「不爭」對我的影響

Brooks Hansard講於2011年10月5日星期三晚 萬佛城大殿 A talk given by Brooks Hansard on October 5 (Wednesday), 2011 at Buddha Hall of CTTB

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晚安,各位法師、各位善知識:我今天晚上要講的題目是上人的開示,關於這個「不求」。

當我第一次聽到上人開示的時候,有幾件事情對我影響最大,其中兩件是六大宗旨裡面的。第一個是不求,第二個是不自利。第三個,是在我聽到上人開示裡面的不攀緣。一直到那個時候,我從來沒有聽過「不攀緣」這個名詞,因為他不在我的生活的一部份。可是一旦我聽到這個名詞的時候,我就開始去想它。我記得我在二零零三年第一次聽到的時候,我是受了它極大的影響。

我感到最有興趣的就是,一直到那個時候,我都不知道這三個宗旨,顯示了我在修行路上最大的障礙,因為我從來沒有從這三個原則的鏡子來看我自己。我看我自己一向都是從我們社會上一般的角度來看。在這個社會上,我們是被教導了我們應該去求,而且在競爭非常激烈的社會,我們要成功的話,我們也應該要自私,也要自利。然後我們也被教導,我們假如有機會,利用機會的話,我們就可以成功。所以呢,攀緣是利用機會的一種。我從來沒有想到過,有這完全不同的另外一種方式生活。

在那個時候,當我剛剛學習這些宗旨的時候,我回頭看我自己的生活。一直到這個時候,我了解,從來沒有一個任何的時間,我不是在追求我自己的利益,不攀緣。這個因為是我生下來就是被教導要這樣做。所以我跟自己講,是不是有可能在沒有這些情形之下,我們還可以活得好?

我整個的性格,都是以這種追求、自私跟攀緣做基礎。所以假如我不做這些事情的話,那我還是誰呢?假如說我不做這些事情,那麼難道這就是人生嗎?是不是可以有另外一種方式生活?我問自己。

我雖然很被這三大宗旨吸引,可是我從來不知道為什麼,一直到我聽到實法師有一次講法提到為什麼。我聽到後,才了解我被這三個宗旨所吸引,是因為它們是心理上的。因為我在大學,我的主修科目是心理學,所以我一直都是非常有興趣,對於一個人的心海如何的運作。而大多數的心理學家,最終都是非常有興趣來找到什麼是使我們生活可以快樂的。因為那個原因,許多心理學家今天都對佛法有興趣。

我對心海的興趣,讓我在大學裡面學心理學,所以也對佛法有興趣。可是我一直想要了解的是,為什麼人會不快樂?所以當我聽到佛的四正道頭兩個聖道的時候,我了解佛告訴我們最後的解答。我們不快樂的原因,是因為我們腦子裡面都充滿了欲望,充滿了執著。可是在一個世界是一直變化不永久的世界。因為這個世界的不永久,所以我們永遠得不到滿意。Tanha,這個梵語是欲望,就是會帶我們到dukkha,就是苦、不滿。所以從一個心理學的觀點來看,我們可以了解佛是最好的心理分析家,可以帶我們到最終的快樂。

所以就跟我所了解的四聖道裡面的頭兩個正道,那麼上人的三大宗旨,不求、不自利、不攀緣,也是同樣的是心理上面的觀念。所以當我聽到這些上人的教法的時候,我馬上可以清楚地了解,腦子裡面不同的貪是我們不能得到真正快樂的原因。所以我應該對這些有所改變,對我自己有所修正。

我必須說,在這個三個大宗旨裡面,我最喜歡的是「不求」。因為不自利與攀緣都被包括在「求」」裡面。最主要的原因,我對這個不求,有特別的好感是因為它把我們人類最大的弱點暴露出來。就是說,我們總是在求分散我們心神的事情。

