天地的倫理 Moral Principles Governing Heaven and Earth (Beta Version)
◎一九八九年四月十四日開示於加拿大 A Dharma talk given on April 14, 1989 in Canada
各位善知識： 有的人不了解為什麼我不先講，卻讓和我一起來的人先講？因為到這兒來是想聽我講話，結果就有多少等不了的樣子，著急了，雖然著急，可是還是在這兒等著，這就是講法的考驗，考驗你的忍耐心夠不夠。還有我隨時隨地願意向所有的人來學習，所以每當到什麼地方講演，我先是聽講的，聽誰講呢？聽跟我學的學生講。這有兩種意思，一種是我聽聽他們講的有沒有道理，也是對他們有深層的認識；另一方面，他們都是青年有為的學者，所學的都是一些新的知識、新的智慧，比起我這個古老的人，來的活潑天真，所以我也要跟他們學習，這又是一個意思。 All of you good-knowing advisors: Some people don’t understand why I don't talk first, and let my disciples who come along talk first? As for those who have come here, they came to listen to my lecture, and when they had to spend time listening to others talk, they grew somehow impatient and anxious. Although impatient, they still had to wait here. This is the test for the audience of the Dharma lectures, to see if they have enough patience. Moreover, I am always willing to learn from those who have come anytime and anywhere. So every time when I go to a place to lecture, I am first the listener then the speaker — whom do I listen to? To those students who learn from me. There are two reasons behind it: First, I listen to see whether or not what they say makes sense, and to gain a deeper understanding about my students. Second, the speakers are young and potential practitioners, whose learnings are of modern knowledge and new wisdom. In contrast to my old-fashioned style, they can deliver their talks in a more innocent and exuberant manner. Therefore, I want to learn from them; this is the second reason.
你們各位先聽跟我一起來的幾個法師講，你們對我就能有深一層的認識。因為跟著我的人如果打妄語了，這不問可知這個老師一定天天打妄語；跟著我的人好和人鬥爭，也不問可知，可知道我喜歡鬥爭，所以教出來的學者也都是歡喜鬥爭；如果他們有一種貪心，也就代表平時沒教他們真認識佛法，乃至於他們一天到晚攀緣，向外馳求到外邊去找；或者他們有自私的行為，有自利的行為，有打妄語的行為，講出法來，講得似是而非，不實在的，這就證明我平時沒教好他們。 All of you first listen to the few Dharma Masters that have come with me, and you will gain a deeper understanding of who I am. Because if people who follow me tell lies, you do not even need to ask to know that the teacher must tell lies everyday. If people who follow me enjoy fighting with others, you can also know without asking that I love to fight, and thus the students I teach also love fighting. If they have any form of greed, that also represents that I did not regularly teach them to truly understand the Buddhardharma, to the point that from day until night they scheme and seek outwardly. Similarly, if they have selfish conduct, self-benefiting conduct, or deceiving conduct, or, they speak seemingly true Dharma but in fact it is false without any substance, it proves that I [as their teacher carry all these problems myself and] failed to teach well.
This is one of the angles you can observe me from, to know how I usually teach them: Our method of teaching is that, we are mutually students and teachers — whoever has wisdom is the teacher, and whoever is a little more ignorant is the student. During the process, we learn together, “borrowing” others’ strengths to overcome our shortcomings. This is a way of studying ethics, a moral perspective, in which students and teachers help, mirror, and observe each other.
Our pedagogy has another term called “activating inherent wisdom.” Regarding a topic or a passage of sutra text, you will have certain explanations based on your inherent wisdom, the wisdom that you fundamentally possess and does not require seeking from outside. It is great wisdom that you are originally endowed with. It is the power source, source of all your capabilities, your very first capital. Although it is inherent within you, it needs an outside force to activate it so as to dig out all the “mines” of wisdom and energy; after processing and refining these mines, they all can be put into full use in various situations.
Because of this, I strive to learn as I lecture everywhere. Propagating the Dharma requires patience, and so does studying. If one can have patience in whatever one does, one can definitely accomplish something out of it, therefore I said, Patience is a priceless treasure, which no one knows how to use well. If you know how to use it, everything will go your way.
