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Mahabodhi Society of USA
A non-profit organization that promotes understanding and practice of Buddhism
A non-profit organization that promotes understanding and practice of Buddhism
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【聞法筆記】
鼻孔底下的那些新鮮事
──記燃燈禪師十日禪,7/22~7/31/2016──

李佩樺/攝影

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【聞法筆記】
鼻孔底下的那些新鮮事
──記燃燈禪師十日禪,7/22~7/31/2016──

雷叔雲/撰文

禮敬佛,禮敬法,禮敬僧,禮敬燃燈禪師,禮敬禪修者,禮敬護關義工!

十日中最精采的
莫過於禪師的教法
以慈心禪領頭,繼而以安般念專注鼻端入出息
每一階段,從禪相出現,到禪相穩定,到入禪
禪師雖在病中,兼長途飛行,仍以嫻熟的體驗和個人化的指導
引導學生如何作身心的微調

然而,功德圓滿還有賴諸多其他因緣
若沒有煥忠、崇怡和南加來的Grace師姊的縝密規劃
惠錦、玲珠、嘉宏、佩樺、文蓉、聞瑜等義工的執行
Grace師姊又擔任淨人,周詳貼心照顧禪師
Jennifer Chee師姊、Shelly師姊、Janice Shen師姊,和Desmond師兄布置佛像、供花、指標,以及每一張墊毯、禪墊、蓋毯、名牌、講義
環環緊扣
學會就不會出現如禪修中心一般的專業氣象

從各地飛來的禪修者,維吉尼亞、馬里蘭、威斯康辛、密西根、南加‧‧‧
雖有經常入定、住定、出定的
卻也有從未接觸過佛法或禪修的
一致用功到每一炷香都靜得連針落地都聽得見

Mt. Madonna Center 是十日水月道場
他們對自然環境的維護
對有機生活的堅持
印度風和加州風的清新飲食風格,營養豐足卻無虞口腹之貪
加速禪修者的身體調節

第八日,一位美國年輕女禪修者悄悄在每人座墊上放了一小包神祕巧克力
手書"You can do it"
第九日,一位緬甸人士開車過來,帶來許多的 Odwalla smoothies
啦啦隊善心的頻率
球員都接收到了

禪悅是有的
感謝也是有的
若說有什麼可流連、留戀、執著
也不見得
只是再一次,謙恭地

禮敬佛,禮敬法,禮敬僧,禮敬燃燈禪師,禮敬禪修者,禮敬護關義工!
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【聞法筆記】
當下是過去的未來,未來的過去是當下(請珍惜現在~我們的緣)

鍾聞瑜/撰文

回首三十四年前,我與兩位友人到臺北華嚴蓮社參訪,主要是想向南亭長老頂禮,在等待通報時,我竟在樓廊中見到長老出來,便在長廊下頂禮,朋友卻無緣得見。後來成一長老出來接待,他對年輕的我們無比親切,那是我與成一長老的第一次見面,從此結下了師徒之緣,並偶有書信往返。1984年六月我移民美國,苦於當時灣區沒有佛教社團,便以閱讀佛書的方式自修,不想在當年的八月左右,由於想在北聖荷西(Barryasa)購屋,竟然在參觀房子時,見到一民居外貼有『華嚴蓮社』字樣的招牌;我將該地牢記於心,並於日後專程拜訪;沒想到的是成一長老正好也在,我們師徒竟然以這種方式再見,豈不善哉!

美國華嚴蓮社自早年安置於民房,幾度遷移,最終落腳於 Milpitas ;間中我多有參與蓮社的活動,甚至還學會梵唱及法器,若是長老來此,對我們來說,更是歡喜的不得了。多少年來,我的慧命在蓮社長老、法師、師兄、師姐的教導下,漸漸地增長;在此認識了許多法友,三十多年來情誼長存,相濡以沫。三十年,真不算短的歲月,我們這些人也漸漸老去,有些年長的法師(轉度師)和居士也都不在了;像慈父般的長老也在兩年多前去世,回想過往的種種,雖有情感上的唏噓,心裡卻很清楚這就是法的展現:無常、苦、無我。美國華嚴蓮社三十年走過的每一步,都是菩薩的腳印,腳印中有一代代賢者們接續法脈的願力和精進力,更有度眾的慈心與悲願;我有幸是這大家庭裡的一員;欣逢美國華嚴蓮社成立三十週年,承蓮社師父慈囑為文一篇,正巧我在蓮社剛教完三次四小時(共十二小時)的茶道班課程;總想若只是泡茶,而沒有佛法的加入,生活則只是生活,娛樂成了滋養欲貪的搖籃,其實泡茶、喝茶也能修心,三十年的蓮社之行,就以禪茶一味作為賀禮,供養三寶及一切有情:

祝願美國華嚴蓮社  

法水長流!
     
【編按】本文轉載自《美國華嚴蓮社三十週年紀念特刊》                    
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【聞法筆記】
禪茶一味

鍾聞瑜/撰文

曹溪一滴水,玉川七碗茶

一碗喉吻潤,二碗破孤悶。三碗搜枯腸,唯有文字五千件。
四碗發輕汗,平生不平事,盡向毛孔散。
五碗肌骨清,六碗通仙靈。
七碗喫不得也,唯覺兩腋習習清風生。


一片茶葉的故事

每當我要泡茶或喝茶時,從茶罐中傾出的每一片葉子(無論它以何種姿態呈現:是箭片狀、條索形或球形的散茶,還是裝在竹籃、包在竹篾片中或壓成各種形狀的緊茶),對它們!我都懷有敬畏,就如同我對生命的敬畏一般,不敢輕忽它們的存在。會泡茶與會喝茶,對我來說僅只是對茶的一知半解,敬畏是無從生起的,而只會泡茶和只會喝茶,對其過往沒有認識,對茶來說更是一種褻瀆。從茶的歷史和其製作過程,自其初萌芽開始,成長到被人採摘,一路由採茶人的汗流浹背與製茶人的繁瑣工序,從採摘下的生葉經過日光萎凋、室內靜置、攪拌、發酵、殺青、揉捻、乾燥、再揉捻、焙火、精製加工到包裝配銷,最後到我們手中,了解它整個生命經過千錘百鍊轉化和淬取的過程,對茶的敬佩、尊重、感恩及欣賞才會油然而生。

我常於賞茶入水之際,凝視它赴湯蹈火、義無反顧的決然,緊縮捲曲的葉片就水而張,將自己的所有無償地給了那啜飲它精華的人們,這與世尊及其聖弟子們,揭示世間真相、教導無為真理和解脫之道,將佛法毫無保留地傳贈給所有需要它的人,茶葉的一生與全然奉獻的善知識有何區別?

從神農嚐百草,一日遇七十二毒,得茶而解之的傳述,到人們咀嚼葉片,並將它置於竹片烤炙,繼而烹茗飲湯,再到僧人以茶禮佛,茶!從來就與醫藥、生活和佛教脫不了關係。始於僧人烹茗供佛的「茶禮」,到後人開展出的「茶道」,乃至繼之而起的「茶藝」,處於當中至關重要的主角就是茶葉,少了它,只能說是飲水罷了。

一切作為皆是禪

說到禪,就我個人而言,我對它的理解可以從兩方面來說。一是來自於東方的禪法,另一個則是源自於聖典的禪教。首先,就東方的禪法而言;尤其是中國禪,我對它的認識是:中國禪帶有一種從容不迫的自處之道,其內涵與意境是不拘形式而且是活潑的「生活內容」(亦是修行內容),它與天地、自然合諧共處,並與生活合而為一。然而就在從容不迫中它卻帶有極為潑辣的反差,在不容有半分思索的空隙,禪師拿起刀斧劈佛當柴燒去,哪兒還有什麼“有我”與“無我”的爭辯?中國禪總能在此反差中尋到終極的平衡,此一平衡便是禪的意境──直心是佛,平常心是道;禪在日常坐臥中直指人心,當下即是。

日本禪所呈現的又是另外一種風貌:禪在『道』的規範下循規蹈矩,沒有逾越。在我看來,日本禪帶有幾分壓抑,我們可以從禪院中的盆栽看到禪者們的心,小小盆景自有大大天地。細看樹的枝葉,卻不許它有半絲葉芽冒出,生長的方向也沒有放任的自由,這好比我們的心是需要被管束的,而我們的煩惱更需要被修剪,不容它有抽芽的機會。除此之外,在禪院流沙的爬梳中,我們可以窺見禪修者的內制與謹慎,在用心的範疇中,他們也有著無限廣大的世界和自由無邊的心際,在內制與無邊遊心的反差中,他們同樣擁有從容不迫的禪者初心──清淨無為,當下是道。在日復一日的修行中,將禪院裡的寧靜與紛擾不安的內心統一在可以安身立命的佛法裡,此謂之為『悟』或『道』或『悟道』!總的來說:東方禪帶有內在昇華的「美」。


專注便是用心──正念茶道

其次是源自原始聖典的禪修教法,對於禪的體會我傾向於正念、正知的貫注,尤其是在泡茶與飲茶中將它們合而為一。有人會問:在泡茶與飲茶間,如何將正念與正知貫注其中?先說具有「正念」的修行,「正念」是什麼?向智尊者 ( Nyanaponika Thera ) 在《正念之道》中說:它只是『單純注意』我們六根所照見(記錄)到的事實,而不對它們做出身、語、意的主觀反應(喜愛與憎惡);而如果有主觀反應的評論在心中出現時,我們也把它們當作是『單純注意』的對象,不拒不求,並在短暫的注意之後,便放過它們。緊隨其後的是「正知」,它清楚了知所緣的情況,並在了知的當下,洞見事物情況的實相~無常與無我。同樣的,正念的訓練也可以用在四界分別觀與緣起觀。以泡茶為例,從第一個準備動作開始時,便要保持正念在每一個動靜間,心到手到,如同書法家與畫家的意在筆尖,橫豎畢現;太極拳師的神至形展,氣到身動。在單純且專注的動作中,行唯所行(做只該做的事);他清楚了知自己的動作,同時也知道這個動作過去了便過去了,他接著一個動作、一個動作地完成它,從溫壺、備茶、溫盅、置茶、沖第一泡茶、計時、溫杯、倒茶、奉茶,再沖第二泡茶;如此下去,一直到最後的去渣、涮壺、清盅、收杯;他都清楚了知自己的所為,包括心念的起伏。而僅僅只有這些單純的注意其實是不夠的(因為不夠清晰),所以我們需要「正知」加入其間工作,這是我最喜歡的修行方法;除了清楚了知我的身體姿勢與手臂屈伸的動作之外;也藉由「正知」的參與,加強我對動作細節的注意,同時知道它是鬆或緊,藉著變換姿勢或力道,將我要的標準呈現在泡茶的動作中;接下來最有趣的是飲茶,我舉杯聞香,在聞香的當下我察覺它的氣味,它由遠而近,由濃轉淡,我的心標識它的遠與近、濃和淡,並因此得知它的「無常」(可移動的空間故有遠近的相對,濃淡的轉變正是生滅的展現)。我再將注意放在茶湯的顏色,其深或淺,或淺又深,由於泡茶人的身心合作,成就出的每一泡茶竟是如此的一致(相似卻不一樣)又或不一樣(必然不同!因為條件改變),所以我清楚地了知它的「無常」;然後我品茗,茶水的溫度是高或低,是冷或熱,茶味是澀或潤,韻在舌間或喉區,用心品它,我了然於胸,並為我的下一泡茶做好調整的準備,茶湯的冷熱因時間的流逝而有溫差,它當然「無常」;除此之外,我也一定會在每泡茶飲完之後,對這泡茶的成敗給予正面的鼓勵,並且給自己修正的機會;就如修行,我屢次成為煩惱的手下敗將,卻要屢仆屢起;畢竟它不是件容易之事,慣性仍會主導大部份的行為。我喜歡稱它為修行:修正偏差的行為。


心──成在你,敗亦在你

向智尊者在The Heart of Buddhist Meditation (中譯為《正念之道》 )裡說:在佛法中,心是起點、焦點,而就聖者解脫的心來說,它(心)的終極示現是頂點。我們應該可以注意到,不論是東方的禪法或源自於聖典的禪修,它們都關乎於心動向的審查,並給予關切和注意,同時還注入智慧的元素,使一切都更加如實地呈現其本來的面目和風光,心確實是一切法的主導,它更應該是被鍛鍊和造就的對象。在泡茶中,除要顧及實用性外,更要兼具流暢的美感;不論是泡茶或喫茶,將正念、正知貫注其間是必要的。一道茶席的呈現,它既有東方禪法的美,也有原始禪法的修心之道。禪茶一味,果真如此!

【編按】本文轉載自《美國華嚴蓮社三十週年紀念特刊》
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【聞法筆記】
生命是旅行,心是魔術師:《旅行者與魔術師》觀影隨想
 
雷叔雲/撰文

        有一個小小的國度,靜靜座落在喜瑪拉雅山麓,夾在印度和中國這兩個人口稠密、政經種族歷史複雜的巨大身影之間,王室治國把國民幸福毛額(Gross National Happiness) 看得比國民生產毛額還要緊,七十萬的人口,緩慢閒適的步調,天藍山青水碧。她的名字叫做不丹。 

        不丹影片《旅行者與魔術師》(Travelers and Magicians, 2003),將不丹的風土人情設定為畫布底色來揮灑故事,看似平淡,其實有味,說故事的導演是欽哲諾布(Khyentse Norbu) ,也就是知名的宗薩欽哲仁波切(Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche) 【註1】。

故事總發生在生命交會的時刻

        電影中有三位主要人物,鋪陳出兩條平行的敘事線,主線是不滿現狀的敦杜(Dondup),迫不及待趕赴簽證,以便早日踏上美國,半途碰上喇嘛,喇嘛一路說故事,牽出一條副線:同樣不滿現狀的魔術學徒札西(Tashi),跌跌撞撞闖入一則黑色寓言。

        主線中,喇嘛去朝聖,是精神之旅;敦杜去簽證,小商販去作生意,是俗世之旅,生命在同往廟會的這一天交遇,給俗世生活帶來精神層面的暗示。

生命是旅行

        敦杜的外觀與一般不丹人顯著不同,一身行頭,是現實(不丹)與期望(美國) 的奇異混血,顯示他的心與家鄉漸行漸遠了。他嫌這個鬼地方「沒電影、沒餐廳、沒夠酷的女孩」,一無是處,想像中在天堂摘蘋果也比在家鄉做公務員好。喜瑪拉雅山一帶曾為詹姆斯‧希爾頓《失去的地平線》(Lost Horizon, 1939)中香格里拉的靈感原型,六○年代長髮嬉皮厭棄西方文明,許多人在此找到心靈故鄉,敦杜卻不惜出走。香格里拉顯然並不在某一個固定的地理方位,而在心中!

        敦杜唯一的興趣就是去美國,誰多說一句話、多做一個動作、慢了幾分鐘都礙著他的原訂計畫,哪怕好心,也都引起他的不耐,因為「愈執著於想做的事」也就等同「愈執著於不做不想做的事」。半途出現的女孩莎南(Sonam)看起來和美國一樣都是香格里拉,可惜魚與熊掌,這個考驗會帶給他什麼改變?他還想去美國嗎?後來去了嗎?還是回頭找莎南?已經沒什麼關係了,因為他已走了一 段不同的心的旅程,有了新的視角,看見新的風景,執著已然鬆動,不再是片首那個浮躁青年了。你看,片尾喇嘛戲謔地把他放進故事裡,他已經能幽默地把故事接著說完:「所以他就把去美國的事丟到腦後了。」 

喇嘛說故事

        敦杜在路上遇見喇嘛,起先喇嘛處處說中敦杜的心事,好像大聲讀出他的秘密,真叫敦杜渾身難受,然後喇嘛不知出於使命感還是怎麼著,居然忍不住老婆心切,叨叨絮絮唸什麼「抽煙不好,有損健康,而且讓你的氣像瞎馬亂撞,慢慢侵蝕你的心志」啦,什麼「注意夢想的國度,醒來可能不太好過」啦,惹得敦杜冷冷回敬: 「和尚和醉鬼的話,哪能當真?」忠告也許不適合拿來直統統、乾巴巴的說,不覺有病的人,怎吞得藥下?他講起札西的故事給大夥兒解悶,倒挺受歡迎。導演的自嘲,倒將道德教化道貌岸然的面孔玩了變臉,叫人忍俊不住。

        喇嘛說故事,似乎將情欲描繪成毒藥;拉回現實中,他卻不斷鼓勵敦杜接近莎南;與莎南道別後,又告訴敦杜:桃花開放時之所以很美,是因為短暫。一人的毒藥,何妨是另一人的解藥?一時的解藥,也不無可能變成另一時的毒藥。看生什麼病吧。 

心是魔術師

         喇嘛故事中的札西是家中老大,有特權可受教育,上魔術課時,一顆心卻飛到大老遠。弟弟聰明又想學,卻只有在教室外偷學的份,鄰家的草地看起來總是更綠些。

        札西被弟弟下了迷藥,欲望一旦起動,瘦驢看起來像匹奔馬,札西策馬入林,卻在欲望的風雨森林中倉皇墜馬,展開一段奇遇。心是多麼驚人的魔術師!初見婦人得克(Deki)時織布的纖纖素手和後來鬼氣森森的冷峻面容,在札西的眼中簡直判若兩人;年老體衰的丈夫阿格(Agay)面對年輕貌美的妻子非但不感到快樂,反而充滿焦慮:「我們可能會變老,但腦袋不會糊塗,嫉妒心仍很年輕。」心的魔術多麼奇巧,透過欲望和嫉妒的濾鏡,竟能創造出疑心和殺機的世界。這濾鏡,拿得掉嗎?然後世界又會是一番怎樣的光景?

        我們心裡住了一位魔術師,幻化出看似真真實實的世界,其實只是詮釋與推想的魔術。曾有一個笑話形容貓狗天性不同說: 「人餵狗,狗把人當上帝;人餵貓,貓把自己當上帝。」一樣的餵食,不一樣的思維,上帝可有絕對性? 

        禪修老師雪倫‧薩爾茲堡(Sharon Salzberg)曾經生動描寫心所變的戲法:她在旅館裡半夜火警鈴大作,住客必須疏散到大廳,她到了樓下,大廳中擠滿了人,真是叫 人驚異的景象!有些人似乎帶了所有行囊並一路扛下樓來,有些人什麼也沒帶。有些女士戴著白手套、珍珠首飾、臉上抹著化妝品;有些男士穿了三件頭大禮服,另 一些男士則有點衣衫不整。她站在那裡,凌晨三點鐘,一個念頭向她襲來:「生命的實相一直是這樣,我們面對同一個經驗,每個人用他獨特的方式來反應。」【註2】 

不滿現狀旅行者與魔術師 

        影片平行敘述敦杜和札西內心之旅所發揮的魔術。二人似乎是個反差:敦杜的世界明亮、人世;札西的世界陰森、鬼魅。敦杜的態度積極,有明確目標,一路採取行動,排除障礙;札西的態度消極,他只知道自己不想要什麼,卻沒怎麼想過要什麼,一路被欲望與情緒牽著鼻子走。

        然而他們也有相同之處:他們同樣從不滿現實出發,自現實出走,都經過一場洗禮──只不過敦杜在旅途上,札西在幻夢中,札西像是敦杜在濁水中的倒影。札西幸運的地方是人生還沒走到那一步,先作了一場夢;敦杜則已上了路。

        我們也都是旅行者,人生就是一場一場的旅程,旅程的起點「現狀」,預定的終點是「夢想」或「理想」,起跑的動力是「不滿現狀」,這是多麼淺顯易懂的道理!可是鈴木俊隆禪師有一段話,大意是:「很多人以為不滿現狀才會進步,但不滿現狀的人是不可能進步的,只有接受、滿意現狀,才可能進步。」這和世間的想法完全相左!向更深處看,不滿現狀的癥結並不在於「現狀」,而是在於「不滿意的心」,如果心不安穩,進步後的「現狀」,仍會叫人不滿意,心處於持續不安之中,哪裡會有真正的進步?唯有如實接受當下的一切,正念下平靜的心,在每一刻都會創造出那一刻所能達到的完美,也無所謂進不進步了。 

我們自己就是旅行者與魔術師 

        敦杜與札西既是生命的旅行者,也是心的魔術師,你我每一個人何嘗不既是旅行者,又是魔術師?注意片名用的可是複數形態呢!原來影片中一直有著我們自己的影子。

        義大利當代小說家伊塔羅‧卡爾維諾(Italo Calvino)在所著《看不見的城市》中借馬可波羅的口說:「決定故事的,不是說故事的聲音,是聽故事的耳朵。」而在佛弟子看來毋寧是:說故事的聲音(與心)、聽故事的耳朵(與心)和其他次要因素共同創造了故事。當故事創造出來之後,無數次的觀賞聽聞又創造了無數版本的故事,以上隨想只是筆者的個人版本,無數版本之一。 

        噢,還有,觀賞電影時,你的心是忘神隨情節上下游走?還是將自己投射到銀幕角色?或是只見敦杜的執著、札西的欲望,忘了回頭看自己都演了什麼樣故事?還是發現,我們如此投入的電影,情節是編出來的,角色是演出來的,拍攝人馬早已解散,想抓住任何堅實的元素,都如捕風捉影,了不可得?看電影的方法也可以變魔術呢!

        宗薩欽哲仁波切說:「影片之所以如此強而有力,是因為我們主要受所見所聞的影響左右。而覺知我們如何被影響,就是修行的開始。」【註3】看完電影,也許可以咀嚼一下仁波切的話了。

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【註1】1961年出生於不丹,在七歲時被認定為西藏佛教的偉大上師蔣揚欽哲旺波的二度轉世,在不丹,他的身份是王室成員,也是人所景仰的國師第三世宗薩蔣揚欽哲仁波切(Dzongsar Jiamyang Khyentse Rinpoche),無論在血緣或藏傳佛教裡,都有極尊榮的地位,他的第一世在十九世紀是西藏著名的不分宗派大師,那時西藏的佛教興起不分宗派運動,他與其同時的幾位大師,共同開創了包容的精神。仁波切19歲開始遊學全世界,並傳揚佛法,他說法明晰、銳利、風格詼諧、充滿機鋒,擄獲了許多東西方弟子的心。他的電影啟蒙經驗是1993年的「小活佛」,導演貝托魯奇請他擔任該片顧問,他的處女作是《高山上的世界盃》(The Cup, 1999)。有人說他多才多藝,有人說他不務正業,他自己是這樣說的:「我的責任是宣揚佛陀的教法……現今的世界,最有影響 力的就是媒體,而且是影像媒體……我想不出還有什麼更快速有力的傳播方式。如果我們能用大家都樂意接受的方式傳法,豈不有效率得多?……我認為,與其淪為電影的 受害者,倒不如去了解電影的影響力。」

































【註2】Sharon Salzberg, A Heart as Wide as the World (Boston: Shambhala, 1999)。
【註3】陳念萱,不丹的旅行者與魔術師 (台北市:智庫,2004)      
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【法師開示】
世間之亂源----見執與愛染

繼如法師/撰文
 
「處富貴覺驚欲貪,堅持淨行為世範;憫娑婆倒逸愚痴,唱演正法度
人天」。(仁俊長老頌已故歐蜀華居士偈)我的理解是:這兩句偈頌描
述了一個有經濟實力、有文化學養的人,覺悟、驚醒自欲貪心行的
過患,堅持淨化自己作為社會的典範;更深一層的遠見乃是為了悲
憫世間錯亂、迷失、顛倒的頑固、執著,他不顧戀自己的幸福,勇往
直前地加入勸化、教導眾生迷途知返的行動。
 
「世界週刊」評論:美國是世界唯一超強,軍事獨霸全球,政治主張
民主自由,自由市場經濟多元化和具有獨特創造力的國家,但布希
主政六年,外交政策,中東問題,南美洲關係等,使美國多方樹敵,
國威不升反降。相反之,當前中國的興起,政治走向以構建和諧社
會,共建和諧世界為基調;外交上,不斷突顯了其國威,主要靠實
踐,平等互惠,尊敬主權國政體之下,發展經濟的互動、雙贏關係,
同時也展開其身為第三世界經濟發展中之大國的扶貧、救災義務行
動,增進友邦的信任。歷經數千年的優秀中國人才,最重視天時、
地利、人和的觀察。中國文化曰:英雄造時勢,一介草莽,披荊斬
棘,平地起高樓;時勢造英雄時期是形式已成,八方風雨會中洲,
位立名揚。所謂:風雲時代,必有「得天獨厚」的硬條件,
更不可缺那得人心的「龍天推出」,中國走上世界舞台的強勁
已經勢不可擋了。
 
由是,世間之榮枯,國土之興衰,權勢之成敗,千百年來總是此起彼
落,無數英雄、賢聖皆在人類歷史的長河中,出席乃至主持過世間
一時之沉浮,如今國際世界超過八百個國土興衰,依然在無常變異
中,山河大地的榮枯乃是沙海、綠洲的更替。人類隨世間而住、而
動,造就了世間現象的此消彼長,繁榮的追求、天堂的理想,淨土
的仰望,使一切人類參與者創造了人間的行動。於是人世間舞台
上的演出還在,是非、成敗也未有定論。江山代代出人才,誰主沉
浮?乃今朝看我是。九月份,聯合國秘書長安南在謝任的告別之演
說中呼籲世界領袖消除蔑視人權的現象,化解宗教的隔閡、殘暴的
戰爭和不公平的經濟。以巴領土舊爭、北韓、伊朗的核子談判、
伊拉克和阿富汗的戰亂有待協助,恐怖主義增加了不同文明和
宗教之間互相衝突的危險。反恐被拿來限制或廢除人權的說詞,
「全救化」驅使貧富差距加大。國際世界兩極化的危機仍層出不窮,
有待努力。安南秘書長的警告不正說明了國際的局勢嚴峻,急需
大格局思維、大氣魄行動的人才參與主導世局嗎?就過去的文明
史,許多反貪腐、反暴政、反宗教的顛覆運動可歌可泣。未來國家、
社會的秩序、自由、繁榮、和樂,依然是個人嚮往、追求的目的。
人類的進步為何跨不出這歷史的宿命呢?
 