這個弱點,尤其是在今天的社會裡面,特別地普遍。為什麼呢?因為今天的科技使這些分心的事情更容易做到。每天我們的六根都被這些六塵,不同的分心的事情來轟炸。大多數的人每天都被一種或多種的事情來使他們的心神分散。譬如說,在網路上面找尋,或是同時你在聽音樂、看電視,或者是送短訊給你的朋友等等,這些都是使我們分心的。

那麼為什麼我們會永遠地保持著一直在做這些不同的事情呢?我想是因為我們是在一個更深的程度來講,我們的心是非常非常地不滿。我們不願意面對我們自己的不滿,所以我們要找這些分散我們心神的事情,最終我們是想從這些分散我們心神的事情裡面,來逃離面對我們自己的心。

在這個社會裡面,我們無時不在找不同的分散心神的事情,來把我們心神占住。所以,在這一直不停地找的時候,我們把自己忘掉了。這些分散心神的事情,對我們的修行是一種真正的阻礙。因此能夠培養不求,才能夠真正克服這些阻礙。假如我們一旦不求以後,我們就能夠回到我們的本心,然後開始改變它。

我們在一直找的時候,就是說,為什麼我們一直找,因為我們覺得我們缺乏。因為從我們經驗裡面,我們有這個欲望;有了欲望,我們就要求。然後在我們求的時候,就自動地知道我們的心裡面不滿意。一個人心裡面假如說是完全滿足的時候,我們沒有理由去求。所以修行不求就是修行我們內在的自滿。所以不求,是一個很有力的力量來解決第一聖諦裡面的苦。

當我們求的時候,這個求的動作在我們的腦海裡面是很微細的層次。我們不太會了解它,覺察它。這個層次就跟這十二因緣有關係。在十二因緣裡面第十個因緣,梵文裡面叫bhava,在英文裡面翻譯成「有」,或者是「繼續」。所以當我們在追求的時候,我們的心不在當下,而跑到將來去了。當我們在將來的時候,我們對目前就覺得不滿意。

當我們求的時候,這個求有兩個意義。一個是繼續,一個是變成別的東西。繼續是因為我們現在在第十的因緣裡面,假如現在我們覺得很舒服的話,我們希望繼續;假如我們對現在的情形有厭惡的話,我們希望把它變成一個不同的東西。假如繼續的話,在十二因緣,我們就抓住一個,跟我們三毒裡面的貪有關係。可是我們要變的話,就跟三毒裡面的癡有關係。所以當我們的心有所抓住的時候,那麼我們就是一直在有所求的狀態之下。

所以假如我們能夠在bhava(有)的反面的話,就是說,我們的心怎麼可以停在這裡不繼續,不變呢?因為能夠達到那個地步的話,我們就會因為我們對目前非常非常滿意,所以我們就不變,也不希望繼續。所以當一個人沒有願望去繼續現在的經驗,或者是變成一個不同的經驗的時候,那我們對將來就沒有要求;假如沒有要求的話,我們的心就會滿足。然後在目前的情況之下,我們不會有需要去到將來的一種地步。

上人這三點開示對我來講,不僅是三個宗旨而已。上人開示讓我看到一個整個不同的方式我們可以生活,這個是跟我在社會裡面長大的情形完全不一樣。現在我知道,我們可以真正地得到一種內在的價值觀,內在的安寧。所以我知道,這三點對我們來講,是絕對地重要,能使自己找到內心的平靜與安寧。抱歉,使各位耽誤了一點時間。阿彌陀佛。

The Venerable Master’s Teaching on Not Seeking 

Good evening all Good and Wise Advisors. Amitofo!

When I first came across the Venerable Master’s teachings, there were a few of his teachings that influenced me the most and that I became very attracted to. Two of them are part of his 6 Guiding Principles. The first is the principle of not seeking. The second is the principle of not pursuing personal advantage. The third is his teaching that we shouldn’t “climb on conditions.” Up until that point, I had never even heard of the term “climbing on conditions.” Because it was not a part of my vernacular, I wasn’t aware that such a concept even existed. Once I was given a term for it, I was then able to consider it as a concept. I can still remember reading about these three principles back in 2003 and how strongly influenced I was by them at the time.

