening to an insult or accusation against you, you are keeping the precepts.

 

受戒是戒自己的心, 不是戒別人。當我們起了壞念頭時, 種在我們八識田中這個無色相的戒體, 會浮現出來而發揮作用, 制止我們不可以違犯戒律。所以要 〔以戒為師〕, 持戒莊嚴才能與般若相應。

 

The purpose of receiving the precepts is to safeguard our own minds, not to be critical to others. After we receive the precepts, their formless embodiment dwelling in our eighth field of cognition will come forth to prevent us from breaching them. Therefore, we should use the precepts as our mentor and solemnly keep them so that our minds can be in accord with prajna wisdom.

 

受戒是要戒自己的行為, 不是受那幾個戒疤後, 以戒的尺度去指摘別人的過錯; 否則自己告口業, 反而先犯戒了

 

The purpose of receiving the precepts is to guard our own behavior, rather than using the criteria to find fault with others. Otherwise, we will be creating negative karma through our words, which is a breach of the precepts in itself.

 

受了戒之後, 才真正是修行的開始, 要〔以戒為師〕, 實地去行

 

Receiving the precepts is the beginning of our practice. We should use the precepts as our mentor and practice accordingly.

 

如果六根不清淨, 妄念尚存, 無明未破, 便無法開悟, 像襌堂打香板就是在打你的無明。所以要攝六根, 讓身、口、意住於清淨無染。因為戒行清淨, 六根不染六塵, 是入襌的第一步基礎。

 

If your sense organs are impure, your false or misleading thoughts continue, and your ignorance remains, then you can not be enlightened. When the Master hits you with the incense board in the meditation hall, he is hitting your ignorance and delusion. Therefore, you should restrain your sense organs and purify your deed, words, and thoughts. Keep the precepts to the extent that the six sense objects can no longer contaminate your sense organs. This is the first step and the foundation of the practice of Zen.

 

受了戒就應當和未受戒前不一樣, 更應做苦行, 把習氣改掉、壞念頭去掉, 以戒為師。

 

There ought to be a difference after receiving the precepts. Afterwards, you should be more keen to ascetic practice, more eager to get rid of bad habits and evil thoughts, and should learn a great deal from the precepts.

 

受戒能忍即入道。凡事簡單, 方便就好, 不要和人家計較分別床位的大小, 吃的好壞。受戒是去學威儀規矩, 不是去四處攀緣、論是非造口業的。

 

Be patient and tolerant while receiving the precepts, then you are entering into the path of practice. Daily life ought to be simple -- do not make a fuss. Do not complain about trivial things such as the bed is not cozy, or the food taste awful, etc. The purpose of holding a session to receive the precepts is to learn proper conduct and manners, not to build up connections, or to gossip about other thus create more karma of words.

 

持戒是持什麼? 戒就是〔起心動念〕, 一切戒都是對治我們的心, 對治眾生的煩惱等等。因為 〔戒〕是佛祖的行為,〔定〕是佛祖的心。一個修行人如果持戒清淨, 身、口、意二業不犯, 則心清淨, 正定自然現前, 佛智即生。所以〔戒為菩提本〕, 有戒才能定, 因定而生慧, 〔戒、定、慧〕三學是一體而離不開的。有戒的規範, 才不會毀犯戒律, 落入因果輪迴, 因此持戒最重要的就是我們的〔心〕。

 

What do we mean by keeping the precepts? It means watching closely the incipience of each and every one of our thoughts and ideas. All precepts are designed to tame our minds and to eradicate our vexations. The precepts represent the Buddha's conduct and samadhi, the state of the Buddha's mind. If a practitioner faithfully keeps the precepts without going astray in all deeds, words, and thoughts, his mind will be completely purified. He can then attain right samadhi and his immanent buddha-wisdom will unfold. Therefore, "the precepts are the foundation of bodhi enlightenment." Only by keeping the precept can we attain samadhi, wisdom will naturally follow. Hence, "sila precepts, samadhi perfect absorption, and prajna wisdom" are inseparable. Only with the restraint of the precepts can we avoid transgressions that would confine us in samaras. Therefore, our mind-set is most crucial in keeping the precepts.

