導師的話:道在平常日用中

印順導師

法光學壇
第三期(1999)
頁3-21


 

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  我們知道,釋尊所開示的佛法,與重信的神教不同,是理智的、德行的、人本的宗教。所以佛法的內容,不外平軌範身心,淨化身心,達到身心解脫自在。信佛學佛,不是向外追求(物欲與神力救濟),而是從自己身心的修治出發,實現自利與利他的理想。知能依著佛法去信受奉行,當然會普遍應用於日常生活中。佛法的信修,一定會知見正確,動機純正,智慧與慈悲的不斷增進。不過,佛法在長期流行中,從印度到中國,或是為了適應世俗,或是方便的曲引鈍根,佛法傾向於神秘的、形式的、知識的;學佛者的解行,漸漸有了與日常生活脫節的現象;這實在是值得大家重視的問題!要知道「佛法普遍應用於日常生活中」,並不等於:天天忙著誦經、禮懺、放焰口;日日研究經典,講經、著作、念佛、持咒、素食、放生;到處參加法會,布施功德;或修建寺院,辦學院,辦文化慈善事業;住茅蓬修行……。這些,可能與佛法相應,也可能是徒具形式。從現代中國佛教來說,上面這些活動,並不大少,而念佛、持咒,建大寺、大佛,近二十年來特別風行。佛法的信受奉行者,應生起軌範身心,淨化身心,或進而達到身心解脫自在的德用。即使是弘法利生,從事文化、慈善、教育、國際佛教活動,如自身忘失了這一真實意義。也還不能說是「佛法普遍應用於日常生活中」的。此地此時,提出這「如何使佛法普遍應用於日常生活中」一題,我認為值得佛教同人重視的!

  「使佛法應用於日常生活中」,也就是修學佛法,能起軌範身心,淨化身心,解脫身心的德用。佛法不是虛玄莫測的理論,神奇怪僻的事行;佛所開示的是一般人所能知能行的。佛說:「我所說法如

 

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爪上塵,所未說法如大地土」。這是說:佛只開示基於人生正行而通向究竟的正法;世間有更多的理論與事行,即使有益於世間,因無關於修治身心以趣向解脫的理想,佛是存而不論的(自有人去發揚。如經中說到,那是適應世間的世間善法)。佛直就人類(眾生)的身心,指出迷妄流轉與如實解脫的可能,激發誘導人去持行。佛說五蘊、六界、六處法門,都不外平身心(通於器界),從不同立場而作不同的分別。佛法可分知與行,而知是行的始導,也是行的完成(知與行不可分離)。說到「知」,即經說「正見」、「正思惟」、「正觀」、「如實知」等。身心——以心識為主導的身心活動,無論為對自己、對他人(眾生)、對物質世間;或現在,或從現在到過去,從現在到未來,佛說:一切「從緣生」,「我論因說因」。佛從因緣相生、相依存的理法,去理解世間,處理世間。依緣起說法:「此有故彼有,此生故彼生;此無故彼無,此滅故彼滅」,所以不落兩邊(極端),而開示不有不無,不常不斷,不一不異,不來不去,及不生不滅的中道。凡從緣而生起的,必歸於滅,所以是「無常」的;無常的不得究竟安穩,所以是「苦」的;無常苦的,所以是「無我」(我是真實、常、樂的)。眾生不能悟解世間是緣起的,也就不能正知無常、苦、無我無我所,不得解脫涅槃,名為「無明」(無明,簡要分別為「不知苦集,不知苦滅」),一切煩惱由此而來。煩惱依我我所為本:計執我我所的,是「見」;染著我我所的,是「愛」;存我恃我的,是「慢」。依煩惱——自我中心的思想與行為,如違反緣起的相互依存,損人(他人、他族、他國)利己,是非法,惡行(業);如順緣起而互助利人,是法,善行。善行與惡行,能得安樂與苦報。由於不能正如緣起,所以都是不徹底的,是有漏的,生生不已的生死法。如正見緣起,依法而行,那就無常苦而起「厭離」,無我無我所而能「離欲」(離煩惱),解脫而證「滅」(身心憂苦的止意)。佛法,只是依心識為主導的身心緣起,開示苦集與苦滅的中道。學佛要有此切要的正見,正見不是知識,而是化正確知識為自己的見地,有

