向觀世音菩薩學習反聞聞自性

比丘尼近祥講於2012年8月9日星期四晚 萬佛城大殿 A talk given by Bhikshuni Jin Xiang on August 9 (Thursday), 2012 at Buddha Hall of CTTB

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All Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, the Venerable Master, all DMs, and friends in the Dharma, Amituofo, tonight is Jin Xiang’s turn to tie Dharma affinities with all of you.

諸佛菩薩、宣公上人、各位法師、各位善知識:阿彌陀佛!今天由近祥和大家結法緣。

Guan Yin Bodhisattva is one of the most remembered figures in the Buddhist world. Three celebrations a year attest to how this Bodhisattva is dearly regarded. Have you wondered how you remember somebody? For example, how do you remember your mother or a close friend? If we form a good relationship with somebody, we would remember that person for his or her kind acts or kind words. What if the question were turned around: how would you get other people to remember you? Or how did your past-life enemies remember you?

在佛教中,觀世音菩薩是大家最熟知的一位大菩薩之一。一年三次的觀音法會可以證明他多麼受大家的愛戴。你知道為什麼你特別地記住某一個人嗎?譬如說,你如何記住你的媽媽和一位好友?如果你對某一個人有好的印象,你就會記住他;因為他的慈言善行讓你記得他。如果我們換位思考,你怎樣能讓別人記得你呢?或者過去世的冤敵記住你呢?

I notice that normally during a Dharma session, there are more plaques in the Rebirth Hall than in the Lengthening Life Hall. The plaques in the Rebirth Hall are for the deceased ones; they could be your ancestors from your father’s or mother’s side; they could be your good and wise advisors from past lives; they could be for a recently-deceased one so that he or she could be reborn in the Pure Land. It appears to me that one group of deceased ones for which people usually set up is past-life enemies. As I contemplate on the popularity of Guan Yin Bodhisattva, I realize that there are two aspects of establishing affinities with people, that is we establish connection with other people through enmity or through kind acts and words. We have these two choices, through hatred or through kindness.

我注意到,每次法會期間,往生堂的牌位總比延生堂的多。往生堂的牌位是為死者立的;這些人可能是你父母親的親族祖先,也可能是過去世的善知識,也可能是最近往生的人,能有機會往生淨土。我發現到有一組是專為累劫冤親債主所立的牌位。當我觀察最受大家歡迎的觀世音菩薩時,瞭解到和大家結緣有兩方面:一方面是彼此反目結的惡緣;另一方面是善言善行所結的善緣。我們有這兩種選擇,我們是要和大家結善緣,還是起瞋恚心?

In fact, kind words and beneficial acts are two of the four key methods of attracting living beings as prescribed by the Buddha. Guan Yin Bodhisattva is a specialist in forming good relationship with beings. Ordinarily, we describe a person who has this ability as a well-rounded person or an easy-going person. Guan Yin responds well to good and bad people equally, with the single purpose of enlightening them. You might say that it is not fair that evil and unwholesome people should receive help, and that they should receive appropriate retribution. But Guan Yin doesn’t care since his mind is unconditioned. In other words, he is unbiased and he has no expectation for reverence or thanks.

事實上,在佛的教導裡有愛語、利行;正是四攝法中兩種攝受眾生的方法。觀世音菩薩是與眾生結善緣的專家。通常我們形容一個人有這種能力時,我們說這個人非常圓融,或者很好相處。事實上,觀音菩薩沒有區別地救助好人、壞人,只希望他們能夠醒悟。你可能會說,這樣不公平呀,每一個人應該得到他們所應得的報應;可是觀世音菩薩的心是不偏不倚的,他沒有想要得到對方的尊敬和感謝。

Here is a story to illustrate this. This story appeared in a book by a writer named John Blofeld in his 1977 book titled Compassion Yoga. The word yoga here means spiritual practice. The story was told to the author by a Taiwanese diplomat in Bangkok. This officer had learned how to recite Guan Yin‘s holy name in his young days because of his mother’s influence. His mother was a devoted wife and mother, besides being a wonderful person. After twenty years of marriage, she even provided her husband with two charming concubines. Even though she was not jealous for months, when one of the ladies took over and made herself the First Lady and humiliated his mother, the mother felt hurt. Feeling hurt, she turned to Guan Yin for solace and prayed to be reborn in Guan Yin’s paradise. Soon she passed away.

