dhamma musings: Putting A Price On The Dhamma

Shravasti Dhammika


The Buddha gave the Dhamma freely to all. He often underwent difficulties and inconveniences and on occasions even risked his life, in order to teach the Dhamma to others (Ud.78). The monk Punna was prepared to teach the Dhamma in a district where the people were known for their violence and where he had a good chance of being manhandled or worse (M.III,269). Today, some Westerners go to traditional Buddhist countries to learn Dhamma or meditation, they return to their homelands, and then charge for teaching what they were taught for free. I really think this is unethical. Likewise, some Asian monks put a price on the Dhamma, certain Tibetan teachers being the worst offenders. I once mentioned to the student of a rimpoche that his teacher charged very high prices for his teachings – really high. Rather defensively the student said that air fares, accommodation, etc all cost money. “Why not just ask students for a donation rather than charge them?’ I said. “What if the costs were not covered?” the disciple shot back. I let the subject drop but it seemed a little odd after all the insistence about infinite compassion for all beings. I also couldn’t help thinking that Goenka (and his assistant teachers) rely entirely on donations.

In charging for Dhamma such teachers are turning the precious Dhamma into a commodity and the Buddha clearly said: “One should not go about making a business out of the Dhamma” (Ud.66). When the Buddha said: “The gift of Dhamma excels all other gifts” (Dhp.354) he clearly meant that the Dhamma should be a gift, not something to be sold. During the Buddha’s time people knew that teachers of other religions charged a fee (acariyadhana) but that those teaching Dhamma expected nothing more from their students audience than respect and attentiveness (A.V,347). I think there is nothing wrong with charging for the food, accommodation etc. used during a meditation course. Nor is it improper for a teacher to accept donations. But to charge a fee, even if it is called “sponsorship” or to announce that a “donation” of a certain amount is expected or required, contradicts the most basic ethics and ideals of Buddhism. Those who teach the Dhamma should see what they do as a rare and wonderful privilege and an act of kindness, not a means of livelihood.

中文釋文:Ken Yifertw  〈佛法值多少錢?〉




法師提到業 (kamma) 的內容。佛教有「故思所造業」(volition / cetanā is Kamma) 的說法,認為意志就是業。行為會否產生業力,就要看是否有意志,例如無意意踏死地上的螞蟻是沒有業力的。我們的日常生活受到過往的業力影響,但這不表示一切都注定不能改變,因為現今的行為又會造成新的業力。日常很多看似平凡、微不足道的事情,假若出於善意和感恩,就能轉化為很大的善業。






法師談到人都是有情感 / 感情 (emotions) 的,例如慈悲、友情和愛等,又有對家人和朋友的關懷。若果人沒有感情的話,人類和社會就不可能再延續。感情有否正面 (positive) 和負面 (negative) 之分,我們要培養正面的感情,消滅負面的感情。正面和負面的感情不會同時出現,當不斷培養正面的的感情,負面的就會被壓抑,並逐漸消失。

佛教認為「信」(saddhā) 是很重要的,它是一種宗教情感。信如種子,需要慢慢的培育。這種信有別於其他宗教,它是基於認識和了解,不是盲目的。然而,只有信是不足的,亦十分危險。信應與智慧 (Paññā) 取得平衡。單有智慧有也有不足,人會過於理智,缺乏宗教情感,關鍵在兩者的平衡。法師引用愛恩斯坦 (Albert Einstein) 的名句:「Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind」,解釋信仰與理智的關係。

宗教儀式,例如唱誦 (chanting) 是培育宗教情感和信的方式,不應忽視其重要性。佛教強調信徒要親身參與儀式,不要假手他人。有些宗教認為信徒可透過祭司與神溝通,祭司進行儀式代信徒表達敬意。


唱誦時要專注,保持正念  (sati, mindful),把心安住,這亦是一種禪修 (meditation) 的方法。人們禪修時,很多時難以集中,身體雖然盤坐,但心卻不知攀延到那處,專注兩三分鐘已經很難,使用唱誦有助專注。當察覺出現攀延時,就要重新專注。持之以恆地禪修,以十五、二十分鐘為目標,不久就能見到顯注的效果,對事物的觀感有很大轉變。