 

五戒裡面以殺生和妄語較容易犯, 其中這個妄語戒就要小心! 一句話講出去可以成就別人, 也可以害人, 講好話別人聽了會高興, 講壞話別人聽了會生氣, 這邊講來那邊講去, 都是造口業。與人爭論吵架也會使人散亂心。所以〔菩薩畏因, 眾生畏果〕, 我們修行人在這 〔因〕 的方面要用心去體會。像事情未做以前, 菩薩就知道什麼情況下會造什麼 〔因〕, 所得 〔果〕 又是什麼, 因此絕不會去犯。但芸芸眾生就不一樣了, 總是說: 〔哎! 早知道這樣, 我就不去做!〕 等你知道已經太遲了。所以佛陀所制的戒律、經典也是在這因果道理上, 指引我們去修行, 修得這些, 因果才會圓滿。

 

Among the five basic precepts, the most commonly violated ones are killing and lying. And we should pay special attention to the precept against lying, either as a slander, false boasting, or deception. What we say can help as well as destroy others. Kind words please people, vicious ones hurt; but most words exchanged are gossip that can only create karma of words. Quarrelling or debating with others will also make our minds scattered and restless. That is why "bodhisattvas are fearful of causes, sentient beings, retributions." We practitioners should also pay particular attention to comprehend this emphasis on "causes." Bodhisattvas can perceive the cause and effect of each and every move hence will never take any action that can lead to harsh retribution. But most people regret only after they have tasted the bitter fruits of their misconduct. That is why it is always too late when they sigh: "had I known the consequences, I would never have done such and such things!" Therefore, the basic principal Sakyamuni Buddha expounded for our guidance in the precepts and sutras is the law of causality. Only by closely observe this principal will the results of our deeds be satisfactory.

 

在家人追求名利, 仍在娑婆世界中輪迴; 而出家人修戒、定、慧, 是為了〔了脫生死〕。

 

Laymen often indulge themselves in the pursuit of fame and wealth thereby remaining in the cycle of rebirths. Monastic practitioners, on the other hand, diligently keep the precepts, meditate, and develop their wisdom in the hope of escaping the cycle of birth and death.

 

受戒回來要遵守戒律, 努力修持。若能守戒, 持戒莊嚴, 並吃苦耐勞, 戒、定、慧具足了, 一句話說出來能度眾, 鬼神聽了也能〔出苦〕, 就是〔自度度他〕, 這樣韋馱護法才會擁護你。

 

You should practice harder after receiving the precepts. Solemnly keep the precepts and endure all hardships so as to attain samadhi, and prajna. When you reach this stage, your words can naturally deliver other people, even the ghosts and spirits that come to hear you can be freed of their miseries. This is what we called "delivering others while working on your own liberation." At that stage, guardians of the Dharma will also come to assist you.

 

出家人要〔以戒為師〕, 也就是修到使人見了你如見佛般生歡喜, 自然起敬仰之心

 

We monastic practitioners should use the precepts as our mentor and practice diligently to the extent that, when meeting us, people will feel the bliss of meeting a buddha and will naturally respect and admire us.

 

 

3.  念佛  On Reciting the Name of the Buddha

 

每個人都有煩惱, 但是有煩惱就有生死, 應該把握短暫的一生, 專心念佛, 修行斷煩惱, 否則生死輪迴, 六道有份

 

We all know that everyone suffers from vexations, though not necessary know that, as long as vexations last, we will remain in the cycle of birth and death. Therefore, we ought to seize the opportunity of this short human rebirth to concentrate on reciting the name of the Buddha and practice diligently to eradicate all vexations. Otherwise, we will remain in samsara and perpetually wander among the six divisions of rebirth.

 

不管遇到什麼事, 都是一句〔阿彌陀佛〕, 要遠離是非也是這句〔阿彌陀佛〕。隨時靜下來就要念佛, 念到睡著了也沒關係, 就這一句〔阿彌陀佛〕能讓我們橫超三界, 直到西方。所以在修行當中遇到境界來時, 要眼睛裝作沒看見, 耳朵裝作沒聽到, 不著六塵, 不被境轉, 一句〔阿隬陀佛〕 老實念下去。

 

Whatever circumstances you encounter, always remember to recite "Amitabha Buddha;" whenever you wish to steer clear of conflict, recite the name as well. In short, recite the Buddha's name whenever you have a moment to yourself, even if you should fall asleep amidst recitation. This practice will help you transcend the three realms of existence the realms of sensual desire, of form and formlessness and be reborn in the Pure Land. Therefore, when disturbances arise during practice, pretend not to see or hear them. Do not be distracted by the six sense objects, nor be swayed by circumstances. Just continue reciting "Amitabha Buddha."