 

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正見就有正信。「信」,「心淨為信」:「如水清珠能清濁水」。一念淨信現前,一定沒有煩惱,沒有憂苦,內心充滿了清淨、安定與喜樂;這樣才是真正的歸信三寶的弟子。佛法所說的「淨信」,與世俗所說的信,不完全相同。別人(或書中)所說的,承認他是確實的,一般也說是「相信」,這只是確認,如相信「一加一等於二」那樣。還有,對人及所說的話,有好感,有同感,肯接受他所說的,一般也稱之為信仰,如信仰主義,信仰領袖之類,這只是世俗的「順信」。世俗所說的信靈感,信命運,信風水等,都不出於上二類。佛法所說的「淨信」,是依三寶而起,內心所引發,有清淨、喜樂等感受的。因正如正見而引發,通過理性,所以是寧靜的,雖近於一神教的信心,而不是陷於狂熱的迷妄。

  說起來,中國佛教徒是相當多的。多數是信佛及僧——羅漢與菩薩,而信法的似乎不多。不知法,不信法,所以神佛不分(近來竟有人主張信佛也要信神),對佛、阿羅漢、菩薩,大多數是神秘仰信,以信神那樣的心情去崇信。一方面,信佛及(賢)僧的神力,祈求加被。一方面,多數信眾,為了現生與來世的世俗利益——健康、長壽、富貴、家庭和樂、事業發達、不墮惡道……,而表現為消災免難,植福延壽的宗教行為。雖可說方便通化,但專重於向外祈求,不向身心檢點,淨信不生,又如何能使佛法普遍應用於日常生活之中?徹悟緣起而能「厭、離欲、滅」的,在這重物欲而向外馳求的時代,當然不大容易;解了相互依存的緣起法,深信善行樂果,惡行苦果,通於三世的因果必然律,應該是學佛者所能有的信心。善惡業果說,特點是:「自力創造非他力」,「機會均等非特殊」,「前途光明非絕望」,「善惡有報非不定」。善惡業果的深信者,確信基於正見而有的,「合理的行為,成為改善過去,開拓未來的力量」。不怨天,不尤人,「盡自己的努力以向上,不因現在的遭遇(不如意)而動搖離惡行善的決心」。深信因果而應用於日常生活中,就能表顯出佛法的精神。佛法的三世因果說,傳來中國,一般是似信還疑,存有徼

 

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幸、取巧的心理。多數不肯依法而行,從離惡行善的人生正行中去實踐,而中國固有的求籤、看風水(地理)等,嚴重的滲入佛教中,為多數長老、大德所容許。佛教界的向外祈求,以及類似巫術化的低級行為,是迷妄而不純正的。正信三寶,深信因果。是學佛的基礎,所以惟有正信而汰除不純潔的迷信,佛法才能普遍應用於日常生活中。

