MASTER SHEN-LONG | Explanation of the Title: Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra, Part 111
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Explanation of the Title: Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra, Part 111

(Last week we ended with, “Therefore, proper human relationships and basic education of the ancients were relatively deep-rooted. The childhood of our generation only had a little of these types of concepts, the next generation does not have this, and the generation after the next generation will absolutely behave with “greed, aversion, ignorance, arrogance and suspicion”. The next generation after that there is no need to mention. They will be cutting and killing each other; it will be normal to them.”)

 

When everyone thinks about the Perfection of Compliance with Moral Precepts (Sila-Paramita), we take the pure radiance of self-nature to act as our living standard and regulations. This life is called the living of Buddha and Bodhisattva and is in the same way as enlightenment living to benefit the self for the benefit of others.

In fact, Buddha teaching is quite simple. Just a moment ago my explanation of it is unsophisticated. Sutra recitation is exactly compliance with moral precepts, and within it exists “moral-precepts, stillness of the mind control and wisdom”. When reciting the Sutra clearly and hearing the recitation clearly, then it is one-pass operation of “moral-precepts, stillness of the mind control and wisdom”. Doing Amitabha chanting is also the same way:  To chant clearly and to hear the chanting clearly is also a one-pass operation.

Besides Sutra recitation and chanting (mindfulness) Amitabha, are you also in compliance with moral precepts with the way you treat people in common customs? Yes, it also is. Your discourse is purified of defiling illusion, sloppiness does not exist, and you do not have the habit of saying one thing but mean something different, all are the same. Therefore, it needs to be carried out in your daily life furthermore, everyday life is the site of enlightenment to cultivate yourself in right practice. Our site of enlightenment to cultivate ourselves in right practice is neither at a temple nor a special room for Buddha worship in home. It is in every aspect of our daily life. By using the Perfection of Compliance with Moral Precepts (Sila-Paramita) to perfect the pure radiance (wisdom) of your self-nature, that is how to implement in your life. What is the quickest way to carry this out? Of course, it is having mindfulness of Amitabha.

From the beginning, to promote the method of chanting (mindfulness) Amitabha up until now, are there genuine persons who are competent in chanting (mindfulness) Amitabha? Yes, they all did it on their own demand. A person who genuinely chants (mindfulness) Amitabha competently must be self-demanding, which is precisely compliance with moral precept.

Regarding compliance with moral precepts, we need to correct our concept; this is the third time. The moral precept is not drawn up by Shakyamuni Buddha, nor by any religions, nor by countries or community groups, it is the original lumination of the pure self-nature. If you cannot remember what the moral precepts are then you should recall the statement of Confucius, following the wishes of my heart without crossing over the established standard. This is the “moral precept”.

Since this is the case, from the perspective of precepts to view the schools of Mahayana and Hinayana,

How to end abstinence?

How are the precepts for faults that require special restraint?

How to strictly adhere to the precepts?

How to break the precept?

It has certain standards. For instance, “to end abstinence” means allowing to open a special convenient way. Let us talk first about the “three kinds of unstained meat”. The school of Buddhism with infinite mercy and infinite compassion does not advocate killing any conscious beings. Why does Buddha want to establish “three kinds of unstained meat”? It is for convenience.

Many beings have problems becoming vegetarian instantly; if you request them to detach from the habit of eating meat it is hard to endure due to the force of habit from the unlimited existence of world-periods. In addition, there is unachievable local phenomena at that moment. Therefore, the “three kinds of unstained meat”are:

  1. There is no killing for me.
  2. It shall not be killed by me.
  3. I did not instruct others to do the killing.

Nowadays, when we eat meat it is simple, we buy it through the market, or the grocery store has already cleaned it. The moment of eating does not have thought arising in the mind, even at the time of eating you still practice cultivation.

How do you cultivate your compliance with moral precepts?

  1. Treat meat, vegetables or fruits all the same and all are medicines. The so-called medication intake, there is good medicine and not so good medicine; some are the refined kind, the other is an average kind, but you must treat them all the same. Therefore, in the Buddhist temple the meal is named as medication, like taking medicine for maintaining our physical body.
  2. According to circumstances. One enjoys a treat of either a royal feast with more than 100 courses, or a bowl of congee with a couple light dishes, or simply a bowl of dry noodles garnished with only salt and oil.