What was interesting for me while I was reading about these principles was that they revealed to me the ways in which I was most obstructed on the Path, and something of which I was totally unaware of before that point. You see, I had never looked at myself through those lens before. Rather, I had always looked at myself through the lens of our society. In society, we are taught that it is good to seek. Moreover, in this competitive world of ours, we are taught that the only way to succeed in life is by pursuing personal advantage. We are also taught that we should be opportunistic so that we can get ahead in life, and that the way to do that is by climbing on conditions. Never had I ever considered that there could actually be a different way of thinking and behaving, a different way of viewing and interacting with the world.

At that time, while learning about these principles, I reflected on the life I had lived up until that point, and I realized that there had never been a single instant in time when I had not engaged in seeking, in pursuing personal advantage, and in climbing on conditions. That was all I had ever known. I thought to myself, “Is it even possible to NOT be like that? My entire personality has been built around seeking, pursuing personal advantage, and climbing on conditions. Who would I be if I stopped doing those things? Moreover, what would there be to actually do if I stopped doing those things? Isn’t that all that there is in life? Is it really possible to live a life where you don’t do those things???”

I never deeply understood why I was so attracted to these three teachings until I heard a Dharma talk by Reverend Heng Sure one day, in which he explained the reason why. Through his talk, I came to realize that I was attracted to those three teachings because they are psychological. You see, I was a psychology major in college. I’ve always been interested in the mind and how it works. Most psychologists, ultimately, are interested in finding out how we can find happiness in our lives. For that reason, many psychologists today are very interested in Buddha Dharma. My interest in the mind not only led me to majoring in psychology, but it also led me to having a keen interest in Buddhism. I wanted to understand, “Why is there unhappiness?” When I learned about the the first two noble truths of the Buddha’s 4 Noble Truths, I realized that he provided the ultimate answer to that question. The reason why we are unhappy is because our minds are full of desires and attachments in a world that’s impermanent. Because it’s impermanent, we can never be satisfied. Tanha, craving, leads to dukkha, discontentment. From a psychological perspective, one could even see the Buddha as the ultimate psychotherapist, truly knowing how to guide one to achieve happiness.

In the same way that the first two Noble Truths are psychological, the three principles taught by the Venerable Master—not seeking, not pursuing personal advantage, and not climbing on conditions—are also psychological. When I came across these teachings, I was able to see very clearly how these activities of the mind are aspects of greed and how if I actually want to find true, lasting inner peace and happiness, I should work on changing these vices within myself.

I’d have to say that my most favorite teaching of the three is ‘no seeking,’ partially because pursuing personal advantage and climbing on conditions contain seeking within them. The main reason I have a particular liking for the guiding principle of ‘not seeking’ is because it exposes one of our greatest weaknesses as human beings—that is, seeking after distractions. This weakness is especially prevalent in today’s society. How so? Well, technology makes it so we are constantly being bombarded with sensory stimuli and distractions. People are constantly preoccupied with one thing or another using today’s technology—whether it be surfing the internet, listening to music on their ipod, watching tv, text messaging their friends, updating their facebook status, tweeting, playing video games, etc. Why do we constantly keep ourselves engaged with these different activities? It’s because we are seeking distractions. Why do we seek distractions? It’s because, at a deep level, our minds are profoundly discontent. We don’t want to deal with our discontentment directly, so in order to escape from it, we keep ourselves constantly distracted through the use of technology. Ultimately, we are seeking ways to escape from our minds. There is no moment in the day when we aren’t seeking after something to preoccupy our time. In this way, we are constantly engaged with seeking–seeking after distractions in order to forget about ourselves. These mindless distractions are a real obstacle to the Path, and the practice of not seeking can really help us to overcome this obstacle. Once we are no longer being distracted, we can then return our attention to our own minds and begin the work of transforming them.

