比丘恆順 講於2012年4月25日星期三晚 萬佛城大殿 A talk given by Bhikshu Heng Shun on April 25 (Wed), 2012 at Buddha Hall of CTTB
這時候，他看到一個矮矮的老頭子，留著鬍子，戴著眼鏡，他講話時好像每個人都知道。他開了一輛 pick-up 車（小貨車），車裡有兩條狗，他的意思好像是要將這兩條狗送人的樣子。這個矮矮的老頭子就走到恒具法師的前面－－恒具法師是很高個子的，大約有六英尺兩英寸－－他就走到恒具法師前面說：「你是一個佛教徒嗎？」你知道，這個時候是1974年8月，那個時候（在美國）的佛教裡面沒有很多比丘的，真的是不多。恒具法師穿著他的袈裟，那個時候，恒由法師可能已經拜到前面去了，他沒有在這邊停留。
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The talk was given by Bhikshu Heng Shun on April 25, 2012 at Buddha Hall of CTTB
I was just thinking how fortunate we are to have the Venerable Master as our teacher. In Buddhism we call a good teacher a 善知識 (Shanzhishi). Actually the Chinese is a translation of the Sanskrit word, “Kalyanamitra”, which literally means “good friend”. In the last chapter of the Avatamsaka Sutra we have the spiritual pilgrimage of the youth Sudhana (literally “Good Wealth”) who visits 55 Kalyanamitras. Each teacher represents a successive level of enlightenment on the Bodhisattva path. The Venerable Ananda once asked the Buddha, “World Honored One, I think 50 percent of practicing the path to enlightenment is having good friends.” The Buddha told the Venerable Ananda, “You are wrong Ananda. Having good friends is 100% of the path to enlightenment.” So in spiritual cultivation it’s absolutely necessary to have good friends i.e. good teachers. When Sudhana first started his pilgrimage to visit all these teachers on the Bodhisattva path, Manjushri Bodhisattva said to him, “If you wish to seek for all-wisdom (to become a Buddha), you absolutely must seek for a true good teacher, a Kalyanamitra. You must seek for a good teacher without becoming weary or lax. You must try to find a good teacher without ever becoming satiated. You must always comply with the teachings of the good teacher. And you must never find fault with the skill-in-means of the good teacher.” So the search for Kalyanamitras was the catalyst for Good Wealth’s quest for Enlightenment.
We are very fortunate that Venerable Master, being the good teacher, the Kalyanamitra, had set up these opportunities for us to cultivate, like the Repentance Before the Ten Thousand Buddhas. Some people say that maybe some Americans don’t really like to practice these types of Dharmas or perhaps that are not appropriate for people in modernAmerica. However, the Venerable Master, being the enlightened good teacher is someone who knows what’s appropriate for a specific place and time in a particular culture. I’m sure that, as time goes by, these practices that the Venerable Master has established will become widely accepted in our American culture. The true Kalyanamitra has a special kind of wisdom to know what’s appropriate and long lasting in terms of the Buddhist teachings inAmerica. We are very fortunate to be able to practice these things at a time when very few people in the world actually have these opportunities.
Now, I’m going to tell one of my favorite stories. It is a story about repentance and reform. I’ve read I’ve told this story many times to the students in theBoysSchoolover the years. Just like the Master’s lectures that we listen to every evening. Although we may have heard them several times already, we do not grow weary of hearing the Buddha-Dharma. That’s the proper attitude.
So this story is about the first Three Steps, One Bow pilgrimage by Heng Ju and Heng You. Many people don’t realize how difficult this bowing pilgrimage fromSan FranciscotoSeattlewas for Heng Ju and Heng You. They just had a tent to sleep in at night. When there was bad weather is was very hard to get a good night’s rest. Near the latter part of the bowing pilgrimage, when the weather was bad, it was so hard to bear that they often ended up sleeping in people’s houses at night.
During this time, when it was getting unbearably difficult for Heng Ju, he still stuck with the practice and kept bowing. However, Heng Ju would often get mad at Heng You. It took them about ten to eleven months to finish the pilgrimage fromSan FranciscotoSeattle. So at the very end of Heng Ju’s bowing pilgrimage, just a few days before they actually finished, they reached this place outside ofSeattle. Some people following the pilgrimage in the local newspapers and television had invited Heng Ju and Heng You to their general store, which sold all kinds of different products in addition to having a gas station.