Only then is this perfect. It does not mean to cultivate oneself in right practice then to have manner of difficulty getting by, people should not be mistaken by this. Like Mahakasyapa, one of the most revered Buddha’s early disciples, he performed in his time the Cultivation of Dhuta (Buddhist monk), the foremost in ascetic practice, which was his expression way of teaching. The son of Buddha, Rahula, does his cultivation in the esoteric way: he quietly cultivates himself during eating, drinking, playing and recreational games. To attain enlightenment is not necessarily from the ascetic practice. One can also have attainment within eating, drinking, playing and recreational games. You should not discriminate. Without discrimination and attachment is precisely compliance with moral precepts.

>>Click here to read the full series of Master Shen-Long expounding on Explanation of the Title: Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra

 

 

( ) 持戒波羅蜜

(上星期講到: 所以古人的倫常跟基本教育比較深厚,我們這一代小時候還有一點這種觀念,下一代沒有了,再下一代絕對是「貪、瞋、痴、慢、疑」。那再下一代不必了,互相砍、互相殺,正常的。)

所以各位想「持戒波羅蜜」 – 從我們把自性清淨光明做為生活的規範、生活的準則後,這生活就叫作佛菩薩生活,就是覺悟而利己、利他的生活。

其實佛法非常簡單,剛剛我講的是很單純。念經就是「持戒」,「持戒」裡面有「戒、定、慧」。念經,讀得清清楚楚,聽得清清楚楚,「戒、定、慧」一次完成。念佛也是一樣,念得清清楚楚,聽得清清楚楚,一次完成。

除了念經念佛外, 在世俗待人接物是不是也是「持戒」?也是。講話清淨光明,沒有拖泥帶水,沒有言不由衷,都是一樣。所以要落實到日常生活之中,而且日常生活是修行的道場。我們真正修行的道場不是在寺院,不是在佛堂,是在日常生活點點滴滴。你以「持戒波羅蜜」成就自性清淨光明,就是實行在生活中。實行以什麼樣的方式最快?當然就是念佛。

從開始弘揚念佛法門到現在,真正有沒有人念佛得力的?有,都是自己要求的。真正念佛得力的人,他自我要求,自我要求就是「持戒」。

對於「持戒」,我們要把觀念改過來,這講第三遍了。「戒」,絕對不是釋迦牟尼佛制定的,也不是宗教制定,也不是國家制定,也不是團體制定,是自性清淨本來光明。如果記不住戒是什麼,就拿孔子這句話,「從心所欲不踰矩」,就是「戒」。

那既然是這樣,從「戒律」的觀點去看「大、小乘」,怎麼持?怎麼受?怎麼開?怎麼遮?它有一定的規範。譬如:開緣就是允許,先講「三淨肉」。佛家大慈大悲不主張殺生。為什麼佛要制定「三淨肉」?方便。

很多眾生一下子不能吃素,沒有辦法吃素,你叫他一下子斷肉,受不了,多生劫的習氣,還有當地、當時的現象辦不到。所以「三淨肉」:

(一)不為我殺。(二)不親自殺。(三)不叫別人殺。

我們現在吃這些肉,很簡單,菜市場買就好了,超級市場買處理好的。吃的時候不要起心動念,吃的時候還是修。

「持戒」怎麼樣修?

第一,肉、素、水果都一樣,全部都是吃藥。所謂吃藥,有好的藥,有不好的藥,有精鍊的,有普通的,一律平等。所以寺院裡面如果吃飯,叫藥石,跟吃藥一樣,就是維持我們色身。

第二,隨緣。滿漢全席也可以吃,清粥小菜也可以吃,麻油、醬油拌麵也可以吃。

這才圓滿。不是說修行就是一副苦哈哈樣子,不要搞錯。像大迦葉尊者當年「頭佗行」,所謂頭佗就是苦行,他那是表法。佛的兒子羅睺羅是密行 – 在吃喝玩樂遊戲中修行。不是只有苦行才能成就,吃喝玩樂遊戲中也能成就。不要去分別。不分別、不執著就是「持戒」。

>>Click here to read the full series of Master Shen-Long expounding on Explanation of the Title: Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra