2009年2月27日星期五

佛教故事書

Ven. Shravasti Dhammika在網誌介紹了一些佛教故事書,圖畫十分精美,內容都是環繞日常生活的事物,例如與人分享東西的樂趣和不要生氣等,很適合兒童觀看。

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Ven. S. Dhammika & Susan Harmer, Rahula Leads the Way

第一課

法師在堂上繼續講解第一次結集的資料。

大會上除決定佛法和戒律的內容外,還作了編輯和分類的工作,把佛經分為「九分教」:

    1. Sutta 修多羅
    2. Geyya 祈夜
    3. Veyyakarama 記說
    4. Gāthā 伽陀
    5. Udana 自說
    6. Itivuttaka 本事
    7. Jataka 本生經
    8. Abbhutadhamma 未曾有
    9. Vedalla 方廣

根據法師的解釋,Sutta這個巴利文有「解說清晰」和「線」的意思,可理解為「把清楚的解說連結一起,令它們不會流失」一部佛經通常有歷史背景、正文和結尾三部分,例如以下取自《增壹阿含經》的例子。

聞如是。一時。佛在舍衛國祇樹給孤獨園。爾時。世尊告諸比丘。隨時聞法有五功德。恒不失時。云何為五。未曾聞法便聞之。已聞便持。除去狐疑。亦無邪見。解甚深之法。是謂。比丘。隨時聞法有此五功德。是故。比丘。當念常聽甚深之法。此是我之教誡。如是。比丘。當作是學。爾時。諸比丘聞佛所說。歡喜奉行。

佛陀說法是以口相傳,經阿難背誦出來,因此加上「如是我聞」或「聞如是」。舍衛國祇樹給孤獨園是當時佛陀說法的地方,對象是在座的比丘,向他們講解「五功德」的內容。最後一段記錄了比丘在聽法後的反應,僧侶會感覺歡喜,並讚歎佛陀的說法。

佛陀也會向在家人說法,如《卡拉瑪經》便是,在結尾部分記錄聽眾的反應,他們亦會如比丘般讚揚佛陀,並請求歸依。

奇哉!尊者喬達摩!偉哉!尊者喬達摩!恰如倒者使起,如覆蓋者使露現,如迷者教以道,如闇中持來油燈,使有眼者見諸色,尊者瞿曇以種種法門說示。大德!我等今皈依世尊、法、又皈依比丘僧伽,大德!請世尊存念於我等自今日起終生皈依為優婆賽。

有些經以文偈語作結尾,如《增壹阿含經》其中一節。

夫人修其行,行惡及其善
彼彼自受報,行終不衰耗
如人尋其行,即受其果報
為善獲其善,作惡受惡報
為惡及其善,隨人之所習
如似種五穀,各獲其果實

還有一類經文是佛陀講述一些教義,但沒有背景資料和結尾的,如The Discourse about the Great Emancipation中佛陀稱讚阿難的經文。

There are four wonderful and marvellous things, monks, about Ananda. If, monks, a group of monks approach to see Ananda their minds are uplifted through seeing (him), and if Ananda speaks words of welcome, their minds are uplifted with the speech, but that group of monks are dissatisfied if at that time Ananda remains silent.

2009年2月25日星期三

為甚麼佛陀反對婦女出家

佛陀是主張眾生平等的人,僧團內有來自各個階級的人,他們不會因身份而受到不同的待遇。但在佛教歷史上,佛陀曾經三次拒絕讓女性加入僧團,這是否意味他懷疑女性的能力,或對女性存有偏見呢?
Nandasena Ratnapala在Buddhist Sociology從幾方面分析了佛陀反對女性出家的原因。
  1. 印度社會普遍存有性別歧視,人們存有「在家從父,出嫁從夫,老來從子」的顧念,認為女性要依賴男性才能生活。佛陀是一位務實的人,他思索如何改變人們的偏見,令他們支持女性加入僧團。當佛陀拒絕釋迦婦女出家的要求後,她們便在城鎮不斷遊行,以表達她們的願望。結果,她們的行為打動了在旁觀看的人。佛陀三次拒絕是為加強她們的決心,同時亦改變人們對女性的態度。
  2. 佛陀的繼母波闍波提瞿曇(Mahapajapati Gotami)和妻子耶輸陀羅(Yasodharā),以及其他的釋迦貴族婦女都過慣了舒適的生活,乞食對於她們來說並不容易。佛陀擔心她們無法適應僧團艱苦的生活,在出於憐憫之心下拒絕她們的請求。
  3. 婦女在社會的地位很低,更常成為被侵犯或侮辱的對象,佛陀憂慮出家的婦女安全受到威脅。(註:比丘尼受辱的情況在日後確曾發生)
  4. 僧團最初只有男性,日常的運作比較簡單,但若婦女加入後,便可能衍生很多問題。佛陀在考慮整體情況下拒絕讓她們的請求。
  5. 婦女是家庭的中心,負責照顧家人的起居生活,讓她們出家可能造成很多家庭解體。此外,日常僧團主要得到婦女的供養,若果她們出家,可能對僧團造成影響。
閱讀:佛教與婦女

2009年2月23日星期一

佛教社會學

Buddhist sociology Buddhist Sociology是一本從社會學角度分析佛教教義的書本,由斯里蘭卡學者Nandasena Ratnapala撰寫,探討了佛教對家庭、社會化(socialization), 階級、教育、經濟和政治等方面的觀點,或者可以說是討論「佛化社會」應有的特徵。佛教一向給人出世的感覺,但其實亦有入世的一面,佛陀提出了很多建議讓在家人遵守,幫助人們解決生活上的煩惱。


這本書可在志蓮淨苑圖書館找到。

2009年2月21日星期六

放下我執 愛情不煩惱

佛教常勸人要放下萬緣,不要執著感情,有人因此以為佛教是教人否定愛情,甚至反對婚姻制度。慈航淨院的釋淨達法師強調這是錯誤的︰「佛教不否定在家人的愛情,佛陀也沒有要求改變社會的婚姻制度,他只是說,在家人和出家人要各盡本分,在家人做在家人的事,出家人做出家人的事,不可混淆。」

淨達法師解釋,佛教有所謂真諦和俗諦,諦者即真理。真諦是站在已開悟的聖者角度來看,俗諦則指社會上大家公認、同意的事物。佛教要求出家人遠離男女之欲,是站在覺者層次對出家人的要求,但在俗諦上,佛陀從沒有刻意改變社會原有的生活方式。「佛陀不反對在家人結婚,但如果說結婚是最終的人生,佛家會說未必。如果婚姻真是那麼甜蜜,世上怎會有那麼多夫妻吵架、離婚或殺害的事件出現?結婚不是一個完全的選擇,但既然世人有這樣的practice(實踐),佛教不反對,只是告訴你,愛情其實是一種黏、一種愛欲。」

在佛家眼中,世間萬物依緣而生,緣聚則聚,緣散則散,就連「愛上對方」也是因為「眾緣和合」,才會令人做出這種抉擇。例如起碼你遇上的人是五官端正,你有機會跟他見過面、說過話等等,一般人不會愛上一個連見也沒有見過的人,只要其中任何條件缺一,可能就無法愛上。同樣道理,當形成愛情的因緣條件有所變化,令感情生變,本來就是平常的事。一如淨達法師說︰「《八大人覺經》中的第一覺悟就是世間無常,說明萬事萬物都在不斷變化。但人類的毛病卻是不喜歡變,尤其對自己喜歡的事物,更加不希望有變。但這世界不由得我們控制,佛家說世界無常,是說任何東西都會變,都有變數存在,所以要時常提醒自己珍惜對方,感情有變時就要調整自己的心態,坦然接受。」

節錄自淨達法師訪問 (http://www.buddhistdoor.com/MingPo/index.html#SubT2)