佛法自印度以來,三千年行事理,跨越亞洲到世界,為說明世間指
出人類的去處,為自己打造成為佛教這個國際品牌,並以團體組織
來強力運作這個世界國際性的商標,期使它與世間同在,與萬物同
根。佛教是西方神學,回教之外,東方亞洲的最大信仰者、覺悟者
釋迦牟尼佛的教法價值在於引導人類成賢達聖,而現實利益則於即
刻、當前,放下惡緣,使人們自己獲得身心煩惱苦的止息,或徹底
地的消滅人心的浮動和顛倒是非的迷妄。因此,佛教的命脈,信仰
佛教的人類之多寡和人們能否得到佛教所給予的利益,直接成為其
興衰榮辱所在。大致上,佛教在現實世間的前途要靠兩大助緣,
使這一品牌的行銷行情繼續為人們所看好,其價值持續經得起考
驗,其所指的事理乃為世人所關注。第一助緣是佛教的外護群體:
在家信徒;其二為出家僧伽佛教的專業工作者。                                                                   
 
「佛法在世間,不離世間覺,離世尋菩提,猶如覓兔角。」
佛教的信仰者,不否定世間進步、和平、安穩、快樂等的追求,
但點出以有情為本和生命之苦多樂少的癥結所在。
 
世間人心的大意基本上就是在五欲上求進步,日子好些、
風光體面,八面威風,得意時意氣風發;失意時垂頭喪氣。
整個的一期生命不出追求財氣、名氣、神氣;享受冷氣、暖氣、
兒女之氣;做人小氣、豪氣,霸氣、陰陽怪氣;隨之而來的就是
怨氣、悔氣、煩惱之氣;生命走到頂了,缺少氧氣、靈氣和正氣,
生命終了的不灑脫,主要原因是觸境繫心,逐物流轉,
身心不得自在。
 
佛法概括世間的真相有二類:器世間:苦苦、行苦、壞苦
(成、住、壞、空)自然律;有情世間:生、老、病、死…生理上的苦;
人間社會關係的愛別離、怨憎會、求不得…情感上的苦;
身心世界之五陰熾盛…意志上的苦。總集了以上成為眾生三毒煩
惱,惑、業、苦的輪迴。無論是器世間還是有情世間,都是業、緣所
決定的人生。
 
世間為了解救自然律的成住壞空,而發展科學、經濟等;對於生老
病死而有生物、醫學的發達;針對社會問題的愛別離、怨憎會、
求不得而以政治、法律來治理。我們的一切學術和教育,都是為著
有情生命,特別是人類的離苦得樂而開展的。佛法看世間,就其道
德取向而言,針對人們身心活動的根本癥結做了說明,例如「中阿
含」的「苦陰經」說:「隨其技術以自存活,或作田業,……或奉事
王。……作如是業求圖錢財,……若不得錢財者,便生憂苦愁戚懊
惱。……若得錢財者,彼便愛惜守護密藏。……亡失,彼便生憂苦愁
戚懊惱。……以欲為本故,母子共諍,子共母諍,父子、兄弟、姊妹
親族展開共諍。……以欲為本故,王王共諍,梵志梵志共諍,居士居
士共諍,民民共諍,國國共諍;彼因鬥諍共相憎故,以種種器仗轉相
加害,或以拳扠、石擲,或以杖打、刀砍」。人們努力於解決所面臨
憂苦的奮鬥無可厚非,但所引起的諍鬥與爭奪也是那樣的慘烈。
 
有一次,一位長老比丘路過拘睒彌時,外道沙門見其威儀端嚴,故
問他師事何人,所學以何為本。長老曰:師從瞿曇佛陀,世尊說斷貪
欲,並以此為教誡教授之。正等正覺佛陀戒絕比丘在修行的路途
上,賣弄神異、向白衣說「過人法」,炫惑者為大妄語,定以最嚴厲責
罰,違者一概驅除僧團。此是高瞻遠矚地保護僧團與社會的措施。
主要還是杜絕比丘們染著世間諸法不得解脫之故。明白地說,
人心之禍害,以貪為三不善根之首,意義深長啊!
 
佛法解脫世間的修行大可分為二方面說:其一遠離一切偏見,其二
遠離一切愛染。例如:見…斷見、常見、身見、戒禁取見、種種惡見;
愛…自體愛、境界愛、後有愛、三界愛染。破除見執而契合理智,
去掉愛染而行為清靜是佛教修行的二大核心要求。
 
出世法就是解脫欲界煩惱的方法,「喜貪盡」、「欲貪斷」
(雜阿含經卷一、一上),這是阿含五蘊之無常如實知見所要達到
的目的。「大師佛唯說調伏欲貪,以此教教」;「大師唯說於色陰,
於受、想、行、識陰亦如是說法。」(雜阿含經卷5.33下)調伏五欲、
五蓋是佛法禪觀的首要。世間諸行,每每陷於欲貪,日益增長渴愛,
為愛結所纏,深陷八苦中不得解脫。其他的身心惡行,如五蓋、
五下結如影隨形,紛紛而至,故為改善這種三業負面的影響力,
致使心緒不靈、精神煩亂,甚至心力交瘁。佛教以為對於惡業煩垢,
唯有身心懺悔與三學的修行法,始能淨化。修行的方法不外乎戒、
定、慧,三增上學。
 
佛教以三法印:諸行無常、諸法無我、涅槃寂靜為信仰。無常性的現
象界,變易不居,說明了非固定性事物;基於無常性,否定獨存性的
固定事物而知我和我所有的絕對性不可得,因而放下我之執見和我
所愛的;離執的清靜徹底乃謂之涅槃。又以緣起法觀察世間萬象之
生滅因果,印證於四聖諦的苦集煩惱和道滅清靜。佛教的修道是依
緣起法的正見而自律行善最為高明,因為這始於正確而自覺之意欲
決定了「法」的合理性。
 
佛教所謂的見道、修道與證道。見道主要是肯定了世間無常、
諸法無我為人生的真理。悟道就是有把握和有能力實現無我…
否定個我,捨斷我執。而無我的正思維必定是不起恚怒心、
殺害心、世俗心;出家者更具柔和心、慈悲心,遠離污穢之清靜心。
見諦者在法饒益、義饒益下,其智化了的性格,具足了世界性、
普遍性、合理性、倫理性的完善之道,故於八聖道果的軌持下,
身口意三業行為的寬容性、開放性與和平性,比較之那個沒有
高尚理想、無自覺狀態的現實身心,真是不可同日而語。
 
戒律是在家、出家佛弟子的基礎。它是佛教的倫理學,有在家應奉
行的道德項目,如:五戒、十善、八關齋戒等。出家眾的戒律包含別
解脫戒律的行儀與僧團的組織規範,戒律佛教的道德條文,既是
民主、法制,也是自覺與他律並重的公約,有著普遍人性文明的
合理性。禪定為成就身正心正;身止息與心止息而設。禪定直對
生命體發揮了二個作用:(一)由念頭、思惟、觀照,以達到「正定」
為目標。(二)呼吸、身體的調伏、穩健、喜悅、安樂,得平衡的覺受。
智慧的利益以戒律、禪定為基礎,可以避免身心未調御狀態成為生
命體現世或未來世的麻煩製造者。另一方面,依於所修得調御的
身心,使職業、道業,乃至無漏業的趨向成為可能。佛法修學者的
目的,經三學之次第,在動機純正的情況(增上心、出離心、菩提心)
 在現世或當來成就現法樂、後世樂、究竟樂。
 
本人在常期修學佛法,敬奉三寶,隨緣度眾多年,有感於世間危脆,
眾生憂苦。為此而反觀自照,但求自心承受外在影響的能力之提
高,故對經論所指的修行、悟道及證果很留心,怎樣的心性,才是
最佳的心靈狀況,乃至有覺悟涅槃的可能呢?印順導師說:
不求速成,以待時節因緣。經今年七月底本寺僧團全體僧眾的
一次旅行中殊勝的遭遇,使我對佛法有了更深切的信仰。
 
在僧團旅遊時,我對人修行而能契入真理的可能性有了深一層的
領悟。我們一行十三人駕駛踏上長途旅行之路,沿途未經周密的
計劃,不斷在商量的時空變化中進行,行程二千里,在黃石公園
來到火山下的岩孔噴泉群,為了增加游興,我時不時的開幾句玩笑
逗趣,講些感性法語保持大家愉快的心情。當看過每隔半小時噴
一次的「老忠實」岩孔噴泉後,在交叉路口,大家舉棋不定,
因為左右方向都有幾處噴泉口。我轉向左徑,開玩笑說:
「快走!到下一個噴泉口,只要我一跺腳,就會噴出水柱來,不必
等半小時。」我先到前面的一處噴泉口時,呼喚大家:「快來!
我要跺腳了。」當我轉過身來正視這個噴泉口的剎那間,突然巨大
的水柱噴射上空,海拔約六十尺,持續三分鐘之久,自然界的爆發
力是那麼的強大,又是那麼的壯觀,因緣聚會的殊勝又是那樣的
不可思議!噴出的泉水落下後,我走近指示說明牌,始知:
這個噴泉口需要十個小時以上或五天左右才能不定時地噴發一次,
這是多麼難適難遇的因緣啊!我非常的驚訝和震憾,腦裡產生
一陣喜悅,聯想到我修行的佛道正如人生往前走,那是不定性,
曲折、崎嶇的路,時而前行、時而停歇、時而回退,但仍然向
目標邁進;趣入涅槃的深悟,就如同這二千里路的空間行程,
和分秒不差的時間身前當下目的地,直見泉湧的機準,
如同古人句下「棒喝」或「面佛開示」的當下契入真理,
身心即刻解脫、煩惱盡除。那樣頓然契入真理是非常可能的。
 
                                                                    寫於聖路易美中佛教會 
                                                                                            釋繼如
                                                                               2006年11月3日
【圖說】繼如法師
【編按】本文原載於菩提學會yahoo blog,11/11/2006
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Post has attachment
【法師開示】
止觀的過程
 
性空法師/開示,菩提學會,11/2/2006
陳曉峯/整理

http://www.mahabodhi.org/MP3/2006/20061102.mp3
 
止觀與解脫
 
《法句經》說:
「 若常住於二法,婆羅門達彼岸;
      所有一切繫縛,從彼智者而滅。」
((384) “When a holy man has reached the summit of the two paths (meditative concentration and insight), he knows the Truth and all fetters fall away”) (4),
是說有智慧的沙門、或是婆羅門,應該是關於兩種法:「止」與「觀」的專家;用他們的智慧眼,瞭解所有的結、心的束縛,以止的智慧、和觀的智慧解脫它們;
 
止觀的過程即是解脫心的過程,兩種智慧包括了解脫的智慧。所有佛教的法門都是學智慧的法門;特別是止觀的智慧,止觀的智慧包括所有佛學的方便:戒學包括於止觀學、波羅密學的目標也在止觀學裡。
 
止觀學可分為四個範圍:
1.  定學(禪學)
2.  智慧境界學 (名色法學)
3.  緣起學
4.  觀的過程
成就四個範圍即成就解脫的智慧,今天主要講定學的範圍。
 
在《阿毗達摩》止的範圍提到八種Samadhi(奢摩他;等持):八解脫(1)、八勝處(2)、十遍處(3)等。
 
定學是如實觀的條件
 
為什麼定學是如實觀的條件?心先要遠離「五蓋」(貪、嗔、昏沉、掉舉、疑),才能清淨,才能有力量,否則境界會模糊,我們無法深入觀的境界。學習八種Samadhi,才能培養、增強心的力量。
 
禪定的心即是「色界」、「無色界」的心,與普通日常生活裡的心不一樣,禪定境界是心專注所緣的境界,不改所緣,若無法深入智慧的境界,便無法解脫,禪定的心,是連續不斷的在一個所緣,此為原始佛教「禪定」的意思。
 
佛陀的時代,居士和出家眾都很努力學習心的能力,現代人輕視心的力量,所以境界越來越亂。以前古人特別強調定學為心的力量,為智慧的基礎,在印度佛出現以前,禪定的境界是很普遍的。
 
禪定境界所緣,梵文巴利文稱為「業處」:「努力的地方」,修止觀的過程,一定需要止的業處,與觀的業處,兩種業處包含止觀學,《清淨道論》說明定學靠四十種定的業處(5),《阿毗達摩》也有說明業處(6),外道也有業處。
 
四十種業處的修行、修禪定的過程是培養「禪相」(nimitta) 的過程,使心沒有散亂,例如,十遍處:青、紅、赤、白、地、水、火、風、虛空、光明,均具有禪相。其他如十不淨觀,三十六處不淨觀等也有其禪相。
 
以安那般那念為所緣
 
其中「安那般那念」(ānāpānasati)是最為有名的培養禪相的過程;在南北傳佛教是最有用,最有智慧的法門,《俱舍論》稱其為「智慧清淨」。現在我簡單說明安那般那念成為智慧清淨的法門,也勸告大家要修學此一法門,以安那般那念、或是數息法門可以磨練我們的心。
 
安那般那念修行的關鍵在於我們的心專注於呼吸,不離呼吸所緣,以深入培養禪相的過程,呼吸一方面靠「心」(名),一方面靠「身體」(色),此二法又與先前提到修止觀的第二範圍「名色法」有關,名色分別,可用一個呼吸所緣來學;
 
這世界的真實經驗除了觀身、心二法外,沒有其他法,否則,觀身心以外是為外教。呼吸反應身、心二法兩方面互相的關係,所以若注意呼吸時,全世界真實的經驗,即可由一個所緣而了解;條件是我們學止觀的智慧、四念處的智慧觀呼吸的過程。
 
培養五根平等得到心的功德
 
第一條件是克服懶惰、失念,在此情形下,可漸漸看到怎樣才是「念」是智慧所重要的因緣,用念觀呼吸,學念的過程,包括學智慧的過程,若觀於呼吸的智慧增加,呼吸的品質亦改變,心也改變,如何了解? ,
 
《清淨道論》說,需以「熱誠」克服,穩定的作意,看我們的呼吸,漸漸可看到呼吸變的更微細,因熱誠能感到法喜,繼續以法喜,心的境界、呼吸更微細,最後若能「捨」此微細的心、法喜、輕安,就能感到更微細的呼吸、更微細的心。
 
所有的禪定境界,都要有捨,若能捨所緣,微細的心就變成「平等」的心,亦即三昧,等持,要得到心的功德,特別要學長的、短的、入息、出息的過程,要培養五根平等,攝受五根(信根、精進根、念根、定根、慧根)(7),培養其平等。
 
在(呼吸)上觀長的或短的入息、出息要用「信根」,叫做身見,不斷的身解行,就能深入微細的心、微細的呼吸境界,調信根,智根見呼吸平等,不斷見到呼吸的品質。
 
「念根」見到長短息,若呼吸明顯,別的所緣即不明顯,禪定時念根不離所緣,只有不離所緣,才能得到止觀的功德,沒有散亂的心才有「定根」。
 
定根過強則出現昏沉,念根要調定根,「精進根」則努力在業處(長短息),若努力觀呼吸不離,心就不生不善法,??,禪定的過程需「尋」法、不斷思惟所緣,若不斷尋、觀察呼吸,才是調呼吸。
 
