老年的經 Suttra on Old Age

Dennis Truong講於2011年7月13日星期三晚  萬佛城大殿  A talk given by Dennis Truong on July 13 (Wed), 2011 at Buddha Hall of CTTB

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諸佛菩薩、上人、各位法師、各位善知識:阿彌陀佛!

我的名字是Dennis,今天我能再有機會向各位報告一下我自己的心得。假如有說得不對的地方,請各位指正。我想一開始講一段關於老年的經,是從巴利文翻譯過來的:

我聽到在有一個時候,世尊在舍衛國附近的東方寺。這個東方寺是這個Migara母親的一個宮殿,他住在附近。在這件事情發生的時候,世尊剛剛才從閉關中出來,這是在一個下午時分,他坐在太陽底下曬他的背。這時阿難尊者來到世尊前面,向世尊頂禮;完了以後,他開始用自己的手觸摸世尊的四肢,說:「真是很奇怪,很驚訝的一件事情!世尊的容貌已經不像從前那麼光亮了。他的四肢鬆軟,而且有很多皺紋。當他的背向前面彎的時候,我們可以明顯地覺觸到他身體不同的功能--眼的功能、耳的功能、鼻子功能、舌頭的功能,整個身體的功能都有明顯的不同。」

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Savatthi in the Eastern Monastery, thepalaceofMigara’s mother. Now on that occasion the Blessed One, on emerging from seclusion in the late afternoon, sat warming his back in the western sun. Then Ven. Ánanda went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to the Blessed One, massaged the Blessed One’s limbs with his hand and said, “It’s amazing, lord. It’s astounding, how the Blessed One’s complexion is no longer so clear and bright; his limbs are flabby and wrinkled; his back, bent forward; there’s a discernible change in his faculties — the faculty of the eye, the faculty of the ear, the faculty of the nose, the faculty of the tongue, the faculty of the body.”

「阿難,事情就是這個樣子。當你年輕的時候,你會知道有老化;當你健壯的時候,你知道會生病;當你活著的時候,你知道死亡會來臨。對!我的容光不像從前那麼光亮,我的四肢鬆軟,而且有很多的皺紋。當我的背向前面傾的時候,你可以看到我的功能有很明顯的改變--眼睛的功能、耳朵的功能、鼻子功能、舌頭的功能,整個身體的功能。」

“That’s the way it is, Ánanda. When young, one is subject to aging; when healthy, subject to illness; when alive, subject to death. The complexion is no longer so clear and bright; the limbs are flabby and wrinkled; the back, bent forward; there’s a discernible change in the faculties — the faculty of the eye, the faculty of the ear, the faculty of the nose, the faculty of the tongue, the faculty of the body.”

世尊說完這些話以後,又接著說:「可是真正的老年,也是醜惡的代表,你能輕而易舉地摧毀一位風姿綽約的少年。即使有人活到100歲,也必須走向死亡,沒有人可以避免死亡。」

That is what the Blessed One said. Having said that, the One Well-gone, the Teacher, said further:

I spit on you, old age –old age that makes for ugliness.
The bodily image, so charming,
is trampled by old age.
Even those who live to a hundred
are headed — all — to an end in death,
which spares no one,
which tramples all.

當我們有很多業障的時候,是非常難去究竟的。可是,當我們的心是很誠的時候,我們也會得到佛菩薩的加持、回應,幫助我們,使我們更能有信心。同時,他們也會告訴我們「無常」。

It is difficult to cultivate when there are many karmic obstacles. However, if we are sincere, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas will respond to our sincerity, helping us to strengthen our faith and also to remind us of impermanence.

我現在願意分享一些在我修行過程裡的一些事情。我開始學習佛法,是在1987年皈依以後;自從我皈依以後,我就會常常夢到自己會飛,可是在每一個我會飛的夢裡,總是有人在後面追我,所以我總是被嚇怕了,驚醒過來。

I would like to share some things that I have encountered in my cultivation.After taking refuge in 1987 and studying the Buddha dharma, I began to have dreams of me flying.  In every dream, there was always someone chasing me.  I would get scared and wake up.

過了一陣子,我開始反省:當我是小孩子的時候,做了些什麼事情?我記得我常常會追鳥,把小鳥抓起來,放在籠子裡當寵物。我也很會用彈弓來射殺小鳥。我的朋友都知道我的彈弓技術很厲害,所以他們看到有大鳥的時候,一定來告訴我什麼地方有大鳥;OK!我就會用彈弓去把它們射殺。

After a while I began to reflect on my childhood.  I recalled that I used to chase young birds, catch them and put them in the cage as pets.  I also made sling shots to kill birds.   My friends knew that I was good with my sling shot so whenever they spotted a big bird they would let me know.

因為我小時候有這種很壞的業障,所以我以後就常常放生小鳥,而且在我的後院裡面常常餵食很多的鳥。過了一陣子以後,我發現我沒有這種惡夢了。可是在同時,我發現自己老得很快,而且常常生病。

Due to this evil karma that I have created, I began to liberate birds whenever I had the chance.  I also bought bird feeders to feed the birds that come to my backyard.  After a while I noticed that I no longer had these nightmares of flying.  But I notice that I am aging more rapidly and also getting sick more often.

