Monthly Archives: April 2015

Day 8 Wielding a Sword of Wisdom

The great hero uses the sword of wisdom;

This prajna blade blazes like a diamond.

It not only destroys the mind of the outer paths,

But long ago frightened away the heavenly demons.

If you are able to tell your mind to stop moving, and it does, then you are a hero or great person. But if you are unable to do this, then you are just an ordinary person.

If you are able to stop your mind you will be able to move forward in practice and reveal wisdom. Wisdom is as solid and enduring as a diamond, as sharp and powerful as a peerless sword. Wisdom functions like a vajra sword; it cuts through everything. The sword King Arthur pulled out of the stone was such a sword. If you wield this sword, then you will cut through all false teachings and subdue all heavenly demons. A person whose practice reaches this level acquires remarkable eloquence. As soon as he speaks to an audience or engages in debate, people develop strong faith in him. He has profound faith, and he also has wisdom. Such a person wields a powerful sword.

— The Sword of Wisdom by Master Sheng Yen (page 152)

Mistaking One Mind for No Mind (page148)

Attaching to emptiness, denying cause and effect,

Brings calamities beyond measure.

Rejecting existence and grasping emptiness is the same mistake,

Like jumping into a fire to avoid drowning.

Saying there is neither an inside nor an outside can be misleading. A practitioner may mistake nihilism for freedom from obstructions. He might think that having no obstructions gives him the freedom to do anything he wants, with no constraint or self-discipline. He may drink alcohol and say, “It’s only water.” He may eat meat and say, “The animal’s dead anyway. Besides, in eating its flesh I’m establishing karmic affinity with this sentient being.” He may sleep with many women and say, “At least I’m not killing anyone. No harm done. We mutually agreed to it, and besides, it feels like liberation.” This is not enlightenment. A person who tries to back up such actions with Buddhadharma is deluding himself.

An improper understanding of emptiness can lead to two dangerous attitudes. One attitude is apathy. An apathetic person feels that since everything is empty, he may as well do nothing. The second attitude may be called amorality, and is even more dangerous. A person with this attitude feels he is not bound by any moral ethic, and thinks he can do anything. Such a person can seriously harm himself and others.

Some people who study and practice Ch’an stray into these demonic realms. It is because they believe that the law of cause and consequence is empty. They are mistaken. Causes and consequences are not empty. Even greatly accomplished sages must accept the consequences for everything they do. For example, if someone practices to become a Bodhisattva, and a Bodhisattva in turn practices to become a Buddha, then Buddhahood is a consequence of the practice of these individuals. Eventually, we must accept the consequences of all our actions. If you think causes and consequences are empty, then you are in danger of falling into the demonic states I have described. Causes and conditions are empty, but causes and consequences do have existence. This is basic Buddhadharma.

The Sword of Wisdom by Master Sheng Yen (page 148)

人間佛教的人間淨土

六月十九日,星期五。

當我於六月十五日,錄完了本書的第十九節,便著手為日本京都佛教大學的前校長水谷幸正博士七十大壽紀念,以三天的時間,寫了一篇〈人間佛教的人間淨土〉論稿,約一萬三千字,於六月十九日寄往京都。

這是我在一九九七年三月,為法鼓山內部的悅眾菩薩編寫出版《人間淨土》小叢刊以後,又寫了一篇比較學術性的關於人間淨土的論文。從印度的基礎佛學,到中國的大乘佛教,乃至於當代的太虛及印順兩位大師的著作,把人間佛教及人間淨土的思想,作了一次通盤的探討和介紹。我是從《四分律》、《增一阿含經》、《華嚴經》、《法華經》、《阿彌陀三經》、《彌勒三經》、《維摩經》、《大般若經》、《阿閦佛國經》、《仁王般若經》、《大涅槃經》、《十住毘婆沙論》、《六祖壇經》、《宗鏡錄》、《太虛大師全書》,以及印順長老的《佛在人間》及《契理契機之人間佛教》等經論著作中,得到的相關資料,作了系統性的論列。由這篇論文,可以明白法鼓山的理念,之所以要建設人間淨土的教理依據,是源遠而流長的,現在把這篇論文的提要抄錄如下:「釋尊成道,是為救濟人類生老病死的苦惱,成道之後便開始將他證悟的佛法分享人間。初度五比丘皆證阿羅漢果。立即付囑他們,遊化人間,分頭弘法。

修行三祇百劫的聖道而成佛,其起點的初發心菩薩,主要是人間身的凡夫。修行西方阿彌陀佛的淨土法門,雖以信心、持名、發願往生,為基本條件,但在《觀無量壽佛經》及《無量壽經》,均另有三福淨業等的往生因行。

中國的禪宗引用《維摩經》的『隨其心淨則佛土淨』,主張心淨即是西方,由於《觀無量壽佛經》有『是心是佛,是心作佛』句,演成禪宗有唯心淨土的信仰,但能悟心,便是淨土。中國宋初的永明延壽依據《華嚴經‧梵行品》的『初發心時便成正覺』,因此倡導『一念成佛』,一念即生淨土

本文除將中國淨土思想的發展,作了探源性的介紹之外,特別依據《大般若經》的成熟眾生嚴淨佛土,《法華經》的釋尊即以此界為淨土,《維摩經》的直心是淨土,太虛大師的人間淨土,印順長老的人間佛教,綜合而成法鼓山建設人間淨土的思想脈絡:眾生(人)的心清淨而行為清淨,個人的身口意清淨而影響所處的社會環境清淨。在做往生佛國、嚴淨佛土的準備工夫階段,先要在人間自利利人,便是建設人間淨土。」

…….
(三)無念、無相、無住是什麼?
  • (1)「無念」的意思,《六祖壇經》說:「於諸境上心不染,為無念。」也就是「不於境上生心」。但不是沒有念頭、沒有意識、沒有知覺,而是對一切的情況,見聞覺知,都能清清楚楚,就是沒有一個自私自利、患得患失、喜怒哀樂等「我執」情緒的反應。
  • (2)「無相」的意思是「於相離相」,又說「外離一切相,名為無相。」所謂「相」,就是一切諸法的法相,包括物質的、心理的、生理的、自然的種種現象,因為《金剛經》說,「若見諸相非相,即見如來。」那就是一切現象,沒有永恆的定相和不變的自相,所以要我們即相而離相;不否定一切相,也不執著一切相,這叫「無相」。
  • (3)「無住」的意思是「於諸法上念念不住,即無縛也。」也就是《金剛經》說的「應無所住,而生其心。」凡夫愚癡,所以煩惱不斷,原因是老在前念、後念、念念之中,念念相續的我及我所之中,不斷地打滾;對過去的失敗會悔恨,成功會驕傲;對未來的美景會幻想,未可知的阻礙會憂慮,這都是因為沒有智慧,所以心有所住。
其實,這三個項目是彼此相通,表裡相接的。若能無念、無相,一定也能無住;若能無相、無住,一定無念;若能無住、無念,一定無相。所以無念、無相、無住,都是即定即慧的定慧不二,這也就是〈定慧品〉的內容所在。……
— 兩千年行腳  聖嚴法師