Analects of Master Kuang-chin

广 钦 老 和 尚 - 开 示 法 语 录

Analects of Master Kuang-chin

 

目录                    Contents

 

1.  修行                                   On practice                                                                                                                 

 

2.  守戒                                   On Keeping the Precepts                                                                                           

 

3.  念佛                                   On Reciting the Name of the Buddha                                                                         

 

4.  读经                                   On Reciting the Sutras                                                                                               

 

5.  我相                                   On the Sense of Self                                                                                                  

 

6.  放心                                   On Calming the Mind                                                                                                 

 

7.  忍辱                                   On Forbearance                                                                                                         

 

8.  是非                                   On Gossiping                                                                                                             

 

9.  做事                                   On Work Ethics                                                                                                         

 

10. 习气                                  On Habitual Patterns                                                                                                  

 

11. 粗衣淡饭                          On s Simple Life                                                                                                        

 

12. 臭皮囊                              On the Foul Body                                                                                                      

 

13. 西方                                  On the Pure Land                                                                                                      

 

 

        广钦老和尚 (一八九二一九八六)福建省惠安县人, 因家贫幼时即与人为养子, 未受教育故不识字。二十七岁于泉州承又寺出家, 苦行念佛十余年始受比丘戒, 后入山中独目潜修十三年, 禅定功夫深厚。一九四七年来台, 先后创建广明寺、承天寺、广龙寺、广承岩、妙通寺等道场, 度众无数。

 

            Master Kuang-ch'in 1892-1986 was born in Hui-an Country of Fu-chien province in China. He was given up for adoption when he was four and was not educated, hence, illiterate. He became a monk at the age of twenty-seven, but did not receive the formal bhiksu monk precepts until the age of forty-two. Meanwhile, he practiced asceticism and recitation of the name of Amitabha Buddha. After receiving the full bhiksu precepts, he dwelled in a cave in the mountains where he practiced meditation alone for thirteen years, attained an elevated level. He came to Taiwan in 1947 and founded several monasteries, among them the Cheng-tien Temple of Taipei and Miao-tung Temple of Kao-hsiung. He had inspired a great many people into the dual practice of Zen and Pure Land doctrines.

 

 

 

 

1. 修行                  On Practice

 

我们从无始以来, 所造的业就像山那么高, 如今来修行, 就是要消这些业若不好好修, 反而更造新业, 这座业障山就越堆越高, 会使我们永远无法跳出生死圈

 

The negative karma we have accumulated in the eons has grown as high as a mountain. The purpose of practice is to eradicate such karma. If we fail to practice diligently and continue to create more negative karma, that mountain of obstruction will grow to ever more formidable height, baring us from escaping the cycle of birth and death.

 

修苦行就是在洗头脑, 换种子一洗掉贪、瞋、痴的凡夫种子, 换上慈悲喜舍的佛菩萨种子。

 

Ascetic practice means cleansing our minds, or replacing the bad seeds within us: washing away the seeds of greed, anger, and ignorance common people cling to, replacing them by lovingkindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity, which are the seed of buddhahood and bodhisattvahood.

 

苦行不是简单的! 修苦行是修心, 一切都不计较, 日常生活中不起分别心, 就是修苦行。

 

Ascetic practice is no easy matter! In our daily lives, we must train our minds to abstain from calculations and from discrimination. That is the essence of ascetic practice.

 

修行谈何容易? 要想当一个修行人不是那么简单的。我们贪、瞋、痴、慢、疑未断, 现在只是藉着领执事来磨练我们的心智, 等断了贪、瞋、痴, 才能算入道。

 

To practice, or be a practitioner, is easier said than done. As we are all subject to the common ailments of greed, anger, ignorance, pride, and doubt, let us carry out monastic duties with a purpose to train our minds and untie ourselves from such fetters. Only if we have attained that can we set out on the path of practice.

 

修道是去除贪、瞋、痴, 使身、口、意清净。

 

The purpose of practice is to eliminate our greed, anger, and ignorance so that our deeds, words, and thoughts will be pure and clean.

 

不去除贪、瞋、痴的人, 无法开智慧。

 

Wisdom will not unfold for those who do not eradicate their greed, anger, and ignorance.

 

如果贪着于(色)、声、香、味、触、法, 也是不能开智慧。

 

Likewise, those who cling to the pleasure of the six gunas sense objects, i.e. sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, and ideas can not unfold their wisdom.

 

带来的业, 善少恶多, 所以才要修苦行, 以期消业障

 

Most of the karma we are born with are negative, few are virtuous. Therefore, we must practice asceticism to eradicate our karmic obstructions

 

唯有去掉坏念头, 正念才会现前, 才能断烦恼

 

Only after we have expelled evil thoughts can right mindfulness come to the fore and steer us away from Klesa vexations, i.e. attitudes, views, emotional states, or conditions, arising from attachments, that cause suffering or disharmony.

 

苦行是修道的助缘, 所以历代祖师、文殊、普贤、观音、地藏菩萨等, 无不以苦行为行愿。今天我们来修行, 就应该学菩萨的愿力, 依菩萨苦行的愿心去修。

 

Asceticism is a great help in support of practice. Thus the great patriarchs and Bodhisattvas Manjusri, Samantabhadra, Avalokitesvara, and Ksitigarbha all took asceticism as their vow and practice. Now, in our practice, we ought to follow their determination, treading the paths of the bodhisattvas.

 

虚云老和尚朝山时, 赤足、一只椅、背包袱, 度饥过日, 朝到那里算那里, 明天的事明天再说, 心无挂碍, 所以龙天护法都在护持。我们就是没有愿力, 如果有的话, 什么事都可以做得到。

 

When Master Hsu Yun set out on his pilgrimage, he left bare-footed, took along only a stool and a simple bundle, and passed many a day with scanty food. He would just follow his path, never worrying about the next day. since his mind was free of clinging, all the dragon kings and devas safeguarding the Dharma protected and maintained him. We simply lack such determination; or else there should be nothing we might not accomplish in our practice.

 

〔野鹤无粮天地宽〕, 它随处而飞, 飞到那里就停到那里, 是最〔自在〕的一种鸟。修行就是要像这样, 随处而安, 动静无挂碍; 心能寂静, 如如不动, 才是真 〔定〕 。

 

"Wild cranes seek no fodder: the wide world is theirs." They fly and rest as they please and are truly "free." Our practice ought to be like that: tranquil wherever at rest or in action. Come what may, our minds should remain still and unmoved. Such is the state of "samadhi perfect absorption."

 

修行要有境界来才有得修, 要能自己去参悟, 去断除烦恼, 才能开智慧。譬如有人刺激我们时, 心中自然平静, 不起烦恼, 这就是修行。

 

Expect and embrace obstacles! For without them, we can not make progress in our practice. Only when we comprehend the true nature of adversity and be free of vexations would our wisdom unfold. For example, when provoked by someone, our minds nevertheless remain tranquil, calm, and free of vexations. That is the essence of practice.

 

修行要 〔做人不做的〕, 才能消业增福, 所以要发心, 要勇猛精进, 不要和人计较 〔这不是我的事, 我不愿意做〕, 和世俗人一样斤斤计较。修行不是〔算行〕, 不是用算的、计算的, 算算人家做多少, 我做多少, 这样不是修行的意思, 不能修福慧。

 

Practice means "doing what others won't;" only in this way will we be able to eradicate karma and raise merit. Therefore, we should vow to practice diligently. Let us not argue with others and refuse to take up tasks because "That matter is no concern of mine," bickering as worldly persons are wont to do. Practitioners do not haggle, do not calculate how much work "they" have done as opposed to "I." Such behavior undermines practice and would not facilitate the advance of merit and wisdom.

 

修行是要找回我们本来面目, 也就是父母未生我们以前的 〔那个〕。这你们还不能了解, 因为智慧还没有开, 就像月亮被乌云遮住了, 本来的面目就显不出来。

 

Practice aims at retrieving our true nature: "that certain state" in which we were before we were born. You fail to understand this now because your wisdom has not yet unfolded. It is like the moon veiled by dark clouds: its true nature, although shining, can not be seen.

 

修行不争对不对, 即使自己对, 人家偏说你不对, 你也要接受。凡事能承认自己不对, 就不会起烦恼, 否则心不安, 烦恼立刻跟着来。

 

Practitioners should not quibble over who is right or wrong. When accused of being in the wrong, accept it even though you know you are right. If you are ready to admit mistakes, you will remain untroubled; if not, your mind will be disturbed and vexation will follow.

 

 

修苦行是要训练自己能舍身, 要体会出这个身是假的, 一定会坏, 再怎么照顾也照顾不好, 所以不要过于执着这个身体。再说 〔舍身〕, 舍身是什么? 就是要粗衣淡饭, 生活简单, 不追求吃 好穿好。修行要先从这些衣食住的放下、淡泊修起。

 

Ascetic practice means training yourself to "renounce your body" i.e. renouncing physical desires and cravings. You should realize that no matter how well you take care of it, this body is unreal and will eventually decay. What does it mean when we speak of "renouncing the body?" It means to dress unobtrusively, to eat plain fare, and in general to live a moderate life. Stop craving for lavish clothes, meals, and living conditions is the first step into practice.

 

修行的路要越苦, 才会开智慧。不是希望人家对我好, 否则和世俗没两样。

 

The harder the path of practice, the closer to enlightenment you will be. Do not expect people to treat you well, otherwise you shall be no different from a lay person.

 

修行要学吃亏, 凡事忍让不计较, 才会有进步

 

Learn to take losses or be taken advantage of without resentment. Strive to be tolerant rather than calculating so that you may progress in practice.

 

〔常自见己过, 与道即相当。〕 一个越有修行的人, 越会发觉自己的缺失而觉得惭愧忏悔。

 

"Keep constant watch over our own transgressions, and we will not stray from the right path." The more we practice, the easier it will become for us to discover our own shortcomings and feel remorse.

 

修行要修到动静无挂碍。什么叫做动静无挂碍? 就是在动境中心不动, 不被 〔动〕 转; 而静时也没有 〔静〕 的念头, 不执着 〔静〕 相。

 

Practice to remain tranquil and unfettered whether in action or at rest. What does this mean? It means that while you are active, your mind should stay calm and unswayed by your concerns; but while you are at rest, you must not cling to the idea, or to the appearance, of "motionlessness."

 

〔念佛扫尘埃, 莲花朵朵开。〕 就是说修行人要有正念, 随时以念佛转我们的心, 把恶念都转为正念。

 

"Sweep the dust by reciting the name of Amitabha Buddha, and the Lotus will flourish." This stanza means that we practitioners ought to be guided by right mindfulness, purify our minds and turn all evil thoughts into proper ones by incessant recital of the Buddha's name.

 

凡事要随缘, 任何事都不能扰乱我们修道人的心。所有衣食住行、是非荣辱, 皆要放下; 如此外缘清净, 心中智慧自然开朗。平常心就是道! 每天保持不起烦恼, 也不起欢喜心, 对人不好也不坏, 随缘和人结善缘, 但不要变成攀缘。时时刻刻注意自己的起心动念, 有坏念头马上要提醒自己。

 

Take everything as it comes; nothing ought to disturb the mind of a practitioner. Forgo your cravings for worldly goods such as lavish clothes, meals, housing, cars, as well as all your sense of judgment, praise, or blame. Once you have untied yourself from physical and mental distractions, wisdom will unfold. Conduct your daily lives in an unobtrusive fashion--the path is the wisdom of ordinariness. Also, abstain from both vexation and exultation. Treat others neither overly kind nor too harsh. Foster good karmic affinity with others when occasions arise but do not court their favor. Be forever on the watch over your own thoughts and take note whenever an evil notion arises.

 

 

修行要自己亲身修, 修到有体悟了, 悟到娑婆世界的苦、轮回的苦时, 智慧就会开显, 悟到一条, 就是个灵灵觉觉的智慧光明。

 

The only way to grasp the essence of the Dharma is to practice in person. Once you have truly understood the bitter misery of both living in this world and the perpetual wondering through the cycle of rebirths, your wisdom will unfold. Increasing awareness will then lead you on to the path of supreme enlightenment.

 

修行修到有智慧时, 头脑自然很清晰灵敏, 无论碰到什么事, 都能做得圆满无碍。所要度化众生, 必须自己先自度, 才不会误导众生, 同时别人也会欢喜接受。

 

Once you have obtained wisdom through practice, your mind will become clear and keen, than you shall be able to complete all your tasks satisfactorily and without obstacles. Therefore, to deliver other beings, you must first liberate yourself lest you should lead them astray. Then, people will more readily accept your teaching.

 

修行要有恒常心, 非一蹴即成, 若没有下点工夫, 以念佛来除妄念, 要想开悟证果是没有那么容易的! 要从日常生活中去行持, 信、愿、行, 一句佛号执持下去, 自然会明心见性。

 

Practice requires perseverance; do not aspire to any instant enlightenment. Without reciting the name of Buddha continuously thereby removing omnipresent illusions, how can you hope for any attainment? But if you exercise faith, dedication, and practice reciting the name of the Buddha continuously, even during your daily round, you will quite naturally arrive at an enlightened mind and at the realization of the Buddha-nature immanent in all beings.

 

修行人不管到那里都要保持平常心, 都能无挂无碍,渍净自在, 而修行就是要修这一点 〔自在〕

 

Come what may: the mind of a practitioner ought to remain calm, unfettered, and unobstructed. Indeed, it is at the attainment of such "complete freedom" that our practice aims.

 

修行要靠自己去行, 才会有真实的领悟, 所谓: 〔如人饮水, 冷暖自知。〕 要自己去行, 才会有真工夫。

 

In order to attain true comprehension of the Dharma, you must practice yourself. Just as they say, "He who drank it knows whether the water was cold or warm." Go ahead and practice yourself; only then may you have genuine attainment.

 

好的学起来, 坏的搁一边, 自己心里明白就好, 借境修忍辱。 因为修行不论是与非, 有理与无理, 是要看你碰到境时有没有烦恼。

 

Emulate the good examples given by others, ignore the bad. Keep your sense of right and wrong to yourself. Unpleasant circumstances are propitious for the practice of forbearance. Practice is not about judging who is right or wrong or who has more reason. Rather, the strength of practice lies on whether you can remain undisturbed under challenge.

 

若你已将地扫干净, 师长却说你没扫干净, 这时你若辩解, 就是在论是非争对错, 还没有脱俗。如果你能接受说: 〔好! 我再把它扫干净!〕 这就是修行。

 

It may come to pass that the master blames you for not having swept the floor even after you have indeed done so. If you object, debating right and wrong, you will not yet be in any way different from a lay person. If, however, you accept the reproach, answering, "Fine, I shall sweep it again," you have set out into practice.

 

 

〔忍辱〕 修行才是根本, 依此去做, 到那里都能感化人, 因为修忍辱能生德行, 能度瞋恚, 故人见生欢喜, 自然能摄化众生

 

"Forbearance" is fundamental to practice. If you forbear with others, you will be able to reform people wherever you go because forbearance brings forth moral conduct and forestalls resentment. As people enjoy your company, you will quite naturally attract them toward practice.

 

要修忍辱! 〔忍〕 是我们修行的根本, 奴果不能忍, 则徒具出家人的外表, 所以不要以为自己做的都是对的。 〔我见〕不除, 无法修忍辱。

 

Practice forbearance! This is the root and foundation of our practice. If you lack forbearance, you are a monastic practitioner in name only. Therefore, do not presume that you are right in whatever you do. If you don't abstain from seeing everything your "own way," you can never practice forbearance.

 

修行是向内修学, 不是向外追求, 要内心自然法喜, 而不是外面环境好才生欢喜。所以要观照自己的心, 不要让这个 〔心猿意马〕去攀缘外面的环境; 要修到 〔我没有怎么样〕, 才是老实修行。

 

Practice means looking inward and gain awareness of your own mind, not going after matters of the outward world. Instead of tying your happiness solely on agreeable circumstances, your mind should naturally fill with dharmic joy from practice. Guard yourself against capriciousness and indecision lest your mind should come under the sway of external conditions. If you can abstain from attachment to the form and sense of "self," you are honestly treading the path of practice.

 

修行要修到慈悲相, 眼神让人看起来很和蔼慈悲, 这样才能吸引众生来信佛学佛修行

 

In your practice, strive to personify lovingkindness and compassion. This must radiate from the expression in your eyes and let people sense that here, indeed, is a kind, compassionate person. Only then will you be able to summon people toward faith in the Buddha, learning and practicing Buddhadharma.

 

如果有一个人修成就了, 那么其他人也会得到福荫, 而且人人都会起勇猛心向他学习。所以既然每个人都想修行, 有缘聚在一起共修, 就应该彼此互相提携勉励; 否则是非、嫉妒、愚痴心起, 不但会扰乱众人的 〔道心〕, 自己也不能安定修行。

 

In group practice, if one attains a certain level, all others benefit. They will be inspired to follow his/her example and practice vigorously. Since all of you wish to practice and karmic affinity has brought you together, you ought to help and encourage each other along the way. If, however, you allow sentiments of judgment, jealousy, and delusion to flourish, it will not only affect your companions' resolution but will also impede your own tranquility in practice.

 

修行要修智慧, 但也要修福。常存慈悲心, 尽量方便帮助别人的困难, 布施接济, 与人广结善缘, 福、慧双修。

 

Practice aims at unfolding wisdom, but you ought to cultivate merit as well. Be forever merciful and compassionate, try your best to help those in need and foster good karmic affinity with others. This, then, is the dual practice toward gaining both merit and wisdom.

 

修行要福、慧双修, 修到老时, 福、慧具足, 一切自然成就。

 

Set out with the dual practice toward gaining merit and wisdom. As you get on in life, gradually attaining both, you will quite naturally reach the ultimate goal of practice.