 

一心念佛就會心開花開, 明心見性

 

Reciting the name of the Buddha with an undivided mind will lead to the realization of the essence of your own mind.

 

不懂念佛意義的人, 以為念佛只是可以求長壽而已。其實壽命長, 卻不斷殺生造業, 不知道要修行求出離, 長壽又有什麼用呢? 還是在六道輪迴裡面! 生死事大, 人命無常, 若能體悟了生脫死的道理, 就應該把握人身的機會趕快修行, 念佛求生西方。

 

Many who do not understand the significance of reciting the name of the Buddha suppose the only attainment possible through this practice is a long life. However, if instead of practicing to escape samsara, you only create more negative karma by killing and other misconduct, what is the use of a long life? You still remain in the cycle of rebirths, wandering among the six divisions of sentient existence! The matter of escaping the cycle of birth and death is so crucial, yet life is so impermanent. If you truly comprehend the rationale of why we should escape the cycle of birth and death, you will, without hesitation, seize the opportunity of this human rebirth to practice reciting the name of Amitabha Buddha so that you can be reborn in the Pure Land.

 

念佛才是真正清淨正當的一條路, 是往生西方的路。大眾同音念佛, 一心專注在佛號上, 就能到西方, 不須買票搭飛機, 西方法船是無色相的。

 

Reciting the name of Amitabha Buddha is truly a pure and proper path, a path that will lead to the Pure Land. When we recite "Amitabha Buddha" in unison, all with an undivided mind, we can arrive at the Pure Land. There is no need to purchase tickets, as the dharmic vehicle to the Pure Land is formless and colorless.

 

人命無常, 一口氣不來, 人生就完了, 趕快勇猛精進! 莫放逸多念佛!這才是眼前最要緊的事!

Life is so impermanent; it can easily end in a breath. Therefore, we should seize every moment to practice diligently. Don't waste more time; keep on reciting the name of the Buddha. This is the most important thing for us here and now!

 

、住、坐、臥都要念佛! 如果我們定下心來念, 便可察覺到我們的心幾乎整天都在外頭奔馳,攀緣外境, 沒有觀照在 〔阿彌陀佛〕上。如果不能收攝身心, 被外境轉走, 必然是生死輪迴了。

 

Keep on reciting the name of the Buddha, whether we are moving, staying, sitting, or sleeping! If we observe closely, we will find that most of the time, instead of concentrating on the name of Amitabha Buddha, our minds are easily distracted by external environments and wandering all over the places. If we can not restrain our minds and allow them to be swayed by circumstances, there is no way we can ever escape samsara.

 

、住、坐、臥都是禪, 不是只有〔坐〕才是禪。時時保持內心寂靜、不分別, 就是〔禪〕。說明白一點,〔一心〕就是禪。

 

You can practice Zen in all your daily activities, be it walking, staying, sitting, or sleeping, not just in "sitting" meditation. If you constantly maintain the serenity and impartiality of your mind, you are practicing Zen. To be more specific, Zen means an undivided mind.

 

念佛不簡單, 必須萬緣放下, 摒開內外各種紛擾, 一心清淨地稱佛名號, 才能相應。要能將一句〔南無阿彌陀佛〕六字洪名念得清清楚楚, 聽得明明白白, 沒有一絲疑念, 如此其他雜念自然消除, 決定會證到〔一心不亂〕。

 

It is by no means easy to practice reciting the name of the Buddha. You have to relinquish all worldly concerns and recite with a pure and undivided mind so as to be in accord with the Buddha. Recite "Namah Amitabha Buddha" clearly and listen attentively without any doubt, all your scattered thoughts will naturally be expelled. You can then practice with an undivided mind free of perplexity.