念的另一功能是調精進努力平等,心的功德要統一在一個所緣,否則不能深入禪定的境界,另一條件是「多修」、「常修」,要習慣此法門,才能深入禪定。安那般那念如此修,即為入禪定境界法門。
 
其他定的業處,也可以依此要領修,例如選擇「慈悲觀」,那我們就要不斷注意所緣。若心的功德不明顯,禪定就不明顯;心功德成熟,禪定才成熟。禪定也許要修很多生,佛的禪定比目健連還深,菩薩又比羅漢高的多。
 
學禪定要離開五蓋
 
學 禪定要習慣用功,每天要熱誠的不離所緣,每天用功,深入無散亂心的境界。若習慣於清淨的境界,就容易起觀。若不知觀法,也不容易,若智根高,(定)可自 學,觀則需善知識;修定、修觀條件是「心清淨」、無散亂,心清淨就是沒有五蓋,要處理五蓋,若我們的心仍與五欲相應,那就無法深入禪定。
 
貪欲包括欲界的所緣,但想要獲得禪定的欲望是對的,要減少無明,學禪定的過程,培養法喜,若無法喜就會尋找五欲的快樂,生命的目標是以禪定的快樂取代五欲的快樂,佛也說捨粗樂,求微細的樂,解脫的樂是最微細的樂。
 
原始佛教特別強調這一個道理,要深入第一禪定樂,像肥皂粉抹在全身,離五欲的樂,深入二禪就不會執著在初禪,受想滅定的樂,解脫的樂是最微細的樂,條件是了解清淨,沒有五蓋的心。
 
學禪定是要離開五蓋;五蓋的第一蓋是「貪欲蓋」,離開欲界要磨練我們的心在定業處上,定根入色界需要禪智,若定禪智明顯,貪欲就不明顯,若不學禪定,就不能了解心的散亂。
 
喜歡好吃、好色沒有什麼不好,但無法提升到色界,若定根明顯,才能離五欲所緣,歡喜禪定的境界比喜歡五欲的境界微細很多,培養定根是學禪定最重要的條件,心既離散亂,那之後的四種蓋即不影響我們,因定力不夠後四蓋才影響我們。
 
佛 說無五蓋的境界為:五蓋蓋住菩提樹,使心境不清,若有貪欲蓋則有債(業),就無法出此世界塵勞,貪欲蓋就像鐵蓋住黃金,若喜歡任何世界的所緣,就討厭別的 所緣,若以為一個美的所緣,貪欲,別的所緣就會干擾;有喜歡,就有不喜歡,出離喜歡,就出離不喜歡(嗔、討厭的心),若深入法喜的境界,就不會為嗔所緣, 觸的所緣,即不會生嗔。
 
佛又比喻無五蓋的心為乾淨的水,可以見到水底,若有貪欲蓋,心的水就有染,嗔蓋像心水滾沸,亦不見底,無法入禪定,無法如實觀。喜歡或不喜歡欲界所緣為第一、二蓋,
 
以「尋」對治昏沉蓋, 以「法喜」對治掉舉蓋
 
第 三蓋「昏沉蓋」: 由於只注意專心所緣,調不注意欲界所緣,不求未來、過去所緣,因為智慧不夠,容易昏沉。由於舒適的感覺,而忘記所緣,感到無聊。其對治需以「尋」調整,精 進過強則造成「掉舉」(第四蓋),貪蓋、嗔蓋均為掉舉,心不安故掉舉,心不滿意故掉舉,有「樂」掉舉就不明顯;昏沉蓋好像薪水有海苔蓋住,掉舉蓋好像水有 波浪。
 
第五蓋是「疑蓋」:疑是好法,可以幫助我們深入修行,若不懷疑世間法,不會想要修禪定,所以疑是必要的,但是若已了解境界,疑則是障礙,疑是不能決定,若不能決定境界,就不能入禪定,不疑才能不離所緣,離五蓋,才能入禪定,分別禪定境界。
 
有兩種禪定:「世間禪」與「出世間禪」,世間禪定的所緣與心均為無常,出世間禪於定中修觀,定裡觀無常,定中敏感,可觀的清楚,了解定的境界。前面說到,第二範圍是分別名色的智慧,前提是離開五蓋,才能了解世界真實的經驗,才能解脫,平常觀的所緣,並非真的經驗。
 
我們所執著的所緣,汽車、房子並非真的存在,只是概念,或是人類的業感,動物如貓狗等對那些所緣並沒有感覺,如美金紙鈔是綠色,動物們只有觸覺,不會對面額一元,或是一百元有不同的感受,亦即汽車、房子並非客觀的經驗,而是主觀的經驗。
 
解脫心的束縛要靠如實觀─空、名色、五蘊
 
解脫要了解空,要了解智慧的境界;即名色、五蘊、十二處、十八界等,最重要的是要離五蓋,再了解什麼是真實世界的經驗,解脫心的束縛,不管南北傳佛教,都說明空、名色、五蘊。
 
空本身只是抽象概念,要從五蘊了解,名色學也是空的瞭解,所有的眾生都在五蘊境界,只因業的不同而分別,例如人與動物都有五蘊境界,狗聞觸錢的感覺、味道與人類一樣,只是人有執著,看到不同的數字有不同的反應,只因業不同,心不同,世界就不同。
 
 
Q: 色界 ?
A: 色界是微細的色,四大微細,光明沒有臭味,而欲界四大粗糙,所以天人不喜歡欲界,必先厭離欲界,才能入色界、無色界,培養無散亂的心,平常就要做功夫察覺去除五蓋。
 
Q: 五蓋的疑與初果的疑有何不同?
A:初果斷疑,是直接觀到解脫的所緣,五蓋的疑是對境解沒有勝解;心要微細,就必需持續不斷的停留在所緣附近,才不會分心去注意別的所緣,才能微細。
 
Q:面對美食如何厭離貪欲?
A: 好吃的東西沒有錯,是「貪欲」不好,(修了禪定)微細的心才能看到貪欲,知道貪欲的麻煩,只有敏感的心才能了解苦。
 
參考資料
 
(1) 八解脫(梵語asatu vimoksah),又名八背捨,就是八種背棄捨除三界煩惱繫縛的禪定http://www.bya.org.hk/life/medit/medit16.html
(2) 八勝處 http://www.bya.org.hk/life/medit/medit17.html
(3) 十遍處 http://www.bya.org.hk/life/medit/medit18.html
(4) 法句經http://myweb.ncku.edu.tw/~lausinan/Tipitaka/Sutta/Khuddaka/Dhammapada/DhP_Ven-c-f.htm#a26
(5) 《清淨道論》四十業處 http://www.chibs.edu.tw/publication/LunCong/024/397-492.htm
(6) http://nt.med.ncku.edu.tw/biochem/lsn/Tipitaka/Post-Canon/Abhidhammattha-Sangaha/Ven-Bodhi-2-Dhammagavesaka/vaggo9.htm
(7) 「信根者,當知是四不壞淨。精進根者,當知是四正勤。念根者,當知是四念處。念根者,就是四念處。定根者,當知是四禪。慧根者,當知是四聖諦」(雜阿含六六九經)
 
【圖說】性空法師
【編按】本文原載於菩提學會yahoo blog,1/10/2007
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【法師開示】
開悟的意義
                 
繼程法師/開示,菩提學會,7/28/2006
盧靜儀、施孟甫/整理

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“… 當心沒有了我執我見的執著之後,便能很自然的顯現出智慧的功 能,即是與法相應,一旦與法相應之後,所謂的後有、後遺症、副作用等,便會消失。雖然在現象 上與他人互動時,對方還沒有境界,故我們還是會感覺到對方仍有後有,但此時我們自己的心已不會再有這個問題了。故解脫的人彼此之間在一起時,是不會有任何 問題的,他們之間的溝通不是語言上的,而是心靈上的…”
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http://www.mahabodhi.org/MP3/2006/20060728.mp3

由於法師在此趟弘法的過程中,遇到許多信眾都對「開悟」有興趣,故此次演講法師闡述了開悟的意義及相關概念。
 
開悟是思想的轉變

有 一些人把「開悟」兩個字的意思看得太淺,例如誤解禪宗對開悟的說法,或是誤解如來 藏體系對真如本性的認定,而認為「當下就是,還要修什麼呢?」。還有一些是附佛法的外道,借用開悟二字來圖謀其他的目的。另有一些人把開悟講得很神秘,說 開悟的人像是變了另外一個人,或是有神通,可以看到他人的過去與未來,或是可以預知事情的發生,或是會見到不同的景象、聽到不同的聲音、聞到不同的香味, 或是有不同的宗教體驗。
 
到底何為「開悟」?其實我們在生活中都曾有過開悟的經驗,開悟本身其實是一種思想上 的轉變,或是一種突變。其變化可能是在很短的時間中,當此變化產生後,會影響到我們的心態,從而改變我們的人生觀。此種開悟的發生,可能是在一個事情、一 個過程、一個心念的轉變,使我們突然間發覺我們找到了一個新的天地,或是新的觀念。當此新的觀念產生後,我們會感覺到它改變了我們的人生,更重要的是,這 個新的觀念一定是與善法相應。
 
有的時候我們會有一些宗教體驗,特別是打坐的人。在此宗教體驗過後,我們產生了怎樣的受用,這是非常重要的。例如某些人在打坐中有見光見色的體驗,這樣的體驗讓他對自己的修行方法及佛法更有信心,這便是一種過程,且此過程轉化了此人的某些概念。
 
漸悟與頓悟

在 現實生活中我們也會有開悟的過程。有一些人的開悟是「漸悟」,也就是說他的過程是要經過一段時間的醞釀, 再回頭看時,才會發現自己在觀念、思想及心態上有了轉變,故他對人生的看法也會有些改變。而且此種人生觀的改變,從某種角度上來看,是比較成熟的一種看 法。例如當我們的年齡增長,我們看到周圍的小朋友在為糖果爭吵時,我們可能會冷眼旁觀,心裡在想只是糖果有什麼好爭的,但當我們自己還是小朋友時我們也會 為糖果而吵架。這樣的過程也是一種開悟,我們因為年齡的增長而懂得一些事情、改變了一些觀念,而不會再為了糖果而與人爭吵。
 
有一些悟 是突發的,可能在發生某些事情 (例如車禍、生一場大病、或是心念一轉覺得自己的小弟弟或妹妹很可愛) 後,我們整個的人生觀便改變了,這也是一種開悟。此類的「開悟」之所以發生,是因為在沒有突發的事件出現之前,我們不知道自己忽略的什麼、少做了什麼、或 是忘失了什麼,在事件之後,我們才了解到這一切,才會懂得去珍惜或感恩。
 
因此,「開悟」並不如我們想像得如此神秘,在我們的生活中便有這樣的過程。除了現實生活中的經驗之外,在我們讀書或研究學問時,常常也會有悟境現前的情況發生。例如讀某本書讀了很久還是讀不通,突然之間明白了,這也是一種過程,此過程使我們產生思想上及概念上的改變。
 
量變及質變

開 悟在學佛的人來講是很重要的。在學習的時候,我們講到佛法對我們的受用,我們是否 能夠受用佛法對我們的好處,這才是我們學佛最重要的。在學佛時,我們可以很喜歡研究,或是讀很多經典、論典,但這都只是學問跟道理。當我們在吸收這些道理 時,這些道理是否能與我們的身心融合,有時需要有開悟經驗的幫助才能達成。有的時候是透過一些事情,有的時候是我們在思維佛法時,或者是在閱讀經論時,有 一些原來不通的,但在這個過程中通達了,或者是在閱讀之後的思維的時,使原本不懂的東西貫通了,這樣便能將佛法消化吸收,從這時開始,我們對一些事情及問 題的看法,便能有一個不同的寬度及深度,這也是一個開悟的過程。此過程是一種思想上及概念上的變化,這樣的變化可分成兩種:量變及質變。前者是一種不斷的 擴大,例如在修習佛法時,一開始懂很少,慢慢才愈懂愈多,能夠實踐的部份也愈來愈廣。但真正的禪宗修行,或是佛法在講到修行的時候,所特別強調的開悟是後 者 ─ 質變。質變就是之前所強調的,當悟境發生後,所產生的一種觀念及思想上的巨大變化,或者是突變,使我們對這個世界,以及自我身心的角度及高度會有很大的轉 變。
 
世間到出世間的質變─無我

在禪宗或佛法的修行中,質變的過程非常重要,最根本及最重要的部份,是在從世間到出 世間的質變。三法印是佛法的中心,也是佛法修行理論建立的中心。如何從世間過渡到出世間,此中間就是「無我」。傳統佛教從世間到出世間,在三法印中都講得 很清楚。有時會多一個法印 ─ 四法印:有受皆苦,此為修行出離心的一種觀法。從世間到出世間要如何修呢?也就是如何從緣起修到無我再到涅槃寂靜?從十二因緣的角度,就是從流轉門再到還 滅門,無我便是在這段過程的中間。何謂無我?無我是一個法則,在修行的時候,無我便是一種智慧,即破我見、破我執的智慧。當此智慧產生時,我們便從世間轉 入到出世間,而進入解脫的位置。
 