 

要怜悯一切众生, 要想到他们和我们一样, 也是来修行、来种善根的, 所以要发慈悲心, 行菩萨行, : 〔情与无情, 同圆种智。

 

Be merciful to all beings. Remember that they, like us, were born into this world so as to practice and plant good seeds. Therefore, be merciful and compassionate. Tread the bodhisattva-path and wish that: "May all beings, sentient or otherwise, acquire buddha-wisdom."

 

信徒拿东西到寺里布施供养, 是为了求褔, 不管拿的东西是好是坏, 即使只是摘一根草来, 我们也要以欢喜心接受。最重要的是不能对东西起分别, 因为一分别, 就会对好东西起贪念, 对坏东西嫌弃起烦恼, 甚至造口业而障道修行。应该随缘处理这些东西, 运用智慧把不好的东西做适当调理或处置, 如此则褔、慧双修。

 

Worshipers bring offerings to the temple with the intention of seeking merit. You must not assess these offerings at their merit. You must not assess these offerings at their material value. Whatever is offered, if only a blade of grass, we should accept with joy. Most important of all: do not distinguish the offerings; for as soon as you do, you would desire the good ones and despise the bad. You might become vexed or even create negative karma through sneering at them hence spoil your practice. Handle the offerings as they come, use your wisdom to make the best out of them. Such will then be in keeping with the dual practice toward attaining merit and wisdom.

 

要做一位菩萨, 不可以存着 〔自己好就好, 别人不管他〕 的心理。凡事以利益别人为前提, 自己吃亏没关系, 如果事事只想利益自己, 无明烦恼就会一大堆。

 

Those who wish to tread the bodhisattva-path must never think, "As long as I myself am doing fine, what are the others to me?" It is indeed the others whose welfare should always be foremost on your mind--even at your own expenses. On the other hand, if you only look after your own concerns, endless delusive vexations will follow.

 

出家人慈悲为本, 方便为门, 一切菩提道果都是从慈悲中生出来的

 

Monastic practitioner ought to be kind and compassionate to all beings while providing them with expedient guidance for practice. Remember, all bodhi fruits grow out of lovingkindness and compassion.

 

以后师父不在, 不必担心修行没有人指导, 只要照师父的话一念佛修苦行, 道心坚固, 不执着六尘好坏, 一切随缘。能这样做, 就如同师父在时一样。

 

After I am gone, there is no need to worry that no one would guide you in your practice. Just remember what I told you: reciting the name of the Buddha; practice diligently and with firm determination; abstain from the pleasures of the six senses; adapt yourselves to circumstances rather than insisting on your own way. If you are able to do so, it will be as if I were still among you.

 

听师父开示, 觉得很好, 但这个 〔好〕 是师父的境界, 至于我们自己的道行, 还是需要依照师父的开示, 自己去体会、去实修、去实证。

 

You might enjoy a great deal listening to your Master's expositions and feel them quite agreeable. However, such "agreeableness" reflects the stage reached by your Master. As for your own lever of attainment, it depends on how much you put those teachings into practice. Only through such a process will you be able to fully comprehend and verify their truthfulness and usefulness.

 

听开示不在于听得多不多, 而是在于听得进或听不进。即使听进去了, 也还要会随境应用, 才能得到法益。

 

True listening does not rest in how much you have listened to your Master but in how well you have listened. Even if you have listened well, you would benefit only if you  can apply properly what you have heard to the circumstances you come across.

 

我们修苦行, 是在藉各种事境, 磨练我们的身心, 破除无明烦恼, 洗涤俗染习气, 锻炼各种能耐, 并不是做了一点劳力事就叫做苦行。出家不要怕吃苦, 不要怕逆境! 只有在苦中才能历练我们、开发我们的智慧。

 

We who chose the path of ascetic practice ought to regard all circumstances and hardships as good opportunities to discipline our minds and bodies. Such training will help to cut off our delusion and vexations, to cleanse our habitual patterns, and to toughen us against all resistance. Merely performing laborious tasks in the temple certainly does not turn us into ascetics. Therefore, you who have left home for practice ought not to be afraid of hardships. Only through overcoming continuous adversities can we discipline our minds and unfold our wisdom.

 

〔无苦不成道〕 一修苦行要有真切愿力, 而有愿力必能行, 自然对一切粗贱的工作, 不会去分别计较, 都会很尽心的去做, 甚至不感觉痛苦, 而这一切也都是在磨我们的傲气, 消我们的业障。所以修行不要怕苦, 有苦才有行好修, 无苦就没有道行可言。

 

"Without hardships, there can be no attainment in practice." Walking the path of asceticism requires firm determination. With such will-power, you naturally will not discriminate against tasks assigned to you. Instead, you will carry them out devotedly without even considering them as menial, for such tasks will wear down your pride and help to reduce your karmic obstructions. Therefore, a practitioner ought not to be afraid of , nor try to escape from, hardships, for without them there is nothing to practice on hence no attainment to speak of.

 

人生有八苦一生、老、病、死、爱别离、怨憎会、求不得、五蕴炽盛苦, 及一切贪、瞋、痴的苦毒逼恼。一般人每天就是被这些无明烦恼业转来转去, 痛苦不已, 如果没有以佛法来对治, 从修行上下工夫, 是无法得到解脱的。

 

There are eight kinds of misery from which we constantly suffer: birth, aging, disease, death, separation from loved ones, company of hated ones, failure to obtain what we desire, and all the ills of the five skandhas form, sensation, perception, volition, and consciousness. In addition, we are also vexed by our greed, anger, and ignorance. Unenlightened as we are, we totter from day to day under the full sway of such delusive and afflictive karma, suffering immensely. Without diligent practice under the guidance of Buddhadharma, we can never be liberated.

 

我们人道是四生中最灵的, 若不懂佛法因果, 为了一己的贪欲, 想吃肉就任意宰杀, 这样会造下很严重的恶业。你看! 当我们在杀那些动物时, 他们也知道死苦, 哀哀而鸣, 而这哀鸣就是怨恨, 杀了它, 我们就与它结下了冤业, 将来冤冤相报, 生生相杀, 永脱不出生死轮回。所以学佛的人要戒杀、长养慈悲心, 即是这道理。

 

Among the four forms of birth, the spiritual level of human beings is the most elevated. However, if we do not understand the Dharma and the principle of causality, we might kill animals just to satisfy our desires of eating meat. This will create very severe karmic obstructions. Listen! As we butcher those creatures, they, too, know the pangs of death and will scream out miserably, and those are screams of resentment. If we kill them anyway, we shall come under the sway of this negative karmic affinity. This will start a vicious cycle of killing and revenge, barring us forever from escaping samsara. For this reason, a Buddhist should faithfully keep the precept against killing, cultivating a compassionate mind instead.

 

人身难得! 我们得到了这个人身, 是要用来修行的, 要藉这个人身来了生死、成佛做祖; 不要再依这个人身又造贪、瞋、痴的恶业, 贪好吃、贪美服、贪享受、贪子孙儿女, 在六根尘中做梦, 不知回头修行, 等到失去这个人身的机会时, 轮回就有我们的份了。要知道, 畜生道中, 牛、马、猪、狗等都是我们人去做的, 地狱、饿鬼道也是我们人去投的, 一切都是我们这个心所造成的, 所以说, 由这个人身可修行成佛做祖, 亦可造业堕六道轮回。既已出家, 就该依着佛法, 找到一条修行的途径, 看能不能由此超出生死轮回, 脱离娑婆之苦。

 

Among the six divisions, our human existence is by no means easy to attain! The idea, though, is that we should grasp this unique opportunity for practice so as to break out the cycle of birth and death and ultimately reach buddhahood. Do not accumulate additional negative karma through our greed, anger, ignorance, and endless pursuits of tasty food, lavish clothing, worldly pleasure, children and grandchildren, etc. If, instead of diligent practice, we remain attached to the six sensual objects and lose this precious opportunity of human existence, we will be forever confined to samsara. Be aware that human beings can easily be reborn as animals like cows, horses, pigs, dogs, etc., hell-beings, or hungry ghosts. Where we end up depends on where we put our minds. We can either utilize this human existence to practice in the hope of attaining buddhahood, or to create more negative karma hence confine ourselves in the six divisions of rebirth. Since we all have chosen to leave home for practice, wouldn't it be suitable way to escape the entanglement and torment of samsara?

 

我们出家, 是身心都要出家, 真正发出离心, 不要与世俗过分攀缘。譬如俗家父母亲人来探望, 失们应与之谈论佛法, 以佛法接引、度化他们, 不可流于俗情, 否则爱别离苦的情执不断, 俗心便不能除, 以玫僧不僧、俗不俗, 成为障道因缘。

 

When leaving home for practice, both your body and your mind should "leave." In other words, genuine renunciation means you ought to have as little secular entanglement as possible. In case your parents or relatives come for a visit, discuss with them only Buddhadharma so as to convert and deliver them. Do not indulge in the sentiment of parting from loved ones.

Otherwise, you will be a monastic practitioner in name only. And such attachment will surely become a great impediment to your practice and to your attainment of total liberation.

 

这世间, 什么都要看破, 不但财不能贪, 名也不能贪, 娑婆世界没有一样东西是可留恋的。我们出家人更要舍下世俗的一切, 粗衣淡饭苦行, 身做常住的事, 利益大众, 心要寄托在道业上, 才能妄念不起, 业障自消, 心无挂碍。能够这样安份地一天过一天, 就是老实修行。

 

Relinquish all aspirations to secular gains! Not only must we part with our greed for wealth, but likewise with our hankering after fame. In fact, there is nothing in this world with which we should be reluctant to part. We monastic practitioners should go even further: consuming only plain food and clothing, devoting ourselves to our tasks in the monastery for the benefit of all beings, and keeping our minds solely on practice. Only through such ascetic practice can we eradicate our karmic obstructions and free our minds of illusive ideas as well as other disturbances. If we live our lives, day in day out, in this manner, we are truly treading the path of practice.

 

修行要修心, 心要怎么修? 就是不去分别, 没有执着, 没有烦恼。一般人不晓这个道理, 凡事论好论坏、分是非、别爱僧; 而我们修行人, 不论是对、是错、是好、是坏, 不管是耳朵听到的, 还是眼睛看到的, 心都不可以起分别、执着, 也不可以起烦恼, 这才是修行修心。出家人如果还一天到晚说这个人好, 那个人不好, 论是论非的, 则徒具修行的外表而已。像这个样子身出家, 心未出家, 与道不相应。其实不管对不对、好不好, 只要我们会感到别人不好, 这个不对, 那个不对, 就是我们的眼根不清净, 耳根不清净, 在分别好坏, 而这种 〔分别好坏〕 真接人心, 会使我们起烦恼, 不能了生死。

 

The essence of practice is to train the mind. How, then, shall be proceed? First, train our minds to abstain from discrimination, attachment, and vexations. Most people, not realizing this principle, are prone to distinguish good and evil, right and wrong, love and distaste. Practitioners, on the other hand, ought to abstain from discriminating what we see or hear, not to become attached to, or vexed by, them. Such is the practice of training the mind. If a monastic practitioner carries on the habit of gossiping around and judging people, then he/she is a monastic practitioner in name only. Such behaviors are not in tune with the Dharma; in fact, they only reflect the impurity of our eyes and ears. Such "discrimination," though involuntary, will nevertheless defile our minds, create vexation, and lead us astray from the path of liberation.

 

菩萨的度化众生是没有色相的, 都是在默默之中, 自自然然的感化。至于众生能不能受到菩萨的度化, 就端看众生能否真实信愿皈依。因为菩萨有慈悲度众生的 〔因〕, 而众生要有受度化的 〔缘〕,  〔因缘和合〕, 这就是所谓的 〔感应道交〕 。就像观世音菩萨, 每日端坐佛殿, 无所为, 却以大慈大悲, 摄受了无数信心祈求的众生, 由信而入佛法大海。

 

Do not anticipate any specific form through which bodhisattivas deliver sentient beings. The process of deliverance often occurs quietly and naturally. Whether sentient beings can be delivered depends on the degree of their faith, resolution, and willingness to take refuge in the bodhisattvas. While the compassion of bodhisattvas to deliver is the primary cause, deliverance can not take place without the secondary cause, i.e. the vow and dedication of those who wish to be delivered. In other words, only when the two causes correspond will deliverance be possible. Take Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara Kuanyin for example. Sitting high up on the altar, the Bodhisattva appears to be motionless. However her compassion and mercifulness have been providing relief to many who prayed for help and, in response to their faith, guiding them through the practice of the Dharma.

 

修道人不谈佛法, 而谈俗事, 这非出家人的本分。把在家的俗事一分别、计较、竞争拿来出家用, 拿到佛门来论是论非, 俗气未断, 怎谈得上修行?

 

Instead of chattering on worldly matters, we monastic practitioners ought to discuss only about the Dharma. Otherwise, how can there be any "practice" to speak of if we carry on the discriminating, calculating, and competitive demeanor and gossip like lay people do?

 

一般做父母的, 总是希望子女长大成人以后有一番作为一读大学、攻慱士、赚大钱、吃好、穿好、住好, 对儿女企望得很深切。可是等到做儿女真的有所成就,却常见他们抛弃父母不顾, 这时做父母的, 希望就落空了。但很多人仍然不能就此觉悟, 甚至到最后一口气快断时, 还想着: 〔 我的儿子, 我的儿子, 我的孙子!〕 哀哀怨怨地挂碍着儿孙。由于这种爱情爱别不能放下, 六道轮回之苦也就逃不了。所以说做父母的人, 对儿女的这种期待、执着、挂碍, 就是生死轮回的根源。

 

Most parents wish for their children to grow up to have a bright future: college education, doctoral degree, wealth and success, etc. Unfortunately, many turn their backs on their parents after attaining success. But these parents, failing to realize its futility, continue to place their hope on their children. For many, their concern of, hence attachment to, their children and grandchildren would never cease, not even to the moment of their last breath. They do not realize that such deep affection will confine them to the six divisions of rebirth. Their expectations, attachments, and concerns are the very cause of their lingering in samsara, hence the sources of their perpetual misery.

 

〔贪爱世间一枝草, 就要再来轮回〕 一枝草代表娑婆世界的一个事物。贪着娑婆世界的事物, 就要再来娑婆轮回。一枝草也表示一个念头, 只要有念头, 就不能超出三界。所以即使所贪着的事物, 所动的念头, 只是一枝草那么轻贱、微不足道, 都会使我们再来轮回。

 

Buddhists believe that "Craving for just a blade of grass, and it will guarantee your remaining in samsara." A blade of grass stands for an object of this world, and desire of which will result in your rebirth into it. A blade of grass also represents a thought, ad possession of which will prevent you from transcending the three realms of sentient existence. Even if the object you desire or the thought you have is as trivial as a blade of grass, it is nevertheless powerful enough to confine you in the cycle of birth and death.

 

做人要惜福, 不可蹧弃任何可吃可用的东西, 要以智慧、耐心, 将损坏的东西做适当的处理, 这样来用心垃福修功德, 才是修福、慧。

 

Regard everything you come across as a blessed reward and conserve it mindfully. Do not squander anything edible or useful; rather, use your wit and patience in handling things broken or worn. Put your mind into it, then you will set out into the dual practice of gaining both merit and wisdom.

 

〔未成佛要先结人缘〕 --我们修行人要 〔广结善缘〕, 方便帮助别人, 凡事忍让不计较。再坏的人, 甚至一只小动物, 也要以欢喜心与它结缘。没有人缘, 或是相见人不欢喜, 皆是前世没有和人结善缘所致。所以广结善缘, 将来才会有福报, 才能人见人欢喜, 也才有度化众生的善因缘。

 

"Before attaining buddhahood, be sure to foster good karmic affinity with people." As practitioners, we ought to help others the best we can, be patient and not calculating, joyfully foster good affinity with all beings--even with an evil person or an animal. If, unfortunately, you sense that people don't really like you or feel unpleasant seeing you, it is because you did not foster good affinity with them in previous lives. Therefore, be sure to foster good relations with everyone so that you may later enjoy blessed rewards and favorable affinities. By then, you will have the good karmic conditions necessary to deliver other sentient beings.

 

你看弥勒佛、布袋和尚、他的肚量有多、多慈悲! 如果一个人没有肚量, 吃不了一点点亏, 受不住别人的一两句话, 就是没有修行!

 

How magnanimous and merciful Maitreya Buddha and Putai Hoshang Cloth-bag Monk are! If we can not emulate them, i.e. we would take no losses, not tolerate any criticism, then we have not attained any level in our practice!

 

一个修行的人, 如果不精进修持, 不为常住、众人效力, 不修福德, 不修戒、定、慧, 则龙天护法必定远去, 自然业障现前, 使身心不能安定自在, 致滋生种种事端。相反的, 如果守本分, 精进用功, 则善神戒神、天龙八部来相护持, 自然心得清净、安祥自在, 才能真正安心办道。

 

If a practitioner does not practice diligently, does not work for the benefit of others, does not accumulate merits, does not keep his precepts, practice meditation, or foster the growth of wisdom, then the dragon kings and devas safe-guarding the Dharma will not watch over him. He will then be under the full sway of his karmic obstructions and all sorts of problem will arise. On the other hand, if he keeps himself well and practices attentively, all devas will come to his protection. With the mind pure and free, he will then be able to practice without distraction.

 

什么叫做庄严? 不起无明, 身心清净, 是名庄严。慈、悲、喜、舍, 行止如仪, 是名庄严。

 

What does it mean when we say that someone looks solemn and dignified? When one does not act upon ignorance and delusion, when one constantly purifies one's body and mind, he/she will acquire a natural solemn and dignified manner. When one enacts the ideas of lovingkindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity, when one conducts him/herself in good manners, he/she will look solemn and dignified.

 

修行人要 〔有上求佛道, 下化众生〕 的愿力。但在行愿当中必须要先求自度, 才有力量广度众生, 所以对衣、食、住、名利、世间情爱、执着等等, 都要看破、放下。而身心清净, 无所挂碍了, 才谈得上宏法利生。否则自身未了, 尚受世间名闻利养种种束縳, 焉能教化别人, 普利众生?