Four groups of people

The Path to Arahantship: A Compilation of Venerable Ācariya Mahā Boowa’s Dhamma Talks About His Path of Practice
Translated by from the Thai by Bhikkhu Dick Sīlaratano

Looking at the state of the world, I felt discouraged. I saw people who lived in total darkness as being hopeless. Being so blind that they’re worthless, the Buddha called such people padaparama. Gazing further up the scale, I saw the types of people known as neyya and vipacitaññu. Persons in the neyya category are capable of being trained in the way of Dhamma. Sometimes they make progress, sometimes they lose ground. Neyya individuals are fully capable of understanding the Teaching and putting it into practice. Should they be careless, however, they’ll lose ground. But if they are earnest in their practice, they can progress rapidly. Depending on the degree of commitment, neyya can go either way.

Vipacitaññu individuals always progress toward the goal; they never lose ground. Still, their progress is slower than that of ugghatitaññu, individuals whose intuitive wisdom is so sharp that they’re always fully prepared to make a decisive breakthrough. Were they cattle, they would be waiting at the corral gate. As soon as the gate opened, they’d come rushing out. Ugghatitaññu are capable of the kind of quick understanding that allows them to pass beyond in one moment of insight.

All living beings must fall into one of these four categories. As I investigated the nature of the world, it separated naturally, of its own accord, into these four types of individuals. I could see that superior individuals existed in that multitude of humanity which I had felt so discouraged about teaching. Ugghatitaññu: they were fully prepared to cross beyond in an instant. In descending order: there were vipacitaññu, those progressing quickly toward the goal; then, the neyya, whose desire to lie down and take it easy competes with their desire to be diligent. Do you see what I mean? Those two opposing forces are vying for supremacy within their hearts. And finally padaparama: those who are human in physical appearance only. They have gained nothing at all to enhance their future prospects. Death for such people is death without distinction. There is only one possible direction they can go—down. And they fall further and further with each successive death. The way up is blocked, for they have gained absolutely nothing beneficial to take along with them. They can only go down. Remember this well! This teaching comes straight from my heart. Do you think I am bluffing and telling you deliberate falsehoods?

When compared with a heart that’s absolutely pure, the world is one big refuse bin, containing different grades of garbage. From the highest, ugghatitaññu, to the lowest and most common grade, padaparama, all possible types are gathered together in the same great receptacle. The entire world of conventional reality is one big contaminated mix of good things and bad things.

pada-parama: 'one for whom the words are the utmost attainment'. "Whoever, though having learned much, speaking much, knowing many things by heart, and discoursing much, has not penetrated the truth, such a man is called by that name".

neyya: 'requiring guidance', is said of a person "who through advice and questioning, through wise consideration, and through frequenting noble-minded friends, having intercourse with them, associating with them, gradually comes to penetrate the truth"

ugghaṭitaññu: 'one who already during a given explanation comes to penetrate the truth' (Pug.). This is one of four types of persons classified according to their ability of acquiring insight, mentioned in A. IV, 133. Cf. also vipacitaññu, neyya,pada-parama.

vipacitaññu / vipañcitaññu: 'one who realizes the truth after explanation.' Thus is called one who realizes the truth only after detailed explanation of that which already had been said to him in a concise form.



The Path to Arahantship

The Path to Arahantship: A Compilation of Venerable Ācariya Mahā Boowa’s Dhamma Talks About His Path of Practice

Translated by from the Thai by Bhikkhu Dick Sīlaratano

The mind itself produces feelings of revulsion, the mind itself produces feelings of attraction; the mind alone creates ugliness and the mind alone creates beauty.

These qualities do not really exist in the external physical world. The mind merely projects these attributes onto the objects it perceives and then deceives itself into believing that they are beautiful or ugly, attractive or repulsive. In truth, the mind paints elaborate pictures all the time—pictures of oneself and pictures of the external world. It then falls for its own mental imagery, believing it to be real.