  淨信依於正見,正見從正確而深切的認識中得來。佛法的正知,依於聽聞——起初是釋尊開示,弟子們展轉傳授;等到經典集成,書寫記錄,才有依經(論)而聞法的。為了法義的明確,經弟子間的長期論辨,形成了體例精嚴的論書,為了應付異教徒的責難,也有深明法義以護持佛法的必要。不過論義的發展,不厭其詳而多少有點煩瑣;部派分化,法義的解說,有了種種的解說不同。更由於佛法長時期的流通,適應時機,方便無邊,無論是印度傳來的,中國古德所宏闡的,都是內容廣大,有義學說理的傾向。佛法在世間的發展演化,可說是必然而不可免的!但部類繁多,內容複雜,對初學者來說,從什麼經書去直握佛法的心要,依正如而起正信,確是一件為難的事!這樣,也難怪上也者深究而傾向於虛玄,義學成為少數人的佛法;下也者信佛而不知信法(有些信法的,只是信某部經旳偉大,持誦以求功德),不免惑於方便,事求現實世俗的利益了!我覺得,佛性的周梨槃陀伽,愚笨而現證阿羅漢,唐代的慧能,不識字而能深有所悟;依佛法正見而達信智一如的「證淨」,不一定從無邊法義的研究講習中來,只是末世善知識難得,不能不依於經論。為正法的宏揚,引生正信著想;佛法正義的精要提示(佛法共通的基本法義),應該是非常切要的!同時,經論的講習,以及近代興起的學術化的研究,當然有其存在的價值,但不一定能使人從正解而引生正信,使佛法深入人心,能普遍應用於日常生活之中。尤其是講說者與研究者,為講說而講說,為研究而研究,自身不能因講說研究而引起正信,在學佛的立場,是沒有大多價值的!至於佛法的義理,那些更能應用於現實,也是值得注意的!

 

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  說到「行」,聲聞道是八正道,菩薩道是六波羅密與四攝。大概的說,自利行以戒、定、慧為主,利他行以施、戒、忍為主。在佛法中,行是以(從正見而來的)淨信為出發的。「信為欲依,欲為(精)勤依」:有了清淨信心,會引起願欲,誓願依法而勤行。三乘道的「歸依」,菩薩道的「菩提心」,都是以信願為體性的。有了願欲(求),立定志向(名為「發心」),就能策發精進,努力實行以求理想的實現。所以,從正如以引生淨信,是一切佛弟子的「入佛之門」。

  在修行中,戒是聖道的基礎。一般以為,戒就是(法律那樣的)這樣不可犯,那樣不可以,不知這只是戒的施行項目,不是戒的實質。什麼是戒呢?梵語尸羅,譯為戒。「尸羅(此言性善),好行善道,不自放逸(作惡),是名尸羅。或受戒行善,或不受戒行善,皆名尸羅。」戒是「性善」,「數習」所引發的性善。戒不是一般的善行,是經父母師友的啟發,或從自身處世中引發出來。內心一度的感動、激發,性善力(潛在的)生起,有勇於為善,抗拒罪惡的力量。如遇到犯罪的因緣,內心會(不自覺的)發出抗拒的力量。「性善」是潛在而日夜常增長的,小小違犯,性善的戒德還是存在,不過犯多了,戒力會減退(名為「戒羸」)。如犯了重大的惡行,性善的力量消失,這就是「破戒」了。「性善」的戒德,名為「律儀」(也譯為「護」),就是佛法所說的「戒體」。這樣的戒善,沒有佛法的時代,或有法而不知的人,都可以生起的,不過佛法有正見的攝導,表現於止惡行善,更為正確有力而不致偏失吧了!基於性善的戒德,在日常生活中,身語意行如法。由於生活方式,社會關係,團體軌則不一致,佛法應機而有在家出家等種種戒法,而依此性善力,成就自利利他的功德,實質上是沒有差別的。有了「性善」,雖沒有受戒,或僅受五戒,都可以成為向解脫的道基。如沒有,雖清淨受持比丘戒、菩薩戒,也不一定能種解脫善根。所以出現於內心深處的性善戒,是佛弟子受戒、持戒的要點。三十年來,我國傳戒的法會是年年有的,

 

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雖依法接受,而受戒者能在事相上著力的,就不可多得,這就難怪不能普遍應用於日常生活之中了!

