MASTER SHEN-LONG | Explanation of the Title: Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra, Part 84
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Explanation of the Title: Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra, Part 84

(Last week we ended with, “These are the Six Paramitas. Paramitas, refers to how can you cross over to the nirvana shore?”)

 

We often say, we have no way with this person which means that we have no way to help him. When we speak of performing religious ceremonies to help the soul find peace, it means to transcend the soul from the life and death sea of affliction to the light emanating and peaceful Amitabha Pure Land.

Today we are going to talk about the greatest function and the fundamental function of where does Prajna take place?  It initiates through generosity – practice of giving. There are three kinds of practice of giving:

  1. Practice of giving in Wealth
  2. Practice of giving in Buddha teaching
  3. Practice of giving in Fearlessness (Abhaya)

First, let us talk about the practice of giving in wealth. Wealth can be divided into two kinds:

“Inner wealth” refers to personal labor.

“external wealth” refers to the external things other than the body, such as money, things, materials, etc.

Another way of saying this is, “Inner wealth” is spirituality and “External wealth” is materiality.

Let us talk about the “external wealth” first. We are all very clear with “external wealth” because at least 95% of the time we are looking for “external wealth” within our life.  The school of Buddhism states “external wealth” as:

All phenomena are ruled by the cause and effect.

 If there is No practice of giving in one’s previous life, then they will receive none in this life. If the in the previous life you practiced wealth giving, then this life either in business dealing or socializing with others, the source of revenue will pour from all sides continuously. This is directly related to the chain of cause and effect to receive karma-result as the consequence of your actions from your previous life. As a man himself sows, so he himself reaps.

Regarding to this “wealth”, it must be taken by honorable means and sought through proper channels.

“Taking wealth by honorable means” is very important. Although Wealth is merely worldly possessions, it also manifests from our good natural capacity. This so-called “manifestation of our good natural capacity” is one of the inherent merits possessed within our self-nature. With this merit, especially worldly people seeking wealth, they will seek painstakingly.

Why seek painstakingly? They seek outwardly.

They are not aware that to make more money, it starts from the practice of giving. You help others one penny, then the future will return one penny. Nowadays some people would comment:  if I give others one dollar, I expect ten thousand dollars in return in the future. Would this happen? No, never.

Particularly the wrong concept nowadays, they practice of giving in Buddhism.

Before, I have seen many people either in South and East Asian countries, or China, Taiwan or Japan and all those South Asian regions; the Temples have many believer’s name written on it listing so and so donated, or so and so built it. Specifically, the two center poles next to the Buddha statues have even more names of many great donors. Once your name goes up there, then it is finished. By writing this down, your donation of 10 million dollars will be equal to zero. Why? Not only will your merits have busted but also your blessed reward will be gone. There is a little bit of good fortune left but it displays the annoyance within.

Why displays the annoyance within good fortune? The family is very rich and are very dissatisfied all day long either here or there.

He feels other had done wrong to him after practicing giving. Money has been spent and feels that all beings are all in debt to him, this kind of person is categorized as an Asura. One is firm in fighting nature is the Asura way.

This kind of person with a fighting nature, their future ends in the Three Wretched Worlds – Asura in the hungry ghost world, or as the King of Asuras in the animal world.  One who is a little better who cultivated the great blessed reward will be an Asura in the Heavenly world. The better one will be Asura in the human world. Now these leaders of each country, there are very few who truly have compassion in mind or virtuous intentions; most have firm fighting against nature. Precisely it was their reward from their practice of giving cultivation in their previous life.

We look at them being the president or king, it is exceedingly; however, their ending is no good and retribution will be in hell. Why? It is their battle nature, they use rivalry intention to cultivate the practice of giving, so they become an Asura. Especially in the School of Buddhism.

Many people like Kings, Prime Ministers and Presidents of today, in their past life they all had great practice of giving in the School of Buddhism, even in the past they used to be monks, but they have already forgotten it. Ages ago, they had all cultivated the practice of giving and helped all beings. Why? They have not gotten rid of their greedy mind, this concept of making huge profits with small capital has not been removed. After infinite existence of world-periods, at reaping what one has sown, they manifest to be the king of either a small or big nation, or leaders of a common society. They engage and this is called fighting openly and maneuvering covertly.