 

如果你們相信我的話, 老實念佛, 、住、坐、臥不離佛號, 甚至在夢中都能把持得住,把一句佛號謹記在心, 到了這個時候, 自然心不貪念, 意不顛倒, 西方極樂世界自然現前。這是關係生死大事, 千萬不可掉以輕心。

 

If you have faith in my teaching, remember to recite the Buddha's name constantly whether you are walking, staying, sitting, or sleeping. Hold on to it even in your dreams. You can thereby free of greed and worldly desires and your mind will not be perturbed. When you reach this stage, the Pure Land will naturally come forth before you. Do not take this matter lightly! It pertains to whether you can escape the cycle of birth and death.

 

你們看, 螟蛉無子, 牠揀選小蟲, 放入黃土塊中, 天天對小蟲嗡嗡價響。你們知道牠在說什麼? 牠在跟小蟲說:〔你要像我! 你要像我!〕就這樣, 把別人的小蟲化成自己的子嗣, 一出塊壘亦成螟蛉。我們念佛修行當學螟蛉, 摒絕世間形形色色的根塵侵襲, 一心專念〔阿彌陀佛! 阿彌陀佛!〕日久工夫純熟, 將來必定成佛。

 

The Larva of chilo simplex a kind of moth can not have offspring. They pick other bugs, put them in the soil, and speak to them incessantly: "Be like me! Be like me!" When the bugs come out of the soil, they grow to be like Chilo simplex. We should follow this example in our practice: shun from myriad temptations, just recite "Amitabha Buddha, Amitabha Buddha" with an undivided mind. After continuous practice, the recitation will become your second nature and you will ultimately attain buddhahood.

 

在家中應當盡量拜佛、念佛, 閒話少說, 以求將來脫離苦海, 往生西方有份。

 

When you are at home, practice prostration and recite the Buddha's name whenever possible. Don’t waste your time gossiping or chattering! Then you can hope to be liberated from samsara and be reborn in the Pure Land.

 

妄想來時不要怕, 不理它就是。它是它, 我還是〔阿彌陀佛〕一直念下去, 妄想自然就少了。

 

Do not be perturbed by erroneous and illusive thoughts; just ignore them when they emerge. If you keep on reciting "Amitabha Buddha," such thoughts will gradually diminish.

 

、住、坐、臥都要去悟, 去體會佛法, 這樣壞念頭才不會跑進來。否則空過光陰, 心中沒有正念, 即使口不言, 但心在打妄想, 執著那些形形色色的好壞, 仍不能了生死。要提起正念, 修不生不滅的無上解脫法, 才是人生大事。

 

Try to comprehend and experience the essence of the Dharma through each and every move you take so that evil ideas will have no chance to come forth. Otherwise, your life will be wasted. When not guided by right mindfulness, you may be overwhelmed by illusive and erroneous thoughts even though not pronouncing them, and remain clinging to, hence being vexed by, and your biased judgments of worldly affairs. Continue living like this and you will have no chance of escaping samsara. The most important thing in your life, therefore, is to foster right mindfulness and practices the supreme Dharma that would set you free of all the trammels of life.

 

〔好〕也笑笑, 〔壞〕也笑笑, 好壞都是分別出來的, 所以不要去分別。如果遇到高興歡喜事, 就參〔歡喜的人是誰?〕而起煩惱時, 則參〔煩惱的人是誰〕當妄想來時, 這些煩惱或不好的念頭也是你的〔自性〕, 這時不要去感覺它, 儘管繼續念你的佛, 將一句佛號念住, 念得清清楚楚, 明明白白。這樣工夫用久了, 妄想自然沒有, 而一念清淨時, 這個心就是佛心。

 

Smile when things are going well, the same when times are bad, for "good" or "bad" are nothing but arbitrary distinctions made by the mind, no need to differentiate or discriminate. When feeling happy, keep pondering "who is the one that is happy?" and when vexed, asking "who is the one that is full of defilement?" You should know that vexations and illusive ideas are also part of your mind, your "perturbed" mind. Pay no attention, though, when they emerge, just keep on reciting "Amitabha Buddha" clearly and distinctly. Continue this practice long enough, the illusive thoughts will naturally diminish. The instant the mind becomes pure and undivided, it is the buddhamind.

