親子關係的改變 Change in the Mother-Son Relationship

James Roberts 講於2011年6月20日星期一晚 萬佛城大殿  A talk given by James Roberts on June 20 (Monday), 2011 at Buddha Hall of CTTB

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諸佛菩薩、各位法師、各位佛友:阿彌陀佛!

All Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, Dharma Masters and Dharma Friends, Amitabha.

大家可能並不認識我,我的名字叫詹姆斯‧羅伯斯,法名叫親哲。今天晚上我被邀請來練習講法。但我本身並不是很善於講法,我就是講一點故事。開始之前,我講一點點我所知道的法。對像我這樣的凡夫而言,並沒有很多德行或智慧,很重要的是我仍然需要去培植我的善根。所以我想今天晚上我就講一個故事,是關於我來到聖城,因而在我生命的旅程裡,已如何幫助我增長我的善根。

For those of you who may not know me, my name is James Roberts, and my Dharma name is Chin Zhe ( 親哲 ). I was invited to practice speaking Dharma tonight — but since I’m not very skilled at speaking Dharma, I’m just going to tell you a story. Before I start, I’ll tell you one little bit of Dharma that I know; that for ordinary people like me who don’t have a lot of virtue or wisdom, it’s still possible, and very important, to cultivate good roots. So I thought I would tell a story about my coming to CTTB, and how that has helped create good roots in my life.

從我去年十二月來到萬佛城之後,在我家裡面有兩位長者過世了。一位是我的祖母,是我媽媽的母親;她在去年聖誕節的早上過世了,當時我正在這裡打禪七。她已經住院多年,由於年老的關係,很自然地她的健康情形逐漸惡化。我決定留下來並完成禪七,因而錯過她的葬禮。到目前我還不太確定,這是否是最好的決定。現在有些人可能在想,「當然這不是一個好的決定,你就變成不孝了!」你可能是對的,但我想請你聽我的整個故事,然後才作出結論。我當時是想,我留在聖城修行比我個人留在家裡更重要。畢竟,我的哥哥在緬因州的家中,正在照顧我的母親,在各方面他總是更接近她,所以我認為他對母親是一個更好的支持者。 在搬到聖城之前,這是一個我成年後最主要考慮到我的家人的典型方式。

There have been two deaths in my family since I came to CTTB in December; my grandmother, my mother’s mother, passed away on Christmas morning, while I was at the Chan session. She had been hospitalized for years, her health gradually deteriorating in a natural way due to her old age. I decided to stay and finish the Chan session and miss her funeral. I’m still not sure if it was the best decision. Some of you are probably thinking now, “Of course that’s not a good decision, you’re being unfilial!” You might be right, but I want to ask you to listen to my whole story before coming to a conclusion. My thinking at the time was that it was more important for me to stay here at CTTB and cultivate than to be at home in person. After all, my brother was home in Maine, taking care of my mother, and he was always closer to her anyway, so I thought it would be a better for him support for her. This was a typical way for me to think about my family for most of my adult life, before I moved here to CTTB.

我發現有一件事情,自從我來到聖城以後,就是我開始打電話給我媽媽,而且,越來越常打電話給她。在以前,我和我母親的電話的會談,都是單向的,都是我母親打電話給我,我只是聽她講。都是由她主動她問我的情況怎麼樣啊,我就答,我從來都沒有問過。她都是在一個被動的狀況。我現在反省,我發現我好像還在我的那個青少年的反叛時期,就是說我好像還不是一個真正的好的兒子。我也沒有真正的感激我母親,對我所做的種種的事情。

One thing that changed for me during that time is that I started calling my mother much more often. In the past, most of our phone conversations had felt very one-sided. My mother would usually call me, and in a very motherly way would ask about all the things that were happening in my life. I would answer her questions mostly because it was the easiest way to talk to her. After each call, I would rarely call her back, and usually we wouldn’t talk again until she made an effort to make contact again. In the back of my mind I always had an idea that this meant I wasn’t really being a good son, that somehow I wasn’t really appreciating my mother the way I was supposed to. I think in another way I still found a lot of her attention annoying, like a teenager who wants nothing else but to get out of the nest and finally be free. Even though I’d been fairly independent for many years, I had still not really let go of this attitude from my adolescent years.