現在講一個故事來說明這一點。這個故事出於1977年約翰•布勞菲德寫的《憐憫靈修》這本書裡,是一位臺灣駐曼谷的外交官講給作者聽的。這位外交官在很年輕時,因為受到他媽媽的影響,而持誦觀音菩薩的聖號。他的媽媽是一位非常盡職的妻子和母親,是一個很好的人;在結婚二十年之後,甚至還為她的先生找了兩個迷人的小太太,可是她卻沒有嫉妒心。幾個月後,兩個小太太中的一位喧賓奪主,取代了他母親的位置並欺負她。她的心裡受到了很大的傷害,於是投向觀世音菩薩,希望尋得安慰,並希望能往生到觀世音菩薩的樂土。不久,她就往生了。

Because of this turn of events, this man turned against Guan Yin for taking his mother away, and he stopped chanting Guan Yin’s name. After the mourning period, he married a girl of whom his father did not approve. His “second mother” also made attempts to undermine his relationship with his wife. This only doubled the hatred he had harbored for his stepmother who drove his mother to death. And he became obsessed with getting rid of this “pretty monster.”

The following year, at the time of sweeping the ancestors’ tombs, the whole family went to a cemetery outside of Canton. They chose an isolated spot away from the crowd to have the meal. Out on a stroll nearby the area, the official quite by chance came upon his stepmother, giving him the perfect opportunity to get rid of her right then and there. As he got closer to her, she instinctively knew his intention, yet she did not scream or draw back. Instead she stood very still and with a smile said “Jiu ku jiu nan pu sa lai!” which means “Bodhisattva who saves [all] from suffering and who saves [all] from harm, come!”

因這件事情,這位外交官認為是觀世音菩薩奪走了他的母親,因此不再稱念聖號。之後,他結婚了,但他父親不喜歡這個女孩子,也不許可和她結婚,但他堅持和她結婚。他的繼母常常用陰險的手段,暗中破壞他和他妻子之間的關係。本來,因為母親的死亡,他對繼母就懷有恨意,現在又雪上加霜,使他加深了對繼母的恨意。於是,他處心積慮的地要除去這個妖姬。

第二年,掃墓的季節時,一家人到郊區的墓園去掃墓。他們避開人群,選了一個偏僻的地方用餐。在閒逛時,正巧碰到他的繼母走過來;天賜良機,當場他可以致她於死地。他看著繼母走過來,他也走近她;繼母這時感覺到了他的企圖。可是,她沒有大喊大叫,也沒有退縮,而是面帶笑容,平靜地站在那裡,口裡念著「救苦救難菩薩」來。

Finding her praying, the man started to laugh with an open mouth, with his hands raised to grab her, but found himself paralyzed. His stepmother, with a smile, thanked him “for coming to her aid” and left him there. Within seconds, he regained his mobility. That woman, as cruel as she was, escaped from death by relying on Guan Yin’s power. Guan Yin’s compassion extends to the worst of evildoers, though of course Guan Yin never assists them in their pursuit of evil. Always she attempts to turn evil to good.

當他發現繼母在祈禱求救時,外交官就開口大笑起來,同時伸出雙手去抓她。突然間,他感到全身麻痹不能動了;而繼母在一旁冷笑,說著「謝謝來幫忙」之類的話。然後離開了。過了幾秒鐘,他的身體才能活動。這麼殘酷的女人,仍然可以憑藉觀世音菩薩的慈悲力,死裡逃生。觀世音菩薩慈悲地庇護無惡不作的人,但菩薩不會支持他們的惡行;觀世音菩薩總是希望人們能改惡趨善。

This official resumed his Guan Yin recitation that very day, thanking her for not committing the murder,

Another surprising thing was that the stepmother did not interfere between him and his wife any longer. Ever since her life was spared, she had committed no further vicious acts. It may be that the Bodhisattva has not only saved her life, but also drawn her away from the path of cruelty and malevolence.

外交官從那天起,開始堅持念誦觀世音菩薩的聖號,並感激菩薩的加被,使他沒能殺人。另一件很奇怪的事情是,繼母再也沒有干預他和太太之間的事情;而且從此後,繼母改變了,也不做那些殘暴的事情。觀世音菩薩不但救了她的生命,還幫她從殘酷和狠毒的惡行中,走出來。

As the story shows, we all have this good nature within us that needs to be invoked. When encountering oppressive conditions with others, how can we overcome them? One way is to look within us and change our faults first, then try to look for the good points in others. With our good hearts, wish the best for others. Share all the merits gained with our enemies. If we do not want to establish past-life enemies in our future lives, wouldn’t it be better off if we build good connections with people in this very life?

從這個故事,我們得知每個人的內心深處,都有善良的一面,但需要召喚出來。在面對與人敵對的情形時,又該如何克服呢?一個方法是自我反省,改變自己,找對方的優點,用我們的善心去祝福別人,把功德迴向給冤敵。如果我們不想再樹敵,為什麼不在今生廣結善緣呢?

The chapter in the Lotus Sutra is called The Universal Door Chapter, because Guan Yin Bodhisattva is universal. Guan Yin Bodhisattva’s compassion encompasses time. He has been known for generations throughout centuries. He encompasses lands, as he is known everywhere, from China, Taiwan, Malaysia, to Sri Lanka, Burma, and the Americas. He encompasses all classes of sentient beings, because he connects with other Bodhisattvas, Arhats, gods, humans, and nonhumans. Guan Yin’s method is also universal, in that he realized awakening through the ear organ. The ear organ is called a perfect sense faculty, because it has the full range of being able to make contact with sounds, its sense object, in any direction—that is 360 degree all around. But what Guan Yin listens to is not the external sounds, but to his hearing nature.

《觀世音菩薩普門品》是《妙法蓮華經》中的一品,為什麼稱為《普門品》呢?因為觀世音菩薩普門示現,跨越時間、地域,無論在中國、臺灣、馬來西亞、錫蘭、緬甸、美洲,每一個地方都有他的足跡。觀世音菩薩也跨越眾生的種類,和菩薩、羅漢、天王、人、非人聯繫。觀世音菩薩通過耳根獲得圓通;為什麼用耳根呢?因為耳根是非常靈敏的器官,可以聽到來自四面八方,360度的各種眾生的求救聲。但觀世音菩薩聽聞的,不是外在的聲音,而是來自每個人自性中的聲音。

The Universal Door Chapter is full of miracles that Guan Yin Bodhisattva performs with ease.  But the miracles he performs are not conjured up randomly. They are performed with wisdom and through his vows. Guan Yin Bodhisattva does not grant wishes merely to fulfill people’s wishes. It is true that throughout time and history, the Bodhisattva never fails to grant wishes, but his ultimate goal is to take all of us ignorant beings to the ultimate shore of Nirvana.

《觀世音菩薩普門品》有很多菩薩隨時示現,救度眾生。但這些奇跡並不是隨機出現的,是依靠觀世音菩薩的智慧和願力。縱觀歷史上各個時期,觀世音菩薩對眾生不僅有求必應,但他最終的願望是度化愚癡眾生到涅槃的彼岸。

The Universal Door Chapter has the following verses:

If someone is in trouble with the law,

And on the verge of being executed,

If he evokes the strength of Guan Yin,

The knives will break into pieces.

If someone is imprisoned, shackled, or chained,

Or if his hands and feet are in stocks,

If he evokes the strength of Guan Yin,

His bonds will open and he will be free.

The Universal Door Chapter of the Lotus Sutra contains principles that a logician may find it hard to grasp. How is it possible for Guan Yin Bodhisattva to break the knives, shackles, and chains? This is not ordinary tricks of a magician. It is only possible because Guan Yin Bodhisattva has broken the INNER knives, shackles and chains. Master Han Shan explained it this way: Bondage arises from greedy attachment. Since the Bodhisattva is freed from sense objects, they do not attract him. In other words, he cannot be bound by them. He has gone beyond form, feeling, cognition, karmic formation, and consciousness, which altogether make up our personality. We cannot forever dwell on the things that keep us in bondage. Like Guan Yin, let us reverse our hearing, listen to ourselves, and think everything over. May we all use our forgiving hearts to go beyond petty things and attain Bodhi, the highest of all aspirations.

在《普門品》裡有如下偈頌 [「若遭王難苦,臨刑欲壽終,念彼觀音力,刀尋段段壞。若囚禁枷鎖,手足被杻械,念彼觀音力,釋然得解脫。」這其中的境界,在邏輯上不能解釋。觀音菩薩如何把刀段段壞、枷鎖打開的呢?這可不是魔術師的小把戲。奇跡發生的原因是,觀世音菩薩已經衝破了內心的無明枷鎖和杻械,因此憨山大師在詩中寫道 :「繫縛生於貪著,今既離塵,則自不著矣!」也就是說,觀世音菩薩不貪著,所以也不會受根塵的繫縛。他已經超越了色、受、想、行、識,這些構成人性格習氣的染污。我們不能永遠著住在那些繫縛我們的東西上,要向觀世音菩薩學習反聞聞自性,達到最高的境界 —— 證得菩提。

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