  淨信,是於佛不壞信,於法不壞信,於僧不壞信;性善戒,是聖所愛戒成就。成就這信戒為內容的「四不壞信」,決不退墮,決定向三菩提(正覺)。如進修定慧,那現在就能得解脫。在佛法中,淨信是入佛之門,戒善是學佛之基,更深一步的定慧修證,是不能離信戒而有所成就的。經上說:「持戒便得不悔,因不悔使得歡悅,因歡悅便得喜,因喜便得止,因止便得樂,因樂便得定」。依戒修定,是合理的向上進修,如順水行舟,容易到達。修定的先要「離(五)欲及惡不善法」,也就是這個意義。有些修習禪定的,為了身體健康,為了神秘感受……,不離欲染,不斷惡法,多在氣息、身體上專注觀想,即使一心相續,能夠不流於邪定,落入魔王眷屬,已經難得了,這不是佛法所要修的(有漏或無漏的)淨定。說到慧悟,龍樹說:「信戒無基,憶想取一空,是為邪空」。平等空性的體悟,豈是無信、無戒者所能成就的!信與戒,人人都在說,而其實並不如一般所想像的,這所以佛法不能普遍應用於日常生活了!

  我出家以來,整日在三藏文字中摸索,雖說為眾生而學,想求得精要來供養世人,但說來慚愧,法海汪洋,終於一鱗片爪,所得有限!我總覺得,佛法本來平實可行,而「賢者過之,愚者不及」,所以佛法一天天在興隆中墮落。現在藉此略申所見,與真正要學佛的共勉!

 

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The Way and its Application in the General Affairs of Daily Life

Shih, yia-shun

Dharma Light Lyceum
V.3 (1999)
pp.3-21


 

 

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    As we know, the dharma explained by the Awakened One differs from theistic religions which stress faith. It is a rational, moral and humanistic teaching. Thus buddhadharma deals only with the regulation and purification of body and mind so that both can attain liberation and freedom. You are not trying to get something from outside (which implies material desires and the saving power of a god) when you trust the buddhas and emulate them. Instead, you begin with the cultivation and healing of your own body-mind while realizing the ideal of benefiting both oneself and others. If you can practise faithfully in accordance with the Buddha's teaching it is only natural to infuse everyday life with dharma. Someone who trusts and practises buddhadharma will definitely hold correct views, have pure motivation, and increase both wisdom and loving kindness-compassion without interruption.

    However, in the course of its long dissemination from India to China, buddhadharma developed mystic, formalistic, and intellectual tendencies be it in order to comply with the secular world or as a means to attract the dull-witted. As a result, the understanding and actions of those practising the teaching gradually lost contact with the world of real life. This is a virtual problem which should be paid more attention to. We have to understand that the infusion of dharma in our daily lives does not mean that we have to be busy reciting scriptures and performing repentance ceremonies or rites for the dead all the time. Nor does it imply to study the scriptures, lecture or write on them, recite the Buddha's name or mantras, eat only vegetarian food and liberate animals every

 

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day. You need not run around to participate in religious functions and make financial contributions, nor do you have to build temples, establish Buddhist seminars, arrange cultural or humanitarian activities, or spend your days in a hermitage practising.

    All these may conform with buddhadharma but it is also possible that they degenerate into mere formalities. They are quite often found in present day Chinese Buddhism. Reciting the Buddha's name or mantras and erecting big monasteries and huge statues has become rather fashionable within the last twenty years. However, those who trust and practise buddhadharma should regulate and purify their bodies and minds or moreover attain unimpeded liberation as a function of good qualities. If you forget this real meaning, despite being engaged in cultural, humanitarian, educational or international religious activities in order to spread the teaching for the benefit of sentient beings you are still far from infusing everyday life with dharma. Right here in this place and time, I feel it most worthwhile for our Buddhist friends to pay attention to this specific topic "how to infuse everyday life with dharma.