我記得有一次去看醫生,當我進到診所的時候,接待的小姐說:「大叔您好!」因為「大叔」這個稱謂是表示我比她爸爸的年紀小一點。所以我就看著她說:「為什麼你不叫我大伯?」她知道我在開玩笑,所以當她把我的病歷表給我的時候,她對我說:「對不起!大哥!」

I remember one time I went to see the doctor.  I walked into the clinic and the receptionist greeted me with a “Chao Chu”. “Chao” means hello and “Chu” is how a person addresses someone who is much older than them but about the same age or a few years young than their dad. I looked at her and said “why don’t you call me Bac instead?”.  Bac is used to address someone who is older than their father.  She pulled my chart and said “Sorry, big brother”, knowing that I was joking.

我來聖城幾個月以後,我有一天幫忙Tom Johnson在龍樹(精舍)那邊幫忙,把一些磚頭砌起來。當那天快結束時,我就告訴他:「哦!我感覺非常累,因為我很久沒有做這一類的工作了。」他就看著我,說:「假如我像你這麼老的話,我也會覺得很累了。」我不清楚他是否知道我的年紀是多大,所以我就告訴他我的年紀;他很快就把臉轉過去,用手把他的嘴塞起來。然後我聽到他說:「oops!」意思就是說:哇!怎麼搞的,犯了個錯!

A few months after coming to CTTB, I was helping TJ lay some brick near the Dragon Tree houses.  At the end of the day I told him that I was tired because I have not done this kind of work in a long time. He looked at me and said “I would be tired too if I were your age.”  I did not know how old he thought I was so I told him my age.  He quickly turned away covering his mouth with his hand, and I heard him say “oops!”

於是我就告訴他:「你不是唯一認為我很老的人。」我告訴他一個真實故事,希望他不要覺得很不好意思。這個故事是:當我們在2008年來訪問聖城的時候,有一天晚課以後我走出來,看到兩位女法師跟我的同修Ashley 在談話。當其中一位看到我的時候,我聽見她跟我的同修說:「哦!妳把你父親也帶來了?!」我聽了以後,趕快慢慢地移向另外一個方向,可是從我眼角,我看另外一位法師向第一位法師,用手勢和眼神來跟她說:「他不是爸爸;他是同修!」(她用眼神和手勢示意)。

I told him that he was not the only one who thinks that I am really old.  I quickly told him another true story, hoping that he wouldn’t feel as bad.  This happened when we visited CTTB in August 2008.  After one evening ceremony, I went outside and I saw two dharma masters talking to Ashley.  When one of the DMs saw me, I heard her say to Ashley, “you also brought your father along?”  I slowly walked away toward a different direction.  Out of the corner of my eye, I think I saw the other DM making gestures with her hand and eyes.  I think she was trying to tell the first DM that I was the husband.  TJ didn’t even laugh!

可是Tom Johnson聽了我這個故事以後,連笑都沒有笑。所以,那天晚上我跟我同修說:「妳現在應該開始叫我爸爸。」然後我跟我的女兒--那時候Megan只有5歲--我問:「媽媽叫我爸爸,妳應該叫我什麼?」她想了一想說:「那我叫你爺爺?」去年,當我回堪薩斯州去辦一些事情的時候,我的岳父跟我說,我看起來像一個80歲的老人,看起來瘦得多。他是非常關心我的健康跟我的體重,他希望我可以多吃一點。

TJ didn’t even laugh! Later that evening, I told Ashley to start calling me “dad” and I asked my daughter, Megan who was about 5 years old at the time.  “If your Mom calls me “dad” then what would you call me?” She thought about and replied, “Is it Grand-dad?” Last year when I went back toKansasto take care of some things, my father-in-law commented that I look like an 80 year-old man.  I looked thinner to him and he was concerned about my weight and health.  He encouraged me to eat more.

我知道我自己看起來很老,可是比我的弟弟好得多。我的妹妹有一次打電話給我:當她把她結婚的錄像給她朋友看的時候,當出現我的鏡頭時,她的朋友問她:「哦!這是你的大哥?」她說:「是。」當他們看到我弟弟講話的鏡頭,他們說:「這是妳爸爸嗎?」我告訴我弟弟這個故事後,他是笑了很久,可是他也知道,老化是人生必然的現象。

I know I look old for my age, but it’s not as bad compared to my younger brother.  My sister was excited when she called me after she showed her wedding video to her friends.  When they got to the part where I was speaking, they asked if I was her older brother, which I was.  But then when my younger brother spoke, they asked “is that your father?”  My brother got a good laugh out of it after I told him the story.  He knew that aging is a fact of life.

這些故事可能很滑稽,可是這些故事也告訴我們,老年跟死亡會來得很快,就像上人告訴我們,不要讓此生白白地過去。

These stories may be funny, but they remind me that old age and death are coming near.  There is not much time left, so as the VM taught, don’t let it pass by in vain.

