2014年8月22日星期五

功德、善業、佛法生活

法師指功德是善業,參與宗教活動,例如禮佛和唱誦都能積累功德。功德有益於個人,應與親人、朋友和眾生分享,希望能為自己和眾生帶來解脫。禮佛和唱誦能培育宗教情感,進行時要持有正念和恭敬,這樣就能帶來功德和善業,若果不然就沒有意思,變成機械式的行為。佛法應融入日常生活,學佛不是純粹為吸取知識。從事佛教研究不僅增進自己對佛法的認識,亦要以幫助別人了解佛法為目的。

2014年8月15日星期五

信、唱誦、禪修

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。

上座部佛教只有佛陀釋迦牟尼的觀念,認為他是一位歷史人物,曾經在世上生活,亦已經逝世。信徒在禮敬佛陀時並不是為尋求外力的保祐,因為這是沒有功用的,有別其他宗教的觀念。禮敬佛陀的目的的表達宗教情感和信。

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。

2014年8月5日星期二

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.

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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.

http://dictionary.sutta.org/
http://dictionary.buddhistdoor.com/

2014年8月4日星期一

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.