Seeking involves trying to get something that you are presently lacking. First, we experience a craving or a hankering for something, and then after that we seek after it. If we are involved in seeking, then that automatically implies that our minds are discontent. A mind that is completely content would have no reason to seek. Therefore, to practice not seeking is to cultivate inner contentment. In that way, practicing not seeking is a powerful way to counteract the first Noble Truth—dukkha or discontentment.

The act of seeking occurs at a very unconscious, imperceptible level in our minds. It is directly related to one of the 12 links in the Buddha’s teaching on dependent origination. The tenth link is called bhava in Sanskrit. In English, it is translated as becoming or continuation. The way in which seeking is related to this link is through its involvement in moving the mind’s attention away from the present and into the future. When we seek, we are always seeking after something in the future, because of the fact that in the present we feel discontent.

Seeking reinforces continuation and becoming, because continuation and becoming are the movement of the mind into the future. Regarding the 10th link, bhava, what I find interesting about its English translation into the words continuation and becoming is that these two words mean two very different things. Continuation means staying the same as time progresses. Becoming means changing into something different as time progresses. Yet, whether a person experiences a change or continuation, seeking reinforces both. In the case of continuation, the mind seeks to have its present pleasant state continue on into the future. This involves clinging to the present experience, which is the first of the 3 Poisons–greed. In the case of becoming, the mind seeks to have its present unpleasant state become a state that is no longer unpleasant in the future. This involves having aversion to the present experience, which is the second of the 3 Poisons–anger. When a mind has clinging, it seeks to continue that experience into the future. When a mind has aversion, it seeks to have that experience become something different in the future. Yet, the key word in both of these statements is the word ‘seeks’. For that reason, a mind that’s constantly involved in seeking reinforces this particular link within dependent origination.

What I find also equally interesting is the opposite of bhava, that is, to not become or continue. How could the mind stop becoming or continuing? In order to do that, it would have to be completely content in the present moment, without any tanha, or craving. If a mind didn’t have craving, it would not cling to pleasant experiences or have aversion to unpleasant experiences. If a mind doesn’t have clinging, it will not have the desire to continue the experience into the future. If a mind doesn’t have aversion, it will not have the desire to make the experience become something different in the future. Once there is no desire to continue an experience or to make it become something different, there will be no seeking after a future state. If there is no seeking, that means one’s mind is completely content in the present moment and does not feel a need to move its attention away from the present and into the future.

This brings up another point, which is the way in which not seeking causes our attention to return to the present. There is real value in this. For this reason, as a practice, not seeking really benefits meditation, in that it requires the mind to be focused on the present moment. If the mind is seeking, that automatically implies that it’s focused on the future, and not focused on the present. The only way to have a mind that is not seeking is by remaining focused on the present. Moreover, as we know, if the mind is not focused on the present, then there is no way we can ever hope to attain samadhi. Therefore, not seeking indirectly promotes samadhi. In my opinion, to the same extent that seeking reinforces the 10th link of dependent origination—bhava, not seeking reinforces being mindful in the present moment, and ultimately, therefore, reinforces samadhi. Not only that, but as mentioned before, it also reinforces inner contentment, which, when brought to the ultimate point, becomes nirvana–the ending of outflows.

The Venerable Master’s teachings on not seeking, not pursuing personal advantage, and not climbing on conditions offered me a much larger teaching than just these specific principles. They showed that it is possible to live in a way that is completely different from how we have been raised and taught in modern society and from how our society is run. Before encountering his teachings, I didn’t know that there was any other way of living without seeking, pursuing personal advantage, and climbing on conditions. Before that, I always thought that those ways of being were just facts of life, the only way that humans could ever be. Now I know that it is possible to be more than that, to actually have inner virtue at a very deep level of our minds. Now I know what is required and absolutely indispensable in order to truly find lasting inner peace and happiness.

1 則迴響於《「不爭」對我的影響

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