2009年2月20日星期五

佛教第一次結集

法師在堂上講述了佛教的第一次結集,內容記錄在Cullavagga XI。

佛陀說法一直都是口語相傳,後來才以巴利文記錄下來。佛陀涅槃三個月後,僧團在大迦葉(Maha Kassapa)的主持下,在摩揭陀國的王舍城舉行第一次結集,共有五百名阿羅漢出席。大迦葉是當時地位最高的和尚,以修頭陀行聞名,他大部份時間都在森林修行。大迦葉來自婆羅門家庭,甚得佛陀的稱讚,指他禪定(Jhāna)的修行和自己一樣,他亦是唯一曾與佛陀交換袈裟的弟子。佛陀和大迦葉的樣貌十分相似,有次乞食時人們便認錯了兩人。

優波離(Upali)和阿難(Ānanda)在這次結集的另外兩名重要人物。優波離精於戒律(Vinaya),負責誦出佛陀定下的戒律,而阿難則背誦佛陀所講的佛法(Dhamma)。優波離在出家前是一名理髮師,地位十分低微。優波離與幾位釋迦王子同時出家。釋迦族人以傲慢見稱,佛陀為令他們變得謙遜,於是先接受優波離為弟子,要他們向優波離頂禮。這處反映出佛教一視同仁的思想,不會理會階級分別。阿難是佛陀的堂弟,出家後成為了佛陀的侍者。他擁有驚人的記憶力,能記下所有佛陀的說話。在結集大會上,大迦葉分別向優波離和阿難詢問戒律及佛法,經在場的阿羅漢同意後確定。

法師指禪分為四類,修習可以除去思想中的各稱污染,好像貪污欲和憎恨。人的思想本是純潔的,但由於不斷受到外來事物的影響,逐漸變得不潔淨,就如太陽被雲遮蓋一樣。

對人的觀念

身邊有些朋友是新新教徒,他們的宗教信仰很強,不少夫婦都是教徒,他們又從少開始向子女灌輸基督教信仰。透過對教徒朋友的觀察,可發覺他們對人的觀念和佛教很不同。他們在遇到問題時,大多會向神禱告,認為自己是軟弱無能的人,相信只有在神的帶領下才可找到解決方法。佛教在這方面的觀念很不同。佛教鼓勵人要靠自己的努力來解決問題,要相信自己的能力,不要依賴外來力量幫忙。

2009年2月19日星期四

佛哲書舍

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佛哲書舍是是一間專門售賣佛教書籍的店鋪,很多外國的書籍均可找到,它在太子、中環、銅鑼灣和元朗都有分店。書店擺放了一些免費的中英文書籍供人取閱,部份是來自台灣的佛陀教育基金會

假素食

從Ven. Shravasti Dhammika看到一篇有關中國素食的文章。中國的素食中有一種「齋燒鴨」的「齋叉燒」的菜餚,法師稱它們為Mock Meat,這個名稱很貼切,反而中文好像沒有。這些餸菜其實是由荳類、菇類麵粉等材料煮成,但外觀和味道很似真的肉一樣,幾可亂真。以前看過一個介紹這些食品的電視節目,原來在製造過程中加入了大量的調味品,吃了對身體很不健康。

2009年2月18日星期三

有雞還是雞蛋先

有一次,Ven. K. Sri. Dhammananda出席一個宗教研討會,與會代表有來自天主教、伊斯蘭教、印度教和錫克教的領袖。有人問:「到底宗教是由誰創立的?是神還是人類?」其他宗教的代表都互相推讓,結果交給法師回答。法師知道他們想迴避問題,因為無論說是神或人類創造都會引來很多爭議,於是他說:「假如我要答這問題,就好像以下的情況—『到底是有雞還是雞蛋先』,若我能先攪清楚這點便能回答。」法師的答案一方面避免了無謂的爭執,另一方面則反映了佛教對一些虛無縹緲問題的觀點。

佛陀關注的是如何解決人生的煩惱,讓人找到解脫的方法,他教導我們不要花時間和心思去探討那些抽象或無益的東西。好像「雞和雞蛋」的問題,就算我們用再多的努力都未必找到結果,更可能帶來更多的困擾。佛陀曾過說一個故事,話說有一個人中了毒箭,他堅持要先找出射箭的兇徒才肯接受醫治,完全忘記了當前最逼切的事情,並不理會身邊親友的勸告。結果會怎樣可想而知。

閱讀:

The Parable of the Arrow
From the Dhammapada.  Translated by P. Lal.

"Consider, Malunkyaputta, this story of a man wounded by a poisoned arrow.  His friends, relatives, and well-wishers gather around him and a surgeon is called.  But the wounded man says, ‘Before he takes out this arrow, I want to know if the man who shot me was a Kshatriya, a Brahmin, a merchant, or an untouchable.  I won’t let this arrow be removed until I know the name and tribe of the man who shot me. Was he tall, short, or of medium height?  Was he black, brown, or yellow-skinned?’

"What do you think would happen to such a man, Malunkyaputta?  Let me tell you.  He will die.

"And that is what happens when a man comes to me and says,  ‘I will not follow the Dhamma until the Buddha tells me whether the world is eternal or not eternal, whether the world is finite or infinite, whether the soul and the body are the same or different, whether the liberated person exists or does not exist after death, whether he neither exists nor does not exist after death.’  He will die, Malunkyaputta, before I get a chance to make everything clear to him.

"Being religious and following Dhamma has nothing to do with the dogma that the world is eternal; and it has nothing to do with the dogma that the world is not eternal.  For whether the world is eternal or otherwise, birth, old age, death, sorrow, pain, misery, grief, and despair exist.  I am concerned with the extinction of these.

“Therefore, consider carefully, Malunkyaputta, the things that I have taught and the things I have not taught.  What are the things I have not taught?

"I have not taught that the world is eternal.  I have not taught that the world is not eternal.  I have not taught that the world is finite.  I have not taught that the world is infinite.  I have not taught that the soul and the body are the same.  I have not taught that the soul and the body are different.  I have not taught that the liberated person exists after death.  I have not taught that he does not exist after death.  I have not taught that he both exists and does not exist after death;  that he neither exists nor does not exist after death.

"Why, Malunkyaputta, have I not taught all this?  Because all this is useless, it has nothing to do with real Dhamma, it does not lead to cessation of passion [grasping and agitation], to peace, to supreme wisdom, and the holy life, to Nirvana.  That is why I have not taught all this.

"And what have I taught, Malunkyaputta?  I have taught that suffering exists, that suffering has an origin, that suffering can be ended, that there is a way to end suffering.

"Why, Malunkyaputta, have I taught this?  Because this is useful, it has to do with real Dhamma, it leads to the cessation of passion [grasping and agitation], it brings peace, supreme wisdom, the holy life, and Nirvana.  This is why I have taught all this.

"Therefore, Malunkyaputta, consider carefully what I have taught and what I have not taught."

2009年2月17日星期二

Milestones in a fruitful and illustrious journey

Ven. Kakkapalliye Anuruddha Nayaka Thera:

by Ven. Bellanwila Wimalaratana Thera

clip_image001Disciplined behaviour, vast erudition, excellent memory, the remarkable ability to remain calm and serene amidst difficult circumstances, and charismatic personality are the hallmarks of a great bhikku.

Our Venerable Kakkapalliye Anuruddha Nayaka Thera is endowed with all these qualities and more. He reminds us of the celebrated members of the Bhanaka tradition who were responsible for the oral transmission of the Word of the Buddha until it was committed to writing.

Ven. Kakkapalliye Anuruddha Nayaka Thera is from the remote village of Kakkapalliya, near Chilaw in the North-Western Province. He was born on the 20th of January, 1929. He began his primary education at the Hiripitiya Vidyalaya.

From his childhood days he showed a great inclination to the Dhamma and it was this inclination that made him become a novice monk when he was only seventeen years old.

He received his ordination at the well-known Sri Nivesaramaya in Ponnankanniya under the tutelage of Ven. Kakkapalliye Sri Devananda Thera, the Chief Incumbent of the temple, Ven. Mudukatuwe Gnanarama Nayaka Thera (who later served on the academic staff of the Vidyalankara University) and Ven. Mudukatuwe Seelananda Maha Thera.

The Most Venerable Kiriwaththuduwe Pannasara Nayaka Thera, the Chief Incumbent of the internationally known Vidyalankara Pirivena, was his Preceptor. When he reached the twentieth year, the mandatory age for Higher Ordination, he was conferred the Higher Ordination at the Uposatha Hall of the Malwatta Viharaya in 1949.

Superlative

It was in 1953 that our Venerable Nayaka Thera sat for the Pracheena Intermediate Examination as a candidate from the Maliyadeva Pirivena in Kurunegala. In consideration of his superlative performance at the examination he was placed first in order of merit and was declared the first in the whole Island.

His reputation as a diligent and intelligent student spread fast at the Vidyalankara Pirivena. While he was yet a student there he had the rare distinction of being selected for the Tripitaka Sangayana organised by the Vidyalankara Pirivena. For two consecutive years (1951-1953) he served it as a full-time participant winning the accolades of his seniors and peers.

He was so dedicated to the task that he soon learnt the Burmese script and developed a special ability to read the ancient Sinhala script. In recognition of this special skill he was entrusted with the important task of reading the Mahavagga Pali written in ancient Sinhala script. This indeed was a singular privilege and honour received by him, while yet being a student.

In 1953 Venerable Nayaka Thera was appointed to the academic staff of the Vidyalankara Pirivena, and in the same year he received an appointment as a teacher in the Peliyagoda Gurukula Vidyalaya. The heavy load of work he had to shoulder did not deter him from pursuing advanced studies in Pali and Buddhism.

In 1956 he sat for the Senior School Certificate Examination in the English medium, and subsequently passed the University Entrance Examination and was admitted to the University of Ceylon in 1959. At the University he followed a Special Honours course in Pali with Eastern Philosophy and Psychology as his subsidiary subjects.

He was awarded the Honours Degree in 1963, and in recognition of his brilliant performance at the examination he was appointed as a probationary Assistant Lecturer at the same university. However, in 1964 he opted to move to Vidyalankara University in the capacity of a permanent lecturer in the Department of Pali.

Culmination

In 1969 the Venerable Nayaka Thera proceeded to the University of Lancaster for his doctoral research, and successfully completed it in 1972, obtaining the Ph.D degree for his doctoral thesis on “Studies in Buddhist Social Thought”. Upon his return to the Vidyalankara University he was promoted to Senior Lectureship in Pali.

In 1980 he also served as the Dean of the Paramadhamma Buddhist Institute and conducted a course for Buddhist monks interested in Buddhist missionary activities in foreign countries.

The Venerable Nayaka Thera reached the culmination of his academic career when he had the very rare privilege of being appointed by the President of Sri Lanka as the first ever Vice Chancellor of the Buddhist and Pali University of Sri Lanka.

During his tenure as Vice Chancellor (1982-88), with the guidance of the late Venerable Professor Walpola Rahula, he was able to establish it as a centre of excellence for Buddhist Studies attracting both local and foreign students.

In his second year as its Vice Chancellor he was able to get the university admitted as a fully-fledged member of the Commonwealth Union of Universities.

The establishment of the Buddhist and Pali University of Sri Lanka, under the Vice-Chancellorship of our Venerable Nayaka Thera is certainly one of the most significant contributions to Bhikkhu education in modern time.

It was during his tenure that the Sri Lanka Journal of Buddhist Studies was founded and the library was well-equipped with the most important reference material for Buddhist Studies.

In brief, it was our Venerable Nayaka Thera who laid the foundation for the University’s successful continuance and further development under the leadership of his successors.After the Venerable Nayaka Thera had served two terms as the Vice Chancellor of the Buddhist and Pali University of Sri Lanka he was invited by the Buddhist Institute of the Fo Kwang Sang Monastery in Taiwan to teach Pali and Buddhism (1989-90).

In 1992 he was invited to the University of the West in California to conduct courses on Buddhist studies. Subsequently he also had the opportunity of teaching at the Buddhist Library of Singapore, at Foo Ei Chan Buddhist College and at the Buddhist Mission in Singapore.

Eloquence

At present the Venerable Nayaka Thera is in the Chi Lin Buddhist College in Hong Kong teaching courses on Pali and Buddhist Studies. And at the same time he is also serving as a Visiting Professor at the Centre of Buddhist Studies of University of Hong Kong.

In spite of his devoted commitment to teaching, the Venerable Nayaka Thera has been able to participate in many international Seminars and Conferences on Buddhist Studies, and is a much sought after keynote speaker. His greatest work of research is his Dictionary of Pali Idioms.