Looking at the elections now, is it not that way? Closer to the election day, the more exposed the wounds are between each other. In today’s modern society this happens every day as reported in the daily news; this is a kind of phenomenon of the period of degenerating and extinction of Buddha teaching. 

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

 

(六)  布施波羅蜜

(上星期講到: 這是講「六度」。「度」,就是怎麼樣你可以渡到彼岸去。)

我們常講這人沒有辦法,沒法渡,台語「沒法渡」,就是沒有辦法幫助他。「度」是幫助他。我們講超渡、超渡,是超越煩惱生死海,到光明清淨的佛土、淨土,是這意思。

今天就要講一個最大的作用、最基本的作用;「般若」發生在什麼地方?發生在布施。「布施」有三種:

(一)財布施,(二)法布施,(三)無畏布施。

先講「財布施」,財又分「內財、外財」。

「內財」,是講個人的勞力。

「外財」,是講身外之物,金錢、物品、物質。

也可以說,內財是精神層次,外財是物質層次。

先講外財,這個「外財」我們大家都很清楚,我們這一生百分之九十五都在找尋外財。「外財」,說句老實話,佛家講因果道理,前生沒有布施,這一生就沒有了。前生如果財布施,這一生跟人家做生意也好,跟人家交往也好,財源滾滾不斷。這都是跟過去世的因緣果報有直接關係。

那這財,我們講要「取之有道,求之有道」。

「取之有道」,很重要。錢財雖說身外之物,也是性德變現的。所謂性德變現的,是我們自性中原來就具有的一份功德。這份功德,我們世間人尤其求財,求得很苦。為什麼求得很苦?向外求。他不知道,想要多賺錢,要從「布施」開始。你幫助人家一毛錢,將來回收就是一毛錢。現在有人講我給人家一塊,將來希望回收一萬塊。有沒有這個事?沒有的。

尤其現在錯誤觀念,到佛門來「布施」。

以前看到很多,東南亞國家也好,中國、台灣、日本這些大東亞地區;這寺廟上都寫著信徒的名字 – 某某人捐,某某人蓋的。尤其佛像旁邊兩根柱子特別多 – 某某大施主捐的。名字寫上去,就完了。這一寫,你捐一千萬等於捐了沒有一毛錢。為什麼?功德爆掉了,福德也沒有了。福氣一點點,福中帶氣。

為什麼福中帶氣?家裡很有錢,一天到晚很不滿意,這裡不滿意,那裡不滿意。布施出去,都覺得人家對不起他。花了錢,覺得眾生都對不起他,這種人叫修羅道。鬥爭堅固,叫修羅道。修羅道:鬥爭。

鬥爭的這種人死了,將來到「三惡道」 – 鬼界做修羅,「畜生」做修羅王。好一點的、修大福報的,到「天上」做阿修羅。差一點的,「人間」做阿修羅。現在這些各國領袖,真正有慈心善心的,沒有幾個;大部分鬥爭堅固。就是過去生修「布施」,得的這麼一個報。

我們看他做總統了,做國王了,不得了;下場都不好,報在地獄。為什麼?鬥爭,他以鬥爭心修布施,變阿修羅。尤其在佛門。

你不要看很多國王、大臣、總統這些人,過去生都在佛門做「大布施」,甚至於過去生都是出家人,可是都忘記了。久遠劫前都修「布施」,久遠劫前都幫助眾生。為什麼?貪心未除,一本萬利的這種觀念沒有除掉。無量劫以後,因緣果報成熟了,變現出來,做小國的國王、大國的國王、一般社會的領袖,就做這些,這叫明爭暗鬥。

現在選舉,是不是這樣?越接近選舉的時候,越互揭瘡疤。在現代社會每天都有,新聞報導每天都有,這現象就是一種「末法時期」的現象。

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