    To infuse everyday life with dharma means that the practice of buddhadharma is able to function as regulator, purificator and liberator for body and mind. Buddhadharma is not an abstruse, unfathomable theory or some mysterious, exotic practice. The common man can understand and practise what the Buddha taught. When the Awakened One said that the things he spoke about are like the dust on a fingernail while those he didn't mention equal the soil of the earth he wanted to make clear that he only taught proper things which are based on the right conduct of human life and lead to the absolute. There are many more worldly theories and practises which, though perhaps beneficial in a worldly way, where not expounded by the Buddha because they neither deal with the

 

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cultivation and healing of our body-mind nor do they lead to the ideal of liberation. (There will be anyway people who spread these teachings which are called "worldly wholesome phenomena" in Buddhist texts.)

    The Awakened One dealt only directly with the human body-mind (or that of sentient beings) pointing out the confused floating and turning around in samsara as well as the possibility of being liberated in conformity with reality. Thus he encouraged and induced people to go and practice. He taught the methods concerning the five aggregates, the six sense organs and the six sense realms which are confined to the body mind (while also relating to the material world) but from different standpoints he offered different approaches. Buddhadharma has the two aspects of understanding and practicing. While these cannot be separate, it is among them understanding which is both guide to and accomplishment of practice. The texts referred to it as "right view," "right decision," "right insight," "knowing in accordance with reality" etc. and the Buddha said that the activities of body and mind, which are mainly governed by consciousness, no matter whether they have yourself, others or inanimate phenomena as object, no matter whether they belong to the past, present, or future, are all arising from conditions: "I am expounding and declaring the causes." The Buddha understood the world and dealt with it through the principle of arising and existing in dependence of causes and conditions. And thus he also taught: "because this exists that exists; because this arises that arises; because this does not exist that does not exist; because this perishes that perishes." Avoiding to fall into the two extremes he expounded the middle way of neither being nor non being, neither eternal nor not-existing, neither the same nor another, neither coming nor going, neither being born nor dying.

    Whatever arises due to conditions is bound to end in dissolution

 

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wherefore it is impermanent; whatever is impermanent cannot be peaceful in an ultimate sense and thus is unsatisfactory; whatever is impermanent and unsatisfactory is not-self (since "self" implies "real, unchanging and blissful). Sentient beings are unable to realize that the world is arising in dependence on conditions, in other words they have no correct understanding of impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, not-me and not-mine, and cannot reach the liberation of nirvana. This is called "ignorance" (which basically indicates the lack of understanding in regard to the cause of unsatisfactoriness and its cessation). All mental afflictions arise from it. They have "me" and "mine" as their root. Scheming with me and mine is "view", attachment to me and mine is "lust", relying on me and mine is "arrogance." To follow one's mental afflictions and engage in self-centred thoughts and actions, e.g. to go against the principle of mutual interdependence and do something harming others other people, other nationalities, other countries- and benefiting oneself, is non-dharma or an unwholesome action. Conversely, if you follow the principle of dependent arising helping and benefiting other people then this is dharma, a wholesome action. Happiness and suffering are the respective results of wholesome and unwholesome actions. But since we do not have a correct understanding of dependent arising what we do is not thorough enough, tainted and binding us life after life in samsara. If we were to have a proper view of dependent arising and practice in accordance with dharma, we would engender disgust with regard to the impermanent and unsatisfactory and desirelessness in regard to what is not me or mine (i. e. we would remove ourselves from afflictive emotions) and finally achieve liberation realizing the cessation of both mental as well as physical pain and distress.

    Buddhadharma is nothing but the middle way which is based on

 

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the dependent arising of a mental consciousness governed mind-body and expounded in terms of the causation and cessation of unsatisfactoriness. If you want to emulate the buddhas you must have this profound correct view. Right view does not equal knowledge. It means to transform correct understanding into one's own view. If you possess right view you will have right trust. As to trust, it is defined as the purity of the mind because it resembles the water purifying jewel which can turn muddy water into clear one. The time a thought of clear trust arises it is impossible to have mental afflictions or distress and suffering. On the contrary, one's heart is filled with purity, peace, and joy. Only then are you a true disciple who has taken refuge with the triple gem.

    The "pure trust" Buddhism speaks about differs somewhat from the worldly understanding of trust which is generally referring to the acceptance of what other people say or write as true. It is only a kind of identification, for example believing that "one plus one equals two". Also, if you are sympathetic towards a statement by someone else or agree with it and are willing to accept it, it is usually called "belief", like believing in a certain ideology or political leader etc. All these are "accepting believes" in a worldly sense. What is referred to as "trusting one's inspiration", " belief in one's fate" or " faith in geomancy" etc. all belongs to one of the two above mentioned categories. The "pure trust" talked about in the Buddhist context, however, arises deep in one's heart in dependence upon the triple jewel and is connected with the experience of purity, joy and so on. It is peaceful since it derives from right understanding and right view and has weathered the test of rationality, and though it is similar to the faith of theistic believers it cannot degenerate into fanatic blindness.

    The number of Chinese Buddhist is actually not that small. Most of

 

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them believe in the Buddha and the Sangha, both arhats and bodhisattvas, but those with trust in the dharma seem limited in numbers. Due to this lack of knowledge about and trust in the dharma no distinction is made between gods and Buddha (recently someone went so far to suggest that those who trust the Buddha should also believe in gods!) and the faith in buddhas, arhats and bodhisattvas is usually a mystical one, not different from the mentality of one who is believing in God. On one hand, there is belief in the supernatural powers of Buddha and noble sangha and prayer for blessings. On the other hand most believers engage in religious activities like removing karmic obstacles for the sake of avoiding disaster and creating merits in order to prolong their lives because they are only concerned with worldly benefits in this and future lives - health, longevity, wealth, a happy family, successful business, avoidance of the lower realms and so on.

    We could call these conventional methods appropriate for conversion but with all emphasis on praying to outside forces one does not look critically at one's body-mind and no pure trust can arise. How could one then infuse everyday life with dharma? In these times when materialistic desires are so emphasized and everybody's search is directed outward, it is of course not easy to gain a profound understanding of dependent arising and then develop disgust, be desireless and attain extinction. However, everyone who wants to emulate the buddhas should be able to give rise to trust which encompasses a knowledge of conditioned phenomena the existence of which depends on each other and a firm belief in the inevitable law of cause and effect governing past, present and future according to which good actions will reap a happy result and negative actions a suffering one.

    The special characteristic of the concept of positive and negative act-

 

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ion (karma) and fruit is that creation happens through one's own power not someone else's, opportunities are equal and there are no privileges, the future can be bright and there is no reason to despair, and the relationship between positive and negative (actions and results) is definitive. A person firmly believing in this principle holds the strong conviction that reasonable actions based on correct view are the power to improve what was done in the past and open up a bright future. He will not impute all faults on others but will exert his strength to improve himself. His present fate, as unfortunate as it may be, will not shake his determination to get rid of the negative and devote himself to what is good. If you infuse your daily life with a profound conviction about the law of cause and effect you will be able to manifest the true spirit of Buddhism.

    After its introduction to China, the Buddhist idea of cause and effect valid through the three times was accepted only on the surface. Generally, people want to circumvent it. The majority is not willing to act in accordance with the principle and practice properly avoidance of the negative and execution of the good. Moreover, traditional Chinese customs like drawing lots, geomancy etc. have severely crept into Buddhism and are accepted by most of the venerable elders. A Buddhism which is praying to some external force and filled with mediocre activities which resemble witchcraft is degenerate and impure. To have proper trust in the triple jewel and be profoundly convinced of cause and effect are the basis for emulating the buddhas. Thus, if you want to infuse buddhadharma into your daily life, you have to cultivate an unsullied trust and get rid of superstition.