後期佛教中的唯識學比較偏重現實生活,但所有佛法理論都要談到出世間,故唯識學中許 多哲學的部份在告訴我們如何通往出世間。唯識學著重在強調如何從煩惱雜染的此岸轉化到清淨解脫的彼岸,故其許多哲學道理都在想辦法解釋,並打破這個界線, 而這個界線也是我們在實際修行時所要突破者。如來藏系統的思想比較偏重清淨,其修行目標比較明確,就是要證到佛性,即真如本性。如來藏思想在哲學上所面對 到的問題有二,一是其修行偏重在果位,那要如何從果位對應到因位呢?其二,如果一切都是本性清淨的話,那為何我們現在還會看到這些生生滅滅的雜染呢?中觀 的思想將清淨與雜染統一起來,但統一起來之後如果我們不懂得修的話,也會面臨到一個問題,就是修行到解脫成佛,要三大阿僧祇劫,聽到這麼長的時間,很多人 就沒有力量了。另外一個問題是中觀學者認為一切都是性空,那麼當下就是,那我們現在不就開悟了?但實際上這些都是偏差的現象,所以我們必須要回到現實的身 心,了解現實的因緣,透過修行的方法,來讓我們突破這個界線,達到質變的過程。
 
信心不退─四不壞信、十信位

從菩薩道 甚至聲聞道的修行來講,如果我們無法從世間到出世間的話,則在修行上我們要 將此當做是最重要的關卡,若能在此開悟,則能過渡到出世間。但在未達到此目標之前,在修行的過程中,我們要如何能一直保持我們的信心不退轉?在聲聞道中有 四不壞信,在菩薩道中的前面的十個階位叫十信位。大部份修行佛法的人都是在十信位,修完十信位進入初地時,才叫信心不退。在修行十信位時尚未進入三大阿僧 祇劫,進入初地時三大阿僧祇劫才開始算。我們的信心要修行到十足的相信 ─ 相信三寶,信佛、信法、信僧、並相信自己,相信自己能夠開悟、能夠成功、能夠修行。
 
質變─明心見性的心不再退轉

我們對 佛法有多少的信心呢?在禪修中第一次見性 ─ 見到佛性、空性的人,還不能完全信服,但在心念上、心理上已很能確定,就禪宗的修行而言,第一次破本參時,便是修完十信位,進而入初住等等的賢位。若是修 聲聞道,則要修到有四不壞信,信到那種程度再轉進去的時候,便是一個開悟的過程,必須要真的有這種體驗。禪宗基本上是以大乘佛教的修學次第來講,可將開悟 分為以下的階段。第一次開悟,是要悟到對佛法、對三寶、對佛陀、對自己的修學方法,達到沒有疑惑的程度。這不表示是沒有疑問,因為我們在修學的過程中還是 會有不懂的地方,沒有疑惑是指我們雖然有一些東西不了解,但我們知道這一條路是我們絕對要走下去的。在這個階段當中,由於我們的習氣及以往的惡業還在,所 以還是有可能往下掉,但不管我們如何輪迴、不管我們到認何地方去,最後還是會回到佛法修行這條路上,因為我們的心不再退轉。這是一個質變的過程,我們的信 心產生了很強的力量,讓我們很明確的知道這條路是我們要走的,而且無論遇到任何挫折與困難而使得我們的修行上上下下起伏,但我們的心非常堅定。這並不需要 任何方法或是要有何種體驗,每一個人確定信心的開悟過程是不同的,但禪宗認為,只要第一次有了這種很深的宗教體驗,即明心見性的體驗後,則信心便不會退 轉。此後,還是有很長的一條路要修,因為十信位修完後進入初住,接下來還有十住、十行、十迴向等三十個階位。我們現在是在一個量變的過程,尚未到達信心不 退轉的質變過程。在信心不退轉的質變過程後所接下來的如此多的過程,也是一種量變,使我們的信心愈來愈深、愈來愈寬闊、愈來愈穩,且此過程中也會有一些小 小的悟境。
 
小小的悟境─量變的過程

在我們修學佛法的過程中一定會有一些小小的悟境,但這只是量變的過程,並不是讓我 們 產生信心不退轉的質變過程,這是佛法修行中最重要的開悟經驗,可算是一種大悟。但有一些質變是需要量變的累積,當累積到突破臨界線時,才能產生質變,故我 們的修行一定是漸修。在漸修的過程中有一些小小的悟境會出現,每次的悟境都使得我們的心理上或思維上有一個擴大加深的經驗,或是貫通了一些道理,使我們更 懂得佛法的一些義理,更懂得如何去處理一些事情,從而使得智慧產生,所以「信」一定是與「智慧」結合在一起。在禪宗的修行中我們觀察到,第一次開悟的人他 前面的階段真正表現出他的信心,這種信心是沒有退轉的信心,並且他是靠這樣的信心幫助他達成第一次開悟的經驗。也就是當「量」達到飽和後產生出一種質變。 這也就是為何在禪宗的修行中,在最關鍵的時刻,修行者要對三寶、對老師的教法、對老師及對自己的信心,都非常堅定,沒有任何疑惑時,才能突破關卡。有時我 們看到一些修行者,其修行經驗非常好,且修行了很長的一段時間,在關鍵的時刻,例如是在參話頭疑情生起時,卻過不了這個關,就是少了信心。在很需要信心堅 持下去時,因為轉了一個念頭,而讓修行的力量消散,而過不了關。當然之後還是可以在修行的過程中再凝聚力量,但信心一定要建得更深,才有辦法過關。
 
過 了此關後,在行菩薩道上會更順暢。悟前修與悟後修有何不同?悟後修的人其確定這條 路是一定要走的,且對佛法沒有疑惑。他對佛法還是會有一些地方不了解,在實踐修行時還是不能做得那麼好,甚至表現出好像還有退步的現象,這些都是一些習氣 或者是一些業,所產生的一些障礙,讓他在現象上有一些上上下下的情況,但是他的信心不會再退轉,他會一直修下去。接下來不斷的,「量」會愈累積愈廣,當達 到飽和時,也就是十迴向修完時,便會產生另一個質變,禪宗稱之為「徹悟」,即真正的破除我見,進入到初地。初地又稱極歡喜地,接下來一直到十地的過程,是 一種量變的累積。
 
將世間到出世間的問題解決後,菩薩到了這個階位才稱為入「聖位」,此時菩薩已解決所 有自已本身的問題。因為此時菩薩已破我見,不會再有自我中心的煩惱執著所產生的無明,故不會再有任何問題。由於菩薩已不需為自己的事情煩惱,故其行菩薩道 時所做的一切,都是為了要幫助眾生。此時菩薩的慈悲的廣度及智慧的深度還需要不斷量變,擴大加深,故登到菩薩地時,我們常形容其「減一分無明即增一分佛 性」,實際上是沒有增減的,是在修行的時候有量的擴大及加深。到了第八地時,會再有一次的質變,實際上八地菩薩已經有佛位了,可以現佛身,只是其還需要繼 續修,以成佛果。

故開悟有三個重要階段,且此三階段是不退轉的。如果是聲聞道的話,一登到初果就不退 轉了,包括位與念都不退轉,故一定可以證到四果,即使完全沒有修行,只要七次往返天上人間,一定會證到阿羅漢。這是因為證到初果後,所有的問題都解決了, 所剩下的只是瑣碎的小煩惱或細的煩惱,這些在往返的過程中都可以被處理掉,此為量變的過程,可將修行人推向二果、三果、乃至四果。
 
對因果的信心堅定,在惡報現前時,才不會對佛法產生疑惑

在 修行佛法,悟境產生的時候是有不同層次的,故當禪師或修行人說他有好幾次的開悟經 驗時,我們不妨相信他,因為這是有可能的。另有人說「一悟永悟」,這若是發生在登地或是登初果,便是永悟了;但在尚為進入前,只要信心不退轉,我們還是可 以繼續往上修,其過程可視為開悟的過程,也就是將開悟分成不同層次。若要將開悟定義為證到初果破我見也是可以,但在修到這個階段之前若我們都沒有機會體驗 到開悟的喜悅,可能會比較沒有動力繼續修下去。由此可知,在修行中的宗教體驗很重要,所以在打坐的過程中有一些宗教體驗是好的,但是要記住,在我們尚未信 心不退轉時,對於這些宗教體驗,我們要以佛法 ─ 無常、無我、空 ─ 去觀它,了解到這些宗教經驗只是一個過程,甚至是一個虛幻的過程而讓它過去,但是在它過去之後,它讓我們的心在經歷了這樣的經驗後,對修行更有信心。此 外,我們要讓這些宗教經驗幫助我們成長我們的心智、改變我們的人生觀,朝向正法與善法的目標來運作。天台宗講到,我們修行的外方便有二十五種,內方便是修 行過後善根與惡根的相會發出來。善根相發就是宗教體驗,可幫助建立我們的信心。惡根相發就是我們的業形成一種惡法現前,但這會形成我們的障礙還是增上的力 量,就要看我們的觀點是否準確。若我們是依佛法在修,並對因果的信心很堅定的話,在惡報現前時,我們不會退心,也不會因此對佛法產生疑惑。
 
如 何能幫助我們在善根或惡根相發時,我們都能堅持下去呢?那就要靠我們對佛法有正知 見,且對佛法正知見的信心不退轉,信佛、信法、信僧、信老師對我們的教法、並對自己有信心。其中信法就是信因果。我們信因果到什麼程度,端看我們對正見具 足的程度。前面講到信與慧是一體的,在現實生活中當我們處理事情時,實際上便是我們智慧現前,也是我們對因果的信心現前。我們所用來處理事情的手法、心 態、觀念,都反應了我們的智慧。所以愈契合佛法的理論與智慧,其所顯現出來的,便表示我們的修行與佛法愈相應、愈融合,佛法能融入我們的生命,這些都是我 們在修行的階段所必須去面對的。
 
最直接的反應常常不是佛法,而是習氣與煩惱

在這樣的修行過程中,我們與佛法間的隔閡 會愈來愈小,也就是我們對佛法的理解或領悟 愈容易生起。有時我們在經典上讀了很多,也有能力去做一些考據,但這些考據與所讀的內容到底是成為我們內在的還是外在的呢?在研讀與考據的過程中,我們可 能會有一些疑問?但我們對它會不會有疑惑呢?我們是否懂得去用這些道理或是把這些讀的內容用在日常生活中,讓它產生一些作用?或是對我們的身心產生一些作 用?因為我們在修行時要具備正見,要得到慧,慧就是聞、思、修的過程,一定要經過聞與思,再進入修,但是修有一些不同的、專門的修行方法。三慧的修行方法 比較著重在經論及知見的培養、建立與增長的過程。實際上在身心運做時,其便從戒與定來下手,我們自己本身一定要通過身心的調和。在日常生活中,一定要將善 法與惡法分清楚,知道哪些應該做,那些不應該做,確定我們在現實生活中能夠符合世間善法、能夠一個普遍的價值標準、甚至佛教中比較高的道德標準,這些我們 都能慢慢做到,然後收攝我們的身心、調和我們的身心、用我們的身心統一,讓統一的身心再與我們聞、思的正見與智慧統一,如此它才能在我們的心中,隨時隨地 產生作用。我們常常發覺到在面對一些問題時,我們最直接的反應常常不是佛法的,而是我們的習氣與煩惱。有學佛的人,是在這個反應出去之後發現不對,不是佛 法,然後再生起佛法、提起佛法,再用佛法來轉它,但這還是分開了,佛法還是不是我們的,其與我們的心還是沒有結合在一起,我們所生起的還是煩惱的力量,因 為感覺我執比較深。我執是最內在的作用,若沒有把它清理掉,所生起的當然是煩惱為主的心理,可能這些煩惱中夾雜有我們之前所修過的善法,但因有煩惱相應, 故還是會形成一種流轉的作用。
 
若我們是以統一的身心來修慧的話,最後可完全與慧結合,將最內在的我執的問題清理掉 之後,整個身心所運作出來的,便是佛法,便是種種的佛法的智慧在運作。當心沒有了我執我見的執著之後,便能很自然的顯現出智慧的功能,即是與法相應,一旦 與法相應之後,所謂的後有、後遺症、副作用等,便會消失。雖然在現象上與他人互動時,對方還沒有境界,故我們還是會感覺到對方仍有後有,但此時我們自己的 心已不會再有這個問題了。故解脫的人彼此之間在一起時,是不會有任何問題的,他們之間的溝通不是語言上的,而是心靈上的,因為大家都知道修行的狀況。所以 若我們跟佛溝通,我們會將煩惱顯現出來,但佛不會,因為我們還有後有,但開悟的人沒有,他們已徹悟到無我的智慧、或者說空慧。若我們已達到信心不退轉,仍 然會有這個問題,因為我執尚未完全斷、或是說尚未破我見,此時我們可能已清理掉一些我執或我見,或者是在知見上因為已見過空性故知道真的是無我的、真的是 空的,但因為只是開了眼見到一下,下來之後又閉著眼睛。
 
修習佛法要回到現實身心來觀察

在我們修習佛法的時候,我們要 回到現實身心來觀察。唯識學與南傳佛教的修行,都非常 重視現實的身心,事實上佛陀在觀十二緣起時,是從現實的身心去觀的,甚至佛教中所講的修行方法,也是從現前的因緣去著手的。唯識學中將善法、惡法講解的非 常清楚,如此將我們的心理狀況分析了以後,讓我們知道當我們發現哪一部份出現了之後,我們要用善法去減輕它,或者是用修行的方法去化解它或消除它。故唯識 學與南傳佛教的修行方法,都是我們在現實生活中直接可以用的。
 