 

傻傻做、傻傻吃、多念佛! 今天是今天, 明天是明天, 什麼事都不罣礙, 這就是道心堅固, 就是修行。

 

Don't think too much; just work, eat, and recite the name of the Buddha! Live only for today and let tomorrow be tomorrow. Let go of all worries and anxieties. Such is an indication of firm resolution, and such is practice.

 

〔法性是空, 無所來亦無所去。〕當煩惱、生氣時, 不要執著追究煩惱生氣從那裡來, 若執著則不但心不開, 而且不能安心辦道, 往前進步。必須什麼是都看得破、放得下, 還是把〔阿彌陀佛〕念在心裡才是最要緊的事!

 

"The nature of Dharma is emptiness. It has no place of origin nor destination." Thus, when you are vexed or angry, do not insist on locating the source of your vexation or anger. If you do, you will neither be happy nor be able to concentrate on practice, let alone making any progress! You have to relinquish all concerns and let go of all fetters. The most important thing is to keep "Amitabha Buddha" in your mind!

 

念佛要發長遠心, 不可間斷, 如同小溪的水, 不管水流大小, 總是潺潺不斷流往大海。念佛就像這樣, 不管念多念少, 都要持之有恆, 天天念、一心念, 念到阿彌陀佛的大誓願海裡, 生西就有望。任何人只要肯念, 成佛一半!

 

Reciting the name of the Buddha requires uninterrupted long-term practice, like the water of small streams keep running into the sea. No matter how many times you recite per day, you have to do it every day and with an undivided mind. This is the only way for your recitation to stream into the sea of the great vows of Amitabha Buddha i.e. be in accord with the vows and you can thereby hope to be reborn in the Pure Land. Consequently, anyone who is willing to recite the name of the Buddha is half way toward attaining buddhahood.

 

念佛也不簡單, 要攝心專念, 念得字句分明, 清清楚楚。若沒有正念, 就是散亂心, 容易想東想西, 變成口念心不念, 不能與彌陀願海相應。所以念佛還要有願力, 才能一心專注, 攝心持名。否則妄念紛飛, 又怎能把佛號念好呢?

 

It is by no means easy to practice reciting the name of the Buddha because the recitation has to be done with an undivided mind and each word pronounced distinctly. Without the guidance of right mindfulness, your mind may become scattered and all sorts of unruly ideas may spring up. Under such circumstances, your recitation can easily become a mindless utterance that can never be in accord with the great vows of Amitabha Buddha. Indeed, recitation with an undivided mind requires a strong resolve. Otherwise, how can anyone expect to practice well when his/her mind is overwhelmed by illusive and erroneous thoughts?

 

念佛修持過程中, 會有很多心念上的困擾障礙, 就是自己會打妄想, 因為心是無常的, 隨時變來變去, 依我們的心念在轉, 所以想好好念一句佛號都不簡單啊!

 

There will be immense disturbances and obstacles to our minds while practicing recitation, mostly caused by incessant illusive thoughts. Since our minds are basically unstable and can easily be swayed by our thoughts, it is difficult to recite the name of the Buddha, even just once, with an undivided mind.

 

每個人無始以來所帶來的壞種子很多, 若不在修行上下功夫, 帶業來再帶業去, 則空來人間走一回。一失人身, 萬劫難復, 生死輪迴, 何時出期? 當趕緊用功修行, 萬緣放下 將這個色身假殼子看破, 悟到我們本來不生不滅的佛性, 才能永遠自在解脫。

 

We all have accumulated immeasurable bad seeds in the eons. Without diligent practice, we will only increase our karmic obstructions and live this life in vain. Once losing human rebirth, we might not be able to regain such a good opportunity for practice for eons. In that case, when can we hope to escape the cycle of birth and death? Knowing the consequences, it will be wise for us to forgo all worldly attachments at once and practice diligently. Only when we realized that our physical body is nothing but a temporary and illusive shell case, and that we all have a Buddha-nature that can neither be born nor be extinguished, will we be able to attain eternal liberation.

 

我們都是帶業來受輪迴的, 所以病苦多的人, 如果能明白這就是業障的話, 就應該少殺生多念佛, 業障自然會漸漸消除

 

All of us are born with negative karma accumulated in past lives; that is why we remain in this cycle of rebirths. So, if those who have poor health realize that their illnesses are largely due to their karmic obstructions, they should avoid killing and recite the Buddha's name more often. Such practice will gradually eradicate their karmic obstructions.

