我受菩薩戒的因緣和故事

鍾果菊講於2015年4月3日星期五晚  萬佛城大殿

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諸佛菩薩,師父上人,各位法師,各位善知識,這裏輪到果菊和大眾結法緣,今晚我想分享關於我受菩薩戒的一些因緣和故事。如有講錯,請慈悲指正。

記得1995年,師父入涅槃後不久,有水陸空大法會,在萬佛城傳在家菩薩戒,那時候戒子要去法界佛教總會各分支道場上戒律課。然後分支道場的負責人會將合格的戒子推薦到萬佛城,不像今天所有的戒子都是集中在萬佛城上課。

那時我經常去柏克萊學習,實法師每週給我們上戒律課,上完六重二十八輕在家菩薩戒後,實法師問我們關於學習的內容有沒有問題,我就問他,關於我的情況,我母親80多歲了,她也經常和我一起去柏克萊寺,法師也知道我女兒才五歲,每次我母親或者我女兒生病,我要帶他們去看去看醫生,每次我跟我上司請病假,要早點離開公司,但我從來也沒告訴他我其實是帶我家人去看醫生,那我想問這樣算不算犯了菩薩戒裏的妄語戒呢?

實法師回答我,就算照顧好家人是我應盡的責任,我依然還是違反了戒律,他教導我盡量要提前講清楚自己的情況,不要含糊不清的打擦邊球,他要求我從此以後用直心辦事,要真誠。我答應了,我會和主管請正常的假期.但是這種情況下如果我請假當天,同部門如果有人在我之前已經休假,我就不可以再休假,因為公司規定每個部門一次只允許一個人休假,我之前之所以不和主管講清楚,而是跟他說我要請病假,因為病假不算在正常休假天數裡。接下來我也需要時間參加法會

從前這點考慮,我想我當時還沒有足夠福報來受菩薩戒,也許等到我母親往生了,還有我女兒長大了,我再受菩薩戒,想到這樣的情況,我覺得很遺憾我要錯過那次受戒的機會。

隨著法會日子越來越近,我問我主管我可不可以請8天的假,去萬佛城參加水陸空大法會,我主管說我沒有那麼多休假時間,他不批准。那我問他這段時間我不拿薪水,是否可以讓我離開,他很不情願的同意了,並說,只此一次,下不為例。如果下次還有這種情況,他就會辭退我。聽他這麼說我非常不開心,也很擔心會失去這份工作。但是想到要來萬佛城,我就把這樣不愉快都放在一邊,心裡很期盼法會。我每天向觀世音菩薩,師父上人頂禮,希望我可以因緣成熟來參加法會,我也求觀世音菩薩,如果這次我就可以受菩薩戒的話,希望她給我一個靈瑞的預兆,一個感應。

法會當天我記得是禮拜五晚上,我車裏有六個人,一對從卡加利來的夫婦,兩個柏克萊的法友,我同修果及,加上我。我們到了聖塔羅沙,離聖城還有一個小時的車程,晚上六點鐘,路上塞車很嚴重,我們開得很慢,大家都很焦急,如果一直開這麼慢,我們擔心可能會遲到,趕不上七點半的法會。我把眼睛閉上,默默地念佛。

坐在身邊的朋友忽然指著左邊的車窗叫我看,我看到天空中放出很亮的光,那個光有五種顏色。大概有五分鐘,那個光圈裏,現出觀世音菩薩站在裡面,我們六個人歡呼雀躍,激動的熱淚盈眶。我們當時很想立刻就從車裡出來向觀世音菩薩頂禮,但是路上還是很塞,我們不可以停下來,而且也沒法拍照,相機在後車廂裡。然後光裏一直都有觀世音菩薩跟著我們的車大概有十分鐘。觀世音菩薩樣子就變成坐在蓮花台上。

10分鐘後,交通好些了,我們趕緊把車停在緊急停車道,然後全部出來,向觀世音菩薩恭敬頂禮。我們頂禮完,那個光和觀世音菩薩就漸漸消失了,我們把相機拿出來就只能拍到一點點紅光,到今天我都還留著那張照片。我們後面的車看到我們一群人跑出來又跪又拜的,他們大概以為我們瘋了,精神有問題。我一直想知道,那天在路上到底有沒有其他人也看到這麼奇妙的景象。

因為那天觀世音菩薩示現,滿了我之前的祈求的願,讓我們看到這麼殊勝的境界,我知道我是時候受菩薩戒了,我得到很大的鼓舞來受戒,那八天在聖城我覺得很清淨。在法會期間,聖城有四個壇分別有誦經,我選擇參加梁皇寶懺,整個法會都非常莊嚴殊勝,不可思議。可以參與其中我極其歡喜。如果我主管不批准我假的話,我就沒辦法來參加,那我也會失去這個稀有的機會,不知道要等多久才有下一次。我很感激我主管,我把功德迴向給他。

當我回到公司,你們可能猜不到我會遇到什麼事,我主管對我的態度180度轉變,變得非常好,對我的要求也變得很隨順。他還跟我說,從今以後,任何時間只要我想請假,只要把我的要求寫在他記事本就可以了,無論我要請病假還是正常休假,都沒有問題,我很開心一切都變得這麼順利,我主管這麼慷慨的滿我的願。這樣子,我就不用擔心,在照顧我們母親和我女兒時候,會去觸犯到妄語戒的問題。

之後其實還有很多神奇的事情發生,不久,克林頓總統通過了一項關於家庭看護的法律,就是允許工作的人利用病假去照顧家人,包括自己的父母,配偶,子女。加上之前我主管的善意,和這條新法律,我怎麼都不用擔心會犯戒了。

總結來說,當我們非常認真非常誠心去持戒,想要避免犯戒時,佛菩薩會加持我們,支持我們,讓我們有因緣可以受戒,我們可以持好戒的同時,也可以履行我們的責任來照顧好家庭。

也許這也是佛菩薩的安排,讓我之後不再工作。2003年,我在公司已經工作了23年,那時候我公司要搬去(加州首府)沙加緬度,而我住在(舊金山東灣)阿拉米達,我不想搬那麼遠,所以就辭工不再工作,這樣我就可以多些時間來學習佛法,還有到寺廟幫忙。

我還有一個故事,關於我在歐洲認識的一位法友,2008年,兩位比丘,10位比丘尼被邀請去德國參加一個會議,旅途中僧團決定到歐洲其他地方弘法,旅途最後,URI團了有個人知道實法師還待在歐洲,她就邀請法師去芬蘭講法。

在芬蘭,我遇到一位越南法友,她告訴我她經常讀上人的書,聽卡帶裏上人的開示,講法,她說她有的書和卡帶不太多,她翻覆聽了很多遍卡帶都有些壞了。

當她知道上人弟子到芬蘭講法,她就了來聽。她說她很想來萬佛城來頂禮佛菩薩,上人,但是她當時機緣不成熟,我建議她誠心的向觀音菩薩,上人頂禮,求佛菩薩滿他的願。

我回到美國後給她寄了一些上人的書和CD。我們一直都有保持電話聯繫。2009年,聖城傳在家菩薩戒,有一個禮拜學戒課程。她知道了這個消息,就聯繫我,希望我幫忙,幫他填表格。但是那段時間我跟實法師和代表團去了中國。

當我回到美國後,我發現菩薩戒接受申請的最後期限已經過了,我去找負責這件事的法師,問這種情況是否可以破例,因為這個戒子住在芬蘭,在美國她只認識我一個人,那法師聽了我解釋,很慈悲決定破例接受她的申請。

她得到批准後就到聖城來學戒受戒,一年之後,她女兒考上san diego大學。她女兒畢業之後,在美國找了份工作,她就搬來和她女兒一起住,在這期間她經常來聖城參加觀音七,地藏七和佛七,我相信,一個人只要他真的想修行,佛菩薩一定會滿他的願。

All Buddhas, Bodhisattva, Venerable Master, All Dharma Masters, and all good knowing advisors. My name is Gwo Ju. This is my turn to share the Dharma affinity with the assembly.  Tonight, I will share with you the story and conditions that led me to receive the Lay Bodhisattva Precepts. If I say something wrong, please kindly correct me.

I remember the year 1995.  After the Venerable Master entered Nirvana, there was a Water, Land and Air ceremony.  Then there was a transmission of the Lay Bodhisattva Precepts at CTTB.  At the time, the preceptees attended classes at their individual DRBA branches.  Each branch manager would give recommendations for those who qualified to receive the precepts at CTTB. Unlike today, all preceptees are gathered to have classes at CTTB.

During this time, I frequently came to Berkeley to learn Buddhism. Dharma Master Sure taught us the precepts every week.  After finishing the course of 6 majors and 28 minor Bodhisattva precepts, Master Sure asked if we had any questions regarding the precepts we had just learned.  I asked him about my situation. I have 80 plus year old mother who often came with me to the Berkeley Temple.  Master Sure knows that I also have a 5 year old daughter. Each time my elderly mother or my young daughter get sick, I would have to take them to the doctor. Every time I would have to ask my supervisor at work to leave early. I never clarified that the doctor appointments was for my family. My question is, have I violated the precept of lying in this case?