「忍是無價寶」，能忍就得無價寶了，「人人使不好」，人不用這個忍字，好像坐著聽某一個人講演，旁人講就有點著急了，心裏頭不耐煩了，這就是不能忍。若人能忍就能更上一層樓，所以說是無價寶。人人使不好，忍一次、忍兩次，到三次時爆炸了，爆炸的火氣威力甚至於比原子彈還厲害。「若能會使它」，假如明白了這忍字的功用，「事事都能好」，無論什麼事情都不會發生間題的。所以你若有忍字，就everything is ok, no problem! 說到「忍」字，這是心上有一把鋒利的刀刃，這一把刀刃的尖刀刺到心裏頭去了，很痛的，可是若忍一點，痛就能過關了。
“Patience is a priceless treasure”: One obtains a priceless treasure if one can have patience. “Which no one knows how to use well”: No one is able to utilize his patience. For example, when you are sitting and waiting for someone (the Venerable Master himself) to lecture, but find out that the lecturer is someone else (the disciples of the Venerable Master), you grow somewhat impatient. This is the impatience. If you can patiently wait, you will “ascend to a higher level.” Therefore it is said to be a priceless treasure. “No one knows how to use it well”: You may be patient once, twice, but explode on the third time. The “explosion” caused by your bad temper is even more powerful than that of the nuclear bomb. “If you know how to use it”: If you know the application of patience, “everything will go your way.” No matter what you do, no trouble will arise. Therefore, if you can be patient, then “everything is OK; no problem!” While we are at it, let’s talk about the Chinese character “忍.” The character represents a sharp blade ren (刃) hanging right above the heart xin (心). You experience great suffering when the blade pierces into your heart; but if you can endure it, you can successfully pass the test.
More than a decade ago, there was a CTTB disciple named Gwo Le (Doug Powers) who taught a class of problematic students (at Berkeley High School). This class had tons of problems popping up everyday — all day long, if not this problem arises, then another problem will arise. He came to me and asked for a mantra that could resolve the problems of those problematic students. At that time I told him there is such a mantra, and it is the most efficacious; however, its power depends on whether or not you know how to recite it. Listen carefully as I will now teach you how, the mantra goes like, Patience! Patience! More patience, you got to have patience! Suo po he!
He went back to his school, recited the mantra, and came back to me and told me that the mantra is indeed efficacious. His students’ problems no longer troubled him once he recited the mantra — as if all the problems disappeared immediately. If you don’t believe me, I can get the disciple here and have you ask him in person. This is a true story and I did not make this up.
Someone may object and question whether what I have said is in accord with Buddhist ethics. Yes. This is indeed Buddhist ethics. Principles in ethics (lun li) need to be reasonable and rational. Lun(倫) in Chinese is like compared to a wheel, which is constantly rotating, constantly turning. Every family has its own ethics, and so does every individual; every country has its unique ethics, and so does every planet — including the Earth. Earth is constantly rotating and revolving — and this is its ethics. A country does not perish from the earth — also because of the power of the ethics; its administration passes hand from one president to the next, and from that to another, who emerges from among the people by rotation — isn’t this the power of ethics?
Nations have their national ethics, and families have their family ethics. Fathers having children is the father-children ethics, and when the children have their own children, there comes the children-grandchildren ethics. Then, what about the body? When the body is fond of something, there comes the ethics of fondness. When it feels worried, there comes the ethics of worrying. Sometimes it sleeps, and there are ethical principles about sleep. Sometimes it has meals, and there are ethical principles about eating. Sometimes it wears clothes, and there are ethical codes about dressing. All of these are principles of ethics, which are ceaselessly revolving and evolving as time passes by.
When family ethics becomes disorderly, the family will soon perish. If a father does not carry himself well like a father but wants to be the son, or if the son does not want to be the son but wants to be the father, that is the case of a father not behaving like a father, and a son not behaving like a son. This is an example of an abnormal family ethics. This family will perish, and similarly, so will a nation; just as a nation will perish, so will the world — as long as they do not observe the codes of ethics. All of these will be gone if beings do not follow the ethical codes. This saying is very reasonable and yet over time, people are deeply caught in their habits and no longer see this truth. They no longer work hard on honoring the ethics, or neglect about it — they have forgotten about the fundamental principles.
For humans, they also have their ethics. The ethics begin with their original nature — the Buddha-nature. But they do not use this nature, and use something else. What is it? They use emotional love. The Buddha-nature devolves into emotional love — men and women become entangled in their emotional love, stuck together as if glued together by super glue; as a result they become families and relatives, who have complicated entangled relations. Overall, it is a process in which nature flows down to become emotional love, and from emotional love to desire. Originally, the inherent nature of humans was pure, but later on became defiled from desire — humans just want to run towards desire. Desiring wealth, everybody wants to make some more money; desiring beauty, everybody is fond of seeing beautiful forms. Human beings’ thoughts of desires are defiled, yet everybody wants defilement instead of purity. Monastics are supposed to be pure, yet when parents hear that their children want to leave the home-life, they cry and wail as if their children died. Those parents who are understanding will not cry but rejoice saying, “Once one of our children leaves the home-life, and ventures forth into the Buddha’s gate, all the nine generations of our ancestors will ascend to the heavens. We also will gain the benefit in the future.” On the other hand, those who do not understand will burst into tears, wail, howl and yell.