 

妄想多的人, 需要多做一些事, 讓念頭有個寄託。否則妄念紛飛, 要念佛也是念不下去。所以一面工作, 一面念佛, 會漸漸地不覺得在工作。而且心專注於佛號與工作, 對外境的好壞不起分別, 自然會生出平等心。

 

If you find yourself overwhelmed by incessant erroneous and illusive thoughts, you should keep yourself busy so that your ideas will have an anchor. Otherwise, with thoughts running wild, you can not practice reciting the name of the Buddha. But if you practice recitation while working, you will gradually forget that you are working hard. Besides, when you concentrate both on you tasks and on recitation, you will stop making distinctions about your environment, and your mind will naturally be free of discrimination.

 

念佛、為常住貢獻心力、利益眾人, 這便是修褔、慧, 可直了生死。若只顧自己, 只為自己的利益, 不為眾人, 這樣就是沒有慈悲心, 再怎麼也修不起來, 以後會再墮下去。

 

For your daily practice, you should recite the name of the Buddha, dutifully carry our your monastic tasks, and constantly think of working for the benefit of others. This is the dual practice toward gaining merit and wisdom that will lead directly to liberation from the cycle of birth and death. On the other hand, if you only think of your own interests and never about others, you are neither kind nor compassionate; your practice won't go very far and you are sure to remain in samsara.

 

念佛要具信、願、行三力, 要依音聲念佛, 不管出聲念或默念, 都要從耳朵清楚聽進去, 念到大地只有一音, 都是念佛音, 對外境一切的音聲都不起分別, 不被轉去, 方名〔一心不亂〕。

 

Practice reciting the name of the Buddha requires the trinity of faith, will, and action. Follow the recitation closely--whether pronouncing it or reciting in silence--you should be able to hear every word distinctly. If you practice to the extent that you hear nothing but the name of the Buddha, that you neither distinguish nor be distracted by any other sound, you would have attained the stage of "an undivided mind free of perplexity."

 

我們妄念種子深重。念佛時不是頭昏就是被妄念種子牽去, 所以念佛時必須要隨時收攝身心。

 

Our tendency to have erroneous and illusive thoughts is rooted deeply. That is why we tend to feel dizzy or are easily distracted by illusive thoughts when we recite the name of the Buddha. Therefore, we have to keep reminding ourselves to restrain our minds while practicing recitation.

 

有些人以為〔念佛〕是很容易的, 所以輕視〔念佛法門〕。可是真要讓他們來念, 卻又念不到幾句就起煩惱, 聽到念佛的聲音時, 心中就會有壓迫感, 好像千斤重的石頭壓在心上, 這就是沒有善根, 業障深重, 無法攝受到念佛的好處。所以不要小看了〔念佛法門〕。

 

Some people take recitation lightly, thinking it easy to practice. But if you ask them to try it, they might soon be vexed after starting to recite the name of the Buddha, or they might feel oppressed by tons of rocks upon hearing the sound of the recitation. Such negative reactions indicate that they did not plant good seeds in their previous lives and that their karmic obstructions are so enormous that they are unable to benefit from recitation. Therefore, do not look down upon discipline of reciting the name of the Buddha.

 

現在民間有很多人口頭上說是信佛, 實際上根本沒有正念, 以為求神問卜也算是信佛, 亂信一通, 或者是帶者〔有所求〕的心來信佛拜佛, 每天都在打名利的妄想, 被名利迷得團團轉。像這樣的學佛信佛, 沒有正知正見, 想要了生死, 就不是那麼容易了。

 

Nowadays, many people claim to be Buddhists but in fact do not have right mindfulness. They make offerings to supernatural local deities praying for blessings and take it to be practice of Buddhism. Or, they prostrate themselves in front of buddha statues because they want something in of return. They are chasing after wealth and fame, and are deluded by such illusive pursuits day in and day out. Without the guidance of right views, it will not be easy for such people to escape the cycle of birth and death.

