回憶我捨俗出家的經驗
Recalled My Leaving The Householder’s Life And Entering Monastic Life

比丘尼近開 講於2011年4月1日星期五晚 萬佛城大殿
A talk given by Bhikshuni Jin Kai on April 1  (Friday evening) in the CTTB Buddha Hall

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師父上人、諸佛菩薩、法師和各位法友:我是近開,今天上臺練習跟大家說法,如果有講錯或講得不如法的地方,請大家原諒。

Venerable Master, Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Dharma Masters and all Dharma Friends…this is Jin kai, here to practice speaking to the Assembly. Please kindly excuse any errors, and anything said that doesn’t accord with the dharma.

最近看到在佛殿舉行的出家儀式時,使我回想起自己在離開世俗的家,進入僧團的經驗。記得當時我有些驚訝,因為我是一個新來的人,對佛教一無所知,竟然可以被考慮作為出家之候選人。

As I watched the recent leaving home ceremony here in the Buddha hall, I recalled my own leaving the householder’s life and entering monastic life. I remember feeling somewhat surprised that I would be even considered as a possible candidate for monastic life, I was such a newcomer, and didn’t know anything at all about Buddhism. 

在二○○二年,我本來是要為美國的和平隊去南美洲做義務老師,由於我心態的改變,而來到萬佛聖城學習佛法,並當義工。

I had come to CTTB in 2002 to study Buddhism and to do volunteer work. After a “change of heart” about working  for the US Peace Corps as a volunteer teacher in South America. 

 通過我的一個好朋友,第一次遇到師父上人的教導時,我欣喜無比,迫不急待地想要學習上人的其它教導。當我閱讀上人的開示,看到法總各分支道場所在時,心中非常高興。

When I first encountered Venerable Master’s teachings, through my good friend, I was overcome with joy, and an over-riding urgency to learn more of his teachings. So as I perused the Dharma talk books, I was delighted when I came upon a listing of the various DRBA monasteries.

我馬上被馬來西亞吸引住,接著兩天我一直打電話給吉隆坡的道場,但一直沒有辦法打通。總是聽到錄音機說﹕由於電話線路故障,打到吉隆坡的電話,無法接通。之後,有人指點我打電話去聖城碰碰運氣,結果一切都很順利。幾個月後,我就來到聖城,充滿花一年時間學習佛法的希望,和一年過後,就回到工作崗位及其他任何等著我的事。

I was instantly drawn to Malaysia, and spent the next 2 days trying to telephone a monastery listed in Kuala Lumpur…but to no avail…I kept getting a recording stating  that the telephone circuits were down, and that no calls were going through to Kualua Lumpur. Then I was somehow directed to telephone CTTB instead, to try my luck… (.maybe this sentence is too vague…I can alter it if needs be!!!)  Things went smoothly, and within a few months I arrived at CTTB full of hopes of learning Buddhism…of studying for a year, and then after a year, returning to the world of work and whatever else awaited me.

讓我訝異的是,一年過去了,我完全不想要離開萬佛城,反而很急切地想要出家。一次次的踏入佛殿,這種感覺就一次次的增強。我不知道這種想要作出家人的強烈欲望是從哪兒來的?我試圖漠視它、壓抑它,但是這個力量是那麼的強大。「這並不在我的計劃內。」我想著。這種感覺是從何而來?是怎麼一回事?我想要了解發生了什麼事,和這種感覺比生命更重大的新意念是從哪裡來的。於是我去請教兩位比丘尼,想要澄清我的疑惑;畢竟我對佛教一無所知,對出家生活一無所知,對整個寺廟裡的世界也一無所知。

Much to my surprise, the year came and went, and I had no desire to leave the City of 10,000 Buddhas…quite the contrary….I had a tremendous urge to enter the monastic life…which only increased with each visit I took to the Buddha hall.  I didn’t understand the origin of such a powerful wanting to become a nun…I tried to ignore it, suppress it, but the momentum was so very powerful…”this wasn’t part of my plan,”  I thought…where is this feeling coming from, what’s going on here???…I wanted to understand what was happening  and the origin of this “larger-than-life”, newfound idea/feeling. So I went to explain my situation to  2 of the nuns, to try to get some clarity on the situation. After all, I knew nothing at all about Buddhism, nothing about monastic life, and nothing about the world of the monastery.

這兩位比丘尼了解我的情況,慈悲地告訴我說:許多人出家,通常是在過去生中發過願,要再回來當僧尼。我一直以為這種願,是天主教或是英國聖公會的神父,要接受聖職前所發的願。我因從未聽說過」「過去世」所發的願而困惑,不過經她們的解釋和鼓勵,我就寬心了。

The nuns, understanding my naiveté, kindly explained that many people who enter monastic life, usually make vows in past lives to return as monks or nuns. I had always thought that vows were something which Catholic or Anglican Priests took before committing to the clergy. Never before had I heard of “past life” vows, and  was baffled, but relieved by their words and their explanation.