“Purity is blessings, but people do not enjoy it; defilement is offenses, but everybody greeds for it.” Everybody in the world pursues fame and profits, wants to be wealthy or have a high social status, and seeks wealth, sex, fame, food, and sleep. Seeking fame, they want a good name; seeking food, they want to eat tasty meals. If you say, “I vow to never eat tasty food!”, I do not believe that you vow to eat unappetizing food! I do not believe that if food rottens or sours, you will be willing to eat it. Seeking sleep, some people take sleep as a duty; if others sleep for one day, they will want to sleep for two days, and start a sleeping competition. Wealth, sex, fame, food, and sleep are five roots of the hells, and they are also causes of each other. Wealth leads to sex, sex leads to fame, fame leads to food, food leads to sleep, and after sleeping you begin to seek wealth again — this is what is meant by causation.
Things in the world are like wheels. For example, we humans revolve in the six destinies, sometimes ascending to heavens and sometimes becoming asuras. Heavenly asuras are bandits in heavens who have blessings of heavens but do not have authorities of heavens. They often get into battles against heavenly armies and generals, almost forcing Jade Emperor and his heavenly armies onto their knees.
Human beings sometimes become asuras; sometimes are reborn as humans, sometimes as animals, sometimes as hellbeings — they just keep revolving on the wheel of transmigration. (This is also like a wheel — lun .) This is also ethics — lun. If people understand these principles about ethics, they will be able to pass the test; if they do not understand the principles well, and go against them, they will have disorderly or abnormal ethics, the families they form will soon fall apart and perish.
Some people started to complain inside their minds, “Originally I had an important meeting; I had to cancel it in order to come to listen to you give lectures on Buddhist principles. However, after sitting here for a while listening to you talk back and forth, none of what you said is of any use to me, and not helpful to me in the least bit. I am so disappointed!” You being disappointed really satisfies my hope, because to be able to make you disappointed is my goal. Why? It is because I am a very strange person. What others like I don’t like; what others dislike, I like. What others do not want, I want. What others discard, I pick them up. This is the principle of “I take what others reject and give away what others grasp for.”
Today, you came to listen to my lecture; I will honestly tell you that you have been fooled by me. What is the big trick I played on you? You listened to my “back and forth” talking, feeling your precious time has been wasted. What you said, what false thoughts arose in your mind, I totally agree. Why? You were fooled in listening to my lecture on Buddhist ethics. However, you can take some more loss, and gradually you will transform your ignorance to wisdom，as it is said, “Only when one cultivates to the point of great stupidity is one truly clever.” It is a good thing that you learn to take some losses. So throughout my life, what others want, I do not want; what others greed for, I do not greed. You can say that if I am not a fool, how can I be like this? “Stupidity” is the source of increasing one’s wisdom.
Lao Zi in China had a famous saying, “The Great Path is invisible, but it gives birth to Heaven and Earth. The Great Path is without emotions, but it moves the sun and moon. The Great Path is without a name, but it nurtures all. I don’t know its name, so inadequately I named it the ‘Path’.” Lao Zi was left with no other options other than to give it a name “Path.” The myriad things are born from the Dao (Path). One who attains it naturally penetrates its efficacy. Awaken completely to the truth within this — Ah! One’s bodhi (wisdom) doesn’t become less or more.
The above passage was from the Scripture of Purity by Lao Zi, the Supreme Elderly Lord which I read before. It also says, “The Path is sometimes pure and sometimes turbid.” “Pure” refers to the inherent Buddha-nature, whereas “turbid” refers to thoughts of desire. “Sometimes active and sometimes calm”: What is active or moves is Yang, and what is calm or silent is Yin. “Heaven is pure and Earth is turbid.” “Heaven is active and Earth is calm”: Heaven is moving and is Yang, whereas Earth is quiet and Yin. “Male is pure and female is turbid”: Men are pure and women are defiled, carrying turbid energy. Men move and women are quiet; men are of Yang, and women are of Yin. “Birth to death cycles, give birth to all; purity is the source of turbidity; activeness is the base of calmness. If people can always be in the state of purity and calmness, Heaven and Earth will become one with them.” Staying in constant purity, people will be in union with Heaven and Earth, becoming one, as it is said, “one will be in harmony with Heaven and Earth in virtue; be in harmony with the sun and the moon in brilliance; be in harmony with the four seasons in terms of time sequence; be in harmony with ghosts and spirits in terms of auspiciousness and inauspiciousness.” This is ethics — when we can become one with the myriad things of the world, then that is like a wheel revolving ceaselessly.