 

要發弘願, 別人都先成佛, 我才成佛, 像大願地藏王菩薩一樣〔眾生度盡方成菩提〕, 而在行菩薩道過程當中, 這個 〔願〕 就是成佛的願。因為只顧自己, 不把心打開, 就是沒有慈悲心, 不但修不上去, 〔我相〕也去不掉。同時因顧〔我〕而產生煩惱、執著、分別、嫉妒、貪、瞋、癡等等, 這些受輪迴生死的種子。所以修行一定要〔利他〕, 利益別人就是利益自己。無論什麼事都要幫助及成就別人, 令其〔心〕安住在佛道上。一切慈悲為本, 方便為門, 就是菩薩行。

 

We should make vows as grand as that of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha, i.e. not to attain Buddhahood until all beings are delivered. While treading the bodhisattva-path, this grand vow is a vow to attain buddhahood. If, on the other hand, we think only of ourselves, then we are neither kind nor compassionate; our practice will not go very far and our attachment to the form of "self" will remain. Clinging to the sense of self will only plant evil seeds such as vexation, attachment, discrimination, jealousy, greed anger, and ignorance, etc. that will keep us in the cycle of birth and death. Hence, practice should always be motivated by altruism. And while working for the benefit of others, we will also benefit ourselves. Help others whenever and wherever possible and lead their minds to dwell on the Dharma. Whatever we do, if we are kind and compassionate to all beings while providing them with expedient guidance for practice, we are treading the bodhisattva-path.

 

人為何受輪迴? 就是因為七情五欲的染著心太重, 被七情五欲所迷, 整天為財、色、名、食、睡而煩惱, 惡業也就這樣在貪染追求中造出來了。

 

Why are we besieged in the endless cycle of rebirths? It is because we are heavily defiled and attached to sensual attractions, and are vexed by incessant cravings for wealth, sex, fame, food, and sleep. Our unremitting pursuit of physical satisfaction, therefore, creates immeasurable negative karma, which keeps us forever in samsara.

 

不論任何境遇, 當下第一個念頭就是要〔念佛〕, 不起別念, 那樣我們的八識田中才都為念佛的種子。所以平常的修持就是要將聽到的一切音聲, 都轉為念佛的立聲, 鳥聲、車聲、人聲等都是在念佛、念僧, 也就是要攝一切音聲、一切現象入念佛音聲中。

 

Whatever circumstances we run into, our first thought should always be "reciting the name of the Buddha," nothing else. We will then plant only seed of recitation in our eighth field of cognition. Therefore, what we should practice daily is to convert all sounds we hear, be it birds singing, vehicles moving, or people talking, into sounds of chanting Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. That is to say, instead of being distracted, we should integrate all external noises and phenomena into our practice of reciting the name of the Buddha.

 

〔人作即佛成〕, 佛法是圓融善巧方便的。修行人應〔嚴以律己, 寬以待人〕, 凡事都要有耐心, 待人要寬宏大量, 慈悲包容, 隨緣幫助, 就是廣結善緣。

 

"Becoming an impeccable person equals attaining Buddhahood." The Dharma is in itself complete, adroit, and expedient. A practitioner should be strict in disciplining him/herself but considerate when dealing with others. Be patient in whatever you do, be kind, compassionate, and tolerant to whomever you meet, and help others when circumstances arise. By so doing, you are fostering good affinity with all beings.

 

參學是在藉境參自心, 參我們這個心是不是煩惱心妄想心對人善惡是的分別心, 就是要觀照自己的起心動念, 在面對一切境界時能不起分別、不起煩惱、無所罣礙, 這才是真參學。

 

The essence of "seeking guidance" is to make use of all circumstances to examine our own minds, to see whether they are vexed, deluded, or discriminating. That is, we should observe the incipience of our each and every thought to ensure that our minds remain undiscriminating, undefiled, and unfettered. This is the true meaning of seeking guidance.

 

修行人要一心念佛, 念佛最要緊, 至於其他的事就是要學〔忍辱〕。如果有什麼事情看不順眼, 就把耳朵關起來, 眼睛閉起來, 裝作不知道, 睜一眼、閉一眼, 還要對人和顏悅色, 心中不可以起煩惱。再怎麼說, 修行就是〔忍辱〕這兩個字。

 

The most important thing for a practitioner is to recite the name of the Buddha with an undivided mind. The second is to practice "forbearance." Shut your ears and eyes, pretend not to see or hear when people say or do disagreeable things; instead, be gentle with them and do not become vexed. "Forbearance" is crucial in practice.

 

念佛要念到〔花開見佛〕! 我們每個人的心中都有一尊〔自性佛〕, 當你念佛念到心清淨、沒煩惱時, 就見到自性佛。所以要斷煩惱, 才能 〔花開見佛〕。在日常修持當中, 要學慈悲忍辱, 去除性急暴躁, 降伏脾氣。待人處事依道理去行, 善巧圓融、理智論事, 不要只看到別人的過錯, 即使知道好壞也不要煩惱。對人要親切和藹但不攀緣, 不論是善或惡, 都是和氣平等對待, 沒有分別, 不要一張冷冰冰的臉令人望之卻步。照這樣做去, 起心動念都是慈悲心、利益別人的心, 不僅能廣結善緣, 自己也得清涼, 沒有煩惱, 便是 〔花開見佛〕。

 

Practice reciting the name of the Buddha to the extent that "flowers flourish and the Buddha comes into view." We all have a Buddha immanent in our minds. When we practice recitation to the extent that our minds are pure and free of vexations, we will meet the Buddha within ourselves. Therefore, only by the extinction of all vexations can we attain the stage where "flowers flourish and the Buddha comes into view." We should practice compassion and forbearance in our daily lives while avoiding impulsiveness and petulance and controlling our temper. Be adroit and harmonious when dealing with people and handle everything with the help of reason. Seek not the faults of others and do not be vexed by the rights or wrongs we perceive. Be gentle and kind to others, though not for the sake of building up connections. Treat everyone, be he/she moral or immoral, with equality and impartiality. Do not turn others away with an icy face. With every move intended for the benefit of others and done with sympathetic compassion, not only will we foster good affinity with others but our minds will be purified and ourselves free of all vexations. We are thereby attaining the stage where "flowers flourish and the Buddha comes into view."

 

念佛人如果情執不斷, 牽扯難捨, 嘴巴裡雖然念佛, 念念還是角在娑婆中三界內輪迴。要真能懇切至誠, 放下萬緣, 那麼臨終才能往生西方。

 

Unless all emotional attachments are relinquished, merely reciting the Buddha's name with your tongue will not help you escape the cycle of birth and death. Recite with all sincerity and an undivided mind and relinquish myriad attachments, then you will be reborn in the Pure Land.

 

〔信則真, 誠則靈。〕心若至誠, 則念佛時會感應一切祥瑞, 所以要深信諸佛皆充滿。佛菩薩是遍滿虛空的, 只有至誠心才能與佛相應。

 

"The truth will come forth when you have faith; your prayers will be answered if you pray with sincerity." Recite the Buddha's name with all sincerity, then you will feel the auspiciousness indicating the presence of the Buddha. Have a deep conviction that buddhas and bodhisattvas fill the void of the universe. However, they only correspond with minds of utmost sincerity.

 

念佛的力量很, 大可以讓我們消業障、開智慧。但不能著相念佛, 執著娑婆世界 〔色、聲、香、味、觸、法〕種種有色相的境。如果這樣, 一定心不清、腦不靈, 仍在五蘊 〔色、受、想、行、識〕 裡面打轉, 還是在世間做白日夢而已。

 

Reciting the name of the Buddha is very powerful in that it helps to eradicate our karmic obstructions and unfold our wisdom. But do not cling to the "form" of recitation; nor should you be attached to the color and form i.e. physical existence of this world. Otherwise, your mind can not be pure or liberated, i.e. you will remain in the confinement of the five skandhasform, sensation, perception, volition, and consciousness, and your liberation will remain a daydream with no prospect of realization.

 

念佛要一心專注的念, 念到〔心開花開〕, 心清淨了, 就不會有煩惱, 沒有那些貪、瞋、癡的壞念頭擠進來, 自然意不顛倒而身心自在, 現前就是西方境界。

 

When practice recitation, you should do it with an undivided mind to the extent that "your mind is open and flowersof your mindflourish." That is to say when your mind is purified through recitation, you will naturally be free of vexations. When your mind is not crowded with destructive ideas generated by your greed, anger, and ignorance, it will not be inverted and, together with your body, will be free and at ease. When you attain that stage, this world is the Pure Land.

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