A footnote to this story is that, because of the experience that Heng Ju and Heng You had with not having a proper shelter to stay in at night (particularly when there was bad weather), when Dharma Master Heng Shr and Marty did their bowing pilgrimage they decided to bring a station wagon that they could stay in at night. That made a great difference for them. However, getting back to the story. Heng Ju is bowing and he goes up to this general store. He sees all these people milling around wanting to see him. They had heard about his pilgrimage from the local newspaper and TV. There were probably 50 or more people waiting to see him. Then Heng Ju noticed a short old man with a white beard and glasses. He acted like he knew everybody, and he was driving a pick-up truck with a makeshift trailer, a home-made trailer, on the back. He had two dogs, and as far as Heng Ju could tell, it looked like he was trying to give away these two dogs. So all of a sudden, this short old man (Heng Ju is pretty tall, about 6-foot-2) comes right up to Heng Ju. Remember, this was 1974, and Heng Ju was wearing Buddhist monastic robes. Heng You had bowed a little ahead of him and didn’t stop at the store. There was not a lot of Buddhist monks inAmericaat that time in 1974. Even though that was the case, this man comes right up to Heng Ju and says, “Do you call yourself a Buddhist?” Heng Ju noticed that this man was totally calm and relaxed. He wasn’t trying to challenge him. He just looks up at Heng Ju and says, “Do you call yourself a Buddhist?”
Heng Ju was surprised at this. He replied, “Why, yes.” And the short little man then said, “Do you want to know what the Buddha taught in plain English?” Now Heng Ju was even more taken aback. He thought to himself, “Wow! Where is this guy coming from? How should I answer this? If I say no, that would be rude. If I say yes, it’s like I don’t know and that would be embarrassing.” So he was caught in a dilemma. Finally, Heng Ju said, “What did the Buddha teach?” And the man told him, “The Buddha taught compassion. The Buddha said we should stop knocking each other around, but most people don’t’ buy it.”
So then Heng Ju got defensive, and said, “Buy what?” The old man responded, “What the Buddha taught,” he kind of laughed, “I don’t think you are a complete convert to Buddhism.”
Heng Ju was now getting very nervous and said, “I didn’t say I was perfect.” The little man paused and moved closer, then looked right into Heng Ju’s eyes.Heng Ju’s mind started flashing all the memories of how he would get angry with Heng You. These events just started going through his mind as this man looked at him. The old man then said, “The Buddha taught compassion. Be more compassionate.” Then he took off his glasses, and I could just imagine how the little man is probably as short as me and Heng Ju is almost a foot taller than him. So he takes off his glasses, puts his face about one foot away from Heng Ju’s, and he says, “I’m not your enemy. I’m your friend. How many people do you know who would talk to you like this?”
Now remember that during this entire encounter there are all these people watching in what must have been sort of stunned silence. Heng Ju was at the very end of his long, arduous pilgrimage and all of sudden he meets this rather extraordinary old man. Heng Ju thought, “Wow! This person can see right through me.” Finally Heng Ju, who was left speechless, just started to bow again. As all the people watched, he bowed away from the general store. When he caught up with Heng You, he told him what had just happened. He felt very ashamed that he had gotten angry with Heng You. This unusual old man who told Heng Ju “I’m your friend” reminds us of the good friend, the Kalyanamitra. The attitude of repentance that Heng Ju had at that time, is the same attitude that we should have as we do the Repentance Before the Ten Thousand Buddhas. Heng Ju felt very repentant and ashamed of his behavior towards Heng You. He was very sorry that this had occurred.
Although I didn’t hear the Venerable Master say this, Heng Ju told me much later that the Venerable Master told him that the old man was actually a manifestation of Manjushri Bodhisattva. Although he didn’t do as well as he wanted during the bowing pilgrimage, yet he was still able to stick with it and complete it, despite the many difficulties and hardships. So in response to his bowing, Manjushri Bodhisattva appeared to him and taught him an extremely important lesson about the Buddha’s teachings on compassion. I think Heng Ju told me that the two dogs were Manjushri’s lions, but I’m not 100% sure about that.