He is now preparing its second volume. It speaks volumes for his thorough familiarity with the Pali Buddhist Canon and the Theravada Buddhist exegetical literature. His latest contribution to Buddhist Studies is “The First and Second Buddhist Councils, Five Versions, English Translations from Pali and Chinese”, which he prepared in collaboration with Mary M. Y. Fung and S. K. Siu.

Venerable Kakkapalliye Anuruddha Nayaka Thera is an excellent communicator of the Dhamma. His profound knowledge and eloquence, coupled with his simple but very effective style of communication has endeared him to many.

He could perhaps be the most popular teacher of Buddhism and Pali language to foreign students. Not only is he a good teacher but is also a listener. His unhurried ways of behaviour and simple style of living is worthy of emulation by anyone aspiring to be a good teacher.

It is, indeed, not an exaggeration to say that Venerable Kakkapalliye Anuruddha Nayaka Thera is an epitome of Buddhist recluseship, a treasure house of Dhamma knowledge, a role model for all bhikkhus, and an invaluable jewel in the Sangha Sasana.

Source: http://www.sundayobserver.lk/2009/02/01/foc05.asp

2009年2月15日星期日

正精進

正精進是八正道的其中一項。根據Ven. Anuruddha的解釋,「精進」可分為兩類,分別為在家人和出家人的努力。在家人努力工作,以滿足衣、食、住和醫藥這些物質方面的需要。而出家人則努力消除五蘊(Skandha)、污染(kilesa)和業力(kamma)。在家人在追求物質滿足之餘,亦應用點時間尋求心靈上的滿足。

The Buddhist Way of Life for Householders

The Buddha told him (Dighajanu) that there are four things which are conducive to a human’s happiness in this world. (1) He should be skilled, efficient, earnest, and energetic in whatever profession he is engaged, and he should know it well (utthana-sampada); (2) he should protect his income, which he has thus earned righteously, with the sweat of his brow (arakkha-sampada); (3) he should have good friends (kalyana-mittata) who are faithful, learned, virtuous, liberal and intelligent, who will help him along the right path away from evil; (4) he should spend reasonably, in proportion to his income, neither too much nor too little, i.e., he should not hoard wealth avariciously nor should he be extravagant—in other words he should live within his means (sama jivikata).

Then the Buddha expounds the four virtues conducive to a layman’s happiness hereafter: (1) Saddha: he should have faith and confidence in moral, spiritual and intellectual values; (2) Sila: he should abstain from destroying and harming life, from stealing and cheating, from adultery, from falsehood, and from intoxicating drinks; (3) Caga: he should practise charity, generosity, without attachment and craving for his wealth; (4) Panna: he should develop wisdom which leads to the complete destruction of suffering, to the realisation of Nirvana.

Ven. Dr. K. Sri Dhammanada, What Buddhist Believe

2009年2月14日星期六

忍辱

忍能生和,和即能合,故佛陀特別強調忍辱精神。所謂的忍有眾生忍及法忍二種。

  1. 生忍──忍受別人的欺凌污辱、惡罵毀謗,心不生怨恨,且以忍讓柔和之心來對待之。
  2. 法忍──忍受自然環境,生活條件,周遭一切,心處於泰然,不為其所動。

與人相處,確是一門不易的事。俗語有說:相見容易,相處難。當今社會,注重人際關係,從家庭、社會、到個人圈子,都以「人情」來為維持聯繫。人情靠人緣,所謂人緣好就善得人情。此緣以何法為重,即忍讓也。由於修「眾生忍」,善的人緣,可得無量福;靠了修「法忍」,善的法緣,可得無量慧。久久修習,福慧漸增。即有一天福慧圓滿,得成佛道。

灑甘露比丘《說吉話祥》(http://www.buddhistdoor.com/DeerPark/index.html)

2009年2月6日星期五

不與人爭,和而不同

To be honest, Buddhists don’t really do very much to promote inter-religious harmony, but their lack of an aggressive conversion agenda and their general tolerance does nothing to endanger it either.

Shravasti Dhammika