 

We practitioners should dedicate ourselves to "attain buddhahood and deliver all sentient beings." However, we must work on our own salvation first so that we may acquire the ability to deliver others. The first step is to forgo our desire to eat, dress, and live lavishly, and to forsake our secular affections, attachments, and our incessant pursuit of wealth and fame. Only when our minds and bodies become pure and free of hindrance can we begin to talk about preaching Buddhadharma for the benefit of all sentient beings. Otherwise, with our own minds enslaved by secular attachments, how can we help to free others from such bondage?

 

做为一个修行人, 对于日常生活的食、衣、住、名利等, 各方面都要看破、放下, 也就是要断色、声、香、味、触、法, 从这五蕴里面来修, 这样才不会受欲望需要的束缚羁绊. 而我们的 〔道行〕 就是从这里增长出来的。所以出了家要安于清苦、淡泊, 才好修行, 也才能让众生自然的生信心、恭敬心, 才堪作一位真正的人天师范, 度化众生, 自利利他。

 

As practitioners, we ought to relinquish all cravings for good food, nice clothing, comfortable housing, wealth and fame, etc. In other words, we can begin our practice by curbing desires stimulated by what we see, hear, smell, taste, touch, and think, thereby shake off the fetters of sensual passions. This is how the strength of our practice may grow. Therefore, we monastic practitioners ought to content ourselves with a simple life and really devote ourselves to practice. Only by so doing can we hope to win the confidence and respect of all beings and become genuine masters who, while liberating ourselves, can guide them out of their misery.

 

〔吃苦了苦, 能忍才有福。〕 我们修行, 吃的苦有多少, 了的业就有多少, 但看我们修行用功的程度而定, 所以福报是自己修来的, 不是可以对外求来的。

 

We ought to recognize that "Only through endurance can we transcend hardships, and only through forbearance can we gain blessed rewards." The amount of karmic obstructions we can reduce is proportional to the hardships we endure and the efforts we put into practice. Similarly, merits can only be earned through diligent practice, not external pursuits.

 

静坐不是枯坐, 更不能执着 〔我在静坐〕、〔我在念佛〕、〔我在参禅〕等, 这些都是 〔我相〕、〔着相〕修行。如果还有一个 〔我怎么样〕, 仍是妄想, 不得自在; 纵使枯坐千年, 就像煮石蒸沙, 仍如顽石不能了生死。行、住、坐、卧也要如此, 不着一切净, 不着一切法, 心地清净, 远离分别, 才能超出三界, 跳出生死轮回。

 

Do understand that sitting meditation does not mean sitting there idly, doing nothing. Most important of all, do not cling to the ideas that "I am meditating," "I am reciting the name of the Buddha," or "I am practicing Zen," otherwise, you will be practicing with the omnipresence of the sense of "self." If you continue to dwell on the idea that "I am doing this and that," you are still clinging to erroneous and illusive thoughts and can never be genuinely free. In this way, even if you meditate for thousands of years, the effect will be the same as cooking rocks or steaming sands--all useless in terms of getting yourself to transcend the cycle of birth and death. Forsake all forms, attach your mind to nothing, and think not of what you are doing. Also, conduct your daily activities be it moving, staying, sitting, or sleeping without clinging to any idea of purity, or dwell on any dharma. Only by steering clear of all discrimination and differentiation can you transcend the three realms and break out of the prison of samsara.

 

这个人生就像演电视剧一样, 每个人都扮演着各自不同的角色, 随着剧情悲欢离合, 喜怒哀乐的变化, 情绪也随之忽喜忽乐, 忧悲无常。而这些喜怒哀乐, 其实不过是我们在分别而已。我们看娑婆世界也是这样, 无论是顺境、逆境、善的、恶的、好的、坏的, 心境常随之起伏不定。 再加上我们无始劫以来的染习深重, 总是见恶易随, 见善难徙。所以看到恶的、契合自己习性的缘境, 就心生欢喜, 恣心纵意, 随顺而去; 而听到佛菩萨 〔难忍能忍, 难行能行〕 的作为, 却心生为难. 认为那是佛菩萨们的境界, 自己只是个凡夫, 如何学得来, 因此心生退却, 对佛菩萨只有空赞叹。结果最可惜的是, 好的没学到, 坏的却越染越深, 这就是凡夫见地, 本身没有坚定愿力的缘故。

 

Real life is very much like a soap opera in which everyone plays a role. We all have the experience of following the emotional swings of the characters of soap operas. However, we rarely sense that the ensuing sentiments, of joy, anger, sorrow, and happiness are but distinctions made by our own minds. It is much the same in real life. More often than not, we allow our distinction of circumstances or judgments of people to take charge of our emotions without even being conscious about it. Furthermore, it seems that we always find it easier to emulate bad examples than good one. This is because our delusions accumulated through the eons can easily overwhelm us. Hence, we are often swayed by circumstances befitting our sinister desires. On the other hand, how often have we claimed that "to tolerate the intolerable and practice the impracticable" is the attainment of buddhas and bodhisattvas, thereby excusing ourselves for not following their examples but merely praising them with empty words? The most unfortunate result is that we keep on ingraining bad habits while shunning the good. This is what we called the misconception of an ordinary person, and it is due largely to our lack of firm resolve to practice.

有人不了解佛法, 就随便批评修行的出家人, 也会病苦, 也有灾厄, 也是生死无常。殊不知这色身外表的病痛, 与外境上的灾厄, 虽然与世俗人等受无异, 但是这灵性的昏与明则大不同。世俗人在这般病厄灾难时痛苦不已, 怨天尤人, 命终后灵光昏昧, 为业所牵, 轮回于四生之中。而修行人却能自在的舍下这一身业尘, 一点清澈灵明的心光, 超越六趣, 直往西方, 这是大不相同的。

 

Many people, having no real understanding of Buddhadharma, are apt to comment that monks and nuns are nuns are no different from the laity: they get sick, run into troubles, and will eventually die. What they do not recognize is that even though disease and calamity attack monastic practitioners as they do ordinary people, the degree of spiritual enlightenment of the former is immensely different from that of the latter. Ordinary people, with an unenlightened mind, suffer gravely and complain bitterly upon misfortune; when they die, they are driven by karmic forces and continue to roam among the four forms of birth. When practitioners pass away, however, they would readily forsake their karmic-driven bodies and, guided by their inner light to transcend the six divisions of rebirth, go straight to the Pure Land.

 

今生能得富贵, 是过去生中布施而得之福报。而此生在享受福报时, 如果没有无常的磨难, 种种的挫折来历练, 会很容易沉迷其中, 不知醒悟, 不知求出世解脱之道。等福报享尽时, 便随所造作的其他业缘, 再受永无休止的轮回了。

 

The reason that some people are affluent and prestigious is because they have accumulated a great deal of merits through generous giving in previous lives. However, there is a catch taking pleasure from such rewards. Without suffering from impermanence and all sorts of frustration, people may easily indulge in them, unaware of the need, nor searching for the means, to escape the prison of samsara. When time comes that they have used up all their rewards, they will be driven by other karmic forces and continue to roam in the eternal cycle of rebirths.

 

修行要利他, 因为利益别人就是利益自己, 这样才能使我们脱出人我的限囿, 远离执着我相、一切颠倒梦想、贪、瞋、痴等。而那些〔我相〕 所引起的种种烦恼, 也才能渐渐得到解脱, 自性中的无量三昧自然开显。也惟有如此, 一切以利他为前提, 一切以度脱众生苦厄为江怀, 则自身得无事, 心胸渐宽广。

 

Keep reminding ourselves that we are practicing for the benefit of all beings, and this will in turn bring us immeasurable rewards. Only by so doing can we transcend the captivity of discrimination between self and others, and let go all our attachments, inverted dreams, as well as our greed, anger, and ignorance, etc. We can also gradually be free of the vexations caused by the attachment to "the form of self," and the infinite samadhi of our true nature will then unfold. Therefore, the premise of our practice should always be for the benefit of others, and the foundation the deliverance of all beings. Only then can we expand the horizon of our concern and attain genuine liberation.

 

出家修行不要怕逆恶的环境, 修行就是要修这些 〔坏的、恶的、不能适应、不得自在〕的境。因为这些逆因缘, 会启发我们的智慧, 成就我们的忍辱行, 使我们愈来愈无挂碍。而当我们的智慧开启到某一程度时, 就能折服那一个程度的烦恼, 所以懂得修行的人, 是不害怕逆境的。

We monastic practitioners ought not to have fear of adverse circumstances, for it is exactly those "baffled, confounded, unfitting, and uncomfortable" conditions that we practice to tackle. Theses adverse courses will help, along our way of practice, to unfold our wisdom, enhance our tolerance, and gradually free us from all fetters. And as our wisdom develops to a certain level, we would naturally overcome vexations of that level. Therefore, those who really know how to practice never feel apprehensive about adverse circumstances.

 

修苦行是从各种执事中去磨练, 在工作中要能吃苦、能忍耐。一次、两次之后, 就不觉得苦, 这就是业障渐渐在消除。若是越修越觉得痛苦烦躁, 那就是业障在翻绞。就像佛菩萨已从苦行中磨得业障尽除, 没有苦恼的感受, 做什么事都很自在, 而不觉得在做什么, 也不觉得自己在度众生。

 

Ascetic practice means to train our minds through our daily chores about the temple. In carrying out our tasks, we should learn to bear hardships and extend the level of our tolerance. After a while, we may find the tasks less unbearable, indicating the waning of our karmic obstructions. On the other hand, if we feel growing pain and impatience, we are under the full swing of our karmic obstructions. As we know, buddhas and bodhisattvas, with all their karmic obstructions eradicated through ascetic practice, are free of vexations and pain. They have attained perfect freedom hence having no sense that they are "doing something" or "delivering sentient beings."

 

太阳对万物一视同仁, 普照一切, 好人也照, 恶人也照。我们就是要像这样: 别人的好坏, 是他个人的事, 我们自己却一定要心存平等慈悲, 如果因为对方不好, 我们就和他计较, 那我们自己也就半斤八两了。

 

The sun does not discriminate: it shines on virtuous people as well as on immoral ones. This is how we should treat others. The morality of others is their concern only; we ought to treat everyone with similar compassion and lovingkindness. If we discriminate against some people because they are immoral, then we are not that much different from them.

 

我们在做事时, 不要认为是在为佛菩萨做事, 或是为师父做, 实际上是在为消自己的业障而做。老和尚说: 〔在我这里没有什么给你们学的, 只是叫你们扫扫地, 做些苦行而已。〕不过扫地也不是一件简单的事, 如果扫不好, 扫得起烦恼, 无明业障反而缠上来。所以不仅要扫得好, 还要能高高兴兴的扫, 扫得三障无明烦恼清净, 扫得智慧开朗, 法喜充满, 才是真扫地。修行就是从这些日常生活当中用功夫、断烦恼、了生死。

 

When carrying out our daily tasks about the temple, do not feel that we are doing it for the buddhas, the bodhisattvas, or the Master. In fact, we are doing it solely for the reduction of our own karmic obstructions. As I often tell you "There isn't much to learn here; all I do is asking you to sweep the floor and do other laborious chores." However, do not think floor sweeping is an easy matter. If not doing it right, you may feel vexed and come under the sway of your delusive karma. Therefore, not only should you sweep the floor clean, but also do it gladly: feel that you are at the same time sweeping away all delusive vexations, all obstructions of arrogance, envy, and ignorance, and all dusts clouding your wisdom, and while doing this, fill your mind with dharmic joy. Were you able to do so, you can claim that you truly know how to sweep the floor. Practice, then, means mindfully carrying out daily tasks and, through which, eliminating all vexations so as to break out of the cycle of birth and death.

 

修行是在修心, 心若清净, 则一切都无障碍。度众生也是一样, 是用这个 〔心〕 在度, 不必攀缘强求, 既不分别选择, 一切众生胎、卵、湿、化, 贫、富、智、愚, 都平等度之, 也没有感觉〔我在度众生〕!

 

The key to practice is the mind. When the mind is pure, there shall be no hindrance on the path of practice. Likewise, the key to deliverance of all beings is also the "mind." When attempting to deliver others, put your mind into it but do not be forceful, selective, or discriminating. Whatever forms or shapes beings take, be they rich or poor, smart or dumb, help and guide them just the same. Moreover, do not attach to the sense that " I am delivering these sentient beings!"

 

晓得自己是凡夫才好修行, 这样才会很惭愧地发勇猛精进心, 接受善知识的教诲。否则自视过高, 自以为了不起, 贡高我慢, 就很难入道。修行就是要脚踏实地, 从〔一切境〕中去调整自己、磨练自己, 去除无明、烦恼习气, 要心能转境而不被境所转, 才能入圣流。所以修行从心修, 是在 〔修自己〕, 这是别人无法代替的事。若能调得自在, 自能明心见性, 智慧开朗。

 

Your practice will be enhanced by the realization that you are but an ordinary person. It makes you humble hence more willing to embrace teachings of masters and practice diligently. Otherwise, you might be too arrogant to learn and, consequently, unwilling to practice. Practice means to walk the path step by step, to adjust and discipline your mind through challenges. Only when your mind becomes its own master, free of all delusions and vexations, unsusceptible to the swing of circumstances, can there be hope for any attainment in practice. Therefore, practice should begin with the training of "your own mind," which no one else can do for you. If you practice to the extent that your mind is free of all fetters, your intrinsic nature will manifest and wisdom unfold.

 

 

修苦行是去除妄念最好的方法。在难行难忍中, 一切看破, 万缘放下, 一心做去, 就没有分别, 没有烦恼, 自然业障消除, 无明不起, 而法喜充满。功夫日久, 一切事情都会明明朗朗, 无不通晓, 智慧大开。

 

Ascetic practice is the best way to expel erroneous and illusive thoughts. When facing impossible and unbearable circumstances, let go of all aspirations and attachments and practice with an undivided mind. With our minds gradually free of discrimination and vexations, our karmic obstructions and delusions will naturally be reduced and our hearts filled with dharmic joy. Keep on such practice and the degree of our awareness will grow and our wisdom unfold. By then, everything will become crystal clear thus easily comprehensible.

 

以前的祖师总是安分守己, 不求闻达。因为越是默默无名, 不攀缘的人, 越是你用功。若是心多攀缘, 则意根散乱, 心常骄满, 易致失败, 而道业不得成就, 也枉费我们来出家。

 

It is clear in Buddhist history that the great patriarchs always kept a low profile and pursued no fame. As we know, those who desire less of worldly fame and gains are more apt to practice diligently. Too many secular concerns distract our minds and make us pretentious. Under these circumstances, no attainment is possible and our efforts of leaving home for practice will all be in vain.

 

智慧胜过神通, 神通只是智慧的妙用。智慧是光明, 能善巧分别, 明了一切事理, 破除一切无明烦恼, 了脱生死。若求神通而没有智慧, 就不能成就佛道,仍然落在三界之内,六道轮回当中。

 

Wisdom is much more powerful than supernatural capability, for the latter is but the ingenious application of the former. Wisdom is the inner light that enables us to discern and comprehend the essence of everything; it helps us eliminate all vexations generated by our ignorance and escape the cycle of birth and death. Therefore, if you covet supernatural capability rather than wisdom, you will have no hope of attaining buddhahood. Instead, you will remain in the three realms and be confined to the six divisions of rebirth.

 

修行不是修给别人看的, 表面功夫是不会有道行的, 深浅别人一试便知晓。《金刚经》云: 〔若有我相、人相、众生相、寿者相, 即非菩萨。〕 所以修行是〔密行〕, 是修自己的心, 向内观照自己的起心动念, 不是向外攀缘追求得到的。然而即使自己真有功夫, 也不必故意让别人感觉出来, 这样才好真实办道。

 

The purpose of practice is not for others to see. Ostentatious practice gains no strength and lack of substance, and will be easily detected by others. As the Diamond Sutra puts it: "No bodhisattva who is a real bodhisattva distinguishes forms of self, of others, of sentient beings, and of life." Therefore, practice is a very "private" business. It is a training of your own mind to introspect the incipience and motivation of your each and every thought, which can never be attained through external pursuits. Even if you have attained a certain stage, do not show off lest it should hamper your practice.

 

真正修行的人, 〔道心〕 很坚固, 〔愿力〕 很坚强。当境遇越坏时, 越能深刻去体认, 反而能培养坚忍的道行。所以说: 〔 无苦不成道。〕出家和在家大不相同, 出了家是越苦越好修。

 

Genuine practitioners ought to have firm "faith" and strong "resolve." The harder the situations become, the deeper their understanding of the Dharma will be hence the stronger their perseverance in practice. That is why "no attainment is possible without hardship." Monastic practitioners should expect a lifestyle vastly different from that of laity, and realize that, the more arduous the circumstances are, the better for practice.

 

修行和世俗不一样, 不是在争对不对。以前有两个徒弟在打坐, 一个坐得很庄严, 一个坐得东倒西歪, 可是师父拿起香板, 却打那个坐得庄严的徒弟, 目的是要看他心中是否也庄严。如果不是很庄严, 就一定会起无明瞋恨, 而生烦恼; 如果内外都很庄严的人, 反而会很虚心惭愧地请求师父开示教导。所以说修行不是在争对不对, 而是要看自己有没有真功夫--即使你做的都没有错, 人家却硬说你不对, 你也能接受。

 

Unlike the laity, practitioners should not argue about right or wrong. Once there were two disciples practicing meditation. One sat in a very solemn and dignified manner, the other quite at ease, not even keeping his posture. However, the master hit the former with incense board to test whether his mind was as solemn and dignified as his posture indicated. If not, he would resent the master and become vexed. On the other hand, if his mind were solemn and dignified, he would humble request the instruction of the master to improve his practice. So, as you see, instead of quibbling over right and wrong, what you really should do is constantly introspecting whether you yourself have gained genuine strength through practice. Here is a good measurement of strength: when others insist you are wrong even though you have done everything correctly, you can sincerely accept such criticism.

 

修行一定要在大丛林, 人多的地方, 才会有参学磨练的机会。否则一、两个人住在一起, 没有丛林规矩的约束, 很容易变成我行我素, 随心所欲, 而失去了磨练的机会。

 

When leaving home for practice, be sure to select a large monastery. The experience of living together with more people provides ample opportunities to practice against diverse circumstances. When practitioners live in a small group without the restraint of monastic rules, they may easily indulge themselves hence forfeit the opportunities to discipline and train their minds.

 

在世俗社会里, 有分贫、富、贵、贱, 但佛门中就没有这种分别、无论是贫、是富、是贵、是贱,一律以慈悲心平等对待,因为〔未成佛要先结人缘〕,要与众生广结善缘,将来度众生才有法缘。

It may be inevitable that, in the secular world, people are classified as rich or poor, prestigious or humble; however, there should be no such distinctions among Buddhists. Whatever people's financial or social status may be, you ought to treat them equally and with similar lovingkindness and compassion. "Before attaining buddhahood, be sure of foster good karmic affinity with all people." Only by fostering good relations with as many sentient beings as possible will you create the dharmic affinity to deliver them in the future.

 

〔三皈依〕 要好好去体会。譬如皈依法〔智慧如海〕, 什么是 〔智慧〕呢? 智慧是空性, 是从修行中自然修出来的, 不是想出来的, 而且也没有一个具体的东西可以指出来说那是 〔智慧〕, 因为智慧是 〔无色相〕 的, 譬如佛陀所说的经典就是智慧。在日常行持当中, 我们所做的一切事能达到圆满, 就是智慧的运用。

 

Be sure to contemplate thoroughly about the meaning of the "Three Refuges." For instance, we take refuge in the Dharma where "wisdom is as immeasurable as the sea." What is "wisdom?" According to Buddhadharma, the nature of wisdom is "emptiness," and it can only be developed through practice, not thinking. Furthermore, wisdom has neither form nor color, so there is no concrete object that can be called "wisdom." The teachings of the Buddha, as recorded in the sutras, represent "wisdom." If we can manage everything in our daily lives satisfactorily without generating vexations, such is wisdom at work.

 

社会的〔境〕很多, 但〔境〕从哪来? 从我们的〔心〕所生。你若不去感觉它, 就什么 〔境〕 都不存在。

 

We know that there are all sorts of "situations" or "circumstances," but where do they come from? They originate from the distinction in our minds. Make no distinction, then no circumstance exists.

 

我们现在都是在娑婆世界的六道轮回当中, 真艰苦! 因为做人〔难苦〕,但是也只有在六道轮回当中, 从这个人身来修, 才能成佛; 若是没有经过六道这个〔苦〕, 没办法修行。然而六道中虽然很苦, 但我们自己苦, 可以去体谅别人的苦, 体谅一切众生的艰苦, 可以让我们来行菩萨的〔六度万行〕, 慈悲忍辱, 自利利他, 就是来过这个苦劫, 这样渐渐修, 积功累德, 而究竟了生, 死证无上道。

 

It is a great agony that we are now all confined to the cycle of birth and death, transmigrating among the six divisions of sentient existence. Indeed, life is tough. However, it is only through rebirths and practice as human beings that we can hope to attain buddhahood; no practice is possible without this ordeal. Our suffering enables us to appreciate more the pain of all beings hence helps to strengthen our resolve to tread the bodhisattva path and practice myriad methods of the six paramitas giving ethics, forbearance, diligence, meditation, and wisdom. With compassion and forbearance, we can advance ourselves while benefiting others. And via the ordeal of samsara, we can accumulate merits for our ultimate liberation and supreme enlightenment.

 

修行要怎样修才会有正念呢? 就是先从衣、食、住方面来简单化, 不去贪它、执着它, 无好无坏, 可以过就好。虽然这衣、食、住, 三岁小孩都会讲, 但行起来较困难。我们修行人一定要从这方面下工夫, 去除我们的贪念, 这样自然会产生正念, 到临命终时, 意不颠倒, 才会 〔灵灵觉觉〕地现出光明。

 

How can we attain right mindfulness in practice? We can start by simplifying our demands for food, clothing, and living conditions. Do not desire or be attached to material comforts, nor make distinctions about their qualities as long as they are sufficient to sustain our lives. This might sound easy, but is by no means easy to carry out. We must practice vigorously to eliminate avarice, which in turn will bring forthright mindfulness. Then, when our time in this world is up, we can avoid the distractions of inverted ideas and be guided by our inner light.

 

〔住山修行〕 要有住山修行的工夫, 这个工夫就是不会去想吃的, 、食、住方面能够随缘, 这就叫做 〔天人供养〕, 山上有什么就方便吃, 所以不会有贪念。

 

If you choose to practice in the monastery, there is a basic requirement, i.e. you should desire no lavish food, clothing, and living conditions, just live on whatever is available. This is what we call "to be sustained by the nature." And because you take whatever comes to you, greediness will not arise.

 

有的人然用功修行, 但走偏差了, 一直 〔着相〕修行, 执着 〔人、我、众生、寿者〕四相, 不但引起烦恼、颠倒想, 到最后竟说自己很有修, 说自己 〔得到什么, 得到什么., 其实已经错误了还不自觉, 甚至影响别人, 这些都是没有佛法的正知正见。

 

Some people, though practicing vigorously, deviate from the path because they remain attached to the "forms" of self, others, sentient beings, and life, which only induce vexations and inverted ideas. These people might claim to have attained a certain stage, but in fact are unknowingly treading the wrong path. Worse, they might lead others astray. This deviation results from a lack of correct understanding of Buddhadharma.

 

出家修行不要 〔好事相〕, 要真正为修行而修, 这样道心才会坚固, 每天心才会安定。修行也不是求相安无事, 要能吃苦。但这个苦不是只有做事情的苦, 还包括修行过程中所遇到的种种考验。所以当你有感觉〔艰苦、烦恼〕 的时候, 就是在考验了。这时你必须运用智慧来降伏心念上的障碍, 拿出修行的精神来克服万难, 因为 〔有境才好修, 无境不成道。〕

 

Monastic practitioners ought to avoid distractions. Practice for the sake of practice itself so as to strengthen your resolve and stabilize your mind. Do not plan on being uneventful and be prepared to endure hardships--not just of laborious tasks, but of all kinds of challenges. Hardships and vexations are tests of your strength. Use your wisdom to subdue impediments of the mind and your determination to overcome all difficulties. "Adverse circumstances are good for practice. Without them no progress will be made toward ultimate liberation."

 

老和尚一生都念佛。出家时, 方丈转尘上人看老和尚的根基很好, 就教他念佛。有一次寺内在听学讲经, 当时老和尚亦趋前要学, 转尘上人却对他说: 〔去! 去念佛, 去做你的苦行, 要听什么?〕 老和尚当时听了心里很难过, 想着: 〔 出家就是要学经, 竟然不让我听!〕 不过老和尚毕竟是有根基, 有善根的人, 虽然怠觉难过, 但心里会转境, 立刻说: 〔 好啊! 师公叫我怎样, 我就怎样!〕 所以直心就是道场, 老和尚就去做他的苦行, 去念佛! 就这样一门深入, 边做事边念佛, 福、慧双修, 才有今天的成就。他一心专注地念佛, 所以也教我们念佛, 教我们对净土深入的修行法门, 这是最直接、最稳当, 也是最契合我们现代人根基的修行法门。

 

The Old Master practiced reciting the name of the Buddha all his life. When he first became a monk, Master Chuan-chen, the abbot of the temple, recognized his potential and taught him this method. Once, another Master was expounding the sutras in the temple, the Old Master wished to attend. Master Chuan-chen nevertheless said to him: "Why listen? Go recite the name of the Buddha and carry on your ascetic practice!" The Old Master was upset, thinking: "The purpose of becoming a monk is to learn the sutras. Now the Master would not even let me listen!" However, the moment he realized what went through his mind, he changed his perception and said: "I will do whatever the Grand Master has told me to." So the Old Master continued his ascetic practice and reciting the Buddha's name, accumulating both merit and wisdom. In this way, he was able to attain an exalted stage in practice. Therefore, he taught us to concentrate on reciting the name of the Buddha as he did himself. The doctrine of the Pure Land is the most direct and secure one among all disciplines; it also is the most suitable method for contemporary people.

 

心经》里面讲〔观自在菩萨〕, 〔自在〕 是什么呢? 就是观这个心让它〔自在〕 。不管什么境界来, 或是妄念纷飞时, 同样保持 〔寂静〕, 佛号抓紧, 没有好, 没有坏, 没有 〔好〕 念, 也没有 〔坏〕 念, 没 〔高兴〕, 也没 〔生气〕, 时时观住这个心, 就是 〔观自在〕 。所以说 〔观〕 不是 〔一直去观〕, 一直去想 〔怎样、怎样〕? 而是当我们 〔心猿意马〕, 妄念纷飞, 坏念头起来时, 我们就把它〔观住〕, 不可以被这些幻化的妄念转走, 就是在观这些东西, 让这个心能时时都 〔自在〕、〔清净〕。所以在行、住、坐、卧方面, 不论是念佛、礼佛或在禅堂内外都一样, 这个自在心不可以被 〔境〕 转走, 就是 〔观自在〕 了。

 

The Heart Sutra describes the practice of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, "Kuan-Tzu-Chai," the Sovereign Regarder. What does "Tzu-Chai" mean? It means reflecting on the mind so that it will attain "perfect freedom." Whatever circumstances emerge, or whenever illusive thoughts arise, the mind should remain tranquil. Continue to recite the name of the Buddha while making no distinction between, nor even think of the idea of, "good" and "bad." Do not feel "happy" or "agitated," just keep a watchful eye on your own mind. Such is the state of "Kuan-Tze-Chai." But being introspective does not mean that you should keep pondering: "how is it?" Rather, just be alert and take note of illusive thoughts or evil ideas at their incipience, lest they should take control of your mind. Such practice will ensure that your mind is "free" and "pure: at all times. Wherever you are and whatever you do, be it reciting the name of the Buddha or performing prostration, within or outside of the temple, if your mind is free of the sway of circumstances, you have attained the state of "Kuan-Tzu-Chai."

 

修行一切法门都是讲这个心, 我们行持也是在 〔行〕 这个心。这个心若有定力, 就会像清净的水静静的时候一样, 如如不动, 物影投映, 无所不现。所以当我们的心很清净的时候, 自然能明了一切真相; 我们念佛就是要将这个心念到像水一样的清净寂静。心若散乱, 不清净, 就如同浊水般的污秽, 坏念头很多, 会去分别好坏, 什么东西好吃、不好吃、或香、或臭, 着在这些 〔色、声、香、味、触、法〕 里。因此念佛念到这个很清明, 无杂无染时, 自然不会执着 〔五蕴〕; 这样六根对六尘不起作用, 烦恼断尽, 五蕴皆空了, 自能度一切苦厄, 现出自性光明智慧, 通达甚深微妙法。

 

All methods of practice as taught by the Buddha focus on the mind; when we practice, we are also learning how to discipline our minds. A well-composed mind resembles clear and placid water that truthfully reflects whatever appears above it. Likewise, when our minds attain absolute tranquility, we will be able to grasp the essence of everything. The purpose of reciting the name of the Buddha is to help still our minds so that they may be as pure and tranquil as placid water. A restless and scattered mind resembles muddy water from which evil and discriminatory ideas easily arise. When our minds are in such a state, we are prone to make distinctions of what we see, hear, smell, taste, touch, and think, thereby indulge in the pursuit of sensual passions. Therefore, we must recite the name of the Buddha to the extent that our minds become absolutely clear and pure, neither defiled by nor attached to sense objects. When we reach that stage, naturally we will not cling to the five skandhas form, sensation, perception, volition, and consciousness. With our six organs untainted by the six causes of impurity, we can naturally help to relieve all sentient beings from their misery. And with the essence of our minds enlightened and our wisdom unfolded, we can easily comprehend even the most abstruse part of Buddhadharma.

 

我们出家就是要来断这 〔七情五欲〕, 但要断这 〔七情五欲〕 不可执着。如果执着不吃不睡, 会造成虚火上升, 扰乱我的身心, 使我们身心散乱、四大不调、体衰气弱, 甚至会吃不下、睡不着。当不能吃、不能睡的时候, 如果没有正念, 很容易走偏路。所以我们在修行受持当中, 不要执着 〔不吃不睡〕, 或要 〔怎样、怎样〕。毕竟还要靠这个身体来修行的, 应以 〔平常心〕 来行持, 行、住、坐、卧取 〔中道〕, 这样来保持我们的身心, 安养我们的身心。因为修行取中道, 就可以行持我们要走的路程, 自然在修行的路程上比较不会有障碍。

 

We chose to leave home for practice so that we may concentrate on eliminating our physical and psychological desires. However, do not become attached to any particular ascetic method. For example, some insist on giving up food and sleep, which might result in a physical disorder causing mental and/or physical aberrations and weaknesses. In the end, they might not be able to eat or sleep at all. Under the circumstances, they can easily go astray if they have yet to attain right mindfulness. Therefore, do not insist on, or be attached to, the method of "no food, no sleep," or to any specific austerity. After all, it is necessary to sustain this physical body so that we may continue our practice. What we should do is not to stray from ordinariness; adopt a "middle way" in our daily activities so as to maintain our physical as well as mental strength. This middle way will sustain us in the long path of practice and help us avoid unnecessary hindrances.

 

信佛要怎样信? 就是要皈依三宝, 因为佛、法、僧三宝是一体的, 有佛才有法, 有法才有僧。而法是什么呢? 〔法〕 就是正法, 是佛祖修行所悟出来的道理。而佛祖悟出道理以后, 再来度我们, 让我们依随这个法来修, 使末法众生有依靠。〔迷者众生, 觉者佛。〕 如果时时保持我们的心是念佛的心, 就是 〔悟〕, 就是 〔佛〕。心心都在念佛, 就是时时在 〔悟〕。

 

How can we be Buddhists? Just take refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. The Triratna Three Jewels are an integral whole: without Buddha, there will be no Dharma, without Dharma, no Sangha. What, then, is Dharma? Dharma represents the truth realized by the Buddha. It is what the Buddha learned from his practice and he taught it to us for our salvation. We can practice according to the Dharma to attain enlightenment. As we know, "Those unenlightened are ordinary beings; the enlightened ones are buddhas." If we constantly keep our minds in the state of reciting the name of the Buddha, we will be "enlightened" therefore are "buddhas." In other words if each and every thought or ours is a recitation of the Buddha's name, then we are constantly in the state of "enlightenment."

 

众生从无始劫以来轮回生死, 一直到这一世虽然得到人身, 但还是在六道当中, 而无始以来的坏念头、坏种子, 依然如影随身, 所以我们要勤求忏悔, 忏悔过去的业障。受戒也是一样, 尽量求忏悔, 忏悔往昔所造诸恶业, 才可以得到清净戒。众生皆有佛性, 但必须要靠修行并忏悔业障, 才能成就佛道。

 

For eons, we have been roaming through the cycle of birth and death. Despite this life's human existence, we remain in the six divisions of rebirth with all vicious ideas and evil seeds accumulated through the eons following us like shadows. Hence, we must repent unremittingly for our past karmic obstructions. This is exactly what we should do when we receive our precepts because it is the only way we can attain pure and clean precepts. Indeed, with buddha-nature immanent in all beings, it nevertheless takes diligent practice and sincere repentance to attain buddhahood.

 

丛林以规矩为宝, 出家修行要依规矩去修, 不可依世俗法, 把世俗的念头再拿来佛寺绕圈子。一个守规矩的人, 身心会自在、宽涵而无所挂碍。

 

What makes a monastery invaluable is its strict discipline imposed on all its members. Therefore, as soon as you enter the monastery, you should act according to the monastic, rather than secular rules. Do not continue to get tangled in thoughts and ideas of a layman. Those who strictly follow the monastic rules will find their minds at ease and unfettered.

 

西方极乐世界的一切是 〔无色相〕, 是自然的, 不像我们娑婆世界这里所有的衣、食、住, 都是 〔有色相〕 的, 所以不要把种种有相的吃、穿 〔观想〕 到西方去, 因为这也是贪, 就是 〔着相〕。如果着相修行, 在静坐时, 你所想的念头就会现出这个 〔境〕 来, 若没有定力就会出问题, 很危险! 所以不要把〔有色相〕 的一切拿来执着, 〔无色相〕 的境界不是我们所能想出来的。

 

Unlike things in this world, everything in the Pure Land has neither color nor form. Do not project the ways in which we live in this world, such as what we eat, wear, etc., to the Pure Land because such projection reflects our sense of greed as well as our attachment to the form. If you are attached to the form, your cravings will create disturbances in your mind while meditating. This can be quite dangerous, especially when you lack the ability to control and stabilize your own mind. Therefore, do not cling to the images derived from "color and form," for the world "without color and form" is beyond our imagination.

 

我们无始劫以来所造的业无量无边, 而冤冤相报、相缠, 使我们在修行过程中产生许多障碍。所以每天都要忏悔业障, 更要发愿, 发愿要了生死, 要普度众生, 才能成就无上道。

 

We all have accumulated immeasurable and illimitable negative karma over the eons. These entanglements are the cause of the tremendous obstacles we encounter during our practice. Therefore, we must repent every day; further, we should vow to break out of the cycle of birth and death and to deliver all sentient beings. Only through such practice can we attain ultimate enlightenment.

 

修行人在修行的过程当中不可能不会有情; 有人就会有是非、有烦恼, 有一切种种的事情、种种的念头。所以遇到境时, 〔愿〕 要更加坚强, 要拿出愿力来! 不去感觉它, 就能不起烦恼、执着, 而心开意朗。

 

The path of practice can never be free of obstacles. Where there are people, there are disputes, annoyances, conflicts and all sorts of disagreeable circumstances. Rather than expecting a smooth path, you ought to strengthen your willpower when confronting difficulties. Remember, when your attention does not focus on adversities, you will neither cling to them nor be vexed by them. Then, you will be able to practice with an unfettered mind.

 

六道轮回里面, 我们今世做人是要来修行的, 所以要把握这人身的机会, 不要自己 〔胡乱走〕, 〔胡乱做〕, 不吃不睡, 〔不倒单〕, 空头很多, 花样百出, 这都是 〔着相〕 修行, 不仅会把这个身躯搞坏, 还会造成身心散乱。若是还没有修到那个境界, 怎么有办法行到那里呢? 所以修行要有正念, 〔平常心〕 就是道!

 

The greatest blessing of human rebirth is the ability to practice; indeed, we ought to seize this opportunity and practice the best we can. However, do not cling to any specific asceticism, such as no food or no sleep, for this will be practice with an attachment to the "form." Not only will it spoil your health, but it also will leave your mind scattered and restless. If you haven't attained a certain level, how can you possibly benefit from that kind of asceticism? Therefore, practice should be guided by right mindfulness; the true path lays in the wisdom of ordinariness.

 

修行从 〔心〕 , 是要修这个心 〔清净〕。如果眼睛老是在看别人, 注意别人好坏、别人怎样, 甚至与人说长论短, 讲得到处都是是非、烦恼, 这样就没办法修这个心, 这个心就不会清净。所以要 〔修心〕, 就要 〔观自己〕, 观我们自己 〔起心动念〕。

 

Practice should begin with training your "mind" to the extent that it's pure and clean. If, on the other hand, you keep your eyes mainly on others, finding their faults and making comments, you will only create animosities among people and breed vexations for yourself; you will not be able to cultivate your mind, nor will it become pure. Therefore, practicing purification of the mind means observing yourself carefully, being watchful of the incipience of each and every thought of yours.

 

《心经》云: 〔照见五蕴皆空, 度一切苦厄。〕 就是说要破除四相, 即〔我相、人相、众生相、寿者相〕, 不执着世间上的形形色色, 才能度一切苦厄。但是我们对这个身体不能〔看破、放下〕, 一直在〔色、声、香、味、触、法〕里打转, 对世间尘缘无法不起染着之心, 所以不能了一切苦厄。

 

The Heart Sutra states: "Perceive that the five skandhas are empty thereby transcending all sufferings." This means that, in order to transcend all sufferings, we must eliminate our adherence to the four forms of existence: self, others, sentient beings, and life, as well as our attachment to the myriad colors and forms of this world. Unfortunately, most of us are not able to forgo our physical desires and continue to be swayed by the form, sound, smell, taste, touch, and other qualities of material appearances. And it is precisely due to this inability to forgo our clinging to worldly affinities that we cannot be relieved from our suffering.

 

释迦牟尼佛过去一直是用 〔舍身〕 来成就佛道, 度众生, 但这个 〔舍身〕 是自自然然而不是用勉强的。要修行到有定力, 无 〔我、人、众生、寿者〕 相的时候, 自然不会有感觉。像我们的功夫还没到那个程度时, 就是还有 〔我相〕。一支针刺到我们, 一只蚊子叮到我们, 都会感觉痛, 这就是定力不够, 还会随境生心, 触境生觉。所以 〔拾身〕 不可用勉强的, 否则就变成执着了。

 

Sakyamuni Buddha used to practice "bodily sacrifice" to attain buddhahood and deliver sentient beings. But he did it all spontaneously, not a bit forced. You see, when a practitioner attains a state of samadhi and no longer clings to a set form of existence either self, others sentient beings, or life, he naturally feels no pain. But most of us have yet to attain that level and are bound to the form of "self;" we are pained even when pricked by a pin or stung by a mosquito. Because we have yet to reach that state of smadhi our minds and senses will spontaneously react to external agitation, and we are easily susceptible to painful feelings. Therefore, we must not practice compulsory bodily sacrifice; otherwise, it will become a form of attachment.

 

苦行不是说我们做不动的硬要去做, 而是这个愿力 〔难行能行, 难忍能忍 〔人家不吃的我来吃, 人家不做的我来做。〕

 

Asceticism does not mean that we should force ourselves to do what are beyond our capabilities. Rather, it is about the resolve to accomplish tasks that are difficult and challenging, to tolerate what may seem intolerable, to eat what others would not eat, and to do what others would not do.

 

、愿、行〔行〕 是从愿来的, 若没有愿力就没办法去行。像地藏王菩萨 〔地狱不空, 誓不成佛〕的大,愿他悯念众生, 慈悲喜舍的〔宏愿〕 就已经成佛了。所以行菩萨行的人一直在 〔利他〕 , 而行持 〔利他〕 的内涵就是 〔无我〕 。这样修持就是〔自度度他〕, 虽然众生尚未度尽, 却已经先自度了。

 

To believe, to resolve, and to practice--"practice" should follow a vow to perform the discipline of the faith; without it there would be no practice. Take Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha for example. He vowed not to attain buddhahood until all hell beings are delivered. Because the Bodhisattva has tremendous compassion for all beings, this grand vow he made bestowed on him the buddha quality. Hence, those who tread the bodhisattva-path continue to strive for the benefit of others. The essence of such practice is "selflessness." Even though this path emphasizes delivering others while striving for self-salvation, you yourself would have been liberated before all beings are delivered.

 

我们虽然发愿, 但是愿心不能坚固, 如果境界来时, 马上会被转走, 这不是真发愿。愿有大小, 我们要发大愿, 大愿就是 〔无色相〕 的愿。〔愿〕 不是用嘴巴讲的,  〔愿〕 ,要用心去行! 无论什么境界来, 遇到任何事情, 心能 〔不动〕, 无好无坏, 这样慢慢修持, 就能伏烦恼, 使身心自在。依你的愿去行! 诸佛菩萨成就佛道也是依 〔愿力〕 去行, 所以这个 〔愿〕 是我们修行的 〔因〕, 有 〔因〕 就有 〔果〕 。如果愿力不坚固, 做什么事都没有办法。

 

It may come to pass that we pledge to do certain things but lack a strong enough willpower to carry it through, often giving up when things get rough. This, then, is not a genuine vow. There are grand vows and minor ones. What we should make are grand vows, i.e. vows that are without set "form or color." Therefore, put your mind into carrying out your vows, not just announcing them! Whatever challenges you encounter or circumstances you come across strive to maintain the tranquility of your mind while making no distinction between likes and dislikes. Continuation of such practice will gradually reduce your vexations while freeing your mind and body. So, practice by adhering to your own vows! Vows are the seeds of our practice that will eventually bear fruits. Without firm vows, nothing can be accomplished.

 

阿弥陀佛四十八愿度众生, 地藏王菩萨 〔地狱不空, 誓不成佛。〕诸佛菩萨都有他们的大愿, 要度我们众生了生死。但是众生依然执迷不悟, 轮回在 〔六道〕 里而不能解脱, 为这些 〔七情五欲〕, 〔贪、瞋、痴〕, 〔色、声、香、味、触、法〕, 〔爱别离苦〕, 种种的事情执着而不能醒悟, 把这一切幻化的 〔境〕 都当做是真的。所以阿弥陀佛大慈大悲, 怜闵众生故, 发这四十八大愿来度我们, 希望众生赶快离苦得乐, 横超六趣。如果我们的愿与阿弥陀佛的愿相应, 临终时就可蒙佛接引, 往生西方极乐世界。

 

Amitabha Buddha made forty-eight grand vows to deliver sentient beings while Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha vowed not to attain buddhahood until the hells are empty. However, despite all the grand vows buddhas and bodhisattvas made to assist us breaking free of the cycle of birth and death, all beings remained unenlightened, roaming among the six divisions of rebirth. We keep on our pursuit of sensual satisfaction, clinging to our greed, anger, and ignorance as well as other pains such as parting from the beloved. As we mistake all these illusions for reality, we can not be enlightened. That is why the compassionate Amitabha Buddha made his forty-right grand vows to deliver all beings, hoping that we will be able to transcend the six divisions of rebirth, shake off our misery, and attain eternal happiness. Now, if our vows correspond with these forty-eight vows, Amitabha Buddha will guide us along the way; and when we die, we will be reborn in the Pure Land.

 

一般人都好动, 心静不下来, 但是修行要时时保持心 〔寂静〕, 也就是这个心自己能静, 不静自静。如果一个人坐在那里, 能够没感觉什么, 也没有什么心烦的事情, 自己这样静静的很自在, 就是上轨 〔道〕。

 

Most people are active and their minds tend to be restless. However, a practitioner must constantly maintain the tranquility of the mind, i.e., the mind ought to be serene at all times regardless of circumstances. If you can sit quietly without sensing too much, or be vexed by, external turmoil, just feeling tranquil and at ease, then you are on the right track.

 

娑婆世界的众生都是 〔有所求〕 的心, 〔有所求〕 而产生无量无边的烦恼。我们 〔有所求〕都是从这个身上来的, 为这个身躯而生出种种的念头来, 而唯有〔知足〕 才能止贪。〔知足〕 这两个字不是这么简单的, 〔知足常乐〕, 说出来没什么, 但是行起来却不是这么容易。一个人若能随时 〔知足〕, 随时就没有烦恼, 不会执着, 时时这个心都是清净的, 很自在。

 

As we know, all beings in this world have cravings, which in turn generate illimitable and immeasurable vexations. Most of our cravings are for physical gratification and can only be restrained if we remain contented. There is an old saying: "Contentment leads to ceaseless joy." This may sound simple, but is by no means easy to carry out. Yet, it is undeniable that whenever you feel contented, your mind will be free of vexations and attachments and will stay pure and unfettered.

 

出家人若有知足的心, 一定 〔无所求〕, 没有种种的执着烦恼。然而我们很容易〔触境生心〕, 眼睛所见的、耳朵所听的、嘴巴所吃的, 心里马上起念头, 虽然你没有要求什么, 但是你有这个念头就是〔有所求〕。所以能 〔知足〕 就是 〔无所求〕, 〔无所求〕 在我们修行行持当中非常重要, 如果时时能 〔知足〕, 这个心就不会被境所转。

 

If we monastic practitioners were contented, we would crave for nothing and be free of all vexations derived from attachments. Unfortunately, our minds remain easily distracted by external environments, and all sorts of unruly ideas instantaneously come forth as we see, hear, and eat. Even though you make no explicit demand, but the fact that you have these ideas betrays your craving. Therefore, contentment means "craving for nothing," a principle crucial to our practice. If we stay contented at all times, our minds will not be swayed by ever-changing circumstances.

 

我们修行人时时都要 〔放下〕, 这样临命终时才不会有挂碍。否则平常放逸心, 临终时一定很危险。所以没事时, 心能静静的 没有好、没有坏, 这就是 〔对境无心〕。〔无心〕 不是不管, 而是什么事都没有好、没有坏, 这才是真功夫。

 

We practitioners ought to relinquish our attachments all the time so that we would be free of secular concerns toward the end of our lives. If you continue to indulge yourself, there is the grave danger that you may go astray at this crucial moment of rebirth. Therefore, try to maintain the serenity of your mind while discarding all distinctions between good and bad. You will then attain the state of "mindlessness." This, however, does not mean that you have become indifferent; rather, it means that you have let go of your sense of discrimination. The attainment of such a state will then be a clear indication of your genuine prowess in practice.

 

〔财、色、名、食、睡〕地狱五条根! 我们都是在贪吃、贪睡的五欲中流转生死而不自觉, 所以出家就是要修 〔心清净〕, 来度这 〔七情五欲〕 的束縳。

 

Cravings for "wealth, lust, fame, food, and sleep" will lead us straight to hell! Not knowing it, we are all entangled in these five cravings, unable to break out of the relentless cycle of birth and death. Therefore, the reason for our leaving home for practice is to purify our minds so that we can be free from the constraints of our own sensual passions.

 

我们今天能够 〔看破〕 来出家, 〔看破〕 两个字很重要。到底要看破什么东西呢? 就是看破 〔七情五欲〕! 既不去贪这衣、食、住里的 〔色、声、香、味、触、法〕 种种, 还要看破一切情感 ── 父母的情感,、眷属的情感, 这些都要放下, 要放得下!

 

In order to become monastic practitioners, we all have "renounced" the secular way of life. Now, the word "renounced" the secular way of life. Now, the word "renounce" is crucial. What exactly do we need to renounce? We have to renounce our physical desires and sentimental attachments. Not only should we let go of our cravings for good clothing, tasty food, lavish housing, etc., but also of our emotional attachments to our beloved parents, spouses, and children. All our attachments should go. Really let go!

 

修行用功时, 必须把身心全部放下, 否则虽然在那里静坐, 外表坐得很庄严, 其实都在打妄想, 要保持正念很不容易。如果这个心是〔妄想意识〕, 就是意识在转; 如果心是 〔佛〕, 那么佛就是 〔心〕。要把身心世界全部放下, 一心专注一句佛号, 这样才会有正念。我们平常就要保持这种工夫, 到临命终时才能保持正念, 因为成佛在这一念之间, 而生死轮回也是在这一念之间。

 

While you practice, be sure to let go of both your mind and your body. Otherwise, your dignified meditation posture only belies a mind overflowed with illusive and erroneous ideas. Under the circumstances, you will have great difficulty retaining right mindfulness. If your mind is preoccupied with misleading thoughts, the illusive mind is in charge. On the other hand, if your mind thinks of nothing but "buddha," then buddha is your mind. You should let go of the body, the mind, and the world; just concentrate on reciting the Buddha's name so as to foster right mindfulness. In order to retain right mindfulness when we are dying, we have to practice this all the time. This is crucial because it will determine whether we can attain buddhahood or continue to roam in the cycle of birth and death.

 

修行就是要去除贪念, 因为如果有贪念坏种子在我们心里, 心会散乱, 就不会有正念, 一天到晚这个心都被这些坏念头 〔翻来覆去〕的, 看这个也不对, 看那个也不对, 无明烦恼一大堆, 被转得身心都不自在

 

One of the goals of practice is to eliminate the sense of greed. When tainted by the evil seeds of greed, our minds will easily become scattered and we will not be able to retain right mindfulness. Thereupon, our minds will be swamped with evil ideas and become restless and discontented, which in turn will create endless delusive vexations. Under the circumstances, we can never feel free nor at ease.

 

素食不仅是修行的助缘, 又可戒杀, 免落因果。〔吃人一斤肉, 还人十六两。〕冤冤相报、六道轮回、因果循环丝毫不爽。所以不吃杀生的东西, 不贪口味, 不但可以去掉贪念, 不必每天为 〔口欲〕 的事情贪求忙碌, 又可不造恶业、解冤释结、长养慈悲心, 同时我们的心也会清净自在, 这就是在修 〔色、声、香、味、触、法〕, 对治六根对六尘的执着。

 

Vegetarian diet is a positive auxiliary cause for practice, and also a good method to keep the precept against killing. Be aware that the karmic obstructions created by killing for food eventually have to be repaid in full; there is no escape from the laws of causality and rebirth. Eliminating our desire for food, the satisfaction of which cost the lives of other beings, brings a great relief. Not only will we be free of enslaving ourselves just to satisfy the desire of our mouth, but we also will avoid creating more negative karma while cultivating our sentiments of lovingkindness and compassion. Therefore, vegetarian diet will help to purify and liberate our minds; it is also a method to practice relinquishing the attachments of our sense organs to the six gunas sense objects.

 

五浊恶世──劫浊、见浊、烦恼浊、众生浊、命浊中, 这里面包含我们众生的一切习气, 一切烦恼, 还有过去世带来的所有坏种子。而这些东西都是由 〔色、声、香、味、触、〕 法引起的, 也就是六根对六尘的接触, 由六识起分别作用, 产生出来的种子现, 前所造出来的业, 才会有这个五浊恶世。

 

The five kasaya periods of impurity contain all the negative habitual patterns, vexations, and sinister seeds all beings accumulated through the eons. Derived from contact of the sense organs with the six gunas, these negative elements are enacted by our sense of discernment, which lead to distinction and discrimination. These distinctions will bring forth the fruits of the sinister seeds and accumulated karmic obstructions, which in turn create the five-kasaya periods of impurity i.e. periods of increasing calamities, erroneous views, vexations, miseries, and shortening of human life.

 

修行要福、慧双修, 而 〔皈依佛, 两足尊〕, 这两就是 〔福、慧〕。至于〔福〕 从那来呢? 我们如果能吃苦、忍苦, 苦出头了, 就有福。有福就能消业, 待业障消除, 佛智就会现前。所以 〔忍辱第一道〕, 能修 〔忍〕 的人, 必能成就道业。

 

Our practice should aim at attaining both merit and wisdom. "Take refuge in the Buddha and attain twofold satisfaction." The two folds are merit and wisdom. Where does merit come from? It grows out of forbearance. With genuine forbearance, we can accumulate merits and eventually will be able to enjoy blessed rewards and reduce our negative karma. When all our karmic obstruction as are eradicated, our buddha-wisdom will unfold. Thus, "forbearance" is the first principle of the path to buddhahood. Those who practice forbearance will attain supreme enlightenment.

 

出家要舍悭贪, 从来食住里 〔色、声、香、味、触、法〕去修, 才可以了生死, 因为有这些六根对六尘, 六识在分别起作用, 所以生出种种贪念来。我们的念头从这里来, 就要从这里去断, 这是我们生死的根本, 生死的路就是从这里去走。

 

One basic principle of monastic practice is to eliminate our sense of greed. We can start by eliminating our cravings for the six gunas sense objects; this is the initial step to break out of the cycle of birth and death. As we know, greed derived from the contact of the six sense organs with the six gunas and enacted by our sense of discernment, which leads to distinction and discrimination. We have to expel greed from where it originates. Such practice is fundamental and is crucial to whether we can escape samsara or not.

 

世间一切都是 〔缘〕, 是我们过去结来的缘。如果过去世结〔好缘〕, 这一世就感觉很好, 结坏缘就是烦恼痛苦, 所遇到的 〔境〕 会让你很不满意。所以学佛的人要了解这个 〔缘〕 字一 〔缘起性空〕, 当〔缘〕 来时, 他自性是空的。因此, 我们遇到不如意的事时应将它想开。一切都是〔因缘〕 所生法, 千万不要被这个 〔缘〕 转走, 应该依佛法来看破痛苦的事。

 

Things do not happen to us by accident. Rather, they all have their roots in the karmic affinities we created in the past. If we fostered good affinities in previous lives, we will enjoy this life; otherwise, we will be dissatisfied, even troubled or pained. A practitioner should understand that things arise according to conditions and have no inherent existences of their own. When we feel distressed or dissatisfied, we should know that the ways things are merely results of certain conditions, not reality in itself. Hence, there is no need to cling to disconcerting sentiments, or be perturbed by them. Such a change of perception according to Buddhadharma will free us from the grip of pain.

 

今世我们有这个因缘得到人身, 并且能道三宝门中皈依三宝, 乃是过去世我们曾在寺庙礼佛、拜佛、供养三宝、布施、念佛等, 在佛前种下善根, 这世才有这个佛缘来皈依三宝。但为什么要皈依呢? 佛陀说世间有八苦 ── 〔生、老、病、死苦、求不得苦、爱别离苦、怨憎会苦、五蕴炽盛苦。〕 凡是做人, 这八苦都是无法避免的。只有皈依三宝, 来学佛修行, 才能跳出娑婆世界轮转生死的苦海。

 

The fact that in this life we attain human existence and take refuge in the Three Jewels Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha is due to our practice in previous lives. We might have prostrated, made offerings and almsgiving in the temple, or recited the name of the Buddha, etc. thus planted seeds of good affinity with the Buddha. But why take refuge? Sakyamuni Buddha taught us that there are eight kinds of misery form which we constantly suffer: birth, aging, disease, death, separation from loved ones, company of hated ones, failure to obtain what we desire, and all the ills of the five skandhas. As long as we remain in human forms, there can be no escape from such pains. The only way out of this bitter sea of rebirths is to take refuge in the Three Jewels and practice according to the teachings of the Buddha.

 

这世间的一切都是因果循环, 不论在家出家都一样。我们学佛修行, 乃至宇宙间的一切, 也是不出这 〔因果〕 两字。譬如我们就是过去是有种出家的善因, 这世才能出家修行, 而这世我们再来修行也是种未来成佛的 〔因〕。所以有 〔因〕就有 〔果〕, 娑婆世界里种种一切的事情, 乃至心内一个动念, 都是有因果的。佛陀所说的经典也都是在这 〔因果〕, 出家的因要 〔正〕, 要为发菩提心出家, 为解脱生死出家, 不是为了某事或逃避现实或受到刺激才来出家。如果因为这些事情, 因这条件来出家, 这个道心一定不会坚固, 时时都会被坏念头转走, 不会有正念。我们出家要有坚强的愿力, 意志要坚定! 不论遇到多困难的 〔境〕, 多艰辛的障碍都可以服。如果没有这个愿力就无法成佛, 所以佛陀叫我们要 〔忏悔发愿〕, 这条修行的道路才会走得圆满。

 

The law of causality applies to everyone, whether you are a lay person or a monastic practitioner; it also applies to everything that happens in this universe. For instance, the reason that we are able to leave home for practice is due to the good seeds we planted in or previous lives. Our monastic practice, on the other hand, will pave the way for our attaining buddhahood in the future. Hence, where there is a cause, there is a result; everything we do, even just an idea that crosses the mind, will have its effect. All teachings of the Buddha recorded in the sutras are premised on this law of "cause and effect." Good cause brings good result. Accordingly, we must have "right" reasons to become monastic practitioners, i.e. a vow to attain supreme enlightenment for the deliverance of all sentient beings, and a desire to be relieved from the circle of birth and death. If you entered a monastery because you experienced unbearable blows or because you wished to evade hardships or reality, you would not have the firm determination indispensable for monastic practice. You might easily be overtaken by evil ideas and would not be able to retain right mindfulness. We all need a strong resolve when entering the monastery so that we can overcome all adversities--however difficult they may be. No attainment of buddhahood is possible without it. Therefore, the Buddha taught us to repent and make grand vows so that we can tread the path of practice with success.

 

我们每个人从无始劫以来所造的杀业无量无边, 譬如单就所食的一碗饭里就不知道有多少众生? 要杀多少众生才有这碗饭吃! 况且现在所种的东西几乎都要洒农药, 而这也是杀生, 虽然不是我们直接杀的, 但是也有果报存在。所以这世如困不努力修行, 求生西方极乐世界, 仅是这个杀业我们就没办法偿还!

 

In the eons, we all have accumulated immeasurable and illimitable karmic obstructions through killing. For example, immeasurable beings contained in the rice are killed so that we may have a bowl of rice. Further, using pesticide in growing farm products is also a form of killing. Despite the fact that we do not commit these killings directly, we still have to bear certain consequences. If we fail to practice diligently to ensure our rebirth in the Pure Land, we can not even redeem the karma resulting from such indirect killings in this life!

 

出家修行要有愿力, 不要为了一些不如意的小事或身体微恙就心生烦恼, 应该很庆幸这一世可以出家修行, 这乃是我们过去世有种修行的因; 如果因为身体不好, 就影响我们修行的心, 就是没有智慧, 被这个身体 〔度〕 走了。要拿出道心来! 发菩提心修行可以克服一切的境界, 一切烦恼。有因就有果, 不要再种世间的因了, 要种了脱生死的因。若能常念 〔阿弥陀佛〕, 心清净, 没烦恼, 就时时刻刻都在种好的因、成佛的因、往生极乐世界的因。既然我们有念佛的因, 就一定有成佛的果。

 

We monastic practitioners ought to have strong resolve. Do not be perturbed by petty agitation or minor diseases. Rather, we should count our blessings that we sowed the seeds in previous lives thus have attained the opportunity to leave home for practice. If, however, our resolve wavers due to ill health, it indicates a lack of wisdom on our part and the fact that we are reigned by our physical body. Hence, show your determination! A vow to attain total enlightenment will enable us to overcome all adversities and eradicate all vexations. Every cause has its effect, as every effect arises from a cause. Do not sow more seeds of rebirth into this world; sow seeds of liberation from the cycle of birth and death. If we constantly recite the name of Amitabha Buddha and keep our minds pure and free of vexations, we are sowing good seeds that will result in our attainment of buddhahood and our rebirth in the Pure Land. Once we have sowed the seeds of reciting the name of the Buddha, it is certain that we will reap the fruits of attaining buddhahood.

 

出家修行要 〔发心〕, 培褔修功德。人家不做, 我们去做, 人家没看到而我们看到的地方. 我们就做, 即使别人在休息时, 尚未做完的事你看到了, 也要随时 〔发心〕去做, 不可以说: 〔那不是我的工作, 那不是我的事。〕 不要这样想, 否则不但没功德, 在修行上也没办法突破。应该随时心, 因为出家这一法是无上法, 如果没有 〔常住〕, 不能成就佛道。

 

Monastic practitioners should vow to work for the benefit of others so as to accumulate felicities and merits. We should be willing to d whatever others refuse to do, and pay attention to things others ignore. Pick up unfinished chores when others are taking a break; do not complain that "such is not my assignment thus not my business." Otherwise, not only would we accumulate no merit, but we also can not expect any breakthrough in our practice. So, constantly offer yourself to serve public interests. You should know that, even though monastic practice is the supreme dogma, without consistently dwelling on it, you would not attain buddhahood.

 

打佛七是在打这个 〔不生不灭〕, 就是说打我们生死的路能够清清楚, 找回我们本来的面目

 

The purpose of attending an intensive seven-day retreat on reciting the name of the Buddha is to let us fully comprehend the doctrine of "no birth nor death," i.e. to see clearly the path of birth and death and to retrieve our intrinsic nature.

 

打佛七时, 大家要把愿力, 精神拿出来, 这个心都专注在 〔阿弥陀佛〕 , 集中一念, 一心念佛, 不要让这个 〔心猿意马〕 跑到外面去, 这个心不能被外境所转, 这个念佛的心不可让他断掉, 要保持一直念、一直念, 念到一心不乱。

 

When attending an intensive seven-day retreat on reciting the Buddha's name, your mind should concentrate on the name of "Amitabha Buddha." Recite the name with full concentration; do not unleash your mind lest it should be distracted or swayed by external circumstances. Continue your recitation uninterrupted to the point that your mind is undivided and free of perplexity.

 

打佛七就是要克服我们的心猿意马, 克服我们这个心不会去打妄想, 一心都在 〔佛号〕 上面。所以打佛七的意思就是行、住、坐、卧念头要〔专一〕。

 

The purpose of attending an intensive seven-day retreat is to tame our bewildered minds so that we can concentrate only on the name of the Buddha. Therefore, while in the retreat, we should train ourselves to be single-minded, i.e. whatever we do, we ought to have no thought other than the name of the Buddha, be it walking, staying, sitting, or sleeping.

 

众生无始劫以来种在八识田中的种子很多, 〔好的、坏的〕 都有, 尤其是坏念头无量无边。我们打佛七念佛, 就是在种好的种子来增长善根, 将过去壤的种子彻底地从心田里拔除净尽。

 

In the eons, all beings continue to sow seeds in their eighth field of cognition; some of the seeds are good, but more significant are the immeasurable and illimitable evil ones. The purpose for our attending a seven-day retreat on reciting the name of the Buddha is to sow good seeds and to weed out the evil ones from our eight fields of cognition.

 

度众生没有那么简单, 须有佛缘及褔报, 而且目己修到有功夫, 、慧具足时, 自然护法菩萨会拥护, 否则想要度人, 人却不让你度。

 

To deliver other beings is by no means an easy matter. With enough merit and karmic affinity to the Buddha accumulated in your previous lives as well as a certain degree of wisdom through diligent practice in this life, all bodhisattvas guarding the Dharma will come to assist you in your attempt to deliver others. Otherwise, no matter how hard you try, all the efforts will be in vain.

 

业障就是烦恼、挂碍, 如挂碍家中的男女老少等。每个人挂碍不同, 但皆把自己的生死路忘记, 甚至连临命终时将去那里也不关心了。

 

Our karmic obstructions are manifested in our vexations and in the numerous hindrances to our minds. For example, worrying about family members is a common form of impediment. We all worry about different things, but largely ignore the most important one: how to escape the cycle of birth and death--we do not even care where we will be going after death.

 

 

人若知道信佛、回头念佛修道, 忏悔往昔所造诸恶业, 则必可承佛慈力业消障除。否则众生随业转, 个人业感不同, 若不觉悟修行, 不能转业, 就得轮回。

 

If you have faith in the Buddha, practice according to the Dharma and repent past transgressions, you can then eradicate your karmic obstructions with the assistance of the Buddha. On the other hand, if you are not aware of this fact and fail to practice diligently, the strength of your negative karma will prevail and confine you to the eternal prison of rebirths.

 

打坐如果还有 〔怎样坐、怎样观〕的念头, 这都还不是, 仍旧还有 〔我〕, 还是一个形式相。禅净双修须从六根清净下手, 而〔戒〕是禅的基础。

 

If you still think of "how to sit, how to introspect" while practicing sitting meditation, you are not on the right track. This is an indication that you still cling to the sense of self and are attached to the "form," or outward appearances, of practice. The dual practice of Zen and Pure Land must begin with purifying the six sense organs. Keeping the precepts is the foundation for practicing Zen.

 

修行要用 〔苦功〕, 也就是舍身修苦行, 不要顾惜这个假壳子, 不要自己放在最前面 ── 什么事都考虑对自己有没有利益, 要看破、放下!

 

Practice should begin with asceticism, i.e. renouncing the body. Do not attend too much to the need of your body, which is nothing but an illusive shell case; do not put yourself in the fore-front of all your concerns, nor be calculating only of your own interests. Relinquish all attachments to your physical desires!

 

娑婆世界的众,, 都是在苦海里打滚, 为了三餐食饱而劳苦, 在苦中求生。山中的在山中寻食, 海里的在海里找食, 空中的在空中觅食。大食小、强食弱, 最后不色免一死, 因此轮回不断, 若不修行求解脱, 就没有 〔了出苦海〕 的一天。

 

In this bitter sea of birth and death, all beings are struggling for survival--laboring for food, striving to transcend their misery. In the mountains, under the sea, and in the air, sentient beings search for food in their surroundings; they kill and eat the smaller and weaker species, though can not escape death in the end. They are thereby confined to the eternal prison of rebirths; without the will and diligent practice, they can never escape the bitter sea of samsara.

 

人的一生脱离不开生、老、病、死苦, 既然认识人生是苦, 就是设法离苦, 而学佛是离苦最妥善的一途, 要寻求解脱也只有学佛。

 

As a human being, no one can avoid the pain of birth, aging, disease, and death. Once we recognize this fact, we should try to escape from this misery. The most appropriate means that can guarantee us a genuine liberation from suffering is to practice Buddhadharma; it is also the only means that can deliver us from all trammels of life.

 

有些居士不懂佛法, 说错了, 我们出家人应该指导他, 不可随顺他的意思, 使不能进步, 否则我们就有过失

 

It is possible that some lay practitioners, while not comprehending fully the essence of Buddhism, may interpret incorrectly the teachings of the Buddha. We monastic practitioners ought to enlighten them when appropriate. Do not allow them to hold on to their misconceptions thus hinder their progress in practice. Otherwise, we are guilty of neglecting our responsibility.

 

以在家人来说, 静修就很不简单, 自度都已经很难, 怎么谈得上度人? 必须要先度自己这个 〔心猿意马〕, 倘〔这个〕未度, 怎能度人? 我们带着五蕴假体来就是要修〔这个〕

 

It is not easy for the laity to practice without interruption. Consequently, it is difficult for them to even liberate themselves, not to mention deliver others. In practice, we should first try to restrain our own scattered minds. Otherwise, with our minds dispersed and easily distracted, how can we expect to deliver others? The purpose of our being born with the illusive existence of five skandhas i.e. our physical body is to practice restraining and liberating our scattered minds.

 

 

有人学佛学了一段时间后, 反而生出更多的烦恼, 这是业障惑之故, 须从身、口、意三业清净下手, 才能消除根本业障。

 

Some people may find themselves become even more vexed after practice for a period of time. This is due to the manifestation of their karmic obstructions. Under these circumstances, they ought to purify their deeds, words, and thoughts so as to eradicate their deep-rooted karmic obstructions.

 

念头从何处来? 念头从〔无明〕来, 从六根门头而起, 也就是眼、鼻、舌、身、意六根去看、去听、去分别时, 念头就来了。

 

Where do all our ideas come from? They originate from our delusion and from the imperfect senses of our eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind, ideas arise when we see, hear, and try to make distinctions of the messages received by our sense organs.

 

利人即利己, 六根从〔心〕了。若贪一根草, 还得再轮回。

 

You ought to understand that, while working for the benefit of others, you are in fact working for your own interests. Also, purification of the six senses begins with purifying your own mind. If you crave even just a blade of grass, you will remain in the cycle of rebirths.

 

要摄六根不使造业 惟有〔念佛〕。当念到一心时, 一切音声听来皆是念佛声。此外, 还要修忍辱, 忍辱功夫到家, 则什么事情都会悟出来的。

 

The best means to restrain our sensual organs from creating more negative karma is to recite the name of the Buddha. When recitation is done with an undivided mind, all voices will sound like recitation of the Buddha's name. Furthermore, we have to practice forbearance. After attaining a high-level of forbearance, we will be enlightened and can grasp the essence of everything we encounter.

 

所谓行、住、坐、卧皆可参禅, 端在心地清净。先要放下一切, 若有一丝挂碍, 即非禅也。时人多来问奴何修禅? 然既有家室, 又在名利中挣扎, 那能学禅? 即如出家人, 倘终日为名为利、为食为住奔波, 其所修禅, 又如何可得其中三昧? 诚欺人也。

 

Provide your mind is pure and clean, you can practice Zen in whatever you do, be it walking, staying, sitting, or sleeping. The initial step is to let go of all your worldly attachments; even the slightest attachment can impede your practice of Zen. These days, people keep asking me how to practice Zen. What they do not realize is that, because they are clinging tightly both to their families and to their pursuits of fame and wealth, it is very difficult for them to practice Zen. This is also true for monastic practitioners. If monks or nuns still run after fame and wealth, or desire lavish food and housing, how can they expect to attain samadhi perfect absorption when practicing meditation? To say that they are practitioners of Zen is deceiving.

 

出家人以〔法〕度人, 而在家人以〔心〕布施, 供养佛、法、僧, 恭敬佛、法、僧。

 

Monastic practitioners deliver others by teaching the Dharma; lay people can practice offering with all sincerity and be respectful to the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha.

 

佛法不是问出来的, 经书指示路径, 完全要靠自己苦修去〔悟〕出来, 没有说我要做什么

 

No one can attain enlightenment just by seeking instruction of Buddhadharma from a Master. All sutras are maps that mark the paths practitioners may take. Only through diligent practice, not pronouncements, will we be able to comprehend the teachings of the Buddha and attain various stages.

 

世间〔事〕可以用学的, 但是〔佛〕却不是可以装腔作势〔学〕出来的。所以经典的实义也非以我们凡夫知见去研究就可以了解, 即如你所想像测度的〔经〕理, 只是个人的见解, 纵使遍览一切经典, 亦如〔镜花水月〕, 毕竟都不是自己所证悟。所以看经书不可执着文字相, 在经文字句里徘徊思义, 反而〔着〕在那里, 无法跳出去。《金刚经》云: 〔法尚应舍, 何况非法?〕 一切经典都是佛陀指引我们〔了生死〕的路, 研究经典的目的是要我们依教奉行, 老实修行, 亲自去体悟。这条〔了生死〕的路必须要自己苦心修持地走过去, 并以〔深信诸佛皆充满〕 的信愿, 兼仗佛力加被, 才能到达彼岸, 开显我们自性的无相般若智慧。

 

We can "learn" secular knowledge, but we can never pretend that we are able to "learn" Buddhadharma in a similar fashion as we do secular knowledge. Hampered by our imperfect perception, as all ordinary people are, we can never truly comprehend the essence of the sutras through research or study. Thus, you may very well think that you understand the meaning of a sutra after reading it. But your understanding is as illusive as the flower's reflection in the mirror or the moon's reflection on the water because it is derived more from your imagination and speculation than from a genuine comprehension attested through practice. Therefore, you should not cling to the words of any sutra and adopt a literal interpretation of what you read. Otherwise, you will be bound by the words and can not attain true liberation. In the Diamond Sutra the Buddha taught us: "one should relinquish even the Dharma; how much more so undharmic doctrines." All sutras are paths pointed out by the Buddha to help us escape the cycle of birth and death. The purpose of studying them is to follow the paths, to practice diligently so as to attest the teachings. There is no other way to escape the cycle of birth and death but to practice in person. Have faith that all Buddhas are guiding and watching over us so that we can ultimately reach nirvana and unfold the formless wisdom immanent in the essence of our minds.

 

 

 

 

 

2.      On keeping the Precepts

 

戒是戒自己, 求忏悔即是戒

 

The purpose of receiving the precepts are to remind us to be alert of our own thoughts and conduct. When we repent over any and every transgression, we are keeping the precepts.

 

守戒不是执着 〔戒相〕, 把自己绑得紧紧的, 与大众格格不入, 看这样不行, 看那样也不行, 结果反而心生烦恼。而是要把握到戒的精神, 身、口、意二业清净才是最重要。也就是无论做什么事都要慈悲、方便, 所谓 〔慈悲为本, 方便为门。〕 这两条若照顾好, 比较不会犯戒。

 

When I say keeping the precepts, I do not mean that we should cling to the "form" of precepts, i.e. adhere to the precepts word for word. If you take such a literal approach, not only will you put yourself in a straitjacket, but you will also be at odds with the rest of the world. You will become judgmental and are prone to find fault with others thereby increase your own vexations. Therefore, the key is to observe the quintessence of the precepts, i.e., purify your deed, words, and thoughts through keeping them. Basically, you should "be kind and compassionate to all beings while providing them with expedient guidance for practice." Whatever you do, observing this principle will safeguard you against possible breach of the precepts.

 

受戒是在受持〔忍辱〕, 如果耳朵听到别人骂你、刺激你, 你能不起烦恼, 不犯过失, 那就是戒。

 

To a large extent, receiving the precepts means practicing forbearance. If you can be free of agitation, vexation, and violent reaction while listening to an insult or accusation against you, you are keeping the precepts.

 

受戒是戒自己的心, 不是戒别人。当我们起了坏念头时, 种在我们八识田中这个无色相的戒体, 会浮现出来而发挥作用, 制止我们不可以违犯戒律。所以要 〔以戒为师〕, 持戒庄严才能与般若相应。

 

The purpose of receiving the precepts is to safeguard our own minds, not to be critical to others. After we receive the precepts, their formless embodiment dwelling in our eighth field of cognition will come forth to prevent us from breaching them. Therefore, we should use the precepts as our mentor and solemnly keep them so that our minds can be in accord with prajna wisdom.

 

受戒是要戒自己的行为, 不是受那几个戒疤后, 以戒的尺度去指摘别人的过错; 否则自己告口业, 反而先犯戒了

 

The purpose of receiving the precepts is to guard our own behavior, rather than using the criteria to find fault with others. Otherwise, we will be creating negative karma through our words, which is a breach of the precepts in itself.

 

受了戒之后, 才真正是修行的开始, 要〔以戒为师〕, 实地去行

 

Receiving the precepts is the beginning of our practice. We should use the precepts as our mentor and practice accordingly.

 

如果六根不清净, 妄念尚存, 无明未破, 便无法开悟, 像禅堂打香板就是在打你的无明。所以要摄六根, 让身、口、意住于清净无染。因为戒行清净, 六根不染六尘, 是入禅的第一步基础。

 

If your sense organs are impure, your false or misleading thoughts continue, and your ignorance remains, then you can not be enlightened. When the Master hits you with the incense board in the meditation hall, he is hitting your ignorance and delusion. Therefore, you should restrain your sense organs and purify your deed, words, and thoughts. Keep the precepts to the extent that the six sense objects can no longer contaminate your sense organs. This is the first step and the foundation of the practice of Zen.

 

受了戒就应当和未受戒前不一样, 更应做苦行, 把习气改掉、坏念头去掉, 以戒为师。

 

There ought to be a difference after receiving the precepts. Afterwards, you should be more keen to ascetic practice, more eager to get rid of bad habits and evil thoughts, and should learn a great deal from the precepts.

 

受戒能忍即入道。凡事简单, 方便就好, 不要和人家计较分别床位的大小, 吃的好坏。受戒是去学威仪规矩, 不是去四处攀缘、论是非造口业的。

 

Be patient and tolerant while receiving the precepts, then you are entering into the path of practice. Daily life ought to be simple -- do not make a fuss. Do not complain about trivial things such as the bed is not cozy, or the food taste awful, etc. The purpose of holding a session to receive the precepts is to learn proper conduct and manners, not to build up connections, or to gossip about other thus create more karma of words.

 

持戒是持什么? 戒就是〔起心动念〕, 一切戒都是对治我们的心, 对治众生的烦恼等等。因为 〔戒〕是佛祖的行为,〔定〕是佛祖的心。一个修行人如果持戒清净, 身、口、意二业不犯, 则心清净, 正定自然现前, 佛智即生。所以〔戒为菩提本〕, 有戒才能定, 因定而生慧, 〔戒、定、慧〕三学是一体而离不开的。有戒的规范, 才不会毁犯戒律, 落入因果轮回, 因此持戒最重要的就是我们的〔心〕。

 

What do we mean by keeping the precepts? It means watching closely the incipience of each and every one of our thoughts and ideas. All precepts are designed to tame our minds and to eradicate our vexations. The precepts represent the Buddha's conduct and samadhi, the state of the Buddha's mind. If a practitioner faithfully keeps the precepts without going astray in all deeds, words, and thoughts, his mind will be completely purified. He can then attain right samadhi and his immanent buddha-wisdom will unfold. Therefore, "the precepts are the foundation of bodhi enlightenment." Only by keeping the precept can we attain samadhi, wisdom will naturally follow. Hence, "sila precepts, samadhi perfect absorption, and prajna wisdom" are inseparable. Only with the restraint of the precepts can we avoid transgressions that would confine us in samaras. Therefore, our mind-set is most crucial in keeping the precepts.

 

五戒里面以杀生和妄语较容易犯, 其中这个妄语戒就要小心! 一句话讲出去可以成就别人, 也可以害人, 讲好话别人听了会高兴, 讲坏话别人听了会生气, 这边讲来那边讲去, 都是造口业。与人争论吵架也会使人散乱心。所以〔菩萨畏因, 众生畏果〕, 我们修行人在这 〔因〕 的方面要用心去体会。像事情未做以前, 菩萨就知道什么情况下会造什么 〔因〕, 所得 〔果〕 又是什么, 因此绝不会去犯。但芸芸众生就不一样了, 总是说: 〔哎! 早知道这样, 我就不去做!〕 等你知道已经太迟了。所以佛陀所制的戒律、经典也是在这因果道理上, 指引我们去修行, 修得这些, 因果才会圆满。

 

Among the five basic precepts, the most commonly violated ones are killing and lying. And we should pay special attention to the precept against lying, either as a slander, false boasting, or deception. What we say can help as well as destroy others. Kind words please people, vicious ones hurt; but most words exchanged are gossip that can only create karma of words. Quarrelling or debating with others will also make our minds scattered and restless. That is why "bodhisattvas are fearful of causes, sentient beings, retributions." We practitioners should also pay particular attention to comprehend this emphasis on "causes." Bodhisattvas can perceive the cause and effect of each and every move hence will never take any action that can lead to harsh retribution. But most people regret only after they have tasted the bitter fruits of their misconduct. That is why it is always too late when they sigh: "had I known the consequences, I would never have done such and such things!" Therefore, the basic principal Sakyamuni Buddha expounded for our guidance in the precepts and sutras is the law of causality. Only by closely observe this principal will the results of our deeds be satisfactory.

 

在家人追求名利, 仍在娑婆世界中轮回; 而出家人修戒、定、慧, 是为了〔了脱生死〕。

 

Laymen often indulge themselves in the pursuit of fame and wealth thereby remaining in the cycle of rebirths. Monastic practitioners, on the other hand, diligently keep the precepts, meditate, and develop their wisdom in the hope of escaping the cycle of birth and death.

 

受戒回来要遵守戒律, 努力修持。若能守戒, 持戒庄严, 并吃苦耐劳, 戒、定、慧具足了, 一句话说出来能度众, 鬼神听了也能〔出苦〕, 就是〔自度度他〕, 这样韦驮护法才会拥护你。

 

You should practice harder after receiving the precepts. Solemnly keep the precepts and endure all hardships so as to attain samadhi, and prajna. When you reach this stage, your words can naturally deliver other people, even the ghosts and spirits that come to hear you can be freed of their miseries. This is what we called "delivering others while working on your own liberation." At that stage, guardians of the Dharma will also come to assist you.

 

出家人要〔以戒为师〕, 也就是修到使人见了你如见佛般生欢喜, 自然起敬仰之心

 

We monastic practitioners should use the precepts as our mentor and practice diligently to the extent that, when meeting us, people will feel the bliss of meeting a buddha and will naturally respect and admire us.

 

 

3.  念佛  On Reciting the Name of the Buddha

 

每个人都有烦恼, 但是有烦恼就有生死, 应该把握短暂的一生, 专心念佛, 修行断烦恼, 否则生死轮回, 六道有份

 

We all know that everyone suffers from vexations, though not necessary know that, as long as vexations last, we will remain in the cycle of birth and death. Therefore, we ought to seize the opportunity of this short human rebirth to concentrate on reciting the name of the Buddha and practice diligently to eradicate all vexations. Otherwise, we will remain in samsara and perpetually wander among the six divisions of rebirth.

 

不管遇到什么事, 都是一句〔阿弥陀佛〕, 要远离是非也是这句〔阿弥陀佛〕。随时静下来就要念佛, 念到睡着了也没关系, 就这一句〔阿弥陀佛〕能让我们横超三界, 直到西方。所以在修行当中遇到境界来时, 要眼睛装作没看见, 耳朵装作没听到, 不着六尘, 不被境转, 一句〔阿隬陀佛〕 老实念下去。

 

Whatever circumstances you encounter, always remember to recite "Amitabha Buddha;" whenever you wish to steer clear of conflict, recite the name as well. In short, recite the Buddha's name whenever you have a moment to yourself, even if you should fall asleep amidst recitation. This practice will help you transcend the three realms of existence the realms of sensual desire, of form and formlessness and be reborn in the Pure Land. Therefore, when disturbances arise during practice, pretend not to see or hear them. Do not be distracted by the six sense objects, nor be swayed by circumstances. Just continue reciting "Amitabha Buddha."

 

一心念佛就会心开花开, 明心见性

 

Reciting the name of the Buddha with an undivided mind will lead to the realization of the essence of your own mind.

 

不懂念佛意义的人, 以为念佛只是可以求长寿而已。其实寿命长, 却不断杀生造业, 不知道要修行求出离, 长寿又有什么用呢? 还是在六道轮回里面! 生死事大, 人命无常, 若能体悟了生脱死的道理, 就应该把握人身的机会赶快修行, 念佛求生西方。

 

Many who do not understand the significance of reciting the name of the Buddha suppose the only attainment possible through this practice is a long life. However, if instead of practicing to escape samsara, you only create more negative karma by killing and other misconduct, what is the use of a long life? You still remain in the cycle of rebirths, wandering among the six divisions of sentient existence! The matter of escaping the cycle of birth and death is so crucial, yet life is so impermanent. If you truly comprehend the rationale of why we should escape the cycle of birth and death, you will, without hesitation, seize the opportunity of this human rebirth to practice reciting the name of Amitabha Buddha so that you can be reborn in the Pure Land.

 

念佛才是真正清净正当的一条路, 是往生西方的路。大众同音念佛, 一心专注在佛号上, 就能到西方, 不须买票搭飞机, 西方法船是无色相的。

 

Reciting the name of Amitabha Buddha is truly a pure and proper path, a path that will lead to the Pure Land. When we recite "Amitabha Buddha" in unison, all with an undivided mind, we can arrive at the Pure Land. There is no need to purchase tickets, as the dharmic vehicle to the Pure Land is formless and colorless.

 

人命无常, 一口气不来, 人生就完了, 赶快勇猛精进! 莫放逸多念佛!这才是眼前最要紧的事!

Life is so impermanent; it can easily end in a breath. Therefore, we should seize every moment to practice diligently. Don't waste more time; keep on reciting the name of the Buddha. This is the most important thing for us here and now!

 

、住、坐、卧都要念佛! 如果我们定下心来念, 便可察觉到我们的心几乎整天都在外头奔驰,攀缘外境, 没有观照在 〔阿弥陀佛〕上。如果不能收摄身心, 被外境转走, 必然是生死轮回了。

 

Keep on reciting the name of the Buddha, whether we are moving, staying, sitting, or sleeping! If we observe closely, we will find that most of the time, instead of concentrating on the name of Amitabha Buddha, our minds are easily distracted by external environments and wandering all over the places. If we can not restrain our minds and allow them to be swayed by circumstances, there is no way we can ever escape samsara.

 

、住、坐、卧都是禅, 不是只有〔坐〕才是禅。时时保持内心寂静、不分别, 就是〔禅〕。说明白一点,〔一心〕就是禅。

 

You can practice Zen in all your daily activities, be it walking, staying, sitting, or sleeping, not just in "sitting" meditation. If you constantly maintain the serenity and impartiality of your mind, you are practicing Zen. To be more specific, Zen means an undivided mind.

 

念佛不简单, 必须万缘放下, 摒开内外各种纷扰, 一心清净地称佛名号, 才能相应。要能将一句〔南无阿弥陀佛〕六字洪名念得清清楚楚, 听得明明白白, 没有一丝疑念, 如此其他杂念自然消除, 决定会证到〔一心不乱〕。

 

It is by no means easy to practice reciting the name of the Buddha. You have to relinquish all worldly concerns and recite with a pure and undivided mind so as to be in accord with the Buddha. Recite "Namah Amitabha Buddha" clearly and listen attentively without any doubt, all your scattered thoughts will naturally be expelled. You can then practice with an undivided mind free of perplexity.

 

如果你们相信我的话, 老实念佛, 、住、坐、卧不离佛号, 甚至在梦中都能把持得住,把一句佛号谨记在心, 到了这个时候, 自然心不贪念, 意不颠倒, 西方极乐世界自然现前。这是关系生死大事, 千万不可掉以轻心。

 

If you have faith in my teaching, remember to recite the Buddha's name constantly whether you are walking, staying, sitting, or sleeping. Hold on to it even in your dreams. You can thereby free of greed and worldly desires and your mind will not be perturbed. When you reach this stage, the Pure Land will naturally come forth before you. Do not take this matter lightly! It pertains to whether you can escape the cycle of birth and death.

 

你们看, 螟蛉无子, 它拣选小虫, 放入黄土块中, 天天对小虫嗡嗡价响。你们知道它在说什么? 它在跟小虫说:〔你要像我! 你要像我!〕就这样, 把别人的小虫化成自己的子嗣, 一出块垒亦成螟蛉。我们念佛修行当学螟蛉, 摒绝世间形形色色的根尘侵袭, 一心专念〔阿弥陀佛! 阿弥陀佛!〕日久工夫纯熟, 将来必定成佛。

 

The Larva of chilo simplex a kind of moth can not have offspring. They pick other bugs, put them in the soil, and speak to them incessantly: "Be like me! Be like me!" When the bugs come out of the soil, they grow to be like Chilo simplex. We should follow this example in our practice: shun from myriad temptations, just recite "Amitabha Buddha, Amitabha Buddha" with an undivided mind. After continuous practice, the recitation will become your second nature and you will ultimately attain buddhahood.

 

在家中应当尽量拜佛、念佛, 闲话少说, 以求将来脱离苦海, 往生西方有份。

 

When you are at home, practice prostration and recite the Buddha's name whenever possible. Don’t waste your time gossiping or chattering! Then you can hope to be liberated from samsara and be reborn in the Pure Land.

 

妄想来时不要怕, 不理它就是。它是它, 我还是〔阿弥陀佛〕一直念下去, 妄想自然就少了。

 

Do not be perturbed by erroneous and illusive thoughts; just ignore them when they emerge. If you keep on reciting "Amitabha Buddha," such thoughts will gradually diminish.

 

、住、坐、卧都要去悟, 去体会佛法, 这样坏念头才不会跑进来。否则空过光阴, 心中没有正念, 即使口不言, 但心在打妄想, 执着那些形形色色的好坏, 仍不能了生死。要提起正念, 修不生不灭的无上解脱法, 才是人生大事。

 

Try to comprehend and experience the essence of the Dharma through each and every move you take so that evil ideas will have no chance to come forth. Otherwise, your life will be wasted. When not guided by right mindfulness, you may be overwhelmed by illusive and erroneous thoughts even though not pronouncing them, and remain clinging to, hence being vexed by, and your biased judgments of worldly affairs. Continue living like this and you will have no chance of escaping samsara. The most important thing in your life, therefore, is to foster right mindfulness and practices the supreme Dharma that would set you free of all the trammels of life.

 

〔好〕也笑笑, 〔坏〕也笑笑, 好坏都是分别出来的, 所以不要去分别。如果遇到高兴欢喜事, 就参〔欢喜的人是谁?〕而起烦恼时, 则参〔烦恼的人是谁〕当妄想来时, 这些烦恼或不好的念头也是你的〔自性〕, 这时不要去感觉它, 尽管继续念你的佛, 将一句佛号念住, 念得清清楚楚, 明明白白。这样工夫用久了, 妄想自然没有, 而一念清净时, 这个心就是佛心。

 

Smile when things are going well, the same when times are bad, for "good" or "bad" are nothing but arbitrary distinctions made by the mind, no need to differentiate or discriminate. When feeling happy, keep pondering "who is the one that is happy?" and when vexed, asking "who is the one that is full of defilement?" You should know that vexations and illusive ideas are also part of your mind, your "perturbed" mind. Pay no attention, though, when they emerge, just keep on reciting "Amitabha Buddha" clearly and distinctly. Continue this practice long enough, the illusive thoughts will naturally diminish. The instant the mind becomes pure and undivided, it is the buddhamind.

 

傻傻做、傻傻吃、多念佛! 今天是今天, 明天是明天, 什么事都不挂碍, 这就是道心坚固, 就是修行。

 

Don't think too much; just work, eat, and recite the name of the Buddha! Live only for today and let tomorrow be tomorrow. Let go of all worries and anxieties. Such is an indication of firm resolution, and such is practice.

 

〔法性是空, 无所来亦无所去。〕当烦恼、生气时, 不要执着追究烦恼生气从那里来, 若执着则不但心不开, 而且不能安心办道, 往前进步。必须什么是都看得破、放得下, 还是把〔阿弥陀佛〕念在心里才是最要紧的事!

 

"The nature of Dharma is emptiness. It has no place of origin nor destination." Thus, when you are vexed or angry, do not insist on locating the source of your vexation or anger. If you do, you will neither be happy nor be able to concentrate on practice, let alone making any progress! You have to relinquish all concerns and let go of all fetters. The most important thing is to keep "Amitabha Buddha" in your mind!

 

念佛要发长远心, 不可间断, 如同小溪的水, 不管水流大小, 总是潺潺不断流往大海。念佛就像这样, 不管念多念少, 都要持之有恒, 天天念、一心念, 念到阿弥陀佛的大誓愿海里, 生西就有望。任何人只要肯念, 成佛一半!

 

Reciting the name of the Buddha requires uninterrupted long-term practice, like the water of small streams keep running into the sea. No matter how many times you recite per day, you have to do it every day and with an undivided mind. This is the only way for your recitation to stream into the sea of the great vows of Amitabha Buddha i.e. be in accord with the vows and you can thereby hope to be reborn in the Pure Land. Consequently, anyone who is willing to recite the name of the Buddha is half way toward attaining buddhahood.

 

念佛也不简单, 要摄心专念, 念得字句分明, 清清楚楚。若没有正念, 就是散乱心, 容易想东想西, 变成口念心不念, 不能与弥陀愿海相应。所以念佛还要有愿力, 才能一心专注, 摄心持名。否则妄念纷飞, 又怎能把佛号念好呢?

 

It is by no means easy to practice reciting the name of the Buddha because the recitation has to be done with an undivided mind and each word pronounced distinctly. Without the guidance of right mindfulness, your mind may become scattered and all sorts of unruly ideas may spring up. Under such circumstances, your recitation can easily become a mindless utterance that can never be in accord with the great vows of Amitabha Buddha. Indeed, recitation with an undivided mind requires a strong resolve. Otherwise, how can anyone expect to practice well when his/her mind is overwhelmed by illusive and erroneous thoughts?

 

念佛修持过程中, 会有很多心念上的困扰障碍, 就是自己会打妄想, 因为心是无常的, 随时变来变去, 依我们的心念在转, 所以想好好念一句佛号都不简单啊!

 

There will be immense disturbances and obstacles to our minds while practicing recitation, mostly caused by incessant illusive thoughts. Since our minds are basically unstable and can easily be swayed by our thoughts, it is difficult to recite the name of the Buddha, even just once, with an undivided mind.

 

每个人无始以来所带来的坏种子很多, 若不在修行上下功夫, 带业来再带业去, 则空来人间走一回。一失人身, 万劫难复, 生死轮回, 何时出期? 当赶紧用功修行, 万缘放下 将这个色身假壳子看破, 悟到我们本来不生不灭的佛性, 才能永远自在解脱。

 

We all have accumulated immeasurable bad seeds in the eons. Without diligent practice, we will only increase our karmic obstructions and live this life in vain. Once losing human rebirth, we might not be able to regain such a good opportunity for practice for eons. In that case, when can we hope to escape the cycle of birth and death? Knowing the consequences, it will be wise for us to forgo all worldly attachments at once and practice diligently. Only when we realized that our physical body is nothing but a temporary and illusive shell case, and that we all have a Buddha-nature that can neither be born nor be extinguished, will we be able to attain eternal liberation.

 

我们都是带业来受轮回的, 所以病苦多的人, 如果能明白这就是业障的话, 就应该少杀生多念佛, 业障自然会渐渐消除

 

All of us are born with negative karma accumulated in past lives; that is why we remain in this cycle of rebirths. So, if those who have poor health realize that their illnesses are largely due to their karmic obstructions, they should avoid killing and recite the Buddha's name more often. Such practice will gradually eradicate their karmic obstructions.

 

妄想多的人, 需要多做一些事, 让念头有个寄托。否则妄念纷飞, 要念佛也是念不下去。所以一面工作, 一面念佛, 会渐渐地不觉得在工作。而且心专注于佛号与工作, 对外境的好坏不起分别, 自然会生出平等心。

 

If you find yourself overwhelmed by incessant erroneous and illusive thoughts, you should keep yourself busy so that your ideas will have an anchor. Otherwise, with thoughts running wild, you can not practice reciting the name of the Buddha. But if you practice recitation while working, you will gradually forget that you are working hard. Besides, when you concentrate both on you tasks and on recitation, you will stop making distinctions about your environment, and your mind will naturally be free of discrimination.

 

念佛、为常住贡献心力、利益众人, 这便是修褔、慧, 可直了生死。若只顾自己, 只为自己的利益, 不为众人, 这样就是没有慈悲心, 再怎么也修不起来, 以后会再堕下去。

 

For your daily practice, you should recite the name of the Buddha, dutifully carry our your monastic tasks, and constantly think of working for the benefit of others. This is the dual practice toward gaining merit and wisdom that will lead directly to liberation from the cycle of birth and death. On the other hand, if you only think of your own interests and never about others, you are neither kind nor compassionate; your practice won't go very far and you are sure to remain in samsara.

 

念佛要具信、愿、行三力, 要依音声念佛, 不管出声念或默念, 都要从耳朵清楚听进去, 念到大地只有一音, 都是念佛音, 对外境一切的音声都不起分别, 不被转去, 方名〔一心不乱〕。

 

Practice reciting the name of the Buddha requires the trinity of faith, will, and action. Follow the recitation closely--whether pronouncing it or reciting in silence--you should be able to hear every word distinctly. If you practice to the extent that you hear nothing but the name of the Buddha, that you neither distinguish nor be distracted by any other sound, you would have attained the stage of "an undivided mind free of perplexity."

 

我们妄念种子深重。念佛时不是头昏就是被妄念种子牵去, 所以念佛时必须要随时收摄身心。

 

Our tendency to have erroneous and illusive thoughts is rooted deeply. That is why we tend to feel dizzy or are easily distracted by illusive thoughts when we recite the name of the Buddha. Therefore, we have to keep reminding ourselves to restrain our minds while practicing recitation.

 

有些人以为〔念佛〕是很容易的, 所以轻视〔念佛法门〕。可是真要让他们来念, 却又念不到几句就起烦恼, 听到念佛的声音时, 心中就会有压迫感, 好像千斤重的石头压在心上, 这就是没有善根, 业障深重, 无法摄受到念佛的好处。所以不要小看了〔念佛法门〕。

 

Some people take recitation lightly, thinking it easy to practice. But if you ask them to try it, they might soon be vexed after starting to recite the name of the Buddha, or they might feel oppressed by tons of rocks upon hearing the sound of the recitation. Such negative reactions indicate that they did not plant good seeds in their previous lives and that their karmic obstructions are so enormous that they are unable to benefit from recitation. Therefore, do not look down upon discipline of reciting the name of the Buddha.

 

现在民间有很多人口头上说是信佛, 实际上根本没有正念, 以为求神问卜也算是信佛, 乱信一通, 或者是带者〔有所求〕的心来信佛拜佛, 每天都在打名利的妄想, 被名利迷得团团转。像这样的学佛信佛, 没有正知正见, 想要了生死, 就不是那么容易了。

 

Nowadays, many people claim to be Buddhists but in fact do not have right mindfulness. They make offerings to supernatural local deities praying for blessings and take it to be practice of Buddhism. Or, they prostrate themselves in front of buddha statues because they want something in of return. They are chasing after wealth and fame, and are deluded by such illusive pursuits day in and day out. Without the guidance of right views, it will not be easy for such people to escape the cycle of birth and death.

 

要发弘愿, 别人都先成佛, 我才成佛, 像大愿地藏王菩萨一样〔众生度尽方成菩提〕, 而在行菩萨道过程当中, 这个 〔愿〕 就是成佛的愿。因为只顾自己, 不把心打开, 就是没有慈悲心, 不但修不上去, 〔我相〕也去不掉。同时因顾〔我〕而产生烦恼、执着、分别、嫉妒、贪、瞋、痴等等, 这些受轮回生死的种子。所以修行一定要〔利他〕, 利益别人就是利益自己。无论什么事都要帮助及成就别人, 令其〔心〕安住在佛道上。一切慈悲为本, 方便为门, 就是菩萨行。

 

We should make vows as grand as that of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha, i.e. not to attain Buddhahood until all beings are delivered. While treading the bodhisattva-path, this grand vow is a vow to attain buddhahood. If, on the other hand, we think only of ourselves, then we are neither kind nor compassionate; our practice will not go very far and our attachment to the form of "self" will remain. Clinging to the sense of self will only plant evil seeds such as vexation, attachment, discrimination, jealousy, greed anger, and ignorance, etc. that will keep us in the cycle of birth and death. Hence, practice should always be motivated by altruism. And while working for the benefit of others, we will also benefit ourselves. Help others whenever and wherever possible and lead their minds to dwell on the Dharma. Whatever we do, if we are kind and compassionate to all beings while providing them with expedient guidance for practice, we are treading the bodhisattva-path.

 

人为何受轮回? 就是因为七情五欲的染着心太重, 被七情五欲所迷, 整天为财、色、名、食、睡而烦恼, 恶业也就这样在贪染追求中造出来了。

 

Why are we besieged in the endless cycle of rebirths? It is because we are heavily defiled and attached to sensual attractions, and are vexed by incessant cravings for wealth, sex, fame, food, and sleep. Our unremitting pursuit of physical satisfaction, therefore, creates immeasurable negative karma, which keeps us forever in samsara.

 

不论任何境遇, 当下第一个念头就是要〔念佛〕, 不起别念, 那样我们的八识田中才都为念佛的种子。所以平常的修持就是要将听到的一切音声, 都转为念佛的立声, 鸟声、车声、人声等都是在念佛、念僧, 也就是要摄一切音声、一切现象入念佛音声中。

 

Whatever circumstances we run into, our first thought should always be "reciting the name of the Buddha," nothing else. We will then plant only seed of recitation in our eighth field of cognition. Therefore, what we should practice daily is to convert all sounds we hear, be it birds singing, vehicles moving, or people talking, into sounds of chanting Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. That is to say, instead of being distracted, we should integrate all external noises and phenomena into our practice of reciting the name of the Buddha.

 

〔人作即佛成〕, 佛法是圆融善巧方便的。修行人应〔严以律己, 宽以待人〕, 凡事都要有耐心, 待人要宽宏大量, 慈悲包容, 随缘帮助, 就是广结善缘。

 

"Becoming an impeccable person equals attaining Buddhahood." The Dharma is in itself complete, adroit, and expedient. A practitioner should be strict in disciplining him/herself but considerate when dealing with others. Be patient in whatever you do, be kind, compassionate, and tolerant to whomever you meet, and help others when circumstances arise. By so doing, you are fostering good affinity with all beings.

 

参学是在藉境参自心, 参我们这个心是不是烦恼心妄想心对人善恶是的分别心, 就是要观照自己的起心动念, 在面对一切境界时能不起分别、不起烦恼、无所挂碍, 这才是真参学。

 

The essence of "seeking guidance" is to make use of all circumstances to examine our own minds, to see whether they are vexed, deluded, or discriminating. That is, we should observe the incipience of our each and every thought to ensure that our minds remain undiscriminating, undefiled, and unfettered. This is the true meaning of seeking guidance.

 

修行人要一心念佛, 念佛最要紧, 至于其他的事就是要学〔忍辱〕。如果有什么事情看不顺眼, 就把耳朵关起来, 眼睛闭起来, 装作不知道, 睁一眼、闭一眼, 还要对人和颜悦色, 心中不可以起烦恼。再怎么说, 修行就是〔忍辱〕这两个字。

 

The most important thing for a practitioner is to recite the name of the Buddha with an undivided mind. The second is to practice "forbearance." Shut your ears and eyes, pretend not to see or hear when people say or do disagreeable things; instead, be gentle with them and do not become vexed. "Forbearance" is crucial in practice.

 

念佛要念到〔花开见佛〕! 我们每个人的心中都有一尊〔自性佛〕, 当你念佛念到心清净、没烦恼时, 就见到自性佛。所以要断烦恼, 才能 〔花开见佛〕。在日常修持当中, 要学慈悲忍辱, 去除性急暴躁, 降伏脾气。待人处事依道理去行, 善巧圆融、理智论事, 不要只看到别人的过错, 即使知道好坏也不要烦恼。对人要亲切和蔼但不攀缘, 不论是善或恶, 都是和气平等对待, 没有分别, 不要一张冷冰冰的脸令人望之却步。照这样做去, 起心动念都是慈悲心、利益别人的心, 不仅能广结善缘, 自己也得清凉, 没有烦恼, 便是 〔花开见佛〕。

 

Practice reciting the name of the Buddha to the extent that "flowers flourish and the Buddha comes into view." We all have a Buddha immanent in our minds. When we practice recitation to the extent that our minds are pure and free of vexations, we will meet the Buddha within ourselves. Therefore, only by the extinction of all vexations can we attain the stage where "flowers flourish and the Buddha comes into view." We should practice compassion and forbearance in our daily lives while avoiding impulsiveness and petulance and controlling our temper. Be adroit and harmonious when dealing with people and handle everything with the help of reason. Seek not the faults of others and do not be vexed by the rights or wrongs we perceive. Be gentle and kind to others, though not for the sake of building up connections. Treat everyone, be he/she moral or immoral, with equality and impartiality. Do not turn others away with an icy face. With every move intended for the benefit of others and done with sympathetic compassion, not only will we foster good affinity with others but our minds will be purified and ourselves free of all vexations. We are thereby attaining the stage where "flowers flourish and the Buddha comes into view."

 

念佛人如果情执不断, 牵扯难舍, 嘴巴里虽然念佛, 念念还是角在娑婆中三界内轮回。要真能恳切至诚, 放下万缘, 那么临终才能往生西方。

 

Unless all emotional attachments are relinquished, merely reciting the Buddha's name with your tongue will not help you escape the cycle of birth and death. Recite with all sincerity and an undivided mind and relinquish myriad attachments, then you will be reborn in the Pure Land.

 

〔信则真, 诚则灵。〕心若至诚, 则念佛时会感应一切祥瑞, 所以要深信诸佛皆充满。佛菩萨是遍满虚空的, 只有至诚心才能与佛相应。

 

"The truth will come forth when you have faith; your prayers will be answered if you pray with sincerity." Recite the Buddha's name with all sincerity, then you will feel the auspiciousness indicating the presence of the Buddha. Have a deep conviction that buddhas and bodhisattvas fill the void of the universe. However, they only correspond with minds of utmost sincerity.

 

念佛的力量很, 大可以让我们消业障、开智慧。但不能着相念佛, 执着娑婆世界 〔色、声、香、味、触、法〕种种有色相的境。如果这样, 一定心不清、脑不灵, 仍在五蕴 〔色、受、想、行、识〕 里面打转, 还是在世间做白日梦而已。

 

Reciting the name of the Buddha is very powerful in that it helps to eradicate our karmic obstructions and unfold our wisdom. But do not cling to the "form" of recitation; nor should you be attached to the color and form i.e. physical existence of this world. Otherwise, your mind can not be pure or liberated, i.e. you will remain in the confinement of the five skandhasform, sensation, perception, volition, and consciousness, and your liberation will remain a daydream with no prospect of realization.

 

念佛要一心专注的念, 念到〔心开花开〕, 心清净了, 就不会有烦恼, 没有那些贪、瞋、痴的坏念头挤进来, 自然意不颠倒而身心自在, 现前就是西方境界。

 

When practice recitation, you should do it with an undivided mind to the extent that "your mind is open and flowersof your mindflourish." That is to say when your mind is purified through recitation, you will naturally be free of vexations. When your mind is not crowded with destructive ideas generated by your greed, anger, and ignorance, it will not be inverted and, together with your body, will be free and at ease. When you attain that stage, this world is the Pure Land.

 

修行需要时间, 平常就要用功, 时时自己内心用工夫。人家在讲话, 我们心里在念佛, 自己看自己, 不要放逸, 不要散漫心, 时时刻刻走路都要念佛。

 

It takes a long time to attain any stage in practice. Therefore, we ought to practice training our minds all the time. For example, while others are chatting, practice recitation within our minds. Always be watchful lest out minds should become slack and scattered. Keep on reciting the Buddha's name; we can do it even while we are walking.

 

念佛以正念第一, 〔南无阿弥陀佛〕六字洪名, 只要一直念下去,