所以在打禪七的時候,我兄弟告訴我說祖母已經往生了,我就立刻打電話給我媽媽,問她情況怎麼樣,問她有沒有什麼事情想告訴我,然後我就一路聽她講。我想這通電話是我生命的一個轉捩點,使我和我母親的關係重新的開始,是我主動地去聯絡她,而且希望她跟我講話。

So during the Chan session, after I had heard the news from my brother that my grandmother had passed away, I called my mother to see how she was doing, to see if she wanted to talk about anything, and just to listen to her. I think this phone call was a major turning point in my relationship with my mother, because it was perhaps the first time in my life that I reached out to my mother just listen to what she had to say.

約一個月之後,我的繼父癌症已經跑到血液裡面了,他的健康的情況壞得非常厲害,而且又快,我媽媽只好辭掉她的工作,在家裡照顧他。我就開始打電話給我媽媽,越來越多,每次就聽她告訴我家裡的情況。當我打了更多的電話,我就更感激更能夠了解我發展了一個新的關係和我媽媽。這個關係對她來講是非常重要的,因為我在支持她。而且我自己也受了很大的益處。跟我媽媽聯絡,我會問她事情怎麼樣啊?我的繼父情況怎麼樣啊?然後給我母親全部的支援。而且我也提醒她要照顧她自己。我發現我開始很喜歡和我媽媽這樣對話。這是以前從來沒有的事情。

About a month later, my stepfather, who had developed cancer over the previous year, was told by his doctor that the cancer had spread to his blood and he would certainly die. His health deteriorated rapidly. My mother decided to stop working to stay at home and take care of him, and I began calling to talk to her more and more often, again, really just listening to what she had to say. The more I called, the more I began to appreciate that I was developing a new kind of relationship with her, one that was much more supportive of her, but also one that I was benefiting from in an entirely new way. When I would call, I would only ask her about how things were for her, how my stepfather was doing, if she was getting all the support that she needed, if she was also taking care of herself. I also noticed that I was enjoying these conversations with my mother much more than I ever had with our old style of relating.

後來我的繼父在三月往生了。我就趕回家去住了幾個禮拜。那段時間我和我的母親每天都會去散步。我們一起去超市買食物。每天晚上我會煮晚餐給她吃,那當然我是煮素食的晚餐。她就會告訴我一些事情的種種,在前幾個月發生的,我們就討論未來她應該怎麼做。我也分享一些我們佛教的歌曲,還有我們佛教的念誦給她,都是我在這裡學的。

My stepfather passed away in March, and I went home this time, for several weeks, staying with just my mother in the house I grew up in. We went for walks together every day, and went shopping for food together. I cooked dinner every night (always vegetarian of course), she told me stories about what the past few months had been like, and thought about what she wanted to do in the future. I shared songs and chants with her that I’d learned at CTTB.

我們發現我們彼此對實法師的那些歌曲,都很喜歡。而且在七零年代、六零年代那時候,為和平而唱的歌,我們兩個都很喜歡。所以我想今年的春天,我和我媽媽終於學會了彼此變成很好的朋友。

We found new common ground between Dharma Master Sure’s dharma songs and the peace loving songs that my mother knew from the 60s and 70s. Our relationship continued to change for the better, and in entirely new ways. I think this spring my mother and I finally learned how to become friends.

後來我繼父的身體火化了,我們在教堂裡舉行一個紀念儀式。我在小的時候常常去教堂,我是在教堂長大的。我母親和我的繼父也是在那邊認識的。這個教堂裡面的人都是很開明的,所以他們和基督教跟猶太教,還有佛教伊斯蘭教,都蠻有緣的。後來在那個禮拜,我媽媽和我就去那個教堂,跟佛教有緣的朋友一起打坐跟討論。在晚上,就常常我母親坐著在玩她的謎題,就是一種數學的謎語。後來我我就替我的繼父念經,迴向給他。晚上要去睡覺前,我就跟我的母親互相擁抱說我愛你。我記得當我小的時候每天晚上都這樣做,可是當我長大了,好像就忘掉了有這回事。

My stepfather’s body was cremated, and we had a small service at the church I had gone to when I was younger. I grew up attending the UnitarianChurchin Bangor, Maine, which is where my mother and my stepfather met. The church is very open minded, which affinity groups for Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and Islam. Later that week my mother and I went to the Buddhist affinity group at the church, where we had a short mediation and discussion. In the evening my mother would sit and work on her Sudoku puzzles, while I did recitations for my stepfather.  Before bed, my mother and I would hug and say I love you to one another. I remembered when I was younger, when we used to have the same ritual, which somehow we had both forgotten during my adolescence.

現在我身在聖城,我還是常常會打電話給我母親,在下午的時候打電話給她看看她好嗎。我自己覺得我現在變成我母親的一個很重要的一個親人,而且非常地支持她,所以我們彼此覺得非常地親近。這種感覺從我長大以來,就失落了,現在又回來了。我現在覺得很好,能夠聽到她在電話裡的聲音。我相信而且感覺非常舒服能夠跟她講話。有的時候當我覺得不太好的時候,我打電話只要聽到她的聲音,聽到她跟我講話,我發現我就得到她的幫助,我就會感覺得非常地……好像是我的根一樣,跟她的關係。實在是很不可思議這種改變,就是在過去這幾個月之間,我和我母親的關係的變化!

Now that I’m back in the city, I often call my mother in the afternoon just to check in. I feel like I’m an important support person for her, and we are closer than we’ve been since I was very young. I’ve become much better at listening to her, and I find a lot of comfort in talking with her. Sometimes when I’m feeling uneasy I’ll call her just to listen to her talk, and I find that talking to her helps me feel more connected and grounded. It’s amazing how much has changed between us over the past few months.

我想這些因緣際會,都發生在我們的家裡面,尤其是在我們家裡有很大的困難的時候。另外我決定到聖城來做義工這個決定,也造成了是我的媽媽和我,能夠有這個機會能夠消融一些我們彼此之間的一些業障。對我來說能夠在萬佛聖城,給了我一個很好的機會,讓我能夠有更大的空間,能夠好好地迴光返照,使我不會像以前一樣,常常被我自己的煩惱綁得死死的。在同時,因為能夠親近宣化上人的教誨,尤其是關於孝順方面。這對我的幫助很大,使我能夠想到我應該,而且我能夠怎麼樣對我母親更好一點,和以前不一樣。所以這樣子使我和我的家庭,就因為這些因緣的改變,所以就能夠在一起變得很好。所以對我來講,也給我很好的機會,能夠回報我母親對我的仁慈。

I think somehow the conditions that came together, with losses in my family and my decision to move to CTTB, created a way for my mother and I to resolve some of our past karma. For me, being at CTTB allowed a lot more space for me to contemplate, without getting so caught up in my own concerns and worries, and with more space to listen and pay attention. At the same time, being near the Venerable Master’s eachings on filiality helped me think more about how I might be able to treat my mother differently. For me and my family, all of these conditions came together at the best time for me to return a little bit of the kindness of my mother.

所以,我感覺這段時間,我住在這裡受到聖城所有人,無形的很大的支持,就好像整個聖城都在幫助我。這段時間我所理解到的,所學到,所經歷到的,都不是書上所能學到的。因為我得到聖城的支持,所以相對地,我才有力量去支持我家裡面的親人,所以這也是我的一個很大的福報。

I think one of the most important lessons I’ve learned from this, which is something I could never learn just from studying, is that when a person has the support of a caring community, it supports that person in taking better care of their own family–something that brings benefits to everyone. Amitabha.

(翻譯者:)講到這邊還有三分鐘。有人有問題嗎?

(翻譯者:)問題是你最喜歡聖城的什麼?

這是很困難的問題。記得在觀音七的時候,我也有上臺練習講法。親偉師問我說:「你為什麼來聖城?」當時我簡單地講了一下,就是說因為在美國這麼多佛教團體裡面,聖城有一個很特殊的地方,就是對道德;每一個住眾這邊,對道德都非常重視。一般其他的美國佛教團體,很少這樣子的,就因為這個特點吸引了我。

【編按:此中文講稿為現場即時翻譯,原意請參考英文講稿。】

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