佛陀在教弟子的時後,其實就是在教他們如何修行、如何解脫。但當後來我 們將佛法建立 系統之後,佛陀當時很多不用解決的問題,例如本體的問題、世間有邊無邊的問題,我們都要想辦法解決。而在解決這些問題時,又掉到世間的學問之中。在我們學 習這些世間學問的時候,它是否能幫助我們從世間到出世間,這是非常重要的。若我們所學的學問只是在哲學上、理論上、系統上下很多功夫,做了很細節的東西, 但若是跟我們的生活都沒有什麼關係,則可能無法幫助我們生活上的淨化與提升。佛法中的「法」,由佛所講出來的及佛弟子傳下來的,都很明確告訴我們要如何修 行,很關鍵的部份,就在於無我的智慧,若是我們在世間的善法中能學到,且透過這些善法能幫助我們趨向無我智慧,則這些善法基本上都可算做佛法。這是因為佛 的一些弟子在尚未接觸到佛陀之前,都已經在他們的領域或教派中修行,有一些都已經修到很深的定了,才來跟佛陀學。他們之所以能很快的修到阿羅漢的果位,就 表示他們之前學的東西,能夠很快的接上無我的智慧。所以,重點在於我們所接觸到的這些道理,是否在修行上可以用得上去?對我們的身心是否能產生提升與淨化 的作用?不然的話,這些東西都是外在的、是別人的,平時都可以講,但發生問題時這些道理都不知道跑到哪裡去了!例如打坐時腿痛,我們就什麼道理都忘記了, 有時我們會用無常來觀腿痛,告訴自己痛是無常的,但往往痛到最後還是放棄了,還會很慶幸自己沒有繼續坐下去。這是因為對我們而言,無常是外在的道理,不是 我們身心的作用。如果無常是我們身心的作用的話,我們就不會受到觸、受的苦的感覺來干擾到我們的心,如此才算是將道理用上去,也唯有如此這些道理才是有用 的。若我們能在修學過程中透過這樣的方式學習佛法或是世間的學問,學習到在修行的過程中能產生這樣的作用,從而能在關鍵過程中產生質變而開悟、達到出世 間。
 
無論善法上修得多好,都只是在世間的層次,要常用無我的智慧、空的智慧來消除內心的障礙及問題

修行要如何達到這 個過程、這個效果呢?當然要從現實的身心去看,而不可幻想很快能開 悟、或是好高騖遠。很多道理我們都懂,但卻用不上它,這與我們的身心有關。所謂「人本思想」可以有兩個解釋,一為「以人類為本」、一為「以個人為本」,因 為修行不是講別人的事,應是講自己的事,我們自己本身才是修行所最重要的主體,所以我們要先觀察它,所以所有佛法的修學,前面一定是講緣起,佛法概論前部 分談了許多蘊、處、界,目的是讓我們了解我們的身心是怎樣的狀況、說清楚生死流轉是怎麼一回事。所以世間學問當中的生物學,或是醫學中談身心的學問 (例如心理學), 對我們在身心方面的了解都是有用的。但是我們不能一直停留在對身心的探討,無論我們在善法上修得多好多深,這都只是停留在世間的層次,一定要讓自己的心出 世間。就算還沒有辦法達到出世間的層次,也常常要用無我的智慧、空的智慧來消除自己內心的障礙及問題,但在消除的時候仍要記住,不要掉入空。掉入空的話, 我們容易變成覺得打坐也很辛苦、修行也很辛苦、做人也很辛苦,那就這些都不要做,直接成佛好了,那就什麼都空了,善法也空、惡法也空。假如我們能當下空去 一切問題的話,我們就能解決所有問題,但我們會發現到我們連最基本的問題都無法解決,那我們有怎麼能夠解決這個問題呢?質變是智慧產生變化的過程,若我們 能達到質變的過程而破除我見,則自己所有的問題都解決了,且得到空的智慧,則對我們而言,現實生活中所顯現的善法及惡法我們都知道,但我們不被其干擾,且 能超越它。

【圖說】繼程法師
【編按】本文原載於菩提學會yahoo blog,12/8/2006
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【法師開示】
The Meaning of Satipatthana
 
Sayadaw U Panditabhivamsa
 
This is dedicated to the most Venerable Sayadaw U Panditabhivamsa with gratitude and devotion from Thai yogis and supporters.
 
October 2002
2000 copies
 
                                           Published for free distribution
 
 
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The Meaning of Satipatthana
Introduction
The Venerable Sayadaw U Pandita talks frequently about the meaning of satipatthana.  He uses etymology to explain the proper way to note and observe the arising physical and mental objects in the practice of meditation.
This detailed and practical exposition of the term satipatthana  goes to the Sayadaw’s credit.  It is a formula or recipe for success in meditation.  If applied meticulously to one’s practice, the dhamma will unfold in no time.
The seven benefits of mindfulness
The practice of satipatthana meditation leads to the prification of the mind, the overcoming of sorrow and lamentation, the complere destruction of physical pain and mental distress, the entering of the right path and the attainment of nibbana.
The etymology of satipatthana
The Pali term satipatthana is generally rendered as the ‘Four foundations of mindfulness’.  However, its full meaning can be revealed by breaking up the compound word into its parts and examining these elements both individually and in combination.
sati + patthana
or
sati + pa + (t)thana
The word sati derives from the root meaning ‘to remember’ (samsarati), but as a mental factor it signifies ‘presence of mind, attentiveness to the present, awareness, wakefulness and heedfulness’, rather than the faculty of memory of the past.
Pathana means ‘close, firm and steadfast establishment, application, setting up’.
Combining these two elements, the meaning of the compound becomes ‘close, firm and steadfast establishment of awareness on the objective of observation’.  This kind of awareness is also called suppatitthita sati, ‘steadfast mindfulness’.
The four foundation of mindfulness
The four foundation of mindfulness have a single essence – mindful contemplation on natural phenomena.  They are differentiated insofar ad the mindful contemplation is applied to four objects:  1. the body (kaya); 2. the feelings (vedana); 3. states of consciousness (citta); and 4. mental objects (dhamma).  The latter comprise such factors as the five hindrances, the five aggregates, the six sense bases and six sense objects (general activities), the seven factors of enlightenment and the four noble truths.
Sati
‘Mindfulness’ has come to be the accepted English translation of the term sati. However, this is an incomplete rendering.   ‘Observing power’ is a more adequate translation.  The full scope of its meaning will be explained by examining its various aspects, such as characteristic, function, manifestation, proximate cause and the further distinguishing factors of mindfulness.
Non-superficiality
Sati has the characteristic of not wobbling; that is, of not floating away from the object (apilapana lakkhana).  The commentators have given the simile of a dried, hollow pumpkin thrown into water.  The cork or pumpkin will pop up and down on the surface of the water.  In the same way, the noting and observing mind should not skim over the object in a superficial manner.  Instead, the mind should sink or plunge into the object of observation, just as when a stone is thrown into water it will sink or plunge to the bottom.
Suppose you are watching your abdomen as the object of your satipatthana practice.  You try to be very firm, focusing your attention on the main object so that the mind will not skip off.  Instead, the mind will sink deeply into the process of rising and falling.  As the mind penetrates this process, you can comprehend its true mature: tension, pressure, movement and so on.
Keeping the object in view
The function of sati is the absence of confusion, or non-forgetfulness (asammosa rasa).  This means that the noting and observing mind should neither lose sight of, nor miss, nor forget, nor allow the object of observation to disappear.  To express this aspect positively, the function of sati is to keep the object always in view.  Just as a footballer never loses sight of the football, a badminton player the shuttlecock and a boxer his opponent’s movements, so too the yogi never loses sight of the object of mindfulness.
Confrontation and protection
There are two manifestations of sati, namely: coming face-to-face with the object; and protection.
face-to-face with the object
The chief manifestation of sati is confrontation – sets the mind directly, face-to-face, with the object of observation (visayabhimukha bhava paccupatthana).  Sati manifests as the mind in a state (bhava) of confronting face-to-face (abhimukha) with an object or obective field (visaya).
It is said that the human face is the index of character.  Therefore, if you want to ‘size up’ a person, you have to be face-to-face with that person and examine his or her face carefully.  Then your judgement will be correct.  But if you stand at an angle, behind or far away from that other person, then you will not be able to distinguish the distinctive features of his face.
Similarly, when you are observing the rising movement of your abdomen, if the mind is really face-to-face with the rising movement, you will notice different sensations in the rising such as tension, pressure, heat, coolness or movement.
Protection
If the noting and observing mind remains face-to-face with the object of observation for a significant period of time, the yogi can discover a great purity of mind due to the absence of kilesas (mental defilements).  This purity is the result of the second manifestation of sati – guardianship or protection from attack by the kilesas (arakkha paccupatthana).  With sati present, mental defilements have no chance to enter the stream of consciousness.
Sati is likened to a doorkeeper because it guards the six sensedoors.  A doorkeeper does not admit bad and destructive people; he admits only good and useful people.  Sati does not admit unwholesomeness (akusala); it admits only wholesomeness (kusala).  By not accepting akusala, the mind is protected.
The proximate causes of mindfulness
The proximate causes for the arising of sati are: strong perception (thirsanna padatthana); and the four foundations of mindfulness (kayadi  satipatthana padatthana).
strong perception
In order to be mindful of an object, strong and firm (thira) perception of it is necessary.  As much as perception (sanna) is firm, strong and steadfast, mindfulness will also be firm, strong and steadfast.
The two functions of perception are the recording and the recognition of formations (sankhara), irrespective of their wholesome or unwholesome nature.  Sanna is compared to the recording of talks with the help of a tape or video recorder.  The recording takes place regardless of the content or quality of the talks.  A clear, high quality recording, such as a state-of-the-art digital recording on CD of a classical concert or opera, is the cause for a clear, strong, impressively listening experience (mindfulness) when replaying the recording.
 
Similarly, in the meditation practice a strong, clear-cut perception (noting or labelling) of the arising objects of observation is very supportive of strong, clear-cut, steadfast mindfulness.
Four foundations of mindfulness
Another proximate cause for the arising of sati is the four foundations of mindfulness (kayadi satipatthana padatthana).  That is, mindfulness itself is the cause of mindfulness.  In fact, the development of mindfulness is the result of continuous momentum, one moment of mindfulness causing the next.
This can be compared to the process of acquiring an education, assuming that the student is studious and does his homework respectfully.  Lessons learnt in the lower grades are a cause for learning lessons in the higher grades.  Primary school education is a cause for high school education, and this in turn serves as a cause for tertiary and university education.
In a nutshell, mindfulness leads to ever greater and stronger mindfulness.
Immediacy
Immediacy in the awareness of an object of observation is very important.  Nothing should come between the presently arising object and the noting and observation.  The arising object and the noting mind should not be separated in time.  The observation of the presently arising object should happen at once, without any delay.  It should be instant.  As soon as the object of observation arises, it should be noted and observed.
If one’s noting and observing is delayed, then the object will have already passd by the time one’s awareness turns to it.  Objects of the past and future cannot be known correctly, and if the attention cannot remain with objects as they arise, then it is no longer vipassana practice.  It is no longer dwelling in the reality.
Concurrence
When two or more processes occur at the same time, it is the phenomenon of ‘concurrence’.  Concurrence of the noting and observing mind and the object of observation is an important aspect of sati.  For example, when an object arises, the mind falls on the object simultaneously with its arising, synchronically with it.
Extraordinary mindfulness
The particle pa of sati-pa-(t) thana specifies that the mindfulness should be of an extraordinary or outstanding nature (visittha); excessive, intensive and persistent (bhusattha).  Ordinary mindfulness is out of place in intensive satipatthana meditation.  It is this nature of the particle pa, and its practical aspects, which we shall now explore.
Rushing (pakkhanditva pavattati)
The particle pa of sati-pa-(t) thana can also be interpreted as pa-(k)  khandana: rushing , leaping, plunging.  As soon as the object of observation arises, the mind has to rush forward towards and into the object of observation with great force, with courage.  It attacks the object without hesitation, without thinking, reflecting, analyzing, imagination, questioning, considering, speculating or fantasising.  Thus, several aspects are involved in ‘rushing’:
sudden impetuous, quick and swift movement with violence, speed or great force, strength and dynamism.
Simile: like rushing somebody to the hospital.
Capturing, catching or arresting by sudden attack; to make a swift attack or assault; to charge.
Simile: The soldiers capture and defeat the enemy troops in a sudden, forceful attack.
An eager movement of many people to get to a particular place.
Simile: The crowds rush the gates of the football stadium just before the game begins.
To move urgently, with excessive speed, haste, or hurry.
Simile: a person at work may say, ‘I’m in a dreadful rush’; or, in accordance with the saying, ‘Strike while the iron is hot’, one notes and observes the object while it is ‘fresh’ or ‘hot’.
Yogis should not be noting and observing in a stop-and-go manner.  The awareness should not be slack, sluggish, causual; not lagging behind or late; not gazing.  It should be without wandering mind, with no room for thoughts.  The noting and observing should not be in a cool and hesitating manner; instead, it must be rushing in a sustematic and orderly manner.
Firmly grasping or seizing the object (upagganhitva pavattati)
A rice farmer when harvesting paddy needs to firmly grasp or seize a bushel of rice.  Only then will he be able to cut it with a sickle.  Similarly, a meditator has to firmly grasp the object of observation so that the mind will neither slip off nor lose the object under observation.
As mindfulness becomes steadfast, the yogi will be able to firmly seize coarse objects.  With more practice, attention can hold on to more refined objects and eventually even very subtle objects can be firmly grasped by the mind.  Therefore, a yogi should first try to grasp physical objects before attempting to seize the more subtle type of mental objects like intentions, thoughts, etc.
Covering the object completely (pattharitva pavattati)
The noting and observing mind must cover the object of observation completely, spreading over the entire object, enveloping it, grasping it in its entirety.  Not just a part of the object must be observed, but the object should be noted and observed from the beginning, through its middle, to its end.
Unbroken continuity (pavattati)
In the practical sense, this aspect means that the noting and observing of the arising objects of observation should be continuous; that is, one moment of mindfulness connected to the next moment of mindfulness, moment after moment.  The preceding moment of mindfulness should be connected with the succeeding moment of mindfulness.  In brief, mindfulness should be sustained.
Similes:
If there is a gap between two floor planks, dust and sand may enter.  If there is no continuity of mindfulness and there is a gap, defilements may enter.
In the past one had to start a fire by rubbing two sticks together.  If one fails to rub continuously, but instead takes a rest and resumes rubbing later, no fire will start.  Similarly, if mindfulness is not continuous, the fire of wisdom will not ignite.
To reaffirm this aspect negatively, the noting and observing, or mindfulness, of the objects should not have gaps but be continuous; it should not proceed in a stop-and-go manner.  People who practice in fits and starts, resting occasionally and then starting again, being mindful for a stretch and then stopping to daydream, are known as ‘chameleon yogis’.
Non-manipulating
The universal characteristic of ‘not-self’ (anatta) can be applied to the process of noting and observing and arising physical and mental objects.
A meditator must take great care to watch the objects of observation without manipulating, controlling or governing them.  He should simply observe what is there – not what he expects of wants to be there.
Conclusion
What can we now say satipatthana?  Satipatthana is mindfulness of any noted object by rushing to, entering into and spreading over it, so that the mind stays closely and firmly with it.  When noting ‘rising’, the mind enters the noted object; that is, the rising movement of the abdomen.  The mindfulness rushes into it and spreads over it so that the mind stays closely and firmly on this object or phenomenon.  The process is then repeated when noting ‘falling’, and so on for all other objects that arises in the body and mind.
Therefore in conclusion, sati or mindfulness must be dynamic and confrontational.  Mindfulness should leap forward onto the object, covering it completely, penetrating into it and not missing any part of it.
If your mindfulness has these qualities, then swift progress in meditation is guaranteed and, with the fulfillment of the practice, seeing nibbana is assured.