    Pure trust is based on correct view, and correct view arises from deep knowledge which is without fault. Correct understanding of Bud-

 

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dhism comes from listening -in the beginning, it was the World Honoured One teaching and then the disciples instructing each other in succession, only after the compilation of the texts and their fixation in written form it was possible to study from sutras (or shastras). After prolonged discussion among the disciples who strove to clarify the meaning of the dharma well structured treatises appeared which also answered the need to gain a profound understanding of the contents of the teaching in order to deal with disputes instigated by non-Buddhists. However, these treatises became more and more detailed, and with the appearance of individual schools the explanations of the meaning began to differ, not to mention that Buddhism in the course of its long spread was trying to adopt itself to different settings and employed countless expedient means. Both the Buddhism coming from India and that propagated by the ancient Chinese masters were vast in content and displayed a philosophical bias. Of course, it is unavoidable that Buddhism is changing in this world but with all those manifold and complicated scriptures it was indeed a perplexing question for the beginner to decide from which text to get direct access to the essence of Buddhism and then, based on correct understanding, to develop correct trust.

    No wonder the virtuosi emerging themselves deeply tended toward the incomprehensible, and study of the meaning became the province of a chosen few while the general believer had faith in the Buddha without understanding the necessity to trust the dharma (some with trust in the dharma just believed that some specific text was marvellous and they recited it in order to gain merits), getting unavoidably lost in expedient means and striving exclusively for the material benefit of this life! At the time of the Buddha, Cuu.lapanthaka attained arhatship though he was very dull, and Hui-neng of the T'ang dynasty had profound realizations

 

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despite being illiterate. In my mind, purity of attainment, the harmony of trust and wisdom, which is arrived at in accordance with correct view as understood in Buddhism does not necessarily derive from study of and discussion about the countless meanings of the teaching. The only problem is that spiritual friends are hard to find in these times, so one has to rely on sutras and shastras.

    In order to spread the good teaching and lead sentient beings to the right trust, the essential instruction on the correct meaning of buddhadharma (the basic teaching common to all buddhadharmas) is of utmost importance. At the same time, the study of the texts and academic research, which was introduced recently, of course have their value though they not necessary are in a position to lead people from a correct understanding to real trust, to plant the dharma deep in people's hearts and let them infuse their daily life with it. Especially in regard to those who teach or do research, if they are teaching for the sake of teaching and researching for the sake of research without giving themselves rise to proper trust it is, from the viewpoint of emulating the buddhas, without any special value. But as far as the meaning of the dharma is concerned, whatever can be used in practical life is well worth being paid attention to.

    In terms of practice, the hearer's path is the noble eightfold path while the bodhisattva's path consists in the six perfections and the four means of attraction. Generally speaking, work benefiting oneself comprises mainly ethics, samadhi, and wisdom, work benefiting others mainly charity, morality and patience. According to buddhadharma, practice begins with pure trust which in turn comes from correct view. "Trust is the condition for the wish, and the wish is the condition for energetic work." If you have pure trust you will engender a wish and aspiration

 

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to practice vigorously in accordance with the dharma. This trust-aspiration is the very nature of the "refuge" of the three vehicles and " bodhicitta" of the bodhisattva's path. Having an aspiration, you make a decision. Then you can push yourself to go ahead with all strength and practice strenuously in order to let your ideal materialize. Giving rise to pure trust through correct understanding is thus the gateway to the teaching for every Buddhist disciple.

    When one is practicing, it is morality which constitutes the foundation of the noble path. People tend to think that morality is something like law - "this you must not commit," "that is not allowed to do" etc. These, however, are only items to be observed and are not the nature of morality. So what is morality? "Ethics" is the translation of the Sanskrit term "`siila". "`Siila denotes a love for the practice of the good path and being free from negligence. No matter whether you have taken precepts or not, doing good is called `siila." Thus morality is natural goodness, a natural goodness induced by repeated training. It is not "good deeds" in the common sense. Those are introduced by parents, teachers or friends, or are devised by oneself while dealing with situations. The latent power of natural goodness, on the other hand, is awakened by one moment of being moved or touched. It has the courage to do good and the strength to oppose the performance of evil deeds. If there is a chance to do something bad, an opposing force automatically arises in one's heart.