這強烈想要出家的意念,一直持續著。但本來波濤洶湧似的感覺,和緩平靜下來了。我終於開始有解脫的經驗。

This intense feeling of wanting to leave the householder’s life continued to gain momentum, but what had originally seemed like a raging , tumultuous current, now felt calm and peaceful.  I had finally begun to experience some relief.

有一天晚上,在佛殿坐著聽經,我手中捧著《妙法蓮華經》,若有所思而變得心不在焉。主講者在講經時,我的思緒盤據在出家前需要辦好的許多事情上。我開始想到要延遲出家。「有那麼多的事情待辦,而時間又不夠,我最好是等到下次的機會再出家。」然而,當我不經意地打開經書,映入眼簾的是上人所說的話:「如果你有機會出家,應該馬上把握那機會。」我迅速地把經書合上,然後在另一個地方翻開。我的目光即刻落在上人的釋文上:「如果你現在延遲的話,以後不一定會有出家的機會了。」我想,怎麼這麼湊巧,好像我在跟我手上的經書,作無聲的對談。

One evening as I sat in the Buddha hall during the evening lecture  with the Dharma Lotus Flower sutra in hand, my mind became preoccupied, and drifted away from the dharma lecture. While the Dharma Host was lecturing  the  Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra, my head became filled with thoughts of the many things that I needed to accomplish, before I could leave the home life. I began thinking that I needed to postpone becoming a nun…”so many things that I needed to get done, and there was not enough time..so I’d better wait until the next opportunity to leave home” I thought. As I nonchalantly opened the sutra, my eyes fell on Master Hua’s words “if you have the opportunity to leave the home life, you should take hold of that opportunity immediately” were the words on the page in front of me .

I immediately closed the sutra and reopened it randomly to another section, but again my eyes fell instantly on Master Hua’s commentary… “You may not have another opportunity to leave the home life again, if you postpone it now” I thought “how coincidental”, it was as if I was having a silent conversation with the sutra in my hand.

然後,第三次我把經書合上,特地在另一不同部份再打開一次,確切地上人的話又出現說:「你不僅會失去這輩子出家的機會。」釋文上說:「在你以後的生命,也可能不會有這種出家的機會了。」這情形總共發生了三、四次。每次只要我隨便打開這《法華經》,出家的訊息一次比一次強烈。這時,我才理解到這不是巧合,而是要讓我收到一個很強烈的訊息。

So again, for the  third time I closed the sutra, and made sure to reopen it to a distinctively different section, and sure enough there were Master Hua’s words again “ Not only might you lose the opportunity in this lifetime” His commentary said, “but you might not have the chance to leave the home life in future lives” this went on for  at least 3 or 4 times, with me randomly opening the Lotus sutra, and  each time  getting a stronger and stronger message about leaving the householder’s life……..at this point, I realized that this was not mere coincidence, but that I was receiving a strong message.

我相信是上人在給我生命的引導,於是馬上放棄本想延後的任何念頭。回顧當初,現在才明瞭,當時的我是多麼地愚蠢,竟然把這麼深遠重大的事情,想得那麼天真。

I trusted the Venerable Master’s guidance for my life, and immediately abandoned my original thoughts of postponement of any kind. In retrospect, I now realize how foolish I was, in treating such a profoundly important matter with such simple-minded naiveté.

那是二○○五年的秋天。時間過去了,但是我覺得我仍似一個初學者。還有許多佛法要學,似乎需要好幾輩子才能通達。不論如何,在這時候,我就儘量做好我能做的,儘可能專注——這往往是我最掙扎的地方。

That was in the Fall of 2005…. time has passed and I feel still a beginner, with so much to learn about the Buddha dharma, that I’ll need a few more lifetimes to gain any  level of competency. Anyhow, in the meantime, I’ll  just do the best that I can, and try to be as mindful as possible, which is often a struggle for me.

近幾個月來,我開始修習的法門之一,就是每天念《普門品》,它已帶給我內心的平衡。我完全贊同上週六的講法者,他說每天持誦《普門品》,能幫助平息內心的憂慮。在一年多前智利發生重大地震時,就曾帶給他家人利益和平安。

One of the practices that I began in recent months, and which has  been helpful in bringing me inner balance, is daily recitation of the Universal Door Chapter/Pu Men Pin. I wholeheartedly agree with the Dharma Speaker of last Saturday, who said that daily recitation of the Universal Door Chapter helped to calm inner worry and anxiety, and which brought benefit and peace to his family during Chile’s major earthquake over a year ago.