 
Satipatthana at a glance
·        close and firm establishment;
·        non-superficially;
·        keeping the object in view;
·        face-to-face with the object;
·        protection of the mind from attack by kilesas;
·        strong perception;
·        mindfulness is the cause of mindfulness;
·        rushing and plunging;
·        firmly grasping the object;
·        completely covering, or spreading over the object;
·        immediacy;
·        continuity;
·        concurrence;
·        non-manipulating.

 
References
1.      Buddhaghosa, Acarya.  The Path of Purification (Visudhimagga).  Nanamoli (tr..), P.T.S. Chapter XIV, Pg. 141.
2.      Sayadaw U Pandita Bhivamsa, Ven. In This Very Life.  Wisdom, 1992.
3.      Sayadaw U Pandita Bhivamsa, Ven. Raindrops in Hot Summer.  M.B.M.C., 1994
4.      Bodhi, Bhikkhu, et. al. Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma.  B.P.S.
5.      Mahasi Sayadaw, Ven.  Vipassana shu nyi gyan. (Burmese).
6.      Mahagandayou Sayadaw U Janaka Bhivamsa, Ven. Sangahabhasa-tika.  (Burmese). 1990
7.      Sayadaw U Pandita Bhivamsa, Ven. Various dhamma talks.
 
【編按】本文由蔡淑英居士提供,原載於菩提學會yahoo blog,7/10/2007
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【法師開示】
MettÈ Sutta

Dhamma talk by Sayadaw U Silananda

Transcription/Upasika Sarah Marks (MLA)
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“Let one’s thoughts of boundless love pervade the whole world.” When we practice loving-kindness meditation, we should send these thoughts to pervade the whole world. ‘Above, below and across’ – above to the worlds of gods, below to the world of hell, across the entire universe these thoughts should extend. ‘Without any obstruction, without any enmity’ – when we practice loving-kindness meditation ultimately we must pervade all beings without exception, all the universes, in all places.

“Not falling into wrong views, virtuous and endowed with insight one gives up attachment to sense desires. Verily, such a man does not return to enter a womb again.”
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 The Story

The Sutta I am going to read today is on universal love. The PÈÄi name of this Sutta is MettÈ Sutta. This Sutta is often called KaraÓÊya MettÈ Sutta because it begins with the word ‘karaÓÊya’. This Sutta is a very popular Sutta. Almost on every occasion, at every ceremony, Buddhist monks recite this Sutta.

This Sutta was delivered to a group of monks by the Buddha. At the time of the Buddha there were groups of monks. One group of monks went to the Buddha and asked the Buddha to teach them a subject of meditation, to give them a subject of meditation. It is not stated what kind of meditation the Buddha gave to them. They studied the subject. They learned the subject and then they went to a place to practice meditation. It was just before the Vassa or Rainy Season Retreat.

There were spirits in the forest, mostly tree spirits. When the monks were living there, these tree spirits had to get down from their trees and live on the earth with their families, with their children. So they were miserable. They were hoping the monks would leave in a few days. After some days, there was no sign of monks leaving this place. Because the tree spirits were so miserable living on the earth, they began to show fearful or dreadful visions to the monks in order to frighten them, in order to drive them away from the forest. They showed these dreadful visions and they also produced bad smells, bad odors.

The monks were oppressed by these visions and bad odors. They could not practice meditation well. When they could not tolerate this anymore, they went to the Buddha and asked him to send them to some other place to practice meditation.

The Buddha looked with his supernormal vision, but he could not find any place for them other than the one they had gone to on the whole earth. So Buddha said to them: “Monks, there is not a single place other than this for you. So you must go back to that place.”

Then the monks protested: “We went there and we practiced meditation. We were oppressed by these spirits. If we go back to that place, we will not be able to practice meditation. Why do you send us back to that same place?”

Then the Buddha said: “Formerly you went without weapons. Now I will give you weapons. You take these weapons and go back to the same place and practice meditation. This is the only place for you.”

The weapon the Buddha gave them was this teaching of universal love, mettÈ. The Buddha preached this Sutta to them; and they learned how to practice loving-kindness meditation, and they went back to the forest.

Actually this Sutta is very short. You can recite it in three minutes, not even three minutes. But the meanings contained in this Sutta are great and varied. I will read this Sutta to the end, and then I will give you some explanations.

In the past I told you that every Sutta begins with “Thus have I heard.” This Sutta, however, does not begin with these words because it is a short Sutta and was recorded in the Collection of Short or Small Discourses.

The Sutta

He who is skilled in good and who wants to dwell penetrating that state of calm should practice the three kinds of training. He should be able, upright, very upright, obedient, gentle, and not proud.

He should be contented, easy to take care of, have few activities and few possessions, be controlled in his senses; he should be wise and not impudent, and not greedily attached to devotees.

He should not commit any slight wrong, for doing which the wise men might censure him.

May all beings be happy and safe. May their hearts be happy.
 
Whatsoever living being there be, feeble or strong, long or big or medium or short, small or fat (round), seen or unseen, those dwelling far or near, those who have been born and those who are yet to be born – may all beings without exception be happy.

Let none deceive another or despise any person in any place. Let him not wish any harm to another in anger or in ill will.

Just as a mother would protect her only child at the risk of her own life, even so let him cultivate a boundless heart toward all beings.

Let his thoughts of boundless love perva½e the whole world – above, below and across, without any obstruction, without hatred, without enmity.

Whether he stands, walks, sits or lies down, as long as he is awake, he should develop this mindfulness in loving-kindness. This they say is the highest conduct here.

Not falling into wrong views, virtuous and endowed with First Path Knowledge, he discards attachment to sense desires and truly he does not come again for conception in a womb.

Explanation of the Qualities to be Developed by a Bhikkhu.

In this Suttta the Buddha first gave the qualities of a monk, qualities which a monk should have before he practices loving-kindness meditation. However, it does not mean that a monk must have them before he practices loving-kindness meditation. It does not mean a monk cannot practice loving-kindness meditation if he does not possess all these qualities. These qualities are very good qualities, ideal qualities. All monks may not be endowed with all these qualities. But they must try to possess as many of these qualities as is possible.

First the Sutta says: “He who is skilled in good and who desires to attain that state of calm should act thus.” One ‘who is skilled in good’ knows how to do things. The ‘state of calm’ here means NibbÈna. Those who wish to attain the state of NibbÈna should act thus.

“He should be able.” A monk should be able to strive for liberation from the round of rebirths. He should be ready to put forth effort to practice meditation.

“He should be upright, perfectly upright.” The PÈÄi word for this is ‘uju’ which means straight. A monk should be straight, perfectly straight, very straight. That means he should be honest, not just ordinarily honest but perfectly honest.

“He should be compliant.” The PÈÄi word for this is ‘suvaco’. That means of easy speech. (Perhaps we may say ‘easy to speak to’.) ‘Easy of speech’ means one who is willing to accept admonition, one who is willing to accept criticism, one who does not get angry when he is criticized, one who does not get angry when he is admonished.

The same word appears in another Sutta, the Blessing Sutta (Ma~gala Sutta). There it is translated as obedient. ‘Compliant’ here means a person who is ready to accept admonition, who will not get angry when he is admonished. A monk should possess this quality. A monk should be ready to accept admonition or criticism and not get angry.

“He should be gentle.” A monk should be gentle – gentle in deeds, gentle in words, and gentle in mind. Sometimes you may see some monks that are not gentle. Gentleness is a good quality in monks. Monks practice loving-kindness, compassion, appreciative joy, and equanimity. So they should be gentle – gentle when doing things, gentle when going around, gentle when speaking and also gentle of mind.
 
"He should be humble.” A monk should be humble. A monk should not be conceited. A monk should not be proud. People, ordinary people, those who are not Arahants, tend to get pride – pride in their birth, pride in their education, pride in their knowledge, pride in their ability to do things, pride in their attainment. This conceit or mÈna can arise even in those who have reached the third stage of enlightenment. Even AnÈgÈmis can have a kind of mÈna, although their mÈna is not so great, not so bad. Monks must try to get rid of this pride or must try to diminish this pride and be humble. That is because when one is proud, one is not approachable. One cannot teach properly. One cannot be a good leader or a good teacher to people. So a monk should be humble. The more advanced they are spiritually, the more humble the monks become.

The most advanced disciple at the time of the Buddha was the Venerable SÈriputta. He was the first chief disciple. He was second only to the Buddha. But he was very humble. Once he put on the lower garment not very properly. The edges of the lower garment were hanging down. And a seven year old novice who was ordained on that very day pointed to the garment and told Venerable SÈriputta that it was not properly put on. Venerable SÈriputta looked at his garment and saw that. He moved to the side and put the garment in a proper manner. After that he folded his hands to the seven year old novice and then he said: “Teacher, is it proper now?” So Venerable SÈriputta was very humble. That is why all the monks liked him. A monk should be humble like that.

“He should be contented.” Monks must be contented. ‘Contentment’ here means a monk should have satisfaction with what he has. A monk should not want this thing and that thing because monks actually are supported by lay people. So monks must be contented. They must be satisfied with what they have. If they want many things, they will have to ask the lay people to give them these things. I want these robes. I want a new bowl. That would be something like harassment for lay people. Monks should be contented. Contentment is a good quality to be developed by monks and lay people also. When you have contentment, you have happiness. Buddha said: “Contentment is the best of wealth, the best of riches.”

Those who are contented are rich because they don’t want anything. Contentment is compared in the books to covering the soles of your feet with leather. When you want to walk upon the earth, you cannot cover the whole earth with leather. But you can cover the soles of your feet with leather. When the soles of your feet are covered, virtually the whole earth is covered. In the same way, when you are contented with what you have, then you have everything because you need nothing. Contentment is a very good quality which monks should possess.

“He should be easily supported.” ‘Easily supported’ means a monk doesn’t make too much fuss about what he gets. When someone brings something, the monk must not say: “I don’t want this thing; I want that thing.” Such a person is very difficult to support. Contentment and being easy to support – these are the two qualities that monks should really have. They must be contented with what other people give to them. When they have these two qualities, they live in real happiness. Monks should be contented and easily supported.

“Monks should be of few duties.” That means a monk should not have many things to do. A monk should not be very busy; he should not be busy with worldly things; he should not be busy with things that are not conducive to spiritual growth. A monk should be of few duties, of few things to do. If he has to have anything to do, that should be the practice of Dhamma and the study of the teachings of the Buddha. Other duties, other things to do are just extra things. They are not necessarily needed for a monk. So a monk should be of few duties.

“A monk should be of simple livelihood.” ‘Simple livelihood’ here means just simple living. A monk should possess few things. He should not possess many things because monks lead a life of homelessness. Although they may be living in monasteries, they are leading the homeless life. They must be able to get up and go wherever they like without much to carry. Monks should be of simple livelihood.

You know, there are eight requisites for monks. When they have these eight requisites, it is enough to lead the life of a monk. In the days of the Buddha eight requisites were allowed. For other monks en or twelve requisites were allowed. They are not much – bowls, robes, maybe a staff, sandals, just these things. They live simple lives. When they do not possess many things, they are free to go any place. They don’t have to worry about carrying these things wherever they go. It would be very good if monks nowadays could be of simple livelihood. Nowadays monks have many things. If I were to move to another place, I think I would have to rent a U Haul truck or something like that to carry my things.

In the books it is said that a monk should be like a bird. A bird has only its wings as its property. When birds want to go to another place, they just take their wings with them. Monks should be like birds. We are practicing monks, so we should be of simple livelihood or light livelihood. The PÈÄi word for this is ‘of light livelihood’. They must be light to go to anywhere without many possessions. There are monks who have few possessions and there are monks who have many possessions. It depends on the type of monk.

There is a story of a monk who lived in Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka. He was renowned and famous. A friend of his who was fond of having many things once went to visit him. Since he was famous, the other monk thought that there would be many people bringing food and things to the monastery in the morning. But in the morning nobody came.

The resident monk told the visiting monk to pick up his bowl and go out for alms. So they went out for alms and came back. Then the visitor monk thought because it was morning people did not come. During the daytime before noon people will bring food for us. But nobody came. In this way the resident monk lived very simply with no belongings.

So one day when they were going for alms, the visitor monk told the resident monk of a certain place away from the city, saying, it was very lovely and very good to be there. So he suggested that the resident monk go there. The resident monk said: “Well, let us go there.” At that time they were going for alms. They were not at the monastery. The resident monk just said: “Let us go now.” The visitor monk said: “Please wait. I have left things at the monastery. I left my staff, my bowl, my robe, my things. I have to take them with me.” Then the resident monk said: “Why do you have so many things?” So the visitor monk told the resident monk that he need not go to any other place. Any place is a good place for him. Any place is just right for him. Since in the city of Anuradhapura there was the Stupa in which the relics of the Buddha were enshrined, he need not go to any other place. So he left the resident monk in that place. So there are monks that have many belongings and there are monks who have few belongings.