    This natural goodness is latent and usually growing day and night. In case of a minor transgression, its force is still there, but if the mistakes are repeated again and again the power of morality will decrease, and in the case of committing a grave offense, it gets lost altogether. This is meant by "breaking a precept". The moral quality of natural

 

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goodness is called "restraint." The Buddhists refer to it also as "the essence of the precepts." This moral goodness can be developed even in an age where there is no buddhadharma or where there is dharma but one doesn't know about it. Nevertheless, buddhadharma offers the support and guidance of right view so that the avoidance of negative and performance of positive will become even more definite and forceful without falling into extremes. Based on the virtues of natural goodness, one's everyday bodily, verbal, and mental activities will be in harmony with dharma.

    Responding to differences in life style, social relationships, and communal rules, you find all kinds of precepts (lay, monastic, etc.) within buddhadharma but there is no difference in bringing the qualities of benefit for both oneself and others to perfection when applying this power of natural goodness. Even without taking precepts or keeping only the five precepts of a layman, this natural goodness becomes the foundation on which one proceeds towards liberation. If it is lacking, however, you do not necessarily plant the good roots of liberation though you might keep the monk's vows or bodhisattva precepts in a very pure way. Thus, in terms of taking precepts and keeping them, the most important point for a student of Buddhism is the morality of natural goodness which arises deep in one's heart. For the last three decades, there have been yearly transmissions of the monastic vows. Although they were ritually correct, it is very rare indeed to find someone who is able to put their energy into keeping the rules under all circumstances. Thus it is not astonishing that people are not in a position to infuse their daily lives with dharma.

    Pure trust is trust in buddha, dharma and sangha which cannot be corrupted; morality of natural goodness is accomplishment of morality which is loved by the noble ones. Having perfected the fourfold incor-

 

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ruptible trust which encompasses both trust and morality, one will under no circumstances retrogress but, conversely, progress toward three types of bodhi or right awakening. If one practices in addition samadhi and wisdom, one will be able to reach liberation in this life. Pure trust a mounts to entering the door to buddhadharma, and good ethics are the foundation for emulating the buddhas. Without trust and morality, the further practice and realization of samadhi and wisdom is impossible.

    It has been said in one scripture that "you will have no regrets if you keep the vows, and you will be filled with pleasurable feeling if you have no regrets; you will experience joy if you are filled with pleasurable feeling, and you will accomplish calmness if you are experiencing joy; you will know bliss if you accomplish calmness, and you will attain samadhi if you know bliss." To practice samadhi on the basis of morality is a sensible progression and makes it easy to reach one's goal like a boat which follows the water. This is meant when saying that before practicing samadhi one has to keep away from the objects of the senses and negative phenomena.

    There are some people who practice meditation in order to be healthy or to get some mystic experience etc. Neither keeping away from pollution through sense objects nor cutting off negative phenomena, they pay great attention to the breath and the body. Even if they achieve one pointed meditation it would be hard for them to avoid falling into perverse trances or becoming a member of Mara's retinue. This is not the pure (tainted or untainted) samadhi which is practised in Buddhism.

    As to awakening through wisdom, Nagarjuna said that "the emptiness grasped at by a mind without the basis of trust and ethics is perverted emptiness." How could it be possible for someone lacking in trust and morality to accomplish the realization of equality and emptiness!

 

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Everybody is talking about trust and ethics but the actual situation looks different. This is the reason why people are unable to infuse their daily lives with dharma.

    Since I became a monk I've spent all my time trying to find my way through the pages of the canon. Professing to study for the sake of sentient beings, to find the essence which could be offered to others, I am filled with shame. Boundless is the ocean of the teaching. Yet how limited is what I managed to get! I always felt that buddhadharma is something simple and practical but "the noble ones excel and the dull ones fail" and thus buddhadharma is day after day degenerating while it is thriving! But I am just explaining my views here so that I might encourage myself and everybody else who really wants to emulate the buddhas.