我每天早晚各念一遍《普門品》,它大大地安撫我的心緒。為了節省時間,我用英文快快地誦,不過我很欣賞它悠揚的中文韻律。

I have been reciting the Universal Door Chapter, in the morning, and again in the evening before retiring… it helps to greatly pacify my mind, and although I recite it quickly in English in the interest of time, I really appreciate the melodious Chinese version.

去年夏天,在我祖母去世之前,她放不下,而有一個非常困難的時刻,她感到仿彿在遭受酷刑。她會用她的克里奧爾語,說有許多無形的眾生去找她,有許多在折磨她。她哭得很凄慘,她的哭號聲在很遠的距離都可以聽得到。但是,當我的姑姑在她的房間播放《大悲咒》的錄音帶後,她很快地就安靜下來了,並在兩週之內就去世了。

Last summer before my grandmother passed away, she was having a very difficult time “letting go”.  She felt as if she was being tortured, and she would tell me in Creole, that she had many invisible visitors, many of whom she felt were torturing her.  Her cries were agonizing, and her weeping and wailing could be heard from a distance.  However after my aunt placed the Great Compassion Mantra recitation recorder in her room, she quieted down immensely, and passed away within two weeks.

當我母親目睹《大悲咒》鎮靜和安撫的作用,留給她很深刻的印象;雖然她不是佛教徒 (她是美國聖公會教徒),從那以後,她不但沒關掉《大悲咒》錄音帶,還一直讓它播放著。

The calming and pacifying effect of the Great Compassion Mantra which my Mother witnessed, has left such a profound impact on her, that although she’s not Buddhist (she’s Anglican), she has not turned off this recitation machine but has continued to keep the Great Compassion Mantra playing since then.

我很高興看到我的家裡逐漸接受佛法,雖然她們修持各種基督教的傳統。幾年前,當我母親到萬佛聖城來看我。再回到東岸後,她對我說,在這裡的逗留期間,吃純素食食物後,她感覺多麼地健康。在這同時,我妹妹被診斷為糖尿病患者,我們都很憂慮。

I’m happy to see my family’s acceptance of the Buddhadharma increasing and growing, although they practice various Christian traditions. Years ago, after my mother returned home to the east coast, after visiting me here at CTTB, she told me how healthy she felt after eating pure vegetarian food during her stay here. At the same time my younger sister had been diagnosed with diabetes, and we were all worried about her.

就在那週的前幾天,我在《金剛菩提海》上面看到一則故事﹕一位母親發願,祈求觀世音菩薩,讓她的孩子恢復健康,她發誓要終生茹素。我告訴母親這則故事,然後問她要不要為妹妹瑪奺芮做同樣的事情,祈求觀音治癒她的病而回報以終生吃素? 我告訴她,我不知道會不會有效,說不定沒效。但如果她想要的話,可以試試看,看結果怎麼樣。她同意這樣做,祈求觀世音菩薩治癒我妹妹的糖尿病,恢復健康,她本身就繼續只吃素。

Earlier that week, I had read a story in Vajra Bodhi Sea, in which a mother prayed to Gwan Yin Bodhisattva to restore her child’s health, and vowed to be a lifelong vegetarian in return.  I told my mom this story, and asked her if she wanted to do the same/ to pray to Gwan Yin Bodhisattva to  heal Marjorie of diabetes, and to promise to be a life -long vegetarian, in return.  I told her that I wasn’t sure if it would work…it might not work, but if she wanted to, she could just experiment, to see what happens. She agreed to do this…to prayerfully request Gwan Yin Bodhisattva to help my sister to recover from diabetes ….and to continue to eat only vegetarian food.

一個月後,當我妹妹再去看醫生的時候,醫生跟她道歉說,他們看錯了。目前測試的結果,顯示她沒有任何糖尿病的跡象。

A month later, when my sister went for her medical check-up, the doctors apologized, said there was some mistakes, and that current test results showed that she had no signs of diabetes.

我想我母親相信醫生所說的診斷錯誤。我本來也很懷疑,可是時日一久,我聽到許多令人振奮、奇蹟似的得到佛菩薩不可思議的幫助的故事,我不禁懷疑「是醫生真的診斷錯誤呢? 還是觀世音菩薩回應了一位母親衷心的祈願?」 阿彌陀佛。

I think that my Mum believed the doctors, that they made a mistake in their diagnosis. I too was skeptical at first, but as time goes by, I have heard  so many inspiring and magical testimonials/stories of people receiving miraculous help, and I often wonder “did the doctors actually make a mistaken diagnosis, or did Gwan Yin Bodhisattva answer a Mother’s heartfelt plea”?
Amitofo!

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