This Delicate, Fleeting Life 脆弱和飛逝的生命

DHAMMA DIARY | Ajahn Manapo

It is a practice of mine to try to ensure that first thing in the morning, before my day gets going – before I straighten out my duvet or become suitably attired; before I open the main gate or drink my cup of sweet and strong Assam tea; before my mind is stirred by the rising currents of the day’s worries and vain desires – I calmly introduce into my awareness certain thoughts. Thoughts of death.

The fact that this could be my last day. The fact that one day I will wake up and it will be my last day, and that this could be the one. The fact that many people are waking up at this very moment who will die on this very day. The fact that my time is limited and that the time I have with those people whom I care for and value is limited. The fact that one day they won’t be here any more, and neither will I. The fact, the only fact, that I will die.

And then I smile, have a cup of tea, open the gate, get dressed (should’ve done that before I opened the gate…), straighten my duvet, and watch the little worries and desires slow and still and cease as the sobering truth of death shows me my priorities.

Teachers will now be cherished; friends and family will be loved. Strangers will be befriended; enemies will be understood. Grudges will gain no foothold; anger will be cast away. The bully fear will be cut down to size; desire will be seen for the empty promise that it is. The quest for meaning will take priority; meaningless priorities will be put aside. And I will not allow to slip away unused this delicate, fleeting life.

我習慣早上,在我的一日開始前 — 在我整理好被子或穿著妥當前;在我打開大門或喝一杯芳香和濃郁的阿薩姆紅茶前;在我的心被當日生起的憂慮和空洞的欲念纏繞前 — 第一件嘗試確保要做的事情,就是平心靜氣地在意識中引入一些意念。死亡的想法。


當我微笑,喝一杯茶,打開大門,穿上衣服 (應在我打開大門前做好),整理好被子,觀察小小的憂鬱和欲念慢慢消散,死亡這使人清醒的事實指示我緩急先後的事情。

現在應敬愛導師;愛護朋友和家庭。與陌生人結交朋友;諒解敵人;不讓恩怨存在;拋棄憤怒。減少讓人害怕的恐懼;視欲望等同虚假的承諾。追求意義優先處理; 沒有意義的要務將放在一邊。我不會讓這脆弱和飛逝的生命未用便溜走。


思 Cetanā

法師談到「思」(Cetanā),它不是純粹的思想活動,而是一種意志,與業力 (Kamma) 相連。

思分為前思 (Pubba-cetanā)、現思 (Muñca-cetanā) 與後思 (Apara-cetanā)。前思是推動行為的意志。現思是對所作的行為持有正念 (mindfulness)。後思是行為後感到喜悅。



Rational ritual

Erich Fromm, Psychoanalysis and Religion

We not only have the need for a frame of orientation which makes some sense of our existence and which we can share with our fellow men; we also have the need to express our devotion to dominant values by actions shared with others. A ritual, broadly speaking, is shared action expressive of common strivings rooted in common values.

The rational differs from the irrational ritual primarily in its function; it does not ward off repressed impulses but expresses strivings which are recognized as valuable by the individual. Consequently it does not have the obsessional-compulsive quality so characteristic of the irrational ritual; if the latter even once is not performed, the repressed is accompanied by considerable anxiety. No such consequences are attached to any lapse in the performance of the rational ritual; nonperformance many be regretted but it is not feared. In fact, one can always recognized the irrational ritual by the degree of fear produced by its violation in any manner.



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講座題目: 「佛教的宗教儀式與其修行意義」


Aloka Vihara


Bhikku Bodhi - Called to Act

How can we balance the need to fight for social and environmental justice with the desire for inner peace and contentment?

I believe the two should go together hand in hand. If we fight for social justice without inner peace—or at least without an effort to cultivate inner peace—our action can be driven by the same kind of destructive anger we are trying to overcome out in the world. If there is simply a quest for inner peace without a concern for social justice, we can easily slip into a narcissistic concern with our inner well-being at the expense of the call for compassionate engagement with the wider social context in which our own life is nested. But when the two are joined, inner balance of mind serves as a platform for developing clear insight into the causes of our predicaments and into practical strategies that can promote effective solutions.