“A monk should be controlled in senses.” This is a good quality for a monk to have, that is, to be controlled in senses – controlled in the eyes, controlled in the ears and so on. ‘Controlled in eyes’ means a monk should take care not to acquire akusala through the eyes. Whenever a monk sees an object, he must train himself not to get akusala. Also he must not look here and there like a monkey. That is why monks do not look here and there much. They keep their eyes down as much as possible. Also in speech, in any of the senses, a monk should be controlled. So you cannot see a Buddhist monk playing or fooling around with people.

I once listened to a tape – studying a conversation or something like that. In that tape the author advised the listeners to look at the face of the person when they talked. And then he advised shaking hands with people. When I listened to that tape, I thought: “Oh, that is not for me.” When we talk, we do not want to look at the person. We just keep our eyes down. And we never shake hands with people, especially women. So monks should be controlled in the senses. Their eyes should be controlled, their ears controlled, everything should be controlled.

“Discreet” – ‘discreet’ really means intelligent, to have wisdom. Monks should be ‘not impudent’ - not impudent in deeds, not impudent in words, not impudent in mind. Monks should not be rude. They should not be arrogant.

He should not be greedily attached to families.” Monks should not be attached to lay people. That is also a very desirable and praiseworthy quality in monks. Monks should not be greedily attached to families. A monk should not say: “This is my supporter. He is like a brother to me. She is like a sister to me.” Buddha said monk should be like the moon which is new every day. You see the moon today in one shape. The next day you see it in another shape. So each day the moon is new. In the same way, a monk must be new each time he approaches the families. It may not be agreeable to modern people. But what is said in the books is that a monk must not share the sorrows and happiness of lay people. There is a phrase in PÈÄi: “Sahasoka, sahanandi.” That phrase means feeling sorrow and feeling happy together. A monk must be aloof from lay people. A monk is a person who has left these household sorrows and happiness. He is leading a homeless life. So he should not be affected by the ups and downs of the lay people. He should be aloof. He should not be attached to families.

"He should not commit any slight wrong such that wise men might censure him.” A monk should not commit any slight wrong which another person, a wise person, might censure him for doing. If doing something might invite censure, he should avoid doing that. These are the qualities of a monk, the qualities to be possessed by a monk in order to practice loving-kindness meditation.

How many qualities are there? He should be able, upright, perfectly upright, compliant, gentle, humble, contented, easily supported, with few duties, of simple livelihood, controlled in senses, discreet, not impudent, not greedily attached to families, and not doing any slight wrong which would be censured by the wise. Altogether there are fifteen qualities. So monks have to develop these fifteen qualities. These qualities lay people can also develop to a certain extent.

How to Practice Loving-Kindness

Next the Buddha taught them how to practice loving-kindness. He should cultivate his thoughts thus: “may all beings be happy and secure. May their minds be contented.” He should send the thoughts to all beings.

“Whatever beings there may be, feeble or strong, long, stout or medium, small or large, seen or unseen, those dwelling far or near, those who are born and those who are yet to be born, may all beings without exception be happy-minded.” We can say: “May all beings be happy.” Just that is also loving-kindness. We can also be specific. We can say which kind of beings specifically we wish to be happy. In this Sutta, the Buddha taught the monks loving-kindness meditation in different ways.

First, ‘whatever beings there may be, feeble or strong (firm)’ – that means all beings that are feeble, may they be well, happy and peaceful. All beings that are strong, may they be well, happy and peaceful. That is a dyad. So these are two kinds of beings.

Then there are long beings, stout or medium, that is, long, medium or short. There are beings which are long like snakes and those things. Those beings that are long, may they be well, happy and peaceful. Those who are of medium length and then those who are of short length, may they be well, happy and peaceful. These are three things, a triad.

Then there are (beings who) are ‘large, medium or small’. There are beings like elephants or whales. There are medium beings, and there are small beings. May they all be well happy and peaceful.

There are ‘beings that are stout’. (That means those that are big or fat.), and those that are medium, and those that are thin and lean. May all those beings be well, happy and peaceful.

‘There are beings that are seen and unseen’ – those that we have seen and those that we have not seen. Both these kinds of beings, may they be well, happy and peaceful.

‘Those that are dwelling near and those that are dwelling far from us’ – those that are near to us and those that are far from us, may they be well, happy and peaceful.

‘Those who are born and those who are yet to be born’ – those who are born as beings and those who are yet to be born as beings, all these beings without exception, may they be happy.

So according to this Sutta, we can practice loving-kindness meditation in another way. We have not practiced by that way shown in this Sutta. We have four dyads and three triads. The four dyads are: May all beings that are frail and firm be blissful in body as well as in mind or we can just say: “May they be well, happy, and peaceful.” Then we have ‘may all beings that are seen and unseen, may all beings dwelling far and dwelling near, may all beings that are existing or born and those yet to be born, be well, happy and peaceful. So we have four dyads.

Then we have three triads. May all beings that are long, that are medium-sized and that are short be well, happy and peaceful. Then there are beings that are big, medium and small. May they be well, happy and peaceful. And there are beings that are thick, or fat, or round, that are medium-sized, and that are lean or thin – may they be well, happy and peaceful or may they be blissful in body as well as in mind. We may practice in this way according to the Sutta.

So mettÈ or loving-kindness can be practiced in many ways. What we have been practicing is the method given in the Visuddhimagga. It is expanding the object little by little until we reach all beings. There is another way of practicing loving-kindness, that is, by 528 ways. We have practiced that before. So we can practice loving-kindness in different ways if we like. The Buddha taught how to practice loving-kindness in four dyads and three triads in this Sutta.

Then the Buddha continued: “Let one not deceive another. Let one not deceive any person whatever in any place.” That is also an expression of loving-kindness. “In anger or ill will let one not wish any harm to another.” Let not anyone wish harm to another.

“Just as a mother would protect her child, her only child at the risk of her own life, even so, let one cultivate a boundless heart towards all beings.” It is a very beautiful verse. So a mother who has only one child protects that child even at the risk of her own life. Even so, one must cultivate mettÈ or a boundless heart towards all beings. When you practice mettÈ meditation, you must regard all beings as your child, as your only child, who is to be protected at the risk of your own life.

“Let one’s thoughts of boundless love pervade the whole world.” When we practice loving-kindness meditation, we should send these thoughts to pervade the whole world. ‘Above, below and across’ – above to the worlds of gods, below to the world of hell, across the entire universe these thoughts should extend. ‘Without any obstruction, without any enmity’ – when we practice loving-kindness meditation ultimately we must pervade all beings without exception, all the universes, in all places. That is why loving-kindness meditation is called a measureless state or a limitless state because its object, the beings, is limitless.

“Whether one stands, walks, sits, or lies down, as long as one is awake, one should maintain this mindfulness. This they say is the sublime state in this life.” This shows us when to practice loving-kindness meditation. You heard this verse. “Whether one stands, walks, sits, or lies down, as long as one is awake, one should maintain this mindfulness.” ‘This mindfulness’ means mindfulness which accompanies loving-kindness. Here actually what is meant is loving-kindness. So one should maintain this loving-kindness whether one stands, walks, sits, or lies down, as long as one is awake. That means loving-kindness must be practiced all the time. That’s why it can be practiced when you are driving, while you are in a bus, when in an airplane, when you are at work. Whatever you are doing, you can practice loving-kindness. So Buddha said: “Whether one stands, walks, sits, or lies down, as long as one is awake, one should maintain this mindfulness of loving-kindness.”

“This they say is the sublime state in this life.” When you live with loving-kindness, you are living in a sublime state. You are living the Noble life; you are living in the Noble abiding.

“Not falling into wrong views, virtuous and endowed with insight one gives up attachment to sense desires. Verily, such a man does not return to enter a womb again.” Loving-kindness can lead us to reach first jhÈna, second jhÈna, third jhÈna and fourth jhÈna. Only the fifth jhÈna it cannot lead to. By making jhÈna the basis for VipassanÈ, one can practice VipassanÈ meditation and reach attainment. ‘Not falling into wrong views’ here means eradicating wrong views by the attainment of the first stage of sainthood (SotÈpanna), the second stage of sainthood (SakadÈgÈmi), the third stage of sainthood (AnÈgÈmi) where one can eradicate sense desires once and for all. “Verily, such a man does not come back to this world of sense pleasure. This man will not return to enter a womb again.”

Or we can take it to mean an Arahant. When one becomes an Arahant through VipassanÈ meditation based on loving-kindness, one will not be reborn in any other existence. That is what is meant by ‘verily, such a man does not return to enter a womb again’.
 
Loving-kindness meditation by itself can give you happiness. It can lead you to attainment of jhÈna. If you make loving-kindness meditation or the jhÈnas attained through loving-kindness meditation the basis of VipassanÈ, then you can attain the different stages of enlightenment – first, second, third, fourth stages of sainthood. Buddha’s wish was that we should not be satisfied with just attaining jhÈna through loving-kindness meditation, but that we should practice VipassanÈ, making the jhÈnas attained through loving-kindness meditation as its basis and becoming Noble Persons or Ariyas.

This loving-kindness is very highly praised by the Buddha. Once the Buddha said: “Bhikkhus, whatever kinds of worldly merit there are, they all are not worth one sixteenth part of the heart deliverance of loving-kindness. In shining, in beaming, in radiance, the heart deliverance of loving-kindness far excels them.” With regard to practicing loving-kindness the Buddha said: “Whatever kinds of worldly merits there are, all are not worth one sixteenth part of the heart deliverance of loving-kindness.” That means loving-kindness brought to the stage of jhÈna.

In another Sutta, the Buddha said: “Bhikkhus, just as clans with many women and few men are readily ruined by robbers and bandits, so too any bhikkhu who has not maintained in being and who has not made much of the heart deliverance of loving-kindness is readily ruined by non-human beings.” When there are many women and few men in a clan or in a house, that clan or house can be readily ruined by robbers and bandits. In the same way, monks who do not practice loving-kindness meditation can be readily ruined by non-human beings. If you are afraid of non-human beings, practice loving-kindness.

In another Sutta, Buddha said: “Bhikkhus, if a bhikkhu cultivates loving-kindness for as long as a finger-snap, he is called a bhikkhu. He is not destitute of jhÈna meditation. He carries out the master’s teaching. He responds to advice. He does not eat the country’s alms food in vain. What should be said of those who make much of it.” In this Sutta the Buddha said: “If a monk cultivates loving-kindness for just a second, for as long as a finger-snap, he is called a bhikkhu. He is the one who carries out the Buddha’s teaching, who responds to his advice. And he does not eat the country’s alms food in vain.” That is very important. Monks are supported by lay people. Monks eat the food of the lay people. They must eat so that they do not incur any debt. It is very important. If they eat the food offered by the lay people heedlessly, then they are said to be in debt. They will pay this debt in the form of being reborn as a servant in the house of the lay people and so on. What must a monk do in order not to get into debt when being offered food by lay people? He must do either one of two things. He must eat with reflection. Monks have to reflect when they eat: “I eat this food not to beautify myself, not to get strong, not to take pride, but I eat this food so I may follow the teachings of the Dhamma, so I can practice meditation.” With this reflection monks must eat. That is why talking while eating is discouraged among monks.

The other thing is that if he does not remember to do that, then he must practice loving-kindness towards those who offered food to him, towards those supporters. If he practices loving-kindness towards them, he is said ‘to eat the country’s alms food not in vain’. So loving-kindness is very much praised by the Buddha.

There are eleven benefits to be had through the practice of loving-kindness meditation. I think I have talked to you about these benefits in one of my talks. What is the first one or two? You go to sleep with comfort or you go to sleep easily. You sleep comfortably and you get up comfortably. Just these benefits are much for us. Many people find difficulty in going to sleep. If you have difficulty in going to sleep, just practice loving-kindness. Go to sleep with loving-kindness meditation. When you have laid down on the bed, instead of thinking of other worries and other things, just practice loving-kindness meditation – may all beings be well, happy and peaceful; may all beings be well, happy and peaceful. Go to bed saying this. You will sleep well. You will get up refreshed. And you will not dream unpleasant dreams or dreadful dreams. So there are many benefits to be had from loving-kindness meditation as well as VipassanÈ meditation. [The eleven benefits are 1. one sleeps happily 2. one wakes happily 3. one has no bad dreams 4. one is dear to human beings 5. one is dear to non-human beings 6. one is guarded by the gods 7. one escapes the danger from fire, poison and swords (if one reaches the jhÈna level in practice of loving-kindness) 8. one gains concentration easily 9. one’s complexion is clear 10. one dies without bewilderment 11. and if one develops no further, one will reach the Brahma world.]

In Buddhist countries we have the custom of reciting these Suttas. Sometimes what happens is that many, without much thinking, think that they are just for recitation. When they recite it, it is enough they think. But this Sutta is not for recitation only. When you recite it, it is enough they think. But this Sutta is not for recitation only. When you recite it, you practice loving-kindness. It is not for recitation only. It is to be developed, to be made much of. Loving-kindness Sutta is not to be recited only, but it is to be practiced, to be developed. That is why I have you practice loving-kindness meditation. I ask you to say the sentences or however many times you may wish. That way you practice, you make much, you develop your loving-kindness – not just saying once. But it is the custom in our country to recite this Sutta at every ceremony. That is not bad, but that is not enough. We must not be contented with just that. We must really develop loving-kindness by practicing it seriously. Thank you.

SÈdhu! SÈdhu! SÈdhu!

【圖說】Sayadaw U Silananada
【編按】本文原載於菩提學會yahoo blog,12/13/2006
  
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