Master Sure replied that although this is my duty to take care of my family, I still have committed the offense according to the precept. He taught me to always be upfront and not be vague about my circumstance.  He asked if I stay on a straight path and be truthful from this day forward. I said yes, I would have to ask my supervisor to take vacation time. However, if someone else claimed the day off before me, I was not able to take it because each of our work department, only one person can take vacation at a time. I was being vague since I thought my sick leave time does not count as vacation time.  I needed time off to attend the ceremony.  At this point, I thought maybe I don’t have enough blessings to receive the Lay Bodhisattva precepts.  Perhaps I would have to wait until my elderly mother go through rebirth and my younger daughter to grow up before I can take the precepts.  With this in mind, I still felt very unfortunate to have to miss the opportunity.

As the ceremony day got closer, I asked my supervisor to take 8 days off to attend the Water, Land and Air ceremony at CTTB. He told me I didn’t have enough vacation time and he cannot approve my request. I asked if I could take leave without pay. He agreed reluctantly for this time only and said if it happens again, he would fire me.  Upon hearing this, I was not happy at all and was very worried about losing my job.  But thinking about going to the CTTB, I put aside my worry and look forward to the ceremony.  I would bow to Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva and the Venerable Master every day for my affinity to ripened in order to get to participate in the Dharma Assembly.  I also prayed to Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva to give me a sign if I have condition to receive the precepts at this time.

When the day came, I remember it was a Friday evening. In my car, there were 6 people total including a couple from Calgary, 2 friends from Berkeley, together with my husband Gwo Ji and myself.  When we reached Santa Rosa, there was still about more than one hour drive to CTTB. It was 6pm. There was heavy traffic, we moved very slowly. We were all very anxious and afraid that if we kept moving slowly, we could not make it in time. The ceremony was to start at 7:30pm. At this time, I just closed my eyes and silently recite the Buddha’s name.

A friend sitting beside me pointed out at the left window for me to see. I saw a big bright light emitting from the sky with 5 different colors. For 5 minutes that bright light spot had Guan Shi Yin standing inside it.  All six of us were very happy and were moved into tears. We wanted to get out of the car to bow to the Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva. However, due to traffic we could not stop the car.  We were not able to take any pictures either because the camera was in the trunk of the car.  The light carried Guan Shi Yin followed us for about 10 minutes. Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva changed to a sitting position in the lotus.

After another 10 minutes, traffic got better. We pulled over to the emergency lane and 6 of us got out of the car, we faced the Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva to bow to her respectfully.  When we were finished bowing, the light with Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva faded away. By the time we got the camera out, we could only take the picture with the red light remaining. I still have the picture with me. The cars behind us saw the whole event of the kneeling and bowing. They must have thought we all had some mental problems. I wondered if anyone else on the highway saw the amazing image of Guan Shi Yin that we just witnessed.

Having experienced the miraculous sign, the appearance of Guan Shi Yin responded to my prayers. She gave me the message that I would take the precepts at this time. I felt very encouraged to take the Lay Bodhisattva precepts. Throughout the 8 days at CTTB, I felt very pure. During the ceremony, there were 4 halls to recite the sutras at CTTB at the same time. I chose to attend the hall of the Emperor Liang Jewel Repentance. The whole ceremony was very magnificent and adorns which was indescribable. I was so delighted because I was able to attend such a wonderful ceremony at CTTB, I thought without the permission from my supervisor for taking the time off, I would not have been able to attend it.  I would have missed this rare opportunity and not know when I would get another chance again. I was so grateful to my supervisor that I transferred the merit and virtue to him.

When I returned to work, you would never guess what happened with my job. My supervisor changed his attitude towards me completely. He was very kind and easy going with any of my requests. Furthermore, he told me from now on, whenever I wanted to take the day off, I just have to write the request down in his notebook. If I wanted to take sick leave or vacation time, it would all be fine.  I am so happy things went so smoothly and that my supervisor was very generous to grant my request. In this case, I don’t have to worry about breaking the precepts for telling lies for taking sick leave to take my mother or my daughter to see the doctor.

More wonderful things occurred after all that has already happened.  Not too long after, President Clinton passed the law about Family Care. It applied to workers allowing them to use sick leave to take care of their family including of their parents, spouse and children. With my nice supervisor’s kindness, plus the new law, I would never have to worry about violating the precepts.

In conclusion, when we are very serious and sincere about upholding the precepts and want to avoid violating the precepts, the Buddha and Bodhisattva will bless us and support us to have conditions to receive the precepts.  With the encouragement from the Bodhisattva, we all will be able to uphold the precepts and be able to fulfill our responsibilities with our family at the same time.

Maybe the Bodhisattva also arranged that I had to finish with my work as well. After being with my company for 23 years, in 2003, the company moved to Sacramento. I live in Alameda. I would not be able to follow them that far, therefore, I had to stop working for them. In this way, I would have more time to study Buddhism as well as to help out with the temple affairs.A mi to fo.

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