Quote from 佛教的修行方法(增訂版)

(二)學習成佛的方法
佛教,當然不是唯物論的宗教,卻是無神論的宗教。不像其他一神論的宗教,雖然也有各種對於道德生活的教訓,那是為了求得神的眷顧和救濟,信徒們才去遵守那些所謂神的啟示,因為他們相信他們所信的經典中記載的神,是宇宙間唯一的、至高的、至大的、至尊的,人們除了接受神的啟示,沒有別途可以選擇。所以,他們是為信仰神有權威,而遵守道德生活的教訓,他們無權因為遵守道德生活而求達到與神同等的地位,甚至也無權向神要求,非把他們救濟到天國去不可。
這在佛教,頗不相同,佛教以為,我們所處的自然環境,是由我們生活在這環境中的每一個人的業力感得的,也就是說:我們在過去的無數生死之中,造作了相同相類的行為,結果,便形成一個讓我們共同來接受和生存的自然環境。所以,佛教不承認宇宙間有任何絕對權威的神。
佛教,同樣強調信仰的重要,那是信仰釋迦佛陀所說的法──成佛的方法,絕對正確,絕對真實。在你信仰之後,便該照著佛陀所示的方法,實行於你的日常生活之中。因此,佛教徒雖將佛陀視為崇拜的對象,與他們的生活有密切關係的,寧可說是佛陀的教法。依照佛陀所示的生活方式來做,漸漸地,便能達到解脫一切身心苦惱的目的。
佛陀,是從一切的身心苦惱中得到了解脫的人,也是至高、至大、至尊的超世界和超宇宙的偉大人格,但是,佛陀的偉大,雖充滿於時間與空間,卻不佔固定的時空位置,所以,人人可以成佛。
釋迦佛陀在世的時代,隨緣開示,應機教化,所說的佛法很多,歸納起來,不出戒、定、慧三個項目的範圍,我們學佛,其實就是學這三項。世間可學的東西很多,那些都是苦樂相對的、有限的、得失交替的、變動無常的,所以佛教稱其為「有漏之學」。戒、定、慧名為「三無漏學」,學這三項東西,可以防止所得成果的漏失,繼續學到佛的程度為止。戒、定、慧雖分三個項目,事實上有連鎖的關係,如同一物的三個支點,缺一不可。要想求得智慧,須先有禪定的工夫,如希望得到禪定工夫,須先有持戒的宗教生活;持戒的宗教生活愈清淨,愈可助成高深的禪定,在深定之中,便能產生超人的智慧;回轉頭來,再以智慧的判斷和選擇,來指導持戒的宗教生活,來鑑別禪定工夫的深淺和邪正。

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Quote from 佛教的修行方法(增訂版)

在家居士如何學佛?

(一)佛學與學佛
很多人都以為佛學很不容易懂,因為專門性的名詞太多、經典太多、論書太多、教理思想的派別也太多,初進佛門的人,頗有望洋興嘆而不知何取何捨的困難。即使是專門以研究佛學的學者而言,也很難找到幾位精通全部佛學而了無疑問的人來。因此,佛學二字,對於一般人來講,的確是一門深奧的學問。
其實,我們的教主釋迦牟尼佛,宣講的佛法,是將他親自體證到的如何成佛的方法,告訴了我們。他的目的是希望一切的人,都能依照他教的方法來修學,他沒有希望他的教義,被視為一派哲學的體系,當然不會希望學者們把他所證得的佛法,看作一門學術,放到研究室和圖書館裡去,讓人家用科學方法去研究它。所以,從佛教的根本之理而論,只有學佛,沒有佛學。
學佛,是信仰佛教的目的,唯有學佛,始有轉凡成聖而至成佛的可能;佛學,是研究的一門人文科學,它能告訴我們佛教在形態和地域上的演變,以及在思想上的發展,也就是將佛教的教團史和教理史,做各種角度的分析和考察,而視之為佛教的考古學、社會學、文學和哲學,它並不負有勸人信仰和實踐的責任。
一般人所說佛教的難懂,應該是指佛學,而不是學佛。因為,釋迦牟尼佛當時向弟子們宣說的佛法,如果難懂的話,他的教化,便不可能普及到各階層去,即使現在,我們從比較原始的佛經中,仍可體味到,釋迦佛陀的教義,相當樸實,與一般人的生活行為有密切關係。所以,我敢向諸位肯定地說,學佛很容易懂,大家以為難懂的,是指佛學。
凡一樁事物,歷史久了,在它上面堆積的東西,必然愈來愈多,清理這些堆積物,便是一門深奧的學問,假如要想從這些堆積物裡,找出最簡單、最根本、最平實的方法,來讓大家實行,便是學佛的工作,可是,要做這番找的工夫,也非普通的人能夠辦到。這就是我們身為法師者的責任,法師們應從難懂的佛學之中,找出易懂的學佛方法,來告訴廣大的群眾及佛教徒。
因此,我們要弄清,佛學雖難,學佛卻易。佛學的研究,雖非釋迦佛陀設教的目的,站在文學的立場,對佛教做學術性的研究,仍是值得鼓勵的。不過,對於廣大的信眾而言,佛經不是讓你研究的,而是教你照著去實踐的,實踐佛的教義,便稱為學佛。