Painful experience

Ajahn Manapo, Motorbike Crash

Painful experience in all its guises is inherently empty; the problem arises when we desire it to be otherwise. When we experience pain the aversion to it is so closely intertwined that the pain appears to be the enemy. There’s depression: we resist. There’s fear: we run. There’s physical pain: we fight. But fighting and running only reinforce and exacerbate these sensations. Reacting gives them a reality they do not truly possess. By letting the pain be – by allowing it, by opening up to it, by putting aside the instinctive, fearful reaction to it – we allow the mind to experience pain for what it is, just as it is. If the painful experience is left alone in this way its sting is removed and its energy harnessed and transformed.


Do Much Good (IV)

As from a heap of flowers many a garland is made, even so many good deeds should be done by one born a mortal.

Ven. Nàrada, Dhammapada

Ven. Kakkapalliye Anuruddha Thera解釋了以上的偈誦。



Visākhūposatha: The Discourse to Visakha on the Uposatha with the Eight Practices 對佛教徒來說是重要的經文,它解釋布薩日的意義。布薩日一月兩次,分別在滿月和新月舉行,是守戒的日子。布薩日在佛教是重要的日子,佛教徒整日進行宗教儀式,會到寺院守八戒。佛教徒平日會守五戒,即不殺、不盜、不邪淫、不妄語、不飲酒。八戒是五戒外加上過午不食;不觀聽歌舞、不香油塗身、不着香薰衣;不坐臥高廣大床。

戒 (Sila) 是道德操守,與日常生活有緊密關係,守戒是覺悟的起點。佛陀指八戒是佛教生活的第一步和基礎。佛教明白人在社會生活,要先整理生活才可潔淨人心。佛教的目的就是要潔淨人心,所有污染的東西都在人的心中。當清除心的污染物後,世界就得到潔淨,人亦能體驗涅槃,得到覺悟。要達到這目的,第一步是遵從戒律。當日常生活沒有麻煩,心就能較易集中。心不集中的話,就無法潔淨了。





Do Much Good (III)

As from a heap of flowers many a garland is made, even so many good deeds should be done by one born a mortal.

Ven. Nàrada, Dhammapada

Ven. Kakkapalliye Anuruddha Thera解釋了以上的偈誦。


當佛陀的兩大弟子舍利弗 (Sāriputta) 和目犍連 (Moggallāna) 圓寂後,佛陀知道後對比丘們說,感到團很空虛。這是佛陀對舍利弗和目睷連涅槃的感覺。



耆那教是佛教前的宗教,由一位稱為瑪哈維拉 (Mahavira) 的釋迦王子創立,他與佛陀有很多相似的地方。在佛經中心瑪哈維拉被稱為尼乾陀若提子 (Nigantha Nātaputta),尼乾陀 (Nigantha) 是沒有任何束縛的意思。尼乾陀是裸形外道,修行者不穿衣服,因為衣服被視為一種束縛。尼乾陀宣傳自我摧殘和非暴力,認為可透過摧殘身體來使靈魂得到解脫,指身體強壯時,靈魂就不能自由。不給飲食,不讓身體有物質享受。尼乾陀認為經過幾年的苦行,他們就能獲得精神力量。另一宗教婆羅門指正確唱誦能產生神力。










Do Much Good (II)

As from a heap of flowers many a garland is made, even so many good deeds should be done by one born a mortal.

Ven. Nàrada, Dhammapada

Ven. Kakkapalliye Anuruddha Thera解釋了以上的偈誦。


這首偈誦與佛教女居士毘舍佉 (Visàkhà) 有關。

在佛世時期,印度分為十六個國家,例如摩揭陀和喬薩羅,它們互相兼併,建立更大的國家。它們部分是部族國家,部分由國王統治。摩揭陀有一富翁孟達卡(Mendaka),他的兒子是檀那闍耶 (Danancaya),孫女就是毘舍佉。毘舍佉嫁給舍衛城富翁彌迦羅 (Migara) 的兒子富樓那凡達那 (Punnavadahana)。摩揭陀和喬薩羅都是富裕的國家。