我現在願意念一個故事,是一位越南人叫Hanh Giai寫的。從前有一條小河,它從高山上流到村莊裡面,也經過森林,最後它流進沙漠……。所以,這條小河自己想:我已經克服了許多的困難,希望我可以流過沙漠。所以,當小河決定要流過沙漠的時候,它發現它的水都慢慢被沙漠裡的沙「吃」掉了。所以,雖然它一直在努力地試圖要流過沙漠,可是總是失敗,因此它變得非常煩惱,最後終於放棄了。

Now I would like to read a story that I found written in Vietnamese by Hanh Giai.

There is a small river flowing from a high mountain to villages, to the forests, and finally it flows through a desert. It thought: “I have overcome many obstacles, hopefully I can make it through this desert!?” When it decided to cross the desert, it found that its water was being gradually consumed by the sand of the desert, it tried again and again but its effort only ended up in vain. So it got frustrated and gave up.

它對自己說:「也許我的命運就是到此為止,我大概永遠不能夠流過這個沙漠,看到大海,就像別人告訴我的一樣。」它在很憂愁的心情下,一直喃喃自語。所以,當它在很憂愁,喃喃自語的時候,沙漠的四方同時出來一個很輕柔,但是很清楚的聲音說:「假如清風可以經過這個沙漠,那麼小河也可以流過沙漠。」這個聲音基本上是沙漠的聲音。

“Perhaps my destiny is only thus far.  I would never see the vast ocean as I have heard others say.” It kept muttering with sadness. At that time, the four sides of the desert suddenly rang out a soft clear sound: “If a breeze can cross through the desert, then the small river may also pass through.” It turned out that it was the voice of the desert.”

小河聽了,很生氣地抗議:「風可以經過沙漠,因為它們非常地輕,所以就可以飛過沙漠。可是,我這個小河沒有辦法,我一定要流過這個沙漠。」沙漠聽到了後,就回答說:「你之所以不能夠流過沙漠,是因為你被你現在的形態所綁住了。假如你可以把你自己變成水蒸汽,這個樣子的話,那清風就可以把你吹過沙漠,到你想要去的地方。所以你只需要放下你現在對自己目前這個形態的意識,跟清風合二為一,你就可以輕易地經過沙漠。」

The River angrily protested: “This is because the wind is light therefore it can fly through the desert, but a river like me must flow through instead of flying.” Desert replied: “Because you are so attached to your form, that is why for the rest of your life, you can not pass through this desert. You have to transform yourself into water vapor so that the breeze can carry you across the desert, to where you need to go. All you have to do is to let go of your present form as a river and harmonize yourself into the breeze, then you will pass through this desert. ”

小河從來沒有想到過,把它自己現在的形態放下,跟清風合二為一,它說:「這個不行,這個不可能!因為假如我現在把自己變了,讓清風帶我過沙漠的話,那小河就沒有了,那我是什麼呢?」這個沙漠很堅持地向它再解釋:「可是,在這個清風裡面有水汽,這個水汽是從小河來的;清風把水汽帶到需要去的地方,然後水汽就變成雨,這些雨水匯在一起,這時候又變成一條河,這難道不就是你嗎?」

The river had never thought about letting go its form of a river to harmonize with the wind, no, no, not like that, it can not accept the concept. It thought that if its self is disposed, the river would be destroyed, and then there is no use of passing through the desert?! Desert consistently explained, “In the wind, there is water vapor, (which comes from the river).  The wind carries the water vapor across the desert to its destination, then it evaporates to create the rain, after that the rainwater flows and forms into the river, is this not you?

小河就問了:「然後,我是不是就變成現在的我呢?」沙漠就說:「也可以說是,也可以說不是。因為你是不是一條小河,或者是不可看見的水蒸汽,你的自性並沒有改變。可是因為你現在被你現在的形式所綁住,是一條小河,所以你不能看到你自性。」

The small river asked, “Will I return to my original form? The Desert replied, “It can be yes, and it can be no.  Whether you are a small river or a water vapor that cannot be seen, your inherent nature will never be changed and because you are so attached to the fact that you are a small river that is why you cannot recognize your own inherent nature”.

所以,現在這條小河好像可以了解沙漠的這個聲音,因為它想到它在成為小河以前,它也是被清風帶到村莊,帶過森林,也經過了沙漠,然後變成雨,然後變成一條河,就像它現在這樣子一樣。

Now the river seems to understand the words of the desert, thinking that before it became this small river, it would have been carried by the wind to the villages, into the forest, across the dessert, forming rain and flowing into the river, which is itself today … ..!!!

這是我對這個故事的注解:人生的旅程,也就是像這條小河一樣,我們能夠克服不同的困難,能夠達到一個新的高點。我們要達到真善美,我們必須要有勇氣把我們自己放下。所以,我們才能夠得到我們從前想不到的一種結果。阿彌陀佛!

Commentary: The journey of our life is like a small river.   To overcome obstacles in life, to reach a new achievement, aiming for truthfulness, kindness and beauty, we must have courage to “Let go of the self” so we can get to states which we have not yet known.

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