On Right Livelihood a few Thoughts.

Salt Lake Buddhist Fellowship

A few thoughts on Right Livelihood.

 from Wikipedia

Right livelihood (samyag-ājīva / sammā-ājīva). This means that practitioners ought not to engage in trades or occupations which, either directly or indirectly, result in harm for other living beings.

And what is right livelihood? There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones, having abandoned dishonest livelihood, keeps his life going with right livelihood: This is called right livelihood.

More concretely today interpretations include “work and career need to be integrated into life as a Buddhist,”[46] it is also an ethical livelihood, “wealth obtained through rightful means” (Bhikku Basnagoda Rahula) – that means being honest and ethical in business dealings, not to cheat, lie or steal.[47] As people are spending most of their time at work, it’s important to assess how our work affects our mind and heart. So important questions include “How can work become meaningful? How…

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Blowing Away our Three Poisons

How can we get enlightenment
With the constant flow of Three Poisons
How can we get out of the Six Realms
When we have Greed, Anger and Ignorance

We must continuously be aware
Of the states of our mind
When the effect of poison arises
We then can keep them out of the way

In order for our Wisdom to grow
These are things we should know
Let the Compassion in our heart flows
For the Three Poison be gone like pollen grains when the wind blows

Patience and Tolerance

Many of us feel victimized by people and events that happen to them. Few, if any, will feel happy after scolding by their boss or a bad fall on the ground after stepping on a banana skin.

Take a moment to do inner reflection when such things happen because your boss and the person who left the banana skin on the ground is giving you an opportunity to practice patience (to your boss) and tolerance (to the one who left the banana skin on the ground). These falls in the third Paramita of Patience.

Patience means to bear insults and ability to take what you cannot take. No actions, nor even thought, of striking back is having patience. The Chinese character of patience- 忍, has a knife blade on the top and a heart at the bottom. Using patience is like having a knife stuck into your heart. It is never easy to bear and it really hurts. If you can bear with what is difficult to bear, you can make it through the gate of patience, which means you can achieve Paramita, for Paramita means “getting through it”.

Paramita is a Sanskrit word which literally translate to “gone to the other shore”. We can go from the shore of birth and death through the massive flow of afflictions to the other shore- Nirvana.

Patience is a priceless gem which few know how to mine.
But if you can master it, everything works out fine!

Venerable Master Hsuan Hua

Abortion

My wife told me that her period had been delay for this month and suspected that she may be pregnant. Our daughter and son are now 7 and 2 years old, respectively. She told me that she does not intend to have a third child and requested my understanding that if she is tested to be positive, she would want to have an abortion.

I told her that I disagreed immediately because having an abortion is taking away life. This is breaking the first precept of not taking away life.

There are four reasons for parents and child relationship:-
1. To repay in gratitude
2. To repay in complaints
3. To collect debts
4. To return debts

From my understanding in karma- cause and effect, with the right condition, this child enters the mother’s womb due to the causes in previous lives. In the event that the child is here to repay with gratitude or return debts, taking our the child’s life would convert this gratitude and love into hatred and anger.

Worst still, if the child is here to collect debts or to repay the complaint, the anger and hatred will be grow exponentially due to taking away the child’s life in the womb.

Every sentient being is a future Buddha. As such, I am also against abortion because taking away the child’s life means one less Buddha in the making. Furthermore, being given the opportunity to have re-birth in the human realm means greater opportunity to be enlightened, compared to the other 5 realms.

Now, back to my wife.
She’s tested to be negative to the pregnancy test kit.

Three Poisons

In the world we are living today, we are bombarded with sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touches that arouse our senses. With the working of our senses and consciousness, they create internal craving for more (greed), burning sensation of hatred and jealousy (anger) and thoughts of foolishness and stupidity (ignorance). Together, greed + anger + ignorance = three poisons.

We are intoxicated by three poisons without even realizing it, leading to more suffering. That is why we should meditate to see things as they really are.

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