摩揭陀有五名富翁,喬薩羅只有一位。有一日,喬薩羅想向摩揭陀借一名富翁,以增加國家的名聲。喬薩羅由波斯匿 (Pasenadi) 統治,摩揭陀的國王則由頻婆娑羅 (Bimbisāra) 統治,波斯匿想向頻婆娑羅借一名富翁,因此派信差前往。波斯匿與頗婆梭羅是親屬,兩國締結婚姻聯盟。波斯匿的父親摩訶喬薩羅 (Mahākosala) 有一女兒喬薩羅黛維 (Kosala Devi),她嫁給頻婆娑羅,以迦尸 (Kashi) 作為嫁妝。頻婆娑羅與喬薩羅黛維生了阿闍世 (Ajātasattu),頻婆娑羅後來被兒子所殺。波斯匿對阿闍世弒父的行為非常憤怒,於是向摩揭陀發動戰爭,戰勝並取回迦尸。

頻婆娑羅認為不可借出富翁,因會這使國家貧窮,決定把留著五位富翁。頻婆娑羅為滿足波斯匿的要求,於是打算派檀那闍耶到喬薩羅。後來,波斯匿把檀那闍耶帶回喬薩羅。在往喬薩羅途中,檀那闍耶問所處的是甚麼地方。波斯匿說這是喬薩羅的一部分。檀那闍耶表示想留在該處生活,不前往人煙稠密的首都舍衛城。於是波斯匿就在該處建立城鎮沙祇城 (Saketa)。沙祇城與舍衛城很接近。 檀那闍耶在沙祇城生活,女兒毘舍佉也在當地出生。





  • 不要讓家中的問題外揚,家庭有很多問題,問題應在家內解決,不要在外面討論;
  • 外面的問題不要帶回家;
  • 借東西給會歸還的人;
  • 假如親友向你要求東西,要滿足他們的要求,不應考慮;
  • 在家要格外小心,要尊敬長者,不要佔用高座。吃東西前不要先吃,要讓長輩和丈夫先吃;
  • 尊敬和保護家中的火,要舉行火貢儀式。要尊敬公公和婆婆,他們在當時被視作家中的神。




Do Much Good (I)

As from a heap of flowers many a garland is made, even so many good deeds should be done by one born a mortal.

Ven. Nàrada, Dhammapada

Ven. Kakkapalliye Anuruddha Thera解釋了以上的偈誦。


人根據業力不斷的生死輪迴,只要他的業力仍存在,他就會輪迴不絕。那些完全輪迴旅程的人 (阿羅漢) 不用害怕業力的影響,他們不會再有生死,因為他們的業力已經耗盡。然而,世界很多的眾生受業力的影響。

善行是善業,佛陀教人要積聚善業。為甚麼要累積善業呢?原因就是為了減弱惡業的影響。在我們生命中 (生死輪迴),我們有意識或無意識地累積不少的善業和惡業。我們不知輪迴的長短,就連佛陀也不清楚。佛陀曾對比丘說輪迴難以想像,看不到開始和終點,它是一個很長的旅程,由業力所決定。人生積聚的業力稱為「行」(Sañkhāra),根據緣起法,「行」會帶來「識」(Vijñāna),導致新的一生。惡業帶來痛苦。佛經提到很多的善行,例如慈心、樂善好施和德行,它們能產生善業。

《中部》(Majjhima Nikāya) 的Maha Kammavibhanga Sutta: The Great Exposition of Kamma (MN 136) 提到一位修苦行的人常詢問佛陀各樣問題,希望得到佛陀的解答。有一次,他問佛陀善業是甚麼意思。佛陀簡單回答,說善業有十種,即不殺、不盜、不邪淫、不妄語、不惡口、不綺語、不兩舌、不貪、不瞋和不癡。只要不做這些惡行,就算是善行。



Bhante Saranapala: 7 Types of Individuals - What Type of Individual Are You?

Discourse on the Water Simile (AN 7.15), Udakūpama-sutta, translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi