2016年3月11日星期五

河流、此岸和彼岸

佛陀說法時會用到很多比喻,讓人們能夠容易掌握佛教的教義。例如佛陀會使用河流、此岸和彼岸等來形容修習的境界和目標。Bhante Shravasti DhammikaNature and the Environment in Early Budddhism提到這可能與佛陀生活的印度環境有關。

Some of the rivers that flow through the Ganges plain are two, three or even more kilometers wide. When the Buddha and the monks and nuns who were accompanying him on his sojourns arrived at a river, they would often have to look for a boat or other craft or try to make a raft out of reeds and branches in order to get across (D.II,89; M.I,135-6). So for the Buddha, who spent much of his life traversing the country, rivers were, more than anything else, a challenging obstacle. It is not surprising, therefore, that he often used rivers and things associated with them as metaphors for the spiritual quest and its goal. He called the ordinary worldly state ‘this bank’ (ora) and Nirvana ‘the further bank’ (pāra). He named the first stage of enlightenment ‘entering the stream’, which would be a preliminary to swimming across a river. Attitudinal and emotional negativities like greed, hatred and desire were ‘torrents’ or ‘floods’ (ogha) that could sweep one away. He said of a monk who studied the Dhamma diligently that he is ‘one who knows a ford’ (titthaṃ jānāti, M.I,221). The cowherd Nanda assured the Buddha of his determination and ability to be a good monk by saying: ‘Lord, I will not get stuck on this bank nor will I get stranded on the far bank. I shall not sink in midstream and I shall not run aground on a sandbar. May the Lord accept me as a monk’ (S.IV,181). In one of his most famous similes the Buddha likened his teachings to an improvised raft, which, after it had been used, could be abandoned; the idea being that even something as precious as the freedom-giving Dhamma should not be clung to (M.I,136). Every time wayfaring monks or nuns found their progress blocked by a great river sliding silently along, or a simple cowherd like Nanda took his animals down to a river to drink, they would have been reminded of some aspect of the Buddha’s teaching.

資料來源:Depiction of Nature in the Pāḷi Tipiṭaka

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